Your name is Roxas Custor, and once upon a time, you used to have a twin. A twin you had not known the existence of until your 13th birthday, and a twin you had not come to know until exactly two years ago from this point, but a twin nonetheless. Regardless of the state of your relationship with said twin, you couldn't bring yourself to say you still had one. Not when your so-called twin brother was little more than skin and bones, barely holding themselves together due to the joint efforts of his tired lungs and machines designed to keep them working—but that was another matter entirely.
The sterilized white walls of the hospital have become common scenery for you, seeing as you had made a routine out of visiting here every day after school; but it wasn't like you had much to do, anyway. Not when the only person who made an effort to spend time with you was as good as dead, and everybody else might have approached that on a literal level.
Your mother would stop by occasionally, a small box of candy of some description tucked under her arm and her hair pulled so high up, it was painfully obvious she had come here in a rush. Undecided between staying home or staying at work and saving herself the grief of seeing both of her sons (or rather, her only son and the thing she had given up on raising properly quite some time ago) reduced to nothing but piles of pale skin and breaths that already sounded bored with themselves, but she still came. And her candy sucked every single time and she failed consistently when she tried to croon you into coming back home with her for dinner. Every time she would lay her hand on your back and say: "Roxas, honey, you look so pale lately. Why don't you come home? There's food and it's better than what you've been eating lately, I promise."
It never really did help, in any case.
You sometimes tuck your hand under his own and stare blankly at some nondescript wall across the room. His pulse is nice and steady, and somehow, that just makes the fact that he's still like this all the more jarring to you. He's still laying on the same bed, in the same pose, and all that's really changed about him is the way he seems paler than before, more like you and less like himself. His hands are still warm, even in this cold, and you can find the slightest bit of comfort in that.
Still, still. In the quiet moments like these, where you can't bring yourself to do much besides tapping your foot to some rhythm that had been stuck in your head for the last few days as you continue to hold his hand, you sometimes find yourself remembering. It's not much—mainly bits and pieces of pleasant and unpleasant things that were related to whatever had happened here, but it was alright. You liked to remember. Everyone was there when you remembered. You hadn't fucked everything up, at the time.
So you remember.
Indisputable fact number one of every day student life: Mondays were bad.
Tuesdays were worse.
The routine at the Custor-cum-Pallux household was a very strict, firm and unshakable thing—only disrupted by the arrival of a new, permanent member to the family, before quickly settling down back to a sense of normality. It consisted of two entities (mother, son) bundled up in their respective, fairly comfortable beds with a pillow firmly lodged over their heads as they attempted to reject the reality of the upcoming long day of obligations, along with the addition of a third entity (other son) diligently carrying out his morning routine while seeking out ways to remedy his family's morning woes. Namely, their apparent, nearly vampire-like aversion to morning sunlight, judging from how they would shout and moan and bury themselves under their thick covers while he spread open their curtains, hoping to get his brother up in time to eat and his mother up in time to even have a ride to school.
It was a weird routine. Backward and not very functional by the normal standards society would set for a single mother powered family, but it was alright. It got them through the day, and that was alright.
"C'mon, Roxas!" Ventus Pallux, his dear twin brother, older by the saving grace of one hour and three minutes, would shout at him between gargles and a mouthful of toothpaste and a toothbrush, and Roxas would find himself nearly suffocating under the pressure he would need to apply to his head with his pillow in order to drown out his whining. "How am I supposed to wake your mom up if you're not even moving?"
And then there would be the sound of running water, the sound of a toothbrush being quickly dumped back into the cup they used to store the three, differently colored ones that belonged to each member of their small family, and then the vaguely disgusting sound of his brother spitting a few times into the sink until he was free of what he liked to call "icky cherry-mint-flavored puke". He knows what's coming next, because Ven has already done it before and Ven is already in their room, so there's really not much he can do about it when the covers are roughly pulled from above him and the curtains in their room spread apart until there's a nice, blinding amount of sunlight filtering through and highlighting how absolutely terrible they are at keeping things neat and tidy. Every single speck of dust filtering through the air illuminated, along with every pile of dirty underwear conspicuously shoved into a corner and all the pencils they thought they had lost at school or somewhere else, shoved underneath some unmentionable place.
There really wasn't much Roxas could have done when Ven jumps into the bottom bunk of the bed they share, his bunk, and starts pulling at the pillow firmly pressed over his head, ignoring his moans and groans until something halfway decent and coherent comes out of his mouth.
"Ven, get the hell out of my room."
Of course, his brother responds by doing that one sound thing he likes to do, somewhere between a whine and a small chuckle, and Roxas can just feel the puppy dog face trying very, very hard not to change into one of amusement on top of him.
