AN: I present my sokai companion to my Namixas futurfic ON SWiTCH, though you don't necessarily have to have read On Switch to understand it (though it certainly helps). This isn't really AU, just a futurfic. It would have begun about four years after some form of a KH 3 or KH 4 which resulted in Roxas and Namine gaining hearts and beings of their own. I don't go into how, just the aftermath. The setting will be further explained as you read. This is the longest oneshot I've ever written. It's Kairi-centric. Certain inaccuracies are due to my never having had a baby, and my not planning to have one for a very long time (hey, I'm sixteen for goodness sakes).
Sokai, implied Namixas, futurfic, Kairi-centric.
Disclaimer: Jesus died on the cross for me. That's enough to keep me content about not owning Kingdom Hearts.
All of twenty-one years old, princess of Radiant Garden, and here she was sprinting down the palace hallways like an over-excited five-year-old. Well, she had good reason to be excited.
She flew down the elegantly colorful marble corridors of the palace, listening for the tell-tale click-clack of Naminé's white heels. While those shoes, which Kairi swore could be heard from half a mile away, usually served to alert housekeepers and palace workers that their boss was coming and they should clear the way, they also helped in locating the blonde. Naminé wasn't actually who Kairi was looking for, though. She was looking for Sora. But Naminé was head of palace operations, and she knew where everyone was.
Kairi heard, not the click-clack of Naminé's pumps, but the sound of her former-other-half's voice, lecturing her assistant, a young intern named Sonia, about the consequences of something and something else. Kairi couldn't help but laugh. Naminé was always so nice, and quiet, and sweet-tempered; except when she was working. The only time Naminé was ever bad-tempered or mean was when she was coordinating smooth palace operations. It made Kairi glad she'd given Naminé the job. Now that Naminé had finally learned to stand up for herself, the only thing Kairi had left to do was get Naminé to realize that that heart of hers was going to waste not loving Roxas like that… (AN 1)
Kairi simply didn't understand it. Since gaining hearts and beings of their own nearly four years ago, Naminé and Roxas had seemed to be gradually building towards a relationship, and after a year of nervous giggling and awkward moments, Kairi had spotted the two kissing at Sora's and her wedding. Apparently, that wasn't all that had happened that day. After being furious at Roxas for three weeks, Naminé had told Kairi that the two had resolved to remain just friends.
Their resolution had lasted three years; and in Kairi's opinion, (and Riku's, and Sora's…) three years too long.
Anyway, Kairi had more important things to deal with at the moment. She had to find her husband. What news!
What good news! What glorious news!
Kairi turned a corner and called Naminé's name as she ran down the hallway. The blonde turned from her terrified intern to stare at Kairi, who had just covered the entire length of the hallway and had thrown her arms around Naminé.
"Kai-ri--?" Naminé nearly fell over as her sister hugged her. "Kai, what's going on? What-?"
"Oh, Nami!" Kairi squealed excitedly. Naminé managed to pull Kairi off and placed her hands on her shoulders, steadying the redhead so Naminé could look at her.
"Kairi, calm down. What is it?"
Kairi beamed. "Where's Sora? I have something to tell him!"
"I last saw him downstairs, by the library, why? What is it that's got you so excited?" Naminé asked, still surprised by how hyper Kairi was.
Kairi bit her bottom lip. She was so excited; she needed to tell someone, and while it seemed that Sora should be the first to know, Naminé had once been part of her, and somehow Kairi seemed to feel that telling the blonde before her husband was permissible.
Kairi grinned brilliantly. "I'm pregnant."
Naminé's mouth dropped open. "You're what?" She asked, smiling nonetheless. Kairi nodded.
Naminé shook her head in surprised disbelief. "Kai, that's, that's great! Have you told Sora yet?"
Kairi shook her head. "Not yet. That's why I'm looking for him. Oh Nami, isn't this exciting?!"
Sonia was looking more and more relieved; Lady Naminé had something more important to do; rather than yell at her more. The blonde and the redhead squealed at each other for a minute more, then ran off together to find Sora.
Kairi ran into the busy hall which contained the door to the library. This room had been remodeled more times than Kairi cared to think about. She kept trying to change it; anything to separate it from the memory of looking into the eyes of a little black heartless and seeing the boy who would grow up to be her husband looking back at her…
Sora was coming out of the library just as she entered the room, and since he was busy trying to find something in the book he was holding, he didn't see his wife before she tackled him. His book went flying as he caught her, just in time to keep from falling over.
"Whoa, Kairi, what's gotten into you?" Kairi was content just to squeeze his neck and smile into his chocolate locks. He set her down and Kairi beamed up at him. "Oh, Sora, I've got something to tell you! I've got wonderful news,"
Kairi frowned as Sora turned to look at the door, through which Riku and Roxas had just come bounding. What made her frown grow, however, was the glass bottle in Riku's hand. It could only mean one thing: a message from the King.
King Mickey rarely sent messages by bottles anymore; only the less urgent news came by such mode of communication. Nowadays he contacted them via the supercomputer in what used to be Ansem's study.
At least it's nothing urgent. Kairi thought. But really, what horrid timing.
Sora let her go and hurried down the stairs to meet his friends. Kairi followed, as did Naminé, who had been watching eagerly from the door.
"What does it say?" Sora asked, his brow furrowing with worry.
