Boys Of Summer

By – FearlessDranzer

Warning - Not for the faint of heart!

I can see you--

Your brown skin shinin' in the sun

You got that top pulled down and that radio on, baby

And I can tell you my love for you will still be strong

After the boys of summer have gone.

Chapter 6 – Here Comes the Sun

The whole time I wished to God that someone would come save me. I prayed and pleaded in my head for this to all stop. I wanted to get out of here; I wanted Cloud to get out of here. I wanted to be at home, safe in my bed being surrounded by sleep and my blankets. I didn't want to be here.

I wanted to be anywhere but here.

But I knew no one was going to find me. No one heard me yelling over the music, no one saw us getting dragged into the basement, no one would notice the copious amounts of blood on the kitchen floor. Even if someone did notice the blood—they'll never find us.

Too late.

The pain was unbearable and like nothing I'd ever felt before; it was literally like I was being ripped apart from the inside. There was nothing redeeming in the act and the only one getting any pleasure from it was the sick fuck at my back. All I could do was stay as still as I could until he finished. It took all my will power not to cry out in pain. I didn't have enough will to hold back the hot tears that leaked down my face.

And when they finally left, I breathed a sigh of relief.

I moved my head to the left to try to see Cloud but I couldn't move far enough to see him. I could see the fact that he was lying face down on the couch but beyond that—nothing. I tried to move myself but the shards of glass that had been stuck into my back were now embedded and I was soaked with blood, the floor was slick beneath me. My head was aching and my eyes burned from my tears; I was so tired. I just wanted to sleep.

I wanted to sleep for forever.

Forever.

And.

Ever.

So I did.

When I finally woke up it was to whiteness. Everything in my vision was white and I hoped to God I was dead. A half-second later and the pain hit me and I knew there was no way I was in heaven—God's just cruel like that sometimes.

"He's awake!" A voice whispered excitedly.

"Mom?" I asked, my voice sounding like gravel.

I couldn't move my head to see her but I felt her grasp my hand and then she was there, over me like an angel. Maybe... maybe this was heaven. I mean bad shit still happens but right now I don't think I could ever feel happier. With my mother here with me—right now—I felt like I was finally at the right place at the right time.

"Mom." I said and tears leaked down my face.

"Oh God, Sora." She said and her tears hit me on the cheeks and then she kissed me tenderly on the forehead. "Oh, Sora... Oh God. I'm so sorry."

"Mom." I repeated, it was all I could say.

"God, I couldn't even keep my baby safe. I couldn't keep either of my boys safe..."

"Mom," Roxas said, appearing at my side. "Calm down and don't worry about it. Sora just woke up; I called the doctor and she'll be here soon. Please Mom, just sit back down. You'll upset Sora." Roxas helped my mother sit down and there was a knock at the door and the doctor entered.

She was young and pretty, her dark hair pulled back in a bun and a clipboard in her hand. She pushed her glasses up onto her head and smiled at me, a genuine smile. "Sora, it's so nice to see you awake. I've heard all about you from your brother and mother. My name is Dr. Lucretia and you're at Destiny Island Hospital--"

"The hospital?"

"Yes, the hospital. You see Sora--"

I held up a hand. "It's OK, I remember now." I closed my eyes for a second and took a deep shaky breath.

I'd been raped.

I'd been beaten.

I hadn't been alone.

"Cloud." I said my eyes shot open.

My mother looked sideways and I could hear her sniffling, trying to hold in her tears.

"He's in the bed next to yours, he hasn't woken up yet but he's in stable condition and should be awake any time now." Dr. Lucretia's voice was so sweet and soothing that I wondered how she was able to do this job and not die a little bit inside everyday.

"But he'll be alright?" I asked worried.

"He'll be fine when he wakes up—which should be soon. Right now we need to focus on you though. How's the pain?" She asked.

"My head is throbbing." I said.

She wrote that down. "I'll have a nurse come in with some painkillers, they'll probably make you fatigued though. Anything else?"

"I can't move my left arm."

