Be My Last
-Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye-
There are some places in the world that just rain and rain and then rain some more. There are no such things as completely "clear" days; provided there are at least a few clouds scattered here and there and everywhere else. And everywhere really did mean everywhere.
Dublin, Ireland was one of these lucky places. (No matter how much Riku wished it wasn't.)
The silver haired teen glared out the kitchen window from his seat at the tiny table as the sudden patter of water against his window began, bringing with it a sense of disappointment.
"It really couldn't have waited a few more hours?" Riku slouched against the table, his head slamming down onto his arms as another deep sigh broke free. "Just my luck," he mumbled just before he finally pushed off of the tabletop to stand. Ever since moving to Dublin several years back, Riku felt that somehow his arrivals sparked some sort of dramatic climate transformation. But for all his complaining, it really didn't rain as often as he made it seem like. The countryside was beautiful after a storm, which really made him all that more happy about his moving abroad. (Still rained more than he cared for, though.)
This particular morning was quiet and damp conversely—and he had been contemplating on whether or not he should go for his morning walk. Normally, the weather was somewhat clear at the break of day and he could get some photography shots in. Although, the weather threw a big glaring wrench into that plan today it seemed. It's not that he minded the rain, it was just that the weather forecast had lied to him again. "Bright and shiny day!" his bright shiny ass.
"…Fuck it." He didn't feel like painting today anyway. Photography it was.
Riku ultimately decided that he didn't mind a little drizzle—the thousands of pelting raindrops against his window really did classify as "drizzle"—and grabbed his light jacket and umbrella before he twisted the freezing metal door knob, his keys dangling from where he was clutching the keyring between his teeth. His camera was around his neck like always, so he was ready to go.
"Pictures aren't just going to hop right into this thing," he mumbled, feeling the large camera flop against his neck as he shrugged his jacket on and pocketed his keys.
"Christ, it's cold." Riku blinked his sea-green eyes rapidly as he struggled to open his umbrella, the drops of water obscuring his vision all the while. His hair did that enough, so all this water was starting to bother him—or what tiny percent reached him as he stood under the small roof of his apartment's entrance.
After some time, lazily strolling and mumbling to himself, Riku came to a stop just outside a small café and peeked into the window as subtly as he could. "Cozy" was the word to that popped into the teen's head as he looked the building over. The decorated sign with the words "Sweet Rhapsody" in scrawled letters struck the artsy part of him. He liked it; a quarter of the reason being that he could read the sign and posters without racking his brain with translations—unlike most of the other shops, which were understandably in Irish. It was strange, but not unwelcome. Riku had remembered this place being set up a while back, but at that time he hadn't really had the time and funds to stop by. This time it was different. (Well, not too much changed with his "funds," to his chagrin, but he still wanted to go.)
The moment Riku's stomach made a sickeningly loud noise, he confirmed that a little breakfast certainly wouldn't do more harm than good. A quick stop and then he could get his curiosity about the place over with and be on his way. There were no bystanders to look at him oddly as his gut continued to protest, so Riku stood outside and shook his head to rid his silver tresses of the water and closed his umbrella before slipping through the doors. Once inside, he had barely taken two steps forward when he bumped into a bustling employee, who until that point had been looking elsewhere as he carried a saucer with a cup of tea on it.
Riku would have cursed his luck if he had time, but the armful of brunet and chestful of hot tea—now spilled over the front of his poor, recently washed shirt.—distracted him. He danced around the broken dishware on the floor as he tried to steady the smaller male and try not to let the burns sink in. Which was understandable hard to do without stripping.
"Oh my God! I am so sorry!" The brunet rasped, quite visibly embarrassed, and Riku looked up, his eyes widening marginally. (And this time it wasn't due to pain.) The other male's large sky-coloured eyes blinked to rid his fringe, which clung in sections against his forehead, from his sight as he stared back at Riku. In all his years, Riku had never seen anyone with such an honest-looking face, yet there was something else about him that seemed different. The fact that he didn't know exactly what it was drove him insane. This guy was attractive, but Riku felt that it was due to more than just his appearance. (He spoke English, too, so that made this a bit easier.)
"I-I really am sorry. Let me help you!" The kid was obviously in a hurry over something, so Riku couldn't really find it in him to get angry. He was just in a bit of pain. A burning, potentially hospital-bound sort of pain, but it was all good.
Besides, there was something about the smaller male's expression made him want to laugh instead of yell. The pain was dulling anyway, so all was forgiven.
"Don't worry about it, really. I shouldn't have been staring off daydreaming like an idiot." Riku mumbled more to himself than the small brunet that was staring up at him still. Those clear eyes blinked again, and Riku actually did chuckle at the flustered way the boy moved about as he tried to inspect for damage—which was really only relatable to the broken porcelain on the floor at this point.
"Gah, oh crap. What am I doing? Here, let me get you a towel!" The brunet turned on his heels and stumbled away as fast as he could out of sight, almost taking down some other employees in his wake. Riku laughed before the burning sensations against his chest strengthened. Wincing, Riku pulled himself together enough to hear some of the patrons talking, though he had to translate their conversation in his head.
"That kid's done it again, hasn't he?" Riku looked over his shoulder at the older male sitting with what he assumed to be his wife and daughter. The woman sighed and took a short sip out of her cup and shook her head.
"If he could just calm down and stop trying to act so cheery over everything, he'd be a decent worker." A small bit of irritation flared up inside Riku, for whatever reason, and he tried not to glare as the daughter inattentively added, "He's clumsy. Wonder why they hired him," as she played with her phone. Riku didn't even have time to figure out why their accusations got the reaction from him that they did, because a jab to his chest turn his attention around. The brunet was back, and with him he brought a small handkerchief and a handful of paper towels.
"I really am sorry. This is all I could grab in such a hurry, but it should ring out all that hot tea." Riku opened his mouth to speak, but the brunet's hands were already at work, squeezing and dabbing at his shirt with the rag and a few damp towels. Riku read the nametag on the brunet's chest and worked the letters out in his head. Sora. Well, that was unique. (About as unique as his own name, he supposed.)
"Ah, 'scuse me for one second. I'll get some more wet towels." The boy, Sora, mumbled before quickly dashing off behind the register counter. Half a second later he was being pushed back out by an even shorter redhead. Her brows were furrowed, but she didn't look too angry. Deciding to ignore whatever spat the two were having, Riku turned his attention to the rag that Sora had placed in his hand and started cleaning himself up.
