Well, here's some weirdness. A third chapter. Wowza. It's already so late in the month. I guess that thanks are in order to all of the cool people who reviewed. You all seriously rule this world and the next as well. My leg itches. Damn. But recently, my attention has been going to two bands: I've been remembering why I loved Angels and Airwaves so much and I've been introduced to the beauty of Anberlin. Love ya, bye!

DISCLAIMER: sings Yooou don't ooown me…

Roxas started writing. He'd owned a journal for the longest time, but had never really used it. He'd written in it on the day of Sora's death, and had written in it about twice since then, once when he first met Axel, and the second time when he had fallen off of the clock tower. Now, though, he had an unusually long entry. Every detail had to be recalled and jotted down. It didn't take long, as Roxas had a fairly photographic memory. Let's see, we arrived, Riku was decidedly less than subtle with the whole 'Axel, why the hell'd you bring the brat here' crap…I faked going to the bathroom and eavesdropped…Roxas tapped his lower lip with his pencil and decided that good writing required food. He walked over to the little cabinet that he kept next to the mahogany desk in case of situations just like this one. He opened the little black door and grinned as he saw that he still had copious amounts of junk food in there. There were also those little packets of instant angel hair pasta with alfredo sauce that he had the tendency to kill people for. He grabbed a can of Pringles and a bottle of water and leaned back in his spinny chair, putting his legs up on the wall. He was probably at risk for choking, but at that point in time, Roxas didn't care. Thinking about how much of an upturn his life had taken in the past few days made him unusually happy. That didn't keep him from staying inside like a hermit. 'A Whisper and a Clamor' by Anberlin played faintly in the background. Pringles, water, and music. All was right with the world.

A small pebble smacked against Roxas's window, abruptly startling Roxas onto the floor.

"Axel," he muttered. There was only one person who was that stupid. Throwing open the window, he looked for the telltale hedgehog red hair – and found it.

"Axel, you are the biggest damn retard in the world. My window is on the first floor. You could've just knocked on the front door."

"Yeah, " he winked, "But that's nowhere as near as much fun. You gonna let me in?" Roxas shook his head, but smiled and stepped to the side to let Axel in through the window. Axel vaulted in, tucking and rolling upon impact with Roxas's floor and tumbling until making painful-sounding contact with the wall.

"Ow," he mumbled.

Roxas smiled. "See, that's what you get for being an idiot."

"So mean…" Axel said. Roxas silenced him with a soft bite to the ear, perhaps involving slight bits of tongue. "Ah- er, umm, ye- yeah… what was I sayin'? Oh, uh, right, what're you doing now?"

"I'm just writing down all the crap that's happened over the last couple days." Roxas intentionally fell full-force into his spinny chair, causing it to rotate. Roxas had a hard time keeping his eyes on Axel while spinning around, because whenever he had to turn his head quickly around to keep him in sight, the momentum kept the chair moving.

"A diary?"

"Correction, Master Gay Police: a journal."

"That's what they all say. But damn, Roxie, that excuse is right up there with manbag," Axel said. "People are going to think you're gay."

"You're right, wouldn't want that," Roxas said, rolling his eyes. Axel looked uncomfortable for a second.

"Actually, I might not… uh, want to flaunt the gayness, you know."

"Huh?" Roxas finally stopped his chair from spinning entirely to look at Axel seriously. "What, why?"

"See, my folks are really, sorta, uh, the kind of people who are against homos. I kind of told them I was seeing a cute girl named Roxanne."

Roxas looked dumbstruck, then chuckled quietly. "And I…" he was laughing out loud now. "I told my ma I was seeing a Canadian redhead named Annie!" Axel snorted, trying to hold back his own laughter. He failed and soon was cracking up as hard as Roxas.

"Haha! Why, your Mom a homophobe, too?"

"Haha, no, but, hehe… she kind of wants grandkids, and unless one of us has anatomy that shouldn't be on guys, I don't think that… yeah… And by the way, you're Catholic."

"Tell her we'll adopt!" chuckled Axel.

"Ooh! I want a cute little house in the suburbs!" Roxas cried, arms flinging open. His left hand hit the Pringles container by accident and Pringles went all over the floor. Roxas groaned, his glee ebbing considerably. "Aww, crap, I just vacuumed this floor. And that was a new can, too."

