Disclaimer: Don't own Kingdom Hearts
Had this for a while, decided to post it to tide you all over while I'm in hospital. Enjoy
He stood at the railing, watching the slowly approaching landmass before looking down at his orders. A single report of possible activity and now he was stuck on a ferry. He sighed and ran a hand through his hair, why him? Obviously because no one thought anything would come of the report. If it was accurate then the target had likely just been passing through or hiding for a short time. An Island chain could never sustain a permanent population for any length of time without getting their attention very quickly.
It was still a shock to be sent, he'd thought he would never see the Islands again. They'd come for him when he was six, not that his parents had really argued against his leaving, and he definitely hadn't been asked if he wanted to go. They'd just shown up and said he was going with them, to a place his abilities could be trained and used for the greater good, and he...he hadn't even gotten the chance to say goodbye.
He knew there was a chance someone would recognise him, but then again, the resemblance may be brushed off. He half hoped…but that would just put him in danger if the intel was right. There was no guarantee he still even lived there; they had always planned on leaving for grand adventures once old enough.
He sat on the dock, watching the ferry approach, absently dangling his feet in the water. He was officially done with school and he knew what his Mum wanted…but it wasn't what he wanted. Then again, his dreams had died years ago when they had come and taken his best friend away. It had taken him a few years to accept that he'd probably never see him again; the world was a big place after all and he knew nothing about the people who had taken him.
He shook his head and sighed, leaning against the railing. There was no point thinking about it, he was gone, he might even be…no, not thinking like that. Maybe he should leave the Islands behind, get out and see the world, maybe that would prove to Kairi that he wasn't madly in love and pining for her. They'd gotten close after he'd been taken away but despite what everyone said, he wasn't in love with her and honestly, he didn't think she was in love with him either. He didn't want to work for any of the tourist trades, or become a fisherman, he didn't have the love of learning needed to teach…those were the main occupations available. He had no desire to do any of them which really limited his options if he stayed, and why should he? He didn't really have anything tying him there….except the stupid hope that one day his best friend would come home.
He watched the ferry dock and got up, stretching, before heading down the dock. For a split second he though…no, it was just old memories playing tricks on him. Shoving his hands in his pockets he headed home.
He didn't bother unpacking anything beyond his toiletries, knowing that he may not have time to pack if anything happened. He didn't like staying in hotels, they brought too much scrutiny, too much exposure. He preferred just camping but no one came to the Islands to camp so that would actually make him stand out more. He cleaned up and headed out, tying his hair back due to the heat and humidity as he went, wanting to get a feel for how things had changed over the years.
Part of him was unable to help hoping he would be recognised. What would he do if he ran into his parents? Would he even recognise them after over a decade? What had they told everyone when he never came home? The original story had been that he was being sent to relatives on the mainland for better schooling. How did that work when he'd never even come back to visit?
He was so lost in thought that he never felt the malevolent eyes watching him.
"When are you asking Kairi out, you know she won't wait forever."
He bit back a groan as he put his dishes in the sink. "I'm not asking her out, I don't love her Mum, she's just a friend." How many times would he have to tell her that?
"It's about time you began settling down, you're not a child anymore," she chided.
"And maybe I don't want to just stay here forever," he turned to face her. "I've never wanted to live on the Islands my whole life, to settle down and raise a family, that's not me."
"The mainland?" she demanded, and he nodded. "Why would you want to live there?"
"Why would I want to live here?" he shot back. Seriously, what was so great about the chain of Islands? The weather being pretty good most of the year and easy access for swimming was about all he could think of. "I'm going to meet Tidus and the others," and with that he left, not in the mood to argue.
He loved his Mum, he did, but sometimes…it was like she was totally determined to keep him close, even though he wasn't a kid anymore. He'd never known his Dad, he'd died when she was pregnant and no one ever talked about him much, except Kairi's Dad, the Mayor, though he was her adopted Dad. She'd washed up on shore after a bad storm a month after he'd lost his best friend, so he'd reached out to her. A search had found a sunken boat with no survivors and nothing had come of the information sent to the mainland cities.
He was planning to meet the others but found his feet turning towards the main boardwalk instead…maybe he'd stop by Axel's, see if he needed an extra hand for the night. Sure, tourist season was wrapping up, but his place was popular year-round and the extra munny was always nice. The pyromaniac ran the most popular bar on the Islands and he'd been helping out there since he'd been old enough to.
