What I Couldn't Find.
The sun blinded me the next morning.
I groaned and rolled over, pulling a pillow over my head. When I inhaled the scent of the sheets my eyes snapped open.
This wasn't my bed.
I sat up straight and blinked the fatigue from my eyes. It took a few minutes for my brain to recognize Naminé's room.
My brain reeled back to the events of last night: I went out for dinner with Axel, Demyx, Riku and Naminé. Riku and Naminé got into a fight. I followed Naminé home in the rain. She revealed that she knew Ventus was Roxas. We had a heavy make-out session. She took me to her room.
I peered underneath the sheets to look at myself, and my eyes widened.
Did I just deflower a taken girl?
I know I've been with a lot of girls in the past but not once have I ever taken their virginity. This was the first time...and out of all times it had to be with a girl who had a boyfriend - a boyfriend who wasn't me.
As much as I loved Naminé I knew it was wrong to sleep with a girl who was currently seeing someone. I just made Naminé cheat on her boyfriend.
I was the other guy.
Wait a minute…
I turned to my side and I raised an eyebrow when I came to the realization that I was alone in a room that wasn't mine. Where did Naminé go…?
I scrambled out of bed - a bed that wasn't mine - and pulled on my boxers. I didn't even bother with the jeans since they were so tight; I figured I'd deal with them later.
Suddenly the scent of food cooking filled my senses, and my head turned towards the door. Naminé was making breakfast; it smelled like pancakes.
I ruffled my hair - which was still red, by the way - and shuffled out of her room. I slowly made my way down the stairs and into the kitchen. Naminé was humming to herself while hovering over the stove. Her back was turned to me so she didn't notice me coming in. The only article of clothing she was wearing was my plaid shirt. Her hair looked a little more tousled than usual.
Even though I couldn't see her face I was undeniably attracted to her. She was irresistible.
I slowly approached her from behind and wrapped my arms around her waist. I pressed my face into her neck, and I smiled when she giggled. I kissed her soft skin and inhaled her scent. I could get used to this.
"And good morning to you too." She murmured before turning off the stove, spinning around and nudging the end of her nose against mine. I pecked her on the lips and she giggled again. "Did you sleep okay?"
"Yes," I briefly let go of her so she could bring the pancakes over to the table, "But when I woke up this morning I temporarily forgot where I was and what happened last night."
Naminé shook her head. "Why am I not surprised?" I sat across from her and watched her spread Nutella across her food. "Must've been the rain."
I ruffled my hair before digging in. "Maybe." When I heard her laughter again I looked up. "What?"
"I can't believe you actually went through the trouble of dying your hair," She chortled before daintily placing a forkful of pancakes into her mouth, "You went all out, didn't you?"
My eyes narrowed, though my face was a bright red. "It wasn't my idea!"
She smiled. "I figured it wasn't. You're not smart enough to think up of such an elaborate plan."
I rolled my eyes. "Thanks."
Once we finished eating and cleaning up she reached up to tangle her fingers in my hair. "Y'know, you make a cute redhead but I like you better as a blond."
I gave her a sly smirk. "So...what do you suppose we do, then?"
She laughed and suddenly let go of me, skipping down the hallway. I rolled my eyes and chased after her, running up the stairs and grabbing her by the waist when we finally reached her room. She pulled me into her bathroom and shut the door behind us.
"Let's wash that dye out, shall we?"
Forty-five minutes later we were sitting in her bathtub. It was Naminé's crazy idea to have a bubble bath after, er...scrubbing the dye out of my hair, so that was how we ended up there. I sat with my back against the wall of the tub, and she was sitting in between my legs.
"Er," I tucked my head into the curve of her neck and watched her play with the bubbles, "S-so...you knew all this time that it was me?"
"I kinda did and I kinda didn't," She answered, "I mean for the first few minutes I really did think you were some awkward redhead, but the more I hung out with you I began to notice little tiny details - plus Jacques and Mateo weren't exactly the best disguises."
I shook my head. "I knew they'd be easy to spot, but what exactly did you notice about me?"
The blonde shrugged her small shoulders. "I dunno. There's...there's this...feeling I get whenever you're around. You just give off this certain vibe, and it makes me recognize you anywhere." She paused for a minute. "That was the first thing I noticed."
"So," I smirked, "If I ever get a sex change you'd still be able to recognize me?"
She laughed. "Probably...though I really can't picture you as a woman." She wrinkled her nose. "I'd rather not, actually…" I tickled her sides and she shrieked with laughter before splashing me with water and bubbles. "Oh," She added once we settled down, "And another thing: you broke character quite a few times."
