Dream of Hearts: Chapter Four.

“Uh…”

Sora looks over the object in his hand. At one point, he was very sure he called it a sword, but now he’s not so sure. It’s not changed or anything, of course, but noticing the details—like the weird axe-shaped blade, and the square handguard—those could be a bit and a bow, and and now he steps back and thinks about it—

—yeah, this has always been a key. He just didn’t notice it before.

Donald waddles over at a slightly ridiculous speed, an intense look on his face. “So you’re the one we’re looking for!”

“Huh?” is all Sora can get out before the duck stops in front of him. The duck looks Sora up and down, with an expression of scrutiny so severe that it looks more like fury than anything else.

Sora flinches. “Uh, what are you talking about?”

“Well, ya see–“ says Goofy, plodding over, “—our pal Mickey—“

“Our king, Goofy!”

“Oh! Beggin’ yer pardon—our King Mickey gave us orders to go out lookin’ for somebody with a key. An’ that there doohickey sure looks a lot like a key to us.” He points at the sword.

Sora looks it over again. “Yeah, I see where you’re coming from…” Then, suddenly, it hits him. “Uh, did you just say ‘king’?”

Donald and Goofy suddenly look expectant. “Did you see him anywhere?” asks Donald excitably. “Did you see the King!?”

Sora thinks about if he’s met a king recently, but he doesn’t recall. “Sorry. I dunno who you’re talking about.”

The duck and dog seem to physically deflate at about the same time. It’s kind of pitiful.

“Are you looking for him or something?” asks Sora.

Donald nods with a sad noise that Sora presumes is a quack, and Goofy once again picks up the explanation. “He went missin’ a couple o’ days ago,” he says. “Didn’t tell anybody he was leavin’, or where he was goin’. All he left was that letter.”

“Oh.” Sora blinks. “I’m sorry.”

“Aww, it’s okay,” says Goofy. “At least we found ya real fast! But, uh, now that we found ya—“ He turns to the duck. “Whadda we do now, Donald?”

“What does the letter say?” asks Donald.

“Well, let’s see here–“ Goofy crouches a little and reaches deep into his blue slacks. His muzzle droops. “Hmm, that’s funny. I guess I musta lost it.”

“You lost it!?” Donald squawks. “You lost the King’s letter!?”

Goofy flinches.

“Hey, he didn’t mean to,” says Sora. “Don’t get mad at him.”

Donald’s eyes widen somehow further than they already were. “But that letter was our only clue to figuring out where he is! Ohhh…!” He shakes, then, again, the tension dispels, and he slumps over. “What are we gonna do? We looked all over and couldn’t find him. He could be in any of the worlds!”

That last word piques Sora’s curiosity. “What do you mean worlds?” he asks.

Donald and Goofy give each other a curious look.

“You don’t know?” says Donald, a little incredulous.

The air fills with a pressure that Sora doesn’t quite expect, and he feels himself shrinking just a millimetre or two. “Am I supposed to…?”

“Well, nobody lives in Traverse Town,” says Goofy, “so if you’re here, you’ve gotta be from another world. But you can’t get here from another world without knowin’ it.”

“So if you don’t know, what are you doing here?” asks Donald.

Sora shrugs. “I dunno. I kinda just woke up here…”

A long, silent moment ensues. Then…

“…Huh!?”

The two animal people fall backwards in almost exaggerated alarm.

“You’re lost!?” says Donald in disbelief. “How could you just get lost!?”

“Like I said,” Sora shrugs again, “I dunno.”

Goofy suddenly breaks into a beaming smile. “…Hey, maybe that’s it!” He stands up. “Maybe that’s why Mickey sent us to come look for ya! He knew you were lost, an’ he wanted us to come find ya!”

There’s something odd about that conclusion, but Sora can’t quite put his finger on it.

“An’ maybe, what he actually wants us to do is figure out how to get you home again!” Goofy says proudly.

“But Goofy,” starts Donald, “what about looking for the King?”

“Oh, we can do that too!” Goofy points out. “All we hafta do is take… uh…” He pauses, then chuckles. “Aw, shucks. We forgot to innerduce ourselves!” He tips his little hat, revealing a pronounced bump. “My name’s Goofy, an’ this is Donald.”

“What’s your name?” asks Donald.

“Sora.”

“Nice to meetcha, Sora,” says Goofy. “Anyway, all we hafta do is take Sora with us while we look for the King, an’ we might just find his world along the way!”

“He can’t come with us!” Donald protests. “What’ll he do if he runs into the Heartless again?”

“Oh, he’ll be fine! After all, we’ll be there to protect him!” Goofy insists. He turns to Sora. “So whaddaya say? Wouldja like to come with us?”

Sora mulls it over for a second. Two strange animal men, most likely adults, walk up to him claiming to have been sent by a king, and ask him to come with them to other worlds, most likely fighting those demon bug thing along the way. Taken the wrong way, it sounds kinda dangerous.

But they certainly don’t seem dangerous. They just seem like two normal—if animated—people who just want to find their King.

And besides, how could he turn down an adventure like that?

“Sure,” he says, offering a hand. “I’ll go. I wanna help you find your King.”

Goofy throws his hand into the pile. “And we’ll find your world too!”

After a second of consideration, Donald follows. “I guess this makes us a party,” he says.

As the hands cover one another, there it is, all of a sudden—a warmth, one that envelops his entire body. It’s strange, but not unfamiliar; unusual, but comforting. It feels like he’s met Donald and Goofy before, somewhere. It feels like they’re already friends.

It’s especially strange, because it seems like he hasn’t really been feeling that way lately.

Finally, Sora slowly retracts his hand. “So, where do we get…”

——

“…sta…rted…”

“Sora!” There’s a rapping on wood coming from somewhere. The voice accompanying it is raised and short, but also muffled by something. “It’s nearly seven! You need to get up for school!”

Sora groans, rolling over. His eyes hurt and he’s not entirely sure why.

The rapping picks back up. “Sora! You slept through your alarm! You need to get up!”

He murmurs, and curls up in a stubborn ball. The warmth surrounding him is so comfortable; he doesn’t want to even think about leaving it.

There’s a click. “Come on, Sora…” says the steadily loudening, much clearer voice. “You need to get up… Come on!”

Mom rips the sheets off the bed, and Sora flinches from the sudden cold. It’s effective, though, because he actually opens his eyes. “Mom! That’s mean!”

“You’re going to be late,” Mom replies calmly. “Come on. Your breakfast is waiting downstairs.”

The morning sun, even at this hour, is painfully bright. Sora rubs his eyes. “Okay, okay, I’m up…”

He opens them again just in time to see a slightly blurry version of his mother leaving the room, and once the door closes, he yawns and stretches. The yawn quickly turns into a yelp of pain as his body readjusts to moving again after so long. Why do mornings hurt so much?

He rolls off the bed, leaving it unmade, and walks heavily to the door, passing by his posters on the back wall. As his vision sharpens, the design of one catches his eye, and he stops. He looks at it for a second; then, slowly, it all starts coming back to him. The dream.

He’s gotta tell Riku and Kairi, he thinks, and bounds out the door, leaving the old movie poster in the sunlight.

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