author's note:do not be alarmed by the size of the author note or the oneshot itself. i have much to say in regards to this story. first off, this idea had been bouncing around my head for weeks, and i finally got it down on paper and in my laptop. i edited many scenes countless times, trying to aim for perfection. i know perfection was not achieved, but i do adore the end product. any grammatical and errors will be fixed at a later date as i re-read multiple times through it.

next thing ... this story is my first, and perhaps last, M rated. this means suggestive and dark themes, and... oh dear, dare I say it, my first lemon. it may suck, and I appreicate that, but i tried my best to make it less smutty and more ... realistically accurate and elegant? not just a pure PWP, because this does have a plot and yeah. the ending is meant to be the way it is, so if it feels weird, just look at the story in a whole. the relationship between riku and sora is meant to grow stronger with every meeting.

next to those who I thank. start off my lovely lapifors. she's a hell of a writer and inspiration and urged me to write this, in her own special way. besides, who doesn't adore magician!riku? next would be Teh Smexx, who is my twin, who loved the idea, well, in roleplay form, so I told her i was making it a oneshot. Next being Pretty Rainbow, just because she listened to me ramble about it aimlessly for an hour on end. haha, i can get pretty tedious. I know there are others to thank, so if I missed you I am sorry. Thanks majorly.

and onto the oneshot... i do hope you enjoy it and leave a review, lovely.


The Grand Oak Theatre was quite the sight. Lights radiated a crisp and almost magical light in all directions, dragging people in from all around. Magnificent stones from all around the world were used in the construction of the theatre, which gave it that mystical and alluring appeal. At the front of the theatre was a large entrance; the grand entrance. It was lined with pillars, where one could easily submerge themselves and be completely hidden by the structures. That short path lead to the great oak doors that led into the theatre itself. Seating lined the walls, both floor and up high.

Tonight however, the usually vacant and 'only used for practice purposes' room was filling quickly. Perhaps the large-scale crowd was from the free performance, or perhaps for the performer himself. He liked to think it was the latter of the two.

"I can't believe we're actually in this thing!" A jovial brunette exclaimed, clinging faithfully to his friend. Benevolent blue eyes glimpsed around the large expanse of the room. Heads of countless people occupied the stadium seating, waiting eagerly. The relaxing sound of chatter was spread throughout the room like a wave as the wait continued.

"It's just a theatre, geez." Mumbled the brunette beside him, rolling his aquamarine eyes from the other's lack of maturity. The older of the two, just by a year and seven days, took a seat. The joyous youth glanced weakly at the now seated teen with a sigh of his own.

"Come on, Tidus! This place is amazing!" The brunette bellowed with a good-hearted smile plastered onto his face. As he spoke, he threw his arms up in the air, as if to consume as much space as he could. To him, being in here on opening night was better than anything he could ever ask for.

"Sora!" Barked the seated brunette, jerking forward to latch his arm offensively onto the other's. "Sit down before someone knocks you out." Grumbled Tidus, pushing the spiky-haired brunette down into the seat beside him.

"Fine..." Mumbled the blue-eyed boy, arms crossing defiantly to his chest, "You're no fun anyways," He added on, eyes rolling as he slouched back into the seat. Soon enough, eyes had begun scanning the crowd, only to notice a familiar face amongst the crowd. "Tidus!" He bellowed, instantly nudging the teenager beside him.

"Ow!" Hissed the other before pausing, "What is it now?" He inquired, eyebrow arching. He was short-tempered. Usually he was a lot more fun to be around, but lately Sora had been driving him insane with this obsession of his.

"That girl," Sora lowered his voice to a whisper, as if afraid to say anything, "It's the prince's sister." Sora explained, finger pointing to a red-head that was seated in the front row beside a tall and lean brunette.

"Yeah. She's here with her fiancé." Tidus replied, as if to prove that he knew more than the other. "He's a noble. ….The prince, her brother… is like Sir Leon something..." Tidus trailed off and then shrugged, as if to pretend that this conversation never took place.

"...She's young." Sora continued, eying the red-head from there spot nine rows back. "Our age...and she's already engaged." Sora trailed off, eyes shimmering with that hopeful look. "Do you think we'll ever get married?"

"..." Tidus arched an eyebrow once again, shifting in his seat, "Why the hell would we? Even if we did, we don't have enough money to actually do that sort of thing. I mean, we're living off the streets. How do you expect to marry someone?"

"Eh...sorry," Sora blushed lightly at the idea, "I just thought it'd be nice to be with someone." He quieted himself, afraid that he had said too much.

"Well, when you get a job or get lucky enough to capture the heart of someone rich, you come and tell me and I'll gladly apologize." Tidus sneered.

"You are so cruel," Sora sighed before looking away from his friend.

Honestly, Tidus was his /only/ friend. They had both been childhood friends, whose families suffered the same fate. During the flood a few years back, their families and homes had been destroyed, leaving them with only one choice. Which was to migrate to the north city and live there and try get a job. Anything would due, but they weren't having much luck. No one really liked to converse with two peasant boys who had absolutely no money and family.

"That's my job," Tidus countered.

After the brunette had spoken, the lights of the theatre dimmed. Just enough to give the room that off feeling. Sora bit his lip anxiously as he glanced at the stage expectantly. He had wanted to see this performance, this performer ever since he had come here two years ago. And this free showing was the perfect opportunity to do such.

All was silent in the earlier stentorian room.

Soon that silence was broken by footsteps. Shoes hitting the creaky floorboards of the stage, no doubt. Entering the stage from the right, Sora noted, was what had to be the most mystical and mysterious being ever to walk the earth.

Silver hair fell down beautifully onto perfectly shaped shoulders. He was clothed in all black, shirt a bit low cut, showing just a bit of a well-sculpted chest. Eyes of an almost perfect emerald glimmered on the male's face, scanning the audience. In his right hand as a single rose, fingers tightly curled around it. Lips were curled up into a warm smile. He bowed slightly, only for the room to erupt in applause.

Sora had swore that if he ever had the chance to meet this man, he would. Everything about him was simply astonishing and astounding.

"Good evening," The performer's silky voice carried out and over the crowd, making Sora involuntarily shudder in his seat. His voice, it was youthful. Someone had once told him that he was twenty five, but sitting here, Sora realized that was a fallacy. This man had to be no older than nineteen.

"I'm glad that you all could make it," The silver-haired male continued, walking back and forth across the stage slowly. All the lights that were on were focused on the stage, illuminating it perfectly. And it only made the man look that more irresistible. "I assure you that you all will get what you came here for." He smirked lightly as he lifted the rose into the air, as if to inspect it.

The crowd waited on baited breath, staring at the flower with eager eyes. The magician gave a quick flick of his wrist, making that simple flower transform into a bouquet before the crowd's very eyes.

It had been done before, and he knew that.

"You see, magic," The male informed, tossing the bouquet down onto the ground, to which it suddenly was cast ablaze. As expected, a few gasps and holler emitted, only to be silenced when the fire dulled and left only a single, unscorched rose on the stage floor. "Has a tendency of having a mind of its own." He picked up the flower, sniffing it lightly before placing it in his pocket.

A round of applause came through the crowd.

"He's not that amazing," Tidus mumbled from beside Sora, clapping dully.

"He's just getting started." Sora retorted, grin on his face, heart beating incredibly fast as he repeatedly clapped his hands together feverishly.

The silver-haired male's smirk returned once the applause ended, "As many of you know, or at least I hope you do," A small wave of displaced laughter, "my name is Riku Karada, and tonight I am here to entertain your minds until you simply can't take it any longer."

He had a weird way with words, which was one of the things Sora found utterly amazing.

"Does anyone by any chance have a gold ring on?" Riku inquired, to which several arms shot up. Picking the closet one, he motioned for the woman to come onstage.

Sora watched from where he was and felt his heart skip a beat. "It's Kairi," Sora whispered to Tidus, who in result rolled his eyes.

"You're obsessed with these people." Was all Tidus had to say before returning his attention back to the stage.

Kairi extended her hand delicately across the stage to the man. He took it in his, surveying the ring. A smile appeared on his lips as he ran a nimble finger over the smooth band of gold. Kairi watched curiously, awaiting something to happen. When it didn't, she arched her eyebrows with confusion.

"Tell me... what's the karat of that ring?" Riku questioned, letting go of the lady's hand and folding his arms to his chest.

"Twenty-two." She replied proudly, as if it was some sort of accomplishment to have such fine jewelry, to some extent was true.

"And the stone in it?" Was the next question.

"Garnet?" Her answer was more of a question.

"That will do," Riku nodded slightly before extending his hand once again, "May I see it?" He requested.

Kairi hastily removed it from her finger, passing it over to the magician. Green eyes trailed over it as he rose in the air, inspecting it slowly. There had to be a catch; there was always a catch with magic. "You see, this ring of yours, is quite special."

"Of course," Kairi replied with a smile, biting her bottom lip in the process due to nerves for what he was planning to do.

"Before you it belonged to a woman who lived long ago. A wife of a noble, to be precise," He shifted the ring in-between his fingers to glimpse at the garnet, "and the noble give t his to his wife as a sign of his everlasting love for her." The catch was coming, to which the audience leaned in expectantly, "funny that he would only give his love a garnet when the area they lived in was known for rubies."

"Are you telling me?..." Kairi arched her eyebrow, glancing at the ring, "How do you know where this came from?" She sounded a bit defensive.

"Magic," The other shrugged with a smirk, to which he tossed the ring over his shoulder to the red-head. It fell onto the ground in a clatter. When it did such, the object slowly began to levitate in the air.

Gasps emitted from the crowd.

Sora blinked in utter surprise as he watched the ring float on the stage, back onto its owner with dexterity. Kairi gazed down at her pale hand in utter shock before looking to the magician, lips forming the words 'how did you do that'. She got no answer. The silence was cut short when applause was heard throughout the room. It was utterly amazing how this teenager could do gravity-defying acts.

"Thank you," He smiled weakly to the audience before reaching for the rose in his pocket. He removed it and gave it a twirl, "For this next trick, if that's what you desire to call it, I'll need a volunteer." Several hands rose into the air. Sora hesitated, but soon felt his arm being pushed into the air by Tidus. Sora blushed lightly from the hesitation. "Someone young." A few hands went down, "Preferably someone who has faith in the power of magic."

And Sora found that he was the only one to have his hand still in the air.

"You," Sora shuddered at once when he watched the magician's finger point out into the audience directly at him. Out of instinct, Sora peered around him, to make sure no one else was still standing. When he found that no one was, he timidly made his way out of the row and towards the stage. This was too ironic...

