Full Summary:
His little light and little fire, to mess with her is to burn.
From the moment that Kairi see's the boy, she feels an instant connection to him. And when she talks to him properly; her world comes alive. However, to everyone else, he quickly becomes an object of hatred and jealousy. Kairi naively tries to understand just why people despise and turn the boy down, as well as the meaning behind her motherly protection over him. But Fate is a cruel thing, for by some sick and twisted turn of it, Kairi is torn beyond repair when he suddenly has to leave.
Only it is when he goes that she realises that she must do what was right in her heart.

Inspired by the books 'Twilight' and 'Lucas', my good friend Kathryn and her new boyfriend Josh as well as, of course, our much beloved game 'Kingdom Hearts'.
Song that will be used throughout the story: Imaginary by Evanescence.

Disclaimer:No, for the love of all that was holy! I am not going to bother telling you that I do not own 'Twilight', 'Lucas', Evanescence, 'Kingdom Hearts', Kathryn or Josh!
…I just did? Whoops…
Aaaaanyhooch.

::::::: = the paragraphs in between these colons are her future thoughts on the situation. (Sorry, if that doesn't make sense, it will if you find one.)
Italics = emphasis and thoughts.
And the random bold line at the beginnings and ends? Honestly, don't ask. I haven't got a clue.

Enjoy.


It's amazing, really, how something so wild and unexpected could happen just like that. Like when a bird would suddenly take flight, like when a frog would abruptly hop off its lily after whipping out a long thin tongue to catch a passing fly, like when a car would zoom past your window and catch you unaware, like when a ball would fly through the air and hit you hard on the head.

Yes, as wild and un-expecting as all these things are, they're completely natural events that happen in life these days. It's not meant to affect you, not meant to hurt or cause you pain, to surprise you. They just happen, instincts, accidents, catching you off guard enough for you to think them sudden. If you were to watch closely, though, I know you'd get at least a seconds warning. The bend of legs before the bird spreads its wings, the considering eyes and the opening of the frogs mouth, seeing the headlights beforehand and noticing the ball coming towards you, if you see these things, it avoids the majority of the surprise.

But I didn't see it coming.

When I met that mysterious boy, I didn't foresee what would happen to me, how our relationship would unfold and how it would conclude. I'm not a fortune teller, but I realise now that if I'd studied him sometimes, I'd have known what was going to happen, even if it was just a seconds notice. Like a nervous or confident aura and uncertainty or easiness in his startlingly beautiful eyes as he opened his mouth to speak, to tell me something, inform me with news, bad and good. Maybe I was blind, maybe I was just blind.

Maybe.

I understand, too, that if I had refused to the point of stubbornness when Namine asked me to come out, that if I'd dug in my heels and held my head high and said 'No.' Firm and cool as hell, that none of this would have happened unless I went out there myself sparsely a few days later, up there to where it 'was happening' these days. I wouldn't have done that though, would I? I could never have disagreed with her, not then, and even if I could, I wouldn't have gone out later. No, that just wasn't me, I was the anti-social one.

It's amazing how things change.

It's bewildering the people you need to thank for things sometimes, when it was hardly anything to do with them at all. Like in a race when they give you that extra push at the start as you begin to worry and hesitate, you run because of them, but they don't accompany you at all during the time you sprint along the route, the track, the trail… yet, if it wasn't for them, you'd have still been stood there like an idiot as the winner crosses the finishing line.

Yeah, it's amazing.

Perhaps it's confusing.

Or maybe it's just simple and I'm being my dumb blind self.

I wouldn't know.

But here's the wild and unexpected event that happened to me, the wonder that's had me up during nights on end, the amazing happening to which Namine started herself, the thing that hurt even though it wasn't meant to, here's where it all began…

The day I met The Boy.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

"Sometimes taking risks can change your life; for maximum effect, take them head on."

A Garden of unspoken drama.
Saturday.
28th 29th October.

The night sky was beautiful, an endless black canvas with holes in it, holes that were stars and shone so bright and in such massive clusters, stars that had the black paint streaked with navy blue and deep purple and a hint of jade green, flashes of colour, flashes of life in the darkness. The moon was full, eerie in its own sinister beauty as it gazed down towards the Earth with dispassionate disparity, as if it felt itself as greater, better, higher…

Well, I'd give it the latter, because it was higher, but not in the sense I was speaking of.

I know I said 'day', but really, you could say it was in early morning time, at night, only does it truly count when you hardly even see them, speak to them?

I wouldn't have thought so, personally, but perhaps you have a different opinion.

I was ambling along the sidewalk, the low stone wall that separated the beach from the village on my right as I sauntered on my lazy way to nowhere in particular, aimlessly wandering, just thinking, really. Thinking about what my twin outgoing sister had in store for me in a few hours time, I can remember feeling nauseated by these nagging thoughts, so I'd hoped a walk would help me clear my head. It was helping, the fresh air, just a little bit, but working all the same.

As well as the phenomenon above aforementioned, the sea held my mesmerised attention as well. Wiser people have told me that the moon affects the ocean in ways that nothing else can, I can't remember how, exactly, and I can't remember who, but I know it does. It was a breathtaking sight which I saw through my violet eyes, studying it as waves rose from the colossus writhing mass in walls of water and crashed down with the added noise like a spray onto the moon-bleached sand.

A pleasant breeze swirled around me, cool against my skin as my nightdress billowed slightly so as to allow it entry. It ruffled my red-wine hair, taking it for a gentle roller coaster ride before depositing it, as if bored with it, and the strands tumbled down to fall over my shoulders and to frame my pale face. I ran my fingers through it, self-consciously, as I carried on my slow midnight walk. Marvelling again at my peaceful surroundings, listening again to the water's melody, I drew in a deep breathe as I wrapped my jacket around my small figure more tightly, leaving my arms crossed over my chest. I hadn't anticipated it being as cold as it was, but strangely, I didn't mind so much.

The beach at night never ceased to amaze me.

There you go, amaze again.

I say all this in detail, and yet, I really do remember it all. You always remember something memorable, and in my case, you recall every little thing. I didn't know if it was weird, I didn't know if it was right, but it was me. The way my mind would work, soaking up every little detail, yeah, it's just how my brain operates at certain times.

So that was how it was. I was breezing along the sidewalk in near silence, content and actually starting to feel rather happy now. But you know the feeling, when you're not concentrating on something, but you can still feel it there? Lay dormant now, a horrible feeling, ready to leap up and regain your attention when the time was worst? Yeah, it was there, snoozing away in the back of my mind, leaving me with a fluttery sickening sensation in my stomach that wasn't very pleasant, to speak the truth. It was harder to swallow than it really should have been, harder to keep my hands still from where they clutched at my bony elbows, but overall, I was feeing much better after slipping quietly out onto my balcony, climbing down the vines that bloomed up against my house's sandstone walls and ducking through my secret exit from the mansion's grounds. It was silly of my family to allow me, their more resentful daughter, the easiest room for escape, but then, they weren't the brightest of bunches.

Oh, didn't I tell you? My family is rather on the rich side.

My father is the one who really rolls in the cash, working as a high class business man who is quite the important person on the island, perhaps, the most important person…

Okay, my father was the president; there you go; now how do you see me?

Normally, I prefer to keep that kind of thing a secret, 'The President's Daughter'… well, you can see where I'm coming from. You imagine a right fake, plastered in layers of make-up, tangerine face, adorned in the best and most expensive clothes, sunglasses, dazzling smile, maybe. Her hair done up fussily with plenty of dyes and clips and sticking out all over the place from being straightened for hours on end…

Yeah, I don't like that much.

I'm not like that, not like that at all, in fact, I'm as different as that as it was possible to be. Would you believe me if I said that when you knew of my identity? I don't know, but I do care, and that's more annoying than you probably realise.

Maybe it was because he judged me from my personality that I took to him so much…

Maybe.

I'm still walking, to bring things back on track, still minding my own business and enjoying my night time saunter, the air was sweet and suave as it invaded my nostrils, I was under the spell of the ocean, and I didn't mind so much. It was a nice feeling, as opposed to my most recent one…

Perhaps I was just appreciating it too much.

It could have been natural to feel that way.

But I never thought I could have found something better.

It was low at first, floating, drifting lazily on the light sea breeze. Swirling, twisting, waving, and slicing through the calm silence with ease like a knife would slice water, in other words, effortlessly. The sound was embarking on its own roller coaster ride as it slowly, tenderly, reached and caressed my eardrums.

I'd never heard a tune so sweet.

It was barely a hum at first, but strangely, I could sense the beauty of the sound from it, sense that there was meaning lying deep within the soulful melody. It rose and fell flawlessly, travelling on the air currents like water, fluid in its smooth steady moving pace. A speed that was fast enough to get somewhere, but not too fast to miss anything, to pass un-noticed by any lucky wanderer nearby.

