A/N: "Gosh, Sunny, where have you been?" It's been a weird year for me, folks. I actually started this fic way back before Christmas, and I think part of why I had such difficulty finishing it is because my confidence pertaining to certain thing kinda took a hit after my first-ever actual relationship fell apart. I mean, as far as break-ups goes it was fairly painless, we never had time to spend together. But being 18 and finding that I don't make a very good girlfriend doesn't exactly make me want to write fluffy oneshots. I may know a fair bit about falling in love, but apparently I don't know squat about being in like.

This was originally going to commemorate the closing of my "Us" contest, but it's a bit late. Still, some pimpage:

1st: kikofreako, with "maybe home"; 2nd: NoiseandSound, with "Never Enough"; 3rd: a tie between SilverInkBlot's "We Were", and Izzyv1o's "Three Words". Honorable Mentions go to Emerald 31 and Marsuvees. Thanks to everyone who entered. Links to the winning stories can be found on my profile.

--

Tide

They've been apart for so long that he starts to wonder if they are really even meant to be together. But then again they were thrown together by such unusual circumstances that there really had to be something bigger at play here.

-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-

He's seen lots of things wash up on the shore since his mom started letting him come to the play island by himself a week ago; he's seen broken shells, and sand dollars, and bits of driftwood, and crabs, and even one time a jellyfish that reached out a tentacle and stung his leg when he poked it with his toy sword.

But he's never seen the tide wash up a girl before.

He raises his fists to rub his eyes to make sure he's really seeing this right. Not that he really understands why rubbing your eyes helps any when you see something weird, but that's what people in cartoons and movies do, so he does it too.

When he looks back, the girl is still lying in the sand, the outgoing tide lapping gently at her legs. Sora approaches her slowly, craning his neck for a better view of her face so he can see if she's awake. It doesn't look like it. Maybe she's dead, he thinks. Maybe that's why she's lying there. The tide washed up dead fish sometimes. Maybe it could wash up dead people too.

Sora gets close enough to see that the red hair hanging in front of her face is moving a little bit near her nose, so she must be breathing. Good, she's not dead; Sora thinks; that'd be gross. He isn't sure what to do next. Should he wake her up? He contemplates poking her with his toy sword, but then he thinks of what happened with the jellyfish, and decides that's probably not a good idea.

He crouches down and gently prods the cheek that isn't half-resting against the sand. "Um, hey, um, girl? Are you okay? Um, wake up please!" He prods her again, and she grunts a little and opens her eyes.

Sora blinks. She has blue eyes, his mind registers. Pretty blue eyes. Really pretty blue eyes. Not that he thinks girls are pretty or likeable or anything but cootie-carrying things, but still, her eyes were, you know, kinda pretty.

The girl blinks a little too as she pushes herself off her stomach and begins to stand up. Sora remembers his father teaching him that a gentleman helps ladies (and by extension, girls, apparently), and Sora supposes this applies even to girls who mysteriously wash up on beaches. In fact, Sora wonders, maybe this whole thing was just a set-up so his father could test his gentlemanliness. But if that were the case the girl probably wouldn't look so confused.

She looks around at her new surroundings with eyes narrowed in concern before returning her attention to Sora. He smiles at her. She looks like she needs it. "Um, are you okay?"

She glances down at herself as if checking for bruises or cuts then looks back up at him and nods.

Sora nods back. "Good, 'cause, you know, you washed up on the beach or something."

She blinks in confusion at him. Sora starts to wonder if she can talk.

"Um," he begins, smile slipping off his face a little, "I'm Sora." He grins and holds out a hand for her to shake, because according to Dad, that's something else gentlemen do when they meet people.

She slowly reaches out a pale hand and shakes his. She has soft hands, Sora thinks. "My name's Kairi." She says softly. She has a pretty voice, too. But once again, not like Sora cares about pretty girls. "How old are you?" She asks him, for he looks about her age, and she wants to know if he is.

"Uh," Sora brings a hand up to his face and taps his outstretched fingers, trying to remember what comes after three, because that's his age. He gives up on the word, figuring that maybe she can't count either. "I'm this many." He informs her as he stretches his hand her direction and pulls in his thumb.

She tilts her head to the side. "You're four?" Sora nods. So four did come after three! And she can count; how impressive! "Me too." She says, smiling. Her smile is pretty. Everything about her is.

Sora drops his hand. "So, how come you washed up on the beach?"

