The Smell of Darkness

Sora asks Riku what darkness smells like, but are he and Kairi prepared for the answer? Featuring high school randomosity, Lord of the Flies, and sacrifices to the Chorus Gods. K-plus for drug references.

A/N: I got this idea while weight-lifting next to a bunch of sweaty, reeky football players, which just goes to show how Kingdom Hearts fanfiction does indeed relate to the real world...after a fashion. I totally wrote this whole one-shot in less than three hours, how sick is that?

Disclaimer: I'd know what darkness really smelled like if I owned KH... I also don't own Lord of the Flies, by William Golding.

"Hey, Riku!" Sora plunked down in a chair at the school library table across from his best friend. He was immediately shushed by the head librarian, so he repeated his earlier sentence in a stage whisper, "Hey, Riku!"

"Hey, Sora," Riku responded, turning another page in the well-worn, dog-eared copy of Lord of the Flies that he had to read by sixth period. It was third period, and he had read up to Chapter Eight since the night before. Riku was the Procrastination King on Campus.

"Ooh, whatcha reading?" Sora asked, and was violently shushed again. "Whatcha reading?" he hissed.

"Lord of the Flies. You'll read it next year," Riku told him. Even though Riku had been held back a grade after their two-year disappearance (putting him in the same grade as Sora and Kairi), he'd since made up a lot of distance, and was now taking most of his junior year classes. Sora, by contrast, had not been held back at all, since the teachers and administration couldn't remember him not attending at all, and his records had been strangely misplaced.

"Is it good? What's happening?" Sora asked, this time remembering to keep his voice low.

"Well, the hunters just killed a pig, and the Lord of the Flies is telling Simon that he can't escape the darkness in the hearts of human beings, and...wait a minute." Riku narrowed his eyes at Sora. "You're not trying to get me to tell you what the book's about so you won't have to read it, are you?"

Sora smiled innocently and changed the subject. "Say, Riku, I've been really curious about this for a while... Can I ask you a weird question?"

"You ask me weird questions all the time—since when did you start asking permission?" Riku pointed out. Sora translated this to mean, "Yes, you can."

"I'm just curious... What does the darkness smell like?"

Riku had already gone back to his book and was considering skipping to the end so he'd have free time to flirt with that hot chick in his algebra class. "Bad," he told Sora, not really interested in the question.

That wasn't good enough for Sora. "No, I mean seriously," he clarified.

"I told you—bad," Riku repeated.

"Come on, man, I want a description."

That got Riku's attention—he relished any opportunity to be melodramatic. He closed his book (dramatically, of course), and leaned forward very slowly, until he and Sora were almost nose to nose. "Are you sure you want to know?" he asked, very low and ominously-sounding. (He was very proud of his new six-octave range, a holdover from when his body had changed into Ansem's. The chorus director had been desperately trying to recruit him for months—they had a shortage of baritones.)

"Riku, back up—I can see your pores at this range." Sora rolled his eyes. Such theatrics. Riku retreated to a more acceptable distance. "I also think I spotted your first chin hair," Sora added, prompting Riku to pump an ecstatic fist into the air. "Yes!" he whispered in triumph. "I am the MAN!"

"Stop changing the subject, Riku—I won't stop pestering you until you answer my question," Sora threatened. Riku sobered at that. Sora could pester like nobody's business.

"Okay, fine, but I'm warning you: Better minds than mine have attempted to define the smell of darkness and failed," Riku informed him. Sora rolled his eyes again.

"All right. Imagine the biggest, heaviest, sweatiest, nastiest bodybuilder you can." Sora nodded. "Now take this guy's perspiration-drenched sock," Riku continued, "and throw it under your bed for about two weeks." Sora nodded again, cringing slightly. Riku grinned evilly. "We're just getting started. Take the sock out, fill it with expired cottage cheese, and boil that with some sauerkraut and horseradish. Take that, and freeze the whole thing solid. Now take your frozen sock, and use it as an ice cube in a pitcher filled with one part lemonade and three parts cat piss."

Sora shuddered. "Sweatsock-rotten cheese-sauerkraut-horseradish-lemonade-cat pee cocktail. So that's what darkness smells like?"

Riku pondered for a moment. "No, it doesn't, actually; I screwed up. Start over. Imagine a nuclear facility in the Sahara Desert filled with the carcasses of dead possums, skunks, and fish. Now imagine an oil tanker filled with Sharpie fumes crashes inside the building. Now imagine snorting cocaine off the floor."

