Disclaimer: I do not own Kingdom Hearts, nor do I own the lyrics to L'arc-en-ciel's Stay Away. I am not making money off either.

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Author's Notes…

Ah, okay, here is the one-shot Catching Dreams. This is a gift-fic for Uzumaki-sama, as a Christmas present and as an upholding of one of my… er… many briberies. ((sweatdrop)) I should really stop wanting to be spoiled by her fics so much…

This is one out of three of the gift-fics I'm writing for her. The other two deal with Stygian Solace and will not be posted here. Check out my LiveJournal occasionally to see if I've posted them at some point or another. (moontear, for those of you who don't know yet). I'll post the links in my bio here at

For this particular one-shot, she wanted fluff… so she got a mixture of angst and fluff. I can't say I've ever really written fluff for the Kingdom Hearts fandom before (or anything else, really), so bear with me, please!

And here it is… Catching Dreams.

Title: Catching Dreams

Rating: R

Pairing: Riku/Sora, RikuxSora

Word Count: 12, 008 (excluding title, disclaimer, and notes)

Pages: 34 (excluding title, disclaimer, and notes)

Summary: It's been a year since Riku got back to Destiny Islands, and it seems as if his friendship with Sora is beginning to fail. Just when he thinks he has no hope left, Sora reveals some feelings. Will it be enough to mend the fragments of their friendship?

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Catching Dreams

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Pitter-patter… Pitter-patter…

Watching bare feet move softly from the stove to the table he was resting under, his cheek pressed to the linoleum floor. Aqua-green eyes shifted up to look at legs that were skinny and tanned, but the calves were well toned with muscle.

…Pa-chic-pa-chic-pa-chic-chic… went the sound of a knife hitting the cutting board as it sliced with a rapid, steady thrum through the vegetables. The legs before him shifted a little, body weight now on the other foot.

"You like onions in your spaghetti. Right, Ri-ku?"

"Yes," he murmured, gazing past the pair of legs and off into space.

"And tomatoes in your salad?"

"Mmm," he replied noncommittally, closing his eyes and letting the sounds of Sora moving about the kitchen carry him someplace far… far away.

Above the table, his spiky-haired friend sighed, blue eyes gazing sadly at the tomatoes and onions laid out on the cutting board before him. He ran a hand through his hair, bottom lip jutting out into a trademark pout, something he hadn't quite grown out of yet.

Take it in stride, Sora. Just take it in stride. He's been through Hell, too.

"I… talked to Wakka and Selphie yesterday," Sora chirped companionably, walking over to the stove and adding the tomatoes and onions into his saucepan with the meat and tomato sauce. After a moment of setting the sauce up, he began to use his spoon to stir it around, mixing it thoroughly.

Sora glanced over his shoulder to see if Riku was paying attention to him, but the older boy was still lying beneath the table, silver hair caressing his cheek and bare upper arm, his eyes closed. The brunette briefly wondered if Riku had fallen asleep, but suddenly Riku was watching him through his hair.

"…" Sora couldn't read the expression in those eyes, and the gaze was so intense that he remained glued to the spot, heart hammering against his ribcage. He swallowed against his suddenly dry throat, licking his lips.

A faint smirk curled Riku's lips, a ghost of his once arrogant one, and he closed his eyes again. "Don't burn your noodles, Sora."

Why was he watching me like that? Riku thought.

Sora turned and shakily stirred his pasta so that it wouldn't stick to the bottom of the pot. He took a deep, quiet breath, and slowly let it out. Why was he looking at me like that? he thought, wondering why he was trembling.

There was a painful silence. Sometimes it was so… awkward to meet one another's gaze. One could still remember the ferocity in Sora's eyes as he shouted at Riku on the deck of Captain Hook's ship. And some moments Sora would think he might have seen a glimmer of an old, familiar yellow in the green depth of Riku's eyes. It was his imagination, of course, and Riku knew that Sora wasn't mad at him anymore, but…

Everything was back to "normal". And yet it was anything but. "Normal" implied that there was no lingering pain… awkwardness… between two best friends. "Normal" implied cheerful grins and cocky smirks, not… strained smiles and fading pride. "Normal" implied easy conversations, not strained small talks that tended to wither and die.

"Wakka and Selphie?" Riku prompted softly, trying to maintain some sort of companionable conversation.

"They… Um…" Pausing to plaster a smile on his face even though the other boy could not see it, Sora shrugged, gesturing with his free hand as he returned to stirring the spaghetti sauce. "They were at the grocery store when I went out earlier."

When he went out only to come home and find Riku curled up in a corner of the living room, shaking, eyes darting wildly about the room before Sora hurriedly set his groceries down and pulled Riku into a warm embrace.

"Apparently, Selphie and Tidus got together last week. Isn't that great? They tried to call, but…"

But he had been so busy screaming at Riku for the knife he had been holding to his wrist to really hear the phone ring.

"I was probably outside at the time or something." Sora shrugged. "Isn't that great, Riku? That they're together, I mean."

"Yeah… Great…"

Sora slumped a little, biting his bottom lip, then continued rambling on cheerfully. "Wakka was helping Selphie get stuff to make snacks. Selphie wants to make Tidus sweets! I thought it was, y'know, cute."

"Yeah… Cute…"

Sora pushed down a sudden flare of anger and opted to try the taste of his sauce. He licked his lips hungrily afterward, continued stirring, tried to ignore the incessant nagging of his subconscious.

I'm trying so hard to keep a conversation rolling, Ri-ku! C'mon, help me out!

Riku's gaze slid to the lining of beneath the tabletop's surface, brows furrowing as a frown pulled at his lips. He's trying so hard to keep a conversation rolling. Why does he still bother with me?

"Riku, do you honestly think killing yourself will make everything better?! What about me?! And your other friends?! You're so selfish, Riku! Thinking only about yourself like that! I'm your best friend! What am I supposed to do when you're gone?! I can't go through that again! Not… again…"

"C'mon, Ri-ku! Cheer up!"

"Hahaha, Ri-ku! Of course I forgive you! …I forgave you long ago…"

"…Long ago…"

"…Best friends since… forever…"

"So… Anyway… A new movie is showing at the theater, Ri-ku! Wanna go?!"

"No…" Riku replied softly. "Not really. I… don't feel up to it. Sorry, Sora. Maybe you can go with Wakka or something?"

Sora shook his head, blue eyes sad. "Nah," he replied just as softly. "Only wanted to go with you."

"What's wrong with Wakka?"

"He doesn't have the mind-bond that we have," Sora pointed out. So we can't giggle, as we don't read each other's minds.

"Selphie?"

"Too loud."

"Tidus?"

"He asks way too many questions. … And he's louder than Selphie."

"Selphie and Tidus?"

Sora made a face. "So they can get all… 'smoochy-smoochy' while I'm there? Don't think so."

Riku attempted to snicker as he raised his eyebrows. "'Smoochy-smoochy', Sora?"

"Yup!" He nodded, turning the heat off the burner for the pasta and carrying the pot over to the sink to drain the noodles of water in his strainer. "I also saw Kairi at the store! She was getting milk, and—"

"Don't talk about her." Sharp, his voice filled with an underlying heat of rage.

Surprised, Sora whirled around. "Ri-ku?"

Angry green eyes were open and boring into his. Riku was carefully sitting up now, teeth gritted, the muscles in his jaw working furiously. "Don't."

"But…!"

"DON'T, SORA!" Riku yelled, then bowed his head as Sora gasped, pressing back against the kitchen counter. After a moment, he looked up again, a strained smile on his lips. "Just… don't, okay?"

But… I don't get it… Sora thought, blue gaze dropping to the floor, mind reeling as he fought desperately to remember his first adventure. Riku… Always talking about Kairi… Always…

"And it's all thanks to you, Kairi."

"Ah! There you are! Listen, I…"

"You used to love playing games, Sora. What's the matter? Too cool now that you have the Keyblade?"

"What do you care about Kairi, Sora? You're too busy playing hero…"

"Maybe this puppet's heart will be enough to save her…"

"I'll save Kairi's heart, Sora!"

