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Shadows of the Night

Chapter Text

The light from the half moon filtered down to barely illuminate the nature park; the lights from the street lamps along the main path did little to help the visibility, only adding to the darkness that stretched along the pathways. It was perfect for the stalkers of the night to dart across without being spotted easily. Two shadows slowly and quietly wove amongst the trees, scanning their surroundings before continuing forward.

The two met up in a patch of moonlight, stopping to look around. What little light there was given off by the moon shone down on their forms. It was a pair of young men, the taller of which had short-ish, messy black hair, and a pair of blue eyes framed by black, rectangular glasses. He was wearing a partially zipped up black jacket with a fur-trimmed hood over a white, low cut v-neck T-shirt. To complete the outfit, he had on a pair of black pants, black and white tennis shoes, and a black beaded necklace that almost looked like the collar of his shirt.

The other male had layered, moonlit, silvery hair with a slight purplish tint, that reached the nape of his neck, and a pair of teal eyes. He had on a short-sleeved, black jacket with a light grey inner lining, that had a checkered pattern on the bottom. Underneath, he had on a simple white v-neck t-shirt with a pair of dark blue, long jean shorts that also had the checkered pattern at the end, as well as black combat style boots.

The younger looking, silver-haired one let out a sigh. “I still don’t get it, why doesn’t Zexion join us much anymore?”

With a click of his tongue, the taller one responded. “Probably because he thinks we’ll just slow him down.”

“But we’ve never done anything like that before, why would he just start thinking something like that?”

“I don’t know Riku, maybe there could be some other reason then.”

“Like what though Saru? I’m just trying to figure it out,” Riku replied.

“How the hell should I know? Maybe he has a secret lover and would rather spend time with them,” Saru replied as he rolled his eyes.

Riku’s eyes widened slightly. “Seriously? You think that could be a possibility?”

“I wouldn’t hold it past the bookworm to be keeping secrets. You know how quiet he is about a lot of things.”

“Yeah…” Riku murmured as he then noticed something in the distance. A figure of a person was coming in their direction. “Back up, someone’s coming.”

The two of them snuck back farther into the shadows, now hiding behind a few bushes and trees, watching carefully as one lone person came into view. Even though there wasn’t much lighting they could see it was a young adult man with dirty blond hair.

“It just has to be super quiet and peaceful tonight doesn’t it,” Riku commented while still having a hushed voice.

“And you just have to be a whiny little brat, don’t you?”

Riku grit his teeth slightly. “Well sorry Saruhiko if I am rather thirsty and this is the first guy we have come across tonight.”

“Not my fault you didn’t get off your pale arse and go hunting sooner. Family hunting night stopped ages ago.” Saru barely muttered that last line.

“You didn’t really get moving either at first,” Riku huffed before letting out a sigh. “And... just cause they stopped… doesn’t mean I don’t miss them.”

“It seems that you keep forgetting that I don’t need to feed as often, and that if you could just convince our eldest brother to call for a family hunt, it will happen.”

Riku let out another long sigh. “I know…” His attention was then drawn back to the man who was now in a closer proximity to them. “Let’s just get this over with. I guess we'll just have to share for tonight, unless you want to spend another hour looking.”

“Tsk. He’ll suffice for tonight.”

“Fine, let’s give it a shot then,” Riku said as he stepped forward, out from their hiding spot.

He took in a deep breath before pretending like had already been walking for a while. Saru stuck to the shadows, waiting for Riku to engage the stranger. Riku cleared his throat as he walked a bit closer.

“Hey! I didn’t think to see anyone else out at this hour,” he said, sounding as friendly as he could.

The man turned towards him and smile. “Oh me neither. I just felt like taking a walk tonight. Night cool summer nights like these are the best kind, you know what I mean?”

Riku nodded. “Yeah, and it’s pretty peaceful, away from the sounds and lights of the city.”

“I totally agree. When I just want to enjoy the beauty of nature, this is the best spot to come. Sometimes I even like to bring out my old camcorder and film things I see around here. Oh, my name is Tatara by the way.”

While Riku was conversing with Tatara, Saru slunk around, and was now in the shadows, behind Tatara. With a quick pounce, Saruhiko used one hand to cover Tatara’s mouth while pinning his arms down. Tatara’s eyes widened as he tried to move, but Saru’s grip was far too strong. He glanced at Riku, giving a muffled cry for help, but Riku only just stood there for a moment looking around.

In the next few seconds he spoke in a low whisper. “All right, let’s get him off the path, just in case anyone else comes around. But first...” Riku then pulled something out from his pocket.

From what Tatara could see, it looked like a small roll of something. As Riku approached closer he pulled off a piece of the roll, and immediately Tatara recognized the sound. It was duct tape. He tried to let out another scream, but it again only came out muffled.

Riku held out a piece just a few inches over Tatara’s mouth. He gave one glance towards Saru and he removed his had quickly from over the mouth. Tatara wasn’t even given a chance to scream before the sticky tape was pressed against his mouth.

“Sorry,” Riku muttered quiet. “We can’t have you screaming and drawing attention.”

“What is with you and playing with your food. We should hurry up and get this over with.” Saru then maneuvered himself so that he was now pinning Tatara’s wrists behind the poor guy’s back. “Now are you just gonna stand there and sparkle or actually help me tie him up.”

Riku rolled his eyes and let out a sharp breath. “I’m just trying to be a little nice at least.” He then pulled out a long piece of rope from his other pocket. He moved over next to Saru and tired the rope tightly around the wrists. Once he was secure, Saru let go and shoved Tatara into Riku.

“If you want to be nice, then you can carry him.” He then started walking towards the shadows that he and Riku were originally waiting in.

Riku held onto Tatara as he glared at Saru walking away. He then looked at Tatara, who’s eyes were still wide with fear. He sighed again as he started to carry Tatara over towards where Saru was.

“Hmmm mhmmmm,” Tatara tried to say something through the duct tape, but if course it only came out as muffled sounds.

“Sorry again. This is just one of the ways how we were taught to do things. It’s just that we don’t always do it this way, but we don’t want to take any chances tonight. We’re just use to it though.”

Riku brought him closer to where Saru was, who was now holding longer piece of rope. Riku kneeled down and set Tatara against a tree and then slowly backed up, only to have Tatara quickly move one of his feet and kick Riku in the abdomen.

Riku fell back and groaned, letting a few choice words fall out from his mouth. Saru quickly moved and pinned Tatara’s legs down, beginning to tie the rope around his ankles. Once he was sure that the binding was secure, he looked over at Riku and chuckled in amusement.

Tatara squirmed more though with the ropes tightly around his arms and legs, it was much harder to try and move. “Hmmh mmmh hmmmmh.”

“Do you want first bite, or should I just take my fill now?” Saru finally asked Riku.

“You go first, knowing you if you went second you wouldn’t spare him,” Riku replied as he sat up, groaning slightly from pain from the kick.

“Hmm! Mhhmmmph!” Tatara tried to shout something, probably in response to what Riku had just said.

“And with how long ago your last meal was, I highly doubt you’d have the restraint to not finish him, but suit yourself.” Saru’s eyes flashed red as he lifted Tatara to his feet and then sunk a pair of fangs into his neck. Tatara let out a quick muffled shout of pain, as he once again tried to move, but it felt like his entire body just froze up.

After a few moments, Saru had his fill and pulled away, leaving a pair of puncture marks that slowly leaked blood. He flashed Riku a smirk before slowly licking the blood off of Tatara and stepping back, Saru’s eyes now fading back to their original blue.

Riku shook his head at his brothers unnecessary, overly dramatic display. He stood up and grabbed hold of Tatara. His eyes changed to red as he revealed his fangs. He then bit into Tatara’s neck, while keeping one hand on the other side of his neck, his fingers pressed against the side. As he drank the blood the tried to also focus on the pulse from the poor man that was slowly growing fainter.

“Just need a bit more,” Riku thought to himself as he continued to drink the blood.

Soon enough he knew he had what he needed, and thankfully he could still feel the faintest pulse coming from Tatara. Riku pulled back and wiped the blood from his mouth. Tarata on the other hand crumbled down to his knees and then to the ground as his eyes closed part way.

Saru quickly moved to untie the ropes that bound Tatara’s limbs. As he did that Riku pulled off the duct tape from Tatara’s mouth. “He still as a pulse. It’s faint now, but he’ll be able to hold on long enough for me to drop him off at the hospital.”

“Go right on ahead. I won’t be coming with you though. So expect to be interrogated when you get back.”

“It won’t take long. You can wait for me. Otherwise you’ll probably get interrogated for returning home without me… again,” Riku replied bluntly as he picked up Tatara limp body and started walking.

“Fine then. I’ll wait. Doesn’t mean I’m going with you though” Saru huffed in annoyance as he followed behind Riku. “Although I still can’t fathom why you out of all of us cares so much about humans.”

Riku glanced down at Tatara, and then over at Saru. “We don’t have to kill almost everytime we go for a drink. It’s not the dark ages, we shouldn’t have to be barbaric like that.”

“You shouldn’t be sticking your neck out to save someone who could very well get us killed. It’s not like they don’t go off and kill other creatures in order to survive. Even then, we only take what we need, unlike the human's who feast on more than what is necessary for survival. You barely drank enough to sustain yourself tonight when odds are he’d be lucky to live even after he gets help.”

“No. I just…” Riku turned his head to the side as he tried to collect his thoughts. “It just feels like the right thing to do. You don’t really know how I feel about taking someone’s life away. It isn’t fair sometimes…”

Saru clicked his tongue before responding. “You had the option to take your fill first and leave me with the deed. Life is life and our aim is to survive, not pity those dealt a bad hand.”

“You really wouldn’t understand…” Riku muttered quietly under his breath as they pressed on.

They soon arrived at the hospital and stood at the edge of the premise. Riku set Tatara down briefly as he pulled the hood of his jacket over his head. He then picked up Tatara again and headed towards the Emergency Center while Saru stayed behind and waited.

He got up to the doors and placed Tatara down next to the doors. He glanced down at Tatara, his breathing still barely noticeable, but it was still there. He gave a quick and repetitive knock before bolting at a fast speed back towards Saru. As soon as he made it to him, both of them took off running into the night.

Chapter Text

Both Saru and Riku returned back to the house and opened the front door. Once they were inside, they saw that someone was sitting in one of the lounge chairs in the front living room. He clearly looked a few years older than both Riku and Saru and was reading a book. He wore a long sleeved white shirt and a black v-neck sleeveless sweater vest, and had black pants. Tired around the collar of the shirt was a small purple ascot. It was their older brother; Zexion. As soon as the door closed he looked up, his metallic blue swaying slightly in front of his face as half of it covered the right side of his face. But even though he only had one blue eye showing, he glared directly at the two who had just walked in.

“What took you two so long?” he asked them, looking up from his book.

“Glitter boy decided to play angel to the one meal we found tonight.”

“Well it wasn’t my fault we only could find one person tonight,” Riku replied as he crossed his arms, ignoring Saru’s insult.

“What? What do you mean by that?” Zexion asked as he stood up, placing his book on the stand next to the chair.

“Riku barely drank his fill before sparring the human we both fed from.”

“And then? What of the body?” Zexion asked as he eyes Riku, who just sighed and looked away.

Seeing as Riku was still refusing to respond properly, Saru continued to answer. “He was left unconscious and barely alive on the doorstep of the Emergency Center.”

Zexion’s eye grew wide with frustration and anger as he stepped closer to his younger brothers. He still had his gaze locked on Riku. “You what?! You brought the body to the hospital? Just what the hell were you thinking? You should have taken your fill and then disposed of the body if drinking it was not enough to kill the person.”

Riku turned his head slightly back. “I didn’t want to do that though. That guy shouldn’t have the unfortunate end of being sucked dry by two vampires.”

“That does not matter! You shouldn’t try to spare every single human you come across,” Zexion replied, his voice heavy with disappointment.

“I can if I want to,” Riku muttered loudly. “It’s my choice what I do.”

“If you choose to starve yourself I’m just gonna leave your body to rot,” quipped Saru.

“I am not going to starve! I took enough and I am fine. Maybe if Zexion had cared to join us this time, we could have maybe either found more people or maybe done something different,” Riku replied.

“There was one human. No way was he gonna be enough for all three of us,” Saru replied.

“Well still! We could have maybe gone someplace else and found others. Or something, I don’t know!” Riku shouted in frustration. “I just didn’t want to have to kill the guy, that’s all! I’ve said it before that we shouldn’t have to kill almost every time!”

Zexion rolled his eyes. “Why… I swear… I shouldn’t have to be responsible for you two anymore. Riku, being a pureblood I would expect you to not care as much for humans and not act so stubborn about the subject. You two should be able to handle these things on your own and not act like children.”

Saru scoffed at being called a child, but did not say anything as he stood there silently. Riku on the other hand exhaled sharply.

“Sorry but I do care. It’s just… how I am. Though if we are pointing out things, I am surprised you two don’t seem to care at all despite being half-bloods!”

“That distinction means nothing to them. It's either you're human or you're a monster and the consensus is monsters are evil and have to be purged. So give me one good reason as to why I should give a f**k,” Saru hissed.

Riku glared at Saru before grabbing the collar of his shirt and pulling him close to his face. “We’re not monsters.”

“If you want to go preach to the mob, then be my guest. I won't mourn when they mount your head on a pike.”

Before Riku could reply, Zexion pushed him away from Saru and stood between the two of them. “Enough of this! There is no reason to continue acting like this. Even if Riku’s choices are unusual for our kind,” Zexion said glanced briefly at Riku. He then glanced over to Saru. “There is no need to go that far Saru.”

None of them responded after that, they only stood in the awkward silence as they stared at one another. Then, out of nowhere, a different voice spoke up. “Zexion’s right, you guys really need to take it down a few levels.”

All three turned to see someone standing in the hallway. It was the familiar deep blue eyed, spiky black haired, older brother of theirs; Zack. The three of them took a step away from each other as they lowered their heads slightly. Zack sighed as he walked towards the group.

“I know you guys all have different opinions on humans and how they see us, but you do all know things are far better today then they were hundreds of years ago,” Zack explained as he stopped walking when he made it over to the three.

