Well, I'm back. It's been awhile, and I've hopefully developed a little more... so here's the first chapter to my new project, Binary.
Rated M for language and possible content later.
Pairings: Sora/Riku, AkuRoku, and various other random ones scattered throughout.
Chapter One: Kickstart My Heart
By six-thirty Monday morning, Riku had officially declared it a Bad Day.
He began to get the hint when he walked in his tiny, seventies-yellow-and-green kitchen Monday morning, and found that his Honey Smacks were scattered all over the fading, slightly-peeling linoleum. The guilty party was purring contentedly on the box, Riku noticed, right on top of the poor frog's face. He glared at the cat. The cat ignored him in favor of batting around a little golden puff.
"You're evil," he informed the cat, whom he had fondly named Chubchub when he'd gotten the ridiculously fat thing three years prior. Chubchub hoisted his furry self up, brushing against the not-so-awake Riku's bare legs and leaving Riku's ruined breakfast behind as he went to go stare longingly at the robins outside the window. Riku glanced at the broom leaning nearby, willing it to spring to life and start cleaning. It didn't, of course. Riku decided to pretend it did.
When he finally managed to stumble into the shower after staring at the coffee-maker in the kitchen for fifteen more minutes, muttering random nonsense words under his breath to make it magically start making coffee, he discovered with a sudden start that there was absolutely no hot water. It didn't help that he accidentally washed his hair with shaving cream, thus having to stay under the water for roughly thirty seconds longer and therefore freeze his ass off, thank you very much. His cell phone, which he apparently had left in the bathroom the night before – and he wanted to know why it was in there, because he certainly hadn't been drunk… if he remembered correctly – began blasting a random Savage Garden song when he had finally managed to get clean enough to turn the water off.
Unfortunately for Riku, it was a Bad Day.
He'd never actually bothered to re-screw the towel rack into the wall when he'd moved in, instead holding it up with duct tape and pretending that he couldn't see the tape. So far, it had held, needing to be replaced only once every couple of months. Apparently, he'd forgotten to replace it, because the tape gave way as soon as he attempted to grab a towel, throwing him off balance and sending him crashing to the floor, taking the towel rack, the towel, the shower curtain, and the shower rod with him. The rod caught the towel on which his cell phone had been resting on the way down, conveniently causing it to bounce off of his head.
"Whay?" he snapped once he'd finally managed to get it open with his one free hand.
"Good morning to you too, sunshine. You're late," came the disapproving voice of his secretary, Kairi.
Riku flipped the phone over, looking at the clock. "…I'm not late. It's only seven."
"Daylight Savings Time, detective. It's eight. You're late." He could hear her tapping something into a keyboard. "Oh, hey, that rhymed."
"Congratulations, you passed first grade," Riku scowled. "It's mydamn office anyway, so I'll get there whenever the hell I get there."
He could practically hear Kairi's eyes rolling over the phone. "Alright, let me put it this way," she said in that sugary sweet tone that meant that he had successfully annoyed her, thereby making his own Bad Day the Day from Hell. "You've got an hour before I kill Axel and snap his Mötley Crüe CD in half."
"Fault, yes. He's got 'Bitter Pill' on repeat, and there's only so much I can take, Riku. One hour, or I'm shutting up Vince Neil for good."
He opened his mouth to reply with something that was probably not very nice, shifting his trapped legs and subsequently discovering that he could whack himself upside the head with the shower rod.
"See you soon, sunshine!" Kairi said, and promptly hung up before Riku could remind her that she worked for him.
It took ten minutes to free himself from the shower curtain, and by the time he'd discovered that all of his nice clothes were covered in white and tan cat fur, chosen to go with a pair of too-small jeans and his only clean t-shirt, and ignored fixing his hair so he didn't have to go look at the mess in the bathroom, forty-five minutes of his allotted hour were up, and Axel was most likely dead. He doggedly ignored the mess in the bathroom as he passed, murmuring an "Abracadabra!" to the mop, leaning by the broom in the kitchen. Between the two of them, the mop and the broom were bound to come up with some kind of magical life force, he decided as he passed the kitchen. He waved goodbye to Chubchub, who was happily playing with another Honey Smack, his big butt firmly on the cartoon-frog's face, and left his apartment to face the world.
Five minutes later, he was banging his head against the door of his locked apartment, where his car keys happened to be sitting on the coffee table. Ten minutes after that, he was informed that the super was out for the morning, and couldn't let him back in. Fifteen minutes later, he was run over by a motorcycle, and he was pretty sure that the term "Bad Day" was an understatement.
"Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!"
