It was abnormally hot for nighttime. The humidity was stifling. Wearing jean cutoffs and a wife beater did little to alleviate it, but it was the next best thing to being naked. Riku brushed his sweaty bangs out of his eyes and sighed, the sound falling heavy on his ears. He felt as though his entire body was damp with perspiration as he crouched on the ground next to the backstop. Blades of grass tickled his legs, making him itch and wonder why the hell he was even doing this. It was so childish.

“Riku.” His name was spoken so softly, the chirping crickets in the field almost drowned it out.

Riku looked up.

Sora stood in front of him, seemingly untouched by the cloying heat. There wasn’t so much as a bead of sweat on him, and his voice was utterly joyous as he knelt down in front of his friend. “Did you catch any yet?”

Riku shook his head, marveling at how perfect and content Sora always looked. “No, I suck at this. Always have.”

Sora smiled and opened his hands slightly. Instantly a blue-green light flickered from within his palms, glittering off his eyes. “Tough luck. I just got another one. I already have twelve in the jar, so this makes thirteen.”

Riku wasn’t all that interested in the firefly. He was much more conscious of the way it’s light gave Sora’s eyes a crystalline property, almost as if they were lit from within. For a moment he couldn’t remember his own name. He didn’t realize Sora had spoken it, until he tapped him lightly on the shoulder. “Huh?”

“I said, I guess we’ve caught enough.” Sora grinned. “Or rather, I’ve caught enough, since you didn’t catch any.”

“Heh.” was all Riku could manage. When did he become so fascinating to me? he wondered.

Sora shrugged, his eyes glowing. “Well, I can count this one for you instead, since thirteen’s an unlucky number.”

Riku struggled to maintain conversation, marveling at the warm feeling Sora’s voice was sending through his body. “I guess, it’s good for your self esteem if you have at least one thing you can beat me at.”

Sora snorted and opened his hands fully. The firefly took flight, flashing slowly as it ascended into the night. “Just for that comment, you don’t get anything. Me, twelve. You, zero.” He rose to his feet, and stood for a moment, straining to catch a glimpse of the fading light.

Riku watched him, his eyes drinking in a sight that had seemed so mundane to him before. But now… Clad simply in a t-shirt and jeans, Sora appeared to him a vision that was almost painful to look at, but impossible to look away from. Riku swallowed hard.

Sora turned back to him and grinned. “Are you going to sit there in the grass all night? The chiggers are going to eat you alive.” His eyes were dancing.

“Sora… I…” Riku began. …Think I love you. “I… I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up.” he finished lamely. True enough.

Sora laughed and extended his hand. “Jeez Riku, you’re awfully infirm for a fourteen year old.”

Hesitantly, Riku reached out and accepted his hand. A feeling of intense heat swept through him, as Sora clasped his hand firmly and pulled him to his feet.

“Damn, you weigh a ton.” Sora teased. “That sapped all the strength out of me. Now let’s go set the rest of the fireflies free.”

Riku exhaled the breath he didn’t even realize he’d been holding. Screw the fireflies. Sora’s hand was warm and comforting in his own, and he was loath to let it go. “Sora… I…” …Know I love you. “You see… I’ve always… sort of… you know…” Damn, just spit it out, already! “I… well… I… um… that is to say that I…”

Sora smiled and leaned in close, pressing a finger to his friend’s lips. “Shh.” He gave Riku a look that sent shivers down his spine. “Don’t talk. You’re disturbing the peace.”

Fuck this, I can’t take it anymore. Riku leaned forward and pressed his lips to Sora’s. He had intended it to be a sweet kiss, a simple kiss. Just to explain things better than his fumbling words. Hell… Riku felt fingers entwine themselves in his hair, and let out a low growl. All his plans for keeping the kiss innocent and chaste flew out the window as he clutched Sora to him desperately.

Sora melted into him willingly, deepening the kiss, and squeezing his hand slightly.

Riku felt Sora’s tongue brush wetly against his own, and gave in hungrily, thinking absently that he tasted of the red licorice they sometimes bought from Mr. Andell’s shop. Somewhere beneath the haze of lust, Riku smiled. I never thought I’d be thinking about Mr. Andell while I was making out. But then, I never thought I’d be making out with Sora, either.

