"Don't ever forget . . . Wherever you go, I'm always with you . . ."
In the Darkness, your experience is always the same. There's the initial silence and the confusion, and then the realization as you open your eyes. You can see, and yet you can't-what does it matter? It's all black. You take a tentative step, keeping your hands at your sides like you were always taught in preschool. Nothing happens at first, and then, the ground beneath you seems to explode as tendrils of shadow waft upward and all around you, like the ravens of a midnight sky.
Suddenly, you're not standing on nothingness anymore-you're on solid ground, looking at a picture of yourself forever engraved on a stained glass platform. You look around and you see nothing, feel nothing, and hear nothing except the sensation of your lungs contracting and expanding as you breathe. You're not scared yet-just bewildered. You ask yourself how you got there, to this desolate place, but you don't have the answers. How could you have the answers when you don't even know the right questions to ask?
". . . Are you still dreaming?"
The stained glass platform is lit up from underneath you, and you're wondering to yourself what your next move is. You take a shaky, cautious step, half-expecting something else to detonate, but nothing happens, and you finally realize that you're somewhere you shouldn't be. The fear washes over you in a frigid blast, and you swallow.
" . . . Don't ever change . . ."
You run to the edge of the platform and look down, concerned with finding a way out. Nothing but darkness stretches out for miles, and the platform seems to be more of a pillar with no bottom. You wonder what you're supposed to do next, and whether or not you're sane. Is this a dream? Or is this a memory?
Are those the right questions to ask?
"I didn't want to forget about you . . ."
You squeeze your eyes shut and shake your head as behind you, a spot of Darkness gathers and a voice that is noiseless yet strident fills your head and tells you to fight. But you don't want to fight-you're done with fighting. You want to go home. You want to be with the girl you love, even though she doesn't know you love her. You just want to be normal again.
But were you ever normal?
The platform starts to shake and tremble and you know you have to turn around and face your fears. You pivot on your foot and are blinded by a gust of shadow that you can feel like wind in your hair. You look up, up, up, and a familiar enemy is there. It's the first one you ever fought-the first piece of the Darkness that you ever defeated. But did you win? Hard to tell.
After all, Darkness is everywhere, even in the farthest reaches of the Light.
"His voice always used to be there . . . But now it's gone . . ."
It's in your hands now-the metal hilt is ice-cold in your grip. The feeling of it is familiar, and you automatically know what to do. You know how to fight your enemies. But do you know how to fight yourself? The Darkness is fighting for dominance over your heart just as hard as the Light is.
Which will win?
The Heartless is gargantuan, with a heart-shaped hole gaping at its center that you wouldn't dare jump through, even if you had to. And yet it calls to you, raising even more questions in your mind about what it would be like to live with that hole. Hell, you might even already have the hole.
How big is it?
Is it growing?
"Maybe . . . Waiting isn't good enough."
You're agile, and you're light on your feet. You always liked your small muscles, and your toned abs; always told your silver-haired friend that big muscles made for slower reflexes on the battlefield. He always laughed and told you how much he begged to differ. Those instances usually ended in sparring sessions that Riku always won up until you defeated Xemnas. After that, you always seemed to spot Riku's weaknesses as easily as if he wore them on his sleeve.
And that was when you lost him.
"This is real . . ."
You can remember the feeling of her fragile, petite body in your arms, absent from you for two years until you found her again. You can remember how much you loved her again when you saw her-how could you have forgotten?-and you use the memory to propel yourself upward and defeat the giant Heartless. You land on the platform on one knee, your blade outstretched and your head bowed, images and words of her floating back and forth like a banner in your mind.
You love her, you love her, you love her, you . . . Loved her.
When you got home, it all changed. You broke your promise. You . . .
You weren't supposed to.
You weren't supposed to break her heart.
And that was when you lost her.
"There are many worlds, but they share the same sky . . . One sky . . . One destiny . . ."
You toss aside your Keyblade-black as night; Oblivion-and rise to your feet. You don't want it, Without her, being a hero means nothing. What's a hero without a princess to save? What's the night without the moon? What's the point of living without a reason to take your next breath?
