That took me awhile to update... but to be fair, I'm kind of hopeless when it comes to updating!

You were warned!


I'm back, and we can continue with the creepy.

Er, I mean Roxas.

Same thing, right? (:

So now that you have a little bit, this is where things will start picking up... a lot of plot is involved in this so please pay attention!

Enjoy! :)

"Don't you dare try to have a party while we're gone, Reno."

"I know, I know… I'll behave better than an eagle scout, mother."

"If your smart ass remarks don't stop I'm going to ask your uncle to come over and check on you each night. Maybe, if he can, he'll sleep over to ensure that you don't participate in any orgies while we're away."

"I'm an adult, mother. I think I can handle a couple weeks alone. I don't know why you're making such a big deal about this. You left me home alone when I was eight for a month before you remembered to call and make sure I was still alive. I could have starved to death if the chef hadn't remembered I was actually living here."

"You got that innocent maid pregnant! It took a good couple of thousand dollars to keep her from telling the tabloids about your drunken escapades. And now we're paying for a condo in Puerto Rico so she can live there with her child and keep her from ruining our reputation!"

"You're under a serious misconception, mother… that maid is anything but innocent."

Reno's mother glared at him, her cheeks turning red in frustration. Reno wasn't scared by her glare though. He was used to his mother lecturing him for hours on end about how he was behaving. After the first couple times he'd been yelled at, the value of her opinion wore down and for the most part her words went in one ear and out the other.

"Don't feed me that bull Reno Sinclair or I'll-"

"You don't even know if it's my son… she had about four other boyfriends. I was just one hell of a lucky one night stand. And it just so happened that I was the richest one to screw her." Mrs. Sinclair, Cassandra to those who knew her personally, clutched her latest Prada bag tightly in her perfectly manicured acrylic nails.

"I'm warning you, Reno… you're going to be the head of your father's empire soon. I'd suggest that you clean up your act before the public sweeps our reputation out from under us." She warned, lips pursed. Reno just shook his head at that, glancing at her drolly before turning his head back to the TV.

"You know he's not going to make me the president. I'll probably get some sort of dinky accountant job even though I suck at math." He shrugged and tried to pay attention to the amusing way that The Hills portrayed his lifestyle. They acted like the littlest things mattered, like when the dry cleaners messed up the clothes they were supposed to clean. In reality, a truly dignified rich person wouldn't throw a fit.

No, they'd just buy the dry cleaning business and then shut it down as punishment for the mistake.

"Reno," Cassandra sighed, grabbing her iPhone from her bag, scrolling through her texts, "I don't understand how you can think so little of him. Your father is a good man and will treat you fairly. You're his son, after all."

"Yeah?" Reno looked over at her, a smirk playing about his mouth like he was going to laugh. "How's that bruise, mother? I see you're wearing your longer, wool jacket even though it's only fifty degrees outside. You're not trying to hide something, are you?" It was a low blow to make, especially since the bruise was fresh, but Reno didn't care. He couldn't stand how silly or insipid his mother could be at times, and he wanted to see the ending to The Hills. If Heidi didn't get her issue with her husband taken care of before the next commercial, there would be hell to pay.

Sure enough, all of the color drained from Cassandra's face, save for the artificial coloring that the makeup gave her. There were two splotches of pink on her cheeks and a light shadowing around her eyes, but other than that she was pale and mortified. Feeling success at shutting her up, Reno looked back lazily at the TV where Heidi was at dinner with her husband, discussing some sort of childish problem that seemed to matter a great deal to him.

"… I'll be back soon. No parties, Reno. I mean it this time." Cassandra finally managed to say as she caught her breath and put her designer Prada glasses on. She didn't waste her time with a kiss goodbye –not that he wanted one anyway –and turned quickly on her Steve Madden heel, fleeing the room before Reno could say anything else to make her feel like trash.

Satisfied, Reno slid down farther on the antique divan, relishing in Spencer's inward suspicions that Heidi was attempting to get pregnant as she refused the alcohol and instead opted for the sparkling water. Idly, he toyed with one of his ear piercings that he'd gotten one drunken evening and pulled his phone out, scrolling through his contacts. As he let go of his earring, he made a noise of approval, stopping at someone he actually cared about, pressing the send button on the screen and turning it on speakerphone.

