Sometimes, when Sora sleeps, he dreams of a high tower and a sky stained with reds and orange: a sunset sky. He stands at the top and feels the wind whistle around him, through his hair and catching at his clothes. He feels light in strange ways, like his worries are gone, but so's everything else; inside his chest, the feeling of just not caring, just feeling the wind. He holds his arms out to either side and breathes; the air is clean this high up, and he can't really grasp why he might imagine that it would taste worse lower down.
He is alone.
Kairi is not here, and Riku is not either; the thought is kind of absurd that anyone would follow him here. That should feel lonely, but it doesn't; it doesn't feel freeing, either. It's just a fact: up here, he's alone. Nobody is here.
"Roxas," a voice says from beside him, the tone light and scornful and deeply unreadable, "I'm hurt--"
And then Sora tumbles off the tower and falls, unable to breathe from the pressure of the air driving into his lungs at the speed he's falling and he thinks, I can't survive this one--
And then generally he wakes to find that he's rolled over and has his face in the pillow, or that he'd just drifted off on the beach and the feeling is Kairi sitting on his chest and watching him with concern.
"Hey, cut it out," Sora says, and shoves at her. "You're heavy!"
"Jeez, Sora," Kairi says. "Is that any way to treat a girl?" But she slides off, lets her rump hit the sand as she rolls, draws her knees up to her chest and tucks her ankles together as she looks at him. "Bad dream?"
"Nah," Sora says. "I don't really remember it."
"You were talking in your sleep," Kairi says.
"Oh?" Sora says. "What was it?"
She says, "It didn't make much sense, and it didn't sound much like you."
"Well, I'm the only me there is," Sora says.
"That's not true," Kairi says, but her smile is rueful as she reaches out to touch his forehead, then ruffle his hair. "C'mon. I sent Riku to get some drinks. Let's help him carry them."
"D'you think," Axel asks the emptiness, as he swings his legs in the open space beneath the ledge on the clock tower which he's sitting on, "that something lost can ever really come back?" He puts a hand on his chest and laughs. He doesn't expect an answer.
Sora takes his drink from Riku and hops up beside him on the tree. Kairi has taken a seat at their feet; they are all gazing out over the ocean. Funny how much things don't change, Riku thinks, even when they do.
But Sora seems to have something on his mind; he is staring at his drink more than the horizon. Riku glances between them; Kairi's watching the sun set, but Sora's gaze is distant, turned inwards as he turns his thoughts over.
"I think," Sora says, into the silence, "I think that sunset's a weird time."
"What's all that about, huh?" Riku asks.
"It's a time when things change," Sora says. "When we were all out here before, at the end of the days we'd been planning and planning to leave, it's like... that's when the real changes happened. When the three of us were just sitting and talking, or...the two of us." His foot nudges Kairi and she looks up. He still isn't looking at either of them, though. "They might not have been changes anyone saw, but they happened. I dunno why. I guess it's just ... a change between two things. On one side of it's the day, right? But on the other side's the night. One's for being awake, the other's for sleeping--"
Riku nudges Sora, makes Sora look up at him. Better. There's something weird about the way he was looking; better to have him there, right then, with them. "Someone like you who sleeps the day away and naps all the time can't get away with saying that."
Sora rubs the back of his head. "Maybe you're right."
"Maybe you're right," he echoes. Things are changing, they're overlapping, night isn't day and day isn't night and he doesn't know anymore where one begins and the other ends and which one knows him and which one doesn't, if either does, really. Maybe they both do, maybe neither, maybe it just takes falling asleep or waking up, not this damn in-between surrealism that they seem to have fallen into.
It's a hell of a place to have all to yourself, though, he thinks, and watches Sora spread his arms and breathe.