Beyond

Yet another damned Kingdom Hearts fic

By Jaelle



Disclaimer: Disney and Squareenix own Kingdom Hearts, and me.
Pairings: Implied Sora/Riku, if you want to read it that way.
Set: About a year before Kairi shows up.
Spoilers: Ummm... not really. (I'm still working through the game myself). Based on ideas/themes from the opening of the game and the first level (on the Island).

I still don't want spoilers people! Noone is allowed to tell me how this game ends!



When Riku was ten years old he nearly drowned.

He'd woken up early one morning and gone down to the beach to watch the sun rise in silence. As the colours on the horizon changed from black to blue to crimson red, he'd stared into the distance, searching for something, although what it was, he couldn't have said. He'd gazed at the sun intently as it rose, blinking back tears and black spots, and it suddenly seemed as though there was something out there. He'd instantly stood, shucked off most of his clothes and plunged into the ocean, striking out in an attempt to reach that other place. That place which was Somewhere Else.

He'd swum for a long time. Of all the children on the island, he was the strongest swimmer. Not even Tidus could keep up with him in a test of endurance, and it had been quite some time before he began to tire.

By then of course, it was too late to turn back.

Muscles aching, lungs burning, he'd continued to swim onwards under the bright sun. His pace slowed, but he was determined to get There. Wherever it was.

A short while later he paused, unsure of his direction. Where was it again? It had to be this way. Voices roared in his head, driving him onwards.

Twenty minutes later his left calf cramped, and he suddenly found himself flailing in the water, unable to regain his stroke or stretch to relieve the pain or...

cool hands stroking his face

keep his head above the water as he spluttered and struggled...

a soft voice saying, let go, relax

and his mind emptied of all coherent thought as panic overwhelmed him and the water closed in and over him and he...

let yourself fall

fell into the darkness.

don't be afraid. i'll be here to catch you. don't be afraid.

**

He awoke for the second time that morning, shuddering and puking his guts out in the bottom of a canoe, while anxious voices shouted wildly around him. Small arms encircled his chest, clinging on to him tightly.

"Riku! Riku! Hey you guys, he's waking up! He's alive! Riku, can you hear me?"

"Sora?"

The arms tightened convulsively around him and Riku became aware of a warm body pressed against his, supporting him, holding him, keeping him close.

"What happened?"

**

It was pure chance, Selphie told him later. Sora had woken up early for once, and decided that it was a good day to challenge all of his friends to a morning race across the beach. When they hadn't been able to find Riku, they'd gone ahead and headed there, just in time to see him strike out past the safe waters and into the deeper areas of the ocean where they weren't supposed to go. Knowing they'd never be able to catch up with him by swimming, they'd taken one of their parent's canoes and paddled off frantically in pursuit.

"It was really weird," Selphie said. "Wakka and Tidus were convinced you were just practicing or something, but Sora was freaking out. I've never seen him so scared." She gave Riku a thoughtful look. "So, what WERE you doing out there?"

Training, he told them all. I was just seeing how far I could go, that's all. Gotta keep in shape so that I don't wind up weak like the rest of you guys.

His parents scolded, Selphie teased, and Tidus and Wakka double-teamed him in a massive headlock and noogie session.

Sora said nothing for a few moments, then smiled brightly at him and asked if it would be okay if he slept over.

**

That night Sora crawled into Riku's bed and spooned up behind him, arms reaching around to encircle the older boy again.

Riku kicked backwards gently. "What are you, five? Go back to your own mattress Sora. I'm fine, don't be such a worrywart."

"Where were you going?" Sora asked quietly, uncharacteristically serious, and Riku felt himself stiffen.

"I wasn't going anywhere!"

"To another world?" The smaller boy guessed.

There was a long silence.

"I don't even know if there are other worlds," Riku said finally.

"There are," Sora seemed certain. "I know there are. You want to see them, don't you? Me too."

"Yeah?" Riku thought about this. "I don't think we can swim there though. If I can't, no way you could make it."

Sora poked him sharply in the side. "Don't make jokes. It wasn't funny."

"Sorry," Riky said finally, grudgingly, not wanting to admit he'd screwed up. "Thanks."

"S'okay," Sora forgave him instantly. "Just... next time don't scare me like that."

"You're the one who can't take care of himself," Riku growled. "If you ever went to another world, you'd probably get eaten by something."

"Would not!"

"Would too!"

"Would not!"

"Would too!"

"Would not!"

"You are so juvenile!" Riku twisted around in the bed to bring himself face to face with Sora.

"Am not," Sora shot back. "I bet I get to another world before you do!"

Riku suddenly remembered the sensation of drifting away, of being swallowed into the darkness.

don't be afraid. i'll be here to catch you.

Sora was very warm, and his breath tickled against his face. It anchored him.

don't be afraid.

"We'll go together," Riku said impulsively.

"Wh-what?" Sora blinked in surprise, rearing back.

"You and me, we'll go together," he said repeated, enthusiasm and excitement growing in his chest. He slung an arm over Sora, and brought their heads together, their breath mingling. "We'll go to another world together."

"Really?" Hope dawned in Sora's eyes. "You mean it?"

"Yeah," Riku nodded. "Yeah!"

"Alright!" Sora hugged his friend. "It's a promise! We'll go see other worlds together! It's gonna be great!"

"It's gonna be INCREDIBLE!" Riku said, grinning wildly, and the two boys giggled together for a few minutes before calming down, the days events forgotten.

Riku sighed and closed his eyes, finally able to relax. "You should go back to your own mattress," he murmured as exhaustion crept over him.

"Don't wanna," Sora yawned hugely. "Sleepy. Warm." He snuggled closer and closed his eyes, then opened them again.

"You promised Riku, remember. Next time, we'll go together. You won't leave me behind this time."

"Sure, sure," Riku mumbled, already half-asleep.

"Promise!"

"I promise," Riku sighed, and let the darkness take him.

let go, relax

let yourself fall

don't be afraid. i'll be here to catch you

don't be afraid

we'll go to another world together.


End



A/N: Auuugghhhh!!! The opening of Kingdom Hearts is just way too cool, and it PREYS on my mind, yes it does (hence the repeated use of "don't be afraid". Alas I could not work in a reference to "only you can open the door" although I tried really hard. The ending line nearly ended up being, "i can open the door", but then I thought about the fact that all three kids wanted to go together, and it got changed to this instead).

For a while I briefly toyed with the idea of Sora being the one to nearly get drowned, but my brain kept telling me that nope, it was Riku being massively obsessive again. So I gave in to the demands of my brain. Note that this fic is set about a year before Kairi shows up.



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