First SoraKairi oneshot in a while. And still AU. -sigh-
Anyway, this is a result of a many day Yellowcard/KH AMV binge. Yup, but mostly Yellowcard, from whose song I got the title. Hope you like it!
Disclaimer: I don't own Kingdom Hearts or Yellowcard/Yellowcard's ideas.
A weighted word. A table-turn of events, casual enough to easily slip off the tongue, unaware of the impact or lack there-of it then is able to cause. A word followed by a smile, an unconscious and very slight tilt of the head, a sparkle in the eyes – again probably not even realized by the person saying the word – and a welcome warm in that gentle tenor of a voice.
An impression on the mind and in the chest, where the heart sat soaking up every opinion and new experience of the day, of the week, of the life lived. And he…yes he, the boy with sparkling eyes who only stopped, tilted that head of his slightly, and then tilted it further knowingly to close his eyes and grin that grin for her, as he left to walk on, left an impression on her.
With a simple, simple greeting.
Running after him – running after anyone – was not her style, however, so she gave a little wave, a gentle smile, and then turned, hands clasped behind her back easily as her friend fell in step beside her, back from "that…place" she'd had to go to so suddenly. But her thoughts, whirling and slipping and sliding in her head, were not jumbled because of the inarticulate giggles, gasps, jokes, and tripping speech that was without rhyme or reason on behalf of the girl beside her.
No, the rollercoaster ride of thoughts was because of that boy with the smile and warm greeting, who'd disappeared into the crowd without another word.
A faint smile again drifted to her lips, and her eyes were soft as she looked ahead, the buzz of her brunette-haired friend's ceaseless monologue only background music.
It was perhaps five, the weather cool, the crowds still swelling as the pair shouldered their way to whatever destination they wanted to go. Five o'clock on day one of many, many days to come, it started as most journeys – life journeys, at least – normally begin.
With a word and a welcome and the opening of a door.
The morning was brisk, was cold, was harsh, was adjectives galore that signified the freezing of her fingers and utter discomfort and irritability she felt. Her hair was tied back, pinned to her head and exposing her neck to the wind, adding to the ice building up in her body freezing the blood in her veins. Cold. So, so cold, she felt, shoes striking the pavement and ears burning in the chill.
Pencil behind her hair, notebook in her arms, and coat over her shoulders, she was walking over the cracked sidewalks, eyes darting now and then from her feet to the thin threads of people walking either her path or another. Life, in circle perpetually, was pulling her through another dreary day, to a place she didn't want to go, to a day that would consist of endless typing, bleary, sleep-filled eyes, and careless chatter that never reached out to her in a welcoming way.
Looking down again, she pulled her jacket closer, pressing her lips tightly together to stop the chatter of her teeth. She tried to add a bounce to her step, too, probably looking like a lunatic as she attempted to add warmth to her body.
Winter days were so bitter.
In frustration she quickened her pace, jerking her head up as she walked down the endless sidewalk, to the building that was too close to waste money on a taxi for, presently looming in her vision as she walked. And so she kept her head up, hoping maybe her eyes could will the structure closer.
She craved the heat of the office and softness of her computer chair.
But, like an annoyance, something pulled at her peripheral vision, and she quickly jerked her head to the side. A shock of brown hair, blue eyes hardened in the morning chill, a before-smiling mouth in a hard line, she stopped, recognizing the boy who'd bumped into her two and a half weeks ago, apologizing and greeting her with a hello before he disappeared.
She smiled slightly, happy to see a familiar face, and waited as he strolled forward, shoulders hunched in the chill.
His shoulder struck hers and she stumbled over her feet, tripping to the side as he brushed past, no second glance, no slight smile in his eyes, no flash of recognition at all. She turned, wide-eyed and somehow crushed – he'd seemed like he'd be such a good friend, given the slim to none possibility that she ever met him again – at his indifference of her. Rubbing her shoulders she watched him walk farther and farther away, not even pausing, not even sending her a second look.
Then he was gone, and the warmth she'd felt at his – though distant – memory disappeared, making the world seem so much colder on day seventeen.
