Disclaimer: I do not own the characters in this story. At all.

Warning: Shounen-ai, homosexual relationships, etc, etc.

Author's Note: Axel and Roxas deserve a one-shot based on their relationship.
This story asks the question: what, exactly, is love?
And Axel will gladly give you his thoughts on the matter.

I Guess That's Love


By: Freekiwi

I met Roxas like this: he was long boarding down the sidewalk when our eyes met. It was probably only a split second contact, but it felt like an eternity. It felt like days, weeks, years – like having your cake and eating it too. It felt like everything I've ever wanted and suddenly, our contact broke. The culprit? A large stick that caught his front wheels and sent him head first into the pavement.

Now, normally, I would've laughed. But the boy in question was beautiful. The boy in question made me feel weird in ways that I probably wouldn't have understood when I was 12. The boy in question was Roxas McMaster and I wanted him to be the master of my everything. That boy was built to take all my money and he was sassy enough to waste my time.

Needless to say, I loved Roxas from the first moment I saw him.

"Oh my God! Are you okay?"

Yea – you WISH it was me that was running up to him saying that, but it's not. It's some chick and her gaggle of cronies that faithfully follow her around. It's some chick that's pretty enough to be prom queen and have Roxas wrapped around her arm as king. Now I don't know much about Roxas and he could be straight, but you want to know a little secret? Straight boys will jump my bones. I'm not saying they become gay, I'm saying I just transcend the whole labeling thing and make boys feel good.

I guess that's love.
Or maybe just lust.

"Does it hurt?" she's hunched over him like she's some kind of doctor and she's examining his knees. They're pretty scraped up and so is his face. There's a large scrape along his chin and he caught part of his cheek on the pavement. I'm willing to bet he has a little road rash. His hands are probably scraped in that odd way that only skateboarders and longboarders and roller skaters are able to do. That 'oh shit, I'm falling and I'm going to slide on the pavement' scrape that leaves the palms of their hands burning for hours.

"I'm okay…" Roxas frowns and he stands up, wincing slightly. His longboard has gone off into the grass in the school yard and I walk over to it and pick it up. See? Ice breaker. I mean, sure, I'd much rather use the old 'how much does a polar bear weigh? Enough to break the ice' line, but what the hell? Returning his longboard works just as well.

I walk over to him and the fretting brunette who I realize now is Naminé from my fourth period history class. She's quiet, but I hear things. Like, you know… She seems real nice, but then she manipulates people into doing what she wants. Like, you know… She lets her cronies do the work for her. She's the puppet master. She works people the way she wants. Too bad she's gonna end up a nobody in life. Metaphorically and literally.

"Is this your board?" I hold it out for him and I start to feel really good about myself because I see his eyes looking me up and down. Nothing builds self-esteem like having a younger boy check you out, right? But then he gets this repugnant look on his face like I've shit in his shoes and he's now just realizing that I'm the culprit. He looks at me like I don't deserve air and when we lock eyes, I expect him to spit on me.

"Yea. Great detective work, Holmes. Maybe later you can solve the mystery of what made me crash," he rolls his eyes and Naminé and her gaggle of friends all laugh like it's the funniest shit they've ever heard.

Now, normally, I would've said something like "maybe later we can solve the mystery of where your prostate is" or even "maybe later you can solve the mystery of how to remove a longboard from your asshole" but I don't. Bitchy comments won't make Roxas mine. I would love to knock that smug look off his handsome features, but tearing him down isn't going to win his heart. It's just going to make him knee me in the goods and take off.

So I don't say anything and I bite my tongue momentarily because I don't want Roxas to hate me.

But I'm Axel and I can be dumb, so I carelessly throw him his long board and when he catches it, he makes a hissing sound because his scraped hands have just collided and rubbed against the grip tape of his board. He gives me a dirty look and I smirk at him and I want to wink – I really wanna wink at him – but I don't.

Instead I say, "Perhaps you should learn to board before you try to show off at school."

And the chase begins.

It takes me a few days to realize that Roxas is in my Latin class. I know, I know – you're thinking 'you love him and you didn't notice he was in your Latin class' and I already punished myself for it. But in my defense, my Latin class is at least twenty-three people. So… That's a lot of people. And I sit at the front because it's fun to make eyes with Mr. Leonhart.

Not that I expect anything of him.
It's just fun to watch him stumble sometimes.

Try winking and smirking at a teacher some time. Err – and if you're a girl, don't do it to the creepy old ones. God forbid someone take you seriously.

But I notice Roxas is in my Latin class and I sit down next to him one day. I think we'll talk, introduce ourselves, maybe have lunch together and build a friendship that can be slowly built into senseless shagging at my place after school. And then we can work on the whole love aspect. I think Roxas will adore me when he realizes I don't talk much during sex and I'm easy to shut up with kisses. Easy to please too. I'm quite content with a hand job at the dinner table during my birthday celebration. Happy birthday to me and everyone across from me.

"Hi," I'm so cool.

"Uh, hi?" this time he looks indignant, but he doesn't look at me. He's staring hard at a piece of paper, but I know that indignant look and that indignant tone is completely just for me. Those furrowed brows and those parted lips that draw his face up into a snarl are just for me.

"I'm Axel," I don't tell him I know his name. I only know it because I flipped through a year book and found his photo. I also found his grade – he's a sophomore now – and he was an awkward little fuck when he was a freshman. Braces, pocket protector, some thick, black-framed glasses, and slightly overweight OR he was just short.

Well – probably over weight. He's got baby fat in his cheeks.

God, he's gorgeous.

"I don't care, okay?" he growls.

I've never been more attracted to someone in my life.

I guess that's love.

"Well," I smirk and lean back in my chair. My back pack is on the ground and my Latin book is on my desk, "it's nice to meet you 'I don't care, okay.' That's an odd name. Is it a family name or is it –"

Roxas stands up, throws his things into his bag, and moves to the other side of the room.


The next day is a pretty normal school day. Roxas does his absolute best to avoid me and even though we have class together, I can never get him alone so we can talk. He travels in a pack of people. It's usually him and a group of girls and then usually Hayner and Pence following at his heels. I wouldn't call them cronies, but only because I don't think Roxas has the leadership skills to direct cronies.

It isn't until lunch time that something mildly interesting happens.

"I just don't get it," I'm lying outside in the courtyard on the grass, "why doesn't he like me? And I don't even mean attracted to me. I mean just like me."

Riku's sitting with one leg stretched out and the other drawn up close to his chest, "maybe you're trying too hard…" he mumbles. "Maybe Roxas is put-off by you. You're going to find this really hard to believe Axel, but some people find you very annoying."

I sit up and pretend to be surprised, "me?" I tease, "annoying?" I offer a small smile to Riku and he only shakes his head. He's got that look in his eyes… That glazed over, zombie expression he often gets when he's looking at Sora. I'll tell you a little secret, Sora and Riku have had it for each other since the seventh grade. Don't they know a game of chase gets old after a while?

The chase eventually has to upgrade to mindless f-wording. But I guess that's love.

I lie back down on the grass and put my hands behind my head. It's nearing the end of October and the weather is getting cooler and soon there will be heaps of snow on the ground. I personally love the holiday season because, for whatever reason, people act in ways they normally wouldn't. People spend ungodly amounts of money on each other for no reason. People decide Christmas time is the time to reveal their feelings. People hang up mistletoe and people who would never normally interact will kiss under it because it's "tradition." People will get totally smashed and have dirty sex they don't remember the next day.

'Tis the season, I guess.

"He's so stupid."

I sit up because I know that voice and I know it belongs to Roxas. And then that thing happens. You know – where your stomach drops into your butt because even though you have no way to prove someone is talking about you, you know they are? Even though they're not even looking at you and even though they never mention anything distinguishable about you, you have that sixth sense to know you're being talked about.

I crane my neck and look around for him and then I see him sitting on a picnic table with his gaggle of people. Most of his friends are standing around him and Naminé sits right next to him. She leans in close the way girls do when they flirt. She bats her eyelashes the way girls do when they flirt. She laughs an unnecessary amount at things that are, at best, mildly funny, and she bends low to reveal the slightest bit of cleavage.

I guess that's love, too.

Too bad Roxas is too dense to read the signals she's sending. My guess is she'd have to dominate him to get what she wanted. I don't think she's man enough for the job.

I'll tell you a little secret – Roxas needs to be tamed like a wild horse. He needs a hand between his shoulder blades to shove him down against the bed sheets and he needs his hair pulled. He's resilient.

And so goddamn irresistible.

