Hello to all,

Shadow Horizons here. This is my first fanfic so I hope you enjoy it and will want to continue reading after you finish this chapter. I'm also open to criticism, general thoughts, and questions. The beginning is a little slow, I'm not going to lie to you, but I promise you it will start picking up real soon.

Anyways, this story takes place during/immediately following the end of Kingdom Hearts II. As a forewarning, there will be bits and pieces of romantic spots because I'm a fan of romantic adventure stories.

Disclaimer: I do not own Kingdom Hearts, or Final Fantasy. I only own my original characters and my ideas.


EDIT: Dates have officially been added to clear up potential confusion and keep the timeline in order without any discrepancies.

Kingdom Hearts: Looming Darkness

Chapter One: Reunion

Sunday, May 16th 4794 P.C.

The sun continued its daily approach towards the ocean, slowly sinking from the sky. Golden orange and pink rays colored the distant edge of the horizon in the west. Few clouds dotted the sky, a perfect sunset. The waves lapped gently against the white sandy beaches of the Destiny Islands. Not far from the smallest island, where children from all of the Islands would come to play, two bright blue streaks of light fell from the heavens and crashed into the ocean barely causing a splash. Two teenage boys broke the waters' surface where the light had collided with it. One shook the water from his caramel colored spiky hair while the other merely pushed his long silver bangs from his face. They both looked around in awe, surprised to suddenly find themselves in the water.

"Sora! Riku!"

Both boys turned towards the voice calling out to them. On the beach of the Island stood their longtime childhood friend, Kairi, excitedly waving at them. Sora let out a cry of joy and immediately made a beeline for the shore, closely followed by Riku. The minute his feet touched solid ground, Sora began running towards Kairi. She smiled at her friend, happy to see him return from his final battle safe. Several blurs moved quickly past her, headed straight towards Sora. Sora stopped in surprise. His anthropomorphic friends Donald and Goofy leapt excitedly into the air and tackled him back into the water. King Mickey ran past the three and leapt into the air, embracing Riku in a hug.

Sora struggled to get Donald and Goofy off of him so that he could sit up and recover the air they had knocked from his lungs. They pulled Sora into another group hug, silently communicating their happiness that Sora and Riku had won the battle against Xemnas and saved Kingdom Hearts once again from the forces of Darkness. Sora looked over at Mickey and Riku. Mickey looked back and gave Sora a nod and a massive smile. Kairi let out a small giggle.

Sora turned his gaze from the others back to the person his heart yearned to see most, Kairi. His indigo eyes locked onto her violet-blue ones and time slowed down for a long second for both of them. Sora's stomach turned over inside at the sight of her. He took that second to take in every detail about her, her eyes, the way her auburn hair caught the light from the setting sun, her beautiful pale-white skin, and her light red lips.

Sora forced himself to look away long enough to pull the lucky charm she had given him nearly two years ago from his pocket. He paused for a moment, gazing at the charm in his hand. He felt his body go numb for a moment. He had known for a long time that he liked Kairi, but he had never been able to decide on whether or not he was in love with her or not. But now, looking into her eyes, he finally knew. He truly loved her. He loved her with every fiber of his being.

He squeezed the charm slightly tighter. How could he have not realized it? He had spent every night looking at that charm since the day he sealed Kingdom Hearts for the first time. His heart cried out to her. He looked back into her gleaming eyes. Somewhere in his mind, he heard a voice that was not his own call out Naminé. Sora smiled slightly to himself and let his Nobody, Roxas, take control of his body for a moment. As the image of Sora gave way to a beaming Roxas, the image of Kairi, likewise, gave way to the now beaming Naminé. They gazed at each other for a long moment before turning back into Sora and Kairi.

Sora wiped a tear of happiness from the corner of his eye. "W-we're back!" he said, grinning at Kairi. She returned the grin and held out her hand. "You're home." Sora beamed at her and took her hand, holding the good luck charm she had given him between their palms. Kairi helped pull Sora to his feet and quickly drew him into a hug surprising him with just how tightly she was gripping him. "I've missed you so much," she whispered into his ear. Sora quickly recovered and returned her embrace. "I've missed you too."

They stared into each others' eyes until a cough from Riku snapped the pair of them back to reality. "As much as I'd love to sit here all day and watch you two stare at each other," he said sarcastically, "The day isn't going to last much longer and I'd very much like to get to the main Island before nightfall, okay?" Sora and Kairi sighed in defeat and broke their embrace. Riku couldn't help but smile at just how oblivious those two were to everyone else when they were together. They all began walking towards the dock where there were three boats tied up. "How come there are already three boats here?" Riku asked aloud. He and Sora looked at Kairi, who shrugged. "I don't know," She replied, "I didn't leave them here." After a moment of considering the origins of the boats, there was a collective shrug from the group and they continued towards the boats.

Sora walked slower than the others, taking in the island where he, Kairi and Riku had spent so much time together when they were younger. His eyes traveled from the tree house, to his and Kairi's Secret Place, to the old shack, and finally, they came to rest on the horizontally bent Paopu fruit tree. An idea struck him. "Hey guys," he said to the group. They all stopped and turned back to look at him quizzically. "I've gotta use the bathroom real quick, okay?" Riku shrugged and continued on. The others quickly followed. Kairi shot him a quizzical look before smiling and running to catch up to the others.

