Roxas was in combat, concentrated on killing, head throbbing. Luxord was somewhere nearby, but he didn't care. He just felt like fighting; he watched little hearts fly into the air, fulfilling some mission he didn't care about. Axel was at Castle Oblivion –fucking gone without a word of explanation, and Roxas had woken up alone.
Whatever. He didn't care. Except for the fact that he was also seeing things. In fact, he thought he'd seen Sora, but why did he think that? It was impossible. He couldn't even be sure. Just a momentary hallucination. But it kept happening over and over again. And sometimes it wasn't just Sora. Sometimes he thought he saw two other creatures with him. He felt like his brain was tricking him into remembering a past that didn't exist, but what if it were real? He defeated another heartless and saw another tiny heart disappear. Where did the hearts go, he wondered?
He tried to remember the last time he'd been happy. When had the visions started? Surely he'd been okay before that. That day with Axel, he remembered. That day when they stayed in and had maybe done a bit too much and went too far because Axel had said "don't tell Demyx, Roxas, you have to promise," but Roxas had loved every second of it, and he knew Axel did too, and all Roxas wanted was to do it again. But he promised he wouldn't tell Demyx (he couldn't imagine why Axel thought he would want to tell him in the first place). He couldn't talk to anyone, even Axel. You're not helping things, he thought, but he couldn't stop himself.
"Let's check out the maze for those switches, Roxas." Luxord was speaking to him. He needed to focus. Something about mazes. "Right," he said nodding uncertainly. He had a throbbing headache. Looking for switches.
They found one switch. Two to go, he thought. Found another. Just one more. He stopped thinking and concentrated on destroying heartless. Where was the other switch? He was getting impatient. Another dead end. Luxord was following him. Why wouldn't he lead? Oh right, he remembered, bitter at the thought. I'm the keyblade master. Only I can do this, and everyone is depending on me to complete "Kingdom Hearts," but he didn't even care about it. He just wanted the pounding to stop. Found the last switch.
The Cheshire Cat was talking. A vision. Roxas blinked and stared at the spot directly beside him. He swore he'd just seen someone there. It was Sora again – had to be. He was gone now. What the hell was happening to him? Luxord didn't notice anything. Then the words "Let's head back, Roxas. You okay?"
"Oh, uh, yes. I just have a headache," he shook his head.
Luxord dropped the subject easily. Roxas didn't want to talk to him anyway.
He waited on the clock tower. What was happening to him? The more he thought about it, the more he feared for his sanity. Normal people didn't see these things, things that didn't exist. But then, what did he know about normal people? He wasn't one of them. He was a nobody. He was beginning to understand why it was a bad thing. He felt alone.
He heard a noise and saw that Axel was there. He sighed.
"Today makes 255," Roxas said. He didn't want to bring up the visions or reveal that he was angry about Axel leaving him alone that morning. He looked at the setting sun. Two hundred and fifty-five days of existence. What had he done in that time? Nothing much of value, except the times with Axel. But he didn't even know if he could count on those anymore.
"So you've got the number memorized, do ya?" Axel smiled at him.
He felt better having Axel there. "It's not like I have memories from before the organization," he said, shrugging. Maybe he had fake memories and random visions now, but that was all. He tried not to think about those. "I was kind of a zombie." He felt like he still was.
Axel laughed. "You're still kind of a zombie." He pushed Roxas away playfully and then pulled him closer. He put an arm around his shoulder and started speaking softly in his deep, playful voice that, perhaps because of the stillness surrounding them, was both comforting and oddly seductive. "Bet you don't know why the sun sets red. You see, light is made up of lots of colors…"
Roxas rolled his eyes, but tried to hide his smile. Even though Axel was a complete know-it-all, at least he knew how to make fun of himself. Roxas's focus kept going back to the tingling feeling he got from having Axel so close to him. He felt calmer. More quiet. More normal. He also felt a profound sense of sadness, but he couldn't explain that. Axel finished his explanation.
Roxas was still determined to hide how he was feeling. He just wanted to pretend like everything was fine. "Like I asked!" he replied, playfully pushing Axel away.
They were both silent as Roxas finished his ice cream and watched the setting sun. His thoughts began to wander. "Where is Xion?" He asked, looking around the corner of the clock tower. He was concerned. He honestly couldn't remember the last time he'd seen her. Was it that time she'd been crying? Why couldn't he remember?
Axel didn't respond immediately. Roxas thought he looked a little worried, or maybe disappointed. He didn't look at Roxas when he responded. "Roxas…I'm not sure she's gonna show today." He sounded genuinely upset.
Roxas tried to think of a reason why she wouldn't show. Last time he'd seen her she hadn't been feeling well. He remembered at least that much.
"She's got a really important mission," Axel said, and looked up at the sky. "Pretty cool, huh?" he added without any conviction.
Roxas was concerned. Axel looked sick. "When's she coming back?" he asekd
"Well, I…I guess that depends on how well she does her job, right?"
Roxas knew something was wrong by the way Axel said these words. He must know something Roxas didn't, but Roxas didn't feel like thinking about it just then. "Fair enough," he said, although he didn't think it was fair at all. He was at least pacified by the thought that at least if Axel was keeping a secret from him, it gave Roxas a reason to keep a secret of his own. They sat in silence. His headache was gone, but Roxas still didn't feel well.