He's rough around the edges, but that's okay. I've cracked harder cases.

"He's talking about you," Riku is craning his neck too and we can both hear Roxas. He throws a few choice words out like "incompetent," "rude," "annoying," and "asshole" and when he pauses for a breath, Riku smirks and says "yea… Yea, he's DEFINITELY talking about you."

Too bad I can't argue.
Those are pretty apt words to describe me.

"Uh-huh…" my eyes narrow and I stand up, "I'll be back."

A smile replaces the smirk on Riku's face and he calls after, "don't hit him! Save it for five years down the road!"

Hit him? Please.
I wouldn't strike him even though he deserves it.

I guess that's love.

"Hey, Roxy," I walk up to the picnic table and part the sea of sophomores and freshmen. I step up onto the picnic table and I squeeze myself in-between Naminé and Roxas and I'm not sure who looks more offended.

Uh, hi?" he says in the same exact indignant tone he used yesterday.

I slink my arm around his shoulders and he immediately knocks it off, "can I help you with something?" Roxas looks murderous but it's like when a puppy growls at you. You know you shouldn't 'aww' at it, but it's just so damn cute. You know the worst that'll happen is he might chomp your fingers with his gumline.

"Yea, actually…" I slink my arm around him again, "I would love for you to explain why you dislike me so much."

Hayner and Pence and a few of the girls gather their bags and walk off from the picnic table. I don't blame them – I mean, I'm not going to hit Roxas. But they're a bunch of fourteen to sixteen year old kids and I'm a scary upperclassman who heard shit-talking. Hell, I'd run too if I saw me coming.

"I…" Roxas's cheeks are a little pink, "I wasn't talking –"

"About me?" I lean in close to him, so close our noses almost touch and Roxas looks more scared than anything, "well, Roxy –"

"Roxas," he corrects.

"Roxy," I reply coldly, "I'm just really curious as to why you detest me."

He doesn't say anything and our eyes are locked and neither of us is looking away. It feels like minutes pass, but then our contact is broken as Naminé gathers her bag and says something along the lines of "I'll see you later, Roxas." The rest of his group has already taken off and they're replaced by a group of onlookers who are ready to witness a fight.

I guess I have a reputation for fighting.
Wait – no I don't.
I guess Roxas has a reputation for fighting.

"What's your problem?" Roxas shoves me away from him and shrugs my arm off his shoulders. We're sitting so close our knees touch, but he doesn't try to move away, "seriously – what is your deal?"

"My deal?" my brows knit in the center of my forehead, "I'm trying to be your friend."

"I don't want you to be my friend. You're weird!" he snaps as he gets off the picnic table and gathers his backpack, "Just leave me alone, Axel. I don't want your crappy friendship."

To be honest, I'm surprised Roxas acts so hateful when he doesn't even know me. I'm surprised that he doesn't give a damn if we're friends and I'm irked that he doesn't even appear to be that afraid of me. It's like he knows I'm not the lion in the cage. It's like he knows I'm not the shark in the fish tank. And it's weird. I've given no sign that I'm harmless and yet he treats me like I'm just some guy.

"Yea, well…" I hop off the picnic table and I yell at his retreating form, "How do you know my friendship is crappy?"

Wouldn't we have to be friends first?

"It just doesn't make sense…" I'm walking home with Riku from the sea salt ice cream stand that's only a block or two from the school, "what's there to not like?" I bite into the ice cream and I see a cyclist approaching toward us. Mindlessly, I grab a stick and as she comes by I shove it into the spokes of her front wheel. She falls head first into the pavement and I yell "learn to ride a bike" over my shoulder.

Riku shrugs his shoulders, "I don't know, Axel… Maybe you just rub him the wrong way. It's possible that he just doesn't like you… Maybe he doesn't even have a reason."

"Well, he should really get to know me first…" I lick at my ice cream and I stick my foot out as a longboarder comes down the sidewalk. His wheels catch my foot and he falls face first onto the ground.

Riku doesn't bat an eye, but only mumbles "learn to ride a board, kid."

"I'm just saying," I lick at the bottom of my ice cream because it's melting all over my hand, "he should get to know me before judging me. I'm not a bad person. I'm just… a little overbearing."

"A little?" Riku reaches up and pulls a thick branch from a tree. He throws it behind us and we both smile in satisfaction as we hear a roller skater clunk to the ground. Who the hell roller skates anymore?

"Yea. Just a little. And I'm only overbearing when it matters. Like in bed. So it's not even a real flaw. Other than that," I glance over my shoulder and see a few members of the track team jogging down the sidewalk toward Riku and myself. I pass him a look and we stick our feet out, causing the first kid to trip and fall and then two more fall right on top of him. They really shouldn't be so on top of each other. It's dangerous.

"Other than that," I repeat, licking at my ice cream and ignoring the swearing coming our way, "I'm a perfectly nice person. People should really get the fuck off the sidewalk, by the way. Don't they know it's for walking only?"

Riku nods and takes a bite from his ice cream.

It's Friday night and Roxas has managed to escape my radar all week at school. I've never met someone so good at avoiding people. I've never met someone so rigid and unwilling to even give me a chance, either. Hell – kids I bullied last year want to be friends with me. Boys I've slept with and never called still want to be my friend. But Roxas? I think Hell has to freeze over and pigs will have to fly out of his butt before he even considers a friendship with me.

I feel lonely and I phone Riku to meet me at the elementary school playground, but he won't because he's busy with Sora. Something about a date and blahblahblah everyone has a better love life than me. So I go by myself and it's actually chilly so I put on my coat and a scarf and some mittens and I head to the park so I can sit there and feel badly for myself for a while before I go home. It's okay to wallow sometimes. Sometimes you have to wallow just to get it out of your system.

I'm lying on top of the monkey bars – bars I'm much too tall for – and looking up at the moon and stars. It's a really, really clear night and there's kind of a chill wind that's making my nose red. Halloween is in a week and even though I'm trying really, really hard not to think about Roxas, I start thinking about him. I start thinking about what he might be doing for Halloween and I toy with the idea of asking him to do something with me.

But then I think of how shitty I'll feel when he turns me down.
Because he will. Because he's a fucking tool.

And I guess that's love.

I blow a sigh out through my mouth and it must be colder than I thought because my breath comes out in a little puff. I do it again for shits and giggles. I do it again because it makes me feel a little less lonely.

"What are you doing?"

The voice catches me off guard and I sit up and look over the monkey bars to see a very grumpy looking blond boy under them. He's holding a cigarette in his bare hands and he's got only a thin jacket on. I imagine he must be cold, but I don't say anything. Roxas has made it clear he detests me. Which sucks because I really do love him.

"Practicing for the Olympics. What are you doing?"

"Killing myself," he holds up the cigarette, "I know you like your boys young, but isn't prowling around an elementary school kind of sick?"

I arch a brow because it sounds like we're having an actual conversation.

"Depends on what you're in to," I tease, "in my opinion," I hop down from the monkey bars and walk over to Roxas, "if they're crawling, they're already in the right position."

"Oh my God, you're sick," but he's smiling as he says it and it makes my chest feel warm, "let's go over to the swings…"

I nod and I'm momentarily stunned when Roxas slips his hand into mine and pulls me over to the other side of the playground toward the swings. He lets go of my hand and stomps out his cigarette before sitting on one of the swings and gripping his hands around the cold metal. His nose is red from the cold and his cheeks are a little colored, too.

"You must be freezing," I walk over to him and I remove my gloves, "here."

"No, it's okay," Roxas looks away from me, but doesn't protest when I slide the gloves onto his cold fingers. We're silent for what feels like hours, but then he mumbles, "what about your hands?"

"I'll live," I remove my scarf and he doesn't protest when I wrap it around his neck and tuck it into the front of his jacket. "You want me to push you?"

Roxas nods and he sits up a little straighter and he grips the metal a little tighter. I step behind him and I grip toward the bottom of the swing and pull it back before letting it go. As Roxas swings toward me, my hands connect with his back and I push him forward.

"Hey, not too high…" he tells me over his shoulder.

"Why? Is the little baby scared of heights?" I tease.

"I'll kick you, Axel. I'm serious."

I bet he is.

I bet Roxas was that kid on the playground who didn't give idle threats. I bet he was that kid on the playground who was often in trouble and often very unsorry for his wrong doings because 'well, I told him I was gonna do it!'

"Oh, so, the little baby is afraid of heights. Very interesting…" I put more effort into my pushes and Roxas gasps in a bit of fear as he goes higher. I push him once or twice more and then he digs his heels into the ground and I know I'm in for it, but I'm delighted. I'm confused by his sudden niceness, but delighted none the less. Don't argue with fate. Just let shit happen.

