Would any of you believe me if I said this was originally going to be a really short, ten chapter story? It actually was, but look where we are now! I have a really important question to ask you all, but I'll save it for the end. Enjoy the final chapter!
Chapter 24: Bells
"Speeches are dumb," Axel stated as he stared at a blank sheet of paper in front of him. I shook my head and leaned back on my elbows and stared at Axel for a moment. We were in his room on a Thursday night, and it was the day before graduation.
"You only think that because you can't write it," I stated as he sighed while dropping the pencil and his head onto the paper. I shifted until I was beside his ear and kissed his cheek sweetly. "The faster you write this…the quicker we get to us time,"I stressed with a kiss to his lips. He kissed back with much vigor, and before I knew it, we were making out, battling for dominance in the kiss. Axel won, but I pulled away when I felt his hand on my waist.
"Damn it, Roxy!" he complained as I slid away from him back onto his pillows and staring at him as he picked the pencil up. He looked at me then back at the paper then back at me again. He repeated the activity for the next three minutes before I rolled my eyes.
"Write a speech, Axel!" I commanded, and he dropped the pencil and pinned me back down onto the bed.
"How can I when you look so sexy lying on my bed like that?" he asked softly, and I rolled my eyes.
"How?" I countered, "Because you need to write something since Demyx isn't giving a speech!" I told him, and he sighed before getting up, taking the paper in hand and heading for the desk on the opposite side of the room.
"Sit there and look sexy, okay?" he said as he sat at the desk. He spun the chair to face me for a moment. "I'll be done in a half hour tops, then we'll have sex, all right?"he said before turning back to the paper. I rolled my eyes, turned over in his bed, and sighed quietly.
It had been three months since the night Alec tried to kill us all at the small abandoned house on the edge of Twilight Town. It had been two months since I was allowed to leave that stupid hospital. Man did time fly.
It seemed like only yesterday I was clutching my right shoulder in pain or screaming in terror from a nightmare. I had seen my parents once I got home and talked to them every night. I had been allowed to stay here, just until the school year ended, which was tomorrow. I hated the fact I had to leave, but it seemed a lot easier this time, and I didn't know why.
Demyx was close to a full recovery, but he took a few steps backward when he tried to play in gym when the teacher wasn't in the room. He ended up opening the stitches on his back and sides, almost bleeding out a second time. He had to get new stitches and another transfusion. Either way, he wasn't making a speech tomorrow. Hell, he wasn't even allowed to stand, because his mom really cracked down on him after the incident, along with Zexion. He's doing okay, and I was glad to see emotion on his face since it was such a rare sight any other time. Marluxia is fine too, but he got an earful from Larxene about being careful and how stupid he was for getting in the situation he got himself in.
So, since Demyx wasn't making the speech, the next in line was the incredibly unprepared Axel Lea…who also seemed to be speech writing impaired. He had begged me to help him since Monday, but each time we tried to work, he got distracted, and we ended up either watching a movie, going out, doing something the basement, or making out in his room. If he didn't get the speech done, I didn't know what I'd do.
I glanced over my shoulder and stared at Axel as he furiously wrote on the paper.
If I'd miss anything or anyone, it would be him.
I'd miss that crazy hair, that cocky smile, the confident strides, and most of all, those addicting green eyes. I'd miss every part of him, but he would come to me as soon as he could. He said he would buy the first available ticket to Radiant Garden, and that alone made leaving a hell of a lot easier.
"Roxy!" Axel called out, pulling me away from my thoughts.
"Yeah?" I asked as I sat up.
"I think I'm done," he said, and I cocked my head to the side and checked the clock. I had been so lost in my thoughts; it had almost been an hour already.
"Can I take a look? So I know you're not lying," I said, and he shook his head. I got up from the bed and walked over while Axel watched me with hungry eyes. When I reached him, he pulled me into his lap and kissed my neck.
"I swear, you strut like that just to tease me, babe,"he whispered into my ear as I picked up the sheet of paper and the three extra ones. I read the beginning quietly while Axel rested his chin on my left shoulder.