Sora quickly darted into the old shack and bolted up the wooden stairs inside. He poked his head out of the door at the top of the ramp and looked out at the docks to make sure no one was watching. He quickly darted across the driftwood bridge and ducked behind the Paopu tree. He checked to make sure that no one had looked over yet. He quickly scanned the tree and spotted his goal, the last Paopu on the tree. He reached up and snatched the fruit from the limb. He quickly checked yet again to see if anyone was watching and stuffed the Paopu fruit into one of the side pockets of his pants. He quickly bolted across the bridge and was back at the bottom of the stairs in the old shack in a under a stepped out of the old shack and was halfway across the beach before Kairi finally turned around to call out to him, "Hurry up, you lazy bum!" Sora smiled at the nickname she had given him years ago.

"I am. I am!" He broke into a sprint and was by her side in a flash.

Sora looked at the three boats, Donald and Goofy in one, Riku and the King in the other. "Guess that means we get to share a boat," he said to Kairi, who nodded in reply. Sora couldn't help but notice that her cheeks had turned a bright shade of pink. Why is she blushing? We've shared a boat hundreds of times, what makes today any different?

He climbed into the boat and held out his hand to Kairi. "Come on, Kai." he said softly. Kairi's cheeks quickly turned to a darker shade of red causing Sora's grin to grow wider. She took his hand and allowed him to help her into the boat. Sora stared into her eyes for a brief moment before he picked up the oars. He turned his head to look at the others. Donald, Goofy, and the King were all waiting patiently. Riku, on the other hand, looked far from patient. "Are you ready?" He asked Sora with mock impatience in his voice, betrayed only by his humongous grin. Sora nodded. "Let's get going," he said. The three boats all shoved off from the docks in almost perfect unison. They spent most of the boat ride in silence. Sora almost steered his and Kairi's boat into Riku's on multiple occasions because he was finding it difficult to keep his eyes off of the girl in front of him.

Kairi leaned back against the prow of their boat, gazing at the setting sun. "The sunset's beautiful, isn't it, Sora?" Kairi said basking in the fading light. "Yeah," Sora replied in a soft whisper, "You are." Kairi opened her eyes and looked at him. "What did you say?" she asked, her eyes boring into Sora's. Real smooth, Romeo. Echoed Roxas' voice inside Sora's head. Can it. Sora muttered mentally. "What?" He replied, a little too quickly. Kairi smirked. "Did you just call me beautiful?" She said placing heavy emphasis on the word.

Sora's cheeks flushed bright red. "I did- what I mean is- that's not-" Sora kept tripping over his own words, trying to form a somewhat intelligent excuse. Kairi let a peal of laughter. The other four turned to look at the pair. Kairi's laughter died slowly. "I'm just giving you a hard time Sora," she giggled, "I know you don't think of me like that." Sora let out a nervous chuckle before turning his attention back to the sea, a gloomy look dominating his expression.

SO, Naminé said in Kairi's head, Is there any particular reason why you continue to lie to Sora and, more importantly, yourself about your feelings for him? Kairi remained silent, focusing on the sunset rather than her Nobody. Naminé sighed, Okay, but from what I can tell, Sora really likes you. He probably even loves you just as much as you love him. Kairi pondered this for a moment. Let's hope you're right then Naminé, she said to her Nobody. Because that would be wonderful. Kairi quickly found herself lost in a daydream of her and Sora, dancing at a formal ball.

Sora watched as Kairi's expression became one of absolute content and peace, while she hummed softly to herself. Sora couldn't help but feel peaceful as he watched her lose herself in a fantasy world.

Kiss her. Roxas said.

What? Sora replied in surprise, No way. She'd probably slap me, or throw me overboard.

Whatever you say, dude. But something tells me she's thinking about you right now and would give anything to have you kiss her.

Roxas fell silent, leaving Sora to consider this. He turned his gaze on Kairi, who met his eyes for a long moment before she turned away, smiling softly as her cheeks turned bright red. Sora smiled and fixed his gaze on the horizon as the shore of the main Island drew ever near. You know Roxas, I would kiss her. Hell, I'd give anything to kiss her right now.

Go for it, dude. What've you got to lose? You've just saved the worlds, AGAIN, from the forces of Darkness. And, more importantly, you saved her. AGAIN. So just go for it, man!

You're right. Said Sora to his Nobody, I've got nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

Sora slowed his rowing unconsciously. He opened his mouth to speak when Kairi beat him to the punch. "Umm… Sora?"

"Yeah?" Sora looked at her, his heart pounding.

"The water's shallow enough now, we can just get out and pull the boat ashore."

Sora's spirit sank. "Sounds good," he said, his voice shaking almost unnoticeably from trying to hide his disappointment. Kairi's expression fell. What's wrong, Sora? She asked him inside her head.

He wanted to kiss you. Naminé answered matter-of-factly. Isn't it obvious?

Kairi opened her mouth in surprise. She watched Sora carefully for a moment and noticed he was hanging his head slightly, his cerulean eyes down cast and avoiding hers. That can't be true, can it? She asked her Nobody. Naminé sighed.

Of course it is, dummy. Look at the poor boy. Maybe he's in denial about his feelings for you just like you're denying yours for him.

The more Kairi thought about it, the more she realized that Naminé was right. She had been hiding from her feelings for Sora ever since he had released her heart from his back on Radiant Gardens over a year and a half ago.

Oh my god, she said to herself (and Naminé). I'm in love with Sora. I'm in love with my best friend. When did this happen?

