Title: Absolutely Fucked
Fandom: KH2. Post-KH2..
Disclaimer: No implied ownership, no financial gain, only fanwork.
Characters/Pairings: Leon/Riku, Sephiroth/Cloud, Sora/Kairi, Full Cast
Summary: Leon makes a mistake. Riku reacts badly. Aerith makes dinner. Cura! Cura! Cura!
Notes: For kingdom_xiii on LJ. Claim - Riku/Leon, Theme Set - Light, Theme - Heroism.
"What?" It took Leon a moment to realize that his voice had broken the heavy silence.
"She used that one?" Zack looked over to Paine.
"Normally she uses something slightly less caustic," Paine commented. "She must have found out that we can counter the lightweight stuff."
"I think you're right." Paine nodded, turning to look away. "You've been deceived all along, Riku. I'll have to check with Yuna, but if Zack is right..."
"What?" Riku asked angrily from the floor. "I'm still right here after all. You can just tell me."
"Angeal loved to make us memorize useless stuff about hardcore spells," Zack began. "Bastard is half-dark faerie, after all, but... What you're describing - that spell has to be started days in advance. With a set target."
Silence settled over the four again.
Riku chuckled. "It's fitting. I'm no hero."
"That spell is a tight binding," Paine muttered. "To silence traitors and spread to their conspirators."
"That's why she's trying to trick you into passing the curse along," Leon surmised. "That's just how it works."
"Yes," Paine agreed, crossing her arms. "And since that is all I was here for, my partner and I will be going."
"But..." Zack glanced to where Riku sat, his body shaking either in silent laughter or tears.
"You'll be paid," Leon said softly. "Thank you."
"Paine, we can't just-" Before Zack could finish speaking, Paine had vanished into a sparkling of dust in the afternoon sun. "Ah."
And he was gone as well.
"Riku?" Leon asked a moment later as he reached over to brush Riku's hair from his face. He was still just inside the wide-open door, more on his knees than his hands though.
"Why did I think I was finally doing something good?" Riku asked suddenly, pounding a fist into the floorboards and then again until his knuckles split and blood stained the light wood. "Why?"
"Don't..." Leon grabbed for Riku, trying to wrap his arms around Riku to hold him. Even if he couldn't offer comfort, even if he could just keep Riku from hurting himself more...
"And you paid them to watch me!" Riku screamed as he threw Leon off and against the wall. Both in size and strength, Leon was at a loss when compared to Riku. And with Riku upset... Leon stayed against the wall.
He would have to weather the storm.
"Why?" Riku asked, his voice low as he stood to look down at Leon. His eyes were bright, unworldly as he glared downward. "I thought you... I thought we... What we've been doing - has that been nothing? Am I just a cheap fuck to you?"
Leon couldn't find words to defend himself. All he wanted was the right thing to say. But the pain spreading through his chest was distracting him. Something had to be broken.
"Don't you dare send them to look for me," Riku spat as he abruptly turned and stalked off towards the hallway to their bedrooms.
Things were spinning in front of Leon's eyes. He tried to call out Riku's name but he barely managed a whisper.
And he was so very tired.
Two voices who couldn't manage harmony pulled him back into a foggy form of alertness seconds before he actually woke up. Yuffie was dancing just inside the kitchen door, her shoes squeaking on the linoleum as she chirped along to the song on the radio - the same song that Aerith was sweetly cooing.
Either way, it just didn't work.
Leon tried to sit up, but didn't get far before the nagging pain in his chest caught up with him and he flopped back onto the sofa.
"Leon?" Yuffie popped into the main room. "You up?"
"Yeah," Leon wheezed. "Did you drop me or help me?"
"Six of one, half-dozen of the other," Yuffie replied as she hopped up to sit on the back of the sofa and look down at Leon. "What happened? Aerith and I stopped by and your door was wide open with you out cold by the wall."
Well, that cleared that up. It was all real. Riku...
"Riku's gone," Leon said. He managed to sit up, ignoring the pain for a moment.
"Leon, do you need another Cura?" Aerith asked as she back-stepped and peered through the doorway. "I didn't want to over-do it."
"Please," Leon replied. "I think I broke something."
"You?" Yuffie asked, her eyes narrowing. "Or him?"
"What?" Aerith asked. "Leon, what happened to you?"
