Disclaimer: Kingdom Hearts and all related characters are the property of Square Enix and Disney.

Marbles and Programming Codes

Written by RamaLlama

Roxas doesn't understand. It's supposed to be cardiovascular heaven.

Roxas is losing his mind.

Along with other things.

Quite literally, he might add.

But he doesn't regret any of it.

He doesn't regret it the way you don't regret spilling a glass of milk. It's already spilt, so nothing can be done anymore. It's a mess on the table and a pixel in your mind. He'd like to think there was more to it than that, though. He would hate it if his non-existence was summed up in a pre-packaged cliché.

'Glad, maybe?'

Glad. He's glad he sacrificed himself to make Sora whole. Really. People would think Sora would be just fine if Roxas had stayed where he was, but Sora can't last long without certain things. It's like the way you could last for some time without food, but that doesn't mean you should stop eating. He needs certain things from Roxas.

'Did I just compare myself to food?'

And Roxas knows because Sora is taking ( stealing is too strong, and borrowing isn't true ) things from him.

People would think that once Roxas joined with Sora, he would see, smell, and hear everything Sora does. But he doesn't. Because his eyes, nose, and ears aren't his anymore. They're Sora's.

'Always have been, always will be. Just checking out parts like books from a library.'

Roxas doesn't live in the real world. He lives in Sora's heart. There's a part of him still there, though. He can't explain it. He's there without being there, but he won't be there for long. Sora is taking things from him, piece by piece, bit by bit, and it's happening slowly. Roxas doesn't regret it. Those things were never his to begin with.

But...

...it's...

...happening...

...so...

...damn slowly!

'What would an ellipses sound like if I said it out loud?'

Sora's heart is not a dark, lonely place to be because Sora is not a dark, lonely person. His heart is only filled with nice, warm things, and Roxas is very thankful for that. Imagine the horrors and pain that would arise if there were things like little girls who forced you to balance a ball in the air or push a gargantuan baggage of mail up a concrete hill.

At first glance, Sora's heart is nothing but a vast, black space and a stained-glass floor. But that's because you're not looking hard enough. Roxas knows how to look hard enough. He's had plenty of experience looking at blue marbles and programming codes in the sky. He finds plenty of things in Sora's heart. And from the things there, he builds.

Mortar, plaster, brick. Twilight Town is in Sora's heart, along with all the people and strangers in it. Every friend-- every friend, all the thousands-- Sora has made over the course of his adventures is in there, but he doesn't care about them. He only cares about that one person.

Axel. He's in there. No surprise since he did help Sora. Hayner, Pence, and Olette would've been fine company, but he didn't really know them and vice versa. It didn't really matter in here, but it would feel... off?

Was that the right word?

Roxas builds himself a fake Twilight Town, fake people, and a fake Axel to keep him from being bored. What else could he do? If he was going to go down, he might as well go down smiling. It's DiZ's virtual world all over again, and he doesn't regret it.

And he wants to feel skin again.

He wants to fool himself into thinking he's happy. And it's working.

Everyday he walks down the streets of Twilight Town, hand-in-hand with Axel. It's a leather glove. It's skin. Dead, animal skin, but skin. And it's walking. It's an activity. A boring one, but an activity. Maybe it'll lead somewhere sometime.

He knows Axel's not real.

But he can't help it.

LINELINELINELINELINELINELINELINELINELINELINELINELINE

Roxas loses his sense of smell.

'It feels like there are holes in my nostrils.'

A minor loss. There was never much to smell, anyway. Fake grass, fake brick, fake food. Although, along with the smell, he lost the taste. You know how when your nose is stuffy when you have a cold, and things don't taste the same? That's because smell and taste are connected. They lived together-- if Roxas feels like they should be personified--, and they died together-- again, if Roxas feels like they should be personified.

No more sea-salt ice cream, then. Oh well. He'll survive.

Because none of the losses are going to be major.

Because he's happy.

