Chapter Four

A month passed and Riku was spending more and more time away. He even volunteered to go check up on other worlds just to make sure they were safe and sound… it was like he wanted to be away from the island and Sora was feeling abandoned. As busy as Riku was, his own life hadn't changed much at all. Kairi yakked day and night about her friends, her clothes, her hair, and all other things that interested only her until one afternoon…she brought something new to the table.

"So…I heard a bit of gossip about your boy Riku." She sat on her beach lounger by Sora who was sprawled on a blanket, face down. Not waiting for a response, she snapped. "Are you awake!?"

"If I wasn't, I am now!" Sora, in a rare moment of impatience, snapped back.

Kairi's eyes narrowed to slits. "I know you did NOT just yell at me." She was seething and Sora immediately lost all his fight.

"I'm going home." He stood and began collecting his things while she watched him, mouth agape at his impertinence.

"You don't want to hear about Riku?" she sneered and then smiled smugly.

"No." Sora groused. "I don't want to hear any gossip. Jeez, no wonder Riku doesn't wanna hang around."

"You're blaming me?"

"I need to think, Kai…I need to take a break."

"From us!?"

"Yeah I guess so…yeah." Sora shrugged and picked up his shoes before turning to make his way toward home. As he walked away he could hear her shrilling at his back. "You're just as much of an asshole as he is sometimes. I bet he'll be overjoyed! This was probably his idea! Such an asshole! GOD!"

Sora's smile was relative to the distance he put between him and his now ex-girlfriend, and by the time he reached home, he was grinning. Swinging the door open, he called out to his mom and went up to his room to shower. Singing all the songs he learned in Atlantica, he emerged from the steamy bathroom with a towel on his hair and his toothbrush hanging out of his mouth. "Phone phone phone…" he searched briefly and then found the device in his discarded pants.

Riku had been so focused on further defiling himself with Vanitas that he had scarcely thought about Sora in recent weeks. Of course, the entire affair had begun because of his hang-up about his bestie but that hurdle was cleared after the first week. He realized that no matter how hard he fucked Vanitas, he would never be Sora (even when he answered to his name) and in a way, he was grateful. Riku's sexual appetite had slithered far beyond anything Sora's innocence could fathom and well, there was no going back.

Thinking of their last conversation, less than twenty-four hours prior, he walked slowly through his kitchen and contemplated…

Vanitas peered at him from the mess of sheets while he sat by the window to smoke. "So, your folks are away again?"

"Yeah…it's no big, you know. They've always travelled."

"Don't ya miss em?"

"Mom…sometimes." Riku turned toward him. "Why do you ask?"

Shrugging, he crawled off the bed, still naked except for the silk tie that hung loosely around his neck. "I notice now and then you look kind of lonely…and I wonder how much of it is because they abandon you at random times, without warning…" he sat astride Riku's thighs and flicked his tongue out to wet plump lips. "Without apology."

Aqua eyes fixed on amber, unmoving even as he felt the brush of fingers against his bare abdomen as his jeans were unfastened yet again

Vanitas had a way of niggling things to the surface of his psyche and then 'helping' him exorcise those demons. He pondered this as he picked up random items in the too quiet, rarely used kitchen. He didn't see it as a weakness per se. Lifting one of his mom's aprons that had a large floral print and a small ruffle, he smirked and draped it across his shoulder before moving on. If he allowed Vanitas to help him put his insecurities to rest…that was a good thing. That was healthy progress…right?

Holding up a wooden spoon in his left hand and a spatula in his right, he compared the two briefly. Nodding as he returned the spatula to the drawer because a wooden spoon would be far easier to replace, he reached for a canvas grocery bag but then stopped short. Inspecting the diameter of his favorite chopsticks, he grinned fiendishly (he did that sometimes) and then tossed it all into a bag before heading out to Vanitas' place that overlooked the Keyblade Graveyard.

The incessant buzzing of the phone on the floor by his bed was annoying, but not so much so that it warranted all his attention. He was exhausted. Riku was finally asleep, and he had been able to slip away and shower before collapsing, sore and spent. Staring solemnly at the handsome profile and long silver hair, he snarled slightly and let a soft growl escape before closing his eyes. Sora would never be enough for Riku and Vanitas knew it. It hadn't taken long to open Riku's eyes to that fact either. Weeks had passed with the two meeting up at every convenience in whatever world Riku chose, until he finally relented and invited him to his own shitty apartment…something he never did. Watching his stir in his sleep and then sigh and scratch his nose, Vanitas smiled and then forced his eyes closed once more. Breathing in the scent of the ocean that seemed to cling to Riku's skin, he abruptly turned away and buried his face into his pillow. You're weak! Pining like a little bitch! He's never gonna want you for anything other than this…so you might as well get that through your stupid skull. If one of your Unversed hurts his precious Sora, he'll shit-can you in a second.

Slipping out of bed again, Vanitas dressed quietly and hurried out, leaving Riku asleep with the damnable phone still spinning on the floor like a carnival ride out of control.

