Disclaimer: I do not own Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts, nor am I making any money off this fanfiction.


Author's Notes…

Super long delay. Like… it's been almost a year. Hopefully some of you are still out there?

Special thanks to hesteen for beta-ing for me.


The Trigger

Chapter Seven

Empty

"I'm just saying… maybe I made a mistake."

Sora shoved his fists into his pockets and twisted toward Squall's patio window. He was currently standing in his professor's apartment, and three floors below there was a very nice view of the beach. At the moment, though, he couldn't concentrate on it, replaying Squall's last words over and over in his mind.

It was what he'd wanted to hear, wasn't it?

So then why did…?

He scrubbed his hands over his face. "Yeah, you did," he said at length, his fingers buried so tight in his hair he was hurting his scalp. "A big one."

A strong hand slid over his shoulder and squeezed hesitantly, but warmly. "So let me fix it."

Sora jerked away from him so fast he tripped over his feet. He caught the blinds to steady himself, yanking one down in the process. It fell to the floor in an awkward fold. Sora kicked it away, then strode across the living room, past the aquarium Squall had with its colorful fish swimming about.

"I'm not ready." Sora put his hands back in his pockets, wishing he had never left Riku's apartment. Sure, over there they'd be talking about psycho stuff like dreams that shouldn't be real, but it was infinitely better than this… this-ness.

"Ready?" The taller man folded his arms. He was beautiful, Sora would never deny that. He had these broad shoulders, a perfectly firm chest, a slender set of hips, and God, those thighs. His face itself was a masterpiece, with those choppy chocolate locks, his high cheekbones, his stormy gray eyes… It was that brooding expression he had on right now that had drawn Sora to him in the first place.

Sora bit into his thumbnail, tasting black paint chips. He wanted to smoke his stash of green more than ever now. This shit was too stressful lately. First the breakup, then Riku being his pretend boyfriend, Lea's unexpected phone call, the dream that had caused him to make a few cars wreck behind him…

"Yeah. I'm not," he repeated.

A frown formed on Squall's mouth. This one was different from the others. Squall rarely had anything but apathy on his face. "So everything you said about wanting to make this work… that was a lie?"

The first threads of anger sparked in Sora's destroyed heart. He'd had about enough of it being stepped on. "Don't do that," he said in a low voice, and his fingers curled into fists. "You don't get to do that. You don't get to say that to me."

"The truth?" Squall challenged.

"You fucked another man, Squall." Sora was doing his damndest not to yell. He did, however, thrust a finger at the floor. "You fucked him, and you didn't care about what it did to me. And just when I'm ready to move on, you—"

"With that Whidmore boy?" Squall said sharply.

Sora drew in a breath. Riku was right. Squall had noticed. He should have felt thrilled at that. This was everything he wanted, after all. Squall crawling back to him, in pieces over what Sora had going with Riku.

The taller man licked his lips, then came forward, his hands out in a placating gesture, like he was struggling to remain calm himself. "It… I was being stupid…" Squall squeezed his eyes shut. "Okay? I saw you two, and I—"

"Yeah, well, now you know how it feels," Sora bit out. What was wrong with him? Why was he doing this? He wanted Squall back! Now was his chance!

He walked out and he didn't look back, and it didn't matter. Squall never came after him.

And that really told Sora all he needed to know.

Even if he did cry in his Jeep afterward in the parking lot, watching the sun set over the sparkling waters of the beach.


By the time he had cried himself out, it was well into the evening. He lifted his phone to his ear and input the password to his voicemail. Lea's voice rang out, hesitant at first, borderline sheepish. But never apologetic. That wasn't Lea's way.

Sora tossed his phone onto the passenger seat, put his Jeep into drive, and rolled out.

The lights of the highway were glittering, guiding him amongst the palm trees to his next destination. He pulled into one of the many neighborhoods dotting this island after a short trip on a ferry, and didn't bother locking his vehicle as he hopped out onto the street. He noted the absence of his brother's car, just as promised.

Great.

Time to get fucked up.

Music was blasting bass well over the noise restriction rule, but considering it looked like every in the neighborhood was at Lea's house, it didn't really matter. Couples were strewn over the lawn, laughing into their cups. Two guys built on steroids were wrestling near the garbage can by the curb, and one's shirt had ridden up to bare his muscular back. It wasn't something Sora would have noticed before… well… before.

He stuck his keys in his pocket and climbed up the steps to Lea's front door. The second he opened it, more music hit him like a physical wall. Someone stumbled into him on their way out onto the small patio, and whereas normally Sora would have been irked, tonight he didn't really care. He had something on his mind, and it was requiring all of his attention. The rest of him was hollowed out, too empty for much else.

People were sweating from so much dancing—well, gyrating—and the party didn't look like it was stopping anytime soon. Sora sidestepped where he could, gently pushed drunkards out of his way when he couldn't. Lea was just within his sights, and as soon as he reached him, he took the beer bottle out of his hand and took a long drag from it.

