- Mar 23, 2015
Impetus - the force that makes something happen or happen more quickly.Bright Impetus, Chapter One:
Airy, Weightless, and Gone“Kairi, Kairi run, the heartless are coming!”
The court magician is yanking on her arm, trying to drag her to the stairs, squawking in alarm. The knight captain is gentler, a large hand enough to engulf her shoulder trying to pull her away. Away from this room, there she’d lost…
Sora’s body was fireflies and stardust in her arms, airy, weightless, and gone.
“No!” Donald’s grip is so tight that it slides her wristband off as she jerks it back. He tumbles backwards in a hissy squawk, and Goofy is distracted enough by his friends tumble that she throws his arm off easily.
“Kairi,” Riku is begging, his voice is panicked, as his spectre flickers in and out. “Just go!”
“No, I won’t lose you, too!”
If this is what getting her heart back meant, she didn’t want it! She would sleep forever if it meant that she didn’t have to walk away from losing the very last, most important things left to her in the worlds. She couldn’t lose everything a second time.
Riku expression breaks open, regret and guilt and sorrow.
“But I’m already--”
Up, behind the Seeker of Darkness, something rose, colossal and bulging into a shape that reminded her of the genie in Agrabah. Ansem seethed at her, orange eyes burning like forge fires, as he twitched and pushed against Riku’s restraint.
“I have been delayed enough! You will die, princess!”
Kairi wasn’t even looking at the Seeker of Darkness, just Riku’s fading ghost, still begging her to run.
And the lights that had been Sora’s body were still burning against the back of her eyes, her arms still aching for a weight that she should’ve been there to catch.
No, I won’t let him go!
“No, I won’t let them go!”
The massive heartless swings down on her with a fist that should’ve crushed bones, but was instead met with a percussion force and a strobe of clear, bright light that rattled the brass pipes and shook dust from the ceiling. Donald and Goofy took a spill down the stairs and even Ansem was made to reel back a step as his guardian crumbled and faded.
“So…” the Seeker of Darkness noted, almost too casually for how he staggered. “The Princess has a keyblade as well. This...changes many things.” A portal opened behind him, a maw of pitch darkness, and he stumbled into the safety of the shadows.
“Riku!” Kairi charged forward, the summer-bright keyblade tight in her hand. As Ansem fades into the corridor, Riku is fading, too. And Kairi will not, will not, allow another friend to vanish in front of her eyes.
She leaps at him, hand out to touch the fading light of his form. She reaches, reaches for that flicker of light that hums on the edge of her thoughts, a shimmering that’s Riku, Riku, Riku…
Her arms pass through his ghost and he vanishes and her chest becomes heavy and strange.
Donald and Goofy drag her blindly down the steps. Ansem may have retreated, but the heartless have not. She lets herself be dragged along, hand clenched over her chest where her heart hammers, and she can feel another beat fluttering beside it, just a step out of rhythm.
“This time, I’ll protect you!”
The Shadows leap on her, tiny claws cutting a hundred tiny cuts into her clothes, her hair, her skin. The scrape of shadow into her flesh is acid, sizzling and burning and she bites down on the cry of pain and clutches the soft, weightless shadow closer to her chest thats burning and pounding with a double drum beat. They won’t have him, they won’t have you, they won’t have you, Sora!
“I was falling, deeper and deeper into the darkness and then… I heard your voice. Your voice and Riku’s. You brought me back.”
She smiles, her heart lighting up in relief and gratitude. Beside it, there’s a flicker of satisfaction before that other rhythm slows into a sleepy, dreaming meter.
It’s okay, Riku, go ahead and rest.
“Kairi, I know you want to go, and I know you have a keyblade, but… I need you to stay here.”
“If Riku’s...Riku’s heart’s really with you, then we need to find a way to get him out, right? Maybe Leon and the others know something.” Because someone else stabbing themselves with a keyblade was out of the question.
“Then take me back to Hollow Bastion. The library might have something there.”
He looks like he wants to tell her no, but she’s right. What could she hope to find here in Traverse Town? Besides, Beast and the other Princesses were there. She’d be safe enough.
Goofy smiles in understanding and kindly shushes Donald as Sora loads her down with potions and takes her to the synthesis shop before they leave. Their stock of synthesis items have been decimated, but her ears and waist and throat glimmer with newly crafted armor.
Belle is kind and more than excited to help Kairi search the labyrinthine shelves, and gives them both privacy on the upper floor in the name of beginning their research. She gifts him the good luck charm, and laments that there’s no more beaches left to find new shells for the charms meant for Riku and her. But Sora needs the luck more than any of them.
He turns to go, and she pulls him back into a tight, hard hug and she’s shaking. Guilt blooms in his chest beside the regret, and hugs her just as tightly back.
“I know now, that Kingdom Hearts is light!”
The great doors open and darkness seeps through the hinges before being sucked back in by a howling hurricane of light. The Seeker of Darkness howls, claws at thin air, snarling defiance as he’s dragged through the air and into the blinding pit of light framed by the door itself.
She appears in the dead silence, blinking in confusion, then running to him, calling his name. Light blossoms in her chest, a burst of brilliance that rockets away into the narrow cleft of the door. They both stare at each other for a moment and run with all their might to follow it. A familiar, grateful face is waiting on the other side.
Kairi is crying, and Sora’s swiping at the corners of his eyes. They both reach out, to pull him back through the door, but he shakes his head. The door has to be closed, and it will take two keyblades on each side.
“Take care of each other.”
“Riku!” Kairi screams at the gap thats slowly closing over his face. “We’ll find you! We’re not leaving you there!”
Their last view of him is a look of surprise slowly melting into a quiet, accepting smile.
The world shakes, tilts, and the ground pitches under them. They’re thrown apart, and Sora wrestles to his feet first and goes to help her up when he’s blocked by a solid, invisible wall.
“Kairi? Kairi!” He slams his fists against the wall as she hammers at it from the other side with her keyblade. The world walls have come back, impenetrable, and unyielding. They were going to be separated, again.
“I’ll come back to you, I promise!” They had to find Riku together, after all.
“I know you will!” She watches, stubbornly plastering a smile on her face for him, and refuses to cry again until she was deep into the Secret Place, and saw the drawing on the wall.
She picks up a piece of chalk, and carefully scribbles Riku above them, then her hands extending paopu fruits to both of them. She seals that promise inside her heart, that one day, she’ll find them both and drag them home and declare her intent to bind herself to them forever.
Kairi learns quickly how to keep a neutral face, through agony and pain and heartache. She has to, or else she’d never survive Riku’s mother falling to her knees and wailing as her father is forced to call the search for her son off.
“I don’t know anything,” she tells the hundredth adult, as they kneel and tower and ask calmly and angrily and shake her or pat her head. “They took the raft without me.”
Its almost a relief to attend Riku’s funeral, because she’s finally able to cry. Her chest heaves and there’s a sick, heavy pit in the middle of it as she hides her face in her father’s shoulder.
She doesn’t grieve him, but she cries for her loneliness, for Riku still behind the door, for Sora wandering the worlds. She cries for her own blistering sense of helplessness.
In her dreams, she sees crystal links shattering one by one, and with each one, the image of him gets further and further away.
Its okay, a soft voice whispers, its only for a little while. He’ll be back, soon.
Kairi wakes with a gaping hole in her chest where a foreign loneliness echoes louder and louder.