Hey there! The name's Lhanae, and this is my first attempt at writing fanfiction. I used to write only original stories and poems, but I decided to give this a shot at last after reading so much great stories here. I'm sorry if this isn't going to be good as many others here, as this is my first attempt at writing again after a really long time. So... I hope you enjoy, and maybe even leave a review?

By the way, this is a SoraxKairi fic, because they rock and need more love. Oh yeah, this takes place after the end of KH II, after Sora and Riku return but before they receive the King's letter. Spoilers alert.

Disclaimer: I don't own Kingdom Hearts and any of its characters. It's a fact of life.


HUMAN

It was nearing midnight when Kairi awoke to the sound of rolling waves and singing crickets. Albeit a bit dazed, she decided to look around, as if seemingly convincing herself that yes, she was back home in Destiny Islands, and not in some other world filled with Heartless and Nobodies – although she was almost sure that Sora had already taken care of that.

Yes, she was back, and it felt wonderful.

And it feels even more wonderful knowing that they're finally back.

The skies were clear and the moon was luminous from what she could perceive from the view the small window offered. Feeling the breeze against her skin, Kairi suddenly felt like going outside. She was awake anyway, and she highly doubted that she would go back to sleep any time soon.

Kairi tried to sit up from her position, only to be brought back down by some unknown weight on her body. It took her a few seconds to remember that the three of them had decided earlier that day to sleep in the small clubhouse in their island, just for the sake of old times. It took her even longer (only a few seconds longer though) to recall that Sora and Riku insisted that she slept in between them. She had protested, of course, but they just wouldn't take no for an answer.

Raising her arm, Kairi gently began to feel whatever it was that was holding her down. It wasn't that surprising to find both boys' arms embracing her, their bodies snuggling into hers. A bright red blush crept up her cheeks –Kairi was glad they were both asleep– as she tried to lift up Riku's arm first.

His arm didn't budge, as her current position and obvious lack of strength wasn't enough to lift it. Sora's arm was probably going to be lighter anyway, Kairi concluded, so she tried for his instead. Again, it was still too heavy. She tried to push his arm away instead, but it only resulted to a slight stir beside her.

"Kairi…?"

His voice was soft as he turned to face her. Doing the same, Kairi smiled. "Sorry, Sora. Did I wake you?"

"No… Well, yeah you kinda did, but it's ok," he told her, his signature grin plastered on his face. Kairi couldn't help but giggle softly. It hadn't occurred to her before just how much she missed that familiar smile of his.

"Hey Sora…" said Kairi, shifting her gaze to the window, "wanna go outside?"

The Keyblade Master seemed puzzled at first, but quickly understood and stood up from his position. Kairi slipped out from underneath Riku's arm –it was easier now that Sora's arm was gone— while Sora waited patiently. He even helped her up to stand, and soon they were both out the door.

Immediately they were greeted by a gentle breeze as they slowly made their way to the sandy shores of the island. Only after walking for a few minutes did Kairi realize that she was barefoot, but she paid no heed as soon the rocky ground was replaced with the soft texture of sand.

"Kairi, you're too slow!" exclaimed Sora, who was already by the water's edge. He was waving his arm around as he spoke. "Who's the lazy bum now!" Kairi arched an eyebrow at the comment as she began to walk faster toward him. When she finally did reach him, Kairi couldn't help but cross her arms and pout, lowering her head to cover her eyes. Sora seemed surprised and worried at her sudden reaction.

"Come on, I was only kidding, you know…" Kairi did not reply, instead lowering her head even further. Her hair covered most of her face now. "Kairi…?" Again no verbal reply came from her, but instead she began to shiver. Sora approached her, placing his hands on her shoulders. "Look, I'm so-"

But Sora never got the opportunity to continue his sentence, as Kairi soon began to giggle. Meeting his gaze once more, she sprinted away from his touch, her laughter echoing with the ocean's waves. "You still are the lazy bum!" exclaimed Kairi, running as fast as she could toward the dock. Sora was hollering loudly behind her, but Kairi wasn't going to stop. She wasn't going to lose, not when she was sure Sora was going to scold her if he caught up.

Their race was a quick one, as the dock was only a couple of feet away from where they once stood. Plopping herself on the wood, she waited as Sora did the same. They were both panting quite heavily from all the running, and yet they couldn't help but laugh at themselves.

"Hey Sora…"

"Yeah?"

Kairi was mildly surprised that he answered so quickly. "Do you remember around a year ago, when we were sitting at this very dock?"