"We don't know," Roxas said, shrugging. "We haven't gotten the nerve to read it yet."
Sora took the bottle from Riku's hand and removed the curled slip of paper as the other four crowded around him.
Welp, I don't know if you've noticed anything goin' on yet, but I think there's trouble a brewin'. Don't wanna worry ya now, but I think we'd better meet and check it out. Don't worry too much now, it could just be a false alarm, but better safe than sorry, dontcha know. Anyway, get back to me when ya get the chance, and we'll see what we can do. We need to at least check this out, make sure nothin' too big is goin' on. Be on your guard now.
Those three interlocking circles that Kairi had grown to hate the sight of glared up at them from the bottom of the paper. She stumbled back and sat down on one of the ornate window sills. One of her many renovations to this room had included installing as many windows as the structure would allow. She wanted light to block out the dark memories. Kairi stared blankly into space. What horrible timing! They would have to leave again, and this time she couldn't come with them…Sora couldn't be here to help her through the months ahead, and she knew she would need him. Kairi could feel Naminé's concerned gaze, but she didn't look up.
"What do you think it means?"
"Well, he did say it could be a false alarm…"
"But it usually isn't."
"Roxas, that doesn't mean you have to be so pessimistic about it."
"Yeah, it could be something small. Little heartless outbreaks happen sometimes. If we catch it early, we may be able to stomp it out before the real trouble starts."
Kairi was becoming numb to the goings-on around her. Her boys were talking. Her boys; it was strange how she had come to think of them as such; even Roxas. But she had them before the keyblade did; and in her mind, they belonged to herself and Naminé.
"Whatever it takes, we'll take care of it. Together this time, got it Riku?"
"Shut up. It's been years since I've left you alone to deal with this kind of stuff."
"Will you two stop bickering like an old married couple? Arguing like this, I don't see how we'd do this together."
"Hey, we always find a way, don't we?"
"True. So, no matter what, we stick together, right?"
"Right. And no matter what, we don't leave the girls out of it. Right Kairi?" Sora didn't even notice that his wife didn't answer him.
"Oh, get a room…"
"Shut up, Riku."
"What happened to doing this toge-"
"Shut up, Roxas."
"We'll find a way, we always do. All for one,"
"And one for all." Sora and Roxas echoed.
"Working together with King Mickey to get rid of whatever's going wrong; this shouldn't take long at all." Sora pounded his fist against Riku's. "What could possibly go wrong?"
Kairi looked up at him at this point, and took advantage of the silence that accompanied the would-be best-friend-Kodak moment.
"Kairi, please come out!" Sora said as he knocked on the door of the bathroom in their private rooms, where Kairi had barricaded herself after his reaction to her would-be good news.
"Kai! Come on, I'm happy, really, I am!" Sora pleaded.
Sora sighed and slid down to sit on the floor with his back against the door. "Kairi, listen. I really am happy, okay? I really am excited. We're having a baby, that's great! Kairi, look, earlier, I was just…surprised, that's all. This isn't exactly the best timing."
"What?!" Bad move, Sora, bad move.
" 'Oh no'. That's what you said. 'Oh no.' What kind of husband says 'oh no' when his wife tells him she's pregnant?! A pregnancy we planned! Sora, how can you say this isn't the best timing?! We planned this; the heartless are the ones with the bad timing!"
Sora mentally kicked himself. "Kairi, I didn't mean bad timing on your part, I meant-"
"You're supposed to be excited! You were supposed to say, 'Gee, Kairi, that's great, that's wonderful, I'm so happy!', not, 'oh no'!"
"Kairi, I just…I was…surprised. It's just…" Sora sighed. "I wasn't saying 'oh no' as in, 'oh no, she's pregnant,' I was saying 'oh no' as in, 'oh no, I have to leave my pregnant wife who I'm so happy is having a baby.' Kairi, please, I'm happy, really. This is wonderful, Kairi. And look, I won't have to leave immediately. I can stay a while. Riku and Roxas can handle it. They can see what the king wants, and I can stay here with you. I may have to leave eventually, but for the time being I want to stay here with you…Kairi, I really am happy. Kai, come on."
Kairi was silent for a minute. Sora contemplated what else to say.
Sora smiled. "Yeah Kairi?"
"I forgive you."
"Thanks Kai. You coming out now?"
"No." Sora frowned. "But you can come in."
Sora raised an eyebrow. "Okay."
"Oh and Sora?"
"Bring a headband."
Sora's eyebrows rose higher. "A headband, why?"
The sound of retching was all the answer he needed.
"You guys sure you can handle it without me?" Sora asked, as he, Kairi, and Naminé stood on the Gummi ship launch pad, saying their goodbyes to Riku and Roxas.
Riku smirked. "Hey, are you forgetting, you're not the only one who can play hero."
"Yeah," Roxas said, smirking too, "We'll play the hero, and you go on playing house."
"Roxas, be nice." Naminé scolded, poking his chest. Roxas turned his attention to her, smiling. He wrapped his arms around her, pulling her into a tight hug.
"I'll miss you, Nami." He whispered into her blonde hair. Naminé smiled.
She pulled away from him, and reached into her pocket, pulling out a decorative paopu fruit charm, and placed it into Roxas's hand, closing his fingers around it. "I made it for you. Bring it back, okay?"
Roxas grinned at her. "It's beautiful, Nami. Will do."
