Warning: A bit of bad language in here.

DISCLAIMER: I own nothing.


I probably spoke too soon about high school not being that bad.

Maybe it was an agreement among the teachers, but every single one of them went into homework overdrive as the end of September approached. Worksheets upon worksheets were handed out to us like saving the trees meant nothing to them. There were plenty of times when I would go home and toss the homework aside so that I could do other things that were on top of my priority list, such as managing my blog or organizing paperwork. Even sleeping came before doing homework. My priorities would unfortunately lead me to having to copy off other students, but Yuffie assured me that copying another person's work was a tradition at all high schools.

That didn't stop other rumors from surfacing, though.

Because of my copying, people were beginning to say how I "didn't give a shit about high school" and was only there to bring more attention to myself. If that was true, then why were they still allowing me to copy off them? People were practically throwing their work at me as if they wanted to be the one that I copied off of. When Olette wasn't in Chemistry one day, I walked into the room and asked the person that sat in the table next to ours if he did the assignment about molecules. I didn't expect everyone in the classroom to hear, so I was shocked to find myself crowded by people that were shoving their paperwork at my face and claiming they had the best, most accurate answers.

Another rumor that came about was one involving Sora and me. The students that saw me hug him at The Barrel must have been the ones who gossiped about how I was using him to get over Roxas because of his attraction to Naminé.

How typical. Share physical contact with somebody and other people will assume that you're dating.

Speaking of Roxas, he and Naminé had become much closer. When I was with Roxas, he would talk about Naminé. When I was with Naminé, she would talk about Roxas. I was pulling the Selphie card and pushing Roxas to ask Naminé out on a date, but he responded with the usual, "I will do it eventually. Leave me alone!"

As for Naminé, she was constantly in denial.

"I'm just another girl to him" this or "He has prettier options than me" that.

I mean, seriously? She had to have been blind to not see that she was the only girl in school that Roxas hadn't kindly pushed away.

Whatever. I wasn't going to get too involved... Yet.

I had formulated this plan, you see, where I would get Roxas and Naminé alone together in some romantic scenery so they could confess their true feelings and be all happy and what not, kind of like the cliché moments you would see in a sappy chick flick.

I thought it was the perfect plan, but I had no idea how to pull it off.

Oh, well. Back to school for me.

...

I was sitting in Spanish class when a folded piece of paper landed on my desk. I unfurled the note and read the message inside.

'U don't belong here, u attention-craving slut.'

I rolled my eyes. I crumpled up the note and placed it at the corner of my desk, returning my attention to the Spanish video that Ms. Trepe played for us. She announced earlier that she had to step out for a few minutes.

Within moments, another message was sent.

'Skank tank!'

That insult was new to me, so I decided to keep it. I was sure that Rikku was going to have a kick out of it.

More notes came flying.

'Wut, cat got no fight?'

'Beeeeetchhhh!'

'Ur boobs remind me of mosquito bites.'

'Stop being so ugly. Be easy on my eyes.'

'I hate the color red, ya kno?'

After that last note, I finally turned around to face the three people sitting in the back corner of the room, each one of them sending me a glare.

Seifer, Fuu, and Rai, a trio that I was sure was out to get me when I took my first steps into Spanish. Whenever I responded to the teacher with the wrong word or with incorrect grammar, they were the first ones to snicker. If the teacher wasn't looking, negative notes were flying. When I didn't have homework done, they would call me out in front of the class.

I was doing my best to ignore them, but that never worked out too well.

Ms. Trepe had returned to the room during our glare battle, and she curiously eyed the small pile of crumpled up papers that were situated on my desk.

"What is that on your desk, Kairi?" she asked, speaking a full sentence in English for once.

Everyone turned to me with questioning stares. I sighed. I could feel the amused expressions on those three's faces. I could even hear the laughter that was going on in their minds.

"I was trying to take notes on the video, but after a few tries I just decided to give up," I lied.

