Sorry this took so long to upload, guys, there was a FF error for a lot users, and I kept getting an error message every time I tried to edit my stories. But I heard that when you get this error message, to change the word "property" in the address bar to "content." It still doesn't work completely, but at least I can update! :D
At this time in his life, he would've thought he would be settled down in a home, on the country, with his high school sweet-heart, Aerith, raising their baby and living it day by day because they didn't have a worry in the world. At this time in his life, he thought all the struggles he had faced as a kid, a teen, a young adult, would have stayed in the past, that he would have grown out and away from it, and he would be allowed to live the rest of his life in peace.
At this time in his life, he had thought he would have had the chance to at least raise his son, to at least watch his own child grow-up… But he would never get these things, and he knew it well enough.
He lived his entire life in Hollow Bastion, and he would now get to leave for the sole purpose of war. His Aerith had died a year after graduating from high school, by the hands of a rival gang leader, Sephiroth. And now he would have to leave his only son with a woman he really didn't love, who he really didn't even think would do a good enough job of raising him in the way he deserves, and go off to fight a war he really didn't give shit about, because he couldn't stay here anymore.
Cradling the small child in his arms, he stared down at the bright blue eyes of the boy, of the way he gurgled and giggled staring up at him, the grin he gave shining with brilliant warmth. If he had a real choice, he would choose to stay with the child and see that smile every day. But he was already in the uniform, his son reaching out to play with the dog tags around his neck as he was attracted to the light glinting off them.
He sighed and finally glanced away from the child, turning to look up at Cloud and Auron, both sitting in the lawn chairs across from him in Auron's backyard, the two also looking over the baby boy. Cloud sighed to himself, picking up his bottle of beer and lifting it to his lips, turning his eyes to the stars above them, "When I become the leader of the gang, you can come back, we'll keep everyone safe then."
He slowly shook his head, grinning at his best-friend, "Thanks, you know I won't be back though."
Cloud didn't answer; tired of trying to convince his friend otherwise, when really he was just trying to convince himself. He didn't want his friend to go, not when they knew he would probably die, he didn't want his friend's child to be raised by that woman he knocked up by accident, she was a bitch who didn't deserve the child… He didn't want things to turn out this way, when they had been planning for it to be so much better back when they were younger.
Auron stood, sighing deeply to himself as he walked over to the child, his god-son, staring straight into the large blue eyes that peered up at him curiously, trustingly. He reached out, poking the boy's belly and flicking his nose, making the child squeal, then looked to his brother, "He's going to be a lot like you. With the goofy grins and dumbass moves…"
Zack chuckled, "Then do me a favor: get him back from his mom, raise him to be a good, happy kid, and make sure he has a future."
Auron huffed, turning to walk back to his seat, "Hey, I have a son too, you know, I gotta raise him."
"Raise them like brothers!" Zack chuckled, "Like how we were… except, better… with less fighting and more studying."
"I studied plenty; you were the dumbass on the streets."
Zack just chuckled, glancing down at his son again, then sighing, "Change his name when you get him, too. I don't want everyone to judge him after me."
Cloud scowled at him, "He should be proud to have the same last name as you."
"I don't want him to be."
The brunette jumped as he snapped out of his thoughts, turning his attention away from the clear blue sky to glance back at his boyfriend, grinning at the blonde, "Roxie-Babe, how's it shakin'?"
Roxas looked horrified for a moment, "Oh, God, please never repeat any part of that sentence again."
Sora just continued to grin brightly at the boy, jumping out of his lawn chair to merrily bounce over to the blonde, and peck him on the lips, "No guarantees."
He frowned at him, pulling away, "Whatever, what did you call me here for?"
Sora pouted at him, wrapping his arms around Roxas' waist and pulling him closer, "Don't you remember what today is?"
Roxas stared back at him blankly, looking completely and honestly confused, then he suddenly seemed entirely displeased, "Please tell me you aren't going to come out with some dumb 12 week anniversary shit, I'm just as shocked we've made it 3 months, too, but you don't have to keep track of it using the same counting system as a mother who is giving her baby's age."
The brunette was pouting again, this time his eyes widening to look extra pitiful, "For one, no, that's tomorrow, and two, I like to keep track that way because you are my baby," Roxas scoffed, but Sora continued on anyways, "But, no, today is Valentine's Day!"
Roxas' face dropped and seemed shocked a bit, "Today?"