Sora was surprised when the call was finally answered. He had hung up on the voicemail twice but intended to leave a message this time. He didn't have to.

"Yeah…" Riku's sleepy voice husked over the phone.

"Hi Riku! I've missed ya buddy. Wanna hang out? Get something to eat maybe?"

"Yeah…sure…I was…sorry, hang on." (rustling noises) "Hey, Sora…sorry about that. Yeah, we can hang out. When?"

"Now or…anytime since I broke up with Kairi."

"You did what?"

"I broke up with her. She was killing me." Sora picked at the threads of the towel. "So where are you now…maybe we can meet up or …"

"I'll come to you." Riku's voice was hushed, nearly a whisper. Sora didn't realize that he had a bit of a snarl on his face while he listened, but he did. "See you in an hour?"

"Sure." The word had no joy behind it.

Ending the call, Sora looked around his room and wondered if he had been with Kairi for so long that he had ruined his friendship with Riku already. He wondered if his friendship was salvageable. Dressing quickly, he decided to shoot Riku a text telling him to just meet him on the pier, and headed out.

The sun was warm like every other day (mostly, except when it rained) but it felt different. Sora assumed that was because he was different…not the sun. Looking down the beach, he saw what appeared to be a shadow that had no body. Just a shadow, standing alone on the beach. Glancing up at the sky he wondered if it was being cast by the clouds somehow…it wasn't…and when he looked back down, it was gone.

He wandered around picking up odd shells and drawing in the sand with a stick, and checking his watch. Finally, the hour was up and he made his way to the pier. Fifteen more minutes passed before he saw a familiar form appear. Sora was instantly suspicious as Riku stepped out of a portal wearing clothes that he had never seen before. "Hi…long time, no see."

The sound of his voice made the strange arrival seem less threatening and Sora ran to him for a warm embrace. "I've missed you."

A thousand times or more, Riku had daydreamed of this very scenario…Sora dumps Kairi and summons him… holds him close affectionately…but that was before Vanitas. Kissing chocolate spikes of hair, Riku smirked sadly where Sora couldn't see. "How've you been?"

"Ok, I guess. Better now. How've you been?"

Stepping back and looking over the form he had admired for so long, he clapped him on the shoulders. "Food, yes?"


The two went for fish tacos and Sora shared the entirety of his breakup with Kairi. Riku listened raptly and debated telling Sora where he had been spending his time…but decided not to. It was too soon to put the nail in the coffin on his chances with the brunette. As they chatted and ate, they fell back into that rapport that they had shared since they met… and didn't notice approaching angry females.

"Would you look at that, Nami…just look at it! Two losers on a date!" Kairi shrilled and cackled loudly, drawing everyone's attention at the seaside café.

Riku glared in their direction and growled as they continued to approach. "Sora…"

Sora turned, cheeks red, and glared as well. "What do you want, Kairi? I'm not taking you back so leave me alone."

"Wow…now what makes you think I want you back?" she laughed, making his face even redder. Riku winced and shifted his gaze to Namine who looked as if she was about to cry. Looking into her big sad eyes, he asked quietly. "Why do you hang out with her? She's such a bitch."

"Why do you care?" Namine squeaked.

"Don't speak to her you fucking pig!" Kairi spat venomously and bent toward the still seated Riku.

"Fuck off, cunt." Riku mumbled and turned to pick up his food, intending to finish his meal. "She's not some innocent who needs your protection."

"She is and she does! She's good and kind, unlike you! There's not a bit of darkness in her!"

"There was, on at least two occasions." Riku mumbled and Sora covered his face with both hands.

Namine began to cry and Kairi began screeching unintelligible curses while Riku dropped some munny on the table and drained his cup. Belching loudly, he checked the time. "Wanna go to my house for a while?"

"Sure." Sora noted that Kairi was still screaming obscenities so he didn't bother to try and say goodbye.

Before they reached Riku's house, they were attacked by a huge horde of Unversed. Fighting side by side, they managed to kill them all but Riku still looked worried. Bending at the waist to catch his breath, he felt a light pat on his back. "What's up with you, Riku?"

"I don't know what you mean." He knew exactly what Sora meant.

"Maybe you're just getting a little rusty but you seemed to not want to kill them…those Unversed."

"That's ridiculous." Riku murmured the words but all he could see behind his closed eyes was Vanitas screaming and growling in pain.

Sora shrugged. "Wonder what Vanitas is up to…say did you ever run into him?"

"Yeah, no… yes I saw him." Riku puffed out a breath and bit his lip. "You know, I should probably get the house cleaned up before mom and dad come home."

"Ooookay. I can help!"

"It's mostly laundry and my- my room. Why don't we just catch up tomorrow." Riku offered a quick hug, dropping his arms before Sora could even return it properly. "See ya!"

"Bye." He watched his bestie jog toward home while he stood there in the twilight alone…more alone than he had been in a very long time.