A/N: Again, another story that requires that I put a disclaimer before anyone reads it. La Tortura del Agua is a piece that follows Drowning. This one is carried out in Roxas' perspective and I don't know if reading Drowning is a must. You could read it (if you haven't) to view their relationship from Axel's eyes, but I don't think you have to. It's pretty clear what's going on here.
This story deals with mature subject matter and may even cause discomfort to some, so I warn you, read at your own risk. It's not that bad, personally, but you never know.
La Tortura del Agua
Sterile, bone white walls surround the five foot, thirteen year old. Cerulean irises almost swallowed by bloodshot sclera, line pupils dilated with fear. With his blonde, tousled hair and pajamas, tiny feet clad only in socks, the small boy looks far too sweet to be standing in the cold, large hospital. He rubs at his runny nose, paths of dry tears resting on his red cheeks. He's been here before, he knows it.
The tiny blonde has no clear idea as to why he's here again, all he knows is that something bad has happened to Axel. Call it intuition or what have you, but he knows he is crying for a reason, yet he isn't sure why he's in this specific wing. There are people in white rooms, slamming against doors, some just pointlessly sobbing, others doing nothing but staring out the window. He knows no one mentally ill, especially not Axel, never Axel. He is too smart and charming, he is too perfect. So why is he here?
The question as to why he is at the hospital lingers around his head like a black cloud as he walks down a long, white hall. He can hear voices coming from what he hopes is a waiting room. He holds a guess inside his head, a reason for being here but he dreads to think of its reality. He is too afraid to ask and find out if, for once, he's right. The question beats at his brain until he finally stumbles into an empty space, a few chairs scattered in front the triage nurse station. Desperately he searches the sea of white for a familiar face and he spots his mother, standing in a tight sangria dress. The next thing he notices is the men in midnight uniforms, aligned against the wall. All he can think is "She never wears clothes like that", and her stance almost frightens the question out of him. Why does his mother look like this? Fear almost swallowing him whole, he walks to her side and asks the question anyway, his thin voice barely reaching his mother's ears.
We're here for Axel, his mother's response is clipped and Roxas feels his short-barely lived life crumble into pieces. He knows Axel to be healthy, the twenty-six year old always one to eat well and exercise though he smokes like a chimney, so why would they be here for the redhead? Roxas prays it isn't because Axel is very sad. Axel always told Roxas he wasn't sad, or that it was a grown up thing, but the blonde knows a deep sadness when he sees one.
He questions why, his mother's patience now hanging by a thread when she twirls around and narrows her eyes at him. She hisses at him to be quiet, that this is no place to be acting out but Roxas isn't acting out, he just needs to know what happened to Axel. He's confused, but before he can ask a large clock drags his attention away from his mother seemingly by force.
The devil's hour is only 3 minutes away, and the ticking of the clock is getting louder. A distant noise, sounding like heels falls into rhythm with the hands of time. His mother is pacing when he looks at her, that insistent back and forth, back and forth, is enough to give him motion sickness.
"Axel is dead, you know." Her voice hurts him, the detached tone she uses to speak of Axel, of his Axel, cuts him to the bone with the grace of a chainsaw. Then when what she said finishes hacking its way into his heart and soul, it hits him full force.
He screams, whether it is a cry of desperation or of agony he isn't entirely sure. His voice rings off the walls, not deep enough to really be taken seriously, after all he is only thirteen years old; to the adults around him he is simply having a tantrum.
It's the lack of sleep, he's hungry, he's just getting impatient. His mother throws excuses at the police officers like darts, aiming a new excuse for her son's wild behavior to a different officer each time, almost as if to keep them at bay. Roxas isn't having a tantrum though, and hates his mother for thinking of him in such a low, childish manner.
The officer looks down at him, Roxas feels the gaze taking a plunge from the man's incredible height and diving down into his very soul, the authority and presence of the man buzzing in Roxas' veins. He stands still, his tear ducts still working furiously, though he has no idea when he had started to cry again or if he had ever stopped. The officer looks cold, uncaring as he squats down beside him, lowering from his throne and stooping down to Roxas' level.
"You have to be quiet," the man stares into Roxas' eyes, making the tiny boy shrink; he can feel the way his tongue shrivels in his mouth right away. Don't talk back to adults, Roxas. He can feel his youth holding him back. Children must always respect adults, Roxas. But no, he can't let those years stop him. Age is just a number, taken far too seriously in modern society or at least he thinks so, he's always thought so. And besides, that tiny voice in his mind tells him, this is for Axel, so scream all you want until someone realizes you too can feel hurt.
"No, I don't have to be quiet!" Roxas shouts, his voice makes his ears hurt. He hates it, he loathes it, and it's his entire fault that something happened to Axel.
