Disclaimer; I don't own Kingdom Hearts.
A/N: Blargh contains AxelKairi and KairiNamine main, additional- RoxasNamine, RoxasKairi, XionNamine friendship but mostly romance, RikuNamine, AxelNamine, RikuRoxas, RikuXion in the form of imaginary mind games, AxelXionRoxas, angst!fail AxelRoxas with curious cat Namine, NamineSora, SoraKairi, RoxasNamineRiku mirroring SoraKairiRiku, and faint traces of nuts.
Summary; Axel, Kairi, Namine; working theory and torn practicality. (forty-four things that she forgot.)
Some things can be fixed in places they were never broken in to begin with.
i. when winter grows warm
Somewhere further down, there is sunshine.
That is where the happy endings lie, in steady mornings of coffee filtered like water, murky and grey and tasting of what she envisions as diluted stardust; to start with, it is purity itself, and then she dabbles in seawater, clear salts that start at the tip of her tongue and send shivers down her throat; frankincense perfumes cheaply hanging in the air.
This does not exist.
ii. then the fat lady shrieks
Then things start to make sense. She counts the days on her fingers, then on the cracks in her palms.
There is Selphie. There are memories. There is a boy.
And that is enough.
iii. the lambs are silent in their wanderings
Kairi is being played for a fool.
That is a fact.
Waves lap at her feet. She tells Selphie the truth, but never the whole truth.
iv. ignorance is strength
One day she falls but doesn't.
This is the boy you do not know. Remember him. Memorize him.
You were too ignorant to consider the other boy. He may well be important. Maybe not.
Kairi keeps on walking anyway. Stays silent, because somehow she knows that Sora is that kind of important that isn't to be discussed with others. But the boy falls down and down and down and wakes up.
v. dinner was never fresh at his house
Maybe she is a child, perhaps 9 or 10 or nonexistent, and she is lying between Sora and Riku. Earth and sky and sea that acts as separation along the horizon.
"Sora," but it is not a child's voice, "Let's go. You and me."
r-i-k-u. Maybe that was the ruin, the whisper that she innocently breathes into the grooves of his ears that she so naively believes Riku will not hear. There is the lapping of waves against her bare feet, toes curled like the hard spirals of conch shells, and the next day Riku looks to the sea and wonders where he ever became unfailing in his devotion, when he ever forgot Kairi for even a moment, where it all went wrong.
And it was that day.
vi. these are all warnings you will likely forget
OhDoctorDoctorIneedan o p e r a t i o n-
Impure seraphs thrown down upon the floor, and he says in hellish tones, kid, don't bother getting up, then picks apart her candlewaxwick wings with threadbare fingers that taste of claret wine copper when he slides them into her mouth with neither caution nor consideration.
Selfish little brat, that's Axel, Larxene whispers to her ears before nibbling them with gently torturous fangs, and Roxas belongs to him. This is what you get when you steal from the wrong person.
And the nymph throws her head back and laughs, because Namine has dug her own grave for once, and the girl doesn't even attempt to refill it.
But Axel catches the rust and dust and worm-ridden dirt under his nails, and she feels it drown her when he comes, rough and unforgiving and like the slime of rain-soaked earth around her, and she says I think I hate you with swollen lips, bruised and scored red like lychee flesh and arteries that pump filth.
But he burns his hands to the arc of her back and says stupid girl, you can't feel. It's all in your head.
And Kairi still makes mistakes, because it's all in her blood.
vii. if this is a triangle i aint feeling the love
There is a day where she kisses the man in her dreams.
It is not Sora. It is not the boy of her dreams. But somehow she knows it is enough.
Kairi buries her ragdoll hands into his honeydew-syrup hair, grinds her eyes shut til she feels her eyelashes press together, and pretends that the sun beating down on their entwined bodies is that of Destiny Islands, that the brick beneath them is not of towers nor housetops but of schoolyard steps, and that everything is normal and Sora is home, and this is them perched on the deserted school stairs on a Friday afternoon, when the sun is turning crimson against the horizon and the grass is just brushing her thighs below her skirt, because being normal is better than being okay.
Roxas, she whispers in silent sobs to his chess chequer jacket as she collapses to his chest, Roxas.
Her teeth are smeared with subtle shocking garnet lipstick, but still she knows it to be enough.
viii. all the little boys and girls
Kairi knows that this is a dangerous game she's playing.
But the excitement of doctor doctor fix up my heart just makes her bones shiver and her head ache and fills her up with numbness like ice and fire and technical things, girls and boys and binary codes, oh my.
So she stays still and happy and normal on her isolated little island, and dreams of mice and men that turn her skin dead at a fire-swept touch, and then feels that Roxas knows, because Roxas is breaking out and Roxas is not happy or normal, and when wildfire-mane doctor tears her heart to pieces and stitches it back up again, he comes to the sound of her moans and whispers, and the name he says to the oil-soaked air is always Roxas.
ix. candy cane virginity-
Wakes up. Combs down her hair. Looks in the mirror.
Gently brings a finger to her delicate lips.
Delicate virgin lips.
x. if you say another word
Kairi wakes up with the feel of someone's hand caressing the split ends of her hair, streaks of red and brown and sycamore autumn spread throughout.
