A.N – This has really got to stop. I go back to college and get attacked by about 7 different plots that won't leave me alone! GARGH!
Disclaimer – I do not own the characters, they've just come to play for a while. Kingdom Hearts belongs to Disney and those Sqeenix guys whose name I may or may not have misspelt SORRY! LOL.
She ran. Ignoring the biting cold of the wind driving a mix of rain and snow against her mostly exposed skin, ignoring the sting of sharp stones cutting into her now mostly numb bare feet, ignoring the sound of wailing sirens sounding in the distance, Naminé fled as fast as she could, along the long winding track, back the way she'd come that summer.
It had been bright sunshine, birds singing, and crickets chirping. Naminé was oblivious to the happiness of the day as she clung tightly to her elder sister's hand. Her twin brother had died, and since then awful things had happened, contorting her quietly happy life into one filled with nightmares. Naminé had always been quiet and arty. She loved to draw. Roxas had been more outgoing; he enjoyed struggle battles and skateboarding. It was after he lost a struggle tournament that he'd gone skateboarding in the dark and run under the wheels of a car. Naminé knew, cliché as it seems, the second Roxas had been hit. She woke up in the room she shared with Kairi, screaming and covered in sweat. By the time she'd convinced her family something was wrong and led them unerringly to the site of the accident, it was too late. Roxas had lost too much blood and was declared dead on site. Naminé was heartbroken and stopped speaking but didn't shed one single tear. She refused to eat more than the bare minimum and even stopped drawing. Her family were so scared that they would lose her along with Roxas that they bought the mourning girl to the hospital to see the psychiatrist. Dr Zexion said that she would come to terms with her loss in time, it was just the close bond she'd shared with her twin that made the healing process longer. There was nothing he could do.
Naminé collapsed, she had not eaten enough recently to sustain her body. Having been rushed into hospital, Naminé was told that if she didn't start to care for herself properly, she would die. The girl showed no response. It was decided that it may be best for the girl to be taken to an isolated sanctuary usually used to home rehabilitation patients as they learnt to deal with their addictions. Naminé could benefit from the 24-hour care and support of the highly specialised staff. Kairi held Naminé's hand as she and their parents took her to the 'Destiny Islands'. This was the name of the Sanctuary, so called because it was built in the middle of a large lake, connected to the shore by a long, spindly bridge. The sanctuary housed its patients in small apartments. Some had kitchens and bathrooms, others were just bedrooms. Naminé and her family were greeted by a tall, smiling man with silver hair and aquamarine eyes. He shook hands with the girl's parents. Naminé was gazing at her feet and remained unresponsive as she stood hand in hand with Kairi. "Good afternoon, my name is Riku and I am in charge of the apartment block in which Naminé will be staying. If you would follow me?" he said, smiling still and led the group through a door and out into a beautiful garden. The adults walked a way behind Naminé and Kairi after Riku pointed out their destination to the girls. He noticed Naminé's attention being drawn to the garden and filed away the snippet of information for later reference.
"Naminé will be homed in an apartment with only a bedroom to begin with." Riku was saying quietly to the girl's parents. "This is because of her level of responsiveness and the fact that she is currently not eating properly. It will allow us to monitor her closely. As a patient becomes stronger and more autonomous, they are rewarded with more freedom. As Naminé learns to open up about her emotions and to eat and care for herself properly, she will be moved to a room with more comfort and then in her final stage of living here, she will have her own apartment with small sitting room and a kitchen. This encourages our patients to learn how to live in the outside world again. They are encouraged to take classes in cooking and are taught how to do everyday household chores such as vacuuming, washing, ironing and we also take them shopping so that they can plan their week's meals and buy supplies. For the first two weeks you will be free to visit as frequently as you can. However, once Naminé has settled in, visiting hours will be between eleven in the morning and four in the afternoon every Saturday. It is essential that your daughter begins to think of us as her support system so that she will be able to trust us to help her. You are welcome to bring any small comforts, such as her own bed sheets and plush toys when you visit. I would suggest that you don't bring any food stuffs until she is eating properly though. You may also correspond through letters, email and infrequent phone calls, although we usually let the patient phone home when they are feeling particularly well and have done something they are proud of and want to share, or even if they are feeling extremely low and need the comfort and security of home."
