[a K i n g d o m H e a r t s story]
Chapter 1: The Icing On the Cake.
She had worn a scarlet sweater the day I met her.
I could remember that day like a photograph from my wedding day; it was unforgettable. I can also remember all the elements of that day; give me the color red: her sweater. Give me the number one: the time. Give me my birthday: the day.
People tend to remember their first times for everything. First house, first car; first love—that kind of thing. I guess, this was one of those moments...but, the difference was, after all the effort I'd put into thinking, I could never fully recall anything resourceful. Why do I suddenly remember this encounter?
Was it a meeting of hell or heaven?
I'll never know. The things I do know now are that she was a girl in a red sweater, and she forever changed my life, in ways I'd slightly never remember.
—- - - -
"Come on, Roxas! You'll miss the great sunshine!" Olette shouted back at me while she dashed along the streets.
I struggled to keep up with her peak speed. "I can see the sunshine from here, what's the point of going up on the bell tower?" I retorted, aligning myself next to her. She was so intent on making it there, that she hadn't even noticed I was next to her.
"Oh, just be quiet! It's your day, and you deserve a nice peaceful afternoon on the famous Twilight Town Bell Tower!" she replied. That was the mischievious, brainiac Olette. She was a brunette, had dark-green eyes, and an annoying personality. She was the kind of friend that yelled at me to get a girlfriend. There weren't many varities of girls in Twilight Town, the town of my short existence. The girls there were either horribly and unavoidably blasé, my best friends since early childhood, or taken already by my piss of a best friend Sora.
I did not want to go on top of the bell tower. It was really high up, and my number one fear was haplessly heights. It wasn't any of the pestering neighborhood bullies trying to make a living out of their dastardly deeds, or any of the annoying teachers that sometimes probed you to follow their rules. Just frankly standing hundreds of feet off the ground. The view by the ledge would overlook the curious setting sun, but if you'd look down, a terrible sight for someone even with mild acrophobia—someone like me—would induce so much anxiety, it'd be overbearing. I waved my pestering blonde hair out from my view to still try to catch up with Olette, who finally surpassed me, and I swallowed the foreboding thoughts behind. Man up, Roxas, I told myself.
"How do you know it's legal, Olette?" I asked for security. Of course I had known it was illegal. Almost everything in Twilight Town was illegal, but every teenager in town was involved in some minor offense. This was ours; sadly, I was part of it.
Olette's lean figure hadn't turned back. She hadn't spared a glance even once during our trip to the tower. She knew that if she turned around to face my imploring blue eyes and give me a valid answer, I would've turned back and start running back home, where I lived alone in solitude; just me and my big blue eyes. I was beginning to get more and more nervous about the situation as we drew closer to the tower.
Meanwhile, we continued running across the scenic town, crossing tram tracks and desolate streets with few pedestrians and passerbys. We took several detours across buildings' rooftops and throughout the small crowds of Twilight Town looking for entertainment and goods on the streets.
On certain occasions I would glance to my right and catch the glimpse of this sunlight ceremony Olette had wanted me to
witness. Little rivulets of orange and yellow collided respectfully and collaborated together to form a fiery bright orange, one that was even blinding. It wasn't all that usual to see this in late September. Possibly August, but not towards October; it just didn't seem right.
I honestly hadn't cared all that much of the journey; I cared mostly about the destination. Everyone knew the bell tower was the best place to look at the sky. They even had special blessing ceremonies at the top, when it wasn't shut to the public. It was just...the height...
After long and silent periods of running and deep thinking on both our parts, Olette and I paced up the winding stairs to the rooftop. The rooftop was supposedly a quaint and quiet place; it just so happened that it sounded like no one was up there. Our shoes echoed in harmony as we traveled up the stairs. The roof was perfect for hanging out, or catching up on sleep time. My friends and I, including Olette and Sora, would on occasion race up the reverberating steps to this welcoming location. It would only happen probably once every two years, if we were able to sneak around with no one looking, and I wasn't trying to bribe them out of the deal. That day, when I opened the roof door, I saw Sora gathered near the ledge along with Kairi and Hayner, other friends of mine. Kairi was holding a frosted cake on top of her palms, while all of them looked as if they were expecting me.
The door that lead to the stairs slammed behind me and Olette, triggering a response from the group on the ledge. They turned to greet me, and I saw my three other usual friends: Kairi, Hayner, and Sora. "Surprise!" they yelled with enthusiasm and zeal, but in different octaves and tones, which made it sound like various birds' battle cries.
