For as long as Roxas could remember, he was not allowed across the Wall. The school rumor, often encouraged by parents, was that a race of savages inhabited the other side, lawless and answering to no one. Roxas had reservations, thought he noticed that standing within twenty feet of the wall resulted in his ears pricking, the hair on his arms standing straight up. Thee was something on the air, something unfamiliar and other.
The first Other Roxas met was Axel, bruised, bleeding, and unbearably eager, circling Roxas as if fascinated by his very existence.
"What are you?" the strange-eared boy asked, pawing at one of Roxas' ears.
"A b-boy," Roxas stammered, crossing his arms across his chest violently. "You're from across the Wall. You smell."
"Yeah, well, you don't smell like sunshine either, sweetheart. The name is Axel."
"Don't call me sweetheart."
They'd progressed from petty insults to full-fledged hostility the second time Axel turned up.
"I remembered your scent," Axel said, beaming.
"Pervert, keep the fuck away from me," Roxas growled, tail swishing.
"Hey, now. None of that."
Roxas shoved the Other away and dashed down the street, well away from the Wall… only to find himself inexplicably drawn to it again. Digging around in the public library, he unearthed something in a language he couldn't read. The pictures, though, of Others like Axel, strange ears and tails inked in, were hard to misread. There was another race, then. Not Other; just different.
"Inu," Roxas said when he saw Axel again. Axel smelled like blades of grass and open fields, smelled like the low musk of freshly turned earth.
"What does that make you?" Axel asked, running a hand against Roxas' ears, flicking the tips. The contact made Roxas shiver, a soft hum floating past his lips.
"Neko. I thought everyone was Neko."
"You're cute, aren't you?" Axel asked, wrapping an arm around Roxas' shoulder. "You have a name, Neko boy?"
"Roxas. The pictures I saw said that we're supposed to hate each other."
"Do you hate me?" Axel squeezed him lightly. Roxas wondered if the Inu boy had any idea how his touching was making Roxas' body respond.
"Stop touching me," Roxas bristled, attempting to shake Axel off.
"Relax, I won't bite you."
As Roxas began to spend more and more time with Axel, long hours sitting together and talking about their lives on opposite sides of the Wall, a worrisome fear worked its way through Roxas. Was he not allowed to be friends with Axel? Was this how it was always going to be? Meeting for a few hours here and there when Axel could make his way over the Wall? The feeling of having been lied to, of having something this important hidden from the public's collective knowledge, made him feel ill. You're supposed to trust the people in charge, supposed to trust your government. The Wall was supposed to keep them safe, not keep them ignorant.
When the time came, it wasn't hard for Roxas to ask Axel to sneak him over the Wall.