Best Fries in Town

Well, I wrote this for the challenge 'Where's the Love?' by DeidaraNarutoClan. But I missed the deadline (I thought that since it ended on January 28th, I'd have until like 11:59, but I guess that's not the case), which is sad, but I thought I'd post it anyway. So here's the fic: Best Fries in Town!

Best Fries in Town

by fma pyro

I was fourteen when my dad left. I was old enough to know it wasn’t my fault. And it wasn’t like it ruined my whole life or anything. But- and here’s the thing- it was Christmas. And I’m not talking about Christmas time. I’m talking about actual, come-down-in-the-morning-and-open-presents Christmas day. Needless to say, that was the worst Christmas of my life.

Now, I know that this would normally mess a kid up for life, and stereotypically I would’ve gotten into drugs and joined a gang and blamed my father when I ended up a psychopathic killer, blah blah blah. But it didn’t. Not really. Oh yeah, it was hard at first, and I was pissed for a long time. But things got better. They really did.

And it wasn’t my dad I was pissed at. I mean, I know I should’ve been, and I was for awhile. But I was really mad at my mom. I know that sounds weird, but… I was. I knew mom was the reason dad left. I mean, I’m not an idiot. I’ve lived with her my entire life. And my entire life, she’s been nagging and criticizing. And not just about the usual stuff. Oh no. It was so bad that at one point she criticized me for half an hour because my socks were two different shades of white. I am not even joking. It was that bad.

And if her criticism of me was bad, she was much worse on my dad. I had my dad on my side, but he had no one. He really took the brunt of it.

So it really came as no surprise to me when dad left. I mean, yeah, it surprised me. What kid is ready for a parent to walk out on them? But in the back of my mind I knew it had only been a matter of time. So, I walked down the stairs on Christmas morning carrying my dad’s present -which I had forgotten to put under the tree- in my extremely manly pajamas- okay, they were trains. But, come on! Trains!- to find my mom sitting in a chair, a tissue in her hand, and my dad standing there with his bags.

He then proceeded to calmly explain to me that he and my mom were separating, he was moving out, and they would work out custody issues later. They had tried counseling (his idea) but had come to realize that this was their only solution. I calmly proceeded to throw his present at him and run back to my room, where, I’ll admit it, I cried. I lay for hours in my train pajamas and mismatched socks and cried.

When I finally went downstairs all of the Christmas stuff was gone. The decorations were all gone, the tree was out back waiting for someone to dispose of it, and all of my presents were in a little pile at the bottom of the stairs. My mom looked at me when I came down. That’s it. She didn’t say anything, and I knew we were not to talk about what had just happened. So I took my presents upstairs where I proceeded to shove them in my closet.

So there you have it. My whole, pathetic, angsty story. My mom criticizes me worse than ever, and I blame her for the divorce, because my dad tried, he really did. And I miss him. He e-mails every couple of days, and calls once a week at six thirty Saturday night, like clockwork. For a long time I scheduled work so that I would miss his phone calls. But now I talk to him.

And everything seemed to be going… well, if not good, then at least bearable. Life was bearable. Until the next Christmas rolled around.

My mom refused to acknowledge it. I knew there would be no tree, no decorations, and no presents. Every time we passed a Christmas display, be it a tree farm or a house with lights, she would sniff disapprovingly, and shoot me a glare. But that wasn’t the worst of it. Because then she started to make comments. And these were way worse than her lectures. These comments… short, snippety, and to the point. And then she started to talk about my dad. Just… horrible things, and how I was going to turn out like him. And then she would tell me exactly what kind of man he was. It was bad. It was really, really bad. I couldn’t wait for Christmas to be over.

So a week before Christmas, I was working in a restaurant, the same restaurant I’d been working in since I was fourteen. I live in Idaho, so it’s legal to start working when you’re fourteen. I wasn’t technically allowed to work in a restaurant, but it was owned by Cid. He and my dad had been friends since they were like five, so he paid me under the table and kept it off the books. As long as no one came poking around, everything was okay.

So, here we are, eight days before Christmas, where our story really begins.

I was in the restaurant (The Gullwing, in case you care. Best fries in town!) punching the buttons on the register with unnecessary vehemence. Yuffie, my co-worker, best friend, and Cid’s daughter, watched me with mild interest.

