Title: Born To Be Wild

Author: Slashapalooza

Disclaimer: I don't own Kingdom Hearts, because, obviously, if I did, Final Mix would totally be released over here first.

Author's Note: What's that? This story hasn't been updated in almost two years? Really? Huh. How about that. Well, I hope this chapter more than makes up for it, even though I had to change the chapter plan for this again because I didn't like the way the story was going. Again. But, hey, that means updates for you so why should you care? Enjoy!

Thanks To: Everyone who pushed this story that much closer to 500 reviews. Because I mean, wow. You guys have no idea how much I appreciate it.

Date Begun: March 6, 2007

Date Posted: March 10, 2007

Part VI: Of Complications and Blatant Jealousy

"Advice is like castor oil, easy to give, but dreadful to take."
Josh Billings


The minion had been missing for the better part of the day and, for once, I was happy about it. I wasn't sure I could face Sora after what had happened at the mall the day before. I didn't know what was happening to me.

Well, I did, but I wasn't ready to face that just yet. Sora was supposed to be the challenge I did when I was bored—like the rubric cube I kept under my bed to play with on a rainy day, up until I got tired of it and just peeled off all the stickers. He wasn't supposed to be in my head. He didn't want to be there and I certainly didn't want or need him there.

Falling for someone who had little to no interest in me? I'd pulled a lot of stupid stunts over the years, but this one had to take the cake.

Mom was hovering over me like a hawk, even though I hadn't moved much except to change the channel on the plasma screen TV with the remote control. Anytime it fell off the bed, I just buzzed one of the maids up to get it. Obviously, I was in full sulk mode, but try telling that to her.

Mom was under the impression that when people were upset, they needed company. She didn't hang around the house enough to know that when I was upset, all I wanted was my pitch black room and my TV remote until I was ready to go out for some air. Then again, Dad, who was around all the time, knew less than she did. Seriously, they needed to start some kind of exchange-a-parent program because mine kind of sucked.

"So," Mom said in a fake casual tone. So fake I didn't even need to make an effort to see through it. "About Sora."

I flipped the channel from the news to some documentary on the feeding habits of the manatee.

"He dropped by yesterday—sans you, obviously, or you would know about it—"

Despite the fact that this interested me, my only physical reaction was to flip the channel again. Some music video by some artist was on.

"—and we were talking about you," Mom continued as if I'd actually been listening. "You know how I think subtlety is overrated so I asked him a few things and… well, Riku, honey," She blocked my view of the video to touch my shoulder, green eyes sympathetic. "I think you're wasting your time with this one."

That got my attention. "What?"

"I said, I think you're wasting your time with this one," she repeated, pursing her lips. "He seems like a nice enough boy, very cute. I can see why you like him. But I can't see him returning it." Mom must have seen something on my face because she quickly added. "Not that there's anything wrong with you."

I kept staring at her mutely. Mom had never looked favorably or unfavorably on any of my conquests. She pretty much turned a blind eye to what, or who I did, whether it was a boy or a girl I was sneaking up the stairs at one o'clock in the morning. Dad generally preferred it to be a girl so I could at least give him an heir before going off on my wild, homosexual adventures, but Mom had never cared.

But why now? And why put the stamp of disapproval on Sora, who had to be the best, if not the purest, of any of them?

"Look, Riku," Mom sat down on the bed beside me and wrapped an arm around my shoulder, pulling me closer. I managed to resist the urge to put up a fight. She was really strong when she wanted to be. "Sora just seems like the type to get attached and… you haven't had a steady girl- or boyfriend since you hit puberty."

"That's not true!" I spoke at last, indignant. "I dated that one girl. For a month. A whole month!"

Mom was not impressed. "Yeah? What was her name?"


"Last name?"

I fell silent. Dammit.

Mom shifted on the bed, pushing me down until my head was resting in her lap and she was stroking my hair. It reminded me of what she used to do when I was younger and she was actually around for more than a few weeks at a time. Despite the fact that those days were long gone, I relaxed and just let her take care of me. She seemed eager to do it and I was just too tired to deal with this.

"Face it, sweetie. You're a flavor of the week kind of guy. Sora's a someday my prince will come kind of guy. Eventually, someone's going to get hurt," she cooed softly. "You can keep him for the rest of the week, but I really think that after the week is over, you should let him go and move on. How many days have you got left anyway?"

I thought about it. "Four more days, if you include today."

