I

Before the Storm

There wasn't much to Twilight Secondary College. It had the standard design for a public school, a uniform that made everyone look fat (or anorexic), and the usual cliques.

It was one of many schools on Destiny Island, and ranked about thirty-six in regards to student success rate. Since there were only thirty-five schools actually listed, it said something about the students.

Despite that, most of them managed to get along just fine. The punks and preps made fun of the metros, the metros and Goths lent each-other various items, the gays mingled with everyone, and everyone was happy.

The loners were left to do whatever it was they wanted to do, the book geeks were usually found in the library, and the kids taking cooking classes were typically found in the canteen, trying to earn bonus points for their courses.

However, in every school, there is always one group that gets singled out and bullied by another. It's usually the ones who don't conform with the majority, and who have enough backbone (or stupidity) to refuse to change.

In this case, it was a kid named Roxas.

It wasn't as if Roxas had been hit a few too many times with the Ugly Stick, or like he was particularly stupid or anything. He wasn't bad at sport, he sucked at Math, and he spent about five minutes in the morning fixing his hair.

No, it wasn't any of that. And it wasn't anything he did, either.

It was simply because the other students had their brains programmed to be stuck in Grade One, whenever he was around. Living with your gay father, his boyfriend, and having a surname like Cox tended to bring out the immaturity in people, unfortunately. He'd been the butt of many jokes (too many of which came from his best friend, Hayner), the recipient of too many faux love letters, and the target of one Axel Heatley.

Axel was, of course, the biggest asshole that ever existed. He and Roxas had known each-other since Crèche, and the first memory Roxas had of him was being pushed off of a swing and having dirt thrown at him.

Needless to say, there was no love lost between them. Since Twilight Secondary College was the only Secondary College in Twilight Town (a rather remote part of Destiny Island, a fact that Roxas cursed each morning as he prepared for school), Roxas only received a short break from Axel's torment during Primary School.

Those six years had been the best of Roxas' life. He had met Hayner, Pence and Olette there, and had kept his last name under tight wraps. He didn't get much homework, he had average grades, and his father's boyfriend hadn't moved in with them yet.

The very last day of Grade Six was when Roxas' life went to hell, and it was purely incidental. (Roxas refused to believe that someone up there hated him that much, and had planned out how to torture him so thoroughly.)

The two Primary Schools in Twilight Town, Sunrise private and Sunset public, were rather small. It used to be just Sunset Primary School, but then some rich parents got pissed off and wanted a school where their precious darlings wouldn't be tainted whilst learning the basic machinations of the world. So Sunrise Private School was created, and a rivalry faintly disguised as friendship was formed between the schools.

Since both schools carried a tradition of having a graduation for their Grade Six classes (a sort of "good luck, don't let life screw you up the ass too many times" ceremony), it was decided that the celebration would take place in neutral territory (as in, the high school the kids would end up in in a few months), and have both schools attending.

The idea was to let the kids mingle, before they were thrown together hap-hazardly the next year.

It worked, for the most part. Roxas had actually been having a good time, until they were told to sit down and wait for their name to be called, so that they could receive their certificates.

Of course with these things, they go in alphabetical order, last name first. Full last name first. With the full first name second.

Unfortunately, there was only one Roxas in all of Twilight Town. And as his luck would have it, Axel hadn't up and left any time in the past six years.

So when his name was called, instead of walking up to the stage with a confident grin and smug aura, he sunk deep into his chair and tried to suffocate himself with his jumper.

His PE classes had always been told that Sunrise's teams worked together beautifully, and the teacher had practically begged them to try to work together half as well. But Roxas hadn't imagined their opponents working together so well, that they would have created a cheer just for him.

Or more specifically, his last name.

If it had just been the cheer, then maybe he would have been able to laugh it off. They were kids, they did stupid things.

Hell, he could've even forgiven the cheerleaders that had cart-wheeled around the stage.

The streamers, well, hey. They were fun. No harm done there.

What really pissed him off was the picture that flickered to life on the wall, courtesy of the overhead projector. Either it was a damn good photoshop, or someone had snuck into his room while he was sleeping, and photographed him cuddling a dildo.

Seeing as how Axel – and God how Roxas hated being able to recognise him instantly, despite not having seen him since he was five – was grinning and blowing him a kiss from his seat, Roxas was more inclined to believe that the bastard had broken into his house.

Roxas didn't get to see the end of the graduation ceremony, and neither did Axel. Both were taken to the hospital for minor burns and cracked skulls.

After that, it was the holidays. Roxas had been hoping that people would forget the incident by the time they started Year 7, but pre-teens never forget a dirty sex joke.

