This took forever to write... It's too choppy at the end... But I think it's as good as it's gonna get for awhile. Thanks to RISING FLURRY for reading over this for me and helping me prep it for posting. I hope you guys enjoy this. Axel may be OOC, but I haven't written for him in character forever, so I'm not sure... Either way, this is Axel in Big Brother Mode. Which is adorable. This isn't supposed to be yaoi, but enjoy it anyway ^_^


"I sure hope you know how to swim."

Roxas looked up from the calm waters and toward me. "Why?" He asked, and I scowled, not looking away from the endless expanse of water beneath me. "Don't you know how to?"

"Oh, sure. But that doesn't mean I like it." I growled, finally walking away from the edge.

We were in Neverland. The wonderful world of pixies and pirates and the one thing I hated more than listening to Xemnas's Kingdom Hearts spiels: The ocean.

"You'd better not drown, 'cuz if you do, I sure as heck ain't going in after you." I warned. Roxas looked at me for a moment, probably trying to figure out what my problem was. Usually I managed to be pretty gung ho about missions, so Saix wouldn't lecture me about "Being a good influence on the Key wielder" and all that jazz, but even I couldn't find a way to enjoy being on an island surrounded by the endless expanse of water. It'd been fun last time, when all we'd had to do was fly around and open up treasure chests. But now, our target was a flying heartless –a giant flying heartless, go figure –and odds were, we were going to have to fly after it… Over the ocean.

I knew that if he watched me long enough, Roxas would come to a conclusion, so I turned away, heading down toward where –I hoped –our target was. Any second now though, I just knew Roxas was gonna say-

"You're afraid of the water!" He cried, a bit of triumph in his voice.

"Untrue." I raised a finger, not bothering to turn around. "I am not afraid of the water. You need a heart to feel fear, therefore I can't be afraid." Roxas huffed at my age-old excuse. "I just hate swimming. Fire and water don't do too well together. I can't use my chakrams when I'm surrounded by water." I explained, easily denying Roxas' accusation.

"I guess that makes sense." He agreed, though I could hear the reluctance in his voice as he did.

"Glad we're on the same page." I grinned. "Now, let's go find our target." I paused for a second, allowing Roxas to catch up before we headed off, an onslaught of Heartless in our wake.

It was true; why I disliked swimming. My element was fire, and water doused flames. I couldn't summon my chakrams while I was submerged, and even if I could, they wouldn't set flame when they were soaking wet. In the water, I was defenseless. I was vulnerable. It wasn't a sensation that I enjoyed. Pyros and water didn't mix. Even before I'd become a Nobody, I'd never liked water. I was always the one who ducked out on trips to the pool, or faked sick when the family wanted to go to the beach. Even being in the rain was annoying. Showers, I could tolerate –at least the water was warm –but the ocean? A big no-no.

"You know, Axel…" Roxas spoke suddenly, looking up at me with his usual solemn gaze. "If you don't know how to swim, then maybe –"

"Shut up!" I scowled, quickening to a pace I knew he couldn't keep up with. Call me mean, I don't care, the shrimp should be thankful I hadn't smacked him with a chakram yet. I could hear him sighing behind me as he trotted to keep up. "Axel, slow down!"

"Speed up! It's not my fault God gave you short legs." I didn't have to look to know Roxas was scowling at me, but I did anyway, knowing it would at least make me laugh. It did.

I did, eventually, slow down enough for Roxas to catch up -though it was more the fault of Heartless than through my own designs -and thankfully, he had nothing more to say about swimming.

"Do you think we can still fly?" He asked, panting as his keyblade vanished, resting after our most recent Heartless fight. So far, no giant flying Heartless of doom, but I was keeping my eye out. In response to Roxas's question, I shrugged.

"I dunno. Why don't you find out? Go jump off that cliff over there." Roxas's eyes narrowed, and with a grin, I jumped back just in time to avoid getting nailed by his unretired keyblade.

"Hah hah, very funny." He scowled, though I could see a glimmer of amusement hiding in his eyes. "Let's just find that Heartless and get this mission done, alright?"

"Fine, fine. Don't get your tiny panties in a twist." I'm not sure if he shoved me for insulting his size or the size of his panties (or maybe it was because I'd brought up the subject of panties in the first place), but I ignored him. "You scout it out over there," I gestured toward the coast and the wide ocean, "And I'll search around... Anywhere else." Roxas raised an eyebrow, but nodded in agreement.

"Alright." He paused, and then smirked. "I sure hope I don't drown."

