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Title: Adieu
Characters/Pairing: Aerith/Riku, Yuffie, Cloud, Cid, Leon, Kairi and Sora have brief roles.
Fandom: KH
Word Count: 904.
Rating: G
Warnings: Light fluff, some angst. Nothing too bad…
Summary: Without him realizing it, she had become part of his life. (So long, until we meet again)
Author's Notes: Written as a gift fic and kept around for the sake of it. (Cross posted here on fanfiction and at [livejournal.com profile] kh_het)
Disclaimer: KH and everything related belongs to Squeenix/Disney, who are unrelated to me.


Adieu

By all respects, Aerith should have been scared of Riku. Yes, she was older, and skilled enough in magic to probably be able to hold her own against him in a fight. But (though none were aware of this), Aerith never had much luck with silver haired men. Especially those with a perchance for darkness and losing themselves to it.

Riku had been fascinated with the mysterious woman from the moment Sora had introduced them. She had smiled, and been so accepting that Riku had to bite his lip from asking her how he had earned such a smile with all that he had done.

He hadn’t asked, couldn’t bring himself to say anything like that, because she seemed to be so untouched by the darkness that Riku found even speaking to her would ruin it.

But the longer their visit lasted, the longer they spent in Radiant Garden training and helping out, the more comfortable he felt in the presence of her and the others.

-

The real turning point, however, was when he’d woken up early one morning (far too early) from a nightmare and gone downstairs, only that find that she was up as well.

Aerith smiled and said “Good morning!” as if it was normal for someone to wake up, looking worse for wear at the crack of dawn.

Riku looked away from her, leaning against the doorframe. “Good morning…” he said softly, only to look up startled as she walked up to him.

“Bad dreams?” Aerith asked, leaning forward and trying to look closer at his face. When Riku didn’t reply, she grabbed his hand and tugged him out of the house. He’d tried to free his hand, but she was surprisingly strong for a magic user.

“What are you--?” Riku asked, alarmed as they got farther from the house. Aerith just smiled her smile, and lead him in silence, until they reached a garden in the middle of the town.

Letting go of his hand, she went into the corner and pulled out a bulky plastic green watering can. Handing it to the stunned teenager, Aerith nodded towards the tap. “Would you mind filling this up? It gets heavy when it’s full.”

After he’d done so, slowly relaxing as the sunlight go brighter and the birds began to sing, Aerith had beckoned, carrying a slightly smaller pink watering can of her own. “Come along.” She had said simply.

The woman led him through the city, watering the plants and flowers as they went in peaceful silence. It was easier that way, to forget about words and just enjoy the quiet. They were back in the garden, having finished, before Aerith spoke once more. “Whenever I can’t sleep, I care for the flowers. It helps.” She looked over to him, gauging his reaction.

He blinked. Aerith always seemed so happy, so normal, so at peace, that it was hard to imagine just what she had seen to cause her to lose sleep. But now that he thought about it, she was there when it all happened. She had seen everything. “I…” Riku began to say.

“Heyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!” A voice called loudly. It was Yuffie. “Aerith, Cid wants to know where his tea is because you know that old fart can’t function without in the morning.”

Turning with a slight sigh, Aerith set down the watering can, gave Riku a slightly rueful smile as if to say ‘See who my friends are?’ before turning to call “Have you checked under the sink? I’m sure we had some there…” and walking off.

Riku stayed there a moment longer, looking slightly dazed at the dazzling array of flowers planted around him before leaving as well.

-

From that morning on, Aerith was always there whenever Riku came downstairs. Night, day, she would be waiting for him. It’d always be the same; they’d go through the town, watering the flowers, before returning to the garden. There, Aerith would teach him the different plants, which were weeds, and how to care for all of them.

In the day, she’d show him blossoms that would open in the sun, and wither without it. In the night, she showed him mysterious lilies that would glow in the moonlight.

Soon, it was a part of his life during the stay there. Nightmare, flowers, Aerith. Nightmare, flowers, Aerith. During the days, he seemed happier, peaceful.

But, that visit soon came to an end. The summer was ending, and it was time to go home. They’d be back, of course, but once school would start, it’d be difficult to find time…

Saying Good Bye was always the hardest part. Kairi hugged them all, from Cid to Tifa, affirming that they’d stay in touch. Sora promised to Leon that he’d practice, and to Cid that he’d take care of his gummi ship. And Riku… Riku stared at Aerith, trying to figure out how exactly he could say goodbye to her.

Leaving for a moment, the woman had returned carrying a small cluster of flowers in a pot. Handing them to Riku, Aerith smiled again. “So long, Adieu, until you return.” She said softly, and he nodded, and that was that, until they met again.

Until then, he cared for the flowers, and the scent that reminded him of her helped him through the dark nights, until he could be with her in the sunlight once more.

Adieu / end

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June 2011

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