Disclaimer: I don't own Kingdom Hearts
Always Running Out of Time
He knew he should have been meeting his two best friends on the beach in a matter of minutes, but he had reached the island early hoping to get another glimpse at the beautiful walls of the hidden cave that everyone drew their dreams and ideas on. He laughed to himself as his hands slide over pictures of epic soccer games depicted on the walls and tales of romance swirling in with figures of pirates and princesses. Although all the drawings were special in their own right there was only one picture on his mind. He knew it was there. Way in the back of the cave where the light shone through an opening casting a soft glow on the walls. It had changed since it was first drawn by two very small children. It had originally started out as portraits of the other, one was obviously better than the other, but Sora couldn't help his lack in artistic ability. He remembered adding a paopu fruit being handed to the picture of the girl just before he and his friends had been swept off to other worlds. When he had first return to the cave he was expecting to see what had had left, but was shocked and pleasantly surprised to see that someone else had added to the picture as well. The girl was now handing his picture the so called bonding fruit.
Sora smiled to himself as he looked at it again. Kairi had always been the better drawer. His fingers traced over it and he felt a stab of pain in his chest as his hands clutched a letter with the seal of the King printed neatly on it. Ever since Kairi had handed him the bottle with the message in it and he had read it he couldn't help but feel a stabbing pain in his heart. He had just returned home, just begun to live a normal life with his friends and then the letter washed ashore to tell him that he had to leave again.
Leave her again.
That's why he had found himself in this cave many times since receiving that letter. It seemed to be the only thing that kept him grounded these days. He would be leaving in the morning and he had needed one last look at it before he left. He had always been afraid that he would never see it again and he took the moment to take it in. He greedily ate up the picture with his eyes, allowing his memory to soak in every detail so as to never forget it no matter where he was. He sighed as he gave the picture one last look and turned to leave to meet his friends who were surely on their way at that very moment. He placed his hand in his pocket and pulled out a star charm. He smiled faintly as he remembered the manner in which he first received it.
"It's my lucky charm, be sure to bring it back to me." Kairi chided as she placed the star charm into his hands.
Sora closed his fingers around it as he said, "I promise."
"And Sora, don't forget, wherever you go, I'm always with you."
He remembered saying those words to her as they were separated all that time ago and he remembered pulling out her charm and staring at it often when he thought about her and the promise that he made to come back to her.
After gathering his senses he looked up into her beautiful indigo eyes and she smiled at him. Kairi. He reached into his pocket and pulled out her lucky charm, finally fulfilling that promise he had made to her. Her smile glowed and Sora felt a rush of emotion rise in his chest, he wanted to say so many things, but he could only manage to say, "We-we're back!"
Kairi held out her hand to him. "You're home."
Home. The place he was leaving. He looked at the lucky charm again and the pain that had filled his chest when he looked at the drawing came rushing back. It had only been hours after Sora had read the letter that Riku and Kairi had found him sitting on the beach, alone. Riku had told him it would be alright and Kairi had placed the lucky charm in his hand and Sora knew it was her way of saying, "Come back to me."
"Sora!" Riku's voice rang through the air as Sora emerged from the cave.
He smiled at his silver haired friend as he ran to his side. He looked around for the auburn beauty, but she wasn't behind Riku.
"Where's Kairi?" He asked.
"Selphie called her for an emergency girl talk. Tidus broke up with her, again." Riku said as he rolled his eyes. "So she'll be running late."
Sora felt a twinge of jealousy. Selphie would be able to see Kairi whenever she wanted, but he only had hours left to see her before he left for god knows how long. He knew that Selphie would understand that, so why did Kairi give in so easily. Riku could read his thoughts and he patted Sora on the shoulder. When he met his best friend's silver eyes he saw that they were saying She's giving us some last few hours alone before you leave. Suddenly, Sora felt so grateful for these turn of events. Riku was his best friend and had forgotten that this time he would not be by his side to fight. This was their chance to just be boys and more importantly best friends. Sora smiled.