Soon Naminé was settled down in her new room, having been hugged and kissed and given numerous promises of visits the following day. Riku smiled reassuringly at the quiet girl who was perched on the sofa that sat in front of a low coffee table. Kairi had told her that the room was nicer than the one she'd had in her first year of college in the dorms. The room was bright and airy. The walls were painted a delicate shade of lilac, the light shades, curtains and current bed sheets a darker purple to contrast. The sofa was squishy and comfortable, cream in colour and sat beside a tall white washed wooden chest of drawers. Across the room from the sofa was a desk, similar in design to the chest of drawers. The comfy desk chair was purple cushioned and sucked the person using it into the perfect posture and position to work. Opposite the door was the double bed. The wall was festooned with little purple cube shaped shelves jutting from the wall. Over the desk were more conventional style white wood shelves and on each side of the bed stood a small bedside table with two drawers each. Naminé had taken this all in with a blank gaze and had then sat on the edge of the sofa with her hands folded demurely in her lap. "I'll just go and ask a nurse to come and talk to you about dinner and everything. Tomorrow morning you'll meet your special carer. Each person living here has someone assigned to them. Usually this leads to friendship and having someone to talk to can usually make everything easier. Your carer's name is Sora. He's only a little older than you but is full of energy and fun. You're the first person he is being assigned to, so he's really excited." Riku stopped talking when he realised that the girl was completely ignoring his words, not in a rude way, but more like she simply was unaware that she had company. Frowning slightly, Riku left the room and wrote down that the occupant of the room would need careful observation before going to find one of the most patient and motherly nurses that cared for those living in Riku's 'house'.
"Hey sweetie." The nurse said, smiling at the small girl still sat on the very edge of the sofa after closing the door. "My name is Luxord and I am going to be the nurse who cares for you during your stay here!" Seemingly oblivious to the girl's disinterest, the man sat beside her on the sofa with an expansive sigh. Slowly, Naminé looked up at the man and blinked at him. He was blond haired with a little beard and at least one piercing in his ear. "Hi Darlin'." He said, meeting her gaze and smiling, the action forming little crinkles in the skin around his eyes. She blinked her big blue eyes once more before the smallest, most wavering smile possible graced her lips.
"You're my nurse?" she asked, her voice whispering and rough with disuse. Outside the room, listening to the conversation taking off inside, Riku grinned. Luxord beamed at the girl.
"I might not be much to look at, but I'm the best nurse 'round these parts!" he boasted, eyes twinkling mischievously. "Now, what do you think about me and you having dinner in here together tonight? I, for one, am starving. The other patient I've been looking out for, Xigbar, thinks he's a pirate. And, I do believe he's been flirting with me shamelessly since he arrived four weeks ago! I haven't had much of an appetite after fighting to keep his hands away from my ars...ah, my body." Luxord grinned and blushed simultaneously causing Naminé to giggle breathily.
"I'd like to have dinner with you." She said with a nod and watched the nurse smile and leave with a parting wave.
The next morning, Luxord tapped politely at the door to Naminé's room and smiled down at the little blonde haired girl who looked angelic all dressed in a white skirt and cream coloured turtle neck. "Good morning honey! That boy Sora's not very well, so I'm going to be here for you until he gets better." Naminé beamed up at the man and moved back to allow him to bring breakfast into the room. She looked horrified at the sheer amount of food piled onto the tray, but Luxord sat down and started piling a plate full with food and pushed another plate over to her. "I hope you don't mind me joining you again, I have been rushed off my feet this morning!" He mumbled around a mouthful of warm toast. Naminé shook her head and began choosing a few items to place on her own plate. Snorting in amusement, Luxord reached over and doubled the amount of food swiftly. "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day." He scolded teasingly, waggling a finger at her before returning to his meal. Naminé giggled and took a bite of a pain au chocolate when her door opened to admit Kairi, who was poking fun at Riku, and the girls' parents. All four of them froze in the entrance to the room when they saw Naminé smiling and eating beside a muscular man dressed in a nurse's uniform. Kairi was the first to move, going over and enveloping her sister in a hug.
"I missed you." She murmured into Naminé's neck and felt her eyes fill with tears as her little sister wrapped her arms about her and rubbed soothing circles across her back.
