A Call to Apathy
anobscureflaw


The sunshine lived to mock him.

It was an undeniable fact, really. One of those absolute, stubborn truths of life- like the the fact that one-seventh of your entire life is spent on a Monday, or the fact that the sky is blue, or even the fact that you can't, unfortunately, go back in time. Simply put, there was no changing it. The sun would forever be nothing but an ironic bulb of fire and light that sat in the sky, staring down at him day after day in scorn and ridicule.

Leon sat behind the counter, scowling at the view outside of the glass window beside him. It was nothing if not perfect: glistening white sand that looked like it was poured straight out of a bottle of baby powder, Johnson & Johnson's very finest. Beautiful green-blue ocean waves, and that stupid, stupid sun that was illuminating the entirety of the island. That is, the entirety of the island except the cramped little building that he was currently sitting in. It seemed to not only avoid the sun, but shoot it right back into the sky altogether, as if it was a fortress not to be penetrated by light rays of any kind. The roof must have been slathered with SPF 1000 or something, the way that the building evaded the sunlight.

Alright, so maybe that was a bit of an exaggeration, but Leon was in a foul mood and he was aloud to alter his view of things to fit his temperament. It was, after all, completely unfair that he had to spend yet another day cooped up inside this stupid bank, sitting in a cheap chair made of some awful itchy material, all behind a plastic counter where the pens had to be attached to the surface by a chain.

He even sympathized with the pens, knowing exactly how they felt: trapped and helpless.

Sighing, he looked down at his watch. The second hand moved sickeningly slow. And as much as he willed it to go faster, his steely grey-blue eyes piercing the glass, it still only read 3:42.

Oh, come on.

They say that time flies when you're having fun. So what happens when you're not having fun? Does it stop altogether, rooted to the ground and unable to take flight?

Well, that's what it sure felt like to Leon.

Just another hour and eighteen minutes until freedom.

Realizing he had drifted off into various states of daydream, complete with his head cradled in his arms, Leon rubbed his eyes wearily before calling out, "Next."

A middle-aged woman sauntered up to the counter, looking peeved at the long wait she had to endure. "Took long enough," she sneered nastily. "I need to make a deposit..."

Leon sighed yet again, sneaking a glimpse of his watch as he did so. Seventy-four minutes left.

He closed the blinds hastily, yet the rays from the afternoon sun still managed to sneak through the cheap plastic strips, never once easing up on their mockery of him.

6:03 in the evening and the sun was finally beginning to set. Leon hovered over the simmering pot of mixed vegetables, stirring slightly and inhaling the thick fumes of the cooking food. The chicken in the oven was almost ready, perfectly timed with the arrival of Rinoa home from work. He replaced the lid, walking a few steps over to a cabinet and grabbing two glass dishes. Then he began to set the small dinner/breakfast table of their apartment

It wasn't much, but it did the job. There was just the two of them in the place, and neither of them felt the need to indulge in a huge penthouse or suite when a nice, cozy little living space sufficed just well. It had modern enough appliances and even a guest bedroom. Their furniture was fairly nice and Rinoa had cute artwork on the walls. Overall, it was good enough.

Dish here, glass there, fill with water, fork, napkin. He placed the chicken on the plates and began to scoop out the vegetables, knowing Rinoa would arrive any second. He made sure everything was right- the television was off, he had already picked up the living room, and only the kitchen and eating area lights were on. A routine, one that never changed: creating a perfect, relaxing environment for the two to wind down after a day's work. He almost cringed at the thought, his jaw tightening uncomfortably. Almost.

And just as planned, the door unlocked with a click as Rinoa twisted the knob and entered the apartment, smiling brightly. She was a pretty little thing- dark shiny hair and eyes, a cute heart-shaped face, petite, and well-dressed to boot. Dropping off her leather briefcase by the door, she gave the small round table a onceover and made her way towards her chair, high-heels clicking along the wood floors the entire way.

"Yum, chicken!" She smiled brightly and gave Leon a kiss on the cheek before sitting in her chair delicately, letting him give her her portion of vegetables. "Thanks, sweetie."

After spooning out the remainders of the meal to both of their plates, Leon finally took his seat with a nod. "No problem."

"How was your day?" She asked him, holding a forkful of food up to her mouth.

"Fine." He said automatically. "What about yours?"