“Are you okay?” she asked, wiping the same glass with a rag in an effort to look like she was working when she really wasn’t. I gave a jerky, one-armed shrug as the drawer slid open with a cheerful ding.

“I’m fine,” I growled. Yuffie raised an eyebrow.

“Methinks you’re lying,” she said in a singsong voice. I rolled my eyes, turning to face her and leaning against the counter. ‘Methinks’ was her newest phrase, and she said it whenever it fit into the sentence (and sometimes when it didn’t). I sighed.

“It’s just,” I waved my had, encompassing the restaurant decked out for Christmas, “You know?”

“Ah. Christmas.” She nodded as a large group came in. “Okay. I got it.”

“Hey. Were you going to take my order or what?” Yuffie turned, a grin on her face.

“Axel!” she shrieked, embracing the large teenager over the counter. I couldn’t help but stare. He was the kind of guy who was not ignored. Over six feet tall, with bright red hair that hung down his back. And pale blue eyes that seemed to pierce to your very soul. “I haven’t seen you in so long!” He shrugged with a wolfish grin.

“What can I say? Finals suck.” His eyes slid over, and caught mine. Embarrassed that he had seen me staring I turned away. “Hey.” I looked back. Axel had grabbed Yuffie’s black tie that she wore in an effort to make our uniform (white shirt, black pants) look cuter, and pulled her close, whispering into her ear. She laughed, and whispered back, her lips brushing his ear. The move was so intimate I couldn’t help but blush. Clearly they were together. I went to the backroom to get more napkins. When I came back, he was gone, sitting at a booth with a group of people. And it was Yuffie’s break.

I sighed, psyching myself to walk over to the table. Eventually I did, avoiding making eye contact with Axel, who had taken his plate of food over to the table.

“Hi, welcome to the Gullwing, I’m Roxas, I’ll be your waiter,” I mumbled, my words almost slurring together. My gaze was fixed on the notepad I held in my hand. There was a pause. Clearly the people at the table were used to their waiters being cheery and happy. And usually I was. But not at Christmas. And if anyone expected me to be cheery and happy, they had another thing coming.

“Alright Blondie. I’ll have-”

“Roxas.” I looked up to see the whole table staring at me.

“What?” asked the silver haired teen, the same one who had called me Blondie.

“Roxas. My name is Roxas, not Blondie. I introduced myself already.” He rolled his eyes, and shook his menu.

“Fine. Whatever. Roxas.” He grunted in pain as the redhead kicked him under the table.

“Riku!” she hissed. “Don’t be such a jerk! We know you’re pissed about failing geometry, but that doesn’t mean you have to take it out on random waiters!” I snorted, and his glare flickered to me.

“Is something funny, Roxas?” he spat. I smirked.

“Yeah. You failing geometry. That’s just sad.” His glare intensified.

“What do you know about finals? How old are you anyway? Like, twelve?” I glared at him.

“I’m fifteen.”

“Oh, well, fifteen! That just makes a whole world of difference, doesn’t it?” The redhead kicked him again. This time he actually doubled up in pain, clutching his leg.

“Are you wearing steel-toed boots?” he gasped. She smiled and nodded.


“Actually, Riku,” I said, saying his name in the same derogatory tone he’d said mine in. “It does make a whole world of difference when you consider that, at fifteen, I’m in advanced placement calculus, and you’re failing geometry. You play with blocks, for goodness sake!” I finished this pronouncement with a grin and looked around the table. “Water to start?” They glanced at each other and then nodded. “I’ll be right back!” I almost skipped to the back room. Nothing cheers you up quite as well as showing an older person just how much smarter you are than them.

As I was heading back out with the water, Yuffie came tearing around a corner, right into me. I actually managed to spill every single cup of water on me, without getting a drop on Yuffie. We looked at each other and started to grin- such mishaps are not uncommon- when a cruel laugh came from across the restaurant. We turned to see Riku glaring at me and laughing without any humor. My eyes filled with angry tears, and I turned and went to the backroom to get another shirt. Like I told you, me and Yuffie running into each other and spilling stuff is not uncommon. Neither of us is what you’d call coordinated. I blinked the tears back. I could usually deal with this stuff, but not at Christmas.

