Mind games and memories destroyed by prozac and benzodiazepines. It's a static sickness. Do you still wonder why he went insane? — AkuRoku, along with other ambiguous affairs behind the scenes.
Author's note: Writing this really fucked with my mind. In order to not become as confused as I had been when I started writing this, please note that the diary entries in this story all happen in the past (#1 being the earliest entry), with the exception of #73, which is written during the present, and #74, a month down the road in the future.
diary entry #72
what? what fucking suicide duckling under the rainbows? there was something moving under the current of the paper lanterns this morning at four. they were lit. flicker, flicker, twist, twist. itching fire, skinned wrists. and coloured beads. clink clink. twenty-four carat gold syringes loaded with the clearest amber liquid. blood, drip, drip. that was how i saw it all happen, i swear.
i think i may be going insane. but kristina—you remember her?—KRISTIIINA once told me, a long time ago, that no, i wasn't. wasn't craaaazy. how did she know? she was never called kristina anyway. but kristina knew. she kept saying insanity had everything to do with each person's perception of reality. what is insanity? we say he's insane because he's running around without clothes on in the middle of the street. it's only insane because what he's doing is not normal to our refined society. yes? but if we had nothing to compare his behaviour with—if we didn't know it was fucking crazy to be doing that in the first place—then we cannot call him insane. we'd say it was normal. sadly, everyone's already built this world in rigid bricks and stones and broken bones.
"every little thing," she'd mumble, stained cherry-red lips moving around a rolled joint, "outside looking in."
skydivers. feathers. look up, there's ringlets of smoke and blood in the sky. maybe they belong in a morgue. yes, yes, they do belong in a morgue. with the letters R, O, S, A on the double doors. they do! fuck the stupid morgue. those doors were silver. i really hated silver. i really fucking hated silver.
nightmares. ghosts. when elaine snared me by the arms, pinned them to my sides with nails digging in like fishhooks, and told me to "shh, calm down and here, take these bright green-yellow fluoxetine pills, they'll make you better, i promise," i thrashed, threw her to the floor angrily and said—
"i'm already better. the fucking prozac keeps fucking diluting in my veins, keeps killing me in a slow motion hurricane. keep them the fuck away from me, elaine."
she started crying. elaine started crying. it made me so, so mad.
that's when i picked up the metal chair.
diary entry #72 (cont.)
you know, i hurt her badly. very badly. her face was a bloody mess. i couldn't recognise her.
you would know, wouldn't you, doctor valentine? you saw her too.
that was so long ago now.
diary entry #1
shiver, shiver. i'm shivering now. this room's cold and quiet and claustrophobic. i don't like it. i didn't like how they wrapped me up in blankets of filthy grey yesterday. i couldn't move. i couldn't breathe. i felt so brittle that i could've splintered into a million shards of flesh and bone and would be none the wiser. it hurt. it's not my fault the new food trays turned out to be silver. they know how much i hate silver. count my ribs, i don't even eat. "skinny bastard," i always hear them saying from beyond the door. "poor skinny bastard."
now, i'm just locked up in here, nothing but a desk, a wall clock, a bed, water, my diary and a pack of non-toxic crayolas. crayola crayons, haha, what a joke. my eyes hurt from the irony. and they burn like fire. and i thought my momma wanted to take me home. she wanted to. well, she lied. i don't think she loves me anymore.
elaine. come back and take care of me. where are you, elaine? why did you leave me?
The room is dark and full of motionless shadows. Silk screens of black, drawn in tight bunches toward the end of the room where the bed lies. The smell of iodine and stale disinfectant lingers faintly. There are no windows, just a single door, painted silver-grey and repainted a discoloured red, just because.
Skin pulls back taut across thin lips, smooth fingers graze the bottle cap. Tap, tap, tap. Nails scratch lightly at the label that reads "Reboxetine". Sounds like metallic grating in the silence. The voice that follows is calculated, rough-edged. Something like unconcealed tolerance in the undercurrent. A curtain of midnight hair shades scarlet pools.
