People always told her to never take life for granted.

"Life is beautiful." They'd whisper to her, smiles of happiness gracing their features. "Enjoy it while you can and when a storm blows in, remember to bring out your umbrella, no matter how battered the old thing is."

And she would smile and nod and foolishly believe them.

Trusted them.

Meaningless trust.

Life wasn't beautiful back then.

Life is a nightmare now.

Her pale hand shakily reached up to cover her mouth.

People always told her that life was a gift.

She was a gift.

But they were wrong.

They were so wrong.

She was a gift to men.

While the wrapping of her own life was thrown away.

Her horrified gaze was ripped from her uncle when a steady hand grabbed her trembling arm. Her blue eyes flew to another pair of equally intense eyes, his lips parted to say something to her that her ears could no longer hear.

Life was a joke.

A cruel, sick joke, and she was the punchline.

She ripped her arm away from her best-friend and the person she knew in her heart, she may never see again. Her uncle will drag her back down to the pits of hell, making sure she burned in the flames for eternity, never to be seen or heard from again.


He would not take her again! She'd rather die than go back to that flaming trench of sin!

She returned her gaze to the bar, only to be greeted by the sight of an empty seat where her uncle had once sat. The picture both relieved and terrified her at the same time.

She didn't really comprehend the fact that she had started to run, or the fact that both Roxas and Olette were yelling at her to stop. The only thing she had fully conceived, was the fact that she had somehow gotten into a taxi cab, though, for the life of her, she can't remember leaving the restaurant.

After she recited off Olette's address in a hoarse whisper to the driver, she slowly craned her head around to look out the rear window of the car. Roxas' black blazer and golden hair blew faintly in the wind as he stood in the middle of the road, watching the cab disappear from sight with a worried expression pulling on his features.

He ran back into the restaurant, the eyes of people unknown to him following his every move with curiosity, and to the table where Olette stood with her hands grasping the napkin the waiter had left with anxious eyes.

"Where do you think she went?" He asked, almost too quickly. "Her apartment, right?" He grabbed his keys off the table and looked at Olette impatiently.

"Olette, answer me!" He snapped, temper rising.

"She-she probably went to my apartment, all her stuff is there." Her eyes searched the table in panic before she stuffed the napkin deep into her front pocket.

Roxas growled in frustration, grabbed the brunette's wrist (a stunt that made Hayner jump from his seat in alarm) and left the restaurant without saying goodbye to his other peers. His legs felt like air as he ran to his car with Olette in tow and, after making sure his friend got in, climbed into the driver's side.

Tires screeched as he drove out of the parking lot and onto the main highway, the speedometer going way over the legal limit. "Why is she at your house?" His hands were gripping the steering wheel so tight that the whites of his knuckles were strained against his skin.

Olette mumbled something that was far too low for human ears to catch.


Olette jumped, startled by his biting tone. "I said..."

She trailed off, not knowing whether or not to tell Roxas her fears after Namine had specifically instructed her not to.

Her mind was made up, however, whenever Roxas punched the steering wheel in frustration.

"Dammit, Olette! Tell me what the hell is going on! Why was she crying like that?!" His eyes widened a bit in realization. "What was on that napkin that freaked her out so bad? Don't lie to me."

Olette dipped her hand into her pocket without hesitation and unfolded it. "Don't freak out on me too, okay? If I tell you, you have to promise not to explode."

"Whatever, yeah."

She dangled the napkin in front of his face and he snatched it from her so he could see the road. Glancing at the highway and then back at napkin, he held it up so that the streetlight could reveal what was written on it.


His brows furrowed and he stole a look towards the brunette. "Explain."

And she did.


Her head is pounding as she runs up the stairs and into the white room. When she enters it, she slams the door behind her and locks it.

Nope, nope, nope, not getting in here.

She slides down the door and entangles her hands into her hair.

He wouldn't get her this time.

