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DISCLAIMER: Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Kingdom Hearts II, and Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days belong under the names of the Walt Disney Company and Square Enix. Names, places, items, concepts, and premade plots are their properties. I only own this original storyline and certain original characters and concepts for this particular piece. No copyright infringements are intended.
Copyright © 2009 by EPSIL0N
Sora looked at the small letter unfolded in his hands. His friends, Riku and Kairi, stood on both sides of him, curiously leaning over to investigate the contents of the letter. Sora chuckled, prompting a puzzled look from Kairi. The girl, who was the same age as Sora, had never experienced the adventures of the same magnitude that the two boys did. As for Riku, who was slightly older than Sora and Kairi, he had made journeys the same way Sora did―traveling across numerous worlds and conquering his own foes. Eventually, the trio found their ways and reunited. Through dangers and certain hopelessness, they made it through. It had been over a year since the trio's separation, to which Kairi suffered the most from. She was the one that was always protected by her two friends. She was the one that was left behind on their homeland, Destiny Islands. Though Kairi hated the fact that she was not the warrior type like Sora and Riku, she was simultaneously ecstatic when she saw Sora for the first time in over a year and realized that he was safe.
Kairi looked past Sora at Riku and noticed no puzzled look on his face, only a smirk. The older boy let out a small chuckle, a similar one to Sora's.
"Okay, guys, I don't―" Kairi mumbled as she couldn't settle into a good reading angle. "What's the letter say?"
Sora flipped the sheet of paper over, revealing an apt symbol, resembling a certain mouse's head.
"My best regards, Mickey," he read out loud, pointing to the bottom of the letter.
"Honestly, Kairi, you can't be that clueless, can you?" Riku asked sarcastically.
"Don't make fun of me, Riku; did you forget that I wasn't traveling with you guys?" Kairi countered, shooting him a dirty look. She smiled and turned to Sora. "So, what did the King say, Sora?"
"Not much. He just sent us his regards. He also says that he breezed through the worlds that we traveled through, too. No Heartless or anything. No signs of Organization XIII either! Wow, we really pulled through…" Sora said, finishing with a sigh. "Well, that's it for our adventures, I guess."
He rolled the letter back up and placed it in his pocket. Even through trouble and chaos, everyone emerged strong and victorious. After a brief moment of stillness, Riku left the group and treaded out to the beach and into the water.
"Hey, you two! Did you guys forget what we were doing before all this happened?" he asked, pointing out into the horizon. "My question about whether or not there are other worlds out there has been answered. But there's still time for a joyride though."
Sora groaned and sat down on the sand. A week hasn't even passed yet from our return home and Riku now plans to set off again, he thought to himself. He looked up at Kairi, who was still standing next to him, and poked her.
"Hey, Kairi," he said. "Do you think Riku's crazy sometimes?"
"You're all pretty crazy to me sometimes! But yeah, Riku, don't you wanna just relax a bit before you get anymore 'adventurous' ideas in your head again?" Kairi answered, giggling from Sora's feeble jab. "Come on―we all just got back together, and plus, everyone on the island is planning on holding a little welcome back party for us! Let's stay for a while, okay, Riku?"
"Maybe later," Sora said, standing up again and patting off the sand on his pants. "I mean, we already got to see so many worlds! We'll go make another raft someday when we're all older and just drift the open sea, but not now, all right?"
"Okay, okay, you two. I got the message," Riku answered, throwing his hands up in defeat. "Let's stay here until life gets boring again, how's that sound?"
"Perfect," Sora and Kairi said in unison.
Destiny Islands was filled from one shore to the other with light, warm sand where homes and other structures were built on. Coconut trees were scattered or lined throughout the islands. From an aerial view, Destiny Islands resembled a paradise, with abundant greenery marking the beaches, clear-blue water enveloping the lands, and soothing sunlight radiating in the right locations with the ideal intensity.
Not far from their homes, the trio of friends attended their school, which was located near the heart of the islands. Unlike Kairi, who attended the school all throughout, Sora and Riku had not stepped anywhere near the school for quite some time. The eastern coast, where most of the trio's friends and acquaintances lived, was dotted with multiple log cabins and tree houses. Here, Sora and Riku spent their summers sparring or playing Blitzball with the neighboring Tidus, a young boy, and Wakka, a friendly older kid who was somewhat obsessed with his ball.
Sora walked along the edges of the eastern shores, listening to the birdcalls overhead.
It's gonna be a good day, he thought.
It was the sixth day upon their return to Destiny Islands and residents planned to hold a welcome back party later on. Sora continued his way across the warm, sandy beach, taking in the summer air until he reached a small cave covered by vines and slight overgrowth. Every time he entered this aptly-named Secret Place, Sora surrendered himself to overwhelming series of nostalgic feelings. It was their Secret Place.
"Sora?" a voice called.
Surprised, he tripped at the entrance, and slid a few feet into the Secret Place.
"Whoa, umm…" Sora stammered while he pushed himself off the cool ground. Slowly, he ambled further into the small sanctuary. "Kairi?"
"Sora? Is that you?"
No doubt it was Kairi, since Sora knew no one else on the island with long red hair. Sora went further into the cave and peeked in to seek out Kairi's figure.
"Yeah, it's me," he answered. "What're you up to, Kairi?"
Kairi was leaning by the walls of the cave, her fingers tracing old carvings and drawings that swathed around the cave walls. She continued tracing with her fingers, moving her body along the walls, she gradually stopped at a certain drawing. Kairi knelt down until her face was a mere inch or two from an old drawing. Curious, Sora squatted down next to Kairi and turned his attention to the same drawing.
