Disclaimer: Don't own. I'm so witty.
Joh: Soo this took awhile since I had no idea what to write. Still don't but what the hell.
Jessie: Nice, Joh, nice.
Joh: I know, right?
Apparently, with Roxas visiting Namine so often Axel didn't have much to do but hang out in Riku's apartment.
"This is the third time this week," he whined, turning his head to send Sora a miserable look.
The brunet spared him a brief glance before returning his attention to the pot of soup he was boiling over the stove, carefully stirring the contents. "So… is that why you're here?" he asked slowly.
Axel sighed and turned to put his head down on the kitchen table. "Actually, Riku asked me to keep you company. You telling me you don't appreciate it?" He grinned suddenly and looked around the tidy kitchen, smile morphing into a smirk. "Don't you hate how clean Riku keeps this place? Drives me crazy."
Sora shrugged and took a careful sip of his soup.
The redhead watched him for several more minutes before he propped his chin up in his palm and chuckled. "You're pretty at home here. Who would've thought?" He arched an eyebrow and tapped a finger against the very corner of his mouth.
That got a response. Sora turned away from the stove to frown at Axel and sigh. "What? You think I should be sitting in a corner crying and throwing a tantrum? Or planning a great escape plan using only kitchen utensils to dig my way out of here?" Sora huffed and shrugged his shoulders as he turned the burner off.
Axel blinked at Sora's tone. "It would make sense if you were doing something like that. Not like it would be constructive, but at least it would make sense."
Sora stood on his tiptoes to pull a bowl from the cupboard before looking over at Axel with a careful expression. "You mean that's the normal thing to do?" he asked, and when Axel nodded he laughed. "I figured that doing either of those things would be a waste of my time, something I don't think I can spare." He started pouring the soup and glanced up at the ceiling thoughtfully, ignoring the fact that he was splattering droplets of chowder across the counter.
"I guess I figured out a little whiles ago that the best thing I can do in this situation is to adapt as best I can until…" he trailed off into silence then shrugged once more.
Axel dropped his hand and arched his eyebrows. "Adapt, huh? Not many people would be able to do that, you know. Hell, even Roxy had trouble adjusting to life in the Organization." He frowned as the humor left his face, leaving him looking strangely grim.
Sora carried the bowl of soup over to the table and sat down across from Axel. He studied Axel's expression before smiling softly, eyes downcast. "You're worried about him," he said simply. "You guys… you aren't bad people, not like I thought."
Axel looked up and grinned at that. "Good to know."
Sora lifted the bowl to his lips and took a careful sip, wincing when the hot broth burned his tongue. Axel watched silently as Sora set the bowl back down to wait for it to cool. "The only thing I really can't stand…" The brunet trailed off and glanced out the rain painted window with a heavy sigh. "It feels like ages since I was last outside."
"We took you shopping." Axel reminded him, pulling the bowl towards him slowly. "And you went out with Riku that one time…"
Sora allowed a small smile as he turned back to watch Axel lift the bowl and take a greedy sip of his soup. "Yeah but… " He shrugged. True, he had actually gone outside when Riku had taken him on that mission, but the horror of all that happened then erased any pleasure he might have gotten out of that brief taste of freedom.
"That's the spirit, kid," Axel crowed, slapping the bowl down and pushing it back towards Sora. "God, you're optimistic. You should tell Riku. He might be able to set something up."
Sora stared into the chowder and squinted his eyes. "You think so?"
"Sure." Axel shrugged and grinned slyly, leaning forward towards him. "After all, like you said, we aren't bad people."
The brunet stared at him with wide eyes before a smile slowly slid across his face. He turned his face back down to contemplate his soup once more. Axel had a point. At this point, Sora was sure that if he talked to Riku the assassin would find a way for him to enjoy the sunlight but…
His smile faded into a frown as he recalled the strange kiss they had shared only a few days ago. They both acted like it had never happened but Sora could feel it hovering between them sometimes, heavy and insistent. This wasn't like the time Riku had gotten drunk and came onto him. This time it was intentional, real, and Sora couldn't pass it off as a simple incident.
Sora blinked as he felt Axel's gaze on him and hastily started sipping at his soup. "So…how's Roxas? I haven't seen much of him lately," Sora said with a thoughtful frown once he had swallowed his mouthful of soup.
Axel's expression soured at the reminder and slouched down into his seat, wearing a sulky expression. "He's being pissy. More so than usual, I mean," Axel added after a short pause.
Sora blinked. "What did you do?" he asked curiously.
Green eyes narrowed. "What makes you think I did anything? Roxas has regular PMS."
"Seventy percent of the time that PMS is caused by you," Sora mused, leaning back in his seat comfortably.
Axel sighed and studied him carefully before rolling his shoulders and tilting his chair back on its hind legs. "He's probably ticked that I've been talking with Marluxia and Larxene so much. He hates them."
"As much as Riku?"
"Probably more than Riku."
Sora gaped as his eyebrows shot up, hardly daring to believe that. "But… but why? What's wrong with them?" he wondered.
