A/N: My muse died, and I had to go to hell--
Riku: Hey! Heaven! I went to heaven!
--and get him back. Sorry.
Riku: Take that back!
Stupid silver-haired gaki. This is shorter (yes, it is) than my other fics, partly because it's a test run of my AU skills. I'm planning on writing an AU Namixas with a much more...thought-of plot. Yes.
Rated T for language and content. Yes, content. Format may confuse, but questions will be answered. Flames are accepted.
IF YOU ARE A READER OF SOARING ON BROKEN WINGS: I'll update within this week. I SHALL TRY.
Disclaimer: Kingdom Hearts (c) Square-Enix.
Far Away, How You Remind Me (c) Nickelback.
Pepsi (c) to whoever it belongs to. Hey! Free advertising!
- i: INTRO never made it as a wise man -
"Hey, hey! Easy on the pushing!" Yuffie Kisaragi growled, spreading out her thin arms and effectively making a small protective 'bubble', to say of sorts.
Roxas Strife smiled appreciatively, thus sending his fans into another fit of joy. They always said that it was his smile; it was so rarely shown that it was quite a treasure-find.
"OhMyGod, did you see it? He smiled at me, I swear!"
"No, it was me!"
"You wish, you--"
He stared, bewildered, as a few girls broke out into a catfight to his right. Frowning, reached past the ebony-haired girl and pushed past the crowd of people, ignoring Yuffie's indignant protests.
"Hey, uh," Roxas started, clapping the nearest brunette's (who was currently in the process of tearing off another girl's arm, by the looks of it) shoulder.
"Mind your own f---ing business!" the girl screamed, not bothering to look who it was.
The crowd around them fell silent. Even the media cameras focused on the little scene. He was vaguely aware of the fact that the whole thing was now being projected on-stage. "It is my business," he said firmly, pulling away the girl from the scuffle, ignoring the fish-eyed look the girl's companions were giving him. "It's my concert. You should know I really don't appreciate such language."
The brunette fainted, in such a way that her skimpy outfit nearly fell off and revealed her...uh, assets, to the entire world. How girls managed to swoon in a suggestive way was beyond him.
"Call the medical guys," he muttered to the nearest staff of the venue.
"Roxas!" a very irate Yuffie called, waving her hand over the crowd. Heaving a sigh, he left the girl to her friends and pushed his way through, smirking at her expression.
"Come on, you're already behind sched," she said in a very annoyed voice. "Let's go."
"Fine," he said wanly, letting her latch on to his arm and pull him through the way cleared by his security, blocking out the screams and cheers from the people.
Roxas winced when he saw his manager, a lanky, rather thin -- rumored to be because of anorexia, but Roxas knew better -- man in black cords and a hoodie, with a shock of crimson hair, tapping his foot impatiently at the back entrance of the stage. Axel Fujiwara waved his clipboard threateningly at him.
"The Twilight High field is only something like half a kilometer long, three-quarters, tops. I remember you telling me that you ran that in less than three minutes," the redhead said, shaking his head. "Pray tell me, how did it take you almost an hour to go through?"
"There are people blocking my way," he pointed out in his defense. "I can't exactly run, can't I?"
"You had a path cleared."
"Those are my fans. Can't just brush past, can I?"
"You were late in the first place."
"It was traffic."
"The hotel's just around the corner -- "
"The nearest corner's six blocks away, dork."
" -- you should've left earlier."
"How could've I known it would've be traffic? Last time I was here was high school graduation."
"Wow, that's like, hmm...oh. Five years ago!"
The both of them stopped bickering, only to face a white-faced head of security. Yuffie had her hands on her hips and a bowed head. "Roxas, as your bodyguard, your safety is my priority. Therefore, if you don't want to die a gruesome death by my own two hands, get on the stage right now!"
"Y-yeah," he replied slowly, climbing the makeshift stairs backwards. " 'kay, Yuff. Anything you say."
He whirled around, catching a whiff of 'Axel, I'm not finished with you!' before continuing up the wooden steps, laughing. In the wings somebody thrust him a microphone and somebody with a powder puff successfully dabbed some loose powder on his face ("The reflected light from your T-zone can actually make somebody blind, y'know." Roxas had sent the powder-puff girl a Look.)
"Okay, people..." said Axel, who was wearily climbing the steps, hair even more ruffled than usual. Probably Yuffie had tried to yank it off. "You, Rox. Shut up before you even say anything."
