Riku stared moodily into the steam fogged mirror, the clammy mist swirling around him as he steps out of the shower the soft tinny 'drip drip' of the last few drops of water trickling down the drain echoing in otherwise the silent room. Sighing gustily he grabs a towel of the rack and wipes the moisture of the mirror, growling in annoyance as it immediately starts fogging up again. This was NOT how he had planned to spend his Christmas Eve.

His parents where once again out at some high class work function, and had left hours ago in a whirl of perfume and glittering frivolity, abandoning Riku to his lonely fate, and stubbornly cloudy mirror.

Wrapping the towel around his waist and ignoring the cooling stream of water dripping from the ends of his sopping wet hair Riku steps out of the bathroom in a cloud of steam, shivering slightly as the cool air hits his damp skin.

Flicking on the light switch in his room Riku flops back onto his bed, ignoring the wet patch he is making on the covers and glares petulantly at the picture of an innocently grinning Sora, arms slung around his waist. He vividly remembered that picture being taken, even though; as was evidenced by the baby soft roundness of Sora's cheeks and his own childlike features, it had been taken long ago.

"Come ON Riku! Stop being such a sour puss! SMILE! Your face won't shatter if you do you know," he remembered he had grumbled and crossed his arms, suppressing the smile tugging at the corner of his lips and glowered at the camera, ignoring the warm soft arms which had encased him in a friendly embrace.

Flipping the photo frame around so he can't see the innocent grin that time and loss had been unable to change on his friends face he stares absently at the ceiling far above his head, tracing the faint cracks in the ceiling with his eyes as he mutters cynically to himself. "If only friendship was enough" a dark yearning compressed his throat, burning like a fire inside him consuming reason, and feeding the obsession slowly choking off his air.

Pale limbs strewn out negligently on the deep purple bedspread, wet silver hair still dripping cool water onto his neck he shivered, barely covered by the loose towel wrapped around his waist, Riku thought, and remembered, he knew the exact moment of their friendships metamorphosis into something else; something deeper, more binding... and so much more painful.

**flashback**

It had started off like any other school day, dragged out of bed by an untimely alarm, shattering vague dreams of a slim body and baby soft skin. Never a morning person at the best of times, Riku had been plagued by dreams which left him achingly hard, and increasingly embarrassed every morning. The problem had grown so great he had taken to setting the alarm half an hour earlier, so he could get rid of his morning "problem" before his best friend, and closest confidante came bouncing into his room, and onto his bed.

Blushing crimson he remembered the onetime Sora had been the one to wake him from his foggy dream of soft skin and near frantic pleasure. That had not gone well. He had awoken sharply, just as the dream was reaching its peak to a soft warm body being hurtled onto his barely covered, aroused body.

The slow confused blink of brilliant blue eyes looking deeply into his own had solidified the horror, already running as thick as molasses in his sleep fogged brain. His body had burnt like fire, at the feel of a small slim thigh pressed so intimately against his aching 'problem'. He lay frozen, in horrified fear as he watched the growing realisation and embarrassment dawn on his friends face; along with a deep pink blush, as delicate as the suns first rays on the cloud free sky.

Sora had yelped and scrambled back, falling of the bed in his haste to get away from Riku, a barb of hurt had inexplicably shot through him as he watched his friend hasten to get away, which had confused Riku greatly. Wouldn't he have tried to get away if HE had stumbled in on a friend with a 'problem' like his, pushing the thought away he had shrugged it off as morning confusion, and a guilty pleasure in the feeling of another body pressed against him.

Sora had blushed all day and apologised repeatedly, Riku waved him off every time saying it wasn't his fault and not to worry about it, but a nagging feeling he couldn't quite place whispered in the back of his mind; words of dark desire and erotic pleasure which he had starkly refused to acknowledge, thinking in all his naiveté, that ignoring it would make the problem go away.

It hadn't. So Riku took too setting his alarm for before Sora's arrival so he could... Relieve the tension before he was caught in yet another compromising situation. The embarrassment of being caught once would be NOTHING to the sheer mortification of being caught twice. And so, like every other morning since the start of these vague, erotic dreams Riku lay back, erection throbbing between his legs, and relived the fantasy of the dream.

He could feel those small soft hands, so much smaller than his own, stroking his length, their feather light touches almost too gentle in their exploration. White teeth bit nervously into the fleshy pink of a plump lower lip, a small frown of concentration on that down turned face as those hands grew more courageous in their exploration. Fingers tightening around his length Riku groaned softly into his pillow, the image of his dream lover playing out behind his shut lids.

