Reviews for Stygian Solace
mayvicbot chapter 4 . 2/1
The story is not bad at all but I do notice the drop of quality between the 3 first chapters and this one, however since I liked the begining so much I'm going to keep reading a couple of chapters but even if I don't finish it, it's a long story that probably took you a lot of time and dedication, you should be proud.
Vaed chapter 26 . 1/22
The beginning scene is such a sobering look at the reality Riku has found himself in. The previous chapter ended with a feeling of ultimate resolve, acquiescence to his mission which, while a great development for his character, betrays his most intimate, personal feelings. Riku’s traversed this whole sliding scale of extremities that creates the great drama which makes this story really compelling. I’ll never get tired of how you write Riku’s heart-shattering nostalgia. There’s a patented self-loathing with him making the choice to wander back into their house (amongst other things, like assuming Merlin was going to chastise him), this keen flagellation that makes him such a tragic character. I eat this stuff right up.

That said, Merlin’s words are so keen and poignant, that they even inspired me! I only now realize that there are so many assumptions that Riku makes about the choices he makes, the role he plays, and the world that he lives in… ones that even I personally fell into. Yet, Merlin’s simple axioms make so much sense. It’s so cool to see this orchestration of themes from the series into SS, and especially how seamless this integration is. “Without love, there is no meaning.” Is such a great sentence. It’s also refreshing to hear Merlin affirm, rather than debase, who Riku is; to meet Riku where he is, and simply tip him in the right direction, rather than tear him down.
Riku’s new journal is also an interesting new device, as now we can see Riku’s settled thoughts on all that’s transpired. After all, the times we’ve seen his thoughts in the narrative has been in a rushed, hormone state of mind. After all of that, looking deeper into himself for these reflections make so much sense.

When Yami appears, I realize that the times he appears so disheveled happen so quickly and obscure (as he’s such got a penchant for mysterious-strangery the rest of the time), like when Oathkeeper was found, but here, Riku’s own narrative reflection bookends their interaction with this interesting affirmation. I honestly really did need a reminder that Riku and Yami’s relationship is multi-dimensional and that, while a keen darkness seems to lie at the core of it, that there are many interesting facets to their relationship that renders them both honest to each other, that they meet each other at this dark precipice that’s been a catalyst for Riku’s own development.
And oh god, I’m so bad. I really should go back and refresh on Kingdom Hearts and earlier SS, because I feel like there’s an obvious connection between Yami’s disappearance and ‘Kairi’s’ appearance.

The buildup to Sephiroth’s appearance was so wrought with anticipation, as if the movie in my head intensifies as this glorious man is revealed. I loved seeing this characteristic arrogance Riku walks forward with into the match, only to realize too late what he’s up against (Like you mentioned briefly, seeing this side of Riku again after so long made me so wistful for his other half who is currently missing.) You created this great cadence with slowly revealing Sephiroth’s characteristics until the resounding: [“One Wing”…”Sephiroth”]. OH BOY OH BOY OH BOY. I LOVED the metaphors used here in the fight, as they really fulfill your headend description of the man: “Regal, that’s what he was. Divine and gorgeous”. His wing reads like grandeur, and his movements are all dancing, waltzing, and graceful, but powerful. Curved smirks, arched wings… and Sin Harvest has one of the most clear, agonizing descriptions of what dark magic might actually feel like if it were to hit you. For a quarter-second I thought you were making it up, but then I realized the theme you were going for with it. Always leave it to you to tie in thematic darkness to a fighting move!
CursedNocturne chapter 48 . 1/1
Recently, on a whim, I've found myself interested in reading some of the oldest Kingdom Hearts fanfics, just to see what things were like back when only one game had been released. Naturally, I came across this story, and I was hooked right away. Everything about this fic was incredible, and I loved it, and I finished reading it while ringing in the new year. I enjoyed it the whole way through, and it left me wanting more when I was done (I also really loved the twist with Yami- I figured it was gonna be time-travel like in DDD, and I certainly didn't see the actual reveal coming). Whether you decide to write a sequel in the future, or whether you move on to other things, I know you've got a great future in writing ahead of you, if that's what you choose to do.
Vaed chapter 25 . 12/30/2016
This was a delightful one-shot that touches Yami up with some much-needed flavor since we seldom see him otherwise. Honestly, the prose was so evocative with the different textures, sounds, and metaphors that sprawl through Yami’s world. Decay: the must and mildew, the fading portrait and rot! Death: the tomb, the crumbling lily, ‘their’ silent graves! And then you put all these things together into Yami… “voice thick with cobwebs, too haggard for the public eye” Oh. Damn.