The first day of high school proved this. By recess, stick figures of Roxas and a giant penis had been spray-painted on the concrete. Fliers with graphic descriptions of what he supposedly did at night littered the school, and even the Year 12s had heard about the graduation ceremony.

Most kids would've cracked under the pressure and quit school. Roxas rigged Axel's locker to spill spoilt milk all over his shirt, and super-glued all of his books together.

Axel broke into his house and stole his pillow, which he then dried mayonnaise on and passed around the school.

Roxas broke his leg and, while he was in hospital, collected his homework and threw it into the lake, along with an assignment that would've been worth more than half his marks for the semester.

Axel egged his locker and broke the lock, before putting up signs directing people there. Word spread fast about the condom with the suspicious white substance (that was actually hand cream, but a bunch of twelve and thirteen year olds didn't know that), and the picture of Axel in only his boxers.

Roxas got suspended for breaking Axel's leg again, and trying to drown him in a puddle.

And so it went, for five years. The teachers were stupid enough to keep putting the two in the same class, and somehow, they ended up taking the same electives. More often than not, Axel walked away from cooking lessons with a few more cuts, and Roxas with bits of food in his hair and clothes. Both opted to take no shop lessons, after getting wise to the fact that they would always be together in them, and neither fancied taking a soldering iron to the eye, or a hammer to the balls.

Roxas discovered Axel's pyromaniac tendencies one day in Year 11, when he caught the red-head spraying fixative on a wall and lighting it with a match, letting out a whoop when the flames spelt out his name. When Axel heard his cursing and turned around, he was too busy laughing to beat the blond to a pulp.

Apparently, having the tips of your hair singed and your face blackened had that effect on others.

Axel walked away from that incident with a black eye, while Roxas stayed home for two weeks. When asked what had happened, Axel would just grin and say that little boys shouldn't be playing with fire.

Roxas got his eyebrow pierced, and used that as an excuse as to why the hair there was half-gone.

Axel took this as a challenge, and skipped class the next day to get his tongue done. He spent the week making lewd gestures in Roxas' direction, and when the weekend came, Roxas went and got his ear done. Not to make any particular statement, but because next on his list had been his tongue, and he didn't want to do anything Axel had done.

And also because he thought lip piercings looked tacky, and he didn't like the idea of having a piece of metal in his nose.

Naturally, Axel had none of those issues, and walked into class on Tuesday (he had opted not to go on Monday) sporting a nose stud and a tattoo on his left arm.

The principal took him aside and lectured him about the school's dress code, which expressively forbid tattoos. Axel stopped wearing the school uniform at that point, and despite constant suspensions, continued showing up in whatever he felt like wearing that day.

Since he was too young to get a tattoo, Roxas settled for getting his belly-button done, and constantly told himself that it was not a girly place to get pierced.

After that, he ran out of money to pay people to stab him with needles, and apparently, so had Axel, who had gone and gotten triangles tattooed on his cheeks.

Roxas took great pleasure in pinning him down and poking those with a compass until Axel was snarling in pain. Served the bastard right for going to school the same day he got them.

Next on the list was make-up, though neither knew it. Roxas had graciously allowed Olette to stay over at his house for one night, to keep his little sister Naminé company while their father and his boyfriend went out for dinner. Roxas' inability to take care of his sister definitely wasn't the reason why Olette was over, and he had definitely not called her up and begged her to save him.

When the power went out and The Lion King stopped before Mufasa was killed, Olette came up with the idea to cheer Naminé up by having a tea party. Thinking that he would be able to escape unscathed, Roxas agreed and watched as Olette sent a message to her friend Selphie, using his mobile phone.

The next few hours had passed in a blur. Apparently the only people allowed to a tea party were pretty princesses, and Naminé so very dearly wanted her brother Roxas to attend. (Un)fortunately, Selphie came prepared for this.

That was how Roxas ended up in a small black dress, with boots that he didn't need to know his father owned. He had put up a remarkable fight, but when one has issues with hitting girls, and said girls have frying pans, it's safe to say that the girls will get their way.

So make-up was applied, photos were taken, and Roxas was wishing that he was old enough to drink himself into a coma.

The next day was, of course, a school day. Roxas had woken up in the small black dress, with the make-up still on. After a shower and furious scrubbing, the eye-liner refused to budge, and the lipstick had stained his lips.

His father forced him to go to school with a smirk, and commented that Roxas had better not be planning on wearing his boots there.

The first look Axel got of Roxas that day left him staring in shock. His father's comment had left him blushing, and Olette insisted on re-applying the eyeliner, so that it didn't look like such a hack job.

It took Axel twenty-eight seconds to stop staring. Roxas knew this, because he was waiting for the bastard to remember that he was in his locker, no doubt setting up some sort of prank.