Judging from your memories that I've been watching for the past half hour or so, said Naminé inside Kairi's head. It happened when he sacrificed himself to release your heart. Kairi's eyes widened. Naminé was right. She had never forgotten the pain that nearly tore her heart as she regained consciousness, only to see her best friend tumble towards the ground, a blade sticking out of his chest.

And of course she would never forget the joy of recognizing Sora's heartless among the others that thirsted for her heart or her hugging Sora and bringing him back from the darkness with her light. Kairi's heart became a whirlwind of emotions. Suddenly, all she could think about was the boy pulling their boat onto the shore of the main Island. She watched as Sora tied the boat to a nearby post. She noticed for the first time just how much taller he had grown in those two years, how his hair was no longer a deep chocolate brown like it used to be. She absolutely loved the way the setting sun caught the caramel, gravity defying spikes. She loved his eyes and the way he would stare intently into hers with them.

"Hello? Kairi?" Kairi jumped back to reality. Sora was standing about a foot from her, a hand on her shoulder, lightly shaking her. "You in there?"

Kairi smiled at him, and he smiled back. "Present and accounted for." She said, making fun of him subtly Sora chuckled. "We've made landfall, Princess." He replied, making fun of her. Kairi glared at him slyly. "Play your cards right, and maybe I'll be more than just your Princess." She winked at him and started walking towards the others, leaving a very dumbstruck Sora behind.

Did she just flirt with me? Inside his head, Roxas was gasping for breath as he tried to control his laughter.

Yes, she did. He paused for a second and regained his composure. So, stop standing around, looking like an idiot and follow her. Sora had already started walking towards the others before Roxas had even finished speaking.

If I keep telling you what to do, you might as well give me control over our body. Said Roxas. Sora ignored him. Or you can ignore me. That works too. Don't forget I'm still in here. Ignore me long enough and I'll make you listen to Lady Gaga for the next week and a half.

You wouldn't dare.

Oh, so you aren't ignoring me. Roxas said smugly. And yes I would. Just try me.

Sora scowled. Kairi looked at him worriedly. "Sora? What's wrong?"

"Roxas is being an ass." Sora responded with a shrug, "But whatever."

Kairi giggled. "I can relate." She said, tapping one finger against her temple. Thanks, Kairi. Naminé said, her voice laden heavily with sarcasm. You're welcome. Kairi replied cheerfully.

Riku watched Sora and Kairi both staring off into space. He tapped his foot impatiently. "Can you two hurry up? It's almost dark, and quite frankly, I'm starving from that last battle. So let's go grab something to eat." Sora and Kairi snapped back to reality.

"Food sounds really good, now that you mention it," Donald said weakly, clutching his stomach. The King turned to look at Sora and Kairi.

"Do you two know any decent places in town to get something to eat?"

Sora glanced at Kairi; she had a twinkle in her eye that concerned him for some reason. "I know the perfect place, your Majesty." The King chuckled, "Alrighty then," he said, "Will you do the honors of leading us there, Princess?" Kairi bowed, "It would be my pleasure." She stood back up and laughed along` with the King.

They began walking towards the city. "You know, Sora," Said Goofy, after several minutes of silence, "We've been traveling together for the better part of two years now, and you know what I just realized?" Sora pondered this for a minute, trying to figure out just what Goofy was getting at.

"Not a clue," he replied, curious to see where this conversation was going to go. "You've never told us anything about your World." Donald looked over at Sora, "You know, he's right. We've told you all about ours, but the only thing we ever heard about your World were just some of your favorite memories with Riku and Kairi."

Kairi looked over at the three Other-Worlders. "Well, how about we tell you guys a little bit about the Islands on our way to the restaurant?" Sora and Riku looked at each other and sighed. Why not?

So, they spent the next half hour, walking through the suburbs of the main Island, Exin, as Kairi pointed out places of interest. She described school life at Exin High School for everybody, particularly for Sora and Riku, considering that they would be joining her there when the summer break was over.

Kairi ended up doing all of the talking and pointing out important places, mostly because so much had changed in the two years that Sora and Riku had been gone. She showed them the newly completed railway that crossed the sea to the other Islands of Eve, and Illa. She pointed out the coliseum, from which the roar of a crowd echoed for miles. She pointed out the manor where her adopted parents lived, set on a hill visible from every point in the town. King Mickey didn't seem to be quite as surprised to discover that Kairi's adopted father was the mayor of Destiny Islands as Donald and Goofy were. However, only Sora seemed to be the one to notice this.

Kairi led them through the back roads towards the main city, Fatum. The city had changed significantly since Sora had last seen it. Massive skyscrapers now dominated the skyline where there had used to be just small office buildings, illuminating the now darkened streets with a golden orange light. Sora recognized some company names that had once been small time shops. Exin Gear had been Sora's favorite place to go shopping back when he was fourteen. It had once stood nearby the shore, no larger than a seaside shack. Now, it was the tallest building in all of the Destiny Islands, according to Kairi, and was currently planning on expanding business to the mainland which lay hundreds of miles north of Eve.

She showed them around other places of interest in the city, such as Town Hall where Kairi's father worked as the mayor. King Mickey expressed great interest in seeing the inside of the building, so Kairi led them up to the front doors. The security guard let them through because he recognized Kairi and bowed as they introduced the King. "Thanks, Greg!" Kairi called back as she led the group into the heart of town hall.