Oh no, he wouldn't.

no, no, no, no, no, no, no

Who wouldn't get her?

Not him.


She doesn't know.

She wants cake. Strawberry cake. Kairi's favorite.

Who's Kairi?

She doesn't know.

She's rather hungry.

She needs to get something to eat.

"Food, now? What's wrong with now? Nothing important happening, right? Nope, nope, nope, nope."

She picks herself up from the floor and searches the room for any signs of something she can eat.

She spots the bed and turns her face away. Beds were where bad memories were made.

Memories of what?

She doesn't know.

Food? No, she's not hungry.

She needs to pack her things.


She needs to run before it's too late.


Before he finds her.


He always finds her.

"I've always thought Yuna was a pretty name. Maybe I should call myself that. Namine. Yuna. I like Yuna better. Call me Yuna from now on. Okay."

She enters the bathroom and looks at her reflection in the mirror. Gosh, she's rather pale, isn't she? She needs to be tanner, like the girls in the magazines usually are. Her eyes are too blue. Her frame is too slim. Her hair is too...


It needs to be cut.

It's almost down to her waist! Much too long...

She grabs the pair of scissors that are resting on the blue counter and positions them to snip off one of her locks.

Bye bye hair. I've killed you. She thinks as her beautiful, flaxen hair falls to the floor in clumps.

"Bye, bye, bye, bye, bye!" She chants, giggling loudly.


Voices? They sound familiar. What do they want?

"Namine, open the door!"

Another lock of hair hits the tile.

"She's locked it. I don't know where the key is!"

"Namine, please, open the door!"

"Too long..." She mumbles to herself. "Bye, bye, bye!"

He won't find her again.

"I'll have to break it down. Give me a second."

Why can't they just go away?


She laughs at her reflection, blue eyes intense and unfocused.


No more hair.


No more lies.


No more anything.



"She's in the bathroom, Roxas- Oh, my God..."

She turns toward the people who have intruded on her personal space and smiles at them. "Isn't it pretty?"

Roxas could only stare.

Her once beautiful, long blonde hair that used to fall to her waist, was lying all over the bathroom floor. She hadn't cut it too short though, as it fell just past her shoulders in choppy pieces.


"It was too long..." She replies, a glint in her eye. "It needed to be cut." She tucks a strand behind her ear. "Much better."

He gently grabs her arm, only for her to flinch away from his touch like he is on fire.

"STAY AWAY!" She suddenly screams and almost trips over her own feet as she hurriedly backs away from him into a corner, her hands entangled in her freshly cut hair. "He found me, found me, found me..."

Roxas didn't relent. His shoe squeaks on the tile as he kneels down, hands hesitantly wavering in front of her face before he grabs her cheeks firmly, ignoring her shrill yell for him to stay away.

"Namine, look at me."

She stills, but her eyes remain fixated on the floor.




His voice sounds so heartbroken, so achingly sincere.

"Namine, look at me."

Her eyes lift.

He smiles

Tears pour down her face.

He gazes into her blue irises, slowly seeing comprehension fill her once unfocused, insane eyes. "Roxas..." She whispers, and he trembles at the sound of his name.

"He found me."

"Who found you?" He asks, his voice just as quiet as hers.

"He's going to bring me back..." A sob escapes her.

Roxas shakes his head. "No, he won't."

She places a frail hand over her mouth, eyes searching the floor in panic. "He's going to drag me back, oh God-"

"Look at me, Namine."

She does.

"He won't bring you back. I won't let him. As long as I'm here, I swear I won't let him near you. Do you hear me, Namine?" She sniffles. "You are safe."

All is silent.

Safe? Her? Never. She would never be safe. Even if by some miracle, she didn't go back to the stew, her uncle would always hunt her to her dying breath. Always. There was no escape and there never would be.

"I'm never safe." She whispers to him, tears clouding her vision again. "He'll always find me."

