Me: Last Chapter!

Ch: 10 " Goodbye but not for long"

While millions of families all throughout Disney Town were awakened by there kids at the break of dawn eager to open the presents left to them by Santa, Disney Castle slept.

Except for a few eager and energetic guests.

Huey, Dewy, and Louie were up and ready as soon as the clock struck 6 A.M. unfortunately for the guests still asleep (Which included everyone) the three ducks rooms were at the top of the castle and the only way down to the Christmas tree in the lobby was by going down the stairwell…

…connected to every floor.

With a loud whoop and a holler, the three took off down the stairs; there voices echoing down every hall on the trip down and causing Yuffie and a very washed out Riku to fall out of the safety of there beds and across the cold floor. Both let out a cry of annoyance waking Kairi up from her slumber. She brushed the hair out of her blue eyes and sat up, feeling the ache in her legs from the night before. Clearly, she was getting out of shape if dancing was leaving her with sore limbs.

But they were going home tomorrow. It didn't matter.

'That's right…we leave for home tomorrow.' she remembered, reaching under her bed and pulling out the presents she had wrapped for her friends.

"Might as well give them to them early." she mumbled.

Without even changing out of her pajamas, she threw her gifts in a spare bag and dragged it out into the hall and across to Riku's room. The teen was sitting on the edge of his bed looking like he had been hit in the head with a hammer. She suppressed a small giggle, before pulling a small silver wrapped gift out of her bag and throwing it at his head. Despite his drugged appearance, his reflexes were the same as ever as he caught the gift with one hand.

"Why are you up so early?" he asked, laying back on his bed and hanging his head over the edge so he could watch Kairi in the doorway and look over his gift, shaking it.

The red head rolled her eyes. "I heard you yell."

"Sorry, but I didn't expect to here any signs of human life this early in the morning after last night." he grumbled, reminding Kairi of an old man who hadn't had his coffee yet.

Tired of standing in the doorway, Kairi shoved Riku's feet off the bed and sat down on the edge Indian style. She watched the door for any more signs of life willing to arise out in the hall. Sure enough, Yuffie came slouching in with all her morning glory with her messed up hair and sleep-filled eyes.

"Morning…" she mumbled, glancing at the two before plopping on the bed over Riku's legs without a care in the world. The teen hissed in discomfort but didn't try to push her off. He was still having trouble waking up.

"Merry Christmas!" Kairi exclaimed handing Yuffie her present.

She blinked. "Is it caffeine?"

"No, it's a present."

She shrugged, taking it and shaking it as Riku had. "Thanks… I'll bring mine out later."

Grumbling could be heard from down the hall, growing louder by the minute. Tilting there heads to the side to get a good glimpse of who was out there, the three watched as Leon and Cloud came trudging by, only stopping when they noticed the three younger teens staring at them.

Leon raised an eyebrow. "What is this? MTV?"

Yuffie shrugged. "If it is, I'm liking the show so far. Get your butts in here."

Leon looked at Cloud who simply shrugged before heading in and sitting on the edge of the bed.

Kairi was starting to feel a bit cramped.

"Here are your present's guys," she announced, handing them both red boxes, which they took with a nod. She peaked out from behind Cloud to see if anyone else was coming through the door from the nearby rooms. However, it was several more minutes of silent agony before Wish and Fire appeared at the door dressed in red and green nightgowns and looking more awake then the rest of the group.

"Merry Christmas." Wish shouted, making them all jump. Fire opened her mouth to greet them as Wish had, but she stopped herself as she scanned the content of the room with a smirk spreading across her lips.

"Kairi and Yuffie get off the bed and come over here.' She ordered.

Everyone looked at the two and with a sigh of frustration, they did as told for no reason at all. When they were standing next to the maid who looked satisfied she rubbed her hands together and whispered into Yuffie's ear, loud enough for Kairi to hear.

"Now if we could just have or little yuke Sora, it would be one giant yaoi fest." she smirked, rubbing her hands together and staring at the boys. Yuffie smirked in reply, licking her lips evilly. "I like your thinking. What about you Kairi?"

But the teen had covered her ears. "Not listening!" she shouted, disgusted with her friends thoughts. Wish's head snapped to the side and she looked at Kairi questionably. "What's wrong?"