"It looks good," I said, and Axel pulled the paper from my hands and picked me up. He walked toward the bed and laid me down on it with a smirk. "Axel, what are you~"
"Hey, it's done, makes sense, now I get you," he growled before crashing his lips against mine in a hungry kiss. I didn't struggle against him, because a promise is a promise. That and it wasn't as if I didn't want him. He pulled away while trying to get my shirt off.
"Don't forget we have school tomorrow!" I said, but Axel gripped my wrists and pinned them above my head.
"I don't have school, so I can sleep in till noon and still make it to graduation tomorrow by three," he bragged, and I sighed. I guess I wouldn't be sleeping tonight…or walking properly tomorrow.
I stroked Roxas's hair as he slept, his body pulled into mine, his head on top of my chest. He looked so cute when he slept, completely carefree and relaxed. It had to be one of the few times where his forehead wasn't creased as he thought hard about something.
I just hope I could get a ticket to join him as soon as I could.
I had checked all trips to Radiant Garden for the next three months, and they were all sold out already. I didn't tell Roxas, and I didn't want to either. I wanted him to be able to leave happy, or as close to that as possible. He shifted, and his arm reached across me and hugged me tighter. He shivered slightly, so I pulled the blanket higher up on his bare back. I kissed his head and crossed my arms behind my head and closed my eyes.
I know he was sad about leaving…even more so than he let on. He had been feeding me these fake smiles all week, and I had to give him credit. They were very convincing, but he couldn't fool me. I could see into those blue eyes, and they were filled with pain. I didn't say anything, not wanting to add to his burden.
No, I'll put on a fake smile too and pretend with him that we're just close friends and not lovers.
I'll be fake with him.
I had woken up and taken a shower at Axel's house and dressed for the school day. He drove me a block from school on his motorcycle and kissed me sweetly before he drove down the road to go see Demyx and Zexion. I walked toward the school. I spent the day saying goodbye to my friends and trying to keep a smile on my face. It was hard, because I was going to miss everyone, and when a few of my friends cried, it was difficult not to myself. When the day was finally over, I started my slow walk home by myself since neither Axel nor Sora went to school today…or all week.
Stupid seniors getting out early!
When I reached the house, I walked in quietly and saw Leon helping Sora into his graduation robe. When they noticed me, I nodded and ran up the stairs to my room and shut the door behind me.
Everything was either in a box or in my suitcases. I had only two, and Muffins was sleeping in her carrier. I had wanted to leave her here since she loved this house so much, but Sora convinced me to take her with me so I wasn't lonely at home.
Home. It's Radiant Garden now.
It had taken me so long to realize that before, and just when I accept Twilight Town as my home, I have to leave. Just when I stopped seeing Leon and Yuffie as my aunt and uncle, my real parents come for me. Just when I was finally happy… I have to be sad again.
I changed into black skinny jeans and the red shirt that said Burn, baby, just like Axel had requested I wear. I let Muffins out to sleep on my bed that was devoid of sheets and was covered in just a blanket. I stared at my reflection in the mirror and practiced my smile for Axel. I don't know if he knows they're fake or not, but he hasn't called me out on it yet. I heard Leon call up the stairs to ask if I was ready, and I responded quickly, grabbing my phone and iPod and leaving the room.
"Hey, Leon," I said as I reached the bottom of the stairs. Sora was already in the car outside, and I followed Leon out to the car and got in the back as he drove toward the school.
"I can't believe I'm finally graduating!" Sora sighed happily as the school came into view.
"Yeah, it's hard to believe…" I started, "hard to believe they even passed you, Sora!" I finished, laughing, and he turned around and glared at me. Even Leon chuckled slightly.
"Relax, Sora," he said, and the brunette haired male reluctantly turned his back to me, and I stared out the window with a smile on my face. When we finally reached the school football field, Sora ran from the car to meet with Kairi and Riku who were waiting for him. Leon and I slowly walked to find a seat in the stands.
"I feel old," Leon sighed, and I glanced to him as he chose a seat near the front. "My son is graduating; he's eighteen now," he went on.
"Let me guess, you still remember when he was younger like it was yesterday, right?" I asked, and he nodded slightly and chuckled.
