A/N: Here it is. The last chapter. I think I'm gonna cry. Just read it and let me cry in peace!
Chapter 14: Home is Where the Heart is
"No matter where I go or what I see, I know I can always come back here."
One Week Passes
Sora was fidgety, to say the least. He was currently in the east wing of his new castle, accompanied by Riku, Donald, Goofy, Launchpad, Chip, and Dale. Sora was dressed in a white tuxedo, while everyone else was in traditional black. Chip and Dale fixed Sora's bow tie around his neck while everyone else played with their suits. Of everyone in the room, only Donald was very comfortable in a tuxedo.
Riku placed a hand on his best friend's shoulder. "Relax, would ya? You've been dreaming about this ever since Kairi washed up on Destiny Islands. I thought you'd be mentally prepared by now."
Sora shrugged and messed with the spikes of his hair. "Yeah, I know. But I had no idea I'd be getting married in this giant castle with all these people."
"I think you'll live." Riku said with a smirk. "Besides, just think about what happens after the wedding."
"Riku!" Sora shouted, nearly causing Chip and Dale to lose their balance and fall off his shoulders.
"It was a joke, Sora." Riku countered. "Anything to make you less nervous. You're sweating."
"Well duh," Sora argued, "it's like a million degrees in this monkey suit!"
"And you're wearing white." Riku reminded him. "How do you think everyone else feels in these black tuxedos? But I guess it beats looking like a nerd."
"Hey!" Sora shouted again. Chip and Dale scurried to the floor before they got knocked over. "I better not look like a nerd! Scrooge McDuck said he got the best one he could find."
"Which means he bought the cheapest." Riku chuckled.
Sora was about to issue a reply, but Goofy pushed him out the door. "Come on! You don't wanna be late for your own wedding!"
Sora shrugged and headed out the door. Riku hadn't helped. He was still nervous.
Kairi wasn't nervous anymore. As far as she was concerned, this was the happy ending at the end of the fairytale: the princess marries her knight in shining armor and they live happily ever after. What she was at the moment was frustrated.
Donald and Goofy had invited the three good fairies--Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather--to design the dresses for the wedding. Sora had heavily objected at first, but Kairi had assured him that nothing could go wrong. Kairi took a mental note to listen to Sora's advice more often.
The dresses were absolutely beautiful, no mistakes there, but the three fairies couldn't decide upon a dress color to save their lives. Daisy Duck was no help, since her mind was just as changeable as the fairies'. They had spent several minutes arguing before the outspoken duck finally decided on a blue dress. Kairi was fortunate that she was the bride, and was therefore expected to wear white. At the moment, the fairies were working on Queen Minnie's dress.
"Blue!" Merryweather shouted, changing Minnie's dress from its original pink to a lovely blue. Kairi thought Minnie looked nice either way, and it didn't really matter to her, if only someone would pick something!
"Pink!" Flora shouted back, changing Minnie's dress back to its original color.
"I know! " Fauna suggested. "We can compromise! Look!" Of course, Fauna's "compromise" resulted in the dress turning green.
"Now now, dears!" Flora told the others. "This is a very special occasion, and we want Her Majesty the Queen to look her best. So pink is our color." To finalize the matter, she changed Minnie's dress pink again.
"But look at how good blue looks on Daisy!" Merryweather objected. "So Queen Minnie should use blue too!" To prove her point, Merryweather changed Minnie's dress blue.
Queen Minnie, noticing Kairi's frustration and building up a little of her own, at last decided, "I think since it's Kairi's wedding, we should let her decide."
All three of the fairies laughed sheepishly. "Of course." Flora chuckled, turning to Kairi. "What color would you prefer, dear?"
Kairi breathed a sigh of relief that the argument was over. "It doesn't matter to me," she said, "as long as you just pick a color and stick with it."
They were interrupted by Riku's voice from just outside the door. "If you're about done in there, ladies, we need to get a move on."
Everyone nodded and began to walk out the door. At the last second, Kairi leaned down and whispered into Flora's ear, "Pink."
Flora nodded in understanding and changed Minnie's dress pink.
Sora was at last standing in front of the altar. The place was absolutely packed. Everyone in Disney Castle's court as well as most of the citizens of Radiant Garden had attended the wedding. He spotted Cloud and Leon in a corner, and in another he found everyone else in the Restoration Committee. Everyone looked as though they had fully recovered, even Kuro.
King Mickey stood in front of Sora, smiling that kind smile of his that clearly said, "I believe in you." Goofy, who was only a few feet away, smiled and waved at him, and let out a small "hyuck."
