Here it is, the final edition of WIWYL, the big burrito, the grand finale! Enjoy everyone! (Longer A/N at the bottom. Just read that one.)
Disclaimer: Same as always. Kingdom Hearts and its characters aren't mine, just the plot of the fic here is. ^_____^
Wish I Was Your Lover - Chapter Seven
'When You Got it, You Got it'
Late August had Destiny Islands in its usual chaotic state for that time of year. Teenagers and younger children alike all burst in to frenzy, realizing with horror that their summer vacation had literally flown away from them, leaving them with only a few meager weeks until school crept up on them once again. The beaches were usually swarming with people trying to catch some last minute sun before being slammed once again into a nine month hell which there would be no escaping.
And normally, Sora could have been found woven into that immense crowd on the beach. But not then.
No, for on one particular August day, Sora was found racing through town on his faded blue bike, needless to say, going somewhere. Tidus and Wakka, who had just returned from their blitzball camp and had met up with Selphie and Kairi, tried not to be too upset as Sora sped past them without even so much as a 'hello.' Selphie and Kairi merely exchanged looks and crossed their fingers, hoping for Sora to get a birthday wish that wasn't even his to make.
Wind whipping through short coppery spikes of hair, Sora tore down an all-too-familiar hill, turning the corner onto Riku's street with expertise. It wasn't as though Sora hadn't been by Riku's house in the weeks that had followed the end of his babysitting career there. But Sora hadn't seen Riku. The older boy wouldn't even respond to Sora's earnest attempts at trying to visit in the middle of the night, when the brunette would anxiously wait beneath Riku's window, throwing pebbles up against the glass in hopes of drawing Riku out of his room. The fact that Sora hadn't seen any sign of the silver haired boy in three weeks didn't discourage him though. If anything, Sora had only become more determined to fix things and return everything to the way it should have been.
So with a little help from Ryo, who had become the adopted half-sibling of Kairi and Selphie, Sora had arranged everything that was to happen that day. Seven-year-old and seventeen-year-old had sat on the sands of Destiny Island for well over three hours trying to plan it all out, and now it was all about to down. Sora just hoped it would work...
"Happy birthday, Riku!"
While Sora was peddling like mad towards Riku's house, Riku was going mad himself. He hadn't been out of his room in weeks, other then prowling around upstairs when no one was there, or creeping down into the kitchen when everyone was asleep. To say the very least, he wasn't exactly functioning properly. Although he spent all those long hours in his room, he was hardly able to get any sleep because he was thinking. Perhaps Riku figured that if he just had time to sit and think about everything, he'd come up with a solution without any problems.
Not so, apparently.
Never had Riku spent such a long time trying to sort out a situation as he had then. He didn't know what to do about Sora, whom he wanted to see more then anything. He didn't know what to do about his parents, who had basically flattened the idea of seeing Sora all together. He didn't know what he wanted, he didn't know what he needed, and most importantly, he hadn't learned anything from the days and days he spent thinking.
And so Riku had been physically dragged down the stairs by his younger sister in open daylight, shoved before his parents, and expected to express the usual cheer that one would think would accompany an eighteenth birthday. He spent the morning opening presents, eating French toast, and smiling at his family as though nothing were wrong, for it was quite obvious to Riku that his parents were determined to act as though nothing were wrong with their son. Everything with Riku was fine, he was not temporarily out of order, he was not unhappy, and most certainly, he was not missing some drastically important piece from his life.
So when the doorbell rang that morning, did Riku run up to answer it like the love-starved boy he undoubtedly was, hoping and praying that behind the wood paneling stood the boy he'd been waiting for forever? No. He was thinking again, even though he was forced not to retreat upstairs into his room as he so desperately wanted to do, instead draped over the leather couch in the downstairs living room, staring up at the ceiling with disinterest.
When the doorbell rang a second time, still he didn't move towards the door.
A third ring... no movement.
"Ri-kuuu!" Ryo scowled at her old brother from the floor beside the couch, coloring book and crayons splayed out across the carpet in front of her. "Answer the door! It's pro'lly someone who came to say happy birthday to ya!"
