The Key To A Heart
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters…except for 19 stuffed Stitch's, do they count?
And A GIANORMOS thank you goes out to elichi for beta-ing this for me!
"I'm not afraid of the dark. I'm not afraid of the dark." The young brunet repeated over and over to himself as a mantra, while sitting up in the strange bed. A single bedside lamp illuminated the room that was supposed to be his for the night. Growling in frustration, he threw the covers off himself, stood up, and began pacing the small room.
At the age of fifteen, Sora had done more in the last two years, than anyone else could have ever imagined. Travelling to many different worlds, saving said worlds; not once, not twice, but now three times. Well, almost. They were resting in the World That Never Was, in a building that was not overrun by the heartless, or the nobodies. With magic and a lot of help from all those he met on his journey, a barrier was erected around one of the abandoned houses, to give him and his party a final resting place to bed before going on to battle against the head of Organization XIII.
Xemnas. The original nobody.
Just thinking about that name sent chills down Sora's spine. How he used people for his own advantages, without hesitation. How he manipulated everyone, even people who were part of his own organization. How he had managed to manipulate Sora into doing his dirty work for him by gathering hearts. That thought still caused him to shutter.
But through all the turmoil and problems that he had overcome, there had been a lot of good things that happened as well. Such as finally being reunited with Kairi and Riku. And now, they were all here together, in the World That Never Was, gathering their strength before taking on Xemnas, before returning to their island, before returning to a semi-normal life.
But here Sora was, sitting in bed, unable to sleep, staring at a small lamp and telling himself that he was not afraid of the dark. Oh, he could take on hoards and hoards of heartless and nobodies, and even the Organization, but heaven forbid that he could turn off a lamp to get some sleep.
As he sat there in the relative silence, he thought of what all was going to change when he got back to the island. Would he be able to go back to living a normal life? What would his parents say when he came back? He had run off that night without even saying goodbye. Did they think that he hated them? It had almost been two years since he had seen them. Or had they forgotten him, just as everyone else had? Sora knew that he wouldn't be able to handle his parents not remembering him.
With a frustrated sigh, Sora put his head in his hands. So much was weighing on his shoulders in the upcoming battle, and he just couldn't get his mind to calm down. The silence was unnerving to him, being far too quite for a building that Donald was currently in. Looking once more over to the lamp, the brunet reached over to the light with a shaky hand, trying to face this fear. It shouldn't be that difficult. Grabbing his wrist to try and steady his trembling hand, Sora felt his fingers come in contact with the lamp, and as he slammed his eyes shut, he pulled the small chain and effectively stole all the light from the small room.
With an over exaggerated motion, Sora slowly opened his eyes one at a time to peer into the dark room, without a single ray of light to be found anywhere. It wasn't all that different then when his eyes had been shut. And it wasn't like he was going to sleep with his eyes opened. Taking deep breaths to try and calm his racing heart, a small noise came from the far corner of the tiny room, causing the brunet to jump. Trying his best not to scream and wake everyone else up, but at the same time, trying to prove that the keyblade master was not afraid of something so pitiful as the dark, Sora turned towards the noise, eyes shut once again. Reminding himself that if his eyes were closed he wouldn't be able to see what was making the commotion, Sora once again forced his eyes to open and gaze into the darkness filled room.
Everything seemed to be normal, the darkness falling harmlessly on the motionless objects in the room. Sora knew that he was starting to hyperventilate over something that may very well just be something that was happening in the room next to him. It wasn't like the heartless were invading their nocturnal safe haven, because there would be alarms going off all around them. But there was definitely a noise, because Sora just heard it again. There was no doubt about it, it was in deed here in this room, and being the only occupant, Sora knew that he was not the one making the noise.
He finally gave into his fear and reached an arm back towards the lamp, intent on turning the light back on, as the next surprise came. At the foot of the bed, two neon green lights brightly illuminated the small room. They didn't shed enough light to show Sora what the two lights just hanging in mid air were, and things were just starting to get plain creepy.
"The hell?" Sora whispered, reaching a hand out towards the orbs, despite the screaming objections that his mind was giving.
"Sora!" the strange voice caused Sora to make a very unmasculine noise, which was a cross between a squeak and a hiccup. Then without warning, the two green orbs began to fly at him, and crashed into his chest. And at that instant, Sora knew exactly what was going on.
"Stitch, the hell?" he growled as the small blue alien started to lick at the brunet's face. With a little bit of force, Sora was able to pull the fuzzy creature off of his chest. Unlike the other friends that he was used to calling on for help, Stitch was the only one that was a physical being all the time. The other friends he summoned were more like the shadows, or the spirits, of those that had offered themselves to his aid, yet Stitch travelled around with him all the time, always there. Not to mention that Stitch never actually ever listened to the keyblade master. He just appeared when he wanted to, and at times like this, Sora wanted to just exterminate the blue alien; put everyone out of the misery of dealing with it.
