~Monday December 6th~
It’s as if the darkness parts like curtains for these eyes that I know are staring at me. In an effort to catch who it is I open my eyes as quick as I can, glancing around the room just as the feeling trickles away into nothing. The fleeting feel of blue orbs resounds in the back of my memory as I set up in bed, the sheets pooling around me as I sit there staring at the wall. For some reason as I think about sapphire eyes staring at me from the darkness I can’t shake the strangest feeling that they remind me of Sora, even though I know that, that’s hardly possible; that it’s just my mind trying to find something to compare the sensation to.
The chill from the moment seems to embed itself into my very bones, nothing I do letting me shake it from my thoughts. I hurry up out of bed to begin my way work day. In mere moments I’m ready to go, eaten a small yet adequate breakfast, and dressed properly; black slacks, a white button-down shirt and a black tie. I lace up my boots beneath the slightly thicker material of slacks than I usually wear as I have become more aware of the cold of winter seeping deeper into the city, no doubt proving that it’ll be snowing again in no time.
Just as I get to the sidewalk I lift my gaze to let my eyes meet with Axel’s, yet he glances away rather quickly and turns to begin walking. I struggle to catch up to the pace his scoffed boots set. His typical musty-gray trench coat hangs around his attire but all I can see is his side, his strides being much longer than my own. I reach forward in an attempt to lace my fingers with his but each time I fail to the point of only barely grazing our fingers together; proving that he’s preoccupied and distant to the point of being cold. I glare over at him out of the corner of my eye, clearly aggravated with his attitude.
The rushed strides only stop once I’m at the doors to the store, my fingers unlocking it as Axel turns to leave me behind with the wave of his hand, “I’ll be back to walk you home.”
I stand there staring after him, hating how the feeling of that walked seemed hurried and rather business-like. However, I turn my attention back to my job and open the doors, flipping the sign to open as I do. I let my strides take me away from Axel and to my office, determined to keep myself more than just busy. As I step inside the small area I keep my jacket on as I spot the practically overflowing trashcan of shredded and crumpled papers. A soft sigh leaves my lips as I walk over to the small metal basket, lifting it up into my arms as I head back out of the office. I slip around the tables and to the door just a few feet away from my own, which leads out into an alley where a dumpster sits for the store. The darkness of the shadows seems to stretch towards me as I empty the metal basket’s contents. For some reason I get the feeling that I’m smarter than this as I turn around.
The trashcan slips from my fingers and I find my arms paralyzed at my sides. I glare up at the Demon trapping me against the frigid wall, my blood seeming to turn to ice as he smiles knowingly down at me. My lips stay parted as I attempt to yell at him to get away, force him to leave me alone in some form or fashion... if only so I can get back into my office. But Marluxia merely leans down to whisper in my ear of sorts, not that anyone else can hear him. “You saw it too didn’t you Zexion? He could wait to get away from you.”
I close my eyes, pinching them shut in an effort to block him out of my mind.
“He doesn’t care and never has. That filthy Angel has someone much more capable of providing him with what he wants and it’s not you.”
Swallowing hard, I turn my head to the side only to wince at the feel of Marluxia’s fingers digging into my cheeks as he holds my chin in the palm of his hand. I can’t help but let the fear already running through me take more control as I shrink back against the wall as he towers over me. But I can’t stop the fear that’s feeding him power...it’s so hard not to be afraid when it already has its grip around me. Noticing instantly, Marluxia grins as he keeps our gazes locked tightly together. “Don’t be scared Zexion. The moment you break I’ll be right there to scoop up the pieces and take you for my own.”
.Just like that he’s gone from my enhanced sight, vanishing back into the shadows where I can still feel the residue of his presence. I reach up to feel at my face; every muscle in my body pulsating with fright as a foreboding sensation curls and occupies my gut. I bend down and grab at the rim of the metal basket, hurrying back inside. I head straight for my office, ignoring the presence of early customers, Sora, and Demyx.
The tinkling of the bell above the door to the store sends me out of my stupor immediately, the sleep washing away from me for a brief instant until I realize that the customer is heading back to Sora. I drag a hand up from my slightly disheveled hair from leaning back against the wall. My eyes begin to droop shut once more and I fight it back, not wanting to get fired.... not that I would think Zexion would dare but I wouldn’t put it past him either. I get up from my seat, walking over to the first bookshelf to glance at the old grandfather clock, seeing that it’s already about time to close up. I stretch my legs as I walk back to my stool, unable to believe that I’ve basically dozed in and out all day long thanks to the torture and constant badgering of Sephiroth and Hojo. At that thought I subconsciously I rub at my waist where my newest bruise pulses every time the waistline of my jeans presses against it when I sit down. I stretch my gray shirt back down over my waist of my jeans and the jacket back around my body, loving the way it feels just a little bigger than my own.
