Nobody, Not Really

(After All)

Pre-CoM, Axel and Namine, interpretable, but not intended.

disclaimer: Kingdom Hearts and characters are property of Square Enix.

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"You must be the pet," the hooded man comments, leaning on the too-long table. He's dressed in black from head to toe, stark against the whitewash walls and pearly floors. His feet make no mark on ground that should have, never will collect dust.

"I'm Namine," the blonde girl replies, tentatively reaching a hand out, bottom lip caught gently between her teeth. But what was loneliness when you didn't have a heart to feel it with?

The man pulls his hood back with slender gloved fingers, revealing a head of vibrant red spikes. It's even more shocking than the black, all too alive in a dead room. Her fingers itch for her crayons, wanting to capture the vivid play of color in a black and white room. Crimson, scarlet, maroon, she could pick out the little shadows and highlights, like blood, like…

"Axel. Remember it." Fire.

There's a teasing drawl to his voice and there's a nearly graceful arc about his leaning form, almost like that Man, but less willow and more reed.

Without realizing it, her fingers are flying across the paper, a fresh page, still crisp. The soft clicks of pencils on a polished table as she switched colors are unnoticed. Tapering ivory fingers dart a smudge of a lingering grin and quickly sketch two green eyes. And under them—

"I wouldn't do that, little miss memory witch." Namine looks up at a sharp-edged smile and a finger tipped with flame. Speechless, she watches in mute horror as the blazing corona moved to her unfinished picture and wax-carved face melted into a grotesque leer, dripping with smoke-charred color.

He's one of them. The thought shoots through her consciousness, spinning with black-red-green colors and cursing her naïve idiocy. So she shrinks back against her too-large chair; pale hair on pale skin on pale dress on pale seat.

Don't hurt me.

"Don't get me wrong, I'm sure the picture would've been all pretty when you were done," charred paper flakes easily, even in her delicate hands. "But I like my memories where they are. Exactly, where they are. And I don't want your pretty little hands in my head taking a snippet here or there out." He taps his head lightly with a finger, all too casually snuffing out the candle-flame tip with a scattered thought.

If he thinks her reaction strange, he doesn't mention it.

"Well, 'princess', it's been fun, but I have other things to burn." Axel withdrew and turned, a dark portal like a yawning mouth opening behind him.

Namine doesn't stir, an overlooked ornament on her alabaster chair.

"If I were you, little princess witch-" he begins, his back still turned and fingers hooked around the edges of his hood, "I wouldn't want to make any mistakes." He steps through.

The portal seals itself like a zipper on a rent of black void, disappearing from the room as though it never was. No black-leather sheen or translucent green eyes; no vivid red hair or flickering orange fire. No grinning face. No Axel.

Nobody but her.

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A/N: oh geeze, XD; short and bittersweet? I liked how many little double-hidden meanings I tucked into this- stuff you might miss if you don't read carefully or in between the lines. I think those mostly serve to explore, metaphorize Namine's situation tho. This is mostly from her POV. It's gotta be lonely, up there, and anyone at all would be better than being alone. No one. I also vaguely hint at Axel and his emphasis on memory. But it's not something I want to put into it too, might ruin the singular effect more than I already have. .

Comments appreciated :).