notes: Oh my god, I'm so embarrassing sometimes. And by sometimes I mean always.
Remember me not for my great deeds, but for my vapid high school AUs, okay guys?
Oh, and uh, I suppose I should mention the pairings since you crazy kids tend to want to know! Axel/Roxas and Riku/Sora are the mains, because I'm a huge weenie, and there's also Zexion/Lexaeus, Ven/Terra, most Disney canon, and… idk other ones. Secret ones! Either way, het and gay and lady-gay.
Aaaalso I should mention, everyone in this fic is a Disney or Final Fantasy character of some sort. No OCs. In case you were wondering, Mateus is the deliciously effete emperor from FFII. The end.
Today, Riku's mother was wearing her enormous fur coat.
Well, to say it was fur would be a sort of misnomer—mostly, it was royal blue suede with accents of silvery fur of some sort. Wolf. Mink. Ogre. No one could ever exactly tell what it was, but it was luxuriant enough to seem like it had come from some kind of mythical beast; if not ogre, then maybe unicorn.
This was, of course, relevant, because when Yunalesca Geraldine came to pick up her son (well, sons, if one wanted to be precise), things like this were always relevant. The kind of coat she wore, if any—did it go with her hair? Naturally. Her earrings—diamond? Maybe padparadscha sapphires if they matched her outfit just right. Her shoes, her purse, and, of course, the kind of overpriced, imported booze she was drinking.
That wasn't to say she was drinking and driving, of course—she had her husband to do that for her. Edge Geraldine was far less of an attraction than his wife, but it certainly couldn't be said that he wasn't a good driver, at the very least.
Yunalesca, on the other hand, never particularly excelled at driving (especially not after a few stiff drinks) but she was an attraction indeed; the rumours had started awhile back when Riku began high school, and rumours, as they are wont do to, spread. "Oh, his mother was a famous something-or-other", "Yunalesca? I think I heard of an actress named Yunalesca", "Yunalesca? Oh, she's a baroness". No one was entirely sure what exactly it was that she did or had done (much in the same way no one was entirely sure what her coats were made of) but the fact of the matter remained that she was famous for being famous, as it were.
For the record, that day she was drinking whiskey and soda, and was wearing Jimmy Choo sandals. A little recherché for the occasion, but why not? By the look of it, her handbag was maybe… Fendi? Well lah-dee-dah. Her earrings? Sapphires, by the look of it; the regular sort, not padparadschas. Not enough pink in her wardrobe today, everyone supposed.
Of course, so too did Selphie; she just had an eye for that sort of thing, if her own fashion sense was any indication.
There was a hill that overlooked the parking lot just right (not obscured by any trees, not too high up, perfect for people-watching) and being that observing her fellow man was something akin to Selphie's lifeblood, most every afternoon found her there: chewing away on her bubblegum (apple, today, as everyone would note as she popped the bubbles), clacking her jewellery (polka-dotted bangles, long bright beads), swirling her skirts (granny smith green from Miu Miu, for the sake of matching); Riku's mother had caught her attention, as she always would, but Selphie fidgeted nevertheless.
Like people-watching, it was almost a hobby; if nothing else, it was nice to see that even at her oh-so-prestigious private school (thankfully without uniforms, she mused, admiring how masterfully she had matched her greens and pinks and blues) very few people had the same impeccable taste she did. Kairi, of course, was one of those few people, and as such she had the privilege of sitting by Selphie's side; after all, Kairi had just bought her one of those charm bracelets from Juicy Couture for her birthday, which was totally her favourite, and what says "friendship" better than a-hundred-and-twenty-eight dollar gold-plated jewellery?
Not to mention the adorable little Swarovski crystals. Oh la!
"So," she smacked her gum loudly, sending sweet artificial apple wafting Kairi's way, "what's the deal with Riku's mom anyway? Is she like, some kinda heiress or something? I've known Riku for so long and I don't even know."
"Why don't you ask Riku yourself?" Kairi didn't sound exasperated, as most would, just amused. She took a small sip of the green apple soda Selphie had sprung for (there was a vending machine right outside the cafeteria, and really, when she had the chance to accessorize her gum and her beverages, it was not an opportunity to be passed up). "I mean, like you said, you've known him for so long…"
"Kairi," Selphie put her hands on her hips, expensive bracelets jingling, and looked gracefully undeterred, "why would I ask him if I could ask you? You're right here."
