The Greenway

12

Ventus, Vanitas, and Axel met Sora at the door. "Will you walk into my parlor, said the spider to the fly."

Sora giggled. "Vani you are totally creepy sometimes."

"I can't help it. I just want to fuck you." Vanitas said grinning as Axel popped his head onto his shoulder and smirked.

Ventus hugged Sora, "Ignore them, come meet Mom and Dad."

"Hello Sora!" Terra met them before they made it to the den. "It's great to meet you. I'm Terra, Ventus' dad."

"Hi, it's great to meet you too. A-and thank you for having me sir." Sora said, a little overwhelmed.

"Ven why don't you take his bag up to your room. I'll take him to meet mom." Terra said and as Ventus nodded, Sora was whisked away.

"Hi Sora..." Aqua came over and hugged him. "I'm so sorry for arguing with your mother."

"It's ok ma'am." Sora said blushing a bit. "I was embarrassed by her reaction but...I really shouldn't have been surprised."

"It's alright. You can relax here. Are you hungry?" Aqua asked, still hanging onto Sora's arm.

"Um, a little. I left from mass and just ate some junk on the way." Sora smiled.

Terra looked at him and grinned. "Make him something good Aqua. We have to keep him in shape!"

Sora beamed. "Oh, do you like lacrosse?"

The two chattered away as they followed Aqua to the kitchen while Ventus, Vanitas, and Axel were arguing in whispers about whether or not they were allowed to play with Sora.

"You're supposed to share your toys, Ven." Vanitas said, picking at his nails with his pocket knife.

"He's not a toy, he's my boyfriend. And you guys aren't getting your hands on him...you have each other." Ventus hissed.

"Can we at least have pics?" Axel asked.

"Maybe. And only if he agrees to it." Ventus said.

They looked shot down but minimally satisfied. "Better than nothin. We liked the pic in the paper by the way...so sexy." Axel leered.

"Thanks…I'll let him know." Ventus glared at them before going to guard what was his.


Cloud woke to his phone buzzing in the middle of the night. It was Roxas...no surprise there. Media message...oh God. Opening with his hand over his face, peeking between his fingers, he grinned. Roxas had sent a pic of Riku sleeping. He was bare from the waist up, the rest covered by a sheet. He looked peaceful and Cloud was surprised at how muscular he was. He was almost always wearing black, keeping his physique well hidden. The picture was captioned s4s.

Cloud looked over at Sephiroth as he slept. Slipping out of bed, he crept around to get a good angle. Click. Send.

Roxas waited and when the pic popped up he slapped his hand over his mouth and wiggled. The pic was Sephiroth sleeping on his stomach, hair in messy fishtail braid, naked. Roxas quickly text back. x_x

Roxas was so happy for his dad. After all the years he had seen him miserable, this was easily the happiest year of their lives. Grinning, he text him again sending a pic of himself smiling with his wrecked hair. The text read bed head selfie.

Cloud giggled and did the same.

Roxas: I love you Dad

Cloud: I love you too Roxy. I'm sorry for being a shitty dad

Roxas: would you stop? Ur the best dad ever.

Cloud: Thank you. I don't deserve that

Roxas: the past is the past and people make mistakes. My past made me who I am and I think I'm pretty goddamn awesome. Ijs.

Cloud: LOL! You are awesome

Roxas: so are you now snuggle up to your general and be happy man!

Cloud: ok. Snuggle up to your priest and do the same

Roxas: I'm not snuggling. Imma wake his snoring ass up in an hour to fuck me again. I set the clock. XD

Cloud: Goodnight Roxas

Roxas: Goodnight Dad

Cloud turned his phone off and scooted down in the bed, then slid back to the edge to set his clock to alarm in an hour as he giggled quietly.


Sephiroth woke to the smell of breakfast. Rolling one green eye around the room as he realized it was actually morning and not another middle of the night booty call and smiled. "Cloud!"

Cloud was in the kitchen nearly finished with the cooking. "What!?"

"Did you mean what you said last night?!" Sephiroth had rolled into his back so his voice would carry better.

