Title: Absolutely Fucked (or, Absolutely Screwed on ff.n)
Fandom: KH2. Post-KH2.
Disclaimer: No implied ownership, no financial gain, only fanwork.
Characters/Pairings: Leon/Riku, Sephiroth/Cloud, Sora/Kairi, Full Cast
Summary: When Riku suddenly appears in Radiant Garden some years later, Leon is intrigued. And then things get very complicated, very quickly.
Notes: Many thanks to those on AIM who tolerated me while I wrote this. For kingdom_xiii on LJ. Claim - Riku/Leon, Theme Set - Light, Theme - Master.
Leon only looked up because of the way that the weight fell onto the chair beside him at the little café in a newly restored section of Radiant Garden. Company was something he rarely lacked for, since apparently someone had affixed a metaphorical (he hoped) neon arrow to his head, announcing his location.
Working with Cid as part of the Restoration Committee for the last five years had made him a public figure, whether he wanted to be one or not. And it was nothing for Yuffie or Aerith or Cloud or even one of the faeries to come calling at odd times of the day, preferably lunch.
But Leon knew the way each of their weight fell, just like he knew their footsteps and the way the air moved around them. They were his friends - he shared an unbreakable bond with them.
He looked up, because the body beside his was foreign.
For a split second, before some form of logic finally took over his brain, Leon thought it was Cloud's arch-nemesis/bedmate Sephiroth. Logic did intervene, however, fast enough to make his jaw drop ever so slightly.
"I might need you to buy me lunch," Riku replied as he pointed at Leon's plate of noodles. "That looks good."
Because after four years of absolutely no communication from the Keyblade Master and his friends, it was perfectly normal for one of them to appear in Radiant Garden. Asking for lunch.
Years ago, Leon might have rolled his eyes and made some sort of comment. Time had mellowed him. He signaled for the waitress.
Before he could open his mouth, the perky little black-haired waitress who waited on him every single day bounced over, looking as equally confused about the new visitor.
"That?" Riku said, pointing at Leon's plate. "And, um, something to drink."
"I'll take care of ya," the waitress replied, giggling before bouncing off to the kitchen.
And finally, Leon got to speak.
"Should I ask?"
"No," Riku replied. "Yes. I don't know. I'll pay you back for lunch. Somehow."
"I won't ask, then," Leon decided. He went back to his noodles, trying not to give Riku more than the casual once-over he'd managed while Riku was distracted by the waitress.
While the years had brought him to the line between pushing-thirty and dragging-thirty, Riku at twenty was certainly worthy of more than a second glance and in-between trying not to slurp (for only Yuffie thought it was at all cute) noodles, Leon tried not to feel guilty for that tiny little thought.
Riku was Sora's best friend after all. Young best friend. Of questionable...
"You're staring at me."
Searching for a quick solution, Leon went for the first question he could think of that wasn't 'why?’
The waitress dumped a heaping plate of noodles in front of Riku, almost startling them both.
"Enjoy, hon. Call me if ya need me."
Riku nodded, smiling before grabbing his fork. About five messy mouthfuls later, he raised his gaze to meet Leon's. And Leon couldn't help but laugh. If he'd expected anything but a young man with noodles hanging from his mouth, he was utterly wrong.
"It's a long story."
"I think you have time," Leon commented, glancing around. "Unless you have a ride waiting somewhere."
"I'm not sure there's a beginning," Riku began, pausing and eating. "No matter where I start, I think it all just wraps around into itself."
Leon shrugged. He actually had no plans for the day, unless Cid called. But Cid normally came for him in the morning, and morning it was not.
"Four years ago... When Sora and I finally made it home, I mean - going home was the hardest part. Physically walking there, not knowing if I should knock or just open the door..." Riku trailed off, as though he still wasn't sure that he was starting in the right place.
Leon had no clue - he listened better than he spoke when it came to things like this. And he had no idea just what questions to ask to guide Riku along.
"These are as good as they look," Riku commented, pointing at his noodles. "Different seasoning than at home, I guess.
"Aunt Freya has been trying to teach me to cook. But that's... Okay, I decided to just walk in as if nothing had happened - as if almost two years hadn't passed. Aunt Freya was sitting in the kitchen, mending a pillowcase..."
Riku paused, shaking his head and wolfing down a few more mouthfuls of noodles.
"I just... like I took a picture in my mind. She looked at me and shook her head. And said 'Next time, I'll take the trash out.' - just like you, she didn't ask. She let me tell her."
"The trash?" Leon finally asked.
Laughing, Riku nodded. "I had completely forgotten that. The night the Islands were lost... Well, Aunt Freya had asked me to take out the garbage. And I noticed that there was a storm brewing..."
