Chapter 15: Duck Dog Ducks

Sora's head weaved in an elongated figure eight as he watched his dog Goofy weave between tables, exploring and giving people company as the brain in Goofy saw fit. He was a kind dog, never begging, but getting more love than a newborn baby at Christmas time.

Which raised the question: why was Goofy with Sora at Destiny Café?

The fine Saturday he was working, his mother had to run a few errands, and Goofy (who was normally very good about being home alone,) had recently broken his mom's favorite picture frame. So, instead of risking her second favorite, she told Sora to take Goofy with him.

So, there his dog was. Walking around and enjoying life as if there was no better thing in the world than going between tables for hours on end. Though, Sora couldn't say much. He'd been watching Goofy do this with as much interest as Goofy did going through the tables. Mostly because for a Saturday, it was super slow. A rare thing indeed… maybe it was because Riku was on a college visit with his dad. Or that his other two coworkers had the day off. That may explain it… maybe it was because Riku's mother wasn't baking the pastries because she was home sick?

Speak of the devil, she called in. "Destiny Café, Sora speaking."

"Sora, it's me." There was a cough, "I want you to close up for the day. I know it's early and all, but it doesn't feel right to not have me or Riku there."

"Alright, understood." Sora replied.

"And don't worry too much about clean up. We'll get it all tomorrow. Just put the pastries in the cooler." The sound of dry heaving, "Oh dear…" The phone clicked.

Good thing too. Sora wasn't really in the mood to hear her throw up. Sora looked at the clock, barely noon. If he hurried, he'd be outta here by one…

So he was. The Café was closed, and Sora was walking Goofy in the Radiant Garden Park. The fountain was shooting water, kids were running in their long pants and jeans, mothers watching sons, couples holding hands, friends hanging out, a dressed duck with a hat walking in front of-

Sora blinked. "Dressed duck?" He had to look again just to make sure, and there it was. A duck with a blue shirt, and a weird looking hat. Surely he wasn't the only one seeing this very, very odd phenomenon. But, when he looked around him; everyone was still on their own task.

Sora watched as Goofy went over to the duck, looking at him, an studying it while the other duck simply studied back. Sora was confused for a moment, but then the duck took off running, and Goofy chased him. "Goofy!" Sora shouted.

Cursing his luck, Sora made a mental note to put Goofy back on a leash when it came for the park. Goofy was far too easily distracted to not have one on. Without too much of a second thought, or a care for that matter, Sora plopped himself down on a nearby bench, and looked at the scenery around him once again.

There was so much to sort through, yet, so little. Radiant Garden had been through a lot in the past year or two, with the Heartless War that ravaged the city a year or two ago, the park hasn't been the same since. While most of it has been cleaned up and removed, there are still left over signs of what the park used to be before it was destroyed. The old fountain that was the center of the original park is gone, save for its fountain head, which is on the new one. Old stone flooring is destroyed and torn, making it more like a stone walkway, rather than floor… but don't get the wrong idea. The park is still beautiful, because green grass and trees have started to take their roots, as well as other flora and fauna.

In all honesty, the destruction of the war brought a new beauty to the park. Where man made used to be, nature took back what was rightfully hers, and this time around, Radiant Garden would let her have her ground back. It was the least they could do after waging such a war.

Yet, there was one thing this whole place was missing. For the Saturday it was, and the beautiful day, Sora lacked the most important thing to spend it with: friends. His long time childhood friend was gone for the day on a college visit, Roxas was hanging out with Naminé (they weren't dating, but Sora swore they were getting close,) and Kairi… was doing Kairi things, like reading a book at the fountain-

Backing his thoughts up along with his vision, Sora did confirm that Kairi was reading at the fountain. She was wearing a thin pink jacket, and jeans… pink… that was a color Sora couldn't forget anytime soon, not if she kept wearing it every day like that. Outerwear aside, she rested her body calmly on the side of the fountain, intently focused on the book in her hand, a gentle breeze flew by, and Sora couldn't think of any better way to start a romance novel than with that image in his head.

It was so perfect, he blushed and looked back at his feet, watching the blades of grass wave gently between his feet, grazing his own pair of jeans. Should he walk over to her? Should he stay planted? How about his hair? Did he look presentable? Did he still smell of coffee? Did the water stain on his crotch finally disappear?

Yes. He blindly answered yes, and before his conscious realized what he was doing, he was in front of Kairi and spoke, "Hey Kairi."