"Why wouldn't you have asked him this before? You've been his friend since what, kindergarten? Even longer than I have."
"I didn't think of it until like right now," Selphie sniffed.
"Well," Kairi said, suddenly thoughtful, "I've heard some stuff about her. Y'know, that she did… something back in the day. She was a model or something, I forget."
Pop, pop. More apples.
"Why don't we go find out? I'm all curious and junk now," Selphie said, her eyes moving from her delicate and impeccably-manicured hand to the Geraldine family's sleek black car.
"What, you mean ask her? Don't be ridiculous."
"But Kaaairi, I'm absolutely burning with curiosity now! You can't even imagine!" Selphie pauses. "I hope she wasn't a model though. That's so… I dunno, typical, y'know? Anyway, I vote we follow Riku home."
"If you've got your heart set on it, then be my guest."
Selphie looked scandalized, one jingling hand flying to her throat in girlish shock. "I can't go without you! I don't know him as well you do! I'd practically being intruding. How rude would that be, huh?"
Kairi sighed. "Incredibly."
"Maybe we should pick her up, like… a present. Quinto do Noval or whatever, y'know? Let's stop off at the liquor store first, 'kay? This new fake I.D. I got is awesome."
Kairi nodded numbly. This was quickly moving from silly to absurd.
"…Ohmygosh, Kairi! I totally just got the best idea ever! I should interview her for the school paper!"
"…But you do the fashion column."
"Duh, that's why I'll do it! Have you seen the way she dresses? Yeah, I'll totally butter her up with some expensive booze and she'll give me the best interview ever, and before you know it I'll be writing columns in Vogue! …Do you think I should go buy a pantsuit too? …Ick, no, too butch. I don't want to look too unprofessional though…"
From silly to absurd… from absurd to surreal.
Today, he was going to make it.
Yes, Riku thought, just brimming with triumph, today was going to be the day.
Today, he was going to go the entire day without seeing Axel.
It wasn't so much that he didn't like Axel (except it totally was) but it was more the fact that Axel was… everywhere. Omnipresent, as it were, like some sort of gangly-limbed, sociopathic god. As it happened, Axel went everywhere Roxas went. Roxas went everywhere Sora went. And of course, horror of horrors, Sora went everywhere Riku went. With the exception of Axel, it had been like that since they were little kids—a kind of delicate balance, if you will. The universe was right-wise.
Then Axel had to show up, annoying dirtbag that he was, and everything became, as the drama teacher Clopin liked to say, topsy-turvy.
Riku had considered breaking off his friendship to Sora; no—too much effort. And all things beside, he liked him too much. Who else would he have around to stick fries up their nose every lunch hour? Tidus, Wakka, Hayner, they were always at blitzball practice, and Kairi would probably be concerned about the salt content of her nasal passages. No, that wouldn't do at all. Thus, he considered asking Sora to just break it off with Roxas—I mean, he didn't like his cousin that much, did he? But that still left family functions, where Axel would surely follow. No, that wouldn't do either.
Riku had a feeling the only reason he disliked Axel so much (well, it wasn't so much that he disliked him—) was because he was so inescapable.
But oh, today, today was going to be different. He hadn't seen hide nor hair of the boy all day; the first periods were spent in their usual early-morning stupor, lunch was spent watching Sora down a mélange of foodstuffs that, when mixed, looked uncomfortably like bog water (some of Olette's green tea, Pence's oatmeal cookies, a bit of the meshawah Aladdin had found at the back of his fridge) for twenty bucks, and the last periods were spent in their usual late-afternoon stupor. Yes, he was going to go find his brothers, go home, and all was going to be right—
As he stepped out the school's front door and into the sultry, wonderful summer air he felt a tap on one shoulder, followed by that ever-ear-grinding, "Sup, Riku?"
He could all but see his day going down the proverbial toilet, much like Sora's lunch had the literal toilet ten minutes after it was eaten. At least he had gotten twenty bucks out of it.
