Entitled: She Speaks in Third Person
Fandom: Kingdom Hearts
Pairing: RoxasOlette, SeiferOlette, HaynerOlette (all implied)
Length: 3700 words
Disclaimer: I do not own Kingdom Hearts and etc.
Notes: I don't know why I like Olette so much. Maybe it's the hair. Or the shoes.
"You know, it's not going to be that bad."
Olette smiles tightly, and her hands are outstretched like she's waiting to catch something. They've begun to tremble. She's been waiting for her invisible somebody to jump for a really, really long time now. "Sure."
"Okay," Hayner grins at her quick and guilty before he pushes her into the sunlight, takes her by the jaw and angles her head for that certain slant of light, "Okay, don't move."
He keeps his hands in a sort of picture frame, as if by doing so, she'll be as still as the canvas he's set to put her on. She's tempted to sneeze.
Hayner makes some kind of snapping signal to Pence, and the other boy's camera starts flashing like crazy, by far brighter than the half-way sun this town is forever graced with. It's kind of lovely, Olette reflects, because she's been to the beach before and so knows that this light she takes for default mode is not entirely natural. It's a sleepy sort of light, the kind that compels her to dream.
"Olette. Stop making that face."
She comes back into her own skin, "What?"
Hayner frowns at her. Pence isn't taking anymore pictures, and just sits there kind of awkwardly, staring at her in a way that almost, almost suggests pity—but it's like he's forgotten what, exactly, he should pity her for.
"You look like—I don't know. Like someone finally killed your stupid cat."
Olette's lips pinch together, "Don't say that, you jerk. It might actually happen, if you do."
"What, are you saying that the universe is susceptible to the power of suggestion?" Hayner sneers, and disregards this cockily, throwing his hands into the air. Pence tilts his head to the side.
"You just said 'susceptible.'"
"Shut up and take the damn pictures before Olette starts crying again."
"I wasn't crying," Olette says darkly, but sucks in her stomach anyway, and falls rigidly back into her pose. She never should have taken photography for an elective.
They don't say much else after that, except for Hayner whining about how she's ruining his 'vision,' which ends when Olette threatens to put him in the dress and leave them to finish the assignment on their own. Pence watches them through the lens, snapping down fragments of history. Later, he might look at them, and wonder why time was such a one way street.
When she gets home later, Olette catches her reflection in the mirror, and steps closer. There's something weird about it, something off about her eyes, and it isn't until she's practically pressed her nose to the glass that she sees they're red around the corners.
It must have been from all the flashing lights. It must have been.
When she wakes up, her mother's there.
"Hi, mom," Olette greets, and vaults herself onto the high kitchen stools, pushing aside her mother's tubes of lipstick and crumpled napkins, soiled with phone numbers. Her mother looks over at her, buzzed on her hangover.
"Oh, hey, sweetie," she says absently, and traces Olette's spine. Olette busies herself with reorganizing the mess her mother had made of the kitchen table, then rises to dig out some food. There's a sloppy red kiss around the milk carton's rim, so she pours from the far side.
"Had a good week?" her mother asks, a little helplessly, and Olette shrugs, stirring her cheerios into chaos. Fidgeting with the silence, her mother tries again, "You seem down, Ollie. Boy troubles? You want to go see a movie or something? It's my day off!"
"It's Wednesday, mom," Olette says numbly, feels her mother's fingers sink in through her thick, dark hair, and curl into her neck, "I've got school."
"Friday?" her mother repeats, and then leaps up, cramming receipts into her pockets and sprinting through the rooms, "Oh—oh shit!"
She doesn't look up until she's heard the front door slam shut. For a moment she just sits there, something awful and ugly and vicious keeping her company through the dusty silence. Then she stands, dumps her cereal down the sink, drowns it with the milk, and throws the empty carton at the wall, almost shaking.
She gets to school late. It's not like it really matters—it's not like anyone really cares, anyway. At least she showed up.
"Where's Hayner?" she asks Pence, and tucks her feet into the desk in front of her, on top of someone's textbooks. She's sat behind him for nearly five months and she still doesn't know his name.
Pence blinks at her tiredly, hair all the messier from sleep, "Who knows. He'll give us a ride home, I think."
