Author's Notes: I haven't done a true alternate universe fanfiction in a long time. So I hope it goes over well. This story is based on the Garden concept of Final Fantasy VIII. Anyways, since gives pitiful summary space, the extended warning can be found here.

Warnings: This fanfiction contains shounen-ai and het. There will also be a threesome. If any of that does not settle well with you, please save yourself a world of pain and do not read. Thank you.

Pairing Warnings: This fanfiction will contain eventual Roxas x Sora, Vexen x Larxene, and Axel x Demyx x Marluxia. There will be mention of other couples, but nothing major. The aforementioned couples are the main ones. If any of those pairings bother you, I suggest not reading and again, saving yourself a world of hurt.


Cultivation

Welcome to Radiant Garden


October 17th
0700 Hours

"…and over there are the student dormitories."

Roxas couldn't help but stare. Radiant Garden was nothing like his old school. He had heard that the place was vastly different from Twilight Town, but this was a bit too much. Everything was completely unfamiliar – the area, the people, and even the atmosphere. Roxas wasn't sure if he could fit in.

"…questions?"

"Um…pardon?" Roxas blinked, looking at his guide, a slender she-duck named Daisy, who was supposed to help him adjust to his new environment over the next few weeks.

"I asked if you had any questions, Roxas." Daisy repeated softly.

The blond boy shook his head. "No, but thank you for showing me around, Miss Daisy." As his guide began walking back towards the castle that served as the main building, Roxas reached into his pocket and pulled out a key with the number 0702 engraved on it. Walking along the small houses in the borough, he found the matching number and inserted the key, unlocking the door and walking inside.

He could see his luggage piled a few feet away from the door. Grabbing a bag that contained some of his clothes, he headed up the stairs and wondered what his roommate would be like and if they would get along. Passing an open door, Roxas' curiosity got the better of him and he couldn't resist peeking inside.

Lying on top of a bed inside was what Roxas could only assume was his new roommate. He was sleeping soundly on top of the blanket, face down in the pillow. Although Roxas couldn't see his face, he did get a view of the vibrant mane of spiked red hair on his head.

Without warning, an alarm clock on the nearby nightstand started to beep loudly, causing Roxas to jump back in surprise. A light groan was heard as a hand reached out to silence the offending object. Stretching, the owner of the hand sat up and unwillingly dragged himself out of bed, taking a moment to smooth out the wrinkles of the Garden uniform he was wearing.

Roxas was just about to make his escape when the other's green eyes caught sight of him.

"You must be my new roommate." the redhead smiled. "The name's Axel. Commit it to memory. What's yours, kid?"

Roxas frowned slightly. This guy couldn't be any more than two years older than him. (1) "I'm Roxas."

"Roxas, all right." Axel smiled and nodded approvingly, and Roxas could make out the odd markings beneath each of his new roommate's eyes. "You need help with your things? I got twenty minutes before class starts."


"Thanks for helping me, Axel." Roxas said, walking with his new friend towards the first class of the day.

Axel shrugged and told him not to mention it, carrying a paper cup of orange juice in one hand. After all, they did share a couple classes, and the first class of the day just happened to be one of them.

"You said you came from Twilight Town?" asked Axel, at an attempt to start a conversation, earning a nod and a wistful sigh from the shorter boy. Roxas explained that he had always wanted to live the Garden life, but didn't want to leave his friends behind…until said friends refused to talk to someone who would "give up his dreams so easily." Truth was, Roxas was suffering from a bit of homesickness, but he felt he could adjust, for he would be writing letters to his friends often, and he'd hear back from them. They wouldn't seem so far away.

Axel chuckled. This Roxas kid was pretty interesting.

Weaving through the basement hallways of the castle, Roxas could feel himself getting slightly dizzy from all the twists and turns. How was he going to find his way around without somebody to help him? He'd have to worry about that later.

"So, what's your weapon?"

Roxas blinked, snapped out of his spinning reverie.

"Weapon, Roxas. W-E-A-P-O-N. You use it to protect yourself and all that good stuff." Axel smirked, for he was never one to resist a chance to do some teasing. "I use chakrams, see." For emphasis, he placed his cup of juice onto the ground and held out both hands at his side, the wheel-like weapons appearing in his hands in a brilliant flash of fire. Feeling rather smug, he placed both chakrams into his left hand and reached down for his drink, drinking the rest of the contents.

The blond boy huffed and glared, but the expression was more playful than angry. Holding a hand out in front of him, a ray of light blinked into existence and soon faded, revealing Roxas' chosen weapon.