"What d'you want?" he muttered in Axel's direction. Sora and Roxas were trailing in Axel's wake, and it seemed almost unfortunate that they'd see him in this sorry, disappointed state. Oh well. He nodded at the two of them; Sora flashed him a characteristic grin by way of greeting, while Roxas nodded back.
"With a greeting like that, I'd say you're almost unhappy to see me." Axel made a fantastically maudlin frown. "Why the long face, dollface?"
"It's nothing," he grumped.
"Riku's just mad 'cause he probably flunked his calc test," Sora supplied helpfully.
"Me? Fail a calc test? I think you're a little confused, Sora. Surely I, in all of my infinite wisdom, would do no such thing."
"If you say so." Sora's grin widened and he nudged him in the ribs, and Riku couldn't help but smile, just a little.
"There, now that's the happy face I like to see," Axel said. "And I hope you stay in those good spirits, because you are cordially invited a party this Saturday. My house, 8:30. Mi casa, su casa, and all that."
"I have homework this weekend," Riku muttered haltingly.
"Oh, come on, Riku, it'll be fun," Sora said, arms reaching convulsively for Riku's mouth; Riku dodged before Sora could force his lips into a grin, as he was so often wont to do. He didn't know what he put up with that boy for.
Roxas said nothing, but the look in his eyes was fervent. You will come to this party, Riku, and you will enjoy yourself.
Riku sighed explosively. "Isn't it just going to be some lame-ass excuse to get shitfaced and stumble around like idiots?"
"Well," Axel grinned ever-so-Cheshire-Cat-like, "formally speaking, it's a party for my sister—having a concert this weekend, y'know, musician shit. …But basically, yeah, that's right."
"I don't know about the drunk part," Sora said, "but I really wanna meet Axel's friends."
"Yeah, my college buddies are pretty alright. None of them are real party animals, but they've got some pretty good anecdotes. You haven't lived until you've heard Zexion's story about Xigbar at the the ski lodge with the Puerto Rican."
"It wouldn't be as fun without you," Roxas finally said, shrugging.
Damn Roxas and his devil-may-care, nonchalant attitude (and his irritatingly flavour-of-the-week Abercrombie or what-the-fuck-ever shoes or pants or—god, Riku didn't even know)! Damn him to the seventh level of hell! Or… the ninth level of hell, where he and Judas could keep each other company! Damn Sora too, for making those wounded fawn eyes at him—he could go to… Limbo.
Riku was a forgiving man, you see.
"…Is Kairi going? And… are Hayner and Pence and Olette going?"
"Yep, all of them. Come on, just go, it's better to regret going to a party than to regret not going, right?"
For what could possibly have been the twentieth time in the past minute (was there a Guinness World Record for this sort of thing?) Riku sighed. "Well… I guess I could go."
"Go to what?"
Luneth—Riku's only youngest brother, though only by eleven-and-three-quarter-months, thank-you-very-much—approached, one hand on a strap of his trendy oh-so-Holmby-Hills manbag, the other holding a half-empty paper cup of what one would assume was cream soda.
"A party," Riku said shortly. "And what's with the cream soda? I thought you didn't like it."
"It's Refia's," Luneth said, shrugging. "I bought it for her, and well, she didn't finish it, so I uh… yeah. Anyway, can I come?"
Riku said "god no" at about the same time Axel said "sure".
Riku gave the both of them a scathing look, enough so to wilt even that Marluxia guy's hardiest of man-eating plants. "No way is my little brother going to some mixer. Fuck no. Especially not when that little brother is just going to… lame everything up anyway."
"I thought you didn't even want to go?"
"That doesn't mean I want my brother there either," Riku muttered. He added, "any of them", in case, by way of some divine intervention, any of the other five could hear.
"Luneth is our age," Roxas said lowly. "It's not like he's five or something."
Ostentatiously, Riku rolled his eyes. "Fine. Luneth, you go ahead and you come, and you can bring all your friends and you can play Scrabble or whatever else it is you guys do."
"Only Arc plays Scrabble," Luneth scoffed. "Whatever, I was just asking, I didn't even want to come. Anyway, ma's waiting for us in the parking lot. We keep her waiting much longer and she's gonna get all tipsy and bust out the baby photos."
"Definitely wouldn't want to keep mommy waiting," Axel said, looking as sober as he could manage with a face like his.