Rinoa swallowed and then immediately launched into an anecdote about her day's adventures. Clients and their dealings, drama in the workplace. Leon only half-listened, nodding or adding a "Yeah" here or there as she animatedly talked. He always had the right responses- they were engraved into his brain. If she was frustrated at a client, he was too. If she was mad, he was mad. If Rinoa felt sympathy, then goddamn Leon felt (or feigned) sympathy too, and he felt (feigned) it damn well good.

After he inserted all the right responses, the dinner eventually wound down- as it always did. Amicable, polite conversation, nothing too deep, nothing too personal.

"Mmm, that was good. Thanks, honey." She set down her fork and casually wiped at her mouth with her napkin, somehow managing to avoid smudging her lipstick. As always. Leon always found himself looking forward to this part of the meal, hoping that one day she would smear just a tiny bit off of her perfect lips. It was all too perfect. She was too perfect.

Leon felt his eye twitch slightly and guilt pounded at the back of his head incessantly.

"You know, Selphie always says how jealous she is that you have dinner ready for me everyday- and a real dinner at that. When she gets home, Irvine's usually on the couch with a beer watching football." She grinned. "I don't even think he knows how to use the microwave."

He smiled close-lipped as they both began to clear the dishes, still part of the never-ending routine that was their life.

The conversation dwindled yet again, and the table was cleared in silence. They walked hand-in-hand over to the cushiony leather couch -as they always did- to watch the evening news or maybe a rerun of a favorite sitcom.

They settled in the usual positions when Rinoa's eyebrows rose and she sat up straight, suddenly remembering something.

"Oh! Did the cat come back yet?"

Leon shook his head. "No, not yet."

Rinoa's face crinkled in disappointment. "Well I suppose it's only been a couple of days... but still, I worry about her. She's a household cat, you know? I wonder how she's getting her food..." A slight frown appeared over her face as she surely contemplated the current state of affairs of her poor, spoiled little kitty. It was drenched in the rain. It was stuck in a fence. It was hit by a car, flattened on the road, being run over again and again by heavy tires that were impaling its guts onto the asphalt-

"It'll come back. It did last time, remember?" Leon tried, attempting sympathy the best he could.

"Hmm, you're right, I guess." She still looked upset. "Wait, aren't you off work tomorrow?"

Leon hesitated. Yes, thank god, he was, but he wasn't sure if he liked where this was going. "...Yeah, I am."

'Well great! You can look for the cat!"

He almost protested, not wanting to waste his day off stumbling about town for a stupid cat, but eventually realized that he honestly really had nothing better to do. That, and, Rinoa was looking awfully sad. The cat had, after all, been important to her- it was a gift to her when she left for college, and she still had the damn thing.

"Alright."

Rinoa brightened instantly, contemplating places for Leon to look. "You should definitely check behind the grocery store, that's where she was last time, remember? Oh, and maybe that alley right behind the complex, or even the playground- maybe she didn't wander far at all..."

"I'll check in the morning."

The two fell back into their routine, ready for yet another day ahead of them. The news was nothing special, another burglary and a feature about the growing rate of teen pregnancies in the area. Nothing particularly new.

And as they settled into bed at the usual time, Leon found himself unable to sleep. Rinoa had fallen asleep instantly, and he felt a smidgen of guilt as he studied her sleeping form, her back to him. His stomach clenched tightly, the muscles locking around his ribs and surely, surely they would soon crush his lungs, it was too uncomfortable...

She was truly a great girl- intelligent, beautiful, successful, and impossibly easy to get along with. But there were still nights like these that he felt guilty for putting a ring on her finger. She deserved someone who loved her, who would treat her like she should be treated. And it's not that Leon was a bad guy, no he did love her, just not... like he should. Vaguely he wondered when his love for her stopped, but he couldn't pinpoint an exact moment or day.

Maybe it never really began.

Sighing, Leon scratched his ear and moved closer to his fiancee's sleeping figure, placing a muscular arm around her lean waist. He winced at how unnatural it felt and was ashamed. Anybody else would have done anything to be in his shoes, and here he was, wishing he was in someobdy- anybody else's.

Seconds passed before he finally withdrew his arm and rolled over onto his other side in frustration, willing himself to fall asleep.

An eye twitch. Restless legs, a scratch that traveled from his foot to his thigh to his shoulder, never staying in one place and never stopping.

Insomnia really was a bitch.

