Title: Seven Days
Author: Page of Cups
Pairing: Cloud Strife/Riku
Fandom: Kingdom Hearts
Rating: R
Theme: #26 If Only I Could Make You Mine

Disclaimer: I wish, okay? It's all lies. I don't own Kingdom Hearts, I don't know anyone who owns Kingdom Hearts, and I'm not affiliated with anyone who is affiliated with anyone who owns Kingdom Hearts. I think that about covers it.

WARNING: SOME SEXUAL CONTENT IS INCLUDED WITHIN THIS FIC BETWEEN TWO BOYS. YEAH...


Long silver hair brushed Cloud's cheek and he reached a hand around, weaving his fingers through the strands. He marveled at the softness of the tresses as they slipped between his fingers, and then dropped his hand to the back of the boy's neck. Rough, calloused fingertips trailed across the smooth, unadulterated skin as it passed from his neck and trailed along his spine. Riku shivered, moaned, and dipped his head to nip at Cloud's collarbone.

"You're so sexy," said Cloud.

His fingers continued to trail down the expanse of Riku's back. Riku smiled against his chest.

"You only think that because my hands are all over you."

"You do turn me on."

Riku rolled his hips forward. Cloud's stomach tensed as a shot of pleasure passed through his body.

"You turn me on, too," said Riku.

Riku's head disappeared from sight. The soft brush of hair trailed down his chest and stomach. Riku littered kisses and bites over his flesh as he descended, and then the warm heat was on his cock. Cloud bucked his hips, and then the bed was shaking.

----------0----------

"Cloud! Cloud, wake up."

Light infiltrated the darkness. Cloud squinted and brought an arm over his face.

"Cloud, Mom says if you don't wake up soon she's going to throw you in the shower with your pajamas still on."

"G'way."

"I can't. Mom sent me to wake you up."

"I don't have any classes today. Go away."

"Cid called. Leon's sick and called off work so he needs your help at the garage."

Cloud grunted and opened his eyes.

"Sora?"

"Roxas."

Cloud waved a hand and fell back against his pillow.

"Eh. You look the same."

Roxas rolled his eyes and poked Cloud in the side.

"That's because we're twins, dumbass, now get up or I'm telling Mom."

Cloud cracked open an eye and cocked an eyebrow.

"Or you're telling Mom? How old are you again? Six?"

"Shut up. I'm seventeen and you know it. Now get up. I came up here out of the goodness of my heart so Mom wouldn't throw you in the shower and this is how you repay me."

Cloud snorted.

"Goodness in your heart?"

"Yes. You wouldn't want Mom coming up and catching you with a morning wood, would you?"

Cloud leaned his head up to stare down the expanse of his blankets to see his erection tenting the blanket. He groaned, shoved his body up, leaned forward, and rubbed his eyes.

"Okay, okay. I'm up. Happy?"

Roxas rolled his eyes.

"Ecstatic. Go get a shower, jerk off, and meet us in the kitchen. Mom made pancakes."

"What time am I supposed to be at the garage?"

"Noon."

"What time is it now?"

"Eleven."

Cloud nodded. He rubbed his face, noting that he'd need to shave, and nodded.

"Thanks."

Roxas shrugged and left the room. Cloud stared at the empty doorway for a few seconds before climbing out of bed. He rummaged through his drawers for something to wear, gathered his clothing in his arms, and stumbled to the bathroom. With the door shut and locked behind him, he pulled a towel from the closet, turned on the shower, and undressed. He looked down at his erection and groaned. This was starting to get embarrassing.

Cloud stepped into the shower. His muscles relaxed as the hot water beat upon his body, and he leaned against the wall. He rolled his head back and stared at the ceiling. Cloud was a twenty-one year old man and being so, familiar to these sorts of nocturnal fantasies. What he wasn't used to (even if they were happening sporadically for the past six months) were nocturnal fantasies about Riku. This was the fifth night in a row now that when Cloud went to sleep, he met Riku in his dreams where neither one of them ever tired.

He groaned again, but even as he wished he could mentally will his erection away, his hand descended to take his cock in his hands. Forget starting to get embarrassing; this was plain humiliating.

"Cid called," said Mrs. Strife as Cloud walked into the kitchen. She stood at the sink doing dishes, and Cloud kissed her on the cheek as he passed to the refrigerator. He pulled a carton of orange juice out and took the glass she handed to him.

"Roxas said."

"I made breakfast. Yours is on the table."

"Thanks."

Cloud rounded the counter, walked toward the kitchen table, and sat in a vacant seat.

"Good morning, Cloud," said Riku.

Cloud looked up from his plate to glare. Sora and Roxas snickered.

"Don't you have your own house to go to?"

"Riku stayed over last night," said Sora. "We rented movies."

"Yeah," said Roxas, "so if you want to borrow them, they're on the TV stand."

Cloud rolled his eyes.

"You're cranky this morning," said Sora.

"Don't know why," said Roxas. "He seemed like he had a good dream."

"Again?" said Riku.

Cloud glared. Riku's eyes widened. Mrs. Strife chuckled at the sink.

"I mean . . ." said Riku.

"It slipped," said Roxas, smirking.

"Yeah, I bet it did," said Cloud.

"It's just been happening an awful lot lately. It's more like your twelve instead of twenty-one."

