It really was true. Another day, another dollar.
Sometimes Axel still wondered to himself how he had ended up working in a rinky-dink little music store on the far side of Twilight Town. He'd gone to university, taken all the classes. He should have been working his way up to copyright attorney. That was where the real money was.
But no. Instead, here he was working at a small "mom and pop" type record store, which would probably be going out of business soon anyways. F.Y.E. was one of the few moderately successful chains that sold music theses days, for those who even bothered to buy the cds anymore. Tower Records had fallen years ago, and it was just about time that this place followed suit.
The sky was already pitch black by the time he left.
Thanks, Old Man Winter... the redhead thought grudgingly, as he stepped outside and immediately shuddered violently. The wind was picking up, and by the look of the starless sky, it was probably going to rain later.
Axel pulled his coat tighter about himself as he began the agonizingly slow walk home. The tram was out of order for at least another week due to maintenance issues, and being a fresh-outta-school kid in his early twenties, Axel had no money to spare for a car. Sometimes he really wished he had.
Heaven forbid his girlfriend Larxene drive across town to pick him up. Now, because she had a real job, she had a much tougher schedule than him. But it didn't help that he had left their apartment earlier that day with no umbrella! Hearing a clap of thunder in the distance, Axel sighed loudly, trudging home on his own in gloomy defeat.
He didn't care if he was being unfair to Larxene. It started pouring halfway home, and Axel's hair, which he always meticulously styled every morning with his special hair gel, was flat and damp against the back of his neck. It irritated him; so much so that he began a string of curses halfway up the stairs. Finally reaching the 8th floor (was Luxord so hard up for cash that he really couldn't even afford an elevator?), Axel shoved his hand into his pocket and dug out his keys. He felt cold and sopping wet, and he hated it...
The sound of some daytime sitcom filled his ears. Great, now someone had left the damn tv on. Ditching his coat in the hall closet, Axel quickly made his way back to the small bedroom he shared with Larxene. The room, like the rest of the place, wasn't grand by any means, but at the end of the day, it really did feel like home. Shedding his other wet clothes, the redhead donned a pair of red plade pajama pants and short-sleeved black t-shirt. He then proceeded to go back into the small living area and flop down on the couch, staring blankly at the blaring tv screen for a while. He wasn't really paying attention to what was on; it was just that the static was rather calming. Even if it was just another "Full House" marathon...
Some unmeasurable time later, Axel got a text on his phone saying that Larxene would be home late, and to go ahead and order a pizza. Axel agreed, trying his best to keep the irritation out of his voice. Nope; he still wasn't over it.
He dialed up the nearest Domino's quickly, ordering something with plenty of cheese and sauce but not really paying much attention to the rest. Then he grabbed a Miller Lite from the fridge and promptly fell asleep on the couch, until the sound of the door being shoved open finally woke him up again.
"Jeez, Axel! The pizza guy's been out here for twenty minutes knocking!" Axel's head perked up at the smell of warm pizza, as his girlfriend elbowed the door aside. She was carrying her bag, the mail, and the pizza, and seemed to be struggling with it all.
"Will you get your ass over here and help me?"
Groaning softly to himself, the redhead pushed off from the couch and practically stumbled forward, still in a somewhat sleepy haze. Larxene sighed, handing off the large square box. "Were you drinking or napping this time?"
"It's too early for being drunk, Lar," Axel grumbled back, snatching the mail away and looking at it absently as he walked. All junk today. "And thanks for leaving me to walk in the rain. I feel so loved."
"Cut the whining, Axel. It was your own damn fault you forgot your umbrella." She dropped the wet leather bag by the front door with a thump. Axel, who was already opening the pizza box and scarfing down two pieces whole, expected her to immediately come over to the couch and flop down with him, but she didn't. When he looked up again from his "feast of champions," as his friend Demyx liked to call it, the door fell shut with a loud slam and she was no where to be seen.
That was curious. But in a moment, she returned, and Axel's eyes boggled at what she was carrying.
At first glance, it looked like a little golden ball of hair, like something you might see at a salon after Demyx shaved all his hair off. But it moved slightly, twitching in her arms, and Axel knew right away that whatever it was, it was alive. He groaned audibly.
"Lar, not again! I told you already; we are not getting a pet!" Axel was allergic to most things with fur, but it wasn't too serious. He had a couple prescribed medications to keep the hives at bay. But Larxene ignored him entirely. She came over to the couch and set the little ball of fur down, looking over it worriedly.
"Lar! Are you listening?"
Still, she said nothing. Beyond irritated, Axel moved from his chair over to the couch to see what she had brought home this time. As mean and bossy as she could get sometimes, Larxene had a soft spot for animals. She always wanted a pet when she was little, but her parents had liked their house the way it was. Clean, and relatively intact. Just the way Axel liked it, for that matter.
Finally getting a good look, Axel practically jumped back, recoiling with disgust. The little golden ball was actually a kitten, and a badly malnourished one by the look of it. It was a tiny little thing in every sense, and its fur, while short, was matted and tangled in places. Forcing himself to approach again, Axel reached out a hand and poked the kitten's stomach. The fur felt wet and cold, but he could still feel a little breathing in that body.
"Lar..." he began slowly, feeling a guilt trip coming on. Sure enough, as the blond looked up at him, her eyes were sad and a tad bitter.
"I found him in an alley as I was walking to the car. I couldn't just leave the poor thing out there all alone!" Then she was glaring at him, poking his chest with her finger harshly. "Let me guess...You want me to throw it back out in that storm?...And people think I'm heartless!"
