Disclaimer: Kingdom Hearts does not belong to me, nor am I making any money off this fanfiction.

-o-o-

Author's Notes…

This is a one-shot. Something that came to me during the middle of the day, and a couple of days later it was finished, so I hope that everyone enjoys. And by the way, this is the by-product of purely organic writing.

-o-o-

What Is Friendship

"What? No one ever has? But that's like… not breathing."

"Sora, honey, why don't you eat your food? You're always so quiet lately."

He gave a solemn shake of his head, poking at his French toast and wondering if he had put too much syrup on it or if that was just his lack of appetite speaking. Even the glass of orange juice sitting before his plate was beginning to look half-empty. If he remembered properly, he had once gotten into a discussion with someone over reality and pessimistic-optimistic views. The person had gotten mad at him, but he hadn't really known, not until someone had taken him aside and told him that the person was indeed mad. Wasn't everyone allowed to their own opinions? Maybe not.

Sighing, he stood, taking his plate with him, and made his way over to the sink. He had barely touched his food, and the kitchen lights played along the syrup, making it gleam innocently at him. There were probably kids starving in Africa that needed this French toast more than he did, and as he flipped the garbage disposal on, he decided that they probably wouldn't like something so sickly sweet, anyway. Too much syrup indeed.

"What's the matter, Sora?"

"Nothing, Mom," he replied, beginning to rinse off his plate so that he could stick it in the dishwasher and head back upstairs to get ready for school. Not that he was looking forward to it. His stomach plummeted at the thought, and he frowned, turning away from the sink and facing his mother. His smile came easily, but he knew that it didn't reach his eyes. "I'm fine."

-o-o-

"I can't believe it, Sora. No one has ever—not right here? …Yes, see, that's a nice sound…"

"I can't believe you told her yes." Riku's voice was a mere hiss, his eyes narrowed and inches from Sora's own. The smaller of the two could see how green Riku's irises were, almost like the aquamarine of the sea on a sunny day, except it wasn't a pleasant sight to behold. The sickness in Sora's stomach tightened, and he swallowed, pressing himself back against his locker.

"So what if I did?" he asked, his voice quavering a little.

"So what if you did?" Riku repeated in disbelief. His hand came to rest just above Sora's shoulder, and he leaned in closer, so close that if either one moved anymore, their lips would share a brush of a kiss. "I thought what we did meant something."

Sora swallowed, but it was hard, as the lump in his throat didn't want to melt away into nothingness, instead steadily growing until he thought he was going to choke and his breathing to become labored. "Maybe to you," he whispered. "Please—just go. Leave me alone. I don't want to ever talk to you again."

A long moment of silence passed between them in which Riku's eyes grew impossibly wide, his brows rising high into his hairline. They just stared at one another, both in disbelief that Sora had just said such a thing, until Sora had to look away, closing his eyes against the sight of Riku's wet ones.

"I thought we were friends," Riku said, his voice just barely above a whisper, as if he were any louder, it would shatter the most delicate of glass.

"Friends don't do that to one another," Sora breathed, his breath a shudder when he inhaled. "Please go."

He didn't open his eyes again until the presence before him had left and the shriek of the tardy bell overlapped a scuffling of footsteps.

-o-o-

"Yesss… Say it again… like that… please…"

Sora's fingers tightened around his pencil, but it just slipped through them, his hand was wet with perspiration. He sighed, setting his pencil down and leaning back in his seat, barely able to concentrate on his teacher walking back and forth before the whiteboard. It was hard, when his mind was obviously on other things, traveling back to the time where he and Riku had had no problems, especially not with Kairi; where the three of them had been friends and enjoying every moment of it. Now, however—now…

"I've got a new assignment for everyone," Mrs. Smith told the class politely, and Sora shifted, raising his eyes back to hers. He hadn't known that he had zoned out and slumped further down in his seat. "If everyone could please pay attention?"

Despite himself, Sora shifted his gaze to the desk beside him to see if Riku was paying attention. He wasn't; in fact, he was staring straight at Sora, and they held eye contact for one moment, before Sora looked away again, swallowing and trying to pretend that his heartbeat hadn't just sped up. But he couldn't, and his heart pounded firmly against his ribcage, like the ancient, gnarled hands of an Indian beating on his weathered drum. He closed his eyes again, exhaling, feeling sick and unlike himself.

