Salue! This is my first fan-fiction, like, ever. Hope you enjoy! I'd love any reviews!

AU. Summery: A present day family. A new strangely inexpensive home. Is it haunted? RikuSora, LeonCloud, AxelRoxas, others. I'm going to try to keep this rated T so a wider audience can read it, here's hoping I can downplay violence and romance! (A/N: I resubmitted the first chapter…Now Sephiroth's name is actually spelled right.)


June 21, 1882

Riku stared out the window from his second-story bedroom, the slightly warped glass making the fields outside a blur of gold and brown. It wasn't fair. It was the longest day of the year, the day when all of his friends would be out playing, maybe fooling around by the creek or meeting at the park.

And here he was. Stuck in the house for the past three days due to a cold. Apparently his father thought it might be tuberculosis, but really, there hadn't been a single sign of the disease in their region for ten years. But his father was overprotective and so Riku had been confined to his room, all because of a cough.

Sighing, Riku stood up from the window seat and walked over to his writing desk, tucking a strand of silver hair behind his ear. His hair would have to be cut soon; it was already past his shoulders. Soon the people in town would be talking about how much it made him look like his father. Not that there was anything wrong with looking like his father. He would just rather have his own identity.

Smothering a quiet cough with his hand, he sifted through a small stack of letters. They were his college applications and he was confident that he would be getting into at least one of the five he applied for. After all, he had had a private tutor, never even setting foot in one of those one-room shacks people called schoolhouses. He had even learned Latin and French, languages left usually only for the highest class.

With a quiet sigh, Riku pulled his hair back into a messy ponytail and tucked the letters under his arm before walking out into the hall. His shoes clicked against the polished wooden floors as he left his room before he quieted his steps, realizing the noise he was making. If his father caught him out of his room, he was sure to get a long lecture.

Tip-toeing down the stairs, Riku kept one hand on the banister, craning his neck as he peered over the railing looking for any sign of life. Seeing none, he made a quick dash for the front door, the seventeen-year-old uncharacteristically inelegant as he ripped open the front door and ran out into the hot summer air.


Grinning, Riku closed his eyes and took a deep breath of the fresh air. After being trapped in his room for the past few days, he was grateful for the warm rays of the sun against his pale cheeks. Covering another cough, he began the walk down their long driveway to the main road and mailbox, enjoying the scenery as he meandered along. The house was cradled by evergreen hills, the land in front covered in sprawling fields. His father was a lawyer by trade, a landlord by hobby. Several farmers lived on their property, his father renting out the land for a cheap price in return for a percentage of their profits.

As he reached the main road, Riku was surprised to hear a mechanical sputtering coming from around the bend. Slipping his letters into the mailbox, he tilted his head to the side, his delicate lips pursing as an automobile came chugging around the corner, its motor audibly straining. It must have needed to be wound again.

There was only one reason an automobile would be coming out so far into the countryside and Riku took a preemptive step back, allowing it room to pull into their driveway.

As if seeing him for the first time, the portly man in the driver's seat slowed the car down. Riku was able to identify him as the sheriff as the man stopped, leaning over the steering wheel and smiling broadly, "Riku! You're looking well for a lad supposedly sick to near-death."

Riku smirked, crossing his arms, "Yes, well you know my father. As you can see, I'm perfectly healthy." Remembering himself as a host, he dropped his hands to the sides, nodding his head respectfully, "May we help you with something, sir?"

The sheriff's round face darkened, "Yes. I have come to speak with your father. Is he at home?"

"He has been in his office for the entire day as far as I know."

"Good, good." The sheriff nodded then a new smile sprang onto his face, "Here, why don't you hop up onto the seat next to me. It'll make the trip faster for the both of us."

Riku grudgingly climbed up onto the contraption, leaning back into the leather seat as the automobile growled along the gravel drive. The machine was making enough noise to bring his father out of the study. He sighed, deciding to enjoy the last few seconds of freedom he had left and closed his eyes.

"So, Riku, I heard you were applying for a college out in England."

Riku cracked open an aquamarine eye, tilting his head to look at the man, "Yes, but Oxford was only for fun, just to see if I could. I'm hoping to get into a school a little closer, something that wouldn't take me weeks of sailing to get to." The older man chuckled, nodding as he adjusted his grip on the steering wheel.

"Well I'm sure you'll be able to get into any school you want. You're one of the brightest young men in the town."

Seeing the tension in the sheriff's hands, Riku frowned, "Did something happen in town?"

The man startled, smiling weakly as he chuckled, "What makes you say that?"

"I hate to say it sir, but you never come just for a social call. Not to mention that Father is the best lawyer in town. But I have to say I haven't seen you so tense before. Is something wrong?"

The sheriff chuckled, pushing his hat up as he scratched his hairline. "I'm a little hesitant to say anything until I see your father. That's going to let me know how serious the situation is. You understand."