"You forgot, didn't you?" Sora frowned as the blonde nodded a bit nervously, then a grin began to work on his face, "Well, that's alright, I know how you can make it up to me! Okay, so you remember that thong in my bottom drawer with my name on it? Go find it, put it on-"
"But you foooooorgooooooot-"
"Forgot to say it, I planned ahead three weeks ago, we have reservations for dinner tonight, so Happy Valentine's Day, dumbass…" Sora's eyes widened, going slightly teary as he stared at the blonde, Roxas looking away awkwardly as he felt his face begin to heat up.
Sora kissed him lightly for a moment, trying hard not to smile too much, before pulling away and letting the blonde go to just stand in front of him, "Alright, my turn, close your eyes."
Roxas frowned, but did as he was told, figuring no harm would come out of it either way. He heard a slight clinking sound, like metal against metal, and then felt incredibly soft cloth wrapped around his neck, Sora's warm finger tips brushing along the back of his neck where he clipped the material together. Then the hands retracted for a moment, making him think that maybe it was time for him to open his eyes, but then he felt lips against his own, and he kissed back immediately as the familiar arms encircled his waist once more.
Slowly, Sora released him, telling him he could open his eyes again, and Roxas did just that, immediately lifting his hands to feel what had been placed around his neck. The incredibly soft cloth sat so comfortably and gently against his skin, making him wonder if Sora had been looking for something as comfortable as possible to keep from hurting him or something. Then he felt something smooth and cold against his fingers, his fingers wrapping around it to feel it out as his eyes widened with realization, his eyes drawn to Sora's own neck, where the familiar dog collar was missing…
Sora took a step back grabbing a mirror off the lawn chair and bringing it over to hold it up for Roxas to see the pure white band around his neck, dangling off them were Sora's father's dog tags. Roxas just stared at the tags hesitantly, his eyebrows drawing together as he turned his eyes back to meet Sora's, "Are you sure?"
He nodded back once, his eyes lowering to stare at the tags as he did so, "Yeah."
The blonde frowned, shaking his head a bit, "But these were your dad's, why would-"
"Because I can't put a tattoo on you yet, legally at least. The guys gotta know I have your ass one way or the other."
Sora grinned as Roxas' jaw just dropped, the blonde's eyebrows furrowing together in anger, "What the fuck are you talking about?"
Sora shrugged at him, slowly, sighing deeply at the same time, "No, sorry. I just… I feel like you're closer this way, sorta… Every time I see it on myself, I just think about his death, and the way he left. I don't want to carry it around if it's just going to remind me of how he left me. I want to remember the good things about him too. And if they're on you, then there's no way I can't smile when I see them, because I see you too. When I see them, there's no way that I will feel bad from them, because I'll see you too…"
Roxas crossed his arms, turning his eyes down to the mirror again to look at the tags, and then shrugged slightly, "If it makes you feel better, I guess I can do it."
His heart was beating fast, and he felt like his throat was closing up slightly, and he knew he wouldn't be physically capable of talking anymore because of that, but he wasn't going to show that. Sora just smiled at him, walking up to him and wrapping his arms around the blonde's shoulders carefully, gently pecking him on the forehead as the other turned his face down. He breathed in slowly, reaching up to wrap his arms around Sora's waste, pulling himself closer to the other and sighing in relief at the warmth he felt in the hug.
He never knew how much he missed just holding someone until he was held himself.
Hearing Sora gulp, he knew that the other was having a lot of difficulty with speaking himself, but surprisingly his voice remained unaffected, "Thanks, Rox. I love you."
Roxas nodded back slightly, beginning to bite on his bottom lip as he knew his line was now up, the one he would always have trouble saying, the one he could never stop himself from feeling so shy about. Those dreadful three words that would just leave him open and vulnerable to the world, it felt like, and at the same time Sora was the only person he would ever want to say these words to, to say them to and feel them for. Still, though, they were still just so heart-wrenching to say still…
"I just want to make you happy."
It was possibly the scariest fucking thing that had ever happened to him, to be on the other side of the justice system and see what can be done, is done, to criminals. And he was just being taken in for questioning…
Now, for the sake of Sora's pride, the police treated kids from the Bastion much differently than kids from the Gardens, they treated them like they were the future hardened criminals of society… granted, there was a grain of truth in that most of them were statistically very likely to be criminals of some sort by the time they hit puberty, but that gave them no reason to be so rough while dragging Sora in for questioning. Another thing, had the cuffs really been necessary? He hadn't been resisting!
