A/N: Yay, another oneshot! First KH oneshot since I graduated! (I think...) Anyway, I've been working on this one since last summer when my mom and I started gardening, and it has been in the works ever since. Finally, it is completed! Gardening inspired.

A Disney charecter makes a cameo in this one. Kudos to whoever can guess which movie she is from. (Hint: Pixar.)

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.D.i.r.t.

Maybe we should bury the hatchet, because I think I just buried my shovel.

For a plant, to be set into the ground by Mrs. Suki Chigiri was like a death sentence. Sora's mother's garden had been the final resting place of numerous flowers, bushes and ferns. She could care scrupulously for her plants and they'd still die. The only things in her garden she'd managed not to kill were the Shasta daisies and monkey grass that her son and husband had planted for her the summer before her husband's death. Mrs. Chigiri couldn't have gotten rid of those plants if she'd wanted to. Perhaps she just didn't know how to plant, but if she put it into the ground, it'd die. If someone else planted it, and she was left to care for it, it'd live.

Her birthday was approaching, and Sora had decided to fill her garden with flowers for her to take care of. His original plan had been just to get her a gift card to a nursery; then Kairi reminded him of his mother's capability to kill anything she set into the ground. Sora had then nearly laughed himself into a coma at her suggestion that he plant flowers for his mother. He knew nothing about gardening; the last time he'd planted anything he'd been seven and his father had been there to help him.

Sora had then asked, rhetorically, since he regarded the whole idea as being rather silly, if she knew anyone who knew anything about gardening who might be willing to help. She merely smiled and cleared her throat. When Sora finally put two and two together, it made him start laughing again, which earned him a whack across the back of his head, and that was the end of that discussion.

In order to get his mother out of the house for a couple of days while he and Kairi built her garden, Sora had convinced his grandmother to invite her to stay for a day or two. Or rather, Sora and his grandmother devised a scheme to keep his mother at her house for a day or two. His grandmother would call saying she was sick and Suki, dear could you please come up and stay with me, no need to drag Sora along; conveniently forgetting to tell her that the bridge between their two islands would be closing the day after Mrs. Chigiri arrived. Grandmother would have a miraculous recovery and would convince her daughter that it would be much easier if she just stay until the bridge reopened two days later.

And all of this convoluted mess is a very long-winded way of explaining why Sora was still going through with the gardening thing even though Kairi was furious with him, and he wasn't entirely sure if he still had a girlfriend.

Exactly what he'd said that set her off, he didn't know. He simply hoped that at some point during their time planting the garden she might give him some indication of what he'd done wrong.

Sora had been worried that she wouldn't help him at all, but the next morning when he arrived at the plant Nursery, she was there waiting for him.

"I'm doing this for your mother, not you," was her greeting. She wasn't quite as ticked as she had been the day before, and it relieved Sora a great deal. Sora knew nothing about plants, so for the most part he just followed Kairi around while she picked out flowers. She chose an abundance of yellow flowers of various kinds, some pink flowers, and some white flowers. They also bought a couple bags of dirt, because apparently, even though the ground was made of it, you still had to spend money on some special kind or your plants might not grow. All of these would be driven back to Sora's house by Riku, who had volunteered to help as far as taking the stuff from point A to point B.

Sora was busy staring at a gazing ball and contemplating the practical purpose of said item when he heard his name being called.

"Hi Sora…" Sora turned around to see a girl from school standing at the register, ready to ring up their purchases. She was staring dreamily at him, and Sora found it was rather unnerving. Her orange-red hair was pulled back into a ponytail, and her wide smile revealed the reason she had a bit of lisp--her braces, rather bulky ones, actually.

"Hi, uh…" Sora tried to remember her name; he didn't know her very well at all. The glare on her name tag prevented him from reading it. "…Carrie?" It came out more like a question, but she didn't seem to notice.

"Actually, it's Kari," she informed him, not at all offended. "You know, kind of like Carrie, 'cept with a K instead of a C, and AH instead of an EH, only one R and an I instead of an IE." She smiled at him.

She had said all of this exceedingly quickly, and Sora had gotten lost somewhere after "like Carrie." He raised an eyebrow. "Um, huh?"

