Life's Cheat Code

"So, Rox," Sora started just before chucking what was in his hand at the broken building before them. It managed to shatter the glass of a window. Sora chuckled.

"Yeah?" Roxas mimicked Sora's move, but only managed to splatter an egg at around the top of the building.

"When are you leaving, anyways?" Sora turned the egg over in his hand, aiming carefully at the broken sign before executing. He still missed.

"In, like, an hour or so."

"Why so late?"

Roxas only shrugged. Both boys looked back at the empty egg carton and sighed. Sora absently picked up the cardboard carton and tossed it into a nearby trashcan as they walked past an alleyway that Sora knew all too well.

Sora jumped when he found a perfect rock. He turned back to their artwork, and hurled it toward the building. When the rock collided with the F of the sign, it instantly toppled to the ground with a loud crash.

Sora dusted his hands in amusement.

"For a week, huh?" Sora said, kicking the sidewalk as they walked.

"Yeah. You gonna miss me?"

"You have nooooo idea," Sora said as they rounded a corner. "Course, I won't miss you until, like, three days from now. I'm meeting Riku later."


Spring semester had gone by quickly. The summer heat had come early this year, too, already baking Twilight Town in weather pushing one hundred degrees.

The court dates had come and gone. It was tough, but with Sora and Zidane testifying, they had managed to pull through and win the case, earning Rufus Shinra a comfy jail cell, and a nice start to Sora's college fund.

They stopped at the corner at which they needed to part ways. Sora half-heartedly remembered coming to this corner on the day they saw Riku and Axel for the first time in the arcade on the metal dance floor of the DDR machine.

"Well, I guess-" Roxas started before being cut off by Sora's arms wrapping around him suddenly. Roxas immediately complied, snaking his arms around the taller boy's middle and nestling his forehead under Sora's chin.

"I'm going to miss you," Sora said, his voice barely above a whisper. Roxas pulled the brunet closer to him.

"It's only a week; I'll be back before you know it," Roxas assured before taking his arms off of the older boy and looking up at him. "Don't be a baby."

Sora half-smiled and looked down at the sidewalk. "Well … it'll be long enough. When you get back, we'll go to the beach or something. Okay?" Sora turned around in the direction of his home.

"Okay, sounds good." Roxas watched as the brunet began walking away for a few moments before turning in the opposite direction, his feet already picking up speed into a run.

It was only about a twenty minute walk before Sora was at his own door, turning the unlocked handle and stepping inside.

"Mooooooom, I'm home," he called before taking his shoes off and starting up the stairs. His mother's voice came from the kitchen.

"Hi, honey! I made you a sandwich!"

"Thanks, I'll be down in a sec!" he answered, already at his bedroom door. He changed out of his sweaty t-shirt, and pulled on a slim, black tank top before trotting back down the stairs and into the kitchen.

"How was work?" he asked before taking a bite of the peanut butter and jelly.

"Oh, it was okay. They mostly had me at the phones, so I sat down a lot." Mayuka was washing dishes.

"Don't you love the hours, though?" Sora asked, taking another bite.

"I like getting off early, yes," she chuckled.

"Okay Mom, I have to go now. I'll be back home later," Sora said, already heading out the door.

"Okay Sora," she said absently. Sora closed the door behind him, still half a sandwich in his hand, and started marching toward the Sovereign Arcade.


Roxas knew that he didn't like the bus. He hated sitting next to smelly strangers and listening to other people's conversations while they talked loudly on their cell phones, the mothers with their noisy children.

Today was quiet, though. He picked this particular time because he knew no one was going to take the bus at eight o'clock at night on a Sunday. He stuffed the luggage carrier with a duffle bag before closing the lid and stepping onto the bus.

And at least the driver was nice. They had a conversation about sandwiches or something when Roxas sat down. The bus wasn't due to leave for another seven minutes.

Only a few more people got on before the bus roared to life and pulled away from the station. Roxas settled down in a seat to himself and watched as Twilight Town faded into the background.

Axel had moved to Midgar after all. He had gotten the job and was renting the apartment with Reno somewhere in the downtown area. Roxas had only been there a few times, but it was all it took for him to memorize the way. He knew the bus had a short layover in Kalm, and from there it would only be another hour or so, depending on the traffic.

The bus rides made him more anxious than anything else. Now that it was the summer before Roxas became a senior in high school, he had planned out many trips to Midgar and packed for extensive stays.

This was his way of getting away from Sora, too. His ever-growing feelings for the brunet subsided when he was around Axel. Despite what they had been through together, he couldn't shake how sometimes he needed to see Sora so badly it hurt.

