“You’re not really wearing that, are you?” Riku asked.

Sora turned around, confused. “What’s wrong with it? I wore it to school, didn’t I?” It was Friday night and he had barely finished his study guide before Riku had come bursting into his room, telling him it was time to go.

Riku sighed. “Sora, you dope. That’s what’s wrong with it. You don’t wear your outfit from school when you go out at night. You change into something cool. Something that’ll make all the girls oooh and aaah at your ass when you walk by.”

Sora laughed. “Well, I don’t care what the girls think. It’s not like I’m interested in them.”

“Sora…” Riku groaned. “I can’t let you go to Selphie Tilwitt’s party looking like that.”

Sora stopped laughing and eyed Riku strangely. “You’re really serious, aren’t you?”

Riku sat up. “Dead.”

Sora felt a sudden sense of icy coldness wash over him. “What did you say?”

“Dead. You know, as in dead serious.” Riku explained, standing. He brushed past Sora, and opened the doors of his closet. “You might as well strip, because you’re wearing something else.”

Sora groaned. “I don’t even want to go to this stupid party, and now you’re telling me that I have to dress up.” Resigned, he stripped out of his shirt, tossing it into his clothesbasket. I think I’ll keep my pants on for the time being, or Riku might lose his mind.

Riku tossed a shirt over his shoulder. “Here. Take this.”

Sora caught the shirt and looked at it. It was the same dragon shirt he’d worn that day he’d met Squall in the grocery store. He hadn’t touched it since. I wonder what Squall’s doing tonight. Probably in his apartment making the test for Monday. He found his memory traveling back to the first day in Squall’s apartment, when Squall had trapped him by the fish tank. I knew it then, what I felt for him. A pair of dark blue jeans hit him in the chest. “Hey!”

Riku turned around. “It’s your own fault. I told you to catch, but you were off in your own little world…” he trailed off, his eyes finally taking in the sight of Sora’s half-nakedness.

Sora held the jeans up in front of himself as a shield. Uh oh. “Riku, I know what you’re thinking.”

“Oh, do you?” Riku asked. He smirked, and took a step closer to Sora. “And what am I thinking?”

Sora took a step back. “You’re thinking something perverted.”

Riku tried an attempt at looking innocent and failed miserably. “Me, perverted? Never.” He took another step. “Well…” he grinned. “Unless you consider the thought of being fashionably late to the party because we’ll be in here screwing like rabbits to be perverted.”

Sora wrapped the jeans around himself. “There’s no time!”

“There’s always time.” Riku assured him. “At the very least, I think we could manage a sixty-nine.”

A what?! Traces of rumors and late night premium channel programs came oozing into his mind. “I’m not doing that!” Sora proclaimed. “No way!”

Riku shrugged. “Well fine, I’ll just do you, then. But, let’s just do something, because you are driving me crazy…”

Sora dropped the jeans, and quickly pulled the dragon shirt over his head. “There! See! Now you have no reason to act all funny on me.” He could tell by the look in Riku’s eyes that the damage was already done, but he didn’t give up his hope.

Riku raised an eyebrow. “You still have to change pants.”

Sora looked at his jeans, stricken. If I take these off, I’m doomed. “I’ll just wear this pair.”

Riku crossed his arms. “Nope. Don’t make me have to wrestle you out of those. If I do that, then to hell with the party, because neither one of us is leaving anytime soon.” He shrugged. “So, go ahead and change. I won’t try anything.”

Sora stared at Riku for a long moment, evaluating.

“Really.” Riku insisted. “I just want a little sneaky peak, honest. After that, we can leave.”

Seeing no other solution, Sora hesitantly unzipped his jeans. After making sure that Riku had not moved any closer, he turned his back, let them drop to the floor and stepped out of them.

“Sucker.” Riku said, and pounced.

“Riku!” squawked Sora, struggling to escape his friend’s arms. “You said you wouldn’t try anything!”

“I lied.” Riku answered, letting his hands roam over Sora’s lower half. “Never turn your back on a pervert, you fool.”

Sora went still as one of Riku’s hands made contact with his crotch. It was the first time anyone had ever touched him there, and he suddenly lost his ability to stand.

“Damn!” Riku exclaimed as Sora turned to water in his arms. “You really are new at this.” I’m going to be his first someday. Soon, I hope. He lightly blew warm air on the back of his friend’s neck. “So, how about it? A bit of the old slap and tickle?” He tugged at the waistband of Sora’s boxers.

He never gives up! “No…” Sora held Riku’s wrist, trying vainly to stay his hand. Why am I fighting this so hard? I do like him, but this just doesn’t feel right! “I’m not ready, okay?”

“God!” Riku muttered, and let go of Sora. He ran a hand through his hair, his expression irritated. “Well, when are you going to be ready? Because I’m getting sick of waiting.”

Sora stared at his boyfriend in disbelief. “Riku… we just started going out last week!”

“But I’ve known you all my life!” Riku shot back. Why does he have to act like such a chick? He sighed. “I’m not a virgin like you, Sora. I have certain needs.”

So what, I’m some kind of defective freak, now? Sora shook his head. “I understand, but you have to understand too… I’m not one of your conquests, Riku. You have to be patient with me.” He pleaded.

