Things were quiet in Traverse Town; everyone was just going about their business. But just then, the big wooden entrance gates slowly creaked open and three individuals stepped through. It was the trio of Sora, Donald and Goofy who had just gotten back from Neverland after sealing the Keyhole and obtaining a new navi-gummi. As the trio of companions walked along the streets of Traverse Town, they couldn’t help but feel excited. They had visited many worlds, fought many enemies and found clues that were leading them closer to finding what they were looking for. Now that they had this new gummi piece, they couldn’t help but tremble with excitement thinking that they were finally reaching the end of their long quest.
“Well, we did it,” Sora said, reaching into his pocket and pulling out the new navi-gummi, “we finally found the second half to that other navi-gummi.”
“Yeah,” Donald said, “but it sure wasn’t easy, that’s for sure. I think that Captain Hook guy might’ve taken off a few of my tail feathers with that sword of his.”
“Oh, don’t worry, Donald, they’ll grow back,” Goofy said as he chuckled seeing Donald’s stubby bare tail. Donald shook his head and crossed his arms with an agitated look on his face.
“Come on, you guys,” Sora beckoned, “we’ve got to get this to Cid so he can install it on our ship. Besides, if you two continue to argue like this, you’ll never find your king.”
Goofy and Donald looked to their new friend and quickly followed after him. In fact, they were so excited about getting the gummi installed that they actually ran past Sora. Sora was about to run after them, when he suddenly stopped and remembered what his friend, Riku, had said the last time they met in the belly of Monstro and when they encountered each other on Captain Hook’s ship.
Kairi, I promise I’ll save you, Sora thought as he looked down at the navi-gummi. I won’t let anything or anyone get in my way. Not the Heartless, not Maleficent, not even Riku will stop me! You are the only person I really need. Sora continued to stare at the gummi piece before he was finally snapped out of his train of thought.
“Sora, come on!” Donald yelled.
“We need to get that gummi block to Cid right away!” Goofy yelled.
“Coming!” Sora answered before he stuffed the gummi back into his pocket.
Sora and his friends eventually got to Cid’s gummi block store where they gave him the new gummi piece.
“Well, well, nice job boys,” Cid complimented as he took the new gummi block from Sora, “I see you finally found the second half of the other navi-gummi piece. I’ll put the little bugger together and install it on your ship right away.
“Thanks Cid,” Donald said, “we really appreciate it.”
Cid gave a quick little salute to the trio before he headed to install the navi-gummi, leaving Sora, Donald and Goofy all alone.
“Well, what we do know?” Goofy asked.
“It’s going to take Cid some time before he installs the navi-gummi,” Sora said, “so why don’t explore Traverse Town a little. There’s got to be some places we haven’t seen yet.”
“Hey, why don’t we go see Merlin,” Donald said, “We could brush up on our magic!”
“That’s a great idea Donald!” Sora said. “Come on guys, let’s…let’s…” Sora suddenly began to feel drowsy. “Hey…what’s going…on?”
Sora’s vision suddenly became blurry and he found it hard to stand up. The last thing he remembered was Donald and Goofy running towards him. They were yelling something, but Sora was unable to hear it. He just simply fell to the ground and fell into a deep sleep…
It was so quiet; Sora couldn’t hear a thing, not even the sound of the air gently blowing across his face. As Sora slept, completely unconscious, he found himself surrounded by nothing but pure white.
What’s going on? Sora thought. Where am I?
Just then, a whole bunch of images of all the people Sora had met on his travels began to appear around him-like Tarzan, Hercules and Peter Pan.
“Hey, what are you guys doing here?” Sora asked but got not reply. Although, strangely enough, it didn’t really bother him at all.
At first, Sora began to remember all the fun things he did with all of his friends; that is until he looked towards the back of the group and saw someone he thought he’d never see again. It was Kairi, just standing there with the same gentle smile she had on everyday since Sora knew her.
“Kairi…is it really you?” Sora asked as he walked past all of his other friends, not even noticing that they disappeared whenever he walked by them. “I don’t how, but I just know it’s you. Kairi, I finally found you!” Sora then broke into a run, darting straight for Kairi. He was just about reach her, when a mysterious figure wearing a black coat popped up right in front of Sora, blocking him from Kairi.
“Who are you!?” Sora demanded, clenching his fist. The figure said nothing; the only thing he did was raise his hand and made some kind of sword appear in it. “I don’t know who you are, but don’t get in my way. Cause if you do…” Sora then summoned the Keyblade. “…I’ll cut you down where you stand!”
The figure said nothing; he just raised his sword in a ready stance and faced Sora down.
“Okay, you asked for it!”
Sora then charged forward at the figure, which made no move to even stop Sora’s advance. In fact, the figure did not move until cut right through him in a single. When he cut through the figure, he didn’t notice the coat fall off, revealing white hair or the yellow shirt…nor did he care. The only thing that mattered to right now was the girl in front of him and he wasn’t going to let anything stop him now. Sora was about several inches away from Kairi when suddenly she disappeared in a flash just like Sora’s friends had done earlier. Sora didn’t know what to say or do; he wanted to scream, but the lump in his throat made that impossible. Just when Sora’s despair had reached its peak, the ground beneath him suddenly started to crack until it finally gave way.
Sora then found himself falling through an abyss of darkness. But he made no effort to try anything; with his heart as broken as it was at that moment, the darkness almost seemed comforting. So Sora just let himself continue to fall as he fell until he finally blacked out…
Sora wasn’t sure what happened next. But as he started to come to, he could’ve sworn he heard something that sounded familiar.
As Sora started to regain consciousness, he recognized the sound immediately; it was the sound of waves lapping against the shore. Sora then felt a cool breeze blow across his face, one that carried the familiar scent of seawater. When he tried to move his hand, he felt something underneath it, something that felt like sand. So, to make sure he was right, Sora closed his hand, lifted it into the air and opened his fingers. As he did, he could feel the cool grains slip through and fall onto the ground.