"Rude here," Rude announced in his deep, monotone voice, as if Reno expected someone else.

"You really need to stop doing that." Reno informed him, grinning and toying with the edge of the wool throw blanket the maid had laid across the back of the divan.

"Stop what?"

"If I thought it was someone else, I'd have called a different number. Since it's your number I called, I was expecting you. Therefore you don't have to announce that it's you." Reno replied, his smile growing as he began to feel better. If there was one person he could rely on to lift his spirits, it was Rude. Without ten words being spoken by him, Reno knew everything was alright.

"You're an ass." Rude retorted calmly, but Reno heard the smile in his voice as well.

"I want to have a party tonight." He announced, instead of responding to the jab that wasn't designed to hurt. Watching Spencer complain about something or other that didn't matter, he waited to see if Rude had plans.

"Want me to call the usual?" Rude asked, indicating that he was free. Feeling triumphant, Reno's grin became smug and arrogant.

"Call more than the usual… I want this house so full of human bodies that it's illegal. Hell, bring in the annoying frat boys from the University down the road. They'd love to see the inside of this crib. And make it a strictly BYOB event… I'll have the DJ, the music, the food… but the alcohol in this house is off limits. Mother dearest put a lock on it."

On the television screen, Spencer showed Charlie an empty pregnancy test box, his horrified face overly comical. After a moment of realizing his wife was attempting to get pregnant, Spencer began rambling in a paranoid way that his children would spawn to life and murder him.

It then cut to commercial.

"So let me-"

"DAMMIT!" Scowling at the TV, Reno sat up and held the phone in his hand as he muted the television. "Why can't he just be normal and have children?"

"It's a reality TV show, Reno, if they behaved like normal people then no one would want to watch them." Rude replied calmly, already knowing about the Spencer and Heidi baby scare from Reno's past grumblings on the matter. Dissatisfied with the lack of a resolution, Reno turned the TV off and gave his full attention go Rude, scowling.

"I was thinking we'd start it at eleven… it'll take a few hours of preparation but I think we can do this." He kept going with the previous conversation, standing up and sauntering out of the entertainment room, wandering down the hallway of his home to find the chef and get a snack. "This should be a masquerade, okay? No one's allowed inside of this house without a proper mask on. Dress up as well. Even the frat boys have to dig through their lair of filth for a suit."

"Of course," Rude replied dryly.

"This is going to be big… it's going to be bigger than any other party I've ever thrown." Reno declared.

"Not counting your future parties; you never know how those will turn out."

"I want these walls to shake with music, bass, cheering, and so many orgies going at once that it makes a porn shop look like a child's candy store." The more Reno discussed how his party would be, the more excited he got. By ten o'clock at night his mother would be aboard a flight to Milan with Reno in the farthest corner of her mind and all of the doors to his domain would be open for any person willing enough to enter. It would be beautiful and horrific at the same time, twisting and churning in a mass of young adults all throwing themselves at anyone who will take them.

Reno couldn't wait.

"I'll see who we can scrounge up on such short notice." Rude replied, a grin in his voice at Reno's excitement.

"Make sure Roxas and Axel are here, too. If they're here, then half of their private school will be here, too." He ordered.

"Sure thing,"

"And Naminé… she's such a sweet girl."

"I'll get a huge group, Reno. You know you can count on me." Rude finally managed to say once Reno went quiet. Reno laughed a little and wandered into the kitchen where the chef was busy preparing the lunch for him and the random people that visited the house for reasons Reno couldn't fathom.

"I know I can count on you… and I know they'll all come. There are few in this town that don't want to be me."Reno whispered, speaking to himself more than Rude. The chef quit working once he saw Reno standing there and looked at him expectantly, folding his arms. The chef was very familiar with Reno's likes and dislikes in regards to food and he knew that there was never a small order when it came to this young man. Leaning against the smoothed rock counter, he waited for him to grace them with another large order of food.

