For Ana. YAY!
(showers her with tons of love) Here's that Kaiora we were talking about, finally written. True, it's probably not very good, and it's not as cute as I wanted it to be, but, then again, I think I fail at pure cuteness. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it, Ana, because you rock, you're such a huge support to me, you have kickass stories I still have to read, because I'm a bum, and I adore you. So, here's your dedicated story.
Disclaimer: No, I don't own KH or the Lifetime Channel. (Not that I'd want to own the latter, anyway)
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The beach was wind-tossed and littered with debris, the storm passing over and dying out now as still the waves rocked and chased after gulls strutting across sands. Vestiges of fallen raindrops peppered the tan surface of the ground, and raw wind slapped repeatedly the back of his exposed neck as he hunched over on the log, shivering despite his normal resilience against the cold. Fumbling with icy fingers to light the fire, he oftentimes got distracted from his labor, either by allowing himself to take in the broken beauty of a beach uninhabited and storm-stricken…or from searching for her.
Flicking his eyes away from the crude makeshift pit for the umpteenth time, the matches in his fingers slipped and dropped, and a mumbled, "Man," left his lips with softly. Bending down grudgingly, he sighed, growing exasperated, cold, and anxious, and with exaggeration he swiped his hands through chilled sand, claiming the package as with his left foot he pushed his backpack closer to the log he was sitting on. All settled, still leaning down, he rested his forearms on his thighs and gave the pile of somewhat-damp firewood a weary stare.
It was sad, really, that he was having so much trouble. He was an island boy, a child of the wilderness, someone who knew the ins and outs of camping as if he'd been raised in the forests since childbirth. Even more, he was the Keyblade Master, someone who had to be ready for anything and everything on the turn of a second. And yet, when it mattered – or didn't matter, but still felt important, because it was something he wanted to do for someone – he couldn't light a fire. One fire. One tiny, insignificant little gesture of capability, one little spark to ignite a flame, one little beacon of warmth and laughter and closeness, and he couldn't do it. He'd laugh, if he didn't feel so much like burying his head in the sand.
With a heavy sigh now, he threw the book of matches across the fireless pit and then pressed him palms against his eyes, murmuring the simple word, "Pathetic."
He should be amused. He shouldn't be so caught up in self doubts. But the stress of the King's newest letter, the way he'd begun to catch himself memorizing friends' faces for inevitable goodbyes, the way he now listened to the waves roar and crash against the surf…it all had his mind buzzing, his heart thrumming against his ribs. As always, because he had to be the almighty savior, he had such a feeling of inadequacy, and he was tired. Being seventeen and ordinary just wasn't an option anymore; having best friends that claimed the most love in his heart and yet loving every friend he met along the way wasn't so easy on his soul any longer; he was older, he was more travel-worn, and he was ready to give up.
And the fact that he couldn't summon a single fire without using magic from his keyblade just struck a chord so painful within him. It was as if he'd never be able to separate himself into two lives; the simplicity of life now missing had him tossing and turning, and he was scared.
At least, though, the screaming of the wind was calming. That a day, a simple expanse of time, a period of light and opportunity and carefree hope, could be as raw and hurting as he inside felt was comforting to his mind. He liked the lashing out of the waves, the squawks and quarrels of gulls bracing their wings against the ocean gusts, the snapping of tossed palm fronds, the sizzle of wood catching on fire…
Blinking, lifting his head to acknowledge the sound, he pulled away his hands and caught sight of red hair curled from the dampness of the wind, all frizzled and slapping at a pale, sweet face. Heart jumping, hands flinching helplessly as he lurched his body forward, he hesitated as Kairi, from her crouching position, lifted her head and smiled up into his face, lips quirked in contained amusement, indigo eyes extending her worry. Standing up, weaving herself a path around the steadily-growing fire, she found herself a place at his side on the log and settled down, immediately patting his arm thereafter.
"So you drag me out of my warm house onto this beach and then you look so sad to see me? Jeez, Sora, you sure know how to make a girl feel welcome."
Brightening from the sound of her voice, from the warmth of her proximity, he smiled softly, blue eyes lighter against the dark background of the sky and glowing with renewed happiness. "I'm never sad when you're around, Kairi," he said gently, nudging her once in a more playful gesture, and then, as he leaned down to his left to pull free his backpack, he thought over the surge of pink coloring her cheeks, daring to hope that it was more than the wind that had summoned it there.
