Disclaimer: I do not own anything Kingdom Hearts, R.G. college, America, or snow. Yet.
It was a few days away from Thanksgiving now. There were a few important tests to take, some papers to be written, but nothing Naminé couldn't handle.
Roxas, on the other hand…
"Ugh! I will never understand that woman!" Roxas raked a hand through his hair. Naminé let out a small laugh. They were in the Study section of the Library, where other students were attached to computer desks or, like Roxas, pulling out their hair over some schoolwork.
"I take it that your talking about Professor Wicken?"
"Yes! Why does she give me extra work? And why, of all things, on 19th century British Literature? Isn't there a class for that?"
"I'm in that class actually. It's not that bad." Naminé smiled, though she was thinking more of the teacher than the class.
Mr. Lumarai was definitely more than a teacher to her now. He was a kind soul with open ears and a quick smile. She could say they were friends. Although she was crossing dangerous territory by doing so. With the rumors of his affair with a student still flitting around, it was best not give people the wrong idea.
Still—she wasn't the only student, or even the only female one. Professor Lumarai had his own fan club. They brought him raspberry Danishes and a thermos full of espresso every morning.
Larxene didn't like this too much. She was threatening a lot of the girls in the class she shared with Naminé, even giving the stink-eye to other female Professors. It was unnerving how possessive she was of Marluxia. Naminé understood that Larxene probably had feelings for him but did she have to take it that far?
"Hm?" He scribbled something in his notebook, and then looked up.
"Do you know who Larxene Saviga is?"
"That blonde junior? Yeah. Pence used to have a thing for her, but she shot him down so fast. I personally think she's a bitch."
Naminé huffed. "I second that."
"Why? What'd she do to you?" Roxas narrowed his eyes. The glint in his irises was dangerous, angry.
"What she does to everyone. Glare at me like I gave her cancer, and try to barrel me down with those broad shoulders of hers."
"I heard she does a lot worse to some girls. Maybe she has some sort of respect for you."
"Yeah, right. That's why she tortures me by sitting behind me in my Literature class."
"Oh! Right—damn, I get distracted easily.
"You want help with that Roxas?"
"So long as you're offering."
Giggling slightly, Naminé pushed her books aside and leaned forward. She spent an hour or so helping Roxas with his extra assignment.
She personally thought Ms. Wicken gave him the work because she knew about Roxas's potential. After all, if he was pursuing a Journalism major—with a Broadcasting minor—it would help if got all the work he could. And she didn't mind helping him on his way.
"Wait—you don't have anything to do on Thanksgiving?" Roxas asked as they shoved their books and things into their backpacks. He finished his assignment, with Naminé's help, and he had another class to get to soon.
"Yeah, I know. It's pathetic. But my Dad's been sent to Basilisk District for the entire month. I probably won't see him again 'till Christmas Break."
"Wow that sucks. But at least you won't be alone."
"What do you mean?" She raised her brows, and shifted her messenger bag strap higher on her shoulder.
"I'll be stuck here for Thanksgiving too. My Dad and I…aren't exactly on speaking terms. I'm not going home."
"Mm-hm. We'll both be scarfing down turkey by ourselves."
Naminé couldn't help but feel ecstatic at the news. Okay, so it was sad that both of them couldn't spend time with their families. But Misery loves company. Especially when it's in the form of an attractive blond boy.
Then she stopped walking.
'Wait, wait, wait. That means…we'll be…alone. All alone, on this big campus. No other friends. Just staff—maybe—and-and…'
"Naminé? You okay back there?" Roxas turned with a teasing smile on his handsome face. A backdrop of the noon soon was behind him, giving him a golden halo for hair, and heightening the shine in his eyes.
Naminé nearly lost feeling in her knees.
"Y-yeah," She cleared her throat, "I just realized that…we'll be alone for the break." He took on a look of thought.
"Guess so. If it makes you uncomfortable, I can go back home anyway. It's not like I can't find something to do there."
"No! I'd rather have you here…with me."
"Yeah? If I didn't know better Naminé, I'd say you want me to spend Thanksgiving alone with you." He nudged her shoulder lightly. She giggled.
"Well, good thing you know better."
So all was not lost. She wouldn't spend her Thanksgiving, alone, going insane from the loneliness that would swallow her in a matter of minutes.
But Naminé soon realized just what it meant when she and Roxas would by themselves.