"Which part?!" Cloud yelled as he entered the bedroom smiling. "The part where I said come home, I love you, I missed you, I'm dying, that doesn't work like that anymore, I hate you, fuck off and go to sleep, wake up and fuck me, take the blanket and go to sleep..."

Sephiroth kissed him into silence and then said, "The first two."

"Yes." Cloud said. "You told me once that I had a piece of your heart and wherever I was would be home...and I've always loved you Seph."

"Even when I stabbed you?" Sephiroth asked humbly.

"Especially then." Cloud said grinning.

"What will the kids say?" Sephiroth mused. "And what about the tree?"

"I said you could come home, I didn't say you have to." Cloud giggled. "I know you don't want to live in this crummy apartment."

"It's not crummy...it's your home." Sephiroth looked around. "Everything in here is here because of you and Roxas. That makes it perfect for me."

"Ok then...let's talk over coffee and breakfast." Cloud said crawling off the bed.

Their breakfast was interrupted by Roxas and Riku. "Morning Dads!"

Sephiroth groaned and Cloud chuckled. "Morning guys...come and eat."

"We ate already...we wanna go shopping." Riku said and elbowed Roxas who was ogling a shirtless, braided Sephiroth.

Cloud drank his coffee and looked up at Roxas. Roxas looked at him and smiled. Riku looked at them curiously. "We'll just hang in here while you guys eat. Come on Rox." He dragged the blond a few steps and then stumbled on to the den.

"What was that about?" Sephiroth asked. "Blonde-code or something?"

Cloud snorted. "My little lech in there sent me this last night, asking for share for share."

Cloud showed him the pic. Sephiroth grunted with a smirk around his bacon. "So I sent him this."

Cloud showed him the pic he had sent to Roxas. Sephiroth's eyebrows nearly went on top of his head. "That's my ass!"

In the den Riku heard his father bellow and laugh so he turned to look at Roxas with a smirk. "Ok...what's up?"

Roxas fessed up and it escalated into a wrestling match on the sofa which Riku let Roxas win...kind of.

The fathers entered the den to see Riku stretched out on the sofa with Roxas sitting astride his hips. The priest was holding his wrists tightly and Roxas was giggling.

"You see what that giggling provokes, Cloud…it provokes violence." Sephiroth said as he walked toward the bedroom.

Cloud trotted after him, glancing back at the two on his sofa. "That's not violence...that's foreplay."

The door slammed and Riku jerked Roxas down and kissed him roughly. "Fuck Riku...do you ever get satisfied?"

"No." He growled making Roxas giggle at the rumble.

"But I can't go shopping with this." Roxas rolled his hips. Riku released his arms and grabbed his hips, grinding their bodies together. Roxas groaned, "Stop. It."

In the bedroom, Cloud was showering while Sephiroth tried to sort out his hair. He sighed and went to join the blonde whining about his hair and fix it please.

"Let's go to my room." Roxas said dragging Riku off the sofa. "They're probably fucking anyway."

"Do you think?" Riku looked at the door making a face as they passed.

Roxas stopped. "Hear that?"

There was a thump and a bump then low voices. "That's the sound of fucking in the shower." Roxas grinned. "Heard it a million times when I was a kid." Riku jerked him into his old bedroom and slammed the door.


Shopping was fun and there was much laughter and ridiculousness. For dinner they all dressed and went to a nice restaurant where Sephiroth sat close to Cloud and whispered to him frequently. Riku watched them and finally spoke up. "What's with all the whispering? I'm beginning to feel like me and Rox are the old married couple here."

"I've decided to move you mother's tree to Midgar." Sephiroth said bluntly.

"Why?" Riku asked weakly.

Sephiroth sighed. "Because…I'm moving here with it."

Riku stared at him briefly and then his gaze shifted to Cloud, then back to Sephiroth who continued, "You have moved to Radiant Garden and I…well…Roxas has moved in with you…and Cloud asked me to live here…with him."

Roxas spoke up, "Way to go Dad!"

