Title: Toy Guns and Hershey Kisses
Warnings: carnage, excessive use of the word ‘fuck’, clichéd premises, overuse of the zombie genre, misplaced fluff, mentions of sex
Rating: light R for language and brief mentions of sex
Beta: the BetaMistress alovelysilence;
Word count: hovering around 3500
A/N: Resident Evil made me do it.
Disclaimer: I don't own Kingdom Hearts, but I do get a kick out of writing for the fandom. The premise of this story was more or less based on/ripped from zombie movies, books, and video games – all of which I love a great deal. Movies: “Night of the Living Dead,” “28 Days Later,” “Shaun of the Dead,” “Zombieland,” and “I Am Legend.” Books: The Zombie Survival Guide, World War Z. Games: Resident Evil 4, Resident Evil 5. Also, a friend of mine created what became known as The Game of Death – the antithesis to the Game of Life, wherein one must survive the zombie apocalypse with characters ripped from Devil May Cry, Supernatural, and other shows. I don’t particularly like Valentine’s Day, and spent this year watching zombie movies instead. Axel doesn’t feel the same way.
Summary: The zombie apocalypse is at hand. Ten years into the plague Axel tries to reestablish Valentine’s Day with his lover, who may just be the least romantic person in the world aside from a zombie.
The saying goes that you don’t fall in love in the middle of the zombie apocalypse – it’s just not practical, or emotionally healthy. Killing loved ones infected by the plague is more stress than one person can take. Axel knew all of this, honestly, he did. He’d spent his teen years dealing with the blind panic overtaking the country and watching all of the zombie movies he could get his hands on; two out of three exes had been infected as far as he knew, and he had been forced to kill one of that number.
He managed to stay clear of the plague, and made it to a military base where he got in touch with his uncle. After some backroom dealing and tests Axel was taken on as a soldier under his uncle’s command in a private security firm. As the government collapsed amidst the panic, his uncle’s boss staged a coup and took control of the situation. The rescue and evacuation plan was implemented to help get survivors out; they established stations where travelers could stop, rest, reload, and refuel as they made their way to the coast. Airplanes had been grounded for one reason or another, leaving cars as the only transportation. Axel staked his claim on an abandoned weapons facility, perfect in its barricaded structure, thick walls and Plexiglas, its cache of ammunition and ironically (Axel nearly died of laughter, because really – what were the odds?) Hostess products. His sniper fried one of the Twinkies in honor of good old Tallahassee, his favorite “Zombieland” character, before a zombie ripped off his leg and started eating it like a giant turkey leg.
As luck would have it, none of Axel’s other men were nearly as proficient with a rifle, leading him to develop other tactics in long-range zombie killing – his favorite being Molotov cocktails.
His days were simple: wake up, keep watch for refugees, shoot zombies at random intervals, prepare cocktails, switch shifts, clean his weapons (machetes, swords, katanas, and blunt objects used at close range were required to be disinfected rigorously), go to sleep. This all changed when the blond and his family came barreling into his life and safe station at breakneck speed.
Axel knew pretty quickly (after several days and homicidal thoughts that generally involved strangling the petite blond) that theirs was destined to be a beautiful relationship.
“You guys look like you could use a sniper.”
The kid and his family had barely made it past the gate before it slammed behind them, a volley of grenades and home-made Molotov cocktails being launched at the infected bringing up the rear. Gunfire filled the air as military personnel dragged the car door open to get a good look at the refugees inside and check to make sure no one was sick. There were six of them, all crammed into the heavily modified SUV – at least it was capable of outrunning most of the infected, and they’d had the sense to pack lightly. Two couples and two teenage kids, both wide-eyed and wary as the soldiers pointed flashlights into their eyes and checked their gums. Deemed clean, the soldiers let them pass through, where their parents could sign out a few bunks for the night.
The next station was a couple hundred miles, give or take; it was a straight shot to the station on the coast from there. The outbreak of sickness and death had spread all over the continent, and the military had virtually taken over. Citizens with no infection or contamination would be evacuated at certain areas on the coast; safe stations kept radio waves open and played a constant stream of information on stations and ferries to keep citizens in the loop, with those closer to the interior showing up a little later than the rest. Once people were out and the call was given, there were hundreds of nuclear warheads all primed and ready to take out the continent and its infection.
Stations acted as safe havens and military buffers against the infected, providing food, supplies, and gas for the travelers, as well as beds for the night. Each was controlled by a different member of a high-ranking military organization.
Axel kept it well-supplied with food and other commodities – after the addition of the Molotov cocktails to the defense systems, things seemed to be working pretty well. They had an almost unlimited supply of ammunition since there was also a direct underground connection to a gun shop. So when the kid – a little blond thing, Axel assumed he was twelve - mentioned them needing a sniper, he made some snide remark and started laughing.
