A Kairi-centric oneshot

Discussion in 'Archives' started by Person, Apr 18, 2007.

  1. Person Destiny Islands Resident

    Feb 7, 2007
    I posted this on Fanfiction.net, without much of a response...I don't know whether it's because it's too long for a oneshot, or maybe people don't like stories about Kairi....but I refuse to believe that it's no good- in fact, it's the best fanfiction I've ever written. But it is quite long, so maybe I should have split it into two chapters or something.

    Summary: Kairi camps out on the island for a weekend, soon after she regains her memories of Sora. While there, she reflects on the past, the future, and what growing up really means.


    You once returned all of the stars to their rightful place in the night sky. For a feat so extraordinary, its joy is somehow paled by the thought of one single star, still lost.

    The late evening sun cast an appealing orange glow over the tiny village on Destiny Islands’ main isle, giving its scenery a drowsy look and turning the sea a lovely red. There wasn’t a single place more beautiful in all the worlds; Kairi felt proud that she knew personally in her heart that this was a fact. Hollow Bastion, in its glory days, had come close…but that had been a different kind of beauty, of course.

    Kairi double-checked to make sure that her bag had everything she needed. Homework, spare clothes, candles, emergency flare, matches, cooking utensils, canteen, food, sleeping bag, a pillow, and her favorite stuffed Chocobo. It looked as if everything was in order. Satisfied, she zipped up her large duffel bag and put it in the boat.


    Kairi looked up to see Selphie waving at her from across the beach. She waved back, and Selphie ran down to where she stood.

    “Do you want me to help?â€

    “Sure.†Kairi said, smiling. She was positively glowing with joy. This weekend she was taking a trip out to the island and camp there, just to relax, think, and piece all of her newly acquired memories together in some sort of logical order. Needless to say, she was excited about finally getting to keep that promise she had made to herself.

    Together they dragged Kairi’s boat into the water. Steadying the boat with one hand, Kairi lowered herself down beside her bag and took up the oars.

    “Thanks Selphie!†she said cheerfully, “I’ll see you at school on Monday, I guess.â€

    “Wait!†Selphie grabbed the boat just as Kairi was about to push off. “Kairi- do you really think this is such a good idea?â€

    Kairi looked puzzled. “Why not? I told you I’d go back out to the island whenever I remembered all about Sora. You remember him now too, don’t you?â€

    “Yeah…but…†Selphie bit her lip worriedly, “Spending the whole weekend on that island alone…are you sure you don’t want me to come along?â€

    Kairi shook her head. “I have to do this alone.†She said firmly. “Memories are one thing, but I want to be sure in my heart that it’s all true. I have to think about some things, and I have to do it by myself.â€

    “Okay…†Selphie said reluctantly. “Just be careful, alright? I know that you miss them, but don’t get your hopes up too much. I know it’s hard, but…â€

    “Oh, don’t worry.†Kairi smiled. “I’m not sad, because I know I’ll see them again.â€

    “Of course.†Selphie said with a smile that was clearly disbelieving. “Well, be safe.â€

    She braced her feet against the shore and helped push Kairi out into the crimson water.

    “See ya!†Kairi called, giving one last wave before plying away on the oars.

    Only the soft rhythm of the water and the distant cawing of seagulls could be heard in this space between one island and another- a solitude so complete it could almost have been considered another world. How many times had they pretended that they were setting sail for some new, uncharted land? Their extended game had turned the island into any number of worlds imaginable. From the highest tower of their spectacular castle (the treehouse) to the deepest caverns where the foulest of monsters resided (the Secret Place), the island had always been an exciting place to be…in Kairi’s mind, anyway. One particularly memorable adventure was when Kairi and Selphie were princesses hiding in the castle tower from a vicious dragon that had emerged from its slumber deep in the mysterious cave. Riku had played his part as the dragon with much enthusiasm, roaring and making quick work of the Royal Guards (Sora, Tidus, and Wakka) that were sent after him. After all three were beaten to a pulp despite their number advantage, the guys had decided that they no longer wanted to play any more imaginary adventure games.

    And so one more layer of their childhood had dried out and peeled away. They still hung out on the island, explored, and had a few far-fetched projects and ideas (like the coconut catapult they tried to build, or the raft to go to other worlds) but Sora had been the only one crazy enough to constantly continue challenging Riku in the hope that someday, he’d be able to beat him. Even more admirable, Sora had always tolerated his beatings as gracefully as Riku dealt them out, never letting their competition become real contempt.

    Who would have imagined that things would turn out like they did?

    Maybe Sora had been the light for all of us.

    Kairi enjoyed the feeling of working her muscles with the repetitive motion of rowing- nevertheless, she had grown so unaccustomed to it that it was a good thing that the island was close by.

    When Kairi felt the gentle bump of the boat on land, she jumped out and pulled it to the old spot at the dock where she had always tied it. Her lone boat looked forlorn as it bobbed up and down with each ripple that slapped its sides. Just that one thing made a lump rise up in Kairi’s throat, and it was with a heavy heart that she hoisted her duffel bag out and waded onto the beach.

    Kairi looked around. Everything here was so perfectly untouched, so achingly familiar. The redness of the rapidly sinking sun cast its deforming light on everything, making the usual landmarks look strange and dream-like. The sadness in her heart grew until she thought she could feel it swelling into an obstruction that blocked the air from her lungs. How could she have forgotten so much?

