Disclaimer: Guess what? yeah.


A young Sora peered through half-opened eyelids as his mother tucked him into bed. He felt clever for pretending to be asleep, but his mother knew. She could always tell. He waited for her to tuck him in, then close the door and turn the lights off, and finally for the sound of her door shutting down the hallway. It was so routine that the window would open itself for him if it could. He would climb outside and hang by his fingers as far as he could, and then release himself onto the ground below and run into the distance to the mayor's house.

Kairi would always be waiting by her window. She always knew he would come running down the path, then climb the wall to her room, and they would sit together talking until she was tired. The mayor's guard had caught him once, but he never seemed to take that patrol afterwards. Sora attributed it to luck.

On this particular night, Sora had been thinking about something extra special. This time, he actually had something specific to say to her. Not just about a raft, or a tree, or Riku; this time he had a serious statement. Sora stopped beneath her window and began looking for a rock to alert her with. Kairi had been expecting him though and opened the window before he could destroy it.

"Sora," she whispered.

Sora looked up to her and smiled. "Hi Kairi," He whispered back.

He paused before climbing up to her window.

"Hey Kairi!"

She leaned out the window farther, to show her attention.

"This time I've got something important to say."

"Okay," she said. She pulled herself back into her room and began making space on her bed so they could sit together.

When Sora finished climbing in, he brushed himself off and turned to Kairi quickly so he could finally reveal his secret.

Kairi beamed at him with the most beautiful smile he had ever said seen. He grinned stupidly back at her. Sora couldn't explain why, but he had never realized how beautiful she was.

Kairi raised her eyebrows expectantly. "Sora? What's so important?"

Sora snapped back into his body and opened his mouth to tell her. Nothing came out. He had forgotten completely. It didn't matter anymore, not now that he was here, with Kairi.

"Oh, nothing," he beamed. "I just wanted to see you."

.qp.

An older Sora gripped his keyblade in both fists. The sun had not yet risen upon the canyon leading to Hollow Bastion, and before him already was a plethora of heartless so great in number that it seemed like the ground was crawling towards him. The sheer number of them created a thundering roar that reverberated throughout the entire canyon. They were here to destroy the world. No exceptions. No survivors. Sora was overwhelmed. Even on Destiny Islands he hadn't seen anywhere near this many of them.

"Donald! Mickey!" He called for his friends but they were nowhere to be seen. No one was. Sora stood alone, facing the horde. Fear and panic began to set to work upon his heart. The swarm was close now, they wouldn't even have to stop for him. They could crush him under their momentum and pass straight through to destroy the world. The shaking in the earth and the shaking of his hands loosened his grip on the keyblade. Everything he had ever done was gone from his head. Right now, Sora would make no claim to being a hero. He would run and live. This was a race he could not finish, a contest he could not win. Not without Goofy, not without Riku or Kairi, not without someone to go with him.

Kairi. Sora took another look at the horde. Suddenly, it wasn't so large. Suddenly, he, mortal, childish, fun-loving, second-to-Riku Sora, was not so terrified. Suddenly, the impossible became real. Sora's doubts and fears dissolved. As the horde reached him, the nearest of the heartless jumped from the pack with a sword raised above its head. Sora parried it easily to his side.

"Not this time."

A whole group left the charge and came at him from his left. Sora threw his weight into the keyblade and swung into the first of them. It was thrown into its comrades.

"Not here." Sora threw a bolt of lightning into another oncoming group.

"Not now."

The horde had been ignoring him for the most part and began to pass him, but Sora was no longer worried for himself, no longer worried for his own well being.

No longer, he thought. No more, not an inch, not a single heart!

Sora felt a rush of energy flowing through him, adrenalin and purpose. His clothes began to react as well, and almost crackled with the energy passing through them, loosening more than he had ever felt them before. Now, they knew, was the time for motion.

The keyblade changed shape in his hand. Sora glanced at it, Oathkeeper.

"Kairi." He muttered her name under his breath as he swung again into the mass of bodies.

"I haven't forgotten my promise, I'm still coming, no matter what!"

The heartless began to slow as they noticed the sudden change in the environment. Something among them was giving off light. Sora was oblivious to the golden aura his clothes had taken on as he began to swing harder and faster into the swarm, cutting away at tens of the heartless at a time. Tears began streaming from his eyes as the crowd began ignoring the town and returning to fight him. Tears of dedication. Tears for every second spent away from Kairi.

Sora leapt from the ground high into the air, higher than ever before. And as he did, time seemed to slow for him, creating his own special break. Below him, the swarm had stopped surrounding him to gape in awe at his sudden movement, to track him up, up, up with their awestruck, golden eyes. And just as he reached the peak of his height, the sun rose from over the horizon, blinding them all. Sora flung himself to the ground and thrashed at the fiends, flinging them to their deaths and sundering their shadowy bodies. Their shrieking wails echoed around the canyon, shattering cohesion and sending them left and right as they panicked in a blind stupor. Swinging swords clashed against each other and Heartless turned on Heartless in blind panic.

