A/N: For RokuShi day, June 20th. It's the 171st day of the year, and Day 171 in 358/2 Days is called "Love". Thanks to Raberba girl for telling me that and getting me interested in pairing days in general. C:
I've been writing AkuShi for so long that this was difficult for me to get started on. It was driving me crazy that I couldn't even come up with an idea for a one-shot, so I stuck my iPod on shuffle and "The Saltwater Room" (by Owl City) was the second song that came up. The first was "This is the Future" (also by Owl City ^^;), but I used that in WYWTD and I couldn't have the same song have AkuShi and RokuShi connections.
Anyway, this is my first successful RokuShi one-shot, so I hope you enjoy! C:
"It won't be the same without all three of us," Roxas said. Why did she want to go now, anyway? It was so late; they wouldn't even get to see the sun set over the water.
Xion sighed and kicked at the floor with her foot. "I know, but I have to go. I've just been thinking so much, and it's just like – like I'm trapped here. I need some air." She couldn't tell exactly what it was that she felt trapped by. It wasn't the Organization this time, even though that resurfaced consistently. This was different, like all of her insides were squeezed tight and locked in a cage.
"Why not go to the clocktower?" He asked.
"I need beach air," she said firmly. She didn't know why, she just did. Then more softly, she added, "You don't have to come, I mean, I'd really like it if you did…" But she did need him to come, she needed him. Her chest felt even tighter at the thought of being alone, but more than that, the thought that he might not want to help her.
Roxas opened the corridor himself, sliding off of his bed with a smile. "I could use some air, too."
Xion smiled back, and they walked through the corridor to Destiny Islands together.
Their boots sunk slightly into the sand, and a crisp breeze washed their faces. Waves crashed and fell back into the sea like they couldn't decide whether or not to drag themselves ashore. Crickets chirped faintly in the distance, barely audible over the sound of wind and tide.
Xion shivered, hugging her arms tightly around herself.
"Too much air?" Roxas asked, chilled as well.
"I'm fine," she replied, setting off purposefully across the moonlit beach. She couldn't let Roxas think she wanted to go back to the castle yet, then she'd just lie alone in her room and wallow in… whatever it was she'd been wallowing in before she woke Roxas up.
"Wait! Where are you going?" Roxas ran to catch up with her.
She stopped and waited, looking over her shoulder. The moonlight cast a shadow on Roxas's face so she couldn't see the worry in his eyes. "The best place to think."
"But I thought you said you've been thinking too much." He frowned. Xion was always thinking about something, and it hurt when she wouldn't tell him what. He was her friend, and he wanted to help her, but how could he do that if he didn't know what was wrong?
She shrugged and said quietly, "Maybe it'll be different if you're there to think with me."
Together they followed a trail through an abandoned clubhouse, which they lit with magic, and out onto a bridge that led to a tiny island with a curved tree. Under normal circumstances, she would race him there, but she just didn't feel like it tonight.
Feel. The word causing all her problems, problems Nobodies, and she assumed replicas, weren't supposed to have.
She climbed onto the tree, helping him up onto the spot to her right, the same place he'd sat in her dream, and it could've been the same if it was sunset and Axel was standing on her left. But he couldn't be there, because even though he could probably explain that she thought she was feeling, she couldn't talk about Roxas like that with him. Too bad she was the only girl left in the Organization. Not that Larxene would've helped her in this situation.
"What's bothering you?" Roxas asked, always to the point in that way Xion liked.
But now that she had him here, she wasn't sure what to say. Everything just felt so confusing and mixed up inside of her, and she knew it had something to do with him, but she didn't get it.
She sighed. "I… don't know." She didn't want him to feel guilty; whatever it was she was feeling wasn't his fault. And it wasn't all a bad feeling, anyway. In fact, it was mostly good, but so confusing, and it made her face hot and she didn't like that.