None of this was making any sense; waves crashing, a cool breeze carrying the scent of seawater and sand. All of these clues pointed to one thing: Sora was on a beach of some kind. But how could that be? Traverse Town had no beach of its own. Sora began to open his eyes slowly, for it was very bright and sunny…
Wait, it’s sunny, Sora thought, but it’s always night in Traverse Town. What’s going on here?
Sora finally stood up and rubbed his eyes. When he opened them again, he was shocked by what he saw. He was no longer in Traverse Town anymore, he was on a beach. But he wasn’t on just any other beach; he was on the Destiny Islands, his home! He had made it back-and everything was in its place; the Papou tree, the dock, the shack, everything was back right where it was. Sora couldn’t believe it, so pinched both his cheeks hard to make sure he wasn’t dreaming and sure enough, he could feel the stinging on his face. This was no dream, he was really home. Sora couldn’t think of anything to say, so excitement said it for him.
“YAHOO!” Sora cried to the sky, “I’m finally home! I made it! Woohoo!” He then began to dance around in the same spot for several minutes before he became fatigued and had to stop. “Oh man, this is incredible, I finally made it back! I’d better get home; mom and dad are probably worried about me.”
Sora started to head for the dock, when he suddenly halted and looked out to sea. Now, it was true that Sora’s island was far from the mainland, but every time he looked out he could always see it as clear as day. But when Sora looked out this time, he saw absolutely nothing on the horizon. Sora rubbed his eyes thinking that the sun was still playing tricks on him. But when he looked again, the mainland was nowhere in sight. Sora started to panic so he raced towards the little dock where he and his friends would park their boats. But when he got there, the dock was completely vacant, not a single boat was there. That is when Sora finally realized that was something was missing besides the mainland.
Where is everybody? Sora thought as he started to shake in fear. Where are all my friends? Wakka, Tidus, Selphie…KAIRI!
That one little thought of Kairi was more than enough to get Sora up and running. He started to bolt all over the island, looking for any trace of Kairi-he run from the dock to the other end of the beach three times without tiring. He then searched every nook and cranny of the island he could think of. But when he went to search the secret place at the base of the big tree, he had found no trace of Kairi at all. That was when Sora started to feel depressed and slumped up against the cave wall. He then looked over and saw the drawing he had made before the darkness had come, the one where he was sharing the Papou with Kairi.
Where are you? Sora asked as a tear trickled down his cheek. You’re the only one I really need…so why can’t I find you?
Sora started to feel really down, when he suddenly thought of something that made his hair stand on end.
Wait a minute! Sora thought, Maybe the reason I can’t find anyone is because this is so kind of trick done by the Heartless. Yeah, that’s got to be it…well; they aren’t going to get me so easily!
Sora quickly took his fighting stance and waved his hand to call for the Keyblade. But it didn’t come! So Sora tried again and again, but nothing; somehow, he was no longer able to summon the Keyblade anymore. Sora knew the Heartless couldn’t possibly pull of something like that, which meant that this empty world wasn’t a Heartless trap at all. But if that was the case, then where was Kairi.
Slowly, but surely, depression settled into Sora’s mood again and he slumped like a beaten dog; he was so sad, that he trudged through the cave all the way out into the sunlight. He continued to drag himself like this until he reached the paopu tree, where he slumped down on to the ground and pulled his knees in as if to comfort himself.
“Kairi, where are you?” Sora whispered to himself. He was practically on the verge of tears, when he suddenly heard a voice on the wind, a very familiar voice calling his name.
The voice sounded like a distant echo, so Sora just assumed it was his ears playing tricks on him and so he ignored. But then the voice came, this time louder and clearer than before.
“Kairi,” Sora said, excitement on the edge of his voice, “Kairi, is it really you? KAIRI!!!”
With renewed vigor, Sora leapt from his perch and began to frantically search for a sign of Kairi. Sora looked for several long minutes but he finally spotted Kairi, standing out in the water in the distance. His heart skipped a beat--he had finally found her at last. His depression disappeared faster than it came and he leapt for joy and call out to Kairi to try and get her attention.
“KAIRI! KAIRI! Kairi, I’m over here, over here!” Sora yelled at the top of his lungs.
Sora wasn’t sure if he was loud enough, until he saw Kairi turn around and look at him with a smile on her face. At that moment Sora could feel the heat rise in his cheeks and his chest felt like it was about to burst. He was so happy that he literally began to dance for joy. He was so distracted that he didn’t notice that Kairi was starting to walk towards him or the fact that every step she took caused a small tremor. As she got closer, the tremors started to get worse, but Sora didn’t even notice; he actually had his back turned to Kairi so he didn’t see her getting closer or bigger for that matter. He only finally noticed something was wrong when he realized that there was a huge shadow around him and that it was blocking out the sun. This, thankfully, was enough to finally get Sora’s attention.
“Huh, hey, what’s going on here?” Sora said in a rather shaky voice. “What happened to the sun?”
“Hello, Sora,” said a rather loud yet familiar voice, “did you miss me?”
At that moment, Sora went completely pale; the voice he heard had belonged to Kairi, but why was it so loud and just whose shadow was this exactly? Sora then started to turn around, shaking the entire time. He almost didn’t want to look for fear that his hunch was correct. Once he turned all the way around, he soon wished he hadn’t. What first appeared before him was a gigantic white wall of some kind, which Sora followed up and up…and UP! Until he finally saw a face-the face of Kairi standing nearly 50 feet tall! Kairi didn’t real do anything except smile and giggle at seeing the reaction on Sora’s face-to her, it was hysterical. She couldn’t believe at easily startled Sora was, so startled that he was utterly speechless.
When Sora didn’t say anything for some time, Kairi wondered what was wrong and bend down to look at him.
“Hey, Sora, are you okay?” Kairi asked, without getting a response. She then gently nudged him and watched as his body fell to the ground, frozen in the same poise as when he was standing. Kairi couldn’t help but laugh at Sora’s reaction. “Oh, Sora, you are so funny some times…”
Sora didn’t remember much of what happened next, all he knew was that he was lying on something warm and the wind was blowing past his face. He didn’t know what was going on until something very cold and wet splashed on his face, making a very nasty wake-up call. He coughed and sputtered as he realized that he was being drenched in water, so he began to flail trying to keep the water off of him.
