“I think we should go.” Kairi said for what must have been the tenth time. Sora had been tuning her out the last half hour. He yawned, curled up on her bed looking for peace. That’s all he wanted. To be able to sleep. Uninterrupted sleep.
“He had honest colors. I don’t think he was lying to me.” She continued as if Sora actually hung on her every word before sending him a scathing glance. “Sora are you even listening?”
“You’re contemplating taking advice from a dude that scared the hell out of you three days ago.” Sora repeated dutifully. “Well done.”
She scoffed and threw and empty water bottle at him. “Look, i can deal with my issues. It’s just confusing. I’m looking into this for you.”
“For me.” Sora repeated with a sigh.
She spun around in her chair to face him. “The bags under your eyes are awful. Forget sleeping, you can’t even get a nap in anymore. It’s dragging you down. You can’t focus and it’s getting worse. Which one of them is it?”
Sora buried his face against the pillow and groaned. “Xemnas. I don’t know why he’s being an extra big prick lately.”
For as long as Sora could remember, he could see things other people couldn’t. When he was little he’d been terrified but he’s quickly learned that the only thing more frightening than spirits were the people didn’t believe he was seeing ghosts. He’d been to more doctors than he could count. More therapists than he ever wanted to see again. He’d been on more medication than he wanted to think about, chemicals that didn’t do anything but depress him and turn his personality off. The ghosts still came.
His father still left.
His mother smiled tightly and pretended he could be fixed. At least she’d stayed.
Sometimes the spirits were nice. They were often lost or confused too. One told him that they had thought Sora was the one to call to them. Something about him had been bright and inviting. All Sora could do was apologize and let them go on their way.
Other ghosts were dicks. They broke things and frightened his mother. They gave him nightmares and physically hurt him. Even after all that his mother had thought Sora was just acting out for attention.
No one understood because it wasn’t something he could talk about with most people. People laughed about that kind of thing in private but as soon as they found out he was serious, things changed. He’d been long used to being the weird one.
He was a sophomore in high school before he’d met Kairi and things eased. She had her own problems though not as severe. People had their own colors, she’d said, and it had always been a mystery to her why others couldn’t see them.
Two years later they were the best of friends, and had no more answers then they had before but not for a lack of trying.
Kairi had taken to the internet in search for answers and had discovered auras, but it had only opened the door to more questions. None of the colors ever seemed to match what the internet said they should be. Sora’s colors were mostly orange and yellow apparently with touches of red. According to her it was like that most of the time and only really changed when he was sick or in an awful mood. He didn’t dare ask her what it was now.
“You need help.” Kairi said softly. “We need help. There has to be a way to get you a little peace and quiet. To make those bad spirits leave you alone.”
“Kairi, i don’t trust any place you’ve found on the internet. People don’t advertise their abilities online in legit settings.” Sora said, refusing to get his hopes up. Xemnas would just laugh at him again.
“Well i didn’t find this place online i just looked up directions.” Kairi pouted. “We’re going.”
Three days prior they’d left school and were deciding where to eat when they bumped into a man lighting a cigarette. He’d glanced up them and done a double take before whistling.
“Ain’t ya’ll just screaming for help.” He’d chuckled. “All that energy just pulsing off of you.”
Kairi had shied away instantly, and Sora was frankly, too tired to give a shit about some crabby dude.
“Why don’t y’all head over to Midgar. Thirteenth street. You’ll find a little place called Seventh Heaven. Head around to the back and let yourselves in. They’ll help you out.”
Sora had brushed the words off. Hell, he’d forgotten all about it until Kairi brought it up that morning. She’d printed out the directions with a determined glint in her eyes. One way or another they were going to solve this.
“I don’t want to, Kai.”
“Do you want me to go by myself?”
His face slipped into a tired scowl. “Like hell…” was he letting her go to Midgar alone. It wasn’t known for its flower sellers.
A second later he lurched forward, feeling like he’d been kicked in the ribs before being shoved off the bed and onto the floor. He could hear the laughter between his ears. Xemnas liked to be nearby, poking and prodding until he was bruised.
“Sora!” Kairi gasped, going down to her knees beside him. “God, it was like you were really hauled up into the air before you fell. Are you okay?”
“Yeah. Yeah.” Sora sighed, feeling like he could cry. He was so fed up with everything. With school, with ghosts, with life. “Just tired.”
“Please come with me.” Kairi said, helping him sit up. “If it’s a total bust i’ll buy you lunch.”
His already growling stomach was okay with that idea.
“Fine.” He nodded reluctantly, resting his forehead against her shoulder. It was comfortable, and if he only had a few minutes he could drift off. Another jab to his ribs jerked him up right. “Fine. Maybe they really can get rid of this bastard.”
Kairi’s relief was tenfold and he liked to imagine her own aura mellowing the fuck out.
