A/N: A quick browse through the SK fics showed me one thing: my fandom needs me. I'm kidding. Sorta. Where have all the good writers gone? Am I the only experienced writer left? Anyway, it's been a while, so I apologize if it's not up to par. I feel rusty. I wanted to write cheerful!Kairi. She's so playful in KH1, and so melancholy by KH2. But I suppose waiting a year not knowing if your two best friends are dead or alive will do that to a girl.
Classic sokai fluff and fun, post KH2. Oneshot.
It had been one of those days where they kept missing each other. He couldn't come out to the island until late, Riku had to leave early, and there was a chance Kairi wouldn't make it at all.
It was nearly sunset now; the sun was hanging low, but not quite yet low enough to paint the sky with colors. Sora was lounging on the end of the dock, and beginning to feel as if Kairi wasn't going to be coming at all today. He momentarily considered moving to the Paopu tree to watch the sunset, but decided against it. The tree was a spot for all three of them. Watching the sunset there alone didn't feel right.
Perhaps it was because they valued their time together so much more now, but lately it seemed like they could never get enough of it. Contrary to their expectations, Riku had actually taken to spending as much time with them as he could, seemingly trying to soak up their forgiveness before it evaporated.
Sora yelped and nearly fell off the dock. He prayed his face wasn't flaming when he turned it to look at Kairi's impish grin. "K-kairi!" He stuttered. "When did you get here?" He glanced around at his lone boat in the water. "How did you get here?"
Her pink lips (which had recently breathed hot air so close to his ear as she'd surprised him) inverted into an exasperated frown. "Boat sprung a leak halfway over here," she said, rolling her eyes. "Got a lift to the cove from a fisherman. That quiet old man who lives at the end of Riku's street? He offered to tow my boat back and patch it up for free. I've got to make him a thalassa charm or something to thank him."
"That was nice of him," Sora responded as he watched Kairi remove her damp shoes and plop down beside him. She was in remarkably good spirits for someone who had nearly been stranded in the middle of the ocean; she was smiling and humming quietly to herself as she swung her bare feet back and forth over the water.
"Like m'toes?" she chirped, holding up her foot and wiggling her polka-dotted toenails at him.
"Huh? Oh, yeah, they're nice." He was trying to enjoy this, he really was. He was just a bit preoccupied. Kairi surveyed him for a moment longer and then lay back on the dock and started humming. Sora watched her colorful toes as her feet swung back and forth.
After a minute or two Kairi got tired of humming and started singing. "This time baby, I'll be bulleeeeetproof. This time baby, I'll be bulleeeeetproof." She stopped singing when she noticed Sora looking at her. "What? Do I sound that bad?"
"No, actually," Your voice is beautiful. Sora tried to force the words out of his mouth but they got caught in the Cowardice Filter on the way out and came out sounding like, "You sound fine. Good! You know, g—more than good. Great. Yeah, you sound, um—I just don't like the song." Sora clenched his teeth to keep from grimacing at his utter failure with words.
Kairi smiled and looked up at the sky, which was beginning to change colors. "Who cares if we disagree? You are not me. Who made you king of anything?"
Sora smiled in spite of himself. "Kairi…"
She paused to think for a minute, then burst out, "Can't read my, can't read my, oh no he can't read my, poker face-"
"…I gotta pocket gotta pocketful 'a sunshine-"
Sora smiled. "Aren't you turning sixteen in like two weeks?"
"Yeah, your point?"
"Gonna start acting your age anytime soon?"
Kairi scoffed. "When have I ever acted my age? And when have you ever acted your age, for that matter?" Sora grinned when she winked at him. "After all, what's the point of being grown up if you can't act childish every once in a while?"
"I suppose," Sora replied absently and turned his attention back to the setting sun.
"You're being very ungrateful, you know." He looked back at Kairi. She was sitting up and looking at him with an exaggerated pout.
"Ungrateful?" He asked, bewildered.
"Yes," she confirmed with an authoritative nod.
"How am I being ungrateful?"
She took a deep breath and released it with a dramatic sigh, looking at him as if he'd kicked a puppy. "Here I am, trying my darndest to cheer you up, and yet you insist upon being Mr. Grumpyface!" Sora blinked at her. She straightened her back and fixed him with a strict look. "So either liven up," she demanded, but then her expression softened, "or tell me what's wrong."
Sora relented. If there was anyone he could talk to, it was Kairi. "I'm just worried about how little time we might have together until we have to leave," was his quiet answer.
Kairi nodded and sighed. "I thought that might be it." She placed a reassuring hand on his. "But we don't know when we're leaving. The last letter even said that it might be a while. Yen Sid and King Mickey aren't going to scatter us across the universe until they know where they need to send us. It might be weeks—months even—before we're needed."
"Or it could be tomorrow," Sora insisted, and gripped Kairi's hand.
Kairi looked away, searching for something she could do or say for support. Finally she settled on facing Sora with a resolved frown. "You're right," she announced. "We can't know. So, obviously, there's nothing we can do about it and therefore there's no point in worrying about it." Sora felt the weight on his chest lift just slightly as he watched a smile creep into Kairi's expression. "So, as a Princess of Heart I hereby declare that there is to be absolutely no worrying." Sora opened his mouth to protest, but Kairi interrupted with a kind smile. "At least for tonight."