I… don't…

"Take care of her."

…Understand…

"Look, Sora." At Riku's voice, Sora glanced up to see Riku now standing before him, running a hand through his hair and giving a tired sigh. "I'm… not very hungry. So… I don't know. I don't think I'm going to eat tonight. Save me some leftovers, okay?" And he turned to leave the kitchen.

Suddenly, Sora was very angry. So angry that he slammed the strainer in the sink, sending a few noodles flying. And Riku just continued walking, not even giving a pause, a glance back over his shoulder. This was not a very wise idea, because the Keyblade Master immediately rushed forward, grabbing Riku's arm and whirling him about. Before Riku could even think to speak, Sora was on him verbally.

"What the Hell is your problem, huh?! I sit here—stand, whatever!—and make you spaghetti and salad! And you're going to tell me that you're 'not hungry' because I mentioned Kairi?!" Sora raged, blue eyes blazing furiously. "Get real, Riku! Stop being such a freakin' drama queen!"

Sora: 1.

"Well, maybe—" and Riku jerked his arm away "—if you weren't being such a selfish baby, you could see that I'm upset!"

Riku: 1.

"I see that you're upset, Ri-ku! But I tried to make this dinner to cheer you up! Because I'm your best friend, and I care!"

Sora: 2.

"Well, then don't bring up things that upset me! It's called 'consideration', Sora!"

Riku: 2.

"Don't preach to me about 'consideration', Riku, when I didn't even know I said something 'wrong' in the first place! Maybe if you'd actually talk to me without wigging out and everything, I'd know what 'consideration' is!"

Sora: 3.

"And I sit here and walk on ice around you!"

Sora: 4.

"Prepare what I say so that I don't upset you!"

Sora: 5.

"Go out of my way to be totally nice to you!"

Sora: 6.

"Let you live in my house!"

Sora: 7.

"Feed you!"

Sora: 8.

"Respect your privacy when you need it the most! Which is all the time!"

Sora: 9.

"Bottle up my feelings so that I don't—again—upset you!"

Sora: 10.

"And put off being with my friends so I can stay here with you and take care of you! Don't talk to me about 'consideration'!" Sora screamed, bottom lip trembling, vision growing blurry so that Riku swam in and out of view.

Sora: 30.

Riku's eyes narrowed, flashing dangerously, but instead of meeting fire with fire, he met it with ice. "Well, Sora, if I was such a burden, you should have had the decency to tell me. After all, I'm your 'best friend', and I want only the best for you. But apparently you don't feel the same. You can take your 'consideration' and shove. It. Sora," he said lowly. "I don't want someone to be 'considerate' to me if it comes with strings attached, conditions. And with you, it obviously does."

Whirling on his foot, Riku stormed out of the kitchen, leaving Sora to stare after him with tears streaming freely down his cheeks.

Sora: -100. Riku: Points overload.

The brunette numbly turned off the heat for the burner to the sauce, gazed around at the noodles, and then the salad, the bottle of ranch dressing resting innocently on the table. He was… numb. Distant. Not there at all.

What just happened? Sora wondered.

He made himself a plate of spaghetti, filled a bowl with salad. A glass of sweet tea later and he was sitting down at the table, eating with a shaking hand and trembling lips.

…Ri-ku… I'm… I'm sorry… I… didn't mean it that way… I…

When he was halfway through with his meal—and it was a slow progress—Riku sat down across from him after making a plate of food. Sora's nerves eased a little, and he began to gradually feel better. Riku's presence… was soothing.

And so they dined. There were no apologies, no off-hand comments. Not a word was spoken, nor an idly drifting gaze met. There was just… companionship. In its simplest, purest form. And it was calming.

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Sora rinsed his mouth, spat out the mix of water and toothpaste into the sink. He sniffed, dragging a hand through his wet hair—which was beginning to spike up again as the air attempted to dry it—and cleaned up his mess in the bathroom before heading to bed in his nightshirt and boxers. He was so tired… emotionally exhausted. And the fight with Riku before dinner earlier had only served to further put a strain on things.

He sighed. How long had it been now? How long had it been since his journey had ended and Riku and he had been returned to Destiny Islands? A… year. It would be a year next week. A year since Sora and Riku had bought this house. A year of grieving, fighting, and…

Sora came to a slow stop, staring down at the floor as his brows furrowed thoughtfully, lips twisting into a frown. When… was the last time Riku and Sora had not fought? Had "fun"? Had been "best friends"? He… couldn't remember. …Maybe before they left Destiny Islands all those years ago? …But that would be… four years…

…Four years since he had heard Riku laugh

… …That was such an… awfully long time… …

Sora numbly climbed into bed, rolling over on his side and pulling the sheets up to his chin as he stared off into the darkness of his room, crickets chirping beneath his window.

…The false smiles… The teasing that held no… emotion. …The empty laughter…

…Everything was just so… so… fake. He was supposed to be keeping Riku happy! But all they did was bicker bitterly, back and forth, back and forth, an underlying poison in their words, pure acid, until Sora was ready to scream. So how could he expect Riku to talk to him? Really?

…He couldn't…

Sora curled into a ball, squeezing his eyes shut and trying to block out the world. But yelling, screaming, hissing continuously filled his ears, taunting him, mocking him, reminding him gleefully that he was a horrible friend. Riku probably thought that this was a mere Hellhole. That Sora was burdened by his presence. That no one wanted him, least of all Sora after all that he had done. And Sora was too busy trying to make Riku talk to him that he had completely skipped the step where he had to understand Riku. And by understanding came knowledge, and knowledge ways of understanding… It was a cycle!

But what could he do? …He was already too late. Riku had attempted to kill himself the week before, was at the point where he didn't want to live anymore, had completely given up on Sora.

….

"After all, I'm your 'best friend', and I want only the best for you. But apparently you don't feel the same."

The words echoed through Sora's mind, a painful reminder of the fight from mere hours earlier, but… they carried knowledge, an understanding. No, Riku hadn't given up on Sora completely. Sora still had a chance!

Hopefully.

Ah, no, no, no! This was a delicate situation! He couldn't afford to destroy its fragility by thinking pessimistically. He'd have to… start anew tomorrow. Rebuild their friendship. Fragile as it was right then…

Sora caught his bottom lip between his teeth and began to worry it. He hoped that Riku would understand that Sora still wanted to keep their friendship in tact. After all, they had grown up together! Been there through thick and thin! And even after the final battle, and everything was finally over, Sora had been there to pick Riku up off his feet. Except that lately, Sora… hadn't been there at all. At least, not in the way that Riku wanted him to be.

Riku needed someone who would comfort him without needing to know exactly what was wrong. Riku needed someone he could talk to without interruptions so he could say all that he wanted to get out. He needed a shoulder to cry on. He needed someone to understand him without jumping down his throat about every single thing. He needed Sora's best friendship again, and somewhere along the line, Sora had lost sight of it.

Well, now Sora was going to make up for the lost time. He was going to save Riku. And maybe once Riku learned to trust Sora again, everything would be okay.

Everything… would be… o… kay…

Sora's eyes drooped heavily, and he fought against his body's will to sleep so that he could start planning what he was going to do. But his mind was already shutting down, scattering his thoughts to the metaphorical winds, leaving him drifting away on a sweet oblivion.

…Ri-ku…

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"…Ri-ku…! Ri-ku! Wait up! Ri-ku! Ri-ku!"

"C'mon, Sora, hurry up!"

"But… you're too fast!"

"Sora! Stop being such a wuss!"

"But, Ri-ku! I can't… keep… up!"

"Agh…! Here! Grab onto my hand!"

"Okay!"

--

"See? I found it yesterday! Isn't it cool?!"

"Yeah! …But what's that tree?"

"Dunno. I think Momma called it a Pao… pu tree."

"…Paopu…"

"Yup. Somethin' about destinies."

"What are those?"

"Dunno."

"You don't know anything, Ri-ku! Sighhh."

"Hey!"

"Ow! Dun hit me, Ri-ku!"

"Then don't call me stupid!"

"But I didn't—"

"Whatever."