"Y'know this is our room now, right?" He replies, the amusement very much clear in his voice, and he's pressing his knees against his legs until one of them is firmly shoved between his thighs, making this ten more times more annoying and twenty more uncomfortable. "You can't throw me out of a room if it's mine, too, Roxas."
"Well. Well…" Roxas says, faltering for a moment while trying to cling onto that little part of himself that's still ready to go back to sleep and not entirely awake, because he knows that once it's gone there's no hope for him in finding it easy to go back to bed. "It was mine first."
"Too bad!" His older twin responds, completely and utterly flopping down on top of him with a remarkable lack of grace, and subsequently knocking out the little bit of air he had managed to accumulate inside his lungs beforehand. The fact that the pillow was still firmly pressed against his head wasn't helping much, and Ven probably knew this, judging from the way he could just feel him grinning on top of him as Roxas writhed around a few times to no avail.
Naturally, it is at this time that the little possibility of going back to sleep Roxas had been clinging to completely disappears.
Roxas groans, shoving his brother off of him with both hands and causing Ven to roll over onto his side, before sitting up and letting the pillow that was previously on his face to fall on his lap. He runs a hand through his hair, feeling it sticking up at various decidedly awkward places, and glares at Ven, who was more or less attempting to stifle his laughter and failing quite epically.
"…Did you at least make breakfast?" He asks, slowly, allowing his annoyance to be shown in each and every word that came out of his mouth.
Of course, the grin that was previously plastered on Ven's face turns into a pout as soon as the question comes out, and he shakes his head. "Nope," he replies, scrunching his nose up just a little bit. "You're always complaining about how I make your eggs too runny or your toast too crunchy, so I didn't."
"So, let me get this straight," Roxas begins, massaging the bridge of his nose and barely suppressing the urge to shove his brother off the bed. "You woke me up, threw yourself on top of me… And you don't have anything ready for us to eat?"
"Well…" Ven says, cocking his head to the side, propping his chin up on the palms of his hands as he stared up at his twin. "I dunno 'bout you, but I already had some cereal."
Roxas immediately proceeds to press the pillow against his face once more, and plop back down on the bed.
"Hey!" He hears Ven say, tugging at his shirt a few times. "What're you doing? We're really gonna be late if you don't get out of bed now, Roxas!"
To nobody's surprise (except, perhaps Ven's and his remarkable lack of foresight for all things Roxas), the younger of the two then proceeds to roll over, pillow still firmly pressed against his face, and groan something vaguely human. Vaguely, being the keyword here.
Understandably, Ven blinks, pulling away from Roxas and putting a stop to his assault on his shirt, all while staring at his brother. "…What was that?"
Roxas pulls away from his pillow, ever so slightly, just enough for whatever he says to be understandable and just enough to shoot his brother a glare. "I said, that I'll get dressed if you get out of my room and get me something to eat."
Not even a second passes before Ven's jumping to his feet, off the bed and away from Roxas, and grins, turning around on his heel to face his brother. "Got it!" He says, grin still firmly placed on his lips as he mock-salutes at Roxas. "But you better be downstairs when I wake your mom up, alright?"
"Yeah, yeah," Roxas mutters in return, half heartedly waving one of his hands in a shooing motion. He listens carefully to his brother's footsteps. Listens carefully to the creaking of the floorboards as he exits the room, and once he's sure he's gone downstairs, he sits up and stares at the doorway. Just for a moment, he entertains the notion of locking the door and going back to sleep once again, but the idea goes just as quickly as it came. The small feeling of tiredness that he had after being woken up by Ven had left long ago, and he didn't need to hear his brother nagging (whining) at him about how locking the door wasn't nice and how their respective female class representatives would chew them out once again for being late, among other things.
Not that Roxas particularly cared about what their classmates would think, of course. But for some reason or another, his brother was simply obsessed with being a perfect student. He had all of the best grades and the best physical education records. The teachers would dote and swoon over every little choice he made, and he had his own little group of goody-two-shoes best friends (one being thestudent council president in their current school and the other the former captain of the kendo club in his old school) to match. It, quite honestly, made Roxas sick to his stomach, but it wasn't like there was anything he could do about it. His mother was charmed by how perfect and different her long-lost child was, and so were Roxas' own friends. It's not he could press his thumb against the existence that was his twin brother and smear it away—not realistically speaking, anyway.
And in any case, it's not like anyone ever paid much attention to Roxas Custor. Most teachers were genuinely surprised when they realized he was in his assigned seat and in the classroom, and he wasn't the most memorable kid, either. Not that pale, skinny kid whose collar bone showed too much and whose eyes looked dead half of the time.