She looked at me skeptically. I could tell that she wanted to know more, but she shook her head and went to her desk.

When class ended, I was only a few steps outside of the room when I heard their voices.

"You really don't belong here, princess," Seifer said sourly.

"Seifer's right, ya know?" stated Rai. I heard him punch into his palm.

"Get out," voiced Fuu.

I stopped and faced them. Even though I would not ever consider getting into a physical fight with someone, I knew I wouldn't win against them. Seifer had this tough guy look to him that was emphasized by the scar on his face. Fuu had a strange steel-blue color going on with her hair, and her face was always void of emotion. Rai was not the brightest of the bunch, but his body was like that of a rock wall.

"Why can't you all just leave me alone?" I hissed.

"Why can't you just go back to being fake on screen instead of being fake in reality?" returned Seifer. He smirked and crossed his arms. "We don't need the likes of you around. We're here to make sure that this school stays clean of snobby, stuck-up kids like you."

"Snobby? Stuck-up? You don't know anything about me!"

"You're an actress!"

"That's all we need to know, ya know?" exclaimed Rai.

Fuu looked on blankly. "Indeed."

"We're the Destiny Islands Disciplinary Committee," said Seifer. He walked up dangerously close to me. He was practically breathing down my neck. "And we're here to get rid of you and that blonde friend of yours."

On the outside, I looked angry and annoyed. On the inside, though, I was actually quite frightened. I realized then that Axel was not lying when he said there were people in school that would go after you in a threatening way.

I was speechless, and I didn't know what to do. I saw Rai and Fuu closing in on me. I was trapped, and I thought I was done for.

That is, until I felt a body come in between Seifer and me.

"Back off, Seifer," growled Sora.

Riku and Hayner then came in, staring down Rai and Fuu.

To everyone that was witnessing the confrontation, it must have looked like the ultimate stare down. No punches, no kicks, no verbal assaults; just a fight of the irises.

Seifer grunted and averted his eyes. "If you weren't so important to this school's Blitzball team, I'd have you gone in a second."

"You think you're tough for ganging up on one girl?" said Sora. "Disciplinary Committee, my ass. You're pathetic."

Rai was about to pounce on Sora, but Riku stepped in front of him and held him back.

Seifer's eyes hardened. He and Sora exchanged glares for a few more moments before he huffed and started to walk away. Without a word, Rai and Fuu followed suit.

"You think you're some hotshot, Hikari?" Seifer hollered across the hallway. "You better be watching your back from now on."

They rounded the corner and disappeared, leaving Sora, Riku, Hayner, and me in the middle of a small crowd. Olette, Pence, and Naminé walked up to us.

"Punks," spat Hayner. "They think they do this school a service for picking on people."

Sora turned to me. "You all right, Kairi?" he asked.

"Yeah, I'm fine, just a bit frustrated," I replied. In truth, though, I was a bit scared. Was Seifer going to do something bad to me? "They won't stop bothering me in class. It's like they enjoy getting me flustered."

"Trust me, we're in the same boat," said Olette, pointing to Hayner and Pence. "They don't bother us when we're in a group, though. As long as they don't catch you alone, you'll be fine."

"It doesn't help that I'm in Spanish all by myself. No one in that class talks to each other."

"We'll figure something out," said Sora. "We should get to Yen Sid's room before the bell rings. Want to go together?"

"Okay."

He looked over at Riku with a strange gaze. Riku must have read whatever visual message Sora was giving to him because he nodded and left the scene. Sora and I then departed from the group and went to our Island History class.

"Thank you for helping me out back there," I said to Sora after we sat ourselves in our usual desks.

"Don't sweat it," he said. "They always go after the people they think are better than them."

"Have they gone after you and Riku?"

"They did, during my freshman year. But because of our reputation from playing Blitzball, the whole school kind of has our backs, so they shied away from us."

"I see."

"Kairi?"

