I wake again, sweat-drenched and gasping. It was that dream again.
I've been having a repeating dream for a while now, but when I wake up I remember none of it, except for the smell of the ocean tide and the echo of my name in my ears. Try as I might, I can't remember the boy—for I know that much—who shouted my name at that void, and I have the strangest feeling that maybe the dream is a little more than a dream.
I sigh to myself, rise from my bed, turn the wet pillow over, and fix the covers. I walk across the room and survey myself in the mirror. My red hair is hanging loose around my shoulders, much longer than just a year ago. Since I've started hanging out with Selphie more and more, my looks have been more important than when I was best friends with Riku and...who? I sigh again. I remember Riku, of course, but who was the other boy we were friends with? My lips begin to form his name and then I catch myself and it stops.
It's just a dream, I scold myself, as I apply eyeshadow around my blue eyes. Something about that blue seems familiar, just as if not more familiar than my own eyes. But I can't remember what.
I pull on my school uniform, for summer has just ended and school begun. As I walk off to my boat, I shake the thoughts of the boy I can't remember from my mind.
At school, he returns to my thoughts again and again. While I'm supposed to be filling out a Social Studies worksheet, I begin to write a letter on a scrap of paper Tidus, who is sitting in front of me, lends. My fingers fly, writing words that come from somewhere deep inside. I tuck it away and smile.
It is after school now. Selphie has followed me to the place where I relax, or try to, staring at the sea. He is across that sea, somewhere, I know it.
"Hey, Kairi," she chirps, cheerful as always. "Wanna go to the island with me? Tidus and Wakka are too busy playing blitzball." She makes the sport sound like the worst thing she can think of.
I gaze out at the tide, putting off the moment that I have to reply. "Do you remember that boy?" I ask abruptly. Half of me is still sure that the boy is just a figment of my imagination.
"What boy?" Selphie asks, looking puzzled, her brown curls bobbing as she turns her head and looks at me.
I pause, uncomfortable. I had forgotten that she wouldn't know who I was talking about. "The boy who left the islands," I say carefully.
She wrinkles her nose in thought. "Riku?" she guesses.
I shake my head. "No. The other one." I add helpfully, "He was always with me and Riku."
"Are you sure you didn't make him up?" Selphie asks skeptically.
"Positive!" My fingers curl around the letter. I pull it out and show my best friend. "I wrote him a letter," I say thoughtfully, picking up an old bottle and stuffing it in there. "I'm going to throw it in the sea."
"Will he get it?" Selphie asks.
"Yes," I answer, no doubt in my mind. "He will."
Suddenly I feel strange and I fall. A voice calls in my mind.
Naminé? the voice, an unfamiliar boy's voice, calls. Naminé, is that you?
I'm not Naminé, I reply silently.
Who are you? he asks.
My name is Kairi, I tell the mysterious voice.
That girl he likes! he exclaims.
Who? I demand eagerly, not letting myself explore the possibilities.
I'm Roxas, he explains.
Yes, I agree patiently, but what's his name?
A laughing voice answers, a voice I recall, a voice that rips my heart in two. You can't even remember my name? the boy from my dream scorns. He laughs silently. I'll give you a hint, Kairi. The way he pronounces my name makes my head hurt as I try to remember.
Starts with an S!
Then I am falling and waking again.
Selphie is leaning over me and I am smiling because I am happy, happy because I know that the boy exists. "Are you all right, Kairi?"
I nod, stand up, and walk over to the beach. Gently, I set the bottle down in the waves, where I know he'll get it.
"Starts with an S," I murmur to myself, grinning as I haven't grinned since he left. "Right, So-ra?" The familiar sensation of pronouncing his name stirs my memories. I see a spiky-haired boy with blue eyes the same shade as mine, his legs lanky, the same happy grin on his face. I hug my arms to myself. "So-ra," I repeat, and I smile at the memory of Sora.
And when, after many troubles, I see the same spiky-haired head bobbing through the waters and he stumbles onto shore where I am waiting, my heart feels like it'll burst. Riku is behind him, and their new friends are all around me. I allow his friends to greet him first, and when he finally splashes up to me, my hand outstretched, he grins, that same, wonderful grin.
"I'm...I'm back!" Sora says, looking up at my face, his eyes shining.
"You're home," I agree happily, and all is well.