Two days after his conversation with Demyx, Roxas decided to go back the clock tower again. Three days of avoiding Axel was enough, and he had a lot he wanted to ask his friend. He figured the topic of somebodies would be an easier and safer topic than kissing. He had been avoiding thinking about the latter subject and, to his relief, had been relatively successful.
The only thing Roxas feared was the possibility that Axel might be avoiding him again, but he thought he could be patient if it meant he would get answers eventually, and he was determined not to let Axel under his skin. He hoped Xion would be around today. He thought she might find the topic of somebodies interesting, especially since she didn't have memories of her past.
Roxas had already completed his mission for the day, and it was nearing sunset. He sat on the bell tower ledge with his sea salt ice cream, listening for his friends.
He got inexplicably nervous when he heard footsteps approaching. He thought he would be able to act normally. Now he wasn't sure.
He felt his pulse quicken. The footsteps clearly belonged to Axel. Roxas didn't turn around. He was panicking.
"Hey Roxas! Haven't seen you here in a while!"
Roxas was pleased to perceive some excitement paired with his name. It calmed him down a little. Axel seemed happy to see him. However, Roxas was still too nervous to look his friend in the eye.
He had thought he'd be emotionally prepared to see Axel again. He' d spent the last three days trying to prepare himself. It had seemed so easy in his head. Now his plans were abruptly forgotten as Axel fell down next to him on the bell tower ledge. Axel was staring at him curiously as Roxas blushed furiously. He was not handling this as well as Axel was. He had planned on being mature and nonchalant.
"You okay, kid?" Axel asked, still looking at him.
Although he was upset to hear himself called "kid," at least it meant Axel was treating him like normal. It was a vast improvement from his odd silence the weeks following their first kiss. Still, Roxas wasn't sure how to respond to normal anymore. He almost wished Axel were a bit more uneasy about this. He figured he should say something. Axel was still staring at him. Roxas looked at his feet.
"Listen," Axel said, as he turned his eyes toward the setting sun. "I know we have some things to talk about. Mostly just apologies, which you know I hate, so we'll make it as quick as possible. Got it memorized?" Axel said, smiling briefly in Roxas's direction. Roxas liked it when he used the phrase "got it memorized?" It reminded him of when he'd first joined the organization. Axel used to say it all the time.
"First of all," Axel said, "I want to apologize for what happened at that bar Demyx took you to. I should have warned you not to come. Organization parties are always lame. I mean, everyone gets drunk and then we all wake up the next morning from wherever we passed out the night before and no one can remember anything that happened." He smiled, "Then we go back to work and pretend like nothing went down… That's why I wanted to talk to you. I can't remember what happened after I taught you how to play pool the other night, but Demyx told me that I apparently…took you somewhere interesting?" Axel was looking at him.
"Oh no," Roxas thought. This was headed in a dangerous direction. He didn't respond. What was there to say? If Axel didn't remember, Roxas definitely wasn't going to remind him.
"Well, anyway," Axel said, looking away again, "Demyx wouldn't give me details, but he said I should try to avoid getting drunk around minors in the future. He said I'm a bad influence." Axel laughed. "That's nothing I didn't know already…. Anyway, sorry for whatever happened," he shrugged.
Roxas managed a quick glance in Axel's direction. He was genuinely convinced that Axel didn't remember anything that had happened that night, and he was surprised that he felt relieved. He thought that perhaps he should feel upset or indignant, but he didn't. That night was now his own special memory, uncorrupted by whatever Axel felt or didn't feel about it. Roxas liked having it to himself. Still, he was surprised that Axel hadn't asked him more about what had transpired. It wasn't like Axel not to be curious. But maybe Axel didn't want to know.
"So… are we cool then?" Axel asked, glancing at Roxas.
"Yep," Roxas said, and he almost meant it. Axel would never have to know what Roxas had asked when they had arrived back at headquarters. He wouldn't know that Roxas wanted them to be that way. This made things that much less complicated. As far as Axel was concerned, they'd just shared one kiss, and it had never been repeated.
"I… also wanted to ask you about something else…."
What more was there to ask? The whole thing was settled as far as Roxas was concerned.
"Well, that day at the bell tower when we were alone – if you remember – um, did you understand that we were just experimenting? I mean, I was just trying to show you what a kiss was. I didn't mean to give you the wrong impression. Like, kissing isn't the kind of thing you can explain. You have to show someone if they're going to get it. But don't worry. It doesn't mean we're a couple or anything… I just don't want you to be nervous about it," he shrugged as he stood up on the ledge. "I know how easily you get confused, but you don't have to worry about this. I promise it won't happen again." He was silent now. So was Roxas. He had no idea how to respond.
Axel broke the silence. "So... where do you think Xion is?"
Roxas didn't know where she was, but he hoped she'd show up soon so he didn't have to stay there alone with Axel.
That night as he lay in bed, Roxas thought of how easy Axel had just made everything. All the complications from the past month were gone. Roxas could forget about them forever, and it wouldn't make a difference. Now he could talk to Axel about anything he wanted. Well, anything except kissing or that night at the bar. Those subjects were forever off limits, and Roxas would certainly never bring them up again.
And even though he realized this was a good thing because now he didn't have to worry about their relationship or why Axel had ignored him for that week or why Axel had kissed him in the first place, Roxas knew this didn't solve anything. He would still spend his nights dreaming about kissing Axel and his days trying to forget.