"Riku! Just answer it!"
With a roll of his eyes, Riku pulled himself up from the couch, skillfully sidestepping around the array of crayons on the floor beneath him. A few weeks ago he would've happily ground the things down to dust, but thankfully Riku hadn't had the heart to continue being mean to Ryo, who seemed to have been the only one supporting him since Sora left.
Riku scowled at the door as yet another ring of the doorbell sounded throughout the house, reaching towards the handle, twisting and pulling the mahogany door open with a frown still lightly resting on his mouth.
A frown which instantly dissipated as soon as he laid eyes on the person behind the door.
The same old grin, the same old brilliant blue eyes, flashing with triumph, the same old Sora stood face to face with Riku, one hand in the pocket of his shorts, the other artfully tucked behind his back, which he brought in front of him, revealing a neat bouquet of roses which he held out towards Riku, who was still gaping at him in the doorway.
"Happy birthday, Riku."
"Sora..." Riku bit his bottom lip, carefully taking the bouquet into his hands. It only took a few mere seconds before Riku let out a delighted laugh, wrapping his arms around the brunette, pulling him into a hug Riku had wanted for so long. Sora was really there. He hadn't forgotten about Riku.
"Huh? What was--" Riku looked over his shoulder, slightly dazed by the after effects of a camera; in this case, his vision suddenly being bombarded with streaks of brilliant purple, only to find Ryo standing in the hallway, familiar pink camera clutched in her hands as she beamed up at her older brother and Sora.
"Wha-at? I couldn't pass up a good photo op!"
"Ryo! Wha-- You planned this?" How else would she have known... Ohhh... It all came together suddenly. Ryo spending time with Selphie and Kairi... Riku's parents naturally didn't know that the two older girls were close friends with Sora. In any other situation, Riku may have been slightly disgruntled by the fact that it took him so long to notice. But at that moment, it would take one hell of an Apocalypse to destroy his mood.
"Riku, who was that at the-- oh." Well, maybe not an Apocalypse. Riku turned to look at the stairwell, only to find his mother staring straight back at him, a rather stunned and wary expression crossing her otherwise beautiful features. Much like her children, Maerna was easily compared with a fragile porcelain doll, pale skin and shockingly light hair giving her an almost ethereal sheen. Yes, she was quite elfin, but Sora knew how skittish Riku's mother was about the whole situation regarding her son, so he was instantly face-to-face with a fight or flight instinct taking control. Sora could run away from the entire thing... Or not.
It wasn't really a hard decision. Sora had spent the past weeks going through hell without Riku, so he wasn't exactly willing to give the silver haired boy up without that fight.
"I thought... we had settled this matter, Riku."
Riku frowned slightly, tightening his grip on the roses in his hand protectively, locking eyes with his mother. "No, you settled it.
Sensing that Riku wasn't about to back down, Maerna switched her target to Sora, her icy and disapproving gaze nearly chilling him to the bone. "Sora, what is the meaning of this? I thought we had an understanding here."
Sora gulped, but didn't shy away from her stare. The way he figured it, the whole thing was pretty much a now-or-never situation. "We..." Sora faltered unsure of exactly what he was going to say. Riku turned slightly to look at him and seemed to think for only a brief moment before giving the younger boy a small smile and a nod of reassurance, urging him to continue.
"We did reach an understanding. But that was a few weeks ago... Riku was seventeen and you said he wasn't old enough to make these kinds of choices because he was too young. Well, he's not anymore. Don't you think Riku can choose what he wants to do now?" Sora looked hopefully up at the woman who still stood poised gracefully on the landing of the stairs, studying him carefully.
"You don't know the first thing about it, Sora. You don't know or understand why I'm so concerned about Riku... You don't know what happened..." Just as Riku opened his mouth angrily, ready to draw that conversation to a halt right there and then, Sora interjected.
