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and it all falls apart

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The train trembles around them, a constant rattle that comforts Roxas as much as it nauseates him. He doesn't understand this feeling of familiarity that is almost nostalgia. He has never ridden a train before in his life, unless you count the tram that runs through town. Olette giggles next to him, throwing her hands up in surrender to something that Hayner has said. Their laughter fills the car and Roxas can't help but feel that he's missing something. Something important. He doesn't understand it, and when he turns to the empty seat next to him, he can almost catch a glimpse of red out of the corner of his eye.

Hayner says something to him, but he can't hear it over the static in his ears. He's missing something. The train around him is too silent, lacking something that should definitely be present. He's straining his ears for a laugh that he can't hear, squinting for a glimpse of something unknown to him. The train clatters over the tracks and he can't tell if he's shaking because of the train or if it's because of something else. When he tries to stretch his memories, he can't even remember his own parents, much less recall why he keeps catching glimpses of green eyes watching him in the dark.

A hand thumps down on his shoulder, and he turns, ready to smile and laugh with Hayner and the others like there isn't something wrong with him. Hayner isn't the one grinning down at him.

Axel looks exactly like he had when Roxas had left all those months ago. His hair just as red, his eyes just as green, his skin just as pale. The only difference is the way his smile cracks and static crackles across his lips.

"Damn, and here I thought I'd get a decent five minutes alone to chat with my old pal." Axel's grin turns rueful, and he slumps back into his seat, his skeletal frame folding in on itself until he's leaning against Roxas' back. It's uncomfortable, with Axel's spine digging indents into Roxas' flesh. Like this, Roxas can't really see him, he just catches the most fleeting of glimpses of bright red hair, the flash of pale skin. He tries to turn-

"Don't do that. Looking at me will give us even less time."

Axel is warm against his back and Roxas takes the time to lean back against him. To make sure that his presence is real, that this isn't some dream he's cooked up as he sleeps away the train ride. But Axel is very real. When Roxas casts a glance around him, he's shocked to realize that Axel is right. They are by themselves. The train still shakes and rattles around them, creaking its way towards the beach, but Hayner and the others are nowhere to be found. They are alone in the car, the moonlight shining through the windows their only company.

Axel laughs. "I can't believe that you even remember! Xemnas warned me before I even tried hacking into this whole cyber reality of yours that you might not."

The chuckles die off, and Roxas doesn't want to speak past the lump in his throat. Because he can't remember. He doesn't know this man. Has never seen him before in his life. But he clings to the image of Axel sitting pressed against him, because he may not remember how, but he does know this man. He knows he does. He recognizes everything about him, the scent of charred leather, the sound of laughs caught in the back of Axel's throat. He knows him the way he knows the blue-eyed boy who has been haunting his dreams.

They sit in silence for several moments, each drinking in the other's presence in the hopes that it's not a farce.

"I miss you Roxas."

The words are quiet and they fill the small car with tension. Roxas doesn't know why hearing those words brings tears to the corners of his eyes. His vision blurs, and for a moment it is sunset and Hayner is poking at his arm, trying to wake him. And then Axel is there, shaking him out of it, his eyes wide and green and so very desperate.

"Roxas, Roxas- please, just listen to me!" Axel's hands dig into his wrists, and Roxas just knows that bruises will form. His vision is fading in and out, and it's all he can do to just sit and focus on the pale face before his.

"Just listen! Come back with me, come back to the Organization! Xemnas has already said that you'll be forgiven! You don't have to do this, you don't owe him anything." Roxas trembles and thinks of the boy in his dreams. His name is on the tip of his tongue-

"Listen to me!" There's a sharp tingle of pain against his cheek and reality surges back into view for several seconds. Axel's image is blurred and distorted, static chasing its way across his features until he's nearly unrecognizably. "Please, come back with me. You have to! You don't owe this to Sora. He lost you, you don't have to go back to him. Dammit Namine!"

A fist slams against the window next to his head and the glass cracks- His vision is going dark. Axel slumps against him, and Roxas can barely feel him, his form is so hazy.

"Please," Axel whispers against the curve of his neck. Lips press against his. Soft and breakable and Roxas wants- God, he wants-

A hiss and a crackle. The lights go out.