No, seriously! He would've gone if the police had asked, but instead he took the time to turn around and look to see who the hell was telling him to put his hands behind his head and get on the ground, thinking it was a joke, and then was promptly tackled and cuffed… Damn, his friends were going to think he was badass after this.
That, of course, is not the point though, because he was taken in for questioning for a reason, he assumes, and now that he's waiting in this interrogation room, waiting to find out what it is that happened and how he was involved with it, that he was given the chance to think back about every law that either he or his friends broke that he could remember… There were a number of those, but he didn't think any of them were significant enough for them to be tracked down like this. Just the normal kids' stuff, like trespassing, nothing he thought would warrant this. So maybe it had been something a friend of his did? He really hoped he wasn't about to be dragged into someone else's crime, he is not impeding the justice system, he hopes they know that, he will rat them out in a split second if he knows they did something wrong.
Suddenly the door opened, and his head snapped up to look at the officer that walked in, the man walking in casually, his plain black suit immediately making Sora remember the "Men in Black," a scowl fixed on the man's face through years of displeasure. He dropped a thin file on the table, and took a seat, flipping open the file and beginning to read it in silence, and while he read and the silence stretched, all that flashed through Sora's head was every cop drama he's seen and the times of interrogation…
Finally, the file snapped shut, and Sora looked up into the eyes of the interrogator, the man staring back at him, the scowl still in place, and then he spoke in a deep, earth-shattering tone, "Okay, kid, where's your dad?"
Sora just blinked at him, raised an eyebrow, then chuckled a bit, his nervous reaction, "That a joke? C'mon man, that's not a cool thing to mess around with. He's a soldier, he's fighting."
The man just continued to stare at him, making Sora start to feel nervous, to start doubting himself, to start to wonder if that really is where his father is right now. It has to be, if he weren't off fighting, he'd be home with him, he would be here if he weren't there. So he has to be there…
Oh, God, please let him be there.
He doesn't want to think that his father abandoned him.
"We know about his involvement with Heartless, we have our evidence, but what would you know," The man continued, making Sora's eyes widen, his heart ripping against his chest in fear, "He goes MIA the day we're about to take him into custody… Where's he hiding, kid? He at home? He with you and your uncle? Or did he leave you behind, too?"
Sora shook his head slowly, shakily, "He's not… I mean, I don't know where he is. He's not there… but he didn't abandon me!"
The man just shook his head, the scowl deepening, accusing, and Sora wanted to scream. All those years of writing back and forth to his dad, all those years of that being his only connection to the man… He knows his dad cares about him; he knows he wouldn't abandon him. He's just running from the police, he doesn't want to get locked up, because then he would never see Sora…
He narrowed his eyes back at the weary man across from him, crossing his arms as he leaned back in the chair, giving the man a scowl of his own, "You don't know shit about my dad."
"He was an awesome guy, like one of those heroes that you read about in comic-books when you're a kid, you know?" Roxas nodded, letting the smile cross his face only as he was pulled out of the brunette's view, against Sora's chest he stared up at the stars from their spot, sitting against the back of the apartment, in Sora's meager backyard.
"A hero, really?"
Sora chuckled lightly, resting his cheek against the back of Roxas' head, cushioned in the soft blonde hair, "Yeah, really... He had been in Heartless since he was 14, you know? And back then it had been good… I mean, they weren't like other gangs, they were dangerous, and they did hurt people, but they always had a meaning to their crime. Like when the police abused their power, they would get back, or when they found someone dealing drugs to kids, they took care of him. When they came across someone in danger, they helped them even if they would face the consequences enforced by society and the government. They took justice to a different level…"
Roxas sighed, his eyebrows furrowing together as he thought about that, wondering if that could still really be considered justice, or actually just a person acting on their own values and morals? He didn't say anything though, he just let Sora continue, "My dad was a big part of them, he was always trying to help people, and he helped a lot of people. Auron told me about this one girl, Aerith, who he had been in love with back in high school… she had died, but she had been a part of them too. She had represented them when she went to soup kitchens, and volunteered at hospitals… They had wanted to change Hollow Bastion, they wanted to make it clean."
