A/N: And here is a one-shot that I wrote for one of my friends/fangirls! She was having a bad, well, month a while ago, so I told her that I'd write her something fluffy! And I did! But it took a while because I kept writing it in short twenty minute bursts in a notebook on my lunch break at work. Yeah. She said I could share it, so here it is!

Warnings: High school AU! Yes, that does need a warning. Uh. Language. Some lack of imagination at points. And it's an American high school because research is overrated.

Disclaimer: Insert something technical-sounding that boils down to "I own nothing and this is done free!" here.

Summary: AU. Axel/Roxas. "Some ugly idiot who wouldn't know forceful if the little fairy of danger lived in his head, I know," Olette rolled her eyes.

Some Ugly Idiot

"Oh my," Olette murmured softly at lunch. Roxas looked up from his inspection of the mystery meat the cafeteria had supplied and raised both of his eyebrows at her curiously. When she took no notice of him (or the jelly that was dripping from her sandwich), his eyebrows went higher. "Oh my," Olette said again, eyes strangely wide and fixated on something over Roxas' shoulder. Roxas turned in his seat, trying to figure out what had brought such a decidedly strange reaction from one of his best friends, but couldn't see anything out of the ordinary in the throng of teenagers.

"Uh...Olette?" he asked uncertainly, turning back around and waving a hand in her face. Olette blinked slowly out of her daze, gave Roxas' hand a pointed glare, and put her sandwich down on her neat square of aluminum foil. "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine!" Olette replied cheerfully, and Roxas paled at the mischievous smile that crawled slowly onto her face. That look couldn't mean anything good. "I just saw the absolute perfect guy for you!"

"Oh, not this again," Roxas groaned, shrugging off the girl's pout. "Every time you say that, you set me up with some-"

"Some ugly idiot who wouldn't know forceful if the little fairy of danger lived in his head, I know," Olette rolled her eyes. "You never told me what you wanted in a guy before, so I was guessing. It's hardly my fault you wouldn't give me any hints. But this time, Roxas, I know what I'm looking for! And this guy's perfect. And downright gorgeous."

"Better not let Pence hear you say that," Roxas teased.

"Better not let Pence hear what?" Pence's voice asked as a tray clattered onto the table beside Olette. The dark-haired boy bent over and placed a kiss on Olette's cheek before he sat down to poke uncertainly at his own plate of mystery meat.

"That this guy I just saw is gorgeous and absolutely perfect for Roxas," Olette said primly. "But don't worry, dear, nobody's prettier than you."

"It is difficult looking this good," Pence responded, sighing dramatically as he pretended to flip some hair over his shoulder.

"You are so full of shit," Hayner said as he appeared beside Roxas, giving his fellow blond a friendly punch on the shoulder. "So, what're we talking about today?"

"Setting up Roxas," Pence answered blithely. Hayner sighed and rolled his eyes.

"Guys, seriously," Olette pouted, her eyes flashing to the same spot behind Roxas' shoulder for a brief moment before settling back on them. "I know what I'm looking for this time, and he's definitely it."

"Sure," Roxas muttered noncommittally, finally taking a bite out of his lunch-and promptly spit it back onto the tray.

"Roxas!" Olette hissed in dismay. "He was looking right at you!"

"If he's tried to eat this, he'll understand," Roxas growled, reaching over to snag Hayner's chocolate milk in favor of his own plain one. Ignoring his friend's dismayed sound, he pushed the little carton open and drank it desperately. "I can still taste it," he whimpered when he was done.

"...I think I'm going to go without food today," Pence said softly, pushing his tray away from himself with a grimace. Hayner, the only one of them who'd had the sense to skip over the meat, snickered before he stuffed another forkful of halfway-wilted salad in his mouth.

"I'm going to go grab some ice cream," Roxas muttered, standing and grabbing his tray. "Anything to get this taste out of my mouth." Hayner and Olette took little notice of his grumbling, but Pence gave him a rather dismayed wave-he was clearly out of lunch money. Roxas spun around, digging in his pocket for change as he wandered in the direction of a trash can. He gracefully dodged Seifer's attempt to trip him, dumping his waste in the trash before throwing the tray in the general direction of where it was supposed to be. Only a few steps later, he was standing in front of the ice cream machine and counting his money thoughtfully.

"You've got to be kidding me," he snarled to himself, hand digging hopelessly around his pocket in search of another five munny piece as he stared mournfully at the vending machine. The light that announced the price of his desired treat blinked innocently back at him. "This day officially sucks."

"Hey, you okay there?" an entirely too cheerful voice asked, cutting viciously into his dream of breaking the machine open. "I know ice cream is serious stuff and all, but you're kind of holding other people up."

Roxas turned to glare at the interloper, but the expression faded as he realized who he was glaring at. The kid with the odd hair behind him was instantly recognizable, and to glare at him was the most vicious form of social suicide. Scratching at the back of his arm, he gave Demyx the blandest look he could muster and said: "Sorry. I'm just five munny short on what I want and, you know..." He ended this with an uncomfortable shrug.

