Stockholm Syndrome

A/n: For Adrianne.

Chapter Eighteen

xXx

Roxas munched on an apple whereas Axel didn't eat much of anything.

"You aren't hungry?" Axel closed his eyes. His heart was a heavy, painful… mess. He hadn't expected rejection when Roxas had decided to come with him. He also hadn't expected to feel even more terrible because of what he'd done to him. "You're quiet…" Axel hummed, coming out of the daze he was in. He supposed he'd been quiet ever since they'd woken up… ever since Roxas had been quiet, almost uncomfortably so, in response to his words.

"Am I?" The blond glanced at him, nodding.

"Yeah." He finished his apple then threw the core out the open door.

"I guess I was just thinking," he said quietly.

"About?" Axel shook his head taking something out of his pocket. His fingers trembled as he dug out a cigarette. Roxas noted the, what seemed to be, nervous habit. "Axel?" he questioned before the red-head could light the cigarette. Axel inhaled as he lit up, blowing the smoke out through his nose.

"Don't worry about it."

"But Axel… I-"

"I think… I've done enough to you." Roxas bit his lower lip and went quiet again.

"That's what's wrong?" He was still shaking as he took another drag from his cigarette. It seemed to calm him a little. Roxas bit his lower lip. "You shouldn't be smoking… It isn't good for you." Axel glanced at the blond and then at the cigarette in his long, lanky fingers and then back again. He laughed, his head resting back against the doorframe.

"It's not like it matters all that much anymore," he mumbled in reply. Roxas' heart got heavy and he glanced away as the red-head raised the cigarette once more. Axel saw out of the corner of his eye and hesitated. He closed his eyes as he put it out and Roxas' widened a fraction.

Beautiful green eyes stared at the scenery as it flew by. By the ominous clouds, he guessed that they were travelling into a storm. He sighed gently although he didn't really mind. He'd found that the more south he'd travelled, the warmer the rains had been. "Looks like rain," he commented. He saw Roxas' face drop out of the corner of his eye. "Something wrong?" The boy hesitated.

"Do you think it'll storm?" There was a tremor edging his voice. Axel hummed.

"I'm not sure." He studied the boy, noting his anxious expression. "Are you alright?"

"Yeah, fine." Roxas sighed, watching the sky.

There was a rumble and then suddenly, rain let loose, pouring down and pelting both the train and its occupants unforgivingly. Moments later, it was accompanied by a clap of thunder and a flash of lightning and Roxas was burying his face in his knees, covering his ears with his hands, and crying out in terror. Axel's eyes widened as the boy trembled. He hadn't seen Roxas look so afraid since…

He went to him without a second thought, wrapping his arms around him and leading the hesitant boy further into the car. "Hey, it's alright, I've got you," he whispered. He gasped in surprise when Roxas held him back, trembling all the while.

"Axel, I'm s-sorry, I-" He stopped when the red-head rested his chin on top of his head. The action was comforting.

"Shh, it's alright," he whispered back. "There's nothing to be sorry for."

"But I don't want to be a bother…"

"Roxas you aren't a bother," the red-head insisted. "It's okay have fears."

"Do you... have fears Axel?" Axel sighed gently.

"I thought that was rather obvious…" Roxas stared up at the man curiously and just as his eyes widened, there was another clap of thunder and the blond buried his head into Axel's chest, both hiding his fear and his blush. Was Axel was afraid of losing him…? The blond whimpered as the storm picked up and Axel grasped the blanket, covering them with it. "Shh… It's just you and me. Nothing to be afraid of," he said coaxingly, raising Roxas' chin until their eyes met. Shakily, Roxas blinked back tears. He nodded, letting the red-head soothe him as the storm raged.

xXx

Roxas woke hardly realizing he'd slept. The sun was shining and Axel had left him. The train had stopped and the blond found that he was grateful for the break. However, as he glanced around, he couldn't find the red-head anywhere and it bothered him.

"Axel?" He called out, worried. Just as he was about to poke his head out of the freight car, the other man popped his head in, having heard him. The red-head smiled a bit, hopping into the car before gazing out at the the scenery, miles of open prarie, lazily. It was rather beautiful.

"How was your nap?"

"It was better than seeing the storm," the blond replied, shuddering. "What were you doing?" Axel's expression was relatively happier than it had been in the morning.

"Got off for a bit. Stretched my legs."

"What if the train had left?" The red-head glanced at the blond.

"I didn't go far. Besides, the stops are supposed to be for at least ten minutes at a time. It hasn't been long at all." Just as he finished speaking, the train moved, lurching back into motion. Roxas shook his head, amused.

"You were saying?" The red-head scratched the back of his head cutely.

"Precisely why I didn't go far, just in case." The blond laughed and it made Axel smile. It was good to see the blond relaxing. The red-head brightened a bit more. "Oh, I forgot to mention, if you get hungry or thirsty, feel free to rummage through my bag." Roxas' stomach growled as soon as the words left the older boy's mouth. The blond blushed and Axel gave him a knowing look. "Do you like Beef Jerky? I know it isn't much of a meal… but it's better than noodles or junkfood... or…"

"Yeah that's fine." Nodding, the red-head went to his bag, rummaging through it before tossing something to Roxas. The blond opened the package and then chewed on a piece, looking thoughtful.

"You should eat something." Axel hesitated. "What? Don't tell me that you still eat next to nothing. That's not good for you, Axel." The red-head blushed, his shoulders tensing.

"It's okay, Roxas. You don't have to be concerned about me." Roxas went to him, trying to keep himself steady as he moved. He cried out in alarm when the train lurched and he lost his balance, falling forward. Seeing this, Axel hurried to catch him to prevent the boy from falling on his face. "Are you okay?" Roxas' face flushed as the strong arms around him gripped him more tightly.

"Y-yeah…" Their eyes locked, lingering for a moment before Roxas held up the bag. "Here, have some." Sighing, Axel shook his head.

"You're not going to give up, are you?"

"Nope. I'm going to sit on you until you eat a decent sized piece. You need to eat." The red-head smiled a little and Roxas held his breath. Axel was so beautiful when he smiled. He almost didn't hear the crinkling of the bag as the red-head fished for a piece. He just watched until he began to chew on the jerky obediently.

"Better?" Roxas let out a shuddering sigh.

"Yeah."

"Are you going to get off of me then or…?"

"Oh yeah uh sorry…" Axel laughed before swallowing.

"I don't have to eat more then?" Roxas blushed.

"I'd like you to but… no. You don't have to." Smiling slyly, the red-head dug out another piece before staring upward thoughtfully.

"Thanks."

"For what?" Their eyes locked.

"For caring." Nodding and rolling off to lie beside the red-head, Roxas found himself shrugging.

"Sure."

The blond smiled a little when Axel reached into the bag again on his own accord and they ate silently, just listening to the train as it continued forward.

xXx

-TBC-

A/n: Trying still. Egh. Thoughts? Thanks. Thanks again to P5hng-Me-A'Wy.