don't own the charries. just the plot. though even that's not much to look at. even so. dedication: opal light

- - -

Not So Straight

' ' If someone said three years from now
You'd be long gone
I'd stand up and punch them out
Cause they're all wrong ' '

-Pink,"Who Knew?"

•- -- --- --- --- --- -- -

--xxSerenity

- - -

Riku never minded when Sora and Kairi kissed.

He never minded the way the three of them always sat in front of the sunset, watching as the brightness continue to dip lower and lower, until it disappeared behind the far off line of the horizon, and the way the other two seemed to sink with it.

Further and further away they drifted until his presence was no longer noted. Often when this happened, he'd just snicker to himself and disappear, leaving the two alone with their privacy. He wasn't some sort of pervert after all.

And he never minded.

What he did mind, however, was when Sora would try to tell him about it afterwards.

Hello? I was there, you idiot.

And he found it funny, but in that sort of, teasing-best-friend sort of way, when Sora would tell him, because Sora was just so unlike anyone else. Anyone else would brag, or boast, any malethat is, any male with raging, teenage hormones. But Sora was often meek, and shy about it, blushing at funny times and trying to describe it with all the grace and precision of an artist, rather than boasting about how he got some "t & a" Plus it wasn't even thatthat Sora would talk about. He would always be shy detailing how he tried to kiss her, and how awkward he was, and how bad he was at it. Sora was basically the opposite of any macho male. Riku appreciated that in more ways than one.

Riku also found it endearing, as much as he mercilessly mocked him for it.

But beyond the teasing, which was all given in brotherly love, there was something else, and as much as he convinced himself he didn't mind, the truth was that he did. He minded. a lot.

Life went on a normal though, and Riku was good about it, because he always was. Besides, it wasn't even as if he had any rights, not after what he had done anyway, done to both Sora and Kairi. But this, too, were feelings he kept concealed.

So he'd be with his friends as he often enjoyed doing, leaving them to their own when the feelings arose, and never once commenting about how it was actually rather rude to engage themselves with him present.

But again, he had no rights any more, so it didn't even matter. And in the end, he was often up and away before he could see the real picture, and just how awkward Sora actuallywas.

"I like her, Riku." He said one day when the two were alone. Kairi, coincidentally, had errands she needed to do one evening, so she couldn't spend it with her two best friends. But plans commenced without her, as they would with any of them.

"I know." Riku returned flatly, no hint of jealousy, or irritation. Just the plain, obvious truth which he thought to know.

There was a silence between them then, and Sora fidgeted, wondering if this was the wrong thing to say. People often thought he was, at the very least, oblivious. But fighting for so long can often sharpen certain senses. He never let this on of course. Let them all think he was stupid.

Eyeing his best friend from the corner of his eye, he let the smallest of frowns grace his oddly delicate features.

"Doyou like her?" Sora asked innocently enough. But Riku regarded the question with a careful sort of curiosity, and after a moment of consideration gave his answer.

"Of course I do. She's one of my best friends."

Sora rolled his eyes. Idiot.

"You know what I mean, Riku." He grew only slightly more nervous, though that was all it took to have his fingers idly fiddling with the hem of his school shirt.

"Mm? Oh.." Riku started with a feigned inattentiveness. He was actually quite focused on what the other was asking. "No, Not thatway, anyway."

Sora 'Oh'ed quietly, and turned his eyes to the ocean, his attention glued to the waves. Moments after did he dare a "why?"

And Riku found the followup question to be strangely peculiar.

"Why what? Do I have to like her or something just because you do?" He asked, now only mildly irritated. But even with the slight irritation, Sora was quick to apologize.

"N-no! Of course not. I just thought..You know..that time–"

"With the race, and the paopu, yeah yeah." Riku cut him off before he had a chance to finish that, and Sora agreed weakly, and then fell silent, expecting an explanation.

But it never came.

He only snickered, and shook his head. Truthfully, he figured it'd be a perfect time to tell him thattruth. But at the same time he knew Sora was all about Kairi, and Riku intended it to stay like that.

That was how the conversation ended.

-oOo-

Riku didn't mind when Sora and Kairi broke up, but he was rather curious about it.