"I know, I know. I swear it was an accident!" Riku again lifted his gaze from his ruined shirt to the nervous voice, seeing the brunet walking towards him with the short female accompanying him. The redheaded girl sighed when her eyes rested on Riku's stained shirt and she gave him an apologetic look before turning back to her fellow employee.
"Not tea again… That's like, what? The fourth—"
"—Fifth," the lithe brunet interjected miserably with a sigh and he ignored the looks he was receiving from several curious customers as he dealt with the broken glass on the floor..
"All right… Fifth customer you've burned this week. Selphie was right when she said you need a helmet! I don't know how we haven't been sued yet." The girl—Riku briefly scanned her nametag as well, learning that she was called, "Kairi"—had her hands on her hips as she reprimanded her colleague.
"I already told you! I was in a hurry because someone can't handle all her tables." Sora quickly defended, although a toothy grin shortly followed his words. "Now don't you feel silly~?"
"No, because I'm not the one who ran into him~"
The two seemed to realize that their banter was going nowhere and turned towards Riku in sync. As they looked at him, he noticed that only the brunet boy's cheeks flushed red. The girl just looked at him warily. As interesting as their responses were, especially Sora's, he wasn't sure what they were thinking. He also wondered what they'd do if he actually did say he's 'sue' them. Remembering the reactions the brunet had given him so far, he almost gave in, but instead shook his head.
"It's really okay. I was spacing out, so it's definitely my fault. We're all a little clumsy." Riku smiled, casting a glance over his shoulder to where he noticed the family from before was still watching, trying to be subtle. Once he looked at them however, they averted their attention elsewhere.
"Then it's fine. No one was hurt here, especially our valuable customer..." Kairi's sweet reply was followed by a generic-sounding giggle.
"It really wasn't your fault; don't be so modest." Sora grumbled through pursed his lips as he continued to keep his gaze on the ground. Riku eyed the younger male, watching his facial expressions change and reveal every possible emotion he was likely feeling. From sadness, to guilt, to embarrassment, and then to something akin to hope. He was like an open book—and Riku loved to read. "Uh, well… This is probably a long stretch, but I hope you'll stay for a cup of tea and some sweets—on the house. And um…y'know…sorry again." Riku watched Sora's features finally settle on a shy happiness as he handed him some more paper towels, this time dry. Riku smiled genuinely, surprised that he found himself wanting to take a picture of the expression on the younger male's face.
Sora coughed to break the brief silence and motioned for Riku to follow them to the counter.
"Tee-hee, Sora's going to pout all day because of this~" A short, frilly-haired brunet taunted from behind the front cash register. He hadn't noticed her before, but she wore a similar apron to Sora and Kairi, though she also had a hat on. Sora frowned at the teasing look in her eyes and stuttered.
"I-I am not. It's just this god-awful weather! It brings everyone down." Sora folded his arms and Riku almost laughed, had he not caught Kairi's expression. Her blue-violet eyes were analyzing their brunet friend, and Riku wondered what it was she was searching for. Sora caught the look and gave his friend a small, uneasy smile in return while the redhead rested her elbow over his shoulder.
"Hmm.. Well anyway, she's not too far off. .Since Sora nearly burned—" Kairi peered up at the silver-haired male expectantly and he blinked.
"Riku," he introduced himself and the three employees beamed up at him.
"Oh, lovely. Well, because Sora here is inept at walking, he's going to serve you whatever you like, and it's coming out of his pay. Feel free to go crazy." Kairi's tone was far too innocent as she ignored the choking sound her friend made.
"Wha? Wait a minute, that isn't even—" The brunet trailed off and bit his lip when his gaze slowly made its way to Riku's. At the expression, the silver-haired artist snorted and ran a hand through his hair. While he felt bad for the poor guy, he couldn't say he much liked getting hot liquids poured all over him. Maybe they could work out a little deal. Riku waves over Kairi's little offer, while Sora agrees to pose for a few photos… He liked the idea more and more as it ran through his head. He just wasn't sure what Sora would think of him if he suddenly started photographing him, so he held back the urge.
Sora didn't say anything as he kept their eye contact, while Kairi observed the exchange with a growing smile before she flung an arm over her brunet friend's shoulder. "Well, Mr. Can't-Go-a-Day-Without-Walking-Into-Walls-or-Something-Equally-Stationary, because you ran into him and drenched him in piping hot tea, you can settle this little exchange yourself. The rest of us have work." Kairi winked and ruffled Sora's hair as she swiveled around the long counter and disappeared through a door behind them.
"Heyyyy! You take responsibility, Sora. You got him all wet," the brunette from behind the counter grinned widely, her cheery voice dripping with an innuendo that Riku quickly caught. Sora seemed to catch it as well, as he fumbled around with his words and much to his dismay, felt his cheeks light up again. Though they weren't as bright as before, Riku found himself enjoying the expression all the same.
"Well, my day just got interesting." Riku laughed as he continued to watch Sora cough and try as hard as he could to not join in.
"Selphie, please stop creeping on the customers—for one day! He's clearly scarred." The brunet tried to grin and Riku raised a delicate eyebrow shortly before a chuckle slipped past his lips. This Sora character was interesting to say the least. It seemed that he liked to smile a lot, but under these circumstances, he was trying more to keep from embarrassing himself and getting himself in more trouble.
"Me? Oh Sora,I believe it is you that isgoing to scare away our sexy friend, especially if you keep yelling like that." Selphie's look was one of mock-disappointment as she leaned over the cash register.
"I am not!" Sora ran a hand through his unruly spikes, but chuckled—an action that the silver haired teen labeled as 'undeniably cute.'
It didn't take the silver haired teen long before he had began watching the amusing little exchange between the two—and occasional third intervention from Kairi as she zipped by—with fascination. If only he had brought his sketchbook; they would've made a nice contribution to it. But he settled for a quick snapshot to save and use as material later. Riku blinked innocently as Sora turned towards him and pressed his lips together, trying not to smile, but ultimately failing. Did he like the attention? Whether he did or not, Riku decided he liked giving it either way. Inside his head, Riku silently promised that he would definitely come back here from time to time.
