Beta'd by lovelyxpeach


"Axel?"

Zexion called out to his friend as he slowly opened the door to the old storage house. He stepped inside, looking around for a moment before he placed his lamp on the nearest flat surface he could find.

"Yo, you're late." A voice suddenly greeted, causing Zexion to whirl around and find Axel behind the door as he slowly closed it.

"You're just early." Zexion countered before his gaze hardened. "I spoke with Roxas." He began, getting straight to the point.

The red head stopped for a split second before he put on a neutral face.

"Axel, do you have any idea what you're doing?"

"Hmm…" Axel rubbed his chin, pretending to think for a while before his usual smirk lifted to his lips. "No. Why don't you enlighten me?"

"Axel!" Zexion snapped. He snapped for the first time in his twenty years of life. "This isn't a joke! You laid claim on Roxas! Do you know what that even means?"

"Hey, I haven't taken him yet."

"You gave him a ring." Zexion nearly hissed out the last word. "That's as good as marking him for eternity."

"Then let me ask you this, Zexion." Axel said with his hands on hip. "If it was Demyx in there, what would you do?"

"What?" Zexion was a little taken back by the sudden question.

"If it was Demyx who Xemnas had taken interest in and trapped in that damn world…" Axel trailed off as his eyes drifted to the pale blue ring with golden gems embedded in it, wrapped securely around the slate haired male's slender finger. "What would you do?"

"This isn't about Dem–"

"I said if." Axel turned his gaze back to Zexion as the candle in the lamp flickered. "If it was Demyx, would you leave him in there? To be locked away for all eternity and watch as his powers are slowly drained just so Xemnas can take him?"

Zexion felt his blood run cold at the mere thought, but quickly shook it off. He knew what Axel was trying to do and there was no way he would give in. "There are no ifs, Axel. The reality is that Xemnas took interest in Roxas. Not Demyx, not anyone else. You don't stand a chance against him. You're just digging your own grave." He desperately tried to persuade the red head.

"I don't?" Axel asked in a sweet yet sickly coated, sarcastic voice that sent shivers running down Zexion's spine. Something was wrong and it didn't feel right the way his red haired friend spoke to him in such a manner. All it did was serve to heighten the nauseating feeling he felt.

"What you're doing right now isn't what Roxas wants." Zexion said as his book appeared within his hand. "If you care about him then stop whatever you're planning and we can still pretend none of this ever happened. It's not too late to turn back, Axel."

"I'm afraid I can't do that. Because you see…" Axel said as his chakrams appeared in his hands in a burst of flames. Zexion took a wary step back, only to feel himself stepping on something soft. He looked down and to his horror; he saw three familiar cloaks of the Royal Guards lying at his feet.

"…It's already too late."

The sound of an explosion suddenly shook the ground at their feet as the lamp fell and shattered on contact with the flat surface. Suddenly darkness blanketed the entire room as Zexion quickly looked around, having great difficulty focusing his sight.

"Ah~ it's about time they arrived."

"They?" Zexion tried to find where Axel's voice was located. "Axel, what is going on? What are you planning?"

"I don't remember you ever talking this much, Zexion."

Zexion's breath stopped when he felt hot trails of breath crawling over his skin as those words were softly whispered into his ear.

And then…everything faded to black.

oOo

"Close the gates! Don't let any more of them get in!" Larxene ordered sharply to the guards as another explosion shook the castle.

"Larxene!"

"Marluxia!" Larxene turned to see the Graceful Assassin stepping out of the portal as he looked around at the sentinels that were running around in a panic. "You're back! Where are Luxord and Lexaeus?"

"They're still on their assigned missions." Marluxia quickly answered before he looked around. "What is going on?

"We're under siege. It's the Kingdom of Diamonds and Clovers!"

"Where are the others?" Marluxia hastily asked, only to be interrupted by another explosion blasting through the castle wall.

"I don't know!" Larxene growled. "They're gone! All of them!" She shouted before a loud crashing sound was heard dangerously near them. Marluxia turned, whipping out his scythe just in time as his weapon clashed with a large sword.

The pink haired man stared at his opponent with eyes widened in slight surprise before he applied force into his weapon and pushed the other back.

"Squall Leonhart." Marluxia whispered as his eyes narrowed over the King of Clovers who glared back. "To think a King like you would be at the frontlines."

"Marluxia!" Larxene quickly took out her weapons. She was about to aid her comrade when an Electro-Mag Rod came down at her from behind. Sensing unnatural movement within the air, the blond woman quickly whirl around and sidestepped from the path of the attack, narrowly avoiding the hit.

"Attacking a woman from behind is rude." Larxene snarled. But when she lifted her head to meet the face of her attacker, she froze and stared with eyes wide in shock at the crimson haired man dressed in the black and green garment of the Clover Kingdom's Royal Guard uniform.

"Axel!" She gapped at the sight.

"Axel?" The red haired man stared at the Nymph before he broke out into a laugh. "You really should study the hit list carefully if you can't even tell the face of another kingdom's Royal Guard, yo."

oOo

"What is going on?!" Demyx shouted as he punched a Diamond guard over the head, instantly knocking him out. "Why weren't we alerted of the attack? The guards stationed at the portal should have sensed this huge surge of enemies!"

"We don't know, sir!" The Spade guard by his side replied. "We tried contacting them but no one is picking up!"

Hearing this, worry quickly over took the royal soldier and he bolted away from the battle as swiftly as he could with only one thought in mind.

"Zexion!" Demyx called, bursting into the bedroom of his lover only to find it empty.

"Zexy?" He quickly looked around.

When he didn't see the slate haired man, he turned, about to walk off when something caught his eye. The illusionist's bed was left in disarray—that in itself set off warning bells in the blonde's head. He was always a clean and tidy freak. It wasn't in the man's nature to let anything be misplaced in his own room before ever leaving. With that thought in mind, Demyx walked over to the bed, eyeing the messy blanket before he found a piece of paper sticking out from beneath it.

The blond picked it up and began examining the sheet of paper before noticing a few words scribbled on the other side.

Zexion is in the old storage.

oOo

"I wonder if Demyx found him yet." Axel muttered as he gazed up at the starry night. "Zexion's gonna kill me even if I live through this." He chuckled before looking down to the love of his life that was wrapped up within his cloak and sleeping soundlessly in his arms.

"I can barely feel his power." Axel mumbled as he buried his face into the soft blond hair. Taking in his lover's scent, he gently rubbed circles on the small teen's back. The Royal Guard slowly closed his eyes as he tried to recall the last time he saw the blond on his feet.