She cannot see it. But somehow she can feel the auburn. She can feel the green swirling enviously in her eyes. She can feel the virgin swing of her hips and the soft plumpness of her lips.
"This is you."
The voice is something important, she can't remember.
It is a girl's. It is innocent in fragile mannerisms.
It is unimportant for the time being. It is a dream and nothing more.
xi. i shall scream
"You and I both miss someone we care about, Kairi."
I'll scream, Kairi thinks in a fit of panic as he forces her hand into his, I'll scream and someone will hear. Someone.
She doesn't, but somewhere faraway Namine looks up to the skies and thinks everything is falling apart.
xii. if this is love then i do not desire it
It's Roxas, she thinks bitterly and hatefully and oh-so-lustfully, it all runs back to Roxas.
Axel slings his feet up on the table, lets his arm slink around her, and smiles crookedly.
"You used to sit here, you know," he reminisces like an old man on the verge of his deathbed, "You probably don't remember. You probably think I' m mad."
This is Castle- Oblivivian? Oblivide? she's found it and lost it simultaneously- Oblivion, and she knows in the pit of her heart, the part that she is very much aware belongs to her only loosely, that this is the something important that she keeps forgetting.
"There used to be Marluxia and Larxene and all the rest," he says, "And then there was you."
Then she gets this feeling that he's only vaguely talking to her at this point, and Namine feels like it's au naturale in the rain, in the blood-washed depths of Kairi's heart, and she suddenly feels exposed to the static warmth of secret places, unreal places, and thinks as Roxas yells to the heavens of girls and boys and binary codes,
never got cold wearing nothing in the virtual snow.
xiii. unlucky for some;
Roxas is one hell of a jackass if this is the trouble he's getting her into.
"I need you to get back Roxas," Axel smiles, guides her into his lap, and ignores the malicious glare Kairi casts him, "And I'm assuming you want Sora back. So we all win in the end."
We all win in the end, Kairi thinks, me and you and-
She has never known what Roxas might think of it all. She can never even be sure that leading Axel to Roxas is a good thing, whether he wants to kiss him or kill him, and somehow she has this feeling that, devoid of spite, it's the former, because these things you just know sometimes-
oh doctor doctor, i need an operation, and the name he calls to the oil-soaked air is always Roxas-
but Roxas, poor boy, has some major decisions to be making right about now, and she wonders if Roxas can feel confusion, if Axel can feel longing, and Kairi feels pity for only Roxas, the poor boy reminds her of autumn trees at the end of their life, on the bitter verge of winter, and she thinks pitiful, pitiful boy.
Girls and boys and binary codes, oh my.
But Axel, he's playing them for fools with the pity card-
get out of jail free, or roll the dice and take an impossible chance of 1 to 1 million-
And she knows he can't feel the sting of broken bonds like she can, and she thinks, devoid of concern, that he knows this, because he's just playing them all for fools.
And they are. And Axel knows this, because Doctor Axel has thought the whole operation out, and it's a heart transplant.
Kairi settles down, shifts her weight to match the sharp joints of Axel's folded knees, and smiles, her teeth glinting like candied peppermint.
So, Axel, she murmurs softly to the ridge of his collarbone, like she's beside Sora all over again, let's see who's playing who by the end of this all.
He doesn't even pretend not to hear.
xiv. the five steps of grief and why they are unimportant
"Do you want to get Sora back?"
"Of course I do."
Kairi thinks he will never grow tired of these petty little games- and maybe she enjoys them too. It makes a change from the routine that she finds presented to her, mind games and mood swings and dreams like static hushed full of spiderwebs and dust threads.
That is the automatic answer; it is also, as Axel deems it, correct.
He nods his head shortly once, in understanding, drums his fingers idly on the chair back- you used to sit right here, witch- and she thinks that in the light he is cynical and jaded and wiser than he should be by default but not wise enough.
Then the shadow comes and he is sensitive and alone and he is awake in his mind when his dreams alone will not hush his mutters of Roxas, thus only her nightmares can satisfy.
Air around her sets thick like paraffin clouds, damp like oil-soaked rags and caressed with a kind of unbearable warmth, Kairi swears she smells fire and flame and nicotine roses, infernos unfurling in red-delicious apple tree stems, and when he shuffles the cards she feels the lethargic haze of succulent Fuji blur in front of her lime arctic eyes, then it slows to normality and the apple-cherry-red is Axel's hands alight and dealing out heart after heart.
xv. snakes that eat their own raw tails
Fruit that is forbidden will always have a first bite like uncovering of gold, glittering and radiant and superficial, and have an aftertaste like wreathes of threadbare mister nicotine smoke. That is something that Kairi only now comes to know.
This applies to Roxas only; for Axel it is the opposite, she grows to hate him less every second they are there, but that does not mean that she sees him as being less loathsome; she still hates him, just with much less intensity.
But with Roxas, it is a never-ending channel of dominoes and matchsticks and things that fall at a sprig of her holly breath. For a single moment of intimacy, one which she does not even attribute to the pitiful nobody, rather to Sora, because as she closes her eyes and stops her breathing to dive in and take a chance, she can almost imagine it to be Sora.
