A Moment Alone
One-shot, Riku-centric. As he poured his heart out to that silent, soulless white room, he was almost glad that Sora couldn't hear him. If you're looking for yaoi, keep looking.
A/N: Sheesh, I churned this and another one-shot out in a span of forty-eight hours after listening to Simple and Clean six times consecutively. Darn those Japanese subliminal messages! Anyhoo, this is probably my first pure Riku-angst one-shot. Tell me how I did!
Disclaimer: I spit on disclaimers.
White. That was the first impression Riku got when he walked into the room, hoping to find Naminé, whoever she was, and Sora, and maybe a few answers, and all he saw was white. It felt soulless, cold, that white room, the way the light bounced off all the walls, and the ceiling, and the floor, and hit him straight in the eyes with all the mocking clarity it could muster, seeming to lay bare his marred and darkened soul for anyone to see. Just whiteness.
Riku hated the room already.
Someone was in the room. She was a skinny wisp of a girl, pale-skinned and fair-haired, and clothed in—what else?—a white dress. She turned around at his approach, and blinked sky-blue eyes at him. "You're Naminé?" he guessed.
She smiled faintly, and for one disconcerting moment, he thought he saw Kairi behind her eyes. "Yes," Naminé said softly. "I guess DiZ has told you about me, then?"
"Just your name," Riku shrugged.
"Ah." She nodded absently, then came back to herself as if suddenly reminded to stay on task. "Please, come this way." She gestured in a direction, and Riku fell in step behind her. The room was bigger than it appeared at first (probably from all that damn white), so Riku simply followed Naminé to some unknown corner of the room, expecting that she knew where she was going.
He stopped dead, though, when he saw what she was leading him to.
A large white glass pod stood some few yards away. It had a vaguely organic design, like the bulb of some huge species of flower. The front panel was slightly transparent, and inside...
No. It couldn't be.
Riku walked forward, slowly and disbelievingly at first, but then faster and faster, until he broke into a dead sprint and almost slammed into the glass. "Sora!" he shouted.
Inside the pod, Sora appeared to be sleeping peacefully, quite undisturbed by Riku's shout. For all Riku knew, he could be comatose, or dead—but he couldn't believe that.
Riku knocked on the glass a couple of times, just to see if it sparked a reaction. It did—but not from Sora. "Don't do that, please," Naminé pleaded. "It won't break, he won't wake up, and you might hurt yourself."
Riku whirled around. "What did you do to him?" he demanded. Of course, he had no proof that it was Naminé's doing—but he had a hunch, and he'd learned to trust his instincts.
Naminé dropped her eyes. "He's not hurt," she began, sighing. "He's just sleeping—to get his memory back."
"...Get his memory back?" Riku repeated disbelievingly. Naminé nodded, her eyes still on the floor. She looked like she was ashamed of herself. Riku's accusatory gaze softened—after all, how could he possibly judge her, he who had done so much and so much worse? "What happened?" he asked more quietly.
Naminé began hesitantly at first, but the story soon spilled out. How Marluxia had found her and forced her to participate in his plan. How she'd gradually altered and eventually deleted huge sections of Sora's memories—how she had felt so guilty, but how she'd needed to feel like a somebody to someone...somehow. How she'd revealed to him that she'd faked his memories, and how he still stood by her and defeated Marluxia...for her. And finally, how he chose to lose his memories of Naminé and Castle Oblivion and get his old life back. All throughout, Riku said nothing, but just listened to her story.
"So..." he said finally. "I guess I'm not going to be very productive here, am I?"
Naminé shook her head. "You have your own decision to make," she said.
Riku jerked upright. "What do you mean?" he asked quickly. "No one's been tampering with my memories." He paused, then added, just to make sure, "Have they?"
A brief smile flittered across Naminé's face, and again, Riku was irrationally reminded of Kairi. "No," she assured him. "It's not your memories you need to worry about...It's your darkness." Riku began to get a sinking feeling... "There's darkness in your heart, I'm sure you're aware," she continued, "and in that darkness, Ansem's waiting.
"If you want, I can help you," Naminé told him. "I can lock that darkness away in your heart, so far down that you wouldn't even know it was there."
There was a silence: Naminé waiting patiently for Riku to answer, Riku pondering her words, almost afraid to hope. Finally he asked, "Will anything happen to my memories? Will I have to go to sleep, like Sora?"
"You'd stop remembering the darkness. You could go back to the way you used to be," Naminé explained. "And...yes, you would have to sleep for a while, though not as long as Sora will."
Riku opened his mouth to say something, but Naminé shushed him. "I know it's an important decision, Riku. Don't answer right away. Think on it a little. I'll let you have a moment alone to decide." She smiled briefly, and walked out of the room.
Now he was by himself in that silent, cold, empty white room. He couldn't stand it. He was desperate, tired, afraid, and lonely, and the last thing he was looking for was a moment alone.
No, wait. He wasn't really alone. Riku turned around to face the glass prison his best friend had found himself in. He put his hand to the smooth, chilled surface. "Hey, Sora," he whispered.
