Fandom of the Month: Kingdom Hearts - Naminé



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A boy named Crow
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This is the full entry for November's Fandom of the Month. It's about 4,000 words, though I've kept it in one post because it really is intended as a "one-shot," a single, undivided story. Enjoy.



Naminé


My name is Naminé, and I have done terrible things.

I have served the Organization XIII, who made me take apart the memories of a young boy, Sora, and replace the most important person in his heart with my own image. I created false memories for a replica, a fake person, to make him think he was real and that his only purpose was to protect me; then, when he could no longer serve his purpose, I broke him. Now, in trying to fix these mistakes, I serve DiZ, a man who in his quest for revenge is almost as cruel and heartless as the Organization he seeks to destroy. He is having me take apart the memories of another young boy, Roxas, in order to put them back into Sora, who is sleeping until his memory can be reconstructed. DiZ says it doesn’t matter, because Roxas is a Nobody, a being who shouldn’t exist—but then, so am I.

That’s right. I’m a Nobody—a non-being with a false body and a fake heart. And I am a witch. This is what DiZ calls me. I have power over Sora’s memories and those around him, and this is why I am useful to DiZ. This is why I’m allowed to continue to exist.

But, I fear my usefulness is coming to an end.

I pray my usefulness is coming to an end.

[HR][/HR]
The door opens without a sound, and almost as noiselessly a man walks in, betrayed only by the soft brush of fabric against his long, dark coat. I don’t turn around.

“Has DiZ sent you to get rid of me?”

The hooded figure doesn’t answer.

“Sora’s memory is almost complete. He can’t have much further use for me.”

I hear the rustle of fabric, and this time I turn, half-expecting a keyblade to be drawn and swinging toward me. But the man is standing as motionless as before. I step toward him.

“It’s alright. I understand. Everything I’ve done, I’ve done for Sora, but... “

“Why should I destroy you?”

I stop short. “B-because you don’t need me anymore. Sora’s memory will recover on its own now. There’s no way to stop the process this late.”

“That’s not a reason.”

I bow my head. “Because I’m Kairi’s Nobody. Just as Roxas holds half of Sora in him, I must hold part of Kairi in me. What if Sora can’t reconnect with Kairi while I’m still around? What is Sora... without her?”

“You don’t know that.”

I squeeze my eyes shut and can barely hear my own voice. “Because I’ve done terrible things. I’ve tried to help Sora, tried to repair the damage... but I can only do that through hurting others. This power I have—this horrid power—can’t truly help others; it can only bring pain. That’s why you should destroy me.”

“It’s not that simple, Naminé,” the other figure says, and pulls back the hood covering his face. I reopen my eyes and look. I see what the last year has done to him. The darkness has changed him. It wouldn’t be apparent to anyone—his face is young, strong, even handsome in a hard and unforgiving way. But it isn’t even his face anymore. It’s the face of the man who enslaved him, who chained him to the darkness, and that chain hasn’t broken yet. His eyes, the only part that is truly him anymore, are guarded and cautious. You can see the darkness that lurks just beneath them.

“Just because this task requires us to walk down paths we would rather not go, doesn’t mean you can run away. Everything that you’ve done... that we’ve done,” he corrects himself softly, “has been to help Sora. You can’t punish yourself for that necessity.”

I can’t speak, so I stand staring at the ground, forcing back emotions that I shouldn’t even have. I believe Riku does the same. Finally, when I have control of my voice, I ask again, “Has DiZ sent you to get rid of me?”

He hesitates. “Yes,” he admits.

“Then do it!” I half-shout, half-plead. He shakes his head.

“I told you, it isn’t that simple.” He pauses then, as if in thought. “But maybe there is a way you can make partial amends for what you have to do.” With a gesture, a portal of darkness opens between us. I look between it and him, uncertain.

“Go on,” he urges, “there’s someone there you need to see.”

Swallowing, I hold my ground for a moment longer, before I walk with him through the portal into darkness.

[HR][/HR]
The slanting rays pierce my eyes, and I have to lift an arm to block the dusk’s light; or maybe it’s the light of dawn. I can’t tell.

And just like that, I know where I am. Riku’s brought me to Twilight Town.

