wishes and promises in a world that isn't. saïx x kairi.
She ran through passages where eyes crept and blinked from the darkness of the walls, little white ghosts tugging at her hair, her skirt - she could imagine their voices, tiny whispers of /we aren't, let us be/, but all she could answer was /I understand, I'm sorry/, even though she didn't really know why - just ran, Axel's hand tight on her wrist, dragging her when she faltered, catching her when she stumbled, pulling her on and on until she yanked herself away and kicked him in the shin, hard - and he looked so surprised, she felt a little sorry for him, like the first time she beat Riku at hearts (/I won his favorite thalassa shell, too/) - but then his eyes changed and shadows rushed around him and she thought maybe, if he could be, that Axel was /scared/-
But someone was there in the dark ahead of her, someone with a coat and a scar and a big, big sword, and she couldn't help thinking well, this is it, here's another one and I'm so dead/, but Pluto started barking in front of her and she made herself pry open an eye from where they had squeezed tight-shut because really, she'd never live it down from the boys if a dog was braver than she was and after all, they weren't here to protect her, so she'd just have to do it herself - /princesses can too, dammit - and so she opened her eyes and opened her mouth and-
"Um..." No, try again. "Who are you?"
"SaÃ¯x." His voice was still, empty, and for a moment she was back home, in her room, trying to work out what she should leave for Sora, and what for Riku, and really if it mattered since they'd just trade it all back and forth anyway, after she was- "And you are Kairi."
"...Yes." How-? was maybe a dumb question, and she hadn't gotten anywhere with who-?/. She cleared her throat. "Um..." /Dammit. "Why are you here?" And now he's going to say 'to cut out your heart', and then I'm going to be so, so dead.
"Kairi..." Something about his tone made her glad for Pluto, made her want to close her eyes again, to sink to her knees and bury her face in his fur. "In these dark corridors, I should ask instead, 'Why are you here?'"
"There was a man." Her voice, at least, was steady, though her knees still refused to comply. Pluto growled, haunches pressed soft against her ankles. "Axel. He said he knew... Sora." Sora Sora Sora/, her mind whispered, and then made an echo, /Riku Riku Riku, just to make sure she never forgot him, forgot either of them, ever again.
'Got it memorized...?'
"-Axel brought me here."
You scared him. "...I got away."
"I see." Silence. She could meet his eyes now, a little - they were yellow, or maybe amber, like Ansem's had been - and trace the scar between his brows with her gaze. She wondered how he had gotten it, and how much it had hurt, and if the person who had given it to him was still alive, and really how much longer she'd still be alive- "He thought Roxas would come for you."
"Roxas...?" She looked back into SaÃ¯x's eyes, startled. He was closer, now - too close - and Pluto was plastered against her legs, a soft whine gathering in his throat. "I... spoke... to him, once. He... reminded me of Sora." 'Starts with an S' - Sora, you silly. She frowned. "But... why would Roxas come for /me/?"
Silence, noncommittal. She could feel his breath on her forehead - Pluto had given up any hope of being a 'brave dog' and was tugging gently at the lacing of her shoe. /Let's go, let's go/, she imagined him saying. /He smells like shadows and emptiness. He smells like nothing and moonlight. Let's go, Kairi, let's go!/- but she was frustrated, and her traitorous, curious mouth was opening again.
"Well? Why would he?"
"Axel will receive appropriate punishment."
"That's not what I asked."
"I know." The walls fell silent, and she gave up and closed her eyes again as he laid his hand on her shoulder. "Kairi... if the Keyblade master will come for you, you will come with me."
'If you have a dream-'
"No." She didn't dare open her eyes, but her voice was strong. "Axel was right - waiting isn't good enough. I'm going to find Sora." She bit her lip, but Pluto barked once, a warning, a reminder, and she continued. "And Riku, too. I'm not going to just sit and wait for them." She thought of her bottle, bobbing on the ocean, searching for sky and land. "Not this time." I promised. She smiled, wryly. And really, how many more strings of thalassa shells can I braid together?