"The only ones that don't want to be me are the ones that know me." Reno added on, scowling and hanging up, sliding his phone into the pocket of his hand stitched blazer. He knew Rude wouldn't care that he hung up. And even if he did, it wasn't that big of a deal. If Rude brought it up, Reno would dismiss his words and move onto a topic much more worthwhile.

Like the party he was going to have in spite of his mother.

"I'm going to have a party tonight." He announced to the chef and the cooks. "I'm going to need small finger foods, cakes, sandwiches, treats… you know the list."

"By what time?" The chef asked, studying Reno carefully.

"Tonight at eleven is when it officially starts… moochers show up early though, so have it ready by eight." Reno shrugged carelessly, ignoring the stares he was receiving from the staff.

"It will be done." The chef replied, keeping his own facial expression schooled to a nonchalant stare. His workers, however, surrounded him, watching Reno with matching stares of horror and indignation. Usually he gave at least a day's warning before they were expected to create perfection, but here he was in their domain, their kitchen, demanding something that might not be able to be accomplished.

"Yes, or you're fired." Smiling charmingly at the chef, Reno turned and sauntered out, grabbing a granola bar on the way, opening it and devouring it quickly, tossing the wrapper into a solid platinum trashcan.

As he made his way to the small Japanese style veranda that his mother simply just "had to have," Reno couldn't help but smile with excitement at the thought of what was going to happen tonight. Once again, he would be made the center of attention and once again everyone would grasp for his name and status.

Once again, they'd all be denied.

Well, maybe not everyone, Reno decided as he sat down on the wooden floor, staring into the small courtyard with a pond. He knew that some of the elites that would attend wouldn't mind much whether they were him or not. Roxas, Axel, Naminé, Kairi, Sora and Riku would be able to manage on their own as far as he was concerned. They were just as high as him on the food chain.

But the others would be near salivating if he turned an eye towards them.

"Yeah, they all want to be me…" Reno mused to himself, frowning. "That is, until they know me."

The overhead lights were dimmed and the strobe lights flashed. Bass filled each and every crevice of the room, thrummed in each and every vein, pounded in each and every ear. The flashes of bodies were close together and bright, white teeth clashing through the darkened atmosphere in smiles and laughter. The dance floor was packed with bodies, the air hot with sweat. Desire rippled along the skin of every single person, and in every intake of breath there was desperation to be seen and approved of. There was a heavy scent of beer and vodka, mixed with the thick stench of smoke that suffocated one if they breathed too deeply. Among that however, was the sweet odor of marijuana that lightened everyone's senses and left guests feeling buzzed beyond their wildest dreams.

The party had just started.

Reno watched his creation thrive and grow before his very eyes, a self-satisfied smirk stealing over his lips. He was surrounded by his friends in a corner of the room, a drink in hand and a full face renaissance mask covering his true identity. He'd even let his longer hair out of the ponytail it was usually tied in, the thick strands laying over his silk vest and polyester dress shirt. Though he felt more like he was wearing a costume, Reno knew it was an appropriate clothing choice for the animals watching his every move. His long fingerless gloves with real, thin, gold chains hanging from them suggested that he was verging "punk rock" with enough class to show that he wasn't.

By tomorrow almost everyone would be wearing something similar.

The room shook with the amount of noise that was pressing against the walls and the list of invites hadn't yet been all checked off. The main people that truly mattered had yet to show and he could hardly wait for them to. Once they did, then things would begin to be fun.

"Reno, your party is going to be out of control." Rude informed him quietly, speaking next to his ear so he could actually be heard. Reno laughed and shook off the less than subtle warning, downing his drink and setting the glass down on the nearby table.

"Nonsense!" He declared, laughing. "This is going to be the party of the century. All sorts of scandals will occur here… see that girl?" He wrapped an arm around Rude's shoulders and nodded to a girl that was gyrating on another girl, a boy behind the both of them, egging them on and attempting to dance with them. "She's the mayor's daughter."

"Your point?" Rude raised an eyebrow and looked at Reno for an explanation.

"This is my point." Reno replied coyly, pulling out a camera and taking a picture, studying it carefully. "I don't really care for her father's politics."

"You're not going to blackmail the mayor."

