DISCLAIMER: Though I find it completely unnecessary, I feel somewhat obligated to state that the Kingdom Hearts franchise does not belong to me whatsoever. Also, as you read the story, keep in mind that this is simply a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either products of their rightful owner's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance of actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
GOODBYE MAY SEEM FOREVER
a May Vulcan story
The Usual Spot, once the spirit of all wonder and imagination, was now a desolate abyss of nothingness. A place where dreams and fun used to soar. A place where fantasy met reality. A place where four friends could just be themselves. A place to which those same friends would have to say goodbye…
The Usual Spot... their place for so long… now a place long gone.
Eighteen-year-old Christian Hayner Richardson stood in the center of the room, facing the dartboard he and Roxas used to love playing with when they were in middle school. He turned to the couch where Olette used to unload her dramas and dreams to the boys she trusted with her heart, her mind and her soul. The blonde haired boy then turned to face the Twilight Town 'WELCOME' posters Pence used to design for the county's annual art competition. Then looking at the entrance, Hayner remembered the times when he used to drag himself, waltz and even race into the Usual Spot to tell his three best friends whatever news he had.
But now, those usual things were used-to-be's… and there was nothing Hayner – or anyone – could do about it.
Senior year was finally over. Soon Olette would be running back to Radiant Garden to help her mother raise her brothers while attempting to finish her schooling. Soon Roxas would be moving across town to start working on his college degree at Twilight Town Community College to become an orthodontist. Soon Pence would be heading off to the King's castle for training to become a knight for King Mickey. And soon, Hayner's biggest fear would become a reality: losing his three best friends to the test of time.
We met, it seems, such a short time ago
A twelve-year-old boy with spiky blonde hair sat in the lunchroom of Twilight Town Junior High School alone. He had his black backpack to his right and his textbooks to his left. Christian Hayner Richardson had purposely picked the dark corner in the back of the cafeteria.
Just near the farthest exit from twelve-year-old, two boys – the same age as Hayner – sat across from each other at the lunch table where they were. The golden blonde haired boy sat closest to the exit door while he conversed with the heavy-set, black haired boy. Jonathan Roxas Way and Nicholas Pence Aarons had been best friends since the first grade.
Olette Maureen Anderson, a twelve-year-old girl with mesmerizing green eyes and soft peach-colored skin, entered the cafeteria with her orange-accented penguin backpack bouncing around behind her. Naturally, she packed her lunch. Now, she was just looking for a place to sit.
Her bright green eyes scanned the lunchroom in hopes to find an empty seat. Luckily, she found two empty seats; Olette had a choice between the two happy-go-lucky boys she occasionally saw around her neighborhood or the brown-eyed boy she once met during catechism classes. Slowly, Olette made her way toward the table at which she wanted to sit.
Hayner's dark eyebrows knitted together as a familiar figure made its way to the lonely table where he sat. He squinted his brown eyes to try to get a better look at the face of the peach-skinned preteen. Hayner watched as her brown hair bounded up and down in sync with her penguin backpack. The moment he glanced at her face, Hayner was positive that he knew this girl from somewhere.
"Hello," the girl greet with her bright smile annoying the boy before her.
"What do you want, Holy Girl?" the spiky blonde-haired boy mocked, looking away from Olette and turning back to his food.
Unmoved by the boy's nickname for her, Olette's smile stayed in place. She shut her eyes for a moment to process her thoughts into words. Quickly opening her eyes, she giggled before looking in the direction of the other open spot.
"Well, I was just wondering if I could sit with you, Christian," Olette stated softly, "but I understand if you want to be alone. I'll be on my way then."
Across the room, Roxas was experimenting with the cafeteria food in front of him while his best friend ate without a single complaint.
"I seriously think that this stuff can cause massive food poisoning!" Roxas remarked, ripping open his ketchup packet and squeezing it into his two-percent milk.
The raven-haired boy watched as his childhood best friend shook the milk carton around. For years, Pence and Roxas did stupid things to the cafeteria food, not being able to trust it in its original state. Naturally, the things they did at lunch were shunned by the society around them, forcing them to be outcasts.
"So why do you bother eating it?" Pence asked, taking a bite from his apple. "I mean… it's not like the stuff we do to it is any better."
Roxas looked at his childhood best friend and shrugged. "I don't know," he replied, taking a sip of his ketchup-flavored milk. "This isn't so bad, ya'know… once you get past the flavor that is."
Olette looked at the boy sitting in front of her, then toward the boys across the room and then toward Hayner once again. From the moment she met Hayner at church up until that present moment, Olette had always been so keen on becoming friends with him. Regardless of what Seifer Samuels said to her, Hayner seemed like the type of person she could befriend easily… but as of right now, Olette knew that befriending Christian Hayner Richardson was probably not the easiest of tasks.
It was then she decided that she would go try to make new friends at this new school. She turned to Hayner again, but found herself tongue-tied. For some reason, Olette could not get the 'goodbye' to escape past her lips. Without another moment, the brown-haired girl shook her head and quickly strutted to the other end of the room.
"Hey there," Olette greeted as she approached the dynamic duo. "Do you mind if I sit here with you two? Everywhere else seems to be full… or unwelcoming…"
"Well, you can sit with us!" Pence replied with a goofy grin. "There's always room for one more!"
Roxas smiled, looking at Olette. "I'm Roxas and this is Pence," the twelve-year-old introduced himself politely to the brunette.
"I'm Olette," she replied as she tossed her brown hair behind her shoulders. "Are you sure you don't mind if you sit here with you guys?"
The heavyset boy with a black headband smiled and shook his head. "Why would it be? The more the merrier!"
Sighing happily to herself, Olette smiled at the boys. Her first day of middle school was turning out to be a great blast. Though her schedule consisted of her old school rival, Nicolette Naminé Dénouement, Olette's day was picture perfect, but she knew in her heart that there was something more she could do to make her years at school better.
Watching from where he sat, Hayner could not help but feel a little guilty for making Olette go away when all she really needed was a place to sit. He could see her smiling and talking to the other two boys, yet he noticed she still hadn't taken her seat with them.
Maybe Olette was just an awkward person, Hayner thought to himself as he continued to stare at the petite preteen across the cafeteria.
