A/N: This chapter title is taken from my fave verse off the song "Collide", for which this story is named. However, it's really not a songfic again, because I don't want to get sued. XD Seriously, though, I love the song to death. And, since this is V-Day, I thought putting up this chapter would be fitting. Again. But, yeah, this song makes me think of this one guy...but you all don't need to know that. XD

Disclaimer: I don't own Kingdom Hearts or the song.

Chapter 6: Don't Stop Here

Just this one last day, Riku thought as he stared contemplatively out the guest room window, and the three of them would go home again. He couldn't believe how time flew during this vacation, but Sora insisted that they should return to the islands to arrange plans regarding the letter. If only they could stay here for a few more months, years...forever. For the oddest reason that he himself was beginning to discern, something (more specifically, someone) compelled him to stay. And that someone made him realize that he never wanted to leave Radiant Garden. As often dramatized in epics, he might never see this place again after his departure. Riku sighed, pushing the window open to let the summer breeze calm his apprehensions; only then would he truly be placated. Even so, her face appeared within the peripherals of his mind, despite him closing his eyes. He always liked how her face looked, so pixie-like and inviting.

That moment of confessions and self-discovery on that day had brought them even close together, closer than he personally would have ever suspected. Those tea leaves were right after all, he supposed. On the heels of Kairi's inadvertent rejection, he had managed to fall in love with somebody else, a girl with a quirky sense of humor and high hopes for accomplishing her dreams. Somehow, her offbeat charisma had drawn him to her along with those twinkling dark brown eyes.

He had to tell her, considering he revealed his secrets to her before. Honestly, he would do it again with the one admission he wished to say aloud. Resolve strengthening, Riku slammed the window shut to eagerly (contrasting from his usual stoic nature—the one thing she had been right about him) descend rapidly down the stairs. Since Leon was the only one in the house at the moment, he would ask him.

Even though the two men had patched things up with their trust issues, both still felt exceedingly awkward around each other. After all, it is never easy to become friends after an intense rivalry such as the one they had previously shared. Planning to come off as somewhat casual, Riku picked an apple from the fruit bowl and played catch with it to himself.

"Hey, Leon, do you know where Yuffie is?" he asked, his heart abruptly pounding at the mention of her name.

The Gunblade wielder finished off polishing his weapon. "She's out at the bailey. Why?"

"Thanks," was all the silver haired teen replied. He proceeded to head off in the general direction of that area, not stopping for a second. Leave it to him to wait until the last minute for saying the most important thing in his life. Oh well, better late than never.

Luckily, it didn't take very long for him to find the ninja girl leaning out against a stone precipice that jutted out toward the Radiant Garden skyline. For once, she seemed to actually stop and stay in the same place while only thinking. Riku didn't know what she pondered over, but he approached her without a word of greeting. She seemed lost beyond being dragged back to reality, her almost childish eyes glazed with daydreaming. Once he touched her shoulder gently, though, she jumped nearly ten feet in the air for a shocked reaction. With his joking, mischievous smirk, Riku chuckled from seeing her nervous, since that adjective was usually the opposite of her personality. When her brief look of anxiety passed, Yuffie joined in his laughter, still adoring it like she had the whole month. But, that wasn't the only thing she loved about him—no, far from it. She picked out little quirks that fascinated her.

For instance, she loved the way his aquamarine eyes sparkled whenever he tried to be serious around her, which he could rarely pull off. She loved that slight jerk of his mouth whenever he attempted to stifle one of his famous chuckles. And the manner in which he grasped her hand in recent days (so tenderly that the gesture felt all too right) sent her pleased tingles up her spine. Most of all, she loved the way he would flick back his silver strands of hair every so often, accidentally appearing to play the role of the debonair, suave guy who he didn't even know he was. Due to that complex of his, he probably thought that he was incapable of such a thing. Yuffie liked that modest quality about him, though, so different from all the egomaniacs she encountered.

Now, as he smiled softly at her, she sensed that her heart had momentarily stopped its beating, even as she managed to stutter out, "H—Hi."

"Hi," he said smoothly, but his eyes darted about somewhat anxiously.

"I heard you're leaving tomorrow," she stated gravely, brightening slightly as she added, "But, you're a hero! And what a hero's gotta do, a hero's gotta do, right?"

He nodded. "Yeah, I guess so...though I doubt heroes have an entire fan club devoted to them."

Caught off-guard for a few seconds, she then snickered. "You have a fan club?"

"Unfortunately, and it's led by Selphie Tilmett."

"Really? I hope I have no competition!"

Riku glanced at the precipice opposite the one on which they stood. "Believe me, you don't."

