Disclaimer: I think by now we all know its not mine.

Parings: Sora/Riku Cloud/Tidus others

Chapter Rating: Pg-13(strong)

Chapter Warnings: Boys kissing boys, groping, moaning. Wait that's not a warning that's the fun/smile/

A/N: I dunno. Thank you to all who have been extremely patient with me and especially to those who review. This is for you guys. And I hope someone still wants to read this. /deadpan/

0o0o0 (equal) scene change

/Ch 22/


Sora asked watching, from Riku's bed, as Riku got ready for his first game back from his injury. Sora was on his stomach propping himself up with his elbows while his feet were bent up, crossed at the ankle, swinging slowly back and forth.

Slipping his shirt on and tucking it into his shorts, Riku shook his head.

"Not really."

Sora grinned and rolled onto his back tucking his hands behind his head. He stared up at the ceiling giving Riku a scoff.

"When are you ever?"

It was a rhetorical question. Riku chuckled in response and moved towards his bed where Sora was and leaned down giving him a light kiss on the lips. Sora closed his eyes and made a soft mewl sound reaching up with his hands to twine his fingers behind Riku's neck holding him in place.

After a small eternity, Riku pulled away slowly hovering above Sora. He smiled and straighten up, after Sora reluctantly let him go.

"Come on lazy, we need to leave. I have a game."

With mock hurt Sora sat up on the bed.

"You would rather play a game than be with me?"

"Oh Sora, don't make me choose between my two loves." Riku said matching Sora's mocking tone.

"You can't have two loves. So that means one of us is the mistress."

Sora said standing from the bed, succeeding in keeping the smile from his face but not his eyes.


"Yes, the question is which one?"

Closing the distance between himself and Riku, Sora wrapped his arms around Riku's neck kissing his neck softly.

All the while Riku pretended to consider the question letting his eyes flutter shut enjoying Sora's lips on his neck. Finally he cleared his throat to speak.

"Well I've been playing soccer since I can remember and we have only just started going out so I guess that means…"

A shocked gasped interrupted the rest of his sentence as Sora pulled away.

"Oh no. You did not just suggest I'm the mistress."

Sora demanded with a scandalized tone.

Riku chuckled picking up his duffle bag.

"Hey I didn't say it. You did."


"You love my ass."

Sora smirked. "Maybe"

And began to follow Riku out of the room.

"Is Sephiroth coming to your game?"

Sora asked closing the door to Riku's room behind him. He took a few quick steps, stepping next to Riku as they began heading towards the stairs.

After giving Sora's questions a thought Riku nodded.

"Yeah. But I think he said he a was going with Cloud, he left earlier to go see him."

"Well those two seem to be getting along. What's the deal?"

Riku frowned, he had asked Sephiroth the same question. His cousin had not said much.

"He hasn't told me much, only that, they met about four years ago. They where both attending the same all boy boarding school in . What was it called?" Riku paused looking thoughtful. "Magra, Midgar, something like that. Sephiroth said they were friends but somehow I doubt that's all they were. He said they knew each other for two years, before Cloud's parents decided to move and that was the end of their so called friendship."

Sora made a face, thinking over what Riku had just told him. It explained a lot, like the fact that after they had reunited at the theater they had left without a word to anyone. That however did not explain why Cloud had completely ignored Sephiorth when he had first arrived at the school with Riku.

After that initial meeting, Sora had seen very little of Sephiroth around Riku's house. Every time he had asked Riku about Sephiroth, Sephiroth was either with Cloud or leaving to meet with Cloud or coming back from meeting Cloud or coming back with Cloud.

"They act as if they've known each other forever. I mean have you seen them communicate. They say nothing and still manage to understand one another, its creepy."

Reaching the foot of the stairs Riku nodded switching his duffle bag from one shoulder to the other.

"Sephiroth says that his and Cloud's relationship isn't something overly complicated it just is. Whatever that means. But you know what I think."

Sora Shook his head standing in front of Riku. Riku smiled, that smiled that said he knew something Sora didn't.

"I think they're really in love."

Thinking back on Cloud's and Sephiroth's behavior Sora could only describe as strange but could really not pin point something about their actions that screamed out or even suggested a deeper commitment, than two friends who had not seen each other in long time.

Perhaps Riku was right though, why else would they act the way they did. Why else would they walk around as if joined at the hip? Regardless of their apparent close relationship Sora felt a little skeptical. Sephiroth was an overall decent person but he had always struck Sora as someone too narcissist to be able to have the kind of deep relationship that came with being in love. Riku however, knew his cousin better than he did and if he thought they were in love he must have reason to believe so and Sora wanted to know.

"Why do you think that?"

Riku was about to answer when his mother appeared at the top of the stairs and began making her way down to where Sora and Riku stood. She smiled warmly at them, and Riku immediately recognize the teasing glint in her eyes. She was up to something.

"Hello boys, please do carry on don't stop on my account. That is, of course, if you would rather whisper sweet nothings into each others ears in solitude, that can be arranged"


Riku said with a half hearted glare unable to suppress the smiled that was forming on his lips. He really didn't mind his mother's teasing, but thought best to pretend he did for Sora's sake at least for now. Sora's and Riku's relationship with each others parents had always been a pleasant one. They had been friends for so long that it was inevitable that each of their parents had become the others sort of foster parents. Sora however had been feeling uneasy around his mom, but Riku blamed that on the fact that Sora was still embarrassed about being caught coming into his window, while his mom had been putting his clothes away. Soon though Sora would more than likely forget the incident.

