Author's Note: Well, I'm over four fucking months late, and have sucked at updating in general lately, but despite my general phail, this is a belated birthday present to the beautiful Beutelmaus! Epic goddess that she is, I still tremble in awe when she shines her goodness upon little me. 8D
So happy birthday Barbara! May the coming chapters eventually justify themselves and be pleasing to you. (She wished for fluff...I think this fic will be anything but. See? Phail.) ^^;
This and all future chapters disclaimed.
Chapter 1 ~ You Just Can't Win
With a loud groan, Axel let his forehead drop onto the polished wooden surface of the bar, clunking heavily and making Roxas' glass jump and clatter. The blond's expression of concern flickered a moment, replaced by a wince. Axel's voice was a whimper, muffled against the wood.
Roxas sighed, bringing his face back into the appropriate concerned look and reaching his arm over to the man beside him, patting gently at the back of his jacket. The bartender shot him a raised-eyebrow glance, and Roxas just shrugged and tried to look apologetic. He didn't need to explain. Two young men in full tuxedos at nine on a Saturday night, both wearing boutonnières – Axel's white, Roxas' deep blue with pale champagne accents to match the bridesmaids' dresses and the whole wedding color scheme – well, it was pretty clear where they'd come from. And, given the ex-groom's condition, anyone could guess that the wedding hadn't gone as planned.
"Don't hurt yourself, Ax. Come on, sit up…" Roxas' hand had gone from patting to rubbing slow circles on his best friend's back, and he needed to stop that. Soon. To his relief, Axel picked his head up slowly, giving Roxas the needed cue to take his hand back. Both went back to their drinks, Roxas to his second rum and coke, Axel to his… Shit. Roxas had lost count. That wasn't good. He was supposed to make sure Axel didn't drink too much…vodka. Great.
For about the millionth time since arriving – Roxas had lost count of this, too – Axel moaned his new favorite catch phrase. "What'd I do wrong? God, Roxas…what'd I do wrong?" At least, Roxas knew his friend was saying that, though it sounded more like, "Whuddyedorung?"
In short, Axel's wedding had been scheduled for seven o'clock, and Tifa had never appeared. He'd been left standing at the altar.
Right next to his best man.
And after everything – the fucked-up service, the excuses to the guests, the frantic phone calls, the general panic and chaos among the wedding party and close family, the horrible five minutes at the "reception," the announcement to everyone that apparently the wedding was off but please eat all the food anyway because the caterer didn't do refunds, then the final emotional crash when Axel simply couldn't face anyone anymore – after all that, Roxas had stepped in calmly, explained to Axel's mother, and dragged his best friend out of there to go drinking. Axel needed it. Roxas could tell. He'd been reading his best friend like a book since they met in college.
He did so now, too. Checking Axel's expression quickly, he analyzed his friend's distress level. Roxas had a couple possible responses to choose from. You didn't do anything wrong, Ax. She's just a big-breasted whore. Too harsh. You decided to marry a woman, you dick. You were asking for this all along. Again, too harsh! Nicer, damnit! Axel looked really…close to tears, actually.
"It wasn't your fault, Ax. We just have to wait and see. She's a sensible person, I'm sure she has her reasons. She'll explain them for you, just be patient." I'll fucking make her explain. She'll fix this, or I'll rip her tits off. "Maybe things will still work out, you know?"
Axel tried to shake his head and nearly face-planted into the bar again. Roxas decided it was almost time to go. He needed to stop soon too… "I dun think so…" Axel mumbled into his drink, still looking hopeless and heartbroken. "She wouldn't've done that if there was a chance. I musta fucked it up somehow. Fucked it up bad. I jus' can't think how!"
Roxas decided a little gentle squeeze around Axel's shoulders wouldn't seem amiss here, and went ahead and indulged himself for a moment. Axel was a very physical person and would feel comforted; he knew that. And Roxas…just couldn't resist drawing in a deep breath while he was this close, catching Axel's scent under the alcohol and smoke in the bar. To make it seem natural, he let the inhale out in a long sigh.
"No, Ax. It is not your fault. Even if you did something wrong, she shouldn't have done that. But don't think about this anymore. Come on, we gotta go. Come on, stand up."
