He feels juvenile and he feels empty and his expression is like a slow moving freight train, an empty one, rolling back to station where it will probably be dismantled and never sent out again.

His heart, sequestered in his aching chest, is probably breaking, shattering in its bone-and-sinew cage as the sunlight seeps in across his face. Something not quite like tears is streaming down his cheeks.

He reaches trembling fingers, but there is nothing. Music rings inside his mind and he trembles everywhere.

He feels young and he feels empty, so very empty.

He wishes desperately to be cold, but he is not. He does not need the body heat that might have possibly been offered to him.

His heart, he thinks, has been broken for a good long while now.

He steps into the open air and does not weep for want of breath.

The gasp comes easily, and then he is—he is certain—dead.

talkin' 'bout heart 'n... s-soul

"Hello?"

Hello, pretty. You are very pretty, do you know how pretty you are? Your ears and your eyelashes and your little toe.

"Hello."

Hello. Hello! Ring, ring, ring, ring, ring!

Roxas. Some days he is Roxas and other days he is not. Right now he is Roxas, Roxas who is however old he is and is from wherever it is he is from.

Ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, static on the line!

"Hello?"

Oh, why Hello there!CrinklerattleshakeHow are you today?

"Awful, I feel awful, awful, not empty, just awful," the throaty sounds of his voice are wistful and aching and awful.

That's what happens when—When? When the earth explodes into tiny pieces and you are thrown across the galaxy to a strange new world where you can start your life all over again! When! When a train hits you and you're dead, dead-dead, dead deaddead Dead!

"I…"

Died. Gone to heaven, shot in the back, stabbed in the face, poisoned like a rat. You are a rat.

"I died of a broken heart." Hands smooth his face, Roxas's face through the telephone.

And the telephonic connection vibrates. Ring, ring, ring, ring, ring.

"We are warm," the throaty voice of the warm hands is heated and sexual.

The laughter that crackles through the void of telephone wire is hysterical and beautiful, flying over his head in a myriad of obstructing colors and vehement parallels.

¿am i happy or in misery?

There are days and nights and lovers like this. When Roxas is dead and his eyes can't stand the darkness because it hurts. It hurts so badly that his retina bleed truth and laughter… He sees best in the dark when he's blind.

Roxas dies of broken hearts often and he has conversations on the telephone with the voice of those hands. They're white hands, soft hands, emptywarm hands that caress the line of his face where the telephone is cradled.

"Ring, ring, ring, ring, ring," they whisper like tepid gusts of knives and butterflies.

"Help me," Roxas tells them on some daynightlover when he's empty—empty and wakes up feeling poisoned and flayed.

The hands can't come to him, can't bypass the visual lines of voices on the wire, yhe hands can't save him and all Roxas can do is wait until he feels cold again. Cold and alone and juvenile and empty all over again.

It's awful, he just simply feels awful. He does not wonder if this blind lying foal-cub will ever be allowed to grow up.

is it tomorrow, or just the end of time?

Roxas goes out for tea sometimes. He walks across the lanes of glass air and sometimes he tumbles off the stairway and forgets how to make himself fly.

That sounds trite, he tells himself.

He can't fly, none of them can, but they can walk wherever they need to go, even across the clear blue sky.

Them… he goes to have tea with Them and they smile at him.

"Little brother."

He shivers. He loves them and they love him and they give him tea and console his unlucky heartbreaks.

"You were there again," one voiceface accuses softly, blue eyes a blue so pure that the blue is no longer blue and instead stretches beyond the aggravating boundaries of reality and into something far more serious and convoluted than imagination.

"I was there again," Roxas agrees and takes the jade-and-amber tea his only sister serves to him.

There is a coo and a hiss of very many birds and their dappled-gray picnic table stretches on into infinity. The founts burst forth all around them, shedding diamonds to the worlds far below.

One of his brothers sings for him in sadness and Roxas cannot smile.

"Sweet, sweet little brother," they all say for him and covet him and hurt him with the strength of their arms and he is defenseless and so sorry he cannot cry to make them happy.

They would be so happy if he would only ease the vice-thread spider webs strung around them all.

He cannot, but if he could… he is not sure he could.

His sister eyes him with her dark-woman's eyes. They're blue, blueblue blue blue, the blue of painted nails and powdered faces and curving sexuality and kris blades hidden in lacy garters.

