The trickling of water filled the serene quiet of the garden as if filling a clear crystal bowl. A small piece of green, natural beauty in a metal world stretching up into the sky. White and red roses surrounded the marble fountain, intermittently placed in a complex, intertwining pattern. It was tranquil. With a couple larks chirping from the feeders and the dull thrum of the city distant and lost.

Axel fingered one of the roses absentmindedly, ignoring the light prick of thorns along his hand. Tiny thorns one would never notice unless they touched them, grabbed them, felt them. Biting his cheek, Axel squeezed the stem between two fingers, and as his blood started to well, he pulled away. With a sigh, he brought his fingers up to his face, peering at the beads of thickening blood.

It was pretty, with its rich, royal color. Normally, blood was so dark, looking like black with only a pearlescent red tint. But in the frosty sunlight, it shone purely crimson. Gleamed like red ice as he turned his finger this way and that.

Without bothering to wipe it clean, Axel let his hand fall to his side and crossed the clearing. Every step was a warm crunch beneath his feet. He could feel every pull, every stretch, every flex of his muscles, the tendons in his long legs working steadily.

And he lowered himself to sit upon the bench. The elegantly carved marble bench, the only one of its kind, made specifically to match the curving design of the fountain. The sweet smell of roses wafted over him, reaching out and groping for him from the thorny branches just inches away from scratching his back. There wasn't much, really, that Axel could think of to describe such a scent. He stared down blankly at the blood on his finger.

Sickeningly sweet. Like blood.

He inhaled that scent as deep as he could, tilting his head back and shutting his eyes. So desperately sweet, like blood and like copper, like white chocolate and like caramel. Axel exhaled. He'd never much cared for caramel, actually.

A sudden warmth enveloped his bleeding finger without warning, a moist sensation that instantly soaked up the droplets of scarlet. Axel felt his lips twitch instinctively up into a smile. Without opening his eyes or turning his face from the sky, he raised his hand to stroke through fluffy, soft hair. It was like threading each of his fingers with fine silk. And a purr, sweet and quiet, mingled with the birds and water. The warmth abandoned his fingers and came a moment later to his lips instead.

Axel couldn't keep himself from twisting the hair just slightly as he responded to the kiss. Because it ignited a fire inside him, had him excited and hot and anxious. It was a mere kiss that filled him with life, gave him meaning, left him…happy.

"I love you," he greeted, not bothering to pull away from those precious lips. Small, smooth hands ran up his chest slowly… A giggle.

"You cut yourself," Roxas responded, his feather-light voice falling over Axel as sweetly as the roses' scent. "You should be more careful."

"Mmm…" Axel hummed against his mouth, smiling delicately. "I did it on purpose."

A pause.

And Roxas kissed him again, still as sweet and innocent as before. His arms circled Axel's neck, and Axel opened his legs to pull Roxas as close to him as possible. Completely in synch, with no thought involved. A kiss that just happened, like it was simply meant to be. Because, after everything, Axel was convinced he and Roxas were, by fate's demand, supposed to be together.

"I know," Roxas breathed into his mouth. With a content sigh, he pulled away grabbed one of Axel's hands and tugged as he backed away. When Axel stood compliantly, grinning without meaning to, Roxas slipped forward to steal one more quick kiss. "And I love you, too."

They strolled absently through the garden and enjoyed the seclusion it offered with each other. Sometimes they spoke, in murmured conversation, and sometimes they would just walk without saying a word. Often, one or the other would stop the other to share a moment of intimacy. It was difficult not to be affectionate nowadays. Every second, Axel ached for Roxas.

Ached with fear and longing and the threat of loneliness. He never wanted to lose him.

By the birth of twilight, Axel and Roxas returned to the manor and slipped into the dining room, just as the meal was being served. They took their seats, passing a greeting to the other men in the room.

Xemnas, who sat at the head of the table. There was still a grey graveness about his presence, overtaken with the weight of betrayal, but he was finally smiling again. Only a little. Saix had been his right hand man, as much of a best friend as a person like Xemnas - who had grown up in an impersonal world, secluded from the rest of society, focused on solely business - could have ever had. With that friend suddenly branded both traitor and deceased, he had become helpless for a short while.

