Disclaimer: I do not own Kingdom Hearts. Or glitter, or pink lip gloss or mascara. Anymore. That's all Kairi.

Pairing: Riku/Sora

Warnings: Language, boy/boy situations, very mild genderbending.

Summary: Riku is one glass shy of shitfaced and desperately in love with the girl on the other side of the bar. There's just one problem. Riku isn't sure what that one problem is, but figures that it's probably Tidus's fault.

Inspired by the song Are You Gonna Be My Girl by Jet; birthday!fic for the awesome and talented White Silver and Mercury.

Big Black Boots

Riku wasn't drunk. Technically. He was quite happily buzzed, and pleasantly tipsy, but not drunk. Drunk involved the next rum and coke after this one. Drunk involved Tidus swerving dangerously on his barstool and Riku eyeing the karaoke stand in the corner with a far too eager gleam. Fortunately for himself, Tidus, and the bar patrons, the karaoke machine was packed away to make space in that corner for a live band, who themselves were probably happily buzzed while thrashing away at their respective instruments.

Riku figured, though, that Tidus was near to sloshed. He was on his fifth Corona. "Let me tell you something," he said, leaned with one elbow on the bar, sun-bleached spikes the majority of what Riku could see of him, hunched as he was with his head turned to look back at the main room over his shoulder. The moving bodies and the rock band on the little raised stage area, barely enough room itself for the dude with the red hair and the facial tats wailing on that little drum kit. "There is a serious shortage of hot babes in this town. Which is wrong. This is a college town, man. College. Town. That's like, false advertising or something."

"I don't think it's a shortage so much as all the good ones are taken." Riku made this observation to the ice clinking around in his glass, and considered the brownish liquid swirling around in the bottom. Personally, he didn't think there was any problem with the girls in the general area, or even in this bar, but so few of them were his type. Really and truly. "Or just... not quite right."

"Some of us aren't that picky, Rik," Tidus grumbled into his shoulder. "Some of us just want a hot piece of tail."

"Some of you are shallow, boorish and misogynistic." Riku swished the liquid in his glass around and wondered if it had spontaneously given his tongue an excess of vocabulary. Behind them the band finished off one song to a mass of cheering, the lead singer/guitarist combo just nodding to the crowd, running one hand back through blond spikes before gesturing to his drummer and equally blond bass guitarist, and launching into the next.

"Whatever man. I'm gonna go scope the room." Tidus picked up his sweating Corona, half-finished, and pushed off the barstool, disappearing into the crowd without much notice from Riku. He'd be back, sooner rather than later, grumbling and slamming his empty bottle on the bar, then repeating the action to get the bartender's attention. Then the bartender would get pissed and overcharge them. That was the progression of events for the evening, laid out in order and certainty.

Riku settled his chin in one hand, taking a long, final drink from the little glass tumbler between his fingers. He wasn't drunk, no, but he was working on it, that was for sure. Nothing else to do on a Friday night, no one to spend it with other than Tidus and Tidus's eternal bitchiness. Riku attributed that to not getting laid. Although Riku didn't get laid, either, but it was possible he was just more used to it.

No, what he'd rather be doing involved that crowd out in front of the band, dancing. He'd rather be in there with someone to dance with. He'd rather be out at a restaurant with someone to buy a bottle of wine for and exchange samples of each other's chosen dishes with. He'd rather be out in the hills surrounding this 'college town' on a warm summer night, camping out by the river and snuggled up beside the campfire with--someone. Not Tidus, that was for sure.

The bartender paused in front of Tidus's empty seat, noted the ring he left on the bar and swiped it away with a white rag, muttering curses behind his unnecessarily long bangs because the little bastard did not comprehend the concept of a coaster. He slung the towel back over his shoulder, cast a sideways glance at Riku and noted his empty glass. "Another?"

"Yes. Please."

The bartender had a stoic efficiency about him, deftly mixing Riku a new drink and swapping it out with his empty glass, producing a fresh corona for Tidus to circumvent any banging upon his return, pointedly settling the bottle on a white paper coaster bearing the bar's name. Riku watched this dispassionately, then remembered he was supposed to be very busy getting drunk and took a long pull from the tumbler.

He had turned his head slightly to the side when the bartender moved on, instinctively following the movement with his eyes, and that was when he saw it. Just in his peripheral vision, at first, and that made him blink and turn a little more, shift forward in his seat a little more, because he was sure he'd seen something interesting.

