This is not a Valentine's Day present. Nope, nope, definitely not. I hate Valentine's Day. This is just a love story. That I happened to post on Valentine's Day. After hauling ass for a week to make sure it was done by today. Nope. Definitely not a Valentine's Day present.
As promised to some, and as a total surprise to others, this is the companion piece to AM Static from Axel's point of view (I strongly recommend that you read AM Static first if you haven't already). This is dedicated to everyone who COMPLETELY blew me away with their amazingly kind reviews for that story (I still blush when I read them), particularly to musicdemon8 and universal dogma for asking for it at exactly the right time. Thank you, all of you, and I love you.
Things I Own: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World on Blu-Ray. A facebook. A wireless mouse. A bowl chair.
Things I Do Not Own: Axel. Roxas. Demyx. Zexion. Anyone and Everyone and Everything else mentioned in this story that has anything whatsoever to do with Square Enix, Kingdom Hearts, or Final Fantasy.
When Axel was bored he liked to be as dramatic as possible. Drama, he insisted on the rare occasion someone bothered to ask why he was behaving so strangely, was the cure to boredom. When people were bored they watched movies, went to shows, watched TV, read a book, picked a fight with someone entertaining, popped a bag of popcorn and watched their roommates bicker incessantly about whose turn it was to babysit Bored!Axel. All of these things, really, boiled down to being entertained by drama. Thus, it stood to reason, that acting dramatically would entertain him enough to cure his boredom.
It was with this in mind that Axel flung himself onto the large ottoman next to their couch, splayed like a starfish with his long limbs dangling over the edges and the tips of his auburn hair dusting the wood floor. It was his night off, Zexion and Demyx were both nowhere to be found, and he had absolutely nothing remotely interesting to do. It wasn't even for lack of trying; he'd made himself dinner, cleaned the whole kitchen, re-alphabetized both the DVD collection and the video game box in hopes of finding something interesting, and even pulled out his guitar and tried to see how close to perfectly he could tune the instrument without using a tuner.
Axel. Was. Bored.
He wriggled his hips slightly, frowning at the blunt plastic still digging into his back. His dramatic swoon, it would seem, had taken no interest in checking to see what was on the ottoman first, meaning that he'd landed directly on top of (he fumbled with one hand for a moment, attempting to move as little as possible while still grabbing at the thing under his spine – ah) the remote for Demyx' stereo.
The stereo itself was a thing of beauty. All three of them played instruments, it was how they'd eventually all met, in fact, but while Zexion treated it as a hobby and Axel as a stress reliever and a fun past time, music was Demyx' entire life. Everything from the way he cared for his instruments to the way he listened to pre-recorded music was an experience, and that included his surround-sound, DJ-quality stereo with everything from a vintage record player to an iPod dock. This, Axel decided, lifting his head high enough to see the buttons on the remote as he pointed it at the stereo, had the potential to be entertaining.
The iPod dock was empty. Axel had been expressly forbidden from touching the record player. All five CDs in the CD changer were classical pieces (this made sense, it had been Demyx turn to clean yesterday), and the tape decks...both sounded suspiciously like Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, as read by Jim Dale. Typical, Axel's least favorite of the seven.
It was with a frustrated, and slightly resigned, sigh that Axel switched on the radio, his last-ditch attempt at salvaging what he'd hoped was going to be a boredom cure. Talk show. Commercial. Bad pop song. Really bad pop song. Static. Static. Static. Talk sh – ooo. Now that was a radio deejay voice. Smooth and clear, just a little breathy, the kind of voice he would want to hear if he was lying in his bed in the dark of night. And he was saying something about introductions and his all time favorite song, and finally, finally, Axel sat bolt upright before jumping to his feet and turning the volume up as loud as it could go.
"WHEN. IIIIIII. WATCH YOU. WANNA DO YOU. RIGHT WHERE YOU'RE STANDING. YEAHHHHH"
"Axe?" Demyx called, slamming the apartment door shut behind him. "You here?"
Axel didn't bother answering; he could already hear Demyx shuffling down the hallway in those ridiculous neon Nikes of his, one hand scratching the back of his neck as he came into view. The blond's head cocked to the side like a confused puppy as he caught sight of Axel, belly down on the ottoman with his chin propped up on his hands and his knees bent.
"I'm sorry, I didn't realize we had a pre-pubescent teeny-bopper living with us." Demyx snorted, swatting at one of Axel's lazily swinging feet as he dropped himself unceremoniously onto the couch. Axel ignored this, waving his hand in a shushing motion at his bemused roommate.
"Well, sir, I'm really sorry that you feel that way about this song..." the voice on the radio was saying. Demyx quirked one eyebrow as Axel turned up the volume; really, if only his ears would perk in the direction of the stereo the redhead would look like an overeager dog listening to his master.
"Who is that?" the blond nudged his roommate with his toe, nodding at the stereo. Axel frowned at him, but the caller was talking now instead of the host, so there wasn't quite as much force behind the glare as there could have been.
"Roxas. New DJ on 104, took over for some guy named...Cloud, I think? Tonight's his first show...he's actually really kind of entertaining." Axel shrugged.
"And by that do you mean that if his bedroom voice sounds anything like his radio voice you'd be totally DTF?" Demyx laughed. Axel made his best attempt at wiping the guilty expression off his face.
"Well, honestly, the song's about the Holocaust. It's about being so in love with someone that their love can overcome anything, even something as all-consuming and as huge as the Holocaust. I really don't think that finding a song about love overcoming anything beautiful makes me particularly anti-Semitic."
"Someone called him an anti-semite for playing "Alive With the Glory of Love?" How dumb are you?" Demyx snorted. Axel rolled his eyes at his roommate, but was interrupted by the sound of Roxas' voice again, this time harsher and much firmer than it had been a minute ago.
"Then really, I think you should just hang up the phone and turn off your radio. Really. Obviously anything you hear on here is going to be way too far over your ignorant head for you to process anyway, so there's no point in you listening anymore. Goodnight, and thanks for calling. For the rest of you, here's another Say Anything song for your listening pleasure, dedicated to guy who we all just heard from."
Axel burst out laughing the second the song started, startling Demyx so much that one of his feet slid right off the ottoman, electric blue Nike hitting the floor with a thud. He caught on a few seconds after his best friend, and soon they were both laughing loud enough to drown out the sound of the music coming from the speaker system.
"Is someone really playing "Hate Everyone" on the radio?" Neither of them had heard Zexion open or close the door, which was apparently Demyx' excuse for why he jumped a foot in the air and screamed not unlike a rather screechy little girl. Zexion simply raised an eyebrow at them as this caused a fresh peel of laughter from the other two, rolling his eyes slightly as he dropped himself down on the couch next to Demyx. "And, while we're on the subject, why are staring at the radio like it's something to be watched?"
"This new DJ on 104 just dedicated this song to a caller who called him anti-semitic for playing 'Alive With the Glory of Love.'" Demyx supplied. Zexion's lips quirked at the corners slightly, something that made Demyx' face turn just a little pinker. Axel smirked at the pair of them.
By the time Roxas ended his show at 1:00, signing off with a promise to behave if his listeners promised to do the same, all three roommates were lounging around the stereo like it was a regular old fireside chat with FDR, listening with a surprising amount of attentiveness for three college students on summer vacation.
"Hey Zex," Demyx smirked, nudging Axel's hip again in a pre-emptive measure. "Looks like we finally found Axel a babysitter."
Zexion was the first one of them to call in, something about which majors were universally acknowledged as 'utterly useless.' Axel usually worked nights at a movie theater on their side of the city, and Demyx had recently developed the inability to be alone in a room with Zexion for more than ten minutes at a time (although, when asked, Demyx would staunchly insist that he was simply trying to work on his fitness. At midnight. By walking aimlessly around the city in flip flops and jeans. Right.), so it wasn't until almost a week later that all three were back together in the small apartment they shared, crowded around the stereo again with an empty pizza box strewn across the ottoman. Axel and Demyx were duking it out in a 1 vs. 1 on Mario Party, which was obviously why they didn't realize Zexion had the phone in his hand until it was too late.
"What is the point of spending tens of thousands of dollars on a quality college education if you are incapable of remembering half the nights you spend – OW, dammit, Demyx"
Demyx had smacked Zexion upside the head with the hand not holding his Wii remote, frowning pointedly at his gray-haired roommate.
"How old are you Zex, sixty? I mean, I know you wear sweater vests, but did you also walk uphill both ways barefoot in the snow all year round back when you were a youngin heading off to school? God." Demyx teased, rubbing the spot he'd just hit with light fingers.
"Your education is more important than your – Dem!"
Demyx dropped the controller entirely and lunged for the white cordless phone, snatching it away from Zexion's ear. The smaller man held on with an impressive amount of finesse, grabbing Demyx' wrist with his free hand and attempting to pry the blond off his phone. It wasn't until they both hit the ground, apparently oblivious to the way they were wedged between the couch and the ottoman as they continued to wrestle, that Axel realized they had dropped the phone, dial tone buzzing from its speaker.
He picked it up without much thought, punching the redial button and cradling the phone against his ear with his shoulder as he jumped to roll the dice. He'd forgotten who, exactly, was going to answer the phone until there was a voice at the other end, a voice that even tinged with amusement sent a little shiver down his spine. And oooh, pressed up against his ear like that, it was even better than hearing it on the stereo speakers.
"Hey, you're live on W104, did you have something to say in response to Zexion..."
"Axel," the redhead announced, pausing the game and dropping his controller in his lap. "Memorize it, I have a feeling you'll be hearing from me a lot if Zexion is going to be a regular caller." Somewhere on the ground beneath him, Axel heard a muffled sound of protest coming from, he assumed, Zexion. "So anyway, I'm sitting here with my good friend Demyx...well..." and now Axel glanced down, where he was surprised to see Demyx pinning Zexion to the floor with his knees on either side of the charcoal-haired-man's hips, one hand struggling to restrain Zexion's flailing arm. "I was sitting here with my good friend Demyx, Demyx has very recently taken to wrestling Zexion into submission on the floor. It's odd, really, because I always rather expected Zexion to be the dominant one –"
The pillow that had been dragged down onto the floor with the boys came sailing towards the redhead, nailing him right in the ear.
"OW, Dem, Zexion is the enemy, not me."
On the other end of the line Axel could hear the faint sound of someone giggling, though muffled, as though the radio host had his fingers pressed over his mouth. It was kind of cute.
"Well, so long as Demyx still has Zexion pinned now might be a good time to present your argument, yeah?" Roxas was snickering slightly, and it still didn't take away from his (ridiculous, really) seductive voice. He'd been listening to Roxas on and off for a week now, even downloading the radio app on his iPod for while he was on his way home from work, but actually talking to the guy was kind of...thrilling.
"Exactly what I thought!" Axel found himself saying. What was he thinking again? Something about Zexion and drinking. Stall tactic. "Zexion, dear friend, wonderful guy that he is, is about as dull as watching mold grow. Literally, he watches mold grow. For fun."
"I took one mycology lab! One, you fucking pyromaniac asshole. Just because you don't consider science to be interesting unless you're blowing shit up..." Zexion snarled, finally overpowering Demyx' struggling arm and pushing the blond up off of him. Oh that's right. Zexion and drinking.
