OH MY GOD.

This is the last frickkin' chapter of Resistance! And as I predicted earlier in the fic - I am actually nearly in tears now 'cause I've gotten so emotionally involved with it :( Darn my emotions and ability to feel!

Anyway - thank you to everyone who's stuck through this long and perilous journey with me! I really am saddened to leave Sora and Kairi and all the other characters behind - but for now I want to focus on my other fics, such as Betrayal 3: Destiny's Darkness and Cyberspace. I was also thinking of cranking out some OneShots.

I gathered up sooo much morale and courage from you guys! Pat yourselves on the back!

Please review/fave/alert (For the last time! *Sniff*)

LOL my Mum just went out for an hour and a half and I didn't even notice she was gone - what a great daughter I am!

LOL x 2. Another long chappie ;)

Damn, I need tissues and some water.

Enjoy x


Resistance

Chapter Fourteen: The Conclusive Conclusion

-&-

"Papa?"

"What is it honey?"

I picked up the pretty pink flower that I'd been staring at for the past five minutes. I held it carefully in my pudgy hands and smiled in awe at the tiny delicate petals. My father knelt down on the grass of the park, beside me and gazed at the flower too.

"It's so beautiful," I breathed. "I wish Sora could see this!" I frowned at the mention of his name and my mouth curled inwards - Sora and I hadn't talked in weeks. His daddy had gone somewhere far away and Sora hardly left the house now. He wouldn't come out to play with me anymore. My daddy must have seen my face crumple, because he suddenly picked me up and swung me effortlessly into his arms.

"That flower," he said. "Will never be as beautiful as my little princess."

I shook my head. "You lie, daddy. This flower is pink and I'm red," I tapped my hair angrily. "I look like a tree."

He dropped his serious act and laughed out loud. I watched the small creases at the corners of his eyes as he opened his mouth wide and let the laughs out openly. I tried to act hurt that he was laughing at me - but soon enough I was giggling along with him and cradling the flower closely to my chest. We stayed like that for a long while until the sun was beginning to set in the horizon. Daddy carried me the whole way home while I chatted happily to him about random stuff. He tactfully, didn't ask me anything that would relay back to Sora.

"What are we having for dinner tonight?" I sniffed the air. "I can't smell mama cooking anything." We were now walking up the garden path towards our happy and safe home. Daddy chuckled.

"That's because I'm cooking tonight, honey. What would you like?"

"Something pink!" I gabbled at once. "To match my flower!"

"That may be a bit difficult, honey," he tenderly kissed my head. "But I'll try anything.. For my little Kairi."

-&-

Blackness. Swirling eternal.

Dizziness. Sick. Whirling. Will it stop? Lone…Loneliness. Spinning out of control. Spiralling down… Wai.. light? L-light. Mus.. et.. ight. Must.. get.. to.. the light. Am- I dead?.. No. Not dead. Yet.

Daddy?

I could feel myself slipping back into consciousness again. As soon as I felt the intense aching in my limbs and fingers, I wanted to return to the blackness, where I felt nothing and floated on forever in an endless inky sea. In this world, I knew that things hurt.

Every inch of my body was aching in some form or another. I could feel that my fingers and feet were bound in some kind of restraining itchy bandages and my head felt like a whole zoo had trampled over it. I licked my dry lips and groaned as my throat burned with fire. My eyelids were droopy and bloody heavy - it took me a few tries to gather what little strength I had, just to lift them.

And then I suddenly wished I hadn't.

Light spilled into my eyes like lava spilled out of a volcano. I instantly groaned and flapped my eyes shut again. I gave it a few short moments and blearily opened the lids, waiting patiently to get used to the light and my eyesight to focus.

I was staring at a blank bumpy canvas. It was way too far for me to reach and some cheap plastic stars were stuck onto it. If this was somehow the sky as seen from heaven - I had some serious complaints..

"You're awake."

I jolted with shock at the voice and quickly lifted my arms to cover my face - waiting for the beatings and the pain to come. One by one, I remembered tiny little memoirs from what I experienced. I remembered the numbness of the rain, the sound of his footsteps..

Sora's face suddenly invaded my vision of the strange blank canvas and he looked into my eyes worriedly. His own cerulean eyes didn't hold the spark they normally had and there was dark circles under them from where he'd had no sleep. He was pale and his face had thinned a little, his cheeks more gaunt than how I remembered. Even his hair wasn't as spikey.. But what really drew my attention, was two deep red lines protruding from the sides of his face and running down to his mouth. There was also something that looked like a small bruise on his neck.

"Sora!" I gasped hoarsely. "Why are you hurt?"

At my words, he looked about ready to cry. I've only seen him cry a couple of times before and I'd never told anyone else, he was embarrassed about stuff like that. But right now, he didn't look the least bothered and allowed the moisture in his eyes.

