A Kingdom Hearts fanfic by Raberba girl
Summary: What if Axel and Saïx had ever been able to meet their teenage selves? Platonic AkuSai/LeaIsa (plus a bit of Roxas & Xion) fic as my 78th story on FFN.
A/N: Instead of working on the TONS of other stuff I should actually have been working on, both fandom- and RL-related, R. girl instead chose to draft a random AkuSai fic on a whim because I realized it would be my 78th story on FFN. XD (Well, at least according to the number on my FFN profile. There are several factors that make this not my 78th story at all, but whatever. *sweatdrop* Lol, I had a couple of other plot bunnies for this, so I'm gonna try to write one of them for "Eighty-seven." XD)
I already used the time travel idea in The Other Side of Memory, and I'm almost certain I'm going to use it again, so I didn't bother to explain it this time because I know it's already old. Just think of it as a "What if?" scenario and don't worry about the mechanics. ^^;
Axel was wandering around the castle of Hollow Bastion in boredom, on a recon mission, when two teenagers came sprawling out of nowhere to land at his feet.
"Oh," Axel said. "I forgot about that."
The boys blinked up at him for a minute, then scrambled upright.
"Who are you?" Lea demanded.
"It's you," Isa said faintly.
"It's you, idiot! Look at him, he's you, just ten years older."
"I don't look anything like that!"
"Wow," Axel said. "I really was an idiot."
"I know, right?" Isa said. He and Axel grinned at each other, in a moment of camaraderie that felt very strange to both.
Lea saw it. "Hey! Back off, he's mine!"
Axel raised an eyebrow.
"Not like that! You know what I mean!"
"Hey," Isa suddenly said. "Where's me?"
Axel's expression darkened, and he stalked past them.
There was a flurry of muttered conversation, and then Axel could hear the boys scrambling to catch up. "Hey," Lea said sharply, "Isa asked you a question."
Isa hurried around in front of him and put out a hand to shove him back. "Where am I, Lea?"
"My name's not Lea anymore," he said shortly. "It's Axel, get it memorized. And Isa's dead." He stalked on. Then he slowed down and looked back, wishing he hadn't said it like that.
Isa just stood there, gazing off into the distance with an unreadable expression. Lea was staring at him in horror. He started to raise his hand in a stunned, helpless sort of desperation, but then whirled before touching his friend, running to Axel and seizing his coat to shake him. "Why didn't you save him?!" he shouted. "Why didn't you save him?! You suck! I hate you!"
"Okay, whoa, whoa, hold on, I said it wrong."
"WHAT'S THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN?!"
"Hey." Axel fought free of his teenage self and went back to Isa. He slowed down as he approached, hesitated, and laid a hand on the boy's shoulder. "Isa. You're not technically dead, I'm sorry for saying it like that. I'm just...angry at you."
Isa glared at him.
"I'm angry," Axel whispered in awe, lifting his hands to look at them. "Man, you kids...are like magic, or something..."
"Stop being creepy!" Lea yelled, hurling a Frisbee.
"You know what, I hate you! I'm never gonna be you!"
"You hit me in the head with a freaking Frisbee!"
"Get away from him, Isa! He's a loser!"
But Isa was looking back and forth between them, frowning. "What are you talking about, Axel?"
Axel looked at them for a while without speaking. Then he sighed. "Boys, it's been ten years. It's a looong story."
"...Was it my fault?" Isa asked.
"Flaming pants, don't look at me like that... You both are idiots, okay? You both are too stupid to live." Their twin glares made him smile. "Isa...stop making me miss you...I liked it better when I didn't care about you anymore."
Lea threw a Frisbee at his head again.
This particular recon mission became anything but boring. Axel found himself missing his Keybearers - he had never fully appreciated until now their tendency to trot after him like ducklings. Lea and Isa, it seemed, were constantly disappearing or getting sidetracked, and he had to drag them out of danger several times. "For the last time, Heartless are not Pokémon! They'll suck out your heart and turn you into an emotionless husk; leave them alone!"
"Who made you an expert?"
"Lea, I think we should listen to him..."
