author's notes: This is mah new favorite crack pairing and I just had to write Selphie again. She was too fun last time. She's just so freaking cute! I used to feel pretty indifferent about her; now I love her. Oh yeah, and sorry if Marluxia is a bit OOC… my bad.

standard disclaimer applies, yo—

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- h e r secret g a r d e n-

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At first glance, she would seem like a girly girl. Always running around in her cute, sunshine-yellow jumper, curled chestnut hair bouncing around on her shoulders, jump rope slapping against the ground playfully… she was a girly girl.

But if anyone, anyone at all, caught a glance of her current state, they would think otherwise.

Her fingers dug deeply into the fresh, warm earth, spreading the soil carelessly. Dirt was caked under her usually pristine fingernails, and a smudge of mud was smeared on her cheek.

Sure, she was getting a little messy.

Sure, she was getting a little sweaty.

But what else would Selphie be doing on a hot summer day like this?

Playing with her jump rope?

No.

Spending time down at the beach with Kairi and her other friends?

No.

…She was dreaming, of course…

Dreaming of huge, magenta peonies and cute little snapdragons; elegant, willowy irises and sunny, yellow daffodils.

She dreamt they would spring up from the patch of dirt and soar up to the big blue sky, soaking up the brilliance of the sun. She dreamt that the flowers would grow into summer blooms, and color the world with their radiance.

She dreamt… that she actually had a garden of her own. Her very own secret garden, tucked away from the rest of the world.

But no.

Her dream could never come true, she told herself, because you couldn't have a garden if you didn't even have a lawn. Selphie and her parents lived in an apartment- all they had was a measly concrete-covered balcony.

She did, however, like to… believe that it would come true. So there she was, hair sticking to the back of her neck with summer humidity, digging into a patch of dirt in an obscure section of the town's local park.

"What're you doing?" a gentle male voice chopped its way through her imagination.

Selphie whipped around, startled by the noise, and stared up at the figure. She couldn't see his face, however. The sunbeams were reflecting off his long, pinky-purple hair straight into her eyes. She turned back and buried her hands in the mound again.

"Gardening…" she murmured, slightly embarrassed at the fact that she was covered in filth. She felt him kneel down next to her and heard what sounded like a toolbox drop to the grass as well.

"Don't you need to have flowers to call this a garden?" Selphie cringed at the hint of laughter in his voice.

"I don't have any flowers…"

"Well, do you want some of these seeds?"

Selphie spun around and looked at the (now smiling) stranger again. His bright eyes shone with encouragement, and his gloved hand shook a small bag of marigold seeds enticingly.

"Um…" she hesitated.

"Take them," he coaxed, "I have plenty of my own flowers; these can be yours." Her quivering hand snatched the bag, and she clutched the seeds to her chest.

Maybe her dream actually could come true.

She could make her own little garden, right here in the park. It could be her little secret. Nobody would know about it either, except… him.

"Who're you?" she asked cautiously as her fingers latched around the bag protectively. The stranger leaned back on his hands.

"Oh! Forgot to introduce myself, didn't I?" He laughed richly. "My name is Marluxia. I'm kinda… the local lawn boy, you could say."

"Huh?"

"Well, I mow lawns, prune bushes, plant flowers… y'know, standard gardening stuff," he explained with a devilish grin, "…and you are?"

"Selphie," she replied with a smile. The smile dropped off her face quickly though. "I wish I gardened all day long…" Her voice trailed off. Marluxia was silent. Selphie fingered the top of the bag hesitantly.

No matter how much she wanted to grow beautiful flowers, that didn't alter the fact that, well, she didn't know how.

Marluxia scooped some of the dirt into his hand and let it seep through the cracks between his fingers. "So, are you going to plant those?"

"H-how do I-"

"Plant them?" he finished her sentence. She nodded slowly, and her hair bobbed with her head. "Well," he began as he pulled a small trowel from his toolbox, "you gotta dig some holes first." He thrust the trowel toward Selphie, and she took it unwillingly.

Her fingers clasped around the end of it, and she rammed the tool into the ground. She removed a few inches of dirt as she pulled it the trowel back.

Selphie couldn't help but smile.

She was going to make her garden, she was going to take care of it, and she was going to love it.

And when Selphie didn't know what to do next, Marluxia would whisper his instructions in her ear.

When Selphie couldn't lift the heavy watering can, Marluxia carried it for her.

When Selphie was done planting and watering, Marluxia stayed and talked with her about anything and everything.

Soon, the sun began to set, and the colorful sky shone down upon them.

"I probably should… go home," she said.

"Yeah…" he agreed. He walked her back to her apartment, and she flushed scarlet as he did so. He was such the gentleman.

After they parted, Selphie made herself believe that she would never see the pink-haired man never, ever again. After all, why would she? She had just met him that day, and she hadn't heard of his name before in her life. And she was sure that he hadn't heard of hers.

So it was much to her surprise (and overwhelming joy) to see him kneeling by the bed of dirt in the park the next day. She called his name and couldn't hide the excitement lacing her tone. His gaze flicked up to meet hers, and he grinned.

She had just come to see if anything had happened overnight; she had planned on staying but a few minutes. It turned out that she wound up staying a few hours.

"H-hi," she stammered.

"Hey," he replied with a smile.

She plopped down in the dirt, and he scooted closer. She couldn't help but grin.