But it is not, and when she confides this to Axel, he laughs and laughs like a man on the threshold of madness and starts calling her princess rather than witch, and it's an improvement, but she can tell something is wrong when she slinks out the doorframe and presses her ear to the wall after a moment of hesitation, he still stays laughing for longer than a man should, and then it all becomes more lilac than lavender; white lilies, buttercup yellow tulips, commitment.
xvi. denial and acceptance that are too far away; five steps of a mile-high staircase
There will never be time for regret.
Namine looks up to the sky and thinks about Sora, comatose in his crystal shell, and Xion taps her nails against the glass.
.wonk uoy naht noitceffa erom deen i
Fears and lies and passion, and in the middle of it all there is sanctuary in the form in dreams.
Somewhere up in the sky there are angels in flight, and even they will be shot down one day. It's all a part of the never-ending circle of non-life.
"Do you ever think of running, Namine?" Xion enquires, casual and familiar in the form of a raw and youthful young girl who, despite Namine remaining a child, is quite unfortunately growing up.
Folds her legs, lets Roxas straddle her bared waist, slightly shifts her shirt up and her schoolgirl skirt down, and closes her eyes to think only of Sora.
"I think of it," the girl whispers feebly, frailly, "And then it disappears."
It is the sanctuary. It is a dream.
xvii. snakeskin ankles on which to run
The next day, Xion runs. Namine dreads it before it happens.
She draws up her hood and plants her hand against Namine's, smiles tenderly.
"This is what I want," Xion speaks softly to the threads of black hair hanging down to her lips, "To get out. To break away. Why don't you?"
The truth of the matter is that, in the end, Namine is scared. Strange sensations froth through her blood, insane propositions flood her memory; this is fear. What a wonderful feeling.
Then it happens. Everything goes wrong all at once.
Namine looks to the ground, listens in silent horror as Xion's boot heels echo from the marble flooring, to the door slamming open, to Axel's damnations, and closes her eyes and prays that the angels are still up there before VIII shoots them down in a frenzy of fire.
Xion scurries down the hallways like a rat, ungainly and maladroit in the movement of her feet; Kairi could dance better than that; and Axel hunts her down deep into the alleys of Never Was.
never was, never will; be alive, that is.
xviii. all the lights are on in this place
Axel catches her. It was inevitable. She never does get that far away.
Yet, Namine still feels the faint traces of hope in the common part that belongs to neither girl, scraps of Kairi that have been left behind in maturity, the element that holds all of Xion together, and thinks it is beautiful to the people who know not of resolution.
But under all layers of determination, there are chains. There are links. There are unbreakable oaths and promises and bonds.
There is a heart.
And it is Kairi's.
This is what ties Namine and Xion together, through appearance and voice and sickness and health, and one day they ask each other if there is continuity in all the small things, because there is no such thing as identical snowflakes.
Yet, Roxas says in scepticism, if all are unique, does that not mean that they share a common trait?
Kid, Axel says in the best possible nature, shut up. You think too much.
But in the end, they are all the same.
xix. i need more affection than you know
Angels in flight and open windows. It's all for the greater good.
Sora has been asleep for months, for almost- almost- a year. But not quite. She doesn't look at him anymore. Not in suspended motion, because it makes her feel those light bites of guilt at her skin, and then it hurts.
i'm sorry, Namine whispers to his still form, i'm so sorry.
His eyelashes dip down like butterfly wings in flight, his lips split open like ripened cherries bursting to fruition, and she almost pretends that he is saying,
i forgive you.
xx. freedom is slavery
"Where," Kairi demands of him "Are we going, anyway?"
Axel flicks his tongue around his invisible lips in an almost saurian style, and then decides on laughing shortly and sharply.
"You tell me, princess," he declares in amusement with a playful smile, "We're trying to find Sora, and no one knows better where their prince charming is than his princess."
But where is this? she muses in dark mutterings, Where are we?
never was, never will; be complete, that is.
And yet, Axel believes that there are similarities, in manifestation and tone of voice, and that Xion is forever near him in ways that she should not be.
But fading is a haunting thing, and sometimes he feels the foreign whispers of her breath on his neck, and feels her skirts flow beneath her cloak and her hair stroke his cheek, feels the sovereignty of oceans and deserts sway him in the wind, and those days he just closes his eyes and thinks of oriental plum-wine silks and lilacs and lilies and lavenders.
xxi. divinity to the tune of mice and men
That night, she gives in.
Kairi lies back to his touch; rolls back to the sways of his skeletal hips; she never quite strips down fully, always keeps a shred of dignity by way of her plaid schoolgirl skirt- but does it matter at this point?
Axel takes the virgin angel, affixes her with sensual collars and claims her as his own as she screams into his hand among the hollow ebony curves of midnight, down in the alleyways where the girl's blood is always c o l d like it isn't there (turns her skin dead with a print of his hand), and he can always close his eyes and make believe that there is Roxas.
i'm sorry, Kairi silently sobs to the unaware Sora, i'm so sorry.
