A Kingdom Hearts fanfiction by Lushard


Awake


"For me?"

The little girl, whose height didn't even reach my upper torso, nods once, looking somewhat bashful. Clasped lightly in her small hand is an apple, ripe and fresh.

This world is a bit different than how I remembered it. Radiant Garden is not like how I thought it would be after the last ordeal the worlds have suffered through; the streets are a bit livelier now, the scent richer and the air a little bit cooler. Nevertheless, I find that there are more children in the town. That is to be expected, I guess, with all the Heartless and Nobodies reduced in number—for how long this 'peace' would last, I still do not know—it is just normal for the mothers to be more lenient with their children's plea to play outside.

Uncertainly, I blink, hands still hanging on both sides of my body. The girl before me offeres a tiny smile. She says, "For you."

My mind searches for any explanations for this random act of kindness but I find none exists. Is she a friend of Sora's? Very slowly, reluctantly, I reach out to take the apple from her palm.

The girl must have sensed my confusion, for she says, "You helped Mom, didn't you? So this is for you."

Ah. She must be referring to the frequent jobs I've never so much as batted an eyelash at. The odd jobs from townspeople. Be it in a world full of fairies or in a place so rusty and smells of rotting meat, there are always jobs to be done, small tasks asking for my attention. It has never been one of my greatest assets, really, helping strangers on the streets. But... well, there is Sora. Being with him for the past month—or was it only a week?—really can change a lot of things. If he could make such a difference when time was not on the move, then...

Well. Sora is Sora.

The girl's mom is a fairly nice woman I've met in town two days ago. She posted a request on a billboard, the paper telling me that there was this shapeless monster who often appeared at her chocobo ranch outside of the town. I saw that it was a rather easy job to do and I completed it in less than an hour. I met the client, received her thanks with a smile, and got my munny. Not much, but enough. Sometimes being a Keyblade Master doesn't always guarantee that you'd live a well-provided life. Sora's adventures in the past taught me that.

But this... for the woman's daughter, so small and beaming with gratitude that was shaded by shyness, to be standing in front of me with an outstretched hand...

"Thank you," I say, managing a smile. I bend my body a little bit to pat her head.

The girl nods again, then she scurries back to where she's come from and is quickly swallowed by the passing crowd. I was watching her trailing back the streets when I realize that there is a little note stuck on the apple. Scrawny 'Thanks!' is scribbled on it, the girl's hand writing, no doubt.

I wish I could describe the overwhelming feeling that blooms in my chest. Never have I been touched by a small act as this. The time I have spent in darkness must have made me amnesiac to the joy of being in the light. Of living in the light.

Of course, meeting new people and Sora's friends have shed more light into my world, more so than I would be able to imagine. I treasure them, I treasure Sora and Kairi. I treasure my memories of being with them, and I am being honest when I say that I am more than grateful to be able to spend my days out of the realm of dakness.

Back then, I thought that the sun was a mere mirage for someone like me, whose existence doesn't even matter. I could never be like Sora, nor could I ever share Kairi's genuine hope for the world to push through the darkest of days. I am Riku, and I have let the darkness bloomed in my heart. Once, but still it is enough to corrupt my hope and faith in the world. The path to redemption has been hard. Yet it is full of promises and hope at the same time.

There is light at the end of the tunnel; I can see it. I can see what I want, even from where I stand now. When I was still trapped in the darkness, I thought of the light as some form of acceptance, some form of unspoken hope in people's hearts. But for me, it is more like a silent prayer now. Of what, you ask? I believe you already know what I want the most.

And then there are still lingering doubts, the remnants of the darkness that refuses to be swept away. I don't believe I'm capable of reaching that light. I don't believe that I'm worthy to make a difference in these worlds, even though now I shoulder the title and strength as a Keyblade Master. What for is a title without the heart to bear it?

Before I know it, my feet are already moving, carrying me to a place where I can see the sun setting peacefully in the west. The bridge is almost vacant of people, with only some vendors opening their business nearby. I let my elbows rest at the stone railing and stare at the note once again.

Perhaps I will never be worthy enough to live in the light. I cannot erase my past errors nor can I undo them. Darkness has claimed me once; its chains are still binding me. But maybe...

"There are hearts around us, everywhere we look." The deep, calming voice of the man I met in the realm of dreams is echoing in my heart, pounding like a second heartbeat.

Not to become a mere shadow of someone else's heart...

In order to have a free heart burdened only by its desire to complete others'...

"Your heart and Sora's heart are always in tune, so they're free to sing."

If I have the power to release Sora's heart from his nightmares...

I unstuck the note from the fruit and let my smile grow.

Yeah, I can still walk towards the light. The dark tunnel that speaks for my karma may be long, but I know that the light is a steady presence that will always beckon me. It shall never dim. It shall never waver. Out there is the realm of light I have always dreamed of, a realm full of laughter and joy and hope.

I rotate the apple in my hand and take a bite. The sweetness fills my mouth, and the freshness stirs my body and soul alive.

I will always be a product of my past. But I can try walking and looking towards the future. The darkness has changed me, but I can let the light transform me.

I am Riku.

I am a Keyblade Master.