After several hours, Leon finally gave up on sleep for what seemed like the hundredth night in a row. He stared at the window directly across from him, though its view was obscured, this time glaring at the moonlight that snuck through the cracks in the blinds.

It too was making a mockery of him.

Morning came with bright lights and a cheerful disposition. Leon rolled over only to find Rinoa already gone. Blinking twice, he sat up with the covers bunched around him, feeling completely drained. As if he hadn't slept. Which... he basically hadn't, seeing as he got about an hour and a half's worth of sleep.

Tiredly, Leon trudged to the shower to start his day.

The rest of the morning continued in peaceful silence, which Leon greatly relished. The pop of the toaster as it threw out his toast, slight hum and whistle of the fridge- I should probably get that fixed...- and occasional rustle of the newspaper as he flipped through its contents. Serene, the way a morning to oneself should be.

Yet in the back of his mind he knew the moment couldn't last forever. He had to get started looking for that damn cat. A sigh, a gesture which seemed all too familiar these days, escaped from his chest as he went to the closet by the front door and grabbed the old bicycle that was leaning against it. He picked it up, grabbed a bright green apple off the counter, and exited his tiny apartment to begin his task for the day.

So it was with a grudging resoluteness that Leon began his journey, one that would lead him to events that even he couldn't possibly forsee.

Destiny Islands was a quaint little town right off of the coast, separated from the mainland. It wasn't too small so as to be suffocating, but it still hadn't been broken by resort industries and tourists from around the world. It had a quietness to it that Leon took comfort in, but it still had enough hustle and bustle to avoid being utterly boring.

The island itself was fairly small; it took only a twenty minute car ride to reach from one end of the island to the other. And seeing as Leon didn't have a car, this was a good thing- his shitty old 1970s bicycle was good enough to get him where he needed to go.

It's not that he couldn't afford a car. He just didn't want one, didn't want to conform to society's expectations if it wasn't something he really needed.

...Or at least, that's what Leon kept telling himself.

The premise of the community was pretty simple. There was a residential district, in which most of the houses and apartments were clumped together, save a few outsiders. This included all the necessities: grocery stores, shopping centers, gas stations, dry cleaners, whatever. And then there was the entertainment district on the west side of the island that included restaurants and cafes, movie theaters and malls alike. And lastly, there was the office/business district, which... is pretty much self-explanatory.

It was a simple layout, but worked surprisingly well, probably due to the small size of the island and the easy transportation to and from each place. The best part was, the districts all had nice beaches and views, and everything was connected rather nicely. All in all, Destiny Islands was a pretty nice place to live, Leon had to admit. Even the weather was usually nice: while it wasn't exactly a tropical climate, it didn't succumb to the deathly cold of winter nor the blazing heat and humidity of summer days. It maintained a mid 70s temperature year round, save a few days here and there where the weather did what it wanted.

Today: Sunny with a high of 79. Chance of rain, 10 percent.

And so, Leon strolled on his crappy bicycle throughout the residential district, looking for the cat while enjoying the nice day. He looked in the alleyway of the apartment district. He looked behind garbage cans, in garbage cans, in open garages and backyards, under lawn furniture and behind bushes, in playground slides and soccer fields. He asked around, but nobody had seen his cat.

He almost gave up for the day, leaning his bike against a tree- surely the cat wouldn't wander over to the entertainment or business districts, what could it possibly find there?- when he remembered the sadness in Rinoa's eyes as she wondered about the fate of her poor cat. And guilt pounded at the back of his head, yelling at him, telling him, 'the least you could do is find her her cat. If you can't give her your love, you can at least give her something that loves her.' He ran a hand through his shaggy brown locks and closed his eyes, resting his head against the rough bark. Breathing in and simultaneously opening his eyes just a mere second later, Leon studied the scenery. He stood on the edge of an old playground nestled inbetween two of the older neighborhoods of the island. It had a seesaw, a metal slide, one of those old fashioned carousels and two swings that looked like they'd break if anyone over the age of five dared to sit on them. The park hadn't yet been touched by the modern years. None of the new plastic, heat resistant equipment, no rock walls or massive slides.

It was the playground that time forgot. He smiled slightly.

After a few more seconds, Leon shook his head and hopped back on his bike, erasing thoughts of the park from his mind. He decided to give it one last shot before he headed elsewhere to look for the cat.

He rode back the way he came- he rode his bike on the grass separating two single-family houses and ended up on a neighborhood road, a long straight and narrow path with homes lined up and down.