Kairi nudged Sora and nodded towards the two. Sora rolled his eyes.
"Trust us, Sora." Riku was saying. "We can handle it. You just stay here and take care of Kairi."
Roxas had finished saying goodbye to Naminé. She was stepping back now, not letting herself look at him.
"Well, see you." Riku waved and stepped onto the ramp into the Gummi ship.
"You be careful!" Kairi ordered.
Roxas saluted to her and Sora, smirking. "See ya." His expression softened. "Bye Naminé."
Naminé smiled. "Goodbye Roxas."
He disappeared into the Gummi ship.
The three still on the ground stepped back several feet, as the Gummi ship prepared to lift off.
Kairi turned to look at Naminé, who was watching her best friend leave, tears in her gray-blue eyes. "Nami, are you okay?" The blonde didn't hear her. She was staring at the Gummi ship. As it took off, Nami ran towards the center of the launch pad, watching it go.
"She really is in love…I just wish I could get her to see it…the way she made me see." Kairi smiled. Sora smiled at her, before smiling sadly at Naminé.
"Oohooh," Kairi groaned and leaned back against Sora's chest.
"Naminé, have you found that medicine yet?" Sora shouted over his shoulder.
"Still looking!" Naminé's voice carried into the bathroom. "Found it!"
Kairi moaned. "Great timing. I think I'm done."
Sora smiled sympathetically down at her. She'd been throwing up for the better part of the morning.
"Sora, I hate you."
"What did I do?"
"You got me pregnant."
"Hey, don't look at me. Having kids was your idea. I just helped. You've got no one to blame but yourself."
Kairi groaned again. "Sora, now is not the time for jokes."
Sora smiled softly and began rubbing her forehead with a damp washcloth. "Oh, Iri…"
Despite her churning stomach, Kairi smiled. The times Sora called her Iri were few and far between, but that only made the pet name more special. It was just one of those things Sora did for her; like saying 'I love you'; he never wanted to say it too much, but he always wanted her to know. The name was especially near to her heart because it was so unique. He'd come up with the nickname on his own, and even though she couldn't remember when he'd started using it, she could remember loving it from the start. No one other than Sora ever used it; no one other than Sora had ever heard it to use it. (AN 2)
Everyone called her Kai, only Sora called her Iri.
"Um, I found the medicine, but we've got another problem. The council wants a meeting. They say it's urgent."
Kairi groaned. "Not those horrible people…I swear one of these days…When the elections come...maybe I won't even wait until then…I'll have them impeached! Nami, can I do that?"
Sora laughed. "Oh, Kairi…those people always seem to bring out the worst in you. The only times I've ever seen you really bad-tempered is when you're dealing with those people."
Kairi couldn't help but laugh.
"They must be really mad, they keep insisting that it's really urgent and that they need to yell at you now," Naminé said from her place leaning against the door frame.
Another wave of nausea hit, and Kairi groaned.
"It can wait."
Kairi stared at the ground. She couldn't look at him, not yet. She couldn't see all of her feet anymore either, but it was easier thinking about why she was gradually losing the ability to view her feet.
"I'll be back soon, I promise. And I promise I'll be back in time for our baby to be born, but for right now Riku and Roxas need me…and I can't stay here anymore…"
Kairi listened as he continued to try to explain all the reasons why he had to leave, and all the reasons why he really, truly didn't want to.
"Sora…just…be here in time…I need you…" Kairi couldn't force her voice not to break anymore, so she just closed her eyes and buried her head in his chest.
"I love you, Iri."
"I love you too, Sora."
"I'll come back to you, I promise."
"I know you will."
And there was nothing she could do but watch him leave again.
Kairi blinked her indigo eyes open. But they were met with an indescribably depressing sight. She sighed as she stared at the empty spot on the bed next to her. The spot where Sora would normally sleep.
Kairi felt her baby move and she looked down at her swollen stomach. "Yeah, I miss him too."
One of the times that Kairi most felt Sora's absence was at night. She missed waking up to the sound of his soft, deep breathing and the steady pounding of his heart. She missed the feel of his arms wrapped securely around her and his warm oceany scent overpowering her own. The bed felt so big and empty…so lonely…
Kairi tried to go back to sleep but her attempts were in vain. Finally resolving herself to the insomnia, Kairi pulled herself up and sleepily stumbled across the large room and to the rather large walk-in closet. She flipped the light switch and the closet, which was rather a room of its own, was flooded with light. Kairi sighed as she walked over to Sora's side of the closet. She smiled and buried her face into one of his shirts. A dark blue one; a shirt that always accentuated his eyes. He liked this shirt; he would wear it a lot. That was probably why he left it, so she could have something that still tasted like him. Kairi sucked in a deep breath, and with it, the wonderful scent of Sora that lingered in the dark fabric. Kairi smiled, and she felt her baby move happily. It recognized its father. Kairi grinned into the cotton. Sora would want her to smile, after all.
Kairi turned off the light and made her way back over to the bed. She began to get in on her own side, but then she changed her mind, and slipped over to Sora's side of the bed. She pulled the soft jersey sheets and heavy cotton comforter over her and snuggled down into the hollow depression Sora's body had left in the mattress. She pressed her face into the mattress and once again smiled as his smell overwhelmed her.