"We're going to be writing a paper," his teacher was saying, and he could hear the sound of a marker pressing against the whiteboard. "The essay is fairly simple—I want you to write about what you consider friendship to be. Valentine's Day has just passed, and I thought that the subject of your essay is still within the spirit of the holiday. I want them on my desk by this time a week from now."

"So you mean next Tuesday?" a girl's voice piped up, slightly squeaky.

"Yes, Miss Evans," Mrs. Smith replied. "Now, what I want you to do for the rest of the class is start on your homework, seeing as we have fifteen minutes left. Get started. And do it quietly."

Sora could feel someone staring at him rather intently, and knowing it was Riku, he opened his eyes again and turned his face towards the other boy. But Riku wasn't watching him anymore, having already started to flip open his book to the page their homework assignment was on, his hair falling around his face and hiding it from view. As Sora gazed at him a little longer, he tried not to feel guilty—it was Riku's fault that he didn't want to talk to him. Riku's.

It was all Riku's fault.

If he hadn't…

If he hadn't……

So many ifs, Sora thought, but it seemed to be all his mind was revolving around lately.

What if I hadn't let him in… What if I had said no more, what if I hadn't given into him, what if I had screamed for my mom or something, what if I had tried to struggle more, knocked him out, called for someone to come and get me… What if, what if, what if, what if…

But thinking about them had not done a damn thing.

I suppose it is my fault, in a way.

But it's his, too. None of this would have happened if it weren't for him. None of it.

-o-o-

"T-That's it, Sora… I can feel your heart pounding… You must really be enjoying this… One more time… Just for me… Once more… Say my name one more time…"

Sora woke up with a name escaping into the darkness of his room. He stared at the far wall, listening to the rapid thumping of his heart, before sighing and shutting his eyes, flipping over to rest on his back. His head still hurt, worse than earlier in the day, but even Advil hadn't helped. Perhaps he should try a different pain-killer, but he doubted that that would be much better.

It also wouldn't help him with the ache between his legs.

Biting at his lip, Sora rolled over onto his other side, facing away from the glaring shadows of his room and burrowing himself deep into his covers. He tried not to think about warm fingers stroking along sensitive places or the way his body had shuddered in strong arms and betrayed him. He tried not to remember the gust of breath over his ear, and how fast that heart had pounded against his shoulder blade. He wanted it all to go away—everything.

"N-No… S-Stop… Stop it, Riku, stop it!"

"Ngh… Once more, Sora, once more… just for me…"

"Please… stop… please… please…"

It wouldn't, and his past sobs only echoed in his ears all the more.

"I hate you, Riku," he whispered into his pillow and meant it.

-o-o-

Friendship is when you can trust your friend not to take advantage of your weaknesses. Friendship is when you can look your friend in the eye and tell him your deepest secrets, and he will never use them against you, not once, not even after all is said and done.

-o-o-

"Stop it… please… stop it…"

FLASH!

Sora jerked to awareness, blinking against the bright light that was invading his senses. After a moment, the multi-colored spots danced away and he could see clearly again.

"Heehee. That's what you get for not paying attention, So-ra." Kairi smiled, pocketing her digital camera and crossing her hands at the small of her back, leaning her body forward a little. "You're not making this first date very fun—you keep zoning out."

"Sorry," he replied sheepishly, rubbing a hand over the back of his neck. "I'll make it up to you, all right?" Kairi's smile stretched all the wider in response, and Sora couldn't help but remember a piece of song that he had listened to recently.

What a beautiful smile, can I stay for a while? On this beautiful night, we'll make everything right, my beautiful love, my beautiful love.

Except that it wasn't night, it was day, and the fountain that they were standing before seemed to be a major tourist attraction. After a moment, he held out his hand, and she slid her dainty one into his easily.

