One Sky, One Destiny
Two similar girls, who would be Master and Apprentice, were separated by ten years. Separated by fate itself. The only time the water maidens had met had led to the blue haired one, Aqua, putting a spell on the young Kairi's necklace. It also had Aqua accidentally bequeathing Kairi with the power of the Keyblade, but then again… There is no coincidence in fate, is there? Only inevitabilities.
This is the story of similar water maidens, separated by destiny, but connected through and through. It is they who harbor the hardest burdens in this story; not even the boys they love with all their hearts would know such a torturous role. Their crime was not hate, but rather love. And in that, they had held on to their loved ones too much… It would be they who sacrificed themselves for the greater good, and they who stood to lose everything.
This is the story of Aqua and her successor Kairi. Read on, my friends, and see the heart of these stories—these girls—that have been ripped away. Yes, read on.
"You shouldn't put yourself so close to the Darkness." The moment the words left Aqua's lips, she could feel her lips trembling in the words' wake. Her lips quivered, and she tried her best to keep from crying or wavering. Like right now, Terra was asking Aqua if she had been spying on him, and the words fell from her traitorous lips unbidden. Her mind called forth sayings, but her heart had no say in the matter. No, her heart was too busy squeezing her Wayfinder—the instrument that she had made to tie her friends and her together—and ripping itself from her chest.
Before the girl just turned Master could even understand what was happening, Terra was turning away and saying "he was on his own now". All the while, Aqua could only stare at the empty space he had just resided in, and wonder how it had come to this. Had her success really been such an affront on Terra's character? Had there always been such a power struggle between them, and if so- How had Aqua missed it all these years?
The thrill of defeating the Trinity Armor leaving her completely, Aqua couldn't even bear to look at Ventus as he called her "awful", or as he said "she'd let her title go to her head." And just like that, Ventus was chasing after Terra, and leaving Aqua alone, too.
Alone… Aqua was always being left alone. Perhaps it was she that was the jealous one: the one with Darkness in their heart.
As Ven's presence disappeared as surely as Terra's had, Aqua couldn't help but envy what they had, and wish she had her part in it back. All she'd ever tried to do was love and protect them. The Master was the same, and yet the boys had now turned their cheeks away from Aqua's loving touches. They really weren't her boys anymore at all, were they?
And so… So there was no reason for Aqua to put up a front anymore. Drawing her knees to her chest, and wrapping her arms around herself (Aqua knew full well she was warding off the boys' mean words rather than the cold wind), the Keyblade Master, who was supposed to have it so together, was falling apart at the seams.
Ven didn't need protecting anymore, and Terra didn't want her counsel. If that were the case, she would just have to abandon those missions and focus on defeating the Unversed. Yes, that was what she'd do. Because if she did that… If she got rid of her seriousness and honor, maybe the boys would again clutch their Wayfinders to their heart as surely as Aqua was now. Just maybe…
Looking up to the sky, Aqua smiled just the slightest bit at the chimney smoke that seemed to rise into the air. And so, the Keyblade Master rose to her feet and continued her journey with hope in her heart. Only a little bit of hope, yes, but hope all the same.
The three of us will always be one. This time it was her mind that said the words, and her heart that rejected them.
There was something very wrong with Kairi, and she knew it well. She felt so very numb, and it was hard to keep her recent encounter with Riku a secret from Sora. She was sure he could tell, what with the way he was peering at her more than he usually allowed himself to.
Really, he'd be foolish if he didn't notice, Kairi assured herself. After all, she was speaking very stoically and of nonsense at the moment. She was nothing of the girl that had just yesterday mocked Sora for being a lazy bum. Out of all of them… It was only Sora who remained the same, and it was this that made Kairi decide to try and act one more time.
"You know, Riku has changed." And he had changed. Though Kairi had been sensing differences in him a lot lately, it was just a moment ago that he'd shown himself too close to the Darkness.
Earlier in the day, Riku had gone home early to prepare for the morrow's journey on the raft; it had been for this reason that Sora and Kairi had resolved to sit on the dock all by their lonesomes, and they had.
Well, they had until Sora realized that one of the coconuts he'd gathered was turning brown, so he should go get a yellow one in its stead. Kairi had laughed slightly, she might have even told Sora not to over-exert himself, but just like that, Sora had left. Just like that she'd felt completely alone. Until Riku had shown up again, that is.
When he'd surprised Kairi by appearing behind her on the dock, she'd been at first overjoyed to see her and Sora's best friend. She had told him to join Sora and herself, but for all her efforts, Riku didn't seem to hear Kairi in the slightest. She remembered, then, how Selphie had confided in her that Riku would just stare off into the distance, and how not even shouting would get his attention.