It was only a fifteen minute drive to Midgar but Sora spent another ten minutes looking for a safe place to park. The street didn’t look like the safest place in the world but it was decent by Midgar’s standards. The sign that read Seventh Heaven was lit up in neon, brightening up an otherwise grungy looking building.
“It’s a bar.” Sora deadpanned. “That fucking bastard sent us to a bar. What was he thinking? Why is a bar even open this time of day?”
“He said to go around back, so let’s go around back.” Kairi said, nudging Sora’s arm to make him walk while she could stay curled up at his side.
“This is how people get shot in movies.” Sora muttered. They slipped between two buildings and didn’t see anything that was well...anything. It was exactly what they expected to find in an alley behind a bar. There was a dumpster and a few parked cars. A stray cat lounged on the pavement but there was nothing else.
“So…” Sora blinked. “We’re are you buying me lunch at?
She scoffed, put out by his attitude but worse, she was disappointed. There really weren’t any safe online ads about how to deal with problems like theirs.
They heard a gentle whistle, someone trying to get their attention without yelling. Sora spotted the woman first, looking up along the fire escape.
Kairi followed his gaze and hesitantly waved at the woman.
Even from a distance they could tell her smile was soft and she waved for them to come up before heading inside herself.
“Well?” Kairi asked.
“Definitely how people die in movies.” Sora said.
“Then let’s agree to not trip, and no hard feelings when one of us inevitably does and the other leave them behind.”
Sora nodded. “Sounds fair.”
The two of them ascended the fire escape and went up to the level where they’d seen the woman. There were probably close to two dozen potted plants sitting on the landing, each of them brightening up the area. The purple door had been left cracked open and the sign nailed to it read Seventh Heaven- Psychic Library.
“Promising?” Kairi whispered.
“You still owe me lunch.” Sora shrugged, pushing the door open and stepping inside with Kairi still clinging to his arm. Little bells jingled as they entered but it didn’t seem to disturb anyone.
It was, a lot. Sora thought there was soft music playing in the background until he realized it was just the sound of waves. Speakers must have been placed all over because the second they walked in it was audiably like being at the beach on a nice day.
There was gentle lighting and the place smelled of tea bags and mint. Maybe it was just collectively herby. Books lined the walls along with little benches that could seat two or three people to a matching tiny table. There were candles all over, dream catchers, chimes, and dozens of other things decorated just so. It should have felt cluttered but it didn’t.
“I thought we’d have visitors today. Squall did say so. What can i do for you two?”
Sora heard the words but he wasn’t really listening, his eyes drifted to every corner and he could feel a buzz of spirits between his eyes. Nothing here felt malicious, in fact it felt rather calm. Somewhere in the back of his mind he heard singing. At least he was pretty sure it was only in his head.
“Oh dear, you’re in sensory overload, you poor thing.”
Sora jerked when Kairi touched his face. “Are you okay? You’re starting to get muddy like before you have a panic attack.”
“Fine.” he answered too quickly and the concern was written all over her face. His eyes drifted off again, every little thing snatching away his attention. There was a section of wall that was covered in many different sized keys and incense burning on one of the windowsills. There was a vase of flowers on the table text to the woman speaking to them and for whatever reason, Sora had a hard time looking away from them.
“You must see auras very clearly if you could see such a sudden change in your friend.” the woman smiled gently. It was like she was used to welcoming scared people. “I’m Aerith. Welcome to Seventh Heaven the upper level. Might you need some help?”
“Um?” Kairi patted Sora’s arm, letting him know she was close by. “I’d love to know more about auras if you can tell me anything, but we actually came to see if we could get him sorted out.”
Aerith nodded, looking friendly. “What seems to be the problem? Problems coping with your abilities presenting? Could you tell me what they are? I do try not to pry.”
“Oh um,” Kairi paused but Sora was still examining every corner of the place. The hairs on his arms were standing on end and that herby smell made his eyes droop. “I don’t know for sure what i would call his abilities but there’s this one, ah, ghost that keeps attacking him lately.”
There was a second where Kairi obviously thought she’d get laughed at but Aerith just frowned in sympathy. “Oh dear, how bad?”
“Sora?” Kairi sighed, squeezing his arm. “He usually doesn’t check out like this.”
“Sensory overload.” Aerith repeated and an understanding nod.
Kairi threw caution to the wind and hiked Sora’s shirt up until Aerith could see how badly bruised his ribs were.”
“Hey…” Sora muttered, finally snapping back a little.
“Oh my…” Aerith inhaled. “Cloud!” She turned to a window seat across the shop where two men where lounging, the blond practically on top of the brunette. They seemed perfectly content to spend the late morning cuddled up together.
The blond had been nearly asleep and the brunette was spinning a few cards between his fingertips. Both looked up when Aerith called.