"The floor is clean, you say?" Axel raised the section of flesh where the rest of his eyebrow was supposed to be. He knelt down to the ground and picked up a chip in his teeth, nabbing the rest of it as he straightened with a crunch.

"Axel? You don't even know what's on this carpet!" Roxas gasped.

"No, but I do know that you just cleaned it, so it's at the cleanest it's getting. Plus, these taste good. I like salt, it's what keeps me from starving." Looking thoughtful, Roxas knelt down and picked up a chip, inspecting it. It really did seem clean.

"I… I cannot be-lieve I'm doing this…" he muttered, then stuffed it is his mouth. He squinted his eyes as if expecting to keel over any second. One eye cracked open and glanced about the room. He held up three fingers and saw only three. Cool. "Hey, I'm not dead and no botulism!" he grinned.

"I could soil myself with glee," Axel commented.

"Please don't."

Roxas reached for another chip, but Axel got there at about the same time. Axel still refused to use his hands. He licked and bit Roxas's fingers open, then stole it.

"H- hey! That was mine!"

"A lot of things of yours are gonna be mine later." Roxas blushed dark red and looked at the ceiling as if it could save him. "Hehe, Roxie, you're darker than the tomatoes in your mom's garden out back."

Roxas glared. "You know why Mum's tomatoes are so red? Because they're planted over the body of a weird pervert that she killed and buried when we first moved here."

"I get it, I get it."

Axel smiled and yanked Roxas onto his lap. They stayed like that for a good ten minutes, just breathing the other's scent and feeling warm at not being alone. Finally, Roxas jerked a little, laughing. Axel gave him a questioning look, confused by the sudden movement. Roxas looked up at him and grinned.

"I just remembered. Do you know what today is?"

"No, why?"

"Hehe. Axel, today is Valentine's Day."

"…like the massacre?"

"Yes, you 'tard. Like the massacre."

"Where the fuck is he?" Marluxia checked his purple watch with little pink and orange plastic flowers for the nineteenth time since arriving at the train station in Hollow Bastion. There must've been the prom or something that night, seeing as there were girls in dresses and corsages running around to find their girlfriends and dragging their unfortunate boyfriends behind them. Just about every girl giggled a little as they passed Marluxia and his… hair. One girl actually was daring enough to ask if it was a wig, to the eternal shame of her man. He had given her a DeathGlare to end DeathGlares. She and her friends had flinched and run like hell. Some of the guys who didn't have dates (for the obvious reason that they were… well, that way) had tried hitting on him a couple of times. That was why Marluxia kept butter knives conveniently hidden in his jacket pockets for times like that. Those guys were bleeding severely in a locked men's bathroom somewhere near the freeway, or perhaps in a sewer.

Marluxia looked at his very feminine watch a twentieth time and tapped his foot. Demyx could've at least mentioned that he was going to be 45 minutes late. The train that they had been supposed to be on had left a good fifteen minutes ago. Marluxia knew this because he had checked his watch exactly when it had left, deciding that Demyx would really get an earful if and when he decided to show the bloody hell up.


Marluxia's head snapped up from his watch, accusing and pissy. Oh hell yes, Demyx was getting bitched at. "You're FOURTY-FIVE FECKING MINUTES LATE!!!" he growled/hissed/yelled. The prom kids backed away from them both, probably assuming that it was some sort of date between the scary pink-head and the disgustingly frabjous blond.

"Hey, hey, don't hate," Demyx grinned, now within speaking distance. "I got here eventually, didn't I?"

Marluxia looked to the left of the blond, then to the right. He began circling him intently. "Hey, why are you circling me? What, where you a vulture in another life?"

"Where's Larxene?" Marluxia asked, the accusatory tone almost a default setting by now.

Demyx pushed his fingers together. "Well, see, she's under strict, strict watch, considering that she went on that random-killing-spree-rampage-thing. They didn't want her running lose on urban society yet, no matter how much I made the boo-boo eyes at them."

"Boo-boo eyes?"

"Yeah. They always work on Zexy." Demyx pouted.

Marluxia facepalmed. "Other people aren't gay ghosts infatuated with you."