"Sora!" Lea yelled over the music. It was cheerful. His cheeks were a rosy red to match his flaming hair. "You came!" He clapped a hand over Sora's shoulder.

Sora emptied the bottle, let it drop to the carpet, and put his arms around Lea's neck. When he brought his lips crashing down on Lea's, he was met with only a second's hesitation. Then Lea's long fingers were wrapping around Sora's waist, pulling him up against his equally long torso, and migrating to cup over his ass. Lea squeezed, drawing a groan from Sora's throat, and their tongues tangled in a blend of passion and the alcohol buzzing around in their bodies.

The music pounded so hard into Sora that it was like it was one with his heartbeat. He let Lea pick him up, and he wrapped his legs around Lea's skinny hips moments before he was shoved into the opposite wall. Someone whooped and clapped Lea on the back, making Lea laugh breathlessly into Sora's kiss, and then his teeth were on Sora's lips, and his hands were sliding beneath Sora's shirt, and Sora arched into it, taking it all.

When Lea pulled a familiar pill from the pocket of his skinny jeans and held it up for Sora's examination, Sora took it and swallowed it dry. Later, he'd remember flashes of things—Lea's teeth nibbling at Sora's throat, Sora himself laughing deliriously, streaks of light, the delicious heat rolling through him—but most of it would be sucked into a black hole that he welcomed with open arms.

Not remembering was all he could have asked for.


Did you ever really love me?


His phone.

It was making such a loud, incessant noise, and in seconds Sora was going to—

He cracked open his eyes as his hand reached out and met air. His phone was not where it was supposed to be, which was on his nightstand, which was notably absent. His head was throbbing and the light coming in through the blinds was too bright, so he shut his eyes again with a groan and rolled onto his back.

His. Phone. Would. Not. Stop. Ringing.

Sora threw an arm over his eyes and made another protesting noise.

God damn it.

"No, Roxas, I'm telling you, don't go in there—!"

And suddenly, Sora was wide awake, his hangover be damned. He sat up in bed, and bright orange sheets fell to his waist. His naked waist.

He lifted his eyes just in time to see Roxas' fist swinging toward his face, Kairi screaming as she held onto his brother's other arm and tried to pull him back.

Thwack!

He wanted to want to take it. He did. He deserved it—how could he not have deserved it? He'd slept with his brother's boyfriend, and, honestly, it wasn't the first time. But that morning, maybe because of his pounding headache or the bullshit he was tired of sloughing through, he just… He was tired of being the proverbial punching bag. Someone's mistake, that's all he ever was. And he let it happen.

Roxas' fist came at him again, and Sora jerked his arm up with reflexes that shouldn't have been so quick so early. He caught the fist against his palm and squeezed onto Roxas' knuckles until his brother cried out in pain. Sora's still slightly drugged mind was too bogged down to really process why Kairi was there, why she was crying, why she was yanking at Roxas.

"Don't, just don't, it's not worth it, come on, let's just go—"

And if anything, that just made him angrier.

Roxas' face was twisted with the utmost fury. It was a face that Sora saw everyday in the mirror, because except for the hair color and different styling, it was his own. They were twins, after all, Roxas born two minutes after Sora. They were so identical, it was painful to look at old photos and think that they had once been close to the point of being inseparable.

"Seriously?!" he was screaming now at Sora.

Lea, until this moment, hadn't breathed a single word. But at Roxas' second yell, it seemed to penetrate into his stunned thoughts, and he leapt between the twins, notably in front of Sora, and took Roxas' next flail of fists against his chest.

"Stop!" Lea shook Roxas by the shoulders. "Roxy, stop!"

"Don't call me that, you piece of shit!" The lithe blond twisted out of his grip. Seconds later, he tried to get at Sora again, but again, Lea was there, catching him up, dragging him out of the room with one arm. No matter how hard Roxas struggled this time, he couldn't get free. Lea was a lot stronger than his thin figure would lead one to assume.

That left Sora and Kairi breathing heavily, her lashes lined with tears as they stared at one another. Sora's throat was tight, and he dropped his eyes. He couldn't look at her. Not like this. She had been his oldest friend, almost as old as Riku, and it was yet another relationship that he'd destroyed, like everything else in his life.

Because if he was going down in a sea of flames, he was taking everyone with him.

Without a word, Sora shoved the sheets away and rooted about for his clothes. His jeans were in a crumpled heap by the far window, so he tossed those on, the belt clinking and the change in his pocket meeting its tune. He could feel Kairi's eyes searing into him, but he wouldn't look at her. He couldn't. He couldn't deal with this shit right now.

"What happened to you?" she whispered raggedly.

He didn't look up. He tugged on his red thermal, buckled up, and brushed past her.

She grabbed his arm. "Sora, this isn't you!"

His heart in his throat, he just stood there. He couldn't break away from her. He couldn't bring himself to. This was Kairi. She only deserved so much of him being an asshole.

