The river smelled fishy…as always. The water was still chilly…it was spring though and soon everything would be warmer, hotter. The sun baked everything in summer and the water in the muddy river would be lukewarm by June. Trees grew to the banks of the river on both sides except where residents had cleared land to build homes that were few and far between. Not many people wanted to live too near the river because of flooding. The tall newly green trees cast shadows on the grass and sand at the water's edge. Huge rocks jutted out from the bank in places and made for good spots to stand and fish or to jump in and swim…for those brave or stupid enough to enter the rushing brown water. It was colored so because of the red clay that made up the majority of Radiant's soil.
Ten years before he was born, there had been land appropriated for walking trails and picnic areas along the river. Placards were placed identifying the flora and scattered among them were historical facts about Radiant. The city itself was situated between two major universities Radiant University and St. Eraqus University. The trails and the river were frequented by students from both schools and was the chief reason that Roxas Strife was currently sitting on a picnic table, rubbing his face while his friend Sora Fair looked for his missing shoe.
Roxas went to Radiant and Sora went to St. Eraqus but they had met during their freshman years here at the trails that had been officially dubbed the Greenway. They were currently juniors and spent as much time together as they could. People who didn't know them always mistook them for brothers because they had similar features and identical builds but Sora was a brunette and Roxas was blonde.
Roxas had liked Sora instantly when they met. He was funny and energetic and seemed to have an innocence about him that was only found in young children not yet corrupted by society. Roxas couldn't remember a time before he was corrupted. At 20 he was pretty jaded and had every right to be, in his opinion.
He had the shitty childhood, the abusive parent, the adolescent drug addiction/eating disorder/sexual identity crisis, the anxiety and the meds to quell it, which he overdosed on the same week he got the prescription filled. After all these clichés how did he end up at university? He was smart and he was determined to get the fuck away from everything that had ever made him feel like shit.
Roxas had no patience for the students who whined about writing papers or doing the volunteer work required by the school. He constantly wanted to ask the moaners if they would trade that paper for a beating from his drunken father or swap that time volunteering at the soup kitchen in town for a late night visit from one of his dad's girlfriends trying to fuck him while his dad worked.
His biological mother had dropped him off with his father when he was 4 weeks old and bailed. He never bothered trying to find her. What would be the point? She didn't want him in the first place so chances were she didn't want to be reminded of her mistake. His father Cloud Strife had been drinking as long as he could remember, right up until he left for college and there had been an endless stream of moms in his earlier years.
The women Cloud dragged home from bars weren't they type to want to play housewife and nursemaid to a whiny baby so they never stuck around long. He was left home alone at a very young age and learned to fend for himself. He remembered distinctly at age 5 knocking on the door of the apartment across the hall to ask to use their can opener and the lady who answered subsequently called child services.
He was older before he realized that disturbing someone at 2 a.m. to open a can of Spaghetti-O's was unusual and a red flag. He didn't understand that he should have been in bed. He didn't realize that children weren't supposed to be left alone. Cloud dealt with child services and ended up getting more assistance from the state because he was a single father and only had a part-time job working for a delivery service. He beat the shit out of Roxas for that can of Spaghetti-O's.
It would be nice to be able to say that Roxas never ate them again but he didn't have the luxury of being picky about what he ate. He ate whatever Cloud bought home and he did so without complaining. He wore what he could find lying around that didn't fall off him and he didn't complain about that either.
Once he figured out what the lost and found was at school he began to acquire a decent wardrobe and his dad commended him for being crafty enough to convince the school officials that the items were his. Looking back, Roxas figured they knew the things didn't belong to him, but they went along with the lies and let him have the clothing because they felt sorry for him. Not sorry enough to intervene on his behalf, but sorry none the less.
Some of the things he pilfered from the lost and found bin smelled brand new and when he was in grammar school he felt like he got really lucky but by the time he was in middle school, he knew that the items had been bought and placed there for him to take by some teacher or office personnel who wanted to help without helping or who needed to up their amen status in the eyes of a god that Roxas refused to believe in. He didn't need a god. If there was one, he had ignored Roxas during so many years of suffering that he refused to acknowledge the possibility of its existence. The people who believed could have their god but he wanted no part of it.