"Listen to me, Namine!" His eyes burn into hers and her senses are set ablaze at the intensity he is showing. She can feel his heat. "I will not let him touch you. I will not let him near you. I will not let him take you. I swear on my life. You are safe. Trust me."

Trust me.

Why was she still having trouble trusting him- the man that had protected her from evil, sheltered her in his home, and offered to hold her hand through the turmoil her life imposed upon her? Hadn't she already decided that he was the only man she trusted?

She did.

So she nods.

Darkness cradled her like she was its child, and she rested her head against it as it sang her to sleep.


Roxas caught her when she slumped forward, her cheek resting upon his chest peacefully- a completely different image than what he saw just a few minutes ago. She went away. Her mind flew away from him to some unknown place, all because this man that she was terrified of had discovered where she was.

He'd hunt that bastard down and educate him about pain.

After he had slipped his arm underneath the backs of her knees and lifted her from the awkward position she placed herself in, he pushed past Olette and set her on the white blanketed bed in the bedroom.

He turned around expeditiously and Olette could have sworn his eyes held that old ravaging anger they used to. She flinched, remembering the times when Roxas was not so kind.

"What's his name?" His voice shook with barely contained fury.

"I don't know." Olette replied, her tone as even and calm as she could manage. "Don't you think I'd hunt him down myself if I knew?"

"What did he look like? Didn't you say he entered your store? Don't you have any damn security cameras?"

"Of course I do, but Namine told me it was an old woman not a man! What do you expect-"

"I need to find him, Olette! I need to find him and rip his-"


His eyes darted towards the green-eyed brunette, and he immediately diminished his alarming animosity at her frightened expression.

"Roxas, stop. You're acting . . ."

She didn't need to say it. He knew what she meant. He was scaring her just like he used to. He scrubbed a hand down his face, trying to relieve the tension there. "I know."

"I'm... sorry." He whispered to her.

She smiled, a bit sadly, and brushed her bangs out of her eyes. "It's okay. She's what matters most right now."

He planted himself down beside serene Namine on the bed. "I don't know what to do, Olette. Do-Do you think she had a shitty ex-boyfriend or something?" He clasped his hands together in front of his mouth, slightly muffling his voice. "I can't just sit here and wait for something to happen... I've got to go find that security tap-"

Olette rushed toward him and placed a hand on his shoulder, effectively stopping his pursuit to stand. "I don't know, Roxas. I'm just as worried as you are. We can't do anything if we don't know anything." She sighed. "There is no use in us doing anything tonight. For now, get some rest. I think today was hard for all of us. You can pick any room you want, I'll stay here with Nam-"

"No. I'll stay here with her. I'd prefer to, if you don't mind." He eyes cut across to the dreaming blonde.

Olette smiled a knowing smile. "I understand."

The door creaked when she closed it after her.


4:36 A.M

He tipped the lever on toilet and walked over to the sink. His blue eyes squinted due to the bright light in the bathroom as he washed his hands. He ran a hand through his spikey tussles and sighed. It's amazing how much one's life can change in a single day. How much his life could change in a single day? Just a matter of hours ago, he had been eating sushi with his friends. Now, he was staring into Olette's overpriced mirror and thinking about why all of this had to happen to his best friend.

Things changing so quickly...

He cringed when a string of unwanted memories from his past surged forth, almost bringing him to his knees. He shook his head, trying to banish the flashbacks that haunted his every move. He begged for sleep to take him from wakefulness but he knew that even if he went back to Namine, sleep would not be granted unto him.

Not tonight.

Truthfully, he cannot even remember the last time he had a good night's sleep. Nightmares ravaged his dreams and, before Namine came, he could scarcely tell the difference between his dreams and reality. It felt like every move he made was mechanical. He would rise from his bed because of the sheer force of habit. The thoughts of guilt that had clung onto him after so many numbing years had made him careless. Maybe that was why he decided to house a complete stranger in his apartment.

He blamed it on guilt.

He had already caused the death of one person. What was the point in taking the life of another?

