"Ashes to Ashes" by David Bowie from "Best of Bowie..."
A bit of a different entry tonight, minnasan... Gomen nasai that I haven't posted for a while,
but I had a very unusual, and I guess to many, a bit of a bad situation occur to me yesterday,
and I'm still recovering from it... It wasn't very pleasant... But to let everyone know, since I know
that you all worry about me, I'm okay... A bit of sleep and some time to think to myself really
helped me in the long run... ::smiles:: You know me, I'll pull through it all and come out
a better person... Anyhoo, I'm just gonna' post an old "Kingdom Hearts" story I wrote a while
back, since it really seems to fit the mood... I hope you all enjoy it and ja ne for now...
"...on a path less traveled..."
By: Miracle Shining
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Kingdom Hearts belongs to Squaresoft, Disney Inc., Playstation, Sony and all their related subsidaries. Please don't sue, I have NO money nor could I take on Disney even if I wanted too. This is a SHONEN AI fan fiction piece, so please be of your legal age in your state or country to read it. FLAMES WILL BE IGNORED!
WARNINGS: EXTREMELY bittersweet, angst, very light WAFF, free use of canon in reference to KH 2 since I don't know what happens.
PAIRING: SquallXSora, inferred RikuXSora and VincentXSquall (Chu!)
SUMMARY: Squall makes a decision and Sora gets a reality check.
SPECIAL NOTES: I'd like to thank Kichan for unintentionally planting this plot bunny. She was mentioning about her 19 year old Sora, which got me thinking of a 19 year old Sora, which led to me thinking about a 30 year old Squall and well... Plot bunnies a go-go!!
It was nearing sunset.
In a park just on the border of Traverse Town, an older man sat silently. His blue eyes gazed upwards at the coming of the evening, the chill touching his cheeks and ghosting over his lips. He shivered, his long hair falling aimlessly here and there over his shoulders and down his back. He pulled his hands farther into his black poor boy turtleneck and watched the colors begin to slowly meld from bright blue into more subtle shades of orange and yellow.
Pulling his hands out of his sleeves, he retrieved his wallet from his back pocket. Fishing through the money, the credit cards and a few receipts, he finally pulled out a picture. The corners were tattered, well worn from much handling and the edges were yellowing from time. The man gazed quietly at the photo, touching the scar on his forehead for a moment before cradling the picture against his chest, using his free hand to cover his eyes, his breath catching in an almost missed sob.
"Oh gods, Vincent, I miss you so much..." he whispered to himself.
Sora tracked his way through the Traverse Town streets, whistling happily to himself. It was a good day to be alive, after all, he had turned 19 yesterday and it had been one hell of a party. Sora grinned to himself as he thought about the after party events, including Riku and him playing a whole different version of tag in the bedroom.
Sora had grown much since his first encounter with the Heartless at 14. He had went to battle immediately when Riku had locked himself up with the King in the world of Kingdom Hearts. It had not been an easy battle, but his friends were behind him and they had managed to free Riku and the King, both having suffered much. Sora was unsure whether he'd ever have Riku back completely, the young man had been traumatized badly from the event, but time did heal much and Riku finally was somewhat back to being the same smart, quick rival Sora had rememebered.
But things had changed in other aspects. The battle with the Heartless had taken it's toll on more than just Riku, Sora had been changed forever by it. He had sworn to himself that he would grow to be as strong and powerful a Key Master as there ever would be. That oath proved true, as the young man was now a very tall and muscular six foot two with sun touched brown hair pulled back in a pony knob behind his head. His stride was always sure and he carried an air of knowledge about him that would make one think he wasn't the brash boy of 14 only five years ago.
Sora grinned as he stopped by a shop at the window, seeing a necklace he knew Kairi would absolutely love. His dear friend had finally gotten used to the idea of Riku and him being together and after much convincing, finally moved in with Selphie. The two were getting along very well, perhaps even better than friends normally would.
That idea brought a quirky smile to Sora, and he found himself scolding himself for thinking such things. Laughing warmly, he continued his walk, his mind going to his other friend whom he was on his way to see.
Sora looked to Squall as the greatest mentor he could have ever had. The man taught him everything about the KeyBlade and also about fighting. He had stood by Sora when they battled the Heartless one final time, freeing Riku from Ansem's grips once and for all. But, the battle had taken its toll far worse on Squall than anyone else. During the final battle, Squall blocked a blow coming from Ansem, allowing Sora to rescue Riku from the Darkened tendrils. The blow permanently gave Squall a slight limp in his left leg and afterwards, he looked far older than his real age.
Sora frowned suddenly, chewing his lip. Squall had been very distant as of late, always leaving to go and sit either by the water near Traverse Town or alone in the park. He had already checked the lake, and knew that since the older man wasn't there, he had to be in the park. Picking up his pace, Sora zipped down the streets, singing a random tune to himself until he reached the small opening of trees, the sun was just beginning to settle behind the mountain range.
