Author's Notes:

NOTE: This chapter is NOT rewritten, and therefore it is very very BAD. Please excuse its crappiness until it can be rewritten with more story and detail. Thank you!

A look ahead:

When fishing goes wild~! Exclusion and betrayal. And a hungry tummy.

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Chapter Four: The Earth Breaks



Riku stifled a laugh as he quietly waded through the shallow waters underneath the dock. Above him he could barely make out the voices of Sora and Kairi, who had their short legs swung over the wooden dock and were kicking them back and forth.

They were watching the sunset. How disgustingly romantic.

The silver-haired boy covered his mouth to hold in the ever-threatening laugh as he stopped directly under his two friends. Their voices were loud and clear as though he were sitting right next to them.

Perfect, he thought, a wide smile cracking over his pretty lips.

He needed to separate Sora from Kairi to speak with him without her overhearing. Riku didn't think Kairi was ready to know about his and Sora's relationship just yet. She'd probably find out tomorrow morning anyway, because Riku didn't think he'd be able to contain himself in front of Kairi for long. Sora was just so... soo...

Cute.

Anyway, Riku's plan was to separate Sora from Kairi so the two boys could relieve some of the.. er.... "tension" before the big day tomorrow. Besides, Riku still felt bad about teasing him about his boyish tummy... So, what better way to make up (or out) with his new boyfriend than to get back on his good graces by playing with him?

After all, Sora loved games.

The sun spilled over Riku's shoulders as he reached out to their feet to yank at them, their legs and large shoes casting long shadows over his face.

They were going to be so surprised...!

"Y'know... Riku has changed."

He froze.

Wait, they were talking about him...?

"What do you mean?" Sora's voice came easy, innocently.

Hesitation held Kairi back, however. "Well..."

"You okay?" came Sora again, this time a bit concerned. Riku could picture his brows drawing together. Sora was so predictable. Kairi on the other hand...

"Sora, let's take the raft and go---"

Every nerve and muscle in Riku tensed, his eyes widening in disbelief.

"Just the two of us!" Kairi finished, her voice filled with excitement. There came the sound of shoes against wood as she leapt to her feet.

Riku did a volte-face, his fists clenched at his sides. One of his worst fears was being played out: being left out.

What?! She wouldn't...!

But her cacophonous giggle stopped him from reacting foolishly.

"Heehee. Just kidding."

Like hell..!! Why would you mention it if you were just kidding?!

Riku silently cried, sudden indignation building up in him. He squeezed his eyes shut and lowered his head, his bangs drooping over his eyes, the shadows now creeping downward to cover his whole face.

Kairi had said it so suddenly, so easily, as if she had been thinking about it for a long time... And Riku was the one who'd changed? HAH! Sure! He wasn't the one excluding himself, they were the ones leaving him out.

"What's gotten into you?" Sora asked. The silver-haired boy lifted his head ever-so-slightly at Sora's voice. "You're the one that's changed, Kairi."

"Maybe," she replied, sounding tired. "Y'know, I was a little afraid at first. But now I'm ready. No matter where I go or what I see, I know I can always come back here. Right?"

Riku's eyes narrowed dangerously, knowing what Sora was going to say.

"Yeah, of course!"

Predictable.

"That's good," Kairi said, her high spirits returning. "Sora, don't ever change."

So she didn't trust Riku, was that it? Sora was a better candidate?

"Huh?" Sora, clueless and innocent as usual. That was one of the things Riku appreciated and loved about him the most.

"I just can't wait. Once we set sail, it'll be great."

Once we set sail? Riku thought resentfully. There's no you anymore, Kairi. Just Sora and me, on our raft, which we gathered the supplies for, not you.

A silence drifted between them, the only noise from the either of them to tell Riku that they were still there was a sigh from Kairi as she slumped back onto the dock to sit next to Sora. However, Riku was still too clouded with hurt to care about their unusual silence. Why had Kairi suggested that just she and Sora set sail? It had been Riku's idea in the first place to build the raft! Had Riku done something wrong...? And why hadn't Sora stood up for him?

Oh.

OH.

Had she found out about the paopu fruit incident...? Had Sora told her...?!

As he ran the thoughts and possibilities over and over through his head, the ebb of the tide and small waves crashing against the dock reminded him of where he was. He was soaked, and even though the weather was warm, his hands felt numb from cold and a small shiver ran up his spine. His early want to surprise his two friends had been forgotten completely. Instead of wanting to make up with Sora, an emptiness now filled him. In a melancholy stupor, Riku turned to head back to shore as the sun began to finally sink behind the horizon. But Sora's voice stopped him.

