Narcissus

A/N: Um… yeah. I'm actually not into the Sora/Roxas pairing, really, but sometimes I get weird ideas. Given the plot holes in the game I think my deus ex machina isn't too bad. Also don't take this too seriously. It's just fanfiction ppl.

Warnings: bad spelling/grammar, OOC, weirdness, technically pwp but without the smut

Pairings: implied Sora/Roxas

Disclaimer: don't own Kingdom Hearts

Narcissus

He wondered if it was vain of him. It certainly wasn't normal and he had received a few odd looks because of it, but he couldn't really bring himself to care too much about what other people thought. It wasn't like he had any say in the matter, really.

But he couldn't help being utterly and completely fascinated by him. Everyone told him they were the same. They had, after all, once been one complete person. Sora had trouble understanding this, since he'd never felt anything short of complete. He'd never felt like something was missing, save for that brief moment as heartless. He was upset that he hadn't really had a chance to meet the one who'd been born from him. Meet him when he still had a body, even if it was only the not-really-real body that the nobodies had. The only time he'd been face to face with his nobody was when he'd fought him in the World That Never Was.

'You make a good Other.'

There hadn't been any bitterness or resentment behind those words, but when Sora had finally learned of his existence and his link to him, he couldn't help feeling that the world was horribly unfair. Because, after they had been separated for that first time, Roxas hadn't really been a part of Sora anymore. They had different names, different personalities and they even looked different, no matter what everyone else said. And something about Roxas drew Sora in like a moth to a flame.

He'd seen what Axel, a nobody and therefore technically unable to feel anything, was prepared to do for Sora's nobody. How could someone who was supposed to be empty inspire such loyalty from another? He'd started to wonder just what kind of person was his nobody really. What kind of expressions he made and how he moved. He certainly fought better than Sora and with two blades instead of one. He'd asked Riku, but the older boy was reluctant to say anything. The Organization was gone so there was nobody left who could tell him about Roxas… so he sought out Ansem.

The man had been reluctant, but in the end he hadn't been able to resist granting Sora his request. He suspected it was partly out of quilt, partly because of the debt he owed and mostly because he was a scientist through and through. He may have given up on his research on hearts, but that didn't mean he wasn't curious about the unique bond between a keyblade bearer and his nobody.

"You do understand that this probably won't work, don't you?" Ansem asked, looking at him with a serious expression.

"It's worth a try," he'd just said, grinning. He was anxious, because the thing they were attempting to do was potentially dangerous, but mostly he was brimming with excitement. If it worked…

Sora watched the man as he fiddled with the strange machine he was strapped into and muttered scientific jargon under his breath. Sora had absolutely no idea just how it was going to work, but he wasn't particularly interested. He had found out that things usually worked his way whether he understood things or not, so there was no point worrying over things like that. This attitude annoyed the hell out of Riku, of course, but they found each other equally irritating so it balanced out in the end. It was part of what made them such good friends in the first place.

"This might hurt a little," Ansem warned him, before he flipped a switch.

He'd been wrong. It hurt like hell. And then, suddenly, it didn't. Sora opened his eyes, which he hadn't realized he'd closed in the first place, and looked around. He was definitely not in Ansem's lab in Radiant Garden. It took him a while to organize his thoughts enough to recognize the place he was at as Twilight Town. It didn't surprise him really to find himself on this particular world out of all the possible places. He noticed that there were no other people on the streets and that even the shops were empty of other people. But, then again, this wasn't the real Twilight Town.

He wandered around the empty streets searching for the right place. He hadn't exactly had ample time to get to know the world better back when he'd been world hopping with Donald and Goofy. He hadn't stayed in Twilight Town for long because to him the whole place felt sad. Now he suspected that that feeling had been an echo Roxas had left behind.

He saw something moving from the corner of his eye, and turned his head around just in time to see something black slip around a corner. Seeing as it was the first thing he'd seen in this place he followed it. Reaching he corner, he saw the thing disappear around another and kept following it. The same pattern repeated itself again and again and Sora realized that he was being led somewhere. He took this as a good sign and continued to follow the one leading him. It didn't take long for him to reach the station heights. This time there was no sign of movement and he wondered if this was the place where he was supposed to be. A chance glance upwards, however, made him realize just where he was supposed to go.

Grinning widely he went into the station building and started climbing the spiralling stairs upwards, towards the top of the tower. He was slightly winded from running up the stairs when he reached the top, but he didn't pause to catch his breath. Instead, he walked to the ledge and sat down, watching the sky that was beginning to turn orange in preparation for the night.

"Why are you here?"

Sitting two feet from him was the person he'd been looking for. Sora looked at the other carefully, filing away everything he could. There was no denying that they looked similar. He wasn't, of course, that familiar with his own face as he didn't have the habit of spending hours in front of a mirror, but he could see the similarities clearly enough. They were also the same height and had the same build, but that was really where the similarities ended. His nobody's hair was shorter and blond and perhaps a little more controlled than his. Their eyes were blue, but of a slightly different shade. And where Sora knew that while his face was predisposed to show a smile Roxas looked like he carried the weight of the world on his shoulders even when he wasn't particularly sad. Sora couldn't help noticing that instead of the black and white clothes, Roxas was clad in the familiar black coat that the Organization was famous for wearing. The stark blackness of the garment made his skin look paler.

"I wanted to see you," he finally answered. "Is that such a bad thing?"