Leon hadn't noticed that his plate was empty. Or that he'd been eating. Riku was easy to listen to.
"But, you know that part. Sora probably told you all of that," Riku commented, his smile looking a little forced.
Still, Leon couldn't help but noting that Riku had finally mentioned Sora. Sora had always said Riku's name as every other word. Riku. Kairi. Riku. Riku. But was the fake smile in reference to Sora or the nearly-two-years between?
Riku seemed willing to talk.
Leon sat back to keep listening.
"Everything was... normal. Aunt Freya kept an open mind and - well, she was -- is -- she'd hit me with a spear for saying 'was', a powerful fighter, so I think she was secretly happy that I'd learned so much," Riku explained. "She even made me finish school, since she hadn't."
Somehow, Riku had already plowed through his plate of noodles. Leon wanted to remember being that age, but he'd been forced straight from sixteen to adulthood, lacking the bumper in-between when he'd been forced to take up residence in Traverse Town.
Gesturing at the door, Leon stood and pulled a few heavy coins from his pocket. They were more than enough to cover his bill, but he'd taken to spoiling his daily waitress just because he could.
"No dessert?" Riku asked, smirking.
"Aerith has a habit of leaving chocolate cakes in my house," Leon admitted. She liked to leave him more food than he needed, knowing that his cooking skills were substandard and that he ate at the café more often than not. "But she's finally learned to follow a recipe, thankfully."
"Girlfriend?" Riku questioned as he followed Leon out of the café. Leon caught the waitress out of the corner of his eye, scooping up the coins with a smile on her face. Not everyone in Radiant Garden could tip so well. Not everyone had been so extraordinarily lucky and unlucky at the same time.
The question caught Leon off guard.
"No," he said quickly. Aerith definitely was not his girlfriend. That had been an experiment that was not worth repeating. But they could laugh about it, finally.
"Sorry," Riku replied. Apparently he'd caught the meaning quickly. "Didn't mean to..."
"Don't worry about it," Leon replied, a little surprised to find that he was looking upward at Riku. Sora had always been small for his age and likely hadn't gotten any taller than Cloud. But Riku had filled out perfectly, complete with long, silver-grey hair that ended jaggedly mid-back.
"Where are we going?"
"Bailey," Leon replied. That, at least, he had managed to think about. A nice, neutral place to talk. Or whatever. He almost wished that he had his gunblade with him. Without a need to be armed, he'd stopped carrying a weapon at all times. The thought of a spar with Riku, however, excited him. If Riku was going to be staying... "Riku?"
"Where are you staying tonight?"
Riku stopped short. Apparently he hadn't thought that far ahead. Or had, and just hadn't thought of how to put his plan into words.
"Somewhere," he muttered. "Maleficent would..."
One suspicion confirmed.
"You can stay in my spare room," Leon said quickly. "I live alone. No one will mind."
"I just had to get away," Riku admitted. "I brought nothing. Even though, really, I hadn't intended to leave exactly when I did... Aunt Freya will understand though. I kinda told her how I'd been feeling and..."
"This is the part where everything wraps around, isn't it," Leon surmised as they walked along the high wall towards the Bailey. He didn't bother looking over at Riku - he knew that whatever Riku was going to say had to be said at his own pace. For as many things as Riku had probably made amends with, other things were obviously still festering wounds.
"Yeah," Riku said. "Everything wraps around. I'm going to pretend that's the reason it's so difficult to explain."
Leon chuckled. "Then I'll pretend to believe that."
"Sora's getting married."
Thankful that he wasn't holding or drinking or speaking or doing anything other than holding up one of the stone walls of the Bailey because he would have fumbled spectacularly, Leon almost wished he'd been holding or drinking or speaking or doing something that he could have fumbled. Because actions spoke louder than words and he couldn't find the beginnings of any words to express the good thousand or so thoughts that came rushing at him. Dropping something would have been so much easier.
"See." Riku looked out at the horizon, kicking almost nervously at the stone beneath his feet.
Well, it did help clear up part of one misconception that Leon had always held. It didn't explain everything, but... No, Leon couldn't quite rationalize...
"To a girl?" He really hadn't intended to say that part out loud.
Apparently there was a bit of shared sentiment, as Riku turned so quick that even his hair whipped around. And as Riku's aqua eyes met his, Leon was happy to at least see Riku trying to hold back laughter.
"Yeah," Riku managed, finally letting a few chuckles escape. "That... Okay, he's marrying Kairi. And they both seem really happy with the idea of getting married - I couldn't bring myself to stop him and ask him why. That would just be me being selfish. But you... know..."
