With every new chapter I really start to wonder if I should just get a beta already. I think I'm doing sorta okay on my own, there are times you can tell when I don't bother to proofread because there's always a bunch of mistakes. Ugh, is sad, once again.
Note: Author did proofread this. In event of mistakes, Author is just an idiot or something.
Full Summary: In the uncertain world of adults, Sora and Riku attempt to patch together their shaky relationship after almost 5 years apart. It's about love and hate and lost trust, set in a world where the magic has run dry and the boys see each for who they really are. The tension doesn't last for long, however, as both men fall into a routine that they both know very well. Along the way, they become reacquainted with the old qualities that brought them together, while familiarizing themselves with the individuals that each person has become.
Warnings: Language, Babies!, The Marital End, Mood Swings, God-My-Warnings-Fail
Disclaimer: None of the characters within this fanfic belong to me. If it did, this would be a full length movie with all smexy-slashy-yaoiness I could legally fit onto a single DVD. Kingdom Hearts is a lovely invention of Square Enix.
Chapter 16 : Disquiet
Riku spent his mornings free drawing lately. Particularly mornings when he had just woken up and rolled out of bed, wearing only a pair of old sweatpants and promptly curled up on the couch. He kept the television at a low volume just for some background noise and sometimes before the sun even shone lazy rays in through the open blinds, he was free drawing.
Pencil in one hand and his sketch pad propped on his thigh, Riku tapped the sharpened lead against the page and blinked at the blank surface, noticed that when one looked hard enough there were tiny fibers of threads in the paper.
The smells of breakfast were already forming and for a moment, Riku was oddly grateful and almost as equally intrigued that Sora seemed to habitually migrate to the kitchen on mornings when he woke up early enough, which was most mornings. It was kind of like a routine for him, and Riku figured that he was probably used to cooking for two on a regular basis.
Riku's eyes shifted toward the kitchen area, and over the fish tank, he could see something Sora shift into his view for a second, pans rattling around in time with his movements.
It was Day two.
The beginning of Day two, being the direct sequel to Day one, that is, yesterday, and the start of the period of time in which neither of them talked to each other.
Sounded impossible, of course, but Riku was finding that as time passed, with no regard for the stiff tension between them and the constant moody attitude Sora was harboring around him like a cloud of doom, the impossible was coming more and more into reality. In fact, Riku was sure their last exchange consisted of something like, "Your car needs gas."
Riku was no expert, but he figured that was probably a bad thing.
This just wasn't right.
Riku brushed his teeth distractedly, figuring it was the combination of the noxious cleaner chemical smell and the fact that he had gagged himself with his toothbrush at least four times that was causing the sudden feelings of irritation that were building up and causing the fixed scowl on his face. Or it could've been the fact that it was 8:00 in the morning and Sora was on his knees to his left, scrubbing out the bathtub quite brutally for an object that had never done any harm to anyone.
Or the reason Riku was so irritated very well could've been caused by the fact that neither Sora nor himself had really talked to each other in days. Days. Plural. Meaning multiple.
In fact, it was probably all of these things.
Riku considered just asking him why he felt the need to clean the bathroom now, of all times, but something told him to leave it alone and he continued to brush his teeth, a little faster than before, narrowly avoiding gagging himself again. He turned on the faucet and spit, gargled water and spit again. Sora remained bent over the side of the tub, fiercely scouring the bottom, seemingly unperturbed by the fumes.
Riku hissed out a breath, like a hard sigh, and glanced over his appearance in the mirror briefly, finding everything in place before he crouched a little, just enough so he could lightly kiss the back of Sora's head, feeling his soft hair tickle his nose. Sora looked up and managed a slight smile, his eyes narrowed tiredly and Riku wondered just how early it was that he had woken up that morning.
A few words were exchanged, mainly Riku telling him that he would be back later and Sora nodded. And that was it.
Riku fed Pudge as he stopped in the kitchen for his keys and there was a brief moment where he actually paused and stared at the ring on the other counter, in the exact same spot, since neither of them seemed to have the courage to move it.
Far as he knew, Sora had yet to talk to his husband, in person anyway. There was a pretty tense phone call and a conversation that lasted entirely too long, in which Sora stayed quiet a majority of the time and just listened. All the while, looking to Riku in silent distress. Riku got Sora to answer the phone, just like he said he would. The rest was between the both of them. Riku could only hope that they would resolve their problems soon.
Riku, however, had a meeting to go to.
Sienna had set him up with a couple of big-name commissions and well, there were clients to meet and contracts to sign and plans to go over. Not his favorite part of the job but unfortunately, a necessary one. And if it didn't take too long, perhaps he could return home a little early and cheer Sora up, take him out somewhere. They could both use the break to just stop thinking about things for a while.