After I changed, I headed back out to the restaurant with a fresh tray of water- filled glasses. I didn’t want to, but it was unfair of Yuffie to make her take my table. I stopped short at the sight before me. Yuffie was kneeling in the booth that was behind Riku, and had his hair twisted in her hands. She was leaning his head back, talking to him in a stern tone. And then he grinned and she smiled. And then she kissed him! Stunned, I looked at Axel. He just continued to eat his French fries unconcernedly. What was going on? Yuffie wasn’t a slut. Clearly, I had no idea what was happening.

I stopped before the table and passed out the water before my eyes were once again on my notepad, and Riku glanced at me, tearing his lips away from Yuffie’s.

“Sorry,” he said. I glanced up at him, and then sighed, looking back down. Yuffie cleared her throat loudly. I sighed again.

“S’ fine,” I mumbled. “Does everyone know what they want?”

“I gotta get some more of these fries,” Axel said, his plate already clean. Yuffie raised an eyebrow, still kneeling behind Riku, her fingers tangled in his long hair.

“Did you have anything else?” He nodded.

“Yeah. The burger was good too, but these fries!”

“Best in town,” I said quietly, with a small smile, looking down at my notepad again.

I could hear the grin in Yuffie’s voice as she said “Roxas makes them himself, with his own special secret seasoning. He’s really turned the place around. Our food used to suck, and now with Roxas here, it kicks butt!” I blushed a bit. I really had turned this place around. With me working here, Yuffie actually did some work, instead of just pretending like she had been doing.

“Marry me.” My head snapped up. Axel was looking directly at me, a serious expression on his face. “Seriously, marry me. And make these fries for me everyday. I’ll take care of you, I swear, as long as you’ll cook for me.” Everyone laughed except for Axel and me. His gaze bored into mine, and I got the feeling that he wasn’t joking. I felt the blush rise in my cheeks, and then he finally broke eye contact, cracking a grin. The redhead nudged him.

“Be nice. He doesn’t know when to tell you’re joking.” Axel pouted playfully down at her.

“Shut up Kairi.” The boy with spiky brown hair who was sitting by Kairi hugged her tightly around the shoulders.

“Be nice to my Kairi!” She hugged him back.

“I love you Sora!”

“I love you Kairi!”

“Gag,” Yuffie, Riku, and Axel said at the same time. This was clearly not new behavior.

“I can take care of myself,” I mumbled, almost to myself. But I could tell that Axel had heard me by the way his blue eyes, serious while his mouth was still smiling, bored into mine. “Does everyone know what they want?” I asked, trying to steer the conversation back to safe ground. Everyone ordered, with Axel asking for more fries. I left immediately, heading to the back. Once I was there I leaned against the counter, pad of paper clutched in my hand. My heart was pounding hard against my ribcage.

Now, there’s something you have to understand. I’ve never really thought about my orientation. I know that stereotypically I would be having a crisis of faith that I considered this guy attractive. But really, I’ve never really thought about it. I’ve liked boys, and I’ve liked girls. I’ve gone on dates with both genders. Yuffie calls me an equal opportunity dater. But this guy was ridiculous. He’d been joking with me, but at the same time I knew he’d been completely serious. He was calculating, but not in a cruel way. It was as if he wasn’t a part of the human race, and was just trying to figure out how they worked.

I groaned, leaning harder against the counter. This was too complicated. I couldn’t deal with this right now. It was Christmas. If he gave me another couple of days, I could flirt with him. But right now… I just needed to make it through my shift. I sighed and straightened, re-reading their orders quickly. I was just preparing the fries to go into the fryer when Yuffie came through the door.

“Are you okay?” she asked quietly. I met her gaze. Her eyes were concerned, and she was twisting her apron between her hands. I bit the inside of my cheek, and then forced a smile.

“Of course. Why wouldn’t I be?” She shrugged, looking down at her scuffed Converse.

“You just… got out of there really fast.” I shrugged, dumping the potatoes into the fryer.

“I’m not exactly the most sociable person.”

“You are though!” She finally looked up at me again, and I could see that she was angry. “You totally could be!” She sighed. “I’ve actually been wanting to introduce you to them, but the time was never right. It’s just… your dad left, and then the whole thing with your mom, and then Christmas…” She sighed again. “It was just never the right time. And then you always seemed to be okay with just the two of us hanging out.” She shrugged, unsure of how to continue. I met her gaze squarely.

“Yuffie, if you want to hang out with them, it’s okay. You don’t have to spend time with me if you’d rather be with them. I’m not a baby. I don’t need your pity.” She bit her lip, and then glared at me, deciding that anger was the right emotion.

