Kingdom Hearts and it's various characters do NOT belong to me. They belong to Squaresoft, Disney, yadda yadda yadda. I can't get rich off of this sort of stuff—but it does give me all sorts of added bonus. XD
This is the epilogue, and while it doesn't tie in every loose end…it gives you a nice warm glow. Perhaps in time, a sequel……which would most likely end up being sex…*cough*….but still. A sequel, or a oneshot, on how everyone reacts to things….heheh…yes, that would be good, yes? Yes? ( The song is "Fallen" by Sarah McLachlin)
I hope you all enjoyed it!
Bind to Thee
::heaven bent to take my hand::
::and lead me through the fire::
::with a long awaited answer::
::to a long and painful fight::
::truth be told I've tried my best::
::but somewhere along the way::
::I got caught up in all there was to offer::
::and the cost was so much more than I could bear::
Kairi was the first to see him standing at the water's edge, gaze focused out over the blue-green ocean. She called to him, but the boy didn't turn. Her heart thumping with uneasiness, she sped up the last few steps to reach his side and gingerly touched his arm.
"…where's Sora?" the boy whispered. He turned in her direction without looking at her and asked again, "Where did he go?"
Kairi examined his eyes, his face, closely before answering, trying to judge the emotion she saw. Was it fear? Love? Worry? She couldn't tell…he just looked vague, and anxious.
"He went to look for the King. He said he found a clue, or something…he'll be back," she concluded, whispering. "He always comes back…"
Riku lowered his head. "Yes," he said, as if agreeing with her. His hands twitched nervously until he flexed them a few times, while his posture was anxious.
"Come on, Riku," she said, taking his wrist. "Let's get you into a bath and clean clothes."
"Yes, Kairi," Riku replied softly.
She didn't turn her head to smile at him, like she would have done in the past. She faced forward to keep her worried and pained expression away. She didn't want to upset the boy any more, but she wasn't sure just how to deal with this.
In turn, Kairi missed the longing glance the taller silver-haired boy shot the ocean and the sky.
::in the lonely light of morning::
::in the wound that would not heal::
::is the bitter taste of losing everything::
::that I've held so dear::
::fallen, I have sunk so low::
::I messed up::
::better, I should know::
"He's not in there," Leon remarked before the door could open.
Turning, tired and depressed, Sora regarded him with a surprisingly hostile gaze and dropped his hand from the latch.
"Say what?" Sora said, quite able to guess at the meaning behind his words, just unable to process the information.
Leon flipped him a square white envelope. "Here. Kairi left this for you." Message delivered, the quiet man straightened and sauntered towards the stairs.
Sora eyed his retreated back in irritated puzzlement, then shook the envelope. "What'd you do this time, Kairi…" He tore it open and pulled out a letter written in Kairi's looping script.
Sora. Don't be mad, please? I'm sorry for what I said earlier, I really am. I was just startled. And you seemed so angry…Well, anyway. I'm taking Riku home—he hasn't woken up yet and it's been two days. I think it will help if he's in a place he might recognize…but I don't know what he'll do. Come home, Sora. We all miss you.
Hugs and Kisses, Kairi.
~She took him home?~ he thought. ~Home?!~
He read the letter again, glancing at the date of two weeks ago, frowning and feeling a quiet twisting panic. ~Well, he's safe there, at least…~ he told himself and tried to think positively.
Sora sighed and crumpled the letter. ~But he's supposed to be here. Why would she…oh god how stubborn…what a girl.~ he grimaced and hoisted the bag to his shoulder, feeling aches and strains and the numbness of exhaustion.
~Didn't even get a chance to eat…~
Upon arrival at the islands, Sora was struck by how different everything felt. It didn't feel the same anymore; it was too small, too bright. The sand was gritty within his shoes, the smell of fish and the sea and an overall warmth he never really remembered. And yet, it ached of memories. The trees he had climbed, the waters he had swam in, the home he had known…everything held the flickering taste of familiarity.
Sora stepped out into the sands, into the coolness of the breeze and the shade of the trees and smiled. It did feel nice to be home, even if he felt oversized and out of place.
~Things to do, Sora, things to do.~
He peered down the beach, noting the lack of people. It wasn't unusual to find the islands nearly deserted, but he knew as well that Kairi had a habit of waiting for him.
