The Size of the World

The biggest problem is not any number of things that Riku thought it would be.

It wasn’t the issue of the horrible things he’d done — the people he’d hurt, the darkness he’d taken into himself, the shadow that still whispered somewhere in the recesses of his mind.

It wasn’t his arrogance and his insecurity, which had, in a dozen ways, been the start of it all.

It wasn’t even Sora and Kairi liked to conspire against him, announcing plans at the last minute so he’d have no way to escape — though after the last dance-party at Disney Castle, he’d put his foot down and said next time, he was opening a doorway through any means necessary to escape.

The biggest problem is that he can’t get any sleep now, in the lazy idyllic days after the adventures — less because of constant sex (he thinks at least then it’d be worth it) but because:

A) Sora has this fondness for sleeping on top of people, and though he’s short, there’s a lot of compact muscle, which gets pretty weighty after a while

B) Kairi snores, just a little — whistling, whispery noises, usually when Sora’s sprawled on top of her and pressing down on her ribcage or something

C) Tropical island = tropical nights = it’s really too hot to sleep with one other person, let alone two

D) All of the above.

So finally one night he wriggles out from under the pile (Sora on Kairi on him) and makes his way out of the house, down to the beach. He doesn’t bother with shoes, walking straight to the water’s edge and digging his toes in deep as he can, rocking briefly from the balls of his feet to his heels, then settling again. Stretched before him, the ocean waters are completely calm.

That in itself is sort of strange, but the air doesn’t smell any different than usual — the only darkness here is natural, sun-warmed and lazy and uninclined to be dangerous.

Riku reaches into his pocket and comes out with a flat skipping stone; he draws his arm back and flicks it just so; it skips five times before plunking out of sight. Ripples fan out briefly, breaking up the reflection of the moon, then fade. The King would probably have something poetic to say about it, about how life and light and darkness are only passing things, but he’s not here, and there’s just him and the warm summer night.

And the footsteps behind him.

“Some people would prefer it if others wouldn’t just sneak out like that,” Sora tells him. Like Riku, he’s barefoot and bare-chested, and his hair is wilder than usual. “Not cool.”

“Some people worry too much,” Riku says. He turns back to the ocean. “I didn’t mean to wake you.”

“Too bad,” Sora says, and yawns hugely. “Kairi’s making hot chocolate. My job’s to get you back before it gets cold, or she drinks it all herself.”

Riku snorts. “You’ve got your priorities straight.”

“Better believe it.” Sora rocks a little, wriggling his toes in wet sand. “C’mon, if you’re going to brood, at least you can drink something while you do!” He grabs Riku’s wrist and grins, and the moon is bright in his eyes. One of the bards at Disney Castle had written some silly lines about Sora having an inner glow that could overpower the darkness, which isn’t quite true: more that Sora’s heart is big enough that even the tiniest fragment of light is accepted and reflected brilliantly.

“… Sure,” Riku says, and lets himself be drawn back towards the house.

Kairi meets them there, and the first thing she does is push a warm cup into his hands.

“Isn’t it a little warm for this?” he asks.

“It’s the thought that counts,” she says. There are chocolate stains at the corners of her mouth. “Besides, in some places they think it’s good to eat or drink hot things when it’s warm, then your body compensates and cools down more.”

“And in some places, people are crazy,” Riku says, but he drinks anyway.

Kairi pretends to ignore Sora’s big-eyed mugging until he licks her mouth for the leftover chocolate, and then she pushes her own cup at him to fend him off, giggling. The lights on in the kitchen are tinted yellow, so even the faint shadows they cast are warm. With the mirrors reflecting inward, for a moment the kitchen seems to be the entirety of the world.

It sort of is, he thinks, and puts his cup down before the other two tumble into him, still wrestling, and Sora spills lukewarm chocolate across his hands and Riku ends up licking most of it off directly as Kairi takes the cups away to put in the sink, and then before he can protest further they’ve wrapped themselves around him, and the kitchen is too large a world now.

They take him back to bed, and the full moon is bright enough he can see perfectly well, though he focuses on small things instead: the slope of Kairi’s bare shoulder, the line of Sora’s throat, and the warmth of hands that catch him close in their little world. His heartbeat is like the roar of surf in his ears, and when he finally stretches out himself, he can feel two others echoing his own, and he thinks that he is fortunate to have everything he’s ever wanted in his arms.

Riku wonders how he ever thought Destiny Island was too small for him.

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