a/n: I apologize in advance for this mess of writing. Bah. I don't know how I feel about it, but it was one of those ideas that refused to leave my head. I had to write it. I had to finish it. Anyway, this is for Ana's contest. I'll put the given prompts at the end- I don't want to spoil anything!

dedication: For Diamonds. I hope you enjoy it, love!

disclaimer: I don't own anything… boo…

x.x.x.x

ASYLUM

x.x.x.x

She was as dainty as a porcelain doll; her pale skin was aglow with the harsh fluorescent lighting overhead, making her look strangely ill.

Most people would consider her sick, after all- either sick or just plain crazy.

She liked to stand by the window and stare at the outside world, her fingers tracing the glass. She imagined herself amongst the trees painted by autumn. She liked to think that it was a wonderful place- a place nothing like this one.

This place was cold. This place was filled with terror.

She hated this place, but her memory held nothing else. Sometimes, she would stand in front of that window, her imagination running wild with ideas of a former life. Who had she been?

Better yet, who was she now?

She breathed on the windowpane, and the steam flowing from her perfect lips fogged the glass. Slowly, her finger swiped the condensation away. Slowly, a misshapen star formed where her finger ran its course. Slowly, the tears ran down her face- one for every memory that she would never find.

She used to be a little girl with big eyes and big dreams, ready to take on the world. But then something happened, something terrible and wrong. Now her eyes were lifeless, continually searching outside the window for someone to come along and make her dreams come true.

"Naminé?" a voice called from the doorway. She jumped as she quickly turned around, for she was afraid. She was always afraid of what they were to do next. A man in a stiff white coat loomed in the doorway. His name escaped her. Frankly, she couldn't even remember her own name. Was she Naminé?

She hung her head low so her bangs would hide her very red eyes as she responded with a question, "Is that my name?"

The man smiled, but when he did so, it twisted his otherwise beautiful features. This man wasn't meant to smile. "Yes, it is. Do you remember my name?"

She shook her head, backing away.

"I'm Marluxia," the man said with his hand placed firmly against his chest. A woman, also dressed in a white coat, appeared behind him, looking just as unfriendly. "And this is Larxene."

The woman smiled radiantly, and again, the smile looked malicious. Naminé knew she should fear these people; she shouldn't trust them. Back, back, back she went, away from these monsters in white coats.

"Would you like to come with us?" he asked, his voice even. Again, Naminé shook her head. She checked behind her. No door. Maybe she should jump out the window?

"Why do you even ask?" Larxene whispered harshly to Marluxia. He glanced behind his shoulder and shrugged. "It's been two years. She's never remembered her name, and she's never remembered ours, and she sure as hell has never, ever wanted to leave this room."

"Shut it, she can hear you," he growled through gritted teeth. Two years? She had been here two long years? Naminé pulled gently on a lock of hair. Two years was a long time.

"How old am I?" she asked to nobody in particular, stopping her retreat for but a moment.

"Seventeen," Larxene answered quickly. It seemed like she'd answered this question many times before. She lurched forward toward the petite girl, but Naminé shuddered away.

"Don't touch me," she said firmly, cowering to the back corner of her small room.

"C'mon," Marluxia said as he strode forward, snatching Naminé's wrist between his ice-cold fingers. She screamed helplessly.

"Don't touch me!" she screeched, "Stop it! Stop it! Don't hurt me!" He ignored her cries, and she trudged behind unwillingly. His grasp was too strong for her to do anything, and her throat pained her. So she walked dejectedly beside Marluxia, not even attempting to rip her hand from his firm hold. Larxene followed as well, looking a bit too cheerful as she scribbled on her clipboard.

"Continues to exhibit signs of learned helplessness following the usual screaming tantrum," she muttered under her breath with a smile. Naminé glanced behind as she walked along, catching the eyes of another patient.

Her green eyes were searching.

"Will you come fly to Neverland with me today, Naminé?" the girl asked, her light brown hair bouncing casually on her shoulders. She turned away, toward a tall, thin, white-coated man. "Vexen, how about you? I want to find the Lost Boys. I hear they're lost, you see. Please, please, please, please… I'm sure they want to be found."

"Let me go. Let me go. Let me go," Naminé mumbled under her breath so quietly that nobody could hear. "Let me go to Neverland." Larxene shushed her and grabbed her other hand, stroking it fiercely.

Another patient stood in his doorway, staring at the three of them. His gaze flashed underneath shimmering silver bangs, but he didn't speak. Naminé caught his gorgeous aquamarine eyes, yet her silent pleas went unanswered.

"How are you today, Riku?" Marluxia asked as they passed his room. He didn't respond but merely stared at them furtively.

"I'll assume that's a yes," Larxene said with a cackle. Riku didn't look away but watched Naminé as she trudged along. Before she had escaped from his sight, he had begun to follow them.

Marluxia pulled her into a small room where a few large easels were scattered around. A boy with wild brown hair sat perched on a stool, his feet balancing precariously on the seat. His knees were drawn up to his chest, and he was munching on his paintbrush. The bright yellow paint dripped down his cheeks. Riku stood in the doorway silently, watching. Did he ever speak?

"You like to paint," Marluxia said informatively. He pointed at an easel. Naminé nodded, approaching it hesitantly.

"I'm surprised that she never remembers this," Larxene commented, writing on her clipboard again. Naminé picked up a paintbrush and dipped it gently into a glob of vivid crimson paint.

"Hi, Naminé," the boy said loudly, grinning. The brush fell out of his mouth and onto the floor, splattering yellow on the tiles. Naminé knew she liked this boy, despite the fact that she couldn't remember him.

"Hello," she said softly.

"Hi, Alice!" he nearly shouted, grinning from ear to ear.

Another girl, one even smaller than Naminé had walked in. She tucked her soft blonde hair behind her ears and sat in the corner, avoiding everyone else. She kept mumbling things about getting her head chopped off, and she insisted on wishing Naminé a very merry unbirthday.

It was very quiet in this place, other than the boy's occasional shouts and Alice's murmurs. Marluxia, Larxene, and tall, burly man stood in the back of the room, always observing, constantly writing notes on their clipboards.

"Paint, Naminé," Larxene coaxed.

She cringed at the sound of the woman's voice but obeyed nonetheless.

It wasn't like she was controlling her movements. It wasn't like she knew that she could paint. Frankly, Naminé had no idea what she was doing. She picked her brush and made the first stroke, and before long, she was nearly finished. Both Alice and the boy were hovering over Naminé's shoulders.

Naminé stopped and looked at her creation. It was a self-portrait, in a way. The only flaw from reality was that she was smiling in the painting. She never smiled in real life.

"Sora likes this. Yes, he does," the boy stated matter-of-factly, his cerulean eyes gleaming. "You are very good. Very, very, very good."

"She's painting the roses red, she's painting the roses red!" sang Alice under her breath.

Painting the roses red?