"Anyway, Zexion is in the very, very, very minor minority of college students who actually do their work in a well-planned-out, very time-managed function. The rest of us like to party. Partying is fun, partying is well earned, and if you can't party in college then when the hell can you? High school you've got your parents breathing down your necks, and after you graduate you have to pretend to be a grown up. So come on, no time like the present!"
Demyx landed flat on his back in the free space next to the couch, where he managed to scramble away for all of about two seconds before Zexion launched himself on top of him, flattening the blond stomach-down on the floor.
"Uh oh. Demyx is down," Axel laughed, pushing the remote off his lap and tensing himself to jump. "Gotta go, bye Roxy!"
He dropped the phone and threw himself across the room, knocking Zexion clean off Demyx' back and pinning the smaller boy to the ground. Demyx hustled to grab Zexion's hands and pin them firmly to the ground, Axel sitting triumphantly on his friend's ankles. Zex was subdued, mission success.
Above them, all around them really, thanks to Demyx' ridiculous surround sound speakers, Roxas' laughter echoed like he was in the room with them. Axel kind of wondered what it would be like if he was.
After that he made a point to listen to Roxas' show almost every night, even when he was too busy to call in. His manager didn't mind if he listened to the radio while he worked; Axel never got to work the concession stand ever since that time he ate all the popcorn in the machine and puked on the butter dispenser, but the ticket booth was more or less soundproof, and nobody gave a damn if the guy cleaning up the theater had little white iPod earbuds sticking out of the collar of his purple polo shirt.
Calling in, though, was a different story. Only once in the last two weeks had he gotten out of work early enough to have the opportunity to call in to Roxas' show, and really, he'd wanted to, but the sight that greeted him when he walked into his apartment was enough to stun him into silence. Demyx and Zexion were facing each other from opposite ends of the couch, the radio on in the background, though it was obvious neither one of them were listening to it anymore.
"I don't care how comfortable you claim they are," Demyx insisted, frowning at his roommate. "They can't possibly be comfortable. They're all tight in places that things shouldn't be tight in, you might as well just wear those emo skin tight girl jeans at the same time, they sound equally as comfortable."
"You've never even tried them," Zexion argued, visible eye narrowed. They were both notoriously mulish; this was not the first time Axel had come home to them arguing about, for example, the best way to hang the toilet paper roll. "You can't possibly know they're not comfortable. Besides, sometimes its about more than just being comfortable, Dem. You know, like how it's sometimes nice to wear something other than jeans and a band tshirt every day."
"Guys..." Axel started slowly. It was usually best to leave them alone when they got like this, but maybe tonight...
"That's like saying its necessary for your socks to match every day just in case you happen to take your shoes off. Who cares what your underwear looks like, who cares more about appreciating your freaking boxers, if they're uncomfortable then –"
Zexion stood up without so much as a word, unbuckled his belt, and slid his jeans off his hips. The sound of his belt buckle hitting the floor was dulled only by Roxas' voice in the background; everyone and everything else had fallen completely and utterly silent. The charcoal-haired man stood in front of both shell-shocked roommates with his arms over his chest in nothing more than a white t-shirt and black boxer briefs.
Demyx, from the way he was beginning to turn slightly blue, had apparently stopped breathing. Even Axel stared unashamedly at his friend. Zexion, he reasoned absentmindedly, was a classic overachiever; he was more robot than college student. He graduated high school at the top of his class, had a nearly perfect GPA despite his ridiculously impossible BS Biochem major, practiced playing piano for an hour every day, and, most importantly for the sake of this lesson, Zexion was also a varsity diver.
It stood to reason, based on the way he approached everything else in the history of his lifetime with the same determined precision, that his body would be flawless. Really, Axel couldn't blame Demyx for his reaction.
"Appreciate this." Zexion snapped. He gathered up his jeans without so much as a faint blush on his cheeks, completely ignoring Axel as he swept from the room. The man, Axel had to admit, was quite a character.
"Did he really just..."
"Yes. Yes he did."
Needless to say, the stunned silence Zexion had left them in had rather stolen his opportunity to call Roxas that night, but once Axel finally did get a chance to call in again, bored to tears sitting in the ticket booth on a Thursday night, skyping with Demyx while he sold a grand total of four tickets after 10:00pm, it was to have one of the most amusing conversations he'd ever had with a complete stranger (not to mention one that left him choking on the popcorn he'd harassed Tifa into sharing with him).
Roxas was...well, Roxas was exactly the kind of person Axel made a point of getting to know. Roxas was funny, Roxas was witty as hell and sharp and quick and surprisingly intelligent and eloquent for a twenty-year-old. Roxas snarked back when people argued with him and Roxas had no fear about speaking his mind on public radio and Roxas was kind of...perfect. Kind of someone Axel would like to find himself sitting next to in class and getting caught up in a friendly debate, which they eventually continued over a cup of coffee, several text message exchanges, and maybe a casual dinner.
Roxas, Axel had a feeling, was hot. He knew this, knew the same way he knew that Zexion was not as oblivious as he pretended to be when it came to Demyx, the same way he knew that Xigbar had never one actually told him the truth about how he'd gotten that eye patch, no matter how many times he asked. There was no way Roxas could have that voice, could purr his name and give it to him just as good as the redhead had to the deejay, and not be at the very least decently cute.
It was with this in mind that Axel snatched the phone out of Demyx' hand without so much as a word to the blond, free hand tangled in the mullet to hold Demyx at arm's length. He flipped the phone up to his own ear with absolutely no regard for his roommate's protests, casually greeting Roxas as though he didn't currently have a palm-full of Demyx' face.
"Hey Rox, how's my favorite little tease doing today? Loved the shout out Thursday night."
He had too; after Tifa had pounded him on the back hard enough to not only dislodge the popcorn but knock him clear off the concession stand counter, he'd laughed for a solid few minutes at the talk show host's cheeky nerve. He loved an appropriately sassy person.
"You ask, I deliver." He could hear the smirk in Roxas' voice, like the other man knew exactly how Axel had reacted, even though that wasn't possible.
"That's good to hear, Rox, because I have another question." He vaguely recognized that he was flirting again, but really, hadn't that been his very intention when he grabbed the phone from Demyx (who, by the way, had completely given up and was now sitting grumpily with his arms crossed over his chest. Come to think of it, Dem had been a pissy little bitch all day today. And where was Zexion?)? The whole point of this conversation was that it was giving him the opportunity to throw the gauntlet, the chance to see if Roxas was just playing along with his games because he was a good host, or if there was actually a chance that something fun might happen this summer.
"You're asking us how we feel about celebrity's sexuality, and, well, as a radio host on a fairly popular station, you're becoming something of a local celebrity, Roxas." His voice was impressively calm right now. Seriously, Axel could almost trick himself into believing this didn't matter. "So, you're kind of asking if it matters what your sexuality is? And I personally say oh, yes, it totally does."
Roxas only hesitated long enough for Axel to realize that his answer was genuine. It wasn't an impulsive reflex answer, and it wasn't a lie that was taking him a while to fabricate, but a real answer that Roxas put just a few seconds of thought into.
"My sexuality never really mattered, Axel." Oooh the way he purred Axel's name; the redhead could get used to that. And he had a feeling that he already liked this answer. "I consider myself an equal opportunity employer."
For. The. Win. Demyx eye's grew wide at the sight of Axel's face, which, if he had to guess based on the heat radiating off his own cheeks, was approximately the same shade of red as his hair. It absolutely didn't matter that Axel was grinning like an idiot and laughing even though it wasn't particularly funny, and it didn't matter that Demyx wrested the phone from his hand with little to no resistance; Roxas had all but given him the all clear. Green light. Keep flirting, good sir, bring me your game, and we'll see if I want to keep playing. This had so much entertainment potential.
"Axel's blushing, Roxas."
"Demmm," Axel whined, burying his still-red face in his hands. Demyx showed him no mercy, grinning evilly at the redhead as he exploited all his secrets.
"He thinks your voice is hot as hell." Axel banged his forehead repeatedly against his knee, groaning. "Ooo now he's blushing even more. Looks a little bit like he's on fire, actually, especially with that hair of his." I hate you, Demyx, I really do. "Anyway, I guess Flamesilocks" you are dead to me, now suffer my wrath "used up all our time – OW, GET YOUR BONY ELBOWS OUT OF MY RIBS, ASSHOLE."
Axel launched himself clear across the ottoman to attack Demyx, knocking the blond flat against the couch as he began phase one of his impulse mission. Somehow, Demyx managed to hold onto the phone long enough to say goodbye to Roxas and hang up before Axel was tickling the shit out of him, ignoring his pleas for mercy with a single raised eyebrow and a cool green stare.
"I promise...I'll never...allude to you being...a...a ginger...ever again!" Demyx whined, panting the words out between involuntary barks of laughter. "And that you...that you blush...when you talk to...Roxas."
This most recent wrestling match led them rolling across the ottoman and back down onto the floor, but it wasn't until Axel realized the voice coming from the speakers had become nasally and well, not Roxas, did he realize just how much time had passed. It was 1:15 am...and he and Demyx were alone in the apartment.
"Where's Zex?" He asked randomly, rolling off Demyx as though he had suddenly forgotten that they'd been fighting. The change in Demyx' appearance was almost startling. His face fell, aquamarine eyes suddenly avoiding Axel's stare, his shoulders sagged, hell, even his hair seemed to droop. Axel frowned at him, but didn't say another word.
"Zexion," Demyx said stiffly, rolling over so that he and Axel were lined up side-by-side, pressed against each other, "is on a date."
Things were unusually tense around their apartment the next day. Wednesdays were usually pretty dull, Axel didn't work until 9:00, Zexion didn't get home until 10:00, and Demyx had lessons spaced sporadically throughout the day. Today, on the one day when maybe it would be best if Demyx and Zexion avoided each other for just a little while, it poured so hard that the Sandlot was closed, leaving Zexion out of work, and three of Demyx' four lessons cancelled that afternoon.
Axel sat between them on the couch with the determined air of one pretending that everything was completely fine, like Demyx wasn't openly sulking and Zexion wasn't pointedly avoiding looking at their blond roommate. Personally, he wouldn't have minded smacking the shit out of both of them. Dear Zexion, you're an asshole, Dear Demyx, you're an idiot who's been sitting on his ass doing nothing for three years. You are obviously both head over heels for each other, please fuck already. Sincerely, your loving and disgusted roommate. However, as this clearly fell into the category of things he was not permitted to say out loud, he settled for shoving Wii remotes into both of their hands and forcefully demanding that they play Brawl with him.
After the six consecutive game in which Demyx relentlessly beat the shit out of Zexion's Samus, Axel was starting to feel like maybe Brawl might have been the wrong choice for defusing the tension. Even Zexion couldn't pretend to ignore Demyx anymore, gritting his teeth and openly glaring at the blond.
"I'm gonna...uh...drink. Anyone?" Axel stuttered, jumping up off the couch the second his Link was K.O.'ed. He hurried out of the room without waiting for an answer, barely making it as far as the kitchen before he heard Zexion's voice.