'As happy as a smiley face.'

Sometimes, when he walks down the streets of Twilight Town--Yes, he is still doing that. Of course, he adds a little kick to it occasionally by bringing his skateboard, or by actually having a destination in mind when they start walking, but he built the roads with chunks of Sora's memory, and he wants to see how good they are.

How far they went.

It may seem like the two of them are just doing the same thing over and over again, but--

Where was he?

Oh, yeah.

Oh yeah.

Sometimes, when he walks down the streets of Twilight Town, Axel would hug him. He didn't know why. He was the one keeping the fake Axel tangible, so he supposed it was because he wanted him to hug him. He wanted human contact again, he reasoned. Or as close to human contact as he could get. You know, besides living inside the heart of his Other ( who is human, and he's not he's not he'snot ).

He tries to smile whenever Axel hugs him. He tries to pretend nothing's wrong. The two of them lived together (if Roxas feels like they should be personified), the two of them died together (again, if Roxas feels like they should be personified), and the contact would only strengthen that. He figures that out.

But there's something missing whenever he hugs him.

Because whenever he hugged him before, there was the smell and taste of fire.

He knows Axel's not real.

He knows the hugs aren't real.

But he can't help it.

LINELINELINELINELINELINELINELINELINELINELINELINELINE

Roxas loses his hearing.

'Along with other things.'

Sometimes, when he walks down the streets of Twilight Town-- Even he thinks it's starting to get monotonous, but that one stretch of road had become the entire town already. He'll explain later.-- Axel would talk to him. He doesn't remember ever talking back, but Axel would keep talking to him. Roxas thinks he just made him do it for the noise. Twilight Town gets awfully quiet sometimes.

Sora'sheartbeat... Sora'sheartbeat... KairiandRikuSavetheworldsHeartlessKeybladeKing... Sora'sheartbeat...

Mostly, it's gibberish. Baby talk, almost, except babies have some sort of vague idea or concept about what they're trying to say. He almost never says any actual words, because Roxas is starting to forget some.

He lost his mind, remember?

And whatever Roxas knows Axel knows and what Axel doesn't know won't hurt him or Roxas.

Sometimes, in the gibberish, he hears an "I love you." He hears the word I, followed by love, followed by you. Each individual word makes complete and perfect sense, but not when you put them together in that order like that. But he knows it's just part of the gibberish. And he doesn't hear it anymore. He's deaf now.

So Axel writes it down on a piece of paper. And Roxas feels a little handicapped. Over and over again, he writes "I love you." on a piece of paper and hands it to Roxas, and Roxas knows he's not just making him do it for the noise anymore. He doesn't really know why he makes him do it.

'I... i--i no, no, know... what...'

What?

Sometimes, he hums. He hums all of the songs he could remember, which is not very much, and the list keeps getting shorter. He doesn't hear himself, but he doesn't have to. He knows what he's humming. He hums just to feel the vibrations running down his throat. He wants to fool himself into thinking nothing's wrong. And it's working. He's learned that pop, rock, and country all feel the same when they're vibrations.

Everything feels the same.

The pile of papers Axel gives him keeps piling up. And he never thanks him for it, either. He never says thank, followed by you, and it never even crosses his mind. Even though he hums, he never thanks Axel for doing exactly what he wants him to do. What he's making the fake Axel do. It must be annoying to write the same thing over and over again. He never thanks him for that warm feeling that rises up in his chest whenever he reads the papers. That feeling he can't explain. For all the things he lost for joining with Sora, he gained his feelings back. But sometimes, he doesn't want to feel happy whenever Axel writes him "I love you."

( He knows what an ellipses sound like. It sounds like silence. )

Because he knows Axel's not real.

He knows the hugs aren't real.

He knows the papers aren't real.

And yet...

He can't help it.

LINELINELINELINELINELINELINELINELINELINELINELINELINE

Roxas will not lose his voice.