Riku jumped at the sound of Roxas' voice and smiled crookedly. "That's great Dad…Cloud. I'm happy for you guys."

"You seem upset Riku. Tell me what bothers you about my moving?" Sephiroth said reaching across the table to take his son's hand.

"It's just…I guess…all the memories I have of Mom are there at that house…and it's just a shock." Riku said as his eyes became watery. "I think the reason it was so easy for me to go is because I thought I'd always be able to come back…" Under the table he took Roxas' and squeezed it. "But tell me…your plans and stuff. Will you guys be staying in the apartment or getting a new place? And where are you going to put that big ass tree?"

Sephiroth smiled at his son, relaxing a little with all the questions. "There's something you don't know about the tree…something that I didn't explain because well…I just didn't feel it needed explaining. But now that I'm coming home, I think it would help you to understand."

Riku nodded and smiled as he caught the words coming home before Sephiroth continued, "I know you recall planting the tree after your mother's passing…but what you don't remember probably, is where it came from."

Riku looked thoughtful. "I know that someone sent it when she died…" His eyes went to Cloud's and his thoughtful gaze softened as the tears formed. "It was you? You've been with us all along."

Dropping his head humbly, Cloud reached to take Riku's hand from Sephiroth which he freely gave. He smiled at them, eyes full of joy and love as he sighed and said, "I am truly happy…that you guys found each other again after all these years. I'm equally glad that all the years passed before you did…because if not…then Rox would've been like my brother…and that would just be weird."

Sephiroth chuckled. "Weird indeed."

They heard a click and Sephiroth mumbled, "Will you send that to me?" Roxas had taken a picture of Cloud and Riku holding hands across the table and Sephiroth and he were busily exchanging cell phone numbers.

"I have lots of pics you might want…you can just go through my gallery and take ones you like." Roxas shrugged. Riku and Cloud had had their moment and were watching the two smiling…until Riku caught the devilish gleam in Roxas' eyes.

"Caution, porn." Riku snorted and Sephiroth snickered. "Thank you for allowing me to prepare myself."

Cloud groaned and looked over Sephiroth's shoulder making Roxas whine, "Daddy, nooooo."

Cloud laughed at him, "Roxy, yeeeesss."

Riku laughed at them both as Sephiroth plundered the photos Roxas had on his phone. Squinting and glancing at Roxas, then back to the phone hissing, Sephiroth squeezed his eyes shut and shook his head. After browsing some more, Sephiroth took a short break, rubbing his eyes as if to try and un-see a few of the images. By the time he was done, or had given up he could only stare at Roxas as he chewed his food smiling.

Cloud watched Sephiroth's face. He knew that face all too well and he knew that he was strategizing. This was going to be one very long game of one-upmanship. The blonde smirked and kissed Sephiroth's cheek before returning to his meal.

The tree and living arrangements were discussed over coffee and it was decided that the tree would be best placed in Midgar's Central Park where it would continue to serve its purpose as a prayer tree, but for everyone. It would have been their first choice to place it at the church, but since Midgar was built on a plate, most everything was steel and concrete except for the park where there was a dropped section of city blocks that had been filled with soil to create it.

The new couple also discussed apartment shopping at their leisure, but for now they planned to stay at Cloud's since the older blonde expressed his dedication to his church, and Sephiroth found it endearing. It was painfully obvious that Cloud was as much of a spoiled brat as Roxas and the thought of his father facing the same struggles as him made Riku smile.

Plans were made, gifts exchanged and New Year's was celebrated. The Xehanorts and their guests had a huge family celebration and were led in prayer by one lacrosse star who never went back home other than to collect his things and say goodbye. Ventus received a video call from Cloud to share his news and for Ventus to meet Sephiroth. They were gifted in response with cheers and toasts after meeting the entire family. It had been, by far the best year ever.


Back at school, all the friends had planned to meet at Olive's to celebrate new beginnings before the first day of spring semester. The biggest surprise was how much muscle Sora had put on. Everyone made jokes, but he truly looked ready for the majors. Ventus and he clung to one another and comments were whispered about whether or not Sora had been shared between the tattooed brothers at some point. He sat between them and both leaned close to whisper to him making him smile and laugh. Axel sat on the other side of Vanitas and was unusually quiet.

