The BirdFox Hybrid Productions
Disclaimer: We don't own anything in relation to Kingdom Hearts or Disney/Squeenix
The midday sun beat down on Sora's bare back as the teen stretched from his crouched position, letting out a sigh. He ran his forearm across his brow, wiping away beads of sweat that had gathered. Before him sat a near-completed raft made of driftwood, rope, and spare cloth. He merely needed for Riku to bring the last batch of wood and for Roxas to return with extra rope and the raft would be done.
It had taken many a grueling month to gather the supplies needed to make the creation- driftwood wasn't all that common due to the lack of surrounding trees near enough to shore. The sad truth was that it had taken just as long to put the raft together, since Sora had no clue when it came to making any type of traveling vessel. Monsoon season was coming up faster than Sora had originally anticipated, and though it was a good month and a half away, it was also a good month and a half closer than he would have liked.
He ran a hand through his hair, ruffling the brown locks gently before his fingers rested on the back of his neck. His free hand placed itself on his hip, eyes surveying his work to check for any possible damage or flaw. Biting down gently on his bottom lip, his brows furrowed- Roxas had been recently talking about how their journey would most likely never happen- and had even gone as far as threatening to tell their mother about Sora and Riku's scheme of leaving the island, saying how it was more a suicide mission than anything. Sora loved his twin, truly, he did. It was just that Roxas just needed to get out there, and find out there really was more to the world than just their dinky little island. Roxas would see one day, Sora was sure of it.
Shifting the heavy loop of rope on his shoulder, Roxas bit back a sigh as he neared Sora on his return to the raft. Somehow his elder brother (by one minute and forty seven seconds) had managed to drag him into this ridiculous and unrealistic idea of building a raft to get off of Destiny Islands.
The blond had spent countless nights arguing with him- what was wrong with the islands? Why did he want to leave so badly? And if there were other places out there, there would already be ferry services running to and fro- no raft would survive out that far. Roxas was always the one to stand back and think things through where Sora was rushing ahead head-first into everything. Sora said that Roxas needed to relax and enjoy life a bit more- Roxas said that Sora needed to use his head before his brain retired along with Sora in his early grave.
"Here's the rope," dropping the item onto the raft next to Sora's feet, his brother stood back, observing the monstrosity, "How far along is it, then?"
Sora turned, his face lighting up with a grin upon catching sight of his sibling- the very person he'd been thinking about. The brunet reached down to pick up his tank top off the edge of the raft, slipping it over his head whilst replying. "It's almost done. I'm going to use that rope to hold the sail in place better and make it so we can take it down when the wind's too crazy." A puff of brown hair popped through the collar before Sora's head did, and he straightened his shirt glancing at Roxas. He looked like he was dressed for the fall- the blond always refused to wear sandals (sand got everywhere) or shorts.
"You're not gonna wear that when we set sail? It'll be too hot. Who wears pants anymore?" He flicked Roxas on the nose, a teasing glint in his eyes.
Flinching backwards from Sora's finger, Roxas covered his nose with a hand, scowling at his brother, "Someone who doesn't want to be burnt to a crisp by the sun," he reached out, smacking Sora's shoulder gently, "You didn't use any sunscreen like mom told you to, Sora. I thought you would have learned by sixteen... The back of your shoulders are bright red. You'll have to sleep on your stomach." Roxas jabbed a finger at Sora twice to accentuate his declaration.
Sora's eyebrows shot up into his hairline. "They are?" With a faint tone of despair, Sora twisted his head to the left, tugging the sleeve of his shirt down and spinning in a circle in an attempt to catch sight of his back.
Upon realizing that it was futile, Sora released his shirt with a half-hearted shrug. "It's probably not that bad." He declared, his twin a self-assured grin.
He paused, "And where's Riku? Did he break a hip trying to get the wood?" The brunet peered down both ends of the shore in search of his best friend. Not too far off, a tall boy with pale silver hair pulled back into a low tie with muscular arms exposed by the sleeveless shirt he wore was kicking up sand with his bare feet, headed towards the twins. Sora's face lit up and he rose a hand to wave at the approaching male.
"Sora! Are you being a lazy ass again?" The boy called out, balancing a large pile of driftwood in his arms- though he was somehow able to prevent being awkward with his movements anyway.
Sora scowled at Riku. "I take offense to that lazy comment; I'll have you know I've been working my 'lazy ass'," Sora's hands lifted, fingers making small quotations around the word before he glanced away from the older boy in a huff. Riku flashed him a grin and nodded at Roxas in greeting, dropping the driftwood next to the pile of rope, "Hey Roxas, you helping out today? Cheer up, you look miserable."
