Disclaimer: I don't own Kingdom Hearts.

A/N. Yay! I went to Anime Expo of 2007 at Long Beach and had oodles of fun! XDD There was this really cute Namie postcard...EEEEE XDD I just HAD to buy it. :D

Anyway, many thanks to those who read and reviewed this story! (: Enjoy this chapter :DDD

xXxXxXxXx

"OH, MY GOSH, I'M SO PROUD OF YOU!" Yuna practically tackled the startled girl and gave her a backbreaking hug.

"Wh-wha??" Naminé was beyond confused. Wasn't Yuna supposed to be YELLING at her? Lecturing her? Dragging her off to see Cid?

This was NOT what she had imagined.

"Y-Yuna - " she wheezed.

"I never knew you had it in you," Yuna grinned, her voice lowering to a whisper as she let go of her. "I mean - you, sneaking out at nighttime? And to go out with a BOY? My, you've grown so much..." Yuna pretended to sniffle. "My little Naminé's all grown up!"

"No! It's not like that, I-I swear!"

"It pretty much looked like it, Namie, dear. I mean, after all, he carried you on his back! Not to mention that you HUGGED him, and he BLUSHED. Hey, you were lying about that boy having a girlfriend, weren't you? He sure seems to have the hots for YOU!" "

"N-no, it's not what you think, Yuna!" Naminé protested helplessly, feeling utterly mortified. "For one, he carried me on his back because I can't climb trees. And two, I hugged him because...because I-I was grateful! And he blushed because he's a very modest boy. A-and It's true, he already has a girlfriend!"

"Then WHY was he sneaking out to go with you?" Yuna wiggled her eyebrow suggestively.

"I-it was because he felt sympathy for me, that's all! He felt sorry that I wasn't allowed to go outside!"

"Wow, he must have felt a LOT of sympathy to the extent where he'd trespass and sneak out with you," Yuna smiled widely. "Face it, Naminé, dear...he likes you. And you like him, too, don't you?"

"Y-Yuna, we're only friends!"

"Yeah, and a little friendlier than friendly,'' Yuna chuckled, her eyes twinkling. "You guys should go to the festival together!"

"B-but...he's already going with his girlfriend..." Naminé mumbled.

Yuna didn't seem to hear because she was rambling on excitedly. "It'll be so cute, I just know it!"

Naminé yawned tiredly. Yuna looked at her, surprised.

"Oh, you're sleepy, aren't you?"

"Yeah..." Hopefully, this would make Yuna leave her alone.

"Well, I don't blame you...you've stayed out for about an hour with that boy." Yuna grinned. Before Naminé could say anything in reply, she patted the girl on the head. "Okay, Naminé, it's time for you to go to sleep now."

"Okay..." Naminé climbed into her bed. "O-oh...and Yuna? You aren't going to tell Sir Cid about this, are you?" she asked hesitantly, her heart sinking.

"Of course - "

Naminé's stomach lurched.

" - not!" Yuna finished, grinning. "Good night, Naminé," she said more seriously, turning to leave.

"W-wait...Yuna?"

"Yeah?" Yuna turned back.

Naminé swallowed, hesitant.

"N-never mind. I'll tell you tomorrow."

"Okay. Good night."

"Good night." Naminé closed her eyes and quickly drifted off to sleep, hugging Pochacco to her face. That night, she dreamed about Roxas.

xXxXxXx

+----The Next Day (during break at school) ----+

"What's up, Roxas? You look horrible."

Roxas groaned. "Just...kept having weird dreams and waking up in the middle of the night."

"What kind of dreams?" his red-haired friend smiled wanly.

"Not the kind of dreams that you'd have, Axel."

"What do you mean by that?" Axel pretended to look offended.

"You know what I mean," Roxas rolled his eyes. Knowing Axel, he'd probably be dreaming about sneaking into the girls' locker room unseen.

"I'm serious, though, what kind of dreams have you been having?" Axel pressed. "I mean, you look wiped out."

Roxas hesitated. "I've been dreaming...about her again," Roxas admitted, closing his eyes and reliving his dream.

"Roxas...did you forget about me already?"

The girl turned to him, her face blurred like a steamed mirror, but he could hear the sadness in her voice.

"Wh-wha..." he found himself choking.

"I remembered you, Roxas. Why can't you remember me? You promised you'd remember me always...You promised."

"I-I'm sorry!" Roxas cried out helplessly. "I'm so sorry!"

She turned her back on him and began to walk away.

"Hey, wait!" Roxas reached out his hand and started running after her, but no matter how fast he ran, she seemed to be beyond his reach. "Wait, come back!"

"Again?" Axel echoed. "That chick you've been friends with since forever but haven't seen since forever?"

"Yeah, her," Roxas was getting annoyed. "What about it, Axel?"

"Sorry, Roxas, I didn't mean it in an insulting way or anything," Axel shrugged. "It's just that it's kinda weird. You've been dreaming about her since the beginning of the school year."

"Yeah, but at the beginning of the school year, I didn't dream about her that much," Roxas said slowly. "But now, they keep coming back like crazy."

"Weird."

"Yeah," Roxas said dully.

"You know, I've been thinking..." Axel began thoughtfully. "When you moved away from her, why didn't you just - you know, ring her up or send her a letter?"

"I did, Axel. I told you that, remember?" Roxas sighed.

"Really? Gee, I must have forgotten, then," Axel said sheepishly.

"Well, I sent her a letter right after I moved into my new house. But I waited for about a month and she never replied, so I called her. But I didn't recognize the caller on the other line...Anyway, he said he didn't know her."

"So she moved?" Axel said curiously.

"Looks that way," Roxas said heavily. He sighed and lay his head in his arms. "Man...I'm really having trouble remembering her, but I miss her...It's kinda weird, how you can miss somebody you can't really remember."

"Well, cheer up, there's still good news, Roxas!" Axel exclaimed.

"What's that?"

Axel spread out his arms wide. "I'm here for you!" he cried out dramatically. "So, if you ever need a hug, you know where to find one!"

Roxas sweatdropped. It was true that Axel cared very much for Roxas and thought of him as the younger brother he never had, but when he acted like this, it was so weird.

"I swear I don't know you," Roxas tried to act disturbed, but he couldn't fight back a smile.

xXxXxXx

+----Lunch----+

"Hey, Sora!"

Sora turned. "Oh, hey, Kairi!" he said casually.

She sat down on the grass next to him. "Whacha doing?" she asked.

"Just thinking..." Sora leaned back against the tree and closed his eyes.

"You? Thinking?" Kairi chuckled.

"Hey!" Sora's eyes flew open at her remark and he made a face at her.

"I was just kidding." Kairi smiled. "Anyway, are you going to the festival next week?"

"Uhh...maybe." Sora turned away. Truthfully, he wanted to ask her out to the festival, but he didn't know how. "You?"