"Stitch cute and fluffy!" the creature exclaimed, followed by a sinister laugh that sent shivers up Sora's spine.
"Shh! You're going to wake everyone up!" the brunet hissed, attempting to keep the blue alien away from him. With a look that was entirely too much like a puppies, the blue creature looked up at Sora with his two unnaturally glowing green eyes, in an excellent semblance of a pout. And seeing only two green eyes floating in midair isn't as cute as you would think. "Can you tone down the glowing eye thing please, Stitch? It's seriously creeping me out."
"Stitch sorry!" the alien exclaimed, despite Sora's earlier warning, before stopping the green glow.
Sora sighed, then began to scratch behind Stitch's floppy blue ear. Stitch made a very cat like purr before leaning into the pleasure giving hand.
"Do I even want to go back to my island anymore? I don't think that it will ever be the same, knowing about all these other worlds, not being able to see any of my new friends." Sora whispered, finding comfort in speaking his fear out loud to the strange creature on his lap. "I mean, what will I say to my mom when I get home? 'Hi mom, sorry I have been gone so long. Just saving the worlds again, by the way what's for dinner?' No, I don't think that I can go back to that anymore. But I don't want to be separated from Riku again, or Kairi. What should I do?"
The blue alien offered no response, but letting his feelings be known was helping Sora, so he continued telling Stitch his fears and woes. "I mean, I'm not going to be in high school with all my friends, I'm two grades behind. And how could I sit there and listen to a stuffy old teacher go on about pitiful little things like math and English, after all that I've been through. I'm not saying that I plan on dropping out, I just don't think that the close minded people of Destiny Islands are going to be enough for me anymore."
"Close minded are we?" A deep voice came from the direction of the doorway. For the second time that night, Sora made a noise that he was not very proud of. Without waiting for a reply, he jumped over, forgetting about Stitch on his lap, and quickly turned on the light. Receiving a growl and a glare from the fuzzy alien, Sora looked over at the doorway where the voice had come from.
"Riku…" The brunet's voice took on an oddly breathless tone as he looked at his platinum haired friend standing there watching him. The boy had grown since Sora had last seen him, now the scrawny and awkward teenager was muscular, tall, and handsome. He had a regal radiance about him, and his aristocratic features had matured well on him. Sora felt a twinge of jealousy at his best friend, knowing that for at least another couple of years, the brunet was not going to be handsome, but cute, and he would never gain the height that Riku had, he would just be lanky for the years to come.
"Who were you talking to anyway?" Riku asked, stepping inside of the small room, which in Sora's opinion had just gotten a little too warm. Especially because all that Riku was wearing, were his pants and a light, little sleeveless white top.
"Oh, I find it helps sometimes to talk to Stitch, seeing as he follows me everywhere." Sora chuckled, scratching the back of his head. Noticing that there was no where to offer Riku a place to sit, Sora moved over and motioned to the part of the bed next to him, where Riku graciously accepted.
"I used to talk to DiZ like that too. But you're lucky, Stitch doesn't talk back." Riku laughed, lounging out next to his childhood friend.
"Wanna bet?" Sora grumbled, before the blue alien crawled back onto Sora's lap and demanded for Sora to continue to scratch behind his ears.
"Neega wala Stitch! Ich!" the creature said, earning a laugh from the older teen.
"You sure do pick the oddest friends, Sora." He laughed, and Sora only shrugged in response before lifting his hand to Stitch's ear. "So what were you saying about people of the Destiny Islands being close minded? We can't be thinking of the same set of backwater islands can we?" The sarcasm literally dripped of Riku's words.
"I just don't know how I'll react to seeing everyone again. Or how they will react to seeing me again. I know what went on during my trip to Castle Oblivion. Everyone forgot me. The only reason why people remembered me was because I basically made them. What if Naminé forgot to restore me to my parents? What do they think of me? Do they think I ran away because I hate them? Because I don't, I mean, it's not like you can ignore a call to save the world." Sora began to ramble, and that brought a slight smile to Riku's face. How he missed this little brunet ball of energy.
"Sora, you have to calm down. Trust me when I tell you that everything will be fine." Riku spoke calmly as he placed a hand on Sora's brown spikes, before ruffling them.
"Hey! Watch the hair." He grumbled, trying to shoo away the offending hand, while at the same time trying not to disturb Stitch, who was still comfortable on his lap.
Riku let out another round of laughter. "It's lighter than before." He whispered, as he began to finger a single spike.
