Author's Note: While the all amazing Cait McKay and I were drinking a Jones' soda and musing about sending in our pictures, we came up with some little fantasy about what would happen if we did. This fantasy my friend, is what inspired this ficling. Enjoy. Jones's Soda is awesome. If you don't have the slightest clue what I'm talking about right now, you will by the end of this chappie.
Also, if you read this and like it, I'd appreciate it if you would review. Alot of people who have me on their favorites our author alert list have never reviewed any of my stories. I know that I myself have the habit of just adding a story to favorites without reviewing, but I'm trying to kick that habit because I know that I personally would prefer reviews. They're more personalized than just adding me to your favorites list, and therefore they boost my ego more. :cough: Yes. Thank you very much! Enjoy.
Disclaimer: I so don't own Kingdom Hearts. Or Jones's soda. I'm far too lame for that.
Chapter One: "I'm your soulmate."
The wind hissed violently, stinging my ears, biting at my cheeks and nose, hurling soft, white flakes into my eyes. Lucky me. I'd finally moved to Connecticut, and landed in the middle of one of the harshest winters ever recorded. And, having been born and raised in Honolulu, I wasn't even prepared for a mild winter. I pulled my cheap, thin coat closer as a shiver pulsed through my body. It wasn't just the cold making me shiver, it was also the fact that, after two years of pure agony, I was finally meeting a certain stranger. A stranger I was sure was my soul mate.
This stranger was standing a few paces before me, his pale skin and silver hair practically disappearing in the furious flakes of the blizzard. But his eyes were definitely not lost. They shone like gems through the hazy air. Those exquisitely turquoise eyes had haunted my dreams for years, their color constantly changing in the dream world, for I hadn't known their true beauty then. But now I did, and it was an electric beauty which pierced my flesh, digging through it fiercely until everything had been torn away but my shivering, unworthy soul.
My breath caught in my throat as my soul mate moved a step closer, his face void of expression.
"You've been following me all day, acting like a fucking groupie. Who the hell are you?"
The term "groupie" shocked me a bit, but I suppose it wasn't much of an exaggeration. After all, I had spent two years earning enough money to fly across the country and meet him. But I really did love him, in a strong and incredibly confusing way. In a way that had torn at my heart for two years now. And I hadn't ever really seen him until this morning. I gathered my courage and forced myself to speak.
"I…I'm your…soul mate." I stammered, a furious blush creeping across my cheeks as though the only reason I even had cheeks was so I could blush.
The beautiful creature before me, shrouded in a haze that had surely gathered there just to be near him, laughed. My heart jumped into my throat and I clamped my mouth shut, certain that if I opened it, the vital organ would slide out onto the frozen ground. I knew that I should have been offended by the laughter, but I couldn't help but smile. His laugh was so warm and bright, positively musical, and infectious and…everything good in the world had most likely originated from that laugh.
"We've never even met before," my soul mate managed between bouts of laughter.
The laughing had stopped now. "So you're saying this is some sort of love-at-first-sight thing?"
"I guess you could say that."
"But we're both guys."
Oh yeah. That. I'd completely forgotten that he might have a problem with that, because I hadn't ever thought to have a problem with it myself. It suited me just fine. "I don't care." I murmured.
He stared at me, and I fidgeted under his piercing, heated gaze. "What's your name?" he asked.
I smiled widely and allowed my mouth to play with the two, glorious syllables. Riku. Riku. Riku.
Riku continued with one short word. "'Bye."
My heart free-falled from my throat, straight through my feet and the ground, deep into the pits of hell. He couldn't leave me. It had taken me so long to find him; he couldn't just leave. "No, wait! Please!" I begged.
"I have to go home. We are in the middle of a blizzard after all, and my mom's probably worried. You should go home too."
I froze as he walked away. I was powerless to stop him, and was currently overcome with an immense nausea and sense of loss. Home? I couldn't go home. Home was thousands of miles away.
And so, with nowhere to go and only a paper-thin jacket to my name, I turned and walked back the way I had came, trudging through un-shoveled sidewalks and fighting against cruel winds to the center of this small town. I sat on a bench and watched some children run around as I attempted to think of something to do. It didn't work. There really wasn't anything I could do.
My hands were cold. Really cold. They were nearing numbness, at that point where everything you touch feels like knives stabbing into your flesh. I breathed on them and rubbed them together before shoving them into my pockets. The fingers of my right hand collided painfully with the smooth surface of my only possession.
I pulled the object out of my pocket and turned it over in my hands, laughing inwardly at myself. I was such a loser. Any normal person would have thrown this out the same day they obtained it. I'd kept mine for quite a while now. But then again, I had my reasons.
My fingers wandered over the small line of text that had led me here. "Selphie. 14. Belleview, CT."