"Aw, that sucks!" Demyx responded, still in his annoyingly cheerful voice, and stuck a hand in his pocket. Roxas raised his eyebrows curiously, and then his eyes lit up as his fellow blond triumphantly held out five munny. "Here you go!"

"You really don't have to," Roxas said politely (being polite had been all but beaten into him as a child), but held out his hand when his newfound bestest friend ever shrugged. "Thanks. I'll pay you back tomorrow, okay?"

"Don't even worry about it," Demyx responded casually. "You're not exactly breaking the bank here, you know."

"It's the principle of the matter," Roxas mumbled mostly to himself, hitting the button for his sea salt ice cream almost gleefully.

"Alright, tomorrow then," Demyx replied with a slight chuckle.

"Right," Roxas said faintly, eyeing Demyx's back uncertainly as he dropped coins into the machine. "Uh, see you." Without waiting for a response, he turned on his heel and peeled back the lid on his ice cream as he walked back to his table.

"Was that Demyx talking to you just now?" Hayner asked in disbelief before Roxas' butt even hit the chair. Roxas, in the middle of a spoonful of ice cream, simply nodded and shrugged. "Awesome!"

"Do you think the rumors about him are true?" Pence chimed in thoughtfully, grinning as his three friends turned to stare blankly at him. "The one where he's practically stalking some guy in college?"

"Where'd you hear that?" Olette demanded, clearly disappointed-knowing that she didn't have the slightest bit of interest in Demyx romantically, Roxas could only figure that she was disappointed Pence had heard this gossip before her. Pence, on his part, just shrugged at her good-naturedly. "I don't know if I believe that. What was Demyx talking to you for, Roxas?"

"Pretty much to tell me that I was in his way," Roxas answered, shrugging, "only he was obnoxiously nice about it. Let me borrow five munny."

"So no sudden introduction to being cool?" Hayner asked mournfully, slumping in his chair and glaring at Roxas half-heartedly. "Man, can't you do anything useful?"

Roxas rolled his eyes and threw his empty bowl at Hayner. The other boy deflected it easily, and it landed in the middle of Olette's homemade chocolate cake.

"Hayner!" she snarled, flicking the bowl off her cake and glaring at the ruined icing. "God, you boys!"

"Hey, you're the ones who picked us as best friends," Hayner scoffed, crossing his arms.

"And I regret it to this very day," Olette informed him loftily. "This is what I get for being a tomboy, I guess."

"That's okay," Pence grinned. "At least it means you don't have cooties!"

"I was never convinced she didn't, you know," Roxas added thoughtfully. "I'm pretty sure the biggest reason my mom loves Olette is that I was willing to take baths every night after we started hanging out with her."

The bell rang as they all started laughing, and the four of them slowly gathered their things together and got to their feet. Roxas couldn't help but smile as Pence and Olette grabbed each other's hands, and found himself wishing he had someone to do that with as well. Maybe tomorrow he'd check out the guy Olette was talking about...after all, it couldn't hurt to give her one last chance, could it?


"Roxas!" Olette called excitedly a couple periods later as they were released to a free day at gym. "The guy I saw is in our class! I can't believe I didn't notice him before."

Roxas couldn't help the slightly exasperated sigh as his friend's words sunk in, but he obligingly turned to look in the direction she was pointing. The first person he saw was Demyx-the blond was gesticulating wildly as he talked to someone who was blocked from Roxas' view.

"Do you see him?" Olette grinned, bouncing on her heels. "The tall redhead talking to Demyx?"

"There's people in the way," Roxas grumbled in response, and then promptly had to swallow what he knew would be a terribly embarrassing squeak as Olette yanked him over into the spot she had been standing in. He could see Demyx' companion only too well now. It was a tall redhead with facial tattoos (what kind of parents let their kid get that done?) who was as utterly stunning as Olette had informed him. "Oh," he said faintly as he thoroughly checked the guy out. Something about him was niggling at his brain, though. It wasn't like Roxas thought he'd knew the other or anything equally cheesy, but something was reminding of some old conversation...

"See?" Olette said smugly, still bouncing. "He's just as perfe-"

"Do you realize who that is?" Roxas interrupted, brain finally having caught up with his eyes. Olette stared mutely at him and shook her head. "That's Axel, Olette. Demyx' best friend. You know what they say about him!"

"...Oh," Olette sighed, visibly deflating. "I should have realized, but I wasn't thinking. Sorry, Roxas."

"It's fine," Roxas sighed back, pushing a hand through his hair in frustration. Because Olette had been right, like she always was when she knew what she was talking about...if anyone was going to keep him interested, it was definitely Axel. He glanced back over at the redhead, noticing the amused smirk on his face as Demxy babbled, and sighed again. He pretended not to notice as Olette frowned thoughtfully at him, fighting back yet another sigh as she opened her mouth-

"Roxas!" an entirely too familiar voice yelped before she could get a word out, and a heavy weight attached itself to Roxas' back seconds later. He hardly stumbled even as a pair of legs wrapped themselves around his waist. "I haven't seen you in ages!"

"Hi, Sora," Roxas said dryly, prying at his cousin's hands until the other boy got the idea and released him. He turned to face the brunette and, skipping over the comment of how it had only been a day, asked, "Do you actually want something, or are you just that bored?"

