Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Kingdom Hearts characters. I am neither Disney nor Squeenix. DAMN.


"No, Sora, I do not want to meet your grandpa."

If he's said it once, Riku's knows he's said it one thousand times before. However, that never seems to stop the bright-eyed brunette who's grinning at him determinedly. "Oh, come on, Riku!" Sora prods, and puts his knuckles on his hips. "My grampa is really fun! He's nice, always has candy... He's super intelligent too! He used to be a scientist."

Sora's chest puffs out proudly at this, right until Riku smirks and asks, "So, is that how you keep tying with me with our biology tests?"

Just like that, Sora deflates and looks huffy. For the two of them, every little thing became a contest, even when it wasn't a sport. Tests were just another thing to add to the list. "That's beside the point," Sora argues. "C'mon, I know you'll like him."

With a sigh, Riku opens his mouth to continue his insistence that he's not going to visit Sora's grandpa. Suddenly, a pair of hands appear from behind him and two fingers curl into the corners of his mouth. As the 'mystery' person stretches his mouth into a ridiculous looking grin, a feminine voice laughs airily. "Relax, Riku!" A cheerful looking redhead suddenly leans over his shoulder and winks at him. "Honestly, it's no wonder you have gray hair, with how you act sometimes."

Scowling and blushing, Riku swats the girl away, even as Sora bursts out laughing. "Oh, c'mon, Kairi!" he grumbles and twists in his seat so that he's facing away from the two. It's a ridiculously childish action, but he really can't help it around his two childhood best friends. All the sides of him come out around Sora and Kairi, not just the cool, arrogant personality he puts around other people. "You can't honestly tell me you want to go visit some old guy." Under his breath, he adds, "Probably tells boring war stories."

"He does not," Sora counters, but Kairi just smiles some more.

"Actually, I'd like that," she says, and then looks over to Sora with a mockingly angry expression. "You weren't planning on not inviting me, were you, Sora?" she scolds, wagging her finger at the boy.

With a chuckle, Sora holds up his hands defensively. "Of course I was, Kairi!" Chipper once more, he turns back to Riku and practically flops onto the silver-haired boy's shoulder. "So, you're coming, right?"

Riku resists the urge to just slam his forehead against the desk. He really does not have the willpower to keep resisting both Sora and Kairi.

-----------

"-and so whose fault is it that Isa chased us out of the gym that one time? Yours! I mean, I certainly didn't joke about how he got that scar!"

"Yeah, but you're the one who said that the fencing team was a stupid idea!"

Indulgently, Kairi rolls her eyes, amused at her two friends' bickering. This always happens when they try and go somewhere. Oh, it's never a full-blown argument, but Sora and Riku can never seem to agree on how certain events happened. Finally, she points out, "You know, you two are just lucky it wasn't Arlene you pissed off." She giggles at the looks of terror that pass over the duo's faces and adds an extra skip in her step. "Then you two would have really been in trouble!"

Clearly, the mental image this brings is enough to stop any and all argument, and Riku gives a shudder before looking to Sora. "Anyway, how much farther to your grandpa's house anyway?"

There's a pause as Sora glances around at the nearby houses, looking for the familiar number that leads to his grandpa's house. Finally, he beams and points up ahead. "There! C'mon, hurry up!" He breaks into a sudden run, and Riku and Kairi have to speed up their pace to catch up. As is the deal with everything, it ends up as a race between the two boys, and by the end of it, they're gasping and panting for breath. With a bright laugh, Sora falls onto his rear end in front of a neatly cut, bright green lawn. "I totally beat you!" he boasts, and Riku just snorts as he collapses onto the cool green grass.

"No you didn't-" he starts, only to suddenly yelp. To Sora and Kairi's bemusement, he leaps up onto his feet. "OW! What the hell-"

"GET OFF OUR LAWN, YOU DAMNABLE KIDS!"

Blinking, Kairi looks up at the house they stopped in front of, and can easily spot the BB gun that's poking out from between a pair of curtains. Ah. That would certainly explain why Riku is dancing around, swatting at the air around him. Finally, however, the BB gun stops, clearly to be reloaded, and Sora just laughs.