"She didn't want to ruin what we had as friends. I guess I sort of understand. Still sort of hurts though." He said to Riku that day after school, when they both found themselves on the island.

This time Kairi thought it'd be best if she stayed away, just for a few days, just to let Sora recuperate. She hadn't wanted to hurt him after all.

"You're oddly calm. I figured you'd be more of a wreck." Riku pointed out, and Sora answered him with a rather nervous chuckle.

"Me too, but I guess I wasn't as into her that way as I thought. I've been thinking a lot anyway."

Riku perked at this especially, but continued to force himself to show a limited amount of interest.

"Oh?"

And Sora seemed considerably less calm.

"Yea.."

Silence. Then more silence. Then Riku swore he heard a cricket chirp somewhere despite it still being very much day.

"Well aren't you going to tell me?" He asked, more amused than anything else, and Sora looked up at him as if just snapped out of some sort of daydream, which, in reality, wasn't toofar from the truth.

"Huh? Tell you what?"

Another eye roll from the elder was given.

"Uh..What you were thinking about?"

More fiddling to the shirt, accompanied by Sora's half-enthused "Do I have to?"

Riku snickered, and pressed his hands to rough bark of that oddly shaped tree, using his hold there to hoist himself up into a sitting position with legs dangling over the side.

"Of course not. Though I'll probably annoy you incessantly until you do." He stated with a grin. The characteristic joking putting the younger one momentarily at ease.

I wouldn't mind that as much as you'd think.

"Uhm. It's sort of embarrassing." He actually smiled a little at his own train of thought, enough to make the elder even more curious.

"All the better to mock you incessantly with." Riku chortled, slinging an arm around Sora's shoulders and tugging him close.

It wasn't the action so much, but maybe the thoughts that accompanied it. Sora tensed suddenly with Riku's arm around him, and he couldn't stop the faint red hue that colored his face, making his hands shoot up to block it, as if that appeared any more normal.

He eventually (and thankfully) calmed himself, and relaxed a bit, enough to form coherent sentences at least.

"Is..Is it bad to..uhm..Not like girls?" If blushing could kill someone, his head might as well have exploded in raging flames, at least that's how he felt, and how hot his face felt. He even went so far as to prep himself for the jeering, mocking laughter he thought that the other would bestow upon him.

But it didn't come; not so much as a snicker even escaped the elder. But he did draw back, slightly surprised.

"No. It's not bad." He replied simply while finding interest in his own, suddenly nervous hands. Fingers idly intertwined among themselves, and oceanic eyes glued themselves to the sand in front of them. Sora looked up at him as if it was the most surprising thing in the world to hear.

"Then why–" He started, but quieted himself when he decided he was going to say too much. As if he hadn't already anyway.

"Huh? Why what?" As expected, Riku pounced on that, but Sora was resistant, shaking his head and pushing himself off from leaning on the tree.

"Nothing, forget I said anything."

Normally, Riku would've pressed on, made him talk, but there was something oddly sad about the boy that made the elder shut up. Be that as it may, he regarded his best friend with utmost curiosity, and decided to watch him a bit more closely from that moment on. Still, there was another thought that caused him to frown a bit.

"Were you leading Kairi on, Sora?"

"What?? No!" Sora snapped, both angrily as well as defensively. It was strangely defensive actually, because Riku could've sworn he saw a few tears pricking at the corners of his eyes. Riku decided there was more to the story than what Sora let on. But intelligently enough, he let it rest

-oOo-

Riku didn't mind when Sora didn't sit with him at lunch; he didn't sit with Kairi either, and Riku figured he had some inner unresolved conflicts that he probably wanted to solve himself. That was fine. Riku'd only press him about it when they weren't surrounded by people.

However, Riku did mind when a group of guys surrounded Sora after school And he minded even more when they started throwing words at him. Words that were indistinguishable among the roar of crazy, high school kids after school, but more clear once you were in the immediate area.

Riku made it his business to be in that immediate area, and he didn't like what he heard, not in the slightest. In fact, it enraged him.

"Faggot." "Pussy" "Bitch boy" were only a few among the others. Riku fought his way to the front of the group that had gathered, but was still pushed back, much to his dismay. Even so, he got a clear view of what was occurring.