By the way – thanks, fate.

I guess you realize that this is love.

"I'm going to stomp your ass in, Axel!" Roxas hops off the swing and I'm grinning ear-to-ear as he chases me all the way back to the monkey bars. I quickly climb the little ladder and I climb on top of the monkey bars and at this point, I'm laughing so hard that I have to sit and then Roxas is crawling on top of me and I'm lying under him and it's so… weird. But it's nice.

I stop laughing because I realize our position. It's hard to laugh when the love of your life is straddling your hips and pinning your shoulders down.

"You look nice in my scarf," I'm only half-teasing. I'm only trying to break the awkwardness of the situation. A situation that he's created, thank you very much.

"Shut up…" Roxas looks a little defeated and I open my mouth to say more, but he lies on top of me and buries his face against my neck and I wrap my arms around him. It's cold out, but he's warm. He's gorgeous and he's everything I have ever wanted.

And I'm too much of a dumb shit to question why he is the way he is.

"Am I still the weird one?" I talk softly because I'm scared of saying the wrong thing, but Roxas just nods and then I feel the strangest thing. I feel him kiss my neck and I'm not even sure it happens, but then he lifts his head up and he's blushing.

"That was… nice…" I look away from his pretty blue eyes and then I feel him retreating from my arms and I feel instantly sad. I imagine I feel somewhat like Harry Potter did when he first came into contact with the Dementors. Just saying.

"I have to go," he crawls out of my arms and I grip his shoulder before he hops off the monkey bars.

"Don't go," I say and I know I sound pathetic, "I like it when you're like this…"

Roxas blushes hard and he looks away from me, "Axel…"

"What?" my brows knit together again.

"Just stay away from me, okay?" our eyes meet, green into blue, and then he's crushing his lips to mine in a really sloppy, really rough kiss. It's warm and I notice that his lips are soft and that he's unpracticed. The kiss is nice – chaste and nice and it's over before it really even starts.

And then he stares at me like I did something wrong. Like I seduced him or put him under a spell. He looks at me like I'm scum and like I'm dirt – the perpetrator who shit in his shoes – and then before I can compose myself, he's gone.

Just like that, Roxas is gone.

And I guess that's love.

"What kind of person mind fucks someone like that?" Riku uncaps his 2% milk and sips at it. He's sitting on my couch in my living room. He's got a hickey on his neck and little bite marks along his collar bone. I don't need to ask about his date with Sora to know how it went. I don't need to ask if maybe Kairi knows about it. I don't need to ask because all the evidence is on Riku's pale body.

"I know!" I say indignantly, "what a jerk! This is WAY worse than anything I've ever done!"

Riku gives me a look, "Uhh… didn't you promise Demyx you'd be with him forever if he let you take his virginity?"

I think about this for a moment, "okay, fine. But this is still pretty fucked up, Riku."

Riku is still giving me a look, "you only stayed with Demyx for four days after you had sex with him."

I think about this for a moment, "okay, fine. But this is STILL pretty not okay, Riku."

Riku is still giving me the same look, "So your definition for 'forever' is four days AFTER you sleep with someone?"

"It's not my fault he's irritating! And that was like ten decades ago!" I argue.

Riku rolls his eyes, "you mean last year? Yea. Time flies…" he mutters sarcastically as he sips his milk. I look at him through narrow eyes and then I sigh because I feel absolutely stuck.

"What do I do?" I sit down next to him and my eyes linger on the television that's currently muted. "Roxas is so frosty at school. I'm scared if I try to talk to him about it, he'll just ignore me or deny it happened…"

"Well," Riku caps the 2% milk and sets it on the floor. He stretches out on my couch and his shirt lifts just the slightest bit and I see little bruises. "Try and get him alone. He's obviously in some sort of denial. I feel badly…"

"I know," I frown, "this sucks…"

"No, not for you," my best friend shakes his head, "for Roxas. It must suck being in love with someone who's such a conceited, overbearing whore."

I look at Riku and I say, "You think Roxas loves me?"

I guess that's possible

I have trouble believing that Roxas could really be in love with me. Aside from that one night at the playground, he doesn't show any interest. A whole week goes by before I even really see him and he's obviously avoiding me again. I tell Hayner and Pence to tell Roxas I need to talk to him, but if they're giving him the message he's just ignoring it.

How can he deny our chemistry?

Am I really so forgettable?

How rough around the edges could he possibly be?

I'm late for school one morning and the hallways are pretty much empty. I go to my locker and I shove a book into my bag and then I head to class. Roxas is making me feel depressed and I doubt he even realizes it. I bet he thinks I'll just bounce back. I bet he's one of those boys who thinks it's okay to toy with me because I won't mind.

Well, I do mind. I hate being played with, actually.

I'm the cat and this isn't Tom and Jerry.

"Psst! Axel!"

I stop and I crane my neck to see who called me, but I don't see anyone. I furrow my brow and I shrug my shoulders and then I yell because I feel two hands on my arm and someone pulling me into the men's bathroom.

"Shh! Shh, it's me!" Roxas puts his hand over my mouth and gives me a look, "geez. You're such a baby…"

"Oh, sorry," I roll my eyes, "you're right. I'm afraid of being kidnapped and what are you afraid? Oh. Yea. Heights – something that isn't even a real fear."

"It is too!" Roxas argues, "You could fall and die!"

I roll my eyes again, "yea, kids fall and die on swing sets all the time."

Roxas ignores the sarcasm, "I just wanted…" he shifts uncomfortably, "I…"

I cross my arms and I raise my brows, "you just wanted what?" I'm annoyed because he acts like I'm an embarrassment to nature. Like he can't be seen with me because it would just be SO awful if anyone knew we were friends.

"Look, Roxas, I don't –" he grips my shoulders and stands on his tip toes and kisses me softly on the mouth. It's nice and warm and it's so innocent and this time, it isn't rough and sloppy. It's just… soft. He pulls away, cheeks flushed, and his blue eyes meet my green ones. Green into blue and neither of us blink.

"You wanted to kiss…" I mumble.

"No," Roxas shakes his head, "I wanted to kiss you."

My heart kind of melts and I look away from him. Neither of us says or does anything for a long time, but then he strokes my cheek with his soft, long fingers and I decide to act. I wrap an arm around his waist and I cup his chin and I kiss him this time. I kiss him full on the mouth and his arms immediately wrap around my neck and we fit together like two puzzle pieces. We fit together like we were made for each other and it's so perfect. It's absolutely perfect.

And then Roxas pulls away and he stares at me with wide, blue eyes. His chest rises and falls steadily and I hear him ask, very quietly, "Do I taste like tobacco?"

I shrug my shoulders, "your lips don't," I cup his chin again, "but your mouth is another story…"

And we kiss again. But this time Roxas parts his lips almost immediately and I get to explore his mouth. I get to taste him. I get to feel that electric shock that makes my hair stand on end when our tongues touch. I get to tongue wrestle with him and I get to be the one that turns him into a ball of nerves. One of my hands tangles in his hair and he pushes his tongue against mine. We're both breathing heavily now and I don't want it to end, but then we hear voices in the hallway and Roxas breaks away.

"We should… we should go to class," he says sheepishly, his cheeks tinted a nice shade of pink. "We're both late…"

I nod numbly. I'm totally floored by Roxas's behavior. I'm absolutely shocked because usually I know what to expect from people and I can never tell with him. I can never tell what he's thinking. Honestly, I thought for sure he'd run away once he was done kissing me. Just like at the playground.

Because I was guessing that's the way crusty boys are.

But he lets me walk him to class and when we get to his classroom, he kisses my mouth really quick.

And I guess that's love.

"Wait," I grab his arm before he walks into class, "you do…."

"Huh?" Roxas's brows furrow. "I do what?"

"Your mouth… It does tastes like tobacco…" I breathe quietly. I'm only inches from his face and I'm dying to kiss him some more but I don't.

We look at each other for a long time and then Roxas says quietly, "Do you like it?"

And before I can answer, the bell rings and the hallway is flooded with kids and Roxas becomes his old self again and he runs away from me before I can tell him that yea, I do like it. A lot.

I'm bad tempered the next couple days because I'm getting fed up with Roxas. Every time I see him, he runs. Every time I try and talk to him, he's rude. I know he talks shit. Kids tell me all about what Roxas says and then they're totally floored when I don't do anything about it. I guess it's a bit like watching a lion tamer snap the whip and make the lion jump through the hoop. I guess it's a bit like watching the shark get caught on a fishing line and allowing himself to be reeled in.