Aside from the drinks and food stuffs, he could get some ideas flowing through his brain by chatting with the three, since they seemed more than happy to fill him with inspiration when they weren't busy. They were unique all right…
Sora didn't even make an effort to act overly polite around Riku anymore, but his unadulterated smiles and upbeat attitude were a welcome change. He found himself studying the brunet more over the other two. Though they were just as fun, there was something about Sora that drew him in.
"You could have at least thrown in another pastry. You're so cheap!" Kairi teased, Riku catching the end of it since he'd been too busy watching their actions and facial expressions. They sure looked like they were having fun even while they were arguing and teasing each other. He held back the urge to pry on their relationship and shifted in his seat at the table. He'd never had anyone get quite as close to him as those two seemed.
"Do you have to tease me about every little thing? I'm trying to satisfy him, not make him fat!" Sora futilely tried to hold back a laugh, but it loudly escaped his throat as he flicked Kairi in the nose. She made a noise, but didn't let him get away before her arms were around his neck in a headlock. Some of the other employees stopped to watch the scene with amusement., as they were probably used to it. Riku watched the two goof off.
"Oh? Trying to satisfy him now, are you?" Kairi ground out from underneath Sora's arm and he dropped her in favor of stumbling over his words again. It didn't take him long to stutter something offhand and go attend to another patron, and things got calm again.
The atmosphere was so relaxed here that he'd gladly make a habit of visiting.
"Hey. Now that I have a bit of time, I'd kind of like to start over... I'm Sora. Family name: Harada." The brunet dusted his hands off on his apron before he walked closer to the daydreaming teen. When the slender male extended his hand with a beautiful smile, Riku released the breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. Sora had come out of nowhere, so he was a bit caught off guard.
"Yeah… I'm Riku. Of the Masaki clan." Said teen replied with his best smile and took the offered hand as Sora did a weird little giggle-snort. As their hands met, Riku was amused as he noted that they fit together snugly, and he held the warmer hand in his a bit longer than he had actually anticipated.
"It's nice to meet you. Without any spilling of tea this time." Sora grinned and Riku gave him an amused look as Kairi moved to stand beside him, her lips quirking upwards as well.
"You're going to have to be a regular now, you know. Now that Sora's got your name and is indebted to you for just about ever." The redheaded girl smiled and patted the teen on the shoulder.
"Hmm... I might be able to do that," Riku added with a small smirk. He was being uncharacteristically extroverted, but he had a feeling that it was only because Sora kept sneaking glances at him. Sora did seem to open up more when Riku made an effort to be sociable. His smirk grew just a tiny bit when he felt Sora's gaze stay on him again.
"Oh, man! He is so sexy, you guys." Riku rubbed the back of his head from hearing Selphie's straightforward comment butt in, but he played along.
"Heh, about time you noticed." Riku mustered up the sexiest smile he could, making Sora's face heat up a bit, and a silky laugh blew past his lips. "I kid. But really, you girls are too flattering. It'll get you nowhere, you know." Sora laughed at this, and rolled his eyes as he looked at his friends. His smile was fond, however, and Riku's chest ached just a bit at the expression. He didn't know whether or not to be scared that he suddenly wished he was on the other end of that look.
"Oh, catch me, Kairi! I'm going to swoon~" Selphie stuck to her words and fell into her redhead friend's arms, ignoring the way she rolled her violet orbs and just pushed her back into a standing position. Riku didn't know how he'd managed to go so long without checking this place out, but now he was regretting not doing so sooner. With a glance at the clock and a sigh, Riku fished into his pocket for his wallet and popped a handful of messy bills on the counter. When Sora looked at him confused, he smiled.
"You accept tips, don't you?" Riku asked, knowing that Sora would have denied him if he tried to pay for his food. The brunet looked shocked for a moment, and he looked at his other friends before they shrugged, smiling. Sora bit his lip, but ultimately shook his head.
"No, I couldn't. I can't accept such a kind offer when I practically gave you third-degree burns, Riku." A tiny chill went up the silver-haired teen's spine as his name fell from Sora's lips. The brunet's honesty almost killed him, but Riku manned up and grabbed Sora's hand, stuffing the money into it. Sora gasped, but didn't draw his hand away.
"Seriously, you made up for it. I had a great time." Riku smiled again, but this time pulled back and headed for the door, picking up the umbrella he'd set near the coat rack earlier. Sora followed him and grabbed his arm before he could get out the front door.
"I… Thank you. Really." Sora smiled again, a touched emotion reaching his eyes. That was the best feeling in the world for Riku—knowing he'd made this earnest, silly little brunet happy. He looked down at the hand still against his arm and a soft smile crossed his lips before he was even aware of it. Riku nodded at Sora, ruffling his hair before he nudged open the door with his foot and tore his gaze from his new friend. The bleak rain was such a contrast compared to the atmosphere behind him, but he knew the sooner he got home, the better; his head was full of new ideas that he was anxious to throw all over his sketchpad.
"I'll see you later, okay?" Riku winked at Sora before opening his umbrella and walking out into the rain. The sound of Sora's low, uncertain voice halted him in his tracks, though.
"You'll… You'll come back again, right?"
The expression on Sora's face was hopeful, if not a little guarded, but Riku found himself nodding before he even formulated a response. At Sora's bright grin, Riku chuckled.
"Yeah. I will. The tea was good—what went into my mouth, and not on my shirt," Sora blushed at this, "And it was nice talking to you."
"Likewise!" He heard Sora call as he walked backwards.
Although it was a bit difficult, Riku waved Sora goodbye and caught sight of Kairi and Selphie waving from the far window. He smiled and nodded, turning to continue on with his walk. His usual trek through St. Stephen's Green park took a little longer than usual, due to a sudden burst of inspiration. He was sure that he was going to need another card to store pictures, since the one currently inside his camera was filling up too quickly for his liking.
Just thinking about how much his day had changed astounded him. To think he could be feeling so great when he started out so miserable this morning... It was a completely random that the brunet and his friends stumbled - quite literally - into his life. It was just the thing to bring him out of his momentary block—which honestly lasted the shortest it ever has. Feeling satisfied, Riku tightened his grip on his beat-up umbrella and headed home.