Luxord, now at Xemnas' right hand side. Axel had not truly needed him as a caretaker for a long time, and the older man had dutifully and loyally replaced Saix. It would take a while to clean up the mess that had been made, but if anyone knew the business as well as Saix had, it would be Luxord. He was a natural caretaker, and with the Heart family in need and his watchful instincts kicking into action, he was livelier, if not bossier, than ever.

And Riku, who sat beside Luxord calmly, and in all appearances, normally. He was receiving counseling so he could serve Axel as he had always dreamed, and had not yet lost his grip on reality. Axel suspected it was the permanent limp he now suffered that constantly reminded him of his true duty and kept him in check. As he sat down, Axel nodded toward the man with a firm, genuine smile - and it was returned eagerly, with pleasure.

Axel took his seat at Xemnas' left side, and Roxas sat beside Axel. Not long ago, their first meal like this together had been tense and awkward and strange. But now, a month since that incident, they were comfortable with each other. The feeling that came with such meals was like the feeling of being in a dysfunctional, but content, family. Axel enjoyed moments they all shared together. It left him satisfied.

The entire time they ate, mostly in silence, he held Roxas' hand beneath the table.

Axel quietly shut the door behind them, following Roxas across the bedroom to the bathroom. Inside, they closed themselves in and Axel turned on the water. When he returned to Roxas, he slipped his hands under the bottom of the blonde's shirt and pulled it slowly over his head. Even now, Roxas blushed. He didn't hesitate, though, to assist Axel in the same manner. And then, every moment slow and precise, Roxas placed his hands on Axel's belt, unbuckling it and pulling if from his jeans as Axel reached forward to unbutton Roxas' pants. Axel shivered as he stepped out of the pool of denim and boxers at his feet, guiding Roxas to the already steaming shower.

It was something they did every night. At first, it was because of Axel's injury. While not as severe as Riku's, it had left Axel crippled with pain and the difficulty to move normally. So now, even with his wound a scar of what it had been before, Roxas still washed Axel carefully and gently. Every part of him, from his neck to his feet, with a kiss to the white scar at his abdomen as he stood back up. Reaching up to wash his hair was more difficult, but manageable after so much practice. And then Axel would go about returning the favor.

There was nothing sexual about it anymore. At first, Axel had found it hard to ignore having Roxas' hands all over him, but he had forced himself to get over it, and it didn't bother him anymore.

One month, the doctors had said. One month until he participated in any strenuous physical activity. No running, no working out, no taking the stairs. No sex.

At all.

As in, no sexual activity, in any form, of any kind, whatsoever. Too much pressure on his body, the doctors warned him. It could rip the wound right back open, potentially damage him more than the bullet had. But that was okay, Axel told himself. It was perfectly fine now.

Because it had been exactly one month tonight.

It wasn't about the sex. It wasn't a matter of needing to release. It had nothing to do with the selfishness of lust. Yes, he was a man, and men needed things, and the pleasure was something he had wanted since he'd met Roxas.

But what he really wanted was that sense of completion. To have that final feeling of being one with Roxas. They had yet to enjoy such a night together. And after what they had been through together… Axel wanted to share that with Roxas. If anything, it was going to be the most meaningful… the only meaningful sex he'd ever had.

Axel kissed Roxas softly, sweetly, gathering up the little blonde in his arms. He was warm from the water, from the flush of excited blood, and he grasped Axel just as lovingly. It had nothing to do with control or restraint. Kissing Roxas - no, simply being with Roxas, knowing he was safe and with him - was enough to make Axel happy. It wasn't have-at-it lust anymore. It was something so sickeningly sweet, coating the insides of his core, swelling with every kiss, every smile, every blush. Something that made him want to laugh out loud. Something that made him so damn happy.

They took their time washing each other. They had nothing to rush and nothing to worry about this time. They had each other, all to themselves.

Axel closed his eyes, resting his head on Roxas', the water streaming over both of them, arms around each other contentedly.

And then they stepped out of the shower, drying each other off methodically, taking their time with each other. Axel made sure to spend extra time running the towel through Roxas' hair, because he knew how much the blonde liked how it felt. And indeed, Roxas was a purring bundle of innocent pleasure, thoroughly melted down by the time Axel tossed aside the towel. Axel had to lean forward for Roxas to be able to reach his hair, but neither of them minded. When they were dried off, Axel took Roxas' hand and led him into their bedroom.