Axel was also short a weapon, since Lea fell in love with his chakrams and insisted on dragging one of them around. Even though he could barely lift it. "Sooooo sweet," the kid said admiringly, poking at one of the spikes. "Look, Isa! I bet I can make it catch on fire like Axel does."
"No, you can't," Axel said in exasperation, "only Nobodies have- Whoa!" The chakram had burst into flame. "Dang it, put that away, you little-!" He stopped as he realized that he was about to call his younger self a 'hooligan.'
Lea grinned and slipped the lighter back into his pocket.
"Axel's are still cooler," Isa teased.
"Hey! I bet I can hit that window from here."
The fire wheel, which would have come far short of its target anyway, bounced off one of the swarm of Heartless that was in the process of materializing.
"Huh." Axel scratched his head. "You actually knocked off some HP, nice..."
It was exhausting, trying to keep them out of trouble, finish his mission, and explain the essentials to them all at the same time.
"Wait, so if you're not supposed to be able to feel anything, how can you be mad at me?"
"Did you get the tats before or after you became a bad guy?"
"How much of a tradeoff do you consider there to be between the loss of emotion and the acquirement of these powers of yours?"
"Do they have school in this Organization thing?"
"How high is my salary as second-in-command?"
"Are there any hot chicks there?"
"Do you have missions like this every day?"
"Can you set other stuff on fire, too?"
"FLAMING PANTS JUST SHUT UP UNTIL WE RTC," Axel finally yelled.
It was awkward, waltzing into the Grey Area to check in with Saïx while having these particular two teenagers nearly stepping on his heels, trying to keep close to him as they huddled miserably together under his coat.
"I'm never using one of those dark corridor things again," Lea announced, throwing off the coat once they were safely out. "You guys should figure out how to teleport."
Isa just stood there, wrapped in Axel's coat and shivering a little.
"What is this?" Saïx said coldly.
"You don't remember?"
Saïx studied the boys, and Lea frowned. "Hey, you look like..."
"This," Axel said, clapping a hand on Number VII's shoulder, "is Saïx, the Luna Diviner, who forgot how to smile about four years ago and likes to spend all his time thinking up ways to make our lives miserable."
"Flaming pants, Isa, it's you!" Lea shouted. "Dang, you got ugly!"
Axel didn't like the look on Saïx's face, like he was evaluating an annoying insect. "It's me and you," he said forcefully. "When we time traveled. It's us, Sai- Isa. Don't look at them like that."
Saïx took two steps. He and Isa locked eyes for a long moment - Saïx's face remained impassive, Isa looked horrified. Then the boy suddenly whirled and began heading for the room's only door.
"Isa! Where are you going?" Lea bounded after him. "What's up with you?"
"That's not me," Isa said in a frantic mutter, "that's not me, that's not me, that's not-"
Lea smacked him, only half-gently. "Hey, snap out of it." He studied him, frowning. "What the heck, you've got goosebumps."
"There's something...wrong with hi-"
Both of them were startled when Saïx was suddenly there, jerking his younger self away. The coat around Isa's shoulders slipped to the floor. "Silence on this matter."
"Let go of me!"
"Let go of him!"
The three of them struggled for a moment, then Isa staggered free as Lea pressed his advantage, hitting Saïx hard, yet looking pathetic, a skinny fourteen-year-old beating his fists against a man who was older, bigger, and had magical powers. Saïx was warding him off with a raised arm, eyes narrowed, weapon materializing in his other hand.
"Hey!" Axel lunged to shield the boys with a chakram. "What do you think you're doing!"
"These children are a nuisance and have no place here."
"So what exactly were you planning to do about it?" Axel shouted, stabbing a finger at the claymore. "That thing isn't designed for light damage, you freaking-!"
The look on Saïx's face. That calculating expression as he glanced at Lea - Axel realized that he was deciding whether or not to kill him. "Flaming-"
Lea seized Isa's arm and the two of them ran for cover, hiding just outside the threshold but unable to tear themselves away as they watched the fight in horrified fascination.
"Look at them go," Lea said in awe.
