“Dude,” Tidus murmured, nudging him, “people are looking at as weirdly.”
“I know, just play along with it.” Riku thought the town they’d arrived in no stranger to foreigners, perhaps tourists or tradespeople if the jewellery and souvenir stalls littering the beachside were any idea, acting suspicious when others had no reason to yet think them as such was needless—it was probably wiser to stay silent, rather go out of his way to act the part and reassure them otherwise, but hey.
On that thought, Riku led Tidus over to a rather larger stall with a more quite tone, breaking their conversation with merely his presence, one hand on the counter and the other in his pocket. “’Scuse me,” He said, nonchalant. “Do you of know any hotels around here at all?”
The oldest man looked at the woman across from him, babbling something incomprehensible in their own language.
“There is hotel, there, good comfort.” The women said, standing up and pointing. “You want earring for your friend? We have cheap earrings.”
Riku dismissed her with a shake of the head, making his way down the street with Tidus close at hand.
“Riku, does Sora speak Wutanese?” He suddenly asked, eyeing off local merchants.
“I don’t think so, no. Why do you ask?”
Tidus ignored him: “What about you? Do you like, secretly speak Mandarin or something? Is there a relative of yours in Wutai?”
“What are you trying to say?” Riku frowned and turned a sharp corner to the right, into a lane cutting away from the harbour.
“Hey, isn’t this the opposite way to the hotel the Asian chick poin--”
“I looked up a hotels here before we came. We already have a booking, and I plan to keep it.”
“Showing them what they want to see, reinforcing character. Don’t ask dumb questions.”Riku walked faster.
Tidus struggled to catch up with him. “It was not a dumb question! What if the people back home find out where we are from that? They’ll track us down and we’ll never find Sora.”
“They’re going to know where we are anyway. We just have to get out of here before they get here.”
“What’s that supposed to mea--”
“Quiet.” They’d entered the hotel front, and Riku plastered on his fake smile – he’d learned his lesson from the airport, that was for sure and certain – getting his room key out his pocket to flash at the check in guy, who nodded. Riku continued up the hallway with Tidus beside him, saying, “This is yours, by the way.”
“What, did you get the keys in advance too?” Tidus sounded doubtful.
“No,” Riku scoffed, “The guy gave them to me this morning when I checked in with Fenrir.”
Tidus stopped walking. “Holy shit Fenrir, we left her on the shi—you came this morning? Without me?”
“Keep it down,” Riku whispered, looking up and down the corridor. “We’ll talk about it in the room. Unlike most places, this places has thick walls, no one will overhear us.”
Tidus made a vulgar but quiet remark about five star quality meaning they didn’t have to hear their neighbours banging on the headboards in the middle of the night, which Riku promptly smacked him on the shoulder for.
“You’re such a girl,” Tidus whined. “Me and Wakka used to talk about that sort of stuff all the time.”
“I really don’t want to know.” Riku found the door to their room and unlocked it.
There wasn’t much to describe about it: with a TV, a beds and a bathroom it was just the same as any other similar-priced hotel room in the world. Yet Tidus seemed to find it fascinating. “Aww man, we got a mini fridge. And it’s got booze in it, unopened! Hey Riku, feel like getting smashed?”
“Not at the moment,” Alcohol made him think of him and Sora raiding his uncle’s scotch cabinet, like always. (Never again, he thought, but this time the memory was tinted with nostalgia.) “You do realize we only have one bed.”
“So?” Tidus asked, Riku thought like he sounded like he was channelling Wakka. “You a fairy or somethin’? Get a ruler and draw a line down the middle if it bothers you so much.”
“I don’t know why people are always questioning my sexuality.” Riku revealed, flopping down on said bed, “it seems perfectly straightforward to me.”
“Yeah, to me you’re perfectly straight.” Tidus echoed, sounding sarcastic for some reason. “Anyway, you were going to explain the booking into the hotel while I was still asleep thing this morning?”
“Mmm. I told you but you weren’t listening so I locked the door and went and checked in without you. No one was up then and I kind of didn’t want them to see Fenrir. No big deal, really.”
“And it didn’t occur to you for one second that I might wake up in the locked room without you and panic?”
“Character building,” Riku said, “there was no one on the ship at that time and the door was only half-locked from the outside: you were sleeping like a rock, anyway.”
Getting angry, Tidus started on him, “Of course, you don’t actually think about my feelings. You think about how everyone else’ll react, but you don’t actually think about me. You don’t care if I get lost on a ship on some country where I don’t speak the language, but you care about people seeing, just seeing, your precious motorcycle.”
“I do care about you, you idiot! It’s because I care I have to make sure what keeps your safe isn’t taken away from me.” Riku was slightly amused.
“Ooh, mister robot cares so much, calling me an idiot, treating me like one all the fucking time. You think your master plans are oh so smart and cunning, well the flight attendant didn’t think that, did she?”
“This isn’t about me.”
“Isn’t it? Isn’t it!? You’re the one who wanted to save Sora and you’re the one who meant I couldn’t get on the plane you’re the one who left me all by myself, I’m pretty damn sure it’s about you.” Riku was staring at Tidus, not at all angry, while the younger blond looked about ready to explode. “You need to step off that damn pedestal that makes you think you’re better than all the rest of us nobodies before someone pushes you off.”
And with that, Tidus slammed the hotel door half off its hinges and evidently the walls weren’t all that thick, because Riku could hear him stomping down the hallway from where he still lay on the bed. Reaching over for the remote, Riku turned on the TV, picking up the whatever it was drink from the bedside table and rummaged through the drawer bedside table of stuff he salvaged from Fenrir’s compartments and his backpack for chips.
So maybe he did feel like getting a little smashed, after all.