Note: See, I am getting better with these updates. Huzzah!
6. The Art of Treachery
The blast of music in his ears made Riku's eyelids snap open. He rolled over in his bed, groaning at the groovy hypnotic tunes of the Beatles. He looked at his clock and saw the red digits blink. It was nine in the morning, much too early for him to get up on a non-school day. He forced himself up, legs swinging over to plant themselves onto the floor, and stomped his way into the bathroom with a sour look on his face. If his father was up this early with music, then something was going on.
Riku quickly got ready after his shower and ran down the stairs.
Papa turned around to look at his son while he mixed something in a bowl.
Riku noticed that he was wear his fuzzy purple apron that said "Smack the cook…" when the eccentric man turned around to pour the contents into the skillet, the back flaps of the apron said "…on the ass!" Riku raised an eyebrow. Yes. Something was definitely going on; his father only wore that apron when they had guests.
"Are you hungry, my little Riku-kun?" Papa asked while shaking the pan. He turned around and looked at teen, who was now sitting at the kitchen island. "Because I am making you a breakfast with thrice as many nutrients as a normal breakfast so that you can grow big and strong like Papa!"
The man placed his hands on his hips and let his long silver hair flow dramatically in the wind. Riku looked around. There were no windows open.
"Before you know it, you'll have thunderous thighs like your glorious Papa and then your chest will grow into manly bosoms that will cure a person from any ailment once they've nuzzled into the golden curls of pure manliness!"
Riku almost lost his appetite at the thought of himself looking like Fabio on steroids.
Papa gave a hearty laugh before tending to the eggs and serving Riku his breakfast.
"Eat up and become glorious! For I am not immortal and will need someone to carry on my legacy."
Riku debated on eating his eggs. Maybe they were drugged. But his rumbling stomach said otherwise. He quickly began to eat while his father opened up a fresh carton of eggs. The man paused when his radio began to play his favorite Beatles song. Papa giggled and waited for his favorite part. Riku drank his juice, unfazed by the man's behavior. He wondered who was going to come over since his father was crazier than usual. His mother wasn't due back for another week, so it wasn't her.
"I am the egg man!" Papa's voice sang, bringing Riku back from his thoughts.
Papa pointed to the carton of eggs. Riku noticed the tiny faces painted on their shells.
"They are the egg men!"
Riku braced himself.
"I am the walrus, goo goo g'joob!"
Riku sighed and picked up his glass of juice.
"Morning." A husky voice rang from behind. The person's lips gently brushed against his ear and Riku snorted his juice. He coughed and turned around to see no one, but the Devil himself.
"Axel!" Papa cheered and then shut off his music. Riku tried to give a decent glare, but he was too busy cleaning up the juice that squirted out of his nose.
"I'm done looking through this one," Axel said, holding up a large book. It was decorated in pink and green rhinestones and had "The Life and Times of Riku-chan" written in silver script. Riku glowered. He thought he burned that book.
"What are you doing?" Riku asked eyes bright and jaw clenched.
His father took the book from Axel and smiled. "I'm showing Axel all of your baby pictures!" The man produced another album, covered in sky blue and purple rhinestones this time, out of thin air. "This one's good, it's from ages two to four," he said, giving the book to Axel.
"Why are you doing this?"
Papa thought for a moment, twirling a lock of silver hair around his finger.
"Because I'm your parent and it's the law," he said sternly. He could barely hold a serious face before bursting into a fit of giggles. Riku rubbed the bridge of his nose.
Axel stopped looking through the album and looked at Papa. "Is there a reason why Riku's been dressed in pink since the last album?"
Riku's eyes widened and he looked at his father. "No!"
"Well it all started..." Riku would have given anything to be struck by lightning at the moment. But his father continued to ramble. "When I, in the virility of my youth, had the power to impregnate any woman within a hundred mile radius."
Riku thought he was going to be sick. Axel had to cover his mouth to keep from laughing.
"Mama was discovered to be pregnant and I, being so happy, recorded every second of the joyous event." He bent down to retrieve the album Axel had before and picked out a dark picture of a crude sonogram.
"This little pea of life is you Riku-kun!" Papa looked at the picture and wiped a fake tear away. "Look at you, you were so adorable. To think, that this little pea of life was made by your Papa and his powerful seed."
Riku wanted to slam his head down on the counter. A lot.