The girl, Kairi, stops smiling. "I don't know."

Sora scratches his head. "Well, where is your home?"

Now Kairi frowns and looks at her feet. "We lived…on the corner, next to the big place with all the shops and the stone street with the water fountain." She looked around. "We weren't anywhere near the beach."

Sora frowns. "That doesn't sound like anywhere near here."

Kairi shakes her head, contemplating the sand at her feet. "I think…it was a long way from here, but I don't remember."

How sad, Sora thinks. She must be very, very far from home if she didn't live near a beach. The islands were all beaches. He didn't even know there were places other than the islands. "Um, well, where are your mommy and daddy?"

Kairi sniffles a little bit. "I don't remember." She mumbles sadly, tears welling up in her (pretty) blue eyes. "I don't know if I have a mommy and daddy. I can't remember." The tears start pouring down her face as her mouth begins to imitate a rubber band. "I can't remember anything…"

At this, Sora starts to worry. He doesn't want her to cry. Sure, she may be a girl, and one that did something as weird as wash up on the beach at that, but she seemed nice, and he didn't want her to cry, even if she did still look pretty while she was crying.

Sora doesn't really know what to do, but he knows he wants to make her smile again, because she looks so much prettier when she's smiling than when she's crying. So he takes her hand, and he tells her that he doesn't know very much about girls who wash up on beaches from places he's never heard of, but he'll find someone who does, and maybe they can find her a new mommy and daddy, too.

"And new friends, too!" He promises her, leading her along the beach to the dock where his little boat is waiting. "And I'll be your very first friend!"

And that makes her smile, and he thinks again that she really is very pretty. But not like Sora likes pretty girls or anything, or thinks they don't have cooties. But Kairi isn't a girl; not really, she's just Kairi, so it's all good, and she's his friend, so he can think she's pretty. He still thinks girls are gross and icky and stuff.

(But this is not a sentiment he will keep for very much longer.)

He leads her away, still not really understanding how she got there, but already finding himself very happy that she was.

Sora had seen the tide bring in many things, but the little four-year-old boy had no way of knowing that the tide had just brought him the most important person he would ever meet.

-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-

The tide did not wash her up on an empty shore, she remembers that. There was someone there; someone who took her hand and gave her a smile and helped her belong here.

She just wishes she could remember who.

The girl who washed up on the beach stares out her window at the undulating sea crashing on the shore and tries to remember, not for the first time, just where she had drifted from. But instead her thoughts turn to a vague recollection of talk of leaving Riku behind and discovering where that great blue mass led without him.

The sea connects places, she knows. She isn't sure how, but it does. And as she looks out over the ocean her eyes drift upwards and she realizes it isn't the only thing the worlds share.

That night she pushes the geometry textbook off her desk and pulls out pen and paper and writes a letter to the kind eyes and bright smile that welcomed her into this world.

The next day she puts it in a bottle and lets it float out into the surf, trusting that her namesake will deliver the message.

One sky-one destiny.

-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-

It was a brief reunion, too brief, painfully brief, and all wrong anyway. It wasn't supposed to be there, it wasn't supposed to be in front of everyone, it wasn't supposed to be when the whole universe was in danger, and it wasn't supposed to be so whirlwind that he didn't even know what to say to her.

And most importantly, it wasn't supposed to be over so quickly.

And Sora figures he must be really exhausted, because taking all of this into account he really shouldn't be so zen about quite possibly never getting to see her again.

What he can't figure out is how, after everything that would have had to happen for them even to have met once, let alone the years together plus the subsequent separations and reunions, they can still manage to end up starcrossed—quite literally, in this case.

But like Riku said, at least the waves sound the same.

Maybe they were even the same waves, carrying the same water across the expanse. Who knew? The sea leads to many places; maybe it connected this forsaken beach with somewhere better.

Maybe that's why he's really not so surprised when it washes up the letter. The tide has certainly washed up weirder.

-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-

Perhaps they really are starcrossed, Sora thinks, tripping over his own two feet as he desperately splashes through the waves to get to her. It's just like in a bad dream, when you desperately need to get to something or away from it, but you can't run fast enough because your legs just won't move. Except this is worse, because this is reality, and his legs work fine, it's just that they can't cut through water as quickly as air, and Kairi's actually standing there waiting for him, and as crazy as it sounds, he actually loves that she won't soak her shoes to come running into the waves to meet him.