She knew the tour was primarily for the King, so she focused on showing him around while the others tagged along. She showed him the council chambers, the chambers of the Island's congress, the different offices for the chairmen of the other Islands apart from Exin, and her father's office.

After the tour, they left Town Hall and proceeded down the road through the shopping district. According to Kairi, there wasn't anything particularly interesting about the rows of clothing and accessories shops, so she wound up pointing out her favorite places to go shopping on the weekends. And places she thought Sora and Riku would like to go.

"And just around this corner," said Kairi, acting like a know-it-all tour guide, "Is the biggest under-eighteen club in all of the Destiny Islands, Club Vinyl. Pretty much everyone from our school comes here to hang out on Friday and Saturday nights." Sora looked over at the club, it looked to him just like any other club, a brick building with no windows pumping out music of many different genres, and a rather large man standing next to the door, collecting payments as people trickled in and out.

Kairi grabbed Sora by the arm and started dragging him along "We should totally go sometime," she said suddenly ecstatic, "Selphie tells me that they have the best D.J.'s and bands there from across the Islands all the time." She looked up at Sora expectantly. Sora shot Riku a glance that basically screamed, "Help Me!" but Riku just laughed to himself.

Sora looked back at Kairi who was now giving Sora a puppy dog pout. Sora sighed. "If you want to, I guess I'm up for it."

Kairi's pout turned into a massive grin. "Yay!" She pulled Sora into a massive hug, "Thank you, Sora." She released him and walked on ahead of him, the others following suit. Dude, Said Roxas, You are so freakin' whipped and you two aren't even dating yet. Sora gave Roxas a mental growl.

Touchy are we?

Can it, Roxas.

Whatever dude, you know I'm right. Roxas then mimicked the sound of a whip being cracked.

Roxas… Sora growled.

Alright, alright, I'm done. You should really see a therapist about your anger towards me when it comes to Kairi. Or because you talk to yourself, so to speak.

Roxas didn't say anything else after that, so Sora allowed himself to return to the conversation the others were having about Riku's parents.

"Long story short," Kairi said to Riku, "Your parents formed a private investigations firm several days after the Islands reformed from the Darkness. They've been primarily looking for you and Sora since only I was still here while you two were gone." Riku's eyes were downcast. The King patted his hand softly. "Fret not, Riku." He told the silver-haired teen, "You're home now. They can finally put their minds at ease." Riku nodded. "Yeah." He said, wiping a tear from his eye, "It's good to be home."

"What about my mom?" Sora asked Kairi. Kairi stopped walking and turned to look at him. They stared into each other's eyes for a minute or so while Kairi appeared to consider something. "Dinner first," She said simply, grinning mischievously, and turned to walk up a short staircase to her left that Sora hadn't noticed before. They had finally arrived at the restaurant.

The group followed Kairi inside the heavy wooden doors. Sora gave the restaurant a quick glance. There were only booths, no tables. The lights were dimmed slightly. Several televisions cast a white glow over the patrons as they displayed the Exin Grand Defender Tournament, an annual tournament held by the Destiny Islands primary law enforcement, the Defenders, to find candidates for their ranks. Despite their hilariously childish name, the Defenders were a force to be reckoned with.

Sora's attention was temporarily held by one screen that showed a boy about his age fighting off a large creature with two heads and a spike covered body with a massive long sword with a blade the color of the ocean. He swung the blade up and struck the side of one of the heads of the creature.

Sora turned back to the others when a waitress approached them. She had shoulder length black hair and lavender colored eyes. She was at least a foot shorter than Sora and dressed in a simple white dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up, a red necktie, and a blue plaid skirt. "Welcome to Destiny's, Tavern and Grill" she said cheerfully, "My name's Kyoko and I will be your hostess tonight. How many are in your party?" Her eyes darted from Kairi to the King, Donald, and Goofy before they rested a fraction of a second longer on Sora before they moved to Riku and back to Kairi.

Kairi had noticed the lingering glance that this girl had given Sora and was fighting back the feelings of jealousy that had sprung up inside her without warning. "Just us six, thank you." She told Kyoko, her voice colder than she had meant for it to be. Kyoko stared at Kairi calmly, but anybody with any common sense could see sparks fly between the two girls for a brief moment. "Follow me, please," Kyoko said coolly, still staring at Kairi, "I will show you to your seats."

Kyoko gestured them into a booth. They all slid in slowly. Kairi grabbed Sora's hand and pulled him in after her and purposely sat closer to him than was absolutely necessary. Kyoko scowled at her before placing menus in front of each of them. "Your server will be with you shortly." She said, still keeping her cool composure before giving Kairi a quick glare and walking off.

Sora raised an eyebrow at Kairi before opening up his menu. He hadn't realized how hungry he actually was until he laid his eyes on the featured item of the month, the Island Teriyaki Burger. One-third pound, all natural beef, glazed with a mouthwatering teriyaki sauce, topped with a crisp leaf of lettuce, a perfect tomato slice, pickles, and a grilled pineapple, all nestled between two soft white sesame seed buns with a side of golden-brown French fries.

Sora's stomach growled loudly enough to cause people several booths over to look at them in disgust. There was a long pause where everyone at the table turned to look at a very embarrassed Sora. Then they all broke out in laughter. Sora chuckled along, still embarrassed.

No comments, Roxas?


Why not?