It seemed totally ridiculous—here he was, supposed to be thinking over one of the biggest choices of his life, and instead he was talking to someone through indestructible glass who couldn't hear him anyway. Yet Riku knew his decision already—he didn't need to think about it. He needed to talk about it.
"Well, Sora, I guess this is it," he said softly. "Naminé's going to come back any minute, and I'm going to tell her that I'd rather go all or nothing. I'm going to beat the darkness inside me once and for all, or I'm going to die trying." Riku sighed. "I wish you were awake to tell me what an idiot I'm being, going all dramatic like this, and..." He swallowed. "I guess I need to do this because it's better for me to just win or lose this way. I win, and it's over...I'm happy, and we can all get on with our lives. I lose...and it's goodbye to a life I can barely live anymore.
"So..." He swallowed again against the lump rising in his throat. "I guess...this is it—damn, I'm repeating myself... I just...I know you can't hear me, but...if—if I lose this...if I die, or something worse..." The hand he held on the glass began to tremble. "I want you to know that I'm sorry...for everything I did. I'm sorry that I was too blind to see where I was headed. I'm sorry for...being such an idiot about Kairi, and...I'm sorry that I..." Riku's voice cracked, and he paused to gather himself, shaking slightly with the effort.
"And..." he began again, "I really hope that you can forgive me for...being such an ass—sorry, I know you don't like that kind of language...
"Sora, I'm afraid," Riku confessed. "I...I've killed someone. I don't know if you found out, but Vexen...he used me...my data and personality...to...create someone—some kind of replica of me. It—He was..." The hand on the glass shook harder.
"I hated him," Riku whispered hoarsely. "He...just... I mean, it was like something out of one of those nightmares, where you look into the mirror, and see yourself—and you're worse than you could ever have imagined. He just...embodied everything in me that I despised...that I was afraid of... He wanted to kill me because...he said that he'd never be anything but a shadow. My shadow. I was afraid, and I was angry, and I was fighting for my life, and I...I killed him... I killed him. I killed him. I took his life away...and for what, really?"
A solitary tear trickled down one of his cheeks, and he swiped at it with his free hand. "Sora, I don't want this," Riku softly said. "I don't want to be a murderer. I don't want this to be my fault, I don't—" His voice caught again, and he stopped speaking.
After a moment, his right hand (the one resting on the cool, smooth surface of the glass) curled into a fist. With sudden violence, Riku brought it back and slammed the pod with all his strength. Just as Naminé predicted, all he achieved was a slight vibration of the shell and a set of split knuckles. Bright red blood trickled down the white clear glass surface, staining it, but Riku was past caring. "Dammit, Sora!" he shouted in abrupt anger. "Why the hell are you such an idiot? You could've gone home with Kairi! You could have avoided all this crap, but you chose to come chasing after me! ME!"
Riku pounded on the glass again, sending a fresh wave of pain through his fingers and more stray droplets of blood flicking onto the white floor, but he barely noticed. "I would have made it back somehow! I'm a persistent son of a bitch, you know that! Why did you have to go and get yourself screwed over on my account??"
He dropped to his knees finally, drained of energy and cradling his fingers, a couple of which were probably broken. "Dammit, Sora, why do you have to be such a good friend?" he whispered despairingly. "All along I was hoping to find you in this god-forsaken castle, and now that you're here, I wish you never came." More tears welled up, and he forced back a sob. "I looked for you," he said, his voice choked with the effort of keeping himself under control. "I looked everywhere for you!"
He punched the glass again in frustration, swearing quietly at the fresh punishment his fingers were receiving. "And when...on the islands, the ones from my memory... Zexion disguised himself as you, and... For a second, I thought I'd found you, and...he said... all the things I was afraid you'd say..."
Riku's voice broke completely, and he sobbed, "I was so afraid that you hated me... Even though I deserved it, I didn't want you to hate me...because I hated me, too..."
He pressed his face to the glass then and finally cried, thin quivering sobs that racked his thin, quivering body. Hot tears streaked the white glass in clear tracks. For what felt like ages, Riku poured out all his shame and grief, all his anger at himself, his guilt for having killed someone whose only crime was existence, and all his pure frustration at his own inadequacy—his failure to reach Sora in time. He wept for Sora, and the depth of his loyalty, that he would pursue his lost friend to the farthest reaches of the worlds at the cost of his own memories. He wept for Kairi, who'd have to spend another year away from Sora and himself—Kairi, whom he still didn't know if he could face seeing, because if she hated him, then he really had nothing left.
Even with all that emotion he'd been suppressing finally being let out, Riku didn't cry for very long. It just wasn't his style. When he finally got up and wiped his face off with his sleeve, it was with dry eyes and steel resolve in his voice that he promised Sora, "Don't worry. I will be coming back."
He walked halfway to the door before stopping, turning around, and wryly chuckling, "You know, I think that's the longest you've ever listened to me angst without saying something hopelessly optimistic."
Riku was sure he imagined it, but for a fleeting second, he thought he saw Sora smile.
A/N: I love my Rikky-cub... By the way, if any authors out there ever get a bad case of writers' block, my advice is to buy the Kingdom Hearts II soundtrack and listen to it on heavy repeat until you get inspiration. It worked for me. Review!