    Even our most loved things, like our memories, can be crumpled and tossed aside like a piece of paper when something scribbled on it is too unpleasant to read.

    There was the fresh, clean pool where they had all learned to swim until they were big enough to avoid being swept away by the smallest ebbs in the ocean. There was the bridge, and the spot where Riku liked to practice fighting. Once Tidus had tried climbing the paopu tree, but fell and nearly drowned as a result of hitting his head on a rock in the shallow water.

    (He fervently denied afterward that he had been trying to get his hands on a paopu fruit.)

    Kairi smiled a little and walked up the steps to the dock and the wooden bridge that wrapped around the great old tree, deciding to camp out in the treehouse. She took her time setting up her things. It was inevitable- she knew the first place that she had to visit, the one spot that drew her powerfully close as if with a taunting aroma. The Secret Place had always been the spot she connected the most strongly with her friends, but a sort of shyness at the thought had come over her, a strange hesitation that made her motions slow and distracted.

    She had forgotten them. Would going there now be nothing more than a token gesture?

    By the time she was done, the sun had already set.

    Maybe I should just go tomorrow. She thought, looking out apprehensively into the star-laden sky.

    But she had promised herself a long time ago, and there were so many things that she wanted to say.

    What are you so afraid of?

    The darkness.

    The Secret Place was where it had all started…where she had lost her heart. It was the last place that she could go knowing she’d never stepped foot in there while Sora was gone from her memory.

    That thought bolstered her resolve.

    That’s right. She thought. I have never been there without knowing him.

    For some reason that made her feel infinitely better; it made her feel hope that maybe thinks weren’t so irreversible after all. The urge to go there now tugged at her heart like an insistent child. She couldn’t sit still. So much to say.

    Don’t be afraid. Don’t stop walking…

    Decided, Kairi dug a candle and some matches out of her bag. She lit the candle, then tucked a couple of matches into her pocket, just in case. She stepped out into the balmy night air cautiously, relieved to see that most of the surroundings were at least dimly visible thanks to the light of the moon. Kairi made sure to mind the edge of the planks as she walked down.

    The Secret Place was cast completely in shadow. Kairi felt a chill and her pulse quickened with nerves-induced paranoia. What if this place had become something horrible- touched with an evil that could not be erased after a year of abandonment?

    And yet, to find it exactly as she remembered it was a prospect that was equally terrifying.

    Kairi trembled, but she managed to duck down into the dry, earthy tunnel. When the space opened up and she could stand properly again, she stopped.

    The candle cast its flickering light over the graffitied walls, familiar and yet strangely distorted by the meager flame, as the sun had done with the rest of the island.

    The result of dark and light thrown together is often distorted.

    There was another trait it shared with the rest of the island- the Secret Place looked seemingly untouched by time. The childish scribbles adorning the walls were snapshots of something long ago gone.

    She slowly ran her hand over a doodle that depicted her and Sora exchanging a paopu. She felt warm, and her hope flared with new light. Yes, it was a good idea to come here. Here there was no fear.

    This is where his voice echoes the loudest.

    “The last day I came here and left is the day you started to fade from my mind, Sora,†she said, her hand resting on the drawing of Sora’s face. “Are you mad? I probably would be.â€

    She shifted her weight to sit more comfortably and held the candle in both hands so that it cast a steady light on the wall. “Sorry I can’t camp in here. I wanted to, but Mom made me promise that I’d sleep in a place with a real roof on it. But, on the bright side, I know that I’ll be able to come over here more since summer vacation starts pretty soon. I’m glad for it too,†she continued happily, uncaring of how stupid it was to talk to a chalk drawing. “You’re lucky, Sora. You don’t have to do homework or sit through any boring classes. Ooh, when you get back, I bet you and Riku will be so far behind that you’ll have to be held back a grade! Then I’ll get to tutor you. I know you’ve probably forgot half the stuff you learned in school already, Sora, you lazy bum.â€

    How was it possible to feel so happy and so sad all at the same time?

    “No one thinks that you and Riku will ever come back, but I know that you will.†Kairi said softly.

    Our hearts are connected.

    But even if they did return, could things ever be the same? Probably not. They had clung to their childhood for too long, and it had been stripped away from them all at once. They were too old for this place now. Too experienced to dream the same dreams. They wouldn’t just hang out here again, scribbling on the walls and playing hide-and-seek. No more pretend battles fighting pretend danger.

    But why does that have to be? The child in her implored desperately. Why can’t we do the things we used to do?

    Just once. Just once, she wanted to run and laugh with them for no reason, to be silly and not care who saw. Even Riku had his moments when he seemed to forget about maintaining his “cool†façade and carried on with them when Sora came up with some harebrained scheme or Kairi wanted to play pretend.

    Of course, feelings like this are completely normal for people when they realize that they are growing up.

    Normal. It was all normal. Things hadn’t been normal for a long time! Why did this have to be the one exception?

    “Maybe…if we were together…I could bear it.†Kairi’s voice wavered. “Maybe I could see the fun and excitement of turning into a grown-up.†She gave a small laugh. “I wonder what Riku would say if he knew how sentimental I’m turning out to be.â€

    Where were they? What were they doing? The burning questions drove her crazy.

