The sound of waves rushing up the sandy beach and retreating back into the pitch black ocean pierced the otherwise silent island. A warm breeze ran along its length, stirring the tattered palm leaves high out of reach.
The sounds were enough to alert a girl who had been sleeping soundly only moments before. When the sound reached her ears, a battle cry tore from her lips and in a flash, the young woman was on her feet, arms held in a manner as if to protect herself from a blow.
The empty room around her did not respond; the bits and pieces of dusty bamboo that made up the walls remained still and silent.
Slowly, the girl relaxed. Her breathing slowed, her eyes closed, and finally she relaxed her arms until they hung loosely at her side. With a heavy sigh, she fell back into her bed and allowed her green eyes to trace the once familiar leaf roof of her home.
Alsce had forgotten she was back. A nearly three year journey and now she was home. The cuffs around her wrists, one black, one white, were no longer as heavy as they had once seemed, and the gleaming spheres of crystals twinkling on a table in the center of the room were finally back where they belonged.
The girl that had once lived in her house would not have jumped up, adrenaline rushing through her veins, at the sound of waves crashing onto the shore. Even though she was that girl, to Alsce she felt like another child entirely.
Alsce pursed her lips and rolled of her bed, deciding she was not going to fall asleep again. She slipped on her knee-length blue-and-black boots and walked outside.
The sky above was still studded with stars, the only sign of the coming morning a vividly pink strip of sky on the distant horizon. It felt surreal; too peaceful and too pretty to be her life.
To Alsce's surprise, there was already someone on the dark beach: a boy her age with spiky brown hair. The boy looked up as she approached and a slow, easy smile spread across his face.
"What are you doing out here, Sora?" Alsce asked as she neared the boy. Sora shrugged.
"I figured you'd be up. Sit down," he patted a spot next to him, "This piece of beach has your name on it."
Alsce hesitated. It was not because she disliked Sora, but because the whole experience felt strange. It was if they had changed in a subtle way and Alsce was nervous about how they would react to each other. Finally, she smiled and sat down.
They sat side by side for awhile, watching the pink stripe in the sky expand and turn to orange, watching the stars fade away, watching the rising sun stain the ocean fuchsia.
"It's been a long time..." Sora said, breaking the silence, "Since we've been together without a hundred other people watching."
"Yeah." Alsce murmured. They faded into mutual silence once more.
"Do you remember?" Sora asked after another lengthy pause.
"This spot is where it all started. This exact spot is where our journey began."
Alsce blinked and then looked at her surroundings, now visible in the watery early morning light.
"It is, isn't it? Wow." Alsce said. She closed her eyes and tilted her face toward the sky.
"Do you remember what else happened here?" She heard Sora ask. Alsce turned back to him, eyes open once more. She felt heat creeping up her neck.
"Vaguely. Weren't we about to kiss and then Selphie interrupted us?"
"Is that what happened?" Sora said. His face was close to her's, their lips mere millimeters apart, "Well, I'll be taking that kiss now." He leaned closer to her, but Alsce moved backwards, eyes narrowed suspiciously.
"Don't worry. She won't be here for awhile." Sora laughed. He leaned towards her again and this time their lips met. They broke away after a few moment, smiling softly at each other. Then the sunrise captured their attention.
Once morning had come completely, Alsce stirred.
"It's going to be different now, isn't it, Sora?"
"It will. But...I think it will be a good different."
"We're all together again."
"And if anything does happen, we'll face it..."
Both stood up and Sora walked a few steps before turning back to Alsce, hand outstretched. She smiled, broadly this time, and took the offered hand. As the pair walked away up the beach, one word floated back towards the sea and was carried away to the other worlds.