A/N: Wow. I really ended up liking this one a lot more than I thought I would. I'm quite proud of the finished product. There a lot of Disney references, and a few other references, so major cookies to anyone who can identify them all! EDIT: Added somthing small in the beginning that I forgot when I edited the FIRST time--before ff kicked me off the site and I had to re-edit.
sokai, post kh2, set in Neverland. Fluff.
Disclaimer: OWNING NOTHING.
Don't let go…
…I wouldn't dream of it.
"You have got to be kidding me."
"C'mon Kairi, I promise, you'll enjoy it once you get up there."
Kairi shook her head even more fiercely, the Neverland moonlight highlighting the uncertainty glowing in her eyes. Her stare was resolute, although her posture was unsure; one shoulder tense and drawn in towards her neck; one shoulder half-relaxed; her hand resting on her tilted hip.
Sora grinned at her, trying to reassure her of the enjoyment which he knew was to be gained from his proposed activity, but all he received from his chosen partner in said activity was a raised eyebrow. He sighed. "Kairi, c'mon. Peter Pan can do it. The Lost Boys can do it. It's not like you're gonna die."
Kairi sighed again; feeling far from reassured by the mention of the smelly, uncivilized, unmannered group of youngsters she'd met earlier. "I dunno…"
Sora rolled his eyes, almost ready to give up. Almost. But this was Sora, after all, and he was determined to share this experience with her.
"Hey Tink!" The tiny ball of golden sparkle lifted off from her perch on Peter Pan's shoulder and hovered from the area around the mast, where Donald and Goofy were telling stories of their adventures to the Lost Boys, to the ship's edge where Sora and Kairi were standing; or rather, where Kairi was standing. Sora was outside the boundaries of the ship's deck, hovering above the dark waters; much to the disapointment of a strangely-ticking crocodile, who eyed his would-be prey with clear malcontent.
Tinkerbell flitted to them and sat herself on Sora's shoulder, glaring suspiciously at Kairi. Sora looked down at her and grinned, hoping, for Kairi's sake, that maybe he could charm his way past Tink's jealousy and general dislike of any female that wasn't her (and therefore of any female that could captivate the heart of Peter; or Sora, whom she had decided she didn't want to share either.)
"Hey Tinkerbell, you think you could do the whole 'sparkly rainy' deal to Kairi so she can fly?"
The tiny pixie kicked off his shoulder and rocketed towards Kairi, stopping just in front of the girl's face. Kairi barely flinched, which seemed to aggravate the fairy; she didn't like not being able to intimidate her rival. She glared for a few tense moments, before finally shaking her glimmering head and turning away, bottom lip stuck out in a resolute pout.
Kairi raised an eyebrow; several hours after making Tinkerbell's acquaintance, she was still unsure of how she felt about the selfish pixie. "She's got some jealousy issues." Sora informed her, a determined look setting itself on his face as he surveyed Tinkerbell's refusal.
"Not like it matters. There is no way I'm—hey!" Kairi coughed as the iridescent glitter coated her head and stuck in her hair; falling from the very unhappy pixie who was being shaken above her head by a very determined, if not gentle, Sora. He released a very ticked-off Tinkerbell and promptly paid dearly for his use of force when she applied a full-out soccer-punt to the end of his nose.
"Ow," Sora glared indignantly at the fairy as she stuck her glowing tongue out at him and flew off to rejoin Peter. Sora chalked it up to jealously and brushed it off, turning his attention back to Kairi, who, if anything, looked even more unsure than she had when he had first posed to her the prospect of flight.
"I'm not gonna," She restated simply, folding her arms definitively across her chest. Sora sighed.
"It's easy, and it's fun!"
"You already sprinkled me with pixie dust, and guess what—I'm not flying. Guess we'll just have to give up!" And she turned quickly, trying to escape, but Sora grabbed her arm and looked at her with eyes shining with hope and the slightest bit of hurt.
"Kairi…please…you have to think of a happy thought…please, I promise, it's great once you get used to it…I went through all this trouble to get Donald and Goofy to lend me the Gummi ship and to find the way to Neverland so that…well…so that I could show you what it's like to fly…please?" Kairi couldn't refuse that face. She sighed, closing her eyes tightly, and tried to think of something happy.
