Roxas sat in the car at the kerbside watching Sora hurtle through the door of the sports shop with his bag falling off one shoulder and his coat half on the other. He bumped into two old ladies and nearly knocked over the shop sign as he barged past.
He knew that it wasn't exactly what Sora wanted to do for the summer before graduation year, but he got a decent discount on trainers and they would never run out of coat hangers. Roxas got the raw deal though; his method of employment - a call centre – was a little short on the perks.
He could see his twin frantically look for the car and mouth a few curses before reaching into his bag and pulling out his mobile phone.
A muffled ringtone broke the silence. Roxas reached into the glove box and pulled out his phone. He flipped it open.
"Where the hell are you? I'm gonna be late."
Roxas rolled his eyes and sighed
"Red mini by the kerb." He said slowly, annunciating every syllable.
He flipped the phone closed and slipped it into his pocket. At least two minutes later the door opened and a bedraggled looking Sora – not that he was anything else, ever- clambered into the passenger seat. Roxas silently pulled away from the kerb and started to drive down the road. It only took a few seconds for Sora to notice a slight smile on the face of his designated driver.
"Did I get in the right car? Why are you so happy?"
Sora waited for a smart remark or a snort. Nothing.
He stuck his hand in his rucksack and rustled whatever junk he had in there, before resting it gently in the foot well.
"What's this then?
Sora held up a piece of white paper that he's retrieved from it's landing site and unfolded it slowly.
"Shit" Roxas mouthed to himself then regretted it. Sora would never let it go.
His brother grinned, one of those evil ones that made you want to choke the life out of him with your bare hands.
Roxas ignored him and stared at the road.
"I'm concentrating Sora. Ask me about it when we get home."
"Roxas likes Axel"
Roxas could feel himself go pink and immediately cringed.
It was more of a reaction to the teasing than actually liking the guy.
"Aww, Roxy's in luurve." Sora crooned, in his awful singsong voice.
It was like nails down a chalk board, he was completely tone deaf. No response.
Roxas swerved the car as the sharp slap hit his thigh and had to wrestle it under control before he hit a parked 4 x 4 and murdered a few garden gnomes. Thank God for power steering.
He glared at Sora, not trusting himself to say anything nice.
Sora rustled in his bag, pulled out his IPOD, stuck the buds in his ears and bobbed his head to the beat. Roxas has no idea what he was listening to; he just seethed and tried to ignore the bass that was way too loud.
"You seeing Riku tonight?" He bellowed over the noise.
Sora removed an ear bud from the nearest ear and gave his brother a look which calmly stated, 'this had better be good'.
"Yes. I have a driving lesson" He said, stressing the sentence and finishing it with a well practiced pout that his twin had learnt to ignore.
"You know he's too old for you."
"What do you know about him anyway?"
You sound like Kairi. He's funny, goes to the U and does lessons for extra money." His voice was dreamy.
Roxas took advantage of the glazed over look and snatched back the piece of paper in his brothers hand.
The pout was back and again it was ignored.
"It's my job, being older than you."
"By two minutes."
"I could leave you right here."
"I don't have a clue where we are!" Sora spluttered then closed his mouth.
He put his ear buds back in and bobbed his head until Roxas pulled into the car park of the apartment block. they called home. The engine shuddered and died. He prodded Sora to get out and watched as he grabbed his bag and leapt out of the car.
He sighed, opened the rear door, pulled his rucksack and blades out of the foot well and threw them on his back, slamming the door before locking it with a high pitched tone from the central locking.
He kicked a can as he followed Sora into the building. From the entrance he could see that the apartment door was open.
Sora was already on the phone, wandering around the kitchenette and sipping from a mug of coffee. Roxas slammed the door as loudly as he could. Making a mental note to apologise to Mrs Kaposi next door the next time he saw her.
"It's just Roxy being a dick."
Roxas knew that Sora had raised his voice for his benefit. He wandered over the counter surface that his brother had at that moment decided to turn into an impromptu couch.
"Sor, move your fat ass"
He shoved the brunette off the counter top and watched him land on the floor with a thump, dropping the phone.
Roxas grabbed the phone and grinned.
"What's up Kai?"
They had known Kairi since pre-school when she stole one of Sora's pencils and made him cry. It had been the twins, Kairi and Zexion for years until the redhead moved away 6 months ago. Sora still called her at 6.30 every Friday.
"Ask him about Axel" Sora screamed in his ear.
Roxas responded with a glare and silently handed over the phone.
"Kai" The brunette said happily.
"You're walking to work next week" Roxas called as he left the room.
He turned into the bedroom he shared with Sora. They were way too old to share a twin room, but as it was their brother Cloud's apartment, it was a non arguable point. He looked at the floor in dismay. Sora's side as always looked like there had been an explosion in a charity shop. Roxas's half on the other hand was average. He liked to be able to see the carpet.
He sat on his made bed using the headboard as a back rest, placed his phone on the side table and closed his eyes.
"Rox, can you do me a favour?"
He opened his eyes, to see Sora standing in the doorway.
"I have a lesson; can you find my swim kit for tomorrow?"
He indicated to the pile of stuff in the middle of his side of the room.
"I'll owe you big time" he wheedled
"You still owe me for the last 10"
"One more won't hurt"
Sora turned and left, not waiting for an answer. Roxas uttered a string of various curses that one of Cloud's friends had taught him, rolled his eyes then closed them again.