Olette felt eyes burning into the back of her skull as she side glanced at Hayner from where she stood. She could tell that her classmate was staring at her, but she was certainly not going to make a scene like she usually would.
Turning to Pence and Roxas once more, Olette smiled, not taking her eyes off of the boy in the corner. "Do you mind if my friend sits with us, too?"
"Again, there's always room for one more!" Pence chirped as Olette's grin grew wider.
Gently placing her orange-accented backpack onto the floor near Roxas and Pence's table, Olette skipped over to Hayner's table with a goofy grin on her face.
Hayner groaned as he noticed the overly perky girl headed in his direction. He didn't know what it was about her, but she was just extremely hard to escape.
"What do you want, Holy Girl?" Hayne asked again with the same scowl.
Olette still smiled politely. "Would you like to sit with me?"
A couple of moments passed before the words actually sunk into Hayner's mind. Was this insane girl he barely even knew really asking him to sit with her? What on earth was she thinking?
"What?" Hayner wondered, confused as ever. "I have been nothing but terrible to you since we met at church that Thursday and you're asking me to sit with you like we're the best of pals?"
Blinking, she took in the words just recited. Olette nodded with a huger grin than before. "It sure beats sitting all by yourself on the first day of school!" the brunette stated, noticing the look on Hayner's face. "Look, I'm only asking that you give it a chance. If you really didn't like sitting with me today, I'll leave you alone for the rest of our lives! After today, if you really didn't like it, you can sit all by yourself again tomorrow!"
Hayner looked over at the two boys Olette just finished talking to before approaching him. He noticed the boy with the red jersey and the blue jeans and the other boy with the black, high-collared jacket were having the time of their lives. Sighing, he gave into Olette's request.
"Fine…" he replied, standing up to sling his backpack over his right shoulder. "You promise me that you're not gonna bug me after this if I didn't like sitting with you today?"
Olette giggled as she helped Hayner carry his books across the cafeteria. "I promise!"
"Me sitting with you in no way means that we're gonna be friends," Hayner reminded. "No type of friendship whatsoever."
Olette laughed as she watched the preteen beside her. "Cool your jets, Richardson! When I make a promise, I intend to keep it; I said I'd leave you alone after this if you really hated your time with company."
"Hey, guys!" Olette said as she took a seat beside Pence.
"Hey, Olette!" Pence and Roxas greeted in unison.
"Boys, this is Christian Hayner. He's a fri- a classmate of mine," Olette corrected herself.
Hayner nodded toward Roxas and Pence with a small smile. "Hey."
Hayner quickly cut in before Roxas could finish what he was saying. "… my friends call me Hayner," he said softly.
"Oh," Roxas acknowledged Hayner's correction, "well then. Hayner, I'm Jonathan Roxas and this is Nicholas Pence… but you can call us Roxas and Pence."
"It's a pleasure to meet you guys," Hayner stated, glancing at Olette briefly. "I hope I'm not being too forward, but I hope this is the start of a colorful friendship."
You looked at me – needing me so
Underneath all of his bed sheets, the boy with the raven black hair and the hazel eyes sat alone in his bedroom. He sat in the corner of his bottom bunk, sobbing. His chest stung with unexplainable pain as he quickly inhaled and exhaled. Breathe… that's all he really could do for the time being.
Hayner slowly walked up to the wooden stairway. The only other time he had actually been in Pence's house was with Olette and Roxas; this was the first time the blonde was visiting Pence alone. Hayner was very hesitant to even go to the Aarons' household, but he knew that Pence was not feeling well; however, Hayner did not understand why. Pence's life was the most perfect compared to anyone else's in the quartet – or so Hayner thought.
The fourteen-year-old slowly creaked Pence's bedroom door open. He saw that Adrian, Pence's younger brother, was not in the room playing video games as he usually was. Hayner also took note of the fact that Pence's cousin, Edward, was not at the computer desk playing whatever computer games the Aarons' boys had to offer as he usually was. But then Hayner spotted Pence, sitting in the far corner of the bed crying, as he usually wasn't.
With watery and red eyes, Pence looked at Hayner with a weak smile. "What're you doing here, Hayner?" croaked the artistic young boy.
Hayner winced as he heard the sound of the other boy's voice. Pence, the boy who always wore a smile of some sort, was sitting in his room with bloodshot eyes and a tearstained face; Hayner hated seeing any of his close friends in such a state.
"I'm here to see you," he admitted. "Roxas said he came by here the other day but your mom said you weren't feeling well. And then Olette said you didn't sound so good on the phone last night. I kinda wanted to check up on you myself."
The black-haired boy looked up to see Hayner standing at the end of the bed with a concerned frown. "What makes you think something's wrong, friend?"
Hayner shook his head in severe disbelief. "You're unbelievable, you know that? Do you really expect me to believe that there is absolutely nothing wrong with you? You're a wreck right now!"
Tightly shutting his eyes, Pence sighed, "I'm fine! Really, Hayner, I am."
Finally sitting down next to Pence, Hayner sighed. "Please stop lying to me. Look, I know that I'm not as close to you as Olette is. And God knows that I am nowhere near as close to you as Roxas is… but you're still one of my closest friends. Are you okay?"
Pence stared at Hayner for a while before banging his head violently against the wall. "She dumped me…" Pence moaned. "Naminé… dumped me."
Tugging awkwardly at the ends of his shirt, Hayner looked around uncomfortably. When had he, Christian Hayner Richardson, ever known anything about relationships? Especially broken ones that had no means of mending. Opening his mouth and then quickly closing it again, the blonde boy found himself confused for more than a moment.
"Uhm…" he stammered before watching Pence curl up into a ball underneath the sheets. "And… how does that make you feel?"
Really? Seriously? Hayner was actually going to go with that cliché that every therapist seemed to use. Did he finally sink that low in confusion?
"I feel like crap!" Pence gave a muffled reply from under the covers.
"Pence," Hayner blurted out, "I'm sorry, but I don't know how to deal with relationships! They've never been and never will be my forte; they're Roxas and Olette's… have you tried talking to them about this-?"
"No!" Pence shouted, popping up from under the covers.