Axel sighed, knowing he couldn't win this fight. True, he didn't like cats in the least, but Larxene would hate him forever if he just threw the kitten out.
"But Lar," he said, with growing exasperation. "You don't even know if it'll last the night! Look at it!" He pointed to the subject in question, whose eyes still hadn't opened. The kitten didn't move in the slightest. "Do you know how to take care of a kitten?"
"I'll look it up, Axel. It'll be fine," she said flippantly. "You're being a big baby about this."
"But then what?" he argued back, waving his arms slightly. He knew that if the kitten lived, Larxene would insist on keeping it. It would be something extra to suck up all their money. Not to mention Axel's allergies would start actin up. "You'll need to feed it and play with it and keep it clean! If it makes too much noise, then Luxord will just tell us to get rid of it anyway."
"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it, okay?" Larxene snapped, turning her attention back to the kitten. "Now go make yourself useful and get some blankets. The poor little thing looks frozen."
Axel stomped away, grumbling, not caring if he bothered the people below. He knew from the start of his relationship that Larxene would wear the pants for the most part, but now even what little control he had before was slipping! When he reached the closet, he pulled out one of his girlfriend's nicest blankets, hoping to scorn her for revenge.
That thing isn't getting one of MY blankets...
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
As soon as he got back, Larxene commanded him to go onto google and look into every page he could find about kittens. Groaning even more, he sat on their joint computer for what felt like hours, pouring over every page at least five times to be sure. It seemed as though it might be a severe case of pneumonia, but Larxene's relieved call distracted him from reading more in depth.
"Axel, come quick! It's waking up!"
The redhead snorted and slowly left his post, not really caring it the kitten was awake or not. No, he wasn't cruel to animals; he just preferred that they stayed on their side of nature, and he stayed on his. The side filled with concrete and cars, where no animal should be straying into anyways. Screw people and their pets!
When he entered the living room, he became aware of a soft, pitiful mewling sound. Larxene was sitting in front of the couch, cooing and smiling as she watched the little ball of fur weakly trying to untangle its legs from the blanket.
"Awwww...Look at him, Axel! Isn't he cute?"
Axel took a seat on his chair beside the couch and looked at the little creature warily. The kitten's fur was a little dryer now, and looked to be some light variety of orange tabby. It did indeed seem to be awake and looking around at everything curiously, even a little fearfully. But what really struck Axel were the eyes. Those groggy little eyes were deep, deep blue; they seemed too intelligent-looking, too beautiful to be on a cat. Then the eyes turned to him and grew just a little larger, and that combined with the happy cooing of his usually difficult-to-please girlfriend brought a small, warm smile to Axel's lips. He sighed again, getting up off the chair and kneeling beside Larxene on the floor.
The things I do...
"Isn't he precious?" Larxene reached out a hand and let the kitten sniff it cautiously. Once he deemed her safe enough, the kitten leaned a little closer, hesitantly, and rubbed its furry head against her palm, purring weakly. Axel half-expected his girlfriend to squeal and snatch the little thing up in a hug, but he knew Larxene better than that. Even with her soft spot, the woman had limits.
"How do you know it's a he?" he asked absently, hearing the kitten mewl softly again.
Larxene rolled her eyes and pushed the blanket off the kitten slightly, pointing south. The redhead choked a laugh, realizing what she meant, but the kitten didn't seem very happy at all that his extra warmth had been removed. He slowly hopped away from Larxene's hand and got back up on the blanket, stretching a bit before finally settling himself down to sleep again. He snuggled up into the fabric, letting out a cute little yawn (deceptively cute, in Axel's opinion) before he drifted off into sleep again.
Larxene and Axel watched the kitten for a moment, seeing his little chest rise and fall almost normally now. The blond smiled, reaching out and rubbing her finger along the underside of his chin, listening as he purred softly.
"I think he's going to be alright. I can get him some cat food tomorrow, but for now there's some milk in the fridge." Axel shrugged at that. It seemed like the kitten want to sleep more anyways.
"Well, he's better now. Why don't we drop him-"
"Axel!" Larxene narrowed her eyes and pouted firmly. "We are NOT getting rid of him! I found him, and I make most of the income, so I say we keep him!"
"I know, I know! It was worth a shot..." Axel scratched the back of his head and sighed in defeat. Cute or not, he needed a pet like he needed a hole in the head. Maybe Demyx was right. Maybe he was officially whipped, as his blunt friend would call it.
The rest of the night was pretty uneventful. The couple finally got around to the pizza, though it was cold and needed to be reheated for Axel. Larxene set aside he essentials for work and picked up the kitten, bringing the sleeping little ball back to their room. Axel saw what was coming and growled.
"Oh no! No! No way is that thing sleeping in my bed!"
"It's just one night, Axel," his girlfriend shot back, equally irritably. "What if he gets sick again and none of us hear him because we're asleep in here?"
"Tough luck, I say!"
Axel couldn't believe this. His girlfriend was such a traitor, giving that little furball everything so easily! He hadn't had HIS way once this entire night!
They had never fought this much before, and it was all over a stupid cat!
Finally the redhead settled into bed, grumbling as Larxene dropped the little kitten onto her pillow. As she climbed in bed, she wrapped her arms around the tabby and cuddled it close, practically smashing it into her bosom. But the kitten didn't stir in the slightest. He was probably exhausted, whatever he had been off doing before Larxene came and found him...
Axel rolled his eyes and rolled over, trying to ignore the fact that HIS space was being invaded by that little monster. He then sneezed, groaning again at the onslaught of allergies he knew would greet him in the morning.
Oh well. It was just one night, right?