Kairi was going to Destiny Islands with Sora; Olette would be up North for a Thanksgiving party. Hayner would be a few miles away, on the Eastern side of Radiant Garden. Pence—who had originally come from America—was headed to New York. Selphie and Tidus were also going home but on separate flights. ("I cannot stand Tidus right now," Selphie whined with a frown.) Riku would be in England with his god-sister, Amara, and his parents.
Just a handful of Naminé's friends would be staying within Radiant Garden, and even then, they wouldn't be on campus. Only a few transfers from Europe and Africa would be staying at the College.
So really, it was just going to be them two—Naminé and Roxas. Roxas and Naminé.
Naminé groaned, cracking her skull against her desk a little too hard. The sound echoed throughout the classroom. The girl next to her—the one with the beads who gave her the answer to some question once before—gave her a funny stare.
"Sorry." Naminé murmured. She rubbed her forehead lightly.
"S'kay. I do that sometimes too." The girl giggled then popped her pink gum.
"Everything's just so…"
"Complicated? Me too. But, it's college, so the only thing that's easy is Summer Break."
"True. My name is Naminé, by the way."
"Rikku. Nice to finally know the name behind the face." The briefly shook hands, careful not to catch the evil stare of Mr. Harper. When the teacher had turned back to the board, Naminé turned her head to Rikku slightly.
"You know me?"
"Not really. But Amara Reyes talks about you sometimes. You know, Riku Satou's god-sister? The one with the big red curls?"
"Oh, yeah. I, uh, met her once. I guess."
The last time Amara and her had "talked" was during the creation of the Haunted House. Naminé had said something about Riku, and suddenly Amara was blasting off about how Naminé wasn't good enough to for him, or something. She just told Amara off and walked away. She didn't understand how Riku put up with her.
Rikku shook her head, giggling some. "Yeah, she doesn't usually act like that. She's just really protective of Riku."
"I noticed." Naminé resisted the urge to roll her eyes.
"Sorry about her. She takes some getting used to."
"Ms. Desirde, Ms. Al Bhed is there something more important than this lesson that you would like to share with the class?"
"No." The two blondes said together.
"Thank you." Mr. Harper faced the wall again. Rikku stuck out her tongue, waving her fingers near her temples. She looked Naminé in the eye, and the sophomore saw they were a soft green.
"I had him last year. He's still a pain in the butt. Make sure you don't say anything nice about him though—he thinks you're the Devil incarnate or something if you do."
"I'll remember that," Naminé nodded with a smile. She and Riku exchanged cell-phone numbers at the end of class.
"Oh, God, I'm not ready to leave yet, Nami." Kairi whined while struggling to close her suitcase. It was filled to the brim with clothes and shoes. She had another three out in the hallway, also stuffed to it's max.
"It's just a few days Kairi. I'll see you next Monday."
"Yeah, but, still. It seems like we just met."
"Well, we've only known each other for two months."
"Yet so much has happened." Naminé laughed, nodding.
"Yeah, that's true."
Kairi continued to attempt to close her luggage, but it popped back open each time she slammed it down. Then she sat on it, and clasped it quickly. She hopped off and it didn't snap open. Naminé looked at her with a look of question while her roommate smugly grinned.
"I want to thank you, for not freaking out and stuff because of me going to Sora's for the holiday." Kairi stared evenly at Naminé, gauging her friend's reaction. But the blonde simply smiled. Her azure eyes looked warm.
"It's no problem. I think I can say that I'm over the whole Sora thing. Don't let your relationship be weighed down by me, okay? Have fun."
Soon Sora was knocking on their door, explaining that their taxi was ready. Naminé walked them down to the front of the campus where other students were being picked up. She saw Pence share a cab with Olette, who barely had time to wave to her friends before climbing in.
There was a short, sweet, good-bye though Naminé tried not to make it a big deal. They'd just be gone for a few days. It's not like she wouldn't see them for three months.
Before she had time to realize it, Naminé was alone, sitting on her bed with a sketchy drawing of Kairi in a scarf, waving over her shoulder.
"Mm…I miss her already."
Naminé snapped her head up, and saw Roxas leaning against her doorframe. He looked the same—dark jeans, and a black long sleeved shirt—but something…something was a little different. She couldn't pinpoint where, so she let it go.
"Kairi. And Olette, and Selphie, and just about everyone who's not stuck on campus."
Naminé tried to hide her gasp but failed. Just how in the heck did he know about Riku? And what did he know? She gaped at Roxas for several moments before regaining her composure.
