Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Rating: R, though for later chapters
A/N: Two updates in a month, stranger things have been known to happen. Like my family leaving me for two weeks to go to Mexico /sniffle/
Lunch with Sora happened outside, on the grass, beneath one of the trees around the campus. The conversation so far had been light and friendly even though Riku wanted to desperately ask Sora about the rumors Michelle had told him about. Though Riku figured asking Sora those types of questions now would be unwise, Sora had never made any comments in regards to the rumors so Riku was not about to bring it up if it was a sore spot for Sora.
"You never answered my question the other day." Sora said between bites of his food.
Chewing slowly Riku knew Sora was picking up the conversation they hadn't finished yesterday regarding his accident. Sora, however, had no indication to believe the topic was a sensitive subject for Riku. And unlike last time, there would be no one to interrupt them. And almost reluctantly Riku answered. "I had an accident and I was in a comma for a year. That's why I'm a grade behind Squall and Tidus."
Sora's eyes went wide and he swallowed his food with an audible gulp.
"That's horrible. How did it happen?" Asked the brunette.
"I got hit by a car." Riku answered and even to himself he sounded as if he didn't want to relinquish any information. For a second he had the inexplicable idea that Sora should already know, but that was illogical. He shouldn't feel angry or resentful towards his friend, for something he had no previous knowledge of.
Pushing his negatives feeling aside he focused back on Sora and answering his questions. "I don't remember what happened. The events leading to the accident are crystal clear but I can't remember being hit. I just know that I was out and next thing I knew I was awake, a year later."
"It must have been difficult for you, I mean walking up a year later. I can't even begin to imagine." Sora said sympathizing with Riku.
However, before Riku could answer anymore of Sora's questions Tidus and Selphie came bouncing, yes they were bouncing up to them.
"Guess where we're all going Friday night?" Selphie asked, stopping in front of Sora's and Riku's sitting place.
"Umm to sleep!" Sora replied cheerfully.
"You're no fun." Said Selphie pouting and then continued cheerfully. "We're going to Elixir. See Tidus and I have been talking."
"Wait, you mean you've been talking to each other instead of having a talking contest?" Riku asked glad for the distraction Tidus and Selphie provided.
"Ha-ha you're so funny Riku."
Selphie ignored them. "Anyway we we're thinking, that, we haven't been out since the term started and we deserve a break so how about it. Are you guys up for a little night excursion?"
"Sure Selphie." Sora agreed and turned to Riku. "Are you coming?" Sora asked and again that hopeful look on his face appeared.
"Great, I'll go and ask Leon now." Tidus said and he and Selphie left, bouncing towards the dorms.
Once Tidus and Selphie had disappeared from view Sora and Riku finished eating their lunch. The previous conversation was forgotten.
Riku stood and dusted off his jeans and reached down to help Sora from the grass. Sora accepted his hand and the moment their hands connected, Riku felt as if an opened link on a chain had been snapped closed.
In one moment Riku was well aware of the warmth of Sora's hand in his and how right the contact felt. Most importantly, and even startling, was the familiarity he felt. The feeling that something so simple, as holding hands, could make him feel such strong emotions was overwhelming. It felt as if he and Sora had held hands many times before.
There almost seemed to be something magnetic drawing them together. And Riku wanted it; he wanted to be close to Sora. Riku took a step forward and stopped.
Sora's eyes were locked on his, with a look of surprise on his expressive blue eyes. Riku's breath caught in his throat. He hadn't even realized Sora had stood up, but now looking at Sora he snapped out of his daze and offered him a small smile. Sora returned the smile before lowering his eyelashes appearing embarrassed.
Once Riku released Sora's hand, Sora gave him another smile before scratching the back of his neck nervously. The action made Riku feel a pang of loss in his heart and caused him to smile fondly at Sora. Sora used to do that too.He quickly dismissed the thought.
"So I'll see you on Friday."
Fighting the urge to make more physical contact with Sora, Riku stuffed his hands in his jean pockets and nodded.
"Yeah." Riku answered.
For one second it seemed Sora was about to say something but ended up giving Riku another smile. "Right then, see ya." And he was gone.
Letting out a breath, he didn't know he was holding, Riku ran a hand through his hair then rubbed his face furiously.
"Get it together Riku, he is not that Sora." He whispered into his hands. And Riku could not explain why that statement felt so wrong, and why Sora felt so… right.
Hadn't he already decided, Sora was not the Sora from his dreams and regardless of that he still wanted to know this Sora for who he was, instead of for who he reminded him off?
With a gloomy expression he entered his dorm building only to bump into Tidus sans Selphie.