But they've literally crossed stars to be together, and it just defies explanation too much to be coincidental. He belongs right here, looking at this girl, the waves pushing him towards her, just like they've always done.

At least there is one force in the universe on our side.

-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-

He's imagined a thousand different ways for this to work; a million different ways to tell her, a hundred different places to tell her at, and a billion different things to say should she actually reciprocate the sentiment.

But the problem is that he's never actually decided on one.

And he finds himself flubbering in the hole of knowing how desperately he needs to do something to the point that he finds himself completely unable to do anything.

He keeps looking for the moment. Constantly, he's on the lookout for a chance to say it; to tell her. But then when the moment arrives to say it he realizes he actually doesn't know what to say.

Just blurt it out and hope for the best?

'So what did you think of that math quiz today?'

'Kairi, I love you!'

Yeah, romantic. No doubt.

Take her to the secret place and hope it all worked itself out? Then again, that'd put him in a position to actually have to say something then and there. He'd just get to flubber in a different environment. That was just a disaster waiting to happen.

Hope that Kairi would make a move for him?

…and look like a total incompetent coward?

Riku and Selphie would never let him live it down.

And then of course there's the simple fact that she's not the same Kairi he'd been imagining saying it too for the past little while. She's grown up. She's much calmer and wiser, and of course more damaged, just like they all were from the things they'd been through. Still the same essential Kairi, but she'd changed while he'd been gone, and he was sorry he hadn't been there to see it. It was a bit like getting to know her all over again.

But of course the most obviously painfully noticeable changes were the ones he really hadn't taken into consideration at all. He'd grown about a foot; why hadn't it occurred to him she might have too? Well, he'd sort of thought that maybe she'd be a little taller or that she might have grown her hair out a bit, but there are plenty of physical differences between barely fourteen and almost sixteen, and Sora can't believe he didn't think about those.

Especially because he certainly can't not think about them now.

Maybe his short-term memory is in denial or something, because he's still a bit surprised every time he sees her, and concludes that his memory is not adequately keeping track of what she looks like.

She is not a little girl anymore; that much is for certain.

He notices when she talks that there's a serene quality to her voice that wasn't there before, a softness and gentleness about the curve of her lips as she speaks that she didn't used to have. Her whole face is just so much more beautifully defined; from the gentle slope of her nose to the way her eyes curved at the tear ducts. And about the closest he'd come to telling her just how gorgeous she'd become was mentioning to her that he liked her hair that way, and even that was woefully understated.

The red locks trailed parallel to that elegant pale neck, gently sweeping those graceful shoulders; curving down to…and well, once his eyes start heading further southward than that, as he really doesn't have a hope of keeping them from doing, things just get a lot more awkward.

That was the biggest jolt when he'd hugged her again for the first time in a year. There was definitely more…matter pressed against his chest than there had ever been in the past. Not that he's complaining that time had scooped away part of her waist and pushed some of it up to her chest and the rest down to her hips. It's just that…well.

He is not really sure how to handle things now that Kairi's body has decided to start imitating an hourglass.

It's Kairi, after all, and Sora really isn't sure if that makes it more or less awkward. More, he decides, because Selphie's grown up too, but her new curves do not give him the knots in his stomach that Kairi's do.

The Kairi he pictured sharing a paopu with did not have cleavage. Provided, this one doesn't really have that much of it, but she's got more than he's used to her having, and that just makes everything more awkward.

And good heavens, when did she start wearing bikinis?

But then Kairi pushes him off the dock and they are splashing about like kids again, and he finds that it may not be so weird getting to know each other again after all.

-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-

It's odd, and bit unexpected. They've grown up apart, but still they've grown closer together.

-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-

It's one of those nights when he just can't stand to be at home. Not that there is anything at home to force him out, but neither is there really anything there to hold his attention. He loves his mom, and he likes spending time with her, but her favorite show is on tonight, and they really don't hold the same tastes in television.

He'd just much rather be lying in the sand watching the stars.

-x-

"Whatcha looking at?" Sora turns his neck to see Kairi approaching, smiling her new soft smile at him.

"Just the stars," he answers. He starts to sit up, but before he can Kairi has laid down beside him and cast her gaze up to the heavens.

"Well they're nice to look at, the stars." She turns her head to look at him. "Or worlds, really, I suppose." She smiles. "Thinking about the ones you've visited?"

Sora nods and turns his eyes back to the night sky. He raises a hand and points to one of the pinpricks of light shimmering above them. "That's one of my favorites."