"We're ignoring each other." Sora admitted with a frown, his cell phone cradled in between his shoulder and his ear. Kairi had called a few minutes after Riku left and for that, Sora was grateful. He ceased in his scrubbing for a moment, not really wanting to drop his phone in the foamy cleaner residue.
"That bad, huh?" Kairi said eventually and Sora dropped back to sit on his legs, blowing a hair out of his face. The rubber gloves were making his hands hot and he really just wanted to go back to sleep.
"I don't get it. What are we doing wrong?" He briefly contemplated the possible reasons for why they were being so standoffish to each other, sighing finally when he couldn't decide on a particular one. There were too many. "It never used to be this hard."
Kairi hummed quietly into the receiver, he could hear her shift a little, hear the low sound of the television in the background. "Sora, you ever think...maybe you're pushing him too much?"
"Huh?" Sora blinked, flicking bubbles from his scrub brush absently, staring down into the tub that looked clean enough now. "Whaddaya mean 'pushing him'? I'm not—"
"Did he say something to you?"
"No. It's just—You can't expect him to understand everything right away, you know?" The sound of the television drifted away and Sora figured she just moved to a different room. "He's probably just as confused as you are."
"Don't dump so much on him, all at once."
"I shouldn't even have to tell you this, you know. You know this already, Sora." Kairi huffed quietly in a fit of impatience, her voice lacking the calming motherly quality that usually made her so easy to vent to. "And you know just how temperamental he can be. Not to mention how temperamental you can be when he's in one of his moods."
"Okay," Sora hissed into the phone, scrubbing absently around the edges of the tub again. "I'm being a jackass, he's being a jackass. I get it."
"I never said that." Kairi returned calmly and he could practically hear her sharp frown. There was brief moment of static in which neither of them spoke, and then Kairi breathed in deeply, letting out a heavy sigh. "You talk to Evann yet?"
Sora fiddled with his brush, tugging on a loose bristle. "I told him I'd meet him today."
"Good." Kairi said, and Sora thought she was going to say something else—berate him about it even—but she only changed the subject again. "I have an ultrasound scheduled later. If you're not too busy, maybe you'd like to come along?"
"...Ah, yeah. Sure thing, Kai." Sora agreed, digging his latex covered fingers deep into the scrub brush's bristles. He'd been hoping to be at home when Riku came back, but then again, there'd always be time to talk, so technically it should be alright to just write him a note and get out for a couple hours.
It was still too early.
It was still too early and yet, Sora continued to sit in his suspiciously clean car, across the street from his old apartment where he idled for about 5 minutes longer than necessary. He was surveying the windows on the top floor though, and so far he had yet to see a trace of Evann. The driveway was empty, so it was safe to assume he wasn't home yet.
It was a little cold, but thankfully not raining as Sora climbed out of the car. He crossed the street abnormally fast and ducked into the clinic as soon as he reached the sidewalk. It was ridiculous, but he was in full stealth mode right now, just until he worked up the nerve to go upstairs.
"Sora!" Rikku bounced in her chair, overexcited as usual. Sora barely kept her from jumping out from behind the desk and tackling him with the hand he held up to stop her. She still twitched in impatience, fingers clutching the opposite sides of the bottom of her chair. "Where have you been? Boytoy's been losing his mind up there."
Sora paused, hunched in a kind of mid-crouch as if he were sneaking through the empty establishment, mouth dropped slightly in alarm. "Is he here?"
"No." Rikku pulled her hair back with an elastic band, and Sora was thoroughly relieved, wilting against her desk with a heavy sigh. "He left about a half an hour ago."
"Did he say when he'd be back?" Sora spoke out of the side of his mouth, turning his head enough to see her with one weary eye.
Rikku scoffed, leaning back in her chair. "Like he talks to me."
Sora felt his relief dwindle slightly. "I think...we broke up." He confided, and then he felt he really should've left that 'I think' off.
Rikku gaped, sitting forward in her seat until her and Sora were nearly eye level. "So that's what it is!" She looked oddly happy for someone receiving such grim news and if Sora didn't already know she would react this way, he might've felt offended. "You left him for Riku, didn't you?"
Sora rolled his eyes and stood up straight, shedding his jacket and hanging it up on the hook behind the reception desk.
"Didn't you?" Rikku continued to badger him, spinning around in her chair to face him, still smiling girlishly.
"Yes." Sora hissed, vaguely irritated by her blatant satisfaction with this revelation. He knew that she always disliked Evann though, so it wasn't really surprising.
To be fair, Evann didn't really like her much either.
"I knew it." Rikku began bouncing in her chair again and Sora smiled thinly, nudging her aside so he could get his appointment log. If anything, he could at least get some work done while he was here. "You know, once your fan club gets wind of this, there's gonna be a serious surplus in love notes."