“What?” The blond, Cloud muttered.
“Untrained medium abuse.” She called and even from a distance Sora and Kairi could see Cloud’s eyes sharpen into focus.
Cloud rolled off the other man in a show of grace and walked towards them, eyes already on Sora as if knowing exactly what she was talking about. “Hey kid. How bad?”
“How bad?” Sora repeated, feeling like he’d missed a chunk of the conversation.
Cloud looked sympathetic and turned to talk to Kairi instead. “How bad is it? You his girlfriend?”
Kairi shook her head. “Just best friend. I don’t think he tells me the worst of it but he’s barely getting any sleep anymore and he was just quite literally pushed off of a bed before we came. I saw it. This newest one is particularly nasty.”
“Newest,” Cloud repeated. “How long has this been going on? His sight?”
“Um?” Kairi shrugged. “Long, long time? Since he was a kid. Usually things he sees aren’t as violent as this new one.”
“And no one got him any help?”
Kairi fidgeted and watched as Sora rubbed at his eyes tiredly. “I don’t think the help they tried to give him was very helpful.”
Cloud scowled and evidently didn’t need to know more than that. “C’mere.” Cloud pulled Sora closer and hummed faintly. “You’re a strong one. A medium and a channeler.”
“What’s the difference?” Sora asked, almost dazed.
“Hey, you are in there.” Cloud offered a faint smile. “Mediums see things, for sure, but channelers are much better at actually communicating with the dead. You know how to turn it off?”
Sora swallowed, looking like Cloud had just offered him the most valuable information in the world. “I can turn it off?”
“Oh kid…” Cloud sounded kind. “You poor fucking thing. Let me teach you. What’s the longest you’ve slept lately?”
“Maybe…” Sora muttered. “Maybe forty minutes.”
Cloud nodded and pulled Sora across to the large windows. “Come sit with me, you’re going to get at least three hours of sleep before we do anything.”
“He’ll just wake me up again.”
“Not in here he won’t.” The brunette Cloud had been cuddled against said. “We have a shamen protect this place. Nothing that means to do harm can enter. It’s safe.”
“Can i get that at home?” Sora asked voice cracking as he let Cloud maneuver him closer.
“Yes.” Cloud said, pulling Sora to sit. “I’m Cloud, this here is my partner Squall. Would your friend here like her fortune told? For fun?”
Kairi perked up, “Really?”
“It’ll pass the time.” Squall said, gesturing for her to take a nearby seat. “Your friend really does need to sleep and at least we can entertain you. I believe Aerith said you see auras? There are a few around here who could give you some helpful tips.” He pulled out the rest of his deck of cards and went about lazily shuffling them with his eyes closed.
“Do um, do you have to be any kind of psychic to do tarot readings?” Kairi asked softly, not wanting to break his concentration. Especially not with something that could be a stupid question.
Squall’s eyes opened and he smiled at her. “No, but it helps.” He turned enough to face her at the little table between them.
Cloud had adjusted the nearby incense that smelled of lavender and sat between Sora and Squall. He tapped out a rhythm on the windowsill and knew the very second it caught Sora’s attention like everything else had. It was almost like every element in the building was struggling to capture Sora’s attention. He’d watched Cloud’s fingers move, the beat lulling him into relaxation. The fact that it worked so swiftly only proved his exhauston.
Cloud pressed against Squall amused when his partner started shuffling to the beat Cloud tapped out. Sora had crashed quickly, first leaning leaning against the window as he drifted off but the second he’d fallen asleep he was slumped onto Cloud’s shoulder. Neither would be moving any time soon.
Squall set his deck down, offering Kairi another little smile. “Please cut the deck twice.”
Sora woke slowly, feeling groggy and heavy. Sleep was so good and god, he’d missed it. He heard soft talking and didn’t care where he was. He didn’t care about the hand that carded through his hair either, that felt good too. When was the last time he’d been met with any kind of affection?
His ribs ached and his back was sore but he wasn’t nauseous and he’d take any silver lining he could get.
“Hey, i bet your feeling better.”
The words were whispered and Sora grunted.
“C’mon. Try to sit up and we’ll see if we can’t speed up your healing a little.”
“Huh?” Sora finally blinked and lifted his head. It would have been so much better to laid his head back down and sleep again, but the blond guy he’d been sleeping against might object.
Right, weird psychic place… “Um, Cloud right?”
“Right,” Cloud chuckled. “Nice to meet you Sora. You’ve been asleep for about three and a half hours. Aerith has already done a cursory healing but she’ll want to do another few sessions.”
“Healing?” Sora asked, finally taking in where he was again. This time he seemed to be able to soak in more than he had the first time. “What is this place exactly?”
Cloud sat up a little straighter himself and cracked his back. “A place for people like us to rest our minds.”
