A/N: Next chapter. The highschool thing is based on real events.

Update will be much slower. For the guys who read my fics, I will update maybe two weeks from now; I'm stuck between making my Yuna cosplay and programming projects. You have been warned.

Warning for long chapter.

Does somebody die?What do you think...? c:

Disclaimer: KH? Not mine. Plot? Mine.

Seventeen and Cosmo (c) to whoever the hell it belongs to.

- ii: I couldn't cut as a poor man stealin' -


"So...what've you been up to?"

Kairi leant in closer, eyeing Olette in a rather predatory way that made Roxas laugh. The brunette choked on her iced latté, and Hayner immediately patted her back.

The auburn-haired girl smiled knowingly, sending the table into a fit of hysterics.

"Kairi!" Olette said in a scandalized tone, blushing deeply, fiddling with the café's paper napkins. "Stoppit."

"I'm not doing anything..."

Sora slapped Kairi lightly upside the head, chuckling. "Hey," he said gently, easing the girl's shoulders back from their hunched position. "Let them be."

"Pfft," she let out, sticking out her lower lip.

"...anyway," Olette suddenly cleared her throat. "You did ask what I was up to...well...I went to Radiant Garden State-U and took up Commerce. Four years of grueling work, but -- "

"Oh, but Hayner was always there, wasn't he?" Selphie piped up, playing with the whipped cream and overloading her own coffee drink. "Huh? Huh?"

"I was not!" the blonde protested, at the same time as Pence said "He was!" loudly.

"Hayner even took Business Administration," the photographer pressed on, ignoring Hayner's loud grumbling. "Now they work for the same company. Awww. Isn't that sweet?"


"What about you, Pence?" Sora changed the subject hastily, minding the way that Hayner's tone had turned threatening. Roxas hid a snicker, and Axel grinned at the window.

The raven-haired teen tilted his head thoughtfully. "Oh, same old, same old. Took up photography, of course -- "

"Wait, wait, is your last name Ward?" Axel interrupted, slapping the table with a flat palm when Pence nodded in the affirmative. "Well...you're one of the next people on the list -- You're shooting Roxas' next music video."

"I am?" asked Pence, at the same time Roxas asked "He is?"

The pyro nodded to himself more than anything. "Yep. As your manager, I should know."

"Eh?" Sora's cerulean blue eyes widened. "Axel? You're...a manager?"

He exchanged incredulous looks with Kairi, Tidus and Selphie in quick succession, before stifling a chuckle. Stirring his cappuccino slowly, he tried and miserably failed to erase the disbelieving look on his face.

"I am good at something besides setting random objects on fire, you know," the redhead said defensively, crossing his arms.

"Yeah," Roxas said fervently, knowing that if he didn't defend his best friend, he'd get the worst of it later. "He's good. I won't be where I am if it wasn't for him. Uhmmm..." he racked his mind for something to change the subject; Axel was looking quite irritated. "Hey, Ti. Season starts when? This April?"

The blonde blitzballer nodded, leaning forward and stealing Selphie's cup. "Yeah. Dad gave us a break, so I have something like two weeks before we start last-minute training. You go watch, will ya? The publicity's gonna be great..."

Roxas nodded in reply, looking forward to the event. Tidus was the captain of the Zanarkand Abes, the top team of the sports chain. Easily as famous as Roxas in the sporting sense, he was also one of the most wanted bachelors in the Capital. However, it seemed that he was taken already, by the hyper brunette now glaring at Tidus himself.

"You're rich as hell, Tidus," Selphie growled, swiping at the stolen drink. "Buy your own."

"But I'm stuck," he pointed out, gesturing the fact that he was sandwiched between the window and Axel.

"Good point," she agreed, "Let's share then."

Roxas stared, bewildered at the light-speed change in Selphie's disposition.

"Mmah," taking a breath, the brunette propped up her chin on an upturned palm. "I went to Trabia U and got a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Work for Sphere Shots. His team," she pointed at Tidus, "are our guinea pigs. If they drown in our spheres, well...tough luck...ow!"

Tidus rolled his eyes and sniggered. Selphie reached under the table and presumably rubbed her leg. The blonde had probably kicked her.

