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Morning, Midday, Evening, Midnight

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Sora had known Riku for thirty-one years. Not once in all the time that he had known him, both as friends, as lovers and as husbands had Riku ever done anything to make him feel jealous of someone else. He’d felt jealous about Riku — being faster, stronger and pretty much better at everything — but never about someone else when it came to Riku.

 

At thirty-five, having been married nearly ten years, he’d never even imagined he could be.

 

Radiant Garden was beautiful in the spring, absolutely everything was blooming, the temperature was perfectly warm but not too much so, the breeze was pleasant and the sunlight hit the light stones of the building in such a way it almost made them shimmer. He’d been so distracted by how pretty the city was and how much Yozora was enjoying himself that he hadn’t taken notice to the man Riku had up till now, had only spoken to over the phone from the Land of Departure. 

 

“His name’s Garner. He’s been here for a year now, he’s been studying the Heartless for years now,” Kairi explained. Sora and Kairi sat at the window of their guest room in the castle. Riku was speaking with Garner in the courtyard. At first all Sora did was admire how handsome he looked, tall and sophisticated, his silver hair short again. Until Garner laid a hand on Riku’s shoulder.

 

An ugly feeling bubbled up in his stomach, his fingers twitching. He’d never felt like this before, but something about the exchange had him completely on edge in seconds. 

 

Kairi gave him a nudge, looking confused. “Sora, what is it?” She kept her voice low, as they had been for the past few minutes, Yozora taking a nap on Riku and Sora’s bed, his plush Komory Bat and Meow Wow clutched in his arms. 

 

“Nothing,” Sora whispered, not taking his eyes off of Riku and Garner, who had taken his hand off Riku’s shoulder but seemed to be leaning his body towards him. 

 

Kairi, never one to be fooled by her friend’s odd behavior, pushed her long hair over her shoulder and gestured towards the balcony, not leaving any room for discussion. They exited the room quietly, Sora giving Yozora one last look and kept the door of the balcony opened just enough that he could hear if he made any noise. 

 

“Please tell me you’re not what I think you are,” Kairi said. She lifted herself up onto the edge of the balcony, crossing her legs neatly. 

 

Sora looked out over the balcony where Riku and Garner were still deep in conversation. Garner was smiling at Riku in a way that made the feeling Sora’s gut churn even worse. He knew that smile, he smiled at Riku like that all the time. Right before he kissed him, or hugged him or pulled him into their bedroom. 

 

“He’s wearing a ring,” Sora whispered, but with such force it was like a very quiet shout. “He can see he’s wearing a ring, right?” 

 

“Sora, a lot of people wear rings. They don’t off magical I’m married! energy,” Kairi said, looking like she need a drink or a nap. Or both.

 

Sora shook her arm, looking just slightly desperate, which unnerved Kairi. “Well, they should!” 

 

With a soft sigh and as comforting a smile as she could manage she pried Sora’s tight grip off her arm and gave it a squeeze. “Listen to me, because I’m your friend and that means you have to, you can nothing to worry about. So he’s tall and handsome and has beautiful black hair and icy blue eyes.”

 

Sora looked like he was going to faint.

 

“None of that matters because,” Kairi continued, putting a little more force behind her words. “Riku has, for almost the entirety of his life, only had eyes for you.” 

 

It should have comforted him, it should have made the feeling in his gut vanish. But it didn’t. All he could do in his head was put Garner in the forefront, with himself next to him. Sure, he’d filled out over the years and it wasn’t that he felt he was ugly. But a mean voice in his head, the one that only came out every so often, whispered to him how well they looked together. 

 

Garner was tall and well dressed and put together. Shiny and new, as opposed to Sora feeling well worn. 

 

“Sora, please,” Kairi gave it one last ditch effort, looking genuinely concerned at Sora’s worry. “Tell me you don’t think Riku would ever…” She took a deep breath, and shrugged her shoulders as if steeling herself. “Okay, I’m going to say this and you’re going to listen.”

 

Sora looked up at his friend, his eyes still shuttered with insecurity. “He’s been in love with you before either of you even knew what that meant. He tossed the balance of light and darkness out the window because he thought you didn’t want to be his friend anymore. Then he sacrificed his body and his freedom so you could take a year long nap. After that, pretty much everything he did was so to make sure you were either safe, happy or both. He cried when you married him. Your love created the little person sleeping in there.” She gestured wildly at the balcony doors, and Sora looked past her hand at his son still snoozing in their bed, completely unaware of one of his father’s meltdown. 

 

Every word Kairi said was undeniable truth and suddenly Sora felt awful for thinking it would even matter if someone like Garner liked Riku. 

 

“Sorry…” Sora apologised, and smiled when Kairi cupped his face in both hands. She leaned up and kissed his forehead. 

 

“I’ll bet you a hundred munny Riku didn’t even notice Garner was putting the moves on him,” Kairi said, her long wavy red hair rustling in the breeze, making Sora feel a little more calm. He laughed, shaking his head. 

 

“I’ll take that bet,” He said. There was no way Riku didn’t notice the way he was touching him, or that he was laughing at almost everything Riku said.

 

Before he could say anything else to embarrass himself they both turned their heads to the sound of their guestroom door opening en closing. They heard Riku stop by the bed, his low baritone apologising to Yozora — the sound of the door must have woken him — and telling him gently to go back to sleep. It must have worked because Riku opened the balcony doors with a confused look. 

 

“What are you two doing out here?” He asked, his voice low. Kairi shrugged.

 

“We didn’t want to wake up Yozora,” She said. “Lunch is at twelve, I’ll see you two there?” She asked, already walking to the balcony doors. 

 

Both Sora and Riku nodded and watched her walk quietly through their room and out of it with much more grace than Riku had, unknowing his son was napping. 

 

Before Sora could say anything Riku got right up in his space and put his arms around him. “Don’t laugh at me, but there’s something really romantic about being here with you, with this weather and the flowers,” His cheeks were a little flushed, but that could’ve just been from the fact that he’d been in the sun all day. “You’re so tense, are you okay?”

 

Sora nodded and relaxed in Riku’s hold, lifting himself up so he could sit on the edge of the balcony and wrapped his arms around Riku’s neck, his fingers going straight for the other man’s hair. “Hey Riku,” He started.

 

Riku gave a gentle noise of affirmation and stepped close enough that he could rest his chin on Sora’s head. 

 

“You know that guy you were talking to,” He continued, already feeling foolish. 

 

“You mean Garner?” Riku asked, pulling away so he could look down at Sora. 

 

Sora nodded. “You know he was flirting with you, right?” 

 

Of all the reactions Sora was expecting, Riku bursting into laughter wasn’t one of them. He laughed like Sora had just told an excellent joke, his head tipping back a little. Immediately Sora realised he owed Kairi munny. 

 

When Riku realised Sora wasn’t laughing with him, his face went serious. “You’re kidding, right?” He asked, looking like Sora had grown another head. “What in all the worlds makes you think that?”

 

Sora slipped off the edge of the balcony and stood in front of his husband and best friend and sighed. “You know when I do this,” He ran a hand up Riku’s arm, wrapped his fingers around the muscle of his shoulder and squeezed gently. “And look at you like this,” He gave Riku that look he’d patented, the one he knew made the other man weak in the knees, looking up through his long lashes with blue eyes. “And laugh a little like this?”

 

“Laugh like what?” Riku asked, looking apprehensive.

 

And Sora did just that, laughed low and throaty, tipping his head down like he was shy and then looked back up at Riku the way he had before. “Like that.”

 

The funny thing was, even if it was obvious Sora was doing all those things to prove a point, a little flush settled on Riku’s cheeks regardless. Like he was having an automated response to his husband flirting with him. He hadn’t looked liked that when Garner had done all those things. 