I let all of his antics slide though because I love him and I ignore it because he's so hormonal and moody and I tell myself he's just mad because he's confused. I tell myself Roxas is just all huffy and puffy because he kissed me after trying so hard to make it clear he didn't like me. I tell myself these things, but I don't know for sure. All I know is that his lips are soft and his body is warm and I feel complete when we're together.

I know Roxas is crusty.

A little rough around the edges.

It's Thursday before Roxas approaches me. It's raining and I have the hood of my jacket pulled up so I don't get wet. I'm walking passed the bleachers – the backside – when two hands pull me under and semi-out of the rain. Two hands push my hood back and then a pair of lips crushes against mine. Once again, I'm totally floored. I know those lips and they belong to Roxas and he's kissing me like he might pass out if he doesn't get enough.

"Mmph!" I push him off, "what the hell?" I furrow my brows and I open my mouth to say more, but Roxas is on my lips again. It's cold and wet and nasty outside and it's making it harder for me to resist kissing him back. His lips are warm and inviting and a chill shoots down my spine when I feel his tongue shyly slide across my bottom lip. Man – he's asking for it. He is SO asking for it…

I grip his arms and I kiss him back. Fuck it – what's the harm in this? So we kiss a little and then I can talk to him, right? The kissing is a bonus for me anyway. You should never, ever resist a good thing because good things don't always just fall into your lap. Roxas is so spastic that it's a miracle we're here now. He could, at any moment, just cut me off.

It's a sign.
It's progress.

And maybe it means I'm not as forgettable and he's not as crusty.
And maybe that's love.

"Mm…" he moans softly when I push my tongue into his mouth. He fights with me – our tongues wrestle for dominance and sometimes I let him win because I like the way it feels when he nervously glides his tongue over my teeth or lips. I let him win so I can trap his tongue in my mouth and gently suck…

"Mm," Roxas pushes me off and I'm left feeling flustered and needing more, "Axel, don't…"

My brows furrow and I loosen my grip on his arms a little, figuring maybe I'm hurting him. I frown when he doesn't say anything immediately and in response to his hesitation, I go to wrap my arms around him.

And the bastard shoves me. I don't mean push. I don't mean the kind of playful thing you do with friends. He shoves me. Because I tried to hug him. Because I thought maybe he needed a little fucking comfort. Because Roxas McMaster is a fucking TOOL.

"What's your problem?" I shove him and I expect him to start fighting with me, but he doesn't do anything. He stands there like an idiot and he's looking at me with this mixed expression that I can't read. God, he's complicated. Moody bastard. He makes it so impossible to figure him out. He makes it so hard for me to decipher how he feels.

"Nothing, I…" he looks away and breathes out a heavy, agitated sigh through his nose. "It's nice…"

"What?" I stare, "what's nice? Being shoved? I'll gladly shove you again."

"No," Roxas meets my eyes and I don't feel angry at him anymore, "what you did… with your mouth…"

"Oh," I kind of cock my head to one side and shrug, "you mean sucking your tongue?"

He nods and I instantly find him adorable all over again. I can't be mad or stay mad and even though I know how he's acting is just one big mind-fuck, I just… I want to put up with it because I want Roxas to be a part of my life. I want him to love me as much as I love him. I want him to come home with me. I want him to be mine.

He can be my little secret if he wants.
I won't tell. I just want him to be mine.

And I guess that's love.

"I mean…" I reach out and nervously grip his shirt tail. When he doesn't object, I pull him close to me and I wrap my arms around his little body. He has to be maybe five foot seven. He's kind of short, but I like it. It makes me feel like I can engulf him and make him a part of me. It makes me feel like I can keep him safe in my arms. It makes me feel like I can make him love me.

"We can do it more…" I nuzzle my face into his blond locks of hair and I hold him. He smells good, like strawberries, and I find the scent completely intoxicating. It engulfs my every sense and I feel overwhelmed by it. I feel overwhelmed by him. I tangle a hand in his hair and gently run my fingers through it, admiring its softness despite how hard it looks.

Well, like hair like personality, I guess.

"No, I have to go," Roxas pushes away from me like a rat trying to escape a trap. He catches my eye and maybe I look sad or disappointed or upset because before he runs off into the rain, he says "you smell nice. Like cinnamon and fire. I like it."

And I mumble to myself, "Well, I guess that's love…"

It's snowing the next time Roxas and I have another encounter. I first saw him in October and now it's December. Only two months have gone by and I've managed to kiss Roxas. I think I'm doing pretty well, but not well enough. The gap between our meeting in the bleachers and the encounter now are way too far apart. Try three weeks. And whenever I see him in school, he evades me. Even in Latin class he'll sit on the other side of the room and usually sit right near the teacher so I can never speak to him.

He's driving me insane and I wonder if he knows it. I wonder if he likes what he's doing to me. It's a weird game of cat and mouse we're playing. It's a very odd chase. But I think Roxas is enjoying it and as for me? I fucking hate it. But what can I do? Love is blind and apparently out to get me. It's probably karma working its way through all those people I've mind-fucked before.

Well – I've never done this, exactly. I guess I'm just not resilient enough to do this. I guess I just can't forget about people the way Roxas can. I guess I'm not as crusty and rough like he is and I guess maybe, just maybe, I'm nowhere near as irresistible.

It's practically blizzarding outside and it's only a few days away from Christmas when Roxas comes banging at my door. When I let him in, he's drenched in snow and he quickly takes off all his snow gear and shakes the snow off to ensure his clothes don't get wet. His nose is red from the cold and his finger tips are ice cold. I notice that in his lump of snow gear, my scarf and mittens are mixed in. Well, he can have them. I never really intended to get them back anyway.

"Why are you –"

He's kissing me urgently. He's kissing me like his life depends on it. He's kissing me like he's afraid I'm going to just disappear. And it's weird when you can tell all of that just from a kiss. It's weird feeling how badly someone wants you – needs you - just through one kiss.

"Mm…" I push him off, "Roxas, what are you doing?"

I don't' mind. I really, really don't mind but I feel like I need to set some sort of boundary. I need to draw the line in the sand somewhere. He needs to know what I will and won't put up with and he needs to get it memorized because he's tugging so hard at my heart strings. He's tugging so hard that I think my heart is going to stop.

It's weird.
Because I've never felt this way before. I've never actually been aware of my heart. Just lust and pleasure and the carnal need that's so evident in pornography.

But I guess that's love.

"Where are your parents?" he's breathless and it makes me blush. Do I make him that way or is it the selfish, lustful need that makes him that way?

"They're visiting my grandmother until Christmas Eve and then they'll be ba—"

And he's on my lips again and he's forcing his tongue into my mouth and I suddenly get him. I get what he wants from me and whether that's all he wants from me or not, I don't know and I'm too afraid to ask him. Ever been between a rock and a hard place? No? Well, ever been forced to choose between your dignity and having sex with the love of your life? It's sort of like that.

I can't help it. I'm grabbing him and kissing him back. I'm being forceful and domineering and I'm gripping him so hard because I'm scared he'll change his mind. I'm scared he's mind-fucking me some more. I can't tell you how we got onto my couch and I can't tell you how Roxas ended up on top of me and shirtless.

I just know that I'm being dominated and I just know that I'm so wrapped around his finger. I just know that I'm making myself sick because I don't get like that. I don't fall so hard that I can't get up. I don't fall so hard that I can't walk away.

But here I am now, letting Roxas kiss and bite my neck and grind his hips against mine. Here I am now, letting him semi-force himself on me and here I am now, too afraid to say how I feel.

I know – me. Too afraid.
Sickening, huh?

But I guess that's love.

"Roxy…" I let out a soft moan as his tongue laps at my jaw line. My hands are planted firmly on his shoulders and I'm holding him back just the slightest bit. I'm so conflicted and he's not giving me any time to think. The last thing I want is to ruin something that could be beautiful because lust takes over. The last thing I want is for Roxas to have sex with me and then take off because he seems to be just as scared as I am.

"Stop…" I grip his shoulders and shove him away from me. Juuuuust enough so his tongue can't play hell with my neck, "Roxy, stop…" our eyes meet, green into blue, and he doesn't break the contact with me for a long time.

He's pouty. Gorgeous and pouty.

"Why?" he sits up on my body and I prop myself up slightly on my elbows. "I know you want it, Axel… I know you want it probably worse than I do…"

I open my mouth to protest, but I'm left with nothing to say. Yea, well, probably, but that doesn't mean I want to do it like this. That doesn't mean I want to have you on my couch so later on you can avoid me some more and talk shit some more. I could say those things, but I don't. I'm putty, okay? I'm a marionette wrapped around Roxas's skilled fingers.