"Let's get away from here," he said, tugging her against his side and pointing to the far line of trees in the distance. "I happen to know where a quiet park is." Already he was feeling better, the memory of what had happened only a week ago fading away into nothingness. It was hard to focus on such dark, haunting things when you had a beautiful girl beside you that you knew inside and out.

"You know where everything here is," she giggled, squeezing his hand so that something fluttered in the pit of his stomach. "Because Riku and you explored everything in the city, right?"

And just like that, the flame of his happiness was extinguished, leaving him cold inside, cold and indescribably lonely.

"Yeah," he murmured.

He could never escape. Never.

-o-o-

"Ah… Yesss… Yes… M-More… Moreee… Rikuuu…"

"What the hell are you doing!" Sora cried as he fell against the mattress of his bed. He stared up at Riku in disbelief, scrambling away from the older boy and trying to ignore the fear twisting through his stomach. It was hard, what with the way that Riku was towering over him, looking intimidating despite his slender form—like he could fill up the whole room if he wanted to, and he was.

"Do my feelings mean nothing to you?" Riku's voice was a harsh bite, and Sora flinched against it, turning his face away. "Yeah, that's what I thought. You're embarrassedashamed. Well, I've got news for you, Sora, big news—who was the one moaning my name, who was the one who was arching up into my hands—"

"SHUT UP!" Sora screamed, grabbing his pillow and pushing it against Riku's face, wanting him to go away. To just go away and never come back! "SHUT UP, I HATE YOU, I HATE YOU, I HATE YOU!"

And instead of Riku wrenching the pillow away and throwing it across the room, he just stood there, motionless. Sora listened to his own labored breathing fill the silence before swallowing and lifting his head, opening his eyes. His arms were beginning to become tired, and the silence was growing awkward, and finally he just lowered the pillow, only to squeeze his eyes shut again.

"Don't cry," Sora whispered weakly, listening to the words echo around them. "Please don't cry."

If you keep crying, I'll want to go to sleep. I'll want to go to sleep and never wake up again.

-o-o-

I don't really know what friendship is. I thought that I did. But then it escaped me like everything else, leaving me with a sense of nothing. Nothing at all, nothing but the wind pushing against my face and drying my tears.

Do your friends make you cry? Is that so bad, or does it make you stronger in the end? I'd like to know, and soon.

-o-o-

"More? You want more? So cute… So… cute…"

"Sora, honey? You have shadows under your eyes. Are you all right?"

He stopped in his tracks, turning to peer over his shoulder at her. A tired smile crossed his lips, and after a moment, he lowered his gaze, suddenly wondering why people even bothered to give energy to smiling when they were sad. "Mom, how many times do I have to tell you? I'm fine—it's just school," he lied, and surprisingly didn't feel bad at all for it. "It's a bit stressful, that's all."

"But you don't look like you're getting any sleep—and yet you go to bed when you're supposed to. If you're having insomnia, let me know, okay?"

"Okay, Mom, but it's not insomnia," he reassured her, moving his feet back in the direction of the staircase. His fingers slipped up the railing as he climbed the steps, and the second floor became closer to him, he began to feel something—something akin to the sickness that had been settled firmly in his stomach all week. The iron claws of it clenched around his heart with a painful squeeze, and his breathing grew shallow. His room—his room, where all those things had happened, where—

"No."

"Stop."

"I don't want it."

"I hate you!"

"Please stop."

"No!"

"No…"

"Please stop… please…"

"Sora, Sora, wake up, honey, wake up! Oh, God—oh, God—!"

Someone was shaking his shoulders firmly, and after a moment, he realized that it was his mother. He stared up into her blue eyes, which were frantic with worry and fright, before he gave her a weak smile. The throbbing at the base of his skull was forgotten for a moment, the importance of reassuring his mother that he was all right even if he wasn't taking priority. "Mom… I'm…"

What? What was he?

Why was everything so dizzying?

Why was everything so dark?

"SORA! SORA, WAKE UP!"