"There talking about things!" she pointed at the guys. "About THEM doing bad things together."

Riku's mouth dropped open and Leon and Cloud just sat there, now clearly awake and there eyes set in flames. Yuffie and Fire took a small step back.

"About us doing what things?" Riku asked, sitting up and staring at the two as if they had told him to go jump out the window.

"Yaoi things young Riku!" Yuffie shouted, putting her arm around Fire who waved at the teen innocently.

Riku's face turned several shades of red. "Shut it Yuffie!"

"Fire said it not me!"

He turned to Fire, eyes wide. "Is this how you repay me after I took you to the dance?"

But Wish took the moment to step in. "Let her go Riku, she's always like this in the morning when rudely awakened."

"By Donald's nephews?" Kairi asked.

They nodded.

But Fire wasn't done. "Yuffie, lets me and you go and get Sora and bring him over here! Then it will be a-"

"SHUT UP FIRE!" All three men chorused, leaping from there spot on the bed and chasing her and Yuffie down the hall in a stampede of rage. Wish ran after them with a growl leaving Kairi all alone in the room and very disturbed.

"Fan girls…" she mumbled, picking up her bag and strolling out into the hall. Heads began to peak out of there rooms to see what all the commotion had been about, giving Kairi a signal that she better get moving.

But instead of heading back to her room, she made her way over to Sora's.

She knew he wouldn't be awake. Sora could sleep through a tornado, have the roof of his house blown off, and his covers ripped from his bed and still be off in dreamland. But as she walked in and creped over to the side of his bed, she could clearly see that the dreamland Sora was visiting was one entirely different then hers.

From beneath the tangle of covers, the brunette's face was visible. Locks of hair were stuck to his sweat covered face and his breath came out in short shallow gasps. But what caught Kairi's eye was the tears dripping down his cheeks slowly and steadily from his closed eyes.

"…Sora?" She whispered, getting down on her knees and watching him worriedly. The teen's eyes squeezed tightly as if he were in pain causing a river of fresh tears to trickle down his face. His hand clenched and unclenched as his body seized up and curled into a tight ball beneath the covers.

Kairi grabbed his hand squeezing it reassuringly. It twisting frantically in her grasped but she held on tight. Wishing with all her might that he could calm down, wake up, anything.

"Come on Sora…" she mumbled, blinking tears out of her eyes. " You're in a world where I can't reach. You have to fight it. I'm here, its okay."

As soon as her words left her mouth, the brunette's body began to relax. The pained look faded from his features and the tight hold on her hand that was turning her fingers blue was loosened. The pain faded entirely, but the sadness hung over him in an impenetrable haze.

Kairi sighed, letting her hand slip from Sora's and down to her bag of presents. Carefully she pulled out a small gold wrapped package and tucked it in the crook of Sora's arm.

"Merry Christmas…" she whispered, before getting to her feet and walking out. Hoping that Fire and Yuffie might still be alive after the men's assault.


By 7:30 A.M, the whole castle was awake. The lobby was packed with people in nothing but there pajamas with coffee and hot chocolate being passed around and accepted with gratitude. Riku, now high off chocolate overloaded with Oreo's and marshmallows, had opened his gift from Kairi and was thrilled to find a watch decorated with black and white feathers on the band. The design inside the frame of the watch was a Ying yang symbol in the shape of a heart with two swords crossed behind it. A White and a black wing rested on each side of the sign giving off a gothic yet light feeling.

Riku's eyes sparkled as he threw his arms around Kairi in a tight hug. "Thank you! You paid attention to what I wanted unlike SOME people!"

Kairi blinked. "Who?"

"I opened up Wakka's gift along with Tidus and Selphie's a few moments ago." he explained. "Tidus thought it was funny to go out and buy me a Hershey's candy bar hoping I would win the 10,000 dollar prize inside."

Kairi smirked. "Well did you?"

" Hell no!" he roared, taking the candy bar out of his pocket and taking a large bite out of the top.