I turned to him. His eyes were worried, but his smile was confident.

"I want you to know that no matter what, we're here to protect you—me, Naminé, Hayner, Pence, Olette, even Riku—and we'll make sure that nothing happens to you."

I was taken aback. I had only been in school for less than a month, yet here was Sora confessing that he and his friends were willing to protect me.

"Thank you, Sora," I said, smiling.

He grinned back. "Now you have your own bodyguards here at school!"

I had to laugh at that one. He raised his eyebrow at my reaction. "Bodyguards? You guys don't even come close to Uncle Leon and Uncle Barret."

"Uncle Leon and Uncle Barret?"

"Yep, two of the most toughest guys to have ever lived on Destiny Islands. No matter where they go they have these weapons that make people not even attempt to come near me. Uncle Leon likes to carry swords with him, but his favorite is this big sword with a gun that is attached to it. As for Uncle Barret, he's part machine. His right hand is a gun."

Sora's jaw dropped in surprise. I smirked at him. He was probably expecting me to describe a couple of buff guys with dark sunglasses, not some dudes that had freakish weapons.

"That's pretty... Intense."

"They're only that way because they're ex-military, like my dad."

"Oh, yeah, that's right, I heard about your father being a soldier at first. That must have been a huge jump going from the battlefield to the main screen."

"He doesn't talk about it much, but when I asked him about it one day he just said that he enjoys the life that he has now, so I guess that's all that matters."

"Can't blame him. He's making all the money."

"What about your parents? What do they do for a living?"

His face completely changed. His smiled had flattened out to a small frown, and his shining eyes went dull.

"They're not really around," he said.

"What do you mean?"

"Well—"

The bell interrupted our conversation. Yen Sid stood up from his desk with his hand up, silencing the entire classroom.

"The bell has rung, so we shall begin our learning," he said loudly. "Please grab a textbook from the back of the room and turn to page ninety-eight. We will start our new lesson on the ancient Keyblade."

I grabbed a textbook and sat back down. I quickly glanced back over at Sora, who seemed to return to normal. I couldn't help but feel worried, though. It was the first time I had ever seen him look troubled.

That solemn expression of his plagued my mind for the rest of the period.

...

While I was taking out a folder from my locker, the conversation I had with Olette during Chemistry was replaying in my head.

"Hey, Olette, can I ask you something about Sora?"

"Sure. What's up?"

"We were talking about my parents during Island History today. When I asked him about his parents, he was different. Does he not got along with them?"

Olette froze. She stopped handling the microscope to look at me.

"You mean, he hasn't told you?"

"Told me what?"

She ignored my question. "How about Naminé, has she told you?"

"No, they haven't mentioned anything about their parents to me."

Olette started to rub her left arm. I noticed that she always did that whenever she felt sad or uncomfortable.

"I mean, I would tell you, but I think it would be best if you asked Sora or Naminé."

Regardless of what Olette told me to do, I asked Hayner during English. He gave me a somewhat similar answer.

"That really isn't something for me to say," he said quietly. "You should ask Sora about it. If you ask Naminé, she might get emotional. She recently got over it, so you can say that she's a bit raw on that subject."

I then became really worried. What were they keeping from me?

I closed my locker and looked across the hallway to see Sora standing in his usual spot as he waited for Naminé. He was talking with Riku, and from the angry looks on their faces I assumed that they were talking about what happened earlier between them and Seifer's gang.

As I walked up to them, I caught the last bits of their conversation.

"You sure you want to do something like that?" Sora asked him.

"You're my best friend, Sora," I heard Riku reply. "As much as it would bother me to do it, you know I would do a better job than Hayner. He would just flip out if they said one word to him."

They pounded fists. "I owe you one."

"Damn right, you do."

I was within a few steps of them when they turned to me. Sora's expression softened while Riku's remained indecipherable.

"Speak of the Devil and she will appear," Riku said. I frowned at that. "I'll catch you later, Sora."