"Then again, I might." Reno laughed, raising his arms up and smirking. "Who is going to stop me?"

"Naughty Reno; always getting himself into trouble." A smooth, arrogant voice crooned from behind them. Turning, Reno laughed as he saw Roxas and Axel, identical smirks crossing their faces. They were dressed somewhat similarly with black Dior suits and silk cravats instead of ties. The only differences would have to be that Axel sported a blood red mask of velvet with black beading along the edges and Roxas favored a light blue and silver silk one that was tied together with a satin lace.

Reno was struck with how at home they seemed on the dance floor, everyone's eyes on them. Apart from Reno himself, they were the most sought after and desired men in the area because of what their credit cards could supply.

Both were equally ruthless because of it.

"I just can't help myself; you know how I am." Reno exclaimed, clasping hands with each of them in greeting, handing them both drinks to ensure they were properly fueled.

"An addict for the illegal pleasure." Roxas nodded in agreement.

"Aren't we all?" Axel added on, gesturing to the large, heated party as he took a long drink from the liquor in his hand. Wincing slightly at the acrid taste he took another long gulp and finished it off, wincing and setting the glass down. Reno wasn't exactly sure what drink he'd handed them, but he did know that it was strong enough for one small glass to leave someone buzzed in less than five minutes.

"Some of us can exhibit some sort of self control." Rude disagreed, smirking as his response was met with exclamations of dismay and disbelief.

"Fool! I'd like to see you control yourself at least once." Reno protested loudly, pointing at Rude accusingly. Laughing, Roxas nodded along.

"Or turn down Reno when he's drunk and clearly needing a quick fix in his pants." He added, taking a long drink of his alcohol. Unlike Reno and Axel though, he didn't wince or bite his lip to suppress the disgusting burn that slithered down his throat. Something that Reno had noticed was that recently Roxas had become immune to any sort of pain. When his foot was trodden upon he didn't wince or cry out; he merely worried that the scuff wouldn't come out. Once at the hibachi restaurant, he was burned by the fire flaring up from the grill, and he merely studied the burn, eyes darkening in interest as he contemplated it. It was as if he was distanced from physical lashings or agony.

Or it was possible that he relished in it.

"The pot is calling the kettle black." Rude retorted evenly, taking a sip of his light beer.

"That is the only way I know it's true. It takes one to know one." Roxas replied smugly.

"Gentlemen, gentlemen…" Axel interjected before Rude could truly become angered with Roxas' jibes. "We are civil, aren't we? We just came to greet the host, and we were going to go ravage the clearly desirous animals that are lonely on the dance floor."

Reno glanced towards the dance floor where several girls were eying their small group as if it were a buffet. Seeing that their eyes were specifically for Roxas and Axel, he laughed and nodded.

"Yes, we're civil! Go, enjoy your time… if you need anything, don't bother to ask. Your house is my house." He prodded them towards the dance floor, adjusting his mask carefully as someone accidently jostled him and made it askew slightly. Roxas nodded and gazed at the dance floor, eyes dark with interest and desire.

"It's always a pleasure to be at one of your lively parties, Reno." He replied, adjusting his own silver and blue mask before easing his way back into the crowd, going straight for what appeared to be Naminé in an angelic dress of crème and gold. Axel nodded in agreement, pulling out a small box of Djarum Black cigarettes, lighting one and blowing the smoke out.

"I'll see you around." Axel informed him before heading towards the group of girls that he had previously mentioned. His shoulders were set in a confidant way, his back straight and his eyes narrowed and cat-like as he studied his prey. It was a prowl that Reno recognized as one similar to his own, and he could respect it.

"I can't stand them." Rude informed Reno the moment they were gone. His lips were pursed in annoyance as he studied Roxas, and Reno turned to see Roxas dancing closely to Naminé, smiling a coy, smooth smile that promised everything but would give nothing.

"It doesn't matter what you like or not, Rude. They're my guests, and I'll treat them the way that they treat me; as equals." Reno snapped, turning to study him, annoyed. Rude didn't retaliate or rise to his anger though; he merely continued to study Roxas with a hard stare that unnerved Reno slightly.