The rest of the morning was nothing but gift exchanging. Fire had come out of her hiding place in the kitchen and started throwing presents at everyone she could find. Kairi received more then she had planned. Ranging from simple candy canes to clothing and jewelry. Riku had gotten her a case for her Ipod that she could clip to her belt. Leon, Cloud, and Yuffie had all chipped in to buy her a winter hat with cat ears sticking up from both ends.

"Oh, Sora's going to love those ears!" Fire laughed as she watched the cat girl tear into her gift and pull out a small necklace with a white winged heart on the pendant. She smiled at it looking over at Fire. "Thanks."

She laughed. "I knew you'd like it."

"Hey, what did you get Sora Kairi?" Wish asked, throwing a small green wrapped package at Kairi.

She caught it and smiled teasingly. "You'll find out."

Both maids glanced at each other before going about there business. It wasn't until 10 minutes of gift opening and passing had gone by, that a loud holler of joy came echoing from several floors above. Kairi's head snapped toward the stairwell just in time to see Sora come sliding down the railing in his pajamas and a small Ipod clasped in his hand.

He landed on the tiled floor with surprising grace for someone who had just woke up. His eyes immediately fell on Kairi, sparkling and full of excitement. He zigzagged through the crowd of people and mounds of wrapping paper with increasing speed. The red head only managed to take a small step back before the brunette tackled her to floor in a very tight hug. Onlookers laughed loudly, remembering the couple from the night before. Kairi couldn't help But laugh herself as the brunette pulled away; hugging the Ipod to his chest like a kid would his teddy bear.

"Kairi thank you!" he cried, bouncing on the soles of his feet. "It's the exact one I wanted! With the crown design, the engraving, and my whole play list is on here already! Thank you, THANK YOU!"

Riku looked on from nearby with his mouth hanging open in a gaping stare. Sora stuck his tongue out at him with glee, looking the small Ipod over in his hand. Indeed, it was a remarkable sight. A small, thin, white, model with a silver crown engraved just below the spin wheel. On the back Sora's name along with the title, "The Keybearer" was engraved. A small heart with wings was etched beneath making the Ipod truly unique.

It had cost Kairi nearly 85 of her savings.

But after what Sora had given her, it was worth every penny.

The rest of the day went on in a chain of laughter and merriment. No one had bothered to change out of there pajamas and stayed in the lobby for the rest of the day. Several brave souls had ran up to there room and grabbed there mittens and jackets to converse in another snowball war. But Kairi and the others were enjoying themselves indoors; playing Monopoly 3 times in a row ( Yoshi's gift from Wish) and taking turns listening to Sora's Ipod ( after spending 20 minutes of trying to pry it out of his hands.)

By nightfall, food was being passed around and everyone had gathered around Yuffie's table to play Video Game Trivia. After an hour and a half, Riku and Yuffie were the only ones left, staring each other down with equal persistence. Riku ended up winning in the end after Yuffie had drawn a question on Halo 2. One of her least favorite games leaving Riku with open victory.

It was eleven o'clock when everyone started heading up to bed. Sora was determined to stay up until twelve, not wanting the day to end. But sleep had a habit of dragging him away at the most unwanted times.

In the end, he trudged up to bed. Taking one last look at the lobby sparkling in the light of the Christmas tree with the floor covered with wrapping paper and tables littered with half finished drinks and candy wrappers.

"…All good things," he whispered. "Must come to an end."

"But that doesn't mean you have to forget them."

Sora let out a yelp as he noticed a pair of round black ears walk into view from behind him. The King frowned at his reaction, crossing his arms over his chest. The brunette put his hand behind his head with a nervous laugh. "Sorry."

Mickey nodded, turning to look down at the mess of a lobby with a sigh. "What a mess…"

Sora shrugged. "It's Christmas. What did you expect?"

"No more or less." he answered with a smile. Sora flashed a grin, which quickly faded.

He really didn't want to leave…

"Well, better get up to bed Sora. You got a long trip ahead of you tomorrow." Mickey reminded him.

Sora let his bangs shadow his eyes with a sigh. "Yeah…I know."

The mouse watched him for a moment, sensing the distress in the brunette's tone of voice. The teen shuffled his feet half-heartedly, avoiding the King's gaze.

Mickey let out a small laugh. "You don't want to leave, do you?"

