|By Weeks of Labor, Darkness is Daylight
Author: Orin Drake PM
set well after KH2 no spoilers and part of the Sins universe Riku finally finds Sora... but it may be too late. Unresolved yaoilike issues... heh.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst - Riku & Sora - Words: 3,157 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 5 - Follows: 1 - Published: 04-08-06 - Status: Complete - id: 2882334
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"By Weeks of Labor, Darkness is Daylight" and the general concept of "By Weeks of Labor, Darkness is Daylight" is copyright Orin Drake 2006. Kingdom Hearts, and all worlds and characters contained within, belong to Square-Enix and Disney. Can two wrongs make a right? You tell me.
Background: My challenge was actually a cut-up (I love this technique--I've never used it on a fanfic before now, though) from one page of Mark Twain's The Mysterious Stranger. The cut-up phrase? Yup: "By weeks of labor, darkness is daylight." There's no way I couldn't use it on Riku and Sora. (Which means, if not already obvious, powerful yaoi connotations.) Since the universe I wrote this in was in my head long before Kingdom Hearts II, there aren't really any game spoilers here. Tie-ins, but no spoilers. I listened to "I Grieve" (Peter Gabriel) an awful lot while writing this... so I bet that explains a bit.
GREAT BIG WARNING: This might be considered to be a spoiler for my ongoing story, Ties that Bind and Tear Apart. Technically, this happens after the end of Ties that Bind and Tear Apart, so... well, um... sorry about that. Myself, as the writer, I don't think it's such a big deal... I mean, it reveals nothing terribly key to the plot except what happens to Riku and Sora "sometime afterward", so... I'll leave it up to you. (If you're wondering who Kyrie is, let's just say she's Squall's daughter and a "very special girl" who had hold of Sora's heart for safe-keeping for a time.)
By Weeks of Labor, Darkness is Daylight
by Orin Drake
Walking this road...
Riku found him. He hadn't any idea of how he'd found him, but he'd managed. Through that last piece of heart, through Kyrie's efforts to help, allowing him through the seal and into a totally barren place composed only of gray landscape...
He'd lost his own heart in the process. He knew he did, because when he first laid eyes upon Sora's body simply laying there, empty, cold, dead... he felt nothing. He couldn't even cry for the loss of his own emotion. It was nothing. He was lost. He could feel his very existence fading.
--But that couldn't have stopped him from trying. He knew he'd come too far, had too many reasons to collapse in on himself. He was so tired... so worn and exhausted...
He stumbled toward the body and fell to his knees before Sora's too-still, too-pale shell. Had to fix him... he had to fix him before the lethargy turned to apathy... and that much didn't even scare him any longer.
"Wake up." Riku whispered, slowly reaching out to stroke the brunette's spikes. Even through his gloves, he knew the hair was no longer soft... it no longer shone or bounced with fingers moving through it. It had been caked with blood and gore--only some of which belonged to the boy. Some of it belonged to Riku, too.
"Sora..." the word stung on his lips. "Please, Sora... wake up, now..."
When still nothing moved, Riku pulled his gloves off with little hurry and even less thought. Cautiously, he touched the other's boy's cheek... met only with ice cold. Stiff. Dead.
"Sora..." the whisper felt like more than a name. "Sora..."
He gazed down at the frozen features of the Keyblade Master. So cold. His face spoke of a painful death, streaks of dried blood still splashed over half of it. He'd fought so hard... Riku hadn't been there, but he knew it could be no other way for Sora. He'd fought the loss of his heart. And there Riku was, just giving it away...
"Sora." A pang, of something. Imagined, maybe... there wasn't really time to think on it. His hands were moving on their own, pulling the boy's jacket the rest of the way open. There were tears in it, slashes, old blood leaking through--
He'd known, intellectually, that stealing one's heart did not mean one would have a wound to prove it had been done. But Riku was still stunned and somehow sickened to have seen that small portion of chest where Sora's phsyical heart had once beaten was... perfectly clean. Flawless, white flesh surrounded by blood and bruises and scars... some that couldn't be seen.
His hands were filthy. Not physically, but that wasn't what mattered. His hands... his self... was filth compared to the dead and broken thing before him...
"Sora..." he felt the word catch in his throat, digging in as if it had barbs. He couldn't help himself, filthy as he was. That perfect and tiny expanse of skin... made him ache to touch it...
Palm against the icy flesh, Riku had no idea what that sudden burst of sound was. It would occur to him, as a different kind of darkness overtook him in that moment, that it was the sound of his own anguished screaming.
It could have been minutes. Hours. Days. Eternity. He didn't know. Didn't care. And it certainly didn't matter.
Riku sat up with a shaking body, wondering just how it came to be that way. He was still in the non-descript grayness... next to an unmoving form that remained too familiar.