Axel's canines, razor-sharp tormenting, grind into her shoulders as she rolls them back to accommodate his wandering hands, and when an abrupt shock of pleasure twitch at her muscles and heartstrings, all she can do is hope that the unheard words shaping on his lips are
i forgive you.
xxii. snwod dna spu ynam os
Demyx strolls in one day, casual and cheerful as ever.
"Soooo, Axel," he chuckles when he sees Kairi, wrists and ankles rigidly bound, "I never knew you where into that kind of stuff."
Axel snarls malevolently, mutters words that are just too soft for Kairi to hear. But the man, arctic blue eyes showing unusual streaks of warmth, just shrugs it off, skirts around the princess suspiciously, and smiles, oddly sympathetically, when she observes him with apprehension.
"Thought you'd be here," Demyx clarifies, "Oblivion doesn't get used anymore. It's the perfect place to stay."
He crouches down to Kairi's level, gently fondles her trembling cheek, ignores Axel's obviously irritated looks, and Kairi can only think that this man will save her, despite his Organization uniform and faked emotions. He will save her from herself only because she is not sure if she wishes to be released from her captor at this point of no return.
Point of no return; she cannot very well go home and tell all the little boys and girls and Sora that she lost her innocence to her kidnapper and enjoyed it even the slightest bit.
She thinks that Sora will never understand the complexity of not having emotions, in that ecstasy is a very hard thing to describe to those who are too empty even to fill themselves with it.
Pitiful, pitiful creatures.
"Poor girl," he empathises with her, "Even if she's a hostage, you shouldn't treat her like this."
Axel sends him running at a growl and a burst of flame, and Kairi can only think in fearful stillness that Demyx will save her.
But freedom is a fleeting thing when it is only a exchanging of hands by jailors.
xxiii. my heart's a battleground
Kairi is the bond between us, Namine speaks softly to the alluring curves of Xion's waist, and she is what binds us together in unholy matrimony.
Maybe it is comfort; maybe it is loneliness; or perhaps they are not meant to know why they are drawn to one another. All that Namine knows is that it is sinful and corrupt and it is good, as both have been feasting on the sacred nectars of Gods high up in their thrones like vertigo matters not; yet Xion prefers to lie upon the ground in insolence.
It is all in preserving their beauty; their unimportant lives that are only parts of an angelic circle of life that sums up to much more than either can envision.
It is selfishness.
But Namine knows that only Xion is so arrogant to claim that this not egocentricity, rather revolution, rebellion against their tormenters, and Namine never was a girl to deny her superiors their pride.
Still, it is selfishness.
xxiv. simple and clean is the way that you're making me feel tonight
The simple truth is that the truth is very rarely simple.
Sai'x comes by maybe a week after Demyx did, and asserts his point that the time for mincing words is long past.
"Axel," blue-haired, savage gentleman snarls from the back of his throat, "You have betrayed us. You have gone against us. On behalf of the Superior, I am here to tell you to stop interfering in our affairs."
Axel laughs unpleasantly. Sai'x still calls him the Superior.
"Or I will be forced to do away with you."
Axel doesn't blink or even bat an eyelash. He just laughs and laughs and Sai'x conjures up a portal to leave in, scowling in disgust.
Kairi almost laughs with him, because she looks to the stars in the ceiling as they rearrange to spell the world in prose and thinks that she will be responsible forever for all that she has torn apart.
The next night, she closes her eyes and thinks of them all, damned creatures in black sitting idly like the devil's hands upon their thrones, and envisions Axel for the first time since they've met.
For the night in which she does not sleep, there is no Sora or Roxas.
There is only Axel and herself, her tears and her prayers that Sora will redeem her, forgive her in spite of her moans and fleeting touches and warped thoughts of hands and tongues and wildfire.
Wonderland is a place where anything can happen, and Kairi thinks in silent contentment among the orchids singing praises and tiger lilies brushing copper pollen dust onto her exposed back, that that really means anything.
She hazily recalls Axel asking her if she likes it, and does not remember her answer. It was more of a mumble indistinguishable from the humming of the bees and the butterflies and the blossoming flowers dripping nectars sweet like rich rose wine.
Sweat oozes achingly through the arches and crevices of her body, oiling her sun-bronzed skin, and Axel's wiry frame collapses onto her in a heap of grease and warmth.
"So, princess," he breathes out in heavy elation, "How's Sora looking now?"
She doesn't answer; only thinks of Sora and does not care for forgiveness.
xxvii. those who have tasted the honey will always want the hive
Too much candy gonna rot your soul.
It's never gonna turn out well if you take too much of a good thing, and Xion knows this, but some days she just can't help herself.
But then she feels Kairi's heart, thumping like the beat of rave, underground and deep below the woods where the wild things lie in rest, like a million people walking in tandem and only one stepping out of place, and she thinks that is the best way to think of it- she doesn't care of the present, but then there is tomorrow, and her head aches and her mouth tastes of tiger lily copper and there is dirt caught deep under her nails, and Namine blinks and whispers, 'What did you do, Xion.'
Castle Oblivion is the hangover to her high, and she wakes to the words of mice and men and bees and butterflies, and as Kairi's heart pounds faster and faster and faster all her emotion fades and fades and disappears, and Namine visibly feels it too, and Xion shakes her jet black-haired head like darkness swallowing Namine's candlelight of hope and happiness and says i think I did what i had to.
xxviii. the good, the bad and all the dead girls and boys
Repress me, he says, take my ruin of a heart and cleanse it of sin.