His heart clamored against his ribcage as he treaded up the stairs to the stage. Once there, he was met with a fierce pair of green eyes that almost made him shrink backwards. The magician offered a smile to the brunette before turning his attention to an assistance who was carrying out a white dove. A mandatory trick for all magician's, but this with a twist.

Along with that dove was a blindfold.

Sora blinked slowly, watching Riku take the objects and turn to him. "Here," Riku made his way over. His fingers gracefully undid the blindfold and rose it to the trembling Sora's eyes. Riku took note of this and delicately whispered into the other's ear, "What's your name?"

Sora shuddered, never having spoken directly to someone so mysterious, magical, and high in rank as he was now. He could no longer see the other, and was engulfed in a world of darkness. He then felt his hand being taken by the other, to which he felt an immediate blush spread across his face. Moments later he could feel the other's hot breath on his ear once more as he tightened the blindfold. He took this instance to answer the question.


"Nice name." Answered Riku in a whisper, finishing the knot and then turning to the audience, dove resting on his shoulder.

The audience watched Riku more than the volunteer. The dove fluttered its wings weakly as to fly away, but did not. The teen's hand pet t he fluttering feather once as he began to speak, "You see, this bird cannot fly," It seemed irrelevant to say such a thing, "and desires to once again," Explained Riku, placing the bird carefully into Sora's hands. As if to prove his case, the bird flapped its wings, desperately trying to fly out of the brunette's hand but failed. "I'm sure some faith can restore that ability."

People seemed skeptical.

Riku passed back over to Sora, whispering soothingly into his ear, "I want you to imagine that bird flying. Keep thinking that over and over again, all right?"

"R-right." Sora answered in a stammer, wincing at his own stutter.

Riku smirked at this and watched in interest as Sora did as he was told. In addition to what he had just told the brunette to do, he reached over to tap the bird's wings softly, murmuring something under his breath.

Within seconds, that bird disappeared out of Sora's grasp. Out of sight completely.

Sora trembled from the lack of bird in his cupped hands. Shocked sounds came from the audience as eyes glanced around the room, trying to spot where the bird had gone to. When no one succeeded, their eyes glued back to the magician. They did not clap. Making something disappear was the easy part, bringing it back was the real challenge.

"Take off the blindfold, please." Riku spoke in that continuous soft voice that made Sora's stomach churn. He did as he was told and looked around weakly for the bird.

The moment he looked to Riku, he knew that the bird had disappeared. "W-where did it go?" Sora couldn't believe he was even asking such a question.

"Disappeared. Vanished." The smirk never did falter, "Now," He extended a hand to interlace it with the brunette's, making Sora look sheepishly away.

Tidus snorted in amusement from his seat, rolling his eyes. Sora was such awe-struck and timid that this must be killing the poor boy. He had no idea whatsoever what truly was the matter. Best friends usually didn't.

"Look directly into my eyes," Riku instructed. Sora gulped weakly and nodded, eyes raising off the ground to glance into perfect hues of green. Blue met green as he couldn't help but crack a smile. "Don't look away," Riku informed him as he rose their interlaced hands into the air.

Sora couldn't stop staring, even if he wanted to. Such perfect eyes were hard to look away from. It was as if he was staring into his heart, which frightened the boy. There was nothing good in his heart anyhow, and for his idol to look inside of him was a terrifying idea. He would surely be disappointed with his fan for what he found; or more so what he didn't find.

Before Sora even knew what was happening, he felt something land on his hand that was tightly woven with Riku's. Blue eyes glanced upwards, breaking their intense stare to gaze in awe at the dove fluttering happily on their fingertips.

The audience erupted into applause.

Sora couldn't help but blush.

x x x x

"That was completely amazing!"

Sora chimed happily, walking outside alongside Tidus. He kept going on and on about the show, even when it was over. In his mind, he tried to work out the tricks and came up empty. The rose trick was what really got to him. How could someone transform a simple rose into a bouquet, then into fire, then finally back to that rose. Was it a trick of light? No, he could feel the heat from that fire nine rows back. Someone under the stage? No. If it wasn't real magic, the stage would have been set ablaze.

"It's obvious that he was using tricks to make you think it's real." Tidus explained, hugging his arms tightly to his chest.

"Oh come on, as if." Sora retorted, exiting the grand doors alongside his friend. "If that wasn't real magic... then name isn't Sora!" He beamed widely at his friend.

"That is the corniest line ever." Tidus replied with a short laugh before shrugging as they took a corner, heading back to the abandoned building they resided in. "Well then, I suppose it's nice to meet you, someone whose name is not Sora."

Sora stuck his tongue out at the other and rolled his eyes. "Fine, be like that." Sora stopped walking, freezing to the spot as if to prove his point.

Tidus paused as well, glancing over his shoulder. "What are you doing?" He demanded. "It's late, we need to get home." It was such a foreign word. And yet they had made it work.

"I'll be home later, I want to see if I can find something to eat first." Sora explained with a dismal smile. Tidus sighed and nodded, only to continue his way back down the street to their home.

Sora sighed as well, stomach growling to agree. He really was hungry, but not to the point of starvation. Blue eyes glanced around the moonlight street, wondering where exactly he could manage to grab some food from. Without a single idea in his head, the brunette continued his way back up the street, the way he came.

Worn out shoes clunked against the wet street as he walked. This time night there rarely was anyone out, so he felt almost at peace being the only person walking. Eyes glanced around the area, taking note that every house and every store had its lights off. He figured as much.

What he wasn't figuring was a hand to latch out of nowhere and somewhat violently push him against the nearest wall. Blue eyes snapped shut, only to open in a flutter seconds afterwards. His heart dropped when he realized just whose eyes were staring deeply at him.

"Um...hi..." Sora whispered in a slur, face a complete blaze by this point.

"I wanted to thank you," Offered the silver-haired teen, raising one hand from its position against the wall to reach into his pocket for the rose from earlier, "Here." He took Sora's hand and placed the flower inside of it.

"N-no problem," Sora answered in a gulp, smiling feebly at the other teen. "What I really want to know how you did it."

Riku smirked at this, tossing his silver hair over his shoulder, only adding to how elegant he looked in the moonlight. "Good magicians never tell their secrets; surely you know that, Sora." He whispered softly against the other's ear, making Sora blush once again.

"Y-yeah, sorry, forgot." He replied with a faint apologetic look, even though his mind was spinning in countless different directions. Mostly due to the fact that the other had remembered his name, and spoke in such a deep voice.

"It's nothing," Riku smiled weakly, refusing to move away from the other, content having him pinned. "I'm curious... why do you believe so strongly in magic?" He arched his eyebrows to add to that question.

"I just do..." Sora whispered softly. He had his reasons. Ones that a stranger really didn't need to hear.

"Oh, right." Riku replied leisurely, letting his forehead bump up against the other's. Sora shivered from the contact, blue eyes being forced to meet with green ones once more. Perfect green eyes meeting his faulted and corrupted blue ones. It felt unfair. "Your eyes... they remind me of the ocean," Riku sighed softly before continuing, "I grew up there." He offered in explanation.

"Oh.." Was the only word Sora could find to respond with. Not even Tidus had ever come this close to him.

"Perhaps I'll see you again?" Riku inquired, lips teasingly hovering only inches away from Sora's. It was to be expected from being so close, so Riku easily brushed it off.

Sora on the other hand didn't brush it off so easily. He tensed and then almost melted. If only he would have moved a bi- oh god, he was wanting a complete stranger to kiss him! Then again, this was his idol and- a complete stranger in retrospective- but he was so kind and charming- but a complete stranger. Sora continued that silent feud in his head, not noticing that Riku had lowered his lips to his neck. Soft, moist lips pressed fluidly to his exposed neck, making the brunette shudder from pleasure. Fingers tightened their hold onto the rose, only for that pleasure to abruptly end.

"Abracadabra, sweetheart," Was the last thing he said with a smirk before he completely disappeared.

Sora stared.

Had he just ... disappeared into thin air? Sora's heart skipped a beat as he continued to replay the scene over in his head. Why would one of the most famous and richest magicians even want to bother with him? Even want to know his name? Let alone kiss his neck. Sora blushed as he felt his breathing hitch. God, what was he even doing just standing here.

Blue eyes fell down to that rose, finger pricking a thorn. He winced slightly from the touch, the cut only generating a single drop of blood. Sora's eyes followed that drop as it fell to the ground.

One of only countless drops of blood to be spilled in the name of magic.

x x x x

Sora slipped carefully under the fraying and archaic blanket. The material that had been worn away from time barely covered his lanky body. His elbows and feet stuck out at the ends of it, to which he sighed disdainfully. With a mumble under his breath, he shifted against the wall, trying to get a more comfortable position. When he found that it was quite impossible, he opened his eyes, allowing the pale moonlight to enter his eyes once more. That was when his eyes trailed over to the rose by his head once again.

The rose remained on the cold floor, shimmering shamelessly from the glimmer of light leaking into the room he slept in. Cautious fingers extended outward to grasp the flower, entranced by its beauty and majesty. When the brunette did touch the timeless flower, he flinched. The thorn of the object had pricked his finger, reminding him of earlier. Something so beautiful could be so dangerous.

"Tidus?" Sora whispered into the darkness of the room. It was late, he knew that, but he figured that the other perhaps would still be awake. Anxiously, Sora fidgeted beneath the blanket and awaited an answer.

When none came, he let out a perplexed side.

"Whadda want 'ra?" Was the eventual answer from the other in the opposite side of the room. The somnolent brunette shifted uncomfortably as well, grabbing his blanket and pulling it tightly around his slightly better built body. Eyes remained shut, refusing to look over at Sora regardless if he got an answer or not.

"Do you think Kairi remembers us?" Sora murmured into the stale darkness around them. He figured that Tidus would be too out of it to process his words; and thus he would be saved of the embarrassment the next day.

"Why...would she?" Tidus answered in a muffled yawn, nuzzling his cheek into the soft texture of his blanket, trying his best to remain warm. They had some, not a lot, but enough to get by. Food was a limited source, but they always managed to get by. Whether it be luck, coincidence, chance, or perhaps even magic, they weren't really sure. Sora liked to think it was magic, while Tidus refuted that fact, claiming it was just luck following them.

"Well, we used to be her friends when we were little, right? We used to play all the time down by the brook. Of course, that was before her dad got involved and told her it was improper for a lady of her status to be playing with people like us. People that lived off the land." Sora grumbled weakly into the darkness, remembering the day like it was just yesterday. When he actually had a family, when he didn't' need to worry about where his next meal was coming from.

