Disclaimer: I do not claim to own any characters used in this story, and I do not claim to own any other subject that belongs to Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy (Square Enix)
Rating: 'M' For language, sexual themes (just to be safe), and disturbing/mature themes.
Warning: This story contains slash, and quite a bit of it at that. I'm featuring a Riku/Sora relationship, as well as Axel/Roxas, Cloud/Leon, and maybe Demyx/Zexion—not sure about that one though. This story also contains scenes with child abuse—DO NOT READ THIS if you can't stand that kind of thing.
Summary: Sora, the Destiny High track team's star runner, has always been an unidentified mystery. The son of a famous track star, Roy Atari, Sora has grown up knowing he wants to run. But now, when the spring track season starts up and Sora's friends are beginning to delve into his secrets, Sora finds that no matter how fast you run, you can never leave your problems in the dust.
A/N: Alright! I actually wasn't planning on posting this until about a month from now (when school gets out), but I'm lacking in inspiration for this story and I'm hoping you guys could do away with my writers' block (review…comment…leave a note…hint hint…). Anyway, this started out as a challenge from my old writing 'tutor'-type-thing (write about a character in traumatic circumstances) and as a challenge from my friend (write a story in a fandom that you aren't directly involved in). So, I picked the traumatic theme 'abuse', and my fandom is Kingdom Hearts. After a lot of research on characters and settings, this is what came out! AU, of course, because KH is complicated—and high school is so much more fun to write. (For a bit more on the idea behind this story, check out my profile). I apologize in advance about any errors in this chapter; if you catch one, feel free to let me know about it.
About updates: they probably won't be regular; weekly or biweekly or anything like that. They will be when I have time. Enjoy chapter one of Track Season!
Also, I'm searching for a beta for this story, so if anyone is interested, PM me and I'll get back to you about it.
The Start of a Season
Riku jumped in place as he tied his shoulder-length silvery hair back into a low ponytail. A headache was coming on, he could feel pressure begin to build at his temples, but with a bit of luck it wouldn't stay for long. It was a short practice for the team anyway because they had a meet the next day and the coach didn't want to strain anyone.
"Riku! Warm up, stretch out! We don't have all day, ya?" Coach Wakka yelled from the bleachers near the track. Turning his head he saw several other team members talking in groups, walking around the track. He blew a sharp blast on his whistle. "Listen up, everyone!" He yelled, bringing the kids over to him. "We've got our first meet of the season tomorrow, and if you're not going to show up today and run your asses off, we won't be going. Take the mile." Groans of protest arose from the kids.
"Come on, Coach, lighten up," Zexion whined, bending over to place his hands as close to his feet as he could get them. Coach Wakka pushed down on his back, not relenting until the boy's hands were pressed flat on the ground.
"Better. Now get up and run! That goes for all of you!" Wakka yelled. His team grumbled a bit more, but jogged onto the track and took off, their feet pounding the black surface at a steady rhythm. The orange-haired coach leaned back against the bleachers and watched the kids as they ran. In the lead was Axel, the team's best sprinter, and also the most aggressive member. Just behind him was Namine, another good sprinter with a fierce disposition to prove herself; which she had, in Wakka's mind. Right behind her was Riku, his star runner. Wakka wasn't one to show favorites, but he knew that if he allowed himself to do it, Riku would be the kid who got the most attention from him. The tall, athletic boy specialized in distance running, but didn't generally take an event that ran over two miles. He wasn't bad in the sprint department, although Axel still took the cake in those events. But everything else, Riku owned. Even now, Wakka could see Riku pass Namine with little effort, his feet picking up the pace a bit to run along side Axel. Axel, being the sprinter he was, didn't care about pacing himself for the mile. He was as stubborn as teenage kids come, but knew how to train for his events, and that training didn't include pacing himself. This meant that in about two laps Axel would pretty much be done, often times coming in with the slowest groups of kids. Riku, on the other hand, normally came in first. His competitive streak out-shone Namine's and Tidus's added together, only matched by Axel's aggressive competitiveness. God that kid reminds me of when I was his age, Wakka thought as Riku ran past him, finished with one lap around the track, Namine a few paces behind him.