"Yeah, so, four days," Mom leaned down and kissed my temple. "I suggest you just have fun for the next four days. Not fun like make him clean your room again fun." How did she know about that? "Fun like the two of you going to, I don't know, an arcade fun. Why don't you stop treating him like a conquest and start treating him like a friend?"

"And then what?"

"And then," She pushed me upright, shrugging. "You let him go."

This didn't sit right with me at all, especially not after today, but I didn't argue. I grabbed the remote again. "What time is it?"

"Almost five," Mom answered as she got to her feet and stretched. I turned off the TV, hesitating only a moment before getting up and heading to the closet for my coat. "Where are you going?"

I glanced at Mom over my shoulder, then began searching through my coats for one that didn't have a designer label. "To Sora's. I only have four days to be friends with him, right?"

I could feel her smiling behind me, but I didn't look up until I'd heard the door quietly click shut.

"Friendship is love without his wings."
Lord Byron


Kairi was in the kitchen making popcorn, I was trying to decide between The Parent Trap and Lady and the Tramp (Kairi's choices, not mine), and Riku hadn't bothered me all day. I thought I should be worried or something since he couldn't seem to go a day without cropping up in my otherwise peaceful life, but considering I'd stolen his shirt and all, I wasn't too eager to seek him out.

At best, he'd tease me about it. At worst, he'd want it back.

It was wrapped up in my pillows at the moment, which had gotten an odd look from Kairi before I'd all but kicked her out of my bedroom. I indulge myself once and suddenly the universe is conspiring against me. Next thing you know, my Mom would find it and want to know why I was sleeping with a shirt that was too big for me.

"Do you want extra butter on your popcorn this time or just a pinch more salt?" Kairi called from the kitchen. I finally decided on Lady and the Tramp and put it in the VCR.

"Salt," I called back, grabbing the VCR remote. I was already regretting giving Kairi the right to choose the movies we'd be watching tonight. I mean, sure I'd called her and begged her to come over for one of our movie nights before Riku drove me crazy. But Kairi always chose the girliest movies. Even I had limits. I was just lucky she hadn't felt like watching Titanic, because if I had to watch Jack and Rose in that car one more time

The doorbell rang just as I pressed play. Instead of answering it, I threw myself down on the couch and grabbed a pillow to put behind my head. If Mom was back from bingo early, then she had a key. Anyone else was not more important than a night of bonding with my best friend.

Kairi walked out of the kitchen, jumping over the back of the couch and spilling popcorn all over the place as she landed beside me with a quirked eyebrow. "Aren't you going to answer that?"

"You were up first," I pointed out.

"It's your house," she retorted.

"I'm cuter than you."

"I've got boobs."

"Still cuter than you."

"Still got boobs."

I glanced at her chest. "Says you."

I was only slightly surprised at the fist that connected with my shoulder, no doubt leaving a bruise. But at least she got up, even if she was grumbling expletives under her breath. As if it was even possible to do that with a soccer ball. Or a bicycle pump.

She stomped over to the door and flung it open. "Oh," she said, sounding surprised to see Riku there. Hell, I could have predicted that one. "Hi."

"Close the door, Kairi," I said, grabbing a fistful of popcorn and stuffing it in my mouth. I'd already decided that ignoring him was the best route to take in this situation. "The movie's about to start and obviously there's no one of any real importance at the door.

Kairi snorted. "Give me a break, Sora. Actually, no, give him a break." Her voice turned pleasant and I could have predicted this one, too. "Come on in. We're about to watch The Lady and the Tramp."

"You guys get together at night to watch romantic Disney movies?" Riku asked, sounding strangely docile. I tilted my head back to look at him. As usual, he was staring straight at me. However, instead of a smirk or a leer or even a playful smile, he seemed… tired. No, that wasn't the right word. Almost… defeated? Like a puppy that had been kicked one too many times.

What could have—No, I wasn't going to do this. That was how he roped me in. Showing emotions right before he grabbed my ass.

Kairi was skipping back to the couch and considered putting arsenics in her coffee tomorrow morning. Maybe I wouldn't even need to put it in her coffee. Maybe I could just dump it down her throat now. Who was Riku going to tell?

I expected him to have plopped down next to me and wrapped an arm around me or something like that by now, but he just stayed by the door.

"Are you going to watch with us or did you come to admire the doorpost?" I asked, handing Kairi the bowl so I could roll up onto my knees and look at him without hurting my neck. He didn't say anything. "Riku?"

"Hm?" He blinked once, twice, focusing on me. "Wait, what?"

I frowned. "What did you want?"