Sora grimaced, flipping his log open to the current date. He had no appointments himself, of course, because he hadn't been present for almost two weeks, but he still wanted to check over the other business coming in that day.
"Don't say that."
"It gonna happen." Rikku assured him with a little smile, pulling up the bookkeeping on the computer without Sora having to ask so he could look over that as well. "So I was wondering."
"About Riku." The receptionist scrolled the screen down as Sora prompted her to, glancing up at him slyly. "He acts like he's all tough, but he's really a big ole' sweetheart, right?"
Sora snorted, feeling a little of that earlier anxiety slipping away. "I wouldn't say that."
Rikku made a face like she didn't believe him and Sora knew she was perfectly content with her own theories, whether Sora confirmed them or not.
"He has his moments." Sora assured her. "Sometimes."
"Riku? Hello?" Riku blinked slowly, something blonde working its way into his line of vision, blocking the corner of the table he had been so interested in before. "Are you listening?"
Riku's mind took a long time to register that someone was directly talking to him and not around him, his thoughts still fuzzed over with dates and Sora and like some mathematical problem he couldn't figure out for the life of him, it was all becoming very frustrating and exhausting.
"Huh? Yeah. Sorry." He muttered, sitting up straight, his wrist stiff from being curled under his chin for so long. "What am I signing?"
Sienna huffed, managing a thin layer of patience over her usual abrasiveness. He had been zoning out the whole meeting, he couldn't say he blamed her too much. "Nothing, Rikki." She scrutinized him carefully through the light blue of her colored contacts, looking into his eyes especially. Riku leaned back an inch or two away, not really in the mood for her advances right now. "Are you okay?"
"Are you on something?" She concluded a little too easily for Riku's liking, inspecting him and he really just wanted to be somewhere else. Anywhere else. No, he wasn't on drugs. No, he wasn't suicidal. He was distracted. He had more problems than he needed and if that made him a little more empty-minded than usual, then she would just have to deal.
"It was one time. One. Time." Riku curled his fingers around a discarded ballpoint pen before him, squeezing it. "That doesn't make me an addict."
"Still." She rose from her chair fluidly. Then she stopped and Riku could see the planets begin to realign in her head and he just knew she was going to demand something of him once again. Something he probably wouldn't care for. "Why are you so abnormally distracted lately? Not saying it isn't totally typical of you."
Riku blinked and attempted to figure out what left field that question just came from, flicking the pen across the tabletop with his fingertips. "Excuse me?"
"You're distracted." Sienna told him, seating herself casually on the conference table and Riku couldn't help but think 'slutty secretary'. She propped her powder blue heel on the armrest of his chair. "Problems with Sora again?" When Riku just ignored her, she pushed the chair a little ways to the side, fixing him with a scolding stare. He almost told her off, but decided he was way too tired to care that much. Too much effort. "You ever consider therapy?" She suggested flippantly, her blatant disregard for the feelings of others wasn't something that Riku had missed lately.
Riku scowled, elbowing her heel off the armrest. "What, you think I'm fucking crazy?"
Sienna brushed her hair over her shoulder, never one to be fazed by anger or hostility. Especially with Riku. "Couples' therapy, you jackass." She hissed.
"We don't need therapy. Mind your own business." Riku nearly snarled, face falling into a default grimace of warning. To say he wasn't in the mood was an understatement. Sienna didn't seem to care much, crossing her legs at the knee.
"I'm just saying." Sienna said, adjusting her glasses, unconcerned. "You might be able to actually stay in a relationship if you did, you know." If she would've just seen how tense Riku was, he figured she probably would've shut up. "That was his husband at the opening, wasn't it? The cute blond?" Any other time in his life, he might've let her comments roll right off of him, but there was too much on his mind at the moment, too much frustration and insecurity, that he was less than accommodating for her smug attitude, and taking everything just a little too personally.
"Why the hell does that matter?" Riku didn't like to let himself get angry, especially not like this. Even with the muted sound of his chair crashing to the carpet floor behind him as he stood, he wasn't sure if it was Sienna that was making feel like he needed to bitch her out, or something else, something more much dark. Something he thought he had gotten rid of a long time ago. "Look, woman--"
"Oh, calm down, Rikki. I didn't mean anything by it."
"Bullshit." Riku spat and there were too many feelings at one time and Riku wondered if this was how Sora felt when he had one of his attacks because he felt like he wanted to scream or tear his hair out. "It always means something." And anger. So much anger.
"What the hell is your problem?" Sienna moved away from him and like a predator he moved with her and for a whole long second, he wasn't thinking at all when he practically shoved her against the side of the conference table, hands on either side of her. Confirming his early suspicions that he was nothing more than a monster.