The nobody turned to look at him with a sour look on his face. "Why?"

"Because it seems like everyone else has seen you. I felt it was hardly fair that I couldn't see you properly," Sora answered.

Roxas seemed to think about his words as he stared at the rapidly darkening sky. Sora hadn't moved his gaze away from his nobody and he found himself wondering if it was conceited to think that the other boy was beautiful. Not in the sense that Kairi was, of course, but still beautiful in his own way. He knew that he himself couldn't be considered beautiful. He was cute or adorable, but not beautiful.

"And what will you do now that you have seen me?" Roxas finally asked, turning his blue eyes to meet his.

"I don't know," Sora answered honestly. Planning was never one of his strong points. "I want to get to know you better."

Roxas frowned at that, but didn't say anything for a while. "I don't understand why," he finally said. "There is no 'Roxas' anymore."

Sora noted that they had different voices too.

"Then why am I able to sit here talking to you if you're not supposed to exist anymore?" he countered.

Roxas rolled his eyes and Sora found himself grinning again. If there was one thing he was good at, it was annoying people like Riku and Roxas.

"Because you're an idiot," the blond answered flatly.

"And are you?" Sora asked innocuously.

The other scoffed and gave him a meaningful look.

"Thought so," Sora said. "And that's why I want to get to know you. We're not the same. We might've been once, but the moment you separated from me we weren't. We're not the same but we're not exactly separate either. There's no one closer to me than you."

"Your friends…" Roxas started.

"Are precious to me. There's nothing I wouldn't do for them," Sora interrupted him. "But they're still just friends. I don't know you and you don't know me but we're still closer than any other two people could be."

And Roxas said nothing because there was nothing he could say to deny it. They were different from everyone else. Unique. No one else could know what it felt like to be connected to another like they were to each other. Not even Kairi.

"That's because we're not two people," he finally said.

"Well there's that," Sora agreed amiably. "But isn't that great?"

Roxas looked at him with an expression that said he didn't understand what was so 'great' about them.

"It's like knowing that there's always a person who can understand you. Someone who'll be there for you no matter what. It's knowing that you won't be alone, ever," Sora elaborated.

"I can barely say I understand you," Roxas said dryly.

"Don't you?" Sora asked. "I don't mean the words I'm saying or what I'm thinking or something like that. I mean who I am. You know what I'm like as a person, don't you? Even though we've never really met. You know what makes me angry and what makes me happy or sad."

From the look on his nobody's face, Sora knew that he was, indeed, right.

"I know these things about you too, even though this is the first chance I get to talk to you. I know you hate it when people won't tell you things you have the right to know. I know you'd do anything to protect those you hold dear, even if it means them getting hurt in the process. I know that you think that what people want isn't always what they need. I know why you did nothing when the Organization broke apart," he continued.

What he didn't say aloud was: 'I know why you didn't do anything when Axel died', because he wasn't cruel or unkind.

The silence between stretched on, but it wasn't an uncomfortable one. Sora was happy to sit there and watch the darkening sky and his nobody. Roxas' eyes were looking at some distant point in the horizon and he was most likely thinking about what had been said.

"You should go."

Sora blinked. "Why?" he asked. He'd been rather enjoying the companionable silence.

Roxas turned to look at him with a small frown on his face. "It's not good for you to be here in the first place. Staying too long would be dangerous," he said.

"I've done dangerous things before," Sora saw fit to remind him.

"Yes… Dangerous and stupid things like impaling yourself on your own keyblade," he muttered.

"But that turned out well in the end," Sora protested, grinning. "It woke up Kairi and gave birth to you, didn't it?"

"'Gave birth' is not exactly a term I want to associate with you," Roxas said, an expression of slight disgust crossing his face for a moment. "No matter how accurate it is." He shook his head as if to get rid of the distasteful image. "But you should go."

Sora looked thoughtful for a moment before grinning sheepishly and scratching the back of his head. "You know… I don't know how I'm going to get back," he admitted.

Roxas gave him a long flat look as if he was unsurprised by his utter stupidity. He opened his mouth as if to say something, but seemed to think better of it and closed it again, shaking his head.

"You didn't ask how to get back before you did this?" he finally asked.

"It wasn't exactly on my mind at the time, no," Sora admitted.

"I refuse to believe I'm in any way related to you," Roxas said flatly. "What kind of an idiot would…" He stopped midrant and looked at Sora as if he just realized who he was talking about. "Oh..."

"So I don't suppose you have any ideas?" Sora asked hopefully easily ignoring the implied insult.

He didn't particularly want to leave the company of his nobody yet, but he knew that Roxas wouldn't be happy if he stayed.

"How did you get here?" Roxas asked.

"I asked Ansem if I could contact you and he had this thing," he answered, making a vague gesture with his hand. He'd never been particularly good with machines.

"Ansem…" Roxas muttered darkly.

Sora realized that his nobody had every reason to detest the man. And if he was honest with himself, Sora couldn't say he liked the man either. He had, of course, done what had to be done, but that didn't make him any easier to like.

"Knowing him, he's watching us right now," Roxas said. "But I know how to get you back."

"How?" Sora asked.

Roxas stood up and motioned for Sora to do the same. When they were both standing Sora looked at Roxas expectantly, waiting for his nobody to do something.

"It would be better for you to stay away," the blond said.

