Disclaimer; I do not own Kingdom Hearts. Nor a great chunk of the plot.

This is based off of a role play I did with a friend, her account on here is: Spoodlegamer. Go check her out. The majority of this lovely plot belongs to her. I'm just writing it, because this role play was truly the best ones I have ever done, and one of the few I have ever finished. Each chapter is titled after a song from the Kingdom Hearts soundtrack.

Pairings; Riku / Sora Friendship [Eventual slash. Others will be added.
Setting; A little more than two weeks after KH2. Destiny Islands. Sora is sixteen. Riku is seventeen.
Summary; It's not so easy to remove darkness from a heart, once it's there, it's hard to completely remove it. Riku, concerned that his heart is far too dark for the purity of his friends, cuts himself off from them completely. In the dead of night, under the moonlight, Riku's life nearly comes to an end by the very waves that cradled him in the years before they had left. Kairi's jealousy peaks, and darkness begins to infect Sora.


Chapter One:
Night of Fate

Sitting there, breathing, looking at the sky. The moon, the stars, the sound of the ocean, stretching out so far away. Off into the distance, the clear air made it easy to see the flat planes of water. He could see the way the waves faded together, the reflection of the moonlight. It really was beautiful, he had truly missed it here. He had missed the water, he had missed the moon and the peace of the waves and the stars and the fresh air.

There was darkness around him, but it wasn't the kind that would overthrow him. It was a more natural darkness, the kind that held no threat. The kind that came every night, the kind that could be brightened by the moon.

But there was darkness in him, too. He could feel it, it lingered at the edges of his eyes and his fingertips. He was worried, at times, that he would rest his hand on something, and that something would become engulfed by the darkest night. So he had kept his hands to himself, he hadn't touched either Kairi or Sora. No hug to greet them, no tapping their shoulder to grasp their attention.

He kept his hands in his pockets, or at his sides. He didn't want to infect them, they were too pure for his tainting darkness.

Riku closed his eyes, inhaling the smell of the air. The wind blowing through his hair, brushing strands of moonlit silver over his nose and cheeks. The wind caressing his shoulders, chilling him but warming him at the same time.

Riku felt less exposed at night, at night, no one could see this lingering darkness.

They didn't need to know what he hid from them.

He was breathing, he was inhaling and exhaling the chill salted air.

It had been two weeks since they had got back. Two weeks and two days since he had arrived here.

Riku hadn't seen much of his friends. He had been avoiding them, sensing that anything that may have happened between him and Kairi was gone, Sora was the one for her, obviously. The way she looked at him when he had got back, he hadn't been able to see Sora's face, but he expected that he would have the same kind of expression.

So he left them to their own devices.

That was his excuse. He wanted to give time to be together, time to get to know each other, though it was wearing him down. It was dragging him under, it was hurting.

But he didn't want them to see his darkness, the little lines of black that were woven through him. He couldn't get rid of that darkness, it was there, it would always be there. No amount of light could lift it.

He was ashamed of himself, he was ashamed of the darkness. And he wore that blindfold across his wrist, it was his reminder to tread carefully around those he had called his friends.

To remind him that he would not submit to the darkness again.

Riku peered across the ocean, he blinked open his eyes, reading the way the waves smoothed over the sand, the way that the moonlight danced skillfully across the surface of the water. Laughing with the waves in this cheerful night.

The faintest smile crossed his lips, and he slipped from the branch where he rested, walking towards the water. The waves, the sound, the chill of the liquid caressing his senses.

Carefully, he pulled his shirt up and off, a tremble dripping down his spine as the skin was exposed. It was a refreshing feeling, the air felt rough, it was almost bitter.

He folded his shirt over the branch, and pulled off his shoes. Stuffing the socks inside of them, and stepping forwards.

Before he hit the water, he knew it was cold. Where the water had been lapping against the shore, a dark blue sand against the light blue tan of the rest, it looked cold. His toes sank into the sand, and the wave brushed against his skin.

Inhaling sharply, he took a step, enclosing his feet in the water and kept going.

Riku couldn't be sure on what had inspired him to take a swim in the middle of the night, he didn't know why the bitter cold of the ocean was appealing.

But, somehow, it was.

The water was rough, as though the salt had fangs and was nipping his skin. Though the sand was soft as he walked and the water itself was smooth, the salt was sharp. It wasn't cold he felt, no, he was used to cold. The darkness had always been cold, there was little warmth, little solace. What caused him the most discomfort was the salt, that gentle and uncomfortable pain where the water swirled across the skin. The bottom of his pants becoming heavier, wetter, as he moved deeper.