Riku opened his eyes, blinking at the not-so-clear and kind-of-spinning world around him, briefly wondering for a moment why exactly he was staring at the sky. As the world came into focus, it hit him, much like the Harley had done not too long ago. He blinked again, touching his forehead and pulling his hand away to see blood.
"I am so sorry, oh my God, oh my God! Please don't be dead, man!"
Riku looked over at the kid who was standing next to him, hands buried in chocolate spikes and bright blue eyes wide as he continued his mantra of "oh my God, oh my God." The silver-haired detective sat up slowly, winced, and then grabbed onto Spiky's arm and stood, using the kid for support as the world spun around him again.
"Oh my God, I think I killed you..." the kid said, staring at him with wide, horrified blue eyes. "I-I'll take you to the hospital, okay? Don't, like, die or anything!"
"I'm fine," Riku replied, loudly enough for the crowd that had gathered to hear. "It's just a scratch. Foreheads bleed a lot."
"I am so sorry! You probably have, like, a concussion or something!" He burst into another round of "oh my Gods," and Riku was pretty sure that they weren't helping his headache any.
"Relax," he said, glancing down at his clothes and realizing with a frown that he was covered in scratches from the pavement. "Look, kid, my apartment's right upstairs, so we'll-" He stopped, remembering the Honey Smacks, the bathroom, and the locked door. "…Never mind. There's a café over there. We'll go in and work this out over coffee, okay?" The kid nodded, big baby blues wide and… oh shit, kind of teary. Looks like he'd be buying.
Spiky parked his bike, which wasn't damaged. He decided that he must have looked like death warmed over, with the way that the bookworms, college students, and barista were staring at him in the little cafe. He ordered the kid a hot chocolate, just because he looked like a hot chocolate kind of guy, himself a latte, and proceeded to sit awkwardly across from the kid at a table.
"So, uh," he started intelligently. "I'm not really injured, and your Harley's okay, so… how about we just forget about this whole thing?"
The kid looked at him as though he'd suddenly sprouted a marshmallow from his nose. "…I ran you over with my motorcycle, man. You're covered in blood. Jesus, I don't even think I have my license with me!"
Riku frowned slightly into his coffee. Was this guy even old enough to drive a motorcycle? "I'm fine, really…"
Spikes looked at him with those big blue eyes, guilt and concern written all over his face. "Dude. At least let me, like, fix you up a little."
Well, damn. He'd always been a sucker for a well-played puppy dog pout. "Okay," he relented. "You can… buy me a band-aid. Or something."
Spiky looked utterly, ridiculously happy at that, grinning in a way that made Riku's insides melt just a little, but he chalked it up to the coffee. Really, so what if he was cute? He was probably still in high school, if that dorky smile and rainbow-explosion sense of fashion was any indication.
Still, wouldn't do to call the kid "Spiky" aloud.
"Hey," he said with what he hoped was a smile. "'m Riku."
The kid grinned at him again –did he ever actually stop grinning?- and curled his gloved fingers around the Styrofoam cup of cheap hot chocolate. "I'm Sora."
By lunch, he wasn't quite sure if he could still classify it as a Bad Day, or if it had somehow gotten inexplicably better, despite all odds. Sora wasn't really a kid, Riku learned while he'd been sticking band-aids on every scrape. "I'm studying at the university across town," he said, slapping one on the cut on Riku's forehead. "Getting my teaching degree. I wanna teach high school history. It's dorky, I know, but I think I'll like it."
"A history teacher with a Harley?" Riku asked, quirking an eyebrow and trying to look as masculine as possible despite being covered in Strawberry Shortcake band-aids – the only ones that Wal-Mart had. "All my history teachers were lame. And their rooms were always freezing."
Sora shrugged. "Yeah… That was kind of a driving factor. Not freezing the kids out and… cookies or something, I don't know. We can learn about China with cookies."
"Fortune cookies," Riku agreed. "With the test answers in the middle of the cookies."
Riku smiled, truly this time, something he didn't do so often with the stress of his crappy apartment and insane job. "So, what, then, you're nineteen-ish?"
The shock must have shown on his face or something, because Sora laughed and said, "Yeah, I get that a lot. I get carded for even looking at a bar." He put the last band-aid on the scrape on the side of Riku's cheek and leaned back against the back of the paint-chip bench of the park they'd stopped at, hands folding behind his head. They'd been soft when the chocolate-haired student had taken off his motorcycle gloves. "So what about you?"
Riku glanced over at him. "I'm a detective."