"Ah, they still act their shoe size, don't they?" Kairi said dreamily, leaning against Sora and drinking her black coffee.

"Mhmmm?" Roxas raised an eyebrow. "You two are the talk of the town."

"This side of town," Sora corrected, tapping the table and leaning forward. "Kai's still has two years of pre-med. Girls. Always the overachievers..."

"You're taking medicine?" Axel raised an eyebrow, before shaking his head. "Knowing her, she's more likely to scare her patients away, with that temper. Oops. Sorry. Sora, don't kill me."

The brunet laughed, putting an arm around the auburn-haired girl and hugging her close. "S'okay, she gets that from me everyday."

"And I can't get back at him," Kairi narrowed her eyes, elbowing Sora slightly. "He spouts out some constitutional things whenever we get in a fight. Pssh, why did I decide to marry a lawyer, anyway?"

" 'cause you love me," he grinned, and pecked her softly on the cheek.

The table made a collective gagging sound, with groans of exasperation prominent. Axel slapped a hand to his forehead in disdain. "Ugh. PDA."

Roxas smirked. "You're just jealous, Axel..."

"...but you're single too, aren't you?!"

Pouting, he kicked the pyro under the table, making the redhead wince in pain.

- o -

.March 3, 2001.

Dear Diary,

Thing of note: Never, ever, ever let Axel near the gas pipe. Ever.

On the brighter side of things, we won't have to deal with those experiments anymore, at least for now. It's rumored, however, that Principal Cid is thinking of making us stay and study Chemistry for the summer.

Wonder how that crazy pyro is faring right now...Half of the class hates his guts, but the other hero-worships him. Me? Nah. I really don't care what happens. As long as I finish at the top, fine. Mom's started grilling me on preparing for college. Sheesh. I still have two years of high school to finish.


I got back at Kairi for the other day. Well, I think it ended up working to her advantage, but still! At least I tried. Selphie, Olette and I were interrogating her on who she thought was the most likely guy she'd end up marrying. Of course, we all knew who it would be, but we wanted Sora to hear it, so...

I told Roxas to tell the guys to synchronize times with us, so that the instant Kairi confesses, Sora's there.

They should call that new color "Kairi Red". Yeah. Cra-yo-la. With the complementary hue of "Sora Crimson".

Speaking of Blondie (we call each other that now, he started it)...I dunno. He seems to...pay more attention to me than before. You know. That attention. Or is it just me?

...I think I'm starting to like him...the little things he does drives me crazy...like helping carry my books and always sitting down next to me...

I always knew that when the Creator handed out dating expertise, I was on the other side of the world, sleeping.



- o -


"...Uhm, you should stop making that face..."

He glanced up, only to see a very amused Riku looking over his shoulder and back at Roxas. "It's so creepy. That girl at the counter just won't stop staring. I think all the people are staring. Even the people outside are staring."

A pale porcelain-skinned hand reached out from behind him, and Naminé plucked the white-chocolate latté from Riku's grip, taking a small sip. "It isn't just him," she said softly. "It's you, too."

And as if to prove her point, a small shriek rose up from the other side of the café. It came from a group of wide-eyed girls who looked as if Christmas had come early; they were all repeatedly glancing alternately from Roxas' group to something spread on their table.

Riku put his hands on the flaxen-haired girl's shoulders and gently steered her to sit down beside Sora and Kairi, right across him and Axel. "Myep. I think it's the March issue of Seventeen. Oh. And the March Cosmopolitan too...oh man."

Naminé giggled softly, and Roxas felt a small twinge of irritation. What was so funny, anyway? And what were they talking about?

"It's okay, Roxie," Axel suddenly said, smirking. The singer felt his cheeks redden at the fact that his rather embarassing nickname was being used in front of Naminé. No. In front of a complete stranger, rather. Yes. That was it. Never mind if his fans usually referred to him by that name. When it came from Axel, it was kind of...personal.

Tidus looked equally bewildered. "All I know is your name, dude."

Selphie elbowed him, and that was the only moment when they all noticed the awestruck look on her face. "Wow...I mean, wow..."

Olette, had the same starstruck look. "He looks even more gorgeous up close!" she gushed, and she giggled together with her sister. "Man, I'm such a lucky girl!"