Sora let go of Riku’s hair and slipped his hand down Riku’s back, pulling him closer to him.

Riku surrendered, letting go of Sora’s hand and grasping the back of his shirt helplessly. His legs were weak as his friend sucked teasingly at his tongue. He growled again, this time with a new urgency.

Sora slid his free hand up under Riku’s shirt, raking his short nails softly on his stomach.

Riku felt his muscles tense and dug his fingers into Sora’s back. Where… did he learn that? He couldn’t remember ever being this turned on in his life.

Sora purred, and dragged his hand lower, toying with the waistband of Riku’s cutoffs. Fingertips grazed on bare skin, tugging lightly at errant silver hairs.

Riku whimpered into the kiss and felt his hips move of their own accord. He can do anything to me now, and I’ll let him. Sora’s hand trailed lower, and Riku found himself straining for his touch. I feel like I’m going to die.

Sora pulled back from the kiss and rested his cheek against his friend’s. “Riku…” he whispered. His breath was warm on Riku’s skin. “I have something for you.” Sora flicked his tongue against the edge of his ear. His hand wandered lower still.

Oh, fuck… “What is it?” Riku asked, his voice shaky. I want him so bad.

Sora purred deep in his throat a moment before answering. “The telephone.” He bit down on Riku’s earlobe.

“Riku! Telephone!”

Riku’s eyes shot open. What the hell? He was buried under what seemed like a million pounds of cover, and his entire body felt like it was on fire.

His mother, Lillian yelled again from downstairs. “Riku? Did you hear me? The phone is for you! It’s Sora!”

Riku groaned and sat up, shoving away his heavy blanket. He must’ve fallen asleep while waiting for Sora to call him. He glanced at the clock, somewhat shocked to see that it read eight-fifteen. He’d been sleeping for a few hours, then. “I wonder what took him so long to call…”

“Riku? Do you want me to tell him to call back later?”

“No!” Riku shouted and sprang out of the bed. Or tried to, as his legs tangled up in the blanket he had so carelessly cast aside just moments before. It had its vengeance as he brutally smacked his knee on the night table and tumbled loudly onto the ground. “Shit!”

“Honey, are you okay?” Footsteps on the stairs. “Are you sick or something?” Her voice was in the hallway now.

“I’m fine, ma!” he called back, struggling to disengage himself from the blanket gone mad. Ow, my leg… “Don’t come in! I’m not decent.” That was somewhat true, as the lingering aftereffects of his dream were still plainly visible.

Lillian halted outside his door. “Alright… Well, I’ll leave the phone out here. But I need you to come downstairs for a moment before you get too engrossed in your conversation, okay?”

“Okay,” Riku answered, rubbing his aching knee. With a dirty look at his traitorous blanket, he limped over to the door and opened it. The phone was laying on the floor beside the doorframe, and he felt a pang of mortification as he realized that it was on. Cautiously he raised it to his ear. “Hello?”

Sora giggled. “Since when are you ever decent, Riku?”

Riku’s cheeks flamed. “You heard me?”

“The whole city heard you. It was on the news and everything.” Sora quipped.

Riku closed the door, and settled down on his bed. “You know Sora, you’ve gotten to be quite a smartass. I think someone may have told you that you were witty, one time. They lied.” He laid back and closed his eyes.

Sora snorted. “Why were you sitting up in your room naked, anyway? Expecting company?”

Riku blinked. If I didn’t know any better, I would say Sora sounded almost jealous. “I wasn’t naked, per se. I was… in a state of highly obvious arousal. I wanted to spare mom the sight.”

“Oh.” Sora was quiet for a moment. “Why?”

“Why what?” asked Riku, yawning.

“Why were you… like that?”

“I was dreaming about you.” Riku responded easily.

Sora was quiet for so long, Riku wondered if he had accidentally hung up the phone. When he finally did speak again he sounded almost guilty. “Sorry.”

Riku rolled his eyes. “Don’t be. It’s all my fault. It started out innocently enough.” He stretched and absently watched the blades of his ceiling fan turn. “I was dreaming of the last summer we went out to the baseball field to catch fireflies.”

