Disclaimer: They aren't mine.

A/N: Surprise! Is anyone even reading this shit anymore? Technically, if you've been reading the VF account on lj, this is my first update in two months, which isn't too bad. But if you're going by LB time, this is the first update in six months. Damn, am I a lazy bitch or what.

In all honesty: I hit a rough spot creatively after I wrote Fight Off Your Demons, spent a month packing up all my shit to leave Los Angeles for the east coast, started working a second job, and spent forever sewing cosplay for Anime Expo. EXCUSES, EXCUSES. I know the quality of this story has gone down, and I swear I'm trying to get the prose tight, but it's been too long. Two years is too long to keep the same style, same tone. I'm sorry it's not as good as it used to be, and I'm glad those of you still reading are able to look past such obvious flaws.

ALSO! I did write a very small one shot for this epic project of epicness (think doujinshi circle with all your favorite KH writers and artists working together) that was spearheaded by our now retired leader, suddenchangeofheart, but I'm thinking about waiting until the art is up to post the story. If you want to check out who is involved (Quillslinger, Casey V., Sowing Poppies, to name(drop) a few—I swear, this shit is EPIC), the community is otherends at livejournal, link on my profile.

I think I had new fanart somewhere in the past 6 months, check either my deviantART or the VF lj fanart section to see. This is the SECOND TO LAST CHAPTER, kids. I mean, it's sorta obvious how it all ends, but I guess you guys are a bunch of fucking masochists. Nevertheless, I LOVE YOU ALL, and I appreciate every last kind word. One more chapter left! Then we can all get wasted!

Chapter 17: Vices

It's nothing short of remarkable how truly stubborn the human mind can be when operating under willful ignorance. Whole countries enslaved by a collective idea, an agreement on something that, by sheer force of numbers, becomes accepted as "truth." What might have been a mistake, a drunken fumbling between sheets, is forced out of existence until no mistakes were ever made, just what had been done and why it was right. What might have happened, though heavy enough to crack the world, was nothing more than an errant gesture; an afterthought—mindless, casual. So Axel had sucked his dick. For Roxas and the world at large, life went on unchanged, unscathed. Sure, there was the issue of sexual tension that radiated around them when they were in close proximity, a scorching flush that shot across the span of his skin with speed akin to the time it took to end a life in a freeway accident. An abdominal lurch, instantaneous, anticipation of touch like a forest fire over his body.

And, to a more aching extent, there was the issue of Roxas reminding himself, day in and day out: a blowjob is a blowjob is a blowjob. Neither more nor less than the sum total of its parts, and why did he think about it so much, anyway? It was a non-issue. Almost a non-occurrence; never brought up, never referenced. If he didn't spend so much time jacking off to the memory in the shower, Roxas suspected he might be able to convince himself it had never happened at all.

It was for this reason, along with a metric ton of anxiety, that Roxas didn't think it was a good idea to drive to Vegas with Demyx, Axel, and Zexion for Thanksgiving.

"Who even does that? It's Thanksgiving! We should all go home and pretend to be pilgrims. Eat turkey or some shit."

"Turkey is abhorrent," Zexion quipped, waving a map around. Kingdom's resident snarky stoned scholar had taken it upon himself to plot out the entire half-assed roadtrip the night prior, drawing a path of scrawled blunts from Point A, Kingdom University, to Point B, Sin City itself, Las Vegas.

"This is the worst idea in the history of worst ideas. We'll probably die."

"I'm insulted," Demyx frowned around a bite of pizza, the dining commons understandably ear-splitting the eve before the end of finals. "I'm an excellent driver."

"Let not your heart be troubled, dear Roxas," Zexion sang, rolling up the map and tapping it resolutely against Roxas's hair. "Demyx's extremely gracious and unbearably loaded parents are gifting unto us this precious luxury of four nights FREE at everyone's favorite pyramid-shaped hotel." Annoyed, Roxas merely glared, flicked Axel's wrist in an attempt to get him to agree this was dangerous and potentially fatal. "Ahem, I did say FREE, didn't I? As in four FREE nights in Las Fucking Vegas?"

"There's some weird catch where we'll have to sell our bodies. I just know there is," Roxas said, pulling the map from Zexion's hands.

"It's totally legit," Demyx said, working on his third slice of mystery meat pizza. Though both Demyx and Zexion now lived off campus, it hadn't stopped them from begging Roxas and Axel for free swipes on their dining commons cards, plundering the food stations with an abandon typically seen in famished animals. Apparently there was nothing edible in off campus housing. "My parents aren't using the room this year. All we have to worry about is food and drinks."

