"And it's due tomorrow?" Cloud asked with disapproval.

"Yeah, and I left the damn assignment sheet at school-why would I do that?" Roxas screamed, his hands tugging at his hair.

"Why didn't you do it sooner, instead of leaving it for the last night?" Cloud asked. He was not appreciating his brother's procrastination, though one could easily argue that he should have been used to it by such a point. After all, Roxas had always been a procrastinator and Cloud had always been around to ask why... however the routine never got old.

"Because I had to hand in my current events this morning, and I needed all of last night to get that done!"

"And the reason you didn't do that ahead of time is...?"

"Because I had to be at Sora's house for our group assignment. We had MARLUXIA in our group, so we had to really make sure we didn't fail. He's the worst presenter ever, so we also had to fix up a plan to make him sick on the presentation day-which we ultimately succeeded, if you were wondering."

"Well you'd better get started on the assignment if you want it done for tomorrow, it's already eleven thirty."

"And I haven't done ANYTHING!" Roxas cried in frustration. "Damnit, why haven't I done anything?"

"Very good question, wish I could answer that."

Roxas flopped onto the couch in misery. "I don't have my assignment sheet," he said with despair. "I'm doomed. I'll fail English, get rejected from all the universities, and end up on the streets begging for money..."

"It's just one assignment, Rox."

"One assignment worth five percent of my year end mark, you mean. That's a valuable percentage, I need that."

"So call someone in your class and get them to read you the assignment," Cloud deduced, "That's a good idea." He picked up the cordless phone and tossed it to his brother. The phone landed on Roxas' back and made a loud sound when it connected with the blonde's shoulder blade.

Roxas groaned and shifted on the couch, feeling his shoulder throb a bit. "At least I don't need both arms to beg for money," he reasoned, "It won't matter if I'm physically disabled as well as homeless and poor, thanks for that addition Cloud."

Cloud frowned and walked over, snatching the phone back and punching in a number. Roxas mirrored the other's frown and sat up with a questioning look on his face. "Who are you calling?" he asked with slight urgency.


"As in Axel's Reno?"

"Axel is in your class, he'll have the assignment."

"He's probably asleep. You should hang up. Don't worry about it, I think that cardboard boxes are fashionable anyway, I'll look good in one when I flunk out of school."

"It's not even twelve, and the Flurrys don't sleep much, you know that."

Roxas pouted as Cloud talked amiably with his friend Reno. After a while Cloud got the phone passed to Axel, at which time he himself passed the cordless to Roxas. "Ask him for the assignment," Cloud instructed. He turned to head into the kitchen, knowing that there were dishes to do.

"Hey Axel, sorry about waking you up but my brother was under the impression that I needed your help with something-WHICH I DON'T- so..." the phone was snatched out of his hand by an angry Cloud, who glared at his younger brother for a few seconds before raising the cordless up to his ear again.

"He needs the English assignment," Cloud stated, his eyes locked onto Roxas'. "Yes, the one that is due tomorrow. ...Yes, he is an idiot. Oh you will? That's great." He hung up and put the phone back on its stand, heading into the kitchen again where the dishes were calling him.

"He didn't read you the questions," Roxas said as he got off of the couch. He followed his brother to the kitchen and watched as the older blonde started the dishwater. "I can't do the assignment without the questions!"

"He's bringing the sheet over." Cloud's face did not indicate that he thought this was a big deal.

"You invited him over?" Roxas demanded, "Are you crazy?"

The doorbell chimed. "Go let him in," Cloud instructed.

Roxas looked at his brother for a minute, a betrayed expression on his face that went ignored for the fact that Cloud was definitely not looking at him. Roxas huffed and walked back into the living room, pulling open the door. "Hi again Axel," he said, "You must have the wrong address because-"

Axel pushed past the blonde and walked in, waving his sheets of paper. "You honestly left this till the last minute? You know we have to write seven pages and hand in two of jot notes, right?" he asked as he looked over his shoulder at the boy.

