The Paopu Scene
Author: Megan G. aka Toady-chan
Genre: General/Romance (?)
Series: Kingdom Hearts
Pairing(s): Riku x Sora (?)
Summary: There was a scene that didn't quite make the cut for Kingdom Hearts, and, alas, found its home on the cutting room floor. It took place just after Kairi headed home, and Riku and Sora lagged behind on the island, and involved a paopu fruit.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
Notes/Warnings: This was written with the intention of being shounen-ai, but you can look at it as just friendliness if you choose.
A/N: I wrote this for my best friend—known as Romanchikku on this site—just because she is who she is and I love her for that.
The Paopu Scene
The sun was gently sinking toward the horizon as Sora stood on the pier, fiddling nervously with a sweetly-scented, star-shaped object. His countenance held uncertainty as the thoughts swirled in his mind, his reasoning arguing with his inner feelings, both vying for his complete attention and failing miserably. He let out an angered sigh, his occupied hand falling to his side, while the other reached up to massage his temple.
"Something bothering you, Sora?"
Sora's eyes widened as he quickly turned around, hands automatically going behind his back. "Riku! I thought you went home."
Riku shook his head, his shoulder-length hair moving in a soft cascade of silver with the motion, then tilted his head to the side and put a hand on his hip. "What are you hiding behind your back?"
"Huh? Nothing." Sora shifted self-consciously, his ocean-blue eyes unknowingly darting to the side in a blatantly suspicious way.
Riku rolled his sea-green eyes and strode to the edge of the small wooden pier and rested his arms on it, peering up at Sora from underneath his bangs with a look that clearly told the younger boy he wasn't buying the innocent act. Sora sighed, but his hands remained behind his back.
"I just... had a question." he said quietly, and a bit hesitantly.
"About what?" Riku prompted.
"The paopu fruit." Sora admitted, his arms falling to his sides, the star-shaped fruit still clutched in his right.
That grin came naturally to Riku by now, even if he didn't mean it half the time. He knew what would be coming next: Sora was going to ask him if it was really okay he share the fruit with Kairi, to intertwine the two's destinies for as long as they lived, just as the legend said. Riku couldn't help the pangs of jealousy that invaded his body and set it on auto to spout out the jokes about Sora and Kairi getting together, even though he was hurting himself every time he did.
"Shoot." he propped his head up with his hand, looking at the brown-haired boy expectantly.
Sora looked nervous again, shuffling his feet and biting his lower lip. "Can we go to our place?"
Riku looked confused; why couldn't Sora just ask the question here? They had to start heading for home soon, too; Kairi had already left. Regardless, he shrugged and turned around to head into the shack and up its stairs to the circular protrusion they called their place. He heard Sora jump off the pier, the sound of impact cushioned in the sand, and start trudging along behind him.
The two teenagers were silent during the short walk, the sky having gotten duskier as they both climbed onto the coconut tree that grew strangely horizontal and provided them seating. Riku lay in his usual position, back resting against the topmost part of the tree that went over the edge of the raised part of the island and curved upward slightly, hands behind his head and one leg crossed over the other. Sora sat with his legs dangling, facing the sunset, but staring at the paopu fruit he held in his lap.
"So, what about it?" Riku asked calmly, studying the brunet's face, wondering why he looked so worried.
Sora didn't look at Riku, and for a few moments didn't say anything at all; then he tried forming words, but all he managed to do was stutter and trip over what he wanted to say and how to phrase it. Finally, he blurted out, "How do you peel it?"
Riku stared at him for a moment, then burst out laughing. Sora glared angrily at him, chewing the inside of his cheeks as he pouted, obviously not amused that Riku found his question so funny.
"Shouldn't you wait for Kairi before you peel it?" Riku said once he regained his composure, though amusement still glinted in his eyes.
Sora shook his head, still pouting, and handed the fruit to Riku. He swung one leg over the other side of the tree trunk so he straddled it, and slid as close to Riku as he dared in his current state of shyness. "Can you peel it for me now, please?" he asked quietly, staring resolutely at the fruit in Riku's hands.
"But it'll go bad unless you eat it right away."
"I know that."
"Okay..." Riku raised his eyebrows questioningly, but dug his fingernail into the skin of the paopu as was asked of him, carefully peeling back its skin until the inside could be seen; he then handed it back to Sora, who took it without once tearing his eyes away from it. Riku watched intently as Sora's hands picked up where his left off, peeling the rest of the skin off of the paopu fruit. Skinless it looked similar to a banana and about as soft, but smooth-textured like an apple.
Sora sucked in a breath, told himself to be brave, and slid closer to Riku so he was sitting directly in front of him. His eyes were still focused on the paopu fruit, afraid that the moment he looked into Riku's aquamarine eyes that he would lose all of his courage and run for his boat. He split the fruit so it was two halves that—together—made a perfect star, and handed one to his childhood friend, eyes slowly lifting from the paopu half he offered to meet the eyes he knew and loved so deeply.
To say Riku was shocked was an understatement. He could only ever picture Sora and Kairi sitting here, in this very spot, quietly sharing the paopu fruit as they smiled shyly at each other, their futures crisscrossing ahead of them with every bite; he never dreamed Sora would rather share it with him over Kairi.
"What—? Are you sure?" Riku gazed back into Sora's eyes, swimming in the pools too deep to belong to one so adorably childish, questioning.
Sora nodded his head firmly. "To be honest, I... When I asked you about the paopu fruit, I didn't have Kairi in mind. I... I wanted to make sure we'd stay together. For some reason, the desire to have my future with you is stronger than wanting to having it with Kairi."
Riku was taken even further aback; Sora would rather have his future with Riku than Kairi? Any prior jealousy the older boy harboured seeped out of him in that moment, along with his breath. It took him a moment to regain the ability to inhale, but once he had it back he took the proffered half of the paopu and stared at it for a moment, before looking up and giving Sora a genuinely happy smile.
They sat quietly smiling at each other for a moment, then simultaneously took a bite of their paopu halves. Sora couldn't help making a face at the taste; he always imagined paopu fruit would be sweet, but this one was rather sour. Riku laughed at Sora's expression, his also tasting sour, but he didn't mind sour foods.
"Is this one not ripe or something?"
"No, it's fine." Riku took another bite. "The taste is different with each two people. It's supposed to be a hint at your future together."
"So... What does sour mean for us?"
Riku chewed thoughtfully, then swallowed. "Well, I'd say the sour taste means that we might have a big fight later..." Sora looked very worried at hearing this, so Riku quickly added, "But notice the sweet aftertaste? I think that means we'll make up and be even closer for it afterward." he smiled reassuringly.
Sora nodded, his worries partially gone. He didn't want to have a fight with Riku, but as long as they made up in the end he could get through it. Little did he know, later that night they both would begin their separate journeys and end up becoming rivals, the remembrance of the paopu's sweet aftertaste and Riku's assurance that they would make up in the end the only thing keeping Sora going.