 

“You really didn’t notice, did you?” Sora asked, bemused.

 

Riku shrugged and blushed a little harder. “I mean, not really? I did wonder why he was being so touchy,” Riku hated it when people he didn’t know and trust were handsy with him. “That must be why he looked so put out when I told him I was going to go check on you and Yozora.”

 

The horrible feeling in the pit of Sora’s stomach had been completely replaced with affection and he chuckled. Suddenly Riku spoke.

 

“You were jealous,” He said, realisation setting in. “You were jealous. I didn’t even know and you were jealous.” 

 

“Shut up,” Sora said with a pout. 

 

Riku laughed again and threw his arms around him, ignoring how Sora tried to wriggle his way out from the circle of Riku’s arms. “You must be crazy if you think I’m ever going to want anybody but you.”

 

“But he had really nice blue eyes,” Sora scoffed, laughing a little as they begun to wrestle. “Will you stop, you’re gonna wake the baby. Again.”

 

Riku overpowered him and put him in such a grip that Sora would have to put real force behind it to get out of his hold. “You have really nice blue eyes,” Riku said, pressing his mouth to Sora’s ears. “The nicest blue eyes. And don’t pretend you don’t know exactly how to use them.”

 

Sora melted into the hold somewhat, feeling a little smug. 

 

“And we have to stop calling him the baby, he’s nearly six,” Riku loosened his hold a little but kept him in the circle of his arms, Sora’s back pressed to his front. 

 

“Doesn’t matter. He’ll still be our baby when’s thirty,” Sora said, trying not imagine it. Yozora was growing up much too fast, getting into trouble with a quiet, stoic face. It didn’t help that Terra and Aqua’s daughter Mirabel was his partner in crime, and sometimes the two sets of parents kept them apart because they didn’t have the time or the energy to deal with the trouble they got into. 

 

“Hey,” Riku said suddenly, turning Sora around. Before the other man could react Riku leaned down and kissed him, his head tilting and his lips moving around Sora’s just right enough for them to move together in a way that made both of them hum. The kiss remained chaste for a few moments before Riku slid his hands down, one around Sora’s waist and the other up the back of his shirt, callused fingers a lovely sensation against the smooth skin of Sora’s back.

 

The kiss deepened on instinct, their bodies pressing closer together. In the back of Sora’s mind he knew they were in a spot for all the world to see but it didn’t seem to bother him at all. He pressed up closer to his husband, groaning when he felt the buckles and straps of his clothes press up against him, and under that, the hard lines of his muscles, the jut of his hipbones, the stirring between his thighs that reminded Sora they couldn’t keep this up for too long. The thrumming of his heart against Sora’s chest.

 

When the kiss broke, Sora didn’t open his eyes, just tipped his head back and smiled, his fingers still curled into the hair at the nape of Riku’s neck. 

 

“I owe Kairi munny,” Sora said, not really caring. He wanted Riku to kiss him like that again. He felt like he did when he was seventeen and all he thought about was kissing Riku, wherever he was, no matter what time it was. 

 

“What did we agree on about making bets with Kairi?” Riku asked, sounding amused as he leaned down to brush his lips over the soft skin behind Sora’s ear. 

 

“I hope you’re not expecting a serious answer,” Sora said, leaning back in to pick up where they left off. “Because you’re not getting one.” 

 

Riku laughed before kissing him again.

 

If anyone saw them, Sora hoped they would be just a little jealous.

 

He’d feel guilty about it later.

 

Much later.

Chapter Text

Even though they were in the privacy of their own apartment, Riku smothered his shout into the crook of his arm, the thick fabric of his sleeve dampening the volume. Distantly, through the haze of the orgasm Sora had just quite fervently and very quickly pulled out of him, he heard his husband laughing breathlessly. 

 

Warm hands that clutched Riku’s hips from behind slid slow up and under his jacket and shirt — they’d barely made any effort to undress, just enough to get going — as Sora leant forward to kiss lazily and little sloppily at Riku’s neck and ear, his breathing still fast.

 

“This wasn’t what I had in mind, when I asked you if we should have lunch together,” Riku panted, leaning into Sora’s affection. He gasped in between his breathing when Sora pulled out of him and smiled when he felt the warm hands on his back slide back down to pull his pants back up, fastening them clumsily. 

 

“Well, it reminded me that I couldn’t remember the last time we just went for it,” Sora replied, looking far too smug for Riku’s liking. “Keeping spontaneity in our marriage is important, Riku.” 

 

“If you came here with the intention to bend me over and…” Riku hesitated for a moment.

 

“… deflower our pristine kitchen by buggering you over the counter?” Sora offered. Riku turned around just as Sora was rearranging his own clothes. He couldn’t help himself, he burst into laughter and wrapped his arms around Sora, pressing a fond kiss to his forehead and then another to his lips, still high on how Sora had made him feel. 

 

“It’s not spontaneity if you were planning it,” Riku explained. Sora just shrugged and buried himself further into Riku’s hold, humming happily. 

 

Sora just returned from a mission that kept him away from home for a few weeks, but even without him being away occasionally, they struggled to find time to be together. In between being Keyblade Masters and teachers and fathers to a seven-year-old there was little time left, so improvisation was sometimes necessary. Even if it meant making a mess of their kitchen and themselves. 

 

“You may have the rest of the day off,” Riku said as their kiss broke, feeling a bit forlorn that he had to leave to teach a class when he would rather have spent more time with Sora. “But I’ve got a combat class to teach and I need to change out of these clothes before I do.”

 

Sora giggled and pressed another kiss to Riku’s chin before the other man pulled away and walked off to their bathroom to clean up. With a head still halfway in the clouds, he set about cleaning up the kitchen and looking for things to make actual lunch with. 

 

As he prepared something simple that Riku could eat before he hurried off to his class, his phone on the kitchen counter rang. Still humming he walked over and picked it up, answering with a cheerful greeting.

 

He finished the conversation and walked straight to the bathroom. Inside, Riku was redressing himself, having just taken a quick shower, his messy clothes already stuffed in the hamper. How he managed to go from looking completely ravished and bedheaded to put together and sophisticated so fast made Sora’s heartrate pick up a little. 

 

“Riku,” He began. “I just had Yozora’s teacher on the phone. She asked us if we can come by, apparently there was some kind of incident.”

 

Riku pulled his jacket on sharply. “Is he okay?” 

 

Sora nodded. “She says he’s fine, but she’d appreciate if we could come by now.” 

 

Now that the Land of Departure was almost a variable town in its own right, there was a school close by, one that both Yozora and Mirabel, Terra and Aqua’s daughter went to. It made it a great deal easier on their busy schedules that it was within walking distance. 

 

Riku didn’t look appeased with that, and gave his clothes one last smoothing before following Sora out the door. 

 

“I’ll call Terra on my way over, see if he can handle my class,” He said, already pulling his phone out of his pocket.

 

——

 

The school was small, but it was homey with big windows with colored glass, the sunlight painting the classroom in an array of hues. The classroom at the moment was empty, little tables surrounded by little chairs unused save for Yozora sitting at one of the tables and his teacher, Master Amara, sitting at her own desk.

 

She looked up as they came in, and they both shook her hand when she stood and offered it. 

 

“Thank you for coming by on such short notice,” She said. She was a pleasant woman and as far as they heard from Yozora, a good teacher. Her strawberry blonde hair was coming loose from the bun it was in and she had friendly brown eyes. 

 

Riku looked over at his son and frowned. He hadn’t looked up when they came in and he was still staring resolutely at his desk, the shiny silver crown of his head bent over, looking down at what seemed to be his hands, one curled over the other that was balled into a fist. Outside he heard children playing and it felt wrong there was laughter and happiness outside while his son sat inside alone, looking terribly unhappy. 