"Hi, Grampa 'Zo!" he calls to the second story window, and Riku looks at him in aggravated surprise.

"That's your grandpa!?" he practically screeches.

Sora just shrugs and shakes his head. "Of course not," he snickers. "That's Grampa Elaeus' husband." There's a pause as Kairi and Riku both send him an odd look, and he explains. "My grandma, Aerith, died when I was a baby, and my grampa married again."

It takes Riku longer then it does Kairi to think about this, and the redhead just says softly, "That's sad, to lose some one you love. I'm glad your grampa was able to find some one new."

"Uh huh." Sora pauses for a moment, and glances over at his two friends. His voice lowers itself to a whisper. "Actually, that's kind of the reason why I wanted to come visit him today. See, today's Grandma Aerith's birthday. I wanted to see if he would be alright."

"Because his husband's freaking insane?" Riku mutters as the trio walk over to the porch.

Sora just shakes his head and brightens up to his usual cheery self once more. "Nah, Ienzo's actually really nice when you get to know him." As they finally reach the door, Sora raises his fists and raps on the nicely furnished wood. "Grampa El! Guess who!"

There are some heavy footsteps before the door noiselessly opens. Standing in the doorway is a very tall old man who was probably a giant in his youth. His face is square and covered in wrinkles, although his dark blue eyes twinkle kindly and paternally from behind a set of reading glasses. His clothes are neat, all warm welcoming colors such as soft browns and oranges. In a way, they match his gray hair, which just has slivers of brown and dark red peeking out. As he spots Sora, he gives a slow, gentle smile and holds out his arms so that the boy can barrel into him in a hug. "Well, if it isn't Sora," he murmurs, his voice deep and comforting. "I see you've brought friends today."

"Yep!" Sora beams and gestures wildly at the other two teenagers. "This is Kairi and Riku! I really wanted them to meet you. Is that ok?"

"Of course," Elaeus says simply, and stands aside so that the trio can enter. "Ienzo is upstairs. I'll-"

"Already here," a voice says from above, and they all look up at the stairs. Carefully maneuvering himself down them is another old man, although a great deal shorter then Elaeus. His hair is bright silver, and a few strands fall over his right eye. One hand tightly grips a cane while the other holds onto the railing. He seems dead-set on not liking any of the teenagers, if the glare on his face is any indication. Riku feels a brief moment of sympathy when Sora ignores this (just like he ignores everything Riku does) and just eagerly waits for the man at the bottom of the stairs.

"Were you the one who was shooting at Riku a few minutes ago?" Sora accuses teasingly, and Ienzo just snorts.

"No, it was Billy the Kid," he says with biting sarcasm before his eyes flicker over to Riku. He quirks an eyebrow. "What the hell is wrong with your clothes?"

The silver-haired teenager jerks back in surprise before his face twists into an insulted expression. "What's wrong with my clothes?" he demands.

"Why, I have no idea," Ienzo says with clearly false innocence, the sarcasm obvious underneath it. "Besides the fact that it looks as if a color-blind hobo dressed you with rejects from the local clothing factory." As Riku sputters in rage, Ienzo hobbles over to Elaeus and leans over to him. "He brought friends," he hisses in disbelief.

Years of dealing with such antics have given Elaeus a chance to develop a nice, long stretch of patience, especially when it concerns his husband. The older man just smiles genially and murmurs, "I think it's nice."

"One is bad enough!"

"Um, excuse me, Mister Ienzo?" The two old men pause, and look over to Kairi, who has taken the initiative to be friendly while Sora tries to calm down an irritated Riku. The redhead smiles brilliantly at Ienzo and the man blinks, not used to such a sight. "Are you the one who takes care of the front yard?" Ienzo nods numbly, and Kairi claps her hands in delight. "Well, it's really amazing. I'm in the journalism club back at our school, and we publish a yearly art magazine. Do you think it'd be alright if I came by sometime and took some pictures of your yard for the magazine?"

There's a pause before Ienzo turns to Elaeus and gestures at Kairi with his cane. "I like this one," he states bluntly. "Can we just throw the other two out?"

Elaeus just gives a deep chuckle before gesturing to another doorway. "Why don't we all go into the den and I'll get some sea salt ice cream?"

