Idea inspired from the manga Olimpos.
Edited by lovelyxpeach
An endless field of crimson flowers illuminating beneath the starry night sky.
It was a dimension of eternal beauty.
A world where time does not exist.
I met him there. His hair was dyed in the colour of the morning light and his eyes were dipped in the clearest shade of blue. He was like the sun beneath the eternal night – as though the world was created simply to revolve around him.
"Xemnas's toy?" The crimson haired man at the age of twenty-one looked up from the middle of polishing his chakrams. "What brought this up all the sudden?" His emerald irises darted to the corners of his sharp eyes, making him resemble a curious cat.
"I was just wondering since I've never seen it." The man with dirty blond hair replied. "You were here longer than me. Surely you'd know something right, Axel?"
The red head stared at the Melodious Nocturne for a long moment before he shrugged in a casual manner.
"Why don't you ask your mate? He's been part of the eleven just as long as I have."
"Like I can ask him," The blond replied with a pout. "The last time I tried, he got angry all of a sudden and told me to never mention it."
"Of course he would." Axel snorted. He tossed the filthy rag aside and with a wave of his hand, his chakrams vanished within a burst of flames. "If you know what's good for you, then you better stop snooping around. All I can tell you is that Xemnas is completely infatuated with his toy. If he hears how you're going around prying your nose into where it doesn't belong, he'll kill you. Got it memorized?"
"Infatuated?" The blond perked up at the new bit of information. "You mean it is a living thing?"
"Demyx, that's enough." A chilling voice quickly cut in before Axel could respond.
The two men dressed in pure black turned and saw a blue haired teen strolling through the heavy pair of cherry wood doors. He was small compared to the two men, but he carried himself confidently with his chin held up high and his steps filled with grace. He glared darkly at the blond with his aqua coloured left eye, his other one hidden beneath the long bangs of his glaucous blue hair that spilled down his face.
Upon meeting the approaching man's gaze, the blond gulped. His expression grew nervous, looking as guilty as a child caught trying to eat sweets before dinner.
"Yo, Zexion." Axel nonchalantly waved, but was ignored as the blue haired man walked pass him and stopped before his mate.
"Looks like you weren't listening to the warning I gave you, Demyx." Zexion was unimpressed.
"That's because you always avoided my question." Demyx countered. "Why am I always the one left out on these things when apparently everyone knows about it?"
"Hey, if it makes you feel better, Luxord and Larxene don't know either." Axel tried to help out the situation, but was silenced when the illusionist shot him a dirty look.
"Marluxia knows and he's been here shorter than I have."
Marluxia. Right. Axel had almost forgotten about the pink haired man. "Well, technically he's been here longer than all of us, just not as long in this rank." The red head responded.
"Stop, Demyx." Zexion sighed when he saw the blond parted his lips for a comeback. He pinched the bridge of his nose, an action that indicated how they must have been through this countless times. "You heard what Axel said. You're going to get yourself killed if Xemnas finds out."
"That's why I'm only asking you two." Demyx mumbled. When he caught another frustrated sigh escape Zexion's lips, he quickly shut his mouth.
A long silence embraced them.
Axel looked between the two. When he saw how neither of them had no plans to speak any further, he decided to break the tension by gesturing to the item in the illusionist's hand. "Zexion. I see you've found the book."
Zexion looked down to the book in his hand before he gave Axel a slight nod.
"Alright, then let's get out of here. Seeing so many books makes my head hurts." The pyromaniac said as he jumped off the black leather couch and onto his feet.
"So Demyx, still up for that spar?"
Demyx looked at Axel, seeming a bit confused for a split second before he quickly realized the chance the red head was giving him. He nodded his head feverishly without even thinking. Parting his lips to give his reply, his eyes widened at the realization of his weapon which he left in his room.
"Shoot! Hang on; I need to get something really quick. I'll meet you in the northern training ground!" With that, the blond hurried out through the library door, leaving the Flurry of Dancing Flames and the Cloaked Schemer behind him.
Zexion watched the scene quietly, allowing Demyx to flee from his wrath before he gave out another sigh for the third time that day. "Stupid. Since when does he train?" He mumbled beneath his breath. However, in contrary to the hardness in his tone, his gaze softened, thus losing the glare he held earlier.
"He's obviously making an effort to go with the flow." Axel chuckled in amusement at how awkward it was in the way he left. "It really is a wonder how he's able to make you submit in bed."
As soon as he said that, three books – dictionaries, flew in his direction and smacked the pyromaniac mercilessly over the head.
"That hurts!" Axel snapped. He held a hand over the area in which he was hit, already feeling a bump begin to form over it as he looked down to see that one of the books that had been thrown at him was Lexicon. He didn't know the Cloaked Schemer's weapon could be used like that. While nursing the pain on his head, Axel spun around to meet the illusionist's glare. If not for the pain pounding against his cranium, Axel would have definitely smirked at the faint blush heating the other's face.
"You told him." Zexion accused in a low hiss. Axel immediately knew that they weren't on the topic of Demyx's and Zexion's love life anymore. "Now he knows he is not an object but a living being. His curiosity of finding the truth will grow."
"What, you're angry?" Axel asked in a taunting tone. "It was just a slip of the tongue."
"It doesn't matter." The usually calm man growled. "Now that Demyx knows, it's only a matter of time before he finds out about his existence."
At the mention of him, Axel's smirk was wiped away, replaced by a deep frown. "You know, if Demyx was to meet him, they'll no doubt become good friends."
"That is exactly why I don't want him to know." Zexion's gaze fell with a tint of bitterness glazed over his eyes. "There is something about him, something that makes it impossible to hate him."
"Bet you three weeks of patrol duty that Larxene will kill him on sight." The red head muttered, but was ignored as Zexion continued on.
"If Demyx was to meet him, he'll no doubt try everything he can to break the cage. As much as I like him, I don't want to see Demyx doing anything stupid and lose his own life."
Dull aqua eyes met a pair of sharp green ones. "You as well, Axel."
"…I don't know what you're talking about."
Zexion ignored Axel as he gazed around the large chamber filled with books. His visible eye darted almost cautiously before he slowly glanced back to the red head.
"I know you're fond of him," He spoke in a low hush. "Too fond for your own good, that's why…"
Axel could only hear the first part of Zexion's sentence, as the other half was lost the minute the illusionist disappeared behind the doors.
The Flurry of Dancing Flames stood alone in the large room as the colour of the sky flashed through his mind.
Blue eyes snapped open to look up at the stars scattered across the sky. The blond haired boy slowly pulled himself up, his eyes darting over the infinite field of camellias. The flowers were all cut, scattered across the land, making it impossible to get a clear view of the ground underneath. Everything was just filled by flowers that were emitting a soft glow of red.
When he was unable to find anything, his gaze fell to the flowers at his feet. He heaved out a deep sigh as he gently scooped one up into his hand. Staring at the crimson beauty within his palm, he gave it a good look before he crushed it within his hand. His fist shook with the energy he was using in an attempt to completely destroy the flower. However, when he opened his palm again, his gaze fell when he saw how the flower was still sitting perfectly within his hand, completely undamaged.
"Beautiful, isn't it?" A deep, husky voice suddenly whispered.
The boy shivered as a lukewarm breath crawled over the skin of his delicate pale neck. He quickly spun around, holding his palm up as a flash of blinding light shot towards the silver haired man. The man, already anticipated such a reaction and he leaped back just in time to narrowly dodge the beam of light. He stood tall, staring down with great interest as the blond tumbled and fell onto the sea of crimson flowers. The loose petals fluttered from the force of his fall and danced within the air as they slowly descended.
The blond laid in the flowers, panting heavily with beads of sweat rolling down his face.
"You're only wasting your energy, my dear."
