Author's Notes: This piece of fiction features a very dark interpretation of Riku's character and some of you may be inclined to call it OOC. You can certainly look at it that way, but I think my interpretation is still within the realm of possibility. This piece of fiction also employs a very experimental writing style... except that I'm not sure it's supposed to have that much sex in it!

Please do tell me what you think, though. :-)

Disclaimer: Characters are the property of Square-Enix.

Timeline: Post-KH2.

Riku/Tidus, one-sided Riku/Sora.

M for yaoi, semi-explicit sex, angst and an interpretation of Riku you may or may not agree with.

The ballad of Riku, Tidus and Sora and that text message that will never be sent.

+Of Rocks and Sand +

+ A Kingdom Hearts One-Shot +

"HELLO," the buttons of the cell phone call into the world.

Upon receiving no answer, they settle into waiting as Riku's hand shakes around the device. The word on the display doesn't move, doesn't even quiver; it only stands, large and ominous. But why should it move, really? Its job is to wait, to wait for a companion that may never come.

"What's... wrong with you?" Tidus's voice is shaky and barely audible over the rhythmic rolling of the ocean. Riku is tempted to say that his voice is gentle, even; like butterflies flitting the air on a summer day, and not at all like the sharp snap of the cell phone shutting that cuts through the scene with the precision of a scalpel.

The letters scatter, taking everything with them but the yawning cavity in Riku's chest. "Nothing," he says, running a hand through his silver hair from his position on the sand. Nothing at all.

It's a summer night at the beach of Destiny Islands and the air is heavy with unspoken promises. The salt on Riku's tongue cuts into his senses while a soft breeze crusts it in his hair, bringing with it the noises from the nearby party. The sounds are dull and muffled, like the last echoes of a dream fleeing from the morning glare.

Tidus doesn't believe him, but he has learned not to press it long ago. He simply nods, eyes revealing melancholy. Tidus's chest is bathed in silver moonlight and Riku can't help but notice that that chest is much too strong, much too attractive and that it makes the darkness in Riku's chest fatten to a poisonous black smog.

Riku averts his eyes, drawing in his knees and hiding his face between them, long silver hair framing his face. He doesn't look up; not until Tidus wraps his arms around him from behind and makes Riku's body tense up in throes of revulsion.

Tidus smells of sun oil, that sweet alcohol he drank at the party, and something else just underneath - the unique scent of Tidus himself. Spicy sweat, but unlike anyone else's. Riku wrinkled his nose, as though physically trying to deny that scent entrance. His every muscle flexed, he brushes the blond boy aside with a shove of his arm, swatting him away not unlike he would a mosquito. Hurt slithers across Tidus's face and Riku's heart sinks at the realization that he has long since passed the point of really caring.

Silence reigns. When Tidus speaks again, the predator in Riku's chest roars at the sound of the bare weakness in the blond boy's voice. "Is it... is it me?"

Riku snorts, turning away from Tidus. He knows exactly what will happen, having been through this so many times it seems like a well-coordinated dance: first, there will be the desperation; oily and thick and accompanied by raw need in those ocean eyes. Then, the bewildered surprise interlacing with his voice. And then the anger, the pure hot white anger that Tidus will unleash at him for minutes only before he will snuggle back up against his chest and run his fingers through his silver hair and stutter excuses that even Tidus knows Riku doesn't hear.

Riku doesn't like that part. He does like the anger one, though.

"Of course it's you," Riku mutters. The hurt and fear on Tidus's face jumps Riku, wriggling into his every opening. He knows that he isn't an expert in many things, but that he is exceptionally skilled at igniting fear in people's hearts and inflicting pain on their souls.

"Of course it's you," Riku says again, laughing, laughing because it is all so wrong and he can't believe that Tidus still stays.

The first time Riku and Tidus got involved was the day Sora and Kairi officially announced that they were going out. Riku remembers Sora just standing there, happy grin sprawled all over his face that was just the tiniest bit embarrassed; just that awkward edge to the smile that Riku had always wished he could capture with his lips. Sora's eyes were shining with life and love and everything else that Riku would never have and Kairi smiled back up at him, fragile fingers wrapped around Sora's biceps, cute white teeth flashing. Riku thought he would throw up right then and there.

He didn't throw up then; that came later. That day, Riku saw them playing at the beach, Sora splashing her with the ocean water and Kairi screaming in delight as she spun on her tiptoes amidst the pearly foams. He watched Sora capture Kairi in his arms and witnessed how the redheaded girl squealed in juvenile excitement as Sora buried his nose in her tresses. He watched as she wriggled out of his embrace, dancing away from him and Riku still didn't look away even as Sora stared at her in a way unlike he ever had in their childhood and collected her in his arms and kissed her, right in front of Riku.

That's when Riku knew that Sora wanted her. It was also the moment he knew that Sora would never want him.

Walking home that day, Riku saw Tidus sunbathing and something inside Riku stirred at the sight of his long, sun-kissed limbs. Coming closer to the boy, eyes shone at Riku from out of the shadows and they were blue, so very blue and Riku's chest echoed the glint he saw in them and all Riku could see and all Riku was was blue.

