Sora's eyes were blank. Riku arched an eyebrow at the brunet, half wondering if the boy was just being an idiot. "Sora, what in the hell are you talking about?" questioned the silver haired boy. Sora carefully looked down at the floor, avoiding his friend's penetrating glare.
"…Yeah," he said, pausing for a moment. He continued to wring out his hands, again and again, and in the cool morning air Riku almost wanted to go back into his house and ignore the neurotic Sora for the rest of the day. "My mom and dad are getting a divorce."
Riku shrugged, inclining his head back towards the front lawn. The two of them sat on the front step of Riku's house, as they usually did on those lonely Saturday mornings. The older boy's guardian had left the house at around 8 o'clock, and the two of them were left relatively alone. The only noise that seemed to be heard on the desolate boulevard was the irritating barking of Mrs. Pott's rat terrier.
The older teen idly chewed on the end of his cigarette. Sora hated the habit his best friend had picked up, but he never voiced it. The brunette sighed, running his shaky hands through his unmanageable hair for the twentieth time that day. He could feel his vision getting blurry, but he didn't want to cry in front of Riku. Hell, he couldn't cry in front of Riku, regardless of how he felt. He knew that the older boy would never let him live it down. "Shit like this happens all the time, Sora. Get over it," said the platinum haired, placing his elbow onto his thigh. He leaned forward; chin resting in his palm, other arm hanging listlessly. "I mean, it's not like either of them died or anything."
Sora exhaled softly, turning his eyes toward the cracked road. There was a large pot-hole that seemed to attract his attention, for some reason, and he found himself wondering how it got there. Lost in his own musings, he temporarily forgot the situation. He forgot the screaming, the heated words that didn't mean anything, the sound of Selphie's crying, sora you're so fucking useless, the broken plates, but only for a moment. No sooner than when Riku inhaled, the images assaulted his brain once more.
"I mean, Tidus's parents are divorced. He doesn't care," voiced Riku, idly rolling the cigarette between his first two fingers. Sora watched, unattached, as Riku flicked his digits and the ashes half floated to the cement steps below them. "You'll be alright. I dunno about Selphie, but she'll get used to it."
Sora bit his lower lip, averting his eyes to the tan-coloured grass of early spring that encompassed Riku's lawn. Sea blue eyes blinked back tears, again, and he couldn't look at Riku. "But that's… that's not it." Riku made a slight noise of interest, finally throwing the cigarette to the pavement. He extended a booted foot, and with a quick snap of his ankle, the cigarette was left a pile of paper and grey ashes on the pavement.
"Go on," the older said, softly. He turned his head to Sora, who seemed more interested in looking at the lawn than his own best friend. He raised a hand, cautiously placing it on Sora's shoulder. The boy gave something of a twitch, jerking away from the contact and edging away from Riku.
"W-well, mom… she doesn't want to stay in our house anymore," Sora began, ignoring his previous movements and the questioning expression from Riku. His fingers were twitching in his lap, and the boy half wanted to just collapse onto Riku and start crying. "And you know how her family… they all live in Vancouver… so…"
Sora trailed off, and the sound of Mrs. Pott's rat terrier's barking came back into earshot. Riku's cerulean eyes seemed to burn holes into the back of Sora's neck, where the older boy was carefully analyzing him. "You're moving? To Vancouver?" asked Riku, his voice rising about an octave. Sora nodded, still not looking at Riku. His eyes were screwed shut as he tried to suppress tears, yet again. "W-wait a fucking second, that's not fucking fair! You don't have to go. You're fifteen, Sora; you can decide who you want to live with. You could stay with your dad, I mean. You always got along with him better, anyway."
Sora's quivering hands were soon fists with white, bony knuckles. The brunette furiously shook his head, denying that Riku had even said that. "I can't stay with him," he said, his voice surprisingly quiet, despite the rage that he felt building in his chest. "And besides, Selphie is in legal custody of Mom. I can't leave her. We're moving a whole day's worth of driving away, a-and Selphie… she depends on me."
Riku cursed under his breath, snapping his neck to the left. He felt angry at Sora, for abandoning him, and he was angry at Sora's mother and father for… well, everything. "She's got no goddamn right to make you or Selphie leave. Hell, you guys can come live with me. Auron's still got empty rooms."
