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Hold Me

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You're gone now

I'm strong now

Strong enough to cry only at night

 

            Riku has to hold her back lest she follow him off the dock. Kairi grasps for him, reaches, but there’s nothing to grab, nothing to hold on to, he’s just gone. Gone, and there’s nothing to be done, just like he said would happen.

            It’s not fair.

            It’s not fair, it hurts, and he’s not there to comfort her.

            He’s gone.

            Riku promises he’ll find him, that he’ll bring him back, and Kairi hears the unspoken truth: it will be Riku alone.

            She will not be allowed to help.

            Because she will not be able to help.

            She knows Riku doesn’t think like that. She knows Riku doesn’t think she’s weak, doesn’t blame her for this.

            But she knows it’s all because of her.

            Riku holds her as she cries, and it’s not enough.

 

I see now

It can't be now

Now that you're away

 

            She goes to tell his mother right after. Riku and Aqua volunteer to do it instead, but Kairi turns them down. This is because of her, it’s only right that it comes from her.

            His mother is shocked, and who wouldn’t be? Finally getting her son back after all this time, and it’s only for a day before he’s gone again, gone where nobody could reach him. And it’s because of Kairi. Because Kairi was weak.

            She apologizes, and to her shock, his mother won’t accept it. She knew, she had always known, that this is how she would lose him. That she would lose him because he’d sacrificed himself to save someone else. The same way she’d lost his father.

            So how could she blame the person he’d saved? How could she blame Kairi? It wasn’t her fault. It couldn’t be. It was a decision he had made.

            His mother holds her as she cries, and it’s not enough.

 

And I wish that I could be like the desert

He never seems to cry

 

            Kairi tells her father immediately after returning home. She hadn’t planned on it, but he’d taken one look at her face and gently asked what had happened, what was wrong.

            It all came spilling out, how she was going to fight, how she’d been taken, how she’d been… and how he’d sacrificed himself to bring her back. What Riku and Mickey had told her about how he’d refused to wait, refused to find a safer method to save her.

            She’s angry with herself. Of course she is. Her father can tell she’s angry with herself and tells her that it’s all right. That she’d done nothing wrong, that things can go horribly wrong even when you do everything right. It’s a comfort, but there’s more to it. More that she can’t articulate, more that she can barely bring herself to think. Somehow, Kairi thinks, he can tell. He can tell and he’ll give her the space to figure it out in her own time. His door is always open, he says.

            Her father holds her as she cries, and it’s not enough.

 

I wish that I could be like the ocean

She never needs to ask why

 

            Kairi figures it out while talking to Roxas. Roxas is so much like him, and at the same time so different. One of the key differences is Roxas’s anger. He understands what it’s like to be angry. He understands where her anger is coming from and why.

            Because Kairi’s not just angry with herself. She’s angry with him. Angry with him for making a decision that affected both of them without her. Angry with him for not waiting, not taking the time so they could both be safe and home.

            Angry with him for making the choice for her, without considering what she wanted.

            Roxas understands that anger. He’s been there. He’s had someone he loves make that kind of decision without him before. But his situation is different. Roxas and Xion will get a second chance. Kairi might not ever get that second chance with him.

            Roxas holds her as she cries, and it’s not enough.

 

I'm a lonely lady only

Lonely lady only

 

            Xion helps her train. It’s too little, too late, but Kairi wants to get stronger. Stronger so she won’t be the helpless victim again. Stronger so maybe she’ll save him next time around.

            If there is a next time around.

            She has a horrible dread feeling there won’t be.

            This was a bad idea. Xion was absolutely her own person, there was no doubt in Kairi’s mind about that, but she kept seeing his ghost in her. The way she smiled, the way she laughed, her footwork, her stance, and of course her Kingdom Key. Hers, now, truly, since there was no one else who had one anymore.

            Xion catches her as she falls forwards, and tells her it’s okay. Tells her she’s sorry, that she didn’t think, that she should have known it was too much. Kairi tells her not to apologize, because she should have realized, too. It’s not Xion’s fault. It’s not anyone’s fault.

            Xion holds her as she cries, and it’s not enough.