As the group begins to move over to the next room, Riku mutters "Suck up" and Kairi just rolls her eyes cheerfully.

"Oh, don't be silly," she giggles as Sora cheerfully shoves his way so that he's standing between them. "That garden really is nice. I bet Sora was right after all." The brunette beams at the mention. "Deep down, I bet Mr. Ienzo is really nice."

"No wonder they're friends," Ienzo states to Elaeus, having caught wind of the conversation. "She's just as delusional and optimistic as your grandson." Elaeus looks faintly amused at the words as he helps the other man into a comfy looking arm chair.

"So, shall I get some sea salt ice cream?" he asks, ignoring Ienzo's grumble of complaint at the mention of the treat.

Almost immediately, Sora cheers, and practically tackles his grandfather in a hug. If Elaeus wasn't anything but as large and strong as he was, even in his old age, he surely would have fallen to the floor. Instead, he manages to stand steady, chuckling deeply as Sora exclaims, "That'd be great, Grampa El!"

As Elaeus disappears off to the kitchen, an awkward silence settles in the room. Ienzo, quite clearly, has no intention of communicating with the three teenagers. Instead, he simply sits, completely still while he stares off looking bored. Oddly enough, out of all of them, it's Riku who starts up. "What kind of psycho shoots at people for just stepping on his lawn?" he asks accusingly.

"What kind of pathetic weakling can't handle the pellets of a BB gun?" Ienzo shoots back, completely unfazed by the comment. Riku bristles, and Ienzo smirks, triumphant.

Old Timer: 2
Youngster: 0

In an attempt to stop a war before it happens, Kairi mentions, "Elaeus seems really nice. You're lucky to have married some one like him."

There's a pause, and Ienzo's reply is devoid of snark. "I know." He jerks his head to the side lightly, and narrows his eyes. "If I didn't think that, I would have divorced him by now." An unspoken duh hangs in the air.

"No idea why he'd want to marry a crazy like you," Riku mutters from his seat on the couch. Suddenly, Ienzo's cane smacks right into the side of his skull, and the silver-haired teen yelps before scooting away. It's not that easy, however. With narrowed eyes, Ienzo stands up, and continues his cane-assault.

"Stupid kids don't have any respect these days," Ienzo growls under his breath, ignoring Riku's cursing and yelps. On another armchair, Kairi tries to hold back giggles. "Honestly, Even was right all along-"

"Will you stop that!" Riku finally bellows, and snatches the cane out of Ienzo's grip. Smirking, he glares challengingly at the old man... Only for his expression to twist into one of surprise as Ienzo stands straight, his knuckles on his hips. The man narrows his eyes before quickly reaching for a nearby dictionary.

-----------------------------

Warm orange and enigmatic violet spread across the evening sky, and this creates a beautiful painter's dream over the small town in which they live. Elaeus pauses long enough from his crossword puzzle to look up and enjoy the breath-taking sight. Old age does wonders for your views of the world, he supposes as he leans back with a smile. Sights others always take for granted are rare treasures he now shares with those he loves. "It's beautiful, isn't it?" he asks the other figure sitting besides him on another rocking chair. Ienzo, however, doesn't respond. Instead, he simply stares out into the street, looking absentminded. Adjusting his glasses, Elaeus leans forward, and gently places one large, gnarled hand on the other's pale, bony one. "Ienzo, are you alright?"

The other man gives a small jerk of surprise, and stares up at Elaeus before sighing. "It's nothing," he says dismissively. "Just... Elaeus." Ienzo pauses before looking right into Elaeus' eyes. "...I love you."

A slow smile spreads across Elaeus' face. "I love you as well."

The words seem to settle some unease in Ienzo, for he gives a little smile at them before he stands up. With little effort, he leans down and plants a kiss on the corner of Elaeus' wrinkled mouth.

"I'll go make us some tea."


Author's Note:

Can I blame this on Amber? You bet I can. She was the one who started going on about Luxord, who appeared in an AU fic fifty years old. Of course, I had to open my big mouth and comment that old man!Zexion would be kind of cute (and severely disgruntled).

SEE WHERE IT LEADS ME?

But anyway. I digress.

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