Roxas was at his locker once again, putting his lunch and the books he wouldn't need for his next class away. It was that time of year again, when Twilight Town's Annual Christmas Dance would attract every person in the school to the gymnasium at Twilight Town High School. He sighed to himself, knowing that this year would be just the same as the last years of middle school and the last three years of high school. Getting dressed up in his fancy clothes, his picture being taken on a digital camera, and walking into the dance floor, too shy to dance and too turned off by the choice of music. The thought of the strobe lights making the dancers move in slow-motion and the ear-splitting music that played on the industrial strength speakers and drowned out any honest conversation was enough to make his head swim.
He closed the locker door and shouldered his backpack before he made his way to the bench under the oak tree where his friends would be hanging out before class started. There was still 15 minutes left before class started, and he wasn't really looking forward to talking about the dance. Almost everyone had someone they were going with. His friend Axel was going with his long time girl Larxene, Hayner would most definitely go with Olette. Even Pence had a date with someone from his history class, although he insisted that they were only going as friends.
"Did you end up asking anyone to the dance?" Pence asked.
"Yeah," Roxas sighed in response "No one accepted."
"Sorry to hear that, Roxas. Will you be going at all?"
"Yeah, why not? At least I'll be with you guys, even if the music sucks."
-At the Christmas Dance-
Roxas straightened his hair one last time in the restroom of the gym before he walked through the big doors and into the dimly lit room. His eyes scanned the room for his friends before he saw Axel's fiery red spikes on the other side of the room. As Roxas crossed over to the other side of the room, he admired the way Olette had styled her hair, which made her green eyes all the more attractive. Her sapphire coloured halter dress complemented her wrap-around, greener than her own eyes. Even Larxene looked attractive in her long black strapless gown, with her bare white shoulders scarcely covered by the scarlet sash around her shoulders.
Axel was probably the only one besides Roxas who made a conscious effort to look his best. He even wore a solid red necktie with his white dress shirt and black suit. Hayner and Pence both did their best with blue shirts and black suits with no kind of tie around their necks. Anyone looking down, however, would notice their worn black slip-on trainers.
"Hey, guys. You look really nice, Olette. So do you, Larxene."
"Thank you, Roxas," the girls replied.
The group of friends chatted for a little while before Axel and Larxene went up to dance. Hayner and Olette soon followed them. Pence invited Roxas to join him and his date, but he declined. He was never much of a dancer, at least not with clubbing music. Before long, even Pence had left the table, leaving Roxas to himself and his glass of cordial on the table.
He continued to sip at the fruity beverage, wondering when he would get the right chance to ask someone to dance. He finally stood up and walked over the refreshment table to refill his glass. Then he saw her, sitting in the corner and chatting to her best friend, Kairi. It was Naminé, the girl he had feelings for nearly two months. Ever since the day he met her.
He remembered that day clearly. He had only met her near his locker, where she was struggling to get her locker door open. He had helped her out with the jammed door just in time for her to get her books out and was awarded by a cheery smile. Later on, as he walked home, he noticed her walking through the street. Before he realised what had happened, he found himself following her. Although he had just met her, he had liked her already.
Suddenly, it happened. A grown-up boy wearing a black knit cap and a long sleeveless coat stood up from his seat near the town fountain followed by a dark haired and dark skinned boy in an orange sleeveless tank top, black cargo trousers, and blue sneakers and a silver haired girl wearing a sleeveless blue shirt with short Capri trousers and blue shoes. Roxas stopped in his tracks and dropped his knapsack as a glare formed around his face, although no one could see it from a distance. It was the school and town bully, Seifer Almasy, along with his two friends Fuu and Rai. Like all bullies, they travelled in packs, with Seifer acting as the alpha male.
"Whoa there, blondie, this is our spot. What makes you think you can go here?" Seifer said in a mock scolding tone.
"Yeah, you're trespassing, ya know? We were here before you, ya know?" the boy in the orange shirt agreed.
"Ditto," replied Fuu, the girl in the blue shirt.
"I always take this route to go home. I didn't bother you guys. Let me go." Naminé replied, trying to sidestep the bullies.
Before she realised what had happened, Fuu had sneaked up behind her and grabbed her tote bag. As soon as Naminé realised what had happened, she turned around only to have her bag sail over her head and land into the hands of Rai, the dark-haired boy. She rushed towards him, but was unable to stop him before he hurled the tote bag over to Seifer. The cycle continued four times and Naminé was starting to get upset. There was no way to intercept the bag and she was getting tired, trying to hold back her frustrated tears.
"Come on, Seifer! This isn't funny. Just leave me alone!" she cried out.