"I'm going to murder you. What kind of kid talks about his brother's boners, anyway?"

"You aren't going to murder your brother, Cloud," said Mrs. Strife. "He does have a good point, though, Roxas."

"It slipped!"

Sora snickered.

"You know, Mom, they're only seventeen. We still have time to put them up for adoption."

"We aren't putting your brothers up for adoption, Cloud."

"Can we at least send Riku home?"

"I didn't do anything," said Riku.

"You started him on this. Don't you have your own family to torture?"

"My family isn't as fun as yours."

"Now, Cloud, Riku was only over one night," said Mrs. Strife. She joined them at the table.

"This time," said Cloud.

Mrs. Strife smirked and shook her head.

"I couldn't bear to send him home. He's like one of the family."

Sora and Roxas snickered again. Cloud looked from one to the other.

"They're up to no good. I can hear it."

"We just laughed," said Sora.

"And I think it was at my expense."

Sora and Roxas broke into another round of laughter.

"I'm telling you," said Cloud, "that's their secret twin language."

Roxas practically howled.

"I have to go to work."

"You didn't finish your breakfast, honey," said Mrs. Strife.

"Save it for me. I'm going to be late thanks to the little demons." He grabbed his jacket from a hook by the door and kissed her on the cheek. "I'll be home around six."

"Take care, sweetie."

Cloud strode out the door to his car and pulled away from the house. He'd have to thank Cid for getting him out of there or he'd still be sitting in the kitchen suffering through the twins' antics and trying not to stare at Riku. Work could not last long enough.

----------0----------

With Saturday night came another dream of Riku's skin, hands, mouth, and that feeling that Cloud only got when awake these days in the shower as he stroked his own cock. Sora and Roxas spent the entirety of Sunday at Riku's house, leaving Cloud with the living room and Riku-free. He tried to appreciate the peace. There was no snickering, no loud, obnoxious voices that carried up the stairs and into his bedroom. He sulked against the back of the couch and flipped on the television.

"The house is quiet," said Mrs. Strife, walking into the living room. She sat next to Cloud on the sofa and rubbed his knee. "I almost don't know what to do with myself."

"It's lovely, isn't it?"

"Complain all you like, but I know that you love your brothers deep down."

"Very deep down. It's not even them, really, that get on my nerves. I just don't understand why Riku has to be over all the time. They get so much louder when it's the three of them."

"They're just having a good time."

"It's obnoxious. I can't stand that kid. I mean . . . what? Is he homeless? Do they all have to be attached at the hip? I already have two brothers; I don't need a third."

"Riku has been in and out of this house daily since he was six years old. I don't understand why it's bothering you now. He doesn't do anything."

Cloud huffed. He crossed his arms over his chest. Mrs. Strife laughed and tapped her finger against his lips.

"Are you pouting, dear?" she said.

"No."

"You know I can't tell Riku he isn't allowed over here anymore when he hasn't done anything. He's Sora and Roxas's best friend."

"I know. He just gets on my nerves."

She watched Cloud from the corner of her eye and smiled.

"He's very lively, isn't he?"

"You could say that."

"Good-looking boy, too."

Cloud shrugged.

"I guess."

She smiled and continued to watch him. His eyes stayed on the television for a few seconds before glancing over. He frowned and looked away.

"Stop it," he said.

"Stop what?"

"Looking at me like that."

"You have a crush on him, don't you?"

"Mom—"

"It's all right if you do, dear. I won't tell him."

"No, you'll tell Roxas and Sora, and then they'll tell him."

"So you do?"

"Don't get any ideas into your head, Mom. He's too young . . ."

"He's eighteen, Cloud. You're twenty-one. That's hardly an age gap."

"He's straight . . ."

"You don't know that."

"Don't go and try to set me up with Riku."

"It's been awhile since you've liked someone. Not since you and Leon broke up. Can't blame a mother for being hopeful."

"I didn't say I liked him."

"No, it's what you didn't say." She smiled and squeezed his knee. "I kind of had an idea, sweetheart. It isn't a shock."

Cloud frowned.

"Do you think Sora and Roxas know?"

She broke into a laugh and shook her head.

"Absolutely not. You know I love them to death, but bless the poor dears, they're a little slow on the uptake."

"Don't say anything to them."

"I won't."

"Promise."

"Cloud, you're being ridiculous. I won't say anything to your brothers."

"You better not."

"I just wanted to know if my suspicions were correct."

"I don't know why it matters. He's straight, he gets on my nerves, and it's like you said, Mom. He's like one of the family."

"Oh, you. You don't necessarily know that he's straight. You thought Leon was, too, and look how that turned out?"

"He left me for a girl?"

"Riku isn't Leon, and he only gets on your nerves because you like him and he's here all the time. And just because it's like he's one of the family doesn't mean he is."

"Even if that were true, there's still Sora and Roxas."

"What about them?"

"Come on, Mom. They would have a fit."

"What makes you say that?"

"He's their best friend? It's an unwritten law that one does not date his little brothers' best friend."

"That isn't true, and even if it was, it's a stupid law."

"Mom, please don't encourage this. I'm trying to stop liking him, not get my hopes up."

"At least they'd like your boyfriend."

"No, they'd be ticked off because he was spending time with me instead of them, or I'd be ticked off because he was with them instead of me. It's just a bad idea and I should have never even thought of it in the first place. There's too many complications."