"Sora used to ask me questions," Leon admitted. A lot of questions. Unending questions. Really personal, embarrassing questions, asked with a curious, serious face. But at least he and Riku were indeed on the same page.
"Probably better than... Well, my education on... that. Let's just skip the details." Riku fell silent again, for an understandable reason.
"For years, we were always together - Riku, Sora and Kairi," Riku explained. "And then we all got out of school and started working and then Sora asked Kairi to marry him. After that, Sora, Kairi and the Wedding. And Riku, too busy working three jobs to pay for a new roof to even notice that he'd lost his spot in Sora's..."
Not thinking it terribly polite to say anything after an admission like that, Leon grasped for some sort of non-judgmental comment.
"A new roof?"
Riku sighed, seemingly thankful for a reason to divert. "We never did have the best roof, and Aunt Freya did give up everything to stop and raise me. But by the time I finished school, we had more pots on the floor when it rained than we did in the cupboard."
"So you were working three jobs."
"Yeah, about a hundred hours every week, plus the few chores that I could manage around the house. If Aunt Freya goes to get my last paychecks, it'll be just enough," Riku explained. "So I haven't had any free time. I even missed the party that Sora's mom threw."
Somehow, Leon knew that resting a comforting hand on Riku's shoulder was a bad idea.
"Last time it rained, after helping Aunt Freya with the leaks, I managed to have lunch with them. And I just felt like a giant, cosmic third wheel. Everything about their wedding. And a house. And their future..."
"Coming here was your solution?"
"Well, what comes with the happiness between a Keyblade Master and a Princess of Heart?" Riku asked, a twinkle in his eye that made Leon just a little nervous.
"Bad things," Leon replied flatly.
"Apparently Maleficent has a habit of crashing happy events. She showed up in time for Kairi's girly bride party shower thing with the intention of putting a curse on her... There was a fight - by the time I got there... Seeing Aunt Freya against Maleficent as a dragon, though..." Riku sighed. Leon wanted to move his hand - slide it down to rest at Riku's lower back. Comforting.
"She brought you here."
"I think Maleficent was a little disappointed that I didn't mind being dragged off, if it meant that she'd leave Kairi alone," Riku admitted. "Which means that she might try something again. With me."
"You struck a deal with her?"
"No. I know her. She doesn't do deals."
"I guess I find that part out later," Riku said, "But you see why I said that everything just wrapped around? Nothing strange has been going on in the castle, has it?"
"No resurgences of heartless, no," Leon replied. "Maleficent has been quiet, otherwise. I'm almost a little worried."
"I can still do this..." Riku grasped into thin air, pulling out his decorated, almost grotesque keyblade. He stepped away from Leon, swinging it once. "If I need to."
Without thinking, Leon reached out for the blade and Riku handed it to him without pause. The thing was heavy, but not too heavy. Certainly difficult to grasp properly - and warm? Even through his gloves, Leon could feel the warmth of the weapon, not the cool metal feel of Sora's keyblade.
But Riku was different, too. His was his heart divided. Leon smiled before handing the weapon back.
"We'll have to spar later, okay? When the sun starts to set."
"Yeah!" Riku exclaimed. "I haven't fought with anyone other than Aunt Freya in years."
"Wait, so all of that happened this morning?" Trying to make a coherent timeline from Riku's story, Leon couldn't help wondering why striking on the obvious had taken so long.
"Yesterday, actually," Riku corrected, dropping his keyblade back into the subspace it normally occupied. "I guess Maleficent brought the long way here. It's a little fuzzy."
"You're probably tired."
Leon nodded. "You should probably rest for the afternoon, then. We can get you settled in."
"You're being way too nice to someone who just admitted to having dealings with a witch."
Shrugging, Leon pointed down towards the borough. "Other than lingering angst, Cloud is still sleeping with her nephew and seems to be okay."
Riku missed a step.
"Three faerie sisters, Maleficent, Jenova, and Lucrecia... Lucrecia was the beautiful, even-tempered one of the three, but easily gave in to temptation and pressure. Her son Sephiroth was raised by Jenova, the middle sister," Leon explained. "And Cloud's mother tried to make a deal with her but... Well, ask Cloud some time. His version is much more brooding and suited to a rainy afternoon."
Riku laughed. "So Sephiroth is part-faerie?"
"Yeah. I thought the same thing. But Rikku, a girl faerie with your name, recounted the entire thing so honestly that I couldn't not believe her." Leon shook his head. He hadn't seen the trio in a few days - not since they'd finished the last job he'd given them. Probably off to spend the gold he'd managed to find for them. That was their nature. Treasure.
