My Fatal Reality
Chapter 22 – The Sweetest Oblivion
Cloud ran the fastest he could. He kept holding Sora's hand, pulling him after him, as they exited the motel and ran into the cold night. The blond was sobbing, although he tried to focus on escaping over crying. But no matter what he thought of, his mind lingered on the last few seconds he saw Squall.
He knew he would never see him again. Sephiroth hadn't come to see him just to scare him off. Although Cloud tried to think positively, he couldn't. He knew that he had just left to die the man he loved. And he had never even had a chance to admit it out loud.
When they had run for a good while, Cloud couldn't take it anymore and collapsed on the pavement. Sora ran to his side and kneeled down, "Cloud…!"
"I… I never thought that things would turn out like this…" Cloud said, while trying to catch his breath in the middle of his weeps, "If I had only realized it sooner… I would've… I would've told him sooner how much I love him…"
Sora wrapped his arms around the older boy's shoulders and let him cry against his shoulder, "…I think… he knew all the time."
"No…" Cloud shook his head, "…He didn't. That's why he booked the motel room and all that… just to make me like him… although I already…"
Sora stroked Cloud's spiky hair and sighed quietly, "…Cloud, please don't cry. I don't think that Squall… my brother, would want to see you sad."
Cloud cleared his throat and wiped his eyes, although he still couldn't stop crying. He pulled away from Sora and nodded his head tiredly, "I know Sora… thanks for reminding me…"
Cloud stood up first and glanced up at the starry sky. Sora rose up on his feet as well, but instead of the sky, he focused on the car appearing behind Cloud's back. Sora's sky blue eyes widened and he quickly grabbed Cloud's hand and yanked him behind a large trash bin.
Sora placed his finger on his lips, signaling Cloud to be quiet. They watched as a black limousine drove past them.
"Do you think that he's still after us?" Sora asked and looked at Cloud. The said one shrugged his shoulders, but didn't say anything. Sora frowned deeply, "Maybe we should try to head back to Yuna's place. I think that he wouldn't dare to go there."
"I can't believe all of this is truly happening…" Cloud covered his mouth with his hand, as a sudden urge of throwing up overwhelmed him, "…I think I'm gonna…"
Sora gulped and patted Cloud's shoulder. He wasn't sure what he should have said. He was sure that his feelings were just as tangled up as Cloud's was. Sora had never meant to get Squall, much less Cloud, involved with any of his messes. He wondered if he had been ever given another choice. But when he thought back, he guessed not.
"Cloud…" Sora sighed, "…I'm so sorry. I… Because of me this all happened."
Cloud shook his head and wiped his, once again, teary eyes, "That's not true. We all knew what we were doing…" he explained, "…When we went to your place… there's no going back now…"
Sora smiled weakly. He didn't quite understand how Cloud could say such reassuring words, although he barely could stop crying. But instead of finding the strength to think positively, he stood up and offered his hand to Cloud.
"Let's go back home."
Riku ran through the neighborhood again. He hadn't seen a sight of Sora, nor anyone else.
He eventually reached Sora's place and saw that it was still on fire. Police cars, fire trucks and ambulances were parked in front of the mansion, and a good amount of people had gathered behind the fence to watch the enormous flames, which engulfed the building.
And Riku saw Yuna, Gippal, Baralai and Rikku standing in the first row, watching agape as the mansion slowly fell apart.
"Yuna!" Riku waved his hand at the brunette woman, as he ran to her. Yuna turned around swiftly, her eyes still wide open from shock. Riku couldn't help but let out a small chuckle at her reaction, "Sora's here too, isn't he?"
Yuna blinked her eyes and shook her head. She looked over at Rikku, who shrugged her shoulders. The brunette woman turned her attention back at the silver-haired boy, "Rikku told him to stay at my place. He isn't there?"
"…No." Riku shook his head slowly and his eyebrows furrowed, "…But why would he go anywhere?"
