Chapter 64 – The Name Game
Darkness – complete, utter darkness. Roxas heaved a sigh, knowing he would have to get used to the calignosity. The new nook where he now dwelt contained no windows, thus no moonlight was allowed in. It sported a few cracks in the walls, so some daylight could enter during the light hours. But now, as he struggled to fall into slumber, all he saw was black. The boy was only reminded of the sleeping girl next to him because her light breathing was all that was audible. Being in a remote part of town, there was no traffic noise; an occasional faint train whistle, but nothing more.
After gently planting a remorseful kiss on what he guessed was Xion's cheek, he pulled the thin blanket over his head and tried to escape the thoughts that kept pounding on the door of his mind. When in complete silence with nothing to do, it is quite a challenge to do so. His mind was soon racing with possibilities of what would happen next. All he had planned for the coming day was job-hunting.
A few hours prior, Olette had dropped off a few necessities she and her friends had munificently donated. The two were currently lying on a number of blankets, while being wrapped in another. The blankets were thin and old, but a much-welcomed alternative to the floor. Along with the blankets, they also received two flashlights. Roxas and Xion had used them to navigate around their tiny house after sundown, but they also had to conserve the battery energy. After all, they would need to use them a good number of times each day when navigating through alleys. For this reason, Roxas didn't permit himself to use them as a nightlight. Another necessity the Twilight Town teens had supplied was food and water. They left a large number of snacks the Nobodies could eat for meals until they earned the money to eat out. Quite a few water bottles were donated as well. When the water was presented to them earlier that day, Xion had come to a harsh realization – their new home contained no indoor plumbing, meaning no bathrooms. After a long debate over what should be used, Roxas finally came up with the idea of releasing their waste in the abandoned dumpster. While Xion crinkled her nose at the idea, Roxas compared it a porta potty. Neither of them were crazy about relieving themselves in a dumpster (Roxas was content with a simple plastic bottle), but it was something they would have to adapt to.
After an incalculable amount of time, Roxas' mind finally eased up and he felt a sleepy haze set in. The lullaby of his girlfriend's soft breathing aided the process, and soon he was happily in dreamland.
The next morning's routines occurred aberrantly swift. Their day started as soon as sunlight entered the tiny cracks of their hideaway. Roxas and Xion would usually snuggle for as long as they could before leaving their bed, but now they had left the bed a minute after waking. Although Xion was still drowsy while she sat on their blankets brushing her hair, she didn't complain. Roxas had a good reason for waking so early.
Roxas stood in the corner of the room farthest from Xion. Once she complied and turned her back towards him, he started to change into his disguise. "We have to hurry and leave," he expressed, slipping into his green tank-top.
Xion arose, leaving her brush amidst the tangled blankets. Her back still to him, she spoke to the wall as she replied. "I know, I know. Turn your back to me so I can dress as well."
He obeyed, but his half-on pants forced him to hop around. Practically tripping, he stopped himself before his nose collided with the wall. "Darned baggy pants…" he muttered. Glancing at the light entering the cracks, he became more anxious. "Hayner said we have to leave here when it's dark out, but we overslept!"
"You overslept," Xion corrected with a giggle, adjusting her pink and green hoodie. "I was awake an hour before you, just watching you sleep." Something had awoken her that particular morning that even she did not know. Sleepy hazes can cause you to forget things, in addition to saying or thinking stupid things. All the raven haired girl could remember was jolting awake and realizing she had rolled off the blankets and was Eskimo kissing some dust bunnies.
Roxas almost turned around in surprise but caught himself, remembering that Xion was dressing. "Really?" he inquired, slipping on a pair of yellow sneakers. "Why didn't you wake me?" Xion knew they had to sneak out under the cover of darkness – why'd she let the sun arise before them?
Xion hung her head, guilt seizing her. Roxas was now very stressed, his mind filled with worries about being caught. While she was worried as well, she understood why he was allowing it to impact him more. Being the male, he felt responsibly for her. Anything that happened to her was considered his fault. Such pressures put on someone so young were bound to make an effect. There was a reason why in modern cultures people married when they were older, wiser, and more mature. Roxas was just a fifteen year old boy, practically taking on the role of a husband. He had been taken care of by the organization for his whole short life – living on his own was quite an alteration. All Xion could do was be there for him, comforting him until he got used to his immense amount of responsibly. "I'm sorry…" she apologized. "It was dark and I didn't know what time it was."
