[KH] "Something You Feel" (POST-KH3)



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Audo

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I wrote this for goldpanner! It's also, like, the first new thing I've written all year which is... yeah, haha. Took three full months, but I'm glad to finally have something new done. Please read it and let me know what you think!

Set after KH3, Roxas questions his new life and just who he is now that he's his own person and how to move on from the things that happened to him.

[HR][/HR]something you feel.
FANDOM: KINGDOM HEARTS
NOTES: POST-KH3

"Because we are, each one of us for the other,

a key to a door that otherwise would've remained locked forever."


-I'll Give You the Sun-

*​


Roxas swung his feet over the ledge of the Twilight Town clock tower. It was the first time he had been back there since his birth by sleep — since his second chance begun. The next life. That’s what Axel called it. So much had happened since he became his own person that he barely had time to think about what it all meant; this existence, this life, and the many past selves he once lived. Now that peace had finally returned to the worlds, he had nowhere to turn his thoughts but inward. The truth of it all was that he still wasn’t sure if he had a heart now or not, if he always had one.


Waking up he thought he’d feel radically different, that now he would finally get what all the stories were about, the way he and the other Nobodies had wanted so longingly for something they barely understood. But when he awoke, his first thoughts weren’t a new appreciation for life, for existence. It wasn’t a sudden feeling that everything had clicked into place, that now he had somewhere he belonged to. No, his first thought was for him. Axel. He remembered calling out to him. Nothing else mattered.


One thing that troubled him, even as they fought to save the world, was… what’s next? What happened after this big thing was over? Was a simple life even possible for him, for any of them, after everything they had been through, and everything they had seen? He tried so hard to reconcile all the lives he lived, all the pain, all the memories. It felt at times that there were two conflicting versions of himself. Roxas, Number XIII. Someone who sulked about in the shadows, and both brought and fought chaos in many worlds, never getting close enough to anything for it to touch what was growing inside his chest. Who was he without the lies? Without that dark prison? Without that impenetrable longing? And then there was Roxas, the Struggle Champion. Someone who lived his life in the light, who lived carefree and joyful, who felt like he had three close friends he couldn’t imagine his life without, until he was made to. Who was he without them, who was he with the knowledge that it was all manufactured? He had been avoiding coming back here in case he run into Hayner, Pence and Olette. He didn’t know how his heart would take it if they didn’t remember him. But of course, he knew, there was no way they would.


These two lives existed simultaneously inside him, both as real as the other. An equinox inside his heart. And at the core of it all was the question that haunted him his entire existence — just who am I, really? It was something that he had to decide for himself — something that he could decide for himself, now. But after everything that happened, was there any way to move forward into this unimaginable, unknown, new life?


“You almost look like a zombie staring off into space like that.”


Roxas looked up and smiled. “Axel.”


Axel shook his head with a little laugh. He had told Roxas that he was known as Lea now, but after Roxas kept calling him Axel by accident, he told him not to worry about it anymore — Axel was fine. And, it felt right, something between them that belonged only to them. A familiarity the others were not part to. A bond.


Axel sat down beside Roxas on the ledge. “Man,” he said. “This really takes me back.”


Roxas looked out at the sunset ahead of them. “Yeah,” he said quietly. He thought back to his first day in the Organization, how him and Axel had sat down on this ledge, just like they are now, and watched the sunset. At the same time, he thought about the countless days with Hayner, Pence and Olette doing the same. Both memories fought inside him, both fought to be the truth. But which was? What was his truth?


“Are ya nervous?”


“Hm?”


“For your first day,” Axel said, motioning to the school uniform Roxas was wearing. “Summer’s over, right?”


“Yeah,” Roxas said. “I guess it is, huh.”


“Now you get to see what comes after.”


“After…”


“Yeah, a normal school life. Can’t say I envy you. I was always shit at school.”


“I guess…” Roxas paused, holding his fist in his hands. “I guess I am worried. What it’ll be like. Who I’ll be like.”


Axel raised an eyebrow. “What ya mean?”


“I don’t know. I guess I just thought I’d feel a lot different, coming back, yknow? Like, that everything would finally make sense and I’d know who I am and how I belong in all of this.”


“That you’d have the answers?”


“Yeah,” Roxas said. “I thought… I don’t know, I guess I thought going through all of this, I’d have the answers. It feels like there’s all these threads inside me, twisting and fraying and going every which way, and I’m no closer to finding out how they all tie together than when we started. And if that’s true, then… Nah, I’ll leave it there.”


“C’mon, right at the most important part?”


“I guess, it’s just like… what was the point?”


“Of coming back?”


“Yeah. Like, if I’m just as lost… still asking myself the same questions, then what was the point of it all?”


Axel looked out toward the sunset as he considered this. “Do you know what my first thought was when I woke up?”


“No, what?”


Axel turned to him. “You,” he said. “I woke up in a place I hadn’t been in years. The place I lost my heart. I had all these painful memories of how it happened, and of the life I had before I became a Nobody, but my first thought wasn’t that I was human again. It wasn’t that I had this beating heart inside me. My first thought was you.”


