Axel looked out the window, noticing how dark it had gotten. Lightening flashed in the distance through a wall of threatening clouds.
Little known fact among his friends, Axel hated storms.
“I should go now, guys!” he yelled over the music that Demyx had blaring.
“What?!” Roxas shouted back, nearly falling over as Demyx bumped him with his hip with way more force than necessary.
“I said I’m leaving!” The redhead grabbed his jacket and gestured to it for emphasis, slipping it on as well.
“Are you leaving?! No way dude, it’s only-” Demyx paused in his shouting to finally turn down the music. “It’s only 9. Why are you leaving?”
“I live way on the other side of town, Dem. And it’s about to storm.” Axel responded pointing out of the window.
As if on cue, the sound of thunder rumbled quietly, as if far away. Axel cursed under his breath. He hated driving in bad weather.
“Well okay. Bye-bye, Axel!” Demyx said, hugging the man.
“Be safe, Ax.” Roxas said with a smile.
Axel hugged Demyx back and said his goodbyes before grabbing his keys and heading out the door.
Rushing to his car, lightening struck and another clap of thunder boomed even closer, causing Axel to jump. He quickly looked back at the house to make sure the boys hadn’t seen his little freak out.
Breathing a sigh of relief that he didn’t have an audience, he slipped into his vehicle and started the engine.
He adjusted the rearview mirror, noticing what looked like someone standing in the middle of the road behind him. Axel turned around but saw nothing there.
The redhead did not like to think of himself as a chicken, but with a storm rolling in, Demyx and Roxas living relatively in the middle of the woods, and strange shadows popping up… he was getting the hell out of dodge.
He backed out of the driveway and zoomed down the street toward his home as fast as he could.
It was relatively quiet after Axel left. Roxas cleaned up the room they were in while Demyx stared out of the window.
“It’s like I see him sometimes,” the mohawked boy said quietly.
Roxas sighed and walked over, shutting the curtains, not daring to look outside. Sometimes in the dark, he swore he could see a figure there too. It gave him goose bumps.
If it was Zexion, he wasn’t the same anymore.
Demyx and Roxas had been roommates ever since Demyx’s closest friend, Zexion, disappeared without a trace. The police decided with no leads whatsoever, and so much time put into the investigation, that they would have to drop the search.
“Dem, it’s okay.” Roxas started the same speech all over again. “I’m sure he’s in a better pla-”
“No!” Demyx shouted, turning to him suddenly. “Don’t you dare. He is not dead. He’s not.” His voice caught with his last sentence and he turned his head.
“Dem, I’m-” Demyx threw his hands up before Roxas could finish and went into his room.
Roxas sighed, running a hand through his spiky hair. He pulled out his cellphone and flipped it open.
“April 5th…” he whispered to himself. So that’s why Demyx was even worse than usual. This would mark the 3rd year since the slate-haired boy had been missing.
Roxas sent a quick text to Axel reminding him to call when he got home, a habit they had formed since Zexion’s incident, and the dialed his twin brother’s number.
“Hey, Rox.” Sora answered.
“So, Demyx is like, really bad right now.” Roxas responded, getting to the point. There was a small pause filled with the sound of rustling.
“Oh man, it is almost the… anniversary. It’s still unbelievable isn’t it?” the brunette asked.
Here is where they differed. Sora and Demyx were the only two who couldn’t quite let go of the fact that Zexion was gone. It had been years, and they had to accept what had happened.
“Well, I guess it’s hard having someone there all the time and then they… aren’t,” Roxas said awkwardly. Hearing another voice in the background from Sora’s end, he added, “Tell Riku I said hi. Catch you later, So. Be safe.”
Roxas shut his phone and sat back, turning on the TV. A flash of lightening was followed by thunder and then total darkness and the sound of heavy rain hitting the windows.
The rain had picked up severely.
Axel wouldn’t have been able to see clearly through the dark and rain had he not already reached the wooded part of town. The water droplets were blocked by the canopy of trees that stretched out over the road.
He was nearly on the other side of the city by now. The woods lasted forever, almost like a tunnel between cities. Axel had nearly made it out when he saw someone walking along the street.
The redhead slammed on the brakes, causing his tires to screech and his car to swerve roughly. He gripped the steering wheel, turning it violently to stay in control. The person had stopped and blinked at the car, face unaffected by the fact that the car could have hit him.
His clothes were tattered, skin pale, hair damp. He was filthy. He just stood there hugging himself as Axel rolled down his car window, out of breath.
“Riku, come on. You can go in the morning, it’s storming.” Sora pleaded.
“Sora, I want a sandwich now.” was the response he got.
Damn was he a stubborn asshole.
“You’re a stubborn asshole, do you know that?” Sora said, voicing his thoughts. Riku scoffed.
“Be right back, So.” he said, grabbing his keys. Sora jumped up from the couch and grabbed his arm.