"Roxas!" his mother says, quick heels slapping the floor as she wobbles over to him, places her hand on his shoulder like she gives a damn, like she can feel his torment. He shrugs her off, tired and beyond miserable that no one lets him cry in peace. His mother pleads, begs him to calm down, her blue eyes demanding him for silence that he just cannot give her. Axel is behind those white walls and he just can't see him, he can't touch the man's warm skin, he can't hear his steady breathing like he had for so many nights. He'll never get any of that back ever again.
"NO!" he screams and drops to the floor, pounding his tiny knuckles into it until the skin peels away to raw flesh and his blood is splattering out with every crash of bone to linoleum. He will not be silenced. He has every right to scream until his ears and throat bleed, because he feels pain. He won't be treated like a child, not when he understands the situation, not when the one person he was willing to give everything to, vanished into nothing.
It burns, it feels like his arms are on fire, his hands have gone numb but he keeps hitting the floor screaming out through tears that threaten to asphyxiate him. The floor turns to water, and he realizes he's at the shore near the river. The one by the bridge. He looks up, only to be pushed onto his back into the shallow, freezing water. He wants to scream but he can't because someone starts pouring bucketfuls of the water on his face. He chokes painfully, trying to stop the water from suffocating him but he can't. He flails his arms and tries to kick but he can't either, he can't do anything. Slowly, his lungs fill with water, the need for air causing his lungs to constrict painfully. The last thought he has is that at least now, he'd know what it feels like to drown.
When he wakes up, he wakes up screaming for Axel, his throat going raw before he chokes. Desperate, he tosses himself off the bed, tired, worn down body lying limp for a few seconds as the rest of him wakes up. He looks around, eyes wide as he realizes that, yes, he's back in his ground floor room and Axel isn't there. Maybe it was all just a dream and everything is alright.
He races out into the living room and looks around crazily, body shaking near convulsions with held in tears. He wants to scream out for his mother, ask her why she isn't in the house with him but instead he continues to search for her, swallowing the strong urge to sob. He finds her, but part of him will forever wish he hadn't. His mother, the only woman he'd ever love, no matter how evil she is, is crying, her voice filled with agony as she weeps with her head against the wooden table. Roxas walks in slowly, afraid to upset his mother even more. A dark corner of his mind is thankful she isn't wearing that sangria dress.
She hears him, no thanks given to the squeaky floorboard in front of the 2 ton refrigerator, and she stares at him with her pained, bloodshot eyes. Roxas swallows thickly before she shakes her head and spreads her arms for him to fall into. He collapses onto her lap, feeling 3 years old again as he cries, not sure why but he knows something inside hurts.
"She's dead Roxas," she finally whispers, breaking the silence that had taken over the entire house. The small blonde raises his head, not understanding who his mother is speaking about. Quickly he thinks of faces and stops, remembering washed out, red hair and tired, green eyes. A face almost exactly like Axel's.
"W-who?" he asks but he knows, he knows too well who it is. Ever since he had met Axel's mother, the woman had been suffering from throat cancer. Once upon a time, he likes to believe; she was healthy and had a beautiful singing voice, just like her son. Once upon a time, long before Roxas had ever been born he imagines her lulling a tiny Axel to sleep, just like Axel would do for Roxas.
His mother whispers her name; sounding like a piece of her very soul is being torn out at the loss of her best friend. Her blue eyes fill with more tears and Roxas fears her eyes might bleed if she keeps crying. So, he hugs her close, the only thing he could possibly do at this moment because he knows he would never be able to offer comforting words.
"Her husband told me Axel was released from the hospital a week ago…it's why he took so long to call and tell me," his mother mumbles, pulling away from Roxas and settling him on the floor as she fixes her makeup in the magnetic mirror on the fridge. "Do you think…he tried to kill himself because of her death?" she asks, voice filled with tears but slowly returning to its cheery tune. Roxas stares at her as the layers of black mascara come off, as her hair is pinned back perfectly into place and then she looks normal, as if she hadn't been crying for the greater half of the morning.
"…What?" Roxas asks, his heart already hammering in his chest as his mother fixes her shirts cuffs, he ignores the fact that it bothers him to see her so collected already when he is such a mess. He considers this an adult thing, all of them cold and emotionless until left alone, that's when they break. He promises himself quickly to never become cold and emotionless; he would always let others know how he feels. Life is too short to keep things like feelings hidden.
"Axel was in the hospital. Explains why he hasn't been around here in a while," she says simply and looks at him, he can't stop staring at her because even if she tries to hide it she can't. Her eyes are still tinged with pink and her nose is still red. He can see more tears forming slowly, and she lets out a pained sigh. Underneath her deep misery though, Roxas can faintly trace something akin to disgust when she speaks of Axel.