“I am being patient!” Riku snapped. “But you won’t even let me touch you…” He sighed again and walked over to the door. “If you didn’t want to be with me, then why did you agree to be my boyfriend?” Maybe he is repulsed by me.

You never really gave me a choice. Sora looked away. “Riku, I do want to be with you. I just need more time.” Why is he pressuring me like this?

“Whatever.” Riku opened the door. “I’ll be outside. At least if you hurry, this night won’t be a total waste.”

Sora watched Riku leave, and let out a frustrated sigh. He’s right. I am pushing him away a lot. But… He tugged his dark blue jeans on. I just can’t do it. It feels too forced. He glanced at his watch. Ten-o-clock. It’s already so late… I just wish I could stay home. He turned off his light and left the room. But Riku would flip out for sure. He descended the stairs halfheartedly. He was somewhat surprised to see Kairi sitting on the couch with his mother, watching television. “You’re not going to the party?”

Kairi shook her head, her eyes glued to the screen. “No thanks. Parties make me feel weird, like I’m expected to get all crazy and take my shirt off just because I’m a teenaged girl.”

“My goodness, are those actual roaches they’re eating?!” questioned Sonja, her face horrified.

“That’s why they call it Fear Factor, Aunt Sonja.” explained Kairi. She reluctantly turned from the screen. “Have fun, okay? And make sure you get some good gossip for me.”

“When do you think you’ll be back, Sora?” Sonja inquired, eyeing him carefully. She wasn’t entirely okay with Sora and Riku walking the streets so late at night, but they were seniors after all. Sora will be going away to college in less than a year, but he still looks so young.

“Hopefully soon.” Sora admitted. “I don’t really want to go, so I won’t stay long.”

Sonja smiled, relieved. “Alright then. Be careful, okay?”

Sora nodded, and opened the door. “I will. See you later.” He stepped out into the cold night air, and pulled his familiar black sweatshirt over his head.

“You just ruined a perfectly good outfit.” Riku groaned, leaning against the mailbox. “And after I worked so hard to get you into it, too.” He sighed. “I’m sorry, Sora. I acted like a drunken frat boy, and that’s not cool.”

“It’s okay.” Sora replied. I know what it’s like to want something you can’t have. Wait, what?! He stuffed his hands into his pockets. “Um, you’d better lead the way.” I refuse to think about Squall tonight. I have enough problems without adding that one.

“Right.” Riku answered, and took Sora’s arm. They walked for several minutes in an awkward silence, neither one knowing what to say. Riku kept stealing glances at Sora, wishing he knew what his boyfriend was thinking. If only he realized how much I love him. He cleared his throat. “Sora…”

“Yeah?” Sora answered, roused from his thoughts.

“I’m going to wait for you.” Riku announced. Even though it‘s killing me inside. “I mean it. No more pressuring you or anything. I don’t want to chase you away.”

Sora felt a twinge of guilt. “Thanks, Riku…” It doesn’t feel right, because I keep thinking about Squall. But that’s never going to happen! Why can’t I just get over it? “You won’t chase me away.” He grinned. “I might press charges, though.”

“Oh great, then my dad will throw me in military school for sure.” Riku groaned. He peered at a street sign. “Yep, this is the neighborhood.”

Sora noticed the houses changing as they walked, and marveled at the size of some of them. “Wow… Selphie lives in this area? Her parents much be rich.” He felt outclassed when he realized that his own home wasn’t even half as large as some of these.

Riku shrugged. “Lot of good it’s done for her. She’s just a ditzy slut, rich folks or not. Money isn’t everything, you know.” He stopped at the bottom of a long driveway. “Here’s her house.”

Sora blinked. Whoa. “If you don’t like Selphie, then why are we going to her party?”

“Because it’s expected of me.” Riku sighed, heading up the long gravel path. “I’m in the whole “it” crowd. If I’m not there, then people will talk. Not like I give a fuck, but eh, whatever.”

“Oh.” Sora said, following him. “Then why am I going?” I don’t really want to be here. Something had been gnawing at the edges of his mind, an ominous cloud seeping into his thoughts, hinting at a dangerous fear that he hesitated to name. It’s irrational really, but still…

Riku threw an arm around Sora’s shoulder and kissed him on the cheek. “Because I’d go nuts without you. What are you so nervous about? Wakka will be there. So will Tidus, unfortunately.”

“But what if Jake is there?” Sora questioned, finally voicing his fears. “What if he’s still mad at you? Riku, I have a bad feeling about all of this. Let’s just go home and do something else.”

Riku’s eyes lit up. “Have sex?”

“No!” Sora choked. “That’s not what I meant! I meant, like just hang out or something.”

Riku sighed. “Sora… you know, I love you. But you’re killing my social life! No sex, no running the streets, and now you’re trying to tell me no parties?”

“I’m not saying that!” Sora argued. “It’s just… Oh, forget it.” He trudged ahead of Riku, still afraid, but now angry as well. “I’m sorry if my social life isn’t as exciting as yours. I’ll try to remedy that.” He stopped in front of the French doors, his mind screaming at him to just go home.