"I have the right to be," Roxas scowled, "You guys are crazy. Monsoon season is coming up quick, and yet you're still making this... death trap." His hand motioned to the raft as he spoke, earning half-hearted grins from both Riku and Sora.
Sora's expression softened, dropping his arms from their crossed position and regarding his brother with a knowing look. "Worry not, Roxas, monsoon season is still a good month and a half away, we'll be alright." He placed his hand onto his sibling's shoulder, the palm of his fingerless glove giving Roxas a quick squeeze. Sora was probably just as worried as his twin about the raging series of storms that would be fast approaching, but it was now or never, and the brunet knew better than to encourage Roxas's negativity.
Roxas's scowl increased, "So you guys are abandoning me and mom within the next few weeks. Great. Thanks for that."
Grinning, Riku clapped a hand on the blond's shoulder in a similar fashion to Sora, "Oh, but I thought you were coming with us, Roxas?"
"Well, Sora said--"
"What I said was-" Sora cut in, using his hand to shove Riku gently in the shoulder to get him to back off for a moment. "I said to myself, and to Riku- 'What kind of a brother would I be to go off on an adventure and leave poor Roxas all alone with our mean ol' mummy?' Then I figured, that you needed to see the world with us-- I just... err... hadn't asked yet..." Sora trailed off sheepishly, rubbing a hand against the back of his head before he held them out in a shrug, "So- how about it, Roxas?" He gave his brother what he liked to dub his 'thousand watt smile'.
"No way," Roxas shook his head to strengthen his rejection, "I'm not stepping foot on that thing. Sora, you're insane. Riku, I don't know how my brother has made you suicidal, and I don't plan to find out. I'm out of here," shaking Riku and Sora's hands off of his shoulders, he turned and headed out of the area quickly before either could protest.
Riku sighed once the blond was out of sight, "You two are twins but nothing alike- it gets me every time," he turned back to Sora, sensing he needed to reassure him about the raft- after all, it was Riku's idea originally (although Roxas seemed to think otherwise), "Look, it's going to be fine. If he doesn't come, it'll just be us two." As he spoke, they were overcast in a soothing shadow as the sun dipped behind a series of clouds to provide a small bit of temporary shade for the two boys.
Sora turned to give Riku a small grin. "Yeah, just us two..." His smile fell, brows furrowed. Though he was elated at the thought of having an ungodly amount of alone time with Riku, Sora knew that Roxas spent too much time as a recluse, and hardly sought out others company on his own without Sora or their mother's insistence. He let out a sigh, tempted to rest his head on Riku's shoulder in his exasperation.
"I get worried about him sometimes. He used to hang out with Hayner and the others, but when they fell out of contact over the summer, Roxas just, I dunno, stopped caring." Sora glanced up to Riku. "It makes me glad that I've got a friend like you, Riku."
"Mmm," sitting down on the sand, Riku patted the ground next to him, beckoning for Sora to follow suit, "You're a good brother, Sora. You really care about him, and he'll recognize that. I'm sure Roxas will cheer up once school's back in session and he's seeing his friends regularly again." As much as Sora worried over his brother, Riku worried that Sora was stressing himself too much when it came to Roxas's welfare. The silver-haired teen knew all too well that Roxas was level-headed and could take care of himself if the situation arose. He glanced up when a group of seagulls let out a series of argumentative and obnoxious caws- though his gaze was redirected to Sora when the brunet plopped down beside him with a huff to lean a shoulder against Riku's own.
"Maybe... you think he needs a girlfriend?" As Sora spoke, he stared down at where his fingertips barely touched Riku's, the gears in his mind turning. What kind of girl would Roxas like? Did Roxas even like girls? Sora had read somewhere that homosexuality tended to be a hereditary trait, and since Sora liked boys...
A quite silence overcame them, broken only by the hypnotic shushing of the tide coming in.
"Maybe," following Sora's gaze, Riku looked down at their fingertips in the sand. He smiled, before shifting his arm, hand drifting across the small of Sora's back before it landed on his hip, casually holding him in a half hug as he turned his attention out to the sea, "That Naminé girl in our English class likes him. And there's Kairi, too."
Sora blinked gently, gazing up and out to the ocean, though he had to avert his eyes whenever the glare of the sun returned once it had come out from behind another cluster of clouds. "Yeah, Kairi's a little pushy though; I don't think she's Roxas's type, but maybe Naminé..." Sora trailed off, reaching his hand out to return the partial embrace; his fingers resting on Riku's waist. His head bobbed gently, sleep tugging at his senses as his fatigue was brought to his attention. He let out a large yawn, lulled into a sense of relaxation by the sounds of the ocean and the wind that caught in the leaves of nearby palms, causing a few coconuts to clack together.