Kairi held the rather large blue-icing birthday cake, hazardous enough to not drop it, while she stood next to the other boys. Her crimson red hair was radiating while her backdrop was the flaring sun-lit sunset. This was almost how everyone saw Kairi, with a nice accompanying backdrop. There was Kairi, with her sweet and innocent blue eyes appealing you to do what she requested and listen to the ridiculously colorful stories she's come up with from time to time. But then again, everyone did that in their lifetime; Kairi just so happened to have a beautiful ego to fall back on. She was still an admirable person, with a kind-hearted soul.
My eyes dawned on the cake she held. In the blue icing and in the center, someone had carved with their finger the message, "Happy Birthday, Rox-ASS". You can understand how much love I felt that day.
"HAAPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR ROXAAS!
HAAAPPY BIRRTHDAAY TO YOOU!" cried out the four of them in a harmony. Sora belted the words out like an opera, relatively fine with getting estranged looks from me.
After their harmoniously off-tune appraisal of me, I thanked them and helped Kairi set down the cake. "Yo. Roxas, how old are you anyways?" Hayner said, walking up to me while Kairi cut the cake in slices. I looked to him and laughed. "You probably look, what, twelve? Thirteen?" Hayner snapped his fingers. "Fourteen," he called out sarcastically.
I stood to look him straight in the face. "Seventeen, Hayner. That's a year older than you...which means," I gasped for emphasis. "You're SIXTEEN," I said. Hayner scoffed, possibly denying his age.
"Maybe," Olette whispered under her breath, looking away from the two of us an our conversation. Together, Sora, Kairi, and I all cooed in an annoying synchronized manner that gossip girls are more prone to sputter. Hayner swiveled his glance to Olette, his eyes so vengeful, but he seemed to hold himself a little behind. He used a lot more gel today in his dirty blonde hair to have the sporadic "cool" effect again.
"Woah. Watch it, or else I might think twice about your request to 'go out' with you," Hayner replied, his eyes flaring a bit, which actually scared Olette a bit.
"Oooh, buurn," everyone chimed in, but Olette turned redder than a moogle's puffy antenna ball. Furiously defeated, she ignored Hayner for the rest of the evening, and Hayner did likewise.
"Let's get this over with," I finally announced. We all cut ourselves slices of blue-iced cake. Once we all got slices, we took our respectable places on the ledge of the bell tower. We had picked these spots according to age, and lucky enough, I was farthest left from everyone else, as the oldest. Next to me was Olette, then Hayner, followed by Kairi and Sora to tip it off.
I nibbled on the blue frosting, coloring my rough lips a rather smooth cerulean. Sora and Kairi pretended to feed each other fist fulls, while Hayner threw a piece at a flying pidgeon. After nearly dying my lips into a more unnatural shade, I began to notice that a familiar presence wasn't there with us. "Where's Xion and Pence?" I asked, wiping some collective frosting off from around my mouth.
Kairi wiped icing off her chin while the rest continued listening. "Xion's probably studying...Or maybe she and Pence have a date," she said, earning a grin from Sora. The rest of us huffed, especially me, since my specially severe obsessive compulsive disorder made me panic that two people were absent for no reason, leaving two gaps in our seating arrangement. It was usual Kairi humor, and we all knew that she shouldn't answer any question.
"Maybe we could do that too," Sora nudged at Kairi. He swooped his brown hair in that guyish way that would usually have made the girls in town swoon, but it didn't break her composure as she stabbed a piece of cake violently.
Kairi smiled, then shoveled the entire large cake piece into her rather sizable mouth—beautifully of course. "Sorry, kiddo. But no," Kairi said, followed by a smirk and muffled chewing. She just wasn't one of those girls that adored Sora's guyish charm. Yet.
The rest of us laughed evily. We all knew deep inside, even Xion, that Kairi and Sora were already a couple in training. It's just that they acted more of an older, crankly, less meaningful couple than a couple at all.
Kairi, Sora, Hayner, Pence, Olette, Xion, and I all formed ourselves into a group coined as the "Super Unimaginable Seven," or SUS Brigade. We all met at around the same time, and we formed our own "clique", as people would call it. The only thing that was different than most other groups was that we then divided the Super Seven into two separate groups based on who we wanted to be with the most. I had collaborated with Sora, Kairi, and sometimes Xion, who we barely saw due to some illness she hardly mentioned. We joined together because we felt closer to each other, and because we were all in the same neighborhood. Olette, Hayner, and Pence thus formed their own trio, and they would randomly invite us to their "Usual Spot", which was just a clearing spot behind a gate on a side street. Today, more than all of us were together on top of my actual least favorite place over a small piece of sea-dyed cake and my trivial birthday.