“Psychics.” Cloud clarified. “Rinoa and Aerith are teaching your friend about aura’s. They’re both reiki masters. They heal.”
Sora nodded, looking across the room where Kairi sat at a little table with two women. She was beaming happily, looking more relaxed than he’d ever seen her. She was finally getting the answers she wanted so badly.
“What do you do?” Sora asked.
“I’m like you. I’m a medium and a channeler. Squall and i have both also done quite a bit of work as exorcists and such.” Cloud said as easily if he were discussing the weather. Had Sora even ever said the word exorcist at home his mother would have freaked out.
“So you can help me with Xemnas?” Sora asked instantly. “Normally spirits i see just want someone to talk to and say goodbye to. Even some of the meaner ones i’ve met get bored after a while. Xemnas doesn’t get bored.”
“Oh i definitely have something for him.” Cloud chuckled. “You can help too. Learning to protect yourself is step one.” He paused. “Well step one or two. Blocking is also a must. Given a little time you’ll pick up energy manipulation. Squall will be better that teaching you that.”
It wasn’t until that moment that Sora realized the brunette was missing “Oh, right. You said he’s your partner?”
“I did.” Cloud said, eyes dropping down to the wedding ring he wore briefly. “He’s got the patience to teach energy work.”
A side door opened and Squall came in with a box under his arm. With an almost excited flourish he set it on the table in front of Kairi and let the locks click open.
“What’s going on?” Sora asked.
“Kairi is interested in learning to read cards. Squall offered to teach her.” Cloud mused, looking thoroughly entertained by the notion. “It’s going to be interesting for sure. Want to see? We need to grab Aerith anyway.”
Sora nodded, following Cloud through the shop and towards the other tables. The room was open, only divided by what seemed to be individual work stations.
“Look at them all carefully. Touch them, get a feel for them. There will be a set for you. If none of these move you then we’ll pull out more.” Squall said as he let Kairi pull out tarot decks from the box. “They can get jealous of each other, so you will only have one deck. One.”
“They don’t even like other people touching them for more than just a shuffle.” The dark haired woman, Rinoa mocked. “Unless your Cloud.”
“Shut it.” Cloud smiled easily as they approached.
Kairi looked up and smiled at Sora now that he was up and about. “Why Cloud?” she asked.
Squall sighed. “It’s not every deck that likes Cloud. Just mine.”
“Some psychics just click.” Aerith teased.
“That’s sweet.” Kairi laughed, looking through the cards in front of her before glancing up at Sora again. “You look way better than this morning.”
“Feel better.” Sora agreed. No one was more surprised than he was. “Not sure what happened though.”
“Sleep and a healing session.” Cloud said, gesturing to Aerith. “You want to do another one today?”
She nodded. “Oh yes, and i’d like to do one a day for the next week.”
“Okay, what exactly are you doing?” Sora asked, feeling like he’d missed a lot while he was sleeping. “Like what do i have to do?”
Aerith nodded her head to a nearby table. “We’ll do sit over there so we don’t bother Kairi while she’s searching for her companion deck. The healing is where we’re starting today.”
Cloud nudged Sora over to what he assumed was Aerith’s station. “It’s not just the healing of your body and mind, but she’s helping me break the attachment you seem to have. I don’t say that to scare you, merely inform.”
“The spirit that is hurting you. It’s getting worse right?” Cloud asked, continuing when Sora nodded. “He’s trying to dig his claws deeper into you. The more he attaches himself to you, the more he can hurt you.”
Sora felt himself pale. “So you’re breaking that connection?”
“That’s right. Most of it can be done today, but i would like to continue it for a few days afterwards.” Aerith said, gesturing for Sora to take a seat.
“And i’ll teach you to block him out so you won’t have to worry about him responding poorly.” Cloud said, actually looking like he knew what he was talking about. “You have nothing to worry about, we’ll help you take care of this.”
Sora felt himself sag, relief swirling in his chest. He’d spent his entire life feeling like he was the freak. Meeting Kairi was the first person to ever understand him and not feel like he needed to be heavily medicated to make it through the day. He had no idea there was a place so close with people who could help him.
Cloud ruffled his hair and smiled. “It’s overwhelming, isn’t it? We have it all here. Anything you could possibly need, we could find. Don’t think it’ll be really necessary though once you get a handle on things. You’re like a beacon. Unfortunately it means spirits will be attracted to you.”
“Cloud knows quite a bit about that.” Aerith smiled. “He won’t steer you wrong. Now why don’t you and i get started. Why don’t you hold one of these.” She pulled out a little white flower from the vase he vaguely remembered staring at when he came in.
“What is it?”
“Camomile.” Cloud said, observing the pair closely. “It’s quite a bit more than just a flower in Aerith’s hands. It’ll help with the stress.”
