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A Palpable Silence

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The sun was setting again. This time, though, the usual red that painted the sky was nowhere to be found. The sun itself was barely visible through the thick, dark clouds. The Nobodies were alone, the inhabitants of Twilight Town all inside, fearing the rain that threatened to fall at any moment. But still Axel and Roxas sat on the clocktower, their ice cream long finished.

The hour struck. It should be eight. But the clocktower didn't chime. It hadn't chimed in weeks, so it wasn't much of a surprise.

"Hey Axel?"

Roxas' voice seemed to blend in with the silence, somehow adding something to the silence without breaking it. Axel didn't respond out loud, simply looking to his companion, arching an eyebrow. He knew his own voice would cut through the silence, and it was a comfortable silence. And so he let it stay.

"What's a kiss taste like?"

He should have expected something like that. It hadn't been long ago that Roxas had asked what love was, after all. He'd probably asked Demyx to elaborate. Wonderful.

"It depends on the person," Axel responded, his voice different from usual. He didn't break the silence either, but added something to it himself. Something different from Roxas', of course.

"So you've kissed multiple people then?" Roxas said, more quietly than before.

"Yeah, sure. A few," Axel said slowly, unsure where the blond was going with his line of thought. The silence threatened to go back to how it was before, and though it was comfortable before, now the thought of that first silence was unacceptable. "I guess it mostly all tastes like spit. But each person has their own unique taste on top of that."

"What was the best taste you've…tasted…?" Roxas asked awkwardly, his voice getting even quieter.

A flash of blue in Axel's mind was gone before it was ever really there.

Peppermint. A taste that lingered longer than the memory itself.

"Well I couldn't say. I mean, it's kinda hard to remember something like 'the best' about stuff that happened before I lost my heart, ya know?"

"What do you think you taste like?"

"Cinnamon and tiger balm."

Axel shrugged. "You wanna find out?" he laughed, joking. Maybe only half joking. Serious but passing it off as a joke.

Roxas nodded enthusiastically and scooted closer to Axel, eyes wide and oddly gray in the dim overcast evening. Axel guided Roxas' arms to wrap them around his neck, and Axel put his hands on Roxas' hips, leaning down, eyes open. Roxas closed his own and the redhead took that as permission to press his lips to the boy's.

Roxas pulled away after a moment. "How does the taste part work? I don't understand."

"We have to open our mouths."

"Will you teach me?"

"Sure."

They came together again and after a moment of breathing Axel parted Roxas' lips with his own, going slowly. It had been a long time since he'd done this. Carefully his tongue entered Roxas' mouth, teaching the other the meaning of breath. Roxas tasted of ice cream and the midday sun.

Roxas pulled away first, and the trail of spit still connecting them snapped before it even had time to form. Axel forced the light blush on his face away before the boy opened his eyes.

"So? What did I taste like then?"

"Passion."

Axel didn't question Roxas' answer. The kid had always been a little weird, after all.

It wasn't until later, when they were back in the Castle that Never Was, and Axel bid Roxas a goodnight, that he understood what Roxas meant.

The man embraced Roxas in a tight hug. "Have a good sleep kiddo," he said softly, his body enveloping Roxas' perfectly, his breath slowing down as he found comfort in the other warm body, the comfort in the silence where their hearts should be.

Roxas pulled away abruptly. "Enough," he said. His voice was sharp, and it sliced through the empty air, and for a second Axel thought he felt something pound in his chest. Axel didn't say anything. The silence had been broken, and nothing he could say would change that.

"We don't have hearts, Axel," Roxas opened his door, turning back with his hand still on the handle when the older Nobody opened his mouth to give a snarky, defensive comeback. "Stop pretending we do." He turned back and went into his room, closing the door softly behind him.

Axel went to his own room and tried to fall asleep, but couldn't. Everything was too loud.