Destiny Islands

"Sora's gone now. He's not coming back." Riku says solemnly to Sora's parents. Only a few days ago, Sora had died. Riku had decided to tell Sora's parents soon after returning to Destiny Islands with Kairi. He had come to their home, to explain what had happened to their only son.

"Riku, that's not funny. Where is Sora?" Sora's father asks sternly.

"Riku, are you two in some kind of trou-" Sora's mother starts to say.

"Sora's dead." Riku chokes out, not bearing to make it anyless blunt. They deserved to know. He watches as Sora's parents look at him in horror and glance at each other.

I can't.... Tell them... I can't. Just telling them was making him relive Sora's painful look in his eyes, the wise look knowing that he was about to die.

"Riku..." Sora's mom reaches out her hand and grasps Riku's.

"He can't be. This is all a joke, right?" Sora's father demands, not wanting to believe him..

"I wish it was.... I'm sorry... I cou-couldn't protect him... I'M SORRY!" Riku begs, his eyes filling up with tears. He didn't want to apologize to them. He wanted to apologize to the one he'd failed to protect.

"... No... Sora.... SORA!!" Sora's mother starts to cry, realizing at last that Riku was telling the truth.

"I'm sorry... I'm really sorry, I wish that it had been me." Riku says, wiping away tears angrily.

"DON'T YOU EVER SAY THAT AGAIN YOUNG MAN!" Sora's father snaps.

"Huh?"

"You were... like a brother to Sora.... He looked up to you.... Tell me.... Did it ... hurt? When he died?" Sora's mother asks, her entire body trembling. Both parents looked to him, a pair of blue and brown eyes watching, full of grief for their only child. Their little boy, lost to them forever.

"..... No. He died peacefully." Riku lies, can't standing to see the hurt and pained expression on those loving faces.

".... Thank you... Riku... But we're not the only ones who need you right now." Sora's mother says, wiping away tears. She trembles but holds his gaze bravely.

"Huh?" Riku looks at them confused.

"Knowing my son, he asked you to take care of Kairi." Sora's father says with an expression of loss and pain on his face. His eyes, deep brown and warm, fill with tears once more.

"Yes... he did."

"Then? We're not the only ones in pain, Riku. Go find her and keep your pr-promise." Sora's mother says, before collapsing into tears again.

"Thank you.... And..... I really am sorry." Riku says and gets up from the kitchen table.

".... Riku." Sora's father says as Riku begins to walk out the door.

"Yes, sir?" Riku pauses.

"We forgive you." They say in unison. Riku's eyes widen and he struggles to keep his own tears in.

"Thank you.... You have no idea what that means." Riku says, his body trembling.

Destiny Islands: Paopu tree

"Sora....." Kairi whispers to herself. She still felt numb. She whispers the name again, and then starts feeling the cold tears pour from her eyes. She could still see him, his silly grin and those warm blue eyes.

Kairi? Will you be my friend?

"Kairi." Riku sits next to her. They were both remembering the same person.

I promise... I won't EVER leave you alone until I beat you in a race! Okay, Riku?

"......." Kairi remains silent, she hadn't spoken to Riku in several days, since they came back from the battlefield where Sora had died. He hands her a small notebook, complete with a tiny silver pen. She hadn't really been able to talk to him since it happened.

Kairi! Remember what you said before? I'm always with you, too. I'll come back to you. I promise!

"... Kairi... I'm sorry. But I promised him to take care of you." Riku says.

"..........." Kairi notices that Riku had been careful not to say his name.

And if I win, you havta be my best friend, forever! Okay?

"And.... I know what Sora was trying to tell you. When he..." Riku pauses.

You don't. You don't know. Kairi scribbles down on a page of the notebook Riku had handed her. Her heart hurt; she wanted to just give up....

The heart may be weak, and sometimes it may even give in. But I've learned that deep down, there's a light that never goes out!

"Yes I do. He was trying to say... that he loved you." Riku says.

You're lying.

It wasn't a dream! Or was it? I don't know. What was that place... so bizarre...

"Nope. He finally got the courage to confess to you.... but.... it doesn't... matter anymore. I just wanted you to know that." Riku says.

Go away. I hate you. It shouldn't have been him, it should have been me. Kairi writes, tears streaming down her face.

"... You know something? There's a bunch of different worlds out there, right?" Riku says, looking at Kairi sadly.

I'd like to see it too. Along with any other worlds out there! I want to see 'em all!

And? Kairi says, through the piece of paper.

".... Maybe Sora's waiting for us on one of those." Riku says. Kairi's eyes widen and she thinks this over for a moment.

"You really think so?" Kairi whispers aloud, half to herself.