"He was found at night by a man walking his dog, the current had washed him up…he's lucky he didn't drown," she says and turns quickly so that Roxas can't see the discontentment in her face, Roxas feels like she actually wanted the redhead to drown.
"C-can I go see him?" he asks quietly afraid of what her answer will be, she turns and regards Roxas, her youngest son and shakes her head not letting him go to the one thing he holds onto in this world. She tells him he can't go, and Roxas stares and stares and stares until his eyes begin to burn and he's forced to blink. "Why can't I go see him?" He thinks to himself and his mother catches the question in his innocent cerulean eyes. Roxas notices the strong disapproval in her voice when she tells him that Axel is a bad influence.
"H-he's my friend!" Roxas shouts and his mother stomps her pretty little foot, pink stilettos at 9am was always her style. Axel's mother was always barefoot. The differences between the two women are what Roxas always paid most attention to when he'd see them side by side. This is why at a moment such as this, his mind thinks of the fact that Axel's mother never wore shoes. He would watch as they'd joke and laugh together but the differences where always there and he knew that they always would be.
Axel's mother had fiery hair that matched her personality, her tongue sharp and her eyes always knowing, Roxas' mother's hair is blonde and her personality is some what of an enigma to Roxas. The reason he paid such close attention is simply so that he can justify his friendship with Axel. The way he sees it, is that the only thing his mother is paying attention to is their differences. It doesn't matter to her that Axel makes him feel safe, or that the tall male makes him laugh and feel complete. He wishes that she'd accept his friendship, like he had accepted hers. Axel's mother and she were so different, yet Roxas never judged them for it.
"Roxas, can't you see! Axel is 26 years old…he cannot be your friend," his mother says and the boy just stares at her, slowly he gets up from the chair regretting ever hugging her because now she won't comfort him while he cries. No one will comfort him because he isn't allowed to go see the one person he's ever felt this way for, instead he'll be forced to cry all alone. He pictures her in that tight dress, no longer seeing that woman he'd thought she was.
"Why?" he asks, not for her but for himself. He has to know exactly what is wrong with what they have, what he and Axel have. What makes it so wrong when they aren't hurting anyone?
"He's a grown man Roxas, I think what he wants from you isn't simply friendship and as your mother I have to protect you, the only reason I told you he was still alive was so that you'd stop crying and ruining your sleep…I know you care about him," she says as if Axel is a threat to Roxas, the man who protected him and taught him how to stand up to bullies at his school. The one person who could always make him laugh, no matter how sad he got. Roxas knows Axel would never hurt him, being a grown man or not, Axel is kind.
"Why don't you protect me from him, from that man I'm forced to call father?" Roxas wants to scream out but instead he turns on his heel and tells her that once he's sixteen he's moving out and never coming back. She simply laughs, tells him he's too young to know what he's talking about and that in a week's time he'll have forgotten all about it.
Well, he thinks, you can forget about your best friend's death in a week's time but I will never forget about Axel.
He's on a bed, he knows that much. The room is much to dark for him to tell where he is, all he has at his side is a tiny candle, lighting up only the upper half of the bed, where he's sitting. Something in him tells him to relax; there is nothing to be afraid of. This is nothing like the hospital, his body feeling warm instead of pained and cold. He melts into the soft pillows, eyelids drooping as the pleasant heat from the candle touches his cheek. The bed dips and with a few creaks, Axel's face appears, illuminated by the orange glow. Roxas feels all his insides turn to mush when those pink lips smile at him, he himself only being capable of offering an awkward little curl of his mouth.
"Roxas," Axel's voice is soft and the boy doesn't really care what's going on anymore. In fact he doesn't even question it, instead he closes his eyes and puckers his lips, hoping Axel will kiss him and grant his tiny wish. With a chuckle the redhead leans in, connecting their lips and soon pushing his tongue into Roxas mouth. The blonde isn't scared, in fact he enjoys the odd sensation taking over him and he presses into Axel when a warm hand wanders down his body, caressing him gently and leaving a trail of fire in its wake.
He doesn't know what to do, so he grabs the man's shoulders, tilting his head, kissing the man feverishly as he lets himself be touched. His thigh muscles tighten as he tries not to make a sound. He doesn't want to be making noise already, letting Axel know how inexperienced he is with these sorts of things. Soon though, he can't help it and a tiny moan escapes into their kiss, his hips bucking a little frantically into the hand above him.
"I love you."
There. He said it. Something he's never said to anyone before…but instead of hearing the man's voice answer, he's startled by the candle falling onto the bed, the sheets quickly catching fire. He goes to get up and jump off the bed but finds he can't. The weight of Axel is still on him, but the redhead isn't even there. He's being pressed into the mattress as it burns, the flames licking his skin and making him cry out in fear but smoke chokes him.
