A/N: I wrote this back in July. Not even sure why it took me so long to edit and get it up. Sometimes I'd start hating it, and then I'd start liking it again. So I figured I had better get it up and posted while I still like it. I feel like this is me going back to my roots a bit; playing with fanfic tropes and cliches and finding a new angle to write them from. Also I promise I'm going to try to write more, it's just that I'm entering the final stretch of my education (I'll graduate in December!) and so I'm working on my Junior collection (designing and sewing 5 outfits; each one has a steel-boned corset) so I'm in one of the busiest times of my life. But I love writing too much to ever leave it, so while my contributions may be few and far between, always expect me to come back eventually.
Also there's a couple of lines towards the end that are entirely because of Matt Smith talking about filming a scene for Womb where he has to run stark naked into the freezing ocean, and then come out again in front of Bond Girl Eva Green. I regret nothing.
sokai, post kh2, no spoilers for DDD
Truth or Dare
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a game of truth or dare is never going to end well, especially when playing with one's crush. Especially when playing with mutual friends who are aware of said crush.
Inevitably those friends are going to take advantage of the rules of the game to get the two crushees to act on their feelings. The two crushees are aware of this, and are left with a painful choice of poisons: if they choose truth, they will be asked to admit their feelings; should they choose dare, a very public first kiss is guaranteed.
While the intention is good in the case of two friends with romantic feelings simmering under the surface, the result is still a very awkward, very public beginning to an otherwise very private matter.
All this to say that Sora is currently on the verge of a minor panic attack. The day had started so well. It was the beginning of summer, and to celebrate the teens of Destiny Islands had spent the day running along the shores of their small island playground. When night had fallen they'd made a bonfire and huddled in a circle beside it for s'mores and hotdogs. Then they'd found a bottle and decided to play truth or dare.
So far, so good. Riku had been dared to sing "Goodship Lollipop", Selphie had picked truth and been forced to list off every title (that she could remember) in her Harlequin romance library ("I'm surprised Fifty Shades of Grey wasn't on that list." "Hey, I have standards."), and now she and Kairi are giving Wakka a makeover. But all too soon they are done, and it is Kairi's turn with Selphie posing "Truth or Dare?".
Kairi considers her options for a moment before declaring, "Dare."
Selphie dons a mischievous grin. Sora knows what's coming. Doubtlessly Selphie is planning how best to get back at Kairi for the romance novel thing. "I dare you…to kiss Sora. And it has to be on the lips."
There's a chorus of "oooh!"s and Sora feels his internal organs collapse into his stomach. Kairi, however, sits there looking very calm. She purses her lips, thinking, then faces Selphie and nonchalantly chirps, "No."
Selphie frowns. "Uh, you have to Kairi, that's how the game works. You have to do what you're dared to do."
Kairi nods. "Exactly. I'm supposed to do what you dare me to do, but it isn't Sora's turn, so you can't dare him to kiss me."
Selphie rolls her eyes. "I'm only daring you to kiss him." She grins again. "Whether or not he kisses you back is entirely up to him."
For some reason this doesn't worry Kairi as much as it does him. She just gives Selphie that smug smile and says, "But you're still daring Sora to be kissed. Indirectly, but daring him nonetheless. It's really not fair."
Tidus laughs. "I don't think he'd object to it, Kairi!" Wakka laughs and Riku chuckles, but Sora can barely manage a small smile. Selphie is put out by Kairi's argument.
"Kairi! You're ruining the game!" she says with a pout.
"Sorry Selphie, but I think she's got a point," Riku chimes in, and Sora has never loved his best friend more.
Finally Selphie backs down, though not without copious pouting, and gives Kairi her new dare, which is received with a scrunched up nose.
"I am not calling him."
"Oh come on," Selphie pleads, "You already turned down one dare, you can't turn down two. And it's just a phone call."
Kairi rolls her eyes. "Do you remember how my last conversation with him went?"
Sora is all ears during this conversation. He had never given so much thought to the notion that Kairi had talked to (or even dated) other guys while he was gone.
