Chapter 1 - Time

Tick…tick…tick, went the second hand of the clock that was perched on the wall just above the class room door.

Tap, tap, tap, echoed the sound of a pencil being nervously tapped upon the desk surface.

Cough……cough…cough, came from various students placed in rows that were hunched over their own desks or some that looked anxiously at the clock.

Especially one student in particular; a young blond boy who was sitting at the back of the class and was staring at the minute hand that was two minutes way from the three.

"Come on, come on," whispered the boy through gritted teeth. "Just two more minutes."

His hands gripped the corners of his desk as he leaned closer to the direction of the clock. In two minutes it will be three o'clock and school will finally be finished for the day.

Tick…tick…tick, went the seconds' hand. Tick, moved the minute hand.

"Come on, just one more minute…"

His leg started to bounce up and down nervously.

The reason this certain blond boy was in such a rush was of two reasons: one, he worked at least three jobs and couldn't afforded to be late again and two; he absolutely hated this class and its teacher.

Roxas looked up and glared at the red haired man sitting behind a desk at the front of the room and was hunched over grading papers.

Arrogant know-it-all, he thought bitterly as he looked away from the teacher and back up at the clock.


Roxas jumped up from his seat and hastily stuffed his binder into his bag before throwing it over his shoulder. The loud ring of the bell echoed throughout the room and hall and it made Roxas' heart do happy back-flips.

He hurried to the door as other students were still packing there books back into their bags when a familiar voice stopped him.

"Wait a minute, Roxas."

Roxas turned around to see the teacher looking at him with emerald eyes that were formed into a glare with the tattooed tears below each eye. Roxas avoided looking into those eyes. They made him feel uneasy and when he did, it felt like that teacher could see right through him.

That bastard, Roxas grumbled silently in the back of his mind. What does he want? I don't have time for this.

A faint grin formed slowly on the teacher's lips.

"Come here Roxas. I wish to have a word with you," he said in a derided sort of tone like he was almost mocking Roxas.

The teacher raised a hand and lazily gestured the boy to come.

Roxas sighed heavily and walked unwillingly over to the man's desk and stood in front of him.

"Yes sir?" said Roxas a bit forced as he made a fake polite smile.

"Roxas I have noticed your grades have decreased a bit steeply lately," said Axel as he leaned back in his chair and ran a hand though his long, spiky red hair. "It concerns me and also disappoints me."

Roxas was becoming filled with rage and he bit down on his lower lip to hold back a retort.

"You see, you are beginning to slack off in your work and final exams are in a few months. I don't want to have a below average student in my class so I took the liberty of arranging an after school study hall for you tomorrow."

Roxas' jaw dropped as he looked dumbfounded at the man.

"That's not fair," said Roxas as he shook his head in disbelief. "I can't possibly. I don't have time for that."

"Well make time," replied the teacher simply. "Well maybe if you stopped goofing off so much and slacking off your studies maybe you'd have more time then? And we all…have to make our sacrifices."

"You don't understand," Roxas stated calmly, rage boiling in the bit of his stomach.

"Oh, really, then what is it that I am not understanding?" asked Axel as he made a cocky grin and lifted an eyebrow.

I don't have to explain myself to someone like you, Roxas growled in his mind.

"Roxas! There you are! I was looking all over for you!" exclaimed a familiar voice.

Roxas turned around to find Sora standing in the doorway panting.

"Sora! What are you doing here?" asked Roxas confused at his friend's disheveled appearance.

"Roxas, you dork! You're late for work! I'm supposed to give you a ride, remember? I was waiting for you and when you didn't show I came looking for you!"

Sora rushed forward and hooked his arm around Roxas'.

"Professor Axel, please excuse us but Roxas and I are in a hurry."

The spiky redhead gave a lazy wave of understanding and turned back to the stack of papers on his desk.

"Thank you, sir," Sora said as he bowed his head slightly before pulling Roxas out the door.