Because I'm a whole hell of a lot hungrier than you are at the moment. Roxas said weakly, Just because I live in your head doesn't mean that I can't get hungry. I probably can't even die of starvation, which will suck for me.

Sora looked back at the menu, feeling a small twinge of guilt that he could eat when Roxas couldn't. Then he noticed the price of the burger. "Two thousand munny?" he cried out, once again drawing attention to himself.

Riku stared at Sora in confusion. "What do you care, Sora? You've got so much munny from fighting all those Heartless and Nobodies that two thousand munny shouldn't even dent your pocketbook." Sora looked at Donald and Goofy both of whom nodded in agreement. "Hell," Riku continued before Sora could get a word in edgewise, "It shouldn't even scratch it. So," he looked around at the others, "I vote that Sora pays for everyone's dinner."

The others all turned to look at Sora, grinning widely. Sora looked back, his eyes pleading. Then he felt a hand on his upper thigh. He made the mistake of looking at Kairi's face.

She looked back at him with her lower lip trembling and her violet-blue eyes sparkling sadly.

"Please, Sora," she whispered, almost pleading.

Oh, shit. Sora sighed in defeat. He had no chance in hell of being able to resist Kairi when she looked at him like that.

"Fine," he said, mock sadness in his voice, "I'll pay."

The others let out cheers of victory; drawing attention from the restaurant's other customers for a third time. Somebody at one of the other tables mumbled something about grabbing the manager and left his seat.

"And since you've offered oh so kindly to pay for us tonight," Donald said mischievously, "I vote we get dessert as well!"

Sora glared at the mage. "How about you and Goofy buy dessert?" he asked coolly. Donald glared back. "I seem to recall that you two earned just as much as I did, seeing as we split the profits evenly. Am I right?" Donald responded with a barely audible "Fine."

"I'm still trying to figure out just how come we were able to split the profits evenly three ways every single time with no extra munny lying around." Goofy interjected thoughtfully. This brought a long moment of silence from everyone.

"I'm more concerned as to why Heartless of all things are going around carrying munny." Said Riku, adding his two cents, "I mean, what does a Shadow need five munny for anyways? They don't wear clothes or eat. At least, I think they don't eat."

This sparked a five minute debate on whether or not Heartless actually ate or not and why every world's currency was exactly the same when absolutely no two worlds were. Their debate ended when Riku gestured for them all to be quiet.

Sora looked at him questioningly. Riku shook his head and jerked his head towards another customer approaching their table with the restaurant's manager, a woman in her early forties with chocolate brown hair gathered into a bun on the top of her head and hazel eyes, in tow. Sora and the others stared at one another awkwardly. Kairi looked at Sora nervously. Sora looked at the manager. She seemed familiar

"Is there a problem here?" The manager said, walking up to them, looking at the King, Donald and Goofy. She looked at them curiously, obviously never having seen Otherworlders before.

"No problem at all, ma'am," the King replied, "I'm terribly sorry if we've been a bother to your other patrons."

The manager seemed surprised at Mickey's politeness. "Oh, it's quite all right," she said, a little taken aback, "Just try to keep it down, okay?" She turned to leave.

"Sure thing," Kairi replied, "Mom."

The manager froze. Kairi was smiling sheepishly. Then it hit Sora as to why she looked familiar. Mickey, Donald, and Goofy stared from the Kairi to the manager and back. Kairi's adopted mother turned back towards them slowly. She stared at Kairi in total shock. There was a long moment where neither Kairi nor her mom moved. Then, Kairi's mom let out a cry of joy and threw her arms around her adopted daughter.

Kairi returned the hug, smiling hugely. "You're back!" her mother laughed, hugging Kairi tightly to her, "Where have you been? We thought we lost you."

"Mom," Kairi began, but her mother cut her off.

"I mean, what if what happened to Sora and Riku had happened to you?" her mother continued, "They vanished without a trace. Look at what it did to Sharon and David. They were heartbroken when Riku never came home. And poor Allison, losing Sora less than a year after Brandon." She hugged Kairi even tighter. Kairi choked for breath, "But, Mom-"

"But you're home now! You're father's going to be so excited to see you! And you must introduce me to your friends." She looked up beaming at Donald, Goofy and the King. Her smile was replaced with a look of shock when she laid eyes on Riku.

"Riku?" she said in disbelief, "Is that you?"

Riku nodded and grinned at her, "The one and only. Nice to see you again after all this time, Melissa."

Melissa grinned widely, "Riku! Where have you been all this time? Do you know what happened to Sora?"

Riku raised an eyebrow at her and pointed at Sora. Melissa turned her head and completely froze. "Sora?"

"Hey, Melissa," Sora replied, casually waving his hand.

"You're home," she said, struggling to absorb the shock of finding the three missing teens turning up, unannounced in her restaurant. She stood up slowly, gazing at the trio. Keeping one hand on Kairi's back. There was a long pause as she stared at Kairi. "This isn't a dream is it?" She asked the three, her voice shaking as though she was afraid to hear the answer.

"Nope," replied Riku.

"We're the real thing," continued Sora.

"And we're back," Kairi finished. Melissa stared at them in total shock.

She reached into the pocket of her apron and pulled out a cell phone. She flipped it open and pressed two buttons before pressing it to her ear. "Sharon? Hey, it's Melissa. Oh, you know. Same old, same old. Listen, you and David need to come over to the restaurant right away. What? No. Look, just come down here, okay? And grab Allison on your way." Sora and Riku shot each other a glance. "Okay! Trust me; it'll all make sense to you when you guys get down here."