The scorching heat creeps up on him until he's engulfed in flames, his skin melting off and dripping like wax onto the bed. He's awake through all this, not once closing his eyes and staring blankly at the ceiling. The pain is excruciating, but he can't scream, again bucketfuls of water are poured on his face. There is water in his lungs.
Roxas hears his window slide open and he sits up in bed, his eyes round as he stares towards the person crawling into his room. At first, he is ready to scream for help but when the shadow stands up off the floor Roxas takes in the awkward pose and the tousled hair atop the person's head. The tiny boy's heart pounds harshly in his chest as he fumbles with the sheets, trying to pull them away from his body and get onto the floor. He rushes towards the intruder, his arms wrapping around the man and holding him in a vice like grip. Roxas hears the grunt he squeezes out of the redhead but he doesn't let go until Axel peels his arms away himself. The tall man drops to his knees in front of Roxas and the boy steps back, his eyes wide when the pale moonlight illuminates Axel's face. The man's eyes are shinning, tears streaming steadily, leaving little moist trails in their wake and it hurts, it physically hurts Roxas to see Axel in this state.
The man places his hands on Roxas' hips and simply holds him for there for a long while, Roxas feels his legs falling victim to numbness but he doesn't want to move. Axel is just staring at him, his poison green eyes burning Roxas' entire being and filling him with the fluttery feeling that resembles insects in his stomach. Finally the silence is broken by a choked apology, the word 'sorry' falling from Axel's dry lips over and over, scraping its way out of his throat in a way that sounds painful. Roxas kneels in front of the sobbing adult and takes his face between his hands.
Axel is beautiful to Roxas, he has always been. The man has a slender face and it fits in Roxas' small hands as if it was made to be there. Roxas knows, he feels it is almost a fact that their eyes connect perfectly whenever they look at each other, like two halves finally becoming a whole. The tiny boy presses his lips to Axel's, he isn't quite sure why but he knows he has to do this. He feels like if he doesn't he will die. At first Axel is still, not moving and the only sounds are his sobs, muffled by Roxas' mouth. The tiny boy pulls away and places little kisses all over the man's face. "There's nothing to be sorry about…you're alive," Roxas feels like laughing, wanting to tell Axel how silly it is that he feels the need to apologize. The boy understands why he did what he did; he could understand why Axel hadn't talked to him in so long.
The scary dreams were all lies, night terrors that couldn't hurt him anymore. Nothing could hurt him as long as Axel was alive and well. His heart feels ready to implode, and the happiness he feels out-rules the pain all over his body. His drunken father can't hurt him because Axel is alive and he is here.
"No Roxas, it's not that…" Axel pushes the boy away and stands up, towering over the tiny body but looking frail and vulnerable. Roxas doesn't know whether to touch him or leave him be. He's afraid that any quick movement would cause Axel to disappear into the night, vanishing in a cloud of dark smoke. "For what I've done to you Roxas. You're…you're just a kid…I can't do this. I'm leaving Roxas, so everything can be right for you. I have to do this. Good bye."
The room is empty, silence has never been golden nor will it ever be. Silence is what there is at funerals; silence is what there is when there is no happiness, just nothing. Silence is a painful reminder of everything you ever lost in life. Parties are loud, dances are loud, and life is loud.
Roxas stares at the open window, watches the breeze rustle the trees as it gust in and leaves again, carrying with it his hopes, dreams and everything in between. Axel is gone, just like that. Everything isn't right, no, everything is very wrong. This isn't how it's supposed to be, this isn't what Roxas wanted.
He stands up, staring blankly in front of him now, like he'd had seen happen so many times in his dreams. He is looking at nothing and finally understands what was happening. This is all just another painful dream, and it would all be over soon enough. He'd just have to wait, for that feeling of his lungs filling with water. With that thought in mind, he walks out of his room and towards the bathroom in silence. His mother is asleep in bed, in her sangria night gown. His father had just bought it for her, as an apology for hitting her so hard she lost a molar.
He's glad the bathtub is so deep, as he watches the water slowly fill the porcelain. When he is sure there is enough water to submerge himself, he opens the medicine cabinet and grabs the sleeping pills. Funny, he'd fall asleep in a dream. He takes a few pills and climbs into the tub, soaking his clothes as he settles comfortably in the freezing water. Soon enough, this dream would all be over. Soon enough, Axel would be with him, and his parents would be gone forever. He'd be safe forever, he'd be able to love in peace.
As soon as the water fills his lungs, he'd be happy.
A/N2: Hey there err body who actually read this. I wanted to write the whole ReallyGrossAgeGap thing from the kid's perspective, seeing as it's always written in the older one's view or at least that's how I've always seen them so yeah, here is it. I hope it was alright, and to everyone's dark twisted liking (:
Again, thank you.