Maybe. She gets out a piece of paper and faces the front of the room, blankly writing down whatever she's supposed to, eyes slipping away from the blackboard to study the room around her, skipping from face to face and faltering at every empty desk.
She's looking for something. She just doesn't know what it is, yet.
She jerks, starting so violently that the whole desk turns with it, and shoots a wide-eyed stare at the hand on her shoulder. "I—what?"
"The bell," Pence says slowly, and studies her intently, something almost knowing in his dark, kind eyes, "It rang like two minutes ago."
"Oh," she breathes out, gets a grip, and starts slapping things off her desk and into her bag "Sorry. Thanks."
"No problem. Hey—what's that?"
She pauses and follows the direction he's pointing in to her pad of notebook paper. It's half filled with careful, tidy cursive, and then breaks off abruptly, mid sentence. The bottom half of the paper is messy, a savage scrawl of inky lines meshed together to form a—
"A key," Olette says suddenly, and looks at it strangely, wondering why her doodle seemed so off-balance. "It's a key."
"Oh," Pence leans over her shoulder for a better look, "Huh. It's kind of badass."
For some reason, she doesn't want to put the drawing away, "Yeah. It is, isn't it?"
Her mother doesn't come home for a few days. When she does, she's wearing Olette's clothes and smiling unnaturally white.
"Darling!" her mother cries, and suffocates Olette to her chest, "Ollie, oh, I'm sorry I missed your birthday, sweetheart, but I—"
"My birthday isn't for five months," Olette says into her mother's collarbone, and feels her mother's pulse beat hard and unnaturally fast against her lips. Her mother caries on like she hasn't heard—maybe she didn't.
"I was thinking, you know, that I really haven't been myself lately. And I've just got to pull it together, you know? Now, I know you've been pretty sore about talking about your dad ever since he left, but I—"
"I don't want to talk about him," Olette says immediately. Her mother stops talking and pulls back, keeping her nails latched into Olette's shoulders. Her pupils are huge, expression as frantic as a soap opera star's.
"I just—" Olette says suddenly, sensing and fleeing the disaster, "I just—I'm busy. Right now."
Her mother doesn't say anything for a minute, just keeps looking at her on the edge of hysteria, until something within her clicks into place. "Is it a boy? It's a boy, isn't it?"
Olette swallows, "Yeah. Yeah, it's a boy."
Her mother's face splits slyly, and she digs her elbow between her daughter's ribs. She's breathing too loud and too fast. It's obvious she's high, but she doesn't smell like anything Olette can recognize. Olette wonders if she's overdosed. If maybe she'll die. "A boy, huh? He'll be blond, then. We always go for blonds."
Olette doesn't like the 'we.' She steps away from her mother, kicking out of her shoes and letting her bag fall onto the kitchen table. "Yeah, he is. Just like you said." She puts her hands over the chair back and weaves her fingers into the cheap plastic. Her mother stays in place, swaying a little to some far off beat, her smirk smug and self satisfied, obviously pleased.
"Good, well—you'll bring him home? I'd love to meet him." Her teeth are so chemically white when she smiles, and then trips out the door, already digging into her pockets, not noticing the stains on her clothes, the ragged, torn holes in her ears and the missing earrings.
Olette goes to the window and watches her mother get in the car, pull out and drive away, the radio up and blaring static. She moves back in, grabs the disinfectant, and begins methodically wiping down every surface her mother had touched.
She folds up her doodle into a paper airplane and presses it flat beneath her pillow, closes her eyes, and lets herself breathe out.
"I thought of a way for you to pay me back," Olette tells Hayner, the next time he actually comes to school. He snorts, running both hands back through his hair, carefree and easy. She's almost jealous of him in that instant—because he has no idea how good he's got it, really. He might dress like a punk, but his clothes have been designer-ripped, brand name faded.
"Pay you back? Is that the convenient excuse, nowadays?" he smirks, sticks his gum in some kid's locket. Olette doesn't move. He isn't nearly as hardcore as he'd like to think.
"Yeah, considering I buy you lunch every other day. Anyway, I need you to pretend to be my boyfriend for a night." She doesn't blush or stutter. She does, however, really hope he'll say yes.