"Yeah, see ya," Sora said as Riku left. Sora's smile returned to his face. "Hey, Kairi."

"Hey," I greeted. I was going to make a comment about Riku, but I decided against it. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah, I've been all right. Why do you ask?"

I shuffled my feet a little. "Well, during Island History, you were a bit different. If I said something that hurt you, I'm sorry."

He placed his hand on my shoulder. "Don't be, Kairi. You didn't do anything wrong."

"Did something happen between you and your parents?"

His sad eyes returned. "Not really." We heard footsteps echoing down the halls. We turned to see Naminé making her way towards us. "It might not be best to talk about it here and now. Let's walk down to The Barrel to drop off Naminé and then I will tell you everything you want to know about me."

I was supposed to call Sephiroth right when I got home from school, but I was certain that my father wouldn't mind me stalling out on that. For reasons that were unknown to me, I was very curious about the boy standing in front of me.

"Okay," I said.

"I will do that on one condition, though."

"And what is that?"

He smirked. "If I tell you everything you want to know, then you have to tell me everything I want to know."

I raised my eyebrow at him. "Do I really need to? There have been plenty of small biographies about me that were released in the magazines. Haven't you read those?"

"Nope. Besides, stories are best told in person rather than on paper, which I'm pretty sure you understood from when you, Roxas, and I were at The Barrel that one day." An idea popped into his head. "Speaking of that one time, isn't it unfair that Roxas and I shared stories while you remained quiet?"

I rolled my eyes. "So what? Roxas already knows what goes on in my life."

"He does, but I don't, and I want to know."

I looked at him. He smiled at me, and I could feel my heart beating again.

Naminé decided to show up at that time. "Hey, Kairi," she said. "Roxas isn't with you?"

"No, he had to run home today to deal with some business," I answered.

"Let's get going before you're late for work," said Sora, escorting us out the door.

I was quiet during our walk down to The Barrel. Sora and Naminé brought up a few things to talk about here and there, but the entire time I was focused on my thoughts. What Naminé said that one day during Art was repeating in my head:

"It's a bit weird, but—" she paused. She eyed the unfinished portrait and sighed. "I don't know, it's just the way he's so curious about me. I'm not sure if you know, but he sits next to me in my Geometry class. Every day I would catch him looking at me, and sometimes he would just stare for a while. Some people might find it a bit creepy, but his curiosity is just..." She blushed again and looked away. "It's intriguing."

I glanced over at Sora. He wasn't as curious as Roxas was to Naminé, but it was because of his desire to get to know me that made me understand why Naminé felt the way she did.

She was right. It was intriguing, and for some reason it made me want to open up to him.

We dropped Naminé off at the restaurant and were standing outside its doors when Sora spoke to me.

"Anywhere specific you want to go?" he asked.

"You know the island, I don't," I stated. "You lead the way."

"Okay, then. Let's go to the pier."

"The one where the ferry drops people off at?"

"No, a different one."

He took me a few blocks down the street before we reached a small pier that looked slightly worn down from age. The boards were uneven and had nails sticking out at the edges. With every step we took a short creaking sound was emitted. Seagulls stood atop the cracked posts and scanned the beach, searching for any tiny crabs that dared to show themselves.

We arrived at the end of the pier where three wooden rafts were docked on its right side. Sora and I took off our shoes and sat down, his feet completely submerged while mine skimmed the surface. A soothing ocean breeze drifted by, and as I closed my eyes I could smell and taste the salt as it passed.

It was such a relaxing feeling. I felt like I was in a dream.

"You like it?" asked Sora. I could sense him watching me.

"It's amazing," I replied.

"Whenever I want to think, I come out here. I would unleash the thoughts in my head, and the ocean would just sit there and listen. No huge waves to take me down, no low tides that would make it shrink away forever; it just sits and listens."

There was a sad tone in his voice. "Do you come out here often?"

