Prologue:

Naminé's Story

~XOX~

Heaven and hell. Each on the opposite sides of the earth...

Apparently, I'm not that open to people, that's why many consider me as strange or mysterious. Shy as I am, I have spent almost all of my thirteen years of existence concealed in that never-ending, white space. Picking up my colored pencils and sketch pad has been a regular routine that it has grown more than just a natural habit. It became my life. I'm even starting to suspect that maybe I have a bit of autism in me. After all, I grew up seeing life as nothing more than absolute perfection, isolation, a box full of expectations…and never-ending, white space.

I stopped going to school after that "tragedy" I went through during those days. Telling you about it would only introduce a whole different story which I'd rather not think about for the time being. I still keep up with my studies. In fact, I have a private tutor who comes in the morning; about three to four times a week. Sometimes, she would check out how I progress or just drop by purely for the sake of visiting (I prefer the latter). Now it may seem as though I'm not educated well, but believe me, it's the complete opposite of that for my tutor said that my mental capacity is far greater than those around my age, thus there were times when she has no choice but to up the level of her teachings without so much of my awareness. I believe there's a word for it: Intellectual precociousness? Nevertheless, the point of this story isn't really just about me; it's also about a certain someone...

According from the books I once read in my great, great grandfather's personal library, (which had been passed down to my grandfather's care in the present day, so basically, he is the one who owns the library today) for five centuries, humans and vampires have been under endless battles. After countless years of tremendous struggles—of winning and losing—in the end, people were the ones to claim victory causing the vampire population to decline at a rather steep slope. The surviving ones include a boy who had been abducted by exceptionally-trained human soldiers.

I was there at that time. I remember it like it was yesterday. The buzzing of an afternoon unlike any other like an enormous commotion had suddenly enveloped the whole building. Servants, students, and even those high-classed researchers lowered their prides and cluttered to the nearest windows they could find just to watch a van drive through the gates. Everyone couldn't help but tremble either by fear or excitement as they look at the vehicle like nosy kids expecting something extraordinary to burst out from it. As though to answer my speculation, a black-haired man holding a large weapon of some sort emerged, followed by four other men and they all wear the same bizarre, half-armored garments. Our own guards immediately scurried to help them carry a seemingly unconscious body cloaked in dark attire. I didn't exactly achieve a clear observation alongside so many tall spectators who kept blocking my view, so I had no idea who it was. I only heard basic information about him from rumors constantly floating around.

"Did you see it?" servants whispered amongst each other, "Yeah, he looks so young. What a poor thing."

"No, you should not pity him…He's a monster."

At a blooming age of nine, I was not entirely keen of the whole situation. I saw reality like any child: without care, without significance. But, it did spark my curiosity. They began addressing 'him' as "Zation No. XIII" and was placed in a laboratory room whose walls were made out of a special type of glass hence, whether you're inside or out, you can clearly see through it like it's not really there. Although I have never seen that notorious glass room for real, I happened to see its blue print in my grandfather's office (I am quite the good sneaker, actually). It was inside this folder along several documents about engineering and some other stuff I hardly understood. I can tell it was pretty old considering how that room was designed some several years ago—or maybe before I was even born. It is not just an ordinary glass used for windows or eye glasses as it was created for the sole purpose of confining vampires. After all, one punch from them alone could wipe out a whole house; incomparable to the strength of a typical human being.

You may be wondering why we are winning when it's more plausible to assume that the vampires should be the one with the upper hand. I've questioned the facts myself, but other than our advanced technology, humans possess one formidable opponent the vampires lacked. His name? Ansem Hearts. My grandfather. Many people refer to him as the great "Ansem the Wise". He is a born genius, the one responsible for imprisoning the boy in the building he renamed as the "Kingdom Hearts Science Corporation", the grand and prevailing defense company, as well as the largest research facility in the whole Twilight Town, set to find a solution that could completely annihilate all vampires once and for all. He and his notorious corporation are the key figures that turned the tables in the war against vampires, also…my home. It is I who stands as the only heir for him to pass that down to.

