I know Sora. I know Sora like I know destiny islands; familiar and warm, easy to navigate and even easier to have fun with. Sora is the sun, bright and blinding, all consuming and hard to escape. He is the breeze, light and refreshing, happily welcomed on a hot day. Sora is light, an ever present energy that carries the mood of the room and keeps it in high spirits. He’s a flash of blue eyes and a smile with teeth that are just a bit crooked. He bounces around, so enthusiastic and alive, sharing a piece of his joy with everyone he touches. I know Sora’s laugh, contagious and wild, a sound that carries like a song and lifts your heart just a bit higher.
I know that Sora cries when the moon lifts high into the sky, when it’s dark and no one can see. I know that Sora whispers questions to the stars and watches them twinkle back in response, trying desperately to find the answer that just won’t come. I know that Sora misses the way things were four years ago, when things were easy and paopu fruits held less weight than they do now. I know that Sora still feels guilty. I know he feels like a terrible friend. I know it hurts.
Tonight is no different. Sora strays away, sits on our paopu tree long after dusk and stares at the sliver of moon that’s hung itself in the sky. The others have gone home, even Kairi knows not to bother Sora when he gets like this, and normally I do too. It doesn’t stop me from crossing the bridge, treading quietly, avoiding wood that I know squeals under too much weight.
Sora doesn’t notice me until I come into view, he doesn’t jump or make noise, there’s just a widening of eyes and a small parting of lips before his gaze wavers and returns to the sky. The lack of response isn’t encouraging, but I hoist myself up next to him anyway, our arms close enough to brush.
“What’s been bothering you?” I already know, but it’s good to ask.
Sora doesn’t respond. The ocean crashes in on itself below us; the waves filling the silence with it’s own answer.
“I miss you.”
He turns then, the upturn of his nose even more obvious when he scrunches it up like that. His face looks soft in this lighting, his eyes nearly black, but still so obviously blue. They’re dry today, and I wonder if that’s a good thing.
“What do you mean?”
“You’re somewhere else.”
“I’m right here.”
“No you’re not.”
Leaves rustle and shift, the ocean swirls and collapses against the sand, crickets call in the distance. The moon illuminates little in its weakened state. It watches us for awhile.
“Riku. How long until we’re separated again?”
“A long time.”
“How do you know?”
“Because I won’t let us get separated unless I want us to.”
Somewhere along the way, Sora’s been shattered. He hides behind his crooked teeth and bright eyes, but the fractures are real, and it’s suffocating him. How long until it snuffs him out? It’s a fear I never voice, but I hold onto it anyway.
“I miss you too.”
I almost don’t hear him. It takes me a few seconds to sort out the sentence, so quiet that I have to puzzle the words around the ones I catch. He leans in, presses his forehead to my shoulder an easy weight to bear, because it’s Sora’s.
“It wasn’t your fault, Sora.”
“I wish I could change what happened.”
It’s getting late, but I don’t think either of us care. We’ve slept on the island before, back when it meant being scolded and grounded. There are fewer repercussions now. Sora used to sleep with a night light, but I was never afraid of the dark. But who would be when you have Sora?
Sora is melding into my side, his eyes closed as he leans his full weight into my frame. His breathing is starting to even out and if I plan on sleeping tonight, I might want to move us to the treehouse. We keep blankets up there for nights like this.
“Let’s go lay down.”
He doesn’t move, but for the steady breathing that dances across my collarbone.
“I love you.”