Sora used to talk to him about God. Sora had a Father, Son, and Holy Spirit God and he prayed with his rosary often…but all that accomplished was to make Roxas want to fuck him. He had no idea and Roxas wasn't about to divulge that little piece of information. Roxas indulged in what he had called "random acts of lechery". He fucked who he wanted and cared about no one but himself…and Sora. Sora Fair was a sweetheart who had grown up with both his parents going to church and doing volunteer work. He was the polar opposite of Roxas and Roxas constantly marveled at why Sora even wanted to be around him.
He had asked Sora that very question once not long after they became friends and Sora had told him that he had a light that he wasn't aware of, but he could see it. He had told Roxas that he was beautiful and valuable and that he deserved to have love and happiness just like everyone else.
Hearing that made Roxas feel like crying but he wasn't going to bitch out in front of Sora. Those church-going, deity-worshipping, Sunday-go-to-meeting types loved it when someone broke down and cried like that. Fuck that. The last time he had cried was…well was last week actually, when he was with Axel Sinclair but that was different. He wasn't crying because he was sad he cried because he was exhausted.
Axel was the embodiment of the March Hare if ever there was one. He was a loose cannon and everyone knew it. You loved him or you hated him but Axel was all Axel knew how to be. He would fling random items at people and then write down their reaction times. It was constantly getting him yelled at and punched but he didn't care.
Axel was into various things when he wasn't pursuing his degree in physics. He enjoyed long walks in the cemetery and smoking weed. He also enjoyed doing blow and fucking the lining out of guys like Roxas, who needed some abuse just to feel normal, and Vanitas Xehanort, a fellow science geek and resident sociopath. Vanitas was pre-med and a necrophile, Roxas believed. There had been too many instances when Axel mentioned that he had to meet Vanitas in the morgue. The thought of it made Roxas shiver, but he was in Roxas' small circle of friends none the less.
There was one more straggler that he had picked up recently via Sora. Riku Valentine was with Sora at the Greenway and they were walking the trails talking about existential things when Roxas ran into them with Axel and Vanitas in tow. It was interesting to say the least. The three of them were high and even though Sora didn't seem to mind, Riku looked nervous and was stand-offish. How the fuck were they supposed to know he was a priest?
He was a graduate student who had completed 4 years of seminary school to obtain a degree in Psychology and had been ordained before going to St. Eraqus. Once Axel and Vanitas found out he was a priest they salivated at the mention of his name. Axel would whisper about vows of celibacy and Vanitas would sit silently except for the grinding of his teeth.
Riku seemed to be oblivious to their leers when they were all together; either that or he did a good job of ignoring them. Roxas thought Sora would have a meltdown the afternoon Vanitas and Axel started chatting about the things that they would do to the silver haired priest if they had the chance. He wasn't angry with them, he just asked them to "please don't try and corrupt Riku because he's such a good person and real friends didn't try to sabotage each other"…that's what Sora said to the psycho and the necrophile.
Roxas kept quiet on the matter and had no plans to try and lead the priest astray. If he ever asked for his opinion on God, he would get it in spades, but only if he asked. For now the pretty priest was just fodder for midnight fumbling under the sheets when he was alone. Yeah, he did that but he figured not as often as Axel and Vanitas. And not as often as he did it thinking of Sora.
He had recently become obsessive about Sora's mouth. Roxas could watch him talk or eat or drink and immediately get hard. There was something about those plump pink lips that made him want to…well…do lots of things. Roxas had begun taking a snack when he went to the Greenway even if he wasn't hungry, just so he could watch Sora pray and eat. The first time Riku joined them after he started having snack time with Sora's mouth, Roxas had to go to the bathroom mid-snack and jerk off. He couldn't wait. It was too perfect. When he was done, he hated himself a little more and questioned for the millionth time if he was really a friend to Sora or just systematically trying to work his way into his pants.
He had never spent any time or effort trying to fuck anyone. He had never pursued a person and he had never had a relationship. He was comfortable the way he was. Oddly enough there were others who sometimes hung out with the misfits at Radiant. There was Zexion and Demyx, the odd couple. Zexion was a neat freak and Demyx was musician and a bit of a slob, but they were cool. They liked to get high and as far as Roxas knew they weren't into any type of deviant behavior beyond smoking a little chiba. But then Roxas had seen more than one person stand too close to Axel and Vanitas and get sucked into the crazy.
