TITLE | sugar, spell it out
PROMPT | in the air tonight
FANDOM | Kingdom Hearts
PAIRING | Roxas/Kairi
RATING | M
PART | 1/5
NOTES | Oh, my God. I am actually going to complete a multipart fic for this fandom. Rejoice! Disclaimer applies to all chapters.
Kairi was standing on a dirty street corner at three in the morning, waiting for the light to change, when the alarm at the old laboratory run by her grandfather went off. The siren was loud enough to be heard at least halfway into the city limits, and the sound bounced between the buildings, clear and shrill.
She curved her fingers into the cuffs of her slightly oversized leather jacket, the hem slightly frayed as it brushed her hips, and stepped onto the street. She knew what each alarm meant, had every sound and screech memorized from years of Ansem checking them. A low whistle meant there was a risk of something blowing up. The one that sounds like humming means evacuate. This one, the one thrumming in her ears, meant -
High pitched and shrieking. Somebody spilled something, somewhere, and now it was in the city, and it was dangerous.
Automatically, she pulled her purple scarf over her nose, mismatched grey and black canvas shoes wet as she started to jog towards her apartment. It'd rained the night before and there were puddles all over the ground.
When she hit the sidewalk that lead straight to her place, she saw the black van parked out front. She sighed, tipped the front of her hat over her eyes, and walked towards it.
"Axel," she said, "what did I tell you about camping out in front of my apartment? It's creepy."
He lifted his head off the steering wheel and tilted his head towards her, smiling his predator smile. When he reached over and unlocked the passenger's side door, she blinked.
"No time for pleasantries, sis," he drawled, tugging at the handle just enough so he could kick the door open the rest of the way. "Hop in – the old man's just itching to see you."
She hesitantly climbed inside, slammed the door shut, and grabbed her seatbelt. The seat was warm – she scrunched up her nose and decided she didn't want to know who'd been sitting in it before her. "I didn't even do anything this time," she muttered, smoothing out her skirt. "I was at the karaoke bar with everyone."
"It's not about what you did," Axel said, pulling out and onto the street a lot faster than Kairi thought possible. She was used to Axel's driving, really, but she white-knuckled the dashboard anyways. "It's more about what you need to do."
"I don't like the sound of that," she said, ignoring the way he grinned at her with his even white teeth and slanted green eyes in favour of staring out the window. They were already close to the edge of the downtown east side, where the buildings stopped abruptly and turned into farmland. "I'm not going to be his test subject for anything."
"Relax, Princess." Axel reached out and tugged on a strand of her hair. "He won't be sticking any tubes into you just yet."
"Better not be," she went. When they sidled up alongside the curb just outside the main building, Axel unbuckled his own seatbelt and started to climb out. She stared. "Wait, you're coming with me? You never come inside!"
"Things change," he said, sounding disturbingly solemn. "C'mon – it's better if we're inside than out here."
She slammed the door behind her when she got out, just to see him wince, and straightened her rumpled t-shirt. He grabbed her wrist before she could move her hands and tugged her towards the sliding glass doors, his expression borderline angry. "Axel?"
"The alarm," she started, then stopped when he looked at her. They bypassed security easily because everyone knew the both of them, the siblings who never got along, Ansem's pride and joys. "It means there's a biohazard."
"Pops will be fucking beside himself with joy when he hears you remembered." His fingers slid from her wrist to her hand. His palm was warm against hers. "What's your point?"
"You said we'd be safer in here than outside," she began. "Whatever it is… it's in the air, isn't it?"
The corner of his mouth kicked up into one of his rare half-smiles. "You always were a smart one."
"You didn't answer my question."
He pulled her down a hallway she didn't recognize and stayed quiet. At the third door on the left, he kicked it three times, then pulled her next to him and said, "I'm not going to."
The door slid open with a mechanical hiss, and a boy with blond hair and dead looking blue-blue eyes stood before them, gas valve in one hand, bandana wrapped around the lower half of his face. Axel snickered. "He is."
The boy watched her passively. "Hn."
Kairi glanced between them, then at the valve in the stranger's hand, and thought about the alarm. She paled. "Axel…"
"Sorry, doll," he mumbled, and pulled her into the room. Her arm brushed the boy's chest. "I lied. Gramps has no idea you're here."
"You – you caused the leak, didn't you." She ripped her arm away from him and backed up. They both stared at her with their too-bright eyes. She swallowed against the lump in her throat. "How bad is it?"
"Level Two," the boy said robotically. "It won't kill anybody. Stop freaking out."
She spluttered. Then she went after him.
"Stop freaking out?" she hissed, jabbing a finger into his chest. "You went and probably caused a pandemic. Mass hysteria! Anyone with half a brain will figure out that the alarm means something bad and then the whole city is going to panic because two idiots fooled around and you're telling me stop freaking out?"
Axel gaped at her. "That's the first time I've ever seen you so pissed."
"And you!" she snapped, whirling on him. "Do you have any idea how mad Grandpa is going to be when he finds out what you did? You'll be lucky if he doesn't ship you off to military school like he threatened to the last time!"
"Last time?" the boy echoed, blinking. Axel rubbed the back of his head sheepishly.
"Blew up a lab at the mansion by mixing too many chemicals," he muttered. "It was pretty awesome to see his face go all red though."
"I don't believe this." Kairi rubbed her temples and leaned against the desk at the front of the room. Apparently, they were in someone's office. "I – I don't want any part of this, Axel. Whatever reason you dragged me here for? Forget it. I won't tell, but I'm not getting involved, either."