Little more than a month, day thirty-four, had her sitting up late in her room, eyes shadowed as she stared with deteriorating interest at the glow of the computer screen. She yawned behind her hand, leaning closer still, and then let her chin rest against that hand, eyelids lowering, left hand drumming at the black, polished surface of the desk. The words clashed, melded together, and left no impression on her mind as she yawned again, trying so hard to edit it so she could meet tomorrow – well, today's – deadline. And she blew out a breath in dulled frustration, just wanting to go home, away from this friendless, threatening place, to where her covers sat bunched up on her warm, unmade bed. She wanted to curl up, to cry, and to sleep long on the weekend that it was as she hadn't done in so very long.
Before she knew it, a tear slipped from her eyes, and she smiled awkwardly as she brushed her right hand over her cheek. Sniffling, she shook her head, stood, and leaned over the keyboard as she dragged the mouse, saved her article, and shut down the hellish technology that had stolen her soul. Then, dragging herself out the door, coat thrown haphazardly over her shoulders, she shut off the remaining lights, took the elevator, and trudged out of the building, into the night where the stars twinkled overhead and the wind howled in her ears.
Her teeth chattered, and she didn't bother to hide her vulnerability. She was tired, crying, and she wanted home. The only thing welcoming to her on that journey, however, was the coat over her shoulders and pencil resting above her ear as it always did.
Shoving her hands into her pockets, hoping they'd warm somewhat, she started home, closing her eyes and thinking of things that might cheer her up.
Selphie? Oh, how she missed that girl's chatter, yes. A month and five days ago, tracked down on her calendar at home, had marked their last get together, a shopping outing that Kairi had so looked forward to. And now she missed the brunette's natural warmth and bubbly personality, so much so that the tears fell faster and she had to withdraw a hand to drag her sleeve over her dark eyes.
Riku, too, of course. She missed curling up on the couch with him, giggling and tucking her head into his chest as he complained in that low, soft, collected voice of his about how her work hours never left her time for rest. She missed staring into those exotic aqua eyes and knowing home, knowing warmth, knowing love, things days of work and exclusion chased away. He was her best friend, and she wanted him to be there so she could tease him about it and how she couldn't live without him.
She sighed, bowing her head, heart aching at thoughts of him. He just lived so far away. But she'd call him some time, when her schedule wasn't so full.
She hiccupped and brought her hand to her mouth as the tears rained down her face. And when would that be, anyway?
Shaking her head she broke off at a run, hoping to chase off thoughts and feelings and memories that the path to her prison of a life barred away for a time anyway. Always when she didn't think of them they struck stronger and truer at her heart, and so she was trying to run from it now, because it hurt and she wanted arms to hold her and laughter to fill her ears. Things she took for granted she so wanted now, and would give anything for.
Incredibly, though, as she ran and ran thoughts she'd pushed away so skillfully clouded her minded, and she saw that boy as she'd seen him the first time, happy and grinning and seeming weightless as he let go of her arm and disappeared from her before she could reply. She'd only waved, had let him go – because she didn't chase things – and then he was gone, disappearing like things in her life always had a habit of doing.
The tears subsided and she was slowing, hugging her form as she held onto the brief memory that kept her sadness at bay.
Day thirty-four, two-thirty on a moonless night, was when she'd first started thinking of him nonstop.
On the brink of three months, coffee in hand, hood over her shoulders to keep away the snow from her face, she trudged in her boots in the inch of whiteness back again to that heartless edifice that kept her heart for itself. Her breath was visible in the chill and she blinked away the snow that fell on her eyelashes, envying the people warm and tucked away in cabs choking the air with exhaust and passing her in the slush. She shivered again, shoulders moving with a violent tremor as listened to the crunch under her feet and beautiful stillness – and only gift – of the snowfall. It was peaceful, filling…
There was a shout, a laugh, and then a boy her age with blonde hair fell into the snow, clutching his chest as if wounded. A girl, resembling Selphie only slightly in respect to her striking green eyes and mess of brown hair, tripped into her view and giggled, falling to her knees beside the blonde and pressing her lips to his. Kairi cringed from the display of public affection, but instead of seeming something disgusting, something selfish and superficial and deserving of disapproving feelings, it was something so pure she felt her heart twist in her chest as she tried not to watch. There was a stutter of words and then gales of laughter as she drew closer, too, and then a snowball flew and hit the girl in the shoulder. She shrieked and fell into a snow bank, and the blonde laughed uncontrollably until she shoved his face unceremoniously into the cold whiteness.