Selphie chews her lip apologetically. "He's not normally that bad, he was just drunk."
"How is that any better?!"
"Well he shouldn't be drunk now!"
"I don't care! I am not going out with Gippal!"
Sora spies Tidus looking at his watch. This is clearly the longest turn of Truth or Dare without anything actually happening that any of them have ever seen. Selphie sighs dramatically. "You don't have to go out with him, just ask him out. You can turn him down later."
Kairi purses her lips and huffs. After a moment of contemplation she looks back to Selphie and asks, "Can I make it a prank call?"
Selphie groans, "Kairi! You can't keep-!"
"Oh my god! Just let her do it!" Riku bursts out, throwing his hands in the air. Selphie finally relents as the other boys chorus his exasperation.
"Please don't pick up, please don't pick up," Kairi mutters to herself as the phone rings, "Please don't—Hi! Gippal, it's Kairi…Selphie gave me your number. Yeah, she's a great source of information. Phone numbers, gossip, rumors…one in particular about you." The others struggle to muffle their giggles at Kairi's breathy voice. "Well I know, you can't trust most of what you hear, let alone everything. But I was really hoping that this particular rumor would turn out to be true," Kairi coos into the phone. Gippal's reply makes her bite her cheek to keep from laughing. She composes herself and answers airily, "Well, you can't believe everything you hear." Everyone else is choking on the sleeves they attempted to gag themselves on, but Sora is finding the situation more agitating than amusing. He knows she's not being serious, that it's all part of whatever joke she's got planned, and that she's not really flirting, but he still can't help felling mildly jealous.
"Oh, I'm just sitting at home, alone, just wishing I had someone to talk to," Kairi continues, her tone casual with just the hint of suggestion. "Oh, they're out. Business trip, left me all on my lonesome for the weekend." Kairi stifles a giggle. "Sure, we could hang out, watch some movies," she says, her tone implying they would be doing much more than that. Sora's hand balls into a fist. She's just pretending, he reminds himself, It's not real.
It occurs to him he's never heard Kairi being flirtatious before. Not like this.
"Yeah, we could even…" Kairi hides her mouth and the speaker behind a hand as her voice drops to a whisper. They can't hear what she says, but Gippal's incredulous, excited "Really?!" is loud enough for them all to hear. Selphie nearly falls off her seat, Riku snorts and hides his face in his hands, and Kairi shakes with silent laughter. Sora, however, just grits his teeth and tries not to scowl. Kairi giggles into the phone. "Really. Oh, sure, it's 475 Mangosteen Boulevard. Yeah. Oh, no, you can't come in the doors…Because it's the mayor's house. We've got cameras on our doors, but not on the upstairs windows." She smiles; a big, evil grin. "Oh, there's this big tree you can climb up. It's easy; I've done it a thousand times. The window will be open, just climb in. Mmhmm. And hurry;" she fakes a yawn, "I'm getting sleepy." She grins at whatever Gippal is saying, and then hangs up the phone, laughing.
"Kairi," Riku begins with a perplexed look on his face as everyone else (except Sora, of course) bursts into laughter. "You don't have a tree in your front yard, do you?" Kairi just shakes her head and keeps grinning. At this revelation another anomaly occurs to Sora.
"Wait, you told him your address was 475 Mangosteen Boulevard," he points out, the confusion dissolving his anger, "You live at 477, next door."
Kairi's chesire cat grin widens. "Yep."
Riku frowns. "Kairi, you sent him to your neighbor's house with instructions to climb in the window? You could get him arrested for trespassing!"
Kairi shakes her head, still smiling. "No, he won't get arrested."
"How can you be sure?"
Kairi giggles. "Riku, do you know who lives at 475 Mangosteen Boulevard?" He shakes his head. Kairi straightens her back and regards them all proudly. "Ms. Farron." Riku's mouth drops open and Tidus nearly falls off his seat laughing. Even Sora can't help but grin.
