A/N: Again, so sorry for the extremely late updates. I blame my English class and its dreadfully long research papers… bah… The next update may be slightly faster, since school ends in a few weeks 3
Disclaimer: Unfortunately, I do not own Kingdom Hearts or anything related. Those belong to Square Enix and Tetsuya Nomura.
The next few weeks were just life as usual, with the addition of Xion, of course. It kind of sucked that she didn't have the same lunch hour as me, but hey, what can you do? I wasn't complaining.
Long story-short: life was pretty good, I'm not gonna lie.
At least, until Mr. Stuart and the other gym teachers decided it would be fun for our classes to play "Capture the Flag." Some weeeird stuff happened that day.
Underclassmen against the Upperclassmen. I was practically convinced the teachers were plotting our demise.
Right, right, back to the story.
So Mr. Stuart, with his shoulder-length hair and his surfer-dude accent – seriously, who is this guy? – calls us all over after we get changed into our gym uniforms so he can take attendance. Xion comes and stands next to me as Mr. Stuart starts checking off names, and I acknowledge her with a nod and a smile. She smiles back.
"Alright, kiddos, listen up!" he calls, seriously overdoing the surfer thing, "the other teachers and I decided that today'd be more of a free day –" He paused as he was interrupted by loud cheers and sighs of relief. "Now hang on, lemme finish!" As soon as the chatter died down, he continued, "That doesn't mean we ain't doin' anything. We've decided…" Pause for effect. "…That we're going to play a friendly game of Capture the Flag with the Upperclassmen."
The protests began at the word "game" and turned into a riot at "Upper." Apparently no one really wanted to get their butts kicked by the Seniors (which is what always happens…). Then again, who'd really want to?
Apparently my disgust showed on my face, because Xion laughed. She sounded a bit nervous though; the idea must not have sounded very fun to her either. I held two fingers up to my head and pretended to pull an imaginary trigger in the traditional "kill me now" gesture; she laughed a little louder. Sora came up to us, looking like someone had just told him they were walking across a bed of nails instead of playing Capture the Flag. "WHYYY?" he whined, "Why do we have to play against the Seniors!"
"Because teachers are cruel and they want our ultimate demise!" I stated, making Sora's expression get even closer to terrified. I couldn't help but laugh at his face, and neither could Xion.
"It's not funny!" Sora complained, "We're all dead!"
"Since when were you a pessimist, Sora?" Xion pointed out, poking my brother's chest, "You're usually the happy one!"
"I know, I know! But not when—"
Mr. Stuart cut him off when he blew on his whistle, signaling for everyone to take their positions on either side of the gym.
"You all know the rules!" he called to both sides, "Run to the other side, grab a flag, and run back! Each side has three flags! As soon as you cross the line into opposing team territory, they are allowed to tag you! If you are tagged, you go to the jail! For a jailbreak, a member of your team must run into the jail! This will free all teammates, but the jailbreaker must be left behind! There is no rule breaking allowed for anyone! That means you, Seniors!" The last rule was accompanied by protests from the Upperclassman side, but Mr. Stuart merely waved them off before raising the whistle to his mouth again. "Whoever has the most flags at the end of the class period wins! On your marks! Get set—!"
No one moved.
I looked across the gym and saw Axel just standing there with his arms crossed. He looked honestly bored; when I locked eyes with him I shrugged dramatically enough so he could see me, and he replied by holding two fingers to his head. When he mouthed "Kill me now," I laughed so loudly I got odd looks from people around me. Xion must've seen the exchange, because she laughed too… Until we saw someone streak across the center line into the Upperclassmen side. A quick glance was all we needed to tell who it was, and one thought popped into my head.
Sora, you idiot!
Almost all the underclassmen saw him bolt for the flags, and unfortunately, so did the Uppers. Lucky for Sora, he happens to be the same height as me – very short – so every upperclassmen that lunged for him missed. Sora looked like he was gonna make it to the first flag, but he tripped. Out of nowhere, he just tripped! There was no one around him; it was as if he had tripped on his own shadow. He faceplanted two inches from the flag. The nearest senior, a redhead girl, bounced over to him and poked his arm, declared him "tagged," and, after hauling him up to his feet, dragged him to the jail.