"During school, usually. When it's summer I'm normally at the lake."

'So there's a lake here, too,' I thought. "What do you think about when you sit here?"

"My parents." He leaned over the edge and looked down into the water. "Sometimes I would check out my reflection and see my dad. My mother used to tell me that my untamed hair came from him, and she wasn't lying. His hair was really wild and spikier than mine." He was squinting now, staring at the image below. "When I look at my eyes, I see my mom. I even see her when I look at Naminé since we both inherited the blue eyes from her. Dad would always complain about how neither of us obtained the same brown eyes as he did, but I would joke with him and say that brown is too boring to be an eye color."

The way he was describing his parents made me start to think the worst. I feared the next question that I asked him. "Did something happen to them?"

He sighed. "Yeah, they died in a car accident two years ago during a storm. Because of the position of this island compared to the other ones, the storms here are terrible. If you're not careful, they can take you out, just like what that one did to my parents." He closed his eyes. "They were simply just coming home from their anniversary dinner that night. They were told to stay at the diner until the storm passed, but because of Naminé's huge fright of storms they felt like they needed to come home for her to feel safe."

I felt my heart reaching out to him. He and Naminé had been suffering the loss of their parents for two years, yet there they were in school going about life like everything was okay.

"I—I'm so sorry. I had no idea."

He smiled at me, erasing the gloomy aura that had surrounded him. "Don't be sorry. It's not like you did anything wrong."

"I can't even imagine how you two have been able to handle it."

"It was really difficult, let me tell ya. With me being fourteen and Naminé being thirteen, we had no idea what to do. We were left with a house to take care of, so the money that our parents had left was going out fast. I was forced to get a job so that Naminé and I didn't have to live in a cruddy foster home. To maintain a house here actually isn't that bad, but when you're some teenage kid with a minimum wage job that has no idea how to manage finances, you're going to have a rough start."

"Where do you work?"

"Over at this surf shop across town by another beach. My boss is pretty chill and knows about my situation, so he kind of gives me unnecessary raises under the table from time to time. I've had to take the night shift because of school, Naminé, and everything."

My eyes widened. "Do you even get any sleep?"

"You see, that's another great thing about my boss. Because no one comes to a surf shop at night, he makes me work the first two hours then let's me sleep out the rest. It used to not be that way, though. I had to really work to get him to like me as much as he does now."

"This whole thing about your parents seems like it was extremely hard for you."

"Well, with all the support I've been receiving from my friends and from the people I respect, I'd say that I've turned out okay."

He was a strong person not only in his athletic ability, but in his mind as well. I could see why Olette had said that he was a guy that was easily liked by everyone.

"Well, there's a little background information about me," he said. "Anything else you want to know before we move on to you?"

"Just some basic things. Earlier today I heard Seifer call you Hikari. Is that a nickname, or something?"

He laughed. "No, Hikari is my last name. My full name is Sora Kenneth Hikari, born on January 14th here at Kahlea Island Hospital."

"I didn't ask you about your birthday nor did I ask you where you were born!"

"It answers any future questions you might have."

I shook my head. "Got a favorite food?"

"Chocolate chip cookies."

It was my turn to laugh. I got a confused reaction in response. "Out of all the foods out there in the world, you picked cookies?"

"Hey, nothing can go wrong with a homemade chocolate chip cookie!"

"I would have gone with filet mignon."

"Is that your favorite?"

"You know it."

"Of course, the high-income actress diggin' the high-end foods. Should have saw that one coming."

I stuck my tongue out at him. "Whatever."

"Speaking of rich things, what's it like being you? Tell me about yourself."

"Well, my name is Kairi Rosaline Strife, born on June 3rd at one of the hospitals over at the Big Island," I mocked him.

"You don't know which hospital it was?"

I shook my head. "There are too many hospitals on that island. It's probably on my birth certificate, but I never found it extremely important to know."

"If you say so."