Hayner pauses, quirking an eyebrow, "Say that again?"
"My mom." Olette adjusts her bag, not really looking at him, "I just…I told her I was seeing someone so she'd get off my back and—and it has to be someone blond." She raises her chin, "So, that's it. You'd just have to show up and my place for a few hours."
Hayner isn't really listening to her. He frowns, "Have I ever met your mother?"
"No." Olette says firmly, hands twisted in the hem of her shirt, "You wouldn't have."
"Huh," he rubs the back of his neck, shrugs, "Nah. Sorry." He turns away and digs back through his locker. He's so full of shit. The thing's totally empty.
She can't understand why her stomach lurches, why she's on the edge of throwing up, "You aren't going to?"
Hayner glances at her, shrugs, "Look, it's not like it's that big of a deal, right? Just say we broke up." when she doesn't walk away, he looks almost awkward, "Oh, come on, Olette. A night with you and your mother? I think I'll pass."
"But I—I really need you to do this," she says blankly, because some stupid part of her can't really believe he'd say no. It's not like she doesn't understand where he's coming from, or that the alternatives he'd suggested were so awful, it was just that'd he'd—he hadn't even cared.
"Sorry," Olette steps away from him abruptly, hands snapping up with her grin, "Yeah, it's pretty lame. Okay. Okay, so I'll just—see you. Bye."
She keeps backing away and Hayner keeps looking at he funny, until he shrugs and turns away, smirking at some girls. Girls who are all much, much prettier than she is, polished to their very bones.
When she's out of his eyesight she stops and leans heavily into a wall of lockers, feeling nothing but the absence of existence.
She wonders, then, if anyone would notice if she just disappeared.
"You're kidding," Seifer says flatly. Fuu and Rai are exchanging incredulous looks, their gazes a bit sharper than normal. They'd never really minded Olette, really, because she's quiet and nice, but she's still a part of Hayner's gang.
"I'll pay you," Olette says firmly, "And I'm not kidding. Really. It's just for a few hours. No strings and no tricks." She sticks out her hand, meets his eyes calmly, "You just have to show up."
Seifer is still looking at her like she's crazy. She doesn't lower her hand. She hopes she doesn't look as desperate as she feels. Finally, he squints and asks suspiciously, "How much?"
"Fifty munny," she says immediately, and hopes he doesn't ask for much more, because that's really all she has.
"Do I have to dress up? Buy you flowers? Hold your hand?"
"None of the above." She hopes.
After a minute, he shakes her hand, and she feels relief pour through her, lets out a breath that had been cramping up her chest. "Thanks. I'm paying you afterwards, but I have the munny here, if you need to look and make sure I've got it—"
Seifer is already walking away, waving one hand disinterestedly, "Whatever. I know you've got it."
Fuu and Rai shoot her dirty looks before running after him, and they haven't even turned the corner before they're trying to talk him out of it.
After a minute, Olette pushes her hands back, deep into her pockets, and tells herself that things are going to be okay.
When she gets home, she takes out her paper airplane, unfolds it, and traces the picture-puzzle for luck.
Seifer shows up twenty minutes late, and she hasn't seen her mother for three days. He looks over her shoulder, immediately gets suspicious.
"I thought your mom was supposed to be here."
"I lied. It was all a ploy to get you here so I could have my way with you." she pushes the door open and tips her chin in, "Come on. Don't worry, even if she doesn't show, I'll still pay you." She points to the envelope sitting on the kitchen table, discreetly tucked in by the wall. He glances at it, then back at her.
After a moment, he does step in, looking vaguely uncomfortable. "How long are you gonna make me wait?"
"An hour. You can watch TV," she points at the couch, clicks it on, and after a moment he sits, still looking kind of aggressively awkward. She gives him the remote and, when her mom doesn't show up in the next thirty minutes, some food. She watches the struggle battle with him quietly, swallowing down the greasy take-out, when her mother walks in.
She's actually shaking.
"Mom," Olette says, surprised, because she's kind of already given up, "Hey, mom, this is Seifer—"
"I—" her mother's lips curl, looking Seifer over. He just stares back, "Who?"