"Such a cliché line from a parent, but it's true," he said. "I still remember the day he was born…how happy we were." He had a distant look in his stormy grey eyes. "When we brought him home, Yuffie never left his side for the longest time, always taking him with her," he went on. "She was a natural mother with him. She always knew what to do," he finished quietly, and I nodded.
"She'd be happy for Sora," I said, and he nodded.
"As proud of him as I am right now," he agreed.
I missed Yuffie too. She was always good with children, no matter who the kids belonged to. I wished she was here and there was no doubt in my mind that Sora didn't feel the same.
I turned at the sound of my name and smiled to Reno as he waved his hands like an idiot. There was a man beside him with blond hair, face-palming at Reno's antics. He was wearing black pants and a white shirt. I smiled and waved as well, right as the blond beside him pulled him down to sit again. Reno hugged him close and laughed, and I turned to face the stadium filled with empty chairs and a makeshift platform with a few chairs on it as well. The loud speaker went off and the stadium quieted.
We filed onto the field as the man on the speaker announced us and we went to our respective seats to wait for our diplomas. Xemnas started off with a small speech and then two students, the first and second of our class, gave their speeches. We then were called to get our diplomas; a very long and tedious process. Not to mention they called your full name, and I hated my middle name.
"Axel Tinder Lea,"
I put on a smile and walked up to get my diploma while a few people broke the rules of waiting to clap until everyone had their diploma. I looked to the stands and picked out a small blond near the front clapping loudly and smiled since it was no doubt Roxas. Not to mention the idiot I call a cousin, Reno, doing the same, only crazier. My parents were beside him, Cecil being cold, as usual, and Snow being calm, but excited. I sat down again and stared at the folded pieces of paper, my speech, and the diploma they gave me. I heard clapping and knew the diploma presenting was finally done.
"The final speech was supposed to be given by Demyx Harris, but he couldn't make it today," Xemnas told the stadium and students. "Instead, the final speech will be by Axel Lea." Everyone started clapping as I stood up and walked toward the stage. I walked up the makeshift steps and took my place at the podium.
Shit, there were a lot of people here.
Don't worry, I told myself, it's just like speech class. Except there are about a thousand more people here, eyes on you expectantly…yup, just like class.
"Good afternoon," I started off in the microphone. I glanced to the people in the crowd then back to my papers. "Today is…" I trailed off and looked up again at the students and the family and friends in the stands and sighed. I took the papers and held them up. "In school, they always told us to write out our thoughts; prepare your speeches so you know what you are gonna say," I said as I lazily turned the papers, looking them over. I took them in both hands and ripped them easily. There were gasps that chorused through the stands. "Planning is dumb." I stared hard at the audience and smirked as they all laughed slightly. I leaned casually over the podium and threw the pieces to the ground.
"Today's graduation day, we finally made it," I started. "We actually got through the hell called school." I heard the teachers gasp at me using language, but the students all agreed with me, some shouting out said agreement. "We all either accomplished our high school goals, or we didn't. I bet every girl's here was to go to prom with a hot guy, and every guy's was to get laid after prom." All the students laughed and some laughed in the stands as well. "I didn't get to go to prom and most everyone here knows why." Everyone quieted and my leg started to hurt slightly at remembering.
"I'm not gonna go into detail, but I honestly thought I would never be holding this diploma," I said, and I heard a few girls that were obviously attracted to me coo in pity. "I had written out this long, boring speech that I just ripped up in front of you, but I don't want to read it. It's not like it really matters. High school never really ends, does it?We are all gonna see each other within the next few months since all of us are probably going to TTCC, am I right?" There were quiet agreements from the students. "There really isn't a reason to be saying long goodbyes or making lengthy speeches about how we'll miss high school, 'cause we won't." I heard a few shouts from some guys in agreement.
"I'm not gonna give any good-byes." I looked to the stands, looking in the general direction of where Roxas was. "I'm gonna see everyone often. I mean, it's a small world and an even smaller town," I went on, looking down at the wooden podium. "When you're gonna die, then you get your good-byes out, not at a high school graduation. I'm also supposed to leave you all with some sort of riveting final statement to wrap up the speech and give you all a positive outlook for the future, but anyone who was in my speech class knows it's not my area of expertise. You know, Marly!" I called, and he shouted his agreement.
