Author's Note: I can't think of anything to say right now, so I'll add it at the end of this chapter.
Four years later…
It was autumn in Twilight Town again. The leaves were changing colors now, transforming from their usual bright green to more earthy tones of red and gold, trying to rival the sunsets with their beauty. The air was growing chillier when evening fell, although the afternoons were still warm.
Someone had moved into the white farmhouse in the main neighborhood that had stood empty ever since its prior occupants died in a terrible car crash. There were rumors going around town that one of them was from this very town, but had lived elsewhere for the past few years.
A blonde man, only slightly taller than he had been when he graduated high school, stared out the top floor window at the setting sun. His hair was in its usual distinctive spikes, although somewhat subdued, now that he was working. Another man, much taller and with wild red hair, came to stand beside him in the empty room.
"You know, it's been five years since we met," the redhead said, his voice tinged with nostalgia. "We've changed so much since then. It's almost hard to believe that we were ever younger…"
"We certainly have changed," the blonde replied dryly. "You've gotten extremely sentimental, Axel."
"I have not!" the redhead replied indignantly. "I just… Okay, yeah, I have. But you've gotten much more serious. Somebody has to have all the fun around here, Mr. Sinclair!"
The blonde man rolled his eyes and stood on his tiptoes to kiss Axel. "Oh, shut up. And call me Roxas. You're not one of my students."
Axel scratched the back of his head. "I also still can't believe you ended up wanting to be a teacher, of all things," He held up his hands defensively when Roxas glared at him. "Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course, but still, it surprised me.
"And you're an assistant in the biggest veterinary clinic in the county," Roxas said. "I thought you'd want to open your own."
"Maybe someday," Axel stared wistfully out the window. After a few moments of silence, he changed the subject. "We need to start unpacking, you know. My parents won't be here until tomorrow to help us, and we don't want to leave all the work for them, do we?"
Roxas shook his head and turned around to head downstairs. Axel caught him and pulled him in for a kiss. The smell of mint, no longer tainted by cigarette smoke, flooded the blonde's nose.
"Stop stalling," The blonde rolled his eyes, but couldn't hide his grin. "We've got work to do."
The two men walked downstairs and randomly chose one of the boxes to start unpacking. Axel cut the tape with a box cutter and pulled the flaps open. "Hey, looks like we picked he one with all the little stuff in it."
"Great," Roxas sighed. "We have nowhere to put it all yet. Pick another one."
"Hey, wait a second. What's this?" Axel pulled out a small folder from the box he was sitting in front of. Roxas went to sit down beside him as he inspected it.
Axel's eyes widened as he opened the folder and thirteen identical pink construction paper hearts fluttered to the floor. He picked them up and began leafing through them, tears welling up in his eyes as he did so.
"What's wrong with you?" the blonde man asked when he saw this. "Why are you crying over dinky little hearts?"
"Do you remember, during our last year of high school, I made these for you and left them in your locker? I thought we'd gotten rid of them!" Axel replied, wiping his eyes with the back of his hand. "It just… There are so many memories attached to these things. It's hard not to look at them without crying."
"I do remember these…" Roxas reached out to touch one of them. "You're right. There are a lot of memories that go along with these. Speaking of memories, Larxene called for you while you were out. She said that her second baby was born today. It's a boy, and she said his name is Alex in honor of you."
"But my name isn't… Oh. Well, I'll give her props for creativity, switching up the letters like that," Axel grinned. "And that reminds me, Namine left a message on my cell phone earlier. It said she and Seifer are getting married in a few months, and she wants us to come."
"Really? After all that happened, she doesn't hate us?" Roxas asked incredulously.
"Nope," Axel grinned. "Sounds like she doesn't."
"It's so hard to believe that we've made it this far…" Roxas said after a few moments of silence.
"But look how far we've come," Axel said, kissing the blonde again. "Nothing can stop us now."
"Are you absolutely sure about that?"
Author's Note: Oh, man. You have absolutely no idea how proud I am to be able to finally write those last two words. This fanfcition has been a real lesson to me on how to do what I love to be able to keep doing it. I know five months may seem like an incredibly short time compared to how long it takes others to write their own stories, but these last few months have been simply amazing. Honestly, I don't think I could have done it without every single person that read, reviewed, favorited, alerted, heck, even just glanced at the first chapter. Without the knowledge that people out there really cared about what I was writing... I may never have finished. I'd like to personally thank everyone who did what I just listed. You guys help sustain that little spark of life that I wrote into this.
And, to one very special person who's been here since this story first came into being: Thank you, my friend. I'll never doubt you again. I promise.
Until next time,