"Well, yeah, I guess him too. He's my friend also." She tucked some hair behind her ear, staring briefly at her sketchbook in her lap.
"I just don't get why you're friends with him. He's just a pretty boy who's out to lay every girl on this campus."
"Haven't you looked at him? He's all…waxed, and manicured into perfection or something. And with that weird haircut of his, he just looks like a girl."
The female blonde looked at Roxas with playfully narrowed eyes. Was this seriously coming from Roxas? He never showed this much interest into her relationships with guys before. Though the only ones she had were between Roxas, Sora, Tidus, Hayner, Pence, and Marluxia.
It was just too good to resist.
"Roxas, are you jealous?"
Roxas turned to her. He looked serious—and that unfamiliar change was back again—with his mouth set just-so, and his eyes holding a deep, gripping look that made her give him complete attention.
Naminé had to turn away quickly, because one—she was blushing like a fire truck, and two—Roxas had jus set off that funny tingle down in her stomach. She wasn't sure what she would've done if she remained gazing into his eyes any longer.
"Oh…um, okay then…" She whispered, more to her sketchbook than to Roxas. The temperature in the room seemed to rise, and her chest ached from her irregular heartbeats.
"Hey, have you ever seen snow before?"
Naminé lifted her head. Roxas was looked out her window, just above her head.
"Um, no actually. I haven't."
He looked back at her. "Really?" The strange riveting look in his eyes was gone. How did he do that?
"Yeah…. Destiny Islands is a tropical island—no snow there. Just pretty weather and the occasional hurricane. But that was about it."
There was a small, quick, silence before Roxas told her he'd be right back. He practically ran out of her room and turned in the direction of his dorm.
She didn't have time to wonder what he meant, or why he asked it. Roxas returned soon, clad in a gray down-jacket, swishy, baggy black pants, and a beanie with the words 'TWILIGHT HIGH' written in white letters.
"Here. I'm not sure if it'll fit you very well but Olette used it once, and it was fine for her. And, um, you'll need some gloves." He handed her a navy coat just like his, and a pair of gloves. She held them in her arms.
"What do I need this for?"
"You and your ideas, I swear." She complained, but inside, she was happy and giddy. Most of the time, she liked Roxas's ideas. She liked going places with him.
But she had no idea what the weird clothing was for.
Once she slipped into the coat—which smelled exactly like Roxas, yum—he grabbed her by the hand, and whisked her into the elevator. He punched his thumb on the '1' button.
"We're going outside?"
"Yeah, but close your eyes once the elevators doors open, okay?"
"Should I ask why?"
"I won't tell you."
The doors swished open a few minutes later, and, like Roxas said, Naminé slammed her eye-lids shut. She was about to lift her arms and feel her way outside, but Roxas reacted first, grabbing her hand gently.
"'Kay, just keep your eyes closed until I say open them, alright?"
"Alright. You won't let me fall, will you?"
"Course not. You can trust me, Naminé."
Naminé wanted to open her eyes at that moment. She wanted to see the look on Roxas's face, if it was playful or that emotional look he rarely wore. But she kept them closed, and let Roxas lead her around.
They walked straight for some time, then turned right—or was it left?—and made another turn, then walked on for a what seemed like a short time. Every time she stepped, it was like the ground crunched beneath her feet. Cold air pushed over her face and it bit her cheeks and nose.
Before she could try to imagine which part of the campus they were on, Roxas was moving in front of her, slipping her gloves off her fingers.
"Hey, what's the big idea?"
Then he was shifting again, possibly bending down to get something.
"Oh my God, that's cold! Roxas what did you just put in my hand?!" Naminé suddenly screeched, her eyes remaining shut, despite her desire to open them and find out why her hands were suddenly wet and freezing.
"It's just snow, Nam, calm down." Roxas said in between his laughs.
"Snow?! Why would—"
Naminé slid her eye-lids up, quickly, and looked around.
All around her were eucalyptus trees with off-white skin, and naked branches with pure, white, snow coating them. There was a tiny garden off her left, with a iron gate locking it closed. But beyond the gate were buds of flowers and decorated in white. On her far, far, right were the school buildings. Even they had snow piling atop their roofs and windowsills, swathing the entire campus in white.
She had no idea what to say. What to do, what to look at. She felt like a child, excited and trying to restrain herself from running around everywhere, laughing like a maniac.