"Oh hey, I was just coming to find you. Now you can help me convince Squall that." Tidus stopped and frowned as he noticed Riku's mood. "What's wrong did you and Sora fight?"
"What? No. I'm just, not looking forward to a test I have tomorrow." He lied. "Now what were you saying about convincing Squall?"
Tidus didn't buy Riku's act, but decided to let it slide. Riku obviously didn't want to talk about whatever was bothering him. Idly Tidus wondered if Riku would ever figure out, bottling his feelings would do him no good.
Putting those thoughts aside Tidus got back on track. "Squall doesn't want to come with us this Friday." Tidus said as he walked up the stairs and led Riku to Squall's room. Without knocking Tidus entered the room.
"I've brought reinforcements. " Tidus proclaimed with a smile that faltered when his eyes landed on the girl in the room.
The girl had a pretty almost doll like face, here dark hair was accentuated by a few light brown highlights. She smiled politely at them and Riku could have sworn Squall looked relieved to have his two best friends there.
"Oh, hi Rinoa." Tidus greeted the girl without any of his usual cheer and he actually seemed hesitant to enter the room.
"Hello Tidus." Rinoa greeted him, her eyes shifting to Riku.
Seeing no one was making any effort to make introductions, Riku stepped forward his hand outstretched. "Hi, I'm Riku."
"Hello, I've heard a lot about you. You're Squall's and Tidus's best friend right?" She asked shaking his hand. Riku nodded, she smiled and turned back to Squall.
"You don't have to answer now. I'll talk to you later." The only one not lost by that statement was Squall who shook his head.
"I'm sorry I can't go with you. I had already promised Tidus and Riku I would go out with them."
Her pretty face faltered somewhat, she looked back to Riku and Tidus. A small frown on her features appeared as her eyes landed on Tidus, who was making it a point to look anywhere but at Squall or Rinoa.
And suddenly Riku felt the tension in the room build up and he wondered what the story was behind this scenario.
Like a well practiced actress, Riku watched the girl turn back to Squall, her smile was back in place her doll like face as pleasant as ever.
"Alright." However the sadness, she could not keep from her voice. Squall seemed to notice as he shifted a fraction.
"You're welcome to come with us if you would like." Squall offered. Riku was sure only he and Tidus could hear the reluctance and guilt in Squall's voice.
"That's okay maybe some other time." She replied and turned back to face Riku. "It was nice meeting you Riku."
"I'll see you later Squall." She said smiling at Squall. Turning she gave Tidus a tight nod, which he didn't return, and then she left.
The tension in the room seemed to increase. Squall stared at Tidus, as if silently willing him to look at him. Tiuds stared at the floor with a frown on his face. Slowly Tidus lifted his head, a forced smile appeared on his lips.
"I just remembered I still have to search for two more references for my essay due tomorrow. I'll see you guys later."
"Tidus." Squall called softly, which made Riku do a double take. Squall never used that tone.
"Later." Tidus repeated, as he shoved his hands in his pockets and walked away with his gaze cast down.
Deciding he would get no answers from Tidus at the moment, Riku closed the door leaning on it. "What was that about?" He asked Squall.
Looking thoughtful Squall drummed his fingertips on his desk. "I'm not entirely sure."
Squall sighed. He stared at Riku and Riku knew Squall was getting ready to give him a lengthy talk.
"Last year, Rinoa and I dated. It wasn't serious just a few dates, but I could tell she wanted it to be more serious. I never entertained the idea much; which I think frustrated her and finally she said we should just be friends."
Riku nodded indicating Squall should continue.
"Tidus told me he was relived we were no longer seeing each other. He said Rinoa didn't really like him and he had no idea why. I never actually noticed and I thought he was saying that in order to keep me from feeling guilty, which I wasn't." Squall was silent and a frown formed on his face.
"Then one day, I saw Rinoa storming out of Tidus's room. When I went in to see Tidus he seemed upset. The look on his face was, so sad. He was so upset, he was almost close to tears but he wouldn't tell me what had happened. All I knew was that Rinoa had something to do with it."
Riku walked further into the room and sat on Squall's bed.
"And Tidus never told you what happened?" Squall shook his head. "And you never asked her?"
"Of course I did. She claimed she and Tidus had just had a difference of opinion regarding a topic they were discussing for their speech class and that they had gotten a little too into things. "Squall explained.
Riku shook his head a frown appeared on his face. "That sounds like a lie."
"Don't you think I know that? What was I suppose to do when neither of them would tell me the truth?" Frustrated Squall ran a hand over his hair. Riku, being caught up in the implications of the conversation, missed the obvious action of distress.