"He's not normal." He finally said after a few minutes. "I don't trust him."

"You're a paranoid sort of person, aren't you? So he snubbed you, big deal! That's just how Roxas and Axel are, Rude. If you're not being insulted by them, you're not being noticed by them." Reno informed him, laughing. "Lighten up, grab a drink and dance with something good looking. Preferably a person but if you don't stop acting like you have a stick up your ass you might not be able to dance with anyone."

"Just look at him for once, Reno. I mean really, really look at him. There's just something about him…"

"I see a rich, pampered, partygoer that wants to have some fun." Reno replied shortly, attempting to keep himself calm. It was hard to focus on his wildfire that was spreading through his house when Rude was rambling about his dislike for Roxas. He did that a lot, Reno had begun to notice. He had decided long ago that he didn't like Roxas and ever since then he had been somewhat cordial to him, but far from friendly.

"I see a monster." Rude responded, not missing a beat.

"You also might have taken a bit of LSD earlier… who knows what that one guy brought to the party." Reno attempted to change the subject by mentioning the notorious drug smuggler that always hit up Reno's parties, making friends and money all with one sprinkle of his magic potions that took away anyone's miseries.

"I think you should stay away from him." Rude ignored Reno's attempts to cheer him up and continued to watch Roxas, his stare harsh and cold. Becoming annoyed with Rude's cool and angry attitude, Reno rolled his eyes and adjusted his mask again.

"Go walk around the fountains for a bit." He snapped. "I'm going to go have some fun."

And before Rude could respond, Reno disappeared into the crowd of laughing, dancing bodies, throwing himself into the music and grabbing the first pretty girl he could find to grind against.

Roxas watched how her hair spun and flew about her as she moved, the light blonde streaks catching the strobe lights and the disco ball, shining brightly. Each highlight appeared to be different colors: reds, blues, purples, greens, and yellows all flew about her and landed gracefully along her shoulders and neck. She wasn't a provocative dancer that displayed herself but she was an open dancer, feeling the music and moving her body every which way she pleased.

Roxas was infatuated.

Even in the dirty, grimy dancing area where more than one couple was going at it as though it were a hotel bedroom, she lit up her small space with innocence. Her creamy dress was a princess style and her white feathered mask gave the appearance of an angel with wings. When she did manage to open her eyes, her light innocence shone through her gaze as she stared at Roxas and smiled openly, letting out a light laugh that was so different from the monstrosity around them that it almost made Roxas fall to pieces and break her in half where they danced.

But Roxas had more control than that.

Hayner was a slip-up. Roxas truly hadn't meant to kill him, but the longer they talked the more interesting and clean Hayner seemed to be.

Making him all the more in danger of Roxas' desires.

He was an upper class member of society and yet he wasn't. His family had started out as poor, desperate workers that created an empire out of luck, which bumped him to a lower class then what would seem to be his true place. And yet he seemed so unaffected by this world that he had somehow earned the right to be in that it caught Roxas' eye.

And that's when things began to unravel.

Instead of doing the natural thing and appearing in the different social settings in order to up his status, Hayner seemed to shy away from them, rejecting the usual places that Roxas figured he'd feel more comfortable in. It made his desires grow until he wasn't just thinking about it, but he was even dreaming about it, closing his eyes and imagining how it would feel to steal that light that seemed to glow from the obnoxious, loud mouthed, perfectly untainted boy…

Before he knew it, he was at the house and things just happened without his true knowledge or control.

The expensive, gaudy furniture that seemed to reek of desperation… the scowl that was mixed with surprise as he stared at Roxas from the doorway…

The curl to his dirty blonde brown hair as he raked a hand nervously through it, eyes shifting… he knew, yes, he knew something was wrong…

The marble counter top… the anger…

The curl of disgust on his lips… the twist of his body as he turned to clean up the mess…

The beer as it fell, the brackish color staining the otherwise clean floors…

And then he was dead.

If asked –though no one would ever know or think to ask –Roxas wouldn't be able to tell the entire story from the beginning to the end. He couldn't say the events moment by moment. Whenever he thought about it, all he could gather were snippets of different seconds, like the surprise on Hayner's face, or the way that he fell, his head making a sickening crack on the counter. But Roxas couldn't begin to explain how he covered up his murder, or where he got the cheap clothes that he wore and burned thoroughly afterwards before discarding them in a river as ashes.