None of them said anything as they listened to their older brother continued. “The entire world knows vampires exist and that it isn’t the most crazy thing to find a drained body laying around. While we know most times it’s from crazed vampires, there are just those times were we have to do it because it’s what we are dealt with.”

Riku sighed as he lowered his head a little more. “I just wish things could be different.”

Zack looked at Riku before placing a hand on top his head. “Well things are different since back in the day. I remember when I was young how scared I was to go explore a town or anything. Nearly everyone back then was much more colder to vampires and other supernaturals. I know there is still a long way to go before everyone can get along though. But I like to remain hopeful.”

There was a pause before Zack said one last thing. “Now, are we all good now?”

Each one of the boys nodded before they all replied in union. “Sorry, Zack.”

“It’s all right guys, just glad this didn’t lead into a fight,” Zack said with a smile before wrapping his arms around all three of them and pulling them into a close hug.

Saru, Riku, and Zexion stiffened slightly at being brought so close together, but it was what they expected from their oldest brother. Even though they were used to his hugs, it didn’t mean they were super fond of them. Once Zack let go of them though Riku shifted off to the side.

“I think… I just need a little time alone for right now,” he said before heading off down the hallway.

Once Riku was off in a different area of the house Zack turned to look at Saru and Zexion. “I know you guys have your reasons, but I have told you before, don’t be too harsh with Riku about the subject of killing humans.”

“Understood,” Saru replied.

“I still don’t get it though,” Zexion said as he crossed his arms. “You are a pureblood as well yet  side with him on the matter?”

Zack exhaled slowly. “If you guys knew the reason, then maybe you would be more understanding.”

“You mean the reason that you refuse to tell us?” Zexion scoffed.

“I promised Riku I wouldn’t tell you two, as it is something that he should tell you guys. If you both really want to know though you’ll have be nice to your brother and ask to him about it.”

“So we'll never find out,” Saru replied with a deadpan expression.

“Well I wouldn’t say never,” Zack said with a slight shrug. “It would be nice though to see you guys get a long a bit better.”

“It’s not super likely that can just happen out of the blue,” Zexion replied as he went back to sit down in his chair.

“The only thing keeping us together is the fact that we're siblings by a father we've never met,” Saru huffed slightly.

Zack frowned slightly, though it was immediately followed by another smile. “Well who knows. Maybe one day you guys will just find a way and be better brothers. It would be a nice thing to see.”

Saru just scoffed before turning away and heading off into another room. Zexion went back to reading his book quietly, leaving Zack to let out another short sigh. He then decided to go back to what he was doing seeing as his brothers had calmed for now.

Chapter Text

Tatara rested peaceful on his hospital bed. He breathed in slowly at the same time the oxygen tube in his nose blew air. Turning his head he looked out the window to see that the sun was at its high point was shining in a clear blue sky. It had been a few days since he had been found just outside of the hospital doors on the brink of death.

The doctors said it was a miracle that they got to him when they did. A few minutes later and it could have been too late. He was starting to make a recovery, but still had to stay in the hospital for a while until the doctors were sure that he was all right. He was still very weak, considering he had been drained of nearly all his blood, but at least now he wasn’t being monitored by nurses and doctors every minute.

Though just as he was enjoying his time of peace the door opened and a nurse walked in. “Tatara, you have some friends here to see you.”

“Oh,” Tatara commented with a bit of surprise. So far in the few days he had been here they said only his parents were allowed to visit him, since he was in no condition to start talking at first. But he figured that must have changed since he was getting better now. He carefully adjusted himself in the bed to be sitting up a bit more. “Who’s here?”

“Two boys. Names are Yata and Sora,” the nurse replied.

Tatara smiled hearing the name of his two best friends. “Send them in!”

The nurse nodded and stepped away from the door. A few seconds later two young guys ran into the room. One who looked to be in his late-teens had chestnut colored hair and hazel colored eyes while the other was in his mid-teens and had brown spikey hair and blue eyes.

“Yata! Sora! It’s so good to see you guys,” Tatara commented as the two approached his bed.

“Is it true what happened?” Sora asked.

“How did you manage to get to the hospital?” Yata asked before Tatara could even answer the first question.

“Are you feeling okay?”

“Do you know when they are going to let you out of here?”

Tarata laughed. “Whoa guys, calm down. One question at a time please.”

Immediately both boys stopped and looked at one another. They then glanced at Tatara who just smiled cheerfully at them. They both let out a sigh before taking in a deep breath. Once they seemed to have calmed down, Sora was the one to speak first again.

“So are you okay? Did… a vampire really attack you?”

Tatara nodded slowly. “Yeah, two of them actually.”

“Two!?” both Yata and Sora shouted in unison.

“How the hell did you survive after two vampires tried to kill you?” Yata asked, completely shocked by the fact.

“Well I wouldn’t say they ‘tried to kill’ me. They were vampires, they needed blood,” Tatara replied casually.

“But they left you to die though, how can you be so calm about that?” Sora asked.

Tatara tilted his head to the side as he thought about it. He had been given plenty of time to think over the situation since he first became conscious again. He could still remember most of the event that had happened, though a lot of it a blur. But there was still some faint bits of memories he could recall if he really thought about it. Finally after a moment of thinking he had his answer.

“They didn’t really leave me to die. I can remember one of them was nicer than the other, and… I think they brought me to the hospital afterwards.”

Sora blinked a few times, processing what Tatara had just said. “Wait you think they brought you to the hospital?”

“I’m not really sure but I think I remember them talking… after you know they drank my blood. I think one of them said something about a hospital. Then of course I was found outside of this place, so I think it’s plausible that they did bring me here.”

“But why would a vampire do that though?” Yata asked as he crossed his arms. “It just doesn’t make any sense.”

“Not all vampires are ruthless and rude,” Tatara replied. “Besides I would have been glad to help them out if they had just asked me instead of tying me up.”

“They what now?” Yata asked as he raised an eyebrow.

“They had to tie me up so I wouldn’t try to run away.”

“Dammit Tatara why don't’ you sound more upset by that fact?” Yata replied as he pinched the bridge of his nose.

“Yeah, you don’t sound like it scared you or anything,” Sora added on. “I mean you did have two vampires attack you.”

“Oh I was scared at the time. It was a rather terrifying experience, but I’m fine now. Like I said, the vampires needed the blood so they could go on living. So knowing I helped them, I don't mind So much.”

“Tatara…” Yata sighed. “I seriously can't believe how positive you can be about this situation. Sometimes I can't believe you are so cheerful about dire things like these. You're worse than Sora sometimes.”

“Hey!” Sora started to retort but could not find anything to say back. He knew it was true that he was always rather optimistic about things and always enjoyed looking on the bright side of everything.

“I told you guys. It's all right. Look, I'm fine now and I'm going to live.”

“I still don't know though… especially about the part where you think the vampires also saved you. I don't trust that,” Yata replied while shaking his head slightly.

Tatara frowned slightly. “Come on Yata, you know there are plenty of good and nice vampires out there.”

“Yeah and there are plenty of vicious ones that kill humans.

“But,” Sora interjected. “There are far more good vampires than bad. At least nowadays, not counting those old days.”

Yata scoffed as I stated at the wall. “Whatever. It still bugs me though that there are vampires who do things like that.” He then focused his attention to Tatara. “So… is it still there? You know…” ha trailer off as he pointed to his neck.

Tatara nodded. “Yeah, they're just scars now, it you can still see them. Wanna see?”

“I guess so, I am a bit curious” Sora replied while Yata shrugged.

Tatara reached up and pulled the right side of his patient gown down, revealing his shoulder. There Sora and Yata could see two faint sets of bite marks, with one more on the neck and the other along the shoulder. The marks were still slightly red, but it looked like they were healing just fine.

“Whoa…” Sora murmured.”I didn't realize they would look that large.”

“It's kind of cool if you think about it. Surviving after being drank from two vampires, and having the marks to prove it.”

“Hmph, they still hurt you and nearly killed you. If I ever find the vampires that did this to you, they're going to pay,” Yata said, his eyes filling with fierce anger as his hands curled into fists.

“Really Yata. It’s okay,” Tatara said calmly. “I told you I'm fine now. You don't need to go and do anything rash.”

“Yata’s right though! You’re our friend and we can’t just stand on the side after something like that happens to you,” Sora added on.

Tatara stared at his two friends, seeing the determined looks on their faces. He ended up smiling and giving a small laugh. “Thank you guys.”

The three of them went to talk for a little while longer. They left the conversation of the vampires behind as they decided it was now better to move into different things. Soon enough though Tatara was feeling a bit tired and needed his rest for the afternoon. Sora and Yata said their goodbyes be for leaving the room and heading out of the hospital.

“So…” Sora started off as they started walking away from the building. “You serious about finding those vampires that got Tatara.”

“Of course! They shouldn't be allowed to do something like that,” Yata replied.

“Yeah. Still can't believe how nonchalant he acted about it though. Would he really have willingly let the vampires drink his blood?”

Yata rolled his eyes slightly. “Knowing Tatara, he probably would. He was the guy who tried to help that young slightly crazed werewolf when they came through town. Honestly, I’m surprised he didn't get bitten back then.”

“I guess you're right about that. But what about you? What would you do it a vampire showed up and wanted to drink your blood?”

“I'd fight them off of course. I wouldn't let them get even a drop of blood. And if they were one of the vampires that hurt Tatara, then they would really be in for it!” Yata said as he gripped his hands into fists again.

“Hm. Yeah…” Sora responded as he trailed off. new thoughts started to come to his mind. Slowly he stopped walking and stated at the ground. “I just hope Tatara will be okay.”

Yata stopped and turned around to see Sora just standing there. He walked back over and placed his hands on Sora’s shoulders. “Hey this is Tatara we are talking about. He will pull through and you know it.”

“I know… I guess I’m just a bit worried. Because you… he was attacked by vampires. And I'm just worried if-”

“You know that it's not a vampire bite that turns someone. It's the weird and disgusting thing of drinking a vampires blood,” Yata replied.

“Yeah yeah. I remember learning that stuff in the supernatural history class I took last year. But… it could have happened right? Tatara never said if something like that happened, but it could have right? Like when he fell unconscious, they could have done it to him then?”

“I don't think so. The doctors would have known of something like that happened. I'm sure I would look strangely pale too. Sora… I know you worry ‘cause of what happened to your brother, but Tatara is all right.”

Sora stood there for a moment taking in everything Yata had said. Slowly though he nodded and looked back up. “You're right. I was just overthinking it.”

“Hey how about we head to the skate park?” Yata suggested. “I got some new tricks I wanna test out.”

“Oh same here! When I visited Roxas last week he showed me some cool new stuff.”

“Then let's get going,” Yata said as the two of them started to walk again.

Chapter Text

Over a month had passed since Riku and Saru had gotten their drink from Tatara. The sun had just set, still leaving a bit of resuigle light in the sky.The full moon, on the other hand, was slowly rising up from the horizon. As they stayed to the shadows, they made their way through the park, looking for anyone who still may be in the area.

“All right, let’s hope things will go more smoothly tonight,” Riku muttered as they walked.

“Hmph,” was the only thing Saru replied with as they walked.

Riku sighed as he decided not to try and start up anything with him. They walked a bit more until they heard a sound coming from somewhere nearby. They slowly went a bit closer to see that they had ended up near the town’s skate park. Though it seemed that it was already cleared out for the night with the exception of two people near a half pipe ramp. They were taking turns going back and forth on the ramp, doing a few spins when they went up in the air.

“Seems like we won’t have to share this time,” Saru commented.

Riku nodded. “Yeah, but that does not mean you get to go overboard this time.”

“Oh, please. That was only the one time, and I highly doubt that even you would have let that bastard run around free any longer. Although I will admit,” Saru paused and licked his lips hungrily, “He was delicious.”

Riku groaned as he rolled his eyes. “And this is why Zack doesn’t allow you to go hunting out on your own anymore.”

Saru chuckled before speaking. “Yet you’re the one who’s stuck as my escort all the time. Feels more like a punishment for you than for me. It’s not like you’re strong enough to stop me.” The last line was filled with heavy sarcasm.

Riku rolled his eyes in annoyance. “Whatever. I do what I am supposed to and that is all. Let’s just give it over with then.”

The two of them approached the skate park and started to head towards the two near the half pipe ramp. They could now see one of them had brown hair and the other had a chestnut color. The two of them stopped what they were doing and noticed Riku and Saru coming close. The one with the brown hair got down from the ramp and spoke to them. The other went back to skating back and forth on the ramp.

“Hey, I didn’t expect to see anyone else come here this late.”

“We were just walking around when we heard you two over here, so we decided to check out what was going on,” Riku replied.

“Well you two have come to see the future best of the best,” the boy said as he grinned widely. “My name’s Sora and that’s Yata. And we are working to be the next best professional skateboarders.”

Yata stopped when he reached the top area of the ramp. He looked at the group below him before giving a confident chuckle. “Yeah just you guys wait. You’ll hear about us in the papers one day.”

Saru snorted before speaking. “You’re more likely to end up in the paper as a murder victim that as a skateboarding star.”

“Oh yeah? Well, who asked you!” Yata retorted with a huff before getting off the ramp and standing next to the group.

“The only interesting part about watching you skateboard is anticipating you falling on your face so that I can laugh at your misfortune. If you’d live long enough for it to happen, it’d take you a century to get good enough to impress me.”

Riku was about to try and tell Saru to tone it down the the insults, but then he noticed that Sora was staring at him with curious eyes. He turned to focus his attention over to Sora. “Uh… Is something wrong?”

Sora snapped out of his slight daze. “O-Oh! Sorry. I was just looking and… um got a bit distracted.”

“Distracted?” Riku asked, not quite knowing what he meant.

“Yeah, it’s just your hair… the way the moonlight shines on it. It’s really pretty,” Sora said before blinked a few times. His cheeks reddened slightly as he turned away, rubbing the back of his neck. “Ah sorry! Just kind of said that without thinking… hope that I didn’t sound too weird with that.”

Riku tensed up slightly as he nearly forgot to take in a breath. A memory resurfed in the back of his mind right after Sora spoke. Closing his eyes he quickly shook his head as he tried to put away the thoughts, but they still stuck there. “N-No… it’s fine.” Riku said through a forced breath. He was about to say more, but his thoughts were cut off by Yata’s loud voice.