Rikku walked to Yuna's side and gave Riku a concerned look, "He couldn't be far, now could he? I mean, this place isn't that huge either…"
"But Sephiroth…" Yuna mumbled, as she glanced over her shoulder at the burning mansion, "…Sephiroth isn't here, is he? I wonder if… no, I don't think that he would go chase Sora around the town, now would he?"
Rikku was about to say 'yes he would', but when she noticed the suspicious expression on Riku's face, she shook her head, "I don't think so. Riku, I think you should go back home. We just came to look what the hell is going on in here…"
"That's right, Sephiroth…" Riku muttered and bowed his head down. Suddenly he just turned around and sped off to the direction where he had just come from.
"Riku, wait!" Yuna yelled after the teen, but he did no attempt to turn around. She shook her head weakly and looked at Rikku, "Let's go after him, before he does something stupid."
Rikku nodded her head and waved to Gippal and Baralai, who soon ran after them.
Sora and Cloud tried to stay in shadows, as they carefully headed towards Yuna's place.
"It's only few blocks away now…" Cloud muttered, as he glanced his surroundings fervently, "…I guess Sephiroth decided to give up on us."
Sora frowned. He didn't agree with the blond, since he knew that if his father really wanted to get their lives, he would be able to do it. But instead of saying it out loud, he nodded hesitantly, "Uh, yeah… Let's still keep low profile."
Cloud grabbed Sora's hand and they kept running quietly.
Sora stopped running, forcing Cloud to stop as well. He looked at the direction where his name had been called and saw the familiar silver-haired boy. His expression brightened immediately and he tugged his hand away from Cloud's grasp.
Sora had never felt as happy as he felt now. His heart felt like it skipped a beat, as he dashed towards Riku.
When Riku was almost ready to give up, he spotted Sora and Cloud across a large street. He was so relieved that he could have just pounced on Sora and kiss the life out of the smaller boy. He had never even imagined that only seeing Sora again could make him this happy. Although everything about the little brunet made him happy, this moment was the happiest in his life.
He ran few more steps forward and waved his hand, "Sora!!"
Sora immediately turned to look at him. His eyes widened and a wide smile took over his features, "R-Riku!"
Riku saw Cloud letting go off of Sora's hand and the boy started running towards him. Riku smiled genuinely and waited for Sora to reach him.
But suddenly blinding white lights illuminated the brunet. Both Riku and Sora turned to look at a black limousine, which was driving towards the brunet. It was as if the bright highlights would have frozen Sora, because the only thing he could do was stare at the approaching car.
Riku's reflexes kicked in, as he dashed forward. He wasn't sure what he was about to do, as he grabbed Sora in his arms and tried to jump out of the car's way. But his body didn't allow him to move fast enough to dodge and he felt a hard blow on his back. He fell on the pavement beside the street, while still holding Sora to his chest.
The brunet, who had started screaming, held tighter on Riku. Sora closed his eyes and screamed some more, before finally pulling away from the silver-haired boy.
"Ri… Riku?!" Sora sat on his knees next to Riku, who lay on the asphalt. He grabbed Riku's hand and held it close to his chest.
Riku let out a small grunt, as his eyes desperately tried to focus on Sora, "Are you… alright?"
Sora nodded his head a couple of times.
"Good…" Riku smiled a little, before letting his eyelids fall over his eyes. Sora could feel his hand becoming numb and his chest stopped rising and falling.
"Riku?!" Sora asked frantically and grabbed the other teen's shoulders and shook him, "Riku!! Please, don't do this to me!!"
Cloud, who had watched the scene in front of him stepped backwards as he realized that the dark limousine had parked next to the pavement and Sephiroth stepped out of it. The blond glanced at Sora and Riku, then at Sephiroth again. He realized that he didn't really have any choice but to step in between them, although there was nothing he could do.
The blond tried to gather all of his courage, as he walked forward. This time he would be the one standing in Sephiroth's way.
"Oh, give me a break, boy." Sephiroth sighed, as he noticed Cloud blocking his way, "Don't you remember what happened last time when someone tried to stand in my way?"