"Not sure."

"Oh."

They both sat silently together, studying their surroundings dismissively.

Whooosh. The gentle breeze flew, causing numerous sakura petals to dance in the air.

"The sakura blossoms are so pretty," Kairi sighed. "Don't you think so, Sora?"

"Huh? Oh..." Sora gazed at the glowing pink petals and shrugged. "I guess they're pretty."

Sora turned to stare at the red-head, who was watching the sakura petals as if she were in a trance. Her crimson hair was waving gently against her face and her aquamarine eyes were as bright as the sakura petals were while they were being touched by the sunlight.

"But not as pretty as - " Sora began without thinking, and then stopped in mid-sentence.

"Not as pretty as what?" Kairi turned to him quizzically.

"...Uh, not as pretty as other flowers," Sora finished lamely.

"Oh, really?" Kairi turned to gaze at the sakura petals again. "I think sakura flowers are the prettiest flowers of all, but...I think all flowers are pretty in their own way. They're all different, but each have their own special kind of beauty."

Sora found himself nodding absentmindedly. You're different, but beautiful in your own way...

He shook his head rapidly, as if to clear his thoughts, and turned away from her, feeling embarrassed, as if he thought she could read his thoughts.

"Ah, Sora..."

"Wha - " Sora turned, but he blinked, startled, when he saw that Kairi was leaning rather close to him, gently picking a petal that had dropped into his brown hair.

"There was a petal in your hair," she explained smoothly, smiling.

"O-oh...I see." A faint tint of pink crossed his face, but thankfully, her attention was diverted from him as she yawned, holding her hand over her mouth.

"I'm sleepy. I stayed up last night to study for that big test in math class," she sighed. "Hey, do you mind if I use your shoulder as a pillow?"

"E-eh??" Sora gaped as Kairi didn't wait for a yes and lay her head on his shoulder, her side pressed lightly against his. "E-er, K-Kairi, you - that is, uh - "

"I'm going to sleep..." Kairi whispered softly, as if she hadn't heard his stammering. "Watch over me, okay, Sora?"

"E-erm...uh, okay." Sora swallowed hard. He was embarrassed, but he felt pleased, too.

Her pink lips curled into a pleasant smile, yet her eyes remained closed.

"Thanks, Sora..."

A peaceful atmosphere surrounded the two, with Kairi resting silently against Sora, and Sora gazing down at her innocent, sleeping face.

xXxXxXx

"Hey, Olette," Roxas began as soon as he approached his girlfriend, who was working on her homework on a green bench.

"Yeah?" the brunette answered, not looking up from her math worksheet.

"Uh, the festival...uh, I need to ask you something about it..." he mumbled.

Olette looked at Roxas curiously. "What is it, Roxas?" she asked. "Speak up, please."

Roxas took a deep breath. "Well, I was just wondering," he said hurriedly, in a louder voice, "if...if Naminé could come with us to the festival."

Her deep green eyes concentrated on his face with a blank stare. "Why?" she questioned quizzically.

"Uh, well, I feel bad that she's always cooped up in her room," he tried to explain. "So I want her to go out more...I guess."

Olette put down her pencil and stared down at her math worksheet for a long time. Roxas cringed, expecting her to say no. "Okay," she said finally. "But we're still both going as dates, right?"

"Well, yeah, of course. Her coming doesn't really change anything, Olette."

Olette seemed a bit happier after hearing this. "Great! The festival's going to be a blast, I just know it!" she said excitedly.

"Yeah. It'll be great," Roxas smiled.

Roxas was relieved and surprised that Olette had agreed to let Naminé go with them so nonchalantly. Maybe Olette really didn't dislike Naminé, after all. He had thought that Olette didn't like Naminé because she was seemingly a "threat" to their relationship. Now he was pleased to know that wasn't the case. Still, he couldn't help thinking that Olette shouldn't worry so much about Naminé being an interference. It wasn't as if he'd fall in love with Naminé, right?

xXxXxXx

+---After School---+

Roxas walked out of the bathroom stall and found Sora washing his hands at one of the sinks.

"Hey, Sora!"

Sora glanced at him from the mirror. "Oh, hey, Roxas."

Roxas smiled slyly. "Have you asked Kairi yet?" he asked innocently.

Sora pretended to be completely absorbed in washing his hands.

"I know you can hear me, unless you have an invisible hearing aid," Roxas said sarcastically. "Sora, the festival is next Monday. For all we know, she could get asked out by another guy to the festival!"

"For all we know, she could reject me and I'd look like a total idiot," Sora mumbled.

"Not that you don't look like one already," Roxas joked.

"H-hey!"

"I was just kidding. Anyway, I'm serious. You should ask out Kairi soon."

"That's easy for you to say. Olette asked you out to the festival, not the other way around," Sora countered.

Well, that's true...Roxas thought.

"I hear that somebody's gonna ask out Kairi today ," Roxas lied innocently.

"Wh-what??! R-really?"

"Yeah, he's that really popular guy that all the girls like. I guess if you're too scared of rejection, you're going to lose her to him." Roxas faked a wistful sigh.

Sora bit his lip, thinking hard. "Okay, fine!" the spiky-haired brunette's face grinned. "No problem! It'll be a piece of cake!"

"That's my man, Sora," Roxas joked, punching him lightly on the shoulder.

xXxXxXx

"It'll be a piece of cake!" Sora told himself as he walked down the corridor. "I'll just ask "Hey, Kairi, do you - ''

"Are you talking to yourself, Sora?"

"Gyah!" Sora nearly jumped out of his skin. He turned around slowly. Speak of the devil. "K-Kairi!"

Kairi smiled that dazzling smile of hers. "I heard my name. Were you talking smack about me behind my back, Sora?" she teased.

"N-no!" Sora gulped. He had been so confident before! Where was his courage now when he needed it?

He had always felt comfortable around Kairi, but now the thought of asking her out made him queasy. He was scared that she'd say no and their friendship would be jeopardized, but he didn't want to sit in the shadows and watch as she was swept off her feet by somebody else.

"Sora? You okay?"

Sora blinked. "Uh, yeah, why do you ask?" he asked nervously.

"You're acting weird...weirder than usual!" Kairi laughed, but it wasn't an insulting one. It was a laugh at a good joke.

"Hey!" Sora pretended to make a sour face at her, but he was grinning, too. He noticed that she was holding a note in her hand. "What's that?"

"Oh, this?" Kairi looked at it dismissively. "Some guy stuck a note in my locker. He was too shy to ask me out to the festival himself, y'know?"

"O-oh..." Sora stammered. Oh, no! Did Kairi agree to go with him?! Am I too late?

Kairi sighed. "He's cute..."

Sora's stomach lurched.

"...but he's not really my type."

