To be understood before you read: I began and finished this story back when all we really knew about 358/2 Days was the title and that it centered on Roxas and maybe that there was a 14th member, so none of that was included in this story. Now that Days is out, I am NOT going to revise or rewrite this fic to make it fit the events of that game. I can't. The whole story falls apart if I do. SO, think of it as kind of an alternate 358/2 Days. This story takes place in between Roxas's joining the Organization and his being captured by DiZ. There is some time-skipping. I'm not going to go into the events of CoM. Note that at the time I wrote this story it was before the release of Re:CoM in America and I had never been able to finish even Sora's story in the original GBA version, so there could be a few inaccuracies there. Also note that this story focuses on the relationship between Roxas and Namine. I'm not so much interested in Roxas's role in the Organization, but I am going to go into Namine's time with Riku and DiZ. The first half is Roxas-centric. The second half focuses more on Namine.
Assumptions that make this story work: The Organization was living at the World that Never Was before half of them moved to Castle Oblivion. Roxas and Namine met before KH2. In the cutscene in KH2 where Roxas first encounters Namine, her words "I wanted to meet you..."; meet is being used losely.
Much Ado About N o t h i n g
But neither are you
"…and just stay out of Larxene's way. She's got a seriously short temper, like, think in terms of the diameter of an atom. And, well, that's pretty much all you need to know to survive in the Organization. Or at least all I can tell you. The rest you'll have to figure out for yourself." Axel finished and flashed Roxas a friendly smile.
Since his recent induction into the Organization, Roxas had practically clung to Axel. The pyromaniac had hospitably taken the newest member under his wing, and the two had quickly developed a strong friendship.
Today's lesson consisted of where everything is, who to talk to, who not to talk to, who would bite your head off if you talked to, and who to avoid if you had ever entertained the idea of one day having the necessary assets to reproduce (coughLarxenecough).
It was all Roxas could do to remember all of this information. They rounded a corner, and Roxas, lost amid his attempts to mentally categorize all his co-workers, failed to notice he was about to walk head first into a small blond in a white sundress.
"Roxas!" Axel's warning shook Roxas from his thoughts a moment to late. He unceremoniously collided with the girl.
"Oh!" She squeaked and dropped the notebook she'd been holding. "My sketchbook!" She dropped to her knees and began picking up the stray sketches that had fallen out of her book. Roxas too dropped to his knees to assist her, but she snatched her papers up before his hand could reach them. He managed to beat her to one, and held it out to her.
"Here," the girl looked up at the sketch, and hesitantly took it from him and returned it to her sketchbook; never once looking up at him.
"Thank you," she said, as they both stood up. She kept her blue eyes downcast, and her gaze stayed concentrated on her feet.
"I'm sorry for running into you," she murmured, in a sweet, soft voice barely more than a whisper.
Roxas blinked. Who was this girl? And why did she seem so familiar?
"Don't be. It was my fault." Roxas replied kindly, smiling softly at the small blonde. She looked about his age, now that he thought about it.
The girl glanced up at him, hesitantly, like she was frightened of him. Even as she looked at him, she had the expression of a deer caught in the head lights of a tractor-trailer.
Axel coughed. The girl looked nervously in his direction, before casting her eyes downwards again.
She apologized hastily again before rushing off. Roxas noticed another drawing on the floor, and picked it up.
"Hey, wait, you forgot your-!" But the girl was already gone. Roxas looked down at the sketch. It was a beautiful architectural drawing of the Castle That Never Was. Roxas marveled at the intricate detail and astounding accuracy. Resolving to return the drawing to her later, Roxas stored the sketch in a pocket of his robe.
He then turned to Axel. "Who was she?"
Axel didn't seem the slightest perturbed by the mysterious girl's appearance.
"Oh, you mean Naminé? Yeah, she lives here. She's not exactly part of the Organization, but she does something for us. Not sure what. Xemnas can tell you more about her."
"About whom?" That man had seriously scary timing. A portal opened in the middle of the hallway and the Superior stepped out. Roxas could only surmise that he wanted them for something of major importance to seek them himself.
"Naminé," Axel told him casually. "I was just informing Number XII about our…whatever you'd call her."
"Ah." Xemnas turned to the young nobody. "Naminé is a witch. She is not among our ranks, but neither is she our enemy. She may roam the castle and this world as she pleases, but is not permitted to leave this world without accompaniment and a suitable excuse for leaving. She knows her privileges and restrictions, and, for the most part, she abides by them. It is important that she be looked after, and any suspicious activity on her part is to be reported."