"Are you cooking something?" Leon questioned in response.
Aerith nodded, gesturing to the apron she wore over her usual dress. "Well, yes. And Yuffie hid the salt, so it might be..."
"Edible," Yuffie interrupted. "You can thank me later."
Leon wheezed, trying not to laugh. It hurt too much to laugh.
"Cura!" Aerith exclaimed, reminding herself exactly what she'd been doing five seconds before. "Sorry!"
She cast the spell quickly, and Leon could feel the magic tracing through his body and taking the pain away as things healed thousands of times faster than normal.
"Thank you," Leon said. He glanced out the window. The sun had long since set. "Isn't it late?"
"Not that late," Yuffie replied. "Besides, I've been in and out all day putting books in the basement. Hope you don't mind, because you're in no shape to move them."
Rolling his eyes, Leon wanted to say that he knew. That he knew far too much about far too many things. And his desire to know things obviously wasn't a good thing. It had cost him something good, hadn't it?
"Dinner should be ready," Aerith said slowly. "So you will tell us?"
"Yes," Leon replied. "I'll tell you."
"All right!" Yuffie jumped down from the sofa, her feet hitting the ground only once more before she was in the kitchen. "Oh, and I hid the pepper, too... But we might need that."
Leon shook his head. He wanted to go look for Riku but he knew that with any sort of head start, if Riku didn't want to be found, he wouldn't be found.
Instead he stood and stretched, debating asking Aerith for one more little spell, and headed for the kitchen. After dinner - that would be a good time. So he could sleep.
"You two know most of the town-faeries, don't you?" Leon asked as he took a seat at the table. With just two chairs in the kitchen, Yuffie had hopped up onto the counter beside the sink.
"Yeah," she replied with a smile. "Saw Zack washing the windows at the castle today, actually. Kinda weird, even for him."
"He's quirky," Aerith said quickly. "But an utter sweetheart deep down. Sometimes I catch him, small-sized, sleeping in the flowerbeds behind my house in the mid-afternoon."
Probably hiding from Paine, Leon thought. But that did clear up Riku's cryptic comment from earlier. Zack had been the one to point Riku in the direction of the castle's guest rooms.
"So what does this have to do with Riku?" Yuffie asked before forking a carrot and examining it.
"When Riku first arrived here, I asked them - paid them - to keep an eye on him," Leon admitted. "I knew he was still meeting with Maleficent; I just didn't know why."
"Cursed," Leon finished. "Cursed to die in a few months."
"But haven't the light faeries figured out how to take care of most of that?" Aerith asked as she pushed her food around her plate nervously. "I mean..."
"Not this one." Leon felt like doing the same. He just wasn't hungry. "This curse was crafted just for him. And what's worse is that Maleficent had been telling him that he could pass it along to someone - spare his life for theirs. But that isn't possible. They can only become cursed too, at his say-so."
"So now that he knows that, he could curse all of us?" Yuffie asked. "That's..."
A possibility that Leon hadn't even considered.
"I don't know if it's that simple," Leon replied. "But I know he thought he was taking the curse to save Kairi's life so that she and Sora could be happy."
"But you said the curse was meant for him anyway," Aerith commented.
"So he only fell into a trap," Yuffie finished. "That sucks. So... wait, that's only half the story."
"Well, Riku came back while Zack and Paine were still here, and when they left, Riku just sort of... lost it," Leon said. "He was punching the floor. I tried to stop him, but he just threw me like I was a toy. He yelled a bit and stormed off to get his things."
"And you passed out," Yuffie surmised. "How macho."
"What was I supposed to say?" Leon asked as he gave one of his own carrots a shove. "Everything he said was true. I did suspect him of being up to something and..."
"You've got to go after him," Aerith said. "Now."
"It'd be better than eating," Yuffie interjected as she set her plate beside her and slid down off the counter. "So where do we start?"
"A note." Aerith stood up and reached to untie her apron. "Maybe he left a note. We were too busy with Leon to even look."
"And we didn't know he was gone," Yuffie admitted. "Remember, I said that we'd have some explaining to do when Riku got home. Because he came home from work early, changed, looked through some of my books with me, and then asked to borrow one before heading off to find Leon..."
"He had a book," Leon interrupted. "We left it in the castle and he ran all the way back to get it. But I didn't see what it was."