Sora's heart lifted. "R-really?!" he said eagerly. "I-I mean...really?" he repeated in a more casual voice.

"I felt a little bad rejecting him," Kairi continued on, not noticing the happy expression on Sora's face, "but I know it was the right thing to do. I mean, he's cute and all, but I wouldn't want to go out with an insensitive guy like him."

"Oh." Inwardly, Sora was celebrating. Yeahhhhh!

Kairi bit her lip. "I still don't have a date for the festival, though. Oh, well, I guess I can ask Riku..."

Nooooo!

"...or I can go by myself. But I'll be left out of all the fun!" Kairi wrinkled her nose. "So I guess I'll ask Riku."

NOOOOO!

"Oh, I'm going to go find Selphie...See you later, Sora!" Kairi smiled at him and turned to leave. Sora knew that if he didn't act quickly, he would lose Kairi to his friend. Riku would never let him live it down.

"W-wait, Kairi!"

Kairi turned back. "Yeah?"

Sora took a deep breath. "Uh...I was...Iwaswonderingifyou'dliketogotothefestivalwithme."

Kairi wrinkled her nose again in that cute way of hers. "Sora, what language are you speaking?" she asked teasingly. "I can't understand you."

Sora took another deep breath, inwardly yelling at his heart for beating so loudly and rapidly. "I was...wondering if you'd like to go to the festival with me." Sora gulped at the surprised expression on her face. "It'd be...uh, great if you said yes...but...uh, I understand if you don't want to go..."

"What are you talking about, silly?" Kairi laughed.

Sora's heart sank to the bottom of his stomach. Rejected.

"Of course I'll go with you!" she finished happily.

EHHH?!

Sora stared at her. "Y-you...you mean it?" he managed to choke out.

"No, I'm just saying that for kicks," Kairi joked. "Of course I'll go with you. It'll be so much fun!"

Sora could feel himself in a world of ectasy. SHE SAID YES! SHE SAID YES! AHAHA! I'M THE MAN!

"Wait...uh, Kairi? Are we...going as friends or as dates?" Sora asked awkwardly.

Kairi gazed at him for a long time, making him shift his feet uncomfortably. She then tilted her head upwards and kissed him on the cheek.

"What do you think?'' she asked. With a bright smile, she walked down the hallway, leaving him staring after her with his cheek burning and his jaw hanging open.

xXxXxXx

"Hey, Roxas, do you wanna go to the cake shop now?'' Olette asked her boyfriend eagerly as they left the school courtyard.

Roxas flinched. He had told himself to visit Naminé right after school. He didn't want to ditch his girlfriend, but he didn't want to leave Naminé all by herself, either. He finally decided to visit Naminé. After all, he spent plenty of time with Olette daily, so why not visit Naminé?

"Uh, sorry, Olette, I can't go today," Roxas lied. It wasn't hard to sound guilty.

"Why not?" Olette was surprised. Roxas almost always found a way to set aside time for them to be together.

"Uh, I gotta...go to my little cousin's party." Roxas felt horrible for lying, but he didn't know what else to say.

"Oh, okay." Olette seemed understanding, but a bit disappointed as well, which made Roxas feel like a complete jerk.

"Sorry, Olette," Roxas winced. "I promise I'll make it up to you somehow."

"Oh, don't worry about me," Olette smiled. "You just go to your little cousin's party. I hope you have fun!"

It felt really weird to hear his own lie coming out of her mouth, but he laughed weakly. "Y-yeah..."

To make himself feel better, he leaned over and kissed Olette on the cheek. "I'm still gonna make it up to you, okay? It's a promise."

Olette's slender arms circled around him in a loose embrace, and he hugged her back. "I trust you, Roxas," she whispered.

This made him feel even worse, but Roxas reluctantly let go of her, waved goodbye, and went on his way.

xXxXxXx

+---At the Hospital---+

"Hey, Hayner, Naminé!" Roxas said cheerfully as he walked into their room.

"Hi, Roxas," Naminé smiled, her cheeks turning pink with pleasure. Hayner didn't say anything, completely absorbed in his book called Skateboarding Techniques.

"Hey, Hayner? Earth to Hayner?" Roxas waved his hand in front of his face.

Hayner looked at him. "What?'' he said silkily.

Roxas blinked, startled. It was unlike Hayner to be grouchy.

"Hey," Hayner said casually, but he turned back to his book and started reading again. Roxas glanced at Naminé, who frowned confusedly at him in return. Roxas gave a helpless shrug.

"Where's Olette?" Hayner inquired.

"Huh? O-oh...uh, she...she had something to do, so she couldn't come with me." Another lie, Roxas winced, but he didn't want Hayner getting the wrong idea.

"...I see."

It was very uncomfortable being around a grouchy Hayner, but Roxas tried not to let it show. He walked over to Naminé. "Hey, guess what?"

"What?"

"I asked Olette if you could come with us to the festival, and she said you can!"

Hayner looked up from his book and gazed at them silently, but they didn't notice.

"R-really?" the petite girl smiled, delighted.

"Yeah! Isn't that great?"

Naminé's smile faded and she bit her lip anxiously. "Are you sure she won't mind, Roxas?" she said quietly. "I don't want anything happening to your relationship with her on my behalf..."

''Nothing's gonna happen, I'm sure of it! Aw, c'mon, Naminé, say you'll go!"

"...Um, I'd love to go, but I need permission first!" Naminé smiled shyly, clasping her hands before her.

"Oh, okay. Hey, Hayner! Will you be able to go to the festival on Monday?"

"...I dunno," Hayner shrugged. "Maybe..."

"Naminé, it's time for your - " Yuna came in, along with Rikku, but stopped mid-sentence at the sight of Roxas. "Oh, Roxas...how nice to see you!"

"Same here," Roxas said politely. He noticed that Yuna cast a rather sly look at Naminé, who flushed slightly and turned away. He was puzzled, but didn't say anything.

"Hey, guys, sorry to barge in on your conversation," Rikku said cheerfully, "but I have to move Hayner to another room."

"Eh? Why?" Roxas asked quizzically.

"Well, Namie needs her space and privacy," Rikku explained. Roxas couldn't help but notice that she and Yuna exchanged strangely serious looks.

"Rikku, uh...when do you think I'll be able to walk again?" Hayner spoke up quietly.

"Oh, probably in a few days...maybe Saturday!" Rikku said brightly.

"Hey, that's great! Then you can come to the festival with us next Monday!" Roxas said happily.

"Yeah...Great," Hayner mumbled.

"That's cool," Rikku commented, helping Hayner into a wheelchair. "Hey, by the way, are you bringing a date along?" she asked curiously, grinning at the two boys.

"I-I - uh, yeahh..." Roxas said, blushing a little.

"What about you, Hayner?" Rikku asked.

"No..."

"Aw, why not?"