At last, Donald (the organist for the wedding) struck up a rather lively tune of "Here Comes the Bride" and the bridesmaids began to emerge. Queen Minnie Mouse came first, followed by Clarabelle Cow, Daisy Duck, Flora, Fauna, Merryweather, and finally Kairi. Sora's eyes nearly popped out of his head upon seeing how beautiful she was, then locked onto her own violet orbs. She smiled at him from underneath her veil as Riku led her up the aisle.
When everyone was in position, King Mickey began the ceremony. "Dearly beloved, we've gathered here today to join two loving hearts in the bond of holy matrimony. All of you here are friends of Sora, and many are Kairi's friends too. Sora has saved your worlds more than once, and it's my great pleasure to perform his wedding. May it signify the beginning of a well-deserved rest. Let's give 'em a hand!"
The sound of thunderous applause filled the room for a moment. When it quieted, Mickey turned to Riku. "Do you give up this woman to be married?"
As if it was my decision. Riku thought with a smile. All he said was, "I do."
Mickey nodded to Kairi, and she took her place beside Sora. "If there's anyone here with sufficient cause that this Princess of Heart and this Keybearer should not be married, speak now or forever hold your peace."
The room was so quiet, the drop of a pin would have sounded like a thunderclap. No one dared to even breathe. Donald accidentally hit a key on the organ with his elbow, and everyone laughed for a moment as the duck turned bright red.
Once the laughter had died down, Mickey smiled and continued. "Do you, Sora Hikari, take Kairi to be your lawfully wedded wife and to make her heart one with your own?"
Sora grinned and nodded. "I do."
Mickey turned to Kairi. "Do you, Kairi Herutsu , take Sora to be your lawfully wedded husband and to make his heart as one with your own?"
Kairi was already smiling. "I do."
"Then may your hearts always beat as one, and may they always be there to guide you." Mickey finished. "I now pronounce you man and wife, king and queen of Radiant Garden. Sora, you may kiss your bride."
Sora's fingers trembled with anticipation as he flung Kairi's veil back as though he were a child opening a Christmas gift. Kairi barely had time to react before her lips were connected with Sora's. She swore she felt the connection that bound their hearts grow just a little stronger. For the second time, thunderous applause filled the room.
Once Sora and Kairi had parted, Mickey clapped his hands, silencing everyone. "Please present the rings."
Sora reached into his pockets and found them empty. "Oops." he whispered to Kairi.
"Don't tell me you can't find the rings." Kairi whispered back, sounding a little concerned.
"Okay fine, I won't tell you." Sora replied.
"Here they are!" shouted a small voice from the back of the room. Dale scampered across the aisle, carrying Kairi's ring. Chip was right behind him with Sora's.
Sora grinned again. "I was just kidding, Kai. Like I'd really forget the rings."
Kairi could only smile back and shake her head at him. Dale scurried up to Sora's shoulders and placed Kairi's ring in his palm. Chip did the same to Kairi. Sora slipped Kairi's ring onto her finger, and he allowed her to do the same to him.
Suddenly, the Oathkeeper appeared in Sora's left hand so that both he and Kairi were gripping the hilt. "Sora, what's going on?" Kairi asked.
"Beats me." Sora replied. "I didn't do anything."
Suddenly, the familiar sequence of events that usually led to the sealing of a keyhole began to happen again. This time, however, the keyhole was shaped like a pair of hearts. A beam of light emitted from the Oathkeeper at the two hearts, and they slowly merged into one large heart. A locking sound was heard and both keyhole and keyblade disappeared.
"The keyblade approves of your marriage, Sora." King Mickey explained. "It just locked your hearts together."
"Good to know I have my keyblade's permission." Sora joked.
The wedding reception was as true to Disney Castle tradition as could be. Donald's cousin Gus Goose brought out the cake, which was a veritable culinary masterpiece. Of course, Gus didn't want to part with his cake and Donald had to hold him off while penguin servers brought slices to all of the guests.
After the feast was over, Donald and Goofy walked to the middle of the large room. "All right, guys, clear the dance floor!" Goofy called.
"It's time for the bride and groom to dance!" Donald added.
Before Sora or Kairi could say or do anything, Donald and Goofy pulled them to the dance floor before joining the others. "Well," Sora told Kairi, "I guess there's no way around it now."
"Would this be a bad time to tell you I can't dance?" Kairi whispered.
"I'll teach you." Sora offered. "I picked up several steps from Beast's Castle and Halloweentown. This hand goes in mine, and your other hand goes on my shoulder. Now just follow my lead."
