Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters presented here and am not making any profit off of this whatsoever.
Story Title: Straight From The Heart
Chapter Title: Valentine Choices
Rated: PG-13
Story Word Count: 3,892
Chapter Word Count: 3,892
Romance: Sora x Roxas
Notes: I wrote this for the Kingdom Hearts Exchange Project and since permission has been given to reveal, I'm posting this and thus...revealing that I wrote it. It was written for remi_chan and I hope everyone likes it. This takes place after the ending of Kingdom Hearts II. Comments and criticism gratefully accepted.
Summary: It's nearing Valentine's Day and Sora has a little problem: he's in love with Roxas.

Valentine's Day was just over a week away. Sora tried, but it was almost impossible for him to dredge up any real enthusiasm for it, even though Kairi was, as always, happy about the approaching holiday. It was the first time that it had passed since they'd all returned to Destiny Islands, and every time a new 'first' passed, she'd been absolutely thrilled they could share it again. He could understand that, he shared that, but there still remained the fact he wasn't looking forward to this as much as she was.

What's to look forward to? he heard Roxas's voice clearly in his mind. They didn't speak all that often, but Sora never lost sight of the fact that his Nobody was still there with him, and probably always would be. There was something quite comforting about that, in an entirely different way than the fact he'd always have Riku and Kairi was.

It's Valentine's Day next week, Sora told him silently. After the first few times of people staring at him when he spoke to Roxas out loud, he had learned to keep his mouth shut. His friends didn't mind, but when his parents had begun to talk quietly of having him go see a friend of theirs, he'd decided discretion was the better part of valor.

There was some confusion from the other side of the bond that linked them together, and Sora elaborated. It's about love and romance and all of that.

Oh. Roxas, Sora thought, understood it a little. So why aren't you looking forward to it? Don't you like Kairi?

Tact had never quite been the other's strong suit. In fact, it really wasn't either of theirs, so Sora couldn't be that surprised by it. I guess. I don't know anymore. The thought of being back with her and Riku had been a wonderful dream to hold close to his heart, and seeing so many of his friends being so happy on his journeys had inclined his thoughts in certain directions, but now, he just wasn't all that sure anymore.

Roxas made a sort of noncommittal noise in the back of their mind. Are you going to do anything about it?

That was a really, really good question, and Sora had absolutely no idea of how to answer it. What could he do? He'd always gotten Kairi candy for the holiday before everything that had happened. Now that didn't even begin to raise his interest, and he still couldn't figure out why.

He stared out at the ocean in front of him, kicking his feet a little in the water. Maybe he'd go for a swim and see if that could clear up his mind a little. It would at least give him something else to think about than what to do about Kairi and Valentine's Day and all the rest of it.

A quick glance down to the water showed him his own reflection, which suddenly rippled and altered a little. When it firmed again, it was Roxas who looked up at him from the surface of the water. Let me do the swimming, he suggested, his voice still a whisper in the back of Sora's mind.

Well, there wasn't anything wrong with it. In the months since their return, he'd done what he could to give Roxas at least some time to do whatever it was that he wanted to do. Roxas appreciated it, whether he said so or not. Sora didn't think he had to, since he already knew. They were somewhat of the same person, after all.

Sure, he said at last. Kicking back in his own little section of their mind could help him clear things up as easily as swimming could. And their body would still be doing the swimming anyway. Details made little difference.

There was a kind of internal shuffle, and then he wasn't in charge of his body anymore. He could feel Roxas stretching, then stripping himself down, but tried not to look. It was silly, since it was his own body and he knew what it looked like, but he still didn't look. There were differences between the two of them, physically, after all, so it was almost like watching someone else take their clothes off.

Of course trying not to look and not looking were two different things, and Sora noticed almost right away that Roxas had scars that he didn't. Potions and Cure spells fixed a lot of damage, but some things left scars no matter what.

What's that? he asked without thinking about it, his attention drawn to a long, slightly puckered scar on Roxas's left side. Whatever had done it had been sharp and jagged, and the scar itself looked a bit different from most scars.

Chakram. Axel got me there when we were training once, Roxas said it casually. Sora wondered at times how much that his Nobody remembered about being in the Organization. He didn't really want to ask, not sure if those were good memories or not.

He did wince, thinking of how much that had to have hurt. Oh. Yeah, he was kind of tough. That had to have come from both of their memories, since he hadn't ever fought against Axel himself. Fought beside him once, but that was all.

Roxas said nothing about it, but cut forward into the water as if he were a dolphin, or a merman. Sora relaxed the best that he could and went back to thinking about what he was going to do, or not do, about Valentine's Day.