"The seniors have a sub today," Sora replied, eyes bright. "And you'll never guess who it is!"

Roxas eyed him thoughtfully, taking note of how his cousin was bouncing on his feet and grinning far more than what should have been necessary. "Leon."

"Oh, you're too good at that," Sora grumbled, pouting for a brief moment before he brightened up and flailed pointlessly. "Hey, let's go ask him if he'll let us use the practice swords!"

"You know they only let the seniors use them, Sora," Olette cut in, frowning disapprovingly.

"Yeah, but Leon knows us!" Sora countered excitedly.

"It can't hurt to ask," Roxas agreed amiably, partly because he wanted to get away from Olette. "C'mon. Where is he?"

In response, Sora simply grabbed Roxas' wrist and started dragging him away. Roxas rolled his eyes, but allowed himself to be manhandled without complaint. It took him a few long moments to realize exactly what direction they were heading in, but when he did he found his eyes darting around in search of Axel-and, there! He and Demyx were actually talking to Leon for whatever reason, and it was at this point that he yanked his hand from Sora's grip almost violently. Sora didn't even look at him, instead taking that as a sign that he could launch himself at his much older friend.

"Leoooooon!" he called, slamming into the tall man's side and almost making them both fall over. Roxas felt a slight smirk cross his face and glanced over at the two seniors-they were both snickering, clearly amused.

"I thought you'd given up on teaching, Leon," Roxas spoke up softly, switching his gaze back to the substitute. Leon looked up from where he was attempting to force Sora to let go of him, and shrugged expressively with a roll of his eyes. Roxas sniggered. "You are so whipped."

"Substitutes are allowed to give detentions," Leon said in his usual monotone voice. Roxas grinned, giving a shrug of his own. They both knew Leon wouldn't give him one. "Were you two just coming over to say hello?"

"No!" Sora said cheerfully, finally letting go and dancing back from Leon until he was standing back beside Roxas. "We want to practice!"

Leon stared at him and, after a long moment, crossed his arms pointedly.

"We promise to be careful," Sora sighed heavily. "We won't actually hit each other, we'll stay in bounds of whatever area you give us, we won't ask anybody else to join in even if Riku inexplicably appears...uh..."

"We won't break the practice swords," Roxas chimed in.

"That sword was already damaged!" Sora protested, stomping his foot. "Am I never going to hear the end of it?"

"No," Roxas and Leon chorused in the same dry tone.

"Wait, wait," a new voice interjected, and all eyes turned to the redhead, who was waving his hands before him. "You mean to tell me that you two know how to swordfight?"

"Since we were five!" Sora exclaimed proudly.

"Are you actually any good?" Axel smirked.

"Why don't you watch and find out?" Roxas asked coldly, giving the older teen a glare that ought to have wiped the smirk right off his face-but Axel didn't even blink.

"Sure, Blondie," Axel leered. "I won't take my eyes off you."

"Oh, honestly, Axel," Demyx huffed, crossing his arms and smiling apologetically at Roxas. "Do you have to flirt with everyone? You don't even know his name, or how old he is!"

"A little flirting never hurt anyone," Axel shrugged, not even taking his eyes off Roxas to respond. "Anyway, he doesn't mind. Right, Blondie?"

"My name," Roxas snarled, "is Roxas."

"Aw, Rox, don't be like that!" Sora cut in, tugging on Roxas' arm and glaring when his cousin turned to him with eyebrows raised. "You don't always have to be so mean!"

"Yeah, stop being mean," Axel chimed in with a fake pout, placing a hand on his chest dramatically. "That hurts, you know, right here in my heart."

"Good," Roxas snapped. "Saves me the trouble of hurting you physically."

"All right, you two, cut it out," Leon's voice interrupted, and the tall brunette stepped in between them, giving Roxas a curious look as he thrust a pair of swords into his hands. Roxas knew what the look was about-he didn't usually respond to people so strongly. "We're going outside, to the baseball field. You two-" he turned to Demyx and Axel "-can sit in the bleachers if you want to watch." Then, with nothing else necessary to be said, he walked off. Roxas followed on his heels, walking quickly to keep up with him. He knew Sora would hang back to talk to Axel and Demyx, probably to apologize for Roxas' surliness, and was therefor surprised when the cheerful brunette fell into step beside him.

"You like him, don't you?" Sora asked wisely, and Roxas glared at him. How the hell did he always- "You only react so strongly to people you like," he continued obliviously. "Do you remember, when you and Seifer-"

"I'd rather not," Roxas snapped, scowling. He'd had a brief fling with his long-time enemy right before the schoolyear had begun and it was, without a doubt, the worst decision he'd ever made.

"Well, anyway, you were a lot more of an ass to each other right before that happened, you know? You do like Axel, don't you?"

Roxas sighed heavily and shrugged noncommittally. Sora kept staring at him expectantly, clearing waiting for some sort of verbal response, so he asked: "Is he still staring at me?"

Sora grinned at him and spun around to look. "C'mon, you guys, stop being such slowpokes!" he called to them before Roxas had a chance to snarl at him for being so unsubtle "Yup! Didn't even glance at me. I think he likes youuuu," he concluded in a sing-song voice.