That was the last straw for Roxas. No one messes with my girl, he seethed to himself. In his anger, he seemed to forget that he had only met her once and that technically, she wasn't his girl. Dropping his knapsack from his shoulders, he raced towards the trio, tackling Rai to the ground just as he threw Naminé's bag to Seifer. Seifer looked at Roxas and sniggered.
"Well, well. Looks the cavalry arrived. Here to save the day, Rucksack?" the black-capped boy asked sarcastically.
"All right, here's the deal. First off, my name is ROXAS. Now, you give Naminé her bag, and I'll let you go." Roxas warned. His warning was met with laughter from the three older kids.
"Ohhh, I think I get it now. You want the bag, right?" Roxas nodded. Seifer grinned and dangled the bag in front of Roxas.
"You want it? Huh? Well, then come on over and get it!" he taunted as he bolted off.
Without thinking, Roxas went after him. They raced through the narrow streets of Twilight Town, jumping down stairs, jumping over obstacles, and criss-crossing the many backstreets of their hometown. His pursuit of Seifer eventually led to the local fish market. The strong odour of the plethora of fish that attacked his nose nearly made Roxas retch.
At length, he caught up with Seifer and grabbed the tote strap of Naminé's shoulder bag. He pulled as hard as he could to dislodge it from the bully's fingers, but the older boy clung to it like a burr.
"Give it back, Seifer, you butthead!"
"You want it?" he asked with a smirk "Well then, take it!"
At that moment, Seifer let go of his prize and ran away. Roxas struggled to regain his balance. Just when he managed to stand tall, he slipped on the slimy floor of the fish market. He waved his hands and let out a cry before he landed on his back in a giant tub of fish. As he rose out of the tub of dead fish, he let out a triumphant cheer. His moment of triumph was cut short, however, when he sniffed at his school uniform.
"Aw, man! As if running all over town wasn't bad enough, now I stink!" he groaned. Well, at least I got her bag back from that bully, he consoled himself.
He walked back to where Naminé was standing, waiting for her bag. Seifer's friends had already left. He thought of giving it to her personally, but he took one sniff at his clothes and decided otherwise. He gave a small wave to Naminé to get her attention. Just as she was walking towards him, he ran off. I'd better get home before every cat in Twilight Town decides to stalk me! Roxas thought to himself, shaking his head at his rotten luck.
Roxas had a miserable day the following day. He was partnered up in class with Zexion who referred to him as "Stinky Roxy" and was awarded with giggles from everyone in the class with the exception of Roxas who groaned out loud. Even the teacher, Mr. Xaldin, couldn't help giving a smirk and a quiet chortle. Even though he washed his school clothes twice, the stench of the fish was recalcitrant. He went over to Olette's house on the way home from school, hoping to get some sympathy.
"Why was Zexion so mean to you today?" Olette asked.
"Long story, I don't really want to tell," sighed Roxas.
"Aw, come on, man. If you're not going to tell your best friends, who are you going to tell?" Hayner offered.
"OK, fine. I'll tell you. It's kind of embarrassing, so I need you guys to promise not to laugh. Got it?"
"Got it," Olette, Pence, and Hayner said simultaneously.
Roxas explained what had happened the previous day. When he got to the part where he fell in the tub of fish, Hayner let out a snort. Roxas glared at him but Olette urged him to continue. He concluded his story with him being partnered with Zexion and being called "Stinky Roxy". At that point, Hayner couldn't contain himself. He let out a guffaw and couldn't stop laughing. It wasn't long before Pence joined in and even Olette had trouble holding in a grin.
"Shut up!" Roxas cried out "What the hell, you guys promised not to laugh! You call yourselves my friends?? Olette, I forbid you to laugh!"
At that moment, Axel and Larxene walked in the room along with Olette's mother. While Axel and his girl sat down, Olette's mother inquired
"What are you kids up to? What's going on?"
"Roxas got a girl's school bag back from a bully yesterday. He was telling us about it."
"That's very sweet of you, Roxas." Olette's mother smiled before she went downstairs. Roxas explained his story to Axel and Larxene. Luckily, Axel was a little more sympathetic and managed not to laugh, although he did tease Roxas a little bit.
"Well, well, well. Roxy's got a crush. Who knew?"
"I do not!" Roxas shot back half-heartedly.
Olette lent her friend some of her dad's deodorant before he descended the stairs to go back home. He gave a quick hello as he passed by Olette's dad, who was watching TV in the sitting room. He greeted him back before taking a slight sniff. Before Roxas could take one more step, Olette's dad stopped Roxas.