For now however he was still enjoying the cute blush on Sora's face whenever his Mom made a comment like the previous one.

"I'm going to pretend you didn't say anything."

Riku paused closed his eyes and took in a deep breath. His mother and Sora stared at him oddly. Exhaling slowly Riku opened his eyes and peeled back his lips giving his mother a large smile .

"Hey Mom. Sora and I are going now. Don't forget the game starts in one hour."

Rijiki smiled amused.

"Don't worry Riku, your father and I will be there." She paused looked at Sora, clearly still playing along, she gave him a surprised look as if just realizing he was there. " Oh and hello Sora. How are you today?"

Sora laughed clutching his stomach. Mother and son only stared faces completely serious until Riku smiled shaking his head. Taking a still laughing Sora by the elbow he weaved good bye to his mom and walked towards the door. Hauling a laughing Sora by the hand.



"What do you mean, tell him?"

Tidus asked Squall. Squall was currently sitting on a chair in his room tying his shoe laces. Tidus was standing in front of one of the windows in the room, resting his back on the window sill arms crossed over his chest.

Trying not to sigh Squall thought about Tidus's question. It was a good question, why had he deicide to start dating someone who asked good question? Now he couldn't just dismiss the question he had to answer it, which meant speaking.

The truth was he wasn't sure why. He and Cloud were no longer together, yet he felt the need to tell him he was now seeing Tidus. The reason was beyond his grasp.

"I'm not sure. I just feel as if I owe it to him." He paused a frown creasing his forehead, he looked at Tidus from across the room giving him a confused stare. "Is that Strange?"

It was almost comical how Squall was often surprised and confused by his emotions. Tidsu would have told him so, however, there was also uncertainty in his voice. Tidus noticed and quickly smiled hoping it would make Squall feel at ease.

"I'm not sure Squall. I'm not exactly the best person to give relationship advice. I don't really have previous experiences so I really wouldn't know but."

Pushing himself from the window sill he walked up to where Squall sat and kneel in front of him.

"But if I ever had a strong friendship with one of my ex's, I can understand how you would want to be loyal by letting him know."

Was that what Squall felt? Did he really feel like he had to be loyal to Cloud? Was Tidus, then, saying loyalty not only belonged to partners but friends too? That thought had never occurred to him, perhaps further exploring his feelings would reveal an answer. However, for now, Squall shrugged it off, he would just go with what he felt he needed to do instead of exploring why he needed to do it.


"Hmm?" Squall replied looking down at Tidus who was still kneeling in front of him, that position gave him rather improper thoughts and he cleared his head. Focusing instead on what Tidus was saying to him.

"Are you, I mean, you are not doing this as if to get his approval right?"

Would that have mattered? Squall thought looking straight at Tidus, who was now wearing a worried expression. And that gave Squall all the answer he needed. He laughed. Tidus frowned standing up crossing his arms clearly annoyed.

Quickly reaching over, Squall grabbed Tidus's arm pulling Tidus onto his lap. Too surprised to react Tidus's reaction was a gasp before he fell squarely on Sqaull's lap, straddling him and before he could say anything Squall was kissing him. His arms winding around Tidus's waist keeping him in place.

Forgetting he was suppose to be angry Tidus kissed Squall back slowly placing his hands around his neck. Pulling apart Squall slowly kissed Tidus's neck making Tidus give out a soft moan. It had been a silly question, at least to Squall, but he could see how Tidus came up with that idea. Not stopping his exploration of the others neck he spoke.

"I don't need his approval." He kissed Tidus's lips again and smiled seeing the daze look on his face. "It's more that, he is my best friends and I'm not used to him not knowing what's going on in my life. Don't you feel like telling your friends about us?"

Finally coming back to himself, Tidus began to think enough to string more than two words together but it was difficult. He would much rather kiss Squall.

"Of course I do."

There was hesitation in his voice. Squall looked at Tidus and had a very good idea what that hesitation was about.

"So why do you sound uncomfortable?"

Giving him a coy smile Tidus answered. "I'm not. I'm quite comfortable actually."

To prove his point he slowly and quite deliberately swiveled his hips grinding into Squall.

It was a testament to his self control when Squall managed to keep back the moan that tried to escape his lips and stop his hips from bucking upwards to match Tidus's move. Instead he gave Tidus a look. Tidus sighed knowing that was not what Squall was talking about.

"Okay look, the thing is, you are my first boyfriend before you I never had any type of relationship. Everyone who knows me has known me as straight, I'm not hiding that I am in fact gay, but I did just come out recently and I'm pretty sure word will spread fast, its no like I intend to hide it. My parents and my closest friends were the first ones to know and they have been very supportive."

Tidus paused and Squall felt a little uneasy not quite sure where this conversation was going.

"Are you saying, you're afraid of what other people will think of you?"

A sigh escaped Tidus's lips, before he smiled.

"Haven't you been listening? As long as I have my parents and friends support I don't care what anyone else says. I'm not saying it doesn't make me nervous but not enough to not be who I am and definitely not enough to not date who ever I want. The only reason I sound nervous is because you're…"

Cutting himself off Tidus lowered his face looking down, a nice blush coloring his cheeks a lovely shade or red. The image made Squall smile, Tidus was always so forward with his opinion it was almost endearing to see him quiet and blushing.

