Contest entry for the 'Pedophilia Challenge' being held by Constance Greene. I had to write a pairing where there was a significance difference in age. Hence Kairi and Leon. Hence this insanity. Hence why I probably won't win. But figured I'd give it a shot and post it for the mere whimsy of any readers who happen to stumble across it. Read and enjoy, and review if you want cookies. :)
I liked tulips and lolly pops and sea shells.
He liked weapons and destruction and black leather.
Somebody please tell me when that became compatible.
Because as far as I know, I always pictured myself sharing the future with an equally sanguine Sora, not a self reclusive old man who would look more at home in a medieval torture chamber complete with spears and stretching racks and chains as opposed to a room full of kids donning diapers and jelly beans. Though now that I think about it, I suppose old man really isn't a fair title since he is only a mere twenty something years of age. But given the number of birthdays I have celebrated thus far in my life I think it still makes this relationship technically illegal. Oh what fun it is to be liberated by adolescence yet restricted as jail bait.
I guess this story all starts back when I was accompanying Sora on one of his monthly business trips to Hallow Bastion six months after the defeat of the long haired, pretty boy Xemnas. Truth be told, I really had no purpose in the current endeavor at hand except to take on the position of Sora's obligatory world famous piece of unattainable arm candy and swoon appropriately or giggle accordingly every time Sora did something that required such. He took me along because I was his doe eyed girlfriend and such things were expected. I really had no say in the matter. Not that I minded—what girl with an ounce of estrogen in her system doesn't want to accompany the universe's savior to one of his astronomically important meetings? This was going to be fun; we'd sit through a boring—albeit necessary—meeting while clasping hands under the table and engaging in a vigorous game of footsie all the while, then when the meeting terminated we'd go out for a romantic candle lit dinner followed by an intimate walk across the beach while we discussed books and plays and classical literature.
Oh, this was going to be fun!!!
"Hey Sora," I blurted, voice brimming with uncontainable elation given the previous thoughts that were merrily marching through my head.
Sora looked up from the controls of Donald's temporarily borrowed gummi ship to momentarily make eye contact.
"What are we planning on doing this evening?"
I had fingers crossed and breath held in hopes he would offer something along the lines of 'a moonlit stroll down town' or 'an entire restaurant rented out just for the two of us.'
Instead I got, "Well, I suppose we could watch TV or something."
He just put the hopeless in hopeless romantic.
Well, I refused to be taken aback by the previous remark. It was Sora, after all. You can't expect too much out of him as far as verbal intelligence is concerned. But that's what I love about him, isn't it?
Raking my mind for another plausible subject matter, I blabbered in genuine innocence, "So Sora, what's your favorite book?"
Sora met my genuine innocence with his genuine confusion.
"Uhh...Kairi, you know I only read comic books..."
I swallowed. "Oh, yeah."
I don't exactly know why I expected that to change. He was gone one year, not ten. It's not like he had time to catch a good Shakespearean play in between battling enemy Heartless and saving the worlds. And somehow, I seem to doubt Donald and Goofy were the best partners for deep philosophical discussion.
"Gwarsh Sora, that Romeo and Juliet play sure is sad!"
Um yeah...how about no?
Sora cleared his throat sharply. "Gee Kai, what's with the twenty questions?"
My attention audibly snapped back to reality at the sound of my boyfriend's voice.
"Nothing," I lied. "Just trying to make conversation."
"Well why don't we converse about the raft?" Sora suggested mildly, absently flicking some nondescript controls pertaining to the cabin pressure.
"Raft?" I repeated.
"Yeah, the raft we were busy building before...all of this."
I chuckled, airy and melodic.
"Oh goodness Sora, you don't still really think we're going to build that thing, do you?"
The perplexed, hurt expression adorning his face told me he did. He really did.
"Oh...I'm sorry..." I began.
"No, no, it's okay Kairi," Sora responded, clearly rushed as he forced the former out in one quickly exhaled breath. "You're right. We're not kids anymore. I forgot."