"Shut up." The boy snarled. The innocent longing that was within his blue eyes was now replaced by a cold, murderous glare. With his trembling hands, he forced himself up despite the fatigue that was threatening to overwhelm him.
The silver haired man simply smirked at the teen's futile attempt. He took a wide step forward and it was quickly followed by another. The blond jumped back when he saw the other advancing on him. He tried to get up to run away, only to collapse as his trembling legs could no longer support his weight.
"Stay away from me!" He snapped, but the silver haired male was deaf to his words. The blond stared in horror as the other neared him.
The man lifted his arm – his gloved hand slowly reaching out to the boy.
"Don't touch me!" With a scream, a burst of light erupted from the teen's small body as an orange barrier suddenly formed around him. The man quickly jumped back, but he wasn't fast enough as his hand was caught in the barricade. It had only been a split second, but it was enough for the light force to burn his glove off and torch his skin.
The man stared at his burnt hand indifferently before looking down to see that the boy had collapsed, having used the last of his power to keep the older male at bay. However, despite how much he had weakened, the barrier did not dissolve. It remained around the blond protectively, preventing anything vile from touching the pure angel.
"Even after eight long years, you still deny me." The silver haired man whispered as his hand returned to his side.
"I created this world for you. I gave you what you love – the flowers and stars! I stopped time so I could create a perfect world of beauty just for you! So why? I've given you everything! What more do you want?" He shouted as the boy's pale eyelids weakly slid over those sky blue eyes. A single drop of his tears escaped and was absorbed into one of the crimson petal. The silent tear went unnoticed by the silver haired man as he was too wrapped within his own anger.
"No matter. Your barrier is growing weak." The man spoke to the unconscious form, not caring if whether or not his words could be heard. "It's only a matter of time until your power leaves you." He glared once more at the offending barrier that still protected the blond even in his sleep. Eventually a black portal appeared behind the man. With one last glance to the blond, the man took a step back and vanished into the black mist.
The boy lay in the flowers motionlessly.
As time slowly passed, cracks began running through the orange barrier before it began to break down into tiny light particles that faded into the unmoving air.
A voice echoed from the distance, but the boy didn't move. The sound of heavy footsteps were heard, growing louder and louder with each passing second. A gloved hand quickly reached down. Passing through the crumbling barrier with ease the figure's hand gently slipped beneath the mop of blond hair. With a pull, Roxas was lifted from the flowers and into the lap of a tall man with a black hood covering his face.
Long arms were wrapped protectively around the boy's small frame as the stranger began shaking him gently.
"Come on Roxas…wake up."
The blond stirred at the calls. He lay against the stranger for seconds…minutes until his blue eyes weakly began to open. He stared into the nothingness, blinking for a few times before his eyes suddenly flew wide in horror.
Without warning, he began to struggle, and would have forced himself to send another blast of light if the cloaked figure didn't seize his hand in time.
"Roxas, calm down. It's just me." The figure spoke. At the sound of that voice and the soothing heat seeping into his hand, the blond froze.
The taller male quickly took his chance while the blond stopped thrashing to pull down his hood, revealing his bright green eyes and long, spikey crimson hair.
"Hey Roxie." The cloaked man whispered before he pulled the blond into a tight embrace and placed a kiss within his soft golden locks. Roxas said nothing. He didn't even bother to make his usual retort against his forced nickname as he leaned into the taller teen for more of his body's warmth.
"Axel." Roxas called out to the older male with a cracked voice as his body began to tremble.
Axel's hold over the fragile body tightened. He leaned over the blond, burying his face within his golden locks as he inhaled his scent.
"I'm here, Roxas." The red head said as he leaned down and placed another kiss upon the blonde's temple. He then rested his lips against the shell of the boy's pale ear and murmured comforting words into the teen as he held onto him tightly. Roxas's quivering body gradually began to calm within the arms of his love. As Axel waited for his blond to recover, he took his time surveying his surroundings.
The world hadn't changed a bit since he was last here. The ground they sat was filled with nothing but camellias. Dirt and rocks does not exist in this world, as they are ugly. There was no wind either, not a single sound. The night never ends. The constellation of summer remained despite how snow had already covered the land of the outside world.
Axel's face twisted in disgust.
Paradise. That was just a fancy name that sick bastard called this torture chamber. A place where time never changes…waking up every day to see the same things over and over again. It was sickening. When Axel thought of how long Roxas was trapped here for, his heart twisted in pain along with a mix of anger.
"Ugh…Axel, it hurts."
Axel hurriedly loosened his grip when he realized how he was unconsciously crushing his love within his arms. He stared into Roxas's azure blue eyes that were staring back at him. When Axel saw the tint of worry in the other's eye, he quickly allowed a mild smile to lift his lips.
"Feeling better?" He asked softly as he threaded his fingers through Roxas's blond locks.
"Still a little tired…" Roxas said sluggishly. He pulled away from Axel just a little so he didn't need to strain his neck trying to look up at the taller man.
"He tried to come onto you again, didn't he?" Axel said slowly as he eyed Roxas. Watching his love's expression carefully, the teen shifted nervously in an attempt to get comfortable.
"I burned his hand." Roxas said, with a smile, but Axel saw through the blonde's mask in an instant. He could see the fear and panic reflected within those blue eyes at the very mention of the silver haired man. When the blond saw the frown over Axel's face, the mask he placed over his face shattered. His smile slowly disappeared, knowing full well that he couldn't hide any secrets from the older male.
The red head could always read him like a book despite his efforts.
"I…" Roxas whispered as his head fell low, his bangs falling over and hiding his face. "I don't know how much longer I can hang on…" The blond choked as his body began to tremble again. A droplet of water fell from his face and landed onto his bare legs folded within the flowers.
"It's alright." Axel reached up to touch the soft skin of the blonde's cheek. When he realized how he was still wearing his glove, he smiled only to pull back his hand to rid himself of it. Very gently, his fingers grazed over the blonde's cheek.
Roxas sat stilly. He didn't move, feeling Axel's fingertips trailing over his skin before he leaned his face into the touch. Axel smiled at the teen's action as he used his hand to guide Roxas's head back up so he could see the boy's pale face.
"Tears don't suit you." He whispered as he used his thumb to brush away another tear that had escaped.
"I'm not crying…" At Roxas's denial, Axel couldn't help but chuckle at the other's stubbornness.
"Sure. Whatever you say." The Flurry of Dancing Flames teased before his face grew serious, his vibrant eyes losing the playfulness they held before. "Very soon, you'll be out of here. I promise."
Roxas stared up at Axel with a frown carved into his delicate feature. "Don't–" That was the only word he could get out when the red head pulled away from him and drew his hood back over his head to hide his face.
"You can ask me to do anything." The red head began with a light smile. "But that is the only thing I can't listen to."
"Axel, please." Roxas begged. Tears began to gather in his eyes again when a dark portal appeared behind his love.
"Axel! Wait!" Roxas reached out a hand to grab the flame user, but was met with only air as Axel leaped into the portal and vanished from his sight.
Roxas stared into the hollow space where Axel had disappeared to. He was once again alone within the never flowing time. Very slowly, he grasped the silver chain around his neck, pulling it out from beneath his clothes to reveal a silver ring dangling on it.
"Idiot." He whispered into the ring as though it would somehow carry his voice to his love. "Why can't you understand that I don't need to go out? I'm fine as long as I can keep seeing you like this…"
"The Red Diamonds and Black Clovers?" Saix glanced over the large chamber and to the pink haired male.
"Why bring them up all the sudden?" The only woman within the group asked. "The King of Diamonds has always been a coward and the Clovers have always been in neutral relationship with the Spade. What's there to worry about?"
"I heard that the Diamonds' king has passed away recently so the crown prince – Cloud Strife has taken the throne." Marluxia replied. The pink haired Royal Guard leaned into his seat. "As we all know, he bears a deep hatred towards the Kingdom of Spades due to an incident which happened in the past."