"No one learns how to fight that well without practice," Isa murmured. "I doubt our lives in the interim was easy or pleasant..."
Lea frowned. "Forget that, why are we fighting each other?"
Isa's voice sounded slightly shaky. "That thing is not me."
"But he looks just like-"
"I don't care what he looks like, that's not me. You saw his eyes - Axel was right, he's dead inside, I'm dead, Lea, I'm dead-"
"Shut up," Lea hissed. "You're fine. I'm gonna make sure you're fine, I'm not gonna let anything bad happen to you."
"You really are stupid; look at them. It's already happened. We can't stop it because it happens, otherwise we would have never seen it-"
"Shut up! I'm not letting you turn into that creep!"
The room was a mess. Furniture, walls, and floor torn and singed, as Axel hurled fire and weapons at his opponent and tried to elude the claymore's heavy blows.
"Man, Isa, you're a jerk," Lea remarked as they watched Axel get caught by a strike.
"Lea," Isa said quietly. "Don't hold back."
Lea clenched his fists, a pained expression crossing his face. "You know, I probably won't... Dang, you're strong."
"You're so fast..."
"Geez, just look at you, humongous icicle to the face and you barely even flinched-"
"Practice more, Lea. Don't be lazy about this, too; you have to get better than me."
Lea winced as Axel cried out in pain. "Um, yeah. Yeah, I'm not arguing, nope."
They both caught their breaths when Axel threw the chakrams again and managed to pin Saïx to the wall. For a second, it looked as if the fight was over - but then Saïx raised his head, eyes beginning to disappear in a gold glow. "Moon...shine down!"
"Don't even try it!" Axel shouted. "Thunder!"
Isa turned away from the sight of his older self's body spasming in the wake of the resulting jolt. "Let's go."
"But I wanna see-"
"Let's go. I'm not watching anymore."
However, they both turned back at the sound of a dark corridor opening. A burly man with long black hair stepped out of it, and then a small spiky-haired boy about their own age, whom they both recognized.
"Hey, isn't that-?"
"What on earth is going on here?" Number III thundered, summoning several lances.
"Axel," the kid cried, "what's happening?"
As Axel and Saïx glared at each other, the berserker's eyes slowly faded. He contemptuously jerked his remaining arm free and raised it to open a dark corridor. "You're an impetuous fool," he told Axel coldly. "I was merely considering the option. If you'd had just a few more moments of patience, you would have found there to be too many factors in your favor."
"Oh, thanks SO MUCH for deciding I'm worth more to you alive than dead," Axel snarled.
Saïx disappeared with no acknowledgement that he had heard.
The spiky-haired kid ran up to the redhead in confused concern. "Axel, are you okay?"
"I'm fine, Rox," Axel sighed. "You got a spare Elixir, or a Hi-Potion or anything?" The boy immediately handed one over.
"What was the meaning of all that?" Xaldin demanded.
"Who cares. Get the Dusks to clean up, I'm getting dinner and going to bed."
Xaldin's eyes moved to the boys in the doorway. "Who are they?"
"Couple of idiots too stupid to live," Axel said, passing by them without a glance.
"Hey!" Lea yelled, scrambling after him, "Don't blame me for your stupid choices!"
Axel stopped short and rounded on him. "Oh, and who's the one who thought it was sooooo important to keep sneaking into the castle and snoop through all those notes and not listen to him-" pointing at Isa "-when he told you it was a bad idea and you should've waited 'til the delivery came-"
Isa's face paled. "It really went that badly?"
Axel snorted. "Too late to do anything about it now."
"It's not my fault!" Lea shouted.
Number XIII was studying the newcomers with a frown. "You guys kind of look like Axel and Saïx. Except little. And your hair's short. And you don't have stuff on your face-"
"Hey! I'm not little!" Lea grinned. "Heh. I told you I'd see you when I see you, right?"
Axel gasped a little and hurried back, slinging an arm around his friend's shoulders. "HA HA HA, guys, let me introduce you to my friend, ROXAS, who you've never seen before in your life. Rox, the idiot redhead is Lea and the other one is Isa. I guess they'll be hanging out with us tonight."