"That's because you broke your wrist and pointer finger."

I sighed, "That must have been when I fell down the stairs."

"That's another thing Sora, the police will want to come by now that you're awake to get your statement. No one really knows what happened that night and we need to get the story quickly." My mom had slipped into lawyer mode and I nodded my head along with her. My mother would go to court against those guys, but she'd probably rather try her luck in the parking lot afterwards. Hell hath no fury like my mother when her young is threatened.

Dr. Lucretia nodded with my mother's statement and I could tell from her eyes that she was sympathetic for me—she knew what had happened, but my mother's knowledge couldn't be that far behind.

"You'll have that cast on your arm for about 6 weeks, you have a lot of cuts and stitches in your back, we spent three hours pulling out all the glass after you arrived here. You've lost a lot of blood so if you feel nauseous please tell us and we'll give you medicine. You have a slight concussion, so we'll have to keep an eye on it..." she trailed off as she flipped through a few pages in my file. "Other than that you have just a few bruises and will probably be sore for a couple more days.

"How long have I been here?"

"A little over four days, do you have any other questions? If not, I'll let you get back to your family..."

"Thanks Dr. Lucretia, I think I'm fine." I said.

"Alright, feel better Sora." She left quickly and quietly and the silence that followed her was deafening. I sighed and braced myself for the story I'd have to tell my mother and brother, but first I had a few questions.

"Who found me?" I asked.

Roxas stepped up, he stared at his hands the whole time. "When it started to get late I got worried for you, I'd been calling Cloud for the last two hours, looking for you, and he hadn't responded. I even called Riku and Squall, neither of them had seen you two for hours and I got worried. They searched the house for you and Cloud and eventually found Cloud's sunglasses on the floor of the kitchen and there were a few blood smears on the floor. They kicked everyone out of the house and searched everywhere for you guys. They didn't find you until Riku called Cloud for the 5th time, then they heard his phone ringing. They followed the noise into the basement where they found you two. They called 911 and now you and Cloud are here."

There was a slight knock at the door and a pretty young nurse came in and gave me my medicine. She said it was great to seem me awake and hoped I would feel better soon. She was sweet and pretty but I could tell the job was wearing her down. She left as quickly as she came.

I sighed, "I guess I need to thank them."

"Sora, they thought you were dead. You were just lying there and there was blood everywhere around you... you'd lost so much blood. Dr. Lucretia didn't want to worry you but, your heart stopped twice when they were trying to close up some of the bigger slices on your back. You needed three blood transfusions and even then—we were so worried about you..."

Tears had been falling silently from my face and my mother was rubbing my neck softly so as not to aggravate my stitches.

"Riku was beside himself—he was so upset by what happened to you... he's been coming everyday to check up on you and he even brought you flowers." Roxas pointed to a table on the far side of my room, he had a faint smile on his face. I followed his finger and my eyes grew larger, the way Roxas said it made it sound like he gave me a small bouquet of get-well-soon flowers.

This was in no way a small bouquet of flowers, it was almost like a garden growing on my table—it even extended to the sink. There were flowers everywhere in exquisite glass vases that where the sun hit them, they sprouted rainbows that were sent dazzling across my room. My walls sparkled like they were imbedded with crystal. My breathe was caught in my throat. All the flowers were white. Beautiful pure white. Upon first glance they looked like roses but these petals weren't as delicate and didn't curve at the edges. They edges of the petals were sharp.

They were glorious gossamer gardenias.

As pure white as I was tainted.

As fresh as the day there were plucked, stems cut with a sharp knife in one swoop.

Their meaning was clear to all in the room to see.

A gardenia symbolized a secret love.

I sniffled and bit my lip hard. My heart ached. Riku did have feelings for me. He loved me even. But was it really me he loved? Or was it the false person everyone had molded me into? Who was the Sora Riku had managed to fall in love with? I wanted to meet this dazzling perfect creature.

"I don't understand." I sobbed. "He barely knows me and what he knows isn't even really me..." I trailed off choking on my own saliva.

