A/N: This is my third fic with a May-December-ish pairing, though I suppose May-August might be more appropriate. My third fic with an… "innocent" young blonde getting tangled up in something with some older male teacher/authority figure. TT But ah! This is only my second teacher-student fic… Yes, I am pathetic. I think that almost all j-rockers and video game characters look like rockstars anyway, so I was tempted to go down that road again… But I think it would have been way too much like my fic Acidic, and we can't have that…
2nd A/N: I don't actually play KH. I have, however, spent hundreds of hours (and this isn't an exaggeration) sitting at the computer and glancing over my shoulder at the screen while my brother plays KH, KH II, FF X, FF X-2, and some FF VIII. I've also seen Advent Children several times on my own. This is the limit of my knowledge, and part of the reason I felt it necessary to make this fic an AU, other than my obvious love of the genre. So if I screw up specifics and I make random characters pop in (and since I can't keep the Organization XIII members straight other than Axel, Roxas, and Demyx) don't kill me ;;; And this will be almost entirely an AkuRoku, but I might dabble in some RikuSora and possibly even a bit of CloudSephirothXemnas (Mwahahahahaha!) on the side. Don't panic. It's all about the AkuRoku.
3rd A/N: This is a plot bunny, and if I think no one else is craving this specific scenario as I am, I'll spare them my further ramblings. But I won't know unless you tell me!
4th A/N: Shutting up now
And the surname Reiketsukan, which is rather important, means "heartless" or a "cold-blooded person"
This story doesn't take place in a certain country, though obviously the main characters are meant to be Japanese. (With impossible hair and eye colors, I know, I know) I'll just invent the culture of my imaginary country as I go along, ne?
Disclaimer: Roses are red, violets are blue; me no own, so you no sue!
Roxas had heard that torture was only torture if it was equal to organ failure or death. This seemed an increasingly preposterous claim, as anyone who knew anything about torture, he decided, would have included high school. And if not high school, then private boarding schools stuck in mountains would have to make the cut.
He and Namine crouched behind a neatly manicured hedge, peeping over the dense shrubbery every few moments to scowl at the sprawling institution that seemed ready to pick itself up off its foundation and devour them at any moment. They exchanged speculative glances.
"So…" Namine began, chewing idly on an unpainted thumbnail, "I think you should be the gentleman. Sacrifice yourself and let me escape and all that. I'm younger, and… that's relevant, somehow."
Roxas snorted, administering a none-too-gentle rap on the skull. "By six minutes? Screw that. And everyone's nine months older than they say they are, anyway, so we're tied. This place is more than a little screwy, though… and we still don't know what it's called-"
Roxas would have continued, with many other witty observations, had a squirrel not chosen that particular moment to launch itself at him.
While yelping a very unmanly yelp, he launched himself from the gap in the hedge and into a group of students who had, until that moment, busied themselves with looking dignified. After several long minutes of pawing through his clothes and muttering about mutant squirrels, he determined that his furry assailant had gotten away.
Just as he was about to grab his sister and find a safer, squirrel-free place to lurk, a silvered head appeared at the window under which he and Namine had been crouching. He felt rather than saw the spines of all the strangers around him straighten.
"I think," the unidentified male (who looked suspiciously like a rock star) drawled, "that it's time all of you graced your teachers with your… dedicated presences.
"You two," he continued, gesturing to Roxas and Namine, "will join me in my office. Just come through the window, will you? I'm not going to spend the next hour waiting for you to find it from the inside."
If Roxas had thought the inside of the building would be more normal than the façade, (and he hadn't really, but he had hoped like hell) he was completely, utterly, and irrevocably mistaken.
The academy was built like a Gothic cathedral, sprawling in every direction. The stone was not brick or limestone, but a fine-grained black material that he could not recall ever having seen. There were a few functional windows, but they were almost entirely stained glass. The doors were built into high decorative arches. There were bell towers. There were gargoyles, snarling at thin air with their claws upraised.
The office was painted a deep burgundy. The carpet beneath his feet was so lush that he felt himself sinking into it. The usual kitschy office accessories were missing, replaced with oil paintings in gilt frames (all of which seemed to depict statuesque angels suffering from too little fabric in all the wrong places), exotic plants, and overstuffed armchairs upholstered in dusky velvet.
