Okay, so I've been working on this for a while, and then I dropped it. But I still liked the idea, so I decided to revise it and see if I could actually make something of it. I've only written about two chapters, but if it seems like people like it, I'll continue it.
WARNING: This fic is AU, and will eventually become Akuroku. However, I encourage you to read it anyway. You might actually like it. :)
I don't usually like AU kh, but I felt the need to try it, and this fic is an interesting concept--to me, at least.
I'd also really appreciate it if anyone would like to help critique it and tell me what you think needs fixing. This is still a little on the rough side, and I'd like to eventually (hopefully) make something decent out of it.
Alright, enough of my blabbing. Enjoy.
“Roxas? You're up next.”
Roxas' eyes widened in fear, and he shrunk down slowly in his seat. “N-now?” He whispered, his blue eyes silently begging, pleading, for this torment to be delayed. “Can't I...go tomorrow?”
Mrs. Liza shook her head, her curly red hair bouncing from side to side as she did so. “You asked me that yesterday, Roxas. You're the last one left. I'm sure you'll be fine.” She smiled encouragingly and beckoned him up to the front of the classroom.
Roxas squeezed his eyes shut and tried to mentally prepare himself. “Pull yourself together, Roxas. It's only an oral report,” he thought. Slowly, very slowly, he gathered his papers together and rose out of his seat. He could feel the eyes of every kid in the class boring into him as he made his way to the front of the room. So many eyes.
He was so focused on not embarrassing himself that he didn't notice his shoelace was untied, and stumbled over his own feet. Snickers erupted throughout the room, and he could feel his face burning. His heart began to beat faster, and he could feel his palms beginning to sweat.
Finally, after what seemed like an agonizingly long walk of doom, he reached the front of the room and turned to face the class. Now, not only could he feel the eyes on him, he could see them too. It suddenly became a lot harder to breathe.
“What book is your report on, Roxas?” Mrs. Liza asked.
Roxas gulped and looked down at the floor. “One..One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,” he mumbled.
His teacher smiled and nodded in appreciation. “Excellent choice. Go ahead, let's see what you've got.”
Roxas' legs began to shake, and his rapid heartbeat continued to increase in pace. He fumbled with the papers in his hands, nearly dropping one, but stopping himself before he did. He tried to take a deep breath, but could only manage a shallow, gasping breath.
“One Over...I mean...One Flew Over the Cu—Cuckoo's...Nest...thisbookisaboutamanwhosuffersfromschizophreniaandhastoliveinamentalinstitutionandpretendstobedeafanddumbbutreallyhessmartandcanhearand—”
“Woah woah woah, what was that?” Mrs. Liza interrupted, holding a hand up to stop him. “Slow down, Roxas, and speak up. We can barely understand you.” She continued.
Roxas' chest suddenly began to feel very tight, and he was now trembling from head to toe. He managed to nod and turn his attention back to the papers in his hand, desperately trying to ignore the stares of every person in the class. He was positive they were all just waiting for him to screw up so they could laugh at him and tease him mercilessly.
With a superhuman effort, he opened his mouth and started from the beginning. “This book...this book is about a man who suffers from schizo—schizophrenia—” His hands were shaking so badly that he could hardly read the words on the page. “He has to live in a mental institution...”
He couldn't breathe. He had to stop himself and gasp for air. His lungs were burning. From the back of the classroom, the voice of the nasty blonde girl reached his ears—“Someone should put him in a mental institution” and the muffled giggles that followed.
The papers fell from his hands and fluttered gracefully to the ground. The girl's eyes met his, and she smirked.
He lost it. He began to hyperventilate, and his body shook violently. The room began to spin; suddenly his shaking legs couldn't support him anymore, and he collapsed to the ground. He was sweating profusely, and his heart beat so fast it felt like it might explode out of his chest. All he could feel was sheer panic filling his entire being. He had to get away, he had to get out of here, but he couldn't move. He curled into the fetal position and squeezed his eyes shut, trying desperately to pull himself together.
And then the images came. They flashed through his brain at a rapid pace, none staying long enough for him to really see them. He only caught glimpses. Black cloaks. A blindingly white room. A man with an eyepatch. Red hair. A strange floating creature. A scarred face. A moon shaped like a heart. A very large key. A popsicle stick. A cloudless sky. A deck of cards. An old mansion. A girl's smile. A sitar. An oddly colored scythe. A sunset. Green eyes. A small black creature. Red hair again.
The images were joined by voices, though they were all speaking at once, and it was hard to distinguish what anyone was saying.
“...need a heart...”
“Collect them with your...”
“...still kind of a zombie”
“Do you want a meaning?”
“Your mission is...”
“Got it memorized?”
“Are you sure you...”
“...they'll destroy you!”
“Why do you have...”
“Roxas! Roxas!” A voice cried, though this one was familiar. The rush of images and voices stopped, and Roxas felt himself snap back into reality. He opened his eyes slowly to see Mrs. Liza kneeling next to him, her eyes wide with fear. Relief flooded her face when she saw that his eyes had opened, but she still looked frightened and worried.