"I cried a bit when I saw this the first time," Kairi quietly said all of a sudden. "It was sweet."
Sora smiled as he studied the simple drawings of Kairi and him exchanging Paopu fruits. The chalky texture still remained on the wall, with the illustration in perfect condition. Sora was pleased to know that the drawing had the chance to stay on the cave walls for, quite possibly, the rest of time.
"If two people share one, their destinies become intertwined. They'll remain a part of each other's lives, no matter what..." Kairi continued.
"Didn't Riku say something like that before?" Sora offered. "Silly Paopu fruits."
"He said that to you, too?" Kairi wondered, glancing at Sora from the corner of her eye. "Oh, he recently said it to me, briefly mentioning you, too. But I had no idea what point he was trying to make."
"Yeah, I told you he's crazy," Sora joked, looking away.
A few silent minutes passed as both Sora and Kairi knelt alongside each other, their hands tracing the outlines of the wall drawings. Kairi broke the silence again.
"Hey, Sora, I forgot to ask you," she said. There was a moment of hesitation, but Kairi resumed. "Did you ever get a letter from me? You know, when you were gone, before you and Riku came back home?"
Sora searched his pockets and slid out a folded sheet of paper, slightly crumpled, but all in all fairly neatly kept. Kairi beamed as she recognized the folded paper as the one she wrote on. It appeared that Sora kept that letter with him the entire time. A week, a month seemed like years; yet a year seemed like a day. It was the feeling that epitomized the contents of the heartfelt note. Sora unfolded the letter and involuntarily began to read the contents out loud.
"Thinking of you, wherever you are. We pray for our sorrows to end―"
"―and hope that our hearts will blend," Kairi joined in.
"Now I will step forward to realize this wish," Sora carried on with a genuine smile.
"And who knows: Starting a new journey may not be so hard or maybe it has already begun."
"There are many worlds, but they share the same sky…"
And both Sora and Kairi turned to face each other and recited together:
"One sky, one destiny."
Kairi smiled and slightly blushed, pulling some of her hair down to her cheeks to conceal the faint redness the best she could. Sora noticed the rare coyness from Kairi and slightly reddened himself. He heaved himself backwards and lied down on the cave floor.
"Uh, so―what, umm, what's up, Kairi?" Sora finally blurted out.
"I dunno, Sora, what's up? You haven't really settled down to tell me about your adventures."
"Hmm, yeah, I didn't do much storytelling yet, huh?" Sora thought a moment before shifting into a comfortable position on the ground, relaxing both his hands behind his head. "Okay, Kairi, where do you want me to start?"
Kairi giggled and eagerly lied down on the ground beside Sora.
"Hmm, let's see. Since we all got separated the first time," Kairi said slowly. "Well, 'cause… we didn't have the chance to actually relax together since then. We got to see each other, like, once or twice since then. And it wasn't for quite long either. So, c'mon, tell me what you've been doing all this time."
"Phew… you're asking for a long story, Kairi," Sora groaned. "But all right."
The two friends recalled their experiences and thoughts during the past year and half, from their first parting from home, to their feelings of dread and hopelessness from one point to another, their first reunion, the moments of experiencing happiness, sadness, shocks, and terror, and then to their second parting. Sora started off with the introductions of his established acquaintances with a royal court magician, Donald Duck, and a royal knight captain—the head guard, Goofy, after he, Kairi, and Riku were separated the first time. His adventures with Donald and Goofy spanned across various worlds filled with diverse heroes, villains, cultures, and backgrounds. Kairi listened intently without interrupting when Sora mentioned how throughout his adventures he battled his desperation to find Riku and her.
"I thought I was never going to see you guys again," he said.
"But you never gave up hope, did you?" Kairi inquired.
"I never did," Sora admitted. "And I forced myself back then to keep fighting so I never would."
His adventures eventually led him to the end of the worlds, finding a foe with Riku's appearance, which led to the final battle―or so he thought. When the battle ended with a victory for Donald, Goofy, and him, he was subsequently reunited with Kairi for one more time before otherworldly dimensions split, separating them once again.
"I was quite upset when that happened, you know," Kairi stated solemnly.
"Me too," Sora agreed. "But at least you were safe."
"Well, I was…" Kairi said with a small laugh.
"Yeah, save that story. It'll come together soon."
Sora continued, about how he later found himself shaken with distress from one phrase spoken by a man in a black trench coat: Ahead lies something you need. But to claim it, you must lose something dear. Kairi gave Sora a concerned look. Sora simply shook his head.
"But now we know that guy was from Organization XIII," he said. "Anyway…"
Later he, Donald, and Goofy found themselves in a mysterious castle where their memories dictated everything. Sora mentioned a familiar name to Kairi, of one he met while in the castle: Naminé. The twisting and distorting of Sora's memories while in the castle was finally forced away when Naminé put Sora, Donald, and Goofy to sleep. His memories of his experiences in Castle Oblivion were virtually erased. But during this time, in a span of approximately a year, Sora's real memories were restored bit by bit.
"Sleeping for a year?" Kairi asked.
"I guess. Thank Naminé for that," Sora replied. "If it weren't for her, I'm not sure if I would even remember anything about myself, you, Riku, and everyone else."
Kairi touched her chest for a second, and a brief silence slowly followed.
"She's in here now," Kairi said, directing her words at her heart.
"And Roxas in here," said Sora, putting his hand over his own chest.
"What did they say again?" Kairi asked as she looked up.
"Roxas and Naminé. We're them, they're us," said Sora. "They said something like… Anytime we're together, they'll be together."
"And we'll be together everyday, right, Sora?" Kairi said, reiterating exactly what she said at the climax of their last adventure together.