He had once seen a group of girls accuse Axel of horrendous things that he probably actually did do to them, but the charges were dropped when one of the girls yelled "I love you!" as they were taking him away in cuffs. There was a laundry list of instances when he thought he knew the extent to which Axel was fucked up, only to be proven wrong over and over. Roxas liked that. He liked when Axel made him cry because he was so physically exhausted that he had become nauseated. He also liked the humiliation he felt when Vanitas watched or joined them. That was Roxas' comfort zone, hurt and humiliated. As many times as he thought of Sora and all the things he wanted to do, he knew he would never ever violate such a good, pure body. He wasn't worthy. Sora was good. Roxas was bad.
On this particular afternoon, Roxas sat on a picnic table smoking a cigarette and watching Sora look for his shoe. He had wanted to go wading and left his shoes on the table. Someone had probably taken one and hidden it or put in the garbage as a joke. Roxas slid off the table as he began to help with the search. As he looked around to see if someone had thrown it up to get caught in the tree branches, he thought of how Sora had held his hand to keep from falling when he crossed the slippery rocks. He absently put his hand to his face as his eyes searched the trees and licked his palm. Pulling him from his reverie Sora yelled, "Found it!"
"Great! So you wanna come to Radiant and hang out for a while?" Roxas asked because occasionally Sora said yes. Many times he had gone to St. Eraqus with Sora and always, always got some head from some chick who saw him as some conquest because he was a bad boy, Roxas from Radiant. He didn't mind though and as long as said chick didn't in any way resemble his mother he didn't have a problem. He didn't remember her, but he had seen pictures.
He found that out the hard way when he was in high school. A girl with long black hair had been all over him and he just couldn't get it up. He made some shit excuse about respecting her so she wouldn't tell all her friends. She told them anyway and added that he must be gay. Her two best friends made it their goal to suck his dick just to see if he really was, or if it was just her. They weren't very loyal friends Roxas thought, so he figured he would fuck both the best friends and let it sort itself out. It did.
"Sure I'll come with you. Riku had a thing with the church. Want me to text him and tell him to come or…" Sora said innocently making Roxas squirm. Why did he have to lick his lips so often... Roxas almost moaned out loud but instead he answered, "Yeah that'd be great."
Back at Radiant they went straight to the J. K. Redmont Student Recreational Hall, or as they liked to call it 'Joker' where everyone hung out until they found a party to go to. Axel and Vanitas were in the corner as usual and when Sora saw them he whispered to Roxas making him shiver and giggle at the same time, "There's Big Red Riding Hood and the Little Bad Wolf."
Roxas allowed the giggle to surface but what he really wanted to do was cover Sora's mouth with his own and drag him off to his dorm.
"Guys, what's up?" Axel queried as Vanitas stared at Sora, golden eyes flashing hungrily.
"We're just hanging out, waiting on Riku. What you guys got planned?" Roxas said winking at Axel. When he spoke Riku's name both Axel and Vanitas hissed slightly through their teeth.
"We can wait on Riku too." Vanitas said softly, watching Sora sit down across from them. He winced as Sora put some gum into his mouth and began to chew. Roxas wanted to bang his head on the table but he knew that would raise questions. Sora just smiled and went about unknowingly torturing his blonde friend.
"So Soraaahh," Axel said with a leer, "Wanna smoke with us tonight?"
"I really shouldn't, but thank you anyway." Sora said and Axel reached across the width of the table with one of his long hands and touched Sora's cheek.
"Such a good boy. Rox, how do you do it?"
"Just lucky I guess." Roxas sneered as he batted Axel's hand away. Sora looked down at the table and Roxas could see the blush on his cheeks. He was getting there.
The brunette lacrosse player had been clueless for so long and Roxas being the gutless worm that he was, never came on to him in any way. He knew in theory he could be honest with Sora and being a Christian, Sora would supposedly forgive him for what he wanted to do to him. But being a human, Sora would probably go away and not come back. He didn't mean to grow attached to him but he had.