As the days progressed, Naminé opened up considerably under Luxord's attention. Her family visited every day, either all together or in pairs. They bought little comforts from home, favourite items of clothing, pads of paper, coloured pencils (just in case), plush toys, books, a trinket box filled with coloured beach glass, little statuettes and other things that slowly transformed the room into one that reflected the inhabitants life. The girl's personal carer was very ill and Luxord had to split his time between her and Xigbar, eventually introducing his two charges and spending time together as a group. While the weather was warm enough and dry, the trio walked around the gardens. But as Naminé's two weeks of free visiting was up, the weather began to deteriorate as autumn took hold. They moved their activities indoors, Xigbar taught the girl to play poker and Luxord taught her how to cheat. Riku watched inconspicuously, smiling to himself as he watched the pale, withdrawn girl become more animated, laughing at some of the more outrageous comments and arguments the two men exchanged. She clearly looked forward to visits on Sundays and interacted wonderfully with her family. One week, as October was drawing to a close, Naminé sat with Xigbar in the large room full of different arts outlets and painted the man a picture of a pirate ship on the moonlit sea. Xigbar was overjoyed and quite contentedly displayed his framed picture to Naminé's family with a beaming smile. The girl's parents were thrilled to see their daughter finally beginning to settle back into her old character, but Riku was concerned. Although Naminé was showing progress, Luxord had not managed to convince her to share anything about her late brother. Riku believed firmly that you couldn't begin to feel better until you experienced all the bad parts of the wounding that took place. Naminé needed to feel all the negative emotions, cry and be angry if needed, before she could start healing the hole left by her brother's death.
November passed without any change; Naminé would draw or paint for the other people in Riku's 'house' but never for herself. Ursula was a very buxom older woman recovering from excessive drinking and occasional drug abuse. She requested the little blonde paint her two eels almost biting the other's tail. The resulting picture was slightly creepy, each eel blind in one eye, the other glowing yellow. However, Ursula was thrilled and insisted on carrying the image every where she went, naming it 'Flotsam and Jetsam'. When she received visitors, Naminé sat and talked animatedly about the different people she'd met and interacted with during the week, absorbed as much information about life outside Destiny Islands and stood sadly beside Luxord or Riku to wave goodbye as her visitors left. She was starting to feel trapped. Kairi was busy with college, studying psychology. When she visited, Naminé felt that her elder sister enjoyed talking to Riku and any other member of staff willing to discuss 'zeitgeists', 'demand characteristics' and as the younger girl watched her sister animatedly discuss such confusing things, she felt more and more distanced. Roxas was the only one to ever really understand her, and now she had no one left. She was alone and yet surrounded by people, isolated in a place that was meant to be becoming her support system. As Xigbar became more and more demanding of Luxord's attention, Naminé found herself smiling comfortingly at the frazzled nurse and assuring him that she would be perfectly fine occupying herself. But she knew that wasn't true. Naminé could feel herself regressing back into her silent shell and prayed for something, anything to come and mix up her cloying routine.
"Naminé, this is Sora." Riku's voice pulled the girl's attention from her work. She glanced up from the painting of a desert scene with what looked like a tiger's head rising out of the sand and focused her eyes on a pair almost exactly the same shade as her own. Said eyes sparkled and crinkled at the corners as their owner smiled.
"It's nice to finally meet you Naminé. I'm so sorry it's taken me so long to finally get here, but as I'm sure Riku's told you, I've not been well. BUT! I'm fine now and I'm sure we'll get to be close friends!" The blonde stood frozen, pale yellow paint dripping from her brush to splatter unnoticed onto the sand in her painting. Her wide oceanic blue eyes had turned from curiosity to shock to horror and were now like chips of ice. The wind howling outside was all that the trio could hear for a minute. Riku stepped across the room softly and pried the brush from Naminé's titan-like grip, placed it in the plastic tumbler of water and then carefully drew the diminutive girl to his chest in a protective gesture. She was trembling. Sora's eyes widened at the silver haired boy's display of affection and frowned at the words Riku was mouthing at him, "Get Luxord." Once Sora grasped what was being asked of him he bolted out of the room, scared for his patient. The girl had gone as white as the snow that had fell the night before, soft and pristine under the wispy moonlight and twinkling stars. It hadn't lasted; the rain that followed had chased it away. Sora could only hope that Luxord would be able to do the same for Naminé.