"Eeeww...hey, wait. How would you know what crack smells like?" Sora asked suspiciously. Riku rolled his eyes. "Oh, I do some every night—no I don't, nitwit. This is purely for hypothetical purposes. Besides, coke kills your sense of smell, and that wouldn't be very good for me if we get another Heartless invasion."

Satisfied that Riku was being honest, Sora shook his head incredulously. "Nuclear-steamy roadkill-Sharpie-crack snortfest. I think I liked the last one better."

"Well, it doesn't matter, because they're equally wrong. Start over again."

"What??" Sora yelped, and was shushed angrily from all sides. "You're making this very difficult," he grumbled.

"I told you it was hard to describe," Riku pointed out. "Now, take your mom's spinach-liver casserole. (Sora shuddered) Add two rotten eggs. Beat well. Marinate in curdled milk, microwave on HIGH for three minutes, sauté in Pine-Sol® with some chopped garlic and oregano, drizzle with chocolate syrup, spray with Old Spice®, garnish with a mint leaf, and...and...and throw it away, because that's not it either." Riku began thunking his head on the table in frustration.

Sora was spared another brain-hurting analogy by Kairi arriving. "Hey, Sora, Riku," she greeted. "Umm...why is Riku pounding his head on the table? He's going to lose brain cells—and those don't grow back."

Riku jerked up straight. "Rancid mothballs," he said. "No. Never mind. I'm sorry. I'll be back." He rested his head on the table and began muttering to himself inaudibly.

"I'm too late," Kairi sighed.

"It's a long story, Kairi," Sora belatedly answered her original question. "What's up?"

Kairi sat down next to Sora. "Not much to report. My stomach's been bugging me; must be something I ate. Oh, and Mr. Jameson, the chorus director, wanted me to let Riku know that if he doesn't join before Districts, we'll sacrifice our leading soprano to the Chorus Gods by the light of a full moon to find a new baritone after Johnny Pearson ate that poisonous spider. And the leading soprano is me. So he'd better think long and hard about his decision," Kairi warned, leaning down close to Riku to see if he'd been listening.

"...Behemoth breath?" Riku muttered, unaware of Kairi's proximity.

"What did you call me??" Kairi shrieked.

"SHHH!!!" hissed several miffed library patrons.

Sora stepped in for damage control. "No, no, it's something I asked, and he's all wigged out because we have no answer. It's not you."

Kairi relaxed. "Good. Man," she added, wincing, "my stomach really doesn't feel good."

"Oh, God, next come the mood swings," Riku joked, reentering the conversation. Kairi smacked him in the arm, hard. "Ow!"

"Keep it up, mister, and I'll tell Mr. Jameson where you live," she warned. Riku gulped.

"Come up with anything?" Sora asked.

"Nothing," Riku sighed.

"Come on, what's the mystery?" Kairi begged.

"I asked Riku to describe the smell of darkness, and we've been making and discarding analogies for the past five minutes," Sora explained.

Kairi whistled through her teeth. "Wow, that's some mission. Good luck with that. By the way, does Riku know that he's got his first chin hair?"

Riku grinned madly and started air-guitarring. Sora rolled his eyes. "We've noticed," he said dryly.

"Jealous much?" Riku teased.

"Not really, I've never been keen on being mistaken for a girl at fifty paces," Sora retorted. "I just can't quite pull off the 'Spandex and a miniskirt' look."

Kairi fell off her chair laughing, earning her a severe glare from the librarian. Riku's face was priceless—first his mouth fell open and he went sheet-white, then he sank down in his chair as he turned a healthy shade of puce, glaring flaming daggers at Sora. Sora realized he might have taken it a step too far with the skirt crack, and opened his mouth to apologize—and was interrupted by a minor "outburst" from Kairi.

"...Ugh!!" Sora's face was even more priceless than Riku's. "Aw geez, Kairi, I was breathing in and everything! Holy schnikeys! I think my nose hairs are burning—what have you been eating??"

Now it was Riku's turn to fall off his chair laughing. Kairi blushed ten different shades of red. "I had a burrito this morning, I'm sorry. They usually play havoc with my digestion," she apologized.

Sora's eyes were streaming. "Holy geez," he muttered. "You're crazy, all of you." Across the room, the librarian shook her head and decided to look into seaside condominiums, because she couldn't handle this job anymore.

"Okay, Riku, you can stop laughing now," Kairi grumbled, poking the still-hysterical teen with her foot. "It was just a fart, for crying out loud. We're not in the third grade anymore."

Riku hauled himself back to the table and wiped his eyes. "Kairi," he chortled, "I think it might interest you to know...your farts smell exactly like darkness."


A/N: This is what Kingdom Hearts does to my brain.