"I'm what?" Squall asked quietly.

Looking up slowly, Tidus smiled at him, almost shyly.

"Well, you know, you're my first boyfriend. And that's why I'm nervous before you I had never had any type of relationship with anyone. When you asked me about telling our friends about us it made me nervous. In a bubbly, butterflies in my stomach, girly type of way." He finished. Grimacing sounding disgusted with himself about what he had just said.

The sour expression he wore however, made Squall smile and made him feel some of those butterflies in his stomach too.

"Is that a bad thing?" Squall asked.

Tidus appeared thoughtful, he was back to looking at Squall his shy moment gone.

"I don't know Squall, for a first boyfriend I could have picked someone more talkative. You're a great kisser but I'm not sure it's worth it." His voice was teasing his eyes giving Squall a challenging look, which Squall easily answered.

"I can make it worth it."

Like two magnets with opposite charges, their lips came together in a crushing kiss. Tidus scooted closer in Squall's lap lips opening in invitation, taken quickly by Squall. Tidus gave a desperate moan, reaching the front of Squall's shirt with his hands. Clumsily he tried to pry the buttons open.

They broke apart for a second as Tidus tried to open the buttons on Squall's shirt. That second however didn't last long as Squall took in Tidus's rapid breathing and his, quickly becoming, kiss swollen lips. He leaned forward kissing those full lips hungrily, Squall had never felt the urge to be dominant in a relationship but now with Tidus moaning and rocking into him he couldn't help himself he wanted to devour every inch of Tidus with his hands, his lips he wanted to be the one eliciting those noises from Tidus's lips.

"Squu…" Ended in a gasped moan, when Squall's fingers found the hem of Tidus's hoodie and his hands caressed his stomach making their way up his chest.

Tidus sat completely still, eyes opened wide, lips parted panting, enjoying the sensation of Squall's hands on him. And he remembered Squall's opened shirt and began doing the same. Squall's eyes on him exciting him even further. He leaned forward kissing Squall's neck and sucked in a breath as Squall played with his nipples. He never knew that could feel so good. He rested his forehead on Squall shoulder and he felt Squall turn his head and lick his ear.

"Is it worth it yet?"

The reply however died on his lips as a knock was heard. Tidus cocked his head to the side looking confused, Squall's hands were still on him.

"Ignore it."

Squall said kissing Tidus again. The knock however came again this time accompanied by a voice.

"Master Squall?"


Squall replied irate, there were better things he could be using his lips for rather than talking.

"Master Cloud and a friend of his are here to see you. Should I tell them to come back later?"

Squall was now looking at Tidus apologetically, Tidus just smiled and kissed his lips before rising to his feet.

"No hold on!"

Quickly rising from the chair he opened the door to his room, to a middle aged woman who didn't even bat an eyes lash at his disheveled appearance.

"I'll tell them to wait in the sitting room."

She turned beginning to leave.

"Wait, Sasha. Who is Cloud with?"

"I'm not sure. I don't think I've seen him before."

"Long silver hair?"

She gave him a nod.

"Thank you. I'll be there in a minute."

With another nod, she began to walk away. Squall closed the door and made quick work of buttoning his shirt and ran a hand thorough his hair, though it didn't help his appearance much. He stopped, with a hand still in his hair, spotting Tidus standing near his bed looking just as bedraggled, but looking anywhere but Squall. Probably felt out of place. Silly, Squall thought and stepped forward.

"Come on."

He said and without waiting for a reaction took Tidus's hand and lead him out of the room.

"Squall wait. Are you sure this is the best way to tell Cloud about us, looking as if we just had a rumple in the sheets?"

"But we did, just without the sheets."

Tidus rolled his eyes and followed reluctantly.



The small slender woman appeared again.

"Master Squall will be here shortly, please have a seat while you wait."

They fallowed her from the foyer to what Sephiroth assumed was a waiting room. Rich brown furniture filled the room along with portraits of people.

"Would you like anything while you wait?"

"No. Thank you Sasha." Cloud replied.

Sasha looked at Sephiroth who shook his head in response, after that she left them alone.

Sephiroth walked around looking at the paintings, admiring the work. He didn't want to be there but decided to indulge Cloud.

Taking a seat Cloud stayed silent wondering why he had not been taken to Squall's room. When he came to see Squall whoever opened the door merely gave him a nod before he let himself in and up to Squall's room. Today though, Sasha had treaded him as if hewas no longer welcomed as more than a stranger. Had Squall advice the staff to not let him up to his room. He had thought they had resolved their problems.

"Cloud why are we here?"

"I told you I want you to meet Squall. He's my best friend I need him to understand some things."

Cloud had told Sephiroth all about his and Squall's relationship and apparent even stronger friendship. Sephiroth had never been one to understand much about friendship and Cloud knew that, it gave Sephiroth reason to believe this meeting was as much for his sake to understand Squall's and Cloudn's bond as it was for Squall to understand Sephiroth and Cloud. To which Sephiroth didn't see the point his and Cloud's relationship was not something complicated, but he wasn't about to argue with him.



Halfway down the stairs common sense returned to Tidus and he stopped.

"Wait, Squall wait." He whispered not wanting to be overheard by anyone lurking about.

Squall stopped looking down at Tidus. Asking what was wrongwith a look.