“What the hell did you just say to me?!” Yata shouted as he glared right at Saru.

“So you're deaf too? I said that a midget like you would never succeed as a skateboard star.”

Yata’s eyes filled with rage as he grabbed a clump of Saru’s shirt and yanked him closer. “You say that again and you’ll really be asking for it.”

“You're a short, temperamental, loudmouth of a brat and you'd better let go of me before you regret it.” Saru snarled the last bit.

Sora and Riku stared for a moment before Sora stepped forward and tried to speak up. “Whoa! Hey Yata, calm down. Don’t need to start up anything.”

“I’m not just going to walk away and let this f**king guy insult me,” Yata grumbled as he refused to let go of Saru.

Riku walked over to Saru on the other hand and placed a hand on his shoulder. He gave a serious glare towards his brother before he had a chance to reply back to Yata. “Come on, don’t make things any worse.”

Ignoring Riku’s words, Saru’s right hand shot up and grabbed Yata's wrist. “I recommend that you let go of me before you regret it.”

Yata though did not even flinch or loosen his grip. He kept his serious glare looked on Saru. “Make me.”

In a single movement, Saruhiko tore Yata's hand away from the fabric it held and threw the shorter male to the ground. Riku eyes widened as he immediately reached forward and grabbed hold of Saru’s shoulder’s, gripping them tightly as he tried to pull him back. “Saru! Back off, now!”

Saru grunted as he tried to fight against Riku. Despite Riku being a bit weak due to the fact he currently needed blood, he was still far stronger. Riku didn’t give up though, and with a deep breath he yanked on Saru’s shoulders again, managing to finally pull him back as well as causing him to let go of Yata.

“Why do you choose to fight me on his behalf? Did you forget why we came here in the first place, brother? ” Saruhiko turned to face Riku, snarling out the last word in emphasis.

“That is not what is important,” Riku replied as he pulled Saru to his feet, now moving his hands to hold onto Saru’s wrists. He twisted them slightly while trying to keep his composure. “You went too far and almost caused a scene.”

“Yeah he f**king did,” Yata grumbled as he stood up. Before he could even do anything else Sora grabbed onto him and tried to hold him back.

“Yata, it’s your fault as well that you two almost got into a fight. Just relax already,” Sora said, hoping to calm down Yata.  

Riku then cleared his throat as he looked at both Yata and Sora. “I’m really sorry for any trouble that my younger brother may have causes. He tends to be a bit blunt… most of the time.”

Yata and Sora blinked a few times before staring at Saru and then back at Riku. “Younger?!” They both asked at the same time.

Riku nodded and quickly answered while flashing a small grin. “Yeah can you believe it? He just grows like a freaking beanpole.”

“Tsk.” Saruhiko just turned and attempted to leave, yanking against the hold Riku had him in.

“Hey!” Riku shouted in surprise as he tried to stand his ground and keep Saru from moving away.

“I’m heading home. Whether you choose to come with or not. You can explain to our older brothers why we went out tonight but didn’t feed.” Saruhiko remarked, tugging again as he attempted to leave.

Riku exhaled sharply and then moved forward at a fast paced walk, and pulled Saru along with him, not once looking back to see if Yata or Sora would say anything else. Once they were back in the forest, Riku started to lose his moment of anger. The memory from before danced around in his mind again and his grip slowly loosened around Saru’s wrist. Without a moment's hesitation, Saru quickly broke the hold Riku had on him and hopped back so that he wouldn’t be caught in Riku’s grasp again.

Riku staggered forward slightly, but didn’t bother to try and grab Saru again. The memory still wouldn’t go away in his head, and it was breaking his his previous frustrated facade. He placed a hand to his face, gently over his mouth, as he let out a long, slightly shaky sigh.

“Now what’s got your panties in a twist?” Saru asked “I haven’t gone through that drawer of yours since the last time, so I know it wasn't me.”

Riku whipped around to stare at Saru, but no words left his mouth. The only thing Saru could see was that Riku’s eyes were wide, as well as looking full of hurt. It may have been hard to tell, but just maybe his eyes were starting to water.

Saruhiko looked at his brother’s sad expression with curiously, and a flicker of another emotion that briefly flashed through his eyes. “Do you want to talk about it now, or just head back?”

Riku looked to the ground. “We will need blood though… b-besides… if I talk about it… better to do it when we are home and Zexion can be there.”

Saru sighed. “Do you honestly think yourself capable of continuing to hunt tonight?”

Riku lowered his hand from his face as he looked back up at Saru, his eyes still filled with sadness. He let out a rather audible unsteady breath. “I… I don’t know… It’s just…” he trailed off as he couldn’t find a way to finish his words.

“I’m going to presume that’s a no. You still have time left before you’re at your limit, right? Then let’s go home.” Saru stepped closer and placed his hand on Riku’s shoulder.

Riku nodded. “Yeah…I’ll be fine for now.”


 

Yata and Sora stared as they watched Riku drag away his… appernely younger brother off away from the skate park and into the forest. Once the two were finally out of site, Yata realized that Sora was still holding on to him. He abrualrty pushed Sora off him as he grumbled.

“Get off me already!”

“Oh sorry! I guess I was just too distracted by what just happened. What even was that?” Sora asked.

“How the hell should I know?!” Yata said as he threw his arms up into the air.

“Well… whomever they were, they were strange. Too bad we only learned that the taller one is Saru. I wonder about the other one though…” Sora hummed thoughtful as he crossed his arms.

“I don’t know and I don’t care. Let’s just get back to what we were doing,” Yata said as he turned around to pick up his skateboard. He paused those as he quickly checked his pockets. “What the hell?!”

“What? What is it?” Sora asked.

“That f**ker took my wallet!” Yata shouted as he gritted his teeth.

“Wait seriously?”

“Do you see it anywhere around here?” Yata asked, hoping that it was actually just laying around on the ground.

Sora quickly started to look all over the whole area that they had been around. But he didn’t see Yata’s wallet anywhere. He frowned and looked back at Yata. “No I don’t see it anywhere.”

“Dammit,” Yata cursed. “That guy has my wallet now and I have no idea what he could do with it. Saru… f**cking monkey.”

Chapter Text

Saru and Riku entered into the house quietly, and once again Zexion was sitting in his favorite chair in the front room. As soon as the two came in, he glanced up from his book. “Well then, did tonight go any better for you two?”

“No,” Saruhiko gave a curt reply.

Zexion sighed as he stood up. “What went wrong this time then?” As he stepped over to the two younger brothers he took notice of how Riku looked. His face was still sad as the hurt never once had left his eyes. Zexion then turned back to Saru with a serious, concerned look. “What happened?”

Seeing as Riku wasn’t going to respond, Saru gave a brief explanation. “We found two humans out at the skatepark. After engaging, I had aggravated one of them to the point he got physical with me. At that point, we were forcibly separated, and Riku and I departed. He’s been acting like this since we were a short distance away.”

Zexion glanced back over at Riku, who finally was looked up and at him. “And what caused you to start acting so mopey?”

Riku waited a few seconds before he answered. “A memory… There’s something I should probably tell you guys…”

Zexion tilted his head slightly. “A memory? How so?”

“Let’s first sit down… I just need to sit down for this,” Riku stated as he headed towards the couch in the living room. Zexion and Saru followed right after him towards the couch. Zexion sat on the right next to Riku while Saru sat on the left.

“So what is it that you wanted to talk about?”

Riku closed his eyes as he exhaled slowly. When he opened them again he took a quick glance between his brothers. “When I was younger… back when I was living with my mother, I had a friend. Her name was Kairi and she was a human. But she was still friends with me even though she knew I was a vampire. She was always real nice to me and never once saw me as a monster. But a few months after I turned thirteen… I still wasn’t fully use to needing to rely on needing to drink blood more often. I didn’t realize how thirsty I was when I went to visit her… and…” Riku shuddered slightly while closing his eyes.

Both Zexion and Saru remained quiet. They had a feeling where Riku was going with his story, but choice to remain silent as he spoke.

“I blacked out or something… and the next thing I knew… I-I… had drained her of all her blood…” Riku finished softly as the slightly crack was heard in his voice.

“Oh…” Zexion started to say, as he tried to find his words. “I see now why you tend to not want to kill anyone when drinking their blood.”

Riku nodded. “Yeah… She was my best friend… and yet I killed her…”

“While that explains your… peculiar… behaviour when it comes to feeding, what brought this up now? We didn’t even feed tonight.”

Riku stifled slightly as he took in a deep breath. “It was what the boy… Sora… what he said. He had… made a compliment about my hair. It was similar to something Kairi always said to me. And… it just kind of hit me…”

Zexion and Saru stared at Riku, their eyes finally filling with understanding and sympathy. Riku let out another sigh as he looked down to the floor. Slowly he ran a hair through his hair as he tried to relax his mind, but nothing seemed to ease him. It had been a long time since he and truly thought about Kairi and now it was hard for him to stop fixating on the memories. Tears began to form in Riku’s eyes again as he didn’t bother to try to wipe them away.

Saruhiko hesitantly pulled Riku into an awkward hug while making a face at Zexion as if to say ‘do something already.’ Zexion stiffened slightly as he tried to think things over, but couldn’t come up with words soon enough. So he too gave a awkward hug around the other two. Eventually though he was able to clear his throat.

“At least… you’ve told us. I can understand if those thoughts and memories are hard for you, so we won’t try to pressure on anything that could relate to the subject again.”

Riku closed his eyes as he relaxed in the arms of his brothers. “Thanks… I just c-can’t stop thinking about her right now. I miss her…”

“What would you have done though…” Saru started to say, carefully trying to think his words over. It wasn’t all too often that he showed his caring side, so he had to be careful with what he said, as to not upset Riku any further. But it didn’t mean that he was not curious. “If she… hadn’t died? She would have gone on to grow up like every other human while you stayed behind and aged slowly.”

“Saru…” Zexion hissed quietly, knowing the question could be a bit too sensitive.

“I’m not sure,” Riku answered quietly. “She was my closest friend growing up. I knew she didn’t mind if I was a vampire, but… I don’t know. I never thought about it before…”

Saur suddenly felt a small pit form. He knew he was curious and didn’t think asking the question was all too bad, but he saw it lead to nowhere better. “I.. I apologize if I said too much.”

Riku quietly nodded, not having any more words to say. He only now kept his eyes closed as he breathed deeply. A few moments more passed and the two other brothers realized that they were still giving their awkward hugs to Riku. Both of them let go and sat back up straight.

“So are you going to be better now?” Zexion asked, looking towards Riku.

Riku opened his eyes and let out another sigh. “I’m not sure… I think, if it is all right, can you guess just stay with me a little while longer? Until I’ve relaxed from thinking about all of this?”

Saru sighed before responding. “Very well.”


A few hours later Zack came walking through into the room. As soon as he was there he stopped dead in his tracks and turned towards the couch. He stared with wide surprised eyes at the site that laid before him.

There was Saru, Riku, and Zexion, all fast asleep on the couch, but they were snuggled up close to one another. Zexion had his head gently resting on top of Riku’s head as he laid back against Zexion. Saru on the other hand was laying across them with his head resting on Zexion’s lap. Both Zexion and Riku had one arm draped carefully over him.

A large smile spread across his face as he stared at them. Before he could do anything though there was a knock at the front door. Zack quickly darted over to it and opened it up to reveal a adult man standing there. He had blond spiky hair and his eyes were a deep blue like the sky. He wore a long sleeve, black shirt, and black pants and boots, and there was a few silver earrings in his right ear.

Zack smiled. “Cloud! You’re just in time. You just have to see this.” He grabbed Cloud by the wrist and pulled him into the house.

“What’s up?”

“Look at this,” Zack said as he pointed to the three brothers fast asleep on the couch.

Cloud stared at the boys for a moment before looking at Zack. “What did you say to them?”

“That’s just the thing, I didn’t say anything. Isn’t it great?” Zack said, his face full of glee. “They finally are getting along! Just look how cute they are together.”

Cloud sighed slightly as he rolled his eyes. “Oh boy…”

“Hmm I should get my camera, this needs to be documented,” Zack said as he ran to get his camera.

Cloud could only chuckle softly as he watched Zack bounce around ecstatically. Moments later Zack came back, camera in hand. He stood in front of the couch as he held up the camera to his face.

“I bet you are glad that rumor about vampires not having reflections and stuff like that is fake,” Cloud commented as he watched Zack.

“Of course. This is probably the closet these three will ever get. So I wanna capture the moment forever. That way if they ever get into a fight again I can totally use this as blackma-... I mean remind them of how they have gotten along.”

Cloud rolled his eyes again as he went over to one of the nearby chairs and sat down. “Well I can’t wait to see how that goes down. But you know Saruhiko will most likely try to burn it as soon as he sees it.”

“I guess I will just have to protect it as best I can then, or maybe find someone to cast an indestructible spell on it,” Zack replied as he clicked the shutter on the camera a few times.

“An indestructible spell? You know something like that doesn’t exist.”

“It might! You never know. One day a witch or wizard could just say ‘I’ve created a spell that makes it so you cannot destroy an object ever’ and that would be totally amazing.”

“And of course problem lead to a lot of problems with what is made indestructible, and that’s a whole other level of things,” Cloud replied dryly.

“Aw you are just being a downer. Just let me have my fun with this.

“So I just came over here to see you geek out over them being brotherly?"

“I know, I know, just wait a little. Though maybe I should place them in their beds, don’t need them sleeping here the entire time,” Zack said as he stood back up, now having the pictures that he needed.

“Need help with that?” Cloud said as he stood back up.

“Yeah you can carry Riku and Saru, and I’ll carry Zexion.”

Cloud nodded as he walked over and the two up them picked up the three sleeping young men. Zack and Cloud started down the hallway when Zack started to slow down a bit. “Hey wait, I got a better idea.”

“Hm? What do you mean?”

Zack chuckled. “Let’s place them all together on my bed. I wanna see their reactions when they wake up.”

“Sometimes I don’t understand the thought process that goes through your head,” Cloud muttered as they headed down to Zack’s room.

