A/N: I really hope you guys who read this find it at least partially enjoyable. I've never really been one to share my work, but I really hope that at least one other person doesn't think this is a waste of time.
by: Panda Ru
Chapter One: Acceptance of Fate
Sora smiled as he studied the drawing he was working on, only half finished... He frowned as he knew he'd have to pick up his pace in order to finish the piece on time.
So far it made him smile. Riku was standing there, holding out the star-shaped fruit to the one he was hoped to bind their destinies together with the taste of paupu fruit. Sora's smile turned into a reminiscent sad smile as he worked on the other half, filling in his best friends' light, his other best friend Kairi.
Knowing of Sora's artistic talent, it was Selphie's idea for the drawing. Tidus had been hesitant to agree with his girlfriend, knowing that Sora was still slightly disheartened seeing the silver-headed warrior sweep the berry haired girl off her feet. Most were either oblivious or turned a blind eye to Sora's slightly despondent smile when the three of them were together anymore. Being the third wheel was nothing less than miserable for the teen... but still, the over exuberant brunette pushed for the drawing with the idea of giving them the fruit itself as their one year anniversary gift.
The two had almost immediately started dating after their return to normality from the trials of Kingdom Hearts, and though both Key blade masters were happy to be home, one still remained withdrawn and much more subdued than he was at the beginning of the journey. Even Sora's mother had started to become more and more worried as the once extraverted ball of energy wore a melancholic smile as he faced each day.
In the depths of electric blue eyes, there was an overwhelming sense of brokenness. Both Riku and Kairi had approached him about it, but he merely shrugged off their worries each time with a mask of a smile and assured them he was fine. The two love bird teens would share a worried glance, but otherwise try not to push their friend even farther away. Hopefully Sora would talk to them about it when he was ready.
With the drawing nearly completed, Sora looked up to see Kairi and Riku headed his way, hand in hand. He hid the drawing out of sight in his sketch book as they neared, calling to him.
"Hey guys," Sora smiled at them, hiding the pain in the depths of his soul.
"Sora, where have you been? We've been wondering where you were hiding all day." Her voice bubbly fluted, her eyes held a happiness at seeing a real smile from him.
He smiled sheepishly, hoping to come up with a good enough excuse, "Yeah, well I've been busy." He gave a mischievous smile at his silver haired friend, "and I'm sure the two love birds could use some time alone... Hmm?"
"SORA!!!" The brunet turned tail smiling as his best friend gave chase. Riku wasn't as mad as he let on, and was actually pleased that Sora was beginning to act more like his old happy self. It eventually turned into a dual with the old wooden swords on their own little battle island, as Selphie had once pegged it, which eventually developed into a wrestling match, Riku happily torturing the younger by holding him down and tickling him.
Kairi laughed at their antics, watching as all signs of looming gloom dissipated from the blue eyed boy. She smiled, Sora was still Sora as his off days grew further and fewer between. His lighthearted personality was finally working through the clouds that haunted his sky. Sora was a beacon of light to all those who knew him, and apparently he was nearly shining as brightly before.
Riku and Kairi had assumed he was still haunted by darkness, worrying when he'd be called away to fulfill the keyblade's destiny once again. The tribulations that followed him home left a heavy load for one kid to bear.
As the sun was finally starting to set, the three decided it time to head back to the main island, Sora watched as Riku rowed the double boat for him and Kairi. He smiled, he could get the drawing done in time for their party by tomorrow. It was nice being just the three of them together again. It wasn't Riku and Kairi with Sora tagging along, for the briefest moment it was just Kairi and Riku and Sora. Just as how it always had been.
He knew it wouldn't stay that way forever, especially when Riku and Kairi finally intertwined their destinies. That was why Sora knew it was time for him to grow up. He knew he couldn't hold on to the belief that things were always perfect forever, but a part of him was still wishful, just one more day and perhaps he would have the courage to finally move on. Fate certainly wasn't waiting on him, and with Riku and Kairi and Tidus and Selphie, it was still just Sora. He'd have to work on changing that.
He fell asleep once again dreaming of the one he wished could be entwining their destiny with him.
:-:-: beep beep beep beep :-:-:
Sora rolled over deciding to turn off the immensely irritating sound in order to get back to sleep. He groaned when he remembered why he set the early alarm. Tidus, Selphie and him were putting the finishing touches to the plans for the surprise party for Kairi and Riku's one year anniversary.
Almost everything was in place by the early afternoon. The couple in question could be seen down at the beach wading in the shallow waves, once again hand in hand.