Whether because of her status as a Princess of Heart or because her teacher happened to be her new husband, Kairi picked up the steps very quickly. After the very brief tutorial, Goofy dimmed the lights while Donald put on the record for the first song, "You'll be in My Heart."
After the first song ended, Donald made an announcement. "Attention everybody! We've got two special guests who want to sing a song! Put your hands together for Joe Carioca and Panchito!"
Kairi looked at Sora questioningly. "What did he say?"
Sora shrugged. "I heard the part about two special guests, but that was it."
Before Kairi could issue a reply, two figures strode to the front of the room. The first was a parrot in a yellow jacket and Panama hat; the second was a rooster in a red vest and oversized sombrero. "Hola, amigos!" the rooster called. "Allow me to introduce ourselves! My name is Panchito Romero Miguel Junipero Francisco Quintero González III, but you may know me as Panchito Pistoles. This is mi amigo José Carioca, and it is our pleasure to liven up this party with the rhythm of the samba!"
"Who are they?" Kairi asked Sora.
"They're new to me." Sora shrugged. "I think they're Donald's friends."
Suddenly, a completely different style of music filled the room. This music was very lively and bouncy, and even the tables and chairs seemed to be bouncing in time to the music. José and Panchito started dancing in their place at the front of the room, and Sora watched them closely. After he thought he had the steps down, he began to dance with Kairi. Kairi had also been watching, and soon both bride and groom were bouncing to the samba. "Muy bien, Señor y Señora Hikari!" José called to them. "Now you have the rhythm of the samba!"
The rest of Disney Castle's court began to join in as well. José played his umbrella like a flute, and Panchito began to dance around his sombrero. Kairi reflected that although she was worlds away from the islands that had been her home for so long, she was having the most fun she'd ever had.
As the party wound down, the time came for Kairi to throw her bridal bouquet. Every unmarried woman, including those in the Radiant Garden Restoration Committee, gathered around Kairi as she prepared to throw. Apparently, she threw it a little too hard, as it sailed over the women's heads. It looked as though no one would catch it, until a black-gloved hand shot up and snatched it from the air. Sora and Kairi let out a laugh.
The hand that caught the bouquet belonged to Cloud Strife.
When Cloud saw everyone staring at him, he shrugged and nonchalantly handed the bouquet to Tifa. Sora and Kairi smiled knowingly. They had a feeling there would be another wedding in the near future.
Kairi stood on the balcony that was connected to her and Sora's room. The sun had set, the party was over, and everyone had gone home. Sora was downstairs making the arrangements for their official coronation ceremony, so Kairi was alone. She was currently leaning on the balustrade, gazing into the stars.
Kairi was so immersed in thought that she did not hear her new husband approaching until his hand was on hers, bringing her back to reality. "What's on your mind, Kai?" he asked.
Kairi shook her head. "Nothing. I was just looking at the stars. It's hard to believe every single one's a different world."
Sora nodded and glanced up into the night sky. "Yeah. I wonder which one is Destiny Islands."
"Me too." Kairi concurred before pointing into the distance. "It's probably that tiny one over there."
Sora looked in the direction Kairi was pointing and found a small star that barely shone. "You're probably right." he laughed.
Kairi laughed too, then suddenly grew serious. "Do you miss home?"
"I am home." Sora replied.
Kairi raised an eyebrow at him. "Sora, just because we live here now--"
"It's got nothing to do with where we are." Sora told her before she could finish. "If there's one thing I learned after going to all these different worlds, it's that home is where the heart is. And my heart is with you. So as long as you're with me, I'm home."
"You're right, Sora." Kairi murmured. Then she smiled at him. "But that was still pretty corny. No more fortune cookies for you, Mr. Keyblade Master."
Sora had to smile back. "So does that make you Mrs. Keyblade Master now?"
Kairi giggled at this as Sora took her hand. "Come on," he told her, "let's go inside. It's cold out here."
Kairi raised an eyebrow at him as he led her inside and stretched out on their king-sized bed. Kairi took her place beside him. "Oh yeah," he sighed, wrapping an arm around her, "much warmer."
"Sora, if you're trying to be smooth, you're not doing a good job." Kairi told him with a sly smile.
Sora winced. "Ooh, it just got cold all over again." He was about to say something else when Kairi kissed him. After a good while, they broke apart. "And now it's hot." Sora laughed. "You need to stop playing with the thermostat."
"Can I at least turn it up a notch first?" Kairi asked.