He craned a little on his elbows, staring down along the bar to where the bartender was now hovering, roughly ten stools away and completely drowned out in the surrounding noise. There was a girl there, rather pretty he thought, brilliant red hair down around her shoulders and a sweet smile for the man taking her order, not flirtatious, just friendly and appreciative. She was turned to face Riku, and the stool next to her, and on that stool was someone else.

Someone combing fingers back through messy brown hair spiked out in the back like girls did with short hair these days, something sparkly like glitter in streaks among the gel and whatever else holding all those spikes in place. Someone was tanned and lithe and wearing a spaghetti-strap tank, shoulders and arms gently toned with muscle but still petite. Someone turned her face towards the bartender and Riku caught her profile, shimmery pink lip gloss and dark mascara accenting full lips and big blue eyes, minimalist makeup for a sweet, soft face. She said a few words and had that same smile as the redhead, just simple and friendly. Maybe ordering a Mai Tai.

Riku could only really see her back, and her head, but... damn.

He figured, watching her, that she was a tomboy. Rough and tumble, the kind of girl who grew up with five older brothers and could hold her own against each of them. He figured, with that tan, that she was the outdoorsy sort, the kind who'd want to go on bike trips and campouts and go tubing on the river, who thrived in the sun and fresh air. He figured, with her muscle tone, she was the athletic sort, too. Probably played on a school team or two, volleyball in the fall, basketball in the winter, track in the spring. The rest of her body, though Riku couldn't see it right now--it would be killer. Toned and healthy, slender and strong. Most girls were too soft, too fragile, you held them and were afraid to do much of anything for fear they would break.

This girl, though, she wouldn't break. She'd be strong enough to push back.

Riku licked his lips, felt his mouth falling open. Felt the glass sweating and slipping against his fingers, too weak suddenly to hold it steady.

She was perfect.

He sat there and stared, unsure of how long because rum and coke number two was long gone in his bloodstream and had killed his sense of time and surroundings. His vision had tunneled, disregarding everything and everyone else in the room as white noise and indistinct blurs. The girl was shifting, leaning back on one elbow, almost but not quite turned towards the bar, and she looked up from the straw of her drink--a Mai Tai, just like he'd thought,--tongue pulling back between her lips, and her eyes darted to the side and peered around. Bartender, stack of glasses, beer taps, knot of guys around one of their friends telling a long, complicated joke. Riku.

Her tongue was still there, just the tip of it darker pink against her lips, and it disappeared as she stared back at him, eyes wide and surprised, mouth softly open. Not sure how to deal with this--someone looking at her. Tomboys didn't get a lot of attention, and that was too bad. Riku thought so, anyway. Guys were too picky about girls being girly, having bright red lips and big round tits and minimalist clothing. Riku found it tacky.

Rum and coke number three was sloshing around in his brain, slowing down his reaction time, so for a minute he just stared back, with the same dumb expression he had been for however long it had been. For a minute, they were frozen there like that, and then his brain caught up with itself, and informed him that he'd better do something before The Perfect Girl decided he was a weirdo.

He tried smiling, just a little. It had been a while since he'd done anything resembling flirting, so he stuck with something small and honest. She blinked, exactly three times (he counted), and then like the sun coming out from behind the clouds, she smiled back.

It was brilliant, how her eyes crinkled up and her teeth were perfect and white, how her cheeks turned just a little pink at the attention. Rum and coke number four, which was the most current, swirled around in his stomach in a little, fluttery tornado. It was possible he was about to be sick, but otherwise he was pretty sure--and all four of the rum and cokes agreed--that he was in love.

He laughed a little, down at his half-full glass, and thought that alcohol looked awfully pretty in among ice cubes.

Someone cleared his throat nearby, and after a moment of coming to his senses Riku realized that it was the bartender, standing in front of him and rolling his eyes, a fresh glass of his preferred drink in one hand, folded napkin with the bar logo emblazoned across it in the other. Riku stared at it, then glanced back down the bar to his dream girl, who grinned.

The bartender set the glass down atop the napkin with a muffled thud, wandering away immediately afterward to attend to other customers. Riku sipped at the drink he still hadn't finished, pulled the napkin out and flipped it over.

You're cute. What's your name?