“Look Sora,” started Riku, his tone low. “I don’t ask for much from you. But I’m not about to turn and run home with my tail between my legs, just because you’re so fucking afraid of people. Jake is harmless, and I’m not sacrificing my reputation over this. Grow up.”

Sora sighed and rung the doorbell. “Whatever, Riku.” He had started to get a headache, and he didn’t feel like arguing. We fight so much, and we just started going out… Should we really be dating? “Just leave me alone, okay?”

Riku flinched. “Sora, I didn’t mean-”

The door opened, bathing them both in light. “Hiya!” Selphie said brightly, peering out at them. Her eyes narrowed at Riku. “Oh. Well come in.” She stepped back so that they could pass.

Sora entered the house, his headache not helped by the loud music he heard blaring from one direction. He looked around, awed by the size of the building. Kids from school were everywhere, just milling around in doorways or on furniture, and there was still plenty of space. He purposefully lost himself in the crowd, and made his way into the living room, relieved to spot Tidus and Wakka sitting on the sofa sectional, watching a football game on TV. Immediately he joined them. “Hey guys!” he shouted to be heard over the music.

They both looked up. “Hey!” greeted Tidus. “Where’s Riku?”

Sora rolled his eyes. “He’s around.”

Tidus exchanged a glance with Wakka. “Shit…”

“What’d that dumbass do now, ya?” Wakka asked.

Sora shook his head. “Nothing. It’s stupid.” He sat down and tried to watch the game to no avail. This is so boring. A movement out of the corner of his eye caught his attention, and he noticed for the first time a girl sitting next to Wakka, one hand on his leg. He took a long look and blinked. “Oh, hey! I know you! You’re the girl from Safeway.”

Yuffie leaned forward and peered at Sora. “Oh yeah! You came in with that really hot guy, last Saturday!”

Wakka and Tidus both swiveled their heads around to gape at Sora. “What?!” they said in unison

Sora felt the bottom drop out of his stomach. “I…”

“But Riku was out of town last weekend!” Tidus protested.

“Yuffie, what did the guy look like, ya?” Wakka inquired, his mind working furiously.

Sora shot a desperate glance at Yuffie. Please…

Yuffie caught the message. “Oh…” She giggled and looked away. “I don’t know. I forgot.” She stood up and tugged on Wakka’s arm. “Come on, you big lug. I want to dance. I’m a great dancer.”

“The great dancer Yuffie, ya.” Wakka teased, allowing himself to be dragged away.

Sora watched them go, relieved. Whew.

“Shit!” cried Tidus. “Damn chicks and their silly notions of loyalty.” He stuck his tongue out at Sora. “Don’t worry. I’m going to find out, and then I’m going to tell your boyfriend.”

Sora paled.

“I’m just kidding.” Tidus laughed. “Don’t make that face. I know that you’re no cheater. You don’t have the guts to cheat.” He caught notice of a particularly interesting play and cheered. “Sweet! It’s like I always said man, no matter how bad a year the Cowboys might have, they always crush the Skins. Never fails.”

“I guess.” Sora replied, not having a clue what Tidus was talking about. “Those are teams, right?”

Tidus snickered. “You’re so clueless. So anyway, I was thinking, I might dye my hair blue for homecoming, because red, white, and blue are the school colors. But I’d look weird with red hair. And white is too similar to blond. What do you think?”

“I think you’d look pretty hot with blue hair.” Sora answered distractedly, and then clapped a hand over his mouth. Oh boy…He glanced at Tidus. I hope he didn’t take that the wrong way.

Tidus laughed, blushing. “Okay, maybe I was wrong... Sora, you Casanova, you are cheating, aren’t you? You just tried to pick me up!” He wriggled his eyebrows. “You smooth talker, you. Who is he?”

Sora waved his hands frantically. “No! I wasn’t thinking! I mean, you asked!” He was starting to blush himself. First Cloud, and now Tidus. Squall set me off on some sort of blond rampage. “It’s not like that, I swear!”

“Sure.” Tidus said amicably, leaning back into the couch. “If you say so. I’m still telling Riku.”

“Telling me what?” Riku asked, leaning over the back of the couch, close enough to breathe on the back of Tidus’ neck.

Tidus jumped and blushed again, wiping at the back of his neck. “Shit!” He glared at Riku as he hopped over the couch, settling down between him and Sora. “That was extremely uncool.”

“You’d know all about being uncool.” Riku shot back. “Now, what was it you were going to tell me?”

“I seemed to have forgotten… Oh wait, I remember… To go to hell.” Tidus quipped, flipping up his middle finger.

Riku rolled his eyes. “It probably wasn’t important, anyway.” He nudged Sora. “Hey, I was looking for you. You kind of just walked off and left me.”

Sora pretended to be engrossed in the game. “Well, you found me.”

Riku elbowed Sora in the side. “Give it up, you probably don’t have a clue what’s going on.”

Sora sighed and dropped the façade. “Riku, I want to go home.”

Riku groaned. “Okay, how about this. I’ll go get you something to drink, you stay here, while I do a little mingling, and then we can leave.”

Sora returned to the game. It’s better than nothing. “Fine.”

Riku stood. “You want something, Goldilocks?”

“If it isn’t too much for you to handle.” Tidus replied, his own attentions returning to the game.