She hung up her phone and looked over at Sora and Riku. "Your parents are going to be so shocked when they see just how much you two have grown since you've been gone." She smiled at the pair.

In unison, Sora, Donald, and Riku's stomachs all let out loud growls. Kairi giggled as Sora blushed and placed a hand over his stomach. Melissa chuckled and pulled a notepad and pen from her apron. "Sounds like you all could use some food."

You've got no clue. Said Roxas. Sora grinned at that.

Sucks to be you buddy. Sora inhaled deeply, enjoying the smell of burgers and hot oil drifting from the kitchen. Mmmmm, smells good, doesn't it Roxas? Sora said evilly.

Stuff it, spiky.

Sora laughed softly to himself while Roxas grumbled and gave Melissa his order. He was a little surprised when Kairi ordered the exact same thing that he had. He looked at her questioningly. She responded with a smile and a shrug.

Melissa ran their orders to the kitchen and came back with a tray of her drinks. "So you three," she said to Sora, Kairi and Riku as she passed out their drinks. She set the tray down and pulled a chair for herself up to their table, "Why don't you introduce me to your friends?" She glanced over at Donald, Goofy, and King Mickey. "Of course," Kairi replied, "This is Donald, Court Magician of Disney Castle." Donald bowed and removed his hat. Melissa bowed back, smiling.

"This," said Sora, "Is Goofy, Captain of the Royal Knights of Disney Castle." Goofy also bowed to Melissa, "Pleased to meet you, ma'am." Melissa bowed to Goofy as well, "Pleased to meet you too, Goofy."

"And finally," said Riku, gesturing at the King, "Is his Royal Highness, King Mickey Mouse of Disney Castle." Mickey bowed his head at Melissa, who seemed stunned that there was royalty in her restaurant. She gave a low bow, "Your Majesty," she said humbly, "It is truly an honor to have you grace my restaurant with your presence."

The King chuckled softly, "Thank you, ma'am," he bowed to her again, "I am honored to meet the woman who raised Kairi to be the wonderful, friendly, loving young woman she is." He smiled at Kairi, who blushed crimson at the compliments the King had given her.

"Don't forget about me!" exclaimed a voice from Sora's hood. Out popped a small cricket, dressed in a suit and top hat, complete with a cane. The cricket hopped up onto Sora's shoulder. "Cricket's the name. Jiminy Cricket." Jiminy took his hat off as he addressed Melissa, "I am the Royal Chronicler for Disney Castle." Melissa smiled back at him. "Pleased to meet you, Jiminy."

"And the same to you, ma'am," replied Jiminy.

Kairi glanced over at Sora, who was smiling at her. She smiled back, her eyes sinking into his for a fraction of a second before they both looked away, their faces burning red.

Only Riku seemed to notice the brief exchange between his two best friends. He smiled knowingly. He found it laughably obvious that those two were in love with one another and had still had absolutely no clue. He barely acknowledged the twang of jealousy that sprang up at this thought. He was happy for them and jealous of them at the same time. They had each other to love. He had no one.

Riku closed his eyes and took a calming breath to repress the darkness rising in him. No. He told himself. Not now. Not ever. The darkness receded reluctantly into the depths of his heart. He let out a silent sigh of relief and opened his eyes to find Sora and Donald placing bets on the man fighting on the nearby television.

"Five hundred munny says the shorter one loses," Said Donald, grinning slyly at Sora as he placed said munny on the table.

Sora grinned greedily at the anthropomorphic duck, "You're on." He slammed his munny on the table and everyone turned to stare at the screen. A startling tall man with a thick handlebar mustache and muscles thicker than Sora's entire body, wielding a large battle axe charged at his opponent, a man with shoulder length, bronze colored hair, who was pulling on black leather gloves. The axe man swung at his opponent, but the shorter man had vanished and reappeared on the opposite side of the arena.

The large man let out a roar of frustration and charged once again. The shorter man raised his fists in a defensive pattern as the axe man drew nearer. The axe man grinned as he brought the axe crashing to the ground several yards away from his opponent. Massive shockwaves shook the ground knocking down the bronze haired man. The axe man leapt high into the air, raising his axe above his head, ready to deliver the finishing blow.

"Looks like I win," said Donald, already beginning to gloat. He grinned at Sora victoriously. Sora smiled back, "Don't be so sure." He pointed back at the screen.

The bronze haired man had suddenly appeared on the axe man's back. The axe man tried to spin midair, to no avail. The bronze haired man clutched one of the twin blades of the axe. Shards of metal rained down as the blade shattered into a thousand pieces from the bronze haired man's grip.

The axe man let out a shocked cry. The bronze haired man leapt off the axe man's back with excessive force, sending the man crashing face first into the ground next to the shards of his axe. The bronze haired man descended to the ground slowly, his feet touched down lightly and gracefully. There was a beat of silence and the crowd erupted in cheers and applause. Donald groaned in frustration.

Sora cried out triumphantly. The bronze haired man bowed to the crowd. The camera zoomed in on his beaming face. Then stopped, the man's eyes were glowing silver as he stared directly into the camera. "That's not creepy at all," said Riku as he watched the screen. Kairi looked at him quizzically. Riku pointed at the screen. "Look at his eyes."

