the silent fulcrum in the interstice
Fandom | Cast: Kingdom Hearts series (spoilers for KH, COM, KHII). Kairi.
Rating | Warnings: No warnings.
Feedback: Always welcome, any kind!
Notes: Done for an areyougame prompt: December 14 – Kingdom Hearts, Kairi: restoration - the shape of things as they can be. Lots of play on the meanings of everyone's names. Many thanks to owlmoose for the quick beta!
Summary: Kairi builds a castle in the sand: the shape of things as they can be.
It begins with her hands: she plunges them into the place where earth meets sea meets sky. The light falls fragile across the grains, soft contrast to their coarse texture against her palms, her bare knees. The damp sand is heavy in her palms and something stirs in her as she pauses, hands suspended, full of infinite possibilities: This is how worlds are created, she thinks. Memories, falling like sand, like stars, like snow (where does she remember snow from?); she pauses, hands suspended, full of infinite worlds.
She can't remember the last time she did this, or maybe she never stopped: this is where she sat and stitched together a star, a promise; this is where she stood and watched the horizon and waited, or tried to remember what she was waiting for. The sand is heavy in her hands, and she wonders if this is any different, or if it is all reconstruction and remembering.
This is how worlds are created, and she sinks her fingers into the sand.
i. a foundation, a grain of sand, a space hollowed out to build on:
Kairi sitting on the beach, this unaccustomed thing, fascinated by the new landscape and emptiness inside somewhere, and her small hands are in the sand, trying to shape the hollows of her heart, half-remembered, a castle... Sora chasing after Riku through the evening cries of seabirds; Riku jumping neatly over Kairi's unfinished creation and Sora plowing through it, tripping, all apologies and chagrin, plopping down laughing by her and trying to help. His hands shape things she doesn't remember, that don't fit. It tugs so strange at her heart and she swats at Sora's hands, chastising, smiling because she can't help answering the earnest gleam of Sora's grin. She was trying to remember... But Riku returns, shoves Sora's head lightly — you're so clumsy, Sora — burying his fingers in the mess of hair after, leaning over Sora's head and watching her.
And Sora holds out his hand: come on, Kairi. His grin, infectious, and Riku's eyes calmer and hungrier above in the evening light: this is the shape of things as they can be.
The water washes it all away behind her as she gets up and follows them.
Her fingers trace idly in the surf as she kneels, thinking, eyes on the foundation she has prepared.
Shadows fall infinitely into the hollowed space, and she thinks of water falling up, of things reversed. She draws a line in the sand, shaping the possibilities, and wonders for a moment of doing it the other way, of digging down: a castle of air, going down and down, towers as empty pits, a hollow bastion. She smiles, because Roxas would understand. And Riku. Riku would understand, too. But the light, new and silvered, falls gentle across the sand, and she thinks of the towers reaching for the sky; her fingers trace the possibilities, and inside her Naminé watches.
The water washes the idle designs away, reaching and erasing like white fingers, the image of pale hands clear in her mind, and Kairi laughs, thinks: I know, I know. The gentle urge crests in her like a wave, pushes her forward, makes her smile as her hands reach forward.
ii. a courtyard, a handful of dirt, a radiant garden if given sunlight enough:
Kairi's hands linger in the sun-dry sand, warmer than a handclasp and nothing like the real thing; she traces outlines in the sand that vanish too quickly in the offshore breezes, no water-weight to anchor the drifting particles, sand and sea too far separate. She draws a line in the sand and thinks: the line at the start of a race, toes digging into the beach beside Sora's, the tension of two boys' (two boys?) long young fingers hovering, just touching the surface. A line in the sand, dividing; and hands, a hand, only one, reaching across for hers.
She had strolled the familiar verdant paths: radiant green woven out of air, out of memories that had fallen like stars, like snow, like sand; she sank into the swallowed hush of the cave, the secret place, and touched the traces of Sora carved into cool stone.
Later, she sits on the beach at night, watching the silver-paved path of moonlight on the waves and thinking someone could see it as a road away, out. Someone... The sand is cold, the warmth missing, and that feels more right, reflects the emptiness of her hands as they linger over the sand, uncertain, wondering what she is forgetting.
Her hands feel surer, lighter, and Naminé blooms within her, thrilling quietly.
She holds a scattering of grains in her hand: wet, they sparkle like a sky dull-muted by memory in her palm. She stitched a star here; she waited here; they used to lie here and look at the sky. She remembers the painful poetry of their interlaced fingers, hand in hand in hand. The foreshortened view as Sora would point up to the sky: clouds, birds, winds. Reaching upwards to the sun, the strained excitement in the line of arms and fingers; and falling back, laughing, to find their hands again and rest content.
If she lost that, once, then — she looks at the sand in her hands — well, she had lost this, once, too; her hands are firm and sure as she places and shapes the sand.
iii. the towers reaching for the sky
Kairi stands in the sunlight and watches the horizon. A memory lingers in her hands, and it bothers her that she knows this: all it tells her is that she's forgotten something. Someone...
She rubs her fingers together; digs her clad feet into the sand. She used to play here— or—
She blinks away a memory, or dream: laughing blue eyes, reaching hands, always an invitation, possibilities. She kneels, to touch the hot sands. Then she stands, and throws the bottle in her other hand, hard, far, following the gilded weaving path of sunlight, to somewhere under that same sky.
She sits back on her heels.
She had been emptied, once. Twice. Three times. And a fourth thing: she looks at her hands and thinks of Naminé, sketching away the years. Sketching the years away. And her own hands, idle, touching the sands — the sands at night, the sands at day — as if they remembered something there and never knowing what. And she had come here, a rustle like many pages in her heart, a memory of flat paper under her hands and a strange aching for solidity, dimension, wholeness; a whisper: together, together. Apart, two pairs of hands, one idle and one limited. Together...
This is how worlds are created.
Kairi builds a castle in the sand: a hollow bastion, a radiant garden, a world that never was.
The morning light spills over it, dawn cresting the horizon, and Kairi watches the tide come in, crouching near enough that her feet get wet, arms folded across her knees, head tipped to rest on them, smiling. The sea washes it away: a world that never was.
She rises as the sun spills over the beach, and follows the dawnlit path to home, where Sora and Riku are still sleeping. She takes their hands and they wake as the first rays slant into the room: the shape of things as they can be.
A/N: Not a canon I normally work in, but I had an interesting time. Also very experimental for me in many ways. Overall, quite outside my comfort zone. Feedback always welcome! =)
x-post: Hosted on my DW justira [here]. Original version on areyougame [here].