"Well whatever it was, it's obvious Tidus hasn't let it go yet."
Which was saying a lot; Tidus's nature was to be easy going, he didn't hold grudges and with the exception of a handful of people, who truly deserve it, he couldn't stay angry at anyone longer than five minutes. Whatever this Rinoa girl had said to him, must have been upsetting enough to make him flee the room whenever she was present.
Suddenly Riku felt protective towards his friend. He looked over at Squall. "I hope you don't mind if I'm no longer polite to her."
Squall raised a brow. Riku explained. "I don't like people who make my friends feel like shit."
Standing from his seat on Squall's bed, Riku walked towards the door. His anger was getting the best of him and if didn't leave he would say something he would surely regret later.
"Riku?" Squall sounded confused. Riku turned to face him.
"Look, "he began choosing his words carefully. "I'm not sure what kind of relationship you have with Rinoa but she did something to make Tidus feel like crap. And even though Tidus never told you what that was and even though it clearly still makes him upset I bet you it hurts him even more, to see you still talking to someone who obviously doesn't' like him. Or did you miss the sneer she gave him before she left?"
Leaving a dumbfounded Squall behind Riku walked in search of Tidus and decided he was too angry to be of any help to his friend. Changing his direction Riku headed for the gym; he was paying for a year subscription he may as well use it and burn off some steam.
After two hours at the gym, the cold water cascading down his back felt like heaven. He could feel all his muscles relaxing. Unfortunately it was getting late so he took a quick shower and headed to his room.
In retrospect, he knew he shouldn't have snapped at Squall but Squall was being blind. How could he not have seen the obvious dislike Rinoa had towards Tiuds. Though he could be wrong, it was entirely possible for Rinoa to never have shown any dislike for Tidus in front of Squall, until now.
Regardless, Riku would apologize to Squall though he would do so later. At the moment all he wanted to do was sleep. With a sigh he entered his room and stripping down to his boxers he crawled into bed.
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Turning to the screaming boy Riku finished the heartless in front of him with a quick slash and jumped towards Sora. Standing back to back with Sora he faced the army of heartless that was closing in; surrounding them.
Their yellow eyes coming closer their dark forms swallowing all the light, all the light around them. Suddenly Riku felt fear and panic. It was only two of them against thousands and he could not breathe.
His eyes were fixed on the black creatures around him which seemed to have melded together to become one black holethat threatened to swallow them wholeRiku closed his eyes he could feel his hands trembling and his weapon shook.
"Don't be afraid, I'm right here. I'll always be here." He heardSora's voice in his head and then felt the warmth of Sora's hand wrapping around his.
Among all the darkness behind him was his light his beacon of hope. Hardening his resolve Riku opened his eyes and released Sora's hand. Taking a fighting stance he gripped his weapon tightly. As long as he had Sora he would never lose.
"Come on Sora. Together we can do it."
The dream faded and light appeared. The sun was almost unbearably hot and Riku wiped sweat from his brow.
"Here, these are the last of the supplies."
Straightening up, momentarily stopping his work on the raft, Riku turned and smiled at Sora. He stepped off the raft and onto the sand. He opened his mouth to speak and frowned. There was something wrong, something felt off.
"Shouldn't there be someone telling us to gather supplies?" He asked looking around them only to find the island deserted but for the two of them.
"No." Sora replied cheerfully. "Riku I think you've been under the sun too long." He giggled. "Come on let's go rest I'll race you." He challenged.
Sora took off with Riku right on his heels. The sand became solid clouds under their feet and they floated through the air. That didn't seem to faze them nor did it seem odd. Though shouldn't there be someone challenging them to race? Riku thought.
"I win." Sorasmiled
Riku woke up to his quiet room. The last thread form his dream lingered in his mind. A smile formed on his lips. This would be a good day; it always was when he dreamed about Sora.
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"You don't need to apologize if that's why you're here." Squall announced as soon as he had seen Riku standing by his door. Riku frowned and opened his mouth to protest, but squall cut him off.
"You were right. I should have stopped talking to Rinoa, it's just I never actually noticed how hostile she was towards Tidus." Squall finished explaining.
They were quiet. Squall took on a pensive look. Riku knew Squall still had more to say but the expression on his face told him Squall wasn't entirely sure how to say it.
"Do you think he hates me?" He finally said. Riku smiled and draped a hand over Squall's shoulders leading his friend away in search for Tidus.