Roxas frowned at him in dismay, tossing the door closed. "Yes I know. Now give me that and leave, I have a lot of work to do."

"I brought you two pages of my jot notes," Axel said, "I was going to hand in five for extra marks, but three pages will be enough. So you can keep these two and just type up the rest and stuff." He set the pages on the coffee table and looked to Roxas for an answer.

"I already have seven pages of jot notes," Roxas lied.

"That's a lie," Axel said, "But no need to thank me. See you at school tomorrow." The redhead smiled and passed Roxas, letting himself out and leaving the premises.

"See? It's a good thing I called him!" Cloud shouted from the kitchen.

"Shut it!" Roxas called back. He snatched the papers off of the coffee table and hit the lights off on his way down the short hallway. He went into his room and exhaled deeply, shutting his door and locking it before putting the sheets on his desk and pulling off his sweater. He stretched his arms a bit and looked at the offending papers on his desk. The last thing he wanted to do was write that assignment, but it was a good thing he didn't have to take jot notes too.

Roxas frowned and slumped into his desk chair, scratching his head before logging onto his ancient computer. It hummed loudly as the screen woke up and it attempted to load, meanwhile Roxas sat back in his chair to skim the jot notes. Finding that they had most of the points needed in the answers he would be writing, Roxas decided that they were most definitely useful. The only problem was that they weren't in his writing.

Deciding it just didn't matter, Roxas leaned forward to open up a document on his computer. A box in the corner popped up telling him that he'd gotten an email, and he clicked it out of interest. The email was from Sora and had a link to a video which held a song, but from there Roxas remembered a song he'd been looking for the other day, and typed that in...

"You look like hell," Sora stated.

"It's your fault," Roxas snapped, "It's all your fault. You and your stupid emails. I hate you, I hate you, I hate you."

"Oh right, you had homework last night," Sora recalled. "I forgot about that! My bad."

"I have homework every night," Roxas reminded the boy.

"Yeah true. Did you get it done at least?"

"Yeah. At five thirty."

"Ouch, and I'm assuming that you didn't get much sleep after?"

"Nope, because Spiffy decided to be annoying and claw at the window all night."

"What a creepy Heartless," Sora agreed.

"Yeah, I don't know why Mom thought I'd want one for Christmas. I really don't want one at all, especially not Spiffy. It's not even that he's hard to take care of, it's that he doesn't need to sleep and that he's sinisterly inclined."

"Heartless usually are, but at least he doesn't bite your chest. I've heard of Heartless doing that, to try and get at your heart or something."

"That would suck a lot," Roxas agreed, "At least Spiffy doesn't do that."

"So it could be worse," Sora deduced, "But it isn't, so cheer up!"

Roxas groaned and let his forehead fall against his desk. It made a loud noise but he didn't feel it, his mind was too deprived of sleep to take notice of something like that. "Axel came over last night, and actually helped me out," he mumbled.

"Oh wow, that doesn't happen every day," Sora said with surprise, "Was he feeling okay?"

"I think his brain was sucked out by an alien and he's no longer himself or something, because he seemed to be feeling fine but that's the problem. Cloud invited him over, too. He was the one with the idea. You think they're conspiring?" Roxas shifted his head so that one bloodshot blue eye could look up at Sora.

Sora frowned in thought. "Maybe, but I doubt it. Cloud isn't much of a conspirator."

"Maybe I was just hallucinating last night then, and I dreamt the whole thing up. But that wouldn't explain the two pages of jot notes he gave me still being there when I woke up."

"He gave you jot notes? Lucky! Man those stupid notes took me like three hours to get down! And I even spaced them really bad to get more lines out of it!"

"Yeah that was my plan too but apparently I didn't need to use it for once." Roxas sat up and rubbed one of his sore eyes. God, he was so tired... "I could totally fall asleep right now," he mumbled.