"He probably already lost the strength to walk…" He opened his eyes, pulling away a little as emerald eyes scanned over that sleeping face.

"Roxas, wake up."

Axel waited, but received no response. He sighed, unwinding an arm from the boy as he cupped the delicately carved face into his hand.

"Come on Roxie. I need you to wake up."

The blond stirred as Axel's hand slowly rubbed at his cheek.

"Roxie."

A moan escaped from the rosy lips as azure eyes slowly fluttered open. "A…Axel?" The red head smiled at the sleepy voice. He leaned in, giving those tender lips a quick peck before he pulled back.

"Yo. You're finally awake."

The blond didn't respond. He lay limply within the tall man's arms, still half dazed. Axel didn't rush him. He held the small body close to his, enjoying the teen's warmth as the blonde's mind slowly began to clear. The instant he was fully awake, he sat up with a startled gasp.

"Axel!"

Axel parted his lips to respond, but he didn't get the chance when the small body pounced onto him with his pale arms thrown around his neck. When their bodies collided, the Royal Guard quickly bit the inside of his mouth, holding back a wince as he carefully wrapped his arms around his love.

"It's only been a while and you already missed me?" Axel asked teasingly. Roxas didn't respond. He just clung onto him longer before he finally spoke.

"Where were you?"

"In the castle of course." Axel sang. "I swear that Saix, the leader of the Royal Guards is a complete slave driver. He's been–"

Whatever Axel was going to say, he couldn't finish it as Roxas suddenly pushed Axel into the camellias and pulled his dark t-shirt up, revealing the bandages wrapped around his chest.

"Does this Saix abuse you and use you for target practice?" The blond demanded, his blue eyes practically glaring at his lover.

"It's more like he uses me as a slave and–"

"Stop." Axel immediately shut his mouth despite how gently and almost inaudibly the blond spoke the commanding word in.

"Please…just stop. No more…"

"Roxas–"

"No, Axel. I don't want to hear any more excuses." Roxas whispered as a tear landed onto the Royal Guard's pale cheek. The red head just stared at the tears falling from those sorrowful blue eyes, unable to do anything but lie there as he listened to the shattering sound of his own heart.

"It's always like this. You always come back with so many injuries…"

"It's not a big deal. I've had much worst; it's in my job requirement."

"That's not the problem!" Roxas shouted as he quickly raised his hands and tried to wipe his tears away.

"You're always like this…making up all sorts of excuses and lies. You never tell me anything! You always leave me in the dark while you run off somewhere doing something stupid. Had you ever considered my feelings?"

"Roxie–"

"Do you have any idea how scared I am?" Roxas asked as he slowly opened his tear filled eyes again and gazed into Axel's green ones. "Every time you leave, I can't help but feel insecure. I'm always afraid that every time we meet it would be the last time… that you will never return again. That I…I–"

Using the strength in his elbows, Axel quickly pushed him back up, scooping Roxas into his arms as he pulled the boy flush against his body. "Shh, don't cry." Axel cooed softly as he pressed Roxas's face deep into his chest and carefully strokes the boy's quivering back.

"Please…" Roxas sniffed as he clutched onto the black fabric of Axel's t-shirt. "Axel, please stop…all of this, everything…"

"No." Axel said softly as his arms around his blond tightened. "I can't…"

Roxas wanted to break down even more right then and there at the other's words. He wanted to beat the red head, to scream at him for his idiocy, but he couldn't. He didn't have any more spare energy to beat the other man despite him being so near.

"I know I caused you a lot of pain, Roxas, but I didn't want you to worry–"

"Not worry?" Roxas forced out a laugh. "You think by lying and hiding secrets from me that I wouldn't worry? You have no idea how hard it is…every passing minute I was…" The blond broke off with a choke, unable to continue as more tears escaped from his eyes and rolled down his cheeks only to soak the older man's shirt.

"Axel, do you have such little faith in me?"

"I could say the same to you." Axel countered. "Why can't you put a little trust in me? I didn't make it into the Royal Guard for nothing. I always feel as though there's a constant need to keep reminding you that I'm much older than you."

"Technically speaking, I'm twenty-six while you're only twenty-one." The teen sniffed lightly as his tears started to dry. "When you first came to this world you were thirteen, five years younger than me."

"Well, well." Axel smirked. "I know you're an uke, Roxie, but to think you're also a pedo– Ow!" Axel shouted in pain when Roxas had bit into his shoulder so hard that the red head swore it was going to bleed. Quickly tearing his shoulder from the blond, he quickly looked under his shirt only to see the bite mark on his skin rapidly healing.

"What did you do that for?"

"I thought it was your dream to have me mark you." Roxas responded in a sharp, sarcastic tone that put a frown over the red head.

"Letting you bite me is different if it's not going to leave anything but pain." Axel retorted, wincing again as he rubbed his newly healed skin. "If we weren't in this damn world I'll let you mark me as hard as you want – in bed of course."

"I don't remember you being so perverted when you were a kid."

"Then I suppose we know who is to blame." The red head winked before he pulled Roxas's face up and gave him quick peck on his cheek. At the innocent action, Roxas's face flared in shades of crimson that rivalled the surrounding camellia. Axel snickered at the sight, drinking in the fidgeting form of the blond who suddenly found interest in counting the flowers at their feet.

"I'm still angry."

"I know." Axel sighed as he reached to his neck and grabbed the silver chains. Searing heat was being emitted from his fingers to the chains, melting the thin metal as he broke it with a snap. He hurriedly took the ring out before the necklace automatically restored to its original unbroken form.

"Axel?" Roxas whispered in confusion as he watched Axel grabbed his left hand and lifted it up. When the Diamond Prince's eyes trailed to their linked hand, he saw something out of place for the first time. On his pale arm that was usually exposed was covered by a very long, dark sleeve. He blinked, staring at the sleeve for a long while before his eyes slowly trailed down before his blue orbs dilated in horror.

He was wearing Axel's cloak.

The usual cloak that had been missing from Axel was now wrapped around his body.

"Axel? What is this?" Roxas demanded, but was ignored as a small, silver ring was smoothly slid onto his ring finger.

"Today will be the last time. It's time this dream ends…for that perverted old bastard."

"What?" The young prince stared at the ring on his finger before he looked up to meet his lover's emerald eyes.

"What do you mean?" Blue eyes slowly began to widen in fear. "Axel, what have you–"

"Roxas!" Axel suddenly shouted, causing the blond to flinch as their eyes stared at each other in silence.