When she didn't say anything further for a long moment, he turned, cupped the back of her head, and dropped a kiss to her forehead. Her eyes closed at that, her tears falling free. Her hands reached for him, but before they could touch him, he was already leaving. On his way out, he found his shoes and ignored Lea and Roxas in the corner of the living room, Roxas screaming all the curse words he could think of, Lea holding him put so he couldn't get away.

Sora let the door slam behind him on the way out.


He checked his phone when he was safely inside his Jeep and back on his own island. He had several missed calls from Riku, and, for the first time in months, texts from Kairi. Hers were inquisitive, asking if he'd seen Lea, that Roxas was really worried, that she wouldn't be bothering him otherwise but blah blah blah.

"What happened to you?" whispered through his thoughts.

"Nothing," he said out loud, bitterly. "Nothing!"

Everything, he thought.

Everything.


Riku was waiting for him at his apartment. He was leaning against the door, arms folded, one foot back against it, his chin dipped toward his chest. He didn't look up when Sora stopped a foot away from him.

Several long, silent moments passed.

"I need to get inside," Sora said.

Riku's eyes opened, their green irises peering at Sora through the fall of his bangs.

"Look, I know you talked to Kairi," Sora pressed on after a heartbeat. "And I can't deal with this right now. So… if you came to bitch, we'll have to talk later."

Riku still wouldn't move, still wouldn't speak.

For Christ's sake. Sora went forward aggressively, intending to grab Riku and push him out of the way if he had to. It didn't work. No sooner had Sora touched him than Riku had wrapped slender fingers around his wrist and held on tight. Sora didn't bother putting up a struggle. He already knew that Riku was much stronger than him. They had established that eons ago.

"What," he gritted out through clenched teeth, "do you want?"

And then Riku's palms were gliding over Sora's cheeks, curling behind his ears, pulling his face up toward his. Sora had only a second to process what might be able to happen before Riku leaned down and brought their lips together.

Sora stood frozen in his arms. The kiss was so unlike the one they had shared the afternoon before. Sora had attacked his mouth on that couch, had poured all of his frustration into it. Riku had met it with equal fervor. Yet now he stood there, holding Sora like he was spun of delicate glass, and Sora's mind just couldn't piece it together.

He'd never been kissed like this.

Riku drew away enough that only an inch separated their mouths. When nothing further happened, Sora let his lashes slowly flutter open. Without realizing it, he'd put his hands on Riku's chest, and was clenching so tightly into Riku's shirt that he was straining the fabric. Not that he could concentrate on that fact for very long. Tingles were spreading down to his toes, shooting warmth afterwards to every particle in his body. It was like and unlike arousal in that he wanted to float away, high as a kite, but in a soft, fluffy way.

What the fuck? he thought.

"I should have kissed you like this back then," Riku breathed against his lips. Sora caught the taste of mint, Riku's brand of toothpaste so apparent from Sora's hypersensitivity in that moment. "I shouldn't have let you go."

Pretending he knew what Riku was talking about was too difficult, so Sora closed his eyes and tilted his head up, and Riku kissed him again. He was hungry. Hungry for this affection.

"It's because of me." The same words Riku had spoken in his kitchen not twenty-four hours ago.

Sora finally found his voice. "What is?"

"Everything."

The single word was so close to the one Sora harbored in his heart at that moment, that Sora couldn't breathe. All the air simply left his lungs, and he was deflating, he was crumpling to the floor, he was holding his arms over the back of his head as if to protect it from something. But the world was going to keep coming anyway, so he wasn't sure why he bothered.

"This isn't because of you," he rasped. Something was sitting on his chest. Something had to be. Why else couldn't he suck more air back in? "It was never you."

"I'm not talking about this life," Riku said from above him, and Sora's head started pounding all over again.

"God, Riku, I can't—talk about this shit right now, I'm too—"

"I have to fix it," Riku spoke over him. "It's the only way."

Sora just gave himself over to fresh tears. There was nothing else he could do. Riku wasn't listening. Nobody ever did. Nobody looked, either. Nobody bothered to stare past this shell he was in. They couldn't see that inside he was so empty, so longing, so desperate—

Then Riku was picking him up off the floor, and Sora was leaning into him, and when Riku looked at him, really looked, he wasn't angry. He was… sad.

Sora wasn't sure which was worse, the rage, the hatred, or the pity.

Sora placed a steadying hand against Riku's chest and righted his feet. "I know what you're thinking. You're thinking you can save me, fix me. But I'm too broken, Riku. Don't try. You'll just cut yourself."

In answer, Riku grabbed Sora's keys from his hand and used them to open the door. Putting an arm around Sora's shoulder, he guided him into the apartment and led him into Sora's bedroom, where the shorter man could collapse on his messy bed.

"Let me get you something for that eye," Riku whispered.

It was the last thing Sora remembered hearing before his eyes were suddenly too heavy, and he had to give himself over to the sleepiness he'd been fighting for the better part of an hour now. He was just so exhausted. His body didn't know how to deal anymore, nor his mind.

Riku breathed a kiss to his brow sometime later, but that might have been part of a dream.