--

The memories were becoming clearer. He could just make out the sun in a gray, fragmented sky as he played with a seven-year-old Riku in the sparkling blue water. They were giggling, splashing one another, and the older boy was quickly gaining the upper hand.

"Ri-ku! I'm tired of being the monster!"

"Well, I'm better than you!" A haughty smirk and glimmering green eyes that matched the color of the sea. "So you have to be the monster!"

"Muu, Ri-ku…" Sora pouted. "I wanna fight with you!"

Riku was silent for a long moment, tapping his wooden sword against his head, squinting an eye thoughtfully with a hand on his hip. At last, he conceded. "Alright. We'll make Tidus the monster."

He held out his hand. "Warriors?"

Sora clasped it easily. "Warriors!"

--

Memories jumping together, mixing and twisting so that it was difficult to tell them apart. But as the boys grew, be it sipping lemonade or resting on Sora's porch swing together, or maybe playing video games at Riku's house, a shadow began to slowly, silently, albeit painfully tear them apart. Ripping away at their friendship until it was so fragile that a fight could erupt over something absolutely ridiculous.

But for the life of Sora, he couldn't figure out what that shadow was.

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"Macaroni and cheese!" Sora sang to the Happy Birthday tune as he nudged Riku's door open with his foot—he never left it completely closed—and moved into the room. His silver-haired friend was resting peacefully, breathing evenly, silver eyelashes fluttering against his cheeks.

"Macaroni and cheese! Mac and cheese for Ri-ku! Macaroni and cheese!"

Riku slept on, blissfully unaware of Sora's presence and his obnoxious singing. He had thrown the comforter off sometime during the night, so that he was curled around his pillow, sheets at his waist, chest bare. Sora looked off to the side to see that his nightshirt was piled on the floor with a pair of cotton black boxers.

Okay. So… Riku slept naked.

Since when? Sora thought, then sighed. There was so much about his friend that he didn't know anymore. And that was what he got for not paying attention to the minor details like he used to. It was amazing that the night before he had managed to remember that Riku liked onions in his spaghetti and tomatoes in his salad… which had taken some major brain power, sadly.

Sora ran a hand through his hair, then had a sudden epiphany, blue eyes brightening to accompany his brilliant idea. Lips spreading into a broad grin, he set the tray of macaroni and cheese and milk on Riku's nightstand and hurried over to the older boy's stereo system and CDs.

Hmmm…

Sora's bare foot tapped along the plush carpet as he looked over the rows of CDs. Riku listened to a wide variety of music, but there was one song from… four years ago that Riku and Sora had loved dearly. They had even memorized the dance for it. Sora wasn't sure that Riku remembered the song, but… he certainly had to try.

Ah! Found it!

Flipping open the CD case, Sora pressed the power button on the stereo and ejected the CD player so he could insert the CD. Pressing the button again so that the contraption slid back in with a soft whirr, Sora hit the track forward button until it landed on the right song. And then he pressed play, turning the volume up until the music blared in the speakers.

The brunette whirled just in time to see Riku jerk and sit upright in bed, eyes looking wildly about the room until they landed on Sora, who was grinning still and bouncing on his feet a little. Slowly, the haze of sleep left the silver-haired boy's eyes, and he gave a little groan, flopping back on his bed and flinging an arm across his face.

"Sora, what the Hell?!" he yelled so that he could be heard.

"Just trying to wake you up!" Sora shouted gleefully back, body already beginning to move with the upbeat of the music.

"Well, I'm fucking awake already! Turn. It. Off."

"Nope!" Sora crossed his arms, glaring indignantly. No way was grouchy ole Riku going to ruin his fun!

Riku sat up slowly, green eyes narrowing to dangerous slits. He tossed his sheets aside, never minding that he was naked, and crawled out of his king-sized bed, snatching his boxers off the floor. Up his legs they went, and Sora quickly looked away, cheeks heating.

Holy crap… Riku's body is… is…

Slender limbs, albeit muscular… Pale and beautifully shaped…

Argh! No, Sora, no! No, no, no! He is your best friend! Nothing more, nothing less!

And finally, STAY AWAY by L'arc-en-ciel reached its peak, and Sora grinned, singing the words and dancing out of Riku's snatching grasp—no doubt he wanted to throw Sora out of the room.

"Ukabu kumo no youni!" Sora sang, body moving to a beat he had all but forgotten, his arms and legs following a rhythm that would stay within his heart forever. How could he forget it? After all, Riku and he had bruised themselves, poured sweat and blood into the painful experience of getting every single move just the right way.

"Dare mo boku wo tsukamenai!"

Riku stopped and stared, watching Sora twist and turn, legs… arms… body singing its own song, and he couldn't help but to be mesmerized for a sole second before he grinned and joined Sora in the dance. And his body and soul remembered it just as easily as Sora's had.

"Nani mo kamo wo kowashii!"

And they were bringing their arms down to fists at their sides and pumping their hips. Breathless, they grinned at one another, singing at the top of their lungs.

"Jiyuu no moto ni umareta!"

Finally, with the last movements of the dance HYDE and fellow band-mates had so graciously performed, Riku and Sora broke out into laughter, collapsing against one another as the track changed.

"Oh, my God, Sora, what… the Hell?!" Riku wheezed, tears streaming down his cheeks. "How long has it been since we did that?"

"Four years," Sora replied, laughter dying to be replaced by a sweet smile. "I made you breakfast."

Riku raised an eyebrow, clearing his throat. "I thought you had to work today?"

"I did. But I called in sick." And then, hastily before Riku could comment, "I called in sick for you, too, Ri-ku!"

"WHAT?!" Riku exploded, getting to his feet so quickly it was almost inhuman. Sora gasped, getting to his feet, as well, and scrambling back. "Sora, you can't just—!"

"But I wanted to spend some time with you today!" Before Riku could retort, Sora pulled him into a warm embrace, clinging tightly. "Don't be mad, Ri-ku! We haven't…"

The blood was roaring in Riku's ears; his heart was pounding. All he could smell was the shampoo Sora had put in his hair the night before. All he could feel was Sora's warm body pressed and wrapped around his. All he could see was the darkness of his eyelids as his eyes fluttered closed and his arms remained limp at his sides.

"…Hung out in so long! So I thought today would be great to make up for some lost time! Please, Ri-ku, please!" Sora begged. "I miss you!"

He… misses me, Riku thought, feeling the familiar burn of tears stinging the back of his eyes. But he quickly blinked them away and awkwardly hugged his friend back. He wanted to pull him closer and smother him with kisses, but… he couldn't. And so he had to settle for a light-hearted, friendly embrace.

Because Sora was too naïve to realize that Riku loved him more than a "best friend".

"Okay, Sora," Riku whispered; he didn't think his voice could handle anything else and not crack.

Sora released him and pulled back, looking up at him with big, sapphire blue eyes and beaming a smile. "I made you macaroni and cheese!"

"But it's…" Riku frowned skeptically, eyes flickering to his alarm clock, where a steaming bowl of mac and cheese and a glass of milk lay waiting. "…Nine in the morning, Sora."

Sora shrugged. "It's your favorite food. So I thought I'd make you some." He cast Riku a sly glance. "Or I could just eat it myself if it's too much trouble—"

"NO!" Riku cried, making a mad dodge to the nightstand and grabbing his bowl. His eyes gleamed menacingly. "Touch it and die, Sora."

The brunette scowled. "I made it, Ri-ku!"

Riku shrugged, sitting down on the edge of his bed. "Bon appetite," he said cheerfully, winking at Sora, and began to eat.

Sora couldn't help but feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Riku was already acting more cheerful than he had in weeks.

"Sora, a little too much cheese…"

Sora sniffed. "Oh, yeah? Well, I'd like to taste your macaroni, Ri-ku."

"Of course you would." Riku's lips twisted into a smirk. "It's a lot better than your own."

Sora scowled, glaring daggers at the silver-haired boy. And, of course, the two of them being happy and best friends also meant that the relentless teasing was back. Sigh.

Riku chuckled as Sora's shoulders slumped in defeat. "So where do you want to go today, Sora?"

