Beginning Chapter Six
Disclaimer: Kingdom Hearts is not mine. I'm only borrowing them for a little while. I promise to put them back only slightly traumatized.
Warning: In my haste to put out this chapter after I have finished it, I did not have it beta'd.
Wakka: Hey! I'm going to do the warning, so listen up, ya?
Aoi Nikko: Um, no one really reads the warning anyway, just say it so I can say it has been done, okay?
Wakka: It's kinda redundant, but whatever. This is a Shonen-ai, so two guys are going to kiss an' stuff. If you are going to have a problem with this, maybe you should turn around and find a nice Sora/Kairi or something, ya?
Aoi Nikko: EW! Sora/Kairi!
Wakka: Better they read that then flame.
Aoi Nikko: Yes, because flames will be ridiculed. I'll put them on my Livejournal and let others make fun of it too!
Wakka: Can we start the fic now?
Aoi Nikko: In a sec, okay? This chapter is dedicated to my new friend WishUponAStar0d0! Thanks for the support, girl! This chapter would not have mad it if it were not for your much needed bugging! Thanks much!
Okay, all done! Enjoy everyone!
The Tropi habitat was unlike anything Tidus had ever seen before. It was a huge forest of several different varieties of kelp and seaweed, the inside of which was more difficult to navigate then a maze. Tidus made sure he stayed very close to Selphie, seeing as though he did not want to get lost in there.
"So…um…where is your leader anyway?" The blonde Dorsalback asked as his guide wove gracefully around a monstrous seaweed plant.
"She'll probably be in bubble cluster eight." Selphie replied as she led Tidus further in. "That's her Area."
"Bubble cluster…wha…?" Tidus questioned.
Selphie giggled. "Bubble cluster eight. We give sections of the forest names so we can find places. It makes it easy for us to get around, but really hard for any of our enemies." The yellow finned mergirl slipped into a patch of seaweed that had tiny bubbles of air growing among its leaves. "Aaaaaand, here we are!"
Tidus pushed through the thick seaweed to enter into a small clearing. The water there was bright and very clear.
Tidus turned to see an adult Tropi mermaid glide over toward them, her fin a delicate shade of pink. She smiled at him, her green eyes full of warmth and wisdom. "Oh, um…hi."
"Hello Aerith!" Selphie chirped happily. "I've brought a guest! His name is Tidus, and he's come to learn all about Daisuki's!"
"Oh, is that so?" Aerith tilted her head at Tidus. "Not very many come to see me about that anymore. So, who is the lucky merperson?"
Tidus shook his head. "My brother Sora." the blonde pup muttered, then immediately began sputtering at Aerith's curious gaze. "N-no, he's not mine! He's been chosen as someone else's Daisuki, that's what I mean!"
"Oh, I see." Aerith said with a laugh. "So your brother, Sora, was chosen to be someone's Daisuki. He's very lucky."
Selphie giggled and clapped her hands. "Sora was chosen by Riku! Isn't that great?"
Tidus's face told Aerith that he did not think it was great at all. She smiled a little to herself and floated downward to sit upon the sea floor, motioning for the two pups to do the same.
"Well, I can tell you all about the legend of the Daisuki, Tidus. This is a story that has been long forgotten by the many different clans of merfolk…only we Tropies, who love history, have kept it alive."
"So…merfolk have been choosing Daisuki's for a long time?" Tidus asked.
"Oh, yes…" Aerith answered. "For tens of thousands of years…"
Cloud swam into the very heart of the Slaptail's habitat, ignoring the gazes he attracted along the way. He knew how this must look, a lone Dorsalback entering into the dreaded Slaptail's domain. Snorting to himself, he steeled his expression into one of calm indifference, even though he was boiling inside. They would not know how he felt, he wouldn't let them try and intimidate him.
Cloud kept his eyes open for both Sora and Leon, even though he really only wanted to find the former. However, Leon would know where his pup was, so if he found Leon, he would soon know where Sora was as well.
"D'ya need something, Dorsalback?"
Cloud looked over to see a dark-haired Slaptail female staring at him with her arms crossed. He stared right back, giving her his frostiest glare.
"I'm looking for Leon."
"He's not here. I'm in charge with him gone, so you'll have to make do with me."