Sora laughed softly at this. He knew that Auron would always be glad (though he wouldn't show it) to take him in. The man had always seen him as the patron saint of order, keeping Riku in line at every opportunity for things to go bad.
He was a middle-aged man with a scarred face and a slight drinking problem, but he had a good heart despite all appearances. When Riku's parents had died when he was 11 and the boy was force to live with his relative (really, Sora had no idea how Auron was even related to Riku) Sora found himself scared shitless of Auron. But with Riku's constant mouthing off and Auron's second-nature ignoring of it, the brunette quickly found himself admiring this man's vanity. Riku was never ignored. Sora, himself, Riku's bestest best buddy since before they could even talk could never ever ignore Riku.
Riku offered an uneasy smile, as well, at Sora's amusement. But it faded as fast as Sora's laughter, and an awkward silence hung over the atmosphere like the rain clouds that were slowly gathering above them. "I have to go with my mom and Selphie. We're leaving next week… b-but I'll be sure to come back in the summers and winter breaks to see you… when I get a car that is…" Sora trailed off again, blinking back tears. He faced Riku, for the first time in the entire conversation.
Riku scoffed, and fixed Sora with a hard expression. Sora winced, stumbling over sentences in his head. "Riku, don't make this harder than it has to be—"
"Sora, you're my goddamn best friend and I fucking need you to stay here!" the older boy damn near shouted, throwing his fist against the pavement. Sora could almost hear the skin on the other boy's knuckles peeling away.
Sora's breath hitched in his throat, and he pressed himself forward, eyes earnest. "But I—"
Riku stood quickly, towering over the motionless Sora. He paced forward, eyes unreadable, lips pressed into a straight line. Sora stayed quiet, waiting for Riku to start yelling at him or to go into his house and lock himself in his room, to ignore Sora for the rest of the day, or the week. Riku faced away from him, pale hair hanging to his shoulder blades, jaw locked, strong, pale arms crossed against his chest. His stance seemed offensive, and Sora almost wondered if Riku might go and punt Mrs. Pott's rat terrier for sheer stress relief.
"…Riku," the younger said, his voice quivering pitifully. He couldn't restrain the tears that were trailing out of his eyes. Riku had no right to act like this. It wasn't like Riku didn't have any other friends. Sora knew that once he left, Riku would go right back to being mouthy, asshole Riku that everybody knew and worshipped from a distance. And Sora would just stay Sora, even in Vancouver, a gawky, girly boy with doe-eyes and an ever-present naïve face that put Alice from Wonderland to shame. "I-I have to go. Selphie needs me. Mom needs me."
"I need you. Don't I matter at all?" Riku's voice revealed something that Sora rarely saw from his older friend. His voice resembled a noise that a dying animal would make when it realized that it didn't have anywhere to go, or anything to do but lay down and die The only other time that Sora had heard Riku like this was when the older boy had first found out that his parents had died. Sora felt an overwhelming sensation of guilt, and he swallowed heavily, digging his nails into his thighs.
"Of course you matter, Riku. Y-you're my best friend."
"Obviously not, if you're just leaving me," snarled the older, turning on his heel and heading back into his house. Sora bolted to his feet, chasing after Riku, hurriedly. Even though the boy was a great deal faster than him, Sora quickly managed to catch up to him in the kitchen. He jolted out an arm, clamping a large hand onto Riku's shoulder.
"Riku, don't you dare say that to me," he warned, his voice still shaking. Riku stopped moving, and was stationary. His eyes were closed, and his breathing was calm, but an immense mix of rage, sorrow, hate, jealousy and every possible emotion was bubbling up into his mouth like vomit. Sora's fingers dug into his shoulder, and Sora was a lot strong than Riku thought he was. "Don't you ever even think that I don't care about you."
Riku stayed silent, and stoic, and he could hear Sora struggling not to cry behind him. Sora had always been more emotional, anyway, with Riku as the sullen statue that attracted people like a moth to a flame. He was better at containing his emotions, while Sora tended to show them blatantly on his face. "Please, Riku, just hear me out. I can't leave my s-sister alone, and I can't stay with my dad, and I can't stay with you… I need to leave. I-I just… I have to."