Sora struck a dramatic pose, pointing out the window. "To the Sora-mobile!"

Riku rolled his eyes. "You're such a dork, Sora."

Sora pouted. "Muu, Ri-ku… But you love me!"

Yes, Riku thought. Yes, I do love you. Aloud, his only response was a teasing, "Do I?"

"Ri-ku!" Sora huffed indignantly.

"So-ra!" Riku mocked and promptly ducked as the pillow Sora snatched off the bed zoomed over his head. Sitting back up calmly, he took a bite of his cheesy macaroni and cheese and fought the urge to swoon. Sora's mac and cheese was simply the best.

But he'd never admit that.

--------

"Nukedashita taichi de!" Sora sang, jerking his body as Riku and he walked down the harbor, a bell tolling in the distance, the waves crashing along the dock and receding with whooshes. "Te ni iretu no wa jiyuu!"

Riku rolled his eyes, licking at his double-scoop chocolate ice cream and looking up at the stars beginning to twinkle in the night sky. He couldn't help but give a fond smile and gaze down at the ocean waters. Today had been fun.

"Maybe lucky, maybe lucky, I dare say I'm lucky!" Sora pivoted on his foot, gave a spin. "Reeru no uwa ni zotte… Dokomade yukeru kora."

"Maybe lucky, maybe lucky, I dare say I'm lucky!" Riku harmonized, then laughed. "You're a bouncing ball of energy, Sora. Maybe you shouldn't have eaten those three ice cream cones."

"Nyah, Ri-ku." Sora stuck his tongue out and crossed his eyes, then abruptly plopped down on the wooden dock and heaved a huge sigh, his spiky bangs fluttering up.

"What's wrong?" Riku asked, brows furrowing in concern. He hesitated a moment, then retraced his steps and sat down beside Sora, nudging the younger boy with his shoulder.

"Mmm…" Sora yawned loudly, then shook himself. "I'm just tired." And wondering… Why my heart feels so… warm… He idly placed a hand over it, a dreamy smile on his face. Is it because of you, Ri-ku?

He remembered the course of the day. Riku and Sora had headed over to the mall and browsed around for a bit before walking a few blocks to see a movie at the theater. For dinner they ate a fast food restaurant, and then bought ice cream at a shop. Over all, it had been a fun day.

Laughing… Smiling… Or smirking, in Riku's case, but… It was… nice. Spending a day with Kairi hadn't quite been like this, but Sora had realized long ago that what he felt for the auburn-haired girl was nothing but… what he might feel towards a sibling. It was sad, and it hurt to acknowledge the bitter truth of it, but it was nonetheless… well… the truth

No… Sora was beginning to realize that maybe the one he loved had been there all along, as his best friend. And if this was so, then… did he have a chance? At all?

Sora remembered how angrily Riku had reacted to the mere mention of Kairi's name the night before. What had that been about? Sora had been under the impression that Riku was in love with the auburn-haired girl. Then again, the entire time Riku had been back on the Islands, he hadn't breathed a word about Kairi, and maybe spoke to her once

He sighed, running a hand through his hair as Riku quietly lapped at the last of his ice cream and then began to eat the cone. Still, that didn't mean that Riku even liked him that way. After all, they were both boys, and Riku might be horrified at the prospect, and—

Sora scowled to himself, giving his mind a mental scolding. How dare he doubt Riku like that?! Riku wasn't like that at all! If Sora happened to like boys, Riku would accept that, he'd—

The brunette froze when he suddenly felt Riku lean his head on Sora's shoulder, the older boy's silver hair caressing his neck and cheek.

"Sora…" Riku whispered. "Sometimes I… am scared."

"Why?" Sora rested his cheek against the top of Riku's head, eyes fluttering closed. His nostrils flared a little, breathing in the scent of expensive shampoo.

…Mmm…

"Because I… I worry that one day you'll… leave me…"

Sora frowned, heavenly state shattering like fragile glass, and he wrapped his arms about Riku tightly, turning so that he could pull the other boy against his body.

"Ri-ku!" he scolded. "How could you think things like that?! I would never leave you alone! Can't you trust me?! I thought we were friends, I thought—"

Waitwaitwait, he thought as he felt Riku tense in his arms, getting ready to push away. I'm being so selfish

"No, wait," Sora said hurriedly, clutching Riku more tightly to him. "I… I'm sorry. That wasn't fair of me." He reached a hand up, burying his fingers in Riku's silver locks and beginning to stroke slowly, soothingly. "Ri-ku… What I mean is… I…" He trailed off softly, voice fading to a mere whisper.

Sora sighed, looking around for words, then buried his nose behind Riku's ear and inhaled deeply. When Riku shivered against him, a thrill shot through him, but he said nothing about it, just reflexively clutched at Riku.

"Don't worry about me leaving you, Ri-ku," Sora whispered softly. "Okay?" Again and again his fingers smoothed through Riku's silky locks. "I will never leave you. There's nothing to be scared about, Ri-ku. Nothing at all. I'm here. See? I'm right here."

And slowly, Riku began to relax, slumping in Sora's arms, melting easily against the smaller boy. Sora continued whispering comforting nothings until Riku began to nod, believing in Sora. The younger boy was filled with soft warmth, as he was so happy that he was making Riku feel better. Probably for the first time in a year.

Ri-ku… I will always, always be here for you… I…

"I love you," Sora breathed, then immediately froze, squeezing his eyes shut and wincing. Damnit! He had gotten too carried away…!

There was a long moment of silence in which Riku lay still in Sora's arms and the latter loosened his grip numbly, shocked that he had let something so potentially fatal to their friendship slip so easily.

Oh, my God… Sora swallowed. Please… Don't let… this ruin—

Riku abruptly pulled away, green eyes very wide and staring down at Sora with such intensity that he looked away, unable to meet Riku's fierce, albeit surprised gaze, mixed with something that Sora couldn't read.

"Sora…?" His name was almost whispered, lost shortly afterwards to a sea breeze gushing past, playing with their clothing and their hair. A bell tolled in the distance again, a ship blowing its horn.

"… …"

He didn't even hear Riku leave; he just felt a sudden absence, and when he looked up, startled, he saw that Riku was gone, disappearing into the distance as he headed back to the direction of Sora's car.

Rejection stung behind his eyes, fierce, strong, his nose tingled, burned. His heart echoed his tears, clenching painfully, his mind mocking him, cackling evilly. Damnit! Why did he have to go and… and… spit out his feelings like that?!

And at the same time, he felt angry with Riku. How dare Riku not accept his feelings?! Sure, Riku didn't have to return them, but—!

The thought of Riku alone in his state of distress, perfectly capable of doing drastic things flashed through his mind, and he began to panic. Leaping to his feet, he shoved his feelings aside—Riku!—and raced with Keyblade Master borne speed after his best friend.

"RIKU!" Sora shouted as the older boy came into view, just now opening the passenger side door to Sora's car. The silver-haired boy climbed in, buckling up and staring with still wide eyes out the windshield.

Sora breathed a sigh of relief and got into his car, resting his forehead against the steering wheel for a moment before taking a calming breath and fumbling around in his pockets for the car keys. Upon finding them, he hastily shoved the proper one into the ignition and started up the vehicle. Buckling up, he then put the car into gear and backed out of the parking space that he had chosen by the docks.

"…"

It was silent the entire way home. Riku never so much as moved in his seat, and Sora had to convince himself without looking that he was still breathing. Sora chewed on his bottom lip, anxiety sending his nerves on end until he was gripping the steering wheel so tightly his knuckles were beginning to turn white. He wanted to grab Riku and shake him…!

As soon as they reached their little house on the far edge of town, Riku jerked his seat belt off and hastily flung open the door before slamming it behind him and hurrying up the steps of his home. He dug in his yellow windbreaker for his keys, shoved them into the lock.

Sora barely managed to hit the bottom steps before Riku was rushing into the house, leaving the front door wide open. The brunette took the steps two at a time, footsteps thudding along the wooden porch before he closed the door behind him and hurried into his home. He rushed through his kitchen, slamming his keys down on the table as he went, leapt over his couch and coffee table in the living room before hitting the other side and flinging the double, wide-paned white doors open, a shortcut to Riku's room.