I flushed. "Er, can you think of any examples…?"
"Plenty. You'd change your voice for a bit, but then sometimes you'd forget and you would go back to sounding like yourself. Also, Ventus never came to my house before. How would he know where my house was last night if he ran all the way here from the restaurant?" She nodded over to the tiled floor, where my plaid shirt was lying. "And that shirt...you wore it when I invited you to dinner with Riku."
I blinked. She really knew how to fake being oblivious... "Really?"
She giggled and kissed me on the cheek. "Yes, you did. Didn't you notice me staring at your shirt a couple times the other day?"
"Well…" I frowned, "If you noticed it wouldn't that mean Riku would've noticed too?"
"Nah - boys aren't very observant when it comes to those sorts of things."
I rolled my eyes. "Thanks."
She reached for my arms and threw them around her waist. "I thought you said relationships weren't your thing."
"Believe me, I really thought they weren't." I nuzzled my head against hers, and I smiled when she laughed softly. "Then you came along and changed everything."
She flushed and threw her eyes downward. "Sorry."
I squeezed her. "There's no need to apologize; you can't imagine how much you've impacted me, Naminé. I can't picture life without you."
She stayed silent for a few seconds before moving around to cuddle against me. "Oh, there's one thing I don't understand."
"And what's that?"
"That night your dad had an accident...you were with me, but Riku had a guys' night out with Jacques, Mateo and Ventus. How on earth did you pull that off?"
I swallowed nervously and squeezed her tight. "Um, before I begin my explanation I just want you to know that the whole thing about my dad...it never really happened."
She yanked herself out of my arms and swiveled around to gape at me. "What?"
I ruffled my wet hair - which was now blond - so that it stuck up again. "Well the accident with my dad actually did happen...ten years ago…" When her eyes widened even more I cleared my throat. "But yeah, um...I never told you that I have an older brother who looks almost exactly like me. It's weird because Sora and I are twins but-"
"You have another brother?" Naminé shook her head in disbelief, "And he looks exactly like you?"
I gave her a rueful smile. "Almost exactly...and his name is Ventus. I...er, took his name."
She buried her face in her hands. "Oh my…" She moved back to her former position with her back against my chest, and I held her close to me. "So he went out with Riku and them while you stayed with me...but why did you have to make up that story about your dad?"
I raked my fingers through my hair. "Well, Axel initially wanted to get Riku drunk so he could spill some info on your relationship with him...but it turned out that Axel was the one who got wasted instead. Ven and Demyx were panicking because they didn't know what to do with him, so I had to go in and help out."
Naminé giggled much to my surprise. "That was the week he and Larxene weren't talking to each other, right?"
"No wonder." She turned around to kiss me softly, and I kissed her back. She smiled against my mouth and clutched my head in her small hands, and I held her steady with my hands firmly on her waist.
When we broke apart a few minutes later I began to shift around. "C'mon, we better get out."
She glanced up at me. "Why?"
I smiled before moving in to plant a kiss on her forehead. "Salty's waiting for us."
I managed to force myself back into my jeans, but not without having my phone squeeze out of my pocket. I realized I had seventeen missed calls, and all of them were from Axel and Demyx.
"Uh oh." I muttered.
Naminé grabbed my phone and giggled at the list of missed calls. "They must've been worried."
"The probably thought I died in the storm or something," I rumpled my hair, "I guess I should give them a call…"
"Let them think you're dead a little longer," The shorter blonde giggled as she pulled me down the stairs, "This weekend...you're all mine."
I gulped. "Um, should I be nervous?"
She gave me a sort-of devious smile. "I dunno. Maybe."
I didn't like the sound of that.
"Wait." She disappeared into the den for a second. When she came back she was holding the jar of paper cranes. "Whew, I almost forgot this."
I raised an eyebrow but I didn't bother to comment. I figured we'd have more time to talk about it later.
She drove us back to my place, and the second we stepped inside Salty pounced on us like I expected him to. When he scratched my arm I wasn't surprised either, because if I were him I'd be angry too.
"Salty!" Naminé scolded as she tore the tiny white cat away from my bleeding arm, "Why did you do that for?"
"Probably because I left him by himself last night," I muttered as I made my way over to the kitchen sink, "I mean...if my owner left me on my own without any food or entertainment I'd be pretty peeved too."
