A.N – Hey, a random plot bunny attacked as I was about to go to bed. A quarter past midnight. Pfft, not even a PLOT bunny, more of a ... random heartless little tease of a story...teasing me. Have any of you ever written the ending of a story first? No, just me? I wrote the last paragraph and now need to see if there's any hope of a story to join it, you never know, it might hold out on me. I may be half delirious from lack of sleep, it may be no good...We shall have to see. Let me know what you think!
Disclaimer – As always, much as it pains me to confess, these characters don't belong to me. Much as I would like to keep Axel locked in my room, he belongs to Roxas. Ah, I mean Disney. Uhm, sorry...SquareEnix...nah, definitely Roxas.
Warning – This story deals with a little bit of religion, a little bit of boy love and a bit of angsty emoishness which my youngest brother (just turned 14 and determined that the world is out to get him) has inspired me to write. Lol, thought I'd best let you know...leave now, shield your eyes ect if you don't want to deal with any of said warnings!
Edited – Following a review from the ever supportive and lovely Lifeslover, I re-read this pitiful attempt at a story and simply had to put in a little extra work. Not much will change but I hope to explain a few events that made next to no sense and fill in a few gaps. Hopefully the edit will make it slightly more readable. I'm sorry for posting it before it was really ready! *blush*
Roxas grew up without his parents in his life. He wasn't an orphan, he knew that somewhere, out in the world, his father existed and even put money into an account for his son. But since Roxas' mother's family refused to allow the boy to even meet his father, Roxas had grown up being handed around amongst his maternal family. No one ever told him, but Roxas slowly came to realise that his mother couldn't have passed away peacefully, nor was it an accident of child birth. She was never spoken of except in mentioning her as a little girl and even then pain flickered in the eyes of her family members. The angelic blonde woman had been a part of a large, catholic family with two brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles galore and countless cousins. Whilst away at college she had fallen head over heels in love with a stoic brunet who very rarely made friends or interacted much with those around him. On a night of drunken debauchery, Naminé (Roxas' mother) had helped the very drunken brunet back home and when he'd initiated a few sloppy kisses and fumbling motions, the girl had willingly accepted the attention. She didn't think of the consequences or her family's reaction, college was about growing up, making mistakes and living before graduating and settling down. It was with a heavy heart that she informed the man that their single night together had formed a life, pulsating delicately within her. Leon's grey eyes had swam with the emotion he kept from his face as he told her that he couldn't give her what she wanted. He couldn't appease her family by marrying the girl. He loved someone else. A man. Naminé had to face her family alone, confessing to her child, conceived out of wedlock. And became distressed when they wouldn't even allow her to abort the child, God had gifted her with the baby and she would have to love it as He did. The girl didn't understand. If the baby was a gift from God, how could it be wrong to have conceived the little bundle of cells growing within her day by day?
After he'd managed to gather scraps of his mother's story from various relatives whenever he could cajole them into it, Roxas filled in the blanks himself. Having carried the baby for eight months, he decided that now was the time to be born, and on a night filled with rain and snow, Roxas had come into the world. Naminé didn't want to know him. She had suffered a lot birthing the child and didn't want to bond with him. He represented such potential for sorrow. He could die, turn out to be broken or grow up to be a bully or someone 'in with the wrong crowd'. Naminé had grown up in a sheltered life and was too young to take on the responsibility of motherhood. It was possible she had suffered from unnoticed post natal depression, but a week after she'd brought Roxas into the world – a gift from God, precious and glowing with life – Naminé left it, taking her own life and joining her Father in heaven to beg His forgiveness. Admittedly, Roxas may have romanticised his mother's story. But he didn't have a lot to go on. When his mother had died, her family had fought Roxas' father for custody, and since the man was living with another male in a romantic relationship, Roxas had been given to his mother's family, his father only being able to affect one thing in his son's life. Under no circumstance was Roxas to be sent to a Catholic school. He willingly supplied two tutors for the boy to keep him out of school and also, unbeknownst to all else involved, to give the boy someone who was different. The two tutors were not religious and they didn't have strict views on life that they would try to force upon his son. They had both travelled and held a great deal of knowledge that they were willing to share about many different topics. But this was the only influence the father could have on his son's life.
