Having No Light
Title: Having No Light
Fandom: Kingdom Hearts 2
Disclaimer: No ownership implied, no profit gained. This is a fanwork.
Characters/Pairings: Leon, Repliku, full cast
Rating: MA Overall
Summary: Kurai and memories that aren't his. Leon reconsiders.
Notes: 'Kurai' comes from my English-Japanese dictionary, as an adjective meaning exactly what Aerith said. I'm sure there will be voices disagreeing with this name, however there's no way to continue calling him 'Repliku', either. Also, there is an explanation forthcoming about just how Kurai was forced back into existance.
Watching Kurai stumble through his half of the insanely large box lunch that he'd picked up for them, Leon couldn't help but chuckle. He couldn't quite believe that the real Riku was so unskilled with chopsticks - enough that an equal amount of food made it to Kurai's lap as his mouth.
Still, after a week on Leon's sofa, being visited by every walk of citizen that Radiant Garden had, Kurai had at least lost a bit of his negative attitude. Yuffie seemed to be his favorite visitor, if only because she brought stories and would eagerly act them out.
But other than what little flits of emotion Kurai showed when in the presence of others, Leon hadn't managed to even begin to unravel the mystery of just why a happily deceased clone would suddenly be brought back and then dumped into a back alley. Unless that hadn't been the beginning...
"What do you remember?" Leon asked, not bothering to wait until Kurai paused between bites.
Kurai looked at him coldly, aqua eyes meeting his and threatening ice.
"I told you, I don't remember much. I probably don't want to - anything I remember of my own existence... Not his... There's nothing worth remembering," Kurai said before shoveling rice into his mouth and taking his time chewing. "Why should I keep any memories from then?"
"Are you going to keep your memories of us - of Radiant Garden?" Leon queried as he set his own dishes to the side of the chair.
Pausing with a piece of tuna perfectly speared on the end of one of the chopsticks, Kurai just smiled his usual eerie smile that didn't look quite genuine.
"That makes it sound like I'm going to leave."
Leon found himself lost for words. Up until that moment, he'd always assumed that once Kurai was properly healed, he'd be quick to find a place more exciting. Especially since he was alone much of the time when Leon headed off to help with reconstruction efforts.
And a wheelchair kindly built by Cid didn't help much. Other than getting Kurai outside for air, the sheer amount of stairs in Radiant Garden left quite a few places inaccessible.
"You're going to stay here? In Radiant Garden?" Leon finally managed. "I though you'd want to leave."
"I think you missed the part where I have nowhere to go," Kurai said quickly, his tongue flicking at the end of now-bare chopsticks. "You have a spare bedroom - once I can walk, I can work."
Somehow, the thought of Kurai as a permanent housemate wasn't what Leon had intended. Not at all. In only a week he'd managed to push Leon to his limits more than once.
"Don't worry, I'm used to rejection." Kurai really did sound hurt and when he didn't meet Leon's eyes, Leon softly sighed.
"I just hadn't considered keeping that option," Leon said. He stood and gathered his dishes to take to the kitchen. "So do you need anything while I'm up?"
"Is that your way of agreeing without agreeing?" Kurai asked.
"Maybe," Leon replied. Once Kurai was mobile, perhaps he could take cooking lessons from Tifa and actually make himself useful. Though if he could pick up the muscle and strength of his original, he'd be quite a force on the construction crew as well. "Okay."
"Okay?" Kurai asked softly - almost too softly for Leon to hear.
Leon woke to the sound of thunder. The faintly glowing hands of the analog alarm clock he refused to throw away despite it not working half the time suggested it was a little after two in the morning. He saw no reason to disagree with the clock - it was late and dark, at least.
But as the thunder rumbled low in the distance, Leon couldn't quite fall back to sleep. He couldn't pinpoint the nagging feeling until he thought back to the last storm, when he'd found Kurai. Usually Kurai slept a ridiculous amount of time, but his body was slowly healing from the abuse endured wherever he had been.
"Kurai?" Leon whispered as he stepped into the main room. Lightning lit up the room for a second, revealing Kurai huddled at one end of the sofa, blanket over his head. "Kurai..."
