Ch.1-Until you are loved…

So this is the first chapter of Animal I have become. I hope everyone likes it, because I think it'll be fun to write. Anyway, just like everyone interprets Axel's past, this is how I will interpret it, all right? So no saying, 'this isn't Axel's past!' or stuff like that. I'll think of Axel's past how I want and others can do it how they want, so lay off. Anyway, R and R, please.

Warning: contains language, but I guess that's all.

It was a peaceful and pretty normal day at the Castle That Never Was and almost all the members were in the Grey Area doing something to amuse themselves.

Xigbar and Luxord played a tenth round of strip poker while Xaldin and Lexaeus watched from a nearby couch to see Xigbar fail again.

Saix stood at his usual post beneath the luminous Kingdom Hearts and was currently yelling at a dripping wet Demyx who had just returned from a failed mission in Atlantica.

Zexion leaned against a nearby window, idly talking to Roxas and Xion, who seemed to be enjoying whatever the Schemer was telling them.

Vexen was in his lab as usual while Xemnas was in his office and Marluxia was tending to his garden in the courtyard below the Altar of Naught.

Axel sat in a couch quite a ways from everybody else with his arms across his chest. He was staring at Roxas, who was talking now, with something akin to longing in his emerald eyes.

After only a few months of being in the Organization, Axel noticed that the blonde had begun to imitate his movements even going so far as to use his hands for emphasize like the red-head.

Axel sighed as he lowered his arms until they rested on his legs.

"Hey, Ax."

"Hey, Dem." Axel greeted distractedly as the water wielder sat beside him.

Demyx followed Axel's gaze before he looked back at the pyro.

"Why don't you just ask him?"

"Ah, he'll never like me." Axel shook his head as he finally looked away from the blonde and stared up at the ceiling as he laid his head back.

"But I asked Zexy and he said okay."

"He's always had 'feelings' for you, Dem. You could see it a mile away. He was just too shy to ask you."

Demyx was quiet as he apparently thought about something before he suddenly perked up.

"Why not question him to see if he likes anyone?"

"Dem." Axel looked at the blonde musician beside him with a bored expression. "He thinks we're just friends. It's only been a few months since he joined so he's bound to think that."

"But you want to be more." Demyx whispered as the pyro glanced back at Roxas.

"I don't know." Axel admitted with a sigh. "I can't tell if I truly have 'feelings' for him or if it's simply because he reminds me of Ventus."

"Ventus? Who's that?"

"Someone I met as a Somebody." Axel chuckled as he gazed back at the gray ceiling above him. "If you put him and Roxas side by side you wouldn't even be able to tell them apart."

"They looked that much alike?" Demyx asked in awe as he looked at Roxas as if to imagine Ventus in his mind.

"Yeah. We weren't really friends. We just met, talked for a while, then he went back to searching for his two friends."

"So you never really got to know him?" Demyx stared at Axel in disappointment before he brightened up. "Did you meet him with Saix? It's a shame you three didn't become friends. I'm sure you three-"

"It's a good thing we didn't." Axel turned his gaze to Saix. "It just reminded me why I spent time with Isa; to avoid my family, more specifically my mom."

Demyx became aware that he didn't want to get into a conversation about Axel's past so he quickly stood up, sputtering an excuse.

"M-me and Zexy promised Marly that we'd help in his garden. Sorry, Ax, gotta go now."

Axel watched as Demyx quickly strode up to Zexion, grabbed the Schemer's wrist, and lead the puzzled Zexion out of the Grey Area. The red-head snapped his gaze away from Roxas and Xion as he gazed at the floor bitterly.

"Liar." He muttered scornfully. "Such a liar."


Axel slowly looked up to see Saix standing a few feet away, clipboard in hand. Axel scowled as he looked away again.

"What do you want?"

"You have a mission in Twilight Town to destroy a Giant Heartless."

"Great." The pyro muttered sarcastically as he stood up and opened up a Dark Portal. "It'll get me out of this boring nuthole."

As Axel disappeared into the black hole, Roxas watched him with concern in his sky blue eyes.

He had never seen the red-head act that way before. Usually, Axel was just as happy as Demyx. But today he was acting moody and snappish.

Roxas tilted his head to the side as the dark corridor closed.


"Find a Giant Heartless." Axel muttered to himself as he destroyed another Novashadow. "Great mission, Saix. You know what? Go fuck yourself, you blue-haired idiot!"

The pyro tossed one of his chakrams at a nearby pole, but it bounced off and nearly hit Axel, who dodged just in time, and the weapon embedded itself in the brick road.

Axel growled as he pulled his weapon free and made his chakrams vanish with a flick of his wrist before he continued to walk, heading toward Station Plaza.

"Damn weapons."

"Damn weapons indeed." A voice cackled.

The red-head paused when he heard the voice as it continued to laugh and looked around, searching for the owner.

"Where are you?"

The chakrams were back in Axel's hands.

"Show yourself!"

"Oh, all right. Look behind you, pretty boy."

Axel whirled around with a growl as he raised one of his chakrams in preparation to throw it, but he stopped at what he saw.

The creature standing behind him was definitely a Heartless, most likely his target, and was in the form of a black dragon with shining gold eyes and a heavy mace at the end of its fragile tail. Its body was thin with the Heartless emblem emblazoned in the center of its chest. The Heartless's face was small and feminine.