Naminé hadn't realized that she had painted bright red flowers in her hair. The flowers appeared to be bleeding there was so much of the rich scarlet dripping off the canvas.

"Best yet," the third white-coat said sarcastically.

"They're always the same," Larxene noted dryly.

Naminé frowned. She didn't like blood. But when she closed her eyes, it's all she could see. Ignoring Alice, ignoring Sora, ignoring the three in the back, Naminé screamed.

She screamed and screamed and screamed and ran out of the room before anyone could stop her.

Riku painfully watched her as she ran back through the hall, and he watched as Lexaeus sprinted after her.

"Sedative?" Larxene mentioned casually.

"200 milligrams this time," Marluxia replied coolly as she readied the needle for him.

Naminé screeched as she squirmed helplessly in Lexaeus' brawny arms. Riku kept watching, his stare fixed on Naminé. Lexaeus pulled her down, pinning her to the dirty floor. Her screams became louder and louder as Marluxia approached, the silver needle tip shining evilly under the dull lighting. He injected it into her milky-white thigh, and her pained expression faded quickly.

She woke up without a recollection of the incident.

"It's about time," someone said to the fragile girl. She blinked cautiously, unwillingly to return to her terrible reality. When she opened her eyes, a boy was leaning over her bed, frowning.

She looked into his piercing eyes- eyes the color of the ocean- and sat up in her bed.

"They sedated you again," he said angrily, clenching his fists around his spiky blond hair. She simply stared at the boy. She couldn't remember his name.

"Who-"

"I'm Roxas," he clarified quickly, "I'm the only person you consider a friend in this godforsaken hell hole." She still looked confused. "And you're Naminé."

So her name was Naminé. She nodded slowly, her eyes following the young man entering her room. He was wearing a white coat. He silently handed her a tiny cup filled with colorful pills. Instinctively, she closed her eyes tightly and pulled away from the man.

He didn't say anything to her, and neither did Roxas.

When she dared to open her eyes again, the man was just leaving. So she proceeded to swallow the pills without question, washing it all down with the provided water.

"I wish you would stop," Roxas sighed, clapping his hands on his knees while standing up to his full height.

"Stop…what?" she asked.

"Letting them control you," he explained through gritted teeth, "and taking those meds. It's all a conspiracy, you see."

Naminé laughed gently. This must be the reason why she had made friends with Roxas originally. He was crazy!

"I'm serious," he said, and the smile dropped off Naminé's pretty little face.

"But it's medicine," she exclaimed, "Medicine is supposed to make me better."

"Do you even know what it does to you?" he asked angrily. Naminé shook her head. "Exactly. That's why I stopped taking my meds. They don't help, they hinder." His eyes were almost feverishly bright.

Naminé stared at him for a moment. What had she done? Had she really ingested something that was hurting her?

"Naminé, it's okay. I'm here. I'll protect you. And when Axel breaks us out of here, everything will be okay." He embraced her suddenly, stroking her hair against her shuddering back.

"Axel?" she asked into his neck. Roxas sighed.

"He's my best friend… out there, that is. He's coming. He'll come, I know it." Confidence reigned over his every word.

"Oh, Roxas…" she murmured. "Nobody's going to come save us."

"No!" he shouted, shoving Naminé away from him. "Axel's going to come. I swear on it!" He stormed out of her room, kicking the door as he fled. Curled on her bed, Naminé felt more confused than ever.

And that's when she realized that she was alone. And that it was nighttime.

She ran out, yelling Roxas' name.

She turned out into the hallway and bumped shoulders with someone. She screamed as she fell to the ground helplessly. Her arms wrapped around her torso tightly, and her scream shattered the still air. She screamed for her fear, for her lost memories, for Roxas.

She opened her eyes, and she was face-to-face with a stranger. No, she had met him before.

His blue-green eyes pierced through her fear, and she silenced herself instantly. But it wasn't quick enough. The handsome stranger snapped his head over to the side, and Naminé followed suit. Roxas was standing there. He was hesitating to act. Time had stopped among the three of them. Countdown: three… two… one…

"Riku, what the fuck do you think you're doing?" Roxas yelled, pulling Riku away from Naminé. .

"Roxas!" she gasped, struggling to sit up. Riku flew back as he cowered to his doorway. His motions were fearful, but as Naminé looked back at him, his face was contorted with rage.

"Naminé, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to leave you," Roxas cried, his eyes welling up with tears. Naminé stared at Roxas as he babbled away, and Riku silently looked on, stricken with shock and anger.

"But you need to believe me," Roxas added in a completely different tone, wiping the moisture from his cheeks, "Axel is coming, and I will protect you." After this, he left abruptly, mumbling things that couldn't be heard. Naminé looked over at Riku. He looked terrified, but she didn't know what to say to comfort him. And he stayed silent all the while.

Why couldn't she speak? Was it because he couldn't either? Could he really not speak, or was he just refusing to do so?

"Get off the floor, you fools," a short man wearing a white coat shouted. His long bangs were shading one of his eyes. Naminé pulled away from him, struggling to stand up. He grabbed her arm and ripped her up off the floor, shoving her along. She cringed at his strong touch.

Riku's frightened glare swiftly transformed into an angry scowl, but only Naminé noticed. She wondered if anyone noticed him. He was so quiet. She tried to give him a smile as she was forced into her room- something to let him know that she was okay, and something to let him know that she would forget him in the morning.

And she did just that. She forgot him.

The next morning was hard. Naminé had wandered into some strange young man's room. His silver hair looked so soft and silky, and he couldn't tear his eyes away from her. She was just about to say hello when she saw a painting leaning against the back wall of his room.

It was a painting of her- of Naminé- with bleeding roses in her hair.

She had to be sedated she was screaming so loudly.

When she finally awoke, another boy with blond hair and blue, blue eyes kept trying to convince her that he was her best friend and that this was no medical facility- this was prison. She nodded and went along with it, but how could she believe that this was a prison. She wasn't wearing an orange jump suit- she was wearing a hospital gown.

She took her medicine like a good little girl and went to sleep, only to forget everything again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

x.x.x.x

"Why do you stand there all the time?" Roxas asked her once, coming up from behind her. She was standing at the window like she loved to do.

"It's so pretty," she replied calmly, stroking the cool glass with her finger. "Just look at those colors in the trees. Besides, you of all people should know that I don't remember a thing from out there. Is it nice?"

"It's better than anything you could have dreamed of," he sighed as he draped his arm over her shoulders. He gave her a squeeze. "And ever since I've stopped taking my meds, my dreams about outside have been becoming more vivid. I want to go back." He paused. "Good thing Axel's supposed to show up here soon."

"Axel?" she asked, "Who's that?"

"He's my other best friend. He's gonna break us out of this hell hole."

Naminé frowned. She didn't understand. She didn't believe.

"Are you sure he's coming?" Her voice sounded terrified, and her body had begun to shake. Something just didn't feel right.

"I'm positive," he spoke softly, sitting her down gently on her bed. He wanted to calm her down, so he told her stories of the outside world while he stroked her back. The stories made her smile.