Roxas tried to dig past the big words to uncover Xemnas's meaning.
"So, she's like, our hostage?" Xemnas pondered this definition.
"Naminé is not so much a hostage as a guest in whose favor the status quo is not tipped. As such, amiability with her is not encouraged, but she is to be treated civilly nonetheless. She possesses abilities that are of great value to us, and she will not aid us as we require of her under any other terms. She has the ability to utilize the Corridors of Darkness, and can leave if she so desired. But as long as she has a reason to remain here, she will do so. That being said, I have a vitally important mission for you…"
Roxas tuned his superior out. Axel would fill him in later. Roxas instead opted to contemplate the girl.
Naminé. That was her name. Immediately Roxas felt stupid. Naminé, of course! It seemed so obvious, that was Naminé! How could he forget?
But then Roxas was confronted with an even more confounding conundrum.
How could he remember?
Roxas was certain he'd never met Naminé before in his life. (Never mind that he couldn't remember most of it.) But he felt certain that he knew her; knew her quite well, in fact.
Her face appeared clearly in his mind's eye. Pale white, porcelain skin, soft features, and stunningly brilliant blue eyes. Her eyes- why could he picture them so much more clearly than the rest of her face?
He'd hardly looked at her for two seconds, and yet her eyes appeared so easily in his mind; it was as if he'd stared into them for years.
It made no sense. He'd said scarcely three words to her, and yet he felt like he'd known her forever. Perhaps he'd known her before he lost his heart; after all, he couldn't remember any of that time; but then again, shouldn't she have recognized him too?
He had to find out who this girl was. Who was this artist with such a hold on his mind?
It was then Roxas decided; he had to see her again.
It had been a few weeks since Roxas had last seen Naminé. He'd been sent on mission after mission, and had yet to find the time to find her again. He had not forgotten his resolution to see her; he had determined that returning her drawing was the perfect excuse for seeing her. His ponderings on the girl had kept him awake many a night.
He finally got a day off, and was determined to use it to find Naminé. He'd started at the one reliable source he knew- Axel.
"So, where is Naminé's room? I assume she's not in the dungeon, since she's our, status quo-impaired guest, or whatever Xemnas called her."
The redhead scrutinized his young friend.
"Why do you want to find Naminé?"
Roxas had already formed his excuse.
"She left behind one of her sketches, that day I first saw her. I just thought she might want it back."
Axel raised an eyebrow. Clearly he was still suspicious of Roxas's motives. "Okay."
Roxas nervously stood outside Naminé's door. Why, why was he so nervous?
His curiosity finally getting the better of him, Roxas put his fist to the door.
Roxas nervously (again, why with the nervousness?) opened the door to her room.
It was as stark white as the rest of the castle. He almost didn't see Naminé, she blended so well with the rest of the room. It was only by the brilliance of her blue eyes that he managed to locate her at all. She was seated at a white table, a sketchbook and some crayons strewn across it.
Roxas stepped in and closed the door behind him. "So, um, hi." He said.
Naminé watched him warily. "Hi," she said slowly; questioningly.
Roxas examined her. He hadn't gotten a very good look at her before. She had to be about his age, maybe even younger. Her hair was the palest shade of blonde he'd ever seen-it was almost like champagne. Everything about her was pale. Her hair, which rested so picturesquely on her shoulder; her skin so light it was barely discernable from her simple white sundress; Roxas would have thought she was albino if not for her eyes.
Her eyes were simply stunning. Roxas decided they seemed to hold all the mystery and fervor and simultaneous calm of the ocean. One phrase came to mind as he stared into her eyes.
The calm before the storm.
It was then, as he stared into her eyes, that Roxas realized that this small child was capable of more destruction than met the eye. He felt like that was another thing he should know about her; there was power locked away inside of this small package; he felt certain of it.
She stood, and Roxas had the opportunity to examine the rest of her. She was small in every aspect: in height, in width, in apparent physical strength. She looked fragile, like a doll. Nothing more than a life-sized China doll.
"Excuse me," a voice as light and tinkling as a music-box melody brought Roxas back to the reality where he'd not yet announced the point and purpose of his arrival. "Can I help you? Am I needed for something?"
"Um," Roxas blinked a few times, and then reached into his pocket and pulled out the drawing. "Here, this is yours." He handed the sketch out, and Naminé took it from him and examined it. "You left it, that day we first met, or well, we didn't exactly meet, I just kinda, ran into you, literally, and, um, I thought you might want it back. I mean, I would have brought it back sooner, but I've been busy, you know, missions, and everything. Not that, you know, you're low on my priorities, or anything, it's just, I haven't been able to..." Naminé put a slender finger to his lips, silencing him. Her pale pink lips (so pale blush-pink) lifted into a small smile.