"So? If the Diamonds attack, all we have to do is crush them." Larxene said confidently as though it wasn't such a big deal.
"The current king is different than the last." It was Zexion who had spoken. "He is more capable and much powerful compared to his father. A war against him will not be easy."
"If he's so great, why was he declared to be mad by his own father and got locked up within the castle?" Luxord questioned.
"The late King of Diamonds was an old fool who was drunk with power." Marluxia retorted. "His son is by far, better than him in all aspect. Rumor has it that he even held more influence among the Royal Guards than the king himself. The king feared the day where his own son would overthrow him."
"So he locked him up in his own home?" The nymph laughed hysterically. "That's just stupid."
"I heard rumours that the current King of Diamonds is in an intimate relationship with the King of Clovers." Demnyx spoke up and that caught everyone's attentions.
"Squall Leonhart?" Saix muttered the name with a narrowed gaze.
"If the Black Clovers join the war with the Red Diamonds, then it'll be bad." Vexen stated, his eyebrows furrowed and a frown tugged at his lips. "If that does happen, then there might be a high chance that the Red Hearts will join in as well."
"The Kingdom of Hearts?" Xaldin stared at the Chilly Academic. "What do they have to do with the Clovers and Diamonds?"
"Demyx." Vexen gestured to the blond who immediately sunk into his seat upon all the eyes that were directed to him. "You were the one who heard the rumor."
"Exactly what is with you and the rumors?" The Savage Nymph asked but all she got was a shrug from the other blond.
"Hey, don't look at me. All I heard is that the Clover prince, Sora Leonhart, is rumored to be very close with two of King Mickey's Royal Guards and his wife, Queen Minnie. No one knows the backstory, but he was apparently seen a couple of times in and out of the castle. Whether or not he's close with the king himself is still a mystery."
"Just because some pampered brat got some connections doesn't mean that the Kingdom of Hearts would join the war." Luxord stated.
"We have to look at the bigger picture." Vexen argued. "What if–"
"Enough!" Xemnas' voice boomed through the room and in a matter of seconds, silence filled the space.
"Luxord, Lexaeus and Marluxia. I want the three of you to infiltrate the Kingdom of Hearts, Clovers and Diamonds. Find out what you can about their movements," Xemnas ordered before his eyes narrowed, "Especially the Diamonds."
The three Royal Guards didn't say anything. They stood from their seats and bowed at the man sitting upon the highest throne. Once they showed their respect, they each summoned their own portals and vanished from the room.
Another moment of silence passed by as Xemnas' eyes trailed across the chamber before his gaze locked on the seat that had remained empty since the beginning of the meeting. Glaring, his amber eyes darted to a certain blond.
"Yes." Demyx immediately sat up tall when his King addressed to him.
"Where is Axel?"
"Axel?" Instinctively he glanced to the empty seat of the Flurry of Dancing Flames.
"Aren't you three–" Larxene glanced from Demyx to Zexion to emphasize her point, "always together?"
"The last we saw him was when Axel and I were having a spar." Demyx explained, ignoring the surprised looks when the other heard how he actually took the time to spar. "But that was yesterday. We hadn't seen him after that, right Zexy?" The blond glanced to Zexion who responded with a nod of his head. When his boyfriend turned back to the king, the illusionist snuck a quick look at Axel's empty throne. He lowered his head, letting the shadow cast from his hood hide his aqua coloured eyes that narrowed considerably.
"Just a little longer," Axel kissed the ring that was chained around his neck. "Just a little longer and you'll be able to see the sun again." His emerald eyes drifted up to the setting sun in the horizon.
"Flurry of Dancing Flames." A voice called as the red head heard steady footsteps approaching from behind.
"I got a name, and it's Axel." The pyromaniac said to the sunset before he smirked widely. He turned, his emerald eyes shining in amusement as he was met by a tall, blond haired man who was glaring at him with steel blue eyes. He was almost a replica of Roxas with slight feminine features and messy blond hair. Of course, with only the exception that the younger blond Axel knew was smaller with brighter eyes that seemed to look through your soul. And most importantly, Roxas didn't scowl like this blond did. He pouted in a way that could always make the Royal Guard's heart sway.
"Got it memorized, King of Diamonds-sama?"
The said king scowled at the mockery in the red head's little speech. Within a swift movement, he had unsheathed his broadsword and held it tightly within his grip.
"Where is Roxas?" The taller version of Roxas began before darker blue eyes narrowed into a murderous glare. "Where is my brother?"
"Hey now, is that how you ask someone a favor?" Axel teased before he quickly leaped away just as the blonde's sword slashed down at him.
"Your father, the dead pig willingly gave your brother away eight years ago when he was on the verge of losing the war with the Kingdom of Spades." Axel said coldly, purposely emphasizing the keyword that he knew had pierced the swordsman's heart. His bright green eyes narrowed, mirroring the blonde's glare as he walked along the edge of the clock tower they were on.
"You were there, but you didn't do anything. You knew what our majesty's intention was when he started the war with your kingdom, didn't you?" Axel asked, his voice becoming hush as he remembered those lonely azure eyes that stared up at him.
"Even if you were a brat at the time, you should have known what our king's intention would be after he gets the reason as to why he started the war in the first place. And now, eight long years later you suddenly go around and demanding him back? The world doesn't work that way, my dear king – or should I even call you that seeing as you haven't been officially crowned yet?"
"I told you to shut up!" Cloud snapped before he dashed towards Axel with his sword raised. Axel stepped back, about to make another dodge when he sensed a wave of murderous intent from behind him. Quickly he summoned a portal, jumping in and reappearing on the other side of the clock tower's roof in time to watch two swords clash at the point of where he once stood.
Had he not summoned a portal in time, the Royal Guard's head would have flown off right then and there.
"Leon." The blond stared at the one who he had clashed weapons with. A tall, brunette with a scarred face stood over the King of Diamonds, his cold, grey eyes fixed upon the red head.
"He's messing with your head, Cloud." Leon said in a cold, emotionless tone. "Don't let him provoke you."
"So the King of Clovers has decided to join us." Axel smirked, hiding the pricking sense of danger that had been stabbing his side. This was bad. The red head's only intention was coming here to meet with the King of Diamonds, alone. He knew he would never win in a battle, so he planned on leaving immediately after he dropped some clues to the Prince of Diamond's whereabouts. The appearance of the lone wolf was definitely not in his plan and with the brunette here, escaping would be nearly impossible now.
Axel mentally slapped himself.
Why didn't he believe Demyx when the hyperactive blond told him about the rumours regarding how these two kings have a special relationship?
"Were you following your lover?" The red head teased, trying to stall some time as he quickly tried to come up with a new escape plan. "All that's left is for the King of Hearts and the King of Spades to gather and all four kingdoms will be united."
The blond glared, looking as though he was about to slash at Axel again when Leon quickly grabbed his wrist and tugged him back. Cloud looked up, the two quickly exchanging some sort of silent message before the blond backed down.
"The fact that you're wearing that black cloak means that you're one of Xemnas' eleven Royal Guards." The King of Clovers said in a calm, collective tone.
"The Flurry of Dancing Flames, Axel, at your service~" Axel mocked bow, not missing the irritated look on the blond as though he wanted nothing more than to chop him to pieces for messing around.
"If you tell us where the Prince of Diamonds is being kept, we can consider sparing your life."
"Spare me?" Axel chuckled. "If you do that, you might never see your Roxie again."
When Cloud heard the nickname, his eyes flashed like a dangerous beast. Leon, whose hand was still gripping the blonde's wrist, tightened as a small signal for the other to calm down. Suddenly, Axel was grateful for Leon being here. If it wasn't for his presence, the blond would have kept trying to rip his head off without giving him a chance to speak.