Once he got down to it, he didn't really want to get Kairi anything other than the usual friendship chocolates he'd always gotten her. He wasn't sure what she wanted, but that was what he wanted. So, that was settled. Sort of.

I wonder… Sora's attention drifted briefly back to where Roxas was swimming easily. He swam a bit differently than Sora himself did, since Sora's style was influenced by his time in Atlantica.

You wonder what? Roxas asked him, not missing so much as a stroke. Sora mentally flushed, glad that Roxas couldn't see that at the moment, and that if he felt it anyway, he wasn't saying anything about it.

Uh, did you learn how to swim or did you already know? Sora grabbed for the first thought on his mind. He knew that Roxas knew how to do a lot of things just because of being his Nobody, but was this one of them?

Demyx taught me, Roxas said casually, turning over to float on his back and stare up at the crystal blue skies. We sort of got along most of the time. It was different than it was with Axel, though.

Sora had to admit he'd never had the best opinion of Demyx. When he'd fought the Organization, he'd expected fierce and unrepentant soldiers who would never back down, much less run away in fear from something. But hearing about something so simple was unusual, to say the least.

It wasn't something he was sure he wanted to think about, much less talk about. He pulled himself a little away, sending a general thought of wanting to think more about the Valentine's Day situation so Roxas wouldn't think he was avoiding him. He wasn't, either. It was just that he wanted to think about Roxas at the same time, and having Roxas be aware of what he was thinking was more than a little unnerving.

This had to be some of the strangest thoughts he'd ever had. This was about Roxas, his Nobody, the other half of himself, and Valentine's Day. He shouldn't be thinking things like that. The fact it was another guy wasn't that big of a problem to him. After all the traveling he'd done, he couldn't bring himself to be bothered by it. But being Roxas, himself but not himself…that had to be wrong.

And as much as he wanted to, he couldn't be bothered by that, either. It brought up problems, since he could scarcely keep the fact he hated his mother's cooking away from Roxas, much less something like this. And for that matter, how could you get away from someone who lived in your own body with you if the relationship didn't work out?

Now there he was thinking about having a relationship with Roxas! This was crazy, and he'd seen crazy before! It just didn't usually involve a reflection of himself.

Sora, Roxas's thought came probing at him gently. Riku's here.

That was all he needed to say. Roxas never stuck around that much when Riku was there. He didn't know why, since he'd never asked either of them. It just hadn't occurred to him. There was too much else that he had to do most of the time, ranging from his homework to just keeping himself in shape. You never knew when someone was going to come roaring through wanting to take over the worlds, and there were still the lesser Heartless and Nobodies to fight off now and then.

Another sort of ripple and shift, and then he blinked his eyes, shaking his head some to clear the mental fuzz that tended to accompany him when he took his body back. He looked around, and saw his silver-haired friend standing a few feet away, up to his waist in water, looking at him with a touch of concern.

"Everything all right?" Riku asked as soon as Sora met his eyes. Sora nodded without a bit of hesitation. "You sure?"

"Yeah." He shrugged casually and checked things out a little more. They weren't that far from the shore, so he guessed that Roxas must have swum closer in when Riku had shown up. "Just trying to figure out what to do for Kairi next week."

Riku grinned a little and what could've been tension went out of him as he did so. "So, what are you going to get her?"

Well, he might as well tell someone, and Riku was a good choice. He wouldn't argue with him about it. But he wasn't going to tell him about anything else. Not today, anyway. "Just what I usually do."

Riku blinked a few times, his eyes narrowing just a little bit. "You sure?"

"I'm sure. She's my best friend, just like you are," Sora said it firmly, meaning it. "That's all."

Again his friend looked at him, then he slowly nodded. "If you're sure." Then he grinned. "So, want to have a little race?" He motioned to a small mossy islet, barely big enough to qualify even being called that, that jutted out of the water a few hundred yards away. "Just to there and back again. That's all. Are you up for it?"

Oh, yeah, that was Riku. They pushed each other to be better every time they saw each other. Sora's answer was to leap forward, his legs pressed together as if they were a tail, and he moved through the water almost as quickly as he had when he was a merboy. Riku swam in a more traditional style, but just as quickly as Sora.

They were neck and neck for most of the way, even with Sora's brief head start. Sora enjoyed the movement, since just as he'd hoped, it gave him something else to think about. Roxas's time swimming had helped a little, but now, putting his own body to work, but it had more brought into focus something that had been growing bit by bit ever since he'd become aware of Roxas in the first place.