Kairi looked back at the man on the screen and gasped. The man's silver eyes seemed to stare past the screen and directly at her. "What the-" Riku nodded, "Whoever he is, he isn't normal." Sora nodded in agreement, and then turned to face Donald, who was fuming. Sora grinned victoriously and snatched the munny up from the table. Donald just glared at Sora. Riku couldn't help but laugh at Donald's expression.

"Anyone else feel like contributing to tonight's dinner?" Sora asked, looking around at the others, "Or my wallet? I'm not picky." Everyone immediately started shaking their heads. Everyone present (with the exception of Donald) knew better than to make any sort of bet with Sora. He rarely ever lost any wager. Sora laughed at their expressions. "Come on," he taunted, "Nobody?" He laughed a tiny bit harder.

"You're on."

Sora's laughter died instantly. Everyone turned to give Kairi looks that basically screamed "ARE YOU NUTS?" Sora stared at her in complete surprise. "Really?" Kairi smiled back smugly, "Yeah, really."

Sora grinned back at her. "Alright then, what do you want to bet on?" He turned towards the television and immediately began analyzing the newest match. Kairi's smile broadened mischievously. "You don't get to know."

Everyone stared at Kairi in confusion, particularly Sora, who turned slowly to face Kairi, who was continuing to grin mischievously back at him. Sora cocked an eyebrow at the redhead.


"Sorry, but you don't get to know," Kairi repeated.

"What? Why?" Sora's expression grew more confused, causing Kairi to giggle at him.

"It makes the bet more interesting."

"How on earth does that make the bet more interesting?" demanded Sora, "It sounds more like you're trying to torture me by making me go insane." Kairi's mother smiled as she caught onto what her adopted daughter had planned and quickly got to her feet to go answer the now ringing phone behind the bar. Then another thought occurred to Sora. "If I don't get to know what we're betting on, then how will I know when one of us wins?"

Kairi smiled slyly at him. "Oh trust me, Sora, you'll know," she winked at Sora and immediately turned to watch the current battle. Sora stared at Kairi, still horribly confused. Was it his imagination, or was Kairi just flirting with him?

You expect me to know the answer to that? Said Roxas, adding his voice into Sora's musings. Or do you just want my opinion?

I was hoping you would know. Replied Sora, and yes, I would very much like your opinion.

Was that sarcasm?

Just a little.

Well, if you ask me, she was flirting with you dude. Maybe she does like you like you like her. After all, her heart spent a couple of months inside you. That's bound to have some effect on how you two feel about each other. Right?

Is that your excuse for liking Naminé?

I have no idea what you're talking about.

Excuses, excuses.

Stow it, Spiky.

Sora smiled. Need I remind you that you also have spiky hair?

Oh, shut up and pay attention to the real world for once.

Roxas fell silent and Sora returned his thoughts to the physical world, just as Melissa returned to the table. "That was your father," she said, addressing Kairi. Kairi immediately perked up. "I managed to convince him to come over and join us all."

Kairi smiled widely and leaned against Sora as she returned her attention to the television, which was now showing an advertisement for Kenda's Moogle Shop.

Kairi sighed inaudibly as Sora tenderly wrapped his arm around her. It was then that Naminé decided to intrude on her peace.

You like him. Naminé taunted.

And you like Roxas. Kairi retaliated, although the jab lacked any negative emotions, she was just too content in Sora's arms.

And? I am you. Roxas is Sora. Get the picture yet? Besides, it's obvious that Sora likes you like you like him.

Kairi tensed up at this statement. Sora glanced down at her in concern. She smiled back up at him reassuringly. She turned her attention back to the television. Sora continued to stare at her with a mildly worried expression.

Like I said, Naminé continued, He obviously likes you a lot more than he's letting on.

How would you know?

His arm around your waist, that's how.

That makes absolutely no sense, Naminé, would you care to explain?

Naminé sighed. There is nothing but love in the way he's holding you. Don't you even try to tell me that you can't feel it.

Kairi considered this for a moment. She could feel how gently Sora's arm wrapped around her waist. She could also feel the firmness in his grip as well. It felt as though he was ready to take a shot for her at a seconds notice. Kairi felt her face turn red as she realized it.

Oh my god! She exclaimed mentally, Do you really think that he loves me?

Of course I do, sweetheart. Said Naminé, I've never been more positive about anything, except for my feelings for Roxas.

Kairi smiled at this statement. Thanks, Naminé.

No problem. I'll leave you two alone now.

Naminé fell silent and Kairi turned her focus outward to her surroundings. Their server, Kyoko, had returned, carrying their dinner. She sat up, releasing Sora, who sat bolt upright at the sight of the burger he had been craving so much.

"Enjoy your meal," Kyoko said sweetly to Sora, who mumbled something that sounded like "You too." She gave Kairi a brief death glare and walked off. Kairi glared after her. Naminé, you better be right about Sora liking me, otherwise I could have some competition.

Naminé snorted in a very unladylike fashion. Have you seen Sora? Of course other girls are going to be attracted to him. He's actually pretty handsome.

Hey, Kairi half growled, That's my man you're talking about there.

Your what now? Naminé said, taking on an I-Told-You-So tone of voice.

Wait! I mean- Kairi stammered at her Nobody, who just laughed at her.

"Thanks Kyoko," Melissa said, as everyone began to eat. She couldn't help but laugh at Sora and Donald, who were consuming their food at an alarming rate. Jiminy was sitting next to Sora's plate, munching on some of his French fries. Riku, surprisingly enough had only ordered a Caesar salad. Sora looked at him questioningly.