"Remember this anxiousness and pain you're feeling. I'm the same, Roxas." The Royal Guard said as he grasp onto the blonde's pale hands firmly. "Every time we part, I am always scared that Xemnas would succeed in taking you. Every passing second I can't stop thinking of anything else but the thought of you suffering alone in this sickening world. It hurts how I couldn't do anything when I knew how much you were suffering over the years!"

Roxas stared at Axel in shock at his last outburst. He stared at the red head, seeing the pain swirling within his eyes that he was all too familiar with.

"Axel…" Roxas whispered before he shifted his gaze down towards the camellias guiltily. He suddenly felt very ashamed. There he was shouting at Axel, about how the red head was completely unaware of his feelings when it should have been the other way around. It was him who was ignorant…and him who didn't have complete trust in his lover, not Axel.

"I'm…I'm really sor–mph!" Roxas apologized, or that was what he was trying to do when a hand was clapped over his mouth, making the last bit of his words muffled against the large hand.

"We were both at fault, so I'd say we're both even." Axel chuckled before he slowly pulled his hand back.

Roxas didn't say anything. He quietly gave Axel a soft nod in understanding before their previous conversation resurface in his mind.

"What did you mean by the dream will end? And moreover, why am I wearing your cloak?"

"Your clothes aren't exactly…" Axel struggled on finding the right word. "Decent." He smiled at the confusion the blond was wearing over his face. The blond looked so cute that it was really hard to resist.

"It may be a little big, but it'll protect you from the cold so bear with it for now. I'd give you my shoes as well, but they're way too big."

"What cold?" The blond asked as he shifted back a little. "Axel, what is going on?"

"Roxas. Do you trust me?"

"Of course I do. But–"

"Then believe in me." Axel said as he leaned his forehead against Roxas's as the two stared into each other's eye. "I know what I'm doing. Trust me, Roxas."

Roxas stared into Axel's emerald eyes and saw the resolve burning within them. He didn't know why, but at the sight, he couldn't help but smile as he felt like a huge amount of weight was suddenly lifted from his body.

"I trust–" Roxas wasn't able to finish his sentence. One second, he was sitting on Axel's lap, their foreheads still connected. The next moment, he found himself in Axel's strong arms. The sound of ripping flesh was heard and he stared with wide, helpless blue eyes as he watched the Royal Guard's head fly off from his neck. Blood splattered over Roxas's face as he stared at the missing cranium from the body clenching tightly onto him.

"AXEL!" Roxas screamed in horror as he clenched onto the headless body tightly in his arms. Axel's fallen head shattered into hundreds of crimson petals before they twirled over the headless body and reformed the head over the cleanly sliced neck. He watched almost anxiously as the head renewed itself until the last piece of petal landed onto the red head's face and melted into his skin. It was only when Roxas tore his eye away for the first time; looking across the field of camellias did he spot the very person that made his blood run cold.

"Damn! That hurts!" Axel complained as he slowly opened his acid green eyes to the visitor they had. Unlike Roxas who had a pure look of horror over his face, Axel was smirking.

Roxas didn't hear a word his lover was saying. He just stared at his captor…the one who had been keeping him bottled in this world all these years.

"Xemnas…" Roxas whispered breathlessly as he unconsciously clenched onto Axel's shirt.

"What are you doing?" It wasn't a question. It was a demand, a direct demand from the King of Spades.

The Royal Guard didn't respond as his emerald eyes glared at his ruler.

"I asked what you are doing here, Axel!" Xemnas snapped as Axel held onto Roxas tightly with one hand while a chakram appeared in his other. When Roxas noticed Axel's action, he quickly grabbed onto his shirt to stop him.

"Trust me, Roxas." Axel murmured lowly as he gently pried Roxas's weak grip off him, giving his lover a gentle gaze before he shot Xemnas the coldest glare.

"I know what I'm doing."

oOo

"There's too many of them. This will never end!" Tifa – one of the Kingdom of Diamonds' Royal Guards shouted as she slammed her fist into another Spade guard that came at her way.

"Where?" Cloud growled as he grabbed the enemy soldier by the neck and slammed the man against a nearby wall. "Where is Xemnas?" He demanded with a dangerous glint in his eyes. The guard struggled against the Diamond king's grip. He scratched at Cloud's hand, but the blond only tightened his grasp at the man's resistance, cutting off his air supply as the man began to choke.

"Cloud, calm down!" Sora shouted as he quickly grabbed the blonde's arm. "I know how you feel, but anger won't get you anywhere."

Cloud stared at Sora with all the hatred that had been built up throughout years as it blazed within his blue eyes. When he met with Sora's however, his gaze somewhat softened. Hesitantly, the blond began to release the guard. The moment his hold was loose enough, the guard scrambled up, about to make a run for it only to be knocked out by a hard kick from Tifa.

"Cloud-sama." Cloud quickly turned to see another one of his Royal guards appearing beside him.

"Vincent." Cloud's eyes widened at the man's appearance. "Did you find him?"

"I went together with his majesty, Leon-sama into castle dungeon. The prince is not there."

After hearing Vincent's report, Cloud's hopes came crashing down. His older brother wasn't in the dungeon? Then where could he be? Cloud had searched through every single room he came across. He even trashed Xemnas' bedroom but his older brother was nowhere in sight.

"Sora!" A sudden shout from the silver haired teen brought Cloud from his thoughts as both he and Sora turned to find Riku at the end of the hallway.

"Riku! Did you find something?" The brunette shouted as he hurried to his best friend's side with Cloud trailing behind.

"Look at this." Riku said as he ran a finger over a small, burnt mark on the creamy white wall.

"…It's a scorch mark." Sora stated as Riku rolled his sea green eyes at the obvious statement.

"My uncle is obsessed with perfection." Riku began. Cloud just stood to the side, listening while constantly staying on guard for attackers. He wasn't surprised when Riku mentioned his uncle, as Cloud knew his identity long ago. It was a secret only King Mickey, Leon and him knew. How Sora found out, he had no clue but now wasn't the time to ask.

The silverette discovered something, and that was what was most important for the time being.

"Everything in his world has to be perfect. That's why he wanted Roxas. He has this twisted obsession with everything that's beautiful. So–" Riku tapped the small burnt on the wall. "Why is there something like this on the wall? Knowing my uncle, he would never let this go."

