Riku was 14 and he knew the world.
He knew how to find the best coconuts and where the paopu trees grew thickest. He knew the weight of a wooden sword in his hand and how to swing to beat three kids at the same time. He knew the right way to drag driftwood and not get splinters wedged in sensitive hands. He knew every plank and weather-worn nail of the small boat his father had left him, the right roll of his shoulders to row it out of port and back again.
Riku was 14 and already the world was boring.
"There you go again," Sora announced leaning his chin into his hands with his elbows propped against the bent paopu tree.
"What?" Riku replied sharply.
"You're frowning and your eyes are all droopy and you just look really, really grumpy!" Sora punctuated with a small bob of his head.
"There's nothing to do around here."
"That's not true. We have the island. The others. And we still have our swordfights."
"I'm bored of winning. I want a real adventure." Yeah. That might do it. That might work.
"You don't win that much!" Sora protested automatically. "I won the last round!" He frowned and turned away a little petulantly. "Anyway, what kind of adventure would you want? We already did pirates yesterday."
"Not games. I want to… I want to sail for another world." The idea came suddenly on the spur of the moment, breathtakingly lucid in his mind. That was it. If this world was boring… then all he had to do was find a new one!
For a moment, Sora simply stared at him. Then his face broke into a grin. "Yeah, that'd be fun." He turned his face up to the sun, blue eyes sparkling. "You think Kairi will like it?"
Riku didn't reply. He was 14 and he knew the world. But, some things still hurt.
Waking to the sound of thunder and the wind gusting through his open window, Riku stared out into sea. It doesn't take him an islander's nose to sniff out the typhoon already upon them, but it does take an islander boy's recklessness to dare it.
Jumping out of bed, he ignored the urgent whispers of the trees outside his window, the sleeping form of his aunt. Something was calling him, just as surely as the rain whipping into his hair and skin was making something inside him curdle in excitement. There was a haunting voice in his blood.
Riku was 14. He knew the world and he feared nothing in it.
When he walked up to The Door, he was alone. He'd been alone in visiting, lately. But there's something different, tonight. The entire cave hummed like it was expecting something. It didn't sound like the summer crickets, more a deep, throbbing thrum that he felt in his teeth and echoed in his head. The Door was lit up, a beacon in the darkness of the cave, the strange curling designs on it's face glowing with an otherworldly light.
Heart racing, he ran up to it, hands flat on the stone surface. This was it. It was time to know what was beyond it. What secrets it had been keeping. What other worlds. His gloved fingers scrabbled on the rough surface, searching desperately for purchase, a latch, a knob, a key- anything that would open.
It did. He could have cried with relief as it swung out and suddenly he was swept away in an oncoming rush of bodiless darkness and blobs of it looking at him with glowing lamplight eyes. It was open. Open.
The wave came to a rest as he reaches the beach, the soft, gritty, familiar, detestable sand under his shoes. It stopped just in time for him to see Sora. Riku smiled, and he didn't know it, but it wasn't his same smile. Wasn't his sane smile.
"The Door has opened..."
But Sora didn't take his hand.
Riku was 14. He had opened another world. He didn't need any friends.
"Do you know what happened to your islands?" Ansem's voice was deep and echoing and wrong. Just listening to it left Riku's skin cold; his teeth aching.
"The Heartless would have descended upon it, a black host sprung from their bottle prison, devouring any and all lives they can reach. They'd have torn out the hearts of your friends and your family, casting their hollow husks into the Darkness as they swarm over your world's heart." Ansem chuckled and Riku could feel the sound right through his chest, vibrating into his beating heart and jostling it around like a toy.
"Don't you have anything to say to that, my little Pandora?" Ansem's hands were strong, far stronger than his incorporeal self had any right to be. They drifted over the milk-white paleness of Riku's thighs, pushing them roughly apart. Riku bit down on his trembling lip and tried not to cry. He cried the first time. And the time after that. But he was too tired to do that now. He couldn't do that now. He had to save Kairi. He had to show Sora. He had to be strong.
"I won't waste my breath on you."
"I can read your mind." Riku hated him. Riku hated the soft white hair and the acid orange eyes. He hated the hard ridges of Ansem's body as they pressed up against him and the mocking tone of his knowing voice in his hair. He hated himself.
He hated himself while Ansem pushed him down amongst the black silk pillows, summoned Darkness wrapping around his limbs and throttling his throat. He hated himself while Ansem held his hips down and broke him apart. He hated himself while he let Ansem take him, possess him, utterly defile him.
The man's hot flesh stung inside his ass, burned in his throat. His careless way of bending Riku's body to his whim would have broken his bones.
Riku couldn't defend himself in his own conquered mind; in his waking dreams.
And it was in his nightmares that Ansem whispered to him of the deepest bowels of the Darkness and the ways he can use it to rend, rip, and defile others. It was in that dark, chilling place that he told him of what had become of his home and what part he'd done in its destruction.
Riku knew the spell to make the blood boil in an enemy's own skin, how to rip out bowels with a single black star, the most effective way of torturing the body that went beyond rape and murder. He could tell you how the Darkness can slide under your skin and pull out your nails, make your own hand take up a dagger and stab your throbbing heart. But he wouldn't tell you how scared he was to know them.
The only way he was going to get through this was by his own hands and his own strength. By the Darkness.
And the only way he could stand up when he wakes vomiting over the side of the bed, hurriedly cleaning out cum that wasn't there, was by believing in the Darkness' strength. Believing that he wasn't the hopeless pawn, but the martyr king.
Riku was 14 and he knew far too much.
Riku was 14 when he opened Pandora's Box.
EDIT (several weeks after the initial posting): Draco's Worst Nightmare has informed me that Riku was 15 at the start of KH1- unfortunately, I wasn't in possession of this fact before/while writing this. ;P Much as I'm itching to use find and replace, I think I'll leave it this way- artistic license? And. there's something somewhat vulnerable about 14 that I think goes with the story. Apologies to everyone who's going to twitch as the abovementioned author and I do.
That aside, I'm kinda happy about this. I've been in a bit of a funk and writing this was very good stretch. I liked trying to get into Riku's head and presenting something a little different from what I've read. Although there are at least two good ansem/riku fics that i've read even before KH2 came out. Also I think the character exploration also had little bits tucked into it. The King example, might imply Mickey.