"For once I'm glad it rained…" The silver haired teen blew some of his hair out of his eyes as he stuffed his hand into his pocket to grab his key-ring, pulling them out once he stopped at his door, and slinked into his flat. Once inside, he tossed his keys onto the couch and treaded to his bedroom, grabbing his notepad along the way before falling lazily onto his small mattress. He kicked off his shoes and scribbled down as many ideas as he could until a yawn drifted past his lips. It was barely seven-thirty and yet he was already this tired. Riku yawned again and rested his head down, and when he closed his eyes he immediately thought about the brunet. He picked his head back up, surprised, but then decided to let it go.
'It's normal to think about friends you've just made…isn't it? Friends like him…'
Riku didn't know what to think anymore, since he was sure it was just his own mind messing with him out of fatigue. He rolled onto his back and sighed, feeling his bangs and hair frame and fall around his face. Today was something different—something entirely new, and while he was somewhat wary of change, he welcomed this quite readily. He'd found a new outlet, today.
Yes, it had been a great day.
But he felt that tomorrow would be even better.
'I hate this song,' was Riku's lone vital thought after waking up.
With a groan and what little energy he could gather, Riku rolled over and hit at his alarm clock on the nightstand next to him. Stupid clock—which he always forcibly reminded himself was actually an essential thing to have. Otherwise he'd never get out of bed. As fantastic as that sounded, it would come back to bite him in the ass when he realized he had a lot of work and no time to do it.
With that fun thought in his head now, Riku kicked the bed sheets away and sat up, squinting to see the numbers on the alarm—a flood of memories from the previous day coming back to him as he did so. He wasn't sure why blue eyes and a blinding smile were the first things he could bring up, but he decided that it was too early for thinking. Riku stretched, making an odd noise before he stood and shuffled his way to the bathroom to get ready. It was only after brushing his teeth that he stopped in the doorway when the time he'd seen on the alarm had finally hit him.
When he looked at the clock again and realized he was late, the silver-haired male flew around his room, pulling clothes from his small closet and dressers in some attempt to put together a decent outfit. He ended with a checkered button-down over a tank top and jeans. Honestly not caring, he didn't even bother with his hair and raced to the front door and locked it as he went out. The sprint to his car was brief, but he was already out of breath by the time he got inside.
The drive to his campus wasn't a long one either, having to go through the city portion of Grafton before getting a bit into the outer city. It wasn't very far away, and he could almost see the building from where he lived. Almost, if he ever decided to climb the hill behind the apartment complex. All in all, he was happy with his choice of university. While he'd never been too fond of taking classes with no relation to his area of expertise, they were necessary for his job and for later classes he needed, so he grinned and tried to bear it. But it was still a pain in the arse, even after two years of campus life.
Two long years of solitude and loneliness.
Riku sighed, pushing away that feeling of being pathetic he got every once in a while and hurried into the parking lot. His legs carried him all the way up the stairs and into his first period building and he groaned, realizing he didn't bring any of his supplies with him.
"I don't even give a shit right now," he mumbled, tired, as he pushed open the front doors and fast-walked down the corridor, politely acknowledging any staff he knew or that took notice of him. He barely even had time to finish his "hellos" before he rounded the bend and collided with a smaller body. A head crashed into his chest and he stumbled backwards, while the other person tripped and fell with a loud squawk.
Riku's eyes widened when he looked down to find a familiar, spiky head of brown hair. Sure enough, equally familiar blue eyes were locked onto his own pair when the boy glanced up.
"Sora?" Riku asked relatively at the same time as Sora called, "Riku?"
The two looked at each other for a few moments, shocked at their new revelation. Riku was the first to recover, as he hunched over and offered Sora a hand.
"It's good to see you. Surprised the hell out of me, but I'm glad. I wish we could have a normal meeting instead of me always running you over, though." Riku chuckled as Sora hastily grabbed his hand and he helped him to his feet.
"I-I just…. Thanks." Sora gave a shy smile and scratched the back of his head. In an instant his shyness was gone and in its place was a cheerfulness Riku was growing fond of. Sora finally shook his head and fixed the strap over his shoulder that held up his messenger bag.
"Nah, that was my fault again." Sora laughed and looked up at Riku with those big, clear eyes. "I didn't know you were enrolled here, too. What a small world." Sora spoke after a few moments passed and his cheeks had taken a small twinge of pink to them. Riku chuckled and swiftly scratched the side of his neck.
"I'm telling you I practically ran over you. But anyway, yeah. I've been here for just about two years. Place grows on you." Riku gave a small smile, shoving his hands into his pockets. Sora nodded, smiling and nodding.
"I know what you mean. This is my first year, but I know a few of the staff and students."
"Really? Huh, you look young. If I'd have to guess, I'd think you were a high-schooler," Riku grinned as Sora scowled at this, "You do seem to know a lot more about this place than a lot of the new kids, though." Riku grinned, peering down at the brunet with a charming smile lighting his face.
"Me? Well, I'll be twenty in a few months. What about you, Riku?" Sora asked. His friendly attitude made Riku smile and shrug his shoulders slightly.
"I'm twenty. Be twenty-one in May. I moved to Dublin a while ago, figured I'd get used to the place before getting my degree." The brunet's eyes sparkled as he listened to his friend talk, clearly pleased on getting to know more and more.
"That's amazing. But you moved by yourself?" At this, Riku shook his head and a small, wistful laugh drifted through his parted lips. Sora watched in fascination as Riku motioned for them to walk.
"I was only seventeen when we moved. I came with my mother, and she helped get me started. Not to sound arrogant or anything, but my family's got the cash to just spontaneously move around. But me, I'd rather earn my own than have it all just handed to me." Sora looked only mildly surprised at Riku's words. Riku simply cleared his throat and shrugged. "You think I'm stupid, too huh? I know it's a lot of money and all that, but…. I feel cheap—if that makes sense."
"It makes perfect sense! You're not cheap at all! I think that's incredible," Sora said, a bit too loud, and he coughed to hide his embarrassment. Riku didn't mind so much that Sora had shouted, since his words struck a chord inside Riku. Normally people envied him and told him he was being too humble and independent. But that suited him just fine, since he hated relying on others for things like that.
"Thank you…" Riku said no more, but Sora figured he didn't have to, because the expression of gratitude on his face said enough. They walked down the halls and up several stairs until the prolonged silence finally got to Sora, and he shifted so that he could get a better look at his spaced out friend.