"Ms. Farron?! Claire 'Lightning' Farron?!" Riku shouts, "Forget arrested, you're going to get him killed!"
"He'll be fine," Kairi chokes through her laughter. "She might give him detention for a week but she won't hurt him or give him to the cops…okay, so she might hurt him a little, but that's what he gets for trying to put his hand up my skirt, even if he was drunk."
Riku sighs. "I should have just made you kiss Sora."
Since the kissing rule had been more or less eliminated the remainder of the game passed in typical fashion. Sora had chosen truth when his first turn came, stupidly forgetting that it was Riku asking the question, but his panic was short-lived. He'd only had to admit to Kairi the long-hidden truth behind what had really happened to her Sassy Stacy Doll Dream Home. It had involved firecrackers.
Sora is still laughing at Tidus' desperate attempted to cool his mouth with ice cubes after drinking half a bottle of hot sauce when he is reminded that it was his turn. He spins the bottle to see who his challenge would come from. Anyone but Selphie, he prays.
Kairi blinks when the bottle stops, mouth point in her direction. She smiles at him. "Truth or Dare?"
Sora considers his options for a moment before choosing, "Dare."
Kairi hums pensively and rests a finger on her lips as she decides his challenge. After a moment she gives him a small, dangerous smile. "I dare you to jump off the end of the dock." Well, that doesn't seem too bad, Sora thinks. The water might be a bit cold, but they have the fire. He reaches for his bag to get his swim trunks. "Ah-ah-ah," Kairi interrupts, wagging a finger at him. "Wasn't finished." He's concerned about that glint in her eye. "I dare you to jump off the end of the dock…naked."
Sora's jaw drops as his friends start laughing. "You're kidding."
Kairi shakes her head. "You don't have to get naked here, of course. Just before you jump. Don't worry, it's dark, so we shouldn't see anything."
"…this is for Sassy Stacy, isn't it?"
The more Sora thinks about it, the more it seems like "Truth or Dare" had started out as "Tell the truth or Risk death on the stretching rack" in a medieval torture chamber. He stands on the end of the dock, looking down at the water. He glances back to his friends. He is far enough away from them and the campfire that they shouldn't be able to see anything more than his silhouette, but… He sighs and starts to undress. It takes him a few minutes to get the courage to remove his boxers. He hears a wolf-whistle and glares in his friends' direction.
I am never playing this game again, he thinks, and jumps in.
The water isn't a little cold. It is downright freezing. He comes up gasping and shaking, and just in time to see Tidus and Wakka grab his clothes and towel and sprint back to the campfire, laughing. He treads water for a moment, teeth chattering, shocked. The pain of his extremities freezing is enough to spur him on. He tries to climb back onto the dock but his limbs won't cooperate, so he swims towards shore. He emerges and a gust of wind hits him, making him even colder. He stares miserably up at the bonfire, where Kairi is berating Tidus and Wakka. She finally takes back his clothes and towel, and to his horror starts walking down the beach towards him. He spins around and for a moment contemplates getting back in the water. A violent shiver runs down his spine and he rejects that idea. He stands frozen from the cold and fear until he hears a voice all too near him say, "Don't worry, I won't look." He spins around—hands instinctively flying to cover himself. Kairi carries his things in her arms but her eyes are turned resolutely up to the stars.
"I hate you," he tells her, taking his towel.
"I know," Kairi says, "Sorry. Sorta." Darn that smile. He can never stay mad at her for too long. He blushes the whole time it takes to get dressed, even though she is not looking at him. Knowing she's there is enough.
The game finally ends when Riku spins the bottle too vigorously, and it skids into one of the logs they are sitting on and shatters. Moans accompany the glass breaking and they all look at each other. "What now?" Riku asks.
Selphie smiles. "What if we all do whatever the last thing we dared someone else to do was?" There are a few nods of agreement, and Selphie gets everyone's commitment before anyone can really think what their last dare was.
