evening_bat: Bat in flight, silhouetted against the moon. (Default)
[personal profile] evening_bat
Fair warning - this is shamelessly self-indulgent and positively saccharine at points. Thing is, I have trouble with the idea of Riku being happy stuck back on the Islands post-KHII. Really. And I don't think Sora would be at all happy if they were apart. So I gave them my version of a happy ending. Or rather, one of them. And I make no apologies for the melodrama and angst and sap. I do apologize for the title, though.

Title: Endings and Beginnings
Author: [personal profile] evening_bat
Pairing: Sora/Riku
Rating: Worksafe
Summary: Going back home =/= Happily ever after. Riku changed but the Islands didn't and he doesn't fit there any better than he did before he left...but Sora still can't bear to watch him leave.

It was going to be another perfect day on Destiny Islands. The sun was shining, sparkling on the rolling ocean waves. The temperature was balmy, with just a hint of a breeze. Life was moving at its usual easy, relaxed pace. Sora was the exception, hurrying along the main street, looking worried. He was in no mood to appreciate the beauty of the day. Riku was missing.

Sora knew Riku had been fading since the day they came back to the islands. It hurt to watch. Riku was his best friend and Sora hated to see him so unhappy. As much as he tried to keep it hidden, it was obvious to anyone who knew him. Sora felt it deeply; it felt like he was losing his friend all over again and he could do nothing to stop it. No one could. Their world was sealed and none of them had the means to break away from their childhood home. Worse, Sora had only just started to realize that it may not have been for friendship alone that he had chased Riku over half of the worlds.

He'd been crisscrossing the islands all day, ever since an odd feeling had woken him early that morning. He'd thought he'd felt some kind of dark power stirring but it hadn't been malicious so he let himself drift off again. I'll ask Riku about it when I see him later, he'd thought sleepily, He'll know what it was about. After spending the morning and a good part of the afternoon fruitlessly searching everywhere he could think of, Sora was wishing he'd gone to see Riku at the first sign of something odd.

It was late afternoon now and Sora was jogging back down the city streets, making for the beaches. He refused to give up. Riku was a master at not being found when he didn't want to be but Sora's specialty was not giving up in the face of his friend's evasiveness. He would find Riku, no matter how long it took. He steadfastly ignored the tiny voice inside him that suggested Riku wasn't there to be found. That simply wasn't possible.

Kairi caught him as he hurried past her. He reluctantly stopped at the touch of her hand on his arm. When he turned to face her, he found that her eyes were as worried as his. She'd felt that strange burst of darkness that morning, too and had been concerned when Sora had first asked her if she'd seen Riku. Sora knew that she was also worried about him. Kairi was one of the only people that knew how terrified Sora was that Riku would leave them again. She'd helped him in his struggle to give Riku space. She knew how hard Sora had fought not to cling tight, the way he wanted to. Sora didn't know what to make of the look in her eyes now, though. Her smile was almost sad over a long, steady look.

"Make sure you swat Riku for me when you find him," was all she said as she released him. Sora assured her that he would as he set out again, buoyed by her confidence.

A few hours later, afternoon was sliding into evening and Sora's determination was starting to crumble. He'd never had this much trouble finding Riku before. If Riku were here to be found, surely he'd have discovered him by now. The knot of fear in Sora's chest tightened. What would he do if Riku really was gone? Panic loomed on the edge of that thought but the cold burn of darkness flared somewhere on the beach ahead before Sora could give in. Sora's head snapped up and he broke into a sprint, tearing across the sand towards the source of that so-familiar power.

His sneakers thumped across the bridge to the play island and Sora skidded to a halt when he saw Riku standing there, facing the ocean. The relief at seeing him there was nearly overwhelming and Sora was opening his mouth to tell Riku so and to hell with giving him space when he nearly choked on an indrawn breath. The air around his friend was distinctly cool and faintly held the sharp scent of an evergreen forest. That scent hadn't come anywhere from around here and the bottom dropped out of Sora's stomach as he realized that Riku really had been missing all day.

That's it, then, Sora thought numbly. We've lost him. He slowly walked up behind Riku, silently taking a position as his side. A sideways glance told him that Riku was already mostly gone, thousand-yard stare fixed on the horizon and eyes distant. He's only come back to say goodbye. Sora knew that he should be happy for Riku, relieved that he'd be free again, but it was hard to think over the frantic protests of his heart and he clenched his hands tightly at his sides as he fought not to beg Riku to stay.

"They opened for me this morning," Riku said suddenly, without looking at Sora. There was so much in his voice - wonder, worry, elation, fear - that Sora couldn't read him.

"I was awake before dawn this morning," Riku was saying, "just thinking." Wishing, Sora's mind automatically supplied. "And something shifted. I didn't even realize what was happening at first. I was gone before I knew it." There was wonder and guilty relief clear in his voice now. "At first, I thought it might be a sign that darkness was returning to the worlds, so I decided to check things out," he explained. "Everything seems okay, though." This was offered to Sora as reassurance, as though Riku didn't know that Sora's heart was already busy breaking.

"But you came back," Sora said. He knew that it should sound happy, relieved, but he could hear the dread in his voice.

"I," Riku started. Sora saw Riku's shoulders hunch, made note of the fact that Riku still couldn't look at him. Everything about Riku was screaming that he hadn't wanted to come back. "Yeah," he finally said, "I did."

"But why?" Sora cried. Why do you have to leave? Why did you come back just to leave again? Why do things have to be this way? He knew that Riku could hear the tears he was fighting back.

"I can't stay here," Riku told him, voice unsteady. "But I can't leave you." Sora had never heard Riku sound so broken.

Sora had known for months that Riku was miserable but he'd never seen it so clearly. Riku was being torn in two every bit as much as Sora was. He hated it here and couldn't bear to leave, even now that he could. Whatever connection existed between them was deep enough, strong enough that it drew Riku back. Riku cared enough that he came back - for Sora. Riku was shaking as hard as Sora was, walking the same knife edge of despair. Sora was moving before he thought, closing the distance between them and wrapping his arms around Riku. Riku's arms closed around him with desperate strength.

"I can't." Riku's voice was a wracked whisper against Sora's hair. Sora felt something shift into place inside him, sudden certainty steadying him as he tightened his arms.

"You don't have to," he said into Riku's shoulder. He felt Riku tense in his embrace and spoke hastily, before Riku could misinterpret what he'd said. "Take me with you."

Riku wrenched himself loose and pushed Sora to arms' length, regarding him with complete disbelief. "You can't mean that," he said, shaking his head.

Sora caught Riku's eyes with his own and let his friend see how much he meant it. "Take me with you," he repeated firmly.

He'd rarely seen Riku so thoroughly caught off-guard but there was a dawning joy overcoming his shock. "You can't - Sora, are you sure?"

Sora knew now why Kairi had looked so sad earlier today. She'd seen this coming before he'd known it was even possible. Sora knew this meant they'd be leaving people behind - at least for a while - but this felt right, in a way that little had since they came home.

"I'm sure," he told Riku, putting his whole heart into his smile. From the way Riku's face lit up, Sora knew he'd read it. "Take me someplace I've never been before," he challenged.

Sora thought that Riku's smile was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen, as Riku put a few steps between them. One hand reached behind him, threads of darkness weaving a portal around his fingertips. One hand was outstretched to Sora, invitation clear. This time Sora didn't hesitate to take Riku's hand and joy lit the way as he followed Riku into the dark.

Argh. So - much - SAP.


evening_bat: Bat in flight, silhouetted against the moon. (Default)

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