Riku pulled up the jacket hanging off his knee (that he fortunately hadn't forgotten about yet) and fished a pen out of the pockets. He caught the girl's eye again just before she laughed at something and turned back to her friend, the two of them chattering about something or other, but he saw the redhead look over towards him with an interested raise of eyebrows. He pulled the pen cap off with his teeth, carefully wrote beneath the scratchy handwriting, Riku. You're cute, too--should I call you that, or do you have a name?

Rum and coke number three agreed that this was clever, and suggested he add a smiley face, which he did, then leaned forward and tapped his pen against the bar until he could flag down the bartender again.

The man approached him with an expression of long-suffering, plucking up his now-empty glass. "What can I do for you?"

"Can you deliver this back to my admirer? And refill her drink. On my tab."

The bartender blinked at him, then sighed into his bangs and took the napkin. "Of course."

He watched along the bar as the drink and napkin were delivered, the girl shooting a glance back at him before flipping the napkin over to read it. She grinned and covered her eyes at first, then her mouth, and her redheaded friend cackled hysterically and leaned over to bury her face in her arms against the bar.

Riku grinned, and rum and coke number four made sure he didn't realize how much of a dork he was and how obvious the grin made it. The girl laughed at him, still smiling, eyes still crinkled at the corners, and picked up a pen to scribble some more on the napkin.

God, she was beautiful.

He watched how she focused, tongue poking out of the corner of her mouth for an instant, lips pursing and curling in. He wondered if the gloss was flavored, if it would taste like strawberries or bubblegum if he stole a quick kiss. It might just taste like wax, he figured, like most lipstick did--unpleasant, at worst, bland and annoying at best but if he was kissing her... he figured he probably wouldn't care. He could settle his hands on her hips--skinny and bony, probably, perfect little handholds, run his thumbs up over her belt loops--because she was a tomboy. She'd be wearing jeans, not a skirt. Well worn jeans that clung just right, and his thumbs would slide up, tickle her skin just above the waistband. And she'd squirm and break the kiss and sock him in the shoulder, eyes narrowed but still smiling.

He'd lie and say she hit like a girl, but he'd be smiling, too. Yeah, that's how it'd go.

The bartender didn't bother to pause or clear his throat this time, just breezed past Riku and slapped the napkin over the top of his glass en route. He picked it up, rubbed the soft paper between his fingers for a distracted moment and turned it over, saw that same scratchy handwriting there at the bottom, just one simple word.

Sora. And a little smiley face with half-moon eyes.

It was perfect. The perfect name for the perfect girl, small and simple and cute without being overly feminine.

"What are you all happy about?" Tidus grumbled, climbing back onto his stool with some measure of difficulty, one of his legs not quite going in the right direction. His bottle was empty, and he plopped it down on the counter, and his dour expression brightened just slightly when he found another fresh beer sitting there waiting for him, cap already pried up so he could flip it off easily.

"I'm in love."

"You're drunk." Tidus nodded to himself and flipped the cap, and it clattered and toppled away to fall behind the bar. He peered over to where it had disappeared for a moment, then shrugged and sat back, taking a long pull. "There's nothing here worth falling in love with. I checked. You'd have better luck with the band guys, that lead singer could probably be a girl, if you put tits on him and made him stop scowling."

"There is someone, though. She's ten seats down and probably not your type at all, but if she is, just remember I saw her first." Riku gestured, peering sideways to see Sora watching him with a small smile on her lips, fiddling with the straw of her Mai Tai. God. He had to finish this drink, get the courage to go talk to her. She was so perfect, so beautiful and so simple, and the way she smiled at him, shy and hopeful--fuck. He couldn't let her get away.

"Woah, that redhead? Holy shit man, she is pretty fine. You have a good eye after all."

"What? No, no. I mean, she's nice enough." Riku shrugged, because she was--she looked friendly, fun even, not like the pretty girls you knew were total entitlement bitches who just wanted a guy to drive them around and buy them stuff because they looked good. She just wasn't quite what Riku was looking for. A good alternative, maybe, but she didn't stand a chance with Sora right there next to her, being perfect. "The girl with her. The brunette."

Tidus leaned out a bit further, barstool turning so he was sideways. "Uh. The one with the spikes and the glitter?"

"Yes." Riku smiled at his drink again, thanking it for providing him with things like cleverness and courage and a thin veil of numbness that would keep him from realizing what a goof he was being. "I'm in love with her. I think I'll go over and propose when I finish my drink."

Tidus had a strange frown on his face, still looking over and not quite looking at him. "Uh. Riku."

"I'm not kidding, Tidus. She's the one. You know. The one, like they talk about in the movies and romance novels and shit."