Cloud snorted. "Sorry pup." He turned to swim away. "It has to be Leon."
"My name is Yuffie!" The girl hissed. "I'm nineteen cycles old, so I'm no pup! You'll deal with me or we'll escort you home, Dorsalback. You're trespassing in our territory, understand?"
"You go on and try it." Cloud hissed right back. "One of your members took one of my pups, and I'm not leaving until I get him back, do you understand that?"
"Yeah, right. There're no Dorsalback pups here. I'm gonna have to ask you to-"
"I don't want to have to call my community." Cloud narrowed his eyes at the girl. "I will, though, if I have to."
Yuffie's gaze falters a little; Leon would not like it if a fight between the Slaptails and Dorsalbacks happened while she was in charge. The Dorsalbacks would be a little dangerous too, with so few of their pups surviving. The fight would be a bloody one…
"…" But she did not want to let a Dorsalback intimidate her either.
"Your call, Slaptail." Cloud folded his arms across his chest, eyes still narrowed.
"Look, I don't know where your pup is, and Leon's not he-"
"I am now."
Cloud turned his head slightly to catch Leon in the corner of his eye. The leader of the Slaptails moved toward them, giving Yuffie a slight nod. She left them hurriedly; glad to leave the problem to Leon who could handle it better. Cloud immediately focused all of his anger on Leon, whirling on him before the brunette could say anything else.
"Where is my pup, Leon!" Cloud demanded. "Where's Sora?"
"I have no idea." Leon answered coolly. "He's not here."
"He has to be. I saw a member of your pack pulling him away from where Sephiroth and I were fighting!"
"That was Riku. I suppose he took Sora to his Area to let him rest."
Cloud paled. "Rest? From what?"
"Riku was trying to move him to safety, but being a clingy Dorsalback, he didn't want to leave you. I had to knock him out so he could be moved."
"You…what?" Cloud could practically feel his blood boiling.
"I used a pressure point in his neck; don't worry, he's fine."
"You…" Cloud shook with anger. "…Spawn of a sea slug!"
"Listen, I saved your pup's life." Leon growled, growing angry. "I saved him from interfering and possibly being eaten by your Daisuki."
Cloud stiffened, blue eyes smoldering. "Where is Riku?"
Leon pointed south of where they are now. "Just inside the main habitat." He had barely finished speaking when Cloud swam off in that direction as fast as his fins would carry him.
Yuffie inched over to him, staring in the direction Cloud had left. "What was that all about?"
"Don't worry about it." Leon replied, turning to follow. "Stay here." He swam off, calling Cloud's name to try and get his attention. The Dorsalback ignored him for a while, and then finally slowed down long enough for Leon to catch up when it became clear the Slaptail was not giving up.
"What? I'm in a hurry, I'd like to get Sora home quickly."
"I request that Sora be left here with my pack." Leon said without preamble. Cloud shook his head, turning away.
"Not this again. Request all you want, Sora is not staying with you. In fact, as soon as I get him home, the entire community is going to prepare to move on. We'll only be here another few days."
"What?" Leon frowned, digesting Cloud's words.
"Because of all the problems here, with you trying to take what few pups we have and Sephiroth's reappearance, it is unlikely that we will stop here again." Cloud turned away to leave again, but Leon stopped him with a hand on his shoulder.
"What!" Cloud snapped, pulling away from Leon. "What do you want? Haven't you done enough already?" Cloud was well aware that he was acting foolish, but he did not care. He was furious, how dare Leon demand something as precious as one of his pups? How dare he attempt to take away one of the most important merpeople in his life? "Sora is my pup, Leon, mine! When his parents died, I was the one who raised him! Do you really think I will just hand him over to you, so he can die like his father did?"
"I won't let him-"
"Why do you even want him?" Cloud demanded, speaking over Leon. "You can't want to raise him because you love him! You only want to use the abilities he has as a Dorsalback for your own gain! You're sick, and I don't want Sora anywhere near you!"
"Now you wait a minute! None of that is true! I want to finish raising Sora because that's what Gou would have wanted! Gou would have wanted for Sora to avenge his death!"
"So now Sora's a dead merman's tool for revenge?" Cloud asked, becoming even angrier. "Snail slime! His mother wouldn't want that. She would want her son to live, to be happy. I want him to be happy. I will not see him be used in some sick vendetta against the humans!"
