The Sound Of Loneliness
"Hey Roxas, remember when we were younger?" I said to him, the darkness of my room swallowing us whole. He lay beside me staring at the ceiling, still, but I could tell he was awake. There was just a difference in his breathing pattern that I had always seemed to pick up. While awake, his breaths were quick, almost like he couldn't breathe, and when he slept, he was finally calm. It took him a while before he spoke, his response slow and delayed, like he was taking a memory from deep within himself.
"Yeah, I remember. You were always making me do something stupid, like climbing into patches of poison ivy," his eyes were always what captured my attention, and even then in the dark as I propped myself up on my elbow and looked at him, they glowed. Even after all the shit that had happened, his eyes were still beautiful.
Since way back, when we first became neighbors I had been transfixed in his stare, and I'd watched it slowly lose all its innocent luster. There had always been a certain sadness inside that never came out, no matter how many times I'd seen him cry. It seemed like nothing could remove that thorn of misery from within him.
I laughed it off, trying to ignore the way he kept getting thinner, the way he seemed to never get any sleep. I didn't want to think it; I could never have seen it coming. Instead of saying anything about it though, I kept the easy flow of casual conversation. It was so rare to have moments like this with him anymore, so few were the times he chose to come visit me at night, instead of his dealer. I smiled at him, hoping he'd see just what he meant to me, hoping he'd realize how hurt I was. "Remember why though? We had to fight off the monsters. You'd never back off of any challenge, especially when Sora would play…You know, you're still kind of like that. Reckless," I saw him smile in the dark, and figured I could live with that image. I didn't want to fall asleep thinking of how everyday a piece of him faded away. I settled into the pillows and covered myself, finding his hand under the sheets and lacing our fingers together. I never found our closeness strange, I had always enjoyed it. The warmth of his hand, and the steady silence had me on the brink of sleep, the world was slowly turning into nothing for a few hours, then I heard him speak.
"I'm not afraid to die..." I couldn't tell if he was crying or not before I fell asleep.
"Come on Roxas, put it on," Sora taunted, his little fists on his hips as he stared at Roxas. I stood off behind them, being the oldest I always thought their games were stupid. This was stupid and I just wanted to go outside and hit things. Sora was always more about competing with Roxas. I was just about doing whatever I wanted. Roxas blushed cutely, and I'll never forget the way my stomach flipped at the sight of him slipping into his sister's dress. The lace straps hung off his tiny, boney shoulders and he kept constantly trying to fix it, though it was all in vain. "Ha-ha, you look like such a girl!"
I didn't like the way Roxas looked after that comment, I didn't like the way his eyes watered when Sora kept laughing, and I hated the way he had to bite his lip to keep from crying when his brother took a picture with their Polaroid camera. I rolled up my sleeves and shoved Sora, snatching the camera and taking the picture. The brunette just stared at me with a pout but being the oldest meant I was the tallest, coolest and scariest. "Stop it," I said, trying to make my voice sound meaner like my older brother. I turned to find Roxas biting his thumb nail and looking up at me with glistening eyes, but a brilliant smile. Sora huffed somewhere behind me and I handed the picture to Roxas. "I think you look…uh…nice," I scratched my head, not used to complimenting anyone yet. Roxas blush spread down past his exposed collar bone. He cradled the picture gently, and I was surprised he didn't rip it up.
"Whatever, this game is dumb anyways," Sora turned and left the room. I decided I was bored of playing with him too and turned to look at Roxas. He still had the dress on, and was playing with the skirt, a small secretive smile on his face. I felt as if I shouldn't have been watching him, but I couldn't tear my eyes away.
"Why are you still wearing it?" I didn't mean for it to sound the way it did, and when Roxas stopped abruptly and stared at me, like a deer caught in headlights, I felt guilty for making him feel just like Sora did. Before I could say anything else, he took off the dress, folded it neatly and placed it back in his sister's dresser. It was a very wonderful black dress, one that probably looked really nice on Larxene, with her elegant height and narrow waist. Still, I thought Roxas made it look beautiful too.