The horde shrank, and shrank, and began to disperse and flee until it finally was obliterated from existence, evanescent smoke and the stench of darkness its only fleeting memoir.

Sora was alone again, kneeling tall in the middle of the canyon, panting with tears streaming down past the shadows of exhaustion below his eyes as the adrenaline left his blood. Sora let one last tear fall to the earth and stuck his chin up in defiance of the moon, a salute to the sun.

"I'm still coming Kairi. I'll never give up. I'll find you."

.qp.

An older Kairi sat on the shore of an islet, staring out to sea. Tidus was beside her with a gift in his pocket.

"So, Kairi."He said it slyly.

Kairi didn't answer, slyly.

"Y'know... you kind of hang out here alot."

Kairi kept staring ahead out to sea, as if Sora would be sailing in on a raft. "I'm waiting."

"Yeah, but... what if...?" He trailed off. "I, uh, brought you a gift." He dug a small box out of his pocket and presented it to her.

Kairi smiled. "That was sweet of you Tidus, but... I think there's someone else you should give that to."

Tidus was dumbstruck. "Uh... you don't...?"

Kairi shook her head at him. "I'm taken."

Tidus blushed and began lying through his teeth. "Oh! Oh, no, I wasn't tryin' to, y'know, I just thought maybe you might want a present or something."

There was a long, awkward silence.

"So... who was it that I should give it to?"

Kairi checked her shoulders to see that no one was in nearby, then whispered into his ear.

Tidus smiled so hard his teeth nearly escaped. After a hop to his feet, and a quick "Uh, thanks Kairi, sorry to bother you." he was gone, sprinting.

Kairi stared back out to sea as the wind blew a whispered message into her ears from across the worlds. She gasped, and a single tear escaped her.

"I know you will," she replied.

.qp.

Sora and Riku collapsed in exhaustion upon a Destiny Islands in repose. It was not the one they called home, and indeed, it appeared that no one ever had. It was empty, dark. Riku stared into the distance, out to sea.

"At least the waves sound the same."

Sora said nothing. The waves didn't matter to him. This wasn't his final rest. Riku could give up and stay here forever, or whatever it was that he wanted to do, but Sora would never stop. Not here, in a heartless mock-up version of the place he called home.

Suddenly, a thought occurred to Sora.

"Riku, who do you have to go back to?"

Riku didn't answer. Whatever words he could have used were lost to Ansem with that part of his heart. Or, perhaps, they had never been there. Riku continued to glare out to the sea without acknowledging that Sora had even spoken.

Sora looked out to sea for a while as well, until fatigue took the best of him. He lay down on the sand and closed his eyes. The waves did sound the same.

Crashing little currents coalesced and upended each other, violently merging their shapes and forcing new ones into existence as they collided in an elaborate dance, all on a tiny scale. Just the murmur of a tiny tide.

Riku continued his gaze until something rudely interrupted his calm, bumping his foot. He glanced down at it.

"Hey, Sora. Check this out."

Sora opened his eyes and sat up. "Huh?"

Riku picked it up, a bottle, and pulled out the cork. He took a small parchment out of it and only glanced at the top before handing it to his friend.

"I think it's for you."

Sora snatched it from his hands and read it quickly.

Kairi had remembered too. Sora suddenly knew that he wasn't the only one with dedication in him. She had waited for two years, and then longer. And somehow, her message of encouragement had come from across the seas of time and destiny to find him.

"One sky, one destiny."

Over the ocean in front of them, a door opened. The Door to Light.

.qp.

Sora stood face to face with Kairi. Actually, they stood lips to lips, eyes closed, making up for every second away from each other, making up for every heart that was lost, every hole in the chest of a Nobody. They could care less that everyone was with them as they fell on to the sand in a warm embrace. They paused for just a moment to look at each other, Sora at Kairi, Roxas at Namine, and they both said one great thing. Courage welled up inside them like never before, and Sora opened his mouth to say what he had held in for far too long.

"Remember when we were younger, and I wanted to tell you something important, but I forgot?"

Kairi nodded slowly.

"I wanted to tell you that... that I actually liked your idea about running away on the raft together. Because then, I thought we could be together forever. Just you and I under the sun, and our whole life would be an adventure we could take together. I wanted to say…"

Kairi couldn't resist blushing even before he said it, and Sora's tongue was trying to find someone else to say it for him. He buckled down and finished, "I love you."

And they kissed like teenagers who'd waited for years.

Riku turned his back on them and nodded at King Mickey. They shook hands, purely professionally, and Mickey held his tongue. He had to bite his lip till it was bleeding, but he held his tongue.

Wasn't that supposed to be you, Terra?