"Kairi," he whispered, his voice laced in pain. "How can you say that? Have you seen yourself?"

My eyes widened and I racked my brain to think of an answer as to why I was even here. I realized that the strange blank canvas, was actually a ceiling, and I was currently lying down on what felt like a bed. I slowly sat up and winced as my back creaked in protest. I frowned as I stared around at my surroundings. Why the heck was I in Sora's bed - In Sora's room?

I placed my hand to my head and tried to search my frazzled brain for answers. I suddenly froze as my hand did not touch my head, but instead touched some material wrapped around it. I snatched the mirror off the bedside and stared in horror.

My auburn hair was hardly recognizable underneath the amount of bandage that circled my head. I could see the resentment and shock in my own violet eyes as I moved down my face and pinpointed the various nicks and marks. My lip was split and the blood was clotted slightly underneath the broken skin. My skin held a yellowy tinge that made me look like a sick person. I also had cuts on my arms and my legs. As I suspected, my feet and fingers were covered up.

I was also wearing an old T-Shirt and shorts of Sora's.

He saw my questioning gaze. "I figured it would be more fitting then the hospital gown." He explained.

"Hospital gown?" I croaked.

He bit his lip and sat on the bed next to me, gently running his fingers up and down my damaged arm. He sighed.

"Do you remember what happened, Kairi?"

"Sure. I was in a black world where I floated freely without emotion and without pain," I gestured to my body. "This obviously isn't the same place."

"And before this 'black world'?" He pressed gently and bore his eyes in mine. "What happened before?"

I closed my eyes and focused on my memories. Images of my comfortable childhood and my parents flashed before them, and I was unwilling to let these fond memories go. But Sora looked so serious and unwell at the moment, that I forced those memories away for him and really concentrated.

The first thing that came back to me was the intense numbness of my body and the feeling of the small droplets cascading my skin. With every drop, it was like a small knife slicing me again and again. I recalled being in a big empty area with water all around me. And the revving sound of a car in the distance. This memory escaped me and I was now situated on someone's roof - mine? Well it felt like a roof anyway - The tiles were digging painfully into my skin and I was clutching the chimney.. And again, those footsteps..

"It was raining," I mumbled. "I was on my roof. That's all I remember."

Sora groaned. "Oh man - what else have you forgotten? Hey - do you know who I am? You know how to spell my name?"

I smacked him across the shoulder. "You're Sora. My best friend and my boyfriend. You spell your name like I-D-I-O-T.."

He grinned and gently hugged me. "That's a relief," he sighed. "I don't know what I'd do if you forgot everything."

I smiled back and stared around the room once again. It looked more messy than usual and there was a sleeping bag and a pile of pillows on the floor. Beside it we're a pile of books and several empty packets of drinks and snacks.

"I've been sleeping on the floor," he said quietly. "I've hardly left you alone. Not for a minute - my Mum didn't complain or anything though, which was good. I guess she sees how much you mean to me."

"You let me take your bed?"

"You kind of needed it," he gestured to me. "I wouldn't let you sleep on the floor in the state your in, Kai."

I let that statement go and stared at the rough texture of the carpet and recalled the feel of the floorboards underneath. I sighed and stared into my lap. I could feel that my memories were quite hazy and only short flashes came to my mind. I silently began to panic - what if I stayed this way forever?

Sora read my mind again. "You'll regain your full memory back in about a day or two," he promised. "That's what the doctor at Destiny hospital said."

"I-I was in hospital?"

He sighed and gently ruffled the bits of my hair sticking out of the bandages. "Yeah. You've been under for a few days now. It was only yesterday that they let me and Mum bring you home with us."

"Home?" I whispered.

His brow furrowed. "Looks as if I'm going to have to fill you in." He gently eased me backward until I was lying down again and he readjusted himself, so he was laying beside me and propped up with one arm.

"Well," he began. "For a while now I've been noticing that you've been kind of weird and acting strange. It wasn't a big thing though and it was only something that I could have picked up on. I'm so easily attuned to you.. Anyway, you left your schoolbag with us the day that you had that fight and even though it was raining, I wanted to give it back to you - it would also give me an excuse to visit your house and check up on you," he paused. "When I got there Kairi.. I.. Well I don't know... I just saw you on the roof and I like, went crazy."

I could see that this was really hard for him, so I placed my hand on his shoulder and told him that he didn't need to go on for my sake. Sora stubbornly shook his head and continued.

