Edited finally! -phew- cuz i know that the first couple chapters REALLY SUCKED! Cuz yeah i didn't actually proof read or edit or anything like that, just threw it out there as soon as i was done typing xD so sorry if im on your update list or anything, im just re-uploading some of the *ahem* not as good chapters ^^

This is my first ever novel/fanfic, so please be nice about it!

Pairings include: AkuRoku, SoRiku, Zemyx, and Cleon, and also some weeeeee tiny hints of KaiNam

Disclaimer: If I owned Kingdom Hearts, it would be a yaoi Sim dating game. So yeah, obviously I don't ._.

He wasn't really sure why he picked the clock tower of all places. All Roxas knew was that he needed to leave the world as soon as possible, so he wouldn't have to see his brother's understanding sympathetic expression he didn't deserve, or his father's accusing glares that he knew he did deserve, or his step fathers worried face staring off into space, that he knew he caused. The air was shockingly cold for a mid-August night. The Twelfth, to be specific, Roxas thought to himself. He checked his watch. 3:45. Oh… I guess it's the thirteenth. Does it matter?

A chilly gust of wind blew through his messy, golden hair, making the little hairs on the back of his neck stand up. Shivering slightly, he sighed and slid his wristbands off. The wind coursed smoothly over the ragged skin, leaving a cold tingling feeling over the newly exposed flesh.

"Now's as good a time as ever to show the world what I've been hiding underneath," he mumbled to himself, who'd hear him up here anyway? He eyed the dozen or so wounds he'd made himself on his left wrist. He had torn one open that he'd made only moments ago when he took the band off, leaving it trickling slightly. He inhaled sharply at the pain and ignored the warm sticky liquid that now traveled down his arm.

Now or never, he thought, making sure the note he'd scribbled on a scrap of paper he'd found in Riku's van was tucked safely in his pocket. He took a deep breath, and stepped up onto the slightly elevated ledge…

3 Weeks Earlier

"Roxas… helloooooooooo Roxas, earth to Roxas. You with me?"

Roxas looked up to meet eyes identical to his. They belonged to his twin, Sora, who at the moment was trying to reach across the sofa to poke him without waking his girlfriend, Kairi, as she was sleeping peacefully on his lap. When he shifted, she stirred a little bit, making a few strands of wine red hair fall in front of her eyes. Sora froze for a second, as if to make sure his movements wouldn't disturb her further, then brushed the fallen hair gently behind her ear. Roxas sighed as he watched his brother begin to braid her hair.

For fraternal twins, they looked strikingly similar. Along with matching eyes, they had the same smile (on the rare occasion that Roxas did smile), and gravity defying hair, though Roxas' hair was shorter, and blonde like his father's. Sora's hair was longer, and the same color as his mother's was.

No, don't go there, Roxas thought miserably to himself, stiffening.

It was still hard for him to think about his mother. Aerith had died when the boys were very small, seven or eight years old. It wasn't just that she died that made it so traumatic for Roxas (though that was certainly reason enough), it was how.

It happened on a Sunday morning like any other. The warm sunlight had streamed abundantly into the kitchen through the many windows, birds cheerfully serenaded each other outside for everyone to hear. Sora and Roxas had been sitting at the kitchen table, feet kicking, eagerly awaiting the chocolate chip pancakes their mother was cooking, while Cloud had gone to pick up their sister, Naminé, who was a year younger than them and just had her very first sleepover at her friend Yuffie's house. Before leaving, he'd pecked his wife sweetly on the cheek and promised to be back by the time breakfast was ready.

He had only been gone few moments when something long and thin shot through the window with an earsplitting screech, followed by a man with strange terrifying lynx eyes and waist length pin straight gray-silver hair. He looked like he could've been in his early thirties. Broken glass littered the floor, sparkling in the early morning sunlight, the mysterious man had casually reached up to pluck a piece of glass from his hair and toss it to the ground.

Roxas remembered to that day the fear that overtook him when he saw the man. It was the first time he'd ever experience that chilly foreboding feeling that something was very, very wrong. All of his muscles had seized up, and all he could do was stare. Sora, on the other hand, cocked his head to the side like a curious puppy, and seemed unfazed by the silver haired man.

