It's funny how life doesn't always work out to our expectations.

Okay, maybe funny isn't the word that I'm looking for. What is the word I'm looking for then? Maybe… maybe strange is a better word. But, isn't strange just another word for funny? Ugh, whatever. Let's get back on track.

I know my life so far hasn't always worked out to my expectations. I mean, when I started my freshman year, I expected to graduate from high school being completely average.

Naturally, because that's how my life works and has worked so far, those expectations were wrong. They weren't even a little bit right. Young, naive freshman me had an idea of how things should have gone but now on the night of my high school graduation four years later...well, I might still be average in a few ways but the road I took to get here was anything but.

Let me give you a word of advice for the future. If you have expectations like I did? Throw them out. Now.

So: how did this happen? I'm gonna go on the record here and say that I was not involved with any of this in the beginning.

…that sounds really suspicious, doesn't it? Or crazy. It's probably a little bit of both, but that's probably because the truth of it all is a little crazy. It's not supernatural-crazy or anything like that. This isn't one of those types of stories. I'm not that kind of author and this isn't really something that I can lie about. Going forward, everything I write in this book is completely true no matter how incredulous or delusional it may sound. I already know I'm going to regret saying that and I'm going to look back at past-me and want to kick his ass for making that promise, but I figure somebody deserves to know the whole story.

So what is the whole story? What's the one thing that happened to kick off the chain of events that changed my life forever?

My best friend screwed me over.

And before you say it, shut up. It's a totally valid answer! Even if maybe she didn't mean to, she totally did. I'm getting ahead of myself and I know that but like I said I want it on record that I had nothing to do with how this all began.

Speaking of the beginning, all good stories start from there, right?

Too bad I can't promise this will be a good story.

Still here? Okay. Don't say I didn't warn you. I've never been that great at expressing myself or writing everything in a way that makes sense, but hopefully you can keep up.

Everyone knows that every good story starts with an introduction of your main character...your protagonist, if you will. In this case, I guess that would be me. My name is Roxas Mihara. Picture a guy who's got blonde hair, blue eyes, average height and weight and pretty much no special, defining features. That's me. I'm 17 now, but when all of this started I was still 16.

I've never been the protagonist of my own life. I've always lived in someone else's shadow and for a long time I was more or less okay with that. I had my own thing, I had my own friends, and I had my own life. I had conceded to being in the background and letting someone else get ahead.

Those expectations changed, too. I became the protagonist without even realizing it, and even now it's a weird thing to think about.

You know how the story goes. The protagonist starts out as this average, nothing special kind of person and along the way meets people that change and guide them. Everyone knows that every good protagonist also has a really good sidekick, so I should probably introduce who "she" is, shouldn't I? Picture a petite girl, shoulder-length auburn hair, bright blue eyes, decent figure, nice legs, looks great in a skirt, and has a knack for getting both of us into situations that are hard to get out of.

Meet Kairi Harada, my best friend for the past nine years. No, wait, almost ten. It's closer to ten now. I want to say we met while facing the town bullies together, or sailing out to sea on a grand adventure, or rescuing puppies out of a burning building Kairi and I met in the most ordinary way possible and spawned an extraordinary kind of friendship.

I was eight years old when my parents and I moved to Destiny Islands. I grew up in Twilight Town my whole life, so moving to the islands wasn't exactly on my to-do list. It could have been worse though. We could have been alone, but instead we moved into a house only a few blocks away from my Aunt Seiya and my cousin Sora. My aunt and my mom are sisters and Sora and I are the same age, so we've always been pretty close. I think maybe we got even closer after my uncle died and I didn't understand at the time but I'm pretty sure that's why we moved here. It was hard on Aunt Seiya to raise Sora by herself and it made sense for the family to stick together. I don't even think we finished unpacking before Mom and I went to my aunt's place.

While my mom and my aunt are very similar, Sora and I are pretty much polar opposites. He's the sun and I'm the moon, he's the social butterfly and I'm the wallflower, he's the real boy and I'm the shadow.

He was the Somebody and I was the Nobody.