"Ma- maybe I can ask Roxas when I get home." The brunet said, blinking his eyes. Shade fell upon them again as two seagull overhead floated down to the water. He tilted his head to look at Riku. "We'll be ready to set sail any day now. I can't wait." Sora gave Riku the smallest of secretive smiles.
"Me neither," Riku turned his head and returned the smile, only inches separating them now, "There will be so much out there... it'll be amazing. You'll love it, I know you will."
Sora's yawn seemed to be contagious as one suddenly escaped Riku's mouth that second, ruining the moment as he had to pull back to cover his mouth, "Do you want to head back? We can take a nap at yours."
Sora gave a lazy nod. "Sounds good, I got up too early this morning, I think." He peered up at the sky, watching as darker clouds slowly began to creep across the blue expanse, thinking nothing of it except the shade it provided and the possibility of a light drizzle sometime later in the day. "It looks like it's gonna rain anyway, so it's probably a good idea to take a break." Sora pushed himself to his feet, brushing sand off and offering a hand out to his silver-haired companion.
Grabbing Sora's hand, Riku pulled himself up, hand lingering for a moment before pulling his fingertips away, "Sounds like a plan. C'mon."
A violent crack of thunder was what jolted Sora into the waking world, eyes darting out to the dark evening sky as rain pounded against his window. His legs were tangled in Riku's, their bodies pressed close. He extricated himself enough to sit up, pulling open his window and then shutting it when he was bombarded with a faceful of rain and another flash of lightning. The situation ran itself twice in Sora's head before realization hit him.
Incoherent mumbles were his reply as a pale hand groped blindly up Sora's side, grabbing the boy and pulling him back down to bed. Arm slinking around his waist, Riku pulled the brunet back tightly up against him. Whether he was fully conscious and aware of his actions wasn't clear, but he definitely hadn't heard or understood Sora's previous exclamation. However, as much as Sora would have liked to cuddle into Riku and forget about the storm outside, he had spent hours working on the very raft he'd forgotten to tie to the dock, and knew it would be swept away into the raging waters by the waves rushing onto the shore, where the vessel had been resting.
"Riku- the raft." He said, pressing his hand against Riku's chest to attempt to awaken the silver-haired teen. "The raft isn't tied to the dock, we've got to tie it before it gets pulled out to sea," Sora tugged at Riku's hands on his waist, attempting to loosen the vice grip. Lightning flashed again, lighting up the room for a moment before plunging it back into semi-darkness.
Groaning, Riku squinted open an eye, his face portraying the look of utmost annoyance. He loosened his grip around the boy's waist, sitting up and running his fingers through his hair, fetching his hair-tie from somewhere amongst the sheets and tying his hair back once again. He wasn't pleased about the idea of going out in the rain, but he figured that rain led to a wet Sora which led to a bath when they got back, so he decided he'd cope. Barely. Sure.
He had to hide the enthusiasm in his voice, "We'd better get going."
Sora hurried out of the bed, snatching up his sneakers and hopping to tug them onto his feet. Grabbing an old black jacket on the way out of his room, he called out for Riku to hurry as he jumped the stairs two at a time, not bothering to silence the loud thuds his footsteps made.
"Come on Riku!"
Quickly pulling on his shoes, Riku hurriedly grabbed up a set of sneakers he often left at Sora's house while making sure to pick up one of the brunet's extra zip-up hoodies and pulling his hair back with the ponytail he'd previously tucked into the pocket of his jeans. With a faster pace, he trailed after Sora down the stairs catching up with the smaller boy just outside the house, where Sora had been waiting for him
The wind caught the door the second it was released from Riku's grasp, slamming so hard it sounded like the entire house shook. That was when Riku finally caught sight of the storm. He felt the urge to grab Sora's hand as he gazed up to the twisted and warping clouds above- unsettling him. But he knew that he'd only slow them down like that. He gave Sora a look before they broke into a full-out sprint, heading for the raft as fast as humanly possible.
A sudden bang shook Roxas out of his thoughts- he had been dozing at his desk over a book. He looked up and out his window, a flash of lightning illuminating the cover as it fell closed underneath his hand, the orange title of Marigold lighting up for a moment. But his attention was drawn to two lone figures darting from his house. He quickly recognized them Sora and Riku. But what the heck were they doing out in this storm?
He got up, pulling on the faded blue jacket that hung over the back of his chair and tugging it on. For some reason he felt compelled to follow them. Something about the way they ran, something about the way the sky flashed and trembled. Skipping a few steps as he headed down the stairs, he grabbed an umbrella and stepped outside, flicking it open and following after the boys. However, the strong winds blew his umbrella inside out and then completely ripped it from his hands before he had even gotten to the end of his block. Scowling, he let the storm claim the broken chunk of metal and continued pursuing his brother and friend. Somehow, he knew where to go.
