A Hot Date
"Where did you get these?" Roxas asked, looking at the messily folded pile of clothing Axel had placed on his bed.
"I, uh, borrowed them from some middle school kid in Twilight Town. Trust me, he won't miss them," Axel replied as he leaned against the wall in Roxas's room.
"What's middle school?" Roxas asked. It sounded kind of familiar.
"The most awkward time in a person's life, Roxas. You're lucky you can't remember it," he shivered in fake (or perhaps) genuine disgust. There was silence for a moment. "Anyway...uh… I'll just leave and you can try those on…"
As Axel exited the room, Roxas began to examine the contents of the pile. So far Axel's outfit looked infinitely more promising than Demyx's had. Roxas was dressed five minutes later but remembered that he didn't have a mirror in his room. Even without one, he could tell the clothes he was wearing fit him well. He especially liked his shoes. They were apparently called "converses." He wasn't sure what that meant, but he liked the way they looked. Axel had also given him jeans similar to Demyx's and a light blue t-shirt.
He really hoped Axel would like it. It was kind of exciting to wear something Axel thought would be attractive on him. He just hoped Axel liked it. He was standing, waiting nervously, when Axel knocked on the door briefly and walked in.
"Well, let's see it." Axel looked him over once and smiled. "I like it. A definite improvement from what Demyx gave you. I'm glad the shoes fit you. I thought they were really cool."
This made Roxas blush. The shoes were Axel's favorite part too. He felt a bit silly for being so thrilled about something as trivial as liking the same shoes, but he was.
"Plus, that shirt matches your eyes," Axel smiled and then looked a little embarrassed. Roxas wondered if that's why he had chosen it. "Well, let's get going. You ready?"
Roxas nodded. Axel opened a portal and they stepped into the same dark bar. Roxas saw the table where Demyx had fallen asleep on him and Axel had later seduced him. It was weird to be back with a sober Axel, no Demyx, and still no clue how to behave. He decided it would be safest to follow Axel's lead.
Axel led him to the pool room which was already alive with activity and hazy with smoke. The whole organization was there except for Xemnas and Xion, Roxas noticed, but that was normal. Xemnas was never around except during meetings (Roxas didn't even remember meeting him), and Xion was still as much of an outcast as ever. Roxas felt bad for her sometimes. He'd been an outcast before Axel and Demyx had befriended him, and he sometimes wanted to include her in things like this, but he couldn't deny that he preferred having Axel's attention solely to himself.
Axel entered the pool room to shouts of greeting, friendly handshakes, and general indications of his popularity. No one noticed Roxas except for Demyx who nudged him playfully.
"Good for you, Roxas. Way to snag yourself a hot date! It seems like things are looking up for you and Axel since last we spoke, eh?" he said suggestively.
Roxas just blushed and smiled. He was gratified to hear this even though he realized it probably wasn't true. No one else seemed to think it was meaningful that he had arrived with Axel. No one had even noticed him. Still, he appreciated Demyx's encouragement. It made him feel slightly more at ease. Thoughts of the past in which Axel rejected and ignored him were not entirely forgotten, but Roxas felt like tonight would be better.
"Hey Axel," Xigbar yelled from a pool table across the room, "Get over here and help me beat Larxene! She's been murdering me all night, and I think you're the only one who can defeat her," he smiled, in a ruggedly good-natured way, at Larxene. She offered a close-lipped, but acceptably warm, smile back. It seemed like he was the only one who didn't constantly piss her off.
Axel walked over to where Xigbar was standing. Roxas followed. "Sorry Xig! I promised Roxas I'd help him improve his game. Trust me, he needs it."
"Well why don't the two of you join us? Me and Larxene vs. you and Roxas? It should be a fair match." Roxas didn't think it was fair at all.
"Uhmm… well, Roxas," Axel responded, "Is that okay with you? I mean, I don't want to force you into anything…"
Since when was Axel considerate? This seemed new for him. Roxas really didn't want to play pool at all, and he honestly couldn't remember much about Axel's last lesson. He'd been far too preoccupied thinking about Axel himself. He feared this time would be the same. However, he really didn't want to let Axel down, and he knew how much Axel loved a good competition.
He managed a half-hearted smile. "Sure. Let's play."
Roxas felt nervous around Axel generally. With the added pressure of helping him win while trying not to look completely incompetent in front the majority of his co-workers, Roxas was feeling exceptionally anxious. The fact that most of them had made bets on the game, and were thus watching with extreme interest, didn't help.
Luckily, Axel did his part to make Roxas feel at ease. He offered advice while Larxene and Xigbar were shooting and joked about Roxas's admittedly awful skills, which somehow helped him feel better. He liked it when his faults were out in the open. However, whenever Roxas actually had to play, the pressure, combined with his lack of talent, made him fail miserably.
Fortunately, Axel was talented enough to pick up his slack, and they ended up only barely losing. Roxas was just glad the game was over. Although he had done quite badly, he truly could have done worse, and Axel didn't seem too upset over the loss.
Roxas thought things were still going surprisingly well. Although nothing had happened to indicate that Axel felt anything more than friendship towards him, he was still hopeful. It was enough for now.
When Demyx yelled "shots" from the next room –creating another sense of déjà vu for Roxas- Axel raised an eyebrow and looked at him. "Have you ever had a drink before?"
Roxas figured it was safe to assume he meant an alcoholic drink and answered honestly. "No," he said, shaking his head slowly. He was afraid Axel would ask him if he wanted one. He didn't, and he wasn't sure how to say it.
"It's okay," Axel smiled. He must have read Roxas's expression, and Roxas was grateful for it. "I promised not to drink this time, remember? Let's go find somewhere to sit…" He started looking around.
Axel chose a couch in a room linked to the one they had just played pool in. Roxas sat down and examined Axel, slouching on the other end of the couch, for the first time that night.
He looked as handsome as ever. He always seemed so comfortable and at ease. It made everything he did look that much sexier. Roxas froze when Axel noticed him staring. Should he pretend like he hadn't been? He decided to take a look around the room rather than acknowledging what he'd been up to. He realized they were alone.
"Well, that was fun," Axel said, sighing as he leaned his elbow on the armrest. "Sorry kid, but you still aren't very good. You're going to have to step it up if you want me to be on my team again."
Roxas smiled but couldn't think of anything else to say.
"Do you want to get out of here?" Axel asked, looking directly at him.
Roxas really, truly did. He nodded. He was nervous.
Axel stood up and smiled in a self-satisfied and playful way. "Well, let's go," he said as he opened a portal and gestured for Roxas to enter.
Roxas liked the feeling of living in the moment. He stepped through the portal and into a world of lights.