Axel looked on with the closest emotion to amusement and wonder that was possible for a Nobody. He listened intently, finding himself suddenly bewildered by the scene unfolding before him. Oddly enough, it was nothing more than a casual conversation between friends that had nothing to do with the redhead. It only took a few simple words to grab his attention: a few simple words that most of us wouldn't give a second thought to if we heard them in passing.
"Wanna go on a date?"
The term was so unfamiliar, but so utterly fascinating. He needed to hear more. If anyone from the Organization caught him eavesdropping, he could simply say that he was gathering intelligence. In a way, he really was, but it wasn't for the Organization. For once, it was for him.
His only mission was to collect hearts in Halloween Town, but he couldn't help but overhear one of the residents asking out his girl. The man was freakishly tall and bony, clothed completely in black. The girl wasn't much better; she looked like she was dressed in rags. Even her face and arms looked fabricated, but her eyes held a radiance that Axel couldn't have even noticed.
"Oh, Jack." She said, looking genuinely floored. "Of course I will. Where? When?"
"How about right now, in the graveyard?"
Axel wasn't postive on where that would be, considering the whole town was like one big graveyard. Still, since he'd already collected plenty of hearts, there could be no harm in following them.
He tailed the happy couple to the graveyard, staying a safe distance away from their gaze. That wasn't hard, though. They were so focused on each other that noticing anything else was impossible.
And it's really hard not to notice Axel.
"So...What do we do?" The girl stopped and sat down once they reached their destination.
"I heard that when you really like someone and enjoy their company, you spend some alone time with them doing something that you both like, and you call it a date."
"That's quite wonderful, Jack. But...Me?"
"Well..." The man raised a long, bony finger to his chin. "You fit the mold. I enjoy your company."
"And you really like me?"
"Why yes, of course, Sally." The smile that graced his face was uncharacteristically genuine for someone with a reputation of scaring people out of their wits.
Axel suddenly remembered Roxas. He must be done with his mission now. Maybe he was waiting for him. He decided to leave. He wasn't one for the mushy stuff sure to unfold, anyway.
Roxas was waiting. He'd been waiting for over half an hour, and he felt a sinking sensation in his stomach and chest that he couldn't name. He just knew that it was because of Axel.
"Hey there, Rox. Sorry I'm late."
The blond turned around. "Axel, where were you? I've been here forever!"
"Geez, I said I was sorry." He said playfully as he sat down. Roxas handed him a sea-salt ice cream bar. "But you'll never ever guess what happened today."
"You know that weird town with all the ghosts and the tombstones, where all the Heartless want to suck your blood?"
"And you know that tall bony guy and that raggy looking girl who's always with him?"
"Well...That guy asked her out on a date."
"I guess it's something you do with someone you like a lot. He said it better than I can. But, he said you go somewhere alone with them and do something you both like."
"Kinda like this?"
"Yeah, like- wait, what?"
"Well." Roxas nibbled on his ice cream bar, then put a finger to his chin, just as Jack had. "It fits the mold. We're alone, and we're doing something we both like."
"Technically, we can't really like each other. I think you need a heart for that."
"What really counts is that we like each other's company. And...Who's to say that you need a heart to like anything? Demyx doesn't have a heart, and he loves that sitar of his to pieces."
"But that's different. A sitar isn't a person. It's not as complicated."
"Hearts are complicated. We don't have hearts."
"I'm getting confused, Roxas."
The blond chuckled, staring off into the sunset. "You're always going on about how you think I have a heart, and how I'm so special. I used to think that all relationships are like circuits. They need to have something on both sides. They need to connect. We're like circuits, hearts or no hearts."
"When did you become a preacher?"
Roxas laughed. "I've been thinking a lot lately, about what a heart really holds. It can't be as important as people like Saix and Xemnas say it is, right?"
"That's not really our place to say."
"Axel, it's not theirs either. We're just going in a big circle."
"Like a circuit?"
Roxas sighed. "Maybe this 'date' thing can't really be like what we're doing. We do this every day. The way you described it, maybe a date needs to be something special; something rare. Something to cherish."
"I guess so." Axel crossed his legs, shifting positions in an effort to get more comfortable. "But there's really nowhere else we can go, and there's nothing else that we really like doing other than this."
"We enjoy each other's company, right?"
"I think that's all that matters." Only then did Roxas notice the absence of a certain black-haired girl.
"Let's figure something out on our next vacation day. And...Maybe Xion can come, too."