...idea comes.

t for suggestive scenes.

I don't own KH.

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...Duty Calls...

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...who's going to save the hero?

"Another one?" she asked nonchalantly, and he nods, cerulean blue eyes staring sideways, not looking at the inevitable.

Aquamarine eyes stare over the horizon blankly, not really seeing the spectacular sunset of their islands, only the onslaught of darkness and blood and the sickly yellow eye.

It always called them.

It always came in tightly furled letters; freshly dried ink on crisp yellow parchment, three ebony-black circles linked together in the centuries-old insignia of Disney.

She had watched in fascination as his pale fingers rolled the letter back up and slid them precisely into the mouth of a crystal-clear bottle, just like so many others before it, shoved on the wooden shelf with great care.

A year ago the shelf contained only one bottle.

A year from now it would be full, wooden planks quivering and groaning under the weight of countless bottles stuffed full of letters bearing King Mickey's seal.

She had watched Sora return the bottle into its place on his bedroom shelf every single time. She had watched a smile bloom on his pouting lips, she had watched him quiver with anticipation.

She had watched him long enough to know that he's broken and bleeding on the inside.

Sora was never really the type to be called a murderer; none of them called him one, but everybody knew that he was one. Heartless and Nobodies slaughtered by the hundreds. Hundreds of lives being lost and banished, in the name of the King and the realm of light in which they all lived. The brunet smiled constantly as if to make up for the guilt and the sorrow and the pain.

Riku is the more brooding one, preferring to lose himself in the constant swing and slash of the enormous Keys they carried, preferring to lose himself in the semblance of battle, because really, that's what he lives for now.

Sometimes Sora spars with Riku, and the whole islands watch in awe as metal and metal clash with each other, darkness crashes with light, each not letting the other win. The crowd oohs and aahs with genuine amazement as the Keyblade Masters demonstrate exactly why they're called Masters. The Keychains flash, and the 'Blades crackle with electricity forged from blood and sweat and most of all tears.

They watch, but only Kairi sees the emptiness behind their eyes. Their hearts may be the most powerful of them all, but their spirits are nothing but shattered pieces, recreated and shattered anew with every skirmish King Mickey throws them into.

Late at night they, the three of them, Sora, Riku and Kairi (always and forever will be Sora Riku and Kairi because they're Keywielders and she's not she's almost like the third wheel) would run out to the docks and silently slip away into the darkness of the ocean on their wooden boats. Lately she had forgone riding her own, instead opting to ride on Sora's, because everytime they row out into the night all she sees is Kingdom Hearts returning the stars and returning the islands and Sora disappearing into a supernova of light.

Fireflies scare her now; they remind her too much of the night Sora left her on the white sandy shores of their island.

Riku is behind them, still and still brooding, eyes wary and darting around. Him and Sora--they share the same wary look, the same defensive glances, the same tightness in between the eyes, the same swirling black behind their irises. Eyes that have seen the worst the realm of both light and darkness and twilight has to offer. His silver hair glimmers in the starlight as he silently rows his boat, keeping up with her and Sora.

Her Keyblade Master rarely speaks during this journey; in fact, he rarely speaks at all. All he offers are smiles and goofy grins that he never seems to run out of. Battle cries and spellcasting have reserved his voice, keeping the sound unique to Sora to themselves.

Water laps at her feet as they anchor the wooden boats, and Sora sometimes just picks her up and carries her over the waves soundlessly. Riku stares blankly at them, and nods to himself.

They collapse on the sand and just stare up at the twinkling points that are stars. Well, Kairi knows she sees stars. Sora and Riku in all likelihood see another world they must protect, and she cringes.

They shall spend their entire life fighting a war that they did not choose to fight in, away from their friends and their family, away from her, because Kairi's just a Princess of Heart and they are Keyblade Masters, and their duty calls. It seems to her that they might be only seventeen and eighteen physically, but emotionally and mentally they are ancient. They've seen too much death to even think of it as unusual; they've fought too many battles to think of them as incidental.

She stares up into the stars, and her eyes brim with salt, rough sobs shaking her slight frame.

She catches the sight of Riku nodding slightly, eyes stealing a glance at her, and she cries even more.

It hurts to know her tears would do nothing to save them.

Sora immediately shifts position and cradles her in his strong arms, molded with years of Keyblade handling and fighting. Kairi sobs into his vest, clutching the soft black fabric in her pale fingers, knowing that tomorrow another letter will arrive and him and Riku will have to leave again. She's never really sure if they'll be coming back, but she always and fervently hopes they do. They've never failed her, and she's not going to fail them.

Sometimes she wonders if they would be better off dead. She herself would not stand living a life like theirs--protecting worlds they had never even stepped foot on before, piloting their ship into some godforsaken corner of reality, doing this all with that terrible ache of missing family and friends and missing their home.

His cerulean blue eyes stare into her own teary and blurred ones, and she flinches involuntarily. The light in them is gone; Sora's innocence is gone, and Riku's not far behind. They are hardened warriors, ruthless killers, Keyblade Masters. The teenagers before her will turn more and more into perfectly efficient mechanical defenders, until they can't even tell the difference between their emotions.

Naminé screamed inside Kairi's head, and screamed once more. Sora gave no indication that Roxas was doing the same, but she was sure Roxas was tormenting the brunet too. Roxas definitely knows the toll the Keyblade takes on its master, and the Nobody was sure to do anything to keep Sora from befalling that fate.

But all things fail, and Roxas will too, and Kairi will lose Sora to the Keyblade. He and Riku are dancing on the knife's edge of Kingdom Hearts' power, and they get closer and closer to falling with every Heartless and Nobody that falls to their Keyblade.

And Kairi can't do anything about it except make the transition, the process easier.

The heroes have saved them, their worlds, their lives, but who's going to save the heroes themselves from the blood and the violence and the Heartless-screams of agony?

Sora shushes her, wiping her stream of tears away from her face, but she just as easily replenished the salty liquid, becuause she can't stop crying. The brunet's self-control snaps and tears roll down his own. She hears Riku choke on his words and his emotions.

Her tears are for their battered spirits and scarred minds, for their disappearing emotions and their endless cycle of leaving and returning and leaving and returning to their home that is not quite their home anymore.

She's losing her two best friends, because duty calls, their duty to the realm of light, and her duty to let them be.

As Sora brokenly whispers "I love you" in her ear over and over again, she stares blankly at the stars dotting the heavens high above and realizes like them she's slowly going numb to the pain and the sorrow and the agony.

Kairi rests in his pained embrace, enjoying the temporary haven his arms and this starry night had to offer. Her hands wander and her mind wanders until it bumps into Sora's, and they laugh and giggle inanely in that imaginary heaven they have created. She feels the warmth of his hands on her waist distantly, the warmth of his tongue dancing with hers, his warmth that had so long ago disappeared into the pretense of coldness.

She hears Riku laugh as Sora presses on her, and she loses herself in the sensation and the sound, loses herself completely as the brunet trails kisses down her neck and her collarbone, down, down, numbly down. Kairi shuts her eyes and just lets go.

For tomorrow they go, and tomorrow she prays, because duty calls.

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...le fin...

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inspired by 'dearly beloved:reprise' by kaoru wada.

dedicated to robert-kun. just because.

yay for sokai.

'cause they're tragic like that.

review? please? i'll get back to you.

flamers can go ahead.