A soft, wet WARM tongue darted out to lick curiously at the tip of his erection, long dark lashes framing large eyes as those plump pink lips, already wet with moisture, open softly to take him into blistering heat and suction. Riku felt the pressure in his gut growing, coiling tight as he imagined, clear as day the inexperienced touches of his small lover.

Then those beautiful eyes, framed so lovingly with long thick lashes look up at him, and he freezes in horrified recognition as he falls over the precipice into completion calling out in shocked pleasure the name he realised suddenly had always been on his lips "S-SORA!"

Riku huffed out a bitter laugh at the naiveté of his younger self. Had it really been five years since then? Five long years of painful self awareness in the face of such wilfully blind innocence. The pleasure of the act was always dulled by the heavy ache of guilt. As if, by his actions he had tainted his friend, as if he, with his fantasies had managed to do what no other tragedy had. As if HE had tarnished his friends purity like an ever spreading stain on pristine skin, stained like the many sheets he had smuggled into the washing machine before his mother found them.

Looking out his window he noticed absently it was snowing, Sora would have been so excited, a white Christmas, so rare on the warm Islands. Of course the one time it actually happens, is the one time Sora is too far away to rejoice in it. Riku growled under his breath scrubbing a hand over his face trying to drag himself out of this melancholy, it wasn't Sora's fault he wasn't here, after all spending Christmas with distant relatives a world away would sound enticing to anyone.

But no amount of self talk could change the white hot ache of betrayal and abandonment that had been festering in Riku's heart ever since Sora had left only a week before, in a tornado of barely contained excitement. Riku chuckled bleakly, it was at times like this he wished he was someone else, something else, so he would have an excuse to be with Sora always, maybe his favourite shirt? Or, he thought expression darkening perhaps the delicate chain which always lay shining enticingly on Sora's collarbones.

The memory of the necklace, which never left Sora's skin, burnt another hole of betrayal in his already broken and bleeding heart. Who was so important in Sora's life, that he would not remove their gift? Who had snuck in and stolen Sora's heart before Riku had even realised he wanted it?

Riku glared accusingly at the ceiling, as if it could change Sora's mind, change his heart. Even though he knew there was no power on this earth that could make Sora want him. Rolling over onto his stomach Riku ignores the chill raising Goosebumps on his skin and moodily out the window watching each snowflake drift slowly down to the ground. Weren't they all supposed to be unique? Too have their own intricate beauty? Then why did they all look the same? Frozen tears slipping from the face of the sky to drown the colours of the world in their frigid white embrace.

Standing suddenly Riku flips his damp hair back over his shoulders; it had grown long, almost too long over halfway down his back, and always falling into his eyes. Riku blushes faintly in mortification as he remembers the reason for its chosen length. Sora once, over a year ago now, told him he preferred Riku's hair long.

They had been studying for exams Riku always top of the class; had been helping Sora with his maths, Sora's attention had been waning steadily until he interrupted Riku's explanation of trigonometry, one small hand reaching up and running through Riku's silky locks almost absently as he murmured, entranced by the feel of them shifting like liquid silk through his fingers, "I love your hair like this..." Riku had let it grow longer than usual, thoughts of exams and the ever looming and diverse possibilities for university distracting him from the silver obscuring his vision.

"You always look more..." Sora trails off fingers twisting in Riku's hair gently massaging his scalp as he sighs softly eyes locked on the shimmering mass twined in his fingers "so beautiful..." Riku's heart had tripped into double time, thumping painfully in his chest, adrenalines making his fingers tingle unpleasantly as he looks at Sora, eyes wide, cheeks warming, watching his crush so entranced by something as simple as hair.

He hadn't cut it since then.

Lifting a few strands he pulls them forward rubbing them lightly between his fingers and looking at the play of light making it glint silver. He couldn't see it himself. What was so beautiful about HAIR? I mean sure Sora's hair was cute and spunky, just like Sora himself. But his hair was, well it was BORING a nice colour to be sure, but then, all you had to do was give him a cane and he would look eighty.

Sighing once again Riku grabs a pair of silk cerulean sleeping pants, a gift from his mother for his eighteenth birthday not that long ago. She claimed they brought out the colour of his eyes, he thought they made him look far too pale, like an albino trapped in the land of sun and heat.

