And I Found It Under The Couch


"They have got to be kidding me…"

"Heh heh… kinda big, isn't it?"

"Big? Big? Sora, this place could house around half the damn homeless people in the village!"

"Yeah…. Do we really have to clean all of it?"

Riku sighed, giving a reluctant nod of his head. They stood together, side by side, surrounded by massive amounts of marble on all sides. Great stone pillars sprouted up and crawled along the wall, suspended over their heads in great arches. Crimson banners of silk hung from the rafter like waves, rippling in the gusts of wind sent sailing every time the large door opened. A sweeping red carpet was rolled out in the middle of the great room, splitting the sea of white in half and causing a ribbon of red reflection to go streaking across the high polished ceiling. Windows towered above their heads, intricate patterns of colors stained deep within the cut glass, sending ripples of reds, blues, greens and grays washing over the high throne sitting neatly at the back center of the chamber.

"Every square inch," Riku confirmed, pulling the cart in behind him and shutting the large white door behind them. The silk banner above swayed from the banisters. The trolley was heavy with two sets of cleaning products each; mops, rags, window cleaners, floor polish, and scrubbing brushes to name a few. There was also a rather suspicious looking jar of a thick green paste that Riku and Sora didn't dare touch after Sora almost burnt his hand just touching the bottle.

Sora sighed heavily as well, ruffling the hair at the back of his head with one hand and using the other to lean against the cart. "But this'll take all day," he said exasperatedly.

"No use complaining about it," Riku scolded gently, walking back a few steps to peel up the carpet. "C'mon, Sora, help me with this. We'll roll it back so we can get under here…"

Muttering resentful things about certain silver-haired hypocrites under his breath, Sora obliged by squatting down as well and gripping at the end of the fold loosely. He gave a half-hearted tug; it wouldn't budge.

"It's not gonna move, Riku," Sora said sullenly.

Riku chuckled. "Sora, you're moping again."

Color instantly flaming up his cheeks, Sora said, "I do not!" a pout stuck prominently on his face.

Releasing another short bout of quiet laughter, Riku said, "C'mon, you big baby. Help me pull up this thing… But if you're too weak to do it, by all means, go get the mops ready. I can handle this myself."

"Yeah right, Riku," Sora snorted, redoubling his grip. "You ready?" he asked, looking up into amused green eyes.

"Yup," Riku replied, smiling. He always knew exactly which buttons to push to get the brunet moving. "On the count of three?"

"Sure." Making sure his grip was firm on the surprisingly soft material, he said, "One."

Riku smirked. "Two."


Riku had already started pulling, catching Sora off guard. Laughing as Sora stumbled and landed on the floor with an, "Oomph!", Riku ran backwards as fast as he could, dragging the end of the carpet with him. It seemed to be most reluctant to leave the floor, and every inch that was lifted made a great suctioning noise, like a wet plunger.

Riku laughed as Sora got to his feet and swayed on the spot for a few moments. "Oh yeah, you can handle it," Riku jeered, continuing his graceful backwards trot, his smirk stretching up even further as Sora narrowed in eyes in a fierce glare.

"Gah, Riku!" he shouted impatiently, already racing forwards, causing his friend to laugh harder. "You idiot! What'd you do that for, huh!?"

"You're too slow, Sora!"


Needless to say, the carpet was not sufficiently rolled and out of the until after an extra half hour and one bloody nose. It was not the best start to the morning, both agreed, but it was a start.

Speaking of start…

"Where should we start?"

"Huh?" Riku sad unceremoniously. He was stemming the steady flow of blood from his right nostril, the rather unfortunate result from their little skirmish, with his shirt sleeve. Aerith would reprimand him later for ruining his uniform for the second time in two days, but he figured she'd be a bit more lenient, seeing as it was blood instead of marker.

Sora was gesturing around the vast hall with, looking around in wonder. "The maid lady said to clean it… but where do we start?"

"First of all," Riku said, holding up one finger with his free hand, "she said only to clean the floors and throne, and secondly," a second finger, "there's no damn way I'm even going near that thing, so that takes one off of our agenda."

"Eh? Why?"