Though it hadn't been the first time Riku had seemed a total space case like Sora (really, Sora needed Kairi's guidance more than he'd ever admit), Kairi couldn't help but feel that something else was the matter. Walking towards Riku, Kairi tapped him on the shoulder, and called to him.
It was then he seemed to wake with a vengeance. There was a weird glint in Riku's eyes that Kairi couldn't understand, but then he began talking about Doors, Darkness, and things Kairi had never heard of before. And yet, it seemed all so familiar to the redhead, that she found herself begging Riku amidst tears not to open the Door in the secret place. Only bad things could come from it, but he wouldn't listen. Instead, he stormed off angrily and assured Kairi that when he did open it, she would be coming with them.
All the while, Sora still hadn't gotten that dang coconut. When he finally did show up again, his sweet smile had been enough for Kairi want to cry her heart out to him. If Riku went through with his plan, if she couldn't stop him… Would Sora lose that smile she oh so adored? She feared it so much!
And it was for this reason that, even though the words begged to be spoken, Kairi couldn't tell Sora about her previous encounter with Riku. It was selfish, but Sora was the only one who wasn't losing himself lately, and Kairi wanted to protect him from it all just a little bit more. In fact, it was so much that after Sora asked Kairi what she meant, she didn't answer him in the slightest. Instead, the words came spilling out of her heart like they'd always been there. Maybe they had.
"Sora, let's take the raft and go-just the two of us!" If Riku wouldn't listen to her—or let her help him—maybe she could at least save Sora. She'd be damned if she didn't at least try and save the Light in her life. However, by how uncomfortable Sora suddenly seemed, Kairi knew exactly what his answer would be. And in the end, she felt as though it would be her that would be left behind.
And though tears stung at the back of Kairi's eyes, she thought she could be okay with that as long as one thing was true. "Sora, don't ever change," was her new plea. She could tell Sora was truly confused, but this time Kairi changed the subject before Sora could deny her again. If nothing else, she would believe that this request would come into fruition. It was all she wanted now. All she had feeling for anymore.
And so it was, Kairi ended up turning away from Sora. All the while, she wore her façade, but when her back was to him, tears poured down the girl's cheeks, and she kept quiet about how she had failed them because she'd loved them too much. That now they wanted their freedom, and now their freedom would destroy them and keep them separated forever.
Though Aqua honestly couldn't say she'd be happy since the moment Master Eraqus gave her her new title, Aqua was pleased to find she could at least be content, and put on a brave face. She could hold onto the brief hope that had swelled within her during her darkest hour.
And now… Maybe she was feeling Lighter again. She imagined it was for this reason she'd been called to this calm world that didn't yet know the horrors in the stars. She imagined it was for this reason she was being so doting to the young boys that reminded her so much of her best friends. Though she might have no longer seemed a friend to them, they would always be what Aqua cherished above everything. But… But they didn't want or need her anymore. She'd set them off balance, and so Aqua had known she couldn't give Kairi her curse, but maybe she could give Sora a gift?
Though Aqua was paying close attention to Sora and the other boy (the one like Terra, who already had the power), Aqua found her eyes mostly for Sora. She found she smoothed his hair just a bit more than she did Riku's. The reason was for she finally knew where she belonged, and the one thing she could do. Aqua wasn't meant to help Ven or Terra, she knew that now. But Ven… Ven could help Terra. And when Riku started down Terra's path, maybe his "Ven" could help him just as thoroughly.
And so she pleaded with Sora to always protect Riku, and all the while, she smiled the smile she hoped he would learn to always wear himself.
It wouldn't be until later, when Aqua returned to the paopu tree, that her burden would reach her, and the smile would slide off her face. She hadn't given Sora the power of the Keyblade and as such, she couldn't help but feel she'd made a grievous mistake. This boy wasn't like her, or Kairi, so surely he could help Riku someday (unlike how she had failed with Terra).
And yet, maybe Sora was like her in another way. At least, he would have been if she'd become his Master. "One Keyblade is enough… for any friendship," Aqua whispered heartbroken to herself, as she played with the Wayfinder that was becoming more and more tattered the more she used it. "I learned it the hard way. I wouldn't wish our lives on those children."
Honestly, Aqua knew better than to wish for anything about herself in the lives of Ven and Terra anymore. And yet, she looked out to the horizon and prayed out for something just the same. That the lucky charms she'd made them would work; that wherever Ventus and Terra were, they were okay and would return home safely (wherever home was). And so, Aqua could only wait for the boys she loved that were millions of miles away.