Sora, Tidus, and Selphie had finished decorating for the small one year anniversary party to be held early that evening, in time to get done early enough for the couple to have some real alone time. Sora smiled slightly as Riku and Kairi approached, both obviously wanting to know what was going on.
The five teens went on about random things, the who's who and newest gossip that was flittering around the main island.
Three avoided anything about plans for the rest of the day while Kairi chatted away about how romantic she hoped her future wedding would be. Riku raised an eyebrow at the subject and rolled his eyes but didn't want to stop her from dreaming, she could talk about it if she wanted to today. Usually he would have said something about still being too young to even think of marriage, and asked her if she had an early death wish just to tease her. That was when Riku noticed Sora, standing at the other side of the group, nodding his head as if pretending to listen, but that blank expression on his face told Riku otherwise.
Sora's eyes were almost glistening, he studied them a moment more before Sora noticed the intense gaze of being analyzed. He put on a grin so fake to smile at Riku, it looked as though his face would break.
Selphie stated that she had to get back to what she was previously doing, and promptly drug the brunet and blonde boys away. Kairi laughed at the antics, but Riku found himself truly more worried for the brunet that what he had ever been.
The silver haired teen sighed in deep reflection. He finally noticed that Kairi was trying to get his attention.
"So, what's got you so tied up in there?" She slightly giggled as she lightly thumped his forehead. "Seemed like the world was revolving without you for a minute." Her bright smile slightly faltered as she noticed her joking didn't ease any of the tension. Apparently he had been thinking about something deep.
He shocked her with the quick, unexpected response, "Do you think Sora's really ok? I mean seeing him today, he just seemed so..." Worry laced the words concerning his closest friend. Him and Sora had been so remarkably close at one point or another, but now, there was a thick tension and looking into the bright blue eyes that so closely resembled the brunet's, Riku realized when Sora first started to slip into the depression.
"Kairi, do you really think Sora is ok with us being together?" Those words alone shook the berry haired girl. If she was truthful with herself, she'd be able to understand, but the three of them weren't kids anymore. Sora seemed so much older now, and Riku was still the quite and mysterious one, he had greatly been humbled by the darkness, vowing to stow away his pride, in hope of light.
"Riku, I really don't know. I mean, what can we do? Even if he does have a problem with it, would that keep us from loving each other?" Riku sighed heavily. He cared a great deal about his friendship with the brunet, but was it worth the love? He honestly couldn't ever see himself weighing the two, and Kingdom Hearts had proved it. Though he was willing to do anything to get Kairi's heart back, he was sure as hell going to see that nothing came to harm Sora after he finally saw how much the blue eyed boy meant to him. He gave himself to darkness, but was it really for Kairi. Of all the thought's that plagued him the most while he traveled through the realms of darkness, it was wondering of what would Sora think? Not Kairi, but Sora.
"Kairi, I just don't know anymore. I care about you both so much, and it kills me to think that I'm hurting my best friend like this." Kairi stared into the depths of pale aqua eyes, shocked to see the beginnings of tears. His voice was so thoughtful, so broken, "I mean I lov-" Riku's heart stopped dead for a second. He couldn't finish the sentence, spoken before thought out, his eyes wide and full of sorrow and fear.
Kairi smiled sympathetically. "I know Riku, I love you too. I just don't know what to do about Sora." Riku looked lost, slightly shaking his head in denial. The weight of everything hitting him full force, all at once. Just as she was standing on her tippy-toes waiting for the kiss, she jerked back as she heard the scream of horror.
Sora and Tidus were being dragged against their will by the extremely hyper brunette. Selphie was talking so fast that it was starting to give Sora a head ache from trying to follow it.
"SO all we really have left to do, is pretty much just get the paopu. Everything else is set. Kairi and Riku are going to be SO surprised!"
"Selph, don't you think that this is too much? I mean, aren't Riku and Kairi supposed to decide to do this on their own? What if they aren't ready?" Sora's arguments, though they made perfect sense, fell on the deaf ears of his current captive.
"Pfft. Sora, Riku and Kairi were just made for each other, I mean seriously. I'm shocked he hasn't asked her to marry her or something. Surely they're ready for this."
Tidus noticed the immediate change in Sora's posture. He wasn't the same gentle Sora everyone knew. There was a hardness in his eyes, but still so deeply hurt he looked as though he could have broken down there right then. Sora didn't verbally respond, but was still fighting with everything he had. His effort went unseen save for one.
Once they reached the paopu tree that bent off the side of the island, the fruit out above the water, Selphie turned to the boys. She gave them a big grin, "So, which one of you wants to get the fruit?"
