It doesn't end with Kingdom Hearts. It goes on. [Riku/Sora/Kairi, post-KH2]
The Sky, The Land and The In-Between
#01 - Speak
"Go on," Kairi says, pushing him forwards gently, and as Sora looks up at him almost inquisitively, head tilted at an angle, he blurts out in a rushed, possibly quite incoherent line, "SoraIthinkIkindaIloveyou."
#02 - Touch
They sleep together, in a pile of limbs that tangle around each other, Riku's legs intertwined with Sora's, Sora's head tucked underneath Kairi's chin, and Kairi's hands reaching blindly towards Riku's, arms slung protectively over Sora's body curled in-between.
#03 - Memory
It makes the both of them sick, really, when they see Sora's body and they see the thin jagged scar on his chest, white against tanned skin, with the knowledge that he would die for them, he had died for them, and that no matter how many times they kiss him in silent apology, tracing tongues down that damned line and hearing Sora breathe and gasp and moan, feeling Sora's heart flutter underneath, they cannot wipe the sin away.
#04 - Vanilla
Riku doesn't mind that Sora's completely vanilla to the mechanics of sex (to tell the truth, he was postively delirious over the fact that he's the one who gets to pop Sora's cherry, metaphorically and literally), but Kairi had to spoil all the fun by fastidiously educating Sora the moment she knew about it, and if he didn't love her as much as he did Sora he think he might have choked her for doing that.
#05 - Chocolate
Whenever they go for ice cream it's always the same, plain peppermint for Riku, bosenberry swirl for Kairi, and double-chocolate-chip fudge for Sora, oozing over the cone and his hands and trickling down his chin in the summer heat.
#06 - Ways and Means
"I still don't get how the three of us can...you know...together," Sora whined, not liking the sudden identical evil grins that crossed Riku's and Kairi's face, and the ominous chime, "We have ways, Sora."
#07 - Belief
"How did the bottle get to us anyway?" Sora said aloud, fingers playing with Riku's hair while he snored, and Kairi's thassala projects clicked in the breeze before she softly replied, "Maybe because all I did was believe."
#08 - Linger
Sora's kisses are wet and sloppy and often carried traces of sugar or juice or sand or whatever substance he had been rubbing his face with before being reminded to clean it, and they often linger with more permanence than Riku or Kairi would have liked to admit.
#09 - Illuminance
The night's dark and Kairi declares, softly but distinctly, that it is a Bad Thing to be sneaking her out late at night when the mayor's asleep and Sora and Riku should REALLY be in bed too, but she quickly stops in favour of gasping in delight when the boys bring out two jarfuls of green, flickering fireflies, and released them in a cloud that lights their tiny world, just for one beautiful moment.
#10 - Ornament
"Mistletoe?" Kairi asked, one slim eyebrow raised sardonically as she glanced at the bunches hanging over the door to their apartment, the kitchenette, the toilet, the bedroom, and if she squinted she thought she might see some even in the bedroom, and Riku shrugged helplessly, "Well, maybe we'd finally be getting something through to Sora?"
#11 - Coup de foudre
Of course, he never meant for this to happen, never in a thousand years; but the storm still came, with or without his consent, and it filled him with bitter regret now that it had swept both Kairi and Sora away from his reach, far, far away.
#12 - Archway
"Do you think we'll ever get married?" Sora wondered out loud, and Kairi and Riku exchanged a panicked look over his head.
#13 - Fate
"Would you have wanted it any other way, if you could turn back time?" and they shake their heads, /no/.
#14 - Pulse
Sora likes running fingers over their wrists, thumbs stroking smoothly over the main vein, and they never knew why, because it was his own secret, knowing each pulse, each throb, meant that both of his friends were still alive.
#15 - Envelope
When school got too hectic with deadlines and examinations and staying over at other peers' rooms to study together, they keep in touch using white envelopes, stuffed in each other's backpacks and textbooks, filled with scribblings and doodles and little hearts, and littered with tiny "I love you"s along the margins.
#16 - Cold
Riku fell sick first, nursing a mild headache that escalated into a pounding migraine at night, sending him sneezing and sniffling onto the only bed in the apartment, and really, Kairi had told Sora multiple times not to crawl into the same bed even if it was to comfort Riku, but when she woke up the next morning sprawled on the futon with no Sora in sight, it didn't take two geniuses to stumble sleepily into the bedroom and hear two contented whistle-snores, the kind you hear from stuffed noses, and despite her deepest reservations, she joined them.
#17 - Need
"I don't care what you /want/, Riku," Kairi was saying, holding resolutely to his wrist like a death grip and digging her heels in, screeching across the wooden floor, "what I care about is what you /need/. What Sora needs. What I need. Please."
#18 - Drunk
"Never again," Sora croaked, and Kairi was soothing his damp hair back and shooting a chilling, blue-eyed glare at Riku, who at least had the grace to look guilty and hold up a glass of water and two Tylenol pills in apology.
#19 - Mask
"Don't try the 'stone-faced' look with me," and her eyes are gentle when she says, "Your eyes can't lie, remember?"
#20 - Rose
"I'm not some delicate flower, Riku," Kairi says, and she quickly presses nose to skin, before continuing cheekily, "But you sure smell like one."
#21 - Two
Riku sees the shadows of the other two, sometimes, when the moonlight strikes at that exact spot, and he wonders if he can ever join them just as himself.
#22 - Fresh
Nothing was better than freshly-caught fish roasting over an open fire, hearing Sora's noisy eating and Kairi's soft chides and curling his toes in the sun-warmed sand, watching the sun go down and not feeling afraid.
