“I’m going to share the paopu fruit with Sora when we get to the island today.”
Riku’s heart nearly came to a stop when he heard these words. Had he even heard them right? Could that really be what Kairi just said to him. Slowly he turned to face her and he saw her smiling happily. With all the strength he had, he kept his face straight and calm, trying not to show how her words had affected him.
Kairi nodded with a hum. “After all we have been through and with that battle coming tomorrow, I feel now is a better time than any. Just don’t tell Sora, heh. I want to surprise him.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t,” Riku said, his voice lowering into a whisper.
Riku breathed out slowly as he looked at the ocean before them. The two of them were standing at the docks to take their boats out to the smaller island. They only had today to relax before the final battle and they all had agreed they would go out to the island together and relax.
Though now new thoughts were plaguing Riku’s mind. Things he didn’t want to have to think about that. They were things that started to weigh down his mind as well as his heart. He didn’t want to keep thinking about what Kairi had said, but the words swirled around his mind.
He didn’t want to continue more on the conversation, knowing how it was only going to hurt his heart further, but he had to ask. He had to know more, at least by a little. “I guess you’ve been thinking about this for a while?”
Kairi nodded again. “Yeah, it’s been on my mind for some time now. He’s always looked out for me, and has done so much for me over these past couple of years.”
“And I’ve done so much for him…” Riku thought to himself, but didn’t speak aloud about it, letting Kairi continue.
“He’s cared a lot about me before either of us probably even realized it. You know those cave drawings we did as kids? Sora and I drew each other once, then one day after Sora saved me and got me back home, I saw that he had added something to it. It was him handing a paopu fruit to me.”
“Yeah… I saw it…” Riku internally sighed. “And you drew handing a paopu fruit back to him.”
“So I added me handing a paopu fruit back to him on the drawing, and that is when I figured we would have to try it sometime. I just never got to asking him before, but I am going to try now.”
“Sounds like you got it all figured out,” Riku replied, his voice almost wavering, but he tried his hardest to keep it from showing.
“Oh! Wait, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize how much I was rambling on it. I know you and Sora used to fight over me from time to time. I hope this isn’t too weird to talk about,” Kairi said as she looked down at the ground.
“No… it’s not that. I just didn’t expect it. It’s all right though,” Riku said, trying to smile as best as he could despite how painful it felt. “I’m happy that you figured it out.”
“You sure?” Kairi said raising her head back up.
“Yeah, I am just glad that you’re happy,” Riku said smiling once more. “I’ve always looked out for the both of you. As long as you two are happy, that makes me happy.”
It wasn’t a total lie. He did want his friends to be happy no matter what, but it didn't mean he was entirely okay with what he was hearing. He was trying his hardest to just feel happy for them and nothing else, but there was still a lingering pain in his heart that wouldn’t be leaving any time soon.
“Thanks Riku, I’m glad you understand,” Kairi replied.
“Sure,” Riku said, feeling his voice growing more weary than before. “I… I think I may head to the island first. You know, so you can get to talk to Sora. Besides, I have some things I need to think about for tomorrow.”
Kairi placed a hand on Riku’s arm. “You sure you are going to be all right?”
“Yeah yeah, I just need a little time to myself, that’s all. A lot has happened in only a couple years, and I’ve never really just sat and thought it out,” Riku said, feeling his voice nearly break at the end. He was starting to feel he wouldn’t be able to trust his voice much longer at this rate.
“Okay Riku, we’ll see you over there, but I’ll be sure to let Sora know you you need some space.”
“I wouldn’t mind if he wanted to talk to me though…” Riku thought about saying, but instead he said something else. “Thanks Kairi.”
Riku then got into his bow and started to row out to the smaller island. Now that his back was facing the mainland he could finally let the tears fall from his face. They dripped down his chin and fell onto his pant leg.
“If only I could have spoke up. If I could have just told her how I felt about him… would she understand? I should have just told him sooner, though… I guess I may be selfish for thinking it could go that way. They obviously feel the same for each other, and I don’t want to come between that. I only want you two to be happy… that’s what matters. But… these feelings will never go away for you… Sora.”