They gossiped about everyone and soon the conversation came back to school. "I haven't seen Dem and Zex in a long time…I guess since I moved in with Riku." Roxas remarked.

"Didn't you know?" Vanitas asked, "Demyx dropped out…um I think it was September."

"Wow, no…I didn't know that." Roxas said. "What about Zexion?"

Axel spoke up. "Zex is still around, just not moving in the same circles since Demyx dropped out."

"Oh…I guess not, yeah?" Roxas said thoughtfully remembering the two as an add couple but united in their love of narcotics.

"Yeah…I actually talked to Zexion last night. He called because he wanted me to know before I heard it around campus…that um, Demyx passed away over break." Axel shared and the table fell quiet. "I wanted to tell you guys while we were all together. Some of you knew him and some of you didn't but…he was my friend, so…but anyway, Zex said it was drugs and it was an accident. He was at home with his folks."

Everyone expressed their sorrow and although Roxas hadn't known the musician well, his heart went out to Axel who looked miserable now that he had said the words. Roxas knew that feeling well…

"…Dad, stop yelling! I'm not on drugs! I've been going to meetings for people who have…fuck…people who have eating disorders…"

"…Dad…I'm on drugs…I need help…"

Sometimes it sucked to say things out loud…but sometimes it felt really good…

"Dad…can you come get me? I got picked up for kicking a guy's ass downtown…yeah…no, I started it. Dad! Stop yelling! At Zero Gravity…yeah I know I'm too young to be there….yeah…because I'm gay…Dad?"

Roxas took his hand and he smiled kindly, not lecherously and he looked a little relieved. Vanitas sat quietly contemplating and was comforted by his brother. Riku called for prayer and everyone joined their hands as he prayed for the one who was lost as well as those who survived him. He thanked the Father, family and friends, and reminded them all of their blessings. He prayed for healing and peace and strength to carry on for Axel, as he had suffered the greatest loss among them.

When Riku called his name in prayer, the redhead broke down and Vanitas hugged him close as the prayer continued. As many times as Riku had prayed for Sora's strange friends, he had never once told anyone that he had…love does not boast…and as many people as Axel knew, Riku had the most reason to resent him, but chose to not to…love keeps no record of wrongs. He ended the prayer by reminding everyone there to love one another regardless of the trials of life because love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.

As the friends dispersed after dinner Riku stopped Axel for a word. "Will you be alright?"

Axel smiled and nodded. "I've never believed in God, but what you did there was beautiful…thank you."

"I understand, and you don't need to thank me. We're your friends and we love you. Everyone deserves to be loved Axel." Riku said quietly. Axel bit his lip as the priest laid his hand on his shoulder. "Demyx is free of his addiction now, and I'm sure in his last moments he redeemed himself."

Axel nodded and looked at the priest miserably. "How do you do it?"

"What? Believe in God?" Riku asked.

"Yeah…I mean what if you died and found that there was nothing?" Axel sniffed in the midst of an emotional as well as a spiritual crisis.

"God or no God, I would have lived my life in a way that I felt was right…and I would still be at peace." Riku said as if it were just that simple. Axel nodded again and sighed. Then Riku surprised the redhead again as he hugged him close right there on the street and kissed his hair. "You'll find your way."

On the way back to his dorm at Radiant, Axel was quiet. Vanitas let him have his solace and when Axel was ready to talk, he listened. They talked into the night about Demyx, about life and death, about God…and as they did a candle burned at St. Eraqus that had been lit by a young priest who loved his friends.


Spring came in went in a flurry of paperwork and many dinners at Olive's and trips to the Greenway. A tree was moved to Midgar Central Park and a famous general was back in the news for donating it to the people of the city. Living arrangements were solidified and a small apartment building was renovated where a happy couple resided.

Graduation was only weeks away when a young priest received a letter from another priest who had recently been named cardinal. He was asked to assume duties at a certain parish in Midgar that he was already familiar with.