"Kairi." Just her name, then a gloved hand under her collarbone, pressing as if searching for something; the chill of the leather made her shiver, wondering if his skin was this cold. His fingers wrapped around her moonstone pendant - like mine do, when I'm lonely - his arm enfolding her and bringing her close. She opened her eyes to the darkness of his coat, blinking, feeling his chest move against her cheek as he breathed.
Is Riku this tall now? Is Sora? She could almost laugh, imagining a stretched palm-tree Sora in too-short pants, even with SaÃ¯x's non-scent all around her and his hand on her heart.
"Are you thinking of him?" His voice was the whisper of the walls, yearning. "I can almost feel-" He pulled her closer, fingertips biting into her waist. She struggled to breathe through his embrace, heart hammering, reaching out as if it would leave her heartless and alone - but it would be SaÃ¯x, not Riku, who would cradle her body in his arms; SaÃ¯x, not Sora, who would hold her inside of him.
"Let. Go. Of. Me." Her hands were pinned in the circle of his arm, and she struggled as he stepped back, dragging her with him. "Let go!" She heard the padding of Pluto's paws next to her, felt SaÃ¯x hesitate as the dog's teeth caught in his robe - Oh, brave dog. Brave loyal dog. I hope the king gives you a world of biscuits - but her feet (her heart) drew her onwards, the world melting underneath them, darkness pooling in puddles, symbols shifting to skyscrapers, and she looked up past SaÃ¯x as the rain brushed her face.
Moonlight. Then, absurdly, but it's raining. Her bangs fell into her eyes, dripping, but she could see the moon the heart shining over a city, over a castle so not that it hurt to look at, more than even Hollow Bastion had - and that had been home, once, but this is familiar unfamiliar as, as... She felt her heart tug again, reaching towards the castle and the heart-moon above - but there was a penumbra around one edge, something incomplete that faded and frayed, sparkles of light drifting to merge and fuse into the heart.
"Kingdom Hearts." SaÃ¯x's voice was still again, calm, but the hand on her chest tightened, clenching into her skin, and she had to fight the sudden panic swaying through her, shimmering like the unfinished moon.
"Kingdom Hearts?" But/- her mind was baffled into absurdity again- /where's the door? "How- where is this?"
He smiled, almost, like a reflex or memory. "Nowhere."
"Nowhere?" The echo slipped out and she winced. There are better questions, there must be, but nothing makes sense, dammit! Like- in Wonderland. Her heart could almost remember, held in Sora's, and he had told her stories of all the worlds back in Traverse Town. /Alice. Cheshire cat. This must be worse - I wish I was there, and not here, but if here isn't there- No. If here isn't 'where'/- "Aren't we... here?"
"Here never was." The world was dissolving again, darkness and tendrils and strange shadow eyes; behind her she heard Pluto whine. "Perhaps if the Keyblade master cares for you enough, Kairi, it will be."
"If Sora...?" The walls slipped past her as she struggled to keep her focus on SaÃ¯x. "What do you mean?" The room was taking shape around them, barred and barren, the glow of Kingdom Hearts shining from a distant window. "Please. Tell me." He was silent, gaze upturned, watching the moon. Her heart reached again - somewhere, can you see the same sky? - echoing through her as she tipped her chin up to look at him. "Please. I need to find him. Both of them."
"Kairi..." Another almost-smile shadowed his face as he looked down at her. She was caught by the utter absence in his eyes - as if something's missing, something important -and shut her own as his arm wrapped painful-tight around her, pulling her close. "Remember him. Let me feel the strength of your heart." She trembled as he held her, as gloved fingers stroked her chest, as moonlight surrounded her. "Remember."