Hayner then cast Roxas a weird stare for a while. "It's okay. I don't need a date to go have fun," he said stiffly.

"That's true," Yuna said lightly, "but it'd be more fun if you had a date."

"Yeah, I guess so," Hayner murmured.

"Okay, see you later, guys!" Rikku said, starting to wheel Hayner out of the room.

"Okay, bye!"

"Hey, Roxas," Yuna said, once Rikku and Hayner were gone, "I need to...uh, perform ...something on Naminé, so is it okay if I - "

"Oh, you need privacy, right?"

Yuna looked sheepish. "Yeah."

"Oh, no problem!" Roxas smiled.

"Thanks!" Yuna draped the curtain around Naminé's bed. "I'll call you in when I'm done."

"Okay, I'll be in Hayner's room!" Roxas said.

"Okay. His room is at the end of the hall, just to let you know," Yuna said, her voice slightly muffled because she was behind the curtain.

"Okay! Thanks."

Roxas left the room and walked down the hallway to Hayner's room.

"Hey, Hayner!"

Hayner jumped a little, startled, but relaxed when he noticed it was Roxas.

"Oh. Roxas."

Roxas frowned. Why was Hayner acting so distant? He liked the loud, cheerful, outgoing Hayner better.

"Hayner, what's up? You've been acting weird."

"It's nothing."

"Really." It was more of an exasperated remark than a question. Roxas was starting to get irritated. "Hayner - "

"Just leave me alone, will you!"

Roxas' eyes widened at the vehemence in his friend's voice. Hayner glared at him for a while before he turned away, sighing.

"Sorry. It's just that a lot of things have been on my mind lately," Hayner sighed again.

"Oh." Roxas thought for a while. Well, he was missing out on a lot of stuff - skateboarding, playing sports at school, and a lot more. Not to mention the fact that he'd have a lot of homework piled upon him when he came back to school..."If you want, I'll listen," he offered.

"No...it's okay." Hayner shook his head. "Anyway, Roxas, I need to ask you something."

"What is it?"

Hayner looked right into his face. "You and OIette...there's no problems in your relationship right now, right?"

"What??" Roxas was shocked. "Of course not! What are you talking about?"

Hayner shrugged. "I dunno, it's just that...you two seem kinda...uh..."

"There's no problems in our relationship!" Roxas said, feeling greatly offended.

"Okay, sorry." Hayner frowned. "It's just that...I notice that you've been spending a lot of time with Naminé."

"What?!" Roxas couldn't believe his ears. "Hayner, I've only had a real conversation with her once, and that was yesterday."

"Yeah, well..." Hayner seemed uncomfortable. "Being a friend and all, I can't help but worry, y'know? Naminé's a great girl and all, but I don't approve of the idea of you ditching Olette to be with her."

"Hayner, what are you talking about?! I'd never ditch Olette!"

"Okay, okay, okay! I was just worried, okay??" Now Hayner was getting mad, too.

Roxas fumed inwardly for a while, but then after staring at Hayner for a while, he started to burst out laughing.

"What the - What's so funny?" Hayner demanded.

"I dunno...i-it's just that...we're fighting over...something so...lame!"

"What?? Y-you're so w-weird..." Hayner was laughing as well.

"I missed days like this," Roxas admitted after he stopped laughing. "You, me, Olette hanging out..."

"Yeah. What happened?" Hayner said, sounding a bit sad.

"I don't know. You had to transfer to a different high school...and..." Roxas' voice drifted off. It had felt very empty without Hayner at the beginning of the school year. It had only been a month without him, but it still felt as if something was missing.

"So? We still could have found the time to hang out with each other, y'know." Hayner looked straight at Roxas, making him feel guilty. He was right. But Roxas didn't know how they ended up this way. Was it because he was spending too much time with Olette and had so much schoolwork to worry about that he didn't have enough time to fit anything else in his schedule?

"Sorry," Roxas said finally.

"S'okay."

"Hey, since your cast will be taken off tomorrow, you should come with us to the festival!" Roxas suggested.

For the first time that day, a smile crossed Hayner's face.

"Yeah. I think that's a good idea."

xXxXxXx

After a few minutes of talking with Hayner, Yuna came in the room to tell him that she was finished. Roxas said goodbye to Hayner and went back to Naminé's room. He was surprised to see that she was flushed and sweaty.

"Hey, what's up? You look like you just ran ten laps around the hospital!"

Naminé smiled weakly, her face pink from sweating. "It's just something that needs to be peformed everyday," she said nonchalantly. And Roxas knew not to pester her any further.

"I hope the hospital lets you go. It'd be great if you could come," Roxas said.

"Yeah." Naminé smiled weakly, walking over to the sink and pulling her sleeves back to wash a small piece of cloth. Roxas noticed a soft glow that seemed to be coming from her right wrist. It seemed to be a bracelet.

"Hey, that's a neat bracelet!" he commented.

"Wha - oh, this?" Naminé stopped wiping the sweat off her face with the small towel to look at the bracelet, which had a silvery band and sparkling, white diamonds on it spelling out the words Best Friends Forever."Oh, yeah...I think it's pretty, too."

"Where'd you get it?" Roxas said, wondering if he would be able to get one for Olette.

"I don't remember." Naminé frowned. "I just know that I had this a while before I came to this hospital...but I don't remember where I got it."

"Oh. That's okay."

The silence was awkward.

"Have you ever gone to a festival?" Roxas asked. "I mean, before you came here?"

"If I did, I don't remember." Naminé smiled sheepishly.

"Oh. So, it'll be your first time if you go! Well, if you go, then..." Roxas began to describe all the neat things to do at a festival while Naminé listened, nodding and smiling, her eyes never leaving his.

xXxXxXx

+----An hour or so later----+

"Wow. It sounds fun."

"It is. I went there last year with Olette and it was a blast."

"Oh. That's...nice." Naminé smiled, but her smile seemed pasted on now.

Beep!

"Uh, my cell's ringing...hold on a sec, okay?"

"Okay."

He took out his cell and glanced at the screen. Three messages. One from his dad, one from Sora, and one from Olette.

He selected Olette's message first.

Hey Roxie having fun:) Anyway do u want 2 go with the mall with me 2morrow? Reply asap! Love ya! x3

He responded.

Yea its great here lol! lemme check my schedule first k? x3

He then checked Sora's message.

i think i died and went to heaven! details later xD

He chuckled out loud at his cousin's weirdness and replied.

weirdo! xD

Last, but not least, there was his father's message.

Come home asap we have to leave by 5 to go to Sora's house for dinner

Roxas checked his watch. Oh, shoot! It's 4:44!

"Uh, listen, Naminé, I have to go now, okay?"

"Oh, okay." Naminé smiled, but Roxas could tell that she was disappointed. He felt sorry that he would be leaving Naminé all by herself with no one to talk to.