I always thought that my grandfather Ansem is still suffering from the deaths of his daughter and son-in-law which instigated just a few hours after I was born (unfortunately, our "family reunion" didn't last that long). They're not my aunt and uncle, neither are my step aunt and uncle. They're my parents, by blood and flesh; the two people who were killed by vicious vampires resulting Ansem's hatred and thus his obsession to seek revenge against their kinds. I hardly remember those two but I have always imagined the sensation of how I was held ever so gently in the arms of my mother, even for one second, singing me a lullaby with her mesmerizing voice before kissing my forehead goodnight…forever.

The only memory I have of them is in the form of a star-shaped yellow charm which I hold on so dearly. Grandfather told me several times to throw it away. I was confused at why he holds such resistance to this innocent, small object until my tutor finally shined a light to my concerns: She's the one who told me that the charm was given to me by my mother right before she passed away. It was then that everything began to fall together. The way my grandfather would stare at the object with solemn eyes when he sees me clutching it was quite amazing yet sad at the same time. Seeing the star must have generated such disconsolate memories to be hammered back to him, but that was the only time I'd be able to see those rare heart-broken emotion upon that old, frail face, making me ponder whether I should continue to expose it. In the end, though a bit reluctant at first, I grew content enough to hide it under my clothes in a drawer below my lamp shade.

You can say that I was rather down for weeks from the notion that Ansem the Wise still hasn't gotten over the death of his daughter and son-in-law, which, of course, continue to defy the forgiveness he has over the vampiric clans. I once asked why grandfather never smile. I suppose this was the reason for his behavior and then taking it all out on me.

"How come Grandfather never love me?" I had asked in my young, squeaky voice.

"No," Ms. Tifa would often reply, "He does loves you—he…just doesn't know how to express it."

There are still a lot more reasons why he is very concentrated in his goal, obviously because innocent people were involved, but also add to it the connection which I linked to the story about his youthful life and the hardships his father and the fathers before him went through just to carry out their ultimate aspiration for the world. That is to finish every last bit of the 'threat' to human kind—and you already know who they are. Every boy dreams to be a hero, multiply that to a hundred and you can tell just how far this conjecture influenced the great "Ansem"s of every succeeding generation. He is damn well on the right side to continue the family legacy, but I, on the other hand, am against any sort of vindictive acts. I may be young, but I've developed my own personal view of things, and certainly one of them involves the prospect of vengeance. All the characters in the stories I've read with that object in mind always end up defeated. But when—I'd wonder—as a matter of fact, how did this war even started?

Anyways, the vampire lived in that laboratory room for the next four years, imprisoning and suffocating him on various experiments. I know that because I am a witness to the boy's sufferings. I have no idea why, but instead of feeling hatred towards the vampires who killed the two special people whom I owned my life with, I feel such profound sympathy for that boy. I can't even imagine myself in his situation: to be able to bear such agonizing pain every single day which incessantly consumes my conscience whenever I hear his cries all the way to my white room. Sometimes I tried to cover my ears just to prevent his horrid screams from reaching my ears. From reaching my heart.

I thought about wanting to meet him. I just do. At least once is fine. But with an over-protective grandfather whose eyes are like the scattered stars in the Milky Way makes the job harder. Everywhere I turn; there would be people who keep watch of any moving objects. You don't even know who's spying, who's back-stabbing you, and who to trust. Yet, four years of standing in the sidelines and letting things pass by has fed my impatience. The need to see and comfort that boy when no one's there for him had provided more than enough urge, the strength to move to that glass room.

Living in an occupational environment allowed me to become acquainted with so many different people coming from diverse backgrounds. During those years, I have come to familiarize the faces of any individual present in the building. I've sat and watched new, high school graduates come and go, and when business clients decide to meet in one of the parlors. Among the long list of faces and events I take note of are their agendas: Everyone's schedules vary—from the inferior rank of a custodian, to the exclusive superiority of VIP professors, several of whom I've passed by in the wide corridors as I lead my regular journey to the lavatory. For instance, the maids would normally come to my room every other day at the same time at the strike of twelve PM. On a Monday, Wednesday, and Friday interval, Grandfather usually holds a department of staff meeting in his office. There is only one common schedule that applies for all the residents of the corporation, and that is the one AM curfew which requires everyone to start resting in their rooms. Only a minority of people actually have the freedom to continue wandering about at night. They include, of course, my Grandfather, some of his trusted subordinates, and night-guards. Then, the sun would rise again at five o'clock, and the daily routine of servants, students, and coworkers would start anew in this never-ending cycle.