"You mean before all this happened?" Kairi nodded in reply. "Yeah I remember. You told me to never change back then, right?"

"Yeah…"

Silence enveloped them both as the memory played in her mind. It seemed so long ago when they only thought of leaving the island on a raft. But then all this happened. This… this crazy adventure she never would have thought possible swept them off their feet. It wasn't some dream they could just stop at any moment. It was one big reality check, really, and now only one question remains.

Was it all over now?

"So Kairi…" interrupted Sora, who was now facing her seriously. His eyes met hers, and she couldn't help but be entranced by the familiarity of it all. It had seriously been a while since she last gazed into his eyes like how she did so now.

His next sentence though caught her off guard.

"…have I changed?"

Really off guard.

How would she answer that? "S-sora, wha-"

"Just look at me, Kairi, as in really look at me, and tell me the truth." He really was serious, Kairi could see, and so, she obliged, albeit still confused by the sudden change of mood.

Physically, he had changed. He was taller –though they were almost the same height— and his muscles were more defined, probably from fighting all the time. His hair was messier, but still as spiky as before. His features were more distinct now, and his face had hardened. There was that same endless blueness in his eyes, and his grin –yes, he was grinning at the sky, but she didn't know why— looked the same.

He's still the same, and yet, he's not.

Sora was now gazing blankly at the sky. There was a twinkle in his eyes that told her he was enjoying watching the stars shining brightly above them. He smiled, and Kairi couldn't help but smile as well.

And then it hit her.

"Sora-"

"I'm sorry."

Kairi was surprised, but didn't argue. He was facing her again, and she knew what he meant. She replied by resting her head on his shoulder. He tensed at the initial contact, but soon his muscles relaxed. For Kairi, time seemed to stop as she felt his arm embrace her lithe form. His warmth was comforting, and soon she found herself wanting more.

"You've changed." Kairi said simply, relishing the moment. "You never would have had the courage to hug me back when you found me again if you didn't." And it was the truth. Sora was never an aggressive one. He was rather shy about physical contact with any girl. "And we wouldn't be in this position either."

His chuckle was soothing to her ears. "I guess you're right." Slowly, he let his arm slide off, and Kairi took the cue to move away – if only just a bit. Immediately she missed the warmth he gave her, but scolded herself for even thinking about that.

Now's not the time for this.

"You know… your grin is still wide and happy, but it's calmer and more confident. Your eyes still shine brightly with that twinkle of yours, but there's a new depth to it I want to understand. Your touch is still warm and comforting, but I can now feel a new resolve and strength."

He was silent at first, although his eyes said it all. "So… I have changed?"

"Everyone has, Sora. You, me, Riku… we all have. But look at it this way, if we didn't change, then we wouldn't be back here in Destiny Islands in one piece, right? You wouldn't have had the courage to press on, Riku wouldn't have been able to resist the darkness, and I…" She paused before continuing. "I… wouldn't have found you guys either."

Sora chuckled once again as he looked up at the moon. Taking his cue, Kairi did the same. For a few silent minutes they admired its beauty. "Yeah… I guess you're right."

"Why are you worrying so much about it anyway?"

"Because… I… you… we…"

Deep inside she knew what he was trying to say. Just by gazing into those bright blue eyes, she could read every thought, every doubt, every feeling. Yes… every feeling. Even the feeling they both knew they weren't yet ready for just yet.

And yet….

"It's ok, Sora. You don't have to tell me. I… I know." At this, their gazes met. It was just the two of them wrapped in the silence of the night, and they just knew. At that moment, no words needed to be said, and no actions needed to be done. The sheer emotion was there, and it was all they could ever want.

"You know…" said Sora, helping her up from the dock, "there's one thing that'll never change about me."

Kairi met his gaze as she playfully asked, "And what's that?"

"I'll always be with you forever."

xxx

The next morning, Kairi found herself running toward the mini island where she was sure Sora and Riku were. In her hand she clutched a bottle, and inside it was a letter. Its seal –one that she would forever remember— told her silently that her two friends were about to leave again. She was worried, of course, worried for her best friends' safety, and even wished they wouldn't. But that was just being selfish.

Besides… she knew that it would be all right in the end.

"Sora! Riku!"

Because Sora told her he'd be with her forever, and she wasn't going to let him go.


So... what'cha think? I'd really like to improve and to hear what you have to say, so any form of comments and criticism is greatly appreciate. If you've read this far, I'd like to say thanks!

ps: I'm in the process of making a KH AU story, so watch out for it!