"Listen, I don't think this is the best way to tell Cloud about us." To accentuate his point the reached up unbuttoning Squall's shirt. "You missed a button." He explained finishing unbuttoning the rest of his shirt.

"Go and talk to him get things sorted out."

"You mean talk to them." Squall said with a sneer.

"This thing isn't about me or Sephiroth its about you and Cloud. I have no place in the conversation"

With the pretext of buttoning his shirt Tidus kept his gaze down. Squall covered Tidus's hand with his own stilling his movement.

"Sephiroth doesn't either."

Yet that had not stop Cloud from bringing him, Tidus thought as he met Squall's eyes.

"Maybe Cloud feels he does. But if you want me to I'd be more than happy to go in there with you and fend of Sephiroth."

Smiling Squall shook his head, thankful for the suggestion but knew Tidus was right.

"No you're right, this is something between us no need to make things more complicated."

"Good. Now I'll just leave. I'll see you at the game though right?"

In answer Squall nodded. Tidus stepped forward and climbed a step higher to kiss Squall, without having to stretch up too much. Closing his eyes Squall slowly walked Tidus back against the stair railing and tried to push away the amusing thought of Tidus's fingers attempting to button his shirt again instead of taking it off like he had done so a few minutes ago.

Feeling Tidus's hands tangle in his hair and hearing a soft moan from his lips, Squall knew if he didn't stop, that conversation with Cloud was not likely to happen. Pulling away he opened his eyes, resting his forehead to Tidus's.

"You don't have to go. You can wait in my room and we can just head to the game together after I'm finished talking with Cloud."

Sighing Tidus shook his head.

"I would like to, but I promised Selphie and Kairi we could go together."

It was probably for the best, Squall reflected. After all if Tidus stayed he couldn't promise all he would want to do was kiss him. And he was positive Tidus was not ready for that kind of intimacy. He settled for nodding.

They headed the rest of the way down and walked to the front door, Squall assuring Tidus the front door could not be seen from the waiting room.

"Alright I'll see you at the game." Squall said looking down another entry way down the hall, Tidus assumed where Cloud and Sephiroth waited.

"Good luck." Tidus said and walked out. Taking a deep breath Squall squared his shoulders and walked, as if to his doom, down the hall.



"Nice place he lives in, does it take up half of the town?"

It was a rhetoric question, which Cloud seemed to have missed.

"Squall's ancestors founded Hearts Vale." Cloud said as way of explanation.

"Ahh, yes I remember Laguna mentioning so once. So therefore the Leonhart family still owns the town. " Sephiroth sighed looking bored. "Power plays, you have to love them."

Cloud shrugged.

"You've met Laguna before. Do you really think he's one to be much into any type of political power plays?"

" Don't let his sweet candor and gentle demeanor fool you, he can be quite fierce."

Another shrugged, Cloud didn't really feel like talking about Squall's family.

Seeing Cloud's aloof mood, Sephiroth turned back to look at the portraits.

"I give them credit though, Squall comes from a rather handsome bloodline. Though I must inquire how did he obtain that scar?"

"I don't think that's any of your business."

The smooth voice Sephiroth knew belonged to Squall carried to his ears. Turning from the portrait Sephiroth took Squall in, surprised to see him looking a bit rumpled. Cloud stood up facing Squall and felt Sephiroth coming to stand next to him. He looked at Squall who was silently asking him the reason for Sephiroth's presence.

"What are you doing here?" Squall asked.

"I thought we could head up to Riku's game together. Plus I thought we had some things that needed to be cleared up between us?"

Squall didn't bother asking if Cloud had meant between him and Cloud or him Cloud and Sephiroth. Instead he looked at Sephiroth and then back to Cloud.

"Why did you bring him?"

Exasperated Cloud tried not to throw his arms in the air. "Because he's part of what needs to be cleared up."

So Tidus had been right after all, Squall thought.

With a smile in place Sephiroth waved a hand in dismissal.

"Listen Cloud, I know you want me to participate in this conversation, but I think this is something between the two of you. No need for second opinions. You two get yourself sorted out. And you missed a button"

The last was made obvious by Sephiroth as he tugged once at the opened fabric where Squall had skipped a button and had obliviously continued on with the rest. Squall gritted his teeth ignoring the comment. Trying to resist the reflex of bring his hand up to slap Sephiroth's hand away, he thought Tidus had taken care of that. Banishing the thought form his mind he turned to Cloud.

"You're right, Sephiroth. Squall can we go somewhere to talk?"

Squall agreed nodding he made eye contact with Cloud and silently they left the sitting area leaving Sephiroth to entertaining himself.



The Stadium was filled with screaming fans of both the home team and the visitors. Sora sat halfway down the bleachers Selphie on his right, Tidus to his left, next to Tidus was Kair. It was only ten minutes into the game and Sora, Selphie and Tidus were on their feet shouting all sorts of obscenities ranging for cheers to insults to plain out unrecognizable sounds. Kairi rolled her eyes, she would wait to cheer when there was actually something to cheer about.

After ten minutes the adrenaline was slowly fading as Sora, Tidus and Selpie sat down and watched the game. Not quietly but not as loud as they had been.

Sora was watching the game; that was lie. Sora was watching Riku. Riku who seemed the complete opposite of how he had been like the day he had broken his arm. He was back in control mode. In captain mode.

To be fair the other players were good, they all were in their own way, but there was always that one player who stood out and that was Riku. And Sora was sure he was not being biased Riku just moved with a confidence no one else had.