Sora’s voice brightened immediately. “Oh! I remember that year. That was fun! You were fourteen, right? And I was thirteen.”

“Yeah.” Riku answered. “I dream about that night sometimes.” He closed his eyes again, and for a moment he felt Sora’s breath against his neck. He shuddered. “Anyway, the dream took an X-rated turn for the worse.” Or better.

“What happened?” asked Sora hesitantly.

Riku felt the corners of his lips tugging back in a smile. “You turned into a raging pervert and molested me.” That should get a rise out of him.

“What?!” Sora shrieked. “I did not!”

Riku snickered. “Yep. You sure did. I felt so violated.” He grinned. “I begged and pleaded with you to leave me be, but you just wouldn’t listen.” he lied shamelessly.

Sora snorted. “Yeah, I’ll bet. Like you would ever do that.”

Riku couldn’t resist. “Well, why don’t you try it sometime, and we’ll see what happens?”

Before Sora could think up a suitable response, the voice of Riku’s mother cut in.

“Riku?” called Lillian. “You didn’t forget about me, did you? I just need to see you for a minute.”

Riku sat up and sighed. “Sora, you wanna hold on for a bit? I’ll be right back.”

“Sure.” Sora responded agreeably. “I don’t have anything better to do.”

“Gee thanks.” muttered Riku. Setting the phone down, he climbed off the bed and walked over to the door. I wonder what she wants? he thought, as he opened the door and headed down the hallway. He could smell food cooking as he went down the stairs, and his stomach growled, belatedly reminding him that he hadn’t eaten anything since lunchtime. Turning the corner, he saw his mother moving around in the kitchen. “Ma? You needed something?”

Lillian turned around and smiled at him. “Nice to see you too, honey. Did you have fun at school?” She turned back to the stove and turned off the burner.

Riku pulled out a chair from the table and sat down. “Actually, I had a shitty day.”

Lillian stiffened. “Riku…” she said warningly.

Riku grinned. “Sorry, ma.”

“Mom,” she corrected, lifting the lid off a pot.

“Mom,” he amended. “But crappy just sounds so… lame.”

“Hmph. Lame indeed.” she answered. She opened the cabinet and took out two plates. Heading over to Riku, she set one in front of him, and leaned down to kiss his cheek. “You keep talking like that, and I’m going to wash your mouth out, pal.”

Riku rubbed furiously at the offended cheek. “Ma! Come on, I’m seventeen!”

Lillian laughed, and went back to the stove. “I’m your mother, kiddo. You’ll always be my baby, even when you’re fifty.” she informed him, scooping food onto her plate.

Riku frowned. “Don’t remind me.” He stood up and headed over to the stove. Peeking over his mother’s head, he saw baked chicken, rice, and hateful little green things. Ugh! Ma why?! “Oh yuck, peas...”

“Well, I’d let you cook dinner, but I can only stand so much Captain Crunch.” Lillian joked.

“Alright, watch it.” said Riku, poking her with his fork. “I can cook.”

“Cooking and burning are two different things.” she reminded him. She settled down at the table with her plate. “When you get comfortable, I’ll explain what I needed to talk to you about.”

Riku looked guilty as he piled food on his plate. “I kind of thought I’d eat in my room tonight, ma. I sort of, um, left Sora on hold.”

Lillian blinked. “Oh.” She took a bite of her food. “That was awfully rude of you. You’re lucky he’s such a good friend. I’d treat you to a foghorn blast when you finally made it back to the phone.”

“Sora doesn’t even have a foghorn.” Riku retorted, sticking out his tongue before he caught himself.

“I thought you were supposed to be seventeen?” Lillian asked, smiling knowingly.

Riku groaned in exasperation and set his plate on the counter. “Anyway. What did you need to talk to me about?”

Lillian tucked a strand of her blonde hair behind her ear and sighed. “Well, you know how you were supposed to go see your father in two weeks?”

Riku scowled. “Don’t remind me.”

Lillian began carefully. “Well, there’s been a slight change of plans.”

