A Lack of C o l o r

And when I see you
I really see you upside down

Though I'm surrounded by a sea of strangers, I walk alone. I'm undisturbed by the shoulders bumping against mine, or the sound of cars flying along the street - nothing makes its way through the protective case surrounding my senses. A layer of grime slowly builds on the fraying hem of my jeans - but I don't bother to alter my path to avoid the muddy puddles.

I'm not even aware of how my feet are freezing; my shoes have holes and tears, and water has soaked the insides through-and-through.

It's almost as if I'm not on the same planet as them all -- the same world. A completely different mindset. Some see the glass either as half-empty, or half-full. I merely saw an element contained in a cup. I broke things down into the simplest equation. I didn't believe in superstitions, or horoscopes. I knew a "coincidence" was merely the chance of two separate events happening near the same time, and somehow relating to one another.

And I've never fit in. Not with my school, and most definitely not my family. The few friends who still remain near me I rarely see.

She walks in the opposite direction, coming towards me at the identical pace. I don't even notice her until a small gap between the ocean of moving limbs parts -- and a flash of white blond catches my eye. Okay...it's not that it just catches my eye. For some reason, my eyes don't waver even after a sideways glance.

It's like magnetic forces makes her lift her chin at the same time. Our eyes meet, and time pauses. A lovely blue. A most mystifying shade...but that's it. I don't see it has small strips of similar colors to create an iris - in fact, all words leave me as my step falters. The color...it beats the sky a million times over. Though there is something rather familiar lurking within.

And a quirk of an eyebrow makes me finally turn my gaze over to the back of another stranger's head.

I don't see it, but a small smile is set on her lips once we pass. When I peek over my shoulder, her form is lost in a tangle of unfamiliar faces. I shrug slightly to myself, and continue forward.

The chances of seeing her again were slim. Calculating the amount of people in the city, and the added variable of being in the same place at the same time...well, it was pretty much nil. A little voice decided to add to my mental math.

But not impossible...

But my brain knows better
It picks you up and turns you 'round

I took the same route every day, at the same time, since I was twelve. That had been when my mom died -- and something broke inside my dad. He locked away every single piece of evidence she had ever lived, and then got it in his head that she had left him for another man. There wasn't a funeral. Not many people even knew she died in the first place. Instead of being seen as a boy without a mother (and a depressed father) -- I was known as the son of the whore who had slept around in several nearby towns. I didn't even want to find out how much of that was true. My mom had been my best friend all through my childhood, but the gossip still scratched at the surface of the barrier I had set up around my memories of her; powered by my childhood reverence.

After my 12th birthday (which consisted of us going out to a fast food restaurant), my father had moved us to a cheaper, unkempt house. His new "wife" moved in a few months later (even though I knew he would never have enough money to buy a ring).

As I walked the trail I always had, my eyes were trained on the invisible spot lingering in front of me.

I told myself I wasn't going to look for that pretty girl I had spotted. I never searched for a single strand of her flaxen hair. Or those blue doe-eyes that looked like they could speak more words then an ordinary tongue. But I wanted to.

I couldn't even explain to myself why I wanted to see her again.

Which wasn't normal.

For me, anyway.

I broke down everything into the basics. When I couldn't explain something, it was like an itch I couldn't scratch. I didn't like foreign feelings, or unexplained events.

So why would I want to see that girl again?

It was more than three months before I spoke to her. On my usual walk home, it began to rain - to the point where I could barely see through the dense sheets of liquid. I scuttled under a closed grocery store's overhanging, shaking as water droplets trickled down the back of my neck.

"Terrible weather." A voice said beside me. Like me, her blonde hair was plastered to her head. I nodded weakly in return.

"Yeah. It's not such a nice walk home."

The rain drummed harder on the overhang, and a dark figure walked quickly down the sidewalk in front of us.

"Hopefully it'll get better."


And so it began.

Her name was Naminé.

If you feel discouraged
That there's a lack of color here

At home, I could tell that it wouldn't be the usual me holing-up-in-my-room kind of evening. It would still be a sort of routine -- but in a much more painful way.

The house was stifling. Not with any warmth, but with tension. My father had come home early from whatever he did. He was angry. Out of control. His face was red, and veins were sticking out on his neck. I flinched as he lifted a cigarette to his lips, which were curling into a cruel smile.