Aerith also seemed to know something was wrong, because she'd shrieked and thrown herself between him and her sons, arms stretched out protectively in an attempt to shield them. He'd just smiled sinisterly and thrust his too-long sword straight into her chest, piercing the fabric of her apron and he skin easily, as though he were slicing into butter. The blade went right through and stuck out the other side, the side facing that had been facing the boys, dripping blood, a wet stain beginning to spread. Roxas had frozen in fear, mouth gaping like a fish, hot tears streaming down his face with no intention of stopping. He knew he should've ran, but his fear seemed bent on keeping him pinned to the spot with a fierce, iron hand. Sora had been crying too, but instead of holding an expression of shock and hurt, he was red-faced and furious. Roxas would never know how his brother found the bravery to do what he did next. He jumped up out of his chair and onto the table in one fluid motion and began to scream at the man.

"What do you think you're doing!" he bellowed in a voice Roxas had never heard him use before, or since. "That's my Mother! You murderer! You madman! "

Aerith, who was doubled over, sword still protruding from her chest, found the strength to utter, "Sora—Roxy… go! Run!"

Her voice had terrified Roxas all the more, it was raspy and gurgling, as if she were trying to talk over a throatfull of water, the desperation was unmistakable, as well as the cold angry feeling she must have been feeling, as any mother would if she were rendered helpless and incapable of protecting her children. She gave a little spasm, then collapsed and became still.

Sora did not run, as he was told. He yelled, if possible, louder than he had before. Only this time, he let out a string of swearwords he wouldn't dare say in front of his mother, not while she was alive anyway.

The man who had murdered Aerith looked slightly amused, but a little surprised as well. Roxas imagined that it wasn't a reaction he'd anticipated, Roxas surely hadn't. Pulling his sword out of their mom's body, he turned his dark, piercing gaze onto Roxas and looked at him thoughtfully. "You look quite like your father, you know," he mused.

Roxas still couldn't find the will to move. It had been as though he were trapped in limbo; there was a tightness in his chest that barely allowed him to breathe, let alone run. At that moment Sora yelled, "Don't you dare touch him!" and made an impressive leap over to his twin and wrapped his arms protectively around him.

The man just stood there and laughed, he had a deep rumbling laugh that seemed to coarse through Roxas. He clung desperately to his brother, the only thing he had left to hang on to. Fear had apparently begun to take over Sora as well, they were both trembling as the crazy laughing man made to turn his sword onto them.

It was then that Cloud ran in, wielding a sword almost as long as the one he was faced with, and began expertly swinging at him, steering him away from the two boys. It was a bit sloppy, half the kitchen would be destroyed afterwards.

"SEPHIROTH! Get away from my sons!" he screamed wildly, never letting his defenses down.

Before Roxas could begin to take in what was going on, the man named Sephiroth was gone. Unexplainably. Later, he would be told by his father and the Destiny Island sheriff that he ran— jumped back out through the window. When Roxas thought about it as he got older, he started to doubt that. After all they had been on an island, where could he possibly have gone? For the next decade to come Roxas would have nightmares about the mysterious man and his long sword and his wicked laugh and his terrifying lynx eyes. If the blonde was quiet before, he might as well have gone mute for all the talking he did for the months to come. Speaking of which…

"Roxas, please. You're going quiet again."

He met Sora's eyes and blinked, "Sorry…uhh what?"

Sora looked at him a minute and said, "You looked like you were a million miles away."

"I was thinking… about Mom again," Roxas admitted.

Zoning out was a pretty regular thing for him. Sora knew that, but it never stopped it from being concerned. He placed a hand on Roxas' shoulder, but didn't seem to know what to say, they'd had this conversation many times before.

"I'm okay, I promise," Roxas assured him; he didn't look convinced. "What were you trying to say before?"

"I was trying to tell you that we're going home to visit granddad next week," he stated.

Roxas shrugged, Destiny Islands was pretty nice this time of year after all. "Okay, we being who?"

"You, me, Nam, Dad, and Leon," he said simply. "Dad said… he said we could bring a friend," he looked at Roxas, "Do you want—"

"No, its fine," Roxas cut in. "You should bring Kairi to meet the folks." He suggested. "I know she's been there before, but you should properly introduce her, you know, since you guys have been dating awhile."