Curious at whom the assailant could be, she turned her head in the direction it came, and then her footsteps slowed, the crunching no less quiet beneath her. His head was turned away and that wide grin was filling out the tanned face of his, he bouncing like a child as he laughed. And she lowered her head, feeling bitter as she neared closer, wanting just a shred of the happiness he possessed.
She sighed, breath coming out in a cloud, chill creeping into her once more. She closed her gloveless fingers around the cup in her hand, yearning for more warmth, and crunched passed, his laughter filling her ears.
She bit her tongue, lowering her head even more, hoping – and yet not hoping – that he didn't recognize her.
Starting, she jerked to a stop, but unfortunately that sent the liquid in her still-full cup flying and all over her. Gasping, she dropped the contents and crouched down, tears pricking her vision as she buried her hands in the snow, whimpering weakly.
"Aw jeez," he murmured, and then he was crunching over to stand before her. And he was leaning down, digging out her hands, which burned now from both the heat and the cold, and avoided her eyes as he wrapped his somehow warm hands over hers.
"Didn't mean to startle you," he said softly, finally raising his eyes to meet hers. They sparkled, as she remembered – from the first meeting, of course – and she looked away, biting her lip.
"Here." And he pulled her to her feet as he rose, still holding her wounded hands. Hesitantly she looked back, and he was smiling so gently, so sincerely, that she had to shake her head and step away, shoving her throbbing hands into the depths of her pockets.
"Don't feel obligated to me," she murmured, turning her head to the side as she walked past him. "I'll survive."
"I don't understand," he said, rounding and falling into step next to her so easily. "Obligated?"
"Well obviously that's the reason. Why would a stranger like you talk to me otherwise? Don't worry, though," she added in sarcasm, "I won't sue."
In her peripheral vision, she saw him scratching his head. "Well, sure. I'm worried about your hands, and that was my fault, but why would I feel obligated to say hello to you?"
She winced and looked away, shrugging her shoulders. "I…"
"Hah!" he said, and she started, jerking her head to stare at him, wide-eyed. He gave a little laugh, too, tilting his head at her. "Ya see? No obligation. I just wanted to talk to you again."
"Weren't so welcome before, were you?" she muttered.
"Something about before…"
"Just drop it," she snapped, looking away.
But, as consequence, she walked into him after he had stepped into her way. Stumbling back, she eyes him incredulously, biting her lip at the sober expression on his face. She really hoped he wasn't too insulted.
She sighed and pressed a hand to her forehead. "Just forget it," she said, emphasizing each syllable in impatience. She was going to be late, and he wasn't helping by just standing there and not letting the past go.
Wow, not letting the past go. What a hypocrite she was, to judge like that.
"Nope," he said lightly, lip curling into the slightest of smiles. She stared at him yearningly, too, begging him to let up, but he only stared back with that soft gaze, and she was falling to pieces.
She knew when he left the warmth would go away, so she didn't want it to last too long. Might as well get it over with so that it wouldn't hurt so much when she was alone again.
"I dunno. Just…I saw you a month or so ago and you didn't even give me the time of day, just brushing past me like I was nothing. Stupid. I'm over it. Not like it matters. So can I please go?"
Hurt flashed over his face, but he offered a weak smile as he brushed back a strand of hair from her eyes, shocking her. "Sorry about that. I can't even remember it, either. I'm a jerk, huh?"
"Yeah, sure," she mumbled, bowing her head and sliding her hands out of her jacket. His hand trailed her cheek, so soft, and then he was holding her hands in his again, something meaning so much more than added warmth.
She smiled gently and met his stare in hesitance. The flush on his cheeks flared even more and he smiled tentatively back, a whole new kind of greeting in his eyes.
Late, coffee-less, and somehow warm, there was a whole new meaning on day sixty-one, having found him again.
Five months into the year, day one-twenty-four, had her curled up on a couch, giggling over childhood pictures of him. In the course of their – about – two months together, they'd had one awkward first date, five dates follow-up before he'd found the nerve to kiss her, one day when he'd brought her lunch – and had given an awkward smile to all the glares he'd received, which turned goofy when she rewarded him for even trying with a kiss on the lips – one fight over the remote control, one big fight over her work, and a lot of make-up kissing. He strolled in then, scratching his head awkwardly, short-sleeved shirt defining his chest well as his jacket lay behind, discarded in the kitchen. She looked up, pointed at him with a wide smile, and called him cute, and he blushed and stuttered and sat down beside her, taking the picture and then laughing over it.