"I think," Tidus said carefully, reaching over under his nose and collecting the half-finished drink there, pulling it out of Riku's reach, "that you've had enough."

Riku's eyelids fluttered indignantly, blurring his vision for a moment, and then he shrugged it off. "Whatever. You're just jealous of my impending happiness."

"Sure. You go ahead and think that." Tidus patted him on the shoulder the way you did with someone who was much more drunk than Riku was at that moment. He wasn't that drunk. Technically. "Stay here for a few, I'll have the bartender bring you a water."

"Where are you going?"

Tidus took a long pull off the Corona and set it down with a clink, completely missing the coaster, and licked his lips. "I'm gonna go talk to that redhead."

Riku stared down at the water that was plopped in front of him amid more muffled cussing regarding Tidus and coasters, and noted that it was not nearly as pretty with the ice as his rum and coke was. He gave up on staring and lifted his head up to stare at something much prettier than water or alcohol, and found Sora's eyes watching him intently. He wondered what she was thinking about, if she had thought about what it might be like to kiss him, too. If she had already made up dates for them to go on in her head, if she had guessed what his major was and how many laps he could swim and what trails in the national forest outside of town were his favorite. He hoped that was what she was thinking of, sipping at her drink, blue eyes studying him. He settled his chin in his hand and stared back, smile growing on his face until she blushed a little, ducked her head and rubbed the back of her neck, shy smile pointed at the counter.

He had to go talk to her. Just had to finish this drink--no, Tidus had taken it away. Okay, a few more sips of water to wash down the taste of alcohol on his tongue, and then he'd go over. He could already see her on the barstool in his mind's eye, turning to face him, nimble little body trying to sit primly, ladylike, but she'd relax after a few minutes. Maybe he could ask her to dance, pull her close during a slower song and feel all her curves against him.

In the real world and the noise of the bar that didn't exist in Riku's head, Sora straightened when there was a disturbance nearby, and the redhead beside him looked back with another interested raise of eyebrows, and there was Tidus, invading their little bubble. He looked happy, smiling and nodding to the friend, simple handshake, and then to Sora for another. Great, that would make it easier! Sora even darted a look back at him while talking to Tidus, who nodded--oh yeah, I know Riku, old drinking buddy from before we were old enough to drink and etcetera.

The crowd shifted just then, obscuring his line of sight. Riku craned his neck, listing from side to side until a few people moved, and he could see Sora leaning back against the bar, elbows resting on it, shoulders barely visible through the crowd and just the angle of her neck and her face turned towards Tidus, bright eyes and parted lips and then, just as the blond said something with his head tilted down, her face--

It fell. There was no other word for it, no other way to describe it. One moment she was normal and beautiful and clearly enjoying herself and in the next millisecond all of her features turned downward, eyes drooping, lips frowning, head dropping, shoulders slumping, turning back to the bar and her drink and curling protectively around herself. She darted a look up to him, eyes wide and sad and bright, and the corners of her mouth quivered, she ducked her head and looked away.

What... what happened? Riku frowned, something sick and sad and righteously angry roiling in his gut along with the alcohol, and it was possible he was going to be sick again. Maybe. What the fuck did Tidus say to her?

He kept watching, leaned forward as far as he could and tried again to catch her eye, show his concern for whatever had happened. She did move slightly at one point, just enough to look at him sidelong without turning her head, just enough that he could see the absolute misery clouding her face. Her drink was half-finished and forgotten, fingers not even playing with the straw anymore, just fiddling with the edge of the napkin. She watched him that way just for a moment, maybe noting his confusion and concern, then heaved a slow, deflating sigh, leaned back, slid off the stool, and--


No. No, no, no that couldn't happen. She couldn't just get away like that and--goddammit, what the hell did Tidus say to her? Riku was going to kick his ass from here to the next county, just as soon as he was sober enough to be capable of it. The bastard. Why would he do that? He was jealous or something, that was it. Jealous of Riku's happiness, jealous of Riku finding The One For Him. Finding the Perfect Girl. He didn't like not having his own movie moment, and had to destroy Riku's somehow.