"So," he continued conversationally, at ease now, happy that Kairi was solid and present beside him like she so often couldn't be when he was away from her for however long and often. "It's kind of cold, isn't it?"
She snorted, and as he rummaged though the shadows of his bag he smiled. "Understatement, Sora. I was warm," she whined, bringing her hands to clasp at her arms and hug them to her chest, huddling away from the wind. "I had hot cocoa, I had a blanket, I was watching crappy girl movies on Lifetime…" He shot her a laughing look, eyes sparkling, mouth displaying a grin. "Hey," she said reproachfully, "there was nothing else on." Laughing, he lowered his head, nodding. "And you pull me out into this mess. Any explanation as to why, or did you just want me to freeze to death?"
"Hey," he said, chuckle warming his words as he bowed his head and closed his fingers around the desired objects of his bag. "Doesn't it count that I want to freeze out here with you?"
"Barely," she muttered, arms crossed, pout on her lips, but as he straightened and grinned at her, drawing packages into his lap, he noticed that she had to forcibly turn her body to resist him. That, at least, was a good sign; she'd forgive him quickly enough.
"Tell you what," he said to distract her distaste at him, smiling gently as he fingered a skewer in his hands, rolling it around between his fingerless gloves. "How about I cheer you up with a good ol' fashioned s'more, hmm? Like old times? Before all of…this?" That statement he ended weakly, unable to conceal his wince, but with a quick glance from her, the inquisitive sparkle in her eyes, he was grinning again, winking at her. "I promise it'll be better than a corny chick movie."
She narrowed her eyes. "Sora…" Edging back at the look on her face, he cringed, smile sheepish now. "Anything's better than that; what kind of promise are you making here?"
Laughing brightly, he shook his head, bangs flopping into his eyes. "And I thought you were gonna kill me for saying 'chick'," he murmured, extending his hand and gesturing for hers. She smiled along with him and placed her palm in his.
"Well, there's that, too."
Shaking his head, unable to keep his smile down, he slipped a marshmallow onto the end of her skewer, then guiding her hand holding the utensil towards the fire, their shoulders touching, his cheek almost close enough to graze hers. The warmth of the fire, the cheerful snapping and crackling sounding right in front of them, did not even come close to instilling within him the happiness her mere closeness caused, and as he looked to her and caught her looking straight with a mesmerized smile, he closed his eyes and tilted his lips further, at peace. He was happy for this day, this rain-laden, cloud-heavy day, because it had given back to him some things he'd long forgotten: youth, carelessness, joy. And it was all because of Kairi.
He was dragged back into the present when she moaned slightly, shaking her head in bereavement, pulling towards her body the skewer and eyeing it with disdain. "Ugh," she muttered in disgust, then shooting him a half-amused smile. "I hate when I burn them."
Without a word, he leaned forward, dragged the charred marshmallow off of the utensil's end, winced when it seared his fingers, and quickly popped it into his mouth before her protest slipped from her tongue. "Sora---!" she still tried, and she laughed in disbelief as he reared back and winced, waving his hand desperately in front of his mouth as tears sprang into his eyes.
"Mmph!" he groaned, closing one eye as painfully he swallowed, and then, in disgust, he stuck out his tongue, shuddering. "That's disgusting," he said with a laugh, shaking his head.
"Idiot," she said with a giggle. "You could've thrown it into the fire, tough guy. Wow."
Rolling his eyes at her playfully, he shook his head, fumbled inside the plastic bag in his lip, and drew out another marshmallow, sticking it onto the utensil carefully. "Don't burn it this time, Kairi. You're so wasteful."
"Oh, shut up," she laughed, shouldering him and pushing him aside as she sat more center on the log. Snorting, he wrapped his arms around her jokingly and she shrieked, pulling her legs up and giggling, before comfortably settling into his arms and snuggling against him. The wind roared, the fire snapped, and in Kairi's hands the skewer spun slowly and hypnotically, everything familiar and calming as slowly the gray sky darkened into night.
"I know you're leaving again."
Of this he was aware, but he couldn't help but sigh tiredly, the tickling of his breath on her neck causing her to shiver; unconsciously he drew her closer. "I don't want to," he protested quietly, shoving his cheek desperately against hers, his hands warm on her belly and sides. "I'd do things ten times worse if only to get out of it, Kairi. Like…sparring nonstop with Riku. Listening to Selphie tell stories while sugar-crazed. Eating hundreds of your burnt marshmallows." From that remark, he got an ill-tempered elbow in the gut, and he grunted and laughed at the same time. "Seriously, though," he murmured into her ear, and her irritated look calmed. "I wish I didn't have to leave."