"And drugs," Zexion nodded, helping himself to Roxas' sandwich.

"You bastards are all 21. I'm… developmentally challenged. I'll have to drink Diet Coke and play in the arcade with four year olds," Roxas said, being very careful to look nowhere but at his rapidly shrinking sandwich.

"Somehow," Axel said, swirling a fork around in his sad looking pasta, "I don't foresee that being an issue." His voice sounded light, nonchalant, but his tone was off. A near disappointment weighed his words down, something not right, his eyes everywhere but on Roxas.

"Yeah, Rox-ass, don't make excuses. You just don't want to spend time in our devastatingly sexy company," Zexion said around the final bite of Roxas' sandwich. "But please," Zexion sniffed, waving a hand toward the exit, "take your sandwich murdering skills elsewhere. We no longer have use for your talents."

"Shut it," Demyx said, sticking a forkful of stir fry in Zexion's mouth. "Listen, man. You don't have to come, but at least think about it, would you? The suite sleeps four. If it's not you, we'll have to take someone embarrassing."

"Like my mom," Zexion whispered, eyes wide.

"Fine, sure, I'll think about it." Roxas shrugged. "It's not like I don't want to go. I just have… stuff." Stuff, in this context, meant A Best Friend Who Hates My Guts. Weeks later, and Roxas had yet to year a single word from Sora. After years of near constant connection, to have it severed so abruptly left him suffocating, fish gaping into the useless air. Thanksgiving was the opportune moment to patch things up. It's not like Sora would hate him forever, right? Right? Roxas' hands were sweating, Zexion waving a cookie in front of his eyes. "What?"

"Come on," Axel said, hand on his shoulder. "I'll bus your tray."

Roxas followed the other boy in a daze of dread. What if Sora did hate him forever? It sounded ridiculous even in his head, elementary and childish, a temper tantrum of fury. Irrational, that's what this was, but the dread churned inside him, a sick, uncomfortable feeling that made it difficult for him to hear what Axel was saying to him.

"Stop that," Axel said, stroking his cheeks. When had they gotten back to the dorm?

"Huh?" Sora would hate him forever. Not like he cared. Fuck him, fuck everyone. "Don't touch me."

A flicker of hurt crossed Axel's eyes, but he continued the soft touch curving down over the slope of Roxas' cheek. "You're thinking about it again. Just let it go."

"Let what go? I can't not think about it forever. I have to go home and squash it with them. It's inevitable. Me, him, Riku… we're inevitable. We're going to happen. You can't stop it." I can't stop it. I don't want to. Do I?

"Sure, whatever. He's your best friend. I'm not saying don't be friends with him. I'm saying… you just," Axel said, shaking his head. "You're in a delicate place. I don't—you shouldn't want to go back there right now. Just give it time. Until… y'know?"

"No," Roxas said. "I don't know. You don't want me to go back. You're just like him."

Shaking his head, Axel backed off, slid onto his bed and lifted his laptop onto him, pulling open the lid. "You're unmanageable when you're like this, I just hope you know that."

"Fuck you," Roxas shook his head, resisting the urge to fling a pillow at Axel's face. It was infuriating how Axel was beginning to learn the ebb and flow of his moods. Jarring and unsettling, Zexion had merely ignored them all. Axel, on the other hand… "Don't think I don't know what you're doing," Roxas said, voice menacing.

"And what's that," Axel said, noncommittal, eyes on his screen.

"Patronizing me. I'm having a fucking problem. The least you could do is let me deal with it myself."

"I am letting you deal with it yourself."

Infuriating. Everything coming out of Axel's mouth made him feel like imploding. "I don't even know what you're talking about."

"I can see that. It looks like you just want to fight with me."

"So what if I do?" You're being a child. Stop it.

"Well, that's retarded," Axel shrugged.

"So I'm a retard, too?" Yes, you are. Retard. Retarded retard, everyone hates you.

"Just shut the fuck up and think about the trip. It'll be good for you." Axel slipped in a pair of headphones, the drone of music loud enough for Roxas to hear from across the room.

"Yeah, pussy. Go run. I'm just going to get angrier," Roxas snapped. He knew it wasn't Axel. It wasn't anything, anyone. The general discontent was easily accessible these days, made him quick to anger, a candle burning at both ends.

"I can't hear you," Axel said, not looking at him, hacking away on his computer.