Cloud gritted his teeth and shook his head, "No! You give me a break! Can't you just give up?! What do you think you'll accomplish by doing all of this?!"
If Sephiroth hadn't looked serious before, he did now. He took determined and long strides to Cloud, "I'm so sick of you and your attitude."
Cloud saw Sephiroth holding a wooden chest, but he didn't have time to wonder what it was, before he was thrown aside. He staggered for a moment, before he was able to reclaim his balance. He watched as Sephiroth walked to his son and lifted him from the ground.
Sora's eyes were wide from shock. He stared at his father's eyes, paralyzed to the spot. He was still crying and his legs were shaking so badly that if Sephiroth wasn't gripping his arm, he would have fallen right back to the ground.
"Look, Sora, what I brought with me." Sephiroth said and showed the chest to Sora, "I thought that you might want to be with her, as we leave this world together as a family."
Sora opened his mouth to say something, but all that escaped from his throat was a single sob.
"You don't have to worry Sora." Sephiroth gently brushed his palm against Sora's cheek, "This world's suffering won't bother you soon anymore."
"Stop it Sephiroth!!" Cloud screamed, "Let Sora go!!"
Sephiroth smirked, as he professionally ignored the blond one's screaming. He pushed the chest against Sora's chest, "Well? Don't you want to open your little present?"
Sora took the chest in his shaky hands and opened it slowly. The horrible stench coming from inside of it made him almost close it again, but Sephiroth squeezed his arm tighter. Eventually he was able to open the chest. Sephiroth's expression brightened.
Sora let out a loud scream and stared at the reddish thing inside of the box. It was a heart, which had been probably been in that chest for a long time, since it smelled so bad that it made Sora almost throw up. He dropped the chest, as his head suddenly started to spin.
"Didn't you like my present?" Sephiroth cackled, as he let go of Sora's arm and let his son fall on the ground, "Too bad. Because that's the only thing left of your mother now, since that little son of a bitch burned my house down. It's not beating anymore though, like it was when I tore it out of her chest."
As Sora's head hit the ground, his eyes fluttered shut and his consciousness slipped away.
By that time also Yuna, Rikku, Baralai and Gippal found their way to them. Rikku shrieked as she saw the tall silver-haired man, while Gippal and Baralai charged at him. Yuna ran to Riku's side and placed her two fingers on Riku's throat to check his pulse.
"Call the police!" Baralai yelled, while he and Gippal tackled Sephiroth.
Rikku nodded her head and took a small pink cell phone out of her pocket and dialed 911.
Cloud took staggering steps towards Sora and almost fell on his face, when he tried to stop walking. He bent down and examined the brunet, "…Sora…"
"Ha! Ain't so tough guy now, are ya?" Gippal spat, as he sat on Sephiroth's chest and ready to slam his fist on his face, "Serves you right bastard."
Sephiroth chuckled coldly, "Do you think that you can get rid off me that easily? I'll remember your face."
"You'd better." Gippal laughed madly, "'Cos if you ever get to see the daylight again, I'll make sure to smash it right outta you."
Baralai shook his head at Gippal. Then he looked around and the only thing he could see were sad faces. Yuna and Rikku were on both side of Riku, while Cloud was stroking Sora's head.
"I guess we were few steps too late." Baralai said quietly, mostly to himself, since he didn't expect Gippal to hear him. But the blond looked at him and frowned sadly, all of his indignation gone. Baralai sighed, "…And looks like we are missing more than two people."
Gippal looked around. He froze for a moment, before glancing around again.
"That's right." Sephiroth smirked, "Leon met a very unfortunate fate."
"That's Squall, you smartass!" Gippal yelled and smacked Sephiroth right across his face. He narrowed his eyes at the man beneath him, "And besides, you're lying. Squall wouldn't lose to lowlife like you."
Despite aching pain on his nose, Sephiroth laughed loudly, "Well if you don't believe my words, then go take a look yourself. He's probably still lying in that bathtub of that motel nearby here. In fact, I'd be more than happy if you went to clean up for me."