"Don't be ridiculous. It's Axel. He doesn't like anybody, ever. Doesn't Kairi tell you the gossip?"

"Sure, Rox," Sora grinned, winking at him. "But nobody's infallible, you know? Maybe he's afraid of rejection or something."

"Like anybody would reject him," Roxas grumbled, and winced as Sora's grin widened even further. "If you so much as breathe a word..."

"I know, I know," Sora said flippantly. "My lips are sealed. But you should at least try to be nicer to him."

"Shut up, Sora," Roxas sighed. "And get ready. We're here."

"Oh, goody!" Sora exclaimed, bouncing over to the pitcher's mound. Roxas followed more sedately, spinning his practice weapons in his hand as he thought. Normally, he wouldn't worry too much about fighting Sora because, though their skill levels were quite nearly the same, he was just that little bit faster and stronger-but he wasn't at full strength this time. No matter how good it was, ice cream was just nowhere near filling enough. He was going to need to focus entirely too hard if he wanted to win this. Which he did, of course. He hated losing. "'Kay, you ready?"

"To kick your ass?" Roxas joked, falling obligingly into his usual stance. "Always!"

"Woo!" Sora screamed, running at him full-speed with a ridiculous grin on his face. Roxas grinned as well, watching for a sign of what Sora was going to do-the other had always been rather abyssmal at keeping his planned moves hidden. Sure enough, Sora's steady run changed at the last moment, and Roxas jumped out of the way as Sora's sword swung for his face. Not his usual response to fighting with Sora, but he should probably save as much of his strength as he could. Besides, switching things up a little never hurt.

"Dodging is no fun!" Sora pouted at him, hopping back a step. "Why'd you do that?"

"Felt like it," Roxas shrugged, and swung. The surprised squeak Sora made as he moved to block made Roxas snicker. Sora laughed too before kicking out with his foot to make Roxas back off.

"Okay, okay, can we be serious now?" Sora asked. "I'm sure you want to give Axel a show, don't you?"

"I'm kind of enjoying making him think we suck, actually, but if you really want to..."

"You are beyond full of shit," Sora rolled his eyes, falling back into his starting position again. Roxas shrugged and stepped back, forcing his face into its usual neutral position, and waited. This time, when Sora ran at him with his sword raised, he jumped forward to meet him. He swung one weapon low into Sora's weak spot, but the other boy spun out of the way. Frowning, he twisted to the side as well to block what would have been a rather painful hit if he hadn't been as fast as he was. Sora grinned briefly at him before pulling sharply away. Roxas followed after him, attacking with far less effort than he would normally use-Sora noticed, of course, and frowned uncertainly at him, but Roxas determinedly ignored this and continued swinging. After a few long moments of this, Sora, not quite having the same stamina as Roxas, began trying to break away for a breather. Roxas just followed him doggedly, ignoring the pain in his empty stomach, because he knew he couldn't give Sora any respite if he wanted to win. Thankfully, it didn't take much longer to wear his cousin down, and he finally finished the fight with a flourish as he knocked the practice sword out of Sora's hands and kicked it away.

The fight finished, Roxas dropped his own weapons to the ground and leaned over with both hands on his knees as he panted air back into his lungs. Next time he was going to be smart and not do something so strenuous on an empty stomach.

"You okay today?" Sora asked eventually in between his own panting. "You were a lot slower than usual."

"Man, if that was slow, I'd hate to see what he's like normally," Axel's voice cut in before Roxas could respond. Roxas straightened up and looked blandly at him-the redhead was still staring straight at him, and the blond had to wonder if Axel had actually watched only him through the entire fight.

"Yeah, that was totally awesome!" Demyx chimed in, clapping his hands excitedly. "Seriously, I can't believe how amazing you are!"

"Thanks!" Sora said, grinning brightly at the two seniors before turning back to Roxas with his hands on his hips.

"I didn't exactly eat lunch," Roxas admitted before Sora could start interrogating him. At his cousin's disapproving frown, he shrugged sheepishly before adding: "Dude, have you tried the mystery meat?"

The face Sora made in response assured him that no further explanation was necessary.

"I still have a cupcake left over from lunch," Sora added hesitantly after a brief moment. "If you want it. I was going to eat it after school."

"Did Aerith make it?" Roxas asked, then sighed when Sora gave a dejected shrug. "Keep it. I can survive until I get home. It's not the first time I went through the day hungry."

Sora opened his mouth to say something else, but was interrupted by the appearance of Leon. "Inside," the man said simply, nodding at the doors to the gym pointedly. Kids were already filing through them, jostling each other in their rush to get back into their regular clothes.

"If I don't have time to wash off a little, I'm blaming you," Roxas informed Sora solemnly as they all started ambling over as well.

"That's okay, nobody will believe you anyway," Sora replied, affecting his most innocent expression-Roxas couldn't even count the amount of times that look had gotten both of them out of trouble. "After all, everyone knows you're about ten times more likely to cause trouble than I could ever hope to be. And speaking of trouble, how's your boyfriend been lately?"