We remained silent for the rest of the ride.
I don't exactly know what it was that first attracted me to him. It wasn't his smile—he didn't have one. And it wasn't his eyes—they were shielded by his abundant fringe of bangs. Maybe it was his finesse, the way he walked into the room like he owned it, like he perceived himself in the same demi-god fashion I did. I scarcely felt a morsel of guilt as I sat there salivating over another man while habitually clutching Sora's hand. I was so taken aback by the stark contrast of this caustic male who just sauntered into the room and my starry eyed, raft building boyfriend I was rendered speechless for the next few minutes.
Was it legal to be that...well, hot?
I poked Sora in his rather boney shoulder. It always amazed me how a boy with such lanky extremities managed to bring down an entire Organization and their leader. He wasn't chiseled or defined like this man was. He wasn't burnt or battle scarred; seasoned or distinguished. He was starry eyed and optimistic. Young and naïve. He personified the atmosphere of a boardwalk candy store.
Sora turned his head and looked at me. We were sitting at a massively large conference table in the midst of some over extravagant meeting room situated at the heart of Hallow Bastion. A cranky old wizard was scampering around yelling at everyone to take their seats and occasionally whacking the persistent lounger with his wand. I found this amusing and stifled a giggle.
"Who's that man over there?" I questioned, indicating with a swift nod of my head.
"Which one?" Sora inquired distastefully, scrunching up his ski slope nose and fallowing my general line of vision.
I almost responded, 'the hot one' but thought better of it. I do not vomit up every little thought that marches merrily through my brain. That was best left to Riku.
"The one with the...hair."
"That was real helpful, Kairi," Sora mocked, a twinge of anger faintly detectable in his voice.
I sighed and rolled my eyes at his jealous behavior. "The big, tall, dark, broody one," I clarified.
"...Leon?" Sora suggested, scratching the back of his neck. "Pifft. Why do you wanna know about him? The man hasn't smiled in three decades. I think the muscles around his face have atrophied."
"Ha ha. Very funny."
"No, seriously. The man is like a walking corpse. Ask Yuffie. We secretly think he's a vampire."
"Uh-huh," I smirked. "And how did you come upon that conclusion?"
"Well, when you're the Keybearer," Sora began, yawning and stretching his arms. "You just know this stuff." He silently reached behind my chair and lopped his arm around me. "Yup," he continued, to no one in particular. "I'm the Keybearer. That's me."
I was about to inquire about his looming identity crisis when the cranky menopausal wizard from before climbed atop a wooden podium and demanded everyone's undivided attention.
I can't really say what they all talked about for the next hour and half because, quite honestly, I wasn't listening. I tried playing footsie with Sora about seven times before finally taking the hint that he was not in the mood, or was quite oblivious to my subtle hints. I even was so bold as to let out a huge sigh in the middle of some intense discussion about what was the most economical conclusion on dealing with the vacant sewers underneath the city. My sigh had clear intent and purpose. I knew for a fact that when I sigh, my shoulders involuntarily shrugged and released all tension. And every girl is aware of what happens when you shrug whilst donning a skimpy Destiny Islands tank top. The shirt straps inevitably slide down your shoulders and expose your undergarments. And sometimes boyfriends appreciate this. But Sora scarcely looked up; he was too preoccupied taking notes pertaining to the rapidly increasing rat population in the gutters.
Heck, he wasn't this studious in Sex Ed.
Eventually, after about ninety minutes of hell, the group was finally dismissed for a small break in which refreshments were being served off the elongated tables situated at the sides of a previously vacant hallway. Sora scampered off to go give noogies out to those he missed when we first arrived, and I was left to fend for myself, or fall victim to the typical position of lost puppy dog who follows her boyfriend around aimlessly because she has nothing else better to do on her own.