He thought about it many, many times during his bus rides. He was sure he wasn't in love with him, that he was getting closer to saying those three words confidently to Axel. He was certain it was only a need that he couldn't believe he still had; he was certain that he would be over his silly high school puppy-love.

But Sora was different. Sora was more than puppy love. Roxas knew that, and hated to admit it, and it was going to take time to snuff it out.

He snapped back to reality suddenly when the bus halted jerkily and people were lining up to get off. Roxas absently picked up his bag and already had his phone to his ear.

"Yeah, I'm here," he said, his hand wrapping around the handle of the duffle bag, and hauling it off to the side of the small crowd of people.

"So I'll be there in, like, ten minutes-"

"Ten minutes? What the hell? You said you'd be here. I really don't want to sit around here and look like-"

"Jesus, can't you take a joke?" Axel teased, his voice clearly not coming from the phone receiver. Roxas giggled when the redhead came up from behind him and hoisted him up off the ground and into an awkward hug.

Axel let the boy's feet touch ground after a moment and ruffled his hair. Roxas picked up the duffle bag and followed Axel to his car, flushed slightly.

Roxas talked about his increasing GPA at school while Axel talked about how well he is adjusting to his job on the way to the apartment. Roxas knew they had a week to talk about these things, but he didn't want to stop when they were together. He felt like every waking moment had to be savored because he knew their time together was short.

"You know, I would never come all this way for just anybody."

Axel chuckled. "Um, yeah, I figured." They were still only about half way to the apartment.

"Because, you know, there aren't too many people in this world that I love as much as you, either." Roxas felt his cheeks heat up.

"Well, I kinda really love you too, Roxas." Axel ran a hand lovingly through the blond's hair.

Roxas took Axel's long, bony hand in his and he knew: it wasn't going to get any better.


The bass to this Japanese song was crazy compared to the normal songs on Dance, Dance Revolution, Sora noticed as his feet shuffled eagerly to match the arrows flowing upward on the screen and sweat gathered on his brow.

A crowd had formed around them at some point during their long set list, possibly between Destiny and a song Sora couldn't remember the name of. They cheered as the song suddenly jumped to a halt. Sora leaned his body against the back railing, and swiped lazily at his damp hair. He watched as the screen flashed a bright blue A+ on his side of the screen, and giggled when the other side read only an A.

Riku groaned from Sora's side. Sora looked over at the silver haired boy just as he stepped off of the machine and headed over to the door to leave. Sora bounced off after him, earning groans of protest from the crowd.

"Rikuuu, when will you learn?" Sora teased as he caught up to the taller male, taking his hand tenderly in his own and lacing their fingers. "I'll always be the best at those kinds of games."

"Well, now we have all summer to see if you'll stay on top of it," Riku said, pushing the brunet gently off to the side.

"You mean you have all summer to stay on top of your biology, Mr. University-Man." Sora re-laced their fingers and continued walking along side the silver-haired boy.

Riku was able to graduate with honors in the past spring semester. His applications were sent out to all the medical universities in the area, and before Riku could even pick which one to attend in the fall, the acceptance letters came rolling in.

"Oh, I can start that crap in a month – after I have successfully beaten you at your own game!" Riku tightened his grip on the other boy's hand and swung it in front of him, taking Sora with it. His arms were suddenly around the giggling brunet, his laughing only subsiding when their gazes locked. Riku's eyes darkened slightly before his lips pressed chastely against Sora's for a moment.

Sora chuckled as he straightened himself, still bound to the other boy. "Did you want to go to the beach sometime? Or camping – just you, me, Roxas, and maybe Axel?"

"Sure – like old times," he answered, reminiscing slightly before letting the brunet free and continuing along the sidewalk.

Sora skipped up next to him, again taking Riku's hand in his as they walked. "No alcohol this time, though; we have to support Roxas."

"Of course."

They were in silence now, their fingers still firmly locked together. Sure, they were stared at, talked about as soon as they walked by and were out of earshot (sometimes before), but they didn't care. What they had was bigger than what the gossipers could understand. What they had been through would have crumbled any other relationship into tiny bits, but they had managed to pull through and still able to keep the love going.

Sora smiled to himself. Usually he liked to live in the moment, but after everything that had happened, all he could think about was the future. They had all been through so much, but now that the dust settled from the chaos, what was lying ahead of them didn't seem so out of touch.

And to think: this all started on a dance floor with arrows on it.

+Game Over: HIGH SCORE!+

A/N: This story was published on August 3rd of 2006, and five years later, it finally comes to a close.

I can safely say it was well overdue, and probably not worth the wait. Either way, I'm glad this rollercoaster is over. :D

Beta'd by ilovecats86 :D