"As much as I love talking up here, I'll finish off with this: I hope my wrap up is to your standards, Mr. Highwind!" I made reference to the teacher sitting with the other ones. "You graduated high school, whoopty-do. Say 'bye' to this place and 'hello' to the hell known as college." I took a step back and turned to leave the stage when the crowd erupted into cheers and applause. I smirked as I reclaimed my seat, students sitting around me patting my back and thanking me for making the day entertaining. Xemnas was chuckling as he took his place at the podium again.
"Thank you, Axel, for your inspiring speech," Xemnas stressed sarcastically, and everyone laughed. "I was truly happy to be your principal and wish you all luck in the future. Thank you all for coming and good-bye!" he said, and everyone clapped as he left the stage. The students rose happily and threw their caps in the air, couples ran to each other to share a kiss, and I sat in my seat, holding my hat in my hands. I didn't want to throw it, because I honestly wasn't all that happy. This only meant Roxas was leaving tomorrow, and I could no longer stop it. I placed the cap back on my head and smiled sadly as I gazed at Roxas in the stands. He returned the sad smile, and we just looked at each other from a distance, fearing the coming morrow.
"You all set?" Sora asked me as I zipped up the last suitcase. I stood back and glanced around the empty bedroom filled with boxes.
"Yeah, I guess," I stated and turned to him as he held my larger luggage by his side. He wasn't coming with Leon and me to the station. He was never good with good-byes, even though he could call me anytime.
"It'll be really weird without you here, that's for sure," he said as we walked down the stairs.
"I know. It'll be weird not waking up in that room tomorrow," I said while Leon took my luggage from Sora and packed it into the car. I clutched the backpack to my shoulder as I quietly watched Leon taking my things and putting them in the car. It may not be all my stuff, but it was a start. "I'm really gonna miss this place," I sighed, and Sora laughed slightly.
"I remember when you first moved in with us. You said how much you hated this place and would never miss it when your parents came back," he pointed out, and I laughed slightly too. When we stopped, the silence became awkward until Leon shouted to me.
"Okay, it's all ready to go. Your train leaves in forty-five minutes, Roxas," he reminded me, and I nodded and turned to Sora.
"I'll call you once I'm settled in, okay?" I said, and he nodded before grabbing me quickly into a bone crushing embrace. I hugged back and patted his shoulder when I pulled away, running down the path to Leon. I got in, and he drove down the road while I stared at the landscape and the house I had come to love, slipping away in the distance.
When we arrived at the station, it was a busy mess, even this early in the morning. I saw Axel leaning up against the side of the building like I had asked him. When he spied Leon's car, he came over and helped get my things out while I talked to Leon.
"Take care and call as soon as you get there, get settled, and are ready for bed~" He stopped himself and laughed slightly. "I'm sounding like Yuffie, aren't I?" he asked me, and I nodded slightly. He half hugged me. "I guess you can call Sora since he acts so much like her," he said when he pulled kissed my head and turned back to his car as Axel shut the hatch. I watched him drive off with Axel and my things beside me. He turned to me and grabbed my large duffle bag and my large suitcase. I swung my backpack onto my shoulder again and grabbed my smaller suitcase as we went into the building.
We handed my things over to the guy who would store them in the back of the train, but I kept my backpack. We walked around the place since we had ten minutes to spare before my train was going to leave.
"I promise I'll get out to you as soon as I can, all right?" he said in a serious tone. I nodded, not daring to look up at him. I just couldn't. "You put up a good façade all week, I'll give you that," he said, and I cringed at the comment.
"So did you," I countered, and he laughed hollowly. He then grabbed my wrist, pulling me through the doorway that had the stairs that led up to the tower where we would sit. He slammed me against the wall, making me look at him. My hands were pinned on either side of my head. He glared at me, and I glared back until I decided to break the silence.
"Axel, what the hell are you doing?" I asked harshly as he rested his forehead on my shoulder. My anger melted instantly and my eyes softened as he relaxed his grip on my wrists and moved his arms to hug me to him.