The desk was what dominated the room, however – a mammoth construction of dark, reddish wood that gleamed, unobstructed by paperwork, photos of family, a nameplate, or any of the other necessities Roxas had come to expect from his many and varied experiences with administrators.
Even these things, however, could have been taken in stride. An unsteady, shaky stride to be sure, but it would have been possible if not for the man sitting behind the desk with his eyebrows raised expectantly.
The rock star impression was proving hard to shake. For all the traditional luxury of his surroundings, the man was wearing a collared shirt in black silk, artfully frayed and torn. The cufflinks, which Namine had alerted Roxas to in an awed whisper as they scrambled into the room via the high window, were skulls. He was wearing a pair of leather pants that clung everywhere and seemed more suited for a club, which would at least provide the possibility of sex, which the pants seemed to demand.
Roxas couldn't see his feet, but he was positive he would find combat boots, were he to look. There was a delicate silver chain around his neck, but it fell beneath the neckline of the shirt and he couldn't tell what was suspended from it. His hair was an impossible platinum, not blonde at all but a pale silver. He would have dismissed it as a quirky dye job, had it not matched the eyebrows currently arching in amusement.
The eyes, he assured himself, were contacts. No one had gold eyes. Period. Plastic surgery… he regarded the sculpted face before him with some skepticism. Unless the guy had won the genetic lottery, there had been some serious work done. The eyes were slightly tilted and lined in black, the nose straight and neat, the mouth full without being fishy, the jaw strong, and the cheekbones high and sharp. The skin that was firm and taut as skin only is before the age of thirty was tanned surfer-deep.
He began a mental tally of cosmetic surgery expenses. The man – Roxas couldn't bring himself to think of him as an administrator – was obviously comfortable with sharp objects in his skin. He couldn't begin to count all the rings and studs in his ears. One eyebrow bore three rings, a ring in the nose, a stud beneath the lower lip… He knew it was slightly hypocritical of him, given his devotion to the metal in his own skin, but there was a big difference between being a pierced teenager and a pierced twenty-something… employee… at an obviously well-off school.
When his eyes finally stopped roaming, he realized that the official wore an expression of condescending amusement that was slowly bleeding into impatience and irritation. And it occurred to him that he had been staring at a complete stranger for several minutes without saying a word. He felt heat creep up the back of his neck, and he nodded stiffly to the man to signify that his head was out of the clouds.
Apparently satisfied with this, the rock star gestured for them to be seated while retrieving several sheets of blank paper and a fountain pen from within the desk. Roxas found himself wondering idly if they stuffed students into drawers for misbehavior.
"You are Namine and Roxas Reiketsukan. Year Eleven, exceptional test scores, lousy grades, putrid behavioral records. You were allowed such late enrollment only because your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etcetera, etcetera, are such valued alumni."
Roxas and Namine exchanged a startled glance. While it seemed natural to know what universities their parents went to, rather than high schools, it seemed that any school as… striking… as this one would bear mentioning. The man continued, however, eyeing them both as if daring them to interrupt him with questions.
"Because of your late enrollment, there are no places for you in the dormitories. The teachers' wing, however, is less crowded. You will be residing in adjoined rooms, and you will not bother the professors. You will return to my office tomorrow morning after breakfast – immediately after breakfast – to receive your schedules. Your parents arranged for your belongings to be sent to your quarters, and will unpack this evening so that your trunks may be put into storage.
"Dinner is served at one, afternoon tea at four, supper at eight, and dessert immediately after. Breakfast tomorrow – and all days after, so don't be late – will be served at seven, and morning tea at ten."
He retrieved two heavy files from within the hidden caverns of the desk. When he made no move to rise, they scrambled up and took the files before seating themselves like chastened children.
"Those are rules and information – be sure not to lose your maps. You will not be assigned a guide."
Watching the two gape at him like startled fish, he seemed to conclude that enough information had been provided. Though unwilling only moments before, he now stood and trekked to the door on the far side of the spacious office. When he turned and saw the pair still seated, he tsked and opened the door, gesturing impatiently for them to be gone.
"If you have any questions, bother someone else with them. Unless you kill someone – in which case you may have candy – I don't want to see you in my office again."
They were herded out. Roxas nearly fell over Namine as she dug her feet in at the doorway. Despite the ban on questions, she asked the one that had seemed most important to him, as well.
"Who the hell are you?"