Hiding it from Roxas, trying to decide on what to do, if anything could be done…Sora laughed to himself. And he'd thought he'd had problems when he was out saving the worlds!

Three days of thinking whenever he could sneak it in hadn't given Sora too many fresh ideas. Especially since heavily thinking about something that wasn't some kind of battle plan wasn't really something he was very good at it. He could do it, he was slowly finding, but being able to do something and being good at weren't exactly the same thing.

Maybe, he considered, he should ask Kairi and Riku about it. They'd been able to help him every other time that he'd needed it, so why should this be any different?

"You want to do what?" Riku stared at him as if he'd lost his mind. Or declared that Xemnas was his new best friend. Whichever was stranger. "Are you nuts?"

"Well, I don't think so," Sora laughed some and rubbed the back of his head and grinned a little. There wasn't much else he could think of to add to that, though, so he looked over at Kairi for her response. That was a bit of a surprise.

She was staring down at the sandy beach they stood on, and while he wasn't quite able to see all of her face, he thought she looked a little sad. Oh, man. I didn't want to hurt her. Maybe asking them both had been a bad idea?

Then she looked up, and there was nothing but bright joy there, joy that was all for him. "You know, that's kind of romantic in a way," she declared. "Two halves of the same soul."

"It's weird is what it is," Riku muttered, but there was no real heat to his words. Sora knew they'd both support him, even if they couldn't find a way to help him.

At least he was reasonably sure that Roxas wasn't listening in. He could usually tell when he was, and he thought right now that Roxas was taking a nap. That was good, he could maybe get something figured out without having to worry his Nobody would find out ahead of time. He'd always hated surprises getting spoiled, and he thought Roxas would be about the same way.

"Well, if this is what Sora wants, then we're going to make sure he gets it!" Kairi declared, shooting Riku a slightly annoyed, but amused, look. Then she looked back at Sora. "Have you had any ideas yet?"

Sora drooped slightly. That was the big problem. "Nothing that, you know, really works. I mean, what can I get him, anyway?"

"Good question," Riku agreed thoughtfully, running his hands through the sand. "What can you get a Nobody who's already been reunited with his heart?"

Kairi toyed a bit with a stick, drawing aimless designs on the beach. "What about a way to be whole…on his own?" she said after a few minutes, staring at nothing in particular. "Without having to be part of Sora, I mean."

Both Riku and Sora turned to look at her, and Sora blinked several times in deep confusion. "That isn't possible…" He looked back at Riku, who had spent more time around DiZ and Mickey and might know more about it. "Is it?"

"It's not supposed to be," Riku said after thinking a few minutes, during which both of his friends had alternated between staring at him and staring at each other. Sora kept as careful a watch on his own thoughts as he could, really not wanting Roxas to pick up on any of this. "But you and Roxas…you're not like most Nobodies and their Others. And DiZ didn't know everything there was to know about them."

Sora caught his breath a little. Maybe there was a way. "But that still doesn't tell us how," he tried to be practical, even though he wasn't good at it, and sagged down some. "Maybe I should just get him some really good milk chocolate or something like that."

Kairi patted him on the shoulder reassuringly. "If you believe in something, it can happen, right?" The sentiment was a little thick on that, but Sora knew she meant it. And it was kind of right, wasn't it? Everything they'd been through had proven it.

"You know, if you really do want to get him something good for Valentine's Day," Riku said a little thoughtfully, "I might have an idea."

Sora glanced over at him. "Huh?" he asked ever so eloquently. It wasn't as if Riku were the most romantic guy that had ever lived, so what was he going to have in mind?

"Well, we've got the Gummi Ship that Mickey left us," Riku said slowly, looking at the other two with a hint of amusement. The King's letter, after they'd returned from fighting Xemnas, had given them the use of a Gummi Ship and suggested that they keep an eye on the worlds when they had a chance. There were still Heartless and Nobodies around, though not to the degree that there had been when the Organization was in control of them, and the Keyblade was still the only weapon that could really do that much damage to them. They generally stuck to exploring and traveling on the weekends or whenever they didn't have school, not wanting to worry their parents all that much by vanishing otherwise. "Why don't we go where all of this comes from?"

Well, that was pretty cryptic. "What are you talking about?" Sora wanted to know. He couldn't remember any world that had to do with Valentine's Day! And he really didn't want to talk to any of his other friends about this, not right now!

Riku rolled his eyes and thwacked Sora's arms playfully. "Halloween Town isn't the only holiday world, remember?"

Then it clicked in Sora's mind, and he all but squealed. "Right! There's got to be a way to get to…to Valentine's Day Town from there!"