Sora nodded, holding the flower passed to him. “Okay. Anything else?”
“I just need you to breathe steadily while i concentrate. Cloud can count it out for you.” Aerith placed her hands on Sora, one hand over his heart and the other on his forehead. She closed her eyes and Sora wasn’t sure what he felt, but something was definitely moving. Cloud started directing him, his voice monotone and soothing.
He counted for Sora to follow along with him. Five beats inhaling, holding that for another five seconds and exhaling it out for another seven beats. When Sora began to do it on his own, Cloud began explaining things in a little more detail.
“Imagine it. Picture the negative energy. Now picture yours and separate the two.” Cloud said softly. “Aerith is doing this but you can help her. You have not given permission for any other spirit to mess with your energies. Not your energies, your dreams or your life. Not emotionally. Not physically. Not mentally. Not sensually. Push away the foreign holds on you and reclaim your life.”
Sora felt light headed and hardly knew how to describe what he was feeling. He couldn’t tell what in him was moving, but something had to be. The breathing had led him to some kind of trance but it felt good. It felt like he could fall deeper or pull away from it any time he wanted. He could feel Aerith sitting in front of him. Could feel something like vibrations brushing against his skin.
He could feel Cloud standing beside him and a part of him wanted to reach out for him. Cloud’s energy was familiar and comforting, like some kind of tamed wild animal standing guard over him.
For a second he couldn’t feel the floor beneath his feet, but any time he got even mildly distracted, Cloud would start counting his breathes again. Sora followed along, eager to do anything to get Xemnas away from him permanently.
He wanted to fall asleep like this.
“So why do i feel drugged?” Sora finally asked when he felt Aerith’s hand leave his forehead.
“You’re not, you’re relaxed.” Aerith laughed softly, patting his arm and slipping the flower from his loose grasp. “You’ve been so tightly wound up lately that you’re not used to it anymore. Please come back tomorrow for another session.
“Yes…” Sora said, the word drawn out.
“You’re still in a good place, so you and i are going to continue.” Cloud said, voice still hypnotic. He brought the incense closer once more and took Aerith’s place across from him and held onto his hands. “I’m going to touch my energy to yours and we’ll see if i can coax you to do what i do.”
“What will that do?” Sora asked, nearly slurring.
“It will teach you to get rid of Xemnas. Focus on my hands. On the smell of lavender. On my energies if you can.”
“Cool. I’ll try.” Sora nodded, eyes sliding shut again all on their own. He didn’t know if he was anything like Cloud, but fuck he wanted to be. It felt safe. The heaviness he felt his entire life dissipated in this place.
For another hour he felt like he was in a daze, but at the same time it was the most alert he’d been in weeks. He could feel all kinds of different movements but Cloud being in control made him feel like he was in control too.
“Quick learner.” Cloud finally commented, looking tired. “That’s going to make this easy.”
Sora looked up and was ready for another nap. He didn’t know how long he and Cloud had been sitting there but there were more people hanging around. Kairi was eating with Rinoa and another man and woman. Another woman sat at a table with multiple crystals around her and a cute man stood leaning against a bookshelf next to Aerith.
“I sure hope so…”
“Now listen to me, this is very important.” Cloud said, snapping once to make sure Sora’s attention was on him. “When something negative bothers you, you have the ability to force it away. Speak precisely. Firmly. Get out. You are not welcome here. You may not touch me. You may not touch anything in my home. You have to leave.” Cloud made a continuing gesturing. “If need be, repeat yourself. Over and over and they won’t be able to get closer to you.”
Sore sighed heavily. “Okay. Okay i’ll try that.” He knew Xemnas was waiting for him, he could feel it.
“If you have any more problems with him, let me know and i’ll take care of him.” Cloud said seriously. “Kay?”
“Yes. Thank you.”
Cloud looked up at Squall who appeared behind him. Squall bent down to press a kiss to his forehead. “You two had the whole place shaking. Tifa even called from down stairs to ask what the fuck we were doing.”
Cloud chuckled. “Sorry?”
“Whatever.” Squall said, hands clenching Cloud’s shoulders to ease his tension. “Why don’t you two come eat. We grabbed you food about half an hour ago.”
“Oh, thank you.” Sora sighed loudly, loving the idea of food. “How did Kairi’s lesson go.”
Squall snorted. “She’s got intuition. With some practice she’ll get the hang of it real quick. It’s good to add onto her aura reading.”
Sora actually groaned. “Shit, she can already read me like an open book. I don’t know if i can handle her intuition growing.”
“I know the feeling. Can’t hide a damn thing from Aerith.” Cloud said, picking himself up to walk to the others that were still eating. With little hesitation he gathered his food and Squall dragged him back to the windowsill to eat. It was undoubtedly their spot.