"When you said that Riku has changed... What did you mean, Kairi? Really?"

Goose bumps slowly crept up Riku's arms and he shuddered again. Meanwhile, his shadow gradually stretched through the water as the sun disappeared even further.

What was this feeling?

"Riku..? Oh, I don't know." Kairi's voice came nonchalantly. "He's been more distant lately, hasn't he? He doesn't talk much anymore... Just about the stupid raft and his unrealistic dreams about other worlds. And he's been giving you the strangest looks, I swear. I miss his old playful self."

Stupid raft? Unrealistic dreams? And Riku was only acting distant because she kept excluding him!

"But, I don't think he's being unrealistic..." Sora suddenly said, his voice just barely carrying over the sound of the ocean.

"You don't?" she asked, mildly surprised.

You don't? Riku's thoughts echoed.

"We share the same dreams, Kairi. When you insult him, you insult me as well," Sora muttered. "Yes, he's changed for me too, but that's because I've changed." The wood of the dock creaked as Sora rose to his feet. "And as for the raft... Riku comes, or none of us go!"

Before he even finished the last word, he was running down the length of the dock towards shore, leaving Kairi behind as the sun at last disappeared and shadows spilled across the water. She made no move to follow him, or even to get up. Meanwhile, Riku felt his heart lighten a little at Sora's words. Sora had stood up for him! After all, they were bound by the legendary magic of the paopu fruit now. A wide grin crossed the boy's face and he clumsily stalked towards shore after Sora, splashing his way there and undoubtably notifying Kairi that he had been there. His friend was already heading towards the giant tree and the secret place, the jingling of his jewelry easily heard by Riku, even at such a distance.

"Sora!!"

The other boy kept running, taking a great leap over the small pool where the waterfall spilled, and landed in front of one of the gnarled tree roots. Riku was just reaching shore when Sora was crouching into the secret tunnel.

"SORA!!"

This time the other boy heard him. Sora struggled back to his feet as he spun around to face Riku, who was just now reaching the tree. The silver-haired boy came to an abrupt halt in front of the younger, whose face was slightly flushed from running. Or perhaps it was because of Riku..?

"Riku, where did you come from...?" Sora wondered, sounding a little out of breath.

He ignored the question and instead blurted out, "Let's leave her, Sora!"

The brown-haired boy raised his eyes, surprised. "Who...?"

Riku grabbed Sora by the shoulders and pulled him close into a kiss. As he pulled away, he said, "Let's leave Kairi... It would be just the two of us on the open sea... We could do whatever we wanted, without interruption.. Without her there to come between us!"

Green eyes met blue ones in silent acknowledgment. And all of a sudden Sora smiled, wrapped his arms around Riku's neck, and kissed him. Filled with such a sudden, certain bright hope for the future, Riku felt the urge to just take Sora right there and kiss him to death.

However, she spoke first.

"I knew it."

Both Sora and Riku turned at the familiar voice. Sora's eyes widened, realizing Kairi had followed them and had just witnessed the whole thing, so he immediately stepped towards her, an explanation already at the tip of his tongue. But Riku held up an arm to stop him, the silver-haired boy giving Kairi an infernal glare.

"I wasn't sure before," Kairi said, her face empty of emotion as she stood there. "But just seeing you two now... and after hearing that..."

"Kairi..." Sora made a move toward her again, but Riku again held him back.

"I'd thought you two were jealous of each other.... competing with each other over me," she continued, her voice dropping. "We all thought that... Me, Tidus, Selphie, Wakka..." She focused on Sora and managed a small, dry laugh. "Even your mom did, Sora..."

"Listen, I can expl--" Sora began, desperate.

"You don't have to, Sora..." she interrupted quietly, eerily. Her head lowered, a hurt look crossing her face. "I know I'm not needed any more... I was just an excuse for you two to get together."

"You don't understand, Kai--!!"

"No, you don't understand, Sora!" Kairi suddenly yelled as she looked up, her eyes filling with tears. "No matter where I am, or how many friends I make, I'm always alone!"

With that, she tore her eyes away from them, spun on her heels and sped away towards the dock where their boats were waiting.

"Kairi, wait!!" Sora yelled after her, pushing past Riku. He paused, giving his... er... "boyfriend" a meaningful look before he took off into a run along Kairi's path. "Wait!!"

There remained Riku, staring after his two fleeing friends, unsure of what to think or feel. How long he stayed there like that, he wasn't aware. The waves crashed softly against the shore, a contradiction to the mood in the air. The air was stale, heavy with whispers of disaster, but Riku didn't seem to notice. The sky was a beautiful dark shade of blue now that the sun was buried completely beneath the horizon, and Riku lifted his gaze to the sky to revel in it, waiting for the stars to appear one by one. That way, it didn't seem like he had waited long at all before Sora came jogging back, looking thoroughly depressed.