If there was ever a murderous look, it was right on Hayner's face at that moment. Tidus rolled his eyes.

Roxas was about to burst out into a stream of very colorful words when Kairi reached across the table and patted him sympathetically on the head. "Oh, Roxas. We remember. Boys like you don't know who Riku is, do they?"

"Hey!" That was from Sora. "I know who he is!"

He stared at the brunet.

Riku burst into laughter. "I'm sure you do."

"I read about him," Sora pouted, crossing his arms. "Not in some girly magazine, mind you. He's in Forbes. Next to J.K Rowling. Something about most powerful guy in the world. And most sued."

"Mmmm..." Naminé spoke up, still not taking off her sunglasses. "Wish I could read about that."

"He's a model, first and foremost," Pence piped up, nodding. "Worked with him on that Forbes issue. Really sold out."

Roxas stared again, now scrutinizing the silver-haired model. Riku didn't even seem to notice. True to Pence's description, the guy really did dress like a model. Held his composure like one too. Black muscle shirt with a silver-zippered top, designer cargo pants, and chunky black loafers. His hair hung slightly past his shoulders, and the unusual color made sure he got attention whenever he went.

He let out a dejected sigh. The guy was like some god. No wonder the girls liked him so much.

...but then again, so did they love him.

Riku met his gaze, and smirked, icy sheets of aquamarine gazing into stormy sapphire.

"...you're doing it again..." the flaxen-haired girl next to him whispered, loud enough for the whole table to catch it. In reply, he took the latté from her hand and sipped from it, before returning it into her grip and (Roxas did not miss that) squeezing her fingers gently.

"You never miss anything."

"Of course," Naminé smiled, and continued drinking.


Selphie and Olette broke out into twin grins. Roxas could almost see the hearts floating off from them in copious amounts.

"I don't get it," Tidus raised an eyebrow and raised an issue, in his usual tactless way, "Riku, famous model. Meet Naminé, genius girl. Meet randomly, hit off, get laid -- "

Roxas choked on his own spit, and whipped around, bewildered, to stare at Riku and wordlessly demand answers. The silver-haired model, however, looked just as outraged at him.

"Hey!" he spat, but Selphie had already dealt out retribution for the blonde blitzballer. Judging from the way Tidus had curled up on himself in his seat, it was obvious that the brunette had kicked him in a very sensitive part of his anatomy.

"There," she said cheerfully. "He might never have kids, but what the hell. Carry on, Ri-ku."

Riku shrugged. "I go with Naminé to Destiny University. I do study, you know. Still am, as a matter of fact, I'm taking up Commerce. I have the same Math schedules as her..."

Roxas, however, had already tuned out his voice, and focused, instead, on Naminé. He remembered that he'd sometimes stare at her for hours on end, and she'd hate it when he did that. However, now, just like Riku, she didn't even seem to notice that he was looking at her.

She had grown maybe three inches, but she was still thin as ever. She had a sheet of silky flaxen hair reaching down to her waist, tied at the middle with something -- a ribbon. He wasn't sure. She was wearing a sky-blue sundress today, one that Roxas knew would bring out her eyes.

Without thinking, he reached across the table and slid the sunglasses off.

Naminé blinked, and looked directly at him, her cerulean blue eyes looking as haunted as ever.

A shiver ran down his spine, and he snapped back to reality. What the heck? What was he doing? Naminé...Naminé was a friend. Yes. It was all in the past.

Then why was he gaping at her hand, the one that was reaching out to take her sunglasses back? Why was he staring, stunned, at the gold band on her ring finger?

"You're..." he fought to keep his voice even, as he placed the item into her proferred hand. "...engaged?"

"OhMyGod." Kairi gasped, putting a hand over her chest in a thoroughly dramatic fashion.

The flaxen-haired girl smiled wanly. "He wishes."

Riku blushed furiously.

...with sarcasm absent in that voice, Roxas found himself at a loss for words.

- o -

.March 27, 2001.

Dear Diary,

Oh, I just got off the phone with Kairi. I don't know. I'm not the usual gab-to-your-friends type. Even Mom was surprised. She's always encouraging me to get a social life and everything, but I think I must've given her a heart attack when I told her I was going to hog the phone for more than ten minutes.

