~Day 357~ - Tears

I stood there, barely able to suck in a breath as I watched the scene ahead of me. For a moment, I couldn't remember why I was there, or who the girl was before me. She felt familiar – and even looked familiar – though I was still unable to place it.

The sun hadn't yet fully set in the sky, as it cast an orange-ish glow across the stone-paved streets of Twilight Town. I remembered where I was, though that was pretty much it. Shadows washed over the dark-haired girl who stood before me, and as they expelled from her body it seemed as though I could almost place her face – but who exactly was she to me? Surely if she was someone important I would've remembered, right? Then again, perhaps not. After all – Axel always commented on my tendency to forget things. I really began to think that perhaps I'm just not what you'd call 'normal'.

The girl fell to her knees, as her eyes fluttered shut. I brought a hand up to my head, my parted fingers brushing through my bangs as I slowly stumbled over to her. I hadn't noticed until I had attempted to move that my right arm had been deeply wounded and was bleeding freely, nor that my knees were threatening to buckle under my weight. I had felt as though I'd been on a nice, long run, only I wasn't sure why this girl seemed to be in such terrible shape or why the blood flowed so freely from my arm.

"Who are you…again?" I asked her, my voice hoarse and dry as I continued to stumble over towards her. "It's weird. I feel like I'm forgetting something really important."

The girl continued to sit on her knees, trembling slightly as she fought to remain sitting. She squinted up at me, revealing eyes of a brilliant azure blue.

"You'll be – better of now – Roxas," she said softly, as I came up to a halt in front of her. A smile played against her pale lips as she then fell forward. It took me a brief moment to come to my senses enough to leap forward and catch her only inches before her head hit the ground. Though I still didn't really know who she was, she seemed to know me well enough to call me Roxas, and she already seemed to be suffering enough – she didn't really need to hit the ground violently to top it all off.

She was much worse than I had initially thought her to be. She was not bleeding outwardly; though I've been injured and been around the injured enough to know that bleeding isn't the only indication of a severe injury. The way that she trembled in my arms, and as pale as her face had become – I knew that she wasn't doing too well, and if I didn't do something soon…

Yet, I found myself rooted to the spot, my legs refused to carry me as my mind continued to fog over. I didn't know where I'd take her, or what I'd do once I got her somewhere. I couldn't tell any doctor what happened to her; much less take her to a doctor to begin with. It's a terrible feeling when you're so helpless to a situation before you, yet it always seemed that I managed to get myself there time and time again without fail.

As I held her limp body in my arms, fragments which appeared to resemble crystal shards seemed to expel from her body, as they glinted against the light of the setting sun and floated upward into the late afternoon sky. I let out a sharp gasp, as I finally understood what was happening – this young woman was crystallizing and fading away.

"Am I," I began, looking her body up and down before bringing my eyes to meet her brilliant-blue ones, "the one who did this to you?"

"No," she replied, closing her eyes as she shook her head, and I could tell that even this slight movement brought exhaustion upon her. She opened her eyes once more and met my gaze, her pupils boring into my own. The sincerity behind them, the concern and care, it almost seemed familiar and I could almost place it – yet I still could not.

"It was my choice – to go away now. Better that, then to do nothing…and let Xemnas have his way,"

I continued to watch her curiously, the fragments of crystal still floating upward from her frail body. I so greatly wanted to reach out and stroke her cheek; I so greatly wanted to help her, yet –

"I belong with Sora," she continued, as her eyes shifted to gaze up into the sky, watching the shards slowly fly upwards and scatter. "And now, I am going back – to be with him."

Sora? The name seemed oddly familiar. I had remembered just discussing about this 'Sora' with someone, on a rooftop not too far away, only I couldn't quite discern who it was. She brought a hand up to her shoulder, the tips of her fingers meeting mine.

"Roxas," she said, bringing her gaze back to meet mine once more, "I need you – to do me a favor. All those hearts that I've captured -"

Her voice broke upon this, as her eyes rolled back into her head and she swallowed hard. I could tell it was hard for her to continue on, but it seemed as though it was very important to her, as she fought so desperately to get it out to me. She opened her deep-blue eyes once more as she continued on, "Kingdom Hearts – set them free."

Kingdom Hearts… The name rolled through my mind, bringing memories flashing back through me. Kingdom Hearts, that was our goal to obtain. That was what we'd been working so hard for. But… who were we, exactly? My mind still refused to make sense of it all, regardless of how furiously I fought to.

"Kingdom Hearts…" I repeated, as my gaze drifted off to the stone-paved street that I crouched down upon, "…free them?"

Crystal began forming around the girl's feet as it slowly worked its way up her body, covering her boots up to her knees. My eyes widened in surprise – was she really… dying? But what an odd way to die – I'd never seen anything like it before. I had always thought people had gone limp and died; I never knew that they crystallized and floated away as shards through the breeze.

"It's too late – for me to undo my mistakes," she said. "But you can't let Xemnas - have Kingdom Hearts – you can't."

The wind gently brushed my bangs to the side, as the crystallized shards chimed together as they continued to float upwards; I felt lost, dazed, and confused. Why did all of this mean something to me, yet I couldn't place how or why?

I bowed my head, as my eyes searched the stone path for answers; ones that I knew it couldn't provide. This dying girl was entrusting me with her task – to undo her mistakes. Yet, what exactly were they? And how could releasing hearts make any bit of difference?

My attention was drawn from my thoughts as the dark-haired girl spoke again, this time in a voice barely more than a whisper as it became more and more difficult for her to speak.

"Good-bye, Roxas – see you again." She brought her deep-blue eyes up to meet mine, as a gentle smile played against her pale lips. My own lips parted slightly as my mouth ran dry – I couldn't just sit here like this, yet I felt as though there was nothing I could do for her. It seemed like I could never do anything for anybody when they needed me most.