The last few people back at the café begin to gather themselves up and venture back past me to get out the door. I take the opportunity to take care of the register and walk it back to Zexion’s office. I give a nod to Sora as I get to the door, a smile flashing back at me with the brilliance of his personality as usual. I step inside to see Zexion packing up, shrugging into his coat as he shuffles through the remaining papers on his desk. He immediately turns to me, with preoccupied eyes, and grabs the money from my hand to put in the safe. Before he does he turns back to me and extends his arm, a check held loosely between his fingers. “You left before I could give it to you.”
I take it and nod, not quite sure what to say to him after my antics and his current mood. I brush it away and slip it into the inside pocket of my jacket. My feet take me back to the front and just as I get past the last bookcase I find myself stopping as a redhead wrapped up in a gray trench coat brushing past me. His emerald eyes glare straight through me as we stop at the last bookcase, his voice so low that only I can hear him. “How are you doing now that you’re not in contact with Cloud?”
The statement shakes me and I hurry past him, shrugging the words off my shoulders as I try to comfort my own mind in the fact that Cloud’s an Angel, I don’t have power over him. A heavy sigh slips from my lips as I begin my way home; keeping my head bowed as I walk through the cold city. Each step that I take slips another thought of doubt into my thoughts, binding me tighter to the fact that I’m the one that shoved Cloud away without a second thought. Another sigh breaks past my lips as I lick at them. Trying to think of a way to get back in touch with Cloud I find myself ignoring the stiff honk coming from the car driving beside where I’m walking. I glance toward the tinted window that proceeds to roll down to reveal a grinning mouth and gleaming eyes of the bluest blue. Zack smirks as soon as my eyes lock briefly with his.
“Hey cutie! Looking for a good time?”
I give a scoff and continue walking home with the feel of eyes on my back from others looking on. The car keeps up with me though. His voice takes a rather serious, worried tone to replace the pervious joking one.
“Wait, wait I’m just kidding. Are you okay?”
My feet automatically stop moving as if the soles of my shoes have been glued to the floor. I glance towards him from the corner of my eye to see the passenger door open just enough to indicate that I’m to slip onto the seat inside. I hesitate to telling Zack a single word, because by getting in his car I’m surrounding to letting him into my life...even though to the passer-bys walking past me it seems as something completely different. The feeling of my legs getting week forces my knees to try and buckle, forcing me to give in and swing the passenger door further open so that I can slip inside with no problems. The second the door shuts I find myself filling with anxiety for the car to continue to drive, but it remains still as Zack pushes it into park.
“Squall... Come on; tell me what’s eatin’ yea.”
My lips seem to move on their own and I can’t even hold my tongue back as it flicks the words towards him. “Last week I found something of my mother’s telling me that this man I’m living with isn’t my father.”
The seconds thud by with the beat of my racing heart. Zack’s hand slips over to touch my own hand resting against my leg, his fingers cupping mine together in his. “Is that where the bruises come from?” The straightforward question sends me for a loop but it’s expected from someone that’s seen places on my body nobody else has. However, I hold my tongue and glance out the window, staring through the tinted glass like I have something I’m trying to look at. “Why don’t you come stay with me then?”
I shake my head instantly, refusing to intrude upon the man I’m not sure I want involved in my crazy life. But he seems to have made my decision for me as he retreats to his side of the vehicle, starting the car up and back out onto the actual road. He continues driving in the direction of the house of the man that technically isn’t my father, making my throat dry and my eyes dart away from the window to my feet. Forcefully thrown from my thoughts, I look up to see that Zack’s parked beside the sidewalk in front of the house and the car hums as it tries to cool down.
“It wasn’t really a question... more like; you’re coming to stay with me whether you grab your stuff or I buy you other clothes.”
The second I turn to face him and shoot the comeback at him he has one hand grabbing at my chin, pulling me over the console between us so that he can crush his lips against mine. The forcefulness leaves me stunned as he pulls away and opens his door, “Now are we going in or not?”
Slipping the mask back onto my countenance I open my own door to get out of the car as well. As Zack walks around the front I notice that his navy jacket is cut shorter than normal, revealing the gun strapped to his hip. I drag my keys out of my pocket as we get to the front door; unlocking and opening it without another word to the dark haired man beside me. My eyes lock with my doorway not too far from where I stand just over the threshold of the front door before glancing to the one further down. Zack stays at my heels as I move forward in hopes that neither Sephiroth nor Hojo make an appearance, for someone other than myself to get caught in the cross fire makes me sick to my stomach.
Just before I can step into my room I can hear Hojo’s door open and his footsteps flutter down the hallway at a slowly quick pace. “What is the meaning of this, boy?”
His bony hand reaches out to grab at me but his motions freeze the second Zack has his gun aimed between his eyes, just above his glasses. “I’m only going to warn you once; touch him and I won’t hesitate to shoot.”
