The Taste of Darkness

A Kingdom Hearts novella

A/N: This is a crossover with Kingdom Hearts and Star Wars Episode I, but the Star Wars part doesn't come until a little later. Flames will be used to roast marshmallows. They're magically delicious!

Disclaimer: All right, I confess! I do not own Kingdom Hearts or Star Wars. I know you're all shocked. BUT all OCs belong to me. If you use them without my permission, I'll be forced to take away your lollipop.

Now back to your regularly scheduled fanfiction.

Prologue: Happily Ever After?

"Don't forget: wherever you go, I'm always with you."


It had only been ten minutes since the defeat of Xemnas and the fall of Organization XIII. Sora and King Mickey were walking alone together on the beach of the island where the former used to play with his friends.

"Riku decided to come with me to Disney Castle." Mickey informed Sora. "He'll be studying under me as my apprentice. I don't think he'll be coming back to the islands anytime soon."

Sora nodded. "I didn't think he'd stay. Even after we beat Xemnas, he still didn't want to come home. But I'm just glad it's over."

"Sora, your work isn't done yet." Mickey corrected him. "You have one last mission, which will take you the rest of your life."

Oh no! Sora thought. I just got back to the islands, to my family... to Kairi. He could only sigh and ask, "What is it?"

"It's nothing new." Mickey assured Sora. "You accepted this mission a long time ago."

Sora was now thoroughly confused. "What do you mean?"

Mickey turned to glance behind him, gesturing for Sora to do the same. Kairi was sitting on the horizontally bent trunk of the paopu tree, staring sadly at her lucky charm made of bound-together shells. It pained Sora to see her looking so dejected. She had filled his thoughts every day he was away, and she had filled his dreams while Naminé had put his memories back.

Mickey looked back toward Sora. "She's a Princess of Heart." he said. "You know that."

Sora nodded and reluctantly turned to face Mickey. "Yeah, I know."

"And Princesses of Heart are supposed to live happily ever after." Mickey continued.

"Yeah, I know."

"I want you to make sure she does, Sora."

Sora's eyes widened. "What do you mean, Your Majesty?"

Mickey smiled. "Your hearts are bound more tightly than you could ever imagine. I want you to give her a happily ever after. But you already promised her that a long time ago--during a meteor shower, I think."

Sora smiled and nodded. "I did."

Mickey waved Sora away. "Go on, Sora. She needs someone to cheer her up."

Sora was about to run to her, but Mickey cut him off again. "And Sora..."

Sora turned back to face the king. "What is it, Your Majesty?"

"She really loves you, you know." With this, the king began walking toward his Gummi ship a few yards away.

Sora felt dizzy. What did the king just say to me? He quickly shook it off. He probably just said that to give me extra incentive. Not that I need it. I already love her. After removing these thoughts from his mind, Sora rushed down the beach to reach Kairi.

Kairi still sat on the paopu tree, and still clutched her lucky charm. Her thoughts rested with Sora. He's only been home for ten minutes and Mickey already took him away.What if he leaves again? What if he never comes back? I can't go another minute without him.

Her ponderings were interrupted by the sound of a familiar voice. "Hey, Kairi!"

Kairi looked up. Sora was running toward her with his trademark smile on his face. That smile always managed to goad her own smile into emerging. It was doing so now. "Hi, Sora." she told him. That was all she could really say.

Sora kept on grinning and sat upon the tree beside her. "You looked sad, so I thought I'd come by and cheer you up."

Kairi's smile was completely visible now. He can't know how I feel about him. What if my mom found out... "It was nothing." she said casually.

Sora still looked skeptical. "It sure didn't look like nothing."

"What did the king say?" Kairi asked, changing the subject.

Sora shrugged. "Riku decided to go with them. He's Mickey's apprentice now."

Kairi couldn't say she was surprised. Riku had always been distant. In truth, Kairi didn't really care. She cared for Riku, but the one she truly loved was still beside her. "Is there more?" she questioned.

Sora paused. Kairi saw conflict in his deep azure eyes. After a minute or two, he said, "Yeah. He told be to keep up with my keyblade practice and to always follow my heart. The usual stuff. And he told me I'd never have to leave the islands again."

Kairi's heart skipped a beat when she heard this. Sora's never leaving me again? "Why?" she asked.

Sora instantly stiffened. "Uhh... y'know... I... uhh... I don't know."

Kairi raised an eyebrow at him. He was a very bad liar. "Come on, Sora. No more secrets."

Sora raised his hands defensively. "Secrets? What secrets?"

Kairi rolled her eyes. "What? Did King Mickey make you promise not to tell or something?"

Sora grinned. "Sure! Let's go with that!"

Kairi couldn't help but giggle. Sora could always make her do that. "Okay, fine. You don't have to answer." She looked out at the setting sun as it receded below the horizon.

"I missed sunsets like this." Sora recounted.

Kairi was surprised. "You did? I thought the sunsets on other worlds would be prettier."

