Xion was about to go on a mission with Axel and Xigbar, and Roxas was afraid they were going to destroy her. He didn't trust either of them – or anyone in the Organization for that matter. He wasn't sure why they wanted her gone, but he knew he couldn't let them kill her without trying to stop them. She didn't deserve this.
"I can't trade missions with Xigbar or something?" he asked Saix desperately.
Saix looked offended. "What an extraordinarily childish notion. Do you need Axel to walk you everywhere now?" He walked away.
"No..." Roxas sighed in frustration. This wasn't about Axel! Why did no one understand? "I didn't- Never mind." Axel looked at him for a moment and then walked through the portal Xigbar had opened. Roxas went on his mission alone.
When he arrived back at headquarters, he saw Saix, Axel, and Xigbar standing together. "And now we're left with the one we can't use..." Saix said sternly as he walked away from the other men. Roxas panicked. Where was Xion?
"What was that all about? Where's Xion?" He demanded, looking directly at Axel who seemed too surprised by his demand to answer.
It was Xigbar who responded. "She flew the coop. Flamsilocks here couldn't trouble himself to clip her wings." Xigbar rolled his eyes.
Axel stared at the ground. So Axel had just let her leave? Roxas wasn't sure if that was better than destroying her or not. He didn't think she'd be safe outside of the Organization, but she obviously wasn't safe in it either. Regardless, Axel looked uncomfortable and his refusal to respond made Roxas believe he had done something wrong.
"Axel, he's kidding, right?" Roxas glared at him. Axel continued to stare at the ground.
"As if," Xigbar replied, "Your friend sat there sucking his thumb while Xion walked right off." He looked at Axel with disgust and left the room.
"What happened out there?" Roxas said, trying not to sound as angry as he felt. If he kept yelling, he didn't think Axel would talk to him. He needed to know if he should go after Xion or not. If she had escaped somewhere safe, Roxas wanted to go there too. If not… he didn't know what he would do.
"Look, nothing," Axel said, running a nervous hand through his hair.
"Xion's gone! How is that nothing?" He couldn't stay calm. There were many reasons he was angry at Axel. This was just another one.
"It's just like Xigbar said," Axel replied, sounding exhausted, staring at the floor. "I couldn't stop her from going.
"Don't give me that! Why not?"
"Roxas... Xion is like a mirror that reflects you."
"The Organization made her to duplicate your powers. She's a puppet."
"Have you gone nuts? Xion's a person, not a puppet." Roxas glared at Axel. He doesn't care about people, Roxas thought – me or Xion.
"She's smoke and mirrors, Roxas. And when I looked in the mirror... It wasn't you I saw." Axel looked at him seriously.
"I don't know what you're talking about," Roxas said, shaking his head. "But Xion is Xion. You can't expect her to be me." You can't treat her like you treated me, he thought.
"That's not what I mean, Roxas," Axel said, looking at him directly. "It was only a matter of time before somebody had to break the mirror."
Roxas felt his pulse quicken. "You mean destroy her?" Axel didn't speak. Roxas glared at him "Answer me!"
"Roxas, if somebody doesn't, you'll... You won't be you anymore." Axel actually looked somewhat vulnerable after he said this, but Roxas couldn't linger on it for too long. He was still furious.
"I'll always be me. Your best friend," he said with as much sarcasm as he could manage. "Just like Xion."
Axel tried to reach for Roxas's hand, but Roxas took a step away. "Roxas, you're...you're not seeing the bigger picture. Any of it," Axel said.
Roxas was afraid Axel might be telling the truth, but he didn't care. "Ugh, forget this," he said, turning to leave.
He heard Axel yell his name, but he kept on running. Forget him.
That night in his room, Roxas thought about everything that had been happening lately. Why had he not realized how cruel Axel was when they first met? And after they had kissed and Axel had ignored him. He could have figured it out then! Why had Roxas wanted to stay with someone like that? There were good moments, he reminded himself, thinking through them, but the more he thought about it, the more he realized that everything had been tainted by a sense that something was not right, that Axel couldn't be trusted. Well, now I know why, he thought. He should've been protecting himself from Axel. He would do so in the future.