She tilted her head up, the gentle breeze playing with her hair that hid a small smile when she noticed him, "Hi Sora!" She brushed a few strands of hair behind her ear and closed her book, "I thought you were working today?"

Well, if his subconscious drove him this far… "I was, but then boss-lady called and told me to close."

Kairi scooted over a bit, putting her book in her lap, "Really? Was she not there today?"

Sora nodded, and took a seat next to her, his mind still working on autopilot, "Yeah, she called in sounding the sickest I've ever heard anyone be. So, I closed up, and came here with Goofy… dunno where he went, though."

"Oh."

"By the way Kairi," Sora looked over at her giving a gentle and warm smile, "You look beautiful today." Sora smiled as she blushed and looked at the ground, and his conscious mind caught up. Sora himself blushed and looked back at the ground. There was a line, and his subconscious desire clearly passed it. "W-well, you know, for it being Fall and all… you look, well… cute."

"Thanks Sora," She looked back up at him, and Sora locked eyes with her again, both their faces roughly the same shade of red, "I don't think anyone has ever called this outfit cute before you."

"Well, I like to set trends," was all his mind could come up with for a reply. Was it possible for him to give any worse way he could've responded to that?

"Huh?"

"Well, since no one has called you that, uh…" Sora juggled his words with his hands, "I just… sorta figured I'd be the first one, and then people would continue the trend, and I could say I was first, and… and…" Kairi giggled and all Sora could respond with was a silly flushed color of embarrassment in his cheeks. There was a worse way to respond, and he just did it. "…I'm just making a fool out of myself now, aren't I?"

"No you're not, I think it's cute." Kairi once again gave him a warm smile. This time, his heart leaped up his throat, then bungee jumped down to his stomach. That smile was almost more than he could handle, "You okay there, Sora?"

Nodding was all he could manage with his answer, "Yeah, I'm fine." Lagging behind the nod by a few seconds. Sora looked at the ground, expecting either Kairi to not believe his excuse, or for her to bust out laughing. When neither came out, Sora looked back up, seeing Kairi staring at something, "What is it?"

"Are those four white ducks wearing hats?"

Rotating his head to look where Kairi was looking, Sora observed the exact same phenomenon. Four ducks, 3 wearing color assorted baseball caps, the remainder a top hat. What was with all these ducks wearing distinctive articles of clothing? "Yep." Sora replied, still finding it hard to comprehend, "Those ducks are, in fact, wearing hats."

Together, Sora and Kairi stared in awe as the duck with the top hat wandered off, and the three wearing baseball hats made their way to them. Sora and Kairi looked at each other, then the three ducks as they stood there. "I guess they're cute," Kairi answered.

The duck with the red hat responded with a rather extreme choice of action. He jumped up, and grabbed Kairi's book. The follow up maneuver had all three hat wearing ducks break off in a run. "Hey! They stole my book!" Kairi shouted.

Sora snickered and patted her back, "Maybe they didn't like the fact you 'guessed' they were cute."

"This isn't funny, Sora! That book belongs to the library, and I don't think they'll believe any of this!"

That sounded about right. No one would believe the story of three hat wearing ducks running off with a book… nor would they believe that it was a rather well coordinated attack. "Right… well, let's get it back."

With a quick sprint, they took off for the duck wearing the red hat who took the book. The duck quacked loudly running, and ran behind a tree where Sora grabbed him, "Ah-hah! I got-" Sora looked at the duck, seeing that it didn't have the book, "it?" the red hat duck looked over at the one wearing the blue hat… the blue hat one had the book now. Sora and red hat duck looked at each other, and the quacking sounds it made sure as hell sounded like laughter.

He gave it a large frown and let it go, chasing after the blue hat one. Sora stopped his chase when he saw that Kairi had caught the blue duck… but once again, it didn't have the book. "What..?" Sora turned around and saw the red duck running back towards the fountain, book in bill. "How..? I just..? What..?" Was all he could spit out that was even halfway coherent.

Were he and Kairi reallybeing outsmarted by three hat wearing ducks?

The chase continued for five minutes, the three ducks passing off the book cleverly, and rather sneakily. Finally, Sora and Kairi chased the green hat duck into the fountain, leaving it nowhere to run to. "Now…" Sora took large gasps of air, "Drop the book, and no one has to get hurt."

The green hat duck complied. It dropped the book, and ran off to join his fellow hat flock of two.