"I tried to get into your house, but all the doors were locked. So I picked up your mailbox and.." he lifted up his palms and showed me the tiny cuts he had on them. "I smashed it through your window and climbed in. I could hear noises coming from upstairs so I followed them and found that half of your room was totally soaked and your window was wide open.. I knew something was definitely wrong then, so I kind of climbed out after you and climbed to the top," he pointed to the various bruises on his body. "As you can see, I'm no James Bond," he smiled. "But I saw you lying there, really still and your Dad hanging over you with a baseball bat," he clenched his fists. "I really thought you were.. Dead, Kairi. So I threw myself at your Dad and things got a bit risky there for a bit. Because fighting on a wet slippery roof - isn't really safe is it?.. As I was fighting off your Dad, one of us must have accidently kicked you or something - because then you were suddenly sliding and falling off the roof and into the garden!"

"What happened to my Dad?" Things were becoming a little clearer for me now.

"He uh.. Ran. But I think one of the neighbors must have either seen or saw us fighting and called the police. Your Dad tried to make a run for it, but I told them that he'd hurt you and they arrested him. He's now currently in a police holding cell for the moment," he sighed. "They need some evidence from you Kai, once you're better."

"I'll gladly give it to them. So what happened next?"

He took a deep breath. "I.. Well, I managed to prise myself off you long enough to call an Ambulance. You looked pretty beat up and pale, plus you fell all the way off the roof so I was really, really scared.. They took you to the hospital and the police wanted me to stay and explain to them what had happened - so as much as I didn't like it, I had to stay and explain. They then kicked the front door down and searched the house, and they.." He trailed off.

"What?" I whispered.

"T-They.. Found your Mum in the bathroom," he said quietly. "She had a lot of injuries and she was unconscious, so she was taken to the hospital too. She's still there now."

I felt strange noises emanating from my throat and I clapped my hands over my mouth to stop the bile. My chest rose and fell faster as I struggled to breathe and my face was suddenly wet with my own tears.

I thought she was dead! I really thought my Mum had left me behind. My heart wrenched in pain and I recalled my father's face when he told me that he had already 'Dealt with her'. I couldn't believe it - she was in a worse condition than I was, but she was alive. Sora shifted his tanned arm about my head and cuddled into my neck. He apologized for upsetting me.

"It's fine," I whispered. "These are happy tears - believe me. Go on with the story."

Sora looked weary of me and cleared his throat. "After the police left your house, I went straight to the hospital - but they wouldn't let me see you yet. I was pissed off and kept shouting at them, but they made me calm down and wait in the waiting room.. So I called our friends and told them what happened - they're so worried about you Kairi, they were going to storm the hospital themselves but I told them to stay put. Riku, Yuffie and Namine came anyway to keep me company and to make sure I was alright. Then a nurse came along and cleaned up my cuts for me," he sighed. "A couple of days later, you were awake and they said you had no evident concussion, so they said that you could go home. But since your Dad was with the police and your Mum was in the hospital still - I called my Mum and told her everything. We managed to convince them to let you come home with us."

"Really? They just let you take me?" I was a little confused, weren't hospitals supposed to do like backgrounds checks and stuff?

He blushed. "Well.. Not at first," he admitted. "As I said, I was really mad and nearly ended up punching the doctor. I think they were scared of me... But anyway, we brought you here and we've been caring for you. Mum will be so glad you're awake. She loves you a lot, Kai."

I nodded. "I love her a lot too. She's been like a second mother to me.." I trailed off and stared at the cheap stars on the ceiling once more. Sora had provided me with a lot of information to digest and I was having trouble with it. What would have happened if Sora hadn't come to my rescue? Well that answer was easy - I'd be in the morgue right about now. I closed my eyes and tried not to remember that awful night - although flashes of it still kept returning to me. I wondered what was going to happen to my Dad now? What was he feeling - anger, remorse, regret?

"I'll try anything.. For my little Kairi."

I let the relief wash over me as the realization that I was safe, begun to sink in. I wouldn't have to cope in such an abusive environment, and I wouldn't have to worry about the consequences anymore. I was happy.

I leaned in closer and snuggled into Sora's body. He didn't seem to react and I glanced up to see his pained facial expression and his tight eyes.

"What is it?" I said. "What's wrong?"

"Why didn't you tell me, Kairi?" he said quietly. "Why didn't you tell me what was going on?"

I sighed. "I didn't want you to get hurt Sora-.."

"I could have helped. Geez Kairi - why the hell didn't you get help?"

"He.. My Dad, said that he'd hurt you if I continued to keep seeing you," my voice wobbled. "I decided that I couldn't keep away from you, so I kept our relationship a secret from him. If he'd found out - it would have been you in the hospital instead of me. I'd rather die than see that happen."

He snorted. "Well you nearly did die, Kairi," he gently cradled my bandaged fingers. "I don't know what I would have done, if you did. You can't imagine how happy I am right about now. Losing you would be like tearing a hole in my chest. We've been together for years."