Well, here I was, snowy, cold, Belleview Connecticut. Thousands of miles from what had once been my home, with nothing but a too-thin jacket, a piece of trash, and the hope of convincing Riku we were soulmates. But where was Selphie? Selphie, who was no longer fourteen, had started all this. She was the reason I was here in Belleview, with my too-thin jacket and a piece of trash with her name on it. And, aside from Riku, she was the only person in the town – hell, she was the only person in the tri-state region – I even remotely knew of.
So, I lifted myself off of the bench and walked over to a group of teenagers. I asked them a vague question, the answer to which was my last hope.
"Do you know Selphie?" I prayed to every god known to man that there was only one Selphie in Connecticut and that one of these three knew her.
The one female in the group answered, her violet eyes flicking shyly to the ground. "Uh, yeah, why?"
A smile stretched across my face. "Would you mind telling me where she lives?"
The shorter of the two males eyed me suspiciously as the taller answered my question. "She lives in that building right behind you. Apartment 2C."
I threw a 'thank you' over my shoulder as I ran to the building, whose windows read "Belleview Luxury Apartments." The quick transition from the cold outdoors into the heat of the building was harsh, but comforting. I took a moment to allow my limbs to regain feeling before rushing up the stairs, assuming that the 2 in '2C' meant it was on the second floor.
It didn't take long to find the apartment, and upon knocking on the door, it took even less time for someone to respond.
The girl who had answered chirped a greeting as she opened the door. She had short brown hair and large green eyes, which shone cheerfully.
"Selphie?" I inquired, slightly taken aback by the girl's overly cheerful countenance and oversized, canary-yellow sweater.
She gave me the once-over before deciding I was trustworthy and nodding enthusiastically.
"I…uh…I found this." I said, reluctantly handing her the object I had not parted with since it had come into my possession. She took it and examined it, her forehead wrinkled slightly in confusion. After a moment, a look of recognition passed over her features and she squeaked in delight. Bouncing up and down, she pulled me into the apartment and shoved me onto a couch.
Sitting next to me she asked, "Where did you get this?"
"Honolulu!" Her eyes were suddenly impossibly wide. "You've got to be kidding me!"
I shook my head 'no'.
"Sweet!" she squeaked again, eying the object proudly. After a second or two, her eyes narrowed. "Then, why are you here in Connecticut?" I know you didn't come all the way here from Hawaii just to show me this." Her veridian eyes were gleaming with the semblance of an idea as to just what it was that had led me here.
I sighed, the heat of a blush creeping slowly across my cheeks, and began to tell my story. "I found this two years ago," I started, reaching for the object, a soda bottle, and turning it so the label was visible. Jones's Soda - famous for the fact that their customers could send in photographs of their own to be placed on the label. This picture happened to have been taken by Selphie. It was in black and white, and there was a swingset, with, of course, a swing. And in the swing was a boy. His long, silver hair was tucked behind one ear, the rest falling across the far side of his face. He was looking down, lonely, or so he seemed.
"And you fell in love?" Selphie asked hopefully.
I nodded. I was half lost in my own little world. It was like that every time I looked at the label. Before I realized it, I had begun talking again. "Every time I look at this, I get the same way. My whole body is filled with an incredible warmth. But, at the same time I'm overcome with an intense longing, the pains of which rest even in my bones. It makes me feel as though, no matter how deeply I breathe in, I will never have enough air to fill my lungs. My hands suddenly feel empty, and I usually grab on to something." Sure enough, I was twisting one of the couch pillows in my hands as I spoke. "For a while afterwards, my mouth is dry, and I can't taste anything." I shivered as I continued. "Every time I look at this picture, I want to become a part of it. I want to jump into it and kneel beneath him. I paused for breath. My heart was beginning to clench, and speaking was becoming a little difficult. "I want to be what he's looking down at. I want to make him happy, see him smile. I want him to smile because I'm with him." I looked down, slightly embarrassed.
Selphie 'awwed' softly and moved closer, ruffling my spikey hair.
"I saw your name, age and location on the bottle, and spent a year raising enough money to buy a plane ticket to San Francisco. It was really hard, considering I haven't finished high school yet, and I had to pay bills and buy food too. In San Francisco, I did the same, and now, I'm here."
"You had to pay bills?" she inquired softly. I nodded, not wishing to explain why. She nodded back, eyes lowered, and I suddenly understood that she lived in this apartment alone.
"Hey," she murmured, "you wanna stay here with me for a while?"
I smiled up at her. "Yeah, that'd be great. Thanks."
"No problem." She winked. "I've found myself rather sympathetic to your cause. Call me a hopeless romantic all you want, I'll still think it's adorable how determined you are."