Wait a minute…
I turned around and narrowed my eyes at Naminé and Salty, who were playing with each other in the television room. "You abandon him for a week and he welcomes you back with open arms, yet when I leave him for a day he hacks the crap out of my arm? How does that make sense?"
Naminé turned to gape at me, offended. "I didn't abandon him! You're making it sound like I left him in the middle of nowhere!"
I rolled my eyes and forced myself on the couch next to her. "You kinda just bolted out of here. I count that as abandoning."
Salty mewled and nestled himself against her shoulder, and I couldn't help but feel jealous. "It's not my fault, you know," She replied indignantly, "You made me think you hated me."
I sheepishly rubbed the back of my head. "Well…it's your fault for sending me so many mixed messages, therefore building up months' worth of frustration and confusion."
She frowned and cradled our cat in her arms. "Okay, you got me there." She pouted. "But...well, it's your fault for telling me you never wanted a relationship in the beginning!"
"Well, you could've gotten the message and just left it at that." I rolled my eyes.
"I tried!" She exclaimed, "You don't know how hard I tried…" Her voice lowered considerably, "But in the end I still ended up falling in love with you."
I smirked. "Therefore everything's your fault."
Naminé rolled her eyes before crawling towards me, and I pulled her into my embrace. Salty gingerly grazed his paw over the scratch he made on my arm, and I petted him. "Oh, so now you feel bad for hurting him," The blonde giggled as she jokingly poked the cat's nose, "You're so silly."
I absently played with her hair as she continued taunting our cat. I couldn't help but worry over what was going to happen in the future: Riku was going to eventually try to get Naminé to forgive him, and he's going to wonder what happened that day Ventus went running after his girlfriend in the rain. I was pretty sure they didn't break up or anything last night…
"Naminé," I breathed, and when she glanced upwards to blink at me I sighed. "W-what...what's going to happen to you and Riku now?"
She crinkled her nose in disgust. "I'd rather not talk about him right now."
"But you can't ignore him for long," I protested, "He's still your boyfriend whether you want to admit it or not. You're cheating on him right now...with me. That isn't right."
"Well...if you don't think it's right why are you letting me cheat on him with you in the first place?" Her eyes narrowed.
"Because this," I gestured to our current position, "This is what I've always wanted! If I wasn't so oblivious to my own feelings Riku would've never been in this picture, and we wouldn't be in this mess!"
"Mess? There is no mess!" She stood up and glared at me; Salty jumped out of her arms.
I shook my head. "Yes there is, Naminé - if we let this continue it's going to get worse. You can either do one of two things: you can break it off with Riku and be with me, or we can stop seeing each other like this and you go back with Riku."
She laughed bitterly. "Do you really think it would be easy for me to make such a decision?"
I raised an eyebrow and stood up as well. "So are you saying that you still feel something for Riku?"
She hesitated for a moment. "O-of course I do. I didn't get into a relationship with him for nothing, you know…" She shook her head. "But...he hurt me. He hurt me bad, and I...I just can't bother with him right now."
"So what is this?" I gestured to the both of us, "A one night stand? A fling? Am I just someone to run to when you can't bother with Riku?"
Tears were rimming her eyelids now. "Of course not! I would never think of you that way, Roxas! I told you…" She sniffled, "I love you."
I couldn't help but soften up at her words. I slowly approached her and held her close to me, rubbing her back and letting her rest her head against my shoulder. "I love you too, Naminé...I love you more than anything, but we can't do this if you're still with Riku," I could feel her tears warming up my shirt and I swallowed the lump in my throat, "It's not fair for him, it's not fair for me...it's not fair for the three of us."
The way she was clinging to me for dear life only made my guilt even worse. "R-remember how you got mad at me once because I couldn't s-stop talking about Riku?"
I dropped to the couch again and pulled her in. Salty crawled onto her lap and curled against her thigh. "What about it?" I whispered into her ear.
"Be honest w-with me - why were you s-so angry?"
I inhaled deeply. All I could smell was the scent of her hair. "Do you really wanna know?" When I felt her nod against me I pressed my cheek against the side of her head. "I was intimidated."
"Yeah. I mean...the way you talked about this guy, Naminé - he seemed inhumanely perfect, y'know? He was an artist, an athlete, a bookworm...everything anyone could be. How could I ever compete with that?
"That's why Axel came up with the crazy disguise idea: he wanted to dig up dirt on Riku. We wanted to see if he wasn't as perfect as you made him look. I guess...I guess the only reason why I agreed to do it was because I wanted to find one loophole...one little imperfection that would slightly improve my chances at winning you over." I shook my head and laughed a little sadly. "I think I was completely shut-down on that day I had dinner with you two, however - the day I wore this shirt."
