Written for Rowena DeVandel's 1,000 words or less challenge, containing a dead self-insert (child!me).


She looked calm, lying there like that.

Her wide eyes were closed, her pale hands were limp, and her short auburn hair was spread across the pillow like a mockery of a halo. She was a child, and the youngest person in the room. Her body swam in the folds of a white nightgown too large for her, making her seem small by comparison. She did not stir, and her chest was impossibly still – almost as if she wasn't breathing at all. Her expression was blissfully void of emotion, but that was good, wasn't it? Nobodies didn't have emotion.

Yes, Roxas decided, watching her. That was good.

He slid his fingers across her pale skin – she hated being in the sun, he remembered – and examined her with something like contempt and admiration. He cherished her because she could save them; he despised her because she hadn't already; he envied her because she slept so soundly, despite all this. He treasured how she could make him believe that he could even feel things like hate or envy. Why else would he visit this place every night, like he had done for the past few weeks? He liked to watch her. It fascinated him how someone as short-tempered as she was could look so calm while she slept.

"When do you think she'll wake up?"

It was the first thing Axel had said all night. Roxas glanced at him and shrugged as if he didn't care, though in truth he felt a sharp stab of anger at the thought of how long she'd slept.

Axel ran his fingers through his violently red hair, his acid-green eyes dull and blank. Those once sharp eyes had been dull like that for… how long? Roxas couldn't remember. It'd been ever since the girl had… but no, the thought was gone again. It was getting harder to remember things these days.

"She's an important kid," Axel mused.

Roxas nodded.

"She'll wake up and save our asses," Axel continued. His voice was lifeless.

Roxas nodded again.

"She's our girl."

Roxas made no reply this time. He looked back to the sleeping girl in her soft bed and stared impassively. She'd wake up and everything would fix itself. Just like in that fairytale – Sleeping Beauty. That's how it worked, right? He hoped so. Oh, yes, he hoped, with every bit of his non-existent heart, he hoped. She was the key, the answer, the solution; she could fix them. Roxas was supposed to have been the savior, but he'd done his part; now all she had to do was wake up and finish all their hard work.

As soon as her eyes opened, she'd untangle all their problems. All they had to do was wait.

Impatience tugged at Roxas, making him want to just shake the girl awake. Anger bubbled up in him as he watched her – how could she just lay there while they suffered, waiting for her to wake? He glanced at Axel, expecting him to be even more irritated. But Axel just stood there, leaning against the wall, his customary smirk nowhere in sight. "She's our girl," Axel muttered again. His gaze remained fixed on the girl, their personal Sleeping Beauty.

Roxas turned his gaze back to the girl, wondering if she would be able to hear him if he spoke. "Doesn't it make you crazy?" he asked her quietly. She didn't reply. Her touched her white skin again, feeling it; it was strangely firm and cold. "You just lie there. You don't talk or move – doesn't it make you crazy?"

She didn't stir.

"You don't do anything," he continued. He could feel Axel's apathetic gaze on him, but he didn't care. "You just sit there. It's pathetic! Doesn't that make you crazy? It makes me crazy."

Her eyes remained closed.

"Pathetic," he insisted, growing angrier as she continued to ignore him. "Pathetic. You're supposed to fix things. You know that, right? So wake up! Fix us, and just fucking wake up!"

The girl remained still and silent, and Roxas resisted the urge to throttle her. He hated her. He hated her. He had done everything he could to fix everything, but he couldn't. He needed her, and no matter what he did, he could do nothing to improve his chances, because it all depended on her, not him, so he hated her. He wasn't even supposed to be able to feel emotions, much less hate, but he still hated her.

"It makes us all a little crazy," Axel agreed lifelessly.

Roxas didn't reply. He growled, stumbling to his feet, and looked down at her again. This child, sleeping peacefully while he suffered. "Sleeping Beauty," he muttered, touching her again. Her skin, so cold! Like white marble.

"Sleeping Beauty?" Axel repeated, chuckling. "Maybe you should kiss her, then." He turned and left, his footsteps echoing even after he'd vanished through the door.

Roxas ignored him. But long after Axel had left, he started wondering, perhaps that… it was worth a try. A kiss to wake Sleeping Beauty. He bent, carefully pressing his lips against the girl's.

They held no warmth.

Oh, Roxas remembered dazedly. That was right. She was dead. One of them had killed her a few days ago. Zexion, maybe? Or had it been Saix, or Xigbar, or Larxene? He couldn't remember. Things were getting so very hard to remember these days.

Roxas pulled away and stared down at her for a long, long moment. Then, with one last look, he left the room, not bothering to close the door. He'd be back later, after all, to see if she'd woken up while he was gone.