"Which one?" He hears Kairi ask, and when he looks her direction he sees her scooting closer, putting her head on his up-stretched shoulder, right against his head so that she can see where he's looking. His face grows a little hot at her proximity and he looks back at the stars to distract himself.

"That one."

"The orangish one?" He glances at Kairi and of course meets her eye; she is too close for him to avoid her gaze.

"Yeah," he nods, looking back at the star in question. "Halloween Town. Obsessed with the holiday, the whole place. They spend the entire year preparing for it. And there," he points to another star, this one glowing a little brighter, "That's the Pride Lands. I don't think there were any humans on that world. We were all turned into animals when we visited." He frowns. "Or, well, I was turned into a lion. Donald and Goofy were kinda already animals…" He momentarily kicks himself for his own stupidity but lets it go when Kairi starts giggling. His confidence building, he points to yet another star. "And that one, that's Hollow Bastion, remember there? It's actually called Radiant Garden." He puts his arm down and it consequentially falls down to rest next to Kairi's.

He turns his head to look at her and is surprised to see her giving him a suspicious look. "You liar." She says loudly, smiling. "There are a million stars up there, a million worlds. There is no way you could just look up there and know exactly which ones were which. How could anyone?"

Sora frowns at her call of his bluff. "Well, you know, when you're the keyblade master, you just know this stuff."

Kairi quirks an eyebrow and Sora cracks a guilty smile. "Well it was worth a shot. And they might be; there's no way of knowing that they aren't."

Kairi shakes her head as much as space allows and rolls her eyes. "Besides," she begins, raising a slim elegant arm skyward, "That one, that one there," Sora slowly moves his head a little closer to follow the line of her arm. "That's Radiant Garden."

He turns his head and meets her gaze, giving her the same suspicious look she'd previously given him. "And how would you know that?"

She smirks and informs in a mock-authoritative voice, "Well, you know, when you're a Princess of Heart, you just know these things." She then cracks a smile at his annoyed look and blesses him with the sound of her laughter as he playfully elbows her shoulder. "Seriously, though," she says quietly after they've calmed down, "That one just feels like…" she sighs, "Not home, because this is home, but it feels like…like that's where I come from." She lets her arm drop slowly, thoughtfully, until it lands on top of Sora's. He feels her hand stiffen a little as she registers what it has landed on, but once her muscles relax her hand remains atop of his.

As fascinating as the stars are, Sora finds that he'd much rather watch her watching the stars, and decides he likes it much better when she's looking at him. "You ever want to go back?" He asks quietly. He's always sort of wondered, but that was in the days before there was actually a real tangible way of getting her back, and now it's more of a nagging worry that she'll want to return to her homeworld rather than a mild curiosity as to how she regarded where she'd come from.

"Not to stay," she says instantly, as if reading his mind. "To visit, maybe." Her eyes drift off to the side as if looking at something only visible in her own mind. "Find out about the life I had there; if I had family there, or if I still have family there. I remember my Grandma, sometimes. Dunno if she's still out there somewhere; and sometimes I think I might remember my mother. Something must have happened to her when I was really young, because the only memories I can even begin to remember are really, really fuzzy. Wonder if she's still alive somewhere…" Kairi shrugs, still staring pensively into space. "There's bound to be someone out there, at least, who knew me back then."

She turns her eyes back to look into his. "But I'd always want to come back here. This is home. I'd like to find out exactly why I ended up here, but I'm happy I did." She gives him that soft smile she'd been wearing a lot more now that she was older. "I'd never have met you if I hadn't come to the islands. And I can't even imagine not having you in my life." She tells him, her voice tapering to a breathy whisper as she finishes.

"I'm glad you came, too." Sora whispers back, trying to ignore how close they really are. There's hardly a few inches between their faces, and Sora figures that if he is going to say it, now would be the time. He takes a deep breath. "Kairi?" He says, much more loudly than he intended, and notices her start a little at the sudden increase in volume.

"Yeah?" She's watching him expectantly, almost nervously.

He opens his mouth, fully intending to tell her just what she means to him—

-only to find that he hasn't got the slightest clue what he actually wants to say.

The words, the feelings, the overwhelming desire to just sweep her into his arms and never, never, let go, they all crash into a four-car pile-up of language as soon as they reach his throat, and they stay there, while nothing but air actually slips through his lips. He doesn't know how to tell her. So he just leaves his mouth open, as if magically the right words would come out, while his brain frantically tries to compile a sentence that might convey the depth of his adoration. Once his mouth has been open for so long that his tongue gets dry he finally closes it, noticing that Kairi is actually starting to look at him like he's crazy.

