Namine held a warm cup of tea to her lips as she looked over the belongings she had been organizing in her large suitcase. It was a cool Wednesday night, and she couldn't believe that tomorrow night she'd be in the tropical Destiny Islands with Kairi. When Kairi had called her, she had nearly squealed into the phone with excitement at the invitation. Asking for a few days off from work was a bit of an ordeal at the art museum, but she managed to get her supervisor to agree to the last minute vacation.
Well, it was a vacation for Namine at least. She knew Kairi would have to do some networking and vlogging while they were at the convention but otherwise, the time spent there was their own to do with as they pleased! Other than the convention, Namine was hoping to take a swim in the ocean, try some different restaurants, and take some time to relax. Maybe she'd bring along her sketchpad... Namine tossed in a travel-sized sketch book and a small pencil case that held some charcoal pencils.
Feeling that she finally had everything she needed packed, she eyed her laptop that was still sitting on her desk. She hadn't played Heart of Worlds since she returned home from the sleepover with Kairi. She had actually really enjoyed playing with the Kingdom Hearts clan... particularly with Godric, Sora's brother. Her heart squeezed a bit at the thought of him. Oh what the heck, may as well get on and see if anyone is playing. Kairi probably is. Namine opened her laptop and set her cup of tea aside.
Welcome to Heart of Worlds!
New Message from: Godric
I had a great time chatting with you the other night Lumi. I know you're offline right now but I'd like to talk to you again really soon. - Roxas.
Namine blushed as she realized he had signed the message with his real name. Now she knew a little of what Kairi must have felt for Sora. It was a little exciting to have someone waiting for you, and the mystery of Roxas did feel enticing. But Namine preferred to play things safe; too many unknowns. She sipped her tea and decided she could be friends with Roxas, but nothing more... and then she heard the ping of a HoW message. "Just friends," she reminded herself, no matter how fast her heart would beat when she read his name.
[Godric to You]: Hey Lumi! I saw you online. I was wondering if you wanted to do some skilling or something with me. If you're cool with it.
[You to Godric]: Hey Roxas! I got your PM. I'm down to do some skilling. By the way... I'm Namine. It's only fair that you know my name since I know yours now. :)
[Godric to You]: What a pretty name. :) It means "ocean wave" right? So why'd you pick Lumi as your character name? Namine would have been pretty cool too.
[You to Godric]: Yep! I have always felt a connection to the moon... Maybe since the moon is connected to the ocean. I'm not really sure haha. I must sound silly.
[Godric to You]: ...Wow. It's not crazy at all. That's so deep, Nami. Can I call you Nami? It seems to fit lol.
[You to Godric]: Thanks. Of course you can. My cousin calls me that all the time. xD
There was no way Roxas had any idea of the butterflies this little interaction was giving her. Maybe she'd make more of an effort to play HoW now... But Roxas didn't need to know that. They were just friends. No crushes here, nope, none. Maybe if she thought it enough she'd believe it.
[Godric to You]: I was thinking of doing a quest this weekend if you want to join me. It needs two people, but I wasn't sure if you'd done it yet.
[You to Godric]: That'd be fun! But I won't be around this weekend.
[Godric to You]: Oh? Going on vacation?
[You to Godric]: Kai and I are going to Destiny Islands for the gaming convention, ya know the big one? I probably won't be online depending on what we get up to while we're there.
[You to Godric]: I don't know all the details yet. Kai is going for work and invited me along. Should be fun though!
[You to Godric]: You there Roxas?
[You to Godric]: Helloooooo?
Namine scratched her head, feeling a little concerned. Roxas didn't usually take this long to reply back, but maybe he got busy. Hopefully everything was okay.
•| ⊱♡⊰ |•
Back at the boys' house...
Roxas had fled his bedroom after Namine's first message, and was currently banging on Sora's door frantically. "Open the door!" He shouted through the wood, breathlessly. He decided against waiting for an answer and wiggled the door knob forcefully until the door burst open. Oops, guess he'd have to buy Sora a new lock, but that was the last thing on Roxas' mind.
