On Glass Wings
--xxSerenityYou don't know how excited I was to finish this chapter. I like, squeeled to myself. My roommate probably thinks I'm weird. Heh. Anyway, I apologize, like I always do. I'm working in a very demanding place now, and after 44 hours a week, the last thing I want to do is write..Er..Writers block hasn't been helpful. I restarted this chapter like seven times, literally, before I decided that not everything has to be showcased. You'll notice some time has passed. Not alot..But when I tried to write the chapter picking up directly after the last chapter..I found myself writing myself into a corner..like always..and I realized that..you really DON'T have to showcase everything. For instance..Kuu will return. I didnt just randomly write her in..but shes not in this chapter..Anyway..Again, I apologize for the wait. But I think my want to write is coming back to me. :) ( doesnt mean updates will start flying again e.e ). But i thank those that are still around. You guys are aweeeeesome. and im glad to see be alive. Dont worry. I promised Ill finish this story and i will. I also promise TheGlassSlipper that ill finish her birthday fic..probably in time for her next birthday . ILU mimi, and im sorry ;-;.
On a second note, Serenity is looking for a beta :D. And preferably one who is online often..because she is impatient when she FINALLY gets around to getting a chapter done. There's also concern because this chapter is like..me experimenting with a different style..and I fear that I might've screwed up grammatically..like..I think I jump tenses and whatnot..So yeah..I would also like a beta who's a real grammar nazi, and knows more than I do..Heh :D Apply within, leave reviews, tell me what's wrong (constructively of course) as always constructive criticism is welcome from all in reviews..but if you're interested in being a long term beta, please send me a PM. I promise I'll write back. I need to change my email so I get your PM's ( -insert brief apology about not answering all your Pms here. Im not ignoring you. I just check the email rarely now..so I need to update that.)
Now..Er..Onto this fluffy, lovely chapter. Other than the slight rushed feeling..Im happy with how it is. I always intend these to be longer, but then when I get at least SOMETHING out that im happy with, im always eager to run up and post it. At the same time it's necessary and fundamental to the story :) More healing, and happy fluffs. Hah. Enjoy, and review please :D
Love to all,
One More Night
realization and regret
In the very basis of human beings there seems to be a core of unhindered emotions, acting as the fuel for which people need to function. The problems, however, arise when the emotions of other people conflict. In such instances, these emotions bubble, boil in the pit of tense bodies and explode like a volcano, bursting through the surface and burning those foolish enough to be in the vicinity during the eruption. Such is the fault of human beings, who are often too selfish and blinded to cease their volcano, and then the aftermath of their disaster covers those nearby in a torturous layer of liquid fire, simmering in its fiery fury until it reduces all that's beneath it to nothing but ash.
Rare is the creature then that can rise from those ashes and be as a phoenix would– reborn after a fiery death, risen from the pile of its own ashes, or in such cases, rise above the conflicts they've created for themselves.
In the weeks to follow the explosive incidents leading to the tension between many of the stage's inhabitants, amends would, at last, be made. Bonds that seemed broken were fixed, proving that, though seemingly unlikely, it is possible that the human being possesses the capacity for stronger qualities than what they're credited for: Strength, compassion, forgiveness. Though difficult, they can be empathetic, and they can heal the damage that they themselves create.
It's a comforting thought, thinks Roxas, who contemplates this all as he sits huddled up on his bed with Namine at his side. Her head is buried in the crook of his neck, and her eyes are closed, giving her a most serene, angelic look that the boy is most happy to note. Fingers stroke through those platinum strands of hers, and she barely stirs, only slightly, turning a little to rest a smaller hand on Roxas' chest where the steady rhythm of his heart lulls her back into her state of complete and utter peace.
A few days prior to the scene, and also around the time Riku and Sora returned from their episode on the island, Namine had been bold enough to declare herself in the wrong. She was jealous, insensitive, and hot tempered. Such traits that are normally foreign to her. In short, she didn't know what came over her, but she suspected it had something very close to having to do with the feelings elicited by Olette. Again, rare is the person that can admit their faults, and their irrationality when it comes to love, and the possibility that such love is threatened.
And Roxas was quick to accept the apology. After all, he wasn't one to hold a grudge, not against someone as normally sweet as she anyway. He understood, and that's all it took. Understanding. Namine to understand she was wrong, and Roxas to understand that while wrong of her, it was a mistake, and they would all be expected to make them.
Now that it was all said and done, it was time to put it to rest. No more was said on the matter. Besides, the time had come for Roxas to reveal his secret project he had planned for her, of which he had enlisted the help planning and building from Leon and Cid.