Cloud stared at the burn before his sharp eyes caught something at the edge of the mark. "This is…" Cloud leaned in to take a closer look. "An arrow?" He stared at the pointed head of the burnt stain in mild surprise.

"Arrow?" Sora whispered, leaning in as well only to see that it was true. Although it was really faint, he could definitely see a small head of an arrow.

"Wait…maybe this is…!" The brunette gasped as he darted off before anyone could stop him. Cloud and Riku stared after the other boy and when Sora reached the end of the long hall he looked around the wall before a smile brightened over his face.

"It's here! Riku! Cloud! It's here!"

"What's there?" Cloud asked as he ran over and saw Sora pointing at another small burn mark.

"It's Axel! I'm sure of it, Riku! He has the power over fire!"

"Axel?" Cloud snapped as his gaze hardened. Sora froze when he realized his slipup. "Sora, what did you mean by that? You met up with a Spade Royal Guard?"

"Now's not the time." Riku said urgently. "If we follow this, it'll lead us to Roxas. We have to hur–" Riku wasn't able to finish what he was going to say as the wall behind him suddenly burst open. In an instant, Cloud was standing in front of Riku and his broadsword clashed with claymore. He glared coldly at the blue haired attacker dressed in the Spades' Royal Guard cloak.

"Luna Diviner, Saix." Cloud muttered as Sora and Riku quickly summoned their Keyblades.

"Those weapons…" Saix gasped at the sight of the two teens. Taking his chance while the other was distracted, Cloud stepped forward, giving his weapon a hard push and successfully threw Saix back.

"Sora, Riku, go. I'll catch up later."

"Okay." Sora nodded, knowing full well that Cloud wouldn't lose to some Royal Guard. "Come on, Riku!"

"You're not getting away!" Saix snapped, only to be pushed back by Cloud.

"Your opponent is me." The blond whispered in a deathly voice before he pulled his sword back, letting the Royal Guard stagger forward before he aimed his knee into the man's gut and sent him crashing into the wall.

oOo

"The old storage…" Demyx gasped. He was out of breath since hurrying to the location from the note he found. Glancing back to the castle in the distance, he watched explosions occurring every now and again. Turning back to the storage, he pushed open the heavy doors and hurried inside.

"Zexy?" Demyx called, holding the lamp up to push away the darkness. Almost immediately, he spotted Zexion, lying unconscious on the floor.

"Zexy!" Demyx shouted as he hurried to his lover's side and set the lamp on the ground beside him. He quickly checked the teen for his breathing, then pulse. After that, he checked over the man's body, making sure there were no other injuries on him before he dared to move the body into his arms.

"Zexy!" Demyx called as he held the slate haired man tightly within his arms. "Zexy, wake up!"

After a few more attempts, Zexion finally reacted to Demyx's constant calls with a light stir. The blond immediately stopped, waiting patiently to let the illusionist slowly regain his consciousness.

"Demyx?" Zexion moaned with foggy eyes, obviously haven't fully wake up yet.

Demyx responded by putting his hand gently against Zexion's cheek. "Zexy, what happened?" Demyx asked slowly.

For a moment, Zexion looked as though he couldn't comprehend what Demyx was saying. He lay in his lover's arm for a few minutes before his eyes flew wide as his most recent memories flooded his mind.

"Axel!" The blue haired man suddenly shouted as he grabbed onto his lover's cloak and choking the Melodious Nocturne.

"Z-Zexy! I…I c-can't–!"

"Where is he, Demyx!"

oOo

"This is…" Sora whispered as he watched the wall slowly slide open to reveal a narrow passage.

"I didn't remember there being a trap door here..." Riku muttered as Sora looked around, making sure there were no guards around them.

"Come on." The brunette said as the two teens stepped into the passage and down the steep, spiral staircase. The walk was long with barely any light to show them the way. The two teens gripped their Keyblades tightly, constantly on guard as they slowly descend down each steps. After what felt like eternity, Sora finally saw the end of the staircase, and a bluish glow of light beyond.

Sora pushed himself against the wall and peeked out from around the corner. When he was sure there was no one there, he signalled for Riku as the two hurried into a large, white chamber.

"This is…" Riku stared at a giant black globe at the center of the room. "That must be the portal Axel mentioned."

"So Roxas is inside?" Sora gasped as he stared at the scale of the ominous portal. Even from the distance, the brunette could feel the dark power radiating from it. "But…how do I go in there? It's made out of dark substance. Wouldn't I be crushed if I go in?"

"It should be fine." Riku said as he slowly walked up to the globe. He stared at the giant portal before lifting a finger to feel some of the dark particles fluttering towards him. "Darkness swallows light and light produces darkness. Xemnas alone doesn't have that much power, so he feed light to darkness in order to create the world he used to trap Roxas."

"So in other word it's a one way ticket in." Sora said with a smile as he tightened his grip over his Keyblade. "Roxas." The brunette whispered as he felt his heart beat in hope, anticipation, and fear. They were finally going to see Roxas, so why was he afraid? Was he afraid what he might see? Afraid of what Roxas would be reduced into during these years when they couldn't do anything but watch?

"Come on Sora." Riku said softly as he placed a hand on the brunette's shoulder. "The Diamond prince is waiting."

"Yeah." Sora mumbled. With a deep breath, the two teens stepped into the dark portal. A beam of light blinded them as they felt a blast of warmth creeping over their skin. By the time they had opened their eyes, they found themselves under a starry night, surrounded by endless fields of flowers.

"Camellias?" Sora whispered at the sight. The camellias are the symbol of the Kingdom of Diamonds. Why is there something like this here in the Black Spades?

The brunette bended down and picked up one of the illuminating flower. The minute he did, he cried out in surprise and dull pain as he felt an electric shock ran throughout his body, draining away his energy.

"Sora!" Riku gasped as he caught his friend and slapped the flower from his hand.

"These flowers are created to drain your power of light." Riku said as he remembered what Axel had told him.

"Roxas…he was here for so many years?" Sora whispered in horror, taking a couple of deep breathes before he was finally able to steady himself. "You don't seemed to be affected, Riku."

"I'm a Spade, Sora." Riku reminded his friend with a faint smile. "Darkness is the base of my power. Most likely Xemnas had these flowers only to drain the energy of light so he wouldn't be affected by them." He explained as his eyes roamed around their surroundings.

"Xemnas." Sora growled out that name hatefully as his fists rolled up so tight that his knuckles were turning white. "Where do you think Roxas could–" The brunette began, but he wasn't able to finish as a scream suddenly resonated through the air.

