Challenge [274]: Sleep

Title: Sleeping to Dream

Word Count: 599

Notes: Inspired by an idea presented in the Wake trilogy that my friend gave me and the idea that worlds aren't the only things left asleep... "Fix You" by Coldplay and its cover by Boyce Avenue motivated me to finish typing the idea in my head, and the title comes from a Jason Mraz song. Set toward the end of 3D, but it's not a speculation piece. Kind of obviously hinted-at Riku/Xion (imagine that). This is my peace offering since the next chapter of "The New Future's Face" is nowhere near done, heh, heh...

"I'm surprised we never did this that whole time we were together," Xion murmurs offhandedly. Beside her Riku hums in agreement, hands folded behind his head and stretched out on the grass. As far as he remembers—which is still very little, but the gaps are filling in—he and Xion had never even stayed outdoors while they were on the run, so of course they'd never gone stargazing. The sleeping Land of Departure is perfect for it, though, with its wide pavilions and gentle lights, even despite the quiet emptiness; it's like every star in the sky is visible from here.

"Are you leaving soon?" Xion's voice cracks, but when Riku turns his head to check on her, she's still tracing constellations with her eyes, not a trace of sadness anywhere on her face.

"Yeah." Riku rises, pulling up a knee to rest his elbow on it. With a rustle of grass and a squeak, the rainbow-colored Bat-Bat flutters into the air, earning itself a chuckle from Xion as she pushes herself up as well. "Can't let Sora beat me home, can we?"

"No, we can't." Xion watches him carefully, gauging his reactions as she adds, "This is still the best dream I've had."

"It's one of the better ones I've had," he says, and out of habits he thought he'd forgotten he reaches for her hand. "It's not forever, you know. Sora isn't going to quit until you and Roxas and the others are awake." We won't quit...

"That's true." Xion almost-smiles, but it doesn't brighten her expression so much as bring to light how frayed at the edges she's become over the past year of sleep. "Promise me something, won't you?"

"I owe you that much." His jaw clenches.

"Try not to forget me?" Her smile falls just uttering it. "It wasn't your fault, but all the same..."

"I won't." He resists the urge to stroke her cheek, using the excuse of not knowing what she'd do to cover up his cowardice. How did Sora get to be so much better than him at impressing women? "I promise."

This time when she smiles, its relieved, happy. "Thank you."

"I just wish I'd—we'd get to see each other sooner." Moodily Riku uproots a blade of grass.

"Now that I think of it, Riku, I think I know a way we can keep seeing each other."

"Oh?" The Bat-Bat squeals again and lands between the two of them, glaring at the black-haired girl that's distracting its partner.

"Maybe..." Xion bites her lip and frowns. "If you kept telling yourself that you're going to see me, I think I'd be able to find my way back to your dreams. Contrary to popular belief, you can decide what you dream. Or so I've heard." The Dream Eater chirps, suspiciously like a response.

"That would have been useful to know a few years ago," he growls, and Xion chuckles. "I think I can give that a shot."

"It's a deal, then." Xion scratches the Bat-Bat's ear fondly. "I think this little guy's ready to go, Riku."

"Right." Slowly Riku gets to his feet, reaching down to pull Xion up with him. They linger too close together for too long, and yet Xion pulls away too soon, still gripping his hand. "Thanks for everything."

"It's the least I can do after everything you did for me." Xion squeezes his hand and smirks at him through her eyelashes. "Goodbye, Riku."

"See you soon." And before he can say another word, the Land of Departure lives up to its name and fades into light around him.