Having already been down this particular street twice before, he pedaled through without a second thought, just trying to make his way to one of the main roads. He wasn't particularly paying attention, the basic layout of the street already imprinted in his mind. There was the blue house on the right with the picket fence, then a little further down the white house with the grey shingles, and then there was the house with the flowers overflowing from the yard... he had already seen it all.

Or so he thought.

What he hadn't noticed on the previous trips was the kid in the cheap plastic lounge chair in front of the pink house, the kid who had been eyeing him the entire time.

As he passed by, Leon stared at the kid, slightly put off at the kid's own stare right back- but when their eyes connected Leon looked away just as suddenly as he had started.

And good thing too, otherwise Leon would have ran straight into the parked car on the side of the road, just inches in front of him. But being as he had looked back just in time, he managed to swerve out of the way at the very last moment...

... only to swerve straight into the curb, hurling him off of his bike and sending him tumbling flat onto the sidewalk. Even worse, his jeans somehow managed to get stuck on the pedals, causing the bike to tumble every step- er, roll of the way with him.

Goddammit.

Both embarrassed and in slight pain, Leon pushed up his arms to elevate himself when a distinct chuckling came from in front of him.

"...Ow man, you totally ate it!" The voice said laughingly. Leon scowled and looked up, intending on telling the bastard off, his brown locks obscuring his view- he could only see the edges of faded red cargo pants and skinny tan legs, of ankles blending into light brown boat shoes, the kind that middle aged men wore on their luxury yachts.

The legs suddenly kneeled and Leon looked up further to make eye contact with startling blue eyes. It was the kid from the lawn chair, the very one who had made him crash in the first place, he realized.

"Here," He held out a hand with slim fingers, and Leon couldn't help but notice how delicate and clean they were. Not at all like his, calloused and rough and strong.

He almost decided against taking the prooffered hand, but took it grudgingly, his conscience getting the best of him. He really had no reason to be rude, even if he wanted to in irritation of his situation.

"... Thanks." He let himself be helped up, which only bruised his ego a little.

"That was some wipeout." The kid said, his arm reaching up behind his neck to massage it. Leon finally looked him, having been avoiding eye contact as long as possible.

Or rather, Leon looked down at him. He was a pretty short kid, and skinny at that. Couldn't have been taller than 5'6", with brown hair that shot up at odd angles all over the place and those bright cerulean blue eyes that pored into him, much too intense for his liking. A thin white t-shirt covered his skinny frame, and his faded red cargos were a little too short, probably a hand-me down or something. But the strangest part of the boy's attire- more so than the random boat shoes- was the captain hat that sat perched on top of his head, topped off with a pair of aviators that rested on the hat's brim.

All in all, the kid just looked downright weird... and yet, Leon thought it was just a bit endearing.

Wait. Scratch that.

Returning to reality, he looked at the ground around him, only for his gaze to fall upon a pretty messed up bike on the sidewalk. The chain had fallen off as had the front tire, and the handlebars had even snapped off completely. THe poor thing stood no chance- it might as well have been placed in the middle of a monster truck rally, for tons and tons of steel and metal and tires to run it over repeatedly until it was nothing but garbage and wires on the ground.

"Oh, fuck." Leon said, exasperated. He kneeled by his bike, eyes glazing over the damage as the boy snorted behind him. "Shit!"

"Well, hate to break it to you, but... what did you expect?" The boy said, his voice coming from behind Leon.

He didn't say anything in response.

"I mean, it was a pretty shitty bike." Blunt, Leon noticed. It didn't aggravate him as much as it should have, though. Probably because it was the truth: the bike really had been a disaster.

"...Yeah, thanks."

Leon sighed, wondering what he was supposed to do now. He was miles from his own apartment building, and now he had no way of getting back. He glared at his bike, wanting to place the blame on anybody- or anything but himself. He didn't handle responsibility too well.

"Hey, you're bleeding."

"What?"

"Your arm. Bleeding." The boy pointed towards Leon's elbow, which was actually cut open pretty badly. Leon frowned. Great.

"Come on," The brunette said, grabbing Leon's arm. "You gotta get that cleaned up."

Leon frowned deeper. He didn't even know the kid, and he was perfectly fine, anyways.

"It's alright, I'm fine."

