Ya'll can hate me for starting a new story and not working on my other two D: but I really really like this one right now... and I just kind of need a break from my other stories at the moment. I started like 5 different versions of two different stories and I liked this one the best so I'm putting it up for your viewing pleasure ;)

Should I do a disclaimer? I mean, do I even need to tell you guys that I don't own Kingdom Hearts? I guess I'll just do this for this chapter, so be sure to memorize it!

Enjoy ;)


Chapter 1

Lying is Harder Than it Looks

"Everyone, I'd like to introduce a new student today." My homeroom teacher announced, motioning to me as I stood next to her, hands behind my back, and a small smile plastered across my cheeks. "This is Roxas Hikari. Please make him feel comfortable. You can sit wherever you like." She smiled, motioning for me to sit down. I nodded a thank you and moved to the back of the very back of the room to the empty desk next to the window, a brown haired boy with extremely bright blue eyes sitting in the seat in front of it.
The second I sat down he had twisted in his seat to face me, flashing me a huge, bright smile. "Hi! My name's Sora. So you're Roxas? Your last name is really cool – Hikari, right? So why'd you come to this school?"

"Oh, my dad moved here for work." I smiled, but gripped my backpack a little too tightly. "I used to live in Nevada, so this is kind of a big change for me. "

"Nevada? Really?" he gasped. "I've always wanted to go there! My parents have some friends that have a vacation house in Vegas, but we haven't been able to go see them. I really want to go though, I hear it's amazing."

"It's not as amazing as everyone thinks it is." I laughed quietly. "I didn't live in Vegas, but I had family who did and it was always really dry and hot. You could only have a small patch of grass in your yard, and that was only if you had pets. It's nothing like the houses you see on TV."

"Oh, that kind of sucks..." he sighed, dropping his shoulders in disappointment.

"But... the city at night is amazing." I said, thinking back to my most favorite part about my old home, if not, my only favorite part about it. "There are so many lights and everything, especially around all of the casinos. It's really pretty."

Sora smiled at me, about to say something until the bell rang and we all stood up, the fifteen of us heading out the door. "What class do you have first?"

"Um... French." I said, looking at my schedule for Thursday.

"Awe, I've got Swimming." He frowned, but then smiled, slinging his backpack over his shoulders. "Well, I'll see you later! Good luck on your first day, Roxas!"

I nodded, smiling as I waved back at him until he rounded the corner. I let my smile fall into an agitated frown. Great, the first day and I already had some hyper kid wanting to be friends with me.

I readjusted my shoulder bag and walked down the stairs to classroom 125 for French.

Overall the day had been exactly what I expected; introductions to each class, follow along just like every other student, asked to sit with at lunch, and the occasional girl giggling with her friends when we made eye contact. I made it through with all smiles, and by the end of the day I was able to get in my car and go home. It took about ten minutes to drive down to the apartment complex, where I trudged up the stairs, pushed open my door, walked into my room and fell onto the bed face first.

I woke up at seven, my head throbbing like it always did when I fell asleep during the day. Groaning, I dragged myself to my feet and went to the bathroom for some Tylenol, turning on most of the lights on my way. Once my headache was taken care of I moved to the kitchen to cook some dinner for myself.

I lived alone.

My life back home had been hell on Earth, and once I turned sixteen I had had enough of it. With the help of my mom (who actually did something useful for once in her life) and my brother I changed my name, smashed my piggy bank, packed my bags, got in the car and left. The whole transaction from Winchester (NV) to Omaha (NE) had taken about two and a half months all together, and I spent another month or two finding a job at a local Hy-Vee and getting settled before my mom enrolled me in school. Of course she told the principal of my situation, and after much bribing, there I was. Of course, for all the owners of my apartment complex knew, my brother was living with me.

Now I had to admit, money was pretty tight (meaning no school lunches), but I managed, and Mom agreed to pay for my rent for the first year and Cloud (my brother) insisted on handling half of my school funds. The apartment building wasn't fancy in the least, but so long as it had a place to sleep, eat, pee, bathe, and working electricity, I wouldn't care if it were the worst of the worst.

