awww. dedicated to fantasykh-rider. thanks so muchee.
i don't own kingdom hearts.
- b u s s t o p
- O ------------ O -
Sora can honestly say it was the bus.
The bus started it.
He was only four years old then, a giggly, hyperactive child who was overly excited about getting back home from vacation in Twilight Town. And when he was giggly and hyperactive, his mother always said he was the cutest thing. Ever. Cute. And deathly annoying.
"Sora, stop fidgeting," a mahogany-haired woman said exasperatedly, shaking her head. Both sapphire-blue and jade-green eye narrowed at a similarly-mahogany haired boy.
"But mommy," he whined. "I'm bored."
"Honey, you've only been on this bus for fifteen minutes."
"I'm bored," the boy repeated with a pout settling on his lips.
The woman sighed in frustration, ruffling her son's spiky hair. "Wait until your sister wakes up. Maybe then she'll play with you."
He stared at his flaxen-haired sister, and giggled a little. She was snoozing with her cheek squished against the foggy window, and her mouth was open slightly. But then Sora sighed. He knew for a fact that his sister always slept late and didn't wake up until noon. Hmph. Older sisters always seemed to have the license to sleep late. No matter. When he was older he'd be awake at night and asleep at day.
"I'm boooored," he said once again, drawing out the vowel.
His mother's hand twitched. "So--"
"Excuse me," a soft voice said, and Sora swiveled his head to face the source of the voice. It came from the gentle-looking lady across the aisle. She had chocolate-brown hair in a braid with a rather large pink bow, and some strands framed her oval face. "You seem to have a problem."
His mother turned to the lady, and laughed sheepishly. "...a small one."
"Oh. He's already bored, isn't he?"
The lady smiled and gestured to the thirteen-something teen snoring beside her. "Roxas here was like that when he was your son's age. I'm Aerith Strife, by the way."
"Yuna Hikari," his mother introduced back. "Oh, Aerith, he's a hyper little boy," she sighed, shooting Sora an exasperated look.
"Why don't you let Kairi sit next to him? She'll calm him down." Aerith suggested.
A little girl with strawberry-red hair and the most purple violet eyes Sora had ever seen poked her head out from behind her mother. "Huh?"
His mother shook her head vehemently. "Oh, no, you don't need to ---"
"It's okay, right, Kairi?"
"Uhm...sure," she said hesitantly, nodding mostly to herself.
His mother turned back to Sora. "Be good, Sora. I'm only across the aisle." The bus stopped, and he watched his mother get up and step across the aisle. Aerith nudged the boy next to her to move, and, after much 'huh?...what?...what's happening?...oh...yeah...nice to meet you, Mrs. Hikari...uh...I'll go back to sleep now...', Kairi came over to their row of seats and carefully hoisted herself up into his mother's seat, legs dangling over the plush woven cover.
He peered across the aisle and saw that his mom was chatting away immediately with the nice lady. Furrowing his little eyebrows, he turned to the girl next to him. He stuck out a chubby hand. "Hi, I'm Sora!" he chirped.
She bowed her head and stared at her hands, her cheeks flushing.
"Uhm," he pouted. "Uhm. Kairi's a nice name..."
"You really think so?" she asked in a very small voice, and he nodded enthusiastically. "My brother always says it's a funny name..."
"My sister tells me my name's funny too," he agreed, and peered past the girl once again. "That's your brother?"
She nodded, following his gaze and then turned her beryl eyes back to his cerulean ones. "Roxas."
"As in rocks?" he asked slowly, not really getting the name.
He didn't see her for some time after she and her mother and her brother (who was staring kind of weirdly at his older sister) got off the bus two stops before his. He remembered waving happily to Kairi and she waved happily back, the goofiest grins plastered on their faces. His mother said that Aerith told her that Kairi was normally a very shy girl, and that it was good that Sora got to her.
He didn't know what those words meant back then, but now he had already taken them to heart.
