Roxas was getting a little bit annoyed with himself for thinking of Axel as often as he did. It would help if he thought he could talk to someone about what had happened, but Xion, although she was a good friend, had troubles of her own to deal with. Plus, Roxas didn't know if he felt comfortable talking to her about something so personal. Normally, he would ask Axel for advice, but obviously that wasn't an option anymore. Even if he had wanted to broach the subject, it would have been impossible due to Axel's strong attempts to make sure that the two of them were never alone together.
Some days, Roxas would hear Axel's footsteps coming from around the corner and quickly recede as soon as Axel found out that he was alone. Even when Xion was around, which wasn't often, there was no guarantee that Axel would show up.
When he did, he would sometimes joke with them- just like old times- but more often he would just stare quietly at the sunset and leave before Roxas or Xion had even finished their sea salt ice cream. It wasn't that things were necessarily awkward, they just weren't like they used to be. Everyone, Roxas included, was a lot quieter. He hadn't realized how much he and Xion had relied on Axel to keep their conversations going.
After days like these, Roxas would lay in bed remembering the moment that had caused this change and wondering if he would ever experience something like it again. Roxas found that even when he tried to suppress the memory of their kiss, he would end up re-experiencing it in his dreams, and he came to the conclusion that it was entirely impossible to stop thinking about Axel.
That was why when Demyx approached him about coming to one of the organization's "nights out," Roxas had mixed feelings. Would Axel avoid coming if Roxas went? Even though he knew it would be painful to be ignored by Axel in yet another social setting, he wanted to go. He had this stupid (he acknowledged it himself) hope that something good might happen between them. He knew he would be content with just a friendly conversation after this week of rarely broken silence, but he also kept the hope that they might share another intimate moment together, and he couldn't stop thinking about it.
It was a few hours before Demyx was supposed to take him to meet up with the other organization members, and Roxas, embarrassed, realized he didn't have anything to wear. When Demyx popped through the door a few minutes later, he was relieved.
"What do I wear?"
"Something casual? Jeans and a t-shirt, maybe?" Roxas just continued staring at him. "Okay, I'll find you something. What kind of clothes do you usually wear?"
"I don't know…. I never wear anything but those black cloaks they put in my closet," Roxas said, pointing to where his robes hung neatly.
"Seriously?" Demyx said, looking at him in surprise.
Roxas nodded. He didn't know if he was supposed to be embarrassed or not so he said something he hoped would clarify the situation: "You realize I haven't been outside this place, right? Ever."
"Oh right," Demyx said, looking a little less confused and a bit more ready for action, "Well then…let's find you something!" and he led the way to his room.
After a ridiculously tiring process in which Demyx made Roxas try on almost everything in his closet (for his own amusement, Roxas was sure), he put him in some plain jeans and a t-shirt with what Demyx told him was a "dinosaur" on it. Not having a mirror or any knowledge of fashion, Roxas realized he was totally at the mercy of his friend.
"Well, let's go!" Demyx opened up a portal, and Roxas found himself in a dingy room that Demyx explained to him was a bar.
"It's where you get drunk," Demyx explained. Roxas had no idea what drunk meant until Demyx mentioned the time he'd broken into Roxas's room at three in the morning, refused to leave, and fell asleep in his closet. "You see, I did that because I was drunk," he explained. So drunk meant something akin to totally idiotic, Roxas reasoned, and he was fairly familiar with idiotic after having known Demyx for so long.
Demyx led him to a table near a discolored window which Roxas was entirely unable to see out of. When Demyx finally left him, mumbling something about "tequila," Roxas decided to do some exploring. He could see a doorway that led to another room and he heard lots of noise coming from it. He wanted to see if perhaps the rest of the Organization was there, especially Axel, which he was annoyed at himself for admitting.