"Shut up. We're going to catch the next train for Twilight Town, and you are going to shut it until then, got it?"

"Okily – Dokily!"

One girl listened to this exchange, asking her friend for a small reprieve from their planned activities. She crept closer, brushing her long, braided blond hair away from her ear, straining to listen. Hearing their plans, she whipped out a small, shiny, and orange cell phone with a little plastic chocobo hanging from the top along with assorted beads that she'd thought were cool and stolen in Arts and Crafts class her freshman year. Punching in a familiar number, she fumbled it up to her ear.

"Hey, Roxas?"

"That you, Rikku? I haven't seen you since… it was Christmas and Sora's funeral, right?"

"Roxas, yeah, it's me. There are some people, suspicious people like the ones that Riku told me to watch out for. They're headed for Twilight Town and were talking about someone in some organization going on a killing spree? It sounds weird, so I'm wondering if there was some joking going on in there. I was just told to look out for suspicious people that want in on the ole TT. I'll try to tail them, Okay? I'm going to head to Twilight Town along with them. Any chance that there's a place I can stay that won't arouse suspicion on me?"

"Waitwaitwait, Riku told you to spy on people? And you're coming home? But, but… what?"

Rikku sighed into the phone. Her cousin could be so damn dense sometimes. "Yes, yes, now can I come to your house or not?"

"Well, yeah, I guess, I may have to ask Mum-" Rikku sighed, this time in relief, as she snapped her phone closed. She didn't know why Riku had asked her to tail suspicious people, but she did know that it would be REAAAALLY fun to do so. Humming Mission: Impossible and dancing a little, she began her fun-tastic trailing of the suspicious and obviously gay people.

"Roxie? Who was that?" Axel asked, perplexed because Roxas had been.

"That was… my weird cousin Rikku. She said something about tailing suspicious people under the orders of Riku. She said a lot of weird stuff, not that that's not normal for her, but it involved her coming here. Like, not just Twilight Town general area. I mean that she thinks she's going to come stay in my house," Roxas said.

"Ehh?! She can just… do that?" Axel said.

Roxas sighed. "She can. She's family, even if we don't really like to admit it to the public."

Axel winced. "She that bad?"

"No, no, just… high maintenance."

"I see."

"That, and every straight boy, single or not, tends to seek her out for some reason or another." Axel looked a little worried, probably with good reason.

"Your cousin seems like a handful and a half."

"I guess you could say that," said Roxas. He got off of his fabulous spinny chair in order to go tell his Mum the less-than-welcome news.

Namine waved goodbye to Olette and Kairi as they reached her home. She smiled at them a final time and then turned with a sigh to the house before her. She bit the inside of her cheek, the smile so far gone it was impossible that it had ever existed, or ever would. It was a very nice-looking suburban house with nice white walls and a nice, fawn coloured roof and very lovely bushes and flowers that were much more beautiful in the summer than now, in the dead of February. The ground seemed dead, but the property, all in all, looked like a very inviting and nice place to be. It was also remarkably bland. Olette had once said that the house reminded her of Namine herself. She had chosen to take that as a compliment.

She darted around to the far side of the house, peering into the garage. There was one car there, a silver minivan that reeked of 'proper family'. Namine sighed with relief and turned towards the door. She pulled out her keychain, keys and all, and fumbled for the correct one, which could be easily identified as it was painted with bright, swirling colours that looked to have the consistency of nail polish. Well, Namine was creative, and that meant that she used any and all mediums available to her. Why, she had once created a work of pure art with nothing but condiments that she had stolen from the cafeteria in her art class. The horseradish had been particularly troublesome, as had the very runny hot sauce.

The nice, bland cherry wood door swung open at last, admitting Namine. She looked around for her mother, but didn't see her explicitly.

"I'm home!" she called. Feet pattered in some fairly distant part of the house.

"Douceur!" It was her mother's pet name for her. It meant 'sweetness' in French. The two embraced, crushing the other in their own arms. Surprisingly enough, Namine's mother was a very short woman. She was actually a little shorter than Namine herself.

"Er, Mum, I think you're…" Namine chuckled nervously, pointing to her throat, indicting that she couldn't breathe, and perhaps would like to. Imagine that.