Sora/, she thought. /Riku. She couldn't stop the flood at their names (/the smiles and swimming and sweet-salt ice cream/) memories chaining together (/their fears and fights/) his lips brushing across her damp forehead (/but friends, always/) his hair falling over her cheek (/under an endless blue sky/) his fingertips pressing against her chest, her heart.
"Why?" she whispered. The word fell into the air as she listened to Pluto's nervous whine, the rustle of SaÃ¯x's coat, his hand over her skin, her own shaky breath. Her mouth opened again, lost and reckless. "Why?"
"This is what fuels him." His fingers trailed up her collarbone, throat. "This, perhaps, will feed the rage." His arms fell away- she stumbled back, traitorous knees unable to hold her, eyes blinking open as she sat hard against the stone floor. Beside her, Pluto sniffed her hand, satisfied enough to wag his tail once before perching in front of her and arranging himself in a determined guard position. SaÃ¯x watched them, darkness beginning to twine in tendrils behind him, gaze empty and unreadable.
/His eyes are almost the same color as Kingdom Hearts/, she thought absently, pushing herself to her knees. "Wait! SaÃ¯x-" Her breath caught, and she had to swallow before continuing. "Tell me what you mean. Please-" He was gone.
"Why do you need Sora?" Dammit. She let her hand drop and sank back onto the floor, flopping forward to bury her face in Pluto's back. "Why do you need me?" She kneaded the dog's side over and over, letting the motions substitute for tears. Dammit, dammit, dammit. "Why did you-?" She turned her cheek to rest against Pluto, hand creeping to her heart. "Why?"
At night - she pretended it was night, though she supposed in somewhere that wasn't, time didn't really mean much of anything, under the light of Kingdom Hearts - she pulled herself up, and patted Pluto's head, and watched the way her shadow moved on the wall. She could almost imagine a voice (sweet and quiet, and softer than hers, like hers was a cheerful morning bird and her shadow's sang at dusk) and the way her shadow might tilt her head and touch her hair or maybe even smile and then she wanted to scribble like she used to when she was small, sitting on the beach with crayons on her lap, but since she had no sketchbook nor colors she talked to her shadow instead.
"What is he doing?" She traced the edges of her silhouette - nose, mouth, chin - and wondered when her hair had grown so long. "SaÃ¯x. Why is he doing this?"
Her shadow's voice was shy, nervous. He sees the glow of your heart. She could almost see a sad little smile, like a memory, and her shadow's hand moved to her chest as hers did. It's brighter than the moon to him.
"The glow of my heart?" She tilted her face up to the golden-pale window above, blinking as the light washed over her. "Do you mean-" I mean? "-it's brighter than Kingdom Hearts?" She hugged her knees, clasping her fingers together. "What is Kingdom Hearts?"
I don't know. Her shadow's arms mirrored hers, wrapping her to herself. A heart... The heart of hearts. They long for it more than anything: to be complete. She imagined blue eyes (hers Sora's hers) looking back at her through pieces of too-pale hair. SaÃ¯x, too. Your warmth... He wants to feel it in his heart.
He- Hesitation. He doesn't have one.
"He-" and for a moment she could only stay quiet, letting her head rest on her knee, hair draping over her face. Pluto lay peaceful behind her; she listened to his sleeping breath, in and out like waves on the beach, like sand and sky and bare toes in the water, like castles washed away. She untangled her arms and brought a hand to her chest, feeling SaÃ¯x's gloves on her skin, his fingertips (painful, yearning) searching for her heart.
On the wall, her shadow echoed her movements, one hand over her chest, the other gliding past her brow as if brushing back bangs or tears. Without his heart, he isn't... whole. But he- (and she imagined silent white halls and a touch soft as petals, but couldn't think why, or when) -they remember what it was like to have hearts. To be complete.
She gave up and let herself fall against the wall, face resting against the cool stone, eyes squeezing closed. "He wants to find his-" She swallowed, clutching at her pendant, remembering his fingers wrapping around it, his arm around her- "-his heart. So he'll, he'll be whole. Can-" She wished there was someone else there: Sora's hand, Riku's shoulder, someone's cheek to maybe cry against a little- "Can he really feel my heart?"