And so Roxas grew up, his mother's family were not overly wealthy and was very large with lots of cousins for Roxas to share and fight with. However, this meant that when one family fell on hard times, the boy was shunted to another home and so he grew resentful, it was as if they merely put up with him. His tutors were the only constant in his life. Vexen taught him mathematics, the sciences, geography and about computers. Roxas didn't like the man with the long blond hair and creepy green eyes. He reminded him of a snake and his lessons were always very factual, filled with note taking and lectures. Roxas liked his other teacher, Zexion. The quiet man with slate coloured hair which perpetually covered one eye seemed at first glance to be immersed in his own mind, completely oblivious to the world around him. But Roxas knew that Zexion was forever absorbing information, his single visible eye soaked everything up and stored it in his marvellous mind. Though he was quiet, Zexion's lessons were filled with his passion for knowledge. He instructed Roxas on literature, he taught him languages and regaled him with stories taken from history, his voice whisper quiet but it soared in Roxas' mind and took him to far off places and distant events. Out of the two instructors, Zexion would be the one to pass on little pieces of information about Roxas' father. And, unbeknownst to the boy, shared as much about him as he could with Leon, sending the father photos and reporting on his progress. Roxas knew that his father ran some kind of committee, lived near a castle with his partner who remarkably resembled Roxas with bright blue eyes and spiking blond hair. And though he knew it was foolish, Roxas held onto the hope that one day his father would fight for him and win, that one day Roxas would live beneath the shadow of a castle and work with his father. And most of all, one day he would feel a part of a family instead of a troublesome guest. One day he'd be loved and cherished and he would belong.
It was quite by accident that Zexion mentioned in passing that a boy was living with Leon and Cloud before continuing with their last lesson in iambic pentameter. As the tutor explained that the particular form of poetry lent a 'Dee-dum, dee-dum, dee-dum, dee-dum, dee-dum' rhythm to the words, Roxas' mind was whirring its way into deep depression. Leon never wanted him, Leon was never going to fight for him; Leon had replaced him with some other boy. That boy was living in the castle's shadow, he was probably older and taller and smarter and stronger than Roxas, he would be able to help out with the committee's work. Roxas would never have a family because of that boy. He hated the boy. Hated him and his father. And the stupid man they lived with. These thoughts screamed through Roxas' mind, completely unobserved by the enthusiastic Zexion who was, at that moment, reeling off examples of iambic pentameter, "Full fathom five thy father lies;" The fact that, for the first time ever in one of his lessons, Roxas was not participating or asking questions brought Zexion to a halt. "Roxas, are you ok?" The boy refused to meet Zexion's gaze and produced the first excuse he could think of.
"I, feel sick. Is it OK if I go and lie down?" He asked weakly, his stomach, in truth, roiling with the knowledge that his father had adopted a new son when he had one ready and waiting for him. Since Roxas didn't tend to lie, his tutor wished him good health and sent the boy off to bed before informing Vexen that he wouldn't need to prepare any lessons that day. Once Roxas got to his room, he locked the door. His cousin Tidus would be at school for another three hours yet, so Roxas had the room to himself. He didn't understand why no one ever wanted him. He had no friends, since he didn't attend school. His cousins rarely interacted with him outside their home, and Roxas didn't like to talk to the adults since it always felt like they were looking down at him. Child born of sin and all that. After wallowing in misery, face planted into his pillow securely for about thirty minutes, Roxas roused himself and purposefully switched their shared computer on.