"You need somethin'?" He grunted. His dark blond hair was similar to mine, though his was greasy and balding. I shook my head, not taking my eyes off of the cigarette clenched between his meaty fingers.

After a few beers, he told me off for god-knows-what. I wasn't particularly stubborn, but I kept quiet, glaring up at him from underneath the rim of my hat. He spat another insult at me, and I stared at the wall, gritting my teeth in disgust.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me. The rhyme was one of the only things I could remember of my mother. She had told it to me when I had come home, hurt when someone from school had called me a 'stupid nerdy know-it-all' (I had informed him that he was contradicting himself -- as 'stupid' is almost the opposite of 'nerd', but he didn't appreciate my correction).

"You're a lazy, good-for nothing son of a bitch-"

...Names will never hurt me...

"Just like that wench that managed to give birth to a bastard like you-"


"-Better if you stopped breathing, you fucking piece of shit-"


His mouth opened again, but I beat him to it. My head snapped up. "Shut up!" I snarled, catching the brief glimpse of surprise behind his watery eyes. "Just...shut up!"

A weak, tense, quiet moment. Then his fist whipped out abruptly, connecting with my jaw. It sent me reeling into the wall, knocking one of the last remaining picture frames to the floor with the sounds of shattering glass. My eyes caught sight of all the sharp glass tinkled as they hit the tiled floor. I used my hands to catch my fall -- and winced as a few stray shards entered the softer skin of my palms.

He had hit me before -- but not like this. Not with the pure fury in his eyes, his strong fists shaking.

And I really wasn't made for fighting.

His foot struck me in the side, and lungs emptied with a Woosh. I hardly had time to regain my breath before his foot was once again rammed into my ribs. Even with blackness pulling at me, it was easy to see where he was aiming. I concentrated on how he pulled his foot back, bracing myself as I managed to block some of the blow with my wrist. The pain in my arm startled me, and my guard was dropped momentarily. He kneed my face, and my head knocked against the wall with a dull thunk. Blood spurted out of my nose, some dripping into my mouth as I struggled to catch my breath.

Wearily, my eyes flickered towards my step-mom, standing a few feet behind him.

Her eyes were vacant. Not unseeing; just uncaring. She didn't feel enough to interfere. She was like a bystander, witnessing someone being kidnapped, but not wanting to get involved. Her arms were crossed, almost defensive. Like she was expecting me to come after her.

I felt the taste of rust as warm blood stained my tongue, and my jaw already had begun to throb. I blinked away the stars lingering in front of my eyes, telling myself to delay the pain. I scrambled to my feet, shouldering past my dad before he could react. He followed me, boots clunking against the floor menacingly. He clipped my shoulder once with his knuckles. The jab put me off balance, and he took hold of my jacket, almost lifting me into the air.

I considered spitting in his face, but decided against it. His eyes were bulging, and as much as I hated him, I didn't want two dead parents.

He hit the side of my head. Once. Twice. I softened the third with my other hand, jerking myself to the left to dodge it the best I could. Then I was propelled back into the wall. He managed to shove me into the doorway, his hand clawing at the doorknob. The air was warm and humid as my father (if you can call him one) tossed me forward. My lip was stinging, and I felt the skin on my knees and right elbow break as I tripped down the front steps.

The quiet lilting tone of my step-mother's hushed words. Then the sound of the front door slamming. I heard the lock click, and more yelling.

The fighting was muffled by the door, and I pressed the back of my palm to my bleeding mouth as I fled to the sidewalk. I did a quick once-over of the damage. Some blood had dripped onto my shirt, and my entire body felt bruised and ugly. I spat into the grass, wiping my mouth, willing myself not to hurl. I didn't bother to look to see if any of the neighbors had happened to witness any of it -- the houses were all dark at this time.

And even if someone were awake...They preferred to ignore the facts staring them in the face. There was no way they couldn't have heard that. My elbow was burning; and with a quiet grunt, I clicked the joint back into place. The pain sank back into a dull sting.

Pausing, I drunkenly felt around the leaves in the thick hedge gating the property. When I touched the familiar duffel bag, I tingled with relief. Pulling it out, I slung it over my sore shoulder; in a day or two, I would go back. He would have forgotten why he threw me out by then anyway.