"Naminé?"

She turned her head to the voice coming from the doorway. It was a frightening pink-haired man with a smile plastered to his face, his eyes glowing. Instinctively, she began to back away from him. Roxas took up a defensive stance in front of her.

"Roxas, don't be ridiculous," the man groaned, "I need to take her."

"Don't let him take me away. Please," she begged into Roxas' ear. She could hear him growl softly, the rumble in his chest low and terrifying.

"I need her," the man repeated.

"Marluxia, no!" Roxas shrieked. "She doesn't want to go. I won't let you take her." His yell made Naminé jump farther back behind him. He only wanted to protect her, but his rage was so strong. She cowered against the wall, and Marluxia stepped forward.

"Roxas, don't make me sedate you," Marluxia threatened, jabbing his finger at the blond boy. Roxas laughed maniacally, but Marluxia ignored him. He sauntered forward towards Naminé.

Her breath stopped. Time seemed to slow before her eyes.

Roxas lunged forward, his hands seeking Marluxia's neck. His fingers wrenched around the skin, drawing blood. Marluxia stabbed Roxas' arm with a needle, injecting sedative. Naminé screeched as she clawed against her window, trying to escape.

"Help! Help!" Marluxia screamed into the hallway. Roxas ignored his pleas, transforming into this strange, ferocious beast before Naminé's eyes.

The sedative wasn't taking effect on his body. He bellowed, "You won't hurt her!"

Naminé watched as the color faded from Marluxia's face, she listened as Roxas' laugh became louder and louder, and she screamed as another man rushed in, ripping Roxas off Marluxia.

There were so many screams.

"Electro… electroshock therapy," Marluxia gasped, rubbing his hands over the raw skin on his neck. A small team of white-coats had entered her room, and together, they dragged Roxas' flailing body away.

Naminé followed silently behind them, and nobody felt the desire to stop her. A girl was sticking her head out her door as she ran past.

"He's off to Neverland. I can tell," she cackled.

Naminé ignored it, not understanding. She peered in the doorway where they had taken Roxas, unnoticed. His body struggled against the restraints, and his voice pleaded with the white-coats.

"Please don't do this to me. I have to protect her!" he howled, and his pleas echoed hopelessly in the small white room.

"Xaldin, now." The woman said.

A man pulled down a lever, starting the current. Roxas' body shook violently, but nobody seemed to care. Rather, the woman's eyes were gleaming with joy at the sight.

"Meds don't seem to work on him anymore," Marluxia noted calmly, staring at the convulsing boy. "And he's far too disobedient for my tastes." After a few seconds, Xaldin wrenched the lever back up, and Roxas stopped moving.

"Feel better?" Marluxia asked Roxas, but he didn't respond. The female white-coat leaned toward Roxas, her fingers wrapped around his wrist.

"No… pulse?" she said, her voice both frightened and confused. Both Marluxia and Xaldin approached hesitantly. Marluxia touched his fingers to Roxas' neck and tried to find a pulse.

"Check the voltage, Larxene, it should be set at 800 milliamps," he demanded angrily. She sped over to the machine and gasped.

"It's not at 800. This… this is…" she struggled to complete her train of thought.

Marluxia sped over to her and checked the voltage. He spoke softly, "What have we done? We just…"

"…Electrocuted a patient," Xaldin finished his sentence for him.

Naminé ran back through the hallway before her screams could escape the confines of her throat. She could hear the confused voices of the white-coats echoing behind her as she sprinted past.

Roxas was dead?

Her mind couldn't wrap around it. Despite the fact that she forgot him everyday, he was her protector, but more importantly, her friend. And he was gone. She gasped, curling up on the tiled floor.

What was she to do now?

She heard frantic voices out in the hall, and she shimmied underneath her bed before anybody could see her.

"We're going to keep this hush-hush," an unfamiliar male voice said, the panic lacing his uneven tone. "His family can't find out."

Naminé bit her tongue so hard that she could taste blood. Her fingers wove through her soft blonde hair, tugging fiercely.

Roxas didn't just die… Roxas had been murdered.

She lay underneath her bed for hours, hiding her face from the world. She was crying so hard, it felt like the tears had burned through the skin on her face. When she emerged, the sun had set. The day had slipped through her fingers while she mourned.

There was a cup of pills on her bedside.

Her face contorted with rage at the sight of them. She grabbed the cup, her knuckles white, and the strangest urge came over her.

She walked over to the sink with a smile on her face and her arm poised gracefully over her head.

With a flick of her wrist, she dumped the pills down the sink.

She dumped every last one.

She smiled. Roxas would be proud.

x.x.x.x

Naminé didn't remember falling asleep that night, but when she woke, she remembered… she remembered Roxas.

Another wave of mourning washed over her as she recollected her only memory of him. He had told her of the outside. It's all she could remember, and she hated herself for it. She hated that she forgot everything.

But wait-

Why did she remember that? She remembered Roxas. She should have forgotten him.

"Naminé?" a man spoke.

It was Marluxia. The murderer. Naminé gasped at the memory flashing in her head. She wasn't too fond of the painful memory, but it was a memory nonetheless and she cherished the fact that she could remember at all.

"That's me?" she asked, even though she knew the answer. He nodded and beckoned for her to come with her. His murderous hand reached out for hers, and her face contorted with fear. Her pretty face was marred with a disgusted look.

Marluxia lurched forward, and she screamed. She didn't want his filthy hands touching her body ever again. She inched back as he inched forward, and she finally gave up.

"I'll go," she said quietly, as if this was her death sentence.

She walked behind him, pulling her wrist away every time he takes a chance at it. A woman had joined them. Larxene was her name- Naminé remembered- she was a murderer too. It felt strange recalling names. Larxene put her hand on the small of Naminé's back, and she shuddered involuntarily.

They led her into a small room and sat her down in front of an easel.

"Paint," Larxene demanded.

Despite her recent loathing of being told what to do, Naminé cradled the paintbrush in between her fingers. It intrigued her.

She didn't really know what she was doing. She just kept painting.

Marluxia and Larxene had been in the back, chattering away, until the painting was near completion.

"It's not the same," Larxene said under her breath.

Naminé looked at her finished creation- a landscape of a breezy autumn day. The trees were laughing in the wind, and the birds soared freely overhead. She leaned back, examining it more closely. She liked it.

Without looking back, she walked out of the room, leaving the two white-coats to ogle her work with astonished faces.

Everything felt surreal, like it was all a dream. But this had to be reality! She was finally remembering everything. She didn't care that she didn't know why she was remembering again, but the very essence of memories dancing in her head was good enough for her.

She wanted to prance through the hallway with that joy, but she couldn't. Because of this newfound ability, she would have Roxas' brutal death reigning forever supreme in her mind.

So she walked slowly, hesitantly, angrily. She didn't know what to feel.

And then she bumped into a young man. He sprang back silently. His silver hair shadowed his calm face. She knew this boy. She knew him. He was always quiet. Always so quiet.