"I couldn't stop her..." he explained sadly as he trudged to a stop before Riku. "But I told her she could still come with us tomorrow. All she has to do is show up." He glanced up at Riku hopefully. "You're not that mad at her, are you?"

Riku lowered his gaze to study Sora, a tiny smile crossing his lips. "I'm not so much angry at her as I am disappointed and hurt, but... yes...." Riku mumbled. "I suppose I am that furious with her." And in defense of his words, because Sora looked ready to coax him out of his negative emotions, he added, "You know what she said about me! Those words were for your ears after all."

The younger boy slightly nodded, sighing. "Yeah..." But then his face brightened with a smile. "Let's start tomorrow's adventure with a smile, okay? I don't want any shadows looming over us before we even set sail."

Riku managed a grin. "You're so optimistic...." he paused there, looking back up at the sky and out at the vast ocean. "So what do you think we're going to find out there?"

"Another world, of course!" Sora laughed, nudging Riku playfully in the arm, Kairi's disappointment now forgotten.

The elder boy quickly snatched Sora's arm in his gloved hand before the brown-haired boy could pull away. Riku pulled Sora to himself and embraced him tightly, his soaked clothes cold against Sora's skin.

Sora blinked simply up at him with a questioning look. "You okay?" he asked softly, raising his free hand to brush at Riku's wet bangs. He stifled a giggle, grinning at the silver-haired boy. "You smell like salt water and fish."

"I do?"

"Yeah. And you're all wet."

"Yup."

"Well, you're bound to catch a cold in those wet clothes."

"And what are you suggesting? Another mushroom rock incident?" Riku asked, raising an eyebrow at Sora's daring.

"Uh-huh." Sora nodded slowly, his bangs shifting with the movement.

Riku laughed loudly, pulling slightly away from the boy. Casually he grabbed Sora's chin and tilted it upward. Large pools of cerulean stared up at him expectantly, making him feel as though he could just melt into their icy depths and live there, eternally blissful. Sora's eyes slid closed, mouth parting ever-so-slightly, and shook Riku out of his mental stupor. The elder boy calmed his smile and leaned towards Sora, meeting his waiting lips. The kiss immediately warmed Riku, his heart jerking in his chest at the contact.

But that was nothing, for Sora was quick to lean into the kiss for more of Riku, who was just learning that his arms fit perfectly around the younger boy's waist. Sora delved into Riku's sweet mouth, indulging in the emotions it catalyzed.

Everything had happened so fast... He was still wondering if this was a dream that he would soon wake up from because it was just so... unexpected.

Riku meanwhile pulled Sora closer, smiling into the kiss as the other boy explored deeper, his eight gloveless fingers reaching up to Riku's cheeks to brush against the soft pale skin in encouragement.

And encouraged he was!

He was about ready to tear Sora's clothes off, when Sora's tongue gently slid into his mouth, causing an unexpected soft moan to escape from the elder boy. Sora hesitated at the sound as Riku lightly blushed, much to his dismay.

Slowly, an impish grin crossed over Sora's lips.

"Ahh... I see," he said as he leaned up to whisper into Riku's ear, his hot breath causing the silver hair to tickle Riku's cheek, which still had Sora's fingers there, caressing it. Sora paused to nuzzle that cheek, his lips brushing over the skin. "Riku, you're being submissive."

Riku pulled away at the sudden revelation.

Sora was right!

Wait a minute, I'm not supposed to be the one on the receiving end! How the hell..?

He laughed, gently pushing Sora into the shadows, against the tree. "Not for long. And stop trick---"

He stopped short, interrupted by a very long, loud growl coming from Sora's stomach.

The younger boy smiled sheepishly up at his boyfriend. "Second dinner. Didn't eat it yet. Guess we'll have to postpone it again, ne?"

Inwardly sighing, Riku nodded. "Always the hungry one, aren't you? Go home and eat," he said, his voice soft and hollow. "We'll see each other early tomorrow morning before we set sail."

"Yeah... You better not forget to take a bath first," Sora teased, his face lit with a wide smile. "Get the fishy smell off you."

"What about you? You stink like me."

Sora hesitated, his smile slightly fading. "Has it really been only a few hours? Since we shared the fruit? Seems like so long ago..."

So, Sora felt the same way Riku did.

"It doesn't seem real, does it?" Pulling away from Sora and the tree, Riku commented, "Time can do some strange things when you're in love, I suppose."

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