Riku frowned at the vague reply but let it go, focusing instead on the front door to his house, which had just been drawn open by his father. Who was looking rather irritated. Shrinking down into the bench seat, Riku hoped to hide behind the rather large shadow of the sheriff but the man had to ruin his plans and wave. "Good afternoon, Sephiroth. I was just giving your boy a ride back from the mailbox. He seems as healthy as a horse if you ask me."

Sephiroth's sharp green eyes narrowed in on Riku, his arms crossing over his chest after he offered the sheriff a thin smile, "Thank you for bringing him back to the house. I wasn't even aware that he had left his room…"

Cringing as his father's voice dropped to a dangerous level, Riku slipped off of the automobile, clearing his throat quietly to hide an incriminating cough. Sephiroth only raised an eyebrow, moving to the side as his son slunk past him and back into the house.

Waiting until he heard the sound of shoes going up the stairs, Sephiroth turned to the sheriff, motioning for him to come inside. "Please, come in. I'll have the butler get some drinks ready."

"Thank you. It was a rather hot ride, sometimes I do wish automobiles came with shade."

Sephiroth shook his head, a smirk on his face as he followed the sheriff into the house, sending a warning glare up at the stairs when he saw a flash of silver dart up the landing but didn't peruse the issue further. If Riku wanted to listen in, Sephiroth wasn't going to stop him.

Riku frowned as his father and the sheriff sat down in the study. So his father was allowing him to listen in. That certainly took away some of the mystic of eavesdropping. Still, he crept down the stairs, curiosity getting the best of him as he slipped over to the open doorway.

Facing each other on opposite couches, his father was sitting as dignified as always, his long silver hair pulled back in a braid. The sheriff had his hands clasped together over his knees, his hat lying on the couch beside him as he spoke in a low, hushed voice. "Sephiroth, I've got some bad news."

"What is it?"

"Last night, some time around midnight…Well, you remember that man you prosecuted five years ago? Ansem?" Sephiroth nodded hesitantly. "Sephiroth, he escaped from the jailhouse."

Riku's aqua eyes widened as his father let out a small gasp. Sephiroth never gasped; he never showed fear or any sort. Clutching the wooden doorframe so hard his knuckles went white, Riku began to listen in on every word spoken.

"Ansem…" Sephiroth wove his fingers together, "I hoped I would never have to think about him again. That madman. How did he escape?"

"One of the guards got within two feet of the cage. He was new and inexperienced. Ansem strangled him and stole the keys. Once he got out of the cell it was all over. All of the guards were killed. It was…" The portly man sighed sadly and wiped at his brow with a handkerchief he had pulled from his back pocket. "It was complete carnage. We have no idea where he went, Sephiroth-"

Sephiroth cut him off, "But you think he's coming here."

The sheriff nodded miserably, "You were the only one he talked about in prison. He said some rather threatening things while he was locked up. I'm worried about your safety, Sephiroth. The longer he stays on the run, the more time he has to think of a way to get to you. I'm bringing men over tomorrow to guard the house."

Sephiroth shook his head, "I don't want you to waste so much manpower, not after what Ansem did in the jailhouse."

"It wasn't a yes or no question. You need protection, Sephiroth. And not only for yourself."

Sephiroth's eyes narrowed and Riku could swear his gaze darted fleetingly over to the door he was hiding behind before he spoke up, his voice cold as ice. "Are you suggesting he would try and hurt Riku?"

The sheriff shrugged helplessly. "I don't know what to tell you. He knows you have a son, everyone in town knows. I'm just saying, we shouldn't underestimate him in any way. It's nearing harvest time, you know that. He could get lost in the fields for days without being found and live off the crops. We've set out dogs looking for him but so far he's manage to loose them one way or another." The sheriff frowned, looking up at the clock on the mantel above the fireplace. "I have to get back to town and organize a new search. I'd suggest you find yourself a gun and wait it out inside your house until I send out a watch."

Sephiroth nodded curtly, standing up as the sheriff did. Riku shuffled back into the hall, moving around the kitchen just as the sheriff stepped out into the reception hall. He listened as the front door opened then closed, his father's voice calling out a moment later. "Riku, come here."

Riku stepped into view carefully, straightening his jacket as he looked up questioningly at Sephiroth. He had never seen his father look as serious as he looked now and it sent a shiver down his spine. "Riku," his father's voice brought him back from his thoughts. "I know you heard my conversation with the sheriff, so I shouldn't have to repeat what was said."

Frowning, Riku looked up at the older silver-haired male. "Father, this man, Ansem, do you really think he will come to try and kill you?"

"I can't say Riku, I really can't." Sephiroth closed his eyes then rubbed the bridge of his nose, "Whether he is coming or not, we should not take the risk. I will have the butler ready our carriage, we can take a impromptu vacation to the coast until the man is found. Go pack your things. Be down here within the hour."

Riku nodded, hurrying up to his room. He paused at the door, reality hitting him. His father was running away from something. From someone. Personally, Riku had never met this Ansem, but he was already beginning to fear him. Shaking his head, Riku pulled his trunk out from underneath his bed. It was foolish, fearing someone he had never met; it was childish. And Riku was no child. And yet he snapped open his trunk and began to fill it with his clothes and a few books that he might want to read should they be staying at the coast long.