Taking a moment to catch his breath—he was really getting out of shape—Sora lunged across the hallway and pushed open Riku's bedroom door just as he attempted to close it and possibly lock it. When Sora knocked him back from the force, he just turned away, back facing Sora, head bowed.

"Ri-ku!" Sora cried, throwing his arms around Riku, the fabric of his red and black windbreaker whispering against the older boy's. He buried his face into Riku's back, arms squeezing Riku's torso tightly, teeth gritted as he fought back a new wave of tears threatening to overwhelm him.

It was dark in Riku's room… and silent. The only noise came from the door closing a little from a draft in the house. The only light was a single beam of moonlight, filtering through the window gently and bathing them in its soft glow.

"I'm sorry…! I didn't mean for it to come out that way!" Sora sobbed, the tears streaming down his cheeks against his wishes, choking up his throat. "I didn't know that you wouldn't return—"

A soft whisper, cutting through Sora's words like an arrow, "You shouldn't say things that you don't mean, Sora."

Sora froze, blue eyes widening a little, unsure if he was hearing properly as Riku's words echoed within his ears. I… shouldn't… …What?

Soft, bitter laughter. "Trying to make me feel better?" The laughter died abruptly, replaced by a sharp, "I don't want nor need your pity, Sora. So save it."

Confused, the brunette released his best friend, staggering back a step and staring at Riku's tense body with wide eyes. He frowned, confused, brows drawing down to furrow above the bridge of his nose. "Ri-ku?"

"Just…" Riku slumped, trembling, hands curling into fists at his sides. "Just go away, Sora."

"But, Ri-ku—!"

"GO AWAY, SORA!" Riku yelled, whirling around so quick that Sora almost missed the movement. But he didn't overlook the tears shimmering in Riku's eyes, the green irises dark with… something that Sora couldn't place. "GO!" He pointed. "GO ON! GO!"

"But… Ri-ku…" Sora desperately tried, holding out a hand towards his friend.

"GO! DAMNIT, GO!"

Bottom lip trembling, eyes stinging, Sora pivoted and quickly left the room, footsteps thudding along the floor, muffled by the soft, plush carpet. Tears left his eyes, shimmering briefly in the air, sparkling weakly, before dropping to the floor below.

Riku stared after him a moment before letting out a choked, strangled sob and collapsing to his knees, burying his face in his hands.

--------

…A week…

Sora sighed, head bowing forward and allowing the hot water to stream over his hair. He buried his face in his hands, shoulders drooping a little, bottom lip jutting into a trademark pout.

It had been a week since Sora had let his feelings out and Riku had dismissed them as something false, meant only for pity. At first, Sora had been angry, and he had avoided Riku like the plague. But then, after a few days, he began to miss Riku, and when he stopped avoiding Riku he realized that Riku was still avoiding him.

For the first time in a year, Riku kept his door closed, the knob locked. Sora wasn't welcome in his room. Riku worked double shifts, only home to sleep and get a bite to eat. One time Sora had made him supper and left it wrapped up and waiting on the counter for him whenever he got home, but the next morning he discovered that it had gone uneaten and there were traces of takeout food in the trash can.

Sora felt frustrated. Why did he have to screw things over so badly?! Things were going so well, and then… and then… He confesses his stupid feelings and Riku takes them the wrong way… Maybe it had been the wrong time to say them, but they had just… slipped out, and, and, and…

Sigh.

He missed Riku… Even if for the past year all they had done was bitch at each other, he still missed his best friend. Why… did he always have to mess things up…?

Sora angrily grabbed the washcloth, swirling it around the bar of ivory soap. And now Riku was at work, on an early shift, and wouldn't be home for a few hours. Sora mulled this over, rubbing the cloth along his neck, lathering his skin up. Would he ever get to see his friend again in something more than just a passing glance?

Those green eyes…

Sora sighed, anger rapidly melting away to be replaced by… something wistful. He rubbed the cloth down his chest, let out a surprised, shuddery gasp when the rough fabric rubbed against a nipple. Biting his bottom lip and ignoring the heat pooling in his groin, Sora continued to lather his chest, pondering his current dilemma.

He had to apologize to Riku. Tell him that Riku had gotten the wrong idea, that he hadn't—

Sora's eyes fluttered closed, lips parting as the cloth brushed over his nipples again, now perked and waiting for his attention. He hesitated, looking down at his washcloth, blinking slowly through the film of hot water, then tossed it to the side. It fell to the floor with a wet slap, and Sora's trembling fingers reached up, brushing over a nipple.

…He hadn't done this in… a long time…

Outside the house, Riku jogged up the steps, scowling to himself as he began digging in his windbreaker pocket for his keys. Damnit, he didn't want to take a rest. Who cared about the shadows under his eyes? He was fine with working…!

Sora walked slowly backwards until his back thudded softly against the shower wall. Tilting his head back a little and letting the water rush over his body, he continued chewing on his bottom lip, hands playing over his chest.

A wind rushed by, caressing Riku's silver hair, and he glanced up to see dark clouds beginning to gather in the distant horizon, signaling that a storm would be there by nightfall. Sighing, he unlocked the front door and hurried in, closing it behind him and unzipping his windbreaker. He shivered at a sudden chill, thinking that maybe he'd make himself some hot cocoa before heading to bed early. He was a bit tired… He hadn't gotten any sleep since… Well, he'd rather not think about it.

"Nn…" Sora murmured, free hand drifting slowly down his chest to the pulsing heat between his legs. The water was slick beneath his touch, smearing along his skin, suddenly cool compared to the warmth his body was feeling.

Riku sighed, walking into the kitchen and placing his keys down on the counter. He eyed the kitchen window, watching the wind chimes without start to clang together on a sudden harsh breeze. He swallowed, licking his lips, and looked away. He hated thunderstorms. He hoped he was asleep before this one hit.

"…Ri-ku…" Sora gasped, hand moving along his arousal, water making his movements slick and fast. He tilted his head back, neck stretched, Adam's apple bobbing frantically as his eyes fluttered closed and heat flashed through him. "Mm…"

The silver-haired young man moved into the living room, running a sleepy hand through his hair. Skip the cocoa. He was just too… —stifling a yawn—too tired. Much too tired. It was time to rid himself of his clothes and go to bed.

"Ah… Ri-ku…" The brunette could just imagine Riku there, caressing him like this, bringing him slowly and sweetly to the edge of orgasm, whispering hot, passionate words to his ears to contradict the movements of his hand.

Riku paused as he heard the water drumming through the pipes. Coming to a stop, he eyed the wall in the hallway thoughtfully, and after a moment realized that Sora was probably taking a shower. Well, good. He'd be able to get to his room undetected.

"AH!" His hand was quickening its pace, stroking harder and firmer. He was coming close… "AHHH!"

"…" Riku's feet halted just outside of Sora's room—the younger man's door was wide open… There had probably been no need to close it, figuring Riku had been at work, but… Had that been a… cry?

"RIKU!"

His feet were dragging him across Sora's room, and his eyes were glued firmly on bathroom door, currently ajar. His mind was screaming at him to leave, but his heart, his body, was telling him quite harshly that he needed to stay and to listen … and to quite possibly watch.

"RIKU! RIIIKUU!"

That's my name, Riku thought wildly, eyes widening slightly each second until they were as round as saucers and a thrill was shooting through his groin. He could feel himself stirring, desire at hearing his name being called so… passionately, so naughtily, out loud in real life and not in his dreams… almost maddening.

"RIKU!"

And he was watching Sora collapse against the bathroom wall, spent, face clouded in pleasure as his body shuddered in the aftermath. The water was pounding against the brunette's body, washing away any evidence, but Riku could still hear the scream, as it was reverberating memorably in his ears.

"Ah…" Sora sighed, a sleepy, satisfied smile crossing his lips. He stared down at his hand, sticky with his seed, and rinsed it under the running shower water with a warm, comforting haze enveloping his mind. That had felt… so good…

The brunette suddenly paused, feeling an intent gaze on him, and his eyes widened as his head snapped to the door of his bathroom—

But no one was there.