"Blame DiZ for-" he paused suddenly and corrected himself, "Ansem, for this. When I was with him, he forced me to eat healthier." Sora nodded in understanding and resumed consuming his burger.

Sora took a large bite from his burger, savoring every bit of flavor. "Hmmm," he moaned, "This is the best burger I've had in ages." He grinned in satisfaction as he heard a low growl in the back of his mind.

I swear to god Sora, Roxas growled, You better pray that I never find a way to get my own body. Because if I do, the first thing I'm doing is ordering a burger.

Sora stopped chewing for a moment. Was that supposed to be a threat? Because if it was, it wasn't a very good one.

And then I'm going to beat you into next month with a spoon.

There it is. Sora replied as he took another bite. This really is a very good burger.

Roxas growled again, and then began to laugh evilly.

What? Asked Sora, mildly concerned.

If you make one more comment to torture me, I will do worse to you?


Sora could've sworn that Roxas was smiling. What Lady Gaga song would you never be able to get out of your head if I sung it for three weeks straight with no breaks?

Sora's eyes widened in fear. You wouldn't dare.

Like I said, try me. I've got nothing but time to kill in here. And redecorating. You have a lot of unused space in here.

Shut up. You win this round. Sora said, defeated. Roxas laughed evilly inside Sora's mind.

"Sora?" Kairi's whisper grabbed Sora's attention. She was looking at him confusedly.

"Yeah?" he whispered back.

"What are you and Roxas talking about?"

Sora was taken aback. How did she know that he was talking to Roxas? "How did you know that I was talking to him?"

"Naminé told me."

"How did she know?"

Naminé and I can talk to each other anytime you and Kairi are near each other.

"Never mind," Sora said, "Roxas just answered my question."

The King looked up at the two as they whispered back and forth. "So, you can both communicate with your Nobodies?" Sora and Kairi looked up at him and noticed that everyone was watching them. Kairi blushed a little and Sora replied with a simple "Yup."

Riku rolled his eyes and returned to his salad, muttering "That's gonna be real annoying."

Sora gave Riku a brief, half-hearted glare, before listening to the King as he, Donald and Goofy told Melissa about their home world. Sora had only ever seen a startling small portion of the Castle. He had never been to the town outside the gates, or to the rolling green hills or crystal clear ocean that lay just less than a mile beyond the castle perimeter. He told them all about the many festivals held in town and the amazing fireworks shows during the summer months.

By the time they were done describing their world, everyone had finished eating and were relaxing. The restaurant had emptied and the only employee left was Kyoko, who was leaning against the front door, glaring daggers over at Kairi, who was using Sora's lap as a pillow.

Sora was leaning back comfortably when a voice he hadn't heard in almost two years reached his ears. "Melissa! We're here!" Sora jumped violently at the sound of the voice, startling Kairi in the process.

Melissa quickly got to her feet and rushed to the front door to greet the other parents of the three youth. Riku and Sora shared a nervous glance. They had no idea how their parents were going to react. They had both left without a word on the night the Heartless overtook the Islands. That had been almost a full two years ago at this point.

Kairi smiled at both of them. Sora could feel his nerves starting to act up as he heard the adults drawing closer. They only grew worse when he heard Jonathan, Kairi's adoptive father, let out a cry of joy at the sight of her. "Kairi!"

Sora turned around in his seat to get a better look. Jonathan had rushed forward and pulled Kairi over Sora and out of the booth and into a tight hug. He definitely seemed more intimidating than Sora remembered, even when he was hugging his daughter. He had shoulder length blonde hair that he had tied into a ponytail at the nape of his neck. He had a relatively slim, yet muscular build. When he released Kairi and stood straight up with near perfect posture, he was still half a head taller than Sora. Even when smiling, he had a mildly stern expression on his face.

He looked up from Kairi towards the only occupied table in the restaurant. For a brief moment, he stared at the other-worlders. Then he froze as he saw Riku and Sora, "Is that-" he began, but was cut off by cries from Sharon and David , who bolted past them to embrace their silver-haired son. Riku edged his way out of the booth and was almost knocked flat as his mother threw her arms around him, sobbing. "Hi Mom," Riku said, tears shining in the corner of his eyes, "Hey Dad."

Riku's father pulled him into an even tighter hug than his mother had. "Thank god, you're back," he whispered, silent tears flowing down his cheeks, "Your mother and I have been so worried about you. We never gave up hope that you would come home one day." Riku tried to speak but couldn't find the words through the lump in his throat. 'I've missed you both so much." His parents pulled him into a tighter hug.

Sora had never noticed before how much Riku looked like David. They had the same pale complexion and the same aqua eyes. David was only an inch or two taller than Riku and was slightly more muscular. Riku had inherited his mother's slender face and silver hair. Sharon was several inches shorter than Riku, about the same height as Kairi was.

Sora smiled at Riku and his family before turning around to face the only person left standing by the door. Allison, Sora's mother, seemed frozen in place in the doorway. She was staring at her son, her hand over her mouth, tears rolling down her face. Sora stared back at her with the indigo eyes he had inherited from her. "Hi Mom."


Hope you like it so far and want to keep on reading. I do welcome reviews and criticism as well as questions. Chapter Two is on its way soon!

-Shadow Horizons