It wasn’t that Kairi disliked Xion.
From the little they knew each other, Xion seemed liked a perfectly nice person.
But whenever Kairi looked at her, she saw Sora.
From what she understood, because Xion had been created from memories, she took different forms depending on who looked at her. Her normal form – the one most of their friends saw – had Kairi’s face and black hair. But Kairi was unable to see anything but Sora.
It had been a surprise, during the fight in Keyblade Graveyard before Xemnas took her, to see another Sora, but she hadn’t had time to react then. After Sora saved her, and she had to go tell everyone he was gone, to see someone who looked just like him… it had been unnerving.
And the worst part was, Xion reminded her a lot of Sora. If she didn’t think too much about it, she could even pretend she was Sora. Kairi knew this wasn’t fair to the girl, who was definitely her own person, but it was often how she felt.
It usually wasn’t an issue, because they didn’t see each other very often, and they had never been alone together before.
But Xion had gone to Destiny Islands to visit Naminé earlier that day, and was now standing in front of Kairi, looking just like Sora.
“Xion,” Kairi said, unsure on what had even prompted her to talk. Xion looked at her, and her head was slightly tilted, just like Sora’s when he was confused. And she felt a small pang in her heart at the thought. “I was wondering, how’s Lea doing over at Twilight Town?” she finished lamely, anything she may have planned to say leaving her head at the thought of Sora.
“He’s doing well,” Xion said with Sora’s smile. “I think he’s having a good time training under Aqua when it comes to the Keyblade, but he goofs off a lot to spend time with us, since Roxas and I decided not to keep fighting.”
Kairi tried to hide her surprise at learning that. She was sure someone had mentioned it before, but she usually found it hard to concentrate when Xion was in the room.
“I see Sora when I look at you,” Kairi blurted out, unable to keep her mouth shut now that she and Xion were alone. Kairi then realized what she said and winced, Xion probably wouldn’t like knowing that.
“I know,” Xion nodded. “Well. I suspected it. You always act weird around me.”
“It’s not your fault,” Xion said, waving her hands a little. “I look the way I look to most people because of Sora’s memories of you, so it makes sense your memories of Sora would be just as strong.”
How understanding Xion was made Kairi feel bad, but she was glad Xion didn’t mind it. Or, well, at least she didn’t blame Kairi for it.
“I hope we can be friends anyway,” Xion said with a small smile. “Sora cares a lot about you, having his memories… well, I always wanted to meet you, at least once.”
The words seemed familiar in Kairi’s mind, like she had said them before. Brushing it off, Kairi smiled and offered her hand to Xion. “Friends?”
Sora – Xion – grinned at her before taking her hand. “Friends.”
Naminé came back then, had gone back to the main Island to pick up something she and Xion had been talking about.
Kairi couldn’t help but look at Xion while she talked animatedly with Naminé, because Sora’s movements – or, well, Xion’s movements in Sora’s face – were so much like what she was used to seeing from him, it hurt.
Not for the first time, Kairi hoped Sora would come back soon. And she was sure he would, as long as they believed in him. A part of her wanted to go searching for him, but Riku and Yen Sid had talked her out of it.
But Sora would return. And maybe when he did, she would be able to look at Xion and see the person everyone else did.
Because now, everything she saw was Sora. Even the parts of Xion that were nothing like him – the parts that came from her, the parts unique to Xion – reminded Kairi of him.
It wasn’t until Xion was leaving for the day after spending a while more with Naminé that Kairi realized there was a problem, that the weirdness she felt around Xion wasn’t gone just because of their little talk.
Because seeing Sora – Xion – leave her behind was painful.
“Don’t go,” Kairi said, taking Xion’s hand before she could process what she was doing. “I don’t want you to leave me again!”
Xion turned to look at Kairi, stepping down from her Gummi Ship, and the serious expression with her face was the first thing that didn’t match Sora at all. That was when Kairi realized what had just happened, and she freed Xion’s hand like it burned.
“Kairi… I’m not-
“I know,” Kairi cut her off. “You’re not Sora.”
Xion wasn’t Sora. Kairi knew that. But it was so easy to forget that when looking at – her.
“Kairi, do you like it when you think I’m Sora?” Xion asked, a bit hesitantly. “Because if it will make you feel better, you can talk to me like I’m him. Maybe it will help you sort out your feelings.”
It was an odd offer, but what around her hadn’t been odd since Destiny Islands fell to darkness?
Kairi looked around to make sure Naminé wasn’t close, and realized her new sister had gone home already.
“I miss you,” Kairi said, looking at Sora’s face. Xion didn’t say anything, and Kairi forgot it wasn’t actually Sora in front of her. “I really miss you, why won’t you just come back?”
Kairi could feel tears fall down her face, and she started to ramble, to say anything she wanted Sora to know, from Riku’s journey around the worlds to search for new Keyblade wielders, to Naminé being adopted by the same man that had adopted her, she just talked.
Kairi sometimes wrote letters to Sora, because she liked talking to him, but she didn’t feel as close to him then as she did now. It was more powerful when Sora was staring back at her, even when it wasn’t really him.
Xion let her talk, and after a few more minutes Kairi just hugged her. Sora’s hug felt the same even when coming from someone else, and Kairi let herself believe he was back, for just a moment.
Xion finally stepped back, and gave Kairi a small smile. “I hope that helped,” she said, nodding at Kairi.
“It did,” Kairi admitted. “I think it helped more than I thought it would.”
And it was true. Kairi hadn’t felt that close to Sora since he had disappeared while holding her hand, or maybe before that, when they had first found each other again after Xehanort killed her.
“I’m glad,” Xion said. “Kairi, I… look, if you need anything, I’m just a Gummi Ship trip away. We’re friends now, right?”
“We are,” Kairi smiled weakly, tears still blurring her vision.
Xion finally left, and Kairi walked home, her mind still on Sora’s – Xion’s – hug. That had been the happiest she felt since…
A part of Kairi realized that might be a bad idea, but she didn’t care.
She’d do anything to feel like that again.