“I am not spending time with you out of pity. Roxas, you’re my best friend. I like spending time with you. I also like spending time with them. I thought that maybe, as my best friend, you’d also like spending time with them, and you could widen your circle of friends from, oh, I don’t know, me!” I glared at her.

“Yuffie, would you just shut up? I don’t want to meet new people right now! Just… let me get through Christmas-” She cut me off with a foot stomp. I froze. That was bad. When Yuffie stomped her foot, duck and cover, because a storm was coming.

“Christmas!” she shouted. “Christmas!” From the sudden silence outside, I knew that they were listening to this inevitable blowout. All of my dirty laundry and family problems were finally being aired out. Joy. I determinedly did not look through the square hole in the wall where we put the plates of food to keep them warm. I knew that all of Yuffie’s friends were watching us. “That’s all I’ve heard about for weeks! I’m sorry your dad left, okay? I’m sorry. I love your dad. He’s awesome. Your mom is totally nuts, and I know that’s why he left. And I’m sorry about that. And I’m sorry that it happened on Christmas, and I’m sorry that it totally ruined the holiday for you. But you have to get over it! You can’t just keep on acting like such a prissy little jerk whenever Christmas comes up!

“And you and Axel? I was kinda hoping you guys could hook up! He’s been single for way too long! He’s becoming a menace!”

“A menace?” I heard Axel say. He was quickly shushed. Yuffie didn’t break my gaze.

“I know you saw the way he looked at you. You blushed! You guys could totally hit it off! And he loved your fries!”

“Yuffie,” I sighed. “Is he even gay?”

“He’s an equal opportunity dater, just like you!” I heard sniggers.

“Equal opportunity dater?” I heard someone say, and they quickly stifled their laughter.

“Yuffie, really. I can’t deal with this right now. It’s-”

“I know!” she groaned. “Christmas! I’m so sick of it! You’re so depressed, all the time! I know you hate it! I know! I know it brings up bad memories! But I was talking to my dad yesterday, and he said that your dad wanted to have you over for a Christmas party, and to open presents and stuff, but he was afraid of how you’d react!” It felt like my heart was suddenly in a vice. It hurt. I missed my dad. I hadn’t seen him since the morning he’d left. He lived across town, and had been wanting to see me, but I always declined. I’m willing to talk on the phone and e-mail, but seeing him was still too painful. That wound was still raw.

I knew my feelings had showed on my face by the way Yuffie’s eyes softened. She leaned over and opened a drawer, pulling a white envelope out. “Look, just…” She sighed. “Your dad gave this to mine to give to me to give to you.” I took a moment to work that out in my head. My dad gave it to her dad to give to- Yeah. Okay. I got it. “Just think about it, okay? He misses you.” I took the envelope with numb fingers. I knew it was an invitation to his Christmas party. I clenched my jaw, but I still felt the tears well up in my eyes. “Roxas…” Yuffie moved forward to hug me, but I jumped back. I stared at her accusingly.

“Don’t. I won’t bother you with my problems anymore.” She stepped back: I had hurt her. The tears were running freely now, but I didn’t care. “Um, you’ll want to take those fries out soon. I haven’t started anything else.” I grabbed my coat from the hook, clutching it to my chest. “Um, I have to go now, so I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Roxas, please. I’m sorry!” I shook my head, turning away from her. I froze. Axel was standing in the doorway. The look he was giving me was weird. It wasn’t pitying, or accusing. It was… curious. I rubbed my eyes, pushing past him.

“Roxas.” I had to turn. I couldn’t ignore that voice: no one could. He was looking at me intently. “I like Christmas. I want you to like it too.” I turned away, a fresh wave of hot tears running down my face. What was I supposed to say to that? I hate Christmas? Everyone already knew that. I’m scarred for life? I will never celebrate Christmas? Everyone knew that too.

I walked home. It was cold, and kind of rainy, but I didn’t care. I wasn’t about to call my mom for a ride. People stared at me as I walked. I knew how I must look. Work clothes and a heavy coat, with messy hair and tears running down my face, clutching a white envelope. I don’t know how long it took me to get home. It was like my brain had stopped working. But suddenly there I was, walking up the steps to the front door, and darting inside before anyone else could see me.

“Roxas?” my mom called as I came into the house. I didn’t answer. I just went up to my room, slamming and locking the door.