He wasn't sure how much time has passed when his phone vibrated on the bedside table. He felt blindly for it in the dark, almost knocking off the bedside lamp.
He opened the phone taking note of the name Zexion that flashed merrily away on the little screen.
"You're calling late." He said quietly
The line was silent, but he knew that his best friend was on the other end.
They had known each other since they were 4. They would sit in silence for hours; Zexion had never really grown out of it.
"You stole my shirt." The tone was accusing
"Took you long enough to notice"
The line went silent
"Anyway, your shirt was lucky." Roxas continued
"Was that in your horoscope this morning?" The tone was full of gentle mocking.
It was a new voice. Demyx. The only person who could get away with saying the next word.
"Zexy had to go, he said something about version 26 and handed me the phone."
Roxas knew exactly what Zexion was up to and didn't like it one little bit.
"So, what's up?"
"A weirdo left his number in my car. I need some advice."
Demyx went silent, and then started humming. It was something he would do most conversations.
The song sounded suspiciously like the one he'd had stuck in his head all day.
"Well…The only people you let near your baby are Sora, us of course and the garage." Pause for effect. "You went to a new garage today, so it must be one of them."
Bull's-eye, Roxas was quite stunned that Demyx had managed to conclude that without Zexion's help. It wasn't that he was stupid; he just had a short attention span.
"So, what should I do?
"Flutter your eyelashes, wiggle your sexy ass and he'll be putty"
"What if I don't want to…?"
Roxas could practically hear the ensuing glare from Zexion before the sentence had even finished. He heard a squeak then the line muffled so he could only just hear the 'you're sexier babe' then a groan of what he hoped was not what he thought it was.
Demyx always forgot to press the mute button; he had heard many disturbing conversations that way.
"Well, good luck with that."
Demyx's voice came back clear, and then he abruptly hung up.
So much for encouragement and moral support, especially as he wasn't sure if he actually liked the guy. He closed is eyes and stared at the Orion's Belt in glow in the dark stars on the ceiling.
In the distance, he heard the front door slam. It sounded like Sora was home from his lesson and full of the joys of Riku.
Not that he couldn't count on his twin for support, but in his ever optimistic way, he couldn't take anything seriously.
It was one of the reasons why their parents had kicked him out. To force him to take some responsibility for his life. Of course, in a moment of twinly solidarity Roxas followed and they ended up on Cloud's doorstep begging him to let them stay.
"You done it yet?"
Roxas looked over to find Sora standing in the doorway, each hand resting on the sides of the doorframe.
The words held a thinly veiled duh.
"I was consulting with my best friends"
Sora frowned then smiled brightly
"Cloud's mixing cocktails in the kitchen."
God bless Sora's low attention span.
"Come and laugh, Reno and Zack already are."
"Great, the hedgehog squad." He muttered. "Later." He finally responded, loud enough for Sora to hear.
He stared at him for at least 20 seconds before grinning and bouncing away.
Sor, you're such a freak." Roxas shouted after him. An insult he didn't hear or chose to ignore.
Sometimes it felt like the two minutes between them was 10 years.
As much as Roxas would love to laugh at his brother, he was not in the mood to be in a room with people Cloud worked with and who unfortunately resembled Sonic the Hedgehog.
Deciding it was now or never to call the weirdo, he quickly punched in the numbers from the piece of paper before he changed his mind.
For once he was going to be like Sora and take a chance.
The phone rang for a few seconds. Then picked up.
"Hello? Can you hear me?"
"Ha ha, gotcha. Sorry, I'm not around right now. Leave a message and a number. Got it memorised?"
The phone beeped, indicating for a message to be left.
"Hi, it's Roxas"
It occurred to him that the redhead might not know who he was.
"The guy with the mini"
"You left your number in my car."
Show you're not going to take any shit. Good move
"You wanted me to call, so I am."
"My number should be on your phone. You should have it memorised"
Then he hung up. No call me back, no talk to you soon and using his own words against him. Genius.
Roxas got into bed and took a book from his night stand. He spent the rest of the evening after the particularly successful voicemail message listening to Cloud and his friends, occasionally sitting up in shock when the thought he heard the blonde laugh, before deciding it wasn't possible.
Interlude - Yuffie
The world sucked. First race of the season and she was home after the third lap.
The rear wheel of her brand new and hideously expensive dirt bike had slid out on mud and swerved to hit a concrete barrier. The poor thing was almost totalled and had to be towed to the garage, she on the other hand had to get a cab home that cost 50 bucks.
Taking her key out of her jacket pocket, she opened the door to her apartment, the best two storey she could afford after she had spent most of her money on the bike that was now in pieces.
She felt her stomach drop and the bile rise in her throat. Something wasn't right.
Shuffling forwards apprehensively, something crunched beneath her feet. She lifted her boot and a sticky substance with the consistency of string cheese came with it. Her stomach contracted in revulsion and shuddered as she noticed something black and beetle like scuttle through the kitchen. She walked backwards out of the apartment from hell and slammed the door.
She fished in her pocket for her mobile and pressed speed dial 4, the only person who would deal with her problem rationally without shrieking like a girl.
"Leon, I have a beetle issue. Can I stay with you?"