"You're… Riku," she said with a small smile on her face. He looked strangely bewildered for a brief moment before he nodded, cracking a soft smile.

"And you're the girl with roses in her hair," he muttered lowly, the smile never leaving his features. "You're Naminé." Her eyes grew wide, and all words were trapped in her throat. She stared at him silently, absolutely perplexed.

"I thought you couldn't talk," she spit out finally. This was insane. But- look who was talking.

"I've never felt the desire to do so," he explained quietly, "until you talked to me."

Naminé stood there, not knowing what to do, but she didn't want to leave him. She couldn't leave.

"I don't… understand," she said slowly, walking into his room without invitation. She saw a painting in the corner and averted her eyes quickly.

"I hate those people," he whispered so only she could hear. "I hate this place. And I can tell that you do too." She nodded in agreement.

"But why now?" she asked, her soft voice cracking. She tried to read into that beautiful aquamarine stare, only to fail miserably. He ripped his eyes away from hers, and he rubbed his wrists absently as he sighed.

"I'm sorry… about Roxas…"

The breath was pressed out of her lungs before she could say anything. Had his death escaped her mind that easily? The thought of forgetting him made the vomit rise in her throat, made her head ache, made her legs weak. Riku grabbed her hand before she could fade into the black.

She peered up at him, her eyes full of anxiety and sadness. He rubbed her hand. He looked as upset as she felt.

"I'm sorry," he repeated gently. There was a hurricane raging in her heart. She wanted to mourn for this lost boy, for Roxas, but how could she mourn anymore? Her tears had run dry, but she refused to forget him.

When she realized he was holding her hand, she stood solemnly and let her arm drop to her side. Riku released her hand slowly and unwillingly, but he did so all the same.

"How can I miss someone I didn't even know?" she asked, partly to Riku and partly to herself.

He didn't respond; he couldn't respond because there was no answer.

x.x.x.x

As dawn colored the quiet sky and sunlight began to seep through her window, Naminé lay on her bed, wide-awake.

Naminé had awoken confused. She remembered dumping her pills again. She remembered Roxas. She remembered Riku.

It felt strange to hold these memories in her hands- so fresh, almost tangible. It was almost too much emotion for her to handle. But she refused to go back to how she was before.

She was going to do everything in her power to prevent it from happening.

But despite all this, she was still terrified. What if the white-coats discovered her secret? What if they knew she wasn't as forgetful as they thought? What if they hurt her?

Would they kill her, too?

It scared her to think that way, and as Naminé pictured her body bleeding and broken on that cold table of death, she had to stifle a scream. She closed her eyes tightly, wishing it all away.

With Roxas gone, Naminé had nobody to turn to- nobody else would understand. Sora was always too busy looking for his Kairi, Alice was always off in Wonderland, and Selphie was so crazy, she couldn't even understand proper speech anymore.

Naminé sat up in her bed, closing her fists around her crisp, white sheets.

She felt guilty. Even though she forced herself to think that she wasn't replacing Roxas with Riku, she still felt guilty. Riku was the only one left here, and she hated being alone.

"Riku?" she whispered, her voice faint and quiet in the stagnant morning air. Like magic, he was standing at her doorway, his eyes flashing with concern.

Although she really only knew him for a day, he made it seem like they had known each other for forever- just by the look in his eyes.

Before she could say another word, he was at her bedside.

"Do you remember me?" he asked earnestly. How could he ask such a thing?

"Of course," she said, terrified.

"How much do you remember?"

She drew her legs up to her chest, and her sheets crinkled with the motion. Closing her eyes, she thought intensely.

"Well," she began slowly, "You live across the hall, and you don't like to talk a lot. You hate being here in this… facility… and that's… all I can remember. Besides your name, that is."

He sighed, leaning his head back. He seemed upset, but he didn't say anything about it.

Naminé eventually willed herself to get out of bed, and Riku said nothing. She stood by her window, and Riku said nothing. When a white-coat brought her cup of pills, she dumped them down the sink again, and Riku said nothing. All he did was watch her protectively. She felt the strange sensation that he had been doing this since she had come to this place.

But it wasn't a bad feeling… it was comforting, rather, to know that she still had a protector now that Roxas was-

She jerked her head back to the window, eyes fixed on a bluebird in one of the trees, trying her hardest to not think that Roxas was truly, honestly dead.

"I'm sorry," Riku said from behind her, and she realized that her face was contorted as she struggled to not think of Roxas. She didn't want to think of him, yet she didn't want to forget him. A storm raged ferociously in her heart, and Riku could see right through her façade.

She shrugged and changed the subject by asking, "Where are the white-coats today? Don't they usually check up on us often?" Riku explained in as few words possible that they were busy trying to cover their collective asses for Roxas' accident.

"That was no accident. That was murder," Naminé claimed, pressing her forehead against the cool glass of the window. What if Roxas was here right now? Would she still be forgetful?

Riku didn't respond, but that didn't shock her. She'd come to terms with the fact that speech was a rare thing for him. She'd wondered why, but she was hesitant to ask. When she turned around, he had left.

With a few days worth of memories under her belt, Naminé couldn't seem to grasp the fact that she had lived like this for two years. For two entire years she had been trapped here, forced to live in fear of her captors.

It was no wonder Roxas had talked about leaving. If she had remembered, Naminé was sure that she would have wanted to leave with him. Hell, she would have found a way out.

Roxas never had. He put his trust in someone of the outside world, and everybody knows that they shouldn't be trusted. Truth be told, nobody should be trusted.

A voice in the back of her head piped up. If nobody should be trusted, then why do you feel so comfortable around Riku? Why do you trust him?

She couldn't answer herself, so she continued to mindlessly trace foggy patterns on her window.

Before long, Marluxia had come to fetch her. He did so everyday.

And despite the now seemingly endless routine, she couldn't help but be scared of the white-coats. Naminé couldn't decide who she feared more- Marluxia or Larxene. Frankly, they both terrified her. They made her flesh crawl and her stomach hurt as the memories of the 'accidental' murder came flooding back.

They would grab her hand and drag her away to the little room at the end of the hall. She always tried to resist, because she was never sure they weren't going to bring her down to the electroshock therapy room. They never did, but that didn't stop her from screeching when they tried to touch her.

Naminé wondered why they made her paint, but she found that she enjoyed it nonetheless. And it appeared that people liked to gather around and watch her paint almost as much as she liked painting in itself.

So she would paint. And Riku would watch. And the white-coats would make their vague, nonchalant comments amongst themselves.

She would finish and walk away, feeling empty inside. It was almost as if she cut out a piece of herself and slapped it on a canvas for the world to see. But how could she take away a part of herself if she didn't even know who she was?

After she was done, she would sit in her room and wait for Riku. He would sit down next to her, and he always tried to hold her hand. She felt that she shouldn't object to it, but it felt wrong being touched at all. She couldn't pinpoint the reason why, but whenever he reached for her hand, she involuntarily squeaked and scooted away from him. He would pull his hand back, and she would scoot back. It was a never-ending cycle, and Naminé wanted it to end.