Twilight Town High's track coach put his gaze on the other members of his traveling team. Olette, a freshmen, who ran well although not especially well; Zexion, the quiet sixteen-year-old kid who only ran track because he wanted to stay in shape for cross country; Tidus; Yuffie and her friend Tifa, both sophomores; Pence, Olette's older brother by two years, who was a powerhouse of energy, and finally: Paine, the gothic, sarcastic girl who Wakka didn't like at all. The only reason she was running was because of her mother, who wanted her to do at least one sport per year. Why pick trackWakka complained silently, watching her jog around the track with a scowl on her face. In total, Wakka had ten kids on his team, a good, solid number. Not too many to transport; enough that they could generally have a kid in every running event.
"Wakka." A low, unintentionally sultry voice ran through the humid air and Wakka turned, one brow raised to his assistant coach.
"Leon, how are ya man?" Wakka greeted the tall man with dark brown hair with a smile and a wave. "Just sent 'em on the mile. They're down two laps." Leon nodded, taking a seat next to Wakka and setting his bag down on the ground in-between his feet.
"Brought you your uniforms for those kids. Not bad ones, I guess," Leon stated. Wakka unzipped the bag with anticipation and pulled out the jersey on top of the pile. They were simple, but bold: a bright green strip ran down the center of the tank-styled white jersey, showing off Twilight Town High's team colors well.
"Riku's going to be pissed," Leon commented, taking a look at the jersey in Wakka's hands.
"Why?" The coach asked, putting the jersey down and pulling out a pair of white track shorts.
"The white's going to make his hair look grey."
"His hair is grey, ya."
"It's silver. Not grey. Don't ever let him hear you say that, by the way," Leon stated, a spark of amusement showing in his eyes but not transmitting to the rest of his face. Wakka shrugged and set the uniform back in the box.
"Get out there and get those lazy-ass kids moving, Leon," The orange-haired man ordered, once again looking out at his team. Leon got up without a word and walked over to the edge of the track.
"Last one in does an extra lap!" He yelled, his voice booming over the field. Leon smirked in satisfaction as everyone seemed to run a bit faster. He turned back to Wakka. "So…who's going to be at the meet tomorrow?" Wakka grabbed a clipboard off the bleachers and ran his eyes over it.
"Lets see…we've got the Traverse Town team, team from Hollow Bastion, Halloween Town's team—creepy kids, I tell ya—the Wonderland team, the team from Neverland, and the team from…Destiny Islands," Wakka finished, looking back up at Leon, who was nodding contemplatively.
"So…Halloween Town, Wonderland and Neverland can't run for their lives, so we only have to worry about Traverse town, Hollow Bastion, and Destiny Islands. Not bad. Our kids'll do well," Leon commented, running a large hand through his chin-length hair.
"Our kid's are gonna do great, ya!" Wakka cried.
"If they can pull through Destiny," Leon stated, meaning that the Twilight Town team would have some tough competition coming from Destiny Islands. Wakka knew this already, after all, he had grown up running with that team. Even though that had been ten years ago, Cid was still coaching, and Cid was a damn good coach. Hallow Bastion was also a high competitor; last year they had smashed through all the sprint records, although Axel was right there with them. Leon himself grew up there, ran with the team, and knew about the coach, who he didn't get along with at all. 'Hatred', was a better word for that. Sephiroth had a bad reputation among all the coaches for telling his kids to win to matter what the cost. He encouraged kids to cheat, and more than once, one of his team members had beaten the shit out of a competitor, just so they could win.
"Hey, we've got Riku, Axel, Tidus, Yuffie and Tifa with us. They're going to bring something in for our team tomorrow. Always do, man," Wakka said optimistically. Sometimes Leon just needed to chill out. "Have a little faith."
"Did you know Cid got a new assistant coach?" Leon asked a moment later, his dark blue eyes following Riku who was ahead of the pack by about ten feet. Wakka shook his head. "Pretty good runner I guess. Had a contract with a big team for a while until he got in a fight and screwed up his knee. Originally came from Hollow Bastion."
"Sounds a bit like your story to me, ya?" Wakka mentioned. Leon shrugged.
"I never had a contract."
"You should have. You were a damn good runner, ya know? Had a lot goin' for ya."
"Accidents happen. It's in the past, I'm over it anyway."
"You know that wasn't an accident, Leon. Everyone knows it. You should have gone to court when you had the chance," Wakka advised. Leon sighed.
"I didn't a lawsuit back then. I would have died from the stress," The brown-haired runner said.