I wasn't exactly the most chatty kid, or the most social, but Sora wasn't too sensitive about that issue and dragged me out of the room and down the stairs, announcing to our mothers that he was taking me to the play island and slamming the door behind him. When Sora gets an idea, it's hard to get him off of it, so I realized I was going to meet his friends whether I wanted to or not. We headed down to the docks and hopped into a boat, rowing out to an island a little way out in the ocean, just barely separated from the mainland. Sora dragged me along (literally, actually) and led me to the opposite end of the beach where a few other kids were crowded around watching a boy with silver hair and another boy with sandy-colored hair fight. The silver-haired boy had a wooden sword while the other kid had a metal pole of some kind. It must have been an everyday occurrence though because Sora wasted no time in telling me that the silver-haired kid was his best friend Riku and that the little shrimp he was fighting was called Tidus. We watched the fight for a few moments before Riku smacked Tidus down, causing the smaller boy to tumble back onto the sand and stay down.

The other kids, two girls and one other boy, cheered respectively before breaking off into their own conversations. A brunette girl bounced up to Tidus, helping him up off the ground and showering him with praise. The orange-haired tanned boy swaggered up to Riku and clasped him on the shoulder, congratulating him for a good fight. Sora grinned and as soon as the other boy (who I later learned was Wakka) left, my cousin pounced on Riku.

"Riku!" The excitement radiated off of him in waves and the sheer volume was enough to make Riku wince.

"Hey Sora…" he said slowly, pushing Sora off of him. "You missed my entire fight."

"I couldn't get here soon enough!" Sora's eyes widened, threatening to pout. "My aunt came over and Mommy made me stay home. But look, I brought someone with me!"

The rest was a blur beyond that (probably because Sora yanked me around again and rattled my brain) but I do remember that in that short timeframe I met Riku, Wakka, Tidus, and Selphie. And then he introduced me to the cute little redhead standing right in front of me.

"This is Kairi," he said to me, pointing to the girl. I remember her hair was a lot shorter than it is now, a bob-cut, but her eyes sparkled just as bright. A shy but friendly smile spread across her face.

"It's nice to meet you, Roxas," she said to me. It was the first thing she'd ever said to me, but I liked her right away.

After spending a few more hours on the island with Sora and his friends, we returned back to his house and I came to realize that Kairi lived a few houses down. You can imagine that I spent a lot of time over at Sora's in the future. I still can't even think of why me and Kairi connected so well. I'm going to guess that it was because Sora and Riku had each other and Kairi was tired of being the third wheel even when the boys didn't mean to exclude her. We needed each other, I guess. Over time she brought me out of my shell or whatever and helped me morph into who I am now (whoever that is.) She was always there for me too, no matter what. She was there to fix my face when a boy at school punched me out when we were nine, she was there to tease me freshman year about having a crush on our friend, Naminé, and she was there to help me pick out my car for my 16th birthday. But the thing about Kairi is she's there through the good and the bad, and I can never be grateful enough for her being around for the worst when we were 11. My dad had just walked out on my mom and me, so I was basically…well, a wreck. Kairi knew that I was having a hard time coping and she didn't give up on me, even when I snapped at her and told her to fuck off.

And yes, I felt bad about it later and apologized.

Shortly after my dad left, Mom and I moved in with Aunt Seiya and Sora. It made sense and like I said, it made sense for family to stick together. I got to live with two of my favorite people in the world, and I got to be within walking distance of a third favorite. Of course, there were definitely some disadvantages to that, such as…well, how Kairi screwed me over.

Did you think I wouldn't say it again? Thanks for sitting through that introduction. I think we can finally get started on the first day of the story.

It was a hot day on the island in the middle of August, about a week and a half before we were supposed to go back to school. Convenient to our story (and also, you know, true) I was the only one home that day. Mom and Aunt Seiya were out shopping and Sora was over at Riku's. I was perfectly content with my seasalt ice cream and watching a re-run of Laguna Beach, but of course I was fated to be interrupted. My cell phone suddenly vibrated in my pocket and even as I jumped in surprised I managed to catch my ice cream before it fell to the floor. Not before it hit my lap though. That would have been too easy.

"Hello?" I'm sure it sounded more like "Hewrow?" around the ice cream I'd shoved back in my mouth though.

"Rox-as," Kairi's voice came from the other end of the line, drawing out my name in a way that convinced me she wanted something.

"Hey. What's up?"

"Do you think you could do me a favor?"

"What-" I didn't even get to finish my sentence before she was talking again.

"So since Daddy's busy at the office and my mom's gone for the week, do you think you can come pick me up from work?" I barely stopped myself from groaning out loud.