Pulling back the damp covers he crawls into bed, to lethargic and apathetic to change them. Riku lay back and shut his eyes letting the sound of the occasional car whooshing by in the snow lull him to sleep, tomorrow was Christmas, and he would be spending it alone. Riku hadn't thought he would care much, but the barb of abandonment throbbing in his heart spoke otherwise. Resignedly he let sleep drag him down into the misty land of dreams; and for once thankfully, he didn't remember.

Morning dawned, the pale golden light glinting of the snow blindingly, as if a million jewels lay scattered on the ground in its stead. Riku awoke grumbling, squinting against the brilliant light which shone through his window. His curtains lay open, letting the light spill through onto his bed and the unwilling occupant. Hissing balefully Riku threw and arm over his eyes desperately trying to recapture the calming sleep which had cheerfully abandoned him.

Frowning at the juxtaposition of the cheerful light and the freezing temperature of his room Riku Sighed for the first time that morning and sat up, eyes half closed against the rays bouncing so brightly off the ice, each one seeming determined to blind him. Shivering he throws his covers back, cursing the decision to wear so little to bed; the silk pyjama bottoms doing nothing to keep the chill from his skin.

Blinking rapidly eyes watering unaccustomed to the light, Riku walks to the window and looks out at the frosted world beyond. He couldn't help but stare. It was beautiful, there was no other way to describe it; the snow clung to the roofs of the surrounding buildings, making them look like the gingerbread houses Sora insisted on getting ever Christmas, despite his intense dislike of ginger. The snow was still crisp and white, only the occasional footstep marring its perfect surface, like a dusting of icing sugar it softened the harsh lines of the city, making it gentler, more appealing.

Riku stood at the window staring out at the foreign beauty in front of him, time was forgotten as his eyes roved hungrily, taking in the tiniest details, the ice crystals hanging from his mothers prize roses in the front garden, the powdery softness of the snow lining his windowsill. He stared and marvelled, finally understanding, just a little, Sora's fixation with this type of weather.

Perhaps it was a gift to ease his lonely vigil, on this day that was meant to be shared.

His trance was rudely interrupted by a childish squeal of joy, as the town woke up. The weak winter sun creeping up into the sky as children rushed outside, presents opened, eager to play in this rare phenomena.

Stepping back Riku refused to look as a hundred tiny bodies, wrapped up in coats and scarfs, barrelled through the serene beauty of the morning, shattering the quiet and staining the snow.

Grabbing a robe from the back of his door, reserved for the coldest of mornings he slings it on and heads downstairs to peruse the cupboards for an appropriately warm breakfast. He grimaces at the various atrocities he finds there, pop-tarts, sugar puffs, his whole cupboard seemed to be stuffed full of Sora food. Finally deciding on instant porridge he dumps the packet and a cup of milk into a bowl and shoves it into the microwave.

Sneering at the brightly decorated Christmas tree sticking out into the doorway to the living room, he realised with a start that he could have a hundred presents waiting under that tree; and he would exchange them all for a few minutes with Sora.

If that didn't make him a pathetic love struck fool he didn't know what would. The high pitched 'beep!' of the microwave echoed through the eerily quiet house as Riku tore open the door yanking out the bowl despite its searing heat. Cursing loudly he juggles the bowl, trying to keep his fingers from burning and sucking one into his mouth after dropping the bowl onto the bench. "Ouch damnit!" Riku growled glaring at the bowl as if it had FORCED him to grab it before it had cooled.

Sprinkling the steaming porridge with brown sugar and pouring an almost indecent amount of milk into it he wandered out into the living room, flicking on the TV and sitting down, bowl in hand to watch the inane Christmas shows that played every year, the pile of cheerfully wrapped presents lying unheeded beneath the glittering tree.

Two bowls of porridge, a carton of left over Chinese takeout and several candy canes later Riku lay upside down, head hanging off the edge of the couch, silver hair pooling on the creamy carpet, staring blankly at the third Christmas movie which aimed to teach children the moral lesson that giving was good: that it was the thought that counted and not the gift; and most importantly, that Santa was real and would give you anything from a teddy bear to coolest bike, hell why not ask for a rocket launcher?

