disclaimer: Kingdom Hearts and characters are property of Square Enix.
Thanks to riku replica for betawork and characterization check. 3
Prompt: 09. without a name
Two dolls went bump in the dark,
Hello, pleasant Eve, Good Night.
Riku Replica/Riku, mild, and once again, rather dark. I may have to work on that.
When Riku was born, there had been two. Twin boys, just as ice-pale, just as pretty and unearthly. The second had died while he was still a baby, not long out of his mother's womb. It was all so quick, he'd not even been christened by the village elder who'd been standing outside, the wooden bowl of sacred wine in his hands.
"So what happened after that?"
"Shush now, don't talk back to your elders." The man hiccupped and went back to his drink, muttering into the clear alcohol to the bottom of his tankard. "Don't do to talk about things like that." He looked scared.
Riku frowned and left it at that. Most of the men got drunk on feast nights. And half of the women. Somebody else would tell him the story, he felt sure. There had to be a reason, any at all, that the older villagers looked at him only sparingly, and always with a strange vacant gaze, like he were not really there. His mother, before she passed away, ushered him through the streets like he was a secret, to be tucked into a parcel and covered with cloth, a ribbon choked about his neck.
But that had been when he was five.
Today was his birthday, the fifteenth. He was already helping with the hunt, quiet and efficient in his kills, and the odd job to help around the village. The other boys either ignored him, grudgingly accepting help when neccesary and the girls would look away when he offered to carry things. Unless they were too young to think, he might as well have been a walking ghost. Something colorless and transparent, like his strange hair. Nobody else had hair like that.
It was time he knew. He felt it with each step he took tonight.
But nobody else was quite drunk yet. After all, the night was young and bursting with life. Music thrummed under his skin, even though he hadn't touched any of the heady wine. The voices of the villagers blended with the notes, rising to a lamp-like moon in the sky. He wove about the dancers, more than used to the way their eyes skimmed him. It wasn't hunting time or harvest. He was unreal.
Without hesitation, his feet turned into a lane that took him out of the village. He'd never liked to stay with too many people, and most of them didn't care to stay with him.
Taking a turn at the Willow's cross, he arrived at his favorite haunt. The lake opened before him, a smooth blanket of water collected in a dish. Nobody ever came here except him. This far away, the voices and the music were muffled by the sighing trees.
He hauled himself up to a rock on the bank. Sometimes he saw faded bits of pottery wash up near the shore. The villagers probably used to throw things that weren't needed anymore into the water. The lake, however, had remained as clear as any other. Riku looked over the edge of the rock, wondering if anything had washed up today.
In the water was his perfect mirror image, the same black-lashed water-hue eyes, the same straight nose and arc of lips, every inch of lean muscle years of activity had built. He was proud of that. Ceaseless chopping and hauling of wood had made them.
He stared at the water like it would answer the thoughts he never voiced. As always, his mind turned up empty. In the middle of his third half-contemplation, Riku noticed something: although he was perfectly still, the boy in the water moved.
With both of Riku's hands still clamped down on the rock before him, the boy in the lake gave him a little wave. Then the other boy grinned, not quite looking like Riku anymore. His ghostly fingers touched the water edge like it was a thin wall of glass. Ripples echoed around each pressed fingertip, displaced by his finger as though he were real. Like he was really trapped under the water of the lake, a prisoner bound in lilypads and pondgrass.
"What's your name?"
"I don't have one," the same eerie smile tugged at his lips. All too unreadable in the murky dark. The water was dark, Riku realized, an ebony black to reflect the sky above. And inside of it were bone-white trees, their branches reaching out like desperate hands, asking to be saved.
"Everyone has a name."
"I am no one." It was a very casual statement.
"Nobody doesn't have a name. What's your name?"
"What's your name?" the boy echoed, ignoring the dragonfly that skimmed through the water , tangling impossibly in his silver hair and left to sink in the dark.
"Stop that," Riku said irritably, "stop repeating what I say. Only a copycat would do that. Only a fake."
"How can I when I'm no one?"
"Then you'll be Nise," Riku said, not without spite. It was hardly a flattering name.
Nise grinned. And his fingers broke the water. Once-glass parted like clear syrup before his pale hand. His head came after it, clinging to his naked skin, water streaming down ivory and freezing into drops of ice just before it met the water's surface.
It's the same face, Riku remembers, but not. The moon caught in the other, except for his dark, wide turqoise eyes. Yet he moved like he was part of the dark, so fluid and enchanting that Riku couldn't move, even when the arms, slick with cold water draped around his warm skin. Couldn't move when he came so close that his pallid lips brushed his neck.
"Touch me," Nise hissed, hands tightening around Riku's shoulders, "hold me." Ice. Like ice. Even for November. "Do you remember?" he whispered. "Once, we were twined in her womb."
Riku had never been touched by anyone, never intimately. Occassionally his hands would brush against someone else's, feeling a momentary warmth before both falling away to other tasks. Once, he'd gently patted a young child, feeling the soft cornsilk of his hair before the mother led him away. This embrace was cold and wet and harsh.
Never had it felt as right.
His flesh was numbing, warmth fleeing him but for where they touched. Where their skin met, it was almost too warm. Like the heat had pooled, draining away bit by bit to the other. But Nise's hands remained cold. Cold as they traced Riku's face and slipped down his neck. Cold as they dragged down his chest. Riku felt his mouth open, heard the sigh that was not a word and was. Not a name and was.
The sort of smile a teacher gave his pupil for a correct answer.
His hands drifted down Riku's back, floating to rest the other boy's work-roughened hands and then threading through his fingers, twining them irrevocably close. "Come with me. You belong with me."
Riku shivered against him, like a delicate butterfly with crumpling wings.
"You're not afraid, are you? Come with me." Nise rose a little to whisper in his ear, his lips skimming the line of Riku's jaw.
Gently, gently, like a paper boat sent to sail, Riku fell against him, wanting nothing more than that familiar touch. Almost comforting.
Gently, gently, the paper boat will sink.
Nise smiled at him, a real smile. He whispered into Riku's mouth, soundlessly. Silent as a grave. They're both half in the water, Riku's clothes seeping water, getting heavier by the moment. It won't be long, the withered trees in the lake invite.
Sleep with me. In our world, we're the only thing that's real.
The water slips over their heads, zipping into a smooth sheet of unbreakable ice. There were no bubbles, no trace. Tomorrow the bell would toll for what had been long predicted without voice or name.
We'll both be Real.
A/N: Well. That was interesting. I usually have trouble with characterizing Nise and lately, Riku. Comments be welcome