Riku scowled and scanned the crowd, turned in his stool and chanced standing up, ignored his coat when it slid off his knee and plopped onto the footrack under the barstools. He wavered just a bit on his feet, found his head and craned his neck, searching the crowd around the bar for a head of spiky brown hair. She had to still be out there somewhere--he had to find her, had to fix whatever Tidus had said, had to tell her--

Maybe it was too soon to get down on his knees and tell her how he was hopelessly in love with her. They hadn't even spoken yet, after all, and even after rum and coke number five (what he'd had of it before Tidus took it away) he was vaguely aware enough to know that was a bad idea. No sense in scaring her off, even if he was being completely honest.

He had to get her phone number, though. That much was imperative. Name, phone, a good night's sleep and a good hangover remedy in the morning, and then he could think about admitting his love. And where to take her on their first date.

Butterflies swam around through the liquor in his stomach just at the thought.

He turned towards the miniature stage and the band there, wondering if maybe she'd gone to lose herself in the dancing crowd. He was almost on tiptoes, grabbing hold of the bar when he swayed dangerously so he could see over the heads of the people nearest him, trying to identify anything at all that looked like his girl. He swallowed a lump from his throat, considered that maybe she'd left, maybe Tidus had said something just that bad to her, when a voice behind him spoke up--


And he thought, at first, that it was Tidus. The voice had that quality and sounded like it was already cowed, as it should be after he'd said something unknown but horrible to the girl Riku loved, and he was about to spin around and swing a poorly-aimed punch at him. When his head sloshed a little as he started to move, though, he thought better of that, slowed down and turned against the bar instead, leaning on his stool.

And there she was. Spiky brown hair and big blue eyes and glitter and mascara and pink lip gloss and that adorable sky-blue spaghetti-strap tank that made her eyes even bluer, a couple inches shorter than him and that was even more perfect. She was just right, and she was right there in front of him, lips still turned down in sadness, right there and perfect and--


No. Wait.

Her chest was--flat. And below that shirt, her hips were... pretty much nonexistent. She was tanned and muscled but it wasn't quite right, up close. In fact--

"Y-y-you--" Riku's voice stuttered on rum and cokes number two through four, respectively. "You're a--boy?"

Sora shrugged a little, hands in--his pockets. Looked down at the floor with something that was disappointment and loss and embarrassment all at once. "Yeah."

That was definitely a boy's voice. It was kind of high and kind of soft and kind of young, and not unpleasant at all, but definitely male. Riku swallowed. "Oh. Um."

"It's okay. Your friend told me." He shrugged again and his blue eyes lifted for a moment, watching Riku like he had earlier. Like he had when he was across the bar and Riku had never considered that he wasn't a she. "I just came over to apologize. You know."

"Um," Riku said again, and couldn't seem to form anything else.

"My friend Kairi, she just..." He hunched a little and gestured to his face, the hair and the makeup and the junior-size shirt, presumably. "I don't really mind, you know, but I never thought I really looked that much like a girl. So." His eyes washed over Riku one last time, like memorizing him for later, before dropping off to the side. "Anyway. Yeah. Sorry about that, don't freak out on me or anything."

Riku opened his mouth, closed it, opened it again and tried to let this sink in. The fact that his dream girl, the one who was everything he'd ever wanted, was standing here now apologizing to him for being male. His voice squeaked in his throat, caught on his tonsils, slipped out with the aid of rum and coke number five. "But... you were perfect."

Sora paused, almost turned away, and when he looked up there was a shivering quality to his face. The way his eyes flickered, the way his lower lip trembled. "Yeah. So were you."

Riku wasn't sure how long he sat on that barstool after Sora disappeared, along with all his hopes and dreams and plans. He sat and leaned back against the bar and stared down at the scuffed floor and felt like his heart had been ripped out. Felt like it was scattering across the floor in little sparkly bits, trodden down by dozens of moving feet and getting caught and stuck in dried sticky scuffs of spilled liquor. He sat there with his mouth hanging open, still in utter disbelief although having seen Sora, right there in the flesh, how could he not believe? How could he not have seen it--ten stools down across the bar, strangers obscuring his line of sight and alcohol clouding his senses, how could he have seen anything except for exactly what he wanted to see?

His perfect girl had been everything he'd ever wanted, except for the whole 'girl' part. Perfection was like that, he supposed--nonexistent. There had to be a flaw in the design somewhere or beauty could not exist. He couldn't hope for the night to have ended any other way--in disappointment for presuming that perfection was a noble truth.

He needed to stop taking philosophy, probably. Or start taking something heavier. Or either drinking more or less.

But, a little voice in the back of his head wondered, helped along by rum and cokes number three through five, what's really so wrong with that, anyway? If the perfect girl turns out to be a boy?

