A/N: This is what happens when I procrastinate on my other stories: I end up getting little plot bunnies like these.

I think I've found a flower in a field of weeds.
Searching until my hands bleed,
This flower don't belong to me.
Why can't she belong to me?

-Billy Talent, Surrender


Loving her was akin to being burned alive, being reborn from the ashes and being burned alive again. It was a vicious cycle that was meant to be repeated for the rest of eternity, a vicious cycle that was impossible to escape. It was a raging inferno with flames so strong and plentiful that no massive amount of water would be able to put it out. It was tiring, frustrating, confusing and pointless but for some reason he couldn't stop. He couldn't leave. It was a heartache, yes, but he trudged on anyway.

He loved her - what other reason was there?

It was easy to see that there was something wrong with Naminé.

She was slowly swirling the small spoon in her tea; the sound of the metal lightly scraping the ceramic interior of her mug was the only sound reverberating throughout the empty, semi-messy apartment that dreary Thursday afternoon. Roxas gulped nervously and folded his hands atop the kitchen table, his eyes darting in all sorts of directions.

"So," He awkwardly cleared his throat and she glanced up to stare at him through distracted, half-open blue eyes, "What do you want to do today?" When she merely shrugged and returned to her stirring spoon, he frowned. "C'mon, Naminé, surely you must have some sort of an idea. You've been holed up here all week - it's not healthy."

Her puny shoulders shrunk as she sighed, pushing away her half-empty mug and shaking her flaxen head. Her eyes were on him but at the same time they weren't, if that made any sense. "I don't mind." Her voice was dull, nearly monotonous; it had been so long since she actually used emotion that he couldn't even think that far back.

An idea popped into his head, though he doubted it was going to work. He stood up from his seat and circled over to her side of the table, taking her pale hand and gently guiding her to her feet. "Let's just do something simple, then," He smiled for her and the pain thrashed inside of him when she didn't return it, "How 'bout we go for a walk outside?"

She dismally nodded towards the window hanging over the sink. "It looks like it's going to rain."

Roxas pulled her over to the front door and plucked the white umbrella hanging from the coat rack. "That's why we have this." He grinned again, and when her solemn expression did not stray away the painful twanging inside of him grew worse. He shrugged out of his black jacket and draped it over her shoulders before opening the door.

The elevator ride down to the ground floor was not only awkward but also painfully unbearable; the way she just leaned against the wall with her head hung and her big, sad blue eyes glued to her shoes made it look as if she was the most depressed person on the planet, and what made things worse was that he knew there was nothing he could do to make it all go away.

He slipped his hand down to hers and squeezed it affectionately. "Naminé," He murmured to her, and when she lifted her head to acknowledge him he leaned in to tenderly kiss her; it would've been romantic if she kissed him back.

Seconds afterward she pulled back and returned to staring at the floor as if nothing happened; Roxas' pulse began to pound painfully in his ears as his eyes drifted towards the floor indicator above the buttons on the control panel, praying they would reach the bottom soon.

When they finally stepped outside a light drizzle began to flutter over their heads; he popped the umbrella open and hesitantly slipped an arm around the smaller blonde's waist, pulling her closer against his side so that she would be completely protected from the rain. They walked in silence, passing by a small store or two and crossing the odd intersection every now and then. Roxas tried to ease the silence with a few conversation starters but Naminé never gave him anything more than one or two-word answers with very little to no emotion at at all.

After another few minutes of walking she finally spoke up. "Roxas," Her tone was so low he had to lean in to hear her properly, "I...I have to get home."

It was easy to tell when she was lying, but he let it slide - he always did. "Alright." He pivoted around and began to walk in the opposite direction, pulling the small blonde with him.

After another fifteen minutes of strained silence they were in front of her apartment door. After handing back his jacket she wordlessly took the umbrella from him and shook off the tiny rain droplets that clung onto the nylon canopy; he stood in front of her with his hands in his pockets, uncomfortably rocking back and forth on the balls of his feet.

"Er," He pulled out one of his hands to rub the back of his head, "So should I come back tomorrow?"

She shrugged. "If you want." She turned around to unlock her door, and the hurt ringing inside of him increased in volume.

"Okay," He said slowly, "I take that as a no."

Immediately she spun around; her eyes were frantic and she was shaking her head so quickly it almost appeared to be a blur. "No," She answered quickly, "I want you to come tomorrow. I do. Really."

He raised an eyebrow. "Do you?"

Naminé nodded and stepped closer towards him, placing her free hand on his chest. "Please." Her eyes were beseeching and the corners of her mouth were quivering.

He sighed noisily, but he gave in anyway and closed his eyes as he kissed her again. The kiss was just as uneventful and meaningless as the last one, and it ended as quickly as it came. "I'll be here around the same time, then." He gave her a small smile before turning around to shuffle out of the hallway, back into the elevator and into the parking lot. When he finally crawled into his car and started the engine he slipped a CD into the stereo and cranked up the volume so loud the dashboard was shaking.

