It never snowed on Destiny Islands.
The tropical oasis of the sea, in fact, rarely caught a cold wind. Here, the seasons seemed to blend together; citizens of the island jokingly called their seasons Cool Summer, Warm Summer, or Hot Summer. When the cold did come, it never lasted long; from the first chill of a cold front, the air would become lighter and the scent of winter teased the senses of the island's inhabitants. And just as quickly as it would come, it would be taken away. Swept under the rug with a quick brush.
But something was different this year on the Islands. Local news stations were in flustered flurries over the present situation: a large fleet of cold fronts seemed to hit Destiny Islands like a parade. Yet everywhere, people were smiling; Christmas music seemed to ring out from every store, fake snow fell in the most populated downtown areas, trying to take advantage of the cold weather that decided to stay.
It was a welcomed time, for the most part. Save the senior citizens who complained about their decision to move to the Islands now becoming null, everyone everywhere was caught up in a wintry spirit.
It was not as if the weather was actually that cold either, but the people didn't care. No, they were going to seize the opportunity and relish the moment. They were going to take this time and revel in it, to try and find that experience that their climate had robbed of them, to experience and taste a miniscule amount of what people everywhere around the world called a Snow Day.
So everyone bundled up in their long-sleeved shirts and jackets. Adults and children alike, dressed in winter gear: earmuffs, boots, gloves, scarves, turtlenecks, the whole wardrobe! For some people, it was an entirely new experience. For others, it was a friendly reminder, a trip down memory lane, a reminiscence of times passed.
And for others, well…
It was an excuse to cuddle. To lock arms with that secret crush under the excuse of "we'll be much warmer like this." It was an excuse to hold hands, that though even gloved, sent shocks up and down the arms of people in love.
And most of all, it was the best time to spend time with that person held so dearly in the heart.
Sora ran the lip balm over his lips for the third time that day.
The cold air had almost given him a permanent flush, and per order of his mother, was forced to apply lip balm to keep his lips from becoming chapped. He didn't know chapped lips could be so bad. He never experienced it before.
"Nobody likes a bleeding lip. And with you smiling as often as you do, you can't possibly deny such a thing happening is impossible."
Using more force than necessary, he snapped the cap back on with his thumb. It's not that he didn't like the weather; rather, he very much enjoyed it. He was the first to whip out the earmuffs, the winter coat, the gloves, and that really cool hat with the two stringy-thingies that hung from the sides. Yes, Sora was a festive, winter weather fanatic.
But he could certainly do without the lip balm. Now it just seemed like an extra chore, something more to keep track of.
"Mom, I'm going to Kairi's house!" the boy yelled, clambering down the stairs as he stuffed one of his legs down a dark blue pair of jeans. With a short hop, he made it downstairs fully clothed with his jeans and sweater. Opening the nearby closet, he pulled out a white winter coat and threw it around himself. He felt the pockets for gloves; he was delighted to find a folded scarf in the left one.
"Okay! If you're walking, dress warmly! It's cold enough to snow out there!"
"I know!" Sora inwardly chuckled. Moms.
"And Sora, if you're going to be outside for a long time, make sure you bring tissues! You don't want to walk around with a runny nose!"
"Okay! Bye!" Slipping into a pair of sneakers, he was out the door and into the cold air outside. Sora licked his lips in surprise. Guess she really does know best… He thought. With a flick of his wrist, he threw the scarf over his neck and began walking. It was a peculiar sight to see his breath form and dissipate right before his eyes. Though many would find it strange to take note of such an immaterial effect, Sora found it quite intriguing. Where does it all go? He smiled to himself when he answered his own question.
The cold air nipped the tip of his nose in a passing wind, evoking a laugh from the brunet. Somehow or another, the cold found a way into his deep pockets, tickling the skin of his fingers. Carefully slipping on his gloves, he continued down the street. In another block or so, he'd reach Kairi's house.