Riku walked off, making his way through the crowd. Sora was right, it doesn’t feel good to be here. The other kids were dancing, laughing, and having fun, but it all felt wrong to Riku. It was something under the skin of the party, and he couldn’t place it. Absently, he pushed open the double doors to the kitchen and stepped inside. He saw Jake standing by a counter, wringing his hands. He immediately stopped when he saw Riku, his eyes almost relieved. The hell? “Oh, you’re in here. I’ll wait.” Riku got ready to duck back out.

“Riku, wait. I need to talk to you.” Jake announced, dropping his hands to his sides.

Riku shot him a dirty look. “I don’t have anything to say to you. Not a fucking word.”

“Please.” Jake said, clearly desperate. “Just this once, and then I’ll never so much as look your way again. I swear.”

Riku sighed. “Fine. Go ahead, spill it.”

Jake shook his head. “Not here. Upstairs, in the big bedroom. I’ll go up first and then you follow me when you’re ready.”

“Whatever.” Riku griped. “Just don’t make a scene or anything.” He watched as Jake left the kitchen, and then made his way to the punch bowl. Cautiously, he lifted the ladle and took a sniff. Whew! This punch is spiked all to Hell. He took a sip. But, I don’t think it was ever really punch to begin with. Hey, I wonder what Sora would be like tipsy… Snickering, he poured three red Dixie cups full of the liquid, and then headed back into the living room, being careful not to spill them. Sora and Tidus were still where he’d left them.

“They didn’t have any soda?” Sora asked, disappointed when he saw the cups.

“Nah, but I got some punch.” Riku started to sit down, but then remembered Jake. “Sora, stay here okay? I’ll be right back.” He handed two of the cups to Sora and the last one to Tidus. “Here you go, Heidi. I even spit in it, just for you.”

Tidus took a long swig. “Aww, an indirect kiss. How sweet of you.”

“Where are you going?” Sora asked, holding the cups, but rising to his feet anyway. I don’t feel comfortable with all these people around. And it’s so loud! I should’ve stayed home.

“To take a piss.” Riku lied. “You want to watch?”

Tidus burst into laughter.

Sora blanched. “No! I… I… I just…” he stammered, cheeks reddening.

Riku smirked. “You could’ve told me you were into that sort of thing. I mean it’s kind of kinky, but if you’re really interested…” He raised an eyebrow. “I’ll try just about anything once.”

Sora plopped back down onto the sofa, still blushing. “No thanks. I’ll wait.” He could still hear Tidus laughing and he decided to simply stare at the floor.

“Good boy.” Riku teased. He squeezed Sora’s shoulder. “I’ll see you in a few minutes, then.”

“Right.” Sora answered, without looking up. He didn’t raise his gaze until he heard Riku telling the kids blocking the stairs to move their asses out of the way. “Geez.” he muttered. “Riku is really something, isn’t he?”

Tidus nodded. “Yep, he certainly is.” He looked at Sora for a long moment. “Where do you see yourself with him, maybe like five years from now?”

Sora shrugged. “I don’t really know… I mean, I’ve never thought about it before.”

Tidus took a sip from the cup in his hands. “But I thought you guys were in love. You know, a be together forever sort of gig.”

Sora stared down into his own cup. “Well… Riku loves me, I know that. But as for how I feel about him, I don’t really know yet.” He sighed. “Hopefully, in time…”

Tidus clapped Sora on the back so hard he nearly spilled the drinks. “Cheer up! I know you’ll grow to love him. Everybody does, because Riku is so easy to love.”

“I guess you’re right.” Sora answered. He took a sip of his drink and gagged. “Gah! What is this?! This isn’t punch!”

“Well, no shit!” Tidus laughed. “Who the hell has punch at a party once you’re out of elementary school?” He tossed his own drink back, downing the rest of it in one gulp. “Hmm… It’s vodka and kool-aid, by the taste of it. Anyway, I’ve spent enough time babysitting you. I think I’m going to go try and get some action. Later!” He bounded off the couch and slapped a girl’s bottom in passing. If she minded, she kept it to herself.

Sora watched Tidus leave and hesitantly took another sip from his drink. Oh man, if I keep trying to drink this, it’ll make me puke. He decided to set the cups down on the table, figuring Riku could always get another one. Riku… He glanced at his watch. That must be an awfully long piss he’s taking. The thought brought the blush back to his cheeks, and he stood up, stretching. He must be mingling, or whatever. I guess I’ll wander around and try to have fun, but I feel so out of place.

Upstairs, Riku opened the door to the master bedroom, not surprised to see Jake sitting on the edge of the blue blanket-covered bed. Selphie’s parents were apparently a lot less flashy than their offspring, because the room was surprisingly simple, containing only a large oak bed, dresser, and two nightstands. Riku closed the door behind himself and crossed his arms. “Alright, this had better be good, Addison.”

Jake looked him over. “Where’s your little friend?”

“My boyfriend is downstairs.” Riku answered, already agitated. “Why?”

“Good.” Jake breathed, either not hearing Riku’s question or choosing to ignore it. “I wanted us to be alone.”

“Addison, I think you’ve had a little too much of that liquid death in the punch bowl downstairs.” Riku announced. “You have ten seconds to say whatever it is that you needed to tell me before I leave.”