The worst thing about it all . . . Is that it's your fault.
Footsteps echo on the platform, and you turn around. You're extremely surprised to see an old face. Could he be real? Or did you just conjure him up from the recesses of your mind? The pink scar that crosses his forehead seems to stand out against his pale skin, and his silver-blue hair falls away from his face like a waterfall of grey rain. His hands are behind his back, and he stops a few feet away from you.
"Is she that important to you?" he asks, and you feel something click inside your head.
"Yeah." The words fall from your lips like diamonds of sorrow. "More than anything."
"Show me how important," the Nobody asks. His words are familiar-more familiar than his face.
You know you've participated in this conversation before because you committed it to memory as soon as he mentioned her, all those months ago in The World That Never Was.
You look around, and then slowly sink to your knees, just as you did before. You fall forward and place your palms flat on the stained glass. You're prostrating yourself in front of your enemy, and for what? You've done this all before! You already know how it's going to end! Why not skip the frivolities?
Because she's that important to you.
"Please . . ." Your plea is broken, the once pristine diamonds now cracked and split from the inside out. You were tired of fighting and searching and running back then, and you're tired of fighting and searching and running now. You just want to see her again; want to feel her trembling in your arms forevermore.
"So you really do care for her," the man's sunset-colored eyes are emotionless as they look upon your bowing, powerless form. "In that case . . . The answer is no."
The man-you remember him as being called Saïx-fades into the darkness that surrounds the platform, and your tears course down your face like crystalline droplets of ice. You want nothing more than to fix the damage that you've caused, but you can't. There's no going back.
Once you break a promise, it's broken.
"When I turned into a heartless, you saved me, remember? I was lost in the Darkness. I couldn't find my way. As I stumbled through the dark, I started forgetting things. My friends, who I was-the Darkness almost swallowed me. But then . . . I heard a voice! Your voice! You brought me back . . ."
"Helping others comes before asking others for help."
"So whose gonna help me?"
Kairi glanced up from skipping stones across the icy surface of the ocean to give Sora an odd look. She'd gotten used to him saying strange things ever since their second journey ended, but lately it'd gotten . . . Worse, if that was the right word to explain what she was trying to explain. His sentences had dwindled to random phrases, unfinished thoughts, and unanswerable questions spoken just for the sake of being spoken. It was all terribly unlike Sora, but whenever Kairi inquired as to what was going through his head, she never got anything except for an unbearably sad, puppy-dog-eyed stare. She'd stopped asking merely for the sake of never seeing him look so lost again.
The redhead placed a slender hand on one equally slender hip and eyed Sora carefully, watching for any sign of the aforementioned "look." She was prepared to cheer him up at any cost. After all, he and Riku were supposed to be leaving the Islands in only a few days. Despite Kairi's irritation at Sora refusing to allow her to travel with them, she knew he couldn't possibly hope to fight in such a depressed state, and she wanted to help out in some way. She was getting so tired of feeling helpless—she didn't want to live the normal life she'd been forced to live while waiting for Sora each day on the beach until the day the fiery-spirited Nobody named Axel had come to whisk her away. No, she wanted to live the life of a heroine—of a fighter struggling to keep herself alive day-by-day, traveling distant worlds and rescuing people and ridding villages of the Darkness.
Kairi adjusted the tied strings that made up the neck of her black bikini top and turned back to look out at the ocean. Once, she would have been embarrassed to wear nothing but two pieces of fabric in front of Sora, but now that he was always so lost within himself, she doubted he even paid attention to how scantily-clad she got around him. Why, just the other night, he'd appeared in her room directly after her shower, claiming no reason other than that he was bored. She'd walked into the room in a towel with her elbow-length crimson hair loose, scraggly, and dripping wet around her bare arms, and he'd barely thrown her a second glance.
Sighing for the umpteenth time that afternoon, Kairi hooked her thumbs beneath the damp, itchy part of her bikini bottoms—you know, the parts that always chafe the backs of your thighs when you're air-drying after a good swim—pulled them outward so that they wouldn't ride up, and bent over to search the shallow depths for another good stone to skip. She'd grown tired of mulling over this and that in her head. She was tired of thinking deep thoughts all the time, wondering about philosophical things until she felt like her brain would explode.