As Roxas rested his head against the wall, his vision grew fuzzy. His yellow sneakers morphed into yellow blurs as fretfulness possessed him. Only when he felt a hand on his shoulder did his vision return to normal. After slowly turning himself around, he was greeted with the sight of Xion in her disguise clothes. However, it wasn't much of a disguise yet because her hood was not on. "You like nice…" the boy uttered, attempting to calm down. He had never seen her in that color scheme before, and although he would consider Xion beautiful even if she wore a paper bag, he had to admit it – those colors looked stunning on her. He, on the other hand, felt dorky in his colors.
Though Xion was grateful for the compliment, she ignored it; she had more important matters to discuss. Her grip on the boy's shoulder tightened as she looked directly into his eyes. "Roxas, I know how much you're worried, but you really need to calm down. Stress only clouds your mind – you can't think clearly. Please…try to calm down…"
After analyzing the genuine concern in Xion's eyes, Roxas' gaze returned to his sneakers. "I'll try…" he muttered.
Xion pulled him into a brief half-hug before walking back to where their items were stored. "And don't worry," she added, carefully examining the sunglasses that were given as a part of her disguise. "It's only barely light out. The shadows are probably as dark as ever."
Roxas nodded in agreement and then slipped his beanie over his hair carefully, as not to disturb his adored spikes too much.
Once their disguises were fully on, the time came to depart. As the couple examined the small covered doorway, they could tell it wasn't going to be an easy task.
"Here, let me try something," Roxas requested. Xion took a step back and watch inquisitively as he kneeled in front of the door. In experiment, he turned the tiny lock on the knob, unlocking the door. However, when he attempted to open it, it only opened a crack. Roxas felt Xion's presence draw nearer as he slipped his hand through the crack. "I feel the dumpster!" he declared. He placed his inside hand flat against the door to keep balance while his outside hand exerted force on the dumpster. After a few grunts and odd expressions, his ears were met with the much-welcomed sound of rolling wheels. More dim light streamed into the room.
After the two Nobodies had crawled their way out into fresh air, Roxas was sure to lock the miniature door and replace the dumpster.
A flashlight was not required to navigate through the shadowy alleys of Twilight Town, but there was enough darkness to conceal them. Once they had traveled far enough away from their dwelling, they began to take more common roads. There was no danger in being seen now that they didn't look like themselves. Since they had received their disguises from genuine Twilight Town citizens, they wouldn't look out of place either.
As they headed for Tram Commons, they found themselves on a quite populated street. Tiny dogs roamed free as many people walked about. Xion smiled and nodded her head slightly to a group of children playing hopscotch on the sidewalk. A pair of elderly women, most likely twins, waved to them as they passed. Canaries were perched on street lamps, chirping ardently. It seemed like everyone on the street, save a few grumpy middle-aged folk, were outside enjoying the fair weather.
"Everyone here is so friendly," Xion whispered to Roxas, waving at a nice-looking couple.
Roxas smiled in agreement, taking interest in a certain terrier chasing its tail. "They are. It's nice to be out in the open for a change." Being a member of a secret organization had its disadvantages. The only people in Twilight Town the two were familiar with were Hayner, Pence, and Olette – certainly not the only pleasant folk in the community. How much were they missing out, not living a normal teenage life? Roxas wondered if maybe this change was for the better. While he missed Axel and a few other members, he couldn't help but consider the possibilities – was he going to enjoy this new life more? Or was the old life what was meant for him? Did he want or need the old life alive again? It was only his second day away from home, but he couldn't help wondering what the future held.
After passing three elderly women discussing things over tea and fruit tarts, they turned onto a more secluded street. It wasn't as ghetto as the alleys near their home, but no one was on it. Because nobody else was around, they could speak more freely. Thus began their mental quest for aliases.
Roxas stroked his chin with his thumb in deep concentration. It took a few moments of vigorous searching through his mental 'data banks' before a thought dawned upon him – he didn't know of many names.
