Disclaimer:

I own neither Marluxia nor Bridgette. They belong to Disney/Squeenix and 2K, respectively. This idea of Aramuil's personality and history belongs to me and my sister, Judy (Seven VII on Gaia.)


Memories of the Broken

Everything still lingers on his tongue: the taste, the feel, the shame. For some reason, it overpowers the pain in his shoulders, and the young man is filled with disgust. Yet it's more than that. It's more than disgust, more than loathing... It's hatred, not just at the soldiers, but at himself.

His hands won't stop shaking.

The room around him is nothing more than a blurry photograph to his eyes. How badly he wants to concentrate, and ha ha, concentrate. Some one gives a high-pitched laugh, sharp and brief, and it takes him a few minutes to realize it's his own. More self-hatred this time, and the man snaps his mouth shut so hard, so quick, his entire jaw hurts. He presses the palms of his hands against his eyes, and refuses to let himself cry. No! No, he refuses to do this, to cry, not for them. That will mean he's lost, that there's no hope, and that he's nothing more than a broken little boy.

No. He refuses. They will not break him, never.

The door clicks open, but he refuses to look up. Besides, there's no need to worry. He recognizes those soft footsteps. The scientists, the soldiers- they wear hard boots which clack upon the ground. It is their slaves that go barefoot, their helpless prisoners, and only one is permitted to wander the labs as she pleases.

Metal clinks against metal as the dark-haired girl lays down a tray, her eyes not once focusing on the boy sitting on the examination table. For a minute, there is silence in the lab, although the same cannot be said outside. Far off, guns shoot off, altogether, and only once.

Only once. For today.

Finally, she moves, silent as a ghost as she goes over to the boy. Her hands are not smooth, as a girl's should be. Instead, they are rough and covered in scars, wounds that have just begun to heal. Still, he seems to find some comfort in them, and allows her to remove his fingers away. For now, his cheeks are still dry, but the look in his eyes... It is so despairing; his shoulders slump as he stares at her. "Bridgette," he whispers, his voice nothing more than a hoarse croak.

"I'm here," she answers in her thickly accented voice. It is impossible for her to look away. His eyes are always so enchanting, a vivid dark blue that's so intense no matter what emotion lies within. Anger, sadness- it never seems to matter what, and those eyes bury her every time.

And every time, she wonders if it's genetics or the heart, the so-called soul.

At her voice, he hunches over, his fingers curling into the fabric of her dress. He gives what seems like a dry sob before he suddenly leaps onto his feet. In her surprise, she stumbles back, watching as the disgustingly thin teenager trips to a nearby sink. He doesn't quite make the journey, and his bones can be seen through the skin of his fingers as he clutches the edge of the dirty, rusty sink. Rotten food, stomach acid, and more splatter onto the floor. There's a pause, and his weak frame shakes with just the effort of breathing, gasping for air. It quickly ends as he starts to heave again. There is nothing more his stomach can give, however. All that comes out are terrible choking noises and the occasional dribble of clear and white liquids.

Finally, he stops, still desperately clinging to the edge of the sink. All of his remaining strength is spilled onto the floor, now, and he starts to crumple onto his knees, into his own vomit. It is Bridgette that keeps him from doing so, her own stick-like arms wrapping around his bare ribs and pulling him back. He weighs almost nothing, yet it's still a struggle to drag him away from the puddle. Slowly, she lowers the two of them to the ground. Still breathing heavily, he merely leans against her chest, the soft fuzz of his head resting on her breast. Carefully, she reaches up to the metal table, and her fingers curl around a tiny, filthy cup. The water in it certainly isn't clean, but at least it's fresh, and not salt. Some of the other prisoners here aren't so lucky.

With utmost care, she lowers it to the man's lips, allowing him only a tiny sip at a time. "Calm down" she whispers. "Calm down, Aramuil, and drink."

-----------

For years to come, he will always remember the other boy's name. It was something he had always playfully teased him about. Reinhard. "My fox" he used to whisper when they thought no one was paying attention. Oh, they hadn't been in love. It was simple teenage infatuation, and it had been oh-so sweet. Oblivious to the changes around them, he and Reinhard had flirted with twisting words, and their fingers brushed against each other more than once. If they felt particularly daring, they traded kisses behind their houses, so sure no one would catch them.

His eyes. Even when he was no longer Aramuil, he'd always remember those eyes, bright blue and knowing.

How stupid they'd been, so young and oblivious to the rest of the world. Still, even with those traits, it was difficult to ignore the rise of the Nazi party. In a surprising and rare moment of wisdom, they'd both agreed not to see each other anymore. By then, however, it'd been too late. It wasn't just the Jews this new regime wanted destroyed. Anything different, any race, any culture- if it wasn't the Aryan ideal, then it was trash that deserved to be burned.

To their credit, the soldiers hadn't burst right through the Schäfer's door. Instead, they had knocked, polite as could be as they explained to Aramuil's poor mother how her husband and only child were just more trash to be destroyed. Not their exact words, of course, yet Aramuil had sensed it in their voices and felt a numbing kind of rage at their presence. He never was quite sure why. Perhaps it had been because they were about to take him away from his home. Perhaps it was because they had revealed to him what a filthy liar his father was, with his dirty little Jewish secret.

Or maybe it was because his whole life was falling apart, and there was nothing he could do to stop it.

----

If he had just been homosexual, perhaps things wouldn't have been so bad. If he had just been that, he wouldn't have been separated from others at the police station, herded to the ghettos. The last he saw of Reinhard, the police had been sneering about how they'd tear out his fingernails. Back then, Aramuil had held the faint hope that they were just bluffing, hoping to scare the dark-haired boy with the beautiful blue eyes.

Two months later, Aramuil arrived at a concentration camp. They were all lined up and forced to watch as they stripped a man, practically slamming a metal bucket onto his head. With no other choice, Aramuil had to watch as they set vicious attack dogs on the defenseless man.

As the victim finally stopped screaming and thrashing, Aramuil knew that torn fingernails were the least of anyone's worries.


Author's Note:

Well, this is certainly off to a depressing start, isn't it?

Don't worry, it'll get better. Well, er, ah ha, sort of.

Unfortunately for Aramuil, his life isn't exactly sunshine and daisies. Oh, he has his happy moments, most definitely, but those aren't his defining moments. Those aren't the memories that Marluxia will later call upon to form his personality and the way he acts.

See, that is the goal. Judy, who is a Marluxia roleplayer, came up with the first vague inklings of this background for an Organization XIII roleplay over on Gaia. Being a pair of chatters on our own, we got to talking over the course of a few weeks. Turned out Judy has an idea for every little event that shaped up Marluxia. She's just too lazy to type it all up, and I've always been the more writing oriented of us two.

So, over Christmas break, the two of us decided to mix our talents together to form this fanfic. Judy would tell me the big fat basics of Aramuil's life right up to losing his heart, and I'd write it out with all the little details, dialogue, and various other things, sometimes contributing a scene myself. So to speak, she gave me the clay, and I decided to make something out of it.

Hopefully, you'll stick around for the ride.

I'd just like to thank, for one thing, Judy for being an awesome RPer, friend, sister, and plunnie gunner. I'd also like to thank Amber from Gaia, for encouraging my writing, and Aloria, for being my beta!

Reviews and constructive criticism are positively adored!