Sora hadn't thought about that.
What does it matter? he asked. It's not like we have a choice.
"There's always a choice," Roxas said, and then, doing his best impression of King Mickey. "Dark and light, good and evil-"
Sora wanted to throw a pillow at him. He settled for throwing himself onto his bed ungracefully. "Some choices really aren't choices at all," he said.
"I know," Roxas said, silly mood suddenly gone.
They were both quiet then, for a minute.
"Do you think," Sora said, all of a sudden, "that if we were separate people, we could ever have become friends?"
"I don't know," Roxas said. "Even now, we're not- we're not just friends. You're my other."
It didn't make a lot of sense, out loud like that. But Sora knew what he meant. They'd never been meant to be separate people. In a lot of ways, they still weren't. They shared between them one heart, one body, and one soul. Sora didn't remember most of the time when he and Roxas had been separate- he had Namine to thank for that- but he remembered the feeling of it, and Riku had filled him in, a little, on what he'd pieced together about what Sora had been like. He'd been stupid, impulsive, and led entirely by his heart. Sora liked his heart, but that wasn't all there was to a person. Except, apparently, when the other parts of that person were being used by his alter ego.
Sora liked himself better whole. He liked himself better with Roxas. He knew Roxas felt the same way- surely it had to be better to have a heart than to be a Nobody.
There really wasn't much else to say. So it was lucky that there was a soft knock on the door frame.
Sora had left the door open. He sat up now to find his mom in the doorway, looking as though she had been crying.
Sora hated seeing his mom cry. He felt like he'd probably caused a lot of tears over the past few years. When he'd been missing. When she'd remembered that he was missing, after Namine had restored everyone's memories. When she'd found out that he was dating two people. When she'd found out about Axel. When she'd found out about Roxas.
Sora gave his mom a weak smile. She responded in kind. She took a few hesitant steps into the room, and hugged him.
He'd expected yelling. Every other time he'd made his mom cry, she'd yelled at him.
"You've lied to me over and over again," she said into his shoulder. "Was that you, or Roxas?"
"It was both," he said, quietly. "But- Roxas is part of me. We're part of each other," he corrected himself. "I think- we have to share the fault for things. And the credit, when they work out."
She nodded, her hair brushing against his face gently. "Is Roxas here now?"
"He's always here," Sora said. "Every once in a while, he sleeps when I'm awake. Every once in a while, I sleep when he's awake. It's just- whatever's convenient."
She finally let go of him, breaking the hug.
"Has he been doing your math homework?" she asked, mock-angry.
Sora's mouth fell open. "How-?"
"It was pretty obvious when I thought about it," she said, smiling wanly. "I love you, Sora, but you've never been the most dedicated student. I should have known something was going on when you started getting such good grades in classes you hated."
"Roxas likes math," Sora said. "And it's his life, too. Why shouldn't we split our classwork?"
She shook her head. "I think that's a discussion for another day."
"You're going away," she said, simply. "Again."
"I have to," Sora said. "The worlds are in danger."
"There's no one else?" she asked. "You're just children."
"We haven't been children for a long time," Roxas said.
She nodded sadly. "I wish you still could be," she said. And then, "when the worlds are all safe, we're going to have a long talk about honesty. You shouldn't feel like you need to lie to me to get your way."
"But for now-" she shook her head. "Be safe. Come home when you can. I love you."
"Don't look so worried," Sora said. "I promise I'll come home safe."
She smiled again. "I'll hold you to that."
And Sora knew that wasn't the end of things- was sort of glad that wasn't the end of things. It might be a long time before he got to come home again, but he knew that his mom would be waiting for him.
In the meantime, there were things to do.
He had something to say to Riku, too, before they left. Because he hadn't just lied to his mom.
"Riku," he said, the next morning, as they finished packing up the Gummi ship. "I need to tell you something."
Kairi smiled a little, and walked a little distance away to get her privacy. Axel took a little longer to move, but then Kairi came back, dragged him by the arm, and pulled him off to help her carry a box.
"It was Roxas who kissed you first," Sora said, without preamble. "I didn't even realize I liked you like that until later."
Riku did not look terribly surprised, but neither did he look pleased.
"Roxas told me already," he said. "Over a month ago. Why did you wait so long, if you thought I didn't know?"
Sora shook his head. "At first Roxas didn't want me to. And then, it didn't seem so important. But- I'm trying to be more honest. My mom- she said that I shouldn't feel like I have to lie to get my way, but that's what I've been doing for months. And I don't want us to be based on lies. I want- I want this to work, and I don't think it can if I can't be honest. So- it was Roxas who kissed you first. It was Roxas you started dating. But it wasn't for that long. Only a week or two, and then I knew about it. I'm not saying it was right, for me to keep that secret from you, once I did find out- but Roxas was convinced you'd hate him, and I couldn't convince him otherwise for the longest time."
Sora felt like Riku was expecting more.
"I'm sorry," Sora said. And then, "Are we okay?"
Riku nodded. "We're fine. I'm not happy that you lied to me, but honestly, it was a long time ago. As long as you don't keep lying, I think we're good."
Sora smiled brightly. That had been a lot less painful than he'd dared to hope. "I promise," he said. "No more lies."
"You and Roxas might want to try to communicate a little more, too," Riku said, with a hint of a smile. He reached over to Sora and ruffled his hair, ruining the gel Roxas had put in it earlier. Roxas let out a displeased squawk, and Riku and Sora laughed at him.
Kairi and Axel came back with a big box, then, which was even heavier than it looked. Sora and Riku helped them load it onto the ship, and Sora wondered if Kairi had packed a bunch of bricks for their journey.
"Everything okay?" Kairi asked.
"Yeah," Sora said. "Everything is great."
And maybe it was silly to feel optimistic when they were about to go up against their most fearsome opponent yet, but Sora did. He'd beaten Ansem with Donald and Goofy, and he'd beaten Xemnas with Riku. With Riku and Kairi and Axel and Roxas with him, how could they possibly lose against Xehanort? They'd beaten him twice already.
It wasn't going to be easy- saving the world never was- but Sora knew, somewhere in his heart, that they would manage.
They got into Gummi ship, Sora started it up, the familiar sound of the engines turning over and then the steady hum as they warmed up filling the air.
"Everyone ready?" he asked.
"Let's go," Kairi said, at the same moment that Riku said, "What are we waiting for?"
And then Sora looked back to find Axel silently grinning.
It was time to go. But Sora knew they'd be back.
You ready? Sora asked Roxas silently.
Vacation time's over, Roxas replied. Let's get going.
Sora pulled the lever that let them take off. He spared one last glance at Destiny Islands before it was out of sight.
They were leaving. But they'd be back before too long.Sora was sure of it.
Well, that's it! Thank you so much for reading (and sticking with me through the long update times).
Thanks to my beta, british_spy on lj. Any remaining mistakes are my own.