Oh yes, I saw it as lucky, alright.

It enthralled me, a tune that seemed like it both belonged and was remote to everything it flowed past, like an irresistible sense to pass up on, my body slipped into a trance as I followed it back to where I was sure the music was centred from. I wondered, fleeting and dazedly, what kind of instrument I knew of that count emit such a tune, surely, I had heard nothing like it, no violin or piano or harp can produce something so heart-warming. It was un-thought of, entirely impossible; I would assume my eyes were playing tricks on me if a found any such musical object being played now.

I didn't have to.

As I walked along, I was like a sleep-walker. Any passers by would have probably seen an auburn haired girl with vacant eyes who appears to float by, but so what? If a couple of kids, elders or adults thought I was a crazy psycho, or if they envied me for my carelessness and peaceful expression. If they thought I was someone who appeared strange, looked incredibly different… where was the harm in that?

Where was the harm…?
There was none.
None at all…
It didn't matter.
It doesn't matter one bit…
How very wrong I was.
Right then, I really was blind.

Have you ever had the feeling when your mind is just void of all thoughts, but only one thing gets through to you? Or perhaps nothing at all? You don't think, you don't feel, and you just…are. Because my entire mind was just taking in was the growing melody, as it was getting louder and louder with each and every step I took. That and nothing else. And I wasn't even concentrating on the shuffling of my feet, not even knowing as a soft smile touched my lips, and I revealed my amethyst eyes to the sleeping world to look over at a swaying palm tree suspiciously, feeling that weird prickly sensation on my flesh when you can sense another person's presence. This new vibe was so strong; the melody was even momentarily forgotten, but not completely, falling back to join the bad feeling as an afterthought in the back of my mind.

There was a shadowed figure stood there, leaning against the tree's narrow trunk. I couldn't see them properly, but by the way they held their body, by the way they were shaped and by the shortness of their hair I knew at once on their gender; it was a boy. One of medium height with his hair in messy spikes, the moonlight didn't reflect off his face, it was hidden in the shadows. His top seemed thick and long sleeved, I couldn't really tell, and the pants he wore went down to his mid-shin, no shoes adorned his slightly large feet.

I noted all this, but the boy was shrouded in darkness, completely black as a silhouette as he stood there with his weight against that palm tree. The leaves on it rustled, almost restlessly, the wind whispering through them as if they conversed as old friends, before dropping downwards to entwine itself within the boy's already untidy hair. I watching as the strands waved about, like they rejected the breeze's presence and were flailing around wildly to get rid of it, an action that completely rivalled against the relationship between the tree and the wind. These startling thoughts caused a small giggle to slip through my lips.

The boy instantly froze; somehow he had heard the sound that my throat had uttered, and I could see the tension as the tune was abruptly cut off, making me freeze in turn. Fear began to trickle down my spine like a light spell of rain.

It could mean anything.

It could mean nothing.

:::::::

Looking back, I think I shocked him a bit, after all, I suppose he was hardly expecting somebody to have gotten so close and to not have realised their existence. To immediately stand still was of pure instinct, like a deer in headlights, like a spider in your room, like a cat as it slinks into your back garden slyly and then catches your piercing gaze. You're startled, you didn't expect something to be there, and you've been caught off guard. But every time, we always expect danger to be hot on surprise's heels, fear is like ice as it slices through you, tearing a path in your body and lodging within your heart, like a bullet. Your body is expecting something harmful like that missile to follow. Only more often than not, it doesn't. I expect he was feeling scared too, or was it for the intruder's – my – sake? Perhaps, I'd known him to act wildly out of proportion when he thinks he senses a threat. Fear was instinct, defensive reaction was instinct; it was a fact of life. A sleek cat against a shaggy dog, an electric eel against a dangerous crocodile, and a wild horse against a growling wolf, almost everyone has a predator who stalks them. Be it man or bird, amphibian or invertebrate, mammal or fish, there's always something higher. Which really makes you think, who's the highest, here?

:::::::

For a moment, nothing moved at all. Even the wind was still, as if sensing a tension in the air and deciding to not intervene or swirl into dangers path, I had a mental picture of a cloud retreating from the scene. I held my breath, the nausea swelling back into full force as the calm was lost. Like 'Bam!' and it was there, and boy could I feel it alright, I almost doubled over.

I know he never meant to scare me, never meant to make me feel sick with fright, not by those means anyway, but it happened all the same.

All because of one stupid giggle…

I watched him, curiosity leaking into my system, what was he thinking? Was he preparing to do something? Should I run?

Yes, run! My head was screaming, over and over again, god, get out of here, woman!

And I was about to, bending my legs in preparation to take flight, take flight like a bird… maybe I could catch him unawares and get away before he even knew it. But my heart suddenly interrupted my mind's dramatically over-exaggerated wailing.

Stay, it said. But that was all it took, all that it needed to say to me to make me listen. I always followed my heart, cliché, I know, but it was what I did. So I began to relax slightly, permitting calm to seep back into my system to still my flying thoughts of escape. Until, that is, his head suddenly seemed to twitch. The move startled me, but this time, into movement. I'd suddenly realised I was frightened right then, frightened beyond belief. But in my heart, the fear was not there, it was absent. Like the emotion had been placed there, but was not supposed to be. The vibe was pumping through my body, driving me to sprint through the lanes of the village, boiling madly within my veins. My heart, though, was calm, regardless of how it pumped my raging blood; I knew the feeling wasn't entirely there.

I ran all the way home, my mind was like my body; working madly to lessen to abrupt flare of terror I felt just then. But always filled with thoughts of that boy, his music, and his strange behaviour when he knew of my presence, the stillness and then the almost casual jerk of the head, the exact same time that fear had suddenly hit me.

What did it mean?

It could be important.

But I disregarded it.

I closed my balcony doors behind me.

::x.x::

Just then, our picture was no more than a flash of grey led on snow-white paper.
It could have been labelled as mere r u b b i s h.
But it's a start.

::x.x::

Do you ever get the feeling when you just can't be bothered? Someone tells you to do something, they can try threatening you, and they can try forcing you, try being the operative word. Only your mind just goes blank within seconds and by the time they've finished speaking you're staring off into la-la land, not paying attention in the slightly. What they want you to do is either pointless, boring or just plain stupid. You can't be motivated to take action; your eyes are glazed over with an unseeing gaze. However, with me it was a rather different case.

There I was, happily snoozing away on my queen-sized bed in my too-large room. Ignoring everything but the soft comfortableness of my silky sleeping quarters, I know that if you'd have seen me, you would have thought I looked a bit funny. No, it wouldn't have been the messiness of my auburn locks, the way the quilt tended to twist tightly around my pale body, the angry red marks where I'd been pressed to something too hard in my oblivious slumber.

Not that, but the simply sight of me amidst all that space. I'd have looked lost; and I wouldn't have been surprised if you couldn't have found me.

Hilarious.

Oh yes, my parents try to spoil me, they try to give me things I just don't need, the kind of things that someone that wasn't so fortunate would be far better off having. They give me things which are massive when a much smaller version would have suited just as well.

I hated that.

It was kind of beside the point; it was entirely beside the point, in fact. But there you go. Yeah, me, dozing quite peacefully and very much minding my own business, thank you very much. I remember feeling the warmth of the sun's gentle morning heat on my left side and back, it would have been pleasant, but my room itself was stuffy as it was. All in all, it wasn't that great, I'm sure I was perspiring. I won't be cliché and tell you that the birds were singing and the heavens were calling for my eye's attention to examine its beauty, no, I won't say that.

Simply because I don't remember it.

My sweet sanctuary was far too suave for me to get up and do anything about the torridity, I couldn't be bothered, there you are, I just couldn't be irked the teensiest bit. Right about then, I was making plans to just stay there all morning, I was that content.

My annoying brat of a sister had very different ideas.

Knock, knock, knock!

...Well, snap… I suppose anyone can wish.

Knock, knock, knock!!

Yeah, and you just keep on wishing…

"Kairi!" It was her, of course, shouting my name in the hopes that I would respond.

And I'll let her wish, too.

"I swear to God, Kairi, if I don't hear anything in ten seconds I'll break down this bloody door and come right in there to wake you! You'll regret not just getting up in the first place!"

"Alright, alright, I'm up…" I mumbled into my smooth silken pillow, I didn't move, however, stubbornly unwilling to leave my dream world of sunshine with grass and daisies and the musical boy I knew nothing about, even his features were…

-- .I linger in the doorway. --

Wait, what? A boy? Since when have I dreamt of males that have nothing whatsoever to do with my family…?