Not the real Twilight Town, but a facsimile, created by DiZ to protect Roxas and smooth his transition back into Sora. I’d like to think of it as a kindness, but it’s all a lie. Even Roxas’ ‘friends’ –Hayner, Pence, and Olette– they’re real people in the real Twilight Town, but here they’re just simulacrums. Roxas is entirely alone in his private world, and he doesn’t even know it.

I turn back to Riku. “Why have you brought me here—“ I begin, but he’s gone. And from the direction where he had been standing...

...he appears.

He has blond hair, and it’s a little less unruly, but he really does look like Sora.

“Roxas!” a voice shouts, and I startle in spite of myself. I turn around. It’s Olette and Pence, two of Roxas’ ‘friends’, and they’re walking straight towards me. Without thinking, I reach out with a shrug of power... and the whole scene freezes. Olette and Pence are stopped mid-stride, and even the air seems to have solidified.

“Huh?” Roxas is the only one unaffected, but that makes sense. He’s not data. Real people (even Nobodies like us) aren’t so easy to control. He comes running towards me –but really it’s towards them– and with another nod of power I show myself to him. He nearly trips over himself to avoid running into me. Clumsy like Sora, too.

And now, face to face with him, I can’t think of anything to say.

“Hello, Roxas.”...

I stare at him for a long time. He really does resemble his true self. Not just in appearance; it goes deeper than that. I would almost say they share the same heart, if such a thing were possible.

“And you are...?” He brings me out of my reverie. I hold up a hand. Suddenly, I have so much to say to him, and I’m aware of how little time I really have. How little time either of us have.

“I wanted to meet you, at least once.”

“Me?”

“Yes, you.” I underscore the second word ever so slightly. “But this isn’t the right place. Is there somewhere we can talk?”

“Umm... I guess?”

I nod, and start walking. I pay no mind to the frozen images of Olette and Pence; their data will reset after they reboot and realize Roxas isn’t there. Roxas, understandably, isn’t so sure.

“Hey! What about my friends?”

“Oh! They’ll be fine, after a few minutes,” I improvise. “When they wake up, they won’t even remember we were here.” Which is mostly true.

Roxas will take some more convincing. “Are—are you sure?” I put on my most inviting smile, then blindside him with the next question.

“You’ve been having weird dreams lately, haven’t you?”

Now I have his full attention.

“How did you know that?”

I just smile again, and continue walking. I already know where we’re going. A few seconds later, I hear his footsteps running after me.

[HR][/HR]
The view from the clock tower really is amazing, even if it’s just a simulation. Despite my earlier sense of urgency, for a long while we don’t say anything, just sit on the edge of the balcony looking outwards. Roxas used to come to this exact spot with... but he doesn’t remember any of that anymore. I’m the only one who does. Finally, I force myself to look away from the perennial sunset and turn to Roxas. He’s been studying me, I don’t know for how long. I decide carefully how I should start.

“My name is Naminé,” I say. He takes that in without a word. “Roxas, do you remember your true name?”

“My true... name?” His blue eyes seem to unfocus. I’ve lost him already. I shake my head, and try a different tack. Concentrating, I’m able to bring a drawing from DiZ’s mansion into this world, or at least a very convincing replica of it. Roxas draws back at first, but then leans in close when he catches a glimpse of the three figures drawn in bright, simple colors.

“You know these three, don’t you?”

“Yeah! Sora, Donald, and Goofy. They’re from the dreams!”

“About a year ago... some things happened... and I had to take apart the memories chained together in Sora’s heart,” I explain haltingly. “But now, I’m putting them all back exactly the way they were.

“It’s taken me a long time,” I admit, “but pretty soon, Sora will be his old self again! The process has been affecting you too, Roxas.”

“You mean the dreams?”

“Yes. You and Sora are connected. And in order for Sora to become completely whole again... he needs you.”

“Me? What for?”

“You hold half of what he is. He needs you, Roxas.”

He seems to consider this for a long time. When his eyes come back to meet mine, they’re still confused but piercingly clear.

“Naminé... who are you?”

I take a long breath. “I’m a witch, with power over Sora’s memories.” His eyes widen, but I continue before he can interject. “I don’t know why I have this power, I just do. I’m not even sure... there’s a right way for me to use it.” I search his eyes for understanding, to see whether he can hear the apology I’m trying to make.