"Yeah, yeah," Roxas said, yanking his pants down. So what? So let Axel watch him jack off. It's the only thing that cleared his mind these days, anyway. Not like I've got a blowjob or a boyfriend to take my mind of things. What a fucking joke we are. Scaling his bunk, Roxas balled up his sheets and tossed them to the floor, yanked his boxers down savagely across his hips and took his dick into a fist, slammed his eyes shut and thought of black holes and a nameless, faceless body running feverish hands over his skin, pressing places that made his stomach churn. All thought, all emotion out of focus beyond the pressure building at the base of his dick, electric and pulsing. It was hot in the room, hotter than Roxas thought November warranted, his technique a furious grip and tug, like shaking up a bottle of juice, packing cigarettes. The sound of the door opening brought him back to the surface, a glimpse of Axel's hair as he left the room without a word.

"Asshole," Roxas shouted, releasing himself with disgust. He didn't expect Axel to throw the door back open, furious.

"What the fuck is wrong with you?" Axel spat, scaling Roxas' bunk with remarkable speed and pulling his legs apart, crouching down over him. Roxas' entire body burned. "What are you doing?"

"Jacking off," Roxas whispered, thighs shaking under Axel's scrutiny. This is bizarre. I should ask him to put his mouth on it. "Can I help you with something?"

"This isn't a fucking porno. Put your clothes on." Axel sounded angry, but he made no move to let Roxas clothe himself. In fact, his breathing seemed somewhat labored, pupils dilated.

"Am I that gross?" Yeah, so gross. That's why he's hard, right. So gross.

"Is this what you want?" Axel hissed, running two fingers between the cleft of his ass. "You want some mindless, angry fuck?" Cool fingers probed the outside of his ass, teasing, Axel's mouth inches from the head of his dick. "Because I can fuck you. You want to fuck? I can fuck you."

Yes, please. God, yes. "Whatever." His hips twitched upward, a miniscule thrust, the tip of his dick sliding against Axel's lips. His entire body stilled when Axel glared at him.

"Just finish up, for fuck's sake." Axel said, withdrawing his fingers and leaning back.

"I can't do it with you watching," Roxas said, mouth dry, triangulating the exact angle that Axel's eyes hit his body.

"Bullshit. Do it. I want to see." Axel grabbed his wrist and manually wrapped Roxas' fingers around his own dick. "Do it."

"No." You're fucking it up.

"You wanted me to watch, didn't you? I'M WATCHING. DO IT," Axel spat, dropping Roxas' wrist. Roxas began mechanically pumping his fist, Axel's eyes taking on a lusty haze, lids lowered. Spirals of darkness spun in his periphery, tunnel vision closing in until it was just Axel, just Axel and how he looked like he hated him.

The orgasm was brief, a quick bolt of lightning, and his come shot weakly onto his hand, his stomach. The world paused as Axel leaned forward, stretched out a finger, and wiped a pool of come off Roxas' hand and lifted it to his mouth, eyes distant and unreadable.

"Fuck," Roxas exhaled as Axel licked his finger clean, made no move to get off of Roxas' bed.

"You have no idea how much I…" Axel trailed off, eyes drinking in his naked body, a lazy slide of green over every inch of Roxas' bare skin. His flagging erection twitched and the tension broke, a small smile creeping onto Axel's mouth as he slid down, off the bed. "I'm going to be thinking about this all fucking night."

You and me both. "I should charge for that."

"Yeah," Axel said, palms pressed into his eyes. "You would."

Somewhere between 2 a.m. and sunrise, Roxas decided Las Vegas didn't sound like too bad of an idea.

"Dude, you can't bring that." Demyx hovered over Zexion as he attempted to shove what looked like an entire kilo of pot into his overstuffed messenger bag. The 9 a.m. boarding call Demyx scheduled at the curb outside The Crack House had been hectic, Axel cramming a hijacked waffle from the dining commons into Roxas' mouth as he stumbled out of his two minute shower, still mostly asleep.

"I'm naked," Roxas mumbled through the golden carbohydrated bliss as he groped mindlessly for a pair of boxers.

"Well, then it's just another average day, isn't it," Axel said, eyes on his hands packing assorted things into his bag. The impromptu voyeurism session had nearly short-circuited Roxas' store of inhibitions, the next day more of a game of charades than any actual conversation between himself and his roommate. Roxas was very, very careful not to mention the amount of time Axel had been spending in the shower.

Fully clothed and mostly packed, Roxas had toddled over to where Axel was bent over his bed, stuffing what looked suspiciously like tinfoil squares into his bag, and wrapped his arms around Axel's waist, pressing his nose into the boy's back.

"Thanks for breakfast. Without you, I would starve." Melodrama. God, get it together.

"I know," Axel said, voice clipped, but he relaxed into Roxas' arms for the 2.5 seconds before he grabbed his clock in near comical horror, "9 o'clock!," and dashed for the door.