Sora had paused there, shifting positions to wrap his arms around Roxas' back, his hand resting on his chest to feel the blonde's heartbeat, "Obviously, it didn't work out that well. A lot of the other gangs in the area at the time weren't really happy about them messing around with their shit like that, and somehow this crazy bastard named Sephiroth managed to convince all of them to get together and 'resist' Heartless… 'Resist,' like they were a bad cold that you can feel coming up…"
"To them, they probably were something to be resisted… They were an unwelcomed change." Roxas muttered, shrugging lightly, then sighed as he leaned further into Sora's chest and relaxed.
Sora huffed, "Whatever, either way, those numbers against Heartless wasn't a good combination, and they disbanded in a way… Well, they were kind of forced… Sephiroth was picking off the leaders of Heartless, to make sure that they wouldn't actually gain any power and really do something, and my dad was one of the targets, so he left and became a soldier…"
Roxas frowned slightly, biting his lip in contemplation before realizing something was missing from that story, "Where did you come from in all that?"
He shrugged a bit, "He met my mom somewhere in that mess, accidentally knocked her up, had me, and told my uncle to take me from my mom. My mom abandoned me, she left me with my uncle and took off, so it all worked out, I guess…"
The blonde maneuvered himself, turning to place a small kiss on the other's cheek, before blushing lightly and muttering an apology softly. Sora laughed at him lightly, about to pull him closer, but Roxas squirmed away from him and smiled as he went inside to grab them something to drink. He walked through the small living room casually, having gotten to used to the surroundings to a point of comfort with them, and then slipped into the kitchen. He pulled the fridge open and began searching around inside before eventually grabbing two cans of coke.
Letting the door shut on its own, he turned to walk back to Sora when suddenly Auron appeared right in front of him, making him jump nearly a foot. He just nodded to the older man, about to walk around him when Auron spoke quietly, his voice low and rough, heavy with mourning as he spoke, the words causing chills to run up his spine.
"Sephiroth was the 'friendly fire' that killed him."
It wasn't a rainy day, but it was a fairly cloudy one. The actual weather didn't matter either way though, because he was still gloomy as all fucking hell. The first time he would meet his father in the flesh… and it would be when the man is in a coffin.
The world just isn't right.
He cried, and he remembered thinking that it just wasn't right that this would be the only memory he will have of his father in person. That whenever he remembers his father's face, it will be the face his father had at his last breath. He remembers standing in the front of the group as they all gathered around his grave, him being the one directly in front of the tombstone. Again, messed up when the first interaction he has with his father, outside their letters, is placing a flower on his grave.
And things just continued to fall apart from there, piece-by-piece, until he would unravel and spin into disaster. Each time a person went up to speak about his father, and every time a person would walk up to speak about Zack Fair. He did not speak about either of these men, instead he would stay quiet, thinking of the letters at home, thinking of how they had been sneaking around the cops with sending them back in forth, so that they wouldn't find his location after being MIA for three years.
Sora had never asked him why he had been MIA in the first place…
The funeral ended, and he was led back to the car, and the ride back home was long, silent, and full of grief. He would realize he'd been clutching something in his pocket that entire time, and pull it out to open his hands up stiffly to see the dog tags that the soldier had given him, the ones that he had received when they were told he was dead…
It struck more deeply then.
His mother had abandoned him…
His father was dead…
What was next to go?
That night, he walked down the street to the pet shop; walked in, bought the first 10 buck collar he grabbed, and got the dog tags on it.
He hadn't taken it off for a single day until he met Roxas.
Now Roxas had it, now Roxas was carrying the last piece of his father with him, and he had sworn to never take it off. His mother had abandoned him, and his father had been forced to leave him behind, but Roxas wasn't going to leave any time soon. Putting those dog tags on the blonde was more than just a meaningful gift, he felt like he had given Roxas his heart now… and at the same time…
He felt like he had tied Roxas to him too.
Anywhere Roxas would go, Sora would follow him, whether it be to the end of the earth, Hell, or to the bathroom, he would be there with him through it all… Well, he wasn't serious about the bathroom part…
Most of the time…
So when Roxas told him the great news about being accepted to Harvard, he thought his stomach dropped out of his ass. That was not a place where Sora could go, that was not a place where he could even dream of going, ever. He never wanted Roxas to leave though, he wouldn't let him, Roxas was tied to him, and even if he couldn't go to Harvard with Roxas, he could still go to the city with him.