Roxas gave a soft, almost sheepish smile. “My first thought was you, too.”


Axel chuckled. “Isn’t that funny though? We spent so much time as Nobodies thinking about everything else, about hearts and existences and how to get them back. Who we would become when we did. All of that, and our first thoughts when we came to was none of that. It wasn’t hearts. It wasn’t life. It was each other.”


Axel reached into his pocket and pulled out an envelope. He held it fondly in his hands for a moment, before handing it over to Roxas.


“What’s this?” Roxas asked as he flipped the envelope over and started to open it. Inside was a single popsicle stick.


â™›
W I N N E R​


“The point, Roxas, is us,” he said. “It’s being able to sit here together, to feel the sunset on our skin, to feel this warmth in our hearts. The point is to be able to ask ourselves these questions, to be able to have a chance to find their answers.”


“It’s kind of scary,” Roxas said. “Everything before now… I either had my life decided for me, or I was trying to avoid where it would go. And now, we’re free. We’re our own people and we can choose. And what comes next is just this big unknown.”


Axel nodded. “Yeah, it can be. But I fought like hell for this chance, and I know you did, too. And it’s how we got to meet again. This next life. And I think… hm. Nah it’ll probably sound stupid.”


“What?! C’mon you have to tell me now.”


Axel scratched the back of his head. “Alright, fine. …I guess I just think that, maybe… Maybe what it means to be truly alive, is getting to decide what that life means for each of us. There’s a lot unsolved in our hearts, right? But coming back wasn’t a solution, it wasn’t an end. It was a beginning. And we can figure out what that means together.”


Roxas smiled. “Yeah.” He turned to the setting sun, beating red against him, and felt the warmth dance on his skin and radiate in his heart. “I think you’re right.” He went to hand Axel back the WINNER stick, but he refused.


“Keep it,” Axel said. “I think it belongs with you.”


Roxas nodded and slipped the stick inside his breast pocket. His fingers lingered on the wood, before letting it finally rest against his chest. “Hey, Axel?”


“Yeah?”


“You were Lea, and then you were Axel and now… you’re… you, right?”


“Uh…?”


“I mean, like, how do you make sense of it? Ever since I came back it’s felt like there were these two selves inside me, these two people I used to be, and I don’t know which one is the real me.”


“Hm.”


“Did you feel anything like that?”


“Hmmm…”


“No?”


“I guess it’s a bit different for me. I was Lea, and then my memories and my life continued as Axel. There wasn’t really a point where they existed at the same time, you know?”


“Oh.” Roxas’ shoulders fell.


“But, I guess I still feel it in some way. Sometimes when I’m walking around, I feel something as Lea, as the person I used to be and the life I used to have, and then sometimes I feel it as Axel. It’s like… when I was walking around in my home world. Sometimes I’d come across something, and I’d remember it as Lea, and I’d have this one feeling toward it, nostalgia, almost, but then, almost at the same time, I’d feel it as if I was Axel, and I’d feel a longing.”


He scratched the back of his head again. “It’s like… there’s still a straight line through me, but, like, the memories and experiences I had as Axel… they formed something else inside me. A different me, in some ways, but still me. I don’t know, I don’t think I’m explaining it very well.”


Roxas turned to him. His eyes almost pleading. “When it happens, when you feel both as Lea and as Axel… How do you know which one is real?”


Axel tilted his head. “They both are, Roxas. They’re both real. They’re both… me. I can’t separate them. I can’t like… throw away one, or think it’s fake. They both exist and they’re both what makes this me, me.”


The clock tower struck and the bells rung out. Time was up. Roxas got to his feet uneasy. It was true, there was still so much unsolved in his heart, in this second chance he was given. Being with Axel though, the memories they shared, the things they had gone through, it all felt true to him. Even in the silences, he could feel something connecting him to Axel, something he couldn’t see, but something he could feel. In a way, it was calming. No matter what happened, he knew he could come back to him.


“I guess it’s time, eh?” Axel said, getting up. He reached over and tightened the tie on Roxas’ uniform and fixed his collar. He smirked as he ruffled Roxas’ hair. “It’ll be fine, yknow.”


Roxas nodded. He looked deep into those familiar green eyes. It struck him that for so long he had wondered where it was that he belonged, but now, being with Axel, the answer seemed so clear to him. Maybe he didn’t belong anywhere yet, but he knew there was someone he belonged with. “Yeah,” Roxas said, confidently. “I know it will be.”


*​


Roxas and Axel approached the Twilight Town school together. They could see a bunch of fellow students form in groups around the entrance, talking animatedly amongst themselves. It scared him, the feeling that was aching in his heart, as he searched among the crowd for familiar faces that wouldn’t think his was familiar. Simultaneously he felt fear and yet he also felt longing. He had avoided seeing them for so long, and now the moment was here and he didn’t know what to do, if he could face the reality he would be met with. He thought about turning around, but he felt Axel’s hand on his shoulder, keeping him in place.