Their bedroom, with the icy moonlight and warm, silken bed sheets. Overcome with glee, Axel turned abruptly and swept Roxas up into his arms, cradling him bridal style with a characteristic grin. A long time ago, Roxas might have squeaked and stuttered and blushed. Now, he giggled, clinging to Axel's neck immediately.

"You are gorgeous," Axel murmured, carrying Roxas to the edge of the mattress and lowering him onto it tenderly. "And I love you."

"I love you more," Roxas retorted, almost serious and playful at the same time. Axel raised an eyebrow at the boy, who quickly began to fidget. "What?"

"Okay, one, I cannot believe you just said that," Axel teased, watching his love's face light up in embarrassment. Grinning, he began to crawl over Roxas', kissing up his chest sweetly. When he arrived at Roxas' mouth, Axel smiled. "And two, that can't possible be true."

That seemed to make Roxas blush more than the first comment, and Axel took advantage of Roxas' helplessness. He dropped his mouth onto the blonde's, leaving a sloppy, uncoordinated kiss in his wake. Roxas laughed into the kiss, and Axel had to lift his head, grinning as he did. But the moment he did, Roxas was grabbing him at the back of his skull and pulling him back down.

Roxas was better about not being so timid now. He was still naturally shy, and submissive over dominant. But when he was alone with Axel, he summoned a foreign confidence Axel knew not the origin of. He would do things - like grab him and kiss him passionately without warning - and Axel would never complain. Instead, he pulled the sheets over them both and returned to kissing Roxas eagerly.

He held himself over Roxas with one hand, his other clinging to the blonde's thin hip. They pressed their mouths together, and Axel slipped his tongues right past Roxas' lips. He licked at the roof of Roxas' mouth slowly, drawing out a delightful purr of a moan, making those fingers clench around his shoulders even tighter. He ran his fingers through soft blonde tufts and grazed delicate ribs teasingly, tracing down to his stomach, fingers grazing his hip bones. Roxas twisted in his hands, arching his back in longing, mewling with every kiss. He was such a mess, gasping and writhing, head tilting back and eyes sliding shut. Smiling, Axel moved down Roxas' chin, and licked all the way to his throat. He found Roxas' pulse point - it wasn't that hard considering it was hard and erratic, an easy find as soon as it neared his lips. And he took that space of skin into his mouth and sucked as softly as he could.

"Axel," Roxas breathed, so light, so gentle. Axel groaned against his neck as Roxas bucked his hips upward ever so slightly, in search of friction, of release. Biting his lip, he pressed down, resisting the urge to grind his erection against Roxas' as hard as he could. He forced himself to be gentle as he rubbed downward, and both of them gasped. Roxas' grip tightened. "Oh! Axel…please."

"Roxas," Axel hissed, nipping at Roxas' collarbone in his effort to calm himself. His nerves were tingling. Burning. "Are you sure…? Do you want this? Are you ready?"

"Axel…" Roxas murmured, through gasps, grabbing Axel's face between his hands and turning him toward him. Axel blinked at him as Roxas narrowed his eyes at him. "Are you kidding me?"

Axel grinned at Roxas, leaning up to press his lips to the blonde's once again. It was a slow kiss. A precious, sickeningly romantic one.

"I just want to make sure," Axel told him, and Roxas smiled against his lips and nodded sweetly.

"I know," he admitted, glowing in that way only Roxas could ever glow. From the inside out. With pure exuberance. "And I want you to know…I want this."

"Good," Axel groaned, kissing Roxas quick on the lips, making them both laugh. And he loved that laugh and loved that he didn't have to be all serious or impersonal. He loved everything about being with Roxas and feeling comfortable and not second-guessing anything. "I love you."

"You know…" Roxas trailed off, smiling playfully. "I think that's a record. How many times have you told me that today?"

"Too much?" Axel asked, tilting his head with a grimace. Roxas laughed again.

"Never," he assured him, wrapping his arms around Axel's neck and pulling their foreheads together. "I…I don't think I could ever get tired of hearing that."