"What?" Sora was seated at his computer, headphones on, and game controller in hand. He looked extremely annoyed. Roxas had interrupted him while he was in the middle of a kill streak. He quickly muted his mic. This had better be good, Sora thought. Kairi was currently kicking his ass at a new zombie game they bought together, and this kill streak would put him ahead of her.
Roxas grabbed his brother's shoulders and began shaking him back and forth dramatically. "They're coming! They're coming here!" Sora's headset grew loud with gunfire and zombie growls as his character died; however, Sora's attention was on Roxas who was still rocking him back and forth, his eyes wide and a bit scary.
Sora looked at his brother as if he had lost his mind. "What the hell are you talking about?" he asked, confused. He tried to stop his brother from shaking him by putting his hands firmly on Roxas's shoulders, but now Roxas was rocking them both back and forth.
"Namine! Kairi! Here!" Roxas yelled, now shaking them both back and forth harder. Sora thought the world had stopped as his eyes widened in complete surprise. He knew Roxas would never joke about something like that. Coupled with the fact that Roxas was practically freaking out like an anime character, Sora knew he had to be telling the truth.
He quickly set his controller down and pulled off his headset, forgetting about the game still going on behind him. Kairi's musical laughter rang from his headset as she won the round. "What? How? When?"
"Vacation!" Roxas yelled, then he began running around Sora's room, attempting to clean up the bedroom as if Kairi and Namine would be walking through the front door in five minutes. Sora shook his head and rolled his eyes at Roxas. He turned back to his computer, slid his headset back on, and unmuted his mic. He would ask Kairi. Roxas must have still been in shock because he just continued to run around Sora's bedroom throwing everything he could into Sora's closet.
"What's this I hear about a vacation to Destiny Islands?" he asked, feigning innocence.
He heard Kairi sigh. "Well, Namine and I will be leaving for Destiny Islands this weekend for Destiny Gaming Expo. I was going to tell you later, but I guess Nami spilled the beans."
Sora tried to keep the smile out of his voice. "I see. So are you going to see me while you're here?" A horrible thought hit him after the words came out of his mouth. What if she didn't want to see him? What if she didn't feel the same about him? He suddenly felt the wind leave his sails, the initial excitement of seeing Kairi this weekend turning into anxiety.
"If you're okay with that...I'd like to. Will PFS be at the Expo?"
She wanted to see him! And just like that, his belly filled with excitement again, but there was still some anxiety floating around in there. Sora tried to reply as normally as possible because he knew what he wanted to ask her next. He just had to ease into it, but quickly, before he lost his nerve. "Mmhm. Riku actually signed us up to host a panel. Should be pretty fun considering how well my interview with you did on social media and Game Seeker's blog. Did you see the comments on Twitter?"
"Not yet; I find it hard to look at critiques of my work sometimes, and there's always that ONE person..." He could hear the bit of hesitation in her voice. It reminded him of when he looked at his games' early access reviews.
"No, I totally get it. I'll make sure you have a press pass for our panel. M-maybe we can get s-something to eat after? I-if you want to, I mean." Sora stuttered out. He crossed his fingers and squeezed his eyes shut; his nerves were shot at this point. He was going to have to get off the call with her soon, or he'd turn into a blubbering mess.
"Sure! That'd be amazing. Maybe you can show us around, tell us the best spots to eat at?" If he didn't know any better, she almost sounded... excited.
Sora let out a breath he hadn't realized he had been holding as he opened his eyes and uncrossed his fingers. "Sounds good. I can totally do that." Relief flooded through him, but he needed a second to gather himself. "I gotta go for a minute Kai. I'll text you in a bit."
"Okay! Bye, Sora."
"Bye, Kairi." Sora logged out of his game and took off his headset. He suddenly had a lot on his mind....
•| ⊱♡⊰ |•
A little while later, Riku unlocked their front door, lugging in some groceries. Suddenly, a smell hit him, causing him to wrinkle his nose in disgust. While pinching his nose, he quickly put away the groceries then walked down the hallway to the bedrooms where the smell was the most potent.
"Ah God! It smells like a damn hospital in here. Like heartbreak, despair, and cleaning supplies." Riku said, his nose still pinched between his fingers as he peeked into Sora's open bedroom door. He raised an eyebrow at the broken door knob as he walked in, but decided not to ask.