"You." And the word came out of his mouth like an explosion and Sienna's artificial blue eyes were widened behind their fashion frames and Riku could smell her perfume, the same scent of his mother, and if his hands pressed down any harder, the table was going to break beneath them.
A few tense moments of silence and neither of them had moved, the woman frozen between the cage of his arms, and Riku felt the light tickle of her breath on his face and realized how just damn close he was to her.
"Riku." Her voice shuddered, only slightly, but it was surprising enough for Riku to back up a step and his eyes dropped to her hand, fingers curled around what looked like mace.
"There's something wrong with you." Sienna looked down and wouldn't look back at up at him, pulling her purse across the table to her lap and Riku was mildly grateful she was stowing the can of mace away. "You take this shit out on Sora, not me."
"I'm," Riku paused, feeling that 'sorry' just wouldn't cut it and attempted to revise his apology. "I didn't--"
"I want rough sketches by the end of the week, Riku." Sienna rigidly pushed past him and Riku cursed himself under his breath, listening to the clicking retreat of her high heels, wondering why the hell he did things like this so often. "No exceptions."
"Damn." Riku said eventually, as if that summed up everything. Mostly he was just feeling very confused. Confused and ashamed.
Sora finished up in the clinic sooner than he thought he would and moved upstairs way sooner than he wanted to.
There were several places in the house that he could've waited until Evann showed up, but somehow, he ended up in the bedroom, right away. There was something up here that he remembered right away, something that he wanted to look at, but now that he was actually up here, he couldn't recall what it was originally.
This particular room held a lot of memories, mostly good ones. Nights of passion and love, mornings of clever pillow talk and playful wrestling that nearly made them both late for work. Then there was always that one memory of Riku in this room, and that was just about the same time where everything began to fall apart.
It was one shirt, Sora recalled. One hundred percent cotton t-shirt, dyed a warm and vibrant red in whatever factory it came from. Perfectly minding its own business in the corner of the drawer, it was folded with the sleeves tucked under and through the collar, it was visible that the tag had been ripped off. This wasn't particularly significant, nor was it the reason that Sora pulled it from its resting place in the wardrobe drawer and shook it until it was hanging straight and flat in his hands.
It was his shirt. And though Sora could find no real relevance in this line of reasoning other than the fact that it was his, there was something particularly depressing about the thought of taking any of his belongings out of the apartment.
Sora proceeded to fold the shirt again, placing it neatly on the bed, which was made up and perfect as usual. It hit him in a weird place, wrenching his heart in the most terrible way possible. If he had ever doubted himself before, it was nothing compared to now.
Sora tugged on the drawer handles, and hauling it out of the wardrobe, he dropped the whole thing on the bed, spilling piles of his clothes across the covers. Even now, he had never been really sure what was going through his head at this moment, and why he was pulling everything out of the drawer and tossing it across the bed. There was just no reason for it.
In fact, he was so preoccupied with this task, that he didn't even realize that he wasn't alone anymore. And he didn't make that realization until several minutes later when the person who was watching him from the doorway said his name finally, right when he was in the middle of throwing a long sleeved blue sweater to the floor at his feet.
Sora jumped, visibly startled and the blond at least had the decency to look apologetic for surprising him. "Evann."
Evann frowned, cautious eyes briefly scanning the destruction Sora was wreaking on their bedroom. "What are you doing?"
"It was just one shirt." He supplied vaguely, arms braced on the mattress in front of him. He didn't even know he was crying until the distraction, and he couldn't believe he was letting his emotions get so out of control. "And then it was the whole drawer, and now...I don't even know what I'm doing anymore."
Sora hoped if he hunched his shoulders enough, Evann wouldn't notice the tears.
"It's like our wedding night all over again." Evann spoke gently, referring to the occurrence in which Sora practically tore apart their bedroom the night of their wedding day, over something that Sora couldn't really remember anymore because it wasn't exactly one of the important things that someone would worry about on their wedding night. In his defense, Sora was freaking out that night because he was nervous above all things, and he will admit that he did have a bit too much champagne at the reception. "Are you seriously crying over laundry?" Evann asked, in a voice that should've been tinged with amusement at least, but instead it was exasperated. Tired, weary. Scared and anxious and hopeful, all at once.
"Of course not. It's," Sora paused, rasping. He lifted up one of the shirts, a light gray sweater, one that he realized he only wore once. "It's our laundry." He laughed and the last stubborn tear broke free and raced down his cheek to curl under his jaw. "God, that sounds so stupid."
"Not really." Evann assured him, and then he crossed the room in a few steps and Sora tensed once he was close enough for him to reach out and touch. His husband kneeled and dutifully scooped up a small pile of folded clothes and replacing them in the drawer they came from.