"That voice." Both Riku and Sora held their breaths at the sound of that nostalgic voice echoing into the night. "Roxas!"

The two ran towards where they had heard the scream. As they ran Riku was had a firm hold on Sora's wrist, in case the brunette was to fall and touch the flowers. When they made their ways over a hill, the first thing they saw was thousands of red petals scattered into the air, pulled down by gravity and forming together to take shape of what seemed to be a human.

"Axel!" A tear-filled voice yelled as Sora's eyes quickly darted across the field of flower before he spotted Xemnas in the distance. The man stood tall, a stoic look sewed upon his face. Beside him was Roxas. The same Roxas Sora had remembered – looking exactly the same as that day he was taken away eight years ago.

The blond was kneeling within the crimson flowers. His eyes were wide in horror and was obviously fighting back the tears forming in his eyes. Wrapped around him were shattered remains of a holy barrier made of light. His arm was raised over his head and held onto tightly by the King of Spade himself. Aside from his eyes that were focused on Axel, his entire body was slump, his only support being his captor's strong grip.

"…get off…" A deep voice spoke as Sora quickly looked back to see Axel. He stood there with only the right half of his body. His left side was still being restored by the petals.

"Get your filthy hands off of him!" Axel snapped, only to have a glowing red blade shot his way, stabbing him right between the eyes as Roxas' horrified scream filled the air.

"Axel–" Sora gasped, about to jump in when Riku suddenly pulled him back. "Riku! What are you doing?" Sora snapped. His grip over his Keyblade tightened at the display of cruelty and that horrifying scream he had never heard from the blond.

"Roxas is our first priority. Now is a chance better than any to sneak up on Xemnas and free him while he's distracted."

"But Axel's–"

"Sora, remember what Axel said. Time does not exist in this space." Riku said as he glanced down to the scene below. "That means that…" He watched with narrowed eyes as Axel's head and body was reformed by the surrounding petals. "As long as you're within this space, you can't die."

"But we can't just leave him there!"

"Sora, think about why Axel left us clue to this place and why he is here right now." Riku said softly, giving the brunette another tug to draw him back. "Axel is acting as the bait for us. He created this chance solely for the purpose so that we can take Roxas away while Xemnas is distracted."

Sora's eyes widened at Riku's explanation. Giving a quick look back to Axel and Roxas, he backed away slightly so he could be out of their sights.

"But how do we sneak up on him? Xemnas will sense us for sure." Sora groaned. If only his brother or any of their Royal Guards are here then things would be so much simpler.

"I can mask my presence for a few seconds and since my power is the darkness, he won't be able to sense me as well as he can with light." Riku said softly. "All you need to do is to prepare an opening in the barrier so that you and Roxas can escape."

"Right, create an opening." Sora said nervously as he glanced down to his Keyblade. "I just hope this works."

"It will." A high, squeaky voice suddenly spoke as the two teens jumped in surprise. They quickly whirled around and found a petite figure dressed in the Spade Royal Guard uniform standing behind them.

"You're…!" Sora gasped before a smile brightened over both the boys' lips.

oOo

"Stop this already!" Roxas shut his eyes as Axel's arm was sliced off. The red head's screams echoed its way into his lover. Very reluctantly, Roxas brought his eyes back to his love, feeling a tear escape as he watched the red head's left leg followed the example of his arm.

"You heartless bastard!" The blond gave another weak tug at his arm in futile attempt to break free of the Spade King's hold. "You already have me!" He screamed, his eyes never leaving Axel's recovering form. "What more do you want?"

"Silence!" Xemnas roared before his Ethereal Blade shot out of his palm and thrust it forward.

"Filthy orphan rat." The king of Spade snarled, ignoring Roxas's scream as a large hole was formed right through the center of Axel's chest before an explosion blasted his body apart. But Xemnas didn't stop there. He keeps firing his attack, breaking Axel down beyond recognizable before he paused to let the Royal Guard reform, then repeating the cycle all over again.

"Axel!" Roxas desperately tried to go to his lover, but his body wouldn't obey him. He felt completely drained. He didn't even have the strength to move his toes. "Stop! Please…no more…!" The blond began to sob, unable to stand the hideous sight he as seeing as he was forced to watch and hear his lover's pain while he was helplessly trapped under Xemnas's grip.

"Don't cry…Tears don't suit you, Roxie." Axel's voice whispered from across the field as Roxas's head snapped up. His cobalt blue eyes were met with calm, acid green ones. The sight of his love's eyes only succeeds in making more tears cascade and fall from his blue hues. Axel's gaze softened, just for a split second before his head was detached again. Roxas closed his eyes and another wave of wetness ran down his cheek. His entire body went limp, with only Xemnas's grip preventing him from falling.

"You love him so much?" Xemnas snarled as Roxas felt the hand on his tightened, but he didn't open his eyes nor look up at the vile man. He just hung there limply, tears uncontrollably flooding down his face. He didn't move when he felt a large hand sliding down his head and resting under his jaw. With a harsh tug, Roxas found himself on his feet, his entire body's weight forced up by the hand under his chin.

"Look at me." Xemnas demanded.

Roxas didn't respond.

"Look at me!"

The blond slowly and warily opened his eyes, but he wasn't looking a Xemnas whose face was before him. He was staring at his lover from the corner of his eyes, staring at the petal that was reassembling his lover's broken body.

A sharp pain at his arm quickly snapped Roxas out as his gaze reluctantly fell to Xemnas.

"You love that orphan rat so much?"

Xemnas waited, but Roxas didn't speak. The blond glared at him for a long while before his eyes drifted back to Axel.

"Trust me." Axel's words echoed into his head as another droplet of his tears slid down his face.

When the silver haired man saw how much those cold eyes softened and melted into warmth, a low growl rumbled from his throat.

"I gave you everything and showered you with my love!" Xemnas shouted. His amber eyes were blazing with anger. "So why? Why did you choose that nobody over me?!"

"It's Axel." Roxas whispered as he felt the hands under his jaw loosen for a split second, but not enough to let him fall back into the flowers. Blue eyes shifted up, glaring coldly and fearlessly into confused, angry amber colored pools that always made the blond tremble.

"He's got a name and it's Axel. A-x-e-l. And he's the only one I will ever love, got it memorized?" Roxas spat before Xemnas quickly tossed the blond aside, jumping back just as a chakram flew by and missed his nose by a mere inch.

"That's how it is, your majesty." Axel said with a wide smirk plastered over his face. He stared at his lover with proud eyes, happy to see Roxas finally taking a stance against Xemnas. Roxas, catching Axel's smirk, smiled back.

