Roxas was sitting at the clock tower, waiting for Axel like usual.
Roxas, however, did not feel usual. After an agonizing amount of weighing the pros and cons, he had finally decided to ask Axel something he'd wanted to know for a long time, and he was feeling exceptionally nervous about it.
Not knowing what love is was one thing, but what he wanted to ask about now was something less metaphysical, something he felt he should already know about, and something Axel had never mentioned to him before. To not know what a kiss was- or rather, to only know what it was without knowing why and how it happened-seemed rather pathetic for a person his age. He'd heard members of the organization talking about kissing, and he'd seen what they were describing, but he couldn't understand why it was such a big deal. What made kissing different from shaking someone's hand, for instance? But he knew it was.
That's why he was going to ask Axel about it. Axel had taught him everything, and Roxas felt extremely grateful that he was Axel's friend. Axel was the only member of the organization who seemed to care about him, and Axel was the only one he cared about. Or – he realized he'd not been thinking properly- Xion was his friend too, and she was nice, but there was something about Axel that made him different. Roxas always wanted to do what Axel did. Just one simple suggestion from Axel about his next crazy scheme, and Roxas wanted to be involved. It was almost scary how much control Axel had over him. He wondered if Axel knew it, and if he was just exploiting Roxas when he convinced him to do often rather stupid things, but Roxas just couldn't blame him for it. He liked him too much.
And as Roxas was thinking about this, Axel arrived at the clock tower and ungracefully sat down beside him, posture terrible as always.
"Hey Roxas, how's it going?"
"Okay," Roxas replied. He couldn't manage to say anything else. His palms were beginning to sweat. He was nervous already, and he hadn't even asked his question.
"Is something bothering you kid, you seem a bit out of it."
"Yes, well, I… Can I ask you something?"
Axel laughed at him. He hated that. He'd also hated that Axel had called him "kid," but he was too afraid and preoccupied to complain about it. "Sure you can. We go over this all the time," he said, exasperated. " What would you like me to explain to you now? Friends again? Family? Women?" He said, raising an eyebrow.
Why had he mentioned that last one so suggestively? It made Roxas even more anxious.
"Well, I guess it's kind of about women."
"I know all about them. Is it Xion? Be honest." His tone seemed far too light-hearted to Roxas who could feel himself blushing.
"Well, no, I guess it's, more …about girls generally. I was thinking, well, I mean, what is a 'kiss?'"
"A kiss?" Axel's facial expression softened. He seemed almost gentle. Roxas was a little surprised. There were few subjects that got Axel to act like this. One of them was his past. He wondered if this brought back a memory for Axel. What if he had kissed someone? This made Roxas feel a little disappointed, but he wasn't sure why. He thought he should be polite and tell Axel that he didn't have to talk about it if he didn't want to, but Roxas really wanted an answer, so he remained silent.
"A kiss is…" Axel trailed off, apparently looking for the right words. Roxas noticed that his voice not nearly as sharp and condescending as it normally was. "Listen, there's my answer, and then there's the romantic, sappy answer that most people would give. I'll start with that one since I don't want to corrupt you too much, too soon," he joked, but Roxas couldn't smile because of the nervousness he felt in the suspense. "A kiss what you share with someone you really like... someone that you like as more than a friend."
"So would…" He felt himself blushing, "would we be the kind of people who would kiss?" He looked down at his shoes and tried to pretend he wasn't there. He felt like this was the wrong thing to say, but, when Axel got like this, so honest, it made him feel braver, and he wanted to be honest too. He could tell that Axel was looking at him.
"Well, usually a boy kisses a girl or a girl kisses a boy, but that's not my answer - that's the rest of the world's..." He trailed off. Roxas thought Axel looked a little distracted after he said this, and he was afraid of asking too much, but he knew if he didn't ask now, he would never have the courage to ask again.
"Why wouldn't friends like us kiss? " He avoided looking at Axel and instead kept his eyes locked on his hand which was sitting on the clock tower ledge. "I mean, if they really liked each other like you described before, why wouldn't they kiss?" He didn't look up, but he noticed that Axel wasn't looking at him anymore. He was watching the sunset with an almost inappropriate intensity.
"Well, I mean… I guess they could…if they really liked each other in that way."