Was the rumour of how the new Diamond King being level headed false?
"What do you mean by that?" The King of Clovers demanded.
"Our king loves his toy." Axel smirked despite how he was inwardly frowning at how he had to call the angelic blond by such a disgusting title. The blond older brother apparently thought the same but unlike Axel; he had no problem expressing it freely on his face. If looks could kill, Axel was sure he'd die an ugly death.
"You can say he's obsessed. If we speak even a word about blondie, we'll be killed, Royal Guards or not. There are only a few of us who know of his existence. Unfortunately for you, none of them will tell you anything, that's why I'm the best you got." The red head spoke as though it was completely natural. "Don't look so worried. Your brother's innocence is still safe – for the time being."
"What do you mean?" Cloud demanded with a horrified look glazed his blue eyes.
"The prince is pretty strong." Axel said. "Even though he's trapped within a world of never flowing time with his energy of light constantly being drained by those flowers, he's still able to create a barrier to protect himself. Honestly, we're all surprised by how long he's been holding on. If I was trapped in a world like that, I would have lost my sanity long time ago. But, that shouldn't matter anymore seeing as how he's already at his limit. I'm sure within a week– no, perhaps even less than that – his barrier will no longer be a problem for Xemnas to take him under the summer night–"
"Cloud!" Leon's voice rang into the air as Axel stared with wide eyes into the deep blue ones of the blond. Seething pain tore across his chest as fresh crimson blood flew into the air, blinding his view.
"Who are you?"
Roxas shifted back warily, his eyes never leaving the cloaked figure standing before him. From the frame of the man, he was definitely not Axel. Axel was taller and leaner with a narrower waist that can be seen even with the cloak. He's definitely not Xemnas, as the King would never wear clothes of his Royal Guard's. Even if he did suddenly develop some sort of sick fetish, he is much bulkier than the figure before him.
The cloaked figure stood, staring down at Roxas for a good moment before he slowly pushed his hood up, just a little to reveal his face.
"You're…" Roxas trailed off. He stared at what he could see of the man's face as his long, blue-gray bangs covered a good proportion of it. "You're the kid from before…the one who came with that pink haired soldier and gave me these clothes."
"I'm surprise you remember."
"I don't get many visitors" The blond replied as he slowly shifted back, keeping his guard up against the stranger.
"In that case it will make things simpler." The Royal Guard said softly as his hood fell back over his head, hiding his face once more. He seemed quite uptight from the way his eyes darted around as though he was afraid that something would suddenly leap out from the camellias and attack him.
"My name is Zexion and I'll get straight to the point. Axel has been seeing you, hasn't he?"
"What?" Roxas's eyes flew wide as his heart beat sped up. Did they find out?
"Calm down." Zexion said as he knelt before the small teen. "I'm on Axel's side. I won't tattletale your relationship to his majesty." He said softly, but Roxas didn't look convinced. If anything, the blond seemed even more suspicious of him.
"Axel has been acting strange lately. I need you to tell me everything between you two, at this rate, his life might be in danger."
"What do you mean?" Roxas's clear blue eyes widened as his pale hand shot out and grasped the man's sleeve. "What do you mean that his life is–!"
"He's fine." Zexion said soothingly as he gently unhooked Roxas's fingers from his cloak. "But he's been acting strange lately and Xemnas is catching on." The Cloak Schemer caught the horrified look on the blond. His suspicion was then confirmed.
Axel. What are you doing? He thought quietly to himself as he gritted his teeth.
"Roxas. I need you to tell me everything you know."
The blond stared at Zexion.
He stared at him for seconds…minutes, seeming to be struggling with whether he could trust the Royal Guard or not. Zexion waited, but he wasn't patient. He knew why Roxas was struggling but he didn't have time. He constantly looked around, afraid of the possibility of Xemnas showing up at any moment. He had snuck into this world when Xemnas called Saix to his office for a private talk. For all he knew, they could be done at any moment. Maybe they already finished up and Xemnas was making his way here as they wasted time.
"Roxas! Please!" Zexion raised his voice. It wasn't loud enough to be considered a shout, but even so, that was the closest he ever got to yelling. He had never shouted at anyone before, even when that pyromaniac burned one of his precious limited edition books into ashes.
Roxas stared at Zexion, hearing the desperateness behind his plead. He couldn't trust the man. How could he when he knew nothing about the other? For all he knew, this could be a trap set by Xemnas himself in order to trick Roxas into telling the truth.
But then…what would he gain from that? If Xemnas truly suspected anything, he wouldn't go through so much trouble. He would just slaughter Axel regardless of whether he was guilty or not.
The guard couldn't be doing this for his own personal gain, that the prince was sure. Being sent by Xemnas to this place once was more than enough to convince Roxas that the man knew his king's obsession towards him. If the King of Spades was to ever discover him coming into this place, then the slate haired man will no doubt by hanged as an example for the rest.
And most of all…that distressed look over his face and the despairing tone in his voice…
"Can I…trust you?" The blond asked almost pleadingly.
Blue eyes were staring up at him – completely terrified of spilling the secrets about him and Axel into the wrong hand. Yet at the same time, he looked hopeful. Hope for what, Zexion didn't know. All he knew was that the idiot must have dug himself a really deep hole this time and he would be too if he didn't escape from this world in time.
"Yes." The Cloaked Schemer whispered without hesitation. Roxas' head fell limply as his half-lidded eyes drifted over the camellias.
"Damn it…" Axel gasped as he lay limply within the dark alley with his chakrams lying near his feet.
"The blood isn't stopping." He cursed as he pressed harder onto the deep gash over his chest, only to succeed in amplifying the pain. Choking out a mouthful of blood, Axel slowly rested his now scarred back against the wall. He chuckled lightly, careful as to not add any more stress to his body. Even now, he still couldn't believe how he had managed to outsmart both Kings and escape despite the seriousness of his wounds. He was sure this large one on his chest would leave a scar. He didn't really mind since his body wasn't the cleanest, but if he had to get a scar, he would much prefer to get it from his Roxie. At least that way, he'll have something to remember his love by and the thought of having his angel mark him lifted a smile over his lips.
His hand that had been trying to stop the bleeding slowly slid down and fell limply to his side.
He was tired, and for the first time in his life, he felt cold.
His body had lost so much blood that his head was spinning uncontrollably. It took all of his will just to not to slip into the tempting darkness.
"Hey! You there! Are you alright?!" A muffled voice echoed inside his pounding head. When Axel faintly registered it was directed to him, he shifted lightly as his eyes slowly parted.
"B-blood! You're bleeding!" Someone was beside him. He could feel a hand gripping on his shoulder, but Axel couldn't find it in him to respond. "Hey, hang on! I'm going to get help!" The voice shouted before Axel heard a clinging sound, as though a metal of some sort had just been kicked.
"…Chakrams?" The voice whispered as Axel forced his eyes to focus on the figure standing over him. Although it was blurry and dark, Axel managed to make out messy brown hair and blue eyes that greatly reminded him of Roxas.
"What…?" Axel chuckled before his eyelids slowly slid over his eyes. "You…again?"
"You're–!" The brunette gasped and the crimson haired man finally gave in, his vision slipping into the darkness. "Axel! Hey, come on, wake up! Axel!"
"Sora! What's wrong?" A voice shouted from the distance as the young boy turned to see two silhouettes hurrying towards him.
"Kairi! Riku! Help me stop the bleeding!"
That was the last thing he heard as his mind closed down. The ability to feel was lost as Axel found himself sinking deep into the suffocating darkness.
"What the heck's with this place?"
He heard his own voice echoed in the back of his mind. The darkness suddenly parted as Axel found himself standing in the middle of a field of scarlet camillias. He dug his foot into the flowers. He kicked some away, and then dug his heel in again. No matter how long he did this for, Axel couldn't find the ground. The dirt, it was as though it was non-existent. All there was to the ground was flowers and loose petals.