The reason I moved? Well, lets keep it short and just say I didn't exactly get along with my father for... certain things that happened.

For dinner, I settled for mac n cheese, as well as doing my homework at the small circular table sitting in the middle of the kitchen, the old dial radio I had brought with me from home turned to 101.9. I honestly felt comfort with the fact that I was finally out of the clutches of my dad, and with that I was able to finish my homework, shower, and go to bed. Not that I fell asleep until about four, but I was still able to lay down and read, which for me feels as if I had been sleeping anyway.

"So, Roxas, do you have a cell phone?" Sora asked once I had arrived in homeroom and settled myself in the seat next to him.

I shook my head. "No, sorry. My parents told me that I couldn't get one unless I paid for it, and I don't have the money..." Yeah, right. So what would you call that thing in my bag?

"That sucks! Awe, I was hoping we could swap numbers..." Sora sighed, but pulled out a piece of paper and started writing. When he finished, he handed me the paper and I saw that it had his number on it. "Here, this way you can call me from your house phone instead! We'll just have to talk the old fashioned way." He grinned.

I nodded, tucking the paper into my pocket. Not that I was actually going to call him. I was grateful when the bell rang for us to go, but before I could leave my teacher stopped me. "Oh, Roxas, you've been excused from your first class today. Your counselor wanted to talk with you." She told me.

"Alright. Thanks." I smiled, waving goodbye before heading down the hall to the guidance office. When I walked inside I saw about five doors lining three of the walls, and was about to ask the lady at the desk against the forth wall when a woman with long brown hair pulled back into a braid and a large pink bow at the top of it called me over to her.

Once we settled inside her office, she smiled at me. "Hello Roxas, I'm Aerith Gainsborough, I'll be your counselor for the rest of your time here. I've been informed of your current situation, and..."

"Oh, you don't have to worry about that." I smiled, but my voice came off more bitter than sweet. "I've got everything under control."

"That may be the case, but I only wanted to tell you that if you ever needed anything that you can always come to me. And... I was wondering if you would be willing to tell me why exactly you chose to do this."

My smile faltered. "Um... I don't think..."

"I'm sorry, my curiosity gets the best of me sometimes." She laughed. "You don't have to talk about it if it makes you uncomfortable. I'm just here to help."

I nodded. "Mrs. Gainsborough, would it be okay I if I went back to class now? I don't really think I should be missing class on only the second day..."

"Of course sweetie, I'll just write you a pass." She smiled, pulling out a small piece of paper, scribbled some words on it, and handed it to me. "And don't forget to come in and talk some time."

With one last nod I grabbed my bag and left the room, taking out my schedule as I walked down the hall to figure out what class I had. Looked like Art Foundations. As I fumbled to stuff my schedule back into my pocket, I failed to notice someone round the corner next to me, and with a loud 'oof!' we both tumbled to the ground.

"Ah, sorry about that." The person who ran into me laughed apologetically, pushing himself off of me so I wasn't being crushed anymore. "I guess I was running too fast."

"Yeah, just a bit." I mumbled under my breath, but smiled once I stood up and brushed the wrinkles out of my jacket. "No problem, I wasn't looking either." I looked up once he had started talking, and my eyes widened at his appearance. He was, well, to put it simply, absolutely gorgeous. He had this insane red hair that spiked out and green eyes that looked way too bright to be real, but also held this amazing intensity that just made you know they were. Not to mention the upside down teardrop tattoos underneath them. He had on a pair of black, ripped up skinny jeans with thin small chains connected to the belt loops, a beat up pair of black converse, and a green and black Slytherin jacket (I had two just like it, one for Slytherin and one for Gryffindor; if you don't know what it's from, read Harry Potter. NOW).

I must have been staring a bit too obviously because he stopped saying whatever it was he was saying that I wasn't listening to and smirked. "Enjoying the view, blondie? I asked what your name was."

I blushed, quickly looking away. "I-it's Roxas."