"I'm not scared of the storm," Kurai said quickly, flipping the blanket down just enough to address Leon. "I'm cold."
"I'll turn the heat on," Leon replied, turning on a lamp before walking over to where the electric heater's controls were. "Give it a few minutes to warm up."
"Earlier..." Kurai began, slowly untangling himself from his blankets, "you said you hadn't thought that I would stay."
"I was basing my opinion on what I knew of the Riku I met. But he..."
"He had people to go to. I don't. I just sit here all day and try to pick out which memories are mine and which are real and which are just things that were put there," Kurai said.
"Some of them must hurt," Leon said.
"That's why I don't want to keep them," Kurai commented quickly. "I almost feel bad for him, in a way."
"Yeah," Kurai replied. "Riku. I hope he figures it all out."
"Sora, you mean."
"Exactly. And if you noticed..."
"There's this strange period after an adventure," Leon began slowly. "Where everyone has to rediscover who they are and how their relationships with one another are going to work."
"When you all came back here, right? From another world," Kurai nodded.
"Maybe Sora will be lucky enough to get them both," Leon concluded, feeling a little weird talking about the potential sexual adventures with the duplicate of one of those involved.
And then a bit more of the puzzle clicked into place - one of the things that Kurai wasn't saying. That despite the intense rivalry Riku had with Sora, there was also so much more. Feelings that had carried over, spilling into Kurai when they weren't even his to have.
No wonder Kurai wanted new memories to block out the old.
"What?" Kurai asked, finally settling back to a sprawled position on the sofa. Rain pounded heavy on the windows, but he seemed not to care.
"You don't need to keep remembering things," Leon said. "Things that aren't yours to remember, at least."
Thunder crashed loudly overhead, making Kurai jump.
"Storms..." Leon muttered.
"Things always wrap around," Kurai replied. "History repeats."
"Not if you learn from it," Leon said.
"Learn from it?" Leon finally sat down on the floor, leaning back against the sofa and stretching his legs. He only wore a pair of pajama bottoms, not at all uncomfortable as Kurai appraised his scars. "I think I finally did."
"Really?" Kurai asked, reaching a bandaged hand down to rest on Leon's shoulder. Aerith was going to come in the morning to change those bandages. Leon hadn't forgotten that little fact, even if the contact momentarily sent his mind spinning.
"Even if you can't send him on his way and wish him the best in person, you can at least do it in your mind," Leon explained. "And then walk - metaphorically - forward."
"Leon must be taking good care of you," Aerith commented after pulling off the first arm's worth of bandages. "Not many bruises. Doesn't look like you'll have bad scars, either."
"Some of that is your doing, though," Kurai replied, giving her the closest to a sincere smile that Leon had yet to see from the young man.
"Oh, Leon, a true flatterer. And what a change from last week."
"Not my influence," Leon stated from where he was both attempting to clean the stove from Aerith's attempt at breakfast and watch the pair on the floor.
"I think you're ready for Leon to run you a bath, actually," Aerith said. "Clean yourself up and see how you feel. And he will never admit to it, but Leon is very good at combing hair."
"Yuffie just pulled at the knots and Cid was too busy working," Leon explained. "But she's probably right. I do remember picking the knots out of her hair more than once."
Kurai just chuckled, looking down at his own pale skin as it was slowly exposed.
And once Leon had the last bit of burned pancake batter cleared away, he headed towards the bathroom. As long as he didn't have to wash Kurai himself, he'd be fine.
But if he did...
Somehow, Kurai wasn't quite real to him yet - something permanent and tangible. Something that could show emotion and feel, even if the components weren't quite right.
But Kurai wasn't a something, after all; he was a someone.
Letting water run over his fingers and down the drain until he had the temperature adjusted properly, Leon couldn't but ponder that difference. When had he first come up with that?
He had woken up still sitting against the sofa, his body more than warm enough with the heater turned on. And Kurai had moved his hand ever so slightly, to clutch onto dark hair.
But he would not take advantage of the lonely. Especially not when he knew he was likely just lonely himself.
Drink Lemonade! Tip Your Waitress!