A/N: WHAT IS THIS? WHY, YES, I CAN WRITE SERIOUS KH FICS, THANK YOU VERY MUCH! Okay, honestly, I wrote this to prove to myself that I could write serious KH fics because mine never are. -cough-
That aside, I could write honkin' huge paragraphs of text explaining how, hypothetically, Roxas could not have a heart but still feel emotion, why Riku can see even with a blindfold on, when this fic could potentially take place (besides, obviously, sometime during 358/2 Days), and why Riku and Roxas are together in the first place, among other subjects that I would potentially need to explain.
But no one would want to read that, so just take it as it is.
Sorry for the crappy title; I couldn't come up with anything better.
The single light hanging from the ceiling of his room was flicked off—lights out was at eleven p.m. sharp and Saïx was a stickler for precision—but it was still rather easy to see in the small bedroom. Looking out the large window that took up most of the far wall you could the city lights shining down below and, above, numerous stars and Kingdom Hearts itself. The moon smiled warmly down at the Nobodies, looking over them as they slept. It was revered, for though it was incomplete, it held a promise, a promise of the thing Nobodies longed for most—hearts.
A Nobody's feelings were artificial. What, then, powered this desire to obtain a heart? The lingering memories of what it was like to feel?
Roxas had none of those, though. He had no heart. No memories of his former life. No anything. He placed his hand on his chest, on the left side. Nothing.
At the moment, Roxas was clothed in his pants and a dark gray shirt. Folded neatly on the nightstand beside the bed was his Black Cloak, gloves resting on top of them and his boots standing on the floor beside said stand. The cloak was made from a special material, meant to protect the wearer while traveling through the Corridors of Darkness, and Roxas had to wear it every day as part of Organization XIII's uniform.
Organization XIII. A group of Nobodies, apparently born from Somebodies with extremely strong hearts, their objective supposedly being to get their hearts back. Hearts were required to feel emotion and do all sorts of things. Roxas had a "Keyblade," which was able to release hearts from Heartless, sending them to Kingdom Hearts. And once Kingdom Hearts was completed, they would get their hearts.
...That's what he had been told, at least. But whenever he tried to ask questions and find out more, they would always tell him the same thing. "We need you to make Kingdom Hearts," they said, and, "You'll understand when you have a heart again."
But Roxas wanted to understand now. Huddling miserably beneath his blanket and squeezing his eyes shut, he wondered, not for the first time, who, exactly, he was, what he was, and why he was here. There were so many questions that he often thought about, questions he never got answers to. But now a completely different question moved to the front of his mind, taking priority over all the others: Would he be coming tonight?
He came. Every now and then, he came. Every now and then, they would talk and be together for a little while. He would hold him and Roxas would feel something he decided must be happiness, and then he would be gone again. But it had been weeks since the last visit now.
A hissing sound interrupted his thoughts, a sound Roxas inherently recognized as a Dark Portal being opened. His eyes first opened to slits, then they opened fully and he sat up in his bed as footfalls indicated someone walking towards him.
"You came!" He uttered the soft exclamation with gleeful surprise.
Something of a smile tugged at the corners of the other's mouth, quickly morphing into a smirk—a familiar, gently teasing smirk.
Riku stopped at the side of the bed. "Did you miss me?"
"I—of course I did," Roxas replied. "Where have you been? It's been ages."
The smirk dropped into a slight frown as Riku sat on the edge of the bed. "I've been...busy."
The explanation didn't satisfy Roxas, and he crossed his arms across his chest. "That's never stopped you before."
"How have your missions been going?" Riku asked, idly fingering the blanket.
Roxas narrowed his eyes, realizing that Riku had purposely ignored his comment. "Okay," he answered. "Boring. Nothing new. What have you been busy with?"
Humming quietly, Riku leaned closer to Roxas. "Doesn't matter."
"Riku," Roxas said slowly, "don't avoid the—"
Apparently, kissing someone was a very effective way of shutting them up. At the very least, it worked well on Roxas, who felt cross for only a moment before giving in to it.
Tentatively, Roxas rested his hand on Riku's chest, knowing what to expect and wanting to feel it but dreading it all the same. Ba-dum. Ba-dum. Ba-dum. The thudding of his heart. Next to this, it was painfully obvious what Roxas was lacking.
"You avoided the question," he muttered sulkily when Riku drew away.
And there was that smirk again. "I know."
"You're annoying," Roxas added without inflection.
Roxas fidgeted a bit. "How long are you staying?"
Riku didn't answer right away, turning his head away to face the wall. At length he said, "I don't know. Not long."
With a sigh of resignation, Roxas leaned against Riku, the latter automatically wrapping his arms around the former. With his head against Riku's chest, Roxas could clearly hear the steady beat of his heart.
"If...when I get a heart," he ventured after a few minutes of silence, "will everything make sense?"
Again, Riku took his time before answering. "Actually, everything might become a lot more complicated," he said quietly after a minute.
That didn't sound right. Roxas tilted his head to look up at Riku, confused. "But Axel said that we'd be able to understand emotions once we...you know."
The arms around him tightened their hold, if only by a fraction.
"Feel emotions, maybe. But understand them?" Riku smiled bitterly. "Even humans cannot comprehend their own emotions."
This news unsettled Roxas, for he had always assumed that everything would become clear—like a moment of abrupt clarity or, well something—once he obtained a heart, but now Riku was claiming otherwise. Maybe he shouldn't have expected it to be so simple.
"But I want to know. I need to know," Roxas said. "What is it like to feel emotions?"
Riku seemed amused by his comment, which bothered Roxas. "What is it?" he asked.
