Dislciamer:Nope. I don't own any of KH, KH2. I only play the games, and write the stories with the characters that I don't own:D so don't sue me thanks!

Background:I decided to take a little trip down memory lane, and replay kingdom hearts 1. It was during Monstro that I had this little inspiration. But while it started out strong, it got a little harder for me to write, and I took me longer then I expected. Im very happy with how it came out. But please forgive any weird errors, if there are extra symbols or whatever. I rushed to type it, and while I spell checked it, im sure there are bound to be some missed mistakes. Not many though, not many :) Thanks. Also! Don't ask me how they got back into Monstro. I mean, yeah I wondered this too..How a giant whale would just be..you know..STILL BE FLOATING there in the middle of space. When this thought crosses your mind, just remember to "suspend your disbelief for the sake of the story" please. Thanks :D

Warning:Rated for MxM. Nothing graphic though. Just more intensely adorable fluff and more Riku angst ;) But still. If you are offended by any sort of MxM content, including a sweet little kiss, then Do not read. Simple as that.


In The Belly of the whale

"Sora.. Are you sure you can trust Riku?"

--xxSerenity


The smell of rotting fish brought back a rush of memories that swarmed my mind enough to make it hurt. I recalled the dream I first had after the accident, when that massive mammal appeared out of no where and swallowed the gummy ship, as well as Donald, Goofy, and myself ,whole. I was exploring the secret cave with him, investigating the noise I heard, since I thought it was a monster. Heh, that was actually the first time we ever saw the door. I guess, when I look back on it now, it was like my intuition was telling me I'd find him in this odd whale when I was looking, or maybe fate had arranged it. Why else would you find a giant whale floating in space? But in any case, So we did find Riku, only..It wasn't really Riku, or rather, it definitely wasn't the best friend I had on the islands.

"Sora!" I heard him call me from across the massive mouth of the whale and I frowned. He got there so fast, I was still dawdling at the edge of the creatures tongue where the water started. I didn't want to get wet, so I hoped onto the nearest platform which was a weakened piece of wood most likely from a wrecked ship that the monster consumed. As I hoisted myself up, I heard it creaked, and no sooner after did I find myself plummeting into that foul smelling water, head first no less.

When I reemerged, coughing and sputtering and hastily brushing off the rotting bits of fish, I heard Riku's laughter from the other side.

"Geez, Sora, you're such a klutz!" He had called, and I muttered an insult under my breath before yelling at him to shut up. Normally, I would've joked it off, but for some reason, I just felt so edgy. I guess I just didn't want to be there right then, or ever again for that matter.

"But I though you liked games, Sora"

In my minds eye, I could recall the scene so well. He had been against me, back in Monstro, stealing away Pinocchio while I was trying to save him and acting like I didn't care at all about rescuing Kairi. I shook my head, trying desperately to dispel the memory.

Without wanting to attempt any of those platforms again, I merely swam, muttering all the while as I reached Riku, and climbing onto the land as I rung out the excess water from my pants and shirt. I noticed his blank expression, and instantly I felt my anger raise.

"What?" I snapped but he only backed off, throwing his hands up in mock defeat while edging a few steps back from me. I sighed and apologized, but he was too ahead of me to care, I suppose.

"Whatever, lets just go!" He sounded excited rather than annoyed, and made a dash into the first chamber of the annoying maze of Monstro's innards. Defeated, I could only follow.

And follow him I did, for what seemed like an endless amount of time. Thankfully there were no heartless since the worlds were all safe, but he empty silence still did it's best to torment me with the memories of this horrible place. This had to have been one of the worst parts of my journey along with Neverland, and Hollow Bastion, and...The end...Every other time I had to face Riku, I thought I felt my own heart break. So why wasn't I happy? We were exploring Monstro side by side, as best friends, after everything was laid to rest at last. Xemnas had been defeated and everything was returned to its natural order.