She sighed in exasperation, opening her eyes and looking up at Sora, trying to hide her relief. "It's no use. I can't think of anything happy…I'm too scared." Sora's eyes drifted downward for a moment; Kairi could tell he was disappointed, though she couldn't fathom why. So what if she couldn't fly? He could; what was so important to him about her being able to as well?
Finally he looked back at her, and Kairi caught something new in his eyes; some new kind of determination she hadn't seen before. He reached out his hand, palm up, before her. "Take it."
"What?" Kairi stared up at him, unsure, and now a little worried about Sora's mentality too.
"Take my hand."
Kairi shook her head. "What are you—?"
"Don't you trust me?" The hard look in his eyes—but no, she thought, they were soft too; both hard with his determination, and soft with that same comfort he always seemed to be trying to direct her way.
"More than anyone I've ever met." She took his hand, still hesitant, but not dishonest in the slightest. But that was how it was with beginning lovers; both a little scared, neither one prepared. (an1&2)
In one swift movement, one-handed, no less, he hoisted her up into the air, and wrapped his other arm around her waist, so that she was held securely against him. Panting a little from the fear and the swiftness of his movement, Kairi stared into his smiling eyes, words far too insufficient at the moment to express the myriad of surprised feelings welling up inside her fluttering heart.
He grinned at her. "Don't worry, I won't drop you, I promise." She nodded dumbly, still too shocked at his audacity to speak. Since when did he get so bold? she thought.
Bold? Hah! If only she knew what was happening inside his mind. His heart was pounding; she was so close, and he had to keep her so close or else she would fall, and his promise would be broken; but he couldn't let that happen; he never broke his promise; but what if…what if they got up so high and he got so nervous thathestartedshakingandthenhedroppedherand—(an3)
"…Sora," she repeated, and his momentary trance was broken. She was still staring at him, still looking positively petrified. "What—"
"Sshh," he murmured. "I'll take you up real high…you'll love it, you'll see."
Kairi swallowed, though with some difficulty. "If you say—" Kairi's eyes momentarily dropped down to the water some dozen feet below them and she gasped, turning momentarily into an ostrich and burying her head in Sora's shoulder, her breathing erratic.
"K-Kairi?" Sora inquired, examining the top of her shaking head, which was connected to the body whose arms were gripping his shirt so tightly he thought the wrinkles might well become permanently pressed into the fabric. "Kairi?" He asked again, but the only answer he received was her continued frightened whimpers. "Hey, sshh," he mumbled gently, trying to calm her, "It's okay."
"We're so high up, we're so high up! And you wanna go up higher?" Kairi's voice, suddenly high pitched, squeaked out from the alcove between his neck and shoulder.
Sora gently stroked her back and cooed softly, "Ssh, don't look down, okay, look at me, look at me," Kairi very slowly followed his advice, turning tightly shut eyes up to greet his face. "I think your eyes hafta be open in order to look at me." Kairi finally, hesitantly, lifted her eyelids and let her deep indigo eyes find an anchor in the deep cerulean of Sora's. She felt like she was looking straight through his head, as if the place where his eyes should be were simply holes that showed the night sky on the other side. "You do trust me, don't you?"
Kairi was silent for a second before, "Yes."
Sora grinned again, and suddenly they were off. They were shooting upwards so swiftly and so suddenly that Kairi freaked and thrust her head back into Sora's shoulder. The ascent seemed to last forever, and Kairi began to feel like she would never touch the ground again. Finally, movement ceased, and Kairi recognized that they must have stopped somewhere in midair. She sensed that they must be very high up; the air was so clear and easy to breathe. This turned out to be a good thing, since the thought of being hundreds of feet above the ground caused Kairi's lungs to start demanding the intake of air faster and faster.
"Kairi…" A smooth, gentle voice chided her, "Open your eyes." Kairi shook her head quickly against his chest, quietly squeaking out her refusal in a high-pitched whimper. She both felt and heard Sora's laugh. "Come on, I promise. I won't drop you. Here, you can stand on my feet. That'll give you something at least to rest your weight on, maybe that will make you feel better." Kairi felt the tops of Sora's boots grazing her feet and then moving underneath her, nudging her sneakers into place atop the platform he'd made out of his feet for her. It did help a little, to have some semblance of a solid surface to rest her feet on, but still, her heart was pounding at the thought of being in the air. "Kairi, c'mon…look at me," and the tenderness in his voice was so profound that she couldn't help but raise her head to meet his eyes. Her first thought was that the moon, silhouetted against his head looked an awful lot closer than it had a moment before, and that she couldn't see any of the clouds above them that had been floating through the sky a moment before.