When Xemnas saw that genuine smile Roxas had never shown him, he was consumed by rage.

"You're nothing but a lowly guard! How dare you!" Xemnas hissed darkly, turning to Axel whose body had just fully been restored. The Royal Guard quickly waved his hands as his weapons reappeared into his hands in a burst of flames.

"Heh. Finally taking me seriously now?" Axel taunted as Xemnas's scowl deepened.

"I should have never allowed you into my castle when I found you on the street that day, number eight!"

"Well now, isn't that too bad?" Axel taunted, not showing even the slightest fear as a dark aura masked Xemnas's body.

"Once I kill you, Roxas will be freed from your little illusions." The silver haired man said as two glowing blades shot out of his hand.

"Illusion?" Axel sneered and his eyes narrowed down into a glare. Before he could snap at the Spade King, his eyes widened briefly before a smirk slid over his lips.

"Are we going to keep talking all day, your majesty? I'd like to hurry and get my little Roxie to a warm bed so we can fullfill our ritual." The red head said. At the the word ritual, both Xemnas's and Roxas's eyes widened in horror.

The blond was about to cover the ring on his finger out of reflex, but stopped when he caught Axel's gaze. The fire user was planning something. Though Roxas didn't know what it was, he knew he could fully trust Axel, so he held up his ringed hand for Xemnas to see clearly.

The rage that emanated from Xemnas was something no words could describe. Roxas felt cold sweat starting to seep from his body just from the sight. He shifted away with the little strength he had left and covered the ring over his finger protectively the angrier the Spade king grew.

"AXEL!" Xemnas charged forward with his blade over his head. Axel shifted back, but before he could make any move, a familiar portal of dark energy was suddenly formed behind the red head, trapping him on the spot.

'He's trying to take him out of this world.' Roxas thought in horror as he tried to move, but couldn't.

"Axel!" Roxas shouted before letting out a startled gasp when a blast of wind blew pass him. The blonde's eyes widened. Before he could make out exactly what had flown by, he yelped as two arms were suddenly wrapped around him from behind.

"Perish!" Xemnas shouted as Axel stood there, his chakrams raised up to block the other man's weapon.

Never once did his smirk wither, and that made Xemnas fume even more as he slam his blade down. At that second before their weapons collide; Xemnas saw it. He saw his own reflection staring back at him within those finely polished chakrams. There was something else in there…a blurred silhouette of what seemed to be a person behind him. Xemnas quickly spun around, using the Ethereal Blade in his left palm to block the dark Keyblade that was aiming at his head while the blade in his right clashed with that of Axel's chakrams.

"You!" Xemnas shouted in pure shock as he stared into the face of the boy who he had been trying to hunt down for years. "Why are you here?"

"It's been a while, Xemnas." Riku growled as he landed onto the ground. Just when he was about to thrust his Keyblade forward, the ground suddenly shook. Caught off guard, all three of them stumbled, but Xemnas was the first to recover as he took his chance and blasted both Axel and Riku away, causing the two to skitter harshly over the camellias and scatter the crimson petals into the air.

Xemnas raised a hand, waving off some of confounded flower petals that were obstructing his view as he turned and realized that Roxas was gone.

"It can't be…" The Spade King muttered, his amber eyes narrowing as he looked around before quickly spotting a brunette who was running away with his possession.

"No!" Xemnas's enraged scream tore through the air. He raised his hand as spheres of red light formed over the brunette's head. Before he could fire out the attacks, his arm was quickly grabbed from behind.

"Careful now." The deep voice of the Flurry of Dancing Flames growled before a wall of flames shot out from the camellias and trapped him within the tight space. "You wouldn't want to get burn, do you?"

"Axel!" Roxas stared at the flames in horror before he struggled lightly against the brunette who was carrying him. "Please wait! Axel is–!"

"Axel will be fine! Riku is there with him!" The brunette shouted, causing Roxas freeze up.

"Ri…ku?" Roxas rolled that familiar name before his eyes slowly widened at the realization. Eventually he turned to meet bright blue eyes that stared down at him.

"Sora?" Roxas choked a little as he tried to swallow back the tears threatening to fall. "Are you Sora Leonhart?"

When the brunette's smile widened, Roxas received his answer. Sora…the young Sora from the Clovers Kingdom he had always played with. The ten year old boy whom he knew had grown up considerably, becoming the same age as he was.

"I'd love to sit down and talk, but we don't have the time." Sora said urgently as the ground began to shake again. Roxas gasped when he saw a glow of yellowish light begin to appear behind one of the hills. Seeing the light as well prompted the blonde's rescuer to run faster towards the source.

When they made it to the other side, Roxas discovered what the source of the light was. There, within the red flowers, was a large crack within the air, as though a transparent glass or barrier was there. At the center of the crack, a piece had fallen out of place, revealing a yellowish glowing portal.

"Roxas!" A high, pitched voice called as Roxas shifted his eyes a little to the portal's left to see King Mickey from the Kingdom of Hearts. The mouse was dressed in the Spade's Royal Guard cloak, making it clear that he infiltrated his way into the castle.

"King Mickey?" Roxas whispered, unable to comprehend exactly what was going on. First Riku, then Sora and now King Mickey? What exactly was happening?

"Your majesty! Is the exit stable?" Sora quickly asked as he hurried over to the mouse with Roxas secured in his arms.

"I can't say but it should be enough to get through!" King Mickey squeaked before his head snapped towards an explosion occurring from the distance.

Roxas stared towards the eruption in horror as he saw a pillar of flames shooting up into the starry night. "Axel…" The blond tried to reach for the flames, but Sora had quickly pulled him back, holding the smaller blond tighter as Mickey rushed over to them.

"Hurry! They won't be able to hold Xemnas off for long!" The King of Hearts urged, giving the brunette a push as all three of them fell into the portal. The second they entered the tunnel of light, both Roxas and Sora screamed as a jolt of electricity course through their body.

"Hang in there!" Mickey's voice called from somewhere within the distance, his voice too was masked with hints of discomfort, meaning he was suffering the same pain as the two young princes.

Roxas squeezed his eyes shut. He gave out a final cry when his body skidded and slammed against the cold stone floor. The blond lay there, feeling extremely nauseous with fatigue overtaking his body. When he felt a chilling sensation from the air around him, he shivered before his eyes slowly parted to reveal that they had landed in a plain white chamber.