Because if there's anything Sora doesn't need from Roxas, it's a stronger voice. So Roxas gets to keep his.

He keeps humming. He keeps humming tunes he's starting to forget, and he never thanks Axel. He feels happy whenever Axel gives him a paper, but he never thanks him. Because he knows Axel doesn't mean it. He knows he's only doing it because he's making him do it. He doesn't want Axel to say "I love you."

Roxas doesn't want to say "I love you," to Axel.

And he doesn't think much anymore. This one moment of thought is a rare one. Let... it... drag... on...

Roxas doesn't want to say "I love you." to Axel.

Because he knows it's not true. They aren't real. (The two of them he means, although he supposes it could also mean the slips of paper and the trees that died to make them.) They never were. They never had real emotions. They never loved each other and never will. He had never loved Axel, and Axel had never loved him. They've never even liked each other. He could say it as many different ways as possible, but he still can't bring himself to feel comfortable with it.

But he has to.

Let... it... drag... on...

Roxas had once thought-- a fleeting thought-- that he had liked Axel for real.

Pfft!

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha...!

He has to. Feel comfortable with not liking him, he means.

Because this Twilight Town--this Axel--he--won't be here much longer. He can't walk down the streets of Twilight Town forever. Everything around him was an illusion he had made for himself. They'll only exist for as long as he knows they're there. They'll only exist for as long as he could perceive them. If he couldn't smell or taste anything, those smells and tastes don't exist. If he couldn't hear anything, those sounds don't exist. The only way he knows he's in Twilight Town, walking next to Axel, is because he can see and feel it. See and feel him.

Fake Twilight Town-- except the roads-- is currently gone. Roxas can't remember ever being anywhere but the roads. It's just... gone. His only world is a single road. It feels like lonely and indifferent all at the same time.

The only way he knows he's in Twilight Town, walking next to Axel, is because he can see and feel it. See and feel him.

Pleeeeasseeee... drrrraaaaaggg...

And his sense of touch isn't something he's sure about. Sometimes, his hand passes through Axel. Sometimes, when he hums, he doesn't feel the vibrations running down his throat.

'"I love you", "Should I do this?", and "I hate you." all feel the same, vibration-wise.'

He kisses Axel.

Axel reacts to it exactly the way he wants him to, which is not reacting at all. Roxas smiles when he feels it. He knows it happened. He's not smiling because he kissed Axel. He's smiling because he knows he hasn't lost something yet.

So he kisses him again.

And this time, his face passes right through.

But it's a mistake. They touched. He knew it. He knows it. But he tries it again and again, and it never works like it did that first time. And he wonders if it only worked that one time because he really wanted it.

He's miserable.

He walks down the streets of Twilight Town, hand in hand with Axel, hums a happy little tune, and hopes desperately to whatever he has left that the sound exists.

He knows Axel's not real.

He knows the hugs aren't real.

He knows the papers aren't real.

He knows the kiss wasn't real.

But he can't help it.

LINELINELINELINELINELINELINELINELINELINELINELINELINE

Roxas knows he'll lose his eyesight.

He knows. Even without a mind. He hasn't lost it yet, though.

And for the first time, he knows he's going to miss Axel.

Everything would have to go. He makes himself feel comfortable about it. He makes himself accept it. He makes himself stop feeling sad. He's surprised he feels anything at all. He thought he got his emotions back when he merged with Sora, but now he knows they were only part of the illusion. He didn't exist. He doesn't regret it.

So why was he feeling sad?

He knows the sadness is real because it hits him with a force so powerful, he couldn't have created it himself.

He's going to miss Axel, even though Axel isn't real.

And out of some child-like reasoning, he figures out that if he could miss Axel, then that meant wherever Axel was, he could miss him, too.

So he's comfortable. He's comfortable knowing that at one point Axel must've loved him. He doesn't know how he came up with that, but he wants it to be true so badly, it is. At least in Sora's heart. Axel loved him.