Wait and pray that the bad feelings she was starting to have would never come into fruition.
"Terra, please tell me—what's to become of us?" With an array of emotions, Aqua looked down at the Wayfinder in her hand, and brought it up to her heart to hold it for what felt like the last time.
The green of this underground cavern was quite picturesque, Kairi thought. In fact, all of it seemed to remind her of the secret place back home: the place that was Sora's, Riku's, and hers alike. The three of them should have always been one. It felt wrong that she and Sora were in a place like this without him, and she tried to relate this all to Sora. She tried to explain how much she wanted to go with him to find Riku. She still felt awful about what had happened in Hollow Bastion. When Sora had… died for her (the thought still left Kairi wanting to claw her hair out and scream like an insane person), and when Riku had appeared for just that moment-
Well, she'd wanted to do anything but heed to his command and leave him and Sora like that. In fact, she probably had spent too long being conflicted about it, as she clutched a hand to her heart—thinking of Sora and Riku—and looking down in an array of emotions. Honestly, it was a miracle she wasn't heartless again, but she'd felt hope in that moment; hope that somehow Sora and Riku would set everything right.
And it did prove to be true with Sora later. She brought him back, but Kairi wasn't deluding herself. She always got in the way of Sora and Riku, and as painful as it was to think, maybe they didn't need her anymore. Not even Sora. Despite what she'd asked of him, he'd changed the slightest bit. Sora had matured, and Kairi was still very much the naïve little girl.
Honestly, she wasn't the least bit surprised when Sora said she'd be in his way, and that he should go without her. It had been what she feared, but more than that, it was what needed to happen, but even so, Kairi would pray and wish with all her heart for everything to work out okay.
In fact, it reminded her of something. After painting on a false smile, and telling Sora what he wished to hear, Kairi handed Sora something that she'd been working on from the moment they'd sought to journey: a trinket made of thalassa seashells to ensure a safe journey. And maybe, just in this one way, Kairi could be present on their journeys. Though she didn't have time to make Riku a charm sadly, Kairi knew that Sora would find Riku with it, and then they could share the only thing she could offer them now. Her last bit of hope.
"Don't ever forget. Wherever you go, I'm always with you." And so Kairi spent the rest of her year on Destiny Islands awaiting their safe return. Her beloved boys, wherever they were (even if a million miles away), she hoped they were safe. More often than not, Kairi would end up squeezing a paopu fruit in her apprehension. Her justification being that it was shaped like her lucky charm.
She had no idea that her Other had crafted a fake replica of her charm in that same shape, nor that the girl that had started all of this… had looked at the paopu trees and thought of doing the same thing.
And now, back to ten years previously, Aqua was clutching her Wayfinder, that was based off the Paopu Fruit, as she fought for her life.
Ven was gone, even if Aqua didn't want to admit this. But that didn't mean she was going to let Terra go down, too. She had one more chance to set things right, and avoid the conclusion she'd feared to begin with (that while trying to steer her boys away from it, she had led them to it).
And so Aqua fought harder than she ever had in her life. She gasped for breath; she bled more fully than she ever had. It was the blood from her heart that was the most hurtful. Because even though feeling Terra—Xehanort—fully embrace the Darkness was painful, indeed, and what she'd feared from the beginning of this adventure, it was when Terra, her best friend in the whole world, attempted to choke the life out of her that it all came crashing into her.
In that one moment, behind the guise of Xehanort, Aqua had felt her friend reaching out for her desperately, and it was that that spurred Aqua into the hardest choice she'd ever had to make. It was that which finally cemented a belief she'd wavered in all along: that Terra could win against the Darkness within him.
At last, their grueling battle coming to an end, Aqua's heart felt alight. Alight because in that one moment, Terra had broken free of the chains that bound him, and helped Aqua win against Xehanort. She could still feel the warmth that could only be from Terra blossom within her. She could feel her Wayfinder respond to him, but alas, she almost wished such a thing had never happened, because now as she finally got the recognition she'd longed for (in more ways than one), it would soon be in vain.
"This'll teach you. Get out of my heart!" Wide-eyed and fighting back tears, Aqua was forced to see Terra impale himself with the Keyblade before she could do anything in the slightest. And he was doing it for her! He knew that if Xehanort regained control, he'd be forced to kill her. How was it that Terra was sacrificing himself for her now, when the entire adventure, Aqua herself had felt crucified?