"My…my boyfriend," Olette hesitates over the word, but Seifer doesn't say anything. Her mother's eyes skitter from Olette's face to Seifer, to skimming the room. She picks up the food off the table and starts cramming it down.
"You're having a boy over?" she asks Olette, like Seifer isn't sitting right there, and Olette feels her mouth dry up.
"Yeah. You wanted to meet him. This was our…bonding night-thing." She swallows. Her mother's fingers twitch at her sides, and her eyes hit the calendar. Face blank, she rips it down off the wall.
"Don't lie to me. We wouldn't. Not on this day." Her mother sounds—angry. And suddenly, suddenly it is all just too much.
"What day." Olette says, and it is not a question. Her mother's knee jitters, everything within her shakes, and she's exactly the kind of cheap sleaze found rolling in gutters.
"It's September fourteenth," her mother says sharply, clearly, "It's the day your father left us." She pulls her purse higher onto her arm, opens the door, and walks neatly back out.
Beside her, Seifer is so tense Olette's surprised he hasn't started breaking things. And the thing is, she doesn't care. She just doesn't care.
"He didn't leave me," she yells, runs to the door and sticks her head out, screams down the landing to her mother, her mother climbing into the stranger's care. She doesn't even recognize herself, this hate, "He left you!"
Her father didn't leave her. Her father didn't leave her.
Just like she always does, her mother leaves. Olette watches the car's taillights weave away through the buildings, until the pounding bass line is gone, and she doesn't have any excuse for why her chest is shaking.
Her hands tighten around the door frame, and she turns back to the couch. She isn't going to cry.
"I guess you can go now," she says quietly. Seifer glances at the TV, back at her.
"One sec. The round's almost over."
"Sure." Olette says numbly, and sits back down beside him. She watches the screen buzz, but doesn't actually see what's happening. After a minute it's apparently over, because Seifer gets up, and clicks it off. She stands, heading to the kitchen and—stopping.
"Oh, God. She took it."
Seifer pauses, glancing at her. He looks strangely angry, but she gets the feeling it's not at her. "You're serious?"
Olette closes her eyes. "Look, I'm—I'm sorry. I don't have anymore munny. I'll get a job over the weekend and pay you sixty, okay?"
Seifer studies her for a moment, and then rolls his eyes like he's just sick of the whole, stupid thing, "Oh, whatever. Screw it."
He leaves before she can say anything like thanks, and for a minute, she listens to herself breath, rattling around in her lungs before she lets it out.
A little voice inside of her whispers that they aren't coming back.
She gets her paper airplane and runs to Sunset Hill. All the way, no stops, flat out, almost crushing the blue-veined paper between her sweaty hands. She gets to the top and leans out, recklessly far, holds her breath and listens as the train rattles ever closer. She jerks back her arm and hurls the little plane, then watches the scrape of paper soar furiously against the winds, further and further until the train rushes past, and it slips beneath the wheels.
She stands waiting until the last car has passed, then peers fervently down, but can't spot her paper airplane anywhere.
So, that's gone too.
She sits next to Pence on Monday morning, her mouth all full of sawdust. She keeps talking to Hayner and him like it's easy, like it's the most natural thing in the world. Pence notices, she knows, but he doesn't say anything. It's good, because Hayner would pry, but Hayner doesn't notice, and Pence doesn't ask.
She sits in the back of the room and counts out her munny. She had promised, after all, and it wasn't like she wanted to be in debt to Seifer, of all people. She's so engrossed in her work that she doesn't notice the paper airplane drifting lazily through the air until it hits her in the back of the head. She jumps, spins, and manages to catch it before it falls.
The paper crinkles when she unfolds it, and with a jolt she recognizes her own handwriting, then glances down to her doodle, to find if altered. Two keys, notably different in design, now labeled. She squinted, oddly calm at its completion, and tried to make out the word scribbled beneath the new key.
Olette swiveled, peering behind her, only to find that no one was there. Just a row of empty desks. Finally, she looked back to her paper, tracing the words writ there, and wondered if she had it in her to believe in someone again. If maybe this was what she had been missing. If this was what she had forgotten.
She was so ready to remember.
She ran her fingers over the drawing once more, then slid the paper into her pocket.