Such thoughts made me suddenly remember the night before, my midnight walk, the music, and the distant shadowy figure – that boy. He was the one in my dreams, I realised, he was the one I couldn't stop thinking about as I'd lay in my bed and waited patiently for sleep to come and wrap me in its gentle arms. It was surprising, truthfully, the countless boys that had shown an interest in me, had tried to 'woo' me as they say, and I never thought twice about them. Idiots, that's what they were. This one though… there was something about him, something that made me look back on the memory, made me look again.

Do you ever get the feeling that when you see a certain someone, however briefly or sparsely or even if you couldn't even see their face enough to really see them, a foreign vibe shoots through your body? The feeling when something strikes a cord within your heart, confusing your emotions, making you think and feel things you never have before…? Back then on the sidewalk, with the sound of that tune, the cool lazy breeze against my skin, the moon-bleached night surrounding me, the only thing my mind could truly see was him. The feeling had come later, though, later when I was back in the safety of my warm quilt. What does it mean? I'd wondered, why does it bewilder my emotions and insist on having my mind on him, and only him? I didn't know, I couldn't know, it was all so very new to my undeveloped mind. It felt like instinct to me, an abrupt feeling that is there to tell you something that you cannot truly decipher and see the meaning and importance of, but is telling you to trust it, go along with it; so you do. Like when a deer would sense an oncoming predator and become alert then bound away, like when a house dog would sense an intruder and bark wildly so as to warn its owner, like when a shark would detect movement and life from the surface or under and consume it immediately, all natural, all instinct, acting without conscious thought as if you're meant to do it. Yes, this feeling was like instinct to me, I was meant to feel it, have it there in my heart.

Lay on my back last night with my violet orbs trained on my balcony double doors which, consequently, showed me the dazzling star diamonded sky, but with my thoughts miles away…

I'd wanted to meet this stranger again, and I'd wanted to see him this time. I still did.

Holy flippinoly.

"KAIRI, GET YOUR LAZY ARSE MOVING RIGHT NOW!"

Charming.

I simply blinked, having been brought back to reality as her voice proceeded to deafen me, you would have counted on a more dramatic reaction, but not me. Why? Because I was used to it, obviously, this was almost daily routine for us. Something today felt different, however, strange… like something in the air feeling too tight and making it harder than usual to breathe. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but I didn't like it all too much.

"I'm coming!" I hollered back, putting emphasis on each syllable as I lifted my face away from the pillow, effectively allowing my voice to amplify to maximum volume, "Keep your fake-up on! Sheesh…"

"Ha ha…" Namine said loudly with heavy sarcasm as she banged her fist against my door again, I couldn't work out exactly why, perhaps because she liked doing it now, "Hurry up about it! We haven't got all the freakin' time in the world, you know…"

I huffed lightly, pushing my soft cover away from my tired limbs by way or preventing myself from drifting off again. Slowly, I pushed myself up into a sitting position and swung my legs over the side, both in individual motions of movement. I was purposely going at a snail's pace, and it was going to annoy my twin like heck, but hey, what did I care? I was mad at her for waking me up now, one glance at my bedside table with my silver alarm clock stood atop it had told me something that I wasn't going to forgive for a long long time.

Namine had woken me up at 7:36am, on a Saturday. Yeah, I was pretty furious, because I kind of liked my lie-ins. Chyeah, Understatement of the entire century.

I sauntered across my thickly carpeted bedroom floor.

"Kairi, get the damn door, already."

All in good time, my dear sibling. I eventually raised my arm and wrapped the thin fingers of my left hand around the knob, at the same time, my right hand worked to unlock it with all the speed of an aging turtle.

"Kairi…" Her voice was indicating that she was starting to lose her temper, again, which was rather unsurprising considering her actual personality and the present situation. I smiled. Finally pulling open the blanco pigmented door, I peered around it to see her standing there with an angry fire in her lavender-blue eyes, fists shaking at her sides. She saw my amused grin, and her fury almost exploded. I swear that girl needed anger management sometimes, pronto. She wore a short pale blue strapped top that showed her flat stomach off, with a short denim skirt that went down to her mid-thigh. On her face was her make-up (Ahem, fake-up) that I never saw her without, and her feet were adorned in high-heeled shoes, her jewellery went way overboard and a flour white handbag swung from her shoulder. To sum it up in a few words: she looked like a slag. But, of course, she was blonde, wasn't she?

A dumb blonde.

Dread suddenly filled me as I remembered what was supposed to be happening today, the kind of emotion that you get when you think of what lays ahead of you, making you feel sickly inside. Have you ever experienced that kind of fear? The fear of meeting strangers and spending the day with people you'd rather not… that was the vibe streaking through my insides right then, leaving a nauseating tail of fire in its wake. Like a sudden heavy wave on the oblivious surfer, like an unexpected blast of icy wind on your unsuspecting skin, like the exhilaration of a long fall on the breathless sky-diver… one moment it wasn't there, the next it was. It might have showed in either my eyes or my body language, I wouldn't have been any the wiser, but my twin sister had an abrupt gleam in her eye, one with bad intentions.

"Alright…" She hissed quietly, keeping up with her angry demeanour as she pushed past me and proceeded to stomp over to my huge wardrobe, "Let's see how presentable I can make a bleeding unsociably woman…"

That horrid feeling flared, urging me to run after her and stop her, but how could I? I couldn't, she was always the one that won, and so what would be the point?

After every fight, every argument and disagreement, she always came out as the victor, reigned supreme. Was it her doing, or mine? Was she strong, or was I just weak? Feeble and frail and fragile… unable to decide for myself, to take care of myself, to make decisions that would affect me. It was them, all the time it was them who did it all as I blundered along in their self-centred wake with the occasional pull and tug, like luggage, without thoughts and without feelings, just simply there as something else the needed to take with them for the ride. Was that me?

Yes, it was me, as silent as leather because I hated to talk to them, always allowing them to decide. But I could change that; I could have the power to change that if I wanted, right? Stand up to them, speak up, fight back with my full strength and be declared the winner for once. Once would do, if I could just persuade her to go without me…

No, I can't. So I suppose I really am just weak…

But then, she wasn't strong either.

I trailed after her, dragging my feet along the way, they left dark lines on the royal purple carpet as the segments were pulled the opposite way to which they were accustomed. I changed the way it looked by my simple action, it could be permanent, or someone could come along and set it right. Could Namine have the power to change me and make it… permanent? Would today strike something within me, make me one of them?

If that were to happen, was there anyone out there who would come along to set me right?

I stopped at her side, and watched her through glazed eyes as she began to babble on about what would look good on me and what wouldn't, the usual. I zoned out within mere moments.

I just couldn't be bothered again.

::x.x::

I almost protested.
Nearly dug in those heels and held that head nice and high.
But I d i d n ' t.
It was probably one of the only times that I thanked my weakness.

::x.x::

"There!" Namine exclaimed in delight, stepping away from me and spreading her arms out wide as if to say 'take a look'.

I did just that, although hesitantly. Ever had the feeling that you don't really know whether you want to do something or not? Yeah, that was my emotion then. I wanted to see how I looked, but I was scared and worried too. I remember I hadn't paid the slightest bit of attention to what she'd been shoving into my hands, before she sent me off into my en-suite bathroom to get changed into the clothes. My wardrobe was a laugh as she'd searched through it, a massive expanse of near empty and wasted space to which a few sad garments hung limply, I imagined their non-existent eyes were watching her soulfully as she viciously scored through them for anything she considered 'suitable'. I didn't even want to imagine that, but my mind suddenly dredged up horrendously revealing things as if just to spite me. Just then, she had been working on my make-up, something to which I'd protested against but Namine, as always, had won. So now I had a face full of fake-up too. Absolutely fantastic, and I'd vowed that I wouldn't be seen dead in the stuff. As I crossed the room towards my full-length mirror my footfalls were steady but frighteningly heavy, the walk was one of uncertainty, not too fast but not too slow either, kind of like you automatically walk at just the right pace when your nerves are acting up.

When I reached the reflective glass, my jaw dropped.

Imagine the surprise when you expected your outgoing sister to tart you up, and this is what you get instead; a white under-dress held up by straps that goes down to your mid-thigh with a pink jumpsuit over it that ends in a skirt at the bottom. Strangely enough, the blanco dress had a black hood attached to the straps, and there was a purple-pink belt around my waist with two pouches on the opposing sides. The shoes that covered my small feet were purple converses, the laces criss-crossed there way up to about my mid-shin. A simple necklace was draped over my neck, with a stone hanging from it and resting lightly on my chest. If there was any fake-up on my pale complexion, it was hardly noticeable.