Sora was planning how to pay for a cheap apartment in Cambridge (and failing to figure out how he would make end's meat), when he got the letter in the mail. Roxas presented it eagerly to him as they sat on the couch, making the brunette role his eyes and smirk at him. He had been getting quite a few letters from colleges, just like everyone else, but he would only ever apply to the ones that waived the application fees for him, and then he'd only save the ones who offered him a scholarship upon acceptance. Roxas had been helping him the entire time, going through his applications and helping him choose which to fill out and the bitch called the financial aid form, but the guy had this insane idea in his head that Sora had the chance to actually go to one of these colleges. He didn't have the money to even submit the applications, never mind attend.
He ripped it open, gently tugging the contents out to read the first line of the letter before his jaw nearly dropped to the floor as his eyes passed over the word. "Congratulations!" His heart felt like it nearly stopped right in his chest in that moment, and then it nearly had a stroke with the next as his eyes passed over the words, "full four-year scholarship."
Roxas had hugged him in his happiness, but he still had felt so confused as to how it had even happened… Now that he thinks about it, he never applied to Harvard, so how did this even happen?
"Does it matter if you applied or not?" Roxas snorted, grinning at him as he took the letter and envelope and carefully folded the letter back up before placing it at the top of pile of Sora's acceptance letters, "I mean, c'mon Sor, people would kill for this chance, and you just got it, I'd just take it if I were you…"
Sora nodded quickly, frowning a bit as he leaned back, "Well, yeah, I mean, I'm glad and everything… It's just weird… You didn't send an application in for me, did you?"
The blonde's head snapped over to look at him, jaw dropped dramatically, "You think I would do that? I thought you trusted me! Why can't you just accept it and be happy with it?"
Sora's eyes widened as Roxas suddenly snapped at him, making him carefully place his hands on the blonde's shoulders to help calm him, "Woah, chill Rox, I'm not saying I'm not happy, I'm really happy! Seriously! This means I can go to the same school as you and everything. I'm just asking if you're the one who filled out an application and paid the fee…"
Roxas' cheeks heated a little from how Sora was just staring and waiting for his answers, so he turned his eyes away, making him realize just how guilty he must look already, but if he told Sora that he entered his name during the blood drive instead of his own… He got the feeling Sora wouldn't be happy about it. Maybe if he just admitted to the lesser of two evils? He nodded his head slowly, looking back at Sora to see the brunette pouting like a stubborn child, "Roooooxie! I told you to not pay for me!"
"It was just one application, though! I swear! I just wanted you to go to the same school as me!" He threw in quickly, hugging the other again, like he was hoping to ward off the anger, "You can just pay me back later! It wasn't even that much!"
Sora bit his lip as he knew what Roxas thought was cheap and what he thought was cheap were completely different things. To Roxas, cheap is under a hundred bucks. To Sora, cheap is free, "And how much is it…?"
"It was just 75 bucks, it's not that bad-"
"That's more than half my fucking paycheck!"
"Whoa," Roxas suddenly pulled away, looking at Sora in shock and causing the other to look up at him in consequential confusion, "Whoa…"
"What?" He raised an eyebrow at the blonde.
Roxas just winced, "You make that little?"
Sora glared hard, but Roxas just smiled back and shrugged suddenly, "So, you wanna share a dorm or an apartment?"
My endings still suck. :) Glad to see that my writing skill has gone back to normal, officially.
xD Anyways, I first off want everyone to leave a review praising OmniaVanitas for bringing about this epilogue and helping me finally manage to become satisfied enough with it to label it finished. Yeah. Guys. I'm serious. And I never order reviews either. xD Especially on stories where I get plenty anyways. Speaking of which, I do love all of your guys reviews, I really do, and I read every single one of them, and when you guys actually leave something meaningful (not that I don't like my cheering section ;D) I really take it to heart. But I seriously just get too many now, or the same amount as before but with less time to answer.
ANYWAYS, seriously, everyone send much love to that girl, she's a trooper. xD Roxas' reaction to his gift in the last part of the Valentine's Day scene would not have been written without her suggestions and support, that's how much she has done! You know, besides reading it over, giving me her opinion, helping me figure out what to even write about here, helping me figure out my own characters, helping me figure out a deeper reaction to certain things because all my loveless romances were no where near as deep as these two boy's. Also, if anyone actually reads all my author's notes, they would notice I mention her helping me out in practically all of them now... Just saying... I think she deserves some cred here, guys. xD
Thanks to everyone who reads these stories of mine though, and for sticking with this story after me taking months to update at times. You guys are awesome! :P I love you.