self and shadow

disclaimer: i don't own kh and i never will.

---troubled nights---

"Kairi!" The girl struggled to see who it was, the boy who was shouting her name so fervently.

"So-"

She woke up. Sweat plastered to her forehead. Another dream of the boy, the boy with the blue eyes and spiky brown hair. Kairi bit her lip, rolled over, and fell asleep again.

---everything is wrong---

If anybody, someone who didn't know me, looked in the room when I was talking to Kairi, this is what they would have seen. Two girls, one reclining in a bean bag chair, one slumped against her bed. The one in the bean bag was average in everything - light, thick brown hair that curled just enough to look childish but not enough to be fashionable; dull green eyes; and a light tan, normal for all the island people. Me.

And then...they would have seen Kairi.

Shoulder-length auburn hair, shocking blue eyes, perfect in every way. On the outside.

The two girls would be seen talking - well, at least, I would be. Kairi would be staring out the window, as if she were bored, as if she were just humoring me.

But I knew the truth.

Ever since Riku left the islands Kairi had been empty. And it surprised me, because I couldn't remember her and Riku being that close, you know? I mean, not like her and-

And who? My brow wrinkled in concentration. I had no memory of another kid, but I knew that there had to have been someone else.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

The empty shell of Kairi, the souless thing, blinked. "Nothing. Nothing's wrong."
I wanted to force Kairi to tell me, to shake her and remind her that we were best friends. But ever since Riku left, she'd been this way.

Instead, I said nothing and leaned back further in my chair.

---priorities---

"Who is most important to you?" Naminé pressed. I frowned at her.

"You are," I replied, "you know that, Naminé."

"No, Sora. Search deeper," the blonde girl told me.

I did as she commanded as best I could. I thought deeply and suddenly, quick as a flash of lightning, an image of a girl with tomboyishly cropped red hair, bright blue eyes the same shade as mine, and a cheerful smile appeared in my mind's eye. As quickly as it had come it vanished.

"Who-who is she?" I asked Naminé as soon as I had recovered my ability to speak.

She shook her head sadly and didn't reply. The blonde girl looked up, stared me straight in the eye, and vanished.

"It's not her," I repeated under my breath, still unable to believe what I had seen. "But-who is that girl?"

---useless---

She feels useless. She wants to help, and she knows she can, no matter what the others say. They say, but you never sword-fight, you're useless, just useless. They don't say it, actually, but they think it, she knows. She's in the way. Something to be kept safe and secure, but never to help, just dead weight.

Kairi wants to change that.

They think that she never sword-fights. But she and Selphie know the truth - they fought all the time, with Selphie's jump rope versus Kairi's stick, and what's the difference between a stick and a wooden sword? But the others still think she's dead weight.

She doesn't know magic, true, but neither does that Goofy thing, and Sora just learned how, she can learn too. Because no matter what they say, she's safer by his side, not back on the dumb islands.

But she nods and accepts it, trying not to show her bitterness, because it will only make things harder for Sora. But inside, she is boiling.

Because she isn't useless, no matter what everybody thinks.

---portrait---

Naminé was drawing.

She loved the feel of it, to set her paints or markers or pencils on the paper and watch as her pictures unfolded. This one was special, a memory-picture. Even though she despised her willingness to draw Sora's memories, there was a certain thrill to it, to choose what he thought of her, what happened in the head under that mass of brown hair. She blew off the dust, and admired her picture.

A perfect self-portrait.

The artist smiled, and put it aside to make room for her next masterpiece.

---sora who?---

The day that the islands lost Riku, Selphie lost Kairi.

Sure, Kairi was closer to Riku, more of a tomboy, but Selphie was her best girl friend. When they were younger, Selphie had been the other girl's companion in the "girly-girl" activities like dolls and tea parties. But while Selphie became ever more interested in such things, Kairi moved on.

But she was still close with Selphie. They knew each other's secrets...so why was Kairi suddenly out of Selphie's reach?

She looked in her diary, and read, Sora just left. Kairi is distraught. Gotta go comfort her. Yes, that was the day.

But try as she might, she couldn't remember...

who on earth was Sora?

---nightmare---

I sob into his arms. It can't be...no...not Sora...

I look up at Riku, at his pained expression, at his silvery hair, at his aqua eyes, so full of grief, and I cry and cry. Not that I don't love him, in my way, but he's not Sora. And Sora's never coming back.

My tears rush down my face and then I wake. I run out to the beach, where I see them.

"Sora! Riku!" I'm crying now, in real life. "You're safe!"

And Sora catches me, like he always does, and I cry, tears of joy, as we stand there on the beach. His smile is the same as always. He's one in a million, and I'm so glad he came back to me.