"We will?" Isa said warily.
"Sure. Whatever, I don't care."
"They're not your friends, are they?" Roxas said suspiciously.
"Rox, it's possible to have lots of friends, you know."
Lea and Isa stared at him. "You said your name is Roxas?" Lea said.
Axel grinned a little. "Go easy on him, okay? He's fun, but I like him, so I'll be mad if you troll him too much."
"Wouldn't dream of it," Lea purred.
"I'm not exactly in the mood for trolling at the moment," Isa muttered.
"What are you all talking about?" Roxas said in annoyance.
They went to the kitchen to put together something for dinner, and Roxas kept forgetting to help, so amazed was he. He practically hung over Isa's shoulder, watching him chop up vegetables for salad.
"Can you not lean on me like that?" Isa said, irritated.
"How do you cut them so fast?! Look, Axel! The pieces are all the same size."
"Please can I hug him?" Lea begged again.
"No, he's my Cute Thing. Get your own."
"Hey, I AM you! And besides, Isa never lets me keep them."
"Because doing so would be illegal in many cases, and your mother would object in all the others," Isa said dryly.
"Stop talking about things I don't understand!" Roxas yelled.
Axel went to ruffle his hair in a soothing way. "Don't be jealous, kiddo. They'll be gone soon."
"It's not fair that you get that stuff all to yourself!" Lea yelled.
"Lea," Isa ordered, "the oven should be hot enough by now, go put the pans in. Roxas, wash the bowls. Axel, act your age and do something useful."
"Hey, where do you get off bossing me around?"
"Well, my future self's not around to do it..." A little to their surprise, Axel stopped protesting and went to wipe the counter.
Another small person in a black coat walked in while the meat was cooking. "Hi, Axel. Xaldin said you were in here. I couldn't find Saïx, so I hope he knows I checked in..."
"That's Saïx," Roxas said, pointing. "I think. But I don't know if he has the clipboard."
"I'm not Saïx," Isa said firmly. "And I don't have 'the clipboard,' whatever that is."
"He's Isa," Lea said, "and I'm Lea. And you're...?"
The figure lowered its hood and smiled. "I'm-"
"Ohhhh!" Lea exclaimed. "I didn't know you guys were twins, man."
"Hello, Ventus," Isa said.
"What, what?!" Axel cried. "Guys, this is Xion."
"What are you talking about?!"
Xion frowned. "I don't get it."
"Lea and Isa are really confusing," Roxas said, "and Axel is, too, when he's talking to them. Just ignore them."
"Roxas, I understand," Axel was saying to the other two boys, "but hel-lo, Xion? Black hair, girly-girl?"
"She's a girl?!"
Axel knocked his younger self upside the head. "Geez, I know you're rude, but there's a limit, you know..."
"Dude! Where IS Ventus, then, if no one here is him!"
"I saved you some cucumber slices, Xion," Roxas said, holding them out.
"Thank you, Roxas."
"Isa is a good cutter. Look, hold them together on the side."
"Oooh! They're the same size!"
"I know! It's cool, right?"
"They're like vegetable cookies," Xion said, putting one in her mouth.
Now Isa was the one staring. "I don't collect Cute Things," he seemed to feel obligated to announce.
"Never too late to start," said Lea.
"Hey," Axel warned, "hands off, they're both mine."
"So not fair, man."
"I think maybe it's like a different language," Roxas remarked. "Like Axelese."
"Axeleaisease," Xion tried, and they both giggled.
"Maybe if we keep pretending we don't care, he'll want to show off and finally explain everything to us."
"You guys wound me," Axel said, in a tone of mixed reproach and amusement.
"Do you want a vegetable cookie, Axel?"
"They're just cucumbers," Isa said in mild exasperation.
When the food was ready, Axel, wanting to avoid annoying questions in the dining room, brought all the kids along to eat in his room. Lea and Isa handled the corridors better when properly dressed in a couple of Zexion's old coats, and their meals managed to survive the journey mostly intact. They all took turns with a fighting game two at a time as the other ones watched, then when most of them finished eating, the kids all played a racing game together as Axel lounged beside them with a PSP. He spent a lot of time paused, though, listening to their arguments in amusement.