Roxas refused to go down without a fight. He was old enough to manage by himself at sixteen, the only thing that had kept him living with his mother's family was the hope that his father would ask him to go and live with him. If he stayed with his family, he would be easy to find. But Leon obviously was never planning on coming and taking him away, well, Roxas was not going to stay a moment longer. Clicking angrily to open his favourite browser, Roxas' fingers thudded against the keyboard as he typed 'Hollow Bastion Restoration Committee' into the first search engine he thought of. Reading up on their website, Roxas was confused by the fact they were based somewhere called 'Radiant Gardens'. With a frown, he entered the new name into the engine and printed off maps and searched hotels and finally booked a train ticket first thing the next morning. As everything printed off, the old printer rattling the desk it was sat on, Roxas leapt about the room and packed the essentials that would not go noticed, filled with a nervous energy. Stuffing the papers he'd need into a rucksack he shoved that and his duffle bag of clothes under his bed. Taking a moment to wipe the internet history and anything else incriminating from the PC, Roxas shut the computer down and shuffled out of his room, trying to look as sickly as possible. Once he reached the kitchen he grabbed two bottles of water, some apples and bananas, a few cereal bars and scuffled back up to his room without meeting anyone. Pleased with his planning though still bubbling with anger and hurt, Roxas checked over what he had packed, ensured that he had his wallet and phone, plus the charger and then slipped into bed fully clothed. Seconds later he dashed to the bathroom, grabbed his toothbrush and toothpaste, his shampoo and some body-wash before flushing the toilet to seem natural and puttering back into the bedroom. Stashing the final items away into his bag, Roxas cuddled up under his blankets and tucked them around himself securely to hopefully evade the problem of kicking them off in his sleep.
For once his age old habit of waking at five in the morning proved useful. Instead of going back to sleep as he usually did, Roxas crept out of bed and, gathering his bags, snuck downstairs, careful to not wake Tidus or anyone else in the house. He wrote a note to his aunt and uncle quickly as he waited for the kettle to boil and made up a thermos flask of coffee to take with him.
'Aunt Ariel and Uncle Eric,
I have decided that I have caused the family enough trouble by now. I know I am a strain on you all and am moving away so that you don't have to worry any more. Please tell Zexion and Vexen that I won't need their tutoring any longer. I want to thank them for being such good teachers and I also would like you to let everyone who has cared for me over the years that I am extremely grateful. It can't have been easy taking in some kid when everyone already has such large families. You don't need to worry about me, I am quite capable of looking after myself, I won't tell you where I am going but know that I'll be fine. You don't need to send someone to look for me.
Thank you all again,
Roxas xx '
Eyeing the darkened rooms with no sense of regret, Roxas slipped out of the house, locking the door behind him and posting his key through the letterbox. This was it; finally he would depend on only himself, no longer would he be shunted back and forth amongst his family. He was making his own way in the world. Huffing a cloud of warm breath into the icy air, Roxas began walking, the train station was not too far away and his train left at 6:30. He'd have plenty of time to get there, collect his ticket and pay for it using cash so he, hopefully, wouldn't be traced. He was soon settled onto the train for a long ride, pulling out his mp3 player and stuffing his earphones into his ears. Roxas leant his forehead against the train window and watched the world pass him by. He was partially shocked that he'd come so far. He was usually so mild mannered, calm and thought things through. This was the first time in his life he'd just shut down and followed his impulses. He didn't even think he wanted to confront his father. That meant meeting his...adopted brother and likely confirming his concerns about him. The problem was, if he didn't go to his father, where could he go? He had enough savings to rent a small apartment, he supposed, and as long as he could snag a job, he'd manage to be self sufficient. And, really, he ought to see if he could enrol at a school. Not that he knew how schools worked, but he really would need to complete his education if he intended to go anywhere in life. Mulling his future over sullenly, the train carried Roxas closer and closer to Radiant Gardens.