Three of them, that is, three obnoxious kids were taunting the boy with those insults. The popular ones, as was the case nearly always, asserting their manliness by torturing the one who was even the slightest bit unmanly. Riku never knew this problem. Though then again, it wasn't like he was a popular one. He was the quiet, probably stuck up kid that thought he was better than everyone.

Personally, he preferred it like that. He did sort of look down upon the loud, obnoxious race known as high school kids, and preferred to keep only to his small, close knit group of friends, one of which was currently being harrassed, while the other looked on helpless, yelling at him to leave h im alone. Riku also wondered to himself how they could possibly be insulting Sora. He never let on that he was gay, and he wasn't thatflamboyant, or in the very least, wasn't thatgirly.

Kairi was there, Riku also noted, grabbing on the arm of one of the kids and trying to pull him back, and when Riku grew ever closer, he could hear her pleading.

"Psh, how could even date him for one second? You said it yourself. He was too girly."

Kairi was about to step in and say how that wasn't what she said at all, but before she could Riku was already in front of her, pushing the kid back both from Sora and from her as well, lest he saw it fit to turn on the girl also.

"Oh so do you want in on this too?" The boy leered at Riku, pushing him back. It could also be noted that the boy had a harder time then he probably thought, pushing the other away that is.

"Leave them alone." He stated threateningly. A deadly hush fell over the crowds, and Kairi had taken to Sora's side trying to plead with him that it wasn't what she said. It wasn't. Not like thatanyway. Sora didn't hate her for it either. He was incapable of hate, just as much as she was incapable of maliciously hurting someone. She had simply made an off comment about how it wouldn't have worked out. They were friends, and she didn't want to ruin that.

Kids just had a way of twisting things of course, just to add a touch of drama to everyone'slives.

And at that moment, that's exactly what was happening.

"Kairi wants a real man, not that flaming little faggot."

There was a flash of green, and silver then, when Riku lunged forward with a tightly balled fist, and crashed it against the kids jaw with a sickening crack. Needless to say, he tumbled back with a spurt of blood, and an uproar sounded among the crowd.

"Yeah well, I don't want an asshole jerkface either" Kairi spat, the only one that didn't seem enraged or surprised by Riku's actions. In fact, she even added insult to injury by sending a weak, girlish kick to the kid's side, making him groan all over again.

Riku turned and walked off, the group parting like the red sea to clear a path, and Kairi and Sora both followed after.

There was a great deal of apologies offered after that little scene. Forgiveness all around. Riku was the only one mildly irked at Kairi for even involving herself with that riffraff, but they all knew the mood would be fleeting, and things would return to normal as they always did.

Riku wasn't around to express his unhappiness anyway. Word quickly spread about the incident, and he was hauled off to the principals office for the lecture he knew awaited him. He didn't mind though. He put that jerk in his place for talking about Sora like that, hisSora, and that was all that mattered.

-oOo-

It all happened so fast. Way too fast for Sora, who was still shaking outside the principal's office, waiting for his best friend, and said friend's sentence.

"Ahh, only two days. It's no big deal." Riku assured him, speaking of his two day suspension for punching the kid out.

"But it's still two days! And it's all my fault!." The younger wailed into his hands, and making Riku snicker at the over dramaticness of it.

"Please, what kid doesn't dream of two days off from school? They really should find an alternative method of punishment."

Sora wasn't bought by Riku's lightheartedness at the moment, and he made sure he knew by the grunt, and the otherwise adorable pout that Riku had come to know and love.

"You know, Sora. I'm the one that should be irked at you." Riku then added, making Sora stop and just stare after him as Riku continued down the path away from school. It was only a few feet further away did Riku stop too, once he realized Sora wasn't at his side.

"What do you mean?"

"You lied to me." The elder stated casually, not really annoyed, or disappointed even. Just in that way that one would state a fact. "I should be mad. I'm not though."

It wasn't as if Sora had to stop and think hard either. He knew what he meant. They all heard that obnoxious kid. The boy worried his lower lip with his teeth for a moment, choosing his next words as wisely as possible.