“Glad to see you’re finally awake, my little man,” said Kairi as she held Sora’s tiny form underneath the waterfall.
“Kairi, cough, cut it out already…I’m awake,” Sora complained as Kairi pulled him out of the waterfall. He then began to rub his eyes to get the water off of them. “Man, I just had the weirdest dream…I found myself back home but couldn’t find anyone, not…even…you.”
Sora had lost his train of thought once his vision had come back into focus. For when it did, he was staring right at Kairi’s enormous face. That’s when Sora realized that what he had seen wasn’t a dream at all. Sora almost felt like fainting again, but he was so cold and wet there was no way he was going to fall back to sleep so easily. At that precise moment, a cold rush of wind blew itself along Sora’s back making him shiver and pull himself in tight.
“Oh, Sora, are you cold?” Kairi asked innocently.
“Of course I’m c-c-cold!” Sora exclaimed. “I’m w-w-wet and s-s-shivering!”
A smile appeared on Kairi’s face. “Don’t worry, Sora, I’ll dry you off.” Kairi took in a deep breath before she began to gently blow on Sora. She did this for several minutes until Sora was finally dry.
“Great, now I’m t-t-t-t-twice as cold n-now,” Sora complained as he frantically rubbed his arms to warm himself up.
“Oh, I can easily help with that,” Kairi said, the same bright smile on her face.
Kairi then did something that made Sora going from being cold and blue to warm and red in a millisecond. She pulled Sora in and gently placed him against her soft chest, placing both her hands over Sora like a pair of giant blankets. At first, Sora didn’t know what to say; in fact, he couldn’t say anything. Kairi’s body was so warm that he almost fell asleep on it-that is until Kairi pulled one of her hands away to so she could a good look at Sora’s reaction.
“So, I take it I’m comfortable enough you,” Kairi said teasingly. Sora went completely red when he heard that remark and Kairi giggled at his reaction. “Well, you better not get used to it; I am not your bed after all.”
Kairi then walked back to over the island where the Papou tree grew and pulled Sora away (much to Sora’s disappointment) and placed him right on the edge of the island. She then sat down on the island herself, her feet submerged in the shallow waters. Sora also sat down as well, but he was a little nervous; he just didn’t know what to make of this whole situation. I mean, sure he was with the girl he had longed for all this time, but seeing her so much bigger than everything else was a little nerve racking. Sora looked up to see a contented smile on Kairi’s face.
“So, tell me Sora, how have you been?” Kairi asked casually.
“Uh…fine” Sora said hesitantly.
“What have you been doing, lately?”
“Uh, you know…stuff?”
Kairi quickly picked up on Sora’s uneasiness and decided to tease him a little bit.
“What kind of stuff, exactly…” She then lowered her head and got as close to Sora as she could. “…my tender little morsel.”
Sora quickly went back to being pale and started to shake like a leaf, which made Kairi laugh a little bit.
“Oh, relax Sora I am not going to eat you! I’d perish the thought…you really need to loosen up.” Kairi then gently reached out and patted Sora on the head softly. “Look, you can tell me what’s wrong. I’m not angry with you if that’s what you’re worried about; after all you finally came to me, didn’t you?”
“It’s just that…this whole thing is making me kind of nervous is all.”
“What whole thing?”
“You being so…big; I mean here are just talking, but by the way you speak its almost like nothing‘s wrong at all.”
“But nothing is wrong with me, Sora.”
“Uh, hello, you are almost about as big as the great tree that grows in the middle of the island. You could probably uproot all the palm trees here on this island with just your bare hands. Plus, not to be rude or anything, but with your feet as big as they are now you could probably kill all the fish in the water right now.”
“Oh really,” Kairi said, pouting a little. She then raised one of her shoes out of the water and held it in the air. “Then why don’t I just put in my shoe and we’ll see just how bad it really is.”
“No wait, I didn’t mean that, I just meant, uh, um…” Sora began to panic as he tried to find a sensible reply, but nothing came to kind. Just then, Kairi started to laugh again only this time she was a little bit louder than before; it was actually irritating Sora a bit. “And what may I ask is so funny, Kairi?”
“I-I-I’m sorry Sora,” Kairi said in between laughs, “it’s just that you are taking this so seriously! It’s actually kind of amusing.” Sora just crossed his pouted at the cruel joke Kairi had just played on him. “Oh, come on, Sora don’t be mad. I didn’t mean to fun of you. You just need to lighten up a little is all; look, how I got this way isn’t important.” Kairi then reached down and scooped up Sora in her hand. “What is important is that we are together again, right?”
Seeing Kairi’s smiling face was more than enough to brighten up Sora’s mood.
I guess it really isn’t important, Sora thought as he continued to look into Kairi’s smile, I mean, I finally have her back. So maybe she is right; that is all that really matters.
“Yeah, you’re right,” Sora replied happily, “as long as I have you, Kairi, nothing else matters.”
“That’s good…so, tell me, what would you like do?”
“Yeah, of course, there has got to be something you would like to do…”
Sora thought about it for a while, but just couldn’t think of anything to do at all.
“Actually, to be honest, I’m just happy sitting here with you.”
“Oh, but I want to do something fun,” Kairi complained as she pouted a little, “hey, I know, how about hide and seek. That’s a fun game…”
“Uh, hide and seek; don’t you think we’re a little old for that game.”
“Oh, p-lease Sora, just a few games…”
Kairi put on a very innocent looking face; Sora tried his best to resist it, but he found it was no good. Soon enough, Kairi won him over.
“All right, all right, we’ll play a game of hide and seek, but just one game, okay?”