He smiles in certainty.

( He never thinks anymore. It's scary. Everything just passes through him like air. Nothing goes through his mind anymore. What happened to the reasonable, intelligent, nice young man that used to be there? )

'Intelligent is spelled I-N-T-E-L-L-- One last time. I'll pretend I haven't lost my mind yet one last time.'

He smiles in certainty.

Then, he doesn't.

Because at the last minute, he realizes something. There's something around him. Something clear. Something invisible.

It's a trap.

What a terrible, terrible trap. Whenever did he find the time to set it up? He hadn't noticed it before. Before, it looked like smiles that never reached anywhere but the lips and happiness as cheap as plastic. Before, it looked like all the books in the library belonged to him and he'd never ever ever have to give them back.

He realizes what a trap he's put himself in. He realizes how miserable he really was. It hits him with a force so powerful, he feels like laughing. He realizes he'd been alone, talking to himself this entire time. That's was it was, isn't it? Alone in Sora's heart, talking out loud to imaginary friends? Like DiZ's computer world.

Like… like the one he destroyed. With the Keyblade, remember? Like the one much better than the shitty one he made. Much better than his actual world, of the Organization and Nobodies. He can't go back. Ha. Haha. He… he can never pretend anymore. Hahaha! He's never going to be normal again! Ha!

Sora. Lucky, lucky Sora. What a lucky bastard you are, Sora. You can take his crappy eyesight. You can take his hearing and his sense of smell. He hopes all you'll ever see and hear and smell is the real thing, because… because… because everything else didn't work out so well for Roxas. But you can just go on and think it did.

Roxas realizes he's been so miserable, he gave every bit of himself to Sora. Just handed it over to him. Willingly. Happily. Nothing was taken from him. Nothing was stolen. He gave his mind and senses away, and he smiled while doing it. Smiled and laughed about how he won't have to feel anything else but the real thing.

'Hey, Axel? Let's make this walk a special one. And… Axel? I think I kinda like you.'

But he was happy.

He walks down the roads of Twilight Town, hand-in-hand with Axel. For the first time, he looks up at the sky he made and it's every bit as beautiful and blue and real as the marble from the trophy he won from the Struggle Tournament. And everything was fine. Nothing was wrong. Despite everything, nothing was wrong. He doesn't regret a thing. He's happy. He's happy. He's happy. He's happy.

He's yelling inside, but he's happy.

He takes in the sights of Twilight Town, marveling at what a beautiful, nice, warm place Sora's heart was. He doesn't miss anyone. There was no one to miss. No one. Nobody.

Suddenly, he stops dead in his tracks and stares straight ahead.

He blinks once.

Twice.

A third time.

Then, he smiles and says,

"I'm blind, Axel."

So he closes his eyes shut, squeezes a hand that isn't there, hums a song named "Ret-In-I-Tis Pig-Men-To-Sa," and walks carefully down the stained-glass floor.

He knows Axel's not real.

He knows the hugs aren't real.

He knows the papers aren't real.

He knows the kiss wasn't real.

He knows he's not real.

But he can't help it.

(...The end...)

Author's Notes: Yep, another angsty oneshot. This is my take on what it's like for a Nobody to merge back with their Other. I don't know why some people think they'd be like another person living in their Other's head. It seems... I don't know. I'd go crazy if I had another person in my head talking to me. I like the image of pieces of them slowly fading away. It seems like a more likely procedure.

Ugh! Real life is interferring with my writing. I hope you don't mind waiting. It might be a while before I put up another mulit-chaptered fic. I'm so sorry! Please don't be angry with me. On the plus side, you've got these nifty oneshots! :D

If this is your first time reading anything by me, please check out my other stories. Especially Reverse, another AkuRoku fic.

Review, please! It means a lot to me if you review. Jeez, I've got to think of a wittier way to ask you to review. Um... reviewing wins you... internets? Yeah, that'll work.