Does that make him any less perfect for you? Really?

Riku frowned. He frowned at his toes and the sleeve of his jacket where it had toppled to the floor, and really considered that. He'd never thought about it before; he'd always assumed that he was straight, because if you were otherwise, then you'd just know--right? He figured there were signs and symptoms for that sort of thing. A marked attraction to guys being one of them. Riku had never really found guys all that attractive.

But then again... wasn't he attracted to girls who were more like guys? Girls who were rough and athletic and didn't mind getting dirty, girls who could keep up with him, girls who were strong enough to stand up to him. Was it that big of a stretch, then? To like a boy?

A boy who clearly liked him back?

Riku moved too fast reaching down to grab his coat, had to prop himself back on the stool for a moment to wait for the world to stop spinning, then started again with a bit more caution. He looked around a bit, found the redhead by the bar, Tidus still taking to her, both of them looking like they were having a nice time, but Sora wasn't with them. And if Riku's instincts were right, he could almost replay the scene that had happened over there a few minutes ago.

Sora would have introduced himself, looked back at Riku and said, Your friend's pretty cute.

And Tidus would have looked sheepish and apologetic, and said, I hate to tell you this, man, but... he thinks you're a girl.

And Sora, sitting there on the stool, would have felt the world drop out beneath him. It was probably a rare thing for him to get that kind of attention from another guy, in a bar like this in particular. Sora, maybe, didn't get very much attention at all. He must have felt so hopeful, so happy, must have had his own set of Mai Tai-addled butterflies in his stomach, and then--poof. It was gone.

Sora would be brokenhearted and dejected, and would have retrieved his coat and left the bar to walk home alone.

Riku pushed the door open and stood there for a moment feeling the cool night air wash over him, fresh and cold and both a shock and relief after the warm, stuffy air inside the bar. He tugged his coat straight, let the door fall shut behind him and scanned the quiet street, a few other bars dotted along it and notable by the noise and people spilling out here and there. Walking along to the next venue or to someplace more comfortable or just to call it a night and go home, breath and laughter and cigarette smoke whirling up through the air. He looked, and just to the left in the gold pool of a streetlight, there he was--spikes and sparkles, hunched in a denim jacket.


He turned sharply, straightened, arms at his sides and stiff, defensive. His eyes were too bright in the streetlight, shimmering and watery. "Look, don't freak out on me, Riku. I didn't mean anything, just back off." And his fists were curled, but his voice was choked and wavered dangerously, like the tears that hadn't quite made it to his cheeks.

Riku held up his hands, approaching slowly until he was on the edge of the pool of light and Sora was a foot or two from him, and it was easier to tell he was a boy with this stance and the jacket, in the dark the makeup was less noticeable. But even so--

He was still beautiful. And perfect. And Riku figured--it might have been the alcohol or any or all of the five rum and cokes, but he figured that maybe it didn't matter all that much, whether the perfect girl was a girl or a boy.

"You forgot something," Riku said, hands dropping to his sides.

"What?" Sora's voice was all confusion and disbelief, staring at him.

"Your phone number," Riku continued, as though that should have been plain. "You forgot to give it to me."

Sora stared. He didn't move, didn't relax, but twin trails of tears slipped down from either eye, around the curve of his cheeks.

"I'm... gonna be totally honest. Here." Riku felt the words slipping out of his mouth like they were greased with alcohol, and they were, in fact. But he was pretty sure they were the right words, or close enough. He took a step forward. "I am... kind of drunk. Right now. But." He took another step, watched Sora shift back a little and stopped. "You were perfect," he repeated, watching how Sora's eyes reflected the light. "You're still perfect. I just, yanno. I had to think about it a little."

Sora blinked and relaxed just slightly, almost imperceptibly, but there was something in his posture that was less defensive, more hopeful. "You had to... think."

"It's the rum. Slowed everything down." Riku made a little circular gesture to the side, which didn't really mean anything but he felt like it explained a bit better. "Anyway, I just... I'd really like your phone number. So I can call you. You know. When I'm not drunk."

Sora's shoulders drooped again, head tilting back down to regard the pavement. "I don't really think you'll want to do that, Riku."

He smiled a little, chuckled a little--not at Sora's expense but because he understood and maybe he was a little too happy that Sora liked him that much. "You think when I sober up I'll come to my senses, huh?" He chanced reaching out, settling his hands on Sora's shoulders and Sora stiffened just slightly, just for an instant before relaxing again. "You'd think that, right? I mean, this is kind of ridiculous, but... there are a whole lot of drunk butterflies in my stomach right now and that makes me kind of think I might really like you."