Her cheek was wet. Maybe.
The second time, he opened her.
She lost track of time, sitting in the twilight with dog and shadow and moon up above - days of her own voice and imaginings, and hooded figures outside which maybe she had dreamed, and sometimes just his eyes, his silence, watching - so when the tendrils twined throughout the room she could only wonder if it was real, really happening, before he spoke-
"I've seen Sora."
-and she looked up at him, his outstretched hand, reaching out her own- enfolded in darkness, moonlight, the world twisting broken into pale curving walls and windows (/so many windows!/) with Kingdom Hearts shining bright and huge before her.
"Where-?" The question startled out of her mouth before she could snatch it back, already certain that the response would be worthy of Wonderland.
"An addled impasse."
"An-?" I was right, dammit. She took a few steps forward, lost in the moon-patterns under her feet and across the windows, the dark colors stirring through something that wasn't quite glass - are they inside or out? - the sheer not of the castle and city below. She felt SaÃ¯x watching her, his gaze calm on her back, and tried to squirm away from her thoughts, his eyes, running her hand up the shape of one of the slender pillars along the hall.
Like a heartless symbol, reversed. "This..." She couldn't bring herself to turn around, fingers closing around the thin form of the pillar. "This is your room, isn't it? This symbol..." She traced the curves like an upside-down heart, the sharpness of the points. "...It's almost like your sword."
"Yes." His footsteps fell behind her, and her fingers tightened. "It's a symbol of what we are."
"What you-" Her hair moved with his breath. "You... you said you'd seen Sora. Is he-?" She trailed off, heart trying to escape through her throat. I'd know. I know I'd know. "Where is he?"
"I spoke with him at Hollow Bastion, though I assume he's left by now." There were hands on her waist, working at her belt - she squeezed her eyes shut, pressing her palm against the pillar until it hurt. "He may even be trying to find his way here."
"Here, that never was." Her belt slid away under his fingers. "Fighting his way through waves of heartless-" and she could hear something in his voice, something feral and aching, though his tone was calm. "All to find the most important thing to him." The buckles clattered against the floor as his coat brushed by her face, soft and smelling of nothing. "You, Kairi. The person, he said, that he cares about 'more than anything.'"
Tears filled the corners of her eyes. Still Sora, you're still Sora, even after a year and me forgetting. "He... does. Me and Riku." SaÃ¯x's gloves brushed cold on her chest, but she couldn't stop the words (the feelings) from brimming over. "Maybe Donald and Goofy, too. He'd find us." I'll find him. And Riku- and she gasped as SaÃ¯x pulled her hard against him, her fingers scraping past the pillar, but her mouth had a life of its own and kept /going/- "He... He's Sora."
His breath was fast, painful. "Tell me."
"He promised." The words spilled out across the click of her zipper, the rustle of her jumper being peeled off of her shoulders. "We told each other - 'I'm always with you.'" He lifted her chemise, pulling the elastic away from her body. She shivered. The more I feel, the more he/- "I- we- never had the chance to tell Riku-" her arms tangled up over her head as he slid the thin fabric off "-but we'll always be together." /Even if we never share a paopu.
"Kairi-" and she reached for the memories, clung to them (warm summer nights and the breeze on their backs, splashing feet in the balmy water) as SaÃ¯x's fingers worked at the ribbons on her hips, her underwear slipping away to whisper against the floor. His gloves slid up her sides, caressing her chest, her breasts, over and over. Her pulse echoed in his palm.