Upon arriving at his new home, dazzled by the size of the city after the close knit community of Twilight Town, Roxas booked to stay at a small, cosy bed and breakfast run by a jolly, roly poly woman. He spent his days hunting for an affordable apartment, not willing to live somewhere potentially dangerous and also visiting the local library to use their computer facilities. He'd asked the librarian about enrolling in a school and had been recommended one and referred to their website. After contacting the headmaster, Roxas had doubled him efforts in finding a home and a job. Lucky for him, as his first week in the new and unfamiliar city, everything started to wrap up neatly for Roxas. The first thing he noticed was that he had grown familiar with the city; he knew the public transportation like the back of his hand and could wander the streets without feeling lost. It was on one of these walks that Roxas noticed a 'HELP WANTED' sign in a cafe window. He was overjoyed to find that the owner, Aerith, was both willing to hire him and a landlady with a small apartment available if he wanted. After being shown around the small but neat and tidy furnished apartment, Roxas gladly accepted both that and the job, thanking Aerith profusely. He returned to the B&B to collect his belongings and thank the owner before heading to the nearby shops. There he purchased some foodstuffs, cleaning items, more personal hygiene goods and sheets, pillows and a comforter for his bed. He spent the rest of the day cleaning the apartment thoroughly until it smelt pleasantly of grapefruit and arranging it to his liking. By this point, Roxas had decided that he did not want to go and meet his father. The prospect of being pushed away now that Leon had his new son was enough to make Roxas hot and cold with anger and fear. Instead of moping, he returned to the library, borrowing a few books and checked his emails. He had been sent an application form to fill in for the school. Pleased that he actually had an address to provide, Roxas filled it out and sent it off and smiled. According to the email he should receive his timetable through the post in the next three days, ready for him to start school on the Monday.
Roxas had never felt so optimistic in his life. All the major decision making for the foreseeable future had been made. He had a job and a home and would be going to school for the first time in his life. The worst part in any situation was worrying about making the right choices. Once Roxas made a decision, he kept by it, all the worrying was taken out of his life, he felt more secure than he had ever felt in his life. He was relying on himself, he could settle down here, starting his own life and he liking the feeling of power it gave him. But as we all know, when things are going well, something has to attempt throwing a spanner into the works. Roxas met this metaphorical 'spanner' on his first day at school. It is a well known fact that Monday is the most miserable day of the week. No one likes it. People born on Monday's, according to that little poem, are destined to be 'full of woe'. This particular Monday was miserable with everyone heading back to work or school in the pouring rain and wailing wind. Enter Roxas, his alarm didn't deign to wake him, he was running late and just threw on the first pieces of clothing he'd found which, thankfully did not clash. Clad in comfy jeans, a plain black T-shirt and a dark purple hoodie, Roxas stomped into some slightly worn shoes and dashed out of the door without eating anything for breakfast, rucksack slung over one arm and timetable stuffed into his back pocket. Dashing to school in the pouring rain, Roxas discovered that one of his shoes had a hole in the sole, allowing it to fill with water and slosh as the foot moved, that his hoodie was most definitely not water proof, and that he didn't know exactly where his school was. Ten minutes after the bell had rung, calling the students to registration, Roxas flung the doors open and hurried into the cool school interior and found himself surrounded by silence. He was completely alone in the entrance, the walls lined with lockers. He shivered, partially from apprehension but mainly because of the sheer amount of freezing rainwater that every piece of his clothing had managed to absorb. Deciding that the sensation of damp cotton boxer shorts was one that he NEVER again wished to encounter, Roxas reached into his back pocket to pull out his timetable and hopefully make his way to registration before it ended.