He glanced up to look at the stars; they were almost illuminated by the surrounding glow of crimson. Deciding that he would just be wasting his time standing around, the young boy began walking through the seemingly endless field of flowers. He passed by a few small hills, but was still unable to find anything aside from camellias upon camellias.
"What kind of boring place is this?" The red head snapped in frustration after he climbed onto the tallest hill he could find. He looked across the land, but found nothing but a sea of red beneath the night sky. "Maybe I should just set it all up in flames."
"It won't work." A voice suddenly spoke. The child jumped in surprise as he quickly spun around and was met with a very pale teen with golden hair that stood out from the surrounding. The teen was short, but nonetheless taller than him.
"Who are you?" Axel asked, quickly jumping back as he stared into the boy's dull azure eyes which barely reflected much life within them. He frowned at the sight, having never seen such a hollowed and lonely gaze on a living human before.
"That should be my line." The blond replied. His voice was soothing and soft, yet the emptiness it held rivaled his gaze. Those lifeless blue eyes slowly moved down, trailing over Axel's clothes before their eyes met once more.
"A castle guard shouldn't wander in here."
"That's a bit too late don't you think?" Axel retorted. He glanced around the camellia filled land as he turned back to the blond. He didn't seem to be a bad person, so Axel couldn't see much harm coming from him. "So who are you and what is this place?"
"A prison." The blond replied after a moment of silence. "And I'm simply a prisoner."
"Prison?" Axel blinked. "This place is awfully pretty to be a prison."
"…You think this world is beautiful?"
"Well why not?" The young boy shrugged. "You got all these flowers and it's pretty warm here, like summer, though it ain't really my thing. It's much better than the castle's dungeons. Have you been there? That place is freezing during winter and it ain't as big as the cage you got here. The king must really like you to give you so much freedom."
When the blond heard Axel's word, his gaze saddened. He stared at the flowers scattered around him before he slowly took a seat into the flowers. Axel stared at the teen before he plopped down next to him casually.
The blond frowned upon the sight, but didn't say anything about it.
"So what did you do to get in here? You one of those spies?"
The older teen didn't answer. He stared into the distance for a while before turning to the kid beside him. "You're awfully young to be a soldier." He said with a voice barely above a whisper, completely dismissing the child's question.
"We look practically the same age, like you can talk." Axel countered.
"You think we're the same age?" If the boy could express emotions, Axel was sure there will be amusement spread across his pale feature.
"I take it you're not thirteen."
"No." The boy replied simply. "I'm eighteen."
Axel's eyes widened at the information. Eighteen? The boy had the face of a doll and is supposed to be a fully grown male?
He's more girly than Zexion. He wondered how the blond would react if he voiced out his thought. But then again, it's most likely nothing at all. With the lack of emotion the other displayed, Axel doubted he would react to anything around him.
"At least…" The red head perked up when he realized that the boy hadn't finish talking. "That's what I was the last I checked. Who knows now?"
He stared at the blond strangely as he tried to figure out what in the world the boy was talking about. How could a person not know his own age? But then again…this place is a prison – if the blond is being truthful. There was no clock or calendar around, so maybe it wasn't so strange after all.
"Are you going to answer my question? Why is there a child as a soldier?"
The said child glowered at the older teen at how he was being addressed. "Don't call me that." He spat. "We get money, food and shelter. That's all that matters."
"We?" The blond looked down at Axel. "There are other children working as soldiers within the castle?"
"Nah. Just me and a friend of mine." Axel explained. "We came here after running away from the orphanage."
"So you don't have a family?"
"Don't know. I might have, but I've never met them nor do I have any interest in wanting to." Axel responded as he laid back into the flowers with his hands behind his head. His emerald eyes gaze up to the stars. "What about you? Do you have any family?"
The teen stared at Axel before his gaze slowly trailed to the sky. "I do." He replied after taking a long moment of thought. "That's all in the past though."
"Hmm." The young boy hummed as his eyes shifted and landed upon the blond. "I'm Axel by the way. A-X-E-L, got it memorized?"
He looked for a reaction, but received none. Normally when people heard the way he introduced himself, they always have a reaction.
"So I just told you mine. Isn't it common courtesy to give me yours?"
"Roxas?" Axel furrowed his eyebrows. "You don't feel like a Spade residence."
Roxas stared at Axel for a moment before he remembered how having names with the letter X was a trend in the Kingdom of Spades.
"No, I'm not. I'm–" Roxas paused as he closed his eyes. "The Kingdom of Spades…do you know what their current relationship with the other kingdoms are?"
"Huh?" Axel gave the blond a weird stare, wondering where the sudden shift of topic had come from. "Last time I check, all four Kingdoms are in a neutral relationship. Why?"
"…Just curious." Roxas replied before his blue eyes shifted to Axel. "You should leave."
"What? You suddenly asked for an answer to your question and when you get it you're kicking me out?" The red head snorted. "What kind of thanks is that?"
"I don't know how you got in here, but if Xemnas finds out, he will kill you."
"Why?" Axel questioned. "It's not like I broke any rules. From what I could tell, there aren't any rules or signs indicating that this place is prohibited. Sure I might be punished, but I don't think he'll go as far as killing me for trespassing into a strange prison."
"You don't know what you're getting yourself into!" Roxas suddenly snapped as Axel turned, for the first time seeing emotion on the blonde's face. Perhaps he was wrong about the blond being unable to produce facial expressions.
"Chill okay? If you wanted me to leave, that's all you got to say." Axel said with a frown as he climbed onto his feet. Black particles that Roxas was all too familiar with began to form.
Before the young Spade soldier could step pass the mist of darkness, Roxas reached out and grabbed the boy by his forearm. As soon as their body came in contact, a sharp, hidden blade ripped through the sleeve of the boy's shirt and sliced right into Roxas's palm.
The blond quickly pulled away with a pained wince as Axel quickly whirled around and realized what had happened.
"Shit!" The younger teen gasped as he stared at the blood flooding from the gash in the blonde's palm. The red head quickly knelt down beside Roxas, his portal vanishing as it had been forgotten. "Don't just randomly grab me like that!" Axel shouted as he quickly pulled his shirt off, revealing countless scars engraved in his body as he began tearing at the fabric of his cloth.
"Looks like it cut the nerves. Hold out your hand, we have to stop the bleeding first!"
"No, it's fine..." Roxas panted softly as he clutched onto his quivering hand.
"Fine?" Axel stared at the blond in disbelieve. "How can you say its fi–!"
He wasn't able to finish his sentence as a crimson camellia petal drifted by his eyes within the stilled air, followed by another, then another. The camellia petals twirled around the blonde's hands wildly, blown by an invisible force. The blood that had been spilled began to move back into the boy's body, as though time had been reversed. When the last drop of blood vanished, the flower petals rushed into the large gap in his hand, stuffing up his wound before they morphed into the blonde's flesh and skin.
"What…?" Axel stared at the perfectly healed hand that didn't even leave the slightest scar. "What's going on?" He asked before he looked down and saw the same happening to his shirt which he had torn. By the time the petals scattered, his shirt was as good as new…at least; it was as good as the condition when he put it on this morning. Even his sleeve was mended and his hidden knife was folded once more, being suppressed by the bandages that were re-wrapped around his wrist.
"The sky," Roxas panted lightly as he stared into those confused green eyes. "The sky outside…what is it like?"
"What?" Axel stared at the boy before his gaze fell to the other's healed hand that was quivering uncontrollably. He was obviously in pain and yet he's asking about the sky? Is he crazy?