Offers were accepted from ShinRa Labs by a brilliant but quirky redhead and a frighteningly intelligent but mischievous blonde, and across town touring Midgar School of Medicine a very tattooed and intensely popular student set his goals high and his sights on the local Children's Hospital.

Sora Fair was in the news again days before graduation when he was spotted out on the town with his tattooed boyfriend and his goalie Zidane Tribal where he granted a short interview stating his excitement for his upcoming season with the Zoloms. The short report was accompanied by a picture of Sora's trademark scowl.

Day before graduation, the friends agreed to meet at the Greenway, despite the heat of late spring. The shade of the trees and the breeze across the water brought some relief as they gathered at the picnic table where Roxas lay dozing. "I knew he'd be asleep." Sora giggled.

"Why did you let him fall asleep man?" Axel asked snorting at Riku and Sora rolled his eyes, knowing the speech that would follow.

"He was tired…" Riku said smiling down at the blonde's cherubic face.

"Tired?! We're all fuckin tired. What does he do that the rest of us don't?" Vanitas asked, making Ventus snicker.

"Me." Riku murmured as he raked his long fingers through sunny blonde hair and looked up through his bangs at the redhead and his pet. They bared their teeth and hissed before wrapping one another in arms to whisper and grope.

Riku was wearing those formerly blue jeans and a tee, much like he had been the first time he had met Roxas, Axel, and Vanitas. He watched them watch him as he stroked Roxas' hair and thought of that first meeting and how they had leered at him before they even knew he was a priest…how bad could it possibly be..?

Roxas woke and pulled Riku's hand down to kiss it and smiled up at him, squinting. "Where is your mind?"

Riku pulled him up to a sitting position as he whispered, "Torturing our friends."

Roxas' eyes darted to Vanitas and Axel and his face split in a grin. "We could let them watch sometime…they'd like that."

"Maybe…" Riku said quietly and Roxas' jaw dropped. He peered at the two and then looked around to spot Sora and Ventus standing knee deep in the rushing water, but then turned back to Axel and Vanitas who currently had him in a death stare.

"Maybe you wanna know how it was before I belonged to you?" Roxas mumbled turning to brush his lips across Riku's ear, making him shiver. "Maybe…"

"Then maybe you should be the one to invite them…if that's what you want." Roxas breathed before Riku turned and captured his lips in a heated kiss, pulling him over onto his lap.

Pulling back from him, Roxas smiled. "Lecher…"

Riku blushed and smiled but he felt both his priest's hands on his ass.

Ventus and Sora rejoined them with their shoes back in place and grinned. "Axel just dragged Vanitas into the bathroom up there, so you guys can give it a rest now."

They laughed and when the others emerged, sweaty and spent, they strolled down the path to sit on the big rock that jutted out over the water. Everyone was excited about graduation. Riku and Vanitas had their valedictory speeches ready and they giggled about scrapping them completely and doing improve or singing a children's song.

On the way back to their cars, Sora carried Ventus, Axel carried Vanitas, and of course it all started because Riku was carrying Roxas. "Congrats again Soraaah!" Vanitas crowed before they started loading into their vehicles.

Sora grinned and took a low bow. "It's what I do!" The Saints had won nationals again and Sora was now ready to start training for the majors. They were all excited for him, especially his number one fan Ventus.

Riku chewed his lip in apprehension and then he puffed at his bangs and propped on Vanitas' car. Roxas had gone to the bathroom and they were waiting for him to return. Vanitas and Axel glanced at one another and slithered over to his side. Looking up at one and then the other he noticed how similar their smiles were.

"I see Roxas left you unguarded…how fortunate for us." Vanitas hissed.

"It's not like I need a babysitter, ya know." Riku chuckled.

"Oh is that so…priest?" Axel trailed his fingers up Riku's arm and pushed up the sleeve of his tee and bit him on the shoulder. Riku flinched but what really got his attention was the fluidity of the movement and the intent to inflict pain just to gauge his reaction…but that was how Axel operated.