"What the fuck is your problem?" Zexion, once you got to know him, was far from the stoic, monotonous asshole he seemed to be when you first met him, but Axel had never heard his voice drip with scorn like that before, especially not when directed towards Demyx. Maybe he should go back in there, just in case they needed a referee.
"Who said I had a problem?" Demyx snapped. "I'm sorry you're being a bit of a sore loser today, Zexion."
"I'm the sore loser? Are you sure about that Demyx?" Axel edged around the doorway, clicking the silver bottom of his tongue piercing against the back of his teeth. Both of his roommates were on their feet, glaring at each other like they were trying to kill the other with stare power alone.
"I have no idea what you're talking about." Demyx said stiffly, crossing his arms over his chest and daring Zexion to go there, to cross that line.
"Guys, maybe we should just call it –"
"Demyx and I have a score to settle, Axe. Sit your ass back down." Zexion ordered, and Axel had a hard time doing anything but dropping back down onto the couch as instructed, obligingly picking up his controller. Zexion was a scary little bitch sometimes.
They played in silence for almost an hour, both of them more or less completely ignoring both Axel and Link. Axel decided that the best approach to the game was to focus on the computer character, avoiding his roommates' avatars as they beat each other into submission. Zexion was now only one game down from being tied with Demyx, and both were on their last life of this round.
"I love you."
Samus fell off the ledge she'd been hanging from. Axel, out of the game for at least three minutes now, leaned back as far as he could into the couch cushions, attempting to fit both Demyx and Zexion into his field of vision. Zexion, for his part, looked like he'd just narrowly avoided a head-on collision with an eighteen wheeler. Demyx wasn't looking at him.
"I love you." He said it again, this time turning to face the still-gaping Zexion with wide aquamarine eyes. "I'm pretty sure I've been in love with you since approximately five minutes after you ruined my favorite shirt. And you're right, I never said anything about it, so I have no right to be mad that you went on a date. I lost."
Demyx stood up, dropped the Wii remote on the ottoman next to Axel's feet, and began to cross the room towards the doorway. He made it as far as the opposite arm of the couch before one of Zexion's hands shot out and grabbed him, wrapping around the blond's thin wrist.
"You," Zexion spluttered, pulling himself to his feet and staring at Demyx, who was still avoiding looking at him, "are the most obtuse, oblivious, obstinate, pain-in-the-ass moronic idiot I have ever met, Demyx Kuso." His free hand came up and smacked the back of Demyx' blond head like they were doing nothing more than arguing over a blitzball game, Zexion shaking his head fondly at his roommate. "I swear, if I didn't love you so much I probably would have killed you by now."
Demyx looked dumbfound, stupefied, much the same way he had the night that Zexion had up and dropped trou right in front of them, and then Axel couldn't really see much of the blond's face anymore because Zexion had pulled him forward into a kiss. Ugh. Things Axel didn't want to see.
"Well," he said loudly, sighing as he pushed himself to his feet, "as overjoyed that I am that you to are finally going to stop your stupid games, this is not something I'm particularly interested in being an active participant in. So, I'm out."
If either of them heard him neither acknowledged it, both entirely too engrossed in things that Axel really, really didn't want to think about. He circumvented the intertwined pair as much as possible as he all but ran from the room, holing himself up in his room. Headphones, headphones, headphones...check. Ipod on at top volume...check.
Axel prayed to every god and goddess he'd ever heard of that that wasn't the sound of one of his roommates being shoved against a wall. Seriously, how was it even possible that he'd heard that over the sound of Blink blasting in his ears? And oh, oh, that was definitely (Demyx) moaning. Oh god. Time to go.
He didn't even bother changing, just grabbed his work uniform off the back of his desk chair and stuffed it unceremoniously into an empty backpack. He'd change when he got there, he was going to get soaked on his bike anyway. And oh, didn't the thought of having to ride through the city in the rain just make this whole situation even worse.
"I'm going to work!" He yelled, not sure if they were in Zexion's or Demyx' room, praying that they weren't still on the couch. "For the love of god, try to be done by the time I get home!"
Neither responded. Axel tried valiantly not to think about how their mouths might be otherwise occupied.
He was totally, totally calling Roxas and telling everyone in the damn city about this later.
It was easy to fall into a new routine from there. Axel spent a lot of time out of his apartment, either working or wandering the city. Demyx and Zexion were finally together after dancing around each other for almost three years, of course they were going to act like newlyweds on their honeymoon, and of course he was okay with that. For now. He compensated easily enough; spent some left over birthday money on a pair of noise-canceling headphones, made a habit out of sanitizing every flat, sturdy surface in the house before he spent a significant amount of time touching it, and picked up a few more shifts at the theater.
And, of course, Axel called Roxas. The deejay had been hosting his nightly show for a little over a month now, and Axel was steadily progressing from casual listener to casual caller to talk show regular. Roxas even recognized his voice by now, introduction no longer necessary when the redhead got too excited about adding in his two cents to remember that the sound equipment at the radio station probably didn't have caller ID.
The best part, though, the best part about Axel calling more and more often, wandering through the streets in his neighborhood with his phone pressed to his ear, was that Roxas never stopped flirting with him. It had been a game at first, a little bit, a casual little thrill that shivered through him at the sound of the other boy's voice, and what was the harm in some playful flirting, it wasn't like they were actually going to meet each other any time soon. It started out as something fun, but Axel was starting to wonder if it wasn't turning into something a little more...real.
Last night, for instance. Last night Thing One and Thing Two, dumb drunk fucks, bless them, told Roxas that Axel looked hot with his tattoos. That little plug alone had been enough to save Demyx from a miserable fate when Axel realized they drank all the gin without him, but the conversation that had resulted from it might be enough to save Demyx from a whole summer's worth of wrath. Axel surreptitiously ran the side of his thumb along the curve of his own hip and thigh, black Dickies shorts hiding the ink-stained skin underneath. He hadn't been lying when he told Roxas that he didn't show just anyone that tattoo, and he hadn't been lying when he said he'd been willing to show it to the kid, should he ever want to see it. Axel really, really hoped he did. The brief mental flash, sensory more than sight, since he didn't know what the damn guy looked like, of hands slowly stretching the elastic of his boxers, sliding the cool green cloth down over his hips, slowly revealing the flame-colored ink starting just below his protruding hip bone...
"Dude, we know you like playing guitar and all, but really, that's no reason to jizz your pants over it."
Axel jerked his head up, wrenching open eyes he hadn't realized he'd closed. Xigbar stood next to him with a (terrifyingly) amused look on his heavily scarred face, single visible eyebrow raised as he stared the redhead down.
"Don't worry, Xiggy," Demyx snorted, smirking at Axel. "That's the face Axel makes when he's talking to Roxas. Or talking about Roxas. Or thinking about Roxas. Or daydreaming about him. Or –"
"We got it, Dem, thanks." Axel pouted. Some best friend. Really, he was good to Demyx. Let him and Zex have the apartment all to themselves for hours every night. The blond should be grateful to Axel, giving the redhead something to do. In fact, Demyx should probably call the deejay up and thank him, just for being wonderful.
"Roxas? That kid from 104? Oh my god, you're Axel?" Larxene cackled, incredulous stare falling on Axel's red face. "You shameless little slut."
"Shut it, Lark." Axel grumbled, rubbing the back of his neck with the hand not holding his guitar. Larxene only laughed harder, drumsticks clattering against the rim of her snare as she slammed one hand down onto her drum set. See if he every does his damn cousin a favor again, letting her into the band just so she could sit there and make fun of him.
"The girls at work love you, Axe," Xigbar added, visible eye gleaming. "You're the hot gossip every morning, you and your little love affair with the deejay. They just think you two are so cute. Like puppies."
"Axel is a very cute little puppy when it comes to Roxas," Demyx nodded solemnly. "He is. You should have seen him the first time he heard a show. Looked like one of those scenes out of a sixties musical, the ones were all the girls at a sleepover are laying on their bed listening to the radio, heads propped up on their hands and feet kicking in time to the music. All he needed was pigtails and he would have been set."
Larxene laughed even harder, and really, wasn't it high time someone shove one of those drumsticks down her throat?
"Choke on a dick," he told her. She purred at him, that crazy, crazy cousin of his, aquamarine eyes crackling underneath a single raised eyebrow.
"Pull the one out of your ass first," she shot back, smirking at him. "Come on, babe, you call him yet?"
"Uh, duh?" Axel deadpanned. Had she missed that part of the story? "I call him every night. Gotta give Xigbar's secretaries what they want, you know?"
"Dude, she means like really called him," Xigbar chuckled. Chuckled. When had all of his friends lost their goddamn minds? "You know, not on the radio? Asked him out on a date, sucked his cock. Shit like that."
Now it was Demyx who was cackling, one hand pressed over his face like that would be enough to contain the bubbling laughter exploding out of him. Axel's fingers tightened on the neck of his guitar. It would be a very, very bad idea to smash it over Demyx' head. He'd paid a lot of money for his banana yellow Fender, and he would be very, very upset if it broke just because Demyx was being a hypocritical idiot.
"Don't even know what he looks like," Axel muttered, frowning fiercely at Demyx and refusing to meet either of his bandmate's stares. "Hell, don't even know his last name."
"So? You obviously like him. And he certainly isn't turning you down. Why not?" Xigbar challenged. The oldest by at least five years, no one was really sure how old he was, it was hard to tell what with the dyed hair, the rough scars, and the tendency towards being a pathological liar, Xigbar unofficially appointed himself as Voice of Wisdom, dispensing wise and often totally unwanted advise at random.
"Shouldn't we be rehearsing?" Axel whined, deflecting the question. Xigbar narrowed his good eye, fully aware of Axel's games. "Last time I checked we had a show in like, three days. Although at this rate, it might be only two by now." Demyx was still laughing. "Oy, shut up Dem. Took you three years to get around to fucking Zexion, and you live with him."
Larxene straightened up with a gasp, swiveling on her small stool to pin the other blond with an incredibly offended, accusatory glare.
"You didn't tell me you slept with him! Hours and hours I spend on the phone with your sorry ass, talking you through all of his crap, you ungrateful little shit I can't believe you didn't tell me..."
And as Axel rocked back on his heels, green eyes glittering as he watched Larxene lay into a quickly sobering Demyx, struggling to defend himself against her self-righteous indignation, Axel allowed a small smirk to spread slowly across his features. Revenge, and a successful avoidance of questions that he really didn't want to consider right now.
Now that was a mission: success.
Axel slammed his forehead against the ottoman for what must have been at least the fifth time in the last half an hour. Of the last ten callers, four of them had asked Roxas something about Axel. Were they dating? Had they ever met in real life? Did Roxas want to meet his biggest fan? Was Axel a good lay?
The redhead had turned purple at that one, slamming his head against the soft surface of the ottoman again, just for good measure. Seriously, random strangers were calling in all night, asking Roxas about his love affair (he'd gagged at that term a little bit, and from the sound of it Roxas had too) with the frequent caller. He didn't care if their entire so-called relationship was literally being aired on public radio, that didn't make all the sordid little details of it everyone's business! He had half a mind not to call in tonight, just in a defiant, taking-a-stand kind of way...except that he really, really wanted to cash in on Roxas' offer to ask the deejay anything he wanted.