She wanted something else to end as well- the question. He always asked her if she remembered him, and she always said yes. That was all that was said between them. The question was a bit offensive, but Naminé couldn't really blame him. He had spent the last two years being forgotten. Precaution was necessary.

Naminé curled her legs up, drawing her knees underneath her chin, and she looked in his eyes. They reminded her of something, but she didn't know. Was it something in her past life? She wondered this often.

They would sit there in silence for hours, but it didn't feel strange because words just weren't needed between them. Riku made it not strange because that's just who he was.

But after a time of near-pure silence, Naminé began to miss conversation. Naminé began to miss a lot of things. She hated to say it, but she had begun to miss being forgetful. It made everything so much easier.

"Riku?" she asked one day, stretching her legs out in front of her. He looked upset, but mumbled something that sound like, "What?"

She paused, not knowing how to begin. It was a confusing topic. Riku seemed perfectly sane. A little quiet, yes, but he seemed perfectly okay in all other aspects of his dreary life.

"Why are you… here?"

Riku sighed and waited. Naminé fidgeted under the pregnant pause. "You don't want to know," he finally said. It was almost as if he had been planning on telling her but changed his mind at the very last second.

"How are you sure?" she asked, a little bit of a complaint in her sense. "Everything about this world is new to me. Everyday I learn something new, but I haven't learned anything about you. I want to know you. I want to know who you are."

"Please, Naminé. I can't tell you. You'd hate me for who I am. For what I've done."

She grimaced but was pleased that her question evoked such a long response. However, she could never hate Riku. He was so calm and quiet and protective- everything she needed.

"I want to break free," she said listlessly, her eyes unfocused on the world outside- the world that was not her own.

"Don't we all," he muttered so low that she could barely hear.

x.x.x.x

She longed for escape, and after a few weeks of being torturously frightened by white-coats as she was tempted with the view outside her window, she finally understood Roxas' seeming obsession with jailbreak.

The autumn leaves fluttered to the ground as the season of sleep captured the outside world. It seemed so unreal. Only a thin pane of glass separated Naminé from the life she never knew.

She turned around, she could have sworn she saw someone leaning in her doorway. Someone with gleaming emerald eyes.

When she took a double take, there was nobody there.

"I'm running out of sanity," she sighed, turning her head back to the foreign world outside.

x.x.x.x

She lay in her bed, counting her memories on her fingers. They worked better than sheep.

Life had moved on despite Roxas' death. The outside had already had its first snow. A new white-coat had joined the ranks of the murderers. Naminé hated herself for it, but Roxas had slowly begun to slip away from her feeble memory. She tried to think of him often, yet it was difficult when Riku kept crawling back into her thoughts unnoticed.

She often felt butterflies in her stomach when she saw him, and that confused her.

And when she wasn't thinking of Riku, she was thinking of fleeing. No matter how hard she thought about it though, it all seemed impossible.

But it took only one thing for Roxas to come jumping back to her mind, screaming and shouting and waving his arms wildly.

To be more specific, it took only one man.

She had been walking aimlessly through the hall. She had woken up in the middle of the night, and she hated being alone so she got up out of bed. But she also refused to wake anyone up. Her decision being torn, she wandered about.

Moonlight trickled through the blinds at the end of the hallway, casting perfect shadows that danced on the walls. She jumped at the sight of them.

"Hey there," he cooed, motioning the back of his hand against her perfectly soft cheek, but he didn't touch her.

On instinct, she jumped and slithered away out of his grasp, her face scrunched together uncomfortably. Where were the white-coats, those murderers, to pull him away? Where was Riku, ever ready to defend?

"I won't hurt you, doll," he promised. She readied herself to scream, but he put a finger up to his pursed lips. She silenced herself and peeked up at the stranger. When he took one look at her with those toxic green eyes, her heart easily melted into his greedy hands.

"My name's Axel," he spoke quickly.

That was when she fainted.

x.x.x.x

Naminé's eyes fluttered gently as the drowsiness drained away from her. She didn't want to wake up. She was afraid it was all a dream.

Axel had come. After who knows how many months of Roxas yearning to break free, months of Roxas trying to convince Naminé that Axel was going to save them, months of forgetting, Axel had come. He had come, but Roxas was gone.

She instantly felt a pang of remorse crashing through her body. This was all that Roxas wanted, and he could never get it.

Eventually, she opened her eyes, and they strained to adjust to the harsh lighting overhead. When her eyes had become accustomed to the light, Naminé first saw Riku leaning in his doorjamb staring at her. She turned away, and then noticed a white-coat bending over her body. His long blondish hair was grazing the sheets.

"They found her in the hallway, completely knocked out," he said under his breath to another white-coat as he fumbled with the IV jammed in her arm.

Naminé wanted to respond. She wanted to scream and yell and push him away, but her body wouldn't let her. Maybe they would sedate her if she resisted… would she forget again? She couldn't bear thinking about it, so she lay still.

"Strange…" the other white-coat said. Naminé recalled his name: Zexion. "We need to keep an eye on this one. We would know what had happened if somebody were with her… or at least patrolling the halls."

"You know that our employees are dropping like flies," the other reprimanded angrily. He tapped on a monitor by Naminé's bed. "There have been too many problems regarding the lawsuit. That boy's family refuses to give up."

"Can't they wrap their heads around the fact that it was an accident?"

"Sure, it may have been an accident, but their son is still dead."

Naminé had been wondering why the white-coats had been so lax regarding security and care for the other patients. Well, here was her answer, and it had been right in front of her face the whole time. Roxas' family had found out about his untimely death the situation had put the white-coats in a lot more trouble than they had originally planned.

Their murderous hands touched her body, and she couldn't stand being around these men anymore. So she did what she always did: screamed. She screamed and screamed and screamed, but it wasn't a good plan.

"Abuse victims are always the hardest to deal with," Zexion sighed.

Then they sedated her again.

When she woke up, it was night. Before opening her eyes, Naminé had shuffled through the memories, and was pleased to find that they were all still in tact. The sedative hadn't done a thing to her memory. The lamp in the far corner of her room glowed feebly in an attempt to brighten the room. Naminé quickly slid out of her bed and flipped the other lights on, illuminating the starkness. She glanced towards Riku's room, but his door was shut.

Was he upset with her?

She turned around, and nearly fell over from the shock.

Axel stood leaning against her wall, his arms crossed over his chest. It didn't make him look intimidating, but rather, suave.

"I'm sorry I frightened you, doll," he said to her.

She blushed uncontrollably. "It's okay," she replied, shrugging her shoulders. There was something about this guy that made her feel nervous, but she knew that he was here to save them, so it was okay. It was really okay.

He hopped onto her bed, reclining his long body out, almost as if he was trying to brag about how sexy he looked… or something like that. It made her blush.