“Come here.” Jake said softly. He patted the bed beside him.

Riku stared at him. “Okay… Look, if it’s about my beating your ass earlier this week, there are no hard feelings. I just think that you and I should never talk again. That’s the closest you’ll get to an apology from me, deal with it.” He reached for the doorknob.

“Wait,” Jake called, rising. He walked over, stopping a few feet from Riku. “That’s not what I wanted.” He seemed more nervous than Riku had ever seen him.

I don’t think anyone has ever seen Jake Addison like this before, except maybe his mother. “Well, what do you want?” Riku asked, exasperated.

“I want you.” Jake said quietly.

“What the fuck are you talking about?” Riku snapped. I don’t have the patience for this bullshit…

“You know what I mean.” Jake replied. “You haven’t come to me since you hooked up with that punk.”

Riku scowled. “Don’t talk about Sora like that.” He cocked his head to the side. “Besides, don’t you have that delectable piece of cheerleader, Selphie? She’s pretty good, I should know.”

“It’s not the same.” Jake sighed. “You know it isn’t.” He looked imploringly at his ex-lover, who was so cold to him now. “So why not? I know your new pet isn’t putting out. I can tell.” He moved in closer, drawn to Riku’s body heat. “So why don’t you just give it to me?”

Riku seriously considered allowing Jake to have his way with him. Whatever shortcomings he might have personality-wise, Jake was excellent at giving head, and not a half-bad fuck. It had been awhile, and he was getting restless. It’s not like Sora is fucking me, after all. But… He knew that if he gave in to Jake now, Sora would invariably find out. They were already on shaky ground, and Riku knew that screwing Jake now would probably rip them apart for good. But what if he never finds out…

Taking advantage of his silence, Jake slid to his knees in front of Riku and reached for his zipper. With shaking fingers he found what he wanted, and settled into his once familiar rhythm. I have missed this taste for so long.

Riku watched Jake’s actions with curious detachment, marveling at the irony of life. Here I have the most popular kid in school practically crying tears of joy just to suck my dick, and my own boyfriend, my own fucking boyfriend, won’t even let me suck his. “I hate my life.” he muttered, running his fingers through Jake’s thick black hair.

Jake murmured an incoherent reply that sounded like gratitude. I will have him one last time, and then we will both sleep and everything will be okay.

Riku closed his eyes and tried to lose himself in the moment, but Sora’s face kept appearing in his mind. It isn’t right to do this. I told him I’ve changed, that I would be good for him. And I’m not. I’m letting Jake have what he wants. If I’m patient with Sora, maybe one day he’ll let me have what I want, but not if I do this now. Reluctantly he opened his eyes and looked down at Jake, who was crying now, tears rolling silently down his face. Tears of joy indeed, Riku thought. “Alright, stop Addison, that’s enough.”

Jake backed off, rising to his feet. “What, you want to do it now? But you usually always want a blow job first-”

“No,” Riku interrupted. “I mean, that’s enough. I don’t want to do this. I can’t do this. I won’t do this.” He tucked himself back into his pants and zipped them back up. And there’s no sense in hoping Sora won’t find out about this, because Jake is obsessed with me. I see that now.

“What’s your problem?!” Jake shouted, realization dawning in his eyes. “What the fuck is wrong with you?!”

He’s crazy, Riku realized. He’s completely off his rocker. “What the fuck is wrong with you?” he snapped. “I told you, no. That’s all there is to it.”

“It’s because of that fucking punk boyfriend of yours!” Jake growled. He nodded vehemently when Riku shot him an irritated look. “Yeah, I’ll bet. That’s okay, because I’ve got something for him. He’ll be sorry. So fucking sorry when I’m through…”

Riku’s eyes narrowed, and in that moment, he was less sane than Jake, who sensed it, and backed up a step. “You don’t want to talk like that, Addison. You’re talking crazy, and I might have to do something to quiet you down. So, you just want to shut the fuck up and let it go.”

Jake felt his resolve quail at the madness in Riku’s eyes and backed up further. But it was going to be so perfect. We were going to be together, and then we would sleep… and I could have him for always, because I love him. “How could you fucking do this to me?!” Jake cried, his world crumbling.

“I didn’t twist your arm, Addison.” Riku replied calmly. “Everything we ever did, you were a willing participant. Some things you even initiated yourself, like now.”

“I wouldn’t be so fucked up right now if it weren’t for you!” Jake accused. “You did this to me! It’s your fault. I was fine until you ruined my life!”

“Go ahead and blame me for your misery, Addison.” Riku conceded. “But don’t blame me for your sexual preference. Sure you were fine until I came alone. Fine playing the role of masculine football hero, all the while staring at your teammates’ asses in the shower.” He raised an eyebrow. “Which one of them first caught your eye? Was it Seymour? Maybe Barrett? Or I’ll bet, it was probably Tidus.” He noticed Jake stiffen and laughed derisively. “I thought so. He is damned pretty, isn’t he? I wonder what he’d think of this little talk we’re having?” He turned to the door. “I think I’ll go find out.”

“You take another step toward that door, and I’ll blow your fucking head off.” Jake snarled, raising the handgun that he’d previously kept concealed under his team sweatshirt.

