Still have more fic to post over the next few days. I apologize again for f-list flooding.
Not Like That
Pairing: One-sided Riku+Sora
Riku had finally learned that he would always be one of those people that didn’t figure things out until it was too late. Sora wouldn’t agree, of course, but this was the same kid that once tried to resuscitate the same bee that stung him on his sixth birthday.
“What’s wrong?” Sora had asked him not too long after they found Destiny Islands again, after it seemed everything would go back to normal, only it couldn’t because the players weren’t even the same as when the game started.
“…I love you.”
Sora blinked, and blinked again, then slung his arms around the taller boy (who wasn’t that much taller anymore) and laughed. “I love you too, you know that, right?”
“No, Sora.” Riku had been so calm. “Not like that.”
It took Sora several minutes to figure out what Riku meant, and when he did his blue eyes grew impossibly wide.
Not like that. Like a lover.
Not like that. Like a best friend.
So Riku sat in the bend of a paopu tree and watched Sora and Kairi splash in the shallows on the beach, laughing and touching one another in a lingering way. When Kairi was knocked off balance Sora quickly caught her and took the opportunity for a long, laughing kiss. Riku watched until his gaze slid to his own hands, turning the palms over and following the hard lines of callous, the small white scars.
“Hey, man, I’ve got a question for you.”
“Yeah? What’s up, Tidus?”
At the sound of Sora and Tidus’ voices Riku paused before entering the school showers (school, how strange to be thrust so suddenly back into the mundane and he was starting to wonder if it wouldn’t drive him insane).
“I know you guys are trying to keep a pretty tight lid on what happened in the last two years, but…I was wondering…” his nervousness was clearly audible, “is Riku, uh, all right?”
There was a distinct pause before Sora said, “What do you mean?”
“Well, he was never much of a social guy anyway, really, except when it came to sports, but…he hardly ever talks anymore, not even to brag. He practically murders anyone who questions him or looks at you sideways—dude, he put Zidane in the nurse’s when the guy made some stupid joke about your hair!—and he’s all, like, way too intense to be normal.”
“There was…some bad stuff that happened,” Sora said so softly that Riku nearly couldn’t hear over the thumping of his own heart, “but he’s still Riku. Me n’ Kairi are gonna be there to help him, but he’s still my best friend. And he can still kick my ass,” Sora added with a sincere laugh that broke the tension Tidus had inadvertently caused.
Riku smiled thinly, smiled even though it felt like his ribs were prepared to split apart with the tangled force of emotion. The anger, the sorrow, the self-loathing all sat beside his heart in a hard knot that threatened to unravel him if he didn’t keep it under strict iron control.
(Self-control became easier when he remembered the Darkness.)
Kairi’s yell drew Riku’s attention back to the beach, where Sora was trying to push her back into the waves. She was growing into a beautiful woman, was already developing the soft curves and confidence—it was easy to see why someone would love her. She was whole, stable, kind, normal.
All things Riku wasn’t.
(Sometimes it hurt so much that the hard knot in his chest would try to claw out his throat but he knew that if he let it he would scream and scream and never stop—sometimes he had these fits that were like panic attacks where a restless energy would force him to pace for hours on end or practice sword kata until he collapsed.)
And maybe it would all be easier if he could just hate someone, hate Sora for not being the perfect fucking person or Kairi for being Kairi, but when Sora smiled like that Riku just couldn’t, even if that smile wasn’t for him. And Kairi hadn’t done anything wrong, was really a sweet and friendly girl with just enough bite to keep things interesting. It wasn’t either of their faults that one day Riku realized he was looking at his best friend a little differently, but by the time he’d figured that out it was too late. Some bad stuff happened and Kairi happened, and Sora was the kind of person who could love whole worlds all at once.
Not like Riku, who played favorites. He’d happily sacrifice the universe if it meant Sora’s happiness—
—but Sora’s happiness was in the pretty redhead who could smile without bitterness.
“What’s wrong, Riku?”
“…I love you.”
“I love you too, you know that, right?”
But not like that.