The Taste of Evil
Sequel to The Smell of Darkness! Riku wants to know the real truth about mayonnaise. But will it cost him his soul? Kairi tells her dark story... And Sora wonders about metaphors.
A/N: This bit of randomosity brought to you courtesy my school cafeteria. Yes...I have had conversations like these.
You know, I finally did it. I vowed never to ever write this pairing, and I did. I wrote an S/K, Riku/OC pairing. Why did I do it? I don't do that! I'm a die-hard Kairiku cultist! I think it was Jade Rhade's fault.
Jade: Oh, there you go again, always blaming me for everything. While I'm here, I might as well do the disclaimer. I AM the Random Idiot does not own anything Kingdom Hearts affiliated, nor does she own the lyrics to the song, "They're Coming to Take Me Away," by Napoleon XIV.
Ah...the school lunchroom. The hub of all student activity—the place where alliances are forged, relationships are tested, acts of daring stupidity are committed, homework is done, and (sometimes) food is eaten. At least in most municipalities. Kairi, Sora, and Riku always had their own special table. Nothing like tradition. Speaking of tradition, Kairi and Sora also had their own little lunchtime ritual.
"Guys, aren't we a little...old for this?" Riku groaned. Kairi shot him a reproachful glare. "You don't have to participate," she pointed out, and turned back to Sora.
"Okay, Sora, now guess what I brought for lunch today," she prompted. Sora frowned thoughtfully. "Is it...a sandwich?" he guessed. Kairi giggled. "Yup," she said.
"Is it...peanut butter?"
"Nope," Kairi grinned. "You'll never guess. I made today's special."
"Does it have...turkey on it?"
Sora coked his head to the side. "Ooh, this one's a toughie. How about...ham?"
"Oh, you'll never guess."
Riku couldn't stand it anymore. "It's a salami and Swiss cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread with Dijon mustard. The bread is a couple days old, and the salami was cut at the supermarket yesterday. She's got a carton of chocolate milk, expiration date November 10th, a Golden Delicious apple with three bruises, and two home-baked chocolate chip cookies...with nuts."
Sora gasped. "No fair showing anyone else, Kairi!" he complained. Kairi eyes were the size of dinner plates. "I...didn't," she said.
Riku sneezed. "I smelled the salami in fourth period," he explained. "I hate salami."
"You and your flipping sense of smell—go join the drug-sniffing squad or something, because you're freaking me out," Sora sulked. Riku chuckled, and went back to his lunch. "Seriously, it's creepy," Sora insisted. "Unnatural is what it is. If this keeps up, I'm going to start feeling useless."
Kairi reached out and hugged him. "You're my Sora-licious teddy bear. Isn't that enough?" she cooed, ruffling his hair. Riku tried hard not to choke on his peanut butter and fluff sandwich. For his friends' sake.
Kairi noticed. "And my Rikky-cub doesn't have a girlfriend..." she pouted, hugging him too. "We'll find you someone, have no fear."
"Aw, I don't need your pity hugs..." Riku groused, but he didn't push her away either. At least not until Sora jumped on his other side and hugged him too. "Best friend pity hug!" he announced.
"Sora, you smell like beef and cheese. Get off me," he warned. Sora complied. He knew Riku was just being gruff to disguise the happiness he felt at being able to share simple things like pity hugs with his friends again...or whatever. Maybe he was reading too much into it. He made a mental note to ask Kairi.
Kairi wrinkled her nose at Sora's lunch. "Egg salad? Gross," she gagged.
Sora made a face at her. "You're one to talk, Miss Salami. My mom made this sandwich special." Saying that, he took a big bite—and nearly choked. "I told her—she uses too much mayonnaise!" he complained.
Riku shook his head. "Mayonnaise...it's so...ugh. You can smell it from, like, a mile away."
"You can smell it from a mile away," Sora corrected, rolling his eyes.
"Are you olfactorily impaired? Remember when Bobby Darens brought in that chicken salad sandwich, and they had to close down seventh grade hallway because of the stench?"
"One, that sandwich was nine weeks old, and two, I'm not olf...elf...that word-ly impaired!"