There were a few business' that had changed hands but mostly…it all matched his memories. Though he knew they weren't fully reliable, not after thirteen years, no matter how good his memory was. He'd grabbed dinner at one of the many seafood stalls, enjoying the local delicacies that had been the staples of his diet so long ago. They still tasted as good as he remembered. He considered a bar, a good place to disappear into the crowd and listen but…he honestly didn't feel up to the crowds at the moment. He kept walking, heading towards the beach when he rocked back on his heels, hands automatically going out to catch the other. He looked down slightly and froze as he stared into bright blue eyes, before his gaze was drawn lower…to the silver crown resting over the others' breastbone. He needed to move, to keep walking, there was no way he…
He was almost to the Dancing Fury when he slammed into someone else, feeling hands grip his shoulders to keep him from falling even as the other rocked back. He looked up and froze as he caught sight strands of silver hair framing a face set with familiar cyan eyes, the rest of his hair tied back. It wasn't possible…was it? He'd been thinking of him today so now his mind was playing tricks, and yet…
"Riku?" he whispered as the others' eyes dropped to his crown necklace, the one Riku had given him for his fifth birthday. Could it really be him after so long?
Riku was staring at him in shock, as if he couldn't believe what he was seeing either, and he still hadn't let go of him either. "Sora?" he finally spoke, and Sora nodded. It really was him!
He didn't even think, shifting closer to wrap his arms around Riku, he'd missed him so much. He felt Riku tense but then slowly, hesitant arms wrapped around him in return, the grip loose. "I missed you so much."
"Sora, I…" Riku took a deep breath.
Loud laughter came from down the street and Sora felt Riku flinch slight, tensing. He stepped back and took Riku's hand. "Come with me?" he asked.
Riku looked down at their clasped hands, all his training screamed no, to never go anywhere with anyone, but…this was Sora. With how close they'd been, he would have sensed if he'd…and there was nothing, Sora was a normal human, no threat. "Okay," he answered, getting a wide grin from Sora.
He let Sora guide him away from the boardwalk, the path tugging at his memory, until they came out on a familiar beach, able to see the smaller Play Island across the way where they'd spent most of their time as kids. How was he meant to explain being gone for so long, that once his investigation was done he'd be leaving again, that it was very unlikely he'd ever be back. He had no say in where he was sent, his life wasn't his own. Sure, there were people out there who knew who they were, what they did, but since it had taken a tourist to spot what Riku was, he didn't think anyone on the Islands knew. Why would they? Before this report there'd been nothing spotted in the area.
They sat beneath the familiar grouping of trees in silence, Riku really didn't know what to say. What could he say? He was surprised when Sora began talking, telling him about everything that had happened since he left, letting him just listen quietly. He winced slightly when Sora got to the part where he was being pressured into dating this Kairi and finding a job on the Islands when it was obvious Sora still wanted to leave.
Eventually, Sora fell silent, and Riku stared at the sand. What could he say? He wanted so badly to tell Sora the truth but he couldn't, it wasn't allowed and even if it was, he would never endanger him like that. Sora's life had been so…so wonderfully ordinary.
"Riku?" Sora called his name, and he looked up to find Sora watching him. "The people who came for you," and those words had his heart freezing in his chest, how did Sora know that, had he been there that day? "They didn't…hurt you or anything, did they?"
Oh. Had Sora thought… training hadn't been easy but no one had ever raised a hand to him maliciously. He couldn't tell Sora the truth but what lie could cover his long absence and the fact he had only returned for a brief time? If Sora got too curious that could be dangerous. Part of him wanted to tell Sora, to ask him to leave with him, and how stupid was that? They were strangers now, how could Sora ever accept the truth?
Still, he didn't want Sora to worry, or ask too many questions. He'd always been so curious when they were little and Riku doubted that had changed. That could put Sora in danger, even once he was gone again. He could ask Sora to drop it but he'd still worry… he glanced at the younger male, yep, he'd definitely still worry.
His eyes moved to the sky, seeing the moon beginning to rise, still nine days till it would be full but it should be enough. It wasn't something he liked the idea of doing, even if it was allowed, but unless Sora had changed a lot then he couldn't see another way to get him to drop it. There were rules in place now, not like centuries ago, not that they were rigorously enforced or anything, but breaking them tended be frowned on. Though why would anyone do that these days he didn't know. Riku took a deep breath, meeting worried blue eyes, and he began speaking softly, taking Sora's hand in his, thumb stroking slowly up and down his palm. Sora shifted, leaning in to hear him since he was murmuring, and Riku watched as his eyelids grew heavy, Sora yawning as his head began to nod.
"Mmm…sleepy…." He slurred, eyes becoming dull, pupils dilating. "Ri…ku?"
"It's alright, you're safe," Riku whispered, lifting his free hand to stroke Sora's cheek, watching his eyes drift shut, head slumping into his hand. He let go of Sora's hand to cradle his face, Sora breathing soft and steady, eyes fluttering partially open every few breaths. "Sora, can you hear me?"
"Yes…" his voice was dreamy and soft, body slumping towards Riku.