Baralai wrinkled his nose in disgust and turned around. He could hear Gippal's fist connecting with Sephiroth's face continuously.
The gray-haired man walked to the black limousine. He noticed that the driver's door was open and if the driver hadn't been Sephiroth himself, they would never see him again. As he kept approaching the car, he almost stumbled over something. He looked down and saw Sora's brown teddy bear lying abandoned on the ground.
Baralai kneeled down and picked Luca up. He stared at the ragged teddy bear's button eyes and said weakly, "…I thought you were supposed to take good care of Sora."
Riku opened his eyes and stood up from the ground. He glanced his surrounding and recognized the field where he and Sora had been one time. Fireflies flew around him, just like that time. The grass, which was just as long as it used to be, itched his ankles.
He looked straight ahead and saw Sora standing there. But he wasn't alone. The brunet was staring at the people in front of him, who were all looking back at him, somewhat dully. Their expressions didn't change nor did they move.
"Sora?" Riku called out the other one's name.
Sora turned around and looked at the one who had just spoken his name. He tilted his head to his side a little and frowned, "Riku? Why are you here?"
"I was just about to ask you the same." Riku said back and glanced around a little bit more, "How did we end up in here anyway?"
Sora stared at his boyfriend and shook his head. This was his world, not Riku's.
"Am I not supposed to be here?" Riku asked, as he noticed Sora's odd expression.
"No. You don't belong here." Sora said and pointed his head with his finger, while stepping backwards, to deepen the distance between them and approaching the motionless people behind him, "…The only thing here can exist, are the people who were never supposed to die, but died anyway. Just like my mother. And just like you."
"Are you trying to say… that I'm dead and only an illusion of your imagination?" Riku frowned, as he tried to catch up with Sora.
"Yeah. You're only an illusion that I created, so that you wouldn't go." The brunet explained and suddenly stopped his pacing, "But you can't exist in two places at the same time. It's all so clear now. Don't worry Riku, I'm not afraid anymore."
Riku reached out to Sora, but the brunet only got farther away, "What do you mean? What about you? And us? What about me?!"
"What about it?" Sora smiled his best smile, few tears rolling down his somewhat pale cheeks "It'll be alright, Riku. You won't forget me, right?"
The silver-haired boy stared at Sora, before shaking his head rapidly, "I'd never… But we'll always be together, won't we?"
Sora sighed and shrugged his shoulders. He spun around on his heels and sat down on the grass, as he fixed his eyes at the dead-like persons, "I wish. But maybe it's supposed to be this way. Maybe someone up there doesn't want us to be together."
"Hey, stop that!" Riku raised his voice, as he took long paces to Sora and looked down at him, "You're supposed to be the optimistic one, remember? Even though everyone always kept pushing you down, you never ceased to smile. Where's that Sora now?"
Sora's lips tugged upwards a little. He had almost already forgotten how persistent Riku could be, "Hmm, I wonder."
Riku arched his eyebrow at Sora's reply. He focused his eyes from Sora to the people in front of them. He could immediately recognize one of the women from a picture he had seen in Sora's room. Riku sat down beside Sora and said, "Your mother, huh?"
"Yeah." Sora nodded his head, "That's her. Isn't she pretty?"
Riku chuckled a little and replied casually, "Not as pretty as you are though."
A hint of blush gathered to Sora's cheek, as he turned his head away from the other one.
Riku smiled, but his expression changed to confused when he noticed Squall standing few feet away from Sora's mother, "What's Squall doing here? Don't tell me that he…"
"Yeah, he's dead." Sora admitted quietly, "…And I… All these years, I kept shamelessly living, although I knew what Sephiroth had done. All this time, I knew that he was a murderer. But I never tried to stop him…"
"Well, he's your father after all, isn't he?" Riku reassured him with a small nod.
Sora looked at Riku, although his cheeks were still red. He forced a smile on his lips, "Thank you Riku. For everything. Although I can ever thank you enough…"
"It's okay." Riku reached his arm around Sora and pulled him against his side, "We'll be okay from now on."