What I like so much about this is how the piece seems to render Yami vulnerable: we see a being who becomes threatened by his own endless curiosity and temptation… and one who then relishes in it.

“A Siren that can only be sated by your suffering. And you are tempted. Oh yes.” Oh. Shit.

This vivid, almost dangerous fascination with Riku is so multi-dimensional yet remains so obscure. The truth? The end? The goodbye? The Otherside? Until this point, you’ve peppered the narrative with all these brilliant metaphors of death and decay, and then at the end, Yami mentions the motifs and refrains of his books. At the beginning, we even see Yami writing on his own. I don’t want to presume or reach too far, but Yami is so calculated… I feel as if he must think to know the ending as well. But one must wonder, with Riku coming to the fore, if he will be caught off-step by this Siren.

A small thought about his identity: I’ll be the first to admit that since it has been so very long since I played/read up on Kingdom Hearts, I basically remember very little about the nuances and lore that, admittedly, dizzied the universe. That being said, attempting not to make a fool of myself, I’ll take Occam’s razor to Yami’s identity with the three basic things: we have not seen Kairi since she’s been taken by that ‘man’, that Yami has said that she is ‘safe’ with him, and he is an erudite. Perhaps (most probably, actually) also, his fascination with Riku.
Vaed chapter 24 . 12/28/2016
This was a heavy chapter. So many ideas and ideals developing.

I’ll get my stupid quips out of the way, since besides these minor annoyances, I. Loved. This Chapter.

I’m not a medical expert, but it seemed a little odd to put a bleeding, phenomenally injured person in a bathtub. Isn’t that how you’re supposed to kill yourself? *shrug* This is so minor.

With how heavy the chapter and destroyed Riku was, the little wakeup fondle and the “lost my virginity at the same time” passage was slightly distracting.

Alright.

Riku’s depression and breakdown was convincing and heartwrenching. Thinking of my own trials, I feel sympathetic with Riku and the weaknesses he’s experiencing. The various devices to expose his reliance on others and the need for affirmation made the scenes come alive, it felt so real. Reflecting on the tragedies that have happened so far, it goes without saying that you’ve elevated the motif of sex into this pivotal device: betrayal, desire, love, power. This seems like such an obvious observation, but it all comes together so meaningfully in this chapter as we see you lay out both this brilliant and bitter trial of Riku’s psyche and revitalization of Leon and Cloud.
Starting with Riku, I think it was extremely clever to take his voice away at the beginning of the chapter. It serves not only as a stark physical representation of the abuse he’s suffered, but also as this gut-wrenching emptiness that, in some sense, Riku must have imposed on himself. And then in an act of grave self-awareness, Riku seals the scene off:

“Nothing.”

Oof. I really liked that. Such gritted teeth.

Yami’s visit was so interesting. He’s gone through this mysterious change, and he seems to be back to his usual cunning self, a contrast to how distracted/distressed he was back in Hollow Bastion. The key part of this being he is back to being his very deliberate self i.e. to ruffle Riku and Sora’s jimmies. Yami’s relationship to Sora and Riku is so fascinating, and I still don’t know what to make of it. There seems to be this invariable bond between them that exists in these shades of direct or indirect hate and desire, but while Yami seems to have his own (what I could only assume are) malicious intentions, the scene where Leon confronts Yami is a catalyst for Riku to face himself, and I find myself thanking Yami for that. Keeping his true intentions under wraps goes a great deal with keeping him so fascinating.

Easily my favorite moment in this chapter was Riku’s cry for someone. Yami’s words resound here without being said. There was a beautiful irony in no one being able to hear Riku, when in that moment his newly-recovered voice was at its most desperate.