A warm feeling spread inside him at the thought of that wonderful girl. Today would mark exactly eighteen days since he found the courage to ask her out; eighteen days since she said yes and threw her arms around him, giggling with glee at the thought. He remembered with a blush how happy and incredibly relieved he was with her answer. He walked her home that day; back then it was only the early stages of the front, the cool weather before it classified as cold. The memory of her hand in his sent a warm sensation through his hand, which he flexed in his pocket.
How simple an act as holding her hand could have such an effect on him! He shook his head quickly, trying to disrupt the embarrassing memories. But as he thought of the embarrassment, he remembered Riku laughing, teasing the poor boy in the congratulatory way unique to Riku himself.
But none of it mattered. Kairi was officially his girlfriend. He couldn't help the smile from surfacing at the thought. Kairi liked him the same way he liked her. Nothing, nothing, nothing could take the feeling of elation he felt from that single notion.
Before he knew it, he was walking up the steps of her porch. He raised his hand, set to pound his knuckles on the wooden door.
Was he dressed appropriately? Should he take his gloves and earmuffs and scarf off? Would it mess up his hair? She liked his hair! He couldn't mess that up! So would it be better to leave them on? What about the coat? Should he take that off? He might look a little manlier if he could stand the cold. But how would he hold it? Should he just fold it over his arms? And what about his sweater? Kairi once said that rolled sleeves looked really nice on a guy. Should he roll his sleeves up?
Stop. He squeezed his eyes shut in an effort to purge the insecurities out of his mind. Leave all the clothes on. It'll be better that way. For both of them.
Once again, he raised his fist to the door. His hand was a mere millisecond away from rapping the door.
What should he do when she answered? Should he casually greet her? Put his hands in his pockets? Act smooth and cool? Give her an excited hug? Make a joke? Was speaking a good idea at all? What if his breath smelled? Should he... kiss her? But where? On the hand? No, that would be odd. The cheek? But they're dating! She'd probably take offense. Then on the lips?
Sora suddenly felt an itch run throughout his body. Was it still cold outside? The temperature seemed to spike.
A kiss. Was that a good idea? How would she react? Don't all girls want their first kiss to be special? It was around Christmas, after all, so maybe under some mistletoe! Surely there would still be some inside.
Yes. He was settled. Under the mistletoe it was. With a smile, he knocked loudly on the door. He took off his gloves, just in case they shook…hands…
Oh gosh. Like hell they'd shake hands.
He never came up with a way to greet her! Oh no oh no oh no! He had to decide, and fast! He'd look so awkward if he just stood there! Should he put his hands in his pockets? Or maybe he should lean against the doorway! That might work! No, then he might come off as pimpish. Hands in the pockets? Cross his arms? Pretending to be cold to start a joke? What in the world was he go—
The door opened.
His mind went blank. Time seemed to slow as Kairi filled the space of the threshold. The cold receded, filling Sora with a warmth that only presence could bring. There she stood, wearing a simple combination of a white hoodie and jeans. But on her the white looked whiter. On her the jeans outlined her perfect form, fitting the most precise details.
And on her face was the smile he always strived for. The same smile that always seemed to shine. And he, like a mirror, would try to reflect it, trying to grasp, to preserve that proof of happiness.
"Sora." His name seemed to set the time forward once again. In a gust of wind and a quick succession of steps, Sora found himself wrapped in familiar arms. Her arms.
He immediately returned the hug, squeezing with equal, more fervor than she. He didn't want to let go. He couldn't. It was moments like these that should last forever. These little actions that deserved to be safeguarded and kept treasured in a memory.
"Kairi." He finally said. It was all that was needed.
It was all she wanted.
Without a word the two slipped into the warmth of her home, their fingers tangled in the most absurd yet affectionate way. She unwound his scarf in a slow and purposeful manner, laying it on a nearby chair. She pulled off his earmuffs with a giggle, though she made no effort to vocalize her joke or teasing compliment. A laugh escaped Kairi's lips when his jacket was the force that untied their hands. She quietly stepped back, taking in the sight of her beloved.