Sora took a second to look around again. He liked this place. It felt warm and homey and no one looked at him like he was a freak. Everyone here could apparently understand what he was going through and from what he could tell so far, no one was judging him. It was freeing.
He could get a handle on this, get rid of Xemnas and start sleeping again. Having a plan made him feel good, a positive twisting sensation filled and he wondered if that was his energies or just a lack of anxiety. He’d have to find out at some point.
He had so many questions. Most of them were admittedly about himself, but there were other curiosities. He wanted to know what that girl was going with the crystals. He wanted to know how someone became a reiki master because that sounded official. Were their psychic tests? He wanted to know what these people did when they weren’t focusing on their abilities. They had to have jobs right? He wanted to know who the freaking cute boy next to Aerith was too but that was the one thing he’d hold off on. Talking to cute boys was no where near his area of expertise.
Sora sat down and Kairi swapped tables to sit beside him. “You look so much better! You’re aura’s back to looking like a sunrise. It’s been almost a year since it looked so right.”
“Thank you.” Sora chuckled, taking the container she slid him. “Squall says your a natural. You like it? The fortune telling?”
“I do.” She beamed. “It’s so much more than just vague future stuff. Will you let me practice on you later?”
He shrugged. “I guess so.” It wasn’t like she didn’t know everything about him anyway. “Was i really spacing out for a long time?”
Kairi nodded, finishing up her own food. “I was really worried you slept so long but they told me that was normal. Apparently you were feeding off Cloud’s good vibes or something.”
“Does it?” she asked.
Sora hummed, while he chewed. “Cloud feels like, safe? Like i really wasn’t afraid Xemnas could find a way in here because even if he could, he’d have to get passed Cloud.”
She smiled, looking relieved. “This was a good idea. Coming here i mean. You and Cloud just sort of zoned out for another hour. It was the strangest thing to watch.”
“Well, neither of you were moving, but your aura’s were freaking out. It was like yours was all curled up in on itself and Cloud’s aura was straightening it out the way it was supposed to be.” She mimed what she was trying to say with her fingers. “Everyone watched for a little while. Even those that can’t see auras were picking up on something.”
“Yeah, didn’t mean to gain an audience.”
She nodded back to the table she’d been sitting at. “Vincent and Quistis said it was totally normal. Everyone wanted to make sure you were okay too. That’s kinda what i like best about this place. Everyone has been so kind to us.”
“Seriously, do we have to pay for these lessons or something?” Sora asked, that rabbit hole causing him to worry a little.
Kairi shrugged. “I offered to pay for the tarot cards and Squall told me to shut up. So? I guess not and if we do someone will say something.”
Maybe that was a little reassuring. He glanced around again, finding the cute boy had moved across the room where he was speaking to Cloud and Squall. Meh, he didn’t need cute boys.
“He introduced himself to me.” Kairi said, following his gaze with a small smile. “Said his name was Riku. He watched you and Cloud for a long time. Asked how the hell someone survived being haunted for so long. I told him it was because once people decide to talk to you they can’t help but like you, ghosts included.”
Sora snorted, sometimes that felt true but most people couldn’t get over him being the weird kid that talked to himself. “That’s one way to put it.”
Kairi chuckled. “I’m not sure what he is yet. I can only see his aura, you know? But Squall wouldn’t let him touch you while training or whatever.”
“Huh,” Sora muttered. “I really don’t know what kind of psychic’s there are. I never thought about it. So i got nothing.”
“Oh, well i can tell you what i’ve learned.” Kairi said, shifting excitedly. “I’ve asked everyone i’ve met so far and they were all happy to explain it to me.”
“Vincent,” She nodded behind her again. “He said he has retrocognition. Never heard of it right? He said it basically means that he gets impressions of past events. Like stuff he wasn’t present for or even born during.”
“That sounds stressful.”
Kairi rolled her eyes. “He probably thinks dealing with ghosts all day and all night is stressful.”
“Quistis said she was a palm reader and a clairvoyant. So she knows stuff.”
Sora made a face and started eating. “I take it back, that sounds stressful.” He continued eating. “You talk to the girl with the crystals?”
“No but Rinoa told me about her. She scrying. I guess that means she’s looking for something but i don’t know what. It’s like divination apparently. Like crystal balls, i guess? I was told she’s usually chatty but she was using energy you and Cloud were throwing out to work...better? I don’t know.”
“Stressful.” Sora repeated, while chewing.
“A few other people came in and out and eveyones been really nice. We have to come back for your healing sessions so i figured we could come right after school.”
“Sounds good to me.” Sora said, ready to get a handle on whatever it is he could do. Any skepticism he’d had walking in had long since disappeared.