"This is the last leg of the tour," the redhead continued, gesturing with a gloved hand for all the backstage staff to form a close-knit circle. "Twilight Town. Our star boy's hometown. So let's give it our best, people, 'cause the celebration's Roxy's treat!"
"Hey!" he shot Axel an incredulous look. The staff, however, had already erupted into cheers, laughing and slapping Roxas on the back. "Pssh. Whatever."
"So," his manager extended a hand towards the middle of the circle of people, nodding his head for the others to do the same. "Let's end this with a bang!"
"Yeah!" A collective voice rose up, with all their hands together, united, Roxas' hand on top of them.
The blonde boy spun his mike skillfully around his fingers, and walked up right into the edge of the temporary wings.
"Break a leg, Roxas!"
"Break both legs, Roxie! And both arms too!" That was Axel.
Breathing deeply, Roxas cleared his throat one last time before stepping out into the stage. Adrenalin rushed through his veins as the crowd erupted into cheers and screams of admiration, and he grinned. "Hel-lo Twilight Town!"
The crowd screamed louder, and he walked purposefully to the front-center, bending down to slap hands with some of the people. Glancing at his right, one of the guitarists, a brunet with the curious name of Leon Leonhart, let out a few experimental strums out, before giving him a thumbs-up. The other guitarists, his brother, Cloud, and the very unlikely Aerith Gainsborough did the same, as with the drummer, a rather violent girl named Tifa Lockheart, Leon's cousin.
"It always feels great to be home," he said into the microphone. "And to perform at my school, too! Is Principal Cid still around?"
To his amazement, hundreds of hands pointed in the blonde chronic-cusser's direction, who was somewhere at the edge of the crowd. He could see the man spit out something -- most likely a blade of grass -- before yelling something.
"Well, that's new," Roxas said slowly, amused. "A shout-out to all my professors and my schoolmates and all them proud citizens of Twilight Town! Let's get this show on the road!"
The guitarists started strumming the beginning chords of Far Away, and he shifted his grip on the microphone. The heady feeling of being here in front of all these people, who were all cheering for him, was the absolute high.
He was Roxas Strife, one of the most sought-after singers of his time, teen idol, and most wanted bachelor. He was on stage, and it was where he belonged.
"This time, this place
Misused, misplaced -- "
- o -
.February 14, 2001.
Wellthat sounded cliché. I have no idea what possessed Kairi to get me this for my birthday. She knows I'm not really the writer-type of person.
But anyway, here I am writing, so... I might look back on this five years from now. Probably laugh at how stupid I am today.
Hmm...let me see...
I'm Naminé Vana'diel, just-fifteen years old. Girl, of course. I have short light blonde hair, unevenly cut -- still have to grow that out -- , and blue eyes. I'm kinda short; it's my mom's genes coming out. My mom's name is Ashe Dalmasca (she's a cardiologist), and my dad is Rassler Vana'diel (lawyer). My older brother's Demyx, and that's his music blasting out from the next room. He's pretty good, by the way. If only he wasn't so...older brother.
I'm a sophomore at Twilight High. Math and Art are my best subjects...English and P.E. are not. In fact, I hate them, English especially. Somehow I got the professor who also teaches Theatre, so my English class is more acting than..well...English.
Today's my birthday. Nice, right? Same day as Valentines'. My friends always tease me about that.
I got this diary from Kairi, that sleeveless...thing from Selphie, another sleeveless, no, that's a halter top, from Olette, sisters do think alike, after all...that set of watercolors from Tidus -- rich guy, that's what he is -- ...book from Pence, another book from Sora, keychain from Hayner...no flowers, chocolates, whatever, thank God.
Wait! There's the new perfume set from Demyx.
Oh yeah...I met a new student. Either that, or this is the first time he noticed I was here. I think his name's Roxas. Yeah.
What else...oh, nothing really much happened. There was that chem lab incident where Axel blew up our group's flask. That's where I met that Roxas guy; I sort of took some damage for him. Got the fumes right in my face, but what else could I do? I had my goggles on, anyway.
Got the Math exam back...I was wrong on no. 13, but aside from that, it's fine...
I guess this is long enough for a diary entry, right?
- o -
"...five words in my head
Are we having fun yet?"