Naminé wanted to apologize for what had happened. She wanted to apologize for fainting, apologize for Roxas' death, apologize for not being able to stop the slow turn of events from happening. But she simply couldn't sputter words that she wanted to say. Instead, she sighed.

"Why are you here?" she asked, and the brusqueness of her voice surprised her. Axel laughed, and it sent chills down her spine. It sounded so evil, but she knew it was not.

"Well," He crossed his legs. "It's a long story."

"I have time," she said, urging him to continue. After living in quiet for what felt like forever, after having every word spoken to her resounding off the walls in an echo, she wanted to talk to someone. She wanted to listen to someone. "Besides, I like stories."

Axel entranced her. As he began recounting his story, his green eyes lit up, his lips moved perfectly around the words that escaped his mouth, his hands moved lithely, actively.

He had her under his spell.

"Well, Roxas and I were buddies, right?" he began. She nodded. "But then we got into this huge fight, because he started acting really weird. It was rather frustrating, to say the least. He was really angry all the time. I couldn't handle it anymore. One time, he actually got violent with me. So I stopped being his friend. I ignored him. I ignored him for a long time.

"But then I was at some thing with some girl, Kairi- I can't really remember what it was- but I saw his parents there. They confronted me. I was trying to play it smooth, you know, trying to make it be Roxas' fault that we lost contact with each other. That was when they told me that he had been diagnosed with some crazy illness or another, and that he was here. It was strange that my best friend was in a place like this, but hey, I, of all people, could understand.

"I couldn't contact him, and I wanted to break him out. I knew he was miserable here, just by knowing him as a friend before. But I had to find a way in first."

Axel took a long pause, drawing Naminé closer as each moment passed.

"So I burned down the elementary school," he laughed.

Naminé gasped, her eyes wide with fright. "What? You… you… murd-"

"I did it at night when nobody was there, doll, don't get your panties in a bunch." He shrugged. "Anyway, long story short, I went to court for it, pled insanity, and they dumped me here. Now I just have to find a way back out."

Naminé didn't know what to say. She was absolutely speechless. He grinned at her, waiting for a response.

Finally she said, "But Roxas is dead. They murdered him. You can't save him from here." Her voice was cold, yet the tears had already started leaking out of her eyes. She struggled to not blink, refusing to cry yet again for the boy she barely knew.

Axel smiled as he rose from her bed.

"Well, he isn't the only one worth saving," he explained with a wink. Her heart skipped a beat, and the next thing she knew, he was already strolling down the hall.

It took her three hours and twenty-seven minutes to fall back asleep.

She counted every second.

x.x.x.x

She spent her sluggish morning looking for Axel, but he was nowhere to be found. Naminé silently hoped that he was planning an escape.

He had made it seem like he was going to take her too.

In the meantime, she painted. As always, Riku watched. It seemed to be his favorite thing to do. However, he didn't seem upset at her. He didn't seem like he had any emotion, frankly. It unnerved her, but she wasn't eager to strike up conversation today either.

She was all too ready to sit in silence, mulling over all this new information in her head. There was so much information to sift through, but when her mind should have been focusing on Roxas' former life and his untimely death, she was thinking about Axel.

She stood at her window, fogging the glass with her moist breath. It was so hard to not think about him. The crimson leaves now adorning the ground were the exact shade of his hair, splayed colorfully against the stark white of her pillow. He tilted his head toward her, his grin sparkling. He wanted her. He wanted her so badly.

Naminé shook her head as she pinched the underside of her forearm, digging her nails deeply into her skin. She wanted to pinch harder and harder until the pain was enough to force Axel from her mind.

The fantasy steadily forming in her head often refused to leave, no matter how hard she tried to shoo it away.

It consumed her.

Naminé pinched harder and harder, closing her eyes tightly. It hurt so badly, but Axel was still smiling at her, and that hurt her worse.

"Naminé?" Riku said as he touched her shoulder lightly. She spun around, clapping a hand over her mouth. She didn't scream, but she shoved his hand away angrily. His face didn't show anger- but rather, shock. His eyes were fixed on her arm.

She glanced down. Blood was slowly seeping out of the self-inflicted wound.

Before she could stop him, Riku had sprinted out of her room. Naminé sunk to the floor, holding her arm as far away from the rest of her body as she could. One… two… three… four…

The blood reminded her of something… something from her past?

Naminé tried to think of it. She was thinking so hard, she didn't notice when Riku came rushing back in her room, hands full of gauze.

"Let me help you," he said sincerely, and his voice made it seem like this wasn't the only thing he wanted to help her with.

"Help me," she pled tearfully, desperately, "help me, please."

He wasted no time- just as he wasted no words. Gently, he took her arm in his hands. He cradled it, his fingers rubbing her wonderfully smooth skin. She inhaled expectantly, but he didn't hurt her.

He didn't hurt her.

She lost all focus as he wrapped the gauze around her arm, spinning it with such speed and precision she couldn't help but think that he had done this at least once before. His face furrowed in concentration; his eyes mirrored hers as they filled with tears.

Riku finished, and Naminé watched him carefully. His knees slid underneath him as he took a breath- a breath of hesitation.

First one arm, then the other opened up to her, waiting patiently for an embrace. His face looked worn and tired; he'd been waiting for this for a long time.

"I will never, ever hurt you," he promised, and a tear rolled down his cheek.

Naminé stared at him. She stared at him for a long time, and he sat there, waiting for her. He had always been waiting for her. She had cowered away from everyone's touch, including Riku's, because they were going to hurt her. She knew they were going to hurt her somehow.

But despite all her inhibitions, she believed him. He wasn't going to hurt her. She truly, honestly, without a doubt believed him.

Naminé collapsed into his chest, and his arms held her close. He held her so, so close- as if he were afraid of ever losing her.

"I will never, ever hurt you," he repeated.

x.x.x.x

She liked it when Riku held her hand. Oftentimes Naminé would fall asleep with her hand protectively in his.

It was always sad when she woke and he was gone.

Still, he was quiet. Still, he was hesitant. Still, he touched her slowly, gently. Naminé couldn't decide whether this was because he was afraid to hurt her or because he was afraid of her reaction.

Because no matter how hard she tried, she always shivered against that first touch.

Like always, he rarely talked. But that didn't stop her from trying to get him to respond to her incessant questions.

"What got you in here? Did you burn down an elementary school, too?"

"Burn down a school?" he said, laughing. She smiled, urging him to answer. "No, what I did was much different."

"Will you tell me?"

"I can't. I promised I wouldn't hurt you," he muttered blandly, "I won't break my promise."

And that was the end of that.

No matter how much she tried to coax answers out him, his stubbornness always won. Axel, however, was about half-and-half on the whole 'answering her questions' thing. Some days he told her everything she wanted to know and more, but then on others, he was as silent as Riku.

"Did I have a life before this?" she asked Axel one day.

He laughed. He laughed a very long time, and it hurt her. Finally he took a deep breath and nodded.