"Thank you." She said, and turned away to put her drawing back into her sketchbook.
"It's really good." Roxas said, as Naminé returned her sketch to its place.
"Your drawing. It's really good." Naminé looked up and him, and smiled again.
"Thank you." How could two words sound so beautiful? Everyday words, yet, she made them sound so poetic.
It was then Roxas realized he thought she was beautiful.
"I've been watching you." She said simply, sitting down at the end of the long white table. Roxas, confused, took a seat at the opposite end of the table. "Not in a creepy, stalker-like way." Naminé opened her sketchbook and began drawing as she spoke, glancing up at him every few seconds. "I just make a point to know who my captors are; what they're capable of, how likely they are to hit me if I upset them."
She pursed her lips and glanced up at Roxas. She did a double take. "Can you tilt your head to the side a little bit-no, the other side. Thank you."
Roxas continued the listen to her, entranced.
"You aren't like the others. You aren't cruel. You don't like killing. Heartless, nobodies; they don't bother you so much; but innocent people, you don't like harming. I've heard you argue with Axel about it. And you wield the keyblade. That says something about the kind of person you are. You're gentle; you're kind. I can tell. I have a way of knowing what kind of a person someone is without ever speaking a word to them. And I think you're a good person. Begs to question what you're doing in the Organization."
"How'd you end up with the Organization?"
"Touché. In layman's terms, I'm a hostage. Though I'm treated much better than a normal hostage would be. I'm here because they need me...and because I have no where else to go. I have no desire to join the Organization, but perhaps if I can help them, I might get a heart out of the deal. And, like I said, it isn't like I have much of anywhere else to go. It would seem that you are here for much the same reasons."
"Yeah." Roxas was appalled. He'd talked to her for ten minutes, and already she could read him like a book.
Naminé simply smiled and went back to her drawing.
Roxas decided now was the time to address the other reason he'd sought her out.
"Hey, have we met before?"
Naminé looked up, her smile fading.
"You've got to do better than that." She replied, harshly. "That's one of the oldest pick-up lines in the book."
Roxas shook his head. "No! I mean, really. Have we met before? Do I know you from somewhere? If I do, and you're mad because I didn't like, glomp you the last time I saw you; I wasn't trying to be mean, I just don't remember you. Not that you mean so little to me that I could forget about you, I just don't remember anything. My memory's a total blank before I lost my heart-I don't even know how I lost it."
Naminé looked up from her sketch and stared at him. "You neither?" She said, stunned.
"You neither?" Roxas replied, staring back.
Naminé shook her head. "Nothing."
"I don't remember a thing," Roxas mumbled, his voice almost a whisper, but still echoing around the small room. "But, you seem so familiar, like,"
"Like I should know everything about you." Naminé whispered, her eyes wide.
Roxas smiled in amazement at her. "Yeah."
Naminé smiled. "I'm Naminé."
Roxas smiled back, realizing he'd yet to introduce himself.
A/N:1- In the 358/2 Days preview shown at Tokyo Game Show, apparently Axel gives some scientific explanation for the colors of the sunset. It seems to me that he's kinda scientific. Hence the atom comment.
A/N:2-He's so Sora's nobody...
The plot starts coming into play next chapter. Now, I feel I should explain the title and inspiration for this fic. Flipping through the information catalouge for Savannah College of Art and Design, where I'm thinking of going, in the Illustration section is a beautiful digital painting of a girl in a wedding dress against a background of laughing masks. It is titled 'Much Ado About Nothing'. Looking at the painting, the first thing I noticed was that the girl bore a striking resemblance to Namine. I've never read Shakespere's Much Ado About Nothing, but I will assume that the illustration probably had more to do with that than Kingdom Hearts. But still. The title is fitting of Namine. She's a nobody; essentially she and Roxas are nothing, yet the two of them manage to cause quite a lot of chaos for the good guys and bad guys alike despite not technically existing. Hence the title. A whole lot of hooblah about nobody. Get it? Also, the illustration seemed so perfect for Namine since the idea of her ever being in a wedding dress would probably send the rest of the Organization into a fit of hysterical (albeit cruel) laughter. (Masks in the background...) Remember this information. It will be important later in the plot...
Sorry for the lengthy author's notes. But if you don't understand the story's set up you will get majorly confused later. Happy V-Day! The next chapter will be up soon!