Sora snatched his hand back, as if Riku was dry ice burning him at the touch. Sora didn't care, at this point, if tears were trailing down his face freely. He just wanted Riku to turn around, and forgive him. "Please understand, Riku," the brunette said, quietly.
He back stepped, attempting to gage a reaction from Riku. When the older boy didn't so much as twitch, Sora turned fully and padded his way back to the door. He stared through tear-blurred eyes at the pavement ahead of him. Digging into his jeans' pocket, he managed to obtain the scrawled note he had written earlier that morning, that read 'Riku' on the surface. He carefully, as if it were broken glass, placed it onto the end-table that sat near the door, where Auron usually put his car keys.
Hopefully, Riku would find it. Maybe then, he'd stop being such an idiot. Shaking his head, Sora left Riku's house, pleading to whatever deity truly existed that Riku would forgive him in time.
Riku didn't talk to Sora before he left, the next Sunday. The silver haired boy dutifully ignored his (former) best friend, even at Auron's attempts to try to get his ass in gear to say goodbye. Auron knew that Riku was free-spirited, but even this was over-done. The day after Sora left, Auron filed away the issue, for Riku seemed utterly depressed.
The forty-something man sighed, throwing his car keys onto the end-table and hearing the satisfying clink of metal against wood. He fully intended to go sit down on the couch and waste the rest of the night away, watching CSI or something. Running a hand through his slightly greasy, black hair he found a little too long (he'd have to get Suzy Homemaker herself, Aerith, to cut it) he sighed. Riku was probably still holed up in his room, like he had been for the last two weeks, since Sora had left.
Auron honestly hadn't seen Riku as depressed as he was, since his parents had passed away. The kid barely ate anything, and he seemed stand-offish and all too quiet. Usually, Riku was a boisterous, lazy boy who needed NASA to build him a rocket big enough to orbit around his ego. Even around Auron, one of the few people that he actually respected, Riku was loud and obnoxious and most of the time, Auron wanted to punch him in the face.
Pulling off his sunglasses with his good arm, Auron placed them onto the end-table to join his car keys. He cocked an eyebrow at the small slip of paper that he had unwittingly covered with a forgotten pack of cigarettes. Sliding a finger over the corner that was barely revealed, he teased the slip out, and held it between two fingers. In barely comprehensible writing, the name 'Riku' was plastered on the cover.
Auron couldn't resist a half-smirk as the image of Sora entered his mind. He was messy, childish boy who could never shut up about anything and always talked just to fill the silence that usually happened around Auron. He was just a little ray of sunshine, like his sister, Selphie. For some reason Auron couldn't help but appreciate it. Auron tucked the small slip of paper into the back of his jeans pocket, shaking his head, wondering why he hadn't seen the note earlier. Well, it was understandable. Auron only had one working eye, due to an accident in the garage involving human stupidity and welding material. Another accident had rendered his left arm virtually useless, as well. But nevertheless, he continued to work at his auto-repair shop, despite Aerith's pleads to put him in a godforsaken office.
Shrugging out of his leather work jacket, he tossed it onto the floor, not really caring all that much. It was dirty and he needed a new one, anyway, as duct-tape repairs could only work for so long. Steel-toed boots came off next, which was slightly harder to do with one hand. Auron stood back up, and moved forward to the kitchen, sighing. Riku wasn't there. He probably wasn't in the living room, either. But the house was so goddamn quiet, that Auron would've doubted that Riku was even there, if the boy hadn't been so much of a hermit, lately.
He made his way up the stairs, one arm carefully rested on the hand-rail to steady himself. The stairs were steep and slightly twisted, and Auron swore to god that there was some entity living on those stairs that encouraged everyone to slip and fall. Numerous times had Auron done that, along with Riku, Sora, Selphie, Aerith and various other people who visited his house. The stairs were cursed.
Turning right after the first door, he came across Riku's room. The door was shut, of course, but there was no lock and no answer, so Auron simply let himself in. He came across Riku, sitting on his bed and pouring over something that, oddly enough, looked like homework. Riku never did homework.
At the sudden intrusion, Riku looked up with a slightly disgruntled expression. "Hey, Sir," he said curtly to the older man, quickly turning his head back towards his work. Auron arched an eyebrow, lingering in the doorway.