When Leon comes around to him, it occurs to me how well you’ve developed him. He’s found this newfound, quiet charisma ever since the side story, and Riku found the perfect listener in him. The way he listens to Riku reminds me of the way, as a teenager, my parents listened to me when I was recalling a life-altering tragedy… again, it felt so real. Having Leon pass down his mantra of Duty vs Happiness was such a symbolic exchange, as if Leon is passing him this torch. He’s become ever so slightly more open now, his methodical demeanor filtered through this empathetic, mending lens as opposed to his former stone-walled one. The path with Cloud that you’ve put together turned out to be such a blessing. He’s become the voice Riku needed to lay down the truth as well as remind him of his duty. At the same time, his adjacent sensitivity to Cloud is markedly touching and shows how caring this man is.

Coming back to this theme of duty vs happiness reminds me of Riku’s stumbling through “The Seducing Darkness”. It evoked Riku’s panicked insecurities in Hollow Bastion and it made this turning point, his choice to duty, so effective. It’s easy to forget that Riku is a warrior of light given how he’s been so far, and it was the perfect time to reintroduce that theme when he has nothing left. Watching him take this mantle was one of those moments that leaves me feeling that Riku has picked up a strength beyond my own, as I had this mantra running in my head “No, but Sora…!”. Most critically, Riku has also finally made the difference between Sora and Dark Sora, another change of perspective signaling Riku’s growth.

“Sora’s afraid of the dark”
[…]
“And now… he’s making those shadows move. And… […] he loves it.”

Riku’s anecdotes of Sora are so poignant and sadly touching. Riku ill-fit for the light, and Sora ill-fit for the dark. So delightfully simple, and my favorite thematic contradiction in this story…
Sora. Sora. Sora. Oh jeez. Despite how angsty Riku’s depression was, or that difficult choice he had to make, we are left still with the most tragic character. I think I have this unhealthy infatuation with Sora, which I blame on my decadeplus long time in this fandom, and so any scene with his suffering makes me, a 25 year old man, cringe. I need a hobby.

It was such a cool touch to reveal those ominous heartless voices as Sora’s minions (though maybe I’m just dense and that connection was made before…), and it lends a new dimension to Sora’s perspective as someone beholden to betrayal. His back-and-forth inner turmoil was so heart-wrenching, and the paopu pendant being thrown, while a somewhat cliché device, still managed to tug at me.

Out of all the characters, it seems Sora has had the least real-estate in the character development department. I’m sure this will change as we see him handle this festering darkness and inner voice, but it still lends this sort of discontinuity in his character and the other characters, though I can totally see this as deliberate. He is imprisoned and left only with pain, after all. He’s become this tragic reflection of the world’s wrongs. This innocent boy inflicted with this cancer… he’s a fucking angst cow. I’m probably the most excited to see his part develop.
Vaed chapter 22 . 12/27/2016
“A pair of steel-blue eyes snapped open from light slumber and cast a glance around an unfamiliar room…”

This little sentence stuck out to me, and is one of my favorite in the chapter. Leon, in his own place, is in an “unfamiliar room”. A detail that betrays Leon’s own secure walls that he’s put up and the things he’s sought to leave behind… finding himself doing things and returning to places that he would never otherwise find himself doing if Cloud’s reappearance hadn’t behooved him. His own home! What kind of man forgets his own sanctuary? It was a great segue into finally opening up Leon’s own inner turmoil and how Cloud is interwoven in it. His own perception’s around himself, “Squall”, his perceptions about Cloud were an effective reveal of the tension between them. It’s fascinating to see how Leon’s insecurities equal or even surpass Cloud’s own. In other words: tasty tasty angst!

“Cloud was still fighting.” No wonder he calls him Squall, to Cloud, Leon is still Squall, because he’s still fighting in the time when he was Squall. Ahh, another awesome subtlety.

In this way, I think I want to reconcile a part of my lasting comment from the previous chapter and say that these realizations reframe the way I look at the last scene. By positioning Cloud as someone who hasn’t given up, it makes sense that he keeps his memories of Leon so close to him, alive… and sensual.