"Well," Riku said slowly, deliberately drawing out the word, "you already can feel emotions."
Roxas stared in mute surprise as Riku calmly made the statement. When he could find his voice again, he fairly exclaimed, "Feel emotions? How can I? I don't have a heart—the proof is right here!" He took Riku's hand and pressed it against his chest, right above the gaping, hollow emptiness that he felt constantly eating away at him from the inside.
"Not having a heart doesn't mean anything," Riku said.
"If you cannot feel emotion," interrupted Riku softly, trailing a finger down Roxas's face, "then why are you looking at me that way?"
He moved to kiss him again, and Roxas didn't bother resisting. Because it was true. He wanted it.
"Was that fake?" Riku asked, smirk back in full force.
"No," Roxas breathed. "It wasn't."
"You can feel emotions." It wasn't a question. "While I can't say for sure why, it's probably because your Somebody is still alive," Riku added, shrugging slightly.
Roxas tensed at this. "I'm not Sora."
"I know," he whispered. "I know."
Something in Riku's tone troubled Roxas. "Did..." He swallowed and tried again. "Did you wish I was?"
"That's not much of an answer."
"You didn't ask for more."
While it was true he had asked it as a yes or no question, he really would have liked elaboration. Still, Roxas couldn't summon the energy to raise his head and glare at Riku. Instead, he chose to snuggle a bit closer to him. Riku rested his chin on the top of his head with a sigh.
Roxas closed his eyes and wondered if, against all possibility, he could make this moment last forever. But, like all good things, it came to an end, and far too soon for Roxas's liking. It ended after what was probably a long stretch of companionable silence that still felt relatively short to Roxas, when Riku brought his arms back and stood up from the bed, saying, in a voice tinged with regret, "I have to go."
"Not yet," Roxas pleaded, catching Riku by the wrist before he could start walking away.
"Roxas," said Riku, and there was a note of warning in his tone now. "I can't stay."
"Can't stay," Roxas repeated faintly, "or don't want to stay?"
"I can't, you know I can't," Riku said, his voice raising sharply. "I shouldn't even—"
That was as far as he got before Roxas yanked him back down so that their mouths crashed together. Roxas felt a certain satisfaction with using Riku's own strategy against him, especially because it looked like it was working. Riku was making no move to pull away, he noted; in fact, he had moved to return the kiss, one hand on Roxas's back and the other braced on the bed.
"You're a damn selfish Nobody," Riku murmured.
Said selfish Nobody was too busy trying to keep Riku's mind off of leaving to reply verbally, but in his mind he was agreeing. He was selfish, so very selfish, but he didn't care. As long as Riku would stay. And, though his movements were reluctant, Riku did move to sit back down on the edge of the bed.
"Ten minutes," he said. "Then I really have to go."
Roxas flopped down against his pillows with a sort of huff of consent. "Fine." He wasn't particularly happy with it, but, still, ten minutes was better than nothing, right?
Time was slipping by quickly, far too quickly. He wanted—needed—to say something, anything, to not waste these precious few minutes together, but when Roxas opened his mouth, the words that came out weren't quite what he was expecting.
"Do you love me?"
The silence that stretched out between them now was so tense it was practically tangible. Roxas was already mentally cursing himself for asking such a question. But he had been thinking absently about what Axel had told him when he'd asked about what love was. He still didn't understand, and he supposed the question must have just slipped out. Accustomed by now to his moments of silence before speaking, Roxas waited patiently for Riku's answer. When a response didn't seem to be forthcoming, however, he nudged Riku with his foot.
"Why do you want to know?" asked Riku evasively.
Roxas shifted around uncomfortably for a few seconds. "Well, Axel said..."
"Axel says a lot of things," Riku noted dryly.
Roxas frowned. It occurred to him that a lot of their conversations did involve him telling Riku things Axel said. It must seem like he didn't have any thoughts of his own. "Well, he's my best friend," he said defensively. "And he knows a lot of things. I can ask him about stuff."
"You asked him about love," Riku stated, sounding amused.
"Yes. But I didn't really get his explanation," he admitted.
"What did he say about it?"
Roxas tilted his head to the side as he tried to recall his friend's words. "He says it happens when there's...something special between two people. Something really special. But not like best friends. And he said I would be able to love someone if I had a heart."
"Is that so," Riku murmured musingly.
"Yeah. So, what is love?" Roxas asked. Riku had a heart, after all. He must know.
"It's like what your friend said," Riku replied carefully. "It's when you care about someone...I guess more than a friend, but also differently than as a friend."
"More than a friend? And differently?" echoed Roxas, still not quite understanding.
Riku sighed patiently. "Do you care about me?"
"Do you love me?"
"I..." Roxas blinked at Riku. "Wait, I asked you first!"
"Does it matter?" Riku smirked. "Just answer the question."
"I don't know! That's why I asked!"
Riku stood up again, setting his hand on Roxas's head and ruffling his hair affectionately. "Well, I love you. But I really do have to go now," he added firmly, using the tone that told Roxas it would do no good to try and argue further. He'd already stayed far longer than he usually did. Stretching out his hand, Riku opened a Dark Portal.
"Wait," said Roxas, and Riku paused. When he turned back, he was frowning.
"I'm serious, Roxas. I can't stay."
"I know," he replied quickly. "But, um, I just wanted to say that I love you, too."
Riku smiled gently. "I know." Then he stepped into the Dark Portal. The swirling, inky darkness dropped to the ground and disappeared before Roxas could even consider following him.
Sinking back down in his bed and drawing his blanket back over him with a little smile on his face, Roxas decided that the hollowness in his chest didn't feel quite so empty anymore.