"Well, lets see. Your bike is fucked and not only is your arm like, gushing blood, but you've got a couple of other scratches. On a scale of one to ten, you're pretty much an eight on the not-fine-factor." He grinned. "And... I'm trained in first aid?"

Without waiting for Leon's approval, the boy began to drag Leon back to the house with the lawn chair in front, bike left behind on the sidewalk. Leon noticed a slight limp in the boy's walk, or maybe it was a drag, he couldn't tell- either way, the point was that the kid walked kind of like a gorilla, his whole body moving from side to side as he put all of his weight on one leg.

...Except, he was just too boyish and youthful to be a gorilla. Maybe a- yeah, a chimp.

"Sora." The boy said as they reached the spot in the front yard where the lawn chair was spread out.

"Huh?"

"My name. Sora." He plopped Leon down on the chair and disappeared into the house with a "Be right back." Just seconds later he reemerged, clutching a little white kit in his hands with a red cross as well as another lounge chair. He unfolded it right next to the other one and sat down, opening the kit.

Leon sat quietly as he watched the kid, Sora, who was tearing open an alcohol pad with his teeth. An old boombox on the grass below them quietly played some radio pop music, and Sora moved his lips to the words- though no sound came out- as he began to gently wipe at Leon's elbow.

"... So aren't you going to tell me your name?" Sora asked after a minute passed in silence. He grabbed a gauze pad and tape to apply to the now disinfected wound.

"Leon."

"Leon, eh? Leon what?"

"Sora what?" Leon countered.

"Kobayashi. Like the hot dog guy." Sora said nonchalantly, as if it was the most normal thing in the world.

Leon snorted and opened his mouth, but Sora cut him off before he could utter any words. "No, we're not related, and no, I can't eat fifty-nine hot dogs in ten minutes. As much as it shames me to say so."

Leon didn't say anything, and Sora continued. "Though I do enjoy a good hot dog."

As Sora taped the wound and made pointless conversation, he idly wondered why he was letting a kid clean him up. If any of the neighbors were watching, surely they would call the cops- it was suspicious and slightly creepy, he had to admit. But then he realized that it was Sora who was cleaning him up, not the adult treating the kid... which was, in a way, even stranger.

"So, back to my question. Leon..." He raised his eyebrows and tilted his head, urging Leon to finish the sentence.

"Leonhart."

As was expected, it was Sora snorted this time.

"Leon Leonhart? Are you serious?"

"Leon's not really my first name."

"So what is, then?"

"...Shouldn't you be in school?" He asked Sora, returning again to reality and letting common sense prevail. He was still a kid, after all.

"Shouldn't you be at work?" The boy retaliated, not missing a beat.

"... I asked first."

"Fine, Leon. If you must know," Sora brushed his hair out of his eyes and pulled his aviators off his hat and onto the bridge of his nose. Setting the first-aid kit down on the dying grass, he leaned back in his lounge chair. "I was expelled." He said coolly, casually. As if kids got expelled around here everyday.

"For what?"

A pause. "I killed a guy."

There was a second of shocked silence before Leon snorted loudly and Sora finally cracked a large grin. He didn't know if it was just the odd situation he was in or the even odder companion, but Leon soon found his lips being tugged outwards into a smile, a notion that his face wasn't all too familiar with these days. But somehow, after everything, it felt... good.

"Yeah, right. You don't look like you could kill a fly."

"Hey! I resent that!" He stopped, and looked thoughtful for a brief moment. "...But actually, I can't. Even with a flyswatter. I guess I'm not quick enough or whatever, which is really embarrassing if you think about it... Anyways, I remember the other day there was this really really annoying fly in the kitchen and I tried for probably like, half an hour to kill it. I was just chasing it around the house, but I could never get the little shit." Sora smiled, and Leon noticed how it suited him... it was perfectly natural. Like it belonged there. "My ego is still hurting."

"So if you can't even kill a fly, what could you possibly be expelled for?" He asked.

"Well actually... I wasn't expelled. It just sounded cooler than the real story."

"Then why aren't you at school?" Somewhere in his mind, Leon frowned at himself. He had never asked this many questions in his life. Yet he couldn't not ask questions, his curiosity was getting the best of him.

"I got hit by a car a couple of months ago." Sora began lightly, intertwining his fingers and resting them on his stomach as he leaned back further. "Walking home from school. It was a real big honker of a thing. One of those huge ass Hummers, you know? Ridiculous waste of money. It's not a car, it's a death machine. ...Anyways, I ended up with a concussion, fractured ribs, bruises and bumps here and there.