"If you bring that up again, I'm going to kill you," Roxas snarled.

"You have a boyfriend?" Axel asked curiously.

Roxas turned his strongest glare on him.

"C'mon, man, I'm just asking a question," Axel snapped, holding up his hands in the classic 'I mean no harm' gesture.

"No," Roxas said shortly.

"But he diiid!" Sora sing-songed, starting to skip as they continued walking. "Although why he went out with Sei-"

"Sora!" Roxas snapped, resisting the urge to punch the brunette-fighting in school was bad, he reminded himself firmly. "He was a mistake that I'm never going to acknowledge again. And you-" here he paused to give Sora a very pointed glare "-run."

"Love ya, Rox!" Sora exclaimed cheerfully before taking off. Roxas counted to five in his head, thought about giving chase for a brief moment, then shrugged. Chasing after him was too much work, really.

"Does he always fall for that?" Demyx asked after a long moment of silence.

"Well, I usually do chase him," Roxas shrugged, shoving his way through the crowd at the doors. When he glanced back, he noted with some annoyance that Axel and Demyx didn't have the same problem-everyone just moved out of their way. "But I'm too hungry to right now."

The two seniors chucked briefly before falling silent again. Roxas was surprised by that, since Axel and Demyx were both extremely talkative by nature. He was also surprised to note that the two of them didn't either pass him or fall way behind, instead choosing to stay only a step or two behind-Roxas wondered if this was a sign of friendship or just them walking naturally.

Either way, they parted upon entering the locker room without a word.


"Hey, Blondie, wait up," Axel's voice called after him a few minutes later as Roxas was rushing off to his next class. The blond considered ignoring the call for a brief moment-his class was on the other side of the damn school-before he sighed in irritation and came to a sudden halt in the middle of the hallway. Seconds later, an arm fell lightly across Roxas' shoulders, and he was being steered down the hallway at the redhead's side.

"What do you want?" he asked shortly, not even glancing at his companion. "You're going to make me late."

"I wanted to give you a peace offering," Axel replied quite cheerfully. Roxas was taken aback as a king-sized Kit-Kat was practically shoved up his nose.

"My mom told me never to take candy from strangers," he said blandly even as he took the candy, then added: "Are you seriously giving me food so I'll stop being an ass to you?"

"Pretty much, yeah," Axel responded unabashedly. "Well, that and I hate Kit-Kats anyway. Well, not hate exactly, they're just not my favorite, you know? I saved all the good stuff for myself."

"...Okay then," Roxas muttered slowly as he began unwrapping the candy. Axel watched the process with no small amount of amusement showing on his face-Roxas was being entirely too neat about it. "Why do you even care?"

"Because you're cute," Axel replied matter-of-factly, smirking as Roxas nearly choked on his first bite. "So did my brilliant plan work?"

"Sure," Roxas responded, offering the other a smirk of his own. "For today, at least. I expect a better offering tomorrow."

"And what kind of offering would you prefer, Blondie?" Axel leered at him. Roxas finally took this moment to notice, with a start, that the redhead's arm hadn't left its resting place on his shoulders, and he immediately blushed. "God, you really are cute, aren't you? Are you busy after school tomorrow?"

"What?" Roxas asked, thrown off by the sudden question, and still distracted by trying to force his blush down.

"Plans," Axel snickered. "Tomorrow. After school. Any?"

"No," Roxas replied, utterly bewildered. "Are you asking me-"

"I told you you were cute," Axel murmured casually. "So, let's see. All the movies out are crap, and we kind of have a big family dinner thing tomorrow so I can't take you out to eat. So, uh, it may be kind of boring, but how do you feel about wandering around and having some ice cream?"

"Well, uh," Roxas began uncertainly, staring with wide eyes at the older teen. He was tempted to say no, if only because his last attempt at a relationship has been a disaster..but this was Axel. Axel, who'd turned down everyone who'd asked him on a date since at least the middle of the last school year. Who was, more importantly, the absolute most gorgeous guy in school (at least in Roxas' opinion-more girls seemed to squeal over Demyx for some reason). "Okay, sure. I'd like that."

Axel's eyes promptly lit up as a downright dorky grin spread itself across his face-and the one minute warning bell chose that exact moment to ring.

"Fuck," Roxas hissed, adjusting his bookbag on his shoulder as he gathered his bearings. "See you later," he said quickly as he spun around, and didn't even wait for a response before bolting down the hall.

He slid into his seat at the table he shared with Olette just as the bell rang again, signaling the beginning of class. The girl gave him a curious (and mildly annoyed) look, clearly wondering just what had held him up, but didn't say anything. Roxas pulled out his pen in silence, giving Olette a weak smile as he waited for his breathing to even out again.

"I hope everyone studied hard for this test," Xigbar (that was the teacher's first name: he'd started the first class by announcing that he'd shoot them if they ever called him anything else) began cheerfully before Roxas could even think of how to phrase his news to Olette, "because, little dudes, this one's a doozy!"