Axel rolled his eyes up to the ceiling and chuckled under his breath. "There's probably a shit load of reasons why. Let's see… Marluxia is a right bitch, actually, they both are. You probably don't think so but you barely got a taste of Marluxia. Trust me, he's snarky. You haven't met Larxene and I hope for your sake you never do. She's psychotic, seriously." He winced and rubbed his thigh, muttering something under his breath.
The brunet bit his lip and nodded slowly, trying to imagine this frightening woman. "But… why are you talking to them so much if they're so horrible?"
Axel's eyes flashed before he smiled easily and tapped a finger against his chin. "Just looking for some new insights."
Sora stared at the redhead, trying to fathom the strange look that had crossed Axel's features but soon shrugged it off. Axel was a strange person so he shouldn't really question him.
"I trust you got rid of Zack's body properly?"
Riku looked up slowly, dragging his gaze across the smooth wood of the desk to Xemnas's vivid, amber eyes. "Of course I did," he replied, a bit coldly. He narrowed his eyes and lifted a hand to sweep back his long bangs. "I always do."
Xemnas nodded slowly and leaned forward to rest his chin across his folded fingers. "Yes, but it is not often you get wounded," he remarked casually, ignoring the scowl he got in response.
Riku paused then leaned back in his seat and crossed his legs. "Zack was a skilled fighter," he admitted flatly.
Xemnas met his gaze and smirked. "Thankful that Sora was there?"
Riku started to shrug but froze, eyes widening a fraction as his calm manner slipped briefly. He opened his mouth to speak then quickly shut it again, jaw tightening. "Yes. I was."
The older man chuckled and glanced at the empty fireplace. "Speaking of Sora… don't you think it is about time he gets introduced to the others?"
It took Riku a full minute to compose himself. "For what purpose?" he asked slowly, fingers tightening into fists.
Xemnas smiled and shrugged. "To get it out of the way." His lips curled as he pulled back and waved a hand, excusing Riku before he could say a word. "Bring him to the conference room today. Five o'clock sharp. Don't be late," he added on as a warning.
Riku stood to leave and bowed his head, teeth gritted. "Yes, sir."
He left the office quickly and only let the blank expression fall away from his face once he was inside the elevator with the doors tightly shut. "Damnit!" he hissed, slamming a fist into the wall of the compartment. He swore again and looked up to glare at the metallic, heavy doors.
Xemnas must have set that whole thing up with Zack! He had planned it out so that Sora's abilities would be needed to heal him.
He let his fist fall back to his side, throbbing from the impact. But why did he do that? To test Sora's abilities? No, the incident with Roxas was enough to prove Sora's gift…
He sighed heavily and dragged his sore hand through his hair, pushing silver strands out of his eyes. He hated to admit it but the only thing he could do for now was wait until he could get more information.
God, he hated waiting.
It was a good thing that the elevator was so slow because he needed those extra minutes to compose himself. By the time the elevator reached his floor and the doors slid open, Riku's face was once again carefully devoid of emotion.
He slid his hands in his pockets and stepped out into the hall, a heavy sigh fanning across his lips. He sighed once he reached his apartment, pausing right outside the door, staring numbly at the thin number on the door. May as well go in and…
But before he could even retrieve his key from his pocket the door swung open, missing his nose by an inch.
"The hell, Riku? What took you so long?" Axel demanded, slapping his hand against the doorframe for emphasis. He shook his head and signed, drawing his fingers through his spiked, red hair. "Okay, never mind. Forget it. I'm hungry so I'm going out." He grinned and shoved past Riku, giving him a hard pat on the shoulder.
"You could've eaten something here," Riku muttered, rolling his eyes as he stepped into the kitchen.
Axel paused in the hallway then turned to grab Riku by the arm and pull him close. "I could've but…" he trailed off and shook his head. "Try and take Sora out on the roof today." When Riku frowned at him Axel simply shrugged and chuckled softly. "The kid needs it," he added simply before letting Riku go and stepping back out into the hall.
Riku watched him walk away then turned to look into the apartment, eyebrows furrowing. "Sora…?" he called hesitantly.
For a moment it didn't seem like anyone was going to answer and an irrational pang of worry shot through him. But then Sora appeared from the living room, a hoodie pulled halfway on.
Their eyes met and Sora's cheek flushed a light pink as he hastily pulled the sweatshirt all the way on. "Yeah?"
Riku paused then spoke. "Want to go outside?"
Blue eyes widened. "Out…"
The assassin quickly cut him off, shaking his head. "I mean out on the roof."
"Oh…. But it's raining…."
"If you don't want to…"
Sora shook his head hastily and stepped forward, hands slipping into the front pocket of the hoodie. "No... I'd like that," he said quietly, a small smile forming.
The tension Riku had been unaware he had been holding was suddenly released from his shoulders. "Come on then."
Sora wasn't sure what to feel when he stepped out from the stairwell onto the flat roof of the apartment building.
Gray clouds filled the sky, hiding the sun from view as they released a shower of rain. In all rights, it was gloomy and damp and depressing, but to Sora it was beautiful. He walked past Riku and closed his eyes, holding still so that he could feel the rain kiss his skin.