After all, she'd done nothing but wonder and think while she'd waited on that shore for Sora's return.
"It's been exactly one year," Kairi heard the Keyblade Master say before the soft splash that indicated him diving into the sea came to her ears. She stood up quickly and placed the edge of her palm over her eyes to shield the precious cerulean irises from the harsh early afternoon sunlight as she searched the waves for her friend.
Sora surfaced a ways away, shirtless and with his spikes drooping all over his head in a ragged, unkempt "bedhead" kind-of way. He looked out at the horizon, then turned to look back at the crimson-haired beauty standing in the shallows. His eyes were piercing—cobalt reflecting the aquamarine waters like twin sapphires—and she bit her bottom lip somewhat uncomfortably. It had been quite a long time since he'd looked at her directly, and what with her standing there in a triangle bikini top and bottoms that tied with strings on the sides, she felt more exposed than she ever had in her entire life. She found herself absentmindedly rubbing her ever-so-concave stomach and just-showing ribcage, gazing back at him as if waiting for him to answer some unspoken question, and she wondered if he'd noticed how hard she'd worked to stay beautiful for him while he was gone.
"If there's one thing I learned in all my journeying . . ." Sora hollered to her, floating on his back and starting to lazily drift further and further away.
". . . It's that you should never take a good, relaxing swim for granted." He dipped his body back under the water, swam toward Kairi, and then hopped up when the water reached his waist. He flashed her a winning smile, and for a moment, he was his old self again.
"Say," Kairi said, "it's getting kinda late. Wanna head back over to the main island?"
Sora stepped closer and tossed his head to force his wet bangs out of his eyes—they'd gotten long; they were chin-length now, much like Kairi's own side-swept fringe. Kairi couldn't help but sweep her eyes across Sora's tan, slightly-muscled chest. There was a rather large, ugly white scar about six inches long, vertical, and right in-between his pectoral muscles.
'That's where he stabbed himself, isn't it?' Kairi thought to herself, embarrassed at not having noticed the scar before. 'Where he . . . Killed himself . . . For me.'
Sora turned around again and looked out to the horizon. He folded his arms across his chest, seemingly unaware that Kairi's gaze was burning holes into his back. He had such a small frame from behind that Kairi wondered how he hadn't snapped like a twig during all of his battling. The silence that stretched between the two of them dragged out for a bit, before Kairi remembered that she'd been standing in the salty water for God-knew-how-long, and her feet were going to get wrinkled.
"Don't ever forget about me, Kai," Sora suddenly said, just as the willow-thin girl was prancing her way back to the sandy beach. She paused, and shot him an odd look—there was one of those confusing, random phrases again.
"I . . . I never have, Sora," she answered softly. "You know that."
He chuckled and shook his head. He whispered something under his breath that Kairi didn't catch.
"Huh?" she said.
Sora tossed his hands up, as if in defeat, and turned to look at her with a mixture of annoyance and disbelief in his eyes.
"You just don't get it, do you?" he repeated.
"Get what?" She squeezed her toes so that the wet sand squelched between them.
His eyes were burning so brightly. "The Darkness is everywhere—it may not seem like it is right now, but it is. It's always there, always changing, and it's always looking for your weakest spot. If it wanted to, it could make you forget about me like this." He snapped his forefinger and thumb to emphasize his point, and Kairi saw fear staunch the color from his face.
"Sora, I'm a Princess of Heart!" Kairi persisted, bewildered at his sudden outburst. She tossed her impossibly long crimson tresses behind her and her hands went to her hips. "I've resisted the Darkness all this time—I think I'll be fine."
He just stared at her, and the expression—she could sense it—was slowly forming on his face. That sad, sad, unbearably sad look that told her that he was so lost that he didn't even know what to do with himself. That look of hopelessness that wasn't Sora; wasn't the look of the boy that could stop her heart with just his smile. So she thought of something quickly; a plan to divert his attentions to something he felt passionate about.