    “But you’ll both be back someday, I know. The two of you are pretty amazing. How many people can say they have friends like mine?â€

    She fell silent for a long moment, turning things over and over in her mind. She decided right then and there that if she ever got the chance to leave here again and find them, she’d do it and never look back. It didn’t matter what world they were on or how hopeless the situation seemed; as long as they were together, she could find happiness- and hope.

    “Well, I’d better be getting to bed.†Kairi stood up, brushing sand off of her. “I’m staying the weekend, so I’ll come here to do my homework after I do some exploring tomorrow.†She walked away, but stopped and turned at the entrance of the tunnel.

    “I’ll be thinking of you, wherever you are.†She whispered. Her eyes drifted over to the wooden door and that chill came over her again.

    Forcing her feet to move, Kairi left.

    Can they hear my voice still? I can only hope.

    Coming back to the treehouse, Kairi blew the candle out and settled down into her sleeping bag, holding on tight to her stuffed Chocobo and looking out the door into the starry sky. How infinite it seemed, how cold and untouchable. And yet, for a moment, she had touched it. She had traveled the worlds and scaled the distance, had seen all of those points of light dancing joyfully around her as they rose to return to the places where they belonged- just as she had returned here. But something was still missing…her friends. Two friends, and a star. Their faces had faded away- one shut behind a door, and one lost behind a blinding barrier of light. Gone.

    I’ll come back to you…I promise!

    “’Night Charlie.†Kairi said sleepily to her chocobo.

    She sank into a pool of warm, comforting light in her dreams.

    Kairi awoke to the sound of the sea and the bright sun streaming into the treehouse. Feeling blissfully warm and well-rested, she stretched with a lazy smile on her face.

    “Mm, that was a good sleep.†She said happily.

    She went over to her bag and pulled out some clothes- white shorts, a pink tank top, and a pair of white sandals. She walked out onto the balcony and breathed in the cool air deeply, letting it out in a slow sigh. The crystal-clear water was so beautiful this time of the morning. The same question she’d asked herself millions of times couldn’t help but make itself known just then.

    How could we have ever looked at all of this and seen anything less than paradise?

    Of course, it was easy to say that now…easy to forget how much they had thirsted for adventure, longed for other things. Even if it had just been a game for Sora and Kairi, it had been all too serious for Riku. He’d never doubted that he’d find a way out, and when the day came, he had plunged into the darkness without hesitation. But then, that whole day had had a steel, mechanical feel to it. They were all on time, perfectly placed as if they had been born for the sole purpose of enduring that disaster. Romantic notions such as destiny had always been a part of Kairi’s girlish daydreams- but when it was their lives being torn apart, it somehow lost its appeal.

    “Be careful what you wish for, right?†Kairi said softly. She put her hands over her heart and closed her eyes. She tried to remember what it was like to literally be a part of Sora; tried to recall that sense of ease. It was a lot like being at home, she realized- safe and warm and somehow completely certain that everything was all right no matter how near the danger lurked.

    It felt sometimes that everything in their lives had been parallel to their destiny. Through all the years, it had been the same. Her two friends had always helped her, each in his own way. If she was having a bad day, Sora would be there with his cheesy grin to cheer her up. If someone ever picked on her at school, Riku was there with his cool gaze to make them back off. And then, when everything had happened, destiny had appointed Riku the guardian of her body, and Sora the keeper of her heart.

    What now, now that everything was over? What happened on this side of a destiny fulfilled? Shouldn’t they have returned by now? She couldn’t help but feel that something awful was happening.

    Right. Job well done, here’s you a pat on the back, enjoy your free trip home?

    Did she honestly think that it could be that simple? After all, she had been sent home as easily as she’d been snatched away, because her part had been done. That meant that Riku and Sora were still needed.

    Kairi opened her eyes.

    “I think I’ll go fishing in the cove today.†She said, dimly aware that she just might be developing a habit of talking to herself.

    Kairi walked slowly toward the cove, fishing pole on her shoulder and nibbling on a cold chicken biscuit. She’d decided to leaver her sandals behind, and the still-cool sand felt lovely on her feet.

    She walked comfortably, humming a little tune, until she walked through the wooden door that opened into the cove. Here she paused for a moment, a sad shadow flickering momentarily over her eyes. She could almost hear the laughs and shouts.

    “I’ll race you!â€

    Stuffing the last bite of biscuit into her mouth, Kairi dashed off, jumping where appropriate, her bare feet slapping against the wooden boards. Ignoring the ladder, she jumped down into the sea, the crisp, cold water splashing her legs. Tossing the fishing rod onto the beach for later, Kairi scrambled up the path and the jumping rocks, tagged the giant star, then hopped across the palm trees to run back to the starting line. When she got there, the unexpected run made her feel as if her lungs would burst- she fell back panting, laughing, and crying all at once.

    After awhile she settled down and lay back on the dirt, just breathing. She felt a clean sort of tiredness, as if something poisonous had been bled out of her.

    “Did I win?†she whispered to the sky.

    She stared up at the puffy clouds drifting lazily by and listened to the rush of the ocean for a while before getting up and walking around to where her pole lay on the beach, wading in up to her knees to bypass the obstacle course. Since the moment she had landed on the island, Kairi had been infected with a strange mood. She couldn’t even begin to describe it to herself.

