Hey, look, I have shoutouts again! I've got an anonymous reviewer, so thanks to...
Flightfoot for reviewing "Reprogram" (I know, it's horrible, isn't it? I consider it on the same level as Terra's) and for reviewing "Nightmare" (Poor guy. :P I hope he didn't have nightmares like that, but I don't see how he couldn't have; it's not the worst memory Xion could have or has absorbed, but still not fun. In the slightest.)!
SAKURA SCOUT, I AM SO SORRY. It's a month late, and I'm uploading it with fifteen minutes to spare, but better late than never, right? *Shot.* Hey, I tried. You should see my notebook—I had seven different attempts before I tried a different idea a while. (Plus I came up with a bunch of other ideas for 'Ruki's life after I got your prompts.)
For the rest of you who don't know what I'm talking about, I created an original character for use in three prompts of my completed one hundred theme challenge. I never intended baby Haruki to be anything more than a plot device to finish the challenge, but then a few friends of mine (cough, goldeneyes713, cough, cough, and Sakura Scout, cough) fell in love with the idea of Riku and Xion's bundle of joy and asked for a bit more information on him. I got Sakura Scout to loan me a few quotes/prompts to start off, but I always enjoy other's ideas/requests. I'm trying to make these longer than this one, but this S.O.B. gave me trouble from the start. I've ahd this done for a week now, but I wanted something longer, but then it was getting too long... Okay, enough excuses!
Reviews are always appreciated, as are suggestions for this series. Please, enjoy...
I meant to go through with it: is that the truth? Yes. No. Yes-no. There is such a word, but it has never been allowed into the dictionaries. Yes-no: every woman knows what it means at it defeats every man. "Are you going to do it?" asked Vercueil, his man-eyes gleaming. "Yes-no," I should have answered.
– Mrs. Curren from "Age of Iron" by J.M. Coetzee
Riku has never questioned Xion's judgment when it came to this, no matter how much it hurt them both. For that, she is grateful...
...But she'll never let herself forget the traces of pain she saw in his eyes, despite his attempts to hide it, when she suggested adoption. Riku may not even be twenty yet, but like her, he wants this baby and the future it represents—one where they don't have to fight; one where he and Xion can play with their child, maybe even children, without fear of anything more serious than the uppity old neighbor-lady; one where they can pretend they're completely normal.
That vision of the future is exactly why Xion plans to give Haruki—the baby is going to be a boy, and he's going to be named Haruki—to someone else. They'll never have that life, not now that they've gained the knowledge never meant for mortals, so what's the use in acting like they will? At least this way Haruki will be safe and have the life his parents want for him.
All the same, after dinner every night from the sixth month on, Xion and Riku rest their hands on her belly, waiting to feel every punch and kick from Haruki's little hands and feet, and Xion can almost convince herself that they're living in one of Zexion's alternate realities and that Haruki will grow up in this little house of theirs, not someone else's.
Everything changes the day Haruki is born.
Haruki couldn't wait until his mom was home at Destiny Islands—oh, no, he decided that Disney Castle would be the place. That's the first sign of who this kid will be; he was bending the world order before he was even born. For years Xion will wonder how King Mickey could see her the same way after he heard her phenomenal cursing, but damn it, it hurts more than most injuries she's ever been dealt. Riku coming the closest she's seen yet to a panic attack doesn't help matters, either—Xion hates seeing him in mental anguish and/or physical pain as much as he hates hearing her scream.
Everything—the pain, the sweat, the tears, the nine months of being so careful of anything she did—everything is worth it the instant she hears the squalling.
For nine months, Xion has anticipated and dreaded this moment. Her baby—their baby—is here at last, but soon enough, he'll be gone, and another woman will be feeding him and waking up to his cries. Xion doesn't bother restraining a few tears. "He's so beautiful," she murmurs; Haruki is, indeed, a boy, with his father's beautiful blue eyes and facial structure. For now, though, with all of his baby pudginess, the black hair makes him look more like his mother.
Beside her, Riku unconsciously leans forward, cautiously inspecting the new heart in Xion's arms. "'Course he is. He looks like you." Haruki's tiny hand reaches for Riku's nose, but the older male jerks away before the infant can get a good tug on it.
Chuckling, Xion slips a finger in Haruki's, drinking up everything about this moment: how quiet their little one is, his startlingly bright eyes, the firm grip he has on her finger and her heart. "Haruki, baby, don't be a suck up like your father," she coos, grinning when he pulls her finger, almost in response. "Alright, Mummy's tired. Let's go see Daddy..."
"Wha...?" is all Riku stutters out before he's forced to thrust his arms out to bear his son. Awkwardly, gasping at the tiny weight, he cocks an elbow up to steady the baby, blinking rapidly when the baby makes a strange, wet snort of a laugh. It isn't long, however, until his dumbfounded look falls prey to the same wonder and awe that Xion felt. She flops a weak hand on his arm, beaming at him and how at peace her boys look. "What I wouldn't give..." Riku murmurs, swallowing.
There it is—the straw that broke the back of Xion's resolve. Her hand tightens around Riku's forearm, which gets his attention. In a look it all comes out.
It'll take another nine months, she thinks, to lay their plans and figure out who works and who feeds and how much to tell him, and Riku just might have to kill another thousand Heartless to pay for everything, but maybe... maybe they can make this work.
Xion's smile couldn't be brighter.
Sixteen years from today, Xion will remember this moment exactly as it was before Roxas and Axel finally arrive, late as per usual. The life they built for Haruki will be shattered then, like she always knew it would, but she won't be able to regret it. Sixteen wonderful years... She'll remember that she also always knew that she never would have been able to give up her baby, not even to spare him from the complications of his parents being Keyblade Masters or from Axel's merciless teasing (just wait until he's old enough to find out where he was conceived...) In fact, the only regrets she'll ever have is not being able to tell Haruki the truth sooner and that he would be forced to bear the same weight his parents do.
But that's sixteen years from now. For now, she's content in knowing she has his whole life ahead of them.