Hayner was taken aback by Pence's outburst. "Wait, what?"
Groaning, Pence looked back at his friend. "I just… I don't know," he tried to explain, still sounding like a wreck. "It's easier to talk to you about this than it is with Olette and Roxas…"
"What are you even saying?" Hayner wondered. "Roxas is your best friend and he has been since you guys were in the first grade. And Olette's like your baby sister-."
"But Naminé is Olette's ex best friend," Pence murmured, "and she's Roxas's ex girlfriend. If I even dared to tell them this, it would ruin the progress Olette and Roxas are making with her. Hayner, please, I just need someone to talk to right now-."
"In other words, you need me?" Hayner concluded as Pence began to sob again.
The blonde scooted nearer to Pence before patting his friend on the back. Hayner watched as this same friend broke down more and more as each second ticked. Sighing, he nodded and said, "Then, I'll be here for you every step of the way."
Yet from your sadness
Hayner stood beside his best friend, Olette Maureen Anderson, as she clenched her fists and grit her teeth. Olette was not one to lose her temper (in front of others, at least), but on the rare occasions that she did, all hell broke lose.
"Calm down, Olette" Hayner begged quietly as he watched her eyes light up with a familiar fire he had seen countless times before. "Please, don't mind her."
Listening to the pleas of her best friend, the brunette breathed slowly, trying her best to calm herself. However, Olette could feel her blood boiling beneath her skin. Temperature rising and anger increasing, the sixteen-year-old girl glared at the figure across the way: her used-to-be tagalong, Rachel Daniels.
"Seriously though, Olette, do you really think that the four of you will stay friends forever? Forever is a period of time and time waits for no one. You'll be lucky if you and Christian can even stay friend after this year-."
Before Rachel could finish her spiel, Olette pushed past the girl and ran. She raced out of the ASB room and undoubtedly off campus.
Hayner knew that there was only one other place in town Olette would be headed: the Usual Spot. Shutting his eyes tightly and considering that Olette hadn't lost her temper, Hayner willed himself not to lose his temper with Rachel. He knew it was in her nature to be logical and sarcastic – a deadly combination – but he knew that sometimes Rachel just did not know when to stop.
"I tried being nice to you," Hayner stated as his hands balled themselves up into fists. "I even tried befriending you for Olette and Roxas's sake, but you are one insufferable bitch! Though I would never admit this to her, Olette is my best friend and so are Pence and Roxas… if you for one second think that this friendship is going to end over something stupid, you've got another thing coming."
As his brown eyes narrowed, Hayner clenched his fist tighter, turning his already pale knuckles whiter. He inhaled and exhaled quickly before going on, "We may not be friends forever, but we'll make the most of the time that we do have together, Daniels. If time decides to take out friendship away, then make note that it was time that took it away… not us."
Rolling her eyes, Rachel commented, "Do you really think that she won't leave you for someone better?Someone smarter? Someone like-?"
It was now Hayner's turn to roll his eyes; he knew exactly what the raven-haired beauty was hinting at. "Someone like you?" he wondered. "Rachel, puh-lease! Olette ended that friendship with you a little after Sadies… for a reason. What makes you think she'll leave me for someone like you if it didn't work out the first time?"
"Oh, but she will leave you," Rachel said with a low hiss. "Olette can't keep a friend – let alone a best friend – for more than a year."
"She's been my friend for four years now," Hayner counterattacked. "Besides, even if one of us decides to end it, you'll be mistaken in thinking that we won't fight to make it work out in the end. Now, if you don't mind, I've got more important people to be with. Catch ya later, Daniels!"
Running as fast as he could, Hayner rushed off campus and to the Sandlot. He knew that taking the way he assumed Olette took, even by running, would take him at least a couple of minutes more than he needed. And right now, he needed to make sure that his best friend was all right and out of harm's way.
"Olette!" he shouted when he reached the entrance of the Usual Spot. "Olette, are you in here? Please, open the gate!"
Hayner was standing in front of the closed gate. The curtain was drawn, hiding the gang's getaway form the rest of the world. The spiky-haired blonde rammed himself into the gate multiple times, hoping to get it open… even if it meant breaking down their only privacy barrier.
"Olette, please!" Hayner pleaded louder, trying to reason with his best friend. "We need to talk! Olette, I know you're in there! Please unlock the gate!"
From behind the curtain, Hayner could see a darkened figure making its way toward the date. Smiling to himself, Hayner sighed in relief; at least he got her to come over, but what was her supposed to say to her?
Hayner watched as the figure drew back the curtains.
"Pence!" Hayner bellowed in surprise. "What the hell are you doing in the Usual Spot with the gate locked?"
Pence sighed. "Will you calm down? Geez! Olette's been crying since she got here ten minutes ago. Roxas and I don't know why though…"
"Can you please just open the gate so I can see her?" Hayner begged. "I need to talk to her."
Pence eyed Hayner suspiciously. "What did you do to her this time?"
Hayner's jaw dropped slightly before sending a glare Pence's way. "What the fuck makes you think I did something?" Hayner hissed. "Pence, just let me in! This place is just as much mine as it is yours!"
"I can't do that," Pence stated. "How do I know that you didn't do something to Olette? She's really heartbroken right now. Usually, you're the cause behind her breakdowns like this."
"I didn't do anything to her!" Hayner sneered. "JUST OPEN THE DAMN GATE!"
"Pence," Roxas called from inside their sanctuary, "just let him in!"
"Thank you," grumbled Hayner as Pence handed the key over to the blonde.
As soon as Hayner got the key into the lock, he quickly turned the key and popped the lock open. The blonde teenager pushed roughly past the heavyset boy before him and ran to the crying girl on the old couch.
"Olette," he whispered, taking her into his arms. "Calm down… shhh… everything's going to be all right-."
"HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT?" the sobbing girl managed to yell at her best friend. "How? Tell me how you can even manage to say such a thing like that! What Rachel said-."
"-was a bunch of bullshit," Hayner sighed, shaking the girl by the shoulders. "Get a hold of yourself, Anderson! If you even think that I would leave you anytime soon… or anytime at all… you need to think again, Olette."
Gently, Hayner wrapped his arms around Olette. "I'm always going to be here for you… I care about you too much to drop our friendship for anything."