"Why do you insist on calling me 'Sir'?"
"Would you rather I call you Ma'am?" snorted Riku, penciling something into the lined paper he was currently hovering over. Auron crossed his arms, leaning against the doorway with an amused expression adorning his features.
"Yes. Then, Miss Riku, we shall mosey off to the garden where we can have tea. Also, kindly give me your measurements and I can sew you a dress fit for a princess, such as yourself," said Auron, his voice oozing with sarcasm. Riku casually flipped the older man the finger, not even taking his eyes off of his work. There were a few minutes of silence, where Auron casually observed the boy, slightly awestruck that Riku had decided to do real work. Of course, Auron didn't let that show on his face. All his expression read was that of indifference.
"What did you even come here for?" Riku questioned, after a while. "I mean, I'm pretty busy."
Auron chuckled, his baritone voice remaining in the air. Riku gave a lazy smile, rolling his eyes, trying to appear apathetic despite the first real joy he'd felt for the last two weeks. Auron made his way to where Riku sat, reaching into his pocket for the note he'd tucked away earlier. Retrieving it, he waved it in front of Riku's nose. "Found this. It's got your name on it," the man said, in his usual soft-spoken tone.
Riku snatched it out of Auron's hands, and he quickly recognized the script. "Hey, where—"
"On the table by the door," Auron interrupted. Riku stuck out his tongue and turned his attention back to the note, not wanting to open it until Auron was gone.
"So how was—"
"Work? It's fine. Hired someone. Name's Leonhart," the man said, brusquely. He tilted his neck, and Riku could hear the loud crack of bones as he did so. "Bit of an emo brat, but knows his way around Harleys quite well for an eighteen year old." Riku nodded, understanding, but still wanting to open the note.
"Heh, that's cool," he said, with a slight lack of enthusiasm. Auron clearly picked it up, switching weight on his legs and quietly observing the platinum haired boy. "So… what's for dinner? Or should I cook, Sir?" Auron tensed at this. The last time that Riku had attempted to cook, he damn near burned the entire kitchen down. And Auron's own specialty was charcoal, so the only option was…
"Takeout," stated Auron, turning back towards the door. "Pizza or Chinese?" Riku gave a quick bark of laughter, waving a hand at Auron, and pretending to turn his attention back to his homework (though he wasn't interested in it, at all, anymore).
"Pizza," called Riku, as the dark-haired man left the room. "And no Skittles or chocolate on it, this time, you nasty man." He heard a slight chuckle emit from the hallway, followed with vigilant footsteps down the stairs. Riku waited until he couldn't hear Auron anymore, and then turned his attention to the note.
He recognized the ink on the outside. It was one of Selphie's pens, the ones that weren't quite purple but weren't quite blue on the outside. The font was smudged and faded, but he recognized the lime-green ink, and the childish scrawl of the word. Sora had obviously written this. Riku scowled, unfolding the note. The paper was slightly crumpled, as if it had been handled quite a bit.
Upon having the paper spread out in front of him, Riku immediately recognized it. It was a treasure map. Not just any treasure map, but the treasure map that he and Sora had made that one summer when they were just seven and eight. They had pretended to be pirates, and had made a boat out of Auron's picnic table. The man had stoically put up with them, but had eventually kicked them out of his backyard when they started digging up his lawn claiming that Peter Pan had hidden treasure there.
He remembered that summer like the back of his hand. All of the stupid things that kids did, he remembered. Nostalgia embraced him like his mother used to, and Riku could feel tears burning at the back of his eyes. A little bit shocked, Riku was, because he sincerely couldn't remember the last time he'd ever cried. Well, actually, he could. He last cried when his parents passed away, five years ago.
Sighing, Riku shook his head. He pulled himself off of his bed, with the map still in hand, and paced over to his dresser. Taking the Scotch tape off of his dresser with one hand, he used his right to keep the map in place in the right-hand corner of the large mirror that sat on-top of the cupboard, itself. It took him less than thirty seconds to have the map taped, and he looked at his handiwork with a lazy smile. Upon doing so, he realized there was something written on the sheet of paper.
