Disclaimer: Don't own Kingdom Hearts

Seen end of chapter for notes

Chapter 1

Kairi struggled to remain focused on the lesson, but she was bored. History really wasn't her strong point, which was why she really did need to concentrate. There was only one term left before graduation and any university offers would be dependent on her final grades. And then her attention was caught by Mr Wise's next words.

"Your final project will be done in pairs, you will be graded on your contribution but also the overall quality of the project which means you need to work together," he answered, orange eyes scanning over the now very alert class.

Whispers were breaking out, friends wanting to pair up and she glanced around to see who she should work with. Selphie would be the best bet; she was the best at history.

"I shall be choosing the pairs," and the room fell silent. He began listing off pairs and her heart sank as all of her friends were read off. Wonderful.

She froze as her name was called along with…Riku. She glanced towards the back where he sat alone, head bowed. He'd been one of the most popular guys at school only two years ago but then he'd gotten sick and when he'd come back to school…it was like he was someone else. He'd pushed all his friends away, becoming a loner, he never talked to anyone, no longer played sports or was really part of the school in any way beyond attending classes. He glanced up, meeting her eyes for barely half a second, before he looked away again.

Kairi knew she was not in for a good time. She'd had a crush on him back then but who hadn't? They hadn't really been friends or anything but he'd been polite enough when their paths crossed and they'd had Sora in common. Sora and Riku had grown up together, but even Sora had been pushed away after Riku returned. Sora had been the first person to try and be her friend after she moved to town and while they weren't as close anymore, she still considered them friends, no matter how weird he was.

Everyone began getting up to sit by their partner and she hesitated, but Riku didn't budge from the back corner so she had to get up and head back. She could practically feel him watching her which was crazy since he was looking at his book, hair hiding his face from view. She knew he didn't want her to sit there but it was necessary, so she sat down and put her own books down. She saw him tense out of the corner of her eye, trying to draw away from her, and…she felt sad, not upset.

Slowly, he relaxed as she kept strictly to her side of the double desk as the class continued, taking notes on the project. When the bell went she began packing up, glancing over at him. "Do you want to meet at the library later?" she asked.

He paused but then nodded, staying quiet, hiding behind his hair still. What had happened to change him so much? He'd just been sick like half the school that year, hadn't he? He never talked to anyone anymore and that was why she'd suggested the library since you had to be quiet there. Hopefully he'd relax a bit more in a place where speaking was discouraged. She blinked; was he actually mute now?

She shook the thoughts off and hurried to her next class.


The whispers spread pretty quickly about Kairi being partnered with Riku for a project and Sora chewed his lip, worried. He missed Riku even after two years, but he couldn't approach him, not now. He hoped Kairi would respect his boundaries, he thought she would, but he wasn't positive.

He paused when he saw Riku walking down the hall, somehow managing to keep clear of everyone else. Riku looked up briefly, their eyes meeting, and Sora managed a smile and small wave for him before making himself move on. It was the only way to still be there for Riku in any way now, he'd say hi if they were closer but anything more would cause Riku to bolt. If only he'd reach out, Sora didn't care about how he'd changed, he could help him, support him.


Kairi wasn't surprised to find Riku set up in the darkest corner of the library, well away from the windows. Even though he didn't seem to look up, she still smiled at him in case he did. "Afternoon," she murmured, spreading her books out. She pulled out a blank notebook and opened it, picking up her pen. 'Which topic are you interested in?' she wrote neatly before putting the notebook near him.

He started slightly but then reached for the book, reading her question. She grinned when he wrote an answer and they began passing the notebook back and forth even as they began looking for the relevant books.

As the days passed, she thought Riku was relaxing around her, he didn't tense anymore, seeming to trust her to keep out of his personal boundaries. And she did because she didn't want to scare him off. She thought Riku enjoyed her company, at least he didn't seem to mind when she stayed and did her homework after they finished on the project for the day, even as he worked on his own.

Her parents didn't mind the extra time at the library, she doubted they'd even noticed. Sometimes Kairi wondered why they'd even bothered having a kid, it wasn't like they paid any attention to her. They just threw money at her as if that would solve everything.

Riku…Riku was an orphan, she thought. She didn't remember anyone mentioning his family in a long time. He'd missed months of school when he got sick, who had been there to look after him? Was that why he was different now, because he'd had to deal with it alone? That just made her more determined to show him he could have a friend.


Riku staggered into his home, dropping his bag as he stumbled into the kitchen, opening the fridge to pull out the waiting bottle. He unscrewed the lid with shaking hands and then downed the cold contents, grimacing, but unable to wait. He drained the bottle and then dropped it in the sink before making his way to his dark bedroom, collapsing face first on the bed, curling into a ball, waiting for the tremors to pass. He just had to last a few more months, it'd be fine, it would.

Kairi…he'd had a small crush on her back then, not that she'd ever known, he hoped anyway. She'd had a small circle of friends, she was pretty and not bad at sports, kind to everyone. He hadn't cared about her parents money or anything, unlike a lot of the guys. There'd been a school dance coming up and he'd been working up the courage to approach her, then everything had gone to hell. He could never ask her anything now, could never get close to anyone. He was too dangerous now, a monster.

He didn't miss many of his friends, most of them had hung around for his sporting skill and looks. But those like Sora? Yeah, he missed him. Sora had let him push him away but…only to a point. Sora would still say hi in the halls, would wave and smile at him, Riku knew if he reached out Sora would welcome him back. And oh he wished he could.

He felt his body relax as the sun began to set, his senses coming alive, but he pushed down the urge to leave, to hunt…it was hard forcing his body to ignore it's nature, to sleep at night and be up during the day, it hurt, but he had to do it. Just for a little longer, till graduation. Once that was done it would be easy to vanish, no one cared what a graduate got up to once legal after all. Only once or twice a month would he give into his body's instincts, would slip out in the dark of night to hunt, always very careful in his choice of victim, never an innocent.

He should stop letting Kairi close, should close off, but she made it easy. She was quiet and calm and she just let him be. She hadn't pushed him to speak to her, had instead passed notes with him. She kept out of his personal space too. If she didn't smell so good…she was making things harder but they had to work together. If she knew what he was, what he did, she'd run screaming and he knew it was for the best.

Yes, things would be so much easier once graduation was done and he could forget about Kairi and old friends.


"Thirty first."

The soft voice made her freeze and then she looked up, to find Riku had his head bowed. But…he'd spoken, almost too quietly for her to hear. "Thanks," she whispered in reply, fixing the date. He could talk! He glanced up at her briefly and she would swear his lips twitched in a tiny smile. Even so soft, he had a gorgeous voice.


He was an idiot! Why had he done that? He hadn't spoken in two years, not to anyone, but when he'd seen her putting the wrong answer down, he'd corrected her. He expected her to push for more, but she just said thanks and then went back to passing notes, occasionally speaking to him but never expecting an answer. Why did she have to be so understanding?

He paused in the shadows, watching her walk away only to stop as her name was called, his heart aching as he saw Sora fall into step beside her, wanting to join them. He'd be welcome, he knew it, but he couldn't endanger them that way. Sora turned to explain something to her, just out of Riku's impressive hearing range, and their eyes met though there was no way Sora could actually see him…except Sora smiled before looking away. He couldn't have been smiling at him, it wasn't humanly possible, and yet he couldn't help feeling….happier?

Leaving later meant less sun which was nice for his walk home, especially with how far it was. He wasn't scared walking the streets alone, why would he be? Not like thugs were any threat. The hunger gnawing at him was the threat to all those around him. Thankfully, he made it home and heated his afternoon meal before drinking it.


"So what's it like having to work with a guy who doesn't talk?" Selphie asked as she reached for an apple from the bowl on the counter.

Kairi sighed. "There are other ways to communicate you know?" she pointed out as she tugged Selphie back and put another pin in the hem of her costume.

"Oh?" She smirked, and Kairi rolled her eyes.

"We write Selphie, mind out of the gutter please," she chided the other girl. Selphie was a little too boy obsessed for her, her head in the clouds. And she was lead in the school production, if she'd hold still long enough for Kairi to finish altering her costume to fit better.

"So boring," her friend mocked.

"We spend time together in a library, what else did you expect?" she stressed the location. Honestly. Even if Riku was interested in her and she was interested in him, which they weren't, it wasn't like they could get up to anything there.

"Spoilsport," Selphie laughed. "When are you going to start dating?"

"When I meet someone worth it. Now hold still or this will never be done in time."


Riku frowned as he watched the news, whispers of war were never good. If they became louder then he'd really have to vanish fast after graduation, he couldn't risk being conscripted. The idea of any of his classmates…his old friends…fighting a war made him feel sick. They were just kids, no matter how old they were. Kairi…Sora…he closed his eyes and forced his breakfast down, getting up to get ready for school, not surprised that the talk of war was all over the school. The teachers were tense but also trying to act normal, to make it seem like the talk of war was just that, talk that would go nowhere. And it was possible, there'd been talk when he was little that had eventually petered out after all.

When Kairi joined him at what had become their table after school it was obvious she had heard the rumours. She offered a wan smile as she sat down and set out her part of their project. Before he could really think about what he was doing, his hand was resting over hers, her head flying up, wide blue eyes meeting his. He swore at himself in his head, there was no way she could miss the coldness of his skin. She blinked but then she twisted her hand under his to squeeze his and he squeezed back before pulling away.

"Thanks," she whispered, and he nodded, then they got to work.


He stayed, still and silent, on the fire escape. It was a good place to wait, close to the club district but far enough that cries for help would go unheard. That made it popular with them and so a good place for him. Sure enough, a 'couple' eventually stumbled in, the woman tipsy and the man… He slipped his hand under his jacket, fingers wrapping around cool metal and then he dropped down silently.

By the time dawn was approaching he was half way home, knowing his prey would be seeking shelter. He caught a flash of silver and hesitated but he kept moving. It was enough to know the other hadn't harmed an innocent, he didn't need or want to know more.


Kairi lay on her bed, staring at the ceiling, fingers running over the back of her hand. Riku had touched her, she'd never seen him touch anyone or let them touch him. His skin had been soft and smooth but…ice cold. Whatever he'd been sick with had obviously left permanent damage, no wonder he didn't play sport anymore if his circulation or ability to regulate his body temperature was that badly affected. He must freeze in winter! But his touch had been gentle, almost timid, and…she didn't think he'd realised he'd actually done it at first. He had to be touch starved or something after two years. There were only two months of school left, after that she'd probably never see him again, especially if war actually did break out. With his health there was no way he'd pass the medical for even a conscript, but she would. Then again with her family's money, maybe they'd simply leave for somewhere safer.

Before graduation, she wanted Riku to understand that she was his friend, that she didn't care about whatever health condition he had.


Riku was torn, he wanted to graduate, to be free of people watching but…he didn't want to stop seeing Kairi, no matter how dangerous it was. He was so stupid, he'd gotten close, let her in more than anyone since he'd been 'sick'. The talk of war was getting louder, as in armies being recruited level of talk. He had to disappear as soon as they graduated to be safe. Kairi…hopefully her family would be smart and use their money to get out, start fresh somewhere safer. If they didn't…could he sneak Kairi…and Sora, out himself? Would they let him? Trust him enough to go with him?

He looked up as Kairi joined him, smiling softly at him, and then the hair on the back of his neck stood up, instincts screaming. Before he could think he was over the table, tackling Kairi to the floor, covering her with his own body as everything exploded.


She hurt. Everything hurt. Why? What was going on?

"Kairi? Kairi please wake up," a soft voice called over and over, and she whimpered at the noise. "That's it, you need to wake up."

She knew that voice. It was…it was…Riku! She struggled to force her eyes open but everything was dark. What was going on? That was when she realised she was pinned down, a cold body on top of her…to cold. She lifted a hand, trembling fingers reaching to search for a pulse only for a hand to grab hers.

"It's okay Kairi," Riku murmured in her ear. It was Riku on top of her, not a corpse.

"Wh…happ'd?" she forced out before coughing, dust, there was so much dust.

"The library exploded," he answered, voice tense.