"I hope so too, cuz you're on your own then, kid." I smirked back, turning toward the more jungly part of the island. Roxas's footsteps crunched through the gravel behind me, and fell silent in seconds. Glancing back, I watched he sliced through a few smaller Heartless on his way to the shore. I was half-compelled to help him out, but the sound of crashing waves was enough to keep me back. Sighing, I plunged into the greenery, searching for any signs of a giant Heartless.

After half an hour of crashing through bushes, calling "Here Heartless, Heartless, Heartless!", and still nothing, I was starting to think Saix had sent us (me) here on a wild goose chase. Probably something to do with the little "present" I'd left for him in the shower room (I'd left it under Demyx's name, so I'd figured I was safe), and the fact that he'd smelled like raw eggs for a week after finding this "present." Man, could he hold a grudge.

Hair plastered to my forehead with sweat, I grumbled something rather unflattering about certain men with blue hair. Looked like it was time to call the search off. Saix would understand if we backed out; after all, we couldn't take out this "Heartless" of his if we couldn't find it, right? I staggered out from the trees, relieved by the cool ocean air. If you could just take away the actual ocean, then pixie&pirate land really wasn't all that bad.

It was at that moment that the world decided to prove me wrong.

Above the crashing of waves, I heard a sound I'd become quite familiar with over the past few months -Roxas's mid-battle cries. The sound of metal -the Keyblade? -hitting against... Something, caught my ears, and as I looked up, I saw what it was. It wasn't hard to miss -in fact, you'd have to be blind not to see it: a boy in a black cloak flying overhead locked in battle with a hulking, aerial Heartless. Not that odd a sight for an Organization member, but enough to make any bystanders question their sanity.

Watching Roxas slam that Heartless around, my first instinct was to get up there and pull some of my own weight. However, as the battle ensued, I realized they were circling over the choppy waters of my old enemy, and I changed my mind. Maybe it was mean of me to leave an enormous Heartless all to Roxas and his tiny self, but he was the Key-wielder and this was his thing, so in the long run, I was really just helping him out. At least, that's what I told myself.

The kid can hold himself, I thought, yawning as I took a seat in the shade of a palm tree.

When I closed my eyes, Roxas seemed to have an obvious upper-hand over his opponent. When I opened them thirty seconds later, the whole thing had turned around.

If Roxas hadn't screamed out, I probably wouldn't have bothered to open my eyes until someone had kicked me awake. When I did peel my eyes open, I saw -quite clearly - the giant blue patch tossing the tiny black dot around like a rag doll.

Crud... Forcing myself to my feet, I felt my chakrams bursting to hand without so much as a thought. Instinctively, I hurled one upward, watching as it sailed at its target, plunging into whatever it was Heartless had instead of flesh and catching fire immediately. The Heartless screeched furiously, vanishing in a flash. The chakram materialized in my hand again, still warm, but I didn't let my guard down. Heartless deaths tended to be a bit more dramatic, so it seemed likely that our guy hadn't bitten the dust just yet.

Up in the sky, Roxas was looking around fiercely, careful to keep checking every possible blind spot. When the brute didn't reappear, he seemed to relax a little, and began floating back down.

It's never that easy... I thought, gripping my chakrams tight. Roxas was drifting toward land when I saw it -the flash of blue behind him. Out of nowhere, the Heartless reappeared -giant arm arched above the much smaller Nobody and ready to strike. It made no noise that I could hear, and Roxas didn't so much as bat an eye.

"Roxas!" Roxas seemed to pause in midair, cocking his ear toward me. The arm sliced downward, claws like razors whistling through the air as they came at their target. "Roxas, behind you!" I roared, hoping desperately that he would hear me. He squinted, trying to see me better. By the time he realized what I'd said, the talons had already torn into his cloak.

"Roxas!" Helpless, I watched as Roxas was sent spiraling downward, his keyblade dematerializing in his time of need. The only time it ever did that was when he was too stunned to react, or when he was unconscious. I wasn't sure what was worse: him being stunned, easy prey for the Heartless, or him being out cold and plummeting toward the ocean. Either way, the outcome seemed pretty bad. Shaking off the shock, I took off toward the edge of the islet.

"C'mon, snap out of it!" I urged quietly. If I moved fast enough, maybe I could get there before he hit the water. Maybe I could reach him in time. And maybe all of the ocean would magically dry up. The odds were just as good.