"May I call you Father?" Vanitas asked as he slid in front of Riku and began to push his shirt up. As the tee crept up past his pecs Vanitas gasped and moaned softly. "Axel…we need this…"

Axel peered around and smiled before slipping behind Riku and grabbing his wrists. Before he could react, Vanitas had backed up and was holding his phone and Axel had snatched his arms up over his head. "What the hell?" Riku giggled.

"Tighten those abs, Father…this pic is going to be made into a poster." Axel said by his ear.

Riku giggled again but didn't flex, so Axel pulled his arms backward and Vanitas stepped over quickly to tweak his nipples, straighten his rosary, squeeze his junk, and then slap him in the stomach causing him to flex defensively. Having their pic, the priest was set free and he turned to glare at the laughing blonde who had watched the entirety of it. After that visit to the Greenway, Riku decided that he feared the two psychos more than he desired them, so he never asked them to join him and Roxas in the bedroom…he did however allow them to watch…once…via web cam.


Graduation night arrived and in the crowd were two St. Eraqus caps and gowns alongside Cloud and Sephiroth and a gaggle of family members watching their friends and lovers graduate.

In his valedictory address, Vanitas began by thanking the faculty and then he folded his speech into a paper airplane and flew it into the crowd before he continued. "While doing time at Radiant I learned more than just what I needed to succeed in my chosen field. There are things that we can't learn from reading…or sharing notes…or even research, even though Axel and I did our share of that." The audience members and professors laughed as a shoe was tossed from the crowd of seated graduates, making Vanitas chuckle. "Hey Axel…anyhow…there are things that can only be learned through experience and I'm grateful to have the best friends a guy could have to learn those things alongside me."

"This past winter, we lost one of our own. He was a musician and a beautiful human being. Demyx shared his joy and love for music with anyone who would listen…and anyone who was in a two block radius on the weekends…" Vanitas winked at Axel and continued. "We'll miss him but what we learned from his passing is invaluable. Life isn't always long and tedious…like finals…but you should always bust your ass to do your best…like finals…because sometimes there are no do-overs."

Vanitas bit his lip, scanning the crowded room then sighed smiling. "I want to thank my parents, without them my awesomeness would not be possible and you all would be damned to a sadly inferior valedictory address tonight. I thank my brother Ventus, who is a rising sophomore here at Radiant, my friends…Zexion, Roxas, Soraah, Father Riku…" Ventus shuddered and wiggled making everyone giggle. "and of course, best for last rule- my partner in research and in life, Axel Sinclair. Without you guys I wouldn't be standing here right now. Your support and encouragement…and coffee- thanks Zexion- and inspiration helped me through the toughest times as well as made the good times great- thanks Rox and Soraahhh. In closing I'd like to share a prayer with you all…believers and non-believers alike- thanks Father Riku."

Everyone bowed their heads as Vanitas led them in prayer and after the ceremony, Axel, Roxas, and Vanitas accompanied the small herd to St. Eraqus to attend their ceremony.

Father Riku gave his valedictory address without notes…and without a ponytail. He thanked the faculty and his friends and of course had a prayer, but then in closing, he surprised everyone by mentioning a place that was not a part of St. Eraqus. "For those of you not familiar with The Greenway…I can only tell you what it was to me. It was a place to go and reflect…to find peace…to spend time with my best friend, and make new ones…to meet the love of my life… a place to see God." Riku scanned the faces of his family and friends as he spoke. "Years will pass and we will all be busy with life…but I hope that each of you here tonight, whether it's the one here in Radiant Garden or somewhere in another part of the world…I hope you all find your Greenway."


Afterward, when photos were taken and they had all been congratulated, Sora and Zidane were pulled aside by the owner of the Zoloms who presented them with their new jerseys as a precursor to the official ceremony to welcome them to the team that would be held later in the month.

Cloud watched with pride and leaned to Riku. "Where is Zidane from? I don't see his parents anywhere. Could they not make the trip?"

