"I'm glad you came out today," Selphie says, looking over her shoulder at Kairi. She's standing on the pier, with her arms stretched out like a bird. Kairi leans over and fiddles with her shoelace, as though reassuring herself that she wouldn't fly away.
"I've never said no to you before."
"No," Selphie says, with a strangely foreign smile, "I guess you haven't," and she sinks down beside Kairi, broken marionette legs swaying in the breeze.
It's not entirely abnormal for a girl to check her hair in a mirror from time to time. Kairi has a tendency to stop and look in every reflective surface, and sometimes whisper to it clandestinely. She does so when Selphie walks her home and the hall mirror glints enticingly.
"Hi," she says and grins, although this is not strictly a hello. (Naminé is always there, like a shadow when the sun hides behind a cloud—just not always seen.)
Kairi sleeps curled against Naminé like the frailest of pillows: warm and soft and silk-thin. She wakes up one night to small white hands carding through her hair. "What," she starts, voice honey-rich with sleep, but Naminé presses a finger to her lips and smiles.
The next day they run from Tidus, chasing them with the mostly sincere threat of dropping freshly-caught fish down places no fish should go. They end up on top of a hill, and all around them the ocean is glistening blue, blue, blue, until it fades into gold at the corners and everyone forgets which bits are sky and which are sea, anyway.
"I feel like we've been here before," Kairi says, laying down in the grass and loosening her tie.
"It's a small island," Selphie nods in agreement. Her face is tilted up to the sun and her eyes are heavy lidded.
"No," Kairi says slowly, "we used to play here, didn't we?" Selphie cocks her head quizzically. "I'm sure of it! Not all of us, just you and me. We'd sit here and watch the sun come up, and we got in so much trouble when we got home—" She thinks of linked pinkies, sand in short hair and sunburned noses. She turns to Selphie with a reminiscent smile on her face.
"I don't think so, Kairi," Selphie says, and runs a hand through her hair. "I mean—I don't remember."
"Oh," Kairi says, and closes her eyes.
"You've been playing in our memories," Kairi says, soft but accusing and Naminé flinches in her arms.
"Not playing," she answers, "never playing."
"Well, then what's real? Mine or Selphie's? Did we change it just by remembering it?" Kairi doesn't know when she started yelling but her voice is sharp and stinging.
"I never—" Naminé says, and shudders—swallows down the lump in her throat. "I just wanted to give you something nice," she whispers and Kairi watches open-mouthed as she fades into the moon-light pouring in from the window.
Kairi fixes her hair in the morning and is greeted by a shock of red. She's never been angrier to see herself. ( only hiding.)
She tells Selphie she doesn't feel like going out today.
Naminé is standing by the window when she wakes up, shadow-thin. "Don't go," Kairi says hoarsely. She tiptoes up to the ghost of a girl. "I'm sorry. It's just—you don't have to fake memories anymore. We brought you back—we set you free so you could have your own. So you could share mine. Is that okay?"
"Just different," Selphie says, Kairi nods, knowing.