"So, uh. Riku, aren't you going to be late?" Riku was too caught up in the brunet's expression, and those damn eyes, to actually hear what he had asked.
Sora didn't respond for a moment, and Riku tilted his head a bit as he tried to figure out what his friend was thinking. The brunet shook himself out of his reverie and tapped Riku on the shoulder noticing he too had spaced out.
"What?" Riku blinked to clear his mind and ran a hand through his long, silver tresses as he gave Sora an apologetic smile. "Sorry, man. Did you ask me something?" He grinned awkwardly, and Sora chuckled in return for a moment before he elbowed Riku lightly. Riku made a noise, but couldn't repress the jolt of happiness from having Sora act so openly friendly with him.
"You. Classes. Late? I asked you if you were going to make it on time. What classes do you have today?"
"Oh, shit!" Riku grimaced and checked the hallway for a clock; usually there was always one around when he needed it, but this time the bare, beige walls harbored no time-telling devices, so he swore again. His luck was never present when he needed it.
"Sorry, Sora. I have…Painting right now," he explained. Sora blinked and a large smile took over his face.
"Oh, you're an art student? I was able to get a few creative writing classes, but I'm mainly here for the general business education. Mixing it up, you know?" The brunet's grin was wide, but the cheerless look in his sky irises told Riku the brunet was hiding something. He decided against asking at the moment, because he figures Sora wouldn't tell him anyway and he'd get that fake "I'm fine" crap instead.
"Well, you better hurry. Class starts in about…five seconds." Sora's eyebrows rose challengingly to which Riku returned with an amused stare. "I'd run if I were you, dude." Riku stared at him a few moments before saying a short, slightly panicked goodbye and apology for making them both late, and sped off down the hall. The brunet laughed as he followed the teen with his eyes.
"He must work out a lot,'
Sora laughed to himself and began to whistle, thinking about the silver haired male.
Were they already good friends?
If they weren't, Sora'd be damned if he didn't change that.
After a very long andintense art class, Riku made his way to his next and final subject.
"Art History, here I come." He sighed, not content with the idea of sitting through that class since it'd been postponed up until the current day. But, it was the last one before freedom! Sweet, sweet freedom. That little detail alone was enough to make him happy.
It only took him a moment to find the room, but once he trudged into it, idly picking various paint chips from his nails and hands, he spotted a familiar brunet and redhead chatting rather animatedly in their seats along the wall.
"Yo, Sora!" Riku called to the other teen with a friendly wave once he got closer.
"Hey, it's Riku!" That squeal of utter delight was the only thing that made it to Riku's ears before a familiar girl latched onto his waist.
"Better get used to that, Riku. Though I'm sure it's an everyday thing for you, so you'll be fine." Sora's eyes were glowing, while an impish smile was plastered over his face. Riku looked at him helplessly as he tried to keep his balance, but as Kairi came over and hugged him as well, he knew there was no help he was getting form Sora. The traitor!
"Hey Kairi… Hey Selphie," The teen awkwardly patted the girls' heads as they nuzzled into him. He wasn't sure what the hell Sora was talking about, but this was a level of slightly creepy that he was sure he didn't want to get used to.
"Hey, Selphie that tickles! Whoa, not there!" The two females smirked at their discovery of Riku's ticklish spots and laughed at him and his misery, failing to notice their professor walk in. Riku threw several looks that screamed 'help' at Sora, but the little shit only grinned and nodded towards the front of the room.
"Excuse me. But if you're quite finished, I'd like to start the lecture." The strict looking man with dark—upon closer inspection, it had a blue/purple-ish tint—hair that covered the right half of his face, eyed the three and walked to the front of the room. The male—seemingly far too young to be a teacher—cleared his throat and spoke again. "If we're all acting our appropriate age now, I'll start the lesson... I am Professor Zexion; I am in charge of the Literature and Art History that, up until now, was put on hiatus. I apologize for that, but everything is back to normal now. Just come to class on time and do your work properly and we'll get along fine." He sounded as bored as he looked. Riku shrugged as the man then turned around to write something on the board.
Riku walked over and took a seat behind Sora. He watched the brunet and his red-haired friend laugh at something before he turned around to smile at Riku.
"Hey. Are you and Kairi dating?" At the unexpected question, Sora tilted his head to the side and blinked. Riku almost wanted to hit himself for asking, but he hadn't even realized how much it was bothering him until it just slipped out. Sora shrugged, and to Riku's relieve, didn't look offended.
"Kairi? No, she's my best friend. It would be a little awkward if we were more than that. She's more of a sister; we've known each other so long." After a timid little laugh, Sora shrugged and continued to stare at Riku, who felt oddly relieved.
"Oh. I see." Riku scratched his arm and bit his lip; it was probably strange to ask such a question so suddenly, but it just forced itself from his mouth. He couldn't say why Sora's answer made him feel the way he did, but he had a pretty good idea.
"Why? You interested?" Sora's smile weakened a bit as Riku stared and simply replied, "No… Well, not to the point of dating, no. She nice and all but—"
"I know what you mean," Sora held his head up with his hands and sighed. "It's probably just weird because we've become friends so fast, right? Normally I wouldn't talk about these things or feel so carefree around anyone." The brunet's relieved laugh also eased some of the tension within the silver haired teen and he nodded.
"So…" Sora hesitantly whispered and Riku laughed. "So, Ri-ku, could you tell me a little more about yourself? That you didn't yesterday and this morning." The brunet requested with a little smile still lighting his features.
"Well. I'm really not that interesting. The only thing that makes me sound remotely attention-grabbing is that I can draw and paint and play a bit of guitar. You know, generic artsy stuff."
"Really? Do you have some of your work here? I love artwork, even though I'm not really any good. Oh God, I have this one story of a time when my friend Tidus and I…there was an intense paint fight—" As Sora rambled on, Riku simply watched him—the smile widening on Riku's face as the brunet continued his story.
'I wonder if he's as soft as he looks.'
The silver haired teen's thoughts unintentionally strayed until the brunet chuckled and rested his head back on his folded arms, giving Riku a chance to admire those lips that occasionally quirked up as he remembered a fond moment of his story. "—aaaand that's why I can't take art classes with Tidus anymore. He always flinches and runs away screaming if I'm holding something that even remotely looks like a paintbrush. It's great." The brunet laughed at his memories and Riku felt himself mimicking the expression with a low chuckle.