"Old," Yuffie said. "And dusty. Just like the rest of 'em. Most of that box... history. Military stuff. Bet you'd like some of 'em."
"That doesn't help." Leon pushed his own plate away and headed back towards the main room.
"I'll check his room," Aerith said softly. "Oh, Leon, this just isn't good."
"I know." But without any clue where Riku would go, he couldn't help feeling like he'd be looking for a needle in a haystack in a field of haystacks.
"I'll call Cid," Yuffie quickly added as she grabbed for Leon's phone. "He'd be one of the first places Riku would go, right?"
"Probably," Leon said. "And... maybe Cloud?"
"Gotcha!" Yuffie gave Leon a thumbs-up before turning her attention to the old rotary dial phone that Leon had never bothered to replace.
Turning, Leon glanced around the main room for any signs of a note. The blood near the door had turned a nasty shade of brown and likely sunk into the wood.
He made a mental note that no matter how things turned out, he'd have to invest in a rug to cover that.
"Nope," Yuffie said suddenly, hanging up the phone. "Cid hasn't seen him."
Leon snapped out of his thoughts, realizing that he was just standing around when he should be the one panicking. He had to panic, after all. Something would be wrong if he didn't. Yet for some reason, he couldn't help thinking that either Riku would come back or he wouldn't and no amount of searching or pleading would change that.
"He took plenty of clean underwear," Aerith announced as she stepped back into the main room. "But no note."
"I see nothing," Leon threw in, quickly scanning the room.
"Cloud's not answering." Yuffie set the receiver down. "But he might just be busy... um, well, busy."
"One of Sephiroth's brothers grabbed him earlier," Leon said firmly. "He's probably stuck helping with one of their schemes."
"Are they in on this?" Aerith asked. "On Riku... hurting him?"
"I don't think so," Leon answered. "Maleficent is extreme, even for a dark faerie. Cloud told me that Lucrecia and Jenova prefer more storybook forms of trickery and seduction, not just flat-out cruelty."
"Cloud..." Aerith sighed. "Do all boys want to grow up to be heroes?"
"Yes," Leon said. "They do. And most of them never realize there's a difference between bedtime stories and real, everyday heroism."
There was a pause. Yuffie rubbed one of her feet against the floor.
"We're heroes, right?"
"Of course," Aerith replied. "You knew that. Even Cloud knows that he's a hero, somewhere inside."
"Yeah." Leon wanted to add Riku's name to the list but couldn't find his voice. Not as he searched through his memories of conversations with Sora, mentioning the things Riku had been through. "He's probably in the castle."
"Cloud?" Aerith asked.
"No, Riku," Yuffie corrected. "But why would he go to a place where he only has bad memories?"
"What would Cloud do?" Aerith asked. "He'd crawl into his misery and wrap it around himself like a blanket. He'd hide in it. In darkness."
"But Riku isn't Cloud."
"I can only hope he's stronger," Leon commented as he glanced around for his jacket. "But... should I go? I'm probably the last person he wants to see."
Aerith frowned. "What if it was Cloud? Would you go?"
In a heartbeat. Cloud was his... best friend. And he and Riku were... Somewhere between 'fucking' and 'lovers'. There wasn't a word - just a feeling.
"Tomorrow," Leon said. "He just found out that he's dying for absolutely no good reason."
"Promise?" Yuffie asked. "Promise you'll go get him tomorrow? Because if not, you're going to have to help me move books."
"What are you doing with all the books, anyway?" Finally, the question everyone had thought about but not asked. Aerith looked ready to frown at the answer, almost before she'd finished the question.
Yuffie shrugged. "I don't know."
Leon and Aerith looked at one another and winced.
"I'll pack up the leftovers," Aerith said quickly.
"I'll do the dishes," Yuffie added.
"And you rest," Aerith ordered. "We'll all stay here tonight. Just in case Riku comes back and needs a Cura of his own."
Nodding, Leon headed back down the hallway to grab a pair of extra blankets for the women.
He hoped that giving Riku a little time to cool down was the right thing, but he just didn't know.
He couldn't help feeling like he didn't know much of anything.
Yet somehow he managed to fall into a deep, dreamless sleep that lasted until morning.
