(A/N): Writer's block. Urgh. Another idea I've been playing with for a while. It always bothered me that Sora wasn't a little more introspective given everything he's been through. So I attempted another Sora-centric fic. Feedback would be appreciated, as I'm still trying to get used to writing from his perspective.

Disclaimer: One day I will amass a fortune. I will then waste that fortune in a failed custody battle for these characters. So I will be destitute, and still not own the rights to anything related to Kingdom Hearts.

Star Light, Star Bright

Sora lay on his back, his fingers laced behind his head as he gazed around his room with a wistful smile. His parents hadn't changed a thing in the time he'd been away, not even his bed – Sora'd been forced to remove the footboard the night of his return so that he could stretch his legs out when he laid down. His eyes lingered on the small mobile hanging from the ceiling, and Kairi's voice suddenly echoed in his memory.

"I just can't wait. Once we set sail, it'll be great."

His smile fell away as Sora turned on his side, cushioning his head on his arm and staring out the window. His eyes scoured the night sky, trying to remember which of the bright stars scattered across the heavens was Goofy and Donald's home world. He'd understood why they had to leave, but he still missed them.

With a sigh, Sora rolled back onto his back and stretched his arm out above his head, calling the Keyblade to his hand and taking comfort in its solid weight. The star-shaped key chain clinked softly against his arm.

"Tell me…tell me why he picked you!"

Sora flinched and dismissed the weapon before rolling onto his side and curling into a ball. Tangling one hand in his hair, he let his eyes slide closed and tried to quiet memories long enough to escape into sleep.

"Take care of her."

Sora pushed himself upright with a quiet groan and carefully set his bare feet on the floor. He stood and stretched, hiding a yawn behind the back of his hand and scratching distractedly at his hair as he hunted for his shoes, trying to make as little noise as possible.

Though there was no one to see him, he flushed slightly as he arranged his pillows underneath his sheets. It wasn't to be malicious, he told himself guiltily. He just didn't want his mother to worry if she decided to check on him sometime during the night – an occurrence that had developed into something a habit for her since his return.

Before he could guilt himself into walking downstairs and telling her something abysmally stupid – like that he was taking off in the middle of the night again – he carefully stepped over the arranged sheets and crawled out of his window. He dropped down onto the overhanging porch roof as lightly as possible, remaining crouched over the tiles for a few moments to see if his actions had gone unnoticed.

No lights came on.

No voices were raised in protest.

Easing out a near inaudible breath, Sora lowered himself to the ground before taking off for the docks at a hurried pace.

Darkened, silent houses flashed past him on both sides of the narrow street, and even in the dark Sora could pick out the subtle differences two years had wrought. The broken trellis in Selphie's back yard had been repaired. Tidus's house boasted a fresh coat of paint. Wakka's house was no longer the last one on the block.

Sora's stride increased until he was almost sprinting, the cool night air singing through his hair as he pumped his arms and legs. He reached the docks in a matter of minutes, hurriedly untying one of the small rowboats and pushing away from the pier. The oars pulled against his hands as he stroked evenly across the moonlit waves, his heartbeat receding from his ears as the shore dwindled behind him.

Casting a glance over his shoulder, Sora angled the boat toward the small island. The rhythm of the water against the hull of the small craft was soothing, and Sora let his mind settle into the same lull as the boat sheared through the water.

When he reached the small pier – it had seemed so much larger two years ago, he marveled – he carefully tied the boat to one of the pillars and clambered out onto the sand. Spreading his legs wide, he rested his hands on his hips and surveyed the small stretch of beach that, in rare fits of gloom, he'd occasionally feared he might never see again.

"I'll come back to you. I promise!"

"I know you will!"

Sora's lips curved in a melancholy smile as he buried his hands in his pockets and ducked his head, scuffing one foot idly against the sand. The gentle lapping of the waves against the shore shortly smoothed the indentations away. Sighing, Sora shook his head and began wandering up the beach, occasionally scooping a stray pebble from the sand and flinging it back into the mild surf.

He'd almost decided to turn back when he caught a glimmer of moon-frosted silver hair at the twisted paopu tree. Pausing where he stood, he stared at Riku for a moment, but the other boy remained oblivious of his scrutiny, his eyes fixed out somewhere over the water. A slow smile crept over Sora's face as he shoved through the door of the old shed – a little more weather-beaten then he remembered, he reflected wryly as he pried a splinter out of his thumb – and moved to join the other boy at the twisted trunk.

Riku didn't glance around until Sora came to stand beside him; then, seeming to stir himself from some far away place, the silver-haired boy blinked, then grinned at his friend. "Hey, Sora. What are you doing out here?"

Sora shrugged, easily hoisting himself up to sit on the crooked trunk. "I could ask you the same thing," he pointed out, one leg swinging lazily. Riku grinned and shrugged.


They lapsed back into silence, and Sora tucked his hands up under his armpits, wishing he'd thought to bring a jacket. The air bordered on cold right next to the water. Blowing out a breath, he tilted his head back and studied the canopy of stars spread out above them.

"Hey, Riku."


"How many worlds do you think there are?" Riku glanced up at him, expression unreadable, before he shrugged and glanced away.

"As many stars as are in the sky, right?" he mumbled, shaking his hair out of his eyes.

"Mm." Sora tried to hide a shiver and kicked absently at the paopu trunk. "You think we'll ever see 'em all?"

Riku shrugged again, the stiff set of his shoulders the only indication that the question Sora had left unasked had occurred to him, as well. "Don't know." He hesitated, tilting his head up to stare at the night sky. "We did the right thing, Sora," he said at last.

Sora nodded, rubbing briskly at his arms. "I know."

"I wanted to see Roxas."

He drew a shaky breath and forced a smile to his face. "I know."