"Oh, I—" he hesitated, then plowed on. "I wanted to invite you to go with me to the arcade tomorrow."

"Um. What?"

What was wrong with him? He was not only being practically shy—the exact opposite of how he usually was—but he was asking me out? Asking and not ordering? Didn't he still have forever and a day left to boss me around?

What was wrong with him?

"Do you want to go to the arcade with me tomorrow? Like friends?" Riku asked, sounding a bit more confident now that he'd said it once. "If you're busy, I understand, but I just thought—"


"He's not busy," Kairi interrupted, sitting up next to me and beaming in the face of my ineffective glare. "He'd love to go with you."

Riku didn't take his eyes off me. "Sora?"

"I…" There was just something so off about all of this, but… "Sure, I guess. That doesn't sound too painful."

It could have been my imagination, but I could have sworn he'd sighed in relief. He clapped his hands together. "So, what are we watching?"

Kairi slid over to make room for him between us on the couch and I sank back down, too puzzled to even scoot as far away as I could. Something had changed about him, I could tell. I just had no idea what it was. At least he wasn't asking for his shirt back. Which was not exactly what I needed to be thinking about right now.

Riku sat down, overwhelming with his scent. It took a huge amount of self-control not to inhale deeply and sigh. Our thighs were touching, I noticed immediately, but Riku was laughing at Kairi's ten second description of The Lady and the Tramp. Either he was acting innocent or he seriously didn't notice that our thighs were touching.

And if he didn't notice that our thighs were touching, and I did, there was a problem.

"Kairi, can I see you in the kitchen for a minute?" I said suddenly, standing and dragging Kairi to her feet. She struggled, but I managed to manhandle her into the kitchen anyway, taking a moment to peer out at Riku before hissing, "What the hell is his problem?"

She shrugged my hand off and gave me a look. "The fact that you keep treating him like shit maybe?"

"Well, excuse me if I don't believe the sun shines out of his ass like the rest of the school."

"That's not even it, Sora," Kairi snapped, scaring me. "You don't care that he's popular or that he's arrogant or that he's whatever-the-hell-else you keep admonishing him for. You're just scared."

I glared at her icily. "Oh, yeah? Of what exactly?"

"That's what I want to know!"

"Have you ever considered that maybe I just don't like him?"

"Have you kissed him?" Kairi demanded a second later.

"He kissed me." I didn't mention the kiss on the beach. That had been self-defense, but if I told her, Kairi would never let it go.

"And you let him?"

"Of course not!" I held up my fist, holding up a finger for each word I spoke. "I. Hate. Him. How hard is it to comprehend those three words? Or do you need three more? How about: Do. Not. Want."

Kairi growled and stomped her way out of the kitchen. As soon as she was gone, I collapsed against the counter, my hands in my hair. I hated fighting with Kairi, but what was I supposed to do? She obviously wanted me to shack up with Riku and I just… I couldn't.

I wasn't stupid. Going out with him now would be just like saying, "Hey, Riku, here's my heart. Go play darts with it and maybe later you can run over it with your limo. If it's still beating after that, feel free to torch it!" He wasn't boyfriend material. We wanted different things. It wouldn't work out. I refused, absolutely refused, to put myself out there when I knew I was just going to get hurt.

I was thinking so hard about this I almost didn't notice when Riku joined me in the kitchen, startling me from a safe distance. I wasn't sure whether I'd preferred to have been jarred out of my thoughts with a kiss or not. On the one hand, it would have meant he was back to normal. On the other hand, that would just prove Kairi's point.

"Hey, um, Kairi sent me to come check on you," Riku murmured without meeting my eyes. As if I hadn't already gotten the feeling he was lying.

My heart was somewhere near my throat, waiting for me to hand it over. I swallowed. "I'm fine," I said shortly, heading out of the kitchen. "Let's just watch the movie."

"I was nauseous and tingly all over. I was either in love or I had smallpox."
Woody Allen


I was starting to get the feeling that my very presence here was pissing Sora off. His jaw was set and he was staring at the television with such intensity that it was obvious he was trying to ignore the fact that I was sitting right next to him. And ever since she'd come out of the kitchen, Kairi had been a metaphorical glacier. Her answers were clipped and, every so often, she'd shoot Sora a dirty look around me.

I felt like a third wheel in a bad soap-opera. Any second now, Sora would stand up and declare that all this fighting was killing him on the inside and, oh, by the way, he had herpes which he had passed on to Kairi's sister's twin's cousin when he slept with her in an effort to get back at Kairi for cheating on him when they were twelve. And then Kairi would get up and announce that it was okay, because she gave gonorrhea to the mailman and also to the dog and did she mention they were having weird human-puppy babies from that? And then they'd start making out, leaving me to sit in the shadows and wonder if any of that was even legal.