I saw Leon swagger past a group of happily cajoling people and made a bee line straight to the Vodka that was placed precariously at one of the tables at the far end. I quirked an eyebrow in interest and decided to go introduce myself. I certainly was not going to be the damsel in distress that was bound to sit here all day. Unlike most princesses of heart, I actually had a working brain in between my ears and thought about more than just my prince on various occasions. Who would want a white knight when they can have a sadistic, dangerous, loner clad in black leather?
My point exactly.
I bet he reads Poe and Thoreau in his spare time. I bet he philosophizes late at night on the meaning of life. I bet he has the most in depth conversations with his friends. I bet he's got some deep, dark secret hidden in the depths of his soul. Maybe he even writes poetry in his own blood.
Why anyone would pick Prince Charming over this guy is beyond me.
I sauntered over to the table with false premonitions of commencing a beautiful relationship. I was greeted with the onslaught of a lot more than I asked for.
At first, I chose to stand there and hope he would notice me over the rim of his glass. I clasped my hands behind my back and smiled patiently. After Leon was done chugging his entire drink (how sexy!) he gave me that much anticipated once over.
"Can I help you?" he dead panned, wiping the residue of Vodka the glass left on his face away with the back of his hand.
Taken aback by his audacious introduction, if one could call it that, I blinked in response and tried to cover my emotions. I shrugged thoughtlessly (no undergarment showing intended) and reached for a glass to pour some Vodka in.
"Just thirsty, that's all," I chirped, eager to prove my maturity through the intake of this beverage.
Leon raised a superior eyebrow as I balanced the nose of the bottle over my glass.
"Aren't you underage?" he droned, staring at me with emotionless eyes. Every word out of his mouth seemed to take conscious, unfathomable effort to form and required a crow bar to get out of his throat. I was getting exhausted just listening to him.
"Please!" I laughed, flicking my wrist in casual dismissal. "As if anyone cares!"
Leon continued to stare at me incredulously.
"You're not supposed to drink that if you're under twenty one," he articulated slowly. "Or a Disney character."
"I do this all the time," I lied, determined to chug the drink in the same fashion he previously did.
He closed his eyes and rubbed his left temple fervently.
"Fine. Suit yourself."
I grinned something hideous and threw my head back, eager to feel the refreshing taste of Vodka—whatever it may be—trickle down my parched throat. Almost immediately after swallowing, my stomach decided to go on strike and delivered the Vodka right back up onto the table in an interesting display of projectile vomit.
I coughed like I was dying.
Leon just shook his head and continued to pour himself another glass.
Looking at the mess I had just caused, I inhaled sharply and intoned, "Ya know, I really am quite mature."
Leon nodded. "Yes, I can see that."
Glaring, I poured myself another drink out of spite. Only this time, I sipped the liquid slowly and actually managed to hold it down.
"An underage alcoholic in the making," Leon buffed. "Incredible."
I stuck my hand on my hip and cocked my head to one side. This was not the conversation I had in mind. This was not how it was supposed to go. This was not what I wanted. And curse him for messing all this up on me.
"So how old are you?" I inquired saucily, simply refusing to let the encounter dissipate.
"Old enough to be your baby sitter."
"Ha, funny," I laughed knowingly, trying to show I was unaffected. I took another sip of Vodka to calm myself down, and to further prove I was, ya know, mature.
"I bet you read a lot in your spare time," I continued, determined to make him out to be the man I had originally pictured.
I paused. Elaboration was not this man's forte. But then again, I suppose I knew that from the start. I was just assuming he was going to open up to me because we'd make such a good connection.
Another slurp of Vodka.
"Well," I pushed, desperate for answers. Leon inhaled sharply through his nose and folded his well formed arms over his leather clad chest. "What do you do in your spare time?"
Leon examined his nails in that manly heterosexual way, the way a bored teenager does when forced to take a summer class in a subject that utterly bores him.
"Sitcoms," he supplied. "I watch sitcoms."
My eyes bulged. "Sitcoms?" I repeated, a little too loudly. "You? Watch sitcoms?"