Like many people in relationships Roxas had wants and needs, and like many people he had a desire for them to be fulfilled. It wasn't like Naminé wasn't enough for him - she was actually everything he ever wanted - but there was just one problem: she wasn't giving anything back.

"R-Roxas-" She stuttered, placing her hands on his bare chest and pushing him away. Her own chest was rising and falling rapidly with hurried, ragged breaths and her skin was shiny with sweat. He was nearly the same, except for the obvious frustration etched all over his face.

Roxas rolled off of her and collapsed on the mattress next to her, throwing one arm over his eyes and exhaling sharply. "I'm sorry," In his head he wondered how many times he had said this to her before, "That was out of line-"

"It's okay." She immediately replied, rolling over so that her back was facing him. Her voice was quiet and reclusive as usual, and it only made the hurt worse.

He shifted around a little, wrapping one arm around her stomach and burying his face into the crook of her neck; he kissed the soft skin there and closed his eyes, listening to her breathe. He felt her body stiffen against his.

"I love you." He whispered.

She didn't say it back.

"Honestly," Axel threw up his hands, "I don't know why you insist on doing this - there's really no point. It's been nearly a year now and she hasn't shown anything in return; don't you think it's about time you gave up?"

His best friend's words rang a hell of a lot of truth but at the same time he couldn't agree with him. "No," Roxas shook his head vehemently as he mindlessly flipped through the channels with the remote, "I'm not doing that, Axel. Not yet."

"You give me the same lame excuse every time," The redhead rolled his sharp green eyes and tore the television remote away from him so he could focus properly, "And every time we talk about this the worse you look. I'm sorry to say this, bud, but you're not helping her at all, and by the looks of it you're not helping her either."

The younger man's hands clenched into tense fists. "I don't care," The blond growled through gritted teeth, "I'm not leaving her. She needs me."

The taller of the two threw his head back against the couch and laughed. "She needs you? Hah," He slapped his knee and leaned forward on his thighs, "That's a good one, Roxas!"

Frosty blue eyes narrowed into menacing slits. "That's not funny, Axel."

His best friend shook his spiky mane as he stood up, dusting off his jeans. "Well, I guess there's no use in trying to convince you," He shrugged his skinny shoulders as he made his way towards the front door, "But really, Roxas - you're wasting your time. Why don't you find someone else, someone that'll actually respond to you?" His eyes darted towards the ceiling as he thought up a list of possible candidates. "That chick at the coffee shop around the corner seems to dig you - what was her name…"

"I'm not single," Roxas rolled his eyes, "I have a girlfriend."

The redhead snorted. "Yeah, a girlfriend who can't even see you."

His words stung; the younger of the two bit his bottom lip and stared at the hardwood floor with his fists trembling on top of his knees. His head was swimming with despairing thoughts, and he was so immersed in them he almost forgot he was sitting in the den of his own apartment.

He didn't even hear the sound of his best friend shutting the door behind him.

Axel's words haunted him for the rest of the week.

Whenever she looked at him he wondered if she was actually looking at him. When her fingers laced with his he would glance at the distant look in her eyes and contemplate on whether or not it was his hand she wanted to hold.

It's been a little over a year now and she hasn't shown anything in return.

A little over a year since-


He wearily turned to face her. "What is it, Naminé?"

"Do you want to eat there?" Her unruly white-blonde head was tilted towards a quaint-looking café on the opposite side of the street. There was an odd nostalgic look in her big blue hues when she glanced at the small restaurant, and Roxas had a vague idea as to why. "It looks promising."

This wasn't the first time she had eaten here.

He nodded and smiled for her anyway. "Sure."

He stayed late one night because she asked him to - he could never say no.

It started out as an ordinary evening: they were sitting together on her couch watching a movie when she suddenly excused herself to leave somewhere. He was confounded but he let her go anyway, assuming she probably had to use the bathroom or something.

Fifteen minutes later he came to the conclusion that she did not have to use the bathroom.

Worry washed over him and he slowly rose from the couch to search for her; he scoured the narrow hallways of her small apartment, looking for a head of tousled, silvery-blonde hair or a pair of big blue eyes but she was nowhere to be found. When he finally stopped in front of the door to her bedroom he heard the faintest noise of somebody...crying?

This wasn't the first time this happened, but it always felt like it whenever it did.

His heartbeat thudded irregularly as he soundlessly pressed his ear to the wood, and when he heard Naminé's stifled whimpering the aching in his chest returned and he subconsciously clutched at it. He didn't know how much time he spent standing out there, listening to her cry, but he figured it was at least an hour or two because there came a point where his knees began to hurt and he had to sit on the floor. It wasn't long before he began to cry too; he squeezed his eyes shut as he pressed his forehead against the door, though he refrained from choking out a sob in case she heard him.