"I think you're giving up too easily."

Cloud sighed.

"I'm going to order dinner," she said, standing. "Would you like anything?"

Cloud shrugged.

"Sure."

----------0----------

Cloud spent Monday evening holed up in his bedroom as he worked on homework for Tuesday's classes. Sora, Roxas, and Riku spent the evening in the living room laughing louder than anyone should, in Cloud's opinion. The downstairs television may as well have been in Cloud's room for how high they set the volume. He yelled down the stairs five times for them to keep it down. Mrs. Strife passed him on the last attempt, covered her smile with a hand, and went down the stairs.

"Sorry, Cloud!" Sora yelled. Cloud slammed his bedroom door.

On Tuesday, Cloud entered the kitchen after class to find Riku, Sora, and Roxas turning the room into a war zone. At least that's what it looked like with pots, bowls, and pans spread across the area. Batter dripped from the counter onto the floor. Sora had flour in his hair as he tried to stir a lumpy concoction in a glass bowl with a wooden spatula. Roxas spilled milk across the table as he measured the fluid into a plastic cup. Riku stood on a stool, rummaging through the cabinets. When he emerged from behind the door with a roll of paper towels and kitchen cleaner, he whacked his head on the cabinet. The stool slipped from beneath his feet, and he landed on the tiled floor.

"I knew we should have abandoned you on those train tracks that time," said Cloud.

"Hey," said Roxas. "Welcome home."

"Do I even want to know?"

"It's for school." Roxas looked around the room and frowned. "Where'd Riku go?"

Sora, who abandoned the spatula in favor of mixing the batter with his hands, pulled them from the mixture. He crossed the kitchen and peered over the counter.

"You okay?"

"Yeah," said Riku. He sat up. "Just my head. Nothing serious."

"Has Mom seen this?" said Cloud.

"She's at work until ten," said Sora. "Don't worry. She knows we were doing this today."

"And what is 'this?'"

"It's for school," said Roxas. "I already told you that."

"Speech," said Riku, getting to his feet. "Hi, Cloud. I didn't even see you come in."

"That's because you knocked yourself out," said Cloud. "Don't you have your own kitchen to destroy?"

Riku opened his mouth, but Roxas cut in.

"His parents wouldn't let us trash their kitchen, and Mom already said it was okay, so here we are."

"We have to give a speech on how to do something," said Riku.

"Our group is going to explain how to make a super awesome cake, so we're working on our visual aids," said Sora.

"But you can't bake," said Cloud. He looked around the kitchen. "Or measure. Or mix. Or clean."

"I know how to measure," said Roxas. "You have to go all the way up to the lip of the cup. That's why some of it spills."

"And when you measure flour, you have to pat it down and then scrape off the extra with something flat to make it even," said Sora. "That's why some of it gets on the floor."

"But we couldn't figure out how to use the mixer, so the first batch went everywhere. That was an accident."

"And I can't get the spatula through, so I'm using my hands."

"And Riku's going to clean up, so you don't have to worry."

Cloud looked around the room again and sighed.

"You at least preheated the oven, right?"

"Shit," said Riku. Roxas and Sora stared. "I forgot in all the excitement."

Cloud rolled his eyes.

"I'm so glad Mom isn't here to see this."

"Mom would help us instead of yelling at us as long as we cleaned up," said Roxas. "You should help us."

Sora stared at Roxas for a few seconds. Riku shifted as his eyes passed between the twins, and when Sora looked back at him, he walked over to set the oven. Sora looked back to Roxas, who nodded.

"Why do I get the feeling you're having one of those telepathic twin conversations?"

"Yeah, you should help us," said Sora. "We've got to make three cakes since there's three of us, and at the rate we're going . . ."

"Well, you can see the rate we're going at," said Roxas. "I bet you wouldn't make a mess."

Cloud looked from his brothers to Riku.

"And you let them do this? Aren't you supposed to be the responsible one?" said Cloud. "What were you supposed to be doing before they made you clean?"

Sora coughed.

"Riku was in charge of the mixer," said Roxas.

"But he couldn't figure it out, so me and Roxas tried to help," said Sora.

"And it all went KAPOW."

"Just like that," said Cloud.

"Yeah," said Roxas. "Just like that."

"So you should help us," said Sora.

"I have homework."

"You'll get it done. We'll be quiet and everything, but we can't be quiet until we're done."

"Yeah," said Roxas. "So you can mix, and I'll measure, and Riku and Sora can clean up."

"I have a better idea," said Cloud. "Since you and Sora made the mess, why don't you clean it up?"

Roxas and Sora stared at each other.

"But . . ." said Sora. Roxas shook his head. "Huh? Oh! Yeah! Okay. You can mix, and Riku can measure, and me and Roxas will clean up."

"So I don't need these, then?" said Riku, holding out the cleaner and paper towels.

Cloud shook his head. He crossed through the kitchen, dropped his school things in the living room, and returned. Sora shoved the batter bowl at him.

"Throw that away," said Cloud. "Your hands have been all over it. Start cleaning up this mess. All of it. Riku, come with me."

Cloud walked toward the back door. Riku stared at Sora.

"Is he going to murder me?" said Riku.

"We're going to the store."