"Oh." He sat there and watched her for a while, with the moonlight shining on her dark hair. It was pretty, like she'd swallowed a star and was glowing with its light, but the trembling frown on her face made him sad. "Can I help at all?"
"I don't know," she moaned, dropping her face into her hands. She thought being alone with Roxas would help, but she still felt miserably lost.
Well, Roxas knew one thing that Xion liked. Maybe that would cheer her up. "I'll be right back," he said, hopping down from the tree and dashing off.
Xion was alone, and she hated it, hated the pressure in her chest that hurt and she didn't know why, and it hurt worse when Roxas was gone, and she wanted him back and close to her.
It took a little while, but he returned with a perfect seashell colored the softest shade of lavender. He hid it in his fist until he was seated beside her again.
"I thought this might cheer you up." He pressed it into her palm, letting his own hand linger on hers.
She smiled at his thoughtfulness, curling her fingers around his. The tension in her chest eased a little. "Thanks, Roxas. You're sweet."
"I just thought, for your collection, and, um, since you like listening to the ocean so much…" He said quickly, blushing and suddenly feeling the hand Xion was holding start to sweat.
Xion laughed; he was just so cute when he blushed. "We're at the beach. I can already hear the ocean."
"Oh. Right." Of course she could; he wasn't thinking. But she had called him sweet, so he must've done something right.
She reluctantly slipped her hand from his, taking the shell with her and holding it up between her thumb and index finger. The moonlight silhouetted it against the starry sky.
"I wonder if some of the ocean's stuck in there, trying to get out," she whispered. Seashells were so fragile, if she happened to break one…
Roxas scooted closer to get a better look. "It would have to be a really small part." Why had she said that, anyway? Axel was right about girls being complicated. There was no telling what Xion was thinking.
She frowned. "Or a big part that's really, really squished."
They studied the purple shell like it would suddenly burst and release a flood. The waves below sounded louder and fiercer in the darkness, and Xion huddled closer to Roxas.
"I dunno," he said. "It still looks too tiny."
She sighed, rubbing the shell with her thumb. "You're right. I'm just being silly." But she didn't really think so. She figured she knew something about how much could be packed into such small spaces. Like that place where her heart was supposed to be, for example.
The sound of the sea took over in place of their voices. Wind wrapped around Xion's body and found its way up her sleeves and behind her neck, making her shiver.
"Hey…" Roxas said softly, "I'm not as warm as Axel, but…"
Carefully, like he was afraid of pushing a wrong button, he laid an arm around Xion's waist. He found out that was the right button when she rested her head against his, soft cheek cool against his warm red one. Hopefully the moonlight wasn't bright enough for her to see that.
A smile slid across Xion's face. Roxas didn't need to wield fire to make her feel warm inside. It was so comfortable, just sitting together with the peaceful, constant sound of the tide in the background.
"I have a new idea," Xion said suddenly, still cuddling close to Roxas.
"It's like a door – seashells, I mean. No matter where you are, they can take you to a beach." Every time she closed her eyes with one pressed to her ear, it was like being surrounded by the tide, under the waves, in a saltwater room. Maybe that confusing feeling was like that – if she stopped and listened to it, maybe it would take her someplace wonderful.
So she did. And she realized all that that feeling wanted was to be here, with Roxas. What was so confusing about that?
Roxas tried to focus on what she'd said; it was hard when she was so close and comfortable and he was so tired, but he couldn't fall asleep and miss a moment with her.
"…Yeah," he agreed, still processing her words.
"You don't think that's silly?" She asked, turning her head to look into his eyes, so close to her own…
"Your eyes are like that," he said before his brain caught up with his mouth.
"My eyes?" She asked, puzzled.