 

“Yozora,” Master Amara said, her voice an interesting mixture between friendly and sharp. “Will you go wait outside, please?”

 

When Yozora finally looked up at them, something fierce inside Riku rose up. His son looked even more unhappy, almost as though seeing them made whatever situation he was in worse. Riku had a hard time imagining what Yozora could have done to warrant it, he was usually a well behaved, quite reserved boy. 

 

“No,” Riku said, meeting Sora’s eyes for a second. “If we’re going to discuss him, he should be here to hear what’s said about him.” 

 

Master Amara looked torn between understanding why Riku said what he had and staying professional. But before she could reply, Yozora stood and left the classroom without looking back, his shoulders hunched. Riku’s first instinct was to follow him, and he could feel from Sora’s energy that he felt the same way. 

 

“Tell us what happened,” Sora said, his usually carefree voice suddenly serious and to the point.

 

Master Amara sighed. “We’ve discussed before how we find Yozora’s social behavior worrying,” She said. 

 

“You mean that he doesn’t have many friends,” Riku said, his eyes wandering between looking at the teacher and at his son, who sat outside on a stone bench, his back to them. “We’ve talked to him about it, he says he doesn’t mind. He’s just… he doesn’t mind spending time on his own.” That quiet introversion was something he had definitely inherited from Riku, intensely selective of who he preferred to spend his time with. “There’s nothing worrying about it.”

 

Sora reached over and placed a hand on Riku’s arm. Growing up his mother had been called to school enough times about why Riku only wanted to play with Sora and Kairi, why he wouldn’t make other friends, why he was so fiercely competitive one moment and closed off and taciturn the next. 

 

Abandonment and neglect, Riku hadn’t known then but he knew now. But it couldn’t be the case with Yozora. Both of them constantly made sure he grew up in a home where he had everything he needed and parents who loved and respected him. Even if he just wanted to sit on his bed and read his books and not play outside with the other children.

 

“Riku’s right,” Sora said. “We’ve been over this with Yozora enough. He’s happy with who he is and so are we. We’re not going to keep bringing it up like there’s something wrong with him, when there’s not.”

 

“He hit another boy today,” Master Amara said, looking a bit put out. 

 

Both Riku and Sora were silent. Yozora could be stubborn and had a tendency to let whatever was on his mind come out of his mouth, no matter the consequences but he had never been violent. 

 

“I’m assuming he was provoked into this,” Riku said, arms crossing over his chest. Before Sora could say anything Master Amara spoke. 

 

“Master Riku, I understand you want to stand up for your son, but we do not tolerate violence in this class, no matter the reason,” She said, crossing her own arms. 

 

“I think it’s important to know why he did it,” Riku insisted.

 

There was a moment of tense silence between them, until Sora stepped closer and held up his hands. “We’ll be asking Yozora what happened, so whether we hear it from you or from him, that’s up to you.” 

 

“Yozora told me one of the older boys was bothering someone else and he stepped in,” Riku seemed displeased with how little detail she was giving but Sora held up his hand again before he could open his mouth to retort. 

 

“Don’t you think that’s a little strange, you’ve known Yozora for a while now, he’s not a violent kid,” Sora said, starting to look at the teacher like he couldn’t believe she thought he was. He’d never hit someone before, there must be more to it.

 

“I didn’t see it happen and that’s all Yozora was willing to tell me,” Master Amara said, her brow furrowing and her frown deepening. “If you’re able to get more out of him, I’ll be pleased to hear it. But until he apologises to the boy he hit, which he refuses to do, he’s not welcome in this classroom, I’m sorry.”

 

Without another word Riku turned on his heel and followed where his son had gone outside, ignoring Sora’s attempts at bringing him back. 

 

He was a teacher himself, he knew all about the importance of setting boundaries and rules, especially for children. But for just a moment he couldn’t quite keep a firm hold on his viewpoint as a teacher, only as a father as he neared his son, who looked so small hunched down on the stone bench he sat on. 

 

When Riku reached him he sat down on the empty spot next to him. Yozora refused to look up at him, so Riku reached over and ran his hand over his soft silvery hair, the tiny hints of chestnut brown making him smile. “Hey, little man,” He said in a gentle tone. “You want to tell me what happened?”

 

Yozora shrugged and the tension in his small body was bleeding in the hand Riku kept on his back before pulling it away. He didn’t want to put pressure on him, or make him feel trapped. But he wanted to know the truth. 

 

“Master Amara says you won’t tell her the whole story, but I think it’s important you do,” Riku said, looking down at his son, hoping he’d look back at him. “Between the four of us, you’re the only one who knows what really happened.”

 

It took a few minutes, but eventually Yozora sighed and began speaking. “One of the boys in my class, Ran, he was making a sandcastle. It wasn’t very good, but it was better than the last one he made,” Yozora explained and Riku was suddenly struck by how small he was, how young. “He worked really hard on it. Then one of the older boys came over, said something and smashed it with his foot.”

 

The way his shoulders shook a little told Riku his son was still upset about it. “And you saw it happen?”

 

Yozora nodded and continued. “I didn’t hear what he said but I saw it happen. And Ran’s just a little kid, and there were two of them. It was mean and unfair so I went over and told them to apologise.” 

 

Finally Yozora looked up at him, one blue and one red eye watery but holding back his emotion like he often did. “They said it was an ugly sandcastle and it looked better now that it was smashed. I felt really bad for Ran so I said they were bullies and jerks.” Normally Riku would have reprimanded him for calling other people names, but to be honest, the kids did sound like they were jerks. 

 

“They pushed me over, but it didn’t hurt because it was in the sand, but then they said…” He suddenly trailed off, and looked back down at his hands, his shoulder tensing up again. 

 

“What did they say,” Riku asked, feeling like they were about to come to the heart of the matter.

 

Suddenly, and surprisingly, Yozora’s shoulders began to shake and Riku saw a few tears splash onto his the fabric of his pants, his little hands curling into fists. “They said you and papa took me because you felt sorry for me, but because I’m not really your son that you can’t really love me.”

 

As soon as Yozora was old enough to understand, they’d explained to him where he’d come from. And had always put emphasis on the fact that even though he hadn’t been born the way other babies were born, he was still theirs. “Yozora…”

 

“That you and papa are just hoping I can use a Keyblade like you can, and if I can’t then you’ll get rid of me,” His voice was thickening through his tears. “So I told him to shut up and I…” He inhaled sharply, still trying desperately not to start crying in earnest. 

 

“You hit him,” Riku said, sounding level if not for the horrible burn in his chest.

 

“What if I can’t?” Yozora shouted suddenly, face whipping up to Riku’s, tears rushing down his burning face. “What if I can’t use a Keyblade? What if I’m not good enough…!” Before he could say another word Riku reached down and pulled Yozora into his arms, pressing his nose into his hair the minute his son clung to him, sobbing into his shoulder. 

 

Riku ran a hand over his back and cupped the back of his head in the other, turning enough to see Sora coming towards them, looking frazzled and worried. The minute Sora reached them he pressed himself up against Riku’s side, one arm wrapping around Yozora. “Hey, what’s all this…”

 

“The reason Yozora hit that boy, is because he told him that we wouldn’t want him anymore if we found out he couldn’t wield a Keyblade,” The immediate look of shock on Sora’s face went unnoticed by Yozora, who tried to hide further into his father’s shoulder. “And I was just about to tell him, that he’s just as he’s supposed to be and we love him more than we love anything in the world, no matter what.”

 

Sora nodded and reached up a hand to join Riku’s on his head, fingers curling into his hair. “None of that matters, you’re our son because you’re our son. You could be a Keyblade wielder or a baker or anything else in the world and we’ll still be the happiest, proudest parents that ever lived.”