She missed him. Oh, how she missed him. But as she felt the child move within her, she smiled wider. This child wasn't just hers; it was theirs. This life within her; Sora was a part of it, and while he might not be here to comfort her, he hadn't left her alone. The life within her, the life that was part of them both and that had part of both of them within it; perhaps it was enough.
No, she's quite sure. It's enough.
Suddenly the remaining three months until her baby was supposed to come didn't seem short enough. She wanted her baby, and she wanted her husband. The baby moved again and Kairi smiled down at her. Her? She hadn't even found out for sure yet. Where did that come from? And yet Kairi knew, without being sure why, that it is a her.
Kairi grinned. Her happily ever after wasn't playing out quite so happily-ever-after-ish, but struggles to overcome made life worth living, so she decided that this flawed perfection was all she really needed.
"…The baby's been doing a lot of growing."
Kairi nodded, smiling down at her stomach. She looked up again at the large computer screen, and consequently the image of Sora's face which the supercomputer was transmitting. "I went for the ultrasound today." She said, smiling.
Sora eagerly leaned closer to the screen. "Well?"
Kairi cocked her head to the side and frowned playfully at him. "You sure you want to know? You don't want to do it the old fashioned way? You know, wait out in the waiting room until a pretty nurse in a clean, white uniform comes out and says, 'Congratulations, it's a insert your baby's sex here.'" She erupted into giggles at the look Sora was giving her. (AN 3)
"Kairi, just tell me."
Kairi smiled. "It's a girl."
Sora took a deep breath and sighed as he leaned back into his chair in the cock pit of the gummi ship, smiling. "A girl…you're gonna have a girl… I don't know anything about girls." Sora frowned.
Kairi giggled. "Sora, I don't have the patience for you and any ADHD son of yours."
Sora smiled again. "A girl…wow…" he suddenly frowned. "Aw man!" Kairi frowned confusedly. "If she's half as pretty as you, I'm gonna have to fight the boys off of her!" Kairi grinned again.
"We have to name her, you know."
Sora blinked a few times to pull his mind away from the inevitable years of scaring his daughter's potential suitors away, and let Kairi's statement sink in. "Oh, well, any ideas?"
Kairi frowned at him. "You haven't done any thinking about it?" Sora grinned sheepishly at her. Kairi rolled her eyes. "Well, I've always liked the name Adelaide."
Sora sighed pensively. "Adelaide…It's pretty. I like it. What else have you thought of?"
Kairi pursed her lips as she tried to recall the other names she'd considered since she'd decided she was having a girl. (Before even the ultrasound had confirmed it, she had somehow known it would be a girl.) "Well, there's Layla; kind of exotic, but still simple and pretty. And then Lorelai. It's different, but I think it's beautiful."
"Hm." Sora mulled over the different names. They were all so pretty. "There's a name I heard in one of the worlds I've been to, and I've always liked it. Lucy. What do you think?"
Kairi smiled. "Lucy…it's simple, but really pretty. Where did you hear it?"
"A place called Narnia, but Lucy wasn't even from Narnia. She and her siblings were from a different world, and they were trying to get back. Anyway, she was a sweet little girl, and I don't know…I just like the name…"
Kairi sighed. "So many choices…"
"What about Sukairain?"
Kairi raised an eyebrow at the suggestion. "Skyline?"
Sora smiled softly. "Horizon."
Sora's smile grew. "Where the sea meets the sky."
Kairi burst into laughter. "Clever!" She declared.
Sora grinned at her. "Or incredibly cheesy. But I thought you'd like it."
His wife smiled at him. "I do like it. But it is kind of long."
Sora shrugged. "As long as Adelaide. But what about Suki for short?"
"Hm, that's pretty. I like it."
"But…I really like Adelaide."
"So do I."
Kairi smiled. "So, perhaps Adelaide?"
Sora sighed. "Great…"
Kairi furrowed her brow and frowned at him. "What?"
"Well," Sora bit his lip. "It's just that I know you're going to end up changing your mind at least ten times before the baby actually gets here, so chances are, we won't end up naming her Adelaide." (AN 4)
Kairi playfully glared at him. "Sora, shut up."
"You had better have a darn good reason for waking me up at 2:47 am."
Kairi smiled apologetically as Naminé let her into her room. "Sorry, Nami, I just couldn't sleep, and I needed to talk to my sister."
Naminé shook her head. "We made that up and you still call me your sister. Ah well, come on in."
"But where will I go?" Naminé let the grains of sand dribble through her fingers as she and Kairi watched the sunset's last rays from one of the beaches of Destiny Islands.
Kairi laughed. "Nami, you can stay here, of course. Roxas probably will."
Naminé looked up at her. "But how? We can't just tell people that we used to be your nobodies. Where will we live, what will we do? Who will we tell people we are?"
"Hm," Kairi thought about this for a moment, tapping her lip as she thought. "Well, you would live with my family, of course. We could tell people you're my long-lost twin. Everyone knows that I'm not originally from this island, and that I never knew where I was from. We could tell them that when I found my home, I found out about you, and that since my, I mean, our real parents are dead, you came here to live with me. It's plausible."
Naminé mulled over Kairi's suggestion. "Yeah, I guess that would work. Twin sisters, huh?"
Kairi nodded. "We're as close, or really even closer than twins would be, don't you think?"
Naminé smiled. "Yeah. Well, the only thing I can think of wrong is…well…Roxas. I don't know what his plans are yet."