"Oh yes, you did. But I don't know if you really want to know."

"Why not?"

"Trust me."

If Axel wouldn't tell her and Riku wouldn't tell her, she was bound to live in the shadows of secrecy. It made her wonder if she would have been this curious if she didn't remember these days.

She wanted to pester him more, but she had the feeling that the conversation was over.

Naminé forgot only one thing now, and she loathed herself for it.

When she was with Axel, all traces of thought, all things regarding Riku vanished from her mind as if they were never there to begin with. But whenever she saw Riku again, everything came back, so Naminé didn't feel like she should tell him.

Frankly, she didn't tell him a lot of things. He knew nothing of the time she spent with Axel, but in her opinion, that was private.

Riku didn't need to know.

She told herself that she wanted to escape, to flee to the wonderful outside world that she had heard so many good things about. But Naminé found it hard to convince herself that it's what she really wanted when she felt so happy.

Was it because of Riku? Or Axel?

She would never know because everything was about to change. Everything about this world, everything about her life that she had strived to learn about… would change.

x.x.x.x

Axel came into her room abruptly, and she could tell something was different about him. Was it because his smile was gone? Because the light in his eyes was ever so dim?

"Hello, Axel," she greeted him with a blush on her cheeks.

"C'mon, follow me," he said gruffly. He motioned for her with his hand as he peeked out of her doorway. After a few brief moments, he walked through quickly and quietly, yet Naminé had to jog in order to keep up with him.

"Where are we going?" she asked, not particularly caring about the destination. As long as she was with Axel, it was okay.

"You're getting out of here," he explained, "So just follow my lead."

Was she finally breaking free? Was she finally living Roxas' dream? It all seemed too good to be true.

Axel led her through the hallway, and her turned sharply into a storage room and ducked behind a few crates when he entered. He motioned for Naminé to do the same.

She didn't like this new Axel. He was fierce and frightening and nothing like how he used to be. Why the change?

"Okay, now I need you to do exactly what I tell you. You promise?" It wasn't a question. This was a demand.

She nodded her head slowly; she was afraid he was going to hurt her if she refused to obey him.

"Good."

His plan scared her, and Naminé didn't know if she could pull it off. If she failed to get out unnoticed, neither of them could escape. But she listened to him as he spoke, and didn't even question his motives.

"Are you sure you want to save me?" she asked sadly, "You came for Roxas, not me."

He turned to her, his eyes dark and mysterious. She shuddered with fear, afraid that he was going to touch her. She inched away from him, her back rubbing against one of the crates.

"Trust me, if there's anyone that deserves to be free, it's you. Got it memorized? You did nothing wrong to get yourself in here. Don't feel guilty." Axel's words hung heavy in the air, but Naminé didn't say anything, hoping he would continue to spill secrets. "You deserve to be free after all you've been through."

She wanted to ask him exactly what that was. What had she been through? Why was she here?

But now wasn't the time for questions.

"Put that on," Axel demanded, pointing to a soft white sundress half-buried in one of the crates. She shrugged out of her hospital gown and pulled the dress over her head. "It'll help you blend in." He told her to grab the screwdriver in the same crate as the dress, and she did so. She had to obey.

After she was dressed, Axel crawled behind the crates. Naminé stood at the doorway, waiting for the signal. The phone rang.

"It's show time, doll."

And she was off. Naminé walked casually toward the lobby, sliding her feet on the linoleum. She could see a reflection of the sunset beaming through the glass entry doors. When she entered, head hung low, she saw that the receptionist was busy on the phone, and a woman with a long, brown braid was hassling a white-coat.

"You murdered my poor Roxas, and you're telling me that you refuse to show in court?!"

It was his mother; it had to be. A silent man with spiky blond hair stood stoically next to the woman- his father. Naminé felt prickles on the back of her neck. She wanted to apologize, she wanted to meet them, she wanted tell them how their son helped her for so long, she wanted to tell them that he was such a good friend, but she had to get out while everyone was distracted.

She could feel how clammy her palms were. She could feel how shaky she was. She could feel her legs struggling to move forward.

But she had to do it.

She stepped through the lobby, her breathing heavy and uneven. She was almost to the door. Almost there. She was so close.

"Hey, wait!" someone said, and Naminé took off.

She ran through the door, not willing to look back. As she exited, she turned and crept along the wall as fast as she could go without being seen. There was snow dusting the ground, the trees. Everything was hidden under the white. Is that why she was wearing white? To hide in the snow? She shrugged it off. There wasn't any time to think. She had to find the grate Axel told her about. There was supposed to be a grate of some sort around her somewhere…

Naminé plowed through a hedge, and the bare branches scratched her arms relentlessly. There it was! She latched her fingers on it, and the cold metal shocked her.

She quickly spun the screwdriver in her hands, twisting the screws out. She pulled the grate back, and it came off easily. Axel shimmied out, his thin body writhing to escape from the tight space.

"Come on, dollface," he exclaimed, "It's your time to shine."

Axel began to run. Naminé stood, frozen in place.

What about Riku?

"Axel! Axel!" she screamed, and he slowed down slightly. "We need to get Riku!"

"No time!" he yelled back at her, and at that moment, a siren began resounding overhead. A white-coat was running at her. He was going to touch her. He was going to hurt her.

"Naminé! Stop!" the white-coat called.

Before she knew it, she was sprinting alongside Axel.

Riku had already fled her mind. She couldn't focus on anything but the cold powder slipping underneath her feet and the murderer chasing her. She wouldn't let them get her. They were never going to hurt her.

"They can't get us if we stay off the road!" Axel called over his shoulder. He laughed maniacally, dangerously, but his laughter didn't frighten Naminé as much as it should have.

She couldn't be scared of the man she was following. She could only be scared of the ones chasing her. So she focused instead on the sparkling snow, reflecting the colors of the winter sunset. Naminé glanced over her shoulder just as Axel was leading her along a forest line but didn't see anyone behind her. The sound of the siren was long gone.

She slowed, and as soon as she did, the cold air hit her like a ton of bricks.

Did she have so much adrenaline while running that she didn't even notice the cold? She didn't notice the snow seeping between her toes, she didn't notice the raw air biting at her bare skin, she didn't notice how her eyes watered and her nose ran as she breathed.

"Axel, slow down," she begged, stopping at a standstill. He stopped as well, walking back towards her.

"C'mon, we have to keep going," he exclaimed.

"But it's nearly dark out!"

"All the more reason to keep going, doll," he said with a smirk, "Night covers all our tracks."

She sighed but kept walking at a slow pace behind him. It was like he never grew tired. He was still going strong, but she was exhausted.

Night fell as Axel had predicted, and she kept walking, refusing to look back. The moon lit her path, and the stars guided her. She trudged along, holding her body with her arms. She couldn't even focus on where she was going. She just wanted to get away, to escape.

It was so cold.

She couldn't feel her toes. She couldn't feel her fingers. She couldn't feel her ears or her nose or anything else, for that matter.