Riku smiled and said, "Zidane grew up in the children's home in Midgar. He got an athletic scholarship to St. Eraqus and worked closely with the church here to supplement his school expenses. He's been indispensable to the lacrosse team but really didn't have anything to go back to after graduation…so when Sora got the offer from the Zoloms, he told them it was a package deal or nothing."

Cloud watched the brunette clown around with his teammate and shook his head. Here was a boy who had risked a successful future in pro sports by following his heart for the welfare of another. He was amazed and proud to know him and his gaze slid over to Zack and Aerith who stood to the side, smiling candidly as they were photographed and questioned about their now famous son.

As if they knew what Cloud was thinking, Sephiroth firmly planted an arm around the blonde's shoulders and Riku leaned closer to his ear to say, "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven…and we may or may not have bail money."


Sun shone through the tall trees that grew all the way to the bank of the river, except where people had cleared land for homes and those were few and far between. Not many wanted to live so close because of flooding. The brown water rushed over the rocks in the shallows as Roxas peered in looking for minnows while he waited. Seeing none he sighed and walked to the picnic table where he lay down to close his eyes…just for a second.

"Hey Riku…did you hear about Sora? Yeah! I was so happy for him. He deserves that trophy…he's awesome." - His younger self talking with his priest, happily sharing news of Sora's MVP status.

"Dad…what's wrong with Sephiroth?" - Cloud's sad eyes as he explained the inescapable disease while Riku held his hand, and how they would all pull together to make Sephiroth's final year the best ever.

"I pity the child!" - His squawking and laughter echoed through his dreams with a swirling vision of Axel and Vanitas with their baby daughter…so long ago…she had babies of her own now.

"I love you Dad." - Saying goodbye to Cloud in the church before settling him beside Sephiroth and placing his ribbon on the willow tree…and more…visions of years of visits to the Greenway, diminished in their number but never in their joy at spending time in their special place.

So much had happened but at each occurrence it seemed like time stood still. Sora's breakup with Ventus and marriage to Namine, his retirement from coaching…Vanitas' death and then Axel's not even a year later, Ventus' deathbed apology to Sora…Namine's death…it all seemed like yesterday. Roxas wished he could go back just for a day and see them all happy and healthy again. He didn't understand how all that time had passed and he was still just Roxas from Radiant.

"I told him to come ahead without me." Riku told Sora. "I wasn't sure Mrs. Tierney was going to let me get away from the church today. That lady never shuts up…" Crossing himself he mumbled, "Forgive me Father."

Sora laughed as he walked alongside his priest with his hands in his pockets. "This may be our last trip here. I heard they were gonna close it for a major overhaul and it would be closed for 5 years."

"Yeah? Wow…think we'll all be dead by then Sor?" Riku laughed as they neared their regular meeting spot.

"Probably. I don't see Rox…" Sora said and Riku laughed.

"Blind ass…he's laying down as usual…probably snoring too."

Roxas was staring up into the green budded limbs and blue sky beyond, but he wasn't seeing any of it. Riku sat down with him and sobbed while Sora called for help, but he was already gone.

A week after the service, Sora went to Riku and asked him to come stay with him. Riku and Roxas had lived together for so long that Sora worried what the absence of his life-long love would do to his friend. "I have this nurse that comes three times a week…and every Friday she brings chocolate cake!" Sora said smiling at Riku who looked absolutely lost.

"I don't know…I don't want to be a burden…and I have all Rox's things here." Riku sighed.

Sora could see the light leave his eyes and it broke him in a way nothing else ever had. "Please Riku…I don't wanna be alone either."

Riku agreed and the two best friends were back together and getting up to mischief when they could…as long as it wasn't chocolate cake day…they behaved on chocolate cake day.

Two years later, Sora left Riku alone anyway. The night after the service, he went home to his and Roxas' house where he put his few things in order and went to bed.

"Hey baby! I missed you!" Riku opened his eyes to see sparkling blues and golden blond hair, and that smile…that smile that lit his world.

"Roxas!" Wrapping him in loving arms, Riku looked around at the green budding trees and smelled the sweet scent of new blooms. The water rushing over the rocks was musical as he turned to see his family and friends all waiting for him at the Greenway.