"So...finally landed for the night." Roxas pulled his boots off and stretched, feeling tired, overworked muscles protesting with every motion. "Considering what we usually get on missions, this hotel isn't too bad." He sat down on the handier of the two beds and bounced experimentally. "The beds are pretty soft, at least."
"Check the mattresses for bedbugs," Axel grunted, peeling off his sweaty robe and dropping it in a chair. "They're endemic to the world."
"...Ew!" Then again, the last thing Roxas wanted was to spend the night in a hotel infested with bedbugs and not know it until it was too late, so he hopped right back off the bed and peeled the sheets back to check the mattress for actual insects or unusual spots. "They're clean," he announced, after repeating the process with the other mattress. "Or at least they're not where I was looking."
"That'll do," Axel said distractedly, more concerned with looking over his injuries from the day's Heartless hunt. "Man, I got a bruise on my shoulder the size of my hand...that's gonna be sore tomorrow."
"Get some ice," Roxas said, tossing the ice bucket in Axel's direction. His boots were already off, and he had too many bruises of his own to be completely sympathetic. "Hotel's bound to have an ice machine."
Axel let the bucket drop, then picked it up without touching the inside and set it down on the bathroom counter. "No thanks. I haven't trusted hotel ice buckets since I got to watch Demyx puking his guts out into one after he came down with food poisoning on a mission. He damn near filled it to the brim. And then I saw a news report saying that's not an uncommon fate for those ice buckets."
"...Okay. Axel, I don't have enough words to explain just how badly I did not need to know that. Any of that. Really. Any of it."
"It's just something to keep in mind when -"
"Any of it."
"Okay. Okay. I get it. Don't bite." Axel peeled his shirt off to further inspect his injuries, leaving the ice bucket exactly where it was. "What do you want for dinner?"
"I dunno," Roxas said, peeling his robe off and flopping back on the bed. "Pizza. Takeout. Something we can eat in here and then crash."
"As long as it doesn't involve raw oysters, because that's what Demyx had been eating before he -"
"Do not need to know that, Axel."
"Fine, fine. I was just thinking, I don't remember him ever touching oysters even once since then. At least not raw."
"...It's like you're consciously trying to ruin my appetite. Raw oysters are gross enough without the food poisoning aspect."
"All right, all right, I'll quit talking about oysters. Pizza sound good?"
"It might, if I still had an appetite, thanks." Roxas peeled his sweaty socks off, balled them up, and threw them in Axel's general direction. "Where's the remote?"
"Over here." Axel flopped down on the other bed and grabbed the remote himself, turning the TV on as he pulled his own boots off. "Okay, local TV listings...right here. What's a good channel?"
"Like you expect me to remember what my favorite channels used to be? Because a couple hours at a time once a month or so, in worlds whose TV offerings can be vastly different even within the world...it's a little hard to create a solid opinion about anything."
"Point." Having heard all the helpful input Roxas had to offer, Axel started flicking through the channels on his own, paying no heed to the channel guide, and speaking aloud as he stopped on particular channels briefly. "ESPN...Tigers versus Yankees. Meh...Weather Channel. Save that for bedtime...Discovery Channel. Wanna watch Bear Grylls drink his own piss? Didn't think so...Animal Planet. Freakin' dog show. Fascinating...hey, Food Network. Let's watch Iron Chef America; it might make you hungry...oh, Jesus, it's Battle Oysters. Never mind that."
"Even the TV is out to get me," Roxas grunted, as he watched Axel flick past channel after channel that all looked equally uninteresting. Loudmouthed political pundits here, unrealistic reality shows there, foul-mouthed not-especially-funny comedy there... "This is almost making me grateful that we don't get any sort of TV service back home."
"Yeah, I wonder now what I saw in it as a kid...Travel Channel. Let's look at luckier people than ourselves going beautiful places we can't go because we're freaking working."
"Sounds marginally less drivelly than the rest of the drivel on right now. Let's go with that." They settled down to watch the show that was underway, right up until they realized this wasn't a run-of-the-mill travel show - as demonstrated when the host drank a shot of snake bile. "Okay, on the other hand, let's not," Roxas said, as Axel hastily changed the channel. "At this rate, I won't be able to eat for a week. Let's go back to the Weather Channel; it might be boring, but at least it's not gross."
"Well, you could ask Demyx to cook something for you when we get home; his food is always worth eating," Axel said as he flipped back to the most innocuous channel they'd found yet. "Hopefully he won't put any mealworms in -"
"Thanks, Axel. Thanks a lot." Roxas had to interrupt him before he heard what else Axel had to say. It just didn't seem worth listening to. "This entire conversation has sort of circled around Demyx, food, and gross things; I don't know if I'll ever be able to eat his cooking again."
"Just wait until the next time you walk into the kitchen while he's cooking," Axel said casually, lying down with his head on the pillows. "When he's got a pot of good curry on the stove, and the whole kitchen smells like a high-class Indian restaurant...whipping up a little mango lassi in the blender...or maybe he's making a batch of...golab jamun, or whatever he calls them, and everything smells like sugar and roses and cream..."
"Those super-sweet doughballs you can barely eat because they're soaked in syrup?"
"Yeah. And he's just standing over the stove, a dark silhouette in all the white, not even aware you're there, with that blissful look on his face, like he's in his own private paradise...just tasting whatever it is he's making, with the spoon at his lips, and you know from the look on his face that it's gotta be amazing, and all you can think is Oh, God, I want some of that...you wish you were right there next to him, with him offering you the spoon and -"
"...Whoa. Wait. Hold on a second. If you were trying to talk me into being hungry again, it was working right up until the imagery started getting a little too sexy."