A wide smile practically lit her up optimistic face along with a very faint blush flushing her cheeks. After he returned his gaze back to her, he realized just how beautiful she looked before him. Maybe not quite ethereal yet still a presence nonetheless; frankly, her presence was enough to dizzy him out of what he could only describe as sheer adoration. He thought that his affections would remain toward Kairi for forever and a day, but this was what the real thing was in its true form, its perfect entity. Love filled his eyes, his soul, and throughout his entire being toward another girl who clearly displayed love requited, he could see that now. Yuffie stared back in a peaceful tranquility that originated from a similar emotion. Closing what little space remained between them, he took her hands in his.

"Yuffie," he murmured with the hint of this emotion, "this month has been the greatest one of my life."

Keeping that charming smile of hers on her face, she told him, "Well, you know, of course it was. You're free from the darkness, you're close as ever with your friends, and you're here."

He leaned toward her right ear in which he whispered, "With you. You forgot to mention the best part."

The dainty blush previously shown on her face darkened. "Oh, well, I actually never thought..."

"But, I do. I want to be with you. I love you."

As soon as these words left his lips, her legs turned to gelatin so that she felt wobbly to the point that she almost fell down. However, Riku's arms acted as her safety net once they wrapped themselves around her lower waist, causing her to cling to his neck. She stroked his strong yet soft face that almost symbolized the boy he formerly was and the man that he had become. He'd been through enough to be considered a man now.

Finally, a slight smirk distorting her lips, she responded half-jokingly with, "It's about time you said that, Riku. I've been waiting this whole month, yeesh. I guess the tea leaves were right after all."

"I guess so."

Cradling his face between her two hands (even though at this point, her ears reddened as well), she whispered back, "I love you, too...just so you know."

That was all Riku needed for encouragement, for he brushed his lips passionately against hers, proving that he hadn't been bluffing on the day of ice cream mountains. If he could create a double knotted cherry stem, then he could certainly kiss a girl. And man, could he kiss! This was the inward realization Yuffie had, which made her grin devilishly on the inside.

On the outside, though, she stayed perpetually calm as well as tenderly loving as she returned his kiss. Eventually, both of them needed air, so they unlocked their lips.

"Whew, double-knotted cherry stem kisser, you sure live up to your reputation!" she exclaimed, dark eyes glittering like the stars.

"As do you, single-knotted cherry stem kisser," Riku retorted harmlessly, an actual grin coming to his lips. Yuffie's happiness was just that contagious. He could catch it like the common cold any day of the week.

She mock pouted in her usual style. "Don't put it like that! But, if you insist...Oh, hey, speaking of which, do you want to go to the ice cream parlor with me?"

Already experiencing summer vacation nostalgia, he impulsively agreed without a second thought.

That afternoon had been filled with much kissing and many meaningful glances that could give him a lifetime of romantic memories to place in the photo album of his mind. The two of them hardly left each other all day and even slept outside that night, letting the moonlight cast its spellbinding rays on two sleeping figure that had their arms draped over each other. Of course, with all this love going on, it made departure morning especially hard for Riku. He kept packing and unpacking the suitcases that rested on the guest room bed, opting at one point to not participate in the next quest at all. But, he knew it was his duty. After all, he needed to show his friends how serious he was about earning their trust back.

Before he boarded the gummi ship, he bid goodbye to the Radiant Garden group, taking the longest with Yuffie. She sported his gift of the purple headband proudly, he noticed, as she gave him a lasting embrace with a kiss to boot.

"Don't say goodbye," she said half-whimsically, half-seriously. "We'll see each other soon."

"Yeah, I know we will," Riku agreed whole-heartedly, happy that she viewed this as a beginning and not an end.

In a rather mature way, she dropped her voice. "Wherever you are, I'm close behind."

He nodded and gave a farewell wave to her before getting on the ship. And, as it zoomed out of the atmosphere (Yuffie waved the whole time), he knew that he and she collided perfectly in their romance, one he would never forget.

A/N: Done! Yes! Romance squirt cheese all over the place. XD Sorry for my random metaphors. Thanks everyone who reviewed, including Rawkstar Vienna, who tirelessly reviewed every chapter. Well, you were probably wide awake anyway, but I'm just being random again. Have a happy V-Day, guys. You all can do what I do: sit on my butt, watching chick flicks while eating chocolate.

'Cause that's what single people do. YAY, SINGLE PEOPLE! YAY, YURIKU! YAY, THIS KILLER SONG THAT INSPIRED EVERYTHING AND STILL DOES TO THIS VERY DAY!!!! I'll shut up now to let you guys review. XD