Naminé sniffled again. "W-why?"
"Because I got to talk to him face-to-face. I wasn't hiding behind anything - I got to interact with him as me. I got to see his perfection firsthand. It was that night when I came to the realization that maybe...maybe he really was perfect, and that I had absolutely no chance of ever getting you to see how much you mean to me. I was so afraid I was going to be stuck as 'the best friend' forever."
The blonde shook her head vehemently. "But now you know he isn't perfect, Roxas, and that you definitely do have a chance. I don't want you to give up," She cried and pressed herself against me, "Please, I don't want you to leave me…"
I lowered my mouth so that it was next to her ear. "You know I'll never do that, but...I don't want to make you an unfaithful person either."
"If you really don't want to," She muttered, "You would've kicked me out of your apartment a long time ago. You wouldn't be holding me like this."
I sighed against her hair. "I know I'm being a hypocrite but...I can't help it. I don't want you to be unfaithful but at the same time I want to show you how much better I am than him...how more fitting I am for you than he is.
"I want to be yours, Naminé...more than anything. I want to make you happy every day. I want to be the reason behind your laughter. I want to be your everything." I squeezed her as she began to cry some more. "I was searching for you, Naminé. I was searching for you my entire life and I didn't even realize it until it was too late. Now you're someone else's girl, and there's nothing I can do except be a hypocrite. When I'm a hypocrite you can be my girl...even if it's just for a little while."
I could feel a fresh round of tears staining my shirt, and she hugged me tighter. "Roxas…"
Goddammit...I hated it so much when she cried - especially when I was the reason behind it all. I rubbed circles against her lower back and spread swift, light kisses over her forehead, nose and cheeks. "C'mon," I stood up and pulled her with me by the hand, "Let's get some ice cream."
She rubbed her nose and gave me a small smile. "O-okay." She bent over to pick Salty up. "C-can he come with us too?"
I laughed. "Of course he can," I tugged on the waistband of my jeans, "But...lemme change into more comfortable jeans first…"
I guess it wasn't right for me to put the spotlight on Naminé so soon. I could sort of see where she was coming from - I mean, I couldn't really expect her to simply choose between two people right away.
But at the same time the fact that she was actually having difficulty choosing between Riku and I was a bit unsettling.
I didn't want her to hesitate between the both of us; I wanted her to choose me. She already knew how I felt about her and I knew she felt the same way...and if she just continued her relationship with Riku they'd just end up arguing every other day.
Naminé kept quiet as we walked to our usual ice cream shop and the park; she pressed herself against my side and held Salty close to her the entire time. I felt sort of bad but I didn't know how to make her feel better. I just reminded her that she had to choose between two people. That wasn't something you could get over in a heartbeat.
"Hey," I threw an arm around her shoulders as we took our usual seat at the bench across the playground, "Don't dwell on it, okay? You don't have to make a decision right away."
She nestled her head against my neck. Salty continued to lick the remains of our sea-salt ice cream in the nearly-empty cup. "I know but...I don't want to choose. It's so hard."
"If you think about it too much you might end up making the wrong decision." I rubbed my nose against her hair. "You'll know the right answer when you see it. Just give yourself time - it'll come to you when you least expect it. Trust me."
She grasped my shirt with a small fist. "B-but what...what if it doesn't end up...being you?"
I felt a little discouraged, but I kept my resolve and squeezed her lovingly. "Then I'll have to respect your decision.
"I think...if you truly love someone the best you can do for them is to let them be truly happy, even if that means they don't end up with you." I laughed a little. "We'll always be friends, you know. It'll hurt in the beginning, yes, but eventually...we'll be friends again."
She tightened her grip around me, and I exhaled sharply when my ribs began to hurt. "But I don't want to be friends," She growled stubbornly; out of the corner of my eye I caught Salty blinking at us, "I want to be with you…" Her voice faltered a little, "B-but at the same time...I want to be with him."
I sighed and closed my eyes. "But you can't have everything, Naminé."
Her arms slackened around me. "I-I know. I hate it."
"So do I." I whispered back.
When we walked back to my place we lounged around for the rest of the day. We avoided the topic of Riku and anything related to him for obvious reasons and instead focused on what was currently going on: just me and Naminé. We played with Salty, watched TV, made dinner and watched a movie before it was time for bed.
While Naminé was getting ready in the bathroom I noticed she had placed the jar of paper cranes on my nightstand. Curious, I took the jar into my hands and slowly unscrewed the cap. I overturned the jar and watched each paper crane roll onto the mattress.