Sora looked pleased, but then his face fell slightly, "Hey Rox, can I tell you something?"

Roxas nodded, bracing himself for the worst. He expected his caring brother to say for the hundredth time that he was worried about him, and that he could and should always talk to him if he needed to. But the lecture never came.

"I think I want to break up with Kairi," he said slowly.

Not what Roxas was expecting at all. "Why? Is something wrong?"

"No… and yes. We get along great, and I know she cares a lot, and I know she tries… but something's just… not right. There's something missing, you know?"

Roxas in fact had no idea what he meant. He'd never had a serious relationship before. Or any relationship at all for that matter, but for his brother's sake he shrugged and said, "Yeah, I suppose."

Just then, Kairi began to stir for a second time. This time she sat up, and blinked her deep blue eyes a few times, then turned to look at Sora.

"You heard?" he asked weakly. To Roxas' surprise she didn't look angry or hurt, she looked thoughtful.

She gave a little smile and said, "It's okay, Hun. I do like you a lot, but I have that same feeling. There's just not that romantic spark. They say your lover should be your best friend… But I think that my best friend is all you are,"

She gave him a quick chaste kiss on the lips one last time, then got up.

"You should bring Riku," she added. "He hasn't seen the island in a while." And with that, she exited the living room, probably to tell Naminé what happened.

Riku was Sora's best friend, aside for Kairi. He had moved to Twilight Town several years after the twins and Naminé did, for college. When the two crossed paths, they had no idea that they'd grown up on the same island. This was likely because the family had moved almost immediately after the incident with Sephiroth. Soon after discovering this common ground, Riku and Sora became nearly inseparable. Roxas still wasn't quite sure why else the two were friends, as they were polar opposites. Sora was bubbly and bouncy and full of energy, while Riku was cool and collected. Personality-wise he was a little bit inverted, but now and then he made a few smartass comments, and once he got to know him, he was actually deeply caring as a person. He always listened patiently to Sora's babble and offered him advice if it was needed. He had a competitive side that only Sora seemed to bring out. They were always making bets, and always challenging each other to footraces, "yo mamma" showdowns (despite what happened to his mother Sora is generally unfazed by this), and drinking contests.

"You know what? I think I will bring Riku," Sora said cheerfully, perking up. He paused for a moment to look at his brother. "Rox, are you sure you don't want to bring Axel?"

Axel was Kairi's older brother, and he was to Roxas what Riku was to Sora. Actually, in a way he was a little bit more. Upon meeting him, he was the first person to get Roxas to talk after Aerith died. Cloud had taken him to the park after they moved to Twilight Town, just the two of them. He had tried to start a conversation, but before long he gave up and gave Roxas the okay to go play. There was only one other boy near the playground, and he was burning a leaf with a magnifying glass. Not that Roxas was looking to talk to anyone anyway, but he felt he should probably steer clear of the boy. After all, his mother'd always told him he shouldn't play with fire. He went to the swings instead.

The swings were always his favorite thing in the park. He liked to close his eyes and pretend he was high up in the sky, flying. Up there he would be free to fly with the birds, out in the complete open, with no one watching, no one trying to make him talk, no one trying to tell him it was all okay. He did just that, going higher and higher, until—

"Hey, if you go any higher you might go all the way around."

Roxas' eyes flew open and he skidded to a stop, spraying dirt and mulch everywhere. It was the boy with the magnifying glass, leaned casually against the jungle gym, studying Roxas with pretty green eyes.

"Man, I really wanted to see you flip," he joked. Roxas must have looked scared, because he uncrossed him arms and said, "hey, I was only kidding you. You don't have to be afraid, I promise I won't burn you."

Roxas didn't say anything.

"What's your name anyway?"

He finally decided to speak up, "Uhh… its R-Roxas." He stuttered.

"Roxas, huh? My name's Axel, got it memorized?" he said

"Why wouldn't I remember your name?" He asked, surprising himself. He hadn't spoken in months.

"Well, my mom reckons my old man forgot all about me, and her. That's what she tells me whenever I ask about him. So now I wanna make sure nobody forgets me again.