At his knees, he paused, turning to look back at the shore. The sand that looked grating and dry. Blue by the moon and still so chilled. His shirt and his shoes resting a reasonably safe distance from the water's clutches.

Turning to the moon, he smiled inwardly. Letting the breeze take him, letting the air breathe back into him. He kept going, walking deeper and deeper and pausing with a shudder as the water circled his crotch. Biting his tongue faintly to get over it, walking further, so the water swirled at his hips. Pausing and trying to get used to the chill invading his personal space..

Inhaling to grip his, he wadded deeper and ducked his hands into the water. His fingernails turning to ice at the contact and he gasped, then laughing at the shock.

Turning again to look at the shore, calculating where his shirt and shoes were, he didn't see the wave. He didn't feel the true threats that the more natural darkness held as the moon was clouded. The water dipping down his thighs, the world darkening, catching him off guard, plunged into the water and tasting something warm and rusty and bitter on his tongue.

The water filled him, it swept into every pore, strangling him. Clutching him in the darkness, squeezing his chest, filling his eyes and his mouth and his lungs. Screaming as he clawed for the dim moonlight in his desperation, trying to see through the teeth of the salt. He couldn't move, he couldn't think, if he could only kick his bare feet, if only he could breathe.

-

He could taste the air before he really knew where he was. It was stale, it tasted bright, like cheap lighting. Like those fluorescent bulbs that pressed into the ceilings. He didn't know who he was, his mind was fogged. He could recall a few things, he remembered something warm on his mouth, someone screaming, coughing, choking, water.

He gasped, hands clenching, the gasp dwindling off into a low moan.

The male didn't try to open his eyes, he didn't try to do anything more than take in heavy breaths of the air that tasted like electric lighting. Sweat pricking his forehead, his chest lurching, erupting into a fit of coughs. A gentle and weather worn hand pressing to his forehead. It soothed him, he shuddered, and pried his eyes open. Salt glued into his eyelashes, gluing them together. His skin felt sticky, hot, he felt as though he were clogged and he didn't want to move. His nose hurt, there was sand in his mouth, lodged uncomfortably between his teeth.

The one above him smiled, a man with lines curling around his eyes and mouth. "Good evening" He said, his voice was soothing, and he lifted a heavy hand to grasp tightly at the hand still on his forehead.

He couldn't speak, he only breathed and moaned as the air hurt him.

"How are you feeling?"

Riku shook his head.

"Understood. Care to tell me your name?"

A nod.

"Can you speak?"

"N-not yet" He ground out, his throat hurt and he erupted into more coughs.

"Don't try until you're feeling better. I'm glad you're awake," He said as he stopped coughing, as though there was still water in his chest. It felt tight, and he felt like there was water everywhere. The salt was dry on his skin and in his hair. Making it stiff and uncomfortable, dirty.

"We found you early this morning, you were very lucky. I suspect that you'd be dead if you hadn't been found, you took in a lot of water. If the waves this morning hadn't been so gentle, I'm not sure you'd be around anymore. Now, if you'll excuse me, I must go contact the one who found you, I'm sure that she'll be pleased to know you're awake."

He inhaled, trying not to choke, and nodded. Eyes closing, the hand giving his a gentle squeeze and letting go. Riku didn't want to let go of the doctor's hand, he felt a sense of comfort from him, he felt peace with him. But he was gone, and he felt darkness invade him. "Sora" He muttered. "Kairi" Sucked in a deep breath, choking on the air. Oh God, he was alone. Too alone, he wanted to see them, the empty air pressed in on all sides. All of a sudden, he didn't care about the hidden darkness, he just wanted to see his friends.

It was in the paper the next morning, a boy had been washed up on the beach and was still alive, that his condition was stable, and that they weren't legally allowed to show his picture, but gave a brief description of the boy, so someone, family perhaps, could come to see him.

The woman who had found Riku came in to see him that night, breathless, taking his hand into hers and kissing his knuckles. Worried, probably a mother of someone, and was relieved that he was still alive, if only slightly. Riku was glad to see her, he was in love with her for her saving him. He may as well be dead if it wasn't for her, and he managed a weak thank you, and gave a gentle request for her to find Sora, because Sora would tell Kairi and they'd come see him.

The next morning, he was still in the hospital. He had brushed the sand from his teeth, and washed salt from his hair and skin. Feeling less waterlogged, he could move around. He wasn't thinking about what had happened, he didn't know what was wrong.

Turns out, his nose was broken. The tape laying over it was white, the flesh tender, his mind slow, his nose kept bleeding.

