"Magnolia, you okay?"
Magnolia opened her eyes to the bright sun that glared overhead, and she shielded her eyes at first until they adjusted to the bright light, the salty smell, the scorching heat.
"What happened?" Magnolia asked, wadding into the warm, white sands on the shore.
Navani smiled. "It's nothing. You just bumped your head is all. A bad dream, if you may."
Magnolia scratched her head. "How long have I been asleep?"
"Well, a good while," Navani admitted. "You haven't met our new guests."
"Huh? Who?" Magnolia asked, looking past Navani. She saw "Kairi" standing barefoot in the sand and pressing her toes into the heat of it. She raised her head and smiled.
"My name's Aleisa," Aleisa said, knelling down next to Navani. "I'm Kairi's sister."
"I guessed as much," Magnolia said with a sheepish grin on her face. "I didn't know Kairi had a sister."
"It's a long story," Navani said, pulling Aleisa to his side. Magnolia rolled her eyes.
"Love is in the air again," she said.
"Speaking of, you haven't seen the new guy," Aleisa added.
"Where is he, anyways?" Navani asked, raising his head and looking down the coast.
"It really has been long, but it felt longer," Kairi said, rubbing her chilled arms as she stood in the musky caverns with Sora.
"You cold?" he asked.
She shook her and smiled. "I just don't wanna think about you being gone again. It felt like years."
"I asked around and it seemed that I was only gone for one year, but I was told that each world has different time zones and more insignificant worlds have a slower pace of time."
Kairi blinked and laughed. "You're not making any sense."
"When do I ever?" Sora said with a smirk.
"So, we all got separated again," Kairi said, lowering her head.
"Yeah. It seems that Selphie, Wakka, and Tidus belonged to different worlds afterall."
"I meant.. Riku."
There was a deafening silence.
"I've always been caught in bad situations," Sora said. "If Riku would have kept on living, Ansem would have kept on antagonizing. I couldn't let him do that to anyone."
"Yeah. It's gonna be strange, not having Riku here," Kairi said. She paused for a moment, listening to Magnolia, Navani, and Aleisa talking outside. She smiled. "Poor Magnolia. She's the only one who's alone."
"What do you mean?" Sora said, turning away.
"Nothing," Kairi said, hiding her flushed face. "Where do you wanna go?"
Sora was looking down at the rockface next to the empty, dark wall that once held a door. He noticed that Kairi had added a paopu star to the drawing, offering him the fruit. Sora felt his heart skip a beat. He quickly tried to change the subject. "Say, Kairi. I heard there were gonna be new renovations to the island soon."
"Yeah," Kairi said, still turned away. "It seems that there really is another civilization not far from here. My father is in the works of making a vessel that will sail us over. Things won't seem so lonely anymore."
"Your dad's trying to teach you to seem more poised," Sora said, noticing her school-like uniform.
She nodded. "Yeah. There's a school over there. Seems we won't be spending as many years as anticipated. We got a lucky break on that."
"I guess we won't have as much free time as usual," Sora said.
"Yeah, and just when we started getting closer," Kairi mumbled.
"Did you say something?" Sora asked.
Kairi turned around to see that Sora had diverted his attention back to the drawing. Her eyes widened.
"Kairi," Sora said, turning towards her. "There's something I wanna tell you."
"Yeah, the drawing was just some silly drawing that I was drawing when you were away.." she said frantically, but was cut off.
"I love you," Sora said boldly. Kairi stopped talking immediatly. "Dumb, huh? I mean, I know you don't feel the same way, but.."
"Whaat? Are you crazy?" Kairi shouted.
Sora blinked. "You mean..?"
"Yes, you crazy dork!" Kairi screamed, taking Sora's hands and jumping up and down. "I felt the same way ever since I first met you, even when I didn't know who you were when I washed up on the beach!"
"This is so great!" Sora said, jumping along with her.
"I'm not even gonna ask," Navani said, joining them in the cave. He noticed their fingers were laced.
"About time," Aleisa said, joining Navani in the caverns.
"Pssh," Magnolia merely hissed, walking out in a puff from all this romance.
"The mayor's declared that the boat is finished. You guys wanna come see this new town or not?" Navani asked.
"That would be great!" Kairi said, her handed still cupped around Sora's. She led them all back out into the sunlight. A large, wooden ark was floating by the shore. Magnolia, Aleisa, and Navani ran for it, but Kairi asked them to wait up on her. She led Sora away to the track where he and Riku used to race.
"I guess I'll never be the referee for this place again," Kairi said with a sigh.
"Riku would want you to be happy, right?" Sora asked.
Kairi nodded. "Yeah. As long as you're by my side, I'll be happy." She lowered her head. "But promise me one thing. You have a tendency to get lost in other worlds." She raised her head, her lips in a pout. "If we go to this new world together, do you promise never to leave me?"
Sora smiled and wrapped his arms around her waist, embracing her, then he lightly kissed her on the lips as a breeze whipped through the coconut trees. He pulled away after a moment. "What do you think?"
"I think you need to work on your kisses," Kairi said, smirking.
Sora rolled his eyes and smiled. "I'll have plenty of time, because I'll stay with you until eternity."
Kairi pulled her hands out from behind her back and shoved a half paopu fruit into Sora's mouth and grinned, nibbling on the other half. "Now, it's official."
Forcing down the fruit, Sora took Kairi's hand, and they walked for the shore to explore the new world.