Title: Shine
Author: Ever1
Fandom: Kingdom Hearts
Length: One-shot. 1400 words.
Genre: Angst/Romance
Rating: PG-13
Pairings/Characters: Roxas/Sora, 'blink & you'll miss it' Axel/Roxas
Summary: "He remembers lifting the crystal and watching it shine." Roxas/Sora
Warnings: Slash.

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Roxas is quite willing to forfeit his heart for Sora's.

For a moment, Roxas considers giving in; stopping the constant struggle, fighting for every shred and scrap of who he knows himself to be. He considers becoming Sora. But he can't do it.

"Why won't you take my heart?" Sora asks.

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Rain drain my play away
Sun gun me down and burn me

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Frantically, Roxas calls up memories. "Hayner! Pence! Olette!"

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Nature hates me today
My head distorts reality

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Twilight Town might not have been real, but it was a memory, and it was something that belonged to him. He remembers it. He remembers the feel of the clock-tower stones under his hand as he swings himself up. He remembers the smell of dust in the Usual Place; he remembers the feel of Olette's hair and the way her chest heaves when she cries. Hayner's brash smile, Pence's willingness, the sound of the skateboard over cobblestones.

He remembers lifting the crystal and watching it shine.

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Shine - I will not cry and I will not die no
Shine - I will be there for me

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"Hayner, Pence, Olette. Hayner, Pence, Olette. Hayner, Pence…"

They don't remember you, Sora thinks but doesn't say. Roxas, they never…they never even met you.

And even though he isn't meant to hear, he does.

I know, Roxas feels like answering. I know. Instead, he thinks again, Hayner, Pence, Olette, and prays that Sora won't look any closer.

He doesn't. He never does.

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Shine - I will not cry and I will be mine
I'll shine - shine

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Roxas remembers asking, "I'll…disappear?" He still remembers that – disillusionment.

"No, you won't disappear! You'll –" You'll be whole, she had promised him. Well, he could be. But for that, he has to give up too much. Sora included. So he holds the two of them apart with nothing but memories, and every word from Sora pulls on that chain.

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Who waltzed me into this
Am I now stuck here forever?

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It's funny, though, because by holding himself – holding them – apart like this, he's back to not feeling. He sees through Sora's eyes, but when Sora lifts a finger to the mirror, pensively, he doesn't feel it.

"I wish you'd say something." Finally, frustration comes through. Isn't this what you want? A heart?

There's truth in that, and it shakes his concentration. He pulls for more memories, and this one is his, again:

"No! My heart belongs to me!"

"Do you still believe that, Roxas?"

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Luck just gave me a kiss
Then lashed me down with a leather strap

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This time, when Roxas gropes for another of his memories, its Sora's he falls upon. It pains him to admit it, but they are hard to distinguish.

"What happened to my home? My island?"

He shakes that aside, refusing his mind's empathy – what about my home? – and tries to focus on something else.

"Why won't you take my heart?"

Roxas makes a sound like a growl in the back of his throat. He doesn't stop to think that he has no body with which to carry out such an action.

"I don't want it. Not like this."

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Trying to learn to swim without any water

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In Sora's shocked silence, Roxas has the time to dissect a hundred moments. To pull up a hundred memories.

He remembers the time it takes to cross the distance between him and DiZ, remembers coming so close to feeling it makes him want to scream. He remembers the feel of the Keyblade in his hands, cold and comforting, the precision of the blade cutting through the air, the smash of wires snapping and electricity sparkling across a broken and breaking screen. Skidding to a halt in shoes that have never fitted him, the taste of desperation on the tip of his tongue.

"I hate you so much."

He remembers standing in front of the open pod, staring at Sora, non-existent heart sinking in his chest.

"What, you're talking now?"

Sora – dear heart – finally speaks, sounding just a little resentful. Roxas understands why; Sora thinks he's offered him a gift, and the fact that the Nobody is refusing to take it hurts.

"You said you wanted to meet me," Roxas reminds him. "So here's your chance!"

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With a pneumatic hiss, the pod slides open, and the Nobody takes a step forward.

"Sora."

Even sleeping, the boy is smiling, clothes shrunk around thin limbs, body awkwardly supported by the pod's contraption. It takes Roxas an entire minute to muster the courage to approach, and when he does, he is holding on to himself, arms wrapped around his shoulders, as if that can keep the fragments of the person he is from flying apart.

This is what a part of him wants, the part of him that keeps filtering through with memories.

Axel!

And this is what another part of him is most terrified of, the part of him that Twilight Town owns.

Hayner, Pence, Olette!

Roxas stays, uncertain, perfectly balanced between the two, staring at that pretty face. He takes another step forward.

Would it be so hard, sharing a heart with this angel? You won't disappear! – sometimes, it seems as if Namine is standing their next to him, pale face creased with epiphany. Then what? Roxas wants to scream at the vision. Then what?

He comes closer.

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Trying just to begin just when you're in for the slaughter

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Purposefully, Roxas steers his mind away from thoughts of Organization XIII. And thoughts of Axel. There's vindication in it, vindication in the kind of denial he has become capable of. Because it's not his facade of a heart that's in love, it's his mind, it's his head; he's encompassed every facet of this logically and it keeps throwing up the same answer, the same fabricated feeling, the same –

"Sacrifice," Sora blesses him.

"Heart," Roxas answers.

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You will love me as a winner.

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To go from being a Nobody to being nothing; it's a wonder Roxas can still remember his own name.

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Shine - I will not cry and I will not die no
Shine - I will be there for me
Shine - I'll be just fine if I stay all mine
I'll shine – shine

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The pod casts shadows on his arms as he reaches forward, impulsively, to touch Sora's hair. It is darker than his, and differently shaped. Cautiously, almost abashedly, Roxas laces his fingers through it, wondering.

Sora's eyes are closed, and though this is good news for Roxas, he still finds himself wishing they would open, so that he could see their color. Would they be like his own? The Nobody thumbs his Other's cheeks, marveling at the smoothness. His fingers stop, laid gently across Sora's lips.

Roxas blinks.

Is this what he must abandon, then? This, along with everything else?

Roxas lifts Sora's chin and carefully – ever so carefully – presses lips to his.

Never, a part of him promises, and the Nobody seizes that, determined that it be the first thing he sees flickering behind closed eyelids, when – and if – he wakes. He clings to it as he lays a hand on Sora's and kisses him.

This is a strenuous lesson to learn – letting go.

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Shine

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A/N: If there are any plotholes/loopholes, kindly consider this AU. I have done my best to look up as much knowledge about people's theories on what actually happens to Roxas when he merges into Sora, but it's well possible I made some mistakes. This might be because sadly, I haven't had that much time playing the game. But hey, I'm saving up for a PS2 merely so I can play it, so if that isn't fangirl obsessive-ness, frankly, I don't know what is. Also, I did try to partition this as logically and simply as possible, since it got way complicated between what was a memory, a thought, a lyric, and just plain emphasis, since at the time they were all in italics. I'm not horribly fond of putting bold in a story, but this made things a little clearer, I hope.

A/N 2: This beautiful, divine, and utterly Sora/Roxas song is Shine by Imogen Heap, who has the most enchanting voice I have heard I first stumbled across Regina Spektor. And yes, I skipped one line. So sue me.