"My cousin, Roxas," he said, pointing out the blonde she'd seen quite frequently after the "snowball fiasco". "His girlfriend, Olette," he said, pointing out her next to him. Yes, she remembered her, too. She quite liked the girl, actually. "Hayner and Pence," those were friends of Roxas.
"And the most important of all," she murmured, leaning into her arm and tracing her finger over her his image. He leaned into, whispering thank you into her hair with softness, and she tilted her head up and smiled, waiting for his lips to meet hers. They did, too, so gentle and loving that she didn't know how she'd ever lived without him before.
"Sora," she murmured against his lips when he pulled away, and he wrapped his arm around her waist, pulling her to him. She giggled and allowed him to settle her in his lap, giggling more often as he pressed his lips to her hair, the skin beneath her hair, her cheek, her neck. And his fingers tickled her sides so affectionately, she winding her fingers into his coarse strands as she leaned her forehead against his, laughter loud and hysterical. At last he gave in to grin and capture her lips once more, and she was breathless, head spinning in joy and warmth.
The spring breeze entered through the open window, and she felt warm still as she wrapped her arms tight around his neck, deepening the kiss.
Day one-twenty-four, month five upon meeting him, month two upon becoming an item, and she'd fallen in love.
Nine months, six months upon being together, day two-hundred-four, maybe. She didn't really want to count it, because it was all a misunderstanding, and he was walking away from her as she stood in the rain.
Riku had called, on the phone, talking to her in his soft voice, laughter reverberating in her ear. And he'd walked in on the "I love you, too" part, groceries slipping from his grasp, smile slipping as well. She'd jumped at the clatter, had turned around, and had held her hand to her mouth not because she was guilty of anything but because the hurt in his eyes was a bullet to her heart. She stumbled off the stool, pleading with him to listen, pleading with him to "don't walk away from me, don't walk away, Sora!" But he wouldn't listen. Tears were in his eyes as he slammed the bedroom door – their bedroom door – and started throwing things as she slid to the ground, crying into her knees. She hadn't even been able to wipe the wet bangs from his eyes, to press a kiss to his lips, to tell him she loved him. He'd had to walk in then, after she'd told Riku how happy she was, after she'd said she could see herself spending the rest of her life with the boy with blue, sparkling eyes and warm laughter.
Guess that wasn't much of a choice now, though.
Choking back a sob, she lifted her head a half an hour later, when the door creaked open and he walked past her, eyes straight ahead, back over his shoulder, tears still in his eyes. And she jumped up, screaming, clinging to his arm as he walked to the door, never saying a word.
His silence hurt the most.
He walked out the door, down the stairs, and into the street, where the rain fell and created a grey overcast in the warm spring weather. And she was cold, crying and screaming after him, pleading for him to come back, begging him to just listen to her. But he didn't look back and she fell to her knees, sobbing uncontrollably as the rain washed over her.
Day two-hundred-four, eleven a.m., the start of a happy day, became the end of her happiness.
One year, five days, maybe three months after he'd disappeared without a phone call or address, had her stumbling bleary and worked to the bone to find him sitting there, head in his hands, paper at his elbows. Her breath caught, and she thought about walking out, but the door swung shut and the sound caught his attention, so that their gazes locked and he wasn't looking away.
Tentatively she raised a hand to her chest, lip quivering, and then he was stumbling out of his seat, rushing to her, wrapping his arms around her. She choked, gasped back tears, and apologized over and over into his ear, telling him it was a misunderstanding, that she would never take advantage of him like that. And his sobs tore at her fragile heart, his fingers twisting into her red strands as he kissed away her tears, kissed her forehead, her lips, her neck as he kept repeating how happy he was for that, how happy he was to see her.
She took his hands and smiled, leading him out of the coffee shop, onto the sidewalk, and his arms were around her waist almost immediately, holding her as they walked back to the home that was once theirs and would be theirs again hopefully. At the doors she turned, stood on the tips of her toes, and kissed him full on the lips, holding his face in her hands so that she could be sure he wouldn't disappear. And he seemed to have no intention of disappearing, because he guided through those doors, up the stairs, and into their room, kissing her lovingly, affectionately, and just how she remembered him.