Axel sputtered and dropped his now-empty cup onto the floor, thumping onto his own chest and coughing to clear his lungs. When the minor fit died down, he stared in a mix of awe and disbelief.

"You…you have a Keyblade?" Axel stared at the weapon. "You're something else, Roxas." He smiled and shook his head. The Keyblade was a unique weapon, indeed. Instead of the normal fashion of a person choosing a weapon, the Keyblade chooses the wielder, and Keyblades are notoriously picky. "You're something else."


"Class, we have a new student today." Instructor Squall Leonhart (2) gestured to the boy standing at his side. "This is Roxas. I would appreciate it if you would make him feel welcome. There is no seating chart, Roxas, so you may sit wherever you wish."

Roxas looked around the classroom possibly hoping to find a seat near Axel, but his roommate had opted to sit in the very corner, the seat next to him occupied. He settled for sitting on the right side of the room, near the wall.

"Hello, Roxas."

Blinking, Roxas turned to look at the boy sitting next to him, a cheerful looking brunet with hair spiky enough to rival his own.

"Welcome to Garden! I'm Sora."

"Um…thank you." Roxas gave him a small smile.

Sora grinned and reached beneath his chair and grabbed a notebook, putting it onto the table. He opened it and flipped to a page with barely-legible handwriting scribbled all over it. A minute later, Instructor Leonhart had made his way over to their table and checked over Sora's notes, seemingly able to read them. The teacher handed Roxas a paper that had everything the boy needed to know. As Roxas began reading it, Instructor Leonhart continued his round across the classroom.

"…Axel, this is the third time this week you haven't done your homework." The instructor sighed, reaching up a gloved hand to the odd scar that ran diagonally between his eyes. "Any more missed assignments and you'll be failing this class."

Axel merely stared, earning himself another sigh as the instructor headed back towards his desk. Only when the teacher was halfway across the room did the redhead shift his gaze over to the student sitting next to him.

"…I know what you're going say, Marluxia, so don't bother."

"I'm going to say it anyways." Marluxia, Axel's companion snorted, narrowing his gaze. "If you'd just do a little more work, you could easily be near the top of the class. Instead, you're lingering near the bottom."

The other shrugged and waved Marluxia's words off with a flick of his hand, sending a few locks of the older boy's rustic pink hair back behind his ear. The two had met earlier in the year, when Axel, keeping true to his slacker ways, immediately plunged down in grades. Mistaking his low scores as an academic struggle, Instructor Leonhart had asked Marluxia to tutor him. The redhead was actually quite the competent student…he just didn't feel like doing work. The two spent more time bonding than studying and formed the odd friendship. Marluxia had made it his personal duty to harass Axel into doing his school work. It usually worked, as Axel would often decide that just doing the assignments was less of a hassle than dealing with Marluxia's nagging, but…well, Marluxia couldn't watch him all the time. Axel, on the other hand, was determined to get Marluxia to loosen up and have a good time.

"What's the big deal, Marlu? I know I'm good. You know I'm good. Even Leonhart knows I'm good. So what else do I need, hmm?"

"You're impossible."

"I know. You've told me several times."

The conversation was cut short by the sound of Instructor Leonhart clearing his throat. Class was finally beginning.


"Roxas! Roxas, wait up!"

The blond in question turned around in time to come face-to-face with the boy he had sat with earlier in class. Sora bent over, panting to catch his breath. Once he had recovered, he looked back at the new student.

"How do you like Garden so far?"

Roxas shrugged. "It's nice."

"Made any friends yet?"

"Only my roommate." Roxas replied. "I've only just gotten here."

Sora smiled and began to talk as the two of them walked through the hallway maze. They swapped stories about their homes and compared schedules, both pleasantly surprised to discover the other was a Keyblade wielder upon seeing Keyblade Technique upon both of their schedules.

"Awesome, we have another class together!" Sora grinned, and Roxas could not help but smile back. Sora's energy and excitement were infectious. "Hey, Roxas, you need help catching up in your classes? I mean, it's only been a few weeks, but you're still behind. Want to go to the library? My friends and I would love to help you catch up."

"I've never met your friends, Sora."

"Oh, they'd like you, trust me." Roxas didn't think it was possible, but Sora's grin grew wider. "Right, so we've got a free hour until Keyblade Technique, so why don't we head that way now?" Sora's huge grin disappeared within the blink of an eye, replaced by a thoughtful frown. "Oh wait…I just remembered I left my notebook in Instructor Leonhart's class…can you get to the library by yourself? I'll meet you there." Without waiting for an answer, Sora rushed back the way they came.

