A/N: Hey, guys, what's up? I proudly present to you all my first Yuriku. And I couldn't be happier about posting it! It's a mini-series type deal, so there will only be six chapters. However, a lot happens in these six chapters, so it's not a total waste for you guys. I hope. Anyway, even though this isn't a songfic, the title of the story is indeed taken from the song "Collide" by Howie Day. I DO NOT OWN that song in any way, shape, or form. Basically, I heard this song playing one day during X-mas break, and I got inspired to write this. So, since this is the month of Valentine's Day (though I utterly detest the holiday), I decided to treat you guys with this. Hope you like it.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything Kingdom Hearts oriented...well, except the games.
Chapter 1: Summer Vacation Planning
"Well, good thing King Mickey's letter wasn't too urgent," Sora commented upon that rather cryptically worded note the King sent the other day to him and his two friends. "And it's also good that he suggested that we get the summer off. What with the Heartless and Nobodies, I think we deserve a break after a year of working so hard. So, how about it, guys?"
Easing herself onto the bench-like palm tree branch beside Sora, Kairi patted the top of his hand to show her approval. "Yeah. A good old-fashioned summer vacation is definitely what we need right now....even though I really haven't done much."
"It's OK, Kairi," Riku contributed, glancing over his shoulder at her. "Nobody asked you to do anything."
Then again, nobody had asked him to do anything a year ago, and look what he ended up wreaking.
Darkness once claimed his heart, which almost disappeared entirely if he had allowed it to persist much longer than it did. Afterwards, he struggled with that mysterious entity throughout the rest of last year. Because of this, Riku felt as though he lost everything dear to him...or at least he felt like he should have. But, if he had refused to switch sides in the first place, Kairi would have chosen him as her boyfriend. Even though he attempted fruitlessly to rescue her from her comatose state, she preferred Sora still. Right? In any case, those two deserved each other, for they were both kind people with pure hearts. His was tainted with the darkness that once occupied his previously rewarding albeit restless life; therefore, his two friends should have pushed him away. Any sane person would have done so.
Stroking back the lightened brown spikes of his hair, Sora swung his feet back and forth while he gazed at the glinting rays of sunlight. With these luminescent rays reflecting off the azure waves of the endless expanse of ocean, it was just another beautiful day on Destiny Islands. Their home, restored after all they trials they had gone through—no one expected the islands to exist again. However, with Sora's powerful Keyblade that he utilized for the greater good, they shone as brightly and exuberantly as ever before. As if nothing malevolent had ever invaded here. Why did ugly flashbacks emerge at the most peaceful times? No matter what Sora insisted repeatedly in those past two days, Riku knew that it was all his fault. He hoped that he would somehow recover from this suffocating guilt. Gazing blankly out at the lazy, summertime ocean waves, he murmured, "Yeah, a vacation sounds good."
If he could forget what happened to these nearly desecrated islands while on his time away, he would be thankful for that.
Showing just how pleased he was that his friends supported his idea, Sora grinned broadly as though he won a sand castle building contest, which he excelled at in his early years.
"Great! I was thinking that we could all go to Radiant Garden. That way, both of you can get to meet Leon and the others. I'm sure they'll like you two."
Radiant Garden formerly known as Hollow Bastion, a far darker, more sinister name—that place brought back some of the worst memories for Riku. He remembered actually sleeping there in a tiny bedroom devoid of windows, ruining any chance for sunlight to conquer the darkness. There, Maleficent would confide in him regarding some of her vile plots. And, in spirit, Ansem (the falsely named Ansem) would haunt and torment his slumber during the long, agonizing nights. Though called Radiant Garden again, Riku was unsure if he ever wished to set foot there again.
However, he didn't really want to voice his inner thoughts to Sora and Kairi either, since doing that could dishearten them. In every way possible, he planned to redeem himself so as not to be that pathetic, selfish burden he had become as an adolescent wishing to escape the islands. Keeping potentially depressing thoughts to himself was a good start.
So, he pulled off the fakest grin possible (though Sora would buy the act) and declared, "Well, that actually sounds like a good vacation spot. I don't really care, though. I just want to get out of here."
Kairi, on the other hand, looked less enthused. "But, you two just got home. Do you really want to leave so soon? Don't you want to spend at least a couple of days here?"
Sora heaved a sympathetic sigh upon noting his crush's moment of disappointment, clearly displayed by the crestfallen look upon her face. Still, he could hardly believe that out of the three of them, she would be the most prone to homesickness. Then again, who could blame her? The events that unfolded last year along with this year were enough to compel someone to crave for the comforts of home. This meant a great deal, considering the eagerness all three used to feel upon setting out on their first adventure. Their dreams had been so innocent then...