Brighter than the moon...? Her heels tipped under her, pushing her into him, his robe fluid against her bare shoulders - like the sea/, her mind babbled, /like swimming, like Sora Riku me wet-skinned in the waterfall - she reached out, struggling for balance as his arms caught her and cradled her close. Her eyes startled open as her cheek hit his robe - she blinked for a moment, watching the silver weights on the ties of his hood rise and fall with each breath. He isn't... whole. Her fingers tentatively climbed the zipper of his coat, bird-searching under his collarbone as she pressed her ear to his chest and /listened/-
"So it is true," she murmured. "You don't have a heart."
"No." He stroked her hair, her throat, and she fell silent, hearing the emptiness beyond his breath, counting each beat in her chest (the absence in his) as his hand moved with the rhythm of her heart.
/He wants to feel/-
"Kairi." The motion stopped, his gloves sliding down her shoulders and away, and she had to stand and breathe and check that she was still /there/- "Take off your shoes."
"My shoes/-?" Her voice squeaked and died as he stepped back under the glow of the windows. She tried to keep her balance, gave up, and let her knees fold, wincing as her skin collided with the cold floor. /Even shoes? Her fingers tangled through the bows as she curled her legs from underneath her, unwrapping the ribbons from her ankles. Maybe everyone here - she tugged one shoe off - has to wear black robes? She traced the curve of the pattern below her, absently pulling off the other shoe. Does he have one that'll fit me? Even Riku isn't that tall... She imagined a scowling Riku, bangs and hood flopping over his face, and almost smiled before looking up to where SaÃ¯x was removing his coat-
"Oh," she whispered. Oh. Oh/- and watched, transfixed, as the leather slid off his shoulders, chest bare to the light spilling from the moon the heart above (/his eyes are /the same color/) he was tearing off his gloves, fingers long and feral-sharp, and starting towards her - she shoved herself back, flailing, scrambling, until her shoulders smashed hard against the wall.
Sora. Her arms lifted hopelessly to wrap around herself. Riku/- and all she wanted was the warm sun and Sora scuffing through the sand with ice cream (or Riku, because Sora would eat half of it before he found her) and their voices saying /Kairi, you've been dreaming - but this was real, /now/, nails sharp in her shoulder, skin scraping stone as SaÃ¯x dragged her off the floor.
He's nothing like the sun. Her breath fled as his hand slammed into her chest; he was too, too close, covering her in moonlight: his eyes, the glass, the shining heart glowing in the sky - his hair fell heavy over her face (/still nothing/, her mind murmured, /he smells like/-) then teeth, sharp at her lips in- /not a kiss/- and she reached for air as his mouth came hard over hers, his tongue inside, her ears filling with the cold click of a zipper coming down.
Sora! Riku/- but there was nothing but empty need and moonbright eyes, hands forcing her thighs back and apart, holding her open - she wanted to ask him if this would make him complete, but she thought she'd start crying if she tried and anyway she completed (/nami/-?) Riku and Sora - she felt him take a breath, then a sharp ache and /I might cry, anyway as he began to move, to slam into her over and over-
He's matching my heartbeat-
She tore her mouth from his, desperate, her lips seeking his neck, shoulder, the line of his collarbone, pressing to where his heart should be; his damp chest under her tongue tasted of something empty and longing - she screamed, voice pale and shattered, as his nails ripped her skin; he whispered sounds anything but soothing, driving himself more deeply inside her-
To get closer to my heart-?
Her head flung hard against the stone, back arching hopelessly as his mouth found her throat, chased the rhythm through her veins - soft, /sharp/; wanting, biting, bruising; the tears gave up and spilled, memories flooding back (hands rough against rock as an answering paopu took shape under her fingers) body trembling under his as she gasped, sobbed, felt his teeth pierce the skin above her heart-
Will I really make you whole?
-harder still, his hips her heart faster faster until she thought she'd break crying breathing reaching for Sora's laugh Riku's smile his eyes glowing moonlight memories feelings anything to complete him tears rushing into her hair scar rending raw across his face - then he shuddered, some sound surging dark in his throat, and collapsed against her, still.