"Oh my God!"

Any further musing was cut off when Sora heard Selphie exclaim next to him. For a moment he thought someone might be injured, but a quick scan of the field revealed everyone to be fine. He turned to ask Selphie what was wrong but the girl had her eyes fixed to something to his left.

Turning his face he followed her gaze to see what she was so interested in. His eyes went wide in surprise along with Tidus's who he felt tense up. Sora was, however, too surprised to notice Tidus's slight discomfort as he watched the trio making their way to the empty seats in front of theirs.

Cloud, Squall and Sephiroth had arrived together. Now there was an odd sight, not so much them showing up together, but Squall openly showing his apparent dislike towards Sephiroth, if the way he was staring at Sephiroth was anything to go by, now that was strange.

Before sitting down Cloud turned to them and smiled in greeting his eyes lingering on Tidus just a bit longer than necessary giving him a knowing look. Tidus fought down a groan he knew exactly why Cloud was looking at him like that, Squall must have told him about them. He returned the gaze intent on avoiding Squall's at least for now.

Sephiroth was next to Cloud and seemed indifferent to the on goings around him. He nodded to Sora who smiled back. Sora flinched feeling an elbow being jabbed on his side. He turned to glare at Selphie.

However, Selphie just smiled innocently at him sending a pointed look towards Sephiroth and looking back at Sora. Sora was lost. He gave her a confused look and was about to ask her what was wrong when Sephiroth interrupted.

"Hello I don't believe we have met. Are you a friend of my cousin Riku?"

With a bright smile Selphie shot up from her seat and extended her hand to Sephirtoh.

"Yes I am. I'm Selphie."

Sephiroth took her hand giving it a light peck. Selphie smiled widely trying and failing miserably to fight down a blush. Even though she was pretty sure Sephiroth and Cloud had something going on, this she had concluded after seeing them together that day in the balcony, friends did not look at each other like they did. Regardless of that fact, Sephiroth was one gorgeous man and she couldn't help but want to stare at him forever.

"It's a pleasure to meet you Selphie."

Not all were taken aback by Sephiroth's display of charm, Squall was at the front of the list followed by Tidus. After proceeding, to then, greet Kairi in much the same manner, Tidus began to feel impatient. He didn't dislike Sephiroth, like Squall did, he actually liked the guy, however there were things he liked better than Sephiroth at the moment like the game.

"Would you mind sitting down. I'd like to watch the game."

Giving Tidus an amused smile and a slight raise of an eyebrow he sat down to watch the rest of the game, pretending he didn't see the satisfied grin on Squall's face.

And much to Sora's relief, with Sephiroth seated, he now had a clear view of the field and of Riku.



The game was going great, Riku felt the familiar rush of adrenaline coursing through his body. God he had missed this so much. The rhythm of his pounding feet as he ran on the soft grass, the ball gracing the grass doing what he commanded, the wind slamming against his body making a whoosh noise as it ran though his ears. He was back in his element and he couldn't be happier.

As the last seconds ticked down to zero the score board read visitors one home two. The crowd erupted in cheers as the players down in the field ran in excitement sharing slaps, pats, and crushing hugs of congratulations.



Sora, Selphie, Tidus and Kairi shot immediately to their feet calling out cheers and whistling down at the players. After the excitement died down people began to leave and the bleachers became more and more empty. The players had disappeared into the locker rooms and now all who were left were Sora and his friends and a few other people. Sora had seen Riku's parents wave good bye to him and leave a few minutes before.

"So that's what Riku is always talking about huh?"

"Yep." Sora said nodding in answer to Sephiroth's rhetorical question.

Turning to look at Sephiroth, who had already stood from his seat, Sora frowned seeing the distant look Sephiroth wore as he stared down at the field his gaze in another place. Cloud too seemed to notice, but before anyone could say anything, Sephiroth seemed to realize what the was doing, he blinked and smiled.

"Well, do congratulate him for me."

Another frown from Sora.

"Why can't you tell him yourself?"

"I'm going out. I'll probably not see him until tomorrow."

Sora merely shrugged.


After saying his good byes to the rest of the group Sephiroth began to walk away as did Cloud. Sora shouldn't have been surprised given their previous behavior but he still was.

"Cloud?" Squall called out. Cloud Stopped.

"I'm going with Sephitoth."

Silence followed Cloud's statement as everyone else looked on not sure what was going on. All except for Tidus who looked nervously from Cloud to Squall.

"Cloud…" Squall began but seemed to change his mind on what he was about to say. He closed his mouth and only stared silently at Cloud.

Feeling a familiar air between them Sora began to stand up. Why weren't they saying anything? But of course he was wrong they were communicating only in that way of theirs. The only ones who knew what they were saying was each other. Finally Sephiroth broke the silent argument.

"Cloud, are you coming?"

"Tomorrow we'll finish our previous conversation."

With that statement Tidus knew their little talk had not gone over so well. Tidus watched Squall nodding clearly, or at least to Tidus, showing his discomfort. Cloud walked to Sephiroth and they left, but not before Squall showed real emotions throwing Sephiroth a warning look. Which Sephiroth returned with a knowing smirk.

As the blond and the silver haired man left, an uncomfortable silence settled between the remaining friends.

"Okay would someone please tell me what that was about?"

With his emotions back under control and his face stoic as ever Squall glanced at Kairi.


