A/N: So basically I discovered a newfound love for the SoraxKairi pairing, and decided to write a fluffy piece centered around the ship. It's cute and lovely and more importantly realistic. At least, I certainly hope so. Since I also wanted to show how awkward it is for two best friends to not only develop romantic feelings for one another, but pursue a full-fledged romance; it's not always rainbows and butterflies. But enough of my rambling.

Dedications: This is for you Manda-Panda, because this really would not have gotten finished without your continual encouragement. You're such a darling. Also, to every single one of you that reviewed my last story, thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. It made me rethink about quitting this fanfic writing bit in general.

Disclaimer: Unfortunately the wonderful world of Kingdom Hearts does not belong to me. 'Tis a sad, sad day.

To Heart
sora & kairi.

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The sun was being violently assaulted by the vibrant glow of impending dusk. Daubs of sultry summer hues tinted the glacial waters, and the puffy clouds appeared to have caught on fire, spilling into colors from yellow to a dazzling orange, then crimson and eventually a broad range of purples, darkening gradually until finally becoming a dark navy blue. A small, gentle, thundering waterfall pounded into a lucid pool, straddled by lush plants, and rocks lining the sides of it, all dipped in shades of darkness. The first indistinctly glistening stars were just beginning to appear. Everything was quiet, peaceful; the palm tree leaves swayed in the wind, as the islands basked in the refreshing sound of the waves ebb and flow.

It was twilight.

And somehow, these small things seemed so strange. The island was still the gorgeous sanctuary of bountiful natural wonders and tropical splendors he remembered, whether embraced by rain or shine, and day or night. Nothing seemed to have changed since his absence, and yet he couldn't help but think that wasn't entirely true either.

For there, where the aquamarine water barely lapped at her dainty feet, was where she sat with all the innocence of a princess. Knees pulled up to her chest, the upcoming salty breeze lifted her flowing scarlet locks. A contemplative look graced her facial features, eyes shining brightly, as she continued to look out over the ocean, with a contrastingly tranquil, unbothered air about her; even though a few days before she couldn't bear to look at the sea, here she was. Then again, nothing about Kairi was constant, for she was always changing but never saying why.

Taking in the scene before him, Sora bridged the gap between them quickly, his sloppy footsteps in the pristine sands alerting her of his presence.

She glanced up then, and her indigo eyes lit up with a newfound light. A swirl of emotion weaved around in Sora's stomach when a large, dazzling smile took hold of her features, radiating genuine delight. Even though he had to have seen her smile countless times before, it never ceased to make his heart pump furiously. It sort of troubled him — in a way. But he always managed to grin and bear it anyway, for her happy mood was contagious. This time was no exception.

"Sora! What are you doing here?"

The brunet-haired boy returned the whole-hearted gesture with an equally enthusiastic grin before plopping down unceremoniously beside her, only a few meters shy of her petite form. "Same thing you're doing here." He cocked his head to one side, adopting a genuinely quizzical expression. "What are you doing here anyway?"

Kairi let out a silver tinkle of laughter, and he soon found himself beaming along with her. He positively loved making her laugh.

"I was just watching the sunset. And I guess I was waiting for you." A soft frown found its way onto her porcelain face, shattering her playful quality. Then, her face lit up again and she giggled adorably. "So, does that mean you were waiting for you too?"

Sora paused momentarily, raking a hand though his tousled cinnamon hair, and sheered his line of vision to the dark skyline above. Suddenly, inspiration hit him, the words flowing from his lips unbidden.

"I suppose, I find myself . . . whenever I see you."

Immediately he regretted the words, and hung his head sheepishly.

Wow, how corny, Sora thought to himself, his bronzed cheeks blooming a bright pink. After all, he and Kairi were just friends. Best friends, in fact. To think otherwise was insane, right? Right. He was just getting ahead of himself here. To automatically equate the butterflies in his stomach, or the light spark when his rough fingertips brushed against her much softer ones, or even the strong urge to grab her by the face and see if those soft, pink lips tasted as sweet as they looked as something more than friendship, was completely and utterly ridiculous.