"You must hate me." Sora spoke from the side, still clutching the sweater like a life preserver.
Evann opened his mouth and Sora knew there were words of confirmation that he wanted to say, that he should say, because Sora really deserved it, but they stayed put and were never vocalized. And Sora wondered if he was just being nice. Because Evann was always nice, and he never said no. "Not really."
"I kind of had a feeling you would do this, though." Evann continued, rigidly putting away clothes like a ritual, pointedly looking at just about anything but Sora. "I just didn't know when."
Sora gaped, inadvertently tipping over a stack of jeans he had just finished replacing in the drawer. "You thought I would cheat on you?"
A slight tilt of his head and one eye glanced over. "You did, didn't you?"
"Yeah, but--" Sora stopped, tonguing the roof of his mouth, feeling mildly offended and betrayed. "That's not really fair." Evann raised a gold eyebrow critically, and then Sora realized he really had no business talking about fair when it was his own selfish cruelty that had started this whole thing.
"You were eighteen, Sora." Evann intoned, shaking his head lightly, his hair falling in light strands over his eyes. "I just can't believe I was that naive."
"I did love you, once." Sora shook his head, his eyes diverted down and to the side. "Somewhere along the way, everything just...got kinda screwed up."
"'Did love'." Evann repeated and Sora frowned, at first not understanding what the combination of those two words meant. Past tense. Did love. "Not any more?" His tone was oddly cool and somewhat harsh and Sora kept his eyes down because he knew the extent of his ex's fury and it wasn't something he particularly enjoyed the one time he was on the receiving end of it for the first time in something like three plus years.
"I—I don't think so."
Evann pursed his lips and for a second, there was this look of despair, right there just behind his eyes. Instead of fizzling away, it just grew stronger and brighter and before long, it morphed sporadically into anger. "This is just so easy for you, isn't it?"
Sora looked up almost instantly, an expression of horror taking shape on his face. "What? No!" He exclaimed, but he could tell that his counterpart wasn't at all convinced. "Of course this isn't easy. Why do you think I've been avoiding you so damn long?"
The despair/anger hissed and flared like a wild flame and Sora knew that it had gotten way out of control before he could even stop it. It could've been building up for a while now, being the end result of every stupid mistake that Sora made in the past that affectionate-considerate-husband Evann just overlooked simply because he loved him. It very well could've been.
"How the hell should I know?" Evann seethed and goddammit Sora was trying so hard not to do this. He didn't want to argue, he was too tired of fighting to fight. "You lied to me. You were running around with your ex-boyfriend behind my back for 6 months. And when you actually decide to tell me, you say that shit in front of your mother. Then you ostracize yourself from my life for 2 weeks, Sora. How the fuck am I supposed to know what to expect from you anymore?"
Sora shrugged heavily. "I don't know."
"Yeah, well." Evann broke off there for whatever reason and just let those two words hang. "Do you love him then?" He asked then, his tone accusatory and bitter and Sora couldn't help feeling guilty for making him that way.
"Of course I do." Sora muttered it to the floor, feeling more and more like a misbehaving child being scolded by an angry adult. There was just so much shame in breaking someone else's heart.
"Just don't let him break you again." Evann told him vaguely and Sora felt like crying all over again but for the sake of composure, held all of that in.
He wasn't sure what that sentence meant, actually, if it meant that he was letting him go, or what.
"Does this mean...we're over?" Sora asked with an appropriate amount of hesitance, because he really expected Evann to throw him out on his ass or something, tell him to get the fuck out and never contact him again. Throw his belongings out the window and onto the street at least.
Evann leveled him with this look that was most definitely the body language equivalent of 'no shit'. "Well, I refuse to share you, Sora. Especially with him."
"And I can't make you stop talking to him." He continued, stuffing clothes back in the drawer now. He stopped, glancing up at Sora. "What's going to keep you from fucking him again?"
Sora scowled to the side and Evann chuckled humorlessly, his mouth more of a grimace than any kind of smile. "Yeah, Sora. We're fucking done. You have a week to get your shit out of my house."
Sora blinked and he wondered if it be appropriate to just reach back and just deck him, without word or warning, just punch him right in the face, and leave. He curled his fist and stood there, staring at the array of clothes neither of them were putting away anymore and figured that, no, it wouldn't be appropriate, but it would sure as hell make him feel better.
"Okay." Sora said eventually, miraculously able to keep his voice from shaking. Tears pricked at the back of his eyes in frustration, but he willed them away and decided that it was better this way. "I'll... remember to give your ring back."
"Keep it." Evann spoke over his shoulder, his fingers briefly breaching his front pocket and retrieved a carton of cigarettes. "I don't want it."