Sora was just about to protest when Roxas suddenly pushed him over the edge. Flailing wildly Sora automatically closed his eyes and waited for the impact… which never came. He opened his eyes slowly and saw the familiar machines of Ansem's lab. The man himself was standing further away, typing furiously something and muttering to himself. Sora caught the phrases 'most unusual' and 'interesting' several times and he wasn't sure if he liked hearing them right now. He extracted himself from the machine, careful not to break anything, and stretched.

"Were you watching?" he asked walking to where Ansem was still busy with one of the computers.

"Yes. I had to see if it would work. This is quite different from what I did before. You are, indeed, one of a kind," the man answered.

Sora wondered if he could get Tron to operate the machine for him next time. He didn't particularly want to become Ansem's test subject. But more than that, he didn't want his time with Roxas to be intruded on by someone. He never considered not going back, despite what Roxas had said.

--

"Do you wish you still had your body?"

Roxas turned his head just enough to look at his Other. He didn't look surprised to find him there again despite his warning that it wasn't good for him. Sora didn't particularly care about warnings considering his own safety.

"It wasn't a real body to begin with. As long as I won't disappear completely I'm… content," the blond answered.

Sora walked to where he was sitting and sat down beside him. The sun was setting again, and Sora knew that it would always be so, here in the world created by Roxas. Briefly, Sora wondered how many worlds-within-worlds there were. He knew well enough that mere imagination was enough to create a world. That was, after all, how the 100 Acre Woods world was born.

"That's not the same thing as happy, though, is it?" he asked, swinging his legs absentmindedly.

Roxas smiled, but it wasn't a happy smile. "For those without hearts content is more than enough," he answered.

Sora bit his lower lip and tilted his head back to watch the darkening sky. "But don't you want something more? Doesn't it drive you crazy to just stand still?"

Roxas shrugged. "Doesn't matter, does it? Axel thought I was different, that I had a heart of my own… But he was wrong. It was your heart I was borrowing."

"Aren't you still? Don't tell me you can't feel anything. You're a part of me and I can feel," Sora said, not sure if he made any sense.

Roxas stayed silent.

"So what do you feel?" Sora prodded.

Roxas was, again, staring at the horizon but not really seeing it. Sora waited, knowing that pushing for more would not be appreciated.

"Lonely," Roxas finally said. "Sometimes I feel warm, too, or sad or angry. But I don't feel empty like before. Naminé was right, I didn't disappear."

Sora didn't know what to say to that, so he said nothing.

"You shouldn't have come back."

Sora turned to look at his nobody again and looked at him quizzically. "Why?"

"Because it's not healthy. You have the real world to live in so you shouldn't keep coming back here. Aren't your friends worried?" Roxas answered, looking stern.

He was right, of course. Kairi and Riku didn't like what he was doing. Riku especially thought it was a bad idea to delve deep into himself just to see his nobody. Kairi understood him somewhat because of Naminé, but even she thought it wasn't good for him. Actually, it seemed like everyone, including his nobody, thought that he shouldn't do it but he couldn't bring himself to stop.

"But wouldn't you be lonely then?" he asked.

Roxas shrugged again. "I'm asleep most of the time," he said, "though maybe sleep isn't the right word for it. I don't dream."

Sora didn't like the sound of that. It sounded like an awfully lonely existence to him. He looked at the empty streets and the eternal twilight. There was nothing here but Roxas.

"So you don't have to worry about me," Roxas finished.

"I can't do that," Sora said. "You know it's not in my nature."

Roxas sighed and a brief gust of wind made his hair move a little. It was the first time anything had moved in this Twilight Town.

"I know. Doesn't mean I can't try to talk you out of this foolishness," he said, smiling faintly.

Sora grinned. "See. I knew you liked my company," he said, pleased that he'd gotten a real smile from his nobody.

The blond rolled his eyes, but he was clearly more amused than exasperated.

"If you sleep most of the time, does that mean you wake up just for me?" Sora asked.

Roxas didn't answer but Sora knew that the answer was most probably 'yes'. For some reason that made him really happy, though doubted the blond had a choice in the matter. He smiled and glomped his nobody, ruffling his already messy blond hair playfully.

"Aww… You should've told me that earlier," he crowed.

Roxas struggled in his hold, trying to put some distance between them again. Sora was reluctant to let go, but he knew that his nobody wasn't one for physical contact. When he let the other go he was sporting a familiar looking pout.

"You should go now," he finally said, trying obviously to regain what dignity he still had left. "It's not good to spend too much time in your own head."

"I know," Sora said.

"Then you know you shouldn't come back," Roxas said.

Sora noticed that the breeze was back and wondered if it had any meaning in this world of stillness.

"I'll see you later," he just said smiling and giving the other a little wave.

Roxas' resigned sigh was the last thing he heard before waking up again.

--

Riku and Kairi were beginning to worry more and more, he knew. They didn't like the frequent trips he took to Radiant Garden because they knew very well why he went there. Both of his friends had tried to persuade him to stop and so had Roxas. Every time he visited his nobody he left him with the same words: 'You shouldn't come back.' And yet… Every time he did go back, despite the warnings and worry, he felt that he was doing the right thing. Roxas' Twilight Town had been empty and dead when he'd been there the first time with Roxas the only living thing in the whole 'world'. The more he visited the place, however, the more alive it felt. There was wind and the sky had once been covered in clouds. Sora could've sworn that the last time he'd been to see his nobody he'd seen a cat slinking down an alleyway or maybe that had been his imagination.