"Axel… I…" she whispered.

He couldn't hear her he was so far ahead. He was so far ahead, she couldn't even see him anymore. But how could he be that far ahead… without footprints to lead the way? The snow was blank- perfectly crisp and white. The realization hit her hard.

She was alone.

Naminé fell to her knees, and it felt like slow motion. What was happening? She had been blessed with escape… only to be led to the middle of nowhere?

Naminé tried to call for Axel. She tried to call for Roxas. She tried to call for Riku, but her lips refused to form words. Slowly, she fell forward.

Slowly, she fell into the black.

x.x.x.x

Riku can't stop crying. He holds her cold, cold body to his chest, cradling it gently with his arm, but warming her is futile. The tears roll down his face, and the air is so cold, it's almost as if they were freezing there.

Naminé looks on as Riku clings to her.

"I'm sorry," she whispers.

"He can't hear you," Axel says to her. Naminé peers to the side, and there's Axel. But her body is lying in front of her.

"Am I dead?" she asks him. Axel laughs.

"No, doll. You're not dead yet."

Naminé sighs and sits cross-legged in the warm snow, watching Riku stroke her hair and kiss her lips.

"I'm so confused…"

"It's quite simple to understand," he tells her, "once you know a bit about your background." She looks in his eyes. Is he going to give her the answers she has been waiting for?

"Would you like to see your forgotten memories?"

She nods, feeling absolutely thrilled that she is finally getting what she wanted. Finally, she would be able to create her own chain of memories.

"Just close your eyes," he whispers in her ear, "Just close your eyes and you will see."

Naminé obliges. She leans back, supporting her body with her arms. Her eyelids flutter closed, and everything changes.

She looked slightly younger. Her hair was longer, her legs were shorter, but her eyes were bright with the excitement of a newfound love. She watched Riku walking through school as she hid behind her art pad. She knew he would never notice her.

Naminé frowns, but something new appears. She and Riku were standing on her front porch, and he kissed her on the cheek so tenderly. Naminé remembers it now. It was their first date. He asked if she had had a good time, and she said that it was the best night of her life.

Another happy scene plays out. He confessed his love to her, and she kissed him. They were destined to be together forever. Naminé was so happy then.

Now a new scene develops before her- a different scene. A tall man with blond hair was yelling at her, and Naminé was crying, trying to walk away. She remembers. It was her father. He ran after her, pushing her against the wall and screaming terrible words in her face. She cowered from him, but he refused to stop. He yanked her hair and slammed her head against the wall. She heard the beer bottle break in the kitchen. The tears wouldn't stop, but that only infuriated her father more. He shoved her to the ground, and he kicked her. She screamed, but it was futile.

Naminé cringes.

Riku found the bruises on her body, but she couldn't tell him that it was from being beaten. Her father would be so disappointed if she told his little 'secret', as he liked to call it. Riku wrapped her wounds tightly, and he told her that he would never, ever hurt her. He would follow her to the ends of the earth, he would protect her, he would give his own life for hers, but he would never, ever hurt her.

It dissolves, and another appears.

Another scene, another forgotten day. Her drunken father dragged her up the stairs as she screamed helplessly. He told her to shut up, but she couldn't stop screaming. He threw her on the bed. He pinned her down, and she struggled against him. But he was too strong. He pulled her dress up, and his fingers ran up her thighs. He laughed, and then-

He raped her.

She is trying to open her eyes, but her memories are eating her alive.

Her father was dragging her into his bedroom again. She screamed and screamed and screamed until her voice was sore. She didn't want to be hurt, she didn't want to be touched like that. Riku stormed into the room, his face contorted in utmost rage. He bellowed harsh words at her father until he rolled off Naminé's pale, bleeding body. Her father held his hands up, begging for forgiveness.

But Riku didn't believe in mercy, and neither did the cool metal gun shaking in his hands.

Finally, Naminé forces her eyes to open. Riku is still clutching her body helplessly, and Axel is smiling at her.

"He loves you so much, he escaped in all the commotion you caused and came all the way to the middle of nowhere to find you," he says with a wave of his hand. She peers over at him. The answers didn't weave together.

"You still don't understand?" Axel laughs at her harshly. She shakes her head, and the memories refuse to stop playing in her head.

"It drove you crazy. The abuse, the rape, the murder. You repressed everything in that pretty little head of yours, and after you attempted suicide, the court sent you to a mental institution."

Naminé nods as more memories come flooding back to her.

"Riku pled insanity at his trial, and lo and behold, he got dumped in the same place as you! That's what you get for living in a town this small..." He paused. "He doted over you incessantly, but you consistently pushed him away. He still loved you, but you had long forgotten him. It tore him apart.

"And the pills they gave you helped keep your memories repressed. They kept you somewhat sane. It's why you kept forgetting things, but it's also protected you for two years."

"Protected me from what? From who?"

"From your insanity. From me," he confesses, grinning wildly. "I'm just a figment of your imagination, and now you're dying… because of me!" He laughs, and Naminé is rendered speechless. "Look! Look at how much he loves you!"

Naminé focuses her gaze toward Riku, toward her true love.

"I can't live without you," he whispers into her ear. He pulls a small orange bottle out of his pocket and dumps a pile of toxic pills in his hand. He swallows them all in one gulp, and his tears never stop.

"Sorry, doll, but it's time to wake up from your dream," Axel apologizes. She turns back to Axel, but he's already gone, and then she was back in her body.

Riku squeezed her hand tight, and the excessive amount of poison coursing through his veins began to take its toll. Naminé tried to get her body to move, but it was hard. She was so cold.

Riku sniffled as he lay next to her. "I love you, Naminé," he confessed. "Don't you ever forget that…"

Her eyes slowly opened.

"I'm… sorry," she managed to sputter out. Riku reacted slowly. It didn't seem real to him. Naminé had been dead! He coughed and sputtered, the poison reacting faster than he had expected. He couldn't speak.

"I was so much happier dreaming," she whispered into the relentless winter wind. She tried to squeeze the hand of her forgotten love, but her fingers were too cold to move. He embraced her and kissed her frozen lips one last time.

Naminé felt as his body grew cold and hard, the poison quickly winning the battle raging in his body.

Her tears were warm on her face, but it was hopeless. There was nothing to do now but wait.

So she did.

She waited to be taken away.

And after years of never ending pain, of forgotten memories, of horrifying dreams- the two star-crossed lovers were finally reunited.

In death, they were finally reunited.

x.x.x.x

-for never was there

a story of more woe;

than this of juliet

and her romeo-

Act V, Scene III

x.x.x.x

FIN

x.x.x.x

a/n: Sorry for the cheesy Shakespeare quote, but I thought it fit. My theme was Romeo and Juliet, and my prompts were: 5. Night covers all our tracks, 9. I'm running out of sanity, 22. Toxic, 39. Roses in her hair, and 50. I was so much happier dreaming.

Reviews are much appreciated!!