"The fact that your mother carried you was a mere coincidence. I could have carried you to term if I wanted to!" Papa began to laugh like a crazed villain.
"Get to the point of your story!" Riku yelled. Axel was turning red from holding in his laughter.
Papa cleared his throat. "Once mama was far enough along, we were told the sex of child was going to be female! Oh what a magnificent time that was. I was so happy that I went out and bought anything girly I could get my hands on. Electric pinks, baby yellows, soft lavenders, you name it, I got it! You couldn't tell me those little puffy itchy dresses weren't cute! My little Riku-chan was going to be the girl all the little boys wanted to play with."
"Then." Papa paused to pose dramatically with a hand to his forehead and the other on his heart. "My life was ruined for ever!"
He glared at Riku, who just rolled his eyes.
"When Riku was born, we discovered that babies don't have two umbilical cords!"
"No!" Axel jaw dropped in shock.
"I know!" Papa cried.
Riku was surrounded by idiots.
"After I was done crying, I learned that I couldn't return all of the clothes I bought."
Riku stood up and pointed to one of the pictures not covered by Axel's arm. "So you dressed me up as a girl?" he seethed. Axel moved his arm and looked down at the picture where Riku was trying to take off his dress.
"Why not?" Papa came over to look at the picture and giggled at the frilly underwear Riku was wearing. "You were just so cute and squishy!" he said, pinching his son's cheeks. Riku pulled away from the man's teasing fingers.
"I like this one," Axel said, pointing to a picture of Riku trying to take his shoes off. "You look so determined to get them off. It's cute."
Riku looked away and frowned. He tried his best to ignore the growing flush of red on his cheeks.
"It's easy to dress them when they're that young, they're too stupid to care!" Papa laughed.
Axel turned the page and his eyes landed on a picture of Riku being held by a woman with silver hair. Both were wearing matching yellow sundresses.
"Your wife is very pretty," the redhead commented.
"Mama?" Papa leaned over to see and stifled a giggle. "Oh, you silly goose, that's me!"
"Really?" Axel asked examining the picture again.
"My curvaceous hips and luscious lips don't lie!"
Riku wondered if chugging the entire bottle of dishwashing liquid would be enough to kill him.
He watched the pair flip through the album, laughing and pointing at Riku's miserable childhood full of itchy dresses and tight shoes. At one point he noticed the pictures were getting more and more Papa-centric as the man pushed Riku away to pose like a super model. Riku was surprised he wasn't traumatized by that gender confusing period in his childhood. He was also surprised he wasn't going to therapy. Riku gave himself another year before that would happen.
"So what are your plans for your little play date?" Papa asked, closing the book.
Axel leaned back into his chair, a crocked smile on his lips.
"Well, I have many things planned for your little Riku-kun," he said smugly.
"Oh isn't that exciting!" Papa looked at Riku, who frowned. "Like what?"
"Well, I'm going to fuc—
"We're leaving!" Riku said, placing his hand over Axel's mouth. His face burned as he dragged the redhead from his chair towards the door.
"Remember Riku-kun! Papa still loves you despite the huge disappointment you've become!"
Riku slammed the door behind him once they got outside. He let go of the tall redhead, who was laughing the entire time into his hand.
"What the hell!" Riku erupted. He waited for the man to catch his breath. "Don't you know he's most active in the morning?"
Axel straightened up and placed his hand on his hips. "Come on, he's not that bad."
In an instant the Beatles blared from the kitchen window.
"I am the walrus, goo goo g'joob, goo goo g'joob!" Papa shouted as he twirled with his mixing bowl.
Riku raised an eyebrow and looked at Axel, who shrugged. "What do you expect? The man has great taste in music."
Riku sighed and decided not to delve into the issue of his father's choice of music.
"Why were you in there so early?" Riku asked, following Axel across the street.
"Well, I'm Selphie's pet for the day and she told me to fetch you," he replied, opening the gate to his front yard.
Riku wanted to warn him about being Selphie's pet. The last time Riku complied with that idea, he ended up wearing a diamond studded chocker with the name 'muffins' on it. He managed to get away before Selphie attached the leash.
Riku stopped the redhead's hand from getting the keys from his pocket by firmly grasping it. "Don't let her take advantage of you," he warned, "It's okay to say no to her."
The man pulled his hand back. "Oh, I don't plan on resisting," he said opening the door.