He's already putting his uniform on before he realizes it. First his socks, the blue and white lined square patterned pants, and then his longed sleeved button-up shirt for the colder seasons. By the time he's slipping on his shoes, multi-tasking between fixing his tie and making sure his hair didn't look like he hadn't gotten out of bed in three days (which was more or less an accurate statement, but still), he can hear his brother trudging up the stairs once again, probably on his way to nudge their mother out of bed and tell him there's food waiting.
Funny, how he can't even remember how he ended up in this predicament. He can't remember how he ended up in this particular living arrangement. But, maybe, that's to be expected. After all, humans forget things rather quickly, with their nimble minds.
(—and you are barely one year old.)
They arrive at school three minutes short of the homeroom bell ringing.
Their mother takes her time preparing herself. Applying gratuitous amounts of make-up for what amounted as a visit to the local supermarket, before even bothering to go downstairs and remind herself of the fact that she had two adolescent children she had to take to school before going to pick up some groceries. In between the all the bumps and holes they kept hitting on the road and their mother speaking obnoxiously to her latest boyfriend (the third one in the last five months, apparently), it went without saying that the ride to school wasn't quite as pleasant as desired.
By the time Roxas finally managed to get to his respective classroom (class 1-F, as far away as possible from Ven's class 1-B), everyone is too busy getting in their last minutes of small talk before the teacher arrives to notice him. Well, the female class representative still finds the time to look away from her little group of friends to turn around and simultaneously send a warning look and wave at him—but then again, Olette has had the eerie ability to know when people come in late since they were in daycare and Hayner was still a bed-wetter.
He sits down in his assigned seat, almost too conveniently placed next to the window and not-so-conveniently near the front of the classroom as well. He spares a glance out the window, taking note of how dark it was outside (despite it barely being 8:30AM) and how it would most likely be pouring outside by the time they're out of school—meaning that his dear twin brother will probably be all over him fretting over whether or not he brought an umbrella with him or not. It wasn't like he could do anything about this, however, all things considered, so he simply proceeds to sling his messenger bag over the back of his seat. Careful not to bump into the desk behind him, seeing as he's had enough whining to last him a week in one morning; but then again, it's not like the girl sitting behind him will care too much aside from one small hey before returning to her conversation. Most people in this classroom tended to be like that, really. And so, it was a question of why did he even bother with such precautions.
Of course, then there's Xion.
He's barely had the time to turn around in his seat before there's a pair of bright blue eyes all up in his face. Understandably, Roxas squeaks in a decidedly undignified manner, pulling back and away from the girl who had suddenly decided to invade his personal space and scrunching his face up in some sort of mockery annoyance after getting a better look at her face—but it's not like he's really annoyed at her, really. She might as well be the only person to possess the remarkable ability to never peeve him in any shape or form.
Straightening her posture, all while laughing softly at her best friend's expense for a moment as she does so, Xion then proceeds to tap her index finger against his forehead. Once, twice, thrice, before pulling her hand away from him and making some sort of clicking noise with her tongue, similar to one a parent would make when scolding a child, but it wasn't something she actually meant. "And here I thought I was gonna have to spend all day texting you from the bathroom again," she says, a teasing tone in her voice as she speaks. "Should I be thanking Ven for dragging you out of bed?"
"No thanks. Besides, couldn't you just hang out with your sister?" He responds, pursing his lips for a moment while leaning back into the side of his desk, before his lips curl into some mockery of a smile. "Or Ven. I'd bet he's dying to hang out with you, you know."
Xion's face twists into some sort of emotion for a moment, before it's gone just as fast as it came. She shakes her head slowly, shuffling her feet in a decidedly awkward manner. "I… I don't think I could do that. Kairi is with Sora all of the time. I… " A pause; a cough. "And, other than that, wouldn't that be weird? Just hanging out with Ven, I mean… I think it might turn out pretty awkward!"
"I… guess?" He says, cocking an eyebrow even though he knows exactly what she means, and taking a good glance at his best friend's condition for the first time in the last couple of days. As per usual, there were a couple of bruises on her skin and bandages strategically placed over her fingers and knees. Proof of how horribly inept she tended to be when it came to physical activities.