Kairi missed him. She saw him yesterday, but she still found herself missing her best friend. Her heart still felt a longing for this boy who had become the most important person in her life.
So she hugged him again, feeling the need to hold onto physical proof that he was there. And he was, wholly and completely, he was standing right there and hugging her.
"It's the Sora smell." She giggled, burying her face in his chest. He hugged tighter.
"Thought you might like that." The light joke was enough to bring a huge smile to both of their faces.
Finally they stepped away from the door. She directed him to the couch, ordering him to pick a movie from the pile she had made a little before he arrived. He complied with a mock salute.
Kairi entered the kitchen, humming to the Christmas tune that was playing on her house stereo. She didn't notice the soft music until she heard herself carrying the melody. She continued to do so as she made two mugs of hot chocolate; she was sure that he'd enjoy it.
His voice, calling her name, stole her attention. She answered with affirmation to his movie choice, telling him to prepare it. She was finishing preparations herself: the milk was finally warm enough. She added the chocolate powder, making sure to put a little extra in each. Grabbing a handful of marshmallows, she dropped them into the mugs, watching them bounce about on the surface.
Nothing like a hot chocolate made with milk and marshmallows on a cold winter's day.
He mumbled in gratitude as he took one of the prepared drinks. He moved over, careful not to spill his hot chocolate, so she could sit right next to him. He made sure his arm conveniently fell over her shoulders.
He grinned like a maniac. Though he stared at the screen, he paid no attention to what was happening. What he could focus on was how wonderful she smelled; on how much he enjoyed the fact that it was his shoulder that she was resting her head on; on how she would take a sip of her drink, look up at him, and smile before returning her gaze to the movie.
They were a lot quieter than usual, but perhaps that was best. Sora may have been one fry short of a Happy Meal, but he could certainly feel the mood they were in. She just wanted to be, to live in the moment. He wanted to save the moments forever, as if silence was the key to slowing time itself.
He lightly squeezed her shoulder before bringing his hand down to her waist. She wrapped her free arm around his own body, snuggling further into his chest. It wasn't cold anymore; it wasn't boring either. It was warm. It was quiet.
It was comfortable.
Sora suddenly became aware of the darkness. Slowly opening his eyes, he inhaled deeply, a yawn escaping in the process. It was already dark outside, and the movie had most likely ended long ago. How long had he been asleep? He was lying on the couch, a fact he deduced when the first thing his eyes met was the ceiling.
Before he moved, he noticed a weight on him. He looked down, finding the reason why it smelled so good when he breathed. Kairi had fallen asleep right on top of him. Her head laid right above his heart, her slow breathing a quarter of the speed of his increasingly faster heartbeat.
He felt her move; his hands immediately held her so she wouldn't fall. Slowly she regained her consciousness, first rubbing her face into his sweater, and the next stretching her unused muscles. Her head turned to look up at him, her chin resting on his chest. Their eyes met.
At first, silence.
The utterance of a familiar phrase broke the ice.
"Sora, you lazy bum. I knew I'd find you snoozin'."
He chuckled, earning himself a warm smile. Once again she rested her head while he wrapped his arms around her.
"Can we stay like this?"
He blinked. The words formed more than the question. To him it meant many things.
So he said, "Yeah. I'd like that."
He said yes. Yes to the prolonging of that short eternity. Yes to the unbreakable bond that they shared. Yes to the feeling of comfort, of warmth, of joy, of every trial that their relationship would throw at them. Yes to the moments in time where they were together, relaxed, and able to enjoy doing everything and nothing at the same time.
And so they stayed. While reality continued to move, time did not touch them. They did not stay for any amount of seconds or minutes or hours. They stayed in each other's presence. They stayed close, holding on, becoming in a sense, in one reality or another, inseparable.
They listened to each other's breathing, felt every minuscule motion, saw nothing but each other. They didn't think, or speak, or disturb. They merely existed.
And so they were.