"I'll come over tomorrow right after school," Roxas promised.

"Okay." Naminé beamed happily.

"I hope the hospital lets you go! Cross your fingers, 'cause I have mine crossed!" Roxas joked, showing her his crossed fingers.

"R-right." Naminé blushed, crossing her own fingers.

"See you tomorrow!"

xXxXxXx

+----At Sora's House----+

"Roxas! You've grown so much since we last saw you!" Sora's mother, Hikari, hugged Roxas and kissed his cheek, who smiled politely, but thought, Last time you saw me was just two months ago...

"Hey, you've even grown taller than Sora!" Sora's father, Daisuke, commented with a laugh.

Uh, actually, I was always taller than Sora...Roxas thought, resisting the urge to burst out laughing. He concentrated on looking at the floor. He noticed that there were more pairs of shoes than usual. Weird, he thought.

"Anyway, I'm sorry we started dinner without you. But the others were getting hungry," Hikari smiled sheepishly.

"Others?" Roxas echoed.

"Oh, I mean - Kairi and Mr. and Mrs. Asahina. We invited them over to dinner!"

"Oh." That made sense. No wonder there were more pairs of shoes...

Speaking of Kairi, Roxas wondered if Sora had asked her out yet. Trying to hide a grin, he went into the kitchen and found Kairi's family and Sora sitting at the table, eating.

"Why, hello there, Roxas!" Kairi's mom, Haruka, smiled brightly.

"You've grown so tall," Kairi's dad, Yuki, added. Roxas smiled politely yet again, wishing adults didn't say that all the time. Kairi looked up from her plate and waved at him. He waved back and cast Sora a suggestive grin, to which he blushed and pretended to be totally absorbed in eating a piece of celery.

When Sora, Kairi, and Roxas were done, they excused themselves and went upstairs.

"I'm going to go to the restroom, okay?" Kairi said.

"Sure."

Kairi walked down the hallway and disappeared into the bathroom. Sora and Roxas went into Sora's bedroom.

"Hasn't changed much. Still as messy as ever," Roxas teased, looking around at the messy room.

"Shut up!" Sora laughed.

"Hey, by the way, you asked her out, right?"

Sora jammed his hands into his pockets and averted Roxas' eyes. "Yeah."

"Really? What'd she say?"

"...She said yeah..."

"Well, that's good!"

Sora shifted his eyes. "Uh, Roxas?" he said slowly.

"Yeah?"

"Thanks...for, uh, nagging me to ask her out." Sora took a deep breath. "If I hadn't asked her out before, she would have went ahead and asked out Riku. Riku probably would have said yes."

"No way! Seriously?"

"Yeah."

"Are you guys going as friends or as dates?"

"She didn't exactly say. When I asked her, she just kissed me on the cheek and said 'what do you think?' Soo...I'm guessing that's a yes, right?"

Roxas stared at Sora as if he were nuts. "Well, obviously! All riiiight, Sora, my man!" Roxas clapped his hand on Sora's shoulder.

"C-cut it out, you're embarrassing me! What if somebody hears you - like Kairi for instance?"

"Did I hear my name?" Kairi walked into the room. Sora stepped away from Roxas quickly.

"K-Kairi!"

"Your face is all red, Sora." Kairi frowned and peered at him closely.

"Uh, I - ah - "

"It's hot in here, isn't it?" Kairi raised her hand to wipe the sweat off her forehead.

Roxas noticed a shimmer that seemed to be coming from her wrist. Upon closer inspection, he realized that it was the exactly the same as the one Naminé had!

"Hey - that bracelet - " he blurted out.

Kairi stared at him curiously. "What, this?" Kairi's gaze shifted to her bracelet.

"Yeah...it's just that, well, I've seen it before, that's all."

"Bracelets like these are really common," Kairi shrugged. "They're not as beautiful as bracelets made out of real jewels, but they're cute in their own way."

"Yeah..." Roxas' mouth moved clumsily. For some reason, when he saw that bracelet, a weird feeling flickered through his head.

"Oh, hey, Roxas," Kairi went on, "tell us more about this Naminé girl at the hospital."

Yesterday, Roxas had filled them in about the blonde girl he was visiting at the hospital. They were interested about her after learning that she was their age.

"Is she pretty?" Kairi pressed questioningly. "Just wondering."

"Uh, well..." Roxas's face turned pink. "I-I suppose so."

Sora smirked at Roxas, but Kairi simply smiled and nodded.

"Hey, the next time you go visit her, can Sora and I come with you?" Kairi asked eagerly. It was just like her to be interested in meeting new people.

"Yeah, it'd be nice to go someplace. I'm always stuck at home doing nothing!" Sora chimed in.

"Oh, okay, sure." Roxas shrugged.

"Olette's coming, right?" Kairi inquired curiously.

"Olette?" Roxas repeated, blinking. He had almost forgotten he even had a girlfriend named Olette and immediately felt guilty. "Uhhh...I don't know."

There was silence.

"I'm bored," Sora spoke up.

"Uh, okay. Let's play something then. How about a game of MASH?" Kairi suggested, grinning widely.

"I hate that game," Sora moaned. "I always end up living in a shack."

Kairi giggled. "Aw, don't be such a baby, Sora!" she teased. "C'mon, we're all bored here!"

"Oh, okay, okay," Sora sighed.

"Got any paper around here? And a pencil?" Kairi looked around the messy room.

"I'll get it!" Sora opened his closet and rummaged in it for a while. "Here we go!" Sora held out a slightly crumpled piece of paper and a short pencil.

"Okay. Who wants to go first?" Kairi looked at the two cousins. They both looked each one another and shrugged. "Okay, Sora, you're going first," she declared.

"Awww..." Sora groaned.

"Okay, name four girls," Kairi said airily.

"Uhhhhh...Selphie, Ariel...uh, Naminé," Sora named off of the top of his head. He then paused, hesitating. "And...Kairi," he fidgetted.

"Okay," Kairi said casually, as if she were taking his order at a restaurant. Roxas grinned at Sora, who made a face at him and stuck out his tongue.

"Name four guys."

"Riku, Tidus, Roxas, and Axel," Sora said more smoothly this time, without hesitating.

"Okay." Kairi wrote them down. "Four numbers?"

"0, 1, 2, and 3," Sora said, not wanting to think of any random numbers.

"Okay, tell me when to stop!"

Sora stared blankly at her for a while before he said, "Uh, stop?"

"Okay. 8!" Sora and Roxas peered curiously at the piece of paper as Kairi counted 8 clockwise starting from M. She crossed out Axel's name.

"Oh, well, we really aren't that close, anyway," Sora told Roxas.

"You're not going to marry Selphie," Kairi said, crossing out her name. Sora inwardly breathed a sigh of relief. She was a nice girl and all, but he didn't think he wanted to spend the rest of his life with such a hyper girl. Anyway, she already had a boyfriend.

Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, cross.

"You're not going to have three children."

Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, cross.

"You're not going to live in an apartment."

Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, cross.

"You're definitely going to have children," Kairi said with a grin, crossing out 0. Sora blushed and rubbed his head sheepishly, ignoring the suggestive smile Roxas cast him.

Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, cross.

"Tidus won't be your best friend."

Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, cross.

"You're not going to live in a shack, thank goodness," Kairi joked.

"Finally!" Sora whooped, to which Kairi laughed.

Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, cross.

"You won't marry Naminé."

For some reason, Roxas felt a weird feeling in his chest. Was it relief?

"I don't even know her," Sora commented.

Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, cross.

"You're going to marry me," Kairi said casually, crossing out Ariel's name and circling her own. She didn't notice the way Sora turned a deep shade of red, nor the way Roxas nudged Sora in the ribs, and Sora nudged back with more force.

Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, cross.

"You're going to live in a mansion."

Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, cross.

"You're going to have two children."

Roxas nudged Sora again, but this time, Sora stomped on his bare foot.

"Ouch!"

"Hm?" Kairi looked up.

"Sorry, sorry, just go on..." Roxas mumbled, glaring at Sora and then looking at the slightly red bruise on his foot.

Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, cross.

"Riku's going to be your best friend!" Kairi said to Sora.

"Boy, do I feel special," Roxas said jokingly.

"Sorry, dude," Sora stuck out his tongue at him.

"So, to sum it up, you're going to live in a mansion with me and two kids," Kairi continued, "and your best friend will be Riku."

"Um, that's great...I guess," Sora turned away to hide his burning face.

"Okay, it's your turn, Roxas. Name four girls and four guys."

"Uh, for the guys, Hayner, Sora, Marluxia, and Axel. And for the girls...um, Naminé, Olette, Selphie, and uh..." Roxas didn't want to say Kairi because he knew that Sora would probably get really irked if he happened to be paired up with her. "Larxene?" he said with a shrug, naming a blonde, arrogant girl that lived in his neighborhood.

"Four numbers?"

"0, 1, 2, and 3."

"Okay, tell me when to stop!"

"Stop," Roxas said after a few seconds.

"11!" Kairi's pencil tapped on the piece of paper.

"You're not going to have one child."

Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, cross.

"Your best friend won't be Sora."

"Gee, I feel flattered," Sora mumbled, pretending to pout.

Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, cross.

"You're not going to live in an apartment."

Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, cross.

"You won't marry Olette."

"What??" Sora gasped, shocked. "Roxas, how could you!"

For some reason, Roxas didn't feel bothered. "It's just a game, you know," he pointed out.

Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, cross.

"You're not going to marry Selphie."

Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, cross.

"You're not going to marry Larxene."

Oh, well, I wouldn't want to marry that obnoxious chick, anyway, Roxas thought irritatedly, relieved. When he had come to this neighborhood, Larxene and he had gotten off on the wrong foot and they didn't like each other very much.

"So that means you're going to marry Naminé!" Kairi finished.

"You're going to marry Naminé??" Sora faked a dramatic and shocked gasp. "I can't believe you'd ditch Olette!"

"It's just a game," Roxas reminded him.

While Kairi continued to cross out and circle stuff, Sora continued to bother Roxas about that subject.

"So, you're going to live in a house with Naminé and no kids, and your best friend will be Axel," Kairi declared.

"Ooooh, Roxas," Sora joked, "Olette's going to be really mad when she finds out that you're going to break up with her later to marry - "

"It's just a game!" Roxas said hotly. He felt annoyed at Sora for making it sound as if he really would betray Olette, and he felt angry at himself for not feeling any negative feelings toward the outcome of the game. "I mean, games like these don't really happen, right?"

"You never know." Sora shrugged, a small smile tugging at the corner of his lips.

"Oh, come on! That'd never happen!"

"The future is full of surprises, Roxas," Kairi said seriously. "You never know."

xXxXxXx

+---At Roxas' House (an hour or so later)---+

"What nonsense..." Roxas mumbled, climbing into his bed. "As if I'd really ditch Olette for Naminé! Well, it's not that Naminé's not my type, it's just that I care too much for Olette to ditch her...wait, what am I saying?"

Roxas sighed heavily and pulled the covers up to his chin. Why was he letting some game get to his head? Was he really that lame?

"I'm going to sleep," he said. "Maybe it'll take my mind off it." Roxas paused. "Okay, now I'm talking to myself. That's pretty stupid."

Roxas turned over onto his side. Why did Naminé always make him think too much? It hurt his head.

I'm not going to marry Naminé because she's just a friend. Olette is the one I love. Not Naminé...Olette is the one I care about most...

He repeated that to himself and, feeling a bit satisfied, closed his eyes. Eventually, he fell asleep. That night, he dreamed about Naminé.

xXxXxXx

+---The Next Day (At School) ---+

"Hey, Roxas, let's go to the mall!" Olette declared after they met up in the school courtyard.

"Okay, sure." Roxas was about to follow Olette out when he stopped. "Oh, no..." he groaned, remembering his promise to visit Naminé.

"What's wrong?" Olette asked, alarmed.

"Olette...I-I'm really sorry, but I can't come with you today..." Roxas almost choked on his apology.

"What? Why not? Yesterday you told me you were free today."

"I know, but I just remembered I had to ... uh, help my dad repaint the living room," Roxas lied.

"Oh. Really?"

"Y-yeah."

Olette seemed sad, but she tried to smile. "It's okay, Roxas. I can go by myself."

The upset look on her face made Roxas' heart ache. For a moment, he thought about changing his mind and going with her, but he knew he couldn't break his promise to Naminé.

"Sorry, Olette."

"It's okay, really. Well, bye, Roxas." After giving him a half-hearted hug, to which he guility returned, Olette turned her back on him and walked away. Roxas watched her remorsefully.

"Hey, Roxas!" Kairi and Sora walked up to him.

"Oh, hey guys."

"We're still going to visit Naminé, right?" Kairi asked.

"Oh, yeah, right. Let's go."

xXxXxXx

"Your names, please?" the lady smiled politely. Her nametag read Lenne.

"Hikaru Roxas, Hamasaki Sora, and Asahina Kairi," Roxas answered for all of them. "And we've come to visit Naminé."

"Hmm...ah, here we go!" Lenne murmured to herself, finished flipping through sheets of paper. A strange look crossed her face and she stared at Kairi.

"Asahina Kairi, is it...?" she said slowly.

"U-uh, yeah..." Kairi stammered, feeling nervous under her intense gaze. Lenne stared at her for a long time before looking back at the sheets of paper.

"You may go see Miss Naminé now."

"Uh, thanks."

The three walked in silence down the corridor.

"That was weird," Kairi said finally. "Did you see the way she looked at me?"