“Putting in your dad’s application, kid?” Which was a really stupid thing to say – the blond was holding a semi-automatic rifle by his side, a pretty decent one at that.
“Will you at least hear me out?”
“No,” Axel snorted. “Now go give your daddy back his rifle before he realizes you stole it.”
“It’s mine,” the blond answered, steel in his voice. “And I got it because I’m good.”
“I hate to tell ya, but toy rifles don’t do much damage to a zombie when it’s hell-bent on getting a taste.”
“It’s not a toy. It’s an M4 carbine, my dad got it in the war.”
“That so,” Axel asked, feigning interest. “Which one?”
“I can make a clean shot at their head from a hundred and fifty meters,” the blond continued doggedly, ignoring his question, “even when they’re on the move. I don’t waste ammunition.”
“You’re what, twelve? I’ve heard enough out of you, go on. Git.”
“No,” Axel cut him off. “I’m not keeping you here as a sniper. Get out of the country, kiddo.”
“I’m good,” the kid insisted, blue eyes blazing. “I could do it, I could help you guys –”
“Out of the question,” Axel yelled over him. “Now get the fuck out,” he turned back around to focus on his request for supplies, effectively dismissing the kid.
The blond cursed at him under his breath but left, taking the semi-automatic with him.
Once the night shift settled in Axel went down to check on the barracks and those staying over night; fourteen beds in total had been signed out, six of them occupied by the blonde’s family.
Not a single one of them, not even the blonde’s younger, brunet brother seemed to have an issue packing heat – he counted seven, maybe eight firearms among them that were visible. The matching tattoos on the men’s arms singled them out as former soldiers, specifically black ops, probably from the same platoon. Which, given the current state of affairs, meant the kids probably had extensive weapons training.
Upon closer (but not too close) examination of the blonde’s bunk, Axel noticed that he slept with the rifle under his arm and a machete under his pillow.
Axel learned fast that, even after they started sleeping together, he was still second to that kid’s rifle. He’d be forced from the kid’s bunk, sweaty and sated and just wanting to relax for a few minutes after a fantastic fuck, and would be promptly replaced by the cool metal of a rifle.
Roxas – that was the kid’s name – called it Sadie. The machete was Bob.
Somehow Roxas managed to coerce Axel into letting him stay; his parents had nodded reluctantly, as if understanding it was something he needed to do. He had hugged his brother - Sora - tightly, knowing he probably wouldn’t ever see his brother again.
Roxas was a child of the plague – a child soldier who could take apart his semi-automatic and put it back together in under ten minutes methodically, who had never had the chance to be a kid.
“You ever watch “Shaun of the Dead,” kid?” Axel asked, swinging a blood-stained cricket paddle – Luxord’s – around.
Roxas stared blankly. “What’s that?”
“A movie,” Axel snorted. “You ever wonder how this whole thing went down?”
The blond shrugged and went about his business.
“It was kind of like that, actually,” Axel muttered, wishing Roxas got the reference. “How old were you?”
The blond shrugged again. “Don’t remember.”
“I was fourteen,” Axel said, lighting a cigarette. “You’re what, fourteen, fifteen? You couldn’t have been more than three when the outbreak happened.”
“Don’t really much care,” Roxas said.
“Where’re you from?”
“Don’t remember. We’ve been moving back and forth. I think we were in Alaska before the planes shut down. Zack and Dad didn’t trust your organization,” he said matter-of-factly, giving him a pointed glance.
“I don’t make the decisions, kid.”
“But you follow them.”
Axel shrugged and rolled his eyes, leaving the blond to clean his weapons.
Axel and Roxas’ friendship – if one could call it that – was more of a survival dependence, out of which a camaraderie of sorts developed. Roxas was still learning the ropes around the base, and Axel needed solid sniper fire when he went out into the field to check for supplies. Eventually Axel forced a midrange handgun on him (“You’re no good to us if you’ve only got two lines of defense and one allows zombies within two feet – you’ll be dead before you know it”) and started taking him on small missions to meet suppliers – when an extra pair of sharp eyes was a very good idea.
One particular meeting went especially, horribly wrong when the second party was completely absent on arrival. Axel had cursed, wishing he’d brought a third or fourth person, when a small hoard of infected rose over the horizon, heading straight for their truck.
“We can take them,” Roxas had said, setting his rifle up just outside the car door and aiming for death incarnate.
“Don’t be an idiot,” Axel said tersely, pulling Roxas back inside and pushing the pedal to the floor. “There was a warehouse a mile or so back, we can hole up in there for a while.”