"Kai, do I have to? LC's just about to-"

"Roxas." I could practically hear the judgment dripping from her tone. "If you tell me you're watching Laguna Beach I am going to walk home, then walk to your house, steal all of your ice cream and beat you over the head with the remote control. Repeatedly. You know that show is terrible!"

"So? The girls are hot."


"Okay, okay." Maybe I shouldn't have laughed, but at least by then I was sitting upright and getting off of the couch to search for my car keys. Kairi always gets annoyed when I ramble about hot girls, but to be honest I always do it just to annoy her. "Look, I'll be there in, like, ten minutes okay?"

"You better be here that soon." She tried to sound threatening but I could practically hear the smile in her voice.

"You know it. See you in a bit."

"Thanks Rox!" And then she hung up without waiting for me to reply. Shoving my phone back into the pocket of my shorts, I left and locked the front door behind me to head for my blue Highwind in the driveway. Normally I'd say that I know I'm fortunate for having a car, but I can't feel that fortunate considering most of it was paid for with child support money from my dad. Am I still bitter about it? I might be. It got the job done though.

Speaking of jobs, I was pretty much the only one of my friends who wasn't working that summer and that suited me just fine. Kairi got a job at the local coffee house right after school finished for the year and even though she'll tell me all the time how much she likes it, nothing will ever convince me to join her and learn how to make cappuccinos. Selphie works there, too, and there's absolutely no way I'm ever getting in the middle of those two. Not having a job meant I was a glorified chauffeur some days though so I drove across town to the Noon Moon café, parking on the curb and walking inside. Kairi was still behind the counter finishing up with a few customers. She smiled in my direction even so.

"Hold on, Rox," she directed toward me and turned back to the man ordering his mocha. Or Americano. Or something. This wasn't the first time I'd shown up early before her shift's actually over so I made myself comfortable leaning against the counter and watching as she finished up before disappearing behind the swinging doors to the back room.

Now imagine this. Imagine you're just chilling, minding your own business and resting with your chin on your arms and arms on the counter not even bothering anybody. Imagine you're probably humming your favorite song in your head, or you're thinking about what you should eat for dinner or whatever it is people think about when they're zoning out. And imagine some asshole slamming their hands down on the counter right in front of your face and causing you to nearly slam your nose straight into the counter.

You have the perfect picture of what happened next.

Without warning a pair of hands slammed down right in front of my face, jerking me out of my tranquil state. Fumbling, I nearly lost my balance as I stood upright and got a look at the guy with a shock of red, spiky hair and vibrant green eyes. His uniform matched Kairi's but there wasn't a nametag in sight.

"Gonna order something or are you just gonna stand there and look pretty?" He raised an eyebrow but didn't move from his spot. I think I stood there staring at him dumbly for a moment while I tried to take in what I was seeing. Further investigation led me to notice he had two little marks on his face, one under each eye, not to mention a silver hoop through the top of his left ear. It was hard to tell if the marks tattoos or scars, but that was less important than some other things. You know, like the fact that this guy just called me pretty?

"Actually, I'm waiting for a friend." He nodded knowingly and grinned down at Kairi as she reappeared from the back room.

"Hey Kai, your boyfriend's kinda scrawny ain't he?" Kairi, instead of actually trying to defend me, simply smiled politely before scrutinizing me.

"I suppose he could use a little more muscle on him." This time she turned the smile toward me even if it was a little less polite and a lot more teasing.

"Hey! First of all, that was really mean. Secondly," I added, glaring at the tall red-haired boy. "I'm not her boyfriend."

"Sure, sure, whatever. I don't know why you would deny it. Kairi's a total catch." A wink punctuated his statement and I was starting to get a little more than weirded out. Kairi didn't seem to mind though since she just rolled her eyes and grabbed my wrist.

"Ax, I'm heading out. I'll see you later!"

"Sure thing. Don't do everything I would do!" The guy finally shut up as another customer showed up, asking for another cup of coffee. Kairi led me out of the coffee shop and dragged me toward my car, waiting patiently on the passenger side for me to unlock it. I unlocked the car and slid into the driver's seat, making no move to actually start the ignition or drive away. As she slid into her seat she looked over at me curiously.

"Um…aren't we going to leave?" I stared back and narrowed my eyes, nodding toward the building.

"Who the fuck was that, and can I shove a stirring spoon up his ass?"