"Is there something wrong with that?" he demanded in a challenging tone, daring me to state otherwise. I knew better than to attempt such feats.
"No!" I quickly responded. "No, no! I watch sitcoms all the time!"
I continued to make love to my Vodka glass. Pretty soon I'd need a refill. Though I don't know how much I could safely hold. I was already starting to feel a decent buzz as it was.
I found myself leaning against the table for support. Buzz or no buzz, my knees were beginning to give way. And that's all I needed to do: swoon.
I then subtly began to flutter my eyelashes. Not in that melodramatic way that Snow White is notorious for, or that sedated version Ariel seemed to have adopted. No, I had my own personal Kairi flutter, one that could make a man's heart melt in an instant like left over pasta in the microwave. I hadn't wasted hours of my life practicing this in the mirror for nothing.
Leon sighed distastefully. It was like exhaling was his characteristic action; his exclusive attack. The city invaded by blood thirsty Heartless? Have no fear, Leon will just condensate on them!
"I know what you're trying to do, Kairi."
My eyes stopped mid-flutter.
"How do you know my name?" I demanded quizzically, arching a superior eyebrow.
"Well, first of all, it says so on your name tag," Leon grumbled, flicking his index finger at my concave chest which, sure enough, loudly displayed my name in thick red letters on a four by six card for all the worlds to see. "And secondly, everyone knows your name. You're the twit that couldn't protect her own heart and has the invincible Sora reduced to a pile of emotional sappy goo in the palm of her hand. So, yeah," he stopped to breathe. "I'd say you're pretty notorious."
I paused. Inhaled. And then chugged some more Vodka in silent response.
"So enlighten me," I invaded in a sexy manner. "What is it, exactly, that I'm trying to do?"
Leon's paper thin mouth formed a firm, hard line across his flawless face. Instead of answering me directly, which I already knew he wouldn't do, for he must be into psychological mind games if he wears leather pants, he shut his eye lids and squeezed.
"You're lipstick is so dark it makes your teeth look like loose Chiclets," he muttered, barely audible.
I paused. My mind, working in the semi fog that it was, slowly registered that as an insult and hurriedly tried to cough up an equally witty response.
"Wait...that didn't answer the question..."
"So where'd you get the Revlon, sweetheart?" Leon continued, failing to miss a beat. "Big sister's make up drawer?"
"Actually it's my mom's," I blurted, attempting to wipe the Vodka residue away with the same Leon Fantastic finesse but failing miserably. I missed my mouth by a mile and ended up whacking myself in the eye.
"Smooth," came the one liner.
"You have yet to tell me what I am 'trying to do,'" I drawled in sweet intoxication.
Leon shook his head in disgrace and reached into his pocket.
"Are you getting your lighter?" I inquired as I watched the man fish around in his pants.
Leon quirked an eyebrow at me. "Now what makes you think I own a lighter?"
"Well, look at you!" I laughed, again, a little too loudly. "The way you dress...how you do your hair..."
"So anyone who is a brunette and happens to wear black in automatically a predetermined smoker in your mind?"
I paused. Too many words and too much alcohol.
"Well...no, I guess not."
"For your information," Leon began, extracting a nail clipper, "I don't smoke. There are cooler ways to die."
I thought about that for a second. "So do you usually ponder death in your free time?"
Leon made a gurgling sound in the back of his throat, which I took as a laugh in denial, and went to work on some non descript hang nail that was undoubtedly irritating him.
"Do I look like a have a morbid fascination with the after life?" he queried. "And don't say it's the leather, you already used that answer once, sweetie. No repeats."
I chewed the inside of my cheek in a thoughtful manner.
"Okay," I said, slamming my Vodka glass down in triumph. I puffed my lacking chest out (even though all the puffing in the world couldn't save that lost cause) and crossed my twiggy arms over. "Well how do you explain the scar on your head? How'dya get that? Huh?"