Slightly hoarse but happy nevertheless, Roxas ran a hand through his tousled blonde hair, letting the strains of guitar fade into the cheering of the fans. The two-hour concert had just finished, with a surprise duet from his high-school friends Sora Leonhart and Kairi Ivalice. They were the local sweethearts, or so he had heard from the audience. He spotted more similar faces in the crowd as the concert went on until four in the afternoon, Twilight Town's famous sunset spreading a warm orange glow over everything.
He made a sweeping bow, breathing hard from the exertion of a five-set song. "Yeah, Twilight Town! You've been the greatest audience, and I'm not sucking up to y'all!"
A ripple of laughter made its way through the crowd, and he grinned, the expression magnified tenfold on the projector screens on either side of him.
"A cheer for the band!"
An appreciative clapping of hands, and the musicians stood up and bowed, leaving the stage after.
"Thanks so much for putting up with me!" he waved. "This has been a great tour, people! Don't worry, we'll hang around here for a while," -- a cheer rose up with that -- "So expect to catch me around Town, heh. Thanks again, and see you guys around!"
He took off his checkered wristband and threw it out into the crowd, where an immediate scuffle ensued over its ownership. He waved one more time and turned off the microphone.
And amidst the cheering of the audience, he picked his way through the scattered cords on the stage and walked into the wings, where a breathless Axel was waiting for him.
Before he could say something, he was swept up into a bone-crushing hug.
"Gee, Rox! Never knew you could manage not to be a cocky little idiot on stage!"
"Pfft," he managed to choke out, "Is that an insult?"
"Aww," the pyro released his chokehold. "Isn't it obvious?"
They laughed together, and finally Roxas grabbed Axel's arm and pulled him towards the backstage, where a bottle of well-shaken Pepsi had been popped open, judging from the softdrink-splattered people. The staff were laughing and clapping him on the back as he made his way through.
"Hey," he paused, slightly deaf, "Where's Sora and Kairi?"
"Oh, them?" Axel tugged his arm free and snatched his clipboard from the nearest table. "Down behind the stage. Even though it's been only five years, it feels like fifty, eh?"
The corners of Roxas' mouth lifted up involuntarily into a smile. "Yeah. Wanna go catch up with the news?"
The redhead nodded, and broke out into a grin of his own. "You betcha."
Yuffie came up the stairs and latched onto Roxas the moment she saw him. She sure looked wiry, but she had a hell of a lot of force behind that small frame. "That was amazing, Roxie!"
"Don't call me Roxie," he pouted, dragging the ebony-haired girl along with him. "Roxas!"
"Argh, you sound like Leon," she started, before letting out a squeal of delight at the sight of the said brunet coming out of the other side of the backstage, looking slightly happy. "Speak of the devil! Leon!"
And with that, she let go of Roxas, only to latch on to the brunet. Leon sent him a glare.
"You're welcome!" he called out, laughing as he ran down the stairs. He met Cloud on the way, who looked as if he had been doused with a bucket of water.
"Hey, lil' bro."
The older blonde shook his head, spraying him and Axel with water. No. That was Pepsi. "Tifa snitched a bottle from your trailer's fridge. Maybe two bottles. Whatever the hell it was, she shook the bottles so hard the lids popped off. You know how she is."
"Yeah...okay," he said slowly, sharing a look with Axel. They burst out laughing, and Cloud let out a huff before stomping up the stairs.
Aerith followed the blonde up. She seemed quite dry...if one was not to count the softdrink dripping from her mahogany braid. She looked royally pissed off, so Roxas and Axel kept silent. The brunette was not to be trifled with if angry.
Tifa came up last, a half-full bottle of Pepsi in her gloved fist. "Hey, boys!" she cheered, shaking the bottle vigoriously.
They inched away, in fear of being sprayed with the inevitable. "Hey, Tifa," Axel said cautiously. "Careful with that -- "
Thoroughly drenched in Pepsi and still shocked, Roxas glared at the black-haired woman. Tifa only laughed, however, since she knew she could beat the both of them to a bloody pulp if they wisecracked anything.
"Thanks for the bath," Axel said dryly, wringing his hair out.
"So," she started, patting Roxas' head, "Where's the party?"
"Oh, yeah!" Roxas said brightly, shaking his head much like a dog would do, "The party! Uh..." he remembered Sora and Kairi. Whatever it was, he still wanted to catch up with them. They were his circle of friends back in high school, fame or no fame.
The redhead next to him took the bottle from Tifa and chugged the remaining Pepsi.