"Hm... Roxas. Rrrroxas. I like it, plus I can call you Roxy." he grinned. "My name's Axel. It would be wise of you to memorize it."

"Um... yeah, okay." I nodded, not quite sure what to say to that. Plus I was trying to ignore the fact that he had just called me Roxy.

"So, Roxy, what class are you headed to?" he asked.

"Uh, Art Foundations." I said, having to think about it.

"Looks like we're headed the same way. Come on, we're already late as it is." and with that he was grabbing me by the wrist and dragging me down the hall to our class. I wasn't sure what to make of this Axel guy. He looked like someone who would be mean or more rebellious, but he was acting almost like a taller, red haired Sora.

When we got to art I handed my teacher my pass and she nodded, telling us to take a seat wherever so she could continue her lesson. Axel, still holding my wrist, pulled me over to a table with two open seats, the other occupied by a guy with a mullet. Apparently the two knew each other, because when we sat down he grinned at Axel.

"I was starting to think you wouldn't show up." He said.

"Shut up, it's not my fault no one woke me up this morning." Axel growled.

"How long have you been here?" the blonde one asked, his attention suddenly turned to me. "Did you transfer to this class or something?"

"Um, no, this is only my second day here..." I explained.

"Oooh that explains it! So you're new? What's your name? What grade are you in? Me and Axel are juniors. Based on your height I'd guess freshman, but I'm also guessing sophomore..." he contemplated, rubbing his chin in thought.

If this were an anime, you would see the little irritated symbol on my forehead. Ignoring the comment regarding height, I smiled. "No, I'm a junior. My name's Roxas."

"Whoa, seriously? You're a junior?" he gasped, earning a glare from the teacher. "I could have sworn you were a freshman... or at least a sophomore. Well, my name's Demyx. How'd you meet Axel?"

"I ran into him when I was running to class." Axel explained. "And I think you meant 'Axel and I' not 'me and Axel'."

"Oh, pish posh, who cares about grammar." Demyx huffed, crossing his arms. Oh man, I was going to have a serious headache by the end of the day. "So Roxas, where did you go before here?"

"Oh, I moved from Nevada." I said.

"Nevada? Wow, did you live in Vegas? Oooh I bet that would have been amazing! The city, the lights, the people... a true star's dream." He sighed happily, and I could sense him drifting off into his own dreamland.

"Um... actually I lived just outside Vegas, in Winchester... I've only been in Vegas a couple times before since it's still a pretty lengthy drive."

"What got you to move here?" Axel asked.

"Um, my dad... he had to move for work." I shrugged, avoiding his stare. There was just something about how he stared at me, as if he was studying me, or something, that just made it so I couldn't look him in the eye or else I felt like he would be able to see everything.

I tried to pay attention to the rest of class, the teacher explaining something about how we were going to be doing a drawing of still life that would be due in a month or two, but it became difficult with a certain blonde rambling on about his dream of going to Vegas to play music or something. It didn't end there; turns out, Axel was in my next class as well. I put up with him as best I could, but lying proved to be much harder with his intense stare every time I answered a question.

"What are you staring at?" he asked, noticing my gaze was fixed on the chalkboard behind him. I was waiting not-so patiently for the bell to ring so I could run off to an IMC or something for some quiet.

"Oh, nothing, I was just kind of staring off at nothing..." I said, looking down at my hands.

"You've barely made eye contact at all." He pointed out.

"So?"

"So, you need to learn how to hold someone's gaze! You can't have a decent conversation when you aren't even looking at the person. Come on, look me in the eye." He said, staring at me with a very serious expression on his face. I couldn't do it. Aside from trying not to laugh at such a random and pointless conversation, he was taking it all seriously. I glanced at him, but each time I did I had to look away. I thought I would be free once the bell rang, but he pulled me out the door and as we were walking he kept trying to get me to look him in the eye.

"I don't see why this is such a big deal." I said, still only glancing at him as he walked backwards through the hallway.