"Yeah...almost like she knew you from somewhere," Sora murmured.

"But I don't think I ever met her before..." Kairi frowned.

The topic was forgotten when they entered Naminé's room. There was a nurse in there, but she wasn't Rikku or Yuna. Roxas instantly recognized her as one of the nurses who whispered "aw, isn't that cute?" when he hugged Olette in the hallway in the other day. She had long, jet black hair that cascaded down her back and serious, brown eyes that were narrow yet looked particularly friendly.

"Hey, Naminé!" Roxas called. "Hey, um..." Roxas looked at her nametag. "Miss Lockheart."

"Oh, please...no formalities! Call me Tifa."

"Okay, Tifa," Roxas said, wondering why people her age always said that kind of stuff. "Uhh...I thought Yuna was Naminé's nurse?"

"She is, but I'm just a volunteer. People my age can volunteer to help patients," Tifa explained.

"Oh, that's cool."

"Oh, hey!" Kairi spoke up suddenly. "That's a really pretty locket, Tifa. Is there a picture inside?"

"Wha..." Tifa gazed down at her golden locket and flushed a bit. "Y-yeah...'' she mumbled softly.

"Can I see it?" Kairi asked.

Tifa hesitated. "O-o...okay," she whispered, her slightly shaking fingers opening the locket. "J-just for a moment, though...I have to leave soon..."

Roxas gazed at her, surprised. She seems reluctant...

"Wow! That's a very handsome man!" Kairi said in awe, staring wide-eyed at the picture of the blonde, blue-eyed man in Tifa's locket. "Is he your boyfriend?"

Tifa blushed. "That's...a very personal question," she muttered, clearly embarrassed.

"Oh. Sorry!" Kairi winced.

"No, it's okay," Tifa laughed half-heartedly. "No, he isn't my boyfriend. He's..." Tifa's eyes saddened and a distant look came over her face.

The teens all stared at her uncomfortably, knowing that Tifa wasn't too keen on the topic.

"I'm sorry I asked," Kairi apologized again. "People say I'm too nosy for my own good - "

"No, really, it's okay," Tifa smiled weakly. "Well, I guess...I shall be leaving now, ne? It was very nice meeting you guys. See you later."

Tifa whisked Namine's tray away and walked out the door rather quickly. Too quickly. Everyone stared at the doorway silently and awkwardly.

"Hello, Roxas...are these your friends?" Namine's quiet and gentle voice broke silence.

"Yup!" Kairi's expression changed from an ashamed one to a cheerful one. "So you're Naminé. Pleased to meet ya!" Kairi held out her hand for Naminé to shake. Naminé held out her hand hesitantly and shook Kairi's, as if this was something new. "My name's Kairi!"

"And I'm Sora." Sora waved his hand.

"I'm glad to meet Roxas' friends..." Naminé said with a shy smile.

"Hm, that's weird...now that I think about it," Sora said slowly, his eyes fixed upon Naminé, "you look a lot like Kairi, except for the blonde hair."

Roxas glanced back and forth at Kairi and Naminé. Now that he thought about it, they did look alike in some ways. Maybe that's why the nurse was staring at Kairi strangely.

"What? Really?" Kairi frowned. "I don't think so. Naminé's much prettier."

"Wh-what? N-no, I'm not," Naminé blushed, embarrassed. "I think...you're a lot prettier than I am."

"Haha, I don't think so, but thanks, anyway, Naminé," Kairi laughed.

"Oh, by the way, Naminé, can you go to the festival?" Roxas asked hopefully.

"Well, the owner of this hospital - Mr. Cid - is still deciding, but he said that if I go, one of the nurses will go with me."

"Oh."

Silence.

"It's awkward when it's silent," Sora piped up.

"Yeah. Let's talk about something," Kairi said.

"But what?"

"Uhh...let's talk about ourselves!" Kairi beamed.

"Uh, okay, but you start," Sora shrugged.

xXxXxXxXx

For the next thirty minutes, the four exchanged stories. Kairi and Sora mostly contributed, while the other two listened. But then, Sora happened to glance up at the clock on the wall and his eyes widened.

"Oh, shoot...I have to get home to help my mom with supper!"

Kairi glanced at the clock, too. "I should be getting home to finish my homework," she added.

Naminé looked at Roxas, expecting him to say he had to go home, too. But Roxas smiled at her and said, "I won't be leaving any time soon."

"Oh, really?" Naminé smiled back, clearly relieved. She turned back to the other two. "Well, it was...very nice meeting you two. I hope we'll have fun tomorrow."

"Oh! When are we going to meet tomorrow?" Kairi said suddenly.

"And where?" Sora added.

Roxas thought for a while. "Well, we shouldn't meet at the entrance because it'll be too crowded," he said. "Maybe the refreshments area?"

"Okay, sure. And the time?" Kairi asked.

"Uh, what time does it open?"

"4:30. I think it ends at 7."

"Okay, let's meet when it opens. Bring your cell phones just in case we need to contact each other."

"Okay. See you guys later."

Sora and Kairi said their goodbyes and left. A heavy silence was in the air.

"Oh yeah, do you know which nurse is taking you to the festival - that is, if you go?" Roxas asked.

"Oh, yes...Yuna is."

"Yuna? Oh, that's cool."

Silence.

"I think she's going to bring her boyfriend," the blue-eyed girl tried to continue the conversation.

"Oh. What's his name?"

"Tidus."

"Oh."

Another silence.

"Well, this is awkward," Roxas said finally. Naminé giggled a bit. He smiled. I...like the way she laughs.

Naminé brushed her bangs away from her eyes, and as she did so, the puffy sleeve of her cotton kimono spread out and revealed her skinny wrist. Roxas noticed that there was a long, distinctive scar on it.

"Hey - that scar..."

"What?" Naminé looked at her wrist. "Oh, this...I got this a long time ago. It's just a cut, no big deal."

Roxas' eyes widened as those words reawakened a memory from his childhood...

"I'm okay. It's just a cut, no big deal."

The more time he spent with her, the more he remembered about his childhood friend, Roxas realized. He suddenly came to a horrible realization. Was this why he wanted to visit her? Was it because he was taking advantage of her resemblance to his childhood friend?

"R-Roxas? Are you okay?" Naminé inquired worriedly, noticing the distant look on his face.

"Sorry...kinda zoned out for a minute there." Roxas shook his head. Naminé continued to stare in concern at him. "I'm okay, don't worry."

"Well, okay," Naminé said doubtfully. Roxas glanced at her. Was it just him or did she look more tired than usual? No, not tired...but in pain...

"Are you okay?" Roxas asked worriedly.

Naminé struggled to smile. "I'm...I'm just tired, that's all," she whispered, her voice strangely high-pitched and hoarse.

"Oh, that's all? Are you sure?" Roxas pressed. "Your voice sounds kind of weird...Shall I get some water for you?"