"Something you get over pretty quick, right? I should have been back in school in a couple of weeks." He paused. "But the real kicker: when I got hit, I tried to land on my leg... but it was too much, or whatever. You know, gravity being 9.81 meters per second, and the weight of my body and the force at which I was hit..." Leon furrowed his eyebrows curiously. "I completely shattered my leg. It didn't just break.. it shattered. Into pieces."

Another pause. "I had to have reconstructive surgery. They actually thought I'd have to get a fake leg, that they wouldn't be able to fix it. But long story short, they somehow, miraculously managed to fix it, and it healed surprisingly fast. They said they've never seen anything like it, I shouldn't have even been able to walk again. But yeah, it's not completely done healing yet, but it's getting there. I actually just got out of the cast a few days ago." He nodded down towards his leg and frowned. "Hence the dumb limp. They said that might not ever go away, though."

"...Oh. I'm sorry." Leon said after a few seconds, at a loss for any comforting words. He never really was one for emotions and feelings, though admittedly the story was pretty sad. He would hate to be in a postion like that, no control over the situation...

Oh wait. He kind of was in a situation like that.

"Anyways, that's why I'm not in school. I missed too much, and I could go back but I'll have to repeat the year anyways, so I figure I'll just enjoy the time off and go back at the start of next year."

"How much do you have left?"

"How much what?"

"School."

"Oh. Well I was supposed to have just one after this year- But. Now it's two." Sora crinkled his nose in distaste.

"So you're... sixteen then?"

"Yeah. I'll be seventeen in three weeks."

Leon said nothing, feeling slightly uncomfortable all of a sudden. He was so much older than the kid...

"What about you?"

"Oh, um... I'm twenty-five."

Sora whistled lowly. "Man. You're like, practically ancient."

Leon snorted.

The conversation faded to nothing and neither spoke, both just laying back in the chairs and basking in the sunlight, the sounds of pop music filling their ears mixed with Sora's occasional hums. Leon relaxed, his mind blank. No thoughts of transfers or deposits, of checks and withdrawals, no thoughts of Rinoa or the cat...

Shit.

The cat.

Leon sat up suddenly, anxiety in his voice. "What time is it?"

Sora lazily leaned over and lifted his sunglasses off of his eyes, pulling them down so he could see Leon better. "Huh?"

"Do you know what time it is?"

"Oh, yeah, sure. Hang on." He moved to get up. "Want a drink from inside? Water or anything?"

"No thanks." As Sora walked back towards the front door, slight limp with every step, Leon frowned. What was he doing, anyways? Lounging outside with a high-schooler? He wasn't sixteen anymore. He was nearing 30, with a steady job, an apartment, and even a fiancee.

Maybe... maybe it was because Leon thought he may possibly be on the very edge of something new, standing on a cliff where below is the all-inviting unknown. Something different. Sometime else. A little hope that it was new, and important, and most of all, a change. That was all he wanted, a change.

He shook his head, slightly displeased with himself. But nevertheless he pushed the subject into the back of his head, as he often tended to do, and let his mind wander back to the present.

Leon studied the house, having nothing else to do until Sora came back out. It was actually rather ugly, if he was honest. Cheap white side-paneling, and the green paint on the shutters was fading. The concrete steps that lead to the front door were cracked and uneven, as was the entire front sidewalk. The plants in the yard were overgrown and even the grass was pretty near dead. A little plastic inflatable pool sat over to the side, and the water in it was brown, probably rainwater. It just looked... untidy. Abandoned. Not taken care of. He figured it had been there for a while, seeing as it was one of the older neighborhoods on the island. Idly he wondered if Sora had lived there his whole life, grown up in that house...

His thoughts were interrupted as Sora exited the peeling red front door, carrying two cans of Coke in his hands.

"Here," He said, handing Leon one.

"Thanks." Leon responded, suddenly thirsty, and glad Sora had brought him a drink even though he had told him not to.

"It's 1:45."

"Shit." He sighed and took a sip of his drink, not wanting to go look for the cat, just wanting to lay back down and let the sun shine down on him, no cares or worries in the world. But he was a grown-up, not a kid. He had to do what he had to do. "Damn cat." He muttered.

"Do you have to go?" Sora asked innocently, already knowing the answer.