 

You told me

You'd hold me

Hold me ‘til the mornin' light

You craved me

You saved me

Saved me from myself

 

            Kairi goes to Terra for training after that, at Xion’s suggestion. He’s gentle, he’s patient, but most of all he understands why she’s so driven. He knows why she wants to get stronger. It’s not just about Kairi becoming more capable, it’s about her wanting more control.

            Terra understands that. He cautions her that even with all the power she can muster, it’s still possible to fail. Still possible to be overwhelmed, to not succeed at protecting what matters to her.

            She understands that. But Kairi doesn’t care. If she had been better, if she had been stronger, if she –

            Terra cuts her off. No, she shouldn’t think like that. Could things have been different? Maybe yes, maybe no. It’s impossible to tell, and she’s just torturing herself by lingering on it. His expression softens and he quietly tells her that she’s done nothing to deserve such punishment. Especially not from herself.

            Terra holds her as she cries, and it’s not enough.

 

And I wish that I could be like my father

He always knew what was right

 

            Aqua takes her and all the girls, Naminé and Xion and Olette and Selphie, out on a day trip. Kairi doesn’t really want to go, but Aqua gently insists.

            In a way, Kairi is grateful, because she really needed to get out of the house and away from the Islands, away from countless memories of him. At the same time, though, it pangs every time she wishes she could share what they were doing with him. She’d catch herself thinking about how she’d tell him about Naminé’s face trying new flavours of food for the first time, or how Xion kept taking pictures to send to Roxas, or how Olette didn’t seem to notice how hard Selphie was trying to flirt with her. But then she’d remind herself that she couldn’t tell him these things. She’d never be able to.

            She has to sit down away from everyone else for a while. After letting her be by herself for a bit, Aqua comes over and sits next to her. She doesn’t say anything to Kairi. She doesn’t have to. Kairi can tell she understands.

            Aqua holds her as she cries, and it’s not enough.

 

I wish that I could be like my mother

She always tucked me in tight

 

            It feels wrong to be climbing into Naminé’s bed late at night after another nightmare. By rights, it should be the other way around; Kairi is the big sister, she should be doing this for Naminé. But Naminé insists, and Kairi is privately grateful.

            Naminé had moved in with her and her father, since they were basically sisters already. She had her own room with not a hint of white in the décor, and she was slowly warming up to meeting new people. Kairi was glad. After all the harshness in her life, Naminé deserved the gentleness she was receiving.

            Naminé was gentle with her as well. She would listen as Kairi explained how the dream hadn’t been a nightmare, not really. It was only a bad dream because she’d woken up from it. It was only bad because she’d dreamed of him returning, and it had only been a dream. She’d almost been able to see him again, and then she’d woken up with tears in her eyes.

            Naminé shifts, pulling her closer, and Kairi reminds herself that Naminé had loved him, too, in her own way. Whether those feelings were something inherited from Kairi, or something Naminé had developed herself, it was impossible to say and would be rude to question. There was no jealousy; Naminé had Riku, there was nothing to be jealous over. Kairi was just grateful that Naminé knew, at least a little bit, how she was feeling.

            Naminé holds her as she cries, and it’s not enough.

 

I'm a lonely lady only

Lonely lady only

 

            Kairi shouldn’t be doing this. Terra had warned her against torturing herself, but she can’t help it. Breaking and entering is easy when you have a Keyblade, even if the door would have been opened to her willingly had she not come in the dead of night.

            She sneaks into his mother’s home and goes to his room. It’s the slightly too clean of a room that was once lived in, then cleaned with the expectation the living would continue, only to find that the person who was supposed to do the living hadn’t returned. His things were neatly put away, a neatness that wouldn’t have lasted a week if he was still here.

            She lies down on his bed and cuddles one of his hoodies to her. It smells like him, even now, after all this time. Kairi knows she can’t keep doing this; eventually, the scent will fade, be replaced with others; maybe her own, if she comes here enough.

            She can’t stay long, either, because she’ll become nose-blind to his scent, and more than anything she doesn’t want that. Doesn’t want what’s left of him to become unremarkable to her.

            Kairi lies on his bed, cuddles his hoodie to her, and holds herself as she cries.

            It’s not enough.

            It can never be enough.

 

You told me

You'd hold me

Hold me til the mornin' light

You craved me

You saved me

Saved me from own foolish blight.