Roxas scowled at Axel so he smiled and turned his focus to other things. Seeing the gleam in the redhead's eyes, Sora leaned to one side and Roxas leaned in the opposite direction as the two watched him hurl a pepper shaker at a student who stood about twenty yards away. They heard a yelp and then the flop of a notebook on their table as Axel mumbled to himself. He checked his watch and jotted down the time, then hurled the salt shaker at the same guy. Poor dumb bastard must be new, Roxas thought as Axel scribbled.
"Can we go to your room Roxas?" Sora whispered into his ear, breath tickling and those lips so close to his skin that he could feel the heat radiating from them. Roxas' eyelashes fluttered making Vanitas growl. He knew how much Roxas wanted Sora and he also knew that Roxas never intended to act on it. The situation made for a lot of tension.
"Ok Sor." Roxas said quietly and Axel smirked.
"Leaving us so soon, Soraaahh?" Axel asked as he leaned across the table, reaching out toward him again. Sora's eyes got big and at that moment Roxas thought he saw a flash of fear in Sora's eyes for the first time and it pissed him off. He slammed his hand down hard on the table in front of Axel. "Stop fuckin with him Axe."
Axel sat back in his chair, folding his arms across his chest and cocked a brow, "Oh is it like that now, Roxas?"
"I don't know what you mean. Not everybody wants your dicky hands on their face." Roxas countered hoping Axel would just drop it.
Axel smiled and winked at Sora. "Sorry Soraaah…you shouldn't take me seriously, like…ever. We cool?"
"Sure Axel, we're good." Sora smiled but Roxas noticed something that hadn't been there before. Something in the way Sora almost glared into the redhead's eyes as he spoke. Maybe he wasn't the innocent little fainting violet Roxas thought him to be.
Turning to Roxas he shoved his hands into his pockets and nodded. Taking his cue, Roxas led the way to his room. They chatted about classes as Roxas sat on the window sill and smoked. "I kind of hate to see it end, to be truthful."
"Why do you say that Rox?" Sora was flipping through a notebook Roxas used as a journal but not really reading any of it.
"Cause home is shit. Bein here has been the most peaceful time in my life…unless you count the head cases downstairs…and that's not always bad." Roxas grumbled throwing out his smoke and closing the window.
Sora looked at him troubled. He really liked Roxas and he didn't care that the blonde wasn't Catholic. He knew he got high sometimes and he didn't care about that either. Roxas was at Radiant on a full scholarship and judging by the things he had told Sora about his folks and growing up, he probably didn't have much to go back to after college. "Maybe if you wanted to, we could get a place together after we graduate and like, share rent or whatever." Sora offered and Roxas smiled.
This wasn't the first time Sora had been way too generous but it was just a testament to the kind of person he was. Sora had a good heart. Roxas wasn't sure he even had one. Pondering his lack of heart, he was startled by a knock at the door. "Must be Riku." Roxas mumbled and stood to cross the room and let the priest in. He wondered as he took the few steps to the door if Riku wanted to save his soul. Turning the doorknob, he wondered if Riku wanted to hear his confession…and a plot was born. Opening the door, he looked up into aqua eyes and smiled. "Come on in, Riku."
The students chatted in Roxas' stuffy dorm until he invited them out to eat pizza. He wanted to get out of this room with the two of them before he did something stupid or had to go jerk off again and he didn't really want to go to St. Eraqus at dinner time…plus he wanted a beer.
Radiant U was in the center of the town's historic district with all the old houses and the wealthy people who owned them. Roxas watched a few of the older residents go inside and close their doors as they passed by on the sidewalk (thanks Axel) and snorted when Riku noticed and gave Sora a puzzled look. Sora shrugged and grinned but Roxas didn't offer any explanation, he only glanced at the two from the corner of his eye and wondered what it would be like to be between the both of them…he had officially been friends with Axel too long.
A few blocks out of the residential area was a smattering of small businesses and restaurants that catered to the college kids. Roxas' favorite eatery was a place called Olive's. Opening the door for his friends, they were assaulted by the smell of garlic and baking bread. The blonde noticed the smile that played on Riku's lips and wondered if he liked all things Italian or if it was limited to food and religion.