He longed not to be alone, and ate slowly, trying to make sure that he didn't eat too much, or too fast. He felt sick.

He wanted to see Sora, and he told the doctor this, and he would sit with him and make sure he was eating and he felt well. Telling him that if anyone came to see him, he'd make sure they got in.

For that, Riku was grateful. He could not thank him enough.

It didn't take long for Sora to arrive, he looked so pale, so tired, so worried. Riku's heart leapt into his throat, and he felt as though he was suffocating all over again. But his lips lit up in a smile, and the brunette hopped towards him and pressed close. His arms tying around Riku's shoulders and smiling into his arm. "You idiot, Riku!" He stated, Riku's arms slowly returning the embrace, hesitant. "What were you thinking? You scared Kairi and I so badly!" He had pulled away from him, and pressed his hands to his hips, pulling on a silly little pout. Then his relief seemed to fade, his expression saddened. "I'm sorry I didn't come sooner" His voice dropped to a whisper, eyes angling to the ground. "I only just heard about it last night! I don't read the papers. I'm sorry Riku, I'm so sorry"

Heat was pricking at Riku's eyes as he watched him, blinking and shaking his head. "Don't", his voice was low and dry, trying to keep quiet to not irritate his lungs. "I'm just glad you're here, Sora." His voice held notes of gratitude, and he smiled at the other warmly. "Sit down." He offered, and the other nodded quickly, pulling a chair over and perching himself in it, his hands resting on the bed, fidgeting nervously.

"I was so worried" He started, Riku fell silent, relaxing against the pillows behind him. Watching Sora's nervous hands, and tempted to place them over his. But he was tainted, even in a place like this, where everything felt and looked so pure, he was tainted. He didn't bring his hand to rest on Sora's. "When you left the first time" His voice had dropped down to a soft whisper, "I was worried. I was so lost without you! Riku.." His voice broke off, Riku's eyes were soft. He opened one arm, and Sora moved into it. His arms tying tight around the hospital shirt he wore, clinging with a soft shiver down his spine. "I don't know what I would do without you." His voice mumbled against his shoulder.

Riku felt the pain slip into him. Sora was here. After everything Riku had done to him, after every time he had tried to beat him, after every time he ran from him. Sora was still here, still clinging to him like they had when they were young, and despite that even in the past two weeks he had abandoned his dear friend, he was still here. His eyes had fallen closed, crystal salt building under his lashes, his body trembling hard, Sora made to pull away. Riku's arms tightened as his breath escaped him, tears slipping down his cheeks as he clung to his friend.

When he had entered the darkness the first time, Sora had tried to reach him. He had groped in the air, and Riku had stood there. He wanted his friend to work to get to him, he wanted his friend to truly show he wanted to go with him. When he had been swept away, when Sora had been unable to reach him, he felt angry. Hurt. He wanted to hurt the boy, he wanted to get his revenge for not trying hard enough to close the distance between them. But then he had stopped, and sank down and realized that if he could have moved forwards, then Sora would have been with him. Though all this time, he had been pushing the innocent little brunette away. Fighting against him, then finally fighting to free him. Fleeing from him, hiding away from the boys vision, hurting him in the process. When Sora had seen him again, his body deformed by the darkness of another man, he had fallen to his knees. Clinging to his hand and crying. There, he saw that Sora still cared for him, despite everything.

He never thought he'd ever be back in his own body when he had been running from him. He never thought that he would ever be able to see through his own eyes. That black cloth was still around his wrist, and fell in a soft wave down Sora's back as he clung to him. Stiff as he tried to hide his tears, inhaling the smell of Sora's hair, and the lingering odour of salt on his own skin. Would that smell ever go away?

"Riku.. don't ever.. do that again" Came the soft whisper from his neck. "Please, promise?"

Riku blinked. "It was an accident, I didn't plan on it" He whispered, breathing a small sigh of relief that his voice was not wavering. He lift one hand, and rubbed the black cloth around his wrist under his eyes to dry the remainders of his sadness away. "I'm sorry" He whispered, finally letting go of him, sitting back and giving a smile to the water in Sora's eyes.

The brunette was perceptive, he was positive that he knew that Riku had cried, and he was positive that he didn't care.

Kairi.

He had forgotten about her. But she was standing in the door, listening to his words, then rushing in and clamping her arms around his neck. He returned the hug tiredly, weakly, and smiled into her shoulder. "I'm sorry" She said. "I had some things to take care of, I'm sorry I took so long getting here" She offered up a smile, then placed her hands on her hips. Her tone changing, her expression flickering into a mock scowl. "Sora didn't sleep all night because of your stupidity! You had us so worried"

Riku could only give her a weak smile, an apology whispered on his lips as Sora perked up, the wetness gone from his bright eyes as he turned to his dear friend. "Hey, when can you leave? Wakka and Tidus are working, and I've been told they give half-off ice cream to their friends."

