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Maybe This Isn’t What I Think This Is

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“There you are!”

Sora looked up from his phone to see Kairi walking towards him. With a smile, he handed her the one of the crepes in his hand and scooted over, making room for her on the bench.

It was a pleasant day, the sunny skies and temperate weather making Radiant Garden’s fountain plaza look absolutely stunning, a stark contrast to Sora’s thoughts.

“So what’s up? You seemed pretty worried over the phone.” Kairi meant well, but the mention of his phone brought back a wave of guilt.

“Well…okay this might sound stupid.” Kairi just smirked, and Sora cut her off before she could say anything. “Fine, fine, stupider than usual.” Even though he was upset, his childhood friend’s presence next to him always made him feel better anyways. 

Still, his expression settled back into the gloomy pout he had been wearing before his friend arrived. Sora took a deep breath, hoping that what he said next wouldn’t damage any more friendships than it might already have.

“Kairi…am I homophobic?”

Sora tensed up, waiting for the inevitable sneer of disgust or for Kairi’s angry remark, but he didn’t hear anything. Just as he turned to apologize, he heard Kairi laugh, starting with an ugly snort and a loud cackle that Sora had never heard before.

Kairi was doubled over, crepe spilling everywhere as she fanned her red face, gasping out even more giggles as she tried to get herself under control. Sora could only stare, completely confused and a little worried.

“S-Sora, Sora…” Kairi gasped out a breath as even more laughter spilled out of her. “Sora, what the fuck are you talking about? ” Sora felt himself redden, embarrassment spilling onto his face as Kairi gripped his shoulder for stability.

“I-…Kairi, this is serious!” Kairi had let go now, trying to wipe tears from her eyes as she (unconvincingly) tried to give him a serious look.

“Sora, do you remember when I started crushing on Olette?” Hesitantly, Sora nodded, not knowing where this conversation was going. “You were the most supportive friend I could have asked for. I texted you at 3 am worrying whether she liked me and you texted back . Even Axel asked was sick of my gay pining after the first week .”

Sora scratched the back of his head. “Well, yeah, but-“

And! ” Kairi was grinning at him reassuringly now, though a small flush still remained on her face. “And, you were super happy for Naminé and Xion when they started dating.”

Sora remembered that, remembered helping set up the elaborate confession and wiping away his tears when his two friends had smiled at each other so lovingly. “I guess , but still-“

“You were even happy about Axel and Isa. You helped pick out their wedding decorations , Sora. And I know you remember that because Riku and I had to drag you away from the flowers, just so you could sleep .” Kairi paused then, as she started cleaning up some of her crepe with a napkin. “Where’s this all coming from, anyway?”

Sora hesitated. Okay, so maybe he had been overreacting, but there was still something he had been worrying about. “Well, you know how Riku’s gay?” Kairi nodded. They both remembered him coming out to them, a few years back now. Sora had been so happy at the relieved look on Riku’s face as he told them, looking for all the world like an enormous weight had been freed from his heart. “I…know he’s interested in guys, so of course he’s going to be interested in dating them, but…” Sora glanced over at Kairi, feeling his face scrunch up in a grimace as he remembered how he felt, watching their friends tease Riku on his crush, and never being able to successfully get his name from Riku. “Whenever I think about him dating some guy, my chest starts aching and I feel so, so upset. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, Kairi.”

His friend was just giving him a sly grin, which Sora thought was entirely inappropriate after his admission. She nodded, like everything had clicked into place, before beaming at him. “So, have you tried telling Riku about all this?”

Sora sputtered, almost squeezing all the filling out of crepe. “N-no! Of course not! What if Riku ends up hating me? What am I even supposed to say, something like, ‘Hey Riku, I don’t want you to date anyone, thanks!’” Sora sighed, exasperated.

“Hm. Maybe you can still talk to him about it? I mean, you are living together, so if he ever brings a guy home…” Kairi trailed off as Sora’s expression twisted. “Yeah, see? I bet you he’s super worried right now, too. You’ve been ignoring his texts, haven’t you?”

Sora stiffened, and with perfect timing his phone buzzed one more time in his pocket. Kairi held up her own phone, displaying the multiple texts she had received from Riku.

“I should go apologize.”

“Yep.” Kairi popped the ‘p’ and bit into her crepe, humming as she took a bite. “Wow this is really good, I need to remember this place for next week’s date. Olette wanted to show me a store near here anyway. You gonna eat that?”

Sora sighed and passed her his crepe as he stood up. Better sooner than later, he supposed, sending Riku a quick ‘b right there’ text. Kairi happily waved him off with a crepe in each hand.

Sora shuffled apprehensively in front of his door, hand half-raised and ready to knock. He knew he should, that he needed to apologize as soon as possible, but he just couldn’t bring himself to do it. The idea of admitting to Riku all his embarrassingly dark, stormy feelings appealed to him about as much as trying to convince Isa to take a selfie with him.

At least if he did that instead Riku would still be his friend. His friend, and nothing-

The sound of the doorknob turning startled Sora as he stepped back, too late to hide or pretend he hadn’t been just standing there. Riku stood in the doorway, hair mussed up like he had just run his hands through it, his eyes wide. Sora resisted the urge to groan.

Even looking like a mess, Riku was still unfairly handsome, his aqua eyes almost green in the shade and his rough hands gripping the door securely. He could easily get any guy he wanted. Another spike of something stabbed through him, and Sora struggled to swallow it down.