"I don't like dresses or anything," he mumbled, quickly putting his own clothes back on and stuffing the picture in his pocket. The rough material of denim and the unshapely t-shirt didn't look as natural on Roxas as the silk dress, and at the age of thirteen, thinking my friend looked nice in a dress confused me.
I stood at Roxas' dresser, staring in where he had left it open. The large wooden drawer was just left ajar, instead of closed and locked like he usually had it. I had never even caught a glimpse of what he kept in here and that worried me. I peered in and I couldn't believe my eyes. There on top of his clothes, sat the Polaroid of him in his sister's dress, and if that wasn't shocking enough, the silky gown was folded right beside it. I brushed the material with the tips of my fingers, looking around the small bedroom while slowly extracting the dress and holding it at arms length. It seemed a lot shorter than when I saw it at thirteen and on Roxas' body. I didn't even think of questioning him on why he had it in the first place, all I really wanted was to see him in it now. Now that he was finally taller and a little more filled in, his limbs longer and his shoulders wider.
When he walked in, he ran to me and grabbed the delicate garment from my hand viciously, and I feared it would tear. Quickly he turned his back to me, holding it against his chest while not letting me see his face, his fingers smoothing the material over his hand. "Why are you going through my stuff?" he barked angrily and I reached out to him, placing my hand on his shoulder and running it down his arm. Little droplets of water that shone like diamonds adorned his still moist skin, my fingers disrupting them to feel the warmth that still clung to him. As I touched him, I watched his skin explode with goose bumps. I hooked my fingers in the hollow of his elbow and tried to make him face me.
"Can I see you in it again?" It's all I was thinking about, all I wanted to see was how the black silk rested against his pale thighs, how the lace straps looked on his milky shoulders. He tensed, turning to stare at me with angry, disbelieving eyes but I held his stare. I was serious and this strange attraction scared me. I didn't know what to make of it, but I was never the thinking type. I relied mostly on action.
"You just want to laugh at me," he hung his head, his wet blonde bangs dripping onto the wooden floor. It was a heart breaking sight and I lifted his head gently, cupping his cheek. His eyes were rimmed with red and I didn't want to question why he was crying so much. I just didn't want him to feel hurt or ashamed for having the dress. I understood, even if I didn't know what I was supposed to understand.
When the silence stretched long enough, and I knew I'd have to answer him soon I panicked. He seemed to be ready to bolt out of the room, so I tugged him against my chest and I kissed him. Plain and simple. His pale lips called to me, asking me why it was taking me so long to realize that this was the right thing to do. I knew I had made the right decision when he wrapped his arms around my neck and pulled me down, his tongue pushing against mine, letting me taste the fresh mint flavor of his clean mouth. I gripped at his hips, the fluffy towel tickling my fingers as I tried to meld his body into mine. I felt the fingers on his free hand tangle in my hair, the other hand still holding the dress. The silk material of the dress brushed my arm and I shivered, my desire to see him in it only increasing. "Please, I won't laugh," I breathed when we pulled away. Reluctantly he stepped away from me and I turned around, giving him enough privacy to put on the dress.
With a shy clearing of his throat, I turned and had to make sure to breathe. It only reached mid-thigh on him now, and it was still a bit loose but I had never seen anything more beautiful. The silk clung to his frame, even if the breast part wasn't filled and the material just hung there, it looked amazing. I felt myself get hard, and that confusion I felt when I was thirteen was attraction. His legs were thin and bruised, his arms too and I tried to disregard the track marks, I didn't want to let them taint his beauty but I knew they were there. "This is embarrassing," he sighed, going to take the dress off but I stopped him, reaching out and grabbing his wrist.
"Why'd you lock them away?" My eyes searched his for an answer but I found none. Instead he led me to the bed and pushed me onto it. The old springs were digging into parts of my back and it hurt. But I couldn't even concentrate on any of that when Roxas climbed on top of me, the dress hiking up and exposing more of that smooth, pale flesh. I could see how hard he was and I got one last chance to lick my lips before he was kissing me, all tongue and teeth. I could hardly breathe when he placed my hands on his thighs, my fingers touching the silk and his skin. I moved my hands up, only wanting to get the dress out of the way, but not wanting to take it off as he battled with my jeans button.