I shoveled the rest of my piece of cake into my mouth, scooping the remnants of frosting clean off the plate. Contrary to my belief, this cake was better than I'd thought. Salty, yet sweet. Salty cake may sound repulsive, but it's actually quite refreshing. Before I'd demolished that piece of homemade cake, I looked and saw that I had earned myself a cut of the cake that spelled "-ASS". Unbelievably, I felt honored by (obviously) Sora's friendly gesture.
"Hey, didn't anybody notice this yet?" Sora called out, blue icing surrounding his mouth. Everyone turned to acknowledge him, and they all pointed fingers at his face. He quickly took note, and licked the blue and white frosting around his mouth, giving us a few seconds to watch him do just that.
He continued. "If you take the 'X' in 'Roxas' out and switch the letters around, it comes out to 'Sora'! Whatdya think? Am I smart or what?" he announced, surprised at his finding.
"Oh yeah! Hey, I wonder if all names with 'X' have a secret name. You guys are probably like twins, or...the same person!" Olette gasped.
Sora and I looked at each other analytically. Same blue eyes, different shades of hair color, attributal spiked hair..."Sure, we're totally brothers," I said mockingly while Sora just continued lathering his mouth with blue frosting.
Meanwhile, the hard-thinker Kairi and not-so-hard-thinker Hayner had come up with a bright list titled "People Whose Names Include an 'X' ". It was actually pretty convincing when they switched the names around. Sora was obviously relishing in his newfound smarts, and we sat watching the rest of them carry out Sora's testings.
As the entire group had begun switching the letters of our school's dictator-principal Xemnas, I forked the remains of my cake and got off the ledge to get seconds. We laid the cake on the asphalt of the rooftop, but we did it cautiously, so as to not get dirt or debris on our cake. Kairi and Olette's parents helped bake it, see it as they ran a bakery. I kneeled and took the cake slicer to gather up pieces of a crumbling cake that had barely any attribute to it anymore.
While I pieced together some pieces of the cake back together, I heard the door creak open. My peripheral vision showed a large red blotch that didn't exactly look harmless, just a person. Usually there'd be nothing out of the ordinary here, but I still looked up from where I squat like a hungry hobo for cake. I saw brown flat sandals, faded dark jeans, a scarlet sweater, and the blue-eyed blonde-haired girl with them.
She looked no taller than me, and my estimation was that we were the same age. Her pretty face studied mine while I remained in silence. Her blue eyes reminded me of my eyes—they were the exact same shade of baby blue that I was famous for.
Her scarlet sweater was a recognizable feature. Three rather large buttons the size of chocolate-chip cookies flowed in cooperation with an almost-invisible line. It was all perfect symmetry to go along with my obsessive compulsive disorder.
At that moment, she finally broke the silence and my awkward staring. She lifted her head high, lit up a bright smile, and nonchalantly asked me a question. Those four words were my greeting. I sat in awe, cake still in hand. The group behind me still hadn't noticed that someone might join us. She had asked me, "Whose birthday is it?"
To be frank and honest, she was the prettiest girl that'd ever talked to me since I was five. This girl I'd never seen or met in my entire life. A girl unknown to everyone else; asking whose birthday it was. I didn't answer. I didn't have to.
There was a long silence, followed by Sora exclaiming, "MANSEX!"
Notes: In setting terms and some plot features, this is AU. Set in in-universe worlds. Roxas' POV. Open to flames, or constructive criticism. Please note any grammar mistakes, I'm sorry about that :c
A/N: I was inspired to quickly write a KH story because I was replaying KH 358/2 Days, and I had the urge to. Same with KH Birth by Sleep. I got the bundle! This is how I spend my money... :3 btw, Roxas' birthday, I made it up by the date 358/2 Days was released, just a little trivia fact :)
dedicated to all you lucky souls that are a part of one of the biggest and best fandoms in the world: Kingdom Hearts.
I do not claim to own the ownership rights to the series Kingdom Hearts and/or Final Fantasy. All rights go to their respective owners.
- revised 7 - 4 - 2011