Nothing. It was all for nothing. All he'd been through to get Sora back and... and nothing came of it...
Too numb to cry. Too tired to scream. He wished he were dead.
But then... maybe he was. If there was a Hell... it was exactly the place around him. Gray and cold and numb... with his dead best friend... his dead... more than friend...
He never knew. He'd never told him... that he wanted... what he'd needed... But Kyrie knew, so... maybe that portion of Sora's heart that she'd held... could know it, too...
Riku hid his face in his hands, willing tears. Anything to get release of that awful emptiness inside of him...
He was certain that sound had been torn from his own throat--a gasp, a sob, a painful expression with a hard-won intake of breath...
--No. He forced his head up and his eyes to open, seeing the other boy's mouth move. He forgot about his fear and disgust as he rushed to help Sora sit up, trying to help him breathe as the wracking coughs took the brunette's entire body.
"Sora..." Was it really? Could it really be..?
More coughing, then weak clutching at Riku's long coat. His eyes were wide, but unseeing--familiar blue having turned...
Gray. Riku realized with a horrible weight in his chest. He kept the boy delicately at arm's length while he fought to breathe, torn between the possibilities. So much had already gone wrong... but what if nothing could be righted? What if the boy was merely a shadow of the friend he'd known?
Not that any of it would matter if they were both trapped in that landscape of nothingness. "Sora?" he tried again, meekly.
There was nothing. No response at all from the other boy.
Riku turned his face away, wishing he could feel anything at all. Remorse. Shame. Guilt. Agony. But there was nothing. An aching, awful nothing.
To remake forgotten promises...
Most of Leon's wounds had already healed. The bones had set nicely, though many scars remained. That much had never mattered. Not really.
He looked out across the rebuilt city of Hollow Bastion, wondering when it would be renamed. Or, if it would be renamed. Might be nice, he supposed... but everyone who lived there had suffered such terrible losses. Maybe the name was apt for another generation.
He sighed as he heard the murmurings of the all too familiar one-sided conversation. Yet another night full of this... he just wasn't sure of how much more he could take. It was just too... too emotionally fucking draining.
He'd found Riku perhaps a couple of months previous (Leon didn't so much like to pay attention to time; or at least, not how it passed), having appeared one day in one of the dark corners of Hollow Bastion. Even when Leon had called for him, he'd been clutching at something... something that the older man had at first mistaken for Sora's corpse. Though, how accurate that had been, he was never really certain...
Starting then, he'd harbored both boys in the hotel. Sometimes Sora would move or react to certain sounds or people, but otherwise... he was a doll. A breathing, occasionally softly moaning doll. His friends visited, when they could... but no one could stand to stay long. Riku was the one that stayed at his side, day and night; fed him, bathed him, kept him as close to alive as he could be in that state...
Leon recalled a conversation he'd just had with the boy only a week previous. "It's not right to let him live this way." The brunette had finally spoken up, softly.
"You will not touch him." Riku had growled, hovering over the younger boy's body defensively. He looked fully prepared to defend to the death.
Leon could only sigh. It was heart-wrenching... and it wasn't that he didn't understand. That was probably what made it worse. "Riku... I don't want to admit it any more than you do, but... that isn't Sora anymore."
"He's there." The boy insisted in a whisper. "I know he's there."
And with that, Leon had let it go. It was all he could do.
But every night... every night Riku would lay with the catatonic boy in his bed, perfectly chaste. Sora remained on one side as Riku slept on the other as if that was the way they'd always done things. As if there had never been time lost between the earliest memories of the island and the rest of eternity.
It was... sad. Every night at the same time without fail, Riku would speak to Sora as if the boy could hear, changing into his bed clothes, brushing his teeth. Talking about his day even when he'd done nothing more than watch over the shell of the Keyblade Master. Telling old stories of great adventures... to what amounted to a breathing corpse. It made Leon's stomach clench every time he walked past, managing to hear a snippit of one-sided conversation.
It was enough. It was finally enough. He walked to the end of the hall, opened the door he knew was hardly ever locked and peered in. "Riku..."
"I have to do this, Leon." He interrupted softly, not bothering to look up from pulling the covers back for himself. "I have to."
The man shook his head, feeling heartbreak coming off of the boy's words... but he could do nothing. Maybe none of them ever could. With that, he shut the door and left them alone.
And meet you at road's end
Riku kept the soft conversation going as he lasped into sleep. Even after all that time, under such dire circumstances, it still felt good to talk to his best friend. It had been far too long since he'd done so.
He was woken--perhaps mintues later, perhaps hours--by the low rumble of a summer thunderstorm. He looked over at Sora by instinct, disappointed that the boy hadn't moved. They'd always been that close during thunderstorms on the island... Sora was naturally a scaredy cat, always finding Riku for comfort.