His tears were for her, but he knew that hers weren't for him.

He knew now that whenever she looked into his eyes she was really looking at somebody else. Whenever he hugged her, held her hand, laid beside her at night, she was pretending he was someone else. When she let him kiss her, she was imagining somebody else doing it.

It's been a little over a year now and she hasn't shown anything in return.

It was only until now that he noticed that over the time they had been in a relationship they never took one single picture together. He scoured his jungle of an apartment, searching for at least a tiny wallet-sized photo of them but he came up empty.

Roxas groaned in frustration and flopped back against the mattress, shutting his eyes and shaking his disheveled head. There were so many things they never did, so many things he wanted to do - it's been a little over a year now and she hasn't shown anything in return.

When he held her she never held him back.

When he kissed her she never kissed him back.

When he looked into her eyes she wasn't really staring into his - it was obvious to see.

She never even told him that she loved him.

It's been a little over a year now and she hasn't shown anything in return.

The blond groaned again and clutched his messy spikes, trying to force his best friend's voice out of his head. He rolled onto his stomach and pressed a pillow over his ear; the tears were squeezing out in between his eyelids and streaming down his cheeks at this point.

She doesn't love you.

Yes she does.

She doesn't love you.

Yes she does.

There isn't any room in her heart for you. Only him.

"Argh!" He bolted straight up and violently threw his pillow across the room, watching it plop against the wall and slide down onto the floor. He angrily swiped at his eyes, ridding them of the burning tears, but it was no use; more flowed freely soon afterwards and they kept flowing until he could no longer see properly.

She had to love him - why else would they be in a relationship?

He already knew the answer to that question but he'd rather not think about it.

Today would've been their anniversary - not theirs, but her and...him.

That was probably why she was crying in her room again.

Roxas sat stock still on the couch with his trembling fist sitting on his knee; he forced his eyes on the soccer match showing on the television screen before him, trying to block out the muffled sobbing coming from down the hallway. He could feel the days, weeks, months of frustration bunching up inside of him, swirling and clawing and kicking and biting and gnawing at his insides until he was red and raw. The aching in his chest was gone; the flames of anger flickered wildly inside, burning and scorching all of the guilt and grief he wasted his time over.

He thought of her for a split second and his face popped up. The flames extended to the bottom of his esophagus. His nails scraped against his jeans and his teeth ground against each other. The tendons in his hands strained against his skin. His pulse was the only thing he could hear.

She doesn't love you. There isn't any room in her heart for you.

He couldn't even feel the ground beneath his feet as he stood up to walk over to the closed door that stood in between them; he barely even remembered it. The only thing he could see right now was her and him, and it made the flames rise to the back of his mouth.

Her and him holding each other.

Her and him kissing.

Her looking into his eyes.

Her telling him that she loved him.

Him, him, him.

She doesn't love you.

Once he burst through the door her head snapped towards him; her eyes were wide with fear and her face was red and streaked with tears. Her pale blonde hair stuck to her cheeks as she straightened up and wiped her sadness away, but she knew she was caught red-handed. She knew that he knew.

"Y'know, I'm getting really tired of this," He laughed darkly as he stepped closer towards the bed, where she was sitting, "All this time we spent 'together'-" He made mock quotation marks with his fingers, "-has really got me wondering: are you really here, or are you just pretending you're somewhere else?"

She shook her head. "I-I don't know what you're saying, Roxas-"

"Lemme rephrase it for you then," He breathed in deep and the flames curled downward for a brief second, "When I'm with you do you really see me, or do you see him?" When she cringed at the end of his sentence he laughed again. "I knew it, Naminé - I knew it all along. You never loved me," He spat cuttingly, and she shrunk against her pillows, "You never even told me you did, not once."

"Please," She begged as more tears spilled out of the eyes that were supposed to be for him and him only, "R-Roxas, don't take it like that; I n-need you-"

"Need me? For what?" He shook his head, "Am I just a reminder of how much better things were for you when you were with him? Do you want me around simply because I'm the closest you'll ever get to the real thing?" He sneered down at her cowering form and he was almost frightened at how he didn't feel any ounce of guilt for doing this to her, "You never loved me, Naminé. You only agreed to go out with me because I'm his brother, right?" When she didn't answer he chuckled and shook his head. "Look at me." When she glanced up at him his smirk widened. "Who do you see - me or Sora?"

"I..." She whimpered helplessly; her shoulders were trembling and she was crying harder now. He could feel the beginnings of an ache pulsing vaguely in the centre of his chest cavity but the flames soon swept over it and he was reminded of how angry he was.