He knew exactly what he wanted to ask too. It was easy to find out about the younger boy's personality, Roxas gave those little tidbits away readily, like fun size candy bars on halloween. He didn't need to know the kid's birthday or what his favorite color was. Those were questions to slip casually into conversations, to work out the natural way. No, Axel knew exactly what he wanted to know, and that was what the deejay looked like.
The way he figured, if he timed it so that he was one of the last callers no one else would have a chance to call in and make comments about Axel's questions. All he had to do was get Roxas to agree to ignore the previously posed questions, which he didn't really think was going to be particularly challenging, and then they were golden. So he stalled. And stalled. And stalled. Until it was 12:40 and the show was almost done and Axel needed to call before he got blocked out.
"Hey, you're live on –"
"Promise me right now that we won't answer any of the scary questions other people asked or I will hang this phone up right now." Really, it was necessary. Axel was not opening up that can of worms tonight, and on the off chance that he ever did, it was not going to be while they were live on the air.
"You asshole, where the hell have you been?" Axel could tell that Roxas was trying to sound fierce, but he knew the other boy's voice well enough to pick the barest hint of relief lacing his tone, and that took the sting out of anything Roxas was saying to him. "Talk about throwing me under the bus there, Axe. God, no, let's not even go there. Anything else you wanted to talk about."
"I have two questions, and in exchange I will answer two questions you have. Anything you want. Fair game?" He hoped Roxas said yes. He hoped Roxas said yes, and he hoped just a little bit more that he said it quickly, like the idea of being able to question Axel was good enough to agree without even considering.
"Totally." WIN. "Bring it on, babe. Question one."
"What color is your hair?" Axel could tell from the way Roxas hesitated that the deejay had not been expecting that question. Honestly, what had he expected from him? Hey, Rox, just wondering how big is your dick? No way, he'd rather find that one out from first hand experience.
"Blond. Blond blond. None of that stupid dirty blond, not really brown but not really blond either. Sunshine yellow blond that people pay good money to buy in dye form." And Axel could picture it. Strangely easily, really, considering how little he knew about what the blond (and it felt kind of great to be able to identify him by a hair color, like he actually knew him or something) really looked like. It was definitely that sunny, California suffer boy blond, not mousy blond crap or Demyx' dusty, pale blond. He just hoped it wasn't bleach. Peroxide was not hot.
"Did you? And this totally doesn't count as the second question."
"Did I what?"
"Pay good money for that color in a bottle."
"Well, there's really only one way for you to find out, isn't there?" And god, what gave Roxas the right to sound so good? Whose voice was that sexual; he could turn Axel on just by talking to him. Hell, he could probably read a grocery list, and as long as he read it in that tone Axel would be gagging for it in no time.
"Is that an invitation, Rox?" Axel purred. Two could play at that game, yeah baby. Never mind the way Axel's breathing had hitched slightly, the way the little voice in his head was pleading for Roxas to say 'hell yes.' This was the kind of thing that was best left off the radio, probably. All he was doing right now was encouraging those nosy little bitches to keep calling Roxas, cooing over him like he was a baby moogle or something equally precious.
"Is that your second question?" No! "You only get two."
"No!" Axel reiterated, out loud this time. He totally needed his second question, something to fill in a vital part of the missing scene when Axel tried to picture himself and Roxas for real together, standing in the same room, talking face to face instead of through a batch of wires. "No. I'd rather know how tall you are."
"Really?" And there was that surprise again. Roxas really had expected something much more perverse from him. Guess you couldn't blame the kid, not really. "Out of all the questions you could ask, that's what you want to know?"
The back and forth was so easy. So easy, it was effortless, really. He didn't even try, just let the words roll off his tongue without even thinking about them, absorbing Roxas' answers before rebounding. He teased Roxas, flirted with Roxas, revealed scarring childhood traumas without even batting an eye if it meant soothing the deejay's embarrassment. It was impossible, nothing went this smoothly in real life. Axel didn't know it, didn't understand it, but he sure as hell wasn't going to question it.
And Roxas was short, huh? That was kind of adorable, really. He'd always had a thing for short guys (thank god for small favors, Axel would have been hard pressed to find a guy taller than him), and the fact that Roxas was embarrassed about it just made it even cuter. He kept that fact to himself, tucked alongside the mental image of him lifting Roxas up and pushing him against the wall, thighs wrapped around the redhead's hips as they used their lips to balance each other out. He'd be saving that one for later.
"How old are you?" Axel's heart stopped.
"I thought you were hanging up on me." He stuttered, throwing out the line to give himself a chance to recover. There were only two circumstances under which age mattered: dating, and sex. Roxas may as well have just confessed his attraction to the redhead, and man if Axel wasn't doing a mini little victory dance from his spot on the couch.
"Do you want me to, cause I can if you –" Not a chance.
"Almost 22. I'm going into my senior year of college." His birthday was almost exactly a month away, HBU move in day less than a week after that. "Don't you dare, you little brat, or I swear I'll keep calling you back until no one else can get through on the line and you have to answer me." And he would, too. Roxas still had one question left, and Axel couldn't sleep without listening to one of Roxas' shows all the way through. He wondered what else the blond could be wondering about him. He already knew Axel's height, hair, and eye color, most of Axel's favorite random fun facts, and a whole slew of other needless pieces of information. He was so busy pondering possible questions that he almost missed the actual one, spacing back in just in time to hear "thirteen tattooed on you, and what do they look like?"
"That's two questions," he guessed. If it wasn't he could always just pretend that he'd meant that describing each tattoo separately meant two separate questions. Roxas wouldn't know that the redhead hadn't been listening to him. He was right though, he knew he would be, although he couldn't for the life of him begin to guess the correct reason behind the way Roxas' breath caught in his throat as Axel began to explain why he'd felt the inexplicable need to ink VIII and XIII onto his wrists.
"Why, out of all the questions you could have asked, was this one so important?"
"I have a tall, thin, slightly distressed looking roman numeral thirteen on the left side of my rib cage, and a matching eight on the right side. Same reasons apply, except thirteen is my number and eight is its other half."
Axel froze. He may have blinked once or twice. He also may have forgotten how to breathe. He and Roxas had the same tattoos? They had the same random, seemingly arbitrary tattoos in similar places on their body, and they'd done it for the same reasons?
"So," he tested the word out in this throat, gauging his ability to talk without his voice shaking. "We have matching tattoos, because we both have grown up with the numbers eight and thirteen, and both believe that one is the other half of the other?"
"Apparently, yes." And really, there was nothing Axel could do tho that except grin, warm expression exploding across his pale face, wrinkling the purple skin on the fleshy part of his cheeks. He couldn't even begin to try analyzing that one...it was simply too amazing to even think about.
"Well, Roxas," Axel somehow managed to squeeze the words out in a normal tone, voice just slightly higher than normal, laced with a slight edge of bubbling laughter. "If that isn't a sign then I don't know what is."
And Axel couldn't do much more than grin goofily after that, staring at the phone in his hand long after Roxas had disconnected, only faintly aware of the buzzing hum of the dial tone pulsing out of the speaker. He could feel how stupid he looked right now, feel the way the smile stretching across his face was unnatural in how broad it was, the way his green eyes were probably all squinty at the corners from the way the grin pressed his cheeks. It didn't matter.
First of all, Roxas totally liked him. He must. Why else would he have asked him how old he was, if not to try and gauge whether or not Axel was in the realm of possibility for dating. No one gave a damn about ages differences when it came to friendships, and it was obvious he was still a student from the way he talked about his summer, so why else would Roxas want to know how old he was?
But even better than that, he and Rox had matching tattoos. They had matching tattoos, and they didn't even know it, and they both meant the same exact thing to them, and dear god, if that wasn't a sign that they were totally, totally made for each other than really, Axel didn't know what was. Come on, they practically agreed that they were soul mates. Roxas even admitted that he thought eight and thirteen were meant to be a pair, and he obviously identified with the number thirteen as much as Axel did with eight.
"I swear if you smile any more your cheekbones are going to shatter."
Axel dropped the phone as he jumped a foot in the air, wild eyes frantically searching for the source of the sound. Zexion sat perched on the arm of the couch, visible eyebrow raised as he watched his roommate with an amused smirk. How long had he been sitting there? Axel hadn't even noticed him come home.
"Heard the show. They've started playing it at work, you know. A couple of the girls that work in the controller's booth put it on the PA system at night after the park's closed and we're cleaning up. They tell management it's because Roxas plays good music, but everyone knows they turn the volume up whenever you call." Zexion's pointed stare pinned him solidly to the couch more effectively than any physical restraint. "You were a pretty popular subject tonight, weren't you?"
"I have adoring fans," Axel shrugged. Even Zexion couldn't wipe the smile off his face, only tone it down a fet watts.
"Pity you won't give them what they want. Avoiding all their questions like that, holding out until the very last minute. Who knew you were such a diva?" Zexion scoffed, sliding off the arm as he wedged himself firmly into the corner of the couch. Axel chose to pleasantly ignore him, reaching down for the cordless phone and finally turning it off.
"So what?" Axel echoed, not looking at Zexion. The movement towards the phone had lifted his sleeve a few inches, revealing the top half of the XIII on his left wrist. Axel made no effort to fight off the revamp in his smile, regardless of the way his cheeks were starting to hurt.
"So, why did you ignore them? Dude, they're right. You two have taken this beyond flirting because you're bored and a horn dog and he needs the entertainment value. You like him. You know it, I know it, Demyx knows it, half the city knows it. Yuffie totally lost her shit at work the other day when she realized that my roommate Axel and "Roxy's Axel" were the same person."
"So what the hell am I supposed to do about it?" Axel griped, grin fading slightly as he finally turned to acknowledge Zexion.
"Talk to him. For real. How many people in Twilight Town have the name Roxas? Even better, how many people who work as a late night deejay at W104 have the name Roxas? How hard would it be to go to the radio station and ask for him?" Axel would have laughed if it was anyone other than Zexion. Zexion didn't joke about things like this; he genuinely wanted Axel to go find the W104 studio and harass the staff into hooking him up with Roxas. As if.
"No way man."
"Because..." Axel struggled to find the right words to express himself, clicking the ball of his tongue stud against his teeth. "I'm just some guy who calls in on his radio show. It doesn't mean anything."
"Like hell it doesn't," Zexion snorted.
"Even if it did, what difference would it make? I go to school six hours from Twilight Town, and he's from Destiny Islands and goes to school in neither of these places. What would be the point? Have some summer fling that neither one of us either has time for, pretend we're going to try to make it work long distance, struggle through three weeks of awkward phone sex and then break up through a text or a voicemail or something equally impersonal?"
Zexion frowned at him, and it was an expression Axel knew well. It was one of Zexion's favorites, the look he gave Demyx and Axel when they were being particularly dense, just one shade shy of a glare and one shade shy of totally dominating. Axel avoided that stare like the plague.
"Stop making excuses, Axe."
"What if he doesn't like me?" The soft question completely wiped any last remnants of the smile off Axel's pointed face, malachite eyes completely serious as he leveled them on Zexion's own cobalt pair. The charcoal haired roommate shrugged one shoulder, careful to keep his face impassive, his voice neutral.