Hojo backs down with a scowl tugging even more so than usual at his mouth. I take the moment of Zack keeping him away to slip into my room and grab at my few belongings and stuff them into a small duffel bag, not quite caring whether or not I take certain things now that I won’t have to give the psychotic man my paycheck. It doesn’t take me as long as I had originally thought to scurry back to the doorway where Zack waits just in time to hear their muttered conversation or Hojo’s end at least.
“I’ll have you arrested for this, both of you.”
“It’s a shame I could do that to you right now though isn’t it?” Zack pulls back one side of his jacket to reveal the badge hooked onto an inner pocket.
“You have no proof of anything.”
The sneer does nothing to Zack who doesn’t even skip a beat. He reaches for me with his free hand and grabs at the edge of my shirt, causing me to wonder how he knew where the ‘evidence’ is. He lifts it up far enough to show a deep purple bruise stretching up just past the waistline of my pants. Even though the touch is fast and hurried, it’s surprisingly gentle as his fingertips don’t so much as graze the sensitive skin. “He’s my proof. Now go back to your room and leave him alone. You don’t want me coming back.”
Despite the evidence of defeat wrought through his frame Hojo holds his position for a moment longer than I expect before he turns around and shuffles back down the hall. He doesn’t so much as look back as Zack ushers me back to the front door, my arms wrapped around the bag containing my things. The endless chasm of an elated sensation ruptures through every fiber of my being, yet I refuse to let anything but a miniscule smile slip onto my lips as we walk back to the vehicle idling at the sidewalk.
The want of sleep tries to tug me back into my dreams that I can’t even begin to recall. However, the loss of warmth that had been curled about me as I had slept forces my eyes to slowly open. I blink hard as I curl the blanket closer to my chest only to realize that Riku isn’t by my side. A heavy stamp of loneliness marks my heart as I roll onto my back, staring up at the ceiling with a rough sigh ghosting over my lips. I glance to my right and at the clock, watching as the number slowly changes. Slowly sitting up I push my legs over the edge of the bed, letting my feet dangle before touching them down onto the floor. I let my eyes scan over the room before standing up slowly; wishing and hoping that Riku will merely be in the kitchen. Yet as I walk to my door and strain my ears I realize quickly that my hopes are not the case.
The silence of my home echoes back to me with a cruel emptiness. Nonetheless I find myself turning back around and stare at the room before me. My limbs, now on autopilot, take me through the motions of gathering up clothes to dress in so that I can head into work; not wanting to stay around here if I’m going to be alone. I know that Riku would be leaving soon, he has to go back eventually, but I would think he’d be nice enough to make sure I’m awake... even if I would beg him not to leave. I step into a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, quickly pulling a thick jacket on over it, before I realize that Larxene is standing at the door to my bedroom. I watch intently as she waves the arm that Riku had slashed at so many days ago.
A cruel smile weaves itself onto her lips, letting me know that she’s healed and ready to go another round. “Ready to become unbreakable, Sora? I’m just looking out for you.”
I turn back to getting myself ready, grabbing things such as my wallet and my keys. “If I never get to break, I don’t get to put myself back together and figure things out.”
“Your life is short, why not live to the fullest? I can help with that.”
Her words float around me like wasps, preparing to sting me at any chance. “I’d rather die than make a pact with a Demon,” is all that leaves my lips as I walk straight for the door where she’s at. Larxene vanishes immediately and I pass on through, taking a steady stride to the door so that I can head to work now.
As lunch time dwindles down to the remaining customers, I find my body tired from having to work so much after not having to at all. My elbows slump against the counter and I bring a hand up to brush through the brown spikes hanging down to my eyes. Glancing to my right, I spot Demyx as he walks over to me. His own smile is wide and bright as he sets his mug down on the counter, a small nod in thank you for thinking of giving him something warm to drink. But as I go to wrap my fingers around it I realize he hasn’t begun walking away back to where his sitar waits for him on the stage.
“Hey, Sora.” I stop from moving away to put the mug in the sink, pausing enough to let my eyes run up his tight, black, t-shirt to meet his ocean-green eyes. “Don’t stop smiling okay?”
Demyx points a slender finger at my mouth, “You used to always be smiling. It seemed to cheer all the customers up. It definitely made me want to smile too, even if it wasn’t because I was happy.”
My fingers tighten around the handle and for a second I could swear I could have broken it clear off. “I just... have a lot on my mind lately.”
His hand cups itself over one of my own, his fingers squeezing against mine in a comforting manner. “Roxas always did used to talk about how all you ever did was smile. As much as he said it drove him crazy, he was happy to see it. So, if anything, smile for him... ‘kay?”
Demyx’s hand slips away from mine as he turns away, heading back to the stool on top of the stage. It takes me a moment as I stand here to come to terms that he used to be friends with Roxas, which I know I’ve heard the name Demyx before; if not shortened down. But the words he said resonate in my mind like a mantra of it’s own. A smile slowly forms onto my lips, even if I can tell it’s more bittersweet than happy. I spin around and head back to the sinks with an improvement in my not only my mind, but my heart.