Should I leave? I really should have known better than to try and overstay my welcome, but when Sora had told me he'd come to the arcade with me, I'd been powerless to leave until he told me to.

Was this what love felt like? This overwhelming and scary, but new and exciting thing that bubbled up in my chest every time Sora even looked at me? How sappy was that? I almost wanted to ditch him right now and save myself the trouble.

But the more I sat here, the more I couldn't help thinking that Mom had been right. Sora and I were too different to ever go out. I wasn't even sure if we could be friends, but I was willing to try. It was only three days, or less depending on how cooperative Sora would be. Still, at least I'd have something to look back on fondly when we got back to school on Monday and I was forced to make Sora and his bright blue eyes and his adorable pout and his spiky brown hair a memory.

I slumped down on the couch and tried not to look miserable.

The bowl of popcorn was in Sora's lap. I was afraid that if I reached for it he might think I was trying to grope him and then gnaw my hand off. I had to take baby steps with this friendship thing. I didn't have a lot of friends. I had people who hung around me, sure, but there were few people I'd actually go to with my problems.

Actually, now that I thought about it, there was really no one I trusted enough with my problems. Wow, I was pathetic.

"Would you shut up?" Sora whispered and I glanced up, wondering why he sounded more amused than angry. "You're thinking so loud I can't hear the movie."

I had to smile and I saw Kairi smile too out of the corner of my eye. "Sorry," I whispered back, taking a chance. "Those of us who can actually think like to do it frequently."

Kairi choked back a giggle and Sora glared at me. But this one was different than his usual glares. This one wasn't hostile.

"You suck," He said with a dramatic pause. "A lot."

"That's what everone says," was on the tip of my tongue. I pressed my lips together to keep it in and tried to pay attention to the movie. I'd never seen The Lady and the Tramp, or wanted to, as the romantic lives of animals was of no real interest to me. That's why I'd never seen The Lion King. The closest I'd come was The Little Mermaid, but that was ruined for me after I started wondering how the hell Triton managed to procreate so many daughters with that fish bottom and no male parts.

I was always such a perverted kid.

The three of us lapsed into silence again, but at least the air wasn't so tense anymore. Sora seemed to be contemplating something and Kairi was genuinely watching the movie this time. I wondered what they'd be doing if I hadn't shown up, then stifled the thought before I felt anything even remotely resembling jealousy. I had no right to be jealous and, anyway, I was Sora's friend and nothing more.

Nothing more. Ever. I felt like a hormonal teenage girl with all the mood swings my thoughts were taking me through. I blamed the brunet next to me for that.

Sora nudged me with his shoulder and I was surprised when I looked up and saw a little smile on his face. "Okay, so, look. You're not going to go away, right?"

I considered telling him about my conversation with my Mom, then decided against it. I wasn't going to guilt him into being my friend by telling him that I'd be, in a way, seeing other people as soon as we got back to school. I just shook my head.

"Well," he fidgeted for a moment. "You seem to be actually trying to be my friend and I'm… I'm going to try and respect that. I can play nice. So if I start to slip or hate you just a little too much, you just… remind me that I don't mean it, alright?"

I knew Sora was talking to me, but he was looking at Kairi when he spoke. The smile I'd seen on her earlier was back and I knew they'd been talking about me in the kitchen. Not that I couldn't have guessed that, but it was pretty much confirmed now. At least they hadn't been making out or something.

"Alright," I said, bringing Sora's attention back to me. I gave him my best smile and held out my hand. "Riku Masaki. Nice to meet you."

Sora grinned back and shook my hand. "Sora Harada. Nice to meet you, too."

Kairi got up and wedged her way between us, placing her hands on top of ours. "Kairi Hotaka. Gentlemen, this is the start of a beautiful friendship."

Damn, I hoped so.

"Treat your friend as if he will one day be your enemy and your enemy as if he will one day be your friend."


Riku Masaki was in my kitchen washing my dishes. Riku was washing my dishes. At my house. Was anyone else seeing the utter randomness that was my life? Just this week, I was cleaning his room against my will. Now he was in my kitchen washing my dishes.

I really didn't know how to feel about this.

I got off the couch and took the tape from Kairi as she popped it out of the VCR, ignoring the smug smile on her face once we'd stood.