"You know," she said, her scheme rolling off of her tongue like water droplets. "I'm so confident in what I believe that if you let me come to Disney Castle with you guys, then I can prove to you I can—"
"No." His voice was quiet. Dark. Threatening. He'd closed his eyes, and the blankness of his facial expression was frightening.
"But," she protested, clenching her fists at her sides, "I can fight—you saw me in the World That Never Was! I'm a Wielder, just like you and Riku, and I can hold my own in battle!"
"No," he repeated, and Kairi knew she was walking on thin ice. But she was stubborn—perhaps more stubborn than Sora himself—and as persistent as the law.
"If you'd just let me show you . . . Let me prove to you that I can fight, then—"
Sora's sudden shout of anger caused Kairi's heart to skip a beat. She unconsciously took a step back, knowing that she hated this side of Sora. The only time she'd ever seen him so angry was when she'd been fighting her way down to him in the Castle That Never Was, and she'd spotted him from the balcony, fresh from the heat of battle. She'd called his name, and when he'd turned, there was a split second where she could see nothing but uncharacteristic rage in his eyes before it had melted away to joy when he'd seen that it was her.
And yet . . . The memory of that rage was burned into her mind as clear as day, and she saw it in her nightmares on a regular basis.
It terrified her.
"I won't be the reason you get hurt," Sora said, quietly this time, and he seemed defeated as he began to slowly make his way to shore. "I can't let it happen."
"Sora, I won't—"
He cut her off by shooting her a blazing glance. "I'm not willing to take that chance. You're not going."
Kairi's mouth hung open slightly as she watched him stalk back toward the Seaside Shack. His blue swim trunks with the red-and-orange flames up the sides seemed too comical and childish for such a tall, young man, and especially not for the situation at hand. The poor girl realized that tears had filled her eyes and, chin trembling, she squeezed her eyes shut in the hopes that she could will them away.
After a moment, Kairi followed Sora and grabbed his shirt off of the ground. Sora, who was standing underneath the waterfall and watching the water drip off of the ends of his fingers, didn't seem to notice her slipping the black V-neck on over her head. It was much too big for her frail frame and the hem stopped in the middle of her thighs, but she didn't mind—she had become enveloped by his warm, spicy vanilla scent—and she sat down at the edge of the freshwater pool, letting her feet hang in as she watched him shower the saltwater out of his hair.
Kairi had already resolved that she was going to go with them, by any means possible. Even if she had to talk Riku into it, or sneak onto the gummi ship when Donald and Goofy came to pick them up, she was going with them. There was no way she was staying behind again, helpless, waiting, worrying. There was no way she was going to stand on that beach day in and day out, skipping meals in the hopes that Sora would come back and find her delicate and lovely, dreaming and hoping and wishing. Kairi was tiny, but she had a strong spirit, and she knew that with a little bit of help, she could hold her own in battle. Even if it took her awhile, she was encouraged by the thought that Sora had been thrown into this whole mess with the Darkness and the Keyblade with exactly the same amount of fighting skill as her—if he could learn, then so could she.
When Sora and Kairi finally walked across the docks to get to Sora's boat, not a word had been shared between the two. The silence wasn't so much awkward as it was unsettling. Sora was so lost in thought that he'd barely noticed Kairi—he hadn't asked for his shirt back, hadn't apologized for yelling, and hadn't even said any of his weird, quirky things. Normally, Kairi would panic that something was wrong, but she, too, was lost in thought: lost in her plans to find a way onto that gummi ship.
Sora stepped into the boat, blindly reaching for Kairi's hand to pull her in after him. It hardly rocked at all, but Kairi's bare foot got caught in the rope at the bottom, causing her to fall against Sora's bare chest in a most unseemly way. He caught her with one strong arm, and soon, the two found themselves gazing intently at one another in a way that they never had before. Immediately, the blankness in Sora's eyes melted away, and he raised his free hand to touch the side of Kairi's smooth cheek.
"I'm sorry," he murmured, his eyes searching hers. "For yelling."