And he guided her to their bed – their bed – where their clothes were lost and so was the blame as they became tangled in the bed sheets and each other.
Day three-hundred-seventy, she fell in love again.
One o'clock in the morning, day three-hundred-seventy-one, she awoke to see him still there, slumbering peacefully in the quiet of the night, sheets pulled down to reveal his tanned chest rising and falling. And tears pricked her eyes in happiness as she sat up, leaning over, and brushed her lips over his forehead, searching in the darkness of the sheets for one of his hands, still carelessly gloved. She smiled at that, burying her face into his neck, loving how forgetful he was, how there he was. And he stirred underneath her, mumbling blearily as he touched her hair, rubbing his fingers sluggishly through the strands, as he always loved to do.
She kissed his cheek softly, curling into his side, letting her fingers trail across his skin. And he mumbled again, smiling curving on his lips as her name was sighed out. She blushed and tucked herself into the groove of his body, feeling right, feeling at home, feeling complete again for the first time in too long.
Day three-hundred-seventy-one, not even beginning, having just been born as they lay in each others arms. And she felt whole again, body intertwined, fingers intertwined, and heart intertwined with his.
One year, three months, three-hundred-ninety seven days, and she quit her job, finding no love in it, as she never had. And he was there still, arms open as she ran out, grinning foolishly in the winter sunshine, no matter how cold it was. His breath rushed out in a cloud as she launched into his arms, and he laughed and spun her around, making promises to her that she'd find a better job, be the best at it, and accomplish all the dreams she'd always wanted.
But really, she didn't want that, already caught up in the dream she never thought she'd have, the dream that was him.
Giggling as he set her down, she sent her fingers through his longer locks of hair, smiling brightly and kissing him hard against the lips. His hand rested against her hip affectionately, and he whispered sweet things into her ear when they pulled away, not wanting to let go. They were so much closer now, and as she cling to his shirt, looking into his bright face and returning his cheerful smile, she couldn't imagine a world without him. He brushed his lips over her forehead, laughing something against her skin, and she moved her hands to encircle around his body, crushing herself against him. Arching her neck back, she met his lips again, ignoring the spectators and the people grumbling as they passed through the doors around them.
Day four-hundred-seven, in the arms of the only man she could ever love, she didn't mind being a hypocrite.
One year, six months, four-hundred-twenty-five days exactly, they were eating dinner in the kitchen, lightning acting as their candlelight. And he was jittery for some reason, fiddling with his napkin and staring at his plate more than her. She shot him adoring, amused smiles all the time, unable to help her smile at his attitude.
He was so unpredictable and odd it made her want to laugh, but she was kind…for him, at least.
He was folding his napkin into triangles as she finished up the steak on her plate, arching a brow at him when he glanced up quickly. And he looked away, mumbling something she couldn't hear, folding the napkin tighter still, forever fidgeting. She couldn't help her giggle as she shoved the fork into her mouth again, and he shot her an uneasy smile.
That was when the alarms went off.
Placing her fork down, she stared at him hard, not wanting another fight. Granted, the make-up was always wonderful, but the clash of heads they'd had just a week before still left her stomach in knots.
"Sora?" she prodded politely, folding her hands in her lap.
He jolted up, sitting stiff and as though the lightning outside had shot right through him. She tilted her head in question and he scratched the back of his head, looking away from her and to the window.
"Kairi…" he began, and faltered.
He looked back at her, smiling a little easier, eyes soft with that "I know" expression in their eyes. And she smiled easily back, encouraging him on.
"Well…we've been together a long time…"
The thunder crashed outside, and she jumped, momentarily sending her gaze toward the weather outside. It was quite a mess, the rain coming in sheets, the thunder often lighting up the dark gray of the night sky. She bit her lip, hoping it wouldn't last too long, and then let out a sigh.
Of course it would, just to spite her.
Closing her eyes, she contained herself and then reopened them, turning her head back to Sora. But her gaze didn't reach his seat because he was there, grinning a little wider now, on his knee with a velvet box for her.
Day four-hundred-twenty-five, Sora proposed with the simple words "Will you marry me?"
And she, with tears in her eyes, said yes.
So long and so different. Oh well.