Sora reclined in the tree. "I hardly ever saw sunsets on other worlds. I saw one in Atlantica, but it wasn't as pretty. There was something missing."

Kairi was thoroughly interested now. "What?"

"I don't know." Sora said lazily. "I just missed these sunsets, watching the horizon. Where the sky meets the sea."

Kairi nearly blushed. Was that supposed to be a pun? Sora's name meant sky and her own name meant sea, and Sora was talking about where the two met. No, that couldn't have been. Sora would have to actually like her before he made a pun like that.

Sora's voice again broke her train of thought. "It's getting dark. I think I'm gonna spend the night here on the island. If I went home, my mom would get all emotional about how she's not seen me in more than a year. That can wait until morning."

Kairi nodded. "I can understand that."

"Would you like to stay with me?"

The question shocked Kairi to no end. Me? Spend the night alone on the island with Sora?I can't do that! If I do, I'll probably end up giving away how I feel about him. Oh, I wish I could tell him! "What about my mom?" Kairi asked.

That was a silly excuse. She had spent nights on the island before and her foster mother had paid it no mind. Just as long as those horrible boys you run with aren't around, she would always tell Kairi, I don't like how close you are to them. Kairi had always lied to her with a quick, Of course they won't be there. and left. Why was she reluctant to do so now?

Sora was quick to point this out. "She never said no before. Come on, Kairi! You can't use school as an excuse, since summer vacation just started yesterday. Please, Kairi! Pretty please! I'll get lonely out here by myself."

Sora wore his most irresistible expression, which Kairi often called the "puppy dog face." His eyes were wide and his lip quivered. There was no way Kairi could refuse that face, even before she discovered her feelings for him. She was hopeless now. "Oh, all right. You win."

Sora leaped high into the air, raising his fist in triumph. "Yes!"

"Sora! Wake up!"

Sora opened his eyes to find Kairi's staring back at him in desperation. "What is it, Kairi?" he asked sleepily.

Sora had fallen asleep not too long ago on a hammock between two sturdy trees. His shoes were cast aside, but he was still wearing his black clothes for lack of anything else. Kairi was dressed in an emergency set of pajamas she kept on the island. Both Riku and Kairi had made fun of her for it, but they had come in handy several times.

Kairi sat down on the hammock. To say that she was frightened would be a gross understatement. "I heard thunder."

Sora instantly understood. Kairi had always been a little scared of thunderstorms, and ever since the giant one that unleashed the Heartless on Destiny Islands for the first time, she was downright terrified of them. Sora sat up and placed his hand on her back comfortingly. "I'm sure it was just your imagination. Yours is almost as crazy as mine!"

The goofy grin on Sora's face forced Kairi to smile. "I'm serious!" she argued, folding her arms across her chest in a false pout. Which, Sora thought, made her look adorable.

"I don't hear anything." Sora told her, but as soon as he finished his statement, a streak of lightning lit up the sky and a boom of thunder rolled in the distance. Kairi instinctively clung to the nearest object, which just happened to be Sora. Sora lifted Kairi's eyes to his and gave her another cheesy smile. "I stand corrected." he chuckled.

And then the rain started to fall. It was a light drizzle at first, but it steadily grew heavier and heavier, until Sora and Kairi were both drenched. Another crack of lightning and boom of thunder indicated that the storm was fast approaching. Kairi clung tighter to Sora, fear blinding her to just how close she was to him.

Sora was a little scared of storms too, after the Heartless invasion, but he wasn't oblivious to the redheaded angel--which is exactly how he would describe her--clinging onto him for dear life. "Come on, Kairi." he told her as he slowly rose to his feet and pried Kairi off of him. "We can't stay out here. Let's go to the secret place."

Sora held out his hand and Kairi clutched it tightly as he led her to the small cave that held so many of their childhood memories. Kairi put forth no resistance, squeezing Sora's hand as tightly as she could. "Gosh, Kairi, you really are scared." Sora laughed as he led her into the secret place.

As soon as she was out of the rain, Kairi realized where she was. Oh no! she thought silently. Why did I let Sora take me here? If he sees that drawing, I'm sunk!

Sora paid no attention to the walls or the drawings upon them. Instead, he took off his jacket and wrung it out as best he could. He motioned for Kairi to sit beside him, and he wrapped the jacket around her shivering body. "Here. I know it's a little wet still, but it's drier than you are." he laughed.

Kairi pulled the jacket as tightly around her as she could. Yes, it was wet, but the jacket was very much like Sora himself: it brought Kairi warmth, comfort, and security. It still wasn't as good as when Kairi had hugged Sora, but it was the closest thing she would dare hope for.

Suddenly, she remembered that Sora now had nothing to warm him. "Aren't you cold?" she asked.

"Nah." Sora assured her with his trademark gin. "I'm not the one wearing pajamas."

Kairi smiled, not only because Sora's comment amused her, but also because he had said it while shivering and rubbing his arms for warmth. "Here." she offered, scooting closer to him. "We'll be warmer if we're closer together."