Xion Kriemhild has been like this for most of the time he's known her, he supposes. But she wasn't always like this. She didn't always have such a poor constitution that she would need to skip most P.E. classes and would receive several bruises and cuts in the few she attended regardless of what sport they were actually participating in. She actually used to be quite good at it, once. But then she simply stopped being skilled. Somewhere around the time when they were 7-years-old and his cousins had just finished moving into town, Xion became so easily fatigued that she couldn't even participate in the same sports as Roxas or her sister. Of course, she said she didn't mind it so much back then, and she still says the same thing now. But then again, Xion always says she doesn't mind anything if it means not making her friends or surrogate family worry. It's not that she couldn't afford all kinds of examinations and weird obscure treatments for her condition, being the mayor's adopted daughter, but only that she didn't want to have anybody go through that process with her.
It's not until the black haired girl fidgets for a moment, tugging at her sleeves and pulling the hem of her skirt down in an attempt to make the bruises less apparent, that he notices that he had gone from merely glancing to outright staring.
"Uh… Kairi had me go out with her and Olette to go shopping for… warmer clothes, since it'll be December in a few weeks." Xion offers as some kind of explanation, knowing just why had started to stare at her like that. There's a momentary pause as that weird expression comes back to her face for the briefest of seconds, and she absentmindedly brushes a stray strand of black hair out of her eyes and behind her ears. "You know how it goes with all the winter specials, right? People tend to get kinda… pushy?" She finishes, a bit lamely.
Roxas sighs in response, pursing his lips and giving his friend another look over. Even with all the questions his brother had asked him after learning that, yes, there were occasions in which snow was possible within their small town, he'd still managed to forget that the start of winter was fast approaching. And with that, he'd also forgotten how horribly annoying public locations tended to become. Stores would become war zones during the fabled winter sales, and the streets would become impossible to walk around in during normal hours with all the people rushing and screaming as they attempted to get out of the inconvenient weather (namely, rain) as soon as possible.
Still, even now that Xion had reminded him of such a terrible event approaching, there was still the fact that she was getting herself hurt by being dragged around like that.
"You know…" He begins, about to utter the same, lightly scolding sentence he had repeated to her time and time again, but he's cut off by a finger firmly pressed against his chapped lips. Xion smiles, knowingly, having memorized and correctly identified the tone he was using with her, and then pulls her hand away from him.
"You don't have to worry about me so much, Roxas," she says, smile still present and her tone soft, understanding her best friend's worry. "If I don't want to go somewhere, I don't. I'm not getting dragged around anywhere—and, besides! If I didn't go, I don't think gym shorts and short dresses would have helped much during winter break."
Roxas rolls his eyes, mostly at what might have well as been Xion's attempt at a witty retort, but there's still a small smile on his lips that (for once) reaches his eyes, and that's more of a testament than anything else could have been. "Just be careful, alright?"
"I will, I will!" She chirps, nodding for emphasis, before there's a pause in her actions. She blinks, once, as if she had just remembered something important she had to say or do, and her brows furrow ever so slightly.
Of course, with the most eerie precision, it is only then that their teacher decides to arrive in the classroom.
Understandably, Xion looks rather frustrated for a moment or two, biting her lip and glancing between her homeroom teacher and Roxas. After a couple of seconds of debating about whether or not to say whatever was on her mind right there and then, she simply flashes another smile at her friend, gesturing toward her seat.
"I…" She begins, slowly. "I'll tell you something during lunch hour, okay? Be sure to wait up for me!"
And with that, Xion Kriemhild had returned to her assigned seat, leaving Roxas to face the hideous reality that was standardized education.
Now, their homeroom teacher, Xigbar, was one of those so called revolutionary teachers who insisted their students called them by their given name instead of their surname—whatever that was. It really wasn't all that surprising, however, when you considered the fact that he wore an eyepatch over his right eye and spoke like someone one of those beach reality shows had vomited straight into their classroom. Rumor has it that he wrestled with Monstro and lost an eye in some sort of Pyrrhic victory. Roxas just thinks he wanted to be a pirate and had to settle for the more realistic goal of becoming a high school English teacher, instead.
Still, regardless of whether or not their homeroom teacher had wanted to be a pirate once upon a time, it did nothing to aid today's (or any other day, for that matter) lesson in becoming more captivating than the remarkable amount of mold his brother's P.E. uniform managed to gather after a few weeks of disuse. Barely paying attention to whatever subject they were on right now, Roxas would find himself only catch the key bits of the lesson—namely, rising and bowing when the male class representative indicated, taking out his notebook when told to and absentmindedly switching textbooks as the corresponding teacher rotated into their classroom.