Hesitantly, she moved her eyes sideways, and then, down, down, down, and then back up and back into Sora's shoulder.
"Aw, Kairi! Don't you believe in me?"
"Sora, I believe very strongly in you, but I also believe very strongly in gravity!"
Sora chuckled. "Kairi, flying is great! We're defying gravity right now!" (an 4)
"Sora," she demanded, her voice shaking. "I honestly can't say I understand what you find so great about flying!"
Sora squeezed her tighter, trying to reassure her. "There's this amazing feeling of weightlessness…don't you feel it?" Kairi raised her head up a bit.
"I suppose, that part is kinda nice, once you start to get used to it."
"And, being above the clouds…that's my favorite part."
Kairi allowed her eyes to venture earthward again, but forced her gaze not to focus on anything but the cumulus clouds whose fluffy tips ended beneath her feet. "It's beautiful…and scary, but…beautiful…" Kairi felt tears coming into her eyes. "It's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen."
"I've seen prettier." Kairi was taken aback by Sora's remark; it was so quiet, almost as if he was talking to himself. She looked back at him, a look of curiosity staining her face.
"Like what?" Sora's eyes widened and he seemed to snap out of a trance.
"Oh, God, tell me I didn't say that out loud."
Kairi cocked her head to the side, her fear momentarily forgotten. "What have you seen that's prettier than this?...And why didn't you mean to say that?"
Sora's face paled. "Well…uh…" Kairi raised an eyebrow at his sudden embarrassment. He stuttered out random syllables for a moment before finally accepting the comforting smile her indigo eyes offered him and sighed resignedly. "Well…you."
Kairi's eyes widened and her breath caught in her throat. She wanted to cry. No one had ever told her something like that. Sure, her parents told her she was pretty, but they were her parents, and therefore bound to think she was the most beautiful girl in the world, and Selphie always said she was pretty, but Kairi tended to ignore most of Selphie's compliments since they were usually followed by, "It's a wonder you don't have a boyfriend yet! Please let me set you up with this guy I know!". But to receive such a compliment…and from Sora, of all people, Sora, the boy who never had the guts to tell her all of the things she knew he wanted to…
"Thank you," she whispered breathlessly. Sora seemed to calm down; on his face rested a look of tranquil surprise, which Kairi didn't know was because he was secretly thankful she hadn't slapped him.
Kairi sensed that Sora was feeling very uncomfortable following his confession and decided that she ought to find a way to alleviate the awkward veil that had settled over the conversation. "How is it that you can fly anyway? I have the pixie dust, and I still can't."
Sora jumped at the opportunity to change the subject. "Well, you have to have a happy thought to dwell on when you fly."
"What is your happy thought, then?"
Sora ignored the question. "Peter once said that it's like you have to have a star. If you want to reach the stars, you have to be thinking about a star. You have to have a happy thought that's your star to reach for, and then it makes you so happy that you feel like you're flying towards the stars; so much so that you actually do fly." (an 5)
"So what's your happy thought?" Kairi asked again, who rarely gave up a question once she had posed it. (an6)
Sora was silent for a moment, seemingly waging an internal battle against himself. Finally, he sighed, and turned back to look her hesitantly in the eye. Well, she can't slap me, he thought, if she did I'd drop her. "Well, see…Tu es mon etoile." (an 7)
You are my star.
Kairi was silent. She stared into the sincerest blue eyes she'd ever seen, and saw the fear swimming within them. She couldn't face the statement yet so she replied, "Since when do you know French?"
Sora looked surprised by her handling of the situation, but did not fail to answer the question. "Since I asked Selphie to teach me. She's in your French class. I figured that she could…that she could teach me how to…to tell you…" he left off, looking away.
"Sora," Kairi said quietly, gently nudging him forward, trying to convey through her expression that she wanted to hear what he had to say; that she would accept, embrace what he had to say.
Sora sighed and continued. "Kairi, you're my star. You're my happy thought. You're…you're my light. My everything." His quivering voice stopped; he looked at her, trying to judge her reaction.
In truth, Kairi was too stunned to react. Of course, at the heart of the matter, she already knew how he felt…but hearing him say it…it was better than she could have imagined.
"Did you get Selphie to teach you how to say that part too?" It wasn't bitter, it was nonchalant, it was happy, it was a way of making light of a very serious matter.