~and Riku. We have to find Riku.~
Kairi would be the easiest to find, he decided. He squared his shoulders and started down the beach, but his eyes flicked back and forth for a hint of silver, a glimpse of sea-colored eyes. A hunch told him that she wouldn't be at home, but rather out in the air, where she could feel the sun.
He found her on the docks, unknotting a skein of fine netting with a hooked needle and a roll of twine. In the distance he could see the dark shape that was Destiny Islands, the place for the children to play and run and jump. He shivered, briefly, as his mind overlaid the memory of the torn jagged land, and the final battles with Ansem…
Sora shoved the thought away and glanced around quickly. There was still no one to be seen, not even Riku, who he had expected to be near Kairi somewhere.
She looked up at the sound of his echoing footsteps. Her blue eyes widened fractionally when she saw him, and Sora was relieved to see her smile. He hadn't been sure she would have smiled after everything that had happened.
"Hey," he said, quietly. "How's life?"
Kairi slid the netting from her lap, hooking the needle into her skirt and stood, barefoot. "Hey," she replied just as carefully. "…it's good to see you."
"Kairi, I—" Sora shuffled, looking down and scratching at his arm. "Look, I'm sorry," he said after a moment.
"I know. It's okay, you bum," she replied. There wasn't anything more she needed to say.
Feeling as if his face was sore and stiff, Sora smiled for the first time in weeks.
He left his bag and shoes at the docks, enjoying the feel of the warm damp sand against his feet, and the sun on his face as they walked along the beach. After a while, when there were still no one to be seen, he asked, "So where is everyone? I'd thought I'd see Selphie or Wakka, at least."
"They're out on the boats right now, helping the adults haul in the fishing nets," Kairi explained. She smiled faintly. "They were surprised to see Riku…everyone was. They all thought he had run away…"
"…so they know, then?"
Kairi shook her head. "I told everyone he was traumatized and had problems coping…They seemed to believe me, and Riku…well, he didn't wake up for a while. When he did…" She shrugged, slowly. "Well, everyone just leaves him alone."
"What do you mean…by not waking up, Kairi? You said that in your note, and now…" Sora asked, stomach jumping. ~It can't be…~
"He was sleeping when I went to your room back in Traverse Town, so I took him home…and he didn't wake up for two days. He asked for you…but you were missing again and he just…he just kinda went quiet and withdrawn."
"He didn't act any different?" Sora whispered. "Was he still…under the spell?"
"I think so," Kairi replied in a tiny voice. "I mean…he still bows and does stuff without question…And without you he was…lost, kinda." she darted a hesitant glance over at him, and twined her fingers together. "I'm sorry…"
"No," Sora said, sighing, fighting back the lump of disappointment. "It's okay…I just…I hoped he would've gotten better…"
~He's never going to get better,~ a nasty cynical voice said. ~But that's okay. You can make him do whatever you want…~
They walked another minute or so before Kairi asked the question foremost on her mind. "Sora…where did you go this time?"
"I went to see Miruki and the Council in the desert city. I had to ask him something, because we left so suddenly last time I never had a chance."
"Over Riku," she stated.
Sora nodded painfully. "I tried, Kairi, I really tried…but I don't know if he'll ever be the same…"
~But…he slept for two days….how would Kairi know if he was back? She doesn't know him like I do…~
He stopped in the sand at the thought, stricken with the two-faced thought of assuming he knew more about Riku than Kairi would, and that at the same time—Riku was never going to be the same. No matter how much he wanted it to be different…Riku wasn't Riku.
Sora rubbed at his forehead, trying to get the thought from his head, out into the sands where he could stand on it and bury it. ~What am I going to do?~ he thought in despair. ~He's gotta be okay….~
~And if he isn't?~
Sora didn't know. All he could feel was the quickened heartbeat, the lightheaded anticipation, the worry and the sick sense of vertigo. ~If he is?~
~If he is…there's so much I have to tell him…~
"Sora?" Kairi asked, watching him with her large sad blue eyes. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah," the brunette replied slowly. "I'm just trying to think…But…can you bring me to Riku?"