Taking a table by the window in front, the three looked over the menu. When the waitress arrived and asked for their orders they all said in unison, "Beer." Then Riku blushed and added, "Please."
Roxas wanted to lick the blush off his face. Sora was sweet and kind and pure and clean and therefore untouchable. Riku was a Kool-Aid drinking holy man with papers and a collar so he was fair game. If Riku didn't mind letting the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have his soul…then maybe he would be ok with Roxas having his body…borrowing…just borrowing.
"So Riku…Sora and I were talking about our plans after college and I was tellin him that I really dread leavin, cause I've enjoyed my college life." Riku was nodding and giving Roxas his full attention as was Sora. "How do you feel about it? Being out of college I mean."
"I hope to have a church by the time I'm done…but it doesn't look very promising just now. I may have to move away and I really don't want that. I like Radiant Garden." Riku said as the waitress brought a pitcher of beer and three mugs. Roxas watched him as he took a long drink from his mug and then looked to Sora who had chugged half of his already.
"Sora…damn." Roxas and Riku laughed.
"I was thirsty." Sora said grinning. Riku cocked a silver brow and smiled at Roxas. Roxas' mind dove into the gutter so fast there were ice crystals forming in its wake. Chewing his lip, all he could do was stare at Riku and fumble with his phone which he held up and quickly snapped a pic, surprising the young priest.
"W-what was that for?" Riku chuckled at Roxas and shook his head. He knew the blonde was the sanest among the others he sometimes hung out with, but that wasn't saying a whole lot. He prayed for them often.
Roxas mumbled "Its cause I…for a project I'm working on…later."
Sora snickered and glanced at Roxas who had dropped his head and eyes back to the menu, then at Riku who was staring at Roxas with a smirk. There was an uncomfortable silence until the waitress came back and took their orders.
Halfway through the meal Sora, who was on his third beer, spoke to Riku. "I asked Roxas if he wanted to share a place after college. You could share with us and it would be cheaper for us all."
Roxas and Riku stared at one another for a minute before their brains grabbed onto Sora's runaway train of thought. "Oh! Yeah, yeah…I had forgotten we were talking about that earlier." Riku said. "That actually sounds like a great idea. I could stay in town until I found a church or maybe a job doing something else. I really wanna find a church though."
Roxas had been avoiding watching Sora and Riku eat to keep from having to run off to the bathroom but when the conversation started back up, it would have been rude not to make eye contact. Eye contact led to mouth-watching which led to an uncomfortable situation for the blonde and rampant lecherous thoughts. His eyes darted from Riku's mouth to Sora's greasy smiling lips. Roxas was going to hyperventilate. Roxas was going to moan out loud. Roxas was going to crawl under the table and offend his only two sane friends…
"Are you ok Rox? You look a little sick." Sora was concerned because the look on Roxas' face had gone from a polite smile to a sort of grimace.
Riku reached across the table and covered Roxas' hand with his own looking concerned. "Are you ok? If it's the apartment sharing thing, yanno I don't wanna intrude if it's something you and Sora wanted to do together. I was just saying that I really like it here…I could go back home and find something."
Roxas struggled to get his face under control and glanced at the two as they spoke. He was literally going to stick his fingers into their mouths if they didn't shut up. Puffing his bangs with a sigh, he shook his head and smiled at them again. Sora seemed to relax and Riku withdrew his hand and smiled back. "It's not that…" Play the sympathy card, he thought. "I just…home sucks for me, like I said and the thought of not having to go back is just a little overwhelming…in a good way. It would be great to be roomies with you guys."
Sora patted his shoulder and grinned. "Great. It's a plan then. We all have one more year and…oh what about summer break Rox? Do you have plans?"
"I have to go home and help my dad…he…" Roxas had fallen under the spell of Sora's mouth again. "He has extra work in the summer and it's a chance for me to make some money…there's a com…com…com…"
"I think we need more beer…" Riku said and giggled at Roxas.
"Sorry…my mind's all over (you) the place." Roxas snorted and looked back to his plate (safe zone). "There's a computer repair place where I work summers as well."
"I think I'm staying here this summer. I got an offer from the homeless shelter-they'll put me up until school starts back if I continue the work I've been doing. Of course I'd feel bad turning it down, so I may just stay…it would be the right thing to do. My dad doesn't need me at home all summer. Not really." Riku said as the waitress delivered more beer.