And yet somehow he knew that at the moment of the murder, he'd been perfectly calm and calculative.

The action… was calming. More calming than anything Roxas had ever done before. Roxas knew that somehow the pressure and the storm that was raging inside of him had diminished the moment Hayner was dead and that it was somehow released from him because of his death. It was as though he was stealing the innocence and light from them and keeping it for himself.

The ironic part about the entire situation was that his brother, Cloud, was the head of the homicide unit that was investigating Hayner's unfortunate demise and had revealed to Roxas information about it. He had called him that very day to check on him and see how he was holding up home alone.

Cloud worried a lot about Roxas, especially since the "accident".

And now, as Roxas watched Naminé, he could feel the same tug as before. The same desire, the same rush through his veins as his adrenaline surged. His mouth was as dry as cotton and his vision blurred and zeroed in on Naminé, and Naminé alone. Nothing but the pure beauty could attract his attention as the noise died away from his ears and a muffled roaring took its place. He could feel the uncontrollable monster taking over his very being, and he could sense that he was losing control of himself, just like before…

Slowly, his hands closed around her pretty throat, thumb brushing gently over the fluttering pulse that vibrated fleetingly, like a birds. The shock was apparent on her face as her eyes flew open, searching his for any sign of explanation. Why was he grabbing her so violently, so dangerously? Carefully, her hands lifted, grabbed at his wrists and a tugged a little, a nervous laugh bubbling from her lips as she tried to move away without causing a scene.

With a cruel sneer, his grip tightened as he pulled her closer to his body.

"What a beautiful neck…" He whispered, gaze boring into her eyes as he stroked his thumb slowly along the arch of her pale ivory skin. She was bowed against him, eyes panicked and alarmed, searching away from him in order to find someone to help, someone to stop the madness that was emitting from him in waves. Roxas watched her face, the colors of fear brushing along her cheeks as she contemplated screaming. With a raise of an eyebrow and a shake of his head, the small chance of courage she could have had to call for help vanished and she feebly pushed at his chest, realizing worriedly that this was nothing remotely close to a joke.

He was serious.

And she was dead.

Roxas blinked and looked around the room as he danced beside Naminé, the choking sensation easing from his throat as he let out a breath that he wasn't aware he'd been holding. Clearing his throat he carefully looked down at his hands which were placed innocently on Naminé's hips, nowhere close to her neck as he'd previously thought they'd been. There was no panic in her eyes and there was no horror painted on her lips. Instead, she was dancing and laughing, completely at ease with her surroundings as she wrapped her arms around Roxas's neck and moved closer to him.

Roxas slowly stopped dancing and inhaled deeply to calm himself, trying to think carefully about what had just happened.

Or what he'd just thought happened.

He'd imagined the whole thing?

"Are you alright?" Naminé asked breathlessly, cheeks pink from exertion. Studying her face carefully Roxas could see no signs of suspicion, no signs of fear. There was total trust in him as she continued to sway to the beat, ready to begin dancing again once he was ready to. Realizing that he had in fact imagined the entire thing, an easy smile from years of practice graced his face and he kissed her cheek lightly, a smirk dominating his expression as her eyes glowed with excitement and relief that she'd just been kissed.

"Yes, of course I am… I just realized how thirsty I am. Would you like me to get you a drink as well?" He replied easily, the words slipping past his lips effortlessly. The control that he had before came surging back as Naminé, not suspecting a thing, nodded and smiled prettily.

"Yes please… just champagne? I don't want to be too drunk or anything." She laughed a light and happy laugh at the idea of being drunk, probably thinking of what it would be like to actually drink herself into oblivion.

"I'll be right back with that. Don't miss me too badly," He teased lightly before he slipped through the crowd, letting out a shaky laugh as he did so. Don't miss him too badly? The idea was laughable. Of course his perfect angel would miss him. That was the entire point of being close to her, wasn't it?

Make her want him, and then destroy her.