"What was I supposed to tell you? Oh she broke up with me because I wasn't .. Manly enough? Yeah there's something you want to tell your "straight-as-a-ruler", manly best friend." Sora muttered glumly, and reluctantly trudged up besides previously mentioned best friend. "In case you haven't noticed, I sort of.. care about what you think of me.."

Riku had to process everything, not because he wasn't understanding, but it just seemed odd that if Sora liked him from the get go,wouldn't he have just come out and said it? Then again, he decided he was being unfair in that sense, because in reality, it wasn't as if he was admitting to any deep dark feelings for your best friend either.

And still, that wasn't exactlywhat Sora had said either, and Riku sure as hell didn't want to come off as assuming wrong.

"And what of what youthink of me?" Riku asked then, arching a brow curiously. "Did you stop at all to consider that?"

Now Sora really was confused. Riku saw that coming. He snickered a little.

"What makes you think I'm so "straight-as-a-ruler"?" The elder asked, obviously amused.

Sora gnawed his lower lip now, struggling to answer that without sounding like a total reject.

"Well, you– uhm."

"Have you ever seen me with a girlfriend?"

"No, but, you– "

"Have you ever heard me talk about getting with a girl the way those losers do?"

"No!, But–"

"Shut up."

Compliantly, Sora stopped trying, but scowled miserably at the rather demanding command to do so. There was another chuckle from the elder as he turned to face his friend, and in doing so he gave him a playful shove off the cement path and up against a nearby tree.

"You can assume all you want, Sora, based on what you see. But you'll never know anything unless you even dare to find out for yourself if something is true or not."

Riku decided, inwardly, that he was a stupid, ridiculous hypocrite. He continued anyway.

"I don't have a girlfriend, nor do I speak of getting one, nor do I like Kairi, because I don't like girls thatway."

It was Sora's turn to process, and rather then process the seemingly obvious, he found himself pondering another entirely different matter.

"But then why don't they harass you? I mean..not that I'd wantthem to..It's just..Why me?" He inquired, even slightly hurt, enough to make Riku frown a little himelf.

"I hide it better? Because everyone else thinks the same thing that you do about me. Which is fine. Let them. I don't need a bunch of idiots knowing me. You're all I need, and Kairi when she's done experiencing other new things." He snickered a little again, and the mood lightened considerably. At least Riku would've liked to have thought that. Sora did smile some, and visibly relax.

"You really mean that?" He asked shyly, hiding his disappointment when Riku returned his arms to his sides. "That I'm all you need?"

"Wouldn't lie to you." Riku returned. It was a genuine comment, but there was that underlying resentment at how Sora lied to him. It was a light sting, but a sting nonetheless. The younger one took note of it and looked away sadly.

"I'm sorry.." Sora murmured quietly, averting his eyes since he didn't feel he could meet the gaze of the elder at that moment.

"Just, make a promise not to do it again? I mean, best friends shouldn't lie to each other, right?"

Sora nodded energetically, Riku smirked, ruffled the others spikes, and started walking once again.

"Good. Because I have a question for you, and I'll be really sad slash angry if you lie to me again."

He never ceased his pace, and Sora had to jog after him at first to catch up, of course oblivious to the question that was about to be thrown at him, but at the same time cautious anyway.

"O-okay.." he stuttered nervously, fingers finding their way to the hem of his shirt in that fidgety sort of fashion.

"Do you like me– the way you liked Kairi?" He asked easily, confidently even, because he knew the answer.

"No."

Or he thought he knew the answer. But just before his entire world came crashing down on him, Sora moved in front of him, ceasing Riku's forward motion with his own smaller body pressed up against him, Sora's arms wrapped around the elder's waist and his head nestled against Riku's chest.

It was just a hug. A plain, simple hug, but there was so much more meaning to it for the both of them and the two realized that as well. Riku was only slightly surprised.

"I think even if she didn't break up with me, it wouldn't have worked out. Because I like her as my best friend, like a sister. Ialways liked her like that. I like you as something so much more– I think.."

There was still hesitation, and even a tiny touch of awkwardness, But Riku returned the hug graciously, laying his head on top of the younger's soft spikes and he realized then that despite the hesitation and awkwardness, he really didn't mind.

Not at all.

Not one bit.


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