Yeah, okay, maybe Riku disliked him… just a little.
Axel, somehow, was continually surprised by the fact that Demyx's house had electricity. It was practically out in the boonies (how he even managed this feat when going to such a… well, prestigious university was entirely beyond him… but then again, how Demyx was going to university at all was a mystery, so perhaps it was one of things best left to be pondered by the experts, like how the Egyptians built the pyramids) and it looked like it could have potentially been made out of particle board and tin at one point or another.
Then again, Demyx would probably think that was awesome.
"Demyx!" Axel called, pounding a bony fist on his screen door. His Chuck Taylors were already full of sand and grass (Demyx didn't actually have a front lawn, but had patchy little bits of scrub and greenery) and it was way too fucking hot to be standing outside. (then again, whether or not Demyx had actually bought himself an air conditioner, or even a little electric fan? That remained to be seen) "Lemme in, you bastard!"
He could hear movement coming from his open windows (open windows were an ominous sign in hot weather… Demyx, that cheap son of a bitch), and his entire house seemed to tremble under the pressure. Soon, the screen door was flung wide open and there he stood.
There he stood in an unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt, sweating like an obese hooker and fanning himself with a palm frond.
"I was making a hat," Demyx said, by way of greeting. "Outta palm fronds, y'know. Very convenient as fans, too."
"I'm going to buy you an air conditioner, you fuckin' fruitcake," Axel said, and pushed past him into the (very slightly cooler) confines of his foyer. Sunroom, as Demyx liked to call it. "I'm not even kidding."
"I didn't know you cared."
"I'm also gonna pimp-slap you with that palm leaf. Right in the mouth. …But gently. I know you love it."
Demyx meandered his way into the kitchen again and Axel followed suit, regarding the plethora of hat-making accessories spread across the table with something akin to disgust. He immediately made his way over to Demyx's hideous "saffron"-coloured old fridge (Axel didn't see any resemblance to actual saffron, but being honest and calling it "vomit" just wouldn't be a selling point, he supposed) and plopped down in front of it.
"You want a drink?" Demyx said. "I have this crazy like… mango-papaya-passion-fruit juice I got as a free sample at the health mart the other day. Tastes kinda like pee, but it's full of… vitamins and… y'know. Crap."
Axel pulled out a beer, and continued to exalt in the wonderful, freon-powered goodness. "This'll hold me for awhile. …Anyway, I'm having a party this weekend with all the WTNWU guys. Oh yeah, and some other high school kids, y'know, Roxas's friends. You coming?"
"Yeah, sure." He plucked deftly at the strings of his sitar (it too had been sitting atop the kitchen table) and sipped at some fruity-smelling concoction from a cheap plastic kiddie cup. "I can play a couple of ragas for everyone, even. I was watching some Nikhil Banerjee videos the other day—awesome stuff, man."
"I have no idea who that is, so I'm just gonna assume he's a porn star. In which case, I fully endorse you doing a performance."
"I'll do one right now!" Demyx began wiggling about the room, trilling some no doubt horrendously sappy Bollywood love song in a ridiculously flat key, all the while plucking at his sitar with wild abandon.
"Oh shit, stop that." Axel began snickering hysterically into his beer can.
At that very moment, of course, the light in Demyx's hideous "vomit"-coloured old fridge decided to flicker and finally sputter out; Axel could already feel the cool air leaching out of the atmosphere.
"…Well fuck it. When you get me that new air conditioner, you can buy me a fridge too, 'kay firecrotch?"
According to Selphie's new D&G Cartridges watch (in an alluring shade of red, of course, to contrast with Kairi's pink one—Tidus always did give the most thoughtful presents) it was now 4:48 PM. She had, of course, wanted to get out a little sooner, but she had gotten distracted by the wonderful assortment of coolers they had (not to mention the fact that Malibu came in mango now, gosh), and—oh wow, her hair could really use a brush, if her reflection in her watch's mineral glass surface was any indication, and her lipgloss was all licked off—
"Are we gonna… y'know, go now?"
"…Oh, right, yeah, of course."
Selphie continued to saunter down the street, pulling several tubes of lipgloss out of her oversized handbag.