"Last one to the dock has to jump into the ocean naked." He said with a wiggle of his eyebrows.
Riku narrowed his eyes and a playful smile fell upon his lips. "I hope you don't mind stripping in front of the ladies resting on the beach, Kairi might not like to share."
Sora blushed at this comment, but before he could open his mouth to say that he and Kairi were just friends Riku tore off in the direction of the dock with Sora following in hot pursuit.
Sora fell onto the sand exhausted from running around the island with Riku and reenacting many battles that they had fought with each other. Riku had said something about getting drinks as he walked off in the direction of the boats and Sora was left alone, the ocean waves gently licking his feet. He closed his eyes and took in the scent of ocean air. He would miss the soft breeze on his cheeks and the feel of sand in between his toes. He opened his eyes and was startled to see a girl with auburn hair and indigo eyes leaning over him.
"Kairi, don't scare me like that!" He stated as he sat up rather quickly.
Kairi laughed and Sora couldn't help but smile when he heard her laughing.
"Not being a lazy bum again, are you?" She asked playfully.
"Kairi, after the things I've done can you honestly call me a lazy bum?"
Her smile suddenly fell and she turned away from him. Sora regretted the words and quickly and stood up, reached for her arm, and gently turned her around to face him. He was surprised to see her hastily wipe away what he suspected to be tears from her eyes.
"I-I'm sorry, Sora. I can't even imagine half the things you've been through and all I've done is sat here on this damn beach waiting for you to come back and-" He cut her off by placing a finger to her lips. He couldn't stand listening to her beat herself up for things she could have never changed.
"Kairi, there was nothing you could have done. How on earth were you suppose to get to the other worlds?" He said gently.
"I could have started by trying to swim that ocean." She said fiercely as she pointed to the body of water sitting next to them.
"Since when did you become an Olympic swimmer?" He asked teasingly.
"I have become many things since you have been gone, Keyblade Master." She said in a mock haughty tone as she crossed her arms over her chest.
"I am sure you have grabbed the attention of many worthy men on the island." Sora said with a smile that didn't reach his eyes. Kairi was beautiful and that hadn't gone unnoticed by many of the guys on the island and with himself out of commission for dating, Kairi could have had anyone she wanted.
"There have been many seeking my attention." Kairi said with a mischievous smile.
Sora felt a lump in his throat and he tried to play along, but he wasn't so sure if she had actually taken upon any of those offers made to her. Sora had no other reason to think why she shouldn't do so despite, maybe, the picture on the cave wall, but for all he knew that could have been drawn ages ago back when she still was hopeful enough that he would return to her sooner than he actually did. Or worse, someone else could have drawn the added on fruit. He had never actually asked her about it.
"He must be a lucky guy then." He said glumly as he turned away from her.
Kairi's arms fell to her sides and she felt that the joke had become something more. She could almost kick the boy in front of her for not realizing who she was talking about. Surely he had not seen the picture in the cave with the new addition. She wasn't going to give in that easily. No. He would have to figure this one out, but she felt that maybe a few hints ought to help him out.
"Very lucky indeed." She said as she put up the front again. "You know, I bet he doesn't even know how lucky he is because he's too busy with other things to even see what's in front of him."
Sora frowned. How could any guy not see Kairi? How could any guy not appreciate her for what she was?
"Sounds a bit thick to me." Sora said through gritted teeth.
Kairi rolled her eyes. "Not as thick as you are."
Sora turned on her. "Well, go then. If I'm not as great as this guy then you can go spend your time with him. He doesn't have other worlds to save."
Kairi narrowed her eyes and Sora felt slightly afraid as she approached him. "I can't go because he's standing right here and he, in fact, does have to save the other worlds and he's making me wait again even though after tomorrow I'll be waiting for god knows how long for him to come back." She turned and started heading back for the dock.