"Good, because I love saying it," Axel answered, and proceeded to crush Roxas beneath him in a combined embrace and kiss. Instantly, Roxas was giggling again, much to Axel's delight.

And they enjoyed each other like that for a good long while, rolling over each other, murmuring those sickeningly sweet things to each other, clinging to each other, loving each other… Years ago, it would have been far too much for Axel. Even months ago, the thought of it would have repulsed him. But now, he wanted nothing more.

And as they began to quiet, their playing turned more intense, as it typically did. Their movements more heated, a little more uneven. And they were acting and reacting, synchronized and in unison.

Roxas ran his hands down Axel's chest and Axel scattered kisses across his throat, nibbling at every tendon that flexed as Roxas tensed. He moved downward again, rubbing circles around his nipples as he followed the contours of Roxas' abdomen. When Axel glanced up, when he was just above Roxas' member, his heart throbbed at the sight of Roxas, staring down at him, eyes fighting to stay open, lip caught between his teeth.

Axel really didn't want to rush anything…but foreplay wasn't looking like much of an option.

He moved one of his hands from Roxas' chest, sliding it down his body and subtly evading any contact with Roxas' member, and rested in between his legs. He saw a shard of fear flicker vaguely in his bright eyes, but when Axel hesitated, Roxas took a deep breath, and nodded twice.

But he'd almost forgotten - it hit him like a ton of bricks that Roxas' body didn't work the same way as anyone else he'd slept with, in that…he wasn't self-lubricating. Pausing with a frown, his mind raced. How the hell could he have not thought of this? Wasn't he supposed to be a fucking genius? He cast a panicked glance around the room, but it was a useless way to get an idea; it was too dark to see anything.

"Axel?" Roxas murmured, sounding worried, pushing himself up on his elbows. Axel smiled at him worriedly.

"Um…I forgot…" he muttered, averting his gaze in embarrassment, "Uh…lubricant…"

Roxas stared at him.

Shit, he was an idiot.

And then Roxas was taking Axel's hand in his, sitting up so he could easily reach… He gave Axel a long look, those blue eyes tearing right into him… Axel didn't even notice when Roxas raised their hands together… Not until, of course, Roxas placed his mouth around Axel's index and middle finger. Axel's lips parted in surprise as Roxas swirled his tongue, sucking and wrapping as much saliva as possible around those two fingers. And hell, he could produce a lot. In just a few seconds, Axel's fingers were soaking in it… He didn't really know what to make of that.

But when Roxas came off his fingers, a strand of spit hanging between Axel's hand and Roxas' lips, Axel realized he really didn't care. He leaned forward and licked away the saliva, pressing a hectic, sloppy, uncoordinated kiss to Roxas' mouth, who returned it immediately.

Still holding Roxas against him in his lap, Axel nudged his legs open and touched his fingers to the tight ring of flesh there. The contact made Roxas quiver immediately, and the kiss wasn't enough to distract him when Axel began to push.

He tried to be gentle, but there was only so much he could do to make the first penetration a pleasant one. His first finger didn't go in as smoothly as he had hoped, because Roxas, the virgin that he was, was tight. Axel had to shove a little too harshly than he'd intended, and that single second of uncertain, painful intrusion pulled a whimper from Roxas and made him wince.

"I'm sorry…" Axel whispered, pulling Roxas closer to him, pressing his lips to his ear, and then to his cheek and his jaw and his neck. Roxas shuddered again, but when he stilled, he relaxed. Axel smiled and kissed him again. "Good boy…"

Inside Roxas was like nothing he'd ever imagined. His entire finger was being clenched by hot, tight pressure, and that pressure fluctuated as he pushed in farther. Roxas squeezed around him, gasping the deeper Axel pressed. He could only imagine how that would feel around his member…

Inhaling sharply, Axel slipped his finger out and pushed again. This time, it slid in without a problem, and Roxas mewled softly in his ear, muscles flexing in an entirely new way. The next time, he pushed in two fingers, and paused to let Roxas adjust. When he, once more, loosened up, Axel began to slip his fingers out, and then back in. Out, then in. Steadily, easily. Eventually, he felt Roxas stop tensing, stop squirming uncomfortably, and begin subconsciously rocking his hips down on Axel's fingers. Soft moans and gasps signaling that pain was making way for pleasure.