"Do you really think he can do it or were you just saying that to make me happy?" She asked, reaching up to pat down her hair and giving me an unnecessary view of her stomach as her pajama top rode up. Sometimes I wished I was actually interested in looking. It would make my life so much easier.

"Well, I'm pretty sure he has something better he could be doing at ten at night other than washing my dishes." I shrugged. "That's something. And it's always less painful for me if you're happy."

"Is he sleeping over, too?"

I glanced at the kitchen, where the sounds of Riku singing 'Out Tonight' from Rent could be heard. "Hell no."

Kairi laughed, then patted me on the arm and went to join Riku in the kitchen. I sighed heavily, pressing a hand to my forehead and wondering why this all just seemed so… hard. It really shouldn't be this complicated. I was a friendly person. I made friends really easily when I felt like it. Why did being friends with Riku seem like it was going to be more trouble than it was worth? There was a pressure in my chest that wouldn't go away and tightened every time I thought about it.

I heard laughter—Kairi's light one intermixed with Riku's deeper laugh—coming from the kitchen and that just made me feel worse. I needed him out of my house before I went insane. And from what?

"Ah! Riku, stop it!" Kairi squealed and, before I realized I was even moving, I was standing in the doorway of the kitchen watching them wrestle over control of the spray pipe. Riku was winning, I guessed, since Kairi's shirt was soaked through and only the edges of Riku's hair were damp. "Give me that!"

Riku held it up over her head, then pressed the handle, dousing Kairi with enough water to make her look like she'd taken a bath with her clothes on. And to get the kitchen floor wet, which Mom wasn't going to like when she got back home.

Kairi jabbed a finger in my direction. "Would you get him please? I'm so wet."

Riku and I exchanged glances. Even I couldn't stop from snickering.

"Oh, grow up," Kairi said with a giggle of her own, wringing out her shirt. Seconds later, I was splashed with a wave of cold water as Riku turned the spray pipe on me. I grabbed a cup from the sink, half-full of soapy water.

Riku raised an eyebrow. "I have way more water in my ammo than you."

"Be that as it may, grasshopper," I said sagely. "I've been in way more water fights than you. I know all your weak spots."

Kairi scooted out of our way as we faced each other down, both waiting for the other one to attack. Riku didn't seem to be moving any time soon, so I zipped to the left only barely avoiding another spray of water, and pounced. My legs immediately wrapped around his waist as I dumped my cup of water over his head and made a grab for the spray pipe.

Riku toppled over, taking me with him, and sending the pipe flying. We ended up on the ground in a tangle of wet limbs, laughing so hard we could barely speak. Then we were being sprayed again; Kairi was getting her revenge.

"Get off me," Riku said between laughs, pushing at my chest. "You weigh a metric ton."

I stuck my tongue out at him and planted my butt firmly on his stomach, raising an eyebrow challengingly. I really should have known better. He had me pinned under him in seconds.

The room suddenly got very, very warm and I anticipated—I mean, dreaded—the kiss that always came in these kind of situations. I didn't see when Riku held out his hand to Kairi, so I was understandably shocked when I got a face full of water instead.

"HELP!" I gurgled, squirming out from under Riku and running to hide behind Kairi. Then I remembered where he'd gotten the spray pipe from and shoved her. "Traitor!"

She shoved back. "Whiner!"


"You suck!"

"That's what everyone says," I said cheekily, blinking at the surprised look that crossed Riku's face. "I'm just kidding, you pervert."

"Um, no, I—nevermind," he coughed and placed the spray pipe back on its stand. He looked around the kitchen, scratching his damp hair. "Oops."

I nodded, smiling. "Mom's going to kill me."

"Remember, guys, Kairi was never here," Kairi said as she shook the water out of her hair. "In fact, Kairi was never born."

"Yeah, it makes me feel better to believe that sometimes, too."

She punched me.

Riku chuckled, grabbing a washcloth. "You guys go do whatever you would be doing if I wasn't here. I'll clean this up."

"Don't be stupid," I took the cloth from it. "It's my house. I'll clean it up."

"I'll be in the living room," Kairi volunteered, already on her way out. "Hurry up and finish."

I shook my head. And she called me lazy.

Riku had already found another washcloth and was on his knees, wiping up the water. He wasn't doing it very well, though, obviously not one accustomed to cleaning up his own mess. Huh. For awhile there I'd forgotten how rich he was. Actually, for awhile, it had seemed like we were…


Maybe this friend thing could work out after all.

