Disclaimer: Everything belongs to SquareEnix. Seriously. Everything. Inspiration from Marc Acito, who wrote the book by the same title. (If you read this fic and hate it, go read the book. It's better. If you've read the book and hated it, you're weird. Go read the book, you fool.) Please note that my fic isn't a direct "to KH" translation of said novel.

I was dreaming when I wrote this/ So sue me if I go too fast

Dedications: For Dualism, of course! Talking to you always makes me feel like writing, no matter how horrible I feel.

And I'd also like to thank everyone who read and reviewed and added this story to their alerts and favorites.

Opening Notes: It's been a wild ride, fools. I've thrown cliffhangers at you and every other trick up my sleeve. But it's finished now. Over the past few months this story has gathered so many reviews and favorites and alerts that it makes my head spin. I hope you've enjoyed it thus far. It makes me a little sad to know it's ending, but that means I get to move on to the next big thing, which may very well lead me out of this fandom. I have a couple KH ideas that I'm considering as well, but I'm still not sure. In about a week I'll announce somewhere that on my LJ is a master list of all things chocolate and things not so chocolate that people gave with the reviews to this fic.

Started: June 26, 3007

Finished: June 28, 2007

Part Nineteen: Epilogue: Threads

Two days later I walked into my dad's office with Pence, my mom, and Zexion. I'd only ever been there twice before. Two Birthdays in the past when my dad felt he should explain to me my duty to the company. The first time, I had been eight years old. The second time, I'd been seventeen.

Pence stepped forward and presented himself as my representative, and set down a thick manila folder on his desk.

"The first document you will see is a contract for you to sign stating that you have understood the violation of the divorce contract and your awareness that should you once again refuse to pay for Demyx's school after this meeting, Demyx is free to pursue further legal action."

I had to hand it to him. For a computer-hacking nerd with a fetish for illegal activity, he knew his stuff.

I think I was waiting with baited breath to see if my dad would actually take me seriously. Finally, he signed the paper and went to the next document, a copy of the divorce agreement, highlighting the section where he agreed to pay for my school of choice.

"I always hoped that you would change your mind," he said. looking at me for the first time in weeks. I shook my head.

"I'll repeat what I said last year," I said quietly. "Even if you did manage to persuade me to follow this business, only my head would be in it. My heart is on the stage. Please understand."

A long moment passed in which it felt like me and my dad were the only two people in the room. Or in the universe.

"I can't promise that I'll be happy with your decision, or that I will support you fully... but I'll try to be proud of you."

I smiled.

"I'm going to pay your tuition, but I expect you to find some way to pay for housing and transportation and whatever else."

"Mr. Suzumura," Zexion spoke up. My dad flinched slightly, shifting a glance over at him. "A friend of my mother's has an apartment close to the school, and as he practically lives with his fiancée, Demyx and I will have the place mostly to ourselves. And you need not worry about any other expenses. Demyx has enough to get him started, and after that..." sparing me a small smirk, "he has some work experience and should have no trouble finding a part-time job."

It was clear that my dad would probably never approve of Zexion, but it didn't matter to me. As long as he kept this to himself, I was assured that he wasn't going to try to command me anymore.

Pence directed him to another document, the billing statement for my tuition and the address and phone number of the payment office, and then my dad spoke again.

"I have to admit, I am proud of you for having the nerve to come here today with this, and for everything else. You're really a man now, son."

I think it was the nicest thing he'd said to me in months.

We walked out of the office then, and I had to ask.

"What else was in that folder, Pence?"

He grinned. "Not much. Just a copy of your papers stating that you are financially independent of him, your transcript and perfectly clean criminal record... and a few loose documents on his financial status."

Zexion smirked a little, giving a small chuckle. "No doubt he'll be wondering where all of his money went?"

"That's the idea," Pence said.

On my first day of drama class back in ninth grade, Marluxia said something that, later, seriously applied to that school year: "The production is like a piece of embroidery. On the surface, rich in detail and intricate with every stitch. But if you turn it over, you'll see knots and fraying threads."

Almost a year later, I'm attending Juilliard with a great start so far. The judges at my audition had admired my outright raw passion and stage presence, and I continued to push it with every step toward center stage.

Zexion got accepted to the university in the city, and we moved into the apartment. Both of us made sure our first classes started after nine in the morning so that we'd have more time to ourselves every night and in the morning. I got a semi-big role in the third production of our company, and it looked like bigger roles would soon follow.

Kairi and Naminé got accepted to an art school in another city – Kairi for poetry and creative writing and Naminé for visual art. They drove back some weekends and on holidays so that we could all get together.

Pence got accepted to a computer science school and quickly became recognized for his supreme encoding and system analysis skills. Only Olette is second to him, and last weekend he admitted that he's looking to get into law school soon. (No one volunteered to help him obtain the capital for it.)

Riku went to school with Zexion, and Sora followed. They live on campus in one-person dorms because the school won't allow them to share one. But Riku rarely enters his own room save to get clean clothes. The carving he made still marks the place in the park, and Kairi reasons that it will be a source of embarrassment – or pride – for their adopted kids in the future.

Roxas was wrong about Axel. Axel did want him. But he wanted him on a bed in Europe. They have a flat there, and while Axel works with Lexeaus designing sports cars (they're developing a model that will allow the seeing impaired to drive when accompanied by another licensed driver) Roxas sits at home, writing poetry and articles about Rome, Ireland, France, and Germany. He's been published in two national magazines already.

Larxene found her mom and they talked things out, each walking away with new respect for each other and a promise to call every weekend and write every month. Next semester Larxene will start college across the county at the best school she could get on her athletic scholarship.

My dad and Clarisse got a divorce, and now my dad is dating a woman who works for another big company in the city. She's a year older than him and not as pretty as my mom or Clarisse, but she's a performing arts enthusiast and drags my dad to every one of my performances.

Four years later and I wake up with sheets tangles around me and Zexion's fingers in my hair. It's eight o'clock in the morning, and neither of us wants to get out of bed. Zexion's skin is hot in the dim light of our room, and I feel him against my thigh. He kisses me, long and sweet, and I push him over onto his back, settling over him and reaching for his arousal. In a few hours, I'll be starting my last performance at Juilliard and meeting an agent from Broadway. Pence, Olette, Riku, Kairi, Sora, Naminé, and even Axel and Roxas will be there. But right now I just lean into Zexion's touch and murmur three words, and then three more.

- The Writer