'The Tour Guide'
Disclaimer: I do not own anything about KH. But I do own my own imagination involving the characters :)
Sometimes it became ... difficult to remember certain things. Small details, seemingly unimportant things fell between the cracks only to resurface at a later time. All he could really do at this point was simply float between memories, and was quite surprised, considering his current state, that he was able to remember anything at all.
He knew his name was Axel. He was sure about at least that much.
He could also vaguely recall who he was as a person; over-confident (if a little arrogant), charismatic, a massive flirt, having a way with words – which compulsive lying naturally went hand in hand with, and being quite vain and shallow. Honestly, how else could you possibly be?
Then there were the people he knew – who were the most important to him. Reno was of course the first that sprung to mind, being Axel's older brother. He knew they never really spent any time together. Axel had distanced himself so far from Reno in the years prior to him disappearing into this bubble he was trapped in. Reno was just too dull and boring for his tastes – too much a different person. His friends were a different story; they were each as loud and bright as Axel himself, even if a little rough around the edges. Demyx, Larxene and Zexion ... he wondered what they were doing now?
Then, at the bottom of the list was Cloud. By 'bottom of' Axel didn't mean he hated Cloud, he just meant that, out of the people closest to him, Cloud was definitely the least important. He only really ever saw him because he was Reno's best friend. As a person, again, Axel felt Cloud far too different from himself to ever feel the need to get along. He was so morbid. Then he went off, had a kid and became a guy trying to be a good father and not having any idea what he was doing. That's probably why he'd asked Reno to be godfather in the first place – he'd wanted some positive reinforcement and at least one solid male role model for his kid if things went astray.
Back at the beginning of this frustratingly never-ending sleep Axel heard voices but couldn't process them and understand what was being said. There were frantic sounds and images of blurred faces while he kept falling into the dark. He drifted in and out of consciousness for days, maybe weeks, unable to tell what was going on – if he was dreaming.
One moment he was with his friends, gambling as they often did and deceiving their opponents as they cheated, robbed them blind, and made a run for it. Next thing they'd been figured out, Axel singled out and attacked, and his body shifted onto a bed while blurred blue and red lights spun and a siren shrieked. Too Axel it sounded too soft, almost muted. Something was wrong.
After some effort he'd remembered his first and last name, other basic things like his birthday, age, friends, personality and how he'd gotten wherever he was.
Then Axel felt something he hadn't in a long while: consciousness. It was a struggle, but he opened his gummy eyes and was in hospital bed. How long he'd been there he had no idea, but the second he tried to talk a nurse walking by there was a large commotion. That was good enough an answer then – clearly he'd been here for a long time.
"He's awake. We need to call Reno in."
It took a mere 20 minutes from the moment the nurse called, for Reno to crash into Axel's hospital room. He took one look at his conscious brother and all but flung himself at him.
"My god, Axel! I can't believe ... you ... awake ..."
Axel wasn't sure if Reno was simply too emotional to form coherent sentences or if his hearing was still a bit off with registering noise, like listening through a filter. Either way, he could still figure Reno was pretty ecstatic to see him.
"Long time no see, Reno." Axel croaked out, his vocal chords feeling rough and neglected.
It took a while, but after the one-sided emotional reunion (on Reno's end, obviously) the conversation turned to updating Axel on what was new in his brother's life. The main thing Axel had to comment on was how conservative Reno looked now. His hair had been cut short, and he looked very sharp in an expensive suit and tie. Evidently he had landed himself a corporate job which required him to do very little for a large pay cheque.
"... So if that's the case, why aren't you pulling in the ladies with your money?"
First Reno looked surprised, then insulted, and then ashamed. He'd never exactly been a hotshot with the girls as far as Axel could recall. He wasn't mean or condescending – he was just a bit too eager. A lot of women seemed to think that was a huge turn off.
"Man, it's been fifteen years. You gotta stop giving off those creepy vibes."
Swiftly changing the topic so as to lessen his embarrassment, Reno then thanked Axel for falling into a coma.
Axel blinked, then flatly replied, "Well, that's a heart-warming welcome back I suppose."
"No, no, no, don't get me wrong," Reno waved his hands around in front of his face, "It was a horrible thing to happen and I would never hope for it to occur ... I mean, I know we were never exactly close but I was never your 'perfect' brother either. Neither of us were particularly good people. So when I found out you'd fallen into a coma from a fight I freaked out and got my shit together. My moderately better behaviour landed me the job I have now and the life I have now. So, you know ... you may not have intentionally helped me out but – thanks anyway."
"Glad to see somebody at least benefited from my fifteen years of nothingness." Axel grumbled.
When Axel proceeded to ask about his friends Reno reluctantly filled him in on their current lives. Zexion had gone back to school and now had a masters degree in literature, Demyx had moved away and Larxene seemed to have started a family and mellowed out compared to her bitchy, feisty prior self. That's when it hit Axel how much things had changed around him.
The instant that followed Axel couldn't help but feel like a loner when he realised he didn't currently have any friends. That thought alone was severely depressing.
Only a week later found Axel standing outside the hospital, squinting up at the sun as he and Reno waited for their taxi to arrive. As much as Axel had improved in health, his doctor remained unsure about his mental stability and so informed him that it would be best to live with his brother for a while.