And then he saw them. Hayner. Pence. Olette. They looked just as he remembered them, and immediately he felt a pang inside his chest. He was flooded with memories of lazy summer afternoons, of sea-salt ice cream, of the beach trips they never got to go on. Roxas smiled thinking about how good it felt when he won the Struggle Championship. How connected he felt to them all when he broke off those crystal orbs and they all stared through their coloured light. These feelings, they were real, he couldn’t deny it. He knew if he approached the teenagers in front of him that they wouldn’t remember him, but he remembered them. He could feel it, their hearts, as if they were his own. His summer vacation spent with them, it wasn’t nothing. It was something, and it would be wrong of him to try and downplay it or tear it apart from his heart.


Axel squeezed his shoulder, and Roxas looked up. He motioned over to Hayner, Pence and Olette. “C’mon,” Axel said, gently pushing him toward them.


Roxas stopped. “What if they don’t remember me?” he asked, knowing they wouldn’t.


“Then you’ll form new memories with them,” Axel replied. “A new life.”


“Right…”


He clenched his fists as he stepped forward, into the unknown.


He still wasn’t sure who he was, who he would even profess to be when they asked, but he knew, he needed to find out the answer. The three teenagers looked at him curiously as he approached. He shot them a sheepish grin. It took a lot to keep him from talking to them like he used to. It was almost second nature, an urge he had to fight back. He’d open his mouth, and the usual words would just come, their playful banter, and he’d have to swallow them all back.


“Hi,” Olette said cheerfully after a moment. “Did you finish the summer homework?”


Roxas fought the tears beginning to well up inside him. He shook his head. “Not really,” he said. “Something came up.”


“Oh, no!” Olette said. “Well, if you get in trouble, you can say you helped us with ours. It’ll be okay. I’m Olette by the way.”


“It’s nice to meet you,” Roxas said, almost flinching at the words.


“I’m Pence,” Pence said. “You know…” he put a finger in his chin as he looked at Roxas. “You look like you’d be great at Struggle. Do you play? We were just talking about the coming fall tournament! Maybe you could join our team. We’re hoping to split the prize no matter who wins.”


Roxas smiled. “Yeah, I’d be down for that.”


He turned to Hayner who had been shooting him a standoffish look the entire time, his arms crossed. Their eyes met, and then, suddenly, Hayner softened. He laughed and shook his head, before stretching out a hand. “Hayner,” he said. “You’re new here aren’t you.”


Roxas nodded. “Kinda.” He looked at Hayner’s hand. It was strange. He knew it hadn’t been real, that it was just a part of the simulation. But the Hayner that had been in front of him then felt just as real to him as the one standing in front of him now. And the feelings were real, too. He was sure of it.


He shook Hayner’s hand and felt something overcome him. His heart was racing in his chest as it felt, all at once, that his memories coursed through him. Roxas looked up at Hayner and his eyes grew wide at the tears that began to form around his old friend’s eyes. Hayner brushed them away.


“Sorry,” Hayner said. “I don’t know what that’s about. I just… I feel like… are you sure we haven’t met before?”


Roxas looked down at his hand. He remembered back during his summer vacation looking at those same hands and wondering, just, who was he? Ever since coming back, he had wrestled with this same question. Was he the XIIIth member, was he the struggle champion? Which was the real him? But today, being with both Axel and, now, his old friends, he knew. It wasn’t a question of one or the other. There was no unraveling them both from within his heart. Everything was true at once. The dark and the light—


—And the new life he had entered by knowing them both.


Roxas looked up at Hayner, Pence and Olette and shot them his usual smirk.


“It’s me,” he said. “Roxas.”​
 
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It was good! Can't wait to see what happens next! And I love that you put school in there! Excited to see how school will work on for him and what'll happen with his relationship with HPO!
 

Audo

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It was good! Can't wait to see what happens next! And I love that you put school in there! Excited to see how school will work on for him and what'll happen with his relationship with HPO!
Thanks! Unfortunately this is actually a short story/oneshot, so I'm not really planning for there to be a continuation of the story.
 

Oracle Spockanort

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aw thanks. and thanks for leaving a comment lol. when no one comments i just assume no one reads it and get bummed out haha
No problem! I always love reading your fiction regardless if it is fan fic or original.

Noooooo!! You should totally continue it though!!!
As they say, sometimes the best things in life are short and brief.
 

KingdomKey

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I need this to happen at the end of KH3 when the credits start rolling. This is perfect! Not only is it perfect but, it gave me a roller coaster ride of feelings. I feel for Roxas. To not be recognized but be brave about starting over with Hayner, Pence, and Olette really takes some guts. And I absolutely love the down to earth talk between Roxas and Axel. The thought that they have each other makes my heart want to burst for the both of them. This was outstanding, Audo. And you ended this short story in the best way possible. Simply outstanding.
 
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