Leon’s reaction to Cloud in the shower is actually what I was expecting from Cloud last chapter, but now that you’ve clarified Leon’s position in this spectrum, it’s makes much so much more sense for him to be reacting the way he does: confused, conflicted, defensive, buried. This persona is a brilliant setup. “Leon didn’t love.” Leon seems to overstate or keep thinking about Cloud’s mental instability: I can’t help but think that this is, in part, a projection.

Mushu and later, Cid's disruption comes at a perfect time with his flat accusations and cheeky interrogation. You write both these characters so true and so cleverly. I essentially hear Eddie Murphy in Mushu, and Cid's verbal stabs are so raw and pummeling.

Now one of my favorite parts:

“…he might as well get started with taking care of cloud. Now that Cloud was clean, fed, and rested…

[…]

…this was so unlike him. He really was trying hard to change, all just for Cloud.

Cloud, Cloud, Cloud.

Damn it!”

Leon’s layers continue to shed as he gets stuck in his own head; if there’s anything I’ve learned you’re good at, it’s leading down the audience a coherent train of thought, only to rear back at the perfect time for some self-aware epiphany. That same technique worked seamlessly here, as Leon seems to want to approach mending Cloud with his usual strategic, methodical approach, only to realize that the origin of his approach comes from a personal place he’s so uncomfortable and unfamiliar with. I thought this realization folded so many of Leon’s little idiosyncracies into a perfect little storm as we find weakness in this stone-faced actor. It’s done so well, that I think that this line: “Less than a day with Cloud and already his masks were crumbling.” is superfluous, as this development did a great job in speaking for itself.

When Cloud is awoken, his 2-second verbal blushing about Leon, though certainly humorous, seems to undermine the profoundly terrible dream/memory that you had just painted so vividly and further, Cloud’s mental state.

But… I’m still going back and forth about this.

Because it can also be interpreted as Cloud’s bodily humanity, his “innocent eros” (apologies for the shameless YOI reference) come back and bubble up because of the man that he’s with. Again, we see Sora in Cloud, and if Sora were in this same position (years later after being stuck in darkness), I’d think these gestures are natural for a boy like him who is mentally recovering... and what better to regain your humanity as to remind yourself and your body of what you desire?

And so maybe, as a reader who is being needlessly pedantic about such things (:P), I should allow Cloud to have his adorable, shy, human thoughts, and to continue encouraging him to come back to humanity through his heart’s needs.

(Ahem… I am so goddamn invested in this, Uzumaki-sama. If there’s anything you take away from my needlessly long un-conclusions, it’s that I am sunken into this world.)

The angst continues so exsullently (HAHA… get it *shoeinmouth*), through breakfast as we return to Cloud’s perspective. It’s so interesting now, now that we know how our boys both profoundly admire and fear each other in their own way, to see how they endearingly mis-read each other’s cues. The chapter’s progression lends itself well here. Cloud’s recognition of Leon’s memory, Leon’s commitment and his sweet feeding gesture, their cute exchange… and then the contrast of Cloud’s accident, insecurity, and his interpretation of Leon’s question, and his reservations. The cadence of this scene is so deliciously dramatic.

Finally… Cloud’s recollection put such a big piece of the puzzle together for me, and aside from pointing it out a bit much (detailed at the end of the review), it was a one of those DUNDUNDUN, BOOM moments I had. I’ve subconsciously been viewing Leon and Cloud’s relationship as a foreshadowing, or even a prediction… a piece of history that, in this story, they are subconsciously (or now, extra consciously) trying to stop from happening again. The angst comes full circle, and my goodness did it give me a rush. Not only that, but by invariably tying their relationship to our main heroes, we’ve avoided my main gripe with multi-pair fictions: character development in a vacuum. In one move, you’ve seamlessly integrated these four characters together with a meaningful theme and a critical plot element… I’ve never been so enthralled with a Leon/Cloud relationship before, and to see this cross-functional dynamic bloom deepens the characters even more.