 

Their words and combined presence seemed to soothe him somewhat and he turned his head, his face bright red and covered in tears, his fist still curled in Riku’s jacket. “Even that man who waters the gardens?”

 

“Especially him!” Sora said brightly. “Everyone and everything around us is important, and so are you. One day you’ll find out what you’ll do that’s a part of that and we’ll always support you.” 

 

The tears subsided, but his chest hitched trying to catch his breath, looking worn out from all the emotion. “Yozora, I think it’s important you tell your teacher what really happened. It doesn’t make hitting someone okay, but she’ll understand why you got so mad. It’s not fair that it seems like you’re the only one who did something wrong.” Sora explained slowly in that kind, gentle way that made Riku’s heart skip a beat. 

 

Yozora looked uphappy at the idea of talking to his teacher now so Riku interjected. “We’ll do it tomorrow okay? When you feel better.” Yozora nodded, his eyes already half closed. 

 

Sora squeezed Riku’s arm. “You take him home, I’ll let Master Amara know.” 

 

Perhaps it was better that way, Riku had a feeling he hadn’t made a good impression on his son’s teacher, despite having always gotten along with her before. Sora was always the one who was better at mending fences than he was. 

 

——

 

In between his stuffed animals, Yozora still looked a little withdrawn but a little more happy than before. Riku sat on the side of his bed, both hands busy with tucking him in.

 

“Daddy,” Yozora complained with a little smile. “It’s just a nap.” Still, he looked pleased at the attention he was getting. 

 

Riku ignored his complaints and held out his pinky. “Gimme,” Without hesitation Yozora held his own up and giggled when Riku wrapped his much larger pinky around Yozora’s own. “Let’s make a promise that you’re just the way you’re supposed to be but if you ever get scared or worried about yourself, you’ll tell us.” Yozora looked a little shy but gripped hard on his pinky with his own and moved their hands up and down like a handshake.

 

“Promise,” He said, his earnest voice soft.

 

“Good,” Riku said, letting go of Yozora’s hand and leaning over to push his hair aside so he could kiss the soft skin of his forehead. “Sleep a little and I’ll see you at dinnertime, okay?”

 

Yozora nodded, his eyes already slipping shut. By the time Riku was up and at the door, he’d drifted off, his Meow Wow plushie clutched under his arm tightly. Riku lingered in the doorway for a few moments to watch his son sleep before leaving the door open just an inch.

 

In the kitchen, Sora was slicing vegetables. Riku stood in the doorway, admiring how deft his handiwork was. To think that Sora would become such a chef still amazed and pleased him. “I suppose it’s good to know our son has a firm grasp on his sense of justice,” Riku said.

 

Sora looked up at him, not stopping his work. “And from what tree did that apple fall, I wonder.”

 

“Don’t know what you’re talking about,” Riku replied, crossing the kitchen to stand beside his husband. “I have to go soon, I’ll be back by dinner.”

 

Sora nodded and stopped what he was doing to lean up and give him a kiss. “Before you go, I was wondering… why were you so adamant about him being in the room?”

 

Riku put one hand on his hip. “Because whenever my mother came to school to get lectured about my awful behavior, they’d make me sit in the hallway. I never got to tell my side of the story. I hated it, and I hated the idea that Yozora would have to feel the way I did.”

Sora looked a little wistful at that. Usually whenever Riku got into trouble at school it was because he was sticking up for Sora. “I always thought you were so cool. And brave. And just so cool,” Sora said, looking a little gooey eyed at Riku, who gave him a playful shove. His tone turned serious. “You’re a good dad.”

 

“So are you,” Riku said, leaning down to kiss his forehead. “Better not let Mirabel know what happened. I think those boys are in her class and you know how protective she is of Yozora. She’ll do worse than just a thump on the nose.”

 

Sora laughed. “And won’t really care what her teacher thinks.”

 

“Unlike Yozora who wants to believe there’s good in everyone, and people should act according to that,” Riku made his way out of the kitchen but before he left he turned and gave his husband a smile. “And from what tree did that apple fall, I wonder.”

 

The look he was given was enough to motivate him out the door. No doubt he’d pay for it later.

 

All the way to his class he smiled, his pinky twitching with the promise he’d made.

Chapter Text

There were a few moments in his life that gave Sora the feeling things were going to change. When their Island fell to Darkness, when he first held the Keyblade in his hand, when he lost himself after the battle in the Keyblade Graveyard, realising how he felt about Riku, marrying him, finding Yozora. 

 

When Riku’s mother called she didn’t sound off but she did sigh, asking for Riku in her deep, gentle voice that reminded Sora of his husband. 

 

“Sorry, mama Aya,” Sora said, twirling the phonecord around his finger. “He’s with his apprentice. Not really sure what they’re doing. Riku’s probably giving him hell.”

 

Aya, Riku’s mother, chuckled softly. “If you can ask him to call me back, that’d be great, Sora.”

 

Sora nodded and realised she couldn’t see him through their house phone. “Right! I will,” He said. “Is there… there’s nothing wrong is there?”

 

It was a feeling he had, and one thing he’d learned through the years were that those sorts of feelings should never be ignored. 

 

Aya sighed again. “It’s Riku’s father,” She said and Sora froze. He could barely remember the man, but he knew what walking out on him and Aya had done to the both of them. The lasting effects that stretched all the way up into adulthood, sometimes still peeking through the cracks. 

 

“What about him?” Sora asked, not at all happy to talk about the man. Even though he didn’t remember him, he did remember he was the reason Sora had ever seen his best friend cry, the quiet kind that looked like it hurt and Riku was ashamed to be caught doing it. 

 

“He’s dead,” Aya said, her voice shaking just a little. 

 

Sora’s eyes went wide and his breath caught in his throat. Riku’s father couldn’t have been any older than his late fifties, couples on Destiny Islands married and had children young. He was certainly much too young to pass away, no matter the cause. “How did he…”

 

“Heart attack,” Aya explained, and her voice was steady again. “The funeral’s tomorrow evening and… Haku wrote a letter addressed to Riku that was to be delivered when he died. He’d already had a few heart attacks apparently and it was only a matter of time. Or at least, that’s what he said in the letter he wrote to me.”

 

“I’m so sorry, Aya,” Sora said, his heart heavy with sadness for his husband and best friend and his mother in law. “He shouldn’t have…”

 

“I don’t mind,” She replied. “What more harm can he do? Turns out he didn’t even get far, ended up a few islands over and got a job on the fishing boat docks.” Like Sora’s father, like he already had on their island, when he had a beautiful wife and son. The sadness in Sora’s chest moved around until he could feel anger as well. “Anyway, in the letter he said he’d appreciate it if Riku attended the funeral.”

 

The audacity of it made the hair on Sora’s arms stand on end. He never tried to contact Riku, not since Riku was five years old going on six and he and Sora had only been friends, but the very best kind, for about a year. Not since he left a letter on their kitchen table that said something about how he wanted more out of life. That he couldn’t see himself as just a fisherman and a husband and a father.

 

Riku had asked Sora, back when they were so little, if there was anything wrong with him. Sora hadn’t understood why Riku would ask him that, when he was so great and fast and fun and the best friend anyone could ever wish for. 

 

“I’ll walk by Riku’s office, he may be there if he’s done with his apprentice lessons. I think he mentioned something about sorting through his books,” Sora said, his voice catching on a sudden rush of emotion. “I’ll walk by and ask him to call you.”

His mother in law thanked him with a thick voice and Sora felt his eyes water when he told her goodbye and hung up the phone. He rubbed the tears away and drew a deep breath before going to find Riku.

 

——

 

Luck was on his side, with Riku in his office. He didn’t knock, him and Yozora being the only ones allowed to do so, but Sora still opened the door slowly so as not to startle the other. 

