Riku coloured instantly. “Not like that.” Reflecting, he had worded that a little badly. “As friends, I mean, we could take advantage of this opportunity to get out of the hole that is the islands and see some real country, look for Sora.”
“Oh,” Tidus said, looking at him, and then the motorbike. “You’re going on that?”
“We both are, if you’re coming.”
“She’s pretty fine.”
“Can I take a walk to think about it?” Tidus asked, and Riku nodded. He himself sat down the pavement, knowing the younger boy would take a while at the least.
Riku remembered that Mrs. Strife didn’t react nearly so badly when he’d mentioned leaving the islands to find Sora, but maybe that was just because Riku hadn’t up front asked her to come with them at the time. At Riku’s earlier question about the motorcycle, she’d only said, ”Yes. I have it in the basement if you’d like to see it.”
So he had. And he acquainted to it a little, noting immediately the lack of weld joints on the frame – handmade, it had to be – the expandable narrow compartments along the side, the dim headlights and the oddly proportioned front wheel. As Riku brushed aside the cobwebs in the front mirror he gulped, seeing the speedometer. The bike’s top speed was 400kmoh (250mph). Shit. Cloud definitely had a need for speed.
“Please take it.”
Riku’d jumped, almost having forgotten she was there. “You- you can’t be serious miss, this thing must cost tens of thousands, you couldn’t just give it to me. What if I trashed it? I mean, is it even insured? Aren’t- isn’t there meant to be a contract for this sort of thing?”
“I don’t know, but Cloud did, and if he was here to give it away, he’d want you to have it.” Mrs. Strife insisted, spreading her hands. “I want you to have it, I know there’d be no better owner. And what good is it here, but for growing rusty and scaring the milkman? My head knows Cloud’s not coming back, but seeing old Fenrir leaning against the wall from the upstairs every morning tells my heart otherwise. I keep expecting to go down there and see my boy cramped under its silver hide, tinkering with some pipe or another, concentration set hard on his dirt-streaked face... Yes, I think it’d be better if you take it out of my hands.”
Touched, Riku admitted his plans to leave the islands and find Sora to her, said if she didn’t change his mind he might go on the bike. She didn’t looked shocked exactly, but something in her face changed, thankfully not to the sadness and melancholy that had brought her to tears earlier.
“You do that,” She said, and Riku stared.
So that was the end of it. They’d pumped the tires, replaced the oil and water – wisely deciding not to touch the gas tank- and wheeled it out of the house into the backyard. Riku gave it a test run going up and down the driveway, then with an elated yell of goodbye, left. It was almost too easy for him to believe. Of course something had to go wrong and did, with the crash, then with Tidus’s flight. But, in reflection, things could have gone a lot worse. He could have run out of gas and become stranded. Tidus could have already left on his flight. The aeroplane chicks could have suspended him from ever returning or called up their parents or school.
They might’ve already, now he came to think about it.
As he dwelled on the likeliness of this prospect, staring up into the big blue sky and wondering towards its worth, Tidus reapproached him. Riku knew Tidus was there, leaning over him, and Riku knew that Tidus knew it too, because his shadow covered the entirety of the older boy. Yet he didn’t stand up or even look in his direction, in a silent fear of confronting the issue of Tidus saying no all too quickly.
“Hey,” Tidus said quietly, sitting down on the pavement next to him.
“Hi,” Riku allowed.
“You know, I’ve thought about it for awhile, and I think I’ve come to a decision.”
“I’m coming with you.”
Riku tried not to sound too hopeful, asking: “Really?”
“On one condition--” Riku visibly drooped. “—once we find Sora, we come back home.”
Too easy. And here Riku thought the kid was actually being serious for a change. Riku laughed, fluffing Tidus’s hair, “I was gonna do that anyway, man. Why would I wanna be stuck out in the middle of nowhere with two losers like you and Sora anyway?”
“I’m serious.” Tidus said, batting Riku’s hand away. “In the circumstance we find him, willing to come back to the island or no, dead or alive, whatever, we go back to Destiny. With or without him.”
“Well,” Riku said, after a moment of silence, “I don’t know about you, but I’m much preferring the idea of with. And I’d like to see that as soon as possible, so you want to get ready to head off, then?”
They mightn’t’ve had Sora there for a quick fix for the darkness, but they had Fenrir, their wits and a common goal in mind, which was all that really mattered.