"Oh, I think that's because of Roxas. Somehow when we were reconnected, I retained a few of his features. I didn't know until just a little while ago, when I battled him in front of that skyscraper, that he was my nobody." Sora refused to look at Riku, a little embarrassed, but for reasons other than his own stupidity.
"So, what happened there? I heard from the King that you just kind of disappeared, and then showed up again, panting like you just fought a thousand heartless." Riku looked over at his friend, interested in what had been happening to the keyblade master since they had last been together. After all, they were the best of friends, and although Riku had once sought to destroy Sora, the brunet had proved how deep their friendship ran when he chose to not return to their island, but to try and find a way to recover Riku from the darkness.
"I think that it all actually took place in my mind. He mentioned that he had only lost one other time, and that was to you. A lot of things went unspoken, but I can feel him now, now that I know of his existence. It's like he's always with me, right beneath the surface. I think that the other members of the organization could interact with him, because they always seemed to be talking to him, when I was battling them, and that there was a one sided conversation going on. And besides, it got really annoying how they all only called me Roxas." The brunet complained, but Riku could tell that it was half hearted.
"Seems that you've lead an interesting life." The silver haired teen smiled the first natural smile that he had felt in a long time. There was just something about the brunet sitting next to him that caused the corners of his mouth to turn up spontaneously.
Sora made a small grunting noise, neither confirming, nor denying Riku's statement. "Well, you have too, haven't you? Tell me, what was it like living in Ansem's, sorry, Xehanort's body for a year? That must have been really weird."
"You have no idea. But, to be able to do anything, I needed to be able to use the power of darkness to be able to help you, so as along as I didn't look in a mirror, I could almost forget that anything was different. But for the first little while, I just had this childish idea to, you know, mutilate his body, poke it, all those strange things you always try to do to someone else's body." Riku once again laughed, finding it to come easy to him for some reason. It was almost as if they were back on the island, before all of this happened. "Say, Sora, have you ever thought about not going back to the islands?"
"Sure I have. But really, where else could I go?" Sora shrugged, finally looking over at his best friend.
"Well, I'm sure that the king would let you live at his castle." He suggested.
"Nah, I'd just feel like I'd be in the way there. Everyone seems to have their own lives already there, and I'd just be intruding. The only place that I think that I might be able to live and not feel totally awkward would be Radiant Garden, but still, too much has happened for me to feel normal there." Sora replied, attempting to get Stitch to move, but receiving only a light growl from the alien, so he let him stay on his lap.
"It seems like it was only yesterday that we were building that raft, eager to get off of the islands and explore other worlds." Riku said, with a nostalgic tone to his voice.
"Yeah, it's hard to believe that that was nearly two years ago." The brunet agreed.
"But, it wouldn't have gone by so fast if you hadn't been so lazy and slept for a year." Riku chuckled, before dodging the pillow that Sora attempted to hit him with.
"Hey! It's not like I had a choice!" He exclaimed, before putting the pillow back behind his head and started to pout.
"I have never been as scared, as when I finally got to that room, and all I saw was you in this huge machine, looking like you were dead. I guess we both have had an interesting couple of years, haven't we?" Riku spoke in a very serious tone. "What about staying in Twilight Town? Then Roxas will be happy, because although he wouldn't physically be there with those other kids, he'd still get to see them."
Sora only shook his head again. "Nah, I don't want to be anywhere near that mansion ever again. I mean, those pods are still there. Not to mention the gateway to the darkness. Besides, I don't like being so close to here." The brunet waved his hand around, hoping that Riku caught his drift of what 'here' meant. "And, the fact that Axel disappeared in between this world and Twilight Town, makes Roxas very apprehensive of staying that close to there."
"Roxas and Axel were close, weren't they?"
"Yeah, about as close are we were, are, you know." Sora felt a blush creep up his cheek and desperately wished that he could turn the light off to hide the redness.
Riku just hummed in agreement before the two sat in a comfortable silence for a few minutes. The silver haired teen was the first to break it.
"Hey, Sora?" the older boy said, turning his head towards his friend.
"Remember the day before we left the island? How we went to my house before dinner?"
"Yeah, I remember, we had smoothies before dinner. My mom was so pissed." Sora smiled at the memory. "What about it?"
"Well, I lied to you." Riku hung his head, afraid to see Sora's reaction to his confession.
"Lied? About what?" If Sora hadn't been paying attention to his friend before, he was definitely paying attention now.
Still not looking up, Riku continued with his explanation. Sora deserved to know. "My mom was out of mango that day. So I used a different kind of fruit."
Sora stopped, mid scratch on Stitch's ear, knowing what Riku was getting at. It was almost as if the brunet knew what was coming out of the sliver haired teen's mouth before anyone said anything.