Riku swallowed hard, trying to block the tears once again. Why did Sora have to be so goddamn sentimental? Riku cursed himself, realizing that he didn't even have Sora's new phone number, and it was sure as hell that Auron didn't get it, either. So now, he couldn't even call Sora to apologize for his stupid actions.
Once again, Riku cursed himself. He'd have to find the number, eventually.
Time is a fickle thing. When you're in a good mood, it tends to pass quickly and you find yourself wondering where it went. But, to some, it goes slowly, at a snails pace.
To Riku, it was the former, rather than the latter. The boy quickly found himself over his slight depression, and Sora's leaving was completely out of his head. Riku did what most teenagers do. He lived his life, smiling and grinning and being cocky Riku again. He had girlfriends, and friends and he finally beat Tidus at a game of soccer.
Auron eventually learned how to cook. Or, at least how to not-burn everything that he attempted to make. A laughing Aerith, the perky brunette that she was, had shown him how to make a simple meal a few times, and Riku had greatly appreciated it. He was getting sick of take-out, anyway.
Auron's garage had gotten rather popular, with 'that emo brat's addition to the staff. The older man had invited his entire staff over for one hell of a party, and Riku had eventually met him. Squall Leonhart was the man's name, a gorgeous, effeminate man who made girls swoon, and he didn't look a day over sixteen despite being two years older than Riku. And he was short, too. But, despite all of the circumstances, Squall easily blended with the rest of Auron's crew, constantly being picked on by Seifer, a particularly egotistical mechanic. Even with his icy demeanor, Squall always shot back insults as quickly as they jokingly came.
Auron eventually bought a carpet for those cursed stairs. Nobody tripped on them anymore (save for a very drunk Seifer).
In reality, life turned out alright for Riku. It wasn't perfect, and he still missed his parents, but it was livable. Auron made a good father figure, with Aerith doubling as a doting motherly one (even though she wasn't even 22). Riku turned out alright. He didn't stop smoking, though.
Riku never heard from Sora. The silver haired boy had opportunities to ask for his new phone-number from Sora's father, but, Riku didn't. Sora knew his best friend's phone-number, of course, but for some reason, Riku never got any calls. Auron told him that Sora had probably moved on, but Riku never really did.
Even with Sora's image no longer filling his brain, Riku still thought about him from time to time. The map on the mirror was a reminder of something special, something that he'd always remember, no matter what. Riku still couldn't look at Sora's reminder without getting, upset, though.
No, he wouldn't forget.
He couldn't forget.
Riku discovered, quickly, that he really enjoyed the rain.
It was horrible when you were trying to enjoy a morning in the early spring, but, it wasn't to Riku. The twenty year old let his head fall into his hands, laughing despite himself. Rain poured down on him, soaking his entire body. His platinum hair was plastered to his neck, nearly transparent, along with his white, grease-stained work shirt and ripped jeans which had also gotten completely saturated. The clothes felt heavy on his body, but he didn't care.
Riku had taken a job at Auron's garage. Despite his total lack of knowledge for anything about cars, he managed to fumble his way through the job, with the help of Auron, Seifer, Squall and the rest of the staff. He still lived with Auron, for he was completely and totally lazy and didn't really feel like buying his own house.
He enjoyed the quiet for what seemed like an eternity, and he didn't hear a single thing, besides the thunder and lighting and the constant pour of the rain. It was calming, and—
Snapping his head upward, Riku did a double take at the image that greeted his enthralled eyes. Sora, the same girly, gawky, grinning Sora, was standing right in front of him, as drenched as he was. It was goddamn Sora. Sora who he hadn't spoken to in four years, the same Sora he missed for those same four years, the same Sora who was his bestest best buddy ever, the Sora that he couldn't forget.
Riku grinned, pulling himself off of the steps, lethargically. Sora took a step backwards, to stare at his friend. While Riku had grown quite a bit, and was now a little bit taller than Auron, Sora was pretty much the same height he was when he left for Vancouver. He still had the same big, blue eyes and the same pouting lips. Sora was still Sora.
"Did you forget?" said the tanned boy, giving a laugh.
"No. I didn't forget."
oh, god. i'm submitting this as a short story for my english class. i hope to god my male teacher doesn't catch all of the homosexual references. ehehahahah.