"I'm sorry," I murmured. "But if I told the police or anything, Mum was worried about the consequences, and what would happen if he came out of jail. I couldn't go against her, I wanted to protect her so much."

"I know, I understand."

We fell silent and embraced the warmth we were giving each other. I nearly started crying again when I realized that there were people out there who really cared for me. All these months, I was used to putting up a facade and being hated behind the scenes. It felt strange not to have fear anymore, like I was missing something. I almost half expected some kind of monster to jump out from under the bed or from the drawers - a mass murderer to burst through the door. I didn't know why I was thinking like this, of course I was feeling paranoid and irrational. Well, anything was better than pure fear. I just so desperately wanted to cling to the fact that my ordeal was over and nothing else was going to happen to me. Because I had made it through the darkness and came out into the light.

-&-

It was a little over a week to Christmas and I had only just finished my shopping.

As expected, Sora was a late shopper as well and we had spent the weekend rushing around the town and fighting off mad crowds of other shoppers to get our presents. Sora wasn't very happy about me shopping - I had been living at his house for the past two weeks and he was convinced I wasn't totally healed yet. I told him that I'd be fine and to stop worrying.

We'd both missed nearly the whole two weeks off school so we could 'get better'. Well - So I could anyway. Sora insisted that he wanted to watch over me. Jenny kept laughing at his protectiveness and started to call him my bodyguard. She was really great about letting me live with them until my Mum got well enough to move back home again. Mum had suffered a lot more then me, so the process was more lengthened for her. But Jenny, Sora and I visited the hospital every day and they both waited patiently in the waiting room, while giving me time alone with my mother. The first time I saw her in that hospital bed - I began sobbing until she laughed cheerily at me and told me she was totally fine. I had to admit that she had a twinkle in her eyes now. However, the doctors doubted that she'd be out of the hospital by New Year, so I was going to spend the holidays with Sora and Jenny.

I also had to go to the police station and give my evidence against my father. I was very nervous and Sora wasn't allowed to come into the interviewing room with me, no matter how much he argued. I gathered up my courage to find that the two policemen, who asked me questions, were actually very nice and understanding. I answered their questions the best I could and they nodded, stood up and thanked me for coming in. They even wished me luck with my situation.

A week after my interview, I got a call to say that Dad had admitted to his violent abuse. I was very surprised at this because I would have thought he'd deny everything and accuse me as a liar. The tiny space he had in my heart was repaired. The police were now going to transfer him over to a mental clinic and a team of Psychologists. I didn't know if it was permanent or not - but the clinic was far away on the mainland, so he'd be far away from me, for a while at least.

It was now a crisp Monday morning and Sora and I were going to return to school after our two weeks absence. Feeling nervous was now an ordinary emotion for me and my heart drummed wearily. My story had been reported on the local news channel and naturally, the whole island probably knew by now. I didn't know what on earth to say to my friends when they saw us again and to be honest, I wasn't looking forward to the stares from the rest of the school. Sora was more quiet than usual this morning and deep in thought, his jaw was set heavily and his eyes were narrowed at his cereal. I don't think he was looking forward to school either.

Jenny hugged us both goodbye and kissed me on the head for good luck. We began walking to school silently and our hands became intertwined. As the huge building swept up in front of us, Sora squeezed my hand gently and led me through the gate into the quad. It was beginning already and I could see a few curious glances being thrown my way.

Sora led me straight up to our form room and entered to a suddenly hushed class. At the back of the room as usual, our group was sitting. The moment they saw us, they jumped off the desks and flew at me.

"KAIRI!" Namine squealed and threw her arms around my waist. I winced slightly, she saw my discomfort and smiled ruefully. "Sorry, I'm just excited I guess."

We walked to our seats as the class resumed their conversations in more hushed tones. I sat down and Namine was seated in her place next to me. Riku and Sora turned their chairs around in front and the rest of the group got their chairs and sat around our desks as well. My cheeks went pink as everyone seemed to be staring at me.

I took a deep breath. "Look you guys," I said. "I'm sure you all know what happened from the news and what Sora told you. At the moment, I really, really don't want to talk about it."

"We guessed," Riku smiled. "But the only thing we want to know from you, is if you're alright or not?"

"I'm.. Getting there," I said truthfully. "If not for Sora and his Mum, I'd be worse." I gave him a small smile, to which he returned.

"So what have we missed?" Sora asked.

Tidus tapped his chin. "Well I finally asked Yuna out." He said shyly and extended an arm around her. She flushed crimson and grinned at me. I was so happy for her!

"And I managed to get Namine to go out with me too." Roxas laughed and gave a thumbs-up to our resident cupid, Riku.