"I'm glad – I got to meet you," she then continued to add, "oh - and of course, Axel, too."

A short silence rang across the streets as the girl in my arms drew in a rattled breath, her eyes fluttering shut momentarily before focusing them on me once more. Her tone was edged with sadness, and also what seemed to be remorse –

"You're both my best friends," she said softly, as she slowly brought a slender gloved hand up to caress my cheek. "Never forget. That's the truth."

My eyes searched over the severely injured girl, now half-crystallized at this point. She seemed to know me – yet I couldn't quite place her. She was familiar, yet I couldn't remember where we'd met, or what we'd done together. It seemed as though I'd heard her laugh, I'd seen her smile, and I'd held her hand as we walked alongside each other, down these same dusky streets carrying ice cream up to our hangout…

Ice cream…our hangout… Suddenly it all started to fit into place.

As though I had been jarred suddenly, my memories came rushing back to me, and suddenly I realized who I was holding in my arms – it was Xion; who, aside from Axel, was my best friend, and one of the only ones I had. I hadn't expected to see her again until… until… Oh no.

Dread began to flood through me, as I recalled our battle, I recalled my keyblade lashing against her armor, time and time again until she fell – until I won – until I destroyed her.

And here she was: disintegrating before my very eyes into shards that floated up into the sky. A deep pain throbbed in my chest – in the place where my heart should've been, I guess – as a heavy knot formed in my throat; one that only tightened as I attempted to swallow it down. Panic coursed through me, and I'm certain that it showed upon my expression. Xion's eyes slid shut, as her grip on my face eased and her expression became lax. Her black-gloved hand slipped from my cheek, as I brought my hand up to snatch it before it fell.

"Xion!" I cried out, hoping that simply by calling her name, with the desperation and sincerity that I cried it in, she would open her eyes and be all right – yet somehow, I already knew that it wouldn't work. "Who else will I have ice cream with?"

As I had predicted, it had done no good. Her eyes still remained closed, as her peaceful expression slowly faded away. Her chest no longer continued to rise and fall as she drew in breaths of air, and I needn't check her pulse to find any other answers. My best friend was gone, and there I was: sitting there in the darkening alleyway, with no way to bring her back. She then began to crystallize fully, as light began to shine all around her limp, lifeless body. Her hand began to immaterialize from my very own, and all that I was left holding were the crystallized remnants. I uncurled my hand from around them, and immediately they began their ascent up into the evening above. I was left with nothing, as the light blinded me from where Xion rested.

I was stunned, feeling the inability to move or to feel. Several emotions ate their way at me and tore me apart, yet I couldn't react – perhaps because I was heartless, or maybe, perhaps I really wasn't.

As the light died away, my pupils readjusted so that I was no longer blinded and could peer down at where Xion had been. All that was left was a sprinkle of dust on the stone-paved road, and a seashell – Xion had loved seashells, and the beach. On our next day off, Axel and I had already made plans to take Xion to the beach. But now, it was something that would never come to be – all because I had left the Organization and Xion was now gone.

Gone… for some strange reason, the concept just wouldn't sink into my aching, exhausted body. I tried to tell myself that Xion was gone, that she was never coming back, and even though she died right before my eyes, I still found room for denial. Somehow…

"Xion," I said softly to myself, as I reached out to grasp the seashell that she had left behind – all that was left of my best friend.

That strange liquid began to well up in my eyes again, and to my surprise, it rolled down my cheek and beaded up at my chin. I still didn't quite understand what this was, but it seemed to happen whenever I felt the way that I did just then – and I still can't even quite begin to say how I felt. Being a Nobody, I guess I always just assumed that I wasn't meant to feel anything.

I sat there for quite some time, as the sun set lower below the horizon. The liquid from my eyes still continued to pour down on my cheeks, and the knot in my throat still tightened painfully. The feeling in my chest had worsened, and for a brief moment I felt as though my world had stopped – as though a piece of me was gone forever, one that would never come back. It was strange, and still as I think back on it, it really didn't make a whole lot of sense. What I'd been feeling, how it affected me… none of it should've happened, yet it strangely did.

I know as soon as I finish writing this entry, and the sun rises to mark the start of a new day, I will forget this day. I will forget that this ever happened. I will forget… that Xion ever existed. Yet, I still want to keep her memory alive. Somehow, someway. I wonder if this entry will still exist once the sun rises, or if it'll even make any sense to me. But right now, know this: Xion was the best friend that anyone could ever have, and deep down in my heart, I'll never forget her. Never.

And that's the truth.

Author's Note:

This was my favorite cutscene from 358/2 days, one of which literally brought tears to my eyes (this doesn't happen frequently for me!). Anyway, I have newly been introduced to the universe of Kingdom Hearts, and was anxious to give writing a piece for this category a go. As most of you Kingdom Hearts fans probably know, Xion was a puppet – and sadly, she would fade from memory after just a short while from everyone she had known. Roxas, Riku, Xemnas and Saix remembered her longest, while Axel had forgotten her that very same night, and I would imagine the same goes for the rest of the Organization's members.

For those that haven't played Kingdom Hearts 358/2 days, Roxas was given a diary by the Organization, and after missions he would write entries within it, marking the day and the event. He never wrote one for day 357 in which Xion passes, and so I thought I would write one for him ;) Anyway, just thought I'd touch base on those few things for those of you who aren't very familiar with 358 days.

Anyway, thanks for stopping in to read Roxas's thoughts (or at least, my interpretation of them), and I would love to hear what you think! Reviews are greatly welcome and much appreciated!