"That's Axel. I think he said his last name's Tamashi? He's new, both on the job and in town. He's going be in our graduating class this year. And no, you can't do that because that's both very unsanitary and also kind of rude." Her explanation didn't help much.

"Well if you ask me, he's also kind of rude." Finally starting the car, I turned up the volume of my stereo and pulled away from the curb.

"Roxas…" I heard the warning tone, really I did, but I chose to ignore it anyway and turned up the volume again. "He's actually not that bad once you get used to him."

"Well maybe I don't want to get used to him."

"Roxas! Stop being difficult!" she shouted suddenly. It's possible I had my music up a little too loud, but big deal.

"I'm not being difficult! I haven't even known him for 10 minutes and he's already insulting me!" I stopped at a traffic light and Kairi reached forward to turn down my music.

"How was he insulting you?"

"He called me scrawny?"

"Roxas…you are scrawny. But then again, so's Sora."


"Does it really count as an insult if it's true?" She raised an eyebrow. The light turned green and gave me enough time to stall on answering her.

"Of course it counts. It's like rubbing salt into an open wound."

"Honestly, you're too overdramatic," she sighed. "It's not even that bad of an insult, I promise."

"I'm not being overdramatic! I just don't like it when people insult me."

"No really, you're one of the most dramatic people I know. You're just a big personality in a sort of small package, get over it."

"You're lucky I don't make you walk home."

"Like you would. You love me too much."

"Oh, totally," I remarked and rolled my eyes. I wasn't quite sure why this Axel kid's remark had me all bent out of shape. I'm used to getting shit from people all the time. Being called scrawny shouldn't have affected me like that. But it did, and that bothered me. The rest of the short trip was spent in silence and I pulled into Kairi's driveway, putting the car into park and letting the engine idle.

"You coming in for a while?" Kairi asked me, not quite making an effort to get out of my car.

"Can't. Dem, Sora, and I all agreed on having band practice at our house in, like, 15 minutes," I replied with a quick glance to the clock. She sighed again and shifted in her seat to get a better look at me. I refused to look her in the eye by that point, and I think she noticed that I was glaring out the windshield because she began to speak again.

"What's wrong, Roxy?" she asked me, giggling when my eyes narrowed even more at the use of the nickname.

Just for the record, I don't really like being called Roxy. I only tolerate it from two or three people and if you have to wonder if you're one of them, you're not.

"Nothing," I mumbled, drumming my fingers on the steering wheel and glancing at the clock again. Ten minutes left. She continued to look at me, staying quiet as I continued…pouting? Sulking? Hell, I don't know what I was doing at the time, but I wasn't the ray of sunshine she was probably hoping for. Suddenly I felt soft fingers on my face and the next thing I knew, Kairi had turned my head toward her, watching me with a concerned look on her face.

"…what?" I asked her warily, not liking the way her expression was changing and the concern was being replaced by a smirk. What came out of her mouth next was something that a.) caught me off-guard completely, and b.) brought on a huge plot point to this story.

"You think he's cute don't you?"



"What?!" My eyes went wide and my jaw dropped as I stared at her in disbelief. And what did she do? She had the nerve to sit there and giggle. Giggle! I mean, here was her best friend, confused beyond all belief to why she would even suggest something as heinous and disgusting as that and all she could do is sit there and laugh.

What the hell?

"Kai, that's just…gross!"

"Oh come on, Roxas, just admit it. You think he's cute," she repeated, poking me squarely in the chest. I swatted at her hand and frowned at her.

"Do not."

"Do too. I can see it on your face," she remarked triumphantly, poking me again.

I might have been even more insulted if Kairi wasn't the only one who knew that I considered myself bisexual at the time. Nobody else knew, and honestly I wasn't really planning on telling anybody else. It was one of those things nobody really needed to know about and I was happy keeping everybody in the dark. But since life decided to hate me for the entire year, things just happened.

We'll get to that later.

"Kairi, seriously. I don't think he's cute or attractive or even nice. I don't like him. End of story."

"You're just mad because he called you scrawny." With that last retort, she opened the car door unbuckling her seatbelt and climbing out.

"Not even."

She shut the door and stuck her head back in through the open window. "Whatever you say, but obviously you didn't notice the blush on your face." Out of pure instinct, I looked up at the rearview mirror and saw…nothing. Kairi laughed at me again and I glared at her, putting the car back into reverse.