"Plus," Tifa smirked. "After.. Well, y'know - nobody believes those rumors that Selphie was spreading, anymore. They've turned against Selphie, Lauren and Jessica. Everyone admires you Kai."

I blushed heavily as the rest of the class decided to go quiet and eavesdrop. "I didn't do anything really." I mumbled. "Sora is the real hero."

At that moment, our tutor Miss Reed came in. Remember her? Large boobs? Anyway, she glanced at me briefly in the corner and sat at her desk and addressed the class.

"Settle down you guys. Leave Kairi alone, before I bang you all in detention." Some of the boys made crude remarks at that. Namine gently squeezed my arm as our friends returned to their seats and we obediently answered our names when they were called. Thankfully, Miss Reed seemed to treat me just the same of the rest of the class and didn't single me out - as much as I hated her at the start of the term, I was very grateful.

While we waited for first period to begin, Riku turned round to face us. "We have an assembly fifth and sixth today," he grinned. "Guess who's gonna feature?"

I gasped. "You edited the films of Selphie and the others?"

He nodded and I giggled. "Yup. We've all got it planned out on how we're gonna sneak into the technical room and hijack the big screen. All you have to Kai, is sit there and enjoy the show."

"Dude that's great!" Sora high-fived him. "So what's the plan?"

"You get to sit out too and keep Kairi company, you lucky thing," Riku then tapped his nose and placed a finger of his lips. "However, a magician never reveals his secrets."

"Magician, indeed," Namine snorted. "Half of the plan wasn't even you idea!"

He shrugged. "My idea - your idea, basically the same thing."

The bell for first period then sounded clearly and everyone was rushing off to their lessons. I had Physical Education first, but in my state, Mr. Hern let me sit on the benches and watch everyone sweat in their game of Basketball. I grinned to myself and lengthened my whole body out on the bench, enjoying this strange freedom. I hated PE. We then had a couple of more lessons, and break before lunch finally arrived and we ventured outside. My happiness was contagious - as even the sun was shining on this winter's day. My group was laughing and joking with each other. I was so glad no one was weird about my whole situation.

Lunch went quickly and I ate till I was full. The bell for fifth period sounded and Riku's eyes sparked in an excited fire. They went off to hide somewhere and Sora and I made our way to assembly alone, in the grand hall where the stage was set up. We quickly chose some seats near the back with a few people we knew from History - Daniel, Bruno, Sam and Jack. We sat down and Daniel lightly poked my arm.

"'Sup," he grinned. "History's been boring without your ridiculous questions."

"Hey," I protested. "I didn't know the word 'Gay' also meant 'Happy'."

"Yes, but you didn't have to put your hand up and say: 'Miss Dally, when you mean Henry VIII was very gay, do you mean he liked his male servants?' Honestly Kai - did you see her face?"

I giggled at the memory. "I did! She looked as if she was going to explode."

"I wouldn't complain if that did happen," Sam muttered. "It would do us all a favor.."

As the last students entered and sat down, a wave of silence washed over us all and we all directed our attention to the stage, where Mr. Kasey was clambering up the steps and standing at the middle. He patted his tweed suit and cleared his throat loudly into a microphone that had been set up for him. The big screen stood idle, suspended above the stage. I inwardly smirked - everyone would be able to see clearly. For a second, my heart was in my mouth and I shuddered - Mr. Kasey wouldn't go and talk to the whole school about me, would he? I could imagine my name echoing across the giant room and the whole school turned in their seats to face me.. I shuddered again and Sora clenched my hand, he seemed to be thinking along the same lines as me.

"What a year," Mr. Kasey boomed out. The words reached the back of the hall a bit later than when they came out of his mouth. "I'm sure we have all had our good times and our bad times, since we started again back in September.."

I swear his eyes flickered to me and looked away again.

"..- But I think it's safe to say that now it is a crucial time for all of us to stand together and support each other through exams, coursework and whatnot. I urge to all to get help, when you can," he paused and surveyed us all before giving a small smile. "This year, our teachers have been working tirelessly around the clock to ensure that you reach your full potential and put the best of your ability in your work.."

At this point, I tuned out of his speech and took in the faces of those around me. Everyone was trying to concentrate but I could almost see their minds wandering - we all really hated big speeches like this. To my left; Jack, Sam and Daniel were quietly whispering about something they'd seen on a video game and on the other side, Sora and Bruno were trying to squash each others feet without being seen. I rolled my eyes - why do boys insist on being so childish? Sora must have heard my thoughts, because he turned to me and flashed a guilty grin, almost letting Bruno stamp on his right foot.

I really hoped Riku and the others wouldn't get themselves caught. I couldn't help BUT worry about them..