"Well then," Kairi began, standing up and offering the blonde her hand. "Shall we go find Sora and Roxas, then, and finalize our plans, sister?"
Naminé grinned up at her. "Sure…sister."
Naminé pulled her white housecoat tighter around her as she led the way through her rooms. She stopped in a sort of living room and sat down on the large, cushy blue sofa. Kairi followed her and sat down on the opposite end of the couch. Naminé sleepily glared at her. "If you weren't pregnant, I'd kill you. What could you possibly want at this hour?"
Kairi sighed, and turned to look at her sister. "Nami, what would happen if I were to leave Radiant Garden?"
Naminé's drowsy gaze suddenly widened, and she stared curiously at Kairi. "What?"
"Well," Naminé began, rubbing at her sleepy eyes. "I suppose we'd have to find a new ruler. Or maybe we'd lose the monarchy altogether. I guess the council would be given full control…or maybe you could designate the Restoration Committee as the government. They did a pretty good job before you took the throne. It would all depend on why you left, I guess. Why?"
Kairi sighed and looked out the large windows opposite the couch. "I don't want to raise my child here."
Naminé raised an eyebrow. "You don't? Why not?"
Kairi shrugged. "I can't see myself raising a family here. I want to raise my daughter on the islands. I want to raise my daughter at home."
"I thought you felt like this place was home."
Kairi shook her head. "This place feels like home, but it isn't home. I may have been born here, but Destiny Islands is my home. It always will be. And I know Sora would be happier on the Islands. This place isn't home to him." Naminé noticed the faraway look clouding Kairi's eyes. "I see my place here as being the Princess, the one who always has to fight with the council. I can't see myself as a mother…not here."
"But you can see yourself as a wife."
Kairi smiled. "Well…that is a whole other story…"
Naminé rolled her eyes. "So, you associate this place with the countless hours you spend locked up in your rooms with Sora?"
Kairi blushed. "Well, that's not all, but yeah…kinda."
Her former other half shook her head. "Well, I guess if you really wanted to leave…you could. There'd be a lot of official business and whatnot you'd need to settle before you left, so, it'd take a while, but, whatever." Naminé yawned. "I don't know why you chose to talk about this now..."
Kairi gave her sister an apologetic smile. "Sorry…I was just really lonely, and I couldn't sleep." Tears found their way into Kairi's eyes. "And I just really miss Sora…" She started crying.
"Oh, Kairi." Naminé scooted closer to her on the couch and wrapped her arms around Kairi's shoulders. Kairi buried her face in Naminé's shoulder and sobbed. "I know you miss him, but he'll be back; he always comes back for you." She patted Kairi's back and tried desperately to think of some way to comfort her. Coming up with nothing, Naminé could only wonder.
How did Kairi stay so strong?
This just was not her day.
First Leon showed up to tell her that the supercomputer, her one and only way to contact Sora, wasn't working. Then the stupid council (when were the elections again?) wanted to move the meeting set for tomorrow afternoon to right then (insert eye twitch here). And now she had to sit here and listen to them insult her.
She knew they all hated her. They hated the idea of this young woman, who had taken the throne at the (in their minds) unacceptable age of nineteen; who was young and spirited and utterly devoted to her husband (and oh, how they loved opening that can of worms) and who was loved by her people (while the council was blamed for all the world's problems); and who had been given full power over her kingdom even though she hadn't grown up there.
They simply hated her. They were jealous, as well. They were jealous of her power, of her popularity, of her ability to put them in their place when they started getting too big for their britches.
Today's meeting was especially trying. They'd insulted her, forced her to invoke her right to veto both their rejection of her proposal and their power to have any say in the matter, and aggravated her to the point that she had to summon her keyblade to remind them why they needed to stay on her good side. She didn't know what else they had to fuss about today, but she did know that they probably had many more vague insults to throw her way before the day was done.
She heard a sharp gasp from behind her and turned to look at Naminé, who had jumped out of her seat, and was now staring at Kairi with a look of shocked jubilation on her face.
No explanation was needed.
Kairi knocked her chair over getting up. It was difficult, sprinting down the hallway being six months pregnant, but Kairi could feel the baby moving and it was all the motivation she needed to keep going. She and Naminé flew down the hallways to the large grand entrance hall.
Sora wasn't sure what woke him up, but for some reason he awoke, and found a reason not to go back to sleep. He blinked his blue eyes open and examined his surroundings sleepily. With a smile he realized that he wasn't in a campsite on some strange and foreign world. He was home.
He buried his face into Kairi's crimson locks and grinned. She mumbled in her sleep, and Sora pulled his face away to look at her. She always looked so peaceful when she slept. She had no darkness in her heart to plague her dreams at night. Sora wondered if their daughter would have darkness in her heart. Would his daughter be capable of wielding the keyblade? Sora hoped and prayed that that burden would never be hers to bear.
He let his eyes feast on Kairi's beauty. The moonlight streaming in through the large windows in the wall behind them reflected off of Kairi's hair, which was splayed across her pillow and shoulders. It also lit the curve of her stomach, which Sora couldn't help but notice had grown significantly since he'd last been home.
Sora had heard that the baby took in information even as it grew within the womb, and that if its parents' spoke to it, it would recognize their voices after it was born.
Thinking that he had nothing to lose giving it a shot, he scooted down in the cover so that he was more level with Kairi's swollen torso.