"Her name's Kari," Kairi's voice floated up beside him. "Like 'Kairi', except without the first 'I'."

Kari grinned and pointed to Kairi. "That's a good way of putting it!" She then turned to Sora, and batted her eyelashes in what Sora supposed was intended to be a coy look. "Hey, Sora, I've got a friend, and I wo-I mean she would like to know if you're single."

"Er…" Sora chanced a glance at Kairi, but she wouldn't look at him. "I'm not, actually."

Kairi turned to look at him. She gave him a wicked smirk. "Actually, Sora, as of yesterday, you are."

Sora's face fell. "Kairi…" He simply stared at her, not knowing how to reply.

Kari looked back and forth from Sora to Kairi, sensing the awkwardness of the situation. She picked up the product scanner. "I'll just ring up your purchases…"

. . o O o . .

Sora didn't say a word to Kairi or Riku the whole way home. He hoped Kairi had just said what she'd said to make him look like an idiot, and wasn't really serious.

When they arrived at Sora's house they'd set to work immediately, with Kairi instructing Sora on what to do. He followed her instructions without comment or question; he could ask her about her earlier statement later. Kairi arranged the potted plants according to where the plants were supposed to go; Sora would simply have to lift the plant out of the pot and plant in the ground beneath where she'd set the pot.

Sora wiped the sweat off his forehead and looked around at the small garden. He and Kairi had both been planting for what felt like forever, and yet there was still so much out of the ground. Some of the plants were even starting to wilt from the heat. Did he want to risk verbal contact?

"Hey Kairi?" he called hesitantly, hoping the summer heat had thawed Kairi's attitude towards him, "I think the plants are starting to wilt. Some of them look kinda droopy."

"We just need to get them in the ground. Plant faster." She said curtly, not looking at him.

"Yes ma'am," Sora replied, and proceeded to keep quiet.

What felt like a further eternity of heat and humidity later, all of the plants were in the ground, lilies, rosebushes, coneflowers, daisies, azaleas, dusty millers, and a few perennial plants that wouldn't come back the next year, but that Mrs. Chigiri could still enjoy taking care of for that summer.

"Okay!" Kairi announced, standing up and stretching her back. "Now, we need to give everything a good watering before we start filling in the top layer of dirt and mulch. I don't think the plants will survive this heat if they don't get a little water now. Sora, go get the hose."

Sora daren't argue with her. He followed her order without a word, unwinding the hose from its holder and turning the knob to get the water flowing.

Except the water wouldn't come. Sora turned the knob several times in both directions to make sure he hadn't simply been turning the wrong way, but still no water came out of the hose. He couldn't even tell if it was flowing.

Kairi had been inspecting his planting job, but had quickly realized that he was taking an awful long time on such a simple task. "Sora," she called, the frustration still evident in her tone, "What's taking so long?"

"It's not working," he called to her as she approached him. He jiggled the nozzle. "It's just not coming out." He noticed a little clamp on the handle and released it. Suddenly the water came roaring out of the hose—

"AAAH!"

---and right into Kairi. He pointed the hose towards the ground, but not before a blast of water had hit Kairi, full force.

Sora stared, eyes wide with horror and fear for his impending death, at Kairi's shocked and indignant face. Her shoulders were tense and her mouth was wide open; the only emotion on her face that was beating out the shock was the pure unadulterated fury shooting out of her eyes and in his direction.

"…you--"

"I'm sorry!"

Kairi just glared at him some more.

"I'm really, really sorry, it was an accident, I promise!"

Kairi was walking towards him, murder still in her eyes, and Sora wasn't sure if running would get him away long enough for her to calm down or if it would only make things worse.

He opted to stay where he was.

Kairi finally stood in front of him, glowering. He uttered one last apology as she snatched the still-running hose from his grasp and stomped away to shower the garden, stopping once halfway there to turn and spray him for a moment.

At least he'd known what he did to deserve it.

. . o O o . .

Finally, the garden was watered, the extra dirt and mulch had been filled in around the plants, and the two tired teens were ready to clean up for the day. Sora walked around gathering tools and plastic pots as Kairi gathered the empty bags of dirt and the flower identification cards.