In retrospect, I guess I was feeling anger that I should've felt before. Being home with the friends whom I fought for so long to find allowed me to relax and ponder, and inwardly reminisce about my adventures, thus it had given me enough time to ponder how Riku had betrayed me, or how he thought I had betrayed him.

"What the hell is wrong with you?" That familiar voice snapped me out of my thoughts, and I glanced around frantically, searching him out, but he had jumped onto a ledge and was standing infront of a chamber entrance out of my range of vision.

"Huh?"

"You're so out of it, and when you're not, you're being obnoxious. What's wrong with you?" Now he started to sound annoyed, and I frowned myself. How dare him strike out at me now, I figured. I shook my head, trying to keep my growing anger in check.

"Nothing. Why did you want to come here anyway?" I changed the subject quick, while hopping up onto the ledge with him. We both turned to face the entrance to the fourth chamber, but neither of us made a motion to proceed and he was silent for a moment before he answered.

"There's something in here I wanted you to see." He replied in a way that seemed like it was an insult against my attitude, and it worked since It made me feel apologetic. Sighing, I didn't reply, and merely made my own way into that fourth chamber.

We crossed the fourth chamber and finally found the entrance into the bowels where we spent a great deal of time with Riku scourging the area for the item of interest. I didn't know what he was looking for, so I merely held behind with my arms tossed idly behind my head, ruminating and regretting agreeing to come with him. Then when it wasn't found, he finally motioned to jump into the massive hole where an annoying heartless once sat. I remember it well since I had fought with Riku by my side for that battle.

We both plunged into the darkness at the same time, and when our eyes adjusted to the new light, we both realized we were once again at the mouth. I had a feeling of de ja vu, but Riku looked around in confusion.

"What's the matter? I thought you knew this place really well. After all, you made me run around like a chicken without a head, fighting through hordes of heartless while trying to find you and Pinocchio!" I scowled as I snapped, crossing my arms over my chest., I watched him or sometime as he stood there in silence, returning my stare with his own look of..Hurt? I blinked, and again I sighed, but I wouldn't apologize this time. I couldn't. So instead I turned and moved toward the platform that resembled a diving board. I had a feeling I knew what he was looking for, and I remembered how to get there. "This way.." I murmured, while feeling a big heaviness in my chest. I made that long jump to a piece of wood on the other side of the whale and was thankful this one was strong enough to hold me up. A glance over my shoulder confirmed that Riku agreed to follow, so I lead him to the chamber that sat just above the first one. The somewhat secretive entrance that led to the monsters throat. We stood outside that entrance for a moment in awkward silence. I think he wanted to say something. I sort of did too, but neither of us knew the right words to make everything okay again. So I tried to lighten the mood, even if I was the one that ruined it in the first place. "You know, you make a really lousy bad guy." I grinned faintly, hoping he'd at least chuckle. But instead I got a cold glare, and I supposed then I might've struck a bad chord with that one.

He regained the lead, and I let him. Heck I didn't even reacknowledge the fact that I knew the way better than he did, and he was the one that initiated that cat and mouse game. So I followed him into the throat.

"You know I asked if you were mad. You could've said yes and we could've talked out after we beat Xemnas." He finally spoke as he jumped onto one of the platforms protruding from the inside of the creatures throat. "Rather than let it sit until now." I thought about that, and I guess he made sense. But I was just so happy to have him home that I couldn't have been mad, despite all he had put me through.

"Riku, I fought you. We could've killed each other and then we let it sit like it never happened. I couldn't stay...not angry forever.."It sounded so stupid when I said it, and I heard Riku 'hmph' as he climbed the platforms. I followed like the little dog that I was when it usually came to him. That thought, like it often did, had me a bit ill.

"So you wait until everyone is happy, and then snap at me now like I was the enemy?" He grumbled.

"You were!"

I saw him freeze just beneath the entrance to Monstro's stomach. I was about two platforms away, but squinting I could swear I saw a tear starting in those turquoise eyes of his.

"Don't you regret it?" I dared to ask while jumping to the next platform, until I was only one below him

"I...I just wanted to save Kairi"

"But what about me? Didn't you care about me at all? I wanted to save her too.."