"Do you want me to shrivel up and die?" Zexion asked, scandalized at Demyx's judgment.

"If we get stopped by border patrol, you'll be going to prison for a long time." Axel said, leaned over the backseat of Demyx's Denali. When the slight blonde rolled up, punk music blaring, to help them load the bags, it was difficult for Roxas to come to terms with his vehicle of choice.

"You drive a Denali?" Roxas' jaw, scraping somewhere along the sidewalk.

"Yep," Demyx nodded, lifting out a hand to take Roxas' bag.

"A Denali?" Roxas asked again, gaping. Axel choked on a laugh, hauling open one of the back doors.

"Yukon XL, yep. You worried about getting shot?"

"Dude, do you sell drugs?" Roxas asked, handing over his backpack.

"That is so racist, man." Demyx said, testing the weight of Roxas' bag. "And that's Escalades, for the record."

"He's secretly a rapper," Zexion said, arriving with the kilo of pot. In the end, Zexion was allowed one nug, to be smoked en route, and the rest of his almost ridiculous stash—"What! I know you sharks are all potheads. I can't help my generous nature!"—was deposited back at the room he shared with Demyx off campus, concealed with the grace of a truly stoned recreational drug user: inside the microwave—"It's the last place anyone will look! Trust me!"

Demyx really was an excellent driver, 70 on the freeway—something Zexion objected to, swatting at the wheel, "We'll get there next year, grandpa! I'm driving!"—and, about 30 minutes in, had already avoided colliding with a semi whose driver was too busy staring at Axel fellating the neck of his Hefeweizen and trading winks with the mustachioed trucker to stay in his own lane.

"Thanks," Demyx said, mostly unruffled. "You're drinking in the backseat, making kissyfaces with nasty methhead truckers, and Smoky McPot over here is higher than the goddamn sun. That'll be a hell of a report to give the cops."

"Gotta do something to pass the time," Axel said, knocking back the rest of his beer. "My seatmate has abandoned me for window gawking."

"I am not gawking," Roxas mumbled, reasonably stoned off the two hits Zexion offered… after he produced a mysterious second nug. Axel's leg was bouncing against the floor, knees spread obscenely. It was all he could do to stop from leaning over, unzipping the redhead's jeans, and getting to work. Why smoking always made him so fucking horny was a mystery to him. A delicious, torturous mystery.

Zexion, staring blearily at Roxas from the passenger seat, began laughing weakly. "You are erect, good sir," he said, pointing at Roxas' erection. Axel was suddenly very interested in whatever was out his window.

"Wow, check out that… bird," Axel said, feigned distraction.

"You should just take your pants off, Roxas!" Zexion said, full of good cheer. "I don't mind! Do you mind, Dem!"

"Stop screaming," Demyx said, dialing the stereo up a little louder, winking at Roxas in the rearview.

The universe truly hates me. My own dick hates me. For the fifth time Roxas reached for his phone… the same phone Axel suggested he leave in their dorm. Suggested, in this context, meant Hid From Roxas At The Last Possible Second, Roxas checking everywhere he thought he could've left it before he caught Axel laughing quietly.

"You fuck." He'd wanted very much to stick his tongue in Axel's mouth, couldn't even find it within himself to be annoyed. But now, Axel staring intently out the window, tapping out the intro to "Hitchin' A Ride" on his knees, Roxas thought he'd implode if Axel acted like this the entire trip. Didn't he want me to come? Way to go, jackass.

"I didn't know you liked Green Day." Axel, suddenly in his ear, Roxas jumping slightly in his seat.

"I…" Roxas said.

"You were mouthing the words," Axel said, eyes on his mouth.

You're going to give me whiplash. "I listened to this record twice a day for the first two years of high school." Riding the shortbus into the Angeles Institute, blue cassette cranking steadily in his stolen Walkman, thinking about what Sora would have for lunch. Music so loud he couldn't hear the kids getting on the bus, wouldn't acknowledge anyone until Sora slid into the seat next to him, smiling in his clown shoes. "Hey, dude, turn it up," Roxas called, tapping Demyx on the shoulder. He staged an impressive concert in the Denali's backseat, complete with air drums and mic-grabbing intensity, Zexion's cashed piece substituting nicely when Roxas couldn't unearth something more suitable.

"'Cause I cannot speak, I've lost my voice, I'm speechless and redundant 'cause 'I love you's not enough. I'm lost for words," Roxas crooned into the pipe, fluttering his eyelashes earnestly at Axel. It wasn't the right song, obviously, more about a stagnant relationship than the start of something new, but the chorus worked well enough. Does he get it? Does he?