"I told you to forget about that...the Kairi we knew isn't the one that's related to Sir Leon," Tidus muttered in response, trying his best to listen to what Sora was rambling on about.

"I best she is," Sora disputed with a childish scoff.

"Go to sleep," Tidus growled under his breath, wanting to catch at least a few hours of sleep. Just to prepare himself for the next day. "Remember, we're applying for actual jobs tomorrow?" Tidus inquired in a slur.

"Yeah.." Sora mumbled and sat up, back resting against the frigid wall.

"Just stick to our story we have planned," Tidus whispered, mind slowly drifting off as he spoke, "your my brother, and our parents own a ranch in the country. We came to the city for jobs." Tidus trailed off, voice becoming almost an incoherent murmur.

"No need to tell them we're peasants." Sora agreed with a sheepish nod.

"Of course." Tidus muttered into his blanket, eyes still tightly shut.

"Do you think we'll get it?" Sora wondered, fingering his blanket out of nerves.

"Dunno ... go to sleep." Tidus almost whined, shooting an invisible glare across the room as if to silence Sora.

"Fine." Sora lowered his body back down into a laying position. Blue eyes glimpsed weakly at the rose once again. He gave a small smile to it before shutting his eyes. Only a few words escaped his lips, "Riku Karada..."

x x x x

"Have you had previous work regarding the food business?"

His voice was cloaked with a sinister nuance. Amber eyes flashed between the two brunettes, as if to observe them both extremely carefully. Sora fidgeted uncomfortably in his seat from the intense pair of hues fixated on his body. He knew more than anyone that his body was less than desirable, and looked more like a girl's than a mans. Skinny hips that were refined to a point, along with a flat chest, and barely formed abs. His hair spiked out naturally, and really was the only thing proving to the world that he was in fact of the male gender, and not some tomboyish female. He got that a lot, and he could not help but wonder if Riku had thought he was a girl. His name did sound slightly feminine once he thought about it.

"We've cooked before," Tidus responded, hands lacing together behind his head as he remained securely seated on the bar tool. Sora, on the other hand, folded his hands together delicately in his lap, eyes peering around the pub, scanning the unfamiliar faces of the tenants.

"I really only need one of you," Informed the silver-haired man, a enigmatic smirk tugging onto his sharp-looking lips, "Someone to help tend the bar," He pointed over his shoulder to the bar behind him and to the black-haired girl who was busy pouring glasses full with rum, "Along with Yuffie."

"Oh." Tidus answered at once, scrunching his nose. The over-confident and ego-centric brunette shot Sora a glance that clearly said 'sorry about this'. In his mind, he was utterly convinced that he was getting this job and was finally going to make some money so he could live a decent life.

Amber-colored eyes returned to glance over Sora once more, "I would think you would be best fit for this job," Sora noticed the other's stare and looked at the ground at once, "You've got this charm about you that will surely bring in the customers."

Tidus narrowed his eyes at Sora and then to the man, as if he didn't believe what he had just heard. "You're picking Sora?" He nearly snapped.

Tidus was short-tempered, and Sora knew that from experience. If something didn't go his way, or he didn't get something, he always complained; which was a lot seeing they barely could afford food. Sora slouched back in his seat, pretending that the other wasn't glaring angrily at him, as if wishing death upon him.

"If you wish to be blunt, then yes." The man answered, watching Tidus spring to his feet in a tantrum and storm out of the pub, slamming the door shut behind him. He did not once look to Sora, nor did he speak to him, telling him he'd see him later.

Sora shifted tautly once again in his seat, watching the man chortle slightly, the laugh being concealed behind his hand risen to his mouth. "So what do I do exactly?" Sora inquired sheepishly.

The man sniggered to himself once again before rolling his intimidating amber eyes that always seemed to be a glowing fire, "Tend to the bar, like I said. Make me money. Simple enough, cutie?"

Sora flinched from the words as he swung his body off the chair. The brunette hastily made his way away from the man and behind the counter. The man from earlier, who Sora came to know as Xemnas, left the pub moments later, grabbing his coat and headed home. Sora blinked, leaning his elbows into the counter of the pub before eying the black-haired girl at the other side. She seemed a year younger than him, and yet equally immature and optimistic. That was, if his first impressions served him justice.

"Excuse me," Sora whispered diffidently, fingers tapping the counter as if to draw the girl's attention to him.

As expected, the black-haired woman swung her body around. Brown eyes, at least that was what he thought they appeared to be, for all he knew they could be hazel, stared at him. A sloppy and almost buoyant expression was slapped onto her face. Cheeks were rosy, and her lips were contorted up into a warm smile.

Sora repositioned himself so that his back was leaning against the counter. Azul hues followed the black-haired girl as she made her way over. Her hair was pulled back into a messy bun, sprigs of black sticking out in all directions. She wore clothes that showed that she wasn't a peasant, but not a noble either. Middle-class, pretty well off. Perhaps a daughter of a blacksmith that was employed by the Prince and his family?

"Well lookie here, we finally got someone new!" She bellowed, extending her hand through the air, slicing the awkwardness as if her limb was some sort of knife impenetrable to lingering discomfort.

Sora found himself shaking the hand coyly, but eventually allowed a smile to leak onto his lips. "Hi…" Was all he could manage, wondering if it was appropriate to through his name out there without being asked.

"Name's Yuffie!" She grinned and then slapped her hands onto her hips, "And yours?" She arched an eyebrow, expecting an answer from her younger co-worker.

"S-sora," Sora stumbled on his words, finding it a bit sudden for her to ask. She seemed to be friendly, perhaps overly friendly. Then again, it was rare that he met someone so charismatic as himself.

"Well then, Sora," She took an extra long time of pronouncing his name, "I guess this starts a beautiful friendship." She smiled and then leaned into the counter, surveying the crowd chattering with waitresses and fellow friends. "You see, the ones that come here to drink are usually the same. You get to know them really fast." She explained, playing with a piece of peeling wood. Her eyes fell off said wood to glimpse at Sora. "You're an adorable little boy. No wonder he picked you…" She trailed off, scratching her head this time.

What Yuffie had just said was a mouthful and Sora tried to process everything. Once he had accomplished that feat, he gave an inquisitive tilting of his head. "What do you mean…"

"Oh!" She blushed and made a frantic hand movement to dismiss her actions. It was as if her hand waving was to shoo away any questions she had aroused. "Forget that!" She smiled and then glanced at the bottles and bottles of rum behind her. "This here is the stock."

"I figured that," Sora laughed nervously, rubbing the back of his neck as he nodded to show that he understood, "Do we just get a bottle out and either pour a glass or give them the bottle themselves?"

"Mhm." She grinned and then glanced at a man seated at the far end of the bar. "That one right there, Cloud, he's a bit of a … depressing fellow. Hopeless romantic, of the worst kind," She sighed, holding her hand over her heart, "Poor guy, lost the love of his life to another."

"…" Sora sympathized with the seated blonde and peered at him curiously. "That's kind of depressing…"

"Told you!" Yuffie retorted with a cheerful laugh before pointing in another direction to another man seated at a table, "And that, as you probably know, is Sir Leon. Frequent customer. Usually comes with his sister or friends."

"Kairi…" Sora muttered under his breath before nodding again, "Right."

"Well…" Yuffie began, arms folding to her chest before the opening of the door drew her attention away from her conversation. Her eyes peeled to the entering man. Sora followed her gaze, and he felt his heart instantly drop. Blue eyes widened when he realized just who that man was. "Hey!" Yuffie bellowed across the room.

Sora blushed deeply and turned around, as if to hide himself from the other. All the while trying to ignore the memory of the night before and just how amazing it felt to meet his idol, and realize that he was utterly complex and yet simple at the same time.

"Why hello there," Riku answered, pulling his hat off and making his way over to Yuffie. He swung his body skillfully onto a stool, propping his elbows onto the counter and leaning his chin into his cupped hands. "How's business today?"

Sora's heart beat faster and faster.

"Oh. Same old same old," Yuffie laughed once more before glancing over to Sora, "Oh! Right, right!" She reached out and tugged Sora closer, spinning him around so that he was facing the magician. "Don't be shy, Sora!"

Sora's blush by now was obvious as he waved agitatedly at the silver-haired teen. Blue eyes met with shocked green ones. The smile on Riku's lips at once turned into a smirk as he tilted his head to the side. "Why, if it isn't Sora." He was teasing him, Sora could tell by his tone.

"Oh! So you know him!" Yuffie grinned and then paused, following both male's gazes. Each was different, and a bit unsettling. "I'll just leave you two to yourselves…" She shrugged and then turned around to head back to her customers, only to throw over her shoulder, "Don't cause too much trouble."

"You never told me," Riku's voice was oddly soothing and yet alluring at the same time. It made Sora's hairs on the back of his neck stand on edge as he tried his best not to make direct eye contact. Riku was a magician, a respected citizen, and he was only a poor peasant boy who was coning his boss into letting him work here. "Did you enjoy the show?"

"Yeah!" Sora beamed at the other, nodding feverishly, "You're /amazing/!"

"Thank you," The smirk remained on his lips and then leaned forward a bit, hand reaching out to mess with Sora's hair, "You should come to more of my performances. It's reassuring that someone like you still exists."

Sora blushed from the contact and nodded hastily. "Really?"

He could never afford going to Riku's performances.

"Surely." Riku let his fingers trail from Sora's jaw down to his neck, to which he then withdrew them. He paused slightly, "I didn't know you worked here." Casual conversation.

He was having casual conversation with /Riku Karada/.

"Just started," Sora offered in way of explanation.

"Well, that's ironic," Riku replied, eyes shimmering just like the lights of the theater and the stars in the sky like the night before. Sora's stomach did flip-flops as he mentally smacked himself for being so immature and naïve. He couldn't allow his heart to be toyed with by a magician, someone whose life was built on illusion. Besides, the chances that the famous Riku was interested in shy little brunettes were slim. Especially like him.

"Isn't it." Sora grinned back and then paused, "Do you want something to drink?" He offered, remembering that his job was in fact to serve drinks.

"Nah. I'm a light-drinker, get intoxicated incredibly fast." Riku snickered and then bit his bottom lip, "Hmm… I really shouldn't be giving out information about myself this readily." He shrugged, catching that shine in Sora's eyes. "Aw, who cares."