Continuing to put it together… Cloud was raped…! He’s turned to darkness, and now Sora is too! But another twist that makes this unpredictable: the roles are not exactly the same. Sora wasn’t the one who was (physically) raped, but he is the one who turned to darkness. (Honestly, this is a less convincing subversion as the effect of rape is obviously more than the physical act, and, well, Sora was raped in his own way.) Another is gemini relationship, where it seems from what Cloud is saying that Sephiroth is truly his other half… but this is not so for Riku and Sora, or Yami for that matter. This plunders my brain again, because it’s clear that Sora had some sort of transformation, but is it the same as Cloud’s? If Cloud and Sephiroth are gemini and they “unified”, doesn’t that make the sort of transformation Cloud had different from what is happening to Riku and Sora, since Yami’s “experiment” was inconclusive? Or there’s another piece of the puzzle that’s missing here? Maybe, embarrassingly, I’m missing something… but wow. I’m so excited.

After all this heart-rending realization, it’s so nice to end the chapter with this sweetness. After I made this connection overall, I saw Cloud and Leon so much more battered, as the story has now shown us a glimpse of their disaster. The little solace that they give each other after that frightening recollection feels human and natural. Despite their imperfections, they are perfectly fit.

Aaaaaaaahhhh.

Some small, petty quips about this chapter (sorry):

When Cid appears after Leon sends him away, I thought “Wow, Cid is already at his house?” That was a bit fast, as the passage of time throughout Leon’s thoughts wasn’t so transparent.

The little exchange about his “innocence” and the “fuck your brains out” line came a bit jarringly and out-of-context, even given Cid’s brashness.

I have to admit that the Sephiroth anecdote comes slightly out of nowhere, and I had to reread the passage a few times to understand how it works in to Leon’s care of Cloud.

“Slight near-idolization” seems like an awkward term to use, though I know what you were going for.

“You see how their situation parallels Sephiroth and mine?” I think this line points too much out and could've come across a little more elegantly. Takes me out of immersion a bit. When Cloud describes his horrible memory, you’ve written his recollection so vividly that I couldn’t help but draw similarities to “The Seducing Darkness”! This, along with prior, more subtle allusions to how similar Leon and Cloud’s relationship is similar to Riku and Sora’s, I think, are things that we naturally put together, and personally, it’s fun as a reader to do it that way, too. In other words, I'd encourage you to have a little more faith in your awesome story-building!
Vaed chapter 21 . 12/26/2016
At the beginning of this chapter, Leon’s careful, strategic sensitivity to the unfolding events is such a welcome contrast to the dramatic, reckless disaster of the last few chapters, almost like a foil to Riku. Almost in narrative hindsight, Leon respects his past experience, which I’m so thankful for. There is even a clever line, “Riku and Sora were more important at the moment”, which echoes what Riku said regarding Sora in the previous chapter, but Leon’s reaction is far more deliberate and subdued. Perhaps I’m reaching a little far there, but I felt it was a really nice touch, and as a reader, my heart is a little more confident now that we’ve come back to a calmer, more mature influence.
Leon’s reunion with Cloud feels like a bitter irony, reuniting two battered partners in the midst of the separation of the two heroes. I think perhaps I need to go back and reread chapter 16, but it wasn’t initially clear to me the investment that Cloud had in Riku/Sora. I understood that the story has framed them as two worldly important characters, but it seems to have an awkward chemistry with Cloud’s separation from people, as he seems at once concerned with other people and unconcerned with it. When I thought about it more, it occurred to me that it’s much more simple: this is Cloud coming back. After all, he’s been humiliated by children, separated from the man he cares about, looks to have seen better days, is being kicked out of the Coliseium, and has just been kicked by a satyr; Cloud realizes he has to move on, and finds a cause to hold onto, since there’ve been no leads on his darker other half. This is my interpretation of that, anyway.

I found Leon and Cloud’s conversation and interaction here so touching. Having them let down their guard in front of each other was done well, from Leon’s subtle allowance for Cloud to call him “Squall”, to their utter transparency with each other. The tenderness of Leon’s care and Cloud’s positive response shows how carefully Leon is helping mend Cloud and himself slowly but surely, as alluded to in the earlier chapter. Knowing these two though, I know there are Leon’s own demons to face, and as much as he is composed and mature in this chapter, I wonder now whether Cloud will have the ability to return the favor to Leon later down the road.