“Hey! I gotta take the chances I am given. You know how these three get along,” Zack replied.

“Yeah, and it’s almost never.”

“I know... Sometimes though,” Zack said as she sighed slightly. “Sometimes I wish they weren’t born so far apart. Maybe if they could have actually grown up with each other, they could have gotten along better.”

“Well we all know who’s fault it is for that,” Cloud commented while rolling his eyes slightly.

“Yeah I know that too…” Zack said as he bit the inside of his cheek slightly. “But… hey we stick together and that’s what matters.”

The two of them continued to walk then down the hall until the reached Zack’s room. Once inside, they carefully placed each of the boys down on the bed. Zack couldn’t help chuckled against as he saw them all still peacefully sleeping. “This is going to be hilarious.”

“If you say so. Though I’ll be long gone before they come hunting you down,” Cloud chuckled softly.

“Relax, I’ll be fine,” Zack said before he walked over to the door. “Now come on, as like you said before, you didn’t just come here to help me carry the boys to bed.”

Cloud smiled as he walked back over to Zack and wrapped an arm around his shoulder. He gently rested his face up against Zack’s. He smiled happily before he replied back. “Yeah I know.” The two of them then headed down the hallway, back towards the front room.

Chapter Text

Light from the rising sun began to filter through the windows, slowly illuminating the three sleeping brothers. They were tangled together in a mess of limbs and clothes. Saruhiko lying on his right side at the edge of the bed, his his head on Riku’s shoulder while their legs were tangled together. Zexion lay on the other edge, curled into the side of, and on top of his younger brother’s arm . Having been in the middle, Riku lay sleeping on his back with both arms pinned by the two on either side, with his head turned to his left, burying his face into the mess that was Saru’s hair. Not long after, the sun had risen to a point where it could be seen in the window, the boys were now directly within the distilled rays of sunlight.

Saruhiko was the first to stir, slightly turning his head to see what had disturbed him from his slumber. Then in a single movement, he whipped his body around, knives having appeared in his left hand before being immediately embedded in the wall, having cut the ties that held the curtains aside, letting gravity pull them down to cover the window. However, in his half asleep state, Saru did not account for his position on the bed, and the abrupt movement that required him to roll over, had him tumbling off the bed and to the floor, dragging Riku with him as their legs were intertwined.

A pained grunt came from Saruhiko when Riku fell on top of him.

Riku on the other hand, let out a groan as his eyes slowly opened and tried to adjust to where his way. From how groggy he felt, he knew it was far to early for him to be awake. He blinked a few times as he tried to process why he was not on the couch, as that was where he last remembered being. From his eyes quickly adjusting he could see that he was in a bedroom, but his half awake mind could not tell whose it was. He knew though that he was no longer on the bed.

He finally looked down though to see that Saru was underneath him, and he was fast asleep. Riku shook his head quickly as he tried to think over everything. He wanted to try and wake Saru, but what came out was just a jumble of sleepy, slurred words.

Zexion stirred slightly on the bed, being the only one who was not engaged up with the others. Though the sound of the other two falling of the bed did cause him to wake slightly. Upon opening his eyes he had a similar reaction to Riku, as he wondered why he was not on the couch. Rubbing his eyes he slowly sat up and saw that the covers start being pulled off to the other side of the bed.

Not wanted to get up yet, he crawled over to the edge of the bed and looked down to see Riku and Saru. Without evening thinking, the thoughts in his head just left his mouth. “What the hell am I looking at?”

Riku looked up at Zexion for a brief moment before rolled off of Saru and onto the floor. He shook his head again as he started to feel a bit more awake. “I don’t know! I just woke up!”

“What do you mean you don’t know?” Zexion asked.

“Well do you know how we all ended up here?” Riku asked as he sat up slightly. “Cause last I remember we were resting on the couch last.”

“And you think I should know?!” Zexion scoffed, still trying to understand the situation for himself.

“I don’t, maybe?! You are the older of the three of us after all!” Riku retorted back.

“Sht th fk up ‘m tryn to slep.” Grumbled Saruhiko from his position on the floor, having been disturbed once more from his slumber.

Despite Zexion trying to be reasonable and logical with what was going on, he was still only half awake. So he did not consider the results of what would happen as he leaned over the bed and yanked on Saru’s hair. “No you gotta wake up. You’re apart of this too.”

Saruhiko’s hand shot up, grabbed Zexion’s arm, and yanked him off the bed along with the blankets. Zexion fell down, without much time to react, he collided with into Riku. Both boys fell back and hit the floor with a heavy grunt.

“Dn’t car. Lemmi sleep,” Saru murmured out before rolling over so that he was now partially under the bed.

“Get off me,” Riku groaned as he pushed Zexion off of him.

Zexion grumbled as he gritted his teeth. “Well it wasn’t my fault.” He turned his attention back over to Saru. “Get back here Saru. You may not care, but we do need to figure this out.” He grabbed Saru by the back of his shirt and pulled him back out from under the bed.

Saruhiko swatted at Zexion as he grumbled out a response. “Hav a Zak. ‘nly bed lrge ‘nough.” There was a pause before he continued. “Nd it smls of Clowd.”

Zexion let go of Saru’s shirt as he finally became more aware of his surroundings. Now that he took the time to properly look, he saw that they were in fact in Zack’s room. He glanced around the room a bit before turning to Riku. “How did we end up here?”

“You’re really asking me that?” Riku asked with a sigh as he rubbed his forehead. “I don’t think any of us have the proper answer.”

Laughing was then heard from the other end of the room. Zexion and Riku, being the only two who were sitting up, turned to see Zack standing in the doorway. He was starting to lean against the door as he laughed more.

“Man! I wish I had filmed that. All of your reactions… priceless.”

A knife imbedded itself into the doorframe next to Zack’s head.

Zack gaps as he jumped back, staring with wide eyes at the knife now embedded into the wood. “Hey!” he shouted as he turned back to looking where the boys were. “What was that for?”

“You’re annoying,” Saru answered, now fully awake enough to actually talk without slurring his words.

Zexion on the other hand, had narrowed his eyes as he stared directly at Zack. “Just how long were you standing there watching us?”

“Does it matter?” Zack asked with a small chuckle. “It was all pretty funny though.”

“Why were we all in your room?” Riku then asked, catching on that maybe all of this had to do with Zack.

“Cause you guys were sleeping of course. Thought it would be best if I didn’t try to seperate you guys,” Zack replied as he gave a rather cheeky smile.

“So you did have something to do with this then,” Zexion said rather accusingly as he crossed his arms.

“Yeah? So what if I did? You guys looked so peaceful all sleeping together, I didn’t wanna ruin the moment,” Zack replied with a snicker.

Riku gritted his teeth. “You really thought something like this would be funny?!”

Zack nodded. “Of course. When I see a moment of you guys being all cute and brotherly to each other, I have to take the moment and have it go for as long as I can make it.”

“So you decided to bring us all to your bed when you could have just left us on the couch,” Saru said.

“Nah, it was more fun to put you three here. Besides I am sure all three of you would have been rather uncomfortable sleeping away on the couch the entire time.”

“At least on the couch I would have gotten more sleep. You’re forgetful arse left the curtains open… again,” Saru replied.

“Oh… heh sorry about then then,” Zack said as he rubbed the back of his neck.

“What kind of vampire idiot forgets to close the curtains? Even if they are enchanted to not let the light harm us, it is still annoying,” Zexion replied.

“Hey I forget sometimes. It happens! Plus Cloud came over to visit, so forgetting about the windows is reasonable,” Zack retorted.

“Oooh,” Riku said as he rolled his eyes. “That’s why. You were distracted.”

“It’s too early for this shit,” Saru stated before getting up off the floor, and quickly walking out of the room, brushing past Zack on his way to his own bedroom.

“I guess it is a bit too early for you guys,” Zack commented as he watched Saru storm down the hallway.

“Yeah, you think!?” Riku huffed as he was the next one to get up and leave the room.

Zexion carefully stood up and straighten out some of the wrinkled that were now in his clothes. “Seriously, to what degree did you find this amusing? I cannot understand it.” Zexion then left the room without waiting to hear Zack’s answer.

It was now hours later into the late afternoon. Riku woke up and stretched, now feeling a bit better that he was able to sleep to the time he normally slept till. Though there was still the fact of needing to go out for blood. He was still thirsty, and the days were drawing closer to when he would be at his most irritable if he did not satisfy his thirst.

Once he got out of bed, and got ready for the night, he headed out into the hallway and walked down it to the front room. When he got there he saw Saru at the kitchen table looking over something. As Riku walked by he saw that it looked like a wallet.

Riku stood as stared a bit longer. “Why are you looking at some random wallet?”

“Isn’t random.” Saru answered while searching through the contents, pulling out an ID as well as a photo. “Well, this is interesting…”

Riku’s eyes widened as he saw the face on the ID. It was the guy they had encountered just the other night. The more angered one of the two; Yata. “Wait a minute! You have that guy’s wallet? How did you get that?”

“When I threw him to the ground, I swiped it from his pockets.” Saruhiko answered. “But I find this more interesting.” Saru held up the photo. It showed the two boys that they had met the night before with the man they fed from over a month ago. The three of them seemed to be at a carnival or fair, and were all happily smiling in the photo.

This time Riku gasped. “That’s Tatara! That… that’s a rather strange coincidence, wouldn’t you say?” Riku finally decided to just sit down at the table, since he figured there was going to be more discussion on the topic.  

“What are the odds.” Saru spoke with an amused undertone.

“But wait, back up for a moment. Why did you take his wallet?”

“He pissed me off, so I figured I would leave a lasting impression .”

“You can’t just steal his wallet though! He’ll most likely report that you stole it, and then we would have the police tracking us down. And who knows whether they are friendly with supernaturals or not!”

“It’s not like he could prove it was me. They can’t come after me without some form of proof. Seeing how both of them were quite oblivious, and there aren’t cameras covering the skatepark, all they can do is record down the information and keep an eye out for anything suspicious from me.”

“That’s… That’s not the point! You just stole his wallet, for what? Just to piss the guy off even more? I don’t think he’ll be too happy the next time he sees you. You need to return it,” Riku replied with a huff. He almost couldn’t believe Saru would just take some guy’s wallet, then again it was Saru… it wasn’t the most unexpected thing to come from him.

Saruhiko ignored Riku and instead went to study the ID card, and immediately began chuckling.

Riku sighed. “Now what’s so funny?”

“His real name's Misaki,” Saru answered.

“Really?” Riku asked, now a slightly bit curious about the subject matter. “So he had his name changed or something then?”

“Nope. His full name is Misaki Yata. He just goes by his family name apparently.”

“Huh…” Riku said as he trailed off. He then snapped his thoughts back to what was important. “You still have to return it though!”

“Not like I have much use for his wallet anyways. Gives me an excuse to go annoy him again.”

“We can look for then as we go out to hunt for tonight,” Riku said as he stood up and walked back towards the kitchen. While Riku knew he would have to go out soon and hunt for blood, it didn’t mean that he wasn’t just generally hungry.

Saruhiko began putting everything back into the wallet the way he found them. “So when do you intend for us to head out tonight?”

“Just as soon as I grab something quickly to eat. We shouldn’t leave too late if you are going to find Yata and return his wallet though.”

“Tsk,” Saru just clicked his tongue but didn’t give any more of a retort.

Chapter Text

Riku and Saru were finally out of the house and walking along the shadows. The sun had not completely set, but it was far enough below the horizon that it would not bother either of the boys. Both of them of course kept quiet as they walked further out and towards areas where there may be people. Within minutes though, they were slowly starting to come closer to the skate park, though they were still walking through the woods.

“I’m just going to guess that Yata may be there. If not… I guess you’ll have to find where he lives to deliver it… but don’t go off on your own for that,” Riku instructed as they looked through the trees at the current area of the park to see if there was any people.

“Hmph. Like I’m going to go out of my way to find the brat.”

Riku shrugged before returning his focus back to the people in the area. “Now at least… just need to find someone who I can lure off…Are you going feed tonight as well, or wait?”

“Might as well have my fill tonight. We’re already out.”

Riku nodded before going out towards the more open area of the park. Though it was early evening there were not a whole of lot people out. But thankfully it was more than just one person this time. Riku had picked out a person and went off to try to lure them into the forest so he could satisfy his thirst.

Saru watched carefully at the people going by. He eyed each and everyone of them carefully until he located one person who walked close to the edge of the forest. The person seemed to just be casually strolling by, and they were nearing the area that Saru was hiding in.

He carefully reached into his pockets and pulled out a small rag and a bottle. He poured a little of the liquid onto the rag and waited for the person to get a little bit closer. He stiffened as he saw within a few seconds, the person would be directly in front of him. He only had one chance to make this work.

The figure just started to pass by Saru extended his arms quickly and pressed the ragged against their mouth. Whomever the person was wided their eyes as they tried to process what was happened, but slowly their eyes felt heavy and everything started to fade away. Saru glanced around once more to see if anyone was looking before pulling the now limp body into the forest.

After Saru had his fill, he carefully set the body sitting up against a nearby tree. Sooner or later the person would wake up again, but Saru was not going to be there when that happened. Instead he walked casually out of the forest and began to look for where Riku was. He knew that Riku’s method of things was a bit slower, so it would take a little more time for him to return. So Saru decided to walk a little closer to the skate park while waiting… just to see who was there.

Much to his surprise, after only just glancing around, he saw the familiar chestnut colored hair guy. It seemed though that he was gathering his stuff and heading out of the skate park. Saru stuck to the shadows as he watched Yata leave the skate park and head off in a direction, presumably towards his house.

Saru thought over the idea of following Yata, knowing that Riku would not approve of such a thing, but he decided to go and do it anyways. He kept to the shadows as he followed a short distance behind Yata, making sure that there wouldn’t be seen if Yata were to turn around.

Eventually Yata came up to a split in the road. The street their were on was the start of a subdivision that lead into a series of different houses and small apartments. Instead of going left or right though, Yata headed straight, towards an alleyway. Saru figured it was probably some shortcut to the other side of the subdivision.

Saru quietly tried to follow behind Yata, though as he was entering the alley, not only did the light steps of his footprints make Yata stop, but also from the slight shadow casted forward from the street lights behind him.