"Nothing," Aerith said when Leon made his way to the kitchen. "But you knew that. I would have sent him straight in to see you."
"I know," Leon answered. Breakfast didn't sound appealing. His ribs ached.
"I already called Cid and told him a little more about what happened," Yuffie commented from the passage between the kitchen and basement stairs. "He told you to take all the fucking time you need."
"That's what he said!" Yuffie shot back at Aerith. "I'm not ten and you are so not washing my mouth out with soap ever again!"
Leon left them to bicker. He grabbed his jacket from the rack (which isn't where he'd left it, he was sure) and headed off into the brisk morning.
Wind whipped down between the houses, strong enough that Leon grabbed at his jacket to quickly zip it to keep it from flapping. His hair danced in front of his eyes. Looking to the north, it was going to rain. Hard.
The first drops were falling as Leon ran into the lower door of the castle, entering the passcode without even looking at the buttons. Obviously Riku had a way of getting past that little bit of security... the keyblade?
If Riku was even in the castle, that was.
Heading upwards through the tangle of stairs and lifts, Leon kept looking around for any sign that anyone had been through lately. For the most part, plans to actually do something with the castle kept getting stalled until the rest of the work was finished. And with that nearly finished, Leon had been trying to come up with any sort of use for the massive building.
A spot on the floor caught his eye as he climbed off the third or fourth lift he'd taken. Bending down, Leon confirmed his suspicion - blood.
"Riku," Leon said softly as he glanced around. There were plenty of bedrooms on that floor, not a one of them much different from the others, to the best of his knowledge.
A few steps down the hallway, and Leon paused. Voices.
"Don't you want me to take care of you?"
Leon didn't recognize the voice at all, but he didn't like the sound of it. Creeping closer, one of the doors was cracked open enough to peer into.
"Ah... don't... Leave me alone..."
Riku's voice made something inside him snap. Leon kicked the door open, storming in only to see Riku sprawled on a double-bed with his injured hand being carefully held by another silver-haired boy who looked far too much like Riku for his own good. He'd paused with his tongue just inches from the wound on Riku's hand, apparently licking away the blood.
"You..." Riku's eyes narrowed. "Why?"
"Because you have a room," Leon said each word carefully. "It's in my house. And Yuffie needs someone to help her move books. Aerith's waiting to take care of you hand, too."
"We were just talking," the mystery boy said with a frown as he let Riku's hand drop and shifted from sitting on his legs to crawl the length of Riku's body to sit and play with silver hair. "He might just decide to come live with me."
"And who are you?" Leon questioned, almost unsurprised at the immediate bamf.
Of course. Another one of them.
"Kadaj Crescent," the faerie said, bowing midair as he fluttered on glistening silvery transparent wings. "And you're Squall Leonhart. I've seen you plenty of times. You look good on your back."
Leon frowned. Of all the things that didn't need to be brought up, the implication that he'd been seen with Sephiroth was near the top of the list.
"Leon?" Riku asked, glancing between both men. "I... I hurt you."
"Nothing three Cura spells hasn't dulled to an ache," Leon admitted as he took a step closer.
"But he was spying on you," Kadaj cooed, shifting back into his human-size and crawling on top of Riku. "You told me how angry you were with him and that you just didn't know what to do with yourself because you're... dying."
"I... I didn't want to ever hurt anyone again." Riku shook his head and held up his bloodied hand. "Or myself."
"I can't tell you how I would have reacted," Leon said. Another step towards Riku and Kadaj. "I might have done the same thing. You have every right to be mad at me. And..."
He paused. But he had to say it. Riku still had his free will, after all.
"If you tell me to go, I'll leave."
"Stay," Riku commanded before he turned to look up at Kadaj, who was eyeing him as though he could be devoured. "And you, Kadaj, are much too pushy. But I think I get you. I really do. It was good to talk to you, but you can go back to whatever you were lurking around here doing before you smelled blood."
Kadaj frowned. "I won't give up so easily."
"I'll tell Sephiroth on you."
Pouting, Kadaj backed off and transformed again, flitting down to sit on one of the flat footboard posts.
"There'll be a next time," he promised, pushing his hair back to show bright green eyes for just a second before he vanished.
"Cura," Leon noted, pointing at Riku's hand. "And you owe me a nice throw rug for my floor, too."