Roxas watched him go for a second. Sora did everything with speed and energy and it took him an extra few seconds to understand what just happened. Well…he saw the library on his tour earlier that morning…the problem was, he didn't know where to get there from his current location.

"Hey there, Roxas!" Axel's voice echoed in the maze of hallways as Roxas' roommate and the boy Roxas recognized as Axel's table buddy approached him. "I see you made a friend."

"Hi, Axel." Roxas greeted. "Who's your friend?"

"Eh?" Axel blinked and looked to his side, as if he didn't realize he was walking with someone the entire time. The other crossed his arms and gave Axel an annoyed look. "Oh, this is Marluxia. My slave driver."

"Actually, I'm his tutor." Marluxia corrected, his purple eyes narrowing onto his fiery charge. "Or at least, that was the original intent."

"And now were best buddies, aren't we Marlu?" Axel chuckled, wrapping an arm around his taller companion.

"…pals." Marluxia managed to spit out before freeing himself from Axel's arms.

"Hey, do either of you know the way to the library?" Roxas inquired. Receiving conflicting directions from both of his classmates, he decided to follow the advice of the more serious of the two, wondering what Sora's friends were like. Despite the enthusiastic boy's assurances, he was a little nervous about meeting new people.


Radiant Garden's library was a sight to behold. Tall shelves that seemed to stretch on forever lined the walls, forming passageways of books for everyone to weave through. Roxas couldn't possibly comprehend how anyone could find anything in such a huge place that was filled to the brim with books. It seemed like the faculty had wasted absolutely no space whatsoever when it came to the library.

Looking around, he could see a few scattered students sitting at tables doing homework or searching the shelves for reading material. How was he going to find these friends of Sora's? Should he just wait by the door for Sora?

A feminine voice interrupted his thoughts. "Hello, are you lost?"

Roxas nearly jumped. This was becoming a bad habit. Roxas could only hope that all these conversations that start before he even knew somebody was there were only temporary. Once he got used to Radiant Garden, he'd be more comfortable and aware of what's gong on around him. Yeah, that was it. He turned to owner of the voice, a girl with shoulder length dark red hair. Her blue eyes seemed to stand out and Roxas noticed that she wasn't dressed in the student uniform, but rather, as a staff member.

"Hey, can you hear me?" The girl smiled, waving a hand in front of Roxas' face playfully. "I think I saw you earlier this morning with Miss Daisy. You're that new boy, right?"

He nodded and introduced himself to the girl, whom he learned was named Kairi. He mentioned that he was supposed to meet someone, and after slight hesitation, asked her if he knew who Sora was.

Kairi chuckled, lifting a hand to her mouth to keep her voice down. "Of course I do. Everyone knows Sora. He's one of my best friends. Why don't we sit down and wait for him. Let me guess. He wanted to introduce you to us, right? Well, let's beat him to it."

Taking Roxas' hand, she led him through the labyrinth of shelves. Roxas was beginning to wonder if everything in Radiant Garden was a maze. They eventually emerged on the other side of the library, where a boy with long silver hair was studying a large textbook intently.

"Riku, I've brought someone for you to meet!" Kairi cheerfully called out, forgetting that she was not only in a library, but also one of its staff members. "This is Roxas, the new boy."

The boy looked up from his textbook, examining Roxas through his bangs.

"I see. Sora got to you, huh?" Riku chuckled. "Heard the new guy was Keyblade user…that you?"

Roxas nodded and held out his hand, summoning his Keyblade.

"Hey! No weapons in the library!" Kairi scolded, thumping Roxas playfully. Roxas let out a fake whine and the Keyblade disappeared in another flash of light. The sound of heavy footsteps distracted the three of them, and Sora skidded into view, laughing nervously.

"I…um…got lost." Sora grinned sheepishly. He was greeted with a light hit on the head.

"No running in the library!" Kairi snorted, waggling a finger at him.

Roxas smiled. Perhaps he wouldn't have too much trouble adjusting to Garden life after all.


(1) – Ages and heights are adjusted to better integrate characters into a school setting.

(2) – I use Squall instead of Leon because in Kingdom Hearts, Squall changed his name as a result of the Heartless attack on Radiant Garden. Since this is AU, the attack has not occurred and thus Squall still uses his real name.


Closing Notes: I have a feeling this is going to be a long fic, so no, this isn't the end. There are still more characters to introduce and the like.