By Lynx (of Organization VI)
Disclaimer: I do not own Kingdom Hearts or its characters; they belong to Disney and Squeenix, respectively. Please don't sue. While there are original characters in this story, I don't make any large claims to them. If you'd like to use them, just ask.
Summary: On a world made for children, sometimes the hardest thing to do is be a parent. A story about Sora and Riku's parents on Destiny Islands.
Notes: Man, it has been awhile since I've posted anything here, hasn't it? I must be a real sucker for prequel fics, because here's another one! This one just sort of popped up and wouldn't leave me alone. I'm sort of playing this fic by ear, so we'll see how it goes. I'll also admit, I've always been interested as to what Destiny Islands culture would be like.
Beware of some BBS spoilers! That in mind, also be aware that I'm trying to AVOID any more spoilers. Please DO NOT POST SPOILERS in comments!
Taro could not really call himself a smart man. Educated enough, certainly, but working at the islands' fishery wasn't a job that required outstanding intelligence, and he didn't feel that was a problem. So not smart, perhaps, but he was very observant. And he could tell pretty easily what Emi was thinking the moment Lana and her baby stepped out onto the patio.
"I'm sorry to keep you waiting, Emi!" Lana said, carefully balancing the infant in one arm and carrying a plate of fruit in the other, which she set down on the buffet table. "This little one's been a bit fussy today! That hot wind we've been getting from the south, I'm sure."
Taro watched that wistful smile jump onto his wife's face as she admired their neighbors' newest addition. It was that sort of look that suggested an imagination taking off into distant times, of a friendly sort of jealousy. "Oooh, look at how big he's gotten!" Emi cooed, leaning in closer. "Only five months old...they grow up so fast!"
"I'm sure, sometimes it seems like magic!" Lana laughed, and cradled the five-month old with both arms now. He whined a bit, and let out a tiny toddler yawn.
Emi was fast joined by a few other women at the party, all crowding around to get a look. Not that this surprised Taro at all...on a world this small, a new arrival always became the center of attention. He couldn't stop thinking about that look in Emi's eyes.
His thoughts were interrupted by a slap on the shoulder from the infant's father: a built, slightly scruffy man with short silver hair. "Taro! How's fishing these days?"
"Just fine, Hoku," he replied. "Good crop of Yellowtail this year." He nodded back towards the crowd around Lana. "So I take it this is why we haven't seen you two out and about lately?"
"Nail on the head," Hoku laughed. "And I thought the lumber yard was hard work! Lana and I are still trying to catch up on our sleep; he's up so much at night."
Taro just offered a sympathetic shake of his head. "Just wait until he's a teenager...then he'll really give you some grief."
Hoku laughed at that, too. The two men were silent for a moment, letting the noise of the party do the speaking for them. The sun was just starting to dip below the horizon, painting the ocean, the beach, their homes and the patio in shades of deep purple and pink. There was just enough breeze to keep the heat comfortable, and it carried with it the smell of cooking fish and ocean salt. It was perfect, as it always was perfect.
Well, close to perfect.
"You know, I'm thinking, when I get some free time..." Hoku started, looking down into his drink as if embarrassed to admit this. "I'm thinking about taking some of the spare wood we've got over to the kids' island and building them a treehouse, or a bridge. Something that he'd like to play on someday. As soon as he's old enough to go."
It seemed a little strange to hear from work-focused Hoku, but it was not a bad idea. "I remember when we used to play there," Taro sighed. "And we didn't have any bridges or platforms except for the shack. You're gonna spoil that kid before he even starts school!"
Hoku took a sip of his drink and laughed. "Maybe, but don't try and tell me you won't do worse when you have some!"
Taro turned his gaze back towards the ocean, lost in his thoughts. "We were gonna wait, Hoku. Make sure we're really ready for that responsibility."
Hoku didn't quite pick up that he was thinking over more than believing what he said. "That's what you said four years ago, Taro. How much more responsibility do you need to save up?" he joked.
To be honest, Taro wasn't sure. It wasn't like they hadn't discussed it before. It just...seemed safer to wait. "It's not like we have to have kids, you know."
"No, you don't..." Hoku seemed to catch that quiet thoughtfulness for a moment as well. He looked toward Lana, who was finally done talking to the other women and sat down to eat. He seemed tired, but content. "But you know, Taro...this world of ours, it's a world for the children. This world is small, but the children make it bigger." The slightly-embarrassed grin returned to his face. "It's funny, 'cause you don't realize it when you are a child."
Of course, that was all true. The school was as large and as well-maintained as the mayor's house. The shops sold sweets cheaper than anything else. Doors were always left unlocked, the summer breaks were long, and the streets were broad and well-lit. It was hard to realize as a kid, but impossible to ignore as an adult. And perhaps that was part of the reason why he and Emi taking that next step seemed so daunting. "It's changed you a bit, Hoku."
Hoku's thoughtful moment ended, and he returned to his usual laid-back self. "Heh, perhaps you're right. It's not so bad, Taro." He winked. "There's still a little bit of time for just Lana and me, no matter what they say."
At that, Taro turned his attention back toward Emi. In the last light of the day, she seemed all the more beautiful, haloed by red and gold. She had moved on to talking to another one of their friends, but he could still see that hint of a smile on her face. She was thinking, and he was thinking, and the sun had set on a small world made bigger by the children in it.
"Say, Hoku...you know if Kenta made it here tonight?"
"Think so; Mari is here..." Hoku turned back to his friend with a raised eyebrow. "What do you need from Kenta?"
Taro just smiled and gave him a small shrug. "Just curious to see how business is this time of year."
More to come later! Again, please don't spoil in any comments! Thanks!