"Hey," he began shakily, not really sure what to say. "I've heard that you can hear me in there, so, I guess I might try to talk to you." He took a deep breath. "We don't know what we're gonna name you yet...Right now your mom's leaning towards Lorelai, but knowing her she'll change her mind a couple more times before you're born…" Sora smiled and trailed off. What does one say to their unborn child? "I'm sorry I haven't been here the last few months...I've been given a responsibility I didn't ask for and didn't want…I can't expect you to understand it yet…Heck, I've had the job since I was fourteen and I still don't completely understand." He sighed. "But, no matter how many times I have to leave, I promise, I'll always find a way back to you and your mom. The reason I leave isn't because I don't love Kairi…because I do…If there was anything I wish I could tell you it's how much I love her…and how much I love you. I don't even know you yet…but I know I love you."
Kairi became aware of being awake slowly. Her eyes remained closed, but she could hear a voice; Sora's voice. He was talking, but she was still too half-asleep to discern what he was saying. "…The reason I leave isn't because I don't love Kairi…" Kairi's heart fluttered as those words floated into her consciousness. She pretended to still be asleep, and listened intently. "…If there was anything I wish I could tell you it's how much I love her…" Kairi smiled in her sleep. He was talking to their daughter… "…and how much I love you. I don't even know you yet…but I love you." Kairi smiled and let herself drift back to sleep, secure in the knowledge that love was abundant in her family.
"And, Sonia, make sure the Radiant Garden Symphony has the final music list so they can start practicing."
"Oh, and don't forget that they know when the Charity Ball is. We don't need another disaster like last year."
"Nami!" Naminé finally stopped walking and turned to face Kairi, who had been following her as Naminé desperately tried to ignore her sister and avoid the inevitable interrogation.
"What?" Naminé asked, trying to sound casual.
Kairi shook her head and grabbed Naminé's arm, pulling her down the hallway and into one of the many unused parlors of the palace. She shut the door and faced Naminé, who was standing in the middle of the room, trying to pretend that there was nothing for her sister to be asking her about.
"Can we make this quick? I have a lot of work to do, and…"
"…Nami…" Naminé trailed off as Kairi looked at her.
"Fine." Naminé plopped herself down on the ornate sofa.
Kairi sat down beside her, smiling in a half concerned, half amused way. "Naminé, is there any particular reason why the maids had to clean up a trail of blue-paint footprints this morning?" Naminé squirmed. "Blue-paint footprints leading to Roxas's rooms, no less?" (AN 5)
Naminé squirmed more. "Nothing happened…"
"Hey, there were footprints leading back to my rooms, weren't there? Obviously I wasn't in his rooms long enough for the paint to dry." Naminé explained grudgingly.
Kairi raised an eyebrow. "Why was there paint on your legs, again?"
Naminé sighed. "Roxas popped into my room, and scared me and I dropped a can of paint and it splattered all over my legs."
Kairi's eyebrow rose higher. "What was Roxas doing in your rooms?"
Naminé flushed slightly. "He just came in to talk. He used the corridors of darkness to get there, which is why he scared me."
Kairi pursed her lips. "So, what were you doing in his rooms?"
Her sister blushed. "We were just talking…"
Kairi gave her a yeah-right look. "Oh really?"
Naminé frowned at her. "Look, nothing happened! I was in there for a grand total of maybe ten minutes. Okay?"
"Ten minutes?" Kairi sat back on the couch and looked at her swollen stomach. "Ten minutes…yup. That sounds about right." She muttered to herself.
Naminé cocked her head to the side. "What are you talking about?"
Kairi pursed her lips before answering. "Well, it's just that ten minutes is just about how long it took to create Lucy…" Naminé blushed. "And that included getting dressed and freshening my lipstick…" (AN 6)
Naminé shook her head. "One, I didn't need to know that. Two, I promise, nothing happened. I kissed him, that's it."
Kairi smiled. "I know; I just like teasing you. You know," she grinned mischievously, "Somehow, 'I told you so', just doesn't cut it." (AN 7)
She was aware of a lot of things and very few things all at once.
Not a lot else about the experience can be said, because the wonderful pain and horror of the event had caused Kairi to block the memories as much as she could manage. She made a mental note to ask Naminé to erase the memories; otherwise she might never be able to face the possibility of having any more children.
Whoever described it as 'the miracle of birth' had obviously never experienced it firsthand. It was more like sitting on a pile of dynamite, Kairi decided. (AN 8)
At the moment she was aware of Sora's soothing voice in her ear, a lot of crying, a whole heaping ton of pain, and an even larger ton of relief.
"Layla Sukairain Chigiri…Layla Chigiri. Kinda rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?" (AN 9)
"Yup." Sure, rolls right off, rolly, poly, rock and roll. Beautiful name…
"You know there's no changing your mind at this point, Kairi."
"You're still on the painkillers, aren't you?"
"She's got your eyes."
"Uh-huh. They're much more of a cerulean blue. Mine are indigo."
"I guess you're right. Auburn hair, like yours, maybe a little darker."
"Auburn fuzz, more like it."
"She's so small."
"Barely above five pounds, she's tiny."
She wouldn't let them put the girl in the viewing room with all the other babies. One, this was Radiant Garden's duchess they were talking about, so security was a top priority. Two; they expected her to put her daughter's life in their hands and risk having her child and someone else's switched at birth? Three; yes, she was exhausted, and yes she needed rest, but no, that did not mean she wanted her baby out of her reach, thank you very much!