Tidus was surprised when Riku dropped to his knees, grabbed the boy's head and mashed their lips together. He could hear Tidus gasp and struggle, mumbling and yelling against Riku's mouth. Tidus's mouth tasted like oranges and the sun and Riku didn't like it because while he imagines Sora to taste like the sun, Sora never eats oranges and wouldn't taste like them. Riku impaled every one of Tidus's gasps with furious thrusts of his tongue and when Tidus melted into his arms, wrapped his arms around the silver-haired boy's torso and writhed underneath him minutes later, Riku swallowed his moans and lustful pleas. Tidus was blond, but when the boy - suddenly eager, so eager, like Sora would be - slid down Riku's body and wrapped his mouth around his hard-on, the blond hair turned to soft auburn in Riku's vision. Liquid stardust shot through Riku's body when he came and he remembers that he whimpered and babbled, just not what exactly he said. He can imagine, though. The blond boy crawled atop of him and kissed him and the next thing Riku realized was that the orange taste was gone, replaced by the bitter taste of his own release. Riku's eyes were open and he saw the sky, just to the right of that web of blond hair, as he swallowed it.

Riku never bothered to ask whether Tidus went along with it because he liked Riku or because he was a hormonal teenager. He doesn't care.

Afterwards, he had Tidus in his arms. Riku only has a partial memory of it but he knows that every single word uttered that day were melodramatic fairytales about linked hearts and fated meetings. Just like a rock, Riku's heart grew cold underneath Tidus's gentle eyes and his body tensed at the touch of his hands.

Chatter, muffled laugh, interrupted every now and then by a girl's shriek. The island party is waging in the distance, but Riku doesn't even want to think about it because he knows that somewhere, on the dance floor, Sora's arms are around her waist, somewhere his eyes are delving into hers and he distantly wonders if his best friends feels the same thing when he looks at her that Riku does when he looks at him.

The first time Riku had real sex with Tidus was the day Sora told him about his own experience with Kairi. The words stumbled out of kissable lips twisted into a smug grin; masculine pride shone out of beautiful ocean eyes. Love-making under the moon light. Kairi's skin dyed a pearly white. Talk of moans, laughs, kisses.

Riku now knows that the small pain he felt in his chest was another part of his heart turning to rock.

He found Tidus on play island, taking swings with his toy sword. The sunny grin on his face was wiped clean off his face as Riku shoved him against the palm tree, attacking his mouth and fumbling with the stunned boy's zipper. The surface of the palm tree was rough as he perched Tidus up against it and he knew it would leave burns on Tidus's back. Riku forced himself into an opening much too small for him, but Tidus's hisses and screams soon morphed into mewls and moans and enthusiastic scratching. All Riku could look while he was driving himself into the boy's hot core was a fluffy cloud dangling in the sky ahead. When the pleasure stabbed through him, Riku thought that that cloud looked like Sora.

"I don't believe that," Tidus shakes his head, those terrible blond bangs whipping his face. The first hints of anger spiderweb over his face. "I don't deserve to be treated like this, you know."

Riku remembers that after the sex, he held Tidus in his arms and that he felt the part of him that was still decent, the part that hadn't yet turned to rock, that part of him almost loved Tidus for being there for him whenever he needed him wash all over him like a blissful wave. Riku regrets the fact that it is only in very rare moments that the decent part of him manages to silence the part of him that hates the boy for not being Sora.

Riku looks at Tidus for a long moment. "You know I don't love you."

He doesn't know why he does it, not really and while he wants to believe he does it only to save Tidus from himself, he's not sure. Tidus's eyes widen and his lower lip quivers and Riku readies himself for a punch that doesn't come. Instead, Tidus jumps up - fast, but not as fast as Sora, never fast enough, never Sora - and glares at Riku out of blue orbs that are so beautiful, but just not beautiful enough. "I know you don't love me." His voice is hard, except that it shakes, like it always does; like even his limbs do; those long lithe limbs look so much like Sora's when Riku takes him from behind. "I know you don't love me," he repeats, eyes brimming, "But I'm not your toy."

The truth is that he is but Riku can't bring himself to say it. "Sit down," he calls instead. He looks up at him and he sees that the other boy is still reluctant, that the emotions are warring on his face. He knows he needs to do it, but he hates doing it. He does. "Sit down... Tidus." He frowns at the name. It is almost like the vileness of it drizzles from his mouth.

It works like a charm, though. Tidus's eyes widen at the name and he drops to his knees, good and obedient and no challenge and all the things Sora isn't. The bones on his shoulders poke out and they are a little broader than Sora's but that's okay, because right now Riku understands that while Tidus will never be Sora, at least he is here. Riku is gentle when he kisses the blond boy, even tender as he runs his hand through the web of silky hair. He doesn't frown as his hands run down Tidus's back and he doesn't push away or wrinkle his nose as he feels the slick muscular body rub against his. Something moves in his head, but he ignores it.

He smiles in what might be affection as their tongues melt into each other, sending bolts of pleasure down to pool in Riku's stomach. The noises in his head become louder, but Riku drowns them by making Tidus gasp as he drags his teeth over the blond boy's jugular, by making him scream as he grips him hard, by making him moan his name into his mouth in wet, muffled gasps.

And when the noise finally spills over and the picture of Sora drapes itself all over his vision, Riku groans in frustration and feels a small pain in his heart and he knows, there goes another small part.

Afterwards, he is in Tidus's arms - he is always in Tidus's arms, always Tidus - and the cell phone in his hands shines down at him like a sparkling ghost. Riku feels as though the display is mocking him about all the things that could have been, would have been, should have been.

"HELLO," the cell phone calls into the world and receives no answer. It is with shaky hands accompanied by uneven breathing that he types, each letter echoing through his self, "SORA. I LO-"

He can't do it. He snaps the cell phone shut, trying to calm his racing heart. Tidus stirs next to him and Riku's heart surges as the boy wraps his arms closer around him, pressing him ever closer to his chest. Riku feels sorry now, the sorriest he has ever felt and he traces Tidus's lips - so full, so soft. But not as soft as Sora's. Never as soft as Sora's.

Riku opens his phone again. The five letters leer down at him.