Reaching mainland, Riku and Kairi see something odd and Riku proposes a plan to best find Tidus.
Riku shrugged, looking at the horizon. “Nice view.” He noted.
“It’s always nice.” But Kairi dragged her eyes to the sea anyway, and her gaze caught something in the water that set Riku’s nerves on edge. “Is that—are those the logs from the raft?” She quickly scrambled to the edge of the wharf for a closer look, and Riku trailed behind, already knowing the answer. “It could just be driftwood, but I’ve got a feeling... Help me untie the dinghy again, Riku? Planet only knows how you manage to knot the rope so tight.”
With the ease of experience, Riku untied the rope and set it up so Kairi could get back in. She did, with a bit of a wobble, and Riku passed her a paddle to row. She actually did this time, surprisingly well, reaching the wood to examine it without the slightest wrong turn or large splash. Riku told himself it was because the sea was calm, disliking the idea that someone else could have a more finely-tuned relationship with the elements than he. (Perhaps it was only the water, though: Riku recalled an old conversation with Sora in which he learnt that Kairi’s name was Latin for ocean.)
Kairi turned around and paddled back to the wharf. She hugged the dripping piece of timber to chest, protectively and her face was worried as got up from the rowboat.
“It’s from the raft, alright.” She said. “I’d recognise your beautiful carpentry and sandpaper job anywhere.” Riku might’ve blushed at that, had he not long ago accepted the generally well regarded fact of the majority of the islands knowing he had somewhat of a natural talent for woodwork: he’d aced the majority of his assignments for it and picked it as his two-year elective course.
“What do you think it means?” Riku asked, slyly.
“I don’t know,” Kairi said, biting her lip. “I just hope Sora’s okay and gets home soon.”
Well, if that just didn’t play into Riku’s hands perfectly. When Sora had missing long enough for people to expect something serious’d happened to him, the natural assumption would be that the raft was built badly and Sora picked a bad time to set sail; the storm would’ve had the sea raging, he wouldn’t have been able to steer properly. He might’ve crashed into a rock and became stranded, or capsized and drowned, leaving the raft to an easy wreck. It wouldn’t be the first time it’d happened on the islands.
“Mmm,” Riku hummed. “Hey, you still want to go to Tidus’ house?”
She looked at him “Of course. We didn’t say goodbye really at all yesterday, and the announcement was sudden, meaning we didn’t get time to prepare a going away party. So we gotta see him off properly now.”
Riku knew that chances were Tidus was most likely already at the airport, checking his bags in, they’d never make it in time.
“I’ve been wondering,” he started, “how about you go to his house and ring the doorbell see if he’s home, and I go to Sora’s place and talk to his mum about him, then ask for a ride to the airport to see if Tidus is there, kill two birds with one stone.“ Kairi opened her mouth to interrupt, most likely thinking about what he’d said to Wakka not an hour earlier about Sora’s mum having a temper, but Riku quickly interrupted, “Now I know what you’re thinking, and I wasn’t exaggerating before, she is like Sora when angered, but I’m sure you know that Sora isn’t always like that, she’s isn’t necessarily either.“ Blatant lie, there: truthfully Riku was just telling her what she wanted to hear, privately assuming a different reaction from the blonde-haired Strife. “Once you’ve reached Tidus’ house and figured out if he’s there or not, text me on my mobile. If he’s not there, I’ll ask Sora’s mum for the ride to the airport so I can pass on your goodbye and say my own, and you can go back to the island and talk to Selphie. If Tidus hasn’t actually left the house yet and you’ve managed to track him down, I won’t ask for the car ride, just walk back, so we can both say our goodbyes in person and sneak into his suitcase to go with him, or replace the real him with a dummy and hide him in his dresser for the rest of the day.” (If Sora was here, Riku knew he’d smile and crack a joke about Riku being stuck in the closet.) “Sound good?”
“There’s a lot of ifs.” Kairi still looked a little uncertain, biting her lip as she gazed up unto his face, looking anyplace but his eyes. But he didn’t look away from Kairi’s own, putting his hands on her shoulders in a gesture that to him seemed more desperate than confidently reassuring.
“Trust me, Kairi.” Riku said, “It’ll work.”
“It’d better.” She shot back, managing a weak grin.
They sorted out the details of Kairi contacting Riku, and parted ways.