That aside, Xigbar never really cared if his students were blatantly staring out the window, and only called them up to mortify them in front of everybody. Xion could attest to this, unfortunately, seeing as how their homeroom teacher had decided her new name would be Poppet (keeping up with his unfortunate habit of giving all of his students nicknames; Roxas had the fortune to get away with just kiddo) and would call her attention in the most bizarre of cases. At the very least, it increased her charm with the other students when she answered correctly, but it didn't do much in raising his opinion on his homeroom teacher for picking on the one girl who missed class far too often due to health issues.
The same did not apply to Roxas. Being one of those who did not miss class for any legitimate reason at all, rather playing absent for the sake of not being in the presence of so many strangers every day, Roxas scored relatively low on the radar of every single one of his teachers. He would ignore the curious stare of his peers, paying the most minimal attention in class, and then asking Xion, Pence or Olette (anyone but Hayner, really) to fill in the blanks in his memory for him as soon as an exam approached. Homeroom would pass with him staring out the window, relatively ignored, and then would come the next class. Rinse, repeat, and ignore whatever glances he would garner from his classmates.
This might have been a bit too much for him, however.
The only reason he notices the feeling of someone staring far too intensely at the back of his head is because of having heard the name Kriemhild being called up as he proceeds to take out his History textbook. Naturally, that was enough to momentarily snap him out of his oh-so-important bout of spacing out in order to glance at Xion as she stumbled over her words slightly, before regaining her momentum. But even though he would take it upon himself to skim over whatever Xion was reading later on, it was the feeling of being watched that caused him enough physical discomfort to keep him from going back to staring blankly at some inconspicuous point. Discreetly, he looked behind him to see if it was not his paranoia acting up, but found what you would generally expect in a classroom—boys and girls staring at either their textbooks, the person currently dictating their daily subject to them, or at the wall.
He isn't sure of how he should feel about that.
Regardless, Xion was still reading. And even if her voice too soft for him to hear properly from where he was seated, something important enough to have a student read it aloud was probably important enough for it to be mentioned in their midterms. And so, with a sigh, Roxas found himself turning his gaze toward the first title in the current page page.
LEGEND OF THE KEYBLADE
As mentioned in the previous unit, one of the most prominent legends in late Disneian culture is the legend of the KEYBLADE . The keyblade was a sword-like weapon shaped most commonly like a classic skeleton key, hence the name of "keyblade". According to scripts found in the remains of the old DISNEY CASTLE , keyblades were weapons that chose their own wielder and henceforth granted them the ability to unlock anything they desired.
Although initial research had led us to believe for various decades that there could only be one keyblade wielder at once—or rather, one Keyblade Master—this is not so. More recent discoveries made by archaeologists have proved that keyblade wielders were many and more accurately compared to a knighthood, with the official title of Keyblade Master only being granted to a select few who passed arduous trials. After this discovery, researchers also found traces in wastelands previously thought to be barren of what is believed to have been a war fought only using this weapon. Because of this, and the fact that there seems to have been a reduction in keyblade wielders until there were only a handful remaining, it is thought that this speculated war was the start of the great extinction of the keyblade.
Even though the verity of the powers this weapon provided to their user is impossible to confirm, it has been proved that they did, in fact, exist. For various reasons, scholars speculate that the "key" used in the SKY UNITING legends of Disnian culture is no other than the keyblade, and that the keyblades in this legend are between the last known examples of it before its extinction.
By the time Roxas is done skimming over the text laid out before him, Xion had finished reading the page aloud and was now glancing nervously at their History teacher. Their teacher, Mrs. Mouse, smiles kindly at the black haired girl, who then sits down on her assigned seat as the teacher proceeds to stand up before her class.
"Very good, miss Kriemhild! Thank you very much for reading that for us." Mrs. Mouse chirps, brushing some wrinkles out of her red and white polka-dotted skirt before pushing a few strands of her short, black hair out of the way of her black-rimmed glasses. She takes a few more steps toward her students; her own copy of their school approved Disney Culture and Traditions textbook open and balanced against her chest, and she continues to speak. "Oh my, let's see… We've covered units one through five this trimester, which means we just have to get through this unit for your midterms. This is very good! Well done everybody!"
Some students take this as an indicative for them to start muttering at each other, at which Mrs. Mouse presses her index finger against her lips and makes a small shushing sound. "Now, now! Quiet down, everyone. I'm sure you're all very excited to talk to each other, but that can wait," she says, one hand propped against her hip as she glances down at the book precariously balanced on her free hand. "Are there any questions?"
Hayner Daniels, who was seated behind him, raises his hand up to ask a predictably stupid question. "Will there be a test about this?"
"Of course!" Mrs. Mouse chides, snapping her textbook shut with her free hand and then allowing it to join it's comrade in the act of propping itself against her other hip. Obviously, more than half of the students in the class groaned at this announcement. "It wouldn't be very productive to review something you wouldn't be tested on, after all."