"That was mine, Isa!"
"I suppose Axel usually goes easy on you, but be assured that I will not scruple to seize any advantage."
"What does that even mean?"
"It's Isa-talk for 'I'mma dazzle you with fancy vocab so you think I'm smarter than I actually am.' Let's triple-team him."
"Lea! How is that fair?!"
"Scared you'll lose, Isa?"
"Against you and a couple of puppies? I think not."
Axel watched the four of them far more than he did the PSP screen, fascinated by the sight of them laughing together as if they didn't have a care in the world. His chest hurt, the space that was supposed to be empty. 'I miss you, Isa,' he thought. What had happened to him, that boy with the playful smirk who had always been an irreplaceable half of their perfect team? 'Just when I thought I'd locked you out, when I thought I'd finally washed my hands of Saïx and can get on with my life, you come here and remind me why I can't stop trying...why I can't stand seeing your face every day with someone else's eyes glaring at me like I'm worthless...'
Xion was the first to quit, giving her controller to Axel and snuggling next to Roxas so she could fall asleep comfortably. As if her condition influenced him, Roxas nodded off pretty soon after that. Lea crowed in victory, was shushed by Axel, and looked over to find the Keybearers fast asleep against each other. "Heh...they really are like puppies, aren't they..."
"Still at it even ten years later, hm? I can see why you like them," Isa said dryly.
"Do you really both see her as Ven?" Axel said in curiosity.
"Yup. Only way I can tell 'em apart is that Roxas is the one with the coat."
"You know, that kind of explains some things..." Axel shook his head. "More snooping through research notes to procrastinate on, yay."
Isa had set down his own controller and was stretching. "They're not the only ones who have had enough for the day. You two can continue without me."
"Awesome. Night Howler, Team Mode?" Lea said as he glanced at Axel, flapping the case invitingly.
"I dunno...today was kinda rough, I think I'll quit, too." Axel gestured at the TV. "All yours."
"Ah, you guys are no fun." Lea flipped through the other games and stuck an RPG into the console.
"Axel?" Isa said.
"You said that you people in this Organization don't have hearts."
"You said that you basically fake emotions based on your memories."
"Yeah," Axel said again, more wary this time.
Isa leaned his chin on his hand, gazing at him thoughtfully. "It doesn't really make sense, though. You're obviously quite fond of those two...I can't bring myself to believe that it's just an act."
Axel sighed and lay down, propping his hands behind his head. "I dunno...they kinda remind me of my brother and sister, I guess."
Lea was apparently very fixated on the screen.
"It just...it's just nice having kids around again, you know?"
"But if you really have no emotions, then why would you care about faking them? What good does it do you?"
"I dunno...it'd be so boring..."
"That's the thing - can you even get bored? If you have no emotion, you shouldn't be able to feel bored, right?"
"Isa," Axel said to the ceiling, "you're really gonna wanna keep this can of worms closed."
"Those two, then; the ones you say aren't Ventus. They're too stupid to fake emotions the way you do."
"It's true," Lea laughed. "They're like little kids. Little kids can't act."
"Lea's right. Every time they were surprised, every time they laughed or interrupted someone or were frustrated - don't tell me that wasn't real, Axel."
"...Roxas and Xion are special, all right?"
"Yeah, we know," Lea chuckled.
"I mean they're special Nobodies, okay? Don't tell any of the other freaks in this Organization, but...Rox and Xi...they're not...normal. Okay? They weren't born the same way we were. They're just...they're weird. I don't know if they've got hearts or what, I don't know, but...they can feel." He sighed. "You're right, they are too clueless to fake it, and I've...been thinking about it for a while, and I can't think of any other explanation. They're different than the rest of us." He frowned and turned his head to face them. "But that's just them, okay?"
"Not you," Isa said, looking unimpressed.
"So you, with your emotionless husk and inability to feel, can still somehow magically get angry at me because...?"
"Are you still thinking about that? Forget it, Isa; I didn't mean it."