“Yeah, that’s great to hear,” Kairi said as she placed Sora back on the ground, “now I’ll start counting. You have until I reach one hundred to find a hiding place.” Sora just sighed, wondering if this was really such a good idea. “All right then, here I go…” Kairi then covered her eyes and started to count. “1…2…3…4…”
Sora didn’t exactly want to do this, but if it made Kairi happy he was okay with it. So Sora took down the bridge back to the main island and leapt down onto the sand. He began to wonder where exactly he should hide. He first thought about going to the secret place at the base of the tree, but there were a couple problems with that idea: one was that Kairi knew where it was and she would no doubt think to look there first. The second problem was that the entrance was far too small; there was no way Kairi could fit inside.
Sora had to think of something quick; Kairi was already a quarter of the way to one hundred. He started to really rack his brain for hiding places, but every place he thought of was either too exposed or too small for Kairi to go into without causing damage.
Man, there is just no place good to hide here on this half of the beach! Sora thought; that’s when it hit him. Wait a minute, that’s it. There is no place to hide on this half of the beach. But the other half is another story…
Sora then took off and headed for the other side of the beach where he was sure to find a decent enough hiding place. As he ran, he could hear Kairi counting away the numbers.
Better hurry, Sora thought, she’s almost done.
Sora didn’t waste anymore time as he reached the door that connected the two separate parts of the beach and started to look for his hiding place.
“97…98…99…100! Ready or not, here I come Sora!” Kairi said as she stood up and stomped off to find her tiny play mate.
Kairi a good 15 minutes looking for Sora; it was really hard for someone like her to search the beach this quickly, especially since there were so few places on this part of the beach that made good hiding places. Kairi looked everywhere three times over before she stopped looking.
“Hmmm, now where is he,” Kairi said as she scratched her head, “I’ve looked all over this beach and haven’t found so much as a hair of Sora…wait a minute, if he’s not hiding here then he must be hiding on the other side of the beach. Oooh, Sora you little sneak, I’m on to you now!”
With that, Kairi walked over to the other side of the beach. She actually had to walk through the water first since she couldn’t fit through the door. Once she was on the other side of the beach, she began her search for Sora. She first checked the broken bridge, but there was no sign of him there. She then checked in the bushes near the rope tower, but there was no sign of him there either. That’s when she thought of the palm tree grove…
Sora had his back against one of the thick palm trees as he heard Kairi’s thunderous foot steps come closer to where he was. He knew she would find him eventually, but he didn’t think it would take so little time. Then again, given her size she could easily search the entire island in less than ten minutes if she wanted to. Sora knew he was caught, but he wasn’t going to make it easy for Kairi, that was for sure.
Kairi’s thundering foot steps were soon monstrous, which to Sora that she wasn’t too far away. The truth was that, while Sora thought he was safe, a little bit of his spiky hair was sticking out from behind the tree he was hiding behind.
“Gee, I wonder where Sora could be hiding,” Kairi said nonchalantly as she pretended to pace around. Sora rolled his eyes; it was obvious she had spotted him; she was just trying to fake him out.
Just then, Sora noticed everything had gotten much darker and realized Kairi was making her move, but he was ready for her. Suddenly, Sora could feel the tree he was hiding behind begin to rumble, which was followed by a rather unpleasant tearing sound. Sora couldn’t believe what Kairi was doing; she was literally pulling the tree out of the ground by its roots. Apparently she had taken that comment Sora made about her easily pulling trees out of the ground very seriously.
Hey, wait a minute, that’s cheating! Sora thought as he watched the tree fly up into the air.
Fortunately for Sora, pulling the tree out like that had caused a huge dust cloud to form around him, providing ample cover for Sora to make his next move. When the dust finally settled, Kairi looked all over for Sora, but he had vanished. She quickly realized that Sora must’ve hidden again and had used the dust cloud as cover. Kairi figured, though, that Sora must’ve just simply behind another palm tree and was more than ready to up root it if she needed to. But when Kairi looked for Sora, she could find no trace of him this time. So she was forced to pick at random. She covered her eyes and picked the only way she knew how to…
“Enie meanie minie mo…”
Kairi looked to the tree she had picked and grabbed it by its trunk. She drew out from the ground, causing another dust cloud to appear. This time, however, Kairi was ready. She took a deep breath and blew all the dust away; but when the dust settled, there was still no trace of Sora at all. She was so sure she would find him this time…just then, Kairi heard a sound that sounded like someone coughing coming from one of the trees closest to the mountainside. A smile of triumph appeared on Kairi’s face as she slowly approached before she quickly and violently ripped it from the earth like the others. She quickly blew the dust away, figuring she had finally won; but once again she found no trace of Sora.
“But…how?” Kairi said, “I was sure I heard him coughing right here. Where could he have gone?”
Kairi began to look frantically across the beach for some kind of sign of Sora. What she didn’t realize, however, was that she had picked the right tree-the reason she didn’t find Sora was because he wasn’t hiding behind the tree, he was hiding on top of it. He had concealed himself within the tree leaves, figuring Kairi would never think to look there. Turns out, he was right; Kairi assumed he would only hide behind the tree, so the top of the tree was the perfect place to hide. Sora began to feel so smug, that he let out a small chuckle, one that Kairi surprisingly picked up.
“Ah ha, there you are!” Kairi said as she reached into the tree leaves and plucked Sora out. “Yeah, I win, I win!” Kairi shouted as she jumped for joy and waved her hands in the air, making Sora a little sick. “I win, I win, I-” Kairi’s victory chant was interrupted by a strange loud growling noise. At first, Sora thought some kind of monster was coming for them, but he calmed down once he realized that what he was hearing was Kairi’s stomach. “Oops, guess I’m a little hungry…”
This quickly made Sora very nervous; with Kairi as big as she was how was he going to feed herself let alone himself? He almost wanted to try and break free from Kairi’s grasp, fearing she might make him her next meal.
“Come on, Sora,” Kairi said as she held Sora’s tiny figure in front of her face, “let’s go get some fruit from the Great Tree that should be plenty.”
“What, the Great Tree?” Sora asked. “The one growing in the middle of our island? But I thought that tree couldn’t produce any fruit.”