 

Sora loved Riku’s office, especially in the winter. It was messy but in a charming way, books absolutely everywhere, the long cardigan Sora had knitted him slung over the back of his leather chair, fire crackling in the hearth, the light golden and giving the wooden furniture a warm hue.

 

Riku turned from his bookcase, that lined the entirety of his office and smiled at him. “Hey, you,” He said, his smile fond. Sora wanted to rush up to him and put his arms around him but at the same time he wanted to turn on his heel and leave. “Thought you were gonna try your hand at another Keychain?”

 

Sora cleared his throat. “You need to call your mama,” He said. “Right now.”

 

The smile on Riku’s face slid off like rain on a window, his brow furrowing. “Is she alright? What’s going on?”

 

Sora held up and his hands and shook them. “No, no! She’s fine, it’s just,” He thought hard how to say it. “It’s just something she needs to tell you, but it needs to be soon. Now, actually.”

 

Without another word, but with a confused look on his face Riku walked over to his desk and picked up his phone, not breaking eye contact with Sora as he dialled his mother’s phone number and waited for her to pick up.

 

“Hi, mama, what’s going on?” Riku asked into the phone, finally looking away. The scrutiny he had on Sora was so intense it was making him nervous. “Yeah, he said I needed to call… he… oh.”

 

And in that moment, the way Riku’s shoulders hunched together, the way his face suddenly seemed tense but most all, the curl of his free hand into a fist. For all his life that had been a clear signal that something huge was going on inside of Riku, something that made him unhappy that he was refusing to let out. So many times Sora had curled his hand gently around that first, urging him to let it out. Now, he stayed where he was as Riku spoke to his mother.

 

“No, I understand,” He said, his voice still steady. “I will. Bye, mama.” And hung up the phone.

 

Without looking up at Sora, he turned and stepped back to his book case, picked up the book he’d been looking at before Sora had come in and continued with his work as if the entire conversation hadn’t even happened.

 

“Riku,” Sora tried, keeping his voice as gentle as he could. “Are you okay?”

 

It was clear once Sora got close enough to him that Riku was not okay, he wasn’t actually reading the book in his hands, which were shaking slightly. He said nothing so Sora decided to fill the silence.

 

“Tell me what you’re thinking,” When he reached Riku’s side, he curled his fingers around his husband’s wrist, the skin warm and the far away thumping of his pulse sweet and familiar against them.

 

“You know what’s funny?” Riku replied. “Once I started wanting to leave the island, I almost understood why he left. But he just ended up a few islands away, doing the same thing he had with us. Now he wants me to come to his funeral?” 

 

Sora wanted to cry with how unfair it was. Riku’s father’s request may not have been unkind in its intent, but it certainly was in the execution. “No. I won’t do it.”

 

Still, despite it being the response Sora expected, he knew Riku better than anyone. He knew he kept things inside and let them sit there. Most of the time it worked out, but sometimes he left things in there for too long and they turned into something worse, something they were never meant to be. This had already always been something in Riku’s heart that caused him pain, perhaps going to his funeral would end it. Give him the closure he never allowed himself to have.

 

“Riku,” Sora insisted, still gently, still carefully. “I think you should go. I’ll go with…”

 

His sentence was cut off and he took a step back when Riku slammed the book in his hand on his desk. “Ever since I was five years old, he didn’t come to a damn thing for me. He knew nothing about me, he just walked away like I was… I spent the rest of my childhood wondering if every single person who I thought cared for me would just walk out one day. At first I used to get up in the middle of the night to check if my mother was still there. Maybe she woke up in the middle of the night too, like my father had, and decided I wasn’t worth the fucking effort anymore.” 

 

Riku hardly ever swore, and the underlying sorrow in his anger made Sora choke up again, his emotions running high. 

 

“And at one point, I thought for sure you were going to do it, too,” Riku said, his voice shaking. “I actually thought you were going to realise there was nothing much behind the facade of me. That you’d realise being good at everything didn’t mean a damn thing. I wanted to keep you for myself, because even back then your friendship was the most precious thing I had, but I wanted to push you away… because at least then you wouldn’t be able to hurt me.”

 

Sora tried to grab onto him but Riku pulled away, moving past him towards the door. He inhaled, tears dripping down his cheeks. “Riku, please…”

 

“Don’t ask me again, I won’t do it,” Riku said with such finality it cut through the air. He yanked the door open and before Sora could even try to stop him he was gone. 

 

——

 

It took Sora awhile to compose himself, but once he had he grabbed Riku’s sweater and walked down the halls of the castle in the Land of Departure, sticking his head into classrooms, asking passing students if they’d seen Master Riku. None such luck, and Riku was still one of the best people Sora knew who could disappear if he really wanted. 

 

His search for Riku led him back to their home and when he got there he felt exhausted. 

 

“Papa!” Yozora’s voice called out as they both entered their communal room. He was still wearing his school uniform and even though at nine-years-old Yozora had decided being called cute was absolutely out of the question, Sora still thought he was the cutest little boy he’d ever seen. So he risked the odds and crossed the room to gather his son in his arms, holding him close. Yozora’s arms curled around his neck on instinct and Sora leaned back to look at him. 

 

“Hey, little man,” Sora said, blinking fast. “How was school?”

 

Yozora shot off into a story about school and the things he’d learned and Sora listened to him intently, and didn’t let him go. 

 

“Where’s dad?” Yozora asked. Sora shrugged and replied. "He'll be home later." 

 

Sora set his son down on the ground, watching him as he sat himself down at their table, pulling out one of his schoolbooks. Yozora had learned very early on that doing homework first was the smartest way to go, so Sora kissed the top of his head and told him he’d be in his workroom if he needed anything.

 

When he got there he picked up the Keychain he’d been working on. After a few minutes of staring he set it back down and sent an annoyed message to Riku, telling him give a sign of life, even if he didn’t want to talk. The reply was short and annoyed Sora even further, but he put the phone down and the Keychain back up.

 

It didn’t look like anything yet. He couldn’t find it in himself to think what it could be.

 

Riku hadn’t come home for dinner. He hadn’t come home to tuck Yozora in. He hadn’t come home to lie down next to Sora so Sora sent him one last message before making another attempt at sleeping.

 

I know you think you have to deal with this alone, Sora wrote. But this is one of those moments that really count. I made vows to stand by your side no matter what. This is a no matter what situation. Don’t shut me out. I don’t deserve that. You don’t deserve that. 

 

Before he fell asleep, he clung to the hope he felt in his heart.

 

——

 

Early the next morning, far earlier than Sora usually woke, he did so at the sound of someone moving about in their walk in closet. 

 

He pulled himself out of bed and walked in. There in the early morning light stood Riku, a pile of black clothes in his hands, his back to Sora. He felt equal parts relieved and annoyed. 

 

“I’m sorry,” Riku said before Sora could say anything. “I shouldn’t have talked to you like that. You know me better than anyone. I’m sorry I made you worry.”

 

Sora walked up to him, and touched his elbow so he’d turn around. “It’s alright,” He said and when Riku opened his mouth to protest he held up a hand. “It’s fine. You’re human, Riku. You’re allowed to make mistakes sometimes.” He gestured at the black clothes. “What’s this?”

 

“I’m going,” Riku replied, looking like he wanted to do anything but. “I don’t want to. But I’m going to. Support my mother and put it to rest. My mother was right, he’s dead. What’s the worst thing that could happen?”

 

Sora breathed in and out deeply and took the clothes from him, setting them down on the low bench in the middle of the room. “Go take a shower.”

 

Almost dutifully, Riku walked into their ensuite bathroom and when Sora heard the shower turn on he sat down on the same bench and breathed in and out a few times before standing again when he heard the shower turn off a few minutes later. The clothes Riku had pulled out were some of his most formal ones, black being a color he very rarely, if ever wore. He claimed it made him look too pale. Made his features too hard and sharp. But now he had to wear it.