"Nuhhhh…wanna nother drink…" Axel flopped limply against the bar, and Roxas couldn't lift his dead weight. They really needed to go, though… If Roxas stayed and had another drink, he might start losing control of which thoughts came out of his mouth, and which actions he allowed himself. And a loyal, supportive, best-friend best man needed to be careful at times like these. Since moving-in day, freshman year, it had never been the time to let Axel know certain facts. Now, of all times, things were no different.
"No, Ax, come on. We really gotta go." Roxas already knew where, too. And it would mean a tricky evening for him, but it couldn't be helped. Axel didn't have a home to go back to anymore – at least, taking him back to his and Tifa's apartment in this condition probably wasn't a good idea – and his accommodations for tonight were…not happening. He was supposed to be on a plane right now, headed off for his honeymoon… "You can come to my place, OK? You can have another drink there. We can keep drinking, we just gotta go before we're too drunk to get home, OK?"
Letting Roxas pull him from the barstool, Axel lurched forward heavily, barely caught and supported by the shorter young man. "What'd I do? Why's she hate me?"
Getting a better grip on his best friend and feeling relieved that he'd already paid, Roxas began their slow, stumbling progress toward the door, once again biting back thoughts like, Because she's a brainless twit who never deserved you, not for a second, never once, and opting for the more consoling, "She doesn't hate you, Ax. She loves you. Just be patient." Taxi, taxi…there! Roxas hailed a cab, gently maneuvered Axel into the back seat, gave the driver his address, and sat back, trying not to sit too close or lean toward the sniffling redhead. He didn't need the temptation… But his self-control turned out to be useless, because one turned corner later, Axel had slid limply over and seemed content to stay put, leaning heavily on his patient, understanding, trembling, barely-restrained best man.
In Roxas' life, three things were true: he'd never get along with dogs, he could always, always kick Hayner's ass in Struggle, and nothing in life ever went his way. For instance, if things were going Roxas' way, Axel wouldn't be here in his apartment, wasted, while Roxas' own judgment was simultaneously impaired by a little too much rum. But, along that line of thinking, if things were going Roxas' way, Axel wouldn't have been getting married in the first place. He wouldn't have been dating that woman. She would never have showed up on the radar, not even with those giant knockers.
But truth held true, and here they were, Roxas holding Axel's hair back as the young man bent miserably over the toilet. He could only be glad it hadn't happened until now. Roxas had barely gotten Axel out of the top half of his tux before the redhead went suddenly ashen and the blond had to help him race for the bathroom.
Axel groaned and coughed and started up again, and Roxas held his breath and leaned back, still gripping most of Axel's hair, and tried not to let his own stomach get any ideas. If only he had a hair tie or something…but no. As girly as this situation was, Roxas didn't have things like that. If I had ribbons and clips…if I was a girl…if I was born a cute little girl, if I had breasts and nice legs and long hair…would you have seen me…?
It wasn't the first time he'd thought this way…or wished things that no one else made him wish, ever.
Axel had stopped, and was falling over, groaning and attempting to pass out on the bathroom floor. "Woah, hey, come on Ax, don't do that." Roxas grunted as he tried to haul on the larger young man's limp form. "Help me out here man, come on, let's get you cleaned up." At length, coaxing endlessly, Roxas was able to get Axel to make an effort, rinse his mouth with Listerine, and stumble to Roxas' bedroom, collapsing on the bed.
Roxas' head was beginning to spin rather badly by this point, and Axel was automatically curling into a miserable ball. The blond considered leaving him to sleep it off like this and going to crash on his couch…but responsibility argued back. And maybe…maybe just a little bit of a nagging desire to stay near.
"Hey, Ax, come on, you can't sleep in your slacks. That tux is a rental, we can't ruin it. Come on, get them off…" It would be good if he could get Axel into pajamas or something, but at this rate, boxers and the beater he was wearing were probably going to have to be good enough.
Axel whimpered, not listening, not helping, and leaving Roxas to roll his eyes and begin to struggle the pants off while studiously contemplating the effects of advanced gangrene, the smell of incontinent old people, the vomiting Axel had just done…anything to keep his mind off what he was doing, seeing, touching, wanting…
"S'all over…I'll never find another girl like her…she was so amazing…" Roxas swallowed a lump in his throat and blinked suddenly stinging eyes and pulled the slacks off, trying not to listen, trying to get the covers out from under Axel and tuck the sniffling ex-groom in.
"I'll never love anyone again…" Axel's low, miserable voice cracked. Roxas felt the ever-present thorn of pain in his stomach twist deeper.