Leon, for the first time, smirked. It was a sadistic smirk, but still a smirk none the less.
"Oh, my scar automatically makes me a Death Dancer?"
"Well, it's a little big to be the result of a biking accident," I stated absent mindedly.
"That's because it wasn't. I used to work at an animal shelter back when I was a preteen. They brought in a rabid dog for sedation and I got a little too close."
My mouth sagged.
"Don't worry," Leon added quickly. "I've had my shot."
"No, no, it's not that," I began. "It's just...you worked at an animal shelter?!"
Leon crinkled his nose up. "Something wrong with that?"
"No, nothing wrong. It just, doesn't seem like you, that's all."
"You've known me for all of five minutes," Leon dead panned. "How can you claim to know what's me and what isn't?"
I shrugged. "...the leather?" I suggested weakly.
"Oh please, if I went around judging you the same way you were judging me then I'd probably make the fair mistake of presuming you to be a hooker. Your blush is way too heavy, darling. It looks like a second degree burn is holding a parade on your face."
I stopped mid-inhale and stood frozen.
Leon shrugged. "But what do I know? I'm not the one trying to act mature," he patronized, voice dripping saccharine. "So let's skip the introductories, shall we? Why are you here instead of playing line leader with Sora?"
"...I...I..." I paused. What did initially inspire me to search elsewhere for completeness? "I guess I just wanted a real conversation, that's all."
"And what? Sora's mute?"
"...no," I answered slowly, "it's not like that. It's not like that at all."
Leon raised his eyebrows in skepticism.
"The kid not up for theological debates over Hemmingway's short stories?"
I was all ready to jump in and start denying any claim that flowed out of Leon's mouth when I realized that I, indeed, didn't have to.
My breath stopped. "That's just it!"
Leon gave me a silent, skeptical once over. "Sorry, didn't know you were into suicidal writers who kept six toed cats."
"No, no, not the Hemmingway part," I grumbled. "The kid part. That's what I'm trying to say!" I declared, making sloppy drunken motions with my hands. "Sora's a kid! You...you on the other hand...you're—"
"Absolutely nothing like what you originally intended me to be."
Leon let this comment sink in.
"...or wanted me to be," he finished carefully. Each word was precise and as cutting as a razor blade. Funny how you try so hard to get this man to open up, and when he does, you whish you hadn't attempted such feats in the first place.
"Ya know, darling, that's the real sign of maturity right there. Looking past the façade. Did you honestly think you knew my entire life story just by the sort of fabric I use in my clothing? Did you faultily assume I earned this scar in some drunken bar fight, or from an abusive father figure who traumatized my childhood? Did you think just because I am a loner by nature that I must be hiding some deep, dark secret I have buried alive in the depths of my soul?"
I was silent. I opened my mouth to say something, and when nothing came out, I closed it again.
"That's real immaturity right there," he noted.
He glanced over to where Sora was lolly gagging with Donald and Goofy, dancing and frolicking around in circles, arms in the air, head rolled back, and some whimsical tune originating from his mouth.
"Look, just because the kid looks like a walking ad for Zoloft doesn't mean he has a head full of tootsie rolls and lolly pops."
"He's not...he's not a man, Leon," I finally concluded in a shaky voice. "He's a boy. And I want...I need...a man."
"And what defines that characteristic, Kairi?" Leon shot back, straightening up and negating to use to wall to support his lithe frame. "Poise? Wit? Sex? Kills? What is it that drove you over here in the first place? Why am I irresistible when the kid who was willing to die to save your scrawny anorexic ass is being ignored because he doesn't sulk around in corners all day? Is it really that much a turn on to be anti social, or are you just another girl determined to open me up and teach me to love?"
My eyes rimmed with saline. I had no repertoire. I wished desperately I had left well enough alone and not utilized that figurative crow bar to open Leon's snarling mouth.
"So boo-hoo Kairi, you found a boyfriend who thinks with something other than his dick." Leon shook his head in disbelief. "And you want to throw it all away because he doesn't read Balzac and can't read your mind."