"Your nurse. She says you've been a good boy and that you've been taking your benzodiazepines. Am I correct?"
The boy, huddled amid a small pile of sanitary sheets, nods drowsily on his bed, face half-buried in his pillow. Fading gold hair, poorly cropped, falls limply into his half-lidded eyes.
"We think it's time we put you on a less potent drug." A rattle of pills resound as the doctor holds up the bottle in his hand, whitewashed coat swishing up loudly in the quiet. The boy winces at the noise as the pills move around against the hard plastic. Like rain. "We think you're getting a lot better."
A short, muffled sniffle.
"You're out of here soon, Roxas. Soon. And then you'll get to see your family. Three months is a long time. You probably miss them."
The boy shrugs blandly, turns his head up to face the dark ceiling and brings a hand up to thumb at the little black marks just above his collarbone. The broad sleeve of his four-sizes-too-big polka-dotted gown slides off one slim shoulder.
"They miss you."
The boy snorts derisively. "I highly doubt that," he whispers inaudibly. He wishes to all the rainbows and flowers in the world that the doctor doesn't catch it.
But he does, because it's so quiet.
"Your sister misses you."
"She doesn't care." Flippant, distant. An instantaneous response. Certainty. Confidence. The belief coagulates in his throat, makes it hurt, makes him want to spit.
"What you did to her wasn't enough to make her hate you." Patience, practiced over and over. "Roxas, Naminé loves you."
"Her name," the boy grates, voice low and hard now, "is Elaine."
The doctor doesn't blink, doesn't flinch at the heated spite in the boy's voice. He just stands there, takes in the boy's slight form for a few more moments, then leaves the room in a hush, turning to the nurse just outside and handing her the pill bottle with a headshake. The door swings shut softly.
Roxas' empty hands tremble a little. "Always has been," he whispers to no one in particular, eyes vacant. He deftly fingers the blackened scars along his neck again. The streaks don't even feel like pieces of fibrous yarn anymore. They're smoothing out. They're going away.
Roxas is disappointed at that. They used to feel so good under his fingers. Used to. Back then, whenever his blister-covered fingers pressed hard enough, he'd feel the dull, throbbing sting and traces of a weak heartbeat. Now, they're just starting to become smooth marks on his skin. Nothing more, nothing less. Sometimes, he can't even feel a pulse anymore.
Moments pass and the door creaks open again. A shaft of bright, sterile light from the white corridor outside filters into his dark room once more. He hisses in displeasure, eyes tightening into blue-gemmed slits.
It's the nurse.
She says to him, in a voice that glitters sweetly and sourly, a kind of fake kindness tingling in the air, "You have a visitor, dear. He says he knows you well." And she stands to one side to usher a new person into the room. It's a tall and sunken figure, swallowed by shadows as it steps purposefully into the darkness.
Roxas' crowded-but-empty mind goes into overdrive for a split second, a sliver of pure panic bubbles up in his chest like a knife – a reflex reaction coupled with the prescription anti-depressants running through his bloodstream. But he fights it all down, squashes it hard against his ribcage. He opts for simply staring for a moment, eyes desperately trying to adjust to the pale, ashen light.
And he finds a face.
diary entry #55
i had an older brother. he was precious as gold. his name was sora. and he died a year ago.
the family was never the same after that.
two days after his death, i fell in with a bad crowd. no, not the opposite of a good crowd. bad, meaning: they did bad things. really, really bad things. stuff you don't even see on TV because they'd take it off the air in accordance with the strict rating scheme and crap. drugs, alcohol, violence, sex, theft, extortion, everything. every fucking thing.
i told myself it was because i was trying to cope with the fact that sora was gone. forever.
but, secretly, i think i joined them because i really loved it. it made me feel like i was on top of the world. could've been the adrenaline rush from it all. could've been the feel of potent drugs running through my red-blue veins. could've been the sex.
they were all rebellious teenagers who'd all just grown out of the teenage phase and into depraved adults. i was one of the youngest. a kid, really. seventeen. fresh meat. an FNG.
a fucking new guy; eventually corrupted to a point of no return.
i became close to a couple of them. just a couple. there was no reason to become best friends with everyone. there were some horrible, horrible people in there.