"Find out then. Whatever you have to do to figure it out, just do it."
Like it was just that easy.
Axel jumped, fingers flying over his keyboard until a new screen popped up, hiding the internet browser that had been open seconds earlier. Demyx raised an eyebrow, a habit he'd no doubt picked up from Zexion. Axel was shameless, and Demyx knew it. Hell, the last time he'd walked in on Axel watching porn the redhead hadn't done more than invite his roommate to pull up a chair. Demyx' interest was definitely piqued.
"Designing a new tattoo?" He glanced over Axel's shoulder at the image open on Illustrator. It was a classic Axel design, 95% black with just the barest hint of color shot throughout for that extra pop. Actually, Demyx leaned closer to the screen, chest brushing against Axel's bare shoulder, it was probably something the blond wouldn't mind getting done himself, one half of one of those old school chrome microphones, the other side fading into a black and green checkered pattern decorated with a soft sweep of stars and music notes. "That's awesome man. Not really your style though, is it? I mean, you're not a singer."
"It's not for me," Axel mumbled, fingers inching towards the mouse pad. Demyx beat him to it, snatching the wireless mouse away and pocketing it before Axel could so much as blink. The redhead pouted, a faint blush spreading across his inked up cheeks.
"Microphone, music notes...oh my god Axel, you designed a tattoo for Roxas!" It was obvious from the way the faint blush turned scarlet that Demyx was definitely right. The blond cooed dramatically as he pressed his face practically up against the computer screen, studying the design closer. "Oh my god, Axe, that's precious. You only design ink for people you really, really like. This s really good too. I bet he'd love it. He probably has too much on his arms already now that he's getting those keys done, but this would probably look cool like, on the back of his calf maybe? Or on his shoulder blades. Oh man, you two could get matching ones to commemorate the summer you spent wooing him over the radio."
"Go away," Axel whined, elbowing his roommate away from his precious computer. "I don't 'really, really like him.' I was just inspired. It's not like he'll ever see it."
"Oh but you want him to, don't you?" Demyx teased. "You should email it to him or something. Really, he'll love it."
"No," Axel argued, surreptitiously hitting command s before quitting Illustrator. Demyx crowed victoriously as the screen Axel had forgotten about hiding appeared on the screen. Axel burned scarlet as he realized his mistake, hastily scrambling for the mouse that wasn't there.
"You," Demyx cackled, pointing on finger accusingly in Axel's face, hastily backing far enough away that the redhead couldn't reach his back pocket. "You are totally facebook stalking Roxas, you lying little creep."
Axel buried his face in his hand, abandoning his search for the missing mouse. Fine. Maybe Demyx had caught him with the facebook search page open, scrolling through what was apparently 1,012 people on facebook with the first name 'Roxas.' Seriously, for all facebook's creepiness, they couldn't give him an advanced search app?
"I...wanted to know how big to make the tattoo?" Axel winced, blatantly aware of how transparent that lie was. Demyx snorted, not even pretending to believe his red haired roommate. He pulled Axel's spare desk chair across his bedroom and up to the side of the desk, pulling the mouse of his pocket as he dropped down into the seat.
"Any prospects?" He asked, holding the mouse out like a piece offering. Axel took it cautiously, glancing up at Demyx for a few seconds before reaching across to the mouse pad and clicking open the second tab in the safari window. Demyx leaned forward again, blond head cocked to the side as he studied the profile picture Axel had pulled up. Axel watched his face, having studied the picture long enough that he didn't need to look at it anymore.
"Well that's...wholly unhelpful, isn't it? I mean, the information looks alright, Roxas Anthony, smart kid leaving out his last name, current location Twilight Town. Doesn't say anything about his school network or where he works, guess he has that part blocked. But this picture..." Demyx frowned, and it was the exact same expression Axel knew had been echoed on his own face for the last hour. The profile picture showed a blond guy sitting in front of a sound board, ear-encompassing deejay headphones stretched over spiky blond hair, his back to the photographer. He sat curled in his chair, knees to his chest, both kelly green chucks soles flat on the seat of the chair, one hand pressing the headphones to his ear, the other flipping off the photographer over his shoulder. It was entirely impossible to see anything about the kid's face or body.
"Useless," Axel muttered grumpily. "But I'd be willing to bet that it's him."
"Looks like Roxas," Demyx laughed. "I mean, what we know of him. Tiny, sassy, blond, and wearing Chucks. The information fits. You should friend him."
"Why not?" Demyx whined. He reached one hand towards the mouse like he was ready to hit the add friend button weather Axel wanted it or not, but the redhead was ready for him. He snatched the mouse of his roommate's way, flipping it over to the other side of the keyboard. Years of porn had perfected his ambidextrous mouse abilities.
"I'm not friending him Demyx. For one, it might not be him. There're over 1,000 guys name Roxas on facebook, just because this one's blond and lives in Twilight Town doesn't mean he's the right Roxas. For two, how lame is that? Friending him? We've never met, and I don't know his last name. I had to scroll through almost twenty pages of names before I found this one, how fucking creepy am I going to look after that?" Demyx continued to pout at him, but Axel was holding firm on this one. There was no way he was sending Roxas a friend request. Not a chance.
"But what if he wants to be facebook friends?" Demyx challenged. Axel sighed, raising one red eyebrow as he turned to look at his roommate.
"Dude, have you ever searched 'Axel' on facebook?" Demyx shook his head. "There are fifteen people on facebook with the first name Axel. There's only one in Twilight Town, and despite the fact that my entire profile is private, you can blatantly see my hair in the picture, and both tattoos on my face and my wrists." Demyx frowned at him, and the redhead could tell that he still didn't get it. "Dem, if Roxas wanted to be facebook friends, it would take him all of about sixteen seconds to find me. He wants to make that happen, he can."
Demyx knew Axel well enough to know when he was beat. He pushed himself to his feet, ruffling the messy spikes of hair spread haphazardly across his roommate's head.
"At least you learned one thing from your creeping." Demyx reminded him, pointing one finger lazily at the screen still displaying Roxas' locked profile. "Roxas Anthony is single."
Work was boring, work was boring, la la la la work was boring. Cid was wonderful though, Cid said he could go home as soon as he put all his cleaning supplies away, and Axel was practically skipping down the escalator with his little mini supply cart, bouncing up and down as he pushed the cart across the floor. One headphone hung dangling from his collar, the other pressed in his ear as he listened to Roxas whine about how bored he was and the occasional funny story from some sympathetic caller or another. Axel would have enough time to call him now that he was getting off of work a little early, he could probably think of a story or two that would make the blond laugh. All he had to do was put his cleaning supplies away and he was home free.
Axel froze. Stopped dead in his tracks, jerked the cart to a stop, barely breathing as he came to a halt. He heard something. Sure, this was a movie theater, there were usually plenty of noises, but it was pretty late at night, and the theaters down here were playing mostly kiddie movies, nothing that would be making a noise like that this late at night.
There it was again. Axel yanked the second headphone out of his ear, cocking his head to the sighed as he strained to hear it. It sounded almost like...moaning.
Again. Definitely a moan. Holy shit, this basement was haunted, there was a fucking ghost roaming through the bottom floor of the multiplex, searching for a poor, unsuspecting soul to torment until he got free popcorn and holy shit, Axel was pretty sure the concession stand was closed. Oh my god he was going to die.
"Okay," he said out loud, only slightly reassured by the sound of his own voice. "Okay Axel, man up. Just go throw your shit in the closet and you can leave. That's it. Just go throw everything in there and then you can get the hell out of here, and then you can call Roxas and he'll laugh at what a baby you are but at least then he'll be entertained. Right. Go now."
He forced himself to move forward, steadily closer to the supply closet. Problem was, and oh god if this was Scooby Doo Axel would most definitely be Shaggy, knees knocking together as he crept slowly and comically towards the closet door, it seemed like the closer he got the louder the moaning got. Moaning, and oh that sounded like a whimper, oh my god what if the ghost was in the closet, not figuratively but literally in the closet, oh shit what was he going to do. The ghost in the closet was moaning and whimpering and, Axel moved closer, positively shaking...saying...something...
"Reeeee –" the ghost moaned. Axel froze again, barely feet from the closet. He had no idea what "Ree" meant, but the ghost...if he didn't know better, he'd swear that was Roxas' voice. The ghost was totally taunting him, luring him closer and closer, and oh shit oh shit oh shit it was – "ungh, Riiikuuu."
Huh. He knew that name. He totally knew that name. Riku. Riku. Who did he know named...
"God, Sora, do that again."
Sora! Riku! He totally knew those names, and they totally didn't belong to a ghost.
"Holy shit!" he yelled, yanking the closet door open simultaneously. Two figures crashed to the ground at his feet, one of them landing directly on top of Axel's purple Chucks. He blinked down at the mass of silver hair spread across the ugly maroon carpet under his feet, head cocked to the side as he studied the flushed red cheeks and the totally unbuttoned fly on his pants. Silver-haired kid looked weirdly familiar.
The other one, tangled in some bizarre twist of limbs with the silver-haired guy, was glancing up at Axel with his face approximately the same shade of red as Axel's hair. His sky blue eyes were wide and slightly terrified as he met Axel's smirking gaze, oddly innocent in juxtaposition to the smattering of hickeys littering his neck and the hand that was still lurking close to the other boy's crotch. The smirk on Axel's face turned into a lecherous grin.
"You two were totally macking it in my supply closet. Oh my god." Axel screeched. Both boys blinked owlishly up at him as the redhead positively howled with laughed, doubled over with his head near his knees as he wrapped his arms around his stomach. Oh my god, he hadn't laughed his hard in ages. "Holy shit." He wheezed a full minute later, still cackling. It took a few deep breaths before Axel could compose himself, and even then he still let loose the occasional uncontrollable snort of laughter as he glanced down at the pair still frozen on the ground.
"Here," Axel reached one hand down towards the brunet, still snickering as he pulled the shell-shocked kid to his feet. The silver variety climbed up without Axel's help, aquamarine eyes watching the smirking redhead warily. Axel didn't blame them, really. Here he was, laughing like a madman, while these two probably thought they were about to get banned from the movie theater for life.
"Now, which one of you's Sora?" The silver-haired one, who was definitely both significantly taller than the brunet (though still not as tall as Axel), and probably older, looked like he was going to say something, but the brunet beat him to it.
"I am," he said, still blushing fiercely. "Listen, I know this looks really, really bad, and I swear to god we'll never do it again, I swear, just please, please don't report us to your manager, uh..."
Sora's eyes nearly bugged out his head. Even the silver one, Riku, Axel assumed, blinked once or twice more than necessary, tilting his head slightly as he studied the redhead more closely.
"Holy shit!" Geez Sora, no need to steal Axel's lines. "Axel Axel? The Axel? Roxas' Axel?"
"Oh good, so you are that Sora. It would have been awkward if it was just you, but since both of you were here I figured the odds were pretty slim that there was more than one Sora-and-Riku couple in Twilight Town." Axel kept the amused grin on his face, hoping desperately that he hadn't blushed at the way Sora had called him 'Roxas' Axel.' Especially with the way Riku was staring at him like that, like he was totally judging the shit out of Axel. The way Roxas talked about him, Riku sounded like something of a big-brother figure to the blond kid, and Sora was actually his brother, and oh god if they didn't like him he could kiss his already slim, slim chances with Roxas goodbye.