As though reading the younger boy's mind, Roxas' gaze drifted away. "Forget it." He said with an inaudible sigh. "It was a stupid–"
"It's sunny." Axel quickly said. He didn't know why he responded, but when he saw the saddened look on the boy, the words left his lips faster than he could think. Although it seemed like a meaningless question, the red head had a nagging feeling that it was important to the other boy.
"Sunny…" Roxas repeated the information slowly before a faintest smile Axel had ever seen lifted the corners of the older teen's lips. The red head flustered at the sight. Though it could barely be considered a smile, the child had found that to be the most beautiful expression he had ever seen.
"An–" Axel flinched as he bit his own tongue. "Anyways," He quickly went back to the word he had failed to pronounce while mentally trying to put himself back together.
"What was that?" He gestured to the pale hand that was healed without even a scar.
"That wound in your hand just healed! And my shirt!"
Roxas stared into those green eyes that were greatly curious for an answer. "That was simply the law within this world doing its job." He replied in a quiet voice.
"The world's law?"
"Time doesn't exist here." Roxas explained as he gazed out to the horizon. "The night never falls, the flowers never wither. That's the kind of world you're in right now. It's a world where time never passes. No matter what happens, everything is returned to the condition of when you first step foot into this world. I can chop off my entire arm and it will return back to how it was just like what you saw."
"So you can't get injured in here?"
"More than that." Roxas replied as he slowly raised his hand and traced an invisible line across his throat. "You can't die, and no matter how long the time in the outside has passed, you can never age within this realm."
"Never age?" Axel whispered as he stared at the blond. "How long have you been here for?"
"Who knows? It feels like it's been decades since I last saw it…" Roxas gazed up to the starry sky. "The light…"
"Can you tell us exactly what this is about, Sora?" Kairi asked after she and the brunette had finally managed to stop the man's bleeding and wrap his wounds up with bandages. "Why do you know a Royal Guard from the Kingdom of Spades?"
"He saved my life from an assassin." Sora responded cheerfully with his hands behind his head. Kairi along with Riku who was on the other side of the room gapped at him.
"What do you mean assassin?" The girl shouted. "Someone tried to assassinate you and you didn't bother mentioning it?!"
"B-but I was afraid that if I did, then Axel will–"
"Sora." Riku interrupted, successfully gaining both his friends' attentions. "Tell us from the beginning." The silver haired boy's voice was hard, leaving no room for argument.
Sora sighed. He knew there was no way out of it now.
"It happened about five years ago when I was in Twilight Town." The brunette licked his lips nervously under the pressuring gaze of his best friends.
"It was Roxas's birthday."
Kairi's eyes instantly watered at the name while Riku's gaze softened.
"When I was small, we used to celebrate it by watching the sunset at the clock tower there and eat sea salt ice creams. It became kind of a like a tradition between the two of us. So I was…"
"So you went to the clock tower to for that purpose." The silverette said for him and Sora nodded in response.
"I first met Axel there." The brunette turned to Axel as he spoke. "I didn't know he was a Royal Guard back then. He was sitting at the spot where Roxas and I used to sit, so I got angry and…well, I kind of yelled at him. I wasn't in a good mood considering what had happened, so I wasn't being very reasonable. Axel didn't say anything. He just listened to me yell at him before it became more like me ranting out all of my problems and frustration. After I settled down, he complained to me how his ice cream melted while he wasted his time listening to me. It was then that I realized that he was also eating sea salt ice cream! We had a pretty good talk afterward, though he made me buy another one for him as compensation."
Sora laughed once his finished his story.
"He was eating sea salt ice cream on the clock tower where Roxas often took you and Cloud?" Riku asked slowly, trying to get the facts right.
"Yeah. A coincident, right?" Sora smiled broadly. "He told me about this cheap apartment he rented so during my stay in Twilight Town I went to his place every day."
"You went into the house of the enemy kingdom's Royal Guard every day?" Kairi whispered in disbelief with her eyes wide in shock.
"I told you, I didn't know." Sora said, frowning at her reaction. "And like I said, Axel's different. He cheered me up when I was down. Even though he's sarcastic and annoying sometimes, he's pretty fun to be with."
"Enough about him." Riku cut the brunette off from his string of memories with the red head. "The assassination attempt on you?"
"Erm…" Sora scratched the back of his head. "It happened in the middle of the night on the second last day during my stay in Twilight Town. I ran out of food and was hungry, so I thought I would go to a nearby convenient store. I honestly can't remember much. One second I was walking down the street, the next I was pinned to the ground in an alley with a dagger coming down at my face. By the time I came to, I found myself sitting in the corner, my attacker's body blazing in flames with Axel standing over me."
"Did he know your identity?" Kairi asked.
"Yeah, he kind of told me after he took me back home, and explained himself a little."
"I know that the Clovers and Spades are in a neutral relationship, but doesn't it seem weird for another kingdom's Royal Guard to save you like that?"
"Axel only acts if it was orders, Kairi." Sora was quick to jump into the sleeping red head's defense. "You're making him sound like a heartless monster."
"Alright, alright," Kairi smiled. "Relax, I was just–" She paused all of the sudden. Her eyes drifted to Axel before her jaw fell apart with her eyes widening each passing seconds.
"Kairi?" Sora asked as he glanced over to Riku who shook his head, telling the brunette he also had no idea what happened to the girl.
"Hey!" Kairi suddenly exclaimed, making the brunette jump in surprise.
"If Axel is from the Kingdom of Spades then wouldn't he know Roxas's whereabouts?!" The girl shouted, but the slight hopeful look on her face was quickly wiped away when she saw the brunette's frown.
"I asked him that already after I found out who he was." Sora muttered. Disappointment was clear in his voice. "He doesn't know. In fact, no one does."
"But he's a Royal Guard!" Kairi argued. "He should know."
"Xemnas hid Roxas after that…that so called father of his gave him away!" Sora snapped, feeling his blood boil at the mere mention of the previous king of Diamonds. "No one in the Kingdom of Spades knows. The only person who does is Xemnas himself."
"…O-oh." Kairi stared at the floor.
Riku stared at his two friends who had fallen into depression before he shifted his gaze to the man lying in the bed.
"Sora, Kairi, why don't you guys go make some food?" Riku suggested. "Our guest might be hungry once he wakes up."
"Right. Good idea." Sora said, his mood brightening only a bit as Kairi nodded in agreement. "But who will look after Axel?"
"I can do that." Riku volunteered. "I can't cook anyways, so I'll just be in your way."
"Alright then. Thanks Riku." The brunette flashed his friend a smile before he and Kairi hurried out the bedroom and to the kitchen to prepare food. Riku sat in his seat as he watched the door to the bedroom closed. He waited for a few more minutes, not moving an inch until he heard the footsteps of his friends vanishing down stairs.
Hopping to his feet, Riku strolled over to where Axel laid. He eyed the crimson haired man for a long while before his eyes morphed into a glare.
"Get up. How long are you going to pretend to be sleeping?"
"Oh?" That single word slipped from the red head's pale lips as he slowly parted his eyes to reveal his emerald irises. "I'm not pretending at all. I lost a lot of blood you know?"
"Drop the sarcasm." Riku hissed as he pulled out a dagger hidden in his pant and pressed it against Axel's throat.
The Royal Guard didn't react. He lay there in the bed; completely relaxed as though the cold metal threatening to end his life didn't even exist.
"Where is he?"
"Roxas." Axel's gaze shifted to Riku at the sound of that name. "Sea salt ice cream isn't a flavour many would enjoy, especially on a clock tower in Twilight Town." The silver haired boy said softly. "You met him, didn't you? And you also know where he is."
"Before I answer any of your questions, answer mine." Axel said as his emerald eyes slowly trailed to the window behind Riku, however he couldn't see a thing with the dark curtains obstructing his view. "Where am I and how long have I been out for?"
"You're in Destiny Islands. Sora found you and brought you here to his apartment. You've been sleeping for nearly a day." To prove his point, Riku pulled apart the curtain to show the brightening sky outside.