She tried to just breathe a moment, to listen - his rough gasps, her shreds of sobs, their echoes through the hollow room - to try to not feel the throb between her thighs. Am I still me? She wondered, shivering, if she didn't want to be, wanted just to stop, to stop /being/-
"Kairi." He pushed himself away, kissing her forehead with something not quite tenderness, his gaze again calm and empty. "Did I hurt you?" She wanted, almost, to reach and smooth the damp hair back from his brow, trace the curve of his cheek, do something, anything, to soothe the ache behind his eyes- "I'm sorry."
"Do-" Her voice shook. She let herself fall against SaÃ¯x, let her face burrow in his shoulder as the moonlight fell across her skin. "Do you mean it?" She cradled her head against him, watching her tears wet his chest and soak into the small red marks left by her mouth. He caressed her swollen lips, followed the furrows down her neck. "Do you feel-?"
His fingers slowed, stopped on the wound above her heart. "No."
Later (with Pluto protective beside her, nose raising at the slightest sound) she touched her body hesitantly, lingering on the tender spots - the bruises and lacerations across her neck and chest; her thighs, marked with deep scratches - and held herself to herself, pressing against her shadow on the wall of her cell, trying and trying not to cry until she just gave up and sobbed, imagining small, tentative hands stroking her back, soft wordless whispers murmured over and over, someone else /there/-
"I couldn't-" Her voice broke, fingers slipping over the wall, her legs, Pluto's soft fur. He whimpered, draping his chin warm and heavy over her knee. "I /can't/-" She choked, remembering the absence in SaÃ¯x's eyes as he dressed himself, her, gloved hands enfolding hers as she tried to refasten her zipper. "He still, his heart-" She swallowed hard, tears slipping past her chin to dampen Pluto's head. "He isn't complete."
He'll come back. She imagined something in the voice, something like petals or memories, and thought her shadow's cheek might be wet, too, through the wall. Your heart/- her hand went to her chest, and she wondered if her shadow had the same bruises- /It's so bright. Their moon, Kingdom Hearts, it... It's made of hearts, but hearts consumed by darkness, freed by the rage of the Keyblade. She imagined her shadow's fingers curving like she wanted to hold a crayon, draw what she meant- He'll come back. You glow to him.
"I..." She bit her lip, tasting salt- tasting him. "Is this what it means, being a princess?" She closed her eyes, reaching for the wall, sketching an answering hand in her mind; her other hand tangled in Pluto's warm fur. I wish I was just a princess for Sora and Riku. Pluto whined at her grip, and she petted an apology. I wish they would ride up on white horses - but then they would slay the ogre (the man) who held her captive, and she didn't want that, she couldn't/- "I wish-" She wiped her cheek, tried a smile. /And if Riku was here, he wouldn't believe it, not for a minute. Sora would. "I wish I was a better princess."
You never give up. She imagined a piece of paper before her, offered like a secret - red hair and blue eyes, holding out a paopu. You're you. You can't be replaced. A little laugh, not quite a sob. You are a princess. Believe in yourself.
The last time.
She thought she might forget what the moon - the real moon - looked like, followed by Kingdom Hearts in every moment: in his eyes, the sky (she ran again, dreaming of worlds and forests where his footsteps echoed with her beating heart) pooling over her bare skin, his mouth and fingers searching for something brighter still inside her chest-
But she couldn't give up, not yet, not when her shadow still painted hope behind the wall, not when she hadn't found Riku and Sora - not even with SaÃ¯x coming for her night after night, silent beside her, reaching out his hand to bring her to his moon-drenched impasse, to open her body, her heart, to enter - and so she waited in the twilight of her cell, curling up and trying to talk herself into another game of hearts and x's or a round of hopeless hopscotch.