Riku turned around slowly, one eyebrow raised again. Well shit… “This doesn’t really change things, Addison.”

“Oh, I think it does.” Jake shot back, returning his glare.

The two males remained in a contest of wills, neither daring to back down, somehow sensing that things had gone too far to repair, and tragedy was inevitable. A knock on the door disturbed the gridlock. Both males turned to look, one with horror and one with triumph.

Sora turned the knob and stepped into the room, oblivious to the drama within. “Riku, I-” his words died off as he saw the faces of the room’s two occupants.

“Oh fuck…” Riku groaned. Now, this changes things. “Sora, why the hell couldn’t you just stay put like I told you to?”

“I got worried when you didn’t come back.” Sora explained, still oblivious to the severity of the situation. “But I’ll just go back down, then.”

“No, you won’t.” Jake said. This couldn’t have worked out more perfect. “You’re going to quietly close that door and come over to me, unless you want me to paint the room with your brains.”

Sora’s eyes widened as he finally noticed the gun in Jake’s hands. What the hell is this?! He shot a panicked glance at Riku who was staring at Jake coldly, and then closed the door. Unsure of what to do next, he simply remained where he was.

“Get your ass over here!” Jake roared.

Stunned, Sora took a hesitant step forward, only to be shoved back against the door by Riku. “Riku, what the-”

“Jake,” Riku began, ignoring Sora completely. “Don’t make me hurt you.”

Jake laughed incredulously. “You hurt me? Um hello, I’m the one with the gun, dumbass. How the hell are you going to hurt me?”

Sora remained silent, somehow knowing that his survival depended on it.

Riku laughed, forcing a calm that he didn’t feel. “Please. You probably have never fired that thing in your life. And if by some miracle of physics, you manage to even graze one of us, the other one will escape.” He smirked. “With that flaw in your plan pointed out, let’s go over your options, Jake. Option one, you shoot me. Now, if you kill me, you’ll be pathetic. Even more so than you already are.” He laughed again. “Can’t you see the headlines now? Gay Football Star Kills His Former Lover in a Fit of Jealous Rage.”

“You little fuck!” screamed Jake, knowing that he had been outwitted.

Sora flinched, but said nothing. What is Riku trying to do?

“Option two,” Riku continued, ignoring the outburst. “You shoot Sora, in which case I will immediately kill you in the most painful way I can manage, or at the very least gouge out your eyes and feed them to you. Big coward that you are, I know you don’t want to feel any pain, so that would be a bad choice for you.”

A defeated, helpless look came over Jake’s face, as he realized what Riku was getting at. “You shut your fucking mouth right now.” he said, but there was no force behind the words.

“That’s right, Addison. You’re in a damned if you, damned if you don’t, type situation. At this point, you can’t even walk out that door without ruining your entire reputation.” Riku spoke softly, his eyes utterly devoid of emotion. “What will your friends think? What will your church think? Or better yet, what will your family think? Ooh, that’ll really burn, I bet.”

“Jake, don’t listen to him.” Sora interrupted finally, his eyes pleading. What is Riku saying?! “You don’t have to kill anybody…”

“Shut up, Sora.” Riku ordered, not breaking eye-contact with Jake. If I lose control of the situation now, we could all end up dead. I don’t care what happens to me, but Sora is going to leave this room alive tonight, no matter who gets sacrificed.

“Both of you shut up!” Jake sobbed. “I can still kill you both right now! Don’t you forget that for a second. Don’t you fucking forget it!” Tears were streaming down his face now, and he swiped awkwardly at them with the back of one hand, while trying to steady the gun in his other.

Riku glanced at Sora as if to say, I told you he was nuts, and then turned his full attention back to Jake. “But I don’t think you will, Addison. You’re too much of a punk bitch to shoot either one of us and walk out that door, knowing what people will say about you. You’ve always been someone’s darling, someone’s hero.” He teased, in a mocking voice. “As of now, your life is over. You have nothing left to gain, and everything to lose. So, if you want to use that gun of yours on anybody, I suggest you use it on yourself.” Riku finished, evenly.

He’s crazy, Sora thought. He has to be crazy to talk to Jake that way when he could kill us both. “Jake, please! Listen to-”

“Stay out of it!” Riku snapped at him. He fixed his eyes on Jake, his gaze challenging. “Do it.”

Jake simply lowered his eyes and trembled, a low pitched wail coming out of him as he sobbed at this horrible sorrow fate had decided to bestow upon him.

“Jake…” Sora began, stepping forward.

Riku shoved him back instantly, turning his rage on him. “I thought I told you to stay out of it! Mind your fucking business!”

“This is my fucking business!” Sora yelled back at him, stunning them both. “Jake, listen to me-”

“Addison,” Riku interrupted loudly. “Will you stop acting like a little bitch and just kill someone already? I’m missing the party, for fuck’s sake.”

Jake jolted at the words, his tearful eyes returning to Riku’s unforgiving ones. How could anyone be so cruel. Riku… he deserves to die for putting me through this. No one could blame me. “You fucking made me do this…” Jake whispered, the gun shaking in his hand. “Remember that.” He turned eyes filled with an unspeakable dread upon Sora. “He made me. I’m so sorry, Sora.”