Axel quickly worked his brain. Destiny Island? The last time he checked, he was in Twilight Town and that world is governed by the Kingdom of Diamonds. Destiny Islands belongs to the Kingdom of Hearts so how?
"Destiny Islands huh?" Axel rolled the name of the world around his tongue before he glanced back up to Riku. "So? Why is the Prince of Spades here in a world governed by the King of Hearts?"
At the red head's question, Riku visibly flinched.
"How do you know about me?"
"All guards are required to memorize your face, Prince Xiruk."
"My name is Riku." The silverette snarled. He glared at the red head who simply shrugged the attention off with ease.
"In any case, the King had placed a kill on sight order on you, runaway prince of the Kingdom of Spades."
"…So you're going to kill me?" Riku asked as his grip over his dagger tightened. Axel stared at the prince. He stared at the determination in the boy's sea-green eyes. Those were the gaze of someone who was willing to put his life on the line.
"Nah." The Royal Guard replied and let his gaze drift to the ceiling. "I ain't gonna put my own life at risk. I'm not that loyal to Xemnas."
"You're his Royal Guard." Riku said as though the magical title given to the red head would change everything.
"I thought you knew your uncle better than that, prince. After all, you did live with him for a few years before he overthrew your father." Axel chuckled while Riku sneered.
"He's not my uncle!" The silverette hissed, but the older man simply brushed him aside.
"Xemnas doesn't choose Royal Guards base on their loyalties. He chooses them based on power. I just took the position because it got good pay."
"I could care less of your reasoning. Where is Roxas?"
"Don't lie to me." Riku said softly, trying hard not to raise his voice seeing as how Sora and Kairi were downstairs. "I'm not as gullible as Sora. What relationship do you have with him?"
"What makes you think we got anything like that?"
"You being at the clock tower on Roxas' birthday and eating sea salt ice cream are too much of a coincidence." Riku said as he hid his dagger into his pants. "Only those close to Roxas know about his weird sense of taste and his annual trip there. I doubt any of them would have told it to a Spade guard."
"…When I said Roxas is nowhere, I meant nowhere." Axel said quietly. "He's caged within a world that isn't registered within the star. It's technically nowhere."
"A world that isn't registered? That's impossible."
"Whether you believe it or not is up to you." Axel responded. "Xemnas created that world solely for Roxas. The sick bastard even calls that place a utopia, but in reality it's just a fancy name for a torture chamber."
"What do you mean?" Riku asked quickly. The cold mask he was wearing a second ago shattered, revealing the worries and fright that were swarming within his bright eyes.
"It's a place where time doesn't exist. The flowers never wither, the sun never rises, and wind doesn't exist. It may sound like an ideal world, but that place is hell. It's an isolated world that can drive even the strongest mind into madness." Axel turned his head and stared through the window and into the incredibly blue sky that reminded him greatly of his lover's eyes.
"You're nineteen, aren't you?"
The teen nodded quietly.
"Then you're older than Roxas by a year."
"What nonsense are you talking about?" Riku glared, wondering what joke the man was trying to pull. "Roxas is Cloud's older brother. He's older than me by five years."
"That would have been the case eight years ago. I told you didn't I? Time doesn't exist, meaning that you can never age as long as you're trapped within that world."
Axel slowly raised a hand and grasped his necklace hidden beneath the heavy blanket.
"I used to be a normal soldier when I was a kid. I met Roxas seven years ago before I was later promoted to the Royal Guards." He explained. "I stumbled upon a secret passage to the castle purely out of coincidence. There, I found a portal. It's a gateway to the world Xemnas created. My curiosity got the better of me, so I went in and met him there."
Emerald gaze saddened at the memory of when he first met the blond.
"He was by far the most beautiful thing I had ever seen." He mumbled. "But he was just an empty shell. He didn't have a soul. Being trapped in that prison for a year, Roxas was very close to losing his sanity. He had tried many attempts to kill himself, but death defies that world's law. Even if you behead yourself, you won't die. Your body will always return to the condition you were in when you stepped into the world."
Riku stared at Axel in horror as he tried to let the new information sink in.
"Axel – that's your name right?"
"Last time I checked it still is." Axel responded.
"Before I ask, I must know something. You and Roxas, what exactly is your relationship with each other?"
The Royal Guard gave the silver haired boy a long stare before he tugged on the silver chain, pulling the necklace up to show Riku the silver ring hung on the chain. At first, Riku seemed confused, but when he gave the ring a longer stare, his flew wide as realization hit him.
"I see…" He whispered slowly. When he looked up again, Axel saw that previous resolve burning within his eyes once more.
"Is there any way to free him?"
"No." Axel replied. "That world is created so that light can never escape."
"There has to be a way."
"There is none, though I do have a theory."
"The world is made through darkness. If fed with enough light, we might be able to distort the dimension, enough to make a crack and get Roxas out."
"But it's a world isn't it? To feed a great amount of light into a planet, that's–"
"The Keyblades." Axel cut the prince off. "If it's the Keyblades then it might be possible."
Riku's eyes narrowed at the word. "The Keyblades are the four kingdoms' treasures. It's only passed through the Royal bloodline. How do you think you can obtain one?"
"I don't need to." Axel said with a smirk. "The rulers of Diamonds and Clovers will take care of that."
"The kings?" Riku whispered before his eyes swept over the bandage over Axel's chest. "Then these injuries are…"
"Souvenirs from the Diamond King."
"You met him?"
"I wanted to meet him long before, but there was an obstacle. Now that the bastard he once called father is finally out of the way, the only thing left is to motivate him." Axel replied. "There's no time left. The flowers in that world are created to drain his kind's power. His light is diminishing even as we speak. He won't be able to hold out for long. Once his powers are sucked dry, Xemnas will be free to do whatever he wants."
"They said that the late King of Diamonds died of a heart attack." Riku whispered as he eyed Axel suspiciously. When he caught Axel's smirk, the prince's suspicion was confirmed. However, instead of screaming at the guard and throwing swears, the prince simply smiled.
"I see…so that's why he suddenly…"
"If you become the king, I wouldn't mind serving under you." Axel mumbled. He meant to say it low so only he could hear, but Riku had surprisingly sharp hearing. His smile then slowly changed into more of a bitter one.
"King, huh?" Riku mumbled before he held out his hand. Axel stared at him. At first, he was confused as to what the silverette was doing, but when a weapon suddenly materialized within his hand, Axel's eyes flew wide in shock.
"I don't know what your plan is, but I can tell you that the Kings of Diamonds and Clovers won't be able to destroy that world you mentioned. Leon didn't inherit the Keyblade and the late King of Diamonds has always been a selfish man. He hid the Keyblade away when he realized it didn't choose him."
"Now I understand why Xemnas is searching high and low for you." Axel muttered. "To think this is where it was all along." He said as he eyed the Keyblade in Riku's hand, the proof of the boy's royal bloodline of the Kingdom of Spades.
"Will this be enough?" Riku asked as he held his Keyblade up.
"Make that two." A third voice suddenly spoke.
The two males snapped their heads to the doorway and found Sora standing there with a hard expression. With a flash of light, his own Keyblade appeared in his hand.
"Sora, how long have you been standing there?" Riku asked, earning a narrowed gaze from the brunette.
"Long enough to know that my best friend had been hiding something from me." Sora snapped, making Riku mentally wince at the unusual coldness in his voice. The brunette then turned, his blue eyes meeting emerald. "And also, long enough to know how to save Roxas."
"I see." Axel smiled before he pushed himself up, swallowing the pain throbbing through his body as he does so. "Then it's time for me to leave."
"You're not coming with us?" Sora asked in surprise.
"I got my agenda. Besides, your brother and his boyfriend will be launching an attack against the castle soon. I can't waste anymore of my time here. You two should really join up with them."