Sora picked up the book, and handed it to Kairi, "Well… uh… here you go!" She accepted the book and took a large sigh, which Sora did the same, grabbing his knees to catch his breath. "That was… really bizarre. I don't think anyone will believe that story, huh?" Sora looked back up at Kairi and his smile instantly disappeared when he saw the same jock who Kairi tutored a few nights ago, once again, very blatantly hitting on her.

"Thanks a lot for the help yesterday Kairi, you're really smart." The blond hair, green eyed punk said, giving her a fake grin, "I was wondering if you could help me out again? You know, at my house around seven? My parents won't be home so it'd be just us."

"Whoa there buddy," Sora chimed in, his arms laced behind his head and mind (unfortunately) on autopilot, "I'm here too, and I'm just as good a tutor as she is. Why don't me and her both help you out? More the merrier, right?" He couldn't believe himself! He was picking a fight with this guy! This jock would mop the floor with him!

"I'm sorry, but I can't Rayden. I already have plans made, a study date, if I remember correctly." Kairi gave Sora a warm smile, to which the jock (Rayden,) frowned.

"Well, maybe I could go with you on your study date? The more the merrier, right?" Rayden and Sora locked eyes, both of them mentally refusing to give ground to the other.

"I would, but you see, the date is with someone special to me, otherwise I would."

Sora would've jumped for joy at seeing Rayden's dejected face, had he not heard himself being called a special someone. "Really?" Sora asked, grinning ear to ear. Kairi nodded, and apparently, this made the jock engage his rage, and the asshole came flying out.

"Really? Him?" Rayden replied, his eyes rolling, "He's got nothing compared to me, I'm stronger, more athletic, and honestly, way more attractive. So why're you spending time with him?"

Even though the jock was saying it to embarrass Kairi, Sora couldn't help but feel a little dejected. Rayden did have valid points… Sora wasn't super athletic (skateboarding as a hobby didn't count,) and while Sora did start going to the gym, he wasn't nearly as fit as Rayden. Sora eyes fell to the ground, and all bravery and confrontational attitude fell with it.

"One, he actually has a personality. Two, he doesn't try and get my attention in every way possible. Three, he doesn't invite me to his house when he knows his mom isn't home so he can try and 'do the dirty' with me. Four, he doesn't rely on playing stupid. Five, he's just all around better than you are." Kairi turned heel, and started to walk off.

Rayden had different plans, and grabbed her hand. "Not so fast. I will not be treated this way, not by you, not by-"

There was a chorus of five quacks, and a bark.

Sora, Kairi and Rayden looked over to see the dressed duck, the duck with the top hat, the three baseball hat ducks, and Goofy looking at Rayden with the most evil intent he'd ever seen. Without any further warning, the three baseball hat ducks jumped up and started attacking Rayden, followed by the dressed duck and top hat duck. Goofy sat back growling and rooting the five ducks on as they pushed Rayden back to the fountain and eventually, into said fountain.

Upon completion of the task, all five ducks fled the scene, and Sora and Kairi did as well… with Goofy, of course.

They ran to their street not looking back or slowing down until they were 100% sure Rayden wasn't out to get revenge. "This really has been…" Sora huffed, "a bizarre day."

Kairi nodded, just as out of breath as he was, "Tell me… about it."

Goofy waged his tail,

The dressed duck quacked.

All three looked at the dressed duck, and Goofy barked in a chipper tone, looking up at Sora expectantly, "What, you want me to keep him?" Goofy barked in confirmation, "Ugh… wonder how mom will like that… what should we name him?" Sora looked at Kairi who had a grin, "What?"

"Donald!"

"Why Donald?"

"Because then his name can be Donald Duck! It's so cute!"

Donald quacked in confirmation, and stood beside Goofy. Both of the animals looked up at Sora to lead the way. "Well, I guess I got to take them…" that's when another thought occurred to Sora, "Hey, Kairi… if we're gonna study today, we're going to need a new place to work. The café's closed, remember?"

"Oh yeah…" Kairi frowned a bit, "Got any ideas?"

Sora shrugged, "Well, we can go to one of our houses… but my mom isn't home right now so-"

"You're house it is then, see you in an hour!" Kairi once again vanished behind her front door before Sora could even say anything.