Oh my God, he’s going to shoot him! Sora thought. “Don’t!” he screamed.

The sound of the gunshot was deafening.

·<>·§·<>·

“Holy shit.” Riku breathed. He fucking did it. He went and fucking shot himself! Jake, you fucking psycho, what have you done?! “Holy shit.” he said again, louder this time. Horrified, he couldn’t tear his eyes away from the sight before him.

What remained of Jake Addison lay sprawled against one blood covered wall. There were light colored things stuck in the wall and Riku realized with nausea that he was looking at bone fragments. Who knows? There might even be some brains in there.

Unwillingly, Riku sank to his knees and closed his eyes, fighting the need to vomit. I didn’t really want it to end like this, but I didn’t want to die! I didn’t want Sora to die either! Does that make me a bad person? Choosing our lives over his? Maybe I could’ve talked him out of it if I’d tried… Instead of being so goddamn… myself. He moaned, feeling the lowest he’d ever felt in his life.

All at once Sora began to shudder, his breath coming in great sobbing gasps. He quickly turned away before the image of Jake’s body slumped against the wall could emblazon itself into the back of his mind forever. There’s so much blood… it even got on Riku… there might be some on me…

Without realizing it, Riku invoked his father’s presence in himself, needing to return to a state of functionality. Okay, this is not the right time to throw a pity party. I’ve got to pull it together, what’s done is done. For better or for worse, Jake’s made his last touchdown, so just pull it together, Riku! Through sheer force of will, he conquered his bile and rose slowly to his feet, holding the wall for balance. His hand slipped a bit, and looking at it he realized it was bloody. His clothes were covered with blood, in fact. I must’ve got sprayed pretty good. The thought sickened him again, and he fought it off viciously. I’ve got to get my shit together. Sora and I will have to explain everything to the cops. Sora… He looked over at his friend.

Sora was trembling and steadfastly ignoring the gory sight that lay behind him. “I can’t…” he began to babble. “I can’t believe this…” He let out an anguished, strangled cry and fisted his hands into his eyes, swiping at the tears that threatened to come.

Oh man, don’t crack up on me now, Sora. I need you. Now more than ever. “Sora,” Riku started, reaching out a hand. “Listen to me…”

“Don’t you touch me!” Sora screamed at him, his voice filled with pain and rage. “Don’t you dare fucking touch me! You did this! You made this happen!”

Riku flinched, and drew back, hurt. “I didn’t really think he was going to do it!”

“Yes, you did.” Sora cried. “You knew damn well he was going to do it! You wanted him to do it!”

“You’re fucking right, I wanted him to do it!” Riku yelled. “He was going to shoot us, otherwise!” His voice lowered, and he looked at Sora almost tearfully. “He might’ve killed you.”

Sora put his face in his hands and let out a shaky sigh. “Fuck… I can’t believe this is happening…” I need to get out! Battling the urge to wretch, he made his way to the door and opened it. It took a tremendous effort to keep from looking back at Jake’s body and screaming at the top of his lungs, but somehow he managed. Once he stepped through the doorway it became easier to breathe. Slowly he walked down the hall, noticing with apprehension how quiet the rest of the house had gotten. Faces peered at him hesitantly from open rooms, but no one said anything and he didn’t stop. Finally he reached the stairs at the end of the hallway, feeling strangely disconnected as if it had all happened to someone else.

A crowd of people had gathered around the base of the stairs, murmuring amongst themselves. The conversation died completely when Sora appeared at the top of the landing, looking incredibly pale. Slowly he descended, deliberately looking anywhere but at the waiting crowd. He reached the floor and the crowd parted, expectantly. Sora paused for a moment, unsure of what he should do next.

“Sora, are you alright?” asked Wakka, a concerned and fearful expression on his face. Yuffie and Tidus stood beside him, looking ready to bolt any moment.

Sora opened his mouth to speak, but someone let out a scream, and his mouth shut with a snap. Oh shit, it’s starting…

Riku had appeared at the top of the stairs, his clothes streaked with blood. As he descended, some of the crowd retreated, backing up several feet, with many of them fleeing the house altogether. “We have a problem.” he said simply. “Somebody ought to get a phone.”

“Out of my way!” The remaining crowd parted and Selphie shoved her way through. She saw the blood and gasped. “Oh my God! What happened? Where’s Jake?” Her searching brown eyes fell on Riku who completely ignored her. She turned to Sora. “Where is he?” she pleaded, already knowing the answer to her question. She had heard the shot, they had all heard the shot, but nobody ever thought it was anything but a prank. Until that is, Riku and Sora had come downstairs looking so upset. Now she tugged imploringly on Sora’s sleeve. Sora is nice, he’s not like Riku. He’ll tell me where Jake is. “Please Sora, where is my boyfriend?” she pleaded, her voice rising on the last word as she began to cry.

“Selphie,” Sora whispered, taking her hand. “Jake... Wasn’t too stable…” He couldn't seem to find the right words.

“Why don’t you go see for yourself?” Riku muttered, hating this world and everyone in it, including himself. Especially myself.

Selphie let go of Sora and glared at Riku, but said nothing as she ran up the stairs, calling for Jake.