For the first time, the rock star smiled, a sudden too-white grin that spread across his tanned face like an electric current. It was just manic enough to send a small, fearful shiver up Roxas' spine.
"My name is Xemnas Reiketsukan. Guidance counselor extraordinaire."
By the time they reached the teachers' wing, their necks were sore from craning to look at chandeliers, stained glass, and colossal paintings – all of which seemed to dominate the endless corridors. They were, of course, painted plum and floored in rosy marble. Roxas found himself suffering from intense cravings involving cheeseburgers and television. They were extremely well-off, he knew, but there was a difference between an expensive house (six expensive houses, he admitted) and this. Whatever this was.
The teachers' wing itself was a corridor like all the others. Namine voiced her passionate resolution to tattoo the map on an easily accessible body part, but before she could further her debate between forearm and eyelid, there was a minor explosion.
A tangle of arms, legs, and black fabric fell through an open doorway down the hall, tumbling onto the marble with a painful crack. While the rest of the tangle seemed dazed, one part managed to extract itself and vault upright.
He had managed to convince himself that Xemnas was some kind of fluke, the son of the headmaster or something, with enough job security to dress like he was going clubbing. He had managed to convince himself that the professors would be normal; middle-aged, slightly gray around the edges, in cable-knit sweaters and thick eyeglasses.
His fervent hope crystallized and shattered as they drew close enough to see the members of the tangle properly.
On the floor he could see blonde hair and skinny fingers, shared by two men. Where one was stiff even in his discomposure, however, the other seemed happily resigned to his undignified state.
The one standing…
Roxas bit back a groan of frustration.
He looked just a little too old to be a student. There were twin marks below his eyes that had the neat, dark perfection of tattoos. There was metal in his ears, his eyebrows, his nose, his lip, and his tongue, if the glint Roxas could see when he conversed with his fallen companions was any sign. Like every adult he had seen in the building so far, he was wearing leather pants, topped with a long black tank that did nothing to hide the breadth of his shoulders or the narrowness of his waist and hips.
For the first time in years, Roxas found himself feeling honestly self-conscious. He felt childish and small, felt awkward and crude in chipped black nail polish and jeans that were ripped and frayed by time and use rather than a machine.
Then the upright redhead began shouting, and he had other things to think of.
"That's two more down! There are now five suspects left! Return my Fireballs and you will not be harmed! For the love of god, people! You can't take a man's candy! It's inhumane!"
The loud one was Axel, he learned. The stiff one was Vexen, the smiling one was Demyx. He felt strange, calling professors by their first names, even professors who didn't look like professors. But what else could they do, when they all had the same surname? When they all had his name?
…The name of the school, they learned, was Reiketsukan Academy
Their rooms were as sumptuous as everything else; wallpaper in gold and cream and lush carpets over the pale marble. It turned out that they each had "rooms," as well – four each. A full bathroom with more marble, what Roxas was beginning to suspect were gold plated fixtures – hell, he'd be lucky if they weren't solid gold – a walk-in, glass-doored shower stall larger than the walk-in closets most people were so proud of, and a whirlpool bath big enough for a dozen people to sit without bumping knees.
The kitchen (more marble, he thought with a snarl) was fully equipped with more gadgets and utensils than he would ever be able to work with. There was an island in the center, surrounded by ceiling-high shelves, a matching refrigerator and stove that gleamed so much his eyes hurt, a dishwasher, and everything from porcelain to glassware to wooden bowls and spoons. The kitchen was so extensive, in fact, that he began to wonder if one was given raw foods at meals and sent back to their rooms to prepare it.
There was an enormous area that managed to act as a study, a personal library, a dining room, and a living room without feeling at all cluttered. Roxas was growing so sick of the polished, palatial furnishings that be barely glanced at them, heading towards the bedroom instead and steeling himself for whatever he found.
He had seen photos of the royal bedroom in the Palace of Versailles. It looked a lot like that.
Over the two chandeliers, he could crane his neck and see the ceiling thirty or so feet above him, painted with a fresco of angels and demons. There was gilt molding everywhere, and a velvet chair by the window. The near the fireplace, which just so happened to be sculpted with cherubs trying to fly in every direction, was the bed. The tent.
The canopy extended at least fifteen feet in the air, where it attached to a velvet-encased chain fixed to the ceiling. The bedspread, like everything else in the room, was a deep, rich blue shot through with gold thread and seed pearls.