Sora contemplated everything for just an eternal second. He really did love Riku. He had spent so much time searching for him, just to save him from the darkness, only for him to be with Kairi. 'I'm being selfish, aren't I? If I truly love Riku, then I want him to be happy, even if it's with Kairi.'
After what seemed a moments hesitation to the other two, Sora smiled and volunteered.
He actually smiled as he volunteered. He felt a great weight lift off him in that moment, he could finally accept that Riku's heart belong to Kairi, and with that, there was peace. He smiled. Selphie was actually right, getting the paopu fruit for Riku would make him happy, and Sora would be the one to do it.
He'd have to balance walk on the thick part of the trunk out to the fruit, no problem with the grace of a keyblade master, this was nothing.
Selph and Tidus watched as Sora smiled slightly sadly standing on the trunk of the tree, looking at the fruit. He walked slowly towards the branches over the water, the thickness of the trunk nothing to worry about until a few more steps.
Sora put one foot in front of the other as the base narrowed, and as he drew closer and closer to the fruit, his mind became doubtful. Even if he didn't stand the slightest chance at having Riku's heart, wouldn't he want the get the fruit himself as a special gift for Kairi? He swayed a second and barely registered Tidu's urgent warning.
His fingers brushed along the fruit just slightly still out of reach.
Having to remind himself once more of all the reasons he was doing this his feet one in front of the other, he faltered ever so slightly on the slimmer part of the trunk, twirled his arms for balance and completely lost it as tears stung his eyes.
Tidus was slightly relieved to hear Sora volunteer to get the fruit. He had a bad feeling about this in the first place, but the smile that graced Sora's face was one of pure ease. In that one moment, it didn't look fake or forced, and though he could still see a slight darkness to his eyes, they looked contented, like acceptance of fate could finally shine through.
Selphie was giggling giddily hoping to be able to hold a piece of the sacred star shaped fruit soon. Paopu fruit seemed almost always to grow in inaccessible places. They were meant only for those who were serious to tie their fate to one they loved, and their positions to grow were meant to dissuade any who wished to have the fruit to themselves.
He watched as Sora easily jumped onto the trunk with a grace honed by years of war. Sora seemed to have become less sure of his footing as he reached the branches of the tree.
"Sora, be careful. Ok?" Selph had turned to smile at Tidus as if to say there was no reason for the hasty warning, but to the horror of the both, the saw their friend stumble just enough to lose his footing as he came in reach of the fruit.
Sora felt himself being pulled. It was like no matter how much he reached for the fruit, it was never going to be in his grasp. Tears stung his eyes as he felt himself fall. It was like the world was spinning in slow motion as nothing made sense in that one moment that seemed to have lasted for an eternity as he saw the trunk of the tree come up to greet him.
All he could see was black, his head felt like it was exploding as he felt himself fall. He would never even feel the slash of water that was caused when he broke the calm surface of the near shore surf.
Tidus and Selphie watched in horror. They saw the graceful warrior fall forward hitting his head on the tree trunk before he fell to the surface of water below him. Both were frozen in silent terror gripped by disbelief to act for a single eternal second.
It wasn't until a limp body hit the water below did anything register. Selphie and Tidus could see blood tainting the once crystal like blue water. "SORA!" Tidus was jumping to pull a lifeless form to the surface.
And it wasn't until then did a high pitched screem of panic echo throughout the island. It fell on the ears of the island's inhabitants, nay for the one. Tidus was swimming to the shore of the larger island, trying to keep the head of brown spikes above the water. Just as he was pulling an unconscious Sora to the sand, checking heatedly for any sign of life in the teen.
Neither of the witnesses of the accident were surprised to see their other two friends in a full-out run. Riku's eyes widened in shock and horror as he watched Tidu drag a limp Sora to the beach.
Selphie was running towards them from the other side, having ran across the brigde and into the sand. Riku didn't even worry about waiting for Kairi as he rushed to the side of his best friend.
"Tidus? What happened?" His breathless plea for info fell on panic-stricken ears.
"He... he fell. I... I don't think he's breathing..." Out of breath and swallowing sobs, Tidus moved away as Riku crouched beside Sora. He covered the gash on his forehead with one hand and searched for a pulse with the other, trying to remain calm when none appeared to be present.
Kairi was in tears at seeing the state of her best friend. His hair hung limp around an ashen white face, and a look too emotionless to ever describe Sora painted on the pale face only served to scare her further.
"Kai! Help me... Just... try to stop the bleeding as much as possible." She settled on Sora's other side, trying to keep the wound covered as much as possible as Riku tilted the teen's head back and held the nose shut to begin trying to resuscitate their companion. Riku breathed into the body remembering lessons of CPR from health class.