She ignored him, turning for the door. As her fingers touched the handle, they heard footsteps outside. Without any warning, the blond grabbed her shoulders and pulled her against him, away from the window. The footsteps stopped, and the voices started up. With her head against one strong shoulder and his hands sliding down the leather of her jacket, Kairi found it incredibly hard to focus on what they were saying.
"What do you mean, the gas wasn't Level Two?" someone asked. "All you had to do was label the tanks, Myde."
"I know, I know!" another voice said, slightly meeker. Myde, probably. "But fucking Ienzo was all up on my case for not getting him his files on time and I wasn't paying attention and I accidentally mixed up the two labels."
"Don't blame this on me," another voice said, monotone. "It's not my fault you're completely incompetent."
"Be quiet," the only voice with no name attached to it hissed. "What. Level. Was. The gas?"
There was a pause, then, "Level Four."
"Shit," Axel breathed next to her, and exchanged a look she couldn't catch with Roxas above her head. "Shit."
The man outside echoed Axel, only a lot louder. Something slammed into the wall, and then, "We need to go see Ansem."
They waited until the footsteps disappeared down the hall before moving away from each other. Kairi put as much distance as she could between them and exhaled through her nose.
"Now, Kairi, I know this looks bad," Axel started, placating. "But really, it's -"
"I take back everything I said before," she interrupted coolly. Both boys gawked at her. She felt her lip curl back over her teeth in a snarl that probably looked a lot more intimidating when Yuffie did it. "You're not idiots. You're absolute morons!"
The boy winced. "I get the feeling that when she starts yelling, shit hits the fan."
Axel looked a little pale next to him. "You've got no fucking idea."
Kairi ignored them, pacing now. She was getting hysterical, she knew, but at the same time… "Oh my God, Level Four? That's almost as lethal as mustard gas, and you just went and leaked it into an entire metropolis without even thinking. Oh my God."
Axel walked up to her and grabbed her upper arm. "You need to calm down." The look she shot him was nothing but pure loathing as she shrugged out of his grip. He made a small noise of frustration. "Goddamn it, Kairi, would you just listen to me?"
"Listen to you?" she snapped, glaring at him. "You think you actually have an excuse for the crap you just pulled? Innocent lives are at danger here, Axel! This isn't one of your stupid games anymore."
"You think I don't know that already." He ran a hand through his hair and all the tension left his shoulders. "Look, it was for a good reason. And if people die, it's not like they died in vain."
Kairi was understandably horrified. "How can you even say –"
"Ansem's developing a nuclear weapon strong enough to wipe out everything within a thirty mile radius of here in one shot," the strange boy said. He finally pulled the bandana away from the bottom half of his face. "The gas leak was supposed to be a distraction while we tried to figure out where it is."
"Because even if there's a gas leak outside," Kairi said absently, "the whole building gets evacuated."
"Exactly," Axel said, tapping her temple. "See? It's possible to think rationally when you're not having a girly shit fit."
"Axel," the blond said, "stop flirting with your sister. It's disturbing."
"Adopted sister," Kairi said automatically. The boy raised his eyebrows. "Now it seems like I'm encouraging him, doesn't it?"
"Just a little bit."
"Now who's flirting," Axel snarked, settling his arm over Kairi's shoulders. She stared in disdain at the hand that on her upper arm. "Anyways, back to the big picture here. Despite the death and destruction us accidentally releasing possibly lethal gas into the civilian world might cause, this actually works out for us."
"Why?" The blond said.
"Us?" Kairi went. "I'm scared."
"As you should be," the boy went. Axel ploughed on.
"See, with the threat of a Level Four biohazard running around in our fair city's air, they're going to evacuate everyone from here to Radiant Garden." He smirked here, one of the ones that showed off the points of his canines. "We've got all the time in the world, now."
"And probably a few hundred bodies," Kairi grumbled.
Axel waved her off. "Technicalities."
She gaped and ducked away from him, horrified. "I don't even know you."
"You don't know me, either," the boy said, blinking, as if he only just realized. "Roxas."
"Kairi," she replied, "but you probably already had that figured out."
"Axel never stops talking about you," he deadpanned. "I wish he would."
Axel flipped him off. Kairi, against her better judgement, giggled into the sleeve of her jacket and leaned against the desk again. Then she sobered up again. "Why do you know all this?"
Axel and Roxas exchanged another Look. Kairi had the distinct feeling she was going to hate those looks. Roxas stepped towards her, almost cautious, and frowned a bit. "We can't tell you that."
She pinched the bridge of her nose. "Then I'm not helping you do anything."
"Don't be difficult, Red."
"You can talk to me about being difficult," Kairi said calmly, eyeing Axel, "when you stop being the most obnoxious person in the world. Oh, looks like we're never going to be having that conversation ever."
"You know, you're kind of making me rethink my whole Real Men Don't Hit Girls rule –"
"As if that even applies to you," she retorted. "I've seen thirteen-year-olds with more facial hair."
Roxas was flipping through files on the desk as they bickered. Almost lazily, he threw in, "Evacuations are supposed to take place within one day of the alarm going and last roughly two months, depending on the severity of the leak."
They both stopped and stared at him. Kairi walked over to him and leaned a little against his shoulder to read the file as well. "And, how bad is the leak?"
Roxas held up the gas valve in his hand and half-smirked at her. "What do you think?"
Kairi had a feeling that it was going to be a very long two months.