There was a chorus of groans at this announcement, and Xigbar cackled as he began handing out papers. As cool as Xigbar was, he couldn't be said to be anyone's favorite teacher. Each of his tests had been difficult so far, and when he said one was going to be a doozy, he meant it. He was also, despite only having one eye, frighteningly good at catching cheaters-and you didn't ever want to get on his bad side.

Roxas shared a pained look with Olette as the papers landed on their table (this was the only class he could actually do that with, since Olette was kind of horrendously brilliant), and he groaned again as he peered at the questions.

"I'm so going to fail," he muttered, and circled an answer at random. The rest of the test went similarly, with nearly everyone groaning and grumbling under their breath. Xigar didn't reprimand a single student for talking, though-he just spent the entire class prowling the aisles with an unnerving smirk on his face. Roxas figured he was enjoying their misery.

"I think I failed!" Olette fretted at Roxas an agonizing forty minutes later as they were leaving the class. "I don't think I've ever taken a test that hard! Why does he always do this?"

"He's a masochist," Roxas replied idly, linking his elbow with hers in an attempt at comfort. "Did you see that smirk on his face? He clearly enjoys watching us squirm."

"I suppose that really is the only explanation," Olette sighed, frowning for a brief moment before brightening as something clearly occurred to her. "Oh! So what made you risk being late for his class, hm?"

"Oh, hell," Roxas muttered to himself-he'd almost forgotten in the terror of the test. He gave Olette a shy smile as he remembered, though. "Well, actually, I was sort of talking to Axel."

"Really?" Olette squealed, clearly excited for him. "I saw him and Demyx walk off with you guys when the sub gave you the swords. Did he watch you fight?"

"Yeah," Roxas replied with a slight laugh as he remembered Axel's promise not to take his eyes off him. "And then, after gym, he gave me a Kit-Kat because I was kind of being a dick."

"Roxas," Olette sighed with fond exasperation, clearly getting ready to lecture him about his 'absurd self-defense mechanisms' (he regularly cursed the day she'd gotten into the psychology class).

"Don't start yet," he warned her before she could get another word out. "I was so surprised that I agreed to be nice. And then he said I was cute and asked me if I'm doing anything tomorrow."

"And you told him you weren't, right?" Olette asked severely, shooting him a glare-she was well-accustomed to his occasional bouts of stubborn idiocy.

"Honestly, I really was too surprised to say no to him," Roxas admitted with a rueful grin, making Olette giggle. "I mean, seriously, he hasn't dated in like a year, and now all of a sudden he's asking me out. Me, of all people!"

"Maybe he was waiting for someone special," Olette suggested thoughtfully. Roxas gave her a disbelieving look, and she rolled her eyes in a way that said a lot about Roxas' intelligence...or lack thereof. "Maybe he was looking for a challenge or something, you know? Or he was just sick of dating the type of person that would just throw themselves at him. Or he could have just wanted a change-I mean, you're completely different than anyone I've heard of him dating."

"What, did you get all the high school gossip in middle school too?" Roxas asked.

"Don't be silly," Olette huffed. "He went through three girlfriends in the beginning of the year last year, and they were all pretty brunettes who were, ah, well-endowed. I just remember hearing girls bemoan the fact that he almost never dated blondes." She heaved a long sigh and rolled her eyes again. "Really, it's times like that when I'm actually glad all my best friends are male. Even Hayner at his most pathetic never sat around whining about how some girl just wouldn't pay attention to him."

"And if Pence ever liked anyone besides you, we never even heard about it," Roxas added off-handedly. "Anyway, I better get to class. We're still meeting at the usual spot after, right?"

"Of course," Olette replied. "Tell Pence I said hi, okay?"

Roxas just nodded and smiled at her before turning away to continue down the hall to his last class of the day. He resolutely decided that, if Pence made fun of him about his excitement over his upcoming date, he was going to push him off his chair.


"You should go say hi to him," Olette suggested the next day at lunch. Roxas raised an eyebrow at her, and pointedly took another bite of his sandwich.

"You gotta let a guy eat," Hayner said to her in Roxas' defense. "Seriously, if he goes over to say hi first, he'll just come across as pathetic and needy. He's not a girl."

"So are you saying all girls are pathetic?" Olette asked coldly, attention instantly diverted. "I'll be sure to let Namine know for you."

"You know I didn't mean that!" Hayner protested loudly. "It's just, what kind of a guy would Roxas be if he put anything ahead of eating? And guys don't like being interrupted at a meal anyway. Axel would totally call off their date."

"I'm glad you're sticking up for me," Roxas interrupted, eyeing Olette's thunderous expression warily, "but, dude, shut up before she kills you."

Hayner, mouth still hanging open in preparation of speaking, took a long look at Olette. Then his jaw snapped shut audibly and he gave Roxas, who had just finished his sandwich and started gathering up his trash, a beseeching look.

"Let's go get some ice cream," Roxas sighed, getting to his feet. Hayner jumped up as well, his half-eaten burger sliding across his tray with a noisy rustling sound. Pence, who had wisely remained quite through the exchange, snickered quietly. Once they were out of hearing range (and had successfully dodged Seifer's and Rai's attempts to trip them), he turned to Hayner again. "Do you even have any munny?"