“Roxas, are you alright? What...” For once, his teacher was at a loss for words. Roxas looked up to see the majority of the class crowded around him, staring at him with concerned and curious eyes and murmuring amongst themselves. His heart skipped a beat, and he squeezed his eyes shut.
Mrs. Liza seemed to snap back to her usual assertive self and waved her hands desperately at her other students. “Back up! Give him some space! And dear lord, someone please get the nurse!” She ordered, and, hesitantly, the class obeyed.
Roxas reopened his eyes and stared at the ceiling. His heartbeat was still far too fast, but it was gradually slowing down. He was still shaking and sweating, but slowly, slowly, he began to pull himself together.
That was the third panic attack this week. It was also the first panic attack he had ever had in front of one of his teachers and his peers. It was hard for him to do, but he slowly began to accept the truth.
He needed help.
Axel lay on his bed, staring up at the bland white ceiling. He pulled a box of matches that he had nicked from one of the supply cabinets out of his pocket and lit one, observing the small flame that appeared. He began to play with it idly for lack of something better to do. Group therapy wasn't till 5, and everybody else was still at lunch.
Out of nowhere, a man materialized next to his bed. The man was wearing a black cloak that covered his entire body, and a black hood was pulled up, completely covering his face. Axel jumped and nearly dropped the lit match, but managed to catch it and blow it out before it lit his whole bed on fire.
“Still playing with fire, huh? I guess some things never change.”
“Oh jeez, not one of you guys.” Axel groaned, sitting up and giving the man a once-over. “Can't you just leave me alone?”
The man in the cloak laughed. “As if! It's too much fun playing with your head.”
“Yeah, I know. I'm crazy. You don't need to remind me. Now get out of here.” Axel scowled.
“Aw, that's not a very nice way to greet an old friend.” The man removed his hood. He had long black hair with white streaks which was pulled back into a ponytail. There was an eyepatch where his right eye should've been, and a long jagged scar running up his left cheek.
Axel observed the man with vague interest. It was rare that they removed their hoods.
“I don't know what you're talking about. I've never met you before in my life.” Axel replied, feigning indifference. Maybe if he ignored the man, he would go away.
The man laughed again. “Sure you haven't.” He pulled the chair out from under the desk and sat down, casually leaning back and throwing his feet up to rest on the desk. “So, how've things been lately without Blondie around?”
Axel frowned. “Blondie?”
“Tsk, tsk, Number Eight, you forgot him too? How could you? You should know what it feels like to be forgotten.” The man replied.
“You're not making any sense. And why do you call me that? I've told you all a million times, my name is Axel. That's A-X-E-L. Not “Number Eight”. Got it memorized?” He snapped in response.
The strange man turned and looked at Axel, utterly amused. “Right, sorry. Old habits die hard, I suppose.” He shrugged.
Out of sheer boredom, Axel decided to humor the man. “So, if I'm Number Eight, what does that make you?” He asked.
The man grinned and held up two fingers. “Number Two, at your service.” He stood up and bowed mockingly.
“Right. And remind me again what these numbers mean, seeing as I'm apparently supposed to know this already?” Axel asked, half sarcastically, and half genuinely curious.
“They're the order that we joined the Organization.” Number Two answered.
“Oh, yeah. The Organization.” Axel replied, rolling his eyes. They always spoke of this mysterious Organization, which they—and, supposedly, he—were all a part of. However, none of them ever told him what it actually was.
Number Two shook his head at him. “The superior wouldn't be too happy to find out you've forgotten.” He warned.
“Right, the superior. I'd better watch out.” Axel replied in mock fear. Number Two just laughed.
He strolled casually over to the small window, which offered a gorgeous view of the parking lot in front of the building. “Hey, you might wanna come check this out.” He called over his shoulder.
“No thanks. I'm good.” Axel responded, turning away and trying to ignore the strange man.
“Still don't know how to cooperate, do you?” He grinned. “I'm serious though, you should come look at this.”
Axel sighed. Reluctantly, he hopped off his bed and walked over to the window. A car was parked in front of the building, and a blonde boy was getting some bags out of the trunk.
“A new kid, hmm? It's been a while since we've had someone new. Wonder who he is.” Axel said, more to himself than to the man still standing on his left.
Number Two raised an eyebrow. “I should think you, of all people, would know who that is.”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Axel asked, turning to face the man. He only shrugged in response, a smirk plastered to his scarred face.
Axel moaned in frustration. “I'm tired of all this cryptic nonsense. You'd better start explaining!” He exclaimed, but the man's smirk only grew. Axel swung at him, but his arm passed through the man, leaving him thoroughly untouched and unharmed, just as Axel knew would happen.
The man laughed and raised his right hand in a sort of waving gesture. “Until next time, Number Eight,” he grinned, before disappearing in a cloud of black smoke.
“I told you not to call me that!” Axel growled, but the man was gone. He turned back to the window and pressed his forehead to the cool glass, looking down for another glance at the boy. He wasn't there anymore; he must've already gone into the building. Axel sighed and collapsed back onto his bed.
“Guess I'll find out who this new kid is soon enough,” He mumbled, then laughed bitterly. “Let's hope this one's actually real.”
...it's so much longer on Word :(
Nothing I write is ever long enough. Oh well. Constructive criticism is appreciated!<3