And Roxas… Despite telling him to stay away, Sora couldn't help feeling that the blond actually wanted him there. The more he thought about it the more sure it made him that he was right. Roxas seemed a little happier each time he saw him. And as cheesy as it was, seeing Roxas happy made him happy too. He couldn't even imagine just stopping. In his mind's eye he could see the town turn still and dead again with Roxas sleeping somewhere. He couldn't stop.

--

Sora was surprised and alarmed when he couldn't find his nobody at the usual place on top of the station tower. Every time he'd come to visit Roxas he'd found the blond in the same place and Sora guessed that that place held some sort of meaning for the other. He'd never asked what, knowing that if Roxas thought it was worth explaining, he'd do it when he felt like it. It was almost funny how well he understood Roxas. He knew how to act around the other and what kind of reactions he would get from him.

He climbed back down, wondering where the other could be. He knew that there wasn't anything really dangerous in Roxas' world but he couldn't help worrying nevertheless. Was his nobody angry at him for some reason? Hadn't he woken up when Sora had entered the world? Not knowing what else he could do, Sora decided to just walk around town and try to find his nobody. He didn't find Roxas at the sandlot or the place where Hayner and the others liked to hang out in the real Twilight Town. The trains weren't running and the underground tunnels were blocked off so he couldn't check the other part of the city.

Finally, after having checked most of the likely places where Roxas could be, he wandered down to the hole in the wall that led to the abandoned mansion. He'd left the place last because he thought it was an unlikely place for Roxas to be. He didn't have good memories of the mansion. The forest was unusually silent since there was no real life in Roxas' world, but the wind did stir up the leaves a little.

The gates were open when Sora reached them, but that didn't necessarily mean his nobody was there. When he walked further to the yard, however, he did see Roxas bent over a patch of earth, apparently fascinated by what he saw there.

"What is it?" he asked, walking to stand next to the blond.

As usual Roxas didn't bother to look at him, choosing instead to keep looking at the ground. Sora looked down too but he couldn't see anything particularly interesting. Just dirt and grass as far as he could see.

"There," Roxas said, pointing at something as if he knew that Sora couldn't see what he found so interesting.

Sora crouched down and looked at the spot. "Grass?" he hazarded after a moment.

Roxas finally looked at him with an exasperated expression on his face. "No. Not the grass," he said. "This."

Sora looked closer at what he was pointing at and saw what Roxas was talking about. It was a lighter green shoot, just barely distinguishable from the greenery around it. Now that he knew what he was looking for, he noticed several more dotted among the wildly growing grass. He wondered how Roxas had noticed them in the first place. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that this was Roxas' world.

"What's so interesting about them?" he finally asked, looking at his nobody again.

There was a puzzled look on Roxas' face as he looked at the shoots.

"They're growing," he finally answered. "They weren't there yesterday - or what passes for yesterday in here."

Sora placed his arm around his nobody's shoulders in a patronizing gesture. "This might come as a surprise to you but that's what plants usually do," he said with his best teacherly voice.

That earned him a blue glare and sharp jab to his ribs from a rather bony elbow. "Sorry, sorry. What's so special about them growing here?" he asked rubbing the sore spot and pouting.

"They're growing," Roxas said, stressing the last word. "Nothing grows here. They weren't there before and now they are. It shouldn't be possible."

"But there are trees and grass and stuff here, too. Aren't they growing?" Sora asked, plucking up a blade of grass as an example.

Roxas just shook his head. "They're there but they're not growing. If I cut down a tree today it'd be back to what it was tomorrow. Nothing's really alive here so nothing new can be born or grow," he explained.

Sora made a face at that. "I don't know. If there's one thing I've learned during these last few years, it's that generally speaking practically everything is possible," he said," besides I rather like the idea of something growing here. This world is far too still for my liking."

"I wonder why it happened, though," Roxas said, still deep in thought.

Sora crouched down again and touched one of the shoots lightly. "Any idea what kind of plants they are?" he asked, curious.

"Flowers. Don't know what kind yet, but they grow from bulbs," the nobody answered, swatting his hand away from the plant. "I wonder if they'll need watering," he muttered to himself.

"So apart from you I'm now going to be cultivating flowers inside my head?" Sora asked, amused. "It's going to get pretty crowded soon."

"At least there is plenty of space to begin with," Roxas quipped back without a moment of hesitation.

"That's so mean," Sora whined. "Everyone thinks I'm airheaded."

"As your inner blond I should know," Roxas shot back, rolling his eyes at the theatrics.

Sora wasn't really offended by the comments. He rather liked seeing Roxas' playful side, even if it was rather sarcastic and spiky. Riku was like that with him too, of course, but with him there was always the edge of friendly rivalry.

"So when do you think they'll bloom?" he asked, switching the topic back to the flowers.

Roxas shrugged. "Don't know. Time here is relative and they shouldn't be here to begin with. It's entirely possible they'll be gone tomorrow," he answered.

"I hope they're not," Sora said. "I wouldn't mind seeing some flowers here. As pleasant as this place is, it is a little gloomy with no people around."

Roxas stood up and looked at him. "You don't have to keep on coming back, you know," he said seriously.

Sora just shook his head and smiled a little sadly. "And I keep telling you I will."