Sora closed his eyes and inhaled a deep breath of Riku's personal scent, "…I guess… Sephiroth's not in the picture anymore, so everything can continue the way it used to be."
Suddenly Riku started to feel oddly tired. Sora smiled, as he stood up.
"What's this?" Riku asked, as he tried to get up, but couldn't. His limbs became numb and his mind started to get fuzzy, "Sora?"
"This is the time we say goodbye." Sora looked down at Riku, "Don't be sad, Riku. This is only a dream."
Riku tried to protest, but his voice was gone. With his last strength, he tried to push himself up from the ground, but nothing happened. His vision became darker and darker.
The last thing he saw was a dark creature crawling out of the ground and standing up. The creature looked like Sora, although it was pitch black and its eyes were sickeningly yellowish. It hugged Sora from behind and said into his ear, "I told you, didn't I? Only I'd be here with you at the end."
Then Riku's world went black.
Riku opened his eyes and it felt as if his lungs were suddenly filled with air. He let out a deep breath, as he shot up and stared at a woman dressed in white in front of him. He gasped for a while and looked around, until he realized he was in an ambulance. It seemed as if the car was at its top speed and Riku was forced to lay back down.
"Are you alright?" The woman asked, as she placed her hand on Riku's temple, "Try not to move yourself, it will only make you feel dizzier."
Riku closed his eyes slowly, before opening them again and looking at the brown-haired woman, "Who are you? And what happened?"
"My name is Lucrecia and we're taking you to a hospital." Lucrecia explained reassuringly, her voice soft and calming, "You were in an accident. And at first I was almost ready to announce your death. But I'm glad that you survived after all."
Riku nodded his head weakly and closed his eyes again.
"Aren't you going to ask about your friend?" Lucrecia asked quizzically.
"No. I saw a dream." Riku said, "He will be alright."
Hospital's corridors had never been so quiet. They were all sitting there, neither one of them making an eye contact.
Riku, who had survived only with few scratches and mild concussion, was sitting there as well. He examined his hand, which had a dark bruise on it. The damage done to him was nothing compared to the damage done to Sora.
Lucrecia, who was currently checking on Sora, hadn't let anyone in his room yet. When Yuna had tried to ask her what Sora's current state was, she had only shaken her head and sighed deeply.
Riku bit his lip. He hadn't even dared to look Cloud in his eyes, since he knew that the blond was fighting a mental breakdown. He tried to look strong, but his eyes gave him away. He wasn't any stronger than Riku or anyone in the whole world.
Gippal grunted loudly and everyone except for Riku turned to look at him.
"I can't take this anymore." He stood up and kicked the chair he had been sitting on, "I'll be going home. Tell Sora that when he comes home, I'll bake him cookies."
Gippal walked away loudly. Baralai sighed and stood up as well, "Remember to bring Sora back safely… Now if you'll excuse us…" But before he had taken more than few steps away, he turned back around, "Oh right, I almost forgot."
He paced to Riku and gave him Sora's teddy bear, which he had been holding for a while, "I found this near Sephiroth's car. I thought that you should give it to Sora."
Riku took the brown and ragged teddy and nodded his head. Baralai gave him one last smile, before leaving.
As the two men had left, Yuna rolled her eyes tiredly and leaned her head on Rikku's shoulder, "I can't believe they're making us wait this long…"
"Yeah." Rikku agreed and yawned widely.
Riku leaned the back of his head on a cold cement wall. His eyes were unfocused and fingers cold. He knew that Sora would survive. No one could take him away from him, after every thing that they had conquered together. It would be just plain unfair.
A sound of door opening made everyone look up. Lucrecia came out of Sora's room, her glance nervously wandering around the hallway and hands clutching on a notepad.
"How's he?" Riku asked immediately as he jumped to his feet and walked towards the doctor, "He is alright, isn't he?"