Giving up on the blankets and sitting weakly on the bed, Roxas tried to steady himself before taking up his role of comforter again. "Ax…don't say that…" He pulled the redhead by the shoulder, bringing Axel to face him again, trying to convince him, trying not to breathe too hard at the sight of so much vulnerability in his best friend. "Look…it'll be OK. If it doesn't work out…there are others out there…" Roxas paused, his expression wavering, trying to gather the willpower to talk about the women Axel could expect to meet in the future. The beautiful women, the loving ones, the hot ones…the women he could fuck, the ones he could fall in love with, marry, have a family with… Fuck, fuck, fuck, stop it! Roxas blinked rapidly again.
Axel was still mumbling miserably on the edge of tears. "No…there's nobody like her…she was perfect…she's sweet, and fuckin' hot, an' she blew me better than…than anybody. She's gotta come back an'…an' do that thing with her tongue again…"
This wasn't Axel at his best. Roxas knew that. And his relationship hadn't been defined by oral sex. Roxas knew that too. Axel was just drunk. That was obvious. But in that moment, it pissed Roxas off to no end that Axel had been planning to marry this woman, and now the one thing that stood out enough to be missed was the way she blew him. Either that, or Roxas was just pissed because she'd gotten to do that for him, be with him…taste…him…
Jealousy. Jealousy and desire and a bitter, futile anger boiling up, raging at the universe that took the one thing in life that he had ever truly wanted and gave him to some woman who'd thrown him away for God-knew-what-reason. It made Roxas want to cry. It made him want to scream. And the hunger, the alcohol-muddled-and-intensified need in his gut made him think, Who says she was so fucking good? I could do a lot better…you'd see…
Senses sharpening and instincts taking over rationality, Roxas studied Axel's face. Miserable. Very drunk. Close to passing out. There's no way he'll remember any of this in the morning. He probably won't even remember how we got here. He'll forget…so it doesn't matter…
Smoldering blue eyes examined Axel's boxers for a long moment.
When Roxas' hands moved, they moved with an impulsive suddenness that completely hid any trace of nervousness or uncertainty. Quickly and smoothly, they pushed up the hem of the beater, revealing a slender, toned stomach and a trail of fine red hairs that made Roxas gulp. The next moment – before he could come to his senses – his hands moved down again, slipping over Axel's hips and skillfully removing the redhead's boxers.
His traitorous hands didn't stop there, either. They followed the downward path those devouring blue eyes took, drinking in the sight Roxas had dreamed of – dreams that he hated, but never wanted to end. Dreams that were real now, real. He was touching Axel, not hearing the confused, "Hnn?" as the redhead began to attempt to regain focus. Ignoring everything else, Roxas leaned down, his hand slipping under Axel's member to lift the soft flesh to his lips, to kiss…and then to caress in a long, slow lick, trailing toward the base.
He didn't see Axel's head fall back and green eyes slip closed, but he heard the confused and pleasured groan, and he felt the response in his hand as well. Whatever sense he'd still clung to in some back corner of his mind was evaporated now, Roxas riding on waves of drunken lust and long-ignored heartbreak, losing control and forgetting everything other than Axel's, Axel's…it's his cock, his, I want…want…want…
Mind blank, Roxas opened his lips against the head, slipping them forward over the shaft until he had Axel fully in his mouth. He suckled gently at first, tasting the warm, slightly-salty flesh, moving slowly and not daring to look up. He won't remember anyway, don't look, don't look… He concentrated on the sounds of heavy breathing, the occasional grunt…the feeling of Axel growing aroused, quickly getting harder, thicker, and longer as Roxas bobbed his head a little faster. Soon Axel was fully hard, and Roxas was working his tongue expertly around his friend's arousal. He drew back to thrust his tongue into Axel's slit, and was rewarded with a jerk of the man's hips and a low moan. Glancing up involuntarily, Roxas could see the redhead lying back, eyes nearly shut, his whole posture surrendered to pleasure. Sighing with relief and desperate yearning, Roxas moved around his friend's erection, nibbling gently, kissing with open lips and sucking pressure, licking and massaging the man's sac, and sliding his hands up and down, stroking fast. Axel had been average while flaccid…and Roxas hadn't known he was a "grower." But now…now he was much bigger. Impressive, really. It explained a few things – that cocky attitude he'd had in college, for one. He'd grown up a little since then, but Axel was still prone to a self-assured smirk now and then, especially when the topic of sex came up. Roxas understood one possible reason why, now. And as he took Axel into his mouth again, moving his head and hands fast together, he let his mind run wild with the thought of this cock inside him, stretching him open, pounding into his ass, deep, deeper…
A trembling hand clutched the back of his head, and Roxas glanced up, nervous. But Axel still wasn't looking, he was just grabbing and groaning more and pulling, trying to drive Roxas down as his hips lifted into his mouth, thrusting erratically. Opening his throat, Roxas let Axel force himself deeper, all the way. He maintained control though, pinning Axel's hips with his free hand, holding him there and allowing himself time to swallow repeatedly around the weeping head of his erection. He could taste Axel's flavor on his tongue now, salty and warm, and all Roxas wanted to think about was that taste, or maybe the feeling of Axel's precome making things slick as Roxas continued to fantasize about his friend fucking him…oozing inside him until he came, pulsing and shooting this hot fluid into Roxas, filling him, satisfying him so deeply. Fuck…Axel…Axel!