The next time he opens his mouth all he utters is "Never mind." He turns his eyes back to the stars too quickly to see the look of disappointment on Kairi's face.

They just bask in the subsiding awkwardness for a while, letting the crashing of the waves erode away the odd moment. A wave crashes close by, and the water comes all the way up to their shoes. Sora feels something solid brush his foot, and notices that it seems to still be there even after the water recedes. He sits up a bit to see what it is and freezes at the sight of the yellow fruit resting between his foot and Kairi's.

His first instinct is to kick it back into the ocean before Kairi can see it, but it is too late as she is already sitting up to see what has distracted him. He hears her soft, "oh," as she catches sight of the fruit.

"T-that's odd," Sora mutters breathlessly, determinedly not looking at the girl beside him.

"Probably fell off the tree and was carried down here by the surf," Kairi murmurs, sounding a bit winded herself.

Sora nods, even though he's pretty sure Kairi isn't looking at him either. "Makes sense." Then, for reasons Sora never really deciphers, he reaches down and actually picks up the fruit. To do what with, he doesn't know. But a paopu fruit doesn't just float up next to two people who have already subtly confessed to wanting to share one every day, so Sora figures this might be the universe's way of telling him to get a move on. "I think it's kind of rotten." He mumbles, trying to hide the disappointment creeping into his voice.

"It's probably just been in the water too long. If it floated down here, then I don't think it would have fallen off of the tree too long ago. There were plenty of fresh fruit still on the tree," It doesn't escape Sora's attention that she had emphasized that sharing the fruit was still feasible. That was perhaps something of a good sign.

The awkward silence is almost tangible.

Finally, "I wonder," Kairi whispers, "if it's the actual fruit that binds people together, or the act of sharing it." Sora turns to actually look at Kairi, who is staring resolutely at the sand. "Because, if it were the latter," although her head is still tilted downward, her eyes move to look shyly up at him, "then we've kind of already shared one."

Sora blinks at her. And he blinks at her. And, just for good measure, he blinks some more. Not because he doesn't understand what she had just said, but because it was slowly sinking in just what all was implied in her profound statement.

His silence clearly has done nothing to help her nerves, as pink roses blossom in her cheeks. "Well, I mean, it's kind of like wedding rings."

Sora's eyes go wide before he can stop them, and the roses in Kairi's cheeks turn full-on scarlet. "I just mean, that, well, metaphorically, it's like when two people get married, right? They put on wedding rings. But, it's not really the rings that make them married, but the act of putting them on, and the whole wedding ceremony thing. I mean, you'd be married even if you didn't have the rings to wear, but the rings are the symbol of the bond." She looks down. "I mean, it's not a perfect metaphor, but what if it's the same kind of thing with paopu fruit?" She chances a quick glance up at his blank stare. "It's just that there's far too much chance for coincidence when it comes to the paopu fruit for the fruit itself to be magical. I mean, what if someone came along and just, took a bite, and left it there, and then some other random stranger came along and took a bite of the same fruit. Would they be bound together even if they had nothing to do with each other? Or what if someone took a bite, and then died before they could share it with someone; would the next person who came along and took a bite matter, or…" Her babbling dies away and Sora notices her cheeks just keep getting redder. "I must sound so silly," she says quietly, "But this is the kind of thing I spent my time wondering about when-" she shuts her mouth suddenly, as if revising her next statement, "when you were away."

She goes quiet now, and Sora notices her shoulders have tensed up, and she's hunched over a little. She's clearly feeling more than a little self-conscious about her monologue, although Sora isn't really sure why.

"It's not silly," he says gently, as it is all he can think to say, "It's deep." Kairi looks up at him through her red bangs, a little crease visible between her eyebrows. Sora shrugs. "I mean, I never really thought about it before. You just grow up hearing the legend, but you never really question it." He takes his eyes off her and turns them to the moon, shining nearly full above. "I wonder if it works on bugs." He doesn't have to look to his side to see that Kairi's turned to stare at him. "You know, like if a random ant and another random ant nibbled on the fruit, would their destinies be bound together?"

He hears a whimper and turns to look at Kairi, only to see that a huge grin on her face. At the sight of his puzzled expression her grin explodes into laughter.