"What the fuck are you doing here?"
Blue ocean eyes wide with horror, he scrambles upright and presses himself flat against the cold wall on the opposite end of the room where the bed sits against. And he bunches the sheets around him with fingers and toes. His vision swims violently. Flicker, flicker.
"What the fuck? What the fuck?" Roxas thinks he's starting to hyperventilate.
The nurse steps in again, a mild expression of concern (scorn?) is plastered all over her face, but the boy's visitor sticks out his hand and waves her off. "I've got it, he'll be fine. Leave, please."
She leaves, worry (relief) still colouring her face. The door shuts. They're shrouded in semi-darkness. Just the two of them, each on either side of the room. Two silhouettes hiding in the shadows, watching intently.
Roxas' heavy breathing fills the small, quiet space.
The newcomer gnaws at his bottom lip as his bright eyes fully take in the boy before him for the first time.
"Jesus Christ. You've lost so much weight, Roxas."
Tick, tock, tick. The clock on the wall seems to come to life, after seemingly being dead for so long.
Tears start to fall from Roxas' eyes.
diary entry #56
see, his name was riku. riku was the ring leader. we called him 'boss'. but behind his back, we called him 'that fucking asshole.' we made sure never to let him know of his other pet name. but we looked up to him, regardless of the name-calling. i liked him a lot. not just because he personally took me under his wing when he heard sora had died.
i think maybe he knew sora.
it would explain why he'd tell me to fucking shut the hell up whenever i started talking about sora and how very dead he was.
it would explain a lot of other things, too.
anyway, i had a partner.
i had two. but the former died from alcohol poisoning under the influence of drugs. it could have been the other way around. something like that. can't even remember her name now, other than the fact that it sounded like 'diary'. hah. who knows? i could be making this shit up for all you know. actually, her name might have been kristina. okay, maybe it was. KRISTINA. she was a genius, underneath all the idiocy. her slurry dope-blunted remarks always proved everyone wrong; surpassed expectations. she was also beautiful.
well. partner number two was pretty much the same as partner number one. except for the fact that he was a guy and maybe three heads taller than partner number one.
i remember her name now. it was kairi. i know why i always forget. i'd asked for her name on day one, after my initiation. "names are unimportant," she told me, grinning like some cheshire cat on cocaine, lucid smoke wafting slowly out her mouth.
she was a real bitch.
but i used to like her.
until she upped and died.
"Hey. Hush. What're you crying for?"
"Why am I here?"
Out of all the possible responses the shadowed figure has been expecting from the boy, this one has him completely thrown. He tilts his head curiously. "Oh," a hesitant silence. "Well, weren't you just asking me why I'm here?"
"Why are you here, then?"
"I... just wanted to see you."
Glassy eyes narrow. "That fucking asshole didn't send you here?"
A gauging pause. "Roxas. You know we're not part of them anymore."
Exhale. A long silence. "Why am I here?"
The visitor shuffles his feet uncertainly, wants to know what the boy's playing at. "You were suicidal… and clinically depressed and..." Swallow. "Well, you're supposedly getting better." A small, reassuring smile.
Something sparks in Roxas' eyes. "You knew that. You knew it all and still, you never visited. All three months. You never came to see me."
"Roxas, you know I—"
"Rox, no, I—"
"Please don't try to explain."
"Fuck! I SAID SHUT—"
"I COULDN'T BEAR SEEING YOU IN HERE LIKE THIS."
Roxas draws a quick breath and stays quiet.
"I... couldn't. I didn't want to see you in here. Like this. Locked up. Lonely. Ruined. Scarred. Broken. I... tried to stay away. But I needed to come see you. I needed to. I'm sorry it took me so long."
Roxas looks away bitterly. "You have some nerve."
"I'm sorry. I know I shouldn't even be here."
"You know, you're half the reason why I'm lonely, ruined, scarred, fucking broken."
"And I'm tired, too."
"Yeah. So am I, Rox."