The blond shook his head as if he couldn't understand his stubbornness. Sora thought it was a bit hypocritical of him since he knew for a fact that the other was just as stubborn as he was. It was kind of funny to see that while they were complete opposites in some things they were eerily similar in others. It felt more like they were overlapping each other on some level instead of being ripped apart into two separate halves. It was a comfortable thought.

--

He wasn't surprised to find Roxas at the mansion when he came back the next time. It had been over two weeks for him, but he knew that Roxas 'slept' most of the time so he wasn't that concerned. He was a bit worried, however, by the approaching start of the school year. There wouldn't be much time for him to make trips to other worlds with all the homework. The fact that he'd already missed a year of school while he slept didn't help matters any. His friends seemed a bit too relieved by the thought that he couldn't keep on doing this and Sora had to keep reminding himself that they were only concerned over his wellbeing. They were the best friends he could hope for so it wasn't fair of him to feel that they were being too nosy.

"They're bigger," he said, plopping down next to his nobody and looking at the plants. "Did you give them water?"

Roxas shook his head. "No. It doesn't rain here either so they must be growing on their own."

The plants were the same height as the overgrown grass now and a bit darker green than last time. Several thin leaves had separated from the central stem and Sora couldn't help feeling that they looked familiar. It was probably a plant he'd seen in his mother's garden or something like that. When a black gloved hand reached for one of the plants his attention shifted, once again, to his nobody. There was a rare expression that bordered on gentle on the blonde's face. He stayed silent, enjoying the rare moment for what it was worth.

"I think I know what kind of flower this is," Roxas said suddenly.

Sora tilted his head slightly to the side in question. "What is it then?" he finally asked when Roxas didn't elaborate.

"That's for me to know and for you to find out," came the almost playful answer.

"How come you know something like that when I don't? Doesn't most of the general knowledge come from me? Or did you take classes on horticulture while you were with the Organization?" he asked.

"Do you remember Marluxia?" Roxas asked. When Sora just gave him a blank look he sighed. "You fought the data copies of the Organization members in Radiant Garden, right? He was the one with pink hair."

Sora winced at that memory. He had, rather foolishly, had a go at the data copies and he'd gotten his ass handed to him more than once. He hadn't even tried beating Roxas, remembering all too well just how difficult it had been to win against him the first time. He was still almost sure that Roxas had held back. He hadn't, of course, known just who he was at the time and hadn't connected the dots either. Thinking about it now, he wondered how he didn't see it immediately.

"He's one of the members who were dead before I woke up, right?" he asked. "I always wondered what happened to all of them."

Roxas gave him a long slow look, as if trying to decide if it would be worth the time to explain something to him. "Do you remember why you went to sleep?" he finally asked.

"Kairi told me it had something to do with me losing my memories and that Naminé had to piece them together. I've been meaning to ask just how it came to happen but I never had the time," he answered, frowning slightly.

His memories after defeating Ansem's –or Xehanort's- heartless were hazy. He remembered a castle with white hallways but that was about it. The next memories he had were from when he'd woken up in the basement of the Twilight Town manor.

"Well… Marluxia was set in charge of this place called Castle Oblivion. You met him and most of the other Organization members there, including Axel. Needless to say, that encounter didn't end up well for most of them," Roxas explained. "Riku was there too."

Sora nodded, making a mental note to ask more about the castle from Riku.

"How do you know that?" he asked. "Were you there too?"

He doubted it. If he'd seen Roxas there he would remember it. Or so he'd like to think.

"Axel told me parts of it and I pieced the rest together from what I found in your head. He didn't, of course, tell me that you were my Other. He tried to use Marluxa's fate as a warning when I was starting to think of leaving the Organization," the blond said, looking momentarily sad.

Obviously remembering the redhead was making Roxas unhappy so Sora decided that a change in subject was in order.

"So what about Marluxia?" he prompted.

"I don't know if you noticed it but his powers were related to plants. Spend any time near him and you were bound to know more about flowers," Roxas said. "That and you know much more than you think. I'm just using the information you never bother to."

"Oh," he said.

It made sense, he supposed. Sort of…

"So is there any special significance to them or are they just a type of weed or something?" he asked.

Roxas frowned at that. "I don't know," he admitted. "But I do get the feeling that they wouldn't be growing here if they weren't meaningful in some way. This place is nothing like the real world after all."

"So I'm not the only one then," Sora said, feeling slightly relieved.

"Hmm," Roxas hummed, still watching the plants intently.

"Aww… How come the flowers get so much attention and I get none?" he whined, half-playful and half-serious.

Roxas gave him an exasperated look but he was smiling faintly. "It's impossible not to pay attention to you. At the moment, however, the flowers are more interesting."

"Spoilsport," Sora muttered, but he was smiling too.

He fell backwards so that he was lying on the grass, looking at the orange sky. Briefly he wondered who had decided that the colour of sky was blue. At night it was anything from indigo to black and during the day it ranged from blue to gray to red to yellow of all things. A shadow fell over him and Sora smiled when his eyes met a pair of identical blue eyes.

"Did you check that there weren't any buds where you're lying?" Roxas asked, looking annoyed.

Feeling lazy, Sora raised his arms and wound them around his nobody's shoulders, pulling him down to lay partially on top of him. Roxas looked disgruntled and tried to get back up. Sora continued to look at the sky, still smiling and keeping his grip on the other boy. It didn't take too long before Roxas let out a long-suffering sigh and stopped struggling. Sora knew without looking that there was a frown on his face. It was probably his default expression along with blank indifference.