Sora soon forgot about the incident until he started school, and started riding the bus on his own. He was surprised to see a familiar flash of red hair and beryl eyes at the very back of the bus, and, waving goofily, he made his way towards the girl.
It seemed that she didn't recognize him.
Frowning, he stopped, and sat down near the front.
Everyday, everytime he went home, he would always see Kairi, but he wouldn't sit down next to her or even wave to her. Hm. If she forgot, well, it wasn't in his place to bother her about it.
Until that day in fourth grade.
Sora was humming as he clambered up the steps on the bus home. He had caught his sister, Naminé, kissing some spiky-haired boy under the huge oak tree at the corner of the school grounds, and he was going to tell his mother. It was absolutely disgusting to look at, in Sora's opinion. Well, Naminé may be sixteen already, but ew. She's going to be into so much trouble once he told on her...
"Nice 'tha see ya."
Sora waved back at each and every one of those who greeted him. He had no idea why, but every kid in school seemed to know who he was. Even the driver greeted him by name. His eyes searched automatically for the redhead, in her usual spot besides a hyper brunette who he knew was named Selphie.
She wasn't there.
He collapsed down on the nearest vacant chair, next to the window, and dejectedly shoved his backpack under his seat. Hm. She wasn't absent today (not that Sora was stalking her. He saw her in the cafeteria earlier). Maybe she had gotten on another bus?
Sora, of course. It's been one heck of a miracle that you actually go on the same bus ever since you started school.
He rolled his eyes and told his inner voice to shut up. Sighing (and telling himself that it's no big deal 'cause really, he didn't care if she was there or not), he propped up his elbow on the window ridge and watched the scenery roll by.
No big deal...ha! If you ask me, I--
He suddenly sat up and pressed his face to the glass pane.
"Uhm, I'm getting off here," he hurriedly stood up and told the surprised conductor (even he knew who Sora was), heaving up his backpack and almost skipping off the bus as he did.
Kairi froze in her tracks the moment his sneakers touched the cracked sidewalk.
"Hey!" Sora called, running up to her. "You..."
She spun on her heels and started to walk away, but he grabbed her wrist before she could. She turned back to face him with a frightened expression on her face, beryl eyes wide and apprehensive.
"...you," he panted, still out of breath, "...didn't ride the bus today."
She kept silent, and Sora was irresistably reminded of the day they first met.
"Uhm..." he paused, running a hand through his spiky hair and messing it up even further, "can I ask why?"
"I...I lost my bus card, and I didn't bring extra munny," she explained quietly, bowing her head so that her hair flounced forward, hiding her expression.
"Oh. Well then," Sora laughed, "I'll pay for your ticket. You can't walk all the way home."
"N-no!" she interjected, pulling her wrist away from his grip and heaving the strap of her messenger bag up her shoulder. "I can walk."
"Yes, you can walk," he said sarcastically. "But your stop's something like seven kilometers from here."
"I already walked the first kilometer, so six left," she insisted, turning slightly so that she faced the street instead of him.
"Pssh, come on, Kairi." With deft fingers he brushed away the curtain of rather silky crimson hair and peered up at her expression, which was mirroring great nervousness right now.
"Only this once, Sora," she huffed, and to his surprise, hailed the next bus and stomped inside. "And I'm paying you back!"
Well, he did pay for her ticket that bus ride, and she did promise to pay it back. Sora didn't realize until the night later that they, for the second time in their lives, sat next to each other. It turned out that Kairi was much too shy to approach him, the first time they rode the bus to school together. When he waved that day she quickly gave him the cold shoulder, thinking that she'd talk to him and explain everything later. Her 'later' had stretched out into weeks and months and finally years, until today.
Sora counted that she said the phrase "I'm sorry" fifty-seven times.
He never got to tell his mother about catching his sister kissing. He was much too happy that day.
The day after that, they started riding the bus together.
Eventually, they started doing everything together.
They became the best of friends.
They'd pull some strings so they always had the same schedule. On one project or another they would always be the ones who would be paired up. Sora would come over at Kairi's, and Kairi would come over at Sora's, much to the delight of their mothers.
