This is it. The final chapter. I hope you guys don't mind the shortness of it all, but I'd say that it's short and sweet.
The park was very reticent that night. The swings on the playground steadily swayed in the faint breeze. Birds and squirrels were silently chirping in the trees. In the distance, you could clearly see the children's island. The lights inside the nearby houses and stores were turning off, indicating that the island residents were falling into their deep slumbers. It was late, so everyone who had occupied the park before had already gone home.
Well, except for one boy who had run all the way from a party to come out here, of course.
Sitting in the grass was none other than Sora, who was busy staring out into the ocean towards the children's island. Ever since he had arrived at the park, he had been immobile. All he would do was stare at the other island, his mind screaming at him for his previous actions.
He could not believe it. He had actually kissed the girl of his dreams, at her birthday party, right on her balcony. But, when he opened his eyes, he was not ready to see Kairi's completely shocked expression. He instantly regretted that he had even made an attempt to make a move on her at all. Since Riku had only made him make out with expressionless strawberries, he was not prepared for any of the consequences that could occur after.
'I acted too fast,' he thought, eyes still locked on the other island. 'I probably ruined her birthday.'
His mind then switched to memories of him, Riku, and Kairi doing activities that friends would normally do. They would always be at each other's houses making complete fools out of themselves, or causing trouble with the other neighbors. They would swim around in the ocean and go against each other in races or splashing competitions. And then, when all is said and done, all three of them would sit on the paopu tree on the islet and watch the sun disappear into the horizon.
'My relationship with Kairi is now going to be so awkward. Our friendship is probably ruined, too.' Tears were starting to form in his eyes. Having Kairi as a friend was the most important thing to him, and now, with his current situation, he felt as if he had lost everything.
'I always ruin anything, don't I?'
Suddenly, a pair of soft arms wrapped around his abdomen from behind. He was pulled close to someone else's body, and he could feel their head rest on his shoulder. When he caught a glimpse of the all too familiar red hair, his emotions went haywire.
"Kairi?" he asked, surprised.
"I don't get you sometimes," she said. "First, you spill out your feelings for me, and the next thing I know, you're running away."
"I'm sorry." He turned around to face her; her arms still wrapped around him in a light embrace. "I guess I'm still not doing this properly."
She scooted closer to him, hugging him tighter. She rested her head on his shoulder. "I still don't understand what you mean by that."
"Like I said before. I haven't been following my heart properly."
"Is that why you ran off?"
"Well, no. I ran off because of the look on your face."
"What kind of face was I making?"
"You don't know what you looked like?" She shook her head. "Um, you looked kind of shocked. And maybe a bit scared. I ran because I thought I did the wrong thing and that I shouldn't have kissed you."
"That's why you should stay around and explain to girl before you make assumptions. From what I know, we're pretty hard to read."
"Oh, I already know that," he chuckled, wrapping his arms around her to hold her closer to him. "You see, I've liked you for a really long time. I think I started crushing on you ever since you washed up here. You were the reason why Riku and I would compete with each other all the time. I'd always lose to him, so that kind of made me think that I wasn't worthy of you, since if Riku could easily beat me, then there was no way that I could protect you from anything else."
She giggled. "You proved that wrong. You've protected me along with other worlds from the darkness."
"I guess. But, what also kept me from admitting my feelings was the fact that I might get called out again to save the worlds. I would have been scared—not from the danger that it can bring, but from breaking your heart. If I happened to never be able to return, I would break the promise of coming back to you. I already sort of know what it feels like to lose a best friend."
"You know, I think you're just being silly."
"Because I think you're thinking too much," she replied, smiling up at him.
"That brings up explanation number two. You see, I've been thinking about things I know that I shouldn't have been thinking. That caused me to not go after the things my heart wanted. I would ignore my heart all the time, thinking that I knew what was best for myself. It does sound kind of strange that I'm saying that my heart acts on its own, but I believe it does since it always wants to rip out from my body everytime I see you. With me always ignoring it, I guess it got impatient with me."
She released her hold on him and placed her hands on his torso, feeling his heartbeat. "I sort of get what you're saying, but I still don't really understand. I know, I'm sounding like some really clueless schoolgirl who has a crush on her best friend—"
"Wait," he interrupted. "Does that mean you like me?"
"Isn't it obvious, Sora? I swear you can be so naïve sometimes. But, from what you were saying, it's kind of confusing with you saying that your mind says one thing but your heart wants something else."
"That's basically it right there." He took Kairi's hands in his. "A heart can't add, subtract, or divide, nor could it ever make decisions. But, it's telling me it's right."
"I still don't get it," she said, giving him a lost expression.
"Then I don't think any of my explanations would clarify anything I've been trying to say."
"If you can't say it, then give me an example."
He blushed. "Okay." Without giving her a warning, he hesitantly leaned in and kissed her on the lips. Deep down, he was still a bit frightened that he would get rejected, but that all vanished when he felt her kiss her back. His hormones were flying high, so before the kiss got more intimate, he broke it apart. If the kiss went any further, he feared that he would black out from the phenomenon.
"My heart had been telling me to do that for a long time now," he breathed, still feeling the sensation of it all. "My mind would always avoid it, thinking that it would be better to save our friendship in case I wasn't supposed to have kissed you."
She licked her lips. "I guess I understand now. Besides," she leaned her forehead on his, "examples are always better than explanations."
He grinned happily as he pulled her into a warm embrace. He could feel his racing heart recede back to its normal pace, almost as if it was telling him that it was satisfied. And, for the first time in ages, his mind was filled with joyful thoughts and eager happiness as he held onto his love. His body finally felt at peace.
It was safe to say that the internal war of the heart and the brain had ended in mutual agreement.
"Happy birthday, Kairi," he said as he brought her in for a passionate kiss.
"See? I told you it was worth following her!" whispered an overjoyed Selphie as she and a trio of boys hid in a nearby bush. She was filming the special moment on her camera.
"That's perfect blackmail," Tidus declared as he peeked over Selphie's shoulder to get a glimpse of the action. "I can't wait to show people at school. They'll be all over them! Their embarrassed faces will make my year."
"Brudda," winced a pained Wakka, "I'd enjoy watching this better if you weren't kneeing me in a very tender spot, ya? I might need it in the future."
"Oh, my bad."
"There is a girl present, you know," Selphie announced quietly.
"So what? I'm sure you can deal with our conversations."
"When it comes to you two talking about the baby making part of the male anatomy, then no, I'd rather not hear about it."
"Well, how about you and your—"
"I'm happy for them," cut in Riku as he tried to change the subject. "But, this is going to suck a bit. I'm going to become the third wheel!"
The three other teens looked back at him. Their faces were emotionless.
"Sucks for you," they chorused as they went back to their previous actions.
Riku sighed. "Can't I at least get some sympathy here?"
-Done. It is finally finished. If it disappointed you guys, then I'm really, really sorry. I kind of suck at finalizing things, but I tried my hardest with this. Otherwise, I hope you guys enjoyed the story! It was a great run.
-For the future... Right now, I think making a sequel would be difficult to do. I have had people inform me that they would like a sequel, so, if you would like me to write one, I'll try. I'll just need some ideas on what it should be about before I attempt anything. I would rely on my brain to make something up, but I'm a bit afraid of its capabilities.
-Other than that...