The rest of it was mostly a haze of incredible pleasure and hot flashes of pain when he'd bite down on my shoulder. The musky scent of sweat filled the room quickly, the sheets sticking to my trembling thighs when he disconnected our bodies. I felt light, almost ready to float off the bed and right through the ceiling. "What did we just do?" his voice was quiet and I sat up, trying to hear him better but only succeeding in making him move away from me. He stood up, a tense look on his face as the dress slid down his legs and covered his manhood. I stared at him, half naked and not knowing what to say.
"We had sex Roxas," I replied and smiled at him, thinking it would be all right again, thinking he'd come lay beside me like so many nights before. He just stared at me, gripping the dress and getting angry.
"Because I was in a dress? Because I look like a fucking woman?" He was screaming at me, and there were so many tears streaming out of his eyes that I was thrown off for a few minutes. I didn't know what was happening but I sprung off the bed and wrapped my arms around him, holding him tightly against my chest. He hit my chest with his small fists, but calmed after a bit, resting his ear against my sternum.
"No, because I love you…" It felt like a blunt stab when Roxas forcefully tugged himself out of my reach, picked up my pants and shoved them into my chest. The very spot he himself had just been and pushed me towards his front door. I went along easily, too shocked to really put up any resistance. When I was finally out in the hallway I looked at him, blonde hair disheveled, neck filled with dark purple love bites and his lips swollen from my kisses. He slammed the door in my face, and I listened as it echoed through the hall. None of that mattered to me though, because all in an instant I knew.
I loved him more than I ever had before.
I walked out of the theatre, avoiding as many people as I could in the process. I didn't really want to listen to their praise, as rude as that may have sounded. I had just finished playing my final song of the night, all the other musicians going off to their families to be given roses, hugs and kisses. I stared around, slowly peeling my white gloves off and hoping to spot a head of blonde hair. There was no one, not even when I asked the man at coat check, who complimented me and I reluctantly listened. I took my coat and thanked him, leaving with a very prominent ache in my chest.
All I had left was this music, my piano and my songs. That and Roxas, who was no where to be seen when I left and walked out into the cold night. I hunched my shoulders, tried to hide myself deeper in my jacket, my thin dress pants letting all the cold seep into my bones. I didn't want to feel heart broken, or even let down. After all, no one but my mother had ever cared about my music, so why would Roxas even bother showing up? It didn't matter that that was the first show I'd performed with out my mom there. No, that didn't matter at all. It didn't even matter that he'd completely ditched me for a new group of friends, or that I was his best friend, who he hadn't seen for weeks. Obviously none of that was important because he wasn't there that night.
I had been walking for well over twenty minutes when I saw him, stumbling along the street, laughing to himself. I ran up to him, because he was in shorts and a fucking t-shirt, while the snow still covered the ground, his socks soaked with slush. I took off my jacket and placed it over his shoulders, grabbing his face and looking at him. Something wasn't right, and it was more than the fact that he was outside dressed like that. His eyes were different, glazed over, lost. "Found you," he said in a voice that wasn't his and I had to ask him, just what he had been doing tonight. "You see, a few weeks back…I discovered a little thing called…Heroin."
I look out into the club's crowd, praying, hoping to see Roxas' face. He had promised me to be at my performance, and just like five years ago, he was no where to be seen. I bit the inside of my cheek before deciding that it was alright, I could play without him there. I had done it all those years ago, and I could definitely do it again. Without him watching me, I could play the song I had written for him. I fixed the position of my fingers over the piano keys and began playing a sad tune. The crowd was quiet, listening intently when I started to sing. The pain I felt in my chest pouring out through every lyric I sang, slowly and loudly. I had to fight off bitter tears, my fingers pressing down harder on the keys, making each note ring out louder than usual.