"It's okay," she mumbled, her face flushing and goose bumps rising all over her arms at his gentle touch on her face. Her eyelids fell shut as he ran his fingers through her hair, down the luxurious lengths, and traced a lazy circle on her lower back.
"You just have to understand how worried I would be," he explained quietly, the boat only shaking a bit, what with the way Kairi's legs were quivering out of nervousness. "I mean, you were kidnapped both times you've ever left the Islands."
"I fought once, though!" Kairi supplied. "Don't ignore that I did!"
His smile was sad. "Yeah, but it's not enough, Kai. There's no way you'd be able to stand up against some of the Nobodies that have appeared. It's not just little Shadow Heartless anymore—it's much worse." He was looking past her now, though they were sharing in each other's gazes, and his lethargically moving hand was traveling lower and lower by the second. Kairi felt so embarrassed and strange and good, all at once, and her pulse was racing. She doubted, however, that Sora was fully aware of what he was doing. So she let him ramble on, doing nothing except keeping her grip on his bony shoulders firm and focusing her mind away from his dancing fingers.
"If you got hurt, and it was because we were in the middle of a battle, and I didn't help you . . ." He trailed off, closing his eyes as his fingers suddenly waltzed across the swell of her bottom, and she could feel the heat of his skin on hers even through the fabric of his shirt against her bare skin.
Much to Kairi's embarrassment, her body betrayed her desperate desires to keep quiet, and she gasped aloud and, even more horrifying, her back arched up against his chest. The arm that was holding her close suddenly stiffened, and Sora went completely silent. His wandering hand completely ceased all movement, and Sora realized exactly what he'd been doing that was keeping her from interrupting his train of thought, as he'd expected her to do. Blushes the color of beets spread across both of their faces and Sora hurriedly let go of her.
"Sorry," he muttered. "Sorry, Kai."
"It's . . . It's fine . . ." Kairi's voice came out meek and slightly shaky. Her heart was still beating wildly out of control, and she was surprised that the simple action of Sora touching her could make her react in a way that she'd never reacted to anything ever before. She was terrified of her own actions, as well as the power Sora held over her, so she finally allowed her legs to give out from underneath her. She sank into her seat in the rowboat, as did Sora, and he slowly dipped the oar into the water.
Their gazes did not meet again for the rest of the trip.
"Why do you hate the darkness?"
The distinct pattering of leather soles on stark white marble echoed, singing a song of urgency.
"You accept darkness, yet choose to live in the light."
The bearer of the footsteps, tall, thin, and clad in a floor-length trench coat the color of night, seemed to be in quite a hurry.
"So why is it that you loathe us who teeter on the edge of nothing;"
In his left arm, he carried a clip board. In his right, a set of innumerable silver keys on a large ring.
"we, who were turned away by both light and darkness,"
He tossed his head to throw back his hood, and from the thoughtful expression on his face, he seemed to be debating his next course of action.
"never given a choice?"
The right side of his mouth curved up into a smirk as he paused in the middle of the doorless hall and gazed at the keys in his hands with amused saffron eyes.
"What other choice might we have had?"
"The boss can wait," his soft, melodic voice trilled somewhat happily to himself. "I think I'll go visit my little Honeybee one more time before I go back to attending to his every whim . . ."
The man slipped the ring of keys into the pocket of his trenchcoat, raked his fingers backward through his messy black hair, and used his now-free hand to open a Dark Corridor in the center of the hall. Smirking that unsettling little half-smirk, he walked confidently through the portal. He emerged in another hallway; one that was just as white as the rest of the castle, yet in this one, heavy steel doors were set evenly along the walls. The cloaked man headed to the fourth door on the left, took his time searching for the right key, and then entered the cell.
"Well, well, well," he said to the room. "How is my little Honeybee on this fine morning?"
There was a groan and a creaking sound as a small female frame rolled over on the cot that was positioned in the far left corner of the cell. She turned just in time for the man to vanish and reappear beside her, hand around her throat and jarring her completely awake. He slammed her up against the wall and held her up on her tiptoes, enjoying the choking gargles coming out of her throat.
