|A Boy's Boy
Author: degender PM
Sora has been through a divorce and he has a son, but these are not bad things. Actually, life is quite alright. But what happens when, on his son's first day of kindergarten, he meets another divorced father, and the unexpected fall that comes with him?Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Riku & Sora - Words: 4,276 - Reviews: 46 - Favs: 38 - Follows: 51 - Published: 06-11-06 - id: 2986567
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I typically write original slash, but I just played through KH1/CoM/KH2 in one fell swoop and a pairing snagged my soul away.
Forgive me. It's my first fanfic. I am not even sure I ought to continue, but hey, why not?
Pairing: Riku/Sora and if you squint, Leon/Cloud though not how you might expect...oh heck, just read on if you will!
Directed here by: slashable
Thanks to: slashable and his boyfriend who now are feeding me original slash ideas like a monster child!
Reviews? They're cool if you've got a sec to say yes or no this idea. Maybe it's been done before, I have no clue! I've never read a fanfic before, but I'm hoping it's even fractionally original.
CRAZY long author's note, eh? Apologies!
A BOY'S BOY
CHAPTER ONE: In which the players come into play
The sad thing is I think I knew it wouldn't work before I even married her. The sadder thing is I think she knew it too. The saddest thing? We pretended we didn't.
Well, maybe it's not all that sad.
It was our last year at University, graduating two years ahead because of credits, and I guess we thought we were in love, or something.
Maybe we were. God only knows.
Well, him, and maybe a couple of other people too.
We had been, as they say, in a relationship for nearly five years and one day she said to me: "Hey, do you ever think of...you know, settling down? I mean, after school."
I should have said no.
What I said was: "I guess."
Dumb and dumber, let me tell you.
Short and long of it, we got married for a couple compromising reasons, and we were...peaceable, friendly, you know, never argumentative. We're too much alike to argue, I think. But I knew I was never content, never truly what you might call happy. And neither was she. Three years of quietly waiting for something to change, for a spark to ignite proved fruitless and we signed papers for a divorce in the fourth year. It was, as everything else about our friendship—I call it for what it always was and always will be—was, peaceable. Most of the officials asked the two of us at least twice if we were sure we wanted to do this.
"You seem so happy."
We smiled and nodded and I signed my name and she signed hers. Even our handwriting was similar, which could mean one or two things since boys and girls typically have very different penmanship.
On our way out she asked me: "Did you love me?"
I told her I did, just not in that way. I told her I was sorry.
We reached the bottom of the steps and then she paused, turning to me and tilted her head to the side, holding her arms behind her like she so often did when she was curious.
"But you were never attracted to me."
It was a statement and she would hear the lie on my lips before it even passed my mind.
So I told her no, no I never was.
Typical Kairi, she shook her head and giggled, all kindness.
"I didn't think so."
We're still friends of course. I mean we see each other pretty often.
After all, Leon should have a father and a mother right?
Oh right, that part, I guess I didn't mention. We had a child; in fact I'm not exactly sure how except that we made a couple stupid choices involving unwise consumption of alcohol and no one else to turn to. That was before we were married, one of the reasons we tied the knot in the first place...not a good reason now that I think on it, but hindsight is twenty-twenty, right?
She wanted to call him Squall but I'd had plenty of trouble from my name already. I didn't need another person in this crazy family named after an element or a derivative of an element. So we named him Leon.
My name is Sora.
I'm a 26 year-old gay guy who looks like he's stuck somewhere between puberty and whatever comes afterward (or so I'm told.) I'm clumsy and I have the moodiest five-year old son you'll ever lay eyes on.
And today is his first day of kindergarten.
Kairi's held up at work.
So the responsibility falls on me.
It's just a little bit unnerving to think about sending our son into a world full of people his own age, considering he's sent a fair share of grown adults walking stiffly in another direction with his...er...unique people skills.
Or lack thereof.
But I think it'll be fine as long as he doesn't make anyone cry on his first day.
I ran a hand through my hair, trying to reason with the impressively stoic boy of five in front of me.
"Please?" Begging is never beyond any wise parent, I tell you this now.
"No." But it also doesn't really get you anywhere.
"Leonnnnn," I dragged out his name in a sort of whine, sort of sigh, but whatever it was, it got him to crack a smile. He pointed with a crooked smile—something I was sure would become a smirk in his teen years, if not sooner—at my forehead. He laughed as lightly, quite suddenly acting to suit his age and poked at me.
"Dad's got wrinkles!"
Oh come on.
"They're not wrinkles Leon. It's a furrow, it's when someone gets frustrated or angry, their skin sort of bunches up," I explained and consciously let my face relax and then furrow again, to show him the difference. He blinked, as if examining me closely and then poked the bridge of my nose again, harder I think.