Sora was sprawled out on his bed, phone in hand. Roxas had a cleaning rag in his hand and was armed with three different cleaners as well as a duster in his back pocket. Sora looked down and out, and Roxas, well, he looked like he was trying to rid germs from the entire planet. Briefly forgetting about the smell, Riku laid himself on Sora's back, the entire bed sinking beneath the combined weight.
"Hey, lover boy. What's going on over here?" Riku tried to peek at his phone and saw a few texts from Kairi.
Sora sighed and turned over, pushing Riku off, sending him to the floor with a thud. "Not now Riku."
Riku huffed as he sat up on his knees, but he could tell something was genuinely bothering Sora. He sat on the edge of the bed. "Come on dude. I'll cut the bro-mance crap. Just talk to me."
Sora took a breath then said it all at once: "Kairi and Namine are coming to Destiny Islands for Destiny Gaming Expo, and she wants to see me, but, what if she doesn't like me or thinks I'm weird, or, oh god, what if she falls in love me, and she stays here, and we get married..."
Sora's word vomit continued on for a few minutes before Riku finally grabbed a pillow and smacked him on the head. "Sora! Chill the hell out! We can make this work. I can come up with a plan... like maybe a romantic date or something."
Sora rolled over and looked at his best friend. As he was about to thank him, Sora recognized the scheming look in his eyes. "Riku-"
"I HAVE TO MAKE THE BED!" With what seemed like superhuman strength, Roxas picked up Sora's bed, flinging them off, then setting the mattress back down, Riku and Sora-free. Sora had landed on his back with a loud thunk! And Riku had rolled and smacked his head against the wall, sitting on the floor for the second time that night. Roxas ran about making the bed and fixing the pillows just-so, completely oblivious to the pain he had inflicted on them.
The other two boys watched in bewilderment from the floor, looking at each other and then back at Roxas who was still cleaning furiously.
"We gotta do something about him first." Riku jerked his head towards Roxas as he rubbed the back of his head where it had been smacked against the wall. "All the chemicals he's using are killing my brain cells."
Sora glared at Roxas and sat up. "I'll make him drink the toilet cleaner if he doesn't stop acting like they're coming here tomorrow." Roxas either didn't hear him or was pretending not to hear him as he wiped down Sora's nightstands vigorously.
"When exactly are they coming?" Riku asked, looking over at Sora who gave up on staring daggers at Roxas and was checking his phone again.
"Kairi said they'll be flying in tomorrow night."
"SO THEY ARE COMING TOMORROW?!" Riku's eyes were starting to look a lot like Roxas', and Sora wasn't liking it one bit. "I have a lot of planning to do. Come on Sora; we're pulling an all nighter. Sleep is for the weak."
•| ⊱♡⊰ |•
Back in Kairi's room...
It had been well over an hour and Kairi hadn't heard from Sora. She felt a little stab of anxiety from it all. Maybe she shouldn't have told him she was coming? But then again, she'd have looked like an ass if she had shown up to the convention without saying anything, and he was there. Maybe he was just nervous? Or maybe it wasn't even about her. She really didn't know, and that was the hardest thing about it. She glanced at her phone one more time. No new messages. With a heavy sigh, Kairi decided to jump in HoW and just forget for a little while.
Welcome to Heart of Worlds!
New Message from: Faeron
Good afternoon, Ari. I feel like we've been missing each other lately, and I've missed your company. PM me when you get on. :)
A wave of guilt washed over Kairi. Even if Faeron had started to fall off as a crush, he was still her friend. She took a peek at her friends list to see if he was on and indeed he was. She quickly sent him a private message. No one else in the clan was on so maybe they could hang out for a bit without any drama.
[You to Faeron]: Hey, Fae.
[Faeron to You]: What are you up to today? Are you with the clan again?
[You to Faeron]: Nope. Just going to cut down some trees to make some bows. I need to get my fletching up.
[Faeron to You]: Mind if I join you?
[You to Faeron]: Not at all. I'm in Wonderland cutting down the magic trees.
[Faeron to You]: I'll be there soon.
Joining Kingdom Hearts clan chat...
Ariae joined the clan chat.
Faeron joined the clan chat.
Faeron has kissed your hand.