Axel couldn't help but realise that when the two of them had been exiting, Reno had received as many, if not more, goodbyes as Axel. Seeing as Axel was the patient, this hardly made sense to him. When he irritably pointed this out to Reno he was told that his brother had so constantly visited the hospital while he was there that he'd become known as a regular by the staff. An awful feeling of guilt settled in Axel's stomach due to his lack of appreciation for his brother and proceeded to keep his mouth shut and stop complaining.
Life at Reno's was hard to adjust to. It was strange having Reno disappear for hours on end because he had an actual job but it was harder still to become accommodated to the incredible flashy and well furnished upper class apartment Reno now lived in.
So, yes, the setting itself was definitely an obstacle. However, an even larger hurdle was the appliances. Axel had never exactly been technologically gifted to begin with, so to come back to Reno's and see all these identical looking instruments that apparently had individual purposes was pretty confusing. It was frightening, really, how quickly phones had shrunk and TVs had grown.
Reno had even come home one night, walked into the kitchen and stopped short when he saw Axel eating some burnt toast.
"You're eating toast?" he asked.
"Mmyeah. S'what?" Axel spat out eloquently, around a mouthful of food.
"For dinner you're having toast?" Reno reiterated.
"Shut the fuck up." Axel grumbled swallowing a mouthful of his meal, "The toaster's the only appliance I recognise and know how to use in your bloody kitchen. Don't give me shit about it."
"What about the espresso machine?" Reno pointed to the metallic object sitting dejectedly on the opposite side of the counter, "From what I can recall, you used to live off caffeinated drinks."
Axel's eyes widened, and he wandered over to the coffee maker, observing it closely, his nose an inch from its shiny surface, "That's a coffee machine?" he spluttered in awe.
Reno sighed, "How on earth am I supposed to keep you up to date?"
A few nights later Axel was about to take the time out of his busy schedule to have a lovely bubble bath when the doorbell rung and he took a small detour in order to open the front door.
It would've been hard to pick who looked more surprised – Axel, or Cloud, who stood on the doorstep.
"I – wow." Cloud looked slightly shaken by Axel's presence, which was quite understandable – since he hadn't seen him conscious in over a decade, "This is really ... surreal. Hi Axel."
"Hey Cloud." Axel responded shortly. Yes, it had been fifteen years – but as stated previously, Axel didn't really care much about Cloud. He'd much prefer to cut the 'hey how have you and your son been while I've been lying in a bed' small talk and go have his bubble bath.
Thankfully, Cloud didn't seem to want to talk much either, "Reno called. Said he wanted to talk?" Cloud always seemed to make questions where there should have been statements.
Axel jabbed his thumb over his shoulder towards the lounge room, where Reno was probably watching TV. After Cloud walked passed, he slammed the front door and went to the bathroom, switching his brain off for the next hour.
Cloud and Reno's brains however, remained very much alert.
"So how is he?" Cloud started off with.
"I dunno, really." Reno wiped a hand over his face, "He won't talk to me. All he seems to do these days is mope around, eat, sleep and bathe."
"You could say the same for a cat."
"He used to be so – lively. Now he's become this recluse that doesn't realise that's he should be making the most of being alive and being able to go out and do things, meet people, you know?"
"Can I just ask - how we should address him?"
"I mean, he's been in a coma for fifteen years which would make him – what, around 40? So should we treat him like a –"
Reno, for the first time in a while, laughed, "Oh god, no. He's definitely still 25. I don't care about that date of birth stuff, he hasn't magically matured or aged since 1996 so I reckon we should still address him as a ... young adult or whatever you want to call it."
Cloud thought for a moment, "If that's the case, I have a suggestion for you."
"Let's hear it, then."
"You said you want to fill Axel in on the past fifteen years as well as get him out and socialising, right?"
"Right." Reno repeated, sounding unsure.
"Well, Roxas turned 20 just recently so the two aren't too far apart age wise. Maybe my son's young perspective would be suited to Axel for a while."
"So, what, Roxas would essentially be Axel's personal tour guide?" Reno said, "Are you sure Roxas would go for that?"
"He's my son, he doesn't have a choice." Cloud said confidently. "Besides, I'm sure that out of the goodness of his heart he'll want to help."
Once all of the details were arranged (without the knowledge of either Axel or Roxas), Cloud left and Reno waited until Axel re-emerged from the bathroom. When he told Axel he would be meeting up with Roxas later during the week, his brother's response was less than promising.
"Roxas. You know, Cloud's kid."
"Oh, you mean the little blonde runt?"
Reno bristled noticeably, his god-fatherly protective instincts surfacing, "He was never a runt, Axel. He was only ever slightly smaller than other kids his age."
"Scrawny too." Axel unhelpfully supplied.
"Axel," Reno scolded, "Roxas was never –"
"Doesn't matter anyway," Axel cut in, "I'm not going to go hang out with some snot-nosed little brat just because you told me to."
"Roxas is 20 years old now, Axel."
"Seriously?" Axel laughed, "Well, shit. Whad'ya know. I still stand by what I said, however."
Reno could predict what was going on in his brother's mind. Axel refused to be treated like a child. There was absolutely no way in hell that Axel would allow himself to be dragged around by somebody younger than him. He probably believed he was perfectly capable of looking after himself. His delusions were growing at a rapid rate.
The sooner he met up with Roxas, the better.
A/N: Hey guys!
It's been a while but here is something new. Up to you guys to decide: Scrap or Continue?
Hope you enjoy :D