Author's note: So, I actually wrote this a really long time ago – according to my notebook, November 14, 2007 – back when I was in my Kingdom Hearts kick. I still love the games, but I realized that when I stopped having time to play them, I stopped making AMVs, and fanfiction stopped quickly after that. So I never typed this up, even though I really like it. This evening, I found a bunch of my old notebooks, and decided to type this up, edit it, and share it as an apology for not posting anything in months (and longer since it's been something not Digimon related). I think, at the time that I wrote this, I was doing a lot of exercises revolving around describing action. This so happens to have been one of those exercises, in the form of a fan-interpretation of the scene of Kairi and Sora talking the night before they're supposed to depart. Absolutely not a word of the dialogue belongs to me, but enjoy anyway.

The sun was low in the sky, casting an orange glow on the tropical island. Two young teenagers sat in the light of the setting sun, side by side with their feet dangling over the edge of the dock. Best friends, about to set out with another come morning – ready to explore the ocean's waters that had isolated them on their small island home for all their lives.

"You know," said Kairi thoughtfully as her auburn hair shifted in the sea breeze. "Riku's changed."

Sora turned his head quickly to look at her, taken aback by her sudden words. What had been content silence just moments ago was no muddled with confusion – Sora's brows were drawn together in a bemused expression while Kairi frowned, organizing her thoughts in her mind as she swung her feet carelessly over the water.

Finally, Sora surrendered to the fact that he couldn't see what Kairi could see, staring at the horizon like her thoughts were spelled out in the distant clouds. "What do you mean?"

Kairi shrugged. "Well..." she said, as though beginning to explain. But no explanation spilled forth.

Sora's eyes were narrowed with worry, and she shrugged again when her eyes met his. How, after all, could she explain the sudden quietness that had taken over their light-haired companion, the way his eyes got lost whenever he looked out at the horizon as she was doing now? What words could explain the way he seemed to look past the finish line, as though he longed to keep running on, and on, and...

"Sora," she said, suddenly giddy. "Let's take the raft and go – just the two of us!" Kairi giggled as Sora's clear blue eyes – like the summer sky, rather than the murky watered color of her own eyes – that had been watching her so intently widened in surprise.

"Kairi! What's gotten into you," he demanded, laughing weakly when she giggled a 'just kidding!' and gripped the edge of the wooden boards. Sora leaned back on his palms. "You're the one that's changed, Kairi."

He meant it as a joke, but her "Maybe" was too serious... and too sad for him to overlook. Again, he looked worried as he watched his friend, who was busy looking at their reflections in the quiet ocean water below. For a long time, there was no reply – only the sound of the wind rushing in their ears and the waves lapping quietly, greedily at the dock's supports and the sandy beaches to their left and right, while Kairi bit her lip thoughtfully. Twice, Sora opened his mouth – to apologize, to change the subject, he didn't know – only to shut it again. To break the silence seemed... wrong, somehow, too intimate.

"You know, at first... I was scared," she said quietly, finally cutting through the silence with her softly spoken confession. Her small hands were clenched into tight fists on her bare knees. She was still biting her lip, thoughtfully picking and choosing the right words.

Sora was patient, watching her face for anything that might betray her thoughts. He had a hard time believing Kairi was afraid of anything, for she was brash and brave as any boy who played on the island. But Kairi wasn't a liar. She was tricky, maybe. Lazy, true. But she didn't lie about anything.

"But now, I'm ready," she said confidently, nodding once for emphasis. "Because no matter where I go, or what I see, I know I'm always welcome here... right?"

Her confidence in those words, and willingness to call the island home made Sora blink, both surprised and pleased. He knew how she felt – leaving all his friends, family, and memories behind was terrifying in a sense. But he'd be with his best friends, and always welcome back. He believed that, and he wanted Kairi to believe it too.

"Of course," he said enthusiastically. Kairi rewarded his enthusiasm with a warm smile. Sora's eyes followed her as she climbed to her feet, although he remained sitting. Her hands were clasped behind her back, and she looked over the water with a new kind of thoughtful determination that made Sora watch her, eyes unwavering. He flushed when she said his name as though he had been caught misbehaving. He was glad that the twilight masked his colored cheeks from her.

"Sora," she said quietly. She still wasn't looking at him. "Don't ever change."

"Wh–" He opened his mouth to ask her what she meant, but Kairi had already turned and began to make her way down the dock, leaving Sora staring stupidly after her. But before she left, she added in the same serious tone that Sora had so rarely heard from her, "I just can't wait until we set sail. It'll be great."