"What are you getting?" said Sora. "You can't just buy a cake. We have to make it."

"We're going to make it. I'm going to buy boxed cake mix, and more eggs and milk since you wasted it all."

Sora frowned.

"Boxed cake mix?"

"Yes."

"Damn. I should have thought of that."

"Don't forget icing," said Roxas.

"How come Riku gets to go?"

"Because Riku is going to measure out the additional ingredients, and he didn't make the mess. I'm not going to have you two making him help when you're the ones who exploded the batter in the first place."

"We would never," said Roxas.

"Yes, you would," said Riku.

Sora nodded.

"Yeah, we would."

"Come on, Riku. I'm not waiting all day," said Cloud.

Riku walked out from behind the counter, careful not to step in any of the batter. Roxas and Sora snickered as Cloud opened the door and motioned for Riku to head outside. Cloud pointed at them before turning.

"This place better be in better condition when I get back."

Cloud stepped outside and unlocked the car doors. He slid into the driver's seat as Riku got in on the other side and started the ignition.

"Are you really going to help?" said Riku once they pulled out of the driveway.

"Yes."

"Thanks."

"I have a paper to do and it's never going to get done if I don't stop this insanity. It's not for your benefit."

"Well . . . eh . . . thanks, anyway."

Cloud glanced over to find Riku sunk in the seat, palms pressed together and between his knees. He watched out the window as the rolled down the street, shifted, caught Cloud's eye, and then looked away. Cloud frowned.

"You're awfully restless."

"Yeah . . . I mean . . ." Riku sighed. "I'm just . . . I don't usually ride anywhere with you. You know . . . just the two of us . . . shit. I sound like a retard."

Cloud arched an eyebrow. Since when had Riku gotten so twitchy? He'd always been a rather confident and collected teen. Cloud chuckled.

"I'm not going to bite you. Not hard, anyway."

Riku attempted to laugh.

"I know. I just . . . it's been awhile."

Now that he reevaluated the situation, Cloud decided it may have been a bad idea to drag Riku along on this shopping trip. He probably should have just let Sora and Roxas force their friend to assist in cleaning up the mess, but he hadn't had the foresight then to realize that he and Riku would be alone. And that they'd have to make conversation. And that Sora and Roxas wouldn't learn to clean up their own messes from this experience, anyway.

"It has been awhile, hasn't it?"

"About six months, yeah. I usually just walk home now. My mom comes for me if it's bad weather."

"You're driving now, aren't you?"

"Yeah, but I can't afford my own car yet."

"Well if you ever go looking for one sometime soon, I can help you out. Check it out for you and make sure it's all right and everything."

Riku nodded.

"Hey, Cloud . . .?"

"What's up?"

Riku hesitated and then shook his head.

"Nothing. Never mind."

"You sure?"

"Yeah."

Cloud pulled into the grocery lot parking lot. He watched Riku as they got out of the car and entered the grocery store. They spoke little and strictly about groceries while inside, and said nothing on the ride back to the Strife residence. The kitchen was still a disaster when they walked in, but Roxas and Sora seemed filthier than when they'd left. As they entered Sora and Roxas snickered.

"How did it go?" said Sora.

"Yeah. Did you enjoy your trip together?" said Roxas.

"Shut up," said Riku.

"I told you to have this place cleaner when we got back," said Cloud.

"It is!" said Sora. "You just can't tell because it was such a mess to begin with."

Cloud sighed. It was going to be a very long afternoon.

----------0----------

Cloud visited Riku in his dreams again on Tuesday night where things were not uncomfortable and Riku was twitchy in a good way. He woke in a foul mood the following morning. Wednesday's classes were hell between one test and a two-hour long lecture. Work had been excruciating with the end of the month coming up and countless inspections to do. All he wanted to do was eat dinner, finish his schoolwork, unwind a little, and go to bed, but there was Riku again, sitting in the living room with Roxas and Sora nowhere in sight.

"Hi, Cloud," said Riku as he walked into the house Wednesday evening.

"Do you ever go home?"

". . . Yes?"

"Are Sora and Roxas even here?"

"They're talking to your mom in the kitchen."

"Don't you have homework or something? You still get that in high school, right?"

"I already did it."

"Do you three have a hearing impairment or something? Turn down the TV."

Riku grabbed for the remote control and Cloud saw the bars on the screen decrease.

"Sorry."

Cloud sneered, waved Riku's comment away, and walked into the kitchen. His mother, Roxas, and Sora sat at the kitchen table. Four empty plates were stacked at the end.

"Hi, sweetheart," said Mrs. Strife. "Your dinner's on the counter. You might have to heat it up."

Cloud shrugged, grabbed the plate, and walked to the table.

"So, what? Does he live here now? Have we opened up a boarding house?"

"Leave Riku alone," said Roxas.

"Yeah," said Sora. "He's having a hard time at home right now."

Cloud frowned.

"Like what?"

"We aren't at liberty to say," said Sora.

"He's having a disagreement with his father," said Mrs. Strife. "He might have to move in. We aren't sure yet."

"Since when did this happen?" said Cloud.

"It's been going on for a few weeks now, but it's getting worse. He only said something tonight, the poor dear, about maybe needing a place to stay for a few days. I told him that if he needs somewhere to go, he's always welcome here."

