1. Beauty

Sora leaned over the wooden bearings that faced towards the clear waters. Waves pleasantly swayed to and fro near Destiny Islands. A cool and pleasant wind blew and carried the familiar scent of saltwater. Taking a deep breath, Sora's mind felt clearer.

Sora could admit that he wasn't one of the greatest thinkers, but that didn't bother him much. His heart did a pretty good job of guiding him anyways. When he was happy, he cheered and when he was sad, he would bawl. It made life much more simple and pleasant. Well that was how it typically was. Sora's heart had come to some kind of decision that he couldn't quite understand.

The problem was that for a time, and he didn't know how long, Kairi had taken root in his thoughts. Every one of his friends mattered dearly to him.

Riku was his oldest and best friend. Being as cool and strong as him was a major inspiration for him to continually push his limits. Wakka was one of the most chill guys he knew. There wasn't a sport Wakka wasn't knowledgeable in and he always had the time to just sit down and chat pleasantly. Although he didn't always get what Selphie was on about, most of it was pretty hilarious. That was of course until she got too fed up and kicked him off the miniature port she liked so much. Tidus was his stalwart companion in overthrowing Riku as the coolest kid on the island. Others might have said that the two of them together had more daring than brains, but he was on the up and up.

Yet Kairi was different and it wasn't just because she was the miracle girl that fell from the stars onto the island years ago. He, Riku, and her were a trio of close friends, but she felt less and less like a friend to him. It wasn't as if he cared for her less. The feelings were just different. The change had crept on him. Now he couldn't even put a finger on the change. Sora's heart was urging him to push for this change and through all the confusion he absolutely adored it.

Before all of whatever this was, him and Kairi being alone was nothing special and even a bit of a bummer. If it was just the two of them, it meant that Riku was a no show to the island. But now it wasn't so bad. So what if they couldn't do the typical racing and training? Sora shook his head, what a mysterious feeling this all was.

When Sora suddenly felt a hand on his shoulder, he proceeded to flinch then fall to the ground. Looking up he realized that it was Kairi of all people, "Hey! You're going to give me a heart attack one day with all your sneaking!"

She shrugged unbothered as her violet eyes lit up in mirth and her dark red hair that often reminded him of the sunset swayed as she fell into a giggle fit. Even at his expense, the sound gave him a rather light and subtle pleasant hum through his heart. He couldn't help but join in the laughter.

There it was again. Laughing together seemed like the most impressive thing ever. Moments like this really drove home that Kairi was a girl and really… cool? That wasn't quite right; she looked good maybe even better than good if that at all made any sense.

Kairi finally collected herself and wiped the tears from her eyes. "So? What were you thinking about? I could hear your mind spinning from the beach."

Sora flashed a bright smile her way, "I was thinking how grateful and lucky I am to have such great friends. I hope these good times never end."

Kairi's smile became a soft and warm thing as she looked in him directly in the eyes, "I get it. You know you're a pretty good friend yourself. It's something I hope never changes." She offered him her hand and helped to pull him up.

"Thanks. So… where's Riku? Is he coming later?" Sora peered at the horizon in an effort to catch sight of Riku rowing to the shore.

Kairi shook her head, "Sorry but Riku's grounded. His parents were pretty peeved about the scaffold dare."

Sora whistled, "That sucks."

"Why does it sound like you're disappointed that you weren't in on it?" she scolded in a light tone.

"Of course not! I mean sure Tidus and Riku were pulling awesome stunts and all, but the trouble isn't worth it," he replied in a panic.

Kairi rolled her eyes, "Right~. Well, it's just the two of us today. You have anything in mind?"

Sora chuckled as another pleasant hum traveled through him, "You can pick."

He could figure out his heart some other time, it wasn't going anywhere.