Yata spun around and his eyes immediately widened with anger. “Ah! It’s you! The monkey!”

“Monkey? That’s not all that nice of a nickname, eh, Misaki?” Saruhiko asked tauntingly.

Yata tensed up slightly. “H-How did you-” He was cut off, however, as Saru had thrown something at him. As it was unexpected, the object hit Yata square in the face, before he scrambled to catch the item as it fell, dropping his skateboard in the process.

Yata held his wallet in his hands for a moment before flipping through all the pockets to see if everything was still there. He then looked up, his eyes glaring harshly. “So it was you! Why the hell did you take it and then just give it right back to me? You didn’t seem to take anything from it. What are you trying to do?”

Saruhiko chuckled. “How else was I supposed to guarantee that we could continue our little game without interruptions Mi~Sa~Ki~?”

Yata gritted his teeth as he shoved the wallet back into his pocket, not once taking his eyes off of Saru. “Shut the hell up with that! What are you even talking about… ‘little game’?”

“We were interrupted last night, were we not?” Saru asked, giving a lazy smirk. “So, shall we continue where we left off?”

Yata took one step forward, a deep, serious expression. Small flames danced around his fists. “If you wanna continue things, I won’t let you get the upper hand this time. If you don’t just back off… I’ll have to wipe that smug-ass grin off your face.”

“Hm?” Saruhiko looked at the flames with curiosity. “So it seems that a shrimp like you had just enough focus to learn destructive magic.”

The flames increased around his fists, now starting to wrap around his wrists. Slowly the flames were growing larger as the seconds moved by. “Oh that’s it, you’re asking for it now!”

“Hmph.” Saru flicked his wrists, and in each hand appeared a set of three knives. He brought his arms up in a cross before him, one set of knives glowing red-hot with fire licking at the edges while the others shimmered blue with hexagons flickering into and out of existence.

The two crouched down, preparing to charge at each other. The seconds ticked down before they finally jumped forward, ready to attack.

A faint blue light appeared in front of both of them, not given either of them enough time to stop before they collided face first into it. They fell to the ground to the ground with a heavy thud as the glowing light started to fade. Right between the boys stood Riku, with wide, glaring eyes. He first was looking at Yata, but then his, deep, angered, death gaze slowly shifted over to Saru.

“Why do older brothers always have to come and ruin my fun?” Saruhiko almost whined out.

“I swear Saruhiko,” Riku started to say.

Right away Saru knew Riku was incredible ticked off, as he only called him by his full name when he was either irritable from needing his fill, or if he was very angered.

“I thought I could just leave you alone for just a few minutes this time. I thought maybe… just maybe you would listen to tonight and no go off and do something stupid,” Riku continued. “But no… what do you do? You go and run off and stalk after this guy!” Riku then gestured to Yata, who was still laying on the ground and staring with wide eyes. “And then you tried to start up another fight with him, and this time using magic!”

Before Saru could be given a chance to respond, Riku turned around to Yata and spoke to him. “Did he give you back your wallet?”

“What?” Yata said, snapping out of the slight daze he was in from what was transpiring in front of him.

“I said did he give you back your wallet,” Riku said quickly, he was in no mood to really be repeating his questions.

“Y-Yeah he did…” Yata said as he inched back slightly, intimated by the strong and furious look in Riku’s eyes.

“Good,” Riku huffed before turned back to Saruhiko. He bent over and grabbed onto one of his ankles and started to walk away, dragging Saruhiko behind him. He paused though for a moment as he looked back at Yata again. “Sorry for my brother being an annoying idiot… again.”

Riku then continued to walk away, still dragging Saruhiko on the ground behind him.

“Is this really necessary?” Saru asked, more annoyed with the fact that his fun was interrupted again rather than the fact he was being dragged on his back by his ankle.

Riku let out a sharp breath of air. “Well would you rather have me carry you back?”

“That's less destructive on my jacket.”

Riku paused for a moment before releasing Saruhiko’s ankle. He then turned around and grabbed onto Saruhiko and slung him over his shoulder before proceeding to walk again. He didn’t say a word though, the frustration clearly still etched into his face.  Saruhiko didn't bother to struggle, instead he just crossed his arms and looked annoyed.

Chapter Text

The Riku walked back, carrying Saru, in silence, neither of them caring to speak to one another the entire way home. When they arrived at the house, Riku unlocked the door and swung it wide open. Without a word he immediately tossed Saru off him and on to the floor of the house. He slide slightly across the wooden floor before coming to a slow stop.

That was not necessary.” Saru growled out.

Zexion, who was in the kitchen area this time reading his book, stared at the two before sighing heavily. “Oh great… what happened now?”

“I think it should be necessary,” Riku growled back before turning to Zexion. “This idiot not only up and left the area while I went to get my drink, but he also stalked and followed one of the guys we had the problem with yesterday. And on top of that, when I found the two of them, they were both about to start fighting… with magic!”

“Wasn't expecting him to be a magic user,” Saruhiko grunted out as he stood up.

“And yet you still were going to go and fight him? Even before knowing this fact?” Zexion asked, sounding clearly displeased with what he just heard.

“I find it quite… entertaining… to aggravate him. Even more so than annoying the hell out of Riku,” Saruhiko answered.

Zexion stepped over to Saruhiko, looked at him with heavy disappointment. Reaching forward he grabbed Saruhiko’s ear and tugged on it slightly. “Just how old do you think you are!? I know you are the youngest of us, but that does not mean you get to act like a child. You are currently physically nineteen, either try to act that age, or act your real age. Don’t act like a snotty, bratty little child.”

Saruhiko glared furiously. “ Don't f**king touch me! It's not like you honestly care about what I get up to anyways!”

Zexion withdrew his hand and stared long and hard. The frustration in his face faded and it was replaced with a more relaxed and sympathetic look. “You are incorrect about that. I may not show it, but I do care. I especially care when you go and act recklessly.”

Tsk. Then where were you when my life fell apart... where were you all when she died…” Saru whispered put the last part.

Both Riku and Zexion glanced at Saru with confusion. There was an expression on his face that they have never really seen before. It was almost sad, longing in expression. He only stood there, not saying anything else as he lowered his head.

“What?” Zexion asked, being able to hear the last part more than Riku cloud since he was currently right next to Saru. “Who… are you talking about?”

Riku took a step closer, not ready to say anything, but starting to wonder and feel a small bit concerned over what Saru could had said. He didn’t know exactly what to say though, as he did not quiet catch the second half of the sentence.

“It's none of your concern,” Saru muttered as he turned to leave.

“Now wait one moment,” Zexion said as he grabbed onto Saru’s arm. “You mentioned something about someone… someone dying, and we’re not just going to let you walk away after saying that.”

Riku tensed slightly at those words, his memories of Kairi coming back for the moment, and yet he still wondered what Saru meant exactly. He cleared his throat. “Saru… You know, you can tell us. We’ll listen.”

“Neither of you came when they came for me! When he killed my mother.” Saru snarled out. “Zack was the one who saved me, so where were you?”

“You know we didn’t really have much choice about that,” Riku replied. “Zack never told us when he went to get you.”

“Riku’s right. Zack did not inform us when he was bringing you here, just as he did before when he brought Riku here. None of us knew about each other until we were brought here,” Zexion added as he finally let go of Saru’s arm. “Maybe if we had known… but…” Zexion paused for a moment as he pursed his lips. “Who’s… ‘he’?”

“I… don't know his name...all I know is… he had long silver hair… it's been almost twenty-four years since then...”

“So…” Riku started softly as he took in the information Saru was telling them. He knew from experience about how a subject like this could be touchy, but he wanted to know more. If he could know more… maybe finally after all these years, they could come to a better understanding. “This guy… killed your mother? Was he a hunter?”

Saruhiko looked thoughtful before answering. “I would assume so. There was a group that came, and they were after me. When mother refused to let them harm me… he just… ran her through… no hesitation… no remorse.”

Zexion narrowed his eyes. “It was most likely that neo supernatural hunter group then. It would make sense if they tried to go after both of you if they found out your mother was human who had a child with a vampire.”

“Can’t believe that group is still around,” Riku muttered. “I know there are still plenty of people who still don’t like supernaturals, but… that group is the only one that is still actively causing most the problems.”

Riku thought for a moment more before he added something else. “I’m sorry Saru…”

“I don't need your pity,” Saruhiko turned and walked to his room, slamming the door shut as he entered.

Riku and Zexion stood there before they both let out a sigh. Zexion gently brushed away the hair that covered his face only for it to fall back once he let go. “That was… something then.”

“I never knew he was keeping something like that to himself. His mother’s death… it’s most likely is on the same day as his birthday…Can’t believe though, he has been keeping that to himself for all these years.”

“You’re one to talk Riku, you kept your past hidden from us,” Zexion said, trying not to sound too rude, but he wanted to still make his point.

Riku sighed heavily as he crossed his arms. “Then should I suspect that you also may be keeping something from us?”

Zexion looked away, only proving Riku’s point, but he didn’t really care at the moment. “Perhaps. But that… should be for another time. Now at least… when Saru’s birthday comes, we should be more considerate towards him.”

Riku nodded slowly. “Yeah I know…I think I’m just going to relax for right now…” Riku said before he headed down the hall, off to another part of the house.

Another sigh was let out from Zexion as he sat back down at the table. He glanced at his book for a moment, thinking about reading it again, but now he didn’t have the effort. Slowly instead became lost in thoughts and memories from the past.

Chapter Text

Saru laid down in bed and tried to doze off. His eyes had started to close but he tried to keep them open. Even though he knew he should... he didn't want to fall asleep... not yet. But he couldn't help it as his eyes fluttered a few times before they started to close for a final time. The last thought on his mind was hoping he could get some peaceful sleep. It was one thing he hoped that could happen. However, his mind was far too focused already. His dream seemed to begin simple enough, with nothing major happening; but, gradually it began to fade into something else. There was a presence about that particular sequence of events that was almost haunting. It was something near to him; something… familiar.



A young Saruhiko laid on his bed, curling up his knees to his chest. He clutched one of his pillows tightly as he let his tears soak into the sheets. A few minutes later he heard footsteps coming from the hall.

“Saru? Are you okay?” a sweet, kind, feminine voice asked.

Saru didn’t answer or move though. He was far too upset to answer. He didn’t want to answer, not after what he had just learned. The bed sunk slightly behind him, and he figured that she was now sitting behind him.

“Saru,” she whispered softly. “I know you still are trying to understand, but you know you can talk to me.”

“I don’t want to understand though! Why… Why do I have to be a vampire all of a sudden…”

In the next second he felt arms push underneath him and pull him up off the bed. He slowly looked up to met eyes with her… with his mother. His mother...with her light brown, braided hair, and deep green eyes. She looked at him with those, kind eyes, and smiled.

“I know sweetheart, I know it’s probably tough to be adjusting to it. But you need to be strong, like I know you can.”

“But I don’t know anything about being a vampire! And you aren’t one so you can’t help. And my stupid father never was ever around to even tell me he was a vampire,” Saru grumbled as he continued to be cradled by his mother.

His mother stiffened slightly. “You don’t say that about your father. I know… you never met him, but he really is a very nice man. He may be a bit overly charismatic and all of that, but he does have a deep sense of caring and compassion.”

“If he is all that, then he should have f**king been here for me and not just abandoned you to raise me by yourself.”

Saru then felt his ear being pulled. He winced as he looked to see a displeased look on his mother’s face. “We do not use that kind of language Saruhiko. I know he made a choice that may have not been the best, but I know he still cares.”

“Sure…” Saru pouted as he sighed heavily.

“Now come on Saru, it’s your thirteenth birthday today. Why don’t we go out and have some fun?” she asked as she ran one hand through his hair.

“Can we really though?” Saru asked quietly, as he tried to stop the tears from coming back. “Won’t people look at me weirdly and hate me? Cause now my vampire stuff has awoken?”

The arms wrapped tighter around him and pulled him closer. “I won’t let anyone think that about you. You are the most wonderful, and sweetest son ever. And if they can’t see that, then that is their problem. But people don't hate vampires as much as they did in the past.”

Saru smiled a little after hearing his mother speak kindly to him. No matter what would happen, she would always find a way to cheer him up. He finally wrapped his arms around her and rested his head on her shoulder. “Thanks mom.”

The doorbell rung in the next second.

Saru’s mother let go of him and placed him back down on the bed. “I guess I should go and see who-”

The sound of the door being broken down made both of them nearly jump. Footsteps were heard coming closer and closer. His mother took a step forward before spinning around to look Saru directly in the eyes. Never before had Saru seen such fear and worry in her eyes. She ran forward and wrapped her arms around him, holding him tighter than before.

“Saru, I want you to listen carefully to me. I don’t want to risk you trying to running away…It would be too dangerous if they saw you… so just please… stay put until it is safe,” she said in a hush voice as she picked him up and carried him to the closet. She then placed her hand on top of his head as a magical glow formed.

She was casting a special protection spell over him. A pretty powerful one from how it felt as it flowed around Saru. He just didn’t know why she was doing it. He couldn’t figure it out. It wanted to try and ask her, but everything was happening all to fast for him. She gently kissed him on the forehead before stood up slowly, tears now filling her eyes. She grabbed the door to the closet and started to close it.

“Never forget that I will always love you Saru,” his mother said as she choked on a sob.

The door closed on Saru and he stood there in the near darkness. The only light that he could see, was the faint light coming from the cracks in the door. Saru was still confused though. He still didn’t understand why his mother was doing his. So slowly he opened the door less than an inch. Though he didn’t see his mother anywhere in the room.

He stepped out when he heard a loud crash coming from downstairs. Saru felt his heart beating rapidly against his chest as he ran out of his room and to the staircase. Just down the stairs he saw that there was pieces of furniture knocked over and glass shards were spread across the floor.

“Is it a burglar? But it’s the middle of the day… That doesn’t make any sense,” Saru thought to himself as he slowly approached the edge of the staircase.

“Aah!” a familiar female voice scream.

It was his mother.

Now he was really scared.

He then saw he body slide across the ground near the staircase. “Mom!” He ran down the stairs without a second thought and tried to get near her. Just as he neared the last few steps he stopped and looked up.