I can’t take this! Sora shook his head, and refused to look at Riku. He ignored the prying eyes of the other kids, even the concerned eyes of Tidus and Wakka. He wanted to tell them all something reassuring, tell them that Jake Addison, the most popular guy in school, did not just blow his brains out upstairs because of a petty lover’s quarrel with Riku. He wanted to tell them that everything would be alright, but the words just wouldn’t come. He took a deep breath. Calm yourself.

“Sora?” questioned Tidus, his expression completely serious for once. Somehow that made it all worse. Even Tidus was behaving himself, for crying out loud.

Sora dropped his eyes in defeat. Fuck it. “I’m getting out of here.” he announced, shoving past Riku.

Riku whirled on him, angry. “What? You can’t just leave! What about the police?”

“Fuck the police!” Sora yelled.

With great force, Tidus squelched the desire to giggle at such terrible words coming from Sora, and instead schooled his face into an appropriately somber expression, even though he didn’t have a clue what was going on. It must be pretty bad to need the police, though.

As if in answer to his thoughts, a shriek rang out from upstairs, followed by a heart-wrenching wail.

Sora bolted, unable to stand it any longer.

Riku started after him, but Wakka grabbed his arm. “Let go of me!”

“What the fuck did you do, man?” Wakka questioned, deathly serious now.

Riku sighed, and rubbed his eyes. The sobs of Jake’s girlfriend were filtering down the stairs, and several of the kids seemed undecided as to whether to leave like Sora or to go see for themselves. What a night. “Somebody better call the police,” he began cautiously.

Outside, the night air was balmy and thick. Under the light of the full moon, all nocturnal creatures felt justified to cry out their thoughts. Among them Sora ran, his shoes grazing over the pavement, his heart pounding in his chest. Tears were streaming wildly down his cheeks, but he paid them no mind. He pushed himself, feeling childishly that maybe if he ran fast enough, he could outrun time, and leave this whole night behind him. Maybe when he ran around the next corner, things would've changed, Jake would still be alive, and Riku wouldn’t be so... Sora squeezed his eyes shut for a moment and opened them. Riku has changed. As soon as he’d started being with him, it seemed as though whatever charm inside Riku that had made him so personable had broken. He still has a good heart, Sora knew. He hadn’t talked to Jake with any real malice, he had acted out of desire to protect him, but... At the cost of Jake’s life? Even so, Riku had shown some pain when Jake’s lifeless body had slumped to the floor. No, Riku hadn’t become evil. He had become reckless. And why not? He’s got what he wants now. Me. Sora shook his head, feeling as though he had somehow brought all of this on. It’s my fault...

Selphie’s scream continued to echo in the back of his mind, reverberating all around him. The desperate, utterly hopeless look in Jake’s eyes as he had turned the gun upon himself and pulled the trigger. He had been so sure that he was going to shoot Riku. Maybe it would’ve been better that way. His heart felt a squeeze at the words. Traitor. He knew it wasn’t true. Riku would always be his best friend no matter what, but… I can’t see him right now, I just can’t. Something inside him is broken and he needs to fix it. He’ll need my help, but just not right now. He ran faster, his legs pumping until he got dizzy and he was no longer sure of where he was running to, or what he was running from.

Disorientated, he paused to catch his breath, leaning on a stop sign for balance. Looking around, he realized that he had left the suburbs completely and found his way into the city. The night was alive all around him, people and cars all doing their part to increase noise pollution. It made the world seem so alien, how he could run a few blocks from the horrible party and see all these people out enjoying themselves. Many of them were teenagers like him, smiling and happy. And why not? When you’re young, you have your whole life ahead of you. Unless your name is Jake Addison. He laughed, knowing it was wrong, but needing it anyway just to keep from screaming at the horrible irony. He closed his eyes and counted slowly backwards from one hundred, aware that he probably looked like a junkie having a bad trip, but not giving a damn.

When he reached one, he opened his eyes, feeling better. He would be fine, he just needed to get away from all the noise, to go somewhere quiet. He considered going back to the party and threw the idea out immediately. He wasn’t ready to deal with that just yet. Besides, Riku’s dad would get him out of any trouble. He doubted if Riku would even spend a night in jail. He thought about going home and then discarded that as well. He knew his mom would be worried if he didn’t come home, but at the same time he was in no condition to answer her questions. She would know something was wrong as soon as she saw his face. She was his mother, after all.

Then I don’t have anywhere to go, he thought with a frown. That’s not true, his mind responded. You know where you can go. Sora shook his head. “I can’t go there.” he muttered. “He doesn’t want to see me.” How do you know? He told you that if you ever needed anything, you could go to him. “But he didn’t mean anything like this.” he murmured, brushing his hair back from his face. What choice do you have really? “None.” he sighed. “I can either stand here and talk to myself all night…” Sora flinched as he realized that he was doing just that. Passersby were shooting weird looks in his direction and he felt his face redden with embarrassment.

Well, since I have no choice… Then again, I’m practically there already. Squall’s apartment was only a few more blocks into the city. It seemed like he had almost been unconsciously running to him in the first place. Sora swallowed hard and started off walking again, resisting the urge to sprint when he heard police sirens in the distance. Life is so damn messed up.

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