"But what way do you mean by that way," Roxas asked, looking at him now.
He looked up at Roxas slowly, his eyes different than normal. Roxas couldn't describe the emotion in them. "The way that means that you're more than friends. If there's a person you want to kiss, then you like them that way."
Roxas knew he shouldn't ask it. He was terribly afraid that Axel would know he was feigning naivety, but he asked anyway. "What does a kiss feel like?"
Axel waited a while to respond. "It feels… really good, and satisfying, and it can change a relationship forever."
Roxas was fighting saying it. So far he had been self-restrained, so far he had stopped himself from insinuating anything, but he couldn't help it. It was now or never. He said it as quietly as he could while still forming words. "What if I wanted our relationship to change like that?" His face felt intensely warm. Axel was silent.
"Well, if you…wanted that… the first thing we would have to do is kiss, but you would have to be sure that's what you really wanted."
"But, I want to know if… well…" He paused. "Do you want to kiss me?" It was all that mattered to him right now. He wanted Axel to say yes even though it terrified him to think he might.
Axel was looking at the ground again, not smiling. Roxas was afraid that he'd finally gone too far until Axel said, in a level voice, "Yes, Roxas, I do." And, after a moment of hesitation, he slowly closed the distance between them. Roxas suddenly noticed how dark it had gotten outside. He felt a hand on his cheek. He wondered what would happen if they fell off the clock tower from being so close. Roxas wasn't sure what to do anymore. He wasn't breathing. Axel's eyes still had that emotion in them, and Roxas thought maybe it was lust but he couldn't concentrate as Axel's face was very close to his and their sides were touching and Axel's arm was around him - it felt like it was keeping him from falling. Roxas didn't think he could handle it any more. Then Axel closed his eyes and moved his face closer and soon, their lips were touching.
At first it was soft, warm, nice, and a little confusing. Roxas wasn't sure if he was doing it right. The sensation of their lips touching made him feel so alive and so present, he couldn't really focus properly. Luckily, Axel was an expert. Then suddenly he stopped thinking because Axel had put his tongue into his mouth. Roxas just pulled his best friend a little closer, running his hand through Axel's hair. He felt daring and yet so vulnerable. As Axel's kisses slowly became more passionate, Roxas, although he had been enjoying it immensely, became suddenly became afraid. He felt like if he didn't push himself away now they were going to fall because the ledge wasn't very big and it seemed like they were taking up all the space in the world. This thought made him pull his lips away with more force than he'd intended.
He could breathe now, and he was, heavily, still looking at Axel, very much surprised and confused. Axel looked the same. They stared at each other for a few moments, neither knowing what to do. It was completely dark outside. Should he say something? What could he say? What did they usually talk about? He was wracking his brain even as he was losing himself in the beautiful pair of green eyes looking at him. "I wonder where Xion is!" He blurted, with too much force, and then, afraid that Axel would see how hard he was blushing, he looked down again.
"Yeah," Axel said, clearly trying to fake his normal tone, "I'm… worried that she hasn't come back yet." It was an unconvincing statement, and they were both aware of it, but Roxas could still pretend.
"Yeah, she gets back so late sometimes." His voice was flat. He wasn't sure what to do now. He didn't know how he felt. Did he want to do it again? He didn't even understand what had happened. While he was thinking these thoughts, he failed to notice that Axel had stood up, and, when he did notice it, Roxas looked up at him, wondering what would happen next.
"I'm going to go back to my room, Roxas. You can find your way back right?"
He nodded once, very slowly. Their eyes were still glued on one another. Axel broke his gaze away first. " I'll see you later, tomorrow maybe. I don't know if I'll be coming back here though. I might have other things to do after work," he said, looking away.
"Oh," Roxas said, trying to hide his disappointment. "Yes, I understand. Your job's a lot harder than mine. I can't expect you to come here all the time and have to explain things to someone as clueless as me, right?" He tried to laugh, but he wasn't successful.
"Roxas," Axel said. Roxas couldn't tell if it was a reproach or a conclusion to what had just happened, but when he heard it said by those lips, he felt a tingle run down his spine. He felt unsure.
Axel stood up, without another word and walked around the corner, leaving Roxas alone in the dark, and more confused than ever.