"...Maybe," Hayner muttered uncertainly, digging through his pockets. Roxas watched out of the corner of his eye, amused. "Ah-ha!" Hayner finally exclaimed, holding out about thirty munny in triumph.

"Well, at least you're not completely hopeless," Roxas said, utterly ignoring the glare he received for it. This, of course, earned him a shove that was just hard enough to push him away from the vending machine so Hayner could get his ice cream first.

"You're being unusually peaceful today," Hayner teased when Roxas made no move to push him back.

"Yeah, well, I have a hot date tonight," Roxas smirked back at him, crossing his arms as his friend dithered over which ice cream he wanted. "I figured the least I could do to counteract your worthlessness is not kick your ass."

Hayner punched his shoulder and made a face, then asked, "Man, how do you do it? First you get Demyx to talk to you, then Axel asks you out! What's your secret?"

"It's those big blue eyes of his," a new voice interrupted right before Roxas was enveloped in a completely unexpected hug. "I'm so glad you agreed to go out with Axel!" Demyx continued blithely, clearly unaware of the heart attack Roxas had narrowly avoided. "He's so pathetic for you!"

"Pathetic for me?" Roxas asked uncertainly.

"Oh, yes," Demyx insisted earnestly, nodding his head for emphasis. "You can't really tell 'cause you don't know him yet and haven't really had the opportunity to notice, but he perks up like a puppy every time he sees you." Hayner snorted, and Demyx looked up as if he was just noticing the other Sophomore's presence. "Oh, is this one of your friends?" he asked brightly.

"Uh, yeah," Roxas replied awkwardly. "That's Hayner."

"You don't need to sound so enthusiastic about my existence," Hayner huffed, crossing his arms.

"Well, I've always wished I had a cooler best friend," Roxas snarked.

"Aw, you two are so cute!" Demyx said enthusiastically, but gave Hayner a surprisingly thoughtful look. "Anyway, you should come over and say hi to Axel!"

Roxas opened his mouth to respond, but didn't manage to do more than suck in a breath before Demyx had suddenly taken off. He and Hayner shared a bemused look.

"Man, that guy has some serious ADD," Hayner muttered under his breath before turning to Roxas with a smirk. "Well! Let's go say hi to your boyfriend."

"You're scared to go back to Olette alone, aren't you?" Roxas asked dryly, snickering when Hayner just shrugged. Then, without saying a word to each other, the two of them strolled over to Demyx' table with more confidence then they felt. Roxas, at least, was still a little stunned at the idea of actually approaching a table of the most popular kids in school and being welcomed.

"Roxas!" Axel exclaimed cheerfully as the two of them walked up to the table, popping out of his slouch. Demyx, who'd been grinning at their approach, mouthed something that looked like 'told you' at them, while a blonde girl-Larxene-spun away from her conversation with Marluxia to make exaggerated smoochy noises at the redhead. Axel rolled his eyes good-naturedly, but shoved the girl over. "C'mere!"

Roxas walked over to him a little hesitantly, aware of Hayner following closely behind him. As soon as Roxas had come up behind him, Axel pulled him into the spot between himself and Larxene, wrapping his arm around Roxas' shoulder.

"What is with you always grabbing me?" Roxas asked.

"Can you blame me if I can't keep my hands off you?" Axel responded with a leer. Roxas stared at him for a long moment, unsure of what to say.

"I can blame you," Hayner muttered under his breath, barely loud enough for Roxas to hear him, but Axel must have heard anyway because he snickered. Roxas just rolled his eyes, already dreading their future interactions.

"So, uh, I really just came over to say hi," Roxas began slowly, looking at Axel just long enough to catch his disappointed look. He shifted uncomfortably, biting his lip in thought. "Oh, and I owe Demyx some munny."

"Aw, I told you not to worry about it!" Demyx insisted. Roxas frowned at him slightly, but didn't say anything. He just dug into one of his pockets, leaning slightly into Axel so he could get get the munny out, and then threw the five piece at Demyx' head. The other blond caught it and pocketed it with an unreadable smile.

"So...I take it you're not having any second thoughts about tonight?" Axel murmured to him softly.

"No," Roxas responded in a similar voice, giving the redhead an awkward smile. "Why would you think I was?"

"Dunno. I just worry, I guess."

"Well, you shouldn't," Roxas assured him, feeling a little embarrassed despite the pleased smile Axel gave him in response. "But I really should be getting back to Pence and Olette."

"You're so cute," Axel cooed jokingly, laughing as Roxas punched him. "You should all come sit with us tomorrow. We can just pull over another table. Nobody would mind."

"And to think you're only offering this so you can molest me at lunch," Roxas said dryly, unable to force down a grin when Axel just shrugged. "All right. I'll come over if they want to. Meet you at the front doors later?"

"Yeah," Axel agreed, giving him the same dorky grin he'd seen the day before. Roxas made to stand, but Axel held him tight for a moment longer. "What, no goodbye kiss?"

Roxas rolled his eyes, well aware that Axel wasn't actually expecting one. But Roxas, feeling a bit mischievous, pushed himself up just far enough to press his lips against Axel's for a brief instant. He blushed when Demyx literally squealed about how cute he was, then promptly got to his feet, smugly taking notice of Axel's utterly gobsmacked expression before he started walking away with Hayner.