And just like that he left. Tidus had to bite his lip to keep form laughing, Squall was so callous sometimes. And had he been pouting?

"That was uncalled for." Kairi said sending a glaring looktowards Squall's back.

Shaking his head Tidus took off after Squall yelling over his shoulder.

"Don't worry. I'll go find out what's got the lion so riled up. Bye."

Sora, Selphie and Kairi were left behind watching Tidus jog to catch up to Squall.

"Hey Leon!"

They heard Tidus call and to their surprise Squall actually stopped and they thought he had stopped to yell or glare at Tidus for calling him Leon, instead he merely turned and gave him a small impatient frown and waited for him to catch up. When Tidus caught up to Squall they began walking away, falling into step.

Tidus's voice barely carried to where his friends stood stunned. Snapping out of her daze, Selphie shook her head.

"Well I guess they made up."

Both Sora and Kairi looked confused Selphie shrugged.

"They weren't talking to each other." She said dismissing any further inquiries with a wave of her hand.

"Now Sora. Can you please tell me how your hot boyfriend's cousin knows Cloud?"

Sora gave a nervous laugh.

"Selphie I couldn't begin to explain if I wanted to. The only thing I know is what Riku has told me and Riku only tells me what Sephiroth has said which isn't much. But from what Riku tells me Cloud and Sephiroth used to know each other when they were younger."

"And" Selphie prompted, looking expectantly to Sora wanting to hear more.

"And" Sora repeated laughing making his way out of the bleachers.

"And I guess they just want to catch up Selph."

Ending the conversation Sora walked away in searchfor Riku. Selphie was unconvinced. She stood looking thoughtful. She shook her head.

"No way, those two are not just friends. Friends don't act that way around each other. Right Kairi?"

With a sigh Kairi shrugged and together with Selphie began to leave.

"I don't know Selphie it seems to me, since the school year started our boys have had more drama going on than a sorority house full of PMS-ing women."



"You're serious?"

Amused Riku smiled having no trouble whatsoever imagining what Sora had just shared with him.

"You should have been there. I thought Squall was going to launch at Sephiroth at any second."

Riku laughed again, he could feel the cool grass underneath him and a small wind was picking up. They were outside of Sora's house in the back, lying on the grass side by side staring up at their, now barren, cherry tree. The only parts of their bodies to be touching were their hands which rested on the grass between them, firmly entwined with the other.

"I can't believe I missed that. Sounds comical."

"Specially when Kairi asked for someone to explain what that whole ordeal had been about, and Squall, in his dour mood, just said no and walked away." Sora related laughing.

"Ahh the things I miss for kicking around a ball." Riku said with a smile on his face, trying to sound regretful.

Not convinced Riku meant a single word of that statement, Sora have a small snort.

"As if you would trade it for anything, besides its not like our friends will stop making a fool out of themselves. When we're together that's almost a given with us."

Riku nodded. As he felt the warmth of Sora's hand in his, he, absentmindedly, started caressing Sora's hand with his thumb.

"I suppose you're right."

Felling Riku's caress Sora smiled.

"Anyway on a better note, you were great."


Sora shifted himself on his side to face Riku, in the process loosing contact with Riku's hand. Propped on one elbow he hovered near Riku.

"No. I really mean it Riku. You play like no one I've ever seen. Its almost like, when I play a roll, the look on your face is just amazing, but better because its real. You really are good at what you do and it makes you a great player. You love what you do"

Now that was some compliment. Riku smiled, pulling Sora down to hug him, feeling warm having heard Sora's words of praise. It was true, though, today he had played like he would never play again. Having broken his arm had given him time away from the sport, but when he had played today he realized how much he had actually missed playing and combined with the adrenaline he had about it being his first game back he gave it all he had.

For Sora to have noticed though made it even more special. Riku sighed inhaling deeply the smell of grass and Sora mixing together. Sora had pulled apart from their hug and swung his leg over Riku's body straddling him. Sora had leaned down and was staring at Riku.

"What are you doing?"

Not that Riku minded in the least. To make his point he placed his hands of Sora's hips to keep him in place.

"Watching." Sora answered with a smile.

Leaning down, Sora kissed Riku's jaw line and down his neck, he felt Riku shiver beneath him and smiled. Riku's hands moved from his hips to tangle in his hair and Sora could feel Riku's warm lips on his own neck, making a trail from his neck to his just beneath his ear. He loved it when Riku kissed that spot.

"Besides playing, do you know what else I love?" Riku whispered into Sora's ear, biting lightly on Sora's ear lobe.

Fighting down a giggle from the tickling on his ear Sora managed to look thoughtful as he sat up pretending to really ponder the question.

With a straight face and a slight frown Sora replied. "Hmm. I don't think I do Riku."

Oh but he was good, Riku thought with a smile.

"Really that's a shame. Oh well," Riku whispered pulling Sora down to kiss his neck. "can't have you be my boyfriend and not know anything about me." He sighed. "Nothing else to do but to teach you."

"Teach?. I'm into the performing arts. I learn much better if you show me."

Sora gasped surprised when Riku gave a low growl and rolled him onto his back reversing their position.

"Gladly." Riku answered, with a hungry glint in his eyes. He leaned down to captures Sora's inviting lips Sora wrapped his arms around Riku and deepened the kiss enjoying the contrast of Riku's warmth and the cool grass beneath him.