"Crazy story. Remind me to keep you away from my flat at all costs." Riku smirked as Sora puffed his cheeks out, "So, you said you wanted to see some art?" At the brunet's cheerful nod, Riku shrugged and answered his previous question. "I have a few things here, but I keep most of my paintings and stuff at home."
"Oh? Would you care to show them to me?" Sora exclaimed a little louder than he should have, and he winced when Zexion turned around while raising an eyebrow.
"Excuse me… Is there something you want to share with us, Sora?" His expression was just as equally blasé as he'd been earlier. Riku's curiosity bubbled up again at Zexion's use of Sora's first name, but he decided to cast it aside.
"No, it's nothing... Sorry to have disturbed you." Kairi and Selphie chuckled at the obvious embarrassment written on Sora's face, and a few of the other students snickered to themselves.
Behind him, the brunet heard Riku stifle a faint chuckle and he turned around, the redness still evident on his face.
"Riku, man, don't laugh!" He begged and his eyes watered, making his friend suck in a startled breath as he viewed the expression.
"Ah, I… Sorry, Sora." He apologized with a brief, charming grin that forced Sora to turn around before he got any redder. The gasp that Riku let out resulting from the pout-y face didn't go unnoticed by Kairi and Selphie. The two females harbored twin smiles, knowing full well what the other was thinking.
"Perfect," If the silent telekinesis was anything to go by, both of the women came to the same agreement that they knew was bound to happen eventually.
But they're smiles grew even further when Sora turned back around a moment later to flick Riku in the forehead, saying "Ha-ha~ Got you with my puppy look, didn't I?"
Half the fun was getting there.
Having a class with the brunet proved to be just as entertaining as Riku thought it would be. And rather convenient, too—this sudden realization struck the silver haired teen as he walked out of the room.
"Hey! Hey, Riku!"
Said teen turned slightly to see Sora fast-walking his way, a large grin on his face. Riku was starting to think it was permanent.
"Hiya," Sora skidded to a halt right in front of his friend, taking a moment to catch his breath, and Riku watched as he shifted his bag before looking up. "Hey, you're on your break now, right?" To the brunet's delight, Riku nodded—while fixing the collar on his black, opened button-down shirt; making the yellow tank-top he had on underneath visible.
"Yep. A monstrous twenty-one hours." He answered and watched the brunet chuckle before muttering something to himself. With a shimmer in his clear blue eyes, Sora grabbed his friend's rolled-up sleeve.
"You're all done? Great, then would you like to go for a little walk with me?" Riku looked down at Sora in surprise, but he shook it of quickly and nodded. Sora seemed quick to make friends, so he shouldn't have gotten such a shock from his invite. The hand on his arm slowly slid off and he realized that Sora must have thought he was searching for a way to decline the offer.
"Oh? Sure, as long as you don't mind if I stop home for a minute. My flat isn't too far away." Riku peered down at the slender brunet at his side and watched him nod, his wild spikes bouncing with the motion. That was another thing about him that Riku found intriguing. His gravity resistant hair stood up at the oddest angles, but it worked without looking too fake or gelled over.
"Yeah, no problem." Sora folded his hands behind his back and smiled widely as the wind danced across his face. He nodded over his shoulder so that Riku could see that he wanted to go through the exit. Once outside, Sora beamed up at him. "I'm glad that we have classes together. I've been stuck with Kairi and Selphie so long I was afraid I'd never have any guy friends." Riku laughed as his new friend spun around, almost falling from the short, wide fence that he'd hopped on a moment ago. He quickly recovered, yet didn't notice the way Riku's eyes softened when he continued to watch the brunet balance his way forward.
"That's what I'm here for." Sora laughed at this, and a long comfortable silence fell over them as they walked.
"Hey, where do you live?" Riku asked suddenly, aware that they were getting close to his flat. He'd already told the guy a lot of his own personal stories, so he figured he should get to know his friend, too. When Sora abruptly stopped his movements and simply stood on the railing, it occurred to Riku that maybe he shouldn't have asked.
Definitely shouldn't have asked. The silver haired teen noticed Sora's expression change from sadness, to pain, to blankness, and then to a forced happiness—all in what he guessed was three seconds. It blew his mind how Sora could be so open with his facial features.
'Weird, how he hesitated.' Riku watched with a frown as Sora stared at the sky with a wistfulness that made Sora look far more tired than Riku'd ever seen him look.
"Well... It's not too far from where Kairi lives. Sorry, I'm bad at explaining things like this. It's in the farther north-western part of Dublin. Not quite to the point of Grafton Street, though."
"Oh, really?" Riku kept his gaze on the brunet's face, but now there wasn't anything other than cheerfulness—on the surface.
"Yep." One of Riku's eyebrows rose as he watched his friend jump down after he had run out of incline to walk on. He'd decided against asking Sora anything personal, so he just remained silent until Sora glanced back at him.
"Nah, just… How much farther is it until we reach your house?" Riku gazed into the teen's cerulean orbs that were very, very, hard to turn away from and he smiled.
"Ah, well—we're here," he muttered as they stopped before the rows of flats.
"Mine's this way." Riku dug into his pockets to get his keys and they walked through the foyer to get the first set of entrances. Riku opened the door once he was in front of his own, thanking the heavens that he lived on the first floor. (He hated stairs almost as much as he hated elevators.) "
Do you want to come in?" Riku glanced back to find a hesitant-looking brunet poking his forefingers together as he stood outside the door. "Is something wrong?" He asked with an equal amount uncertainty that managed to slip into his voice.
The brunet looked as if he was momentarily fascinated and he didn't respond to the silver haired teen's calls. "Are you all right?" Riku leaned towards Sora, his concerned features easing when the brunet opened his mouth to speak.
"You really live here all by yourself, Riku? Nice."
Riku hummed in confirmation and observed the brunet while he walked forward. Sora was surprised? His flat was just the basic three-room apartment: with his living room, small kitchen and his bedroom-which opened to a little bathroom (so, technically a four-room.) It wasn't even decorated much. The majority of his stuff was blue, green, and gray; much of his knick-knacks were fairly basic while they still held a special place in his heart. Also, his paintings occupied a great amount of the free space and Riku thought they gave the room the colour it lacked.