"Nothing to say?" The man tilted his head to the side almost coyly. "You know, you should consider yourself lucky. If it weren't for me taking a liking to you, you wouldn't have such a nice cell with a bed and clothes to wear." He smirked. "Though I'd rather you be naked, like the rest of the prisoners, I'd rather you be comfortable."
"Wh-Why?" the girl managed to spit out, her azure eyes glittering with fear and anger as she struggled for air.
"Why?" The man threw his head back and laughed, finally letting her slide down to her knees on the cold marble beneath their feet. "Why? Because the poor excuse for a heart I have beating within my chest tells me I like you."
She rubbed her neck, her jagged raven hair falling forward over her shoulders as she coughed out a reply.
He smiled softly. "Same reason why Infinite wants you alive. You're important."
She threw her hair back and suddenly shot him a hate-filled gaze. "Yes, but why, Seorax? Why not just let me go if you care about me so much?"
Seorax chuckled and knelt down in front of her, setting his clipboard on the edge of her bed as he sank down.
"Silly little girl," he said, amused. "Why would I convince Organization Zero to let you go when I was the one who convinced them to bring you back in the first place?"
The girl's mind was working furiously, trying to put two-and-two together as she searched Seorax's handsome face for answers.
And then, it clicked.
"Roxas," she murmured in shock. Her eyes shot open. "You want Roxas, don't you?"
Seorax snorted and stood up. "Close, Honeybee. Close, but not quite." He turned and walked over to the door. He paused at the entryway, however, and turned to shoot her a curious gaze over his shoulder.
"What do you remember of your life beforehand?" he asked.
"Whatever I choose to remember," the girl spat out dangerously.
Seorax gave her a little half-smirk. "I suggest you 'remember' everything there is to know about the Keyblade Master and his feelings for the Princess of Heart, and I suggest you do it fast. Infinite has a new plot brewing, and if you don't keep up, he just might make a move not even I can predict, and then . . . Then I can't help you."
The girl's face softened, she scrambled to her feet, and she dashed to Seorax's side. She gripped his hand tightly.
"You promised me you'd reunite me with Roxas," she whispered harshly. "You gave me your word."
Seorax turned around and held her chin. "My word is naught but dust beneath the foot of Infinite, and you know it. We must tread carefully if we want this to go our way."
The girl nodded.
"I'll send for you tonight," Seorax said.
The girl stepped back, hugging her arms around her emaciated body and trying to will away the thoughts of a certain spiky-haired blonde Keybearer's smile.
"Be ready . . ."
The door slowly swung shut.
". . . Xion . . ."
"In the end, every heart returns to the darkness whence it came. You see, darkness is the heart's true essence."
Riku wasn't normally one to reminisce about his time in league with Ansem. He didn't like to remember his betrayal of Sora, nor did he like to dwell on the fact that he had once kidnapped Kairi and allowed her heart to be swallowed by the Darkness. He almost never thought of his time with the Organization; never thought of the clever little girl with the face like Sora's and those startling cobalt eyes-the curiosity that had constantly burned within the shimmering irises was always startling.
Despite his discomfort and guilt, however, Riku sometimes found his sins creeping up on him whenever his back was turned. In the quiet, solitude of a starry night, or in the middle of a school day, where he was bustling from class to class-these were the times he usually found himself remembering harsh words that had been exchanged, or the burning hatred that had constantly shone in Maleficent's eyes.
As Riku slowly loaded duffel bags and suitcases into the rather luxurious gummi ship that King Mickey had sent, he couldn't keep the thoughts from coming to him again. Riku had constantly asked himself over and over again why he'd fallen to the Darkness so easily and so quickly, but he could never come up with an answer.
At first, Riku had blamed Sora. He'd been so blinded by his desire to one-up Sora in everything that they did that he'd though those were his reasons. When that didn't make sense to him anymore, Riku had blamed Kairi, of all people. After all, when he'd kidnapped her, he'd had a huge crush on her that could be sensed from a mile away. Of course, as he'd grown older and realized that he needed women, not girls, his feelings had faded. Lately, Riku had been blaming himself and the weakness of his heart for the whole thing, but you can only blame yourself for so much before you become self-destructive, so Riku knew he needed to stop.