"But I don't care about that! I don't care about the old Riku or whatever he did back where you guys came from. I don't care how badly he screwed up, or what else anyone thought or still thinks of him for it. I only know the Riku that's here right now. Not that old Riku. Yeah, I would like to know what happened, but I'm not going to force it out of anyone unless Riku wants me to know. And if he never wants me to find out, then that's perfectly okay, because that Riku isn't as important as this one." Sora looked over at Riku once he finished speaking, flashing the older boy a smile that would melt ice. Nothing could really describe how happy Riku was... Sora didn't care about how badly Riku had messed up his life. Everything was okay with him... Everything was perfectly fine.
Maerna looked at the two boys, certain she was losing her son yet again, allowing him to set himself up for heartache just as he'd done so many times before. She had the chance to prevent it this time, so why couldn't she?
"Riku, is this really how you want it?" Riku nodded in response. So there really was nothing Maerna could do... What if he got hurt again? "Is this what you came here for, Sora? If so, you've got it now."
Sora shook his head, instantly feeling sorry for Maerna. Yes, her actions were misguided, but she was only trying to protect her son. No one could fault her for that. "No. I came because I wanted to celebrate Riku's birthday." He grinned. "And I was wondering if maybe Riku and I could go out later today... But only if it's alright with you."
Maerna looked back at Sora, studying him closely. It was hard to believe this kid was for real. Sensing hesitation on her mother's part, Ryo chirped up from the hallway, where she still stood, pink camera dangling loosely in her hand.
"You can trust Sora, Mom! He's a cool babysitter!"
All eyes rested on the small girl standing in the hallway, the small girl who still had all her baby teeth despite the dentists' warning that she would have to start loosing them someday, the very same small girl who had been pushing and shoving at a relationship, directing it to perfection, without even being aware of it. And all she could do was grin back at them, undoubtedly the most confident person in the room at that moment, placing all her confidence in the fact that everything always worked out in the end.
"Sora, Riku! Hey!" Kairi waved at the two approaching boy energetically, sitting on a bench next to Selphie, Tidus and Wakka standing nearby. The entire group looked up at Sora and Riku, nearly taken aback by the simple happiness that both of them were just radiating. Selphie giggled and launched herself at both of them.
"Groooup hug! Aww! You guys are so cuuuute!"
Riku laughed, allowing the bouncy girl to hug both him and Sora before Sora gasped out a light protest, whimpering something about needing air, and she reluctantly let go.
"So what've you got planned Sora?"
The brunette grinned wickedly, placing his hands on his hips and twirling in a small circle jokingly. "Wouldn't you like to know!"
"Aww, Sora! You're so mean!" Selphie chided.
Tidus and Wakka, who had pretty much had the situation summed up to them by Kairi and Selphie before the other boys had arrived, seemed a little tense at first, but eventually eased up around Riku as the entire group headed off down the street, deeper into the town stretched out across the island.
By the time they had all reached the boardwalk, Riku was no longer any sort of outsider to any member of the group and it was as though the silver haired boy had spent his entire life growing up around these people, and they in turn felt they'd known Riku for as long as they could remember. Everything locked into place, and Kairi didn't once mention her old boyfriend, Keno, who had mysteriously just seemed to disappear from existence recently. No one asked much about what Riku's life was like back in the main land and no one could possibly have known how glad Riku was about it.
"Come on, you guys! You have to do this, we dared ya to!"
Riku rolled his eyes at Selphie and crossed his arms defiantly, saying, "You've got to be kidding me."
Selphie pouted and tugged on Riku's arm plaintively, while Kairi pleaded with Sora as well.
"Sora, you haven't backed out of a dare ever! Surely you don't wanna ruin your record now?" The auburn hair girl grinned at her friend, realizing she'd finally chosen the magic words that just pushed buttons inside of Sora. If there was one thing he wouldn't stand for, it was losing.
So Sora stood up from their booth, arms akimbo and that trademark triumphant grin adorning his face, blue eyes dancing. That particular diner had been Sora's idea, yes, but it wasn't exactly as though he had planned on the dare Selphie had handed them. Sora just liked watching other people use the karaoke set up front and had never used it himself. If it was 'now or never,' it might as well be now.
"All right then, we'll show you guys, won't we Riku?"