To say the very least, they were stunned to know their older siblings were actually dating each other. They'd run into Roxas and Naminé hanging out together at either house, and the two would always tease their younger siblings.
"Awww," Roxas would say, ruffling Sora's spiky hair. "My little sister's got a boyfriend."
Naminé would laugh, Sora would just go 'ewww', and Kairi would seize the nearest pillow and chuck it at her older brother. "Hello!" she would yell, pointing an accusing finger at Sora. "Would I date a guy who can snort Coke out of his nose?"
Sora would then projectile-throw a pillow at the redhead, and his older sister would say, "Well, I am dating a guy who can do that..."
Roxas would then growl and grab a pillow off the couch, and it'd degenerate into a full-blown pillow fight.
Kairi's older brother sometimes took Sora along with him to watch blitzball games, and Sora pointed out his father's picture, hung in the stadium's Hall of Fame. Roxas then would hastily change the subject from Sora's father, but the brunet had a sneaking suspicion that his sister's girlfriend was quite afraid of their father, Tidus.
They'd spend long, lazy afternoons together, she and Sora and Roxas and Naminé, eating ice cream until one of them complained about brain freeze.
Time flew by, and, soon enough, Roxas and Naminé were in college and they themselves were in high school. They still rode the bus together for the first half of first year, but slowly Kairi went on the bus less and less until she cheerfully told Sora one day that she had a boyfriend.
Sora congratulated her, but when he boarded the bus alone that afternoon, he felt like punching somebody. Or throwing something, preferably breakable.
However, he still rode the bus, in the same route, just in case she decided to join him.
Almost four years passed, and Sora himself had gone through a girlfriend. But they decided that they were much better off as friends. In fact, every girl he courted only saw him as a friend. He was everybody's friend. Nothing more. Pshh. He was voted as Student Council President, Mr. Congeniality, The Friendliest Guy, and a host of other titles...weren't girls supposed to be chasing him or something?
It was getting pretty depressing.
So, in exasperation, Sora decided not to take a date to Prom Night. Well, if he was meant to be a bachelor...
He tossed the keys in the air once again, the metal cutouts jingling against each other. Sora sighed, and scanned the parking lot for his car; he had left his cellphone inside. Stupid.
"Aha, there you are," he muttered, spotting the sleek black of his Porsche right under a lamppost.
Riiight..and here's the guy who bragged that he can shoot an arrow at a target two hundred feet away...and who can't find his car that's only twenty feet away...
"But my car's black!" he exclaimed to himself, walking towards it. "And it's night!"
And the fact that a streetlight's just shining down in front of it doesn't help.
"I hate you..."
He was in the process of turning his key in the driver's side door when he caught the sight of somebody waiting at the bus stop. Now, normally Sora would've just shrugged and went on about his business, but he noticed that said someone was wearing a gown. Okay.
He withdrew his keys and shoved it into his pocket as he jogged across the street and into the light of the lamppost illuminating the bus stop. His breath caught in his throat when he saw a familiar waterfall of redwine hair. "Kairi!"
She snapped her head up, and quickly turned her back. Forcing down a smile at the familiar gesture, he ran right up to her and put a hand on her bare shoulder. "Kairi...what do you think you're doing?"
"Waiting for the bus."
"So I can ride on the bus."
He rolled his eyes. "Obviously. So you're waiting for a bus, in a gown, before the prom's even halfway through. I'm not that stupid not to know something's wrong. So spill."
Kairi suddenly spun on her heels and flung her arms around him, bursting into tears and making him stagger back with her weight. "It's...it's Seifer...I...I--"
"Saw him making out with another girl, preferably with the name Rinoa," he finished, rubbing small comforting circles into her back. Which was kind of comforting to himself too.
"I..." she paused, and pulled back to face him. "...how'd you?"
"Saw her slapping the blonde jerk in the face...pretty loud one, actually. And don't get me started on the expression on Squall's face when Rinoa told him..."
"...I hope Squall breaks his nose," she sniffed, pulling away completely.