Not even bothering to think about the ramifications of her actions, Aqua dove into the Darkness the moment Terra fell into it, and in the most dreadful experience of her life, Aqua was finally able to reach Terra just in time, but it wouldn't end this way. Already, Aqua could see the Light above them fading to nothing, and as it served as a metaphor for what Eraqus had told Aqua to protect Terra from from the beginning, Aqua knew exactly what she had to do. It was her duty as a Master, but more than that, it was her duty as a friend.
Placing her Keyblade into Terra's hand (really, it should have been he that was the Master, not her; she saw things so clearly now…), Aqua used her last bit of strength and magic to guide Terra, Rainfell, and her armor back to the surface.
As she told Terra she was with him—and knew he felt it in his heart, too—Aqua readily let the Darkness pull her under. It seemed that in the deepest Darkness she'd found the brightest Light. She found out who she was, who her friends were, and what she should have known all along. Once again feeling true hope swell in her heart, Aqua let a small happy tear fall from her eyes, knowing that she'd be reunited with her friends. Someday.
Kairi couldn't get the image out of her head. The image of Sora stabbing himself with the Keyblade to save her. Perhaps what hurt the most, was in his last moments of waking—after Kairi herself had finally woken up—he had smiled at her. Sora was always smiling, and Sora, despite everything she'd feared, hadn't changed.
Even now, when Donald and Goofy were telling her that Sora was gone and they needed to escape, she could still feel the warmth of him in her heart. Somewhere out there, Sora was still alive. It was the way she'd been in his heart all along; Kairi knew that Sora was with her, too.
It wouldn't be until Donald hit a certain Heartless in the head that Kairi would realize how true her thought was. Sora. Of course he was a Heartless now. Of course. And yet, Kairi couldn't even see the Heartless in his place. All she saw was the youth, her best friend, that had smiled reassuringly at her as he died. Having long since stopped paying attention to Donald and Goofy (she knew she must have been worrying them), Kairi didn't even notice that Heartless were beginning to surround them until her allies moved to defend her. Even as they did so, and she valued their goodness and kindness so very much, Kairi was suddenly hit with the notion that she would now have to sacrifice herself for Sora.
And yet, it didn't seem like sacrifice in the slightest. Instead, she felt as though it was her duty to protect her friend as effectively as he'd always protected her. It was expected of her to protect the Realm of Light as a Princess of Heart, but more than that, it was expected of her as a friend.
"This time, I'll protect you," Kairi assured Sora, as the Heartless surrounded the four on all sides. Already feeling their inky Darkness harming her yet again, Kairi knew how this was all going to end. And yet, she couldn't shake the feeling that this was not an end, but rather a beginning. In her heart, Kairi knew everything would be all right. And with hope shining in her so valuable heart, Kairi shouted Sora's name and hugged him to herself, as she protected him the only way she knew how. As he'd sheltered her heart, she would now shelter him.
For a moment, all Kairi knew was Darkness and uncertainty. Desperately, she called Sora's name in the chaos, and just a moment later, there was an explosion of Light, and the world had stopped spinning.
From that moment on, people would say it was Kairi who's Light had brought Sora back, but she knew it was the bond within their hearts that had done the trick. Nestling into Sora just the slightest bit, not daring to yet open her eyes, Kairi heard a voice that was more emotional than any she'd ever heard. "Kairi, thank you."
"Sora!" Kairi exclaimed in shock, as she was finally brave enough to open her eyes, and saw Sora smiling back at her. Donald and Goofy echoed her cry, and Kairi knew she'd never been happier, or more sure of herself and her friends' connection, than in this moment.
There was so much she wanted to tell him, but the words died in her throat; so instead, she stood behind Sora and his friends before they opted to return to Traverse Town. All the while, Kairi reveled in Sora's nearness, and that she'd been right to trust him with all she had. Like the way he'd brought her back, he would Riku, too. And then the friends would be all together again. Yes, they'd all be together again soon. Them and all the people fortunate enough to be connected to Sora's heart.
It was a funny thing to Aqua that she'd once given up on her role in her friend's life. It had been on an island—that very well might have linked them together because of the paopu legend—that Aqua had resolved to let Sora and Ventus handle the things she felt she no longer could.
Even before she'd asked the mysterious stranger in the dark margin who the Keyblade hero was, she had already known, hadn't she? It was he that had given her hope that her and her friends could work it all out. It had been he that gave Aqua faith that a future generation of Keyblade wielders… might have been able to atone for her, her friends, and the past wielders' mistakes.
Here on the dark margin, an ironic island of sorts, Aqua wasn't numb for the first time in eleven years. She felt everything. And she knew, in this moment, that she'd been right all along. She had faith for herself and the friends in her heart; she knew that the three of them would always be one. Even now they existed in each other's hearts. And someday soon, they would all be free.