He nudged his girlfriend into awareness, and she grumbled a little, lifting her heavy head and yawning tiredly. She peered to him through hazy, cornflower eyes and gave him a briefly annoyed look, to which he replied with a smug smirk.
"Morning, princess." He murmured tauntingly, leaning forward to brush the softest of kisses against her head. It made the realization come forward anyway, and she forced the rest of herself back into the living world.
"Mm.." She responded softly, leaving the comfort of his side just to stretch. She turned her attention to the window off to the side and noted the time; Night. And to the otherside, the digital clock flashed a bright green five.
"How long have I been out?" Rubbing the sleep from her eyes, she reluctantly shifted a little to the side, away from him so he could stretch as well.
"Few hours. Not surprising. I slept a a lot too. It was a busy day."
A nod was given to affirm this statement, and Namine briefly recalled the events of that particular day. It was drawing closer to opening night, that is, Halloween. Seemingly out of place, and at the same time not, Namine also briefly pondered the events of the last year. Oh how far they all had come.
Roxas watched her think, and followed her when she slipped out of bed and moved over to the window. Arms wound around her smaller waist and he pulled her tightly to him, resting his chin on her shoulder. With this small gesture he could feel her body tense, but he knew it wasn't because of him. She leaned her head back comfortably against his pillow-shoulder, and he tilted his to the side to press a kiss to her temple.
"I know what you're thinking about." He murmurs, and Namine smirks smugly, while turning her head to cast him a look.
"Do you?" She asks, and he nods confidently, pulling away from her then just to take up a spot besides her. His eyes move out the window and over the bright lights of the city, which show bright against the backdrop of a dark night.
"Yep. You may have apologized to me... But you're still jealous of her." His voice was flat, and Namine whirled around to face him, her eyes surprised, and hurt, and clearly unsuspecting of his bluntness.
Roxas expected this reaction, and it took a lot for him to keep to his plan. He couldn't take the look in those bright, blue eyes though. Swallowing nervously, he reached out to take her hand, which she tensed in his grasp.
"..I mean when it comes to the stage.." He muttered, less confidently than he wanted, as well as planned. She was still silent, and expecting of an explanation. "She gets to perform, while you're stuck on the side...and it's completely unfair."
"It is..But I thought I told you I've come to accept it." Namine tried to mask her shaky voice, but, like Roxas, she was also having trouble upholding her cool, and she sounded only mildly annoyed.
Even so, Roxas grinned.
"Maybe you have, but I don't think others have." He gripped her hand, squeezing it reassuringly and yanking her towards the door of his room, ignoring her little voice sounding it's concern. "I have a surprise for you."
"A surprise?" She squeaked, her agitation only slightly quelled by this realization. "What sorta surprise?" Though she allowed herself to be yanked out the door and down the hall.
Roxas had overcome his nervousness, and was now just plain excited. He pulled her to the elevator, and while they waited for the next available one, he pulled her right into him, wrapping her tightly in an affectionate hug.
"A really awesome one." He didn't wait for the hug to be returned, for once those doors opened, he entered, pulling her in with him, and back into the hug in which he dominated, and she just sort of melted in his arms, torn between the confusion elicited by his words before, and the newfound excitement he showed with this "surprise." "But you have to close your eyes from here on in."
Reluctant, but compliant, she did.
"What are you doing?" She asked with a small chuckle, her aggravation gradually dissipating. It was hard to stay mad with everything finally going back to normal, with everyone, she noted to herself.
Still grinning like a madman, he clutched her hand tightly, lacing their fingers and pulling her out of the elevator once it reached the ground floor. He led her through the maze of the main floor of the building, and out towards the stage.
"You'll see." Was all he'd say, and he pulled the girl into a sprint once they broke away from their building. Around them it was still dark, quiet, and cold. Namine shivered as Roxas pulled her along behind him.
By the time they reached the stage, the sun was peeking over the horizon, casting a glow over the buildings closest. The stage was one of those places, and was thus was it illuminated first, especially out back, which was where Roxas led the girl, now panting after their short run.
They stopped, neither speaking at first, just so they could catch their breath.
"Okay.." Roxas murmured quietly, surveying his project one more time before ordering her to "look.."
And look she did, her eyes, once open, falling upon the strange new stage in front of her. It was huge, and out doors, because from behind it, sparks of sun protruded upwards like sharp spikes, illuminating the shade that fell on the stage and the surrounding bleachers which stood on either side of the pair, who stood in the entrance way between the seats.
Namine blinked, squinting to adjust to the newfound light, and upon closer scrutiny, she noticed the big, thick curtains, as red as roses, shielding the second half of the massive stage.