"Now that is silly!" she says through giggles, and soon they are both laughing; and it isn't long before they are laughing just for the sake of laughing, even though the joke has stopped being funny.

Soon everything calms down and it's back to the two of them and that cursed paopu fruit still remaining in Sora's hands. He keeps glancing at Kairi, and watches as she tucks a strand of hair behind her ears. Then untucks it. Then tucks it back in place again. Then untucks it and moves on to the other ear.

Sora's feeling a bit emboldened now by having made Kairi laugh, even if she was mostly laughing at him. "I think you're right, you know." He says, and as soon as the words are out he arcs his arm back and hurls the paopu fruit into the ocean. He can feel Kairi's surprised eyes on him. They may have established that there was no sharing that particular paopu fruit, and even that sharing a physical fruit might not even be necessary, but somehow throwing the fruit away was like condemning the idea totally. When he looks back at Kairi he sees that she still hasn't decided whether she wants those strands of hair behind her ear or not. It's almost started to annoy him. Sora reaches out and takes the hand that is about to sweep the lock behind her ear again and holds it tightly in his own.

"I hope you're right." He watches her eyes glance back and forth between his face and their hands. "Because, well," his confidence is starting to wear off, "I don't know what my destiny holds," he begins, "because it sure has changed a lot from what I ever thought it would be." Her other hand has reached for her hair again, but his free hand beats her to it; he reaches out and untucks the strand of hair hanging over her right ear. His hand lingers, just for a second, and he pauses it mid-drop and redirects it to her shoulder. Did she just shiver? "But one thing hasn't changed," his voice has gotten quiet, but he's moving a little closer to compensate, "I still want you in it."

Her expression changes; the obvious nervousness subsides and is replaced by a slightly surprised yet pleased smile. "That's good to know," she whispers, and Sora is so close now he can hear every breath she takes. His confidence is waning with every inch closer to her he gets, and as her black eyelashes cover her blue eyes, panic swarms his insides. It still doesn't stop him moving closer to her across the sand and bringing his forehead to rest against hers. She pauses then, eyes closed, still gripping his hand in her lap with both of hers. She's waiting on him to make a move, to close the distance between them.

And he can't do it.

He's frozen in place, wanting so desperately, yet fearing so paralyzingly. She's all he's ever wanted, and she wants him too, yet he can't seem to claim her.

There's a boom as a wave crashes against the shore, and he's already so nervous that it makes him jump, and that little bit of movement causes him to lurch forward just enough that his lips brush hers, and he knows that there is definitely no turning back now.

His heart flutters, and he rides the surge of adrenaline, presses forward, and grasps her bottom lip. He feels her shoulder shudder against his hand.

Sora can't help but wonder why he was ever too frightened to do this, because now that they've started he doesn't ever want to stop. He lets go of her hand and brings it up to cup her cheek, and draws her closer with the hand still on her shoulder. Her hands move to reach up his back and clasp the fabric covering his shoulder-blades.

They break apart for air, but it only takes a small glance between them before something magnetic pushes Sora forward again. The sound of the crashing waves seems to quiet, or perhaps the sound swells and fills his ears; he's not certain, because every sense but touch seems to be malfunctioning. And maybe that one's not quite working right, because he's hardly aware of any part of his body not currently making contact with Kairi. He can feel her lips moving against his, her face and shoulder against his palms, and the pressure of her hands on his shoulders. He lingers near her even after her lips leave his, just enjoying being close to her. Their eyes meet, and his heart soars as Kairi smiles bashfully, her cheeks turning pink. He plants soft kisses on each cheek, smiling a little when that makes her giggle.

"It's always here, isn't it?" she murmurs after several long moments of warm comfortable silence. "We always seem to end up right here on this beach, don't we?"

Sora doesn't answer with more than a smile, because she's right.

It was soothing, after all they had endured, to hear the crashing waves and know that the surf had nothing against them.

-x-

It's always just been you and me; you and me (and opportunity) washing up on the shore. We don't stress too much, because whenever we get nervous the sea pushes us past it and closer to each other, no matter how many miles or enemies stand between us. Just sit back and wait for the tide to come in, love; because when it does it always brings us something grand.

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A/N:This website's been a (bad word) about formatting lately. It keeps killing page breaks, even on my older stories. And I never know if it's gonna center things or not, either. Pot luck. So, what do you think? Did I do well on this one? Also, I am less than two weeks from turning 19. I feel so old. :P