"Aren't you a virgin?" I mumble because I feel really dumb. Like a fucking tool.

"Does it matter?" Roxas's brows furrow and he leans down to kiss me, but I turn away from him. I hear him sigh softly and it breaks my heart to reject him. You have no idea how badly it hurts to turn him away.

"Don't you want to wait?" we make eye contact briefly, "don't you want to share it with some nice boy or some nice girl?" I reach up and scratch my head, "why are you in such a hurry and… and why with me?" I surprise myself because I actually do sound really surprised.

Because I guess I am.
Doesn't this whole "love" thing seem kind of one-sided?

"You're toying with me, Roxy… You play really cold at school and then whenever we're alone, I can't keep you off me…" my brow furrows, "I wish I could tell you I understand or… or that I get it, but I don't. Is it really so bad to be seen with me? Would you really rather keep pretending that you hate me over just being my friend?"

He doesn't answer, but he looks steadily uncomfortable.

"Please, Roxas…" I reach up and touch his cheek, "help me understand…"

It's silent for a long time and all we can hear is the howling of the wind outside. His fingers play with the fabric of my shirt and he's looking everywhere except at my face. He doesn't make eye contact with me and when I sigh and lie down on the couch Roxas lies right on top of me. He cuddles right against me and I know I'm going against my better judgment, but I wrap my arms around him and I hold him.

"You're not going to cry, are you?" I half-tease.

He shakes his head, but he doesn't look at me. All I can see is his blond head of hair and beyond that, he's practically curled into a fetal position. He makes me feel bad. He makes me feel like I just hit him across the face and told him that I wouldn't sleep with him because he's repulsive. He makes me feel like the perpetrator who shit in his shoes and I imagine this is somewhat how a parent feels when their child slides into that stony state of sadness because something they want wasn't given to them.

"God, you make me feel so guilty…" I mumble more to myself than to him. "I guess I can't do right by you."

"No," Roxas lifts his head and he does look a little upset, "what you mean is - you can't do right by me because it won't be good for you."

Well, yea… That is what I mean.
And now I feel really selfish and cruel. Like the wicked step mom in Cinderella. Do I tell Roxas I won't sleep with him because I care about him? Do I make this more serious than it already is? Do I make it harder for both of us?

No. I don't.
Because I'm a fucking tool.

And I guess love is playing hell with my head.

"You don't think taking your virginity would be good for me?" I tease.

Roxas shrugs, "I don't know…" he lies his head back down on my chest, "you don't want to so I guess not…"

"Oh, please," I roll my eyes and I stroke his naked back, "you're just being ridiculous now. Even someone as inexperienced as you must know, to some extent, how good sex feels. Whether it's by your own masturbation technique or by word of mouth."

I don't need to see Roxas to know that he's busy rolling his pretty eyes.

"Hey," I run my hands through his hair, "I'm teasing you, Roxy… It means I like you."

He mumbles something along the lines of "I like you too" and it's enough to make my heart melt. It's enough to make me rethink the whole not sleeping with him thing. He's precious. Absolutely precious and even though he's busy mind-fucking me and manipulating me, I can't find him off-putting. I can't find him unattractive.

And I guess that's what love is all about.

We hang out a lot over break. Not so much with other people (with the exception of occasionally Riku) but just with each other. He stays at my house some nights and we build snow forts and have snowball wars and we build igloos and stay in them until it gets dark. We build snowmen and drink homemade cocoa and I'm thoroughly enjoying this much softer, sweeter side of Roxas.

I like the way he holds my hand when we walk together. I like the way he kisses me because they're kisses I never really see coming. I like the way everything is spontaneous and unplanned with Roxas because it makes my days so much more interesting.

"Let's sled," he says one morning as he sips hot cocoa from a large mug, "let's wax up the bottom of a sled and take it for a ride."

I don't protest because it sounds like fun. I don't protest because I'm putty in Roxas's hands. I don't protest because I want to avoid feeling guilty and cruel. I want to avoid that sad stare and I don't want to deal with him suddenly becoming an ice queen.

And maybe that's love. Maybe it's giving someone what they want so they stay.
Maybe it's recognizing that you'd rather have something over nothing with someone and you'll put yourself through hell to make sure you get your way.

I guess love is realizing that sometimes you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.

We put on our snow gear and we use a bar of wax to wax up the bottom of a sled in my garage. We walk a half mile before we get to an empty field that has large, steep hills on the other side. He holds my hand as we walk up the hill and when we get to the top, I throw the sled down. It's big enough for the both of us, but neither of us sits down.

Roxas is thinking about something.

"What?" I prod, "why the look? Want to go find a bigger hill?"

He shakes his head and he opens his mouth to speak, but no words come out. He sighs and his breath comes out in a little white puff.

"What's the matter?" I frown, "wanna go back to my hou –"

"Why won't you sleep with me?" he looks hurt and guilt washes over me.

"God, Roxas…" I look away from him because I can't stand that look, "I don't know. Because I give a shit about you?" it's more of a statement than a question.

"Okay, so why won't you sleep with me if you care about me?"

"Because lust and love aren't the same thing," I shrug and I sigh, "is that why you're hanging out with me?" I don't want to ask but I want to know, "because I don't want to hang out if you're just doing it so I'll sleep with you."

That's a lie.
I don't care why he's hanging out with me, but what I said sounds better than what I actually think.

Roxas wraps his arms around my waist and he buries his face against my chest, "No, Axel. I'm not here to get laid… I just…" he shrugs and I hear him sigh, "I don't know. You make me feel bad…"

I make him feel bad?
Please. Maybe he should try chipping some of the crust off himself before he tells me that I make him feel bad.

"I'm not trying too…" I put my hands on his shoulders, "I give a shit about you and I know that sleeping with you just… isn't how I want to show it."

Well, that's a lie too
But how do I say "you act like a bitch to me except when we're alone" without offending him? How do I say "I bet if I sleep with you, you start avoiding me and ignoring me again" without hurting his feelings?

"I give a shit about you too, Axel…" Roxas mumbles against my chest.

He could be lying.
But God, it feels so good to hear him say it.

We're both frozen to the core when we get back from sledding. My parents are gone and have left a note on the counter about a New Year's Eve party they've gone off too. I guess I didn't notice that it was already the 31st because I was spending all my time with Roxas. I guess I hadn't noticed how fast time had gone by.

"What are you doing tonight?" I ask him as I warm up some milk for hot cocoa.

"Whatever you're doing," he shrugs and sits himself on the counter top. "I'm sticking with you."

God, he's adorable.

"Oh yea?" I smile the slightest bit at him, "well, what are we doing tonight?" I fit myself between his legs and wrap my arms around his body.

Roxas buries his face against my red locks of hair and he mumbles, "We're doing it."

I open my mouth to protest, but no words come out and no words come to mind. I'm about to be eating all my words. Everything I've said is about to turn meaningless. I'm about to become the biggest tool on the planet and part of me asks "well, if he wants it so badly what's the harm in giving it to him?"

Because it's not love. Not for him anyway.

I guess that's lust.

I kiss Roxas's finger tips and I tell him that I'm not going to hurt him. I tell him that we'll stop if he says to stop. I tell him that he's in control and that whatever he says goes. I tell him all the things you tell a virgin when you're getting ready to do it. He's inexperienced and I can see the fear in his eyes when we're both naked and in my bed. I can see that maybe he's rethinking this.

"W-will it hurt?" he tangles his hands into my red hair as I make little shapes on his chest with my tongue, "like… a lot?"

I lift my head and press a reassuring kiss to his lips, "At first," I kiss his chin, "but it'll get better…"

He stares at me for a long time as if he thinks I'm tricking him. He stares at me and then he reaches out and touches one of the tattoos on my face. He traces it with his thumb and then he licks his lips and asks "why your face? Why on your face?"

I don't know if it's disgust or fascination, but I ignore his question either way.

I press kisses down his chest and abdomen and when I get to his erection, I press just the smallest kiss to the head. I hear an intake of breath from Roxas and he's looking up toward the ceiling as if he's waiting for the sky to fall. I nibble the inside of his thigh and I hear the softest of moans pass his lips. I hear him breathe my name in a way that makes me feel intoxicated.

"Have you ever done anything before?" my lips ghost his erection.

He shakes his head, "Why?" he sits up and eyes me, "why?"