"Of course I did! But you..You had the keyblade..and your new friends. Kairi had nothing, not even her heart!" I had to admit, I felt like a real jerk at that point. But something inside me told me that everything I was feeling had to be said, otherwise it would've just ate at me. I joined him on the final platform, and stood facing him, telling myself I couldn't back down now that I had started this. And as for him, he only stared at me with a look that I decided was half hanger, half hurt. But despite it all, he reached out and took me by the hand, squeezing it once before jumping and throwing us both into the muscles of the throat which then pulled is into Monstros stomach.

When we landed, we were on that thin strip of tissues surrounded by the stomach acid. I remember the burn of it, feeling it on my skin whenever I took a nasty fall while fighting that stupid heartless for the second time. It was a lot stronger than the first time, and I didn't have Riku's help that time. No, I bet he stood by watching as I suffered. I couldn't help but feel the tears well up in my own eyes at the irrational thought. I guess he noticed my inner struggle, and the tears starting at my eyes, since I saw a bit of concern on his face before he reached up with a gloved hand and wiped away a tear that strayed.

"Do you want me to regret forever?" He whispered, in a way that had my stomach knotting. I looked away, ashamed for thinking 'yes' part of me did want him to regret it forever, to regret turning on me like he had, and furthermore, for Kairi. Even if I wanted to save her too, there was something about him caring more about her than me that seemed to shatter my heart into pieces. I didn't answer him and I guess he took my silence as my answer since he broke away from me, and turned to face the entirety of the creatures stomach. There was silence between us again, save for the sizzling of the weak acid, and then Riku moved to the edge of that platform. He leapt towards the center, despite my questioning tone of voice as I called after him. And I noted that he was a bit off. He wasn't going to hit the center platform. No, at the rate he was going, he was going to land...

"Riku!" I lunged after him, but I was too late, and by the time I had reached the center, he was standing in the thick goo. The acid slowly eating away at his sneakers and pants, creeping dangerously close to the flesh beneath.

"Then I will. I'll regret, Sora. And if you want, I'll stand here until I burn to show you how sorry I am." He announced with a triumphant grin on his face. I knew this was a competition in his head, and he expected me to give in, beg him not to do that...Well..He was right. But seriously, the idiot, what DID he think he was doing? I yelled out his name again, and dove in after him. Luckily the acid was weak, and as long as you were fast, you could make it across without too much damage, that is as long as it didn't touch your skin. I grabbed him by the arm and together I flung us both to the far sided platform, where we both crashed against the side of the whales stomach.

Riku flinched as we settled and I noticed that the few minutes he stood was enough for the acid to disintegrate most of his shoes and his pants just to his shins. They weren't very bad burns, but they were burns nonetheless.

"Riku.."I murmured, but still unable to look him in the eyes. "Why did you do that?"

He only sighed in response though, and I noticed the quick glance he took about the chamber before his eyes came to rest on the one that was slightly above us.

"There!" He said, pointing towards the platform. "There it is! go get it"

Nodding, I stood and momentarily distracted from the matter at hand, I jumped onto that platform to find the object of his interest, which in turn had my own eyes widening.

"My chain!" I exclaimed. The silver necklace I always wore with that small crown. I only realized I had lost it after beating Ansem. Knowing that it could've been anywhere, on any world, I had pretty much figured it to be gone forever. Happily though, I slid back down to the platform, and resumed my seated position besides him.

"I thought I saw it when I was exploring this place for Maleficent." He explained in short detail. I nodded excitedly, feeling a rush of happiness that wasn't present before.

"Thanks Riku!" I chimed, which earned me a smile from him, and he turned slightly to face me while taking my necklace in his hands.

"Turn around.." He said softly, and I did, only to feel the cold metal being draped around my neck and fastened back in place. It was an annoying clasp that had to be fiddled with a bit though.