"Oh! Terribly sorry!" Her mother let go, but continued to look at her daughter fondly. Her expression shifted from fondness to unease. "Dear, he's not home yet, but I have a feeling that… well, my douceur, you ought not be, erm, in range when he comes home. Please, to your room. Lock it until I come for you, alright?"

Namine swallowed and bit her lip, nodding. She turned to the staircase and trotted up to the second floor. Upstairs was her room, a bathroom, a hallway, a closet for extra storage, and a room that Namine used for her artistic needs. There was a door at the top of the stairs that Namine opened carefully and shut behind her. She turned and locked the five locks that adorned the inside of the warm mahogany wood. She let out the breath that she hadn't quite realized she'd been holding, letting out a tiny squeak of relief. Here was her sanctuary. She had food up here at all times, enough to get her through the worst of her horrible father's fits. That theory had been put to the test quite a lot recently. Namine went to her drawing room and slung her backpack down on the floor next to her desk. She grabbed the five-odd random drawings that she had done the night before and put them into the top-right drawer. That drawer alone had enough loose sketches to make it rather difficult to close. She would never open the top-left drawer.

She pulled out her history homework, avoiding her trigonometry out of principle. She looked over the worksheet she had and set about writing a long and boring essay on the many effects that Charlemagne had on European government structure. If luck was on her side, it would put her to sleep, and she would wake up long after the throwing-things-thing was done downstairs. Or maybe she just wanted to avoid her trig homework at all costs.

Namine grabbed a honey bun and physically felt her writing quality improve. Mmmm, food.

"Mr. Snuggles? Hey, where are you, Snuggles?" Namine looked around the room in distress, suddenly remembering about her favourite homework-buddy. Racing to her room, she dug in and around her discarded piles of crap for a good ten minutes before finding the object of her search. Mr. Snuggles the mouse sneezed and began to clean out his ears in her hands. Namine's eyes softened as she looked at him. Mr. Snuggles had never left her alone or hurt her or anything. Of course, that might've just been because she'd fed him once, and then again whenever he came back. So a mouse, an adorable little grey mouse lived in Namine's nice (if messy) white and blue room. She had given him a ridiculous name like Mr. Snuggles solely for the purpose of seeing if he would come back no matter how she spoke to him, or addressed him for that matter. Now, the name was the deepest term of endearment. Now, it meant, one who will be my best friend until the rest of time. Come to think of it, she had accidentally called Roxas 'Mr. Snuggles' once or twice. He hadn't found it funny, but everyone else had and had referred to him that way for the rest of the day. Both times. She smiled and chuckled.

A loud slam practically shook the house erased the contented smile from Namine's face. Her head swung around as if there was something to see. He was home.

Namine scrambled to her feet, taking care not to hurt the little mouse that was in her hands still and looking around in obvious confusion. "Please, quiet," she whispered in fear to him. She darted to the safest place she knew of, as close to the window as she could be. That way, if Father ever managed to get in here, she could jump out the window and land on the trampoline in the backyard. If she was lucky, she might be able to get away and stay in the unsuspecting neighbour's yard, Gods willing. She held Mr. Snuggles close to her heart in fear. True to his name, the mouse nuzzled his sweet, furry head into her skin, pawing it softly.

The screams started. They were extremely muffled, but Namine knew what to listen for. She cried a little.

"Baby, baby… don't leave me here alone," she whispered to Mr. Snuggles. "Don't leave me with my father. Don't let me hear this, don't let me hear thiiiis…" She began rocking, her hands now clamped over her ears and the mouse sitting thoughtfully on her knee. The screams continued from downstairs. Suddenly, there was yelling. There were words, harsh ones that could never come from Namine's mother's mouth. There was something breaking, something that blocked out a word tat sounded suspiciously like Namine's name. He was coming upstairs – she could hear his ugly boots tramping up the steps as if trying to break them. The door shook in its hinges and many locks.


Namine shook, trying to find a safe place to hide the mouse squeaking in her hands.

"NOOOOOW!!" The huge smashing and splintering sound echoed from the door. Namine scrambled over her own limbs and feet, heading for the window. Five locks didn't hold her father back forever, just hopefully enough to give her a head start.