"The humans are a threat Cloud!" Leon spat. "Even you can't ignore that!"
"I know they are a threat!" Cloud took an angry breath. "But I'm not so caught up in revenge that I would send a pup to his death!"
"Sora belongs with my pack!" Leon snarled. "Even in the brief time that I have known him, I can see that he is almost exactly like his father. Gou was happiest with Tsunami, you can't deny that!"
"Sora is not his father! You haven't known him long enough to make that observation! Sora is a Dorsalback; he has been raised as a Dorsalback. There is no way you could finish raising him, and I will be put on display in a human's tank before I see him turn out like you!"
"As if you're any better? Having him abandon all common sense and choosing a Razorfin as a Daisuki would make you happy?" Leon snarled, not caring if he was losing his temper.
"How dare you!" Cloud said, his voice low and dangerous. "That has nothing to do with my ability to raise Sora!"
"I say it does! After all, if you have no common sense, how can you teach a pup to use his?"
"No one can control who their Daisuki is, Leon!" Cloud spat. "And I see it is necessary to remind you that after that incident where we were split apart, I never sought him out, and tried to forget him. I knew we couldn't be together."
"That didn't stop you from naming him your Daisuki."
"Yes, that's true, but at least I didn't choose a Daisuki that hated the very water I swam in."
"Better that then someone who is a danger to myself and my community." Leon said calmly. "This isn't over, Cloud. I'll see Sora in my pack, and there is nothing you will be able to do to stop me."
"First Sephiroth, and now Sora, dried kelp on a black beach, Leon, when will you tire of taking away the people I love most? Who's next, Tidus? Are you going to take both of my pups away from me? Why don't you just take that human weapon of yours and just kill me?"
"The Daisuki I have named my own…I can not have. Sora and Tidus are the only things filling that void, and I will use my last breath to kill you if you even glance in their direction!"
Leon froze, staring at Cloud who stared back, his expression full of both pain and anger, but it was mostly pain. His heart twisted painfully in his chest, but his feelings never reached his eyes. Cloud lifted his chin and turned away to collect his pup and go home.
"Discussion ended, Leon. No, you cannot take Sora."
"I said no, Leon!" Cloud spat from over his shoulder. "Gou was found and raised by Slaptails at a very young age, and even then it was a miracle that he survived. Sora has been with my community for fourteen cycles. To ask him to leave the people who love him to live with someone who sees him as a weapon…is just cruel."
"No, wait, I just wanted to…"
Cloud had already left. Leon sighed and ran his hands through his hair. Nothing ever went the way he wanted it to when it came to Cloud…
Carefully stalking his prey, Sephiroth's sea green eyes narrow and he carefully swam along a large rock, careful to stay out of sight. He did not want the pretty, dark haired Dorsalback female to see or hear him, because as close as they were to the rest of the community, help would come fast. Sephiroth did not want to be chased away empty handed.
Just as he was about to make his move, another Dorsalback swam up, calling softly. Sephiroth pulled back into his hiding spot, cursing under his breath. Well, maybe the newcomer would be brief and leave so he could make his kill and go look for Cloud.
"Have you seen the leader?" The newcomer asked, tilting her head of blonde hair to the side.
"No, I haven't seen Cloud since he left to find little Sora."
Sephiroth took a breath. Cloud was the Dorsalback leader? If so he wouldn't be happy if the silver haired Razorfin ate one of his community. Sephiroth immediately began to consider other options. He could always wait for the Slaptails to go and 'patrol'…
"Where did he go? Was Tidus with him?"
"Oh, yes. They went off toward the Slaptail's habitat; I believe Cloud thinks Sora might be there."
Listening, Sephiroth curls his lips into a smile. This just might be exactly what he needed to have a little revenge… Sora is in the Slaptail's camp and Cloud has gone to find him. What would happen if Sora got hurt while in their habitat? Tsunami's reputation would worsen. No one would think of them as brave heroes, no one would trust them anymore, and that would give Sephiroth a much easier time in moving around this area…
Turning sharply around, Sephiroth swiftly left for the Slaptail habitat, his hunger forgotten…
…for the moment.