She looked pointedly at Cloud. He shifted in his seat and averted his eyes.

"Yeah," said Roxas. "So don't be mean to him."

"What? Is his dad threatening to kick him out or something?"

"Something like that," said Mrs. Strife.

"What about his mom?"

"She told Riku to give his dad some time," said Sora.

Mrs. Strife shook her head.

"I just don't understand people like that. No one could convince me to make one of you boys find another place to stay for awhile. Not even my husband."

"Obviously, considering you divorced Dad," said Roxas.

"What are they arguing about?" said Cloud.

"That's what we can't tell you."

"So everyone gets to know but me?"

Sora and Roxas nodded. Mrs. Strife frowned.

"Riku doesn't want anyone to know just yet," she said. "He doesn't like talking about it."

"So . . . what? I'm just anyone? My entire family can know, but I have to be in the dark about it?"

"Just give him some time, baby."

"Why am I supposed to give him some time? It's not like he's my friend or my brother. In fact, I don't even matter enough to know why he might be living in my house. That's fine. Whatever. I'm going to my room—I have homework."

Cloud stood and walked toward the door.

"Honey, you didn't eat . . ."

"I'm not hungry, anymore."

"Hi, Cloud," said Riku as Cloud passed the sofa on the way to the stairs.

"Why don't you go home?"

Riku blinked as Cloud disappeared up the staircase.

----------0----------

"You're an asshole," said Roxas as he and Sora walked into the kitchen on Thursday.

Cloud looked up from the stove where he was making a grilled cheese sandwich.

"Are you talking to me?" said Cloud.

"Yes," said Sora.

"What did I do?"

"Riku said today that if something were to happen he's only going to stay until he finds somewhere else to go because he doesn't want to take advantage of us anymore than he already has," said Roxas.

"And that you hate him," said Sora.

"You're an asshole."

"Yeah. You're just mad because we won't tell you what's wrong."

Cloud scowled.

"Excuse me if I want to know why some brat friend of yours has to move into our house. He's your friend, not mine. I don't have to be chummy and understanding, especially when I don't know enough to understand."

"You just better know that Riku's coming over in twenty minutes so you better be nice to him," said Sora. "I told him that you don't hate him; you're just moody."

"Yeah," said Roxas. "You should apologize, too."

"Why is he coming over again?" said Cloud. "Did his Dad kick him out already? I mean, it's probably because he's such a pain in the ass."

"Shut up," said Roxas. "You don't know anything about it, and if you did, you wouldn't be acting like this."

"And he's coming over to help me pick out an outfit for tomorrow night if you must know," said Sora.

"For what?"

"Why should I tell you? You're an asshole."

"I'll be nice to him. What do you need an outfit for?"

Sora's sneer fell away. It was replaced with a blinding grin.

"I have a date."

"With a girl?"

"She's Naminé's cousin," said Roxas. "Just moved here so she introduced her and Sora. We're doubling."

"Her name's Kairi," said Sora.

"Good for you," said Cloud. "This means tomorrow night will be blissfully Riku-free, right?"

"Hey! You said you'd be nice!"

"And I will be," said Cloud. The door to the kitchen opened and Riku walked in. Cloud frowned. "Don't you have another family to torture?"

Roxas and Sora rolled their eyes.

"Hi, Cloud," said Riku.

"We're going up to my room," said Sora.

Sora pulled Roxas and Riku toward the living room, and as they passed from the kitchen, Cloud heard Riku say, "I told you he hates me."

Cloud frowned.

----------0----------

Riku visited Cloud in his dreams again on Thursday night. During Friday's morning's shower, Riku's face was in his mind as always as his hand descended, wrapped around his cock, and stroked to completion. Riku's voice echoed through his ears. He could almost feel Riku's skin against his. Cloud was thankful to not have classes on Fridays as Sora and Roxas were already at school by the time he left the house for work. He doubted that he could look at either one of them when he'd just jerked off to their best friend. This was so humiliating.

Around six in the evening, Cloud walked into an empty house. There was a note on the counter from Mrs. Strife about having to work until eleven. Sora and Roxas left notes about going on their dates and to be expected back around the same time. The silence was odd. He turned on the stereo, cranked up the volume, and set to make a sandwich for dinner. Before his toast was done, the kitchen door opened and Riku walked in. He slumped into a chair at the kitchen table. Cloud turned the stereo off.

"Hi, Cloud," said Riku.

"Why are you here?" said Cloud.

"And you complain about the TV?"

"There was no one here to bother. Sora and Roxas are out on their dates, remember?"

"Yes."

"So what are you doing here? Don't you have your own family to torture?"

"Not anymore, apparently."

Cloud lowered his butter knife and stared.

"Do you want to call Sora or Roxas or something? I mean . . . my mom won't be home until eleven or so . . ."

"I don't want to bother them. Don't worry. I'll keep out of your way."

"Your dad?"

Riku shrugged.

"My mom, too, I guess. She said that it's for the best, anyway, which I don't really understand. How is kicking me out of their house for the best?"

"I don't know. Do you . . . er . . . do you want something to eat?"

"I'm not very hungry, but thanks anyway."

"Tea?"

Riku laughed.

"Your family. Whenever someone's down, tea is always the answer."

"My mom . . ."

"Used to make it for you when you were little, yeah. Sora and Roxas told me. They're always trying to shove the stuff down my throat."

