Disclaimer: I don't own Kingdom Hearts.

A/N: Sequel to Inertia Creeps. If you haven't read it, go and do so.


three changes


1; in the flowers

When I was nineteen years old, I tried to commit suicide.

The date? July 30th.

The time? 5:13 AM.

Hayner's birthday and time of birth.

Sora was the one that found me.

Cloud made the call.

They resuscitated me at the hospital but I fell into a coma shortly after. I woke up sometime in September, unaware of what had happened or where I was. Yet, it all came back to me. Albeit, slowly. My memories and thoughts were like the broken and scattered fragments of a shattered mirror. I had memory lapses; I couldn't remember things that I should. I felt tired and frustrated with just about everything. I wanted out.

Then there was Ansem, my childhood therapist. He was one of the few people in my life that I always felt like I could trust. He began to work with me again. Making notes of my progress or lack thereof. I didn't talk about much in those days. I rarely talked at all. I was still getting used to the idea that I was still alive and that my plan hadn't worked. I was supposed to be dead. None of this was supposed to happening.

I was put under a conservatorship, as everyone saw that I was a danger to myself. And with it, he, showed up near the end of autumn. It was during the time when nearly all of the trees were nearly stripped naked, barren, and became exposed, there he was, tall and skinny, leaning against the side of the door. He was already cracking jokes before I even got to know his name.

Axel Ramirez.

So, it began. Axel crash landed on Planet Roxas, cracking the surface with moronic antics and overall stupidity. In those days, I could barely tolerate him. He was stupid, loud and obnoxious and I questioned his intelligence on a daily basis. Perhaps I was difficult. But, it was understandable, right? I was angry… angry at a world that took away my only chance of salvation. I didn't want to be saved and yet at the same time, I didn't want to put my siblings … my family … through any more heartache or turmoil. … I had always been a fuck up to my father so I wasn't expecting too much compassion there from him … but the look in my mother's eyes when she saw me …

It was almost as if she felt she had failed me as a mother. I could see it in the eyes that mirrored my own. Above everyone else, I didn't want her to hurt anymore.

For the first month of things, I stayed locked up in the house. I was on lock down to begin with. No going anywhere without someone's permission. I felt like a small child who was sent to their room on punishment. It was demeaning and I wasn't going to let anyone win. I'd still be the stuck up, acerbic asshole that everyone had come to know and generally abhor for the past few years.

With time, I started having flashbacks. Something I hadn't experienced since I had experimented with all those drugs back in my mid-teens. Every night when I went to sleep, or even during times when I was just sitting around loathing Axel's presence, I'd slip into the past. Every touch, every emotion, every scream was relived day after day, night after night. It got to a point where I was afraid to go asleep because I was sick of these memories plaguing my mind at any given instance.

...Things only got worse after Sora decided he wanted to be irresponsible and I was shipped off to Axel's house for a week. I met Zexion and Demyx during that time in the winter. Two figures who would one day become incorporated into this new life I was building for myself. Sure, I considered Demyx to be even more of an idiot than Axel was and Zexion could be incredibly introverted and quiet when he wanted to, but …at the very least, they were there.

In that week that I was at Axel's house, things only went from bad to worse. I know I had said before that I wasn't Sora's responsibility, but I was feeling abandoned. He had up and left me without a word and, yeah, Axel was there, but he wasn't familiar. He wasn't equated with stability or comfort in my mind …

I mean, not at that point in time at least.

It made sense that my second break down would come soon enough. I landed myself right back in the hospital after barely being out for two months. In the time that I spent there, I was detached from reality. My mental state was erratic and I was unstable. So unstable Ansem felt it would be unwise for my family to visit me in my current state.

And then he told me I had been removed from Axel's care. I didn't care at first. I was too fucked up in the head to really care about much of anything. I don't even think they knew what they were doing with me during my second hospital trip. I know for sure I had had a psychotic break. It was a buildup of everything. All that emotion and psychological turmoil just came out…

Not to say that when I was in the hospital, things were any better. I was still having nightmares. They were so bad that I would spend hours banging on the door to my room and screaming at someone to let me out. Most of the time, the nightmares were of Xemnas. I always thought he was in the room and he was coming to get me and hurt me like he always would. After they sedated me a couple of times, I eventually stopped banging on the door and screaming. I'd usually just huddle up in the corner and curl up into the fetal position until a nurse came and checked on me. She would get me back into bed after trying to assure me that everything was all right.

On February 12th, I finally went home. Axel was right there waiting for me when I came back. And on that night I had never been so relieved to see him again.

Two days later, I turned twenty. An age I never thought I'd ever see.

I was still apathetic toward life when I got out of the hospital. But it wasn't the anger I once held in my heart. I was tired of fighting. I was tired of fighting myself and fighting people who genuinely cared about my well being, safety and health. It was an empty war, something that could never possibly be won.