I put a hand to his chest and gently push him back down. I smile because he's nervous and I think it's cute. He looks good like this – naked and waiting for me. He looks so damn hot.

So fucking irresistible.

"You sure about this?" I lick along the side of his erection and he shudders. "We don't have to…"

"I-I know…" Roxas stammers, "but I want to."

Well, that makes two of us.
Two total liars.

I sit up and lean over the bed so I can grab the bottle of lube from the floor. I pop the bottle open and rub some between my fingers and I ignore Roxas's investigative stares. I'm used to these things by now. He isn't the first virgin I've conquered, but he isn't just another notch in my bed post. I give a shit about him. I really, really do.

My fingers prod against his entrance and he jumps slightly.

"Roxy," I put a hand on his hip, "why are you so nervous?"

"Because," he tries to sit up, but I take my hand from his hip and place it on his chest. "How should I be?" his voice is quiet.

"Aroused?" I shrug and press a finger into him. He squirms around it and I have a feeling this is going to be a lot more difficult than I imagined. Roxas isn't going to go quietly and he's going to make this forty times harder than it already is. That's okay. I like a little challenge. I like my boys to have a little bit crusty. A little rough around the edges.

"I am," he motions toward his erection and I roll my eyes. "I see you," he grumbles, "you're not very sexy when you're busy being rude."

I push another finger into him and my other hand works his erection, "and you're not very attractive when you're busy being sassy."

He tries to sit up, but I push him back down.

"Good Lord," I kiss the tip of his erection, "is this what you're like at the dentist office, too? Do you sit up when he's got the drill in your mouth?"

"It depends on whether or not he's shoving his fingers in my ass."

I can't help myself, "Mhm… And you say you're a virgin," I tease lightly.

Roxas grumbles "shut up," but I can hear him smiling. I slide a third finger into him and he takes in a breath. My hand works his erection up and down and I lap lazily at the head just to see him shudder. I press my fingers deep into him and he twists and tenses. I flinch slightly but I don't say anything because it's just my fingers. My hand leaves his cock and before he can protest, I engulf him with my mouth.

"Axel…" he shudders and he twists just the slightest bit. He's a ball of nerves and he's really, really tense and I just want him to relax. My mouth works him up and down and I don't think he notices much when I carefully withdrew my fingers, one at a time. I keep blowing him and I keep tracing my tongue along his erection and I'm just relishing in his moans.

My name has never sounded so good.

I wish that was love.
I wish it was love making him act like this.

But I guess that's lust.

"Mm…" Roxas sits up again and he watches me flick the head of his cock with my tongue. He watches with fascination as I lick the underside to the top and then engulf him all over again. His lips are parted and he lets out soft, gentle moans. His hand tangles into my red hair and I fall into an easy rhythm. He tastes good. He tastes clean, like he's just stepped from the shower. He smells good too – like strawberries – and it's overwhelming my senses.

I guess love is being overwhelmed.
I guess love is feeling like your chest is going to burst.

I lap the head and lick away a bead of precum.

"Sit back," I put my hand on his chest to push him down again, but this time he grabs my wrist and pulls me down with him.

"Why do I have to lie down?" he questions.

My face is buried against his chest and I breathe in his scent, "Because," I half-growl, "I said so."

"Pft," Roxas grabs a fistful of my red hair and yanks it, "you're not the boss of me."

"You're gonna get your ass whopped in a second, Roxy…" I pull away from his grip and I see the glint of a smirk on his features. I get it. He wants me to be rough. I untangle myself from him and I instruct him to turn over, on all fours, and he does without much hesitation.

I grab his hips and I place a kiss to the small of his back. I'm dying to be inside him now. All of this waiting is killing me. I want to make him mine now. I'm quite content to be his first and I think he's quite content knowing he's far from first for me. He's even pretty far from fifteenth.

But I keep that to myself.
Because I guess love is lying.


I lube up my erection and I grip Roxas's hip. I use my other hand to guide myself to his entrance and I take a breath, ready to push in when he stops me.

"Wait, wait," he looks at me over his shoulder, "is this gonna hurt more than the other way?"

I shake my head, "I don't think so."

He looks at me suspiciously but then he turns around and I go back to prodding at his entrance. I'm tense and I'm nervous because I'm scared of hurting him. I want to be rough and I want to play, but I'm scared of hurting him. I lick my lips and push the head of my cock into Roxas and he immediately tenses and it feels good. It's warm and tight and slick and I let out a shaky moan because he's clenching so hard against me.

"Roxy," my fingers dig into his hip bone, "y-you have to relax…" I try and keep my voice steady and I reach a hand out and gently rub his lower back. "You're g-gonna cut off blood flow…"

He nods stiffly and I feel him relax only the slightest bit, but it's enough for me to slide in a little bit more. He cries out and I instantly feel guilty, but I don't pull out. I don't want to start over if he doesn't want me to stop. Starting over is a lot harder and a lot more painful than it sounds.

"You okay?" I lick my lips and he hesitates, but then he nods. "U-um…" I blush, "s-should I…"

"Don't stop," Roxas's voice is surprisingly even.

I nod and I push myself a little deeper inside him. I feel his body shudder and now I'm glad he's on all fours instead of facing me. I never would've been able to do this otherwise. His face would've made me feel so incredibly guilty. I would've pulled out at the first sign of pain. I release a shaky breath and I start a very slow, steady rhythm. One hand is gripping Roxas's hip and my other moves from his lower back to his cock and I begin to stroke him.

"Axel…" he moans the slightest bit and I feel relieved that it's not as bad as it was before. I start going a little faster and once Roxas seems to be enjoying it, I start enjoying it too. I suddenly notice how tight he is. I suddenly notice how impossibly warm he is. I notice how good his back looks and how natural it feels to be jerking him off. Does that sound weird? Well – go jerk off twenty or thirty guys and you'll get what I mean.

I groan somewhere in the back of my throat as I feel Roxas clench against me. On purpose or not, I'm not really sure but it feels good. I let out a breath I wasn't aware I had been holding in and I move my hand from Roxas's hip to his back, between his shoulder blades, and I push him down against the bed sheets. There isn't much resistance and I'm quite glad to know he's learned that I'm the boss. His fingers grip the sheets and he moans against them. His blue eyes are shut and he looks so amazing like this.

God, Roxas looks amazing.

My hand works him quickly and I'm pumping in and out of him as quickly as he'll let me. I want to just fuck him. I really, really, really want to shove myself all the way in, but I don't want to hurt him. I don't want him to remember his first time as brutal. I want him to remember it gentle with aspects of rough housing. Not something that could be compared to rape.

That's love, right? Not raping someone?

"Axel…" he goes to lift himself, but I push down between his shoulder blades. I stop moving, briefly, so I can lean over his back and whisper in his ear, "don't… you look so amazing like this…"

And it's enough to keep Roxas from moving.

His cheeks are tinted pink and he sinks his teeth into his lower lip. He has wads of my bed sheets in his fists and he's making sounds in the back of his throat. He's not cute anymore, he's sexy. He's the hottest thing I've ever laid eyes on and I'm trying so hard to hold back my orgasm. I don't want it to end. I so don't want it to end, but I want to cum.

"Roxy…" I grip his side as I pump in and out of him. My hand is still working his erection and I know he's close. I can feel him tensing up and he's unknowingly about to push me over the edge. I swallow hard and I dig my nails into his side and as I do, I hear him cry my name and orgasm all over my hand. It's enough to take me over and with a few more thrusts I cum inside Roxas and I feel so complete and so fucking perfect when it happens.

It is, by far, the best orgasm I've ever experienced.

But that'll be my little secret for now.

I'm sweaty and breathing heavily when I pull myself carefully from his behind. He flips himself over and sits and I notice he flinches and I immediately feel guilty. Guilty, but really, really satisfied.

"Are you okay?" I take his hand and I kiss his finger tips. "Did I hurt you?"

"I'm okay…" he takes his hand from me and kisses my mouth instead, "are you okay?"

"Yea," I nod and I kiss his mouth, "Was it okay?"

Roxas smirks, "Why? Feeling insecure?"

I roll my eyes, "Yea," I say sarcastically, "great detective work, Holmes." I mock him slightly.

"Shut up…" he tries to look mad, but he's too busy smiling. "It sounds better when I say it."

"Sounds bitchier when you say it," I wink at him and then I kiss his lips briefly.

He gives a little smile and then he gathers me into his arms and pulls me down so we can cuddle together. He plays idly with strands of my red hair and his other hand strokes up and down my back. Somehow I think this should be reversed. Somehow I think I should be comforting him, but he doesn't seem to mind and when I attempt to move, he holds tightly to me as if he's afraid I'll leave and never come back.