After those twenty-eight seconds, it took a full six minutes to get the red-head to stop laughing. Every time they passed each-other, Axel let out a wolf-whistle.

Roxas had snapped eight pencils by the time the final bell went.

The next day, Axel showed up with red eyeliner on. It was Roxas' turn to stare, and as Axel swept by him, he caught a "I make this look sexy, Cinderella".

So they started wearing make-up on a regular basis, trying to out-do each-other. Roxas invested in three different colours of eyeliner and foundation, while Axel bought two colours of eyeliner, eye-shadow, foundation, blush, lip gloss, and concealer.

He only ever wore the eyeliner, but if it ever came down to who owned the most make-up, he wanted to make sure that he'd win.

Meanwhile, the jokes about Roxas' last name continued.

That was the routine. That was how things worked. Everyone was happy with that—even Roxas, to an extent. The worst bullies became rather familiar with his fists, and he and Axel had a rather violent relationship. He had his friends, he had his family, and he was the best student in his year level.

Then Hayner moved away. His father had been offered a better job in Radiant Garden – a whole other country. They'd only had one week's notice before Hayner was gone.

Olette was moved to an all-girls' boarding school in Wonderland, following the fire Axel started at their school. To top things off, the school forbid mobile phones and computers, so the only way Roxas could see her was to pay five thousand munny for a boat trip there.

Pence was offered a place at a school for those gifted with technology and electronics. He took it. The school was located in the centre of Destiny Island, and while Pence was allowed to use technology and travel outside, he was often too tired to do so.

So Roxas was left alone—literally. No-one bothered him for two weeks, except for Axel, whose words and actions were less harsh than before. In fact, it was Roxas who started things up again, by climbing up the tree Axel always sat under and dropping water bombs on his head.

After that, things returned almost completely to normal. Less people were making fun of him, and he once caught part of a conversation where the two involved were positive that it was Axel keeping everyone away from Roxas.

Roxas was sure that that wasn't true, but made sure to hold off punching Axel for a week in thanks, just in case.

A new routine was established. A new "norm" was formed.

Then Sora Sky came, and tore everything apart.

--

A/N: I haven't written anything in two years, so be gentle, and remember the lube.

This'll be the only note I leave, in the whole story. Hopefully.

This whole thing is based off of the movie Hating Alison Ashley. I'd say it's based off of the book, but I haven't read more than what was given for the reading comprehension tests, back in Prep.

It's an awesome movie, and probably an awesome book. I admit that I don't like most of the movies that're made in Australia – because seriously, they focus too much on establishing that the place it's set in is Australia – but this one's great.

I may just be saying that because of the punk pyro guy who has the best lines ever, and the teacher that's always taking his smokes for herself.

Uh, anyway. Like I said, this is only based off of that. Meaning that it'll have a few similar themes and situations, but isn't going to be a re-write starring Kingdom Hearts characters.

The schooling system I'm using is the standard one used in Victoria, Australia. Why? Because I live there, and I know the system better than I know the American one.

I know that people're gonna get confused, so thankfully, it's not referred to too much. Basically, our education system goes like this;

Crèche (optional);

Kindergarten;

Prep (start of Primary School); ages five to six

Grade One; six to seven

Grade Two; seven to eight

Grade Three; eight to nine

Grade Four; nine to ten

Grade Five; ten to eleven

Grade Six; eleven to twelve

Year 7 (start of High School); twelve to thirteen

Year 8; thirteen to fourteen

Year 9; fourteen to fifteen

Year 10; fifteen to sixteen

Year 11 (start of VCE studies) (optional); sixteen to seventeen

Year 12; seventeen to eighteen

University (optional).

The ages vary depending on what month you're born in. For example, I was born in February, and I was five when I started Prep. My brother was born in May, and he started Prep when he was six.

Then, there're people who've been held back, who will of course be one year older.

This is – and people are going to kill me – a work in progress. "Elle, you said you wouldn't post anything until it's complete!"

Yeah, well, I never had any pre-made material to go off. If I get stuck, I can borrow the movie or book, and work out where I can go from where I was.

That being said, expect updates about once a month. I'm not planning on making this thing very long, but I'm not going to ignore my cosplays in favour of this.

…I mean, I'm not going to ignore my homework in favour of this.

That's it! Any questions, feel free to ask. Flames are welcomed, as are reviews. ConCrit is craved.

Remember; readers will read and reviewers will review, but only if writers write.

PS: I want a beta-reader. I've gotten rusty, and I'm thinking that a lot of my sentences make no sense to anyone who isn't me. And there're probably typos lurking around, even though I've combed through this four times.

Feel free to point out any mistakes I've made, with continuity especially.