"And see? I'm crazy."
"Yeah. Crazy. Quite crazy."
Roxas looks up, straight into the man's eyes. "Are you crazy too?" he whispers quietly, urgently. Like a dark little secret question that's never meant to be asked aloud. But he needs to know. He needs to.
"Yes. Still. Very crazy."
"Crazy, crazy," Roxas sings softly, feeling what's left of his sanity slip away. And then his eyes dull, his voice goes flat. And he snarls two words.
diary entry #59
i have a younger sister. she's just a year younger. but she might as well be fifty. she's wise beyond her years. i wish i knew her a little better, though. she always seemed so strange and foreign to me.
the day after sora died, it stormed really badly. white lightning, black thunder. we played a game. naminé and i, we were both standing in the rain sometime past midnight, under a lone streetlamp, both soaked and cold and trying hard to smile at each other. her fingers were so tiny in my hand, so frozen, so dead. like her eyes.
this was the game:
"roxas," my sister started off, her skin glowing angelically under non-existent moonlight and glaring fluorescence. "i know of a girl."
"i know plenty."
"yes, roxas, but this girl's different."
"how so, naminé?"
"she's in love with you."
"her name's elaine."
back then, i didn't know an elaine.
back then, i didn't know she was talking about herself.
i was pretty sure i looked right through her as though she were made of glass and i didn't see anything but wisps of smoke and translucent pinpricks of light through an eternal haze.
i hate it here. time feels like it's stopped.
diary entry #60
jade coffee. the two of us were sitting alone on the rooftop of his apartment block one cool summer night. i remember the half-smoked joints littered around us in a half-circle. i remember the feel of his strong arms circling my waist, hard muscle and taut sinew resting snugly against my angled hips. it all felt like magic, to tell you the truth, with faint wisps of music drifting up from one of the open windows of the higher floors.
after seven — eight? — consecutive shots of the tequila we stole, riku decided to tell me something. i don't quite remember exactly what he said anymore, but he told me something like: "roxy, the world's gonna fucking end in three years."
i didn't really care. in fact, at the time, i didn't care if i died right then in that instant, so long as i died sitting right there in riku's lap, his arms around me, feeling like the world was tilting sideways and hanging off a thread. tripped, head over heels.
fuck, riku was beautiful that night.
i had the feeling we weren't fully alone, though. i thought that dead girl, kairi, must've been watching us from the clouds of stars overhead. like a ghost with blood for hair.
"okay," i vaguely remember saying. "that's cool."
and then riku leaned over me, washed me with the scent of tequila, and told me something. what he said—i remember this very clearly. so clearly. clear as silver, clear as dawn. clear as the sky that night.
he said: "you look just like him."
those long wisps of hair brushed over my face, tickled my eyelids. i really wanted to throw him off the roof and watch him fall. fall, fall, fall, and break into perfect pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
"come back to my place."
his breath was so loud against my ear. the husky slur of his words made me dizzy, dizzy, dizzy. i couldn't stay angry. not for long. his eyes reflected little pinpricks of light from above. and i was so very high.
"okay," i said, smiling blindly.
"i wanna fuck you."
"sure," i said. and i was still smiling.
so very fucking high.
diary entry #63
weeks and weeks ago, i was diagnosed with major depressive disorder, extreme anxiety disorder and anorexia nervosa. doctor valentine set me the task of writing in this diary and penning down bits of my past each day. he was my fucking shrink and i was a fucking mechanical doll or something. i just did what i was told.
today, doctor valentine read it. and then he sat down with me for three hours to have a talk. i hate the way he always talks to me, like he's better than me. he's not the mental case—the fucking screw-up. i know that. fine. that's just fine. rub it in. fine.
he said the writing has helped me. a little.
i still had the symptoms. still not eating right. he says to keep on writing. so fine, i guess i will.
i have a feeling my anorexic nervosa was something i picked up from someone else.
"Fucking liar," Roxas chokes it out a second time, voice weakening, frame shuddering. His back slides off the wall and he bends low over his sheets, eyes seeking white.