It soon became routine. She would skip to the park with her jump rope flying behind her every afternoon (to hang out with Kairi, she told her parents) and would sit with Marluxia. She would get horribly filthy sitting in the dirt day after day, talking, laughing, smiling for hours. But whenever her mom asked what she was doing, she responded with a mere smile and a "nothing".

They would never know that she was with Marluxia.

It would be her little secret.

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The hot summer grew even more miserable in time. Beads of sweat would roll down the side of Selphie's face, mingling with the smudges of dirt on her cheeks. But she didn't care, because Marluxia was always there to chuckle and wipe her cheeks clean.

Selphie couldn't stop her heart from fluttering whenever he said her name, and she couldn't help but blushing whenever his hand grazed across hers.

She told herself that she loved him. But she didn't tell her parents that she did. Or Kairi, for that matter.

He would forever be her secret.

Weeks crawled by, and soon tiny sprouts emerged from the soil, tiny green leaves nearly glowing in the light of the summer sun.

Selphie couldn't have been happier.

Her happiness couldn't even be dampened by an oncoming storm. Torrents of rain were inevitable, but it was okay because Marluxia was holding her hand for the first time. He walked her home (like he always did) earlier than usual, and Selphie fell asleep to the sound of rain crashing against her window.

The next morning was still cloudy and drizzling with rain. Selphie sprinted to the park through the mist, rain boots splashing water against her legs. She ran to her garden, her beloved garden, and her heart dropped.

The pounding rain had eroded it all away.

Remnants of the bed of dirt remained, but the top layer of soil, including all the tiny plants, were swept away with the storm.

"Selphie?" she heard Marluxia calling for her. Tears clouding her vision, she looked up to him and saw him walking toward her. She ran to him and threw her body into his grasp.

"Marluxia! It's all gone!" she cried into his chest. "All we've done… and it's gone!"

He stroked her hair and pulled her closer to his body. "It's okay," he crooned, "It'll be okay."

"No, it won't," she mumbled into his jacket, "it's too late to start over now."

Marluxia pulled her away from his body tentatively. "Here, I want to show you something." He took her hand within his and tugged her along, through the park, along the sidewalk, and into a forest on the side of the highway.

The trees were dense and the air was muggy, but Selphie wasn't going to let go of his hand, even though it was getting darker and darker. Not now. Not ever.

He silently helped her climb over the crawling branches, urging her to keep following him. Selphie felt like they had been walking forever; she could hardly see the sunlight pouring through the canopy.

"Close your eyes," he finally said. "I have a secret for you."

Selphie loved secrets.

She closed her eyes and felt another tug on her hand. She followed and no longer felt the muddy earth underneath her feet, but something springier… like grass. She smelled the soft aroma of hydrangea bushes.

"Open them," he said and Selphie couldn't believe her eyes.

It was a secret garden, tucked away from the rest of the world. Summer flowers were blooming up to the sky. Huge, magenta peonies and cute little snapdragons; elegant, willowy irises and sunny, yellow daffodils.

Just what she always dreamed of.

The colors and smells overwhelmed her senses, and she turned to him, grinning.

"Do you like it?" he asked softly.

"Like it... I love it!" she exclaimed, releasing her grasp on his hand. She spun around, arms soaring above her head, soaking up the beauty.

"It's yours then," he muttered, "It can be your secret garden."

Her heart skipped a beat, and she whirled back to him. "Mine?" she asked. He nodded with a gleam in his eye. "I could stay here forever!" she screamed to the woods. He smirked and leaned against a tree.

"…Good."

She wanted to run to him, to kiss him and thank him and tell him how much she loved him.

But she… couldn't.

She looked down and saw thick, dark green vines climbing up her body, wrapping around her legs. The grin dropped from her face as she struggled to break free from the plant's grasp.

"Marluxia?!" she cried. The vines were up to her torso now, squeezing her stomach. Tears were cascading freely down her cheeks. He only smiled at her.

"You said you wanted to stay here forever, right?" he said with a sick, dark laugh.

"Marluxia! Help me! Make this stop!" she screamed, hair flying into her eyes.

"Why would I make it stop, if I'm the one making it go?" he asked sarcastically. And then it hit her.

There wasn't any sunlight. There shouldn't be any vines. There shouldn't be any flowers.

There should be no garden.

"Who are you?" she yelled as loud as she could. Her arms were strapped to her sides now, and breathing became harder and harder every second.

Marluxia lifted one hand above his head and a patch of giant sunflowers sprung from the ground, blocking Selphie's view from anything but him. The vines were climbing higher and higher; they were beginning to curl their way around her slender neck.

He snapped his fingers and the very grass beneath him shot him forward, right in front of Selphie. He took her face in his hands and peered into her teary eyes.

Then his lips collided with hers painfully, and his unwelcome tongue shot into her mouth. Selphie struggled fruitlessly against him; the vines were already curving through her hair, pulling and tearing it from her head.

He pulled away and cackled. "Some people like to call me the Green Thumb."

Her emerald eyes continued to grow wider, wider, wider until even her face was covered with the thick plant. All she could see was the darkness. The darkness that continued enveloping her.

She couldn't see, she couldn't breathe. All she could do was hear. She heard the flowers and the trees and his sickeningly mirthful laugh.

The vines choked her final breath from her lungs and the last thing she heard was her friend, her love, her (forever and ever) secret's whisper echoing in her ear.

"Others call me the Graceful Assassin."

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FIN

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author's note: So… I had totally planned on making this happy. I swear I did. But Marluxia is always so manipulative! Sorry if you were looking for happy...

Please review!