Disclaimer- I don't own Kingdom Hearts.
Author's Note- This ties in directly with my other oneshot, Dreamscape. Please read it first, to get more background for this piece, or you probably won't understand much. This one ties up a few loose ends from Dreamscape, and creates just as many questions as it answers. (This is why I don't do sequels or prequels, they become whole series because I can never stop.)
Beta'd by Shaded Silvering Grey, who is ridiculously awesome for putting up with me.
Anyways. Enjoy the story, and please review!
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." - John Dalberg-Acton
Blood, caking on his hands and there's sand sticking to him, sticking to the blood that's staining the sand red. And Riku wants to vomit.
The air smells of copper, of iron, soaking through the air and choking him with the stench.
(It pairs wonderfully with the red, and the sand, and the delightfully cool night air, but it's not Riku who's thinking that, not Riku who is enjoying this with perverse satisfaction.)
But he did this, didn't he? There's red -red everywhere- and he always did hate how harsh the color was. Always preferred blue, like Sora's eyes - like the everlasting sky that never goes anywhere, never changes.
But he knows that change... is inevitable.
But that's not something that he wants to be thinking about, not with Sora in front of him, eyes closed.
And he did this.
Too weak, always weak, and it's never been truer. Never strong enough; never good enough to stop what he wants to.
And his mind is clear now.
Riku can finally see the world through eyes untainted by bitterness. Can see things without the black, shadowy edge the world always used to have.
It doesn't make anything any better.
Doesn't make the world look any brighter than it used to be.
He's starting to realize that there is nothing really good in the world, especially not now that he's done this.
The only Light that Riku ever had is gone.
And he's lost all hope.
I'm going insane, Riku thinks, the words trembling with an edge of hysterical laughter.
More laughter: this time deeper and less of a noise that you can hear, but more of a feeling, a rumbling deep underground.
"You could be so much more," the voice murmurs somewhere nearby. So close. At the same time it's everywhere and nowhere. At the same time, it's all in his head and it's more real than anything he's ever heard before. It's enveloping.
"You could be everything." It knows what to tempt him with; it knows just what to offer. (Because it's the whole world.)
And in a rush, Riku feels small. In a rush of sudden, painful clarity that leaves him gasping for breath that he's not even sure that he needs, he realizes that he is small. That here, he is nothing.
He is less than nothing and he is weak, while the Darkness is strong and offering him everything that he has ever wanted. (Power. The chance to be someone better.)
Riku remembers being a little boy on Destiny Islands, and he remembers how he had always, always been just as hungry for more, just as ambitious as he is now. (Riku remembers the reason it hurt so, so much when Sora got the Keyblade. When he realized that Sora was so much stronger than he was.)
"Weak, you are weak. I am everything and you are nothing. I am the whole world while you are worth less than a worm." (It's the truth and nothing more. And maybe that's the worst part of it all, that the Darkness doesn't even need to make things up to hurt him. Doesn't even need to lie to him to get him to break under the weight of the words. The truth will do that for him.)
Sometimes Riku would wonder if maybe - despite what everyone has ever told him - the grass really is greener on the other side. Maybe things would be better for him if he were somewhere else. If he were someone else. (Run away, screams his mind. Run to a thousand places where no one can find you and start over. Be someone different, someone not you. Someone better.)
(Riku has lost track of the number of times he's wondered how his life would have gone if he had been better. If he had been stronger and hadn't lost his chance at being Keyblade master before he even got it, lost it by not being as good as Sora.)
Riku gasps, suddenly remembering to breathe, and then he remembers that he doesn't need to. (Or does he? He's not quite sure at this point, not sure if it's necessary here, or if it's just an old habit that's hard to quit. Not sure if, at this point, he's even alive, and not quite sure if it would be such a bad thing if he weren't.)
"Don't you want more?"
Yes, Riku thinks desperately. I do. I want more.
The Darkness laughs then, and it's like a small earthquake, something deep underground, because it wasn't lying when it said it was the whole world.
"There is a price to pay."
Of course there is. Riku knows that despite what everyone says, the best things in life aren't free. Everything comes with a price. (And Riku knows that some things have a much higher price than others.)
