Disclaimer: All characters belong to Square-Enix and Disney.

Warning: Minor spoilers for KHII.

This is Real


He was at lost for words. His life-long childhood friend, the one person who meant the most to him more than anything, was here—here, standing right in front of him, panting slightly from her effort of fighting off the Heartless.

"Kairi, you were great!" called out Donald, but he vaguely registered in his mind what the duck had said. His heart lurched as the girl gave an 'oh!' of surprise and turned towards him. She gave a tinkling laugh and flipped back her dark auburn hair, sending chills down his back and making his stomach squirm uncomfortably.

Since when did he start feeling like this around his best friend? Maybe he had been separated from her for too long...missing her too much. But he remembered thinking about her during all those times he had been out there, fighting the Heartless in different worlds and trying in vain to find Riku. When he'd seen Will and Elizabeth, Mulan and Shang, and especially in Halloween Town, while he watched Jack and Sally were dancing with that ache in his heart.

He felt numb, never taking his eyes off her as they slowly walked towards the other. It felt like a dream, a sensation he'd never thought would happen. Was this...real?

The girl in front of him looked so different, yet he knew it was her. She had matured so much, and changed. Her dark red hair had grown several inches, and he felt the temperature rise up in his cheeks as he looked at her figure, noticing how she looked more filled out, and not as fragile as she was a year ago.

But those deep, blue-violet eyes—they were the same. They held the same laughter, the same joy whenever she saw him. And now they were even brighter than usual, holding back the tears. But in his eyes, she was as beautiful as ever, no matter how much she'd changed.

Sora, don't ever change.'

Did she feel the same way about him? Did he change so much in her eyes? And...and how did she feel?

As they started at each other, it became hard to believe that the young woman standing a few feet away from him was once just his childhood friend, a bubbly little girl whom he played with every day back home.

But now...

The very thought warmed him, intensifying the aching feeling in his heart.

"You are different, Kairi," he blurted out before he could stop himself. "But I'm just glad you're here."

Mentally, he slapped himself.

Idiot! How can you just be glad? You've been longing for this girl for months. You haven't seen her for a whole year. You've been through so much just for even a glimpse of her. Heck, you'd even gone on your knees for her in front of that Organization, remember? And you say you're only glad that she's here?

"You and Riku never came home," she said, looking intently at him. "So I came looking for you."

His stomach felt as though it had dropped several inches as he heard those words. So, he had broken his promise—the promise that he'd come back to her. He had made her wait, forcing her to risk her own life to come find him. He tore his eyes away from her and looked down in his guilt.

"I'm sorry," he said, turning away his face.

A clacking of shoes, then—thump

He jerked his head up in surprise as something warm clashed against his chest. It took him several seconds to realize that Kairi had thrown herself at him, holding him tightly as though she'd never let him go.

"This is real..." she whispered, before burying her face into his shoulder.

He blinked, looking at the top of her head. Then the warmth from her lithe body seemed to spread through him, penetrating his very soul. He felt a lump rise in his throat, fighting to hold back his mixed emotions of joy and sorrow.

'This is real.'

She was real, it wasn't some crazy hallucination he was having from his constant ache of missing her. She was here, they were together.

The world seemed to fall away around them. All thoughts of Kingdom Hearts, the Organization, the Heartless—banished from his mind as he raised his arms, wrapping them around her slim body and holding her closer to him. As he rested his chin on her head, he inhaled deeply; her scent reminded him of home, of their childhood, or who they were.

Suddenly, it felt as though the broken promise had never happened. He felt their hearts beating in unison; the hearts that saved them, the hearts that brought them together again.

That promise wouldn't matter now...they were both here, together, as they were destined to always be.

It was all real.

...Did anyone else see the end of the KHII credits where Sora sees the paopu drawing? I think I almost died of ecstasy when I did.

Please review, no flames.