 

The smell of the rich, spicy soap he used made Sora want to drag him to their bed and keep him there for a while, but he got over his tiredness and hooked his fingers into the robe Riku had pulled on after his shower. It came loose easily and for a moment Sora looked down to appreciate his husband’s body, smooth and sharp edged and a little pink from the heat of the water. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d undressed him for the sake of something as mundane as getting dressed.

 

He pulled the robe away and Riku’s skin was so pale in the early morning light it looked just as silver as his hair. Sora reached down to the clothes and easily holding his things up so Riku could step into them. 

 

“It’s important to me, for you to know this,” Sora began, kneeling down so Riku could step into his pants and Sora could pull them up, fastening them with slow hands while he made eye contact with him. “I know your father leaving left a lasting impression on you. Like scar tissue.” He felt Riku’s muscles tense under his hands. “I know you think it’s shaped you and you’re always running the risk of ending up like him.” 

 

He reached down again and picked up the black shirt Riku had picked out and helped the other into it. The black was so stark against his skintone it was almost a little jarring, but if anything it made him look almost regal. Effortlessly handsome and imposing in a way he hadn’t looked in a while, resorting to wearing more muted jewel and earth tones, with the occasional splash of bright blue or yellow. “But you’re a good husband. Any Islander who grew up at home would have killed to have a husband like you. You protect me, you provide for us, you give me freedom to be me. You’re a good father. Our son idolises you, you respect him and love him and encourage him. You’re a good friend. Loyal and compassionate.”

 

He knew Riku was having the hardest time accepting the things Sora was telling him, but he felt it needed to be said, all at once, so the impact was the greatest. “You’ve got your flaws. We know that, we all have them. But all those things are because you chose to be them. Your father doesn’t get the credit for any of those. Not the flaws, but definitely not the virtues.” 

 

The little nudge he gave Riku’s waist was enough to get the other man to turn around. Sora held up the black jacket he’d picked out and pulled it the rest of the way up when Riku slipped his arms in, settling it on his shoulders with a pat. The final touch was a black belt that he wrapped around his waist from behind. When it was fastened Riku reached up to grasp Sora’s hands, holding him there. Sora pressed himself against his husband’s back and sighed. 

 

“Thank you,” Riku said, squeezing Sora’s hands. When he turned so they were standing front to front, so close they could embrace or kiss. Sora gave him that smile that always made him laugh, a little goofy and a lot enthusiastic. “Such a dork.” Riku leaned down and kissed his forehead. 

 

“I think it may snow later,” Sora said. “Ran’s coming over later to play with Yozora.”

 

Riku nodded and sat down to pull on his boots. “I’m gonna go see if he’s awake. If he is I’ll try to explain it to him. If he isn’t, tell him I’ll explain it later. I want him to hear it from me.”

 

With slightly droopy eyes Sora nodded and let himself be pulled into Riku’s arms, cupping his face in his hands when he was kissed several times. “Mmm, you smell so good. I’ll miss you.” He was kissed soundly one more time before he was led back to bed with a low laugh, curling into the middle of the bed and clutching Riku’s pillow to him. 

 

“I’ll be home late, so don’t wait up,” Riku said from the doorway and Sora nodded, his eyes wide open until he a while later he heard the front door shut.

 

——

 

It did snow. Soft at first, but much more later, until there was a proper layer of it on the ground, tiny flurries of it drifting through the dark sky. He’d tucked the boys in to sleep after they’d worn themselves out playing in the snow. Yozora had asked a few times if Riku had sent any messages and if he was all right. 

 

He sat outside, wrapped in Riku’s heavy cardigan that almost completely enveloped him and watched the snow fall, feeling peaceful. 

 

“Thought I told you not to wait up,” Riku’s voice made him turn, and he smiled brightly at him. 

 

“Funny, I don’t remember ever agreeing to that,” Sora replied. Riku sat down next to him, shivering a bit in the cold. 

 

The silence between them was heavy but not uncomfortable. After awhile of sitting together the silence was broken by Riku’s breath hitching and just as Sora turned to look at him, Riku dropped his face into his hand and began to cry in earnest, his shoulders hunched and shaking, his knees drawing up to make himself as small as possible. 

 

It was something he hadn’t done since he was little. 

 

Sora did what he had the last time Riku had cried over his father, he wrapped his arms around him and waited until he was done.

 

The hope he had clung to in his heart told him that maybe this was the last time.

 

——

 

Later that day, when the snow had settled and it was evening, Sora sat in his workroom and looked out the window.

 

Riku was running in the snow, dressed in his muted jewel and earth tones again, looking like he usually did, smiling and shouting as he was chased by two little boys, throwing half-made snowballs at him. 

 

Sora watched them, laughing when Riku picked them both up in his arms and swung them around, ignoring their shouts. He stopped, both boys dangling in his hold, as though he felt Sora’s gaze on him and looked up, their eyes meeting through the window.

 

Sora gave him a look. Everything he’d said to him hadn’t been platitudes. It had been the truth. And judging from the flushed, happy look on Riku’s face, his son in one arm and his eyes on his best friend and husband, he might believe it too.

 

With an excited smile, he turned back to his table.

 

Things were going to change, but it was going to be good, he knew that.

Chapter Text

20s

 

“Everything in this place is itchy,” Sora bemoaned.

 

It was beautiful but Sora was right. The tall grass they were lying in, heather Merida had called it, was fragrant but not very comfortable. Combined with the clothes there were wearing, thick wool and sturdy cotton, it felt like there was always something was scratching at their skin. 

 

The sky was so clear and black it almost seemed blue, the stars glittering like a blanket of tiny lights. Riku lay on his back with Sora curled into his side, his cheeks still flushed and his eyes at half mast. He curled an arm around him and pulled him closer still. 

 

“It’s to keep warm,” Riku explained, though it wouldn’t explain why when they had not been given anything to wear underneath. Every time a sharp gust of wind blew past them he’d been happy the fabric they wore was so heavy, otherwise it might have been embarrassing. “It’s not exactly warm here.”

 

Sora shook his head. “No, but I don’t see why we have to be uncomfortable to be warm.”

 

“You weren’t uncomfortable just a minute ago,” Riku teased, bumping his forehead against Sora’s.

 

Even in the dark he could see Sora’s cheeks flush and he laughed when the other smacked him on his stomach playfully, pouting. They’d helped Merida defeat some new kind of Heartless that had showed up near Castle DunBroch, and told the Princess to return to the castle without them, so they could take care of any straggler Heartless. Merida was a great warrior in the making, but she was reckless and Riku felt better if she’d return home. 

 

They walked back through the Highlands to the castle, admiring how green and lush everything was, glimmering in so many different colors as the sun set. By the time they neared the castle, it’s proud image in the distance, Sora had pulled Riku to him and told him he wanted to look at the stars.

 

“Because you decided to just stick your head under my skirt,” Sora blustered. 

 

“Kilt,” Riku corrected, still looking smug.

 

“Stick your head under my kilt and do that.” Sora finished, still looking put out.

 

Until they both looked at each other and burst into helpless giggles, Sora rolling half way on top of Riku. Riku had been extra careful, because getting into their kilts had been complicated to say the very least, so taking them off was not an option. When he reemerged from underneath he had looked unbearably smug and unbelievably handsome, his hair that had grown just passed his shoulders and was half up in a bun on his head coming loose from its tie.

 

When they were both breathless from laughing Sora laid his head down on Riku’s chest and hummed. “Do you think it will always be like this?”

 

“Hmm, how do you mean?” Riku asked, running a slow hand over his back and up into his brown hair.