Our happiness grew
"Are you kidding me?" Hayner chortled as he led Olette, Pence and Roxas into the white-colored structure a block away from Twilight Town Junior High School. "No person in their right state of mind would reject a piece of your artwork, Pence!"
Olette beamed as she politely took her white flats off. Roxas, Hayner and Pence were leisurely lying on the two couches Hayner's living room/bedroom. The darkness of the room contrasted greatly with the brightness of the world outside the Richardson residence. "See, Pence! Hayner thinks so too!"
Pence shrugged as everyone sat down on one of the two couches. "I dunno," he said. "You guys might've liked the piece I did, but I didn't."
"Seriously?" Roxas wondered, running a hand through his windswept hair. "It's the hardest I've seen you work on a piece. If you don't think it's worth showing to the Destiny Islands Art Institute, then I don't know what piece of art there is left for you to show off to them."
"Hayner!" Aelita called from the kitchen. "I need your help!"
Aelita walked into the living room to see that her brother's best friends were there as well. Smiling to herself, the platinum blonde twenty-four year old waved to Olette, Roxas and Pence. "Hey, guys!"
Hayner's friends looked toward Aelita with grins on their faces; for them, no matter how much she intimidated them, it was always a pleasure to see their best friend's older sister. "Hi!" the trio greeted.
Looking around at the setup before her, Aelita noticed that her brother's guests had nothing to drink. "Do you three want anything to drink?" she wondered with wide eyes. "Hayner, why haven't you offered anything to your guests! Little brother, we've taught you better than this! What do you guys want to drink?"
With a smirk, Hayner rolled his eyes at his sister before getting up from the couch he and Olette were seated. Slowly, he made his way to the kitchen, receiving a bewildered glance from Aelita. When he came back, the seventeen-year-old held two bottles of root beer, one can of Sprite, one bottle of water, and two juice boxes.
"That's one root beer for Roxas. Juice boxes for Pence and me," Hayner said, passing out the drinks to his friends. "And for Olette, a root beer, a Sprite and a bottle of water. Happy now, Lita?"
"Do they even want to drink that, Hayner?" Aelita questioned with mock attitude. "Or did you just grab whatever was in front of you?"
"You're seriously asking me this, Sissy?" Hayner challenged with a smirk. "First off all, Pence usually takes whatever's around. I thought a juice box would remind him of the time he ruined my white jacket that Carbone gave me for my birthday years ago. Secondly, ever since he got into All Male, Roxas stopped drinking soda… except for root beer; it's been a long comp season, he deserves a root beer. And as for Olette... I know she only drinks clear sodas except root beer and if she has root beer she takes it with water."
The trio smiled at their leader upon hearing Hayner's answer to Aelita's question. They were amazed that Hayner could remember such detail about them even though they never stated anything about their drink preferences. Exchanging glances with one another, the trio realized all Hayner learned about them was through observation.
Aelita shook her head before walking over to Hayner and whacking him with the nearest throw pillow. "You're such a jerk, Little Brother!" she laughed. "Do you guys want anything else? I was just preparing dinner for Hayner, but if you guys want something, let me know."
Roxas shrugged. "It's cool, Aelita. We're good for now."
"Microwavable food it is then!" Hayner cheered as Aelita dragged him out of the living room and into the kitchen.
A few minutes later, Hayner marched into the living room with a tray of Hot Pockets. Olette's shoes, however, happened to be in the way of Hayner's feet, causing him to trip; his face landed perfectly onto the Hot Pockets.
Then the sound of laughter filled the room. Hayner lifted his face from the tray. Food particles stuck to his face as he glared at his three best friends. "Okay, that was not funny!" he sneered jokingly as he helped himself up.
Snickering, Olette made her way over to Hayner. "If the ever-so-graceful Christian Hayner Richardson's fall wasn't hilarious, his food facial is."
And I found out I needed you too
It was unlike a person of Christian Hayner Richardson's being to let out his emotions, even in private. But after holding everything in for so long, the blonde-haired boy felt the need to break down quietly to himself the moment he overheard his entire family talking about the screw up he was. Alone, he sat at the basketball courts at the park across the street from the high school.
A bright light glowed in his direction as Hayner continued to sob into the night. Not looking up from his balled-up position, Hayner heard the sound of a car engine die down slowly. In instants, he felt an unknown presence surround him; familiar warmth circled his once shivering being.
The crying boy looked up to see the solemn, silent figures of his three best friends. Pence sat to Hayner's right with a colorful box of tissues that the artistic heavyset boy designed in his free time. To his left, Hayner found Roxas sitting with a cup holder with one cup of hot coffee and three cups of hot cocoa from Java Juice and a bag of marshmallows. Olette Anderson stood before him with his favorite blanket as she carefully put her car keys into her front pocket.
Wiping his eyes, Hayner stood from where he was sitting. "What the hell are you three doing here?" he demanded to know. "It's late, guys! You really should get home, getting rest."
Shaking her head, Olette sat down in front of Hayner. She grabbed the blue cup from the cup holder, popped the lid off her cup, opened the bag of marshmallows and placed three in the center of the hot cocoa.
Roxas and Pence took the other two cups of hot cocoa and placed stack of marshmallows into their drinks as Hayner watched his three friends go about sipping their hot cocoa.
"We bought you coffee, Hayner," Pence murmured before taking another sip of the cocoa. "Just sit down…"
Hayner's eyes, still red from the tears, turned toward the girl that sat before his standing figure. She was looking at his feet with curious expression on her face. Hayner knew she wanted to know what was wrong, but he also knew that she was not one to pry into matters that involved family… especially his. "Olette… guys, you really shouldn't be out here this late at night," Hayner managed to choke out rather hoarsely.
Shutting her eyes, Olette refused to respond to her best friend. She turned to Roxas; her green eyes begging him to reply for her. "Hayner," the blue-eyed blonde mumbled quietly, "we could say the same for you. Your parents have been looking for you all over the town. Aelita's already tried to file a missing person-."
"Why the fuck is everyone worrying?" Hayner asked, trying to shield his sadness with anger. "I'm not really anything for anyone to worry or even bother caring about, okay? After all, it's just me, Christian Hayner Richard, Boy Blunder!"