Sora said nothing, but the look on his face clearly expressed his shock. "Relax." she told him. "It's not like I'm gonna bite you."

Sora grinned and shook his head. "I don't know about that. You're pretty vicious."

Kairi giggled as she laid her head back against the dry wall of the cave. Without thinking, she closed her eyes and said, "Tell me a story."

Sora scratched his head. "What?"

Kairi realized what she was doing and quickly came up with an alibi. "I mean... I wanna hear about other worlds. Maybe you could tell me about one of your adventures. At least until the storm's over. I'm still scared." That, at least, was true.

"Oh, all right." Sora conceded. "Is there a specific world you wanted to hear about?"

Kairi shook her head. "No. What was your favorite part?"

Sora grinned. "Good grief, I'm fifteen years old and I'm already telling war stories." Kairi giggled, then looked up at him expectantly. "Well," Sora began, "I guess I could tell you about when I turned into a Heartless. That's my favorite."

Kairi was surprised, and to express this, her eyes widened. "Really?"

Sora nodded. "Yeah. Donald, Goofy, and I had just fought our way to the top floor of the castle, and we found you lying on the ground. You still didn't have your heart back. Xehanort's Heartless was possessing Riku, and he fought me one-on-one."

"And you won." Kairi finished for him with pride. In her eyes, he was a hero right out of her childhood storybooks; but at the same time, he was still the boy she knew before all this mess started. The war that had calloused his hands and toned his muscles hadn't hardened his soft heart.

This was expressed by the smile he gave her as he said, "It was a whole lot different from when we used to fight over you with little wooden swords. His keyblade was going like a zillion miles an hour and it was hard for me just to keep up. But I had something he didn't have."

"What was that?" Kairi questioned.

"I had something worth fighting for." Sora answered. "I managed to beat him, but I was still hurt pretty bad. I tried to wake you up, but you just wouldn't. But then I remembered what Riku--Xehanort's Heartless--had said. Your heart was inside me. So I picked up that fake keyblade that unlocked people's hearts, and I stabbed myself in the heart."

Kairi's eyes went wide with shock. "You stabbed yourself in the heart... for me?"

Sora nodded. "Then you know the rest. You woke up, I got turned into a Heartless, and I ran down to find you. And then when you hugged me, you gave me my heart back. I can't explain what happened."

Kairi barely heard him. Her mind was still dwelling on the previous statement. "Why did you do all that for me? You fought Riku and almost got yourself killed, you stabbed yourself in the heart, you turned into a Heartless... why?"

Sora stared up at the cave ceiling, and thunder rolled in the distance. The storm was passing now. "Kairi," he stated with surprising resolve, "there's something I wanna tell you. Actually... there's something I wanna show you."

Before Kairi could question the meaning of Sora's words, he pressed his lips softly against hers. Kairi's eyes widened in shock for a moment, then closed as she surrendered herself to the overwhelming pleasure of the kiss. Her lips and Sora's fit perfectly together, like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, Like they were meant to connect.

After what felt like hours but was in reality only a minute or two, Sora and Kairi parted for air. Kairi's lips still tingled and his unique taste lingered upon them. "That was amazing." she murmured.

"I guess you know what I was trying to say." Sora said with a grin.

Kairi nodded. "I love you too."

Sora wrapped his arm around her and pulled her close to him. "Man. I'm glad that's off my chest."

"Me too." Kairi agreed, but she suddenly froze. "Oh no."

"What?" Sora asked. "I didn't mean to make you do anything--"

"It's not that." Kairi cut him off. "I love you with all my heart. It's just... there's a problem."

"What's that?" Sora wondered.

"I'm already engaged to someone else. I'm a princess, remember? I was engaged to a prince before I was ever even born. I'm supposed to marry him when I turn eighteen. My foster parents know about it too, and that's why they don't like me hanging around you or Riku. They were afraid I'd fall in love with one of you. Which I did."

Sora slumped. "Crud. I never thought about it like that. If I'm putting you in danger..."

"No." Kairi assured him. "Actually, it's the other way around. If you date me, we have to keep it a secret from everybody. There's no telling what the prince would do to you if he found out. The only person I know who could keep it a secret would be Riku. He's good at keeping secrets."

"You're telling me." Sora commented. "It took me forever to figure out where to even find him. And wait... you're saying we're dating? Already?"

Kairi smiled. "Do you have a problem with that, Mister Keyblade Master?"

"No argument here." Sora returned. "And as far as the constant fear of getting caught goes, I think I'm still up for some adventure."

Sora yawned and lay down upon the soft sand of the cave floor. Kairi snuggled up beside him, so close that Sora's small jacket was able to cover both of them. In this manner, they fell asleep listening to the pouring rain outside and feeling the beat of each other's heart.

A/N: You like? I thought not. Anyways, I'm posting the OFFICIAL first chapter today also. So click that little review button there and gimme some feedback. But... be gentle. I'm a noob.