::it's one misstep::
::one slip before you know it::
::and there doesn't seem a way to be redeemed::
They came out from the trees into the small cove on the eastern side of the main-land island, past the coral reef edging out to be sentinel to the waves. The water was a clear glassy green, with the reef a smudge of color just under the surface. As Sora stepped carefully on the shell-littered sands, he could remember swimming to the reef, standing on the edges with spear in hand and a net looped over his wrist.
He had to catch his breath when he stooped under the low palm fronds and caught sight of the figure perched out by the narrow depth-markers along the reefs.
Kairi was several feet ahead, unaware of his hitched breathing, his startled, expected and anxious gaze. That he felt a stab of the exhilaration at the sight, and couldn't find it in himself to cry out the words he wanted to say.
Far out over the water Riku stood waist deep in the water, with his bare back to the shore. A spear was raised to strike, and as Sora watched from the shadows of the palms, it flashed and sliced into the water.
~…would he know how to do that if he wasn't Riku?~ a part of him whispered. ~First the sleeping…now this…why do I feel like I'm missing something?~ Straightening, but not quite sure he wanted to move into open view just yet, Sora brushed a hand through his hair.
Kairi was at the water's edge, auburn hair streaming prettily as she raised a hand and waved. "Riku!" she cried loudly. "Riku, come to shore!"
The figure out upon the reef turned, one hand shading his eyes. Sora couldn't tell, not from the distance, if it was Riku…if it was him…or if he had been spotted. His heart jumped just the same, pounding in the midst of the calm somehow still around him.
"Riku!" Kairi called again. "Hurry up now!"
Reeling in the spear, Riku deftly removed the fish from the barbed end and dropped it within the mesh-like back slung over his shoulder. Then he slid the spear into a strap across his back and dove into the deeper water, a blur of smooth kicks and tanned skin and darker knee-length shorts.
When he surfaced, it was in the shallow waters, mid-way deep on him. He flung his hair from his face and waded towards the shore, wiping an arm across his eyes to clear them.
"Honestly, Riku—I don't understand how you can stay out there for hours," Kairi chided, hands on her hips. "Look at you, all scraped up. How long have you been out there today—you look like you've got sunburn coming up, too."
"I've been out there since noon, Kairi," Riku murmured, grabbing and setting the spear upright into the sand. He didn't raise his eyes from the ground as Kairi tsked and reached a hand for the bag he shrugged over his shoulder.
"Here," she said. "Let me see what you've caught…"
Riku handed her the bag, as Sora stood in the shadows close and unnoticed, and watched her without expression, despite the elation that froze him to the spot. Riku looked so normal, so healthy and tanned and— ~Wet,~ his mind whispered—Something niggled in his mind at the sight, at Riku, at something that was slowly adding up…
~But is it possible!?~
Sora bit his lip, and cast his eyes to the ground. ~Is it? I don't know. The spell was strong, and Riku was…he wasn't Riku and…is it possible to have him back? After so much?~
"–goodness," Kairi was saying. "This is all you have for the last three hours?" she teased.
Riku shrugged, lowering his head. "I'm sorry that it isn't enough—I'll stay out longer—"
"No, no, it's fine," she assured him. "Well—wait a minute—where'd—" she paused to look around, twisting to peer over her shoulder.
~Crap. Here we go.~ Sora had a brief moment of panic and entertained the thought of running very fast and very far—
—but then Riku glanced up and met his eyes while Kairi made a face at the brunette.
"Sora—stop hiding in the shadows and come over here!" she commanded.
The Keyblade wielder barely noticed her words, too trapped within the flare of panic in Riku's sea-green eyes, in the affected neutral expression. ~…is it…possible?~
Then it was over as Riku slid his gaze back to the sand at his feet.
Kairi turned, exasperated and annoyed when Sora didn't respond, and hoisted the catch-bag into her arms. "Well, I'm going to leave you two alone and bring these to the fish-yard. I'll be right back, so don't go anywhere!" she admonished, shaking a free finger at Sora.
"Yeah, I know, Kairi," Sora replied. He stifled a sigh and took a few awkward steps forward as she moved away, glancing back and forth between her retreating form and Riku's down-turned face.
When she had passed almost out of sight, Sora turned his gaze back to Riku and merely looked for a moment. Then he shrugged, taking another few steps forward, trying to get a glimpse of the eyes behind the silver-fall of hair, of the face and perhaps of what to expect—
—even though his heart was hammering in the knowledge that something had changed—
~The sleeping. The spearfishing…he looked at me—is he…is he back? Is he Riku?~
Sora frowned, biting his lip and tilted his head. "Hey…are you angry with me?"
