Slow the World, So I Can Run
Pre-KH2, post-CoM. Spoilers. Prompt: 'gold, riku, roxas,' requested by pandamneris.

Do you remember that old game we used to play? About the island, back when we couldn't figure out how it'd stay in place instead of floating away. You and I, we'd take paper boats down to the ocean and try to keep them between our arms. It was a sport, seeing how long it would take before the water would drag the boats underneath and away.

When we tried to ask our parents why that happened, they just gave us the lecture about tides. About how nothing actually stands still -- the world turns, and everything turns with it. That water runs around land. That the island is only an island because the ocean defines it; that otherwise, we'd just see a cliff or a valley instead, some bump in the horizon.

They told us how the water makes the shape of the land.

I remembered that, just like I remembered how the land makes the shape of the sky.

I figured that all the talk made you bored, except that afterwards -- after we finished racing the boats and then crumpled them up and threw them at each other -- you said something about stopping the world from turning. You said, someone could move as fast as they'd ever want to, if the rest of the world slowed down instead.

We laughed, back then. We didn't think about it.

Your hair was gold when you were young. Really young, I mean -- I didn't know you at that age, I just saw it in the pictures that your mother kept on the shelves of your house, the ones she'd bring down when I came over for caramel corn and Kairi would ask if you stole all the whipped cream out of the fridge and that's why there wasn't any to put on the hot chocolate and anyway. I'm. Rambling.

But your hair was gold when you were a kid. Mine was supposedly blue when I came out, real light like powder, but it lightened. Yours became darker. All that gold was hidden away underneath the brown, like lacquer on wood. Layers and layers, stacking up.

I didn't think about that either until I saw Roxas in Twilight Town.

It's weird how I never lost my heart. I was the one who jumped headfirst into Darkness, while you and Kairi fought against it. I let it take me. I let it in. But after everything broke down, it was you and Kairi who ended up with Nobodies running around, and I just ended up with someone else waiting inside my skin. I had an extra heart added, instead of one stolen away.

And now he's part of me, or maybe just his Darkness, just like your hearts and your Nobodies are supposed to merge together to form a seamless whole. That's the theory, at least. You guys get Nobodies. I get Ansem.

Nobodies are supposed to be a part of us. Another half, lying hidden beneath until our hearts are taken away and they end up with -- what? With what? Memories, some of the time. Personality? That's a good question.

DiZ says that Roxas has your powers. That he's the reason you haven't recovered your memories yet. That he, and everyone like him, is just half of a real person. Like an object.

For an object, he's pretty active. He laughs all afternoon with his friends, plays tag on skateboards. He eats ice cream like it's his very first time. Maybe it is. He smiles and he jokes and sometimes he gets quiet, really quiet, more like the person I fought in the rain of the City That Didn't Belong. That's when I wonder if I might have met him before. Back in the hundred times we'd play on the beach, and you'd lie in the sand exhausted after I beat you at wooden swords -- and your eyes would have that look in them, the one I never bothered to ask about.

Maybe I should have.

Roxas's hair is gold in the light. Yours was brown.

This is not your childhood, Sora. These are not your childhood friends. Should I be jealous of what your Nobody is doing, playing around like he's a kid with no care in the world? Should I be jealous of the people he hangs out with? From what DiZ claims, if I want to get you back, I have to get rid of Roxas. Get rid of this part of you that isn't enough of a part to keep around.

Time's running out. The numbers roll on the computer screens. Your memory is returning, strung together by Namine while she works with Roxas's proximity to guide her. What Roxas does to pass the time in this imaginary town won't matter. Doesn't matter, can't. His world has stopped. The rest of us are racing on.

I keep spying on him anyway.

Should I destroy this because what we had is worth more -- because, like DiZ says, what we have is real?

If the situation were reversed, would you have looked at my Nobody like I look at Roxas, wondering what I might have missed over the years?

I don't have the answers. At this rate, I won't have them either, not when it'll become important to decide -- when these questions will be asked by more people than just myself. And I keep thinking now -- I think too much -- about the way that we can't make some things come to a halt.

If islands could drift away on the ocean, then at least they'd keep up with the tides and the sky. But they're stuck in place watching, and our paper boats slip further away.