Sora counted his tools. There was still one shovel missing, so he went back and searched the area again. Nowhere. Sora sighed, frustrated. He'd had it, not long ago. He saw it when he was filling the mulch in around the rose bush…

Sora closed his eyes and let out a long breath. "Kairi,"

"What now?" Great. She still didn't sound happy.

"I think I just buried my shovel."

He could hear her sigh of frustrated disapproval, and more than half expected her to whack him across the back of the head. Thankfully she didn't, but the sudden appearance of her keyblade wasn't very reassuring, either.

"Kairi, what are--"

"Magnega," she murmured, and Sora jumped as a pile of dirt erupted near the daisies as something silver flew out of the ground to stick into the magnetic vortex hovering above their heads. Kairi dismissed her keyblade, ending the spell and causing the shovel to drop out of the air—and onto Sora's foot.

It probably would have hurt if Sora weren't so busy being amazed. Kairi started to walk away, but Sora grabbed her arm. "Since when do you know how to do a Magnega spell?"

She jerked her arm away, not looking at him. "Since I asked Riku to teach me magic. You promised you would and never did so I asked him, and he agreed to teach me even though you told him not to."

Suddenly Sora realized why he'd been in so much trouble lately.

"Kairi," he began tenderly, his first instinct being to say some soothing nothings to stall her wrath until his brain could think of a decent explanation.

"Save it." She whipped her head around and glared up at him. "You told him not to teach me magic for the same reason you didn't want to teach me to fight. You want to keep me protected and locked up in a tower like some wimpy damsel in distress."

Sora's brain would have to work a little faster. "Kairi, how many times have I told you, I just want--"

"You just want to keep me safe, I know. And you think the best way to do that is to keep me as far away from the front lines as you can. And to do that, you want to keep me from learning to fight so that next time trouble comes calling, you'll have a reason to leave me at home."

Sora wanted to contradict her, he wanted to tell her the truth, the real reason that he didn't want her to fight.

The sad thing was that he didn't have to, because she'd already said it. Sora's eyes fell to his shoes. The silence was interrupted by the sound of Kairi's sandaled feet shuffling closer to him in the dried grass. "Have you ever learned three spells in one day before?" He looked up to face the determined look in Kairi's eyes. When he said nothing, she asked, "Well have you?"

"No," he mumbled softly, unsure if it was humility or humiliation that kept him from speaking.

"Riku taught me two spells the other day, and I mastered them both, and I mean completely mastered them—third level spell mastery on both spells in the span of three hours. After that, I went home and taught myself another spell, one that Riku hadn't even heard of before."

Sora didn't have any words for that, no matter how desperately he wanted to tell her that that was amazing, and that he really was proud of her for it. His gaze kept wavering, but Kairi's eyes seemed magnetic, always drawing him back in so that he couldn't escape the point she was trying to make. "Sora, I'm good with magic. And maybe if you'd ever give me a chance, you'd know that. And maybe then Riku wouldn't be teaching me magic behind your back since you'd told him not to."

He had to say something, anything, even if it was nonsense. "I just want you to be safe!" He blurted out, and his reward for his input was a swift smack across the side of his face.

And as if it couldn't get any worse, now she was yelling. "Did it ever occur to you that maybe the best way to protect me was to teach me to protect myself?! No, of course it didn't, because you've always been too busy trying to carry the worlds on your shoulders to consider the possibility that you don't have to do it all alone!"

"Kairi, I--" Sora concluded he should've stayed silent, because Kairi slapped him again.

When he finally looked back at her, Sora saw that Kairi was in tears. "You don't give me any credit, you never give me any credit! You're faced with the problem of keeping the universe safe and protecting me, and your solution is to lock me away instead of thinking that maybe I could not only protect myself, but help you and Riku keep the universe safe! No, you're too busy trying to be the martyr who goes at all these problems alone."

Sora opened his mouth to say something, but quickly closed it as well as lifted his arms up in defense against the slap Kairi had been about to issue him.

"Even the other day, when I suggested doing all this for your mother…you just laughed at me." She shook her head. "I'm not useless. I don't want the rest of the universe thinking I'm nothing but the keyblade master's arm candy! …But if that's all you think I am…" She looked away, shaking her head. "I'm going home...I need a shower, anyway." She began to turn away, but Sora grabbed her arm.