Leon stepped in a little closer, invading my private circle of space, and leered into my face, "The only immature one in this relationship is you, sweetheart. Pity it took someone else with enough balls to say it."
The tears were falling freely now.
"So I suggest you scamper on back to Good Ol' Sora and figure things out in a grown up manner as opposed to playing the jealousy card that got worn out in the seventh grade. The kid was willing to die for you, Kairi," Leon grumbled. "That has to count for something."
With that, he replaced his perfectly neutral face, and sauntered out of my life much more silently then when he sauntered in.
To say I listened to any of the meeting after that would be a blatant lie. I no longer made any effort to flirt with Sora and spent every ounce of energy I had avoiding eye contact with Leon (which was fairly easy given the fact he was obsessed with staring at the ground) and trying to control the devastating onslaught of tears that were just dying to come out.
Thankfully none did, and I was able to be escorted by Sora to our previously borrowed Gummi Ship and head on home to Destiny Islands. Sora said his heart felt good byes, and I wondered for a mere passing moment why I was not content to have the biggest piece of his already enormous heart. He'd throw his coat down for an old homeless woman if the puddle looked too deep for her. He'd run head on into battle, most likely forgetting his armor, to protect and fight for anything he cared about dearly. He'd make time stop if it were required of him. And of all these things, I was the most important to him. Anything he did for anyone else he would do for me, too, probably ten fold. Sure, it would be characterized in his typical goofy manner, but that was simply him, and no passing of time could ever erase that.
As we settled back into the ship and launched off into outer space, I saw Sora turn to me, all traces of the grin he was previously adorning gone in a blink of my horribly fluttering eyes.
"Hey, Kai," he petitioned, in all seriousness.
"About that raft..." he began. "You're right, we are getting too old. It was stupid for me to even bring that up."
My world imploded in my stomach. Every ounce of my being tingled with the tantalizing guilty sensation. It was so deep it was practically tangible. An emotion formulating in my stomach. An object I could practically touch. An unspoken, unrequited desire to tell him he was fine just the way he was, and I wanted and needed nothing more than him and his pure, flawless soul, in all of its brazen naivety and clueless-ness. Yes Sora, I'd gladly build a raft with you, I'd gladly build five rafts with you and sail the galaxy twice over before ever taking you for granted again. I'd swim across the ocean if it would only prove to you that I won't stray, that I am content to be lying in your twiggy arms, and your twiggy arms only. So what if your breath smells like bubble gum instead of alcohol? You personify what keeps this galaxy going: hope.
"Sora," I began, gentle and airy, taking my porcelain hand and cupping it to his face. "The raft isn't stupid. I'm stupid."
Sora stared noncomprehending.
"I would love to finish that unbelievably lovable raft with you. And then we could go fishing. Just you and me. We can leave Riku stranded on the shore, he never had the patience to fish for more than two minutes anyway."
Sora eventually regained control of his lower mandible and closed his jaw slowly.
"...Really?" he asked, his eyes lighting up like candles.
I paused and swallowed. Not because I was scared or hesitant or reluctant. But because I knew what I needed to say and I knew the importance of saying what I needed.
"Of course," I replied, a smile slowly spreading across my features.
Sora blinked, taking this in.
"Um...cool!" he croaked, eye brows shooting up in unison. "I am totally high gearing it to Destiny Islands!"
He kept true to his word and sped all the way back to our home planet, a silly grin donning his face the entire time.
"Hey Kai," Sora asked, all smiles and puppy dogs, legs bouncing up and down with uncontrollable excitement. "What should we christen it with?"
"Christen what with?"
"The raft, silly. We need to christen the raft before it sails. What should we christen it with?"
I internally smiled, letting the irony of the oncoming statement to fully settle in my mind before articulating the matter out loud.
"Anything but Vodka," I sighed, rubbing my temples. "Anything but Vodka."