But Kairi didn’t say anything; she just simply carried Sora over to the other side of the beach where the Great Tree grew. Once they arrived, Kairi stood on her tiptoes and reached up into the tree. Sora tried to tell Kairi that there was nothing growing on this tree, but she didn’t listen. So Sora just sighed and waited for Kairi’s hands to retract from the tree, empty-handed just like he thought. But surprisingly, when Kairi’s hand returned he saw that was a large melon-like fruit as well as a few other various fruits in her hand.
“This should be enough,” Kairi said pleasantly, “Okay, let’s eat!”
She then walked back over to the paopu tree island (I’ll just call it that for arguments sake) and set Sora down on the edge just like before. She then placed all the fruit she had gathered between the two of them and sat down. She then reached in and grabbed the melon fruit; she then took a bight chunk out of it, sending little seeds and bits of it falling into the sea. She was about to take another bite, when she realized Sora wasn’t even touching the food.
“What’s wrong, Sora?” Kairi asked innocently. “Don’t you want any?”
“Huh, oh sorry,” Sora said as he reached into the pile and pulled out an apple of all things. He wasn’t sure if this fruit was real or not, but his mood quickly changed when he bit into it and tasted nothing but pure sweetness. What he was holding was the real deal. “Whoa, this is great! I can’t remember the last time I had anything this sweet!”
Soon, Sora was digging into the fruit and gulfing it down like there was no tomorrow. Kairi smiled as she watched scoop fruit out of the pile and placed it on his lap. Kairi quickly did the same, not wanting to miss any of the delicious fruit. In no time at all, the once giant pile of fruit that Kairi had collected was reduced to nothing more than a small stack of cores, seeds and little else. With both their bellies full, Sora and Kairi both sighed as they rubbed their stomachs.
“Ah man, that really hit the spot,” Sora said, “so, what do you think we should next?”
“Well, to quite honest,” Kairi started to say, “I’m feeling a little tired. Do you mind if we just take a little nap?”
“Sure thing…I’m actually feeling a little tired myself actually.”
Sora then stood up, stretched and yawned before he started to head towards the bridge back to the main island. But Kairi had other plans; before Sora even made it onto the bridge, Kairi reached down and scooped him up in her giant hand, taking the tiny key bearer by surprise.
“Kairi, what are you doing!?”
Sora tried to break free, but it was no use. Kairi’s grip was just too strong and Sora was too small to really do anything about it.
“Don’t worry, you’ll see,” Kairi said with a bright smile on her face.
Kairi then stood up and walked back over to the island. She then laid down, the soft warm sand on the beach warming her back; she then lifted up onto her chest where she laid him gently before bringing both her arms over him, thus pinning Sora down.
“So, tell me, Sora,” Kairi started to ask, “are you comfortable?”
Sora was unable to say anything; all he could do was just blush and nod his head very slowly. Kairi giggled at the look at Sora’s face; it made him look even cuter from her view point. Kairi then gave a big yawn before she finally nodded off to sleep. Sora, on the other hand, found it a little difficult to fall asleep. He felt so embarrassed by where he was sleeping, but he finally managed to close his eyes and nod off just like Kairi.
Soon, Sora was completely asleep and at peace, enjoying a relaxing nap on Kairi’s soft chest…
Sora didn’t understand what was happening, but somehow he hanging in the air in some dark place. There was nothing but absolute black all around him and there appeared to be no way out. He then quickly realized that Kairi wasn’t with him; he tried to call out for her, but his voice did not come. He placed his hands over his throat wondering what in the world was going on. Somehow, he was floating out in the middle of nowhere without his voice and without Kairi. Sora thought this must have been a bad dream; so then why wasn’t he waking up.
What the heck is going on here? Sora thought as his head began to spin, Why is this happening to me? Can’t I just be with Kairi in peace!?
Just then, Sora noticed a small shimmer out of the corner of his eye. He turned his head slowly and saw what looked like a small patch of light in the distance.
Hey, maybe that’s a way out! Sora thought as his hope began to return, but it’s so far away…how am I-
Before Sora could even finish his thought, his entire body started to move on its own. Soon, he found himself heading towards the light, flying just like he did in Neverland. It didn’t take long before Sora reached the light, but when he got there it wasn’t what he had expected. The light was not a doorway; it was more like a window or mirror through which Sora could see…something. The image was blurry at first, but it eventually came into focus. When Sora could see clearly enough, he was shocked by what he saw. He saw himself, as a 3-year-old boy, playing. And he wasn’t alone; he was playing with a younger version of his friend Riku.
Whoa, I forgot how long Riku and I have been friends, Sora thought as he continued to watch the two young boys playing on the beach, but that’s all in the past now. Riku has changed; he’s turned into a completely different person. He isn’t the friend I remember from before. I hate to say it, but I don’t think I’ll be having any more games like this with Riku in the near future. We’re more than just rivals now…we’re enemies.
As Sora continued to watch his younger version play with Riku, part of him couldn’t help but feel guilty. But why was that? It was Riku’s choice to join Maleficent and the Heartless. It was his choice to use the darkness and its power. So why was he the one feeling so bad? Just then, the scene before became blurry again for a few seconds before it came back into focus. This time, his younger self and Riku were sitting on the beach looking out towards the sea with smiles on their faces.
“Today was great,” young Sora said, “I had so much fun!”
“Same here,” young Riku replied, “I almost wish today would never end. I had so much fun!”
Young Sora smiled as he looked towards young Riku, but the smile quickly faded when he saw the look on young Riku’s face. Young Riku had a smile on his face, but it wasn’t as big as Sora’s. He seemed to be…lost in thought, as if something was bothering him.
“Hey, Riku, what’s wrong?” young Sora asked.
“Huh, oh sorry, I was just thinking how great it is to finally have a friend is all…” Riku said.
Sora remembered that a lot of the other kids were jealous of Riku because even at a young age, he was very gifted so most of the other kids just stayed away from him. Sora was probably the only person who admired him because he was so good; he idolized him and wanted to be like him. As Sora continued to watch this memory, he wondered why he was being shown this in the first place. That’s when young Riku said something that stirred his heart a little bit.