Sora shook his head.

"I can understand that." he answered slowly. "I don't want you all to leave either. This place actually felt more alive then it had for some time over the last week."

Sora watched the King curiously, hinting the depressed look in his eyes.

He had to admit, in a Castle this big it was easy to get lonely.

"Listen," Sora began hesitantly. "Can I talk to you tomorrow? Before I leave?"

Mickey looked taken back at this but gave a small nod of approval nonetheless. "Sure Sora."

"Okay," he took one last glance down at the lobby before running up the stairs. "Good night!"

Mickey waved. "Goodnight."

And as Sora disappeared into the darkness above, the King turned back to the lobby, taking in the Christmas feeling that was hovering like a ghost over the large room.

"So ends another Christmas." he whispered. "The best one yet."

And with a wave of his hands, the lights on the Christmas tree gave a small flicker before fading out and casting the room in darkness.


"Come on Sora, the ships waiting!" Kairi called up the stairwell clearly annoyed. She zipped up her black and pink jacket with shaking fingers, dropping her suitcase to her side so she would have an extra hand.

Sora's head peaked out from over the railing looking rather nervous. Kairi looked up from her jacket to give him a look that would make him walk faster. But Sora's feet seemed to be glued to the stairs with gum as he trudged down with his suitcase in hand and jacket on.

Kairi opened her mouth to complain, but stopped herself as she noticed the teen water filled eyes, which were avoiding her gaze at all costs.

"The others are waiting with Riku Sora." she told him softly. "To say goodbye."

He gave a small shrug. "Okay."

He walked quickly past Kairi with his head lowered giving her no choice but to grab her bag and scramble after him. She glanced back at the lobby sadly, feeling a piece of her heart tear off as the Christmas tree faded from view. Many memories took place there and would stay in her heart for an eternity.

The walk to the front of the castle was shorter then she had expected. People came looming in to view waving at them with a smile. Riku could be seen standing near the door with Wish, Fire, and Yoshi at his side; faces covered with tears.

Kairi bit her bottom lip. Now she really didn't feel like leaving.

Sora walked right over to Riku, dropping his bag beside him and turning to face Wish and the others.

He gave a small smile. "Hey…"

"Hey…" Fire smiled back, tears brimming on the edge of her eyes. Sora looked away for a moment, not wanting to cry. He'd do anything not to cry. But he couldn't stop himself as he flung his arms around Fire and Wish in a tight embrace. Knowing he would miss them the most.

"Thank you for everything." he told them, tears spilling down his cheeks. "For helping me with Kairi's gift, for helping me dance, the dress, everything. You guys rock."

Both girls nodded, small sobs escaping there throats. "I-it was nothing. We enjoyed it."

Sora looked at Yoshi, who was standing still as stone with a forced blank expression upon his face. The brunette wiped the tears from his eyes before holding out his hand to the teen who shook it with gratitude.

"You're a cool kid." Yoshi told him, making Sora's eyes glint with anger. "I mean teen. You really helped make this place rock this year. It was really fun. Especially the snowball war."

Sora liked this, flashing a quick smile before glancing over at Yuffie, Leon, and Cloud. He didn't feel too sad that the three were leaving. They always showed up at there island unexpected for a stay.

"See you this summer Sora!" Yuffie chirped, waving her mittens in the air happily. Leon and Cloud simply waved, looking rather tired and happy to be leaving.

"See ya this summer kid." Leon smirked making Sora's smile widen. "Don't get yourself into anymore trouble."

"But if you do, we'll be there in 3 seconds flat!" the ninja exclaimed with a wink. "Cid's working on a new Gummiship. It might just be possible."

Cloud rolled his eyes; something Sora had never seen him do. "He wish's it were."

The front doors suddenly flew open and Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy could be seen standing in the middle of the path leading up to the Gummiship. Sora glanced back at the others.

"What are you guys doing Yuffie?" he asked.

She shrugged. "Cid's coming to pick us up and knowing him, it'll be awhile."

The brunette laughed. "Okay, see you guys!" he waved at Wish and Fire who waved back with tears still flowing down there face. Sora tore his eyes away, running to catch up with Kairi and Riku who were already hugging Donald and the others down the path. They had said there goodbyes to the others while Sora had been upstairs packing.