He was greeted by a weird smell which he recognized as cigarette smoke from the times he'd gone on missions with Xigbar. He began surveying the room and found it wasn't hard to spot who he was looking for. There he was, holding some long thin pole which Roxas would later find out, from Axel himself, was called a cue. He was laughing, probably winning at whatever game he was playing (like he did at everything), and, as of yet, completely oblivious to Roxas's presence in the room. It was moments like these when Roxas really felt Axel was simply too cool to hang out with someone as untalented and unsociable as him.
He didn't have much time to ponder the subject however because Axel had just noticed him and whatever Axel noticed usually happened to get the attention of everyone else. Roxas soon found that all the members of the organization were staring at him. Axel, knowing he had drawn the room's attention to Roxas, would also know he had to say something, Roxas reasoned, and he wondered what it would be.
And then came the magic words. "What are you wearing?!" Axel asked, with a face showing polite confusion. Although it hadn't been exactly what Roxas was expecting, Axel was smiling at him, and it made him feel better than he had all week.
Roxas smiled back, unsure exactly how to react. "Demyx gave them to me?" He said, hoping that would suffice.
Axel laughed, "Well, that explains it. Come here," he said in a cheerful tone. Roxas walked over, delirious that he was being spoken to by the person he'd been ignored by, and yet had still thought about, all week. "Have you ever played pool?"
"I'm going to teach you." Roxas noticed that everyone had gone back to what they were doing: talking, laughing, or playing the game Axel had just described. Axel led him to an empty pool table. They were still in the same room as everyone else, but Roxas felt like they were alone, and he was excited to finally have Axel's unbroken attention.
"Here, take this," he said, and Axel handed him a cue and explained the rules of pool to him. The only parts of the lesson that Roxas remembered were the ones where Axel had to touch his hand to fix the way he was holding something or re-position him at the table. He wasn't sure if it was just wishful thinking, but he thought Axel's hand lingered a bit longer than necessary at times, and when he removed his hand from Roxas's, he seemed reluctant.
"So, that's pool for you," Axel said and, exhibiting his most charming smile. Axel ran his hand through the back of his long spiked hair in the way that meant he was unsure what to do next (a mannerism Roxas adored). He almost seemed shy now that he no longer had the pretense of teaching Roxas something, and they stood awkwardly for a second, both unsure what to do, until Demyx shouted something about free shots from the other room, and Axel, along with all the others, quickly followed the sound of his voice.
Roxas stood alone looking at the pool table and wondering how that moment had happened. Why was Axel so afraid of him sometimes, but now perfectly okay with speaking to him one-on-one? Roxas didn't understand it, and it made him angry despite the annoying reality that he was still happy they had talked.
After Axel left, Roxas resigned himself to sitting at a table alone and watching everyone drink alcohol out of tiny glasses (shot glasses, he would later learn). After each person drank, everyone else would cheer wildly as if drinking out of a tiny glass was quite a commendable achievement. Roxas found it rather boring. He observed Larxene and Marluxia from his place at the table. They had remained in the pool room and were now engaging in the act of kissing which Roxas so wanted to perform again with Axel. It was funny to watch it happening to someone else. He wondered if they were feeling what he had felt.
However, Demyx interrupted his thoughts when he came walking (if you could call his sloshy swagger walking) over to Roxas's table and started speaking incoherently about some girl from Twilight Town who he'd apparently done many things with, none of which Roxas was interested in hearing about. He kept turning his attention to Axel who it appeared had everyone else's attention as well. He had taken a lot of shots, Roxas had noticed, and he was laughing and cheering as much as anyone.
It was about an hour later, Roxas estimated, when Demyx finally stopped talking and fell asleep on his shoulder. Roxas, feeling quite unsatisfied with how the night had turned out so far, remained at the table and played with a coin he'd found in Demyx's pocket.
Suddenly he felt the presence of someone behind him. He saw a hint of red and knew who it must be. He hadn't realized it until now, but almost everyone had left the bar and were either playing pool in the other room or gone.
"Want to make a bet?" Axel whispered in Roxas's ear, making a chill run down his spine. He could smell something on Axel's breath and he didn't seem to be speaking as coherently as he normally did. Roxas wasn't sure what to say. He was too perplexed by the situation to respond.