"Oh…" Roxas said, hoping he didn't make the boy sad. "Is-is that why you do your hair like that?" he asked, eyeing the boy's bright red spikes. He hadn't meant to ask about it, but he had never seen someone with hair the color of ketchup. Plus it stuck up more than anyone's in his whole family, which was surprising.

"Hmm? Oh no," he said, laughing, "I do this because a girl at school told me that if I spiked it this way, it would look like fire. I like fire, so I asked my mom to help me do my hair like this. Do you think it looks like fire?" he asked, his stunning emerald eyes sparkling.

Roxas thought about it a moment. His honest answer was no, it didn't, it was far too red. But he liked it anyway, so for Axel's sake, he cracked a smile and nodded.

That was when Cloud showed up, maybe to see for himself that his son was talking again.

"Hey, sport, did you make new friend?"

Roxas just nodded again. It seemed he was talked out for the day.

"Hello, sir, I'm Axel. A-X-E-L. Commit it to memory." He said brightly

He was taken a little aback by this, but regardless he said, "Oh, hello, Axel, I'm Roxas' dad. You can call me Mr. Strife."

Axel beamed. "Mr. Strife, would it be ok if me and Roxas get some ice cream? I have my own money and everything, there's this place down the street that's famous for their sea-salt ice cream bars…"

"No, it's fine, Sor," he said. "You really should bring Riku, he hasn't been home in ages, I'm sure he'll appreciate it. Besides, I think I can handle a week without Axel."

"What about Axel?" said a familiar voice. The redhead came into the living room with their two other roommates, Demyx and Zexion, flanking him. Zexion was short, almost as short as Roxas, with hair that nobody could really distinguish the color of. It was sort of an indigo-gray, neither light nor dark, though it looked darker than it was, because it covered half of his face, giving the impression that he was mysterious and dark.

Zexion was not dark, though he was a bit socially withdrawn, making him mysterious to those who didn't know him well. He wasn't depressed or anything like that, he just liked to read, spending most of his time studying for the three or four summer courses he took. It was commonly thought that he was rude and stuck up. Or emo, depending on who you asked. He was none of those things. He was just very blunt about everything he said, not wasting time with small talk.

He and Demyx came to Twilight Town from the same flight, but didn't know each other before then. It turned out they were staying in the same student home with six other roommates. They were the last to arrive at said boarding house. When asked where they were from, Zexion said, "Hollow Bastion," and Demyx said, "Radiant Gardens."

Exchanging looks with the others, Sora had asked, "Aren't they the same place?"

Demyx cheerfully said, "Yep! Most people don't call it Radiant Gardens anymore, but I like to because it sounds magical." He said the last word dreamily.

Zexion raised an eyebrow at this, and Axel rolled his eyes. Demyx didn't notice. Then, without even bothering to start unpacking, he plopped right onto the couch and started telling everybody about himself, all the while absentmindedly strumming the strange instrument he called a sitar. He, Sora, and the girls immediately hit it off. It's gotta be the mullet, Roxas thought to himself at the time.

"I was just saying to Sora how I hope you didn't set the chemistry lab on fire again," Roxas said with a smirk.

Demyx laughed, Zexion already sat down with his nose stuck in his latest read.

"Professor Vexen had it coming to him," Axel said, smiling at the memory. "Leaving Bunsen burners out like that, someone had to teach him a lesson. Anyways, what's going on, bro?"

He leaned his tall slender figure against the door frame. He hadn't changed much since Roxas met him. He still had piercing emerald eyes, now with upside down teardrop tattoos under them. Roxas had been with him when he got them done, after his older brother Reno died in a motorcycle accident. His hair was tomato red as always, still fashioned into long spikes. While Roxas had fit in effortlessly in high school with the jocks, preps, emos, and stoners, plus his own circle of friends, Axel had grown into a bit of a punk, sporting tripp pants with chains, chokers and skater shoes. Despite all this, he and Roxas had remained attached at the hip, and if Roxas said he was cool, he was cool.

"Me and Roxas are going home for a week starting Sunday," Sora said brightly. He was always fond of Axel/

"Sunday! You said next week!" Roxas complained.

"Sunday is next week, Rox," Sora pointed out.