The door swung open, hanging limply from one hinge and a badly injured second. The locks were completely ruined. Vaguely, Namine noticed that it had taken him a full minute less time to break down the door than he usually did. He had to be really pissed and equally drunk.

Namine panted and spun around, not quite catching whatever it was her better judgment had to say.

Her father looked nothing like Namine herself. That was actually where the problems had started. He had thought that her mother had been having an affair, the product of which being Namine.

"Little bitch. Whore, just like her. You run from me, like everybody else." Namine cried out as he grabbed hold of her hair and slammed her against the wall. Tears leaked out freely. Tiny begs for mercy came out as blubbering sounds that didn't really fit together. "Are you running now?" he asked, leaning in, glaring at her. The man dropped his daughter. To her credit, Namine's knees did not buckle. She remained standing. Her father didn't like that, not a bit.

"Cheeky, AIN'TCHA??" He slapped her as hard as he could, which sent her flying a good three feet across the room, unfortunately, away from the window and her salvation. Namine heard random and uneven tiny thumps coming from the stairs beyond the ruined hallway door. Her mother was crawling up the stairs, attempting to stop him from causing any more harm. Fear blocked out everything else in Namine's head. Her limbs shook so badly she thought that it would be impossible to stand. Hell. That's what one called it. Hell.

Something squeaked behind her.

"What the hell? A fucking mouse? The HELL? What the FUCK is this doin' in MY HOUSE?!!"

Namine's heart snapped. "Mr. Snuggles!" she choked out. The name sounded ridiculous and pathetic now. Her father grabbed the little mouse as he attempted to make a rapid-fire break for any exit. Almost crushing the creature in his fist, the larger man threw him hard out of the mostly opened window. There was no way a mouse could survive that fall, even if there was a trampoline below.

"No," Namine screamed quietly, her heart screeching in pain. Her spine was shaking itself apart. She could scarcely breath for the saliva that coated her tongue and throat whenever she cried heavily.

Hell, without a doubt, was this feeling. This place. This punishment. Everything. Namine didn't stand a chance in it. It was Hell, but a devil didn't cause it. Never had. Had only been caused by this pathetic human. Just a human. Just a human that kicked the crap out of his child and wife every day when he decided to come home drunk and annoyed, or on drugs and annoyed, or broke and annoyed. More often than not, his fits of rage involved all three. Fuck humans. All turned out to be bastards sooner or later. Hell. A human-made Hell. Wasn't it this guy's fault?

At that last thought, Namine's head jerked up from her knees. These thoughts had raced through her head at lightning pace. And yeah. Yeah, it was his fault, wasn't it? Namine had always been in the right, hadn't she? Hadn't she done nothing to deserve any of this? Wasn't that why the secret item in her top-left drawer given to her for that very reason? The top-left drawer. That was it. That was her salvation.

Unfortunately, Namine had raised her head at exactly the wrong moment. The fist had connected with her face heavily, throwing her backward. Her right shoulder blade smacked the door to the open hallway. This door, at least, wasn't splintered and ruined. A singular bright side.

Namine, always being the type to recover from almost cartoonish levels of violence, launched herself toward her desk. She yanked open the top-left drawer and grabbed what she was looking for. It wasn't hard, seeing as it was the only thing in the drawer in the first place. Her father had already turned his body towards her, lifting his arm to hit her again. But then, he noticed what she had in her hand, which was rapidly withdrawing.

"You don't have the guts."

Namine's father was staring down the barrel of a gun.

Hell. Isn't that what this is?

Namine uttered three words calmly before pulling the trigger.

"Go to hell."

Wow. I'm scared of Namine-chan now. But seriously, kudos to her. I can't believe I put her through this, but I did.

I'm also really sorry that I made people wait so long for such a short chapter. From now on, instead of about 25 pages, these chapters will be about 10. A big cut, I know, but it's so I can post sooner. Isn't that a good thing? Hell, I might have a new chapter up tomorrow. Heh, yeah right. The day after tomorrow, prolly.

Merry Christmas, one and all. Er, happy holidays? Eh, just be happy right now. That covers all religions, right?

Reviews are sometimes the best presents. You know it.

Poor Mr. Snuggles. Don't worry, he's okay.