Sora shrugged. "So I take it you want to go home?"
Kairi nodded, and wrapped her arms around herself.
"C'mon, I'll drive you home, I think I still know where your house is..." he offered, expecting her to follow him as he walked back towards the schools' parking lot.
"No," she said stubbornly, and Sora looked back over his shoulder, raising an eyebrow. "I want to ride the bus."
He walked slowly up to the bus stop once again, and put both hands on his hips. "You," he paused, eyeing her up and down (to which Kairi blushed), "are wearing a floor-length gown. And high heels, if I'm not mistaken. And you're riding the bus."
"Yes," she said shortly.
"Uhm, I don't think you're getting it," he said, spreading his palms open. "You're wearing a gown. People don't ride buses wearing gowns."
"There's always a first time." Kairi peered past him and hailed the bus coming up to the stop. Sora stared at her disbelievingly.
"Kairi," he whined.
"Sora," she whined back, and started walking up to the bus' door. "See you on Monday."
Sora stared at her for a good ten seconds and forced down the laugh that bubbled up his throat at the sight of her stumbling slightly over the hem of her dress, before jogging up behind her and holding her steady by the waist. "You're an idiot, Kai."
After a few near-trips and more than a few strange looks from the passengers, they finally managed to collapse side-by-side on a free seat. Sora struggled a bit with bringing out his wallet and paying for their tickets. He laughed inwardly, wondering how strange they looked like, him in a tuxedo, her in a gown, riding the bus.
This girl is unbelievable.
Said girl was now staring listlessly out the window as the bus started moving. Sora peered into her face and saw that her eyes were brimming with tears. He sighed. "Oh, c'mon Kairi, we all knew Seifer was bound to be a jerk someway of another..."
"I mean, come on, cheer up already..."
Tears brimmed out the edge of her violet eyes, and Sora cringed. "Aww, Kairi, who in their right mind would dump a beautiful girl like you?"
She hiccuped a bit, and sniffed.
"Okay, so I take that back," he said, sighing. "Who in their right mind would dump a girl who has puffy eyes, a runny nose, and messed-up hair? C'mon, the more you cry, the more your...what's that?...mascara runs...you look like a raccoon crying."
Kairi choked on a laugh, and Sora pressed on, seeing the beginnings of a smile glimmer on her face.
"Why the heck do you girls wear makeup, anyway? I mean, why hide under layers of the stuff? And why do you use it, I mean, you're pretty as it is..."
She quirked an eyebrow, and Sora waved his hands hastily. "Okay, so pretty may be not a suitable word..."
"...you're as beautiful as it is. Happy?"
She stared at him, and stared some more.
"You know, I'm not the only idiot here."
Sora laughed, and finally, Kairi laughed with him.
They got off at her bus stop about twenty minutes later, with a thoroughly cheerful Kairi and a sheepish Sora, who had never thought he'd see someone change from being so teary to being so happy in the span of a bus ride. He had poked fun at everyone who he knew was mean to Kairi, from their creepy Physics professor to the jerk himself, Seifer.
He helped her off the bus by taking her hand and guiding her down the steps, muttering all the way about how it would've saved her a lot of time and stumbling if they had just ridden in his car.
They laughed some more on the way, until he had walked her up right into their front door.
Kairi suddenly burst into tears once again.
Sora panicked, and took her by the shoulders. "What the heck did I do now!" he half-yelled, shaking her.
"Kairi, that you? Pretty early, I thought proms always end at two in the --- what did you do, kid?"
Now, there are a lot of things that an seventeen-year old boy was afraid of. Like failing a school year, or getting his car totaled, or worse, his car getting totaled with him at the wheel. Overprotective brother was always on the list. Overprotective raging brother definitely was on the top of the list.
"Why you little --- "
He barely had a moment's warning before Roxas' fist connected with his left eyesocket, and he staggered out, holding a hand up to the left side of his face, spots winking before his eyes. "Cripes!" he managed to mutter out, squinting in time to see Kairi holding her brother back.