I facepalmed. I'm just glad I'm the smart brother.
Xion turned and looked at me with an expression that screamed "Oops!," then ran a hand through her hair and sighed. "So… now what?"
"We need to plan a strategy," I said. "We could try sending out really fast people as decoys…"
"…and have sneakier people ninja around and steal the flags!" Xion finished. "That's an awesome idea!" Xion held up her hand and I eagerly high-fived her. Just like the good ol' days. While Sora sulked in jail and both Uppers and underclassmen got tagged all around, Xion and I spread the plan. Eventually, everyone paired up, and started trying the strategy.
Some people got close. Really close. But they'd always have to zip back to our side when five seniors would gang up on them. No one wants to get "tagged" by Seifer.
The weird part was that people kept tripping. I'm not kidding, people from both teams would be running and all of a sudden, they'd just randomly trip and fall. Most of them got tagged, but a few, including Axel, managed to escape and run back.
After a while, when the score was back to an even 3-to-3, Xion and I decided it was time to make a run for the flags ourselves. Since I'm the faster one, I would go after the flag while she acts as my decoy. We both took off at the same time, and as we approached the dividing line, I slowed down and let her run ahead. As soon as she had caught the Uppers' attention, I veered off to one side, headed for the flag on the left side.
I was literally three feet from it when I tripped. I was just like what happened to Sora; I practically tripped on air. The flag was unguarded and there was no one around, so no one could've tripped me. Unlike Sora, however, I stuck my hands out on front of me so my face wouldn't meet the floor, and tucked into a roll so I wouldn't hurt myself.
I rolled over the flag and ended up behind it with half the Uppers staring at me. Darn you, air!
In the few seconds I had to think between when the Uppers finally registered my presence and when they started moving towards me, I had to decide whether to take the flag or make a run for the other side, the safe side. Right as Seifer broke into a deadly run towards me, a black-haired blur sped past me – right into the jail. A shrill whistle sounded, and every single underclassman that had gotten tagged was immediately freed. I took advantage of the confusion to grab the flag and get the hell out of there, and once I was safe on my own side, I waved it victoriously in the air. I gained both cheers and sneers – oh look, I rhymed! – and a thumbs up and a grin from Axel on the other side.
The score was now 4 to 2 – in favor of the underclassmen.
After I put the flag down and ran back up closer to the dividing line I ran into Sora, who grinned sheepishly at me. He then asked, "Hey, did you see who the jailbreaker was?" He looked slightly surprised when I shook my head, and pointed across the gym to the lone girl in the other team's jail.
I found myself staring at Xion on the other side. I raised my hands in a "What the heck?" gesture, and she just shrugged. Guess she was just trying to save me from a horrible "tag," huh? I owe her for that now.
There were no more jailbreaks and no more flag-steals, though a few more people tried. A few minutes after the mass escape, Mr. Stuart blew his whistle and stopped the game, declaring that the underclassmen were the winners – much to the Uppers' dismay. Personally, I think they're just so used to winning that they've become sore losers.
Xion made her way back over to our side – well, more like skipped over, really – dragging Axel behind her with a huge grin on her face. "I can't believe we won!" she said when she got to me. "We sure showed them, right Roxas?"
"We wouldn't have if you hadn't ninja'd into the jail!" I laughed. "In all seriousness though, you really didn't have to do that. We could've switched roles right there and you could've run off with a different flag."
"Well…" Xion's eyes darted up to Axel, who just grinned at her. "It was a split-second thing. I guess I didn't think of it, that's all."
"Looks like you decided to be the hero, huh?" Axel teased, messing up Xion's hair, "Someone's gotta save the damsel in distress, you know."
The three of us laughed. I'm gonna saound like I'm totally angsting right now,
"Well, anyway," I continued, "I still owe you for literally saving my life, Xion."
"You don' t have to do anything—" she began.
"How about this, hmm?" I looked at Axel, and he raised a curious eyebrow at me. "Ice cream after school, on me."
Both Xion and Axel's eyes lit up at my words, and I knew I'd made an offer they couldn't refuse.