"Whatever," I mumbled back at her, ignoring the proud smile on her lips.

"Don't deny it, Roxas! I know you better than that"

"Goodbye, Kai!" I cut her off and began backing out of the driveway, ignoring the indignant yelp from her. I waved over my shoulder and drove the few…yards down the street back to mine and Sora's house, parking on the curb because Sora's car was in the driveway. I turned off the car and pocketed the keys, hopping out and slamming the door shut, jogging up the walkway and into the house.

"Hello?" I called out, unsure where Sora was.

"Upstairs, Rox!" he hollered from my bedroom. Running upstairs, I pushed open the door to my room and spotted Sora sitting in my desk chair with a drum pad and our other buddy, Demyx, sitting on my bed.

"About time you got here," Demyx said to me as he looked up from the electric guitar in his hands.

"Sorry, had to pick up and drop off Kairi," I explained as I shut the door behind me, grabbing my bass guitar from the floor.

"You can spend time with your girlfriend later. Right now, we have practice to take care of." Demyx grinned teasingly.

"She's not my -"

"Yeah, we've heard it plenty of times," Sora waved it off, pushing off to spin the chair in a circle.

"Oh shut up." It wasn't my finest retort, but I focused on locating my music folder from under my bed and flipping through the various sheets of music.

So…the band. You're probably wondering about that because, well, if you're in high school (or at least if you've ever been in high school), you probably know a couple of kids who think they can play music, throw together a band and pretend to take it seriously. The difference between them and us is that I probably take this way, way too seriously.

Ever since I was little I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. You know how in elementary school they ask you what you want to be and the typical answers were, like, a fireman or a vet? I decided from an early age that I was going to be a musician. A rock star. Famous. Which…is funny, I guess, given the whole "Roxas you used to be really shy" thing.

I've been learning to play music since I was a kid. My mom started me on piano and before my dad moved out, he taught me how to play guitar (electric and bass.) The last present I got from him in person before he left was the bass I have right now. I guess I'm pretty good at it; I mean, I could be better, but you get the idea.

Sora on the other hand was (and still is) a major band nerd. He started playing drums when we were in 6th grade for the school band after realizing that the sax just wasn't for him. He hasn't quit the school band (jazz, specifically), but he's not as obsessive as he used to be. I guess it's because he's more focused on our band.

And then of course there's Demyx. I can't even really tell you how we picked up our faux-hawked freak, but we did. He's got some great guitar skills too; before he joined our band, he was trying to be a solo artist under the name Melodious Nocturne. Needless to say, it didn't exactly work out for him. And because he chose to skip school to try and chase after his dream, he ended up failing his freshman year of high school and ending up being held back in our grade. He wasn't too happy about that, but he didn't mind much once he found out that Sora and I were looking for a guitarist.

We officially became a band somewhere near the end of our freshman year. Sora plays drums, Demyx is the guitarist and back-up singer, and I'm the bassist and lead singer. Demyx and Sora both agreed that my voice was the best out of the three of us. They're right, but I still don't like the sound of my own voice. The people we play for do though. We haven't had very many gigs over the years, just sporadic ones here and there. On the bright side, that's given me plenty of time to write songs for us to try out and the shows we have played have been pretty successful.

"Have you written anything new recently?" Demyx asked me as he tuned his guitar a bit, not bothering to look up at me.

"Dumb question, Dem," Sora interrupted. "It's Roxas; Roxas is always writing new songs."

He's got a point.

"I did. I'm not sure if I really like them though," I replied for myself, handing over a sheet of music and lyrics. Demyx took them and scanned the notes quickly, playing the beginning chord quietly. He read over the words and raised an eyebrow, looking at me skeptically.

"Nice…but it's not your best work."

"Yeah, I know." I probably shouldn't have thrown the folder on the floor but it was a little late for that. "I just haven't really been inspired lately."

"Why not?" Sora stopped spinning, a foot gently stopping him so he had to tilt his head back and look at me upside-down.

"I don't know. Just nothing's really happened lately, that's all." I shrugged. Sora sighed and rose to his feet, shuffling toward my bed and settling on the floor in front of me and Demyx. It's hard to say if he wanted to be close by or he wanted to read the music that had scattered from the folder. Either was likely.

If I had to be honest, most of our band practices aren't really practices. We just hang out, discuss our music, end up talking about other stuff, and maybe, if we're really lucky, practice a few songs before Demyx has to leave for work. Right now I was beginning to think that this practice would end up being a discussion session.