#23 - Bribe
As captured on tape, Sora's voice: "I will not be taken in by candy I will not be taken in by candy I will not-OOOOH LOLLIPOP SQUEE /TAKE ME WITH YOU/."
#24 - Error
Of the three, Sora has the worst luck with computers, and loathes the colour blue with a new vengeance.
#25 - Appetite
Maybe it's to make up for the two years that Sora lived on simple, dry, often bland-tasting rations, but Kairi sniffed and said that that was no excuse for forgetting his table manners and attacking everything edible on the table.
#26 - Refrain
Riku regretted introducing Sora to Katamari Damacy/, because as crack-headed as the game was, hearing the very addictive theme song's main chords (not the whole song, even!) being hummed at every single moment was liable to drive /anyone up the wall.
#27 - Family
Sora doesn't really distinguish between family and friends, somehow everybody fell into the category of 'extended family', be they human, animal or even a computer program, much to Riku and Kairi's chagrin.
#28 - Grieve
Riku does not cry when Mickey's final letter arrives written in Minnie's neat, pencilled hand, but his face sorts of scrunches up and his breath comes in stops and gasps, and Sora quietly offers his shoulder for his friend to hide his face in while Kairi clears the tea away and leaves them alone.
#29 - Vapor
"I'm glad Ariel found Eric," Sora whispers, Riku already fast asleep on his lap and Kairi is putting away the storybook, tucking them into bed and turning off the bedroom light, and Sora's words echoes in the darkness, "It must be so horrible dying that way for that poor mermaid."
#30 - Tea
Riku is disgusted and Kairi is delighted to know that Sora actually likes tea: what Sora doesn't tell them, however, is that between Cid and Merlin and Aerith, there really wasn't much choice to choose in beverages if he didn't want water.
#31 - Medicine
Sora hates taking medicine, whether in pill form or liquid form or heaven forbid, an injection, but somehow, taking it via Riku or Kairi's mouth makes getting better so much easier.
#32 - Moth
They are not moths, and Sora is no flame, but somehow the allegory sticks darkly in Kairi's mind.
#33 - Perfect
Just because they found each other didn't mean that life instantly became perfect: Riku frayed Sora and Kairi's nerves by constantly putting on disappearing acts for hours, Sora had developed an ego big enough for three during his journeys and Kairi literally worries herself sick, but somehow they worked those annoyances out, bit by bit, and maybe life wasn't perfect, but in their minds, it was getting pretty damned close, and that was just fine with them.
#34 - Rope
"Come on, Kairi, you're not serious. Skipping to keep fit? What makes you think I'm not FIT?! And why /SKIPPING/?"
#35 - Wind
"I should take you guys on a ride on Carpet!" Sora says, eyes sparkling, "Or ask Peter to make you fly! Then you'll know what riding the wind really feels like!"
#36 - Crossroads
Society will make them choose between themselves soon enough, they know, but the three of them figured (even Sora, /eventually/), that hey, they'll make the choice when they reach there, and not a moment sooner.
#37 - Summer
"Let's go down to the beach," Sora says softly, one bright summer's day, and Kairi elbows Riku hard before Riku could comment, "But we go to the beach every day."
#38 - Candy
Riku dislikes giving Sora candy, not because it'll ruin his teeth or turn him more hyperactive than usual, but because Sora has the uncanny ability to turn even candy floss into the most obscene of things and Kairi always, ALWAYS laughs her sick head off when he had to reach for tissues for his nose.
#39 - Photograph
Tidus was a photo-holic, ever since his dad got him an old but working clunker of a camera, and Sora and Kairi enjoyed creating embarassing situations for Riku (smearing him with paint, pushing him full-dressed over the paopu island, making out with the both of them and so on and so forth) whenever Tidus was around just to capture those memories.
#40 - Spoon
"Tell me when he's done," Riku groans, and Kairi giggles as Sora looked at the both of them with a confused expression on his face, tongue paused in mid-lick on the batter-covered spoon.
#41 - Forest
"You know what they say about not seeing the forest for the trees," Kairi remarked, "Sora loves you too, you know. Not just me. So stop beating yourself up over what happened, that's over and you know that Sora's not gonna let it happen again."
#42 - Mirror
"You're so vain, Riku."
#43 - Smoke
"Sora!" Kairi squawked above the annoying whine of the smoke alarm, "Practice your fire magic somewhere else and not in the kitchen!"
#44 - Shine
They're fireworks, Selphie thinks, looking at the three of them sitting together, laughing, human fireworks who burn bright, burn hot, burn fast, and she hopes anyway that she'll be able to see them through till the end.
#45 - Balloon
"You mean that's it?" Sora squeaked, "I just sound like Chip and Dale? That's such a ripoff!"
#46 - Vine
"And if you stick flowers in Riku's braid here, here and here," Sora explained to a fascinated Selphie and a greatly amused Kairi, ignoring Riku's warning growls, "it looks just like a flower vine!"
#47 - Butterfly
"Do you think it's true?" Sora wonders, "that a butterfly can change the course of a hurricane?"
"You're one, aren't you, Sora?" Kairi answers, poking him gently on the nose while Riku sleeps.
#48 - Gloves
Riku and Sora wear gloves because their hands are hard from their travels, rough and callused and it makes hand-holding oddly uncomfortable, but Kairi peels them off everytime she sees them, stubbornly linking her soft bare hands with theirs.
#49 - Venom
The darkness is gone, Kairi can see that, but like all poisons it still manages to leave its mark on both Sora and Riku, and she hates it.
#50 - Remain
"We'll be best friends forever, right?" He curls fingers around theirs, and they grip back reassuringly, and grinning like a loon, he yells into the distant ocean. "Forever and ever and ever!"