"All right, two more days and then summer vacation begins!" Sora proclaimed, his grin whiter and his eyes brighter than childhood days that were long past now. After he shouted this, his friends smiled as all three of them settled into companionable silence.
Regretfully, as much as they longed for it, the tranquil quietness that only they could share abruptly ended when Selphie loudly called their names. The other teens their age knew how obnoxious she could get in the blink of an eye with her voice that reached an octave dogs could hear. Perhaps the other pets on the islands could hear her voice, too. Appearing extremely thrilled over her bit of news, Selphie could barely stop herself from jumping up and down, her agog green eyes drifting toward the three friends. Her gaze momentarily rested on Riku, who almost squirmed. He wasn't even inclined to like her like that, especially since she claimed to be his biggest fan. That would make anyone run to the hills in an instant. He had too many fangirls as it was; in fact, she managed the frenzied girl club in his honor.
"Hey, guys!" she squealed before digging through her khaki purse. "I'm having a party this evening."
Kairi, who miraculously tolerated the girl the most, smiled discreetly, yet the other two boys could tell she really wasn't in a mood for parties. Oddly enough, though, she could simply become the belle of the ball without doing much, merely impressing with her beguiling presence...not like she appreciated that quality very much. No matter how confidently she behaved, she detested excess attention.
Despite all of this, she responded placidly with, "We would like to go to your party, Selphie. So, where's it going to be at anyway?"
"Oh, just a few yards from here. It's going to be a summer beach party with a dance floor and fruit drinks and everything! Oh, and I wanted it to be semi-formal, too."
What was this, a paltry school dance? Riku resisted the urge to roll his aquamarine eyes due to the overall disdain he felt regarding this whole idea. After all, it sounded like a pathetic cliché in itself. Besides, now he would have to search for a stupid tie if it was so semi-formal; honestly, discovering that he would have to go to this party so as not to hurt Selphie's feelings (lousy conscience) frustrated him. After all of his ordeals, he didn't really feel like celebrating. What was there to party about anyway?
Lying once again to his cynical self, he told Selphie unflinchingly, "It's a good idea."
He subconsciously moved further down the tree branch as she squealed, nearly threatening to give him a loving chokehold. That Tilmett girl was just way too enthusiastic for his tastes.
"That's great that you like the idea! Here are your invites—hope to see you there!"
Once she distributed the beautifully done invitations while beaming, she practically skipped away.
Riku breathed out a disappointed sigh, because how would everyone feel looking at the one kid who single-handedly destroyed their world? Maybe they would reject him, shun him to the point that a sense of loneliness would torture him.
In the mean time, he noticed Sora grinning again. "Well, a party is a good start to your vacation."
The silver haired boy merely snorted, a lopsided smirk forming on his lips. "Whatever you say, Sora."
"But, I'm serious, though. Riku, no one is going to hate you."
"Come on, it's just a party. How bad can it be? Besides, Selphie means well for all of her crazy randomness. It's harmless," Kairi contributed in assuring.
However, not even the girl of his dreams could convince Riku that nothing catastrophic would happen at the party. He admitted that ever since he almost alienated his friends, he felt a considerable lack of self-esteem. But, he was going to a party, he thought as he searched for a dress shirt within his disorganized closet, he should lighten up for the sakes of the guests. Dwelling on his past would only worsen his everyday life, and the recovery process would be even more laborious. At last, he found a plain white short-sleeved shirt as well as a black tie to complement it perfectly. He decided the formal yet not formal punk look would suit him best that evening. Who knew if Kairi would think him attractive? He hoped more than anything that he could win her love.
Even though she talked gently to Sora too, he also hoped that maybe those two were better off as friends. If he could gain her admiration and trust again, like he had ever since early childhood, he would be alleviated in that knowledge. He cared about her, always had, and maybe she could return those same affections. Suddenly, this thought compelled him to dab on some cologne, so he retreated to his personal bathroom to conduct this. Running a hand carelessly through his silver hair, he emerged from the tile covered room with renewed confidence. Seemingly, he carried that with him as he walked over to Selphie's beach party, which appeared rather stereotypical. Fake tikis overlooked the wooden dance floor, and a stereo system was set up nearby along with a table of refreshments. A bowl of bright red fruit punch sat there, and so did freshly cut pineapples and coconuts. Even delicious kebabs, previously roasted, lay on a plate. Everything looked so delectable on that table.
To no one's surprise, Sora had claimed the refreshments area as his own designated spot, since he promptly picked up a savory meat kebab to chew on. He wore a blue plaid short-sleeved shirt over a white undershirt and khaki pants.