"This is…?" Roxas muttered wearily as he fought the sleep that was threatening to overtake him.

"Sora, are you alright?" Mickey's voice echoed as Roxas shifted his eyes to the sound. He tried to move, but found it hard to command his numb body.

"Yeah…Where's Roxas?" Sora looked around, gasping when he finally spotted the blond prince lying on the cold ground meters away from him. The brunette immediately scrambled onto his feet, ignoring the stinging pain throbbing throughout his entire body as he hurriedly made it to the frail Diamond prince. Just when he was about to gather the boy back into his arms, the glowing portal that was supposed to be the entrance to the world Xemnas created suddenly turned into an eerie shade of black.

"Sora!" King Mickey's shout was the only warning Sora got as he spun around to see a glowing blade shot towards him. Before his attack could connect however, a blur of red shot pass Xemnas and pushed the Clover prince from the pathway of the attack before Xemnas's weapon clashed with a dark Keyblade.

"Go!" Riku shouted, gritting his teeth as he tried to push Xemnas back.

The Spade King glared, but he wasn't glaring at his nephew. He was glaring at Axel, eyes narrowing by the second as the red haired Royal Guard scooped the object of his affection into his filthy arms.

"Don't touch him!" Xemna's shouted so loud that his voice nearly shook the chamber. With a swing of his arm, he threw Riku away and the silverette was sent flying right into a wall and had the air knocked from his lungs.

"Riku!" Sora shouted in horror. He would have run to his best friend if not for Axel's arm that was locked around his small waist, carrying both him and Roxas as he darted for the stair.

Xemnas growled at their retrieving form and he bent his knees, ready to go after them when Mickey quickly blocked his path with his Keyblade in hand.

"I'll hold him off, hurry and go!"

"Your majesty!" Sora gasped before his blue eyes drifted to Riku who managed to pull himself together but was clutching onto his stomach, coughing heavily as he tried to return to the battle. Riku! The brunette called out that name mentally.

The silverette looked up, as though he could hear Sora through a mysterious mental link. Their eyes met briefly before Riku's eyes snapped to Xemnas while Sora quickly twisted himself from Axel's grip and landed gracefully onto the narrow steps.

"Can you run?" Axel asked, never once stopping in his sprint as he adjusted Roxas into a more comfortable position in both of his arms.

"I'm fine." Sora said, waving his hand as his Keyblade appeared in a flash of light. A loud explosion occurred from below them, but neither one of them looked back.

"Tch. Hey shortie, you have the power of darkness don't you? Can you–"

"I got the power of light."

Axel would have frozen on the spot if not for the danger approaching them. "What? The Clover is based around the power of darkness! How could you have the power of light?"

"My mother was a Diamond before she married my father!" Sora said with a frown. "Leon inherited my father's blood but I was gifted with my mother's."

"Damn it." Axel cursed. "So all you can do make a damn barrier?"

"You make it sound as though light is useless." The brunette said, his voice sounding slightly offended.

"Considering the situation, yeah it pretty much is." Axel replied as he leaped and skipped pass three steps. "With you two born with light, I can't summon out any portals to teleport you away unless you can tell me that your barrier and purifying ability can miraculously get Roxas to safety."

"ROXAS!" Xemnas's scream suddenly echoed from the darkness behind them.

Sora jumped in surprise while Axel gritted his teeth and tightened his hold on the blond. "Tch. He doesn't know how to give up."

"Axel." A weak voice mumbled as Axel's emerald eyes darted down to find Roxas cracking open his eyes weakly, revealing the tints of blue hidden underneath.

"Hey Roxie." Axel whispered softly and lovingly. At the sight, Sora couldn't help but smile, though it disappeared as soon as it came onto his face. It was no time to be romanticized and his expression hardened as he constantly looked around in case enemies had the audacity to suddenly appear in the empty space.

Roxas tried to speak more, but his voice came out in a husky and dry cough.

"Shh, don't worry. Everything will be alright." Axel soothed softly.

"I can see the exit!" Sora chirped happily.

The red head lifted his head, smiling as well when he saw the exit at the very top of the spiraling staircase. Upon the sound of an explosion that was dangerously close to them, Axel quickly halted in his steps and he spun around with cat-like eyes glaring into the darkness behind them.

"Axel?" Sora gasped, quickly running to the red head's side only to have Roxas shoved back into his arms.

"Take Roxas and get out of here."

"What?" Sora gasped and he could feel the blond tense within his arms.

"You heard me! Xemnas is coming."

"Then I'll hold him off!" Sora said. "Roxas needs you–"

"This castle is swarming with the invading soldiers from the Diamonds and Clovers. What would they think if they see me running around with the prince they came to rescue?" Axel snapped as he summoned his chakrams. "Just go! Get Roxas to safety!"

Sora stared at Axel hesitantly before he felt a light shift in Roxas as those tired blue eyes open further.

"–el…A-Axel..."

The red head froze upon hearing the pleading call of his name. He stared down and in that moment he felt his heart shatter just looking at the pained expression on the blonde's face. Those clear blue eyes were begging him to stay, but both of them knew that wouldn't happen.

"Don't look like that. You made it seem as though we'll never meet again." Axel said jokingly. He leaned down until he could be at an eyelevel with his lover. He reached out his hand, brushing his fingers over the sensitive skin of the blond's neck before hooking the silver chains. With a tug, the necklace hidden under Roxas's cloth fell out, revealing the identical silver ring he wore on his ringer, only larger in size.

"I'll be back for this." The Royal Guard said. He planted a chaste kiss on the ring before letting it fall back to the blond. "Make sure you don't lose it."

Roxas stared at Axel before he made a hum in the back of his throat. Smiling at the blonde's response, he quickly pecked the blonde's cold lips before pulling back to look at Sora. He gave the brunette a quick nod. Getting the message, Sora turned and rushed up the stairs with his arms wrapped tightly around Roxas.

When they dashed out into the world of light, Roxas winced in pain and was forced to shut his eyes, not used to the brightness after being kept so long within the dark. Screams and shouts were heard along with the clashing rings of metal against metal and it forced Roxas to open his eyes. Seeing the battle between the Diamond and Clover soldiers exchanging blows with the soldiers of Spades, the mere sight of it all took him by surprise.

"What…" Roxas choked. "What is this?"

"We all came to rescue you." Sora replied. "Everyone."

"Hey…isn't that…!" One of the Diamonds guard gasped before crying out in excitement upon seeing the appearance of Sora and the blond he held in his arms.

"The Prince! It's the prince!"