Luxord rushed behind Sora and, on spotting Naminé shuddering in the circle of Riku's arms, he swiftly overtook the bewildered boy and set to helping the silver haired man in the task of soothing the girl and attempting to figure out what had gone wrong. She couldn't tell them. She couldn't say that looking at that boy was like seeing her brother again. Except for his hair, it was Roxas. Roxas who had been snatched away from her and now the gods were tormenting her with his doppelganger? Naminé suddenly regretted wishing for any alteration in her routine. Normal and boring was safe after all. The men clucking over her like zealous mother hens parted slightly to walk her to her room. Sora was stood there, eyes a mix of confusion, worry and hurt. Naminé let out a burble of sound, halfway between a manic laugh and a distraught sob. It only escalated from there. After two hours of gentle coaxing and soft words, Luxord and Riku managed to get Naminé to calm down enough to settle into bed. She knew that if she didn't halt the manic sounds escaping her, they would sedate her, lock her away, and force Sora to care for her until she simply became accustomed to seeing him. Until the time came that she wouldn't be able to picture Roxas without Sora getting in the way of his memories. Naminé forced her vocal chords to tighten and stopped herself uttering any noise. She played along, allowing her body to become slack and plaint, played the good little girl and climbed, docile, into bed and even managed to force a timid smile at the relieved looking men. Her mind, however, whirred. She had to get out, to remove herself from the presence of the interloper. She couldn't escape if they felt the need to set a watch over her, so she'd made them think she was OK once more. Grieving but stable. They were wrong, but Naminé had learnt it was best to hide her inner turmoil from the kind carers.
If she were lucky, Naminé would have an hour in which she would need to escape the building, cross the bridge and hide herself in the surrounding wilderness before she was missed. Regretting the fact she had so little time, Naminé leapt from her bed in her flimsy pyjamas at nine when everyone else was occupied with supper, loose fitting large t-shirt with a picture of piglet and long pink shorts reaching just below her knees. The 'house' was always warm, Naminé was surprised by the weather as she snuck out of the door, squinting against the wind driven rain. Keeping her time constraints in mind, the girl did not even pause to consider returning to grab her wellington boots and an autumn coat to lend at least some protection. Instead she flitted amongst the shadows, aiming for the bridge and, upon reaching it, waited for a particularly large cloud to obscure the thin moon, taking comfort in the darkness as she fled her prison and the spectre of the almost Roxas. She tucked her arms close to her body as the wind began driving snow against her along with the rain. She scowled, if it were cold enough for snow, then why was it still raining? Her teeth chattered despite her attempts to clench them tight and she had long since lost feeling in her feet. Only the occasional sensation of fleeting warmth let her know they were in fact still there and most likely being cut to ribbons as she ran, faster and faster as the sirens started up behind her. Her feet would have to be forgotten for now, she had to hide. The winding road she was currently travelling would soon be unsafe, so the girl left it and entered the dark woods that hugged the track. She ghosted through the vegetation, avoiding brambles and hopping over larger mud puddles, trying to preserve her feet for as long as possible. She'd been found missing sooner than she'd planned, but she'd also gotten farther than she'd hoped in the time she'd had. Surely now she was across the bridge, she was safe. Naminé yelped as she darted halfway across a clearing in the middle of a thicket whilst not paying close attention. She stumbled to a halt before a small hut, its wooden walls reminding her of the tree house she and Roxas had built once, when they were smaller. A whimpering sound tickled her ears and the girl suddenly felt lost and alone. No longer angry or grief maddened, Naminé circled the hut cautiously, eyeing it for any signs of life before tentatively tugging at the door handle and slowly slipping inside.
If it were possible, the hut's interior was colder than outside. Naminé's teeth chattered to themselves as she hunted around in the dark, bumping off of furniture and the walls like a moth trapped in a glass container until she banged her head against the corner of something sharp and fell into a crumpled heap on the floor. Too tired and cold to even begin thinking of what she should do, Naminé shuffled around until she was laying on something deliciously soft and warm under her cold limbs and sighed. She'd stay here for now, until she warmed up. And then she could go and see Roxas, tell him about the boy who looked like him, tell him she was sorry for not hurrying to him as soon as she knew he'd been hurt. Curling up in the foetal position, Naminé drifted towards sleep. Before she was certain she'd actually fallen into slumber, a repetitive thumping noise roused the girl interspersed with scraping. Blue eyes fluttered open and focussed on loosely fisted hands resting nearby. She snorted in slight amusement wondering why someone would leave a doll beside her. The hands were a waxy pale colour and settled together as if the doll was positioned to imitate prayer. Smiling at the hands dreamily, Naminé realised her face hurt slightly but didn't pay it much attention. She was sleepy and the noise had stopped. With a soft sigh she let her eyes drift closed and sought out the warmth of sleep once more.
A.N – Originally I intended to make this story all one chapter, but thought a change of perspective was in need, so the next chapter is from a guy's POV. I won't say who just yet, hopefully you'll be able to figure it out! Reviews make me a happy person!