"Not if it's Friday," Roxas said gruffly.

Axel grabbed Roxas' arm and yanked him off the couch towards the door.

"Hey! What the- you- where are you taking me?" Roxas sputtered, trying to keep his footing.

"If I'm only going to have today and tomorrow to hang out with my Roxy before you go, I wanna make every minute count," said Axel said cheerfully.

Roxas inwardly winced when his heart fluttered at the words, "my Roxy." Like all best friends, he and Axel playfully and sarcastically flirted with each other, never meaning anything of it. But sometimes Roxas' mind would wander, and he'd find himself wondering things like if Axel was a good kisser, or he'd imagine a scenario where the two of them were a couple. He didn't think these thoughts very often, and when he did he'd shove them out of his mind and think about something else. But he couldn't help but wonder if there was a little truth behind every sarcastic, "yeah baby you know you want some of this ;)."

"So where are we going?" He asked conversationally as Axel walked right past his car. Wherever they were headed, they were going on foot.

"To our spot, silly," he replied.

By "their spot," he meant the clock tower at the train station. They found it when they were eleven years old, they were at the station and Axel had to pee. Neither of them knew where the bathroom was, so they checked every floor, not realizing it was on the first (why a train station would have so many floors Roxas would never know) until they found themselves standing on the roof, right in front of the clock itself. The view they had of the sunset was breathtaking, so they sat down to watch it, talking long after it had vanished, Axel by then had forgotten he even had to go to the bathroom. From then on that became their spot, they hung out there sometimes every day, and they'd eat their sea-salt ice cream there, then when they got a little older, they'd sit there and smoke cigarettes, and occasionally even hit a joint up there. But then Roxas' friends, Hayner, Pence, and Olette found out about the place, and started following them there. The boys were about 17 then. Roxas adored his 3 friends, but being up there with them wasn't like being up there with Axel. So the two agreed to stop going there, and they hadn't been there since.

"Really?" Roxas perked up. "Why now?"

"Because I don't think we'll be bothered anymore," Axel said simply. "Pence and Olette are probably hooking up in their dorm right about now, and rumor has it that Hayner's been hanging out with Seifer's gang quite a bit lately." He winked and wiggled his eyebrows to suggest that Pence and Olette weren't the only ones hooking up. Roxas widened his eyes.

"Really? Wow, he always seemed to hate Seifer…"

"Things can always change, Rox," Axel said.

Roxas didn't doubt him. One thing he'd learned about Axel was that he was an excellent judge of character. He was one of those rare individuals that saw people, for who they really were. This made Roxas incredibly nervous sometimes. He was sure sometimes he could see right through him and right through his wristbands. They were both quiet until they reached the tower. They sat with their legs hanging down like they used to.

"Hey Axe," he said, sucking his ice pop thoughtfully. "Why do you reckon we haven't grown apart? Being up here, it got me thinking… We've been friends for so long. Don't most friendships, well, drift?"

Axel considered a moment, lighting a cigarette, then exhaled and said, "I guess it's because we're meant to be together like this. Think about it. In a few years you'll graduate with a degree in English and childcare. You could easily become an author, like you've always wanted, or a teacher. I'll graduate as a pyro technician, and where's the leading manufacturer of fireworks in the worlds? Neither of us has to leave home to be what we've always wanted. And to tell you the truth, I don't think I could imagine life without you, Rox."

What Axel said was true, he realized. Twilight Town was considered the fireworks capitol of the worlds, and Roxas could teach and write anywhere. It was when Axel said things like that, that he realized just how much he needed him. Who else would understand if he curled up next to them to sleep if he had a night terror about his mother? Who else could he stay up all night talking to without a care in the world? Who else would he have ice cream with?"

"I— you're so right, Axel. Thanks," he said, taking a drag of Axel's cigarette.

"Do me a favor and hurry up with your trip. With you gone I'll have no one to hang out with but my kid sister and the lovebirds."

"Oka— wait, what? Lovebirds? You mean-?"

Axel laughed, "Isn't it obvious?"

A recent study has shown that people who review are less likely to be eaten by heartless! ^^ nah jk. but still. you should review anyways :D and then I'll love you forever!