-o-o-

"Ngh… Naahnnn… M-More… M-Moore… Please… P-Please, Riku…"

"Your mother told me you fainted twice the other day," Kairi murmured, pressing the spoon to his lips, and he obligingly opened them, welcoming the taste of apple sauce. Even though he only had a bruise or two from having fallen down a short flight of steps, she seemed insistent on baby-feeding him, anyway. "Were you sick or something? You do look so tired lately… I hope you're getting enough sleep…"

Her violet eyes were sincere, but he couldn't help the angry twist of his mouth. He looked away, trying not to direct the full force of his glare on her; it was hard. Everyone kept trying to tell him that he needed more sleep, he didn't need to stay so sick, like he didn't know any of that, like he was totally oblivious to what was healthy and what wasn't. Didn't anyone think that if he could be sleeping, he would be? Instead, he went to school with a heavy heart and nightmares about heated whispers over the background of the television set.

"I didn't mean to make you mad, Sora," Kairi whispered, biting at her bottom lip. "…Please don't be angry with me—I won't mention it again. I'm just—It's just… everyone's so worried about you—and I am, too."

"Of course everyone's worried about him," came a sudden voice, and Sora's heart jerked, plummeted like his stomach was so prone to do lately. He looked up at the thump of feet on wood, and sure enough, there was Riku, having just climbed over the fence that surrounded the lining of his patio. A winning smile was on his lips, but Sora noted that it didn't carry any of the usual mirth he seemed to have an infinite supply of.

"Hello, Riku," Kairi said in way of a soft greeting, tucking a strand of her hair behind her ear. "What are you doing here today?"

"What, can't hang out with my old buddies?" Riku laughed, but it sounded rather strained, at least to Sora's ears. Sora looked away, letting his gaze come to rest on his front door. The paint looked like it needed a new coat—it was chipping in places.

"I didn't mean it like that!" Kairi said quickly. "Ah—listen. I've got band practice. I'll call you later, Sora, okay?" She leaned over, pressing a whisper of a kiss to Sora's cheek before rising and setting the empty cup of apple sauce and the spoon she had used to feed it to Sora off to the side. Clump, clump, clump down the stairs, and she was gone.

Riku sat down in the seat that she had vacated, and Sora slowly brought his gaze back around, keeping his expression carefully blank. When his friend saw it, his frown vanished, and he leaned forward, tilting his head a little. For a wild moment, Sora thought he was getting ready to kiss him—but then he remembered that even through that horrific memory, the two had never so much as brushed lips.

"Your girlfriend's getting rather defensive of you lately," Riku whispered.

"What do you mean?" With a sigh and a shake of his head, Sora closed his eyes against the very image of Riku, tired of looking at him, wanting to be left alone—by everyone, but that concept seemed foreign to them, hard to grasp. "She didn't say anything."

"She said enough," Riku replied solemnly, and then, as the birds chirped and the empty patio swing creaked softly in the next breeze, "Your arm's broken—I guess that makes you more vulnerable, doesn't it?"

Sora instinctively knew what he was talking about, and fear sprung within him like he had just activated a trap. "Go away."

"You know, you keep telling me that, and here I am." Riku spread his hands in a gesture of helplessness.

"If you'd—" Sora's voice was trembling again, and no matter how many times he tried to ignore the ache of his throat and calm his pounding heart, it didn't matter; it still was still nearly impossible. "If you'd take advantage of—of someone with a broken arm like that… that's… that's wrong, Riku, I know you're a horrible person now, but that's a new low, even for you—"

Hands were cupping his cheeks, warm and slender and so soft, like they had never had a decent day of rough work in a whole lifetime. It was all Sora could do not to start screaming at him again… screaming at him for being so gentle, so kind…

"I would never take advantage of you, Sora," Riku whispered, and Sora wondered. Oh, how he wondered.

-o-o-

"Ah… Ahnn…"

"R-Riku… s-stop… gh…!"

"See, Sora?" Riku breathed to his ear, words warm and wet against it. His hand kept moving incessantly, so that Sora cried out, arching his hips forward, biting hard at his bottom lip. "I even set you on your side so that your arm wouldn't get hurt. I'm careful."

"Y-You said you wouldn't… take… advantage of me… you said you never would…" Sora gasped, tears trekking down his cheeks so that his face felt sticky, and also sunburnt because it was so red. He shuddered, body convulsing in Riku's arms, before he tilted his head back, letting it rest against the older boy's collarbone.