"No...it's okay."

"I don't think so," Roxas frowned. "You look like you're in a lot of pain."

"...I am..." Naminé let out a long sigh, and her eyes flickered with sadness. "I'm in pain everyday, Roxas...but I have to bear with it."

Naminé suddenly lifted her head and looked into his eyes. "Roxas...do you think..." she said quietly. "W-well...do you think that since I'm in so much pain...I should just ..." Naminé's voice trailed off and she hesitated, as if wondering if she should finish her sentence.

"Should just what?" Roxas said curiously. A second later, he would regret urging her to answer.

"...die?"

The single word escaped from her lips so softly that he could barely hear it, but even so, that word made chills run down his spine. Die.

Roxas stared at her. This was a side of her he hadn't seen before. She seemed to be the optimistic type, the type to live by the quote 'Live life to the fullest." And now she was asking him if she should just die and leave the world quietly.

"Roxas...should I just die?" Naminé repeated, her voice shaking slightly.

"...Why are you asking me this...?" Roxas managed to muster, finding his voice shaking a bit as well. Being confronted with such a question...he didn't know what to think or say.

Naminé turned away. "I-I...I don't know," she admitted softly. "It's just that...a lot of people have told me that I should die."

"I...I don't want any more of this. You're too much of a burden for me, Naminé. Paying all of your hospital bills and cleaning up after the mess you make...I just can't take it anymore. Why don't you just die?"

"You're so much trouble...you're better off dead."

"You should just die so my shoulders won't have to bear the burden of putting up with you."

"Relatives that adopted me quickly abandoned me because I was too much of a burden to them. They told me that I should just die to save them the trouble. And many other people said that I should die because I'm in a lot of pain..."

"You're in so much pain. No offense, but you should just die."

"Don't take it personally...but you should just die if you're in so much pain."

"Die."

"Die."

"Die."

"I know...that as harsh as they may sound," Naminé's voice began to crack as her eyes misted over with tears, "they are absolutely right. I've done nothing but give everyone trouble...and living isn't doing me any good, either...so why should I keep on living?

"Wh-wh...what am I living for, anyway? There's nothing more me in this life...nothing," Naminé continued, her voice overwhelmed with sadness and exhaustion, the tears slowly streaking down her face. "Maybe...I should just die and end it all..."

Her eyes widened as Roxas' arms found their way around her small form. Roxas felt her stiffen at first, perhaps from surprise and alarm, but she slowly melted into his embrace, laying her head against his shoulder, the tears falling from her eyes and onto his shirt. He hadn't meant to embrace her so suddenly, but now...it just felt so right.

"Don't say that," he whispered, his voice unusually serious and gentle. "Don't think that your life isn't worth anything. Don't think that you don't deserve to live. Don't think that there's nobody who cares for your existence...because there are. What about Yuna, Rikku, and Hayner, and all of those other people you say that you are friendly with at this hospital? And Sora and Kairi...even though you've just met, they're eager to be your friend. And...what about...me?"

Naminé's eyes slowly widened at his words. Roxas...

"We'd all be...very sad if you were to die, Naminé. It'd be like...a piece of our heart dying with you. You may not know it, but your life is linked to each of those who cares for you. When your life breaks away, it'd feel...very unstable and empty.

"So...don't think you should just die because there's nobody who cares or nothing for you in life. Because if that was true...why are you still here? Why haven't you gone yet? Naminé, it's because...it's not your time to go yet. There's something that you have to stay for...

"There's still so much for you to do. Even though it seems as if there's nothing for you in life...you just have to keep searching. Keep fighting to live so you can find your purpose in life. Keep fighting...and keep smiling."

A soft sob rose from Naminé's throat and she wrapped her arms around him tightly. Never had anyone told her something like this. Never had anyone told her to keep fighting. Never had someone told her that there were people who cared.

"Thank you...Roxas."

Roxas couldn't believe that for a moment, he had become Dear Abby. Those words...they had just popped into his head and he had spoken them smoothly as if he had rehearsed them over in his head for the past week. But he couldn't help feeling proud of the advice he had just given her. Maybe...just maybe, it had helped her become stronger.

"You're welcome," he found himself saying.

A sparkle of light began to shimmer in their hearts, a feeling of hope for the future.

xXxXxXx

"Hey, quit pushing."

"Shhh...!"

"Well, I can't see anything...! Your Royal fatness is in the way."

"I am not fat - "

"Both of you, shut it!"

"But, Yunie - "

"She started it, first - "

"It doesn't matter. What matters is that both of you should pipe down or else they'll hear us and their romantic moment will be ruined."

Couldn't argue with that.

"This is so weird, though...doesn't he already have a girlfriend?"

"What?? He does?"

"Yeahhh. Didn't you see him come with another girl the other day, Yuffie?"

"Oh, yeahh...Well, maybe they're just close friends. Ever considered that possibility, Rikku?" Yuffie's shoulders bobbed in a shrug.

"But Tifa and Rinoa told me that they hugged!" Rikku insisted.

"Well, maybe they're really close?" Yuffie offered weakly.

"In any case, I think that Roxas and Namie go great together!" Rikku said excitedly.

"Yeahh!" Yuffie agreed.

"...Guys, don't go playing matchmaker," Yuna spoke up quietly.

"Why not?" Rikku joked.

"Because...for one, you can't just break up Roxas and his girlfriend to hook him up with Naminé. And two, I'm sure...Naminé would be very disappointed if something were to happen to Roxas' relationship with his girlfriend on her behalf. And three...do you remember what I told you...about what Naminé confessed to me earlier today?"

"Oh, yeah..." Rikku's eyes lowered to the floor.

"I thought so. Even though I suspected what she confessed was supposed to be confidential, I told you guys to warn you not to meddle with things that aren't your business. In any case, we have to respect Naminé's wishes even if we do not agree with what she believes."

Yuffie and Rikku nodded silently.

"I...I just want her to be happy, you know," Yuffie said softly. "We all do. And I know that boy can make her happy...but you are right."

"Yeah...I agree with Yuffie," Rikku murmured.

Yuna nodded. "We...we can't be selfish, though."

"Yeah..."

"All we can do," Yuna continued, gazing through the window, her eyes softening at the sight of the two embracing each other, "is pray. Be happy, Naminé."

xXxXxXx

A/N. There's probably going to be a lot of questions after this chapter, like "Why was Hayner acting like he had a stick up his you-know-what?" or "What did Namie tell Yuna?" Stick around and you'll find out! (:

There's going to be more Kairi/Sora later. Eventually, Hayner and Olette will get together, so please bear with the Roxas/Olette stuff for now. :D Also, there will be a little bit of Aerith/Cloud in the end (sorry Zack/Aerith and Cloud/Tifa fans!) Thanks for reading! (: