We've said this all before, your shadow's at the door,
There's darkness in the hall and we won't take the fall.
Don't you tell me, what you think is right,
When you're living in the shadows.
I can tell that, you have lost your sight,
When you're living in the shadows.
-Billy Talent "Living in the Shadows"
The darkness embraced Riku like an old friend and his body shivered with relief. He felt night's loving touch manage to sate his nervousness, calm him enough to be able to relax. It was wonderful to, at last, be able to lie down on his bed. Keeping up a charade such as this was tiring and far too taxing on his body. Riku couldn't help but fear that this was becoming more and more evident as time wore on. His friends couldn't be that oblivious, could they? He hoped for both of their sakes, that this was just the case.
It hadn't been wise to come home. Sora had been too naive to see the truth and Riku had been too eager to return to the island to question him. Now he felt like such a fool. Normalcy after the events surrounding the time Riku had spent away from his friends was just too much to hope for.
Then go back.
"Shut up," Riku groaned, squirming onto his side. He pressed his pillow over his head. -As if anything would block out that voice. He knew exactly where it was coming from and that there was little he could do to silence it.
That voice had come from Riku's left, cutting through the darkness as efficiently as any light ever could. Riku flinched. Sora had missed him. He supposed he had to believe that. Of course, Sora had other friends. He had done well enough without Riku. After a year, perhaps less, he would be forgotten. To be forgotten, to never be found, that was what Riku had wanted to begin with. Who would remember him after everyone had moved on.
Riku groaned, pressing the pillow down harder, until it was almost difficult to breathe "Shut up."
Riku winced. There it was again. "Leave me alone!" He snapped at the window, sure his voice was muffled at the moment.
Sora didn't seem keen on giving up this easily. Riku could hear him at the window "But-"
Riku would have to be more convincing than that "I'm tired Sora. Let me sleep."
"Kairi and I have some fireworks. We thought-"
"Just leave me alone!" Riku gave the wall a kick in his frustration.
Startled, Sora stepped back. The slight brunette standing at the window gave one last look through the glass. He extended a hand, tracing his fingertips lightly over the nails that held the wood in place there. Riku boarded up his window and expected him to think there was nothing wrong.
At first he had let it go. Riku had been kinder than usual at first. Slowly it seemed he had begun to revert back to his old self. This had disappointed Sora but, really, had been no surprise. Riku had always been a little cold and distant and Sora was simply too glad to have him back to care if he went back to that. But now...now this was getting out of hand...
Sora pulled away from the window reluctantly and turned to face the beach. In the distance he could just make out the shapes of his friends in the moonlight. Wakka threw a blitz ball as Tidus jogged backwards to catch it. Selphie and Kairi chatted together, standing barefoot in the tide as it began to roll in. Riku might have once complained about the dullness of nights like this. Perhaps, in the long run, this really was all rather boring. They would have another adventure someday, Sora was sure of that. But for now he was satisfied with quiet nights like these. He only wished Riku felt the same way.
"Hey!" Sora was snapped from his daze as Selphie called to him, waving her arms over her head to catch his attention. "Hey, Sora! Come on!"
With one last, hopeful, look to Riku's window, Sora headed toward the beach. Maybe Riku really was sleeping. He had spent so long in the darkness, perhaps closing off the windows just made him feel more comfortable. Regardless, he would have to wait until morning to speak with him.
Roxas felt like a prisoner. As a Nothing he had had no heart but being part of Sora made him feel as if he had no soul, no body of his own. Was that really a fair trade? From what he could see, NaminÃ¨ didn't appear to mind, or at least never showed it outwardly. Then again, he hadn't seen NaminÃ¨ lately. He could see what Sora saw, went where Sora went but these days, when he saw Kairi, that was all he saw. The idea of NaminÃ¨'s absence made him uneasy. The possible reasons for it made him uneasier still.
Lately Roxas was feeling less and less like himself. Sora's thoughts were becoming his own, as were his feelings. It was almost as if he was fading away. What if NaminÃ¨ had already faded? Was this truly the being "whole" that she had spoken of; to be assimilated? If so, he certainly didn't feel whole.
Once he had been his own person. Once he had had friends. He had eaten sea-salt ice cream with Pence and Olette and Hayner. They had done school reports together and talked about unsubstantial things. Life had been simple then, but it had been his own.
It was becoming more and more difficult to recall the details of those days past. At times he would find his mind lapsing, forgetting names and dates. He would miss weeks in their entirety, having a hard time clinging to those memories once he got them back.
He vaguely recalled that he had felt incomplete, even with his friends. There was something, someone from the past. There was someone that he had forgotten long ago. Despite his best efforts, he couldn't picture a face, much less the subtleties of this person's dress or a voice. He only remembered that he missed whoever it was. He missed them very much.
From the corner of his eye, Roxas caught a flash of light. It wasn't part of the myriad of colors bursting forth from the fireworks. This movement had been very distinct but he lost sight of it as the blur raced out of Sora's range of vision. Sora and the others seemed oblivious, their eyes fixed on the lights of the fireworks above.