Xion turned her head and looked at Roxas from under her oversized hood. "So have you come up with any names we could use?" she asked in a quiet voice. Even though they seemed to be alone, she was cautious about preserving their identities.
Roxas shook his head somberly. "No," he responded, watching the brick patterns change as they walked along. "All the names I know of belong to people. Yeah, the people here don't know an Aladdin or a Hercules or a Peter Pan, but those names aren't common Twilight Town ones. And we obviously can't take any of the member's names, or Hayner's, Pence's, or Olette's."
Xion nodded in agreement. "You're right," she spoke. While she tried to conjure up any usable names from her memory, her eyes scanned the scenery. The desolate street they walked on was narrow and rather cluttered. Miscellaneous articles of trash were strewn about the firebrick path. A short ways away, Xion noticed a green trash receptacle lying on its side. Either the wind had knocked it down, dispersing the trash, or someone did. Her blue eyes were constantly in motion, performing another silent recon. The information she gathered about those people's way of life by just looking around fascinated her. There were so many other cultures out there, totally different from anything she was used to. A new thought entered her mind as they continued to walk on – Vexen's lectures. She was surprised to realize that the thoughts about recons that were just in her mind were taken from the lectures she would sit and yawn through. And now she was fascinated by the topic. After a little more thought, she figured it was more interesting because she was experiencing it on her own, not being forced to do it. A glimpse of something orange and yellow then brought her mind to a whole new topic. There, among the strewn trash, was a sea salt ice cream wrapper. With a soft tug on the hem of Roxas' tank, she gained his attention and directed it to the wrapper.
Upon seeing the wrapper, an image passed through his mind – one of him, Axel, and Xion joking around and eating ice cream on the clock tower. A dull pain arose in his gut. He turned his focus away from the litter and onto the raven-haired female. "Do…do you think we'll ever be able to eat that stuff again?" he ventured, a soft poignant haze in his eyes.
Xion smiled lightly, hoping to brighten the mood. Her fingers gently curled around his hand. "I'm not going to give an over-emotional speech about keeping hope alive, but I believe so. Though we can't now, because it'll be a dead giveaway, we'll eventually be able to."
Roxas' lips arched into a gentle grin as he lightly squeezed Xion's hand. "Yeah. Let's continue to see if we can think up some new names." Although his hunt had thus far been in vain, he hoped Xion's would prove more fruitful. As they returned to their silent brain-racking, his eyes followed the trash they bypassed. Once a grayish piece of paper caught his eye, he paused to investigate. Xion stopped as well, curious as to what Roxas had found. "Looks like an old newspaper," he observed, picking it up cautiously by a corner.
Intrigued, Xion stepped closer. "What's the date on it?" she inquired.
Holding it up by two corners, Roxas shook off small pieces of unknown debris from the newspaper. In attempt to answer Xion's question, he rotated it a few times until it was right-side-up. He brought the paper closer to his face, for the writing he was looking for was too small to read normally. The tip of his tongue slid out of the corner of his mouth while he squinted his eyes, striving to make sense of the grungy characters. The dark shades he wore made it even more difficult to read, but he felt safer with them on. "Hm. I guess it's not as old as I thought," he notified. "It looks like yesterday's date."
Xion took a few steps closer until she was alongside him, peering at the newspaper. "Interesting. I wonder if it mentions Heartless problems. I really hope not, or organization members will be sent here," she commented quietly.
"Organization XIII members will be sent here anyway," Roxas whispered back, turning the page. He began to inspect it for any articles about Heartless. "It's one of their known worlds, and search parties will be sent out everywhere. We'll just have to lay low or be really good actors. As we walked through the streets, I noticed a few things about Twilight Town accents. For one, they pronounce-" However, he cut himself short when something on the page jumped out at him. "Hey, look over here!"
Moving even closer to get a good look, she was almost stepping on his foot. But Roxas was too occupied to notice. "What, what?" number XIV asked eagerly. "Something about Heartless?"
"Nope," Roxas answered. "But I think our name problems are over!" He pointed his index finger to a section on the wrinkly paper. There were two long columns with titles over them, reading "boy" and "girl". The main title of the section was "The Hottest Twilight Town Names of Today".