"Wrinkly." It was a statement, and Leon was back to being unfairly inscrutable. But I was used to his behavior by now.
"Okay fine, I'm getting old fast and I'm wrinkly, but that's not the point. The point, young man, is that you are going to kindergarten—"
"Leon it's not a ch—"
"Alright, that's it." With a shrug as if to tell him he'd asked for it, I slung him up over my shoulder and placed him behind my head with ease...well, mostly. It was, per se, easier when he wanted to go up, as opposed to now as we walked out the door and I miraculously managed to lock the door with him pounding on my shoulders to set him down.
"You'll like it, just wait."
By the time we took the elevator down to the garage level and reached the car he'd ceased in his brutal attempts to escape and allows himself to be settled into the passenger seat. He was buckling himself in as I got in the other side. Unusually tall for a five year-old, or so people told me, he sat well enough in the normal seat and leaned on the window for the duration of the ride.
I sighed again. I hope you'll like it anyway, I mused as worry itched at the back of my head.
The parking lot was like a zoo. Mothers, fathers, people who looked like grandparents or maybe older siblings, and so, so, so, so many little kids! To say they abounded would be an understatement. I gulped as Leon opened his own door and jumped agilely down, letting me close the door absently behind him. I usually let Kairi dress him on these occasions, occasions when maybe it would be important for him to make an impression.
But as stated, Kairi was tied up at work.
Damn and double damn.
I did my best.
Holding out my hand to him, I waited until he took it, as I knew he would. Leon, I would learn as the years continued on, would always prefer a gesture to a word.
I'd helped him don a solid white t-shirt with a rim of deep gray around the sleeves and the collar, and some shorts that reached just below his knees, black, since Leon had refused from an even younger age to wear anything else. A small and rare exception was red, but this was not one of those times.
So maybe his expression and the monochromatic outfit made him a rather gloomy specimen. But that's not what mattered. What mattered was what was on the inside...or something...right?
I mean, I think that's what they told me when I was in kindergarten.
...wait...on the inside?
I glanced down at the excessively sober looking boy to my right and a stone seemed to make itself known in my stomach.
"Come on," my tone was as light as possible and though he gave me a dubious look of steel-blue, he did not kick or try to run away as we entered the school building.
The walls were a placid beige but all over them were drawings done by kids (I think) with rainbows and so many extra colors I surmised Crayola must've been extremely bored one day and just added five thousand blocks to the color spectrum. Occasionally as we passed, looking for his home room—room 206—there was a bulletin board with smiley faces, students of the week, and so on.
It was really very cute.
Kairi wouldn't have been able to shut up about it.
At this thought, I smiled a little to myself. She was a good mom. I still felt bad about the whole gay thing. I should've pieced it together myself a long time ago.
Maybe then Leon wouldn't have such an unorthodox life. And maybe...part of me sometimes thought...maybe then he wouldn't be so...closed...about everything. As this thought brushed through my mind we came upon his room, and I must've dazed off anyway because I felt an insistent yank on my sleeve.
"Dad?" Leon wasn't looking at me, but at the door, and with some misgiving that almost made me want to chuckle, but I kept it in. Instead, I ruffled his hair, earning a scowl and a swipe of his hand. "Daaaaad!" I admit, I'm a sap and I love it when he says that.
It's a different kind of love, a child's love.
There's something so fulfilling about it. Maybe that's why I've been single all this time. Some people—some people being Kairi and her mother—tell me I need to move on, tell me to get back in the game, whatever that means. But every time I tuck Leon in, every time he pouts and scowls, but I can see him smiling through it, every time he says 'dad', I get all the love I think I could ever need.
He's a quiet sort of light.
Another tug on my sleeve spurred me to open the door and gently usher him in.
If I thought it was a zoo outside, inside was...I don't know.
Kids were on the tables, under the tables, on the floor, running around, sitting down, playing, coloring, singing (really off-key, though I'm not any better), and just generally wreaking good-natured havoc. In the midst of this was a pretty blonde woman with a sort of amused look on her face. I wondered why she didn't tell them to quiet down, but before I could wonder more, she approached us.
"Hi there," she smiled and gave a short wave to me before leaning on her knees to look straight at Leon. He stared back. I tried to make my stance more comfortable. The test had begun. He always did this, always tried to look the longest at strangers until they looked away, another quirk. I didn't particularly mind, but in this setting it felt distinctly more awkward. Still, as I watched, part of me realized that the blonde was actually enjoying this as much as he was. Shrugging to myself I scanned the room again and blinked.
In one corner of the room, there was a blond boy and near him stood two others...and it didn't look like they were, as kindergarten speak dictated: playing nice. Part of me raged. Stupid little boys. I hoped I was never so stupid. One look told me Leon and the nameless blonde were still in their wordless conversation so I strode quickly over to the corner. As I got closer I could see that the two boys were trying to unwrap some cloth around the boy's left arm.