“We’re not heading back to base?”
“Hell, no!” Axel snorted. “That dealer had some fine merchandise we were set to get – beans, coffee, water canisters, liquor; he even mentioned something about chocolate. We just have to wait for the infected to disperse and go find it.”
“Chocolate,” Roxas murmured dreamily. “I love chocolate.”
Axel glanced over at him, then did a double-take – the kid looked like he was having the happiest dream of his life, thinking about chocolate. “Heh, so you are human then,” he chuckled, shaking his head as they sped towards the warehouse.
“Fuck off,” Roxas muttered, turning around in his seat and setting his rifle out the back window. After a few seconds Roxas started shooting.
“You got that under control?” Axel yelled over the wind.
Roxas answered with another shot, the sound of a head exploding echoing in the background.
As they came up on the warehouse Axel noticed the giant double doors were open, possibly broken. “Shit,” he growled, tensing. “We might have a problem.”
“Just get us in there!”
Axel sped up then stomped on the breaks once they were through the doors; the truck skidded across the debris-strewn floor, tires shrieking under the pressure as they turned a full 180 degrees – Axel noticed that the doors had indeed been torn apart. “Fuck!”
Roxas was already leaping over the car’s edge and kneeling for a steadier shot. “Any bright ideas?” The rifle went off, and a zombie running towards them fell; the hoard was getting closer, the sounds of their screams getting louder.
“The cellar!” Axel shouted over the din, pointing at a thick iron door in the floor. He grabbed Roxas by the collar, pulling him up and shoving him in its direction. “Run for it!”
Roxas stumbled and ran; Axel got a few shots off at the infected, who had started to enter the building.
“Axel!” The redhead looked over; Roxas had managed to drag the iron door open, and was waiting at the threshold. “Let’s go!” He bolted and helped Roxas slam the door shut just in time. Staggering back he glanced around the dark cellar; then he pulled out his flashlight, turning it on. The light revealed a pretty standard concrete cellar, broken boxes, a few broken bottles. Axel had a sudden, horrifying memory of an old zombie movie where a group of people tried to barricade themselves in the cellar; with nowhere else to go, each person was systematically killed.
Axel looked over at the blond, who was hunched over and holding on to the machete for dear life as the infected pounded on the double doors. He looked, for the first time since Axel had met him, frightened. “Hey,” Axel prompted; Roxas’ eyes snapped to him, wide and wary and not quite ready to die. “We’re gonna make out just fine,” he said reassuringly.
“I am not afraid to die,” Roxas answered staunchly. “I will kill myself before I let them infect me.”
The banging suddenly got a lot louder; Axel flinched and felt that first flicker of fear rising in the pit of his stomach. Then, not even thinking about what he was doing, he reached over and grabbed Roxas’ chin, jerking it in his direction and planting a hard kiss on the blonde’s lips.
Roxas froze for a good five, six seconds before he slammed the edge of Sadie’s handle against the side of his head. Axel tumbled back and shared a dumbfounded, utterly confused stare with Roxas, who was still brandishing the machete at him. “What,” he hissed, “the fuck was that?”
Roxas continued to glare at him, his lower lip swelling slightly. Then he suddenly wiped the back of his hand across his mouth. “Why?”
Axel shrugged, looking up sharply when a few loud bangs broke the silence. “Maybe because I’m afraid?”
Roxas held his gaze for a little bit, then pulled the handgun from the back his jeans, checking the number of bullets left. “Care to explain a little further at a better time?”
Axel nodded, prepping his own shotgun just in case.
The zombies never managed to get through, but when they finally felt safe enough to leave the cellar their truck had been almost completely ripped apart. They had to call the base to come pick them up.
The night they returned from that expedition was the first time Axel visited Roxas’ room after the night shift had begun; it was also the first time he’d ever been kicked out of bed after sex in favor of a firearm.
It should be noted that zombies did not do so well in the biting cold; their flesh froze and deteriorated and sometimes limbs broke off, making them much easier targets. It was also much harder for them to run in several feet of snow, and to bite through parkas and the thick snowsuits people usually used. (It was these reasons and more that prompted Roxas’ father to make the trek to Alaska with his family and best friend, though they didn’t stay too long.)
Having actually experienced childhood and the beginnings of adolescence before the outbreak, Axel was aware of the holiday known as Valentine’s Day. He knew it was a sappy day people had once associated with flowers and candies and saccharine kisses with their valentines. He also hadn’t thought about it in over ten years.