Her nails stroke his arm and his flesh breaks out in hives beneath her touch, he squirms and scratches and the bees break free from his heart. The emptiness and the pain ebbs until he his newborn.

The birds sing savage songs, "The phoenix is the only bird who does not descend."

"Calf," one of his brothers laughs, his moonlight bliss oozing outward like a disease of shaking sickness.

Roxas does not begrudge him.

There is no rebirth for them, they are trapped in their bodies of steel and porcelain and bark and sea and sky and fire.

Brother Fire… his flames are wild, burning through the lacey doilies slowly. They are slowly coming to tell little brother the secrets of the universe.

Don't tell, don't tell. Little brother is too young, too small, white, pure and untainted. Leave him to die again.

so far out my mind

The stars bid goodbye to him and he is not Roxas today.

Today he is a Sora-something from that somewhere wet and wild; warmth.

The jealousy Roxas feels at this usurping is unbidden and endless.

It is wrong, wrong, Sora tells him in the voice of a child and a sun. A hollow sun, where the doves will not tread and the eagles will not soar. He is doomed to follow destiny's plans until the very, very, very end of time.

"It is a story of children," Sora cries. They are the tears Roxas never regains and when the brothers and the sister come, they are not happy and they are not amused and they call Roxas back with whips and chains and heady incenses, which smell like home and harbor and stable.

It is hard not to be Sora on the days he is not meant to be Roxas. It hurts him very much, like stabbing pains in his gut and a debilitating tension in his collarbone.

"The stars will still be gone when he returns," Sora says in that voice, the terrible voice that Roxas loves more deeply than all the heartbreaks he's suffered over time.

The birds sing, "Time, time, time, see what's become of me."

"We'll rebuild him then, we'll make him whole and new," one of the brothers says in a blue, blue-blueblue, blue voice, blue like the glint of an asp's eye and blue like the shudder of frightened trees and blue like the howl of a faraway planet.

Sora loves him too, Roxas knows, and Sora will break his heart too, Roxas knows.

He feels… empty and juvenile. Young, he feels young and helpless and ignorant. Empty, white and untainted.

don't know if it's day or night

The unicorns lower their horns to him and he pets their snouts and they cry little tears for him. Purple tears, purple like the sands of time and purple like the flow of memories and purple like the sound of suckling kittens.

The black beasts lick his face when he sits among them and the soft-yellow foals drop clovers into his lap.

He's been told four is the number of the dead and the lonesome magpie in the branches of the world trees agrees.

Sometimes, even, the unicorns will sing for him, if he is still not-weeping over the broken shards of his cracking heart. They sing like the wild and the world and the gliding of a parade of dandelion seeds.

Sometimes, his brothers will join him in the unicorn field. Well, the ones who can, at least. The one half-hidden by the shadows of his mind will come and hold him in his darkening arms and stare at him with his twilit eyes.

His sister never visits here, because she has not been pure for a very long time.

And the magpie hates him—the lone, solitary, magpie in the world trees.

"You break so easily," his brothers say to him. Sometimes, it is the one who is both and neither and everything and soft and smells of rotting flowers. It's a sweet, horrible smell, but the unicorns like it.

The lilac mares raise their noses to the wind to catch his brother's dying scent.

I can't go on like this

They cannot make him stronger, Roxas slides between their fingers, back to the arms of some cold-warmth face that will not treat him right. The minds of mortals are cruel when unfettered.

Some love him as Roxas and abandon him as Sora and others do everything in between, but none of them can stay. They hurtle over the edges of the falls and join the diamonds and rubies and emeralds and all manner of jewels.

They'll be made into precious jewelry no one will wear.

"I'm very lonely," Roxas tells a lion in his soft voice.

The lion walks away from him like lions always do and Roxas looks up as the giant cicada lands beside him.

"Your brothers and sister want you to come for tea," he chirrups in that buggy language Roxas has never quite gotten the hang of all the way.

"I've not yet been broken," Roxas protests, gazing off into a dull-winter-wake sun languishing on the very edges of the fading rocky horizon.

"Then do not come," the buggy-bug says with a shrug of wings and prickly little legs.

