Kiki: Ugh, don't expect much… I haven't done this in forever haha. Barely remember where I was going with this, but I figured I would try finishing it… It's a bit of an abrupt ending, but I wanted to give it some closure… I hope you guys don't hate me for it. (Unbetaed for now)

Disclaimer: Kingdom Hearts and characters are not mine.

(…)

Love Letters
By KikiKitsune

'Chapter 16: Warmth'

(…)

It had been half a year since the fire.

A lot had happened, and at the same time, nothing had really happened at all. Roxas and his father had rebuilt their home from the ground up and moved out of his father's friend's place. There were still some details to finish up, but they were able to move back into their old—new—home again.

Roxas sat down on his new bed. They had moved the new furniture in, and the blond was quietly admiring his newly painted summer blue walls. It reminded him of Sora. He had almost lost another one of his most important people in his life. It made him realize how stupid he was, how closed off he had made himself since his mother died. Little by little, Roxas tried opening his heart again to the friends around him. He wasn't as alone as he thought.

"I'm sorry," Roxas heard his father apologize so many times, but Roxas couldn't bring himself to get angry. He didn't blame his father, but sometimes his father wish he did. The boy had bottled so much inside and now that Sora was gone, he had no one else to talk to. But Roxas honestly thought he was okay. He had stopped crying. He didn't fight it anymore and just accepted it all, even the loneliness that bit at him every now and then.

Sora was living with his mother in Traverse Town now, but wasn't like he didn't see his brother anymore at all. Every few weeks or so, Sora was allowed to come over for the weekend, though his mother called two or three times throughout the visit to check up on him. Roxas even went to visit Sora, but he never stayed overnight. It was awkward and he felt unwanted in Sora's aunt's home.

Riku had also fully recovered and returned to school. Though the fire had given him scars, he didn't let it bother him. He ignored the distance between him and his friend now too. Sora and Riku became as close as they were before, if not more so. The older teenager often accompanied Roxas to see Sora. He was welcomed with open arms. He had been the hero to save the two bothers after all.

Things had gotten better and accepting everything only helped to heal Roxas's heart. Though he was lonely, and he knew his brother missed him too, it seemed like things had fallen into a calm wave. It'd be a lie if he said he didn't want Sora back right by his side, but how could he fight against Sora's mother? She did see Roxas's mother every time she looked at the blond, and he couldn't imagine how much it pained her.

However, Riku had mentioned that Sora was fighting against his mother on his own. The brunet had gotten a job as a waiter in Traverse Town, and promised he would return to his brother's side the day he turned eighteen. He'd come back, he promised. They would be together again.

The storm had passed though it was a while until they could reach the safety of the shore, and Roxas realized time would heal the wounds in his heart.

(…)

"It's been nearly a year since you've gone," Roxas said as he placed a bundle of colorful flowers down on the stone that indicated his mother's grave. Settling himself in front of her, he confessed his loneliness. It gripped at his heart.

"I miss you, Mom," he whispered. "I'm okay though, you don't have to worry about me. I still have Dad. After Sora's mom gave him a good scolding, he actually realized it a bit late. He's stopped working so much, and we're going fishing next weekend." A small, bittersweet smiled found its way towards him. "He tells me all the time that he really loved you. He told me how amazing and adventurous you were. You were his best friend."

He sighed and ran a hand through his blond locks. "Sora is doing well too. You know him—he can make friends anywhere and everywhere. He even made up with Riku, and don't tell him I told you this, "Roxas whispered playfully, "but I think he and Riku have gotten a bit closer. He's really opened his mind. Riku is his best friend after all. They can't stay away from each other no matter how big of a fight."

Roxas winced as the summer air blew a gust of wind towards him. His bangs caught in his eyes and he closed his eyes for just a moment. He envisioned his mother, the fine details were faded in his memory, but he could recall her pale skin and golden hair. Of course, he also got his deep blue eyes from her. She was beautiful, and she always would be.

The blond opened his eyes as the warmth of the memory faded away. She'd want him to be happy, he knew. She loved him. It was just so hard to let go, and it had taken him so long to accept realize that it was okay to keep living—to really keep living and not just be lonely and unsatisfied and afraid of losing everything else around him.

"Mom," he said pushing back tears. It had been so long since he had cried. "Mom, I want you to meet someone. I can't bring him to you yet, but I promise I'll introduce him to you. He's a really nice guy and he really understands me." A flash of familiar red came to his mind. "I… I can be myself around him, and even though he can be annoying and a bit of a pervert, he sincerely cares about me. He's become my only friend—my best friend."