Riku swallowed, okay, so maybe he understood now. Sora was completely pliant, unaware of anything beyond Riku's voice… Riku could make him do or believe anything he wanted and he found it so tempting. Sora could be his. No wonder they'd almost been wiped out once, despite being humanity's only defence against the beasts. He knew that once none of them had hesitated to simply ensnare any human they wished, for any reason. There were legends of those with legions of regular humans under their control. No! He wouldn't do it, wouldn't shame his teachers likes that, wouldn't abuse Sora's trust that way. It was bad enough he had to do this much.
He took a shaky breath and then carefully ensured that Sora wouldn't question where he'd been or what he'd been doing since he'd left the Islands. He'd just enjoy whatever time they got together and then once Riku was gone again, Sora would move on, let the memories fade, and find happiness. For a second, he gave into temptation, pressing his lips to Sora's, wanting to know what it was like just once. Sora's lips parted beneath his, a soft sigh, his unfocused eyes flickering open.
Sora yawned, he was so tired, but he was comfortable, warmth pressed along his side. He blinked slowly, realising the sun was almost fully set, the night air beginning to cool, and he shifted closer to the warmth.
"Sora? You awake?"
He struggled to wake up more, that voice… slowly the memories came back, Riku, Riku was back…and he'd gone and dozed off on him! He felt completely wiped out but he didn't know why. He smiled sleepily as an arm wrapped around his waist, nuzzling into Riku's shoulder, feeling safer than he had in years.
"Come on, you can't sleep on the beach," Riku jostled him gently, and he whined. There was a huff of amusement and then they were moving, Sora slumping against Riku, unable to hold himself up.
Wow, Sora was completely out of it. Was that meant to happen? Then again, it had been a lot easier than he'd expected to put him under, so maybe he was just very susceptible to such things? Sora was limp against him, deadweight, only upright because of the arm he had around him, his head having dropped forward to rest against Riku's chest. If he didn't know better, he'd think he was still under. Maybe…he'd already been tired and what he'd done had just made it worse?
"Sora? Hey, come on, wake up a bit for me," he urged, and Sora made a sleepy noise of protest. "Do you still live in the same house?" he asked, waiting until Sora eventually hummed agreement.
He shifted his grip, scooping Sora up, his head falling to the side to rest against Riku's neck, making his shiver at the feeling of warm breath on his skin. Thankfully, they were on the right side of the Islands, less chance of being noticed, but he still stuck to the shadows as he followed old memories until he reached the correct house. It was easy enough to get to the first floor and sure enough, Sora's window was open.
He carefully lay Sora down on the bed before removing his shoes and pulling the sheet over him, Sora rolling onto his stomach with a soft sigh, deep asleep. Riku took the chance to look around, seeing what had changed as Sora grew up. The stuffed animals and wooden sword were gone, replaced by posters of places on the mainland, some Riku had visited over the years, some photos of Sora with people Riku half remembered…and some very old drawings he knew he'd done. Sora really did still miss him.
Riku shook his head and left the way he'd entered. He was there to do a job after all, the sooner he confirmed or denied the sighting, the better for both of them.
Sora yawned and stretched, blinking in the light. How late had he slept? He sat up, running a hand through his hair as he looked around. Wait…he didn't remember coming home last night. Had he gotten drunk? No, no hangover and he wasn't a fan of drinking anyway…and Axel didn't let them drink on the job, he'd been going there to see if they needed a hand, hadn't he? Yeah, and then…his eyes went wide. Did he really? He scrambled out of bed, finding he was in yesterday's clothes still. Sora changed, shoved his shoes on, and then grabbed the tree, using it to climb to the ground.
He jogged into town, it would be easy enough to prove, there were only two hotels taking guests with the summer rush over. And only one of those was close to Axel's, the other was on the opposite side of the island.
"Hey Roxas, got a guest named Riku?" he asked, relieved to see his cousin on the desk.
Roxas blinked but then glanced at the book. "Wait…am I allowed to tell you?"
"Come on Roxas, it's important, he's my friend," Sora wheedled.
Roxas sighed and Sora grinned. "Room 23."
"Thanks!" he took off for the stairs, heading for the second floor. He found the room and knocked, careful not to be too loud, practically bouncing. It hadn't been a dream!
The door opened and there Riku was, staring at him in confusion before he smiled. "Hey."
"You're really here." Sora lunged, hugging him, and Riku wrapped his arms around him in return.
"Yeah, I'm here."
"I'm telling you; I saw it! Right in town."
"One of them, here?"
Panicked whispers spread, horrified and angry.
"Enough!" he commanded, and they fell silent. "We will do nothing, no one is to draw attention to us. Once the full moon is passed they will leave and we shall be ignored."
"But it was with the boy!"
That made him frown, but no, they could not know. "Leave them be. We will honour his Father's sacrifice and choice. The boy is to be left alone."
"I have spoken, let it be." They all backed down, but something told him that it was not over. The boy was under his protection, for his dead Father's sake, he would not allow any to disrespect the sacrifice he had made for his only child. His word was law.