The kid – no, not a kid, Riku reminded himself – jolted and looked at him, blue eyes wide again in a way that Riku really only saw in wannabe-Nancy Drews.
"No way," Sora said, making Riku think strangely of Valley Girls and skater boys. "Are you serious? You're serious! That is so cool!" He grinned again, which was apparently a common thing for him because he did it so much, and looked at Riku with admiration written all over his features.
Heat spread across his cheeks, and Riku decided to pretend that he wasn't blushing. "It's not as cool as you think," he said. "We're… a dysfunctional family, really. My secretary bosses me around like I work for her, and my partner is my insane pyro roomie from college, so…"
"Well, that just makes it more interesting, right?" Sora was still beaming at him. "It's probably, like, exactly like Law and Order and you're probably, like, badass and too awesome to admit it."
Riku shook his head. "No… Think more Will and Grace."
"Only with more crime and less interior decorating?" Sora laughed. "My mom loves that show."
"So does my secretary." The detective decided to leave out that it was his guilty pleasure, and Kairi only liked it because he had once said that he was Will, she was Grace, and Axel was probably a Jack/Karen hybrid of sorts. "She quotes it all the time, she has all the seasons on DVD-"
"Can I buy you lunch?"
Riku stopped, looking over at Sora, who was still smiling, though now a little nervously, and holding the bright pink band-aid box in one hand. The detective thought for a moment of Axel, who was undoubtedly dead by now, and of Axel's poor Mötley Crüe CD.
"Lunch sounds good."
He'd make sure they played "Home Sweet Home" at the funeral, like Axel had always wanted.
It was closer to closing time than he had originally planned for when he finally walked into the agency on Third Street, but really, who plans to be hit by a motorcycle and then spend the day with the guy who ran you over? His scrapes still stung like a bitch, but his spirits were high, and he chalked it up to good food and Sora's random and slightly dorky jokes. The spiky student had grabbed his hand and a Sharpie out of his back pocket, and as Riku glanced down at the numbers, written in purple of all things, he got this strange sense of déjà vu. It was almost like he was back in high school.
"So that's where you were all day."
Riku turned around to look at the door to his office, where his partner-in-fighting-crime was leaning against the doorframe with a knowing smirk in place. A moment later, after Axel had fina, the smirk was replaced by slight alarm.
"Dude, what the hell happened to you? You lose a fight or something?" he redhead asked, straightening slightly. He looked odd in office clothes, with his hedgehog-esque hair and diamond tattoos. Odd in a good way, though, much like the rest of Riku's work life.
"Yeah," Riku said. "You should see the motorcycle. I sure showed it who was boss."
"You're kidding." Axel said. When Riku didn't nod, he stood straight and looked as though Riku suddenly laid an egg. "Holy crap, you're not kidding! You seriously got hit by a motorcycle?!" Riku nodded, turning to flip through the files on Kairi's desk and pretend that he had actually been somewhat productive that day, and Axel leaned against the doorframe again, this time in pure disbelief. "And then you went on a date with the guy?!"
Riku spun around again, effectively sending practically everything on the desk to the floor. "What? No! It wasn't a date! He was just being nice."
"Pink is so your color, by the way."
Riku's hand flew up to the one on his forehead. "Shut up! They were the only ones-"
"He drove you to work, I saw. Did he take you out to lunch too?"
"It was probably just so I wouldn't press charges or-"
"And is that his number on your hand?"
Riku looked down at the purple numbers, then back at Axel's smirk. "…Christ."
Axel nodded, bending down to start picking up Kairi's folders and various office supplies. "At least he was cute, right? If you have to be run over by a motorcycle, might as well hope the guy driving it is cute." A CD fell out of one of the folders and he held it up triumphantly. "Aha! Kairi," he said to her empty chair, "your hiding places suck. So, you're gonna call him, right?"
The detective looked back at his hand. "…I don't know."
"That's a yes in Riku-speak. Man, you need to get laid. It does wonders for your stress levels." Riku pretended not to have heard that, deciding that his friend had already had one brush with death that day. "Let's just go ahead and close up, man. Kairi went home already and, apparently, nobody's stolen or kidnapped anything today." He gathered up a pile of stuff and dropped it haphazardly onto Kairi's desk, his effort to clean up the mess that Riku had made. Riku looked down at the rest of it on the floor.
"…Yeah, okay." He reached over and shut her computer down. "I've had a crappy day anyway."
"Aw, what? Motorcycle boy doesn't put out on the first date?"
Riku glared at the redhead. "Congratulations. You just lost stereo privileges to Kairi for a week."
He smirked as Axel shuddered visibly. Axel hated Savage Garden.