It starts when he breaks out, starts thinking of things that dead fifteen year-old boys are never meant to, and he thinks of blame and shame and wonderful things, and Axel thinks that he will forever be to reap what he has brought to fruition, cherries and berries and little boy's lips.
Roxas looks to the skies and the stars and thinks what have I done? and Axel says you gave me a blessing in disguise.
Roxas doesn't laugh, only blinks and looks away, because his real smiles only crease the corners of his eyes and twinkle furtively in the arc of his irises, and he thinks of secret places and saltwater-immersed shores with sand in the cracks of his palms.
Seven days later, he escapes.
The line between madness and sanity is getting too blurred for Axel's tastes, and he wonders if Roxas ever crossed that line or if he even knew it was there, but then he thinks of time and Wonderland and the end and realizes that a lot can happen in a matter of days, but it's just too late to know.
xxix. hush. babydoll, sugarplum, i'll make you quiet
"The end is coming," Kairi says like she knows, and Axel silently bows his head in what is a sign of assent, "We're either all going to die or end up in such a way we won't recognize each other, if we even meet again."
Silly girl, he thinks of what Roxas would say in a time like this, you forgot the part where one of us dies. And I have a bad feeling it's gonna be me.
He didn't even get his heart before he faded, damn it, but he sometimes steals a glance at Kairi when she cries, when she screams, and thinks that if that is emotion, meaningless pain and sorrow and hysteria, then he never wanted it from the start.
xxx. all the mad people went down to the woods today
"Demyx," Axel hisses, soft and unnecessarily hushed, "She's asleep. She's expecting me to be here when she wakes up. For god's sake, at least give me some time to explain it all to her."
Demyx hesitates, then nods as though unsure of himself, and walks straight back into the still-motion Betwixt. Kairi flinches behind the lining of the door frame.
Problem is, he never does tell her. He just conjures up a portal and drags her through and presses her to his shoulder, and mutters to her while she's still conscious that this is the end. That is one of the few truths he has told her since they met, and maybe it was by chance, yet kidnapping rarely is, but still both feel that this is not the time for telling false tales of sun-swept beaches and happily ever afters and Sora.
But some lies Kairi can tolerate, like the one he whispers against her trembling lips the following night that all children have to grow up some day, and then she feels the angels in flight above, feathers like liquid crystal in her tender mind, and all she thinks is why?
xxxi. cats and rats and wild things
You will always be responsible for this, Namine whispers to the slumbering comatose, you will never forget what you have asked of me, for it is impossible. If you ask a child to become a princess, it is not the child who should bear the blame if they cannot.
It is you.
Riku lies dead to the world and dreams of magic and witches and angels and princesses and Sora, in deeper sleep than him, and Roxas.
Roxas. Namine thinks of running away like Xion did, and Xion failed, but she is different in that she knows the weaknesses of her captors.
Riku, she mumbles against his ears, pries the edge of his blindfold up, I'm here. I'm beside you.
Kairi, he mouths, Kairi.
Sora and me. We're together again. Come with us, follow us back to the island. Please, Riku, we need you.
I need you.
The next day is cat and mouse and cat, and Roxas and Namine and Riku, and it is almost Sora and Kairi and Riku, but they are only the shadows of shadows, poison cores of pure windfall apples, and in the darkness of Never Was, in the dusk and mildew air of abandoned skyscrapers shooting up to where the hallowed sanctuary is, there is only a boy and a girl and a monster.
xxxii. what i've done is finally inexcusable
Sai'x finds them in their self-destruction, in this wreck of a world on the path to ruin, and steals her away.
Axel does not fight. He does not try to save her.
And Kairi does not try to save herself.
That is the hell they have trapped themselves in, and when she finds the time to think, in fuchsia slime cells beside the dog that she lost when she first went out to Wonderland with Axel-
(and really, it's hardly anything to be proud of, but when she cries out his name and he kisses her on the lips for the first time, she doesn't regret it; not one bit)-
She wonders when she came to know why the caged bird sings.
But Kairi never was a deep thinker, and soon she kneels on the ground like the fallen angel she is and laughs and laughs and laughs, as this is the world that she has torn apart, and she shall forever be responsible for it.
xxxiii. forget what they tell you and I shall refill you with memories of beautiful things
There is only silence, and Sora awakes on 11 seconds.
He is innocent, naïve, trusting on foolish levels, and Namine frowns and thinks of all that can break in a year, and wonders if Sora can fix all they have done in their thoughtlessness.
Xion, she says, what have you done.
And Kairi never knows why, but a world away suddenly says to only the violet walls and the sleeping dog, yet she cannot help but think there is someone listening in places she will never know, i think i did what i had to.
xxxiv. whaddya say, something beautiful coming this way
There is not an ending to that.
There are too many 'maybes' for Kairi. She thinks, maybe if I had fought back and Axel fought back with me and actually cared for me, or maybe if they had found Roxas and Axel let her go, or maybe if they had never met in the first place, and she had gone on living her life in seclusion, walking on the shore of depression to the tune of mockingbirds singing their praises in virtuous places, and then maybe she wouldn't have torn all the dead people out their stardust crypts.