Sora grinned proudly, "No, actually, I came up with that part all by myself!" Kairi burst out laughing. Only Sora could take a moment so romantic and say something that goofy and energetic and so undeniably him. It was one of the reasons she loved him.
Still smiling, she rested, rather than buried, her head on his shoulder again. Her fears were erased, for the moment, at least, and Sora began to move; guiding her gently through the sky; the same sky that looked down on all the worlds; on their world. Little by little, they gained speed, until she was staring into his eyes as they soared through the night sky. And she felt for all the world like she was Chihiro flying through the clouds with her very own Haku. (an8)
Her fears left her as his reassuring grin glowed at her, telling her without saying a word that he would never let go of his star. His face moved closer, sharing mid-air Eskimo kisses as their noses brushed. Kairi giggled, feeling more like a little kid than a fifteen-year-old young adult. Who knew that something as mature as being in love could be a secret to eternal childhood? Their flight slowed and finally came to a soft stop in the middle of the sky, right before the giant white moon. He held her so softly, so gently, and yet so tightly that she couldn't at the moment doubt that he wouldn't let her fall.
And suddenly the smile was so close she couldn't see it at all. The Eskimo kisses were real kisses, and they were more tender than she'd ever dared to imagine them. It was surprising, this side of Sora. He was always so nervous…but now…and finally she understood. She was his star. And he had embraced his star. She gave him the strength to fight, to fly, and to shine like a star himself. She even gave him the courage to kiss her. She returned the caress, trying not to smile too widely lest it keep her lips from pursing against his.
It was loving and sweet and still innocent, but with a chaste intimacy that is captured once every thousand lifetimes, the kind of love that fairy tales and nursery rhymes enviously try and fail to create. This paradox, this innocent intimacy in which lust and temptation do not exist, this was the thing they had found. For in this world of childhood, they had found the narrow escape between the eternal childishness of remaining forever six years old and ignorant of that which makes a boy insist that he plays with her because she's the girl who doesn't have cooties; and jumping headfirst into the adulthood that neither of them were quite ready for, but which hadn't stopped so many teenagers before them.
Perhaps it was the magic of Neverland; perhaps it was the magic of flight.
Or perhaps it was simply the miracle of love.
Sigh. I think I'm improving. My fluff is getting more substance to it--as in, there is more of a point than just fluff. I like when the fluff has substance, a point to make, a comment other than, "They're in love." I think my descriptions are getting more original too. :)
AN 1: "Do you trust me?" "More than anyone I've ever met." From Aladddin.
AN 2: "Both a little scared, neither one prepared," next line, anyone? "Beauty and the Beast" I love that song. The lyrics are so beautiful and romantic!
AN 3: Because I know SOMEONE is bound to not get it: the words are jumbled on purpose, because Sora's thoughts are all jumbled because he's so nervous.
AN 4: I can't think of the words "defying gravity" without thinking of the amazing musical Wicked which is great, and nothing like the book it is based on, which btw, I don't reccomend the book; but I do recommend the musical. (the book is rated, like, PG-16, in my opinion.) The musical is definetely a G; well, maybe PG, at worst; could scare small children.
AN 5: Actually, I can up with that part, not Peter Pan. But it would be OOC for Sora to say it, so I made Peter say it.
AN 6: A nod to Le Petit Prince, or, in English, The Little Prince, which I'm reading in its original French right now. "Il ne laisse jamais une question quand il la posa." "He never let go of a question once he had posed it."
AN 7: I love French. Pronounced, roughly, "Tyoo ay (as in day; the s is silent) mon (the o is something like oh) e(same kind of e that you'd pronounce in 'etiquette')twahle." Hope that makes sense. This was originally to be part of the French KH fanfic I'm working on, but I decided it fit better here. :)
AN 8: Reference to the masterpiece of a movie, "Spirited Away"; I love the scene where Chihiro is soaring through the sky with Haku, in his human form.
Reviews are appreciated. This might well be the last thing I have time to do before the school year is over, or at least until after AP exams. I have so much to do in the next week! And prom is in exactly one week!
Btw, I was rereading this while listening the the KH soundtrack; and, well...is there anyone else who thinks that 'Dearly Beloved' (the opening menu music) and the other reprises it ends up in sound kinda like wedding marches? And after all..."Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today to bind these two people together in holy matrimony..." Am I the only one who senses (or perhaps just hopes up) a little musical foreshadowing...