"Is that a no, then?"

"No. I'd like some, actually."

Cloud pulled a teabag and teacup from the cabinet, filled the cup with water, and popped it in the microwave. When the beep sounded, he took it from the microwave, drained the bag, added sugar and lemon, and moved to sit with Riku at the table.

"Can I ask you a question?" said Riku.

"Sure."

"What did your mom say when you told her you were gay?"

Cloud frowned.

"Why?"

"Just wondering. You were twelve, right?"

"Right."

"Did she freak out on you?"

"No, not really."

"What did she say?"

"'Awe, honey, I know.' Dad freaked out, but as you know, they're divorced now."

Riku laughed.

"Wish everything was that easy, huh?"

Cloud regarded Riku for a moment and then nodded.

"Yeah."

"Did you feel responsible for your parents' divorce?"

"Back then, yeah. A lot. I think Sora and Roxas blamed me, too, but Mom kept saying it would have happened, anyway. Now I just know they weren't strong enough to stay together, and Dad just didn't care enough about us to try."

"What would you have done if you were me?"

"What do you mean?"

"If your parents hadn't gotten divorced. If they had wanted you to leave, or sent you somewhere, or just told you not to be gay."

"I don't know. Probably tried not to be gay, but I was twelve."

"Do you think that really works?"

"Not in the slightest."

"Yeah. That's what I tried to tell my dad, but he didn't want to hear it."

"What do you mean?"

"That I couldn't pretend to not be gay. Dad got really mad at me. Told me it was a choice. I tried to tell him that no one in their right mind would choose to be gay, but he stopped listening by that point."

"You're gay?"

Riku raised his eyebrows. He nodded.

"Yeah. Sora and Roxas didn't tell you?"

"No. They said you didn't want anyone to know."

Riku frowned.

"Well it's not like you're just anyone. I've known you my entire life. If you were weird about homosexuals I could see where they'd keep it quiet, but . . ."

"But I'm a homosexual?"

"Yeah. I like talking to you. Sora and Roxas don't understand. Not the same way, anyway."

"So you'll be staying here, then?"

"For a few days until I can find somewhere else to go. Or maybe Dad'll come around. I don't know."

"You know you can stay here as long as you like."

"I know, but . . . I can't keep intruding on your family like this. It's been bad enough lately as is."

"Riku, I don't hate you."

"Why? Because I'm gay, too?"

"I've never hated you. You can stay here as long as you like. Besides, if you don't, my mom and the twins will give me hell for the rest of my life. It'll be twenty years from now, Sora will give me a call, mention something about you, and go, 'Remember when Riku got kicked out and wouldn't stay cause you were an asshole?'"

Riku laughed.

"They're good friends like that."

"You should stay."

"If you insist." Riku hesitated and sipped his tea. "You really don't hate me?"

"No."

"Oh. Okay."

"So now that I know you're gay . . . got a boyfriend?"

Riku laughed.

"Is that code for 'now that I know you're gay, let's talk boys'?"

"Something like that."

"No. I don't have a boyfriend."

"There's got to be some good-looking guys at your school, though."

"Straight ones. At least that seems to be the assessment."

"Tell me about it. Don't worry; it only gets worse from there. Just wait until you like another gay guy who isn't interested in you, either. Then there's the confused/experimenting guy who's straight by day, gay by night. There's also the 'I'm just horny' dudes, and the 'I'm not gay so long as I do the fucking' guy. And let us not forget my personal favorite: I was gay, but now I'm into girls again."

"You sound like you have a lot of experience with this tragic dating thing."

"Yeah, well, I've been out since I was twelve. School really sucked those last six years."

Riku laughed.

"Well I haven't met most of them, but . . . yeah. This dating thing sucks."

"I know. Not only do you have to find a guy who you're attracted to, but then you have to play the 'is he or isn't he' game. Is he gay? Is he straight? And say he is attractive and gay—he's straight again the next day. Or he's boring as all hell. Or he's too lively for your tastes. And then it's back to the wading pool."

"Or he is attractive and gay, but you have no idea if he's interested in you at all."

"Just think: That's the only part Sora and Roxas have to deal with."

"Unless they fall for a lesbian."

"But it's far less likely than you or me falling for a straight guy."

"Sora and Roxas suck."

"Tell me about it. So what's your deal? You found another gay guy and don't know if he's interested?"

"Yeah. Kind of. But it's complicated . . ."

"How so?"

Riku traced the rim of the cup with his finger.

"He's older than me, and more likely than not has absolutely no romantic inclinations toward me whatsoever."

"How much older?"

"Three years."

"That's not too bad. Is he in school?"

"Goes to the State University."

Cloud frowned.

"Where did he go to high school? Maybe I know him."

Riku shook his head.

"I don't know . . ."

"No, really. You know I go to the State University, too, and judging by his age we'd be in the same class. I could find out if he's interested."

"That's okay."

"Come on. What do you have to lose?"

"My dignity?"

"Dignity is overrated when it comes to snagging a boyfriend. How do you know him?"

"Through a friend?"

"Why don't you ask your friend to find out?"

"I did. The assessment is that he's uninterested."

"Is that a certainty?"

"With my luck."

"So he hasn't been asked directly?"

"Could we just stop talking about this?"