Axel paused. Since when did he want a chance with Roxas? Now was neither the time nor the place to explore that particular line of thought, not with Sora gaping at him and Riku narrowing his eyes at him. He pocketed it, saving it for later.
"So you're Axel." Sora said thoughtfully, blatantly looking the redhead up and down. "Shit, you really are ridiculously tall. And hot." He nudged Riku playfully, jerking his head in Axel's direction. "Rox's totally gonna lose his shit when we tell him we met Axel. Especially when we tell him how hot you are."
"Back off Sora, you're taken," Riku muttered crossly, folding his arms over his chest. "And so is Axel, for that matter." The redhead in question raised an eyebrow. He hadn't realized he was in a relationship.
"Aw come on Riku, I'm just playing." Sora laughed, nudging his boyfriend a little harder this time.
"Yeah, come on Riku, we're just having fun," Axel echoed. He still couldn't figure out why the silver-haired boy looked so familiar, but he was certain he'd seen him somewhere before now. Riku was frowning at him too, something contemplative in his expression as he studied Axel with the same appraising stare. Weighed and measured, check and check.
"I've seen you somewhere before," Riku said suddenly. Sora glanced up at the pair of them, looking questioningly at his boyfriend. Axel could only nod, clicking his tongue stud again his teeth as he moved back and forth slightly to check Riku at different angles. The way the fluorescent lights shone off his hair, and if he looked at him almost from behind, and imagined his hair pulled up in a pony tail, bangs framing a pair of black Ray Ban Wayfarers...
"Holy shit!" Axel yelled again. Riku gaped at him, and they were almost simultaneous in their movements as they both took half a step back and pointed at the other.
"You're that guy from Warped Tour!" They shouted in unison. Sora blinked uncomprehendingly back and forth between them, starting slightly when they both cracked up, laughing somewhat maniacally as they broke into almost identical grins.
"You guys are creepy," Sora announced, hands propped up on his hips as he pouted at them. It took Axel and Riku a few seconds to compose themselves, judgment completely gone from Riku's face as they grinned at each other. Axel almost couldn't believe that he hadn't recognized the other boy almost immediately. There was always that one group of friends that you ran into over and over and over at Warped Tour, those random strangers with the same taste in music as you, the same urge for water at the same time, who searched the same merch tents as you. Axel distinctly remembered Riku; the way the sun had reflected off his platinum hair had made Axel scramble for his aviators the first time he saw him. By the sixth time, he'd stopped bothering to take them off.
"Hang on," Axel said slowly, realization dawning. "That means I saw Roxas at Warped Tour. Like most definitely saw Roxas at Warped Tour. I mean, there was always a chance that I'd seen him and just didn't realize it, the parking lot's only so big, but I saw you at least half a dozen times, and Roxas was with you..."
"You're that guy?" Sora exclaimed, straightening up as he studied Axel for a few seconds before turning to Riku. "You were totally right. You said he looked like Axel, and you were totally right."
"You knew who I was and you didn't tell either one of us?" Axel whined, glaring at a slightly guilty looking Riku. "Lame, man. It would have been a story for the grandkids if Rox and I met at Warped Tour."
"I wasn't sure it was you," Riku protested, looking sheepish. "Wasn't going to get Roxas' hopes up for no reason. Besides, the way he twitches every time he sees a redhead, or a guy who's remotely taller than six feet, I was actually kind of surprised he didn't notice you himself. I mean, how many 6'5" redheads are there in Twilight Town?"
"Oh man, I have to text Roxas," Sora insisted, fumbling for his pocket. "Ri, we need to go home and get my phone so I can text him. He's going to totally lose it. Axel!" Sora turned on the redhead, yanking him forward into a pretty forceful hug for such a tiny kid. "It was really, really awesome meeting you. Really. Now I know you're not really some crazy ass 40-year-old creep getting off on my brother's voice or something like that. And you're kind of awesome. You should really come hang out with us some time! Come on, Ri, we have to go!"
Sora took off without waiting for a response, hustling down the hallway towards the escalator in his eagerness to tell his brother about his new discovery. Axel and Riku watched him go with matching expressions of incredulity, though Riku's adoration was obvious under his stare.
"I better follow him," the silver haired teen sighed, shaking his head slightly. "It really was cool meeting you. Sora obviously likes you, which means you have no chance of avoiding him now." Riku smirked slightly as he turned to the redhead, teal eyes glittering with silent laughter. "So, for that matter, does Roxas."
"DEMYX," Axel yelled, flinging one arm over his blond roommate's shoulder. "DEMYX! TONIGHT WAS THE BEST BIRTHDAY NIGHT, LIKE, EVER."
Demyx laughed, one arm wrapping around his roommate's waist. The grip was as much for balance as it was for the sake of affection; Axel leaned heavily on his shorter friend, offering what little support he could in return as Demyx' hand gripped the waist of his jeans. They were, to put it bluntly, absolutely hammered.
"Are you shouting because you're drunk or because your ears are still ringing?" Zexion asked, appearing at the redhead's elbow. "Are your ears still ringing? Mine are. I'm pretty sure I can still hear everyone screaming. Is that possible? How far are we from the theater? Is the show still going?"
"I love when you're drunk, Zex." Axel slurred, throwing his free arm around the shorter boy's shoulder. "You're so much more on my level when you've had a drink or six."
"Didn't have six," Zexion muttered, crossing his arms over his chest. "I don't drink."
"No," Demyx agreed sagely, "Zexion doesn't drink. He did, however, take four shots before we left the apartment, and two more when those bitches at the bar thought they could hit on him."
"They weren't hitting on me," Zexion protested, "and even if they were, it didn't matter. They were girls." He said it as though he was repulsed by the very idea, like 'girls' was synonymous with 'one-eyed hairy trolls.' Demyx practically purred, beaming at his boyfriend like Axel wasn't even standing there, let alone directly in between the two.
"What time is it?" Axel whined, dropping both arms down at his sides and patting down his pocket for his phone. He found it deep in the bottom of his left front pocket, but it took him several tries to dig the phone out of the tight jeans and squint at the screen. "12:37. Do I still have time to call Rox?"
No one answered. He turned, surprised to find that Demyx and Zexion were no longer flanking him. No, both of his roommates were several paces behind, Zexion's back against a lamp post as they kissed. Rolling his eyes good-naturedly Axel flipped open his phone, clicking through options until he pulled up Roxas' radio show's contact information. He held the phone to his ear as he listened to the ringtone, waiting with his back to the exhibitionist whores behind him.
"Hi, you're live on W104, what –"
"ROXAS!" Axel had never been so happy in his life. Hearing Roxas' voice, ooo it made his insides go all fluttery in a way he knew wasn't related to the alcohol. Roxas' surprised laughter echoed through the speaker, and man did Axel just love that laugh. Making Roxas laugh was great, he wanted to do it again and again and again.
"Hi Axel," Roxas laughed, and Axel could hear the smile in his voice. It was a nice smile, he decided. It must be. Everything about Roxas was amazing, there was no way his smile didn't match. "Having a good night?"
"Guess what today is!" Axel said excitedly, bouncing slightly on the sidewalk. "Guess."
"I'm going to go out on a limb and say...your birthday." Roxas teased. "Considering you told me it was today about five times yesterday. Did you guys do anything fun?"
"We went to see a show!" It was a blast too, although the redhead had found himself thinking about Roxas a lot. A lot a lot. He'd wondered if Roxas would like the band, what he would have ordered to drink, whether or not he would have danced on that table with Axel after the band had left the stage and the theater turned into a club. He wouldn't have minded dancing with Roxas. "It was great. Hollywood Undead, have you ever heard of them? And everyone bought me drinks when they found out it was my birthday, and we were right up against the stage, and it was so cool and –"
"Is that Roxas!" Demyx broke away from Zexion and bounded over to Axel, yanking the phone out of Axel's hand. "Hi, Roxas, hi! Why didn't you come to the show with us tonight, Roxas? It would have been so much fun! Axel missed you, he whined about you all night."
"Demyx," Axel groaned, groping drunkenly for the phone. Demyx danced out his friend's reach, surprisingly agile for someone as drunk as he was. Axel lunged after him, and they continued on in his bizarre dance for most of the block, Zexion trailing along behind them. Demyx continued to giggle into Axel's cell phone, happily revealing random instances of Axel making a total fool of himself.
Axel finally caught up with his roommate less than a block away from their apartment, wrenching the phone out of his grasp just in time to hear the tail end of Roxas' laughter. Whatever Demyx had been telling him better have been worth it. And, oh god, not as embarrassing as he was assuming it must have been.
"Demyx is an ass," Axel pouted, making puppy dog eyes that Roxas couldn't see. Up ahead, Zexion and Demyx were fumbling with their keys, shoving them at random into their building's door. "Uh, guys," he called ahead to them, "use the damn buzzer."
"You can't even figure out how to open your apartment door?" Roxas teased. "Wow, Axe, you guys must be bombed."
"Tequila," Axel warned, shaking one finger empathetically at thin air. "Tequila does bad things. Tequila shots do even worse things. And tequila body shots. Man, avoid those kid."
"I'll keep that in mind for the future. You know, when I'm actually legally old enough to walk into a bar and order a shot."
"Psht," Axel scoffed. Demyx and Zexion were half a flight of stairs ahead of him, how did they move so fast? "You're lying through your teeth if you tell me that you never drink at school. Either that, or you need to come visit me immediately, because that's just sad and I need to feed you shots until you can't see straight."
"I bet I can hold my alochol better than you, you big bean pole," Roxas challenged. "Next summer, when I'm 21. We'll have a show reunion at a bar downtown and go shot for shot in front of all these witnesses."
Next summer. The words hit Axel with like a sack of beans to the nuts, knocking the air out of him as he slowly pulled himself through their apartment's doorway. His time with Roxas was running out, and he hadn't done a damn thing about it. Less than a week and Axel was gone, back up to school, and Roxas was somewhere who knows where in who knows what world, and it would be entirely Axel's fault that he never had the balls to ask the other boy where he was going.
"It's a date," he promised. Roxas didn't say anything right away, but Axel could have sworn he was smiling.
"Listen, Axe, I have to go. Marly's show is almost starting, I need to sign off." Roxas said, and even through the haze of alcohol Axel could hear the reluctance in the deejay's voice. He wished they didn't have to. Wished he could stay on the phone with Roxas, on the real phone, not on the radio, listening to Roxas' magnificent voice, his real voice, not his Roxas the Radio DeeJay voice, as he fell asleep.
"Yeah, okay. Missed you tonight, Rox. Talk to you tomorrow."
There was a quiet intake of breath, just a split second of hesitation before Roxas answer.
Axel threw himself down on the soft blue couch, curling up next to the gray-haired lump that was Zexion and pillowing his head on Demyx' thigh. The blond stirred sleepily, glancing down at the head of auburn hair that had suddenly appeared in his lap.