Snorting in disgust Riku flicked to a different channel, hoping in vain for something vaguely interesting, and finding only more of the same self righteous Christmas bullshit. Rolling over and pulling his legs down of the wall he looks at the pile of gaudily wrapped presents, eyes flicking inadvertently to the small, innocuously wrapped present peeking out from behind them, silver paper, with a sea green bow, not very Christmassy. Christmas, however, was not the focus of this gift.

He frowned at it, tearing his eyes away. This was supposed to be the time he finally confessed, finally told Sora how he felt and got closure of some type, in his desperation he didn't care which. Just so long as he finally KNEW. In that small innocuous package lay all of Riku's hope for a future of happiness.

In that small box lay a delicate chain of intricately carved silver, with a small pendant; A key. What else could be appropriate for the boy, now young man, who held his heart? In the back of his mind Riku felt the urge to take the place of the person who now owned Sora's heart, as clearly as their chain lay around his neck.

Riku knew in the back of his mind that he could not compete with the person who held Sora's heart, he had had that chain for over four years, and Riku had yet to see his neck bereft of it in all that time. No, he knew he had no hope. All he needed was closure. After all, who could fight, and have any hope of winning against such devotion?

Rolling off the couch he lands roughly on his hands and knees, barely missing the sharp edge of the glass coffee table sitting in front of the television. Leaning back against the couch, fingers tingling from the impact of the floor, Riku groans flexing his fingers to get rid of the uncomfortable aftershocks and looks up disparagingly at the clock.

Two o'clock the day had dragged on, and there were still hours of daylight left, fiddling with the cuffs of his robe Riku ponders stepping outside to play in the dazzling whiteness, and just as quickly banishes the idea. It would feel like a betrayal, to go out and enjoy the white Christmas Sora had been craving for so long, when Sora himself wasn't there to enjoy it.

Flicking the television off, he throws the remote onto the couch cushions as he stands bones creaking in complaint at being used after being idle so long. "ugh, this sucks" Riku whispers to himself as he drags his unwilling body back upstairs for a nap, and maybe if he was lucky, he would wake up and his solitary Christmas would finally be over.

*********

He was standing outside, watching the delicate snowflakes fall to the earth. 'When had he gone outside?' the houses on his street dark smudges at the edge of his vision, the snow falling thicker and more rapid, it was Cold. So COLD he shivered wrapping his arms around his waist, only then realising he was standing ankle deep in the snow, barefoot, wearing only his silk pyjama pants. 'Cold, pain, cold'

He shivered again, teeth beginning to chatter, but he couldn't move, he had to wait...'where is he?' Riku frowned thoughts flitting through his head but he couldn't focus '...who?' the storm swirled around him growing ever more vicious, the wind howling in the eves of the houses, the snow caught in his hair, his eyelashes and melting on his skin leaving trails of liquid ice.

It was so dark but he could see as clear as day. The angry purple bruising of the storm clouds in the sky, the road crystal clean and white stretching out in front of him. Then out of the corner of his eye he saw something, saw someone. He knew immediately who it was, that familiar crown of spiky hair, haloing a small, slim frame. Riku's whole body sang, cried out to go to him. Yet he remained rooted to the spot watching, then slowly, so slowly; He turned, those brilliant blue eyes looking right at Riku a teasing smile lighting his lips.

But Riku could not look at Sora's face. He stared with growing horror at the ethereal glow of the delicate chain hanging on Sora's breast, eyes following the links as they lead to the chest cavity cracked open, ribs spread like a bird's wings in flight. The glowing chain entwined possessively around, inside that beautiful beating heart.

Riku woke a scream of agony and loss on his lips, his covers wrapped around his legs, thrown off in his restless sleep. Gasping Riku trembled, the image of Sora chest wide open, heart still beating, beating for someone else burnt cruelly into his mind.

Panting heavily he lay back against his sweat dampened pillow whispering hoarsely "f-fuck". Forcing his muscles to relax he took a shuddering breath and looked around his darkening room, a glance at the digital clock squatting on his bedside table told him it was nearly seven, a flash of the horrific images of nightmare made Riku realise there was no way he was going back to sleep anytime soon. Standing shakily he ran a hand through his hair, ignoring the faint trembling of his fingers. Feeling slightly claustrophobic in the gathering dark of his room, he hurried downstairs to scrounge something for dinner.