All that fear, all that dread, all for nothing. So yeah, I was stunned alright, stunned into stillness and silence. Surprise, that's the vibe I felt, and not the type where we react with fast movement, but quite the opposite. I just couldn't move a muscle, not an inch, heck; even a hair-breadth would have been too much to ask for right at that moment. Yeah, imagine the surprise of that, or perhaps you don't have to if you've already experienced it for yourself? The kind of emotion when you walk into your house and everyone you know just suddenly jumps out and exclaim in unison 'Happy Birthday!', like when you freeze when you're sauntering along somewhere and someone jumps up right in front of you, maybe even when you're expecting to see a desolate wasteland, but instead, your viewing orbs are met with a scene of breathtaking natural beauty. That was it, that's the kind of surprise that shocked me that morning as I stood before my mirror after a makeover from my annoying sister in my warm bedroom, a makeover that, holy crow, didn't actually turn out to be a complete disaster.

Phew, and it wasn't all that bad, in fact, it was good. I looked at Namine with my mouth still hanging open, when a sudden thought occurred to me, and I quickly shut it as I prepared to ask; "Where did the dress come from?"

Her lavender-blue eyes were blank momentarily, before; "It's mine, so don't ruin it."

"I won't…" I replied quietly as I looked down to examine it without the glass's help. Namine grinned again, showing off her pearly whites as her eyes gazed miles away.

"Too right you bloody won't, but I had to make my sister look at least half decent to be seen with…"

I didn't care, It didn't matter to me that the dress was hers, that she only gave it to me because she didn't want to be considered a relative of the true me. No, it didn't bother me in the slightest, not the teensiest of little bits, I was just happy to wear this garment, even if just for the day…

Even if it didn't feel right, if it didn't feel like me, I still liked it. Perhaps a shred too much. I shook my head fiercely, trying to shake these disturbing thoughts out of my head. No, I didn't like it, I didn't want it, and I would never allow myself to be changed that way, never. I was tempted to peel it all back off right there and then, strip away the beauty that the dress brought out in me, but I knew I couldn't. I still had to go out in it, after all. Namine would surely kill me if I did take it off. I gulped softly. Concentrating on the bad aspects of the clothes, I'd turned my mind against it; it truly did feel all wrong, un-real on my body, a body that was used to clothes that hung loosely from my frame, or at least, looser than this. Namine must have snapped back to reality from whatever daydream she'd been having, and seen the hesitation in my violet orbs, because her voice suddenly cut through the air like a whip, ferocious and deadly; "You are coming, Kairi, whether you bloody like it or not, and you are going to be wearing that, the boys will like it."

Wait, what? Whoa! Hold up and back up a little there? Boys? No chee, not a chance, I don't think so! Who did she think she was? Holy crow! Matchmaker?

No.

Before, I had no interest in the male species at all, and now, if I ever refused strongly about the idea of having any kind of boyfriend yesterday, I surely did now. I don't understand what, and I don't get why, but a fire-like feeling that seemed to erupt for my very core was scorching as it rejected the entire thing. It was a contagious thing, like the white hot flame that spread rapidly across the peaceful forest; it was fast to touch every single part of me. To the very tips of my fingers and the end of my toes, it throbbed beneath my ivory skin.

As I watched her, Namine was back tracking rapidly away from my outraged glare, confusion etched across her caked up features. She tripped over a pile of clothing left on the floor, and staggered to regain her footing as a string of colourful words rolled off her tongue. Her eyes were harsh as they met mine again, but this time I didn't back down, I allowed my own violet orbs to bore right into her lavender-blue irises. Namine became shocked and furious at the same time.

"For Christ's sake, Kairi, live a little and have a bit of fun now and again!"

"I do have fun, for your information!" I snapped in return, she blinked, startled, "Reading, writing, painting… that's all fun too!"

"You're such a bloody unsociable emo…" Namine muttered, my fury flared again and I re-opened my mouth to retort when she added, "You have to live a social life, woman! Jesus, and if it has to be me that introduces you to it, then so frickin' be it!"

She grabbed my arm, yanking me towards the door. I tried to resist at first, but her grip was firm, and soon I gave up. Like the coward, the weakling I was, I gave up. There was no going back now, and as she marched me along the lengthy hallways of our mansion and down the flights of un-necessary long staircases, my anger ebbed away to be replaced with that familiar fear again. The sickly nauseating one. I grimaced.

Namine led me into the dining room, where our parents sat at a table that could seat about a dozen more people than just us. Only this was my family; my father, my mother, Namine and I, like four peas rolling pathetically about in a can, us in our mansion. So much useless space, echoing walls and rooms the sizes of regular houses, I was sourly tempted all the time to just ask my parents to enlighten me with why such a small family needed such an expanse amount of room, such a big house. Namine loved it, though, of course she would, and our parents favoured her outgoing attitude as opposed to my delight in solitude and confinement, they gladly go along with her dearest wishes. She loved its marble halls, its thick carpets, its long hallways and huge rooms. She adored the stone pillars and the wide stairs, the waiting servants and the size of her enormous bed. As far as twins went, we were a pair of the most different ones you would most likely come across in a life time, or a thousand. Yes, the man and his wife were both there, him, with his newspaper and cup of strong tea in his business suit already, her, adorned in her own suit for her job as his secretary, sipping at black coffee and reading a magazine through spectacles and violet eyes; my eyes. Father had my red-wine hair, with Namine's lavender-blue irises, Mother's hair was a dirtier shade of blonde than Namine's, but it was from her that my sister had inherited it from. They were both silent before and as we entered the room, when we did, both looked up, their orbs were drawn to me instantly. Mother's cherry red lips parted slightly as she took in my appearance. Father simply stared. I grew more self-conscious as I already was under their stern gazes.

"Good heavens, Kairi, have you finally taken a leaf out of Namine's book?" Mother exclaimed as her eyes roamed over me. I never really understood that statement, I mean, come on, what kind of book has a leaf in it, honestly? But do you ever get the feeling when you feel incredibly un-comfortable, and fear that there will be something terribly wrong that your mother will find about your looks? You hate it how your parents will look at you, because if they disapprove, it's much worse than if your friend was to mention it. You long to live up to your elder's expectations, its only natural, you want to impress your parents and make them proud of you. So you grow horribly conscious of yourself as they stare, suddenly feeling the cool breeze against your legs if you never wore a skirt before, feeling the edge of your cropped top skim over your stomach if you never truly revealed your belly to the world in the past. It's a sickening feeling, and if you were to take that and plus it to the general sensation of butterflies I had from just going out then, voila, you get one heck of an overwhelming nauseating feeling. Mother's words, as well as confusing me as aforementioned, also maddened me. It was as if they really did prefer Namine to me, like they didn't like me but wanted me to be like my twin, they stung, but not like the sting of a bee, but something mental that ran far deeper than that. I was hurt. Plus, 'finally' implies that they've been waiting for this to happen, for me to change. Mother was beaming at me from the possibility, I felt disgusted by her, for no reason other than how she seemed to want two tarts for her daughters.

Well, fine, let her be that way.

But before I could even start any kind of protest, Namine cut across me, assuring our mother that I was going to take a leaf out of her book, that she was taking me out. Mother laughed and clapped, embracing her with enthusiasm and telling her that she happy because of it. Father smiled, but besides that, you would have thought he didn't even hear my sister. In that brief moment, I realised that I probably preferred him to my mother for now. Namine and I sat, a servant came over and we ordered our breakfast, I was reluctant because of the fluttery feeling I was experiencing, but knew I must, breakfast was essential for a good start to the day. I asked for some fruit and a glass of milk, never ordered, I hated to order people around like my family did. Namine shot me an irritated glance as I pronounced what made my request as polite as possible louder than was entirely necessary, but I ignored her, the servant appeared flattered as he walked away, but I ignored that too. Adopting my regular withdrawn aura no matter had hard my mother tried to press for details, staring at my lap, my thoughts suddenly turned again to The Boy – Oh, yes, I could think of no other way of thinking about him when I didn't know his name, and it was like that for a while. I wondered about a lot of things, like what he truly looked like, I had his shape and size and the rough outline of the kind of things he wore, but besides that, I had nothing at all. I made up some things, imagining him as a normal person, a selfless and gentle sort of guy, the kind of person that I would want to be with. He was regular, went to school like anyone else, mucking about with his friends there and even at the sandy beach maybe. Perhaps he liked the beach, considering he was there at midnight playing a mysterious instrument from which flowed the most dazzling tune I had ever heard. The mere memory was too sweet for words, gently caressing the air currents as it washed by in fluidly smooth bursts of song, and that's about as far as I can put it into a sentence. No joke.

So I was quiet as I ate and drank alternately, conscious of Mother's violet eyes on me, but never taking any action about it. I was content to just sit there and think about him.

