Notes: So... this is it. Roughly nine months after starting this little project, it's come to an end. I didn't actually plan it to be nine parts in nine months, but it looks nice and neat, so we can pretend it was intentional. Anyway, I hope you aren't disappointed - it is a happy ending, particularly in comparison with the rest, but it's not quite fluff. Part of the point of this fic was to be as true to life as possible within the bounds of this fantastical concept. But this is the good ending, where they finally make the right choice and do things properly. No more woe!

As a side note, this is one of the three lives I had in mind from the beginning. The others came up as I wrote.

Disclaimer: "Boston" belongs to Augustana.

IX: Boston

I think I'll go to Boston

I think that I'm just tired

I think I need a new town, to leave this all behind

I think I need a sunrise, I'm tired of the sunset

I hear it's nice in the summer, some snow would be nice

Roxas was done. Five years in LA, working in the entertainment industry, going to shallow parties and pretending to still be into a girl he had almost nothing in common with anymore, and he'd finally snapped. The stress and the falseness and the sheer effort it took to go through the motions of his daily life had worn through his last nerve and all he could think about was getting out.

So he did it. He broke up with Selphie and quit his job and terminated the lease on his apartment. Everything that might have had a future use was put in storage and the rest was sold, thrown out or given away. He pulled out five hundred dollars in cash, paid the last of his bills, and packed the things he couldn't live without in a backpack. He called his sister and talked her into letting him forward mail to her address.

He did it all in three weeks.

The morning of the last day he would be living in his overpriced apartment, he stood in the middle of the empty living room and just looked around at all the space he'd never really had much use for anyway. It was kind of funny, in a sad sort of way, that it had taken less than a month to deconstruct a life that had taken five years to build.

Namine was upset with him because he'd always had a plan and it had landed him a job thousands of people would kill for, complete with a beautiful girlfriend and a nice place to live, and he was throwing it away. She was worried because, in the end, all his plans hadn't taken him to a place he wanted to be, so instead he was choosing to move on without one.

She'd asked him over the phone, tearfully and fearful and on the verge of anger, just what the fuck he thought he was going to do.

He'd laughed, because uncertainty had never felt so good. And then he'd given her the most complete, honest answer possible.

"I don't know. But hitching a ride will be a good start."

That had horrified her. People didn't hitchhike anymore - it was mostly illegal, for one, not to mention dangerous. But Roxas had already decided and nothing she said could change his mind. He was going to hitchhike, with his backpack and his cash, and on the way to wherever it was his ride took him, he'd figure out what to do after they got there.

No matter what went down, though, he was dead sure he wouldn't be coming back to Los Angeles.

And that was that. He nodded decisively and smiled at the last look at his old life, and then he turned and walked out the apartment door.

Ready, steady, go.

He went out and got breakfast, read one of the paperbacks he'd brought along and took his time. It was nice not to be in a hurry for once and he intended to enjoy every minute of it. Then he headed out, walking in no direction in particular.

It was a little past three o'clock, and he was starting to consider getting out of the sun for awhile, when a car pulled over and the driver leaned across the passenger seat to peer at him through the open window. It was a guy, maybe a couple of years older than Roxas, with wild red hair and little diamond-shaped tattoos under his eyes. Something about him was really familiar, only not, almost like something out of a dream. He grinned easily, flashing white teeth.

"You looking for a ride?" he called.

Roxas shrugged one shoulder, snapping himself out of the weird moment of not-quite-deja vu. "You offering?"

The guy laughed and the sense of familiarity grew. "Maybe I am. People don't hitchhike much these days - if I don't pick you up, maybe no one will."

Roxas shrugged again, smiling and ignoring the little voice of caution insisting that this felt too weird. "I'm sure I'll manage, either way. But a ride would still be pretty great."

The guy nodded and flicked the lock on the door. "Hop in, then. It's getting pretty hot, wouldn't want you to get sun stroke, right?"

Roxas opened the door and slid into the empty seat, tossing his backpack over his shoulder. "I'm tougher than I look, I can take it."

He got another toothy grin. "I think we're gonna get along." He stuck out a long, spidery hand. "The name's Axel."

Roxas shook hands firmly, grinning back. "Roxas. Nice to meet you."

Axel nodded. "Sweet." He ran the hand he'd offered back through his hair, giving Roxas a long, contemplative look. For a second, it seemed like he was going to say something, then he sort of shrugged and asked, "So, where are you headed?"

Roxas hesitated. The crazy recklessness of the situation crashed down on him all at once - he was by himself in a stranger's car, his entire life in a backpack behind him, seriously considering telling that stranger to drive him somewhere. The sane, reasonable thing to do was apologise for wasting Axel's time and get out of the car because hitchhiking really was just as dangerous as Namine had said and if he didn't watch out he'd end up dead in a ditch somewhere. But he couldn't quite bring himself to do that because he knew somehow, with a bone-deep certainty he didn't think he'd ever felt before, that he could trust Axel and was doing the right thing.

Maybe a combination of overwork and LA had finally got to him, but he was sure that, if he got out of the car, he'd regret it. Somehow, Axel was familiar and safe. He could at least stick around long enough to figure out how and why.

Axel was looking at him expectantly, the air between them charged with nervous energy, and Roxas thought of his New England childhood, the quiet peace of snow. He had nothing tying him to California and, meeting Axel's green-eyed gaze, he was thrilled by the realisation that he'd managed to find the one person who would say yes no matter where he wanted to go.

He smiled.

"You ever been to Boston?"