It disappears, leaving its skin behind.

what ever it is, that girl put a spell on me

Roxas awakes to the feeling of something warm and girlish in his arms and knows by the way she breaths she will not stay long.

Her eyes are green like poison and envy and betrayal and satisfaction. She is the same acid-love that always erodes Roxas's heart away.

"There is no one in this world to love me," he tells her.

And she leaves.

His siblings send the wolf pack to retrieve him, but he cannot go just yet. The telephone is ringing; he must reach with one hand and raise it…

Empty, he is empty and he is young and his heart is probably breaking, shattering to crystalline blades within his chest and his organs swell and he chokes. It is so easy to die every time.

The operator on the telephone announces that he is dead. Time of death: eternity.

Ring, ring, ring, ring… Hello. Telephone, Roxas, Roxas, say Hello. Your true love is on the telephone. Ring, ring, ring, ring.

Out there, somewhere, warm hands must be connected to a warm body.

To love you the way you crave. Not the way your siblings hope you'll find. Don't… don't feel sad.

something's happening, something's happening

The tea tastes like frogs and the cakes his sister offers to him feel like a statue of some long lost god. Chewing on marble statuaries…

"We don't like ah-whom you've been talking to," the one who likes to pretend he's father says.

The broken one giggles into his tea, it steams and bubbles wildly against his lips, and Oedipus glares across the long stretching table.

"That voice is not safe," the talking yapping-talker talks. His hair is black like storms and guillotine songs and spider children's shoes.

The one who is the opposite of Roxas reaches out and pets his hair with his lying-cheating hand and Roxas is not so terribly amused, but he leans in to the touch because one cannot deny their not-twin.

Sister crosses her legs beneath the table and the other brothers with the mind to do so drink their tea and nod and agree. The voice is not to be trusted.

Roxas considers them all and wonders what they know of trust.

"So broken," they tell him and the one who has been broken since birth laughs into his tea again.

"We'll fix you right up, you don't hear the voice when you're fixed."

Fix you.

"Ring, ring, ring, ring, ring," the broken one murmurs as the bees break free from Roxas' crying mouth.

(…) purple haze, no, it's painful, baby (…)

The fires of destruction rule the Twisted Kingdoms of here and there and not really anywhere particular, but certainly here.

It is always that brokenhearted-day in the Twisted Kingdoms and They break and build and break and build and Roxas knows he's not allowed here.

The days when he is not Roxas are when he could wander their depths, but Sora cares not for the Twisted Kingdoms and instead seeks to break the vows of Family and flee to the worlds beyond.

He never makes it. The starbright love-songs distract him oh-so often until he's sitting quietly on the cold face of Pluto crying the alabaster tears that hurt Roxas to think about.

The hands haunt Roxas's artificial darkness when he is not himself and not-not himself. The hands dry his not-tears and smooth his hair beneath the white palms of their soothing hands. The hands hold the telephone to his ear and he hears the singing of blood-white mermaids.

They call to him and he answers, answers without being able to. His attempts not to choke fail in a special kind of misery and he is dead all over again. The sweet wind-chime sound of his breaking heart is strangely, strangely, absent.

He walks the paths to the Twisted Kingdoms and his sweet brother—the broken one who keeps devouring his own flesh in the fury of his own volatile-voracious-vicious passions—is there to greet him.

"I'll burn it all away, make you numb, make you whole, so very, very whole, so you can stop hurting every day."

Roxas touches his brother, strokes the flickering lines of his melting features.

"Will you miss me?"

"Terribly."

"Indeed."

Roxas kisses his cheek and seers his lips shut—(familiesandsealsandritesandpassion)—and then the flames rise red like the red of a panda's dreams and the red sound of a cricket's madness and the red of his brother's aching fury to consume.

Ring. Ring, ring, ring, ring.

He is not Roxas.

He is young and empty. He feels like a freight train, going back to station to be filled up again and sent out. Again and again and again, returning empty, to be refilled and used.

Ring, ring, ring, ring.

The hands are his own, Sora murmurs to himself tiredly.

Aged and tired, dying alone in the cold mountains of he doesn't know where.

Alone and empty, the Heartless ripping him to pieces, uninterested in his heart as it slows and stops beating after all this time.

Roxas is the quiet peace of new life.


Standard Disclaimers. Lyrical breaks by Jimi Hendrix because the formatting on blows.