"Heh…I don't drink either. Rather have my memory." Sora tapped his head and then mentally kicked himself for the stupid action. Who tapped their head to prove show their memory? Him, as it seemed.

"Touché." Riku responded with a gentle smile and then peered over his shoulder out the window, "Eh… I better be going… have some practice for my next show." He paused and extended his hand to lightly trace it along Sora's that was resting idly against the counter. "Promise you'll come?"

Sora shuddered under the touch. "Y-yes."

"Good." With that and a smirk thrown over his shoulder, Riku arose from his seat and made his way outside.

Sora remained standing there, a dark scarlet. Magicians were supposed to be charming to all, and he figured it was just Riku's way of keeping the public in love with his image. Then again, to Sora, he had already done that a long time ago. To him, Riku didn't need to fake charm and seduction, he already had him wrapped around his finger. Was it a trick, or was it … magic?

x x x x

"So, how was your /job/?"

Sora was not expecting a harsh question to be thrown at him the moment he entered the room. Blue eyes glanced across it, noticing Tidus sitting in the corner with a displeased look drenched on his face. Arms were crossed against his chest, and his lower lip was stuck out to prove that he was utterly displeased with the situation. Sora sighed, rubbing his head with vexation before making his way over to his friend, a somewhat apologetic and sympathetic look on his face.

"Tidus, please, don't be like that…" Sora mumbled, trying his best to mend the broken patch with his friend. In all honesty, Tidus was really all he had left in this world. Something familiar from his past, other than the clouded image of Kairi. The old Kairi, before fate and money had its way.

"Fine," Tidus rolled his eyes and then glanced at Sora intensely, "Did it go well?" He tried to look helpful, he really tried.

"I guess," Sora shrugged and then glanced at the rose near his blanket with a hidden smile. "It isn't as bad as I thought it would be," a slight pause, "the guy that was interviewing us though, he creeps me out," Sora admitted with a silent shudder.

"Yeah. Rich people do that to me too," Tidus joked and then chucked something in Sora's direction, "Kairi came by here earlier. Was looking for you," He offered a lop-sided grin, "Said she wanted to speak to you."

"Are you serious?" Sora blinked in surprise and caught hold of the necklace that had been tossed at him. It was a single black chain with what appeared to be a shell on it. A yellow shell. "That's the necklace I made for her…" Sora trailed off and smiled, "So she does remember…but how?"

"Not sure. Said she was looking for us for quite some time. Saw you once in town and had to meet up with you," Tidus murmured and then glanced out the window. "She said she would come back here tomorrow or the next day."

"Awesome." Sora pocketed the necklace and sighed peacefully. Today had been an extraordinary day.

"Who knows… maybe life is starting to pick up for us." And Tidus actually believed what he said for once in his life, regardless of how envious he had felt earlier.

X x x x

He sat there in utter awe.

How Riku managed to perform those tricks so flawlessly, so skillfully, and so seducing was a mystery to Sora. This was the second performance he had seen within this week, and every time it felt like the first. The tricks were varied, some he had seen before (and they still remained as captivating as ever) and some new to his eyes. He spent minutes on end trying to figure out how the other did it, and surely hours after the performance at home. Blue eyes never left the perfect form of the magician as he performed.

He found himself spending half of his earnings at the pub on the ticket for this showing, and yet he felt no guilt or regret. It was worth every cent, every dollar. His body coursed with excitement, and he felt warm. Incredibly warm. Being in the third row was an accomplishment. He would never get any closer, due to the fact that the first two rows were reserved for those of high ranks and noble positions.

But no matter where he sat, Riku sought him out in the audience, and requested his help. It made Sora feel special for once. Feel like he was tampering and indulging into an unknown world. Riku's world. A world of magic, not illusions. Every step he took towards the man was another step closer, farther into the unknown and unexplored world. It felt like coming home.

And he knew in the back of his head, that he was suffering from what countless called their 'first crush'.

x x x

It had been a week exactly since Sora started working at the pub. As expected, he had grown rather fond of the perky Yuffie, and considered her a great friend. Friend being a loose term, seeing that he knew very little about her, and yet at the same time everything. She seemed trustworthy and completely friendly, and that was all that really mattered to Sora.

Tidus, in addition, had managed to grab a job at a local department store down the street. It was around the same pay, and the brunette had been overjoyed. Life was definitely looking up. Slowly but surely. With both boys having jobs, they could easily afford food, and perhaps beds and pillows and everything else. It was an exciting idea.

Of course, everything was not perfect in their world.

Kairi had never come back to the house, to Sora's great disappointment. He figured she was just busy. But that wasn't the worst of it.

Sora had found himself on this day pinned out of /nowhere/ against the wall outside the pub. Fierce amber eyes stared toughly into his mellow blue ones, striking fear into his heart. Rough hands snaked their way through his course hair, his breath heavy on the skinny brunette's neck. The smell of rum was strong on his breath, which only proved that the man was indeed drunk beyond understanding.

Hands trembled as he tried to push the older man away, but found it impossible. The man's strength was several times more than Sora's. Arms pushed forward, violently shoving Sora harder against the cold wall behind him. A struggled 'eep' passed through Sora's lips as he turned his head to the side, wishing that he could just slip away and go home like he wanted to.

"You're such a pretty boy," Xemnas murmured, lips gracing the soft flesh of Sora's neck. The boy winced, hands scraping at the male's chest to try and escape.

"Lemme go…" He stammered, not at all amused by this, or enjoying it whatsoever.

"Why would I do something like that?" Dared Xemnas, body flush to the lithe boy's.

"Please…" Sora nearly begged, eyes pricking painfully with tears. Hot tears that threatened to fall.

"Boys don't cry," Xemnas muttered in a slur, lips cascading roughly onto Sora's flesh, teasing and biting as if he did not care. Sora whined in pain until he felt the man's grip loosen. He took this as a good time to slip out of the threatening grasps and flee from the scene.

The brunette tripped on his own shoes due to clumsiness and nerves, landing face first into the road. He winced from the pain shooting up his spine, but scrambled to his feet, hands scraped and now bruised, and continued to make a run for it.

He could hear the heavy, drunken clamoring of feet behind him. He knew that the other was drunk, and wouldn't hold this against his boss that much. At least, he told himself that. The brunette hurried his pace, heart racing incredibly fast.

All he wanted was to get away.

As if out of nowhere, an arm reached outward, pulling the terrified brunette into a random alleyway that lined the streets. The brunette squeaked from shock as he was dragged down that alley and pushed down a corner, out of view of the street entirely.

Blue eyes opened weakly from anguish, only to be locked onto with mellow and glimmering green ones. Sora coughed from shock, scrambling backwards on his bottom so his back hit the wall. He couldn't help but grimace from the contact as he rose to his feet in a haste.

"Why may I ask were you running like a lunatic?" Riku asked in a soft voice, tilting his head with amusement and inquiry.

Sora breathed out heavily, mind spinning. "It's nothing…really…But where the hell did you come from?" Sora managed to question, biting his bottom lip, trying to control his erratic heart. Too much had happened too quickly. First he was being ravished by his boss, and now he was in an alleyway with the current object of his affections. That was a bizarre turn of events…

"Hmm… doesn't seem like nothing," Riku extended a hand to lightly cup Sora's chin before speaking once more, "Heh…Abracadabra, sweetheart?"

Sora's heart clenched from the familiarity of the words. Riku had said that to him the first night he met him. But having the other call him sweetheart sent his mind into overdrive as he blushed violently, finally catching his breath.

"Why were you conveniently hiding in an alleyway anyhow?" Sora questioned, trying his best not to let Riku's hand on his face bother him too much.

"Oh well, you know," Riku arched his eyebrows before leaning forward, lips hovering inches from the other's, "You know how showbiz is." He offered, nose brushing lightly against Sora's, making the brunette tense with pleasure.

"Right…" Sora whispered, body aching for some sort of contact. Riku wasn't really a stranger anymore… he spoke to him nearly everyday, whether it was at the pub or at a show. He had come to know the magician fairly well. They were like friends. Of course, in Sora's mind he was far more than that. He was an idol, and someone to be adored. Which was exactly what he was.

"You're so beautiful," Riku remarked, allowing his nose to brush gently once more against the shorter boy's. Green eyes shimmered with something Sora didn't understand, nor recognize.

"I'm not…" Sora admitted, eyes casting downward.

"A magician never lies," Riku informed, fingers sliding along Sora's jaw, as if to teasingly pull the other closer, so that their lips were barely an inch apart. Sora's breath went rigid as he stared into the other's eyes, which suddenly seemed all the more perfect. "At least, I don't."

"…Riku?" Sora dared, eyelashes nearly grazing the other's.

"Yeah?" The other answered in a sultry voice, making the whole of Sora /shudder/.

"Can you … kiss me?" He requested, hands weakly resting against the other's unusually shirt-cladded chest. Usually he wore a suit, but today it was just a simple shirt. And Riku in such simple clothing made the brunette's mind spin and spin.

"You must be a mind-reader," Riku whispered huskily before closing the gap between them.

Lips clashed innocently against the magician's, feeling a bit weightless from the touch. It was like the magician he had always idolized was his, just for this moment. It was as if his magic was transferring just briefly into Sora's body, making him pulse from excitement and this new feeling.

Chaste kisses were shared between the pair at first, until that innocuous act turned a bit more in-depth.

Riku's hand that had been on Sora's face, remained there, tilting the boy's face up into their clashing mouths. His other hand, however, rested snuggly around the brunette's waist, pulling the boy flush to his body. From this close vicinity, Riku could /feel/ the warmth radiating off Sora's body from this simple contact. Riku had tenacity, and proved such as he advanced a bit more on the shivering boy.

A sly hand began its ascend upwards under the thin shirt of Sora, teasing the soft flesh he found there. Fingers trailed daringly over the other's abs, relishing in how Sora arched into the touch, only adding to the pleasure for both of them.

A muffled gasp came from Riku when he felt their bodies brush closely against one another. Sora blushed deeply, gasping into the cold and foreign fingers on his body. No one had ever touched him like that. Never.

Riku broke off the heated kiss, only to press a simple one to Sora's reddened cheek, "You're a different kind of magic … I like that." He offered a lopsided smile.

"You aren't disgusted by this?" Sora wondered timidly, fingers tapping idly against his legs as if to draw his attention to that and not his newly acquainted, famous friend.

"Why would I?" He arched his eyebrows, arms folding to his check.

"It's isn't … morally right," Sora muttered, biting his lip as he spoke. He had no idea how /wrong/ it was. He just thought it had to do with their classes … not… well, this.

