Th' Lady Shadow

I believe in you, she said, and everything changed in my hands.

Darkness closed in, and Fate shoved me along.

Kairi, so many grains of the most pleasant summer sand, slipped through my fingers then.

Cared for her. That was my excuse. I cared for her because she was a dear friend, close to my heart. Not because of the dreams of a thousand stars drizzling down into the islands of Destiny, not for the visions of catching one; and the delicious expression on her face, perhaps more palatable than the fruit itself, when we both bit into it with enthusiasm. I loved her but did not love her all the same. And yet I did. But my nonsensical validations only sought to sort out things in my mind; they don't particularly affect anything. I surge forward, praying for the day her radiant smile returns to me, molds me again to her ever-innocent will.

Her heart beats strong, deep in my own, urging me on. She is not lost. I know I can find her, even when I kneel here alone, all promises stripped from my hands and my sides.'s her that fills my thoughts, my dreams, so that every moment of me exists only for her. Kairi. The name's sweet on the tongue. Bright colors, loud flavors, and her pretty, pretty laugh; her taunting voice, her precious smile. Kairi.

I cannot stop in my search for her. Even for Riku, who fell into darkness. That I can't change. To have seen her so limp in his arms filled me with some strange rage, and I was afraid of it. Darkness. Afraid of the dark -- Riku would have laughed, if he'd been himself. Now all he breathes is no less than contempt. It...makes me sad. My rival he might have been, but he was still a dear friend to me. Even though he and I scrambled over each other for Kairi's attention, I didn't resent him.

But she's alive; I like to believe she was reaching for me when her hand moved against the netting in the ship. And who knows - maybe she really was.

Nevertheless, she was alive; it was motion, a subconscious movement, but it proved that all hope was not lost.

Kairi. Beloved Kairi. I'll do anything for her.

That idea spurs a thought in me. A memory.

Just believe, and you can do it! It'll be easy!

There is no ease here. But there is hope.

And if the flimsy pinewood sword in my hand signifies all that I have left...

Then so be it. I have her heart glowing within me, and I refuse to stop until all that I've lost is restored. I'll find a way. Just believe.

She'll be so happy...

And we can go back to Destiny Island; I remember where I haphazardly threw the paopu fruit. I know exactly how she'll look when she takes her first bite - eyes closed, nose crinkled up, a great big Kairi grin on her lips. And she'll exclaim how wonderful it is, and thrust it into my hands, and I'll taste of the wonders of lives eternally intertwined...and smile. She may not understand, but I will. I'll smile.

So she'll smile too.

Kairi...I'm coming!