I spread them out evenly and frowned at them. There had to be a meaning behind all of them; I mean, if there wasn't a meaning Naminé wouldn't have wanted to bring it over.
I took the biggest-looking one - it was made out of sandy yellow paper - and turned it over in my hands. I examined it closely, squinting at it and feeling the texture of the paper in between my fingers.
What did she want me to see in these little things?
I held the piece of origami against the light, and my eyes widened.
I could see some words scrawled on the inside of the crane.
Why didn't I think of this before…?
I unfolded the crane as quickly as I could without tearing the paper. When I finally had it completely unfolded I laid it flat against the mattress. There were two single words written in the centre of the paper, followed by a small coloured-in heart:
My brow furrowed. What did that mean?
I grabbed a grey-coloured one and hurriedly unfolded it. There were another two words and a heart:
My frown deepened. Were these little messages appointed to me…?
I shook my head and continued to unfold the rest of the paper cranes. They were all describing me in short sentences:
He's a musician.
The way he smells (I automatically sniffed my arm after reading this).
He sang me to sleep (I blushed when I read that one; I didn't know she was actually listening to me that night).
All of them had little corny messages like those, and once I read through all of them my face was probably so hot I could've cooked something on it.
Wait...there was one left.
I gently gathered the small blue paper crane in my hand. I almost felt guilty to unfold it; it took skilled hands to fold something so intricate out of something so small.
The creased blue square fit in the palm of my hand. In the centre were two miniscule words and the usual coloured-in heart:
"That was another thing." Naminé's soft voice came from the doorway to the bathroom, and I looked up to address her. She was wearing one of my t-shirts; it was so big on her it nearly fit like a dress.
She giggled and sat next to me. "Your eyes, silly. They gave you away almost instantly." I felt her hands on either side of my face, and she looked up to meet eyes with me. "I can never, ever forget the way your eyes look." She caressed my cheek, and I leaned into her palm. "Even though you and Sora are twins your eyes are different."
"Y-yeah," I murmured, "He and Ven have the same eyes."
She smiled and rubbed the tip of her nose against mine. "I'm glad you're the only one, then." She moved even closer so that our mouths were millimetres apart. She closed her eyes and smiled. "When I saw you as Ventus for the first time I knew you looked familiar…" She lifted herself onto my lap and wrapped her legs around my waist. I supported her weight by holding her close to me, and I rested my head against her collarbone. "Then I saw your eyes and it just came to me: it was you...all this time…"
The exact time I decided to lift my head to look at her she moved in to kiss me, as if our movements were rehearsed. Our bodies were in sync with each other as I lowered the both of us onto the bed, not really caring if we were crumpling the tiny pieces of coloured paper below us. I groaned when I felt her fingers skim through my hair, and I tentatively reached underneath her shirt to run my fingers down her bare back. She shivered in delight, and I smirked against her lips.
The first thing she said to me when we broke apart was, "Is that all?"
I raised an eyebrow as I reached upwards to tuck a stray lock of platinum blonde hair behind her ear. "What are you talking about?"
Naminé giggled and rolled off of me. She collected the pieces of paper, stuffed them into the jar and placed it on the nightstand before crawling underneath the sheets. "Do you just wear your boxers to sleep? Nothing else?"
I rubbed the back of my head, slightly embarrassed. "Uh, yeah…why?"
She shrugged as I pulled her into my arms. "Nothing - I was just wondering. You're cute in your underwear anyways." She laughed at my flustered expression and snuggled closer towards me.
I rolled my eyes. "Goodnight, Naminé."
After a few minutes of silence I figured she had already fallen asleep, but then she spoke up. "Roxas?"
"C-can...can you sing to me again?" Her voice was adorably shy.
I chortled. "The same song?"
She nodded. "Yes please."
I kissed her forehead before inhaling slowly. The melody started off low in my throat, humming softly and rubbing her back along to the rhythm of the song. Naminé stirred in my arms, yawning and nuzzling her head against my neck as I continued murmuring the lyrics into her ear. By the time I hit the chorus for the second time she was fast asleep.
I smiled and brushed the hair away from her eyes. "Goodnight, Naminé." I whispered again before craning my neck to kiss her forehead a second time.
I fell asleep in seconds.
A/N: Chapter Inspiration: Dreams by The Cranberries.
If you can't remember the song Roxas sang to Naminé last time, it was Mayday Parade's I Swear, This Time I Mean It.