note; This was greatly inspired by a four-hour Gossip Girl marathon I had on Tuesday.
I really like the idea of the KH characters living in New York, for whatever reason.
So yeah, this is going to be an AU drabble series centering around Kairi and Axel.
The other characters will make appearances too, though. I promise. Enjoy!

of castles and clouds.

Each flash of the camera makes her weak at the knees; each click of the shutter makes her sway. She becomes unsubstantial, nothing more than a frozen smile glittering on the lens. And as she stands there, as the indecipherable roar of voices becomes louder, the princess disappears. Now you see her, now you don't.

(If there's no princess in the castle, who is there to save?)

- x -

The smoldering end of a cigarette is suddenly crushed by a very expensive designer boot (black, of course; the color of the Upper East Side), the dying spark forming a mark on the impeccable marble flooring right underneath a 'No Smoking' sign. Heads turn. Eyes widen. A single name bounces around the room, off of each silk tie and diamond-studded watch.


Everyone who is anyone knows him, and if you don't, you are nobody. And Axel doesn't waste time with nobodies, of course. It just isn't the way things are done around here.

- x -

The girl with the hair that's too bright and too straight sits at a crowded table, her head tipped back with laughter. The man with the eyes that are too piercing and too cold watches her, a lazy smile spreading across his face as he takes a drink of wine that he's not old enough to have (but the Manhattan elite don't play by the rules now, do they?) She looks like all of the other young women there – beautiful, well dressed, in need of a meal or two – but there's something a little… off. It isn't her fake smile or eyes a haunted blue (because everyone is pretending, honey; a pretty play for all to see). It's something else, something different.

Something new.

And Axel continues to observe, not noticing when a drop a wine lands on his tie as he falls down a step on the social stairway. Poor, poor Axel. Hasn't anyone told him? The faster you rise…

The harder you fall.

- x -

He speaks to her with pretty words that skate around the room, with wandering hands that push back a lock of her hair. Her first reaction is to push him backwards onto the posh furniture, but an unexpected arrangement of letters quells the urge.

"I'm sorry."

His voice is something that the girl has only known on television and movie screens. Sincere.

"Why?" It comes out shaky, uncertain, afraid. She doesn't trust him. Rule #13 of the Upper East Side – don't show any other emotion other than anger; anger, when controlled, can help you claw your way to the top of the food chain. Anything else only pulls you down.

He moves his hand from her hair to his own, running his fingers through the red mane and looking away as though embarrassed. "That you have to live this way. I'm sorry for the lie that is 'Manhattan socialite'."

The girl parts her perfectly glossed lips, and then closes them, shocked. A heavy silence sits on top of the pair, until Axel asks his last question of the evening.

"What's your name?"

For a moment, she is insulted. Has she not gotten enough recognition for her modeling career? But the liar he had apologized for earlier is promptly shut away, and the truth comes out of hiding.

"Kairi. My name is Kairi."