Where to start...

It's him

It's driving me nuts. No, he's driving me nuts.

I mean, the way he's acting...one can't not see that he's up to something.

He had helped me carry my books for something like a month now. You know, the little things. Those get me the most. Like I've noticed the way he always prefers to have lunch with me. Sits next to me. Even the way he always bumps shoulders or ruffles my hair or fixes my tie or...

I think I'm beginning to like him.

But I know he's up to something. I mean...I'm nobody special. This isn't some kind of movie that the lead falls inlove with the female lead in some magical way. Love at first sight or something equally absurd. There's always a reason behind everything. A concrete reason.

And I think I know what his reason is. From the way he always wants to be partnered with me in Chem, or the way he asks me to tutor him, or the way he borrows my notes...

...but I discovered I don't care, anyway.

He makes me feel good about myself, and I think that's enough.

(or is it?)

Oh, God.


- o -


"Oh, wow." Axel pointed to the tiled laboratory table, precisely, at the missing-tile piece. On said four-inch square was inscribed the fiery redhead's name, together with a crude drawing of a flame underneath it. "After five years..." he said dreamily, "It's still here."

Here they were, walking the halls of their old high school once more, sans Pence, who was off on a photo shoot. Cid had allowed them (with much pleading and pouting from both spiky-haired cousins) to visit during school hours, given the condition that they were not to make loud noises and that (in Axel's case), not to set anything on fire. Never mind. The students were too busy goggling at them.

Vexen, their once-Chemistry teacher, sighed exasperatedly at the loss of the attention of his own students. Axel waved back happily from the back of the lab, fingers tapping on the unused table. Roxas grinned.

Some of the students squealed.

"Uh, sorry, sir," Sora spoke up, gesturing for them to get out of the room now. "We've disturbed you enough."

And amidst the groans and protests, they left the classroom, with Axel winking one last time.

"Hey!" Tidus said excitedly. "Let's go to the gym next! I haven't seen our old coach for ages!"

"Hmm..." Riku tapped the schedule given to them by the principal, and nodded. "...block C is having gym today, under Coach Shuyin."

The blonde blitzballer's eyes widened. "Whoa. That's my twin. Since when did he come back? Come on come on come on!"

As they ambled off in the general direction of the school gymnasium, Roxas looked around and took in the familiar surroundings. There, at that drinking fountain, they used to hold water fights. At that particular corner they always met before having lunch -- Naminé would come from her Trigonometry, Roxas from Physics. He'd greet her and she'd always smile back. It was the smile that always got him.

This...well, this was their partner lockers, and...

"...hey, you," Riku said, walking over and placing a hand on the flaxen-haired girl's shoulder. Naminé had knelt in front of her bottom locker, and had her fingers running over the metal.

"Our, I mean," she paused, her head tilting slightly in Roxas' direction, "My locker."

Roxas swallowed painfully. He had slid more than one letter, or note, into the slits of that box of metal. Naminé loved to get those. She once told him that it was a nice break from reality; when she got such sweet letters, it was like she was living in a fantasy, even for a short while.

"Hey," somebody clapped a hand on his shoulder, and he jerked forwards.

Looking back, he saw a sheepish Tidus shake his head. "Man, you spaced out there. But nice shrine, huh?"

He blinked, and his gaze traveled back to his own top locker. Vandalized with his name and now stuffed so full with letters that sheafs of paper were sticking out of the slits at the top. His own yearbook photograph was taped to the front of the metal door.

"Yeeaah..." he forced a laugh, and turned away. Not from the locker, but from the sight of a certain flaxen-haired girl with her head bowed, and Riku kneeling next to her in silent companionship.

Selphie let out a low whistle. "They're so sweet, aren't they?"

Olette took one look at Roxas, however, and jabbed her sister in the ribs. "Sometimes, Selph, you're just as tactless as Tidus."

The brunet stole a horrified glance at him and clapped her hands to her mouth. "OhmyGod, I'm so sorry."

He bit his lip, but shook his head, forcing his expression to change into something that vaguely resembled a smile. "It's all in the past now. S'okay," he added thickly.

All in the past...

...somehow, he knew it would take a lot more convincing on his part.

- o -

.April 5, 2001.