He sighed, breath faintly fogging the mirror, and turned towards the door, exiting the bathroom.

He had left a small lamp on in the room where Namine slept, feeling as if that fragile brightness would break up some of the darkness that haunted her. The light filtered out of the room through the crack in the door. It wouldn't shut anymore since Roxas had broken it.

He entered the room and sat on the white leather chair in the corner, picking up 'The Fountainhead' and glancing over the page he was on before slamming it shut and burying his head in his hands. He expected his life to get more complicated after building a relationship with this girl, but this was not what he had imagined in the least. Crazy ex-boyfriend? Psycho lover? Maybe just someone who had seen her out one day, then become obsessed with her?


He lifted his eyes to her sleeping frame. What could he possibly do to protect her? He had known this woman for what? A month? Two months? Not very long, that's for sure. But she held this innocence, this vulnerability that screamed out for someone to protect her and he was all too happy to oblige. He trusted her and she trusted him- at least he thinks she did. So, he would take that trust and make sure that no one dares lay a finger on her.

Would she tell him about it when she wakes? Would she tell him who this 'he' was? He wouldn't make her, but he desperately hoped that she would. She trusted him enough to do that, right?


At each turn there was either another door or another hallway to run down. It was like a never ending maze, a never ending nightmare that she was forced to canter from. If she slowed down, even just a little, he would appear from behind her, nipping at her heels. She couldn't let him catch her, no matter how tired she was, how out of breathe she was, or how painful her muscles were becoming. If he caught her, she would never see her news friends again, and he would make extra sure that she never even heard a whisper of Kairi.

She grasped the sides of the doorway that lead into another part of another hallway. The footsteps behind her were getting closer; she could hear the thud of the carpeted floor beneath her pursuer's feet. There was no exit. She had been running for hours, maybe even days, but even if there wasn't any way out, she still had to keep going.

She began to jog again, occasionally tripping over her own feet from exhaustion, when she cried out in despair as soon as she saw the bare wall at the end of the hall. She was trapped. There were no more doors to lead her other endless aisles. There was no way out. He had finally caught up to her.

She chanced a look over her shoulder froze in fear once she saw her uncle racing towards her. The hallway was extraordinarily long, but it would take him only a matter of minutes to stand where she is. She turned around, hoping to God for an answer to an unspoken prayer, and then, from thin air, two new doors appeared where there was previously only naked wall.

One was a white door, the other black. The white door was in seemingly perfect condition, as there were no chips in the wood and the doorknob was a glistening silver- fingerprints didn't even mar its perfection. In black paint the word 'Lies' was written in beautiful calligraphy in the center.

The black door was the opposite. There were scratches on the dull wood, forming a backstory that perhaps someone had tried to enter the room to get to the other side of it, but failed. The door knob looked old, hundreds of years old maybe, and she was afraid to touch it for fear of unscrewing it. In white, chipped paint, the word 'Truth' was written upon it.

The footsteps were closing in. Fast.

Her initial instinct was to enter the perfect white door, but upon inspection, all was not what it appeared. The white door was not made out of wood, but curiously, out of paper. The shiny doorknob was silver plastic, painted just so that it gave the illusion of a stronger material. This door didn't have a chance against the man tailing her. It could never keep her safe.

Her eyes roamed the black door, heart pounding from panic. Her hand touched the hard surface of it and was surprised to find that it too, was not made out of wood. Unlike the white door, though, it was not made out of paper either, but rather a material that felt metal-like. She gently pushed against it and was surprised to find it sturdy and firm, not wavering in the slightest.

He wasn't far away from her, now.

She had to make a choice. Would she choice the door that said 'Lies', with its frail framework and paper-thin lining? Or would she choose the door that read 'Truth', with its stable and strong metal with stone-like structure?

She glanced behind her, saw her attacker's eyes, then quickly entered the 'Truth' door.

She slammed it behind her.