Even though, his usually bright, round eyes all but twinkled, gleamed, and shimmered so much more brightly whenever she graced him with his presence. Or the way his virtually permanently etched grin widened even more whenever she sported a radiant smile, which tugged cutely at the corners of her small, pink tinged lips. The way his laughter sounded even more carefree and sun-filled whenever she giggled in mirth, just because it meant she was happy, and therefore so was he by default.

Okay, so maybe somewhere along the way the lines of childlike friendship and falling in love with your best friend had blurred and twirled and smudged. Somewhere along the way, he had ended up falling completely, madly, hopelessly, head over heels in love with the same girl sitting just a few meters away — not that he actually wore heels, of course.

It was all just a bit confusing, and to be completely honest Sora wasn't very good at understanding it all in his head. Yet somehow, he knew all he could do was trust in his heart, because that was all he really had to offer her (while hers had been the only thing he had ever really wanted).

When Sora felt her warm, tender hand caress his cheek, he practically flinched, before reluctantly lifting his head. She stared back at him, and he felt powerless to look away from those gently shimmering indigo pools.

"Why are you so sad?"

"I'm not sad . . . that was just a goofy thing to say."

It almost seemed as if she could read all of his thoughts and feelings, what with the way she continued to cast her gaze against him like that, and suddenly Sora felt very much like a small child again. Gulping quite loudly, his eyes glimmered downwards, suddenly finding the shells sitting by his feet very interesting. You stupid, stupid, stupid idiot.

There was silence for a while: choking silence and then the sound of the gently murmuring waves lapping against the golden, sandy banks. The beauty of sunset had completely disappeared now, only to be replaced by the heavy and dark curtain of nightfall; complete with an endless starry array of glitter expanded across the sky, and the romantic moon that showered the world in a mist of moonbeams. A small sigh escaped from his lips as his sky-blue orbs looked out over the ocean, vaguely illuminated by the happily twinkling stars.

When Kairi spoke again, he had to strain to hear her.

"It is how you feel, and to be honest," she whispered, and smiled a little, though the effect was half-smothered in the cheek resting against her knees, "I feel . . . the same way too."

—It is how you feel, and to be honest.

I feel . . . the same way too. - -

Did she seriously just say . . . ? Sora's head whipped his head up then, his face set in a look of a total bafflement. He fastened his wide oceanic eyes on Kairi, who had averted her gaze downwards at the wet sand shifting against her bare legs, cheeks glowing a bright, rosy pink.

"W-What?" Sora stammered. He felt sick to his stomach and excited all at once.

"I'm sorry! I mean . . . I know I shouldn't have just assumed you felt more than . . . especially something like that . . . and we're just best friends, I know that. Not that being best friends is bad of course, it's wonderful and I am perfectly fine with just —" Kairi was rambling nonsensically now, each word clumsy and unrefined, and during all this he couldn't help but mentally scream in dubious confusion.

What the heck is she apologizing about?

I'm the one that screwed up big time, I'm the one that wants more, I'm the one that . . .

And then slowly the pieces of the puzzle began to click together.

Sora had a horrible feeling; no, he knew without a doubt, that the red-haired girl had taken his half-choked reply as rejection. That she was the one who had jumped too soon to conclusions. Now she was scrambling for something to say that wouldn't make her seem like a complete idiot, hoping to make things right between them.

A flicker of light shimmered inside his sapphire orbs at the realization, and his expression immediately softened.

So lost in her frenzied rambling, Kairi's body instantly froze up in surprise, when Sora moved forward and wrapped his arms around her lithe, small form whilst stroking her hair, rubbing her back in small circles.

When they were together there was sunshine and laughter, stillness and sweetness. Yet the same questions ran through their delicate minds, doubt responsible for making their hearts skip beats, and a miry undercurrent of uncertainty and awkwardness lingering. It was the teenage gawkiness that never quite goes away, and resurfaces when you least expect it; the imperfection in their seeming perfection that still makes them similar to normal love-struck teenagers out of millions.

Why are we afraid to be in love?

-- fin.