"I-I don't understand.." She murmured, still half awestruck. Her body tensed when she felt those arms encircle her waist again, and that chin once more settled upon her shoulder.
"No trapezes, No cloth, no fancy tricks, just plain, pure talent. You're an actress as much as a circus performer, and I don't think I can handle never hearing your voice again." He murmured, brushing back her hair to press a series of kisses to the crook of her neck. "I also know what you think about.." He said, purely on a whim. "You were so good in that little skit we did for Sora's orphanage...I suggested to Leon that maybe we should make it a regular thing..and that way you could be on stage again.."
Namine only heard about a third of what he was saying. Her eyes clouded as well as her hearing. She was too fixed on the vision before her.
"On stage.." She repeated, dazed, and Roxas chuckled at her lack of words.
"Speechless, eh?" He nudged her playfully, and she turned, biting back that small happy cry when her arms wrapped around his neck, and her face nestled in his shoulder. "Heh, I guess ill take that as a sign that you're happy?" He snickered lowly, and rubbed her back, drawing happy little purrs from her.
Indeed, she was happy. Speechless as well. And it wasn't just the fact that she'd get to perform again. The fact of the matter was, Roxas knew her. It was an incredibly moving and sentimental moment for Namine, who was so touched that Roxas understood her enough to know her pain without her saying, and knowing what he could've done to fix it, when she herself hadn't even known. If ever there was a time to realize when you loved someone–
"I love you.."
–Namine couldn't have possibly pictured a better one.
Though there is truth to the idea that humans have a remarkable capacity for compassion and forgiveness, it also cannot go unnoted that such does not come easily. A broken heart is not mended quickly, and a bond of trust, once severed, will not return at once, especially when it was built on a shaky foundation to begin with.
Sora knows this better than anyone. He's sitting and trying, for the umpteenth time, to rest comfortably in Riku's arms, curled against the stronger body, molded by years of intensive, vigorous training. It was something he liked to do before, after their nightmare. He just felt so– warm and secure with him, that the thought of leaving it behind to go study elsewhere was pure torture. But he did it, and the consequence it brought had Riku not speaking to him, causing Sora to withdraw back into the comfort of his solitude, in fear of getting hurt once more. It had been leaving the orphanage all over again.
And after all was said and done, Sora wondered how he had come to love Riku in the first place; had they always been secretly in love from day one? Or was it all one big crashing realization down in the basement of a madman's secret dwelling?
Or maybe, just maybe, what Sora hated to think, was that perhaps he had reacted to Riku's kiss simply because he was scared, dead terrified even and because Riku was the only familiar, friendly person he had to cling to in their time of crisis. Did he fall in love with Riku because he thought he had to in order to survive?
He shot that thought instantly, but it did't cause him to relax any, and Riku took the boy's tenseness as he had in days prior: Riku's touch made him tense, made him uneasy, and because of that, he pulled back, just like in those past days, leaving Sora a trembling, whimpering mess, and causing him to sigh in exasperation, fingers scratching idly at the back of his head, with a lack of anything better to do.
"I'm sorry! Really.." Sora tries to apologize, and Riku flashes him that grin to put him at ease, but he feels pain inside, and the younger can tell, but he feels it too, and he doesn't know how to fix it. It makes him grow even more frustrated, and he clenches his eyes shut, fists pressed firm to both of his temples in a gesture of hopelessness, and also to bang away that snickering voice once more making itself known in the back of his troubled mind.
What hurts him the worst, Sora thinks to himself, is probably the fact that Sora can't even explain to himself why he's so tense near him, nor can he explain how he feels to Riku. How can you tell someone you're supposed to love that you don't trust them? Why doesn't he trust him? It's not as if Sora's been completely innocent either, and Riku hadn't acted like he had when Sora was away..
Am I really that messed up?
Riku can't be certain what's on Sora's mind, but he has ideas, theories.
"Maybe you should talk to someone.." He suggests, and Sora contemplates this, though with a bit of disgust curling his lip and furrowing his brow.
"..You mean like a shrink? But..I'm not crazy.." Such a bold, bold lie, he thinks to himself, and Riku agrees, while settling a hand against Sora's thigh in an affectionate, reassuring gesture.
"I know you're not. But maybe a doctor could help with..er..how you're feeling..about me.." He replies, a little shyly even, like he's hesitant to add in that last part, and the other thinks about it, seriously contemplates it, but in the end shakes his head. He hadn't even admitted, and didn't plan to admit, that Sephiroth was still haunting him. If Riku thought he needed a shrink now–
"I'll be fine..I just need time.." He stated defensively. But his defense was lacking in convincingness, his voice was low, shaky and unconfident.