Demyx is going off to Destiny University next week, right after graduation. He's saying that he already found a job there. A group of fellow music majors just called him up; something about forming a group and having gigs. I'm not too sure if Dad approves, you know how he is...but Demyx always has his full-time musical scholarship to fall back on. All he has to do is maintain an average and play at the college of music recitals every so often.

Aw, would you believe it...I think I'm going to miss him. No, I am going to miss him.

But! Two more years, and I'm going in there after him. I want to take up programming. And animation. Yeah...

About The Roxas Situation, well...I really don't understand him. I talked to Kairi about it, and she just told me I'm being paranoid. She asked if I had ever asked him to do favors for me, or if he had done anything for me at all.

Well...he's helped me in English. And tried to teach me to skateboard. Rescued me out of many an embarrassing situation, mostly involving Selphie and a prank gone wrong.

Mmm...even our group's been giving us the evil eye...and so has the girl population of our school. I mean, Roxas, together with Tidus (and Sora...he's adorable) are one of the most sought-after boys of the high school. Man, and I'm just a plain Jane.


People are asking if we're an item yet...but we're not. He hasn't said anything about it. He just laughs it off. But the secret smiles he does...

Even my parents had gotten a whiff of the happenings. I still haven't gotten an interrogation, but all they demand of me is that I bring him home and introduce him to them.

Yep, that's the word they used. Demand.

But he's not...


- o -


"Let me see..." Roxas paused, and counted mentally. "Axel, Kairi, Sora, Hayner, Olette, Tidus, Selphie, Riku...and...well... that's ten popsicles."

"Sure," the rather old ice-cream man said cheerfully, his baby-blue eyes crinkling in the amusement of seeing one of his most frequent customers. "Been quite long since I last saw you and yer posse."

"Yeah," Axel cut in, slinging an arm across the old man's shoulders and reaching over to take one of the ice-cream bars. " 'bout five years, pops. And..." he took a lick of his sea-salt popsicle, "...the ice-cream's still as good as ever."

"Of course," he agreed, handing six of the bars to the fiery redhead, and the other five to Roxas.

Roxas carefully held one of the bars between his teeth (and risked brain freeze in the process), and handed the bars of salty-sweetness to the others. He was uncomfortably aware of the people staring at the back of his neck as he did so. He was also uncomfortably aware that the only people without the ice-cream bars were Riku and Naminé.

Axel, the jerk.

He blinked. Why should he be angry with the redhead? After all, it was he himself who said it was all in the past, anyway. Why would he be so affected? It was only a single ice-cream bar.

...Naminé could finish one of those ten seconds faster than him, he remembered. There were a lot of fond memories connected to the confection. That's all what they were, right? Memories.

Fond memories? Pssh. Those were nothing. Yes.

"Roxas," a voice said exasperatedly, breaking him out of his reverie. Riku reached out and took a popsicle with each hand. "Mustn't let a free treat go to waste, must we? Here, Na--"

"Hey, my treat, I should give it out!" he barked, reaching out for Naminé at the same time as Riku.

Both of their hands touched the girl's proferred hand.


flash! Flash! flash!

Naminé stepped backwards, right into a photgrapher. She squeaked, and trotted a step forward, falling right into an indignant Riku's arms. The silver-haired model growled, slightly guiding the girl to stand between him and the paparazzi.

Roxas took the sea-salt ice cream out of his mouth, knowing full well how the media would read the coincidental reaching for the flaxen-haired girl. "Sorry!" he blurted out, looking beseechingly at Naminé.

She had a bewildered expression on her face, and clutched the back of Riku's vest tighter.

In the blink of an eye a crowd of media had clustered around the three of them, separating them from the rest of the group. And more importantly, from Axel. Axel had always been the one to answer the burning questions that the media fired at him, the one who kept his reputation intact.

"Roxas! Roxas! Who's the girl!"

"Roxas and Riku? Jealousy in the air?"

"Roxas Strife and Riku Alcaia?"

The blonde singer risked a glance in her direction, and he swallowed painfully when he saw that the girl had buried her face into Riku's back, and she was trembling. He had always known that Naminé was painfully shy when showered with attention from total strangers.