"I do regret it you know.." He finally said, in turn with the faint click of the metal clasp. We both turned back so that we were once more with our backs against the side of the whale, staring out infront of us, and I absentmindedly fingered the metal crown which hung around my neck once more. I wanted to tell him it was okay, and everything was okay, and truthfully, I tried, but when I opened my mouth to talk, I felt that I couldn't even speak., "I never wanted to hurt you Sora, I just wanted to help Kairi."

"I know.." I finally squeaked out, although I knew I sounded sort of sad. I really didn't know what I could say to make everything alright again. I tucked my knees to my chest and tilted my head to the side, sighing softly.

"I know I never apologized to you, Sora. But I guess I just tried to convince myself it all never happened. Tried to tell myself that I didn't lose Kairi, or you, that I wasn't locked behind the door by you, the best friend I once had, whom I thought had abandoned me for new friends and a fancy sword that only he could wield. Heh" He finished his words with a scoff, as if he still couldn't;'t believe that I was chosen over him to wield the keyblade. I thought I felt a jab in my chest, but I dismissed the thought, passing it off as mere memories that he wanted to forget, just like the ones I had. "But you know.." He continued, and I turned to him to listen eagerly. "I realized something. It took me a while of wandering in darkness to finally realize it. In fact, It was when I fought Roxas, and even blindfolded I knew in my heart it was you.." I was really interested now, because when I asked him, Riku never actually wanted to tell me what went on behind the door.. "...because he wielded the keyblade...also.."

"What did you realize..?" I asked then, getting somewhat impatient. He turned to me, and again I saw that smile.

"Heh..I realized that..I love you." He said it 'as a matter of factly' and I stared at him confused. But then I only returned his smile and awkwardly moved my hand to the back of my head.

"Well Geez, Riku..You know you're my best friend-"

"No.." He cut me off, and I eyed him curiously. "I thought..I liked..Kairi." His words were slow and labored, and I thought I heard his voice crack uneasily, but then he looked at me with that same smile, and for some reason I felt something in me melt. "Hey, remember that time we first met again after all that happened? That time in Traverse Town?" He suddenly asked, as if changing the subject. I nodded

"Yeah, I remember that. I thought you were a dream" I chuckled as I recalled that memory. He seemed to laugh too, but more nervously than me.

"I told you to leave it to me, that I could take care of everything.." He trailed off for a moment before shaking his head. "And then a heartless came up behind you, and you took it out with a single swing. I didn't even know it was there."

I felt a deep frown forming as I saw where this was going. Pointing out his jealousy again. I sighed, wishing he would just let that part of our past rest where it was. But soon I'd find out that wasn't exactly the point of the memory. "I thought about that constantly, and at first I was so angry. It was the moment I gave in to Maleficent, unofficially, then I saw you with Donald and Goofy and the rest...Your new friends. I felt so abandoned.."

"Riku..That was stupid.."

"Be quiet, Sora..Im not done." He grumbled, and startled, I shut up to let him finish."it wasn't until after all was said and done that I realized..I was angry because I wanted to be the best,. I wanted to be the one to take care of everything. I wanted to wield the keyblade because I wanted to be idolized by you like I always had been. When it was you who was chosen..I felt pushed aside by everyone. Heh, like it was a conspiracy against me or whatever. I gave into the darkness because I thought it would put me on top again, which in turn would also let me get back Kairi's heart, hopefully before you so I could be the hero. But then I learned later on that it was more than that. I wanted to be stronger than you because I wanted you to look up to me, and in doing so I would feel like I was still the one protecting you. Sora, I don't just love you, I'm -in- love with you."

I watched him as he finished. He had looked away long before that last part, and I could tell he was building up to it. Probably afraid of how I';d respond. Well, naturally I was surprised. Of all the things he could've said, "im in love with you" definitely wasn't on the list of possibilities according to me. But in truth, I thought I would be a lot more surprised then I was. Was I really expecting it on some unconscious level? Or was it that I was hoping all along that's what it was. Either way, instead of surprise, I felt a certain sort of happiness, as if a large burden had been lifted. But on the other hand, something still felt sort of off. I mused over it for a moment, but smiled anyway.