Roxas was at an Organization meeting, sitting on an unpleasantly tall chair in a tall room. He couldn't stop himself from panicking when he looked down every few seconds. He was still deathly afraid of heights. Axel used to distract him from this during meetings, try and make him smile, but that was in the past.
"Seeing as how she escaped on your watch, the onus is on you to capture her and return her here. I am willing to overlook and nicks and scratches. Just ensure she still functions on arrival." Xemnas said, looking at Xigbar.
Roxas had taken to staring at Axel as a means of distraction. Axel fidgeted uncomfortably and, to Roxas's immense satisfaction, didn't look at him once. He knew that Roxas was mad.
"Axel, you have your orders," Xemnas said, looking at him sternly. "Dismissed."
So now Axel's mission was to kill Xion? Even though Roxas had very low expectations of Axel at this point, he didn't think Axel would go that far. But he needed to find out. "Axel!" he yelled. Axel stopped walking, but didn't turn around. Roxas caught up to him. "I don't think Xion's safe here anymore. You're not really gonna do what Xemnas says?"
"I have to, or else I'm not safe here either."
Roxas rolled his eyes – of course Axel was only thinking about himself. "Well...could you at least try not to hurt her this time?" He said forcefully. He couldn't seem to remember how to talk to Axel normally. He felt so emotional whenever Axel was around. It used to be a good thing.
Axel was calm when he responded, "That's up to her. Roxas... Xion is dangerous."
"Have you got all your strength back?"
This question surprised Roxas. He looked into Axel's eyes for a moment, wondering if maybe he was wrong about Axel not caring. How did Axel know that Roxas hadn't been doing well lately? It didn't' matter, Roxas told himself. "Not yet... "He replied, as he looked away. He felt suddenly exhausted. He didn't know how to feel. "How long have you known about her? You knew all this time, and kept it from me?"
Roxas hoped Axel would say something that would change his mind, reveal that maybe he wasn't as bad as Roxas thought he was, but Axel remained silent.
Why did he bother to keep performing on his missions? Roxas was sick of it. He was sick of the organization –of everything. Most of all, he was tired of spending so much of his time trying to figure out how Axel felt about him.
He wanted to get away. He could leave the organization if he wanted, even without Xion. She was probably fine, he thought. Hopefully.
Roxas hadn't slept at all. He hadn't moved from his bed, hadn't done anything except stare at the ceiling for hours until the morning came. He left his room, determined to do what he had planned. He had decided to do the most difficult thing first.
"Hey, Roxas," Axel said, looking up from where he had been standing against the wall. He seemed a little surprised. They stood there staring at each other for long moments. Roxas spoke.
"You… did you find Xion?" he said calmly. He knew the answer to this already, but everything he had meant to say had left his head the moment he saw Axel.
"Like it's gonna be that easy," Axel said, smiling slightly.
"I know..." Roxas said. Silence again.
"Have you been keeping the truth about her from me this whole time?" That was definitely not something he'd planned on saying.
Axel looked at him again, meaningfully. "Not the whole time."
"When did you find out?"
"Oh, I dunno," Axel sighed. "Somewhere along the way."
"Didn't get it memorized, huh?" Roxas asked. It came out as an accusation, although he had intended for the conversation to stay friendly. Or at least civil. "Axel... Who am I, really?" Axel looked uncomfortable. Roxas needed to hear him speak.
"I'm special, like Xion. I know that," he said, "But the Organization wanted me out of the picture."
"Yeah... They did," Axel replied.
"Is it because Xion copied my Keyblade and they didn't need me anymore?" Roxas had been thinking about her a lot during the night– her and Sora. Axel didn't reply "And you feel the same way..." Roxas said. It was the only conclusion that made sense to Roxas. Even if Axel was a good person, he didn't seem to care about Roxas – not when it counted.
"No, you've got that part wrong," Axel said, looking at him directly. "You'll always be my best friend."
Roxas couldn't believe that after everything, Axel could say that to him, even though he looked like he meant it. "Best friends are honest with each other. Who am I, Axel? Xemnas said me and Xion are connected to Sora. Who is that? Tell me," Roxas sighed, "Am I a puppet like Xion?"