Mr. Kasey's morale-raising speech was suddenly interrupted by a whirring sound. The big screen suddenly flickered into life and a black background was now visible. Silver writing slowly faded into the screen.

'Are you ready?'

Mr. Kasey looked generally confused - he turned around to the teachers for guidance, but they looked curious. He was just about to tell us to keep silent, when his words were drowned out by a song blasting through the speakers at the corners of the stage. I almost died of laughter when I realized it was called 'You spin me right round' by an old band called Dead or Alive. It was Riku's father's favorite song and he sang it around the house.

The student's faces were a mask of surprise and shock. Some of the bolder ones began singing along with the words and waving their arms around. Even the teacher's swayed along with the music and chatted excitedly to each other. Sora was having trouble keeping his laughs quiet as we both caught sight of Jessica, Selphie and Lauren sitting upfront - they had no idea.

The writing on the screen faded away and the song was replaced by 'Happy Together' by Simple Plan - one of my favorite songs.

The cheerleaders we had watched a few weeks ago we now on the screen and doing their warm ups. I could see coach at the corner of the film watching them. I stared around at the audience and picked out of few of the faces of the cheerleaders that I remembered. On screen, they had begun to shout and crank out their routine - I stared at the faces around me more than the film. It was only until the students started jeering and laughing their heads off, did I glance at the film and see Jessica writhe madly on the gym floor.

"What the heck.." Sam murmured. His face was full of glee - Jessica had turned down his offer of a date a while ago and he had never really forgiven her for that/.

"What a retard." Someone else exclaimed behind me. I heard the laughs as someone tried to imitate Jess's crazy movements.

The audience were now clapping their hands together and making whooping noises as Riku zoomed into the mayonnaise leaking out of her shoes. I was hysterical with giggles and had to lean onto Sora for support before I ended up falling out of my chair. A great cheer went up into the air as Jessica ran from the gym and more silver writing appeared on the screen;

'Had to be done, baby.'

The film cut and three figures wearing identical long blonde wigs and black glasses came up on screen. I instantly recognized them as Yuffie, Tidus and Yuna. I snorted and shook my head. Those idiots were going to get recognized!

The footage cut once again and our now-blonde friends were hiding behind a pillar in a hallway on the Geography corridor. The corridor seemed empty until a familiar brunette shape stomped angrily along it. At once, on of them jumped out to meet her - Yuffie by the looks of her height and said something to Selphie. Selphie said something back and she frowned. My eyes widened as I saw what looked like Yuna, creep behind Selphie and bent down on all fours. That meant that Tidus was the one who pulled out a big tub of something that sloshed around and set it right behind Yuna. I was entranced and Tidus disappeared and that whole scene was edited to play in slow motion - Riku was a genius! Yuffie extended her hands and pushed Selphie in the chest, the camera zoomed into Selphie's hilarious face as she fell into the tub of mashed potato.

The audience erupted.

"That was BRILLIANT," someone behind me cheered. "Absolutely brilliant!"

Bruno was wiping the tears from his eyes. "Oh man - did you see that stuff dripping from her face? Duuuude!"

Words appeared again;

'Don't hate me, 'cuz you love me.'

"Riku got cocky again." Sora whispered into my ear.

The final scene faded into the screen and we saw an empty hallway again. It cut to the view of an empty girls bathroom and all was silent. A few moments later, the door swung open and Lauren's gingery head came into view as she approached the sinks and began applying makeup. The person that was holding the camera was shaking from excitement. The camera person swung it round so we saw who was filming. The person had a Halloween scream mask on and gave a 'thumbs-up' and then returned to Lauren. At this point, the music faded out into an eerie tune. The tune built up and up - Three figures in similar Halloween clothing and cloaks and plastic swords leapt out from the nearby toilets and pounced on Lauren. Lauren immediately began screaming and the film quickly fell into slow motion - Lauren's screams were also slowed so she ended up sounding weird and distorted.

The cloaked figures danced around her in their Halloween gear and she tried to push them aside and escape. To make things worse, the camera person had ducked out of the way and began flicking the bathroom lights on and off.

Everyone around me was dying in laughter and flopping around in their seats.

"This is unreal," I gasped. "Absolutely unreal." I think Sora was beyond words - every time he tried to speak, more laughs just burst out of him and incapacitated him more. It made me smile to see him so happy. I wished I could make him laugh all the time like this.

The film finally died out and 'The End' faded onto the screen, along with everyone else in the hall, Sora and I stood up and clapped and cheered - even the teacher's were cracking smiles and making jokes! I looked to the front again but Jessica, Lauren and Selphie were nowhere to be seen. I felt a pang of guilt, but that quickly went away when people started hugging each other and chatting crazily. Mr. Kasey tried to get our attention for a little while after that, but he just gave up and shouted "MERRY CHRISTMAS" and dismissed us.