“Sora, I thought-“ Riku sighed, collapsing slightly against the door. “You were late, I was getting worried. Everything okay?”

Sora sometimes hated how well Riku could see through him. It was why he had been trying to minimize their contact for the past week, hoping desperately to be able to hide his emotions where Riku couldn’t read them.

“Yeah, I’m fine.” Sora gave a lackluster smile, knowing it didn’t reach his eyes. “I just…is it okay if I talk to you about something?”

Riku looked almost as nervous as Sora felt, nodding tersely and stepping back from the doorway to let Sora in. He went into the kitchen, coming back out with two cups of water as Sora made himself comfortable on their couch. Riku sat next to him, both too far and too close for comfort.

“So,” he started, voice level. “What did you want to talk about?”

“Uh, well…” Even after all the time he spent thinking about it, Sora still had no idea how to begin. Not wanting to let the awkward silence linger, he decided to just hope for the best and figure it out as he went along. “Are you dating anyone?”

Riku stiffened, and he took a sip of water. Sora watched a stray drop of water fall slowly down his cheek, down his throat, into his collar.

“No, Sora, um.” Riku coughed, jarring Sora out of his reverie. Sora saw his eyes flit back and forth, searching for some way to continue the conversation, but apparently he couldn’t think of anything since he ended up just staring at Sora.

“So, you’re still not dating your crush?” The words tasted like poison on his lips, and Sora looked away, hoping Riku hadn’t noticed. But of course he did, he was Riku. Riku noticed everything about him.

“Sora?” He felt the couch shift beneath him, and knew that Riku was looking at him worriedly. “Sora, what’s wrong?”

The way Riku reverently said his name sparked small embers in his heart, reflected by the cold dread in his stomach. Would Riku ever say someone else’s name that way? Would he replace Sora with someone he loved more?

Sora gasped as he felt a tear trail down his cheek. Immediately, Riku was near him, crushing him into a desperate embrace. Sora hugged back, desperately trying to hold Riku to himself. He tried to force his voice out, tried to keep it steady and ignore the lump in his throat. “Don’t leave me, Riku.”

Riku pulled back, just slightly enough to wipe away Sora’s tears. His expression was unreadable, and through blurred vision Sora saw him biting on his lip.

“Sora, are you…” Riku paused, a conflict raging in his eyes. “Are you…jealous?"

Is that what this was? The disgusting, squirmy feeling in Sora’s gut was jealousy ? But why would he be jealous? Was it because he didn’t want to be single? That wasn’t it, since Sora had never daydreamed about romance the way some of his friends had. So what was it? Was he jealous of Riku for being so attractive, and therefore being able to date anyone he wanted? No, it felt like he was only jealous whenever he imagined Riku dating someone, in fact he always enjoyed Riku’s company. So was he jealous that someone might end up dating Riku? But that couldn’t be it either, because it would mean…

“Oh, I’m in love with you.”

Sora almost laughed at the face Riku made. His jaw dropped and he started blinking, and he leaned back so far he almost fell off the couch. Sora would have found it funny, hilarious even, if it weren’t for how red both of their faces were.

“Sora, I-, wha-...” For a moment Sora was genuinely concerned about Riku’s ability to form words, and oh no I broke him flashed through his mind when he saw Riku pinch himself.

“...I’m not dreaming.”

Sora couldn’t form a proper response, choosing instead to just stare at his recently-discovered crush, still shocked at what had come out of his own mouth. Finally he gasped out a “Guess not, huh?”

A silence descended on them both, a clear tension wavering in the air between them. “Riku, I…” Sora took a breath, trying to figure out where he could go from here. This was nowhere near what he expected when he started this conversation, though he could already hear Kairi teasing him for being so oblivious.

“Sora, did you…” Riku raised his hand, reaching out to tuck a lock of loose hair away from Sora’s face, and even with everything that was happening now, Sora couldn’t help but lean in and nuzzle Riku’s warmth.

Riku gasped, and his eyes dilated. The blush on his cheeks flared up again, and Sora felt mortified for being so obvious with how he felt, but Riku was right there and Sora couldn’t help but stare at his mouth, watching his teeth worry his bottom lip.

“Sora,” Riku’s voice was suddenly deeper, rougher, dragging him out of his stupor, and Sora realized Riku was much, much closer than before. “Can I kiss you?”

Sora couldn’t even answer, his mind too occupied with thoughts of Riku’s soft lips on his and strong arms enveloping his entire body. Somehow, he managed a nod, only aware of that because suddenly Riku was leaning in and oh.

Sora’s first kiss was salty from his tears, an awkwardly chaste peck that lasted for less than a second.

It was perfect.

Riku leaned back, but Sora wrapped his arms around Riku’s neck and pulled him close once more, this time turning his head so they could kiss deeper. He felt Riku crushing his waist in a strong grip, and Sora arched his back as the kiss deepened.

Riku pulled back again, and Sora whined , but before Sora could kiss him again, he heard “I love you.”

Sora blinked up at him in wonder, whispering, “But Riku, didn’t you-”

Riku still looked embarrassed, but there was a fiery resolve in his eyes now. “It’s you. It’s always been you.”

Suddenly every nauseating trace of jealousy that had been haunting him for so long disappeared, replaced with joy and love and Riku . Riku was kissing his cheeks, and distantly Sora realized he was crying again, but he couldn’t bring himself to care because he was smiling, and he felt Riku’s smile as well with each kiss.

He held Riku close, and didn’t let go for the rest of the night.