"Shit…. Sorry it's so messy. I've got stuff all over the place." The silver haired teen murmured as he nervously scratched the back of his neck with an expression Sora kept his eyes on as long as he could.
"No, it's fine… Hey, these are your paintings, right?" Sora's face lit up as Riku nodded and he wandered around the flat and scrutinized the paintings, completely captivated with them.
"Yeah... But they're not all anything special. Just a lot of messy sketches and watercolour," he declared with a chuckle, and Sora gave him a reproachful look.
"Not anything special? Riku, these are frickin' amazing! If I could draw like this…" The brunet softly sighed as he slowly caressed his fingers along one of the easels.
"You think so?" The look Sora gave him once he was able to pry his eyes from the canvas made Riku flush slightly.
"…Do you think you could paint one for me? I-I mean, if—if it's not too much trouble! I just have a big soft spot for art, you see. It doesn't even have to be painted." He moved towards the silver-haired teen as he spoke, "I just can't believe you don't think these are "special"." A laugh blew past the silver haired teen's lips as he stared at the childlike look on his friend's face.
"Huh? What's so funny?" The clueless way Sora spoke only made the silver-haired male laugh harder.
"Hey, what's up with you? Now you're starting to freak me out!" Riku inhaled and ruffled the brunet's hair, pulling back to smile down at him. Sora didn't say anything for a moment, and then looked down at his socks, flushing as he kept his eyes downcast.
"You know… You have a really nice laugh and smile, Riku. You're easy to get along with." Sora commented, coughing and scratching the back of his neck. Riku didn't know where this sudden burst of praise had come from, but he liked it.
"What's this? Falling for me already? Didn't I tell Kairi and Selphie that flattery gets you nowhere?" Riku teased, earning a shy smile from Sora and he unthinkingly brushed a lock of hair from the teen's eyes so he could see them better. "But... I think your smile puts the rest to shame. I like it." Riku cursed his sudden nervousness and glanced away from the brunet, missing Sora's face begin to resemble a cherry.
"U-Uh, thanks. I…" The brunet stammered and felt his cheeks burn—he strengthened his resolve, however, and met Riku's gaze so that he could try to tell what the taller male was thinking. Riku was somewhat hard to read, but Sora was starting to notice that his eyes gave away everything he was feeling.
"What's with this shyness? We're friends aren't we?" Riku broke the silence, and pinched at Sora's cheeks until the brunet batted his hand away. Riku chuckled and instead dropped his hand down to poke his friend in the stomach. Sora made a noise and backed up slightly, cursing inwardly when something flashed in Riku's eyes. Neither said a word, but Riku poked him again, testing.
"Ah! Stop that!"
"Why? Are you…ticklish, Sora?" The brunet swallowed loudly at the mischievous look in his friend's sea-green eyes and he slowly began to rise from the sofa.
"Uh, no. Not...particularly." Sora bit his lip, knowing that no matter what he said, Riku could probably pin him down and slowly torture him.
"Riku!" Sora laughed when the silver haired teen tackled him off of the sofa and onto the floor, pinning him down and tickling him. Well, he was right about the pinning, but he kicked his legs as hard as he could, but Riku didn't budge.
"Ah! Ha—stop—wa—wait a minute!" Riku joined in on the brunet's contagious laughter as his fingers danced over Sora's stomach, torturing him. Riku grinned, sitting back with a triumphant look on his face as Sora's chest heaved and he struggled to calm his laughter down.
"All right, all right, I'll get off. As fun as it is to act like little kids, I'm probably squeezing the life out of you." Both teens continued to laugh even after Riku climbed off of his friend, who had been lying on his back, holding his abdomen.
"Yeah… fat ass. M-My stomach," The brunet inhaled deeply and laughed when Riku flicked him against his forehead. The older male tore himself away, but didn't move very far and just reclined against the foot of his sofa. Sora didn't move at all, seemingly content to lay spread out on the carpeted floor.
"I haven't laughed like that in a long time, Riku." The brunet commented as he wiped the tears from the corner of his eyes, and Riku leaned over and threatened to tickle him once more, but gently poked him instead.
"Me neither… And you sure are sensitive, aren't you?" Riku grinned at the pout making its way across the Sora's face and he stretched his legs out. "Oh yeah, don't you have to work at that café today?" At his friend's question, Sora rolled onto his stomach and held his chin up with both hands.
"Hn? Oh, that. Nope, I usually head in to work early or when I get called in after I'm done with my classes—Oh, and sometimes I work a couple hours on the weekdays. Though, Kairi and Selph work there every day when they get the chance." Sora explained and looked over into his friend's unique irises.
"Say, Riku…" The teen rolled onto his back once more and closed his eyes. With a small grunt, Riku copied this movement and waited for him to continue. "What do you want to do now? I wanted to go to Phoenix Park, but I think that would take a while on foot…" Riku glanced at the clock. It was a little past four... Not really that late.
"Well… I could drive us, but it'd still be kind of late. So maybe you could hang out here? Why don't we watch a movie or something? We can just hang, if you're free I mean." Riku shuffled to his knees and crawled over to his television, and glanced back to his friend for his reply.
"That sounds great," Sora smiled, trying not to sound too excited, and hoisted himself back up to the sofa. Riku looked back and him and laughed, seeing him all spread out and taking up three-fourths of the cushions. "I guess I can stay for a while."
Riku nodded, pleased, but turned around and tossed a dvd into the player and scooted back to his previous position in front of the sofa—and Sora as well. A little after forty minutes into a movie named, 'Wrong Turn', Sora began to get fidgety, sinking onto the floor next to Riku as subtly as he could.
"Hey. You…okay?" Riku asked suspiciously, raising an eyebrow when Sora nodded and didn't break eye contact with the television for a second. Riku inwardly chuckled at the alarmed expression on the brunet's face and he reached a hand out to ruffle the younger male's hair.
"Ah, y-yeah. I can handle these kind of movies, no…problem." A little blush made its way across the brunet's cheeks and nose after his confession. Everything about his mannerisms conflicted with what he'd just said—from the flinching, to the fidgeting hangs, to the lip biting…
"So in other words…you're terrified?" Riku teased and earned a glare—or what he thought was could pass of as one. Sora wasn't too good at looking tough when he was scared.