Selphie Tilmitt, a girl who was currently violating the school dresscode in about seven different ways, stuck her hand up in the air promptly. "Hey! Why are we learning about this kinda stuff in History class?"
The teacher sighs, smiling kindly and most likely lamenting the fact that she had given her students the opportunity to ask questions, but there was really no other choice but for her to answer them at the moment. "Well, it's part of our curriculum for this trimester to learn about the keyblades and their relation to the Sky Uniting legends."
Naturally, it is at this point that Roxas begins to tune out the lesson once again. This was something they had been learning about since they were old enough to read, so, really. He wasn't missing much by pretending to be captivated with the text below him while absentmindedly filling in the bits and pieces he did catch with topics he only barely paid attention to in previous years. This was something he didn't even need to ask Xion or any other of his friends for help on, because it was just so predictable. It was almost silly to think that people still this myth seriously, wishing for luck from the supposedly legendary keyblades of light as if such things really existed.
As the teacher continues to drone on and on about things everyone should have really known by now, Roxas decides to lower his head against his desk in order to rest for a few minutes.
Things like these were really more suited for little kids.
By the time lunch hour finally rolls around, Roxas was one step away from falling asleep on his desk before Xion (thankfully) decided to prod him awake. She would mess his hair up even more than it already was, calling him a lazy bum and then dragging him up and away from his seat, talking on and on to him about how she made this excellent boxed lunch (doubtful—last time she cooked for him, she mixed up cumin for cinnamon) for both of them so they could eat on the rooftop together.
Roxas blinks a few times, letting Xion drag him toward the door by his wrist, staring at her questioningly. "…Hey," he says, scratching the back of his head with his free hand and forcing Xion to slow down a little by walking with more lethargy. "Didn't you say you wanted to talk to me about something this morning?
The black haired girl pauses, turning to face him while pressing the plastic containers she was carrying against her chest with her other arm, and cocks her head to the side slightly, almost as if she had forgotten about it entirely. After a second or so, a look of realization dawns upon her face and she shakes her head. "Oh, oh. Uh! About that…!" Xion says, faltering, tugging him along once again and then stopping in front of the classroom door. "I actually forgot what I was gonna to say to you this morning. It probably wasn't really that important."
He nods at this, accepting it for now. Knowing her, she would probably remember it later or, maybe not at all. Also knowing Xion, she could have already remembered and decided not to go on—probably because it was too embarrassing or because the bravery she had worked up to bring it up earlier had gone away entirely. In any case, she is still holding onto his wrist as she proceeds to open the classroom door, smiling at him and staying in comfortable silence as they step into the second floor hallways.
Their school really wasn't huge, but it wasn't exactly tiny, either. There were four floors all in all without counting the roof as one of them, and the various floor plans framed and propped against the walls in the stairs as one came up to the next floor made it so even new students wouldn't get lost when looking for the room they needed to find, since everything was labeled neatly. It was still hideous to walk around in if you were too dumb to even do as much as to glance at the floor plans as you made your way up the school, and, well. The saddest thing is, he knows of a certain two who did precisely that.
"Hmm," Xion lets go of his wrist then, using both of her arms to carry their lunch and walking backward as she faced him, smiling at him with her usual friendly smile. "Are you going to stay there and starve, or are you gonna to come up with me and eat my delicious lunch?"
Roxas rolls his eyes, walking alongside her and resisting the urge to point out how her lunch would probably be the exact opposite of delicious. More along the lines of bizarre, strange and (quote, unquote)unique. He doesn't, of course, and instead bops her gently on the top of her head before redirecting her to walk like a normal person. "I'm walking, I'm walking," he says, smiling back at her. "Nobody else is tagging along, right?"
"No!" She replies, shaking her head in response to his question while toying with the plastic edges of the container. "Just the two of us, like…" A pause, and he can see her chew on her lower lip for a moment, having caught her small slip up. Roxas doesn't even have to ask to know what was wrong, because he already knows why she suddenly went quiet, and he's stuffing his hands inside of his pockets because of it. But still, Xion sighs quietly, and the smile appears back on her face instantly. "…Like old times, I guess!"
But it wasn't just the two of them, back then.
They trudge along the hallways in silence for a couple more seconds, Roxas' hands still shoved inside his pockets and Xion still playing with the container. He opens his mouth, closes it, and then opens it again while trying to come up something to say to break the silence, but finds himself unable to say anything witty to do it. He really doesn't have to, to be honest.
"Hey, Roxas! Xion!"