Then she remembered, his eyes had gone wide and then he'd moved faster than she'd thought possible, tackling her to the ground…then nothing. She took a shaky breath and he squeezed her hand.

"There's air, we can make it," he promised.

Yeah, air was great but who knew how much debris was on top of them and sooner or later they'd need water and food. And there was always the risk of whoever came to dig people out shifting things wrong and collapsing their little pocket. And it was little, Riku was pressed very firmly against her after all. She felt his other hand in her hair, confused and then she whimpered in pain. Oh…head wound.


Kairi being awake was a relief, she'd been out for hours and only hearing her heartbeat, feeling her breath beneath him, had kept him from panicking. He could smell her blood and his mouth was watering, but he would never do that, he wouldn't! He knew his body couldn't be comfortable pressed so close, too cold, but there was no choice. He couldn't get any leverage to push up and even if he could…he'd risk bringing it all down on them. He'd survive but she was so fragile compared to him. He knew she'd been reaching to check for a pulse once she registered his body on hers and he didn't blame her, his first thought would have been that he had a corpse on him too. But he'd grabbed her hand and she'd realised it was him.

Riku didn't like how she'd slurred her question, or how much blood had come from her head wound…or how sluggishly her pupils had reacted. With his night vision he could see even in the pitch black. He just had to keep her alive until help found them but…he couldn't hear or smell anyone…anyone alive anyway. He could hear something dripping not too far away but had no way to get to it, even if it was safe to drink. Knowing his luck, it'd be a waste pipe, but he couldn't smell leaking sewage.


"I'm here," he promised, stroking her hair, trying to offer comfort. She was in so much pain and there was nothing he could do. Well…that wasn't true but she had a head injury so would it even be safe? And the thought of doing that to her… "Just stay awake." He hated asking that of her but sleeping with a head injury was dangerous right?

"T'red," she mumbled, eyelids drooping.

"I know, but you can't Kairi, you might…you might not wake up." He had to find some way to get them out of there. She needed medical help, now. He hadn't spoken so much in years, his throat should be killing him, but that only bothered the living. "Just stay with me," he begged. He leant his forehead against hers, wishing he had body heat to share, then again his coldness might actually be helping any bruises.

Her hand came up, fingers wandering over his face and he fought back a shiver at the warm touch.


Sora stared at the rubble that had been the school library, it had taken a direct hit, the rest of the school was damaged but there was nothing left of the library. Kairi…Riku…no, he knew Riku was okay. But Kairi? Riku was still Riku where it counted, he would have done his best to protect her, he would have. Rescuers were already searching the debris for signs of life but it would take a while to get in the heavy equipment needed to find and retrieve any survivors. Could Riku get them out? Or where they stuck somewhere too risky for him to try?

But what could he do? And if Riku was hurt…Sora glanced up at the sky. If they dug them out in the day and Riku was hurt then that could end very badly.


Riku froze as he heard something faint from above…rubble settling? He thought he'd heard people but that had been ages ago and then everything had been silent again. But then there was a lot more noise, echoing, and he grimaced as his sensitive hearing was assaulted. Machinery…someone was digging down through the rubble.

He looked around as best he could, reaching into a small gap to grip what he'd seen, yanking back hard. He pulled free the metal he thought was once part of a bookshelf and began banging it against the concrete.


Selphie huddled against Sora, terrified. She was bruised but mostly okay, she'd been tossed across a room when the explosion happened. Now she was watching as workmen dug through the rubble of what had been the library, heart in her throat, because Kairi should be in there. No one had seen her since the explosion, or Riku. Why did they always work in the library?

She tensed as the workers motioned to each other, everything going quiet, and then cheers went up. "What is it?" she demanded of the taller Sora.

He shifted slightly, trying to get a better look. "Hang on," he moved away closer and then when he came back there was hope in his eyes. "They can hear someone banging."

Selphie slumped against him, hope growing. There'd been a lot of people in the library but she couldn't help believing it was them.