"Hey what are you doing?" I asked pointedly, though it was obvious what they were up to. Like I said, stupid boys...always nosing around in other peoples' business. Even five year-olds!
They turned, caught like twin deer and gulped. I crossed my arms trying to look every inch the adult I only half-claimed to be.
"Um...sorry's sir!" they mumbled quickly and darted around me. I didn't even watch, my eyes entirely focused on the blond boy.
"You okay?" I knelt, and held out my hand. "Here, let me wrap it again for you." He shook his head and stepped back until he was pressed against the corner. "Hey, it's okay," I smiled, confused and nodded to hopefully convince him. He shook his head again.
"Oh Cloud, not again," came a calm and feminine voice. I turned. Leon was quietly shadowing the blonde woman from before and the blonde glanced down at me as she continued, "Two boys...always the same thing. Twerps." She wrinkled her nose in distaste. Then suddenly, as if remembering herself, she laughed mysteriously and stuck out her hand to me. "Sorry, I'm being rude. My name is Naminé. I'll be your son's teacher for this year." I shook her hand and pondered how much she might or might not like children. Twerps? Well, fair enough, those two were.
"Is he okay?" I asked stupidly, noting 'Cloud' was still clearly pressed into the corner of his own choosing now.
"I'm never sure," was the refreshingly honest answer and then I watched as her eyes widened, saucer-like. "Cloud! What..." She pushed past me and knelt in front of him, taking his arm very carefully into her hold. "Why did you wrap your arm in the cleaning cloths?" Her voice was ten shades gentler than before and I knew why she was the teacher.
I couldn't make out all the words but I did see Naminé's eyes flash, razor sharp. I cringed in spite of myself. She looked noticeably pissed off all of the sudden.
"Your father..." was all she said, however.
I was about to ask if I could do anything to help when the door to the classroom was flung open with such force that it slammed into the wall, knocking the bulletin board and sending it off at an odd angle. Before I even turned around, his voice was unlike anything else I'd ever known before: deep but not low, resonant but not lyrical, and also...something else...attractive, perhaps.
Ah, 'father', I guessed as I turned around and proceeded to gape like an idiot.
He couldn't have been older than...well, me.
But he was at least a head taller than me, fair skinned with a lithe body, accentuated by the slightly baggy jeans and loose yellow t-shirt he wore...movie-star sunglasses that for some reason worked with his casual wear...and the strangest shade of hair. I want to say it was silver, but that's silly, right? I mean, unless he dyed it...maybe he did. Who knows? But it was, let's say, a silvery white, and as if I hadn't stared enough, as Cloud rushed past my leg to go to his father, his father removed those sunglasses.
To reveal the most startlingly aquamarine eyes I had ever seen.
Heck, I'd never seen aquamarine eyes before. Did he wear contacts?
A peevish sigh to my left reeled in my catawampus attention.
"Always forgetting important things. Sometimes..." Naminé shook her head with a glare she forced her face to relax into something unreadable. I let my eyes rove back to the unusually attractive stranger in front of me who was now wrapping what looked to be a dark bandage around Cloud's arm. The cleaning cloths were carelessly dropped on the floor, from where Naminé silently picked them up, stepping past father and son to tend to a couple of girls pulling on each other's hair.
"What's wrong?" So few words, I mused worriedly again as my son asked them, arms crossed. I shook my head and Leon did something unusual. He grabbed onto my pant leg and held on, slightly, but enough for me to know he was seeking something he usually didn't.
Softly I ran my hand through his hair, uneven as it was though not as spiky as mine—that would've been a sight to see.
I felt him relax and then bury his face in the crook of my knee.
Kids, even stoic ones, would still be kids, it seemed.
Leon, for all his cool attitude, did not like to see people picked on. Kairi had instilled many devoted virtues in him, talking to him even before he was birthed. They seemd to have taken root well.
As we watched, Naminé walked over again and tapped Cloud's father on the shoulder, tight-lipped and eyes flashing. He looked up and seemed to mirror my previous feeling of wariness. I felt a little bad for him. It was clear he was about to be on the receiving end of some of her bottled temper. He looked down at Cloud, said something and then Cloud nodded and tread quietly to an empty table, setting his head down on it as if tired, but his eyes stayed very open, and very obviously focused on his father. I nudged Leon.
"You know, maybe you should go see if he's okay." I don't know why I said that. The kid probably just wanted to be left alone, right? But something made me say it, and for whatever reason, Leon seemed to agree and wordlessly crept in that direction. My attentions went back to the father and Naminé.
"You, why don't you ever remember? I even gave you a list, a list of a few simple things," Naminé whispered, her words clipped and icy.