Roxas went over to the flowers and fondled the petals faintly with his fingers. I guess it's just something that happens you know... one day you're minding your own business and wham! Like a ton of bricks it hits you that you've been in love for god knows how long. It's like this warm feeling has slowly been filling you for days but only now can you finally put a name to it... and when you do... you realize that it's been going on for far longer than you first thought."

"I-I... I just..."

My mother squeezed my fingers and a tear emerged from her pure emerald eyes. "Oh Sora..." she whispered. "Love is never something you can just understand... love... well your brother is right. Love just happens." She brushed my face and I leaned into her touch.

Roxas spoke again from his place by my flowers. "I think... I think it started the day Cloud brought him home to meet us. You remember right?" Of course I remembered it was the day I realized my older brother was going out with the kid I'd had a crush on since the 8th grade. "He'd come for dinner and everyone had so much fun joking around. He was a funny guy. But you... you sat there quietly and didn't say and word and I think that's what caught his attention. You were cold and distant because you were so shy, but he thought just didn't like him. You were probably the first person to ever not like Riku. And I think that's why he became to interested in you. He would ask Cloud constantly why you hated him and he asked me too. He asked us everything he could think about—he was obsessed.

And then when he and Cloud broke up he kept talking to you and hanging out with you. The band audition? He suggested it to me so he could hear you play. The time he picked you up and drove you home? I told him you left and he went. Finding you at the party? Not surprising since he had been searching for you even before anyone thought you were missing. He really liked you Sora; he was desperate for you to like him. Tried everything he could think of. And then all of a sudden you start talking to him. He was ecstatic."

I sat there quietly for a too minutes trying to believe what Roxas was telling me. It was too good to be true and answered my every prayer and hope for the last few years. There was no way in hell it was true.

"Look Roxas, I know you're just trying to make me feel better but if he liked me so much; why did I catch him with Marluxia?" I asked and Roxas' eyes went wide. He hadn't known that. I could see it in his face as he processed the information this made no sense. If Riku was so desperate for me to like him why did he always hook up with other people? Why did he sleep around?

Roxas was about to respond when there was a knock on the door. The door cracked open a bit and two police officers walked in. One was tall and african american the other a buxom blonde who looked like she would be more at home in a Bay-watch episode.

"Sorry to interrupt," the female officer said. "I'm Officer Higgins and this is Office Parker. We known this is a hard time but we'd like to get a statement from Sora about the attack the other night. The quicker we know what happened and who did this the quicker we can get them for this." She directed her statements and my mother. Her big blue eyes were hard but I knew from the tone of her voice that she was very sympathetic, she understood what it did to someone when they were beaten and raped. She'd probably seen it a hundred times.

My mother nodded and Roxas moved away to try and give the officers room to work. He went to the other side of the room where Cloud had been lying motionless for days. And the interrogation proceeded. It only took me an hour and a half to tell them the story and answer all the questions. My mother had yet to hear the full story and I'd expected her to break down and cry but she was in work mode and had to be strong. My mother wouldn't let something like emotion defeat her. Soon after they left and promised to call once they'd arrested the three rapists and once I was well enough they would stand trial.

Almost as soon as the officers left I could feel the drowsiness that had been at the edge of my consciousness for the past hour start to claw it's way around my brain. I closed my eye just for a second to rest and when I woke up again it was night time and I was alone. I could hear the steady beeping and hum of the machines surrounding me and my brother and a I could hear the sound of his heart monitoring machine beeping away. He was still alive. I listened to the sound of my own heart monitor's beeping and fell asleep again into tormented dreams.

I woke up numerous times in the night to tears wet on my cheeks and each time I sat there sniffling and quietly crying until the hum of the machines lulled me back to sleep.

Days past. I'm not sure how many. After that first night it was like the enormity of the situation hit me. I'd been raped and beaten. My brother had been raped and beaten. And the worst part. My rapist had fled town. Someone had tipped them off that the police were coming for them and they'd fled to the main land where the police had quickly lost there trail. And on the mainland a criminal that gets lost stays lost.