"I couldn't," Sora replied, "I got a pretty good sleep, though I dreamt about something weird. There was you and Spiffy, but Spiffy grew and then you were fighting it. With a weird key. And then when Spiffy was about to kill you, Axel whipped in."

"I didn't have time to dream," Roxas replied, "But that's a good thing, because it spared me from weird dreams like that. Spiffy can't grow, Heartless aren't able to-it just doesn't happen. Also, never dream about Axel saving me, that's unacceptable."

"Yeah I know, it was really strange," Sora said.

"Okay class, time to hand in your assignments!" Larxene announced with a false cheerfulness. She was looking forward to the poor students who slacked off and didn't have anything to hand in. Oh, how she was going to punish them...

"We had a math assignment?" Roxas demanded.

"Yeah, we did." Sora replied. "What, you didn't know?"

Strategically, Roxas shifted and promptly fell out of his seat. He was planning on landing in such a way that his head would hit the floor first and knock him out, and once unconscious the blonde was trusting his body to sleep. However, while he was falling out of his desk, a girl was walking down the aisle and he knocked her over, which somewhat cushioned his fall.

"FUCK!" Roxas cried. He had no excuse not to have his math done, and now he couldn't get out of it by going to the infirmary. Fuck his damn life.

"ROXAS!" Larxene roared.

Well, on the bright side at least he wouldn't have a life much longer.

"How's that toilet cleaning, Roxas?" Axel asked snidely.

"Don't talk to me."

"Awe, don't be like that."

"Go to class."

"Nah, I don't think I will... watching you clean a toilet is much more amusing than watching Vexen singe off his eyebrows with a chemical-reaction-gone-wrong."

"Please just leave me alone, I've got to finish this before I study for Psychology. I have a test tomorrow, and those tests are just all writing, no multiple choice or fill in the blank or anything, all short answer so I need to know my shit. Not that you would be sympathetic at all but still, I'm asking you nicely to just give me a break."

"I helped you out yesterday," Axel reminded, "I'm pretty sure that warrants me the right to bug you again today."

Roxas shot him a withered look and decided to ignore the redhead, scrubbing at the toilet. "I'll get caught for cheating anyway," the blonde stated after ignoring Axel got old, "I didn't rewrite the jot notes, so they'll look identical to yours."

"Don't worry about that," Axel said, "I didn't hand any in, so she has nothing to compare it to."

"You said you had ext... Oh." Roxas knew what Axel had done-he'd only had two sheets of notes to begin with, and he'd given them to Roxas and lied about having extra so the boy would take them. Roxas frowned at the realization, looking at Axel with confusion. "But why would you..."

Axel smirked. "Good question. See you around, Short Stuff." With a small wave, he was gone from the bathroom before Roxas could protest against his leaving.

"And you expect to spend the whole time studying?" Cloud asked doubtfully.

"No, but I wish I would. That would help me out a lot."

"So make yourself stay on task," Cloud suggested.

"I can't, I'm incapable of that," Roxas moped.

"Fine, I'll take pity on you then. I'll make sure you stay on task, okay?"


Cloud grabbed the cordless phone and smirked. Roxas felt his heart drop into his intestines and wore a pained look on his face. "You wouldn't."

"I am. It'll help, I promise," Cloud said. He hit a preprogrammed number and waited until Reno picked up. Axel was in their door in less than five minutes, toting a Psychology textbook.

The redhead grabbed the back of Roxas' shirt and towed him down the hallway, closing the blonde's door and locking it behind them. It was study time.

Roxas found that Axel wouldn't let him get off task, amazingly enough, and he got a lot of studying done. Somehow, he ended up studying for hours without even noticing the time really pass. Eventually Axel deemed them finished and he let the textbook close with a satisfying 'thump'. He stood to leave but Roxas found himself not wanting him to go.

"Hey, you don't have to… I mean, I wouldn't mind if you…"

"It's almost one thirty, Roxas," Axel said.

The blonde blinked. "It is?"

Axel nodded. "It is. One twenty-eight, to be exact. AM."