"Stop it!" he yelled, the sea-salt popsicle falling to the ground, next to the one that should've been Naminé's. They both melted into forlorn puddles on the cobbled ground. "Leave Naminé alone! " he paused, and continued hurriedly, deciding that that sounded awfully suspicious, "And Riku too!"

But they had already heard that microscopical pause, and he knew that it did not bode well.

"Lucky girl, she is!"

"Roxas...are you an item?"

"Riku, how do you feel about --"

"I don't give a damn about what you people want!" the silver-haired model suddenly roared, waving the now-empty popsicle stick at the cameras. "She is not with Roxas, neither is she with me! She's just a friend!"

"An engaged friend, eh?" a tube-topped girl with a microphone said slyly, alternating excited looks between them and a camera. She pointed at the gold band on the finger of the hand Riku was pointing with, and then at the hand clutched into the material of Riku's vest. "Focus on it! Focus on it!"

Another barrage of flashes started.

"They're not engaged!" Roxas stomped his foot in frustration; he hated seeing Naminé cringe like that. Besides, it was she who said it; they just weren't engaged.

The cameras turned on him, and he mentally winced.

"Then what is that ring?" the same girl asked pointedly, angling her microphone towards him for his reply.

"I...I, uh --"

"It's none of your business," a voice said flatly, and Sora suddenly shoved his way into the crown. "Now get the hell out of the way before I sue all of your asses off," he snarled, looking suddenly ferocious.

"And on what case, Mr -- ?"

"Leonhart," the brunet stepped closer up to the girl, and narrowed his eyes. A furious Sora looked terrifying. A furious Sora right in your face should be enough to make one cry. "Sora Leonhart. And I will sue you one the grounds of harrassment, Miss Beatrix Alexandria."

The focus suddenly turned on the two, and Roxas caught the frantic gesture of Axel to slip away, out of the spotlight.

Roxas, however, had too much pride to leave his cousin alone in the hypothetical fray. He shook his head fiercely, caught Riku's attention, and jerked a thumb in the opposite direction, away from the media.

The silver-haired model nodded gratefully, and hurried Naminé away.

He had hoped, at least, for some form of recognition from the flaxen-haired girl.


Gritting his teeth, he tore his eyes from the sight of Riku guiding Naminé away from him, ignored the churning of his stomach and the plummeting of his heart, and faced the music.

"Sora, let me deal with them."

- o -

.May 25, 2001.

Sometimes, I swear, the sound of Tidus snoring can be one's most horrible nightmare. I mean, the boys are in the next room, but I can hear his snoring as if he's right next to me.

God, I'm going to stuff a sock down his throat if that's what it takes to shut him up. When we get to the next house.

Today we're sleeping over at Tidus' house. We're doing a sort of around-the-town-in-sleepovers thing. It's a summer tradition. So far we're finished with Kairi's, Hayner's, and Axel's. I liked Axel's place the most, so far. It's so...I mean, we know he's a little pyromaniac, but the atmosphere at his' place is so warm. It's a kinda ritzy apartment, and only Axel and his brother, Reno, is living there. Their mom's working overseas, and Reno (although he won't really say it out loud) is a hitman. I think it's really -ehem- cool. Wow.

I think...oh. Roxas' place is up next. Oh no.

I'm all nervous all of a sudden.

It's no big deal, right? I mean...

Screw that, it is.

There's somebody knocking. Wait. Let me see who it is before I go on lamenting about my fate...


Ugh, this is weird, I shouldn't be drawing hearts in here...

3 3 3

.May 25, 2001 (same day

Wait. Technically it's 26th. About 2 am.

.May 26, 2001.

Oh My God.

Roxas. He was the one who was knocking at the door and he asked me to take a walk with him and--




Well...Tidus' place is the one nearest to the beach. Their family is more of the surfer-type people, in fact, his twin, Shuyin, is already on the fast track to being a top coach, like their father, Jecht. So anyway. The beach. Yeah.

Back to the story.

So Roxas knocks on the door, and there he is, in his usual black shirt and khakis (borrowed from Sora, no doubt), looking all sheepish and have I ever told you that he looks absolutely handsome in the moonlight like that?