    The pole was a simple one, little more than a stick with some string and a hook tied to the end. There was to bait.

    “Maybe it’s hopeless…I’ve never been that good at fishing, anyway.â€

    Kairi thought for a moment, then decided to abandon the pole and walk out into the water. The fish around here were very friendly, and she knew that if she stood still long enough, they would come.

    Sure enough, as she stood in the shallows, feeling the slight ebb and pull of the water, a couple of fish came to nibble curiously at her toes. She watched one intensely, just below the surface of the crystalline water.

    It was so close-! Following the impulse, she dived for it quick as lightning, creating a huge splash and catching…nothing.

    Kairi looked in astonishment at her empty hands and the equally empty water around her. She was so sure that she’d had it…

    “How did Sora always do this?†she muttered. He had always made it look so easy.

    Since she was already thoroughly soaked by now, Kairi turned around and sank backwards into the water. She spread out her arms and floated lightly on its surface, gently rising and falling with it.

    “I’ve kinda got out of shape over all this time.†She said thoughtfully, pushing herself around the shallows with her feet to feel the liquidy coolness slither around her. “I need to exercise more if I want to be of any help to you later on.â€

    It seemed like she hadn’t run or even swam much…or done much at all besides go through all the motions of life. A mechanical existence. How could she have not seen it before now?

    Ah, but she had known that something was missing, at least- Sora’s voice. That was something that she always knew was important, even if she didn’t know why. The true memories of the heart can never be forgotten. Vaguely Kairi wondered if the memories of her heart would have shown themselves if she had made this trip earlier.

    Better late than never. She needed this break from the stranger’s life she’d suddenly found herself in. After she had remembered everything, it had been an odd experience to go back home to her room to find none of the traces of her former life as Sora’s friend still left. All of the old photographs, notes passed in class, little treasures from the beach… it was all gone. Back then she’d felt terribly confused, uncertain for the first time since she regained the memories if they were real or not. But how could she have just imagined Sora? She had heard his voice in her heart, right? That couldn’t have been a dream.

    The more and more old memories came back to her, the more convinced Kairi had become that it was all real, like a story unfolding slowly within her heart. She would become anxious - what will happen in the next episode? - and when it was finally revealed what had happened to Sora and the reason why he and Riku were no longer with her, she had cried. She cried and cried and stayed in her room and her parents had let her miss school because she was sick. It all played over and over in her mind like a tape recording- nothing could ever stop the torment, the guilt.

    Don’t ever forget- no matter where you go, I’m always with you.

    Don’t ever forget.

    Don’t forget.

    I’ll come back to you- I promise!

    “I know you will.†Kairi said quietly, snapping back into the present. What were promises, other than fragile bits of paper that could be torn and scattered to the wind? Memories were even more breakable. Dreams and reality were equally valid; the truth was only perspective.

    I gotta stop thinking like this.

    “That’s right. I can’t start doubting now.†She said, paddling her feet in the water so that she drifted in a lazy circle. “If I lose hope now, everything that happened- even all I went through living the memories again- would have been meaningless.â€

    This was one reason that she’d needed to get away. This island gave her something solid to hold onto- something she could touch and see and comprehend better than the fleeting memories that sometimes trickled like water in her hands or flooded and overwhelmed her. Here she could confirm the memories as fact. She could make peace with them.

    Kairi rolled over and stared down into the water, touching the sand and digging into it with her fingers. She’d been told not to open her eyes underwater in the ocean, but she always did it anyway and no harm ever seemed to come from it. The submerged sand was gooey and pleasing to the touch- she took a clump of it in her hand and let it spill out and crumble onto the back of her other hand, a tickling feeling like a brush of warm air. The mud always seemed to have that mysterious warmth to it, like the earth was a living being whose hair you moved your fingers through.

    Kairi brushed her hands off underwater and stood up to breathe, absently pulling her hair back and squeezing some of the water from it. She had paddled herself all the way back to the main seashore, and now she walked out of the waist-deep shallows and up to the fresh pool. This water was colder and came up to just past her ankles. Bracing herself, Kairi stepped under the shower of fresh water. She winced- she hated cold- but bore it the best she could while shaking out her hair, trying to rinse as much salt from it and her clothes as possible.

    I should probably get to work on that assignment pretty soon. She thought reluctantly.

    Shivering, she walked back up to the treehouse, leaving footprints of caked sand on the wooden boards. She drew a pink fluffy beach towel from her bag and hastily dried off with it, warmth returning to her as the water was whisked off her skin. She then draped the towel around her shoulders and tied it like a cape to prevent any icy drips from her hair down her back. Instantly that same childlike impulse came over her again.

    “Super Kairi!†she declared, pumping her fist into the air in a heroic pose.

    Her stomach rumbled.

    “Huh?†Kairi looked outside and saw that the sun was much higher in the sky than it had been the last time she checked. She hadn’t realized just how much time had passed when she was drifting along in a daydream on the water.

    “Okay. Lunch first, then homework.â€

    Happy to have found a good excuse to feed her newly-found procrastination skills, Kairi zipped up her bag and hoisted it onto her shoulder, deciding to just bring it down to the beach with her rather than pick out all the stuff she would need and still possibly forget something.