"I have to go home for summer too. We always do a family vacation." Sora said, licking the beer off his lips.
Roxas' mind wandered as he drank his beer and turned to look out the window at the dimming afternoon. He wondered if his dad was still sober…it had been three years. He thought of how good he looked the last time he saw him and hoped that some stupid woman hadn't come along and fucked it all up. Would he ever not worry about him? He guessed not. As shitty as things had been when he was younger, he really was rooting for the old man.
The irony that Cloud had quit drinking as soon as he went away to college wasn't lost on Roxas. He just assumed that he was the reason his dad drank for so long. Maybe he started because his mom left...or maybe his mom left because of his drinking…he didn't know and it really didn't matter. The past was the past and the present was not bad at all. Looking at his two friends, he smiled. "You guys ready to go?"
"Yep, I'm stuffed." Riku said as he turned up the mug to chug down the last of his beer. Roxas' brain crackled and hissed. He watched the priest's throat and held his breath. By the third swallow, he was gone. Wooden chair legs barked across the tile floor and he mumbled "Be right back."
In the bathroom Roxas went through his mental register of things he would do to Riku's mouth if he got the chance and took care of his problem in record time. Cleaning up, he looked at the pic he had taken at the table and smirked to himself. 'I'm stuffed' he said…I can show you 'stuffed' Father.
Emerging from the bathroom with a smile, Roxas paid the bill and they walked back to campus together. "You know Rox, you could have IBS."
Roxas looked at Sora and made a face. "Why would you think I have…oh! Oh! No, um…I have uh...a weak bladder, yeah."
The other two nodded and then Riku chuckled. "So if I tickled you too long you would actually piss yourself?"
Roxas and Sora laughed out loud. "I guess…wanna try it?" Glancing Riku's way Roxas noticed the priest was watching his feet.
"That would be cruel." Riku looked up and grinned. "Maybe."
Back at Roxas' dorm the friends said goodbye. Not long after they departed there was a familiar knock at the door. Axel always knocked by tapping Morse code for S.O.S. "S'open!"
In strolled the two nutters followed by the distinct smell of formaldehyde. Roxas shivered. "How was the date Roxy?" Axel leered and sat on his bed tugging Vanitas down onto his knee.
"It was fine. I drank too much beer and now I have heartburn but it's all good. What did you guys get into?"
"Each other." Vanitas deadpanned as his eyes scanned the room. Roxas watched his yellow eyes flit from one thing to another and then over to meet his gaze. He smirked and ran a hand through his black hair. "You look needy Roxas. Why do you torture yourself?"
"It's not torture…I genuinely like them." Roxas said as a grin spread across Axel's face.
"Sweet Roxas…come over here." Axel spread his legs and patted his vacant knee for Roxas to perch upon. The blonde obeyed and as soon as his ass made contact, Vanitas took both his hands and kissed them. Sniffing the fingers and licking the tips, he asked. "Did you touch him? The priest."
"I actually…yeah, he touched my hand at one point, why?" Roxas said beginning to tug his hand away from the raven-haired psycho.
Vanitas held tighter and licked Roxas' hand all over, his tongue ring dragging across the skin and tickling the palm. Roxas watched him and glanced at Axel who seemed to be enraptured. "He…I um…ok."
Roxas allowed the feline bath to continue while his mind skittered off to a dark corner to touch itself. The only thing that jarred him from his stupor was Axel's long skinny fingers unbuttoning his pants. "I don't want to." Roxas almost whispered.
"Liiiaaaarrrr" Axel hissed into his ear making him shiver.
Even with the window slightly open, the room was too stuffy and the lamp on the floor gave off just enough light and heat to make it seem like a cell. Bright red hair screamed in contrast to everything else as Roxas' sleepy eyes stayed focused on the corner of the sheet that was knotted around his wrists. Too exhausted to move, he listened as the others dressed and whispered to one another about the quality of his ass.
Long pale fingers swiftly untied his bonds and patted his head. "Nighty night Roxy."
"Night." He mumbled as Vanitas draped the sheet over him completely covering his head like a corpse. He heard a growl and a giggle before the door closed.