Sora blinked. Well, huh. That was funny. Maybe he was just tired… It had been a long week, after all… He should probably continue cleaning off and crawl into bed for a good, long nap. Then he'd cook dinner whenever he woke up—maybe Riku might decide he wanted Sora's food tonight… However doubtful that seemed at the moment…

Lower lip jutting into a sad pout, after effects of his orgasm fading away, Sora retrieved his cloth from the shower floor and sighed, soaping it up and returning to washing himself off.

Riku ran to his room, heart thundering against his ribcage, mind spinning with the implications of what he had just bore witness to. There was no possible way Sora could have known Riku was home—unless his boss had called and warned the brunette, but that was doubtful, considering his boss didn't even know about Riku's home life. So that meant…

Maybe Sora… hadn't been lying…?

Eyes wide, mouth incredibly dry, and heartbeat almost painful, Riku closed his door and stripped, quickly hurrying to his bed and crawling beneath the covers so that he could hide from the world. It didn't seem… real. This had to be some sort of dream. There was no way Sora was returning his feelings, he couldn't be, it wasn't—

…And what right had he to doubt his friend? Though pushy and irritating sometimes, Riku knew that Sora only meant good when he was trying to get Riku to open up. Or yelling at him because of some of the stupid stunts that Riku had pulled. Sora wanted only the best for him, but Riku had been under the impression for so long that Sora loved Kairi and…

Curling into a ball, teeth worrying his bottom lip, anxiety twisting his heart and knotting his stomach, Riku brooded… and tried not to panic. Tried not to get his hopes up only for them to get crushed again. But—but in the shower Sora had been… had been…!

Screaming his name…!

With that satisfied little smile on his face that Riku had longed to give him forever…

Riku was afraid. He was so afraid. He wanted to believe that Sora loved him, he really did, but what if he was just kidding himself? And yet evidence proved that he couldn't possibly be. He wasn't an idiot—and Sora certainly knew what the Hell he was doing…

So what did this mean?

He'd have to act. He'd have to do something. Apologize, anything. Sora really did love him, and he loved Sora, so…

Outside, lightning split the heavens and thunder rumbled ominously. And the rain began to pour.

--------

Sora lay awake in his bed, curled into a ball beneath his covers, eyes staring off into space. Outside, thunder rumbled, shaking the house in its ferocity, and the rain pounded harshly along the roof as the wind gave a long, mourning howl. It was ironic, really—its call nearly matched the feeling in Sora's heart. The only difference was that he hadn't given up yet… he still had a little hope left. Even if it was tiny and frail…

"…"

Muu… He gave a soft mewl. Ri-ku…

Sora squeezed his eyes shut, snuggling into a tighter ball. He was so lost in his self-angst that he nearly missed the sound of his door opening and a soft, almost tentative, "Sora?"

Sora tossed back his covers and sat up straight in bed, heartbeat quickening. His name! How long had it been since he had heard Riku say it?! Too long! Much too long!

His gaze briefly flitted over to the alarm clock—its glowing digital numbers told him politely that it was nearly two in the morning—and he ran a shaky hand through his spikes before finally looking towards the door.

Riku was peeking around it, green eyes hesitant and wide, shadows lurking beneath them. After a moment, he pushed the door open and took a step into the room, clutching the comforter off his bed to him very tightly. He looked terrified.

"Sora, I—I can't sleep."

Sora blinked curiously at him, resting his weight on his hands, which were planted behind him on the bed. He raised a knee and cocked his head to the side, brows furrowing thoughtfully. Scared? Riku was scared? Oh, that was right! He was scared of—

Memories flashed through his mind. Riku, clinging to him tightly as a typhoon whistled outside, threatening to tear the roof off his house. Riku, clutching his hand tightly as they raced for home, thunder rumbling in the distance, warning of an oncoming storm. Riku, clutching wildly at Sora in the dark of the basement, the same storm raging outside.

"Thunderstorms," the two said in unison, and Sora smiled softly, nodding his head once. Riku hadn't asked anything, but then again, he hadn't needed to. And that was the beauty of their friendship.

Riku shut Sora's door quietly behind him, and the click was lost to a sudden, violent peal of thunder. He jumped, letting his comforter go and hurrying across the room, climbing into Sora's bed and throwing his arms around the smaller male. He was trembling, his breath ragged from fear, eyes wide and wild, darting frantically about the room.

Sora reached up instinctively, an ingrained protective-ness, and began treading his fingers soothingly, gently through Riku's soft, silver locks. And just like that, everything that had happened between them recently was forgotten.

Murmuring soothing nothings, Sora wrapped Riku in his arms, continuing to stroke his hair, and lay back on the bed. He pulled the covers over them, and Riku snuggled close, burying his face in Sora's neck, breath warm and causing the brunette to shiver a little. He swallowed. At least Riku had managed to put boxers on before coming to Sora for comfort.

The brunette's gaze flickered to the window, and he watched lightning illuminate the rain streaming down its surface in sheets briefly before thunder rumbled grumpily, not quite as strong as its brethren's peals. Riku snuggled even closer, his grip on Sora almost vice-like, but the Keyblade Master didn't mind.

"Nukedashita taichi de…" Sora whispered, resting his chin along Riku's head, trying not to be too aware of Riku's warm body pressed fully along the length of his own. He felt guilty, but… "Te ni ireta no wa jiyuu…"

Slowly, Riku's trembling went away, his body relaxing around Sora's, grip not quite so painful anymore. His breath stopped shaking, flowing in easy gusts, so that Sora had to fight back another shiver. His neck, as he was just now discovering, was really sensitive. But he didn't want to… force himself upon Riku or anything. After all, Riku's reaction to his confession hadn't exactly been encouraging, and…

"Maybe lucky… Maybe lucky… I dare say… I'm lucky…"

Ah… Riku was so warm. So warm… And so strong. His limbs, long and with a slender, muscular build… His hair, so soft, like silver-lined clouds… His lips, full and pouty and supple, breathing along Sora's skin as he mouthed the words to the song.

Sora buried his nose in Riku's hair, inhaling the now faint scent of some expensive shampoo—different from a week ago—and his eyes fluttered closed… But a pang hit his heart, causing his brows to furrow. So much that he didn't know anymore… He needed to relearn everything…

Sora didn't know how long they laid there, in the dark of his room, listening to the storm outside. And at every peal of thunder, Riku's body would tense around Sora's, only to slowly relax moments later. Sora couldn't help but wonder if that was how Riku would be above him, inside him, as they moved together, and…

He swallowed against his suddenly dry throat and tried to banish the thoughts, but the harder he tried, the more beautiful images came to mind. Riku above him, eyes dark with passion, lips full and parted as breathy moans escaped them. And he was chanting Sora's name, pounding into the smaller male in a jumbled web of passion, trembling as he neared the brink of orgasm…

The brunette froze in sudden fear and embarrassment. Not because of his desires—no, because he really liked those—but because… he was… really, really… hard… at the moment, and at this close proximity, his arousal was currently pressing against Riku's thigh through his boxers.

"…"

He wanted for Riku to tense, to shove him away in disgust. After his reaction to Sora a week ago, it definitely wouldn't have been surprising. In fact, Sora expected Riku to storm out of the room and never talk to him again.

So absorbed in his terror, his fear that his best friend wouldn't accept him and would leave him, he didn't notice Riku's hesitant wandering hands until a smooth palm skimmed over his naval and warm fingers slipped beneath the elastic waistband of his boxers.

Sora swallowed, eyes flying open and staring at the window as lightning flashed and illuminated the room. The rain began pounding on the roof harder than ever, and just as thunder rumbled, Riku's fingers wrapped around his arousal.

He could have sworn his heart stopped at that exact moment.

And then Riku's whisper, breathy and hesitant, next to Sora's ear. The brunette hadn't realized he had shifted for space, but he had, and… "Is this okay?" So softly Sora almost didn't catch it.

A lump had lodged itself in the Keyblade Master's throat… And he could only nod.