The smell of oatmeal cookies baking wafted in from the kitchen. Aeris walked in as Axel closed the door behind them. The woman clasped her hands together and smiled brightly at the sight of Riku.
"Good Morning!" She grabbed Riku's hands and pulled him into a tight hug. Riku would have enjoyed his face being nuzzled between two soft breasts, but his lungs screamed for air.
"Would you like some breakfast?" she asked, finally letting him go. He could hear Axel snickering in the background.
"No, that's okay. I already ate."
"No I insist!" She grabbed onto one of his hands. "Papa said to offer you food to help you grow into the strong masculine man we all know is within." She pulled him towards the direction of the kitchen.
"That's okay, Aeris." Axel piped up. He grabbed onto Riku's other hand and pulled him towards him. "We'll be in my room if you need anything."
"Have fun!" she called out as they both went up the stairs. "And no fooling around! Remember that time you had your little blonde friend over? Zack almost had a hernia."
Axel closed the door, head lowered so that his hair could cover his face. If Riku didn't know any better, he would have guessed that Axel was embarrassed. A smile crept up onto his lips. Axel embarrassed? It was too good to be true.
"Who was she talking about?"
"No one important," he said, raising his head up. Riku noticed the slight pink hue on his cheeks.
Selphie cleared her throat to make her presence known. She stood by Axel's window with a small white paper bag in hand.
"Good boy!" She petted Axel on the head and gave him a doggie biscuit. The redhead frowned when he looked at it, and tossed it over his shoulder.
"So what's so important that you had to have Axel fetch me?"
Selphie narrowed her gaze on Riku and smiled mischievously. "Sora."
Riku's heart skipped a beat.
"You talked to Sora?"
"No, but I did have a nice little chat with Kairi." She placed the bag of treats on Axel's desk. "Kairi starts work today. She's working in some hot lawyer's office. His name is Rude and he's so sexy. He's got that bald thing going on with a slight goatee. And he's so serious and quiet, kind of like Squall and his—" She stopped when she saw Axel and Riku's inquisitive looks. She cleared her throat. "The point is that she's going to be too busy to spend time with Sora. This means he'll come looking for someone to hang out with."
"So, the plan is to spend time with him?" Riku asked.
Selphie clasped her hands. "No, you're going to ignore him."
Riku's eyes widened. "What? No."
"It makes sense," Axel chimed in. He leaned against his desk, legs crossed and hands planted on the table's edge. "If you're seen as unavailable, Sora is going to want you more."
"Think about it, Riku," Selphie said, walking up to the unconvinced teen. "Don't you want Sora to chase you for a bit?"
He had to admit that the idea of Sora chasing him around for a bit did sound intriguing. It was his chance to prove that Sora did a least care about him and that maybe Kairi isn't what the boy's mind revolved around. Maybe the idea of Sora needing him is just the boost his confidence needs in order to win his heart. Still, Riku couldn't help but think this idea could end up being like a double edged sword.
"I don't want to end up pushing him away," he finally responded.
Selphie's face softened, forehead frowning slightly as she tilted her head to the side. "Don't worry, you won't."
Riku gave her a worried look. What if Sora ended up hating him in the end? Selphie reached into her jean pocket and pulled out a folded sheet of paper.
"What's that?" Riku asked while Selphie unfolded the paper to reveal a list.
"Well, I figured since you wouldn't take too kindly to our plan." She handed him the list. "I should at least make it up to you."
He read off the items. "By making me do the grocery shopping?"
"No," she snatched the list back. "By making a romantic dinner just for you and Sora before you ignore him." She gave the list to Axel. "It'll be perfect. The two of you will be alone on the island and Sora will pretty much eat anything—"
"It'll also give you a chance to figure things out," Axel said, standing up straight and pocketing the list. "Like whether or not you're not just infatuated with the kid."
"It's not an infatuation," Riku spat, glaring at him. Axel shrugged.
"Maybe you guys can start talking about what he wants to do over the summer," Selphie said, trying to defuse the hostile air. "That way, you can figure out a proper game plan before we force you to ignore him." She gave him a hopeful look. "What do you say?"
Riku looked at Selphie, who chewed on her bottom lip as she anticipated his answer.
"Sure," he said, looking at Axel afterwards, who didn't look as interested in the plan as Selphie.