"Because! How else are you going to get a good job? The key is eye contact. No ones going to hire you if you don't use eye contact." He said.

"For your information, I do have a job." I growled, glaring at him.

"Aha! So you can look someone in the eye!" he laughed triumphantly, but I only frowned and remained silent.

"Turn around before you run into something." I said, trying not to show the agitation in my voice. He had been walking backward for the whole time and somehow managed not to run over a single person. It was honestly pissing me off to no end.

He sighed, but spun around to my side so he wasn't walking backwards or in front of me anymore, and folded his hands behind his head. "Hey Rox, can I ask you something?"

"Um, sure." I nodded.

"Why do you always do that?"

"Do what?"

"What you've been doing all morning." He sighed. "You keep smiling and laughing even though you don't look like you're happy at all."

I froze, surprising the person behind me and causing them to stumble out of the way at the last minute. How had he noticed? I had spent years building this up, and so far no one had been able to tell. No one. Not even the people I was closest to. So why him? Why this person that I had only known for less than two hours?

Axel had kept walking for a good three steps before he noticed I wasn't following and turned to look at me. "You okay?"

I nodded mechanically, willing my legs to move. "I just, um, I'm not sure what you mean, ha ha..." I laughed nervously, resuming my spot by his side.

Axel shrugged. "It's nothing, you just don't seem very happy. Why smile if you're not happy, you know?"

I remained silent for the rest of our walk to the cafeteria, and by the time we reached it I remembered that I had absolutely no money to buy food, and no idea who the heck I was going to be sitting with. Well, with Axel, that was obvious, but what kind of people did Axel sit with, exactly? Would they even want me at their table? "Come on," Axel nudged me. "Don't want the seats to fill up, do ya? Set your bag down and we'll go grab some grub." He said, walking over to a table with a very... interesting group of people. One boy (?) had long, pink hair that went past his shoulders, another I recognized as Demyx, and there was a girl who's hair reminded me of a bug's antennas. Axel dropped his bag into a seat and pulled another one up to the table from the one behind us and motioned for me to put my bag on it. "Guys, this is Roxas. I'll do introductions later, first we get food." I followed him wordlessly, wondering just exactly what I would tell him if he asked what I was getting.

"I'll be back, go pick out what you want and I'll meet you in line." he said, grabbing a tray before disappearing into the crowd of people. I pulled out my wallet from my pocket only to find that I had a fifty-dollar bill that I would be using to buy groceries after school with. I definitely wasn't breaking that for a three-dollar lunch.

Axel showed up at my side with some type of sandwich or sub wrapped up on his tray, ice cream, and an apple juice a few minutes later. He gave me a puzzled look when we got in line and he saw that I had nothing in my hands. "Are you getting anything?"

I shook my head, smiling. "Oh, my parents haven't put any money on my account yet."

"Hm... well, we can't have you going hungry. Go pick something out, today'll be my treat." He winked, and I was about to protest but I knew it would be useless. With a sigh I turned around and went to grab a thing of fries and some ketchup. When I got back Axel shook his head but grinned. "You could have gotten more than that, you know. Go snag a drink as well."

"But-"

"Come on, it's my money, and I'm saying I want to use it to buy you lunch. So no complaining." He said, and with that I sighed, going to the cooler to grab a pink lemonade. With that Axel punched in his lunch code, showed the lady his ID, and we were back at the table.

Today had proven to be a lot more work than the day before. I had just gotten home from the store, and let me tell you, I was exhausted. I couldn't get what Axel had told me out of my head.

How the heck was he able to tell I wasn't happy? Sure, I felt a bit better now that I was able to live without being constantly tortured by my dad, but it wasn't like I was happy. Surviving, maybe, but definitely not happy.

I sunk lower in the bathtub, letting my nose slide under the water as I started to slowly blow out through my nose, creating little bubbles. I was tired; I didn't need to be thinking about this stuff.

Let's just hope Axel didn't get any more observative than he already was. I didn't know if I could handle him asking me that question again.

