disclaimer I don't own Kingdom Hearts

notes This is very very dumb. No,really. I wrote this in one sitting with a kind of fascinated horror the whole time. Riku is funny, in both a ha-ha kind of way, and in an ironic kind of way. Please feel free not to take this seriously. Set after the end of Kingdom Hearts II, and minimal spoilers, I should think.

Panphobia

Five Things Riku is scared of:

1. Growing up to look like Sephiroth

He goes through a phase where he habitually checks how tall he's grown, and stares broodingly at a picture of Masamune. At lunch time, at school, he grits his teeth and tries to heft the longest branch he, Tidus, and Sora can scrounge up, and collapses with a relieved sigh as he realizes just how unwieldy it is.

He checks his eyes for glowing, at night, and works out single-mindedly to pad even more muscle on his arms, and all in all, his strange behaviour is enough to get Sora kind of worried. He calls up Hollow Bastion surreptitiously, leaving Kairi watching Riku go through a list of all the things he's thankful for. Donald and Goofy, visiting, were trying to bury Riku in the sand, the boy not even noticing in his concentrated recitation of "Sunshine. Flowers. Not destroying the world."

Leon laughs himself silly as Sora whispers his dilemma into the Gummi Ship communicator. Even Cloud manages to crack a smile. "Oh Geez," the Commander says, when he finally manages to get himself under control. "Best thing I've heard in a long time. Thanks Sora. Man, that kid Riku is an idiot!"

"I know!" Sora whispers back, "but what am I supposed to do?"

"Why Sephiroth?" Cloud mumbles, "Why not Xemnas?"

"Riku says he doesn't tan," Sora says, jiggling from one foot to the other, "and I think it's the hair. Uh. They do kinda—"

"Not really," Cloud interrupts. "Trust me. And you tell him for me that I don't think he has anything to worry about."

Sora looks from Leon's wide, goofy grin to Cloud's less obvious but no less wide smile. "Uh, thanks," he says awkwardly. "Look, can we keep this talk a secret? Riku'll kill me if he finds out I told this to you."

Leon's and Cloud's grins got wider. "No problem," they chorus, and hang up.

Sora walks away with a distinctly uneasy feeling.

"Maybe my mother—" Riku says wildly, outside the ship.

"Riku," Kairi laughs in amused affection, "I saw your mother last night. She invited me over for stew."

"Yum," says Sora, poking his head between the two of them, "Stew for dinner?"

Donald and Goofy are killing themselves laughing, but in the end it takes all of them to dig Riku out.

Finally, Sora can't stand it anymore. "JUST CUT YOUR HAIR!" he roars one day at an unsuspecting Riku, and that ended that.

2. Donald Duck

Donald had this really creepy habit of leading Riku off into a corner and criticizing him in an increasingly louder tone, eventually degrading into his duck-speak, a language that no one but Sora and Goofy seemed to understand.

"Gawrsh, Riku, I don't think I should tell you that," Goofy said when Riku asked him what his friend had been saying, "It wasn't really that nice, you know.

"Besides," Goofy added thoughtfully, "some of his advice wasn't something I think people can physically do. Unless they're really flexible."

Riku took to avoiding being left alone with Donald after that. It wasn't so much that he was getting yelled at, it was…

He finally asked Sora how the boy knew what Donald was talking about.

"Donald used to tell me I'm inadequate all the time," Sora said placidly, biting into a cookie.

Riku and Kairi exchanged glances. "I completely understand," she said hurriedly. "If Donald had been saying those kind of things to me, I'd be completely and totally scared too."

3.Drowning

He learned how to swim so he would never have to drown. It's probably the worst thing that can ever happen to someone. You can still see the starlight, or the sunlight, rippling on the surface of the water when you're below it, and even if you were sinking, you'd still be able to see something before you were gone.

You're so close to being out there, in the light, but instead you're going to die in the cold.

It's not being able to breathe in the darkness, and Riku supposes that's what bothers him the most.

4.Centipedes

There ought to be a limit to how many legs a thing can have, is all he will ever say if anyone asks him about it.

5. Love

On Valentine's Day he twitches himself violently away from Selphie when she presents him with a box of chocolates, and then, because he forgot 'til that moment, takes off running.

Sora eventually finds him in the janitor's closet, where he ends up every year. The janitor knows to leave the door unlocked on Valentine's Day and busy himself doing something else until an hour after school ends.

Sora, knowing Sora, has a huge sack of candy next to him. The boy still hadn't figured out that Valentine's Day meant something, and thought that every girl gave chocolate to every boy. "I don't get it, Riku," he complains, "You love chocolate!"

Riku riffles through Sora's sack of candy and tearsopen the wrapping to one of the boxes without reading the label. He pops the chocolate into his mouth and chews with concentration. He had completely forgot the date this year, and forgot the take his lunch when he ran away.

"You're hurting people's feelings," Sora continues, "and you're making me do a lot of work!"

Riku freezes, mid-chew. "Work?" he manages to choke out around his mouthful of chocolate. "What work?"

"Sure," Sora says, gesturing cheerfully at the sack that Riku was eating himself through. "I had to collect your chocolate for you."

The chocolate in his mouth turns to ash. "What?"

"Everyone was fine with it," Sora assures him, "and I thought since you like sweets so much, I should help you out. It wasn't that much trouble, but you're really popular, you know, Riku. For such a grumpy kid."

Riku is still inclined to believe Sora is playing some kind of sick joke on him until he notices a scrap of the label on the ground. To: Ri it says, and he feels like the ash in his mouth is suffocating him. He had been eating their feelings, he realizes with horror.

"In fact," Sora continues, blissfully unaware, "I think that's Selphie's you're eating right now. She put paopu fruit in the middle of them—"

Riku spits out his mouthful with a gasp. "Trade me bags," he begs.

"NO!" Sora shrieks, "You can't switch chocolates like that! I want to eat mine!"

"There you two are," Kairi says, poking her head in through the door. "Word to the wise, Riku. If you're going to pull your famous disappearing act, don't get Sora screaming. It sounded like you guys were murdering a pig."

"I do not sound like that, Kairi!" Sora protests.

Kairi hunkers down next to her boys and digs in her bag. "Here ya go," she says, tossing her chocolates to the two of them. This year she had wrapped them in white paper, and there are pictures on the bags. Sora got two. "One for Roxas," she warns him, "so think about that when you're eating it!"

"Oh thank you," Riku says fervently, as he catches his in midair and rips it open.

Kairi only laughs.

And one thing he's not: His Friends

"BOO!" Sora screamed, jumping out at Riku from behind a bush.

Riku pushed him away casually. "Hey Sora."

"Aw," Sora pouted, "You didn't scream!"

Riku rolled his eyes. "Bit of advice, Sora. Next time you're waiting behind a bush, trying to surprise someone…"

"Yeah?"

Kairi was in the distance, waving to them.

"Duck your head, you big doofus."