Someone We Care About
A Kingdom Hearts fanfic by Raberba girl

Summary: After being kidnapped by Axel, Kairi has a brief conversation with him before she is taken away by Saïx.

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"I said let me go, you clown-faced jerk!" The transition was disorienting, being pulled from the sleepy warm brown tones of Twilight Town into the darkness of the corridor, then suddenly emerging into this place of stark white. Kairi once again yanked ineffectually at the black-gloved fingers that were gripping her arm.

Her captor rolled his eyes and finally let her go. She stumbled forward, then straightened and looked around. They were in a room that was almost completely white, including all the furniture, though the full-length window on one side looked out onto a nighttime view with a heart-shaped moon in the sky. The room's only visible exit seemed to be a sort of portal that was closed off with a shimmering blue barrier.

Kairi stared at that portal, gritting her teeth. She eyed her captor, Axel, who merely smiled and waved one hand in a be-my-guest manner. That did not bode well, but she had to at least try. Curling her hands into determined fists, Kairi charged at the thing that she hoped was a door, but when she was a few steps away from it, a couple of freaky creatures swirled into existence.

They were like lanky, purpleish, sharp-footed caricatures of people, with long appendages sprouting from their shoulders that resembled dagger-feathered wings. The creatures drifted menacingly before her, their razor-edged wings waving slowly about. Trembling, Kairi sucked in a breath and took a brave step forward, but then the things suddenly dove into the ground. They advanced, their wings slashing at her with deadly swiftness. Kairi gasped and leaped back just in time, then screamed in earnest when she collided with someone.

Axel wrapped a steadying arm around her shoulders and then held out his other hand before him. The creatures stopped, rising back out of the ground and drifting in a respectful manner. "They won't let you leave this room, but they won't hurt you otherwise."

"Call them off!" She had meant to say more, but the sound of the tears in her voice stopped her. She did not want to show weakness in front of this man.

"Look, just make yourself comfortable. Knowing him, he'll be so clueless and easily distracted that it might be a while before he comes for you." Axel tossed her casually toward the bed, so that she stumbled and practically fell full-length across it. In a panic, she scrambled to get back to her feet, but by that time he had merely plopped into a chair across the room and was digging through a stack of video game cartridges. He inserted one into a handheld console and began tapping buttons. The air was suddenly filled with tinny, incongruously chipper music.

Kairi stared at him for a while. It was like he had lost interest in her - all his attention was for the game. Finally, she lowered herself back down to sit on the bed, then eventually pulled her feet up so she could hug her knees. "You know," she muttered in a low voice, half to herself, "I guess I always liked the idea of being rescued by a knight in shining armor...I just never really thought about how unpleasant it would be to need to be rescued."

Axel made a quiet scoffing sound, his eyes still on the video game. "Wish I had a knight in shining armor."

Kairi glared. "What would you need to be rescued from, you heartless thug?"

At that, he looked up and grinned at her, tapping his chest. "Heartless. You hit the nail on the head."

She frowned. "What do you mean?"

Axel sighed and snapped the console shut. "Do you have any idea what it's like, being completely empty of emotions? You get out of bed, you only slept for two or three hours the night before and your eyes are sore, and you think, 'Oh, I'm supposed to be lethargic and cranky,' so you drag yourself around and snap at everyone just because that's the thing to do. You get orders to end someone's existence, and you think, 'Man, that's a terrible crime, I ought to feel so guilty,' but you feel absolutely NOTHING. You go to other worlds and watch people laughing, crying, screaming, just consumed with emotion and acting like idiots, and all the while you're thinking, 'Man, I wanna be just like them.'

"Then some zombie-eyed little punk comes along and bounces around, yapping out endless questions, spouting off every little thing that comes into his head, scarfing down truck loads of ice cream so that you remember what it was like to have a favorite flavor again...and then he goes off, he didn't care about you enough to stay, he gets his stupid butt captured and you go through all that mess to rescue him and then you finally find him and he...and he doesn't even remember you..." Axel suddenly blinked and looked back at her, breaking out of his increasingly impassioned monologue.

Kairi personally thought that someone who truly had no emotions could not have spoken like that, but after all, he did say he was good at pretending. "He was important to you," she said instead. She had not meant for her voice to sound so soft, so filled with compassion, but then realized to her disgust that the play-acting jerk had succeeded in making her feel a little sorry for him. "You even told me before. 'You and I both miss someone we care about.'" She paused, then decided to continue despite his warning glare. "Who is it for you?"

He looked away. For a while she thought he was not going to answer, but then he finally said, "You know...Saïx used to be my best friend."

"Who's Saïx?"

"Heh. One of my black-coated cohorts."

"There's more of you?" she muttered sourly.

"There are thirteen of us - well, there were. Our numbers have been...dwindling lately." He had an odd little smile as he said it, as if he had something to do with the crumbling ranks of his own allies.

Kairi shivered a little. "Well. If you and Saïx were friends, why would he forget you?"

She thought he might get emotional, perhaps angry, but he simply scoffed. "It's not Saïx who left the Organization, it's..." He paused. "Anyway, Saïx is the one who changed, not me. Once upon a time he might have had my loyalty, but now..."

She eyed him, gauging how far she could toe the line. "So how many friends do you have left, Axel?"

He only grinned at her. "You're a Princess of Heart, aren't you? Be nice if you could pull that restoration trick on me like you did for Sora."

A sudden commotion at the door startled them both. They looked over just in time to see the two Assassins burst into clouds of bubbles, which allowed a Claymore-bearing figure to enter the room.

Saïx dismissed his weapon as he gazed calmly at Axel. "Another stray puppy, I see."

"You're not supposed to be in here," Axel muttered sulkily.

Saïx gave a tight little smile. "Just as you are not supposed to be pulling stunts like this, Axel." He folded his arms and looked calculatingly at Kairi. "Still, your foolish games have provided an opportunity to further my own." He reached out to take Kairi's arm.

She backed away, and to her surprise, Axel stepped in front of her protectively. "She's mine. I need her."

"As do I. Hand her over, Axel. Or would you rather I inform the Superior of the full extent of your questionable activities? Yet you've been so useful to us in the past, surely he wouldn't brand you a traitor to be eliminated, would he?"

"Leave us alone," Kairi said angrily. Then her eyes widened and she looked up at Axel, who had not responded. "Axel?"

The flame-haired Nobody did nothing as Saïx moved past him and reached for Kairi again.

"Axel!" she cried desperately. Once again she tried to move away, but this time Saïx caught hold of her. "Let me go!" Axel just kept standing there, not meeting her eyes as she was dragged out of the room. "No! No! Axel, please help me! Please!" She struggled fiercely, managing to rock Saïx back a step, but then he pulled her on again. "I hate you people! Let me GO!"

Axel watched until they had stepped across the threshold and vanished from sight. Then his limp hands curled into fists. "You want a traitor, Saïx? You've got one, old friend." He flung out his arm to summon a corridor of darkness, and walked resolutely into it so he could find Sora.

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Author's Notes: Got the idea for this and also wrote the rough draft when I was running late for work. I wanted to sort of fill in the missing scene between the time Axel kidnaps Kairi in Twilight Town and the time Saïx gets hold of her.

While replaying Kingdom Hearts II after becoming more familiar with the KH universe, I felt particularly drawn to something Axel says on Destiny Islands: "We've got something in common, Kairi. You and I both miss someone we care about." I kind of had that in mind when it occurred to me to write this.