Sora watched him light up and figured there had to be better ways to deal with these kinds of situations, without everyone feeling all betrayed in the end. Because Sora, whether or not it even made sense for him to, felt betrayed in more ways than one.
Sora stifled the urge to just go home and crawl back into bed and was now placating himself by smoking a cigarette outside the clinic, taking long, long drags as if he were hoping to choke himself on the noxious smoke. Kairi was waiting for him inside so he didn't have much time to waste sitting around outside. Even if it was relatively warm and the sun was out, for once instead of rain.
It was obscenely unfair to be in such a shitty position on a day like this, Sora decided, flicking ashes in the tray to his right. Another man showed up and took place at the other side of the ashtray and Sora snubbed out his cigarette, figuring he should probably get back inside before he missed Kairi's ultrasound.
"God, I'm huge." Kairi observed, laid on her back on the examination table. She ran her hands over her belly and offered a smile to Sora at her bedside.
"You're not huge." Sora assured her with a grin, placing his hand over hers. Faintly, he could feel the baby kick and Kairi clenched her teeth a little, flicking her bangs out of her face. "When's this one due?"
"Beginning of February. You should see Quint, he's getting all excitable." Kairi rolled her eyes fondly, laying her head back on the little plush neck pillow. Sora toyed with a piece of her long hair and leaned his elbows on the starch-stiff mattress at her side, contemplating the amount of maturity and poise that Kairi would always have that he would probably never have. He thought about asking her what she would've done in his situation, but decided that conversations like that were much too morose for ultrasound appointments.
He was pretty eager to see the baby, however.
"He's gonna try to knock you up again." Sora joked, knowing in the back of his mind that it was probably true. The man was a phenomenal father, but he really seemed to be obsessed with having 10 kids.
"The hell he will." Kairi scoffed, making a face at the ceiling. "This is the last one, I'm done with the whole pregnant thing. One girl, one boy. Good enough for me." Sora laughed.
Sora glanced at the clock, finding that only a couple of minutes had passed. He looked around the little room at all the posters promoting prenatal health and the plastic model of the baby in the plastic version of a woman's stomach, and sighed. The room seemed too little and clean and the stuffiness only made Sora want to call Riku, just to see if he was alright. He hadn't called all day. Which was typical, but still...
"Did you really want me to name the baby Roxas?" Kairi said from somewhere to his left and Sora blinked and just stared for a second, thoughts of plastic wombs and Riku still occupying the majority of his mind at the moment.
"Huh?" He said lamely, mouth falling open in a way reminiscent of the brain dead.
"At Thanksgiving." Kairi explained, looking a little sheepish once she started. Because no one really wanted to bring up Thanksgiving. The wound was still too fresh and once Riku told him that Kairi had actually broke out in tears because of what he did, well, there was no way not to feel like shit after you make your pregnant best friend cry. "You suggested 'Roxas'. I thought..." Kairi paused, frowned thinly and briefly revised her wording. "I mean, it's not such a bad name."
Sora quirked an eyebrow, tips of his fingers twirling her red hair around in a tight curl that pulled away from his hand once he let it go.
Sometimes just hearing that name made something in the back of his subconscious react, like it recognized what the name Roxas meant. What a Roxas was. But most times, it didn't. Most times, he felt nothing when someone mentioned his Nobody. Because he didn't exist, and he didn't matter, right?
Sora chewed the corner of his lip and decided that there was no reaction this time. No brief flashes of recognition from the far corners of his mind. "No. No, I wasn't being serious." He waved dismissively with one hand, recalling the looks her and Riku shared when they didn't think he was paying attention. He didn't want her to think he was crazy or something.
"Really?" Kairi looked skeptical. She raised up on her elbows, fixing him with a too-serious look of understanding. "You know, I think about her sometimes." She confided and Sora's eyebrows inched up in surprise. "It's not a bad thing, even if she didn't exist."
They'd never had this conversation before. Sora always just assumed it was one of those things, something they all collectively tried to forget about, like Riku siding with the darkness, and all the countless times Sora actually thought his own best friend was going to kill him. They weren't exactly pleasant memories. In fact, most of those moments were the main focus of his nightmares.
"Yeah." Sora said eventually. He briefly speculated on what their Nobodies would look like if they had aged as much as the two of them had. Would Naminé have grown up and filled out as gracefully as Kairi had? Would she have looked as beautiful as Kairi if she were in her condition? And what would Roxas look like for that matter? Would he just look like Sora, blond hair being one of their only differences? Or would they have even changed at all?
"It's important not to forget what happened to us, Sora." Kairi continued and Sora's thought processes dropped off sometime after he heard his name. It really was no use dwelling on something he'd probably never know about. "All three of us. Riku, especially. You know he always takes these things harder than we do." She said this pointedly and Sora figured it had something to do with the conversation they had on the phone earlier that morning.