A soon as we finished, I said 'Goodbye' and left the house without another word. I didn't even know what I wanted to do anymore, to be angry or upset, to want to go or not, because the thought of The Boy with his friends had made me realise that he could be there were Namine was planning to take me. Popular, good-looking, possibly self-centred just like the rest of them. My make believe world for him smashed into a million diamond-like pieces, like a mirror as it reflects a spectrum of colour from the light shined onto it…No, my heart said to me, he won't be like that, trust me on this one. So, strangely, I accepted those words and my fantasy of him was re-aroused with confidence. I always trusted my heart. Those words even had a nice connotation to the situation, like it was reassuring me that I would meet The Boy, and meet him soon.

I was still rather unsure though, they you are, I couldn't make my mind up, again.

As I walked towards the front door, I made a detour into a bathroom and wiped the fake-up away, if The Boy was going to see me, he was going to see the true me.

Perhaps I was delusional to believe he would be there at all.

Maybe I was right for once.

::x.x::

That day I believed in you.
I wanted to show you the true me, not a façade, but me.
Only you didn't show me the real you.

::x.x::

Have you ever felt hesitant to stride into somewhere open, especially somewhere which was alien to your eyes and the people there were unfamiliar to your memory? I have, and it waswhen Namine took me to 'The Gardens'. The feeling as if your out of place, like an antelope placed in the midst of a pride of lions, like a fly caught in a widows web, like a cat rammed into a room filled with hungry dogs… I was terrified. Twyport itself was full of life, crowds of browsers and shoppers all over the place. That in itself was un-easing. Groups of boys barging past and nearly sending me sprawling, had Namine not caught my arm at the last second and set me to my feet with an impatient frown my way. Well…, I thought bitterly, excuse me, I'll make sure to use the concealed eyes in the back of my head next time. Elderly ladies hobbled by with shopping bags swinging from their arms, their eyes wide with fright with the masses of humans and the terrifying prospect of being knocked over and trampled on, one old woman in particular saw what happened to me and sprinted away as fast her little legs would carry her, screaming. As Namine and a few others laughed, I could only feel sympathy for the lady, I wasn't entirely surprised by her reaction even if it did unsettled me a little, the boys around this place didn't look very friendly or polite. Younger women sauntered around, looking at the window displays and sometimes contemplating before stepping inside. Some of them pushed buggies with babies, toddlers and small children in them either howling, sleeping, staring or nagging their mothers for various items and treats. Most women became irritated by the latter, a few were laughing at their son's or daughter's antics. Families were seated at benches eating food from the bakeries or their own sandwiches, talking quietly among themselves. Gangs of teenagers hung about here and there, an unknown number of them drifted around seemingly aimless or with a specific destination in mind, chattering excitedly between themselves as they went.

:::::::

The detail of the shopping centre is not entirely clear, but I do my best to describe it as I remembered it. The things I've mentioned, though, are definitely what happened. I'll never forget my first day at that place without an adult there to guide me.

:::::::

I envied anyone who looked happy.

Namine dragged me right through this shopping area, however, stopping twice or thrice to 'nip into there for a second', she took much longer than that each time, and I'll just leave it at that. Some parents eyed her reproachfully, as if they were cautious of her and thought that she would rub off on their offspring, was a bad influence, personally, I think they had every right to act in that way. Rough looking boys would see her and a sudden spark would appear in their eyes as they moved forward, scared by their dominating auras, I would instantly pull Namine away from whatever she was inspecting or wherever we were walking. Finally, though, we were able to get out of there, and Namine led us down the side of a shop on a quieter street were only a handful of stragglers mooched about the less interesting stores. The short alleyway at the side of the building was surprisingly well kept, or at least, wasn't covered in litter and the walls were clean and graffiti-less. We emerged on the other side, and that's when the aforementioned feeling hit me the most.

'The Gardens' was a rather plain meeting spot, stone paths criss-crossing around patches of what I supposed was supposed to be lush jade green grass; but had turned more yellow-y orange due to the season. There were two raised areas of grass with low umber and dull grey marble walls encircling them, a nero pigmented surface of marble ran along the sides of the raised areas, serving as seats or whatever else the people used them as. A tree stood on each raised area, both were still holding onto their last leaves and were casting shadows over the ground below, turning the bright colours into more solemn shades. Behind us was, of course, the line of shops from the street we just came from, to the left of The Gardens was a broken dirt path to which was next to an unknown building in turn. Bushes lines the grass before it could touch this lane, and the end of the path that came our way went down the side of one of the shops, whilst the other end was connected to the road that was on the far side of the spot. The road ran right round the right side as well and went on to… somewhere, anyway. On the other side of the tarmac roads were more buildings, but with various purposes; a pub, a barbers, a mini-supermarket, etc. Leaves were scattered everywhere, brown and orange and yellow and the occasional green, dancing and swirling in the wind. Formulating patterns of their own, I like patterns.

I say all this with more confidence than you would ever know, I spent a lot of time at this place in the future.

The raised quilt of yellow-orange-greenery nearest to us remained completely void of human life; meanwhile, the other one was a different story. A group of people were gathered there, talking together and just generally fooling around. A few of the guys had skateboards, and where either whizzing along the paths, exchanging their knowledge on tricks and showing them to each other, or allowing others to ride on them; mainly girls. One girl in particular was having trouble getting the board running, even when the boy who owned it held her helpfully on the sides she fell off, but the two only giggled together. Some were looking surly and moody as they stood with their arms folded, frowning at the others. Couples sat with each other, some showed publicly displayed affection but, strangely, it didn't really bother me. Their friends looked as if they were making fun of them, however, but the whole scenes were all just playful. They sight of their friendliness to one another helped to ease my jittering stomach slightly, but I wasn't completely assured that they wouldn't reject me; I was still resentful and unwilling to approach them.

Namine made it impossible for me to not do that, though.

She pulled on my arm, literally dragging me towards them, I couldn't resist against her, and so I didn't even bother to try. I let my sister take me to them, take me to these strangers. At first, it wasn't too bad, and I was hoping dearly that she was familiar with the friendlier looking ones. The group of bad-tempered and shady looking figures were huddled together somewhere in the middle, a huge gathering of teenagers at the very back didn't give anything but each other their undivided attention. A gang were joking together closer to us on a patch of grass, and as we passed them, some of them shot us furtive glances, cautious and wary as Namine dragged me by. I met some of their disgusted eyes, trying to see why they appeared to hate us so much even when I at least hadn't done anything to hurt them. Although, Namine may have, and this thought caused me to become resentful towards my twin. As my violet gaze met theirs, though, they always looked away. Do you ever get the feeling that you're not welcome somewhere? When people look at you like you're mediocre or far too superior and they don't like you at all for it? That was how I felt right then. They didn't want me there whatsoever, like the way a litter of pigs would stare down the runt, or the way citizens might look at the president that they hated. Like the angry stare of students as they pass the teachers they detest, these people disliked me as they watched me approach a different assembly of adolescents. An overwhelming sense of petrified terror enveloped my small body as the realisation crashed down.

Namine knew them.

The gruff looking ones, the brusque appearing ones, the ones who eyed me with bitterness as we drew closer. There were two girls and four boys. One ivory skinned girl had short blonde hair with a fringe that divided into two strips that looked more like antennae's than anything else, her face seemed as if it suited cruelty as she leered at me and my sister, with cold blue eyes and black garments to complete the bad-girl look, I really didn't like the look of her. The other porcelain girl had short silver hair that draped across one eye but left the other red hued orb revealed, her sleeveless navy jacket was zipped up so that her collar stuck up and her beige three-quarters clung to her slender legs at the rim, her shoes were cerulean sandals. A pale guy with long spiky orange hair had an amused gleam in his cat green eyes, with two tattoos of teardrops just below his eyes and also adorned in black clothes; he gave the impression of finding unkind happenings truly hilarious. An incredibly buff dark toned male with short brunet hair and hard umber eyes stared at me, his sleeveless orange top clung to his muscular chest and his three-quarters were an armada blue, his shoes were black. A pale impassive looking slightly spiky blonde stood off to the side with his arms crossed over his broad chest, his attire was dark blue as well and he alone was ignoring our approach, I think I appreciated him for that. The last member of the cluster of teens had skin with a beige shade and long silver haired boy with aqua-marine orbs that seemed to hold no light within them. His top was a saffron tone and his ripped jeans were almost black, I couldn't see the shoes he wore. It was this guy that Namine made a beeline for.

As I took in the appearances of these individuals, I grew more and more resentful to the idea of actually meeting them. Straining against Namine seemed almost hopeless, but I suddenly found myself tugging with my full strength. My sister turned to face me, startled by my abrupt flare of resistance, she released my arm. I didn't expect this and I nearly went careening backwards. Luckily for me, I was able to grab hold of something to stop myself, unluckily for me, that something turned out to be the orange haired male who was now grinning down at me as he held me by the waist. I squeaked as I tried to tear myself away from his grasp, but he didn't let up.