"Don't forget about our study session tomorrow!" called the teacher from his room as Roxas and Sora sprinted down the hallway.


His eyes began to fill with tears and he roughly wiped them away with that back of his sleeve.

"Don't let him get to you, Roxas," said Sora gently for he noticed his friend's distress. "He doesn't know that you are having a rough time."

"Yeah I know but he is such an asshole sometimes! Like he has no heart or even cares about other people's feelings!"

They made it out of the university and the two drove off in Sora's car. The whole car ride Roxas was nervous. He knew his boss would not be happy if he was late a third time this week.

"Man I am going to be in so much trouble," Roxas mumbled with worry as he looked out the window of the car.

"Don't worry about it, Roxas. I'm sure you'll be fine. You just have to work extra hard," replied Sora reassuringly. He parked in an empty space of a small café. He turned and looked at his friend sitting in the seat beside him. "Roxas…I know things have been really tough for you ever since the accident but you shouldn't let one teacher get to you." He reached up and placed a hand on Roxas' shoulder. "You work really hard and Professor Axel just doesn't know how tough things are for you."

"I know Sora," said Roxas in a low voice, a faint smile appeared on his lips but tears rimmed the bottom of his deep blue eyes. "It's just…everything is just so frustrating and I miss them so much." Tears began dripping down his cheeks.

"Roxas…" murmured Sora sadly as he leaned over and embraced his friend. "I know your parents would want you to be happy. And you're not alone in this; I'm here for you buddy."

Roxas smiled weakly. "Thanks, Sora."

"No problem. You are my best friend after all," replied Sora as he hugged his friend tightly. "Now get going! You're already late as it is!" Sora let go of his friend and shoved him out the car door. "You sure you don't need a ride back home?"

"I'm sure. I don't get off work till midnight so I'll just walk home," Roxas informed Sora as he adjusted the bag strap higher onto his shoulder. "I'll be fine. Don't worry about me so much."

"Well if you say so," Sora pouted as he rolled his eyes. "I swear Roxas you're too nice and so darn stubborn."

The two laughed and said their goodbyes. Roxas watched Sora drive away as he stood outside the café.

Sora…he's always so caring, Roxas thought to himself as he walked into the small dimly lit café. I'm glad to have such a best friend.

"Roxas, it's about time you got here!" boomed the voice of the manager.

Oh no.

Roxas tensed up and looked over at the back of the café. There, standing behind the counter was a stern looking orange haired man.

"Hey, Boss," Roxas said nervously as he rubbed the back of his head.

"Roxas, yer'late!" The man said as he walked out from behind the long counter, stuffing a washcloth into his apron.

"I know, sir, and I'm really sorry," Roxas replied in a guilty tone. "It won't happen again I promise."

The man looked down and grinned at the boy.

"I'll hold ya' to that," he said as he patted Roxas on the shoulder. "But since y'er late, ya must do extra chores. First ya gotta wash the dishes and then wipe the tables."

"Yes sir!" exclaimed Roxas happily. "Thank you sir!"

Roxas smiled happily and hurried past the man, disappearing behind the swinging door at the back.

After cleaning so many dishes that his fingers became wrinkly, Roxas grabbed the nearest clean washcloth and rushed out the door. He looked around the café. In front of him was the entrance and beside that was the cashier's desk. On the left were ten small round tables with at least four chairs at each one. On the right was the lounge that had two low wooden tables with four large easy chairs on each side.

"Okay only half an hour left," Roxas sighed as he walked over to the nearest table.

Luckily there were only four people left so the mess wasn't so bad. Roxas picked up the couple-dollar tips, slipping it into his apron pocket and wiped the mess on the table surface.

Roxas walked past a man holding a newspaper in front of his face but then slipped on puddle of spilled water from the girl sitting on the table on the other side. He began to fall backwards and an arm reached out and caught Roxas behind the shoulders. Startled, Roxas looked up to see emerald eyes gazing down at him.

"Professor Axel!" exclaimed Roxas in surprise.