When I looked up again, I saw a familiar face; it made my breath catch when Roxas lifted his tiny hand and waved at me from a table. My fingers eased on the strings and I could do nothing but finish the song, the end sounding much more cheerful than the beginning. "I wrote that…for someone who means everything to me," I smiled brightly as the crowd clapped crazily, even after I had left the stage and found Roxas by the doors. He was here; I didn't want to wait around for anyone to ask me questions. I wanted to be with him, I wanted to spend all of the little time he gave me, right at his side.
"That was amazing Axel...How about we go to your house?" he offered and again, that voice that didn't sound right coming from his lips spoke to me. I turned to look at him, realizing he hadn't come to see me play but to ask me for a favor, or for money, or for something. We rarely spoke anymore. He used to at least call, but not after I told him I loved him. I sighed and stopped, crossing my arms over my chest.
"What do you really want?" His eyes grew round before he tried to act offended.
"Nothing! I just want to spend time with you…with my best friend," he stepped closer to me, putting his hand on my chest, running it down my stomach and brushing his lips against my neck. "With someone…I love," that was it. Hook, line and sinker.
The next time I saw Roxas was when I went to pick him up from the train terminal. He stumbled out of the cart and into my arms, laughing when I almost fell just to catch him. I didn't want to look at him, I didn't even want to be here but something kept dragging me back to him. I looked down, feeling tears moisten the corners of my eyes when he stared back, empty and dead. The laughter was hollow and it made my skin prickle every time I heard it. I pushed him away, but had to grab onto his elbow harshly before he fell face first to the floor. I bit my cheek, before making him sit and catching his attention.
"Where's my car?" I had woken up after our show, after making love, to find him and my car gone. Nothing left behind but his cum on my sheets. I was angry but I couldn't find it in me to really shout at him. His big eyes were still blue and he was still Roxas.
"I lost it in Mexico…or well…I sold it for some caaaash," he laughed as if it was funny and I couldn't hold back my tears.
"Why are you doing this Roxas? Can't you see who you're hurting?" I wiped the hot liquid off my cheeks as quickly as I could, but I just couldn't get it all. Roxas just stared at me, almost as if he was looking right through me and I realized he wasn't listening to me at all. I roared in rage, anything to make him notice me for once and his eyes went wide as he finally snapped back into reality, just in time to see my fist crash a few centimeters from his head and into the station wall. "I love you Roxas, please…believe me…let me help you." I felt drained, like I had nothing. I had been trying to help him, to make him stop since my piano rehearsal, since the first second he told me about his new found habit. I had been with him to 5 different rehabs, 5 different doctors but nothing I did was working.
"You can't love me. You're a guy Axel…that's just fucked up," he shoved me and I turned to watch him walk away and disappear into the crowd of people before I could gather up the energy to chase after him.
His blonde hair was no where to be seen and I just knew I loved him more than I ever had before.
I walked to Roxas' house, hands in my pockets and my head hung low. It hurt me to think that he hated me for loving him. I never understood why he'd take me into his arms, push me onto the mattress if all of it made him feel disgusted. It confused me, but I wasn't going to let it come between us. He was my best friend; I would have stuck with him no matter what. I was sticking with him through his addiction. I fingered the pamphlets in my pockets, all great rehabs for him, and close enough so that I could visit every day.
I saw him kneeling by his garden, the forgotten plants all left there after so many months of neglect. I approached quietly, dropped to my knees beside him and just stared at the few little flowers left. There was still hope. "You should tend it," I whispered and I felt him reach out and grab my hand.
"What's wrong with me Axel? Why am I like this?" his voice was so pained, I couldn't force myself to look at him. It would break my heart even more than it already was.
"There is nothing wrong with you. You're perfect to me," I looked at him then and he stared back, that same look in his eyes. They were empty and dead, but like his little garden I saw hope, or maybe it was just the reflection of my eyes in his. "I can help you, look!" I took out all the pamphlets, showed them to him and he just stared at them.