"I told you back there that I always thought you were better at stuff than I was too, you know." I finally said, to which he grinned and reach over to ruffle my hair. Chuckling, I batted at his hands, but as I did so, trying to get him to stop messing up my hair, I felt his hand curl about my wrist and grip it tight. Blinking, I looked up at him just in time to see his face only inches from mine.

"H..huh?" was all I muttered, too nervous to react any other way I guess. His eyes stared into my own, and he looked so calm. It had me absolutely mesmerized how calm he was, and how..wonderful it felt to just stare into those oceanic orbs..I swallowed hard, and tried to force myself to relax while telling myself that deep down, I knew I wanted this more than anything. I was sure of it..I think..

"Sora.."He finally whispered, his lips brushing my own. Part of me wanted to draw back, but that other part had me frozen in place. So Riku took it upon himself to eradicate any chance of escape I had by sliding on top of me, his legs straddling my waist, and by then, both of my wrists then pinned by his hands, next to my head, against the side of the whales stomach. My own stomach was in major knots by then and I really didn't know how to react. Was this really happening? Was it even supposed to be happening? I expected to be in this situation with Kairi, and furthermore, with Kairi in my position. But instead, it was me with my wrists pinned to the wall, and my best friends face inches from mine. I could feel his breath on my skin as he gazed into my eyes and I realized then that I didn't';t feel so anxious anymore. It was as if one look from him had settled all doubts. I was completely overwhelmed, and even more so when I felt his lips finally pressed tightly to my own. My eyes widened in surprise at first, unsure of the feelings this kiss was arising in me. I suddenly felt really scared.

But the more I tried to fight it, the more I tried to tell myself this wasn't;'t right, the harder I was falling. At least I think that's how it was going. I felt his tongue push at my mouth, and I opened, allowing its entrance. Meanwhile, one his hands had released my wrist, and started traveling up the length of my arm, the tips of his fingers trailing along my jaw before I felt his glove hand settle on my cheek, The warmth offered by his hand had me more relaxed then I had been this entire day, and I leaned my head to the side, finding myself yearning for more of that same warmth.

It was then, and while I was barely adjusting to the new sensation of my best friends lips and tongue ravishing my own, that he decided to break the kiss (Or maybe it was just the need for air..) And it was only when he pulled back and grinned then after, that I felt the fevery hot flush in my face.

"I'm..blushing, aren't;'t I?" I murmured, eyes averted to hide the embarrassment that was already there.

"Heheh, Yes, but you're real cute when you do that, you know?" He chuckled in response.

I smiled at that, since despite the seemingly embarrassing situation, I hadn't felt as at peace as I did that moment. I was so thankful to have one burden off my chest, that I didn't even see the other one until it was too late. 'But this is a good thing..' I reminded myself as I studied his eyes. He wasn't smiling any more, but he definitely wasn't frowning, and I felt myself get a tad frustrated trying to figure out just what it was he was thinking. Riku always had been a hard one to figure out.

"So ..." I started, while looking down once more embarrassed. "Does this mean..we're..Together now..?" I stuttered uneasily, still finding it hard to look him in those eyes again.

"Hm..Well I guess that's your call really." He stated calmly, without even backing up to give me the space I needed to think.

I frowned slightly, but only because he had left the decision up to me. I wish he hadn't, and instead I wish he'd just declare it if he wanted it so bad, because I knew at that point I'd go along with it. Well, go along with it in the best possible sense of the words. I really meant that I'd go along with it, while wanting it too. I finally glanced up, catching a glance of those eyes again and once more they were completely serious.

"Riku.." I murmured, feeling the tension and uncertainty in my own voice. But he only smiled lightly and released his old on my wrists so that he could slide back around and sit himself besides me.