"Perfect. You guys will go to the supermarket while I talk to the caterer," she said taking out her cell phone. "Then, we'll arrange everything when you guys get back."
"Well, let's get a move on." Axel said, pulling Riku. "We wouldn't want to keep Sora waiting."
Riku felt a strange tug in his stomach. He had a feeling that the day was not going to end well.
They were welcomed by a gust of cold air as they entered the supermarket.
"God, do the twelve people that populate this island really need this huge supermarket?" he asked, looking around the produce section that stretched out into at least two aisles.
"Just get the list out," Riku responded, rolling his eyes. Axel reached into his pocket and gave the teen the list. He watched over the boy's shoulder as he read off the items. Axel liked the position he was in at the moment. Leaning over, chin almost touching Riku's bare shoulder, intoxicated by the scent of strawberry shampoo that wafted from damp silver locks.
"Looks like she wants you to have a feast," he said, lips barely brushing against silver strands.
"Sora usually is a bottomless pit."
"Amazing," he replied dryly. He leaned back and shoved his hands in his pockets.
"What's your problem?" Riku turned around to face him. "If you don't want to help, you can leave."
"I don't have a problem with anything." He snatched the list from Riku. "I just think you're going about this all wrong."
Riku bowed. "Then what is the correct way, oh illustrious one?"
"The correct way, my sexually inept subject, is to be blunt about it."
Riku looked up.
"Why rely on cheap tricks and words to get the guy to notice? Just tell him how you feel and be done with it," Axel said walking over to the fruits.
"It's not as easy as you make it sound. There are complications—"
Axel repressed an eye roll.
"Like what? Kairi? I thought you established the fact that she wasn't going to stop you in your quest. So what's so complicated?"
Axel waited for Riku to respond. The boy just stood there, glaring daggers at him as if he already knew the answer. Axel wondered why Riku just never said what was on his mind. It would make talking to him so much easier.
"It can't be your fear of rejection?" he asked, breaking the silence. Cue the red cheeks and another glare. The kid didn't communicate that well, but Axel admitted that his emotions could be read easily through his predictable actions. He bit back a laugh because he really didn't want Riku to lunge at him in another fit of violent rage. Or maybe he did? He always liked it rough.
"Listen, get over it," he said, snapping his fingers at Riku's face to bring the boy back from his thoughts. "Fear is only going to cause you to worry and doubt. The world is not going to end if Sora says no."
"What makes you so sure?" Riku scowled.
Axel thought the silver haired teen would look cuter in a pout. In fact, Axel would have had his way with him right there, preferably near the strawberries since you couldn't really foreplay with oranges. But there was a chance that people might find that unsanitary and there was a possibility that Riku might kick him in the gonads…
"I've survived my own apocalypse, let's just say that." He ripped the shopping list in half and gave one the bottom piece to Riku. The teen looked unsure as his lips frowned. Axel sighed. "There's life outside of Sora you know," he reassured.
That comment seemed to get him out of his funk quickly as Riku quickly composed himself and got two baskets.
"Look, can we just get this shopping done? Even if you don't agree with this idea, Selphie is going to go through it come hell or high water," he said, practically shoving the basket into Axel's hand.
"Persistent little woman, isn't she?"
"You don't know the half of it."
"Well, here's the first item on your list," he said reaching for the bananas. He placed the golden yellow bunch into Riku's basket. The teen gave Axel a curious look as the redhead snatched a banana from the bunch and peeled the skin about half way. He pushed the banana towards Riku's mouth.
"Here, that gag reflex isn't going to perfect itself."
Cue glare and scowl.
And Riku stomped off in the opposite direction. Axel shrugged and looked at the banana. Come to think of it he did skip breakfast. He munched on the banana as he walked off to get the items off his half of the list.
By the time he was done eating, he'd gotten most of the items off his list. He was bored now and couldn't find Riku anywhere for some amusement. Instead, Axel roamed around the supermarket, trying to figure out why such a small population of people needed seven different kinds of flour in order to make cookies.
He turned left from the baking aisle and walked into the coffee lane. The pungent smell of roasted coffee beans in exotic flavors quickly stung his nostrils. He debated on going down the aisle until he saw a cute familiar face trying her best to get a bag of coffee from a high shelf. His lips stretched thin into a predatory smile as he sauntered over, shoulders laid back, face held up in confidence.