Riku blanched and looked up at his boyfriend. "We will?"
"Yep! Come on, it'll be fun!" He grabbed Riku's arm and led him away from the booth, followed by the cheers from Tidus and Wakka, who had admitted they would never ever have been willing to follow through with Selphie's wicked dare.
"You think they're really gonna go through with it?" Kairi asked the brown haired girl beside her, who was happily sipping away at her soda, swinging her legs back and forth under the table. Removing her lips from the straw of her drink, Selphie pulled them back into a sweet smile.
"Of course they are!"
No sooner had she assured Kairi of this fact did a familiar song begin to play from the front of the restaurant, the voices of their two friends 'singing' into the microphone, accompanied by their own laughter at their antics. The restaurant's customers looked up, recognizing the song from it's popularity on the radio, and smiled at the two boys, who would appear to everyone else as best friends. Only they themselves, as well as the group sitting back at their table, knew otherwise.
It didn't stay that way for long,
as the song kicked into full swing, Sora and Riku knowing each word by heart,
hitting the notes right in sync with the CD player, grinning like idiots and
just having a good time, not caring about how the restaurant would react, only
caring about that one moment.
"...Shucks, for me there is no other! You're the only shoe that fits, I can't imagine I'll grow out of it. Damn, I wish I was your lover!" Draping their arms around one another's shoulders, Riku and Sora laughed before launching into the next part of the song, exchanging glances as they tweaked the wording ever so slightly, causing a burst of laughter to rise up from their own table at the back of the restaurant.
"If I was your boy believe me, I'd turn on the Rolling Stones; we could groove along and feel much better! I could do it forever and ever... Give me an hour to kiss you, walk through heaven's door, I'm sure, we don't need no doctor to feel much better! Let me in, oh, forever and ever and ever and ever!"
"I sat on the mountainside with peace of
mind... I lay by the ocean making love to him with visions clear, Walked for
days with no one near... And I return as chained and bound to you!" So the song was a little inappropriate at one
little moment? Not everyone in the restaurant was entirely shocked by their choice of
music. Actually, a good portion of the
customers grinned and laughed, clapping their hands together for both boys who
were so willing to set themselves up to fall down,
trusting that something would somehow hold them up no matter what.
"Damn, I wish I was your lover! I'll rock you till the daylight comes, make sure you are smiling and warm. I am everything, tonight I'll be your mother. I'll do such things to ease your pain, free your mind and you won't feel ashamed!"
Ryo gently opened the door to Riku's room, carrying a small shoebox tucked under one arm, several stuffed animals dangling from her hand.
The room was relatively quiet, though the laughter of children drifted up from the shore of the island down the block, a gentle breeze drifting in through the open window, caressing Ryo's face and softly running through her hair, pulled back into its standard pair of pigtails. As usual, Riku's bed was neatly made, everything perfectly organized. But there was no doubt that the room was different. It was as though it had finally come to terms with its inhabitant, finally adjusted and surrendered to meet Riku's demands at a halfway point. And yet still, something was missing from it.
Setting the stuffed animals gently on Riku's bed, Ryo pulled his desk chair out and climbed up on top of it, maintaining her balance with surprising ease as the leaned over his desk towards the bulletin board, setting the shoebox down on the desk's clean surface. The bulletin board itself was entirely empty except for one small scrap of notebook paper which had been tacked into the cork down in the far corner of the board.
Ryo smiled to herself as she gently pulled the lid off from the box, admiring its contents before reaching in a pulling out...
The shoebox was full of them, all from the day when Riku, Sora, and Ryo had all gone down to the beach. Though pictures themselves could never be able to convey the amount of joy that day had bottled up into just a few short hours, that didn't make them any less precious.
Sora holding both of Riku's hands as he had tried to convince the older boy to skate with him.
Riku allowing himself to be guided by the younger boy, hesitantly skating across the street, hand clasped in Sora's own.
Both boys flying down the sidewalk, completely out of control, but enjoying every moment of it.
A picture of Riku dunking Sora underwater, followed by many more of the two engaging in an oceanic wrestling match.