"Well, that was a very good dinner, thank you dear." Shu sighed as he wiped his hands with his napkin.
"Yes, thanks mom!" Kairi said brightly. Kairi's mother smiled as she stood to collect the plates.
"If that's so, who will volunteer to help with the dishes?"
Kairi and Shu both fell silent, and Wakka rolled his eyes. "I'll do it, auntie."
"Now, hold on there, my boy, remember I needed to speak with you…"
"Hey, that's cool. We can both talk and clean up for auntie. I'm sure she would love to have a rest once in a while." Wakka said, lifting an eyebrow.
"My, my, my…how sweet! Now I'm sorry it was my brother who adopted you!"
"Wakka…" Shu groaned.
"Come on, I gotta pay you guys back for letting me eat over here so much somehow."
"Suckering me into housework isn't the way to do it." Shu shook his head and sighed. "Well, let's get to it."
"Thank you dears!" Kairi's mother smiled, sitting down at the table again and letting Wakka and Shu collect the rest of the dishes. Wakka began running hot water in the sink, adding liquid soap so he could better wash the dishes as Shu brought them over. Kairi leapt from her seat, grabbing a dishtowel.
"I call drying and putting away!" She giggled. "That means you have to clean the table, stove, counters and sweep the floor, papa!"
Shu sighed heavily, and shook his head. "Oh, fine." He dumped the dishes into the sink, spattering Wakka with soapy water. Wakka grumbled a bit, but said nothing. He grabbed the dishrag and set to his task.
"So what did you want to talk to me about?"
"Ah, yes!" Shu brightened, forgetting all about what he was supposed to be doing and leaning against the counter nearest Wakka. "I have just had a wonderful idea for trapping a mermaid. You see I have put together a clear box that I will camouflage to look like a cave and submerge into the water. A small radio will alert me when a mermaid has been caught, but the problem is the door."
"The…door?" Wakka asked. Oh, this did not look good at all.
"Yes, see, I need a way for the door to shut, trapping the mermaid inside, but the door can't be seen, understand?"
"We figured we'd ask you since you have been learning all about traps and stuff from uncle Cid." Kairi smiled, nudging Wakka. "You said you're on our side, now's your chance to help!"
"Yeah, but I was learnin' so I could become a fisherman…I don't know how I could help…"
"Well, mermaids are fish." Kairi reasoned. "Really big fish, but they are only fish. What kind of trap would you set to catch a really big fish?"
"They're smarter then fish." Wakka frowns. "It's not that easy, ya?"
"Yes, you're right." Shu nodded. "They are much smarter then fish. They are clever and resourceful, but we don't know exactly how resourceful. That's why I need to catch one, so I can find out more…"
"W-well…" Wakka stammered, trying to think quickly, "Uh, maybe I should ask my da? I mean, he knows much more then I do…"
"Aw, come on Wakka? Do you really think he'll tell you so you can ask us?" Kairi groaned, rolling her eyes.
"Yes, I must agree. I don't want your fathers knowing you are helping us. It might get rather tense for you, and Cid might forbid you from coming over here again. You know how he gets."
"Yeah…" Wakka said, growing more worried by the minute. How could he get out of this? If he refused to help, Shu and Kairi might never trust him again, but if he did help, not only would he be endangering the merfolk, but his fathers would both kill him! Maybe…he could suggest something that was faulty…but only subtlety so. That way there was a possibility the merperson could escape.
"A sliding door is no good…" Shu said, reasoning as Wakka thought. "They would notice the door.
"Well, there's always a door that snaps shut from the front." Wakka suggested slowly. He lifts a glass from the sink and held it sideways to demonstrate. "See, when opened, the door would lie on the seafloor, and you could disguise it with sediment. When a mermaid goes inside, she could trigger a rope or something that would cause the door to slam shut like this…" Wakka placed the glass on his arm, near his wrist and snapped his hand over the rim of the glass. "…and you have your mermaid."
"Hmm…" Shu mused over the idea. "Yes, that just might work…I'll get started on it tonight."
"Do you, uh, need any help?" Wakka asked, praying Shu did. Then he would really be able to sabotage the trap.
"No, I can't have you down there with me, I'll be using all sorts of dangerous equipment, and if you got hurt, your fathers would kill me." Shu ruffled Wakka's hair, taking the nervous look on the boy's face for disappointment. "But you can help me set it up. I hear you are a good diver."