Axel continued, still whispering in his ear suggestively , "If you flip that coin and it lands on heads, I'm going to take you somewhere, okay?"
"What if it lands on tails?"
Axel let out a quick breath that Roxas thought would have been a laugh, and said, still in that enticingly flirtatious whisper, "That settles it, we're going." And in seconds Roxas was pulled off his chair and into some place new.
Roxas was in what he assumed was someone's home. There was a beaten up sofa and a fireplace and books. The place was kind of messy, and it smelled musty and kind of old, but Roxas liked it. "Where are we?"
"The home of my Somebody…" Axel said, appraising the room and apparently approving highly of it. "He has a wife, you know. She's pregnant. He's a really good guy…." Axel said moving around the room and examining the books on the shelves. "I think I must be his exact opposite or something, like his evil twin, even though I have all his memories. He's a much better person than me…."
Axel had never spoken about his Somebody in much detail before, but Roxas had always been curious to know more about him. This brought up hundreds of new questions, not only about Axel, but about himself. What did the home of Roxas's somebody look like?
"Roxas," Axel said, calling his attention from across the room. He turned around to find Axel staring at him in a very curious way that he found he rather liked even if he didn't know what it meant. And soon Axel had crossed the rooms and his hands were on Roxas's face and their lips were touching again.
His drunkenness had surprisingly, Roxas thought, not completely inhibited his kissing abilities. Just when Roxas was really beginning to enjoy what they were doing, Axel broke away suddenly, and took his hand. "Come with me," he said and led Roxas down a hallway and into a bedroom.
Roxas wasn't sure what he was feeling. He was apprehensive about this whole situation, and he kept wondering what would happen if the people who lived in the house came back. However, when Axel went to close the door, Roxas got distracted from his worries, noticing for the first time what Axel was wearing - a plaid flannel shirt (perhaps some shade of purple – it was hard to tell in the dark) and skinny blue jeans. Roxas couldn't believe how attractive Axel looked in these clothes. He was certain that Demyx's clothes did not fit him nearly as well, and he was aware, once again, of how much older and more sophisticated Axel was than him.
Roxas was leaning against the bed, unsure what to do, until Axel walked up to him and began kissing his neck. He slowly pushed Roxas onto the bed until he was laying down with Axel on top of him. He couldn't describe how he felt, but he was positive that he liked it. Axel was just putting his hand under Roxas's shirt when a mechanical noise came from somewhere in the house and Roxas heard a door open.
"Time to go," Axel said, removing himself from Roxas's neck and smiling mischievously, like he always did when he was breaking rules. He quickly pulled Roxas off the bed and opened a portal that led them back to a hallway in the organization's headquarters.
Roxas was definitely unsure of what had just occurred, and he was relieved when Axel spoke first.
"So…uh…" Axel said smiling and running his hand through his hair in the sexiest way possible, "Did you enjoy that?"
Roxas couldn't believe how light-hearted and flirtatious Axel was behaving. It was much different than how he'd reacted the last time they'd kissed and he thought perhaps it was because he was drunk.
"Uh yeah, That was interesting," he said, nodding slightly and knowing how lame it sounded – he could never get his words right around Axel.
"I'm glad to hear it," Axel said smirking, and he turned around to leave as if that had settled everything, but Roxas just couldn't help it. He had to ask Axel the question that he'd been wondering about all week.
"Axel!" Axel turned to face him. "Does this mean that we're that way now?"
"What way?" Axel asked, even though Roxas was pretty sure he knew what he was referring to.
"The way that means we're more than friends."
Axel, as mischievous as ever, performed one of his adorable half smiles. "Goodnight Roxas," he said, and he turned around and walked down the hallway and around the corner to his room, leaving Roxas alone once again. But even though he tried to hate Axel for being so careless and nonchalant, he couldn't deny that it was at least progress.