They both turn around simultaneously, Roxas cocking an eyebrow at what he knew was coming now, while Xion's eyes proceeded to widen into the perfect deer-in-headlights look. One of Xion's hands is immediately clinging on to Roxas' sleeve, and he sighs, looking at the girl standing beside him before glancing at what he supposes he's meant to call his cousin.
"…Hey, Sora," he says half-heartedly but still loud enough for his cousin to hear, rubbing the back of his head and allowing Xion to cling to his sleeve for all that it's worth. "What is it?"
Sora Faustus, his older cousin by three months and one day, grins as he finally catches up to them. He stops once he is uncomfortably close to the little bubble Roxas would like to call his personal space(which was only to be breached by those whose name started with an X and ended with -ion), and leans down for a moment, apparently attempting to catch his breath after what Roxas can only assumes was getting lost through the whole second floor trying to find something. And his guess is most likely right, seeing as how immediately after he stops panting like an overweight puppy, he looks up and squints at every single one of the name plates above the classroom doors. And, well. While Roxas would be more than glad to say that this inability to find even the most simplest of places was a one-time only deal for his cousin—that really wasn't the case, seeing as how Sora was one out of the two people that Roxas has met in his life that got lost in this overly labeled building where even the blind and deaf could find their way around.
Good job, bro.
Despite all of this, Sora straightens his posture after a moment or so of glancing at his surroundings and places both of his arms behind his neck, still grinning at them. "Sorry about that, guys," he says, with a bit of a laugh. "Do ya know where your class is? I have something I really need to give my brother."
And by his brother, of course, he means Vanitas. Sora's younger twin brother by four hours or so who would have been completely identical to him if not for the fact that genetics decided to give him a pair ofbright yellow eyes, for some hideous but still strangely fitting reason or another, if Sora's horror stories about how supposedly mean he was to him when they were little were to be believed. But Roxas couldn't really talk from experience about him, being that his interaction with him has been limited to short one-worded conversations and rising and bowing to the teacher when he said so as their male class representative.
Roxas tilts his head at this, his hands still in his pockets as he inspects his older cousin, just to find that there was nothing resembling something that he might need to give to his brother at this hour. "It's right around the corner, you know…" He says, each word carefully pronounced, as if he were speaking to someone who still wore diapers and spoke in gurgles and screams. "But what do you need to give him now, though?"
"Oh! Uh…" Sora begins, shuffling around with the slightest bit of embarrassment present on his face. "You know how mom packs lunch for me and Vanitas, right? Well, she sorta mixed them up."
He can feel Xion lighten her grip on his sleeve a little after this. Xion then blinks at Sora's word, cocking her head to the side a little now that she's probably noticed the same thing as him. "…Shouldn't you have brought his lunch with you then, Sora?"
"Already got it covered!" Sora says, nodding to himself and pointing behind him at what is apparently nothing. "I almost dropped it the first time, so Ven made me let him carry it around for me and stuff."
"Um… Sora?" Xion says, as slowly and gently as possible, attempting to say the glaringly obvious tidbit her brown haired friend had unfortunately failed to notice. "Where's Ven?"
A beat, and Sora, straining his not generally academically-oriented mind to comprehend the meaning of what seemed to have amounted to moon speak to him, takes his time staring blankly at Xion beforeslowly taking a peek behind him. Roxas can see his cousin blink once, twice, thrice, before a distinctive choking sound comes out of his throat and he's turning around and running back the way he came, but not before waving goodbye at them and shouting something that sounded like some garbled version of be right back.
All in all, he really had it coming.
"Are we… waiting for him?" Xion asks, tentatively, still staring at the corner where the older boy disappeared with a mildly worried look on her face. She finally lets go of Roxas' sleeve at that instant, having realized that she had been holding it all this time and instead preoccupies herself with rearranging her skirt.
"No way," Roxas responds, snorting at the suggestion and turning on his heel back to the direction of the stairs to the third floor. He gestures for Xion to follow. "He's going to get lost again and I'm hungry."
And with a final, lingering glance, Xion follows him up.
"Oh man, I can't believe you got lost!"
"Did not! It's your fault for walking so fast I lost track of you!"
Of course, those are Numskull One and Numskull Two bickering with each other on the way home over the unfortunate incident that led Numskull One to go all lunch period without eating and his fellow twin brother to eat his lunch instead. As many of their discussions would go, Sora would be playfully pushing Ven dangerously close to the side of the road while Ven would equally as playfully push himdangerously close to the side of the road. It was a wonderful display of a blatant disregard for the most basic of safety guidelines, really.