Something in Sora's head clicked and right then any doubt about the picture in the cave evaporated from his mind. Kairi had not only waited for him, but had done it with her whole heart. She had been waiting so long to give herself to him and here he was about to leave her again. He started running and it didn't take long for him to catch up to her. Before she could even think to argue Sora pulled her close to him and ever so gently placed his lips on hers. Kairi needed no encouragement from Sora as she wrapped her arms around his neck, running her fingers through his soft, spiky locks, deepening the kiss. Soon the need for air was too great and Sora and Kairi broke apart.
"The lung capacity that you two have is incredibly." A voice said from behind them.
Sora and Kairi looked to see who had spoken and weren't surprised to see Riku standing a few feet away from them, three drinks in his hand. Sora rubbed the back of his neck nervously, one hand still wrapped around Kairi's waist. Kairi was blushing from head to toe.
"Riku, how long have you been standing there?" Sora choked out.
"Long enough." Riku said with a smirk. "This may sound a bit clichéd, but it was about time you two finally figured it out." He said as he handed them their drinks.
They found their favorite spot on the beach. All three of them sitting on the fallen tree, sipping their drinks silently as the sun slipped down over the ocean, casting a soft glow over the trio.
"Feels just like old times." Sora said quietly.
"Yeah, except this time we're not scheming to get off this island." Riku said as he sat his drink down and crossed his arms over his chest.
Sora smiled as he remembered them sitting in this very spot two years ago planning to escape on nothing but a raft that they were building.
"Now that I actually think about it we probably wouldn't have gotten very far on that raft." Sora said with a laugh.
"I'm surprised we convinced ourselves into believing it was actually plausible to us it." Kairi said as she giggled at the memory of the raft.
"All that time we were trying to escape here and then when we actually were away from home all we wanted to do is return to it." Riku said softly. Sora and Kairi's smiles fell as they turned to look at their silver haired friend. "And as soon as we get home, one of us has to leave again." He said without looking at Sora.
"They need me." Sora said sadly as he looked down at his hands.
Riku smiled as he turned to his best friend. "Always the hero."
Sora looked up and returned the smile. They both turned back to the sunset, it seemed to count down the time they all had together.
"We'll all be together again." Kairi said. "I know we will."
Riku and Sora smiled at her before both tackled her into a sort of dysfunctional group hug. They all laughed as the sweet pink light faded into deeper shades of indigo.
Sora gazed at the Gummi ship that sat waiting to take him away. He had a painful goodbye with his mother before he took his leave from his house and headed towards the meeting point King Mickey had sent to Sora just weeks after he received the letter telling him that he had to go and save the worlds once again. He was excited to see Donald and Goofy again, but the thought of leaving Riku and Kairi behind broke his heart more than he would ever admit. He felt tears filling his eyes and he quickly whipped them away as he saw King Mickey approach him.
"Ready to go, Sora?" He squeaked.
Sora forced a smile. "Of course, your majesty." He could hear his own voice crack as he spoke the words.
They turned to leave when they suddenly heard Sora's name being called from behind them. They turned to see Kairi and Riku running towards them as fast as they could.
"Think you could leave without saying goodbye?" Riku asked.
"But I thought we said our goodbyes last night." Sora said. They had plan on saying goodbye the night before so that it would be easier to leave the next day. Sora didn't know if he could get on the ship if they were there now. The temptation to stay was just so great...
"Honestly, Sora, how thick can you be?" Kairi asked as she rolled her eyes.
Sora couldn't help but smile. He gave Kairi his goofy grin. "Gee, Kai that really hurts." He said in a mocked hurt voice.
"Sometimes the truth hurts, my friend." Riku said with a grin.
"Sora, we must be going." The King said gently from behind the trio.
"Whenever we get to be together we always end up running out of time, don't we?" Sora asked with a slight grin towards his two best friends. Riku's lips formed into a smile as Kairi laughed softly. "Right, well, this is goodbye for real then."