My dreams tortured me. My waking thoughts tortured me. My mind screamed at me that I wasn't safe lying here prone in the hospital. My paranoia consumed me.

My eyes tired and my brain was exhausted my horrible sleeping patterns weakened my body further and my healing halted. I only slept when I became to exhausted to dream.

Kairi and Tidus came and visited me along with some other friends and even Cloud's friends stopped by. Leon showed up for a couple of days before work called his name and Tifa and Yuffie helped to lighten my mood because they were so playful, they tried not to show how upsetting it was that still Cloud hadn't woken up. His body was healing and he come out of the beating better than I had. His bruised face had swollen to a sickly yellow and he was no longer swollen. A couple hair line fractures in his ribs had already healed. His head was bandaged from where it been slammed and the probability of a concussion had faded. His wounds would heal and he'd physically be no worse for the wear, but my back would be a mass of scars and my broken hand might need surgery to ensure it had motion. I was damaged goods while he could live again.

But he didn't want to. My big brother had given up and would rather be a vegetable than live. Those fucks had defeated my big brother, my brother who never backed down from a challenge, who was always stoic and composed. They'd killed him inside and left him a shell. And I'd let that happen. What had been done to me I could forgive and forget but what had been done to my brother traumatized him so much that he didn't want to even come out of his dreams. He would live there forever happy than breach his safe world of fantasies and gossamer lies than live in reality.

If only he would wake up he'd see it's not so bad. I was going to make it. I wouldn't let myself be defeated emotionally by the ones who'd defeated me physically. They'd stolen my virginity and destroyed my body but there were things they couldn't hurt with their fists and that was still whole inside of me.

I wanted Cloud to wake up and understand my reason for living.

Still more days past and I found myself again able to sleep as the thoughts of my trauma slowly diminished. I was healing. Soon I'd be able to leave. I walked for the first time today and accidentally tore one of the stitches in my beck and had to have it fixed. The police stop by periodically but they've made it pretty much clear that while they are still actively searching, they don't expect to find my attackers. And I think I'm alright with that. My mother is fuming. But I'm going to get stronger so that the next time they meet me, they'll be the one's with their mother's crying over their hospital beds.

A day passed and then another and then I saw Cloud's fingers twitch. He'll be waking up soon—he's just waiting for the right time.

Roxas visits me everyday because my mother's has to go back to work. Every time he comes he brings a surprise; one of my friends, Axel, candy, silly little things that only I'd appreciate. The flowers keep piling up and the first ones I got are starting to go limp and I think that one of the nurses might throw them out soon. So I had one of the nicer nurses pick a flower off of each bouquet for me and I pressed them in a book to save them forever.

If Riku ever came to see me, I never knew.

The next day Roxas had to come late, school had started and he had to attend the first day of school. He said he'd collect stuff from my classes for me while he was there. For the first time during my stay in the hospital I found myself alone in the afternoon for the first time. I sat for a few hours and tried to watch daytime TV but between the soaps and the reality shows I quickly losing my mind. I shut that off and tried to sleep until the rhythmic sound of Cloud's heart monitor was interrupted by a knock at the door.

I quickly jerked awake as the door opened.

It was Riku.

I just stared at him and didn't say a word. He stood in the doorway and stared at me taking in the fading bruises the bandaged arm and the stitches that showed from where the glass had gotten me. He sighed and moved towards me sitting on the edge of my bed.

"I'm sorry." He said, staring at his hands. Perfect tanned hands that he looked at with such a miserable expression that I wondered if there was some deformity there I couldn't see.

"What for?" I asked my voice scratchy from lack of use. I reached over and took a simple of water from the glass by my bed side.

"If I hadn't been so nervous to talk to you, this wouldn't have happened. You would have been safe with me instead of lying here like this." Riku said.

"You were nervous to talk to me?" I asked incredulously.

