Body and Soul
By: Koorino Megumi
This drabble was written for the wonderful Ariana Aislinn in honor of her birthday. Happy birthday, Ariana! It has spoilers through the near-end of KHII. It does not spoil the ending or final battle, but it does spoil right before. Special thanks to starhealer for her beta help!
"Riku...can we talk?"
Naminé entered the room a little uncertainly, not really sure how its other occupant would react to her presence.
He was standing by the window, his back turned to her so that all she could see was the long black cloak that, it seemed, he wore even in private. He gave no response to her words.
She frowned slightly, moving farther into the room. "It's about Roxas," she continued, not really sure what else to do if he wasn't even going to acknowledge her. "I think he deserves to know a lot more than DiZ is telling him. Remember that he and Sora are going to reunite soon! So really if we...Riku?" She stopped, looking at him now with a mixture of curiosity and worry. She wasn't really sure why; he still hadn't said a word, nor had he turned around. But just a moment ago, it had looked like he'd...flinched?...at her words. And even if she hadn't really seen the reaction, she'd felt something from him. After all, just because she wasn't using her memory powers for anything but reviving Sora at the moment didn't mean her tie to the memories of all those connected to the boy had stopped existing. And something definitely seemed strange about Riku right now...
He still didn't respond to her. If anything, it seemed that he took another step toward the window, his back remaining firmly toward her.
"Riku?" she repeated, coming up close behind him, "What is it?"
The words were spoken in a very low tone, but Naminé's eyes widened when she heard them. Even though she hadn't had a lot of contact with Riku herself, she'd seen him time and time again in Sora's memories. Maybe she'd been mistaken just now, but she couldn't help feeling that there was something wrong with Riku's voice. Rather than asking, though, she pressed him with, "I want to talk to you about Roxas first."
"Go away!" Riku ordered this time, much more loudly, so that she couldn't help but know that his voice didn't sound the way it had before. More subdued he added, "You should be worrying about Sora."
She pursed her lips, not sure whether those words were meant to be an accusation or just to reflect Riku's own worry. "Sora's doing just fine," she said, "He'll be back very soon."
"Then that's all that's important."
"But Riku, don't you think-"
"DiZ knows what he's doing," the other interrupted her. Each word he spoke made it more and more clear how different his voice was. It was so much deeper, so much older... "And when Sora wakes up, it won't even matter anymore."
"And you really think going against DiZ would help?" Riku retorted, "When Sora and his friends are all here? When we're both here, too?"
"DiZ doesn't control us!" Naminé protested.
"But he's controlling Sora's welfare!" Riku burst out. And finally, he turned to face her.
His hood was pulled low over his face so that she still couldn't see him at all. It made him look much more like a member of Organization XIII than the boy she'd come to know. But even though she had no doubt that this was Riku, the wrongness about him still tugged at her.
And had Riku always been that much taller than she was? Had he been growing?
"Are you really just going to be his pawn?" she countered.
She could see Riku's whole body go rigid at that word. "Don't talk to me about something you don't understand," he replied, voice low, angry. He began to turn away from her again.
"No, Riku, wait-"
She wasn't really sure why she was so set on talking to him face-to-face (or as close as she could come, considering he had his hood up), but whatever the reason, she reached out and tried to grab his sleeve as he turned his back on her. Riku jumped even as her fingers just began to brush him, batting her hand away and causing her fingers to close around his hood instead.
For a moment after that, the two just stood staring at each other. Naminé, slowly, as if she were dreaming--or stuck in a nightmare--let go of the cloth and brought her hands up to cover her mouth. "Oh, Riku..."
"That's not my name anymore," he replied coldly, in that voice that she was now able to put a face to. He grabbed the hood and pulled it back up over his head--Ansem's head. "And I thought I told you that you should go away."
Naminé's eyes welled with tears. "I had no idea... How...?"
"It's my fate." The words were bitter now, the anger toward her reversing to self-loathing.
Naminé couldn't help the pang of regret in her heart. "Riku..."
Before she had even thought about what she was doing, she had thrown herself into his arms, trying to comfort him in the only way she could think of. She felt him grow rigid in response, shocked at the contact, but then he slowly put his arms around her. "Don't cry for me," he stated, as gently as Ansem's harsh voice would allow him to, but also firmly. She let out another sob, and Riku continued to hold her.
They stayed that way for a long moment, but finally Riku gently detached her, stepping back away, toward the window, but not turning from her. "When Roxas is part of Sora again, he should be fine," he assured her, "I don't know what happens if a Nobody finds his original self, but...I don't think he'll just disappear, if that's what you're afraid of."
She blinked, surprised at the change of topic, but glad for his words. They reminded her of why she had come here, though, and she started, "But Roxas doesn't even know..."
"The more he knows, the more dangerous it could be if our enemies try to interfere," Riku interrupted, "Try to understand, Naminé. Right now, all we can do is revive Sora--as quickly as possible. And that's all up to you."
Naminé trailed off on her own this time. For a moment, the two just looked at each other. Even though she couldn't see his eyes, she knew that he was waiting for her to decide whether or not this conversation was over. She rubbed at her own eyes, wiping away the tears that lingered. "Thank you," she said, "Riku."
He didn't respond. She reached out and gave him a pat on the arm, then headed out of the room.