"Sorry, kiddo. I couldn't help but notice. Are you wearing my deodorant?"
yeah. I'm really sorry, I just
my uniform is a little smelly," Roxas answered him sheepishly as his face went the colour of a beetroot. Olette's dad took another whiff and said.
Piece of advice, kid. Deodorant
doesn't cut it. A litre of white vinegar, a quarter cup of baking soda, and a teaspoon of dish detergent mixed together is the way to do it. Also, you could try washing your hands with a lemon rind. The only thing if you've been anywhere near a dead fish."
The young boy thanked him sheepishly before he walked back home, praying that he wouldn't have alley cats chasing him and finding out where he lived like they did yesterday.
Roxas shook his head slightly and found himself back to the present, in the middle of the Christmas Dance. Naminé was still sitting there, although Kairi had just left to go dance with her guy. Roxas refilled his tumbler and took one last gulp before he walked towards her, his steps getting slower as she got nearer. When he was in her sight, he took a small breath and gave a quiet and high-pitched "Hi, Naminé".
She turned her head in his direction and gave a smile.
"Hi, Roxas! Been a while," she said.
"Yeah, definitely," he replied, sitting next to her.
"Where've you been? I didn't see you come and I haven't seen you for almost two months,"
I've been kinda busy. I came here with my friends, but I'm not sure if I'm going to dance," Roxas said.
"Well, I'm not really much of a dancer," he began. He gave a little titter and continued, "In fact, I'm one of those guys who everyone looks at because he's dancing like some kind of weirdo."
Roxas got up and did a series of jerky disco moves, making Naminé laugh.
"I tend to get a lot of calls on my phone, like this," Roxas pretended that his phone was ringing and put it up to his ear. "Hello, Roxas speaking." He then put on a fake voice and pretended that someone was on the other line. "Hello, this is the 1960's. We just called to tell you
your dance moves stink. That is all."
Naminé giggled again before she spoke, "Well, I could teach you how if you want. Come with me."
She led him by the hand to the dance floor and started dancing slowly to the mind-numbing techno music. Roxas reluctantly followed suit, while she goaded him on. He never would have danced to this kind of music in a million years. But with Naminé around, everything seemed to be permitted and he felt freer than he ever had been for a long time.
Finally, the DJ got his act together and switched to slow dance music. Secretly, this was Roxas' favourite kind of music. The slow romantic kind that he would dance the night away to
if only he had someone to dance with. Once again, he looked over at Naminé and decided to ask the question before his face turned crimson with bashfulness.
Naminé?" he said, while she looked at him "Would you
"Of course," she answered with a smile.
They walked over to the crowd of people who were already facing their dates, with some staring deeply into their partner's eyes. Roxas slowly put his hands on Naminé's shoulders while she did the same. They slowly danced together, with their faces occasionally making contact. Although Naminé couldn't say it, her face threatened to turn red if she looked into his eyes. The truth was that Naminé liked him for quite some time. Ever since the day they met and he stood up for her.
Before long, the song had ended and so had the dance. Roxas walked out with Naminé towards the entrance of the gym. As they walked towards her apartment building, Naminé's hand slowly held his. He looked at his hand and nearly blushed. When they got out of the entrance to the street, Naminé turned to face him.
"I really had a fun time, Roxas," she began.
"I enjoyed being with you," he said honestly, trying to look at her in the eye without his face reddening "Thanks for teaching me to dance. I feel a lot better about it now"
"See? You do know how to dance. You're just a different kind of dancer," she smiled "At least now you won't be getting prank calls from the 1960's anymore."
With that, she gave approached him to give him a soft kiss on his cheek. Before he could recover from his shock, she wrapped her arms around him in a hug. Without hesitation, Roxas embraced her back. He had dreamed of this moment for a very long time, and yet it still took him by surprise now that his dream was coming to life.
"Thanks so much for a wonderful night, Roxas." Naminé said before turning to the door of her house.
"Wait!" he said somewhat abruptly "Would you
I mean, would you
like to see me again sometime? As in, hang out?"
"I'd love that very much," she replied, her eyes shining in the moonlight and the dim streetlamp light.
next Saturday, at the clock tower in town?"
"Sounds like a great idea. See you then?"
bye," he concluded with a slight wave which she returned before closing the door.
He walked back to the gym, where his friends had been waiting for him, wondering where he had gone. He looked at Axel just in time to see his lazy trademark smirk. Hayner looked at him quizzically while Olette's eyes gleamed in the light. She had seen Roxas on the dance floor with Naminé and was feeling happy for her friend. Finally, it was Pence who spoke up and broke the silence.
"Looks like tonight wasn't as boring as you thought it would be, huh Roxas?"
"No," Roxas answered with a shy smile "There's a first for everything. And tonight was a first to remember."