"I just think you should find out for sure. I mean . . . you're hot, Riku."

Riku blushed and sunk into his seat.

"Oh, come on, Riku. You should know you're hot. You're a gay guy's wet dream. I can't imagine anyone not liking you."

"You're gay. And you hate me."

"I already told you I don't hate you, and I just told you that you're hot."

"But you would never date me."

Cloud frowned. He shook his head.

"I couldn't. You're best friends with my little brothers. They'd freak out."

"What do you mean they'd freak out?"

"They'd get mad if I was spending time with you instead of them because you're their friend, and I'd get annoyed if you spent time with them instead of me because you'd be my boyfriend. It could never work."

"People date and still have friends, or so I hear. Roxas would have more time with Naminé, and Sora would have more time to get to know Kairi if I were distracted with a relationship of my own. You have a job and schoolwork to do, and that would give me time to hang out with Sora and Roxas. It isn't unmanageable."

"They'd probably be really grossed out, though, with their brother and best friend making out all the time."

"And hopefully fucking, too."

"I couldn't fuck you. You're, like . . ."

"Please don't say a little brother."

"I was going to say something in regards to being young, actually."

"I'm eighteen years old. Everyone I know has already had sex. I need to get laid."

"Sora had sex?"

"Yes. Not the topic of discussion."

"Regardless of whether I could fuck you or not, I'm sure Sora and Roxas would hate it."

"Or they'd be really happy for us. Sure, they don't want to think about their brother having sex, but it's not like I'd be gross enough to give them details. I do have a fair amount of good taste and a concept of privacy. And brothers see each other kiss their respective partners all the time. I'm sure you've seen Roxas and Naminé kiss, but it's not like they strip each other in front of you. It'd be just like that."

"You have this really well thought out."

"It's just entirely workable. So there you go. Sora and Roxas aren't a problem. Your mom adores me. We're both gay, and you say I'm hot. I'm still not dateable, am I?"

"You put up an entirely too strong case for somebody trying to prove themselves not datable. I had no idea you were so insecure."

"I just don't think that just because I'm attractive I can have anyone I want. I couldn't have you, for example."

"If Sora and Roxas weren't a problem and you were interested, you could totally have me."

Riku huffed.

"You're just saying that to prove your point."

"No, I'm not. I've been interested in you for six months now. You know . . . those six months I haven't been driving you home, and you've been thinking I hate you . . ."

Riku stared.

"Really?"

"Yes. Consider it an ego boost. Now what's this guy's name?"

"Cloud . . ."

"Come on. What's it going to hurt to tell me his name?"

"You're an idiot."

"Why am I an idiot?"

"I don't know. Because the guy I like is gay, I met through a friend, he's three years older than me, I think he's completely uninterested, and when you asked me his name, I said yours? Not to mention I've been antsy whenever you're around. I practically trip over my own tongue whenever you walk into a room. Sora and Roxas have been snickering at me more than enough to give it away."

Cloud stared.

"They were snickering at you? Wait. The guy you like is me?"

"Yes! I've had Sora and Roxas sniffing around your room like a couple of dogs. Your mom's known almost as long as they have. She kept telling me not to give up, but I thought she was just being nice."

"My mom knew?"

"Yes."

"And she told you not to give up?"

"Yes."

"My mom knows I like you, too. I bet she's been giggling to herself over this. Sora and Roxas have no idea I like you?"

"None. They say that you don't hate me, but the outlook is pretty hopeless."

"Sora and Roxas are idiots."

"Tell me about it."

"I can't believe you like me."

"Yeah, well, I can't believe it, either. So does that mean you've had wet dreams about me?"

"Huh?"

"You said I was a gay guy's wet dream."

"Oh. That . . ."

"Roxas said you've been having them a lot lately."

"You're a brat."

"So they were about me?"

"Not all of them."

"Really?"

"No."

"So they weren't about me?"

"No, they were."

Riku grinned.

"Oh."

"So . . . what now?"

"I . . . I don't know."

"No one's going to be home for awhile. You want to go watch a movie or something?"

Riku smiled.

"What? Like an in-house date or something?"

"Yeah. Something like that."

"I hope all our dates aren't going to be this cheap."

"Who says we're going on more dates?"

"It'd be pretty dumb not to if we're both interested in each other."

"Sora and Roxas really support this?"

"They think I'd be good for your mood."

Cloud laughed.

"They would say something like that."

"So . . . you'll go on dates with me, then?"

Cloud smiled and nodded.

"Yes. Definitely."

"Will you kiss me?"

"Right now or on the date?"

"I meant on the date, but if you wanted to right now . . ."

Cloud grinned, bit his lip, and then stood from his chair. He crossed to Riku and dropped down before him. His eyes shifted from Riku's to his hair. It felt as soft to his touch as it did in all those dreams before. He closed his eyes, leaned forward, and then his lips touched Riku's and it was as if electricity has shot through his body. His heart felt warm, tight. Riku shifted closer on his chair, placing his knees on either side of Cloud's body. His hands wrapped around Cloud's neck. As the kiss broke, Cloud pulled back a bit and licked his lips.

"I just kissed you," said Riku.

"Yeah, you did. How was it?"

"More than I imagined."

"You imagined?"

"I had wet dreams about you, too, you know. Can't wait to find out more."