"That's twice now…" Sora sighed and turned for his house, "Come on Goofy, Donald!" Sora paused in his tracks, though. Two questions came to mind: When did he arrive on Kairi's porch? And the second question, after she told off Rayden for inviting her to his house when his parents weren't home… why was she so quick to go to his when his mom wasn't?

Sora looked down at Donald who quacked at him, and nudged him with his wing… could it be Kairi liked him..? "Nah, no way." Sora told himself, a little dejected. "She has guys who look like Riku going after her, she doesn't have too much time to spare on me- OW!" Sora looked down and saw Donald had nipped at Sora's leg, "But it's true she doesn't-OW, DAMNIT!" Sora shouted as Donald nipped at him again. "Why are- SONOFA!" Sora put distance between him and Donald, and Donald quacked, shaking his head at Sora.

Was Donald saying Kairi may have liked him..? "Impossible, animals aren't that bright. But still…" Sora smiled, it didn't matter if Donald was right, or if it even knew if Kairi liked Sora. He had a little bit of hope, that's all he needed. "Goofy, show Donald to the backyard. I gotta get ready for my study date…"

Kairi relaxed on her bed, kicking her legs up behind her as she laid on her stomach. She was going to go to Sora's house. When his mom wasn't there. This was her perfect chance! She could actually talk to Sora without Riku to butt in with his sexual comments, or Roxas to be a pest and stop her flirting with Sora. She could finally figure out if Sora liked her.

…Or worst case scenario, if he didn't like her. Kairi reached for her brush, but stopped herself. She had brushed her hair twice already. It didn't need a third. She took out her Gummi Galaxy smart phone and read the time. She had just enough to write in her journal. Taking her pink pen (with matching ink!) and her girly diary, she began writing:

'I really hope this works. I know this seems absolutely strange, and for a girl my age I shouldn't be feeling it, but I can't help but feel like me and Sora were meant to be something more. At first, I thought it was just a silly little crush, something that would pass as we got closer… but it didn't. It got stronger. I found myself wanting to be around him more and more. When girls came in and flirted with Riku, I would always breathe a sigh of relief that it wasn't Sora. Selfish, I know, but I can't control it. Then to make it worse, my heart would speed up and skip beats at the mere mentioning of his name, and don't get me started on when we were alone together when closing. When we're apart, I want to be around him, and when we're together, I can barely stay calm. Does he never notice how fast my heart pounds in my chest when those deep blue eyes make me weak in the knees? Or that smile of his making my mind a complete and utter mess? It takes so much of me to not panic… then we almost kissed a few nights ago. We were so close! Surely that means he likes me too, right?

Or maybe this is entirely wishful thinking… I mean, we're living the perfect romance movie. He's the cute boy who gets overlooked because he's friends with the hottest guy in school, and I'm the new girl who moved in across the street from him. He's the boy next door, and I'm the girl next door… and then, we start working together, and ever since then… I haven't been able to keep him too far from my thoughts. He's even managed to find his way into my dreams, and wow. The things he can do with his hands and-

I think it's better to keep that to myself… just in case Axel breaks in my room and reads this again. Anyway, it's almost time for me to go to his house and study… hopefully I can get more out of him than a mathematical equation, maybe a kiss, or even-'

"Kairi, what're you up- ohhh, you writing in your diary about the 'cutie next door'?"

"Axel, get out of my room! NOW!"

A/N: And here we are, yet another chapter into Destiny Cafe as fall has turned into a full blown season around us. Winds send chills down our spines and huddle closer to the people we love... and/or wish could be together with. So! Here we go!

First and Foremost, I want to thank everyone for reviewing, I responded to most of you all via PM, but just in case I failed to do so, special thanks to: Gohan Roxas, adreamerspromise, Peppamince, BabyYoureMyOxygen, TheRevSirDrProfMan, 13shiroyami, SoraCanada, Cala Lee (you especially!) psychicshipping, Hog s Head, Tagabasa, 3D-XIII(Your ideas were good, and greatly appreciated!) Moon Princess016, Blint, foggraven, solocat007, and demeos123. As well, thanks goes out to 1 anonymous Guest reviewer.

Now, for the second part: I have created a tumblr, and it's called T3rran Core. Within that are two small posts, and the most recent is a new story idea called Key of the Sky. It is a new and experimental idea, and I'd like some feedback via PM if anyone would like to see a story like that in the Kingdom Hearts fan fiction setting.

Other than that, I hope you enjoyed the story, and I look forward to seeing everyone's feedback for this chapter in the reviews!

-T3rran