Lucrecia looked at the silver-haired teen and gave a painful smile, "…When a person encounters a traumatic experience that could endanger his or her mental health, the person's subconscious might protect them by making them forget."
"So Sora has some kind of trauma now?" Riku lifted his eyebrow and was almost ready to let out a sigh of relief.
"Yes, that's what we are assuming." Lucrecia said weakly, "…But…"
Yuna stepped next to Riku, "…It's not just that, is it?"
"No." The brown-haired doctor said in defeat, "One can only guess what really happened to him. It seems that… his subconscious has taken over his whole mind. We aren't sure whether he can hear us or not, but it seems as if his whole consciousness was dead."
Yuna gaped for a moment, before clearing her throat, "…So he is…"
Lucrecia nodded her head, "I'm sorry."
Riku pushed past Lucrecia and stepped into Sora's room. The first thing he saw was a pale brown-haired boy lying on the hospital bed, who was only remnant of what Sora used to be. His eyes were wide open and they were staring at the ceiling and a horrified expression was written all over his face. Riku's heart twitched and he walked next to the bed.
"…S-Sora?" Riku asked unsurely as he grabbed the boy's hand.
Sora's head fell lifelessly to his side and his eyes locked at Riku's. The horrified expression turned into a smile. Riku could only frown sadly at the empty look on the other one's face.
"I promised you that we'd be okay from now on." Riku said, the corners of his eyes filling with tears. He placed Luca next to Sora, before gently caressing his face, "C'mon, open your eyes."
Yuna, Rikku and Cloud entered the room as well. All of them froze as they saw Sora. That was enough to drive Cloud over the edge, and the blond sat down in the farthest corners and buried his head in his hands. Rikku went after him, upon realizing that she wouldn't stand much longer either.
Yuna gulped, "Riku…"
Riku looked weakly over his shoulder, "…He will wake up, won't he?"
The brunette woman didn't know whether she should tell him the truth or not. But after pondering for a while, she decided that truth might be better than waiting forever, "I don't think he will."
Riku nodded his head and pulled out a small stool underneath the bed. He sat down and gently let go of Sora's hand. To avoid mindless sobbing, he pushed his palms against his eyes and tried to breath steadily. He didn't want to make a scene, although his mind felt like exploding. Too many thoughts were running through his mind.
What if he had done something differently? Maybe if he had never met Sora, the things would have never turned out the way they did. Or maybe they would have, but at least he would have spared himself from all this pain. Although it might be worth it, he would never be able to forget, much less forgive himself.
"The only thing I wanted was a happy ending…" Riku said, while pressing his palms harder against his eyes, "…But… after all… I couldn't even save Sora."
Yuna's eyes were gazing emptily at the floor. She didn't know what to say. They all had lost something equally valuable tonight. She looked at Cloud, who was still crying in the farthest corner. Rikku tried to calm him down, but no words could make his sobs cease. Even the blonde girl had tears rolling down from her eyes.
But then she looked at Sora, who was lying on the bed, staring straight at Riku and smiling. It was as if staring at a lifeless puppet, who was completely oblivious of what was happening around him. Yuna sighed heavily and said, "Riku… I think that Sora was saved. The place his mind is now, is hopefully a brighter place than this world."
Riku looked at the brunet boy. He frowned deeply at the melancholic, yet empty smile on the boy's lips. Riku stood up and shook his head, "Can you call this a salvation?! Sora doesn't speak, cry or laugh. He will never ask me to hold him or blush when I kiss him. He will never again say 'I love you' or cry over the stupidest things."
Yuna opened her mouth to counter Riku's remark, but was silenced when the silver-haired boy gave him a spiteful look.
"The Sora I knew…" Riku said, his voice much quieter now. He had started walking towards the door, but before exiting the room, he finished his sentence, "…No longer exists here."
And so, this story concludes. I hope you all enjoyed reading it. My thanks goes to Someday Eternity, who enlightened me about psychology, Aeroblast, who helped me whenever I had writer's block and, of course, to my most dearest readers.
Thank you all and before you ask, there won't be a sequel.