"Which one?" she said, fanning them out in her palm for Kairi to see. "We've got… Lychee Luxe, Nymphette, Pink Poodle, and um… what was this one again? Oh yeah, Electro-Lush."
Kairi made a face. "What kind of colour is 'Electro-Lush' supposed to be anyway? They all sound ridiculous."
"You just don't appreciate MAC's naming sensibilities," Selphie scoffed, stuffing all but one of the tubes back into her bag. "Lychee Luxe it is!" Smacking her lips audibly as she puckered up for her hand mirror, she continued, "where is Riku's house, anyway? My feet are getting tired. I told you, we should've taken the Amtrak."
"The Amtrak doesn't go to Riku's house, Selphie," Kairi giggled. "What is it with you and trains?"
"What's not to love about trains? They're so… posh, don't you think?"
"Right. Anyway, it's only a few more blocks from here."
"Trade shoes with me?" Selphie batted impeccably made-up eyelashes at her. "I'll buy you a fruit smoothie later, girl scout's honor!"
Kairi sighed and bent down to untie her laces.
True to her word, Selphie had stopped off at one of the little corner juice stores and had bought her an extra-large banana-strawberry matcha. Of course, Selphie gushed, "having to wear uncomfortable (but cute!) shoes for a few blocks is so a worthy sacrifice when you're getting all those free anti-oxidants and like… potassium, right?"
Thoughtfully slurping down the remains of her blended yuppie drink, Kairi extended her hand and pointed at a large, well-kept house in the middle of the perfectly suburban street, surrounded on all sides by equally large, well-kept houses. "That's it right there, the one with the black car in the driveway."
"Mmmhmmm, I'd recognize that car anywhere. Oh god," she said, suddenly looking panicked, "what am I gonna say? I've never even talked to her before. She's probably like… the Princess of Bolivia or something! I should've bought her jewellery too! Forzieri, with the white gold and the diamonds…"
"Selphie, you're babbling. And being silly."
"But what if she won't let me interview her?"
"Then… I don't know, interview Riku instead. He's pretty metrosexual."
"…Good idea! You're so smart, Kairi. When I'm a fabulously wealthy and famous Vogue columnist, you can be my like… editor or whatever."
Selphie began skipping up the driveway, humming to herself and swinging her many bags, Kairi picking along carefully in tow (Selphie was most certainly not kidding when she said the shoes were uncomfortable). She rang the doorbell with a flourish, and waited, looking every part the bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed journalist, until someone opened the door.
As it turned out, it was not, in fact, Riku's ridiculously gorgeous mother with her impeccable taste, but was a haggard old woman bedecked in all manner of furs, feathers and sequins. She raised a penciled eyebrow, drawn carefully atop a wash of violently purple eyeshadow, and waved a cadaverous arm at the two of them, at the end of which dangled a cigarette. Selphie could appreciate the colour scheme, perhaps (though violet really didn't go with her green eyes), but… sequins? Honestly, sequins? And… was that velvet?
She thought, for a brief moment, that she might swoon. Oh, goodness no.
"Friends of Mateus, are you, dears? Or no, let me guess, Luneth?" she croaked.
"Um, ah, we're friends of Riku's, actually. But um—"
"Riku!" she screeched, causing both Kairi and Selphie to jump. "Friends are here to see you!" She turned back and gave them a treacle-sweet smile, batting her enormous false lashes. "Come right in, you two, no need to be shy."
Selphie gave her a plastic smile and stepped into the foyer—now that was more like it. Everywhere the eye could see there was marble and glass and wonderfully shining… everything—not that Selphie's own house was anything to shake a stick at, but it certainly didn't have crystal chandeliers just dangling there in the foyer. Crystal chandeliers! She felt another swoon coming on, though this time for entirely different reasons.
Riku came around the corner from another room, already muttering something: "Look, Sora, I already told you, I said I'd do it, so—"
He froze in his tracks, and his eyes widened at the sight of them, hands twitching at his side.
"What the hell are you doing here?" he said, jabbing an accusatory finger at Selphie's face.
"Now just what kind of greeting is that, Riku T. Geraldine?" Selphie didn't actually know what Riku's middle name was, but "T" seemed appropriate. Tony, perhaps, or maybe TJ. Or maybe something crazy exotic, like Tiberius or Takashi. She'd have to ask him later! "I walk all the way here with expensive booze for your mother and that's the kind of thanks I get?"