"Can't you do simple math? Two minus one is--"

"I know that!" Sora retorted. "But the throne--"

"Do you want to touch something someone spends hours at a time sitting on, pretending to be all high and mighty?"

"Well, no, but I don't think…"

"Then it's settled," Riku said shortly, taking the cufflink away from his nose and surveying it with slight interest. "We'll start at one corner of the floor and work our way to the door." He was prodding the bridge of his nose, checking to see if anymore blood would be leaking, before walking briskly past Sora to the cart at the other end of the hall. "Come on, let's get started!" he called over his shoulder. "If we get done early, maybe we can sneak out of here for a while."

"I'm pretty sure they thought of us sneaking off, Riku," Sora replied meekly, trotting after Riku. "What if we caught?"

"Then we get caught," Riku said, shrugging. He had picked up one of the two large bottles of floor polished and was closely examining the label. "What else could they do to us?"

"Make us stay three years instead of two?"

Riku ignored him. "Okay, this said to add one part cleaner, eight parts warm water… whatever. Let's just dump it in and get some water… Sora can you fill these up with water from the storage closet?" He held out to Sora two large buckets with one hand, one hand resting easily on the mops. "I'll move the chairs off to the side…" He looked around at the chairs, possibly numbering two dozen, that lined the right wall.

"All right," Sora consented, giving in to the fact that Riku was too stubborn to keep on talking right now. "Where is it?"

"It's right outside the door and to the right. Keep on going and at the corner there's a door; the faucet's right in there."



"Words simple cannot describe the progress we've made in," a pause as he checked the large clock on the wall, "two hours."

"Shut up, Riku…"

In the past two hours, the cavernous room still stood with scuffed floors and a rolled up rug. A few square feet in the corner of the room glowed with a pearly white sheen, making the sun ashamed to rise, gleaming in all of it's white glory--

Actually, it was still fairly scuffed up itself. The only difference was lighter scuffmarks. Whether or not this was any real improvement was up to debate.

Riku groaned, rubbing his sore palms against the smooth fabric of his pants, allowing the handle of the mop to rest on his shoulder. "We're never gonna get this done," he growled. "Damn rat… why'd he have to have such a big room for his stupid throne anyway?"

"A better question would be how it got so dirty," Sora replied sullenly. He was still pushing the mop back and forth across the floor, but only halfheartedly. His arms were tired from lugging the buckets of water (he'd had to make two trips; the first time he'd spilled them all over the hallway) and scrubbing at a floor that would sooner turn blue then get clean.

"I think we made more footprints," Riku said idly, lifting up his foot to look at the ground below it. "Hey, what do you know? We have."

Sora let out his loudest moan of frustration yet, aimlessly kicking at the floor with his foot. "This stupid stuff isn't working!" he said, and Riku took it to mean the floor polish. "How're we supposed to clean this place if we don't even have the right stuff!?"

Riku eyed his fuming friend for a few silent moments before walking carefully over the slippery floor (which was thick with suds that didn't seem to be much in the mood for cleaning) and picked up the bottle to read again. We didn't everything right… That water's hot, right?"

Sora dunked his finger into the frothy water tentatively before saying, "Yep."

Riku threw the bottle back onto the cart. "Then there shouldn't be any problem! Stupid stuff…"

"Do cleaning products go bad?" Sora asked curiously as he, too, treaded across the floor. "Should we ask if they have any fresher stuff?"

"This stuff was brand new," Riku replied, giving the bottle a look of deep distain. "It wasn't even opened yet… So much for getting out of here for a while…"

Choosing to ignore his friends cynical comments, Sora said, "Well, we'll keep on trying," he said, trying his best to put a bit of cheerfulness into his voice. "If it doesn't get clean after a little bit, then we'll go ask Aerith for some other stuff, 'kay?"

There was a long pause.

"Fine," Riku muttered. "Whatever. But if it doesn't get clean in half an hour, I'm out of here." And without another word, he turned heel and strode across the slippery floor to his abandoned mop. Sora watched as his best friend pushed it forcefully against the floor, frustration etched across his features.