So Naminé smiled at Roxas. He returned one, a little more bashfully than she did.
"Wow. Why couldn't just say you were going to show me snow? Or point out my window?"
"Because there'd be no fun in that. And I wanted it so seem special to you."
"Well this is very special to me. And it always will be. Thank you."
"Anytime, Nam" he said, but he had looked off to the side with a huge smile and a faint blush.
Naminé let her hands slowly slip from Roxas's, then picked up more snow, and hold it up to her face. It smelled like winter, and frost. It melted in her hands quickly.
"Can we make a snow man?" She breathily asked. Excited puffs of her breath glided through the air.
"Yeah, if you really want to."
Roxas started piling up the snow, rolling it and molding the first sphere. She made the second—though had fallen apart twice and a few dents in it—and they laughed together as they both helped make the last part, the head. Naminé carved out a scarf and a face for the snowman, and brought twigs underneath the trees for his arms.
It took longer that Naminé would've thought but time was not an issue. She loved making the snowman, loved laughing with Roxas, and loved the smiles she could bring on both their faces.
Roxas stepped back from the sculpture, crossing his arms, and titling his head. Naminé brushed a leaf from the snowman's body before joining him.
"Looks pretty nice, considering he has a dent for a nose." Roxas commented.
Rather than answer him, Naminé smiled wider, and let her self fall back into the snow. Roxas jumped when her body collided with the ground, and he raised his brow as he stood above her.
"You know, there's more graceful ways of doing that."
"Why bother? We both know I'm pretty clumsy."
"Mm, clumsy is an understatement Nam," Roxas snickered as he eased himself beside her. His arms stretched behind his head like a pillow. A part of her wanted to rest her hand on his chest, but another said to stay put. She didn't know which to listen to.
"So, what? Are we going to make snow angels now?"
Naminé laughed. "I've made one of those before, but in the mud. My dad threw a fit when I got home."
"What about your mom?"
Naminé's mouth automatically opened then slowly closed. Her eyes lost their usual softness and sheen as her eye-lids lowered.
"I don't…I don't really know anything…about my mother."
"What do you mean?"
Naminé swallowed the lump in her throat. She hadn't told anyone about her mother in years. Everyone who knew her well enough didn't bring it up, and anyone else just didn't ask. She liked it better that way.
"My mother became pregnant with me when she was seventeen. Her parents—my grandparents—completely flipped out when they found out she was pregnant. They kicked her out of their house, and they only way she would be allowed to come home was if she…"
"…Look, Naminé, you don't have to tell me."
"No. I don't mind telling you." Roxas became silent, but she knew he was listening.
"If my mother got rid of me she could come home. But she didn't. She lived with my dad and his family until the last few months of her pregnancy. By then, she had lost all contact with my grandparents. But, suddenly, my grandparents were willing to accept the fact my mother was about to have a child. My mom was thrilled; at least, that's what my father says. When she returned home, she was given everything back. But she could only stay on one condition—she had to let go of all child custody and give me to my father."
"What did your mom do?"
Naminé choked back a sob. Her eyes stung, and the lump in her throat grew as she forced the last part of the story out.
"…S-she stayed with my grandparents. When I was born, she literally handed me over to my father and told him never to speak to her again. Within the next week, my grandparents and my mother had moved to somewhere in America. My father or the rest of my family hasn't heard from her since."
The two were swallowed in a thick, awkward silence. When she was kid, Naminé used to pray that her mother would randomly appear, and she would have a gift for her, and they'd both go play silly little kid games until Naminé would fall asleep in her mother's arms.
Naminé dug her bare fingers into the snow.
Then she grew up. She faced the harsh truth, and though it was not something very easy to accept, she knew she had her father's love, and Sora's love, and that was good enough.
"I'm sorry that happened Nam." Roxas's smooth, gentle voice wafted over Naminé.
"It's fine. …You're the only person I've told here."
When a softer, less stressed, silence began, Naminé fidgeted. She worked her hand until it found Roxas's. She grasped it like a life line.
"Don't...don't let this ruin our day, alright? I'm fine now. What's done is done."
"All right. I promise."
"Great. Then let's go." She lifted herself, pulling Roxas up with her, and began to shake the snow off her clothes.
"That, Roxas, is my secret surprise of the day," Naminé winked then took off in the direction of the dorms. Roxas gave way and shouted for her slow down the whole time. The sad and few thoughts of her mother faded away as her feet crunched in the snow and Roxas ran with her.