Lea paused the game and turned around. "Quit lying. You can lie to everyone else, but you tell us everything."
Axel grinned at him. "Why should I? You two don't even belong here. I don't have anyone I need to be honest with anymore." He wasn't expecting both of them to suddenly get up and move right next to him. He sat up quickly.
"What happened to Isa?" Lea demanded. "How'd he turn into that?"
"...I don't know, man. One day we're buddies like we've always been, next day he's waking up sick with those freaking creepy eyes, and he was still my friend for a while, but ever since then it's been...one betrayal after another... I mean, yeah, it took a long time, but it's been years now and it was like he was dying slowly, and now he's dead. Stopped laughing, stopped smiling, stopped caring about anything except that freaking Kingdom Hearts, stopped having time for me, stopped giving a flip about what I do unless I'm getting in his way or he wants yet another favor he'll never repay..."
Isa's fists were clenched, and Lea looked like he wanted to hit someone. "Isa wouldn't do that."
"I wouldn't...do that," Isa echoed, though more uncertainly. "Not to you, Lea. Axel. Lea. You're my best friend. We agreed."
Axel smiled. "I told you, kiddo. Ten years is a long time. Things change."
"Not this!" Lea burst out. "We're always gonna be best friends! Always!"
"Yeah. We're GREAT friends now. And just so you know, this afternoon was not the first time he's tried to kill me."
"Something's wrong," Lea said fiercely. "I bet that's not even Isa. I bet that's some kind of android clone, and they've got the real Isa locked up or something, or-"
"Or dead," Isa said flatly. Lea shoved him.
"You are not dead."
Axel was watching them thoughtfully. "Man this is weird, watching you two." He sighed. "I miss that...why can't I have it back...?"
They watched him back. "You really miss me?" Isa said softly.
"Are you kidding? What you two have, what I used to have, I'd give almost anything to get it back again. I'm not the one who changed, Isa."
Isa swallowed. "I want to promise I'll never betray you...I want to, Axel. But obviously I did. I don't know what went wrong, and I don't know how to change it. But I just...I just can't imagine I'd be happy about it. For what it's worth, I'm sorry. I'll do anything I can to stop it."
Lea reached out to grasp his sleeve and Axel's. "I'm never gonna give up on you. Okay? You hear that, future-me, we're NOT GIVING UP, I don't care what happens, we made a promise and we're always gonna be best friends. We're not gonna let it win, that darkness of the heart crap or whatever it is."
Axel chuckled. "Looooots easier to say than it actually is to do, Lea." He shook his head a little, smiling. "But okay. Fine. I won't give up." He met Isa's eyes again. The boy seemed mostly composed, though he was a little pale. "You hear that, Isa? I won't give up on you after all, okay?"
"Never," Lea said forcefully.
Isa gave them a small smile. "Thank you."
"You sound like you don't believe us," Axel observed.
"It looks as if I don't deserve your efforts, I'm not going to hold you to such an obligation..."
Axel frowned. Now he almost felt annoyed. "I don't break my promises, Isa. I said I'm not giving up, and I won't." 'No matter what it takes, Isa. I'm going to see the real you again.'
"See?" Lea said. "Now future-me promised, too. Don't worry, Isa."
Isa set a hand on his friend's shoulder. "Thank you, Lea." This time, he sounded like he meant it.
Author's Notes: I may have missed BOTH of my OTP's Pairing Days and Christmas, but now I finally get to celebrate them, yaaaaayyyy! (Lol, as if I don't write them enough in non-special-day fics. XD)
OOCness again, this time because DaysRoxas is so freaking cute, I couldn't resist channeling too much of my fangirling to Axel and Lea. And there really shouldn't have been any hint of IsaShi at all. *sweatdrop* (Unless maybe it's Saïx who's immune to cuteness, whereas Isa still has a small weakness for it...? Maybe? I don't really like that idea, though...) Dang it, I really should have posted the first CatC story before this one. *SIIIIIGH* I have a bad habit of posting newer stuff earlier and older stuff later.
Anyway. Yay for random AkuSai. *sweatdrop*