"Roxas!" I cried, wincing as I heard a loud splash. Great. He'd fallen in. I didn't dare stop though, with the Heartless still circling above. I watched as the pale blue, bird-like monster dove down toward the water, its talons slicing it as it tried to grab at the Nobody. Running isn't fast enough. I realized, leaping up. C'mon, don't fail me now- My eyes shut tight, I imagined myself lifting off the ground, and breathed a sigh of relief as I continued on forward, rather than crashing pitifully to the ground.

Leveling myself carefully –but as quickly as possible –with the ground, I was amazed once again by how easy it was to maneuver in the air. Before I knew it –and much faster than it would have taken for me to run –I was over the water. And, of course, I couldn't see Roxas.

There was an odd, stressing feeling in my mind. This was panic, I realized, and I quickly tried to calm myself.

"Roxas?" I called hopefully. Of course, there was no response. Really though, what had I been expecting? Cursing silently a few times, I sank closer to the water, and the sense of dread that had been creeping up on me worsened. "Dammit, Roxas…" I seethed, sighing heavily.

An earsplitting screech filled the air, and I looked up just in time to swoop out of the way of the Heartless, nearly falling into the water.

"Back for more, huh?" I growled, chucking another chakram at the monster. Clearly unaware of the weapons' affect, it took the attack head on, ignoring the flames as the pointed edge sunk into its shadowy flesh. It made a grab for me, claws nearly chopping me in half as I made a grab for my chakram, igniting it so that the Heartless caught ablaze. It screeched, rearing its head angrily. Gritting my teeth, I tightened my grip on the weapon, pushing my feet against it's forehead to avoid being sent flying.

The Heartless let out another mighty shriek, disintegrating into shadows the higher it flew. Suddenly, it paused midair, turning itself downward so that is plummeted toward the ocean like a torpedo -with me right at the nose. Cursing, I dematerialized my weapon, flinging myself out of the way. Droplets of water flew everywhere as the beat crashed into the surface, disappearing as it slammed into the water. I stared at the large ripple for a moment, then returned my attention to more important matters.

"Roxas!" I shouted, feeling stupid. Like he'd hear me. The choppy surface allowed no sunlight to filter through, so I couldn't see a thing... Sighing heavily, I mentally cursed Roxas is every way I knew how. Sucking in a deep breath –and praying to God the water wasn't as deep as it looked –I let myself stop flying and plunged in. The iciness of it was more of a shock then I'd bargained for, and I winced as the ocean drenched my cloak, the heaviness of the wet leather pulling me deeper. Crap. This was happening much quicker than I thought. And it's not like these stupid cloaks make it any easier to swim! I grumbled inwardly, allowing a breath to escape so I'd sink deeper. I had to find Roxas, and fast. The sooner I got out of this death trap, the better.

For those of you who have never taken part in the pleasure of looking for someone underwater in the ocean, let me enlighten you: The water's cold and if it doesn't make your whole face go numb, then it'll leave your head in throbbing pain. The pressure makes your ears hurt like hell, the salt stings your eyes, and there's also the fact that you cannot breathe. Oh, and then there's panic of knowing that if you can't find who you're looking for right now then you're both going to drown. That's fun too. But, if you aren't dependant on firepower to defend yourself and can get past all those depressing thoughts, the view is pretty nice. Colorful fish swam around lazily, and the seaweed was kind of cool. But, I was too preoccupied to take in the scenery.

I swear, Roxas, if I find you and you aren't dead, I'm gonna kill you myself! I seethed, swimming deeper, the pressure making my ears scream in pain. I couldn't stand this. The weight of the water was suffocating, and the fact that if I took in a breath I would die didn't help at all. I couldn't take the heaviness that I felt down here. The limited movement, the inability to use my weapons if something attacked me, and the dizzying pain in my head were not a good combination for me. Where are you? I was really going to smack him hard if we got out of this.

When you're underwater, time doesn't seem to pass. I don't know how long I was under there (long enough to make me feel so light-headed I thought for sure the pressure would crush my skull), but finally, there he was. Just sort of floating there, eyes closed, not moving. If I'd had a heart, it would have skipped a beat. Oh God, don't be dead, please don't be dead. My mind began kicking me for the death threats and the cursing: I took it all back. Please be alive, I begged, swimming over and pulling the smaller Nobody under my arm, kicking against the water furiously. By the time I neared the surface, I felt like my head would explode.

Bursting out of the water, I gasped frantically, taking in as much air as I could. Gagging on oxygen, I glanced down at Roxas. He felt limp. The water wasn't the best place to judge, but I couldn't help the odd sensation that had possessed me. Funny, how I'd told Roxas it was impossible only a few hours ago, but I swore that I was afraid. Afraid that he wouldn't open his eyes again. Afraid he might be dead.