He smiled, embarrassed at me. "It's silly, but I always thought you hated me... I was afraid that if I tried to talk to you, you'd just like shoot me down or something..."

"Me shoot you down?"

"Well...yeah. You've always just had this... I don't know. You seem so untouchable sometimes."

"Untouchable?"

"Like some days you won't even give me the time of day and other days you'll talk to me for five minutes. We could be in the same room and you wouldn't even look at me. To you it was like I didn't exist or like I was invisible. You could totally ignore and even when you did glance at me it was like you could see right through me..." He only looked at my face when he was done talking, searching for a reaction and I don't know...

"Why didn't you tell me?"

"...I've never felt this way before... I barely fucking know you and I can't stop thinking about you. God knows how long I was with your brother imagining he was you. It was fucking wrong but he was as close as I could get to you..."

"What about when I saw you with Marluxia?" I asked, my eyes slightly tearing. This conversation was something I'd always dreamed of and now that it was happened it was totally surreal.

He turned bright red, "Not one of my brighter moments. I thought that maybe I could make you jealous-- at least get some fucking response out of you! You were like a person made out of ice. You were so alive and happy with anyone but me and I couldn't understand why. I messed that up Sora. But I've been trying to make it up. All these flowers..."

He moved his hand around and got up from where he was sitting on my bed and wandered around my room before grabbing a flower from a vase and proceeding to mutilate it. He ripped three petals apart before he seemed to notice what he was doing. He looked down, surprised at the flower lying in pieces in his hands. He dropped them in the garbage and walked over to my brother's side of the room.

Cloud was lying as still as ever. His body looked abandoned and I could tell looking at Riku's face that seeing Cloud there like that unnerved him. God knows it unnerved me too. He was Cloud, powerful impervious Cloud with a stubborn streak the size of an ocean liner—lying prone unconscious to the world in a bed for days on end.

"He'll be waking up soon." I said suddenly.

He looked at me. "I know," was all he said.

For that I smiled at him radiantly, it was like the sun had come into the room and was shining on us. Riku smiled at me and I basked in the brightness it cast on me.

Riku looked down at me and his eyes were full of so much anguish. "I feel so responsible for this. I feel responsible for hurting you and your brother. This whole thing has gotten so far out of control, I can't believe it. I went to such lengths to get you to notice me, I told Axel about you playing guitar. I'd overheard you strumming a few times and when Cloud told me you were actually good—well I talked Axel's ear off about you. Needless to say he forced Roxas to get you to come try out for the band. But I was surprised that you were so good. I mean you're like fucking perfect! Is there anything you can't do?"

"Yeah." I said softly.

He waited patiently for my answer.

"I couldn't get you to notice me without acting like someone else, someone other than myself. I had to change to feel like I'd be good enough for you to even notice. But worst of all I wasn't true to myself. I don't wear skinny jeans and ridiculously colored high-tops. I can't speak Japanese and have never listen to J-rock let alone heard of Alice Nine. I couldn't save myself or my brother. I can't do anything Riku." I said allowing myself a moment of self-loathing and defamation. It felt every bit as good as when I did it in my thoughts.

"Sora..." He said.

"No." I cut him off. "I don't want you to tell me it was your fault again. It was no one's fault. It happened and we need to get past it. We need to start over, give ourselves a blank slate. Pretend nothing ever happened."

He was silent for a moment and tucked a lock of silvery hair behind one ear. "Ok, Sora. How far back do you want this to start over?"

I stared at him a moment before offering my one good hand. He took it and we shook briefly. "Hi Riku, it's nice to meet you. My name's Sora. I don't like J-rock, my favorite song is Boys of Summer by the Ataris. I don't care that it's a remake and no Don Henley's version is not better. I'm not a 'human ice cube'. I'm really worried about making a good impression on you. And I think I've been in love with you since the moment I saw you."

He looked at me and laughed and it was a perfect as bells in the wind. "Hello, Sora. My name's Riku and I'm really glad to meet you.