A full year had passed since Roxas stayed behind; the kid had even turned seventeen, much to Axel’s surprise since he’d pegged him at around fourteen on arrival. They’d been sleeping together for a decent portion of that year, and though Axel knew it was probably one of those Really Bad Ideas he couldn’t help but think of their relationship in almost-romantic terms. The fact that he was systematically kicked out of the kid’s bed and replaced with a large firearm and Roxas’ completely unromantic demeanor not withstanding, Axel figured he kind of liked him. He wouldn’t say he ‘fell in love’ because that would be admitting that he never got the memo about how love and the zombie apocalypse don’t mix at all. They only create massive amounts of stupid, strange behavior that generally end up with someone dying or getting zombified.
Nevertheless Axel was determined to honor the holiday this year, no matter how silly or unimportant or sentimental. It was sort of an odd feeling, this sudden desire to participate in a sappy, ridiculous and overblown celebration of love that no one had acknowledged in over a decade.
During one particular expedition min-winter Axel had found a small treasure trove of coveted chocolate – Roxas’ favorite indulgence, though it was difficult to find in the post-apocalyptic world. Axel stuffed as many of the tiny sweets into the pockets of his parka, hiding them away from Demyx and Xigbar when they came to see what he found. He hid them in the freezer back at the base, wrapped in a ratty package under the ice. For weeks it went undiscovered and, the day he approximated Valentine’s Day fell on, Axel set about getting Roxas to come around for the holiday.
Axel attempted to convince Roxas to abandon his mission early and come back, but the blond was noncommittal. He wanted it to be a surprise, his gift of chocolate and a bottle of whiskey to share.
Roxas did not return until much, much later than Axel anticipated; he was waiting in the blonde’s room when he finally returned. The blond had already shed his snowsuit but was soaking wet, with cheeks red from the cold, and the machete in his hand was bloodstained. His expression turned to one of annoyance when he saw Axel sitting at his desk. The chocolate and unopened bottle were on the table, but Roxas hadn’t noticed yet.
“You know,” Axel said, giving him an annoyed stare, “as far as boyfriends go, you suck pretty hard.”
Roxas sighed and looked at the redhead as he pulled his rifle off his shoulder. “I’m not your fucking boyfriend, fuck off.”
“Oh right, we just fuck all the time and spend all our time together. You’re not my boyfriend at all, you’re just the kid I fuck.”
“What do you want from me?” he asked helplessly.
Axel glared, gritting his teeth. “All I asked was that you come back earlier. I know Xaldin was ready to head back, and you went out looking for more infected.”
Roxas shrugged. “You didn’t give me a reason to come back early. I don’t like being told what to do, just because you want me to do something.” The last thing he wanted to deal with was an Axel in a terrible mood.
“I wanted it to be a surprise!” Axel said, pushing the bag and bottle across the table.
Roxas stared. “What’s that?”
“It’s a gift,” Axel said quietly. “For Valentine’s Day.”
“What’s that?” he asked, faltering.
“It . . . was a holiday. Before the outbreak. You’re supposed to exchange gifts with someone you like.”
“Oh,” Roxas blinked. “I didn’t . . . I’m sorry.” He looked down. “I didn’t know.”
“It’s ok,” Axel said after a few seconds. “That’s for you,” he added, gesturing towards the small bag.
“I-I don’t have anything for you,” the blond hesitated.
“It’s ok. Take it,” Axel said quietly, giving the bag another push.
Roxas blinked again and took the few remaining steps towards the table. He unwrapped the package, letting the small, silver-wrapped Hershey Kisses fall out of the bag, a shocked look on his face. Axel decided then and there that he was beautiful. “Ah,” Roxas breathed, picking one of the Kisses up and slowly unwrapping it. “Axel, is this . . . ?”
“Chocolate. They’re Hershey Kisses.”
“I remember,” he said quietly, fingers moving over the silver wrapping. “My mom used to give them to me, even after we were on the move.”
“I found them,” Axel smiled. “And I kept them. For you, anyway.”
Roxas paused, finally looking away from the chocolate to Axel, a smile spreading across his face. “Thank you.”
When Axel and Roxas actually celebrated Valentine’s Day it was something like March fifth. The only way Axel could tell it was around the right time was the extended, harsh northern winter started drifting to a close. Maybe it was time to get a new calendar.
And though the saying went that you didn’t fall in love during the zombie apocalypse, that it was a Bad Idea – Axel didn’t give much of a fuck. After he presented Roxas with a small helping of his favorite Hershey kisses and sticky note coupons for massages, Roxas, a little lost about this whole Valentine’s Day thing, didn’t kick him out that night when they fucked; Sadie remained propped up against Roxas’ bunk the whole time they were there. Then, they went on a date, i.e. they took shotguns off the walls and went out and killed some fucking zombies.
_ _ _ _ _
Happy belated Valentine’s Day, all! And yes, chapter 5 of Moped Romance is up next.