Chapter 30: Uncle's Love

Roxas bounces Xion in his arms, letting the whimpering seven year old cry into his chest. Her weak little cries makes his heart ache, they were so very sad and pathetic that he just wants to keep on walking and hide her away until no one would ever hurt her again. She could be home schooled, right?

When the little girl sniffles and finally becomes quiet, Roxas walks towards the shop door he had left open. Xion nuzzles into his throat as he strolls toward it and thought hard about what he was going to tell Axel.

Knowing the red-headed pyromaniac's tendency to overreact, it was probably a very good idea to lose the waterlogged backpack and pretend Xion had lost it and that she had missed the bus.

After a moment, he reaches out and yanks the backpack from the little girl's shoulders. She shifts in his arms, pulling away just enough to look him in the eye. Roxas just flashes her a grin before hastily chucking the bag into one of the bushes in front of the shop. Xion sniffles again and puts her head back on his shoulder.

"... Mommy's going to get mad at me..." The little girl murmurs softly and Roxas could feel the sudden warmth of tears soaking through his shirt. He reaches up and runs his fingers through the girl's cropped black hair, sighing at Xion's all too solemn conviction that everyone in the world was against her.

"No, Xion, your mom's not going to get mad at you," Roxas tells her patiently as he carries her up the steps of the White Witch Art Shop. The little girl sniffs once, as if telling her not quite uncle that she didn't believe him in the slightest. Her uncle knows that she doesn't, if only because of her skewed view on what got people of authority – like her mom – angry.

Instead of letting her continue to pout in his arms, Uncle Roxas kicks the door to the store open.

The lack of customers for the art shop allows him to simply stroll right past the aisles of notepads, color pencils, markers, and ribbons in favor of the small living area behind the wall. He bounces this door open with his hip, plops a silent Xion onto the couch, and crouched down next to her.

For a moment, she doesn't speak. She simply looks up at him with those big blue eyes and waits. Roxas isn't sure what she was waiting for but when the first tear trickles down her cheek, he simply wipes it away. Xion bursts into tears and jumps into his arms for a second time, pressing her face hard into his chest.

He picks her up again and holds her close, carefully slipping a small pouch of munny into her pocket as she cries into him. Roxas sits down on the couch and begins to sing to the sobbing little girl, singing the song that her godfather once sang in order to soothe her to sleep.

"In you and I... there's a new land..."

As the song went on, the little girl's body slowly stops trembling and her fingers stop clutching to her uncle's work shirt. The man continues to stroke her hair gently, working the tangles out with his fingers.

"I hate school," Xion said after a long while, lifting her head to reveal her now slightly swollen eyes. Roxas wipes one last tear from her cheek, puts his chin on her head, and sighs softly, a sign for her to continue. "I hate school, everyone's mean to me and they put my books in the toilet." She admitted softly, rubbing at her eyes hard.

Roxas smirks, his blue eyes filling with mischief. "I think Axel can help with that," He replies honestly, giving her a nonchalant shrug before kissing her on the forehead. Xion blinks once before smiling up at him. "So where's Uncle Axel?" He asks in a sing-song voice, making her giggle softly at his antics. The happy look in her face is enough to make the silliness worth it, even if he did feel like a complete idiot. She had come so far... she had come so far from the little girl she used to be...

Xion grins, already knowing exactly what Roxas was hinting at.

"At the ice cream shop!"