I do not own KINGDOM HEARTS or any related characters in this short story.

KINGDOM HEARTS and all related terms and characters are © 2001 SQUARE ENIX and Disney.

Axel's Farewell

"You've finally woken up?" asked Axel suddenly.

Roxas, who had been sitting head-down on the clock tower, gasped and looked up at his friend. He felt some guilt in abandoning him before, seeing the concerened look on Axel's face as he stood sternly beside him, gazing at the endless sun.

"Axel..." said Roxas weakly. He did not get a reply, as Axel just stood there, gazing at the sun he and Roxas and... well, he and Roxas had seen so many times before. It felt like those days were so long ago... Yet they both knew that it wasn't yet a distant memory.

Staring at the sun, it felt like there was another person beside Roxas, looking longingly at Axel. A person that had brought them together... and had broken them apart. Her...

"Nope," said Axel, thinking back to the situation at hand, "Maybe you're going to sleep. Soon I won't even be able to talk to your conciuosness like this."

Roxas looked back down, hanging his head again. He realized that Axel was fading, like several others the two had known before. He felt a strange water in his eyes, but held it back.

"I..." he stammered. "I'm going back to how I was."

"I've thought about it a lot" declared Axel, sitting down beside the former-No. XIII. "Naminé said the same thing."

Their was a short silence, quickly broken again by Axel.

"Roxas..." said Axel as Roxas turned to face him, "Are you really sure... That you don't have a heart? Naminé and I... Do you think we have hearts, too?"

Roxas looked away, thinking deeply. For some reason, Axel's question was harder to answer than he had thought. "I dunno... I can't..." he shook his head, "Just look inside."

Axel hung his head as well. "Well, I guess not..."

"But if there is something in there" said Roxas, "Inside us... Then we'd feel it, wouldn't we? If we do, then..." He shook his head again. "Nah, never mind."

Axel looked at Roxas, puzzled. "Hm? What were you going to say?"

Roxas gave a small smile, still looking out at the glorious sunset. "Well, no matter what happens, I'm sure Sora will find the answer. Because he is me."

Axel smiled, chuckling a bit. "True enough." He took out two sea salt ice creams he had been hiding in his right hand, and handed one to Roxas, who gasped.

As the two both took their first tastes, they were reminded of the innumerous ice creams they had talked and laughed over before. Nostalgia struck Roxas and Axel, reviving many memories of past clock tower conversations, especially one in particular.

"This really takes me back" said Axel. "Don't cha remember? The day we met, when you first got your new name. You and I sat here just like this, and watched the sunset."

A bad feeling was welling up in Roxas for some reason, and the water in his eyes returned, barely able to be contained.

"Yeah, this is where I came from" said the younger friend. "Everyone... Hayner, Pence, Olette... I hope they're okay." He paused for a moment. "And... that other girl... I hope she's fine now, too."

"'Other girl'? You mean Naminé?"

"No... It was someone else... She and I and you..."

"Hm..." There was something about what Roxas had said that triggered a distant, if not very vague memory, of another girl they had both known."Well, anyways, about Hayner and the gang. You should go and see them again, to find your answer."

Roxas thought for a moment. "Yeah... Those three... They're friends like us, right?"

"Right" answered Axel. "We're best friends... Even if we're apart."

Roxas nodded slowly. "But..." he said longingly, "I have to go now. Sora's waiting for me."

Axel looked down at the town below, an agitated look on his face. "Yeah, I guess he is." He looked away from Roxas. "Whoa, this ice cream really is salty!" He tried to say it in a cheerful way, but it came out in a troubled voice.

For a moment, they both sat silently beside each other, eating their ice cream and staring at the familiar orange sunset.

A white light suddenly began enveloping the two. Roxas turned to face Axel, smiling. "See you, Axel."

Axel looked back at Roxas, smiling, but somber was in his green eyes. "See ya... partner."

The light enveloped the two best friends, a tear falling and hitting the stone of the clock tower.