Nowadays, the usual thought on Riku's mind was trying to find the connecting link between himself and others like him-others who had been followers of the Light, and who had given their hearts over to the Darkness in search of power more easily than they should have. He wanted to see what it was that had caused them to give in so easily. Maybe then he could get some peace of mind, knowing that he wasn't the weakest of all.
Just then, the soft pattering of footsteps in the sand wrenched Riku out of his reverie. He settled his aquamarine gaze on the short, squat duck formally known as Donald.
"Hey, Donald," Riku said, jerking his head rightward to force his bangs out of his eyes.
Donald's wings bent halfway and the talking bird made a pose that could only be described as "putting his hands on his hips." He looked miffed, so Riku knew he needed to tread carefully-Donald's temper was infamous.
"Where is Sora?" the duck squawked angrily, squinting as the late afternoon sunlight shone directly into his eyes. "He and Goofy wandered off back to the main island hours ago, and they haven't been back since!"
Riku sighed in exasperation. Sora sure had a way of never being on time.
"Yes, Riku, I know that we need to go save this princess, but I'd kinda like to go train in the Pride Lands for five million bajillion hours."
"Sure, Riku, I understand that meeting up with Leon is uber important to you, but I really feel that it's important that I visit Wonderland to take a nap with the Cheshire Cat-he's so fluffy, you know."
"Of course, Riku; we totally can make it over to the Word That Never Was to fight the final battle, but first, I think I wanna go to Agrabah and talk to Genie about sand."
Riku smirked to himself. Sure, his thoughts had a tendency to exaggerate, but as far as he saw it, Sora was just as selfish as Riku's mind made him out to be.
"Don't worry, Donald," Riku said, fondly patting Donald's shoulder-if you could call it that. "We can look for them later. Right now, do you think you could go pick a couple coconuts from the other side of the island?"
"Coconuts?" Donald hollered. "Whaddya need coconuts for?"
Riku winced. Apparently, everything Donald felt the need to say just had to be shouted.
"Sora and I like coconut milk-that's all," Riku explained through gritted teeth, his ears still ringing.
"Oh, okay," Donald said good-naturedly-a complete one-eighty of personality and character-and waddled off to the Seaside Shack.
Riku rolled his glimmering eyes and turned back to the door of the gummi ship. His heart literally stopped beating and he cried out in alarm when he almost smacked right into someone he definitely hadn't expected to see.
Kairi crossed her arms over her chest and glared up Riku as if he'd done her a personal wrong. She was clad in nothing but her black string bikini-the one he'd seen her wearing earlier that day for a beach outing with Sora; an outing that he'd also seen the two come back from looking awfully somber. He'd briefly wondered, at the time, whether or not something had happened between the two that had caused the awkward silence, but he'd been on his way to a very pretty, very available girl's house at the time, so he'd opted for not caring.
"Before you say anything," Kairi spoke, "I'm not looking for sympathy, permission, or anything of the sort."
She continued, "I know Sora doesn't want me coming with you guys, but I've already decided-I'm going. So we're gonna do this my way, or I'm going to kick you where the sun doesn't shine."
Riku couldn't help but grin at his feisty redheaded pal.
"At your service, milady."
"All right, so here's the plan . . ."
A/N: What's up, all; I'm back. -fierce, determined grin. This new story is my pride and joy-my baby. Don't hurt it. -winks and salutes- We'll see how it all turns out. The beginning part was the beginning of an old story I had posted, but then deleted it, so it may seem familiar, but everything else after it is new. Enjoy~~
Disclaimer: This is the only disclaimer I'll put in the entire story, so you better just enjoy this one. Kingdom Hearts and it's main plot, characters, and other creations associated with it are not mine. Same goes for Final Fantasy. However, the plot in this story, including anything that is mentioned in the plotline of this story that has not already been featured in an established Kingdom Hearts game IS mine.
In your review, ask me any question you'd like and I'll answer it no matter how personal.