"See, I just got the greatest idea," she began, sliding Kairi's untied shoes off of her feet. "I thought, Riku's mom is such a mysterious person, so I should totally, like, interview her for the school paper! I mean, the paper hasn't approved it, but honestly, who cares? It's bound to be better than all of Paine's articles on like… gothy fauxhawks or whatever!"
"I mean, I know I do the fashion column and all, but since your mom is such an impeccably dressed lady, I figured, ohmygosh, she'd be so way more interesting than that stuffy old hag who works at Banana Republic! And I mean, since she's obviously lead such an illustrious life, I could just slip in a few extra unrelated but oh-so-juicy tidbits that everyone's been dying to know! It's gonna be so great!"
"…No. No, no, you gotta leave, right now. I mean, right now. Seriously, both of you." He began making shooing motions with his hands, advancing on them like some sort of crazed, oversized swan.
"Rikuuuuuu," Selphie whined, standing her ground and clutching at her bags in the same manner upper class soccer moms might clutch at their pearls at the thought of wine getting on their carpets. "You can't! This is going to be the beautiful start to my career as a Vogue fashion columnist!"
"My mother is very," he gesticulated wildly, "…reclusive, right? Doesn't like talking to people, y'know, hates to be in the spotlight and all that shit. I mean… if she even knew there were people in her house, she'd uh… y'know, get… the vapours. Serious shit. I mean real serious."
Kairi narrowed her eyes, speaking for the first time since Selphie had begun her tirade. "Riku, I almost get the feeling you just don't want to let us in."
"Yeah, I know, right!" Selphie nodded vigorously. "Is it because you have like, girl band posters up in your room? Or, or, do you have some kind of deformed evil twin who you have to keep locked up all the time? Riku, that's sick!"
"No! God, listen, I just—"
"Riku, what on Earth is all that racket, child? I can barely hear my own thoughts, let alone my witty anecdotes! Bring your little friends into the sitting room, why don't you, I'd simply love to meet a few gorgeous-sounding young ladies."
Riku looked crestfallen. "No! You can't, I mean… the vapours …"
Selphie didn't even take one look back as she bounded into the living room. Kairi smirked at him and followed suit—she had always thought it a little peculiar that he was one of her best friends and yet never invited her over…
Instantly, it all made sense.
In the middle of the living room there sat a card table, wreathed in a veritable halo of cloying blue smoke, strewn with all manner of drinks and cards and chips. Surrounding it, of course, now that was the interesting part—there sat the most… intriguing, shall we say, mélange of people that the two girls had even laid eyes upon.
There was the old woman who looked like Cher sans plastic surgery that had greeted them at the door. An enormously fat lady with a nigh-uncountable number of chins, wedged somehow into a mind-bogglingly tight dress. A boy with nails longer than both of the lady's combined and hair twisted into an updo that would most surely make Dolly Parton weep with envy. A final woman, stout and wizened, with flyaway silvering hair and more snaggleteeth than there were Prada handbags.
It was like a bizarre circus freakshow. It was like all the fashion don'ts in the world crammed into an elegantly-furnished living room. It was…
It was instantly noticeable that they were all, in some way, related to Riku.
"Oh my god," Kairi whispered to him, barely able to suppress a giggle, "you've got a family full of weirdies."
"Well, aren't you going to introduce us?" the large woman said, poking at a beauty mark beneath her lips.
Riku sighed. He pointed to each of them as he spoke, "This… this is my Aunt Ursula. That's my Aunt Mim. That's Grandma Yzma, and… that's my brother, Mateus."
"Charmed," Selphie said, furiously chewing on the inside of her cheek.
Riku's mother stepped in the room then, looking almost comically out-of-place amongst her relatives. (except, perhaps, for Mateus. He may have had unfortunate-looking blue-and-gold Arabesque nails, but he certainly wasn't hard on the eyes.) Suffice to say, she had certainly gotten the lion's share of good genes.
"Oh, hello there," she said warmly, waving a bejeweled hand with casual ease.
"Hello, ma'am," Selphie said brightly, "actually, I have some things I'd like to ask you…"
Riku put his face in his hands and sighed. Goddamnit.