True to his word Riku spend the rest of the day showing Sora what his most favorite hobby was. Which Sora, unsurprisingly, learned was him.



After playing three more game, the last game of the season had come quickly and now it was gone. The Hearts Vale High team celebrated their victory and were talking enthusiastically in the locker room.

"Alright, alright. Settle down."

Cid yelled over the sounds of triumph, trying to sound stern but not even he could keep the proud smile from his face. He allowed the team a few more minutes of cheers before they settled down. All eyes on him waiting, expectantly, to hear what their coach had to say.

"You guys did a great job. Not only today but all year. You guys earned this win. To those of you who leave us this year, you will take with you a great year and to those who remain you will take the experience and make next year as great as this one."

Taking a small pause, Cid looked over his team, his pupils, who were nodding in agreement with him, respect showing in their eyes.

"You deserved the State title you earned today. Go celebrate have fun don't get too wasted." The last he grunted out, which was responded to by hoots and catcalls as the locker room once again, erupted in cheers.

Cid began to walk away but stopped at the door to the locker room.

"Riku come see me before you leave."

A bit startled Riku gave Cid a quick nod and turned back to celebrate with everyone. Joining into the discussion of who's house would be best to go to for the celebration party. Awhile later the adrenaline died down as the players got dressed and left the locker room.

The locker rooms were located in the school's ground floor and Riku headed to the stairs that would take him up to the first floor and to Cid's office. When he reached the stairs he smiled seeing Selphie, Tidus, Kairi and Sora waiting for him sitting at different step on the stairs.

As soon as they spotted him their conversation ended, Sora smiled widely and threw himself to his boyfriend.

"Congratulations." Sora said hugging him tightly, Riku returned the hug.

Stepping down from the stairs Tidus went to stand in front of Riku, lightly shoving Sora away. He held up his fist to Riku's face pretending he was holding a microphone.

"State champs. Tell us oh wise captain how does it feel?"

Amused Riku pushed Tidus's fist from his face.

"So where's the party?" asked Selphie before Riku had time to make a smart comment to Tidus's sorry skills of journalism.


Out of the four Riku knew only Tidus would understand. And Tidus apparently did as he snorted looking amused. Kairi however looked confused, after all Cloud was no longer in the team.

"Does he know?" Sora beat Kairi to the question.

"I'm sure someone will tell him before people start arriving." Riku was even more amused by his friends confusion.

"Won't he mind though?"

In answer to Selphie's question Riku shook his head.

That was all the answer Sora needed. Cloud and Riku were really good friends and if Riku said Cloud wouldn't mind than Cloud wouldn't, besides Riku would never go along with something if he knew his friends would be bothered by it.

"Okay than lets go."

"About that." Riku began as he slipped away from Sora's hug which had become more of a light hand holding.

"Cid wants to talk to me. And after I see Cid, I still have to go home and change, so I'll just meet you guys there."

"Why does he want to talk to you?" Sora asked.

"I don't know" Riku shrugged.

"Okay I'll see you later then." Sora gave Riku's hand a quick squeeze before letting go.

Following his friends up the stairs Riku waved them good bye before he turned to walk towards Cid's office.

Nearing Cid's office he wondered why Cid had requested his presence. Did he just want to wish Riku luck? He doubted it. Cid wasn't the sentimental type. Squaring his shoulders he stopped in front of Cid's office, shifting his gym bag further up his shoulder. He raised his hand and knocked.

"Come in" Cid's voice rang out from within his office carrying muffled through the door. Riku opened the door.

Sitting behind his desk, as expected, was Cid. Nothing amiss, except for the other occupant in the room who stood when Riku opened the door. It was a man he looked about six feet tall short black hair and if Riku had to guess his age he would have to say late thirties.

The man faced Riku giving him a charming smile. Riku didn't know who the man was, had never seen him in his life, but that didn't meant he had to be rude. He returned the smile and turned back to address Cid.

"You wanted to see me coach." Riku stated.

"Yes step in. I'd like you to meet Christopher Meda, Chair of the Sports Department at Weschester University."

Weschester University? No way! Riku thought, feeling frozen to his spot staring in fascination at the man before him.

Christopher Meda extended his hand and dumbly Riku did the same shaking the man's hand firmly and perhaps even a bit too enthusiastically.

"Uh Hello."

And no his voice had not just cracked, his throat was just a little dry. Christopher just smiled even more widely, at least one of them was amused, Riku thought ruefully.

"Hello Riku it's great to finally make your acquaintance."

The voice that fell from the man's lips was laced with his English accent, which Riku surmised fit him quite nicely. But that was hardly a fleeting thought, Riku was more concerned regarding the man's presence. And why he had wanted to meet him in the first place?

"You wanted to meet with me?" Riku addressed the question foremost in his mind.

"It seems the people down in Weschester received your application and heard what a good player you are." Cid provided for him, not at all answering Riku's question.

"Yes, but please shall we take a seat? We've much to discuss and I'm sure your quiet tired from that splendid match."

For his part Riku was doing a wonderful job of keeping his shock from being too obvious. He was, however, a little tired and worried that his excitement would be given away by the mad pounding of his heart against his chest.

After letting his bag slip from his shoulder and once Riku and Christopher had taken seat in front of Cid's desk, next to each other, Christopher seemed satisfied enough to continue the conversation.