Now, how to get to the glass room? I've measured the situation again and again in my head, and the only time I have a chance of doing that is the intermediate transition of one to five AM. By that point, one should expect the whole building to be in silence and everybody's asleep in the comfy of their own beds. I sneak out into the hallway, constantly whispering sounds of prayer that I won't encounter anyone, or else...

Every step brings me closer to the infamous "vampire". I reached the laboratory sooner than I anticipated and almost tasted the boundary of my heart when I saw two Kingdom Hearts Corporation (KHC) guards standing outside. In a sigh of relief, I imagined my heart descend back to its original place under my chest when I realized that the so-called guards were asleep. It's my greatest concern not to make a single noise as I start tiptoeing towards the glass room. The interior was quite dim, enough for me to see where I was going, but the space inside the glass room contained nothing but opaque darkness that I've grown uncertain if anyone is truly lurking within. The air reeked of iron and hints of detergent.

The more I walk, the more I hear a gust of deep, raspy breathing as though it is slowly harmonizing with my own. I gently touch the surface of the glass with a shaky hand. Its coldness immediately stung my sensitive skin, traveling to the core of my chest and causing the organ within to quicken. My breathing became harder and a few drops of sweat began to form on my forehead. This, with no doubt, is not the result of the icy temperature of the room, but by my tension.

I know that the vampire will pose no harm so long as I stay behind the glass, thus I took a deep breath and began to speak, "Is anyone…there?" My voice came out shaky and little too quiet for my taste as it does nothing more than refuse my brain's demands.

I spoke a little louder this time, but quiet enough not to wake the guards outside the laboratory, "I-If you're there…um, the vampire, answer me…p-please?"

I paused to wait for a reply. The breathing commenced, save for a tiny hint of change in the rhythm. I asked again, still trying to adjust my eyes in the darkness, "Are…you asleep?" I suppose that was a stupid question, but one should not blame me for trying so hard to start a conversation under such stressful circumstance.

Thankfully, my third question must have finally penetrated him because the silhouetted shadow shift a little followed by a hand that came out of nowhere to plop itself upon the glass right across the spot where my hand is touching. I flinched from the sudden action and deliberately squint my eyes in an attempt to see the owner of the hand, but I was only able to make out the shape of his head which appears to hide an incredibly spiky hair. Hence, I alternate all my attention on the current, visible hand in front of me. It was nothing I've ever seen before, slightly bigger than my own, thicker and masculine. Nevertheless, I saw that hand as something that seems capable of fitting mine against it.

Concentration and curiosity wash away my fright of him, taking its place were comfort and safety. The corners of my lips formed a slight smile. It's not that kind of smile that masks a hidden, stoic countenance. It is something which closely defines "truth"; a true smile. Seeing him respond to my question, the palm of his hand, and not to mention the shape of his head, was enough to make my heart lift in joy and…

feel secure.

A few nights have passed and I couldn't be happier while visiting the vampire. I've never heard him talk for once, except for his tired pants of breath, thus it ultimately comes down to one person to start the discussion which I often find difficult considering how I am also inefficient in the communication department. As an alternate activity to compensate for this type of social interaction, I decided to bring some of my favorite stories from my grandfather's library and read to him. My eyes have grown quite accustomed to the dark so I can pretty much discern the words inscribed on the pages.

Not a day—or night—passed by without that upside-down, banana-shaped grin plastered on my face. It always lifts my heart at the tiniest respond he gives me. It was the first time I ever had a real friend; someone there to hang out with who doesn't treat me badly for once, someone who listens to me, someone I could turn to…someone who could make me feel such inexplicable happiness.