"Anyways, my parents were gone a lot when I was young, so I was watched over by my maids. To keep me busy my dad placed me in improv classes, and by the time I was six I started being in commercials. As time passed I worked my way through TV shows and eventually found myself in movies. Lots and lots of traveling is involved, but after a few years on the go I started to get used to being on my feet."

"If you travel that much, then how are you going to be able to fit high school into your already busy life?"

"I've had to cancel a few things and reschedule some events to the summer time. I won't be doing a whole lot of moving around that I would normally do, but the one major thing that I'll have to do is work on this next film that's going to start in November."

"Didn't you just finish filming a movie during the summer?"

"Mmhmm."

"Wow, you are one busy bee."

"I can't help it. It's what I'm used to."

Sora shrugged. "All righty, then. What's your house like?"

"Um, it's pretty big."

Silence.

"...Really, Kairi?"

"What?"

"Is that all you're going to say about it?"

"What else do you want me to say?"

He chuckled. "You gotta give me a better visual than that!"

"There really isn't that much else to say about it. There's a circular driveway with a fountain in the front, the house sits near the top of the mountain, and there's a large wall that keeps people from falling off the cliff. That's it, really."

"Fine," he whined. "How about the Big Island? I've never been there before."

"There are a lot of things to do there. The northern side of the island, which is the side I live on, is where all the big malls and top-of-the-line stores are located. Everyone goes there to do their shopping or to walk in the few small parks that are there. There are also many resorts and hotels that line the beaches, so when you're walking on the streets doing your shopping you can't exactly look over to the beach because all the tall buildings are in the way."

"Is that all there is at your island? Just stores?"

"No, there's also an amusement park. It's on the eastern side, and the area it covers is so large that it just takes up that entire side."

He tilted his head at me. "What's an amusement park?"

"You mean, you've never been to one before?"

"Yeah, I don't think we have anything like that here."

"Oh, well, it's a huge park where people can ride these things called roller coasters that take you out on loops and twirls at fast speeds. You can also play games to win prizes, but most of them are scams so I don't play them."

Sora leaned back on his hands and started to lightly splash the water with his feet. "It sounds like you're livin' the life out there."

"With the money and all, sure, but it sucks to go out with clothes and accessories to cover you up so that the world doesn't recognize you."

"You hide yourself?"

"Yeah, if you're a celebrity you kind of have to on the Big Island. If you don't, then you'll be surrounded by reporters trying to make you say something for them to make a story up with or people trying to take snapshots of you in hopes of getting something good to post up on the Internet."

"That's pretty lame."

I felt my anger rising as I thought of Maleficent and the paparazzi, so I tried to calm myself down by thinking of something else to talk about. I diverted my attention to the three rafts that were floating next to the pier, each one held down by a tough rope.

"How come there are only three boats here?" I asked him.

"Ah, sorry, I forgot to mention that this is our pier," he said, scratching his head. "Riku and I built it along with the help from our dads, which you can probably tell from the obvious low level of workmanship this pier displays. A year after we finished the pier Riku and I built those rafts on our own. Naminé felt left out, so we decided to build one for her, too."

"Do you use them a lot?"

"Oh, yeah, probably a few times a week. School makes it harder for us to go out, but we always are able to manage some time to use them. The main reason why Riku and I built this pier and those rafts, though, was to go out to the play island over there." He pointed a little to the right. I followed his finger to the small island that I noticed when I came to Kahlea for the first time. "We had been wanting to discover that island for ourselves, and Riku was just dying to go out and have an adventure."

"What do you do over there? It doesn't seem like anyone lives over there."

"Well, that's why we called it the play island. We would go out there and just run wild, I guess. We even built a tree house and another pier, which took us a few months. There's a shack there that we also built that stores all our old toys. A year after that we created a small tunnel and a bridge from the shack that connects us to the islet with the bent tree."

'They must have been really bored to have built all those things,' I thought.