Sora isn't sure what he'll do. He hadn't given any dares through the course of the game. He laughs as Riku grimaces and announces, "Ew, I am not kissing Tidus." ("See, some of us obey the rules!" Selphie had said upon receiving that dare.) Tidus turns green and jumps away from Riku. "Ugh, dude, I'm not letting you kiss me!"
Sora pays extra attention to Kairi as she laughs. "What are you looking so happy about?" he asks pointedly. She stares at him, puzzled, and then her smile fades off her face. She shakes her head.
"Oh, god, no!"
Selphie giggles. "You have to do it, Kairi!" she says in a sing-song voice. "You already agreed!"
Kairi looks to Sora for help, but he just grins at her. Revenge was a dish best served freezing cold. Kairi groans. "Ugh…I'll do it if Riku has to kiss Tidus-" There's an outcry at this, and Kairi has to talk over them as she clarifies, "on the cheek if you want, but you have to kiss him!"
Even with this caveat it still takes Riku a good five minutes of preparation before finally managing to quickly peck Tidus's cheek. He spends the next ten minutes slathering his face in hand sanitizer.
Kairi seems thankful for this, as she is preparing herself for her own dare. When the distraction Riku and Tidus provided has ended, the attention and pressure is back on her. She groans as she stands with her towel in hand. She gives Tidus and Wakka a warning glare. "If either of you take my stuff, I swear-"
"We won't, we won't," Tidus assures her. She glares at them a moment longer then heads to the dock.
"By the way," Kairi shouts when she reaches the edge of the dock, "I hate all of you!" Sora casts his eyes down when she starts to undress, even though from here he can only see her outline against the dark sky. He looks up again when hears her shout, "I really, really hate all of you!" She stands there for a moment longer, bouncing on the balls of her feet. There's a roar of frustration that makes everyone laugh, and then the jump.
As soon as Kairi's feet leave the dock Selphie is up on her feet and sprinting. She grabs Kairi's clothes just as the redhead surfaces, and takes off back to the fire to the tune of screaming.
"Selphie," Sora reprimands when she arrives. "That was mean."
The girl just laughs. "That's the point!"
"Give me that," he swipes Kairi's things and walks toward the shore. She is crouching in the shallows, apparently trying to decide whether the air or water is colder. "I won't look," he tells her as he approaches the shore. He casts his eyes upwards and holds out a towel the size of a small country. He keeps his eyes fixed on the stars as Kairi gets out of the water and takes her towel. It takes all his concentration to block out the little voice in the back of his head that keeps telling him how easy it would be to glance down and how rare an opportunity this is.
"You can look now." She looks so pitiful with her sopping, messy hair and chattering teeth and huge towel wrapped around her shoulders. It's hard for him to enjoy his revenge with her looking so miserable.
"Bit nippy?" Hard, but not impossible.
Kairi gives him a look that could kill. "Shut up."
He gives her a sympathetic smile and holds out her clothes. She reaches a goosebumped arm out of her towel to collect them. "Thanks," she mutters and starts walking toward the fire.
"You're not going to change?" Sora asks as he follows her.
"Not out here, it's freezing. I'm going to warm up by the fire first and then probably change in the seaside shack."
"So we were just talking about putting the fire out," Riku announces as they approach.
Kairi glares. "Not even funny." She shivers violently when she is hit by the heat of the fire. "Oh I don't ever want to leave this fire."
A small smile rises unbidden to Sora's face. "Come on guys," he says to his friends, "That water is freezing. The least we can do is let her get dressed by the fire."
"Yeah, go right ahead, Kairi!" Wakka jokes, earning a whack on the back of the head from Riku.
"We can wait in the cove," he says, standing and dragging Tidus and Wakka along with him.
Kairi smiles gratefully. "I'd tell you thanks if I didn't currently hate all of you." But her eyes catch Sora's as he leaves and she gives him a bigger smile.
They've just passed through the door to the cove when Selphie stops. "Oh!" she says, reaching into a pocket of her dress, "I think I forgot something. Kairi will probably be needing this back, don't you think?" Sora's eyes go wide as she holds up a green bra with purple polka-dots. "Take it back to her."
