Disclaimer: I disclaim

Teaser: Kairi's life without her

Author's Notes: really angst-filled KH2 fic. In the vein of 20facts from over at livejournal. So don't let the timeline confuse you! Just look at the roman numberals.

/fiat lux/

sometimes Kairi wakes up in the middle of night, when the moon is high, and she thinks she hears the quiet breathing of darkness (Riku tells her that the darkness is suffocating, but he's wrong because all he's ever known is the bad kind of darkness). Then, after a moment or two of listening, she knows she's imaging things.

but she picks herself up from bed and creeps down the hallway of her house to find Sora in the tiny room at the end of hall, his voice soothing in the darkness. Kairi presses herself up against the doorframe and stares, hardly daring to breathe, as if they both will disappear if she does

what none of them will ever know was that Riku was not the first one to be offered the Keyblade. Kairi was, four days after she arrived on Destiny Island. It's there in her hand, pulled out from the air like it has never been anywhere else, and she thinks of darkness and death and castles made of metal and she says no, I don't want it and then it's gone from her.

When Sora shows her his, she only remembers it in the vaguest sense, and it's easy to ignore

she never tells Sora, but Kairi's first kiss was from Axel. And she forgives Axel for it because later she realized that he had only kissed her because she was connected to Sora and Sora was connected to Roxas and sometimes it doesn't matter if a person isn't exactly what you want so long as they got pieces of what you need.

that was why Axel told Sora he was sorry (Sora told her about it a while after he came back home). Not because Saix caught her, but because he kissed her in some half-formed desperation to touch what he loved one last time

she never tells Sora she kissed Axel back, too

Riku moves in with her sometime after Trithe is born. Rumors fly, of course (Riku doesn't marry her, he stills goes out on dates, and Kairi never says who the real father is) but Kairi doesn't care because Riku holds her hair and rubs her back and takes Trithe to the park when it's sunny and warm

but they both quietly decide that Riku should find his own place the first time Trithe calls him "papa"

she knew it would happen, that news would leek out whether Tidus meant it to or not, but what she doesn't expect is to find Tidus' face bloodied from his broken, pitiful nose and Sora looking ready to do more damage, with Riku not far behind

when Sora sees her, he looks at her like he doesn't know who she is

she wants to go with Sora and Riku when Mickey calls them two years after they get back home. She's so tired of waiting and worrying and forgetting, but Sora says that she can't and she nearly summons up her keyblade to show that him she can but it won't do any good and they leave without her again, promising to come back

that's when she first begins to feel just the hint of weariness from being promised over and over again

Sora comes home when Kairi's twenty-three and she knows long before she sees him. Destiny Islands seems so much more… more when he's on it, like it's suddenly filled with light

but this time she doesn't go running after him. She stays where she is and she watches Trithe ooh and aah at the seashells. Trithe feels Sora, too, because he keeps looking down the long stretch of sand, as if expecting to see a man he's never met before

Riku brings Sora to them on the beach, but she still doesn't turn to face him, even as Trithe points and questions. Instead she stares into the sea and fights down tears that she's nearly convinced herself she's done shedding

Riku and Sora talk about other worlds and how sometimes they miss the adventure, the thrill of this, and they smile at Kairi and assure her that they don't want to leave (not really, really) but she knows they both think she can't really understand that urge. That urge to just go, just run and chase down nightmares and fight and bleed and die

what they don't know is that every night since they have come back, Kairi slips into the Secret Place to press her ear against the door and listen to the thump thump thump of Kingdom Hearts

"Did you?" Sora demands and doesn't need to elaborate further. Kairi's been waiting for this question for the last two weeks (Sora ran, ran to Mickey and the Keyblade, and destiny and made Kairi mad and hateful and why doesn't he just stay with me?), ever since she saw that look in his eyes, and she knows

She could lie, and nearly did (no, no, those are just awful rumors, did you really think I'd do that? don't leave me please) but instead she tells him, "Yes." And then, as his anger rises, "I can't wait forever, Sora."—

there is a quiet cry from the room down the hall, but that's all Kairi's mother senses need as she wakes herself up

this time, for the first time, there is a warm hand on her naked thigh and Sora says quietly into the darkness, "I'll get him," and for the first time Kairi thinks that he's not going to go anywhere after all

she gives her virginity to Tidus when she's nineteen one summer afternoon on Destiny Island in a sort of retaliation against Sora. Against him leaving her, again, and refusing to take her with him, refusing to believe that she could be backup

it's messy but has the childhood tinge of sweetness and she knows that Tidus is trying to do his best, even if he doesn't love her, and she tries her best. But inside she's crying because there's a stain of wrong to it, and she knows that she's crossed a line that she can't go back over

but she can't wait forever, living only on promises

Riku comes home one night, and his curses wake Kairi up. He leaves sometimes, not all the time, not like he used to, and she's long stopped asking him to take her with him or where he goes or what exactly goes on when he rushes to meet with King Mickey

