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Chapter XXVIII: Dreams of Assumptions

Day or night, it didn’t matter. Sora insisted that Kairi took a break from the walking. The redhead was stubborn enough to resist for the first few minutes, but fatigue took its toll and forced Kairi to sit down. One successful fire spell sapped Kairi of all her vigor, reducing her to a state of weariness. Sora, in a way, felt guilty in initiating the magic lessons with Kairi, seeing that his friend seemed to be unsuitable for the workings of magic. But it was progress nonetheless, as Kairi did manage to use the fire spell (and what a performance it was).

Since Sora decided to stop and allow Kairi to regain her strength for the rest of the day, he also decided to take the time to review his current situation, battle-wise. To start it off, Kairi and he were separated from Riku, whose whereabouts are unknown. Their enemies were the nefarious Maleficent along with her Heartless commanders Syx and Grymox. Her ex-Nobody commanders, Sarlix and Xymgrel, proved to be disloyal to her and went their own way. Still, Sora believed that the two Nobodies remain a threat to him and his friends. At the moment, his and Kairi’s tasks are to find the keyhole on Destiny Islands, lock it, and literally save their world. As for King Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and the others, they were bound for other worlds, to lock those keyholes.

Focusing on his current duty, Sora had to guess where the keyhole could be. The dangers before Kairi and him seemed to be minimal, with only a few rogue Heartless Shadows wandering around. The majority of the Shadows did not even seem to notice the two Keyblade-wielders. Kairi slept and Sora kept watch. If he had to guess where the keyhole was, he would guess it to be at the heart of the islands, where Kairi wanted to go in the first place, where most of their friends and families were hiding in refuge.

Keyblades. Keyholes. Hearts…

Long journeys passed and he still did not fully understand the story behind Kingdom Hearts. What is it exactly? After Riku and he escaped the cataclysm within Kingdom Hearts upon defeating Xemnas, Sora did not know what became of the mysterious realm. Since Maleficent still wished to take control of it, Sora had the impression that Kingdom Hearts was still in existence. Darkness and light within the realm was the same, at equilibrium, canceling out to nothingness. The Nobodies dwelled in the nothingness, not the Heartless. With a sigh of relief, Sora felt that Maleficent’s undertaking to seize Kingdom Hearts would not be so easy now that the Nobodies are against her once again.

Sora checked up on Kairi again, who remained asleep. An aura of serenity blanketed her pure, though exhausted, face. Once in a while, she would smile, dreaming.

They held each other’s hands as they both casually strode along the edge of the beach. Every few seconds, their bare feet were tickled by the cold seawater stretching and splashing onto the shore. It was low tide at sunset, the perfect time for them to relax, walk, and enjoy the surrounding views. With each passing minute they gazed into each other’s eyes for a brief moment, then to resume on their stroll. Then she couldn’t hold back any longer and leaned in…

And Kairi woke up and sat up abruptly. She gazed around absentmindedly, not realizing she startled poor Sora, who was having a good time examining her face. Kairi shook her head. It was the same dream and it always ended the same way: her jolting awake at the last moment.

“Ugh… not again?oh, hey, Sora!”

Sora was half lying on the ground with his head raised to face Kairi. He sputtered, “Hey. Dreaming?”

You can’t even imagine, Kairi wanted to say. “Mhm.”

“Wanna tell me about it?” Sora asked. “There’s not much to do right now. Unless you prefer to keep walking.”

“Let’s walk. I’ll tell you about it at the same time,” Kairi said, smiling.

Sora helped Kairi off the ground and they walked along the edge of the clearing, where there were no Shadows lurking. It was silent, as it definitely was night. Owl-like creatures could be heard hooting in the distance and insects could be heard chirping or squeaking the in the backgrounds.

“So, was it a good or bad dream?” Sora inquired.

“Oh, it was a pretty good one,” Kairi started. “It’s more like a story. See, it’s about this guy and this girl. They were, y’know, long time friends and they always liked each other, but neither of them wanted to admit it. So instead, they pretended they got on each other’s nerves all the time, just for fun. But deep inside, they both hated that. One day, they bumped into each other after school at a food stand by the beach. Well, the guy was like, ‘Hey, what’s up,’ and all that and the girl was like, ‘Oh, hi, nothing much here, how’s everything with you?’ Well, then from there they sat down at a vacant table and they had like sandwiches and drinks and they talked.

“But something happened there. When they weren’t talking and were eating, they would look at each other when the other wasn’t noticing. You know, sneaking glances at each other. It was cute. Then after a few snuck glances, both of them caught one another staring. It was awkward, and the girl was blushing like crazy. She started mumbling something like, ‘Sorry, I shouldn’t have been staring,’ and stuff, but the guy was nice and said, ‘Why? I don’t mind. And plus, I’m not sorry, I like looking at you.’ And there it was! The guy reached for the girl’s hands and magic happened right there.

“Oh, I know it sounds corny. And they both walked down to the beach and took a stroll on the shoreline. They were quiet and did nothing more than listen to the waves and look at the sunset. Once every few minutes they would look into each other’s eyes and just fall in love over and over.”

Kairi sighed and hugged herself. “It’s my own made-up romance story.”

As Kairi finished, the two of them were nearing their destination. Sora knew he was not exactly the brightest kid nor the one who had the most common sense, but once Kairi said “this guy and this girl,” “long time friends,” and “beach,” he knew what the story was probably about.

“I wish that story could exist in real life…” Kairi continued wholeheartedly, more to herself than to Sora.

He heard her. Now he was more convinced than just a few seconds ago. She’s talking about herself. And me, Sora thought. What should I say?

“Wow, Kairi. I never knew you were such a romantic,” Sora chuckled. He tried to keep the overall mood light and easy, plus exaggerate his naivety.

“Well, we missed out a year with each other, so you don’t know what I think now,” Kairi said, winking. Are you serious? He really doesn’t get it?

“So is that how your dream ended? Just the two of them strolling on the beach, looking at each other and stuff?” Sora added after a brief silence. He gasped sarcastically, “No mushy stuff like kissing and all that?”

Kairi laughed. Honestly, she did not know. “Well, the girl was gonna kiss the guy… but I woke up at that moment.”

“Oh,” Sora said. And that was all he could say.

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