With a wet tearing sound, Roxas found himself holding less than half of his timetable. Groaning he carefully teased the remains of his timetable from his pocket and was presented with a mess of five separate pieces of torn paper, each with a lovely pattern of water run ink. Groaning Roxas stood in the eerily silent hallway, lined with lockers, and listened to the water dripping from his nose and hair plinking into the vast puddle forming around his feet. He felt miserable. Even his boxers were soaked through, he was cold and hungry from a skipped breakfast and now he was going to miss his registration and had no way of finding his classes. Running both hands viciously through his sodden hair and looking skywards in supplication, Roxas failed to notice the gleam of green eyes and the flash of white teeth coming from the depths of a dark corner. Plunking his, thankfully waterproof, rucksack into the puddle around his feet, Roxas' attention was drawn to a shadow detaching itself from the corner where it had been lounging against a locker. Gulping nervously, Roxas watched as the shadow revealed itself to be a tall, slender figure wearing a hooded leather coat, hood drawn close around the wearer's head so that all Roxas could discern was a faint pale glimmer of the figure's face. Running his fingers nervously through his hair again, slicking still wet locks away from his face and immediately regretting the loss of anything to hide behind, Roxas faced the taller boy who chose that moment to push back his hood. Roxas gaped at the redhead's spiky hair which, despite having been trapped beneath the hood, managed to spring back in disarray. Blue eyes took in pale skin marred with two strangely appealing inverted teardrops, smirking lips and dark clothes. Right down to black jeans that were surely painfully tight and black boots before shooting back up to meet blazing green eyes as a purring voice interrupted his ogling.
"Like what you see, kid?" the guy asked, green eyes shimmering with suppressed mirth at the deer-caught-in-headlights expression the blue eyed youth fixed him with. When only incoherent babble greeted his words, the taller boy smirked even wider than before and held out one hand. "The name's Axel, got it memorised?" When all he received was a little squeak and his hand being eyed like it was a hungry shark, Axel roughly ruffled the hair at the back of his head. "So..oooo, I'm guessing you're new here?" this time he received a tiny nod in response. "And that," Axel pointed at the soggy pulpy mess of paper by the boy's feet, "is...well, was your timetable?" One more nod. Axel was beginning to worry that the kid was a mute. "Sheesh, people always babble at me, usually I'd give anything for this kind of stunned silence, but kid...I gotta say it'd be helpful if you could...I dunno, give me your name at least? And then I'll take you to reception to get a new timetable, maybe a laminated one, and show you to your first class or something." As he was about to grumble something quite possibly rude, Axel heard a very timid voice pipe up.
"R...roxas." The redhead's eyes gleamed oddly as his mouth stretched into one of the widest grins Roxas had ever seen.
"Rrrroxxasss, nice to meet you. Onwards to Reception! And awaaayyyy we goooooo!" As Roxas was trying to clear the tingles from his body from the way the older boy had purred his name, Axel grabbed the bewildered blonde's wrist with one hand, snatched up his rucksack with the other and towed him along behind him like an obedient tugboat leaving a wake of water behind them. That was, until a loud, reprimanding voice cut into the air that had previously been silent except for Roxas' squelching, squeaking shoes and the steady dripping of rainwater.
"AXEL TYSON! Are you skipping registration again!" Axel groaned and muttered.
"Not Saïx, he hates me!" Roxas' eyes widened as Axel pulled him around to face a blue haired, scar-faced menace of a teacher. Axel's own eyes widened, but in feigned innocence instead of shock. "No Sir. I was just helping the new kid find reception since his timetable got ... smooshy from the rain." Both boys saw the teacher twitch at Axel's use of such a childish word before grunting and turning back into his classroom. Roxas blinked but was more concerned about the warm sensation that was emanating around his body, point of origin being the skin that Axel was in direct contact with. Axel merely grinned like a happy cat at Saïx's hasty retreat and returned his attention to pulling Roxas on his way to reception, heart thudding painfully in his chest. The kid was cuter than his photos had implied. And though he looked more like Cloud than Leon, Axel could definitely see features of the stoic brunet in the seemingly shell shocked boy. Though Axel had suggested the little runaway might come here seeking his father, he really had not expected their serendipitous meeting.