He had always thought he would go out in a blaze of glory, saving baby deer from the raging flames of a dry forest or spontaneously combusting whilst water skiing. Hell, even setting an angry kitchen fire in the middle of prepping bananas foster for the president, that would work!! It had always been fire, his death. What Axel had not envisioned it to be was numbness in his fingertips; a bullet that ripped into his torso and ricocheted around, basically performing a nasty little lobotomy of his insides and turning them into mush. Or swiss cheese. Yeah, maybe swiss cheese was the better option of what his stomach must have looked like.
Death was proving to be much colder than he had expected, and Axel never had liked the cold. He was more of a tropical sort of guy.
Poor Roxas… it was obvious how hopeless the kid was, but he was doing his best to sport a brave face. No tears - men weren’t supposed to cry. What silly, childish notions. Axel didn’t intend to let the younger run from this. It was their finale, the time to say goodbye. He didn’t want to pretend that he was going to get all better, because it was made obvious by the wheezing sounds in his breath and the blood slowly dribbling from the side of his lips that he was destined to not get better at all.
It was getting colder.
"Rox." The amount of effort it took Axel just to lift his hand and set it carefully on the blond’s shoulder surprised him. It was another thing he hadn’t expected; death had always been fueled by adrenaline (unsurprising, as he was saving deer or water skiing or cooking for the president). It had always come and gone in a flash of energy. This was more painful, more drawn out. Death was cold and heavy. "Tell me you love me." He didn’t care if it was fake (even though he knew it wasn’t). Axel needed to hear Roxas’ goodbye before he could die. He refused to go before it. He would magically stop the goddamned bleeding until the blond said everything he needed to hear.
He was choking on blood, the thickness of it staining his gums, teeth, and lips red. But he wouldn’t cough. Wouldn’t scare the boy holding him so tenderly in his arms. He had always wanted to go out a hero. Instead, he was just the victim of some surprise mugging. But at least they’d gotten him and not Roxas. Maybe he could fool himself into believing he was in fact a hero - at least to one person. He wasn’t the former junkie who struggled every day. He was no longer the joker who kept the party alive, the student with doctor’s handwriting, the unhealthy boyfriend who tried his best and still fell below the bar. Axel had kept Roxas from being targeted by the bullet that was now taking his life, and that made him a hero. Right?
"Do you love me, Roxas?" He asked again, voice thick with liquid. He would be coughing in just a moment, which would aggravate the bleeding elsewhere, no doubt. But he focused on terrified blue eyes instead of the unpleasant cold heaviness that was the Reaper’s hand. "Would you have-" the coughing finally began, red bubbling from his mouth as his body tried to expel it enough to breathe. "-have-" it was almost like retching, if one could do so with so little energy. And then it stopped for a glorious moment, and Axel turned his swimming eyes away from the person whom he loved so much, and who was unfortunate enough to watch this entire ugly scene unfold. Axel was ashamed at how unheroic his death actually was. "-married me? If it weren’t like this?"