"Perfect!" Xion enthused, grabbing a corner of the newspaper to help support it. After reading a few of the names listed, she commented, "Well, I've never heard of these, but it says here that they're the 'latest thing'. I'm sure these are just what we need." She reviewed the size of the columns, picking out a few names to read as she went. Her nose crinkled as she came across a certain one. "Ew…Delyse. I'm glad there are a lot of names to choose from."
Roxas' head nodded in accordance. "Yeah, I'm not too crazy about some of these names myself." As they started to go through the list, Roxas began to realize it would take some time to find names they liked. So far none of them were really impressive. Glancing around the scenery, he located a wooden bench on the side of the walkway. It looked quite inviting to his aching arches. "C'mon, let's take a seat," he suggested. "This may be a while." Hooking his arm around her waist, he brought her over to the bench. They seated themselves simultaneously and continued to read the name list.
Most of their name reading was done in silence, each of them concentrating on their own column. Only on a rare occasion would they see what the other thought of an iffy name, though they never came across one that they were sure about. Some names were so odd that they weren't even sure how to pronounce them. Sure, their names - as well as the organization member's names - were strange, but they were used to them and knew how to pronounce them.
After going through about half of the list, Xion decided to express some more of her feelings about the names she read. Although she had been concentrating, the silence was starting to annoy her. The only noises they had heard since they stopped vocalizing were a few distant trail whistles and random far-away words of the shoppers in the next sector; the most memorable being "Hey, Hue, look at this lamp shade!" Coming across a particularly abnormal name, she broke the silence. "Twyla…?" she stumbled, not exactly sure how to correctly pronounce it. "Twilight Town sure has some odd names."
Roxas released a chuckle. "Heh, tell me about it. Would anyone really want to be named Manville? It sounds…"
"Like a village full of men," Xion finished humorously. Turning her attention back to the listing, she became aware of something. "These names aren't even in alphabetical order…" After a moment of consideration, she added onto that thought. "Well, not that it really matters. It's not like I have a favorite letter or anything."
"Same," Roxas added pleasantly. After passing over 'Emory', 'Hobart', and 'Iggy' on the list, his eyes locked onto a certain name that tickled his fancy. "Hmm…Bladen. Sounds nice."
Xion's eyes left the girl column and focused attention on the boy names. Once she found the name 'Bladen', she looked up at Roxas. "Yeah, it does sound pretty nice," the girl approved. She took a long look at the 'new' Roxas – beanie, sunglasses, and all. "And you do look kinda like a Bladen in that outfit."
A wide grin bejeweled Roxas' face. "Okay. Bladen it is," he decided pleasingly. The name reminded him of long pointed swords, which was something he took interest in – though no one would really guess it, since he only fought with a keyblade. That aspect served well, for the name he chose wasn't a totally telltale sign of his identity. He waited eagerly for Xion to find a new name, hoping she would enjoy it as much as he enjoyed his.
Xion returned Roxas' grin, but not in size. Hers was fainter. Even though she had no objection to the name, she was hesitant about the whole thing. Its necessity was a fact she cognized, but she wasn't sure if she would be able to get used to it. She adored Roxas' name and to her, he would always be a Roxas. He could never be anybody else. Apprehensive thoughts spiraled through her mind. Would she get used to calling him Bladen? Would she ever accidentally slip up and call him Roxas? Would she blow their cover?
"Found one yet?"
Roxas' voice liberated Xion from her grasping worries. She quickly looked up to meet his gaze, not wanting to show any sign of distress. Roxas would just get all worried after he had finally started to calm down. "Huh? Oh, nope. Not yet." She looked back down at the paper, noticing her finger's position. "I'm almost at the bottom."
Roxas looked over at her column in interest. "Here, I'll try to help you…" His gaze locked onto her finger and then trailed down below it. "What about the name…Jetta?" Before Xion even had a chance to respond, he spoke again. "Nah, you don't look like a Jetta…Hmm…" Thus the hunt continued. A few moments later, he found another suggestion. "Cherry?" This time he let Xion reply.