"Roxas! He wasn't doing anything!" she was wringing her hands, looking very panicked as she rushed to steady Sora on his feet. "I was crying because I was happy!"
Roxas paused, his fist frozen in the action of puching Sora again, his mouth forming into a small 'o'. "Oh."
Sora shot the man a glare.
"Oh," Roxas repeated, scratching his head. "Okay."
"That's all you can say!" Kairi screeched. "Honestly, Roxas!"
"No, no, it's okay," Sora muttered, touching a hand gingerly to his eye. As expected, it was bloody. Roxas sure can punch hard. "I'm okay."
"No, you're not," she rounded on him, pulling the white handkerchief from his tuxedo's breast pocket and started dabbing it at his eye.
"Sorry, man," Roxas apologized. "Let's get you cleaned up," he added, opening their front door and ushering him and and Kairi inside.
A phone call, ten apologies, two packs of ice, a roll of gauze and an hour later, Sora stumbled out of the front door, half of his face neatly bandaged and a pouch of ice clutched in his hand, with an endlessly apologizing Kairi holding on into his arm.
"I'm so sorry," she said yet once again as they stood on her front porch. "Roxas is such a jerk sometimes."
"Fate must have something against me," he replied, sighing, "It can't be mere coincidence that the only night that I walk you home is the night that your brother's home to pick up the last of his stuff."
She giggled, and peered up at him.
"One thing, though..." he paused, swallowing, "Don't ever wear makeup again. You really look naturally beautiful."
"Don't flatter me."
"Fine," he smirked. "You're ugly."
"Sora!" she whined, and smacked him lightly on the arm, laughing.
"Guess I better get going then," Sora smiled. "You're okay now, right? Good---"
Kairi reached up and linked her arms around his neck and kissed him, cutting him off. Sora suddenly found his free hand wrapped tightly around her waist. After a good two minutes they broke apart, both of them blushing furiously.
"Goodnight, Sora," Kairi said shyly.
"It definitely is a good night," Sora agreed, and she smacked him playfully once more.
He went home that night to find Naminé laughing hysterically at him, beside herself with the combined knowledge that her fiancée had just punched her little brother, and that said little brother now had a girlfriend of his own.
Needless to say, that night, Sora was too giddy to sleep.
He and Kairi went together to Roxas and Naminé's wedding, with Sora as the best man and Kairi as the maid of honor. Roxas teased him endlessly when Kairi caught the bouquet and Sora caught the garter. Naminé swore it wasn't rigged.
Sora took great satisfaction in flinging the wedding cake in his brother-in-law's face after that.
After the wedding the older siblings moved out, and everything soon turned back to normal. They swore to each other that they'd ride the bus together. And they did, even in college. They went to the same university, Kairi taking up business management, Sora taking up industrial engineering.
Speaking of that, Sora can safely say it was also the bus that ended it.
"Hey, Kairi," he greeted. "I caught him last night. Turns out he was wanted in something like six countries. That's why it took me so long," he laughed weakly.
She had been shot dead when she tried to wrestle the gun from a bus hijacker six years ago. Sora had sworn that he would be the one to catch the man, so he shifted courses to criminology. He worked with fervor and he rose quickly among the ranks, becoming one of the country's most sought-after investigators.
He had tracked down the bastard and arrested him himself.
Just like he had promised.
He counted the white paopu flowers once again, making sure it was seven stems. Kairi's favorite number was seven.
Sora set down the flowers on the marble tombstone. "Told you I'd catch him," he murmured, gaze settling for a while on the name inscribed in the white stone, and reading it aloud. "Kairi Hikari."
"I love you."
And with that, he walked to the nearest bus stop and took the bus home.
- - where to? - -
- - Destiny Islands Avenue - -
- - that'd be twenty - six munny, sir. - -
- - Thank you for riding on Star Lines, Inc. - -
Y'know, the title was supposed to look like a bus. But, as expected, won't allow me to do so. Mmhmmm. So bad.
Hoped you liked it.
read&review. flamers have my go signal.