"So, what's your name?" He purred into my ear. I shivered as his breathe blew against my nape and began to struggle vehemently out of his arms in a vain attempt to free myself. I refused to answer him, and he seemed to grow agitated by my resistance and ignorance. Still not letting go, he repeated his question more viciously and I knew I had no choice but to comply.

"Kairi," I said heatedly as I turned my face away from him. My mind was screaming for my twin to help me, God, what was she doing? Why wasn't she telling this guy to leave me alone? I allowed my eyes to search the area in my line of vision, and I finally saw her, but in a position I would have preferred not to. Entwined with the silver haired one, they were fiercely lip-locked and his hand was even in an area I'd rather not say. The sight of someone who was family in such a position sickened me to the very core, have you ever experienced that? A bit of betrayal, disgust, and the kind of feeling you get when you dearly hope the people who saw you didn't know you knew them, were with them. Embarrassment. And the bulky brunet and blonde girl were hooting and jeering. Eventually, Namine and the male broke apart and she looked around to see me instantly and my terrifying predicament. All she did was laugh. In that moment I hated her, hated her with such a passion that I had the sudden urge to just tear her apart, limb from limb. But I was hopeless, as the rest began to join in her laughter and taunt me instead, fear twisted my insides. What was she doing hanging out with these people? Bringing me here? She was insane! Blind! Idiotic! Stupid!

But so was I, because I'd allowed her to take me here. I despised myself for having given in so easily.

"That's a sexy name for a sexy little lady, right guys?" He said in a husky voice, chuckling wildly as they continued to snigger. Namine's words came back to me.

The boys will like it…

Oh, she was so dead when we got home… if we got home. In that moment I felt so weak, so afraid, I wanted to die right there and then.

"Hey!" A new masculine voice shouted out from behind. The boy that held me instantly stiffened, and I could feel the sudden tension in the air as he whirled around - yanking me along with him - to face the newcomer. He sneered, and the others – except for the indifferent blonde who was already silent and ignorant to the going on's of his mates - fell quiet as they too took in the approaching male and female from the other group. I couldn't help but feel relieved, thinking, hoping, that they were here to save me. Please, God…

"Let go of her, she doesn't want that!" The brunette girl said angrily and so fiercely, I was temporarily flattered by her apparent concern, even if I didn't deserve it for my foolishness. Her jade green orbs locked with the ginger haired ones own, and with a grunt, he released me with a mutter of 'she's no fun, anyway'. Momentarily surprised that he'd done so that easily, I can remember that I'd staggered. But the brunette girl wrapped her fingers around one of my thin arms, her blonde companion grabbed hold of my other, and together they began to steer me back to their own group. My legs buckled as I became weak at the knees, I wondered why they'd helped me, a complete stranger, and someone that they'd regarded as one of them. Only I suppose they'd spotted my discomfort and decided to have mercy and come to my rescue. Have you had that feeling of liberation yourselves? Like the antelope being freed from the lion's pride, the fly being saved from the spider's web, the cat being pulled out of that dog filled room, I went limp with the emotion. My two saviours were gentle with me, pulling me back to my feet whenever I tripped over them, finally, we made it to the blanket of grass to which the others waited and set me down lightly.

"We would have sent someone sooner, but those guys can be a pretty intimidating sometimes," A raven haired tiny girl piped up from my left as I landed on the ground with an almost silent thud, I looked over at her, my violet eyes meeting her warm chocolate anxious ones, she wore a bandana like thing around her small head and dressed in a strapped shirt with a sleeveless leather undone overcoat over it, her thighs were clad in shorts and her leisure trainers looked worn from regular use, "You 'Kay?"

"S-Sure," I stuttered with a gulp, "F-Fine…"

"No you're not," The blonde boy with the slicked back hair that had saved me said as he parked himself on my right and draped his arms loosely around his bent legs, it was now that I realised he wore a black shirt with an overcoat like the girls over it, only this one was beige and not leather, three-quarter cargo pants covered his legs and black converse adorned his feet, "But you will be."

"If ya didn't know them, then it was kinda silly to face them, ya know," Said another boy with bright orange hair and similar attire to the blonde as he came up behind said blonde and crouched down, balancing a blue and white ball on his knee as he queried, "So why were ya there, ya?"

The same question must have been flitting around in the others' minds, and they all looked at me expectantly when I opened my mouth to reply, but I couldn't, I felt too overwhelmed by their worry for me. Who was I, but a complete and utter stranger? Who were they? My brunette saviour caught my confused expression.

"Oh!" She exclaimed loudly, her slender hand coming up to cover her mouth in the image of surprise at her sudden realisation, "Guys, we haven't even introduced ourselves to her! Sheesh, I'm sorry Miss…?"

"Kairi," I said with a lopsided smile at her, "Just Kairi."

"Yeah, yeah," Said the small girl on my left as she winked and nudged me with her pointy elbow in a playful gesture, it hurt slightly, but I didn't enlighten her, "The Great Ninja Yuffie, at your service!" She saluted me, and I cracked up into mad giggles by her antics. I felt I liked her already.

"Hayner," The blonde one my right stated with his own crooked smile, "S'Pleasure, Miss Kairi."

"Olette," The chocolate haired girl said with a kind glimmer in her eyes, "That there behind Hayner is Wakka; he has an annoying obsession with Blitz Ball."

"I can introduce meself, ya?" Wakka grumbled as he straightened himself up and spared the shady group an agitated glance, "'N' they're annoying me, ya know…"

The others and I looked too, and I saw how Namine and the orange haired guy were glaring daggers, whilst Silver appeared too engrossed with nuzzling my sister's neck and the two girls were whispering together as they cast fleeting glances our way, no questions as to who they were talking about. Buffy was flexing sickeningly with a wide grin on his lips and the blonde was still staring un-seeingly, I was starting to entertain the possibility that there was something wrong with the latter. When I met my twin's bitter gaze, I knew at once that she now hated me too, more than she did before anyway. Ginger just seemed disappointed that I wasn't 'fun', which caused my insides to become nauseated, I didn't even want to speculate what he would have done if I hadn't been so unyielding with him. I think my complexion must have turned a nasty shade of green, because suddenly Yuffie's hand was squeezing my left one. I switched my eyes to land on her, and hers showed her deep concern for me. I didn't understand their abrupt protectiveness over me, I'd barely known them five minutes, but they were acting as if we'd all been the best of pals for five years.

"Why?" I whispered. Yuffie, Olette and Hayner all gave me their full attention, while Wakka continued to glower at Them, "Why are you doing this?" My voice grew fainter as I said this, and I ended it with an uncomfortable squirm. Their watching viewing spheres remained undiscouraged and unmoving. I doubted whether they'd understood my question, until Yuffie murmured, "Because you don't belong with Them, and if you don't belong there, you belong here."

"Yeah," Olette smiled softly, "We'll keep them away from you, Kairi, we'll be your friends here."

It amazed me how they took control so quickly, as if they knew I was practically friendless, the way they anticipated this was slightly daunting, but I noticed how my heart wasn't entirely bothered. I grinned at Olette and Yuffie, to which was replied to with their own.

"Thanks, guy…"

Yuffie giggled, grabbing me in a gentle headlock as she rubbed her knuckles over my scalp almost in a tender fashion, "No probleemo!" She laughed, releasing me. Olette sat down near my feet, and the two of them began to question me about myself. I felt slightly embarrassed at how there was actually hardly anything to tell them, but they didn't seem to mind so much. I noticed how Hayner got up and grabbed a skateboard which had been discarded by his side, and he and Wakka went off to do whatever it is boys did. I discovered that the raven haired one had a crazy ambition to somehow become a ninja, to which I'd replied to with wishing her luck, adding mentally, and you'll need it too. The hyper girl lived with her mother and older brother called Leon in an average home. This piece of information made me uncomfortable, particularly when they asked me where I lived, I stayed silent pointedly and Olette, thankfully, took the hint and changed the subject of discussion. She herself was interested in a medical path, a nurse perhaps, and she resided in a cottage by the woods with her grandparents, her parents having died some years prior. I apologized, naturally, for her parents' demise, but she was okay with it, informing me that she didn't really remember them all too much. Yuffie chirped up at some point that their little group was called 'Radiant Garden Youths – R.G.Y. for short' and when I asked her if Olette, Hayner, Wakka and she were all of them, my two new girlfriends chortled together for a lengthy amount of time when I queried such.

"Don't be silly," Yuffie tittered as she shoved against my arm lightly before resting her head on my shoulder, I'd come to two conclusions by then; one, she was a touchy feely type of person and; two, she seemed to have a habit of hitting other people, possibly in the belief that it was good training for her desired career, "There's Selphie, Tidus and Pence, too! But they were all busy today…" Her face fell into a pout.

"That's cool," I beamed, "I look forward to meeting them."