The older boy wondered how their roles had reversed. The answer had seemed so obvious until he'd actually started to take it apart... to look at each piece, to think about them. Everything had become jumbled.
"You wanted to go back to the island so badly, didn't you?" he whispered into the cooling darkness, tremors of thunder giving his words a meaning he hadn't anticipated. "I think that was probably... home, for you..." he trailed off, a painful lump forming in his throat.
As much as he wanted to stop thinking about it, stop talking at all... part of him still wanted to comfort Sora. Conversation had always been good at that. Or, well, as close to conversation as Riku talking nonsense and Sora clutching to him with the occasional shiver could be. It was almost enough to make him smile... or would have been, if he hadn't felt driven to keep talking.
"You're... my home..." he tried not to break down into a fit of tearful, helpless rage. "You were always my home. No matter where you were."
He told himself that wiping the back of his hand against his eyes was only a gesture from childhood. Wiping the saltwater away after swimming... getting the sand off of his face... never tears... "You still are my home..." His voice broke, little by little, becoming more pleading than anything.
Another low, close rumble of thunder served as perfect to drown out the sob that had escaped him. "I miss you..." he admitted, feeling an ache that he knew too well. It was strong, close, trying to drown him. "I miss your voice... I miss your laugh... I even miss you talking about her all the time..."
Riku tried to laugh. He willed himself to, but... it was choking at best. It was at that moment that the storm errupted over them, the sound of heavy rain like a wave crashing against them from above. Lightning and thunder blended, blinding and deafening, making all things touch and taste and memory--
"Sora, wake up!" he cried, lacking ferocity.
Those eyes, those eyes that went so far beyond blue... still blank. Still half open and staring at something it seemed Riku would never be able to share in seeing.
"Please, Sora!" More thunder laid claim to his call, but he could not stop once he'd started. Tears had started running freely without his permission. "I can't live without you! Come back to me!"
Nothing. There was nothing. No fear, but no laughter. Not hate, not bitterness... not forgiveness, compassion... not a damn thing. A shell. Leon had been right.
"No..." The older boy sobbed. It wasn't true, it couldn't be. They'd both come too far! "I love you! I paid with my heart and soul for you!"
The storm mocked him, throwing the brightest of lights at him as the crack that tore the sky apart made his ears ache like his chest. He closed his eyes, temporarily useless due to the lightning anyway, and denied the droplets streaking his face. Just seawater. Only the rain.
So much denial ached. Weakened him. Made him turn over and grasp at Sora's unmoving body, laying his ear over the slowly beating heart just to be sure it might still be there. The thunder had nearly deafened him, but he felt the pulse. Weak though it was, he felt the life... but he wasn't sure if he'd ever feel the soul again.
Memories of their journeys, alone and together, played painfully over the self-imposed darkness. He'd been lost, more than once... but always, Sora had been there to guide him back with perfect patience. He never stopped looking. Believing. And Riku had tried so hard, that last time... tried to prove himself worthy of the boy. "I did everything..." his voice was harsh, unsteady. "I did everything right... everything but tell you... I never got the chance to tell you..."
The ground and windows shook violently from the echoes of the storm bearing down just over the hill from them--and it only served as a reminder of the day their lives, and their world, broke apart. Riku trembled, clutching Sora's clothing and understanding that he would find no comfort. Not anywhere, from anyone. "I'm sorry..." he whispered, face buried against the younger boy's chest. "I'm so sorry... I love you... no matter what, I... what I did or said... I loved you..."
He could feel the electricity just outside, pulling at his skin. He felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end--and in that instant, he wished for the storm to strike and end it all. He willed the sane, instant death of something hurled toward him from the sky, putting an ending to him and his constant fuck-ups.
He wanted an ending. They said every ending was a new beginning, after all... and, as he realized that the lightning did not strike him dead but move on, further away, he wished he could laugh.
He pulled away suddenly from the motionless body beneath him, realizing that he'd likely put far too much weight on the younger boy. Sora's breathing had changed, become harsh and struggling just like his own--and he kicked himself for not having thought of the other's safety first.
Riku was utterly beside himself when he had every intension to completely break contact with the other boy, only to find he could physically not move away. It took several seconds to register... there were hands on his arms. Not just hands, but... those hands... seemed to belong... to...
Shocked, he looked up with wide eyes into the face he'd actually gotten used to seeing blank. It was dark, yes... it was suddenly very dark... but...
A smile. It was a smile. One of those soul-deep, eye-sparkling smiles...
Blue eyes became moist with tears that weren't blinked away. "Riku... I'm home."
"I looked for you...
I looked everywhere for you..."
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