Placing her hot cocoa back onto the cup holder, Olette stood up from her spot and draped the warm, fuzzy blanket over her best friend. She inched closer and closer toward Hayner before wrapping her arms around him. "Don't you dare say that about yourself," Olette whispered. "We care about you… we always have. We will always be here if you want to talk to someone."
The moment Hayner felt Olette's arm snake around his neck he felt an indescribable feeling overcome him; he had felt it before, but he never quite understood it. It always happened when he surrounded himself with the likes of his three best friends. The moment Olette's words processed through his mind, Hayner felt a new set of tears threatening to fall. He had always taken his best friends for granted, knowing they would always be there, but not really caring.
Olette felt Hayner's body shudder as she hugged him. Slowly, she led him back to a sitting position. "Shh…" she coddled her best friend, "we're here for you. Let it out…"
"You guys really don't have to be here!" Hayner persisted through his tears. "It's past midnight and you're all under-aged! Please go home!"
Still hugging Hayner, Olette shook her head. "I'm well aware that it is past midnight, but Pence is eighteen and because we're with him, it's legal."
"And what about you?" Pence asked. "You're a week shy of being eighteen. I can't leave you by yourself, Hayner. Drink your hazelnut coffee, eat some marshmallows and clean yourself up with some tissues."
"You're spending the night at my house," Roxas stated, "only if you refuse to go back home right away. I mean, we get that it's probably the last place you want to be right now; my family's out of town until further notice and Pence's spending the night too…"
"I'll call Aelita just to let her know that we found you and that you're okay," Olette stated, releasing him from the hug and standing up.
Hayner fidgeted to readjust himself as Olette released him from the warm embrace. He grabbed the box of tissues, carefully examined the drawings Pence had etched into them. Smiling at the picture of the four of them watching the sunset, Hayner took a sip of his coffee. His small smile grew a little wider; his friends knew his usual order. The blonde-haired soon-to-be eighteen-year-old shifted the blanket that draped from his shoulders as he stood up from his spot.
As tears still fell from his face, Hayner looked at his friends. He noticed that Olette was already sitting in her car, talking with who Hayner believed to be his older sister. Pence and Roxas were helping themselves up, carrying the cups of hot cocoa and the marshmallows. Never had he seen three people so intent to make his life easier; his family was a given, but people outside the family? That… was rare.
"Hayner, you'll be sitting in the back with me," Pence said as Roxas opened the passenger's door for himself.
Hayner slid beside Pence in the backseat as Olette started the car. She turned to face her best friend before putting the car in reverse. "Hayner, Aelita's asking that you come home tonight; however, I told her that you would be spending the night at Roxas's to recover. I also told her that we'd stop by Java Juice-."
"Olette, I don't want to see my family right now," Hayner mumbled.
"Which is why I told her that you wouldn't step out of the car," Olette butt in. "She just wants to know if you're all right; like we said, everyone's been worried sick – ourselves included."
"Speaking of sick," Roxas finally spoke again, "you look like really pale – paler than usual. I'm turning up the heater. Drink some more of your coffee. We're stopping by for butt loads of food before we see your sister– my treat."
"But while you're at it," Pence urged, "eat some marshmallows. I know it's not the best thing to eat, but you need to have something in your tummy for now… before we get sushi, chips, pasta and whatever else Olette's fat ass is craving."
"Hey!" Olette laughed as she pulled out of the parking lot. "This is for Hayner, not me, remember?"
Looking down at his lap and then back to the laughing trio before him, Hayner sighed. "Thank you… for everything, guys."
I remember how we used to play
Hayner stared uncomfortably as Pence and Roxas swayed to the rhythm of the music. Olette sat in the chair nearest the desk as she finished her Algebra 2 study guide for her third period class while still watching the boys play video games. Giggling to herself, the studious child sighed, "You two really can't get enough of that song, can you?"
Hayner studied the movements on the television screen and the smoothness the two boys gave off in every move. The blonde knew that he could never move the way his friends did. Roxas was a member of the school's champion dance team. Olette had been a member of that same team for a short time, had it not conflicted with her studies and her stress levels. And though Pence was not on any dance team at their school, he had been voted Best Dancer that same year for the class superlatives. On the other hand, Hayner – despite being the direct relative of Aelita Mae Richardson, former lieutenant, co-captain and captain of the school's dance team – was stiffer than a boulder; he couldn't even conduct the youth choir without making the motions awkwardly stiff and complicated.
Taking a small break from their game, Pence and Roxas walked over to Olette and handed her the third game controller. As out of character it was in Hayner's eyes, Olette would gladly turn down her studies for a little quality time with her boys. The sixteen-year-old girl took the remote and hopped out of her seat; she stood in the center of Roxas and Pence as they positioned themselves accordingly.
"You know," Hayner blurted out as he eyed his best friends enviously, "this game doesn't offer a trio selection. It's just duets."
Pence looked toward Hayner with a knowing look. "What's your point? That's never stopped us from making these dances our own."
"And besides," Roxas said, rolling his eyes while Olette rummaged through the song list, "who are you to tell us how we should or should not dance?"
Hayner glanced at the girl in her favorite orange tank top, praying that she would come in and tell the other two off for talking back to him with such attitude. He secretly wished Olette would notice his outlandishness-.
"Why don't you dance with us?" Olette offered, nudging her head in the direction of the extra game remote that sat by the television screen. "There's an extra remote, Hayner."
"I can see that…" Hayner said, warily. "But… yeah, I don't dance; you know that. This year's Homecoming Dance should have been a perfect example of that… look, it's not something I want to repeat, okay?"
Olette dropped her hands to her side as she let the remote hit her right thigh. She skipped happily over to Hayner, who sat alone on the desk where she had just been working. The brunette reached out her hand before Hayner could even protest.
"Please…" Olette begged further. "For me?"
Hayner rolled his eyes as Olette went to get the other control. The other two boys looked at Hayner with curiosity and awe; Pence and Roxas knew that it wasn't in Hayner to deny any of Olette's requests… but it wasn't like him to give into something like dancing.