And yet he felt odd. The flashing lights made Roxas dizzy as he maneuvered his way through the grinding and laughing couples, slipping out of the main hall and into a less occupied hallway. There were a few people kissing and the aroma of drugs suffocated the air, but Roxas still didn't feel better. He struggled past them, tripping over someone's foot and catching himself, ignoring the startled yelp of surprise from the owner of the foot as they grabbed it and laughed drunkenly.

Finding a set of stairs Roxas ascended them, hand gripping the rail so tightly his knuckles were white, the skin stretched over the bone too tightly as he struggled to make his escape. The steps tilted every which way as he attempted to place his feet on them and with a determined scowl Roxas focused on the stairs, practically pulling himself up until he reached the top and closed his eyes, a shudder running through his body. He needed to get control of himself, and he needed to get it, now.

Rubbing his temples, Roxas focused on his breathing and studied the rich colored rug that was laid on the landing of the staircase that led to another hallway. Seeing that it was a chance to escape, he carefully headed down that way and calmed himself, focusing on the intricate patterns of leaves and vines on the wallpaper, weaving his way around the small stands of expensive pottery or plants.

Turning the corner, it was then that he saw him.

Reno began to feel tired of the night's unfolding events. The music thumped loudly, but it was as though it was too loud, screaming against his ear drums as he forced himself to move to the beat. He'd been socializing and dancing with his ever present "friends" and the novelty of all of the attention was wearing off as quickly as it started. The stench of sweat and booze was starting to give him a headache and not even the girl that was so desperate for him could shake off the dull haze that had taken over his mind.

She was beautiful; there was no doubt about that. The light brunette strands were flecked with reds and gold naturally. She had a seducer's smile and a way that she glanced at men so that they would fall to pieces and ooze at her feet in order to obtain anything she wanted. There was a word for women and men of this caliber that often joined the ranks of higher society, and Reno jokingly referred to them as "professional gold diggers".

Thankfully, Reno wasn't fooled by her and after the song he was able to laughingly turn her down. It was sad that she was so easy to spot as a fake because Reno felt that possibly something like that could cheer him up if it seemed genuine. Sighing in disappointment, Reno had to give in and head towards the bar in order to find himself something stronger to drink. Usually whenever a girl offered herself to him, Reno wouldn't mind taking them up on their offer, but he had to be drunk to do it. And right now he was far from drunk. Two drinks wasn't enough for him to say yes and have a pregnancy scare, so with a vigor that spawned from anger and vengeance, Reno eased towards the bar and smiled charmingly at the bartender.

"What'll be your pleasure, sir?" The worker asked, sliding someone else a martini before giving Reno his full attention. Seeing someone looking at him so intently unnerved Reno slightly and he shrugged nonchalantly, looking along the list of things offered. Suddenly it wasn't a drink that Reno wanted, it was peace and quiet. But how could he have peace and quiet after creating a noise that was so loud it was deafening?

Perhaps he just needed somewhere to go for a moment alone before he came back. Yes, all he needed to do was grab a drink and then one of the rooms farthest away from the party, a place to clear his mind before he threw himself back into the hustle and bustle. Deciding that this was the best option, Reno opened his mouth to answer the bartender when someone cut him off.

"Reno Sinclair, I'd recognize that vibrant colored hair anywhere." A smooth, arrogant tone exclaimed. Recognizing it immediately, Reno turned to see Rufus Shinra leaning against the bar, smirking and sporting a white suit and matching mask. Grinning even though he wanted to simply ignore him and leave, Reno shook hands with him and laughed, pushing away the annoyance that he still hadn't received his drink.

"Rufus Shinra, always a pleasure." He replied with sincerity.

"I have to hand it to you; this has got to be one of your most extravagant parties yet." Rufus complimented him, taking a drink of champagne before extending an arm towards the ever growing cloud on the dance floor. "If I had a hat, I'd take it off to you."

"If you had a hat on with that outfit, I'd take your hat off for you!" Reno joked good-naturedly, smiling. Knowing that Reno wasn't serious, Rufus laughed along with him and finished off his drink, passing it to the bartender and grabbing a new one.