"Kairi? Am I right?" he whispered huskily into her ear.
The small redhead whipped around quickly, unknowingly disturbing the shelf behind her. Axel pulled her close to him just in time and caught the bag of heavy coffee beans. The things he did to make himself look cool. Kairi muffled an apology into his chest and he let the girl go. The blush on her face matched the color of his blood red hair.
"Don't worry, it's my fault for startling you," he said, giving her the bag.
She smiled and tucked a loose strand behind her ear.
"I hope that you're adjusting well?"
"Considering that I've just seen eighteen species of purple cauliflower and I'm not even phased by it, then yes, I am adjusting well."
"I'm guessing you've been by the baking aisle?" she asked, giggling.
"So I heard you started work today at a law firm." He took a step closer to her, blocking any means of escape, but making sure that she didn't feel cornered. "Aren't we moving up the ranks?" He could see the rose color return to her cheeks as she bit her bottom lip.
"It's just for two weeks before I go visit some family." She hugged the bag of coffee close to her. "It's a small internship, no big deal," she said shrugging.
"It's an accomplishment."
Kairi tucked some strands of hair behind her ear and mumbled her thanks.
"So what brings you here?" she asked, trying to make the situation less awkward. Axel raised an eyebrow to her question and pointed to his basket. "Oh wait, it's a supermarket, forget I asked." She laughed nervously. Play time was over now, it was time for him to unleash his attack…or find out what Sora was doing today.
"You wouldn't happen to know if Sora is available at the movement."
"Oh!" She bit her lip as she thought. "He's with his dad for the day. But he should be back by tonight." She narrowed her gaze, her lips forming a playful smile. "Why?"
Bingo. He had her right where he wanted her. Axel shrugged and looked interested at bag of coffee behind her.
"Well, I'm not supposed to say," he said, pretending to read the label's ingredients. "Since it is a surprise after all."
"A surprise?" She asked eagerly, her eyebrow quirking upwards, her lips curling at the edges. "Can I get a hint?"
Axel pretended to debate this question by chewing on his bottom lip in thought. He looked at Kairi and grinned wolfishly when he saw her lean in closer, as if edging him on.
"Well since you're so cute," he said, closing the distance between them. He could see a faint blush powder her cheeks as he leaned into her ear. "I'll tell you," he whispered.
He saw her hand grip the bag of coffee beans tightly.
"But not a single word to anyone, not even Selphie," he warned, leaning back enough to see her flushed face. She nodded dumbly, too hypnotized to reply.
"Good. There's going to be a cute dinner celebrating your job achievement."
Axel was tempted to snap his fingers to bring her back, but Kairi blinked back into reality and blushed when Axel raised an eyebrow at her.
"Oh…um…you guys don't have to that. Really, it's not a big deal," she said shaking her head modestly.
"But I insist," the redhead said, taking her hand and bringing it up to his lips.
Her bottom lip quivered.
He sneered. Jackpot.
"That's so sweet of you," she managed to say.
"Isn't it?" Yes, he was truly amazed by his own awesomeness.
"So, when is it?"
Axel shoved the bag of coffee beans he was pretending to examine early into his basket.
"It's actually tonight. In fact, we were going to get Sora into the whole shebang, but since he's not here."
"I can pick him up tonight. Would you mind if I invited my boss? He's a really nice guy and I would like for everyone to meet him."
"Sure, the more the merrier, invite whoever you want, it's going to be a feast."
She smiled, her eyes twinkling with excitement.
"I'm going to call mom!" she said, digging for her cell phone.
"See you there," Axel said, walking down the aisle and trying his hardest not to laugh.
As far as missions went, his was a success. Selphie's orders were to get Sora to the dinner through any means necessary.
He'd gotten the job done, right?
Axel spotted Riku by the chip aisle. His eyes scoped his target.
He was such a good doggie. He hoped tonight's dinner would be his awarded treat.
Note: Short I know, but it's a quicker update than usual. Anyway, if you guys haven't noticed, there's a poll going on regarding who Riku should end up with on my profile. So far, Sora and Axel are in the lead with Papa following a close second. (God, the voting is making me think of Riku/Papa drabbles, yay for family shame and nonexistent male pride!) Don't like the results so far? Go ahead and vote!
Chapter Seven: In which Riku learns that fine dining comes with a heavy price.