"No! Well, maybe a little bit. But just a tiny bit, you got that?" He answered, his laugh coming out uneasy and broken. "Who wouldn't—?"
Sora twitched as a flash of lightning accompanied by loud thunder came from outside. Riku noticed the way his friend's body stiffened when another faint noise echoed through the room. He glanced over Sora's shoulder at the window to see the angry rain pelt at the glass. Furrowing his brows, Riku groaned.
"Jeez, again? I thought it would at least hold off…" He paused when Sora's hands that were resting on his lap were being rung together as he tried to focus back on the television. "Not a thunderstorm person, huh? We didn't even get a warning today. It sure picked up fast." The silver haired teen glanced out the window again, hearing the gentle roll of thunder spin into an ominous boom.
Sora made an effort to hide his wide eyes with his bangs and tried to steady his voice as he spoke, "It...It had to have started while we were watching—" Another loud roar of thunder interrupted the brunet and after a few more, everything went black. The sudden darkness caused a panicked Sora to gasp and move to get up, bumping his knee on the coffee table painfully before stumbling back down onto Riku's lap.
"Ouch, shit!" The brunet rubbed his abused leg and stiffened when a flash lit up the room. He really wasn't good with these kinds of things.
Another rumble of thunder startled the brunet, and Riku cursed the sudden change the weather took without so much as a warning. He wished it would just die down so that lights could power back on. Riku could feel Sora's hands clutched onto his shirt tightly. Not knowing what to do or how to react, Riku's arms wound around Sora's waist and he held him awkwardly. He only hoped that Sora could see that he was trying to be reassuring and not creepy. But as he felt Sora relax slightly, his own tenseness died down and he held his friend just a little bit tighter.
"I…I'm sorry." Sora's voice was quiet, trembling, but he didn't seem as shaken as he'd been a moment ago.
Thanking the heavens that Sora couldn't see the stupid blush on his face, Riku brought a hand up to comfortingly massage the brunet's back.
"Sora? It's all right… You're allowed to be afraid of some things." The brunet clung to his friend and shook his head. Riku sighed and held Sora tighter. "Hey... It's okay. I'm here." Riku felt the trembling start again, and if the lights were on he would've seen Sora's pained visage caused by the sudden flashbacks the storm brought to him. The brunet buried his face in Riku's chest and started to sob quietly, hoping his friend wouldn't notice. Riku did, however, feel the drops of water seep through the fabric of his shirt. Frowning, he pulled back slightly and tried to make out his friend's expression
"Sora?" Riku called the brunet, worried. His only answer with a faint, muffled noise against his shirt after Sora pulled him closer again. Riku gently urged his friend to speak, but this time he was met with silence. "You can tell me, Sora. Is something hurting?"
'If only you knew, Riku...'
"I'm s-sorry… I can't stay here." Sora whispered, sounding so overwhelmed and broken.
"What did you say?" Riku asked questioningly. He wished he could see his friends face to maybe get a clue on how he felt or at least something.
"I've been here for a long time and I'm probably weirding you out now, so—" The brunet's body shook and started to pull away until Riku pulled him back down into his arms, holding him tightly.
"What kind of excuse is that? I'm not sending you out there when it's this bad out; just look how dark the sky is! No sane person would even think of going out there. I don't mind if you stay with me, really. Given your reaction, I'd have to be a cold-hearted ass to let you leave now." With a small, hopefully reassuring smile, Riku tilted back against the sofa and held the brunet against him until Sora calmed down.
'It's actually kind of nice,' the thought simultaneously ran through both of their minds. Being in the arms of another man was something different, but Sora wasn't so sure that he disliked it. In fact, he'd never felt as comfortable and secure as he did with his forehead resting against his friend's collarbone. By the content sound of Riku's breathing, he was sure the older male didn't mind too much either.
Only a few more minutes had passed until Riku felt push against his chest and utter a small, "Thank you." Having a foreign emotion bubble up inside his chest, Riku sighed and pulled Sora back into a firm hug and nodded, smiling.
Riku's lips twitched again as Sora laughed quietly against his chest and embraced him back. A yawn ripped past his lips and he groaned, feeling Sora mimic the action. Idly, he ran his hand through the brunet's disarray of cinnamon spikes.
"You know I don't mind if you stay here tonight." Riku tilted his head to get a better look at Sora's expression, or as much as he could with the minimal light, and found the brunet's eyes closed.
"I'm…imposing." Sora mumbled, but his body seemed to disagree since Riku could tell he was falling asleep. That storm must have taken more out of him than he realized.
"Not at all, Sora." Riku shifted slightly so that Sora was sitting against him a bit more comfortably and leaned his head back against the top of the sofa cushions. "Just take it easy." Sora didn't say anything back, so Riku just assumed he finally drifted off. Even though he couldn't see his friend, he knew that Sora's expression would have matched the peaceful sound of his breathing.
It was that same breathing that eventually lulled Riku into sleep, content with the way their day had turned out.
After all, he'd gotten to know more about Sora than he'd anticipated, even if it was something like this.
That was good enough for him.
After much, much, MUCH procrastination—and life in general—I've decided I'm going to re-write this story almost entirely. Sure, I'll keep some elements that were there before, such as the fluff, but over the years I've changed so much and I can't even look back at this without cringing and sobbing OTL
Let's say…I was too naïve about some things, harhar. It must be my perfectionism, since I'm sure no one remembers this fic, but I had to redo it XD
But I am happy that I've gotten back into writing again… I'll probably edit some of my older fics and add a few new ones once I have enough chapters written. The majority of them are UsUk and SuzakuLelouch and etc, so I really hope I do them justice 3
I decided to change up the setting, because I felt that Twilight Town was unbelievably generic OTL Besides, Dublin is a beautiful place~ I'm also being really stupid about the rain (because I know it doesn't pour as much as I made it seem), but that is mostly Riku's p.o.v., so don't take it seriously!) It's fiction anyway, so I'm allowed to be stupid…
I DO NOT OWN THE CHARACTERS USED. In any way, shape, or form. Riku and Sora are © Square Enix, and Tetsuya Nomura. Yeah.
…should I make this mature now?