There was a man standing across the room with a couple of others standing behind him To Saru he was several feet tall and was wearing a lot of black and held a long sword in his left hand. He had long silver hair that flowed down, past the middle of his back. He was staring down at Saru’s mother before slowly looked up to see Saru.

Saru froze as he saw the glare from the man. It was a dark and menacing glare that was far scarier than Saru had ever seen before. He smiled coldly as he tilted his head back slightly.

“Ah, there’s the monster. So you were lying then,” the man scoffed as he walked forward.

Saru wanted to move, but he still stood there frozen. He wanted to run away, or go to help his mother, but the glare that the man was giving him scared him far too much. Then his mother slowly stood back up and walked forward a bit.

“I won’t let you get any closer,” she replied as she stared down at the man. “You are not going to hurt him.”

With the flick of her wrist, a glowing white barrier former at the bottom of the staircase up onto the ceiling. Saru pressed against the magic barrier as he watched with wide eyes as she tried to conjure up more magic to her hands.

“You will leave now,” she said in a dead serious voice.

The man rolled his eyes. “I will not. You are harboring a vampire, and the vampire is your own child. We cannot have a wretched creature like that invading the schools and causing problems for everyone. He must be disposed of.”

Saru watched as his mother did not move an inch. He couldn’t see her face, but he knew she must have had that strong, serious face as she stared at the man. She took in a deep breath as she spoke up once more.

“I said you will not hurt him.”

There was a pause before the silver-haired man spoke again.

“Then you will pay the price.”

The man shifted slightly before holding up his sword and lunging forward. He could see that his mother was starting to cast some magic, preparing for the attack. But Saru closed his eyes and covered his ears as he heard his mother scream. Her scream was anguished and pained, but then it just stopped.

Saru opened one eye to see that the long blade was now sticking right through her abdomen. Saru could see that there was blood heavily stained across the tip of the blade and slowly dripping to the floor. Aside from that his mother was slumped over on the sword, unmoving and having no sign of breathing.

A sense of utter fear and horror swelled up in side of him as he screamed. Tears blurred his vision as he watched the man jerk the sword back effortlessly. Saru watched as his mother dropped to the ground with a thud, and laid there as a pool of blood started to form around her.

A unamusing expression spread across the man’s face as he sighed. “And I thought a human with high magic powers would put up more of a fight. What a waste.”

“Moooom!!” Saru screamed as his breathing became faster and faster. He pounded against the magic barrier, but it did nothing. He tried to glare at the man, but when he saw how cold his expression was, all he felt was fear. “H-How could you!?”

Stepping closer the man chuckled. “Don’t you understand? You are a vampire. A monster. And monsters are evil and must be purged from this world.”

“I-I’m… not…” Saru started to say as he took a step back. He knew the barrier was still up, but the slowly approaching man, made him want to turn and run away. Yet he didn’t want to leave his mother dying there. He wanted to believe that she could still be alive. He could maybe save her.

“You are though. One small little monster, and therefore I must kill you. All I have to do is break this barrier, so don’t try to run away.”

The sword clashed against the barrier, sparking with flashes of light. Saru let out another scream. He knew he wanted to run, but now his legs felt as still as stone. He only could stand there, frozen in place as the barrier slowly started to break.



Saru woke up with a short scream, though he quickly tried to calm himself down. His eyes were still blurry as he felt the tears streaking down his cheeks. He sat up as he pressed his hands to his face. He kept trying to take in deep breaths and his tried to calm down from what he had just dreamt.

“Just a... nightmare… a nightmare of that… memory…”

After a few minutes of deep breathing he finally sat up straight and ran a hand through his hair. He knew he usually would have that nightmare the closer he got to his birthday. After nearly twenty-four years, he expected it to always show up. But it still scared him up every single time. Even though he was no longer a kid, it still haunted him deeply.

Once he had evened out his breathing, Saruhiko reached over to his nightstand and grabbed his glasses. Seeing as he wasn't going to get anymore sleep, Saru got out of bed and left his room, making his way down to the kitchen. He paused when he turned the corner, having found Zexion passed out at the table. Scattered around the sleeping brother were newspaper clipping along with a few other documents. Saru just walked passed and got a bowl of cereal, before heading back to sit beside Zexion at the table.

In his curiosity, Saru started skimming through some of the articles, which he quickly discovered were reports pertaining to supernaturals’ deaths and their suspected killers. Most of the articles were showing that it was the group of supernatural hunters. Upon closer inspection, Saru saw that a lot of the papers were far older that he thought they were. A lot of them were from nearly a century ago, and had more frequent events of supernatural deaths. The most recent dated articles had the events spread out and were not as violent as the older ones.

Zexion groaned as he stirred slightly. His back shifted as he soon pushed himself up into a sitting position. He blinked as he looked over at Saru before yawning. “Saru… what are you… what time is it…” He glanced around to see that there was faint light bleeding through the curtain covered windows. His eyes shifted to the kitchen clock and he saw that it was a quarter past noon, far too early for either of them to be up.

“Couldn’t sleep,” Saruhiko answered between bites of food.

Zexion rubbed his eyes before slowly nodding. “Ah… I see. I guess I must have lost track of time here. I don’t even remember falling asleep.”

“Hunting hunters?”

“Yeah… What you said before… it made me think about something I really hadn’t given much thought to. Not for a long while anyways,” Zexion said as his eyes looked over some of the papers on the tablet. “I know that today things are a bit better between humans and supernaturals, but there are still a few red areas. But when I was a child, things were much harsher. A lot of things really started to escalate for a while back then...”

There was a pause before Zexion spoke again. “I think… there could be some connection.”

“Hm?” Saru hummed in curiosity as his mouth was full of cereal.

“The… man who killed your mother, and the supernatural hunters group that started up from when I was young. I believe that he most likely is apart of the same group.”

Saru looked at his brother in curiosity. “What makes you think that?”

“You mentioned one particular thing that caught my attention. You said the man that came after you had silver hair. Well… sometime after Zack got me and took me in, the most well known and dangerous supernaturals hunter group surfaced. And it was lead by a man who had silver hair.”

“I highly doubt that it’s the same monster of a man.” Saru quipped before eating more.

“I don’t mean to say that. But I think he could very well be related to the originator,” Zexion stated. “Um… sorry if the subject matter bothers you, I just started to think about it and got lost in doing research.”

“Too tired to care at the moment,” Saru replied before continuing. “Do you have any way to track them down?”

“Huh?” Zexion asked, a little surprised. “You mean finding where the supernatural hunters base may be?”

“Uh hum.” Mumbled out Saru with food in his mouth.

“Well… I wouldn’t know exactly where to look. They are secretive and no one has ever been able to give a location on them. But… Saru, you shouldn’t try to go after them. It would be reckless and dangerous. From what they have done before, all of the members in that group are skilled fighters. You would get hurt… or worse… you know… you would be killed.”

Saruhiko looked at Zexion with an odd expression. “I might be a bit crazy, but I’m not suicidal.”

Zexion sighed. “I just don’t want you to get yourself in over your head. I know you most likely want revenge, but unless we can figure out a solid plan, I wouldn’t just go recklessly looking for them.”

“I only care about the one hunter, the rest of the group doesn’t concern me,” Saru had finished his cereal and stood up to put his bowl in the dishwasher.

Zexion hummed as he started to gather up the newspapers and report articles. “Hmm I see. If I do find anything… then I will let you know.”

“Hn.” Saru hummed as he turned back to face Zexion. “Do you by chance know when Zack is usually free?”

“Not exactly sure. You know how he is. Here one moment and gone the next. Though judging by the time, he should be done with the day job soon. He’ll probably be back eventually,” Zexion replied. He then started to wonder why exactly Saru would ask that all of a sudden. He thought to ask him, but he knew he probably wouldn’t get a proper answer from him.

Chapter Text

The following day after the near fight, Yata headed down the street in a peaceful residential area. He was going to go see Tatara. He didn’t have anything else really planned, and he did want to check up on how his friend was doing. Tatara had been let out only a few weeks after the event, but he was told to still take it easy. So Yata knew that Tatara was probably just relaxing at home. He walked with his hands in his pockets as he kept thinking about what had happened last night.

“The guy… Saru. What the hell is his deal?!” his thoughts grumbled to himself as he walked. No matter how hard Yata tried, he couldn’t stop thinking about the encounter.

Yata soon came down the street that Tatara lived on. He walked up to the front door of the house once he got there and rang the doorbell. After a moment, a little girl with long silver hair, pale skin, and bright red eyes had opened the door. She had on a red and black lolita dress, white stockings, and a pair of red dress shoes.

“Misaki.” She spoke in a quiet voice. “Here to visit Tatara as well?”

“Ah Anna, I didn’t know that you were visiting Tatara,” Yata said as he smiled at the young girl. “How have you been?” he asked before stepping inside the house.

“I’ve been well,” Anna answered as she closed the front door once Yata was inside. “What about you, Misaki? You appear to be frustrated with something.”

Yata sighed as he shook his head sightly. “Ah it’s nothing really, just something rather annoying that happened last night.”

They walked down the hallway until they reached the living room. There Yata saw that Tarata was sitting on the couch, and a familiar red headed young adult man was sitting in one of the chairs across from him. Of course it made sense he was there since he was Anna's adoptive father.

“Hey Mikoto,” Yata said as he smiled at the man. He then looked over at Tatara. “And hey Tatara.”

“Yata!” Tarata beamed. “It’s so nice of you to drop on by. Take a seat.” Tatara gestured to the couch spaces next to him before Yata walked over and sat down.

Mikoto waved a small bit to Yata, but other than that, didn’t say anything. Anna then walked over to the chair next to Mikoto and climbed up onto it and sat back down. Tarata then looked over to Yata and gave a cheerful smile.

“So how have you been Yata? Any news on those new skateboard tricks you and Sora are working on?”

“We’ve been getting some things down, not ready to show anyone yet though. But how are you feeling?” Yata asked, quickly glancing to Tatara’s neck. Though it was half covered by his shirt, part of the bite marks, now as scars, could still be seen.

“I’ve been fine. Now that I got my strength back I can get back to doing what I enjoy most!”

“And what would that be? You have a lot of favorite pastimes and hobbies.”

“You are correct about that. But I was thinking of making a new song,” Tatara replied as he held up some sheet music. A few of the sheets were blank, but others had musical notes and side notes written all over it. “I’m hoping to have it ready in a week or so and then I’ll go and play for everyone in the park.”

“I can’t wait,” Anna commented quietly as she clasped her hands together. “I’m sure it will be beautiful.”

Tatara hummed happily. “Thanks Anna. You are my biggest supporter after all. It wouldn’t be the same if you weren’t there to cheer me on.”

Tatara then paused for a moment before he turned over to look at Yata. “So anything else interesting happen lately?”

“Well…” Yata started as he remember the events of the past few days. “There is one thing…”

“Oh?” Tatara asked curiosity.

“Two nights ago when Sora and I were practicing our tricks, we encountered these two weirdos.”

Mikoto raised an eyebrow slightly. “Weirdos? How so?”

“Hmph I don’t know. They just kind of showed up and then left, but man was one of them completely annoying. I came so close to punching him in the face. The fu-” Yata started to say until he felt the intense glare from Mikoto on him. Yata held his mouth open for a moment as he glanced from Mikoto over to Anna, who was looking at him curiously. He then cleared his throat. “The stupid monkey.”

“Monkey?” Anna asked.

“Saru…well that is the first half of his name at least,” Yata replied. “That guy really ticked me off. Not only that, but he stole my wallet!”

“Did you report him to the police?” Tatara asked.

“I was going to… but then last night he just found me and returned it.”

“Just returned it?” Mitkoko asked, sitting up straight in the chair, now a bit more curious about Yata’s story.

“Yeah nothing was stolen or taken as far as I can tell. But he still then proceed to tick me off. With that dumba-... stupid smirk on his face,” Yata replied as he caught himself once more from nearly swearing in front of Anna. “He also can use magic.”

“Do you think then he could actually be a warlock or some other supernatural?” Tatara asked.

“How should I know? I only talked with him a few minutes before his apparent older brother showed up and literally dragged him off.”

Tatara thought about it for a moment before he asked yet another question. “So you don’t know anything about him besides his name?”

“Yeah only his name, not the brother though. Still ticks me off though.”

“Well if he is a warlock,” Mikoto interjected. “I’d say steer clear of him. Your current level of magic probably is not as high as his.”

“I may just be human, but I can learn to use strong magic. So when can you give me another lesson? Maybe later today?” Yata asked, wanting any chance he could get to improve his magic.

Mikoto shrugged as he laid back in the chair. He closed his eyes as he relaxed. “Maybe some other day…”

Yata huffed. “Well if you won’t teach me anymore, I’ll just go ask Axel.”

Mikoto shrugged nonchalantly. “Fine by me.”

Yata groaned in frustration. It was always so hard to tell where Mikoto would go with a conversation. Most of the time it always ended up with him just brush it all off and trying to fall asleep. Tatara though started to bring up other subjects to talk about, and they all started to have more enjoyable conversation.


 

A few hours after Yata had visited Tatara, he was heading on his way home. He carefully checked his surroundings though as he walked. Wondering if Saru would be walking behind him or not. As he continued though, he did see someone familiar all the way at the end of the block.

“Sora!” he called out as he picked up his pace and headed over to him.

“Hey Yata, how’re doing?” Sora asked. “Did you report your stolen wallet yet?”

“Didn’t have to. That monkey Saru, showed up last night and returned it to me.”

“Wait what?! Seriously?” Sora asked, his face stretching with surprise.

“Yeah he was just trailing behind me or something then just gave it back. The f**cking weirdo.”

“Um… was the other guy there too? The other brother?” Sora asked.

“He did show up after I was about to fight the monkey,” Yata replied as he gave a sigh. He couldn’t ever get away from the subject now could he? It just seemed it would stick around for days.

“Did you get his name this time? I… I was just curious. After all we learned the taller one was Saru, I was just wondering about the other guy.”

“Nope, his name was never said. All I learned though that Saru’s full name is Saruhiko, and that other brother… has quite the intimidating angered glare.”