I sat on my bed for a long time, just staring at that little white envelope. I didn’t want to open it, but I had to know what it said. So I finally sucked it up and opened it. There were two pieces of paper in there. The invitation was red and green, with fancy type inviting me to a night of fun, food, family, and games on Christmas Eve. Family. Right. I swallowed hard, reaching into the envelope and pulling out the other piece of paper. It was a note from my dad.


I really want you to come to my Christmas party. You’re more than welcome to spend the night. I have important news to share with you, and I really need to tell you face to face. I love you.

-Love, Dad

I swallowed hard, and then I started crying again. I cried myself to sleep. That’s right. I’m a total mess.


I barely made it to work on time the next day. I hadn’t set my alarm, and I slept until eleven. I barely had time to shower and then run to work.

“Sorry I’m late.” Yuffie stopped what she was doing (taking orders) and walked over to me, ignoring the irritated cries from the customers.

“Roxas, I am so sorry, I didn’t mean-”

“It’s okay.” She gave me an awkward smile, and touched my cheek gently.

“Have you been crying?”

“No,” I said, trying to make it sound like that was the stupidest thing I’d ever heard. But I knew my eyes were red and swollen. She raised an eyebrow disbelievingly and then returned to her table.

“Hey. Does it matter where I sit?” I turned. Axel was standing behind me, looking ridiculously tall and attractive, with water in his hair and on his face. Apparently it was raining. I froze for a moment, and then nodded.

“Uh, no, just sit wherever.” He grinned, and took the same seat at the bar he had taken the day before. I hung my coat up in back, my heart pounding against my rib cage again. I rolled my eyes. If I carried on like this, I’d have a heart attack by the time the week was up.

When I walked back to the main restaurant, Axel was sitting there with a grin on his face, and a wrapped box by his silverware. I raised my eyebrow.

“Just a big plate of fries again?” I asked. He nodded.

“I brought you something.” I looked at the box, and then at him, and my heart hurt again, but not in a good way.

“I don’t celebrate Christmas.” He nodded.

“I know. But think of it like Hanukkah. And Christmas. Hannistmas?” I laughed.

“Yeah, whatever. I can’t accept this. I don’t even know you.”

“I know you though.” He took a sip of the water Yuffie had gotten him. “I know you like trains. I know your favorite color is red. You like flat soda. You’re allergic to coconut. You don’t like grapes. You think bugs are gross, and that Idaho has ridiculously big ones. You’ve always wanted to learn how to scuba dive, but there’s no place to go around here. You always have vanilla cake with chocolate frosting for your birthday…” He trailed off, seeing my expression. I was kinda freaked out.

“How do you know so much about me?” I asked quietly. He shrugged, wiping the condensation off his glass.

“Yuffie talks about you all the time.”

“And you remember it all?” I asked, my voice rising an octave. I still tried to make it sound like a joke, something funny, but I failed epically.

Axel shrugs. “I watch. I listen.” I nodded, and turned, practically running to the back. I stayed there all day, cooking. I didn’t want to see Axel again. He put me off balance. Hours later, when I finally left the kitchen, Axel was gone. In his place was an excellent tip (twenty bucks for a plate of fries? Awesome!) and that same box.

“He wants you to open it,” Yuffie said in a sing-song voice, waltzing past me carrying dirty plates. I rolled my eyes at her, but picked up the box anyway. The wrapping was blue, with smiling snowmen on it. I mean, he did buy it for me, right? It would be rude to not open it, right?

After justifying it to myself, I ripped the paper off. I opened the little white box, and smiled. It was a train. I took it out. It was a little model train, and not one of those crappy wood ones. It was really nice, made out of metal. I loved it. I looked up at Yuffie, grinning. She grinned back.

“I’ve been talking about you.” I put the train back into the box unwillingly. I wanted to keep holding it.

“I heard.” I touched the box lightly. “He said to think of it like Hanukkah and Christmas. Hannistmas. What do you think that means?” Yuffie grinned.

“I think that means that you’re getting more presents.”

“I like presents.” Well, come on, who doesn’t? I may hate Christmas, but I still like presents. Yuffie’s grin widened.

“Hanukkah’s eight days, right? So that’s eight presents.” I nodded, stroking the box. Eight presents, huh?