Another week past and most of my stitches had dissolved. My bruises were mere shadows of themselves and my broken arm was on the way to recovery. It was my last day in the hospital and I was glad to be leaving. The sun had been shining for the past few days and it was taunting me that I couldn't go out and enjoy its warmth in my days of prison. It was slowly causing the ache in my heart to grow, but it was a welcome ache. It was an ache I was familiar with. It was that feeling you got when you were sitting in school on a gorgeous day and thinking that you should not be fucking inside when nature is obviously calling you outside to play.

I was able to walk at this point by myself but I need to be careful not to tear the few remaining stitches in my back. My legs were numb for sitting for so long without moving and I stretched my legs gingerly before standing up and walking over to Cloud's bed. I brushed some hair out of his face and sat softly at the edge of his bed. I'd been doing this for a while. When there was no one visiting me, I'd convinced a nurse to wheel me over to his bed so I could sit for a few hours talking to him. They say that when you talk to people in comas, they can actually hear you. If that was true I think Cloud would have woken up by now.

"They still haven't caught the schmucks who did this. They ran and obviously are pretty good at hiding, or they would've been caught by now. Is that why you're not awake yet? Are you afraid that they'll come back and do us worse?

I wouldn't worry about that Cloud, they're cowards and this time I'm going to be ready for them. I'll protect you. Riku will protect us. And Leon will protect you.

People care about you Cloud and by sitting here, you're hurting them. You're hurting me Cloud. If you cared anything about any of us—you'd wake up and come be Cloud for us again. I don't know how Mom's getting through every day; God knows I barely am. Roxas is the one holding us together—doing your job. You're the big brother, the man of the house. You should act like it!

I know it hurts... it hurts so bad Cloud—I wanna die. Some moments, when I start thinking about it—it's like I've lost my momentum and once I stop rolling I'm not going to be coming back. I distract myself every second of everyday, trying not to start daydreaming about it. I'm making it Cloud. I'm gonna fucking live. But you.... you've lost it big brother. "

I was silent for a moment; I'd never yelled at Cloud all this time. When he'd alive, AKA, not comatose; we'd fought and yelled. But this wasn't like the old fights. He wasn't fighting back. It wasn't fair. I despaired for a moment and put my head in my hands. My eyes were too dry to even spare a tear or two to shed.

I sat like that for maybe a minute or two.

When I looked back at Cloud, his eyes were opened to slits.

I jumped off the bed and knelt very close to his face, inspecting his eyes—too afraid to really believe what I was seeing. "Cloud?" I whispered, just to check.

His eyes moved underneath his eyelids and they slightly fluttered. He was awake.

"Oh my God Cloud. Do you know how much you've worried us?" Now the tears started to freely pour down my cheeks and my body convulsed in hear-wrenching sobs. I could feel the stitches left in my back start to burn.

His eyelids kept fluttering as he tried to open them, but after weeks of keeping them closed, opening them in the harsh sunlight was almost impossible. I grabbed his hand and squeezed and his fingers flexed in mine. I laughed at this. Something so trivial was making me so happy.

"Cloud, I'm going to call the nurse." I said and I pressed the call button above his bed about fifteen times before I was sure my point was made.

I got up from his bed and grabbed the phone resting on my night table and dialed my mother's cell. On the second ring she picked up. And just as a nurse came running in the room I told her, "He's awake." And a hysterical sob of happiness escaped me.

I was out of the hospital, Cloud wasn't. I was able to walk, Cloud wasn't. I could go see my friends, Cloud's friends could only go to see him. I could go to school, Cloud couldn't. I could get past all this and so could Cloud.

My stitches were gone, my face was unblemished, there were scars on my back and my hand was almost fully healed. Everything was going to be OK.

Cloud is starting to walk again and he can talk but only in short sentences; his throat's not really up to it—that and the shock at what happened. He's having a harder time recovering than I did, he's really taken all of this to heart. Granted, I had a longer amount of time to myself to think my way through the mess my life had become; he's something of a celebrity here, since he woke up out of an almost self-induced coma. The doctors said after he got smashed in the head a couple of times, he fell unconscious and that he never woke up and fell into a coma. We're still not sure how that could of happened, maybe his body was protecting his mind because now that he's awake you can tell that Cloud too, is damaged goods.