"Sora," His name being spoken on the magician's lips sent sparks through Sora's body, "Magic is just as large of a sin as this," He blinked, "And you don't see me stopping, do you?" Sora seemly utterly confused.

Riku sighed profusely and paced back and forth as he explained. "Magic…it's there to amaze and deceive people. In actuality, I'm lying to them. They think it's real," He eyed Sora, something glittering in his eyes, "and therefore I am deceiving them." But was he really?

"But why me?" Sora huffed, blushing a bit. If this was a sin, and Riku was all right by it, why in the word him? "I'm just a nobody."

"Not true," He extended a hand to gently rest on the other's face, loving how soft the skin was, "You're as beautiful as a rose," He whispered in that same sultry voice as before. "You're beautiful to the eyes, but you have thorns… they protect you from being hurt. Of course, that isn't always enough, so the rose requests extra help. Help from people that take it and treasure it. Think of me as that. I'm here to protect you." He paused, a sly smirk slithering its way onto his face, "And more, if you would allow me to?"

Sora stood there, awe-struck by the other's almost poetic words. Amazing was an understatement for sure. "You don't have to protect me," Sora refuted.

"Everyone needs a little magic sometimes," He smirked again and then let his hand slip from Sora's face. "Even myself."

"But you're a magician... where could you possibly find other magic?" Sora pouted, not getting this conversation at all. Perhaps he was reading into this too literally.

"I told you, love. You're a different kind of magic." And with that, and another lingering kiss on the cheek, he made his way out of the alleyway, tossing the brunette a mischief glance as he did such.

Sora stood there, trembling. Had he just been hit on physically and verbally by Riku?

x x x

Sora was leaving the alleyway, sporting a dark crimson blush when he was stopped abruptly by a hand reaching out of literally nowhere. The kind and gentle arm tightened its grip on his forearm, making him turn his gaze to whoever it was. His gaze, which had been sharp and somewhat frightened seconds before (mostly due to the fact he thought it would be his angry and drunken boss), softened when he realized who it was. His lips formed the name, but they wouldn't allow him to say it. Instead, he stared nervously at the other, smiling.

"Sora Kayaki!" She wrapped her arms tightly around the thin boy's frame, nuzzling her face into his shoulder, releasing a perplexed side.

"Kairi?" Sora replied timidly, hands loosely wrapping around his old friend's body. It had been so long since he had seen the bright, cheerful, and elegant face of the red-head. Things were different back then, and they were incredibly different now.

"I'm sorry I didn't come the other day," Kairi responded, rubbing the back of her neck as if embarrassed. Her frilly outfit suited her well; just her.

"That's all right," Sora replied slowly, watching her, "It's good to see you though-" He was cut off when Kairi stifled a giggle, only to arch her eyebrows.

"Who was that girl in the alleyway with you?" She sneered. "Looked pretty scandalous to me."

Sora paled. Kairi thought Riku was a /girl/? Back up, Kairi had /seen/ them in the alleyway. His legs went to jelly as he gulped, laughing nervously. "You must have seen wrong…" And he left it at that.

"Must have," She shrugged, eying her friend before locking her hands behind her back. "How's … life?" She felt awkward, it was obvious by the way she spoke.

"Good I guess?" He really didn't want to let Kairi onto the fact that he was just getting money after years of being broke with Tidus. He felt weak saying that, and at the same time didn't trust Kairi with the information. She would think lowly of him, he was sure of it.

"That's good." She nodded dismally then eyed the sky. "Have you seen Riku Karada's shows?"

Sora's heart dropped. "I have…"

"Isn't he utterly amazing?" Kairi spoke, a glimmer sparkling in her eyes.

Sora was obviously jealous. Not that she liked him and not him, but that someone else liked Riku other than him. He pouted mentally at this own weakness. "He is…" He blushed a light tint unknowingly.

"Well, I must be heading off," She shrugged and frowned, "Tell Tidus I say hi?" She smiled only for Sora to reach out and snag her by the wrist. Eyebrows arched as her necklace was placed into her hands by the brunette.

"Here," He smiled, letting go of her. Kairi smiled back and then spoke under her breath.

"Friendships never end… do they?" She looked amused as she walked off, signaling for a carriage to take her back to the estate.

"They don't." Sora answered, watching her drive away. Oh how wrong he was.

x x x x

Sora silently stood at the end of the first row, glancing curiously at the stage. For the most part, he was out of sight. He preferred to stay like this, mostly afraid that his new friend, was he even that?, would be angry that he had come to watch him practice. Blue eyes were glued to the stage as Riku entered it, glancing at the black gloves he was wearing. A man followed him, sporting spiky red hair and almost as fierce green eyes. Scars, from what Sora gathered, were under his eyes, making him look even more frightening then he already had.

"All right, now show me what you plan to do with those gloves," Instructed the red-haired man, signaling to Riku's gloved hands. The magician's lips curved up into a smirk as he nodded and rose his hands into the air.

Sora remained still, watching in utter awe. Within seconds, Riku had made a downward motion, quickly jerking upward. Those gloves soon flew off his hands, transforming into crows that flew across the room as if they knew where they were going. Green eyes shimmered with satisfaction as he turned to look at the man beside him who was staring in confusion and shock.

"How the hell did you do /that/?" The man demanded, staring at the landing crows at the farthest row of the room.

"Saying that would be telling," Riku shrugged and walked to the front of the stage. He took a seat and swung his legs off it, peering ahead at the back rows, watching the crows caw aimlessly.

"I'm just curious," Began the red-haired man, walking over and standing behind Riku, "where did you disappear to the other day?"

"Had some things to do..." Riku replied, arm-extending outwards as the crows came flying at it. The red-haired man flinched when he saw the birds dive-bombing the man's arms. He was taken by surprise that the second the crows did land, they had transformed back into harmless gloves on the man's hands.

"...That is purely amazing," Scoffed the other before shaking his head and looking at Riku, "What kind of things?"

"Nothing... that would interest you," Riku retorted, eyes shimmering mischievously up at the other.

"Don't give me that look," The red-haired man chortled with mock amusement, "You never give me that look."

"Oh?" Riku smirked, cocking his head to the side, "What's 'that look'?"

"You're falling for someone, aren't you?" Teased the red-haired man, running a hand through his spikes as he watched the young magician with fascination.

"What gives you that idea?" Riku spoke, smirk remaining strongly on his face. He did not deny it, or agree to it. "You should know me well enough. I don't 'fall' for people, Axel." Riku shrugged and then paused, "It's a lot more complicated than that."

"..." Axel eyed him and then shrugged his shoulders. "What? You just sleep with them?" Riku shot him a deathly glare. "Sorry, virgin-boy, almost forgot that you were untainted." Laughed the red-haired man before making his way towards the center of the stage, throwing a few words over his shoulder, "You might want to spend more times on your tricks then letting your mind wander about special nobodies."

"Bah." Riku rolled his eyes and watched the other leave through the back-door of the theater. It closed with a loud thud, signaling that it was indeed empty. Just him. At least, that was what he thought. Green eyes glanced around the empty theater, briefly turning to the far right for no reason, spotting the brunette who suddenly paled when their gazes met.

"Sora." A grin plastered itself onto his lips as he smirked at the brunette.

"H-hey." Sora stammered unobtrusively, making his way slowly across the front of the first row, towards the center of the stage. Once there, he peered upwards at Riku who remained seated, hanging his legs off the edge without a care in the world.

"Here," Riku offered his hand across the distance between them. Sora stared at it nervously, glancing at it. "Take it." Riku encouraged, fingers curling slightly.

"Okay," Sora blushed slightly as he extended his own hand and clasped it tightly to the other's.

Within seconds, Riku had pulled the other up onto the stage. Their bodies went flush against one another, making Sora blush even darker. "Thanks." He managed out, blue eyes meeting with green ones.

"No problem." He answered imperturbably, letting his grasp on Sora's hand linger before he turned to the side and took off the gloves, setting them on the small table. "Want to help me?" He arched an eyebrow.

"How?" Sora wondered.

"Well..." Riku stepped forward, closing the distance between their faces so that their noses were almost touching, "First I want you to stare directly into my eyes. Nowhere else."

Sora did as he was told, heart clenching when he stared into the endless seas of green. His heart did that usual fluttering as he smacked himself mentally. Why did he have to be cursed with a crush on the most charming man in the whole world? He hated irony with a burning passion.

"Next, focus your thoughts on something. It doesn't matter what." Riku extended a hand to gently rest it against Sora's chest. The brunette flinched a bit from the touch, but figured it was part of the trick. "Relax," Riku cooed, hand flattening itself on the spot where Sora's heart would be.

Sora did as he was told once more. His body relaxed as he focused his thoughts on something. The only thing that came to mind right away was their kiss in the alleyway a few days before, and how amazing it had felt. It was immature to dwell on such a friendly and meaningless act, but it helped Sora get through the days.

He thought it was magic that had the hold on his heart; he had no idea it was the magician.

Riku allowed their noses to brush as he exhaled softly, smiling weakly at Sora who was desperately trying to keep his mind focused on their kiss. Even thinking that made him wish their faces were just a bit closer. But he wouldn't push his luck.

By now, Riku had forgotten where he was going with this trick. He had intended to create yet another rose out of thin air and give it to the brunette, or something along those lines, but his idea had faltered when his jade eyes met so softly with blue ones.

"What next?..." Sora dared, eyebrows arching at his friend.

"..." Riku said nothing, amiss for words. He ever so delicately allowed their lips to meet. It was so soft and gentle that Sora wasn't sure he actually was kissing him. however, the other's arm sliding around his waist was a reassurance that he indeed was kissing him.

Was Riku's trick meant to create what was in your mind?

Riku pulled away a bit, staring at the other before coughing and flinching away. "..." He said nothing and rubbed the back of his head.

"Um.." Sora blinked as well, face a dark red.

Riku, being a quick thinker on his feet, swung his arm through the air, creating a small lemon to form in his hand in the process. "Here," He spoke distractedly, tossing him the citrus fruit. He tried his best to look like it was his intention all along, but he knew the other wouldn't fall for it. All that for a lemon?

Sora caught it and glanced at it. "Thanks?" He replied, eying the fruit.

"Yeah, no problem." Riku bit his bottom lip and paused. "Are you coming to the show tonight?" Nice topic changed.

"Of course." Sora grinned and then pocketed the fruit.

"Good." Riku nodded. "I'm sure you'll enjoy it."