The next day Axel was back again at the same time. We talked for an hour. I learned so many things about him. He has a puncture scar on his right wrist from when he was in elementary school and Yuffie pushed him. He landed on a rusty nail, and had to get three tetanus shots. This led to a fear of needles, which is why he has no tattoos or piercings. His favorite flavor of candy is grape, but he doesn’t like real ones. He doesn’t like chewy candy, or soft foods. He likes to chew crunchy things. His hair color is natural, and he’s very proud of it. He takes care of his hair religiously. He has a little seven-year-old sister named Kim (he showed me pictures). He’s super proud of her, and goes to all of her soccer games. He’s a senior at the local high school. I can’t believe I’d never noticed him before. But I guess I did go around in my own little world most of the time, and I was a freshman, so I couldn’t really be blamed for not having ever seen him, right? It’s a pretty big school (even if we do get two weeks off for potato harvest every year, which is this totally crazy tradition started when most people had farms). Anyway, I learned a lot about him. He was just so fascinating, I wanted to keep him talking.

He also left me another present. I waited until he left (I didn’t want to seem eager, because I totally wasn’t) before I opened the present. It was wrapped in red, with little bits of holly on it. Inside was a pair of red toe socks. I had to grin again. He’d remembered that red was my favorite color. Yuffie smirked at me, and I laughed. This was fun.


The next day I completely ignored all of my customers, choosing to talk to Axel for an hour instead. Yuffie finally had to yell at me to get to work. He ordered a plate of fries (as usual), and left another box. I ignored it as usual, until he was done. He gave me a cheerful grin and left. He was barely out of the restaurant before I ripped the gift open and let out a surprised laugh. Inside was a bottle of Ramune soda, that Japanese soda with the marble in the neck so you don’t get too much. It’s okay tasting, but really fun to open and drink, which totally makes it worth it. A note was taped to the bottle. I pulled it off, and my grin widened.

Sorry it’s not flat!


My grin faded as a thought hit me. A train, something red, soda… all things he’d mentioned two days ago, on the day of the first present. Yuffie may have told him a lot about me, but this was ridiculous. Nobody could be this good. I shook my head, grabbing the little plunger and pushing the marble down so that I could drink the soda. If tomorrow was something about coconut, then he was either ridiculously good or cheating somehow.

When I went home that night, I almost told my mom about the presents. My mouth was open and everything. It was funny, but this was harder than telling my parents I was an equal opportunity dated had been. They’d been fine with that, but I was worried about her reaction to presents. At Christmas. Shocking!

“Your father called,” she practically spat out, reading the newspaper. My words died in my throat. She had said father like most people say ‘poop’ or ‘spider.’ “He wants you to come to some ridiculous Christmas party he’s holding. As if he even knows the meaning of Christmas. You know what it means? Corporate greed! Sellouts! Materialism! A breaking up of families! All things your father is very good at." I bit my lip. She was gone, off on yet another rant. I knew she wouldn’t care about the presents. She’d probably just tell me why they were wrong, and awful. I sighed. I liked presents, but I still hated Christmas.


I ignored all of Axel’s attempts at conversation the next day. He left after half an hour, looking hurt and confused, and leaving a half-full plate of fries and another wrapped present behind. I knew I’d hurt him. I should have explained. But how do I explain how much my mother’s comments affected me?

Feeling guilty, I slowly opened the present (with silver wrapping paper this time). Inside were two halves of an empty coconut, and a copy of Monty Python And The Holy Grail. I let out a sound that was half laugh, half sob, and rested my head on the counter.

“Are you okay?” asked Yuffie, pausing on her way to a table, a tray full of food in her hands.

“No,” I mumbled, tears springing to my eyes. Geez, I was acting like a hormonal teenage girl. I’d cried so much this week. I was fifteen! I need to man up! But it had been an emotionally exhausting couple of days, so I think it was okay. “I just… had a really bad day yesterday, my mom went off on my dad again, and I just took it out on Axel. I wouldn’t even talk to him.” I sighed. “I’m such a jerk.” Yuffie gave me a reassuring look.

“He’ll be fine. Just apologize and explain tomorrow. He’s pretty resilient.” I nodded miserably, straightening up. I was both looking forward to and dreading the next day.


He didn’t show up. I should have expected that, I guess. I mean, I was a total jerk to him. I totally deserved it. Not many people came in that day, probably because it was sleeting outside. Yuffie was sitting at the counter, doing her nails when the bell above the door rang. I looked up and immediately grinned. Axel stood there, soaking wet, holding a drenched package.