He looks back frankly. “I can’t help you there,” he says, but his voice is kind.

I almost smile. “Of course not.”

After awhile, he asks the question I’ve been dreading: “So... why did you take apart the memories in Sora’s heart?”

I don’t answer for a long time. I could tell him about Castle Oblivion... about Organization XIII... about how they made me do the things I did. But that story would lead inevitably back to him, and he’s not ready for that yet. I settle for a simpler truth.

“I was lonely,” I say. “I had been on my own for so long. When I came into contact with Sora’s heart, I wrote myself into his memories. I thought, if I could be real in Sora’s heart, maybe I could be somebody....”

“...instead of nobody,” Roxas finishes for me.

I stare at him in shock. Could he be remembering...?

I’m cut short by Riku’s voice in my mind.

Naminé! They’ve found us! The Organization is on its way!

I stand. “Roxas, we’re out of time.” Even as I say this, the air around us ripples like the surface of an agitated lake. Out of those ripples come shapes like empty, silvery coats. Roxas gapes; already the closest of the silver coats is almost within arm’s reach, and there is nowhere to flee to.

“Roxas! Use the Keyblade!”

“Wha...?” It’s hopeless. He doesn’t even know what that is. But even though I can’t do much physically on the battlefield, I have other powers. I reach once more into Sora’s memory—into the chain of memories slowly but surely reforming in his heart—and find the link I’m looking for. I grab Roxas’ hand, and before he can protest, we step off the ledge... and dive into Sora’s heart.

[HR][/HR]
Roxas! Use the Keyblade!

The Keyblade....

I can see it now. I can hold it. I know its weight in my hand.

I am Sora. I am Roxas.

I am Naminé.

All three of us at once, pinned together by the shared memory of the Keyblade.

It’s enough to make your head explode.

This is what manipulating memories is like, at least this directly. It’s not fun. But it’s much faster than words, and infinitely more powerful as a tool for understanding. And right now, I need Roxas to understand everything.

We’re all here together: Roxas physically; me somewhat less tangibly; and Sora... well, you could say Sora is the here we’re all in. We are part of each other.

But at the same time, we are also separate, each of us fighting to maintain our own identities. Roxas especially. That’s why he grasps the keyblade so fiercely. That’s why he fights with such abandon against the empty suits surrounding him. Deep inside, he shares the same desire as all Nobodies... to be his own person. To be Somebody.

Is that really so wrong?

You can see the memory returning to his hands, spinning the key in complex arcs that only absolute familiarity could accomplish. He strikes left, right, down, each thrust more confident, each parry more effortless. He’s back in his element, almost as though he had never left it, as if he had never been that confused boy on the clock tower.

This is the real Roxas... as real as he will ever be.

But it’s a losing battle. Because even as he fights his way across the stained-glass pillars, he is only drawing closer to the truth of what he is, and drawing closer to Sora. In this world within a dream, everything we face is a reflection of ourselves.

Roxas finds himself on the Station of Awakening.

For a split second, he stands opposite himself in the black coat of Organization XIII—the same Organization that he had once been a part of. But when that figure reaches up and pulls back the hood, it’s not Roxas’ face that peers back at him—it’s Sora’s.

“Hey there, real thing,” Roxas calls out in a voice that’s half-taunt and half-accusation.

The figure with Sora’s face doesn’t respond, just holds out its hand... and suddenly the keyblade Roxas was holding disappears in a blaze of light and reappears in that outstretched hand. With a snarl of frustration, Roxas fires back, “No! You’ve taken everything from me! My identity, my purpose... you won’t take this!”

Suddenly there are two keyblades in his clenched fists, and they drag along the ground emitting sparks as Roxas charges headlong with a wordless growl. His first swing goes wide, the second is parried, and then they’re upon each other in earnest. Roxas’ two keyblades move in a constant blur, raining blow after staggering blow upon his opponent. What his rage and despair have taken from him in control, they have returned twofold in sheer power. Step by step, he’s driving Sora back towards the edge of the great pillar. Through it all, Sora never makes a sound, his face never betraying anger or concern—in fact, he shows no emotion at all.