"Alright…" he whispered and I smiled, hugging him tightly, tears of joy seeping out of my eyes.
I should have known when I walked home that day, that I wouldn't see him for weeks. I should have known, that he would go right back to his dealer, minutes after I was out of sight. He never wanted to get better.
I walked into my empty apartment and knew from the threshold that something wasn't right. There was an eerie chill that swept past me and out the door as I stood on the outside looking in. I braved the first few steps, the door slamming shut behind me because of the wind. Everything was where it had always been, so I knew if someone had been here, they hadn't robbed me. I wondered if it had been Roxas, since I did give him my extra key and my suspicions were confirmed when I walked to the coffee table and found a note, written on cloud stationary.
It was from Roxas, and the pain that crippled me after the words were off the page and in my mind was as strong as the pain I felt when my mother died.
'There's something wrong with me.'
'I don't deserve you or anyone…'
'I can't do this anymore.'
I turned, ripping the door open and ran down the hallway, leaving my apartment behind and moving as quickly as any human on the edge of hysteria could.
When I got there, to Roxas' house, I knew it was all over. I was too fucking late. Everything had finished just the way I had never wanted it to. I walked shakily up to the house or as close as I dared to get. Sora was standing outside crying alone as the paramedics pulled a black zipped up bag outside on a gurney, where I knew Roxas' body was. My tears burned as they trailed down my cheeks and when Sora saw me, he wrapped his arms around me, sobbing into my shirt. I hugged him too, feeling the way his chest heaved, when crying just couldn't sooth the ache. I felt numb, the cloud stationary still clutched in my hand as I stood there, staring off at nothing.
I finally caught a glimpse at Roxas' old garden, the one he'd take care of with his life before getting into Heroin. It was nothing but a muddy field now, and the sight of that was what broke me.
I collapsed to the floor, leaving Sora standing there as I pounded my fists into the concrete of their drive way. This wasn't fair, this was not how it was supposed to be. He was supposed to accept my help to get better and come live with me…he was supposed to finally be okay with wearing that black dress around me. Why did he have to fucking be such a God damned coward? I loved him.
I looked up with watery eyes, staring at the clouds that swirled grey above me. "I'm glad you got away Roxas, but I'm still fucking stuck down here."
All the memories come flooding back to me, images of Roxas when he was younger, when he was growing up. And now that it's all over, I sit at my piano bench, staring down at the Polaroid he left for me on the coffee table. All I have now is whatever I took from his room, whatever he told me to keep in his note. The box rests at my feet as I stare at the picture. At eleven years old, he was the vision of innocence. Where did that all go wrong?
I take a long sip of whiskey, enjoy the way it feels going down my throat. I consider, for a moment, turning into an alcoholic and slam my fists into the keys. The loudness rings out, sounding harsh and nothing like the Moonlight Sonata, which Roxas used to love. Pain erupts in my chest, my stomach and everywhere else at the thought of Roxas. My fingers twitch, and I start playing. I play the song I wrote for him, singing drunkenly through the tears that are drowning me. It doesn't sound right, nothing even feels right anymore. My hands fall from the piano, the music stopping abruptly and the silence engulfs me. It's quiet in my apartment, no one here but me. The tears slow and soon they stop completely.
This is the sound of loneliness, I figure and I get up from the piano bench, shutting the cover and locking it. I stare at the key in my hand, the little brass object that allows me to fill this empty apartment with life and music. Walking over to my balcony, I realize that this silence helps me. It soothes the ache in my chest and without Roxas around to hear me play, I've got no need for music. I throw the key off the balcony, watch as it plummets into the darkness, taking along with it whatever is left of me.
I could never play again and be reminded of his blue, glowing eyes. I could never sing again and be reminded of how he'd smile at me through every note. I would be forever in silence, because the sound of loneliness is the only thing that makes me happy now.
A/N: I've been really depressed lately, so this is what happens. I can't write Brotherly Love while in this mind frame, so I take to writting this depressing crap. It's not a literary masterpiece or anything but...I don't know.
I hope someone likes it.