“Hey Sora, you know we’re best friends, right?” Riku asked, “That we would help each other no matter what, right?”
“Yeah, but why do you ask Riku?” Young Sora inquired.
“Well, it’s just that I want you to know,” Riku started to say, fumbling to find the right words, “I won’t let anything happen to you. If you get lost or hurt, you can bet I’ll be there to help you.”
“Really?” Young Sora asked with hope in his eyes.
“Really,” Riku answered truthfully, “cause I’m scared…”
Young Sora was a little surprised by Riku’s last statement as was Sora himself.
“You’re scared,” Young Sora said, “no way, I don’t believe it. I’ve seen you; you’re not scared of anything.”
“Not true,” Riku replied with a half-smile, “I am scared…scared of being alone. Before you came along, I thought I would never have a single friend. That’s why I want you to know no matter what happens-if you get hurt or lost-you can bet I’ll be there to help you, okay?”
“Really,” young Sora said excitedly, “thanks, Riku!”
“You’re welcome,” Riku said. The two of them were silent for a moment before Riku finally spoke again. “And you’ll do the same for me?”
Young Sora was at first a little shocked by the question, but then looked puzzled as if asking Riku what he meant by that.
“What I mean is that if I get lost or hurt, you’ll come and help me too, right?”
“Yeah, of course,” Young Sora replied eagerly.
“That’s good to hear…hey, let’s shake on it.” Riku extended his hand to young Sora. “From this day forward, we both promise that no matter what happens, we’ll be there for each other, agreed?”
“Agreed!” Young Sora replied extending his hand and shaking Riku’s. At that moment, the picture froze on the image of young Sora and Riku shaking hands.
As Sora watched what was happening in front of him, he couldn’t help but smile a little at what he saw.
“Yeah, those were the good old days,” Sora said before his smile quickly faded, “but those days are over…Riku forgot that promise!”
“Are you really so sure,” said a voice echoing within the darkness.
Sora quickly looked around, trying to find the source of the voice when suddenly image before him shattered and there, floating in the air, was Sora’s younger self with a serious scowl on his face. Sora was shocked at what he saw and wondered what was going on.
“Are really so sure Riku forgot that promise?” Young Sora asked with more gumption. “Because it seems to me that you’re the one who really forgot!”
“I haven’t forgotten anything!” Sora retorted to his younger version. “I haven’t forgotten how Riku betrayed us…betrayed me! The old Riku is gone!”
“No, he’s not gone,” younger Sora said sternly, “he’s just lost that’s all. He needs his friends now more than ever; that includes you! You promised you’d be there for him, you promised!”
“Yeah, so what if I did, Riku still turned his back on me,” Sora retorted angrily, “besides, I have Kairi back. So I don’t need anyone else!”
“Are you even listening to yourself?” Young Sora asked. “Do you realize what’s happening to you? You sound and act just like Riku is now.”
“I’m nothing like him!”
“Yes you are,” young Sora said, “don’t you see you’re acting just like him; you turning your back on the rest friends you’ve made and you’re only thinking about yourself!”
“I’m nothing like Riku!” Sora argued.
“You are,” young Sora protested pointing an accusing finger at his older self, “You’re just like Riku…just like Riku!”
Sora covered his ears to try block out his younger self. But it was no good; those three words seemed to be echoing inside his head. Before too long, Sora found himself spinning out of control, falling into the darkness around him…
Sora’s body stirred for a few minutes before he awoke. Looking around, he saw that was back on the beach, resting on top of a giant Kairi.
So it was just a dream, Sora thought in relief, thank goodness for that. I mean, come on, there is no way I’m like Riku…right?
For the first time since Sora had arrived at the Destiny Islands, he seriously began to think about his thoughts over the past few hours. And the more he thought about it, the more he realized he was becoming more like Riku and that really scared him.
What have I done? Sora thought. What kind of person would just forget his best friends like that? I can’t believe I didn’t realize it sooner…
Sora didn’t go back to sleep after that; he just stayed awake, lying on Kairi’s chest as he looked up into the sky. One thing was for certain, though, he had some very serious thinking to do.
Kairi was resting peacefully on the soft sand of the beach, dreaming peacefully while the sun caressed her face. She had no idea that Sora was wide awake and staring directly up into the sky. Ever since he had had that dream earlier, he had not been able to go back to sleep; there was so much going on in his mind that it was just too hard to go back to sleep. He just stared up into the endless blue sky thinking of everyone; all the friends he had made, all the adventures he had with Donald and Goofy. He knew what he had done was wrong, he had only been thinking about himself and what he wanted and nothing more. Sora felt so guilty, that his stomach felt like it was tying itself in knots. There was only thing Sora could do now: return to his friends and start the journey once again!
The only problem was how? Sora had no idea how he got back to the Destiny Islands, let alone how he would leave them again. What’s more, he could not call the Keyblade to help him. And then, there was the biggest problem of all: Kairi! It was true that she was Sora’s best friend and possibly more than that, but how could he possibly tell her he was going to leave? He didn’t want to hurt her feelings, especially since she now possessed enough strength to crush him like a grape. And he was not going to just leave her here either—that would be even worse than telling her. All these questions kept racing around in Sora’s mind, but no matter what he could not come up with anything. He eventually decided his first priority should be to see if he could get off the island and get back to his friends…but how?
As Sora collected his thoughts and began to come up with a strategy, Kairi started to stir from her slumber. Slowly, she awoke from her nap with a deep yawn, stretching her arms out to her side before rubbing the fatigue away from her eyes. Once Kairi was awake, she reached down to her chest and wrapped her giant hand around Sora’s waist before bringing him to her face.
“So, my little prince,” Kairi said softly, “did you sleep well?”
“Uh, yeah, like a rock…” Sora felt rather uneasy at that moment; he did have a plan to see if he could get off this island, the only tricky part getting Kairi to go with it. His plan was simply to try and find the mainland by swimming out a little farther into the ocean. Normally, that would quite dangerous, but since Kairi was now a giantess, Sora would have someone there for him if he got into trouble. Hopefully, by swimming out far enough, Sora would find some way off his world and maybe able to take Kairi with him.