"My thoughts exactly." Sora replied knowingly.
Sora opened his eyes slowly and glared at the Pooh-koo clock (a wedding gift from the Hundred Acre Wood) mounted on his bedroom wall. Our bedroom wall, he reminded himself as the lovely creature beside him rolled over to face him. "Sora, turn that stupid thing off." Kairi groaned, referencing the Pooh-koo clock, which was still sounding.
Sora shook his head. "We gotta get ready for the coronation, remember?"
"Why did you schedule it so early?" Kairi asked.
"I didn't." Sora said with a soft chuckle. "It's not till tonight. I just wanted to wake up really early."
"I don't believe that for a second." Kairi said sleepily. When the Pooh-koo clock refused to stop making noise, Kairi threw her pillow at it. It missed, but not by much.
"Jeez, Kairi! If your aim wasn't crappy in the morning, you would've broken it!" Sora teased.
"Shut up." Kairi retorted as she yanked Sora's pillow out from under his head and made it her own. "I'm going back to sleep."
"Oh yeah, and I'm the lazy bum?" Sora laughed. "Come on, Kai! Pretty please wake up!" To emphasize his desperation, he poked Kairi's bare stomach.
Kairi giggled. "Don't do that."
Sora grinned. "What? This?" Sora poked Kairi again, just a little harder.
Kairi giggled even louder. "Sora, I mean it! That tickles!"
"Oh really?" Sora questioned, letting out his best evil laugh. "Ha ha ha ha! I've found your weakness, Mrs. Hikari! Now what are you gonna do?"
Before Kairi could open her mouth, Sora threw the covers over their heads and gave her the tickling of her life. "Sora!" Kairi pleaded between fits of laughter. "Stop it! I'm awake! I'm awake! I swear I'm awake!"
Sora at last gave Kairi a chance to breathe. "Serves you right for wanting to sleep in." he said with a satisfied smirk.
"Do I have permission to punish you when you don't wake up early enough?" Kairi asked.
Sora's grin became sheepish. "What if I say no?"
"Then I'll do it anyway." Kairi retorted. "All right, since you woke me up, you get to climb out of bed first."
"I'll try." Sora sighed, sitting up and stretching. "We have a long day today, y'know."
Kairi sat up also. "Woah!" Sora laughed. "You're looking a little skimpy there."
Kairi crossed her arms. "That's because I'm not wearing anything."
"True." Sora admitted.
The coronation took place at six o'clock sharp. Merlin was appointed to crown Sora and Kairi as the new rulers if Radiant Garden. However, Sora had a very unconventional crowning in mind.
Sora and Kairi now stood in the castle foyer (Sora hated the idea of having thrones--he believed that they were too confining). All the residents of Radiant Garden were present during the ceremony.
"Ahem," Merlin began as he looked out at the crowd. "Today marks the beginning of a new age for Radiant Garden. Allow me to present first His Royal Highness, King Sora Hikari."
Sora looked around at the crowd gathered to watch Sora's crowning. instead of a crown to wear upon his head, however, Merlin held up a gold chain, bearing a golden crown pendant perfectly identical to Sora's silver one. "With this crown resting on Sora's heart and not his head, it will always remind him to follow his heart first." Merlin explained.
Sora removed the silver pendant from his neck and allowed Merlin to replace it with the gold. "But fear not," the wizard continued, "the silver pendant will not go to waste. I now present Her Royal Highness, Queen Kairi Hikari."
Sora turned to face his queen and fastened his old pendant around her neck. When they turned back to look at the crowd, everyone was kneeling. Even Merlin. "Long live King Sora!" Merlin urged the crowd. "Long live Queen Kairi!"
"Long live the king!" the crowd echoed. Of everyone present, Sora could make out the bass voice of Kuro the loudest. "Long live the queen!"
Sora took Kairi's hand and they walked through the crowd, which parted for them. Now, as they assumed their new roles in a new world, they smiled at each other. Sora had been right. Home is where the heart is, and their hearts rested with one another. As long as Sora had Kairi and she had him, that was all that mattered.
They would always be home.
A/N: The End! I'm done crying now!
I used Joe Carioca and Panchito from The Three Caballeros. Gus Goose most recently appeared on House of Mouse. The little penguins serving cake are from Mary Poppins. They are the property of Walt Disney Studios, not me.
Yes, there is a sequel currently in production. I might wait a couple of weeks to start posting it, and even then the updates will be a little slower than the ones for this story. Check out my account page to see what I've got coming your way!
Until next time, Lord Moldybutt signing out.