Not that Olette would be having any of it, still tagging along with three sets of twins as her house was closer to Kairi and Xion's than it was to Hayner or Pence's. She props one of her hands on her hips, her other hand with her index finger raised as she prepared to nag at both of them to stop while she quickened her pace to be in front of Kairi (with whom she had been having a lovely conversation about the decorations that would be put up in Radiant Garden next month), but closer to Ven and Sora who still continued to suicidally push each other on the sidewalk.
"Now, both of you!" She shouts, face flushed as she picks up her pace sufficiently to reach and grab both of them by the back of their shirts, causing them to go appropriately still with dread. Really, if there was any reason for Olette to be class representative aside from her excellent grades, this was probably it. Striking fear into the hearts of those too dumb to live. "If you don't stop doing that, your clean up duties will be tripled!" And of course, when both of them nearly open their mouth to protest that they aren't even in the same classroom, Olette chooses to smiles gently and glance back at her redheaded friend. "Isn't that right, Kairi?"
And Kairi, being a fellow female class representative and a firm upholder of basic safety guidelines as well, giggles and smiles. "Now that you mention, I can think of a few more things for Ven to help out with," she chirps, right before crossing her arms against her chest and puffing her cheeks a little after speaking, giving Sora what they had all come to know as the Look. "And, you, Sora! You're a class representative, too! Think about what could have happened if a car suddenly came and ran you over for doing that."
Both Sora and Ven grimace at the mental image, and Roxas, who had been trailing close behind the scene alongside Xion, shakes his head. "I don't know," he says, glancing at the relatively car-free street. "I don't think it'd be that bad if one of them got hit by a car."
Xion, who was walking leisurely beside him while watching the scene unfold, glances at him, giggling lightly as she knew he didn't really mean. "Now, Roxas!" She says, leaning a bit closer to his side and touching his arm with her shoulder lightly, before either Olette or Kairi could get a word in. Even if she knew that Roxas didn't mean most of the things he said ninety-nine percent of the time, that didn't mean everyone else did. "You shouldn't be saying that kinda stuff in front of them, should you?"
In response, Roxas shrugs, gesturing behind him to where Vanitas was trailing far, far behind them. He didn't even have to look back to know that he was probably still talking onhis phone (the one he wasn't even allowed to bring to school, in the first place), just like he had been since they started walking. The only real reason he even took the same route as them home was because he lived in the same house as Sora, being siblings and all—otherwise, he's pretty sure Vanitas would stay as far away from them as humanly possible. "I don't think that guy would mind much, either."
At this, Sora, who had already be thankfully released for Olette's grip, turns and scrunches his nose at him, obviously not enjoying the subject. "Gee, Roxas. Do you really gotta be so blunt about it?"
"Yep!" Is the predictable answer Sora predictably could not actually see coming.
"I dunno, Sora," Ven finally pipes up, placing his hand on his chin as he seemingly contemplates on something. "If a car hit your head, I think it'd be the one to get hit the hardest."
"Huh, what does—oh! Thanks a lot, Ven!"
And with another shove, they were back to square one.
Roxas sighs, looking at his surroundings and at the town he had grown up in. He supposed he was used to having Ven tag along with him everywhere now, but there was still the nagging feeling that maybe he shouldn't be like this. That he should be a little more bothered by the fact that a brother he didn't know suddenly came into his life and became friends with all of his friends. A brother everyone said he should be nicer to and a brother everyone got along with like they had known him for all their life even though he had only just gotten here. It was stupid.
But Xion must have noticed he was spacing out again, because she would poke his side enough times to get his full and undivided attention and then grin at him, walking with a bit of rhythm in her step.
"It's nice right now, don't you think?" She says, looking up at him, but he really doesn't understand, and it shows on his face. And like a good friend who had basically grown up with him, Xion elaborates. "Everyone being friends with everyone and hanging out together, I mean…" She trails off them, pursing her lips and glancing at their mutual friends in front of them, and then looking up at him again. "Even though they're all kind of silly sometimes, it's… Nice to know they're our friends, right, Roxas?"
Roxas stays silent for a moment, his thumb rubbing against one of the rings on his fingers, and he sighs. "I guess…"
"Now," Xion chirps, all but gently pinching him under his upper arm. "Cheer up!"
"Why?" He scowls a little, bemoaning his viciously attacked underarm. Apparently, that wasn't the appropriate response, because Xion then far more gently pokes him on the side of his ribs, just before speeding up her pace so she could stand in front of him. He opens his mouth to ask her what she was going to do now, but she interrupts him with a finger on his lips and a smile on her face.
"Because, we'll always be friends!"