"Do you need anything?" I purr against his neck.

"No…" he breathes softly.

"You know, Roxy…" I press a kiss to his neck, "I lov –"

"Don't," he squeezes me, "don't say it, Axel."

So I don't. Even though I want to, I don't.
And I guess that's love.

When I wake up I realize it's New Year's Day and officially a new year. I also realize that Roxas is gone without even so much as a note and I'm offended, but I figure he'll be over later. I figure he probably went home to check in with his family and then he'll be back.

But he doesn't come back.

He doesn't come back for the remainder of the break and I'm left feeling used. Part of me wonders if Roxas just wanted to have sex and now that he has, he's finished with me. Part of me wonders how manipulated I've been. Part of me wonders how Roxas could so easily do that to me. I know he's rough around the edges and I know he's crusty, but…

There is no 'but' about it. I guess it just isn't love.

I don't see Roxas at all during the first day back at classes. We're in the second semester of school and all the classes have switched and as far as I can tell, Roxas isn't in any of mine. I don't see him at lunch and I don't see him in the hallways and it's making me feel physically sick. It's at this point in time that I realize I don't even have his cell phone number because I was with him so much, I never needed it.

"Wow, that's fucked up…" Riku crunches a potato chip. "I mean, that's kind of what you do to people, but still."

I give him a look, "I'm in emotional pain right now. I don't need your shit."

He shrugs and eats another chip. We're sitting inside the cafeteria today because there's snow outside and neither of us feels like putting on our coats. I'm silent and all I can hear is Riku chewing his potato chips. He's got more marks on his neck and I bet if I lifted his shirt, I'd see more bruises. I don't need to ask to know things are going swell for him.

"I'm just saying," he puts a hand on my back, "it's a nice step inside someone else's shoes."

"Riku," I glare, "I really don't need your after school special shit."

He rolls his eyes and crumples the bag of chips before tossing it into the trashcan a few feet away. "Stop being so moody, Axel… you got to sleep with him. Isn't that enough?"

I grip the front of Riku's shirt and I pull him close to me – so close our faces almost touch. I'm feeling so murderous right now and I glare and say, "I didn't WANT to sleep with him. I wanted it to be love, Riku. I wanted it so badly to be love."

And it's right now that I realize I screwed Roxas because I thought maybe he'd love me if I did. It's now that I realize I screwed Roxas because I thought he'd stay if I did. It's now that I realize I did exactly what parents' tell their daughters NOT to do.

Don't sleep with him because you think it'll make him stay.

And it makes me feel so much worse because I realize now that I'm a fucking tool.

My best friend doesn't say anything and when I release his shirt, he rubs my back soothingly and tells me that it'll be okay.

He doesn't know that.
But I appreciate the sentiment.

It's two weeks before I see Roxas and when I do see him my heart flutters in my chest and I feel momentarily warm. He's standing at his locker and the bell has already rung, but I'm so elated to see him I don't even care about being late. I walk over to him and I slip my arms around his waist. His scent floods all my senses and I have that same feeling of intoxication.

"What are you doing?" he puts his hands on my arms and grips them, "stop, Axel, seriously…"

I'm hurt, but I let him go.

"I've missed you," I lean against the locker next to his and I stare at him. It's only been three weeks or so since I've last seen him, but it feels like a life time. "Why haven't you bothered to say anything to me?"

He shrugs and he closes his locker and twists the lock.

I don't know why I'm talking to him. It's clear he doesn't want to talk to me. But I guess I'm hoping for some kind of closure. I guess I'm hoping he'll say he loves me. I'm still hanging on to what I guess might be love.

"I'll see you later," he doesn't even look at me and once the shock of what's happening wears off, I go after him. I follow him down the hallway and now I'm just mad. Love sucks SO much and Roxas doesn't even know it. He has no fucking idea what he's doing to me.

And I guess that's fucking shitty-ass love.

"Hey!" I grab his wrist, "what's your problem?"

"Let go, Axel…" he doesn't look at me and his voice is even.

"No! Fuck you and your stupid commands! Every time I do what you want, it backfires!" I'm yelling and it's echoing in the hallway. I'm so frustrated and so fed up and so incredibly hurt that I'm surprised I'm not hitting him. I'm surprised I'm not smacking the fucking pores off his face.

"You don't know what you're talking about," Roxas pulls his wrist away from me.

"Like HELL I don't know what I'm talking about!" I throw the books I'm holding in my arms to the floor, "I want to know," I grip his shirt and I shove him roughly against the wall and I see fear flash across his blue eyes, "why the fuck you're toying with me! Why are you doing this to me, Roxas?"

He meets my eyes and it's green into blue again. He doesn't say anything for a long time and eventually he breaks our eye contact and he tells me I need to let him go so he can go to class.

"No!" I yell and I shove him harder against the wall, "you're such a fuck, Roxas!"

"Fine, Axel, whatever…" he rolls his eyes.

"You've got SERIOUS problems! You're fucked up!"

"Okay, whatever…" he looks away from me and I want to scream. God, I want to scream and then I want to claw his fucking eyes out. I want him to hurt just as much as I hurt. I want him to feel just as bad as I do and I want him to understand how deep he's twisting the knife.

This is so horrible.
This is so fucking horrible.

And I guess that's love.

"Goddamnit!" I let him go and I gather my books from the floor, "Fuck, Roxas!"

He stands at the wall and he doesn't move and even after I gather my books and we make brief eye contact, he doesn't move. He sighs and he shakes his head like he's the dad of some belligerent brat who has "daddy issues." GOD, I want to punch his lights out. I want to tear him to pieces so bad, but I also want to hug him and kiss him and make him mine again.

"You're crusty," I mumble.

"What?" Roxas's brows knit. "I'm crusty?" he sounds indignant.

"Yea," I glare, "You're just a hateful, crusty fuck."

I don't speak to Roxas again until three months go by.

It's the beginning of May and I've successfully kept my mind off Roxas by busying myself with graduation stuff. I don't see him much in school and when I do we mostly ignore each other. In April I saw him holding hands with Naminé and it was crushing. I wasn't joking when I said it was love at first sight. I guess love can be one-sided though. I guess love can just be lust in disguise and I guess love can make you want to shank someone in the throat.

I guess love is happiness, anger, hate, jealousy, and rage all wrapped into one. I guess love is like busting open a piñata and having glass shards come flying out at you instead of candy. I guess love is like opening your mouth to taste the rain and then realizing the rain is actually piss.

"Demyx has been asking about you…" Riku sits next to me and hangs his legs over the edge. We're on the roof of the high school and the sun is about to set in the distance. If Roxas taught me one thing, it's that I shouldn't treat people the way I have been. Just because I don't love someone doesn't mean they don't love me… It's what happened with Roxas that makes me think about giving Demyx another go. Maybe actually giving him a chance this time…

"God, he bugs me," I sigh and I lie down on the roof top, legs resting on the ledge.

Riku laughs, "I'll be sure to send him the memo. Sure you aren't just hung up?" he's licking at some sea salt ice cream and before I can ask where mine is at, he tosses it to me.

"Easy for you to say," I open up the package and lick the ice cream, "you're with your soul mate."

Riku laughs again, "Is that what the kids are calling their boyfriends and girlfriends these days?"

I smile lightly and we eat our ice cream in silence. I suppose it is a little stupid to think there's actually such a thing as soul mates. I guess fate wouldn't just try and match everyone up with just one person because people would use their freewill and end up with the wrong people. Maybe it is dumb to assume Roxas was supposed to be mine and maybe what happened was really just karma trying to teach me a lesson about being a better person.


But what do I know? I'm just a senior in high school. I don't know shit about fate or karma or love.

"Roxas?" I sit up and look over my shoulder. He's gripping the door to the stairwell and he looks a little panicked. He's afraid of heights and I want to ask why he's up here, but I can take a stab in the dark. He wants to talk to me.

Riku stands and walks over toward the stairwell. He threatens Roxas in an undertone and I don't know what he says, but whatever it is it makes Roxas go a little pale.

Maybe he threatened to fall in love with him.

"Axel," Roxas says my name again once Riku is gone. "Come here. I need to talk to you."

I turn back around and I face the sunset. I use my hand to prop myself up and I happily lick at my ice cream. I hear him calling my name and I hear the agitation in his voice. Call me vindictive. I'm still pretty pissed about everything. I'm still pretty sure he hasn't suffered enough for how badly he's treated me.