The room she entered was so bright that she had to cover her eyes for a few seconds. She didn't register the hand on her arm until the grip the person had on her grew tighter.


She squinted into deep cerulean orbs, ones that looked so very much like her own.

"Namine." The deep voice said again, this time capturing her full attention.

The eyes were so familiar.


"Namine, wake up!"

She felt her limbs thrash around in panic before she took heed of someone's fingers digging into her skin. She opened her eyes and thought she was back in her dream again- for the same blue irises were burning into hers.

"Roxas?" She swallowed.

"Yeah, it's me." He said releasing his iron grip on her once she settled down, and threw her a reassuring grin. "I'm here. You okay?"

She stared for a moment longer before shaking her head, trying to wake the rest of her sore limbs up.

"Everything hurts..." She whispered, perplexed by the stiffness of her body. She hadn't done any extensive exercise the day before.

"I'm not surprised. You had a lot of emotional trauma yesterday. Fire victims often feel the same as you. It's because their muscles are so tense during a situation like watching their house burn to the ground." He smiled morbidly, shrugging a little.

She closed her eyes and exhaled through her nose.

She felt the bed shift with his weight.

"I'm sorry you had to see all that." She said quietly, eyes still shut tight.

She felt her hand lift from the bed as his own encased it. "S'okay. We all lose it sometimes." She cracked one eye open and saw that one of his eyebrows were raised, a lip caught between his perfect teeth. "Although, it would help if you told me what exactly it was that made you...lose it."

She screwed her eyes shut again. She knew he would eventually ask, just perhaps not so soon. She didn't want to tell him. It would ruin everything she had been working so hard for.

"Please, Namine. I want to help you, but how am I supposed to do that when I don't even know what it is that you're running from?" Her heart twitched as she heard the faint pleading in his tone.

She didn't want to tell him.

So, she didn't have to. There was no reason what-so-ever to tell-

Her initial instinct was to enter the perfect white door, but upon inspection, all was not what it appeared. The white door was not made out of wood, but curiously, out of paper. The shiny doorknob was silver plastic, painted just so that it gave the illusion of a stronger material. This door didn't have a chance against the man tailing her. It could never keep her safe.

Her eyes roamed the black door, heart pounding from panic. Her hand touched the hard surface of it and was surprised to find that it too, was not made out of wood. Unlike the white door, though, it was not made out of paper either, but rather a material that felt metal-like. She gently pushed against it and was surprised to find it sturdy and firm, not wavering in the slightest.

She gasped, eyes flying open. She hadn't had that dream merely by chance. It was like someone had sent it to her, knowing that she was about to enter a white door with the word 'Lies' written on it.

But, if she would have entered the white door, she was sure that her pursuer would have caught her. The door may have looked strong and stable, but in reality, it was weaker than glass.

The door that had 'Truth' written upon it, however, was completely the opposite. It was stable, unbending, unyielding to numerous forces. She knew that no one could ever break that door, no matter how hard they tried.

That door would keep her safe.

The other would have doomed her.

But she was scared.

What if he rejected her? What if he just couldn't accept the fact that she had been with more men than any woman should ever have to be in her life? What if he thought that she was just as worthless as her uncle thought her to be?

No. He wouldn't. He was her friend and friends don't turn their backs on each other. Friends don't call each other worthless. They don't spew out insults on a daily basis, and they certainly do not force them to have sex with men.

And Roxas was her best friend.

She covered her face with one of her hands. "Did Olette tell you about the. . . song?"

"Yes. As well as the pictures." He said, carefully.

She inhaled sharply, getting a bit dizzy from what she was about to say. "Well, the person who sent me that was..." She exhaled, heart pounding in her chest. She just needs to spit it out. Her tongue fumbled with the words, wrapped around them, only to lose them again. "He was..."

He held her hand tighter. "Namine." He gently urged and the sound of her name in his voice made tears burn her eyes.

"He was there last night."

"At the sushi place?"