"I'm sorry, I just…" He didn't continue, and I didn't urge him to either. I knew what he wanted to say. "I'm not any good with good-byes; they were always so sudden," he whispered into my ear.
"I know." I stroked his red hair and despite how spiky it is and looks, it's soft to the touch. "If I'll miss anyone or anything, it'll be you," I said, and he hugged me closer and kissed my neck.
"Please don't go…" He pulled away and looked at me pleadingly. "Why don't we~" I placed a finger to his soft lips and shook my head.
"You don't always get a happy ending, Axel," I said, and he looked down. "You'll be there with me soon, so, I'm okay," I said, and he nodded. "I don't care how long it takes." I pulled out the silver ring and showed him. "I'll wait for you." I smiled, and he nodded.
"I'm still gonna kiss you like I'm never gonna see you again, though," he said and smirked as I leaned forward to kiss him. He pushed back with superior strength and placed a hand behind my neck and on my lower back while I tangled my small hands in his red mane as he licked at my bottom lip. I opened my mouth and our tongues danced for dominance which he obviously won. He pulled me closer to his body, if that was even possible, and continued to kiss me until we had to pull away to breathe. We were both panting like we just ran a race as we stared into each other's eyes.
"You're gonna be the death of me, Axel." I smiled. "You making leaving really hard," I said, and he pulled me closer.
"That isn't the only thing that's hard~"
"First call for the Radiant Garden 7:00 train from Twilight Town."
Axel sighed and placed a hand on the doorknob. If he opened that door… No, not yet. I knew he was lying when he said he had a ticket to see me. I didn't want to tell him I knew. If there was no guarantee I'd see him again… Just one more time! I grabbed his wrist roughly and jumped into his arms, hand desperately holding onto his neck and back, afraid to let go. He held me lightly and hoisted me up so I was more level with him. I gripped his shirt collar and kissed him with so much strength and passion it hurt. I heard something snap, but I didn't bother to care what it was.
"Second call for the Radiant Garden 7:00 train from Twilight Town."
I felt him begin to lower me and his hands over mine, prying them off.
"No," I protested weakly, and he opened the door and went into the crowded hall. I picked up my bag and threw it over my shoulder and followed him. We walked toward the train and the final call was made. I turned to Axel.
"I'm gonna miss you, but you won't be long, will you?" I asked, and he shook his head. I felt tears prick the corners of my eyes, and he lightly pushed me toward the train.
"You don't want to miss it, do you?" he asked with a small smile. "I'll be there before you know it," he said, and I nodded.
"I love you, Axel." I smiled.
"I love you too, Roxas," he said quietly so only I could hear. I turned and walked onto the train without looking back.
I watched him get onto the train when a thought occurred to me; a memory, one of my favorites with Roxas.
"Back in the day, this was obviously the town center. One person would come up to ring these bells." I pointed to the large bells hanging from the sides of the roof of the tower. "When this place became a center of train commuting, the bells were retired, and we used the electronic ones you hear now. The stairways were boarded off, but a few years back I discovered a way to get up here."
"That's cool. I never knew these things were ever used."
"One day, I'm going to ring them again, just once, and listen. According to all the stories, the bells were heard miles away and made the most beautiful sounds." Roxas nodded, and we sat in a comfortable silence when I felt a hand poke at my own. I turn to him, and he was staring out at nothing, and I turned my attention to his hand that was incredibly close to my own. I grabbed it lightly, and he squeezed mine back as a small smile spread onto his lips.
"Can that one day be when I'm around?" he asked after a few minutes, and I turned to him with a shocked expression.
"Didn't think you'd be into crimes. It's illegal to touch them," I stated after a few seconds with a chuckle.
"Yeah, well, as corny as this sounds, you make things fun for me. Why can't a crime be fun with you around?"
I raced up the stairs to get to the top of the tower. I heard the warning whistles that indicated the train would be departing soon, and I ran even faster. Roxas wanted to hear them, and I did too. I had no idea when he would be back here again, or when I would make it out to him, but I wanted him to have something; something to have in his memory so I'm always there. I reached the top and hopped in through the one window and looked around hurriedly for the rope that was connected to the bells. I jumped over the wooden block and slid under the chains and rope until I reached the more ancient looking rope.