Riku hated when Sora got like this. It was horrible and it absolutely broke his heart. Sometimes, he couldn’t even go to work without Sora making a big fuss. The silver haired boy really thought his boyfriend and Demyx should go get professional help for post traumatic issues, but they wouldn’t listen.
“My god, Sora if you’re that scared, just go with me.” Riku said, not even attempting to get his boyfriend off of him.
“I told you, I can’t. I have to finish my term paper…” Sora trailed off.
Sora also refused to leave the house. Another thing he really thought he should get help with. Once Zexion went missing, he refused to go to school anymore until eventually he decided he was safe with Riku.
They got together around then. Riku had been the only reason that Sora moved out of his home and since he and Riku had different career paths in mind, Sora scheduled all of his classes to be online to avoid no having classes with Riku.
“Well, you’re wasting time now. You might as well.”
Sora didn’t answer, he only loosened his grip on Riku. The silverette gave him a quick kiss on the lips.
“I’ll be back Sora. I always come back. I’ll be fine, okay babe?” he said softly to reassure the smaller boy. Sora nodded.
“I’ll be okay… it’s just…” he stopped talking and hugged Riku. “You just go and hurry back okay?”
Riku kissed him again and left the house leaving Sora to curl up on the couch and wait for Riku to safely return.
“We should have made Axel stay. I’m worried now.” he said, setting a lit candle on the coffee `table near the couch where Roxas sat.
“I figured the storm was much further away.” the shorter boy responded. He looked at his phone for the seventh time in the last twenty minutes. “I’m calling again, he should have been home by now.”
The phone rand for awhile before, once again, going to voicemail. Roxas groaned.
“Axel! I’m about to send out a fucking search party if you do not call back or answer the phone!” he shouted, shutting his phone with force and throwing it next to him.
“No one else has heard from Axel either. Ah, this is just great.” Demyx said, pacing back and forth. This was truly wrecking his mind. If something happened to Axel too…
A knock at the door made them both jump, despite all the thunder.
“Who’s there?” Demyx called. There was no response for about a minute and then another knock. The two blondes looked at each other. Demyx repeated himself louder, still no answer.
“Maybe… Maybe it’s Axel?” Roxas suggested. Another knock.
“Yeah, maybe he’s trying to scare us,” Demyx agreed, “Real funny, Ax!”
He opened the door, seeing a man in all black with a small girl. He was wearing a coat, she, on the other hand was soaked.
She had long blonde hair and a thin, short, white gown and was shivering uncontrollably. Who knew how long they had been out in the cold?
“Who… are you?” Demyx questioned, closing the door a little for protection.
The man didn’t answer, he simply pushed the girl through the door. The girl shrieked as she fell to her knees, the man turned and ran off.
“Wha- hey! Get back here! You can’t just-”
The man was gone, lost in the falling rain and fog. Demyx turned to Roxas who stared at the girl with wide eyes. She was crying in front of him, her hair hung in her face as she was leaning forward slightly.
“Demyx, what the hell are we supposed to do?” he asked, clearly panicked.
“I don’t know!” Demyx yelled, also losing it. Too much was happening at once and he was not one for handling stress.
“Fucking hell! I… what?” Roxas couldn’t even form coherent sentences.
Neither one of them made to move towards the girl. They had no idea who she was or where she had come from. For all they knew, she’d attack if they moved.
After staring at her for awhile, Demyx decided she was safe enough. After all, she was crying helplessly on his floor. He leaned down in front of her.
“Hey…” he said quietly, “What’s your name?”
“Zexion… what… how…” Axel stumbled over his words.
Zexion only gave him a blank stare in response. He opened his mouth as if he were going to say something, but promptly closed it A gust of wind blew through the trees, causing him to hug himself tighter.
“Hey, hop in.” Axel said, unlocking the door. Zexion hesitated before slowly walking over and getting into the car. Oddly, the scent of freshly brewed tea wafted over the car, same old Zexion scent despite the fact that he was… well… dirty at the moment. And that was no doubt driving him insane.
He still didn’t speak as he sat there. Axel stared at him in concern, not really knowing what to say.
“I, uh, you probably want to get cleaned up. I can take you to Demyx’s house if you-”
Axel jumped. Even though the boy’s voice was raspy as if he hadn’t talked in forever, it scared Axel that he had even spoke at all. Zexion would never pass up the chance to see Demyx either, and he was so close to his house…
“O… kay. I mean, I guess you wouldn’t want Demyx to see you all… like this. Uh, I could take you to my house? So you could get all cleaned up?” Axel suggested. Talking to Zexion was so weird. They had never really communicated before and now here he was.
Zexion nodded in agreement, curling into his seat a little.
“All righty then,” the redhead said, starting the car back up. He kept an extra focused stare at the road.
It was all he could do to ignore the bad feeling in the pit of his stomach.
The girl looked up at him with pale periwinkle colored eyes but she didn’t speak. Roxas approached her with towels, Demyx hadn’t noticed he had left the room.