Looking at Kairi’s eager face, Sora decided that now was the best time to try his plan…
“Ahem, so tell me, Kairi,” Sora started to say, “how would like to go for a swim?”
“A swim?” Kairi repeated.
“Sure, I mean, it is such a nice day out, I figure the water has got be just perfect. And besides, it would be a great way to cool off too…”
Man, that is so lame, Sora thought, there’s no way Kairi is going to by this!
“Sounds like a great idea; I would love to go swimming!”
“Really!? I mean, uh, great…So, when do want to get started?”
Kairi giggled as she stood up and turned towards the ocean. “How about…right now!”
Kairi took one giant step before she leapt into the air and dove into the water, causing a humongous wave that completely drenched the beach. As Kairi sank beneath the water, Sora was utterly dumbfounded. He knew the waters around the Destiny Islands were deep, but he didn’t think they were this deep. Of course, Sora’s concerns quickly changed as he realized he needed air and quickly; thankfully, Kairi began to rise and finally surface allowing Sora’s lungs to fill with much needed air.
“Sorry about that,” Kairi said as she shook some of the water out her hair, “I just couldn’t help myself…”
“No…it’s all right Kairi,” Sora said in between coughs, “just be sure you give me a little more warning next time, okay?”
“Sure thing, Sora,” Kairi said with a playful smile, “now come on, let’s have some fun before it gets dark…”
With that, Kairi released Sora from her grasp as she lay down on her back and gently kicked her feet to get herself going. While Kairi was preoccupied, Sora started his trek out into the ocean. As he swam, Sora looked for any signs of the mainland—a tree, a rock, and houses, anything at all. But as Sora continued to swim further and further away from Kairi, his hopes began to fade. Finally, after what seemed like hours of swimming, Sora just gave up. It was no use, no matter how far he swam he could find no way off this world…at least, no way for him and Kairi to get off together.
Feeling completely depressed, defeated and exhausted, Sora just flipped over on his back and let it just float there is the water. It was hard to accept, but the evidence was all around him. There was just no way off this world; no way he could back to Donald and Goofy. Sora was so downdraught, that he did not notice a shadow eclipsing him. This shadow was none other than Kairi’s giant face.
“There you are,” Kairi said cheerfully, “I’ve been looking all over for you. Come on, we should get back to the island, it’s not safe to be this far out in the open ocean.”
“Actually, Kairi, you can go on ahead,” Sora said solemnly, “I’m not feeling very energetic right now…”
“Ah, did you tire yourself out? Well, that’s okay, I’ll help you get back to shore.”
Before Sora could even argue with her, Kairi took a deep breath and sunk beneath the waves. A few seconds, she came up right underneath Sora, leaving him standing on the top of her head.
“All aboard, next stop the Destiny Islands!”
As Kairi began to swim her way back to the Destiny Islands, Sora was busy sitting on top of Kairi’s head, hanging onto her hair to keep him self from falling. It didn’t take before the Destiny Islands were in view; Sora felt his stomach drop when he saw the island. He had hoped the two of them could spend a little more time together, but it looked like Sora was going to have that talk with Kairi much sooner than he hoped.
When Kairi reached the island, she lifted her hand up to her head. “Okay, we’re here, time to get off!” Sora slowly got up and walked over to Kairi’s giant hand, trying hard not to get tangled up in her hair. Once he was on, Kairi gently lowered him down to the ground where she tilted her hand and watched as Sora slid off gently.
“Okay, now then,” Kairi began to say, “I better dry myself off; Sora, you better take cover…”
“Take cover?” Sora asked, wondering what Kairi was thinking. “Why do I need to take-”
He quickly got his answer when Kairi began to shake herself off, causing all of the water on her body to come falling down in giant droplets. Sora panicked as he did his best to try and dodge the giant drops, but it was no use. One particularly big drop fell right on top of Sora and soaked him from head to toe.
“Oops, sorry Sora,” Kairi said with a nervous smile on her face, “but I did warn you…”
“No, it’s okay…” Sora shook himself off, wiping any remaining water droplets off. “…I probably deserved that anyway.” Sora whispered.
“Did you say something, Sora?”
“Oh, uh, no…nothing really important,” Sora said, “but, listen Kairi, we need to-”
“Ooh, Sora wait, hold that thought!” Kairi said excitedly, “Look out there; the sun’s starting to set!”
Indeed, when Sora looked out over the horizon, the sun had started to set. The sky turned hues of oranges, reds, pinks and even a little purple dashed at the very edge. It was so beautiful, almost mesmerizing; Sora had not seen the sunset on his world for so long he had forgotten how beautiful it was. But he quickly snapped out of it when he remembered what he had been trying say earlier.
Sora was about to speak when Kairi reached down and picked him up in her hand. “Come on, let’s go watch the sunset together.”
All Sora could do was mope; Kairi just wasn’t making this any easier—Sora could easily feel his courage and his stomach begin to slip away. If he talked to Kairi know, it would ruin the moment; but he also felt that if he didn’t say anything now, he might never get another chance. Sora could feel his courage leave him as Kairi lifted him into the air and walked over to Papou Tree Island where she laid Sora down before sitting on the edge next to him. Kairi seemed so happy; Sora just couldn’t ruin the moment…and yet, as the sun began set beyond the horizon, he felt like his time was growing short.
“Whoa, this is so beautiful, isn’t it Sora?”
“Yeah, it sure is,” Sora, mumbled.
“I’ve always loved watching the sunset from this island,” Kairi said, “It’s always so beautiful and serene…and romantic.” Sora didn’t really say anything; he just continued to mumble to himself. “You know, it’s kind of embarrassing for me to say this, but whenever I’m with you I always feel happy; nothing seems to bother me at all. I didn’t understand what I was feeling before, but now I think I do. The truth is, Sora, is that I’ve been kind of nervous because, well, there’s something I’ve been wanting to say all day to you; about how you make me feel inside and I finally realized that I…like you, Sora. I like you, very much…Sora? Sora, aren’t you going to say something? SORA!?”