I've started school again and am making my way from class to class very gingerly; taking life one step at a time or it might crush me like a fucking tsunami. But I'm trying and so is Cloud.

I've gotten rid of my tight skinny jeans in favor of my old crappy ones with the unintentional holes in the knees. My footwear of choice? Flip flops. Doing my hair? Never heard of it. Make up? For girls only.

I was me again and nothing was standing in my way.

They still haven 't caught our attackers and I don't think they ever will. But I also don't think they'll come back here again.

Riku talks to me now and we hang out occasionally. Sometimes I catch him looking at me with this hungry stare and I shiver because I can feel what he's feeling and it's only a matter of time.

Leon's been to see Cloud and I think it's because of him that Cloud is actually recovering. Somehow Cloud managed to catch Leon's eye and Leon managed to fall in love with him. They're almost always together now and I've never seen Cloud so happy. It's just one of the many good things that has come out of this hell. I'm not certain but I think the coma was Cloud's way of trying to kill himself. He just couldn't take it anymore; Sephiroth, his rape, my rape, my scarred body, his scarred heart... We're damaged, but people still want us.

And that I find unbelievable.

Summer's over now and I'm trapped in school. But they'll be other summers and for other people, other boys. But for me there's Riku and I've never felt happier.

I lay my head down in the sand and stare into his blue-green eyes and I can't help but to let out a barking laugh. It's just so strange to me that things actually worked out in my favor. Then he starts laughing because I'm laughing. When he finally gets up he brings me with him and brushes the sand off me.

Simba is bouncing around us in circles, hoping one of us will finally throw his stick. But he's acting as if we haven't thrown the stick a million times and that the reason we're on the ground isn't because we're so tired from throwing the stick.

As we walk back to his car, I can hear the waves crashing rhythmically into the shore behind me.

"I love the beach," I said. He smiled. "The beach is a place where you can always start over new, because in another twenty-four hours, there won't even be proof that we were here. The beach is a blank slate—somewhere where you can always start over."

"Ok, Socrates. Stop philosophizing and get in the car." He jokes, but I can tell he understands me.

I open the passenger door and Simba hops into the backseat while I settle in the front. Riku slams his door shut and turns the key in the ignition and the radio turns on.

I can see you--

Your brown skin shinin' in the sun

You got that top pulled down and that radio on, baby

And I can tell you my love for you will still be strong

After the boys of summer have gone.

The End

Author's Note – This is the final chapter and I'm ending it on a good note--hopefully. I feel like the ending is a little lackluster and that there's no climax but I'm hoping that everyone can realize that for Sora the rape was a lesson. If he was himself and wasn't afraid to be with Riku, he never would have been raped. If he had been a stronger person he could have saved himself and his brother. Cloud goes through a transformation of his own as well, he couldn't protect his baby brother and is torn up about it. But after Sora calls him out on it, he wakes up and accepts responsibility.

*To make it more clear, Sora is NOT being raped because of the way he dresses. Sora is being raped because he lost sight of himself and his own personality. Once he let people form his image, his life went downhill. He alienated his friends and twin brother and finally was raped. By not believing in himself, Sora was put in a situation to be raped. His strength of character (or lack thereof) determined his fate--not his clothing! Which is why in the end and at numerous times in the story, he hates the clothing because as he says, it's not 'him'. Eventually he realizes he's becoming someone else FOR a guy and realizes he only wants to be himself. So he tells Riku that for the past few days he's been letting other people run his life. If you notice, Sora's only truly happy when he's wearing his own clothing and making his own choices in life. His clothing style represents him losing his freedom and individuality because he's letting others make decisions for him!

Any feed back is welcome along with complaints. I feel like this ending isn't half as dramatic as it should have be.

Please check my website for more review responses! .com/