Setting on the beach with a smile on her face, Aqua waited for Sora and her friends. She waited for the day the wind, earth, and water would connect once again.
Though it was true that Kairi was waiting for Sora and Riku on the island again (they had just left for their Mark of Mastery exam), Kairi found she was much more optimistic about it this time around. And not just because she remembered Sora this time, Kairi joked to herself. It was just that…
She was beginning to have memories of her homeland again. Of a blue haired maiden whispering words and a spell to her, as she tried to protect her. Though Kairi didn't know for sure what this memory meant yet (or even if it was real), she couldn't help but note that the pieces seemed to be lining up.
When she'd read the letter from the King with Sora and Riku, she hadn't really been surprised to find there were so many people that needed Sora. In fact, it had almost amused Kairi; like Riku had been amused at Sora's words to her before departing.
It was just in Sora's nature to help whomever he was able to. That had never changed, and Kairi knew it never would. Sora had done so much more than bring Riku back to her when she couldn't, and yet she knew his and Riku's adventures weren't over yet. It was just starting.
And as foresight prickled at the back of Kairi's mind, she thought something might be beginning for her, too. In time, she knew she would be reunited with her friends again. And like the sky, land, and sea, they would never truly stay parted.
And so, Kairi sat on the island fashioning a new lucky charm for Riku and herself (it was high time all three of them had one, after all), and awaited her friends' return. Like she'd told Sora, she knew she'd see him soon.
Smiling a real smile that she hadn't been able to in the year after Sora had left her at Kingdom Heats, Kairi knew something great was about to happen. Like what she thought it would be like to set sail, she knew her own merry adventure was finally starting.
Clasping a hand to her heart, Kairi found herself hoping that whatever lied beyond the morning would come and show itself. The future didn't scare her at all. She had complete hope and faith in all the friends she had made, but mostly in Sora.
Looking out to the horizon, where the three elements met each other beautifully, Kairi didn't know how she knew, but she realized a blue haired maiden was sitting on a darker beach, much the same way as she was. Like her letter had found Sora and Riku, and had opened the Door to Light to bring them home, maybe Kairi could find a way to help this girl, too.
After all, as she'd written, the worlds really did share one sky and one destiny, didn't they?
The water lapping at her toes—that wasn't from the sea, but rather pure, crystalline water—gave her answer right there.
Yes, the pure hearted water maidens had a large destiny awaiting them, but a destiny where they'd be reunited with their friends, and with each other also.
Author's Note: So, I'd been noticing lately how similar Aqua and Kairi are. I mean, I know Nomura obviously did this on purpose, but honestly, I think a lot of people miss some of their ties and whatnot. I know after finishing this, I was blown away by all the things I hadn't seen, but now do.
You see? Kairi's only problem is that she hasn't had her own story yet! But really, she'll be golden when she does! For all the Aqua fans out there, get ready; Kairi's going to handle herself just as beautifully. She truly is her successor in every sense of the word.
I tell you, this is such a relief! After sort of getting disheartened about what Kairi's role in KH had become, I'm now full of hope again, and can't wait to see what this beautiful girl has to offer in KH3.
Aqua and Kairi… Such beautiful characters. I honestly think they do have it the hardest amongst their friends, and they are under appreciated (especially Kairi) by them and the fanbase at times, so I hope maybe this has helped you guys see thing clearer, too?
So this really has no dialogue. Huh. That's weird for me, but as this was about their emotions and similarities, I guess it makes sense.
I tell you, the magnitude of this story really shocked me. I hadn't planned it to be so long when I began this, but it took on a life of its own. It was like Kairi herself was telling me all her character has to offer, that most people have overlooked. It's for this reason that I love this story to death (and it might be my favorite story I've ever written), and yet, on another hand, I really am self-conscious about it, and despise it. Go figure.
Sadly, I've been way too judgmental on my stories lately. I feel like I've lost all of my confidence, and think everything I write is crap. In fact, I've been writing stories and not posting them because I don't think they're good enough, and I have no idea why I'm feeling like this, either! Hopefully I can get over it. Hmm…
On a side note, how did I do with Aqua? I'm sort of shocked and horrified to note how little I've written for her! What's wrong with me?! I love Aqua, BbS, and her trio. Aqua's my fourth favorite character (and second favorite girl) in the series! I really need to remedy this…
Anyway, I'm going to stop rambling, but I beg you to review! Not only because this might be the most meaningful thing I've ever penned, but maybe to reassure me that this isn't crap. IDK.
Well, shutting up now.