"Sure, but you would'a died rich," The coach commented with a loud laugh. A small smile worked its way onto Leon's face. "Come on, let's bring these kids in, have 'em really start runnin'." The two men stood up and walked over to the track where the team was gathered, most drinking water from large water bottles and some lying on the ground gasping for air.
"Not bad, tots, take a breather while I name you off for events. If I get something wrong, just let me know, ya?" Wakka said, flipping several pages on his clipboard over until he came to the list of events and names beside them. "Okay, we've got Riku, running the eight-hundred and sixteen-hundred; Axel, running the one-hundred, two-hundred and four-hundred, Namine—"
"Sorry, Coach, I can't make it. I have to stay home with my sis over the weekend. Sorry," Namine apologized, chewing on one lip nervously.
"Don't worry 'bout it, ya? We'll see you Monday. Anyway…Olette: two-hundred and four-hundred; Zex, you're pinned up for—"
"Zexion, Coach," The slate-haired teen said with a hint of annoyance. Wakka nodded absently and continued.
"Fine, you're running the five-thousand only. The sixteen-hundred's right after the five-thousand, so you can't compete in that event at this meet," Impressed whistles rose up from the members of the track team, Riku patted his friend on the back. Zexion had started running the previous year on the cross-country team, and had immediately established himself as a hard-core distance runner. Now that cross country was over, Zexion got himself on the track team, in order to stay in shape for a bit longer. Wakka brought attention back into focus a moment later, "Tidus: one-hundred and two-hundred; Yuffie: eight-hundred and fifteen-hundred; Tifa, you've got the four-hundred and the eight-hundred; Pence: one-hundred and four-hundred; and Paine, you're up there for the eight-hundred. Are you even going?" Paine shrugged.
"Mom says I have too," The girl with light brown hair stated with a roll of her eyes. Wakka nodded and jotted her name back on the list. "Alright, our relay team for the four by one-hundred is, in order of your running order: Tidus, Riku, Pence, and Axel. Leon, take 'em through a short exercise, then they can get home. I'm gonna go organize the names and events for tomorrow. Guys, be here tomorrow and nine am sharp, ya?" Wakka told them after handing Leon a page of notes and giving the team a cheery smile before walking off the track and heading down to his office at the school. Leon bent over slightly, putting his hands on his knees and looking up at the kids once before looking down at the paper Wakka had given him.
"You guys are in high school, I'm not babysitting you. Take fifteen minutes, no more no less, to train individually for your own events. Axel, Wakka wants you to run your four-hundred, get that done sometime today. Let's see…Riku, take four-hundred meters sometimes today, but run it like the first part of your eight-hundred, and work on your hundred-meter sprint for the relay. We'll be doing blind starts tomorrow, just so you know. Tifa and Yuffie, Wakka left a note that says you two should run your eight-hundred. Everyone else, be responsible and use this time to be productive. If I see anyone slacking, you'll be running a mile, with me," Leon stated. The kids who were lying on the ground scrambled to their feet, set their watches to 'stopwatch' mode, and took off. No one wanted to run the mile with Leon. Even with an injury, Leon could still run short distances, a mile being the most he would normally run. Still, his injured knee was plenty to ensure that he could never run professionally, which had been his dream for years. Now, he had set his sights on becoming a coach, either for Twilight Town High, or Hallow Bastion High: whichever would give him a job.
Leon sat back down on the bleachers, watching the team run around the track. Tomorrow would be their first meet of the season, after two months of training. He expected Riku, Axel, Zexion, and Tidus to do very well, in comparison to some of the other kids. Namine was a good runner, but she had joined the team later on, and hadn't had as much time to train. Still, by the end of the season, both Leon and Wakka expected she would be a top contender as far as the girls went. She could be good someday. Still, Riku and Axel were the stars of the team, and both of them knew it. Axel was one of the best sprinters in the state, and Riku was one of the fastest middle-distance runners in the state as well. Leon and Wakka were also proud of their relay team; practically undefeated last year. Yes, Leon thought, this is going to be a great season.
And there is the introductory chapter. Just to introduce you to the characters, their personalities, and roles in my story. You may be wondering where the 'field' part of 'track and field' is, so here's your answer: it's gone. I'm really just going to stick with the track events for this story. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed!
I'd love it if I didn't suffer from writers' block anymore…so please leave a comment for me. Suggestions and ideas are welcome!