 

“Us, stopping in the middle of a field at midnight so we can, you know,” Sora didn’t articulate it, but he demonstrated it, by lifting his leg up and over Riku’s hips, coming up into a straddle. He rearranged their clothes so there was nothing but skin between them and warm wool and heather around them. “Do this.” He emphasised his point by rolling his hips in a way that made Riku’s head fall back.

 

Hands rough from the cold wind in the Highlands reached up and curled around his hips. Sora leaned over and before he could kiss him, Riku muttered, “I hope so.”

 

 

30s

 

Sora loved his son. More than anything. From the first moment he picked him up he’d never wanted to protect and love something more. The only person who made him feel the same way was Riku and with Yozora he felt it even stronger, because he was so little and he’d been alone for far too long. 

 

But he had been crying for almost four hours. Sora had done everything he could think of. He wasn’t hungry, he wasn’t wet, he wasn’t tired. He howled when Sora put him down, he howled when Sora picked him up. He didn’t want to be rocked, he didn’t want to just be held. He just seemed to want to scream.

 

The more time passed, the worse it seemed to get. Sora almost wanted to go the medical bay, to see if he was sick, but he didn’t feel warm and he had a healthy color on his cheeks. 

 

Just before he was about to seek outside help, he heard the front door open and he almost felt emotional with relief.

 

Sora rocked Yozora up and down, his legs feeling a little wobbly with fatigue, his face undeniably giving away how unhappy he was, how unhappy they both were. In walked Riku, looking just a bit tired himself but mostly worried. 

 

“I could hear him in the hall,” Riku said, walking up to Sora and Yozora with a worried frown. “Those are two very unhappy faces.”

 

“I don’t know what’s wrong with him,” Sora said, hating how watery his voice sounded. He should be able to handle this. He was a warrior, a leader, and he was getting choked up because he couldn’t seem to comfort his baby son. “I’ve tried everything, he’s just…”

 

“Come here,” Riku interjected, holding out his arms and taking Yozora from him. Their son cried a little louder at being moved but Riku pulled him close anyway. “Oh, oh, that’s a lot of noise for such a little man.” He said in a soothing voice, his eyes still on Sora. 

 

Much to Sora’s dismay, and he’d feel ashamed at feeling dismay at all later, Yozora seemed to quiet down, his cries deescalating into whimpers. “How did you just do that? I tried everything…”

 

Riku readjusted Yozora so he could free one hand and cup Sora’s face with it. “Because you’re tired and frustrated and he can feel that. Go take a shower and get into bed, it’s nearly midnight anyway.”

 

Sora dug the heels of his hands into his eyes, until he saw little stars against the dark of his closed eyelids. With a deep sigh that felt like it came all the way from his toes, he nodded and walked sluggishly towards their bathroom, peeling off his clothes and leaving them scattered on the floor. The warm spray of the shower helped when he stepped under it, but he suddenly felt all the tension that had been building in his body start to escape him as his body relaxed. He leaned his forehead against the tiles and breathed deeply through it until he felt steady enough again.

 

When he was done and dressed and feeling slightly more human again, he walked into their bedroom to find Riku sitting cross legged on their bed, their son in his arms, gnawing on what seemed to be a washcloth. 

 

“What the…” Sora said, his eyes confused as he crawled up on the bed.

 

“I think he’s teething,” Riku said, making a funny face at him. Yozora will still whimpering a little, but so softly Sora could barely hear him. “I remember Aqua telling me about it when Mirabel was teething, said it kept them up for nights before they figured out what was going on.”

 

“But how did you?” Sora asked, leaning down to brush his fingers through Yozora’s soft silvery hair. He looked almost content, gnawing on the cold washcloth, the high color in his cheeks ebbing away. 

 

“I was rubbing his cheek and he suddenly started chewing on my finger,” Riku said, taking the wash cloth and turning it so he had a cool piece in his mouth. “I remembered Aqua telling me Mirabel would chew on anything she could get her hands on.” 

 

Sora sat back and sighed again. “I can’t believe I didn’t think of that,” He said, feeling awful again. His son had been in pain and all he’d done was rock him back and forth and actually thought that would help. 

 

“Hey, if I hadn’t heard it from Aqua I wouldn’t have known,” Riku said in a gentle tone. “He was probably only really upset because the both of you didn’t like how sad you were.”

 

The kiss Sora pressed to his son’s head lingered for a moment before he sat up to sit close to Riku, leaning his head on his shoulder. “I’m so bad at this.” He said, feeling deeply insecure.

 

“You’re not,” Riku said, quite firmly. “You’re wonderful with him. He was upset and he couldn’t tell you why, but you didn’t put him down or even think of giving up once. That makes you very good at this.” He turned his head to the side and pressed a kiss of his own to Sora’s forehead. “Try and sleep some, I’ll wait until he falls asleep.”

 

It was the best suggestion he’d heard all day, and Sora wanted nothing more than to sink down onto their mattress and go straight to sleep, now that he didn’t need to worry anymore. But still, the feeling that he’d failed persisted. “But I…”

 

“You’ve done enough, I’ll watch over the both of you,” Riku insisted and Sora relented. 

 

He didn’t lie down, but curled himself into Riku’s side, sliding one arm over his front so it was situated under the arm Riku held Yozora in, his face tucked into his shoulder.

 

Riku didn’t protest and the warm weight of Riku’s cheek on the top of Sora’s head and the soft, calm breaths from Yozora followed him into sleep.

 

 

40s

 

The medical bay was overflowing. It may have been a deciding battle that won the war and ensured peace again, but the aftermath was unlike anything they’d ever experienced. 

 

Sora waded his way through people, some faces familiar, stopping just for a moment to ask if a familiar face was alright. He asked several people on his way in if they’d seen Riku, who he had been separated from halfway through the battle. He’d found him just in time to see him get knocked to the ground by one of their enemies — a Heartless and Nobody hybrid that looked like something out of a nightmare. By the end of it, the battlefield was chaos and he lost sight of Riku again.

 

“Down the hall, Sora!” One of the other Masters called out to him. “Saw someone wheel him in there an hour or two ago!” Sora raised his hand and gave him a grateful smile.

 

“Thanks, Jedo, I’ve been looking everywhere!” Sora called back before breaking off into a run down the hall. His leg had been hurt in the battle and subsequently healed, but running was a bit too much, too soon and his muscles screamed at him with the extra exertion. 

 

All of it seemed unimportant when he turned the corner into a room with several beds, one of them occupied by his husband. He looked awful, heavy bruising around his eyes and jaw, a slight curve to the normally straight line of his nose that apparently even Curaga hadn’t been able to fix. There was still a little blood caked in his silver hair and around his nostrils.

 

Despite all that, he seemed to be sleeping peacefully. Whatever they’d given him seemed to at least help him go to sleep. Sora sat down in a chair next to him, waving away one of the medical bay staff when they asked him if he needed anything.

 

He waited for hours, gaze on the rise and fall of Riku’s chest intense. Seeing that proof that he was alive kept him calm, something he most certainly had not been when he saw Riku fall on the battle field. He saw Kairi’s look at him when she saw what he’d done to the enemy who had done this to Riku, but he’d looked away quickly. He knew he’d been brutal, and no matter how many years Riku had helped him, he couldn’t keep his rage and the darkness at bay.

 

Deep in the night, when the medical bay had quieted down and Sora had almost fallen asleep his husband and best friend stirred in the bed. Just as he did Kairi walked in, looking exhausted, her long red hair up in a haphazard bun. She sat down on the other side of Riku’s bed and ran a hand over his arm. Without looked at Sora she spoke. “We’re going to talk about what happened today.” She left no room for discussion.

 

“Talk about what…?” Riku’s voice slurred. Sora stood, almost pleased Riku had taken that moment as the right one to wake up. 