"Olette, you already tried this on me during Homecoming this year," Hayner reminded. "Do I need to remind you of the brutal fight we had after the dance?"
Olette sighed as she steadily gripped he remote. Shaking her head, she shrugged. "No, you don't need to remind me," she sighed sadly. "But please, Hayner! I bet if Rachel asked you-.'
"Don't you dare start with her!" Hayner shouted as he grabbed he controller from Olette. "Pick any song, Olette! I dare you to!"
Pence, Roxas and Olette smirked before staring at the television screen.
"Wait," Hayner interjected. "How exactly does this game work…?"
"Just dance!" Roxas laughed.
"It's the title of the game," Pence stated. "Follow the person on the screen and do what they do… it's really easy actually; you don't have to know how to dance either. Just mirror the screen."
As the song started, Hayner watched at Olette, Pence and Roxas positioned themselves once again; Roxas was paired with Pence, leaving Hayner with Olette – as usual. The song Olette picked was a duet, making it necessary to be in pairs.
"What song is this?" Hayner questioned in a panicked frenzy, trying to keep up with the other three.
Olette picked the song: Bollywood. Hayner looked toward Olette as she put her entire body into the dance while Roxas and Pence were completely in sync with the song they had been dancing to for the past half hour. Hayner stood in front of Olette stiffly, only attempting to move his right arm.
"You have to try!" Olette scolded as the song drew to its end.
Hayner looked at Olette with wide eyes. "Fine!" he remarked, giving the remainder of the song his all.
As the song ended, Olette, Pence and Roxas stared at the King of the Outcasts in total silience.
"BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" the trio burst out laughing.
"You're so stiff!" Pence chuckled.
Roxas cackled. "Oh my gosh! That has got to be the funniest thing I have ever seen!"
Olette smiled as she wrapped her arms around Hayner. "I thought it was cute."
"Shut up!" Hayner hissed to the boys as he hugged Olette in return.
And though he would have to admit it, Hayner actually had fun dancing…
I recall those rainy days
His usually windswept hair, damp from the pouring rain, fell in front of his face His once bright eyes were dull with sadness as the clouds above cried alongside him. Jonathan Roxas Way sat in front of the Java Juice building, located in the heart of Twilight Town's shopping center, crying… crying for his loss from many years prior to his sixteenth year.
The rain began to pour harder and harder as time went by, but Roxas was unmoved by the weather. After all, it matched his mood almost perfectly. Who was he to complain?
With his favorite black umbrella, Hayner stepped outside of his older sister's workplace, the Java Juice café. For the past twenty minutes, he had watched his best friend cry outside on the curb. For the past ten minutes he had fought with himself as to whether or not he should go comfort Roxas. And for the past five minutes, Hayner tried to think of something to say about Roxas's reason behind the tears. Now, he was outside in the pouring rain, standing under his umbrella and making his way toward the crying figure seated on the curb.
Roxas ran a hand through his cold, damp hair before coughing roughly into his knees. His body shivered and shook from all the tears he bottled up inside during the fights he had with Seifer and company, his mother, and his inner mind. Suddenly, a black shadow hovered over his body, shielding him from the raindrops. Roxas looked up only to be covered by a familiar scented, black jacket.
"Hayner, what the hell are you doing here?" Roxas demanded to know as he threw the jacket back at his friend.
The boy on the floor quickly wiped his eyes, trying to hide the fact that he had been crying for so long; he didn't want Hayner concerned with something so complicated as the life of Jonathan Roxas Way.
Rolling his eyes before he tossed his friend the jacket Olette had given him, Hayner shrugged nonchalantly. "No need to get all defensive, Roxas…"
"Seriously, what the heck are you doing here!" Roxas yelled, looking at Hayner and then at the jacket. "And what with the jacket?"
Hayner looked at his close friend's teary eyes and sighed. "You should put it on, Roxas; it's pouring rain. You're soaking wet and you're in a short-sleeved shirt. Put my jacket on and-."
"What the hell are you even doing here?" Roxas asked again. "I wanted to be alone! Did you follow me here from school? Did Olette tell you to come talk to me? Because even if I were to fucking talk to anyone about this, no out would fucking understand what I'm going through!"
Hayner looked at Roxas with a confused frown. "Well, my sister's working right now…" he explained. "She picked me up from school today because we're supposed to hang out… but I saw you sitting out here and I figured that you needed someone to talk to-."
"You were wrong!" Roxas hissed. "No one is going to understand me! No one knows what it's like to lose a guy like-."
"Like your dad?" Hayner guessed as Roxas went back to sobbing. "Roxas, I understand. I know how hard it is to lose someone you truly care about. Granted, I can't say I know what it's like to lose my father, but I've lost so many other people that I care about in my family…"
A wave of guilt hit Roxas. "Hayner," he began to sob once again, "I'm so sorry!"
"For what?" Hayner said, still holding up the umbrella while taking a seat beside Roxas.
"That you have to see me like this," Roxas said. "That I'm such an asshole to you right now. Hayner, I'm just so… I don't know what to do anymore. My mom is always yelling at me, asking me why I can't be more like my cousin because he's captain of the school's dance team and Valedictorian! She's always telling me that my dad wouldn't be happy with how my life turned out to be… but Hayner, I'm doing the best I can! I just… I wonder what my life would be like if he was still… alive."
Hayner sighed; he could easily empathize with his friend, but he didn't know what to say. "Roxas, you mom's just upset. She doesn't love you any less. I'm positive the she doesn't mean most of the things that she says when she compares to you to yours cousin. You and Sora are two different people!" he went on to explain. "Your mom means well, Roxas."
"I'm sure as hell Seifer doesn't!"
"Are you even listening to yourself?" Hayner shouted at his depressed best friend. "When has Seifer ever meant well for any of us – you, me, Pence and even Olette? You shouldn't give a damn in the world as to what Seifer says to you; half of the things he says are complete bullshit! Did Olette listen to him when he told her not to befriend me? No, because if she had the four of us would have never been friends. Or what about the time Seifer told Pence that he couldn't get a date to the Sadie Hawkins' Dance this year? Even though he was stuck working for a majority of the night, Pence was one of the luckiest guys at the dance that night because of who his date was… Or what about when-?"
