A/N: Okay, I have no excuse, except for junior year kinda kicked (and is kicking) my ass to Saturday. And video games/TV are very distracting. Oh. And I kinda lost totally interest in this fandom. But I still feel horrible, because, DUDE. This story is at the end, and you guys deserve this. Much love for sticking to this for so long (and I do mean long), and thanks for reading
When Sora awoke the next morning, he grimaced, rubbing his arm, and sat up. All that rewarded him was full-on confusion as to where he was and what he was doing there.
He made to climb out of the bed when the door to the room opened and Kairi walked inside. She blinked before all but tackling him back onto the bed, her face almost splitting with her smile. "Sora! You're finally awake!"
He grinned and patted her back. "Yeah, I'm good. Where's Riku? Where am I?"
Pulling back, she flicked his forehead with a smile. "You're at Phoebus's house. Cottage. Whatever they call it in this world." She glanced out of the window and shrugged. "Last time I saw Riku, he was busy talking with Esmeralda and Phoebus about the condition of the world."
Sora raised his eyebrow, goading her to continue; she sighed. "Frollo disappeared – no one can find even his remains! – and the Heartless are gone as well. The only thing these people in this town will have to worry about is mingling with gypsies, seeing as many seem to despise them quite a lot."
He nodded before climbing out of bed and glancing out of the window. "Kairi..." he started, rubbing his neck in embarrassment. "Thanks for coming to this world. You – and Donald and Goofy – really saved the two of us."
Rolling her eyes, Kairi slapped Sora upside the head. "Silly. Of course I'd come." She approached him, wagging her finger in his face and he took a step back. "Next time, however, I'm coming along from the beginning. No more will the damsel save the men in distress, you hear me?"
Sora grinned and he gave her a tight hug. "Of course, Kairi."
As Sora walked through the quiet streets of Paris, he couldn't help but smile at what he saw. Quasimodo sat beside a fountain, surrounded by children, as he told them an imaginative tale about gargoyles up in the bell tower. Maybe not all that imaginative… Sora snorted softly, continuing to walk past him.
One of the girls that made up the group of children stood up and grabbed his hand, effectively pulling him into the circle. He grimaced (she had tugged on his bruised arm), but sat next to Quasimodo anyway, smiling at the kids.
Quasimodo gave him one of the brightest smiles Sora thought he'd ever seen. "They were asking about the fight – with Frollo of course – and I thought, well, since you were a part of the fight…" Quasimodo's way of speech included him flailing his arms every which way and the children in the crowd giggled.
Sora gave a nervous chuckle and ran his hands through his hair. "It wasn't much – just Riku and I fought the Heartless…" The little kids blinked up to him. Sora playfully rolled his eyes. "Oh, I mean the big scary monster, but Quasimodo saved the day."
One of the boys tilted his head in confusion. "Riku?" he repeated, curious. "Was she that girl you fought with?"
Sora held back a snort. "Girl?! Riku's very much a guy!"
Riku wasn't going to like what those kids thought about him. Sora grinned to himself, half wondering how he could rub it in Riku's face as much as possible.
"…maybe this Sora boy is a girl. My mommy said that that Riku person carried him out of the cathedral and kissed him!"
There were more giggles, but Sora focused on the child who spoke. "Come again?"
The little boy puffed out his chest, as though trying to prove himself. Sora smiled, and the kid deflated. "Well, Riku, or whoever he is, carried you and," he exchanged glances with his nearby friends, "kissed you!" They all burst into giggles again and Sora gave Quasimodo a helpless look.
Quasimodo only shrugged and patted Sora's back; Sora bit his lip to hide the tears – that was no ordinary pat, it was a freaking punch! "You should try talking to Riku, instead of trying to get your information from…" He nodded to the kids again, and Sora groaned.
"Yeah, but how's that for not awkward?" he mumbled. With a smile and a wave, he hopped up from his seat, and disappeared into the Parisian crowd to find Riku.
Who Sora found, however, was not Riku. Sitting in a small café was Donald, Goofy, and Phoebus, exchanging baguettes and cups of what looked like tea like old friends. If Sora wasn't so used to Donald and Goofy, he would've found the scene either hysterical or creepy. According to the shopkeeper's bewildered eyes, he probably found it both.
"Sora!" Donald called, beckoning the brunet over with his wing. Sora grabbed a nearby chair and grinned to the three of them.
"So, what'd I miss?"
Phoebus frowned slightly before breaking off a piece of bread for Sora. Nibbling on it, Sora realized he was incredibly hungry and grabbed more. "Thought so. You've been out for a day. Probably haven't eaten at all, have you?"
Sora attempted to respond, but Phoebus rolled his eyes. "Finish your food first, Sora. No one needs to see that this early in the morning."
Scowling, Sora swallowed the bread, but Goofy spoke before he could. "Uh, so Phoebus? You say the Heartless are all gone?"
Phoebus gave a nod and took a gulp of his tea. "While my squire," Phoebus winked over to Sora, but the brunet was busy drowning himself in the baguette, "slept, I checked around the city with Esmeralda and Riku. Apparently, there's not even a trace that the Heartless were even here. Except, obviously, the fact that Frollo has disappeared as well."
"What brought you guys here anyway?" Sora asked, taking a break from the food. Only a breather, though, and after the question was out, he dove back onto it.
Donald rolled his eyes. "King Mickey was worried, because you two hadn't come back in time." He whacked Goofy, and the captain of the knights pulled out a letter that had the king's seal. "We dropped by Destiny Islands to see if you guys might have returned but not reported back…"
"I thought that was impossible, but Donald insisted…" Goofy said, only to be squawked at by Donald.