And so I guess I began to change.

Over the next couple of months I made strides in what Ansem used to tell me was a positive direction. My fights with Axel were the first of many things to subside. I was wary of his presence but I began to see that he wasn't as bad as I thought he was. If Sora liked him enough to have him look after me, then maybe there was something about him that I wasn't seeing. Or maybe I did see it and refused to acknowledge.

Then again, Sora's generally too nice for his own good.

The days rolled on, each day following the next. My father's heart attack shook up the family quite a bit … and supposedly put him down his own path of change. Axel asked me what I thought about it all, but I couldn't give him a straight answer. Not without letting him know of the past … a past I wasn't ready to let him into just yet. So I told him my surface thoughts, what would satiate him and allow me to move along without feeling like I was slipping back into my old ways.

With that coming May, I let aspects of my past rest while unearthing others. Hayner Mason received a long overdue visit from his best friend. My guilt over that night isn't as bad as it was two or three years ago, but it still haunts me from time to time. I also reconnected with Pence and Olette, something I had wanted to avoid ever since Hayner's death.

I decided that I wasn't going to run anymore.

After that, I resolved … things somewhat with my father. Or at least, I saw him and how he was doing. I think that's the most important aspect. He wanted me to take over the family business … and to be honest I had no interest in ever doing so. I don't think any of us had. My brothers and sister, that is. We all had other plans and ideas. Sora had his Crimson Jazz, Rikku was looking to head off for the European fashion scene and Cloud … well, as far as I know, he does modeling at times ...but I have no idea what he really wants out of life. I could tell you at that point in time that it wasn't working for Ardenwell Corporations.

So … I decided that I would work with him. Even if it was for a little bit. Just to see what it was like. What my father could be like, that is. If he was any different from the man that I had once known. It had nothing to do with pleasing him, but rather, I wanted to see if he was committed to making a difference like he said he had been.

The rest of my days following that were mellow. Well except for going to Axel's shows and getting hit on by Marluxia every time I went to one. Or my personal favorite, having to nurse Axel's broken hand for a night or two because he wanted to fight Marluxia during one of his shows.

And I suppose this is where my story takes an unexpected turn. I fell in love with the idiot. Looking back on it now, I do find it kind of funny how everything went down. Don't tell Axel, though. He'd have a field day.

I know it began as lust. I was having those stupid dreams about him and all I could think about was how I could avoid him because … well … I couldn't bear to look him in the eye every morning. And it didn't help that Axel was always smiling and making subtle suggestive jokes whenever he could. …God, he was so dumb at times. But, I used to tell myself I was even more of an idiot for falling for him.

It didn't help that we were growing closer with each passing day. On the day that he told me about his past, I was amazed. Axel … came from a tumultuous childhood like my own and yet … here he was in present day living his dream with a generally positive outlook on his life. And I couldn't bear the thought of him leaving again. I wouldn't stand for anything breaking the unsteady foundation I was trying to build. And when he was supposed to leave, I panicked.

But I managed to get the job done, didn't I?

I decided to mark the beginning of this transition by running off and getting a spur of the minute tattoo. Something I've never regretted since I've done it. Although, I have since taken out my eyebrow ring and the rook piercing. My earlobe is still pierced, though.

I was okay in the month that he was gone. I did better than I thought I would. When he returned, a day before his 24th birthday, we picked up right where we had left off. … Perhaps even going a bit further than I thought we would. Being with Axel? It just felt right … like whatever was missing was finally here.

I look back on these last few years and I told myself when I was twenty that things would be okay as long as I didn't relapse into old ways. I was going to have to open my heart, and it scared me … a great deal, actually. But, I did it.

The thing of it is … when I was sick; I was never looking for a sympathy party. I never wanted people to baby me. I didn't want them to coddle me and enable my behavior. I just wanted someone to understand me. I was so afraid to let anyone in, though. I always believed something horrible would happen to them and they would disappear forever. So I actively worked to remain difficult … so I would drive people away. Because I was afraid of letting anyone in to the point where they could truly hurt me.

But you know, that's … just a part of being human. I understand now. There is no way to love without getting hurt. There's no way to get better without struggling with your demons. You're going to have your bad days and good days. Nothing is perfect, but you can work to make it better. Your strength will waver at times, but your will goes a long way. Let people in, let them see the most fucked up and bitter parts of you. Let them see you for who you truly are. Never hide; never feel shame for who or what you are. At least, that's what I believe. …That's what I wanted to believe.

These days however ... things are changing again. With everything that I've been through and have learned in the past few years, I'm still okay, but…

But, now that I'm okay, what am I supposed to do when everyone around me is falling apart? Because this time, it's not me who needs to be saved anymore.