"Hello, Axel." The dragon greeted as the pyro slowly lowered his chakrams. "My name is Mystic Dragon, but you can call me Mystic for short."

"H-how do you know my name?"

"Silly Nobody." Mystic laughed as she ambled toward Axel, her mouth opened slightly to reveal curved fangs in an amiable grin. "I can see into people's souls and from that, I can read their past."

Axel stood still as Mystic slowly began to circle him.

"You've had a bad past, haven't you? Others may not have realized it due to the smile that you always kept up, but your mother was not always kind to you, was she?"

"What do you know, you dumb Heartless? Your destiny is to return to the shadows!"

Axel raised a chakram, ready to throw it, but Mystic abruptly lowered her head, staring straight into Axel's eyes as her left eye flashed purple and the red-head froze.

"Now, now, attacking someone while they are talking is rude." Mystic raised her head and continued to leisurely walk in a circle around Axel, idly waving her tail slowly from side to side.

"Wh-what did you do to me?"

"Just a Slow spell so that you will stay still and listen to me."

Axel growled as Mystic glanced at him in her third rotation around him.

"Now where was I…? Oh, yeah. Your mom. Didn't your mother sing you a lullaby when you were younger, Lea?"

"Don't call me that." Axel hissed. "It's Axel now."

Mystic ignored Axel as she continued.

"How did the song go….? Oh, yeah." Mystic cleared her throat before she began to sing in a haunting voice, "My son, I'll shape your belief, and you'll always know that your father's a thief."

"S-stop it." Axel whispered as the first line of the song began to bring back bad memories, but Mystic continued.

"And you won't understand the cause of your grief. Your spirit will hate her, the flower that married your brother the traitor. And you will expose his palpable behavior for you are the proof of how he betrayed her loyalty."

"I said quit it, you bastard Heartless!"

"My son, each day you grow older. Each moment I'm watching my vengeance unfold. The child of my vibe, the flesh of my soul, will die in returning the birthright he stole."

"It's a lie!" Axel screamed as he struggled to break free of the spell binding him. "Reno stole nothing except for Lily's heart which he broke when he joined the Turks!"

Mystic chuckled softly as he paused in front of Axel and gazed into his eyes.

"Your soul still harbors dark feelings for your twin, does it not?"

"It doesn't matter anymore." Axel glanced away as his body relaxed, the spell holding him fading away. "Reno went to another world."

"You hold no kindness for yourself or others." Mystic held out a clawed hand and Axel backed up slightly, thinking she was going to attack him. "Except for one."

A small, holograph of Roxas appeared in the palm of Mystic's paw.

"You love him, yet he doesn't know."

"How do you-"

"I told you," Mystic closed her claws, crushing the image. "I can see into your soul and past."

Mystic suddenly lashed out a claw, scratching the back of Axel's right hand.

"Ouch!" Axel held his injured hand and looked at it, noticing a small cut in his skin, before he glared at Mystic. "Bastard!"

"Until your love loves you back….until that day comes, you will forever change into that form at night."

"Shut up!" Axel roared as he shot both chakrams at Mystic, slashing a deep X-shaped mark in her chest.

Mystic groaned as she stepped back, placing a hand to her breastbone as blood dripped to the ground. After a few seconds, though, she began to laugh and looked at Axel with a grin.

"You have no time limit to solve your predicament. But let's just see if your precious blonde can learn to accept you."

"Stop telling me riddles, you bitch!" Axel yelled as his chakrams sliced through Mystic's throat, effectively killing the beast.

The pyro panted as he watched the Heartless fade away, leaving only a crystal heart behind which floated tauntingly before Axel, who gritted his teeth before shattering the heart with a swipe of his weapons.

Axel closed his eyes as he quickly rubbed his sleeve across them when he felt the threat of tears.

"Stupid Heartless…you know nothing…."

"Wow, Axel." Xigbar said as the pyro walked past him and Luxord playing another game of strip poker; the sniper was already down to his boxers. "You look horrible."

"Thanks." Axel grumbled venomously as he disappeared out of the Grey Area. "Everyone wants to hear that when they return from a mission."

Roxas was walking toward the Grey Area, but he paused when he saw Axel and the pyro stopped, staring at him as well.

"Hey, Ax-"

Axel glanced away from the blonde and continued on his way with the confused Roxas staring after him.

I wonder what's wrong with Axel…Roxas thought as he watched Axel open the door to his room and disappear inside. He's never acted like this before.

Axel stared at his hand before flipping it over. He saw no evidence of a scratch and he wondered if he had maybe imagined it.

Until your love loves you back….until that day comes, you will forever change into that form at night.

What form? Axel wondered as he lowered his hand and turned on his side. It doesn't matter anyway. That Heartless was just trying to confuse me.

Axel closed his eyes.

It's not like Roxas could like me back anyway.

Everyone slept peacefully except for Axel who was struggling in his sleep.

Slowly, a dragon-like mark faded onto the back of Axel's right hand and the pyro's eyes snapped open, his pupils turning to thin slits.

Ooh, should this be called a cliffy? I'm not sure, but I'm gonna call it a cliffy anyway! *Evil cackle* And yes, Mystic Dragon is my own Heartless that I made up specifically for this story. The short song that Mystic sings is "Mordred's Lullaby" by Heather Dale; it's currently my favorite song.

Anyway, I guess that's all I have to say so far. R and R, please. Very appreciated. ^_^