"You want to go watch that movie?"

"I want to kiss you some more."

"Not moving a little fast for you?"

"I'm eighteen, sexually frustrated, and gay. It's not like you're a stranger. If you ask me, we should be in your room by now."

"It's a little soon for sex if you ask me."

"Sex, sure, but there's stuff you can do without sex, and it isn't like I'm going to get pregnant. And if it should lead to sex . . . well, let's just say I wouldn't be disappointed."

Cloud snorted.

"You're very forward, aren't you?"

"Once I know you like me, yeah. Don't get shy on me now."

"So do you want to take this upstairs? Shouldn't we have the date first?"

"If we go watch that movie, we're going to make out through it, anyway. What's the point in pretending we're not doing something that we really are?"

"I love your logic."

"Your room, then?"

Cloud nodded.

----------0----------

Silver stands were tangled in Cloud's fingers as he stroked them through Riku's hair. Riku's head lay on his chest, rising and falling with the rhythm of his breathing. His eyelids felt heavy, his lips and tongue both tingled, slightly swollen. He yawned.

The television in the corner of Cloud's room emitted the only light, bathing the darkened room in a soft glow. Riku shifted on the bed and slid closer to Cloud, draping an arm around his hips. Cloud dropped his hand from Riku's hair to pull the blanket higher on Riku's body and brushed the pad of his thumb along Riku's back.

"I like being here with you," said Riku. "I love you, you know? I mean . . . obviously not romantically. Not yet, anyway. But I've known you since . . ."

"Feels like forever," said Cloud.

"Yeah. I guess as a friend, you know?"

"Yeah. I love you that way, too."

"D'you mind if I sleep in here with you tonight?"

"You're wearing my clothing and I've already given you an orgasm. I don't think sleeping in the same bed is going to bother me."

"Some people are weird about that."

"I usually am, but I like you, so it doesn't."

"Do you work tomorrow?"

"Day off."

"Can we go on a real date then?"

"Tomorrow night?"

"Yeah."

"Sure."

"Really? You'll take me out and everything?"

"Yeah."

Riku yawned.

"You tired?" said Cloud.

"Mmm . . . yeah. Orgasms make me sleepy."

"Go to sleep, then. I'll let my mom know about what happened with your parents tomorrow."

"Thanks for everything tonight. For liking me. I don't know. Just . . . yeah. Thanks."

"Go to sleep."

Cloud's bedroom door cracked open and Roxas peeked in. He took in his brother, the lump cuddled up to his brother, and the low lighting.

"Mom sent me to check on you," said Roxas. "Who're you with?"

Riku rolled over and grinned. Roxas gaped.

"Ah," said Cloud. "No one. Just a stray."

"He's my boyfriend," said Riku.

"But I thought . . ." said Roxas.

"Riku got kicked out."

"So I came over."

"We talked."

"We're dating, Roxas. He doesn't hate me."

"Did you . . .?" said Roxas.

"No," said Cloud.

"I'll tell you about it tomorrow. I'm sleeping in here tonight."

"Do I have to bunk with Sora for fear of hearing the headboard all night long?"

"We're going to sleep. I'm tired. But we're going on a date tomorrow night."

"Well . . . er . . . good for you. Sora! Come quick! You have to see this!"

There was the sound of pounding up the stairs. Cloud rolled his eyes as a second head peeked into the room.

"Riku?" said Sora.

"Hi."

"They're dating," said Roxas. Riku nodded.

"Tell Mom Riku got kicked out, would you? And that I'll talk to her tomorrow," said Cloud.

"We're going to go to sleep," said Riku.

Sora grinned.

"But I thought . . ."

"You're idiots," said Cloud. "Get out of my room."

Roxas and Sora snickered as the door shut. Riku rolled back into Cloud.

"This is going to be a little awkward at first, I think," said Cloud.

"Yeah, but it's totally worth it."

Cloud bent his neck down to place a kiss on Riku's forehead.

"What do you think your Mom is going to say?"

"Probably that it was only a matter of time."

"Do you think she'll care that I'm sleeping in here?"

"Doubt it. She lets Naminé say over, and she knows that Roxas and her are having sex."

"Well, I guess if we're going to do it . . ."

"Yeah. At least you can't get pregnant."

"Yeah."

"Go to sleep, Riku."

Cloud switched off the television, and the room was bathed in darkness.


I am very very tired.

More of 100 Steps is coming. I had to go to a funeral on Saturday for my very bestest friend's family, and then there was another death in her family on Sunday so I had a few . . . eh . . . distractions? Yes. There was a lot of other stuff to do, so the chapter has been a little delayed but expect it soon. Really.

I've started a LiveJournal community for the Cloud/Riku ship over. Community name is lovexwinter. I will get a link up here soon, probably in the 100 Steps chapter, but feel free to go check it out before then. I am the only poster so far and it makes me very sad. The community is for fanfic, fanart, avatars, banners, graphics, discussions on Cloud/Riku, and anything you can come up with. Probably fic challenges eventually. It will be great fun once it gets rolling. There's also going to be artwork coming for it in about a month (done by previously mentioned bestest friend) that from what I know about her art and what her ideas for is going to be really super hot, so yeah . . .

Come one, come all.

Thanks for reading this little story. Don't be afraid of the review button. It's good for your health.