Sora holds up his hands and backs away. "No! You do it!"
Selphie grins evilly. "Sora, I dare you to take it back to her. You didn't dare anyone this game, so you don't have an end-of-game dare. Therefore, I'm giving you one." She dangles the bra in front of his face.
Sora groans. "I'm never playing this game again." He takes the unmentionable from Selphie, gingerly pinching a strap between his thumb and forefinger and holds it a good distance in front of him as he walks back through the door to the beach. He stops before rounding the corner under the bridge to call, "Kairi, I'm coming back for a second, make yourself decent!"
"You're fine!" she calls back. When he rounds the corner he sees that she's still wrapped in her oversize towel by the fire.
"Um, Selphie was having me bring this back," Sora says, and Kairi turns red.
"Just drop it with my other clothes," Sora wastes no time in doing so. "Selphie is officially the worst person to play this game with. It always brings out her evil side. She comes up with the dumbest stuff."
"Like that kiss," Sora says to himself, but unfortunately Kairi hears him.
"Yeah, seems like every game of truth or dare has to have at least one kiss dare," she says.
Sora's throat clogs up and his stomach tumbles unpleasantly. This was not really what he'd prefer to discuss. "Yeah..but, hey! You've always got that loophole!"
"Yeah," Kairi replies, "If it weren't for that loophole you would've had to kiss me." Sora laughs nervously, not knowing anything else to do.
"Uh, yeah, wouldn't want that. That'd just be weird, right?" Sora's aware that he's rambling, but he can't seem to stop. "I mean, you and me, kissing…totally weird. Thank goodness for that loophole." When Kairi doesn't answer he chances a glance at her. Her eyes are downcast and there's a small frown on her face.
When she notices him looking at her she knits her brows and replies softly, "Sorry, didn't realize kissing me was such an unattractive option."
Sora falters forwards for a moment. "No, it's not that I don't want to kiss you! Well, I mean, I'm not saying I do want to kiss you, but I don't not want to kiss you, I just-"
"Sora, breathe." She's not looking quite as miffed anymore, and that helps Sora calm down. He turns away, finding it easier to tell this to the fire than to her.
"It's just…if we did kiss, it would have been meaningless. Just a dumb, meaningless kiss on a dare."
"Yeah, so?" He faces her again, but her expression is unreadable. "That's why most people usually aren't bothered by truth or dare kisses; because they don't mean anything."
Sora doesn't know what to say. "Yeah, but-"
"Unless," she interrupts, saving him from actually having to come up with anything, "The reason it bugs you that that kiss would have been meaningless is because you would want any kiss between us to not be meaningless." Sora has no words. He stares at his feet, mouth working noiselessly. He doesn't notice the hand reach around his neck to pull him closer. He doesn't realize until the last second what's happening as she leans in to meet him.
Sugar and salt. There's the smell of salt surrounding him; he can smell it on her skin and in her hair. On her lips he can taste it, along with the slightest hint of the sugary marshmallows from the smores. He's never felt anything so wonderful as the soft slide of his lips on hers as he kisses her back. He wasn't even aware that he knew how to kiss, having never done it before. But he has no trouble keeping up with her, responding in time with the movement of her lips. It occurs to him that his hands are hanging uselessly at his side, and just as he begins to raise one to touch her hair she pulls away. His hand drops and he stares at her. She looks up at him with half-lidded eyes and a small smile.
"Just so you know," she murmurs, "That wasn't meaningless." She grins and her lips look so pink and shiny and delicious and she just looks so beautiful even though her half dried hair is a frizzy mess and her eye makeup has gone smudgy, that he can't help but lean in to kiss her again. Given her response, she doesn't seem to mind. This time his hand makes it to her hair and he slides his fingers into the tangles. The wet strands are soft and silky, and the dry strands crunchy from the salt.
After a long moment they separate and regard each other with shy smiles. "Truth or dare," Kairi says.
Sora is taken aback, but he's learned his lesson when it comes to Kairi and dares, so he says, "Truth." She smiles.