And Sora did enjoy it. Still captured by how flawlessly Riku performed the tricks. It was magic, he swore it was.

x x x

"I can't believe you've been working here for two weeks. Feels like time is just flying by!"

Yuffie hoisted her body onto a bar stool, crossing her legs as she peered out into the small crowd. It was around nine, and closing time, at least for this pub, was in an hour. Usually people started dispersing at this time, and thus there was less business. Yuffie's dark eyes turned back to gaze at Sora who was leaning against the counter, anguish written in his eyes. She smiled weakly at him before tilting her head to the side.

"You look tired. I bet a drink would wake you up." She suggested with a prod to the other's shoulder. On her face was mischief, but they both knew it was just a fallacy. Yuffie never meant any harm to anyone; and for that, Sora was incredibly grateful.

"I don't like drinking," Sora mumbled back, rubbing the back of his neck.

"Kid, you're eighteen. Live a little." She smirked at him and pointed to an opened bottle at the end of the shelf behind the counter. "Use that one. Stuff in that isn't that strong. Just enough to keep you up." Informed the black-haired girl, hand raising from her side to cover her mouth.

"Fine," Sora sighed miserably and turned around to grab the bottle. He poured the contents into a glass and then took a large swig. The somewhat bitter and tangy, frothy taste came to a shock to him as he winced. Why people drank this was a mystery. Regardless, he took another sip, the taste not as bad as before. Perhaps he could get used to this.

"See? You like it." Yuffie laughed and then glanced across the room. "I won't tell anyone, promise."

"Yeah yeah," Sora mumbled, tilting the glass back and forth, watching the liquids swish as he did such. He paused briefly as he took another sip, emptying the glass. Questioningly, he looked at it then the bottle. "Can I-"

"Go ahead, drink the rest." Yuffie smiled and rolled her eyes before getting up to converse with a few girls at a table in the corner of the pub. Sora nodded slowly and filled his glass once more. His vision wasn't dulling, nor was he feeling dizzy. This wasn't that bad.

That was, of course, until /he/ had to come.

His third glass in, Sora noticed that he was feeling a bit ... loose was it? Not like drunk and stammering, slurring, and clumsy, but loose as in he didn't feel so uptight, like the weight of the world was off his shoulders. Blue eyes filled with a light happiness as he offered a carefree smile down at his glass, thanking it in his mind.

He had been so fixated on his savior, that being the glass, that he nearly fell backwards when he felt a cool hand slip onto his cheek, tilting his face upwards. Somewhat cloudy blue eyes met fierce jade ones, and his mouth fell open. What was /he/ doing here?

"R-riku?" Sora stammered, not due to the alcohol he was consuming, but from the shock.

A nonchalant smirk flickered onto the magician's lips as he pulled his jacket tighter to his body with his free hand. His right hand that was on Sora's face trailed the boy's jaw line, slipping downward to rest on the glass, fingers grazing the other's. Sora felt his whole body blush as he stared at it also.

"Thought you didn't drink." Riku spoke with amusement, fingers purposely playing with Sora's.

" I thought maybe," Sora answered a bit uncertainly. "...I should try loosening up?"

"Hm.." Riku eyed the brunette, something shining in his eyes as he nodded, "Sounds like a good idea," A smirk now danced onto his handsome facial features, "Care to share?"

Sora smiled back and nodded, turning around to grab another bottle and glass.

And before he knew it, he had consumed a total of five glasses, and his magician four. Blue eyes glanced to the man beside him, completely at ease. He wasn't drunk, well not entirely, but he did feel a bit weightless. He still had control of his mind, and knew that if he took another glass he would surely be lost. So he refrained and leaned his chin into his hands, peering at the other who was finishing his fourth glass.

"Thought you were a light-drinker," Sora hummed, mind trailing off with not-so-innocent thoughts.

"This stuff isn't that heavy," Riku informed. He found himself in the same predicament as Sora; that being he was loose, at ease with himself, but not to the point of being intoxicated. Just on the brink, on the line.

"It feels good not to worry about everything for once," Sora began with a elated sigh, "Not worrying about money, about Tidus, about if I'll ever see you again," The last one was a bit of a slip, but Sora didn't seem to catch it.

"Oh?" Riku arched an eyebrow, setting his glass on the table.

"Mhm." Sora answered, nodding profoundly.

"Are you worried by the fact that I find myself undeniably attracted to you?" Confessed the silver-haired teen, green eyes drenched with honesty and an underlying amount of worry and anxiety.

A some-what fragile smile materialized onto the brunette's face, his own eyebrows raising with shock. "No, not at all," His heart began its usual intense beating. Every time he spoke with this man it did that. But were they really men? On the brink of being actual men, crossing from adolescence, at least in Sora's mind. True, they had jobs, but they weren't /that/ old. "In fact... I'm delighted by it."

"Well, that's interesting," A trademark smirk once again formed onto Riku's lips, alcohol heavy on his breath, "Are you worried by the idea that I want to kiss you right now?" His voice was in a sultry tone, driving Sora's mind insane.

"...Definitely not." Sora almost hummed, eyes sparkling.

"Then... are you worried that I am suggesting we leave?" Riku inquired in that same tone.

"Why suggest when we can easily do?" Sora questioned, voice shaky as he watched Riku simper, arise from his seat, and make his way to the door. The brunette looked confused at first as to why his best friend, or at least he was considering him that now, was leaving. Only when Riku motioned with a nudging of his head in the general direction of the door did the other get what he meant.

Sora glimpsed at the mostly empty pub and Yuffie who was still talking wit her friends. Figuring that she would mostly be there for awhile, he slithered his way off the barstool and made his way to the entrance.

Thump. Thump. Thump.

His heart's pounding was all he really could hear as the cold night air washed onto his face. Riku was standing beside the door outside, green eyes almost glowing in the night. Moonlight grazed both their skin, making them seem all that more alluring to each other.

Without another word spoken, Riku had somehow managed to drag Sora to the small nook beside the pub. Only a few feet away to be exact. Within seconds, the brunette was pushed flush up against the icy brick wall, with an unusually blushing silver-haired god against him.

"Where's your place?" Riku's lips lingered near Sora's ear when he asked the question.

"Down the street, take a right...two houses down," Sora managed in a stutter. This proved to him that he was in fact still in his right mind, remembering where his home was. And it only made this seem all the more exciting. Riku walking him home sounded lovely.

Of course, Sora was far too dense, innocent and naive to realize that when they did make their way to Sora's home, Riku reaching for the brunette's hand and leading him inside, that he wasn't just walking him home. The door closed with a gentle thud as moonlight poured into the small house that over the past few weeks had become a bit more homey.

"Um..." Sora blushed slightly, feeling a hand running from his jaw down to his neck.

Riku let his hand fall as he made his way into the room of the small house and glanced around. Two small mattresses, Tidus' and his were propped against the walls, pillows on them. Not much else in the way of furniture was in the room, except for a cupboard in the far corner that contained most of their food. Riku glanced at Sora, lips falling into a look of confusion.

But where exactly was Tidus? Sora was just glad that he wasn't home.

"You're...poor?" Riku dared, startled by the concept.

Sora gulped. Why oh why had he allowed Riku to bring him home. The brunette took an uneasy gulp and nodded, blushing faintly with dread. Riku wasn't going to speak to him ever again, he knew it. People of high hierarchy didn't waste their time on peasant boys who were lucky enough to have a low paying job. Especially when they were up and coming magicians.

"...And you still managed to come to my performances?" Guilt wrenched at the magician as he looked to the other who was still nodding. Green eyes lowered themselves onto the floor. "Well.. I feel like an ass right now."

"N-no, don't!" Sora protested, walking over as he shook his head rapidly. "I liked them! Every one I went to! You're amazing! The magic... I love it." He smiled faintly.

Riku glanced at him, and then across the room, noticing the rose resting beside one of the mattresses. Green eyes locked onto it as he walked over. Sora blushed and remained where he was, allowing the magician to pick up the flower. Riku twirled it in his grasps, taking note that it was not wilted in the least. "You kept it?"

"Y-yes." Sora nodded, "It's magic."

"That it is," Riku hummed back, making his way over with the rose, "What about me fascinates you?" He murmured, giving the rose a gentle sniff as he watched Sora. "Is it my looks? Because surely you can find a better reason than that."

"E-everything!" Sora was stammering a lot and he knew it. "I used to idolize you because you could use magic, then I met you...and you seemed so real and kind... and you actually became my friend and you," Sora let out a soft sigh, "'re the first person to actually care without having to."

Riku stared in disbelief at the other. Lips contorted into a sympathetic frown. Was the life of a peasant really that hard? The silver-haired magician placed the rose gently into the other's mass of brown hair before letting his forehead bump against Sora's. Sora felt his cheeks radiate warmth from the contact, that usual lump in his throat returning.

"Ever sleep with anyone before?" Riku whispered in such a hot and heavy tone that it made shivers run up and down Sora's spine.

"No..." Sora answered, barely able to form words as he felt inviting arms wrap around his waist, pulling him flush to the other's body.

"Good...because I haven't either." Returned Riku before claiming Sora's lips.

Sora felt his entire body turn to fire from the touch. His legs felt weak, and his mind felt numb. It took the brunette a few moments to even realize what was happening. Nervously, he rose his hands from his sides to encircle the other's neck, pulling him in for a more deeper kiss.

By this point Sora felt like his heart was about to explode. The magic he had felt from their kiss weeks ago returned. It was like this undeniably magical feeling was pumping into his body. He thought it was magic, but he was slowly, incredibly slowly, realizing it wasn't that, but something of equal power.

Riku's hands remained tightly around the other's hips, holding him close. Lips continued their work at the other's, clashing and meshing every few seconds. Sora felt light-headed by that point. Riku abandoned their connection of lips to trail delicate kisses along the brunette's jaw line, dropping to his neck to affectionately nip at it.

"R-riku.." Sora whispered, arching his neck slightly to allow more of it to Riku. Sora /felt/ Riku smirk into his ravish, continuing the trail down to the other's frayed collar. Questions filled the air as Riku rose his gaze to meet Sora's. Something very serious flashed in those endless pools of jade.

"Let me take you." He offered huskily into the moonlight, fingers trailing along Sora's clothed sides.

The words made Sora shudder and tremble. He took a whole minute to form a coherent answer, which even surprised himself, "I want you to."