But life is beautiful, and Kairi is young, and there are truths that she will deny when she is an old woman, ugly and wrinkled and sour like poison apple seeds, and that is why, in her lavender candle-lit prison, she looks to her jailor and thinks i don't know you, and Demyx thanks her with a dip of his eyelashes and says they would kill me if they knew with a parting of his lips;
Because some things are meant to go unsaid.
xxxv. give me your heart and your heat
One day, after it happened, Namine supposes she finally knows why Xion tempted her into unfamiliar things, drew her into unforgivable secrecy with a lick of her lips and a beat of her pulse, and then she unravels the cloth of her coffin and springs out into the darkness of underground wonderland.
It is because the flicker of candlelight on the chamber walls will never flash to see where they walk, and yet when the wax trickles onto the flesh of her finger it does not burn.
The light hurts to look straight to, but the walls in their ivory glory hurt even more besides and so they huddle to the light, rouge and vermillion and inelegant wheat-golds, and then Xion's hand meets hers and they feel complete in Kairi's form.
This does not exist, of course.
xxxvi. ephemeral little firefly
Xion doesn't come back the next day.
That's the problem, see; they all knew from the start. Namine knew it and Axel knew it and Roxas knew it but none of them ever summed up the foolishness to tell her, because Xion would rather die unwittingly on an unlabelled suicide mission than know her future and be unable to change it.
If they had told her, she would have gone anyway.
But the candle in Namine's mind, the one full of hope and happiness and wonderful emotions, is melting down fast and the wax is softening between her fingers to feathers and sunshine and the bare burned skin of boys soaring up too high in search of ephemeral angels.
Then sometimes she thinks the coil of pink in the roses of Oblivion, Marluxia's masterpieces, is like the blush of velvet cherry on the maiden's cheeks before they fade back to pale porcelain blanks, and some days Namine feels like she can see the world in the spiral of flower petals.
(but then she remembers she doesn't have a heart, and it all shoots up into the heavens in a wreath of crystal smoke.)
xxxvii. wildflowers and chinaberries
The chocolate leaves bitter coffea canephora dust on the tip of her tongue, and she winces.
"It's disgusting," Kairi stammers in between her coughs, "It's too strong."
Axel plucks a heart-shaped delicacy from the nest of wrinkled plush velvet, orient amethyst in a dainty glass jewellery box, shimmering like the gemstone lining of the Queen's club and diamond (and spades and hearts) crown, and he thinks to the elegant script of whomever wrote this hypnotic ricepaper note,
Eat me indeed.
When he bites down and strokes his tongue along the saccharine rich filling, Kairi blushes to the shade of lychee berries and dull paint diamonds on the eternal deck of cards, and the subtle after of diluted mint tea leaves fills his mouth fresh and sweet.
Kairi fishes in her pocket and finds it.
Scrap of silk, fool's gold lemon and lapis lazuli, and nestled inside are sweet little treasures, fished from fine glass chests, tasting strong of strawberry skins and sweet melon flesh and bitter grape wines.
She savours every second it sits and melts on her tongue, then slips the satin back into the lining of her skirt pocket.
Eat me indeed.
xxxviii. oh my glitter and garters, darling girls;
Showgirls and cabaret and 60's swinging, oh my, and Kairi never stopped to think about it that way;
"You see, princess," Axel sings to the hollow of her ear, "Every time is a world of its own. People living 5, 6 years ago can be reached easily with inter-world travel, as can people 50, 60 years ago. I don't know how far back we could actually go, mind."
She doesn't hear a word. This is New York, and this is jazz and swinging and coarsely graceful girls in leather and fishnets and hoop earrings that glitter and gleam like stars on pitch-black nights.
Kairi never thought that she'd be into the nightclub scene, but it's amazing how much a person can change in a matter of moments.
Axel smirks and stops her before she can speak, before she can laugh.
This, she tries to remember but keeps forgetting even more, is probably the night everything went right or wrong, better or worse.
Which it is, she doesn't know, but Kairi commits to memory that this is the night she felt something for him that wasn't hate for the very first time. Maybe it was love, or adoration, or even fatal attraction, but it doesn't matter when she can feel her heartbeat in the air and hear the sharp chanting of the showgirls and the hum of the jazz and see dusk behind her eyes.
She rests her arm on the table, pine wood and fine layers of dust and glass half-full with optimism, and Axel holds her hand in his loosely and openly and like the world is full to the brim again with free love and love for free.
That is the beautiful world; and it is beautiful.
xxxix. where the wild things are
Maybe they won't recognize each other.
It's quite possible, really, in their situation; maybe they will recognize the other, only in a different way.
Ghosts of shadows of shadows of boys and girls and monsters, and slow blinking lights like neon gods up above the sky in flashes of wondrous things, beautiful things, heavens divine like glittering gold swept from coal dust, and this is where the wild things are.
Lies are never known to the virtuous, and in lying through his teeth he only flickers his eyelashes like butterfly wings upswept with rain and dew like sorrow and mourning where the sunshine is not there to thaw away the wax between his wings.