By the fourth night came my most blissful moment…

"Hey, I've visited you for the fourth time now and I haven't caught your name yet," I muttered to the dark figure behind the glass wall, pouting as I did so. I waited for his response, but, as usual, I feel as though I am merely talking to an empty box paired up with its companion, empty air. I frowned. "I'm sure everyone has a na—"

"I'm Roxas."

My eyes widened. To be completely honest, I never actually expected an answer from him. It was the first time since we started hanging out that I finally get to hear his voice. Somehow, it is deep and comforting.

"My name is…Roxas," he repeated. All muscles from my face instantly softened. Once again, he made me smile, this time it was wide and full of light. Tilting my head slightly to the side, I traced the shape of his head with my fingers upon the glass.

I kept up my regular visits, and he finally told me something about his life: It all started with one simple question, "How old are you?" I was utterly shocked when he replied that he was just about to turn fourteen, a half a year older than me; an age way too young for scientists to start experimenting on, and—oh, slit my throat for speaking such—maybe even cutting him open. Furthermore, I had heard that vampires live longer than the average lifespan of human beings. He further explained that the blood running through his veins is the blood of a vampire he inherited from his father, the basis of his inhuman strength and blood lust. On the other hand, a human trait he inherited from his mother converge him into a half mortal which coincides with his immortality.

Ever since he was born, Roxas has always been torn between the choices of living as a normal person or as a vampire, yet he chose to live as a vampire instead, thinking that being surrounded by humans might drive him insane. I admit, I was irritated and slightly annoyed by his decision, but what can a little girl do? A girl trapped in this hideous place no different from an animal chained in a prison cell. He thought that it was the most suitable place for creatures like him, a place where he rightfully belonged. I can't think of any argument to counteract his point. He belongs to the dark, and I belong to the light. But, you know what? I believe that someday he will change and become a better person more than anyone could ever imagine.

Days after another, I sat cheerfully in my white room, drawing an image of what I predict Roxas might look like. I added a couple more finishing touches before placing down my colored pencil. Holding the picture up towards the light, the scenery was beheld before me like a cinema of someone's memories: There, in his once dark room, a tiny light seeped through a hole somewhere on the ceiling, touching his spiky gravity-defying hair. I thought that maybe he also has a blond hair like mine. Maybe even a darker blue, ocean eyes.

Looking at him in that piece of paper is so amazing; the light I drew illuminated a perfect view of his features. I've always had the thought that I must be the most unfortunate person in the world; a pitiful princess locked up in a room away from the setting sunset and the autumn's fresh wind, but as it turns out, Roxas must've had it worst than me. How does it feel like to sleep in that glass room all alone, without a blanket, without warmth? Tears spontaneously swell in my eyes as I hug that drawing against my chest, not caring that I'm crumpling it in the process. Suddenly, I wanted to be there for him. I wanted him to see the outside world I always dreamed to one day see again, hoping and praying that someday it would be the two of us together under the sunshine, running wild and…free.

The following night came by like when you try to caught a glimpse of a shooting star, but when you look up; you realized it was gone right before it even appeared. I was so eager to see him; I wanted to know if he's okay. No, I need to make sure he's still the way he was since my last visit. The last time he was inspected was horrible: I can tell by his ear-splitting shriek that morning. It was bloody terrifying like watching a child get tortured to the very marrow of his bones. I could only imagine a limp body upon the cold floor, lifeless and still, while people went on with their work as if he was nothing more than a candy wrapper, waiting for someone to pick it up but eventually be thrown into a trashcan like the garbage he is. I feared of recognizing that figure which could tear my heart to shreds. So, I walked out that night to his room despite this lingering weight upon my chest. Sneaking towards him has proven itself quite easy now, but as soon as I got myself near the glass room, I hesitated; my legs almost losing its balance, and my eyes were forced the swallow traces of blood and tiny cracks of shards on the once smooth, flawless glass wall.

"Roxas…?" I called out weakly. Nothing. I tried my best to restrain this surge of panic from taking over my body while wondering whether he is just asleep, or worse, dead. His voice came, thank heavens, yet it wasn't that deep, comforting voice I remember; it was cracking and hoarse as if it took a lot of energy just trying to choke out each word.