"Now, maybe," Olette snorted, "But when you meet Selphie, you'll decide that the best place to be is the furthest you can get away from her."

"Why?" I enquired with shock that she would talk about her friend in such a way, but then I saw her smirking, "Oh, lord, another Yuffie?" I sniggered playfully and shot the said girl a grin and a taste of her own medicine – a push. Her expression was fake hurt as she raised a hand to make it hover over her chest, her heart.

"I'm hurt," She announced, un-necessarily, although heaving with silent hysterics, she couldn't hold it in for very long, bursting into hoots of laughter as she rolled backwards, clutching her stomach. The sight of her made Olette and I exchange a look, before we mimicked her actions in similar ways. My dread, I noticed, had disappeared entirely from my system, I felt light, free and happy for the first time in what felt like donkey years. I expressed my amusement freely, not having the tightness in my chest, not having any limits whatsoever, I cackled and hooted and chuckled until my eyes were shedding a waterfall of salt water. Gasping to catch my breath, I suddenly realised that, honestly, there hadn't really been anything funny about what had happened. I laughed again. If none of you have ever had this feeling, then you haven't actually lived, I have to say. Abruptly, Olette sat up whilst wiping the tears from her damp cheeks; she looked around absently without appearing to exactly see anything. I thought this, that is, until she suddenly froze, her body tensing and her mouth dropped open.

"Olette?" I asked her; unable to conceal my titters as I did so. I became conscious of the fact that the laughing didn't really make me seem entirely concerned, and I cut them off sharply as I saw her paled complexion, "Olette?" Worried now, I began to shake her arm gently, "Are you okay?"

Dumb question…

"Him," She finally breathed, her expression one of horror, "Oh, why doesn't he just get the hint and stop coming, already?" She groaned suddenly, holding her face in her palms. I gaped at her for a moment, before I heard Yuffie's brusque intake of breathe. I saw where the small girl's chocolate orbs where looking, and I followed her gaze.

I stared.

Do you ever have the kind of experience when you just can't take your eyes off something? Or off someone? Oh, because that was just what happened then. I simply couldn't draw my gaze away, it was impossible to even consider glancing somewhere other than at… him.

He sat there on the once empty raised area, his back against the lonely tree and his knees drew up halfway towards his chest to support an item that he was looking at intensely. Those eyes… even from where I sat I could see the starling baby blue of their irises, pierced with concentration as a frown suddenly appeared on his brow and he pulled something from his pocket, doing something with the item to the object that held his attention, before replacing it in the depths of his pocket. From the distance, his tanned skin appeared flawless; and when his exposed feet slipped into the sunbeams, the quarter of his legs that were bare even seemed to shine in the sunlight. As I noticed this, he abrupt pulled them tighter towards himself mere seconds after they'd slithered into the light, cutting off the sun's rays from hitting them. At the almost automatic reaction, my eyes were hauled back up to study his face, roaming over what I could make out of his features. The chestnut slightly spiky hair, the hugeness of his cobalt almond shaped eyes, the thinness of his pale lips as he scowled again, but it all looked… it looked cute. He sighed, leaning his head back against the tree and shutting off his viewing orbs from the world, or perhaps, just me.

Just me…

Then his eyelids lifted rather abruptly, and his eyes caught mine.

In that second, a wave of emotions crashed down on me, emotions that I had never felt before, emotions that I couldn't even begin to describe. It was as if even time stopped moving, the only things that truly mattered was me, and him. Nothing else was important. As he revealed the full power of those bright blue orbs onto me, I found myself becoming mesmerised by them, just like the rolling sea, they even sparkled in their own entrancing way. After a while, Time began to move slowly again, and whilst he withheld his gaze on me, a soft smile graced his lips.

I didn't know anything about him; not his name, not his age… nothing. But, just like that desperate urge to see the musical boy's face, I had to, had to know, had to find out.

Who was this strange but beautiful boy?

I blinked, starting softly when I noticed my two newfound friends staring at me; it caused my face to blush a deep red, a face that hadn't blushed like this for a long long time. I bowed my head, cutting off the connection I had with that boy completely, and allowed my henna tresses to cover my embarrassed features and the magenta tinge to my normally pale cheeks. When I sneaked a peek, I saw the corner of Olette's lips twitch.

"He's quite the catch, huh?" She said in a somewhat emotionless voice, the tone startled me into meeting her blank jade green eyes, "You'll realise soon that it's not such a good thing, especially to Them."

"What do you mean?" I asked softly, looking again at him and wondering quite what the brunette was talking about. He'd closed his eyes again, and he looked so innocent and harmless as he lingered in limbo from awareness and unawareness, that I speculated why anyone would want to hurt someone who looked so breathtaking, delicate and frail… Or was that every bully's dream? Yuffie caught my unconvinced gaze.

"Most of the teenagers around here would gladly stop to terrorize him, Kairi, people call him the urchin, the gyppo, the tramp… and that's why they hate him so much, because they believe he's what those names suggest, or at least that's Hayner's reasoning."

"Hayner hates him?"

Yuffie's lip twitched; "As well as everyone else, there's only me and Ol who really leave him alone around here."

"He doesn't fight," Olette murmured in a sparsely audible voice, "He just runs, and if he can't, he takes the hit, it's horrible to watch him suffer."

I stared at both the raven haired girl and the brunette intently, disgusted by the obvious truth of what they had said, it was as plain as day, the boy literally screamed 'weak' and that was what attracted the bullies, the thugs… people who just generally wanted to cause pain. But to call him things like an urchin? To degrade someone to such a degree and torment them because of it was revolting, and the fact that it was this particular boy made it all the worse for some reason. I don't get why, but a sudden emotion rose within me like a whip being unfurled and cracked vehemently, making my worn out blood roar through my veins. I felt angry, beyond angry, I was livid. And with this abrupt flare of emotion came another one, one that longed to protect this stranger, this boy. I didn't understand it, didn't grasp the concept, and I didn't even try to work it out. It was instinct, purely a feeling that you don't think about, but just act upon. Like a mother lioness when her cub is threatened, like a dog would snarl when its family is in danger, like a swan as it squawks and charges you when it sees you as a menace to its ducklings… but come to think of it, these vibes were all dredged up from the urge to protect someone they knew, they loved. This boy… I didn't know him at all. And that would have confused me like hell, if I'd dwelled on it.

And yet, it was as if I knew all about him.

"Kairi?"

I hardly heard the sound of Olette's voice, didn't see either of their faces, all I noticed was Silver as he looked up and became aware of the boy's presence. A cruel smile lit the male's harsh face as he turned with an excited aura to inform the others. They was a general murmur of such enthusiasm that it sickened me, and as they got up and started to move towards Him, and Hayner and Wakka glanced up too, the stab of fear at my heart was worse than ice, much worse. It was pure glacier, black ice for dark feelings. When Silver leapt onto the raised area and began to saunter almost casually as if to postpone in the moment of suspense, I didn't even notice when I stood. Yuffie's slender fingers gripped my arm.

"Kairi, don't!"

I shook her off sub-consciously, only alert of the gang of shady thugs that were nearly by the boy's side. I made my way over to them, heard a voice that floated to me on the light breeze, and stopped to listen. After all, I didn't want to make a fool of myself if they weren't threatening him, if they were just pausing for a chat… who was I kidding? I wasn't, I wasn't kidding at all, not even myself. I crossed me arms over my chest, and I expected Yuffie or Olette or both of them to materialise by my sides, but they didn't, I didn't know whether to be grateful or not, laugh or cry by their lack of support. Or had they sensed something that said I wanted to do this alone?

Maybe.

Maybe not.

"Oi, boy," Silver drawled to the delight of his companions, who began to leer. Surprisingly, the boy remained unmoving; he didn't acknowledge their dominating presences at all, merely carrying on with what he was doing as if they weren't even there. I couldn't help but smile at his courage, there was no way he couldn't have known they were there, but I was mentally wondering why he wasn't hurrying away already, these guys had obviously not stopped for a good old natter between old friends, they were there to hurt him.

Why aren't you running?

Silver crouched down beside him, putting his face right up close to the boy's own tanned one, "I said," He spat, "Boy." Still no answer, regardless of their previous terror for him, I could hear Olette and Yuffie struggling to keep their laughter down without much success as an amused smile graced my own lips. I felt torn, though, are you familiar with that feeling? Half of you heaves with quiet chortles as the other half screams for them to get out of there, you find it funny and yet, it worries you too. Wakka and Hayner were looking on with impatient anticipation; I threw them a scowl which they didn't see before a looked back at the unfolding scene.

Right into the eyes of the brightest of blues I'd ever seen.

And so, blue eyes met violet eyes for the second time.