Sitting at the dining room table Riku poked despondently at his reheated chicken, ignoring the pile of wilted vegetables beside it. He frowned, eyes flicking once more to the Christmas tree and the pile of cheerfully wrapped gifts beneath it. Pushing away his plate he walked slowly into the room, looking distrustfully at the merrily winking Christmas lights adorning its branches. Tugging at the ends of his hair he sits down and drags one of the presents out from underneath, knowing his mother would be upset if she came back and he had ignored them.

Opening it swiftly he tossed the book onto the sofa and grabbed another, making sure it was addressed to him and opening it, giving the gift the same treatment as the last one. Leaving a steadily growing drift of obnoxiously happy wrapping paper by his side, a movie, a new CD, a wad of cash from the aunt who never knew what to get him, a horrendous knitted jumper in the most disgusting shade of burnt orange, all of the gifts found their way to the couch. The pile in front of Riku dwindled, until all that remained was two small boxes, his gift for Sora, which he pulled out from under the tree, burning with humiliation and shoved under the coffee table to be hidden at a later date in some dusty corner of his room, where it could be ignored, if not forgotten and one other present he didn't recognise.

Riku gently lifted the last unidentified box from beneath the bows of the tree. Unlike the other presents, wrapped in gaudy Christmas colours of red and green, stamped with reindeers and morbidly obese men; this gift was elegant and understated. The paper was a teal green, shimmering softly in the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree, and the bow was a plain white lace, the pattern mimicking the ever changing, diverse beauty of the snowflakes, falling once more outside.

Shrugging Riku almost put it on his mothers pile, but the fluttering of a small tag made him stop, opening it with infinite care he frowned in confusion. It was addressed to him. He looked at the large pile of presents on the couch and tallied in his mind, all of his relatives where accounted for, even his dementia ridden great grandmother had sent him that....interesting...jumper. So who could this be from?

Resisting the urge to shake it he lifted trembling fingers to the bow and began to pull it, agonisingly slowly, unravelling the beautiful ribbon. Letting it fall from the still wrapped box Riku's fingers traced over the small package in his hands, admiring the shimmering paper wrapped with such evident care around the slim box. Fingers straying to the sticky tape he started in shock, heart pounding as the sound of the doorbell ringing jarred the tranquil quiet of the dim house.

Hastily placing the package on the coffee table Riku rushed to the door calling out exasperatedly as the person began to ring the bell continuously. "I'm coming! Just wait a minute!" Wrenching open the door he looked out snapping in irritation "What do you wa—SORA!?!??!!" Blinking in shock he stumbled back from the doorway, arms suddenly full of an exuberant brunette. Riku gapes at Sora, arms unconsciously crushing him closer in a fierce hug. "What the Hell are you DOING here??? I thought you were supposed to be in Miami with your cousins!"

Sora laughs excitedly his warm breath puffing onto Riku's neck, the snow clinging to his jacket and scarf rapidly melting against Riku's naked chest making him shiver. "But they were so bo-oring! So I asked mum and she said I could come back and spend Christmas with you! Except I got confused cause of the time difference, I was really worried my flight would be delayed and I would miss Christmas altogether!" Sora pulls back and smiles up at Riku, nose red with cold "but I didn't! It's only nine we have HOURS left, and Riku did you see? It's a WHITE Christmas! Isn't it beautiful?" Sora turns too look out the open door at the gently falling snow outside, completely oblivious to his friends shell shocked confusion.

Riku blinks taken aback by Sora's innocent enthusiasm, desperately trying to keep up with what he is saying, brain scrambling to make sense of his friends rushed words. "Uh...yeah white Christmas...Sora why are you here did your parents seriously let you come back all by yourself?" Sora looks up at Riku and says solemnly "yeah they let me, said seeing as I'm 18 next year I should get used to travelling alone." he cocks his head to the side scrutinising Riku's face "and...You said your parents weren't gonna be here 'cause of work or something...and I thought...well..." he rubs the back of his head embarrassed and says softly "I thought you wouldn't want to be alone... I know I wouldn't want to be".

A thousand conflicting emotions churned in Riku's stomach as he looked down into Sora's mesmerising eyes, heart aching at the staggering generosity Sora so flippantly displayed. He smiled, eyes stinging with barely suppressed tears, "thanks Sora." unable to properly voice his gratitude Riku shut the door, a frigid breeze making him shiver, before turning to face Sora who is staring, eyes wide... right at his erect nipples.