Just to make sure, Axel added a third finger, biting his lip when Roxas squealed at the sudden shock of being stretched even further. But Axel needed to make sure Roxas was stretched. If three fingers hurt him… He wanted the experience to be as perfect for Roxas as it would be for Axel. He fixed his rhythm again constant and unbroken. By the time Roxas became comfortable, he was holding tighter to Axel's neck, licking up the small hollow just behind Axel's ear. Axel groaned.

"Are you….?" he asked softly, lifting his head from Roxas' and staring into lust-clouded eyes. He was sure that same look was probably filling his eyes, too.

Roxas nodded, breathing hard as Axel removed his fingers, setting his forehead on Axel's shoulder, no doubt preparing himself. Axel knew it would be easier, more practical, to lay Roxas down. But he didn't want to let go of him. He wanted to hold him every second.

He coated his hand in spit until it was enough to make his member slick and smooth. And he lifted Roxas and placed him just above the tip of his member. Axel could feel Roxas shaking, whether from nerves or excitement. But as soon as Axel's tip pressed against his entrance, Roxas relaxed with a sigh - and between the two of them, Roxas slid effortlessly onto Axel.

"Holy…" Axel groaned, in unison with Roxas' gasping moan. Axel had to shut his eyes, the sensation was so blindingly blissful.

Roxas couldn't have been feeling much different. He was whimpering softly against Axel's neck, breath and heartbeat erratic, incapable of controlling how he squeezed around Axel without warning. The sudden, sporadic constriction around his member was too heavenly to be possible. He was so…tight. Small. Just like Roxas himself. Being inside him was impossible to describe. All Axel knew was that he could sit like this, holding Roxas to him, not even moving, and be content for the rest of his life.

"I…Axel…" Roxas breathed, not able to find whatever words he was looking for. Axel sighed, almost laughing as he grinned and drew his head back so he could kiss Roxas.

"Mmmm… I know, Roxas," he murmured against his lips, smiling wider when the blonde's lips turned upward, when those eyes stared at him, loving and tear-filled. Taking one hand and caressing Roxas' cheek, running it past his scalp and brushing back his hair.

He knew that Roxas felt it too. That sense of absolute completion that Axel had been craving to share with Roxas for far too long. He had never waited so long - and it had never been more precious than this. To feel as though he was one with Roxas. Together. Unified. Finally. Axel wasn't sure how long they stayed like that with each other. Just resting. Just relishing the feeling of being with one another. And Axel didn't really care, either. All he knew was that everything was perfect.

But eventually, one of them did move. Axel didn't know who began moving first. One moment, they were still together, and the next, they were not. At first, their rhythm was uneven, messy. Almost awkward. But it didn't take long before their hips began to move in perfect synchronization. Axel had never taken anybody from this angle, but he loved it. It felt so much more intimate, made it so much tighter. He pushed himself in and out of Roxas, just as they boy lifted and dropped his own hips.

In bed, Roxas had always been surprisingly noisy. This was no exception. In fact, he was making more sounds than Axel had ever heard before. Every thrust resulted in a moan, high-pitched, innocent, sweet. He tossed his head back for a moment, mewing loudly, arms encircling Axel's neck and hanging on tight. Axel took the opportunity to attach his lips to Roxas' throat, sucking desperately as they moved together.

When Roxas suddenly screamed, Axel froze, head jerking up.

"Roxas?" he gasped, taking Roxas' head in his hands, pulling his head down so he could look him in the eye. But Roxas' eyes were closed, shut tight as he trembling uncontrollably atop Axel. "Roxas, are you okay? Oh my god, I'm so sorry…"

"No…" Roxas gasped, so wispy, Axel could hardly understand him. But Roxas was kissing him, walls spasming around Axel, contracting to the point Axel thought he wouldn't be able to breathe. "Please do that again."

It wasn't often he heard Roxas beg.

"Only if you keep talking like that," Axel replied, only half-jokingly. He didn't hesitate in moving to repeat whatever he had done, thrusting upward in Roxas in the exact same manner he had done before.

And hell, if Roxas didn't reciprocate, even if Axel hadn't really meant it. Burying his face into the crook of Axel's neck, he cried out again, the shock from before turning into pure pleasure. His nails dug deep into Axel's back, enough to make Axel wince involuntarily.

