Chapter 17

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Sora groaned and laid his head down on his keyboard. He'd been up for almost 24 hours straight working on Heartless and felt like he hadn't made any progress on their laundry list of bugs and fixes. He had to give it to their QA testers though; they were extremely thorough which, while he was grateful for, made crunch time so, so difficult. He hadn't anticipated so many issues with this game, but this one was really special to him. He wanted it to be perfect on launch.

Not to mention that he had barely talked to Kairi all week which was doing his head in. He missed her so much, but he had to get this done. One week down out of four, he reminded himself. As Sora continued to use his break to wallow, there came a knock at his bedroom door.

Without waiting for an answer, Roxas opened the door and tossed a bag from the hardware store onto Sora's bed. "Hey bro, got that new door knob for you."

Without looking up from the desk, Sora replied. "Fucking finally."

Roxas clicked his tongue against his teeth. "Don't be ungrateful. You're lucky that I could buy it on my student salary."

Sora raised his head at the audacity of his little brother. He blinked dramatically a few times before he responded. "Roxas, I literally gave you the money for the doorknob."

Roxas waved his hand in the air. "Potato, tomato. Anyway, how're things going?"

"I don't think that's how the saying goes... but I don't want to talk about the game right now. It's just... UGHHHH..." He groaned, laying his head back down on the desk in (only slightly) exaggerated exhaustion.

"Yeah, Riku said the same thing." Roxas was quiet for a moment as he studied his brother. He looked like hell, and that was him being nice. He was starting to get concerned. They had been in crunch time for only a week. How were they going to get through 3 more weeks of this? "Ya'll are burning the candle at both ends, ain't you?"

Sora sighed and sat up to crack his knuckles and his neck to reset himself. His break was basically over anyway. "Just three more weeks and the game will be ready. We'll be okay." It sounded like he was reassuring himself more so than answering Roxas.

Roxas rolled his eyes. His brother always overworked himself. It never failed. "Really? Because you both look like shit. When was the last time you slept?"

Sora squeezed his eyes shut as if it was painful to think. "Ummmm..."

Roxas scoffed, not letting him actually answer. "Seriously? Have you even eaten today?"

Before Sora could say anything, his stomach rumbled loudly in answer. The last time he had eaten had been yesterday morning and it was just some toast since that's all he could make time for. He looked down in shame and answered verbally anyway. "...No."

"Oh my god..." Roxas rubbed a hand down his face. He hated being "the mom" of these grown ass men. "Come on. Let's go get ramen for lunch. I haven't had any since Kairi and Namine left."

"I can't. I have to finish this." Sora gestured half-heartedly at his computer screen, but Roxas crossed his arms and shook his head in finality.

"It can wait. I'll give you five minutes while I drag Riku away from his computer." And with that, Roxas stalked away to the bedroom next door where Riku was also huddled over his computer in a state of starvation and exhaustion that only came with crunch time for their tiny indie studio.

"Good luck." Sora said under his breath, turning back around to the computer so he could save what he had been working on. As he was closing the last few windows, his phone vibrated with a message from Kairi. Sora smiled as he picked up his phone and opened the text. His smile quickly turned to pleasant surprise when a scantily clad Kairi graced his screen.

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