After confirming that their rooms were equally insane, they escaped to lunch, leaving all their belongings untouched in the trunks.
They had a hushed discussion over lunch (which looked like the lovechild of French gourmet and Japanese traditional cuisine – Roxas chose to ignore the caviar, which made him twitch) concerning the likelihood of their name being shared by four administrators, as well as the school itself. They discussed the weirdness of their surroundings, and the oddities of the teachers.
When they got bored, they expressed mutual admiration for certain posteriors, though Roxas thought that noticng Axel's was a given, since he had been stomping around the corridor so much. For Namine to have even been looking at Xemnas'… He shuddered, and agreed to discontinue all discussion when Namine assured him that having a nice ass didn't make one a particularly nice person.
They discussed the casual announcement their parents had made the day before, on a seemingly innocent Saturday morning. They discussed the private plane, the helicopter up into the mountains, and the fact that they truly didn't know what country they were in, aside from the fact that everyone was speaking English in every accent imaginable.
And when they were finished complaining, and were quite sure that they had established to everyone in a twenty-meter radius that they were badasses who thought all this beneath them, they leaned together and laughed about the fantastic weirdness of it all.
The tables were all meant to sit four, and even then one would find a table with two people, like theirs, or just one – and others shoved together so that a few dozen friends could chat.
Everyone else was already in uniform. Black suits that seemed to fit perfectly for the guys, with neat, black silk ties and burgundy oxfords. Namine insisted that the suits were Armani, and since Roxas couldn't identify any brand without the name printed in large letters, he couldn't argue.
The girls wore black skirts that only came to mid-thigh, coupled with fitted burgundy corsets black jackets in silk brocade.
Roxas suggested painting themselves white to avoid the herd, while admitting that it was a terrible shame that the herd was so well-dressed. Namine topped him by suggesting that they go without clothing entirely, to see if it would be like the time they did it at High School Number Three.
As they spoke, Roxas found himself glancing at the long table used by the professors beneath an array of stained glass windows. Axel, the loud redhead from the corridor, caught his eye the most.
It was the sort of bizarre circumstance that made him wish for Namine's skill with a brush. In the one seat – Axel's seat – the occupant was bathed in color from the window. His hair seemed to fit, suddenly, as his skin was colored gold, crimson, rose, and tangerine. The light caught on all his piercings and made them shine like water.
He looked like he was on fire.
He looked beautiful.
He was overtly distracting, and Roxas was growing increasingly irritated with him for that reason alone.
No, he thought, it's the eyes, too.
The feeling that made him look over his shoulder again and again was that feeling of being watched that everyone laughs at but everyone knows.
And yet every time he looked over, Axel more than any of the others was terribly engrossed in his food, or absorbed in a conversation with his neighbor.
Until he looked up and met a pair of glass-green eyes, looking right at him. He waited a moment for Axel to look away, or flush, or yell at him for cutting his filet wrong – any reaction.
Axel didn't look away. After a few moments that seemed to stretch into years, Roxas turned back to his food. He didn't look at anything but Namine and his plate for the remainder of the meal.
Normally he thought of being watched as a chilling feeling. But he felt too hot, like he was the ant on the other end of the magnifying glass when the sun streamed through. The feeling didn't dissipate, and he knew that Axel didn't remove his eyes once.
It would be easy to dismiss it as nothing, he knew. A weird teacher in a weird school.
Except for the oddly familiar feeling that welled up in his stomach when he caught that blur of red and motion from the corner of his eye. The coming-home feeling.
Except for Axel's words in the corridor, when he spotted the two of them.
When cocked his head to the side, and his eyes lit up in the strangest way, and the crimson hair followed his movement, the myriad spikes falling to one side in a wave.
"Jeez Roxas… it took you long enough to get here."
Because it didn't sound like he was talking about the corridor, or the school.
A/N: I promise that there won't be so much longwinded description in regards to surroundings/clothing and appearances in future chapters! I just wanted to get it out of the way in this. And before anyone has a seizure, this is NOT a NamineXemnas. There will be only minimal het, if any.
And you'll get a clearer view of the characters, too – I really just needed to get them all onstage, ne? No, Roxas is not a totally evil spoiled brat. He just has a bit of a chip on his shoulder. More character development soon to come!
Leijhana tu'sai to all readers and reviewers!