"Hayner, Pence, and Olette come out there with us some times," he continued. "Their rafts are docked at the pier Hayner built on the other side of the beach. He was being all competitive and thought that he could outdo our pier, but because Pence just sits around and Olette isn't much help when it comes to manual labor, you can just imagine lame his pier looks compared to ours."

I laughed. Poor Hayner, having to do all that work by himself.

I was about to ask Sora another question until I saw a ferry arrive at Kahlea. I suddenly remembered then that I had to call Sephiroth before it was too too late. I didn't want to be on his bad side (even though I could assume that I already was considering that I am a Strife).

"I have to get going," I said to Sora as I stood up. I quickly slipped on my shoes. "I forgot that I have to do something right when I get home."

Sora stood up with me. "No, it's my fault. I probably distracted you with all the talking I did. I'll take you to the pier."

We walked faster than normal towards the pier. As we got closer we faintly heard the shouts coming from the man that was boarding the passengers at the ramp.

"Last call for the Big Island!" he yelled.

"Come on, we have to hurry," said Sora as he grabbed my wrist. He started to jog, and at the pace he was going at it was like he was dragging me.

"There's no way I can keep up with you!" I breathed out when I slipped from his grasp.

"Then I've got no choice."

"Huh?"

All of a sudden, I felt myself being lifted off the ground. Grabbing my legs, he positioned me on his back and I instinctively wrapped my arms around his neck.

"What are you doing?" I yelled.

"Giving you a piggyback ride!" he answered with a laugh. "Hold on tight!"

And he ran. He was running so fast that I felt like I was in a car as I saw the faces of people fly right by us. He weaved and maneuvered through the small crowds so smoothly that he reminded me of some super ninja that was capable of dodging bullets.

I almost fell off one time, and I heard him wheeze.

"Don't choke me, Kairi!" he gagged.

"Sorry!"

We reached the ferry in what felt like ten seconds. He was breathing a little hard, but his face made him not look tired at all. A bead of sweat was dripping from his scalp down the side of his face.

"I think we made it," he said, letting me down. We walked over to the boarding guy and I showed him my pass.

"Please hurry, Miss Kairi," the boarding guy said. "We'll be departing in a couple of minutes."

I turned to Sora, whose breathing had returned to normal. "Uh, thanks for the lift, literally," I said to him. I was feeling a little awkward. I must have looked so helpless and ridiculous while I was on his back.

"Not a problem at all, Kai."

I raised my eyebrow at him. "Kai?"

"Oh, uh, I mean—Kairi, yeah." He was blushing. "Sorry, I didn't mean to give you a nickname. It just came out."

I giggled. "Don't worry, it was just a little surprising. No one has ever given me a nickname before." I held my hand out to him. "I'll see you in school?"

He crossed his arms and smirked. "Didn't I tell you last time? That's not how girls part ways here on this island."

I was confused for a moment, but then I remembered. I dropped my hand and wrapped my arms around him, hugging him at his waist.

"That's better!" he happily said. "See you later!"

"Bye, Sora," I returned before I released him. I walked up the ramp and entered the ferry. When I went out onto the deck I saw him still standing there. He walked away once the ferry left the dock.

I leaned over the railings and sighed. I could feel the heat rushing to my checks as I remembered the feeling of being carried on Sora's back. His back muscles were very tense and firm, and his hands felt callous yet gentle on my bare legs when he was holding me up.

I shook the feeling out of my head. I had to keep reminding myself that he was just a high school boy, after all.

I liked the nickname he gave me, though. Kai.


-I haven't gone through and edited yet, so you might spot errors here and there.
-I'm going to be gone over the weekend, so I won't be able to work on the next chapter for a few days. I will do my best to get it up within the next week or so.

Thank you all for sticking with me. I honestly wasn't expecting a review because of how long I have been gone, so I really appreciate the feedback I received. I truly am sorry for my absence. I promise you that I'm not leaving until this story is done.