I felt safer out in the open. No more containing walls, or doors to open. Just ground, some trees, and the wide open sky. I had always wished I could just live on a small island, in the middle of the ocean. Nothing but me and the stars.

It would be the closest thing to freedom.

Please don't worry lover
It's really bursting at the seams

I patted my pockets. No wallet. I could picture the black leather sitting on my dresser...I had some loose change in the bag, but not enough for a decent meal.

Note to self: Restock overnight bag with cash.

The park. It was dark and deserted, but there were a few street-lamps, illuminating random circles of cement and grass. I sat on one of the benches, feeling horribly unconcealed in the light, dim as it was. I could hardly make out any shapes in the darkness, and I fumbled with my bag, searching for my cellphone. Flipping it open, I typed in the number automatically. She picked up one the second ring.


"It's Roxas. I'm...I'm at the park."

"I'll be there soon-" The line clicked off before she could even finish her sentence. It was only six and a half minutes before I heard her approaching footsteps. Her blonde hair was tied back, and her breathing was ragged; her chest heaving underneath the black coat. She slowed to a stop as she approached the bench, sitting beside me. I didn't meet her eyes as she carefully examined my battered face.

"Hey...you're hurt again. Are you okay?"

I touched my cheek, pretending to think about it. "Well...I've lost an abnormal amount of blood, forgot my wallet, and feel like I was run over by a train." I grinned. "Pretty good, all considering."

She cocked her head, her hand dipping into her pocket. She stood up, and walked to the water fountain beside the bench. A second later, she handed me the damp powder blue handkerchief. I stared at the clean blue material. "I'm not sure if you want me to use that...I'll stain it..."

"Don't worry about it."

I took it thankfully, wiping away the remnants of the crusting blood. I held the last clean side to my lip, trying to cool it. It was stinging like hell, but I could feel its swelling die down.

I spoke. "Sorry for calling you so late."

"It's fine." She bit her lip. "It's nothing serious, right?" Long ago, she had learned I wasn't one to exactly complain about my injuries.

"Not really. My arm hurts, but that's it." I took a deep breath. "I'm going to leave for a few days."

"I had a feeling." Naminé took a look at the bench I had recently occupying. "So I brought this."

I hesitated, knowing what she was thinking. "...Namine...don't..."

"What were you planning to pay for your food with?" She reached into her inside pocket, drawing out a fistful of bills. She tucked them into my own pocket, her hand straying on the material. "You're coming back, right?"

My voice was hoarse. "I always do. Even if I don't want to."

She didn't respond, and I started when she lightly touched my hand. "I'll come with you someday. I want to see where you go."

"If you came..." I looked up at the blank sky. "I wouldn't even have a reason to come back."

"That would be all right with me." She whispered back, squeezing my hand. "I don't have much going for me here. My family would understand."

I hid the smile threatening to break out onto my face. "We'll see." I stood. "Come on. I'll walk you home."

Absorbing everything
The spectrum's a to z

"I'll see you soon, Roxas." She murmured, wrapping her arms around my middle, her face pressing into the non-bloodied side of my shirt. I hugged her back, letting my shoulders relax as her breath rebounded against the cloth. And then her footsteps retreated up the walk, and her door closed quietly.

I took the train. Naminé had given me more than enough, and I treated myself to a cup of tea. I didn't let myself think of her as I took the small boat across the strip of ocean. The small isle off Destiny Islands. Isolated, and alone, I tossed my stuff on the beach before hiking up the hill. At the top, I lay back, looking up at the clear sky. It was almost twilight, and the stars were just beginning to appear.

Finally, the fair girl entered my mind. I took a deep breath. My feelings weren't confined here, and they soared out of my chest. Such love couldn't be misused or trampled in such an open place. With just me, the ground beneath me, and the sky...I could let such words as 'I love you' come out, and they wouldn't be sullied by the city.

Soon...I wanted to take Naminé with me. Just let myself be with her.

Love her.

This is fact not fiction...
For the first time in years

Inspired by the song 'A Lack of Color' by Death Cab for Cutie, and the piano version of 'To Zanarkland' from Final Fantasy.

Happy Namixas day! (March 28th) - I REALLY pulled this together last minute :S I've never written such an abusive scene...and I'm sorry, Roxas. I'm sure your father would NEVER be like that DX

Yes. I know they were OOC ('specially Roxas! Yeek!) but it was a fun write :P