By the time I reached the steps to the train station, I could see that Axel and Xion were already sitting at the top. And so, with a bag containing three Sea Salt ice creams, I ran up the steps and into the towering station, waving at the man in the ticket booth before heading for the stairs. It's a long climb, but it's always worth the effort when I know my two best friends are up there. Yeah, yeah, I know that sounded totally cheesy, but hey, it's the truth. I wouldn't run up six stories of steep stairs otherwise.
I stop and lean against the door to the outside so I can catch my breath; knowing Axel, he'd probably poke fun at my lack of athleticism (even though I can outrun him any day of the week, I just crash harder than he does).
After a few seconds, I open the door and step out onto the ledge, almost blinded by the sunset. Oh, how I love that sunset. Probably one of the best things about Twilight Town, even better than the ice cream. I slam the door to announce my arrival, and walk around the ledge to where my friends sit on the other side. As always, Xion was sitting farthest to the left, and Axel off to the right, saving me my usual spot in the middle.
Just the same as it always was.
I stepped onto the ledge and carefully sat down, trying to avoid a repeat of that near-death experience I had a few years ago.
"Well hey there," went Axel's greeting. I could tell he was staring hungrily at the bag in my hands, so I scooted a few inches away from him and held the bag up away from him, taunting him with it.
"Does Axel want some ice cream?" I asked in a sing-songy way, a huge Axel-like grin plastered onto my face.
"Yes, yes he does," he replies, reaching over to try to grab the bag out of my hand. I lean back, holding it further and further away from him until he'd have to climb over me to reach them. "Oh, come on, Roxas! This isn't funny!"
"Of course it is, it's hilarious!" The dismayed look on his face was priceless. I heard a giggle behind me and suddenly, the ice cream back was no longer in my hand. "Xion! Why're you ruining all the fun?" I half-whine, putting on the whiny teen act.
"Beacause if I had to keep looking at Axel with that look on his face, I would've fallen off the clock tower!" she replied, smiling the whole time. I rolled my eyes and snatched the bag back, removing one of the blue treats from it and handing it to Xion.
"Here you go…" I trail off, then peer back inside the bag. "Huh. That's odd. I could've sworn I bought three…"
Axel's face went from impatience to complete and utter shock and dismay. "WHAT?"
Xion and I couldn't breathe from how hard we were laughing.
"Okay guys, not funny," Axel said, crossing his arms, "I'm seriously considering shoving you two off this thing."
"But then no one'd give you free ice cream if we're dead!" Xion chirped.
"…Never sound that happy again."
I handed the second ice cream to Axel, then pulled out that last creamy treat for myself, setting the now-empty bag in the space behind me. The three of us silently agreed to simply eat our ice cream and stare at the sunset, just like we used to do years ago.
Xion was the first to finish her ice cream. She inspected the stick, and sighed upon finding that it was blank. "It's good to be home again," she remarked, looking back up at the sun. "You guys have no idea how much I missed you guys."
Axel finished his ice cream next. He turned to look at Xion and said, "Well, the two of us felt the same, you know?" he turned to me on his next sentence, "Right Roxas?"
I nodded, taking another bite out of my ice cream. I was almost done. "Of course I missed her, how could I not?"
Xion smiled. "Just making sure." She swung her legs back over the ledge and stood up, then reached down to grab the plastic bag I brought the ice cream in and tossed her stick in. "I gotta go, I have homework."
"You gonna be here tomorrow?" Axel asked, pointing his popsicle stick at her.
"I'll do my best!" she assured, then turned and went around the corner to the stairs, but not before waving goodbye.
Axel and I hung around for a while longer, just staring at the sun some more. A few minutes after Xion left, Axel stood up and stretched his arms, poked me with his popsicle stick, gave me a tired-sounding "See ya!" and left the rooftop. I was left to finish off my ice cream on my own.
Never looking away from the sun, I finish the blue treat and inspect the stick. Upon flipping it over, I saw that the word "Winner" and a small crown were inscribed on it.
"Huh," I said to myself, smiling at my prize, "Looks like today was a pretty good day, huh?"
Indeed it was, and there were more to come.
At least, before everything went wrong.
Ooh, eerie end note.
I promise I'll update faster from now on, okay? D:
More fun stuff to come in the following chapter~! I think it'll be rather enjoyable :3
Reviews are appreciated 3