"You really think the truth is going to make you feel better? It won't."
"What makes you so sure? I have a right to know who I am! How did I get here? Why am I special? Where did I learn to use the Keyblade? I deserve those answers!"
"Are you gonna tell me or not? Axel... Who am I?" Roxas could feel the only energy he had leaving his body. This wasn't going at all like he had planned.
"You've just gotta trust me, Roxas."
"I don't. I've told you before. I don't," Roxas said, turning to go. He had wanted things to end peacefully, but Axel obviously wasn't going to let that happen. Oh well.
"Hey, c'mon," Axel said, pulling on Roxas's arm and turning him around.
"If I can't get answers here, I'll get them somewhere else. Somebody knows where I came from. That'll be the person I trust," he said. It was true, but he hadn't planned on telling Axel that. Roxas was mad at himself for being this honest. Axel didn't deserve to know what he was feeling. He'd lost the right, but when Roxas was around him, he couldn't stop himself from telling the truth.
"Roxas, you're… you're leaving?" Axel said, looking at him. Roxas couldn't bear the expression on his face. He looked hurt, but Roxas didn't understand why. Why did he only appear to care about him now that he was leaving? It was stupid.
"I… Axel, I need to go."
"Roxas, what are you talking about? Where are you going to go? There's nothing for you out there. I've fought so hard to protect you. Don't you understand?" He tried to move closer to Roxas, but Roxas took a step back.
"I'm leaving, Axel… I'm… it's what I have to do."
"No, Roxas, no," he said forcefully.
"Axel, you… what is wrong with you?" A few weeks ago he would have been terrified to ask it, but given how their conversation was going, it didn't matter anymore. He was going to say what he really felt. "You have been playing with my head since I got here, and I'm sick of it! So I'm leaving.
"Roxas, no. I'll explain everything if you stay. I promise," Axel said, trying to move closer to him again. Roxas moved away.
"I'm not staying. Nothing you could say would change anything. I can't…" Roxas couldn't help it as the tears started to form in his eyes.
"Roxas," Axel said, putting his arms around him. Roxas was too confused to react. Axel kissed his forehead. Roxas allowed himself to temporarily slip back into their former relationship. He felt a moment of calm, but he couldn't let it last. He had to leave. He took a step away from Axel, and Axel didn't do anything to pull him back. He just looked at him. The look made Roxas wanted to cry harder, but he couldn't do it in front of Axel. He walked away. Never again, he thought.
Now for the second thing… Roxas figured it was his own fault that his relationship with Demyx had become so distant. Roxas had been avoiding Demyx for so long. He hadn't wanted to talk about Demyx's relationship with Axel or admit to Demyx, or himself, that his relationship with Axel was messed up. He realized that he should have. It might have changed things. Too late now.
He knocked on Demyx's door, heard him grunt something similar to "come in" and walked inside.
Demyx looked surprised to see him, but he smiled and gestured for Roxas to come sit on a chair next to his bed. Demyx plopped down on the bed itself. "How you been?" Demyx said, smiling at him.
Roxas smiled back. "Pretty good." Should he say something about how soon he'd be leaving? No. He decided Demyx didn't have to know. "So, what have you been up to?"
"Uh – wha? Oh yeah, just doing missions and stuff – the usual. Hey – how come I haven't seen you around much lately?"
"Erm… Axel…" How to explain… There were too many possible answers to that question.
"Ah," Demyx said, looking at the floor. "Well, uh…is everything okay?"
"Yeah. Er… well, it's over, I guess."
"Oh wow. Really?" Demyx didn't seem to know how to react. He scratched the back of his head.
"Yep." Roxas nodded.
"You know," Demyx said, fidgeting slightly, "I was always afraid to say this when you were together, but… I've always thought that… well…judging by my relationship with him… sorry but, he's kind of an asshole."
Roxas laughed. He couldn't help it. It felt good to hear someone else say it. He couldn't remember the last time he'd laughed.
"Well, I'm proud of you," Demyx said, looking at him seriously, "for ending it. I'm sure it wasn't easy, eh?"