The mood was playful once again.
Like a sudden change of direction, the two were laughing, smiling, teasing, joking. Dinner had been wonderfully fun, concocted by none other than two inexperienced teenage cooks. It was almost like a tribute to the good old days when they played Chef or Restaurant, taking turns playing with that stove with cool sound effects and flipping that eternally cooked plastic egg.
Neither of them was ever fond of that egg. For starters it was impossible to cut; two, they both preferred their eggs scrambled. Sunny-side-up was overrated.
Nevertheless, the macaroni and cheese came out perfectly. Sure, they definitely added too much milk, and maybe adding eight slices of cheese singles (per Sora's suggestion) was a bad idea, but they wolfed it down as fast as any other meal.
They hadn't stopped smiling since they started.
They were still smiling when they finished cleaning.
Kairi particularly enjoyed locking Sora outside the glass door when he went to take out the trash. Sora especially enjoyed exacting revenge with the torture choice of tickling. The house was alive again, filled with music, laughter and warmth.
They danced, though they didn't know the reason why. They sang along, though sometimes they didn't know the words or hit the notes. They began making a game out of everything possible.
It was Sora and Kairi in their most natural element.
"Is your mom okay with you being here?" Kairi asked him as she dried her hands.
"She thinks your parents are home. So yes, she is." He said with a smirk. "What about yours?"
"They don't know you're here." Kairi laughed when his smirk turned into a wide smile. "So yes, they are."
"We are going to get into so much trouble if they find out." Sora laughed. Of course he didn't really care. It wasn't as if he wanted to leave because of the risk.
"And why would we get in trouble?" Kairi raised a brow. "Surely you had no intention to do anything that would… oh, I don't know, that you wouldn't do in front of our parents?" She was teasing him, he realized. It was another game. Very well! He would show her and make her fold.
"Maybe I was going to do something like that." He shot back. He raised the stakes.
"Oh, and what might that be? Do tell, Sora. I want to hear what you would've done." She also raised.
He wasn't going to back down yet. "Well, what do hormonal teenagers, especially when they're dating and alone in a house."
"You tell me, Sora. After all, you are my first boyfriend."
He gasped. She brought it up! "Kairi, I was in fourth grade and that girl broke up with me when recess ended! It didn't even last for a whole thirty minutes! No way that counts!"
"It counts if you had to 'break up', Sora!" She laughed again when his poker face shattered. "So, tell me what two hormonal teenagers do when they're alone. Enlighten this naïve girl, oh experienced one."
She called every one of his bluffs. No matter. He had one more ace in the hole. "Well first of all, I'd be right here." He approached her, and suddenly she was looking at his nose. "With my arms around you so you couldn't escape." He ensnared her in his arms, catching her off guard.
She fought off a giggle. "Oh? And what next?" She pressed. She was rather daring today.
He leaned down to whisper in her ear. "I'd hold you. Make you scream my name and beg."
She shivered. Kairi never thought that Sora would be so bold. It was scary yet sexy at the same time. His hot breath on her ear made her knees weak. She took a gamble and went all in. "W-why don't you show me?" she tried to taunt.
"As you wish, Kairi…" he whispered coolly. His hands slid down her sides, settling just above her hips. Her heart was beating madly.
Her eyes widened with realization with what was about to happen.
"W-wait a se—"
Too late. His fingers were flexing, poking, tickling her only weak spot. She squirmed and writhed and screamed and laughed uncontrollably, unable to break the boy's hold on her.
She fell for it. Just when she thought he was about to fold, he pulled the trump card.
She tried to break free, but to no avail. He had her tied, and the endless tickling sensation did make her scream. "Sora, stop!" she laughed, finding it hard to breathe. He carried her to the living room, tickling her along the way. She really was hard to contain. Like a wildcat. But he wasn't about to let her go.
"What was that Kairi?" he taunted over her laughter. He laughed, finding enjoyment in her suffering.