The first few meaty paragraphs of Leon and Cloud’s arrival to Leon’s home, while mainly exposition, are still juxtaposed with fleeting paranoid thoughts, such as whether people would recognize them, find them, the scenarios of various characters discovering Cloud in their home, the locks on the doors, Cloud’s demonic powers… I felt that it was a bit verbose. But…

“A couch. A bed.”
“It felt like home.”

Were such beautiful little conclusive thoughts, and was a well-played contrast from the previous passage. Even I breathed a bit easy.

Now for the last part of this chapter, I want to preface that I think it makes total sense for Cloud to have an overwhelming sense of nostalgia for Leon. It’s reasonable to feel such a wave of emotion to be welcomed back into open arms from such a desolate existence, and you’ve written them with some deep, intimate chemistry that I'm so excited to see bloom into something.

However, I think the last scene here was a biiiiit self-indulgent, convenient, maybe unnatural, given the tense, angsty point in the story we’re at. Perhaps if it were a bit more subtle, and framed in a way that jives with Cloud’s recovering mental state, it could’ve been a great way to show how Cloud’s humanly, bodily frustrations are catching up to him, and how Leon appears to be the closest person to latch it on to. It’s not something that ruins the chapter for me at all, but I have to admit that Cloud having these hedonistic thoughts seems a bit out of place.
Vaed chapter 20 . 12/25/2016
“One Spiral Unwinds” is such a fitting name for this chapter. There are intentions laid to bare, ambiguities rising and falling, existences that seemingly split, identities that are revealed, and yet there are so many more questions that are raised. The fog sets in early with another one of Riku’s dreams, and again you paint such an ominous, dark picture. The chapel was a neat structure, as it speaks to many things: failure, false sanctuary, hollowness. There is a sense of pervasive emptiness that weighs down the chapter, and it intensifies so well as Riku slowly wakes through the terror. I do think that perhaps his travel sequence could’ve done a little more minimalistically. You’ve already set up the chapter so well with the foreboding dream, Dark Sora, and the ominous halls, that many of the sentiments that the narrative expressed came naturally, especially given Riku’s mental state. Nevertheless, we see this beautiful crumbling of Riku: first mental, and then physical, which is so well-juxtaposed with Sora’s existential quandary.

Riku’s initial panic is so real. His loss of control is illustrated so well, with what heart-felt promises he’s broken, the violation he feels and coldness and dark weight that envelops him. The only interlude that is oddly calming is his gesture to Yami, whom was the cause of all this. There is a quiet, deliberate softening of the narrative when he touches his lips that seems to be the only solace in the chapter, the only happy vulnerability. A bit obvious, but we feel Sora. We feel Sora in the way that Riku smiles at him, in the way that he adores his beauty. All of it creating this momentary window where Riku’s terror and distress seem to lighten.

So who is Yami? Who is Sora, no, where is Sora? What have become of the two? Have they become one in the same, now that Sora has been “torn in two”!?

“There is no real Yami”.

“What do I mean?” he echoed, his voice laden with innocent sincerity. “I wonder what I mean…”
This glossed over piece of dialogue is so interesting, as “Yami” appears to have forgotten himself. Alongside Yami’s cherubic sleep and his saving of Riku, it almost seems like it’s too obvious to be able to make a solid conclusion just yet. Of course, I’m making the assumption that the voice that screamed for Riku and the Yami that lifted Riku into the portal were one in the same. The spiral is unfolding, but what are the strands? Are they the same as the sum of the spiral?
Another great theme that comes with switching their roles in SS is just how subversive it all seems. Riku’s selfishness is now so coherent but so relatable, but as a warrior of light, he stumbles.

“Sora. Remember Sora. He’s the most important person to save, he quietly noted to himself, once again trying to rub some feeling into his arms.
Useless”

This was among my favorite little lines in this chapter because in one swoop, his primary vulnerability is spread out like a blood eagle, and is contrasted so well with canonical, selfless Sora.
Along the same lines, Yami’s failed experiment brings into question Riku and Sora’s role in the world again. The gemini, dark and light variables appear to be more messy than they anticipate, and I’m struggling to piece together what it all means. The equation seems to have spiraled, with Sora and (seemingly) Yami’s transformation and Anti-Riku’s insemination. Of course, this is what makes this story so compelling. The kingdom hearts verse works so well when the concept of the heart is projected so fantastically onto the canvas, which you’ve done. The worldly and spiritual transformations of these characters are always linked back to some emotive or otherwise character-bound chemistry, which I so deeply enjoy. You’ve intricately taken the darker dimensionality of the human heart and have given birth to such a rich mystery and adventure.
Vaed chapter 19 . 12/25/2016
Dammit. It's been too long. I'm sorry, this review will be incoherent.