“Here. You must be freezing.” Roxas said, settling two big towels around her. She hugged the towels around herself and lowered her eyes to the ground.
“It’s okay if you don’t want to tell me your name,” Demyx said with a smile, being friendly to make the girl feel more at ease, “but do you know who that guy was? Why were you with him?”
The girl’s shoulder’s began to shake slightly, soon breaking into a tremor that rocked her entire body. She began to gasp rapidly and loudly, searching for air. Demyx began flailing and begging the girl to calm down, he never knew what to do in these situations.
“Demyx! What did you say to her?! You made her have a panic attack!” Roxas shouted, rushing to the girl’s side.
“I only asked who the guy was!” Demyx responded. He had stood up and backed himself against a wall.
“That’s a little too much for someone who doesn’t even want to tell you their name, you don’t even know what could have been going on!” Roxas responded bitterly. Demyx narrowed his eyes at the crouching blonde.
“Yeah, I know that. I was only trying to help.” he answered, adding a bite to it as well.
“Please… don’t… argue… ” the girl breathed out between hiccups. Neither boy had even noticed that she had begun to cry again.
“I’m sorry,” Roxas said softly. He touched her shoulder which cause the reaction of her flinching away. Roxas apologized again, cursing himself inwardly.
Demyx decided to start up the fireplace to provide warmth for the frail girl. It was awkward having her there and not even knowing her name. She was clearly uncomfortable and it made Demyx feel like a stranger in his own home.
He lit a fire and stood up straight, scratching his head.
“Are you hungry? Neither one of us can cook very well but I happen to specialize in cereal,” he said with a smile, trying to relieve some tension. The girl looked at him as if he just told her he had 20 billion dollars in his pocket.
“A-Are you sure?” she asked.
“Uh, yeah. I mean, if you don’t want cereal…”
She shook her head.
“No. I mean, yes please… if it isn’t too much trouble.”
Demyx waved her off.
“No problem. Really.” He flashed a smile and headed off to the kitchen with Roxas right behind him.
“Shouldn’t we call the police or something?” Roxas asked in a whisper. Demyx thought about it for a second while grabbing a bowl and spoon.
“Well, we don’t know if she has anywhere to go. And we don’t know what happened. I don’t want to just hand her off to the cops suddenly. She’s already so afraid.” he responded, pouring Coco Puffs into the bowl.
‘I hope she likes these,’ he thought.
“Dem, we don’t know who she is. Suppose someone is looking for her. We can’t just keep her here.” Roxas said. Demyx sighed.
“I say we should get her to talk first, then call.” he said, walking out of the kitchen. Roxas lingered for awhile. Demyx could be so stubborn at times, but once he’s mind was made up, there was no changing it.
He groaned in frustration and joined the other two in the living room.
The ride to Axel’s house was silent. Every once in awhile, Axel would glance over and see Zexion blinking slowly or just letting his head loll like he was exhausted.
Axel had asked the other boy if he was okay several times but he just nodded. The redhead trusted that Zexion would know if he was feeling well or not and let it go.
Soon, they pulled up into Axel’s driveway. He turned off the engine and removed the keys.
“Well, here we are.” Axel announced, opening his car door. Zexion watched him get out and take a few steps toward his home before following suit.
Axel unlocked his front door, and let Zexion through the door before entering.
“Something wrong?” he questioned, nodding toward Zexion’s arm. He noticed that he always had at least one limb wrapped around his midsection. Zexion looked down with his eyes searching to inspect himself. He looked back up at Axel and shook his head ‘no’.
Axel shrugged it off and offered Zexion a shower and some clothes, although they would be too big for the boy. While Zexion was gone, the redhead thought it would be best if he called Roxas back. The blonde was flipping out on him and he would deal with the Zexion situation a little later.
He called, but soon the phone went to voicemail.
“Okay…” he said aloud to no one. He tried calling again, then he called Demyx. He decided to just call their house phone that they never used. Someone had to answer then.
That phone also went straight to voicemail.
Axel ran a hand through his hair and sat down on his sofa. For all he knew, they really were out on a search for him.
He tried to ignore that they hadn’t answered the phone and turned on his TV. Flipping through the channels for awhile, he gave up and went into the kitchen. He scanned the fridge, noting that he definitely needed to go grocery shopping and pulling out a root beer. A loud thump was heard from upstairs right as he closed the refrigerator door.
“Zexion?” he called up the stairs. No response.
Axel headed up the stairs, seeing that his bedroom door was opened just as he last saw it. He walked in and looked around. No sign of Zexion.
“Zexion? You okay?” Axel tried again. Still nothing. He was starting to get worried.
He headed to the bathroom door and knocked. There was nothing but silence on the other side of the door. His heart started to pound in his chest as he pushed the door opened slightly.
He looked in the bathroom, eyes widening.
“……What the hell.”