Roxas wasn't sure how to respond. Demyx really seemed sympathize with him. He wondered what it would be like if he stayed and hung out with Demyx for a change. But he had to find out more about Sora and his past. He couldn't stay. He needed answers, and he wasn't going to find them here.
"Hey, uh… thanks for stopping by," Demyx said, seeming to sense that Roxas was ready to leave. "I'll let you get off to.. whatever you're doing. See you around okay? Let's talk more." He smiled.
"Yeah," Roxas responded, smiling back, but he felt slightly uncomfortable for lying. He stood up to leave.
Demyx stood up as well. "Hey Roxas… You look like you could use a hug." Roxas was surprised but happy as he felt Demyx's arms wrap around him. Being hugged by Demyx was a lot different than being hugged by Axel – Axel was so tiny and thin. Demyx had muscles and he used them to hold Roxas close. A moment of safety, Roxas thought, before I'm alone. Roxas felt exponentially better as Demyx stepped away, leaving his hands on Roxas's shoulders. "You're okay right?"
"Yes, yeah," Roxas said, smiling and nodding. "Yeah… I'm alright."
"Okay then," Demyx said, walking him to the door.
"You'll really come to see me more often, won't you?"
"Yeah," Roxas said. He thought Demyx might sense that something was off, but he didn't say anything. Roxas was thankful for it. Saying goodbye to Axel had been hard enough. He took one last glance through his things to make sure he wasn't forgetting anything. In the drawer by his bed, he found a popsicle stick with the word "winner" written on it. He'd completely forgotten about this. He had meant to give it to Axel a long time ago, before they had even kissed. Roxas sighed, and put it in his pocket, took one last look at his room, and walked out the door.
He went straight to Axel's room. After making sure that Axel was not there, he stepped inside. It was a bit messy, but that was Axel. Roxas left the popsicle stick sitting on the windowsill. Yeah, that would be good. Axel would see it, and know it was from him. Maybe it would make Axel feel a little better, if he even cared. Regardless, it made Roxas feel a little lighter – something for Axel to remember him by.
As he walked towards the headquarters' entrance, he saw Saix.
"We don't accept resignations," he said seriously.
Roxas really wasn't in the mood for this. He was too exhausted. "I've got nothing to say to you," he said, trying to walk away, but Saix blocked his path.
"Then let's keep this short and sweet." He pulled out his weapon.
Roxas summoned the Keyblade. He really didn't think he was a match for Saix. What if he died? No time to think. The battle began.
Roxas panted as he watched Saix stagger and fall on his knees, giving Roxas the chance to finally escape.
He ran towards the entrance of the organization – his exit, but when he got there, he didn't want to leave. He decided to take a break. It would be good to rest before the journey anyway. Who knew where he'd end up? Multiple times during his fight with Saix, he had feared for his life. It was a miracle that he had won. But in those moments, when he thought he might die, Roxas realized how alone he was. Who would care if he ceased to exist? Xion was gone already – obviously fine without him, Axel didn't care about anyone but himself, and Demyx…. Well, he could survive it – he was too carefree to let it really bother him. Everyone would be fine without him. Maybe in the real world, he could find someone who really cared about him.
With this thought, Roxas moved toward the Castle's exit, hoping no one else would try to stop him. He didn't think he could handle another fight.
Roxas had never been on the streets around the organization before. All his time there, and he'd never seen this. He stepped into the dark streets. Roxas felt uncomfortable as he walked away. Which direction should he go? He walked straight forward, praying that no one would notice him.
Then he heard a voice behind him. Axel.
"Your mind's made up?" he said. Roxas paused. He wasn't ready for this right now.
"Why did the Keyblade choose me? I have to know," he said, not turning back to see the expression on Axel's face. He didn't want to stand here defending himself to Axel. He had to go, and Axel couldn't talk him out of leaving.
"You can't turn on the Organization!" Roxas was shocked. Axel was yelling at him. He had never heard Axel get this angry before. It made Roxas more determined "You get on their bad side, and they'll destroy you!"
"No one would miss me," Roxas said simply, and he walked down the dark street, away from Axel and everything he knew.
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