Sora kept trying to coax her to let them take the girl and let her rest, but Kairi merely insisted that they should keep the baby in the room with her, and that since she carried the girl around for nine months, Sora could look after her while she rested. The baby was healthy, after all; what reason did the doctors have for taking her away?
Roxas, Naminé and Riku had all come to visit; Naminé had held a press conference outside the hospital that warned the media in no uncertain terms that the royal security would be taking a 'shoot first, ask questions later' approach to anyone threatening baby Layla's well being-this included paparazzi. Naminé could be downright terrifying when she wanted to be, and she used this to insure that Sora and Kairi would not be pestered about their newborn child. Kairi had never been happier-or more exhausted. Her parents and Sora's mother were going to be coming from the Islands to visit them very soon, and Kairi couldn't wait.
The nurses were getting quite sick of Sora, frankly. He had been showing anyone who'd look (and everyone who wouldn't) the little girl. The nurses' attitude was something along the lines of 'Yes, that's very nice; we've seen about a million of them before.' But Sora would simply show the little girl off more and proclaim that, 'Yes, but you haven't seen one like this before!' It made Kairi so proud. He was taking to his new position as a father with gusto. When Roxas had asked him teasingly if he was upset about not having a son to play blitz ball with, Sora simply frowned and replied, "I've got two Princesses in my life; why would I want to give that up?" (AN 11)
Kairi felt her heart soar every time she looked at the little girl. Layla was beautiful, perfect. And she was hers; hers and Sora's and nobody else's.
"Kairi?" Kairi looked up. It was late, very late, and Sora had fallen asleep in the chair next to her hours ago. But Kairi hadn't been sleepy, and she was content to sit for hours and watch the little girl slumbering in her arms. Sora sat up and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. "You still awake?"
Kairi nodded. "I'm not sleepy." She told him quietly. "And I just…wanted to hold her."
Sora smiled at her. "I can understand that." Kairi smiled back at him before scooting over in her hospital bed to make room, and then patted the mattress beside her, motioning for him to join her. He did so, wrapping his arms around her and the baby. Kairi leaned back into his chest, smiling as the baby shifted, snuggling into her. Kairi looked back up at Sora and grinned.
"We did good, doncha think?"
Sora grinned and kissed her forehead. "You did great, Iri."
Kairi shook her head. "Humble as always…" She pursed her lips. "Sora?"
Kairi took a deep breath. "I want to raise her on the islands."
Her comment took Sora by surprise. "What?"
"I want to raise her on the islands. Not here."
Sora inhaled deeply. "Um, okay, why?"
Kairi chuckled. "Because you hate it here."
"I don't hate it here," Sora said slowly, though he was lying through his teeth.
Kairi looked up at him. "Yes you do. I know you do. The Islands will always be home to you, and they still feel more like home to me than this place ever could. I want to raise Layla there. It'd be better for her, I think. Instead of growing up here as a princess. She'd be better off away from all the media attention and pampering and all of that." She stroked the girl's forehead. "I even named her with the islands in mind. Layla sounds so foreign here; it fits so much better with the thought of island life. She should have sandy beaches to grow up on; not expensive palace nurseries." She looked back at her husband. "We'd all be happier on the islands. I know you'd like it much better there. And frankly, I think I would too."
Sora sighed again. "Well, I can' t think of any argument to that except how we going to do it? You're the princess, they aren't just going to let you leave."
Kairi frowned. "Well, that's the hard part. It would take a few months to get everything in order, but Naminé said that there is a way I could leave. I don't know…but it's a definite possibility." She smiled reassuringly at him.
"Then, I guess, maybe. If you're sure." Sora replied, shrugging. Kairi couldn't help but smile wider. He was always thinking of her first; she knew he detested this place, but that he tolerated this place anyway because of her. Maybe they would leave, maybe they would stay. But the decision would remain that whatever they would do, they would be doing it together.
Kairi wasn't sure what it was that awoke her. It wasn't the crying that had been the cause of her insomnia for those first several weeks; it wasn't really a sound at all. Perhaps it was just the intuition that came from having a heart so tightly intertwined with his, or the motherly intuition that connected her so intricately to the child that she'd carried within her own body for so many months. For whatever reason, she awoke, and blinked her eyes sleepily to discern the emptiness of the spot next to her. She rolled over, and frowned in confusion as she spotted him sitting in the rocking chair by the window, Layla's tiny pink face peeking out from the bundle of blankets in his arm.
"Sora?" she asked sleepily, yawning. He looked up at her, surprise evident in his face.
"Hey," he said softly. Kairi rubbed at her eyes as she dragged herself out of bed and over to him.
"Is something wrong? Did she wake up? I didn't hear her crying."
Sora shook his head. "No, she didn't wake up. That's just it." He continued worriedly. "She doesn't wake up. She just sleeps and sleeps and sleeps. Aren't babies supposed to wake up and cry every few hours? I mean, she did that for like, two weeks. But now she just sleeps, and sleeps. What if something's wrong? What if she's narcoleptic, or something?" Kairi laughed and kissed him, quieting his worried rambling.