"Yeah, I know." Sora told her, lightly brushing her bangs back with his fingertips and Kairi smiled and laid back down and for a brief second, Sora could feel that reaction, without the mention of a name or anything and he accepted the feeling rather than denying its existence, and let that sensation of familiarity wash over him.
Like a power he had forgotten about making itself known again.
"I think I like Felix better, though." Sora said and nodded to himself curtly, because he knew it was for the best.
"Your dad's name?" Kairi asked, yawning a little and her eyes drifted closed, facing the ceiling and Sora felt himself yawn as well. Clearly, he had woken up too early that morning.
Kairi smiled. "I like that name too." She turned her head to the side, cracking open an eye to regard Sora thoughtfully. "Plus, I think your mom would really love that."
Sora smiled. "She would."
The ultrasound technician came in sometime shortly after that and Sora sat up a little straighter, mainly because before that he could feel himself falling asleep. While Kairi and the doctor talked, Sora curled his fingers around hers and laughed when she jumped from the cold of the clear jelly. Kairi swatted his arm.
Sora considered the grainy little picture on the screen and felt a stirring in his chest because he could clearly see the baby's heart beating and when Kairi cooed at the baby's image and squeezed Sora's fingers, he knew that no matter what problems he was having, there would always be this. A little grainy screen of new life, and the really important things that mattered much more than petty arguments.
Sora would have to remember to thank Kairi later for this.
Riku promptly dropped his keys on the counter upon securely locking the door behind himself, sliding the chain on for good measure, more out of habit than anything else. He thought about sinking into the couch immediately, but never made it that far as the need to decompress was much too far gone to ignore that long.
He slid onto the stool positioned at the granite countertop, elbows stationed on the surface at once for hands to cradle his forehead and press the heels of his palms into his eyes. He sighed hard, a tired, so so tired sound, that pulled some of his anxiety away, while the rest stayed and rooted itself with hooked tails into the deep crevices of his mind.
Riku hadn't felt that amount of darkness in a long time. It had been all-encompassing, like a damp, cold blanket. Like something evil.
Riku figured he had done worse things in his life, but then he remembered that look in her eyes and—Sienna was actually terrified. Terrified of him. He wouldn't have hurt her though, of that Riku was moderately confident. He hadn't completely lost sense of himself, so he knew there was still that minuscule amount of control that he had. As long as he had that, he wouldn't consciously let himself harm anyone. Bloodsucking manager or not.
Still, there were boundaries involved, lines that weren't meant to be crossed, and Riku definitely crossed them today.
Riku rubbed his face firmly with both hands and through his fingers he managed to just see the curled edges of a piece of lined notebook paper sitting innocently at the corner of the countertop. He vaguely recognized Sora's large lettered handwriting and reached out with one hand, pulling the little slip of paper to himself.
Be back later. We'll talk when I get home. - Sora
Right. With the day he had, even Riku couldn't manage to be enthusiastic about that one.
Riku scowled at nothing mostly, and combed his fingers through his hair, flicking the paper away. Figuring he had at least an hour or so to himself. It wasn't very late, only a little past midday, but still Riku just wanted to crawl back into bed and sleep for the rest of the week. So much for taking Sora out somewhere. He really wasn't in the mood anymore.
"What took you so long?"
Riku barely had time to be surprised when arms curled around his shoulders and suddenly there was a warm Sora leaning his weight slightly against his back and Riku felt vaguely relieved. Sora's cheek shifted against his and Riku took note of the smell of soap before his mind realized that those were words that he heard earlier. Words. Sora's words.
They were talking to each other again.
"I had some things to do." Riku said eventually and he felt that talking really should have been more natural, but for some reason, his mouth wanted to catch on every word and his throat felt full of cotton. "I thought you weren't here."
"Oh. I forgot to pick that note up." Sora shrugged and hummed pleasantly in his ear and the sensation of his breath tickled the skin across Riku's temple. "I got to see Kairi's baby today." He informed, leaning his chin a little more heavily on Riku's shoulder.
Riku shifted his head slightly to the side, giving Sora more space to make himself comfortable. "Oh, really? That's cool."
A chuckle and more soft breaths. "Yeah, it was. You could see his heart beat and everything."
Riku wasn't sure what to expect as the ends of this conversation, but the possibility of the topic leading to questions of adoption passed his mind for one ludicrous second, in which Riku gave the opposing wall a meaningful stare of disbelief.
"Hm." He intoned quietly, feeling Sora's arms tighten minutely in the form of a careful hug.
"We're okay now, right?" Sora asked, his mouth ridiculously close to Riku's ear, which made him shudder in a decadent amount of pleasure.