When the song closed, Demyx dialed the stereo down, everyone clapping enthusiastically as Zexion stuck his head out the window and shouted for an encore. Axel, unable to stop grinning after he caught Roxas' "microphone," fanned his face. "Be still my heart, the lead singer is so dreamy." Nuzzling the pipe against his cheek, Axel sighed, "I shall cherish it forever."

"No you won't!" Zexion cried, eyes bloodshot. "Paws of my shit, firecrotch!"

It wasn't quiet the admission of comprehension Roxas was looking for, but for the duration of the trip Axel sat with an arm slung around his shoulder, both of them resting comfortably against each other.

More than the heat permeating the glittering high rises, raising up in waves from the asphalt, there was a certain disreputable haze that sat over Sin City, worked its way into the pores, sank into the bloodstream. Each overheated movement of limbs dragged down with sweating lethargy, vice tinged air lining the lungs. Roxas anticipated being blown back by the staggering heat, steeling himself before throwing open the door in the parking garage, but there was only the welcoming warmth a few degrees warmer than what he'd considered average weather. Then again, it was November and felt more like the beginning of summer, but Roxas was pleased he'd have every opportunity to keep his body clothed as much as possible… which, of course, was a resolution soon rendered useless as the first thing Axel did when walking into the bedroom of the suite, making a comment on how the king was just the right size, was strip his shirt off, jeans slung low on his hips, Roxas adding another couple degrees to the temperature.

"Not too shabby," Axel said, throwing himself down on the bed. In the kitchenette, Zexion was bemoaning the lack of illegal substances, the crinkle of ice cubes and the measured pour of liquor traveling down the short hallway. Roxas, doing his best impression of a statue, watched as Axel beckoned him to the bed with a finger. When Roxas was in reaching distance, Axel grabbed him and threw him down on the bed, immediately pinning his wrists, straddling his waist. "Wanna christen the bed?" Axel's eyes searing into his retinas, Roxas could only swallow, wonder if he was still stoned.

"Out," Zexion said in the doorway, pointing. "The couch pulls out. You two animals can defile other holy temples." Zexion, glass in hand, pulled Roxas out from underneath Axel and shoved the drink at him. "See you later, captain."

His entire body numb with want, Roxas took the glass and downed it. Indeed, in the next four days there was little set before him that Roxas said no to. This drink, that drink, this bite of food, that atrocious shirt, the four of them prepping for what was supposed to be a night spent gyrating into the asses of strangers but turned into a mission of sorts: If I Flirt With You Hard Enough, Will You Let My Underage Friend In? After a string of denials and refusals, Roxas increasingly sober as they sauntered down the Strip, Axel finally held a hand up.

"Let me handle this one," he said, convincingly sober though Roxas remembered him drinking more than the rest of them.

"Offering to suck his dick isn't playing by the rules," Zexion slurred, fishing in Roxas' pocket for his pack of Parliaments.

"Since when do you smoke?" Roxas asked. It was hard to make his mouth form the right words, the world dizzying and flashing around them. It was colder at night, realizing he was standing close enough to Zexion to smell his deodorant.

"Since I'm in Vegas, baby," Zexion said, blowing smoke into his face. At the door, Axel was gesturing toward them, one hand on the bouncer's shoulder.

"Where are we?" Roxas asked, the Strip somewhere either to his left or his right. I'm wearing that shirt, goddammit. How did that happen? Roxas remembered standing in the suite, remembered having a glass of rum and a chaser, remembered vehemently refusing to wear anything with a V-neck, but here he was, standing somewhere in Las Vegas, almost too drunk to function, wearing a V-neck, a hoodie, and what felt like a leather jacket or something, hood up and hand to his lips, smoking a cigarette like everything was a third person experience. He attempted to push the hood off, but Zexion swatted his hand away.

"Very Hollywood," Demyx said in his ear. The proximity gave Roxas goosebumps, tingles pricking down across the side of his neck. Am I on drugs? From the door, Axel waved them over as he passed off some bills, slid an arm around Roxas' shoulders and thanked the bouncer as the guy smirked down at him and untied the rope to let them in.

"What did you say to him?" Roxas asked the side of Axel's neck, resisted the urge to stick out his tongue and lick at the dot of a mole he'd never noticed before.

"That you're a Russian prince." Axel's hand on the small of his back, leading them under a curtain into an assault of techno and strobe lights. There was breathing room, thankfully, snapshots of flailing limbs and guys in sunglasses hanging all over each other.

"What did you really say to him?" Roxas asked. Wait a second… there aren't any girls here?

"That it's our first date and I want to impress you because I think you're The One." Axel produced two drinks from what looked like thin air near the bar, sliding down more bills.