"No sympathy?" Riku asked as he glanced upward. Either he was too exhausted to muster the sarcasm that his statement needed or he'd finally realized that he did have another option.
"Well," Leon tried, "I'm sorry you're dying, but I can't fix that at the moment. If you come home with me, we can at least take care of your hand."
"I'm an idiot," Riku said, shaking his head.
"So am I," Leon said. "I figured it out, on the way here. You were going to tell me, weren't you?"
"Yeah. Lot of good that did, though."
"And you aren't upset about the dying part, are you?" Obviously Riku had known about that from the beginning. He had to have accepted it already.
"Nope," Riku said. "I just... I thought I'd finally done something good. That I'd managed to be a hero."
"One action doesn't make a hero. It just makes someone who was in the right place to do the right thing," Leon said as he took the last step to the bed and reached for Riku's unharmed hand. "A lifetime makes a hero. It's how you live."
"How I live?" Riku seemed to mull that over for a few seconds before he squeezed Leon's hand and let go. Getting to his feet, he circled to the end of the bed to grab his bag of belongings.
"And besides, Sora and Kairi will never know," Leon said. "You'll always be the greatest of heroes to them."
Riku was already in the hallway, out of hearing range, as Leon took one last look around the room Riku had been hiding in.
"Though I think you already were."
He caught up to Riku at the lift, reaching to trigger the crystal just as Riku did the same. Without thinking, Leon pulled his hand away.
"I really did hurt you," Riku said softly as he called the lift.
"And then I had to eat Aerith's cooking," Leon added when the lift appeared. "Sadly, she's only mastered desserts."
"I'll buy you dinner." Riku shuffled onto the lift and dropped his bag from his shoulder before leaning out over the edge of the lift, past where soft sparkling trails of particles tried to reign him in. "He started to teach me, one day, how these things worked."
"Huh?" Of all the things Riku could say - that he'd pull up a memory like that.
"Ansem, well, not Ansem, but... he was 'Ansem' to me," Riku replied from where he had his head pushed between particle threads. "Other than the darkness and the manipulation and the... well, I have to admit that the gratuitous mutual abuse of my body was just that, at first..."
Riku frowned as he twisted around and paced to the other side of the lift.
"Anyway, he was brilliant. I really thought he knew everything. And that he was right.
"Sometimes when he was waiting for someone to report back, he'd just tell me things like how the lifts worked and how the air bubbles in the moat form." Riku chuckled. "I'd forgotten. Too much dwelling on the bad."
"That was your room?" Leon asked a moment later.
"Maleficent gave it to me. When she controlled this castle, before hers returned... I never noticed there were other rooms just like it. To me, then, it was special," Riku admitted. He paused. "Some other subject?"
"Sure." The lift came to a gentle stop near the lowest level of the castle. Leon blinked. He'd had to transfer several times to go up - obviously however Riku manipulated it had changed its course.
"What color rug would you like? I'm sure I can find something in... paisley?" Riku grabbed his bag and took the lead again.
"He was licking you," Leon managed. His brain had finally caught up to him.
"Ah, and apparently he watched Sephiroth fuck you," Riku commented. At least he was smiling a bit. Leon thought he was smiling a bit.
Leon hoped they were both smiling a bit.
"Are you sure you aren't related?"
"Dreaming of twins? Riku shot back.
"Didn't you?" Leon retorted. They were almost outside.
"Asking yourself that?" Riku pushed the final door open and stepped out into the pouring rain.
Leon chuckled as Riku scrambled back inside, shaking soaked hair away from his face.
"Oh, it's raining," Leon deadpanned. "Probably should have mentioned that."
Riku grumbled something that Leon couldn't make out, before pausing to clench his injured hand once before shaking it. Frowning, Leon reached out to touch it gently. Riku winced.
"Broken," Leon surmised. "Means we have to get soaked to the bone, put up with Aerith and Yuffie and whatever version of hot chocolate they brew before eventually throwing them out and settling under a blanket. On the sofa. You can show me that book."
"Book!" Riku exclaimed. "That's right, the book..."
"Let's go!" Interrupting him, Riku opened the door and ran out into the storm. "C'mon! I'll race you!"
And, without dwelling on just why good fortune had smiled upon him, Leon ran.
Drink Lemonade! Tip Your Waitress!