I kneeled down next to him, placing a hand over his to stop it and smiling warmly. "Okay, stop, you're just spreading the water around. Here's how you do it."

"Sora," Riku began quietly, looking down at our hands, then back up at me. He didn't continue, but I could see what he wanted. And right then, maybe I wanted it a little, too.

Too caught up in the moment to realize that this was exactly what I'd been trying to avoid, I closed my eyes, tilted my head, and leaned forward for the big kiss. But it never came. My eyes slid open, only to see that Riku had retreated to the far side of the kitchen and was scrubbing the floor so hard with the washcloth that it almost looked like he was trying to peel the floor off.

"Riku?" I whispered, voice shaking with the disappointment that I was trying to suppress.

He scrubbed harder. "I just wanted to ask if maybe using paper towels would be better to clean this up."

"…oh." This was so awkward. Was I really so easy that I'd want to kiss him because he'd kept his hands to himself for a couple of hours? "I—I'm going to get the…" I stumbled to my feet, ignoring the way my heart was pounding painfully in my chest. "The…"

"Mop?" Riku suggested, equally uncomfortable.

"Yeah, that thing," and then I practically ran out of the room.

"If you don't know what you want, you end up with a lot you don't."
Charles Palahniuk


What just happened here?

Actually, better question, what was wrong with Sora? Yesterday, he was yelling at me and ditching me at the mall and today he was yelling at me and then trying to kiss me in his kitchen. Talk about mixed signals. And why did he have to be having this internal conflict after I'd decided to stop chasing him?

He made no sense. This made no sense. I took it out on the floor, scrubbing like I was trying to dig a hole with nothing but a washcloth and my bare hands. I heard the front door open and close, and Kairi's cheerful voice sing, "Welcome home, Mrs. Harada."


I got to my feet and made it to the living room at the same time Sora did, already wondering what we were going to tell her about the watery mess in the kitchen. And all over us. Mrs. Harada, who had been smiling at Kairi, stared at Sora and I for a minute or two.

"Why are the three of you wet?" She asked, not sounding as confused as I would expect her to. "Did you start a water fight in my kitchen again, Sora?"

I looked at Sora. Again?

Sora caught my gaze and blushed. "No, I—"

"Without me?" Mrs. Harada continued with a sigh. "I thought I raised you right."

"Mom, it wasn't me! It was him!" Sora pointed at me, a pout beginning to form. "He invited himself over and he started a water fight in the kitchen with Kairi, but I was too good for him to beat and now the kitchen's all wet." He paused to take a breath. "And so are we now that I think about it, so we should all probably change."

"Actually, I should really just go," I said, clearing my throat and giving Mrs. Harada my most charming smile. "I'm sorry if Sora wasn't allowed to have visitors while you were gone. If you want, I'll finish cleaning the kitchen before I go."

She stared at me blankly, then seemed to cross the room in second to wrap me in a hug. "He's so polite! What were you complaining about all week, Sora?"

"I'm not sure myself…" Sora murmured as he shuffled his feet. "Come on, Kairi. You can borrow some of my clothes."

"Oh, good. We're about the same size, right?" Kairi and Mrs. Harada laughed at Sora's glare, which, admittedly, was not all that scary. "Can I wear that shirt you have wrapped around your pillow?"

"What? No!"

The horror with which Sora said this made me look up. He looked at me wide-eyed, then dashed out of the room. Again.

"What shirt?" I asked a giggling Kairi.

"I don't know. He's got this shirt in his room all wrapped up with his pillow. I went in there to put my stuff down after I finished changing in the bathroom and he was sniffing it."

"Oh. That's not bizarre at all." I said sarcastically.

"It looks like it's big on him, too, so it can't be his." Kairi turned amused eyes on me. "You're not missing any shirts, are you?"

I had way too many clothes to be sure of that, but I played along. "Ah, so that's where it went to. Well, at least I know it's in good hands."

"KAIRI!" Sora shouted from the other room. "If you don't get in here, I'll put you out on the porch naked!"

Kairi smiled at me one more time, then headed in the same direction Sora had gone. Okay, maybe she was cooler than I had given her credit for. But that was before I'd spoken to her and when I'd been convinced she was after Sora. I liked to think it was her personality and not knowing that she wasn't in love with him that made my feelings change.

Mrs. Harada patted my shoulder. "You go on home, Riku. I'll clean the kitchen, but don't you dare come over here and start a water fight in my kitchen without inviting me again."

She was definitely related to Sora. "I'll keep that in mind."

End of Part VI