Waiting
By: Koorino Megumi

This drabble was written for Ari Powwel's birthday. Happy birthday, Ari! There are spoilers through the normal ending of Kingdom Hearts 2. Also, this is only intended as a one-shot, despite any appearances to the contrary.


Riku wasn't expecting to be woken up half so early in the morning. In fact, he had been counting against it when he'd decided to stay up so late the previous night, helping his father with the remodeling. But now something had roused him from his peaceful sleep at... Riku rolled over with a groan and blinked blearily at the clock on the table next to him. 7 a.m...? He rolled back over, dimly wondering what had been able to get his attention but deciding that, whatever it was, it couldn't be important enough to get him out of bed at this hour.

His resolution to go right back to sleep, however, was foiled by a sudden loud bang, followed by a rattle. His eyes snapped open, and he sat up this time. "What..?" Another bang. Riku untangled himself from his sheets, grabbing a shirt off the chair by his bed and slipping it on even as he made his way over to the window, where he was now certain the sound was coming from. He grabbed the heavy drapes, pulling them back and bringing a hand up over his eyes as sunlight cheerfully assaulted his dark room. He fought back a yawn.

Bang

Startled, Riku couldn't help but jump as some of the sunlight was quite abruptly obscured by the rather good-sized rock that had just hit his window dead-on, leaving the glass rattling in its wake. He felt a pit of worry begin to form in his stomach, and suddenly he found he was wide awake. Squinting against the sun, he peered out of the window at the yard below, now clearly seeing the girl in pink who stood on the front walk, grabbing rocks and pebbles from some of his father's landscaping and chucking them at his window. Another hit even as he reached up to undo the lock and slide the window open. He hesitated, making sure that she wasn't drawing back any new ammunition before he pulled the window up and stuck his head out. "I'm awake!" he called down in the loudest whisper he could manage, dimly trying to figure out if he knew what sort of hour his parents got up at. "What is it?"

"Sora!" came Kairi's concise reply, her voice wavering a bit even with the single word.

"...I'll be right down."


Just minutes later, both teens were sitting on the almost-deserted beach of the island where they lived, far enough away from the few early-comers that they had all the privacy they needed. The sun was already up, but not too far above the horizon, so that the rays were shining at right about eye level. The sea was calm, and gentle waves rolled in slowly toward the shore, just short of where their feet were stretched out across the sand.

"So what happened?" Riku spoke up after a long moment of silence, watching the girl next to him with concern.

Kairi was staring at the water as if in a trance, her legs stretched out before her and one elbow propped in the sand, her chin resting on her hand. Red hair fell into her face, obscuring her expression but not completely hiding it. She didn't react to his words at first--just continued to stare out at the water. Riku waited as patiently as his worry would allow him to. He was about to speak up again when she finally said, "He's gone."

Riku froze then, for a second. He had been expecting that, but he couldn't help an inner surge of anger at its confirmation. He punched a fist into the sand in frustration. "Last night?"

Kairi nodded numbly. "His mom didn't even hear him leave."

Riku scowled, driving his fist deeper between the grains. "I knew it! Ever since he got that letter..."

She didn't even seem to notice him. "He's fighting again..." she murmured, as if to herself.

Riku's anger faded as he shifted his attention to her, concerned again. She was acting really strangely...

"He's fighting, and he left me here to wait," she said, her words flat, "Again."

He saw the wetness beginning to brim in her blue eyes, and before the first tear had even fallen, he did the first thing that came to mind and put his arms around her, pulling her close to him. "Shhh."

Kairi let out a sob, and to his surprise, she allowed him to hold her. "It's not fair," she choked through her tears, "Why did they ask him for this? He finally made it home..."

Unsure what to do, Riku just let her cry into his shirt. "I know," he murmured as comfortingly as he could, "I know... I'm sure the king wouldn't have asked if it weren't the only way."

"But why Sora?" Kairi cried, shuddering against him as her numbness changed to frustration, "Why always Sora? Why isn't there anyone else who could do it? Why does he always have to fight? And why..." She coughed through her tears, looking up at Riku with a desperate sadness. "...why alone..."

"Shhh," he repeated, not sure what else he could say. She let out another sob, and Riku continued to hold her. "It's not fair," he agreed, "They know; he knows; we all know. It's not fair, but...they need him, and Sora would never say no."

"But..." Kairi protested, though her frustration was already fading beneath a new wave of sadness, "We were all finally together..."

The words were like a dagger through Riku's heart. None of them would ever forget how hard Sora had fought for this reunion, how long...and then it was over in an instant even though they'd hardly been together at all. Riku nodded in understanding at her pain, thinking hard about how to say what he needed to. He wanted to help her grief, but he couldn't just let her treat the situation as hopeless. He began to rub her back tentatively as she sobbed into his shirt, giving her another moment to cry before he commented, "And we will be again soon...right?"

Kairi froze, turning her head slowly up toward him, expression shocked. "You think we should just...wait...?" she choked out, her voice hitching on the last word.

Riku couldn't help a faint smile. He had been hoping for a reaction like that. "No," he stated, "Aren't we going after him?"

Kairi gasped. "But I...he..."

"But what?" Riku retorted, eyeing her sternly now as he gently extracted her from his chest. "I thought you said just waiting wasn't enough."

Kairi stared at him for a moment, but then a smile slowly broke out on her face as well. "It isn't," she agreed.

Riku grinned, relieved to see her face brighten. "Thought so." And he stood, helping her to her feet. "Let's go, then. Sora's not getting away this time!"

Kairi was silent for a moment, still trying to come to terms with what was happening. But after that brief pause, she nodded resolutely, declaring, "Yeah!" And then added, "Riku?"

"Yeah?"

"Thank you."

"Heh." Riku waved a hand. "I didn't do anything. I just said what you already knew in your heart."

Kairi grabbed his hand in response to that, all her energy seeming to have returned. She squeezed his fingers. "It's in both our hearts," she stated, "So let's go find him!"

Squeezing her hand back, Riku nodded with a smile, glad to see that he'd been right about her. Not that he'd had any doubt!

And without another word, the two started off down the beach together, determined not to ever let their trio be split up again.