She nodded, her hair creating friction on the pillow. "Yes, he was the one who sent me the drink."

He nodded, eyes conflicted. "He...found you?"

One hand remained on her face and she choked out a 'yes'.

Roxas let go of her hand and ran his across his face. "Ex-boyfriend?"

She shook her head. "No." She tasted the saltiness of her tears that he could not see.



"Then. . .?"

She inhaled shakily. "My uncle."

He stopped for a moment. Her uncle? "Did you run away?"

She nodded.

He grabbed her unoccupied hand again and squeezed it. "Why?"

It was silent for a long time. Around five minutes or so, but he was patient and waited for her to collect herself before she finally answered him. "He wasn't very kind to me."

His thumb stroked her pale skin, observing how goose bumps appeared once his thumb trailed over her flesh, and silently urging her to continue. "He did really bad things, Roxas..."

She felt him tense beside her and go still, chastising herself for missing the soft comfort of his thumb running across the back of her hand. She dare not look at him. His teeth clenched. "Did he...hurt you?"

She shook, visibly shook, and he was starting to get very concerned and very angry again. "No, he got other people to do that for him." Her voice broke in midsentence. "The only place he hurt me was..." She let go of his hand and placed hers on her chest. "...In here." She covered her face with both hands and sat up straight, trying desperately to not allow him to see her tears. Her weakness.

Alarmed, his eyes searched her person before he pulled her to him and embraced her, rubbing soft circles on her back as she shook. "He got other people to hurt you? Did they hit you, or..." His eyes widened at the possibility that he was thinking of. "Oh God, no. Namine, did they...?"

"Don't say it." She begged and buried her head into his chest. "Please, don't say it. I'm not worthless, Roxas, I swear to you that I'm not!" Her hands fisted in his shirt as she tried desperately to ease the shaking in her limbs.

He stroked her head with one hand and kissed the top of it, eyes wide. "Namine, you are not worthless. You are priceless. So priceless."

Her teeth dug into her lip as she fought back a sob.

Why hadn't he seen this coming? The constant flinching from his touches? The trust issues with men? The reason she had problems with smiling? The bout of insanity she just put herself through? It was so blatantly obvious. He just hadn't taken the time to actually look for the tell-tale signs. She had been raped. Over and over again, by many different men. How could he have been so blind?

"I am so sorry, Namine, I can't believe I didn't fig-"

"It wasn't so bad when I got there." She cut him off, her voice eerily even and calm- emotionless, and it scared him a little. " He welcomed me into his home like an uncle should, fed me, clothed me, even bought me typical wants like make up and perfume. I had never really had the chance to have anything like that, so they were nice gifts. I stayed in this huge mansion for about a week. He had maids to wait on me hand and foot, but they kept looking at me and treating me as if something terrible had happened to me. I thought they just found out about my financial situation. They all had this look of immense pity in their eyes, like they knew something I didn't. They... frightened me."

She paused. "It was a Sunday. Uncle had told me to get dressed and to pack an overnight bag, that we were going on a short trip into town. At first, I didn't really understand why we were staying the night somewhere when the mansion was less than ten minutes from Twilight Town-"

So that's where she was from, he thought.

"-but I didn't question it. Who was I to disagree with a man like him? A man that took care of me better than my mother did? So, when that black limo pulled up, I climbed into it without hesitation. He didn't say a word to me as we traveled. Again, I thought it was strange, but I kept to my silence. After a while, we arrived at a men's bar that I recalled my uncle owned. I kept asking myself what on earth were we doing here, but I trusted my uncle. I was foolish, so I trusted him.

"When I stepped out of the limo, he grabbed my arm and I remember thinking that his grip was too tight and that he was hurting me. I knew then that something was really, very wrong, but I kept walking." She laughed, but it held no humor. "I was so stupid."