“I actually can’t stay long,” he was saying. “I just wanted to drop this off.” I ran around the counter and hugged him. I was so happy to see him, I couldn’t help it. I let go of him, ignoring my wet clothes. He smiled, and handed me the package. “Happy Hannistmas.” He grinned at me, gave Yuffie a salute, and turned and left the restaurant. I tore open the wrapping paper (green with wreaths). Inside the box was a grape plushie. He was smiling, with little arms and legs. I laughed. I hated grapes, but this little guy was cute. I was a little apprehensive about the next day though. I really did not like bugs.


“Will you open it in front of me this time?” I turned, a smile coming to my face, Axel stood there with another present (wrapped in shiny gold paper). I nodded, taking the box from him. Inside were chocolate butterflies. My smile widened, and I looked up. Axel was watching me with anxious eyes.

“Thank you. I love it.” He grinned, letting out a sigh of relief.

“Good. This one was hard.” I opened the package, pulling out one of the butterflies.

“Want one?” I asked. He nodded, and leaned down, biting off half of the piece of chocolate in my hand. I blushed bright red. He grinned and sat down.

“Now where are my fries?”


“Roxas, have you decided yet?” I looked up at Yuffie. I had been watching the door like a hawk, waiting for Axel to come in.

“Decided what?” I asked, turning unwillingly away from the door. She rolled her eyes.

“Whether or not you’re going to your dad’s Christmas party.” I bit my lip.

“I don’t know…”

“Well, you should. I’m going with Riku, and your dad told my dad that he really needs to talk to you face to face.” I sighed again.

“I don’t know. A Christmas party?”

“Christmas party? Sounds fun.” I turned, a grin springing to my face. Axel had managed to sneak in without us hearing the bell (although it was pretty loud in the restaurant, so it wasn’t really that impressive). I didn’t even greet him. I just tore open the box (wrapped with purple paper covered in pink dots). Inside were five little Japanese erasers shaped like desserts, and a coupon for a free cake from Oblivion Cakes, the best cakes in town. I hugged him tightly.

“I love it!” His arms wrapped around me.

“Good.” He let go, and I stepped away, blushing slightly. “Now what’s this I hear about a Christmas party?” I shrugged.

“My dad’s having a Christmas party. I don’t know if I’m going yet.” Axel’s eyebrows furrowed.

“You should go. It is Christmas.”

“I hate Christmas. And it’ll just be so awkward. I haven’t seen him in a year.” Axel shrugged.

“All the more reason to see him now.” I guess I still looked unsure because he rolled his eyes. “Come on Roxy! I’ll go with you! It won’t be that bad.”

Roxy. Huh. I kind of liked it. I shrugged, then nodded. “Alright, fine. Let’s meet here at seven tomorrow, and then we’ll head over.” He grinned, nodded, and sat down for his usual order of French fries.


“You’re actually going to his party?” my mom asked, standing in the doorway of my room. I nodded, pulling on my new socks. I know it’s kind of stupid, but they actually made me feel a little bit braver. “I can’t believe that man-”

“You know what mom?” I stood up, grabbing my jacket. “I know. Okay? I am tired of hearing you criticize dad all of the time. I love him. He’s my dad. I’m going to his party, so will you please just get over it?!” She stood, staring at me as I walked past her. I don’t think anyone has ever stood up to her before. Oh well. There’s a first time for everything. I met Axel at the restaurant, and we walked the three blocks to my dad’s house. On the way, I told Axel what had happened with my mom. (“Good,” he’d said. “About time someone told her off.”). He was proud of me. It felt like a long time since someone had been proud of me.

There were a ton of cars in the driveway, and all of the lights were on inside. It looked so welcoming and inviting, that I wanted to run away. Seeing my expression, Axel grabbed my hand and held it tightly.

“It’ll be fine. Remember, he’s your dad. He loves you.” I nodded as we climbed the steps, and I pushed open the door. We were greeted with a wall of sound, and I recoiled slightly. Axel chuckled, and took my coat, hanging it up beside his. “Hopefully you won’t be able to find it so you won’t be able to run away.” I laughed, and led him through the crowd, looking for my dad. I found him by the fireplace, wearing a dorky sweater, and kissing a pretty blonde woman. I froze. He broke the kiss, and then spotted me.