The two of them both looked to Kairi, who usually would have stepped in to mediate by now—and stopped dead. "Kairi?" Sora asked. "Are you okay?" Kairi was sitting rigid in her seat, staring straight ahead. Her lips twitched uncontrollably. "Hey," Riku said, waving in front of her face. "That's, uh, that's quite a facial tic you've developed."
"M-m-m-mm-mm-m-m-mm..." she stammered, shuddering. "M-mm-m-m-mayonnaise," she hissed.
Sora and Riku glanced at each other in bewilderment. Kairi snapped back into reality and rounded on Riku. "Do you realize what is in mayonnaise?" she demanded, a maniacal glint in her eye. "Do you??"
"Umm...should I?" Riku shrunk down in his chair away from the girl with the burning eyes. Forget chucking Xehanort's Heartless out of the dark places in his soul—Kairi was the only one who could really, truly, scare the crap out of him.
"Well, I'll tell you!" she snarled, slamming a hand down on the table. "Partially hydrogenated human souls!"
"...Is that really what's in my egg salad?" Sora whispered to Riku nervously. Kairi, however, was on a roll, and left them no time to talk.
"Oh, I know. I know from experience the sheer malevolence that is mayonnaise," she continued. She took a deep breath and ranted, all in one breath, "Remember when you ran away and I got on my knees and begged you not to leave because I'd go berserk WELL... You left me anyhow and then the days got worse and worse and now you see I've gone completely out of my mind!"
"Isn't that a song?" Sora asked. Kairi blinked. "Oh, yeah," she said. "I like that song. Anyway, so I was all alone here after randomly being transported back here from Traverse Town after being in a coma for a few months, and...I was bored. Without you guys around, I kinda...let myself go. I started eating...a lot. I mean, a LOT. Especially fried foods...and..." She started drooling slightly. "Chocolate..." She snapped back. "Oh, where was I?"
"The mayonnaise," Riku filled in.
"WHERE??" Kairi shrieked. After a weird look from the two guys, she recomposed herself. "Right...anyway, on fateful day, my mother brought home...the jar." Kairi glared ominously around the table. Sora and Riku scooted away from her, and since it was a circular table, this meant they were scooting closer together. Not a good thing to do in a crowded lunchroom in the midst of one's vicious high school peers, but they feared Kairi more than merciless teasing. That should give you some perspective on how terrifying she could be. "They don't call it Hellman's for nothing," she added. "One slice of bread...one tablespoon of the white stuff...was all it took to get me hooked.
"It tasted so good...but deep in my heart, I knew that it was evil, that it would betray me, but still...I wanted more.
"I started out small—just a little on my sandwich, every day. Then a little more. I started making things like chicken salad, recipes that called for a lot of mayonnaise." Kairi closed her eyes, as if remembering was painful. "The sheer, vast amount of cholesterol entering my body began to affect all aspects of my life. I started gaining weight. My skinny friends quit hanging out with me. I couldn't see the dark path I was on—all that mattered was more mayonnaise. My hunger could not be sated! It was controlling me from the inside out!!"
Kairi broke off, breathing deeply. Sora suddenly blinked like something occurred to him. "Hey, wait...dark path...losing friends...controlling from the inside out... Have you told me this story before?"
Riku gave him an incredulous look, the one that says, Are you being sarcastic or are you actually that ridiculous? Sora scratched his head. "Déjà vu...weird..."
Kairi, finally having regained her composure, continued, "It was only when I had to have my stomach pumped and two arteries unclogged that I realized the danger. All along, I had failed to see that I was not consuming the mayonnaise...it was consuming me."
Riku shook his head. "That is...quite a story," he remarked, returning to his lunch.
Sora shook his head too. "...Are you sure you didn't tell me this story before?" he asked. "It seems so familiar... Like some freaky metaphor... Help me out here, Riku... Riku?"
Riku, however, was staring off in a totally different direction. Sora followed his line of sight to see a petite, dark-haired, bespectacled girl picking her way carefully across the crowded cafeteria. "Ooh, it's a girl," Sora teased.
Kairi looked too. "Sharon Pratt? I know her—she's an alto in chorus. Very quite, hardly ever talks. Mr. Jameson says that's why she's so good. She was fifth in the class last year."