"He led me into the bar and pushed me into the back room, which I later learned was nicknamed 'Beginners Luck'. Or lack there-of. There were women in there with skin so tan that it looked almost like leather, and they smelled of cigar smoke. They sat me down in a chair and pulled at my hair and eyelashes, making them both curl beautifully. They put more make-up on me than I had ever had on in my life, and my hair was stiff from hairspray. I felt nasty, but when they spun me around to expose me to a mirror, I had never been more beautiful.

"They put some clothes on me that made me feel exposed. I had never worn such provocative clothing before. My uncle came back and grabbed me in the same painful way that he had when I first arrived, and threw me upon this old wooden stage. Once I found my balance again, I turned around and saw wide-eyed men staring at me like I was some kind of object. I suppose, at that time, I wasn't even human to them.

"Then, a man raised his hand and shouted a rather large amount of money. More money than my Mom and I had had our entire lives. Then another man yelled out an even larger amount, then another man, then another... It was then that I realized I was being sold.

"I was frozen on the stage; I refused to believe what was happening. I remember looking through the crowd, trying to find my uncle, the only person who was familiar to me at the time. When my eyes found his, he looked away in disgust. I'd never felt more helpless.

"Then, a man with a gavel proclaimed that I was sold. I had been auctioned off and someone had bought me. A man in a black suit suddenly grabbed my hand and dragged me up the stairs to the top floor of the building where the bedrooms were. Men were whistling and laughing as I tried to run away from him but the man was too strong and easily overpowered me. When we got to the finest room in the bar, I begged him not to do what he was about to do. I wasn't that stupid. I knew what went on at bars. I just didn't know that my uncle forced minors to participate in the affairs.

"The man didn't listen to me. He only laughed and claimed that he had already bought me. I closed my eyes all through it and cried. I had used to believe in fairy tales; that some wonderful man would come and rescue me from situations like that and that we would fall in love and live happily ever after. But no one came for me that night." Her voice broke again. "There was no knight in shining armor to save me, no brilliant guy to take me away from that nightmare. It was just me- beaten and broken and bare.

"It was just me for a while. Time didn't pass quickly for me, and the deeds that I was forced to do didn't get any easier. Everything was about pleasing the clients I had. Then, one day, another girl my age arrived in a similar fashion as I had. I heard her screaming for about a week before I knocked on her door. She didn't trust me, and I didn't blame her. the other girls in the bar had taken pity on me because I was the boss' niece whom the boss absolutely despised, but Kairi didn't know that. She didn't know that he beat me whenever I broke a nail, or that he spit in my face whenever I showed any sign of weakness. All she knew was that I was the niece of a very bad man who had ruined her life.

"Only after she saw him tie me to a pole and whip me until I was unconscious, did she trust me. After that, she became a faint glimmer of hope in my world that was full of despair.

"We would often share similar dreams about escaping from the stew, and one day, I can't really recall exactly how we decided it, but we made up our minds that we would escape, no matter how long it took us. We started to save as much money as we could without being suspicious. Every once in a great while, a customer would tip us a meager amount, but most of the money came from money we would take out of their wallets when they weren't looking. We weren't above stealing.

"It was like that for a year or so before we finally had enough money to leave, and we finally had an escape plan that was fool-proof. I had been in that place for six long, hard years and I was finally, finally going to be free of it.

"But things didn't go so well the night we put our plan to action." She paused, trying not to allow anymore tears to fall.

"Kairi was caught and I only barely escaped. I wanted to go back for her but the taste of freedom was too great to resist. I keep telling myself that the reason I didn't try to help her was because there was nothing I could have done, but in reality, I just wanted the nightmare to end. I didn't go back for her because I was selfish.

"I ran from the building and didn't look back, but I promised Kairi I would come back for her- a promise I intend to keep. After hours of nonstop running, I met Seifer, and I thought that God was so cruel because I was sure that I was about to be thrown back into a new nightmare."

She wiped her eyes and smiled faintly up at Roxas. "But then i ran into you, and you were the first man to ever protect me without wanting anything in return. I thank you for that every day.