"But I'm not taking advantage of you," Riku replied. "You wanted this. You didn't even fight."

"I have a broken arm!" Sora yelled hysterically, only for it to be cut off with a choked noise. He doubled over, the sheets suffocating against his skin, and tried not to concentrate on his breathing rasping in his ears in time with his heart.

Riku placed a kiss to his cheek, probably to placate him, but Sora only cried into his pillow and wished that he were somewhere else.

-o-o-

"Don't cry—not like that. See, Sora? Was that so bad? See? I told you that you'd like it… it'll get better the more we do this…"

"Sora? Earth to Sora?"

A hand was being waved before his face, and he blinked, shifting his eyes over to Kairi, who was watching him with an exasperated smile. Feeling small and somewhat feeble, he gave her a bit of a grin in return. "I'm sorry, Kairi. I'm just spaced out today."

"Well, we've got the introduction down for your paper," she said by way of accepting his apology, gesturing to the computer screen. He looked to it, and his paragraph stared back at him, the one that Kairi had typed for him, but he felt that it wasn't really… it didn't really encompass what he had been trying to say. "What causes most of us to deviate from those that we care for…?" he murmured, then sighed, tilting his head back and closing his eyes. "Kairi—I don't like this introduction."

Her smile was tight this time, he knew it without even having to look at her. "Sora, this is the third time we've changed it. I've thought every one of them were absolutely fine, and besides, what does it matter so much? It's just an English paper."

No, he thought, lashes fluttering halfway open, and he gazed at the ceiling, noting a crack in the plaster. He'd best tell his mother about that, but the Lord knew how much she was fretting over him enough already. It's not just an English paper… It's… It's more than that…

"She doesn't understand you like I do," he heard a whisper breathe to his ear, like a secret, and maybe it was. He shifted, uncomfortable suddenly, and rolled his shoulders back, pointing with his good hand. "Kairi—if you don't want to help me with this, then that's fine, but this is still my paper. I want it done right."

Kairi frowned, her brows drawing down in such a way that she looked like she was about to pout; or would have, at least, if it had still been five years ago. Instead, she reminded him of some sort of goddess, her violet eyes saying more than words from her lips ever could. For wasn't that the magic of the higher deities? Their voices were too powerful to speak to a mere human, for they would crush the human's frail mind.

I wonder if she's crushing me.

The thought came unbidden, and he quickly pushed it away, his cheeks burning with embarrassment. Kairi tilted her head at him curiously, probably wondering what had caused his sudden discomfort, but he shook his head. "I want it to start like this: 'Friendship: a burden to one's shoulders or the wings that lift one free? This question and many more always plague the common person, but…'"

-o-o-

"She's not even looking at you."

Sora frowned, rolling onto his back and peering up at his friend, who had propped himself up on an elbow and was studying him freely. One of Riku's hands lifted, fingers ghosting over Sora's brow, and the smaller boy turned his head a little into the touch, fighting back the immediate feelings of shame that followed on the heels of the soft flutter in his stomach.

"What do you mean?" he whispered.

"I mean what I mean," Riku laughed, a quiet sound, as if he was trying not to draw attention to the fact that he found this whole situation so very amusing, but Sora mused that his eyes gave it away each and every time. Maybe Riku was like a god, too. "Kairi looks at the shy, clumsy Sora that she knows and loves. You, however—you're far from that. You're pristine. Beautiful." He leaned down, brushing his lips to Sora's cheek. "Every time I look at you, I fall in love all over again."

Sighing, Sora reached up a hand, placing it on Riku's bicep, his fingers roving over the hard muscle. "It's rude to lie."

"The only one that's lying is you, Sora," Riku murmured, and Sora inhaled as the older boy lay down on his side, curling into Sora's and wrapping an arm about his waist, drawing him closer.

As Riku drifted off to sleep, Sora couldn't help but wonder if that was true.

-o-o-

"No! Not today! Not ever again!"