"Wonderful. We'll do that then!" Shu pushed off the sink to let Wakka finish his task, grabbing a nearby sponge and wetting it so he could wipe down the table and counters.
Wakka sighed heavily. This was quite a mess, but the door he suggested did have a very big, but very subtle flaw. With the door on the seafloor, disguised with sediment, there was a chance that it would close slowly enough for the merperson to realize what was going on and be able to, at the very least, keep the door from closing and sealing. Cid had told him that merpeople were insanely strong compared to humans, so as long as the door didn't seal, they would have a chance to escape.
Wakka began to work quickly so he could run home and tell his fathers what was going on. Then they could plan what they were going to do next…as long as Cid didn't kill him first.
Choosing a Daisuki was, without a doubt, the most important decision in a merperson's life. Some rarely chose because of how life-altering it was, after all, they were choosing someone who they would put before anything else, including their own life. If the feelings were not reciprocated, a merperson always slipped into depression, and depression could kill a merperson unless they were strong enough to find something to dedicate themselves to.
Really, one was better off not choosing at all, or that was how Sora felt about it. He remembered asking Cloud about Daisuki's, and poor Cloud had nearly gone to pieces trying to tell him. Cloud never said a word against the concept, but it was how his adopted father acted that stuck out in the young Dorsalback's mind, rather then his words.
A Daisuki was a beautiful, but utterly terrifying thing…
But…oh, how exhilarating it felt to know someone loved you above all else! It left a warm tingle that spread throughout Sora's body…or was that from the sweet pressure of Riku's lips upon his own? Sora had no idea. Whichever it was, it felt very nice, and that was why Sora did not pull away. That was why he did not want to pull away.
Realizing that Sora was not pulling away, Riku became so happy he wanted to laugh. Instead, he sighed happily into the kiss, increasing the pressure of his lips, trying to get more of the sweetness that was Sora, his energetic and very shy Daisuki…
Sora melted into the kiss, giving Riku what he wanted, feeling very giddy inside. This wasn't what he had expected at all... this was actually really enjoyable. Despite how aggravating and egotistical Riku could be at times, Sora realized he would miss him when he left on migration.
Sora wrenched away from Riku, heart twisting a little at the disappointed sound the Slaptail made. "Riku, wait…ack! I said wait!" Sora squealed when the aqua-eyed merboy tried to grab him again.
Riku gave Sora a pleading look and tried to pull him into his arms again. "Why?"
Sora placed his hands on Riku's shoulders and pushed his upper body as far away as he could to avoid the older merboy's kisses. "Riku, please be serious for me for a second!"
With a sigh, Riku let go of Sora ad ran a hand through his hair. "Okay, okay."
"You're serious about me being your Daisuki, and I accept that, but…I'm leaving in a couple of turns…are you really going to just…wait?"
"Oh, I think I can get you to realize I'm your Daisuki by then." Riku moved to grab Sora again, but the little Dorsalback backed away, giving the Slaptail a sharp look.
Riku sighed. "Yes. I will do anything I have to. What do I have to do to get you to realize that?"
"But what if…what if you are my Daisuki? I don't think I can wait…"
"Not this argument again…"
"I'm serious! I've heard of what happens when you can't be with your Daisuki. I've seen the depression it causes, and I don't know if I'm strong enough to handle that or the guilt I'm going to feel knowing you're feeling the same way." Sora shook his head. "I've seen the strongest merman I know nearly break down just from me asking about Daisuki's."
Riku lifted both brows, suddenly understanding. This wasn't just a ploy of Sora's to get away from him; this was a real fear. He reached out and pulled Sora back into his arms, tucking his head into the brunette's shoulder.
"Shh, I'm thinking." He mumbled into Sora's skin. "Holding you makes me think better."
Sora's cheeks colored. "No it doesn't, I bet you're not thinking about anything at-eep!" He stiffened as Riku dropped a hand to his dorsal fin and massaged the sensitive area with his thumb.
"Shh, you're interrupting me while I'm trying to think." He smirked at the tiny gasps Sora made as he continued to massage the brunette's dorsal fin. "That's better."