"Hey, Leon!..." the words quickly died in his throat, Sora stopping in his tracks.
Squall was curled forward, one hand covering his face, the rest of his body rocking slightly. Sora was still a little dim in reference to people, but he knew what crying looked like. Swallowing, he stood in his place, gazing at the older man amongst the fading light.
Squall's hair was longer by far, but was now streaked up and down with shades of silver that would rival the great Sephiroth's in color. He had wrinkles around the corners of his eyes and even a slight permanent tint of grey underneath them. The limp was always worst during the chill and Sora knew it was, even if the older man never complained. Squall was thirty and looked about fifteen years older.
The tall youth quietly walked up beside Squall, hesitantly reaching out his hand and touching the older man's shoulder. The touch startled Squall and he almost fell off the bench, ready to fend off the hand. Seeing Sora, he haulted, his eyes slightly red, but there were no tear stains on his cheek.
"Sora..." Squall said softly.
Sora pushed some of his rogue bangs from his eyes and swallowed, unsure of what to say. He finally opted just to sit beside Squall, afraid that anything coming out of his mouth would come out wrong. They both sat in silence, gazing at each other until the teenager shifted nervously and finally broke the silence.
"I was just coming to find you "Leon..." Sora said with a careful smile, trying to lighten the mood. "Wondering if we were sparring tonight."
Squall looked at Sora quietly and then looked down at the picture that was curled tightly in his hand.
"I'm sorry, Sora... I had forgotten."
The young man shifted even more uncomfortably, waiting for something more to happen. Instead, Squall just sat there, his eyes turning to the sky as the shades began to morph into cool blues, some edges turning violet.
"Squall, man, are you okay?" Sora barely asked.
The scarred man looked back at Sora, his lips were in a pained, thin smile. His hair framed his face now, showing off someone who looked a bit too thin, nothing like the Squall that Sora had first met five years ago.
"I was just thinking, Sora." came the quiet reply.
"Yah, about what?"
Sora tried to get more comfortable on the bench, finally opting to slouch a bit, resting his back against the hard wooden frame. Squall leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees, slipping both his hands back into the sleeves of the shirt, still holding the photo.
"How much you've grown up since we've known each other. How much things have changed."
Sora couldn't help but smile at that, he always thought it was great when Squall would note how much older he was. Made him feel like they were almost equals in that right.
"Yah, they have a lot haven't they? Took me still two years to call you Squall, ya' know." Sora said with a laugh, but that died quickly when he realized Squall was watching him with almost distant eyes.
"They really have, Sora. You've got a whole new life now, Riku is back in it as you've always wanted and everything is finally at peace here and in the King's world."
Squall folded his arms around himself, rocking against the chill as the sky's colors began to dip into the deeper navy blues, hues of deep rich purple wrapping around the edges and beginning to melt into the tinting clouds.
"Squall?" Sora managed to whisper, feeling as though talking out loud was somehow wrong.
"Sora, have I ever told you about my relationship with Vincent Valentine?"
Sora blinked, unsure of why the conversation had changed suddenly, but he shook his head.
"Nah, you always kept that to yourself." Sora replied.
Squall nodded, pulling his hands out of the turtleneck and unfolding the one with the picture in it. Sora blinked, peering down at the worn photo in the fading light. His breath caught almost immediately.
The picture was a candid photo, showing an older raven haired man with very prominent silver streaks through his hair, red eyes sparkling, wearing a long sleeved black poor boy turtleneck identical to Squall's. Next to him was a young man of about twenty-one, hair pulled back in a pony knob, bangs everywhere, his arms tight and happy around the older man's neck. Sora reached up, touching his own hair and realizing that he and Squall looked almost identical.
"Is that... Is that Vincent?" Sora quietly asked, still fingering his hair.
"Yes, Sora, that is." Squall responded sadly. "It was my 21st birthday, and Vincent was starting to show the signs of his age. His face was as young as ever, but his hair was changing colors and his body was starting to be stiff in the morning, he was beginning to slow down."
Squall choked back a sob. Sora could feel his eyes begin to moisten, almost in reaction he went to put his arms around Squall, but the older man firmly, but gently held up his hand for the young man not too. Sora couldn't stop the jab that came into his stomach when Squall wouldn't allow him to hold him.
"This is the last picture we had taken together for some reason. We decided we'd have one taken together on my 25th birthday, and we were going there when the Heartless invaded. By that time Vincent was far from the most effective fighter, but we all did what we could. The Door opened and in desperation, Vincent threw me through it, landing me here in Traverse Town. Before I could... I could grab him, another door opened and the Heartless pulled him through... That was five years ago..."