Finally, when Roxas has pushed Sora to the very edge of the pillar, so that his back foot strays for a second over the abyss, Sora makes his first counter-offensive. He strikes low, catching one of Roxas’ keyblades under his own, and when Roxas moves to strike with the second, flips over that one with deceptive ease. In frustration, Roxas brings both his keyblades up in a concerted swing, which Sora intercepts with the shaft of his keyblade and uses to propel himself into the air above. With an anguished yell, Roxas follows after him. They meet in midair, and this time Roxas seemingly gets the upper hand, getting above Sora and sending him crashing back down to the stained-glass surface. But Roxas doesn’t pursue as quickly this time. Something makes him pause, and he hangs suspended for a long moment in the empty air, looking down.

When he does land, the fight continues, but his swings are increasingly missing the mark, his hits more ineffective. It’s obvious the end will come soon, but it’s still startling how fast it comes. In between strikes –Roxas’ first keyblade deflected, his second raised to come down– Sora’s keyblade interposes itself in the gap, sweeping down and across in a motion that’s almost too quick to follow. For a long second, Roxas doesn’t seem to register the strike... but then both keyblades clatter to the ground and disappear in showers of light, and Roxas’ body follows. The darkness rises up and sweeps in, obscuring Sora and the rest of the pillar from view. Roxas’ body starts sinking into its depths.

But still he struggles. His will to exist is too strong. And as I watch him fighting against the encroaching darkness, I come to a decision. He belongs with Sora; he still has to go back to his true self.

But not like this.

I reach out my hand and touch his; and where our hands meet, a light emerges that envelops us and pushes back the darkness. And from that light comes understanding—the understanding when two old friends, who had long forgotten each others’ faces, look upon each other and say I know you.

[HR][/HR]
We’re back on the balcony of the Clock Tower. The other nobodies have disappeared; some causes in the dream world can also have effects on the outside world it would seem. Roxas doesn’t appear to notice any of this; he just holds his head in his hands, staring into his lap. I give him space, even as I know we don’t have much time.

Abruptly, he laughs.

“What’s funny?” I ask.

“It’s just... I learned a lot about myself, in there, that I had forgotten. Who I really was... what I really am. But, I think I’m still running away from the question I really want to ask.” He looks up at me slowly, and there’s a new sadness in his eyes. “What’s gonna happen to me now? Just tell me that. Nothing else really matters anymore.”

I start, “You are—,“ but suddenly there is another presence in my head, and a voice, deep and menacing, interrupts my thoughts.

There is no knowledge that has the power to change his fate.

I grimace and respond aloud. “Even if it doesn’t, he has the right to know!”

Roxas is dumbfounded, but I motion him to wait.

A Nobody doesn’t have a right to know, the voice replies, thick with scorn. Nor does it even have a right to be. No further outbursts! I see that Riku did not take care of you as I had ordered. Very well, I will settle this matter myself.

I can feel him attempting to enter the world of data where Roxas and I are—but I understand a bit more of this world now, and I can fight back. Pulling on the stream of data around me, I alter it, just slightly, but in a way that makes it difficult for beings from outside worlds to apparate into this one. Holding on to this concentration, I turn to Roxas.

“We have to get out of here. That was DiZ, the person behind all of this,” and I gesture to the simulated Twilight Town around us. “He wants to force you to return to nothing... but there’s something we have to do first.”

“What’s that?” Roxas asks.

I open a portal of darkness behind us. “We have to go see Sora.”

...

We stand in front of the memory pod, its opaque, egg-shaped body dominating the room. Neither of us speak, absorbed in our own thoughts. I can’t imagine what might be going through Roxas’ mind; I’m remembering the last time I was in this room. With Sora.

“So, it comes to this, huh?” I turn towards Roxas’ voice. He’s staring straight ahead at the pod. “All of our efforts... were for nothing? And me... I’ll just... disappear?”

I start towards him. “No! You won’t disappear, Roxas!” He looks at me, but eyes seem to go straight through me. He doesn’t understand. I take his hands in mine.

“You won’t disappear,” I repeat. “You’ll be whole!” He continues to stare. Then, suddenly, as if waking from a bad dream, he smiles and gives my hands a squeeze in return.