Roxas groaned, thrusting hard and fast now, pressing with his tongue as much as he could. Axel's fingers gripped tightly, fisting in his hair painfully, but Roxas didn't care. He let go with his hands and gave in to Axel's lead, letting the redhead pound up into his mouth. His own groin was throbbing in agony by now, and Roxas needed to get relief. His hands attacked his pants, freeing his erection and grabbing tight, jerking himself off fast.
He was sucking hard when he felt it start, and Roxas didn't back off. Yes…yes, come, please…I want it… He groaned hard, hearing Axel grunt as he released, hot come shooting into Roxas' mouth in pulsing spurts as Axel moaned and came and came and came. Roxas couldn't see – his eyes were open but everything was a blur – but he could taste and feel and hear, and he swallowed again and again, drinking Axel's release without hesitation. It was a gift…the only chance he'd ever have. And it was Axel. He wanted everything; he didn't care.
Axel collapsed with a sigh, and Roxas, not yet finished, attacked the softening flesh, licking every inch and cleaning every trace away, still pulling on his own erection frantically. At the end, he turned his face, burying it in Axel's thigh, gasping and panting helplessly against sweaty skin, curling in on himself and coming, coming into his hands with a bitten back whimper…and then a final sigh, "Axel…"
Warmth pulled away, and Roxas opened his eyes, mind waking up slightly. Axel was curling onto his side, sighing and drifting off to sleep. Blue eyes went wide, a shudder running down Roxas' spine. With a deep, slow breath, the blond stood. An unnatural calm had come over him – Roxas, after all, had never been one to panic. In a crisis, he was the one who acted quickly, even coldly with emotional detachment.
Now, blue eyes raced over his friend, taking in Axel's condition. Reacting quickly, Roxas grabbed for his tissues and swiped his hands clean. Then, he reached down and slipped Axel's boxers back up. The redhead was clean, after all – Roxas was fairly sure there would be no conclusive evidence by morning. He would need to be clothed, though. And, rather than risk waking the sleeping man by struggling with the blankets, Roxas stepped swiftly out of the room, grabbing an extra blanket from the hall closet and bringing it back to tuck Axel in. The dirty tissues were thrown out in the bathroom trash, and Roxas checked the area to make sure he hadn't…left any mess. Reassured, he was about to leave Axel to sleep…but paused a moment. Just one moment…just long enough for the yearning to come back, gnawing at him with the thought that everything was going back to the usual, everyday quiet misery now. And there was guilt starting up too…but not enough to stop him from taking advantage one more time.
Roxas leaned down, his face beginning to show his misery, and brushed a slow kiss over Axel's temple. Then, he turned out the lights and left his best friend to sleep, making his way to his living room couch. Flopping down, Roxas curled up, burying his head in his arms as guilt flooded him completely, constricting his throat and bringing hot tears to his eyes. And, still somewhat drunk, all the blond could really do about it was muffle his sobs in an attempt to remain quiet, as the emotional exhaustion of what had to be the longest day of his life finally overwhelmed him.