Number XIV shook her head. "Nah, too edible," was her response. Once Roxas had suggested a few more names she wasn't fond off, she decided to try seeking once again. Her azure eyes peered out from under her hood, inwardly pleading for the right name to jump out at her. And, much to her surprise, it did. "Hmm…I kinda like 'Lexi'," she mused.
Roxas looked up from the ratty newspaper, contemplating the suggestion. He turned his sights to Xion, examining her in the manner she had previously done. It took him a lengthy silent period before he finally came to a decision. "Yeah, it fits. I like it." He smiled warmly at her.
"Okay," Xion concluded. She crumpled up the newspaper and slipped it into hoodie pocket, figuring it might come in handy if they ever forget their aliases.
Roxas' grin expanded as he began to speak in an overly-dramatic voice. "From now on the world will know us as Lexi and Bladen, the epically awesome kick-butt couple from Twilight Town!" He stood up from the bench, throwing a fist up into the air. Xion looked up at her bizarre friend, raising an eyebrow. Noticing her expression, he drew back, retaking his seat. "Or, you know, Lexi and Bladen, the average teenage couple from Twilight Town." This time his voice was much quieter and less enthusiastic.
Xion was nodding in satisfaction when she noticed something in what Roxas had said. "Oh, if we're supposed to be an average teenage couple, then we better do it right." She stood up from the bench and dramatically threw her right arm up, bringing the back of her hand to her forehead. "Oh, Jacob, how could you do this to me?" she cried in a mockingly over-emotional voice. "I give you the best days of my life, and what do you do? You dump me! We had been going out for, like, ever! Today was going to be our two-day anniversary! But no…! You know what I'm going to do? I'm going to get REVENGE. Yes, revenge, Jacob!" She threw her arms wildly around as if they were noodles. "I'm going to go on Facebook and post a breakup song by a popular singer as my status! And I'm going to like lots of passive-aggressive pages! Because you hurt me so much, Jacob!"
By the time Xion finished her dramatic presentation, Roxas was in the middle of a laughing fit. When he finally managed to calm himself down, he asked, "What on earth was that?"
Xion shrugged, sitting back down next to him. "I was watching TV one day when I came across a show where that happened. I asked Axel what it meant, and he said it was the average teenage couple's lifestyle," she explained.
Roxas let out a final chuckle. "That's a really great mockery. And from what I've seen on TV, it's pretty spot-on," he complimented. He thought back to an instance where he came across a show called "There's No Difference between Love and Hate". All he could remember from the show were some people who didn't even look human – their faces were either too pale or too rosy, they had dark rings around their eyes, and their lips were always a saturated color. All the girls would ever do was yell at their boyfriends, cry, and dump sodas on their heads. All the guys would ever do was yell back at their girlfriends, complain about girls being unreasonable, and flirt was other obscenely dressed women. He was incredibly grateful that his relationship with Xion was nothing like that. Turning his attention back to the present, he remembered what their next task was. "So, Lexi, shall we begin our job hunt?" he asked Xion, trying out her new name.
Xion turned her body so that she was sitting sideways on the bench, facing Roxas. "Okay, Bladen," she answered simply. However, when she started to move in closer to him, Roxas became confused. What was with the sudden affection? He hadn't even said anything romantic. Xion's face continued to inch closer until they were nose-to-nose. Placing her forehead against his, she gazed into his stunningly deep blue eyes. "Even though I'll have to call you Bladen," she began in a very soft voice. "You'll always be my Roxas. Always."
Roxas' eyes slowly shut, reveling in the peaceful moment. "And you will always be my…Xion," he whispered back, savoring the feeling of the name roll off his tongue. He knew it'd be a while before he'd be able to freely say his favorite person's name again.
- I'm sorry if you don't like the names Lexi and Bladen, but they were the best I could find. I'll always love Roxas and Xion's names much much more, but the aliases seemed necessary. Everyone has different name preferences, so obviously I can't please everyone.
- I'm also sorry if your name happened to be one of the ones Roxas and Xion didn't like. The way I picked them was I found a list online of least common names and chose from there. I personally don't know anyone with those names.
- The reason the guy's name was Jacob in Xion's dramatic teenage life mock scene is because it was on the top of the list of the most popular guy names I found.