"Shit. You okay, Roxas?" Movement at the other end of the room.
"Don't. Don't fucking come near me." Roxas coughs, trying to push himself upright.
He sounds like he's drowning under six feet of water. It takes the other a few seconds to realise that the boy is crying again. Harder this time.
Movement again. The shadow approaches slowly, cautiously. He can see how much effort Roxas is putting into smothering the harsh sobs. It shatters his heart.
"Roxas, Roxas, Roxas." Every time he says the boy's name, he takes a small step forward. "Roxas."
Roxas' wide blue eyes follow him for awhile and his dry lips part to whisper a name in return, but there's no sound. Finally, he feels bony arms wrap around him, warm and gentle and firm and unyielding. He has no strength to be upset by this. And anyway, this all feels so very right. He sighs then, and those eyes slip shut finally. Resignation. And he clutches at those warm arms painfully tight, regurgitates the name he's been holding in for so long.
"Axel. Axel, Axel—
diary entry #66
i mentioned partner number two back in #56, i think. i still remember his name. his name was—
—who the hell cares what his name was?
see, he found out.
jade coffee. stolen tequila. the night i followed riku back to his apartment? he found out.
he found out about everything that happened that night. somehow. and two days later, he cornered me, stripped me bare, found the twenty-six lacerated lines down my back and the other thirteen down both my inner thighs all by himself—all of them black, crusty, half-clotted, raw. he called me names like 'sicko' and 'filthy masochist' and 'fucking stupid whore' and he yelled at me saying, 'why would you let that fucking asshole touch you like that?' and i can't remember what i replied but i think sora's name came in somewhere. s-o-r-a. some kind of black sheep catalyst; he hung around like the scent of brine and decay, even long after he was dead and gone.
partner number two cleaned the bloody cuts with cotton wool and salt-sprinkled water. his fingers were so careful down my spine, his touch was so warm against the inside of my thighs. and then he gave each and every incision a fragile kiss.
i counted thirty-nine kisses.
no more, no less.
his name was axel.
and he told me he was crazy in love with me.
"I had to do it, Axel. I had to."
"… I understand."
"Did you really want to kill yourself?"
Axel grips him tighter against his chest.
"You're so tiny now."
"And whose fault is that?"
Roxas looks away. "Yours."
Axel smiles wryly. "Good boy."
diary entry #69
grey skies were my favourite. but i never liked rainy days. reminded me too much of the games my sister would always play with me and my mind. those games were cruel.
several hearts broke when riku raped me. mine included.
"Do you remember what we used to do?" Axel murmurs against his neckline.
"You don't have to. Those days were tough on you."
"… We must've been fucking crazy," Roxas murmurs. "We're probably still fucking crazy."
"Do you really believe that?" Axel whispers back, tugging at Roxas' hospital gown so it slips further off his shoulder. Soft lips ghost the boy's bare skin, warm and careful.
Roxas stiffens as he's reminded of thirty-nine bloodied cuts and cotton wool and salt water. "I—"
"The answer is no, Rox."
Roxas is quiet. Then, he remembers something, whispers, "It's what we perceive, humanity deceives. Every little thing. Outside—"
"—looking in," Axel finishes the quote, the old nursery rhyme of their dead ring, and smiles. "Kairi," he nods. "You do remember." Then he tilts Roxas' head up and kisses him on the mouth.
All too suddenly, Roxas is reminded of his sister.
"Elaine," he breathes.
Axel pushes Roxas back, holds him at arm's length. "She doesn't exist, Roxas," he tells him hastily. "I keep telling you. She doesn't exist."
Images of blonde hair and blue eyes cloud Roxas' vision for a moment and she's so real it hurts his head and makes him sway.
Roxas squeezes his eyes shut, tries to make the little girl in his mind go away. Tries fiercely. Rain, rain, rain. The midnight storm, the golden synthetic luminescence of a single streetlamp. Elaine.
"Roxas." There's a trace of urgency in Axel's cracking voice.
Roxas struggles and finally, he pleads, "Kiss me again."
Axel does. Harder this time. Fiercely, determinedly, deeply. And he does it again. And again. And again.
There's a breakthrough. The storm cracks, erupts. Elaine skitters away and vanishes into smoke and broken mirrors. Everything, every single thing that he remembers about this little girl named Elaine has somehow fractured and floated away and away and away. Roxas' mind is now oddly blank.
The only thing he registers is Axel.
After they've pulled apart for breath, they stare into each other's eyes for an eternity. Roxas' fingers find themselves tracing Axel's slightly-wet lips. A soft, pink tongue darts out swiftly, licking the pads of Roxas' fingers.
"I love you, Roxas."
"It's okay if you don't love me back. I can deal with it. Don't worry. I'll wait."
Roxas shuts his eyes. The word unrequited is running through his mind over and over and over again. "I…" he murmurs, breathless, "… okay. Wait for me." His fingers curl around the collar of Axel's shirt and he whispers almost inaudibly, "I'll catch up."
Axel smiles. "For now, just tell me you'll get better."
Roxas is silent. It takes awhile, but eventually, he looks up into Axel's face and nods. "I will."
"I'll help you every single step of the way. I promise."
"… Thank you."
Axel exhales, looks hard at the dark circles under Roxas' eyes, pulls the boy close. "You're beautiful," he says, and slides a thumb against the black marks on the underside of Roxas' neck. "So fucking beautiful."
Blue eyes travel across the room and lands on the small rectangular shape on his desk.
"I have to… do something." His voice sounds distant and faraway, but Axel catches the resolution and determination hidden beneath.
Roxas slides off the bed, stumbles the few steps to the desk, picks up a red crayon, doodles a little figure in the corner of the next blank page in his open diary that may or may not be Kairi, may or may not be Axel. Then, he starts to write. He reads every word out loud as he pens it down.
"Diary entry number 73. I'm sorry Elaine. I'm sorry for what I did. I'm sorry, but I think I'll have to call you by your real name from now on.
Dear diary. They're going to take me home soon. I'll get to see mother and father. And Naminé, too.
My wonderful sister."
He draws a large smiley face in red and shuts the diary gently, lays it on the tabletop.
Roxas turns on the spot, smiles at Axel. "I'm okay," he says, voice calm. "I'm okay."
The crayon in his hand snaps in half clatters to the floor.
But his smile doesn't go away.
diary entry #74
it's been a month since i last wrote anything in this diary. i guess the reason why i haven't been writing is because doctor valentine told me i didn't have to anymore.
i had a visitor a few weeks ago. his name… well, i guess you wouldn't care even if i told you. names are unimportant. kristina said so.
sora is my brother. long dead now. but i never forgot his face. i see him in the mirror all the time. he has my eyes, my nose, my mouth. my blood.
naminé is my sister. even with all the scars on her face, she's still beautiful. and i love her. not in the way she wants me to, but i'll try to make up for that.
i fell in love with someone named riku. i don't know where he is anymore. but that's okay. he's not worth dwelling on. i hate silver, after all.
kairi was a bitch. but she was a smart bitch. always spewing shit. but smart shit. names are unimportant, but hers, i'll remember. pretty little kristina.
i don't know who elaine is. i don't think i ever really want to find out.
my name is roxas. they say i can walk out of here in twenty-four hours.
hopefully, axel will be there to hold my hand and lead the way.
today, i'm inside looking out.
tomorrow, i'll be outside. looking in.
Author's note: Last year, my brother was diagnosed with depression and he's now on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills. In the past two months, I've had my heart broken twice. They're only minor fractures that have more or less healed now, but it was like a game of dominoes, you know? One after the other. It'll happen again soon, maybe. A few weeks ago, I saw The Uninvited, and you should see it too. I'm currently in the middle of reading The Beach by Alex Garland. Already, it seems like a masterpiece. Also, I had every Imogen Heap song on my iPod on repeat whilst writing this.
All these things were inspiration to complete Elaine.
I should have really been working on my college essay. But you know. Shit happens.
For the fans: Your Daily Caffeine Fix is not dead. Don't worry. :)