And I guess that's love. I guess love is being vindictive. I know for a fact that love is cruel.

"Please, Axel…"

I take in a breath and as I look over my shoulder to tell him "no," I notice he's right behind me and looking absolutely mortified. I raise a brow at him and then I turn back around because I'm so done with being bossed around. I'm done with worrying about how he feels.

He sits down behind me and leans his back against mine. I guess he doesn't want to face an edge which is understandable. I might be liable to throw him off the roof. It'd be warranted.

"Look, I'm sorry."


"Axel, please. I'm really sorry."

"Mhm…" I take a bite out of my ice cream.

"Please don't be like that…" Roxas sighs, "I was a tool."

"A fucking tool," I add helpfully.

"I miss you…" his voice sounds so small and so pathetic that I almost believe him.

"That's nice. Maybe next time –"

"I don't want to hear your sarcasm. God, you're an asshole."

My brow furrows and I glare toward the sunset, but it's all for Roxas, "Then what are you? If I fall under the category 'asshole' then what the fuck kind of category do you fall under?"

We sit in silence for a long time and by the time he speaks again I've finished my ice cream and I'm left toying with the popsicle stick.

"I'm sorry, Axel…"

"And?" I know I sound indignant.

"And I…" he pauses, "I'm not crusty."

I look over my shoulder. I'm surprised he remembers what I said to him the last time we spoke. I was pretty sure he had just erased me from his memory completely. I was pretty sure I was the notch in Roxas's bed post. I was pretty sure I was the lovesick moron mooning over the teen heartthrob.

"No…" I agree, "You're a jagged fucking razor blade."

We sit in silence again and before long civil twilight colors the whole school roof in an orange-red glow. I want to be mad at Roxas. I want to hate him. I want him to know that I DO NOT accept his apology. I want to be over him, but I'm not. And I don't think I ever will be. How do you get over loving every inch of someone? How do you get over memorizing their scent and their taste? How do you get over the way they made you feel?

God, is that love?
The inability to forget someone?

"Hey, Roxy…" I push against him a little bit. "You know why the sun sets red?"

"No…" he peaks over his shoulder to glance at the skyline.

"Because out of all the colors red travels the fastest."

I open my mouth to explain why but Roxas has decided to slink forward and sit next to me and I put my arm around him because it feels like the right thing to do. He leans into the touch and he leans against me and he breathes deeply of my scent and I feel perfect all over again.

I guess that's love.
Blind, deaf, and dumb.

"I'm sorry…"

I shrug because I don't know what to say. How do I say "I want to forgive you, but apology NOT accepted?" How do I say "I want to forgive you, but you put me through so much that I don't think I should?"

"Axel, listen…" Roxas turns my face toward his own and our eyes meet. A sea of green into a sea of blue and I feel like we get momentarily lost in each other. I feel like both of us would've lost our footing had we been standing.

"What?" I want to kiss him, but I don't.

"I used you and I'm sorry. I just wanted to know if… if I was…" he pauses and he knows the word to use, but he doesn't want to say it.

"A faggot?"

"Yea," he rolls his eyes, "thanks… And I used you. And I'm sorry. I just… I thought… I thought you'd be easy to sleep with because I thought you wouldn't get emotional. I didn't… It never occurred to me that…"

"Maybe I have feelings?" I half-tease, "why didn't you use Naminé?"

"Nah… You know how girls are… They get emotional about shit…" he smiles and I get the joke. Axel is a big girl – har, har. He acts like a girl does, har, fucking har…

Well, it'd be accurate at this point.
I'm so fucking love stoned.

"So…" I lie down on the roof top and put my arms behind my head, "let me get this straight… You treated me like dirt, talked shit, used me for kissing and sex, and then just ignored me for a solid three months."

Roxas lies down next to me and places his arms behind his head, "Well, it sounds really negative when you say it all together like that…"

I playfully hit him and he laughs lightly.

"I didn't want anyone to think I was gay before I knew for sure," Roxas sighs, "so I didn't want anyone to see us being all friendly. And… and how was I supposed to know you loved me?"

"Uh," I look over at him, "maybe you should've aborted your mission when I said I gave a shit about you."

He's silent for a moment, "Maybe…" he pauses, "maybe I gave a shit about you too and maybe I wanted you to be my first and maybe I was just confused about how I felt after we fucked."

I look at him for a long time before I mumble "bullshit" and shake my head.

"No!" Roxas sits up and I see fear cross his eyes as he notices the edge of the building, "I did care about you, Axel. I do. I was just confused and then… then you went and told me you loved me and I just… wanted to avoid you…"

"I did not!" I sit up and glare, "you told me not to say it, so I didn't!"

"It didn't make it any less there!" Roxas frowns at me and I lie back down, sighing gently.

He looks at me for a long time and when I make eye contact with him he leans down and kisses me really softly on the lips. It feels good and right and perfect and before I can stop myself, I tangle a hand in his hair and I kiss him harder. I've been so starved for attention. I've missed him so much and it's hard to give up something that's so perfect and right.

We break apart and he presses his forehead to mine and our noses touch. I run my fingers through his hair and we stay close until it's dark outside and the street lights are turned on beneath us. It's warm because it's spring and neither of us minds being out here much, so long as we stay away from the edge of the roof.

"Did you sleep with Naminé?" my voice is barely above a whisper because I'm scared of what he'll tell me. I'm also ashamed that I actually feel jealous.

But I guess that's love.

"No," Roxas shakes his head, "where did you hear that?"

"I made it up," I bring him close for a brief kiss, "I saw you holding her hand."

Roxas laughs and shakes his head, "No. I told her that I'm…"

"A flamboyant homosexual?" I offer.

He shakes his head, "I told her that I'm sticking with you."

I get to go to college in the fall and even though it's only an hour away, Roxas is complaining about the distance. Complaining that I'll find some nice college boy who I'll leave him for. Complaining that I'll never come visit. Complaining that I'll never, ever want to come see him. Complaining that I'll fall out of love with him.

Well, I guess that's love.
Like having your nose broken but realizing it makes you look more attractive. Like your dad trying to smack you with a belt but he hits himself instead. Like being mugged on the street and then watching your mugger get struck by a bus.

It makes you retarded.

And I guess that's love.

"You're ridiculous…" I nibble his neck, "as long as you're putting out, I'll visit."

He playfully hits me and I laugh as I press kisses to his shoulders and chest. He's half-naked in my bed and he's looking like he wants to be ravished. He's got a hand knotted n my hair and he pulls gently whenever I touch extra-sensitive spots along his torso.

"No…" he twists just the slightest bit when my tongue darts out to lap at his nipple. "I'm just a r-realist…" he pulls gently at my red hair, "a-and I know what happens in college…"

"Stays in college?" I tease.

"No," Roxas tries to sit up, but I push him back down, "no... what happens in college you tell your boyfriend immediately lest he decide to dump your ass."

"Please," I straddle his hips, "you wouldn't give me up for anything."

And I'm happy because I know it's true.
I'm happy because I know now that that's love.

"I'd trade you for a pack of smokes…" Roxas slides his hands under my shirt and feels over my abdomen and my chest. "Mm… Okay, I'd trade you for a carton of smokes."

"Mm…" I slide my shirt off my body and toss it to the floor. "I'd trade you for a virgin because I like my boys pure."

Roxas playfully hits me again, "It's your fault I'm not!"

"Oh, please," I grab his wrists and pin him to the bed, "I didn't hold a gun to your head and force you to spread 'em." I kiss along his neck and jaw line.

"Not how I remember it…" he pushes his hips into mine and I can hear him smiling.

"Oh, really? Perhaps we need to reenact the whole thing from start to finish," I draw my tongue over his throat and up to his ear.

"O-okay," Roxas twists underneath me a little bit, "let me just go get on my longboard and fall over another branch."

"Not that far," I gently bite the junction where his neck and shoulder meet and he moans, "Let's skip the boring shit and just get to the part where you make me ravish you."

I'm never going to tell him that I had set the branch there as a trap for longboarders and skateboarders. But that's just another aspect of love – keeping little secrets to yourself and whatnot.

"Hey," Roxas yanks at my red hair and I stop what I'm doing to his neck and I look at him. Our eyes meet and it's green into blue and my whole world is spinning again.

"I love you, Axel…"

"I know," I tease, "and I'm sticking with you."

Author's Note: Well… There it is. A nice, long one-shot with fluff, teenaged angst, hormones, and sex. Involving Roxas x Axel. Review. Stories take a lot of effort and I love feedback. Good or bad, long or short, it doesn't matter. Just feedback this shit.