It had been a long morning, and Sora understood. They didn't even want to be here in the first place, and being given a task that was deeming itself to be nearly impossible…

Sora scanned over the cart's contents carefully, looking for something that might help. The window cleaner bottle was half empty; they'd spent that spraying the floors in the hope that it would be strong enough. All it did was produce a foul and strong smell that made them both feel so dizzy that they had to prop the door open to let in fresh air, which was quite a feat in itself; the door was heavy, and refused to stay open without something propping it back.

There was the green gunk that Sora was no longer brave enough to touch, rags which would be of no sooner help then a toothbrush. Mind you, the toothbrush might stand a better chance. Bristles would be much better than the soft mop--

And with that thought in mind, Sora's eyes fell upon the scrubbing brushes. With the handles. The large, looped handles.

Sora soon found a smirk of his own.


Riku could hear Sora rummaging around the bottles and rags behind him, but he didn't bother to turn around and tell him off. He was too tired. Aerith had put him on some sort of medication and it was making his bones ache and weariness drag at his muscles (1). He thought bitterly of the nice soft bed back in their room, and grudgingly pushed the mop back across the floor, which sneered dirtily up at him.

Damn it. You know you need sleep when the floor was being smug.

You also knew that you needed sleep when you start seeing blurs of color.

That were streaking across your line of vision.

In frighteningly familiar colors.


Riku reached out a hand to grab at the blur, but it easily dodged with a sharp laugh. Riku blinked his eyes and watched his friend zoom lazily before his eyes, skidding across the floor effortlessly, small puddles of fresh suds forming in his wake.

In the wake of his feet… which had somehow grown long brown bristles.

"Sora… what the Hell?" Riku gasped, wide-eyed.

Sora smirked. "Well, the mops definitely aren't working," Sora said. A few seconds after this, he swept by Riku and grabbed the mop from his best friend's hands, swirling around it effortlessly and grinning. "But these things seem to be working just fine, don't they?" Sora lifted up a leg and bent it, showing Riku the scrubbing brush that he had slipped around his foot and secured with his own shoelaces. "Pretty neat, huh?"

Neat? Neat did not quite express what he was feeling at the moment, exactly. What he felt like doing was grabbing that other set of brushes that Sora had in his hand, and was now waving back and forth, smirking.

But that would just be too easy, and Sora didn't look like he was in a busy mood, which never meant any sort of good news for Riku.

Aforementioned teen sighed, watching Sora skate to and fron before him, still waving that pair of brushes.

"What do you want?" Riku asked resentfully, careful to keep a close on the brunet. However light Sora was, Riku was sure that the weight would fell double if the former chose to bawl him over.

"Well first," Sora held up one finger; Riku glare, "get that sulky look off your face." The corners of Riku's mouth twitched upwards, barely noticeable, but it was not wasted. Sora saw it ina flash, and his smirk grew into a smile. "Second," he held up a second finger, and Riku chuckled, "I want you to put these on." He threw the brushes to Riku, who looked down at htem, turning them slowly in his hands befor elooking up at his friend with amused ideas.

"You're insane."

"I know."

"So…" Riku lifted one foot, already slipping the makeshift skate on and loosening his laces enough to loop around the handle of the brush, "how fast do you think we can go on these things?'

"Heehee, we'll have to find out, won't we?"


"Hey, Max?"


"What's that sound?"

Max stopped walking. One long ear perked up slightly, listening keenly for the sound that a small, white feathered duck had asked him about. He couldn't hear anything.

"I can't hear anything," Max said. "Maybe you were just--"

Oh, there it was.

They sounded like… shouts. Distant shouts. And loud thuds.

"Oh no," the dog muttered. "Are Cloud and Leon fighting again?"

"Cool!" the duck triplets chorused, looking in the direction of all the noise.

Max stared down at them for a second before conceding, "Yeah, okay, it is pretty cool. You guys wanna go check it out?"


Chapter End

You wanna know what they find? Yeah, me too. I really should find those notes...

It's Spring Cleaning time on my computer, and guess what I unearthed? Yeah, this. I have to say my style's changed quite a bit since I wrote this, which was around one year ago. I just uploaded it for kicks. Haha.