Squall's words trailed off, his shoulders shuddering as he refused to let the tears completely be shed. Sora swallowed back the lump of sorrow forming in his throat. Trying again, he reached out his hand to the Squall's free one and grasped it gently. This time the older man didn't pull away, but looked gently at Sora.
"I fixed my motorcycle, Sora."
Sora nodded, unsure as to why the conversation skipped suddenly again, but immediately the young man caught the change in Squall's eyes. There was a kind of hope there that wasn't there before.
"I'm going to go and try to find Vincent, Sora. I know there are still key holes to the world of Kingdom Hearts and I know there are still Heartless to battle. I know that Vincent is still alive and you've got a new life now, it's time for me to move on."
Sora's blood froze at those words.
"Move...move on?" they spilled from the young man's mouth, not seeming to even be his own.
"You have Riku who loves you without compare, you've got Kairi and Selphie, and you've got a life full of opportunity now that there is peace. I've done what I can here, Sora, it's time for me to go and find my life again."
Squall gave Sora a small smile, but the young man just stared open mouthed. His cheeks suddenly flushed and he dropped Squall's hand in anger, standing up from the bench.
"You can't leave!" Sora turned, screaming at the older man. "You just can't pick up and leave and expect me to be okay with it!!"
The scarred man looked at Sora almost mystified by the teenager's reaction.
"It's not fair, Squall! It's not fair that you're leaving me! It's not!!!" Sora started to sob, knowing in his mind that he was sounding nothing more than a selfish child.
"Sora, you've got so much right now, I need to move on..."
Before he could finish, Sora had swooped down and was desperately kissing the older man, wild and colored with thousands of emotions. Squall could barely keep himself on the bench, and Sora almost collapsed against him, scrambling to crawl on the older man's lap.
Sora whimpered into the kiss, swiping his tongue back and forth desperately over Squall's mouth, the man finally opening to allow him to kiss him deeply. Before he could think, Squall's hand came up on the back of his neck and Sora was soon drowning in a smoldering kiss, letting himself be willingly controlled by Squall's careful hands. Sora felt like he was falling, his body moving so that his legs came out across the bench, his upper body resting on Squall's lap, his lips unmoving against the scarred man's, arms wrapped hapharzardly around Squall's neck, and through his silver and auburn hair.
Gasping, Squall finally pulled back to look down at Sora lying partially on his legs. Sora's large blue eyes stared up at him, cheeks streaked with saline, his hair falling out of the pony knob. Swallowing, the older man brushed his fingers lightly over the stains on Sora's cheeks.
"You can't leave. I love you..." Sora whispered, reaching for Squall again.
The older man relented, letting the younger one pull him down into another soul searing kiss before drawing back again, stroking his hair tenderly.
"I love you too, Sora, I have since you were a young teenager."
Sora's eyes lit up, ready to pull Squall down to kiss him again when the older man stopped him again, but much more tenderly, bringing Sora's hand to his mouth to kiss.
"But your love for Riku must come first. That is how it works."
The teenager felt the tendrils of sadness wrap around his heart as he stared up at Squall's loving eyes. He had been a fool to believe that he could have somehow had both Squall and Riku, that was not how the world worked.
"I some times wish it was a fairy tale, Squall. Where everyone lives happily ever after and no one has to ever leave..." Sora choked out softly, allowing Squall to pull the taller boy up and actually settle him on his lap.
"But life isn't a fairy tale, life is real." Squall responded quietly, stroking Sora's back as the young man curled down, letting his cheek rest on the top of Squall's hair. No, life wasn't a fairy tale and some times it hurt far more than the times when Sora would battle the Heartless. There was no clear cut winner in this game.
"I love Riku so much, Squall. And I love you so much too and I just... I wish..."
"It's all right, Sora. Everything will be all right." Squall replied, still rubbing the young man's back tenderly.
"When are you leaving?" Sora barely could ask, the question finalizing the inevitable ending.
"Tomorrow morning, to the mountains, there is a key hole there."
"You love Vincent a lot don't you?"
"As much as I have loved you, Sora." Squall said.
Sora bit his lip and nodded, finally managing a small smile.
"I'll miss you so much, Squall."
"And I'll miss you too, my beloved Key Master."
Sora pulled back and looked down at his mentor, his friend, and if things would have been different, his would have been lover. But things were not different and despite the bind that was around Sora's heart at that moment, he realized later he would not have changed a thing.
Looking up at the sky, Squall pointed upward to a falling star, the night now inky and dotted with colors of light as far as the eye could see.
"Make a wish, Sora."
Sora closed his eyes and wished, one that he knew may never come true, but it warmed his heart. He wished that some day, he and Riku and Squall and Vincent could be together all in one world. Opening his eyes, he looked down at Squall.
"Did you make a wish too?"
"I didn't have too, I already got mine."
Sora was ready to ask, but stopped when Squall leaned up and kissed him on the lips again, holding him close as the night sky watched silently from overhead.