"I knew it," He scoffed, "You don't see me at all." He spun on his heel and made his way out of the room.

"Roxas," He heard her cry, "Wait, please...please don't leave-" He could hear her barefooted footsteps padding across the floor as she tried to catch up to his hurried shuffling; she hiccuped every now and then as she tried to speak through her tears, "-p-please don't leave me-" He felt her thin fingers on the sleeve of his shirt and he stopped momentarily but did not turn around, "-please," She pleaded desperately, "Don't leave me, Roxas - I n-need you, I-"

He wriggled away from her grasp and reached for the door. "Before you had at least one brother. Now you don't have any."

He didn't bother to look back before slamming the door shut.

He watched his phone vibrate on his nightstand; it would vibrate for at least two minutes before going silent for another five, and then it would vibrate again. There had to be at least fifteen missed calls waiting for him.

He pulled off his shirt and climbed into bed, regretting not listening to Axel earlier. If he did he wouldn't be so confused.

For some reason he couldn't get the image of her crying face out of his head. He couldn't block out her watery voice, begging him to stay. If he strained his ears he could still hear her footsteps. His arm tingled from when she grabbed him.

"Please don't leave me, Roxas - I n-need you, I-"

There were so many possible endings to that sentence:

I need you to be here so I can pretend you're someone else.

I need to pretend you're your brother.

I need to pretend you're Sora.

I need to pretend that he loves me again.

He began to feel guilty, but when he remembered how he was never able to make her laugh, make her smile, make her feel happy and safe and wanted his anger would bubble back into existence and his hands would grip the sheets in tight, aggravated fists.

As much as he knew he was pissed about it right now it wasn't going to last for long. It had only been a few hours and he already craved her touch, her voice, the scent of her hair. So what if she never really kissed him back - the feeling of her lips against his was enough to send his heart aflutter. So what if she never hugged him back - her body against his was enough to keep him close.

As much as the flames singed and seared him he knew he was just going to come back. He always did - it was a weakness he was willing to admit. He knew that in a day or two's time he would just come crawling back to her and beg for forgiveness, and then he would rise from the ashes and wait until he was burned alive again. The vicious cycle would recommence and he would continue on with this one-sided relationship for the rest of his life. He would continue loving the girl who loved his brother, the girl he knew he'll never have. She would be forever dangling in front of him, all perfect and shiny and new but just a few inches too far for him to reach.

He needed to break this cycle somehow, but how could he do it without leaving her? How could he do it without accepting the fact that she loved Sora and not him? How could he look into her eyes and pretend she's adoring him when really she was pretending she was looking into his eyes?

He didn't want to leave her - he was angry at her, yes, but he loved her too. God, how he loved her; he loved his (was it even right to say she was his when clearly he wasn't hers?) Naminé, and as much as he knew he was never going to have his feelings returned he plowed on. He knew he was never going to feel this way towards anybody else; he couldn't let go of her, even if he tried. Even if he wanted to.

But the only way to break away from this was to leave her. He couldn't see any other way: convincing her would do no good since he tried that countless times before, and waiting it out was pointless.

He sighed and rolled over on his stomach to bury his face into his pillow; he could still hear her pleading for him to stay.

Maybe this vicious cycle was inescapable.

Maybe he was meant to burn in this inferno forever.

It was all a blur, but he knew it happened somehow. If it didn't he wouldn't be lying in her bed right now, holding her trembling body while rubbing comforting circles against her bare back. He wouldn't be whispering soothing words in her ear, hushing her to sleep. His face wouldn't be buried in her impossibly soft hair. His senses wouldn't be completely attuned to the scent of her skin. The contours of his body wouldn't be conformed to hers.

He barely remembered stumbling into the building of her apartment at quarter to three in the morning. He hardly registered the sound of her door opening and reading the shock on her tear-stained face. The brief argument they had about how he was so tired of doing this, how he knew she never really loved him, how he knew Sora was the only person she thought she really belonged with, how he knew she was in a relationship with him just because he was his brother, how she tried to convince him that that wasn't true and just because she couldn't get over Sora didn't mean that she couldn't love him at the same time - it was all a slow haze, like a memory he was trying to repress. Or maybe it just happened so many times before he wasn't sure what the difference between each argument was.

He felt her shift against him; she snuggled closer against his exposed body, tightening her arms around him and stuffing her face into his neck. His heart wrung painfully as he hugged her close and kissed her ashen forehead.

Please don't leave. I need you.

Please don't leave. You're the closest thing to him. You're the closest imitation of Sora. Please don't leave. I need you.

The cycle started all over again; he could feel the beginnings of an inferno tingling the tips of his toes.

He couldn't leave her, even if he wanted to.

He loved her - what other reason was there?

She uttered a name, lazy and slow from sleep, but it wasn't his.

It never was.

Here we go again.