Slowly, Riku shook his head, left arm bent across his middle and the fingers smoothing over the opposite elbow. He didn't speak or raise his eyes at Sora's question, or his close presence.
"…did I do something wrong?" Sora whispered.
Again, Riku shook his head.
"Are you going to talk to me?"
The boy paused for a long time while Sora waited, the fingers digging into his arm. Slowly, almost with visible effort, Riku spoke. "What do you want me to say?" There was a flash of sea-green eyes from behind the hair, anguished and full of concealed emotion in the icy mask.
And Sora knew. He exhaled in slow shock, one hand ghosting to his mouth and brushing briefly. "I…" he laughed, shortly. "I guess you could tell me what you're doing here, pretending…"
Surprise flashed across his face, Iceheart's face, and Sora knew even while Riku murmured, "Pretending?" in an indignant tone.
"I didn't…I didn't know if you would ever find your way back," Sora explained. "I didn't know what to do…I'm sorry I left, but I thought…I didn't know how to make it better. I went to see Miruki but that didn't help. So I came here, and…" he ran a hand through his hair, conscious of the piercing gaze. "I guess the first clue was that you had slept for a long time…and then you were fishing—and I didn't know if you could do that and not be Riku, you know?"
Riku said nothing, did nothing.
"Then…I guess…I knew you were pretending because…because I could see your face, and I could see you…and you were you and…" Sora sighed softly, crossed his arms self-consciously and shrugged. "I would always know you…"
"…I'm that easy to read?" Riku whispered. "Not even my mother could tell…not even Kairi…I changed too much for them to know me anymore…but not you…"
Silence grew around them, then, as they stood in the sand and looked at everything but each other. The waves were a soft shushing against the sand, the wind rustling the stiff fronds as the birds cried out overhead. Sounds of life, of memories and history…
"Look—" Sora began, heart still thumping crazily. "Can we sit down for a moment? Sit and talk, I mean? I…I think we should, you know…because of everything."
Wordlessly, Riku nodded. They moved to the shade, sitting in the cooler sand and leaning against the scratchy palms.
Riku was the first to break the silence this time. "...it was easier…"
Sora looked at him, half-facing him with elbows on his knees and worried at the fringe of his shorts. "Easy?"
"Pretending. Letting everyone believe I had been hurt, or messed up…they left me alone and didn't bother me with questions…and Kairi stopped acting all weird around me…I think she prefers me this way, you know. I'm not such a threat."
Sora frowned, and shrugged. "She likes to be in charge," he said.
"Yeah. But…it was still easier. And I didn't know if you were coming back…" Riku glanced at him. "After everything…that happened."
Sora nodded, and for a while no one spoke. The silence fell upon them and surrounded them, hiding them within a small safe world. Sora let his hand drift to the sand and scraped out lines and circles, watching from the corner of his eye as Riku merely propped his chin on his knees. He wasn't sure if the feeling inside his chest was exhilaration, adrenaline or fear or something worse—
~What if he hates me?!~
All he knew was that his head was dizzy and his heart wanted to run circles around his stomach and he tingled, almost.
~It's him,~ ran over and over within his mind. ~It's him.~
"So what happens now?" Riku whispered. "I mean, when Kairi gets back…when everyone else is here…what happens? What do we tell them?"
"I…I don't know. Would it be better if we did tell them? Or would it make it all worse? I don't know…I've never…" Sora dug a hand into the sand. "I don't want to tell them anything, really. It's not something I want to share with the world, you know."
A glance to the other boy showed a pale face and a tinge of red on the cheeks.
"Riku…" Sora ventured, when the silence whispered back around them. "Do you…remember what happened after Ithian hit you with that spell?"
The sea-green eyes met his for a too-short moment. "Yes. Of sorts. It was…hazy. Like a dream…but I remember," he ended in a whisper. "I remember…"
"…Oh. Okay…" Sora blushed miserably.
Riku smiled shyly. "Did…did you mean it, Sora? Did you mean what you said?"
"I…said?" he fixed him with a startled glance.