So many pictures... And Ryo's favorite, which she'd taken at the end of that day after she'd convinced Riku and Sora to go to the ice cream parlor for milkshakes. The picture showed a rather sleepy looking Sora, cradling a vanilla milkshake in one hand, his other arm draped around Riku, his head resting on his shoulder, that sleepy smile of his stretched across Sora's mouth. And Riku, smiling softly and leaning against Sora, no less worn out then the younger boy, and certainly no less happy.
Ryo kneeled carefully on the desk, carefully tacking up each and every picture from the shoebox, creating a collage of Sora and Riku, covering the entire span of the bulletin board, except for that one corner. Ryo smiled as she read the notebook paper before replacing the lid of the shoebox and lowering herself down off of Riku's desk. She made her way over to Riku's bed again, taking one last look at her two stuffed animals, a chocolate brown dog and a marmalade colored cat, lounging on the pillow on top of Riku's mattress.
"Be good, Aros! Be nice, Uki!" She gave each animal a pat on the head, smiling warmly at them as though expecting a response. "I love you guys and you'll be happy here, now." With that, Ryo took one last look at the room, which was now perfect in every way, shape, and form, and, satisfied with her work, she tucked the shoebox under her arm again and walked out of Riku's room, leaving the door wide open.
The cream-colored walls seemed to breathe a sigh of contentment as another wash of cool ocean breeze filled the air, taking up every square inch of the room, running invisible fingertips over everything it could possibly touch. It ran smoothly over the linen of Riku's sheets, up and across the newly added members of Riku's room, gently rustling their 'fur' as it passed by.
The breeze drifted soundlessly off the bed, over towards the desk, racing up the wall to inspect the new additions the cork board sported. And after it was certain that each and every picture had been perfectly place and examined thoroughly, the island air came to the small scrap of notebook paper tacked to the corner of the board, read over it carefully, and smiled the smile of a seven-year-old girl who knows she's done something right and has no more doubts in the world that everything has a happy ending.
"Fathers and teachers, I ponder 'What is hell?' I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love."
And with that smile still intact, the air settled in Riku's room, content in just being there. Content with just being able to stretch from corner to corner of that space, filling it with everything the warm, inviting breeze could ever have to offer so long as it had an open window to fly through.
….*beams* I must say, I'm quite proud of the ending. Again, my deepest and most sincere thanks go to my beta readers, Chiiku and Lady Kaiba for helping me throughout most of this fic. They seriously polished my writing to no ends, and I think it's pretty noticeable. Seriously, I looked back at Polka-Dots and Ribbons…. That's scary to read. Well, at least, for me it is. Anyway!
I hope you all enjoyed 'Wish I Was Your Lover.' As I've mentioned before, the song which is the namesake and inspiration of the fic is by Sophie B. Hawkins and I pretty much used the version which her and Melissa Etheridge sang at a concert for a duet. ^^;;
Let's see… Last-minute credit goes to my best friend's little sister… For use of the name Maerna. I couldn't think of another name for Riku's mother and she sorta needed one.
Phew. Now then. For those of you who have been asking: Yes, OftB will resume updates next weekend. I'm looking forward to it, and it looks as though I'll still have my beta-readers behind me. Yay! Comic-wise, I've picked an exact date for the comic to begin: April 23rd. Not only am I 100% certain that the spring guard season shall be over by then, but it's also a close friend's birthday, so it might as well be the start of something important, too!
So to wrap up this fic…
I'm sad to see it go, but I'm happy with how it turned out. I look forward to being able to turn the story into pictures for everyone to see, as well as adding in some things along the way. Possibly the thing I'll miss most is Ryo, who, as you already know, was created for the sole purpose of this fic and will probably not be used again. ;_______; Aww maaan, I'm gonna miss her. But a thank you goes out to all my readers, my two beta-readers (again), and all the reviewers who left their input and gave me the fuel to meet this deadline! I wish you all a happy Valentine's Day and hope that this has helped to add a little more sweetness to your day on top of the candy. Listen to Dostoevski's words and you can do no wrong. Love you all!