He stuck his hand out to Riku. Riku exchanged a glance with Kairi and she nodded. They both pulled him into a group hug. For a few moments they stayed like that, the King smiling warmly at them.
"It maybe for real, but it's not forever." Riku said as he released Sora. "Don't keep us waiting too long or I'm going to have fight all the boys off from Kairi once they know you're gone." Sora laughed as Kairi sent Riku an icy glare.
They boys bumped fist and hugged one more time before Sora turned to Kairi. She smiled warmly at him. The smile that could send chills down his spine and butterflies in his stomach.
"I love you, Kairi." Sora said before he could stop himself. "Always have."
"I love you too, Sora."
He softly grabbed her chin and brought her lips towards his. Kairi deepened the kiss as she pulled Sora closer to her, never wanting to let him go. Kairi's eyes were still closed when Sora pulled away from her. He placed a hand on her cheeks and gave her one, small gentle kiss on her forehead. He knew it was time to go. If he didn't leave now he knew he never would. He smiled at both of them, but Kairi's eyes were still closed as she desperately fought off tears.
"I love both of you, honestly." Sora said as he backed away waving towards Riku. Riku waved back and placed a comforting arm around Kairi, who fell into his warm embrace. Sora quickly turned away, knowing he couldn't watch anymore. Kairi finally opened her eyes, the tears falling down her cheeks. Before she knew what she was doing she slipped out of Riku's grasp and started running towards Sora.
"Sora! Sora!" She cried.
Sora turned just in time to catch her as she crashed into him.
"Kairi, I have to go." He said as he took her face in his hands.
"I know, I know...I just..." She couldn't get the words out. She grabbed his face and pulled him into a passionate kiss. Sora could feel his heart race as he pulled her closer to him, kissing her like he had never kissed her before. Nothing mattered anymore. Only Kairi. He could feel a tear run down his cheek as Kairi pulled away from him. She looked into his eyes, her eyes practically piercing his soul. He could face any monster in the universe without faltering, but no one could make him feel like he was swaying like Kairi could.
"Come back to me." She whispered.
He smiled as he reached into his pocket and pulled out her lucky charm. "Always."
Kairi whipped a few tears away from her check. "I don't want you to go." She said half laughing half crying.
"Kai, don't you remember? Wherever you go I will always be with you." He said.
Kairi smiled as he said the words she had spoken to him when they had to part ways two years ago.
"I know." She breathed. He kissed her one more time before he started up the platform to the ship, their arms out stretched as their fingers remained intertwined.
"I love you until the end of time." He said
"Always." Kairi said as another tear fell down her check.
The distance between them became too great and their fingers lost grip as Sora backed into the entrance of the gummi ship. Riku had come up behind Kairi and grabbed her hand, giving it a soft squeeze. Sora waved one more time before turning into the ship. Soon it started moving and was out of sight.
Sora was tightly clutching the lucky charm as they took off. A splash of water fell onto it and Sora realized that it was another tear that had fallen from his cheek. He looked out the window at what would have been Destiny Island. He could hear Kairi's voice inside his head.
Where ever you go I' m always with you.
And then he heard his own voice inside his head.
I'll come back to you, I promise.
He smiled as he gazed down at the lucky charm one more time before tucking it back in his pocket and joining Mickey to hear exactly how long it would take him to fulfill that promise again.
I was just in the mood to write something like this and Sora and Kairi's love story is so beautiful. They always seem to be waiting for each other and may always be doomed to wait, but he always promises to come back to her and the truly love each other which I simply adore. I also thought this up after I saw one of the secret endings to Birth by Sleep and never really wrote it down till now. Also being a Harry Potter fan the word "Always" has such a great meaning to me and I felt that it fit Sora and Kairi nicely.
Anyways just tell me what you think; comments and criticism are always welcomed. Thanks for reading!