"Yeah. I'm sure he's there, and that he's waiting for us, and when we get there, he'll do that grin and tell us, 'Welcome home'." Riku slips his arm around Kairi, as a father would to a crying child, and smiles gently at her.

"...............I think so too... He's not gone...." Kairi sobs.

No! This huge, black THING swallowed me up! I couldn't breathe, I couldn't... ow!

"And we'll find him, maybe one day." Riku says, and they both look out to the golden red sunset.

"Riku......" Kairi says and wipes away a few tears.

"And we have to keep fighting, or Sora would get mad at us for giving up!" Riku says, a determined expression on his face.

C'mon, Riku! You've been hanging out in darkness too long. You gotta try and think positive!

"Yeah... Let's keep fighting.... for Sora." Kairi says, and stares into the sunset, remembering another day when the both of them, Sora and her, had watched it together.

Don't worry. I will.

"And when this is over, I'll find you. I promise." Kairi vows to Sora, the one she had lost.

"Do you remember when we first met you?" Riku asks suddenly.

"Yes." Kairi remembers, that first time she had seen the both of them, both of their faces so different, and yet familiar.

"Well, he whispered to me, 'who's that pretty girl? I've never seen her before, where'd she come from?'. I think he fell in love with you right then and there. And after a while.... so did I. I love you but I won't make you choose. I know that you love him. It's okay." Riku says.

Yeah, it was definitely Kairi. I've finally found her.

"......... Why did it have to be him? Why not someone else?" Kairi whispers.

".... You wish it had been me?" Riku asks, a solemn look in his eyes.

The darkness may destroy my body, but it can't touch my heart. My heart will stay with my friends. It'll never die!

"NO! I wish that no one had-" Kairi is startled to hear a chuckle come from Riku.

Let's be friends! All three of us! And we'll be together forever, even we're older, we won't forget each other. Even if we go far away from each other, will you both still be my friends? My bestest friends?

"Why don't you...." He pulls something out of his pocket. He fastens a silver necklace, Sora's crown necklace, around her neck.

Kairi!

Riku!

"- just remember for a while?" Riku finishes. Kairi stares at the necklace, thinking that it had been lost when Sora vanishes.

I'm not gonna give up now. I came here to find someone very important to me.

"How did you get this? HOW?!" Kairi sobs.

"I found it. When I went back there. I think he would have wanted you to have it."

But isn't there anything fun to do now?

"Kairi... I have this too." Riku hands her a small letter.

"He told me to give this to you." Kairi opens the crumbled envelope and begins to read.

Kairi-

I don't know how to say this, I don't know if I even wrote this right.

They've said so many things to me.

I've seen so many things too.

But I think...

Regardless of those warnings, the future doesn't scare me at all.

But even though nothing's like it was before.. ....

I'm not scared, not anymore.

You and I will once more say good bye.

But, I'm sure Riku will be there.

I feel kinda awkward writing this but....

Do you remember? What you said?

Don't ever forget. Wherever you go, I'm always with you.

I'll always be with you, too.

When I was lost in the Darkness, you shone to light my way.

I'll always be protecting you. Even if I'm very far away.

When I was gone, you waited.

You waited for me, I know.

Sometimes, waiting isn't good enough.

But I'm sure I can wait forever.

We've been friends for so long.

Do you remember when you asked me never to change?

I won't. I promise.

But even if you change, I'll stay the same, just for you.

I'll come back to you - I promise.

I'll be thinking of you, wherever you are.

I'll pray for your sorrow to end.

I'll hope for your heart to mend.

And who knows?

Maybe...

Just maybe...

Starting this new journey won't be so hard,

cause maybe it's already started.

There are so many worlds,

but I've learned this:

They all share the same sky.

That same sky, and that same destiny.

There'll always be that same door, the Door to Light.

And I'll always be waiting.

Love,

Sora

"....... Sora.... Sora... SORA!!" Kairi sobs, clutching the letter close to her heart. She begins to cry, and Riku only pulls her closer, to say that he was still there for her.

Take care.

The gentle breeze seems to whisper, in such a familiar voice, as it dances through the air, caressing both Riku and Kairi in a loving embrace.

Unknown Location

"Just for you, pitiful one." The X flashes and the letters mix around, forming-

"Keyxs." The boy says softly, trying out his new name. His golden eyes gleam dully in the faint light.

"…. Kai…ri…." He whispers, licking his lips at the sound of the name, looking confused at the sound, and he doesn't question it. His new master would know what to do, about those memories.

"Awaken, my new comrade. Destroy the worlds by my side, destroy the foolish Keyblade Master and Princess."

"Yes, Master."

Kairi... Riku.....Am I Sora?

Don't say another word. It's not over. It's just not.

To be continued