Kairi willed the blush away that had started to creep across her cheeks. This was just how Faeron liked to interact with people. It wasn't anything out of the ordinary. Kairi glanced over at her phone again. No new messages.
[Faeron]: Greetings, m' lady.
[Ariae]: Hello, Sir Faeron.
[Faeron]: So how is life?
[Ariae]: Well, I've been meaning to talk to you about something... I probably won't be on this weekend.
[Faeron]: D: Why?
[Ariae]: I'm going on vacation, but I'll be back next week.
[Faeron]: I will miss you while you are gone. Is there a way we can talk outside of HoW?
Kairi had already decided that she wouldn't be revealing specifics about her "vacation" to anyone except close friends and family, so she gave Faeron the same line she was feeding everyone else. Kairi thought about giving Faeron her phone number, but quickly thought better of it. Maybe just her email. She sent it to him through a private message.
[Ariae]: I sent you my email. I'll have to check it periodically for work while I'm gone so I should be able to catch any messages from you.
[Faeron]: Are you going with Fainn by chance?
[Ariae]: What? Why would I be going with him?
[Faeron]: Well, I just kinda assumed you knew each other in real life with the way you're always together on HoW.
Ah, Kairi thought. This was weird, but maybe it was a fair question? Still... She looked over at her phone. No new messages. She decided to keep her answer simple and to the point. That should help steer the conversation away from Sora and herself.
[Faeron]: I see....
[Ariae]: Is something wrong?
[Faeron]: Umm... Do you like Fainn?
Kairi stopped. She wasn't sure how to respond to Faeron's abrupt question, but she must have waited a second too long because she heard the ping of a message in the clan chat through her headset.
[Faeron]: So you do like him then?
[Ariae]: I don't really want to talk about it.
[Faeron]: I'm sorry. I guess I'm just a little jealous.
[Ariae]: Jealous? Why?
[Faeron]: Because I like you.
[Ariae]: But you don't really know me...
Faeron smiled and kissed your hand.
[Faeron]: I know that you're a kind person. I saw how you helped Mika during the PK fiasco.
[Faeron]: And you like a lot of the same things I do.
[Faeron]: Sorry, did I overstep? You're quiet.
Kairi bit her lip as she wrung her hands in her lap. What could she say? Faeron was really nice. And he was right that they did like a lot of the same things like games and music; however, she felt so much closer to Sora, like she had a connection with him. She was 100% crushing on Sora but a glance at her phone made her wonder if there was even a chance that Sora felt the same way. She had to say something to Faeron though. She couldn't just ignore the fact that he said he liked her.
[Ariae]: I think I'm just surprised. I didn't expect that tonight.
[Faeron]: I understand. We can just continue on as we were. I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable. Let's forget I said anything for now.
[Faeron]: Can I ask you something instead?
[Ariae]: What is it?
[Faeron]: What is your name?
[Faeron]: Beautiful name for a beautiful woman.
[Ariae]: Now what's your name?
Faeron bowed deeply.
[Faeron]: You can call me L.
[Ariae]: Lol, I only get a letter? I thought we were friends.
[Faeron]: We are! I just don't like my name. All of my friends call me L.
[Ariae]: That makes me feel a bit better then.
This whole conversation sent Kairi's mood spiraling back down the drain. She had hoped hanging out with Faeron, er, L would make her forget that Sora was ignoring her texts, but all it had done was make her feel worse. She decided she'd excuse herself and actually do some cleaning around the house. It was needed especially since she had called a friend to cat sit for the weekend. And she still had some packing to do.
[Ariae]: Well I need to start packing for the trip.
[Faeron]: Have fun. ;) Bye for now, Kairi.
[Ariae]: Bye, L.
•| ⊱♡⊰ |•
They sat back in their chair and grinned, threading their hands behind their head. They would crush Kairi and Sora's hope of being together. If they couldn't make Kairi fall for Faeron, they would just convince Kairi that Sora was terrible, but they needed more time. Maybe they had played their hand a bit too soon by telling her they liked her, but it was too late now. They'd have to reel Kairi back in with Faeron's chivalry act, then drop some damning evidence in her lap. Once Kairi was out of the picture, one way or another, Sora would be all theirs...