“Hmm, what, did you say something, Kairi?” Sora asked bluntly.
Kairi pouted at how oblivious Sora was being. “What’s with you, Sora? You haven’t listened to a word I’ve just said; I finally worked up the courage to tell you how I really feel and you didn’t even pay any attention to me! What gives, Sora, is something on your mind?”
“Well, uh, you see, Kairi…I um…” The truth was Sora had heard Kairi’s confession and he had not expected it either; but he also knew that there was no way to back down now. So Sora took a deep breath and prepared himself for what he was about to say. “The truth is Kairi…I can’t stay with you…”
Kairi’s face suddenly became very downtrodden. “What; you mean, you don’t like me…?”
“No, no, no,” Sora said, waving his arms in protest, “I think you’re the greatest and most beautiful person in the whole world. In fact, I think I like you as well…”
“Then, why don’t you want to stay?”
“Because…I can’t abandon the rest of my friends; the rest of the people I care about…Kairi, earlier I thought that all I needed was you and nothing else mattered. Not fighting the Heartless, not sealing the Keyholes, not even helping Donald and Goofy find their king or rescuing Riku for that. But, now I realize, I was being completely selfish; I mean I’m the Key Bearer and that means I have to protect all of my friends and not just care about the things that I want. I really, really wish I could with you Kairi; but I can’t. I just can’t turn my back on all of my friends. Please forgive me…Kairi.”
Tears began to trickle down Sora’s face as he squeezed his eyes such and waited for Kairi’s wrath to rain down on him. But when nothing came for several minutes, Sora dared to open one of his eyes and look up. What he saw was not what he had expected. Kairi was standing up over him with a content smile on her face. She then reached and grabbed Sora, bringing him up to her face where she gently kissed him.
“Well done, Sora, you passed,” Kairi said as she placed Sora back down on the ground.
“I-what? What do you mean I passed?”
That’s when Sora began to notice that everything around him was disappearing. Sora began to panic as everything faded until nothing was left but total darkness.
“What’s going on here? Where did everything go and where the heck are we?”
Kairi giggled as she reached down to once again scoop up Sora up into her arms and hugged him gently. “I mean, Sora, that this was all a test. You were becoming so focused on just saving that were starting to forget what was really important. I am so glad that you finally your error in the end.”
“Yeah, me too,” Sora agreed, “but wait…if this was all a test, then where the heck am I?”
“You silly, you’re still in Traverse Town,” Kairi said as she now started to stroke Sora’s head softly, “you’ve just been asleep this whole time?”
“I’m asleep!? You mean this whole thing has been nothing but a dream?”
“That’s right, Sora; it was all just a dream,” Kairi said, “and now that it’s over, I’m afraid I need to leave…”
“What, wait, what do you mean you have to leave?” Sora suddenly drifting out of Kairi’s arms and slowly floating away from her. “Kairi, what’s going on?”
“Good bye, Sora, I’ll miss you; and don’t worry, we’ll be together again soon…”
“Kairi, wait, come back, KAIRI!!!”
Sora screamed into the darkness, but it was no use. Kairi kept getting further and further away until Sora could no longer see her.
“Come on, Sora, wake up,” Goofy said as he gently shook his friend, “oh, he’s not waking up. Donald, what’re we gonna do?”
“I don’t know, Goofy,” Donald said shaking his head, “He’s been asleep for a while now.” Donald then bent down close to Sora’s face for a better look. “Maybe he’ll just wake up on his own…”
“KAIRI!” Sora shouted as he bolted up, knocking against Donald’s head. “Ouch, that hurt…”
“Boy, Donald, when you’re right, you’re right, ahyuck…” Goofy giggled as he watched his two friends rub their heads where they hit each other.
“Geez Sora, give a duck a little more warning next time,” Donald said with his head still throbbing.
“What happened? Where am I?” Sora was still a little dazed from knocking heads with Donald; who knew a duck could have such a thick head.
“You’ve been asleep for a while now Sora. Donald and I were starting to something was wrong with you; what exactly were you dreaming about anyways? You kept saying somebody’s name in your sleep…”
“I did,” Sora quickly realized that it must’ve been Kairi’s name he had been saying, “oh, well, it’s nothing. I was…you know what, just forget it. The point is that I’m awake and I feel better than ever.”
“That’s great to hear, ain’t it Donald?”
“Yeah, wonderful…ooh, anyone got any aspirin?”
“Well, well, well, you three seem to be doing just peachy.” The trio looked up to see Cid coming their way. “Hope you boys are ready, cause I just finished installin’ that new Navi gummi piece into your ship. So she’s good to go!”
“That’s great to hear, thanks a lot Cid!” Goofy said as he gave Cid a quick salute. “Well guys, looks like it’s time for us to start up our adventure again. What do you say?”
“I say…let’s go get ‘em,” Sora said, jumping to his feet, “after all, we still need to Riku and Kairi; plus we also need to find your king.”
“Yeah, so what are we waiting for?” Donald said, his headache finally gone. “Let’s go, team. And by the way…last one there’s a rotten egg!”
Donald kicked up his feet before running at full speed towards the gummi ship.
“Donald! W-w-wait for us!”
“You beat me so easily, you little quacker!”
Goofy and Sora quickly gave chase, running past Cid after their friend.
“You three take care now! And come back any time!” Cid called as he to wave them.
Sora ran for a little while, catching up to Donald, when he suddenly stopped and looked up at the night sky. His thoughts drifted back to what Kairi had taught him and as he thought about her, he could see Kairi’s smiling face looking down at him from above…just like in the dream.
Thanks, Kairi, for setting me straight again…
“Sora, come on! You’re gonna be left behind if you don’t hurry up!” Goofy called.
“I’m coming, you guys…” With that, Sora ran off after his two friends, ready to face whatever came his way…as well as thinking of all the friends he had made on his journey.