Sora looks up at Riku his face flushing a deep crimson. "u-uh sorry!" he squeaks scuttling back and quickly putting his winter gear on the coat rack "I uh, didn't realise you where..." he trails of awkwardly, not looking at Riku. "Uhm...I'll just head through to the dining room...why don't you grab a dressing gown...or...something" Sora stumbles back, almost running down the hall in his hurry to get away.

Riku groans letting his head smack against the door, embarrassment colouring his cheeks as he steps back and walks up to his room, quickly donning the robe he had left crumpled by his bed.

Smoothing out the worst of the wrinkles nervously, he walks downstairs and through to the dining room, frowning in confusion when he doesn't see Sora there. "Sora...?" he looks around and then rolls his eyes as Sora pops his head out of the living room doorway eyes shining in excitement, a candy cane sticking out of his mouth staining his lips red "awww...you opened your presents without me!". Riku laughs exasperatedly "of COURSE I did! I didn't know you where coming...remember?"

Sora blinks and then disappears through the open doorway, voice floating back out to Riku " oh yeah...well come in here! It's so pretty..." Riku walked through the doorway into the dimly lit room and paused, taking in the sight. He had to disagree. The fairy lights decorating the Christmas tree twinkling in a myriad of different colours, painting Sora's skin with their soft glow, making it shimmer with unearthly beauty, which was not 'pretty'. It was exquisite.

Mouth suddenly dry Riku gulped and stepped over the thresh hold into the room, sitting down gently next to Sora feeling strangely protective, as if that slender form curled up next to his sofa might break at the slightest touch. Feeling the silence growing heavy with expectation Riku casts around for a topic of conversation, "so uh. Did you get me a present in Miami?" Riku teases quietly. "Sora turns to look at Riku pulling the candy cane out of his mouth with a wet pop, expression strangely serious."No...I left you a present before I went haven't you opened it yet?" Riku frowns "huh? You did? But there wasn't anything labelled from you under the tree..." Sora looks strangely sad and turns back to stare at the tree saying simply "oh" as he pulls his knee's up to his chest.

The silence becomes strangely melancholy and Riku tries desperately to think of what he said wrong, when realisation hits. "OH! Wait a second!" he snatches the small wrapped box of the coffee table "is this it?" Sora looks up, the strange tension easing out of his frame as he smiles nervously "yeah, that's it...I was afraid you would open it before I got here..." Riku smiles gently heartbeat increasing at the warmth of the smile Sora is directing at him.

Smiling he turns it over carefully, slipping a finger underneath the tape trying to keep from ripping the expensive paper, "well you made it just in time then, Ii was opening it when you came to the door" Sora nods, eyes locked on the slim fingers skilfully removing the wrapping paper from the small box. Flipping it around in his hand Riku realises it is some sort of jewellery box. Curiosity piqued he opens it and looks inside.

A jolt of recognition and then blinding crippling pain explodes in his chest, blinding his senses. He stares numbly at the familiar chain glinting ominously pillowed on the velvet interior of the box. Feeling as though someone has blasted a gaping hole through his chest, leaving a cavernous void where his heart used to be and his lungs a ragged mess. He couldn't breathe Riku gasps the dizzying pain making the room spin, Sora's anxious confused face swirling around him.

In all his life, Riku had never thought Sora could be so malicious. So CRUEL he hadn't thought his love had been obvious, but here was the brutal truth, glinting innocently at him out of a box. Sora was telling him he knew of his affection, scorning it in favour of the person who had given him this chain so long ago. Riku realised vaguely that Sora was calling his name anxiously shaking his shoulder as he stared dully down at his shattered hopes.

"—ku...-iku RIKU!" Sora roughly shook his shoulders looking bewildered and apprehensive "snap out of it! What's wrong?!?" Riku slowly looked up at Sora, only noticing that tears spilling down his cheeks, causing dark stains to blossom on the deep purple velvet of the box. Riku whispers hoarsely ignoring the tears staining his cheeks "you could have just told me you didn't want me". Sora gasps in dismay eyes wide with bafflement. He grabs Riku's shoulders harder and stares down fiercely at Riku, where he lay curled up into himself, the open box nestled between his knee's " what the hell do you mean!?!? This is me telling you I want you! What are you going on about??"

Riku looks up at Sora, torment clear o his face he whispers brokenly "y-you could have just told me you weren't interested, why did you have to give me this...?" he holds up the box with trembling fingers "why did you have to torment me with their gift?"