I'll pay it. Whatever it is, I'll pay it. (He wants this so much that it hurts.)
"Are you sure?" And it's not even trying to discourage him, just mildly amused. Like the pictures and warnings on packages of cigarettes, necessary but useless. Doesn't make a difference, won't change his mind.
The Darkness chuckles, reaches into his mind, and pulls on something that leaves his memories in shreds and his mind in tangles of confusion.
More laughter, cruel this time. "What's most important to you?"
Riku built the person that he was on words.
Words, always little words and meaningless phrases, people talking all the time. Talk, talk, talk, never really listening to what anyone said around them, not even listening to what they said themselves.
Pretty words, sometimes. Things said to get the desired reaction, meaningless. Ugly ones, said without thinking, said to get an opposite, equally explosive reaction. Meaningless, even then.
Because words never did hold any weight, he never did really listen much at all. Even when it was Sora talking, because words never meant much to Sora either.
Instead, it was always the little things, the things that went unnoticed by everyone. The way that Sora's hand would sometimes brush his when they were walking next to each other. The way that Riku smiled differently at Sora. The way that even when they were looking at other people, they weren't really looking, they were just staring right through.
The way that they only had eyes for each other.
The way that Sora was Riku's most important thing.
Riku might have been Sora's, once. When they were children and their friends were their whole worlds. Back before they got too curious and before Sora's eyes lost some of their innocence.
Before Sora decided that he loved all of the worlds more than he loved Riku, and before Riku decided that he loved power more than the worlds.
Riku's mind is filled with Sora. Sora with the Keyblade in hand, body glowing with his Light. Sora with the Keyblade, stronger than he was, better than Riku.
Sora with the Keyblade leaving him behind because Riku was weaker and couldn't keep up. Sora smiling and turning away, and Sora's back as he walked away, deaf to Riku telling him to stop.
But no, that's not how it went, was it? Sora wouldn't do that, Sora isn't twisted like that. It was Riku who walked away, wasn't it? Riku who wanted to leave and Riku who didn't come back.
Riku, with dangerous power pulsing at his fingertips -Darkness- on the brink of losing control. No Keyblade, because he wasn't the strong one, never was and never will be good enough for a Keyblade. Not enough Light. Not like Sora.
Because Sora is a star. He burns bright, even in the Darkest places, even with the Darkest thoughts.
And it's Sora that's most important to him. Sora that will pay the price.
"Give it up. Be someone better, be so much more."
Sora, most important, always, forever, he loves him, always, never-ending because they made a promise. (A promise that tasted like paopu fruit and felt like a hot summer's day.)
"Let go. Touch the grass on the other side, it really is greener, it really is better here, let go."
Don't forget, because memories are connections and connections are bonds and without them, who will remember you? Will anyone?, Sora's voice whispers softly, somewhere in the back of his mind, words that he'd whispered during a rare, introspective moment, but it's ignored for the louder voice offering something much more tempting.
And his mind is full of Sora laughing, crying, smiling, beautiful and bright, so Light, so perfect and so important, most important, always.
(If no one remembers you, did you ever really exist? If you are the only one who knows that you were ever real, does that really make it true? Or does it just make you
Riku lets go.
The Darkness lied. (You know, he really shouldn't be surprised.)
It's not greener here.
And he's not someone better.
(Someone once told him that there were no mistakes that couldn't be fixed. That nothing was permanent, and that bad decisions could always be reversed, if you tried.)
But that person lied.
And it's not a surprise for Riku, not anymore. His life, his childhood, his entire existence has been built upon fragile, spider-web lies. (Words, just more pretty, meaningless words.)
This is just another lie that he's buried under, crushed beneath the weight as they press on his chest and smother him until he can't breathe.
Sora, save me! I love you, I'm sorry, I take it back, I never meant it, I'm sorry, forgive me, save me, Sora, Sora, Sora!
And if Sora's listening, he doesn't care anymore.
("Be somebody better," the Darkness had whispered. "Be somebody more, but don't ever forget that you're nothing, you're no one, and that's never going to change, no matter what you give up.")
"Close your eyes," the Darkness whispers with Sora's voice. (Riku's eyes are closed.)
(Riku's not breathing anymore.)
(it will be all over soon.)