We went down to the beach. He was nervous. Very. Well, so was I, but that's beside the point. He asked me about how my day was (the boys spent that day surfing, or trying to surf. Axel point-blank refused to get near the water. Us girls spent the morning building sandcastles) and all that stuff. I knew he really wanted to talk about something else, because he could've just asked me those things over dinner.

giddy giddy giddy giddy


Well...we sat on the sand dunes and star-gazed for a bit, then he just turned to me and said (his exact words) "I can't take this anymore. I like you, Naminé, I really like you. Maybe too much..." he faced the other way, and whispered so softly that I almost didn't hear it.

But I did.

"...I think I love you."


Sorry, Diary. I know I normally don't write as childishly as this, but what do you expect? I thought it was one-sided affection. It's...nice, you know? Everyone has someone else. Everyone's paired up. I only had my studies and my friends. It feels good to know that someone cares for you so much.

Oh, what will my parents think?

And what will happen...I mean, Roxas and I are now...oh...a couple?

- o -


"Nasty," Axel spat, shoving his hands into his pockets. "Just plain nasty."

Roxas stifled a laugh, amused at the way the redhead was now shooting the following paparazzi hateful glares (and the occasional middle finger). Kairi kept on berating him about his not-so-nice behavior, but Sora kept laughing silently the whole time.

"A-xel," Riku said, drawing out the last syllable and yawning right after. "That photographer looks like he's going to wet his pants right there."

Roxas felt strangely defensive (he was the one who always toyed with Axel's name) but he kept him mouth firmly shut, in fear of saying something he'd probably regret later. Instead, he busied himself with not trying to stare at Naminé. It effectively kept his mind concentrated.

The flaxen-haired girl had her sunglasses on, and was now walking side-by-side with Riku, head leaning on his shoulder and arm wrapped around his. She was wearing another summer dress today, a ivory-white confection of cotton and ribbon, with small paopu-fruits dancing along the bottom edge. White thongs adorned her feet, making small thumps as they made contact with the pavement.

Did he say she was leaning on Riku already?

Stop, he chided himself. There's nothing you can do about it. You didn't feel anything back then, and there's no reason to start feeling anything now.

Naminé yawned, trying and miserably failing to hide it behind a pale hand.

Sora had now started to rattle off the various memories attached to the infamous school gates, of which they were passing through now.

"You're tired."

Roxas blinked, and forced himself not to stop walking. It's not your problem It's not your problem It's not--

"A bit."

The silver-haired model stopped and looked down at her, steadying her by wrapping an arm around her waist. She immediately leant her forehead on his shoulder, taking deep breaths. Roxas' breath hitched in his throat; maybe Mistress Fate decided it was payback time already, maybe Naminé had some serious medical condition just like in the movies and then he'd be too late he wouldn't be able to say sorry for all the things he --

"She had no sleep last night," Riku said, waving a hand dismissively in explanation. "There was this group who kept snapping pictures through the window. I had to get the police."

Sora sent a questioning look at Roxas, who felt guilty because Naminé was suffering all this sudden attention because of him.

"Sorry," he said quietly, so only she could hear, and the flaxen-haired girl whimpered softly, turning her head away.

"You said something?" Riku asked, grinning. He shook his head in the negatory and started searching his pockets for his keys. Riku had probably no idea what he and Naminé are...no, what they were.


Kairi directed him a knowing look.

"I know!" the model suddenly spoke up, with Naminé now steady on her feet and sunglasses slightly askew. "You guys haven't seen each other for something like five years now, right?"

They all nodded, not in unison, of course. Sora beamed. It seemed that the brunet had taken an almost unnatural liking to Riku.

"Well..." he appeared to consider something, and suddenly grinned excitedly. "Naminé, why don't we show them Chain of Memories?"

Roxas couldn't clearly see her expression, with the sunglasses blocking out her eyes, but she flinched. He regarded Riku with a curious stare. "What's that?"

"It's an art gallery, on the other side of the Main," he explained, releasing Naminé. "That's where I met her; she's the curator. Of sorts," he added, glancing once at the girl. "She lives just next door to it. We should go; the artwork's amazing."

Roxas blinked.

Curator? Knowing Naminé, she'd more likely be the artist.

Riku really did know nothing about her past.

Or did he?

Why should you care? He chided himself angrily.

- o -