"You know," he said after a while. "The summer holidays are almost over."

Roxas was silent for a long time. "And then you won't be able to come back," he finally said. "That's good."

Sora couldn't help thinking that despite the words, Roxas didn't really sound happy. That, in turn, made him happy, though he couldn't help feeling slightly guilty about it.

"I won't come as often," Sora corrected him. "Though, maybe I should talk with Ansem and see if he can make me a portable version of the thing I use to get here. That actually sounds like a good idea."

Roxas tensed suddenly, and he wondered what he had said to make the other react like that.

"Is he still watching us?" the blond asked.

Sora shook his head before realizing that the other couldn't possibly see the gesture. "No. I asked him not to."

"And you trust him?"

"He wouldn't go back on his word after all that has happened," Sora said confidently.

Roxas relaxed again. "Doesn't mean he's not recording everything, though, does it?" he said.

This time it was Sora's turn to freeze. He hadn't really thought of that. There were probably programs recording everything that was happening now. As a scientist, Ansem would want to know just what was happening between Sora and his nobody inside his head. The bond between them was unique so it wasn't likely for the man to get another chance to observe people like them.

"You could always get that computer friend of yours to erase the records," Roxas reminded him before he got into a full blown panic.

Of course! The panic began to subside and Sora had to wonder why he'd even felt it in the first place. They hadn't done or said anything that shouldn't be heard by outsiders but… This was his private time with Roxas. He didn't want anyone intruding on it, even if it was only by watching what they'd said and done afterwards. In a moment of uncharacteristic jealousy Sora realized that he wanted to keep his nobody all to himself. What really worried him about the feeling was that it reminded him too much of the feelings he used to have for Kairi. And, in a strange way the feelings he now had for Roxas were stronger than those he'd had for her. Because Roxas was his without a shred of doubt. He had given birth to his nobody and now he existed only here in this not-world inside his mind.

"You're going to give me bruises," Roxas' dry voice snapped him out of his thoughts.

Realizing that he must be gripping the other painfully hard, he loosened his hold. "Sorry sorry," he said sheepishly.

"What were you thinking?"

Sora was surprised by the uncharacteristic question and the fact that Roxas hadn't taken the chance to get away from him. He felt comfortably solid with his head resting on his shoulder with his blond hair tickling his chin.

"I will come back," he said softly, his fingers sneaking to tangle themselves in the spiky hair. "It might take a bit longer, but I will come back and see what kind of flowers they are."

"You sound like you're making a promise to your girlfriend or something," Roxas muttered.

And that's what was worrying Sora, too, but he didn't say it out loud. The last thing he wanted to do was cause a rift between them.

--

The school year started normally enough, though both Sora and Riku were held back a year. It had been several weeks since Sora had last had time to go to Radiant Garden and he was starting to get agitated. It was ironic that even though technically Roxas was there just inside his own mind he had to go to another world to be able to see him. Suddenly he froze and stared at the blank blackboard.

That time… when he'd first gone to The World That Never Was… Roxas had pulled him in hadn't he? They'd fought but neither Donald nor Goofy had seen the fight so that meant it had to have happened somewhere else and by that time Roxas had already been inside him. And there was that time on top of the castle when Naminé and Roxas had opened the portal for them… Did that mean that all this time Roxas could've come to see him? Or that Roxas was perfectly capable of pulling Sora into his 'world'?

"Is there a problem?"

Sora blinked and realized that at some point he'd shot up from his seat and that everyone was staring at him. He laughed sheepishly. "I think I'm not feeling well," he said.

The teacher raised his eyebrow. "You think you're not feeling well?"

"In fact, I know I'm not. I'm going to the nurse," Sora said, packing away his books hurriedly and running out before the teacher could stop him.

It was the last period anyway, Sora thought negligently as he ran through empty corridors. He had more important things to do than try to remember what happened before he was born to people he wasn't interested in. It was still technically summer so the weather was hot, not that the seasons made much of a difference on the Islands anyway. Sora ran all the way to the beach and hopped into one of the boats there before setting off towards the island where they'd stowed the gummi ship Cid had reluctantly parted with accompanied with severe threats if they somehow damaged the vehicle.

When he was pulling the boat to the shore so it wouldn't get washed away by the high tide he saw that someone else was on the opposite shore where he'd just been. The gray hair made the person easily recognizable. Riku must've seen him run off and come after him. Sora hesitated for a moment but then he turned around and ran off. The older boy probably knew where he was going and why and he doubted he'd be happy about it. The older boy would probably reach the shore pretty soon but Sora knew that he was faster than his friend so he'd be able to reach the gummi ship just fine. He'd apologize when he got back, he decided. But right now he desperately needed to talk to Roxas.

--

When he entered Roxas' world, Sora immediately knew that something was wrong. Instead of the perpetual twilight, the sky was dark gray and he could see that a storm was brewing somewhere in the distance. If it were just an ordinary storm it wouldn't have bothered him in the least, but knowing that the weather was under Roxas' control… Craning his neck upwards Sora looked at the tower but saw no black clad figure there so he headed towards the mansion.

He was relieved when he walked through the gate and saw the familiar figure standing by the patch of grass where the flowers were growing. He ran to his nobody and almost tackled him to the ground.

"Why didn't you say anything?" he asked.