-&-

That evening, all ten of us decided to head to the beach to watch the winter sunset. None of us had been to the beach or to our island since Riku's birthday party months ago. I guessed we'd all been too busy.

After our winning victory against our three enemies - we'd congratulated each other on such good ideas and jumped on Riku for his excellent editing skills. For the first time ever, he blushed and murmured a hasty 'thanks' in reply.

We were now all sat side by side on the pier and watching the sun sink into the horizon. The sky was a beautiful orange and blue and the clouds seemed violet against this darkening sky. I could see the early signs of the stars glinting faintly above. I close my eyes and enjoyed the gentle breeze rolling off the ocean. I was glad to be alive. I really was.

Naturally, I was sitting in-between my two oldest friends; Sora and Riku. My arms were wrapped around Sora's torso and his, around mine. None of the boys were wearing shirts - they'd just been having fun pushing each other off the pier and none of us girls wanted to get wet. I smiled as they did this and burned the memory into my mind - I never wanted to forget this moment for as long as I lived. I slipped my hand into my pocket and pulled out the charm Sora gave me many months ago. I cupped it into my hands and fondly stroked the soft petals. Sora leaned his head against mine.

"You still have it." He whispered.

"Of course! You'd this I'd loose this?"

"No," he chuckled. "I didn't know if you'd forget about it or not. I'm happy you haven't."

"I'm happy too," I whispered and snuggled against him. "I'll take care of it forever."

We both turned to gaze out into the ocean once again. The group was peaceful and calm. We were altogether and that's what really mattered. Riku turned to us and grinned.

"Nothing's changed, huh?"

"Nope. Nothing will." Sora fondly smiled and glanced at me, my eyes locked with his and we hugged each other a little closer.

The sun seemed to shine brighter as it disappeared from the sky, sinking slowly beneath the watery horizon.

"What a small world..."

"But, part of one that's much bigger."

"God - listen to you two!" Yuffie scoffed and laughed at Sora and Riku. "Has the little sermon ended now?"

Riku smirked and pushed Yuffie to the edge of the pier. "Just because you don't understand the beauty of things." He mocked a poetic gesture. Yuffie was about to reply but her face turned hostile as she stared behind us. We flipped our selves round to find Selphie standing alone, a few metres from where we were.

"What's she doing here?" Tifa muttered. Selphie said nothing but continued to stare at us. I could sense that she maybe wanted to approach us and say something, she looked a little intimidated and embarrassed. I stood up and ignored everyone's questioning glances.

"I'm going to go and speak to her." I announced and didn't wait for their reaction. It seemed to take an age to step down the long pier to reach her. I skipped every fourth plank out of childish habit and kept my distance when I met her. I chose not to speak first.

She took a deep breath. "I'm not here to argue, Kairi," she said quietly. "But I'm not here to beg for forgiveness either.!

"Then what are you here for?"

"Well," she paused. "I suppose you can say I'm here to propose a sort of.. Truce I guess."

"Truce?" I hissed. "You tried to make our lives miserable! You spread rumours about me!" My hands were flailing wildly. I could see the group staring at me back on the pier, wondering if they should come and break us up or not.

"I know," she said quietly and stared at the sandy ground. "I guess we deserved everything we got in assembly."

"Feeling sorry for yourself now?"

"Yes!" She choked and stared at me with slightly watery eyes. "I was so stupid and chucked away the bestest friends I ever had in order to be popular. You realize how much I regret that? How much I regret acting like such a bitch?"

"I know what regret is," I snapped. "I've felt it more than you'll feel in a lifetime."

"Exactly," she agreed. "I was worried too when I found out what happened to you, Kairi! I even phoned the hospital to ask how you were, but they don't pass out information to friends. Or enemies," a few stray tears dribbled down her face. "I thought you were dead. I thought I hadn't even gotten the chance to apologise to you for my behaviour."

I groaned and ran my fingers through my hair. "So what's brought all of this on, Selphie? Why didn't you say all of this to me months ago?"

She shrugged. "Things just got put into perspective for me. Better late than never I suppose," she gave a small smile. "Lauren and Jess are also sorry too."

"No they're not."

"No," she sighed. "Jess is furious. Lauren is pissed."

"I'm not going to apologise for what we did be filming you guys and showing it. Because I don't think you did anything wrong."

"You didn't, I may have done the same thing. Anyone would have wanted to get back at us."

I shrugged and silently kicked the sand at my feet with my sandals. I could hear Selphie sniffing and digging around in her bag for a tissue. I bit my nails and begrudgingly looked back to her again and extended a hand.

"I accept the truce," the edges of my mouth turned up into a smile. "Since I've known you forever. But Selphie, I'm really not going to be able to trust you for a long, long time."