"How much was cover?" Roxas slurred, sipping what tasted like vodka, cranberry, and oblivion.

"For all of us?" Axel slammed a shot of tequila, tapped the glass on the bar for another. "About $80."

"We didn't need to come here," Roxas mumbled, fishing for a twenty in his pocket. He needed a piss, wanted to writhe up against Axel and suck his cock right there on the dancefloor.

"Keep your money. You can buy me a drink later." Axel, leading him into the flashing mass of limbs, a hand on his ass, the button on Axel's jeans digging into his stomach. It wasn't so much dancing as it was rubbing against each other and about twenty strangers, two pairs of hands on his ass, a tongue in his ear, Axel shoving someone away. Roxas felt recessed into himself, somewhere not on the surface of the experience, but from what he could tell, he was having fun, hands securely plastered to Axel's swaying hips. Secured at least until he was spun away, something tasting like watermelon and vodka burning down his throat, someone attractive he didn't know leading him to a table.

"What's your name?" A hand on the back of his neck, another shooter of watermelon and vodka pressed to his lips.

"Uhhh," Roxas said, swallowing, trying to look over his shoulder for Axel. The stranger leaned his ear toward Roxas' mouth. "Evan," Roxas lied, taking a seat at the table. Several bottles of alcohol sat in a bucket of ice, smirking strangers encircling him, the flash of eyes illuminating with the burn of cigarettes.

"Ven? That's an interesting name. Have a drink, Ven."

"It's Evan, actually," Roxas said, taking the glass of straight Grey Goose and attempting to remain calm as someone lifted it to his lips.

"Do you like Ecstasy, Ven?" the stranger asked, opening a hand. In the center of his palm sat a pill. "I have a suite at the Bellagio. I could make it very, very worth your time."

"I'm not…" Roxas said vaguely, winching as the vodka tumbled down his throat, finally spotting Axel at the bar, surveying him over the rim of a glass.

"Let's have a dance, and you can think about it," the stranger said, pulling him to his feet, hands on either side of his ass as he slowly began thrusting against Roxas' body under the guise of dancing.

Rip this fucker's balls off and run. But Roxas didn't want any trouble, going along bonelessly to the guy's advances. Dark hair, light eyes. He was attractive. Maybe if Axel wasn't standing over there watching, maybe he would go back and fuck this guy, take his E and drink his drinks and suck his dick. There would just be the fight with Sora and this attractive stranger who thought he was a prostitute, no Axel. My life would actually suck, he thought, flicking his tongue against the one in his mouth. When the stranger pulled away, Axel was there, eyes hard.

"There you are," he said, faux happiness, and slid a hand into Roxas', interlacing their fingers and squeezing tightly. The grip said run when I tell you. The grip said don't be afraid.

"Excuse me," the stranger said, attempting to step between them. "I think you're mistaken. My friend and I were dancing."

"Nooo," Axel said, adopting a flamboyant lilt. "This is my boyfriend's younger brother! He totally snuck in underage, the little shit." Fixing a pointed stare at the stranger, Axel went on, scandalized, "I mean can you imagine. Someone trying to hit on a fourteen-year-old? Ew, pedophiles."

The stranger sneered down at Roxas and turned back to his table without a word, Axel not losing a moment to sink them into the crowd. Roxas, clearly drunker than continued existence warranted, could hardly make his feet work.

"Sorry," he mumbled into Axel's chest. He was leaned up against a wall, somewhere on the way to the bathrooms, he assumed, the ripening smell of piss and vomit weaving its way straight to his stomach.

Axel, hunched over him, obscuring him from view, shrugged. "Not your fault. I thought you were having fun. When he stuck his tongue in your mouth and you went all rigid, that's when I figured you weren't."

"He had some E," Roxas slurred, hands twitching at his sides. Axel's fly was right there. Two layers of clothing, and then this suffocating need would go away. He wondered if it would fit in his mouth.

"Did you think he was hot?" Axel asked, staring out toward the rest of the club.

Not as hot as you. "Not as hot as you." Shit, not out loud, idiot.

"Hmm?" Axel, looking down at him like he'd heard every single word.

"It's hot in here," Roxas rasped, shrugging the hood off his head. Axel was very, very close to him. It's not like they hadn't kissed, like Axel hadn't sucked his dick, hadn't watched him come all over himself. But there was some wistful element here, one that Roxas was never sure Axel reciprocated. The swirling, heady sensation, breathless and very, very… happy. He makes me happy.

"God," Axel said into his hair, body bowed out and away. "God, what am I going to do with you."

"Wine, dine, and flower me," Roxas said, eyes closed.