If this is power, he needs it, no matter what lies it whispers to him in places he cannot see with eyes blind to his own suffering, sheltered from the hate he emanates. But soon it binds him with tales of mermaids and genies and ragdolls and hearts and Sora.
And then he says to her in secret places he does not know in his blindness, that keyblade is fake, fake fake fake, because it's a bundle of lies and denial in the first place, and he only serves to tangle it further.
And this black-haired young girl, Miss Fourteen, calls him selfish and he screams deep down inside, because he is selfish and it isn't fake, and it'll just keep going until everyone has a damn keyblade, and it's Kairi and something is desperately wrong.
But the cadavers are silent in their deathbeds, And Oh! does he shriek with the bells of insanity ringing on his heels.
xl. chain of memories
Repress me, he says, take my pure heart and fill it with sinful ideals.
Namine watches in silent apathy, but inside her (empty place, empty like skins of stars and dust and rust) there is a raging torrent of honest emotion, hate and anger and sorrow and pity and hope, and Riku is not Riku in her mind; he is a monster, a shell of his former self.
But the chain of memories, all she has worked for in her toil and slavery, is coming undone, and love for free is looking pretty good right now.
Therefore this is her retribution, her responsibility for all she has ruined and the lives of innocent that she has torn apart as such, to see others suffer in their greed and be unable to fix what she has broken within them.
The next day he finds Roxas, Roxas, Roxas.
And he brings him back, on the verge of fading, bloody and bruised and torn in his weakness, to whisper lies to in the empty time before Sora comes to take him home.
Why, Namine sobs to the skies, why does it have to be this way?
It is only this way because that is the grave she has dug for herself, and now she must lie in it.
xli. 358/2 Days Until The End of The World.
"I will have to leave exactly 358 days from now."
"Yeah. You will."
But there's a long time to wait for a year to pass, and in the first week that Sora sleeps, there is only silence and emptiness and chaos waiting to happen.
Axel knows that Roxas will leave one day, and when he asks him to come with him, he almost says yes, but the wild things skulk in the dusk of Never Was, in the shadows of skyscrapers and wrecks of cars and the scent of petrol aflame in his trail, and they tell him the secret of sun swept islands and boys and girls and monsters.
It is that you are forever responsible for what you have tamed.
When Roxas whispers into the crook of Axel's neck, into the lining of his blood-wine hair, that he thinks he loves him, it is a lie, and Namine knows it when she eavesdrops, and Axel knows it when he hears it, and Xion probably knows it in the obscurity of oblivion, where the faded souls drift to when there is not a Somebody for them to revert into, but Roxas says it in earnest, in ways that cannot be pretended.
But it is a lie nevertheless.
And that is why he wants Roxas back, why he sacrifices all he has for a boy who would leave him in a heartbeat, for a heartbeat, to tell him too in earnest, i love you, but this will never be without a heart, for Xion comes back one day, in the days where she still was fresh in their minds, in the days where she left and did come back, and she is high up in the heavens on the nectar of hearts and souls and happiness, and all he can say is what did you do, Xion.
But it is all a lie, and they all know it in the end.
xlii. mass destruction; breaking down and out
The day comes to present; Kairi has stopped remembering and begun watching, only to find herself alone again.
Demyx, she realizes far too late, Axel called him that. His name was Demyx.
She wonders when he left, why he left, where he went, then become conscious of the fact that it's not important now that it's happened.
Maybe she should have thanked him for giving her and Axel precious few extra days together.
Kairi feels around on the ground, shadows cast over her outstretched hand, and finds the slip of silk, ripped and dirty and scrapped.
Maybe she should have thanked him, but maybe it's just too late.
Everything's falling apart, bit by shard by world, and then she feels tears brush her eyelashes, and she cries, unashamed sobs of a broken girl, and when she cries, Namine shivers, trembles and looks to the sky and thinks of tasting rain, birds sheltered in sycamore trees and mist set against the heavens.
This is the finale, the end; everyone has drifted to places where she cannot follow with a heart of pure intentions, even Axel, though she does not know now, even Roxas-
Roxas. She hasn't thought of him for what seems like impossible years.
Roxas. He was the one that started it all, that put it all in chaotic motion, that drew Axel to her and drove Riku to maniac obsession with power, that put Sora to sleep and woke him up besides, and she doesn't know if she hates him or loves him.
But it never was love, only now that she thinks of it, her dreams, her fantasies, her lies.
It was Namine, weaving her filthy web of untruths, and it was Xion, flickering as a nonexistent in the static air of Betwixt and Between.
It was all the dead people, rising from their ashes and tombs and crawling into the light to taint her with tales of wings of wax and angel feathers.
It was Axel all along, really.
xliii. time is running out;
Sai'x, the blue-haired savage, passive aggressive, she thinks, comes to see her, and it's a good thing, otherwise she may well have thought in a fit of Easter walls and rainbow shadows that they'd all faded off and away to the dark places.
He says illogical little things about Sora's anger and her being the trigger, and Kairi doesn't listen.
Only thinks of hope and happiness and candle wax.
Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jump over the candlestick;
Namine appears shortly after Sai'x leaves, and she listens to her, mostly because she has something interesting to say, and Kairi is tired of playing the terrified victim.
And she feels only compelling jealousy to Sora, to Riku, and asks why it must be this way; why she is always left behind to forget and feel guilt for what she cannot prevent? Can neither Sora nor Riku find time to help her rather than save each other when they are both entirely capable of saving themselves?
Then Kairi feels remorse for her selfishness, and knows that she will never be free of sinful thoughts, of envy and resentment and bees and butterflies resting on her skin and whispering fairy-tales of boys and girls and binary codes,.
"Come with me," Namine beckons, platinum blonde locks of hair swaying in the breeze of the portal, "Please, Kairi, there's no time to explain."
There's never enough time.
The end is nigh in the dawning of the kingdom, hearts rising up in glittering rose crystals, heartless creatures, poor things that they are, grasping at the passing treasures, but to no avail, for they are the damned, and these are the graves that have been dug for them.
Souls and remnants of children are purest, clear and shimmering in the gleam of Kingdom Hearts, and then there are tainted, murky pebbles, carved roughly into uncertain curves, and they are the monsters, the murderers, the evil things that will create vicious circles in that they will bring heartless to life only to turn them to continue their sinful legacy.
Pitiable little beings, it's all in their hearts.
Poor, poor things.
But in the dusk of The World That Never Was, everything wholesome shines brighter, and only in darkness can we see true light, and in light only then can darkness, the unseen shadows of niches and ridges, be seen in its entirety.
Yet the nobodies, the Dusks and the Dancers and all the rest, curl their liquid bones back and look to the sky, in almost the same pleading manner as the heartless do, and Namine thinks they're all the same.
Shadows and Neo-shadows glide smooth across the roads, streaked in rain and-
She, not halting for even a second, parts her lips to let her tongue slip out for a moment, only a single moment, to let a drop trickle into her mouth, and finally tastes the rain, tastes the teardrops of angels.
It tastes of salt and dew and buds blossoming into roses, petals curled and widespread around the shoot; and she thinks of Marluxia; and she looks to the sky and sees lightening and hears thunder, raging screams of the heartless children; and she thinks of Larxene.
And she thinks of things long gone, and knows that it was never meant to be this way.
The hearts rise up and up into the sanctuary, up to the heaven where Kingdom Hearts descended from, and she hears the angels shrieking in agony as the world crumbles to splinters around them.
"Where are we going, Namine?" Kairi wonders aloud, and she isn't sure how she knows the girl's name, she just feels it naturally form on the tip of her tongue.
Namine keeps running, feet bare and laden with bruises, water splashing around her ankles, damp and sheltered with moss and mildew, and she nearly looks around and expects to see mockingbirds and sycamore trees.
But it's a sin to kill a mockingbird, for all they aspire to do in life is make beautiful music for our pleasure, and Namine has already forged a long enough chain of misery, because she thinks that for her to look about an innocent creature would be to swallow its soul away down the jaws of afterlife, of Betwixt and Between.
Kairi does not expect answers to her questions, so contents herself with closing her hand around Namine's slender wrists, then thinks of Axel, and then forgets and forgets and forgets again when Namine tightens her childishly weak fingers around hers.
Namine thinks of Xion, and Roxas, and Axel, all of them condemned to endless nonexistence, yet Roxas finds himself with a shred of subsistence left, a half-life to Sora, and thinks that soon that will be her.
She'll be absorbed into Kairi, all for the greater good, for the angels in flight and the open windows, and it fills her with hysterical hopelessness, with uselessness, soon she finds herself longing for what she cannot reach out to find.
A heart rises up just in front of her, sparkling magnificent vermilions and lavenders and lilac in the moonlight, and Namine stretches out a weak hand, wishes to touch it, but her fist clenches straight through it, and she knows it was never meant to be this way.
She slows to a standstill, threads her fingers through Kairi's, and looks to the ground, to the grit and the puddles and the hearts and the shadows and the wild things.
"Please," Namine whispers to the wind, to the pitiful creatures that only wish for what she does, because everyone is the same; there are no identical snowflakes, but that is what binds them together- they are all unique;, "Please. These are my last moments living."
Kairi closes her eyes, and when she opens them again, all envy is gone from them; they are clear green, like the leaves of sycamore trees in summer, unfurling into emerald fireworks at blossom.
Namine relaxes her grip on her Other's hand, turns to look her in the eye, and Namine's are pleading blue, like exhausted oceans, tired of rage and torrents and drowning themselves.
She runs her trembling hands through Kairi's burnt auburn hair, thinks of it as leaves in autumn crinkling beneath her bared feet, bare feet like a child walking innocent in woods and forests of play-pretend and wild things.
But Namine is sick of play-pretend, and when she leans in to taste Kairi's dewdrop lips, it is all too real.
"Make them matter."
Roxas leans in to feel Namine's tender hands again,
And she leans in to feel his lips on hers,
And one ghostly translucent hand fleetingly brushes against Kairi's.
And there is finally peace.
this is real.
Lilacs mean first signs of love, lavenders mean luck, mistrust, white lilies mean purity, and yellow tulips mean hopeless love.