Sparkles the Star and How Not to Pirate Stuff
Written 16 April 2007
Sitting on a silver platter, covered with cake and surrounded by warm pastries and fresh fruit, Sora wondered why the blueberry scones had started talking.
“Damn it, Sora, wake up.”
Now the mangoes and the papaya were joining in, and the peaches’ fuzzy little faces were frowning juicily.
“Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
The blueberry scones had sounded rather intimidating at that, and Sora licked the cream from his lips to ask if the blueberries were irritated because they did not like the peaches—
“Ah! Holy crap!”
Riku stood over him with a smirk, Sora’s multicolored quilt in his hands, looking rather creepy in the darkness with a streetlight from outside casting strange shadows. Rubbing his head where he had struck it against the bed-frame, the brunette sat up from the floor and tried to scowl ferociously, but lost it in a jaw-cracking yawn.
“You sleep like the dead, stupid.”
“Ne, Riku, what do you want? Did you see your mom in the shower again?” Sora sniped back, rewarded with the nausea that passed over the older boy’s face. Another moment, and he continued with audible disbelief, “What time is it?”
“In the morning?”
“No, in the afternoon, we’re just in the middle of a solar eclipse,” Riku deadpanned with a significant glance outside the window to the starred sky. Sora shot him a dirty look, then yawned again and felt himself drooping against the wood of the bed.
“Get up, Sora, I didn’t sneak out of the house for nothing. You know how paranoid my dad is.”
Sora did know. The man had installed three deadbolts on his family’s front door and wired the house with a complex and, most importantly, incredibly expensive alarm system that had already gone off several times from birds accidentally flying into the windows. Unfortunately, the bed looked far too inviting for Sora to really appreciate the trouble Riku must have gone through to slip out this time at night, and he tried to wriggle his way back onto the mattress with a weak tug at the blanket the other still held.
Put out, Riku narrowed his eyes at the boy that snuffled and curled up like a puppy on a pillow, and suddenly threw himself over Sora.
“Whatthehell—ah Riku s-stop!”
Sora was highly ticklish, and Riku had taken advantage of that fact to blow raspberries on a stomach that was not quite covered by its pajama shirt.
“Cheater! Meanie! Poo-head!”
“Get up already, Sora,” he demanded, exasperated, sitting back on his heels and not particularly caring that he was wearing shoes on Sora’s bed. Sora, lying on his back, crossed skinny arms over his chest and gave Riku a petulant glare.
“Why should I?”
“Won’t tell unless you get up.”
“That’s not fair!” Sora only just remembered to keep his voice down. Riku merely smirked again, and the brunette exhaled noisily, knowing that now his curiosity had been piqued he would not be able to go back to sleep. He sat up with a groan and grabbed the first pair of shorts and shirt that came to hand, stifling a third yawn with a lazy fist. Then he nearly swallowed said hand when his ribs were violently poked.
“Geez, you’re so slow,” Riku sniped, having seated himself behind Sora on the bed and taken advantage of the other’s inattention.
“Quit it, Riku,” Sora whined. His voice was muffled by the shirt he was trying, and failing, to pull over his head.
With a long-suffering sigh, the older boy helped him yank the shirt over his spiky, pillow-mussed hair, and when Sora bent over to pull his shorts on, he pushed him in the small of his back with his foot, just enough to make the brunette stumble forward with a loud curse. “You’ll wake your parents,” Riku said, only partially blocking a retaliatory kick to his shins. He winced, feeling a bruise already beginning to form. If Sora ever managed to stop goofing off and train, it was possible he might rival even Riku in strength.
“Ne, shut up,” Sora grumbled. “You’re such a—ow!“ He had just gotten one arm into a sweatshirt before Riku grabbed the other arm and pulled him towards the window.
“You don’t need one of those, you know it never gets cold,” he said, releasing his grip and beginning to slide over the sill.
“Riku, wait.” Sora blinked. “Why don’t we just go through the front door?”
“Because,” the older boy drawled in a voice that told Sora he was being stupid, “then it wouldn’t be as much fun sneaking out.”
A mischievous grin spread over Sora’s face and he started to creep forwards with exaggerated movement. Riku blinked.
“Sora, what are you doing?”
“Hush. I’m pirating.”
“Pirates don’t sneak around, stupid. Ninjas do.”
Sora’s grin widened, and with a mighty gruff shout of “Aaargh!” he flung himself at Riku, who was already halfway through the window. They toppled from the second-story window and landed in the flower bushes below with two heavy thumps.
“…Ow,” Sora muttered, sitting up and rubbing the back of his head ruefully. Flowers and bit of leaves stuck up from his wayward hair. “Riku? Riku, where—“ He let out a very unmanly yelp as the ground below him shifted and threw him to one side.
“You’re getting fat, Sora,” Riku accused him flatly in revenge, pouring salt in the wound when he poked the brunette in his tummy.
“I am not,” Sora retorted vehemently, and they might have gotten into a fistfight if they had not remembered where they were. “Ooh, let’s get some sandwiches,” Sora whispered brightly, thinking about pastries and fruit-filled goodness.
“How, dummy? We’re on the outside.”