“Oh, oh, hold on.” Kairi said, getting up. “I want to ask Rinoa about her class, be right back.” She got up, wandering towards Rinoa who appeared through a side door. Sora followed them for a moment but couldn’t hear what they were talking about. Kairi’s excitement seemed to double though.
“I’m glad you seem to be feeling better.”
Sora looked up to see the cute boy hovering over him. “Oh, thank you.”
“Mind if i sit?” He asked and Sora shook his head. How did he talk to cute guys again? The answer was usually that he didn’t, but he wasn’t considered a freak here either. This was a day of new things.
He stuck his hand out. “I’m Riku.”
“Sora.” Sora reached out to shake his hand and felt an odd sensation between their palms. Riku stared at him intently, holding on a little longer than most people would.
“That’s cheating Riku!” Squall yelled from the other side of the room.
“It’s not!” Riku yelled back, smiling faintly as he finally released Sora’s hand.
“Eh?” Sora muttered, looking back at Squall who was suddenly busy kissing Cloud. “What?”
“They tease.” Riku rolled his eyes. “I’m sorry you’ve had such a hard time lately. Malicious ghosts can be so unforgiving.”
“Oh yeah,” Sora grumbled, rubbing his ribs. The action didn’t exactly go unnoticed. “It’s not so bad usually. At least i’m used to it. It’s hard to really go anywhere though. There are ghosts everywhere. If the blocking thing Cloud showed me works even half as well as i’m hoping things could be a little different for me.”
“In what way?” Riku asked, reclining in his chair somewhat.
Sora shrugged, not really wanting to get into it with the cute boy. Admitting he’d like to be able to talk to people without accidentally having a side conversation with a spirit would be great. He loved Kairi to death but both of them would have liked to make a few more friends. With graduation so close it was probably a hopeless cause.
“Most ways.” He finally answered vaguely.
“I should hope you don’t want to be too different. You’re fine as you are.” Riku said, offering a small smile of his own.
Sora felt his stomach do a flip and he looked away. “Yeah, well thanks. I’ll take the three minutes you’ve had to gather an opinion to heart.”
“Good.” He said, ignoring the sarcasm. “Not a lot of people could do what you’ve done and not go insane. It’s incredible. Cloud can only really work with strong mediums. He’s too much for the weaker ones.”
“Oh…” Sora blinked. That was… flattering? At least he was good at seeing ghosts. “Thanks?”
Riku chuckled softly, silver hair falling in his eyes briefly before he shoved it back. “Praise where it’s due.”
Sora hummed noncommittally. What was he even doing? “So, can i ask what you do?”
Riku nodded. “I’m a cocktail of confusing shit. Thanks to my clairaudient abilities i make a halfway decent medium. Not your level for sure but okay.”
“Clairaudient?” Sora repeated, hating that he sounded stupid in front of this guy.
“It just means i’m able to hear messages from the dead,” Riku shrugged. “You have that in a much grander scale.”
Sora went pink. “Ah, kay.”
Riku continued, “I’m also very clairvoyant. I see things happening sometimes. Like i’m watching a movie in my head. Symbols. Images. People sometimes.”
“Stressful.” Sora said as if he was still talking to Kairi.
“Yeah,” Riku said quietly. “It can be. It’s partly why it’s nice here. It’s very calm. Gives my mind a good chance to rest.”
“Yeah, i’ve picked up on that feeling too.”
Riku suddenly smirked. “If that wasn’t enough i’d probably have to say my main talent is psychometry.”
“Cool, cool.” Sora said, taking another bite of his lunch. “Don’t know what that is either.”
Riku laughed, looking genuinely amused. “It means i get impressions off objects i touch. Who owned them, what they were used for, things like that. Unlike others with that talent, mine also works on people if i’m not careful.”
“Stressful.” Sora repeated, his mind finally catching up with the words. He couldn’t do a thing to help himself from turning bright red. He’d shaken Riku’s hand…
“I’d really love to talk at length about how cute you think i am.” Riku grinned. “And i’d definitely like to reciprocate.”
Sora swallowed. “C’mon, that was total cheating.”
“Had to see if i stood a chance,” Riku shrugged. “I only saw a little. Had to strike while i could since i’m sure Cloud will teach you how to block that too. Probably not the best first impression but it’s why i let you know i could do it.”
“Does it count if you let me know afterwards though?”
Riku smiled, “I’m hoping. Also hoping you’d be receptive to me asking you out. Maybe dinner sometime?”
Sora knew he was red now. Still, Riku looked hopeful and it didn’t feel like a joke. “Um, yeah. Okay.”
Riku nearly glowed. Where the hell was Kairi with her aura reports when he needed them. “Good.” He pulled out his phone and offered it to Sora. “Number?”
“Yeah,” Sora said, passing his own phone over for the swap to be made. “I don’t recognize you.” He would damn sure remember if he’d seen him before. “Already graduated?”