"It's summer. Doesn't really surprise me." Demyx set his guitar down, stretching out on my bed. Normally I wouldn't care, but Demyx has a problem with wearing clothes that don't always fit sometimes, so he's always showing off his abs. Nobody can blame me for looking.

…no seriously, nobody can. Everyone would agree with me, and even if they didn't for some stupid reason at least Sora would.

It probably doesn't hurt that Sora's bi, too. Then again, Sora's also got a boyfriend. Name's Riku, remember him? I mentioned him earlier as Sora's best friend. Yeah, unlike me who had his best friend screwing him over, Sora just had his best friend screwing him. Period. They've been "official" since seventh grade maybe. They went public in ninth grade and why am I even explaining any of this? That wasn't the point. It's an important point, but not the point.

"So what, you think that as soon as school starts I'll have more to write on?"

"Well yeah, think about it. It's our senior year. There's bound to be heaps of comedy, tragedy, drama, and of course lo-ove," Demyx drawled out that last word, winking at me.

"What? Roxas couldn't write a love song if he tried." Sora laughed and jumped onto the bed, wiggling his way between me and Demyx.

"What makes you so sure?" I wasn't sure if I should feel offended or agree with him.

"Man, in case you haven't noticed? You're kind of…uh, lacking in that department," Demyx reminded me with a sheepish grin.

"So? That doesn't mean that I can't write a good love song."

"Actually, that's exactly what it means," Sora pointed out, leaning against Demyx's shoulder.


"Roxas, you can't really write a love song if you don't know what love is." Demyx made it sound so easy, like he didn't have to think of his words while he shifted enough so that he and Sora were more comfortable. "It just doesn't work."

I sat there for a few moments, contemplating what to say next. On one hand, Demyx was totally right. I didn't know what love was. I was single, uninterested, and just flat-out boring and bored. Didn't mean I wasn't curious about the idea though. After all, who wouldn't be infatuated by the idea of having a romance?

Yeah, that's what I thought.'s not like I've never dated. It's just never lasted long enough to even consider a thing like love. Just because all of this was true though didn't mean I had to lay down and take this.

"Yeah, well…I bet you I could."

Sora rolled over to face me again and mirrored my skeptical look. "You really think so? Bet you can't."

"Is that a challenge?"

"…yes. Yes it is," Demyx chimed in. I hate when they tag-team me. Nobody should ever let the two of them make plans together because they're usually evil and usually something goes wrong.


"So what are the grounds for this 'challenge'?"

"Well…here's what we've thought up," Sora started out, glancing at Demyx for confirmation.

"Wait, you guys have been planning this?"

"Yeah, of course!" Demyx flashed me his "winning" smile.

"…okay, so what have you got up your sleeves that I don't know about?"

"I bet you that you can't write a love song by the time Battle of the Bands rolls around," Sora finally said, smirking at me in almost a Riku-like manner.

"What happens if I lose?"

"If you lose, you have to play at the battle." Demyx paused for the dramatic effect. "Totally. Naked." I couldn't help but roll my eyes. Then again, I wasn't really that surprised. It definitely sounded like something the two of them would come up with to try and embarrass the shit out of me.

"And if I win?"

"You won't, so don't worry about it!" Sora replied cheekily. I frowned slightly and just glared at him.

"Oh stop pouting, Roxas. It won't do much for your image." Demyx nudged me with his elbow.

"I'm not pouting-"

"Yeah, yeah, whatever." Sora gained my attention again. "Look, the bet starts now, Rox. You have until May. That's…how many months?"

"Nine," I answered immediately. Then it dawned on me. "Nine months…you don't think that I can write a love song in nine months?"

"Of course not. It's because you're Roxas."


"Anyway, now that that's taken care of, new topic," Demyx intervened. "School starts soon. You guys ready?"

"I am." Sora's answer was immediate and just like that the bet was just another topic closed for the day. "Or I sort of am. I've been writing my speech for the 'welcome back' assembly and it's almost done, but I have to figure out all of the organizational parts of the first pep rally and-"

"Roxas, what about you?" Sora didn't seem to mind that Demyx interrupted him and I found two pairs of eyes staring at me.

"School's school." I shrugged. "Should I really be excited?"