Roxas turned his head to the side so he wouldn't look into Sora's eyes and shrugged.

"You knew all this time, didn't you?"

"Of course I knew," Roxas said, glaring at the ground.

"Then why didn't you tell me?"

Roxas was silent for a long time before finally sighing and relaxing a little. He seemed tired and Sora wondered how it was possible for him to be tired if he slept most of the time.

"Let me go and I'll tell you if you really want to know," the other said.

Sora ignored the request, choosing instead to drag his nobody towards the mansion entrance. "It looks like it's going to rain soon so we better go in. You can explain everything to me there. Like why you really don't want me to come back."

Sora still had his arm wrapped around the other so he felt him tense again at those words. Obviously it was going to be something he wouldn't like hearing. Riku and Kairi probably knew it already, judging from the way they'd kept telling him to stop coming back to this place. But if his journey to save the worlds had taught him one thing, it was that most things could be overcome if not by skill and strength then just by sheer dumb luck and unrelenting stubbornness. He wasn't about to lose Roxas again. If he was prepared to go to the end of the world for his friends nothing would stop him from keeping someone even closer to him.

The mansion was as gloomy as always and Sora hesitated, wondering which room to go to. In the end Roxas decided it for him by heading towards the white room and pulling Sora, who was still holding onto him, with him. The pictures adorning the walls were still there and Sora spared a moment to look at a picture of him and Roxas with fondness. Then he dragged his nobody to the table and let go of him just long enough to sit down on top of the table.

"Well?" he said when Roxas was seated beside him. "Why didn't you tell me that I could've met you whenever I wanted even without Ansem and his machine from hell?"

The blond took a deep breath before raising his head and looking him in the eyes.

"Because no matter how many times we've told you that it's dangerous, you haven't listened," he said.

"But…" Sora started to protest, but Roxas' look silenced him.

"If you want an explanation you'll let me finish," the other said, narrowing his eyes in annoyance.

Sora nodded sheepishly. Roxas gave him a suspicious glare before starting again.

"The thing is that ultimately it's not healthy for you to spend so much time within yourself," his nobody started. "I'm sure Riku has told this to you already, but knowing you, you didn't listen."

Well that was true, no denying that. But he still couldn't see what was so dangerous about it. It wasn't like he was fighting hordes of heartless and going against an evil Organization planning to take over the heart of all worlds. He hadn't heard people say that it was too dangerous for him to do those things. He wanted to tell this to Roxas, but he knew the other wouldn't like him interrupting so he stayed silent.

"The flowers…" Roxas started again, but stopped.

"What about them?" Sora asked, confused by the sudden change of subject.

Roxas' eyes darted towards the window facing the front garden. "They're not a good sign."

Sora couldn't help wondering just could a bunch of flowers of all things be a bad sign. How were they a sign of anything, really? They were just plants.

"I told you before that noting can grow here. There's nothing really alive here and that's how it should be," the blond continued. "But ever since you started coming here things have been changing. Small things like the sky and the weather and the wind and lastly the flowers."

"So what? Isn't that a good thing?" Sora asked, getting more and more confused.

Roxas sighed. "Every time you come here you're leaving something of yourself behind. Echoes, shadows, thoughts and memories… It's not a good thing. You're finally complete after the whole fiasco with the Kingdom Hearts and Castle Oblivion and now you're scattering yourself again."

"But I feel completely fine," Sora protested. "I've never felt incomplete, not even when I lost the part of me that is you."

"Just because you can't feel it doesn't mean it's not happening," Roxas said bluntly. "The more you come here the less of you goes back. I don't even want to imagine what you left behind when the flowers appeared."

"But you seemed so happy to see them," Sora said. "How can that be bad?"

"I was being selfish," Roxas answered, his voice laced with disgust towards himself. "I was weak."

"I don't see what's so selfish about not wanting to be alone."

That earned him a sharp blue glare, but he was used to people glaring at him. He might not be book-smart but he wasn't stupid either.

"All this time I've come here of my own free will. I feel completely fine. Even if I am leaving something behind it obviously doesn't bother me so I don't really see what the problem here is," he said firmly. "I may have done stupid things before but I don't think this is one of them."

"But you don't understand," Roxas started exasperated by his lack of understanding.

"And I don't think I want to, if it means I can't see you again," Sora said with finality. "The damage is already done and I won't leave you alone here even if it kills me. I'm not that cruel."

"Don't talk about dying as if you know what it's like," Roxas snapped bitterly. "And I've already told you that I'm perfectly content without you. I'm already a part of you so how much closer can I get? How much closer do you want to be?"

Sora took a moment to think about it. They were valid questions, really, but the answer was surprisingly easy to find. As he turned the answer around in his head he was beginning to understand why both Roxas and his friends were dead set against him spending time here. And when he realized this he also knew just what the flowers would look like. The moment he thought about it Roxas suddenly stiffened again and then turned to look at the window. Sora watched his nobody walk to the window and draw the curtains to the side and stare at the ground.

"They're blooming," the blond said his voice tinted with horror.

Roxas' black gloved hands were pressed against the glass. Sora got up from his seat and walked to his nobody, wrapping his arms around his thin waist and resting his chin on the bony shoulder. He looked down at the ground and saw the yellow flowers dotted among the grass, blooming brightly in the rain. He wondered if it had been some sort of subconscious warning on his part, on what was going to happen should he keep coming back. It hardly mattered now.