Sora made a pffft sound with his lips and pulled the other boy upright. He led the way in sneaking around to the front door, where he reached under the mat, pulled out a key with a smug expression, and silently unlocked the door.
How they managed to make a couple of peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches without waking Sora’s mother would forever remain a mystery. By the time they got out of the kitchen and headed for the dock, a filched blanket under Riku’s arm and the food in Sora’s hands, both were streaked with more peanut-butter and jam than the sandwiches themselves.
Riku spread the blanket over the saltwater-logged planks and sat down, snorting when Sora flopped gracelessly and the sandwiches tumbled from his arms between them. “Maybe if you trained more often you wouldn’t be so clumsy,” he snarked.
“Maybe if you cut your hair Tidus wouldn’t keep forgetting you’re a boy,” Sora sniped back, sticking out his tongue for good measure.
“Take that back,” Riku hissed, and if he had been a cat, his ears would have been flat against his skull. He was very sensitive about his masculinity even at such a young age, ever since his absent-minded mother had given him a dress for his sixth birthday. An event which, naturally, Sora never let him forget.
This time there really was a fistfight, though it quickly degenerated into Riku sitting firmly on top of Sora and tickling him until his face turned blue. Then Sora managed to find leverage to twist Riku off, and they fell into a pile of limbs and heaving chests, noses nearly smooshed together.
“Truce?” Sora panted, and Riku nodded. The brunette flailed with one hand behind his back until he smacked the sandwich bags, and pulled them over between himself and Riku. They lay on their sides facing one another, not bothering to untangle their legs as they squabbled good-naturedly over the less crushed sandwich.
(In the end, they tore both sandwiches in half and compromised.)
With his ear pressed against the boards of the dock, Sora could hear, over the sounds of his own chewing, the mild flow-and-ebb of the ocean, and out in the open without the shadow of buildings or curtains the early hours were more a comforting midnight-blue, dotted with stars. The moon- and star-light turned everything into washes of silver and grey, and when Riku looked at him, his normally green eyes were dark, like wet pebble-stones.
“I think that one’s called…Uranus,” Riku said with an attempt at a leer (but he was not very good at it yet), starting their game. Sora squealed and smacked him on the shoulder, then wriggled around until he could comfortably look up at the sky and still steal Riku’s warmth.
“I think it should be called…Sparkles,” he said, looking at the star Riku pointed out.
“That’s a stupid name, stupid. You can’t name a star Sparkles.”
Sora pouted. “Can too. It’s sparkly, isn’t it? And since I named it, you have to make up the story, Poo-Head.”
Sighing, Riku did so, but only because Sora would never leave him alone otherwise, he told himself. It was a story about a monster that was not always a monster, only on nights when he could not see the sparkliness of Sparkles the Star. It was a very sad story, but everything turned out all right in the end because everyone knows that a good story always has a happy ending. And if it made Sora laugh, then it was a good story anyway.
Riku pressed himself more firmly against Sora when he finished speaking, hating the cold. The brunette did not notice. “I think that one’s called Neverland,” Sora decided firmly, choosing a bright twinkly star near the horizon.
“You can’t use a name that the adults already use in their stories,” Riku complained, recalling the book of bedtime stories Sora’s mother had. He did not much care for the stories he could buy in any old shop, because that usually meant they were picked apart until all the good stuff was taken out ‘just to be safe.’
“I know, I know.” Sora turned to Riku. “But then you can tickle me all the time and I can steal your homework, and we’d never have to grow up and have jobs and get married and stuff. And then you’d know that pirates are way cooler than silly old ninjas.”
Riku stared at him, at his wide eyes and smile, and had nothing to say. So he turned back to the sky, not really understanding why there was an uncomfortably tight feeling in his chest, as Sora wriggled some more and snuggled happily into the blanket they were laying on.
“I think that one should be Hope,” he murmured, selecting a pinpoint of light near the moon. Sora wrinkled his nose.
“Sounds like a girl’s name.”
Riku ignored him. “And it’s called Hope because as long as you can see the stars, no matter where you are, you know that the people you really really like are looking at the same ones.”
Sora followed Riku’s finger to the star slightly dimmed by the aura of the moon. “Hey, Riku, do you think there are people on that star looking at us?”
“What, like a hidden camera?”
“No, I mean, like…lying on their dock, or spaceport or something, and looking at the same stars we’re looking at and making up stories. What kind of story do you think they’d make for us?”
The flippant comment died before it ever fully formed in Riku’s brain. “I dunno,” he said softly, and Sora watched his profile as the older boy stared upwards. Then Riku tilted his head towards him with a small grin. “You wanna find out one day?”
“Both of us?”
Riku rolled his eyes. “Well, duh, how else would it be?”
“What about Kairi?”
Riku shrugged. “She can come too, if she wants. But you don’t have a choice, I need someone to knock around when I’m bored.”
“Hey, that’s not fair! I can beat you, too!” But both of the boys were smiling, only faking the arrogance and indignation. Sora sat up for a moment to pin the empty sandwich bags under one of their shoes so the wind would not blow them away, and settled back down to help Riku make up a whole universe of worlds they would one day sneak out and pirate together (without being covered in jelly and peanut-butter, of course).
Gift-fic for Mad Violinist as a belated Christmas gift, because I'm poor to actually spend money.