“What? Did he get hit by a bus? Is he dead?” Riku asked hopefully. “Please tell me he’s dead.”

Lillian shook her head. “No, honey. Sephiroth is as always, alive and well.”

Riku groaned again. The bastard. “Damn. Then what is it?”

“Well... He’s going to Paris at the end of the month, so he wants you to see him this weekend, instead. He’s coming over Friday evening to pick you up.”

“Ma!” Riku whined. “Come on! That’s too short notice! You know I need time to mentally prepare for the anguish he’s going to put me through.” Lillian sighed again, and Riku was alarmed by how tired she looked. When did she start to look so… old? “Mom, are you feeling alright?”

“I’m fine, honey. Just a little sleepy, that’s all.” She looked at Riku, and he could see the exhaustion clearly in her pale blue eyes. “But you have to work with me on this. I don’t like catering to his every whim, either. Still, you know all it takes is one of his many overpriced lawyers to make our lives miserable.”

“Too late,” muttered Riku. “I hate him.”

“Don’t say that, Riku.” she admonished gently. “At least he isn’t dragging you to Paris with him. That was his original plan.”

“I’d crash the plane.” Riku declared.

“Don’t even joke like that. But anyway, it’s just for the weekend. I’ve even made plans for myself, actually.” Lillian said.

“Oh yeah?” asked Riku, instantly curious. “Like what?”

“I’m going to a bible retreat. Aerith talked me into it.”

“Eww. I thought you were going to do something fun.” Riku responded, frowning. “That friend of yours is such a bad influence on you, ma.”

Lillian waved her fork at him. “Alright, now you watch it.” She smirked. “If you’re fixing to get struck down, take it outside. I work too hard down at that beauty shop to have my house go up in flames because you want to get cheeky with God.”

Riku rolled his eyes. If I was going to get struck down, it would’ve happened already. “Yeah, yeah. Is that all you needed to tell me?”

“Yes, that was it.” Lillian assured him. “I just wanted to make sure you knew, so that when you saw his car pull up outside on Friday, you didn’t throw yourself off the roof in horror, thinking he’d won sole custody.”

Riku grimaced. “I’d run away first.”

“I don’t doubt it, honey. But you’re going to be eighteen soon, so then you could just walk away, instead.” Lillian teased.

“Alright ma, that’s enough. I’m going to go get back to the phone before Sora takes it into his head to kill me.” Riku picked up his plate, and kissed his mother on the cheek as he passed. “Later.”

“Riku!” she mock-whined, rubbing at her cheek.

Riku stuck out his tongue again, and bounded up the stairs. I hope Sora’s still on the phone. That was a pretty long time. He entered his room, and setting the plate on his nightstand, he picked up the phone.

“It’s tearing up my heart when I’m with you. But when we are apart I feel it too. And no matter what I do I feel the pain…” Sora sang softly.

“Oh shit!” Riku laughed uproariously. “You’re listening to N’Sync?! And singing along?!”

“Well, you took so long to come back!” Sora stammered. Riku could practically hear him blushing over the phone.

“Sora, my love.” Riku began. “Allow me to say that you have the shittiest taste in music of anyone I know. Even Wakka with his reggae and Tidus with his techno cannot compare.”

Sora sniffed. “Whatever. What took you so long, anyway?” N’Sync crooned on in the background.

Riku scowled as he took a bite of his chicken. “Mom dropped a bomb on me. I’m going over my dad’s house for the weekend.”

“Ah. Sorry.” said Sora sympathetically.

“Yeah, well. He originally wanted to take me to Paris with him, so I guess I can’t be too pissed.” Riku admitted.

“You didn’t want to go to Paris?” asked Sora in disbelief.

“Not with him.” explained Riku. “Besides, there’s nothing over there for me anyway. All I want is right here.” He finished his chicken and started on his rice. “Or rather, in your house.”

“My Game Cube?” asked Sora, jokingly.

Riku smiled. There it was again, Sora’s instant calming effect. He still has no idea what he does to me. “Nah, it’s the CD burner. I keep forgetting to steal it when I’m over there. Remind me to bring a pillow case the next time I stop by.” Riku fished around halfheartedly in his peas, before setting his plate aside with disgust. Eww… “So, how did detention with that gorgeous asshole Leonhart go?”