"I'm so sorry!" Roxas cried out, sobbing harder.
Shaking his head, Hayner stood up and offered Roxas his hand. "C'mon, buddy. I'll ask Aelita to make you some hot chocolate and I should have a spare change of clothes in my bag for later; they're my cousin's, but they should fit you just fine."
Hesitantly, Roxas took Hayner's hand and pulled himself up, wiping his eyes. "Thanks, Hayner."
"I'll always be here for you when you need me," Hayner reminded. "Even when you say that you don't…"
The fire's glow that kept us warm
"Is this even safe?" Olette wondered as she watched Hayner and Roxas fiddle around with the firewood.
Summer days and starry night were perfect times to go to the beach, but Hayner and his gang always found some type of anomaly when it came to venturing off to the beach. Today was no exception. Instead of heading to the beach like they had planned, Hayner and his friends decided to spend their weekend camping.
"I promise you it is!" Hayner stated to his worried friend. "My cousins and I do this all the time… at least, we used to before we all got busy."
Pence sat beside Olette on the log in front of the huge tent. Carefully he watched as Roxas and Hayner set ablaze to the firewood before them. Smiling, the black-haired boy watched as his friends high-fived at their accomplishment.
"I'd high-five you guys too," Pence began, "but that fire took you guys five hours to start."
"Hey!" Roxas whined. "It takes a long time to start campfires, okay?"
"Not if you know what you're doing," Hayner chimed.
Olette snickered, "So… why did it take you so long?"
"It's been years since I've done it!" Hayner defended. "Forgive me for having a crappy memory!"
"You're the one who told us that you remembered," Pence reminded.
"Well, I forgot!" Hayner chuckled. "Y'all should just thankful that Roxas and I got the fire started right after sunset otherwise, we'd all be stuck cold in complete darkness!"
"And we'd have no way to make s'mores!" Roxas, Pence and Olette remarked in unison.
The quartet huddled around the fire as they pulled out the bags of food Olette and Pence had prepared before leaving that day. Hayner hastily put the marshmallow on a nearby stick and stuck it into the fire as Olette, Pence and Roxas struggled to find decent sticks.
"Where'd you get that?" Pence asked. "All that's lying around are broken twigs and even wimpier sticks!"
"Climbed a tree and broke it off while you three were finding a place to set up camp," Hayner replied, roasting his marshmallow.
Glaring her best friend, Olette threw one of the twigs Hayner's way. "You jerk! Do you mean to tell me that while the three of us slaved away looking for the perfect campgrounds, you went off to climb some trees?"
"Pretty much," Hayner said nonchalantly.
"I hope your marshmallow catches fire!" Roxas shouted jokingly.
Hayner smirked and looked at his best friends. "Yeah," he said with a wider smirk, "that's not gonna happen."
As if on cue, however, Hayner's marshmallow burst into flames.
"Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit!" Hayner cursed, attempting to blow out the marshmallow.
Olette, Roxas and Pence laughed hysterically as their best friend ran around the campsite trying to extinguish the flames of his marshmallow.
"Aw, dammit," Hayner cursed as his now extinguished marshmallow fell to the ground. "Not again."
"Karma!" shouted Hayner's friends as he now joined them in laughter.
And now I find – we're both alone…
Hayner and Olette weren't always the bet of friends. In fact, before they met Roxas and Pence, Hayner was constantly picked on Olette just for being herself. As time progressed, however, the two became more than friends; a love sprung from 'hate' and a friendship was formed.
Since the seventh grade, Olette and Hayner always seemed to be considered "boyfriend and girlfriend" to their peers and others outside their friendship. It wasn't until the eighth grade when the two of them officially started dating. However, after their breakup freshman year, the two refused to test out another relationship with each other, straining the friendship they had. But something inside Hayner had changed since his freshman year. Something inside made him regret the very day he broke his best friend's heart. And something inside wanted her back more than ever.
"Olette!" Hayner called out to the Valedictorian of his graduating class.
The brown-haired girl with the emerald eyes turned to face the eighteen-year-old who had just called her name; her smile slowly began to disappear as she saw the boy in the royal blue gown. Only a few days before, Hayner had lashed out at her for asking him to "try to make the best of what they had left."
Shaking her head, Olette put a small grin on her face as her brown hair kissed the summer breeze. "Hello, Hayner…" she began meekly as the crowds surrounding began taking pictures. "Congratulations…"
Hayner adjusted this royal blue cap as he watched the girl in the golden gown fiddled with her diploma. He looked toward her and sighed, knowing that she was still thinking about what had happened the other day. "Thanks…" the boy muttered as he inched toward Olette slowly. "Congrats to you too, Ms. Valedictorian. You totally deserve it."
The two laughed nervously as the football field began to clear out slowly. "Like I said in the speech… in both speeches, I owe a lot to Pence, Roxas and you. I don't think I could have made it this way without you three," Olette admitted as Hayner continued to close the space between them. "Where's the Richardson clan? I expected them to be here taking a multitude of pictures with you."
Hayner shrugged. "The cousins are trying to maneuver the banner off the bleachers," he stated, "but my sister's probably still taking pictures of Pence and Roxas and their families. I'm sure they'll notice that I've gone off sooner or later."
"Hayner!" a voice rang through the two teenagers' ears. "We've been looking all over the place for you! Mom wants pictures of you and the gang in front of your banner. Hey Olette!"
"Speak of the devil," Hayner sighed sadly to himself.
"Hello, Aelita," Olette greeted softly as she tucked away a few strands of stray hair behind her left ear. "I better be going; my mom and brothers are waiting in the car for me-."
"But," Aelita started, "I've been looking for Hayner and you. I want to take a picture of you guys before you all head of to college and whatnot."
Just then, Roxas and Pence emerged from a big crowd behind Aelita as if on cue. Their royal blue gowns swayed gently against the light breeze as hey ran toward Hayner and Olette.
"We've been looking for the two of you everywhere!" they shouted happily as they tightly embraced their best friends in a group hug.
"We did it!" Roxas remarked. "We finally graduated!"
Aelita looked at her brother and his best friends with a faint smile. "Guys, picture time!" she chirped as the four friends released from their hug.