Sora sighed in resignation. She was right, after all. He'd been letting this burden him far too much lately. Now that he thought about it he hadn't been very much like his cheerful self the last few days.
"Besides, I kind of know how you feel." There was something about Kairi's tone that Sora found curious. It was far too light. And her expression. There was definitely something up with that expression. "Do you know how much I worried when you were gone?" And then the look of mischief premiered. "At first I was afraid, I was petrified,"
"Oh, here we go."
"Kept thinking I could never live without you by my side." Sora couldn't help but grin at Kairi's overly-dramatic expressions. "And then I spent so many nights, thinking how you did me wrong. And I grew strong," she started to bob with the beat, "And I learned how to get along!"
"And now you're back," she was up and dancing now, "From outer space. I just walked in to find you here with that, that look upon your face. I should have changed that stupid lock, I should have made you leave your key. If I had known in just one second you'd be back to bother me!" She grabbed his hands and pulled him up to dance with her. "So go on, go! Walk out the door! Just turn around, now! You're not welcome anymore!" Her words were in danger of desolving into the tide of giggles, but she kept on anyway. "Weren't you the one who tried to hurt me with goodbyes? You think I'd crumble, you think I'd lay down and die? Oh no not I! I will survive!" And that was as far as she got before they were both laughing too hard to keep going. Kairi kept clumsily dancing, dragging Sora along, and so after they'd stopped laughing she settled into a softer groove.
Sora didn't exactly know what song she was dancing to inside her head now, but he was happy to be pulled along for the ride anyway. Eventually she started humming, something sort of lazy and mellow, but soothing and pleasant. He knew it, he thought, but he couldn't place it. He could even hear the accompanying ukelale in his mind.
"Somewhere, over the rainbow, blue birds fly…" So that was it. Kairi's voice sounded even better now. She'd been more playful earlier. Now she was singing in earnest; a soft, clear soprano voice; smooth like a bell. She had her eyes closed as she swayed and twirled, pulling Sora along with her. This wasn't what he had always pictured when he thought of dancing with her; he'd thought there would be music and some sort of structure to their movements. This was free and impromptu and Kairi seemed to be making up every movement as she went along and he just sort of followed along.
Honestly he doesn't know why he pictured anything else.
She danced through life to her own song, and he's just happy to be the one she swings along behind.
Eventually Kairi went back to humming the melody as it morphed into something nonspecific and they settled together more comfortably. Her arms ended up around his shoulders with her head in the crook of his neck and his arms wrapped around her waist to hold her close as they shuffled in a little circle on the now-moonlit dock.
After a while Kairi went from humming to singing softly. "Aloha 'oe, Aloha 'oe, E ke onaona noho i ka lipo. One fond embrace, A ho'i a'e au, Until we meet again…" Her voice warbled the last few notes, and Sora drew back to look at her. She kept her gaze downward, determined not to meet his eyes lest he see the tears threatening to spill from hers.
"I thought you said there was no worrying allowed tonight," he said softly.
She gave him a half-hearted smile and sniffed. "I know, I know, I'm sorry." She tried to blink away her tears and then tried to busy herself by smoothing the collar of his jacket. "I just don't like thinking about it." She was now quite determinedly not looking at him, and despite her dedicated nonchalance, tears continued to pool in the corners of her eyes.
Having found no better place to put it, her gaze finally rested on his face. "And here I just wanted one night to pretend like everything really was normal again."
It should be noted that Sora had a curious relationship with bravery. When he was facing down hordes of heartless or saving someone in need, his courage never faltered. When confronted by his mother's wrath or Kairi's flirtatious smile, his insides melted into a puddle of dribbling goop and he lost all motor control of his leg muscles. But the moments when he was at his bravest, his most heroic, were those times when someone he cared about was hurt or in danger. Those were the moments when his determinations outstripped his anxieties. He would do anything for the people he cared about.
And he cared about Kairi most of all.
Right now she was upset and in need of cheering up, and Sora's fears didn't stand a chance.
He leaned in slowly and placed a kiss on her cheek, and then the other one. He drew back just enough to look her in the eyes. She looked surprised, but pleased. There was a soft silent moment where they regarded each other in mutual curiosity before they filled in the space between them; eyes sliding shut and lips sliding together.
They were young souls in young bodies who had lived old men's lives; very wise and very naïve all at the same time. They were wholly unremarkable and unspeakably important. They were heroes and spectators. They bore the weight of the worlds on shoulders built for the carefree joy of childhood.
But not tonight.
Tonight they were just a boy and a girl and a symphony audible only to the two hearts playing it; forming the soundtrack to the slow, gentle dance of their intertwined smiles.
A/N: I've had this written for like three weeks and I kept putting off editing it because I'm not sure how much I like it. I need to play through the game again to get some ideas, but my bunny chewed through the cord on the PS2 controller. D: I sorta got inspired watching a movie in which Hayden Panetierre (Kairi's VA) sings, because the her voice is actually really, really pretty. So, let me know what you think, peoples.