Sora was quiet for a few minutes and all Riku could hear was Justin Timberlake whining about some girl or another.

“Sora?” he asked.

“Well,” Sora began. “It was pretty decent. He made me do my homework.”

Ah, homework. I knew I forgot to do something, Riku thought, glancing disdainfully at his unopened book bag where it lay, propped against his closet door. “Oh. What else?”

“That was it, really.” Sora answered. “Then… we talked for a little bit.”

“He can hold a conversation?” exclaimed Riku. “Well, I’ll be damned. I guess that bug up his ass comes out for coffee breaks sometimes.”

“He’s actually a nice guy.” snapped Sora, defensively.

Riku blinked. Okay… “Whatever you say, Sora. Don’t pitch a fit or anything.”

Sora sighed. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to sound like I had an attitude. It’s just…” He yawned. “I’m really tired. Kairi talked my head off when I got home, and I haven’t even had a shower yet…”

“Mmm…” interrupted Riku. “Shower…” A grin spread upon his face as he pondered the concept. “Now developing mental images. One moment please.”

“Riku! Can you try not to be a pervert for five minutes?” squawked Sora, mortified.

Where’s the fun in that? “The cheerleading squad doesn’t call me Super Flirt for nothing, Sora.” reminded Riku.

Sora scoffed. “I thought they called you David Cop-A-Feel.”

Ha! “That was so bad, I’m not even going to dignify it with a response.” Riku replied, trying not to laugh out loud.

“You just did.” pointed out Sora, smugness creeping into his voice.

Anyway,” Riku began. “I am not going to stoop so low as to trade ‘I know you are, but what am I’ type barbs with a mere sixteen year old. As the mature one, I have to draw the line somewhere.”

“You keep talking like that, and my eyes are going to get stuck in the back of my head from rolling them so much, Riku.” Sora laughed.

Riku snickered. “That would be hilarious, and yet a shame, because then I would be deprived of seeing their beauty.” That sounded almost poetic. “I’ve never met another person with eyes like yours, Sora.”

“Thanks.” he yawned. “Well, I hate to ditch you so soon, but I really am beat, and I still need to take a shower, so I have to go.”

Riku closed his eyes, a pained expression staining his features. Good lord. “Sora, why must you torture me so? Quit talking about the shower, please?”

Once again, Riku could practically hear the blush in Sora’s face. “Sorry… I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?”

“Okay,” Riku answered, trying to keep from snickering. “Could you do me one favor though?” As usual, he suspects nothing.

“Sure, what is it?” asked Sora, innocently.

Sucker. “Take pictures!” Riku suggested, his pained expression replaced immediately by a deliriously happy grin.

“Goodnight, pervert.” Sora gritted.

“Night, baby.” Riku cooed, hanging up the phone. He let it fall onto the mattress beside him as he gazed up at the ceiling fan. The lingering sound of Sora’s voice brought back the dream to his mind. It wasn’t the first time he’d dreamt of the night where he first realized the true nature of his feelings toward Sora. It was, however, the first time Sora had reacted so favorably, and Riku shuddered, the images resurfacing in his memory.

I have work to do, I don’t have time for this. Rolling onto his side he grudgingly turned his sights on the book bag resting against his closet door. Damn, why couldn’t I be smart like Sora and do my homework during school? All he has to do now is just take a shower… Oh hell. Riku rolled again onto his back in defeat as his helpless hormone-controlled mind was riddled with visions wicked enough to drive all thoughts of homework from his brain. I can’t work like this, he thought. With disdain he looked at the phone. I really need to cut back. Sighing, he picked it up and dialed.

The person answered on the first ring. “Hello?”

Riku wished more than anything that it was Sora. Fate is so cruel, but beggars can’t be choosers. For a moment he considered simply hanging up, but the restlessness in his blood would not be denied so easily.

“Hello?” the voice repeated, hopefully.

Here we go again. Riku took a deep breath and dove. “Hello again, Jake. Mind if I come over for a bit?”

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