"I understand." he replied in that confident tone of his. I felt suddenly crushed. "I don't know what I was expecting. I guess I was stupid to think you'd-"

"No Riku!" I cut him off mid sentence, but I didn't know why. It wasn't as if I had any form of comforting words to say. In truth, I felt utterly ripped n half. Part of me wanted so badly for this to happen, while the other part kept holding me back .But what I didn't understand was why? Sure I thought it might've been a little weird for me and him to be a couple, but there was something else that I just couldn't put my finger on.

"Sora... Are you sure you can trust Riku?"

I blinked as I recalled the scenes of our fight with Xemnas. There was a point where he tried to instil doubt in our minds about the other, and at the time I recall brushing it off. But then...now..

"Riku.. Are you sure you're not jealous of Sora?"

I glanced over at him an noticed he had looked away. His eyes had taken a sudden interest in the river of stomach acid, and it made me wonder if all this time had he been struggling with this same thought? Regardless, it was starting to make sense to me. It wasn't that I was scared of a relationship with another boy,. It was the fact that I was scared of a relationship with Riku. I didn't trust him, not like I thought I did, like I once had.

But I wanted to change that.

"You weren't stupid, Riku. It's just that.." I wanted to tell him everything I was feeling, but trying to work around the statement 'I don't trust you' seemed really too hard to do without hurting g someones feelings, and I definitely didn't want to do that.

"You don't trust me. It's okay, I understand."

"Huh?" I was confused. Had he read my mind? He looked at me again with a similar smile to before, and I felt that inwardly melting feeling again.

"I know what you're feeling, Sora. I don't know, call it a gift of sorts. Been sorta able to do that for a while now." He poked me in the shoulder and pushed himself to his feet, wincing just barely at the slight soreness in his limbs from where the acid had barely come in contact. I followed, still somewhat baffled, but I also knew that somewhere in the back of my mind it made sense, and I hated myself for not being able to understand him as well. But before I could say anything else, he had continued. "Nothing's going to change between us, Sora. I mean not unless you want it to, for the better or the worst. But I can';t just put these feelings behind me and pretend they aren't there." I nodded in understanding, but as I slid up to stand besides him, I dared to reach out and take a gloved hand of his in my own. He seemed a bit curious of my actions, but brushed them off as nothing more than a friend gesture I supposed, or maybe even a comforting hint to continue. " So..I'm asking you..To give me a second chance. I can't undo what's already been done. But we're all home, we're all safe, and I could certainly try to make it up to you and get you to trust me again if you'll let me." He trailed off awkwardly, and I noticed as he looked away and swallowed hard, obviously nervous. It didn't;'t take me much time to think it over. It was my turn to smile then, and I turned to face him, but he only turned his head.

"I could do that.." I murmured, trying hard not to sound too overly excited, or eager. All in all I guess it was a sort of awkward "make up" since he chuckled nervously. But to my surprise, he actually turned to take me in his arms, pulling me tight to his chest in a hug. I felt the heat in my face, but other then that, it felt surprisingly good, and I felt the warmth of his I had grown to love.

"Thanks Sora." He whispered, while pulling back just slightly so that our eyes could meet once more. We lingered like that for a moment, and I suddenly found myself hoping he'd lean down and kiss me again. But he didn't No, instead he gave me a rather hard shove before turning and breaking off into a fast sprint, despite his small injuries. "I'll race you back!" He declared as if our entire conversation hadn't taken place.

It took me a moment to collect myself after that, and I stood there blinking in confusion before I realized he was already out of the stomach. That jerk! I thought, but I couldn't help but grin. I was so happy at that point that even if he did manage to make it back before me, I wouldn't mind. Especially after all that had happened, perhaps I wouldn't even try. I'd let him win that time so he could feel on top. Yeah, that's it. I smirked victoriously while continuing to stand in that one spot for the moment. My arms tossed idly behind my head as I mused over all that had happened that day. I had gone from extremely hurt, and angry, all the way to giddy and in love. It was strange, but it was definitely a welcomed feeling. My smirk soon melted into a small smile as I started my way out, all the while taking my sweet time as I did so.

"Congrats Riku." I spoke aloud to no one in particular. "Now the scores a million to one."

and for the first time ever, I really didn't mind.