Everything felt bright, his heart felt tight and happy in his chest and a small kind of smile was on his lips. "I don't know when I can leave" Truthfully, there was a bit of fear in him, how long would he need to stay?

Then Sora shot a confused glance to Kairi, who gave Riku an all-too bright smile, and grabbed his hand, tugging him away. "Kairi.." He started. "You said that he -- "

"Sush." She commanded, her expression had changed, looking somewhat threatening. "He doesn't want you to know what he did, he's ashamed, and he's worried you'll look down on him. He doesn't want to look bad in your eyes" She lifted a hand, her fingertips feathering against Sora's cheek, then dropped her hand, straightening. "Give him some time, he won't admit it because he's ashamed of himself. We know the truth, Sora." She smiled, sneaky, as if this was her own little truth. Sora looked so injured, and she gave his hand a squeeze, having kept a hold of it as she pulled him away.

Sora, with watering eyes, moved back to Riku. Kairi standing next to the door, spoke up. "Riku, I'm going to go ask the receptionist when you can leave, okay?" Riku nodded, she left, the door clicking shut behind her.

Sora quickly grasped his friend's hand, lacing their fingers together. His eyes still wet, but he was smiling an all too fake smile. So badly, the older male wanted to pull his hand away from his friend, but didn't. Simply let the other hold his slack hand. Sora took in a shaky breath, his smile converted into one less fake and a little more calm. "There's a really scary move that came out while we were gone. I rented it, but I haven't watched it yet because it's scary" Sora always enjoyed scary movies, but had a tendency to get scared when he watched them. So he would always watch it with someone, usually Riku. When they were younger, Riku would wrap his arm around the smaller boy, and they'd curl up on the couch together and watch it with hot chocolate with hazelnut cream and a thick blanket decorated with a wolf that was Riku's favourite. When they got older, they'd sit close under the blanket, Sora's mom didn't make the hot chocolate with them, and so their mugs were messy because they were never able to keep the cups clean, and there was far too much cream on the top, with added sprinkles on the top. It usually became far too sweet, and each of them could only finish half of it until it was too sweet, or got cold, and abandoned on the table as Sora fearfully clung to his arm as the movie progressed.

Riku closed his hand, finally, around Sora's. Who's eyes lit up, who's smile widened, and he grinned truthfully at Riku. "Promise we'll watch it when you get out?" He asked, pleadingly, and Riku nodded. He giggled, and Riku smiled tiredly. His limbs felt so achingly heavy, and it almost hurt. But there wasn't enough ache there for it to hurt, it was growing slowly unbearable as it increased.

"I'll be there" He said softly. "Promise"

Sora, perked up completely, beamed. It was rather amusing how suddenly Sora could go from tearful to cheerful. He pulled Riku's hand up, and put his other hand on the other side of his hand, so that Riku's was trapped within Sora's. He rest his chin on their hands. "I have nothing else to do" He piped. "So I'm going to stay here and bother you" Gratefully, Riku nodded. Just pleased to have his friend with him.

They sat together in silence for a few minutes. Riku's eyes closed, Sora watching him sleep with a soft smile on his lips. "You know" He started. Riku flinched at the noise, and opened his eyes. "I don't think I'm going back to school" He said, Riku rose an eyebrow. Though he had decided that, after missing two years of school, he wasn't going back, it was shocking for Sora to be the one to give voice to the idea. Sora had always been the one who was getting good grades, always liked school. Whereas Riku would grumble in the mornings as he and Sora walked together to their classes. "Once I'm eighteen" He started, "I think I'm going to go out and see the worlds again" Riku was silent for a moment, missing the door that had opened. "What about you? Will you come with me?" Relief, he nodded before the voice of Kairi interrupted.

"You're leaving again, Sora?" Looking a little miffed as she slid back into the room. Turning her eyes to Riku. "They say you can go tomorrow, or the day after, if you feel up to it" She said, her voice fleeting, then her attention grappling back to Sora. "Anyways" As if Riku's freedom from the hospital wasn't that important, he couldn't help but feeling offended. "You're not going back to school?"