    Smiling cheerfully around at the palm trees in sheer, aimless content, Kairi walked around and down to the beach to make a fire. After setting down her bag, she cleared out a small circle of sand and lined it with a few rocks. She didn’t have to go far to find some sticks, and she arrived back at the clearing with an armful, she dumped them out onto the ground and arranged some of the smaller ones into a teepee-shaped structure that sat inside the little hollow she’d created.

    Tearing a sheet of paper from her notebook, Kairi lit the end of it with a match and stuck it hopefully among the sticks. It took a couple of tries, but eventually one of the smaller twigs caught fire and before long Kairi was nursing a tiny blaze, gently giving it oxygen and feeding it a few more twigs until it was strong enough to catch hold of one of the bigger sticks.

    Confident that it wasn’t going to splutter out in the next few seconds, Kairi retrieved some utensils and a small circular grill, as well as a pack of instant ramen. Carefully she set the grill over the fire, propped up by a couple of bigger tocks. Humming, she added a few more sticks to the fire and went to fill her pot with water.

    Staring into the fire waiting for the water to boil, Kairi’s mind started to wander. This was where the kids had pitched their tents the first time they’d been allowed to stay by themselves overnight on the island. They’d made a campfire, much like this one, and spent the time after dark huddled around it, peering nervously into the darkness every now and again. Unfazed, Riku and Tidus had not made it any easier on the rest by animatedly telling ghost stories, Riku dictating the tales and Tidus demonstrating the wails, cries, and faces of the monsters and their victims. Kairi had sat in wide-eyed fear with the others, Sora shivering silently beside her. The ocean had added its own gusts of cool air at appropriate moments, sighing through the trees and tickling the backs of their necks.

    Kairi blinked; the water was coming to a boil. Hastily she took the ramen from its package and dropped it in the bubbling water, making it still for a moment before the bubbles started rising up again. She poked the ramen underwater and stirred it absently every once in awhile, her mind still lagging slightly behind.

    Will we ever share moments like that again?

    If she had her say in it, they definitely would. Kairi was just about sick of having to depend on old memories. She wanted new ones. If it wasn’t for the fact that all of those old ones had just been rehashed in her mind, time could have already reclaimed a lot of the details. In another year, would she even care, or would she have just moved on with her life? Academics would be her foremost concern by then, and her remaining time probably wouldn’t consist of having a social life with imaginary friends.


    Kairi recoiled inwardly at even going there. The idea that she could just willingly let Riku and Sora fade away seemed horrible and unforgivable. She could never forget them. Never!

    And yet, that’s what you have done. A small voice in the corner of her mind whispered- a nasty creature known as guilt, born from that little bit of darkness in the heart. And, face it, you were happier that way. Forget them, and you won’t need them anymore.

    Kairi shook her head. Sure, it was painful to remember now. But having to see Sora’s face when he realized she forgot him would be much more painful.

    I just have to believe. She reminded herself.

    Instead of musing on these dark thoughts, a better use of her time would be to think up all the stuff they would do when Riku and Sora got back. First on the list would have to be a nice long conversation, perhaps around a campfire beneath the stars like the years before.

    Feeling slightly more optimistic, Kairi finished preparing the now-cooked ramen and took a steaming bowl full with her to the Secret Place to work on her homework. She felt better, but luckily not to the point of silliness, and she knew that she really ought to get a start on that work.

    “Hello!†Kairi greeted brightly as she ducked into the cool, dry cave. “Told you I’d come back today, even though I have to work while I’m here. It’s not so bad, though- it’s just Literature, and that’s one of my best subjects.â€

    She untied the towel from around her neck now that her hair was dry and spread it out for her to sit cross-legged on. That done, she sat down and flipped to a blank sheet of paper in her notebook.

    “We’re reading this book in class right now.†Kairi said, thumbing through a thin paperback. “It’s not very long but it goes along with the unit we’re in about stories that were passed down orally long before someone wrote them down. We have to write our responses to chapter ten.â€

    She fell silent as she found her place and began to read, taking notes here and there. It took her about twenty minutes to read the chapter- then she closed the book with a small contented smile before tearing a leaf from the notebook, set her pen to paper, and started to write.

    “I like this story.†Kairi commented, pausing in her writing for a moment to check back on a paragraph, “It’s about a world that got split in half a long time ago into two separate worlds. The story starts out talking about a little girl from one world and a little boy from the other. The boy’s parents were historians that studied the world’s past, and he often dreamed of battle and adventure from those days. Things take a sad turn when his family is killed because of the secrets they found, but he escapes and runs away to the region of the world that still lived in the old ways that he dreamed about. Meanwhile, we learn that the girl is heir to the throne on her world, but because she is mute, her mother has her banished. Running though the woods, she unknowingly goes through a portal that leads her to a forest in the other world. There she meets a kind monk that raises her and she eventually learns how to speak under his kind supervision (she also learns about the world that she had stumbled into). The years pass and the boy and girl grow up, and chapter ten is where they first meet.†Kairi gave a dreamy smile. “It’s so cute, you just know they’re going to end up together. I wonder how he’s going to react when he finds out she’s a princess from another world?â€

    Of course, her musings received no answer. Regardless, Kairi scribbled away on her chapter response in good cheer, feeling somewhat relieved that the assignment wasn’t so tedious after all. She paused every once in awhile to chew thoughtfully on a mouthful of ramen before going back to it. It wasn’t long before Kairi had her required page-long chapter response complete.