A paw brushed her leg, warm doggy reassurance; she lifted her chin, moving to scratch Pluto's head. We both have friends we miss. She swallowed, trying to make her mouth work and murmur some comfort, or - even better - a new and wonderful plan where a ladder would appear (she smoothed out the rungs in Pluto's fur) and then she could climb to Kingdom Hearts and bring SaÃ¯x armfuls and armfuls of light and then maybe he'd have his heart and wouldn't- wouldn't-
She looked up, startled. Pluto had turned his head, one ear intently pointing towards the empty hallway outside. Sora? She couldn't hear anything but her heart pounding, wishing sudden and too loud. Riku? She shoved herself off the floor, almost slipping, but it didn't matter because they were near, she could feel them, and she might as well be flying as she looked up to meet the empty gaze of the man who stood in silver and leather and- oh. Oh.
"What are you going to do with us?" /That you haven't already done/, her mind whispered, but she couldn't make herself say it aloud, not with SaÃ¯x here, not when she was just trying to keep standing, to not /run/- to hold the bars with shaking hands (like every night before, pressing her fingers as hard as she could against what wasn't glass, listening to the soft sounds behind her as he removed his coat) and just /breathe/-
"You're the fire that feeds Sora's anger."
-but she couldn't/, not even with Sora beating in her chest (/he came he's here we'll find Riku/) not when she knew - she /knew - what SaÃ¯x meant, watching her, aching absence in his eyes, and wanted to cry or wrap her fingers in his coat or promise him, promise /anything/-
Just please, not with Sora there - not with him watching-!
-she'd almost remembered how to talk, how to scream - but he was leaving, tassels clinking (cold metal against her cheek, lips buried in the leather of his coat, fingers pleading with the zipper as if she could kiss the hollow real, fill him with herself, make him whole) and she couldn't speak, not a word, tangled in nothing (/nothing and moonlight/) as he disappeared down the hall.
"No..." Her voice spilled out, finally, heart fluttering painful-fast. He couldn't feel - could never feel. She wanted to run, to scratch another wish into the wall, to listen to her shadow whisper maybe/, but she couldn't, standing with trembling knees and mind babbling in circles. /He wants Kingdom Hearts - made of hearts freed by the rage of the Keyblade. Tears were starting, hopeless and helpless, as she imagined SaÃ¯x holding out his hand. To feed the rage... he'll use me. She couldn't breathe. He'll hurt me.
"Sora's in danger because of me..."
The world split sharp and loud, Pluto barking harsh-excited as a dark path tore open. She wanted to tell him to run and hide, to squeeze through the bars or slip through the dark corridor - anything before SaÃ¯x came, before he took her to Sora and used her - she would struggle, kick him, anything/, because it didn't matter, it didn't matter, it didn't /matter what he did to her after if Sora was just /safe/.
The figure outlined against the darkness was small and pale and memory-soft, blonde hair spilling over a shoulder (like she'd always wished when she was little and playing princess-in-a-tower on the islands with Sora and Riku clamoring around the base of the paopu tree, whacking each other with wooden swords) beckoning with color-smudged fingers-
- and it hurt/, her heart wishing and reaching and wanting to be surrounded by home, summer days and star-promise nights and the sound of waves singing her to sleep. /Everything absent in his eyes. She pressed herself back against the bars. "Who-?"
"Believe in yourself." A sad smile, shadow-quick. "C'mon, hurry!"
He isn't complete. Her feet faltered, confused, wanting to run, fly away, but- I couldn't/. Pluto's tail wagged anxiously, his paws twitching as if they anticipated warm grass, blue sky - she wanted to feel the sun soak her skin, too, to take Sora and Riku's hands in her own (even if they weren't on the islands, if they were together, it wouldn't matter). But /he'd still be here, aching, her heart (his) forever beyond his reach - I can't. She met the girl's eyes (/nami/-) and it hurt, hurt so much - hope soft and painful (empty and longing), so familiar that her hand shook as she reached out.
Riku. Sora. I promised. I'll always be with you.
Something bright, and so warm - a door opening - and in the cell nothing but moonlight.