“Roxas!” He came over, and hugged me tight. I didn’t respond. How could I? I was in shock. I’d just seen him kissing a woman besides my mom. Is this what he wanted to tell me? He looked curiously at Axel, who’s hand I probably had in a death-grip. “And you are?”

“This is Axel,” I mumbled. “Axel, my dad.” They shook hands.

“It’s so nice to meet you,” my dad said, and then he gestured for the blonde woman to come over. “Sam, this is my son Roxas, and Axel.” She smiled at me.

“Hi Roxas! It’s so nice to meet! Your father’s told me so much about you!”

“I didn’t realize there was talking between the kissing,” I mumbled, still in a daze. Axel squeezed my hand, but I tugged it out of his grasp. “I have to go,” I whispered, and then I fled. I heard Axel apologize to them, and then I was gone. I’d walked past this house a dozen times, trying to convince myself to just walk in and say something to my dad, but I’d never been inside. I eventually found myself locked in a bathroom. I sat there, too dazed to cry, for what seemed like hours but was probably only a few minutes. I heard knocking on the door.

“Roxas, come out, please?”

“Please go away,” I whispered, sitting in the tub, knees hugged to my chest. That’s right, I was sitting in the dry tub. Don’t worry, I definitely knew how pathetic I was. I just… showers had always made me feel better, so tubs were kind of a safe place for me. Does that make sense? At that point, I didn’t really care. I was hurt, and confused, and I didn’t know how I was supposed to react. So sue me if I wanted to be in a place that made me feel better. Even if that place was a tub.

“This is what I wanted to tell you,” my dad said through the door. “Sam and I are getting married. I know this is hard, and this must come as a shock, but I love her. I think you’ll love her too, if you give her a chance. You want me to be happy, don’t you?” I thought about that. Did I? I sighed. Of course I did. I was being selfish. It was shocking, yes, but not really unexpected. My dad was nice, and funny, and he could cook. I guess I knew in the back of my mind that this was what he’d had to tell me, just like I’d know almost a year ago that he was going to leave. I sighed again, standing up and opening the door. My dad stood there, looking worried. Behind him were Sam and Axel.

“I’m sorry. Of course I want you to be happy. Congratulations.” My dad hugged me, and I knew there were tears in his eyes. Or maybe I was just seeing the tears in mine.

“I have a present for you.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a piece of paper. I read it out loud.

“Scuba lessons for two.” I looked up at him, shocked, and he handed me an envelope. I opened it, and inside were two plane tickets to Hawaii.

“I thought we could do this together, and then go during potato harvest break.” I grinned, and then hugged him again. I had gotten everything I wanted (and some things I didn’t.) I hugged Sam too, because I just knew (mainly because of the two plane tickets, but still) that she was giving up her soon-to-be husband for two weeks so that we could bond. And she was okay with that. I think I was beginning to like her. After a few more word exchanges (like me apologizing for not having a gift and my dad saying not to worry) the two went off to be hosts again, leaving me and Axel alone.

“So do you like Christmas now?” he asked, wrapping his arms around me. I returned the sentiment, and shrugged, making a face.

“Eh.” He gave me a playful glare.

“How can you not like Christmas now? After all those awesome Hannistmas gifts!”

“You know, there’s two things that are bugging me about all that,” I said, moving closer to him. “First of all, how did you remember all that stuff?” He shrugged.

“I told you. I watch. I listen.” I raised an eyebrow and he grinned sheepishly. “Alright, and I wrote it all down as soon as you were out of sight. What can I say? You’re cute and were hurting. I had to do something to make you remember me.” I nodded.

“I was hurting.” I smiled. “But I think I’m not anymore.”

“What’s the second thing that’s bugging you about Hannistmas?” he asked.

“Well, Hanukkah is eight days, right? That’s eight presents. By my count, you only gave me seven.” He looked surprised, and then grinned.

“You’re right,” he said, leaning down. “Happy Hannistmas, Roxas.”

“Happy Hannistmas,” I murmured, right before he kissed me. It was wonderful, and amazing, and the best gift by far. When we broke apart, he was still smiling.

“Merry Christmas, Roxas.”

“Merry Christmas.” And then he leaned down to kiss me again.

I love Christmas.


Well, there you go. I really enjoyed writing it. Thoughts?