"Uh, yeah. I have to find my cat..."

"You have to?"

"Yeah."

"Why?"

"I was told I have to."

"Well if it were me, I wouldn't look for the cat, because I'd hate doing it just because I was told to."

Leon said nothing.

And out of nowhere, Sora's eyebrows raised and his eyes intensified, suddenly remembering something. "Oh! Is that what you were doing earlier?"

Leon furrowed his eyebrows, not saying anything.

"I mean, when you were riding your bike. You rode past here like, a hundred times, and I wanted to ask what you were doing cause it's not that often you see working-age guys riding their bike in the middle of the day, especially when they're basically just going in circles..." Sora trailed off.

"Oh. Yeah, I was looking for my cat... was being the keyword. Not so sure about that anymore, no bike."

"What's its name?"

"The cat?"

"No, your shoes." Leon looked confused, and Sora rolled his eyes. "Yes, the cat, dumbass."

"Oh." Leon ignored the fact that he had just been called a dumbass by a kid nine years his junior. Yeah, that totally didn't happen, because if it did, not only would he not tolerate it, well... it just wouldn't happen. "Um... it's. Fluffy."

Dead silence again, like when Leon mentioned his last name. Then Sora cracked a broad grin and laughed.

"You're kidding."

Leon suddenly cracked a small grin too, finding Sora's own to be infectious.

"No, I'm not." He chuckled. "It really is Fluffy."

"That's like, the most cliche cat name in the history of cat names."

"It's not mine, it's my gi-" Leon paused. "I didn't name it."

"Well, alright then. So what does Fluffy look like?" Sora asked curiously, ignoring Leon's strange pause. "Gimme a description, or something. Paint a picture in my mind. Make Fluffy a Van Gogh portrait in my mind."

Leon cocked an eyebrow. The kid said some weird things sometimes, yet he couldn't help a feeling almost like... fondness that settled in his stomach and began to make its way upwards, up up towards his throat. "Well... it's white. And kind of fat. And... fluffy."

"Well that's a lame description. Congratulations, you just described half of the cats in the world." Sora smiled. "So much for the next Van Gogh."

Leon said nothing and neither did Sora, until his eyebrows crinkled and recognition appeared in his eyes.

"Hey, wait! I actually saw a cat like that a couple of days ago- down at the grocery store on thirteenth street, I remember I thought it was weird cause you don't normally see house cats in strip malls..."

"Really?"

Sora nodded, and Leon paused at a loss for what to do next. Suddenly he felt awkward, no words coming to his mind.

"...So um, thanks for you know, cleaning me up and stuff..." He mumbled awkwardly, feeling again like he was back in high-school and could never find the right words to say. He was back in the days of crushes and first kisses, lockers and teachers and he didn't like it one bit. He had left those days behind, thank you very much.

...Hadn't he?

Sora waved his hand flippantly through the air, dismissing the statement. "You're welcome. Can I come?"

"What?"

"Can I come? Help you look for the cat?"

Leon was confused. "Why?"

"Actually, I really don't know. I guess I've got nothing better to do. I do this everyday, and it's gotten pretty old... I mean, I just sit here like this everyday while everyone's at school." He shrugged, then a mysterious gleam came to his eyes. "And, I have a car, and seeing as you don't have a bike anymore..."

Leon narrowed his eyes in thoughtful recognition that surely the kid wasn't bribing him. But really, he knew he was, and sadly it was working. "I... I guess. I don't see why not."

Sora beamed, a radiant smile and his blue eyes sparkled wildly. "Great! I'll grab my keys!" He jumped off of the lawn chair and flipped off the boombox, knocking over his coke in the process as he half-limped back to his front door in excitement.

Leon smiled curiously as he traced the trail of fizzing spilt coke with his eyes, watching it slide down the pavement... and simulatenously wondered what in the hell he just got himself into.


So, new story. Still not quite sure where I'm going with this, but I've got a vague idea in my mind. I hope you all like it, cause I do, at least I like the idea of it.

Oh yeah, inspiration taken from The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami. Go read it, now. However it's only very, very loosely based on the book- just the beginning, actually.

Reviews? I'd like to know what you all think, especially since not only am I not even much of a Leon/Sora shipper, I never thought I'd even think about writing them. But here I am, I guess. The story came into my mind and I couldn't get it out, not if I tried.

Thanks!