The voices of his kingdom's soldiers then began shouting out in delight now that he was in plain sight for everyone to see.

"He looks just the same, but it's him! I'm sure of it!"

"It's the prince!"

"Prince Roxas has been retrieved!"

The guards loudly cheered as Roxas continued to stare at them, too stunned to speak.

"Why–"

"Sora!"

"Brother! Reno!" Sora yelled with joy as he quickly ran towards a tall brunette with a long scar crossed over his face.

"Le…on?" Roxas mumbled sleepily. He stared at the brunette with half lidded, tired eyes, unable to believe how much he had changed over the years.

"Roxas?" Leon stared at the blond who didn't seem to age a bit. "How– Sora, what's going on?"

"I'll explain later!" Sora quickly said when he noticed the Clover king's confusion. "The others are fighting down there against Xemnas!" Sora said urgently as he looked back to the opening in the wall where he came out from.

"I understand." Leon said as he placed a hand over Sora's shoulder before calling out in a loud voice, "Reno!"

"What?" A voice snapped back. A second later, a tall, red haired man came dashing from around the corner and smacked a rod over a Spade guard's head that was in his way.

"Axel?" Roxas whispered at the sight. He tried to force his eyes open, but it was hard. The energy that was stolen from him was taking a toll over his body and the cold was only adding to his fatigue. He watched with tired eyes as the red head came up to them, only to have his hopes crashed when he realized how the other man was greatly different from his love in many ways.

"Ok. What's with everyone calling me this Axel guy, yo?" The man identified as Reno questioned with an annoyed look over his face.

"The Flurry of Dancing Flames?" Leon muttered, wondering why the name of the enemy Royal Guard would be spilled from the blonde's lips.

When Sora saw the older brunette's confusion, he was reminded of how Leon didn't know that the red head was on their side. "Axel is on our side, brother!" Sora quickly jumped in for the Royal Guard's defence. At his sudden outburst, Leon stared down and saw desperation written all over his brother's face.

"He's fighting down there together with Riku and King Mickey!" The prince of Clover said hastily as he glanced to where he had come out from. "It's a long story, but he helped us escaped from Xemnas!"

"I understand." Leon quickly said as he glanced towards the narrow entrance that led to the chamber deep below the castle. "I will go aid them. Reno, guard them. Make sure they safely leave the castle."

Without waiting for either the red head or the young Clover prince's response, Leon ran off.

"Well what are you standing around for? Come on, yo." Reno said, giving Sora a quick shove as the two ran down the long hallway with the Clover Royal Guard clearing a path for them. As they were about to make their way around the corner, Sora gasped, quickly jumping back just as one of the Spade's Royal Guard with silver-blue hair flew pass them and smashed into the wall like a rag doll.

Reno quickly stood over them, staring at the other Royal Guard warily. Hearing the loud crashing sound, Roxas slowly parted his weak eyelids. His eyes tiredly shifting to the figure struggling out of the crater.

"Sora, stand back!" Reno called as he pushed Sora back a little. As Roxas continued to try and focus his sight, another crashing noise came and another figure flew out from around the corner.

"Cloud!"

'What?' Roxas gasped as closed his eyes before snapping them open again, forcing his sight to adjust to his surroundings. When the blurriness cleared off a little, his eyes widened at the sight of a tall, blond haired man dress in the Diamond's white and red soldier garment. His blue eyes were narrow, glaring at something out of the three's sight with a broadsword held tightly in his grip.

"Cloud?" Roxas stared at the man in disbelieve before he heard a pained groan. His eyes then travelled to the person in the crater and was shocked by the familiar face of the slate haired Royal Guard.

"Zexion!" Sora, Reno along with the said guard turned their attentions to the small blond.

"You know him?" Sora asked, but was ignored as Roxas pulled his gaze up to see a dirty blond haired Royal Guard dashing out from around the corner to engage in an intense combat with the Diamond King.

"Demyx! Stop the fight!" Zexion shouted before he grunted in pain and clutched onto his chest, where he was obviously wounded. The blond Royal Guard immediately stopped his assault and flashed a concerned look to his comrade. Taking the opening, Cloud nailed his knee into the blond's gut and threw him to the ground.

"Demyx!"

"Stop, Cloud! They're not enemies!" Roxas choked with the little strength he had left.

Upon hearing his voice, Cloud went still. The Diamond king stared at the blond in shock as the sword in his hand momentarily loosened.

"Roxas?" Cloud gasped, staring at the small blond held in Sora's arms as he hurried up to them. He brushed by Reno quickly and dropped his sword to his side only to stare at the younger boy, tears threatening to fall as he observed him with gentle eyes. The younger blond's gaze softened as he stared back at Cloud. The now older of the siblings seemed like he was desperately fighting off the urge to just pull him out of Sora's arms and hold him for dear life.

"How–…how are you still…?" There was confusion in the older blond's voice, and it didn't take much for either of the two teens to figure what he was confused about.

"You've grown…" Roxas smiled faintly, his strength waning again the more he tried to talk. As much as he was thrilled and relieved to see Cloud, he tired. Unable to hold onto his consciousness any longer, Roxas's eyelids slid shut and he went limp in Sora's arms.

"Roxas?" Cloud stared at his brother in worries, but when he sensed movement behind him, he quickly spun around and glared at the two Royal Guards he had been fighting with.

"Cloud, wait!" Sora quickly cut in. He turned to the one Roxas called Zexion. For some reason, the prince of Diamond seemed to trust this guard, so he decided to trust the blond's judgement. "You two know Roxas?"

"We mean no harm to you." Zexion said slowly as Demyx carefully held onto him as support. "You might not believe it, but we're on your side."

Cloud eyed the two guards with distrust. He stared at them, then turned around and looked over Roxas, remembering how he had claimed the two before him weren't enemies.

"Our friend is in danger!" Demyx shouted impatiently, but was cut off by a look from Zexion who was obviously the calmer of the two.

"What he means is that we are friends of a certain idiot who has rebelled against our king and is risking his life saving the young prince of Diamond. We only wish to save him, not to start a war with your country." Zexion said slowly, his eyes firmly meeting Cloud's, never once looking away. "Please let us pass. We don't have time to lose."

"Friends of a certain…" Sora's voice trailed off with a gasp. "You two friends of Axel!"

"Axel?" Cloud's head snapped to Sora at the hateful name. The brunette blinked and stared up at the small group. He suddenly realized that he has a lot of explaining to do as Cloud wasn't as trusting as Leon.