Riku watched his head lower, and he muttered out "No," Glancing briefly to Riku, then back to Kairi. "I'm not planning to, anyways." Sora's eyes kept growing sadder, and Riku unintentionally squeezed the other's hand. Hardly aware he had done it until he felt the return squeeze. "I'm nearly seventeen, it'll be too hard to catch up now"

Kairi sighed, "You've lost two years of your life, Sora"

And Kairi had lost some of hers, hadn't he? So had Riku. He had lost more, and felt that he was still losing. Sora was here by an off-chance miracle. He had not expected to come close to his own death tonight, he had been worrying if Sora would be here or not.

Sensing the beginnings of an argument, Riku spoke up. "Thanks" He started. "Thanks a lot for being here for me. I really appreciate it, I was worried I'd be alone" Sora, looking offended, opened his mouth to speak. Riku silenced him with a nudge of his hand under his chin. The brunette smiled, and Riku returned it.

Kairi began speaking, and Sora spoke back. Riku closed his eyes, leaning into the pillows behind him, his grip on Sora's hands loosening as he relaxed. Dimly he heard her ask "What about your parents, Riku? Why aren't they here?"

His heart clenched in his chest, he pretended not to hear her.

Riku had left into the darkness, willingly, and then at the last second, when the darkness came to him to give him strength, when Ansem came to him to take control of his body, he had protested. He had given in, he had let him in. And he had submitted to the darkness. As he wandered though Castle Oblivion, he had fought off his darkness, he had wanted to become his own person. He had defeated Ansem.

Only to accept him, again, to deal with Roxas.

He had been sent to catch the young Nobody, and had changed his form in order to capture the boy. He had let it happen, he had looked for it, he had changed. When he had come back, after ripping dark lines through his heart, washing them out, then stitching them back in, he could not face his parents. With the aid of the King, his parents no longer knew they had a seventeen year old son named Riku. Those times he had passed Selphie, or Tidus, they had been unable to recognize him. The only people who still knew who he was had been Sora and Kairi. The only two people who had seen his descent.

Riku could not face everyone he knew before, the people that knew the cocky silver-haired boy no longer knew him. He was just another face, hiding his green eyes from the passing glances along the streets with long strands of hair. He only wanted to rid himself of the darkness, if he did that, then his shame would lessen. And he could hold the hands of his friends, and he could spend his days with them on the beach.

At the moment, the only time he had gone to their little hideaway was at night. When the moon was high and bathed the deep and dark ocean with a crystallized beauty. There was no more times he watched the sun glint off of the clouds, shining through the blue blue sky.

He heard Kairi ask about his parents again, and Sora, gratefully, changed the subject again. Riku's fingers tightening in silent appreciation.

Kairi opened her mouth to ask again.

He relented, deciding to share that information. Or at least, just a bit of it. "Before I left" The word left tasted selfish on his tongue. "We weren't getting along very well" His lie felt hard, and he clenched his teeth. "I live on my own now" Thanks to Mickey, the King had done everything he could to help the pained boy.

"You live alone?" Sora pouted, and then perked up. "Why don't you stay with me until my parents get home? It would be so cool, we can stay up all night watching movies!" He lifted one hand, and placed it over his heart. "It's not good for your heart to be alone all the time" Sora's hand left his own chest, and he placed it back to their hands.

"Sora," Kairi interrupted, breaking Riku's answer before he could give it. "I thought you said I could stay.." She trailed off, Sora looked awfully confused.

"Well, we can all stay over. It'll be a big sleepover party" Warming up to the idea of having both his friends with him.

"But.. I thought it was gonna be just us.." She pouted, then her eyes flashed with something Riku had hardly seen from her. "How do you know he even wants to stay with you? You can't fix it like that" Her voice was sharp, Riku felt a small slice of pain. Of course he wanted to stay with Sora, Sora was his best friend. "Riku, why don't you stay with me instead? My mother's always liked you a lot" Her voice dripped with sugar, and Sora stood. His hands slipping away. Looking at him with longing as he left. Walking away from him, opening the door.

Riku remembered that he did, indeed, have a voice. "Sora, wait" He called, voice scratchy and rough as he called out to him. The door had closed, Riku was left without his best friend. Left alone with Kairi, he turned his heavy eyes towards her. She had driven him away.

"Sora and I had plans" He whispered, Kairi still as she stood there. "I feel so bad for hurting him, and for everything else. I wanted.. I wanted to make it up to him." He blinked, the wetness in his eyes as he sighed. Looking at Kairi, and looking away. "Can you leave? I want to be alone now.. I.. I'll see you tomorrow"

She left. He lay back in the pillows, looking at the roof. He had not been able to see him, and he sighed heavily, pressing his palms into his eyes. Would Sora be back tomorrow?

It was all he could do to sit there and hope for the best.