 

“About how you got knocked on your butt by a Heartless,” Sora joked, giving Kairi a look that spoke volumes of not now. “The Great Master Riku, what a disgrace.”

 

Much to Kairi and Sora’s surprise, Riku started giggling. The helpless kind, that made him look a little silly, especially with his face so banged up. And he kept on giggling. “Oh wow, do you remember what they gave you, Riku?” Kairi asked. 

 

“Elixirs. Couple of ‘em, they were really good,” His voice slurred, like he was drunk. “I feel really good.” His eyes were at half mast, slightly cloudy but he didn’t looked like he was in pain, which was a relief. 

 

“You really scared me,” Sora said, leaning over Riku to push his hair out of the way with a gentle hand. “I thought you were…”

 

“You’re really pretty,” Riku interrupted him, smiling widely. “Just… really pretty. Beautiful.” Sora’s eyes flicked to Kairi when he heard her snort on laughter. Elixirs were a sure and quick way to heal someone who had taken a lot damage but there were only so many one could take without getting side effects. Clearly the medical staff took the risk of Riku being high on elixirs over the chance of him being in pain. “Those blue eyes,” He continued, reaching up a hand with bruised knuckles to run his fingers over Sora’s cheek. 

 

“Riku, you’re going to remember doing this and you’re to regret it,” Sora warned him, trying to keep from laughing as Kairi leaned back, enjoying herself far too much. 

 

Before Riku could wax poetic about Sora any further, in walked Yozora, looking relieved to see them all there. “Been looking all over for you two,” He said in that stoic way that only the people who knew him well could decipher as relieved. “How’s dad?”

 

“Loopy on elixirs, so watch out,” Sora warned. 

 

“Yozora!” Riku exclaimed much too loud, sending Kairi into another bout of laughter. “Look at you, you’re so handsome. My handsome, smart son. I’m so proud of you.”

 

Yozora, who was used to his parents being affectionate but not quite this much, looked a little embarrassed. “Dad, honestly…”

 

“And you!” He gestured at Kairi. “I may not be attracted to women, but you are still the prettiest girl I know.” Calling Kairi a girl in her forties was a bit of a stretch but it still seemed to work, because she stopped laughing and smiled at him. 

 

Sora reached a hand over and gave Riku’s arm a tug, pulling him back towards him. “Alright, time for you to get sober…”

 

“You’re my favorite,” Riku suddenly said, looking at Sora with sharp teal eyes. “My favorite person, I love you so much.” Sora’s cheeks flamed. He’d heard Riku tell him he loved him hundreds of times, but he seemed so serious about it suddenly “So, so much. Your blue eyes, and your smile and the way you see good in everyone, it’s so… and your freckles.” He turned back to Kairi. “You know they go all the way down?” Kairi burst into laughter again. 

 

“Dad!” Yozora protested loudly. “That’s it, I’m gonna find him something to eat, even if it’s just to shut him up.”

 

“I’ll come with you,” Kairi said through her laughter. She stopped for a moment to point a menacing finger at Sora. “We’re not done discussing this.” Both Kairi and Yozora left, Kairi making  a valiant attempt at comforting Yozora for being embarrassed by his parents. 

 

“Am I in trouble?” Riku asked, looking as serious as ever. 

 

Sora smiled and leaned over him, kissing him soundly. “We’ll just have to see about that!” 

 

 

50s

 

“Grandparents?” Sora asked loudly. It was late, nearing midnight when Yozora and Mirabel had gathered them together after arriving at the Academy in the Land of Departure. 

 

Both Yozora and Mirabel looked apprehensive. “Yes, uncle Sora, I’m ah, pregnant.” Mirabel explained, sounding at a loss for words for the first in well, ever. She was smarter than most people, to an almost frightening degree and therefor always very articulate. 

 

“How did this even happen?” Terra asked, looking as confused as Aqua, Sora and Riku did. 

 

Mirabel gave her father a ‘really?’ look to which he quickly replied. “I understand the mechanics of how it happened, Mirabel, don’t give me that look. Since when are the two of you even together?”

 

All four of them had suspected it for a few years, but when nothing came of it and the two remained nothing than close friends, they’d all given up on the idea. Until right then, it seemed they’d been wrong in assuming. 

 

“We… since a year or so?” Mirabel offered. How they managed to sneak a relationship under their parents nose for a year was beyond all of them. 

 

“And I’m guessing this wasn’t part of the plan?” Riku gestured in Mirabel’s direction. “The baby, I mean.”

 

Yozora shook his head. “No, it wasn’t. It was after that mission I came back from that almost went wrong. We uhm,” Yozora put a hand behind his head and scratched at the back of it, looking just like Sora when he did so. “Anyway… it’s been three months, we thought you should know before Bell really starts showing.” 

 

Mirabel turned to her parents and suddenly looked terribly young and vulnerable. “You’re not… angry, are you?” Aqua rushed forward, taking her daughter into her arms. 

 

“Of course not!” Aqua assured her, running a hand over her brown hair. “It’s not what we were hoping for, of course.” She looked at Yozora. “That is, we hoped this would happen when you were ready and had a plan.” 

 

Both Sora and Riku looked at their son. Yozora hadn’t been planned. Or expected. But he’d been wanted nevertheless. 

 

“We’ll figure it out!” Sora said, walking up to his son and curling an arm around his shoulders. Riku joined them and nodded. “Of course we will.” 

 

“Besides, even if you two are a little young for it,” Aqua said. “This baby will have grandparents and scores of uncles and aunts who will be wrapped around his or her little finger the minute she sees the light of day.”

 

Everyone laughed, thought Yozora and Mirabel a little more reservedly, still looking a bit nervous.

 

“You hear that, Riku?” Sora said, turning to his oldest friend. “We’re gonna be grandpas.”  

 

Riku smiled and reached over to smooth a hand over his son’s hair. “I think we did all right with this one, the next one shouldn’t be too hard.” 

 

 

60s

 

Riku woke in the middle of the night and grabbed the clock on the bedside table. A few minutes to midnight, so he’d only been sleeping for an hour or two. Sora was curled into his side, his head resting on Riku’s chest. As the night went on, he would roll away, ending up somewhere on the other side of the bed, until just before morning and he would migrate back to Riku’s side. 

 

It happened more often, waking at random hours of the night. He’d been having nightmares lately, ones that he hadn’t told Sora about yet and ones that he couldn’t quite explain why he was suddenly having them. Sora would be upset he’d kept it a secret, but Riku hated worrying him. 

 

He leaned over and set the clock back on the bedside table, the thump making Sora stir in his sleep. Even in the dark, Riku could see him, familiar face still full of boyish charm that had never gone away, thought it was more weathered and had more laugh lines than it had years before. He still loved to look at him. If he ever went blind and Sora’s face was the last thing he saw before he did, he’d do it without regret. 

 

“I can hear the wheels turning in your head,” Sora mumbled in the crook of his shoulder, his breath warm against Riku’s skin.

 

“Silly me, thinking I could hide something from you,” Riku said, burying his nose in silver streaked brown hair. 

 

Sora huffed a laugh and pulled himself tighter to Riku’s side. “I’m this close to falling back asleep. As my Dreameater,” Riku laughed himself in response. “You’re going to have to watch out that I don’t have any nightmares. Or maybe we find something out I asked you a long time ago.”

 

Riku hummed questioningly. “What do you mean?”

 

“If it’ll always be like this?” Sora asked, his voice already halfway back to sleep. 

 

Riku knew what he meant. The way it had always been between them. Meant to be, symbiotic, destined, all those things that people wrote stories about and was just another day to them. Just best friends who had fallen in love and lived a life together. Riku couldn’t imagine how it could have ever been otherwise. He closed his eyes and searched for Sora’s heart in the darkness of midnight. 

 

“Let’s find out.”

 

And dropped.