"B-Blood. I…need…blood…" I could hear him pant longingly for more air. My heart sped with uneasiness. What have those heartless scientists done this time? From the tone of his voice, I could tell he's halfway to death. What hurts the most is that I can't do anything to prevent this from happening.

I noticed I had clung on to the last of my deteriorating strength before I slowly descended to the floor, helpless as I continue to hear his ragged breathing. As soon as my knees touched the ground, my finger was pierced by something sharp. I quickly reacted from the pain and examined the blood oozing out of the cut. It was then that I finally became aware of the tiny, broken pieces of glass on the chilly floor. I could only stare at the red liquid on my finger until my brain finally managed to wrap itself around Roxas' words.

An idea hit me: Maybe I could give him some of my blood. I am afraid of doing so, but still, I don't want Roxas to die either. He's my only friend and I need him more than anything. This time, he needs help and nobody else is around willing to aid him other than me. Anything can happen with this absurd idea. The possibility of the vampire not stopping until he has drained every last drop of blood from my body did not once occurred to me, and I honestly didn't care at that moment. I wanted him to continue living so then one day he would have a chance to free himself from this pathetic room. As planned, I took my finger and inserted it into a tiny hole on the glass wall. I heard the vampire sniffed this new aroma as if it was something enticing he had not smelled for what seemed like a lifetime. Without further hesitation, I felt his warm mouth start sucking my finger; my blood.

Time pass and I began to feel light-headed. Roxas continues his current blood-sucking position and I could no longer feel a part of my hand. Like any normal girl jammed into this bizarre state, for once I began to realize this strange sensation swimming through my entire nervous system like I had been struck with poison, or perhaps, realization. I did not like it. I did not like it because it is a feeling that was directed towards Roxas… fear. Fear for one's sake, fear towards a beast.

The fact that I just saw two golden orbs on the opposite side of the glass did not help at all. It only increased my trepidation until it succeeds in pushing me towards the edge of dread. I tried to pull my finger away, figuring that I had given him enough blood already. He didn't budge.

"Roxas, stop!" I said, nearly screaming out the words, "You had enough. Please, stop!"

"Hey!" I heard a man's voice call out from my right and immediately turned to his direction, my heart pounding and sweat threatened to fall down my forehead. The man is one of the guards sleeping outside the laboratory. I guess my cries must have woke him up and instantly rushed in before I could notice his presence. Before I knew it, he ran to the alarm, pulled the red lever, and shifted the once dark room into the opposite state: lights suddenly switched on, and the alarm began beeping loud enough to awaken the dead, but its real purpose was merely to alert the entire building.

The whole scene swirled around me, rending me vulnerable to take action. Turning back to face the vampire, I caught a glimpse of cerulean eyes staring at me before the darkness completely consumed my vision. I felt a body collapse to the floor, but then I realized that it was probably my own. The last thing I heard were footsteps gradually increasing. And then, nothing…

My eyes fluttered open, but everything was so blurry, I had to blink several times to adjust my vision. Afterwards, I find myself lying on a bed inside a white room, only it was different from my original room back in my grandfather's building. There was a click and I turned to the metallic door slowly opening to reveal my private tutor. I watch with passive interest as she strides towards me before sitting down on the chair next to my bed.

"Where am I?" I asked.

"The hospital," she replied.

We sat there during the next couple of hours and I trying to keep my composure while she blabbered on about the accident that had previously transpired. "Some vampires," she explained, "when it comes to a type of blood that delighted their taste, they would do anything just to taste it again, and, though it's hard for me to say this but, Zation No. XIII might be one of them".

Her warnings basically talk of Roxas who has befallen into a desperate need of my blood that he's become more than a pain in the ass for everyone. As it turns out, after having been fed human blood, it's gotten much difficult to keep him well under control that Ansem had no choice but to employ rigorous method of restraints.

I was numb all over and I could only listen. Though calm on the outside, my mind was raging: I couldn't believe it. Or perhaps it was hard for me to believe it. Is Roxas finally showing his true colors? A mindless beast who only cares about clenching his thirst? But, what about all the things I've sacrificed for him? Disobeying my grandfather, spitting at his trust, the blood that almost stole my life out—were they all for nothing?