"Oh. Well then uh…" He still didn't want the male to leave at all. He bit his lip and tightened his hand into a fist. What was a reason that the other could stay? "Well you're already here," Roxas reasoned, "And it is late. You might as well just stay over."

"I live next door," Axel stated.

"But you'd wake up your parents getting back in your house," Roxas said.

Axel considered, then grinned at Roxas. "Good point." His parents were out of town and Reno was working late, so there was no one at his house to wake up, but Roxas didn't know that. Also, if the blonde wanted him to stay then he wouldn't pass such a chance up. Axel was nothing if not an opportunist.

Roxas stood up and scratched the back of his head as he tossed the solutions around in his mind. "I'll sleep on the floor," he mumbled, "Guests get the bed."

"You have a couch I could sleep on."

Roxas shook his head. "Spiffy gets the couch."

"Spiffy doesn't sleep," Axel stated, once again catching the blonde's lie.

"You get the bed, I get the floor, Spiffy gets the window. The couch is irrelevant."

Axel laughed. "Okay, whatever you say."

The blankets were retrieved from the closet and soon enough there was a makeshift cot created on Roxas' floor for himself. Axel settled into the bed and the lights were shut off, the both of them silent for a few minutes.

"Hey Axel," Roxas mumbled.

"Hm? What is it?"

The blonde rolled over to face away from the other, staring at the wall. "Why do you dislike me?" he asked.

"I never said I didn't like you," Axel said, "I just like to give you a hard time."

"But why?"

There was a long pause of silence before the redhead answered his inquiry. "….Because you didn't need another friend."


"Namine was the love interest; you've already got a best friend in Sora, another best friend in Hayner, and then there's Olette and that fat kid… you had all your friend slots filled, and yeah I coulda been your friend but I would have just been another of them, I wouldn't have been the only one. However you didn't have any enemies—not ones that you could call your own specifically, like sure there was Seifer but he was Hayner's rival, so he didn't count. It was the only available slot to fit into your life, so I took it."

Roxas was frowning deeply. "And why do I dislike you?" he asked.

"Because I wanted you to," Axel answered, "I made sure you did, so that I could keep my spot in your life."

The blonde pulled his covers over his head. "I hate you," he mumbled, "You make no sense and I hate you."

Axel laughed quietly. "Well since Namine is with Ven, that spot in your life is open now, so I'll be changing my role pretty soon."

Roxas pulled the covers down and sat up, eyeing his bed in the dark. He felt a weird palpation in his chest and a warm feeling spread through him. "What?" he asked quietly.

Axel rolled onto his side to face Roxas, though the both of them couldn't see facial expressions in the dark, only silhouettes. "Roxas," he said huskily. "I have every intention of making you love me."

Roxas opened his mouth to answer, not even sure what he was going to say, but he was cut off by a strange snarl and was knocked onto his back by a force hitting his chest. Spiffy growled again and ripped Roxas' shirt with a slash of a hand, then leaned in to try to bite though the boy's chest. It had finally sensed Roxas' heart, and it wanted better access to it.

But Axel was up and moving as Roxas screamed at the top of his lungs. Spiffy took an unexpected trip out the window, and burst into a cloud of darkness when he fell into the backyard pond. Panting from the adrenaline of fear, Roxas was frozen in his position, staring up at Axel. The redhead leaned over and smiled a bit, laughing. "Guess that was my fault," he said.

Roxas frowned, breaking out of his stupor. "How was that your fault?" he asked.

"Heartless only attack their owners when they're in love," Axel replied. He knelt down and tilted Roxas' chin up, his face close enough for the two of them to lock eyes. "Therefore, it's my fault he attacked you, because I made you love me."

"I could have just realized I was in love with Mrs. Larxene or someone," Roxas snapped.

Axel laughed, mussing up the blonde hair. "I think I'll take my chances." He leaned in and pressed a kiss to Roxas' lips, meeting no opposition.