"I do the best I can, you don't understand Naminé. It's harder than you think and at least I did remember, I came back right? I brought it," his voice was tired now, a world-weariness that hadn't been there in his first intonation. I felt a pang of sympathy for him, but I wasn't sure exactly why.
It wasn't like I knew him.
Maybe it was that he seemed to be in a similar situation as I was.
Yeah, that was probably it.
They'd been talking for some time and I'd missed most of it but their voices were louder now and my ears caught the tail end.
"Well pull it together Riku. Cloud was using the cleaning cloths for the chalkboard because you forgot his bandages today, his bandages!" Her repetition of the phrase was doubly enraged and she exhaled loudly before pushing his shoulder angrily and stalking away as another child sent up a wail, calling for her notice.
I watched him inhale deeply and sigh, running a hand through that long, gorgeous hair of his.
And then I felt stupid.
Evidently something serious was going on and I couldn't pull myself from ogling a perfect stranger.
He must have felt my gaze. Or maybe the fates were feeling particularly vindictive today. Either way, he turned and caught me staring at him with all the blatant nature of a neon sign. I barely stopped from turning quickly away and marching into what I assumed was a closet of sorts to hide.
And suddenly he was moving towards me.
My feet shuffled.
I do that when I'm nervous.
He paused in front of me, hands casually stuffed into his pockets. I looked up. Yep, definitely a head taller than me...at least.
"Naminé tells me you scared off the little idiots harassing our son."
A slight wave of disappointment ran through me.
"Not really, I mean I did make them, well not make them, they sort of just ran away, I mean..." God I ramble and ramble and ramble.
I do that when I'm nervous too.
To my mingled surprise and embarrassment, he laughed, a deep, beautifully inclined laugh. It occurred to me as he turned his head in wry amusement that even his jaunty posture seemed graceful. A moment passed before I understood it was his beauty and it was another moment before the hit of jealousy landed.
The beautiful are lucky. I have always thought so. Everything, even their mistakes, seem benign in a sort of inexplicable way.
"Well, in any case, thanks," he said, voice tinged with his laughter. I shrugged with a grin that I hoped was more carefree than I felt.
I did not remember kindergarten being so dramatic.
I remembered sandcastles at recess, swings at recess, and naps in class, and lunch time, and...well, that's about it. Oh, and coloring outside of the lines, I remembered that too.
Leon could color inside the lines at age two, but that's another story.
"Uh, welcome, but not really anything to thank me for I mean—" I cut myself off, looking more sheepish than any self-respecting sheep ought to. He seemed to register this and inclined his head slightly.
"Well I beg to differ. That's my son, and he's everything. My name is Riku." And he waited, still nonchalantly standing there, not offering his hand in typical fashion, just leaning on some invisible wall as he stared me down. I gulped and laughed nervously.
I couldn't help it.
"Sora," I returned and he nodded thoughtfully, eyeing me with unexpected scrutiny I tried to pretend I didn't notice. It was to say the least, making me crazy. What the heck? Did I have something on my face? Was my shirt on inside out? I think my eyes might be a little close together but no one had ever really paid too much attention to that before...
"I'll treat you to lunch."
"My son, I'm thanking you for protecting my son," he said idly, a blank reminder.
"Oh you don't have to—" I was waving my hands and he caught one with his right.
"I know," and here he shot me what I swear was a sly look and added, "Now come on."
He began to drag me out of the room, easily maneuvering us around the many children. I barely caught a glimpse of Leon seemingly teaching Cloud how to fist fight before he had me out the door entirely.
As the door shut behind us he released my hand and tilted his head to one side as he slipped his sunglasses back on, adding that extra layer of mystery all people this beautiful seemed to carry around with them.
"So, where to?" he asked and I shook my head.
"You really don't have to," I said, even as I thought: but really, I'm glad you are...those eyes.
"And I said I know. So, what makes your clock tick? Japanese, Italian, French, something else?" He seemed beyond reach already. I felt my shoulders slump.
"Anywhere is fine," I said at last and I meant it. What could come of all this craziness after all?
A lot? A little? Something? Nothing?
I was beginning to think any answer I had was probably wrong anyway.
"Really?" he asked. I got the feeling he was accustomed to people a bit more demanding than myself. Well, whatever.
"Really," I nodded, confident again enough to wear my usual carefree smile as I added, "Surprise me." I was only half-serious about that last part but I swear his lips curved upward with a mischievous twist.
But then the look was once again carefully nondescript and I went back to wondering as he said, "Alright, we'll take my car," and led me out the door, the palm of his hand companionably on my shoulder steering me wordlessly.
As we walked out the door it occurred to me that he smelled of cinnamon and the ocean shore.
I'm being redundant! HUZZAH!