"That what you want? A little romance?" Axel's lips nearly lined up with his, liquored breath ghosting over his mouth.

But Roxas wasn't a girl and this wasn't a fairytale. Maybe once upon a time, maybe in another universe, but Roxas didn't have any of that, didn't have the luxury of entertaining ideas of a house in the suburbs, of kids and a big, beautiful wedding. Theirs was a different kind of romance, vodka substituting wine, pills substituting dinner, countless secrets substituting flowers. But was it any less, in the end? An urban fairytale, a fallen fairytale.

Pressing a small kiss to Axel's lips—quiet, befitting the praise of poets—Roxas said, "I'll take what I can get."

His hangover lasted for the better part of two days, Roxas immobile on the pull out until Zexion took pity on him and allowed Axel to deposit him on the real bed, steady stream of water, Bloody Marys, and HBO pumping vitality back into his body. Somewhere around noon on the second day of his alcohol-induced bed rest, Roxas realized he was alone in the suite and got straight to business: jacking off at least three times in two hours. Sharing a pull out with Axel wasn't difficult if he was passed out drunk, but goddamn was it exciting to think of Axel jacking off to his unconscious, drunken form. The last day and a half had been at most a really exciting blur, something about Axel winning a thousand dollars playing poker, Zexion tossing his cookies over a nickel machine, and Demyx being hit on by a drag queen, and while Roxas was sort of disappointed to have missed all the action, he realized he'd have missed it sober anyway, nine months short of partaking in the festivities. But this—nursing a drink and watching softcore while jacking off—wasn't too bad. In fact, he could think of at least one worse way to spend Thanksgiving: watching your best friend fuck his boyfriend and ask you to join in. What, Roxas wondered, had he been smoking.

"Good morning, gorgeous." Axel, sauntering in with a mostly empty margarita, smelled like cigarettes and money.

"It's three in the afternoon. Aren't we leaving tomorrow?"

"That is correct," Axel said, toeing off his shoes and hopping on the bed, offering the margarita to Roxas before thinking better of it and setting it aside. "How's your stomach?"

"I'm starving to death," Roxas said, reaching for the margarita.

"You have a deathwish? Any more liquor and your liver is going to explode."

Roxas quickly knocked back the rest of his Bloody Mary. "Ooo," he moaned, squeezing his abdomen. "It's rupturing."

"Ha-ha," Axel said, turning up the volume on the softcore Roxas had on. "This shit will rot your brain."

"Yeah, yeah, exploding livers, brain rot. Thanks for your concern, mom."

"You always dry hump your mom in your drunken slumber?" Axel's mouth quirked in a smile.

Aghast, Roxas grabbed the remote and switched channels. "I did not."

"It was more of an innocent spooning, but I was touched, Roxas, really touched."

"Feed me, bitch." Roxas said, pointing at the kitchenette, cheeks flaming.

Somewhere in between bites of cold pizza and fighting over the remote, Axel produced a pill, sealed it in one of Roxas' hands.

"Oxy, 80 milligrams. That's 40 each. Think about it." And that was that, Axel leaving the channel on The Land Before Time and disappearing into the shower.

Eyeing the small slate blue pill in the center of his sweating palm, Roxas thought about the last time he'd seen someone on Oxy, Tidus smoking it in Hayner's room, foil blackening under the lighter, and his consequent spiral into Drooling Idiot land, motor skills at a standstill, lolling on the floor like he was wasted. Where, Roxas wondered, had Axel gotten this? The anticipation proved slightly too much to handle, Roxas setting the pill aside to jack off, thoughts of Axel in the shower, water streaming down his body, hair damp, mouth open. Hoovering on the edge, Roxas couldn't bring himself off, kept staring at the pill. It wouldn't kill him to try it.

Axel came back, much to Roxas' dismay, fully clothed as opposed to in a towel, slid into the bed where Roxas was staring at the pill in his hand.

"I think I fucked it up." The casing was coming loose, saturated in his sweat.

Axel picked the pill up and smiled, searching a pair of jeans for his wallet and extracting a credit card. "You want the casing off, anyway." Roxas watched, creeping anticipation, as Axel cut the pill up on the tray that held the water glasses in the bathroom, fine white powder scooped together and cut, scooped together and cut. "You sure?" Axel asked, handing Roxas a rolled up twenty, his half of the pill divided into five orderly lines. Mouth dry, Roxas nodded. "Do one and wait for me," Axel said, hand on the back of his neck.

A quick sniff and Roxas handed the tray back over, wandering around the bed to take sips from Axel's margarita. "Where are Zexion and Dem?"

