Mid-KH1: Riku hasn't been sleeping well.
Characters: Riku, Malificent, extensive mention of Sora.
Warnings: Spoilers for KH1, zomg. :o Written with a mild attempt towards Riku*Sora subtext, but if you can play the game without seeing the stuff, you can probably read this without seeing it, too.
Notes: Set sometime during KH1, after Riku joins Malificent, but definitely before Neverland. Otherwise, place it where it pleases you in the timeline.
Inspired by the song "With Every Breath I Take" from the musical City of Angels (no relation to the movie), of which the duet reprise fits Sora and Riku really well in spirit, if not in word. (Well, IMO it does.)
There's Not A Morning
"Are you all right, Riku? You seem to be... tired." Malificent hooked her fingers under the boy's chin, tilting his face up towards her. "Have you been sleeping well?"
He stared up at her, face stubbornly set. "I'm fine. I just... I've been having bad dreams." Riku gently pushed her hand away. "It's nothing to worry about. You said you had a job for me?"
Malificent laid her hand on his shoulder, spider-leg fingers closing gently against his skin. "It is of no great urgency. You should go to your room and rest; I will come up with something to help you sleep peacefully." She gently pushed him towards the end of the hall. "We can't have you falling asleep when we need you awake, now can we, dear boy?"
Slowly, Riku let his shoulders relax. "I guess not. All right, I'll go rest." He walked down the dark hall, not letting his feet drag. While he may be letting that woman mother him, he couldn't let himself look /weak/-- he was worth more than anyone who would let weakness show.
Worth more than him/-- even if the keyblade had... had made a mistake. He was still better than Sora. He didn't need to swap friends or use a spaceship, or need friends at all. Malificent understood that, had helped Riku to understand that Sora wasn't worth much of anything, that Sora wasn't up to the standards Riku should be holding for himself. Sora didn't even /try at being good enough at things, didn't even try to show he was worth all the affection and friendship people gave him anyway... not that Riku needed friendship or affection. He was fine without them, with just Malificent being a better mother than his had ever been, a better teacher than the ones back on the island because she let him do what he needed to learn, and let him learn what he wanted to, suggesting rather than ordering lesson plans.
He didn't need Sora, or Sora's approval, for any of it.
'So why,' whispered a little rebellious over-thinking corner of his mind, 'do you keep dreaming about him?'
"I don't," Riku muttered, and found that his feet had carried him back to his room.
That was a lie, and Riku knew it; those confused (disappointed?) eyes were Sora's, that upset voice asking why Riku had changed no one else's, that hug clumsily thrown around him a memory from when his mother had...
There was his big soft bed, and he threw himself down on the velvet covers and buried his face into a pillow, closing his eyes and doing his best not to see that look from his dreams.
He didn't need Sora's approval. Not when Sora would leave him behind, find new friends, care more about Kairi.
There was a soft tap of nails on wood, and Malificent opened his door. "Riku?" she queried, voice gentle as honey.
"Yeah," he said, sitting up, watching as she glided across the garnet-dark carpet and held out a small vial of gold-tinged liquid.
"This will let you sleep dreamlessly." He raised one hand, and she pressed the vial into his palm. "Now sleep, my dear child."
He smiled awkwardly at her. "Thanks." She turned and glided away, Riku waiting until she left the room before working the glass-and-rubber stopper free and downing the potion.
Falling back on his pillows, Riku waited for his dreamless sleep.