The smirk grew on the male's face as he pulled Sora in one quick motion across the room and gently onto the bed. Within seconds, he had the lithe teen pinned beneath him, breathing feverishly. A hand rose from Riku's side as he gently swiped it across Sora's face, digits tracing his every contour, memorizing it. "You've done something I thought no one would ever do," Riku confessed, arms pressing firmly into the mattress on either side of the other.

"W-which is?" Sora stammered, strands of Riku's hair tickling his face, only adding to this precious moment.

"Steal my heart," He answered before bruising their lips together once again. Sora let out a muffled moan, silenced by the lips against his own. Arms reached out again to tangle themselves in the silvery locks of the magician, begging for this relish he had only had passing thoughts about.

A warm and almost slippery tongue prodded at the entrance to the younger's mouth. Sora timorously parted his lips, allowing the other to waste no time delving in. To be frank, the other's tongue against his own had that tickling sensation, but soon faded when he realized how good it felt for someone else to hold dominance over him.

Somehow in the process Riku had snaked his hands up Sora's shirt, cold fingers trailing uncertainly up the brunette's torso. Sora, not having as much knowledge about this as the other, arched into the touch. This simple action earned a boisterous utterance of approval from Riku, due to the fact that their lower bodies have accidentally brushed.

Sora blushed inwardly from the noise Riku made, shyly doing it again, this time tingles sparking through his spine as his blood began to turn to a hot liquid. Doing this was utterly arousing.

Riku's hands slipped from under Sora's shirt to hold tightly onto the boy's hips, stilling his motions. Sora made a questioning sound into the deep kiss, only for Riku to break the embrace to catch his breath before addressing the other.

"You're going," He exhaled then inhaled slowly, "to end this too soon doing that," Riku finally declared, body aching for that feeling once more. But he was a man of magic, and knew that there was other ways of going about this.

"Oh..." Sora blushed darkly, laughing a bit before he felt a hand resting on his current problem. A gasp elicited from the brunette's lips, making his hips eagerly press into the touch. "Gwah...what are you..." He was as innocent as he could be.

"Making you feel good, sweetheart," Riku soothingly enlightened the other, lips brushing against the sensitive part of the other's earlobe. His hand retreated from its taunting place to rest on the boy's clothed stomach. "This needs to come off," He paused, "among many other things..." He added with a nonchalant smirk.

"It's so cold though..." Sora answered, chest raising and deflating quickly, pants becoming exceedingly tighter by the moment.

"Ah, I can solve that." Riku replied, kissing the boy's warmed cheek.

"Magic?..." Sora answered skeptically, eyes shimmering.

"Eh... something like that," Riku chortled to himself.

Before Sora had time to answer, Riku's hands were skillfully, with an underlying amount of clumsiness to be honest, removing the boy's shirt. He dragged the flimsy clothing up and over the boy's head, material getting caught upon many of the spikes. Sora watched as Riku's eyes glued to his now exposed chest. A cold breeze rushed onto the bare skin, making a small shiver pass through the brunette.

"Something wrong?..." Sora whispered uncertainly, afraid that his frail body was displeasing or a disappointment to the godly teen hovering over him.

"Not in the least," Riku reassured him with a sprightly smile before letting his lips casde onto the bare flesh. This simple and yet so seductive action earned a startling gasp from Sora, which soon transformed into a sound of approval. Riku's lips smirked against the cold skin, trailing upwards onto the boy's chest.

"Don't stop..." Sora whispered, surprised by his own confidence and trust in the other.

"Trust me, I wasn't planning on it," Riku hummed against the other's body, lips exploring every inch of the flat and raised planes. Each suck and nip and kiss earned a same satisfied sound from Sora. But it wasn't enough. Not for either of them. Riku was about to advance his lips lower onto the other's body, tongue circling the other's naval, only for his actions to be stopped by a needy brunette dragging the other up for a passionate kiss.

Riku blinked and then eased himself into the action. His hands trailed along the bare sides of the other, loving how he quivered and reacted to each one. Fingers danced across Sora, making it that harder for the brunette to keep himself still. Once their long-wined kiss had ended, he stared up with glassy blue eyes, arm raising to tug at the other's jacket.

"Not fair that I get to freeze," Sora whispered in a childish tone.

"Very true," Riku concurred, slipping the black jacket off his body. Beneath it he wore a light shirt which he soon discarded over his head. His body rippled when he tossed it, making Sora's breath hitch from the sight. God, he was an /angel/.

Riku lowered himself once again onto the other, nose nuzzling affectionately against the other's. Sora exhaled softly from the other doing such, pleased when he found a smile on Riku's lips. He smiled back, his fear being washed away by the other's angelic smile.

Riku brought his attention quickly back to the other's uncovered chest. He descended upon it once more, kissing and lapping against it like some short of hungry being. But he did it with such elegance and caution that it made it seem all the more magical and true.

Fingers of the magician found themselves jabbing at the other's waistband, lowering the pants an inch so he could kiss the sensitive, newly exposed skin of the other's hips. It was just barely an inch, but to Sora it was a lot. The brunette moaned loudly, arching upward, almost begging for the other to continue, even though he knew he would.

Riku's hand slipped teasingly downward, under the clothing, just a few inches to brush against the brunette's anatomy. Sora bit his bottom lip to muffle a moan, but in the end decided just to let it out, not embarrassed anymore by his own volume.

Riku chuckled softly, hand coaxing the other gently by slipping even farther down. Sora, new to this sort of pleasure and feeling, pushed upwards into the touch, body blushing like mad. Riku ran a finger slowly along the underside, making Sora mutter his name in ecstasy.

When Riku did stop, Sora stared down with pleading eyes at the magician. "Why' stop?" He whimpered, chest rising and falling incredibly quickly by this point.

"You'll see," Riku shrugged with a mischievous glimmer in his eyes before he locked his lips with Sora, forcefully grinding his own hips down onto the other. Sora elicited a deafening pant into the other's mouth, hands dragging Riku from behind him neck down farther onto him.

Riku deepened their kiss without hesitation, hand slipping between both of their clothed throbbing bodies to teasingly rub against the other. Sora whimpered softly into the kiss again, tired of the other stopping and starting without warning of completion. He was quite surprised when he felt fumbling fingers work at his pants, sliding them down in one fluid motion off his hips and down to his ankles. Sora gulped into the kiss, Riku's tongue soon after distracting him from any uncertain or worrying thoughts.

The brunette carefully kicked off the discarded clothing, legs feeling very cold, very quickly. Was Riku going to go even farther? His answer came when he felt the magician give another tug to the remaining article Sora wore, discarding of that as well.

Sora shivered when he felt Riku's hand trail against him once again. Sora's heart began to beat incredibly fast once again, arching into the delicious touch. However, Riku stilled him. Sora frowned into their unbreakable kiss, shyly reaching outward to strip the other of his own clothing. However, that shy action soon turned frantic as he managed to get the clothes off Riku's body entirely.

He felt like he was weightless once again.

Riku smirked into the kiss, realizing that within moments Sora would probably realize what he was missing minutes before. The silver-haired teen pressed his body flush to Sora's, flesh meeting flesh. The sensation was too much for Sora, whose grip around Riku's neck, tightened, fingernails digging into the other's neck.

"Ssh...calm down," Riku murmured into the now chaste kiss, his body continuing to stir with obvious need as much as Sora. He hadn't done this before, but even he had more self-control and patience then the boy beneath him. Sora found his voice after a few minutes.

"I need this..." Sora panted.

"I don't want to hurt you," Riku breathed back delicately against the other's ear, "You've never done this before... and I would be afraid of doing something wrong," It was amazing how Riku could even speak in this predicament.

"What do you ...mean?" Sora gasped, hands trailing freely along Riku's bare chest.

"I don't blame you for not knowing," Riku replied, kissing the other's forehead, "So I'm going to ask you this... do you want me to try...or do you want immediate release?" His voice was laced with honesty and passion, that it made Sora's mind spin and spin.

"I don't care..." Sora answered breathlessly, trying to buck forward for the intense feeling to return, but Riku's hands kept him still. "Nwagh... Riku, move!" Sora begged, biting his bottom lip, wanting the other to create that luscious friction that he was needing.

"I'll tr-" Riku began, mind set that he had to be careful, but was cut short when his hand slipped from Sora's hip. This was all the brunette needed to begin to arch insanely up against the other, tossing his head backwards, emitting a moan that filled both their bodies.

"Sora," Riku gasped back, lips locking quickly onto the other's as he decided against his earlier motive and ground his hips downward against Sora. He needed this now, and wouldn't risk damaging the boy due to his curiosity.

Sora's sounds of approval grew louder as they increased their tempo, bodies grinding together shamelessly. Sora felt every single part of his body heighten with desire as he pushed forward once more, biting Riku's bottom lip in the process. His hands dug into the perfect silver locks, desperate for his release.

Riku felt sweat form on his forehead as he plunged his tongue into the other's mouth, hurriedly grounding his hips downward in one last, unmistakable thrust of pleasure. That was all Sora could take as he felt his body loosen, all the built of pressure and pleasure filling out of him at once. Sora purred into the kiss, loving the lingering feeling of his climax.

Riku's mind shut off to all intelligent thoughts as he came seconds after, moaning into the other's kiss as he collapsed against the other's body.

They both laid there for a few minutes, catching their breaths and allowing feeling to return to their bodies. Sora hastily opened blue eyes, moonlight filling into them as he glanced wearily at the beautiful, breathless teen on top of him. Jade eyes stared into blue ones.

"Riku..." Sora whispered softly, nuzzling his face into the other's neck, arms feeling like jelly as he held the other.

"This only...proves it," Riku managed, arms raising limpy to run through locks of brown.

"Hm?.." Sora inquired weakly, blue eyes filled with a found happiness.

"I've completely fallen in love with you," Riku confessed, body falling beside Sora on the mattress. His eyes turned to glance at Sora's who looked suddenely bewildered and dumbfounded. The look hurt the other as he extended his hand down to Sora's, cupping it gently.

"You don't mean that..." Sora mumbled, heart aching to believe it.

"Why wouldn't I?" He dared, confused by the beautiful and complex boy beside him.

"...You do?.." Sora blinked slowly, feeling Riku's thumb trace a line back and forth on the back of his hand.

"Do you think I... would have...done this if I didn't?" Riku replied with a smile tugging onto his refined lips.

"Thought you... were just desperate... or horney." Sora admitted with a small laugh, only to be silenced by a serious look in Riku's eyes.

"I really didn't want to fall in love, but I'm glad I did," He smiled faintly in the darkness before staring up at the ceiling, "Although I doubt anyone will take kindly to this.."