In only moments, Roxas positioned himself to the right of Olette as Pence stood to the left of Hayner, leaving the quartet's couple in the center of it all. As the camera went off, the four friends pained smiles on their faces. Once the picture was taken, Aelita raced over to Hayner and gave him a hug.
"I'll be in the car with Mom and Dad," she explained before running off. "Take your time with them. We're in no rush to head off to the restaurant just yet."
Hayner looked at Olette, Pence, and Roxas. His three friends immediately dove into a conversation with each other when the photo was captured. These were his best friends, the ones who were there from the start of his teen years only six years ago. Sighing to himself, Hayner reminisced on old times. And then, he remembered why he had called out for the girl with the green eyes in the first place.
"Olette," he reiterated.
Olette turned to face him, ignoring Roxas's last remark toward Radiant Garden. "Yes?" she sounded meeker than before.
"Olette, please," Hayner begged as he walked closer to her. "I'm sorry about what happened the other day; I'm just not ready to let go of you… of us… of this."
"This?" Olette wondered as Hayner now stood face to face with her.
Pence and Roxas watched intently as their two friends continued with their confusing ways; for years, they had watched Hayner and Olette's friendship blossom into something more.
"This friendship," Hayner winced, inhaling sharply. "I… I don't think I'm ready to led go of it just yet; we've all been there for each other through practically everything!"
Olette glanced over to her two other friends as Hayner went on. "Olette, you know as well as I do that there is much more to this friendship than us being friends," Hayner whispered gently to his best friend. "This friendship has managed to withstand almost anything because of the amount of love you and I have for each other…"
Roxas and Pence, still very focused on the conversation that was taking place before them, widened their eyes at Hayner's hushed statement; what was he doing?
"Hayner…?" Olette breathed as Hayner's face got closer and closer to hers. "What are you even saying right now?"
Olette felt Hayner's breath on her face as the gap between them slowly closed itself. The brunette felt her best friend's lip calmly crash down onto hers. Heart racing and eyes widened, Olette's grips on her high school diploma loosened. It was everything she had ever dreamed of…
"What's wrong?" Hayner asked, pulling away. "You're not kissing back…"
Olette sighed sadly as a wave of tears flooded her eyes. "You broke up with me," she reminded him. "Freshman year, remember? You told me that you were-."
"I was confused back then, Olette!" Hayner remarked as the other two boys flinched in fear. "I didn't know what I wanted or who I wanted! But I know now that you have always been there for me-."
"You broke my heart!" she wailed, stepping away from Hayner. "That is something you have never take back."
"I want to start over with you!" Hayner yelled.
Olette shoved her index finger toward Hayner's chest. "You just said that you did not want to let go of what we have!"
"Friendship-wise!" the ill-tempered blonde retorted angrily. "I want to start over in relationship terms!"
With her emotions already all over the place because of her parents' divorce and her graduation, Olette let tears fall from her green eyes. "Hayner," she cried as clearly as she could, "I'm moving back to Radiant Garden tomorrow… I'm not coming back to Twilight Town. Starting another relationship now would be pointless-."
"Let me be that reason!" Hayner begged. "Olette, we can start over! I can be your reason for coming back-."
Roxas and Pence watched helplessly as their best friends fought about their relationship. The two boys always thought that Hayner and Olette were destined to be together; there was just something in the way that their lives screamed out, 'destiny'… but here they all were, watching 'destiny' fall apart.
"HAYNER, WILL YOU GROW UP!" Olette shouted. "WE'RE NOT KIDS ANYMORE, OKAY? YOU CAN'T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT… NOT ANYMORE!"
Hayner shut his eyes as Olette screamed at him. She was right; they weren't kids anymore. "But you worked all throughout junior high and high school to make sure that I got what I wanted!" Hayner protested. "You were the only reason I ever got what I wanted; you were all I ever needed-."
"Will you stop!" Olette screamed, wiping her eyes. "I cannot be easily won like that anymore, Christian Hayner!"
"Olette Maureen Anderson," Hayner tried, tears forming in his eyes, "I love you…"
"And I loved you!" Olette cried, wiping her eyes again. "But I'm tired of you always building me only to break me down! In the time we've been friends, I've learned to be my own Prince Charming! All you've ever done is lead me on, Hayner. I'm sorry… but this is the end of it. Goodbye…"
With that, Hayner watched as the girl whose heart he broke countless times walked away from him, breaking his heart in countless ways he never thought possible.
"Goodbye, Olette…" he sighed as Pence and Roxas rushed to his side. "Goodbye…"
Goodbye may seem forever
Farewell is like the end
But in my heart is a memory
And there you will always be
Christian Hayner Richardson now stood in the center of the Usual Spot, his palace of used-to-be's and had-been's. The Usual Spot – one of the many places that helped their friendship grow…
Sighing to himself, the newly graduated teenager looked at the collage that hung above Olette and Pence's favorite couch; it contained the pictures of their first summer together and all the other times they managed to capture. He stared in awe at the words that Pence, Olette and Roxas painted above the collage; they were the same words Olette used to caption all their photos together: 'Friendships fade... but this family is PHORever.' With another sigh, Hayner reached into his back pocket, pulling out the picture Aelita took for the quartet at graduation. As the blonde pinned the photograph onto the wall, he looked at the other photographs. From the photos they took together at their senior prom to the candid pictures taken at Olette's sweet sixteen, Hayner sighed to himself.
"Goodbye… may seem forever," he whispered staring at the collage. "Farewell… is like the end, but in my heart you'll always be… even if we can't be friends."
Hayner always seemed to lose when it came to races against the clock, but he knew one thing for certain: never would the future take away his past. He knew that, even though the four of them could not be friends at the moment, it did not mean they still weren't his best friends or that they couldn't be friends again in the future. Because goodbye doesn't mean forever; it just meant for now.
Author's Note: This story was rewritten back in 2013, but I couldn't find it in myself to publish it when I finished it. It was republished on March 2, 2014.
For any of you that have read this story before, you will have noticed that there are a couple of things that have changed. For instance, the camping trip that the quartet go on is a new addition. Also, some of the dialogue is a little different! I hope that it's better than it was originally and I hope you like it. Please review to let me know what you think of the story! :D