Sora raised his head slowly, disbelief melting just a little into hope, eyes just a bit darker with Riku standing so close, blocking some of the light, mouth opening and closing again, blinking but not quite finding any words. Riku's hands found their way up to his cheeks on their own, helped along perhaps by rum and coke number three, and his thumbs gently brushed away the tear-tracks, little smears of mascara at the corners of his eyes. "I think..." Riku cleared his throat, feet shuffling just a little closer. "I'd like to try something, right now. While I'm not afraid to do it."

Sora must have guessed what he meant, because he lifted his hands to rest on Riku's arms and tilted his head up when Riku moved forward to press their lips together. He did it fast, so he didn't have time to second-guess himself or work his mind through the slosh of alcohol covering it, and he wasn't sure entirely what to expect, but...

Sora's lips were warm. A bit tacky with lip gloss but not unpleasantly so. And oh, god, they were so soft. He wasn't sure why that was such a surprise but he didn't really attribute the idea of softness with the idea of kissing a boy. He sighed through his nose, tilted a bit and pressed a bit closer and a bit more, catching and pressing Sora's lower lip between his, feeling the pull there and the tingle of sensation it caused and how Sora didn't simply give in the way a girl would. He slid closer instead, one hand moving to rest against Riku's shoulder. He tipped his head and pushed back.

Riku shivered, one hand sliding back around Sora's neck, soft smooth skin under the pads of his fingers, other hand dropping to tug at the open edges of Sora's jacket. The kiss pressed close and hot for a moment, all breath and sensation and Sora's little, shivering gasp and then it broke, both of their eyes blinked open and it was almost startling, how close they'd gotten. Riku didn't think he'd quite realized it; Sora's body was bare inches away from his, warm and he wondered what it felt like. How it might feel, pressed up against him.

He drew his tongue back between his lips, watching how Sora's eyelids fluttered, tasting Mai Tai and Sora and lip gloss--bubblegum flavored. He breathed a little, letting the moment pass. "Well, that wasn't so bad."

Sora's eyes were heavy-lidded, watching Riku, Riku's eyes as they blinked and Riku's mouth as it spoke, his own softly open, gloss just a bit smeared and his voice was a murmur. "No, it wasn't."

Riku blinked, once, he was pretty sure, and then he was moving because Sora's hand was on his collar and then they were--no, Sora was kissing him, pressed up tight and pulling him down and his body was small and lithe and hard against his, warm and maybe the curves weren't there but it felt nice, anyway, it felt like Riku could grab him and hold him tight and never worry about whether it was too much, or too hard, or too rough. He felt teeth against his lips and gasped a little, more surprised than anything and Sora's hand slid into his hair, tugged him down and held him still while his tongue slid against Riku's, slow at first, a little taste, testing and exploring until his grip loosened a bit, the kiss softened a bit, inviting Riku's participation. But even then, when Riku pressed back and kissed back and wrapped his arms around Sora, it was Sora controlling it all, the tilt of their heads and the movements and even the little sounds they both made. Quiet, stifled murmurs and eager breaths of air when their lips parted and Sora's fingers curling in his hair and his collar and--no girl on the planet kissed like that.

When Sora finally relaxed and pulled away, but only a matter of inches, both of them still tangled together and breathing a bit heavy, both of them a bit shocked at their own actions but not shocked in a way that made them regret it--Sora licked his lips and said, quite firmly, "I'm not taking you home with me."

Riku considered that, with rum and cokes number three through five keeping the majority of his brain several seconds in the past when Sora was still kissing him senseless, every last drunk butterfly in his stomach beating their wings madly. He finally nodded, and the gesture was far too pronounced but he didn't quite have the brainpower to avoid that. "No, no. No. That would be a bad idea. Very bad."

Sora nodded in return and stepped back, carefully disentangling Riku from himself, pulling both hands away and holding them in his for just a moment before dropping them so they could fall back to Riku's sides. He stared for a moment, eyes flickering around over Riku's face and then he shrugged again, moving to take another step back. "Well. Thanks, anyway."