"Anyway! When we got there, you weren't there –" Donald ignored Goofy's grin "—And Kairi demanded that she be taken along."
Goofy shook his head. "Nope, demanded isn't right. She kinda, uh, stored herself away in the gummi ship and didn't let herself be seen until we were halfway here. Smart girl."
"She could've gotten hurt!" Donald screeched, making the poor shop owner wince.
Phoebus gave the shop owner a pitying look, but Sora shook his head. "She's strong. Always has been. She would've been fine, no matter what."
Belly filled with delicious bread (and not having the munny on him to pay for it - he'd pay Phoebus back later...someday), Sora headed back into the city, wondering where the heck his best friend could be.
Sora eventually found him, after a few more hours of scrounging the city. He was sitting on a wall by the river, next to Esmeralda. She must've said something funny, because he laughed, clutching his sides tightly, and holding onto the wall with all his might. Sora gave a frown before approaching them, wondering why in the world he felt so jealous.
Yeah, sure, he liked the guy. Was it Esmeralda's fault that she conveniently made Riku laugh when Sora just happened to approach?
Huh. That sure was convenient.
"Sora!" Esmeralda was all smiles as she climbed to her feet and gave Sora a hug. "I was just telling Riku here…oh, never mind. It's not important. I'm so glad you're alright!"
Sora smiled, feeling horrible at the fact that he felt jealous of her for a moment. "I'm glad everything worked out too. Sorry I wasn't much help at the aftermath."
Esmeralda shook her head. "Stop, you helped out plenty. Even if our Riku had to carry you out of the cathedral." She grinned and threaded her hands through the side of Riku's hair that wasn't braided, and Riku scowled at her, his eyes light.
Sora frowned ever-so-slightly, hoping that the strange feeling in his stomach was still hunger.
Shaking her head, Esmeralda lightly kissed Riku's forehead and whispered something in his ear. When Riku flushed and swatted her away, she only smiled wider and gave Sora a wave. "It was lovely meeting you both, really. Stop the cathedral again if you have the time, alright?"
Not waiting for an answer, Esmeralda walked away, almost dancing as she maneuvered her way through the crowds.
Riku gave a cough before turning to Sora. "Sorry about her. She's… well, I dunno. She's something."
Sora smiled after her – he was never one to hold a grudge for long – before plopping down onto the river wall and tucking his knees to his chest. "I'm glad this world is safe. I mean… we stopped the bad guy and now we head on home right?"
Riku sat beside Sora. "Kairi and I have planned to stick around a few more days, just to make sure everything is alright." Sora nodded, but Riku only raised his eyebrow. "You sure you're alright?"
"Will it all stay on this world?" Sora all but whispered. Riku leaned in, unable to hear him, and Sora frowned. "I mean, yeah, I do like you – I probably feel more about you than like, but let's not go there right now – but …is this it?"
Riku could not have looked more confused if he tried. "What do you mean, Sora?"
After giving a groan of annoyance, Sora turned to face Riku. "I mean this," he said, grabbing Riku's shoulders and pulling him forward for a kiss. Riku's eyes widened at the forcefulness of it, but when Sora pulled back, he shook his head.
"What do you --?"
"Do we just bury all of this here? Would you rather me not bring that up ever again? I mean…" Sora chewed his lip, frowning all the while. "You're Riku. Even after we've come back and everyone stays away from you, the kids on the island – everyone, actually – looks up to you. I don't…want this to haunt you, but I don't want to be just your convenient, 'Oh, since I'm going to die anyway, I might as well kiss my best friend'!"
Riku blinked, leaning away from Sora. "Is that what you think?"
Sora pursed his lips before tucking his knees to his chest and sighing. "I've been thinking."
Rolling his eyes, Riku pulled Sora close for a hug. "A pretty bad habit, you know." Riku exhaled a shaky breath before continuing. "Sora, in all honesty? I've loved you for a long time. And no, I don't want this to be some resort I take just because no one else is around." Riku gave Sora an extra squeeze before leaning back, his expression quickly turning solemn.
"But you do have to realize that it's not going to be easy. I mean, obviously Kairi will be behind us… Well, knowing her, she already knew but still…" Riku gave a snort and shook his head.
Sora cut him off. "I really don't care. Besides, you're my best friend. I kinda want you stuck in my life forever and ever." With a smile, Sora glanced up to Riku. "As long as we're together, we can conquer any trouble, any evil, any thing that might get thrown at us. Because if nothing else, we'll be together."
"That…" Riku smiled widely, shaking his head. "I know you're being serious, but that was such a clichéd line."
"Oh, shut up."
Grinning, Riku hopped to his feet, and after reaching a hand down for Sora, pulled the brunet up as well. "We have all of Paris to explore … uh, I mean, examine, before we have to go back."
Sora beamed back. "Awesome! I mean, we can grab Esmeralda – oh, maybe Phoebus, if he can. And we have to get Kairi! And Goofy… Donald too, I guess. We can all explore the city together!"
Resisting the urge to roll his eyes, Riku pulled Sora close and kissed him. After breaking apart, Riku smiled down to Sora. "We can go with everyone later. How about we go…alone at first?"
Sora's eyebrows furrowed in confusion, but when Riku nipped at his neck, his eyes lit up. "Oh…oh… well." Sora gave Riku a devious smirk and nodded. "Yeah, I think we should explore the city first on our own."
"Just to make sure it's safe and all," Riku replied with a chuckle, grabbing Sora's hand and giving it a tight squeeze.
Sora grinned back and the two boys quickly ran into the chaos that was more often referred to as the city of Paris.