"1:00 already?" He asked, brushing his fingers lazily through Axel's red spikes. The taller boy sighed and nodded, shifting his head to allow Demyx better access to his hair.
"I missed him tonight. I wanted him there with us." Axel frowned, curling his fingers over Demyx' knee. Zexion, who Axel hadn't realized was awake, moved just enough to reach over and flick Axel's forehead, frowning at the redhead.
"Then why didn't you ask him to come, idiot? He would have said yes, and you know it."
"I don't...what's the point?" Axel sighed. "We're leaving in a week man. Less. And Roxas is probably leaving soon too. Radiant Gardens is a six hour drive from here, and who even knows where the hell Roxas goes to school. What's the point in starting something now? I should have done it weeks ago, and I was too chicken shit, and now it's too late."
"Axel," Demyx chastised, "it's never too late. Never. You love him, don't you?"
"Don't be – how could I –" Axel spluttered. "I've never even met him –"
"Shut up," Zexion groaned, swatting blindly at Axel again. "You're in love with him. You know it, I know it, Demyx knows it, half the fucking city knows it. And you know what? I bet he loves you too. But you're never going to know if you don't do something about it."
"Think about it," Demyx murmured gently. Oh, the bitches, they were totally good-cop-bad-copping him. They probably planned it. Jerks. God he loved them. "Can you really live the rest of your life knowing that you almost had this amazing thing with this amazing guy that you were totally crazy about, but you didn't have the balls to go after it so you lost your chance?"
Axel didn't speak for a long time, long enough that their breathing had evened and shallowed, Demyx' fingers threading through his hair the only sign of motion in the dark room. It was a long time before Axel finally wet his parted lips, sucking in a breath so that he could push the words out.
"Okay," he said quietly. "Okay. I'll tell him."
The chair gave out from underneath Axel as he overbalanced, arms windmilling comically for a few seconds before he landed flat on his ass on the ticket booth floor. The customer at the window was blatantly laughing at him, top of his head resting against the glass as he shook his head at the redhead on the floor, but Axel barely noticed.
Roxas. Was. Leaving. Roxas was leaving, this was his last show ever. Fine, it was Axel's last night in Twilight Town anyway, but he would have found a way to keep listening to the show. He still had the radio station's app on his iPod, he was sure that as long as he was in wifi range the show would still have played even if he was in Radiant Gardens.
But there had been that little fact too, after Roxas dropped the bomb about his last show, and that had been the part that made Axel lose his balance. Roxas was leaving to go back to school in Radiant Gardens. They went to school in the same damn city. Hell, there were only three colleges in the city, HBU, RGU, and Hollow Bastion Tech, so there was a good chance that they even went to the same school. And really, didn't that just blow every reason Axel had for staying away right out of the water? There was no point in avoiding a long distance relationship if they lived in the same damn city.
"I'm sorry the love of your life just announced that he was leaving forever, but there's a line literally out the door right now, so maybe you could get off your ass and finish selling that guy his tickets?" Saix snapped, glaring down at his coworker. Axel sneered at him, pushing himself up off the floor and rightening his chair. Fucking douche, just because he was assistant manager or whatever the hell that meant.
Axel worked the next hour in a daze. Of course it was a Friday night, so of course the theater was packed, but the last show started at 11:30, so the crowd died out quickly as Axel and Saix closed down the ticket booth, counting out the drawers and shutting down the computers. Axel left the radio on the entire time, completely disregarding Saix' bitching, only half-listening to the various callers and well wishers as he scrambled to form some kind of plan.
He was going to start by begging. Beg Xemnas to let him leave the theater at 12:30, which, according to the google map search he did when Saix wasn't looking, would leave him plenty of time to get his bike and ride up town to the radio station before 1:00. It wouldn't give him much time if there was any kind of security or anything at the station, but really, all he had to do was get there. He'd find Roxas somehow, he had to. There was no way he was letting Roxas leave the station, the only place where he knew for sure where Rox would be, without Axel seeing him. They weren't going to play this game all summer only for him to lose in the eleventh hour.
Xemnas took convincing. He took a lot of begging and pleading and reminding that Axel had never, not once all summer, called in sick or left early or showed up late, that it was his very, very last night in Twilight Town, and, though Axel was fairly certain his boss didn't have a romantic bone in his body, an appeal to his romantic side. Eventually, just in the nick of time, really, Axel convinced him. Convinced him, waved a hurried goodbye to the co-workers he really wasn't going to miss, and hauled ass out to the back parking lot where his motorcycle was parked. Thank god he'd made the last minute decision not to walk today.
Of course, he hit every red light between the theater and the station, and of course, he had to park almost half a block away, and it was already ten to 1:00 by the time he was fishing his phone out of his back pocket, dialing the number he'd memorized weeks ago with one hand while he shut off his bike with the other.
It seemed to ring for decades. What if Roxas was on the phone with another caller? What if the deejay was mad at him for waiting too long to call, and wasn't answering any more phone calls? What if Roxas –
"W104, you've reached Roxas. What's up."
"Oh thank god," Axel breathed, gasping out a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. "For a second there I thought you weren't going to answer." He swung one leg over the body of his motorcycle, pushing himself to his feet and tucking his helmet under his arm. This was it. He was actually going to walk his ass down the block, inside the studio, and be face to face with Roxas. Finally.
"Axel," and Roxas sounded just as breathless as him. Axel didn't miss the obvious note of relief in the other boy's voice. Did he really think the redhead was going to ignore his very last show? "I was starting to think..."
"That I wasn't going to call, Rox?" He started down the street, rounding the corner and spotting the building at the other end of the block. "You're an idiot if you did. There was no way I was missing your last show. I just spent the last half hour begging my boss to let me leave early. I'm sorry I cut it so close." Axel was pretty sure he'd never been this serious about something in his life. An entire summer of denying his friend's teasing and lying to himself faded away completely, leaving nothing behind to prevent Axel from being real with the other teen.
"I'm just glad you called." Roxas' voice broke his heart, just a little bit. He was getting ready to say goodbye, and he didn't want to, and that broke Axel's heart, but more than that, it made him move just a little bit faster, his stride spreading to cover just a little bit more ground. "I would have killed you if you didn't say goodbye."
The building loomed closer than Axel had realized; here he was, already crossing the sidewalk and yanking the door open, bursting inside without a moment's hesitation. The night watchman at the security desk frowned at him, but Axel held one finger up, shushing him. He could hear, very faintly, the sound of the radio show echoing softly from a set of speakers on the security guard's desk.
"I'm not calling to say goodbye Roxas." The guard's eyes widened at Axel's emphasis on the deejay's name. He raised a single eyebrow, pointing between the stereo and the redhead, and Axel nodded. "I am calling to say something, but it's not goodbye."
"Wait. Just...hear me out, okay? Let me just get this out before I completely lose it."
The security guard cleared his throat to get Axel's attention, flashing a piece of paper at the redhead when he finally glanced up. 13th FLOOR it said, and Axel barely repressed a laugh. Of course Roxas' studio was on the thirteenth floor. He mouther a silent 'thank you,' to the guard as he crossed the lobby, grateful that the elevator doors opened the moment he pressed the button. What he was about to say was, unfortunately, going to have one hell of an audience, but he didn't need to actually be able to see any of them when they heard it.
Roxas was silent. Axel panicked for a moment, what if the blond knew what he was going to say and was trying to think of a way to forestall him, what if he didn't want to hear it, what if he'd lost service in the elevator and Roxas wasn't going to hear the words that were seconds away from spilling uncontrollably from his lips? He spent such long seconds panicking that he almost didn't hear the small, slightly hysterical noise of consent from the blond deejay. Almost.
"I love you."
He pressed the button for the thirteenth floor.
Axel licked his lips, wetting them nervously with his tongue. It wasn't a rejection. It wasn't a particularly enthusiastic confession of similar feelings, but he could have sworn that underneath the blunt shock he'd heard just the slightest hint of breathless hope.
"I love you." He repeated, watching the numbers on the elevator move up slowly. "Maybe I'm crazy but...god, Roxas, you drive me crazy. Most people probably would call this insanity; I mean here I am, live on one of the most popular radio shows in the city, announcing to the entire radio audience that I'm in love with the show's host, whom I've never actually met." He really was crazy. Certifiable. What the fuck was he thinking? "You don't know me, and I've never met you." Why was he still talking? "I don't know if you're 400 pounds or even skinnier than me, which, by the way, would make you really fucking skinny. I don't know if you wear polos with your Topsiders or guyliner and chains, or if you'd even be interested in a guy like me." And yet, he couldn't stop talking. Couldn't stem the flow of words bursting out of him, his tongue tripping over itself in an attempt to get all the words out at once.
"But I know that you will only watch scary movies with the lights on and that you secretly love top 40s pop hits. I know that you live with your twin brother, and that you have a younger sister, and that you love your siblings more than just about anyone else. I know that you and I have the same shoes, and the same favorite song, and the same favorite video game. I know that you have a radio DJ voice and a regular Roxas voice, and I think they're both hot as hell. I know that you're witty and intelligent and that you have a great sense of humor, and that there's no better feeling than making you laugh –"
"Axel..." If Roxas kept talking to him in that breathy voice Axel was going to lose it. The shock was still there, definitely, but there was also definitely almost equal parts hope mixed in there too. The elevator drew to a stop as Axel waited for whatever Roxas was about to say, watching the doors open slowly in front of him.
The security guards, both of them, on the thirteenth floor didn't look quite as benevolent as the guard downstairs. At least, Axel realized, fingers tightening on his phone, he could hear the sound of Roxas' show being piped through the speakers here in the lobby. Hopefully these guards would recognize him too.
"You're not supposed to be up here," one said gruffly. Maybe not. "And you're definitely not allowed past here."
"Fuck...just, hold on a sec, Rox..." Axel pulled the phone away from his ear, frowning sharply at the two men. Seriously, what was he going to do, steal the sound boards?
"Listen, gentlemen, you listen to Roxas' show, right? I mean, don't really have a choice, yeah, what with it playing on the speakers in here." Axel struggled to keep his voice calm, just spiked through slightly with a shot of confidence. He needed to sound as assertive as possible, regardless of the way his hands were shaking.
"Authorized personnel only beyond this point," reiterated the second security guard. "Restricted access. Not just anyone can waltz around the studio."
"So yes, you do listen to the show. You might have heard of me, I've called in once or twice. Name's Axel, got it memorized?" Both guards looked entirely nonplussed. Axel sighed. "Come on guys, you may or may not have heard, but I more or less just poured my heart out to the kid. I was obviously in an elevator a few seconds ago, an elevator that didn't play the radio show, for the record. How would I have known that if it wasn't me on the phone with him?"
"You're not allowed beyond –"
"Look," Axel snapped. He'd had Roxas on hold for too long already, he wasn't going to sit here and argue with two goons. Not when there was a hallway just beyond where they were standing, a hallway flanked by what looked like, if Axel wasn't mistaken, sound booths. "It's taken me months to get here, I'm not about to let you two stop me. So here you go," he shoved his helmet unceremoniously into one of the jerk's hands, stopping just short of slamming it into the guy's gut, "you can hold onto this for collateral."