"How do you feel about me?" He can think of about a hundred ways to skate around that question, but she's just kissed him so he doesn't.
His mouth is dry but he still manages to answer. "I like you. A lot. I mean, I really, really like you." He shrugs. "I think I might even love you." He's shaking, but her smile calms him. "Truth or dare?" he asks her.
Sora takes a deep breath. "Do you feel the same? About me?"
She purses her lips in thought. "No," she finally answers.
Sora frowns, confused. "No?"
Kairi smiles. "No. You said you think you might love me." She looks away, rocking on the balls of her feet. "Well," she shrugs, "I know I love you." Sora's heart pounds at her words.
"I-I love you too," he says quietly. She lights up then, her eyes seeming to shine brighter than the moon or stars or even the fire roaring beside them, and she doesn't even ask him why he didn't just say so the first time she asked.
Sora thinks about kissing her again, but then she says, "Truth or Dare?"
He shrugs. "Dare."
"I dare you to answer this next question truthfully."
"That's cheating," he points out. She ignores this and scrutinizes him, though she does so with a small smile.
"Did you look when I got out of the water?"
Sora shakes his head. "N-no!" Kairi's eyes narrow. "I promise I didn't! I knew I shouldn't so I didn't, and then I felt like an idiot for not taking advantage of the opportunity, and then I realized that made me a horrible person and I spent the next ten minutes feeling like scum." This makes Kairi giggle. Then something occurs to Sora. "Hey Kairi…did you look?"
Kairi's eyes wonder towards the moon and shifts her feet. "Um…" her voice has risen a couple pitches. "Kind of."
Sora's face catches fire. "Kind of!?" his own voice is higher than normal. She nods, her eyes drift to stare into space near the ground. Her mouth is tight and her eyes are wide.
"Yup. Well," her lips squirm. "I didn't look, so much as…saw." Pink crawls across her face. Sora feels like his chest is imploding. He's never felt so self-conscious.
"The water was cold," he blurts out. Kairi looks at him, blinking. "Like, really cold."
"Oh?" Kairi stares at him, her brows raised and knitted at the same time.
Sora swallows. "Well, cold, not a lot of blood flow to extremities and…I mean, normally, um…" Kairi is still looking very confused, and it occurs to Sora that he isn't sure if he wants her to understand what he's trying to say or not.
Kairi starts sniggering, and Sora wants to sink into the sand. "Normally you're a very impressive Keyblade Master, am I right?"
Sora doesn't want to comment on that. Things were better off when she didn't know what he was talking about. "New subject please."
When Kairi stops snickering she gets up on her tip toes and pecks him on the lips. "You're so stupid," she smiles, "but wonderful." And the way she is looking at him now he doesn't doubt she believes it. "You sure you didn't look?" she asks one more time, and he nods, placing his hand over his heart.
"Promise." She kisses him again, and when she breaks it she rocks on her toes for a moment, just giving him a strange little smirk. Then she steps back and spreads her arms wide, her towel opening up like wings. All the air leaves Sora's chest in one great shuddering whoosh. His eyes go wide as they sweep over her nude frame. He has enough time to get a good long look before she pulls her arms back in and wraps the towel tightly around her shoulders again.
Sora swallows with great difficulty.
"There," Kairi says, with an amused smirk, "Now we're even."
Sora opens his mouth, emits a sound not unlike a strangled dog, and promptly gives up on speech. Kairi giggles at him. That seems to be the story of his night. "I need to get dressed now. You should probably go rejoin the others." She grins. "Unless you need to take another dip in the cold water?" Sora doesn't have the words to respond to that. He's not sure that any exist. So he turns around and walks away, considering sticking his head under the waterfall.
Suddenly Kairi calls out to him. "And don't tell anyone about this, about you and me! I will not give Selphie the satisfaction of knowing her stupid game got us together!"
A/N: I didn't edit as meticulously as I usually do, because I kept going through periods where I'd just start to hate the whole story, so let me know if I missed any typos or anything and I will love you forever.