A crash from somewhere in another room woke Axel with a start, green eyes snapping open in blank surprise for one moment of confusion before the hangover hit and he promptly stopped caring about anything else. His head felt like it was splitting open and he felt lightheaded and didn't want to move an inch. But then Axel felt his stomach heave and his gut twist threateningly, and he lurched up from the bed and bolted for the door, his only thought a desperate hope that he was somewhere within range of a bathroom.
Fortunately, he recognized Roxas' apartment almost at once, and quickly turned in the direction of the bathroom, catching a glimpse of the blond himself over in the kitchen. In that flash, Roxas glanced up at him, looking startled. But Axel didn't stop – moving was making his body revolt even more furiously.
Oh fuck…I musta been drinking vodka… Axel was forced to make use of the toilet and a bucket at the same time, and for about 20 minutes, life was quite simply hell on earth for the redhead.
After countless prayers to God promising that he'd never touch alcohol again, never, not as long as he lived if only it would stop right now, Axel finally began to be able to breathe normally again…and think a little, even though his head was still killing him. And the first thing that came to his mind was the way Roxas had looked in the kitchen. Not even so much startled as…terrified. Deer in the headlights. Why on earth…? Did I scare him?
Reaching a long arm out weakly for the sink – lucky again that Roxas' bathroom was small and he could reach the tap and a glass – Axel slowly sipped some water and sat waiting for the second wave of agony. He wished it wouldn't come, but if he'd really been drinking vodka…it was a miserable likelihood.
How did we get here anyway? Roxas must have brought me back… Axel was fumbling in the drawer under the sink, looking for some painkillers to ease his throbbing headache. He found something that looked strong enough and took three. Then he leaned as far away from the bucket as possible – the smell wasn't helping his headache or his stomach.
He was just beginning to remember what had happened yesterday when the second wave hit. The timing was beautiful – he was washed in a wave of physical and emotional agony at virtually the same moment. When the nausea finally began to clear again – after only five minutes this time – Axel was listlessly wiping tears from his cheeks.
His mind chose that moment to flash a very sudden, clear, and inexplicable picture at him.
Blond hair and flushed cheeks and hazy, unseeing blue eyes and pale lips…wrapped snugly around his cock.
Axel froze. Staring in shock past a nonexistent spot on the wall in front of him, he felt like his cold, clammy forehead had just been nailed by a napalm bomb – in short, he blushed brighter than a virgin schoolgirl. Holy fuck holy fuck holy fuck what the fucking fuck is that? It was his imagination, right? It wasn't…a memory…no way. No fucking way. He'd imagined it. Yes. But why the fucking hell would I imagine…imagine…that?Axel shuddered and tentatively tried to remember.
Roxas' tongue played over his shaft, stroking fast as he thrust in and out and in again, fast, hard, the pleasure so sinful, so incredibly good, the vibrations as Roxas' voice reached him making him quiver and then come and come…
No. What the fuck? There was some mistake, there had to be. First of all, no way. Second of all, no fucking way. And finally, why the fuck would Roxas – a confirmed guy last time Axel checked – be so fucking good at sucking his cock? It didn't make sense. Maybe there'd been a girl…maybe Axel had gotten a blow job from some chick while he was drunk, and his mind was putting Roxas in her place, for some insane reason. Or maybe it was all just a memory of some fucked-up dream. Blame it on the vodka. Yeah. That stuff did bad, bad things to Axel.
He'd half convinced himself already, and then the third wave of sickness hit. It didn't last long, and when it was over Axel was pretty sure he could try to clean himself up now, but… It's too clear. If it was some girl, why do I remember Roxas so clearly? And if it was a dream…same thing. The problem was in the details. Everything before and after was more or less blank, and even in this shocking memory there were holes. But the parts that Axel could recall – the snippets that filtered into his mind – were just too full of unmistakable details. Details his brain shouldn't have been able to invent, because he knew he'd never seen Roxas wear expressions even close to that before…and on that note, he'd never been blown like that before. So where the hell had his brain gotten the material for these details and this dream? Maybe from some old porno? It was Axel's best guess, and he felt far from convinced by it.
Unfortunately, he didn't even think to check for physical evidence of any sexual activity…until halfway through his shower. Axel hadn't even bothered to call out the door to Roxas that he was taking one. Roxas wouldn't mind, and he felt like shit and could think of little else but the lingering nausea, the splitting headache, and his mind-fucking, not a real memory. When he realized he should have checked for dried come and it was now too late and he had no idea if there had been any, Axel jumped and cussed at himself…and almost slipped and fell.