“Thank you... Naminé.”

Now I’m at a loss for words. “What... what for?”

“For what you’ve done today. For helping me to understand.”

I pull back, tears forming in my eyes. “But... don’t you understand? All of this... I’m responsible for...” But Roxas holds onto my hands and shakes his head vigorously.

“Even if all of this started off as a lie—I’m still glad I got to meet you. And whatever you did in the past... I think you did something great today.

“Promise me, Naminé... promise that we’ll meet again. I may not know it’s you, and you may not know it’s me, but we will meet again. Promise?”

My breath catches. I remember making a similar promise with the boy sleeping in the pod before us. How he had said, even if we forget making the promise, the memory of it will always be in our hearts somewhere. I wonder... could that be true?

I smile back at Roxas. “Promise.”

He smiles too, one last time, then turns back to the pod. As if on cue, it splits open like a lotus flower, revealing the suspended body of Sora, still fast asleep. Softly, I retreat from the room. Before I go, I hear Roxas address his original self.

“Sora,” he’s saying. “You’re lucky....” Then the door slides shut behind me, and I hear no more.

[HR][/HR]
Now there is only one thing left for me to do.

Riku told me, at the beginning of all of this, that I didn’t know the effects my continued existence would have on Sora. That’s only partially true.

I’m Kairi’s Nobody... but I came from Sora’s body and soul. In a sense, I’m even less than a Nobody, an even more fleeting shadow. I’m a “non-being” in the truest sense of the word. But I have a hold on Sora’s memories, especially his memories of Kairi. And even though I might want to, I can’t release that hold while I still exist.

I think DiZ suspected the nature of this, but even he couldn’t have realized the full extent of it.

Ever since I have been connected to Sora’s mind –ever since I have existed– he has poured so many memories into me, given me so much, that I feel like I’m going to overflow. They have shaped who I am. But now, it’s time to give those memories back.

Slowly, I reach into my own mind, and start taking apart the memories that make up myself. Within them, I see many people –Riku, Sora, Roxas– people I would like to say thank you to. People I would like to say goodbye to. But tomorrow, they won’t remember I ever existed.

I see the promises I made, and the promises I broke. I see the lives I hurt, and the lives I helped. I see Kairi, though vaguely and at a distance. That memory has always belonged to Sora.

And as these memories leave, glowing now like effervescent fireflies, I can’t remember the significance of some of them, or where they came from. But I know they are going back to Sora, back to where they belong.

“...promise we’ll meet again.”

“It’s not that simple....”

“I think you did something great today.”


I let go of myself, and let the rest of the memories fly away.

My name is Naminé, and I have done great and terrible things.

My name is Naminé...

My name...

My...

...
 
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Hidden

A boy named Crow
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I like to mention the inspirations I draw on for a particular piece of writing. In this case, a fan-fiction, I got a lot of influence from different fictional characters. Most obviously, the character of Naminé was influential, especially as she is portrayed in Chain of Memories. However, I also drew on two non-KH characters for this story: Terra from Teen Titans (the TV show) and Rei Ayanami from Neon Genesis Evangelion. I watched these two clips in particular when I was getting a feel for and writing the opening of the story. Towards the end of the story, I also drew a lot from Xion's story in 358/2 Days, particularly an extended scene in KH 1.5.

I don't often insert music into any of my writing, but I did listen to Rei Ayanami's theme while writing parts of the story and think it goes well with the opening monologue. More generally, I also listened to a number of the more melancholy tracks from Kingdom Hearts, including Namine's theme, Roxas' theme, and Xion's theme.

Again, I hope you enjoy the story, and please leave a comment! Critique is especially welcome.
 
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KingdomKey

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This was a marvelous piece, Hidden.

I love how you changed the events that happened in KHII. At first, I thought Namine was going to see Axel, but was surprised when it turned out to be Roxas.

The fight with Sora was one of my favorite parts. The details were spot on. Even more so, when Namine was the one to take Roxas to Sora instead of him having to meet Diz.

The ending was sad, but Namine was doing the right thing. I just wish that she could of existed alongside of Roxas instead of disappearing altogether.

I enjoyed reading it a lot.
 
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