Desperately, he called, "Kairi!" and she looked back at him, her eyes simultaneously begging him to let her go, and imploring him to give her a reason not to want him to.

"You're wrong! I mean, you're right! But, not about everything, 'cause you're wrong!" Kairi raised an eyebrow at his psychobabble. Sora shook his head as if trying to un-addle his brains. "I mean, you're wrong about how I see you! I mean, what I mean is…you're not a trophy. And you shouldn't be stuck on the sidelines, 'cuz you're not a cheerleader, well I mean, you are, but---"

"Hey," Kairi interrupted, "I'm only on the squad because I'm the only girl in the school who can do a decent back-hand spring, and you know it!"

Sora rolled his eyes, "Well, yeah, but the point is, you're, you're special, and I, I don't want you to get hurt. But, you're right, 'cause, 'cause, you don't need me to be hovering over you or locking you in a tower to keep you safe. And I just keep forgetting that! See what I mean?"

Kairi's face was full on confusion now. "No. Sora, you're not making any sense."

Sora was finding himself getting increasingly desperate. "I just, well, what I mean is, I don't know what I mean!"

Kairi rolled her eyes. "Neither do I! Calm down, for starters!"

Sora took a deep breath and tried to compile the conglomeration of words and apologies and desperate pleas for understanding into a coherent sentence that might save his relationship.

"I love you." He finally choked out, since it was the only full sentence floating around in the tornado of his mind. This declaration didn't seem to faze Kairi; she'd heard it before, she knew it, she wanted him to prove it. But she wasn't trying to run away any more, so that at least helped his brain calm down and try to throw a sentence together. "So, 'cuz of that, I want you to be safe, but, I guess what I keep forgetting is that I don't have to be the one to keep safe." He hesitantly reached for her hand, and decided that he must be doing something right, because she let him take it. "I don't give you enough credit, but I want to, so, basically, I need you to kick my butt every time I don't." He garnered a smile and a giggle that time, so Sora decided it was safe to assume he was no longer in danger.

"I can do that," Kairi said quietly, her smile not yet disappearing from her dirt-smeared face. "So, next time I want to learn how to fight or use magic, you'll teach me, and I won't have to go to Riku behind your back?" Her eyebrows were raised in that, 'That wasn't a yes-or-no question, that was a yes-or-we-break-up question, so you'd better answer yes' look.

Sora nodded. "Deal." And Kairi's smiling at him again, so Sora takes a chance and asks, "So, if we go back to the flower nursery, and Kari asks me if I'm still single, what should I tell her?"

Kairi's eyes glinted mischievously. "No."

Relief washed over Sora. He wasn't in trouble any more. The tempest had been survived, and the sea queen was placated.

He leaned in to kiss her, but she turned her face away. "So-raaa," she reproached, vocally swatting him away.

"What's wrong?"

She was blushing. "Sora, I'm sweaty, I'm stinky, I'm still wet from when you sprayed me, I'm covered in dirt, I'm--" She was cut off as Sora gently kissed her anyway. Her blue eyes looked shyly up at him. "I'm covered in dirt."

Sora smiled and shook his head. "I don't care."

Kairi blinked at him. "But I'm a mess."

Sora grinned. "I don't care. I think you look adorable covered in dirt."

It was Kairi's turn to grin, although another kiss cut the smile short.

"You really don't care?"

"I'm covered in dirt, too."

"So you are."

"Do you care that I'm a sweaty, stinky, dirty mess?"

Kairi grinned, "No. I think you look cute covered in dirt."

And they are both grinning as their lips meet, the kiss tasting ever so slightly of flowers and dirt.

.. .f. .i. .n. ..


Disclaimer (at the bottom this time!): I don't even own the copy of KH2:Final Mix and the Japanese playstation it is sitting in that are both under my bed right now. (Lent to me by a friend who bought them while we were in Japan.)

A/N: I'm very much up for suggestions on how to improve the ending. (Other than "it's cute you should continue it". It was designed to be a oneshot and a oneshot it will remain.) Kari is from The Incredibles. She was the babysitter for Jack-Jack.

By the way, has anyone else had the experience of FF making them re-agree to the guidelines nearly everytime you visit your "New Story" page? Is this normal, or is it a glitch?