It was one of those gazes that you simply couldn't break, staring into their wide depths; I saw the pain and the fury already there. It surprised me into blinking; he was angry? At me? But what had I done? As soon as I blinked, his eyes flickered away to land on Silver's face and I could have mistaken that the look was meant for him instead. But the look on his beautiful face scared me as his cobalt orbs met the aqua-marine ones of the silver haired idiot. Blank, glassy, totally void of all emotion, not a shred of the anger in them that I had seen mere seconds prior. He was staring, but he wasn't seeing at all. I think I knew how he felt right then, to me it was the look that said 'I can't be bothered', but I was proved wrong later on, oh so wrong. However, he was quick to see when Silver snatched the object that he'd been concentrating on from his grasp. The bully back-pedalled as the boy sprang to his feet, opening his mouth to say something before closing it again with a jerk when Silver chucked what I now recognised as a pad of paper to Ginger. The latter grinned widely as he caught it, and flipped the scribbling pad to a random page before taking a few of the flimsy paper in his thick hands and tearing them into two. I saw this in the corner of my eye, my pupils trained on the boy who, when his pad was half destroyed, visibly paled. A look of vulnerability, weakness, hopelessness and surrender.

Don't look like that, I'll be strong; I'll be strong for the both of us.

My fury burst and before I knew it I was running at Ginger, I could feel the fire in my eyes, have you ever had that? When you can sense the heat dancing within you infuriated pupils, which were narrowed to slits. Feel it swaying as if a flame took residence with your eyeball? That's what the sensation was like, the scorching inferno licking at my sight, making it hard to see anything but my desired location; the ginger prick. He laughed as I closed in, scattering the pieces of paper over the ground slowly, as if to drag it out like it gave him some sick twisted pleasure. I stormed right up to him, standing before him. I heard the sound of Namine's irritating laughter at the display; surely, it was a sight to see. Someone like myself standing up to macho man; un-sociable and weak, feeble and frail and fragile… unable to decide for myself, to take care of myself, to make decisions that would affect me…

Not a chance.

I'd prove her wrong; I'd prove it right now, in front of her manic and vile 'friends' I'll rein supreme for once. I held out my hand, still shaking from my passionate vehemence.

"Give it to me."

His laugh turned hysterical, as he proceeded to gather more paper between his hand and rip them apart like before. I grabbed them, effectively preventing any such event from occurring as I crushed them as hard as I could. Startled by the move, his grip on the pad slackened as he instinctively returned my grasp, albeit much stronger than my own. I took the chance whilst I could, wrapping my free hand around the pad and tugging it from his lessened clutch. He tried to retaliate with a hard shove against my arm via my squeezed hand, but this only proved to my advantage as I was able to get the paper fully out of his clenched hand and used his refute by way of getting away faster. I went with the momentum as I careened backwards, then I was able to stagger and regain control as I took off for the boy, vaulting onto the raised autumn tainted grass and almost reaching his side before the ginger idiot had even comprehended that I'd got away with the desired item.

He snarled, but his feet remained fixed to the ground, possibly surprised he'd had the better gotten of him, by a girl no less.

I grinned as I slowed to a fast walk, a couple more paces and I was standing next to the boy, smiling at him and holding the pad out for him to take which, miraculously, wasn't damaged during the struggle. I intended for him to grab it and run, get the hell away from here and never come back, what was the point in returning if they were going to just wound him, both mentally and physically? There wasn't one. Take it, go on, take it and get out of here… I gazed into his shocked cobalt eyes, and for a moment I saw nothing else and felt nothing at all. Then the resentment filtered into them, and his brow puckered into an enraged frown as he opened his mouth to yell at me.

"Go on!"

I froze, my violet eyes wide as they stared into his incense ones, a blue gaze that opened up like nothing else could: anger, pain, suffering, defeat, bitterness, resent… fury was now etched across his features as he pointed an accusing finger at me, the limb shook as he struggled to steady himself, "Go on and tear it up, then!"

My jaw dropped at the assumption that I was going to further damage his property, further damage him. What was he expecting? That I'd taken it from Ginger to come and tear it up right before his eyes? I couldn't move from the sheer astonishment, my knuckles somehow managing to turn white as my grip on the pad tightened. When my hands did this, a smirk appeared on his face for some reason, which confused me, why would he smile?

"I'm not going to do that," I whispered finally, my voice breaking as my eyes pricked with tears. Have you ever had that feeling when you've been accused of something that your totally innocent of, and you'd been sure the person doing the accusation would know that, understand that? It hurt, it hurt so much. I clenched my teeth in an attempt to stem any kind of flow of salt water.

The amusement disappeared from his lips and he was angry again.

"Yes, you are, so go on and do it, you tart, get it over and done with already!"

My anger was renewed at the name that he'd called me, 'tart' indeed! I wasn't a tart, I truly wasn't, why didn't he see that? Is that really how he saw me? A tart, a slag, a bitch, just like the rest of them? It was as if nobody else but this boy and I existed right then, my eyes were focused solely on his as I screamed before I could stop myself;

"I'm not a tart!"

He snorted, crossing his arms over his navy fleece adorned chest as he glared at me through narrowed slits. For a moment there was complete silence before the emotion in his eyes suddenly changed, blinking rapidly, he bowed his head and seemed to become interested in studying the ground as he said; "Just do it already…" The new vibe behind his words was hard to decipher, it wasn't anger, it wasn't sadness, I didn't know what it was, but I knew I didn't like it. They were quiet, barely a murmur as he shielded his eyes away from my curious ones, hiding away the true window to his soul, making it impossible for anyone to see them at all. Before I knew it my fury died yet again and my own voice was soft as I replied.

"Do you want me to do it?" They weren't rhetorical, they weren't mocking or irritated. No, now I was just plainly asking him, because I really didn't know what to think anymore. He'd confused me so much by the abrupt mood swing. All it was now was probing, enquiring, begging to understand the meaning behind his strange behaviour. He glanced up at me by the sudden change in my tone as well, before lowering his eyes once more.

"Not…really." And then he turned and began to walk away without another word, head still bowed and hands buried deep in the pockets of his three-quarter shorts. I watched him leave, slightly baffled by the abruptness, to tell you the truth. Just before he disappeared around the corner of the shop towards the side alley, he rested his hand against the wall and looked back once, only once, and our eyes locked for a final time. His orbs had showed me his emotions, and then I'd known how he was feeling then; confused and unsure. He lifted his shoulder in a miffing gesture, glancing downwards, he departed the scene. When he did, I'd suddenly had enough.

Enough of Namine. Enough of Silver and Ginger. Enough of even Olette and Yuffie. And certainly enough of him, to the point of wanting to just scream. I'd simply had enough.

Clutching the pad to my breast, I pivoted around on the tips of my toes and sprinted in the opposite direction. I didn't spare anyone a glance as I passed them. Everyone, everything, it was all too alien again, unfamiliar to the point of pushing me off the edge and into insanity. I hated just about the whole lot of… life. Why? Because he had misjudged me to such a great extent, I felt hollow and futile inside, I felt worthless.

When I got home, I ran straight up to my bedroom and dove onto my queen-sized bed. My throat felt raw by the time I'd stopped screaming.

::x.x::

You made me feel so insincere that day.
I hurt myself from screaming.
Your first impression of me was a t a r t.
What do you see me as now?


End of Chapter One.

I know it was lengthy, but if it really turns out to be a problem, just let me know.
Personally, I prefer longer chapters, not as much time uploading pages than reading. :)
I update slowly, and I'm going to be changing things too, but it won't ever be anything important.
If it is, I'm sure you'll work it out easily enough. And I'll say sorry for it now.

Chap2 Sneak Preview:

I couldn't. There was more to this than met the eye. I could just… I felt it. Have you ever had that? You see something, but you don't believe that's all there is to it. Take swans for example, beautiful creatures, right? Yeah, and a single blow from their wing could break your bones. Seriously. I read it somewhere. No… someone told me. Someone, but I can't exactly remember. Like people in general, you have the pretty ones who are horrible and selfish inside, and the ugly ones who are kind and considerate. Like… like The Boy. There was more to him than a broken child who gets picked on by the dominating and menacing thugs. More, so much more. But right then, I had no idea exactly what that something 'more' was. I can't fortune tell, after all. And nobody pales to a deathly white when their pad is being torn, never to the extent he did, even if it was a most prized possession.

God damn it, woman.

There was nothing else for it, now I was curious as well as just longing to.

I opened the pad.

Dun dun dunnn, woahhh, the suspense is killing me! :o
No. But it's got you thinking, right? Ahehehehe. Evil awesomeness.
Why do I even bother with this S.P.? You're just going to upload the next chapter if you wanted to and read it anyway…
Silly me, but I was bored and I wanted to. End of story.

A storyteller is I, now it ends we say goodbye.

onlylotte.