On the other hand, I knew my grandfather really well. He can be a massive trickster, a liar. He can and will deceive whomever he wants whenever he wants for whatever he wants. I clung to the possibility that Ms. Tifa was only under the impression of following Ansem's orders so I will not go after the vampire again. I wanted to scream, throw all the things I set my eyes on, and run away just so I can escape this prison. I want the truth. I want hope. I want freedom. But, there's nothing I can do about it like the nothing I had always been…and will ever be; nothing but to stay in this never-ending room of silence…and keep it all inside.

After the incident, my grandfather Ansem forbade me to ever go at least ten yards near the vampire again. To make matters worse, he also doubled the security system. I made an attempt or somehow gave him an implication that such maximized protection is unnecessary, considering that they have already increased his restraints, but my attempts were ultimately futile. Even though I know that he does these for my safety, I still hate Ansem for taking me away from Roxas; My only friend. After all, it was my decision to let him suck my blood, thus I have to take responsibility for the consequences. It was never his fault.

Still unsatisfied, Grandfather took me somewhere far away. I never heard or saw Roxas again, but the upside to it was that I get to finally see the outside world after many years behind closed doors; to feel the morning breeze whisper against my pale cheek. Yet, at least I learned something out of this: it was by far more dreadful to be free at last without the person who holds your heart by your side than being locked in but happy knowing you can be near them.

I practically became desperate to see him again. At first, my motif for meeting him was merely due to sympathy and because I thought selfishly of myself as lonely and therefore needed a companion. But as time went by, my heart suddenly began to yearn for his presence. Then, I realized that maybe—just maybe, I love him? According from this book I read in my grandfather's library, two people are destined to meet, but fate is what connects them together in many ways. Sometimes they start out as childhood friends, or as rivals. But, rivals or not, they'd find comfort in each other's company and start caring for one another, then…fall deeply in love.

The problem is, a love between a vampire and human (especially if one is fond of the other's blood) has always been forbidden in the eyes of both mortals and immortals. I always ask myself this question: Will love be able to answer that no such thing as forbidden love exist in real life—just like in fairy tales, or make things worse? I never found an answer to it. From that day forward, I changed back into that obedient girl who knows nothing but follow Grandfather's commands. I dutifully sat at the back seat of the car, staring dreamily through the back window with my hand pressed firmly on the glass' surface. Memories of his blue eyes were once fresh and clear in my mind. I wonder if they will also start to fade away too...

from my beating heart.

—Naminé

~XOX~

...But opposite sides of a magnet attached. Until then, shadows would flee away


Author's Note: Don't worry; this is not the end of the story yet. There are still more to come in the next chapters. Also, this is my first vampire fic so please take it easy on me. I hope there are not much grammatical errors since I have read and re-checked the whole story for god knows how many times. I've also written this on a paper before I actually typed it in. It took a full four and a half papers (front and back) to finish the whole chapter and my hand is freakin' aching from doing that. I am not really that professional on grammars and conventions, but you don't know how much effort I put into this one chapter. Our Microsoft Word is sort of acting retarded so—ya know…there is nothing that could check my mistakes. He, he... I've also convinced my older cousin to revise the story. Just a few minor errors were checked, so I want to give him some credit. Anyways, the rates might go up, but I am still not sure about it. I might add some lemons but still, I don't want to risk being reported since this isn't rated MA. Another problem is I'm uncomfortable on writing such sexual details, so please forgive me if I ever write my scenes not "graphic" for your taste. I've already planned out the whole plot. The quotes on the top and bottom of this page are just bonuses I made.

Although this is not a one-shot story (which is obviously true), I think it would end for at least 3 to 5 more chapters? Kinda short, don't you think? But I'll try to write longer and well-revised chapters, even though I'm not really use to it. I am determined to push myself harder to improve my writing skills. I dedicate this to everyone, especially the authors of my favorite stories and my family. I want them to know that even a person who started with rushing, full-of-errors, and short-chaptered stories can also become someone good and successful. So please, remember to review! And if you guys are wondering why I entitled this "Red Tulips", you'll find that out soon enough. (-;