"R-Riku…I can't…think…when you do…that…"
"Hmmm, that's okay. I'll think for both of us." Riku moved his hand lower, pulling Sora tightly against him. He laughed at Sora's bright red face. "Stop being so cute, you're distracting me." Riku leaned up to place a kiss behind Sora's ear.
Riku silenced Sora again by running his other hand along the brunette's back and nibbling gently on his neck. "How about this? You can stay with me. I'll hide you where no one can find you…"
"I…" Sora gave a loud gasp as Riku bit down possessively on his shoulder, barely hearing Riku's words. "I don't…ahh, Riku stop…" He moaned when Riku lowered his head to trail kisses down to his chest.
"Or we could both leave together…I like that idea…"
"I…I don't think that would…."
At the sound of his name, Sora jerked away from Riku…or at least he tried to. Riku had him in a death grip, and was refusing to let him go.
"Riku, that's Cloud…"
"Riku, he's looking for me, he must be worried… and what do you think he'll say if he finds us like this?"
Riku sighed, cuddling Sora close. "I don't care, but… I guess you do have to go with him."
"Yeah…I'm sorry." Sora inched his hands around Riku and hugged him, even as Cloud's calls came closer.
"Though…it must be nice to have people love you enough to worry about you."
Sora's eyes soften. "Oh, Riku…" That's right; Slaptails didn't care for their young like Dorsalbacks did. They were trained, not raised.
"You had better go." Riku said grudgingly, giving Sora's lips a quick peck. "See me again?"
"Sure thing. I'll meet you by the reef where I first met you."
Riku's heart leapt when Sora agreed to come see him. "I'll hunt you down if you don't show."
Sora laughed. "I'll be there, I promise." Riku let him go, and Sora swam off in the direction Cloud's voice was coming from, answering his father's call.
Riku watched with bittersweet feelings. He had put up a brave face, but he was secretly very frightened of the thought of Sora going on migration. He would indeed wait for him to come back, but…the thought of letting him go and not being around him for long stretches of time…
Sighing, he decided to take a nap in his Area, but a clawed hand clamped over his mouth and strong arm pinned his arms at his sides. Riku immediately began thrashing his tail, but the merperson holding him dug his sharp claws into his skin and so the Slaptail pup fell still, understanding the threat.
"Well, well…it looks like I am a little late for my previous plan…but you just might help me come up with something better…"
Riku swallowed in fear. It was that Razorfin!
Sephiroth laughed as Riku trembled with fear. "So…you care for Cloud's pup, do you?"
Riku nodded hesitantly, wondering what it was that the Razorfin could possibly want with him if he was not going to eat him.
"Well then, I'll tell you what. You help me with my plans and not only will I let you live, but I will also help you with your little…problem…"
Spawn of a sea slug – Son of a bitch
Dried kelp on a black beach – (very loosely) God fucking damn it
Wow, I've been gone for quite a long time, haven't I? I bet you thought I have given up on this fic. Well, sorry, the madness continues!
Anyway, if you read my other fic, you know why I haven't updated in a while. If not…you're out of luck! Heh! You'll have to go read it or visit my live journal to see why! Shameless
I guess you want your choices now, hmm? Well, I guess I can give them to you. However, in return for giving you power over what happens in this fic, you must review! I don't mean leaving a review with a choice or giving me a quick, "Very good, I choose C!" If you do that…you're vote will not count. Tell me what you liked or what you didn't like…both if possible. Yes, I'm greedy…I want to be able to write better fics for all of you, and only by having a good review will I be able to do that! Whelp, here's the choices:
A) Riku makes a deal with the devil (i.e. Sephiroth)
B) Sora tells Cloud about Riku (Drama? Maybe.)
C) Wakka meets a merperson (again, I get to choose who!)
D) Story time! (Everything you wanted to know about Daisuki's and Dorsalbacks but were afraid to ask!)
Just so you know…I really like the last choice…so there is a big possibility I might do that one anyway.
Riku: You shouldn't have said anything, now they won't pick that one!
Eh, it doesn't matter. Anyway, it's your turn now! Review!
Riku: If you don't…Aoi just might forget all about this fic…
Heheheheheheh… and you wouldn't want that, now would you?
Riku: I don't know who's scarier, you or Sephiroth.