Riku glanced up, hearing the distant shouts, the sound of the digging coming closer. They'd heard him then, that was good. But he couldn't be found with her, not when he didn't have a mark on him. No one could know he was there and he looked down into her dazed face. He stroked her cheek tenderly, allowing himself the soft touch, even as he gently captured her mind. Eye contact was all that he needed, even when it was too dark for her to actually see. He had to be so careful, he couldn't risk causing damage when she was already hurt. He felt it as her mind went blank, her eyes staring vacantly through him in the darkness, breathing slow and steady. Riku hated himself for doing it, but he had no choice, as carefully as he could he removed her memory of meeting him at the library and of him saving her. Instead she would remember him calling off because he wasn't feeling well, of going out of habit to do her own homework.

He couldn't help pressing his nose to her throat, lapping at some of the drying blood that had dripped down from her wound. He closed his eyes as the taste exploded across his senses. His teeth ached with the desire to bite, but he wouldn't, he had never bitten an innocent and he wasn't going to start with her. He was stronger than that, he was. He pulled his head back, forcing himself to stop breathing.

"Don't die," he whispered.

As the debris continued to shift he began to carefully move off of Kairi, forcing his way into the deeper debris to hide till true night.


Sora watched the flurry of activity, one of the few still there since terrified parents had collected their children. He's promised Selphie to send word as soon as he knew anything before she'd been dragged off. Unsurprisingly, there was no sign of Kairi's parents, he hadn't expected to see them. He thought he'd seen them maybe ten times since he'd met her when they were five.

A basket was handed down and his heart was pounding. He practically held his breath as he waited and then it was being hauled out again, a small figure secured within, but he caught the flash of red hair and an oxygen mask. She was alive! No sign of Riku, but he'd expected that. He sent of a quick message to Selphie and then moved closer.

"Is Kairi okay?" he called out, and one of the men turned to him.

"You know her? Are her parents here?"

"Yes sir, her name's Kairi. I think they're out of town for business at the moment," Sora shrugged slightly. "Is she okay?"

"Considering what happened, she's lucky. We're moving her to the Memorial hospital now."

"Thanks." He watched as she was airlifted and then left.

He went home to clean up and change clothes, wincing as he cleaned a cut on his arm, but it had already started healing. The news was flooded with news of the bombings…plural. He watched in silence, feeling sick. He'd never really believed it would come to war, what was he meant to do? He'd have to contact someone to ask. But for the moment he had a job to do. Dressed to blend with the shadows he left as the sun began to set, taking up a perch where he could see the ruined building.

Two hours later something shifted in the darkness and Sora smiled in relief, Riku had made it out. He followed him to make sure he made it home, just in case he was injured and couldn't make it. Of course before he could make it home himself he had to intervene in the cliché dark alley, quickly sending the dazed woman on her way home. Most people had the intelligence to stay home after the attack during the day.


Kairi smiled as she reclined in the hospital bed. After a week she was feeling pretty much recovered, thankfully. She'd been told how lucky she was that she'd been stuck in a pocket like that, that the crew had heard her banging, not that she remembered doing that. But apparently that was normal with a bad head injury. She was very aware of how lucky she'd been, only two others had been found alive. Everyone had come to see her, Sora, and Selphie the most but…no Riku. She'd been able to tell the authorities he hadn't been in the library, that he'd been sick, but she had hoped he'd come.

"Spacing out?" Selphie asked.

"Sorry, I guess I'm tired."

"Get some sleep. At least you're not missing any school."

It was closed and there was talk of simply letting them all test out. That would be handy since her part of their project and all her class notes had been blown up.

"Thanks for coming," she offered as Selphie left. She curled on her side to try and sleep; she'd been told to sleep as much as she wanted since she'd heal faster.

When she opened her eyes again the lights were dim, it was night. She sat up and then frowned. "Hello?" she called softly, she was sure she'd seen movement…and then she smiled as Riku appeared from the corner of the room. She patted the chair beside the bed and he moved to sit there, reaching out to touch her hand.

"You okay?" he asked softly, and she nodded.

"I'm being released day after tomorrow," she assured him.


Riku knew he should have gone to see her sooner but he'd…he'd been a coward. He hadn't meant to let her see him but she looked so happy he was there. It was a relief to know she'd be released very soon and she seemed fully alert to him. She wasn't pale anymore, there was no blood…she had survived and she would be alright. He left his hand on hers, unable to force himself to remove it but she didn't seem to mind at all. Then again, hospitals seemed to be cold so maybe his skin wasn't all that noticeable.