"Life just kept getting better. I got a job, an apartment, new friends, and most importantly, I got a new chance at life. I was actually starting to get happy, and as guilty as I felt for leaving Kairi, I didn't want to go back. I didn't want to get caught in that nasty web again, but I needed to save her. I saved myself, so I could save her too.

"Then, the CD and the pictures arrived and I felt like I was falling apart all over again. When I saw my uncle last night, I lost it. I thought I could go back for Kairi, Roxas, but I can't. I won't survive if I get caught trying to help her. My uncle may not kill me, but I might."

She scooted away from him until her back hit the frame of the bed. "I won't hold it against you if you leave."

Roxas, who had remained patient and silent throughout her story, ran a hand through his hair, a habit, she had noticed, he did when he was either annoyed or distressed. "I'm not leaving, Namine. You know me better than that." He reached his hand out and used the back of it to stroke her cheek. "I can't believe I didn't even know before." How could the thought not even flicker across his mind? How could he have been so foolish? "You're not going back there, Namine. I won't allow it. He won't get close enough to you to even seen the outline of your silhouette. I won't let him lay a hand on you, you have my word." For a moment, she felt him tremble and his eyes color with well-hidden rage before he blinked and his eyes were as soft as they had ever been. "I'm so sorry. So sorry that this happened to you. If I had known you six years ago-"

"Don't!" She blurted out. Her eyes grew wide with surprise, both at herself and at the words that were pouring out of him. "Don't say that. There is nothing you could have done. I was stupid and foolish and too trusting towards other people. I learned my lesson." She closed her eyes tightly, as if something pained her, before opening them again, blue pools betraying years of cruel abuse and negligence.

He grabbed her arms and pulled her against him again. She breathed in his scent of something exotically spicy, with a hint of something so heart achingly Roxas. His breath tickled her neck, making the hairs there stand up in response. "She didn't deserve you anyway."

She blinked, taken aback by his bold statement. She loved how he was so delicate with his words, choosing them carefully so as not to upset her. He said such kind things to her, always, so why was she still surprised when he treated her so gently?

She fisted her hands in the back of his shirt, still getting used to being touched with pure intentions, knowing that he would do nothing to her that would even remotely remind her of bad nights and bed business. He knew all of her hideous secrets now, she just prayed that he accepted her dark past and dangerous present.

"I'm not going to leave you, Namine. Please, don't even let thoughts like that enter your mind. They're pointless. Trust me." He leaned back a little to catch her eyes. "Friends trust each other and accept each other for what they are, and we're friends, right?"

She smiled, albeit faint and perhaps a bit sad. "Best friends?"

He grinned, as if reassure her. "Best friends."

A/N: Oh my... it's been a year...

Feels like a week.

TeeHee. I hope you guys enjoyed the chapter. Long, isn't it? Maybe an apology for the wait? Sorry...

Roxas and Namine are still so sweet though. The cutie patooties.

Did you guys enjoy Namine's insanity scene as much as I enjoyed writing it? No? Okay…

I always get so nervous before I post chapters.

Anon Reviews:

Guest: Thank chuuuuuu! :D

Clairebear: Sorry about the wait! I will finish it! Thanks for the review ^_^

Guest: Thank you! Hope you enjoyed!

Jasmyne: Hehe. Namine can't catch a break, eh? Thank you for the compliments! :D

DeeBishh: Aw, thank you so much! I hope you enjoyed this chapter!

animeluv3: Ha! When I read really exciting fanfics, I start to shake and my Mom is like "It's summer, and you're shaking." Like, be quiet. This is some good ishh. Lol, Thank you! :D

namiroku: Thank you so very much! Hope you enjoy this chapter!

DX Llamas: Okay, I will go ahead and tell you that yes, that was him. I'm surprised you caught that- good eye! Thanks for the review! :D

Hope you enjoyed! And please review!

Love, love, LOVE,