“Last year.” Riku nodded. “Finishing up my first year of university. You and Kairi are both about to graduate high school.”
It wasn’t a question but Sora answered it anyway. “Right. Another two months. Assuming i can fix my grades now that i’ll hopefully be able to sleep again.”
Riku made a rough sound. “Fuck i understand that. Channeling is hard. If you need help with something i’m all for offering a study date.”
Sora smiled faintly. “I might take you up on that one. I’m not too afraid of flunking out but bringing my average back up would be nice.” He paused. “Should probably do something nice for Kairi for helping me write papers lately.”
He knew he probably shouldn’t have been talking about his friend while attempting to flirt but Riku just smiled at him. He didn’t know what he was picking up on but Riku felt nice…
“You’ve seen things a long time,” Riku continued softly. “And it only just now started to affect you poorly?”
“Xemnas.” Sora made a face. “Nastier spirit than most. It was always something i could ignore before.” He fidgeted. “I thought i was ignoring it.”
“That’s the hard part. Admitting we’re different. For some people their sensitivity is so weak they can live with it. People like us need an extra hand. I found this place by accident three years ago.”
Sora smiled faintly. “Some guy we bumped into the other day looked at us and gave us directions. No idea who he was. I thought it was too good to be true. Kairi dragged me here.”
“I’m glad she did.” Riku muttered, watching Sora closely.
“You’re doing something.” Sora smiled, feeling something in his stomach flutter. Energies or butterflies? “Aren’t you?”
Riku sighed. “Sorry. Curiosity makes things harder to control. I want to know about you.”
“It’s much easier to just ask.” Sora offered, wondering how Riku’s abilities really did work. He had quite a few questions himself.
Kairi appeared, throwing her arms around Sora’s neck from behind. “How hard would i have to beg to get you to take a yoga class with me?”
“What?” Sora’s brows rose. “A yoga class? Where’d that come from.”
“Ah,” Riku smiled, biting his lip to keep himself from laughing. “Rinoa teaches a chakra balancing yoga class on thursdays.”
“Right!” Kairi grinned. “Come with me?”
“Yoga.” Sora repeated.
“Do i scream yoga to you?”
Kairi snorted. “You scream anything that means straightening out your mind and learning to deal with your energies. Pleeease!”
“Oh god, don’t do your please at me, i always say yes when you ‘pleeease’.” Sora groaned.
Sora shifted his gaze to Riku, begging for help but the older boy just smirked at him. “Don’t look at me. I’d show up just to watch you take the class.”
Kairi laughed the second Sora went bright red. She eyed Riku up and down and Sora knew her well enough to know she was picking apart the colors of his aura. “Ohh, this is a fun development. What if Riku did come, would you say yes then?”
“Fuck no!” Sora answered instantly. “Fuck you both.”
Riku’s shoulders shook from laugher but he had soft eyes all for Sora. “While i’d be happy to tease you into it. It’s a really good class and could help you on top of everything Cloud will be teaching you.”
“There, see!” Kairi squeezed Sora closer. “Pleeease?”
Sora sighed. “Fuck me, fine.” This was what happened when you have only one best friend in the whole wide world.
Kairi made the happiest noise Sora had ever heard from her before she pressed a kiss to his cheek and ran off again. She made a beeline right back to Rinoa and Sora had a sinking feeling they were both getting signed up for yoga classes now.
“It won’t be so bad.” Riku tried.
“Says the traitor.” Sora pouted. “You could have helped, but no, you had to take Kairi’s side. And you want to date me.”
“Guilty.” Riku agreed unapologetically. “Also really considering watching the yoga class.”
Riku grinned. “What if i take you to dinner after class? Is food a good enough reward for you?”
Sora’s pout remained. “Depends on the food.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.” Riku said, leaning back in his chair and occupying himself by spinning the ring he wore on his middle finger. “Can i see you before thursday?”
It was harder to keep himself from answering immediately then he would have liked. “I’ll text you tomorrow. I’d like to see what my sleep is like and how my ghost problem progresses before i make any promises, but…” Sora shrugged shyly. “Yeah, maybe. Not that you deserve it, traitor.”
“Then at the risk of sounding over eager. I’ll text you tomorrow.” Riku smiled.
“Do that or maybe i’ll see you here. I have to meet Aerith.”
“Ah healing.” Riku mused. “I’ll see you here than.”
Sora shifted shyly and absolutely refused to think about how many people present could spy on his feelings. Be it aura readers, clairvoyants, or whatever other thing he’d never heard of before. He hoped Cloud really could teach him to block other people out or he’d be embarrassed constantly.
“Yes, i guess you will.” Sora muttered shyly. In one day he’d hopefully sorted out his ghost problem and gotten a date. The world could have been ending but for once everything was alright with him.