He gulped, feeling his face heat up. She could probably feel the warmth coming off of it, too. "Yeah. This probably sounds dumb, but… it's like your eyes have the ocean in them, or they can at least take you to the ocean, and whenever I look at them I just… like you said, it doesn't matter where we are, but your eyes – as long as I can see them, everything's okay." It was such a weird thing to say; he hoped she wouldn't think he was weird, but he couldn't stop rambling out of nervousness. "I could just look at them forever and ever, I could be with you forever…"
She was staring, and her eyes were amazing just like he said, especially lit up by the moonlight, but he couldn't meet them when she stared like that. Clearly he wasn't making anything better. Why wouldn't his brain work around her? He must've sounded so dumb and now she would stare and –
Suddenly her lips were touching his, just for a moment, just long enough to completely melt his brain. But also in that moment he felt something so good, like… like being wrapped in a rainbow or some other ridiculously sappy simile.
Her eyes widened with shock.
"What did I just do?" Xion wondered. What in the worlds had possessed her to do that?
Roxas touched his mouth and tried to piece his mind back together. "I was rambling about your eyes, and then… It was like… I don't know what you did. But it felt really good. I don't get it."
She rubbed her forehead, more confused than ever. "Why did I do that?" It was such an odd thing to do, such a weird, foreign impulse.
"I liked it," Roxas muttered, wishing that it had lasted longer.
Xion moaned. "I did too. That's why I'm so confused." What was it about touching mouths that felt so good? It sounded kind of gross, thinking about it afterwards.
"If you liked it, too…" Roxas picked at his sleeve, then said in a small voice, "Would you do it again?"
"Would I – what?"
"I'm sorry!" Roxas said instantly, holding up his arms in defense. Xion pushed them back down.
"No, Roxas, I'm not mad, I just don't get it." It kind of scared her, how she'd acted without thinking at all. Maybe her emotions really were like the flood stuck in a seashell.
"We could ask Axel," he suggested. She shook her head.
"He'd probably think we're acting silly. We're not supposed to be able to feel at all, remember?"
The wind blew Roxas's hair into his face. He didn't want to keep secrets from their best friend, but she might be right. He doubted Axel would laugh at them, but… well, something else just told him it was a bad idea.
"Then we have to figure it out ourselves," Roxas decided.
Then he pulled her close and pressed his lips to hers, just a light kiss like last time. He didn't really know anything about kissing, so it worried him when she froze from surprise.
"Did I mess up?" He asked. Surely he'd pressed at least a few buttons, and he didn't know if they were the right ones or not.
"No, that was…" How was she supposed to describe it? Amazing? Wonderful? "Special," she decided. She wouldn't want anyone else besides him to do that to her. "I just wasn't expecting it."
"Well, today sure has been unexpected," Roxas said. Xion had acted so strange, not that he really minded. "Did you ever figure out what was wrong?"
"I think… I just wanted to be with you for a while." She smiled. "Thanks, Roxas."
"You're welcome," he said, jumping off of the tree and helping her down afterwards. "That's what best friends are for. Right?"
"Right. And we'll always be best friends." And maybe just a little more than that, she hoped.
She was in love. No matter what anyone else said, she knew it was true for sure now. The flood in her seashell was free; she could go back through that door into a brilliant saltwater room any time she wanted. And Roxas would be there with her.
He ruffled his hair. "It's really late…"
They RTC'd to their separate bedrooms after one last hug.
Holding the seashell he'd given her to her ear, she relived the memories in her saltwater room late into the night. In her dreams, she and Roxas lay at the bottom of the seafloor, hand in hand.
~To my motion fatigue, farewell
With your ear to a seashell
You can hear the waves
In underwater caves
As if you actually were inside a saltwater room~
A/N: I have to agree with Roxas and Xion on not understanding kissing at all… *sweatdrop* Originally this was a lot more shippy, but I felt uncomfortable with it and revised a few things. I'm not used to writing RokuShi; AkuShi's more my forte, so I hope this turned out okay.
"The Saltwater Room" is like Xion's imagination and memories rolled into one, I'm not sure I got that symbolism across well.
Cover art by me; if you want to see it bigger it's also on my art page. The web address is on my profile.
End quote from "The Saltwater Room" song. C: