Waltz of the Damned

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Black clouds over the white castle, at the end of a path that leads nowhere.

White door white stairs white walls - she's past the stairs, up one, ten, fifteen, white spiral tower flying up in a rush of breathlessness and the walls of the spiral cage clasping her like a lover and she's spiraling down, down, and she can't come back up for air.

White dress, white balcony, suspended over black sky.

He puts his black-gloved hand on her shoulder, and she turns around - spinning, she's spinning and still falling - and his smile is noxious, welcoming, poisoning, and she wishes she could keep away but she knows that she can't. His mouth snakes up in a smile that could eat her and she smiles back, smiles and shivers in the force of her fear, in the force of her gratitude.

Black glove grips down without moving.

That touch frightens her - she hates it, she loves it, hates herself because she can't say no and loves it anyway. Any touch is better than the kiss of loneliness on her bare neck, its hand clasped on her back. Distance is a cruel master - and so is he, perhaps, but he smiles at her and even if that smile could cut her down to nothing it's still better than that.

Fingers crush her skeleton shoulder and she bruises, invisible.

The touch of emptiness has been too close, already too familiar, it's lodged itself at the back of her eyes so that anyone can see when they look and she can't get rid of it and doesn't want to because it's what draws him in. It's what draws him in, and pushes the emptiness away.

He won't leave her.

She doesn't know what she would do if he did.

"Naminé," he says, and from his mouth the word holds a terrible allure. She will always come when that syrup drips from his tongue. "Come inside. We need you."

He does.

She walks with him, dwarfed by his shadow.

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The other black coats don't smile like he does. She doesn't want them to.

They circle, circle, bearing down on her with gazes and grins like they'll eat her, eat her alive - and she shivers with his hand in her hair, his breath in her throat, his words in her mouth - and when they ask her if she will help them she says

"Yes." But it's his voice that's speaking, and they all know.

She waited for a white knight and he wore black.

She waited for a white knight and he came.

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No-one smiles like he does. She doesn't want them to - she doesn't want anyone else to be where he is.

He's eating her alive and if she doesn't stop him it will kill her but she won't try - because then he would leave and that would be worse than dying because then nobody - nobody - in the whole world would need her, and she couldn't -

His hand between her legs - shifting, twisting - is eating her alive and she won't stop it, wants to and doesn't want to and when he asks her, she says

"Yes -" and she knows by the little choked noise she makes that it's her own voice.

She waits for the day she won't need his hand on her, and hopes it won't come.

That would mean he didn't need her anymore.

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Blue eyes on a blue ocean, gulls diving through the divide.

She knows what love is like, knows because she sees it in Sora's ghostly face as he laughs through her dreams. She knows what love is like because it's there, in Riku's eyes and Sora's eyes and Kai-

- the name is gone, a blank space to be filled in -

- it's there in Riku's eyes and Sora's eyes as they look at each other, in their eyes when they look at her, at Naminé as she should have been. They see her for the first time, for the millionth time, they never have - and her name on their tongue has no venom, no sweet poison.

She knows what love is like. She wishes she had that love, more than anything.

Her knight's mouth on her, searing. A callous touch

is enough, if she pretends.

She knows it isn't, never enough - but she knows no-one could ever love her. No-one would ever love her, because she couldn't ever love them back. Love is returned. Love is reciprocal. Love is beautiful. Love is friends who would kill for you and friends who would die for you - love is shared, not stolen.

She knows she can't have it, wishes she could, dreams that she can - but the gaping empty spot where a heart should have been can't love.

Black butterfly kisses, his mouth caving around her own.

She wonders why it can still ache.

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Red hair fades away above a girl-child's smile.

Guilt, gratification hits an empty heart like gunpowder shot as Sora remembers her, remembers the blonde-haired shy-eyed girl penciled in on top of the girl who really gave him that charm, on top of Kai -

The false one swallows her guilt because her knight smiles at her, because he tells her that Sora loves her - and she wants to believe it. She knows - he knows - that she doesn't.

She tastes the sweet poison on his tongue and can't stop herself from wanting it because it's as close as someone like her can ever get to real love. She'll take what he will give her.

He will give her his hot breath - his smiles, his cruel laughter - he will give her his lies and his promises, rose edges scraping their harsh outlines against the dark clouds.

A whirlpool gaze, fangs hovering on the edge of her vision.

She knows he's lying; but what he gives her that she needs can't be a lie - so she forgives him. He can't lie about scattering the darkness, breaking its chokehold on her tiny neck, because he doesn't know. He can't lie about needing her because he uses her.

When he's using her, she doesn't feel like she's worth nothing. Maybe he doesn't value her but he needs her, needs what she can do for him. That's enough.

That's - I'm so grateful -

White skin, white dress, curling around the dark.

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Brown hair, bright smile, bright blade - flashing, calling, crying, singing, cutting - at the door, on the stairs, on his knees, on his feet.

She knows he's coming. Her blessing, her curse, her gift tells her - she waits in the white tower that shoots up to eternity with her dark white knight's hand on her shoulder. She brings him to her, the keyblade bearer, the guardian of worlds, the brightest light - she draws him in and she lies to him without ever saying a word.

She hates how much she learned from her savior. She can smile and promise and lie - stone-faced, weeping, emotionless - and she realizes that her white knight's movement above her - warm-pressing, cold-touching, suffocating, relentless - shakes the emptiness away but it can't break her loneliness.

Sora flies, streaming, rushing up the spiral tower, shards of him falling away to the bottom and he doesn't even know. Up, up, up, never slowing his ascent and breaking through and breaking up and breaking away all at once and she wants to put his pieces together but she knows he will never love her so she doesn't. She listens to her savior, her dark-cloaked white-skinned shining champion, and plays her part.

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A hand, guarding; Sora, standing before her; R- not Riku, a sham, a shade - standing between them.

She sees the hurt in blue eyes. She knows whose fault it is, and she knows her knight is smiling at her.

She watches Sora's face, knows that R- the replica - is fake but he thinks he loves her, and she drinks that drug, longing, terrified. He's fake and his love is fake but then she is, too - and he's protecting her, wants her to love him, needs her.

They both need her.

She made them need her.

Two friends - light and dark but on the wrong sides, perfectly identical opposites - stand across the white ice-blank floor. She is their friend, their l- no, she won't think the word - an unchangeable part of them. They will fight for her.

Love is friends who will kill for you. Love is friends who will die for you.

Suddenly she realizes she's not doing this for her knight.

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Black coat, white knight, trickles up into nothing and leaves nothing behind.

White dress, white skin, white hair - alone, stark against the dark clouds.

She waited there, against the dark clouds, for her white knight - and he came. He came, came and died and trickled up into nothing, and she's falling, falling, falling - spiraling down and hovering in between and she wonders what will come of her now.

Sora smiles at her. Without her knight's hand behind her, in her, puppeting her, she doesn't know how to lie. She can't lie to him again.

She listens to him speak, and she knows he's right. She knows, and wishes he would love her - but it's not her, it's Riku, it's Kai-

They speak, and she realizes she loves him, with her fake tearing love. She listens, and she knows him - she knew him already, but knows him really - and she loves him. He gives her what she needs, and she remembers her white knight - mouth, hand, body, too hot on hers - and thinks that maybe the day has come when she doesn't need him anymore.

Love is giving. Love is unselfish. Love is friends who will kill for you, friends who will die for you.

For Sora's sake, she will give everything up. She will face the darkness, loneliness, emptiness, nothingness - she will face the world alone and shiver in the force of her fear. She will give up his love, and so will die for him.

Black glove whirlpool eyes black coat white knight stares at her from her memory, and she knows she would have died for him too - she would have died for him and not meant it. She would have died for him, pretending that his smiles were real, that he could love her. She's fake, he's fake, so she gives her life for something real.

White-crystal lotus grows, clasps around his child's body, and she pieces the shards together. The flower clasps him like she can't.

She watches him, her knight watches her, and she cries for what never was.

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fin

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Inspired by the color-images brought on by Within Temptation's beautiful song "Jane Doe." This has been in the works for about six months now, and has finally come to fruition.

Just in case you couldn't tell, this was very experimental. A bit of feedback from anyone who's reading this crazy thing would be lovely!