    “Well, that was pathetically easy.†She said, tucking the paper back into her notebook and standing up to gather her things. “Maybe I should get a heads-up on the story and read ahead to the next chapter…â€

    Deciding on that as her next course of action, Kairi put her notebook, towel, and cooking equipment (after washing it) into her bag. Grudgingly, she dragged her stuff back up to the treehouse as well.

    Finally, she settled down with her book, choosing to sit out on the dock. She turned to chapter eleven and began to read.

    She could hear a musical sound floating through the dark and foreboding wood- a song, traceless and enchantingly beautiful. It drifted teasingly close and then away again, making it ever impossible to grasp, but beckoning, marked with a sweet sort of sadness… sadness converted into pure sound and fleeting words, whispers of something incomprehensible that long ago was lost. It lured her, called her into its embrace so subtly that it was soon intertwined all around her, pulling at her heart. “Danger†her logic warned, but it was a voice all too faint in the midst of that lingering beauty…

    Kairi gave a wistful sigh and lay back on the dock, keeping the book open on her chest. She liked to read this way- taking in a little then sitting back for a moment to let the words and images wash over her. She liked the way this story made her feel- as if she was really in an enchanted land. Kairi looked up.

    The sea whooshed in and out at its usual rhythm. Clouds drifted overhead. Its color was so blue, its depths as fathomless as the ocean. The calm of the surroundings and the warmth of the sun felt so peaceful and serene as Kairi…closed…her eyes…and…

    “I didn’t want to just forget about you, Sora. I couldn’t.â€

    “Kairi, even if we’re apart, we’re not alone anymore. Right?â€

    “…I can’t help out?â€

    “I’ll come back to you- I promise!â€

    You once returned all of the stars to their rightful place in the night sky. For a feat so extraordinary, its joy is somehow paled by the thought of one single star, still lost.


    When Kairi opened her eyes, the world outside was dark. Jerking up in surprise and confusion, she quickly realized she’d fallen asleep. It was impossible to tell for how long, though. It had to have been a while, since it was already night. There was no way she’d be able to sleep through until the morning now! How irritating. She’d lost a lot of time, and it was too dark to even read.

    “What made me do that?†Kairi wondered, rubbing her head with a yawn. Her brain felt heavy and sluggish from too much sleep. Sighing, she stood up, noticing a slight stiffness of her shoulders. Lifting her arms experimentally, Kairi winced as a hot pain flared up. She touched her shoulders gingerly and the pain became less sharp, but it still throbbed gently. She could feel the heat radiating from her skin. Any wrong twist pulled at the raw area and inspired bursts of extreme pain.

    “Ow ow ow ow ow…†Kairi moaned, hissing as the other pains all over happily joined the party and made themselves known. Her arms, her legs, her face, and her shoulders were all scorched. Her face felt the worst, though- it was throbbing at every little twitch and probably coated in a shiny red.

    She walked stiffly up to the treehouse, put her book away, and flopped down onto her sleeping bag (a course of action she soon sorely regretted) but it was no use- she was wide-awake by now, and the tingling pain all over wasn’t going to let her rest anytime soon.

    Just great. Mom’s going to laugh at me so hard when I get back, especially after she specifically reminded me to pack sunscreen.

    Desperate for relief, Kairi sat up and shuffled over to her bag to see if there was anything at all that could be of use in there. Of course, being the one who had packed the bag, she knew perfectly well that there was nothing. Still, one does hope.

    When her search turned up empty, Kairi sighed and shuffled back, this time gently easing down onto her sleeping bag. It seemed like the only parts of her not burned were the undersides of her arms, the back of her legs, and everything covered with clothing. She was exceedingly lucky that she hadn’t been wearing the swimsuit she’d packed. She moved her foot a little and her heel brushed against the cool floor, sending cold and hot chills racing over her. The slight nausea wasn’t helping much either.

    I guess I’d better go home once it’s morning. Kairi thought reluctantly. She felt ill and the thought of rowing back home with her sore shoulders was not particularly appealing, but since she would have to go home tomorrow anyway, it would be best to go early in the morning before the sun rose too high in the sky. But more than that, she didn’t want to leave. It felt like she hadn’t got to do all she wanted to do, say all she wanted to say.

    That’s okay. I’ll come back again. Again and again, until they come home…or until I find a way to bring them home.

    It didn’t matter what anyone else said or thought.

    After all, I’d be a fool not to see the worth of following my heart by now, wouldn’t I?

    It would be strange, though, to go back there and settle back into her life that was devoid of her two friends.

    I’ll have to be strong. Compared to what they’ve had to endure, tolerating a few people who think I’m crazy is nothing.

    Kairi closed her eyes and breathed deeply, relaxing in an attempt to keep as still as possible so that none of the sore places rubbed against cloth. Occasionally she shivered.

    That was how Kairi remained, waiting for dawn. She had been right in guessing that she wouldn’t be able to fall asleep, but after awhile her mind sank into a kind of peace where she could look up at the ceiling for a long time and not get bored- not even think much of anything at all. Sometimes a half-formed daydream floated across her mind- her mom’s reaction at her crispy state, discussion of chapter 10 on Monday, Sora laughing at her for the number of times she’d scolded him for falling asleep in the sun…

    She had no measure of how much time it eventually took, but somewhere in the silent hours the sky began to lighten. Kairi didn’t notice the change consciously until she realized she could see details on the trees outside. Torn between comfort and restlessness, Kairi lay for a little longer before carefully getting up, wincing when any wrong move resulted in shooting pain. She felt stiffer than ever, and a little itchy, too. Unhurriedly, she rolled up her sleeping bag and stuffed it into the duffel. Kairi thought briefly about pulling out a change of clothes, but decided against it when she thought of how painful it would be to change right now.