Sora glanced between Riku and Sharon back and forth for a second, open-mouthed. "Riku..." He looked astonished. "You have your own personal fan club, silver cheek stubble that girls would line up to touch, and a motorcycle. (Riku had stolen Cloud's, actually. No one knew how he got it to the islands without raising eyebrows.) Girls pay me to collect strands of your hair. You were voted 'Most Bad-Ass' in the eighth grade. When you smile, any females between the ages of twelve and twenty-seven within a fifteen-foot radius swoon. You are the most envied guy here since Brad 'Spud-licious' Doran graduated seventeen years ago—heck, even What's-His-Name's Heartless wants your body! In short, you could have whatever woman you want...and you pick the shy, awkward, never-been-kissed chorus geek?"
Kairi's eyes narrowed, and one could almost see hell-flames crackling behind them. "Sora, dear?" she forced through gritted teeth, "is there something wrong with Riku being attracted to a shy, awkward, never-been-kissed CHORUS GEEK???"
Sora quailed under Kairi's damning glare. "N-n-no, not at all, Kairi, uuh, that is, from a guy's perspective, it just seemed a little, er, out of character for Riku to, um, you know...I was j-j-just making a point, sugar, you know I love you more than life itself..."
Kairi's nostrils flared, but she seemed to accept Sora's terrified explanations. "Good," she threatened, just to be sure he got the message. Then she turned to Riku, who was still staring with a hand under his chin. "So...why do you like her?"
"Because..." he said dreamily, "she's so nice...and smart...and pretty cute..." He took a deep breath and sighed happily. "...And she always smells like peaches and cream...and cinnamon...and lavender soap..."
Kairi's face softened. "Awww, that's sooo cute!" she squealed.
"If not slightly nauseating..." Sora added under his breath.
Riku suddenly stiffened. "She's coming this way!" he hissed. Sora could only grin. "Great!" he said. "Then you can ask her out so Kairi and I can snog guilt-free!"
Sharon was walking to her table, which was close to our trio's table, so she'd pass right by. Riku turned around and acted like he couldn't see her.
Well, that wouldn't work, Sora thought disapprovingly. Time for the S-train to kick it up a notch. He positioned himself just right...and when Sharon passed their table, he nudged a chair leg into her path.
The result was spectacular. Sora, as if by divine judgment, got a faceful of chili (her lunch), Sharon went down in a pile, and her book satchel went flying. It is worth noting that Sora's hair was completely unaffected by the hot sauce and steaming veggies in the chili, and remained as spiky and gravity-defying as ever.
Riku immediately was down on the floor with Sharon (not that way, idiots), helping her up and grabbing her bag. "Here, I'm sorry, don't worry, his hair's fine," he muttered, as Sharon blushed beet-red and began apologizing to Sora. Riku turned around and glared daggers at him, who grinned without shame even as meat was dripping into his lap. Kairi was struggling not to burst out laughing.
"...Thanks," Sharon whispered, nervously tucking a strand of hair behind her ear and avoiding Riku's eyes. "Sorry," she added to Sora.
"No harm, no foul," Sora assured her cheerfully. "By the way, I think my good friend Riku really would like to ask you something." Riku blinked, stunned. "I would?" he mouthed at Kairi. Kairi grinned as shamelessly as Sora.
"He—he would?" Sharon repeated, wide-eyed. She almost looked terrified.
"...Well," Riku stammered, "what—what I, um, wanted to ask was..."
"...Yes?" Sharon said slowly. Sora was crossing his fingers. Kairi was holding her breath. "Do you..." Riku began, "do you...?"
All of a sudden, the tension snapped. "Do you know what's in mayonnaise?" Riku blurted.
Sharon blinked. Kairi blinked. (NO, YOU F'IDIOT!) Sora mentally screamed. "I think it's, um, lard and egg whites," Sharon told him, reflexively lowering her eyes and rubbing the back of her neck.
"Oh. Okay, then," Riku finished lamely. Sharon walked away. Riku smacked himself. "That was anticlimactic," Sora remarked, mentally congratulating himself on his big word.
Kairi sniffed triumphantly. "I warned you. Mayonnaise does ruin your mind."
A/N: Is it really the end? Heck, no! Coming soon to a fanfiction near you...The Sound of Insanity! In the meantime, review!