"As close as possible," he said, answering the question Roxas had asked him earlier.

"Don't be stupid."

"Because that's what we already are, aren't we? I couldn't stay away even if I wanted to. And if I stayed away for long you would call me back now, wouldn't you," he said calmly. "Neither of us has a choice in the matter."

"You had a choice," Roxas said, his voice cold and accusing.

"That doesn't matter. Either way the choice was made and I can't go back on it," Sora said shrugging.

"How can you be so calm? This is…" It seemed that his nobody couldn't find the words to describe the situation.

"Wrong?" Sora asked, feeling strangely amused by the situation.

"To begin with, yes," Roxas said. "Though, the words insane and utterly stupid were not far from my mind."

"Aww… And I even gave you flowers," Sora said pretending to be hurt by the words. "You liked my flowers."

"Had I known exactly what they were and why they suddenly grew here I would've burned them," Roxas grumbled but there wasn't much conviction behind his words.

"But you knew what they were, right? You told me as much when I was here the last time," Sora said slyly. "And you didn't burn them then."

Roxas didn't say anything and he considered it a small victory. They just stood there, watching the rain and the flowers with Sora keeping his arms wrapped around his nobody.

--

Riku had been less than happy when he finally got back, but he had expected as much. Smiling Sora had even promised to his best friend that he would stop going back to Radiant Garden to use the machine. After the talk with Roxas last time he was sure he didn't need it. Roxas had refused to talk to him, but now Sora knew that it would only be a matter of time before he would be called back. Though, he did get more and more anxious every day and week by week. Knowing just how stubborn he could be he expected that his nobody could hold out for months.

But Sora would wait. He had made a promise to Riku and he didn't take promises lightly. The older boy did give him a few cautious glances when they visited Radiant Garden the next time, but seemed happy enough when Sora didn't even mention the machine. Ansem had approached him because his data had been 'corrupted' somehow –largely thanks to Tron- and he needed new data. Naturally, Sora declined saying that he'd promised not to use the machine anymore. The scientist didn't look happy about it, but knew better than to push the issue. He'd already caused enough trouble with his research before and he wasn't too keen on releasing something even more dangerous on the worlds.

For some reason, Kairi seemed even more suspicious of his actions. Perhaps it was because of Naminé or maybe it was just her womanly instincts or something, but she seemed to know that something was up. She hadn't asked him what it was, though, so maybe he was just paranoid.

It took Roxas nearly three months to cave in. If the Destiny Islands had had real seasons it would've been fall when Sora woke up in Twilight Town instead of his own, rather cluttered, room. He was disoriented at first, but recovered quickly. He jumped up and looked around to determine where exactly he was. It came as bit of a surprise when he found out that he was on top of the Twilight hill and that Roxas was there with him. He'd expected that he'd have to go find the reclusive nobody again.

"You're really stubborn, aren't you?" he asked.

Roxas gave him an icy glare. Sora decided that it was probably best if he didn't push his luck. He didn't want to wait another three months to see his nobody again.

"I missed you," he said, instead, and wrapped his arms around the other. "Did you have to wait so long?"

He didn't really expect an answer. Roxas was clearly unhappy about the situation that had been forced on him.

"I…" Roxas suddenly said, sounding unsure. "It was horrible."

"What?" Sora was confused by the seemingly random sentence.

Roxas closed his eyes, a slightly pained expression crossing his face. "Since you left… I couldn't sleep. You kept me awake. Every moment felt like I was being ripped apart."

Sora paled. He hadn't thought it would be painful. He'd stayed away because he was trying to prove a point and because he didn't want to be dependant on Ansem's machine to come here. He hadn't known… but that didn't ease his mind at all.

"I'm sorry," was all he could say. "Why didn't you call me sooner?"

Again, he received no answer, but he had a fairly good idea why Roxas had persisted for three months. It was to protect him. No doubt the blond still believed that it wasn't a good idea for him to be here. And he knew that if Roxas had to choose between excruciating pain and keeping him safe… there really was no choice at all. For someone so cold, Roxas was too… The word 'kind' came to his mind but that didn't describe Roxas at all. Roxas protected others because there were some kinds of pain that were more painful than others, and because it was the right thing to do. It was almost funny how the nobody possessed such a strict sense of justice.

"I hate it," Roxas hissed, looking frustrated and angry. "I hate being so dependant on you."

"Do you hate me?" he had to ask, even though he knew the answer.

"No! I love you," Roxas spat, as if it was the most disgusting thing in the world. "That's even worse."

He wanted to grin like and idiot. He wanted to dance stupidly and hug his nobody so tightly he couldn't breathe. He wanted to, but he couldn't. Joy was the last thing he felt from Roxas right now and he didn't want to wait another three months to see him again, especially if he was in pain during that time.

"The flowers are growing all over the place," the nobody added bitterly.

"And what does that tell you?" Sora prompted.

"Nothing new. I already knew that you were a fool."

Sora couldn't help smiling at that. "So they say," he admitted mildly. "And what does that make you?" he added.

"Twice the fool," came the immediate reply.

--

He wondered if it was vain of him. It certainly wasn't normal but he couldn't really bring himself to care too much. It wasn't like he had any say in the matter, really.

-- END --

End A/N: It was supposed to be shorter and stuff… and it doesn't really make sense at all and they're OOC and stuff… Oh werl that's that.