He felt Riku watching him but decided to ignore it and focus instead on the wind tugging at his hair and the water clinging to his lashes. His toes curled in his sneakers and a sudden, sharp pang shot through him as he thought of how badly he wanted to just run.
"I thought this would make you happy."
Sora turned to glance over his shoulder at Riku, a small, sad smile at his lips. Riku was watching him, water pulling his long bangs into his face and obscuring his frown.
Sora paused then looked away. "I am happy. And that's what's so sad."
Riku didn't reply.
The brunet tipped his chin up and rubbed the back of his neck, eyes searching the sky for a peek of sun. "I didn't think I had been here for that long but…" he trailed off and chuckled "I'm actually happy to be out here."
"It's raining," Riku said, sounding apologetic.
By the time they were back inside and in the elevator Sora's clothes were soaking wet, clinging to his skin and dripping small drops of water on the floor. He shivered and glanced up at Riku, frowning. "We passed our floor," he pointed out, eyes flickering over to the numbers glowing over the metal doors.
Riku shifted in place then shrugged his shoulders. "I know."
It was silent for a moment then, "Are we going somewhere…?"
"You're just meeting some people," Riku said as the doors slid open with a clang. He motioned for Sora to follow him out into the hallway.
Silently, he put an arm around Sora's shoulder and led him down the narrow hall, past rows of tall doors. Sora's sneakers squeaked along the white tiled floor. He fidgeted nervously and rubbed his arms, the air conditioning making his wet skin icy. "Meeting who?" he asked slowly, glancing up and down the hall. Something about the hallway unnerved him. It may have been the blank, cold doors or the dull lighting that cast long, spindly shadows off the white walls.
Riku stopped suddenly in front of a door, hand momentarily tightening over his shoulder.
He reached out to open the door then paused, and leaned close to Sora. "Don't let them intimidate you," he whispered, their lips almost brushing. Sora flushed and Riku pulled back and swung open the door.
The room was almost painfully bright compared to the shadowy hallway. A glass table stood alone at the front of the room holding nothing but a pitcher of water. But that wasn't what caught Sora's attention. Ten, dark figures stood around the room by the walls, laughing softly and talking amongst themselves. The moment they took notice of Sora and Riku they all fell silent, heads turning to study him critically.
Sora drew back against Riku, fear jumping up his chest, making his heart thud faster. Without even thinking, he pushed back, starting to turn as if to leave. But Riku caught him by the shoulders and firmly nudged him into the room.
"So this is the child," a tall man remarked, thick arms crossing over his broad chest. He tilted his head, black dreadlocks falling across his shoulders.
Sora glanced back at Riku, eyes widening when he saw a blonde woman shut the door. "Aw, isn't he cute?" the woman cooed, leaning back against the door and grinning sharply. She was slender and had a pointed face with short, sleek blonde hair. She tapped her foot against the floor, heel clicking against the tile.
"Shup up, Larxene," Riku snapped, directing Sora towards the other side of the room.
She scowled and narrowed her green eyes at Riku, tipping her chin up to sneer at him. "I was complimenting your little pet." She spat out each word before letting her gaze fall back on Sora. "Who knew you had the same taste as Axel?"
A man, Sora recognized quickly as Marluxia the moment that pink hair flashed into view, stepped up. He put a hand over Larxene's shoulder and tilted his head to murmur to her, "I'd have to disagree. He's not quite as depressing as Roxas, hm?"
"Speaking of Roxas… where is he?" A man in the corner of the room spoke up suddenly, amber eyes sweeping across the room.
Sora gulped when his hard gaze landed on him and unconsciously shifted back, closer to Riku. Perhaps it was the large X scar across the man's face that unnerved him but…
"And where's Number VIII?" he growled.
"Chill out, Saix," Demyx chirped up and strode over to Sora, ruffling his hair cheerfully. "He's always grumpy like this," he whispered loudly, eyes crinkling around the edges.
"Demyx." He took a threatening step forward, but stopped when the door slammed open. The room immediately fell silent as a man with long, silver hair stepped in, steely, amber eyes moving across each face in the room.
Sora felt Riku stiffen from behind him and swallowed nervously, positive that everyone in the suddenly quiet room was able to hear his hear thudding in his chest. "That's Xemnas," Riku whispered to him, voice tight.
Xemnas' eyes pierced Sora before he swept up to the front of the room, looking around grimly. "Today is a momentous day." His voice was deep and he pronounced each word carefully and slowly. I am pleased to announce that a new comrade has been chosen to wear the cloat."
Sora blinked then glanced around the room again curiously. He had not yet been introduced to all the members so he wasn't sure who it was that was new.
Larxene was scowling and whispering sharply to Marluxia who was nodding slowly. To Larxene's right stood a tall man with dull red hair and a jutting chin. He was staring solemnly straight ahead, brows furrowed. Another man, older than the others, stood a little off to the side, glancing from Marluxia to Larxene, eyes narrowed.
No one in the room made any acknowledgment that they were the new member.
Xemnas turned his head and swept out his arm towards Sora, his lips curling up to form a small smirk.
Joh: .....heh. I know.