"Roxas, it's our senior year!" Sora's tone was probably supposed to change my mind, but I'm pretty immune to it.


"You're not excited at all?" Demyx gave me another confused look.

"No…? What's there to be excited about?"

"Oh my god, Roxas!" Both of them shouted simultaneously.


"You're never excited about anything!"

"You're boring, Rox!"

"How can you not be pumped for our last year of high school?"

"We're graduating! Think about it!"

The two of them continued to bombard me with such statements, each one growing louder than the last. I swear that they were trying to outdo each other just to annoy me. Luckily, I felt something vibrate in my pocket in the midst of Sora and Demyx's shouting war.

Did I bother telling them to shut up? No, not really. I answered the phone instead. "Hello?"

"So guess what I found out?"

Kairi. Figures.

"What'd you find out, Kai?" I asked her idly, not really thinking it was something important. Sora and Demyx stopped their yelling and proceeded to make kissing noises and faces. You know, like boys used to do in elementary school?

I never claimed to have very mature friends.

"I think it's important and I thought you should know," Kairi continued from the other end of the line. I snapped my fingers and pointed toward the door.

"Out!" I ordered Sora and Demyx. The two of them kept laughing at me on their way out, still making those damn faces and noises. I followed them and slammed the door in their faces, locking it behind them. Peace and quiet isn't something I get often when it comes to my bandmates, so even five minutes was kind of a blessing. "Okay. What is so important that you had to call me right away?"

"Axel's single." I looked at the phone incredulously, suddenly wishing that I hadn't sent my friends away and flopping on my back on the bed again.

"And this should concern me because…?"

"Because you think he's cute?"

"No. I never said that I thought he was cute. You said that I thought he was cute. Oh, and by the way, I don't think he's cute!"

"Yeah you do, you just don't realize it yet. Anyway, I just thought you should know. Just in case you were curious."

"Wait, curious about what…?"

"Dating a boy? Or Axel in general."

"Kairi, seriously, I don't think I want to-"

"Roxas, listen to me. He's single, he's good-looking, and he's right in front of your face! What's so terrible about this whole situation?"

"Um, let's try that he's not gay?" I replied flatly. "Look, I…think I appreciate what you're doing, but really, it's fine. If I wanted a…boyfriend, it wouldn't be somebody whose first words were an insult."

"Are you still mad about that? He also called you pretty."

"He did not. That's just a figure of speech."

"You're being difficult." I could imagine the annoyed sort of face she was making. "Besides, I bet anything he's at least bisexual. I have great intuition for that sort of thing."

While I couldn't exactly say she was wrong, I also knew I wasn't prepared for this conversation and I didn't want to try. "…we're not having this discussion."

"But Roxas-"

"Bye Kai!" I said cheerfully and hung up.

So yeah, I can be an asshole sometimes when I have to be. But really, she was pushing it. Liking some asshole who insulted me for no reason? Daring to test out the dating world with somebody who didn't even seem to be worth it? Questioning what it would be like to be with somebody that cocky and self-assured?

Oh yeah, she was definitely pushing it. That didn't even sound like me at all.

The problem was that even if it didn't sound like me, the thought was out there and I was forced to think about it and think about a red-haired boy I'd just met. Axel…who names their child after a car part? On the other hand, it was an interesting name. Something that made remembering the face easier. Remembering the wild red hair and the mischievous green eyes. Remembering that confident grin made of straight white teeth. Remembering that teasing voice that sounded so rich. almost believed me, didn't you?

I hate to say it, but I'm not the guy who waxes poetry and romanticizes other people or other people's features. It's always been as straightforward as possible. Axel was a douchebag with dumb red hair and dumber green eyes. The end.

On the other hand, I didn't want to admit it but I hung up with Kairi ten minutes ago and I was still thinking about this kid. What the hell was wrong with me? Why did I even care? This was all Kairi's fault, I was sure of it. If she hadn't brought up the idea that I thought this boy was cute, I wouldn't be sitting here thinking about it. If she hadn't needed a ride home from work, I wouldn't have met Axel at all. If she didn't even have a job at the Noon Moon and she'd been hanging out with me like we should have been this summer, I could have avoided all of this all together.

But the biggest thing of all, if she hadn't screwed me over by knowing I'd do anything for her, I wouldn't have started the journey to the best damn thing that's happened to me.


Notes: Hey what's up I'm doing a huge overhaul on this fic. Surprise.