Sora? Roxas's voice came into his mind. What's going on? There was the faintest hint of sleepiness, so his idea that his Nobody was taking a nap had to have been right.

We're going to Halloween Town! Sora declared, too happy to conceal the chance from Roxas anymore. Surprises were one thing, but this was different! And then we're going to find Valentine's Day Town!

Definite confusion overwhelmed the sleepiness. But I thought you weren't going to get Kairi anything special for that.

I'm not. Sora mentally grinned and got up. He wanted to see Roxas's face for this, so he wandered down to the shoreline and stared down into the water until he could see it. I'm getting you something for it.

Roxas wasn't surprised very often. He did better with emotional reactions now that he and Sora were united, and now Sora could see the shock and confusion evident in the Nobody's expression. You're going what?

"I'm getting you something for Valentine's Day!" Sora didn't bother thinking the words to Roxas. Kairi and Riku knew about him, after all. Then he hesitated for a second. "You don't mind, do you?"

This was plainly something Roxas had never had to deal with before. I've never…no one's ever given me something for that before. He made an obvious effort to come to grips with something. No. I don't mind. There was a little smile there suddenly, and Sora was warmed from the inside out. Was that because of Roxas? He thought it might be. Thank you, Sora.

"No problem at all!" Sora declared happily. "I don't know what I'll get you yet, but I'm going to make sure you like it."

I know you will. Roxas replied, and there was the faintest tinge of a real smile on the edges of his lips. Sora grinned back at him. He couldn't quite remember ever having been this happy in his life before. About the only thing he could imagine that would make him happier would be if there really was some way for Roxas to have a full body and full heart of his very own.

He wondered what it would be like to kiss Roxas. He'd never kissed anyone before, and kind of wondered just what it would be like to do so in general. Maybe someday, somehow, he and Roxas could find out together.

"Hey, Sora!" Riku called over to him, and Sora looked up, breaking the connection with Roxas's semi-reflected eyes. When he glanced back, what he saw stretched out before him was just the usual image of himself on the water. I wish you could stay around more.

Before Roxas could respond, Riku had splashed over to Sora. "It's getting late," he said. "We're going to have to talk to our parents about going." He rolled his eyes at that, and Sora couldn't blame him. After everything they'd went through, to ask their parents if they could leave couldn't help but feel more than a little silly. They'd saved the worlds. Twice over. And they still had to ask if they were going to be leaving home for more than a couple of hours. After all, there was no way to tell just how long they'd be gone for, and they couldn't even leave until the weekend anyway.

"Right, right," Sora nodded and stretched some. "Might as well get it over with."

The three of them headed back into town together, chattering a little about anything and everything. Or to be precise, Sora and Kairi chattered, while Riku listened and made the occasional sarcastic and amused comment if something caught his attention. That was the way conversations with the three of them usually went. Sora found himself wondering what it would be like if Roxas could join them like this somehow. Would the two of them talk all the time to each other, leaving Riku and Kairi by themselves?

No, he couldn't bring himself to believe that. They would be four, not three, that was all. He did wonder how he'd explain Roxas's appearance to everyone around town, if it ever did happen. He didn't think that 'this used to be my Nobody, but now he's a real person and we're sort of dating' was going to go over all that well. For the most part, the people of Destiny Islands still didn't know that much about other worlds. Sora had seen a few travelers that had to be from places he'd seen before on his journeys, but they didn't advertise that sort of thing either. Destiny Islands liked to keep to itself for the most part.

"Want to stop for some ice cream?" Kairi suggested, waving a hand towards the ice cream shop. It sold a lot more than that, but since that was the usual stock in trade, that was what virtually everyone referred to it as. Sora had a suspicion that this place was part of Scrooge McDuck's ice cream chain, since it sold sea salt ice cream, but he'd never seen anything official on the matter. It didn't make a difference, though. Ice cream did sound good.

That was one of the best parts of living on Destiny Islands. The weather made it almost perfect for ice cream no matter what part of the year it was.

Before long, all three of them were seated in the shop and devoured their ice cream contentedly. Riku had his usual fudge ripple, while Kairi enjoyed a tasty strawberry confection. Sora, of course, had sea salt, and Roxas was aware enough in his mind so it was almost as if they were eating it together. Vague flickers of the gang from Twilight Town went through his mind, and Sora could pick up on that. They had been false images, but the friendship shared was real enough, at least on Roxas's side of things. And Sora was pretty certain if Roxas had ever met the real ones, then they would have all been friends as well. Their reactions when he'd met them had proven that to him.

He sighed happily as he kept on licking. Maybe one day, he and Roxas would have the chance to find out if that were true.

To Be Continued