"Sora! St-stop! Please stop! I give up! I give up!" She said quickly, finally yielding. He immediately ceased, but he had yet to let her go. She was breathing hard now, giggling, a fine accompaniment to his chuckling.
"See? I told you I'd make you scream my name and beg." His wondrous azure eyes was just as teasing as his tone.
"I'll get you one day, Sora. I'll have my revenge. You'll be receiving a tenfold of what was done here today. I swear it."
"I'll be looking forward to it, Kairi." He hugged her tighter, her back pressing against his firm chest. She made moves to loosen his arms. "Kairi?"
"Just let me turn around." She explained. She turned to face him, still in his arms. Before he could say anything, she closed her eyes and raised herself on her toes.
And kissed him.
Sora was suddenly lost. His mind went blank, his fingers numb. And suddenly, a wave. A warm sensation spread throughout his body. His senses felt heightened, his blood seemed to rush, his heart beat fast. The hands that had fallen uselessly to his sides suddenly gained life and held the girl he kissed, now with equal eagerness. The passion was overwhelming.
He enjoyed every second of it.
Slowly, they parted. He maintained his tight embrace, unknowingly helping her stand despite the weakness in her knees.
Amidst his ragged breaths, he finally managed to say, "That was better than I'd imagined."
She laughed. Leave it to Sora to take a moment like that… oh, he had such a way with words. So eloquent. "What a vivid description." She smiled, biting her bottom lip flirtatiously.
"Well if you must know, all day I've been trying to figure out how to kiss you in the most romantic or cheesiest way possible. I considered mistletoe first, then the literal approach with a mac-n'-cheese kiss, take you for a walk under-the-moonlight kiss, take you out in hopes of it snowing so our first kiss would be under a rare occasion, kissing you after applying lip balm…"
"You really thought all of that out?" She interrupted. He looked at her and nodded, causing her to giggle endlessly.
"What? What's so funny?"
She held his face with both hands and smiled. "Why didn't you just kiss me?"
He understood, closing the distance immediately. She inwardly smiled. Boys may have been dumb, but Sora understood her like no other. Leave it to him to make a moment out of that.
She sighed when they parted, her arms tightly wound around his neck. She could feel his heart beating rapidly, her own going just as fast. It was simply intoxicating.
"Would you like me to show you what two teenagers who like each other do to stay warm in winter?" He asked softly. She ran her fingers through his hair, pulling him closer.
"Let me guess. Cuddle under a blanket right next to the fire?" Kairi suggested. He laughed.
"You forgot the part about trading occasional kisses. It sends a rather… warm feeling throughout the body."
His fingers twitched at her sides, tickling her slightly. She jerked a bit, yet laughed along with him. "Well what are you waiting for? I'm freezing from head to toe."
He kissed her again, sending that promised warmth throughout her body. Had she not been pressing her own lips to his, she would've patted him on the head and given him a treat for understanding all her signals. He broke the kiss once again and carried her to the living room.
"I don't think you'll be needing a blanket." He pulled her to the couch, wrapping her completely with his arms, sharing his body warmth.
"You are correct. But there's still a fire that you need to light." She whispered in his ear.
"Something tells me you don't mean the fireplace." He chuckled. Before she could hit him over the head, or tease him for his cheesiness, or congratulate him for getting the obvious correct, she was lost in another one of his kisses.
It couldn't possibly be cold outside. Kairi thought. Not when it was so warm, so warm right there in his arms.
RE: Well, here's a treat before the end of 2009. Just a oneshot for the winter season, that's all. It was a nice little break from M&M. Stylistically the same, just with a different POV. I tried to replicate a kind of steam of consciousness, but the transitions were a little flawed. Not my best work, but something I find worthy enough to post, right?
The only iffy part was that random, short amount of seriousness in the middle. Something about the time I was writing this made me write that. Oh well. I'd rather you guys read it.
Hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season.
So, thanks for reading! We may not know each other, but thank you very much, and Happy New Year! Take care, and I'll see you around!