Roxas didn’t go on his mission today. I know this because Xigbar just popped into the world I was assigned to this morning. He came out of his portal smirking, and he laughed when he told me. He’s still laughing.
“And why is it you’re still here?” I ask, trying to keep my eyes focused on the task of investigating this new world. “You’ve done your good deed for the day.”
He can taste my anger; the desperation. He feeds off of it because it’s not supposed to be here in the first place. It is a feast; a surplus.
“Hey, now,” he replies, “I was assigned this world, too. So let’s get to it, shall we?” He licks his lips mockingly, and my eyes blur for a second, like in that moment, I left my body, and in some other universe, I killed him. I murdered him in cold blood for screwing with me. About Roxas, of all people. I breathe and blink a few times to focus my vision back on reality, and the look on his face almost feigns confusion. It snaps back into that damn grin before long.
I smile. I show my teeth.
Why? I asked myself this all day. What’s wrong with Roxas? What if he can’t use the keyblade anymore? What if I can’t make up another lie? What if I can’t save him? What if he’s hurt?
When I finally RTC after a long, long day with Xigbar intentionally messing with me (“Oopsie daisy, forgot something back that way” or “Why don’t you check out this speck of dirt; it looks pretty suspicious, right? Oh, and that one over there”), Saix catches me in the hallway. I haven’t been running, but it’s been close; more like awkwardly dragging myself down the halls at an inhuman speed. My body is aching and my muscles are screaming at me every time I inhale.
Saix is talking. I swear he’s speaking so quickly on purpose; his lips are moving, but the sounds coming out are jumbled. I don’t know if he’s in on the whole “piss off Axel day,” but the way he’s trying to hide his sneer, I can only assume. This is the most I’ve heard him talk in years, if these can even count as words. He mentions “Xemnas” at some point, and I’m nodding my head, trying to block it out. I consider my odds of barreling past him, but then he breaks his monotonous spell: he says something about Roxas. I don’t even know what it is; I just hear the name, my eyes snap up, and I’ve decided I’m done. I’m done with their bullshit. What does everyone have against Roxas and I being friends, anyways? What’s so wrong with what we have now; with making the most out of what we’ve been given? Saix has given me crap about Xion before, but it’s never been like this. He’s never been this determined to keep us apart; to delay us minutes — moments — of time together. What’s so different about Roxas?
When I think about our lives before all of this, I realize I already know.
I push past him before I can think anymore. It’s almost too easy, but then he calls out to me: “Lea.”
I want to scream at him. He’s always using my “true name” to try to guilt me. I want to ask him why, after everything that’s happened, he still thinks it means anything to me. But he knows I still remember. Everything.
“Isa,” I retort, just as coldly.
Even if Luxord is waiting around the corner with his deck of cards, ready to inflict a flurry of paper cuts across my face, I’m done.
By the time I’ve arrived at Roxas’ door, I have devised a plan: the next time anyone tries to keep me from seeing Roxas or Xion like this, I’ll hurl myself into a portal. I really will. I don’t care what world I end up in. Then, poof, I’ll come back as close as I can to where they are.
I knock carefully. Three times, and then I push open the door. Roxas is curled up on his bed, his face buried in his pillows. I exhale the breath I’ve been holding all day. Peeling off one of my gloves, I place my fingers against his neck; the skin is warm. Too warm. I suck in another one of those long, long breaths.
In his sleep, he sniffs loudly; almost embarrassingly. If he’d been awake, I would have teased him about it. But now the pieces are starting to fit together.
Roxas has never been able to live like the rest of the organization. He’s always asking questions; wanting to know more. He’s always been different, and that’s what I like about him the most, but it’s also been the most dangerous.
This is too much for him. He probably had another one of his dreams. Maybe he saw — felt — something painful. Saix probably chewed him out this morning when he said he wasn’t feeling well, too.
And I wasn’t there.
The bed is so big, his body barely covers a fraction of it. I ease myself onto it slowly, trying not to wake him. I’m here now, and I want to be close to him.
“I made a promise, didn’t I?” I whisper, running my hand through his hair. He’d never let me do this while he was awake.
I wasn’t here then, but I’m here now. And maybe one day he’ll truly need me, and I’ll be too late; I’ll come back and it’ll be like he had never been here at all. His door will be locked, and everyone will say Xion has always been our thirteenth member. But I will find him. No matter what.
At some point, everything I thought I knew changed. There is my life before Roxas, and there is my life with Roxas.
In his deep sleep, he moves. He breathes out, pushing his face closer to his pillow. I lie against him; at first, almost falling off the bed. But I crave the sensations he gives me, and the sensations I give him. I creep in closer, closer, until my chest is pressed against his back. My arm wraps around him, searching for one of the hands clutching at his pillow. One by one, I pry his fingers off and entwine them with my own.
My back is facing the door. Anyone who wants to hurt him will have to deal with me, first.
I kiss the nape of his neck; his hair tickles my face. Brushing it aside, I kiss the spot right beneath his ear. A soft sound vibrates through his throat and against my lips.
I murmur, “You’re beautiful. You’re so… beautiful.”
There’s both too much to say, and nothing at all. I hum to some of the thoughts in my head. I even verbalize a few. If he dreams of this, I think that’d be okay. I think it’d be beautiful, like the sky at sunset, or any number of the worlds we’ve seen together.
“You remember when we met, right? I used to ask myself why. Why me?” I have to laugh, just a little. “Yeah, you can say it: I was an ass. I didn’t know any better. I’m still not that ‘good,’ but ‘good’ is subjective, don’t you think?” Pausing, I look across his face. His eyelids flutter, so softly I almost miss it. “But, I wanna be ‘good.’ To you. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Just you.” I kiss his neck again and move my hand down the curve of his hip. “Nothing makes sense. Yet. It’s not supposed to. I just wanted you to know… it’s okay to be scared.”
One of Roxas’ hands darts out to catch mine, keeping it from its downward trail. Damn. I turn to face him, ready to tease him about it, but then I see his eyes. They’re wet and glossy, and it’s like I’ve been punched in the stomach. He grips my face hard and brings me closer to him; on him, over him. His mouth opens against mine, and his tongue caresses my own; soft and yet strange. I don’t think I’ll ever grow used to this kind of intimacy.
He kisses me, over and over and over, and his desperation swallows me whole. For once, it’s not just mine. It’s ours.