And slowly, painstakingly, Riku's fingers began to move, teasing Sora's flesh delicately so that the brunette's breath shuddered and his eyes fluttered closed, warmth pooling at his groin as his toes curled. Pleasant tingles spread down his spine, and he shivered, teeth catching his bottom lip.

Riku's other hand moved, finger and thumb letting the button on his boxers slip free from its captive hold. The hand around Sora's arousal withdrew, and a whimper of protest left his lips. But then Riku's hand was back, pulling his aching arousal ever so gently through the slip of cloth in his boxers, thumb brushing along the head.

Sora's hand flew up to his mouth, and he bit down lightly on his thumb.

"Oh, Sora…" Riku whispered, hotly, but quietly, and Sora's stomach twisted anxiously in response. "Don't be quiet. I'm the only one that will hear you… The only one…" His lips hovered above Sora's own, his breath caressing the rosebud mouth. "…That will hear you…"

And their lips pressed together in a sweet, loving kiss.

Thunder slammed outside as their lips parted slowly, their breath quickening, hitching. And then closed, curiously, before opening again, Riku's tongue delicately probing the tip of Sora's.

"Muu…" Sora mewled softly, lashes fluttering closed. This was it. His first kiss. And he knew that it was Riku's first, as well. This made it all the sweeter.

Their tongues brushed, darted away, their mouths closed. Sora shifted closer in the flickering light that lit up the dark room before dying away. The brunette hovered close, and then Riku's lips descended upon his own again. For once, the thrumming rain outside was calming.

"I'm sorry… for what I said to you… before… about pretending," Riku whispered, and Sora's eyes flickered open to see green ones gazing apologetically into his own.

Sora smiled. "It's okay, Ri-ku."

"Did you…" Riku's eyes flickered away briefly before returning to Sora's. "Did you mean it?"

Sora nodded once, reaching up a hand to caress Riku's cheek. The silver-haired male released a relieved sigh and nuzzled into it, eyes fluttering closed.

"Then I can tell you how I feel?" Riku breathed.

"Of course," Sora whispered, thumb stroking along Riku's high cheekbone.

Riku smiled, then, a warm, sincere smile, and it chased the shadows out of his eyes as he opened them and leaned into Sora again. "I love you, too, Sora."

The brunette barely had time to respond—an overwhelming sense of euphoria as a grin spread across his lips—before Riku kissed him again. Once, twice, and their lips were parting quickly, tongues dancing out.

Their first kiss was awkward, sloppy, but after shifting around and tilting heads and releasing laughs of nervousness, they finally got it right. Slow and gentle quickly became fast and steady as it grew more heated, tongues tangled and moans and mewls rising between occasionally parted lips, muffled against probing tongues.

"Hmmprh… Mmm…"

"…Sora…"

Riku's fingers were moving again, stroking Sora steadily before wrapping into a firm fist. Sora gasped, head tilting back, and his best friend rolled him onto his back, moving above him. Silver hair framed a heart-shaped, flushed face, and Riku, eyes dark with love and desire, licked his swollen lips before capturing Sora's again, stealing heated little mewls.

Sora lifted his hips, meeting Riku's deft, albeit gentle pumping. His hands flew out, frantically scrambling over the sheets to finally grip them tightly, and he jerked his head away from Riku's, eyes rolling back into it as his breath hitched.

Humming happily, Riku licked down Sora's throat, tracing his pounding Adam's apple. Beneath him, Sora writhed, moaned when Riku's searching teeth found his nipple, and then his silver-haired friend was moving down his body, pausing briefly to lap at his navel… and he disappeared beneath the sheets.

Teeth nipped along his thigh, a tongue darting out afterwards to soothe the sting. Sora squirmed, thrusting his hips up, mewling. A second later, a hot, wet mouth covered him, and he bucked up.

Riku choked, grabbing Sora's hips and holding them down firmly. He rubbed them soothingly, caressingly, and nuzzled the boy's stomach with his cheek before tentatively letting his tongue roll over the sensitive flesh this time.

"… … Ah … …!"

Hmmm… Encouraging…

Sora gripped the bed sheets in his hands, squeezing his eyes shut, pushing his head back in the pillows and straining against Riku's hold as a curious exploration was done over his arousal. There were soft kisses and gentle scrapings of teeth, long licks and delightful little suckles.

"Mmm… Oh, God, Ri-ku…!"

A few minutes of experimentation later and Riku's hot mouth was on him again, causing him to mewl in delight, a grin of ecstasy crossing his lips. And the silver-haired boy was bobbing his head up and down along Sora's arousal, slowly, drawing it out, drawing it out, drawing it out

The Keyblade Master moaned in encouragement, once more straining against Riku's hands. But his friend held him down firmly, continuing to rub him soothingly as he carried on with his gentle assault at the pulsing warmth between Sora's legs.

"Ri-ku! R-R-Riii-kuu…"

His orgasm hit him hard, causing his frame to shudder almost violently as his eyes fluttered and white engulfed his mind, warmth spreading throughout his body. He gripped the sheets again, pulling hard enough to tear, a loud mewl erupting from his lips and echoing throughout the room.

Riku appeared again, licking his lips, a smile curling them, and looked down at Sora with a cat-like expression. He kissed Sora's cheek, nuzzled it, and the brunette melted happily into his arms, holding him close and burying his face in Riku's neck.

"Was that good?" Riku whispered, rubbing Sora's back soothingly, as if he were a kitten.

Sora nodded his head vigorously. "Thank you…"

Riku smiled, nuzzling his hair, and rolled onto his side, taking Sora with him so that they lay in a tangled mass of limbs, but neither male minded. Both listened to the rain drumming along the roof, heard the faint peals of thunder. The storm was beginning to wear itself out. Riku was relieved. Sora was amused at the relief.

"So…" Smiling happily, Sora propped himself up on his elbow and gazed down at Riku, soothing his bangs off his forehead affectionately. "What made you decide to believe me, Riii-kuu?"

Abruptly, a blush stained Riku's cheeks, light and adorable, really, and he bowed his head, silver hair hiding his face from view. "…Um… Well, Sora… I think you might get mad at me, but…" Green eyes peered up at Sora, who was tilting his head and blinking curiously, his smile still in place. "…I… Er… Ah ha… … I heard you… um… earlier…"

"Earlier?" Sora prompted, still confused.

"…In…" Riku let it out all in a rush. "Intheshower."

Sora's eyes widened, his face turning a bright, brilliant shade of red, and his smile fell to be replaced by stunned… stunned… Well, Riku couldn't really read his expression. He could only tell that the other boy was shocked.

"I'm sorry!" Riku apologized, sitting up slightly and resting his weight on his arms. He leaned over, nuzzling Sora's chest. "…You… I hate to say it, but you were really, ah, loud… And…"

Sora's soft whisper made his jumbled words come to a halt. "I wish you could have believed me when I told you…"

Tensing, Riku pulled away and bowed his head again, this time in shame. He swallowed, licking his lips, and heaved a sigh, shoulders slumping. "Yeah… I know… But…"

"Heehee. It's okay. I understand, Ri-ku. Things haven't exactly been great between us lately." A comforting hand was placed on his back, and then Sora was moving beneath him, causing Riku to yelp and nearly fall on top of him before supporting his hands on either side of Sora's neck. Sora grinned up at him, reaching out to cup Riku's cheeks in his hands. "You had no reason to believe me. Especially with the way I've been behaving." His grin softened into a warm smile. "Can you ever forgive me?"

Riku could feel his cheeks growing warm again, and he nodded once, a soft smile tugging his lips in return. "Of course, Sora."

Sora beamed.

"Mmm…" Chuckling, Riku nuzzled noses with him. "I've… been dreaming about this… for a long time…" he whispered, voice almost… fragile, uncertain.

"Well, then I'm glad I stopped being an idiot enough in time to realize that I have, too," Sora whispered in return, gaze softening. He pulled Riku down towards him. "Ri-ku…"

Their lips met again, softly, sweetly, almost nothing more than a mere brushing.