"Hm." Riku tilted his head, glancing out of the corner of his eyes, though the most he could make out were lips and a nose. The barest scrap of the blue of his eyes. He pretended to be thinking as if it were a very arresting matter, nodding eventually to Sora's visible relief. "Yeah, I think so."
"Good." Sora squeezed his shoulders again, lightly nuzzling the space beneath the corner of his jaw.
A moment of uninhibited silence left the room a little loud, and Sora hummed a quiet improvised song to himself just to make some kind of noise, fidgeting behind Riku's chair.
"Hey," Sora nudged Riku's arm, previously spoken name all but ignored in the wake of his own interjection, slipping his hand over Riku's and hooking their pinkies together. "Ya know what I'm thinking?"
Riku sighed. He really should've expected Sora to interrupt him. It was like physics or something. "Something terrible, I'm sure."
"I was thinking we could get out of here for a while. Just pack our stuff and go." He smiled but the furrow of his eyebrows said otherwise. "Let's go see the world. You want to?"
Sora seemed to notice that Riku wasn't agreeing with him right away, and the eagerness of his smile wavered considerably.
"Sora," Riku repeated, turning in his seat to regard him with his full attention. "I think I need help."
Sora frowned. His eyes were troubled oceans. "Help with what?"
"Like, professional?" Riku hissed, not really sure how to better explain it, or if he really wanted to go into specific terms and all that.
"A psychiatrist." Sora said plainly, crossing his arms, his voice dropping at the end like a suggestion. Kind of a question but not really. Riku didn't even want to dignify that with straight answer. He cringed and pretended the word wasn't such a harsh one like psychiatrist. Psychiatrist made him sound insane.
Riku clawed his fingers through his hair, leaning his elbows back on the counter. "My head's all messed up. I...I attacked my manager today." Saying it out loud was even worse.
"What?" Sora's arms dropped down, his eyes widening, expecting the worst. Riku could already see him assuming things, thinking he had lost control and nearly killed someone. "Is she okay?"
"She's fine. I didn't hit her or anything, I just—I wanted to. I almost did." Riku lowered his head back on his shoulders, face toward the ceiling. Blowing out a heavy breath and trying not to think of what he could've done to the poor woman. Sienna wasn't like Sora; with Sora, Riku at least knew he could take it. Sora had been through worse things. But Sienna, she was much too...human. "I really didn't think it was that bad. I mean, I know we used to fight all the time, but I thought I could handle it now."
"Fuck. I sound really fucking nuts, don't I?" Riku growled out in a low, helpless moan.
"You're just overreacting." Sora told him gently and then he was leaning against the counter on Riku's other side. Lightly brushing his fingers across the top of Riku's hand. "That doesn't mean you're crazy. I mean, I went to a psychiatrist. I don't think I'm crazy."
Riku cast his gaze to the side, somewhat skeptical, though more thoughtful than anything. "You did?"
Sora smiled, a little uneasily, eyes drifting to a far corner of the room rather than Riku's face. "Of course. I still do. Sometimes." He added at the end, making a face toward the carpet.
Riku considered this and felt no more reassured than he did before. "What for?"
"My hypervigilance, mainly. And that—" Sora looked faintly embarrassed. He shook his head abruptly, looking down at his hands. Riku had a feeling he knew what he was referring to, and instantly wished he didn't. "But that doesn't really matter though."
A tense moment followed and Riku must've looked pretty morose because Sora looped his fingers around his, and gave them a firm, reassuring squeeze, too forgiving as always.
"What's that?" Riku asked, attempting to change the subject because it was appropriate, and general curiosity getting the best of him. "That word you used before."
"Hypervigilance." Sora reaffirmed. "You know when I can't fall asleep?" He fiddled with his fingernails and on his face was a little frown that invited the need to be tightly embraced and caressed and hidden away somewhere safe. "Or when I get startled for no reason?"
"Or that time you tried to stab me?" Riku offered with an expression that was neither thoughtful nor sad. He was aiming for amused and wondered momentarily if it came across that way.
A laugh, quiet, and Riku could feel him smile thinly before he even really saw it.
"We're fucked up, aren't we?" Riku concluded, deciding that was probably the best and only way to describe it. There weren't many words for what he and Sora had.
"Only a little." Sora agreed faintly.
And Riku figured there were probably worse things in life. Worse than being just a little fucked up.
Wow, it's been a long time, huh, guys? I'm pretty sure I'm setting this story for 20 chapters. Like 89 percent sure.
And I've finally moved on to Final Fantasy X-2, and it's...silly and ridiculous. Reasonably fun, but just really...silly. AND I'm pretty sure I'm a big ol' Shuyin fangirl.