The turning point, the pivot, the fall.

Dark, dark voices. A creeping maw. That what this chapter was. The warmth of the beginning of the chapter felt like hypothermia. That innocent adoration of his love-borne aches, the warmth of being tucked in... Riku's "frigid darkness". I felt an inevitable end coming. A twist in my stomach, that I haven't felt since the last time I had the liberty of reading this story two years ago. Sora's genuine sweetness and innocence, raped! There is a cruel irony, I think, that I feel that Sora is the one being molested this chapter. This subversion destroys me. This chapter, the narrative triumphantly trumpet his strength and arrogance, only to crumble so viciously at the point when it matters most.

It wasn't just Yami's words in the room that struck Riku, it was all deliberate!

The heartless sent to attack him, to activate his insecurity of strength
The saving with Maleficent, to activate his insecurity of trust
The beautiful, grandiose room, to activate his insecurity of envy
Those words, to activate his insecurity of self
And finally, the bed, his insecurity of... love? I'm not quite sure

Riku's acquiescence to what transpired makes so much sense, yet is so deplorable. OH, he becomes pathetic to me. To me in those moments where I am in visceral anger, he becomes nothing to me. WHAT IS THIS PROMISE!? A rock grinded into sand. He allows himself to be played so hard that he loses all of his dignity to me. His physical strength torn down into royal bedding and plush pillows. (I'm assuming this, I'll need to get the lemon from you, since the link doesn't seem to work ;;)

What is Riku's love any more? It seems powerful, yet tainted. So passionate, yet insecure. So different from Sora's... love? Does Sora love Riku?

I myself am starting to question it. The narrative seems to be convinced. Love. LOVE. Riku LOVES Sora. Riku LOVES him... but Sora is more powerful? Riku LOVES him, and then is swept away by hatred. So beautifully conflicted. Cast into nothing. Who is Sora, now? I want to know! The layers laid within Sora in Hollow Bastion have been so well-hidden, that this transformation gives me a heart attack. But I know now, that this is what Riku is feeling. And if anyone else were to be put into Riku's place, when you are blind on a chess board and only have a dark voice to hold onto, would we do any better? This is sheer madness.

The disgusting foreshadowing of Riku's fall, his tortured introspection, his tempted curiosity. Oh, god, did it make me shiver. Those heartbreaking interludes of Sora's innocence being led into the fire. That foul witch. Oh FUCK. The mind games become so transparent to us... but too late. The last light in the castle is snuffed out.

All under the guise of an experiment. An empirical analysis. Variables, inputs, and an output. What nihilism.
Mafuyu15 chapter 17 . 12/22/2016
Lol IT HAS TO BE XEMNAS
Mafuyu15 chapter 1 . 12/19/2016
My heart goes out to riku
gagawest chapter 1 . 7/15/2016
I LOVE THIS!' Best story yet! The first chapter was so well written it kept all of my attention. CANT WAIT to see the darker times to come!
BrittersBritt chapter 1 . 6/25/2016
I just started reading fanfics again since I've been busy with college, and I must admit this first chapter I'm reading is definitely refreshing since it's alreadt starting as something different. Cant wait to read more of it.
Erisiana chapter 1 . 6/8/2016
I love all your stuff. For archiving purposes have you thought of AO3? Keep writing your works are amazing!
Ukingdom090 chapter 48 . 4/24/2016
This was amazing. I'm not one normally to read such long fics but yours kept me so interested. It played out so well and so elegantly. It's amazing how well you did it and how well you played and out all the characters and information together. Seriously happy. I'm a little bummed that Riku never kept that little. 'You get to top if you save me' deal with sora. Unless I missed it somewhere.
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