I didn't go back to lunch after Tuesday. I knew that Axel would start to get suspicious of when exactly my parents were going to put money in my account, seeing as that wasn't going to happen any time soon. It had been about two weeks since I had started school, and so far things were... well, not good, but bearable. It wasn't like I was going to go insane from being there. Of course, that's assuming I haven't gone insane already.

Paying for food turned out to be a lot more expensive than I though it would be. I set myself on a budget of sixty dollars a month, and ten of those dollars was emergency only. Like, if I suddenly ran out of milk or shampoo or something. If not, I carried that extra ten over into my bank account. A little tip; never ever EVER get a credit card. They kill you. Stick to a cash card, they are way easier to handle, and if you run out of money, you just don't buy anything and wait to put more on it. With a credit card, you go into debt and fees and all that crazy nonsense that slowly drains all of your money.

School had been catching up to me, but luckily since I didn't go to lunch, I was able to get most of my homework done in school. It kind of sucked not being able to have a laptop like everyone else at the school, but that was definitely something I couldn't afford. Heck, I didn't even have a TV. I was honestly thinking about getting a second job, one that I could do on the side when I didn't have to work at Hy-Vee, but unless it was some nighttime job, that wasn't happening.

Sora entertained me every morning during homeroom, telling me about whatever it was he had done the day before, and constantly reminding me that he wanted me to meet his friends some time. I had found out that I had my art, science, math, and creative writing class with Axel, and he constantly asked me why I hadn't been coming to lunch, where I would just smile and tell him I ate later in the day so I probably just wasn't in the lunch room when he was. Leave it to Axel not to believe me.

"You know what I think?" he said on Wednesday during our last class, leaning back in his chair while our teacher talked about science. "I think that you just skip lunch. I mean, really? You have it the same time as me on Tuesdays, I know that much, yet you haven't showed up for two weeks."

I shrugged, tapping my fingers on the desk. He had really been trying my patience the past few days. "Why should it matter to you anyway?"

"Because as your friend I have a right to be worried about your well-being! You're too tiny to risk not eating. And I saw you scarf down those fries last time; you looked like you hadn't seen food in months." He huffed, obviously angry. "So what's your excuse? Because apparently you wont tell me the truth anyway."

I sighed, pinching the bridge of my nose in between my index finger and thumb. "Look, I'm just a little tight on cash right now, twenty dollars a week is not worth loosing just so I can eat some food at school."

"Why didn't you just tell me you're family's broke?" he scoffed. "Seriously, I've got extra lunch money, you could have just asked."

"I don't want your money." I said.

"And I don't want you to starve. Come to lunch eighth period tomorrow, you're eating food." He said, and I knew that was that. No excuses.

I sighed, and luckily not long after the bell rang signaling school was over for the day. I needed a Tylenol and a long shower. No, scratch that, bath. Bubble bath. "I'll see you tomorrow..."

"Hey, wait." Axel said, catching up to me as I walked out of the classroom.

"What is it?"

He seemed to falter for a moment, parting his lips to say something but then thinking better of it and closing his mouth again. "Never mind. I'll see you tomorrow."

Although I was confused, I didn't dwell on his strange behavior. I simply headed to my car, drove back home to get on my uniform, and then back onto the road to drive to work. Great, just what I needed. A bunch of snotty people getting mad at me because they didn't get that one penny back. Why couldn't I be one of the people that stacks the food? I'd rather push carts in the dead of winter than sit at a register for four hours having to pretend to be sickeningly happy. Of course, that didn't stop me from doing my job. I'd rather get paid for doing something I hate than not get paid just to avoid it.

By the time I got home, it was well past nine and I was more than a little tired. You know what, screw the bubble bath. I was skipping dinner and I was going straight to bed. ...Ha, if only it were that easy. By midnight, I was starting to think that skipping that bath was a very good idea. I needed the stress relief, but it was too late now. Sure, I could have just gotten in the tub without any worry of waking someone up, but I just couldn't take a bath so late at night. It just... it felt weird. I'd take a shower in the morning or something.


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