"What do ya mean?" Sora questioned, innocence pouring from his lips.

"A lot of people consider what we just did a sin." Riku informed, turning to lay on his side so he could use his free hand that wasn't clasped with Sora's to trace circles on the other's chest.

"Sex?" Sora whispered questioningly.

"..." Riku glanced weakly at the other, untainted by the cruel realities of life, "The fact that we had sex when we're..."

"Not married?" Sora inquired, not catching the hint until a few seconds later. "O-oh." He seemed a bit confused, and Riku didn't blame him.

"But I really don't care." Riku grumbled, shaking his head, "Magic was once frowned upon but that changed. I don't care what people think," He then buried his head, utterly exhausted into Sora's neck, pulling the blanket from beside the mattress onto their bodies, "because I love you, and that itself is a miracle."

"Not magic?" Sora inquired, glancing to Riku who was staring up at him.

"Not magic at all," He whispered, tangling their hands together once more as he drifted to sleep.

x x x

Even days after his … run-in with the magician, Sora's mind remained fixated on that night. His heart fluttered every time he had a fleeting thought about it. His stomach would get into knots, and he found it hard to even concentrate at work. He had known Riku for an entire month, and the more he learned about the teenage magician, the more he realized that he was just your typical person, just like him, but gifted in the way of magic. Sora never did let that rose go, not for a second.

Sora sat next to Tidus, who looked bored beyond belief. His gaze was on the stage, and then briefly back to Sora who was sitting there, hands laced in his lap, leaning expectantly, waiting for the person who had captured his heart to appear. Tidus found it a bit … odd that Sora demanded to come to these things, and he would stare with those starry eyes of his at the magician, as if their eyes could meet through the audience.

Tidus had no idea.

"Welcome to what surely will be the grandest night of the Grand Oak Theatre," Riku spoke, walking onto stage, tossing an apple aimlessly up and down. Sora's face lightened as he nodded dismally in his seat. Oh yes.

"Tonight we have a very special guest among us," Riku motioned to the front row where the Prince, his fiancé, Kairi, and what appeared to be the King. He smirked lightly and tossed the apple towards the man, turning into a rose through the air. "Pleased to have you, sir."

Sora felt a /bit/ envious.

"I haven't attempted this before, but I'm sure you all will enjoy this trick," He raised a hand in the air, making yet another rose appear. His fingers curled against it as he glanced wearily to the audience. His dark, green eyes met with Sora's, "Sora, would you be so kind to help me?"

Sora blushed darkly as eyes turned to him. Tidus' eyes widened as he glared at Sora, quite envious. The next part of his thought caught him off guard. How did they … know each other?

Sora made his way slowly to the stage, feet treading along the carpeted floor of the Theatre. Once at the stairs, he made his way hastily up and towards the magician. He wasn't just the man who had stolen his heart, he was his best friend. He knew everything about him.

"Watch closely," Riku whispered, handing Sora the rose before gently reaching over to whisper softly into the other's ear, "I'm glad you came, love."

"Wouldn't miss it." Sora whispered back, blushing darkly as he fingered the rose.

Riku turned his attention to the man who he had motioned to be his second assistance. Sora's heart fell flat against the ground when he realized who that man was. Fear flooded into Sora's body as he stared at the pink-haired man. His throat went dry and he closed his eyes, as if to block the painful mental image away. No… not this. Not the man who had been so cruel to his parents about their home… the man who forced them to remain in the country, in fear that if they did move, they'd be stripped of all their money.

"Now," Riku motioned to the other man, "what I want you to do is hold this," He gave him a glowing orb that had literally appeared out of nowhere, "Hold it tightly. Allow your thoughts and life force to channel through it."

Sora's heart pounded against the walls of his chest, making him feel sick.

"Right." The man answered in a silky voice.

The man raised the orb into the air, allowing himself to close his eyes, dark snicker always on his lips. Sora opened his eyes and mouthed to Riku 'what are you going to do?', to which he only got a silent chortle and the words whispered back 'magic, sweetheart'.

Without another word, Riku closed his eyes. Without warning, his body began to levitate off the ground, hovering inches from the floor. Sora's eyes widened as he stared at the other, resisting the urge to bellow out something in awe. It seemed like Riku's entire body was glowing.

How could someone learn to do that without /real/ magic?

"As you can see," Riku whispered to the audience eyes shimmering as he spoke, "Magic is limitless. It can bend the laws of gravity itself and lend power to those who wish to use it," He glanced over at Sora with a fragile smile, "it can make even the strangest and yet most wonderful things happen…" Sora blushed lightly, "But one must remember that even magic has its … limits, and should not be abused."

His body remained suspended in the air, the man still focused on the orb.

"Sora," Riku whispered softly, eyes meeting the other's once again.

"Yeah?" Sora murmured back, heart pounding.

"I love you…" He spoke so softly that no one else besides the three on stage could hear.

Sora was at a miss for words again.

He really had no time to respond.

As Riku had said countless times, or perhaps only at his opening show, magic had a mind of its own. Especially when the user corrupted it.

Riku clamored onto the ground, knees collapsing under him as he held his chest painfully. Green eyes shut with pain as the orb the other held smashed onto the ground; purposely. The magician exhaled sharply, fingers trembling as he glanced weakly at the other who was smirking at him so intensely that he couldn't help but realize what had happened.

Sora hadn't even /heard/ the gunshot.

"You," The man spoke, making his way over to the magician. The crowd was dead silent, "Have been found guilty for the crime of tricking the minds of the public, manipulating everyone around you," And this time he was close as he breathed the words into Riku's face, "Committing something I never thought anyone would have the guts to do." He whispered harshly now, "Fall in love with a peasant /boy/.

Riku winced, the crowd looking utterly stunned and disgusted. Sora felt his legs give out as he made his way weakly over to Riku, arms encircling the teen's bloody chest.

"You're a danger to this town and country, Riku Karada. Your magic has no limits, and your mind is reckless. No jail could suppress you," The man spared a glance to the King, "And we thought it was best we … did this."

Sora felt sick.

"S-sora?" Riku gasped, hand extending outward to tangle itself with the brunette's.

"P-please don't die," Sora stammered, arms hugging the other tightly as he shuddered, "Please…I can't lose someone like you."

"Don't let go…" Riku whispered, breath weakened to the state of barely being coherent, "Never let go…" He gaze weakly out the crowd, heart shattering. The two things he had ever loved had caused him this; and it felt horrible.

"Riku?" Sora dared.

"Abracadabra…" He spoke, he completely /vanished/.

Somewhere else.

Someplace safe.

Where magic could be used freely; where ruthlessness and harshness could not touch him.

No more blood had to be spilled in the name of magic. Not anymore.

There was always a closing in an act.

This was it.

x x x

Sora's eyes darted across the room with a dark amount of solemn drenched in them. Kairi sat nervously beside Tidus and Sir Leon, staring at the boy like he was some sort of /freak/. He shifted uncomfortably in his seat. His mind was spinning and spinning. One day he had me the magician, the next he had been whisked into a turbine of romance, and the next /this/ had happened. His heart was elsewhere, and his mind was permanently scorched. Blue eyes no longer shone with that jovial look. He was broken; in more ways than one. From the cruelty of society, the angry looks he got, and not knowing where Riku was, or if he even was alive.

Kairi cleared her throat as he placed her laced hands on the desk, leaning a bit over it to speak to Sora directly. "Do you… know where he went?"

Of course. They had brought him here to talk about Riku. They were afraid that Riku would overthrow their crummy power with his magic. Magic he only used to capture his heart and amaze others. The heartless bastards…

"I don't know," Sora snapped bitterly, like a broken soldier who really had no where left to go. No home. Not anymore.

"Surely he told you something?" Sir Leon was the one to speak this time, clearing his throat as well as he shifted in his seat.

"He told me nothing," Sora barked back with frustration.

"You do know that what he did was a crime… and that he had to be brought to justice." Leon attempted to explain, attempted to justify his actions but failed miserably.

"Just because he actually /cared/ about me doesn't make him a bad person." Sora spat, heart broken into tiny little shards of glass on the floor.

"He didn't care Sora. Magicians lives are built on lies." Leon corrected, only for Sora to throw his fists down in rage.

"He cared! Y-you, you have no idea!" Sora stammered, frustrated that these people could actually say how /Riku/ felt. It was insane, it was cruel. And he just wanted to curl up somewhere and never speak to another person again.

"Sora…" Kairi shook her head, "You don't expect to tell us that you both… loved each other. That's kind of a mockery of love…" He could tell she was disgusted.

"Just let him go home…" Leon murmured, eying Tidus who seemed to share their frustration and aggravation about Sora.

Sora got up and off the seat in haste, shooting dark glares at the people he thought would have been in his corner, but they weren't. They were the opposite of it. And Sora finally realized what Riku meant when he said that people thought that what they had was wrong. Never before had he felt so alone.

His story was going to have a sad last chapter. He knew it. He should just give up right now, give up with magic. It seemed fair. Nothing else seemed like a better idea. Perhaps he'd run away. Far away… perhaps he'd-

His thought was cut short when he felt his body behind shoved against the nearest wall, like it had been oh so countless times, and a mouth ferociously and longingly meshing with his own in a feverish rampage. Blue eyes snapped shut as he melted into the kiss, not even caring anymore who it was. It felt good for someone to actually care … even if it was someone meaning to do him harm.

When Sora did snap open his eyes, breaking the kiss due to the need to breathe, blue eyes met with those oh-so-familiar green ones, shattering and mending his heart with pathetic tape all in the same breath.

Lips pressed lightly to his check as angelic hands rested on his hips, making him feel intoxicated and light-headed.

"R-riku?..." Sora stammered breathlessly, mind shutting off from logical thought. Tears pricked hotly in the corner of his eyes as he held the other tightly, arms tangling mercilessly around the man's neck, whimpering into the stale night air.

This was among countless of the reasons why he believed so strongly in magic.

"Told you… I'd never leave you," Riku murmured softly, hands flexing at the other's sides.

"You never said that." Sora mumbled back.

"I said I love you, is that enough?" He tugged lightly at the other, pulling him in for a chaste kiss.

"Perhaps…" Sora blushed softly and then blinked. "But…what do we do? Everyone thinks your dead. And the people that don't want to kill you…"

"Perhaps I'll make us disappear," He arched an eyebrow, obviously entranced by the idea.

"…You're such a…" Sora laughed softly.

"Such a?..."

"Idiot." Sora confirmed before burying his head into Riku's chest.

After all, every good act had an encore, right?