Their island was alive with shadows as the stormy sky was darkened their cheery beach into a sinister, cold arena. Sora's eyes squinted as the rain partially obscured his vision, wet hair hanging in his face, causing water to slide down his cheeks and across his mouth and brow in rivulets. As he ran, he raised a soaked hand to pull hair out of his vision, scowling in irritation when the brown locks stuck wetly to his skin. It was then that he caught sight of what lay before him.
"Riku, what-" Sora broke off, out of breath as he came to a complete stop, and he stared at the dark creatures crawling over the shore and dock. Lifeless eyes shining a dull gold that peered up at him caused Sora to inhale sharply when one pulled itself from the ground near his shoe. Its tri-clawed fingers grasped out at Sora's ankle, empty, yet hunger filled gaze causing Sora's heart to clench in fear. The brunet lashed his foot out, kicking it back and jumping in surprise when it disappeared in a plume of smoke. "Riku, What's going on? Wh- what are these things?"
"I don't know, but... these things...! They must be from another world, Sora!" Snapping his head around so fast that water went flying off of his bangs as they hit his face wetly, Riku looked past the raft to the dark waters- which were eerily calm despite the howling winds and swirling sky. He was drawn to it for some reason. Black seemed to be stirring in its depths, beckoning to the silver-haired teen with a promise to grant his wishes.
Dropping Sora's hand (he didn't realize until then that they had started to hold hands), he ran forward to the water, feet splashing into the shallow swash. The teen suddenly felt exhilarated, a rush of power had gone through him- it increased and he felt warm as he stepped further into the water, wading until he was knee deep. In awe, he whipped around to Sora, holding out his hand, "Sora! Come with me! This is our way out, to our new life, to get off this island!" He just knew it, there was no doubting the feeling rushing through his veins, this was their way out. Sora just had to believe him.
"Riku, what are you talking about?" Sora called out over the howling wind. Riku's behavior was worrying him, and he was half tempted to disobey his friend's request. The look in Riku's eyes was one Sora had never seen before. He bit his lip, but made his way through the shallows, his steps wide and less erratic as he reached for his companion. He halted in mid step, the feeling of black tendrils creeping about his ankles shocking the teen into looking down and gasping. Shadows, twisting and writhing, surrounded his legs, creeping forth from the water and slowly crawling up his shins, trapping him.
His head shot up. "Riku! I can't move!" He struggled, reaching down to free his ankles from their dark hold. He stood straight again, reaching forward, fingertips grazing Riku's own. "Riku!"
Slipping in the sand, Roxas skidded around the corner only to see Sora and Riku in the water-- during a thunderstorm?! Gasping for air, he clawed at the sand as he nearly tripped, darting for the two.
"Sora!! SORA!!" he yelled as he neared him, "Get out of the water!!" When he realized that his brother wasn't listening or couldn't hear him, Roxas tried yelling for the more logical of the two, "RIKU!" They were both insane.
Riku stretched his hand out further to Sora, "Just take my hand, it'll be fine, they won't bother you anymore!" Sora had to believe him, Riku had never felt a hunch this strong before in his life. His fingers reached out for the brunet.
Panic gripped him as Roxas's screams reached the brunet's ears. "Roxas--" Sora whirled around, eyes wide as he caught sight of his brother on the shore, "Roxas!"
He turned back to see Riku, still standing with his hand outstretched. Could he grab Riku and drag him back to shore with Roxas? Sora's body bent forward, his hand finally grasping tightly to Riku's. In that split second Roxas's yelling voice suddenly becoming an echo in his head as the world began to spin around him. His body felt weightless as darkness crept into his vision. He was only aware of Riku's hold on him before his world went blank.
Freezing in horror, Roxas mouthed his brother's name but no sound came out- he and Riku had just disappeared before his very eyes. "Sora!" he found his voice, and he screamed, and he threw himself forward into the water, hands grasping down at the sand below- he must have fallen down, he must just be there, he can't just disappear, that's not possible- he choked on water, soaked to the bone as he groped blindly through the water, finding nothing- nobody- and then silence and black.
Psycho Rooster: I was the one who initially proposed the idea to Yuka after we discussed possibly writing together. She took to the idea instantly, giving forth wonderful input that will make this story even more amazing than it would have been without her. Sadly, after we'd gotten a little ways past what will eventually be chapter six, Yuka was unable to continue writing, and so has given me permission to post this fic under my joint account with Random Kyuubi, who will now help me write this. Please continue to review and tell us what you think.