"...Sorry about that."
"You should be. Jeez. Thinking about Demyx in a sexual context is gonna kill my appetite the rest of the way." There was silence from the other bed, a very particular - and in this case, worrying - silence that meant Axel was embarrassed to comment on what Roxas had just said. "...Please, don't tell me you actually think of him like that."
The silence from Axel's bed continued for a worryingly long time. "...Okay, Rox, imagine that in the room next door to you was not Fori, but a girl you'd known since you were...ten or so," he finally said. "Presuming you could remember back that far. She's been one of your best friends since you met, she's really sweet, really charming, great sense of humor, and very pretty...and you know damn well she's a lesbian. How would that make you feel?"
"...Well, if she'd already been my friend for years, I'm sure I could adjust to her being a lesbian and keep right on being friends, but it might get frustrating every so often."
"That's pretty much how I feel about Demyx."
"...Oh." Well. That kind of put a whole different spin on...everything. Axel being bisexual was news to no one. Axel being bisexual and having an unrequited crush on Demyx (if you could call it that) was...well, it was certainly news to Roxas, and he knew the two of them better than anyone else. It might even be news to Demyx, for all he knew. And just thinking about those two in that sort of way...just weird. "I'm sorry, but...that's just kind of...does he even...what does that...it's just that...that's just...I don't really know what to say."
"I could guess," Axel said drily. "No, he doesn't know; what good would it do to tell him? Problem first and foremost, he's straight, hence the lesbian comparison, so it's not like anything would ever develop even if I necessarily wanted it to. Which I'm not saying I do; I can daydream, sure, but when I try to apply cold reason it seems almost incestuous, not to mention a hell of a lot more trouble than it's worth. Problem second, Demyx's past. If I mentioned anything like that to him, he'd probably freak out and never trust me again."
"He must have some kind of right to know, Ax...does he even suspect?"
"Suspect? What's to suspect? That I think he's a good-looking guy? That I wouldn't mind having a boyfriend like him sometimes? I mean, he's intelligent, he's sweet, he's charming, he cooks and cleans the bathroom and is a genius in his own way, and he's certainly got a nice body. He's also moody, unpredictable, sometimes verging on psychotic, sometimes just plain scary, trust, attachment, and abuse issues out the wazoo, has this sneaky way of just being a real asshole sometimes, when he's not technically doing anything wrong but you wish you could punch him anyway...and he's a vegetarian. I could never date a guy who won't eat steak." Axel stared up at the ceiling, seeming lost in thought. "All that having been said, sometimes. Just sometimes, mind you. Especially when he's cooking; cooking is sexy," he added offhandedly.
"...Okay, you're continuing to weird me out," Roxas said, still trying to process everything Axel was saying and fit it into his world view and understanding of both Axel and Demyx without weirding himself out. "But, you know, you used to chase him all the time when you were drunk. You used to kiss him all the time, sure, but I still have pictures from Mardi Gras of you grabbing his crotch."
"Yeah, but the operative words there are I was drunk, got it memorized?" Axel said, sounding pained. "Alcohol lowers inhibitions. Turns 'I kinda wonder what would happen if, though no way in hell would I really' into 'what the hell, let's do it'. In short, makes you do shit-stupid things you'd never consider sober."
"...I've also heard you hit on him while sober."
"That's just to piss him off, and he knows it. It's fun to rile him like that."
"Oh, it is, is it?"
"Don't try it yourself. He only barely puts up with it from me; if you tried it, you'd probably freak him out. Or make him sure I put you up to it."
"Oh, don't worry about that. Trust me." Silence fell as Roxas turned his gaze to the TV, watching radar maps and weathermen and commercials float by while he tried to sort out everything he'd just heard and make it make sense. All right, he'd known Axel was into guys for a long time; that was no shocker. And it wasn't like Axel and Demyx were going to be boyfriends from here on out; as Axel had already pointed out, Demyx was straight, and Axel hadn't really seemed that interested in him, at least in that way. Really, what difference did the whole conversation make? It was just...weird, to think that Axel thought of Demyx that way at all. "So...what now?" he finally asked, when he couldn't take the nattering weatherman anymore.
"What now?" Axel repeated petulantly. "What do you mean, what now? I'm hungry, is what." He pulled the phone book out of the dresser drawer and tossed it in Roxas's general direction. "Here, you're closer to the phone; you find some place."
All of a sudden, it was as if the previous conversation had never happened; the lingering weirdness was gone, replaced by the usual comfortable banter. "Fine, fine...you still wanted pizza?"
"Hell, I'd take anything right now, as long as it's either take-out or delivery. Except burritos."
"...Did you have to mention the burritos right now?"
"Hey, I never said anything about the burritos. I just meant burritos in general."
"You're hopeless," Roxas muttered, as he flipped to the restaurant section of the phone book. "Of course, first we're talking about food, then we're talking about Demyx, now we're back on food again...making me want something Indian tonight."
"Fine by me," Axel said easily, stretching out as if he didn't have a care in the world. "Just be careful about what place you order from. I had some curry on a mission once, and let me tell you, I was -"
"Axel, are you about to start telling me another food-poisoning story? For the love of Kingdom Hearts, don't start that again! Fine! You're getting pizza! You've never gotten food poisoning from pizza, have you?"
"Well, there was this one time -"
"Don't tell me!"
AN: Yes, I should be writing the next chapter of The Well. As a matter of fact, I am. This just popped up and demanded to be written. So, random hotel room scene of dubious canonicity ahoy.