"Hang in there buddy..." I muttered, doing my best to keep his head above the water as I swam toward the shore. I wasn't sure how well magical fairy dust worked when wet, but I figured it was already pretty weak, and I didn't feel like rising up to land level only to crash back into the water a few feet away from the ground.

Gripping the side of the islet, I summoned the rest of my willpower and tried to fly. C'mon, don't fail me now... I begged silently, letting out a sigh of relief as I lifted up, floating from the sea of torment and back to wondrous dry land. As soon as my foot touched the ground, I fell to my knees, dropping Roxas down. Water soaked the dirt around us, quickly reducing it to mud. Coughing, drops of water spilled from my mouth, and I gagged. I must have swallowed some salt water on my way up...

"Roxas?" I asked between coughing, shaking him vigorously. He was soaked to the bone, hair flattened against his head and cloak clinging to his body. "Roxas, wake up." I growled, trying to ignore the panic (that shouldn't have been there in the first place) that was trying to consume me. "Come on Rox, wake up." I smacked hi face lightly, grabbing him by the shoulders and shaking him. His head lolled back and forth like a doll's, eyes still shut. "Roxas!" I felt like I might puke. Whether it was because of Roxas, the salt water, or a mix of both I wasn't sure. "Roxas!" Sighing angrily, I let him drop. My throat felt oddly tight. It was a familiar sensation, though one I hadn't felt in a long time...

Suddenly, Roxas made a small noise. The boy coughed quietly, then loudly and much more fervently. His chest heaved and his eyes fluttered open as water came burbling from his mouth. A sigh of relief escaped me, and I felt ready to collapse.

"Thank God..." I muttered, too quietly for him too hear me. It felt like something had been squeezing my chest, but now it had just let go. Fatigue setting in, I glared tiredly at the boy. "What did I say about not drowning!" I growled. Roxas was too busy trying to breathe to answer me, and soon he began hacking up water again. Sighing, I flopped over onto my back and stretched out my limbs, closing my eyes. "God, I never want to set foot in the water again." I moaned, a strained laugh escaping my throat. It was over now... Thank god that was over. I never wanted to go through something like that again. Nothing was worth that sort of torture!

"What happened?" Roxas gagged, pulling a piece of seaweed out from his hair. He looked completely bedraggled, soaked and still panting as he tried to get his breathing regular again. At least he is breathing. That thought left me numb. I didn't want to think of what might have happened if he hadn't woken up, if he had drowned. Reaching up a hand, I smacked him upside the head sharply. Stunned, he looked down at me in surprise and confusion.

"What was that for!" He cried, rubbing the spot I'd whacked. Laughing tiredly, though not really about anything, I closed my eyes again.

"That was for drowning when I told you not to." Sitting up, I shook my head, water droplets spraying everywhere, showering Roxas. He shut his eyes and I used this moment to smack him again, gentler this time. His eyes shot open and he whirled to face me with frustration and accusation in his glare as he silently asked 'Now why'd you do that?'

"That," I laughed, "Was for making me swim when I told you that I hated it," I reached over and punched his shoulder, not hard enough to leave a bruise, but hard enough for it to hurt. "And that, was for freaking me out!" I grinned, though on the inside I wasn't grinning. "Seriously kid, if I'd had a heart you would've given me a heart attack!"

Roxas looked at me for a second, rubbing his arm, and then smiled back. It was his usual half smile, but as always, it was genuine. It made me smile back for real. Conscious or not, Roxas always seems to make my emotions feel more real. Shaking my head once more, more drops flew out, spraying Roxas.

"Cut it out!" He scowled, shoving me away while trying to conceal a smile. I forced myself to my feet, pulling him up behind me. The things I do for you…I couldn't wipe the stupid grin from my face. I felt like an idiot. Then again, I probably was one. I'd almost drowned myself, and that wasn't exactly a smart thing to do. But…

"Come on… Let's get out of here." Roxas laughed, tugging at his cloak right before he sneezed. "Great…" He muttered, wiping his nose with a sopping glove. I laughed, shaking my head and thumping him on the shoulder.

"Let's head home, squirt." Roxas scowled, like he always did, and like always I just laughed. Heh… Moments like these… Well, maybe there were some things that were worth a little bit of torture here and there...


Hopefully that was okay... There are just parts in there that bug me DX It's choppy in some parts, and I'm never ever satisfied with endings... You know what? I'm gonna shut up. If you guys liked it, review. Please no flames, okay? Concrit is valued though! Thank you for reading ^_^

~Ip