    When I get home, I’m going to take a nice cool shower, wash my hair, and slather on some aloe lotion. Kairi thought, dragging her bag down to the dock (there was no way she was going to carry it over her shoulder,) And then I’ll find something to do to pass the time- inside.

    By the time Kairi loaded her bag into the boat, the sky was noticeably lighter and rapidly becoming more so. She still had the time, though, to have a little breakfast. One of the island’s fresh coconuts felt like just the thing. So, after pulling her boat most of the way onto the shore to keep it ready for departure, Kairi walked out to the cove where the small patch of coconut trees grew.

    “Argh! Come on!â€

    Kairi had attempted to shake several trees- without much success. Finally she kicked one (she had her shoes on this time out) but nothing happened. Time away from the island had seriously diminished her skill at living off of it…or was it simply because she’d always get Sora to fetch everything for her? She slightly regretted that now.

    Sighing, Kairi sat down, minding her sunburns. She looked around as if searching for an answer, and just happened to glance past the coconut trees over to the little hollow in the cove’s rock wall where edible mushrooms could often be found. But it wasn’t the thought of food that made Kairi’s gaze catch in that one spot.

    Standing up, Kairi walked over to it curiously and bent down to look in. No, it wasn’t a trick of the light. Inside the hollow was a small wooden box.

    Kairi felt her heart speed up with an excitement that she couldn’t quite explain. Had this been here yesterday? She couldn’t remember. Sand spilled off the top of it as she pulled it out, but the box itself didn’t look old or weather-worn at all. Kairi stood up with it and ran her fingers over its dark, polished surface. The lid was engraved with a gold outline in the shape of a crown.

    Below that, there was a tiny keyhole.

    Kairi tried to open the box, but to no avail…it was locked.

    Feeling disappointed at such a damper on her exciting discovery, she crouched down and rooted around inside the hollow. She just knew that she was meant to open this box! She only had to find the…


    Kairi pulled her hand out with a triumphant grin, the small silver key in her grasp winking in the light.


    She put the key into the keyhole, and it fit perfectly. She turned it, and heard a small click.


    When she lifted the lid, she couldn’t believe the treasure she found inside. Folded notes, doodles, pretty shells and polished stones…all of the missing physical evidence of Sora, Kairi, and Riku’s friendship. She slowly picked up a faded photograph. It was the three of them right before Kairi’s first day of school on Destiny Islands. Her younger self looked terrified; Sora was on the left giving his trademark grin; even Riku was smiling, standing on her right. The way they stood beside her spoke of unwavering support. Kairi could remember how grateful she had been that they were never far away from her that day, in that whirlwind of new faces and experiences.

    She put the photo back with a soft smile and suddenly noticed something etched into the inside of the lid. She lifted the lid up vertically so she could see what it was, once again wondering if she could have noticed that there before.

    This time it was not a symbol she saw engraved into the wood, but words.

    Thank Naminé.

    “Thank…who?†Kairi wondered, but she smiled- her heart felt so warm with an inexplicable joy just then that she couldn’t help it.

    Come to think of it, hadn’t she heard that name somewhere be-

    “Kairi- there you are!â€

    Kairi gave a huge start and cry of surprise, slamming the lid of the box down and pinching her finger. She turned around quickly, half expecting the voice to have just been her imagination- but, of course, it wasn’t. It was Selphie, very real and giving her a quizzical look.

    “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you.†She said, walking closer. “I just came to see how you were doing and maybe hang out for a little…whoa, Kairi!†Selphie’s eyes widened as she got a good look at her friend. “What in the world happened to you? Your face is sunburned really bad.â€

    “Yeah, I fell asleep out in the sun.†Kairi said, struggling to get her nerves to settle down. “I was actually about to go back home since I’ve been feeling a little sick.â€

    “Yeah, you should probably do that. Gosh, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it so bad! I wish there was enough room in my boat so you could ride back…but I’ll take your bag with me so it’ll be a little easier for you.â€

    Kairi smiled under the barrage of concern and walked beside Selphie back to the seashore, relieved that she hadn’t questioned what Kairi was doing or even seem to notice the small wooden box she held in her hands.

    The bonfire cracked, blazing hot and bright against the velvety night sky. To anyone it would have seemed like a perfectly ordinary event; a group of teenagers hanging out on the beach. But lately, the simplest of things had become the most precious to them. Kairi hugged her knees to herself and soaked in the fire’s warmth, pure happiness running through her as she watched the conversation going around the fire. For the hundredth time, she looked from one person to another and silently mouthed a disbelieving roll call.

    Selphie…Tidus…Wakka…Sora and Riku.

    “So, Kairi?â€

    She was suddenly brought into the conversation she’d been hearing but not listening to.


    “What do you wanna do? This bonfire thing was your idea, yah?â€

    Kairi grinned. “Let’s play hide and seek!â€

    “What? Are you kidding me?†Riku said in a tone that was so thoroughly Riku-like that Kairi couldn’t help but laugh.