"Sora, c'mon—don't be this stubborn…"

It was hard to concentrate with Riku's teeth nibbling gently at his neck, even as Sora struggled, flailing an arm up and smacking the older boy over the head. Riku let out an indignant grunt, moving his mouth away for a moment but not releasing the boy, his one arm still wrapped firmly about Sora's waist and his other hand gripping at the boy's arm. Panting, Sora lifted his knee, moving it to Riku's stomach so that maybe the boy would be too out of breath and would have to release him, but that didn't happen. Riku dodged, his reflexes lightning fast from years of being on the basketball team and taking Aikido, before gripping Sora more tightly, fingers digging in hard to the soft flesh of Sora's elbow.

Yelping, Sora jerked, smashing his foot down on top of Riku's, and finally Riku released him, backing away with a curse and hopping a bit. He sent a dubious glare in Sora's direction, green eyes like fire, and Sora staggered back, his heart thundering as he wetted his lips.

"Stay away!" Squeezing his eyes shut, chest heaving, Sora shook his head furiously, not wanting Riku to come near him again. "I have a girlfriend, you idiot! And besides, you keep taking advantage of me! Friends don't do that! Friends don't make someone they love cheat on the person that they love—and they certainly don't try to mess around when this someone they love has a broken arm! I hate you, Riku! If you loved me, you'd stop doing this! You'd leave me alone!"

Glaring, Riku whirled away, clutching his hands around himself. Sora stared at his rigid back for a long moment, swallowing hard, before lowering his head, hearing his words from only seconds ago echo in his ears. That had been a bit harsh…

"It's too painful…" Riku abruptly whispered, and Sora looked up again to find green eyes boring into his own blue ones. "…Being with you—like this—knowing you're with her—it's too painful, Sora. Especially since we both know that I'm the only one who can make your heart pound… who can make you cry in your sleep with a smile on your face…" His eyes widened, just slightly, brows furrowing down as he swallowed, exhaling hard, like he was trying to hide something from Sora, something he didn't want the boy to see. But Sora already knew what it was, and he could see the wetness gathering, individual drops, each one looking like a diamond sparkling, waiting to be wiped away.

Riku's voice lowered, barely above a whisper, but sure, "Who can make you quiver when I tell you that I love you…"

Not wanting it to be true, Sora turned away. "I have a girlfriend, Riku."

"So break up with her," Riku pleaded from behind him, his voice as weak as Sora had been feeling lately, something foreign to the smaller of the two. It hurt to hear it. Riku was never that insecure—never that broken down. And Sora had been the one to cause it… to cause this anguish… "Please? For me?"

"Tell me why I should do anything for you…" Sora began slowly, his hands clenching into fists at his sides, "…when you never do what I ask? How's that fair? Huh?"

"It's not," Riku agreed. "But… you're not treating me fairly either, Sora. Stop coming to me when you're upset about something, stop laughing with me, stop pretending that nothing's happened between us, that everything's all right. And… stop whispering my name in your sleep…" His voice quavered at the end, going up a few notes, and a soft sob echoed through the room.

"Get out," Sora whispered, even though a piece of himself died inside. "Get out…"

But the seconds ticked past, and Riku wasn't moving, his sobs growing more labored, great, gasping things that left Sora shaken. Finally, he whirled about and hurriedly moved towards the taller boy, taking him into his arms and holding him close against his body as he trembled.

"Stop crying," Sora breathed to his ear. "Stop crying…"

Riku's hands clenched into the back of his shirt, a whimper escaping him, and Sora felt his own eyes burn. He squeezed them shut again, turning his face towards the ceiling, not sure of what exactly he wanted anymore.

-o-o-

"Right here?"

"Yeah." Nodding, Sora pointed to the exercise sentence in their textbook with his pencil, one foot in the air and moving back and forth in a slow motion, unconscious. His injured arm lay on the floor, the scratchy cloth of the cast rubbing against Sora's cheek. It made for a nice headrest.

After a moment, he lifted the pencil back to his mouth, chewing on its eraser and furrowing his brows thoughtfully. "This is a dangling modifier, see?"

With a loud groan, Riku rolled over onto his back, placing his hands over his eyes. "I don't get what a dangling modifier is, Sora."