He had only made it ten steps out the door when Goofy and Donald had flung themselves on top of him in a tight hug.

"Whoa! Where did you guys come from?" he managed to ask between fits of laughter as the two tickled him nonstop.

"We ran!" Goofy shouted in reply.

"But I just saw you guys up there with the King."

"We ran real fast." Donald smirked, tapping his magic staff on the ground answering Sora's question completely.

They walked back down to where Kairi and Riku stood near the King and Queen. Riku was biting his lower lip so hard blood could be seen trickling down his chin. He wiped it away with his hand quickly and turned toward the Gummiship with his bag swung over his shoulder. "See you guys." he mumbled before walking as fast as his feet would carry him.

Sora frowned. "What's his problem?"

"He doesn't want to cry but I bet he's doing so right now." Kairi mumbled. Riku had always had a close connection with the King.

The King cleared his throat, causing both teens to stand at attention.

Mickey laughed. "Well, I just wanted to say that I hope you two had a good time this past week."

Kairi nodded, her eyes sparkling slightly. "We did. Very much."

Sora nodded too, casting his gaze to the ground once again.

The queen spoke up this time. "You're always welcome to come back here if you need anything."

"We plan too. Right Sora?" She nudged him in the ribs lightly making the teen jump to attention. "Yeah, sure."

The red head glared at him preparing to say something harsh. But Mickey stopped her.

"Kairi, why don't you go on in the ship." He suggested eyeing her boyfriend. "I need to talk with Sora privately."

She seemed taken back at this, but agreed with a simple smile of understanding. With one last wave at Donald and Goofy, she ran up the ramp into the ship with her luggage bouncing around in her hand.

Donald and Goofy gave Sora one last hug before running back into the Castle along with Minnie who simply bowed in farewell. It was now that Sora and the King were completely alone.

The brunette's eyes averted back to the ground, but Mickey caught him.

"Look up Sora!" he snapped.

The teens eyes widened, surprised at Mickey's reaction. Regardless, he did as told.

The King glared at him. "Now I know you're sad about leaving," he began. "But that doesn't mean you have to go back to the way you used to be. Your friends will always be with you no matter where you are for your hearts are always connected."

'B-but…" Sora stuttered, trying to find the right words to explain. "What if I forget about them? What if they forget about me?" he stamped his foot in frustration. " What if everything goes back to how it was before?"

Without warning, a shimmering light erupted from below stinging the brunette's eyes and forcing him to take a step back. It wasn't until his eyes had adjusted that he noticed the end of Mickey's Keyblade pushing against his chest and the look of determination set in the mouse's features as he stared him down.

Sora gulped.

"It won't go back to the way it was before because nothing is ever the same. Nothing is ever repeated entirely the way it has happened in the past. As long as you trust this' he pushed the edge of the Keyblade harder against Sora's skin. "Nothing will ever be as you feared."

The brunette gaped, opening his mouth and shutting it as he tried to find the right reply to the King's words.

The point was, he was right.

He had to stop sulking and move on. Fallow his heart and hope for the best.

"You're…right." he mumbled raising his head and staring the King in the eyes. "My friends can help me too…like they have my whole life. Can't they?"

Mickey smirked. "Well what do you think?"

"I think they can, just like everyone did this whole week." he explained, voice rising with determination as he drove on. "Even after what happened to me and what I had done concerning the tree, everyone still stuck by me. Which I think was really cool." he smiled.

Mickey lowered his Keyblade and smiled back. "Keep thinking like that and you'll be happy. I promise."

A loud honking sound blasted from behind Sora as the driver of the Gummiship gave the King a pleading look. He nodded in reply turning back to Sora and holding out his hand.

"Good luck back at Home." he said as the brunette grabbed his hand and shook it.

"Same to you. Hope everything goes well for you Mickey." Sora grabbed his bag, running up the ramp of the Gummiship.

The King thought the boys words over, knowing the next year was going to be a hassle regardless of what anyone said. But he couldn't help but feel his heart lift slightly as he watched Sora throw his bag into the ship.

"Hey Sora!" he called out.