"idiot," Riku hisses and kicks a chair, "moron. Asshole. Doesn't listen to freakin'—goddamnit, Sora…"

she doesn't ask

—and then he's pushing up her shirt and what's worse is that she's letting him, even though this is angry and wild and hard and anything but the love they feel for each other. But that doesn't stop her from tearing at his shirt, trying to streak her fingers across skin. Because she knows— deep in her bones she knows—that he's going to leave after this and she's never, ever going to see him again and she needs this, God she needs this

because when he goes away she'll need something that's his to cling to and if this is all she's going to get then she'll take it and hold it and keep it. Because Sora is going away and he's never going to come back

she cries and arches and tries to keep him with her, even though he's already pulling away

they can't stay young forever and Sora and Kairi stop loving like children love, where simply smiling and holding hands and saying "we'll be together forever" is enough. They've come to the point where they need to move forward and they need to be mature and adults and they need more

Mickey calls and Sora goes and Kairi's left holding the bag, clutching the little charm she gave him so long ago, with only the promise that he'll come back and then things will fall into place

this is how it's always going to be, Kairi realizes suddenly, and she can't, just can't, not anymore. Not with the barely there promise of something more. She's a year away from twenty and she's so tired of waiting for Sora to come back and pick her up

the first thing she wants to do is call Sora, even though he's long gone (a month, no words, only Riku's apologetic eyes and gritted teeth and no, Kairi, I can't tell you) and then she waits two minutes until the urge passes

then she calls Riku and cries softly into the phone, half-sad and half-happy, because she had wanted a piece of Sora to keep

"I'm pregnant," she says, and feels silly laughter rise up. "Riku, I'm pregnant."

two weeks and she doesn't hear a word from Sora, two weeks and nothing, not a single sign that he isn't dying. That he isn't somewhere bleeding to death, clinging to life, calling out to her and she can't get to him

he doesn't do it on purpose. It's just his way. Sora is just so solely focused on whatever's in front of him, the things that are behind him tend to fade away. He loves her, and she never doubts that, but sometimes that isn't enough. You can love someone all you want, but if there isn't a relationship there you only hurt yourself

Tidus calls her up after two weeks and one day of no word from Sora and after four years of being told that no, she couldn't go and watching Sora leave her behind every time and forgetting about her it's too much

does she want to go out sometime? yes she does

Sora kisses her like he's a man drowning and she clings to him like a woman caught in a storm. She could never hold herself from him, not him, not Sora, and the fact that he left her doesn't seem to matter to her anymore.

she arches against him and he takes her with all the tenderness that they didn't use four years ago. Him kissing her gently on the hollow of her throat, her nails digging into his shoulder to keep herself pressed against him.

"Sora," she begs softly, "Sora, please."

and he does, saying her name softly, softly, running his fingers over her skin and breathing in her scent and holding her and touching her and she begs again. Oh Sora please

her bed used to be so empty—filled with emptiness and her loneliness and the tears she told herself she didn't shed—and now it's warm and soft and smells like Sora. And she never, ever wants this to end

"do you have to, really?" she asks Sora, for the countless time, her voice still carrying some hope that she'll hear what she wants to hear. "Or can't I come with you?"

yes, she wants him to say, you can come with me, Kairi. Stay with me. Fight with me. Or: no, I won't go, Kairi. I'll stay with you

instead, Sora says, "I have to, Kairi. You know that. Mickey wouldn't call me and Riku if it wasn't something important."

it's always something important, she nearly says. It was important the last time, too, and the time before that. And before that. And before that. And each time, Kairi couldn't come. And it's unfair, so unfair

"I'll come back to you," Sora says and takes her hand. She looks into his eyes and prays he won't say it even as he says, "I promise."

And he's too busy kissing her—softly, lovingly, that makes her want to cry—to notice the way her shoulders stiffen. And then, when he might have, she's melting into his kiss, because she loves Sora. And she always will

But when he's gone she says to the ghost of him, "I'm tired of promises."

"What are you doing here?" Kairi asks him, Trithe holding her hand, and both them looking at Sora. Her eyes deep blue, Trithe's sky blue

Like his father

Trithe has taken to Sora and he streaks across the beach so Sora can scoop him up with one hand and Kairi remembers why she lets Sora come over. Because it isn't fair to Trithe to keep Sora from him just because her heart hurts

"Because, I'm different now, Kairi," Sora says. "Because I left and all I wanted to do was come back. But I didn't. Because I was angry and hurt and stupid. But I'm here now, and I'm not going anywhere."

A part of her believes, but another part doubts and it's stronger

Then Sora says, "I love you, Kairi."

She keeps her lips sealed tight and holds back the, I love you, too, and isn't sure how long she'll be able to hold out against him

"It's going to be okay, Kairi," Riku says, rubbing her back as he holds her on her couch. "We'll figure this out."

He doesn't ask who the father is. Because he's Riku, he already knows. And Kairi's grateful and buries her face in his shoulder and weeps and Riku pats her head like an older brother and she's grateful that, at least, she still has him. That he hasn't left her, that she hasn't made him leave. That he believes her when she says that Tidus was an accident, an honest accident because she was so tired of being left behind and alone

But she wishes it was Sora holding her

notes: I may/may not do a sister drabble to this, from Sora's POV. I'm still debating. You decide. Also? Yes. I have no idea where this came from.