"I mean," Riku continued, mostly caught up now with the dialogue but still a beat behind, "I don't want to go home with you tonight, but I'd still like to take you out for breakfast tomorrow." He nodded again when Sora blinked, corners of his mouth curling in different directions like he wasn't sure what he believed or wanted to believe, or wanted to hope for. "I need your phone number, though. So I can call you in the morning."

Sora looked even more conflicted, features twisting up for a moment before he tilted his head down and his face was obscured in the shadows, hand reaching back to rub his neck. "I don't know, Riku..."


Maybe his voice had sounded desperate, or pleading, or maybe just quiet or honest enough that Sora caved to the little bit of hope still creeping around behind his eyes. He sighed, and looked up and there was a small smile on his lips, something doubtful about it still but he held out his hand. "Here, give me your phone."

Riku pulled the little device out of his pocket and handed it over, watching how the screen lit up Sora's face and reflected in his eyes. The door to the bar opened behind him, and he turned to see Tidus poking his head out and looking around, the redheaded girl close behind him. "Oh hey, there you are, man--what?"

"Hi." Riku smiled at him, and felt all kinds of ridiculous, but that didn't seem to matter. He was getting Sora's phone number. He was going to go home and pass out on his soft, comfortable mattress that was sounding increasingly better as the night wore on, and in the morning he was going to be groggy and headachy and he'd need some coffee and maybe a little burnt toast, maybe a little hair o' the dog, and then he'd go meet Sora at some little hole in the wall diner for pancakes. It was going to be fantastic.

Tidus stood in the doorway and stared at him, and the redheaded girl (didn't Sora mention her name? Kairi?) slid to the side to see what was happening. When her attention landed on Sora and the phone, and then on Riku and his grin, she straightened. Clasped her hands behind her back and smiled.

"Here." Sora held the phone up, still flipped open so he could see the contact information there, Sora's name and a mobile phone number. Riku grinned, pushed a few buttons and then, before Sora had time to doubt any further or protest, he snapped a picture.

"Memory might need a little help in the morning," he shrugged, ignored Tidus's hand on his elbow and the low urge that dude, we need to head out. You've seriously had enough. "I'll call you."

Sora's smile grew just a bit, still doubtful but there was hope behind it, shining through. "I guess we'll see."

"I'm going to." He stumbled a little, moving backwards with Tidus's hand propelling him, ignored the blond apologizing for his drunk friend and assuring the redheaded girl and the brunette girl who turned out to be a boy, both under the pool of golden streetlight, that he'd be fine once he slept it off. "You wait and see. I'm going to call you, Sora."

He didn't quite hear the last thing that Sora said, stumbling away as he was with Tidus hissing in his ear about leading people on and since when did he like boys, anyway, but he thought it might have been something like:

"I hope you do, Riku. I really hope you do."

Light was the enemy. Light was pain and evil and torture. He pulled the comforter up, cool fabric against his face to block it out, rolled onto his stomach in denial of the day and the sun. Evil things, both of them.

When he rolled, though, something wedged itself under his stomach and dug into his skin unpleasantly, and after a moment of squirming and fishing around with the hand not holding the comforter protectively over his head, he drew out his cell phone. Uncertain, at first, of why the hell it was in his bed.

The alcoholic fog swirling around in his head made him blink and reconsider throwing the damned appliance across the room, because that had been important somehow, hadn't it? Something had happened last night, in among the noise and the booze.

He flipped the phone open under the covers, cursed at the screen's backlight and opened his contact list, scrolling through to see if anything had been added. Something squirmed in the back of his mind, a vague patch of memory. Something about lip gloss. Bubblegum flavored.


The name right there at the bottom of the list cleared the fog away in one fell swoop. His eyebrows drew together, tongue wetting his lips and he wondered, just for a moment, if he'd really been in his right mind. He held his breath, thumb selecting the name from the list to open the information, and there on the screen was the little picture he'd taken--Sora in the streetlight, hand on his own neck, eyes wide and hopeful.

He really was beautiful.

The butterflies in his stomach were probably as hungover as he was, but they still fluttered around madly as he thumbed the green call button and lifted the cell to his ear, waiting for it to ring. Riku smiled at the blanket covering his head, and resolved to take a better picture of Sora sometime, in better light, with a smile on his face that didn't betray any doubt.

The phone clicked in his ear, and the voice on the line was muffled and groggy and just a bit confused. "Hello?"

"Morning," Riku said, and his own voice was just as groggy and thick with sleep and the remnants of alcohol, but he wasn't confused at all, just a little too happy for his own good. "Told you I'd call."