"Weschester is an academy of higher learning which has never failed to produce outstanding students. As well as athletes. We send out representatives searching the country for talent, we very rarely search outside the country, but we make exceptions for extraordinary cases. Such was yours"

Extraordinary case? What was this guy talking about?

"Do you mean because I got injured?" And Riku hoped that wasn't the case. He hoped he was not being sought out as a type of pity case. Christopher chuckled.

"Well there was that, but no. When we received your application, along with a tape of your last game of last year, we were rather intrigued. Intrigued enough to send out a scout."

There had been a scout watching him and he had been completely oblivious. This could not be happening, this was his dream coming true, but Christopher wasn't done speaking yet.

"When the scout returned, he came back with a tape of your first game of this year along with devastating news, that you had suffered an injury. We watched the tape and the other members of the Sport's Committee were quick to dismiss you. Saying what a pity it was to loose such talent. I told them they were mad if they were quick to so readily dismissed you."

Riku didn't blame them after an injury like his it was likely he wouldn't play, but Riku had not given up easily and he was glad this Christopher, apparently, hadn't either. Cid snorted and Christopher gave them another smile this one amused.

"Easy to say they were quite displeased when I kept an open spot for you. My colleagues told me to stop wasting my time and that we had plenty of talent in England. They're quite right we have a lot of talent back home. But do you know why I chose to not listen to them?"

The only guess Riku could come up with was that ,Christopher believed he was good enough, well extremely good at that, to go against the committee. Regardless Riku was curious to know his reason. So Riku shook his head a clear indication he had no idea.

"Cid" Christopher replied.

Cid? Riku looked at his coach who had remained silent through out the entire conversation. Cid had spoken on his behalf? In that moment Riku's chest swelled with pride at the thought, he was so happy he could kiss Cid.

Seeming to misinterpret his thoughts Cid threw his arms up looking startled.

"Hey don't look at me like that. I was the one who told them they were idiots if they thought a broken bone would keep you away for long."

"Wait you knew they had been scouting me all along?" Riku demanded, eyes wide in surprised.

Cid nodded.

"You see Riku." Christopher began. "Weschester has procedures that must be followed; when we scout schools or other type of sports organizations. In this case, it is obligatory for us to request from the school, we wish to visit, permission to scout their students. The schools, more often than not, discuss the request with the coaches."

"I still don't see how you helped coach." Riku looked to Cid waiting for an answer.

"I believe I can best answer that question. My peers had questioned me about my decision enough that I began to doubt myself, which was rather annoying I must say." Christopher stated looking quiet disgusted with himself for an instead and then pressed on.

"I pride myself on my ability to be rather good at doing what I do, which is, to recognize talent when I see it. But by then I had began to doubt myself and you. I made a request to Cid. I asked him to send me any more tapes of your previous games, if there were any. He complied rather reluctantly might I add. Though I must admit I was almost disappointed when I watched you play. In those tapes you were good Riku but I have seen better."

Positive that if he hadn't been sitting, Riku had now doubt he would have crashed to the floor. First this guy comes halfway around the world, making him think he was going to get what he wanted, and now telling him he wasn't good enough after all.

"So why are you here?" Riku asked hoping he didn't sound too bitter.

Cocking his head to the side Christopher gave Riku a long accretive look. It was a few seconds more before he spoke.

"As I watched the videos of last year and kept getting closer to earlier dates I saw your progression. Time after time I saw what was there all along even the day you broke your arm and seemed out of sorts, you displayed your ability clearly." Pausing Christopher sat on the edge of his chair leaning forward.

"It's never talent that impresses me Riku nor is it quick recoveries from injuries. Anyone who has talent can be great, with enough practice, anyone who is injured can come back from an injury. But not everyone has what you have Riku. You posses a dedication that is impressive, a relentless passion for what you do. Talent alone is not good if you do not have the drive, the discipline to be the best regardless of any situation."

Through out his speech Christopher spoke with passion in his voice his eyes shinning with excitement. Riku felt himself feeling, strangely, humbled.

"That is why I did not give upon you. Most importantly because you know you play with a team and as part of a team you are only a part of a whole and you know and accept this. I have seen proof of this in the videos and today. That ability to be an assertive leader, more than helps your team to victory after victory."

It was safenow, for Riku,to think Christopher was not dismissing him after all. Quite the opposite it seemed. Riku's brain was overloading with every possible feeling.He felt as if he might explode, if he forced himself to realize what was happening. He hoped for his sake he was not dreaming.

"Riku," Christopher continued, now smiling at teen before him." If you are still interested, on behalf of the Sports Department of Weschester University I have a proposition I would love to make to you and hope you'll accept."

Cardel: This was so far the longest and shorter chapter thus far. It was lengthy but short on content.

Demak: You owed it to the people.


Cardel: Oh wow! You two agreed on something. Alright lets go play hockey in hell.

Jin: I'll bring the puck.

Cardel: Whatever. So what did you guys think of this chapter? I know it's almost cavity inducing with the fluff, but…

Jin/rubs palms together/ it's the calm before the storm.

Cardel: That is if you guys know were I'm going with this.

Demak: Great more angst. I've so a million times and I'll say it again. You have issues.


Cardel: Well if anyone read this tell me what you think. I'm trying to stick to an update schedule, but R/L's a bitch. Especially with midterms next week.

Jin: Quit your winning already.

Cardel: Mean. Anyway 'til next chappie. Ja-ne.