She sighed. "I know you do," she murmured tiredly, pulling free her marshmallow from the flames, watching it cool for a long time as she kept her gaze away from him, the white, heated food slipping in slow motion over the metal. "And I know how wishing for a thing doesn't ever make it come true." Inclining her head to hide her eyes, she cupped her hand out, the marshmallow sliding just in time into her palm. She winced, but she didn't yelp from the pain. "Life sucks that way."
"Could be worse," he murmured, leaning into her for comfort and to give it. "You could still be watching the Lifetime Channel."
Tearfully she laughed. "Oh, the horror."
Pulling back, smiling without humor if only for the gesture of reassurance, he fumbled for a graham cracker, breaking it into two even halves so that she could rid her skin of the burning food still cradled in her palm. As she slipped in onto the cracker, too, he concentrated on opening up the package of chocolate, feeling the wind on his neck and tasting the salt on the air that reminded him so much of tears. Completing the s'more then with a broken piece of chocolate fitted between marshmallow and graham cracker, he closed her fingers and glanced up into dry indigo eyes, smiling gently at her brave face and weakening resolution, keeping his hands on hers.
"Should taste good," he murmured soothingly. "You didn't burn it."
Nudging him with a soft smile, she nodded, lifting the dessert to her lips as he tore his eyes away, blushing fiercely as he fitted a marshmallow onto his own skewer and then concentrated on the fire. Kairi's thoughtful crunching fitted in with the medley of sounds around them, and as his fingers toyed with the utensil's wooden end, he allowed his smile to widen somewhat. In all, it was an okay day.
"Mm. 's good," Kairi mumbled pleasantly through a mouth still slightly thick with marshmallow, and as Sora sat straight and glanced at her, he laughed, lifting a hand to wipe free chocolate from her lips' corners. Drawing her fingers back towards his mouth as he shook his head, he chuckled still as haphazardly he crafted his own dessert, the cracker slightly crumbling, the marshmallow oozing out on all sides. Some of it stained the edged of his shirt, and he grimaced playfully.
"Gah," he grumbled, twisting as he lifted it to his mouth, shooting her a faux-weary glance. "I'm a mess."
She wrinkled her nose as she smiled, all the while self-consciously running her fingers along her mouth, checking for traces of food left unnoticed. Eyes softening, he covered his laugh by taking a hug bite of the s'more, body acting reflexively and cringing from the crumbs that tumbled into his lap. Pulling his arms away, he looked sadly at the mess he'd made, freeing one hand to wipe at the melted chocolate and smeared marshmallow on his face.
"Ech. Why do we like eating this crap?"
Laughing, Kairi brushed at his face, helping him as he smiled appreciatively. "Because it tastes heavenly."
"True," he contested, smiling when she met his eyes, chocolate still brushed along her lower lip, sadness and regret still painted in her eyes, rain still lingering in her hair. She held all of his important memories, all of his hopes and dreams; and she was still here, waiting for him, watching him, being with him through it all. It made him love her even more.
And he couldn't help himself when he leaned forward, brushing his lips against her chocolate-smeared ones, jolting at the electricity of the touch but leaning in instead of pulling away to experience more of it. She tasted of melted marshmallow, of something sweet that he couldn't put a name on, and he craved more of it, so he was happy when she put her hand on his forearm, as she steadied him, as she guided him along. This was his idea of happiness, just being caught in a heart-stopping kiss with her.
She pulled back too soon, he thought regretfully, resting her forehead against his, linking their fingers together as he freed his hand of his crumbling s'more. And she smiled, cheeks red from what was definitely not the wind, chocolate removed from her lips.
"'m not cold anymore," she said softly, flicking her eyes into his, smile growing on her face.
"See? Not a bad idea, after all."
And, decide to keep her from developing another chill, he pressed his lips once more against hers in a following kiss, the wind swirling around them, the waves crashing over the shore, the rain starting to sprinkle down over them from the darkening sky. But he only felt her on his palms and skin and lips, and, with that, he was content.
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Oh, man. Am I getting rusty on my Kaiora's? Seems that way, unfortunately. But ah well. Please review!