"...you people decide. Just..." he paused, slightly wary at the excited expression on the raven-haired drummer's face, "...don't get drunk. Give the bill to Cloud, he'll know what to do with it."
"...Sure," Tifa said happily, swiping the bottle back and trotting off, yelling at the top of her lungs.
"Dang, and this was my favorite hoodie," Axel complained as they finally went down. "Pepsi dries sticky. Nasty."
"Eh, get used to it. Take a bath in a fountain or something," he replied, shoving his hands in his pockets, eyes searching for the familiar shock of cinnamon hair that was Sora, his cousin.
Yuffie had done something to make the media go away, he figured, noting the absence of the usual blinding camera-flashes. The crowd had already dispersed quite fully, probably because they knew they would be seeing a lot more of him around town.
"Hey, Rox, over here!"
Whirling around in the direction of the voice, he saw the person he had been looking for and grinned.
Sora waved energtically at him, the grin stretching his face almost blinding. His hair was still spikier than ever, albeit a bit tamed. Roxas took hold of Axel's arm and tugged him towards the group.
Axel grinned, a look of awe on his face. "Talk about high school reunion."
Selphie squealed, but stopped short of tackling him to the ground, just like she usually did. The green-eyed brunette made a disapproving noise. "If only you two weren't covered in...whatever you are covered in, I would've knocked the wind out of you."
"And we would've died if you did. Thanks for letting us live," he replied sarcastically.
She rounded on Axel. "You! You're still stick-thin!"
"Says the living beanpole."
"Why you -- "
Tuning out the sounds of a very irate Selphie Tilmitt tackling a chuckling, but sticky nevertheless, Axel to the grass, Roxas turned back to Sora, whose grin was still enough to power a small town. Tidus crossed his arms beside the brunet and shot him a smirk, cerulean blue eyes still as challenging as ever. Pence had already whipped out his (new digital) camera and started snapping pictures of Selphie and Axel's scuffle.
"Dude, how inflated is your head now?" Tidus grinned, punching him playfully in the shoulder once he got close enough.
"Which head?" Roxas smirked.
The blonde's eyes widened for a secord, before breaking out into a larger grin than before. "Somebody sure grew up, eh?"
"It's been five years! Of course I'd have grown up!" Roxas pouted once more, ignoring Tidus' guffaws. "Hey...nice voice there, Sora," he said, offering the brunet a grin.
"Not as famous as yours, though," he replied, lacing his fingers behind his head. "We all knew you were destined for stardom, anyway."
He waved a hand dismissively, looking around for the auburn-haired girl he expected to be latched onto Sora's arm. Kairi was nowhere in sight. "Hey, where's your fiancée?"
"Went into the school," Sora answered. "Bathroom break with Olette. Hayner tagged along."
"They still aren't an item?"
"Nope. Hayner's too mule-headed."
Roxas rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "It's been, like, seven years. Maybe eight. Olette can't be that dense."
"Oh no, she knows. She's just...waiting for him to admit that he likes her so that she can like her back so that they can both like each other the way they like to be liked..." the cinnamon-haired teen explained, scratching his head sheepishly, "Or something to that effect. I don't know."
"Thanks for the explanation," he said dryly. "So anyway...let's catch up over coffee, shall we? My treat."
"Of course it's your treat, " Tidus cut in, ruffling Roxas' blonde hair. "When we heard that our pretty boy Roxie would be having the last leg of his tour here...well, great minds think alike, I guess."
"Pssh," Axel finally said, sitting up on the grass beside a smirking brunette, "What's taking them so long? Me and Selph have been wrestling for over ten minutes now, and Sora's girl still hasn't come back...I want an espresso," he whined.
The pyro brightened, and helped Selphie up, not noticing the unhappy look Tidus shot him. "Finally!"
Kairi waved over the crowd as she made her way through, Olette in tow. "Roxas! Axel!"
"Oi, Kai!" he greeted back, tilting his head thoughfully as the two practically bounded into their circle. Hayner shook his head and smiled in greeting as well.
"You'll never guess who we found!" Selphie's sister said gleefully, tugging at someone from the crowd.
"O-olette, let me go..."
And blinked some more.
Axel stared at him concernedly as all the blood rushed out of his face.
Her head jerked up in recognition, but what shocked Roxas was not her flaxen waist-length hair, nor the sunglasses, but the protective arm wrapped around her shoulders.
"Well then," the silver-haired teen smirked, one to rival his own, "Nice to meet you all. I'm Riku. Riku Alcaia."