"She's fine. Maybe she just likes sleeping. You worry too much." It would seem that indeed, baby Layla loved sleeping. For the first couple of weeks she awoke every few hours to cry like any baby would, but after that she seemed to discover that sleep was extremely nice, and that it was a wonderful way to spend the majority of her life. Kairi even had to wake the tiny girl up just to feed her. All in all, the sleeping situation was much less stressful than they had anticipated. Even when getting the girl to sleep had been impossible, they hadn't really minded. Years of sporadic heartless attack meant that they were used to being pulled out of slumber at all hours of the night and they were no strangers to insomnia and sleep deprivation. Actually, they found the baby easier to deal with; getting up in the wee hours of the morning to change a diaper paled in comparison to getting up in the wee hours of the morning to fight for your life. But after those first couple of weeks, Layla had started sleeping almost constantly. The doctor had declared that there was nothing wrong, so they hadn't really worried about it. Or at least, Kairi hadn't really worried about it. (AN 12)
She dreaded the day the heartless would come and steal him away again, but until then, she reveled in the love abounding in her home.
Wind whipped at her face, and waves lapped at her legs. She smiled.
"Oouuh." It was an odd sort of gurgle, and Kairi smiled down at the tiny creature that had made it.
"She's found a crab." Sora said, bending over and holding the little girl's hands as she attempted to follow the crustacean on her chubby, wobbly legs. She'd started walking recently; if walking was really the right term. With help, she could waddle somewhat. Sora let go of her hands, and the tiny redhead with the auburn curls and big blue eyes made it about four steps before tumbling back onto her hands. She stood up enough to fall backwards onto her plumb rump and then looked over her shoulder to her parents and smiled.
Kairi walked over and scooped her up. "You're just so proud of yourself, aren't you?" The little girl grinned wider. Her smile was the mirror image of Sora's; with the exception of teeth (or lack thereof.) Kairi pressed a kiss to the infant's forehead, and smiled when she felt another pair of lips press to her ear.
"I love you, Iri."
Kairi grinned and turned her sight to the horizon. She knew the world would not be safe forever, and that one day duty would call, and it would not care how devoted of a father Sora was. She knew that it was not a matter of if Sora would one day not return, but when. It was a flawed happily ever after; the Princess would not live happily ever after with her knight and grow old together with him. If anything, Sora would be lucky to live to see his grandchildren. That is, if he ever had any ("She is never dating!"). There was so much wrong with what destiny had done to them; but Kairi loved it nonetheless. Even if she one day lost Sora, she would always have Layla. The girl was so much like her father, and Kairi would never forget that Sora was a part of the tiny bundle of bubbly giggles in her arms. It wasn't perfection, and it wasn't the sort of happily-ever-after that all the other Princesses of Heart had achieved. But if anything, it proved to Kairi that no matter what darkness life could throw at her, there was always a little light in the world, however tiny a glimmer it may be. There was beauty in the brokenness, and it is when you focus on that beauty that you discover that things aren't as broken as they first appear. That nothing is beyond repair, and that the glass is not only half full, but it is to the point of overflowing.
AN 1: Reviewers for On Switch pointed out that Namine and Kairi were a little OOC with the bad-tempered thing. I'm pointing out that it's just that their jobs bring out the worst in them.
AN 2: Actually, I came up with Iri. It's pronounced with a short 'I', by the way. A lot of pairings with Kairi end in 'iri' which is where it came from. You know, Soriri, Roxiri, Zexiri. I don't know if most people pronounce them with a short 'I' or a long 'I', but for some reason I pronounced them with a short 'I'. I think it sounds prettier.
AN 3: The first of many Gilmore Girls references in this chapter. When Sookie was pregnant Jackson didn't want to know what the gender was. I just turned his statement into question form and had Kairi say it.
AN 4: I love the name Adelaide, Lorelai is there not just as a GG reference, I sent them all to Narnia (since Disney owns the movie rights it could very well show up in KH). Sukairain is a reference to my own sokai story Sukairain. Actually, that translation was originally chosen for the purposes of naming their child.
AN 5: This makes much more sense if you've read On Switch
AN 6: Gilmore Girl reference. This was Lorelai's way of telling Luke that he needed to go up and check on Rory and Jess more often than every ten minutes.
AN 7: "I, Robot" reference.
AN 8: Another GG reference. That's how Lorelai described childbirth.
AN 9: Sukairain is Japanese for skyline. Chigiri is Japanese for promise, oath, vow, or destiny. Fits for their last name, don't you think? And Layla, well, I can just see a little auburn haired five year old running around on the play island, and someone calling out "Layla, slow down!"
AN 10: Yet another GG reference. In the episode that flashbacks to when Rory was born, Lorelai and Christopher are looking at Rory and they say, "She's beautiful." "She's perfect." And later, when Christopher and Sherrie's daughter Gigi is born: "She's perfect." "Rory was perfect. She however, is a solid second."
AN 11: The thing about Sora and the nurses was a tribute to the late Steve Irwin, aka, The Crocodile Hunter. In a special where he talked about his daughter Bindi's birth, he mentioned doing the same thing.
AN 12: Layla always sleeping isn't implausible. I was the same way when I was a baby. I cried constantly for a few weeks, and then I just slept. To this day I sleep more than normal people. I can sleep for 13 hours, wake up for 6, then go back to sleep and sleep another 10, 12, hours.
Wow. Loooooong. About twenty two pages on Microsoft word. Lots of AN's too. But I'm so proud of it.
Reviews are nice.