Despite the morbidness and seriousness of their conversation, Riku had to snicker, and Sora casts him a curious look.
"What's so funny?"
Arms extended outwards, and Riku sneers, stating a demanding "Hug me."
And irked by such a commanding tone, Sora growls and then fixes his stare to the comforter of Riku's bed, a defiant shake of his head offered to which Riku chuckles knowingly and questions "why not?"
"Because I don't want to."
Riku's grin is never faltering. He reaches out and strokes a hand through wild, spikey hair and mutters a bemused "Because you can't."
"BecauseI don't want to." Sora flinches at the touch, but allows it, and it's an action that concerns the elder, who sighs as he draws back, unphased by the repeating of Sora's response, with his careful emphasis.
There's a moment of silence, something the two are well accostumed to, and niether break it. They give it that time necessary while they muse over their troubling thoughts, and finally Riku breaks the ice, inching forward and closing the gap between them.
Sora's kneeling on the bed with the blanket pooled over his lap, and Riku settles his hands on either sides of his thighs, trying to inch his face beneath the younger's, whos eyes are still stubbornly fixed to the blanket.
The pouting expression Sora bears makes Riku actually smile. There's something oddly pretty about his saddness, not in a malicious way, he thinks to himself. It just makes him want to cuddle him, or something to that extent. Riku also realizes that his playful attempts to get him to open up failed. He tried to invoke that sense of competition in Sora that the two had known in their earlier days, but Sora failed to respond in the way that Riku wanted, which would've been Sora pouncing at him, clinging to him, getting himself close to him again.
Arching up, leaning his head back, Riku presses a soft, affectionate kiss to the tip of Sora's nose, and Sora, for all that he is, scrunches it, trying to appear disgusted and dismayed, when in reality the affection makes him melt, and his smaller form visibly relaxes. Riku's glad he chose that sort of recovery.
"And if I apologize now for that?" He asks huskily, sliding forward, knees spreading to settle on either side of Sora's, his hands reaching out to brush the younger one's smaller arms. Riku's forehead touches against Sora's, and finally his chin lifts so that blue meets green. But Sora looks hopeless and defeated.
Riku moves a hand against the side of his head, a gesture which is supposed to silently reassure him, and for the moment it does, because Sora collapses against him, fighting all other resistances, and the warnings screaming in his head to the point where it hurts just to rest. There's no warmth and security at first, but when he pushes through the pain he realizes it's there in a tiny, tiny amount.
He can feel the heat pricking at the corners of his eyes again, and he bites it back, not wanting to break down like the last time. But he feels like it's hopeless to fight that. He's in so much pain..
..and at the same time he's so happy. Idly he wonders if it's even possible to feel so conflicted, and then he chides himself for being stupid. Because of course it is. He feels it now.
Sora whimpers, a hushed, quieted sob in Riku's shirt when he slides down enough to bury his face in the elder's chest, and Riku wraps his arms around him, sliding them back so he's leaned against the headboard of his bed for support, and to provide ample comfort for the younger one cradled in his embrace.
All smugness leaves him, and Riku decides that his only concern is to heal his boyfriend. He wants to eradicate his memories, and erase all the pain he felt from what had happened to him, and all that Riku had caused. He regrets– feeling instantly sorry for how he had acted. If only he'd swallowed his pride and just wrote him a letter, anything after to let him know he still cared. Sora must've been so lonely..
He stops ruminating when he no longer feels Sora's body shaking with quieted sobs. Riku taps him a little, and he realizes then that Sora had drifted off into a peaceful sleep.
Smiling a little, he pulls back the blanket, and lays Sora out on his stomach, gently positioning his head to one side on the pillow.
The comforter is returned to him, dragged up over his body and tucked securely beneath him so he's warm and protected. Only when that's done does Riku curl up besides him, brushing a kiss against Sora's forehead and mouthing "I love you" against his skin.
Riku can't sleep; he's too troubled by thoughts of guilt and regret, but he's eased only slightly by the feel of Sora besides him, and the lack of tension between them. He knows they have a long way to go, but he feels like they can make it through this trying period, as long as they're both willing.
The quiet, sleep-dazed murmur of "I love you too" was also most helpful in instilling that sense of hope in Riku, who then after found it slightly more easy to fall asleep besides him.
Rolling to the end. Maybe one more chapter after this. Then the epilogue. Then its on to OGW3! -insert evil laughter here- also, dont worry about things that were left as cliffies. I know exactly what still needs to be explained. There shall be no plotholes here! -ignore the fact that she had to go back and reread the entire OMN in order to recall this- Heh :D ILU guys. I also apologize for typos. i rushed to get this out before work. :3