"I should have gone home when you called in sick," she murmured, and he shook his head.

At least the memory alteration had worked and held. "It's not your fault," he told her firmly. "There'd been no declaration, no one expected this, or for civilian targets to be hit first."

She sighed but nodded and then twisted her hand under his, offering to hold his but not forcing him to. He hesitated but then let their fingers intertwine. He missed touch, just the casual brush of shoulders in a hall, shaking hands…anything. He'd just been too scared to touch anyone in case they worked out the truth and even if they didn't, that they wouldn't want to touch someone so cold.

"Riku?" she called his name after a little and he titled his head slightly to let her know he'd heard. "Why…why don't you talk to people?"

He tensed slightly at the question. How could he explain? He felt her squeeze his hand gently, looking back up at her.

"It's okay, you don't have to answer," she smiled softly at him.

He couldn't tell her; he couldn't tell anyone. He didn't want her to be scared of him, to hate him. She squeezed his hand again, her thumb moving to stroke over his knuckles.

"It's okay, you never have to talk unless you feel comfortable."

He looked at her, confused. How could she mean that? But she'd never pushed him to talk, she'd been the one to start passing notes.

"You're my friend Riku," she told him. He was? "I'm glad you came, no one had seen you, I was worried."

"Sorry," he whispered, and he was. He hadn't wanted to worry her but the hospital was difficult. But he couldn't leave without seeing her, without trying to get her to leave too.


Sora hung back, smiling softly at hearing Riku's voice for the first time in years. Kairi really was good for him, it wasn't impossible, he knew such pairings could work if they were careful but it seemed no one had told Riku. Had…had Riku been taught anything? Looking back, he wasn't sure he had been and that was concerning. Then again, two years ago there'd been a massive surge in attacks, they'd been working non-stop…what if Riku had been mistaken for dead in the mess and accidentally abandoned? Or even had his line wiped out for attacking people and maybe he'd been meant to only be a victim? And Sora couldn't say anything to him, he could only talk about it if Riku admitted what he was first. Ugh. Stupid rules.

Now all he was trying to do was figure out how to take them both with him. He'd gotten his orders, he had to leave asap before he could be called up for service and have to undergo a medical exam – that would be just as bad for him as it would be for Riku though for different reasons.


Riku froze as his eyes met Sora's, his hand on the handle of Kairi's hospital room. What was Sora doing there so late at night, how'd he gotten past the nurses?

Sora just smiled at him like he always did, walking closer. "Hey," he murmured, "she okay?"

Riku nodded, shifting to the side so that Sora could go into the room without touching him. But Sora stopped walking, their arms almost touching, and Riku fought down the urge to run or something. He could feel the warmth radiating from his body, hear his steady heartbeat, his breathing… Riku wanted to reach out but he couldn't.

He stopped breathing as Sora lifted his hand, but the other stopped just shy of actually touching his shoulder and for the first time Riku realised he was considerably taller than Sora now.

"I miss you," Sora whispered so softly Riku knew he wouldn't have heard if he was human, so he forced himself not to react since he obviously wasn't meant to hear it. "I'm leaving, before they can enforce a draft," Sora said, still quietly but loud enough for someone so close to hear. "You should leave too Riku, don't get dragged into this stupid war."

Riku nodded. Technically, Sora had just admitted to treason by saying he was leaving, but it wasn't like Riku would ever tell. He pointed to Sora and nodded again, hoping he'd understand, not wanting to speak more.

"You're leaving too," Sora whispered, and Riku nodded, relieved he understood. "So which of us is shoving Kairi in a sack and taking her too?"

Riku shocked himself by letting out a short laugh and Sora grinned at him. It felt so much like before that he'd moved before realising it, his hand lightly hitting Sora's shoulder and he froze, but Sora's grin just widened in response. Maybe the touch had been too brief for him to notice?


So this has been sitting around for a while because this is where I got stuck. There's two choices – time skip after their move or suggestions on how they end up doing it. Cause I can't figure that section out.