Sora cries out in frustration shaking Riku's shoulders " what are you TALKING about!?!?! I just told you I was interested! This is my gift too YOU! Not to anyone else...who are you talking about?!"

Riku blinks mind clearing slightly from the agony induced haze "huh...? b-but" he turns the box around so Sora can see its contents "this is the necklace you've been wearing, everyday for over four years..." Riku's eyes flick to Sora's neck confirming the tanned skin, for once bare of any adornment "this was a gift from someone very... important to you" Riku almost chokes on the word important a dull ache of loss welling in his chest "isn't that why you wore it all the time?"

Sora looks down at Riku's huddled form, comprehension finally dawning; he lifts one hand from Riku's shoulder. Riku lifts the box, expecting Sora to take it back now that he had made his point and yelps in shock when Sora instead hits him, hard, over the head. "You IDIOT! Don't go jumping to such farfetched conclusions!"

Riku gapes at Sora hurt momentarily forgotten in the face of his rising confusion "...what...?" Sora growls in exasperation and tugs affectionately on Riku's hair "what the hell kinda assumption is that?! You seriously think that I have had a secret lover for almost FOUR years which I didn't tell my best friend in the entire world about!?!?" Riku blinks, opens his mouth to say something but falls silent as he realises just how stupid it sounds. Riku looks up at Sora, tears drying on his cheeks hope suddenly rekindled in his heart "well...if it's not that....then what is it?"

Sora snarls hands tugging at his wayward locks in frustration, "ugh! How could such an intelligent person possibly come up with such an incomprehensible and farfetched idea?" Sora sits back face suddenly deadly serious. Leaning over slightly he runs a finger gently over the delicate chain, "this...was a promise...to myself" Sora looks up at Riku vulnerability clear in his eyes. "I swore to myself that I would tell you how I felt, before my eighteenth birthday...this was my reminder, I bought it so every morning, when I woke up, I would look in the mirror and be reminded, of my promise".

Sora laughs shakily not daring too look up at Riku "not that it did any good, it took me over four years to scrounge up the dregs of my courage and confess, and I got a hysterical Riku ranting about some phantom lover...of mine not really the reaction I had been hoping for..."

Sora fiddles with his collar where the chain used to hang and Riku noticed it as a habit Sora had had for years Riku sat back gobsmacked and stared down at the necklace, hysterical laughter bubbling up in his chest. All this time, all this time he had been jealous, wishing desperately that the object of Sora's affection would disappear. All this time he had been jealous of himself. The great irony of his situation coupled with the immense elation of his staggering realisation made him dizzy.

Placing the necklace down on the coffee table in front of him with infinite care, Riku scrambled forward grabbing the small parcel wrapped in silver from under the coffee table with fumbling hands and thrusts it at Sora who watches perplexed by Riku's sudden move, and more than a little uncertain.

Riku holds out the elegantly wrapped parcel and says breathlessly "here...open this..." Sora takes the box an adorable half frown on his face and he tears through the silver paper removing the bow and setting it gently on the table in front of him. Holding a box almost identical to the one he had given Riku Sora's eyes light with sudden hope and he holds his breath as he opens the box, eyes flicking from the chain and pendant to Riku's face and back before he places it with infinite care onto the table, as if it was made of the finest china and launches himself at Riku.

Riku tumbles back, completely unprepared for Sora's enthusiastic response. "Oh Riku! You're such a sentimental fool" Sora wraps his arms tightly around Riku, face buried in his chest. He looks up eyes watering with tearful joy "do you really mean it?" Riku chuckled breathlessly, feeling light headed with the colossal ecstasy following so swiftly after pain. "Of course I mean it...who else could possibly hold the key to my heart?"

Sora's eyes shone in the faint glow of the Christmas lights as he leant up and brushed his lips softly against Riku's, holding him tightly to his chest, as if afraid that if he let go Riku would melt away like a delicate snowflake when faced with an open fire. Heart thumping painfully fast in his chest, Riku crushes his lips against Sora's groaning quietly at the sheer perfection of the moment, only made better when Sora opened those plump lips, letting Riku explore the moist cavern hidden behind them.

He tasted of peppermint candy cane, innocence and delight, and Riku was instantly addicted. As the snow continued to float down from the sky, Riku and Sora created their own warm haven inside, and Riku prayed fervently that every Christmas would bring more of Sora's delicious candy cane kisses.