The brunette turned with a start. "Huh?"

"If you start feeling down, trust yourself with Kairi. Those closest to you can help you during your times of need."

Sora smiled brightly. "She helps me as I help her. I get it."

The King nodded. "Well, off with you! Have a good year!"

"You too!" the brunette ducked his head through the door and disappeared inside. The ramp of the Gummiship folded up and shut with a click as its engine revved up.

Within seconds, the ship had taken flight, zooming up into the sky until Disney Castle was just a little speck of a star in the giant mass of space.

Sora had taken his seat next to Kairi, who was sleeping quietly with her headphones in and her backpack hugged close to her chest. With a smile, the brunette took out his Ipod, glancing back at Riku who was indulged in his Nintendo DS. With a small sigh, he rested his head on Kairi's shoulder and smiled to himself.

'As long as I have my friends, everything will be fine.'

And with this thought in mind, he shut his eyes and turned his Ipod on with a click.

'My heart, my friends, my life…will be fine.'

The End


Many thanks to: Wish for beta reading several chapters

Everyone who reviewed, THANK YOU!

Now for notes:

Origin of this Story: Since I started writing it a years ago it's hard to remember but I was getting a little worn out after writing all the angst in Passing Shadows and it began grow on me after awhile. I'm a very cheery person at heart, so I was in desperate need to write something cheerful for the holidays but still have that story connect with my Passing Shadows.

So what was better then writing a holiday story?

My goal was to make it available to other people to read who have not read Passing Shadows. So it started out slightly fresh. That ended up proving slightly difficult cause I wanted to portray how much Sora had changed over the year along with Riku and Kairi since where I left off in Gifts of Darkness.

My writing style has changed over time and my current chapters compared to my first are way better. My first chapters disgust me on how poor the writing was. But I guess you all enjoyed it anyhow since you kept reading.

I felt bad for not updating over the year and I paid for my draw back on Christmas when I got the 24 hour flu last year. It wasn't fun. But I was fine this Christmas and finally brought it to a finish even though it's after the holidays.

The thing I liked about writing this story was the atmosphere I portrayed in Disney Castle. The lobby was my favorite place as you could tell with the giant staircase. I plan to have some sketches of it up on my deviant art site in the future along with the ballroom layout.

Plus I love snow ball fights. Couldn't you tell?

Fire and Wish are based off of me and WishingForMyWings. The personalities are a little different then our own but I had fun creating them and having them interact with Sora and the others. Yoshi was based off of one of my online friends but I ended up changing him into a smart ass in the story. Regardless to say, not that different from my friend at times.

I kept some characters quiet like Donald and Goofy throughout the fic because the plot was mainly focused around Sora's time at the Castle and his experiences and then with Kairi and how she was dealing with Sora. The whole angst scene was to finally bring out the truth in how much Kairi cared for Sora and how much of an effect it was having on her life and personality. Something I was eager to write. I was going to end it after that, but over the course of last year I got hit with inspiration for a ballroom scene. Something I haven't seen anyone else write in a story before.

If you are reading Passing Shadows, some of this may be a little ironic because what the characters are wondering and what there hoping for have already been revealed to you if it was worth it or not.

Sora's personality is completely mine and mine alone. His 14 year old personality belongs to Tetsua Namura. His 17 year old one is mine.

Stubborn, hot-headed, mischievous, insane, everything you would find in a normal teenage boy. This is my Sora. But with his dark past still hanging over his head, some of these traits are stronger then someone with a normal life. But he still has a heart of gold when it comes to his friends.

For Passing Shadows readers:

I'll started working on Passing Shadows soon. Exams are slowly arriving at school and it might put me on hold again but we don't have that much farther to go in the story. 5 or 6 more chapters.

I would appreciate a bit of feedback in future reviews to help me improve in my writing. My goal is to put just a tad more detail but not a lot so the reader doesn't get blown off subject. More description of surroundings, and IMPROVED GRAMMAR.

So, if you notice something wrong in one of my stories, mention it. But don't bite my head off with insults. It's just to help me improve. Something all writers want to do.

Well, enough ranting. I'm happy you all enjoyed this story! Please send your reviews and have a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!