The girl – Naminé – woke up minutes before we pulled into the driveway. She was confused and scared, but Demyx helped cheer her up a bit.
Luxord turned the van off while everyone climbed out. I stumbled slightly, a little lightheaded from exhaustion, and Axel grabbed my shoulders to study me. I thanked him quietly, my voice barely above a whisper. A second later, there was a quiet “oof” from behind me. Axel and I turned to see Naminé picking herself up off the ground – she had collapsed when she had tried to climb out of the back of the van.
“I – I feel sick…” My eyes widened at her words, and I rushed forwards, Axel by my side, and helped her to the line of bushes along the edge of the driveway just in time for her to hurl. I caught a quick glimpse, and had to fight back getting sick myself as I noticed the contents of her stomach. Blood, and what appeared to be flesh. I looked away from the sight, and I saw Axel grimace and begin to look a little green out of the corner of my eye.
When she was done, she wiped her mouth, turning to me and Axel. “You didn’t have to help me, but thank you.”
Axel, who was still looking a little green, shook his head. “Come on – decide whether you’re grateful or not, kid.” Although I knew he was trying to be humorous, I could hear a bit of an edge to his voice – though it was probably because he had just watched someone puke up another person’s guts rather than annoyance. Of course, Naminé had just met Axel, and didn’t seem able to discern this, as her eyes widened in fear. “S-sorry!” She squeaked.
I placed my hand on her shoulder. “It’s fine. He’s not angry, just a bit… queasy,” I explained, and she visibly relaxed.
“Come on. She needs to meet Xemnas,” Luxord said, walking up behind us. I helped Naminé stand, and we all made our way to the door. When we got inside, she seemed confused. “Your boss lives here?”
I chuckled, and indulged her since she was going down with us anyways. “The compound’s underneath the house.” I said as we made our way to the trapdoor in the basement. “And yeah, I understand,” I continued, smiling at her. “I was confused at first too. To be honest, I still am.”
Naminé smiled faintly, clutching at my arm. By the time we got to the basement, Luxord had already opened the trapdoor, and he, Demyx and Zexion had disappeared into the darkness below. Only Axel stood waiting for us. A frown settled on his face when he saw how Naminé clung to me. Quickly turning his back to us, he jumped down, ignoring the ladder. My eyebrows drew together at the thought of what could have made him so distant to just leave me behind like that.
Shaking my head, I led Naminé to the edge of the trapdoor, then started down, making sure she followed me.
A few rungs down, now in complete darkness, one of Naminé’s sandals slipped on the bar, and I reached a hand up to steady her. “Are you all right?” I asked. She was shaking.
I nodded, then hastily removed my hand when I realized it had settled on her hip in my rush to make sure she didn’t fall. Quickly climbing down the rest of the way, I stepped back to allow Naminé some room.
Demyx bounded up to her the moment her second foot hit the ground. “Come on, Nami!” He grabbed her arm lightly, and pulled her down the hall. I shook my head, chuckling as I followed behind.
Clack, clack, clack..
I turned my head towards the noise, recognising the sound of shoes hitting the concrete floor. Axel stopped hehind me, and I looked up at him. “What’s wrong?” I asked.
He looked at me oddly, like he wanted to say something, then a guarded look settled over his featured. Without answering my question, he moved around me and followed after Demyx and Naminé. Confused, I followed behind. What was that all about?
I still hadn’t figured out what the silent treatment was all about by the time I reached Xemnas’ office, so I gave up for the time being. I would deal with it later.
I entered the room to Luxord explaining Naminé’s story to Xemnas, with the girl filling in the blanks.
“My parents were trying to do a protection circle, but something went wrong – a demon showed up, and… I can’t remember anything but bits and pieces, but I think it possessed me and killed Mom and Dad. Any every time someone came onto our property that I know of, it massacred them. I remember becoming conscious during a fight, but then everything blacked out again, and I woke up in the van.” She had started shaking when she mentioned her parent’s deaths, and I wanted to go and comfort her, but I stayed put out of fear of attracting Xemnas’ attention.
“You’re a witch, like your parents, I presume?” Xemnas’ voice still had that heavy quality, one that made my stomach shrink in fear. Naminé nodded “Then I’ll put you under Marluxia’s keep.” He paused. “Luxord, take the girl to Marluxia and get them aquainted.”
Luxord nodded, and everyone filed out of the room. Naminé grabbed my arm as she passed me, and pressed up against me, still shivering in fright. “That man… that’s your boss?” I nodded.
“He’s scary.” I nodded again.
“Yeah, I know.”
She paused. “Do you know this ‘Marluxia’?” I hesitated before speaking. I didn’t really know what Marluxia was like, due to the fact that he pretty much hated me for beating up his girlfriend. “Um… I don’t really… He doesn’t really like me all that much, but that’s just circumstantial. I don’t think he’ll dislike you.” Naminé looked up at me with wide blue eyes and I regretted my words to the scared blonde. “Relax,” I said hurriedly. “You’ll be fine.”
Luxord came up to us. “Seems like the girl’s taken a liking to you, eh, Roxas?”
I looked down at the girl pressed up against me, her small delicate hands on my chest. “I guess.” At my words, Naminé looked up at me, a light pink dusting her cheeks.
I felt my own cheeks heat up. Please don’t tell me the girl’s got a crush on me…
I heard Axel clear his throat from off to the side, and Naminé backed away from me reluctantly, moving to follow Luxord to Marluxia’s room.
“Let’s go.” Axel’s words were clipped, and something was obviously bothering him as he walked away from me, towards his room. I followed silent, my shoes barely making a sound on the floor.
Axel still didn’t make any move to open up to me when we had reached his room, and just walked straight to the closed, taking off his coat as he went. I stepped into the room and followed suit, sliding my own coat off, folding it and placing it by the foot of the bed where my hoodie sat. I switched my ripped t-shirt for a new one before I climbed into the bed, muscles aching. I heard Axel settle down in the same spot he had slept last night, sitting with his back against the wall. I laid there for almost an hour trying to sleep, but couldn’t, despite how tired I was.
Something was off. I was freezing. I had multiple blankets over me, and was curled up in a ball, but I was still cold. Which really didn’t make sense. I mean, how could I be cold in the room of someone who controlled fire? If anything, I should be overheating. After another half-hour, I was shivering, and my teeth had started to chatter. I curled in on myself tighter, but that didn’t make any difference. I was sure my chattering teeth could be heard down the hall, I was shivering so violently. What the hell?
Then I felt a weight on the bed, as if someone had climbed onto the mattress. I started to roll over, but a long arm draped itself across me, pulling me close to the warm body lying behind me. The scent of leather and burnt wood permeated my nostrils. I stiffened at the contact, not really relaxing then I realized Axel had climbed into bed with me. “What are you doing?” I asked, grinding my teeth together, only partially to stop my teeth from chattering.
Axel’s voice was low in my ear. “You were shivering. And the noise from your chattering teeth was keeping me awake, so I decided to keep you warm.” For some reason, the back of my mind was telling me he was the reason I was cold to begin with, but I ignored it in favour of the heat emanating from Axel.
“Thanks… I guess.” My lack of sleep was catching up to me now that I wasn’t freezing cold – Axel’s body pressed up against my back and his arms wrapped around me were like a furnace, and honestly, I was melting. Not in a bad way, either. One by one, my sore muscle relaxed, and soon, I was asleep in a cocoon of warmth, Axel’s breath stirring my hair in a steady rhythm.