"Please, please work," I whispered and gripped it until my knuckles turned white. "Get this memorized."
"Please make yourself comfortable and let me know if you need anything," a kind attendant told me as I found an empty seat by a window. I placed my bag on my lap and felt like crying when I felt something cool on my hand. I looked and saw a chain and ring hanging off my backpack. I grabbed at my neck and found mine was still there. Axel lost his~
That's right! That snap sound I heard was Axel's chain. I wanted to return it to him, but I couldn't get off the train now. The last of the passengers were let on and the doors were locked. I sat back in my chair and faced the window and felt like crying again. No way can he keep his promise if he doesn't even have the ring anymore. I heard the whistle and the train began to pull away and suddenly the happy chatter on the train stopped.
There was a ringing…a beautiful ringing.
They were bells. I looked out the window and anyone near a window looked out one as well. As the train left the station and you could see the tower, you could see the bells on it moving. I smiled widely as tears finally fell down my face.
"Thanks, Axel." I gripped his ring in my hand so hard it would no doubt leave a mark.
"I'll see you again real soon. I know it."
Oh, man. That's the end. Really corny, I know, but what do you all say to a sequel? I have the idea, just need to know someone will read it.
Onto the special thanks! First off, I want to thank my dearest beta, TheFifthTurk, for being amazing at her job. You sort of stumbled into this job, but you do a phenomenal job. Like you always say, you make my writing good (grammar wise)!
Next, I'm gonna thank my first reviewer, I mean the one from way back in chapter one when I first published this. That would be… Dom0916107. If it wasn't for her, I'd probably never have gotten here.
Next, I'm gonna thank all those who have reviewed since then: XXilikecatsXX, Nitrea, , Shaeli Homston, Kagosha, XionAmmy, rpwehp12, Yin-san, Pancakes-chan, Animeloverx175, blood as soft as silk, BuddyCakes, Kagosha, Katt and Nina's Boy, DooomWolf, SettingSunRisingMoon, Narwe, Akuma no ken, beth baker, NimayTheAirbender, coobearrocks, TheChibiAlchemistFMA, kingdomheartslover13, Darth Metallica, Kyr, NormaJean Beausoleil, xjustanotherstar, SongOfTheShadows, Dmaixe, AerethWave, TheCloakedSchemer-6, Nami chan XlV, Xerrisa, Myriad Lapse, Helios Star, Moe10, KHkrazy, Come-at-me-BRO, Jayshock, Stormyclouds, Gxmwp, radiantsuns, DorkFace, traybay, mei lynn 64, xXcloud4everXx, faithfullyfallen19, AltheaDance, dragon1215, technotronic93, LixalTheNobody1997, 18dustyrose, meeee, lawli lawli lawlipop, Emiz, Cheshire Kitty XD, shadowknight66, Sorasque, Dreamy Duskywing, loveit, Dipshit loves Shitface, ANIMELOVEDOLL, ValsWinter, mikepd, Rexanai, IchiakiI, NarutoAddicted95, TheFifthTurk.
That list was from the very beginning to currently and not in order of favorites. I don't even know if half of those people are still reading, but I'm thanking them anyways! The reviewers are what help make a story good; anyone who writes should know that. You are all totally amazing! Let me know if I forgot to thank anyone, and I'll add them.
Also a big thanks to anyone who was reading and may not have reviewed. Also thanks to anyone who subscribed to the story, or me, and favorited the story, or me.
Now get to reviewing, friends. Do you want a sequel or not? I need to know! Anyone who reviews with a 'yes', I will send the summary, okay?
Thanks for sticking with me and making this story so popular!
Last Word by TheFifthTurk: I'd like to thank everyone too. Just because. Thanks for reading DivineSoul's story. I love her to death, and love that you people love her writing, 'cause I do (after I fix it, of course!). Anyway, this is for you, hun: This story has turned me into a fan of Axel/Roxas and Zexion/Demyx. Who knew that something I was a little iffy on at first would become something I really enjoy? (Though I still kind of face-palm at myself.)
VOTE 'YES' FOR SEQUEL.