    “That’s right!†she said. “You guys haven’t got to have any fun in who-knows-how long, and I want to play hide and seek again. Just this once…please?â€

    “Fun is one thing, but…†Wakka muttered. “I shouldn’t have asked.â€

    “And Wakka’s It.†Kairi said, sticking out her tongue.

    “…You know what? Fine!â€

    There was a pause.

    Wakka gave an aggravated sigh and covered his eyes. “1,2,3,4…â€

    Everyone looked at each other for a second- then dashed off in different directions. The decision to play along was as spontaneous as it was planned. It was another one of those moments that felt like they always knew would happen, and now that it was, there was more to be happy about than anything. Kairi stifled her giggles as she ran as quietly as possible to the first place she thought of (or, rather, the second- her first impulse was to go to the Secret Place, but she knew that would be one of the first spot checked) the treehouse where she’d stayed the weekend here before. She didn’t much like the idea of not have anywhere to run, but at least it gave good cover and she’d be able to hear anyone coming. It being so dark inside, it was much easier to see out of it that into it.

    Right. If Wakka comes, he won’t be able to see me, so I’ll just have to be quiet until he leaves. Kairi strategized, curling up on the wooden floor.

    The version of the game played on Destiny Islands was exciting and allowed for a lot of movement. Truthfully, it was closer to being like Tag than hide and seek. Whoever the seeker found first would run, and if they got tagged, then it was their turn to be It. They then had to close their eyes and give the person who tagged them enough time to get away before resuming the game. However, the new tagger wasn’t required to announce themselves, so things could get interesting after enough time. Poor Sora had never been terribly adept at the game…he was too restless to stay in one spot for very long, and Riku had never failed to tag him whenever he was It because he could always convince Sora that they were on the same side. And whenever Sora did hide, he never chose a very good spot. Kairi wondered if he had fallen for the pitfall of going to the (not so) Secret Place. It was probably pretty likely. Kairi knew she’d seen Riku running off toward the shack…

    She stiffened suddenly as the wooden boards outside creaked quietly. She held her breath, listening. Someone was coming! A dark shadow came in front of the door, blotting out the dim sky. Kairi tensed…then relaxed in relief. The spiky-haired silhouette was unmistakable. He looked around furtively before ducking inside.

    “Sora?†Kairi whispered, a silent laugh in her voice.

    He jumped and turned to where he’d heard her voice coming from. He came a little closer, holding his hands out blindly to avoid bumping into the walls. Kairi, whose eyes were well adjusted to the dark, pulled him down by his shirt when he got close enough.

    “Sorry Sora, but this is my spot. You scared me! I thought you were Wakka.â€

    “Come on, Kairi!†Sora managed to whine in a whisper, “I can’t go back out there now- I’m really sure he saw me just a second ago!â€

    “What! You’re gonna lead him here! Shoo!â€

    “Wait-! If he comes, I’ll take the tag for you! How about that?â€

    Kairi thought about it for a moment. “Hm…okay.â€

    They sat in silence for a few minutes, Sora’s eyes slowly adjusting to the dark enough that he could see Kairi beside him and the features of her face.

    “Hey.†He said suddenly.

    Kairi turned toward him. “What?â€

    “Life’s kinda weird, isn’t it?†he grinned. “Just a week ago we were fighting for our lives against a group of people with no hearts. And now we’re back home, dropped back into our regular old live€œWell…that’s what I used to feel like.†Kairi said slowly, absently tugging at a thread on her skirt. “But then Axel showed up and in the blink of an eye, everything changed again. I think that as long as you have the Keyblade, times like this are going to be rare moments of rest.â€

    Sadness settled on them like a bird gently folding its wings. Kairi instantly regretted putting a damper on things with her bout of rare pessimism. That’s not what they needed now.

    “I remember when we used to play this game before.†Sora said quietly. “Riku would always trick me into getting tagged. I’d like to think that I’ve gotten smarter now, though!â€

    His tone made Kairi stifle a laugh, magically dispelling the small guilt. Sora gave a small smile as he watched her, her shoulders shaking but no sound emerging. Without thinking, without even realizing what he was doing before it was too late, Sora leaned in and kissed her.

    Kairi stilled in surprise but did not resist; Sora’s lips lingered on hers for a second before his consciousness kicked back in and he quickly backed away, his face burning so badly he thought it might fry his brain.

    “S-sorry…†he spluttered. “I…um…I don’t know what made me….â€

    Kairi, who had momentarily forgotten how to breathe, turned her head to hide her own blushing face (true, it was too dark to see anyway, but she wasn’t quite thinking straight at the moment) and felt like laughing aloud at the sheer joy bubbling up inside of her.

    “That’s okay…I didn’t mind.†She said shyly.

    “Well, that’s good.†Sora said with a sheepish grin, scratching his head. “Cause you’re It now.â€
  2. Rosey Chaser

    Apr 15, 2007
    I love it!!!!!!!!!! You should keep on writting. ur a great writter with great descrpitors. Keep up the good work!:)
  3. Person Destiny Islands Resident

    Feb 7, 2007
    thanks ^_^ so any suggestions? any thing that could explain the fact that i only have one review on fanfic.net? should i split it into two or more chapters?