Feeling cleaner but just as confused, Axel composed himself and left the bathroom at last, shuffling back down the hall, wrapped in a towel. Trying to sound casual, he called toward the kitchen, "Roxas, do you still have any of my clothes around here?"
Roxas poked his head out of the bedroom door, two feet away. "Yeah…" He began loudly.
"Ack!" Axel jumped, startled to find Roxas where he hadn't expected him. Roxas looked surprised too, as he lowered his voice to a conversational level…and Axel grabbed frantically at his towel to keep it on.
"…Oh, there you are, sorry. Yeah I was just looking for them, hang on." Roxas vanished into the room again, and Axel found himself taking a deep breath to calm his jitters before following him. He had to shut off his brain somehow. He kept seeing Roxas' face in his non-memory, and it was…making it hard to act natural.
Roxas was facing away from him when he stepped into the room. The blond was kneeling and digging through a drawer, so Axel shuffled back over to the bed, eyeing it suspiciously but seeing nothing amiss – Roxas had already made it. Axel sat. Scratching at his wet hair, he mumbled, "Sorry for the bother…I hope I wasn't too much of a pain in the ass. How did we get back here, anyway?"
There was a pause before the answer came, and Axel turned to glance at Roxas, wondering if he should have spoken louder, only to see that the blond had gone still. Or maybe he hadn't, because almost as soon as Axel looked at him he was moving again, standing up and bringing some old clothes of Axel's over, speaking and moving briskly. "Nope, it was fine, we took a taxi, here I found these and breakfast is almost ready so hurry up and get dressed, I'll be in the kitchen." Before Axel could blink, Roxas was gone.
"Huh." The redhead tugged at a few tangles in his drying spikes and started to put on the old jeans and shirt. Is he acting kinda weird…or is he just in a rush? If he's acting weird, maybe that's because…no. Even if he is, there's tons of other possible reasons. Maybe I was an ass at the bar… Knowing himself – especially himself on alcohol – that wasn't at all unlikely. Or maybe I said some shit that upset him. Again, entirely possible when Axel and vodka got together. Anyway, maybe it's not about me at all. Fucking grow up already, Ax. He might be bothered by work or something completely unrelated to me, geez.
After this good solid self-reprimand, Axel finally managed to finish dressing, get up, and shuffle to the kitchen…slowly. He still felt like shit. Probably would for most of the day.
Blue eyes looked up. "Hey Ax. I made eggs, if you think you can eat them, or there's pancakes or cereal. And coffee, if you want. You should try to eat something…"
Stomach revolting at the thought of each mentioned food, Axel hesitated. There didn't seem to be any trace of weirdness now… Maybe it was my imagination. Yeah. Roxas was normal. That meant everything was fine – except that he was probably dying, but that was a hangover for you – and nothing weird had happened and Axel's brain was just more fucked up than he'd realized.
"Uh…" He swallowed. "Maybe I can try some cereal…I don't know if I can keep much down right now though…" Fortunately, Roxas understood. Axel made an attempt at a bowl of bran flakes and some barely-sweetened black coffee, but everything tasted sickeningly of fermentation. In the end, he had to stick to water. Maybe later that afternoon food would start to become edible again.
"So uh, Ax…" Roxas pushed some egg and toast with his fork before continuing. "Your mom called. I told her you were OK. She wants you to meet them back at their hotel…" Oh. Axel froze inwardly. That's right…the wedding. He could not believe himself. He'd been left standing at the altar yesterday. His marriage was cancelled. His fiancée was missing. His life was shit. And had he even thought about any of it since waking up? Hardly. He'd…forgotten.
"…apparently, Tifa called."
What? Wide green eyes shot up in disbelief. "Tifa? She called? What did she say? Where is she? Is she at home?"
Blue eyes…weren't looking at him. But Axel didn't notice. "Your mom said you could call her before we head over…"
Without a word, Axel was up and reaching for Roxas' house phone. He didn't have time to look for his cell… "Shit! Uh, Roxas, what's my mom's cell number? All I know is speed dial seven…"
As he glanced in a panic toward his best friend, some small part of Axel's mind noted that Roxas had his back turned again. How…odd. Has he always done that? But Roxas had stopped leafing through an address book and was reading off a number, and Axel turned to punch the keys and forgot about everything else but the dial tone as he waited for his mom to pick up.