This time when they kissed, it was filled with an underlying passion, certain love, and gentleness. Sora held Riku close, tilting his head for better access to his best friend's mouth, and Riku obligingly shifted closer, humming softly.

"Ri-ku…" Sora whispered against his mouth. "…Ri-ku, I want you… I want you in me…"

Riku paused, pulling back, and gazed down with a mix of concern and worry into Sora's bright, sapphire blue eyes. "Sora—are you sure? We don't have to do this if you're not ready. I mean, I want it, but I can wait—"

Sora shook his head vigorously, mewling in protest and rolling his hips up, so that Riku hissed and looked away, closing his eyes. "C'mon, Ri-ku… I want it! I promise. Pleaseeeeee," he whined.

"A-Alright," Riku replied, a tad bit shakily. "U-Um… I've…never done this before…"

"Heehee. I hope not."

Riku shot his giggling friend a look, then grinned a little. "Let me find some sort of lubrication." And he climbed off the brunette, rolling out of bed and pulling his boxers off as he went. He shot Sora a seductive wink over his shoulder, who was grinning and leaning up on his elbows, admiring the view.

"Do you have some lotion anywhere?"

"Ummm…" Sora bit his bottom lip, brows furrowing as he thought hard. "In the bathroom, I think?"

A few moments later, Riku returned, crawling back into the bed and using the bottle of lotion's nozzle to squirt the lubrication on his fingers. He hesitated, licking his lips, and cast Sora a last warning look.

"This is it, Sora…"

"I know." Sora nodded.

"There's no going back."

"I know!"

"Are you… Are you still sure?"

"Yes!" Sora whined. "Ri-ku, stop being mean!" He stuck his tongue out and crossed his eyes, and when Riku smiled suggestively, he blushed and hit him before giggling again.

"Sora, you're so abusive…"

"Shut up! You know you like it!"

"Do I?"

"Ri-ku!"

"So-ra!"

Sora was so busy laughing and enjoying himself that when he felt a slick finger move past the ring of muscle at his bottom he squeaked in surprise and pain, squirming to get away. Riku's free hand came up, coming down to rest on his hip reassuringly, and he kissed the younger male's knee.

"Shh, Sora, it's supposed to hurt at first," Riku whispered softly. "Do you want to stop?" He was moving the finger around, and a second joined the first, probing gently, stretching in preparation.

Sora shook his head, tears shining in his eyes, and took a deep breath, staring up at the ceiling. His expression was filled with pain, but he determinedly bit down on his lip, trying not to squirm too much, but oh, God, did it burn.

Riku murmured sweet nothings to his ear, licking it and nipping it, free hand moving down his chest to rest over his shaft. After a moment, Sora began relaxing a little, licking his dry lips and wriggling in encouragement. When a third finger violated him, however, he squealed again and tried to get away.

"Sora! Ssh, Sora—it'll be all right, it'll all be over in a minute."

"I know, but it hurts, Ri-ku!"

Riku nuzzled his cheek, kissing it. "It'll be all right, Sora… Sshh…"

And that was when his finger brushed against that spot.

Sora mewled loudly, arching up into Riku's fingers eagerly, hands flying over the bed sheets again before gripping them tightly in his fists. Riku smiled lovingly, stroking the spot a few times until Sora was a quivering mass of pleasure beneath him.

He kissed the younger male's rosebud mouth, withdrawing his fingers and earning a mewl of protest. Humming soothingly, Riku lifted Sora's legs over his shoulders, taking a moment to admire them with his hands before positioning himself at Sora's entrance.

"Are you ready, Sora?" Riku whispered again.

"Yes!" Sora hissed, eyes dark with love, with lust.

"I'm going to go in slowly, okay…?"

"Get in, already!" Sora whined, pouting cutely.

Riku chuckled, shaking his head, and despite Sora's demands, he pushed in slowly, stopping whenever Sora made a whimper of pain. The brunette was quickly reverting back to his previous refusal of entrance, but he was trying to make it okay, licking his lips and wriggling his hips for Riku to continue until the older male was at last seated to the hilt.

"Sora, Sora, Sora…" Riku murmured, kissing away the tears trickling down Sora's cheeks. "I love you, Sora."

"I love you, too," Sora squeaked, eyes screwed shut in pain.

"It'll… all be over in a minute…" Riku breathed, trying to control himself—he wanted to ravage Sora inside and out, but he had to wait until Sora was ready. These things were delicate… he could wind up tearing Sora if he wasn't careful.

Sora bit his bottom lip hard, nodding once.

"Hey, Sora…" And Riku pulled out slowly.

"Yeah?" Sora replied, voice shaky with hurt.

"What's my favorite food?" Riku inched back in even more slowly.

"What?! What kind of a question is that?!" Sora choked, blue eyes shooting up and staring in disbelief at Riku.

Riku grinned a little, pulling out again. "Just answer the question."

"Ma—Macaroni and cheese!"

"Mhm. And what's my favorite dessert?" Thrusting back in.

"Um… Um… Chocolate ice cream with strawberries and whipped cream…!"

Pulling out. "Oh, very, very good, Sora. You get a treat just for answering that correctly." His hand curling around Sora's warmth, stroking it soothingly.

Sora mewled despite the pain in his rear end and sniffled a little, smiling lovingly at Riku. He knew what the older male was trying to do. "What's mine, Ri-ku?"

"Something disgusting," Riku replied. "Anchovies and vanilla ice cream with pecans and chocolate syrup."

"Yup!" Sora giggled a little, suddenly hissed, eyes going wide as that spot was hit again. "Unnn…!"

Ah, good, Riku thought, beginning to pick up a regular rhythm, slow and steady, allowing Sora to get used to him. And the brunette was writhing beneath him as he continued, breath hitching in his chest, eyes wide and staring into Riku's dark ones.

"R-Ri-ku…"

"What's… my favorite band?" Riku whispered to Sora's ear, trying to concentrate, but it was hard. Sora was so hot and tight… Nnn…

"Ahhh…! L'arc-en-ciel and Gackt!" Sora said quickly, voice squeaking again.

"…C-Color?"

"Black and yellow!"

Riku's pace was quickening; Sora was beginning to roll his hips up to meet Riku's thrusts. A few minutes and they were both gasping for air, bathed in a thin sheen of sweat, all questions lost to the mind numbing pleasure of sex.

"Oh, God, ohGodohGODohGOD…" Sora was chanting to Riku's ear. "RikuRikuRikuRiku!"

"…Sora…" Riku moaned.

It was so sweet. Not too fast, not too slow, just right. Their rhythm grew from sloppy and awkward, like their first kiss, to steady and firm, their bodies following a path long worn throughout the ages of time.

Riku twined his fingers through Sora's, holding their arms above the pillows, and rose to his knees a little, pounding into Sora. Sora's moans echoed throughout the house, rivaled the storm outside, loud and echoing and so fucking beautiful.

Riku would have gladly died right then—while he was rolling his hips into Sora's, and the brunette was chanting his name like it was a prayer, clinging to him with his free hand and lifting his body off the bed, screaming in pleasure. Each scream… It was like music… And he had to have more, had to have more.

Pounding into the lithe brunette… Pounding into him relentlessly…

Panting… Moaning… Writhing… Clawing at his back…

Nothing could compare to this. Not a thousand victories or a single shared paopu fruit. Not the Light, not the Darkness, not prophecies or Keyblades or reports or worlds or hearts … No, this was right there with the forgiving smile on Sora's face as he welcomed Riku back with open arms a year ago.

"Sora…" Riku panted. "I love you so much…"

They came together, heads tilted back as screams tore from their throats, bodies rocking forward and staying locked as orgasm took over and rain pounded along the roof of their home as thunder rumbled outside.

And it was so sweet.

--------

A shadow that had been hovering over the friendship of two souls, together since childhood and never to part, slowly crept away, lost to the pouring rain and the almost gentle flash of lightning. It would never come between them again.

Now everything was all right.

It was… all right…

Giggling. "Ew—all over the place, Ri-ku!"

"Shut up, Sora!" Growling, but soft and without a bite.

"Heehee."

----End----