"I'd hope so… if I was foolish enough to think it was alright, I'd hope my friend was smart enough to let me know it wasn't."

"A good thing Kadaj isn't your friend then. The all leather ensemble… I'm not feeling it." Reno motioned to where Kadaj was with a group of friends and his brothers, the three of them wearing nothing but leather upon leather. Shuddering, Rufus nodded in agreement and called another one of his acquaintances over, a ruthless heiress by the name of Scarlet. Seeing it as his chance to escape, Reno waved goodbye and slipped away from them before he had to hear another word from either of them.

Quickly, Reno made his way along the outer wall of the main hall and blindly grabbed a drink from a worker standing nearby with a tray of them. Sipping it, Reno smiled in relief and headed out of the house the back way, walking along the sidewalk and slipping into another room in the house where the noise seemed to shut off with an audible click of the door closing.

"Alone at last…" He quietly mused to himself, taking another sip of the champagne, smiling. It wasn't a real smile though and, after a moment of holding it in place forcefully, he let it fade to something a little more realistic and somber.

He walked from the sitting room and headed down the hall, casually sipping his drink and forcing his walk to seem light and happy. When he was far enough away from the party though, the gait became slower and more weary, his feet dragging on the carpet that depicted of dragons and floral patterns.

"Great party," He murmured to himself, leaning back against the wall and laughing. "This one will go on for centuries before another comes along better."

Instead of feeling somewhat proud of himself though, the weariness seemed to pull at him and a frown tugged at his lips. His clothing felt too constricting and hot and it felt difficult to breathe. With a suppressed groan, Reno lethargically grabbed his mask and pulled it off of his face, the silk ties holding it together coming apart easily with his sharp tug.

"What a rush…" He whispered to himself, voice low and husky. Another laugh fell from his lips, a false sound of amusement that was immediately followed by a low moan of pain as tears pricked his eyes.

"Someone save me…" He pleaded quietly.

Roxas could only stare. The breath rushed from his lungs and instinctively he took another breath in, attempting to reclaim some sense of clarity. It was as though someone had punched him in the stomach, leaving him winded and entirely too surprised to retaliate. It was surreal, and Roxas felt that somehow he had to be dreaming again –there was no way he could be seeing what he was seeing.

His lips that were usually turned and twisted into mocking laughter or amusement were pulled down into a frown, agony in his eyes. He looked well beyond his age of twenty: haunted and miserable. His fingers loosely gripped the mask that he had worn so happily before and it was as though he wanted to discard of it but couldn't find a way to. Reno seemed unaware that he was barely holding onto his champagne flute; it was turned upside down, the contents dripping slowly onto the carpet, staining it.

There were no words to describe it. Roxas felt as though he were seeing into something that was private, a moment that no one should ever witness. He had supposed that he'd known Reno Sinclair very well but no –no, he'd never known Reno at all.

The Reno he knew wore a mask.

His eyes were like glass as he let out a shaky sigh and stared up, silently pleading for something. His hands shook and his body slumped against the wall for support, too weary to continue what he was previously doing. Roxas moved closer to the wall, eyes straining to catch every detail of what he was witnessing, something inside of him forcing him to watch. He was hardly able to blink let alone breathe, unable to bear it if he missed a second.

This was the Reno that the world never saw. The raw pain that soaked his voice in agony was the true emotion behind his eyes. He was like a doll, freshly polished and locked away from the world, a collector's item that the owner couldn't bear to see tainted.

He was innocent.

He was untouched.

"Someone save me…" He whispered again, voice choked with emotion. He appeared to be waiting for something to happen or for someone to appear, but Roxas knew no one would. No one would hear his pleas just like no one would raise a hand to help him. Reno was trapped, and he was never going to escape.

Not if Roxas could help it.

Hit or Miss?

Let me know in a review!

Like I said, this has plot... now things can really start rolling!


And thank you for those who offered to be a beta for me when I posted it on Tantalize!

And thanks to Azure Teriques for being a beta for me! :)


I'll try to update soon! But we all know how those promises kind of fall flat... so I'm turning over a new leaf. I'll try to update soon!


Gotcha. :)