He checked for a pulse before starting compressions against the younger boy's chest. He checked again before starting the repeat of breaths into the unconscious teen. Tears formed in his eyes as he fought to keep hope and his friend alive. He repeated the process of pumps and breaths again growing frantic at the lack of response. He'd be damned if he gave up... He'd do this all night, knowing that Sora was too young to die... Damn IT! How could he do this to him? He loved Sora!
It wasn't until he grew exhausted and breathless himself in the fifth round of it, and hearing both Kairi and Selphie crying and Tidus sniffling did he get any response. Water could be heard gurgling out with a frantic choke. Riku looked down in time to see blue eyes look around bewilderedly before fluttering closed again. Damn! Sora had taken a severe blow to the head, how could he have forgotten about that?
"We have to get out of here, NOW!" He picked Sora up bridal style before heading as quickly, but safely as he could. Kairi and the other's fell into step at a run behind him. "KAI! I need you to try and keep Sora awake and his head covered on the way back." He laid Sora down in the double boat hoping it would last with the weight of a third, as he stripped off his shirt and tossed it at the girl carefully climbing it. "Use that for a bandage, we can't have that wound bleed too much!"
Kairi only nodded, still breathless and not trusting her voice anyways, they heard Tidus call out a "Be careful!", and Selphie still crying as Riku set a pace faster than he had ever rowed before.
Kairi and Riku both looked down as the heard Sora groan and a ragged, groggy voice, "Where am I?"
Kairi did her best, whispering sweet comforts to him as eyes gazed at her unfocused in a daze. He groaned as he clutched his head, the constant motion edging his nerves. Riku had probably set a record speed for one man rowing to the main land, hurriedly docking, and not worrying too much about the tie down as he once again pulled the younger male into his arms set on his purpose.
A few of the fishermen docking for lunch saw the three teens and the state of the injured one as the trio pulled up next to the dock.
One of them called out to call an ambulance as they moved the three of them to the main road. Minutes seemed to last for eternity for Riku as he nearly collapsed from all the emotions within the last half hour. Sora was once again unconscious but still breathing evenly this time. It only took a whole five minutes for the ambulance to arrive, stating that one of them needed to go with them, as Riku volunteered. Tidus would soon be here at the docks and would comfort Kairi then. He'd be damned if he didn't go with Sora.
The paramedic rushed to stabilize Sora as much as possible as they began to question Riku for an explanation. What had happened?
"So kid, what happened? We need to know as much as we can to help him."
"I... I don't know, I... I was w-walking on th-the bea-ch with Kai, an' w-we h-heared S-Selph-ie sc-ream. The nex' th-thing we s-see i-is Ti-dus drag-gin' Sor-ra t-to the bea-ch. H-had t-ta g-ive CPR." They moved to keep the brunet with them as the other nearly sobbed out the story.
The rest of the trip was a silent prayer to Riku after they asked all the crucial information about names, parents, and other injuries. Sora was steadily fading away. It wasn't until they pulled next to the emergency entrance did the cost of everything hit him full force in the chest. One of the paramedics had called out a code black, cardiac arrest.
Riku stood there until of the nurses ushered him to a waiting room. He shook his head in denial. After everything Sora had survived, this was his end? Sora was the KEYBLADE MASTER... someone far too strong to fall to a simple accident, he was the chosen warrior, and it just couldn't end like this.
He looked up hearing the commotion, Kairi, Tidus, and Selphie had finally arrived, as had Sora's mother.
Her tears falling from blue eyes that were so different, yet so similar to the teens'. First dealing with her son's disappearance, and now this? She never gave up hope that Sora was coming back, even though so many of her friends stated that he was just another delinquent teen, a runaway, she knew Sora would never leave like that. And finally, he showed up again, in tears as he hugged her and mumbled apology after apology. He looked so beaten, it broke her heart to see that in his eyes.
She learned bits and pieces of what happened, but there was so much her son thought he had to bear himself, keeping the darkest secrets and hardest trials locked in his heart, and it was killing him. The darkness in his eyes could be seen as he weighed his heart down with the lumbered his heart with such.
She refused to give up the hope that Sora would overcome this as well. He was just too special to her, the only thing in her life that kept her going at this point, he was her light.
Ok, well there's the first chapter, and for those of you who've made it reading this far, I'd really appreciate it if you'd tell me what you think of it so far. I know it seems a bit rushed in places, but I thought the fast pace could set the feeling the frantic emotions. Anyways, I'll have the next chapter up as soon as it's finished.
Oh and by the way, this was written without being proofread by anyone else, so feel free to mention any typical spelling errors. If anyone is interested in proofreading it, I'd appreciate that as well.