Yet they always came back, eager for some new challenge.
"I guess that explains the wings. Kinda."
Silence marked the rest of the walk to Leon's house, but Leon didn't really mind. He knew that Riku had to feel completely drained, both physically and emotionally. He didn't even want to imagine... But he knew.
"I know how you feel," Leon admitted. "I think. About being a third-wheel, I mean. But be happy for them."
"I am," Riku said. "I can be happy for them from here, right?"
Leon wished that he had a slightly nicer house to show off to Riku. No yard. Drooping shutters. But his roof didn't leak.
"This is it," he said, opening the door. He hadn't bothered to lock it. There wasn't really anything worth stealing, anyway, and the faerie trio had no problems getting inside even when he did lock the doors. "Spare room is... probably dusty. I'll see if I can get the windows open."
"I can do it," Riku said quickly. "Maybe take a shower, too. Amongst those three jobs, one involved quite a bit of grease and I feel gross."
"Bathroom," Leon pointed. "Towels are above the toilet and I'll... Use my robe. You don't have clothes or anything, do you?"
"Just what I'm wearing."
"We'll figure something out."
With a nod, Riku headed towards the bathroom and Leon headed in the opposite direction, to do exactly what he'd intended - open the windows in the spare room. The first one was easy, opening wide to a soft breeze that left dust particles floating in the afternoon sun. The other wanted to stick, opening halfway before jamming completely. Still, it hadn't needed to be propped open, like the other window, so after another five minutes of fiddling with it between making sure that the woefully saggy spare bed had a pillowcase on the pillow and hoping that the rust stains in the shower weren't too pathetic, he gave up and turned towards the doorway. Just in time to nearly crash into Riku, who hadn't bothered with a robe and instead just had a towel wrapped around his waist.
"I feel better," Riku said. "And this... isn't so bad."
Leon knew he was staring. He couldn't help but stare. And he couldn't help but reach out to touch one of the many old scars that trailed down Riku's body.
"Sora, Sora, Roxas, Sora, Vexen, Sora..." Riku trailed off. "Sora would wince, just like you, and touch them, and apologize. But they were well deserved at the time."
"You're the one who keeps touching me," Riku pointed out. "If you want to..."
"You aren't thinking clearly," Leon replied, pulling his hand away. "Neither am I. So just... rest. I'll see if I can borrow some clothes for you."
Before Riku could reply, he was out of the room, out of the house, and walking quickly towards where he thought he might be able to find Sephiroth.
Obviously, he decided as he tried to will away the tightness in his pants, he had a few things that he needed to face as well.
And Sephiroth was one of them.
He heard the swords before he saw either man, locked in yet another battle, yelling at one another, bodies so close that they may as well have been fucking save for the metal flashing in the light. So typical.
"Hey!" Leon yelled, jumping down to the part of the Ravine Trail that they were leaving deep, long gashes in.
Cloud paused first, barely ducking in time to keep his head.
"Leon?" Sephiroth asked as he turned, sending his sword back into its own subspace.
"I need a huge favor," Leon admitted, watching as Cloud slid his own sword onto his back. He liked the blush on Cloud's cheeks. He missed that. He'd been too busy himself, to even feel like a third-wheel.
"Courier," Cloud said. "Not errand boy."
"Errand boy," Sephiroth corrected. "But..."
In a flash, Sephiroth was behind Leon, leaning over his shoulder and breathing hot down his neck.
"I need your clothing," Leon managed, his voice cracking. Part of him reminded the rest of him that he could be quite politely fucking the brains out of his guest at that exact second but he'd instead decided to play nice guy.
He almost wanted to tell Sephiroth to do more than tease. The years should have taken the urge to just play into the hands of his friends.
"You want what?" Cloud asked. "That's a little personal."
"Riku!" Leon managed. "Is here. And probably naked, in my house. So..."
Sephiroth chuckled, slipping around Leon. "How noble of you."
"I can go ask elsewhere?"
"Save the kid wearing Cid's clothes, Seph," Cloud said firmly. "Leon will pay us back later."
Leon wondered exactly when Sephiroth had finished frying Cloud's poor little mind. Because that sounded painfully like Cloud was inviting the sort of tryst that had only managed to leave them all unable to look at one another for days.
Adulthood. Sex. All so troublesome. But not nearly as disastrous as trying to sleep with Aerith, which he knew Aerith still blamed herself for. Hence the chocolate cakes. They all had such broken motivations - despite managing to restore the town, their own psyches hadn't quite recovered.
He sighed. And nodded.
As if Riku would be any less tempting poured into skintight black.
Drink Lemonade! Tip Your Waitress!