/Sora-/, Roxas tried to reach out to his other half, to get him to look. His mind seemed to be elsewhere though. Roxas could barely communicate with Sora as it was. Any sort of conversation between them was often short and far in between. It seemed he simply didn't have the strength to reach out to Sora at all anymore.
Luckily, the energy he was lacking came shortly. There was a crash as the blur of light landed. Again, there was no response from Sora and his friends and yet the energy from the crash rushed outward. Roxas caught a glimpse of crackling static-like energy before it swept over him like a wave. SORA!
Sora's eyes rested, unfocused, upon the night sky. His thoughts still lingered upon Riku. He simply couldn't get his mind around all of the possibilities of what could have gone wrong. The pops and crackles of the fireworks overhead registered dimly, as did the gasps of delight from his friends.
He didn't notice the colors, not now. He could only watch the darkness, not even paying mind to the light of the moon or stars. What had it been like for Riku, alone for so long in the darkness?
Sora felt his limbs seize. He was forced to look away from the fireworks overhead and, instead, along the shore.
Sora?! Did you see that?
"Roxas?" Sora asked aloud, confused and slightly panicked at moving against his will like that. Sora could only imagine that he was receiving some odd looks from his friends, but he couldn't turn his head to check.
Don't tell me you didn't feel it!
"Fe-" Sora thought better of speaking aloud this time Feel what?
"Sora?" Kairi interrupted. Sora hadn't said much all night. Considering his usual cheerful demeanor, he was likely acting about as strange as Riku.
"Huh?" Sora managed to look back to his friends. Selphie and the others had turned to look at him when they had heard the concern in Kairi's voice. Though he knew his friends were worried, an explanation really could wait. "I'll-ah-I'll be right back."
Sora was thankful to find that he had control of his body again and he rushed away from his friends and up the beach. Feel what? Roxas? Roxas!
At the other end of the beach-/, The voice was a little fainter at first but grew in strength once Sora was sure to pay close attention. /Something came through the sky. It felt...kind of familiar...You didn't see it? Thoughts echoed through Sora's head, but it wasn't particularly difficult to sort Roxas's out from his own.
"I didn't see anything," Sora said aloud, relieved to be alone. He skirted a palm tree to walk alongside the nearest rock-face "Where did it land?"
There was a pause at first, almost as if Roxas was thinking the question over. This didn't happen often, at least not anymore. It had been a long while since Sora had even felt the other's presence I think it landed near the cave. The one with the door.
"With the door?" Sora repeated uneasily. He glanced back to the beach, where his friends had gone back to lighting fireworks. They cheered noisily as one whistled to its zenith before showering the sky with multicolored sparks.
Sora whirled around, startled. Further along the beach there were only shadows. "What did you see?"
I didn't see anything I just heard someth-there!
Sora didn't have to look hard to spy a shape among the shadows. It appeared humanoid, but could clearly see a great deal better than Sora could at the moment. Whoever it was rushed through the darkness with ease, vanishing into the shadows completely as it neared the cave.
Well, don't just stand there!
Sora didn't have to be told twice. Out of instinct alone he took off at a run, not entirely sure of what or who he was chasing but set on catching him just the same. He hurtled across the island as quickly as he could. Though this island was his home, his eyes weren't quite as adjusted to the night as those of whoever he was pursing.
Surely history wasn't repeating itself. It was very unlikely that whoever he was pursing wasn't from the island or not simply a figment of his imagination. Of course, that didn't explain what Roxas had seen and this sudden numbing sensation sweeping through his limbs. He slowed down as he saw the mouth of the cave. There was energy there. He couldn't see it but he could definitely feel it sweeping through his body is sudden bursts and pulses.
Even Roxas didn't urge Sora on. It wasn't safe in there and both knew it. The dark-haired boy at the door crept closer and squinted his eyes against the darkness. There was no seeing who was inside, not without going in himself. For the time being, perhaps their pursuit should end here. Whatever they were pursing probably wasn't going anywhere...unless...Sora felt the energy grow stronger, now forming one perpetual flow. He took in a sharp breath. "No-" Without a second thought to the potential danger inside, Sora rushed forward.
Riku gasped, his entire body tensing as the energy swept through him. His eyes widened in shock and he sat up, looking around wildly. Surely that hadn't been...It couldn't be...
Riku go, go now!
The boy sitting in the darkness shook his head, backing up to the wall as he tried to sort through all this. In the meantime a second shockwave swept through the room and over his being. It burned through him like adrenaline, making it all the more difficult to ignore the urgings of that voice within him.
I said go!
Riku got to his feet rather shakily. This time he embraced the next wave of energy, using it to run from his bedroom and out the front door. His breath came in sharp gasps in the warm night air and he took a good look around. His attention was initially drawn to the fireworks being set off along the beach. From this distance it looked as if Sora was speaking with Kairi. Yes, they would certainly move on. He simply couldn't take this anymore. Even if his mind was willing, his body wasn't. "All right." He breathed, taking one last, long look at his friends before running for the caves, for the doorway that had just opened. Riku knew exactly where it led.
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