"How come I knew that I would see you at the food table, Sora?" Riku asked as he wore a teasing smirk, ruffling his best friend's brown spikes of hair.
"I don't know." Sora turned to him and shrugged. "Maybe you can read my mind."
"Nah," the silver haired teen waved that aside while punching him in the shoulder. "I just know you too well."
"Hey, have you seen Kairi around?"
"No, I didn't even see her on my w—"
Upon gazing at the most gorgeous sight in the world, more so than the sparkling white sands of the beach, Riku froze toward the end of his sentence. As for his close pal, he nearly choked on his kebab—so much so that Riku thought he needed to perform the Heimlich maneuver. For, what stunned the two boys was Kairi unintentionally, gracefully walking toward them. She wore a teal colored strapless gown that had a slight train stitched to the back of it. To her best guy friends, she appeared as a dream-like goddess, the very picture of perfection.
Laughingly, she joked, "Stare at me, why don't you? What's the matter? I take it you've never seen a girl before."
"Not this amazing," Riku whispered under his breath while Sora exclaimed, "But, you're just so pretty!"
Under the rays of afternoon sunlight, Kairi beamed from true happiness upon hearing these comments regarding her appearance. Just then, Selphie bounded over to them hyperactively.
"I'm about to turn on the music. Any requests?" she asked eagerly, ready to serve her guests. Sora and Kairi glanced at Riku, whose opinion they knew Selphie relied on the most. The adolescent in question leaned coolly back against the table, icily staring at the brunette girl while crossing his arms.
Nonchalantly, he spoke, "I don't care as long as it's punk rock."
"Excellent choice, darling. Anything you pick is the best!" Selphie lauded in her sugary voice, threatening (according to him) to kiss him on the cheek. Luckily, Wakka overheard the request and switched on mosh pit worthy rock music. Much to Riku's dismay, Sora inquired of Kairi for the first dance, and they hardly left the dance floor for the rest of the party.
At one pivotal point in the party, a slow song played as Riku stoically stood by the table, specifically closed to the punch bowl. He kept sipping the tangy fruit juice while softly turning down the fan club members' offer to dance with them. Why would he when he barely knew those girls? All they craved for was the apparent good looks he possessed; they could care less about his personality. Disappointed at the general slim pickings, Riku retreated from the light that the traditional luau fire posts emitted to disappear into the shadows where he belonged. Indeed, he felt more at home away from people than with them. Besides, those simple minded fangirls probably disregarded his absence for all their obsessing and swooning. A slightly cool yet inviting nocturnal summer breeze made the fronds of the nearby palm trees sway. It even stirred strands of his platinum hair playfully, comfortingly.
Riku stared upward toward the winking stars and the equally as silvery moon glowing down upon the dusky gray looking beach. A beautiful night with hardly any clouds in the sky—however, being stuck at this party bothered him. Yes, he had done some socializing, but he could glimpse a certain feeling in each person's eyes: dashed confidence. No one was sure if they wanted to accept him again. He couldn't say that he blamed those kids either. Nearly lost in his shifting thoughts, he heard a rustling of leaves about six feet from where he stood. Curious, Riku crept over to the underbrush...
...and found Sora and Kairi, their arms wrapped around each other, their lips kissing passionately.
Noticing Riku emotionlessly watch them completely startled Sora, who immediately released Kairi from his caring, loving embrace. But, the damage was already done, no need to shamefully hide.
"Oh, hey...Riku. Look, I'm sorry, man. No one was supposed to see it, honest!"
Smoothing down the vaguely disheveled locks of her auburn hair, Kairi added, "Yeah, Riku, I hope you're not grossed out or anything."
Not grossed out, he assumed, but miserably downcast from seeing a long-time crush in the arms of his best friend. For their sakes, though, he would keep this triad of friendship alive.
"No," he murmured to the ocean waves lapping upon the shore. "It doesn't bother me too much. After all, you two deserve each other—you're perfect together."
The couple smiled, and Sora replied, "Thanks, Riku. I'm happy Kairi and I are together now. I actually didn't think this could happen."
"Me neither," Riku had dropped his voice to a whisper before setting off for home.
A/N: Forgive me, guys, for using the games' version of Kairi, the version I despise as much as some of the rest of you. She's not going to be that important to the story, really. Aw, bummer, Riku lost out in the love triangle. Tis a shame that he caught those two making out during a party. Yeah, and I bet he felt real festive after that. XP
However, more of this is on the way. The next chapter holds something key that changes the entire plot around...sort of. I hadn't felt a need to rush this at the time, so anyway...
Could you please review? I really would like to know if I did OK with characterizations and all that. The problem with Riku (along with Zexion) is that he's such a complex character that it's difficult to write him in-character. I hope I pulled it off all right.