Putting his hands on his hips, he glanced around at his room. It looked like he had packed everything worth any value. His room looked oddly barren without his books or his coat hanging over the back of his chair. The afternoon was shining in through his window, casting a dusty ray over the window seat and onto the hardwood floor, bathing the room in gold. Sighing, Riku ran a hand over his hair, his eyes widening as he caught sight of something glinting on his desk. It was the silver necklace his mother had given him before she had passed away.

A smile touched his lips as he reached for it, "How could I have forgotten you?" Just as his fingers were touching the cool metal, a bang shattered the calm summer air. Startled, Riku's hand slipped, pushing the necklace off the desk. It bounced on the wooden floor, rolling under his bed. Uttering a light curse, Riku was about to crouch down to fetch it when there was another crash downstairs.

Riku walked over to his bedroom door, a frown on his face. "Father, is everything alright?" Hearing no answer but instead a series of fumbling and scuffles, Riku rolled his eyes. He knew his father was in a hurry to pack, but that was no reason to be throwing things around the house. After a brief moment of thought, he decided it would probably be better to go and help. His father probably had a lot of legal papers he wanted to bring with them.

Walking down the staircase, he leaned over the railing, his frown deepening when he heard nothing but silence. "Father?" No answer. Riku sighed and continued down, his hand sliding along the banister, falling to his side when he saw that the front door was hanging open. Warm air was bleeding into the house, a few leaves creeping in with a hot gust of wind.

Riku closed the door with a firm push then continued down the hall. His father's study door was open but his ears caught the sound of a rustle coming from the parlor. Changing course, Riku peeked into the room then felt his eyes widen with shock as a near-silent gasp escaped past his lips.

His father was pinned against the mantel by a person Riku had never seen before, one of the stranger's hands wrapped around Sephiroth's throat as the other held a gun to the side of his head. The man was as tall as his father, and from the back looked oddly similar with long silver hair.

Swallowing, Riku looked quickly around for some sort of weapon. His eyes fell on his father's sword not a few inches from his left shoe. It clattering to the ground must have been what had startled him in the first place.

Riku wrapped his fingers around the hilt of the long blade as his father's eyes flashed over to him. He met the aqua gaze with his own, but the contact must have been a second too long, the man choking his father snapped his head around. The man let out a short, deep laugh, letting Sephiroth drop to the floor as he pointed the gun at Riku's chest. "How brave, the son coming to his father's rescue."

Riku attempted to keep a brave front as he brought the sword up, "You're Ansem, aren't you?"

"Oh, and you're smart too. However did you deduce that?"

The sneering sarcasm was overwhelming the man's voice but Riku held his ground, his eyes slipping briefly to his father who was finally beginning to get his breath back.

"Don't take your eyes off the enemy boy or you may just lose them!" Riku's attention snapped back to Ansem just to see a candlestick holder from their mantel coming toward his face. Letting out a shout, he dove to the side, the chunk of metal just missing him by inches and hitting a picture on the wall behind him instead. The glass shattered on impact as the frame fell to the floor. Riku threw an arm up in defense as it rained down onto him.

Ansem's cold laugh rang through the house as Riku scrambled to his feet, the sound sending a cold tremor down Riku's spine. "You know Sephiroth, I have found a better way to give you the pain you deserve for putting me away. He's such a handsome boy. He'll be terribly missed, wouldn't you say?"

Sephiroth's eyes narrowed and he shook his head, his voice raspy from the chokehold, "Don't you dare hurt him Ansem. I swear to God you will regret it."

"We'll see."

Riku barely had time to think as Ansem raised the gun and the sound of a thunder filled the room. Pain. Red-hot searing pain filled his senses and the next thing Riku knew red was blooming from a small hole in his shirt and he had fallen to the ground.

He heard his father shout something but it was too hard to breathe to concentrate on the exact words. He could smell burnt gunpowder as the sword was pulled from his clenched fingers.

There was another shout, one of pain this time and Riku forced his gaze over to the action to see his father pulling his sword out of Ansem's torso with a trembling hand, the blade painted a deep ruby red.

Riku opened his mouth but the only noise that came out was a strange gasping noise that brought the taste of coppery blood to his lips. It was all the sound it took to bring his father to his side. A second later Riku felt a hand underneath his head, lifting him up as another hand lay over the bullet wound on his chest.

"Riku! Stay with me son, we need to get you to the doctor's!"

Coughing, Riku stared up at his father with wide eyes. He had never seen his father look so scared before. It didn't suit his usually stoic face at all.

"Come on, I'll carry you to the carriage. Just stay awake!"

Riku didn't know how he was supposed to stay awake. He was so tired. It would be okay to close his eyes for just a moment.


After all, it wasn't like he was never going to open his eyes again.


He would be fine…