"What you said. It…it was something you said, Sora. In that strange dream…I could hear you talking. And you asked…you asked…" his brow furrowed.
"I said 'Come back to me' didn't I?" Sora finished. "I asked you to come back because I—" he blushed, closing his mouth with a snap, and focused his eyes on sand and toes and feet.
~Because I love you,~ echoed in his mind. ~I don't even know why…I do…~
A corner of Riku's mouth twitched, an almost-smile. "Did you mean it?" he repeated, eyes serious and a touch blue in the shadows. Something lurked in their depths, hidden, secret, but Sora didn't notice.
"I…oh man…about—I mean…yeah," he finished lamely, blushing horribly. "It's okay if you don't want me to, I mean—it would be easier, right? If we just—"
Riku pulled himself forward, rolling onto his knees and stretching out a hand. His fingers found Sora's mouth and covered it. He knelt closer than expected, close enough that Sora could feel the press of a jaw against his cheek, the tiny breath that stirred the hair just above his ears, and most of all the cool slender fingers against his mouth.
"Riku?" he tried to mumble, shivering and too-warm in the face. A whirling heart-stopping sensation attacked his insides.
Riku spoke, "Just…just be quiet…I don't want to forget and I don't…I don't regret anything, Sora. Anything. I thought I told you that…but sometimes what I do and what I think are two different things, you know." His mouth brushed the skin of his temple, as Sora followed the line of his neck and shoulder with his eyes, almost tasting the salt-water and spice of him.
"and because," Riku said, voice nearly a whisper. "Because I think I have always loved you…so I don't want you to go away again…I never thought you would…I-I want to be with you no matter where you go or what happens. I want to be there."
//"Because…because I think I have always loved Sora."//
"Riku," the brunette whispered against the fingers. "I'm not going anywhere yet…but if I do…I want you with me."
The boy gave a shuddering sigh, something that sounded suspiciously like a laugh and bent to nudge a cheek against Sora's jaw, against his cheek and neck, in the manner of a cat. "Okay," he said simply.
Then he pulled back with unexpected speed, meeting and catching Sora's blue gaze in the dappled light. There was still a flush of color over the cheeks, and there was hesitation, fear, love, anticipation all mixed up within his expression.
Riku smiled carefully, as if the expression would crack on his face. "Sora—" he began.
The brunette blushed even more, but dared to cup the face in his hands. A tug closed the small distance, and he brushed his mouth over Riku's lips. A hand settled against his cheek and Riku's mouth was warm and dry against his, the dim sense of Riku's pulse matching his when his palm grazed over the column of the throat.
Riku kissed him back, parting his mouth and meeting the casual press of Sora's tongue, the warmth of his fingers and the sun on his back, the sand against his skin and everything melted into a colorless brilliant blur.
Time melted away as they kissed (as all good kisses will do to time). The sun shone and the waves danced with the shore. Shadows fled and shifted shape as Sora found the courage to run a hand against the skin and licked his lips, looking up as Riku bumped his forehead against his. He met the eyes again.
"So…" he whispered.
"So," Riku echoed.
"Wanna go for a swim?"
::heaven bent to take my hand::
::and lead me through the fire::
::with a long-awaited answer::
::to a long and painful fight.::
~~really, the end.~~
A/N – some explanations, right? Well—if you haven't caught it yet, read ch. 5 and look for the 'moments' and you'll discover just what was used to break Riku's spell. There are three. :D
Ano—I'm sorry if I made it seem as if Riku would be a slave forever—and oh my god I'm so sappy in this epilogue!!!—but the vagueness was necessary. You weren't supposed to know if he was Riku or the slave, and neither was Sora. So…I hope I met your expectations…
(sappy sap sap sap! *squee*)
_ and I really expected to have more lemon in this…like, lots…but somehow the angst took over. Maybe I'll have to do something like 'deleted scenes' or something. *shrug*
There's so much I could explain, but if you hadn't caught all the nuances within it, then it would kinda ruin it for you, right? There are a few, tho. Like Kairi and how she treats Riku. Like Sora and his confusion, his response to Riku. Like back in the desert city where Riku is all freaked out, messed up…_ :D lemme know if you like it!
I swear, this is the shortest story *ever* that I've finished and yet, still took me forever!!
…now to finish others…_