Sniffing, Axel nodded toward the street. "Bar hopping. They said you'd get annoyed if I tried to babysit you, so I brought along a bribe.

"Hmmm," Roxas said, licking the rim of Axel's cup. "A bribe of pharmaceuticals and sex. Happy Thanksgiving to you, too."

"Hey now," Axel said, lifting the tray to Roxas. "I haven't offered the sex yet."

Roxas sniffed up his next line and handed the tray back. "Yet?"

"You know Oxy is a form of heroin?" Axel set the tray on the night stand and got up from the bed, pulled Roxas into his arms. "What do you think about that?"

Roxas rubbed at his nosed, sniffling. "Makes me feel gross." The world started blurring out, a drunken slide as he pulled Axel down, hand at the back of the redhead's neck, tonguing the roof of his mouth and tasting chemicals. "Gross. I can taste your drips."

Axel rubbed a thumb across his mouth, eyes unfocused. "You want to taste something else?"

Laughing weakly, Roxas bent over for another line. "This isn't a porno, remember?" He felt Axel's hands on his hips, crotch lined up with his ass. If they weren't dressed…

"I'll call up a camera crew, get a couple nice lights." Axel snorted the rest of his lines in quick succession, slid a hand up under Roxas' shirt and flicked at a nipple, licked the shell of his ear. "Do you know how good you'd look on that bed?" Axel's fingers sliding over his chest, his stomach, the credits to The Land Before Time playing over his shoulder. How long has it been? The sun set already? Axel's hands slid up and down his sides, teasing the band of his boxers. Fuck, I haven't showered in two days. Fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck.

Though he was clearly good to go, Roxas snorted his last couple lines as the room swam and he lost the use of his speech entirely, slurring out incomplete sentences as Axel found new ways to make his heart race, lips against his neck. Somewhere, under 40 milligrams of Oxycodone and lust, the real Roxas asked him just what the fuck he was doing, asked him how he could do this to Sora, asked him why he was such a selfish prick. He's your best friend. He could be killing himself right now, but you're too busy getting high and making out to give a shit.

"Shut up," Roxas mumbled, shaking his head.

"Didn't say anything," Axel murmured, licking his jawline. "You taste like come. Been jacking off recently?"

"Nn—only about fifteen times a day." Axel's hand rubbing at the front of his boxers, his erection already painfully obvious. Just as Axel dipped his thumbs past Roxas' waistband, boxers descending, the world spun a little too quickly, Roxas flinging a hand to his mouth. "I think I need to lie down."

"Shit," Axel exhaled, jeans half undone.

"Fuck," Roxas moaned, clutching his stomach. "I need water or something, my mouth tastes like the desert." Axel produced a glass of water that did nothing for the dry mouth, and only if he held very still, muscles relaxed, did the nausea subside. "Ax… this feels exactly like being hungover."

"Shit," Axel said again, sliding into the bed. "We need to stop doing this."

"We?" Roxas snorted, fighting off the urge to puke. "You're fine."

"I just don't show it like you do. I feel like I'm going to lose it over the side of the bed."

"Damn. I really wanted to have sex with you." Aw, shit. Just shut the hell up.

"Really?" Axel smiled. "Do tell."

"Don't look so pleased, assface. I like you. I'd say that much is pretty obvious."

"Well, I dunno, assface. Sometimes you have a funny way of showing it." Axel placed a kiss in the corner of his mouth, lifted his shirt and rubbed at the nausea in his stomach.

"Can I at least suck your dick?" Roxas mumbled, nodding off under Axel's touches, pharmaceutical lull throbbing in his veins.

Roxas swore he saw the front of Axel's jeans surge. "You really sure you want your first memory of giving me a bj to be the one where you puke all over my dick and I rush you to the emergency room with an Oxy overdose and end up spending the next six months in jail for being the supplier, thereby missing graduation and your funeral and irrevocably fucking up the rest of my life?"

Roxas wrinkled his nose. "I'm dying?"

Tugging Roxas closer, Axel laughed. "You're missing the point."

As he slid in and out of consciousness, Axel's heartbeat erratic in his right ear, the draw of air into the redhead's lungs a reassuring lullaby, Roxas wondered if this was how it felt to fall asleep with the person you loved, clean sheets and lazy, honeyed warmth. If, despite being fucked to kingdom come, the nameless joy blanketing him was the direct result of coming into contact with what was slowly becoming his whole world. There was the off chance that the euphoria was just the direct result of really fucking good opiates, but if the fluttering in his chest was any indication, Axel's lips working against his, no drug could ever touch this high. Like watching birds disappear in the glare of the sun, when it came to Axel, nothing else even came close.