"Sorry," he breathed into the phone, pushing past the red-faced security guards before they caught up with what had just happened and tried to stop him again. "I just...anyway, Roxas..." his eyes flew over the sound booths, searching. There was one on the end with all the lights on, a little flashing red light hovering over the closed doorway. He was barely steps away. "I couldn't let you leave without telling you first. I'd never forgive myself if I didn't tell you, if there was even a chance that this could have been something real and I wasted the opportunity."
And there he was. Just like that. There he was, curled in an oversized wheeled desk chair, one socked foot up on the seat, an arm hugging his knee to his chest as he leaned forward towards the microphone hanging in front of him. Roxas was beautiful. Pale and smooth, the soft curve of his chin, haphazard tufts of spiky blond hair hanging down into his face, flattened down slightly by the large headphones stretched over his head. The white v-neck t-shirt he wore curved over smooth, rounded shoulders, revealing the soft skin of his arms and, on the side not preoccupied with his leg, the fresh press of ink into his forearm. The tattoo, Axel noticed absently as he leaned forward, unconsciously pressing his free hand to the glass like a little kid in an aquarium, was spectacular.
"I don't..." and this was weird, to be able to see Roxas lips move at the same time that he could hear him in the speaker pressed to Axel's ear. "I don't know what to..." Axel watched as Roxas trailed off, visibly struggling for the right words to express the emotions that he didn't know the redhead could currently see splashed across his face. For the first time since he'd left the theater Axel felt like maybe this hadn't been such a ridiculously crazy idea after all.
"You can start," he smirked, "by looking up."
Roxas didn't hesitate. His head shot up immediately, and Axel was blown away by most amazing pair of blue eyes he'd ever seen, shining at him like freshly carved lapis lazuli. Roxas gaped at him. Absolutely gaped, stunning eyes wide and unblinking, mouth working soundlessly as he made his best imitation of a fish underwater. Axel couldn't help the small chuckle that escaped his lips, the unconscious slide of his pierced tongue along the bottom of his lip. Roxas' eyes followed the movement.
It took the blond seconds to absolutely throw himself out of his seat, crossing the crowded booth in seconds and flinging the door open wide. They stared at each other, barely feet apart, nothing between them but a few feet of ugly shag carpet and the threshold of the doorway. Somewhere in the back of his mind, Axel made the decision to drop his phone before launching himself forward.
He wasn't disappointed. Roxas had moved almost at the exact same moment, and despite the obvious difference in strides, because really, Roxas was really short, they met almost midway,.Axel's hands reached for Roxas' narrow hips as the blond's fingers clenched around his collar, tugging him down and holding the shorter boy steady as he leaned up and closed this only remaining distance between their lips.
The only conscious thought Axel was capable of for a solid minute or two, sliding his arms more firmly around Roxas' waist, pulling the smaller boy closer to him, was that he was an idiot for not doing this months ago.
Roxas pulled away first, but Axel was grateful to him for it. He wasn't about to stop kissing the blond any time soon, despite his somewhat dire lack of oxygen, and as pleasant as asphyxiation from kissing Roxas might have been, he wasn't particularly ready to die so soon after finally kissing the blond. He allowed Roxas to pull back enough that he could plant both feet firmly on the ground, even slid back enough that his hands moved from the small of Roxas' back to the soft curve of his hips, but he refused to move too far back. Roxas, for his part, didn't seem to mind, smiling with a soft twitch of his lips when Axel leaned forward and pressed their foreheads together.
"You're even hotter than I thought you'd be," Axel smirked, thumbs sliding over the smooth skin revealed where Roxas' shirt had ridden up. The blond gave a breathy laugh and shook his head, their lips barely brushing together as Axel chuckled again.
"I've wanted to do this for so long," Roxas whispered. Axel hummed his agreement, the sound turning slightly more wanton as Roxas ran the tips of his fingers through the hair at the nape of his neck. Axel liked that. "I think...I love you too."
And really, maybe it was a good thing that their faces were so close together, because Axel really wasn't sure he could stand Roxas seeing the ridiculously goofy grin spread across his entire face right now. His cheeks hurt with the very effort of it, but somehow he couldn't stop himself, couldn't will it off his face. He mentally thanked every deity he'd ever heard of for making Roxas' mention his school for the first time ever tonight. If he hadn't...
"You said you're going back to Radiant Gardens for school, right?" Roxas blinked at him, frowning only slightly as he pulled back far enough to look Axel in the eye. It was a few moments before he reacted again, cerulean stare leveled dreamily on the older boy's green eyes, and the look in them made the redhead flush slightly. "Right?"
"Yeah," Roxas balked slightly, like he'd forgotten the fact and was now reminded of something unpleasant. He, Axel realized, did not yet know where Axel went to school. "I go to HBU. I don't...I mean, it's so far awa –"
Axel couldn't let him even finish that train of thought. He couldn't play with the blond like that, couldn't look into those eyes and lie to him, not even for a second. He closed the scant distance between them again and silenced Roxas with a soft kiss, nothing more than a gentle press of lips against barely parted lips.
"I'm a graphic design major at HBU," Axel confessed, the soft smile that the kiss had brought blossoming into something a little closer to the wicked grin he'd had moments before. "Dem, Zex, and I are all moving back to campus tomorrow. You should come to karaoke night tomorrow night, they're dying to meet you...and I have a whole summer's worth of awkward sexiling to make up for."
Roxas laughed even as he kissed him, and Axel knew that this boy was going to be the greatest thing that ever happened to him. He knew it, felt it in him as his chest swelled at the sound of the warm laughter, his heart raced as Roxas' arms tightened around his neck, his skin acutely aware of the press of another's body separated from him by barely two layers of cloth.
"Okay," Roxas laughed, pulling back only far enough to smirk up at the redhead, "wanna go start now?"
Roxas arched his back, stretching his arms up over his head before leaning forward, reaching over the tangle of legs to fumble for one of the half-dozen cartons spread across the coffee table. Axel moved the arm that had been wrapped around the blond's waist with a reluctant sigh, only appeased when Roxas offered him a forkful of the white rice.
They sat curled together in Roxas' favorite chair, the big navy blue papisan bowl chair that Axel had found at a garage sale to replace the beloved ottoman he'd had to leave behind in Twilight Town. He and Roxas had perfect the art of fitting themselves into the single chair, comfortable and content as the blond settled back down against the redhead's chest, fitting his head perfectly into the crook of Axel's neck. The redhead absentmindedly smoothed one hand over his boyfriend's hair, dropping a soft kiss on the crown of his head before leaning down for a second bite of rice.
"What time is it?" Roxas murmured, nuzzling just slight into Axel's hand. Axel loved him like this. He loved him all the time, really, but Roxas was never more adorable than when he was warm and content and feeling particularly cuddly, and nothing put him in that mood better than spending an entire day curled in their bowl chair in front of the TV, only getting up to change the DVD in the player or pay the delivery boy from Land of Dragons. Axel felt around for the remote that had fallen somewhere in between his hips and the chair, turning off the DVD player, where the credits for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World were still rolling, in favor of showing the time on the DVD display screen.
"9:15," Roxas read. "We should probably get up and go shower, Dem and Zex are going to be back from class soon, and I told Hayner we'd meet them at the bar around 10:30."
"Nooo," Axel whined, wrapping his arms tighter around Roxas' waist and burying his face in his boyfriend's shoulder. "Donwannamove." He mumbled, voice muffled by Roxas' t-shirt. The blond laughed, leaning over as much as possible to drop the carton of rice back on the table. It missed entirely, landing side-down on the floor, but neither boy noticed, and even if they had they wouldn't have given a damn.
"We've been in this chair for at least six hours," Roxas reminded Axel, shifting just enough that he could turn to face the redhead without completely dislodging the arms draped over his stomach. "We probably smell. They're not going to let us into Organization if we look like crap."
"You could never look like crap," Axel argued, leaning forward to press a chaste kiss against Roxas' lips, silencing any protests. "But fine, we'll get up. Only because it's your birthday though. And," he tightened his hold on Roxas' waist again, halting the blond's attempts to push himself up out of the chair. Axel leaned up to close the distance between them again, and even though the kiss was slow and languid, it burned with that undercurrent that sent shivers down both their spines. "Only if we can shower together."
Roxas rolled his eyes, swatting playfully at his boyfriend's arms in an attempt to extricate himself from Axel's grip.
"I'm just saying, Rox, I haven't had a chance to give you your birthday present yet." Axel laughed, loosening his grip just enough for Roxas to gain an inch, but not enough for the blond to break free entirely.
"We had sex this morning," Roxas protested, "and spent most of the first movie making out. You took me out to dinner last night, and paid for the chinese tonight. And," Roxas smirked, leaning in closer to the redhead but not quite pressing their lips together, "I know for a fact there's still a box with my name on it under your bed."
"How do you know that's not your Valentine's Day present?"
"The wrapping paper says 'happy birthday' in neon rainbow colors." Roxas smirked, laughing at the way Axel rolled his eyes and slapped a hand to his forehead. "We're going to be late if we shower together, and you know it."
"But Roxas," Axel whined, reaching up. Roxas had pulled himself far enough out of Axel's grip, one foot on the floor, that the redhead couldn't get to his lips, but this didn't deter the taller boy in the slightest. He shrugged and rerouted towards the nearest patch of skin he could reach, pushing aside the fabric of Roxas' red shirt and licking a slow trail up the flat plane of his stomach. "The image of you in the shower, all wet and naked and hot is going to distract me, at which point I'll do whatever I can to make sure you can hear me, which means you'll take twice as long in the shower too, so really it would just save us time if we did it together." He punctuated the important words with soft bites and smooth kisses, moving steadily up the length of Roxas' narrow torso. There was a slight hitch in the blond's breathing.
Axel reached his neck finally, leaning up to nip at his boyfriend's jaw. He reached just slightly too far, losing his balance and sending both of them flying.
They hit the floor with a crash, dumped unceremoniously out of the half-upturned bowl chair, Roxas pinned under the hysterically laughing redhead. The smaller boy shook his head fondly, shivering slightly as the breath of Axel's laughter was suddenly less than an inch away from his ear.
"We're up," Axel breathed, pausing to lick along the shell of Roxas' ear. "Kind of. Now how about that shower?"
He didn't wait for an answer, sliding his lips over the blond's jaw before capturing Roxas' lips with his own, no hesitation in the way he pressed his tongue smoothly into Roxas' gasping mouth. The blond arched up into him, held up by one of Axel's hands still pressed to the small of his back, balanced by the hands he had tangled in the red, red hair. Axel grins against his boyfriend's lips as he feels him concede defeat, pulling the smaller blond flush against him and allowing Roxas to shift their balance, rolling them over so Axel's back hit the floor.
"Love you," Axel breathed, pulling back only long enough to gasp the two words out before attaching his lips to the side of Roxas' neck.
They were late to the club. Somehow, no one was particularly surprised by that.
One day I will write about Axel, Demyx, and Zexion's adventures at warped tour. Just not today. Roxas birthday, in case you were wondering, is February 13. It always was, ever since I wrote AM Static in August, it just so happened to coincide perfectly with the posting of the story.
Hope you liked it. Let me know what you think! I love talking to all of you =)