"You used my brother?" Sora asked. Despite his accusing tone, he didn't sound or look angry. Unless of course he's hiding it which Axel was certain he did not. He knew the short boy wasn't born an actor.
"I convinced his boyfriend." Axel corrected. "In any case, if they see me with you two, they'll no doubt go after my head."
"What exactly did you say to Leon and Cloud?" Riku asked with his arms folded before his chest.
"Yeah." Sora agreed. "It's clear that what you told them isn't what you've told us. Why didn't you tell them the truth?"
"Truth?" Axel wanted to laugh. Despite being a prince as well, Sora was far too naïve in comparison to Roxas. "A Royal Guard from your long time enemy suddenly appears before you and tells the king of his brother's whereabouts. You think anyone would believe that?"
Sora parted his lips to retort, only to realize that what Axel said made really good sense. Cloud hated the residences of Spades to the core and Leon wasn't any better. They would never listen or believe anything Axel would say.
"Then what are you going to do now?" The brunette found himself quietly asking.
"Open your path of course." Axel replied with a faint smirk as he grabbed his cloak and weapons resting on the table near the bed.
"Roxas is running out of time. Hurry and catch up."
With a wave of his hand, a black portal suddenly appeared and swallowed him.
"Axel still hasn't come back." Demyx sighed as he sat on top of the bookshelf, overlooking the entire library with Zexion reading quietly below. "You don't think he'd get himself into any trouble, do you, Zexy?"
"It's Axel we're talking about, what do you think?" Zexion replied. He flipped to the next page in his book, but his eyes weren't reading the pages. They never focused on a single word ever since Zexion sat down here. He only pretended to read so that Demyx wouldn't find any of his behavior suspicious. It would be a pain if his boyfriend caught on to what was happening and worst if he decided to participate in it.
As he sat there quietly, his mind drifted back to what Roxas had told him yesterday. He couldn't believe that red haired fool.
"He's trying to free me. At this rate, he'll...Xemnas will kill him."
The Prince of Diamonds' words burned vividly in his mind as he unconsciously heaved out a sigh. Not only did Axel get into an intimate relationship with Roxas, he even gave the boy a ring. A ring! The proof of a bond they were willing to share for all eternity. He should have known something strange was up when Axel gave him a silver chain and asked him to deliver it to Roxas along with the clothes he got for Roxas under Xemnas's order. If the King of Spades was to ever find out, he'd be furious. He would stop at nothing until the idiot is torn into shreds. If Axel had any family, maybe Xemnas would hunt them down and kill them off as well.
As Zexion tried to sort all of his thoughts together, he failed to see Demyx who had silently landed beside him. It wasn't until he felt a hand grabbing his chin and a pair of lips sealing his did he return to reality.
"Demyx?" Zexion gasped, quickly pulling himself back to break the sudden kiss with his lover still holding his chin gently in his larger hand.
"Something's bothering you."
Zexion froze at his boyfriend's statement. "What makes you think that?" The illusionist countered only to have his book pulled from his grasp.
"What page number are you on?" Demyx suddenly asked, giving the book a quick look before snapping it shut. "If you were really reading, you should know the page number you're on. You always do."
Zexion stared at Demyx as he felt panic speeding his heartbeat. Page number? He was just randomly flipping through a random book. He wasn't even looking in any of the book's content let alone knowing the page number.
Seeing his lover's struggle, Demyx settled himself beside Zexion and gently put the book aside. "You think I wouldn't notice anything? I'm not that dense, Zexion." Zexion stared at the ground in silence even when Demyx wrapped his arm around his shoulder and pulled him close. "Tell me what's on your mind."
"Nothing." Zexion replied quickly. Too quickly.
The frown on Demyx's face deepened. Zexion didn't need to look up to know as the arm around his shoulders tightened.
"Get a room you two." A voice cut in and the tense atmosphere around them instantly shattered. "It's too early for me to deal with this kind of crap."
"It's late in the afternoon." Zexion corrected with a narrowed gaze. Demyx didn't see it, but Axel surely did.
"Axel!" Demyx smiled widely as the red head walked over to them. However, the joy over the blonde's face was quickly replaced by a frown when he saw how beat up Axel seemed with his torn cloak and bandages visible through the tears of his clothes.
"What happened to you?"
"Got a little run in with an enemy soldier."
"Enemy soldier?" Demyx raised an eyebrow. "Exactly where have you been? You even missed the morning meeting! Xemnas was pissed you know."
"I'll explain it to him later." Axel gave the usual wave he always does when he wanted to drop a subject. "Anything else I need to know?"
"Not really, aside from the fact that Luxord, Lexaeus and Marluxia got dispatched to the other Kingdoms for some investigations," Demyx replied before he noticed a strange look on his lover's face. "Zexy?" He whispered softly and gave the shorter man a light squeeze. That seemed to have done the trick as Zexion immediately snapped out from his trance.
"I'm a bit tired." Zexion said as he pulled himself from Demyx's comforting arms and stood up. He ignored the chill he felt at the loss of warmth and headed towards the doors. "I'm going to rest up in my room."
On his way out, Zexion apparently wasn't watching where he was going as his shoulder collided roughly against Axel. The smaller of the two turned, mouthing a quick apology before he left.
"Hey, Zexion!" Demyx called before he jumped up and hurried after his lover. "Sorry Axel, we'll talk later!"
The Flurry of Dancing Flames stood with his hands on his hip as he watched his friends disappear beyond the door. Once he was left alone in the library, he slowly raised his clutched hand, pulling his fingers apart to reveal a note.
-Meet me at the old storage at midnight.-
Axel gave the note a long stare before he tossed the small paper into the air as it burst into flames. He stood there for a good moment, watching emotionlessly as the flames reduced the paper into ashes before it hit the floor. Blowing the ashes away with his foot, the Royal Guard headed towards the doors Zexion and Demyx exited through. When he thrust open the doors, he was met by Vexen.
"Axel." Vexen frowned sourly when he saw the red head. "Xemnas was looking for you this morning."
"Was he?" Axel asked, his emerald eyes sparkling in what seemed like amusement. "I'll have to go see him then."
"Don't bother. He went out with Saix a while ago." Vexen huffed. He never quite liked the red head and that goes the same for the other. The older man tried to step around the other, but was stopped when Axel spoke.
"Zexion is not in the library."
It wasn't hard to tell what the Chilly Academic wanted. After all, no one in the entire Kingdom ever bothered going into the library unless they were looking for the Cloak Schemer. Axel swears that the guy spent two thirds of his life in there.
"Then where is he?" Vexen asked impatiently. Axel stared at his senior for a moment before a smile graced his lips.
"Come to think of it, he mentioned something about the old storage room this morning. He might be in there."
"That rusted old place? It's been abandoned for years. Why would he be there?"
"Don't know." Axel shrugged. "I'm looking for him as well. Why don't we go together?"
Vexen eyed the red head, but didn't say anything as the two began walking down the hall. The walk was long and silent, but neither of them minded. They wouldn't have anything to speak of even if they tried. The two left the castle together and into the depth of the dark forest – or at least, what remained of it.
After what felt like hours, they finally came to a small, stone built house.
"Hey Zexion." Axel called; walking up to the heavy metal door as he slowly pushed it open, revealing the complete darkness inside. He didn't hesitate to go in, melting into the dark before Vexen shortly followed.
"Zexion?" Vexen called as he tried to see around the dark when the door of the house suddenly slammed shut behind him. He gasped, quickly turning only to meet a pair of emerald cat-like eyes that illuminated within the darkness.
"Axel!" The older man gasped, startled. "What is the meaning of–!"
"See ya, senpai."
Special thanks to lovelyxpeach who kindly took her time editing this chapter to make it better and easier on the eye for all the readers! =)