"I expected that," she nodded. "And thank you." She clasped my hand and we stayed like that for a few seconds, not knowing what to do or say next.

"So.. uh, are you gonna come and sit with us?" I asked uneasily.

She chuckled. "And you can imagine how fun that'll be, can't you? No, I'm going home. But you know.. Thanks for the invitation."

"Uh.. Yeah s-sure."

Selphie nodded and gulped she quickly hugged me and stood away again. "You better go," she said pointedly. "You're friends are waiting for you." I turned to see that everyone was still staring at us. They were too far away that I couldn't make out their facial expressions. I was about to make a sarcastic comment and turned back around to find that Selphie had gone and only left her tissue on the ground. I stared at it silently and recalled her distressed expression - she was clearly beating herself up over this. As much as I hated the way she betrayed us and tried to ruin our school career - she was still one of my oldest friends and she still had a small place in my heart. It hurt to see her in so much pain. With my back to the pier, I quickly dried my eyes on my arm and made my way back to my friends. I sat in my place and dangled my legs off the end, feeling everyone's stares on me.

"I suppose she came to complain about the film," Namine was the first to break the silence. "Didn't like it did she?"

I swallowed. "Actually, no," I said quietly. "She came to apologise for everything. She said she was worried about me."

I heard Wakka and Tidus snort down the line. Yuna whispered; "Is she coming back to hang out with us again?"

"I don't think so," I said carefully. "But she told me that Lauren and Jessica were definitely pissed off at us. Selphie looked genuinely sorry - she really did."

"Think it's a trick?" Sora muttered.

"No," I said confidently. None of them were there, there didn't see what I saw in Selphie's eyes. They didn't see the remorse she was putting herself through. "She knows she's been a bitch. She's sorry. She said they deserved what happened in assembly."

"Rightfully so." Someone murmured quietly.

My brow furrowed and I stared out into the sunset again. Was it really ok for me to hate Selphie one minute and then like her the next? I think I was more forgiving than most. My friends obviously thought that.

The sun finally set and the darkness crept up on us. Riku and Yuffie stood up and stretched and said they had to go because they had a date. Roxas, Yuna, Namine and Tidus were the same and they all left hand in hand. Wakka later announced that there was a Blitz ball tournament on TV that he really wanted to see and Tifa had to get back home for her little brother's birthday party. Sora and I were left and we leaned back and stretched out on the planks. The stars were really out now and I watched amused, as they twinkled happily above me.

"Kai?" I heard Sora murmur.

"Yes?" I turned on my side and propped myself up with an elbow. He turned his head towards me.

"What's going to happen after college?"

"Well," I said, and cast my eyes to the sky again. "We all split up and get on with out lives I suppose. We go out into the big wide world of families and jobs and children."

"Do.." He paused. "Do you see yourself with a family?"

"Yes," I whispered. "I'd love to have children and be a mother. I'd be there everyday to experience new things with them and teach them how to tie their shoelaces and everything. I'd protect them from harm."

He nodded and smiled. "Me too. It sounds good," he then sat up and faced me fully with his legs crossed. "Kairi," he said. "If I say something, would you totally freak out on me?"

"No."

"Promise?"

"Yeah."

He moved closer and took both of my hands in his own, caressing them gently and staring at the small scars next to my fingernails. He looked a mixture of worried and nervous.

"I'm asking you all of these questions because I really wanted to know. We've been friends since we were about three and then our friendship grew until this moment," he paused. "Into something more. Kairi, what would you do if that after college - I wanted to stay with you? If that I wanted to be near you forever? If that I wanted to uh.. Get married to you."

I burst out in giggles which pierced the evening air. I flung my arms around his confused body and sniggered into his neck.

"You idiot," I smiled. "You really think I'd tell you to go away?"

He blushed. "I don't know. The future seems scary to some people.."

"No to me," I whispered. "You've been thinking about this a lot haven't you?"

"Ever since you got out of hospital," he confided. "That's when I knew I possibly couldn't handle a future without you involved. Now that you're ok, I'm telling you I want to be apart of that future."

I sniffed back my happy tears and gently kissed his neck, I could feel him blush again. "Sora - If I want to have kids and a life with anyone, of course it would be you!"

"Really?" He whispered. "You really mean that!"

"Duh!" I tapped his forehead. "You can't get rid of me that easily. So it's decided - we're getting married after college, right?"

He chuckled. "You say it so bluntly. But yes - if you want."

"I do want!" I grinned. "More than anything! I want to be with you forever, Sora." I didn't even need to think about it. Sora was so much part of my life - It would be alien not to be able to see and talk to him everyday.

He nodded. "Together then?"

"Always." I whispered.

And we kissed.

The end.