“Oh… okay. Well who knows, maybe we’ll run into them again,” Sora said with a smile.

“Oh hell no! I don’t want to see that stupid monkey’s face again!” Yata huffed angrily.

“Aw come on, you’re just saying that. I think it would be cool to properly meet those two and actually to know them,” Sora replied as he placed his hands behind his head.

“You really think it would be cool to try to meet the guy who tried to fight me just out of random?!”

“Well I’m sure you also tried to start up the fight with up, so what difference does it make” Sora replied as he smirked.

Yata groaned as he rolled his eyes. “Whatever. See you tomorrow though? We still have to work on a few more things until we can properly coordinate our stunts.”

Sora nodded. “Yeah, see you then.”

The two then walked off in different directions. The sun was starting to dip below the horizon and Sora glanced up to the sky to look at the changing colors. He enjoyed watching the sky as he walked the rest of the way to his house. When he got there he took the key out of his pocket and placed it into the keyhole and opened the door.

Chapter Text

As soon as Sora stepped inside he saw that the lights in to the family room were turned off. He looked into the room on his right and saw that two people were resting on the couch. One was a female with shoulder length blonde hair. She wore a white tank top, but it was covered by a slightly large light gray jacket, and she had light blue jeans. The male, who was a few years older than Sora, had hair that was very similar to Sora’s, except his hair was black. He wore a black t-shirt with some tears in the sleeves, and styled, tattered black jeans.

Sora smiled at the two of them, thinking how cute they looked together. Though he slowly flipped on the light switch as he snickered. The two on the couch opened their eyes before squinting. Both of them then looked over to Sora, with the raven-haired boy glaring with his golden eyes with a faint blue around the edges.

“Hey Sora! Come on, we were just falling asleep!” he growled angrily.

“Sorry Vanitas, but I just couldn’t help it,” Sora chuckled as he smiled.

“But you can’t just go and-” Vanitas started to say, but the blonde placed a hand on Vanitas’s cheek.

“Vani, relax. You don’t wanna get worked up over nothing,” she said as she spoke softly.

“But Namine,” Vanitas said as he turned to look at her. But as soon as he did, he sighed and let out a smiled at her. He then leaned forward and rested his forehead against Namine’s. After a small pause he then looked back at Sora.

“So is there something you want or are you going to keep staring?” Vanitas asked his younger brother.

“Oh… well…” Sora started as he thought over what he wanted to say. “I was wondering if I could talk to you about something.”

“Can it wait, or do you need to talk right now?” Vanitas asked, sitting up a bit more.

“I mean I can wait, if you guys wanna be alone,” Sora replied as he took a step back, ready to head upstairs.

“No if you need to talk, we can talk now,” Vanitas said before glancing over to Namine. “Is is all right if-”

Namine nodded. “Yeah it’s fine. Though now that I see the time, I should be going. I have to be at work in less than half an hour.”

The two of them stood up and looked at each other once more. Vanitas wrapped his arms around Namine before planting a gentle kiss against her lips. After their kissed he smiled at her. “See you tomorrow then.”

Namine said her goodbye to Vanitas and then headed towards the door. She gave a quick goodbye to Sora and then headed outside. Sora closed the door after she left and faced Vanitas. “You know you forgot to have her give you back your jacket.”

Vanitas laughed as he walked up to his brother. “I didn’t forget. I let her keep it. It looks really cute on her with it being slightly oversized.” He then ruffled Sora’s hair. “So what was it you wanted to talk about?”

Sora shifted and went over to sit on the couch. Vanitas followed behind him and sat right next to him. After a moment Sora finally spoke up. “Well… I don’t really know. I just feel… maybe bit conflicted about things.”

“What kind of things? Come on Sora you gotta be specific.”

“Two days ago, I met this guy. I think he could have been a year or so older than me. Never seen him before though. But…” Sora’s cheeks started to redden. He lowered his head as he let out a whisper. “I thought he was really pretty.”

Vanitas ruffled Sora’s hair again as he then quickly pulled him into a hug. “So you got a crush on someone. Now I see. Haha, how cute!”

Sora scrunched up his nose as he tried to break free of his brother’s graphs. “Cut it out! I’m serious!”

“I can tell you are, but it doesn’t mean I don’t think it’s cute. So tell about him then.”

“Well… the thing is… I don’t actually know who he is.”

“Huh? What do you mean?”

“I mean he showed up at the skate park with his brother. And we talked for a moment and then he left after his brother nearly got into a fight with Yata. I never even learned his name…”

“So you’ve never seen this guy before?” Vanitas asked, trying to figure out as much as he could about the situation.

Sora shook his head. “Nope, never had. Maybe he just moved here or something.”

“Hey, don’t seem so down about it. You got a mystery boy on the brain, which means you definitely gotta find him again.”

“But… I don’t even know where I could find him or what I say. I’m still embarrassed what I said to him right after meeting him.”

“Oh?” Vanitas asked, raising an eyebrow in curiosity. “How so?”

“I just… kind of flat out told him that his hair was pretty,” Sora stated as his face reddened a bit more.

Vanitas laughed, but then stopped when he saw how upset Sora looked. “Sorry. But hey, it can’t be as embassring as how I met Namine.”

Sora started to laugh as he looked at Vanitas. “Okay you got me there. I don’t think anything could top that. But… hmm do you think maybe you could track him then? The guy I met?”

“I’d need something with his scent first, you know that,” Vanitas replied.

“Oh… well Yata’s wallet was stolen and then returned by the guy’s younger brother; Saru. His name was the one Yata and I ended up finding out during our meeting.”

“Stole it… and returned it?”

“Yeah, it’s weird I know. But maybe you think you could pick up a scent of Saru? And then maybe it could lead you to them?” Sora asked, hoping his older brother would help him out. He really wanted to see the mysterious boy again, but he wasn’t sure if it would ever happen. He wanted to take any chance he could get to try and find him though.

“Ah… I suppose. If the scent is strong enough. But you’d half to ask Yata of course. I’m not just going to smell the guys’ wallet.”

“Yeah yeah I know. Thank Vani!” Sora said before wrapping his arms around his brother and hugging him. “I’ll ask him first thing tomorrow and let you know. But how about you come with me? You can see the tricks Yata and I are working on.”

“Sure, I got nothing to do anyways tomorrow,” Vanitas said as he gave a small shrug.

Chapter Text

After Zexion had cleared off the kitchen table and gone off to bed, Saruhiko moved to lounge on the couch. He was thumbing through various books in order to pass the time until Zack returned home. There was already a pile of books forming on the floor as Saru grew bored from each book in a matter of moments.

Thankfully the sound of the lock on the door clicked and the door opened up. Zack walked through, carrying a few bags, and closed it behind him, noticing Saru right away. “Oh hey Saru, I didn’t expect you to be up this early.”

“Nightmare. Couldn’t sleep.” Saruhiko looked up at Zack, putting down the book. “Wanted to ask you something.”

“Oh, it’s that nightmare isn’t it?” Zack said as he set down the bags he was carrying. “What did you want to ask though?”

“Would you teach me swordplay?” Saru asked

Zack raised an eyebrow. “Swordplay? Now why would you want to know something like that? Does it… have to do with what happened back then?”

“And if it does?”

Zack sighed a little as he made his way over to Saru. He looked at him with a sympathetic look before chuckling slightly. “I’m just wanting to know. Making sure it’s for a good reason and not so you can have more ways of trying to attack any of us when you are grumpy.”

Saruhiko didn’t give a verbal response, but instead chucked a knife past Zack’s head, clipping a few strands a hair.

Zack tensed up before glaring right at Saru. “Hey! Not funny… But I guess that’s my fault for letting you choose knives as your self defense weapon.”

Saru got up from the couch to go retrieve his knife. “Now I want to learn swordplay. So will you teach me?”

Zack ran a hand through his hair, making sure too much hadn’t been cut off by the knife. Once he figured that he was fine he looked back at Saru. “Fine, I’ll teach you. But you need to know you can’t be careless about this. Swordplay is harder than just chucking knives around.”

“Thank you, Zack.” Saruhiko said as he picked up the knife he threw, before whipping his arm around, multiple knives arcing through the air before imbedding themselves down the hall in the shape of a wing. “Also, there's more to it than just ‘chucking knives.” He then turned and began walking towards his room.

“Yeah I know that! I was the one to teach you ya know! And you better collect them back now. I’m tired of having to fix knife holes in the walls.”

Saru just waved him off, but did walk past his bedroom to collect the absurd amount of knives he had thrown, before retreating into his room.

“And I thought he wanted to learn swordplay… Maybe later then,” Zack commented to himself as he went to pick up the bags again and headed into the kitchen to put items away.


Some time later, after the sun had begun to set, Saruhiko made his way out to the backyard in search of Zack for the first session of his swordplay training. Saru found his brother doing squats in the shadows of the house.

“Zack,” Saruhiko called out to get his attention.

“Ah there you are, just was warming up as I waiting,” Zack replied as he continued doing his squats.

“Have you been doing this since I asked about training earlier?”

“Yes,” Zack replied in a dead serious tone with a big grin across his face.

Saruhiko rolled his eyes. “Weirdo.”

He waited a moment before he laughed and stood up. “Nah, I’m joking. Can’t you take a joke?”

“No,” Saru deadpanned. “Are we gonna get started?”

“Yeah yeah, I know,” Zack said before walking over to a small shed against the side of the house. He opened the door and took out two wooden swords. Both of the swords had several dents and nicks in it. Zack then walked over to Saru and held one out to him. Saruhiko looked on in curiosity before taking one with his right hand.

“We’ll start with the basics and move out way up to the real things later. But first you need to know the best stances and positions,” Zack explained. “There’s many different ways to hold a sword, and many different types. But you always wanna make sure that you are holding the sword in a way that allows you to easily block with it. Understand?”

“Hn.”

“I’ll take that as a yes,” Zack said as he positioned himself and held the sword out in front of him. “Now do you want to learn to attack first or defend?”

“...defend?” Saruhiko answered hesitantly.

Zack nodded as he switched his position into a offeienve one. “Okay, let’s begin then.”

Zack took a jump right towards Saru as he prepared to strike with his sword. As his eldest brother came at him, Saru turned at twisted the wooden blade in his hands so that he would both cross blades with Zack while the impact the flat side.


After the two had finished their session, Zack flopped comically to the ground. “You picked up pretty quick on things there Saru. Gotta say, I’m impressed.”

Saruhiko’s response was to collapse to the ground unconscious, the wooden sword still clutched in his hand.

“Oh, I guess you must have worn yourself out,” Zack said as he pushed himself back up and walked over Saru. He took the sword out of his hand and placed it back in the shed. Zack then nudged him slightly to see if he would wake, but he just rested there peacefully.

“Ah well, let’s get you inside,” Zack commented before picking up Saru and holding him in his arms.

He carried Saru inside before headed down the hallways to the younger one’s room. Once inside he placed him down gently on the bed to rest. He glanced at Saru for a moment before sighing and turing to leave. On his way towards the door, his eyes ended up noticing something across the room.

He stopped and looked over towards the dresser. Aside from a few different throwing knives and papers, there was a picture frame standing up with the drawer beneath it opened slightly. Zack walked over and inspected the photo and saw it was a older, faded photo from nearly thirty years ago.

The photo was of a young Saruhiko and his mother. Her arms were wrapped around Saru and both of them were smiling happily at the camera. Zack smiled half heartedly as he picked up the photo to look at it closer. He stared at the image of a younger, happier Saru before glancing at the older, colder, more distant Saru. Zack let out another sigh as he glanced at the picture one last time before putting back on the dresser and exiting the room.

Chapter Text

Sora and Yata were on the quarter pipe ramp as they skated back and forth. Each time they reached the edge they tried to get a bit higher than before. Off to the side, Vanitas sat at one of the benches and watched the two carefully.

After Yata and Sora attempted a few more spins and flips, Sora stopped up at the top of the ramp and waited for Yata to come over to his side. “Hey Yata, I got a question.”

“What’s up?” Yata asked once he was at the top of the ramp.

“So I was thinking… since I wanna find Saru and his brother. I was thinking that maybe Vani could pick up the scent of Saru from your wallet?”

“What?! No way! I said it before I don’t wanna see that stupid monkey again,” Yata replied while started to sound mildly annoyed.

“But, I just wanna be able to find the other guy,” Sora said as he sighed. He knew it would be hard to convince Yata on the subject, as it seemed he was still ticked off at Saru. Sora though was not ready to give up, not one bit. He wanted to get this to happen, or at least in some way or form.

“You can find him some other way then. Not using me to find him.”

“Aw come on Yata,” Sora whined.

“No,” Yata said as he shook his head. “I don't want to keep thinking about that stupid monkey. I'm still irritated about the other day.”

“Well you don't have to be around if he shows up. Maybe if Vani can find him, he can just ask to find his other brother.”

Yata closed his eyes as he sighed. He thought about arguing back at Sora, but when he opened his eyes again he saw Sora staring at him with pleading eyes. He let out a long sigh. “All right fine…”

Sora smiled instantly as he threw his arms around Yata. “Thanks Yata!”

“Ugh yea yeah. Now come on get off me. I feel like I am already going to regret this.”

Sora chuckled before letting go and started to head down the skate ramp. Yata followed quietly behind until they reached Vanitas. He was still still on one of the benches, slowly drifting off. Sora ran up to him and shook his shoulder, stilp smiling happily.

“Vani! Yata’s okay with it! You can try to find the guy now!”

“I never said I was okay with it… but you wouldn't have stopped asking otherwise,” Yata grumbled in reply.

Vanitas laughed a little as he stood up. “That's Sora for you. You know once he has his mind focused on something, he is set to get it done no matter what.”

“Come on already! Let’s get to it!” Sora said as he bounced on the heels of his feet.

“You can calm down first and stop acting like a little kid first, otherwise I won’t help,” Vanitas said, speaking in a strict and serious tone.

Sora stopped bouncing and stood still. He breathed in a couple of times before nodding slowly. “Okay I know. I’m just excited about this.”

Yata chuckled a little at Sora’s enthusiasm before reaching into his pocket and pulling out his wallet. He held it out to Vanitas who took it and started to examine it. “All right, let’s see what other scents are on here.”

