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Island in my heart

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“Roxas, Xion,” asked Lea one day, sitting above Twilight Town. “What was it like, ya know… being in Sora’s heart?” The grip Xion had on her popsicle stick tightened subtly. Sora was still missing. They had all watched him fade away, returning Kairi only to disappear with a sad smile.

Since then, talking about him was… risky. Doing so in front of his two best friends would get you a glare from Riku and Kairi would just… shut down. It was worse though, in a way, for those who had shared his heart. Despite all of them being their own people, Sora’s absence had left them feeling empty, lonely in a way that was impossible to describe to the others. Ventus had tried, he shared everything with Aqua and Terra, but they didn’t understand. Lea and Isa didn’t ask, understanding that this was not something that they could help with.

So for Lea to bring him up, especially in such a casual setting, was a surprise. Lea must’ve seen the confusion and surprise on Roxas’ face, because he gave an uneasy grin. “Yeah, that was kinda out of the blue huh? If you don’t want to answer-“

“No, it’s fine.” Roxas cut him off. “I was just… caught off guard.”

The blond-haired boy chewed on his clean stick, the ice cream long-gone. Now that he had a body again, he did that a lot.

“It was really big. I didn’t really have a physical form either. Xion was already there, so I had company at least.”

Xion smiled and giggled, her eyes disappearing in her mirth. “It was warm. He let us create our own little areas, but there was always a beach. Whenever he felt a strong emotion, the weather would change.”

Roxas nodded, switching which end of the stick was in his mouth as the first one was chewed to splinters. “When he was sad, it started raining, when he was scared it was super windy. I guess that the beach was a replica of his islands, because there was a treehouse and everything.”

Lea examined his clean stick, and finding it lacking, he threw it off the clocktower. Xion whacked his bicep and scolded him about littering. “So were you the only ones there? Wasn’t that Ventus kid a member of Sora’s little heart-gang too?”

This time Xion nodded. “Yeah, he was there, but he didn’t really talk to us. His heart was still being repaired I guess. He wasn’t really conscious that often, and when he was I think he couldn’t see us.

“I can’t imagine the place was anything but cheery, I’ve never seen the kid not-happy.” mused Lea.

Roxas also threw his mangled stick off the tower, causing Xion to give him an unamused look. “When I confronted DiZ about the data-town, right before I rejoined Sora, he said to me; 'You should share some of that hatred with Sora. He’s far too nice for his own good.’ He was wrong, as usual. Sora’s got darkness. It’s hard to find, but it’s there.”

His eyes lingered on his hands, silently contemplating if he should share his next thoughts. “Once, we explored the island, just to have something to do.”

Xion’s breath caught a little, recognizing what he was talking about.

“There was this door, right next to the spring and hidden behind some leaves. There was a thick layer of light around it, the door was incredibly tacky and made of light too. So we opened it and- well, it wasn’t what we were expecting. Sora doesn’t deal with his darkness well. He pushes all his negative emotions and urges deep down and refuses to acknowledge them most of the time.”

“Lea, remember when you tried to make stew, and you left the lid on for too long, and it boiled over, making a mess?” Asked Xion.

“How could I forget!” Whined Lea. “Isa made me clean it all up!” Xion laughed, before sobering.

“Sora’s anger is like that. It’s always close to boiling over.”

“I’ve never met someone so angry.”
“Deep down, he was mad .”

Xion swallowed, her voice wavering imperceptibly. “When we opened that door- the island, it got stormy. Not the sad-rain, but a huge storm, like a hurricane with lightning and darkness and-“ she cut herself off. The stick in her hands splintered as she snapped it in half. “We closed it as fast as we could- but the damage had been done.”

Roxas kicked his legs, the heels of his boots tapping the stone of the clocktower. “Ventus woke up during the storm. But all he did was scream. He didn’t stop until the wind vanished.”

He turned to face Lea, blue eyes clear and piercing. “I don’t want to talk about this anymore.” He stated, tone leaving no room for objection, not that Lea would.

“Ok. We should get going anyways.” Acknowledged Lea. He stood up, wincing as his muscles stretched out. “Ow, I’m getting old, Roxas. Soon you and Xion will have to bring me up here in a wheelchair.”

Roxas grinned, standing up as well. “We’ll get you one with a flame pattern, like that guy’s shirt from that food show Terra watches.” Lea groaned with more drama than necessary.

Xion slowly got up, still clutching the shattered stick. Her gaze lingered on the ever-present sunset, before she chucked the wood as hard as she could over the edge. “Hey! What happened to no littering?” Teased Roxas. The look she gave him could have taken down a Darkside.

“Let’s go!” She declared, looking resolutely ahead. “Riku and Kairi promised to teach me how to knit and I want to catch them before dinner.”

Lea chuckled, already headed towards the stairwell. It was good seeing so much life in these two again. Knowing what he did now about Sora, he felt even more motivated to get him back, if only so Isa could give him a lecture on unhealthy repression. They would get him back, and those who felt his absence so acutely would be whole again. He couldn’t wait.