Author's note: This one was written for Anne3448, who gave me the setting and pairing (which she was rather specific had to be subtle, unofficial, and unspoken) as well as the prompt word. She has been with me since I started Duo, my first KH fanfic. In addition, she is the only one who offers vegan baked-goods as a bribe, which I love. Thanks for sticking with me, Anne3448, I hope you like this!
Riku left the computer room and DiZ without a word.
He had come to expect the unexpected whenever the enigmatic man summoned him, but he still had been surprised by the explanation the man presented, and the task he claimed needed to be fulfilled.
Sora had a Nobody. Sora had turned into a Heartless.
It must have happened after Xehanort's heartless possessed him.
Now, Sora needed his Nobody is order to be whole again.
Riku had decided long before that he would do whatever it took to save Sora, and he would.
Riku had also beaten members of the Organization before, and faced terrors far worse than anything they could dish out.
So, why did he have this sinking feeling in his stomach now? What was he so afraid of?
The boy continued walking without paying any attention to where he was going. Not that he could see where he was going anyway.
He fingered the blindfold on his face as he wondered how much longer he would have to live in the dark…would have to live with lies.
The silver-haired boy stopped walking just before he would have collided with a door. It seemed his unseeing eyes had led to him to a destination after all.
He raised a hand and knocked once. There was a short pause before he heard the door open and felt a gust of cool air rush out.
"Riku," said a gentle voice. It always made him long for the sound of the waves back home for some reason.
"Do you want to come in?" asked Naminè as she waited on the other side of the threshold.
"Thanks," Riku answered before entering. He heard Naminè close the door behind him and then return to the long table in the centre of the room.
Riku had never actually seen this room; however, he knew it must be bright because it was the only place where some light broke through the thick cloth of his blindfold. It did not hurt the way he thought it would though.
The now familiar sound of pencils scratching paper broke the silence.
"I'm guessing you know about Roxas?" asked Riku.
"Is that what you're worried about?" Naminè asked instead of answering the question. Riku took this to mean that she did know of the other Nobody.
He decided to answer her, even though he did not really want to. "Who said I was worried about something?"
She gave a soft chortle. "Your eyes aren't the part of you that has trouble lying; just the most obvious."
"Hmm… I don't know what the problem is…" Riku answered honestly. "I just have a bad feeling about this. I hope it helps Sora."
"He's not the only one in danger you know," commented Naminè. "He isn't the only one who's important either."
Without responding, Riku turned and starting walking the length of one of the room's bright walls. It was practically covered in drawings. Somehow, when he ran his hand over them, he could tell what they depicted.
He could feel a pair of eyes following his movements, but they did not make him uncomfortable the way any other pair did as of late.
"Come here," Naminè said gently, and he turned and headed toward her voice.
Once he reached the table, she stood and closed the distance between them. Then, she took one of his hands and guided it over some of the newer drawings she had on the surface of the table.
Riku almost withdrew his hand when images of his possession by Xehanort's Heartless and the terrible events that followed flashed in his mind's eye. He did not, however, because he knew Naminè was not doing this to hurt him…the girl always had a strange way of explaining things.
Suddenly, his hand came across a drawing that represented a unique and almost hypnotizing combination of light and darkness. "What is this?"
"It's your heart," Naminè answered simply, as though seeing a visual representation of one's heart were a normal occurrence…of course, to the little white witch, that might have been true.
Riku could hear the smile in Naminè's voice when she continued. "During all that time when you were with Maleficent, when you were possessed, when you were lost in the darkness…you're heart always stayed the same."
"I'm not sure if that's a comfort or not," he replied.
"It should be," she responded confidently. "Sora's heart, and everyone whose heart was connected to it, has changed since your journey started…except for yours. It's kept its balance. Everyone thinks a heart with too much darkness is flawed, but too much light is just as bad."
The girl released his hand and returned to her drawing as he pondered everything she had just said. It occurred to Riku that he was accepting advice about hearts from a being that supposedly did not have one.
He could not bring himself to care about that alleged detail very much at the moment.
The boy doubted that even DiZ fully understood the workings of the heart. Naminè was kind, understanding, and fair, which was more than Riku could say for any of his other recent acquaintances. If he was going to accept anyone's perspective on his heart, it was hers.
Riku thought over the relatively few people he had actually met and communicated with over the past year. Sora, it seemed, had made friends all over the worlds in the time since they left their islands. Riku had met far less people, and Naminè was the only one he had actually befriended. The young Nobody was also the only one besides Sora that he would miss if he never could fully return to the realm of light.
"What are you going to do after Sora wakes and we take care of the Organization?"
The pencil scratches stopped momentarily, and Riku had a mental image of the girl tilting her head in thought. He wondered if she actually did that.
"You could go back to the islands with Sora," Riku suggested. "You and Kairi would get along really well, I think."
"What about you?"
Riku turned his face away. He could still feel her eyes on him.
The smile returned to her voice, even if a little more subtle. "It would be nice to have someone I know there…and you can't stay in the shadows forever."
"Sure…ruin my plans," Riku said in a mock-wounded tone.
Naminè giggled, and then the pencil scratching started again. Riku realized he never received a proper answer, but he decided the witch's future was probably as uncertain as his own was.
He couldn't help but think of what it would be like if they all did return to the islands together. "That would be nice though," he said quietly.
"Yeah," Naminè agreed from across the table, "It would."
Riku noticed another drawing pushed aside. It was of him and Naminè, standing alone together beside the chamber that Sora slept in. He knew why it was set aside. It would suffer the same fate as all of the other drawings in which the girl included herself.
For some reason, she did not like any of those drawings, and would either scratch herself out or destroy the entire thing, whether it was necessary to chain Sora's memories back together or not.
He picked up the drawing delicately, as if it mattered if he smudged it...because to him, it did.
"Can I keep this one?"
He heard the blonde look up to see which 'one' he meant. He got the impression she was surprised he wanted that particular drawing.
He felt her eyes move over him again. First, she took in the drawing, then Riku's face.
"Sure," she said, her voice warm with a smile, which he returned softly.
Riku folded the sketch delicately and tucked it inside his coat…against the heart that balanced light and darkness.
"I should leave," he said softly. "I have a long way to go."
The pencil scratches stopped again. "Be careful, Riku…and remember to trust in your heart."
"You too," he answered over his shoulder with a small smile on his way out of the room.
He heard her breath catch in the room behind him as the faint light that penetrated his blindfold faded away.
He understood why that comment would affect her so, but as far as he was concerned, the girl had more heart than anyone else he had met in the past year.
Why else would his own lead him to her whenever he needed reassurance of its allegiance?
In any case, it was good to have someone who cared again…someone who accepted him, darkness and light.