"Come back here and kiss me like a man!" Axel called after them, apparently having recovered quickly. Roxas just idly waved over his shoulder at him, strolling silently away.


"Hey, Roxas!" Axel's voice came from behind the blond, and Roxas didn't even have a chance to turn around before a kiss was pressed to his cheek. Roxas stared at Axel for a brief moment before a smile stole across his face.

"Hey," he said quietly, "still worried?"

"Nah," Axel responded flippantly, starting to walk away from the school. He seemed unaccountably pleased when Roxas fell in step with him without prompting. "I figure as long as you show up, it's all downhill from here."

"That sure of yourself, are you?" Roxas asked, shaking his head when Axel grinned down at him. "So what is it that you had planned for our date again?"

"Plan is a bit of a strong word," Axel admitted with a wry chuckle. "I prefer to let things go where they will. I figure ice cream, then wherever our feet take us. As long as I'm home by dinner."

"Have you ever been on top of the train station?" Roxas asked, smiling innocently at Axel's curious face. "The, uh. The sunset's really nice from up there. Though that may be kind of boring."

"It sounds nice," Axel said slowly, squinting up at the sun-it was probably a couple hours until sunset. "If nothing else, it'll give me plenty of time to talk!"

"Ice cream first," Roxas reminded him firmly. Axel gave him an amused look, clearly entertained by his fixation with ice cream, and for a few minutes they walked in silence. Roxas was more than content to be quiet-he'd never really been much of a talker-but Axel seemed to dislike it. As soon as they'd gotten far enough away from the school that the sound of the rest of their classmates being released had faded to a dull background roar, the tall redhead launched into a story without warning. Most of their date passed that way, Roxas being enthralled with both the older teen's stories and the way he delivered them. In fact, he was so caught up in Axel, that he was surprised when he noticed the sun had begun to set.

Their ice cream had been long gonce by the time they'd gotten to the top of the train station, and they'd had the appropriate popsicle-stick fight afterwards (it had ended with Roxas disarming Axel and causing the blue-tainted stick to go sailing over the edge), and then had propped themselves up on the ledge. They were sitting very close together, but not touching, and Roxas was more than content with how the afternoon had gone.

"So do I get a second date?" Axel asked eventually, voice quiet as if he was afraid to break the calm. "Maybe something a little more interesting?"

"Sure," Roxas replied without thinking, and was too surprised at himself to say anything else. Axel seemed surprised as well, though incredibly pleased, and Roxas wondered briefly at how easily he could read the other...and how comfortable he was in his presence. Nothing, he recalled vaguely, had been this easy with Seifer. Actually, nothing in his life had ever really been this easy for him. It was probably this thought that prompted him to open his mouth and ask: "So do we have a celebratory successful first date make-out session or what?"

Axel laughed softly as he carefully turned to Roxas. "Well, if you insist," he purred.

This kiss-their first real kiss-was soft, and almost frighteningly gentle, both of them wary of falling from the ledge. They separated after a few short moments, Axel looking a little sheepish.

"Maybe we should get off this ledge first," the redhead muttered. "That wasn't my finest romantic moment."

Roxas didn't say anything, choosing instead to simply swing his legs around so he could slide off the ledge without making a fool of himself. Axel followed after him, his longer legs reaching to the floor with no trouble. There was a brief awkward moment as they stared at each other, but then Roxas stepped forward and tugged at Axel's shirt.

The second kiss was better, deeper and more focused. Roxas didn't even resist as he was gently pushed against the wall of the tower, preferring instead to just push himself against Axel now that he had some support at his back. Axel's hands were at his hips, then sliding upwards and under his shirt. They felt unnaturally hot against his skin, leaving warm tingling spots as they slid to his back, and Roxas tightened his grip, trying to pull Axel even closer to him.

"We shouldn't go too far," Axel murmured softly after pulling slowly away from Roxas. Roxas just stared at him, uncomprehending for a long moment as he tried to clear his head, and then nodded his agreement. That had been one of the mistakes he'd made with Seifer, he remembered hazily. Still, he pulled Axel down into another kiss, stunned by just how amazing Axel felt against him.

It was at this point that Axel's cell phone decided to go off.

"The hell is that?" Roxas asked grumpily, unable to stay lost in the kiss while the obscenely annoying ringtone practically screamed at them.

"Ah, hell," Axel sighed, pulling out his phone long enough to glare at it and push one of the buttons, and then turned back to Roxas with an apologetic smile. "Alarm," he explained softly. "To remind myself that it's time to get home in time for the big family dinner."

"So you were expecting to get this distracted, were you?" Roxas asked.

"Hoping, really," Axel admitted. "I'd, uh, walk you home, but my house is really close by, and I'm cutting it close as it is..."

"It's fine," Roxas replied with a grin. "The worst I have to worry about is Seifer, but he might be careful since I'm sure there's rumors going around about us right now. He's not that stupid. I think."

A/N: ABRUPT ENDING IS ABRUPT but I don't actually care. Hooray, it's done!