"Squall Tidus couldn't hate you if he tried. But what do say we get Tidus to tell us what happened." Squall shoo k his head pinching the bridge of his nose.
"I already tried. He wouldn't tell me."
"Yes but your idea of trying and mine are entirely different. Besides he might tell me." Riku deduced.
However their search was fruitless and soon they separated to go to their classes. Their search would continue later.
Walking into his math class Riku sat heavily on his chair. Tidus was so good at avoiding people when he wanted, it was almost annoying.
"Why the long face?" Selphie asked, as she took her seat across from Riku.
"I think Tiuds is avoiding me and I need to talk to him." His voice sounded dejected.
"Really? I saw him earlier today and he seemed kind of sad. What happened?"
With a sigh Riku straightened up. "That's what I'd like to know."
"If you need my help just let me know. I really don't like it when my friends are upset and I can't help, or grumpy and they won't' tell me why." The last she added almost to herself.
"What do you mean grumpy?"
"It's just Sora. He was in a grumpy mood this morning. He says it's because he didn't get enough sleep but I think all his classes are getting to him." She said with concern.
Riku had no chance to reply as the teacher walked in and began their lecture.
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Blue eyes blinked at the container with brown liquid hovering before him. Looking up at the source holding the container, Sora smiled as he made eye contact with Riku.
"It's called an iced mocha swirl with whipped cream, guaranteed to send your cells into a temporary over production of ATP; providing you with enough energy to light a small village or just enough to keep you from falling asleep." Riku explained handing the drink to Sora who took it gladly.
"How did you know I was here?" Sora asked.
"Selphie told me you liked coming to this empty lab room to prepare for your lectures." Riku explained. "I hope I'm not offending you but that's kind of dorky." Riku said with a smile.
Sora took a drink, closed his eyes and moaned in pleasure. "Oh God Riku, thank you so much I needed this."
Riku swallowed and turned away chuckling. The damage, however, had been done that noise would be forever engraved in his memory.
"And yes, I know it's dorky but I like the lab setting it helps me relax. Is that weird?" Sora asked unaware of the effect he was having on Riku.
For an answer Riku shrugged his shoulders and dragged a stool to sit next to Sora.
"Though, how did you know I needed a quick pick me up?"
"Selphie." Riku replied. "She said you were grumpy in the morning, saying you hadn't gotten enough sleep, SpongeBob dreams again." Riku teased.
"No. At least I don't think it was SpongeBob." Sora said grinning. "I just had a restless night that's all."
"I know how that feels." Riku watched Sora take another sip from his drink and was almost disappointed at the lack of moaning.
"You said that last time too. Do you have weird dreams often?" Sora asked.
Lie, was the first thought that came to Riku's mind, but decided some truth would be better than lying to Sora. And he didn't want to lie but the last time he had shared his dreams with anyone, he had been forced to admit the people in his dreams had been figments of his imagination.
"Not often, though often enough to interfere with my sleep." Riku replied.
"What are they about?" Sora swirled the ice in his drink with the straw. And again, Riku decided to answer with half truths.
"I don't know. Sometimes I think they're glimpses from my accident. Other times I can't remember anything. I just know they're weird and I can't make much sense of them." Riku said it wasn't a complete lie but not the truth.
"One that stands out in particular is: I think I'm in the hospital and I'm looking down at myself, feeling really awful for myself for being in a coma. Talk about bizarre huh?" There enough truth to make Riku not feel guilty for lying.
Sora seemed thoughtful. "That does sound strange." He said quietly. "But dreams often are." He finished and smiled at Riku.
Riku smiled back and stood from his stool. Regretfully he picked up his back pack and shouldered it.
"Well I have to go I have another class. See you later." Riku walked towards the door.
Mission, cheer Sora up, was complete. Next was mission, cheer Tidus up, and sadly he knew it would take more than a heavily caffeinated drink, to execute that objective.
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Cardel: Wow two updates in one month. Hmm, the end of the world must be near. J/K
Demak: See I told you continuous practice of, write, type, post and update would do the trick.
Cardel: Easier said than done, but there you have it. Sora and Riku are going out! Though not on a date but we're getting there.
Demak/to Jin/ Don't you have anything negative to say.
Jin/in shock/ you dyed my hair pink.
Demak: It washes out.
Jin/whimpers and runs away screaming/
Cardel: Well then. Umm as for the secondary paring Squall/Tidus is winning so /shrugs/
Demak/calling after Jin/ Look at the bright side, you won't get lost in a crowd.
Jin: I hate you!
Cardel/sigh/ Stop fighting. And to the readers, thank you for reading and reviewing. You guys are made of awesome.