Roxas spent a good hour sitting and telling his mom about his life. The memories made him laugh, some were precious, and some were more bittersweet. School, life, everything was calmly in motion. Life was good.

(…)

After visiting his mother, Roxas strolled around the streets of Twilight Town. It had been a long while since he had been here. He still came to the penpal club to write letters and chat with the other members. He wrote once, twice, three times a week for the past six months, but there was never a reply.

Even so, Roxas kept moving forward one small step at a time. Softly, gently, he tried to open his heart a little.

"Roxas?"

The blond turned at the call of his name.

With eyes wide, he found one of his old friends—Hayner. Not only that, the boy was with someone else… Neither Olette nor Pence, Hayner was with Seifer, and they were holding hands.

"Hayner…" Roxas managed.

"Hey there, pipsqueak," Seifer sneered, an unwelcoming grin on his face. The taller teen frowned as Hayner's cheeks turned pink and pulled his hand out of his.

Roxas by then had a slight idea of their relationship, but it made no sense! His mind circled around this thought until Olette and Pence themselves came up to him and the others.

"Roxas!" Olette cheered. She dashed forward and wrapped her arms around him. "It's been so long! How are you?"

"Hey, buddy!" Pence beamed. He was carrying a bag of what looked like sea salt ice creams. "What happened to you? We were getting worried."

The blond rubbed the back of his neck. "It's kind of a long story…" he lied. The boy had been avoiding his old friends for nearly a year now! The emails and phone calls and texts had slowly dwindled down to nonexistent. He hadn't mean to, but it had hurt a lot back then and he had ran away from it with the excuse that he was just letting the past go…

He only realized now that he was making excuses for himself and running away from his problems. He had decided to try opening his heart again, so perhaps destiny had given him a chance to be honest with his feelings this time? After all, Hayner, Pence, and Olette hadn't known his feelings. He had kept them to himself all bottled up back then.

"I'm sorry," Roxas said. He explained to them about how he had joined the penpal club to see them, and how hurt he felt when he had seen Seifer with them. He laughed embarrassed at his own silly feelings. "I guess I was just feeling really down about my mom and stuff back then… I'm sorry for being a bad friend. I just… I thought you guys didn't need me anymore. You seemed so… so happy without me."

At that, Olette's eyes filled with tears and she gave the boy a hard whack to his arm. "You idiot! How could you think like that? Aren't we all friends? Of course we missed you!"

"Yeah, Rox," Hayner added with a large smile, "No one could ever replace you. We were really worried when you stopped talking to us."

Pence nodded and explained, "We just didn't want you to worry about us… You never talked about your mom or anything and you just bottled it all up. We were waiting for you to tell us on your own but… Well, we didn't want to force you to say anything you weren't ready for."

Roxas felt his eyes tear up a bit, an apologetic look on his face.

To his surprise, Seifer spoke too. The taller boy tugged at his beanie and quietly said, "I wasn't trying to take your place or anything either. It's just…when you left, I…I…" A shade of red covered his cheeks, and beside him Hayner's cheeks turned color to match.

Olette let out a fit of giggles and Pence chuckled. Hayner frowned in embarrassment and tried to calmly explain. "This guy," he said pointing to the blushing boy "was glad you left though. He thought I had a crush on you so he hated you for it. That's why he always bullied us. He's like a grader schooler, seriously." Seifer turned his head away as if he was pretending it weren't true.

"We were never trying to replace you, Roxas," Olette smiled. "Seifer just realized that when you moved, it was his chance to steal Hayner away." Both mentioned boys couldn't be any redder.

Suddenly, Roxas burst into laughter. His friends were confused at first, but it didn't take them long to join him. How silly Roxas was all this time. It was a complete misunderstanding, and even more so, one of his friends was gay—with Seifer even!

"Uhh…" Hayner cut in, his laugh dying down. "You're…you don't think I'm weird or… I mean…"

Roxas gave a knowing smile and simply said, "I have someone too. I'll introduce you to him sometime."

Once more, Olette allowed a fit of a giggles to escape from her mouth. She turned towards Pence and playfully whispered, "You're next, Pence!" to which the large boy frowned. Oh just what strange thoughts were going through that girl's head?

Roxas couldn't help but smile. The familiar warmth and laughter with his friends had returned to him. Things were almost perfect.

(…)

Kiki: One more chapter…! I'm sorry I rushed this q-q Do I still have readers after all this time? lol