"Ah! Axel!" he yelled, as Axel continued to thrust upward - into his prostate, he realized. It hadn't really occurred to him that that sort of thing would work the same way with both men and women. And besides, nobody he'd ever been with had ever reacted like that before. "Oh, yes! Please! Axel! Ah…ah…ah!"

It really was too much. Between the vice-like grip on his member and Roxas crying out with no abandon, Axel was losing control. He stopped worrying about hurting Roxas - he really didn't think it was an issue at this point - and let loose on thrusting into Roxas as powerfully as he could. Roxas' screams rose higher and higher, to a point they finally broke against his voice, as he came hard, ejaculating over their stomachs.


He wasn't far behind. As soon as Roxas hit his climax, his walls clamped so tightly onto Axel, the redhead nearly blacked out. He swore he saw stars as he gasped out and let his orgasm wash over him. It was more intense than any he had ever experienced.

"Roxas!" he groaned, pulling Roxas' mouth to his firmly.

Kissing sweetly, they rode out the last of their orgasms together until all that remained was the golden ecstasy of a perfect afterglow. Their chests heaved in time with one another, lips resting against each other as they breathed into the other's mouth, hearts thumping as one.

"I love you, Roxas," Axel murmured, not bothering to move his head from Roxas'. He felt the blonde smile.

"I…I love you, too…" he said, breathless. Utterly breathless. It was so damn adorable.

"Your…your first time," Axel said, as if reminding them both. This time, he pulled his head away just slightly to look at Roxas. "Was it… Are you…okay?"

"Oh, Axel," Roxas giggled, something between a laugh and a purr, so content and pure and happy and wonderful, they were both smiling as Roxas dropped his forehead onto Axel's. "It was perfect. You're perfect… I love you."

"I love you more," Axel whispered, kissing Roxas gently as he lowered him onto his back, onto the silken sheets and the plushy mattress.

He rested on top of Roxas, making sure his entire weight was not on him, kissing him everywhere it was possible to kiss him. The entire while, Roxas giggling quietly beneath him, holding Axel's shoulder blades and squeezing whenever he laughed a little harder than normal. Eventually, Axel pulled himself from Roxas and settled down beside him, holding him to his chest. Curled into each other, they rested, at peace, complete. Together. And as the chains finally fell away, they fell asleep, as they had done every night, in the bed they shared.

As they would every night.

Until forever departed.

I believe, in all honest opinions entirely belonging to myself, that this was a bit of a success. I feel happy with this. Fulfilled and accomplished. This was indeed how I wanted this story to end, and I'm ridiculously thrilled that I've finished it.

Then again, I'm overcome with a sweet sadness that it's over and I'll no longer be writing this anymore. I was so upset about it that I decided to write another Roxas X Axel fanfiction. Yup, yup. ;) You're welcome. This one should be up sooner or later. Just a oneshot until I find the inspiration to write something else. I've been super busy, but I'm pulling through for you guys. I may, actually, add a little bit of a cute epilogue I have roughly sketched out in my head for this... It's nothing but cute, comedic (not my forte, I know, but sometimes I can't resist the challenge) fluffiness... It may or may not happen. I dunno. :3

Anywho... I was saving the full-blown lemon for the last chapter. It was - if you didn't catch it - symbolic. x) And I'm rather happy with this lemon. I think this is my favorite of all the ones I've written. You see, a lot of the time, I feel like people shove in lemons just to make it...lemony, but I really wanted this last chapter to mean more than that. So I mixed in some sweetness and (what I hoped was) comedic relief. I wanted to maintain the essence of their relationship, not just "Annnnnd, let's throw in some sex for good measure".

I could not, however, pervert that I am, help but make Roxas a noisy little boy... x) Not exactly fitting. But I like.

And lastly, thank you so much for sticking through with this story. You have no idea how much every review meant to me as a writer. I really do appreciate every one, especially the thoughtful ones. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. And maybe, one day, this will be one of this super famous KH fics people are reading years in the future. Love you all!

Buuuut, I have to add, that if I have to ask for reviews as this point, I'll be mildly disappointed...

Just saying. ;) 3