A faint smile tracing his lips, Sora sat up, taking Riku's hands away from his eyes with his good hand and peering down into the older boy's face. Riku looked back up at him, brows scrunched in frustration, and Sora's smile stretched into a grin. "It's not that hard, okay? Uhm… A dangling modifier is basically when you give characterization to something through the subject of the sentence that's not meant to have character… Like…" Tilting his head to the side, Sora closed his eyes, his mind roaming over a sentence that would be simple and easy to explain to Riku. "…Okay. While talking to the custodian, the popcorn looked good enough to gobble up. See? Heehee. You're giving the popcorn a personality when you're meaning to talk about your—"

The sudden brush of lips against his own made his pencil drop from his fingers.

Riku pulled back, his eyes uncertain, and he bit at his lip, a bad habit that he had had since Sora and he were children.

Why did he do that…? Sora thought, noticing how the green of Riku's irises seemed to have some blue mixed within them, like a rare gem. He's never kissed me—not on my lips…

Sighing, his faint smile returning, this one gentle and bemused, Sora closed the textbook and placed his fallen pencil atop it, resigning himself to the fact that their homework was going to have to wait again. Why he kept letting Riku enter and leave his room when he pleased was beyond him, but he knew that if he told his mother to never let him spend the night again, he'd want to immediately take that request back. He couldn't live without Riku by his side—not like that… Because taking the control away from Riku when he was doing what he loved most was like taking his spirit away, and it was his spirit that made him so wild and carefree.

It was his spirit that had made Sora love him.

"Come here," he murmured, holding his broken arm to his stomach as he shifted onto his knees, lifting his free hand and placing it against Riku's neck, drawing the other boy closer. This time, his eyes slipped closed when Riku's lips pressed to his again, and he tilted his head a bit, sliding his hand up and into Riku's hair.

Riku exhaled against his lips, something that sounded a lot like relief, but Sora didn't mind. No, he didn't mind at all. This time, when Riku tugged him closer, he obligingly went, content to listen to the wet sounds of their kissing fill the air, to feel the pounding of Riku's heart beating strongly against his own.

-o-o-

"The paper's due today, right?"

"A-Ah… y-yeah…" Sora winced, squeezing one eye shut as he lifted a leg, wrapping it about Riku's waist as the older boy's hand directed it there. "R-Riku, we shouldn't be doing this at school…"

"I don't care if we get caught." Riku's murmur was fervent, making Sora's cheeks flame all over again—why couldn't he stop blushing around Riku lately?—but he couldn't push his secret lover away as his lips descended upon Sora's neck.

Lifting a shoulder reflexively, Sora shifted his gaze away, lashes fluttering and a shiver wracking through his body, making him jerk up a little. "We'll get expelled if we get caught, Riku…" he said in a half-hearted whisper, his body already stirring to Riku's affection.

"Then we'll run away together." Lifting his face, Riku pressed his lips to Sora's, pulling him close against his body in the dark storage closet. Normally, this would have made Sora flustered, and he would have pushed at Riku and told him that such an idea was ludicrous, but not today. Today that sounded really good. If they ran away, he could escape Kairi's tear-filled eyes and her pained whisper of why.

Heart clenching, he turned his face away, breath shuddering out from him as he took a moment to let his heartbeat slow down. "…Listen. Kairi's still upset about—about yesterday. Maybe we shouldn't… not right…"

"She's always going to be upset." Riku kissed his temple. "If you just wait for her to be okay with us, we'll never get to do anything. And besides—don't you think I've waited long enough?"

"Maybe…"

"I'm your friend and your boyfriend, Sora."

"No," Sora murmured, shaking his head. And at Riku's confused silence, he elaborated, "No, Riku, you can't be both. And you're certainly not my friend, by definition, so—that just leaves you as my boyfriend."

Riku was quiet for so long that Sora feared he had said the wrong thing before lips pressed to his again, warm and soft.

"All right," Riku conceded. "That's fine with me."

Sora wondered if it was all right with himself, but then he decided that he had had enough of wondering, and that now was the time to act without thinking, because he was tired of hurting all the time. At least this way he could deal with the pain later, but even then, it wouldn't be so bad, not when he had Riku.

Because he had always had Riku.