"Re… Really? What did you use?" he began to feel nervous, already knowing the answer, but needing to hear it from Riku's mouth.
"I only wanted to see if the legends were true, I didn't think too much else when I shared the papou fruit with you. I thought that I was losing you to Kairi, I didn't want our friendship to end because of a girl. You just seemed so interested in her." Riku felt ashamed, both of his selfishness, and guilt at not telling Sora about this earlier. He expected so much to happen right now, first in his mind being that he was going to find a keyblade pressed against his throat. Second, that Sora wouldn't wait to pull the power of the keyblade and would just use his fists as weapons. He definitely was not expecting the reaction that he did get from the younger brunet.
"You really can be stupid sometimes, Riku." Sora sat up and looked over at his childhood friend. When the older teen made to get off the bed and exit the room, Sora grabbed the silver haired boys arm. "Wait, don't you want to hear what I was going to say?"
Still seated on the bed, Riku tensed up at the innocence in Sora's voice. "What is there left to say?"
Sora took a deep breath before starting his explanation. "When I saw Kairi up there, I was relieved. I knew that she had been kidnapped by Axel, then Saix, but some how, I knew that she was going to be safe in the end. Yeah, I would look for her, but that wasn't my primary mission." Sora paused, making sure that he had the silver haired boy's attention, which he did. "It was to find out if you were okay. I voluntarily left Kairi that day when the connection between the worlds was severed. I could do absolutely nothing for you. I was worried. You were there when we were all reunited again. I was happy to see Kairi. But I could never explain what it felt like to see you again, even if it was in a different body. You were alive. You were actually there. I had so many emotions running through me, I know I cried. You were safe, you were there with me. Even though you didn't look like you, you were still you inside. And the sensations that I am still feeling with you being here can't be described. I missed you so much. And I know it wasn't because of some stupid fruit and a stupid story." Sora admitted, tears beginning to sting at the corners of his eyes. Cursing softly at the display of weakness, he raised his hand to wipe away the offending tears.
Sitting there in shock, Riku had no idea how to respond to his friend's confession. It took him completely by surprise. With a single move, Riku looked over and saw his best friend tearing up, and knew he had to do something. And he did the only thing he could think of. Wrapping his arms around the smaller boy, the two began to rock back and forth as the brunet silently let his tears slid down his face. "Shh. Don't worry. It'll all turn out okay."
They sat there for a long time, just doing that, Stitch sandwiched between them, making odd noises at the two boys, who completely ignored the strange creature.
"I… I'm sorry, Riku. I shouldn't be acting like that, but I'm just so stressed out right now." Sora whispered, pulling away from the comfort of Riku's arms. "This battle with Xemnas, going back to the island, all this shit is just not working to help me, not to mention that I can't seem to even turn off this fucking light so that I can get to sleep!"
Although it was odd to hear innocent little Sora cursing, Riku could understand where his friend was coming from. "The darkness is a scary place to be alone. Believe me, I know."
"Riku…" Sora trailed off, looking at his friend. "Maybe it won't be as hard if we weren't alone." His voice was quite, Riku almost didn't catch the meaning of the statement.
The silver haired boy just chuckled as he pulled down the covers and crawled under beside his best friend. "You're right, it is easier with someone else." With the simple statement, Riku leaned in and placed his lips on Sora's in a chaste kiss, but at the action, he startled his younger friend. The brunet sat there in shock, making no move to react to the kiss, other than to allow his eyes to slide closed. It was all he needed to confirm that Riku was really there, and not some stupid game his mind was playing with him.
With his lips distracting Sora, Riku reached around him and pulled the string on the light, darkness over taking them. It took Sora a moment to react to both the kiss and to the light, but when he did, he pulled away and looked at Riku, unable to see him.
"Let's go to sleep, Sora. Tomorrow is going to be a long day." The older boy whispered, wrapping his arm around Sora's waist. There was no sound, except that of Stitch trying to find a comfortable position between the two boys.
"Riku, thanks. For everything." Sora whispered, and it was the last sound that passed between the two of them until the steady sound of breathing calmed even the restless alien into a dreamless sleep.
And here is the first chapter of my first KH story, yay! I hope everyone likes it! It's going to be probably 4 or 5 chapters long, but hey, you never know. And as for the Stitch insertion, I love that fuzzy blue guy (seriously, I think it borders on obsession when you can go a really good voice impression) and I just wanted to make a story that wasn't AU, not that there is anything wrong with AU's, but I wanted to see how this would turn out!
No promises when the next chapter will be out, I hope soon, but I think that there will be an update to my FFVIII story, Unforgotten Memories first. But maybe if people review, I'll be inspired to write faster…hint hint, lol.
Until next time, please Read and Review!