He brought the wallet close to his face his before breathing in deeply. He closed his eyes then as he took in a few more sniffs. Slowly his brows furrowed as his nose wrinkled up. He sniffed the wallet again as his nose twitched slightly. He then opened his eyes and looked at Sora and Yata.

“It’s weird…”

“What? What’s weird?” Sora asked quickly.

“I can easily pick up Yata’s scent… and I can tell there is another scent… but it’s different…”

“Well wouldn’t it be different if it’s some other guy?” Yata asked as he crossed his arms.

“I mean yes… but it’s… it’s hard to explain. It doesn’t smell like a regular person smell… not quite. It’s fainter… not super strong, but I can still smell it. I really don’t know how to describe it. I haven’t smelled anything like this before,” Vanitas replied, trying his best to explain what he could.

“So… does that mean you can’t track the scent?” Sora asked, trying not to sound too upset that Vanitas was having trouble picking up the scent.

“No, I should be able to. It’s just… weird or odd smelling. Again… I really don’t know how to describe it right,” Vanitas said as he handed back the wallet to Yata.

“Ah… okay. Well as long as you can still track down Saru, that’s fine,” Sora said as he breathed a sigh of relief.

“But I think I need one other thing,” Vanitas started. “What does this Saru guy even look like? As well as the guy I am trying to find of course.”

“Well the other guy is a bit taller than me and has this really pretty purplish silver colored hair. I think the Saru had black hair right?” Sora asked as he looked over at Yata.

“Yeah, the monkey had black hair and glasses, as well as a dumb, smug ass grin,” Yata added with a annoyed sigh.

Vanitas chuckled slightly before turning away from the two. “Okay, I think I got what I need then. I’ll try to find them if I can. So… see you guys later,” Vanitas said before he started walking off ina direction, trying to pick up on the strange, faint scent.

“Good luck Vani! Sora shouted as he watched his brother walk off.

“You really seem excited about this,” Yata commented as he turned around to head back to one of the skate ramps.

“Of course! I wanna know more about the other guy. I’m just really curious.”

“So you are in love with some random weird dude you just met once,” Yata replied with a smirk across his face.

Sora’s cheeks reddened slightly. “H-Hey! It’s… not love or anything like that. I’m… I’m just curious who he is. He is just rather mysterious.”

“So… love at first sight then,” Yata replied, still keeping the smirk on his face.

“No! I-It’s not like that,” Sora quickly replied as he followed behind Yata, but it seemed Yata still had more to say.

“What was that you said about his hair? That it was really pretty? You don’t just say something like that out of the blue about someone, unless there is some other reason.”

Sora pouted as his cheeks reddened more. He came to a stop as he started down at the ground. “All right fine! I do think he is pretty good looking… but… I really do wanna know more about him. So I can learn… you know if he is a nice guy or is just a pretty face. I just can’t get him out of my thoughts right now…”

Yata stopped and turned around to look at Sora. He sighed a little before walking back up to him. “Hey, I was only teasing a bit. I didn’t mean to upset you. I didn’t realize this meant that much to you…”

“It’s my fault really because I never actually told how I felt about it. But now you know at least. I just hope Vani can find him,” Sora replied before looking back up, a grin forming across his face, showing how he was feeling better again.

“Yeah, let’s just hope that he doesn’t bring Saru back along with him,” Yat replied as he started to turn around again.

“Why not? You sure you wouldn’t wanna talk things through with him?” Sora asked with a curious glance.

“I already said no. I already said I don’t want to see the f*cking money again and that stupid grin that he has,” Yata replied as he huffed out a breath of air.

“Aw, you can’t get him out of your head?” Sora asked jokingly as he smiled largely towards Yata.

“What?! Come on Sora! That Saru guy is annoying and I don’t want to keep thinking about him, but he was…” Yata paused as he tried to think of the right words he wanted to say. The more he thought about it, the more he kept thinking back to the two short encounters with Saruhiko. He gritted his teeth as he shook his head, trying to shake away the thoughts. “Ah! Just forget it. I just don’t want to deal with him again. End of story.” Yata then picked up his pace and headed off to one one of the ramps, hoping that Sora didn’t catch the slight redness in his cheeks.


 

Vanitas trekked through the woods, still trying to follow the faint scent. It was still so strange to him as he followed it. Sure he had smelled scents that were faint before, but nothing that smelled this strange… or off. It still didn’t feel like the scent of a person, yet at the same time it was.

“Maybe Namine will be able to tell me something about this… I’ll have to remember to ask her later,” Vanitas noted to himself as continued to walk.

After a bit more walking, Vanitas noticed that the scent picked up a bit more. It was still the strange odd smell, but it was more prominent than before. Vanitas picked up his pace as he hurried through the woods, winding through the trees. In the distance he could see someone walking through the area. As Vanitas got closer he could see it was an adult man… but his appearance did not match either of the two that he was told to look for.

“Weird… he isn’t the Saru person… or the other, yet the scent… it smells nearly the exact same. Hm… maybe he is related. That could be it,” Vanitas thought to himself as he got close. “Only one way to find out I guess.”

Vanitas took a few steps closer until he was closer to the guy. “Um.. excuse me.”

The man, who had black spikey hair, turned around and faced Vanitas. He gave a friendly smile. “Hey. Is there something you need?”

“Um… This may seem a bit odd to say, but do you know anyone by the name of Saru?”

“Yeah! He’s my younger brother. Why? Did he go and do something stupid again?” the man asked casually.

“Well… according to my younger brother. Saru also apparently has another brother?”

“Two older brothers, not including me,” the man replied.

“Ah… well I am looking for one of them. Or really my younger brother is.”

“Hmm what do you mean?” the man asked as he leaned back against a tree.

“Seems that Saru and one of the others, one who has purplish silver hair, met my brother and his friend Yata the other night. They got Saru’s name, but not the other. And my brother is rather curious about the other guy,” Vanitas explained.

“So he has a crush then on him?” the man asked as he smiled a little.

“What? How did you figure that out?” Vanitas asked, surprised the man said it just out of the blue.

“Just a wild guess. But if that is the case, then I can see if I can do anything about it. What’s your brother’s name?”

“His name is Sora, and he can usually be found around the skate park practicing his tricks with Yata.”

“All right then. I’ll see if I can get him to head over there maybe later in the evening. I’ll head back now to talk to him,” the man said as he turned to leave.

“Wait I never got your name or even the one that my brother wants to know about,” Vanitas said as he took a step forward.

“Oh yeah. I’m Zack, and Riku is the one your brother wants to know about. Don’t worry though, I’ll make sure I can find a way to get him to go and talk to Sora,” Zack replied with a wink before walking off deeper into the forest.

Chapter Text

Later in the evening Zack entered the house and looked around. He saw that Zexion was in his usual spot,  though there was a stack of old newspapers on the stand next to him and he was currently reading through one of them. He didn’t see Saru or Riku anywhere though, but figured they were either in their rooms or in the basement.

“Where are the other two?” Zack asked as he closed the front door.

“Basement,” Zexion replied as he didn’t bother to look up from the paper.

“Ah I figured. Thanks,” Zack said before walking down the hallway towards the door that lead downstairs.

He opened the door and started to walk down the stairs. On his way down he could hear some brief shouts coming from below. As he got to the bottom of the stairs he saw that the training field section of the basement was active. Inside of the training room was Riku and Saru, locked deep in a fight.

Large amounts of fire swirled around Riku’s hands as he stood several feet away from Saru, who had a blue light surrounding him. Riku lunged forward as he formed the fire together and launched it directly at Saru.

Saruhiko instinctively gathered fire and lightning around his hands and flung multiple electrically charged fireballs to counter his brother’s attack. The elements collided and held for one second before exploding and pushing the two of them back slightly from the force.

Immediately after regaining his footing from being shoved back, an orangish yellow clock briefly shimmered around Saru before he began flinging more fire towards Riku. The older boy barely dodged in time as he tumbled to the side. Once the fire attacks stopped he stood back up and with the flick of his wrists, ice appeared around him as he casted shards outward towards Saru.

Crossing his arms in defense, a shimmering green forcefield appeared between Saruhiko and the shards of ice, which reflected the projection back towards Riku. Not missing a beat, Saru then immediately threw lightning charged knives amongst the ice.

As Riku saw the ice shards coming at him, he quickly cast a spell of reflect. But what he did not expect was the knives to break through the magic reflecting barrier. He quickly tried to move out of the way, while trying to keep his barrier up, but one of the knives hit into his left shoulder while another hit his left leg. The other remaining knives that Riku had managed to dodge, hit the wall of the training room and clattered to the ground. But as soon as the two knives had struck him, he felt a jolt of electrify run through his body.

Riku let out a cry of pain as he crumpled to the ground. He gritted his teeth as he waited for the electricity to stop. Once it did he glared harshly at his brother. “What the hell!? I thought we agreed no weapons this time!”

“Did you forget that I still can’t cast thunder without a medium? Not my fault that you can’t dodge for shit.”

“Well I one; didn’t expect you to throw your knives, and two; you didn’t have to cast thunder this time, and finally three; you used haste! You were already moving faster so again I didn’t have enough time to dodge properly.”

“The point of this was to practice my spells. Can’t get better if I don’t even practice using thunder.”

“Yeah but next time tell me you are going to practice thunder. That way I know to expect you to use your knives. You realize how close that was right? Thankfully only two of of the seven actually hit me,” Riku grumbled as he readied to pull the knife that was lodged in his leg out.

“That’s your fault. Only one of them was actually aimed at you, the rest were aimed to fly right by you and create a ring of lightning as a trap,” Saruhiko scoffed as he walked towards Riku and where the knives had fallen to the ground.

Riku gritted his teeth again as he yanked the knife out from his leg, blood starting to stain the spot where the knife had been. He tossed the knife aside and quickly placed his hand over the wound and a green light glowed formed from his fingertips. He breathed a sigh of relief when he could feel that the wound had healed. Riku then grabbed the other knife that was in his shoulder. He breathed deeply before yanking it out, giving a quick yell of pain. Repeating the same as before, he tossed the knife and quickly went to heal the wound. Once everything was healed he breathed heavily and closed his eyes.

Riku glanced at Saru again. “Just next time… please just tell me if you are doing an attack like that.”

“No promises,” Saruhiko replied, having now picked up, and holstered five of his knives, the two that were bloody held in his left hand as he offered his right to help Riku up.

Riku was tempted to retort at him, but saw that Saru was at least showing a bit of helpfulness. He sighed quickly before grabbing Saru’s hand. He was pulled up to his feet and staggered slightly, the phantom pain of the wounds still there for the moment.

Zack then opened the doors to the training room. He smiled gleefully at the two. “Wow! You guys made it through a training session without actually trying to destroy one another. You guys are really growing up!”

A bloody knife went whizzing by on either side of Zack’s head, clipping a few strands and getting blood in his hair. Zack flinched slightly before directing his attention to Saru. “Hey! Now cut that out!”

Riku bit his tongue as he tried not to laugh, though Zack seemed to notice.  He then directed his glare towards Riku. “That’s not helping!”

Saruhiko just ignored his brothers’ antics and went to go pick up the knives.

Zack let out a sigh, seeing as it was pointless to try to get Saru to listen. Once he had relaxed he looked to Riku again. “Anyways, I was looking for you Riku.”

“What for?”

“Well…” Zack started as he smiled. “There was someone I talked to earlier today. “I ran into this guy today and apparently his younger brother is looking for you.”

“Someone looking for me?” Riku asked. “Who could be looking for me?”

“Hmm, I think his name was… Sora?”

Riku’s eyes widened. “Sora?”

“Ah so you do know him,” Zack. “Well this guy wants to talk to you or something. Apparently you didn’t even tell him your name.”

“That was… That was the night Saru tried to start a fight with his friend, Yata!” Riku replied back. “Why does he want to find me? How did his older brother even find you?”

“That’s a secret,” Zack replied with a chuckle. “But I think you should go and find this Sora kid. Make friends with him and stuff.”

“But Zack,” Riku started to say. “Sora is friend’s with the guy Saru and I nearly drained completely.”

“Well you don’t have to mention that. But I think it would be nice if you could make a new friend. So what do you say? Will you go and talk to Sora?” Zack asked as he continued to smile.

Riku tensed up slightly as he remembered the encounter from Sora. He remembered the happy, almost goofy, grin the boy had given him. And then of course the comment Sora had made about his hair. He shook his head as he tried to push it away. “Why do you seem to care so much about it?”

“Cause. I want you to make more friends, and this is a great opportunity,” Zack replied.

“Sounds like an interesting opportunity.” Saru quipped from off on the side while cleaning his knives.

“Oh no, you aren’t going to go,” Zack said, speaking in a rather strict tone. “From what I gathered, you’ll just end up causing more trouble if that Yata guy is there.”

Saruhiko raised an eyebrow. “How do you intend to stop me?”

Zack pondered for a moment. Stroking his chin slightly before he smiled. “I’ll have Zexion cast a sleep or stop spell on you! Or maybe even silence. That would be the way to do it.”

Riku shook his head. “You know that probably won’t stop him. He’ll find a way to get past those spells.”

“Not all that hard to counter some of those spells.”

“Yeah, but you know how skilled Zexion is,” Zack said before shaking his head. “Anyways, you’re not going, Riku is.”

“Hey! Who said that I was going?” Riku asked.

“I did,” Zack chuckled.

“Tsk,” Saru clicked his tongue before he walked out of the training room.

Riku on the other hand let out a sigh before looking over to Zack again. He leaned against the wall as he spoke again. “Why are you seemingly so intent on this?”

“Cause. I think it would be fun. Why? Do you got something against this Sora?”

Riku quickly shook his head. “No no it's nothing like that. I just… I’m just unsure.”

“Well I say for go it. Get to know Sora and make a new friend. It would be a nice experience.”

“But I know nothing about this guy!” Riku exclaimed as he swung his arms out. “I don't know of this guy is okay with supernaturals or not. Or even if he is one!”

“Well like I said. It can be an experience. Though… not exactly sure though, but I think his older brother is a werewolf. And I assume Sora is just human.”

Riku tilted his head slightly, also raising his eyebrow a little. “What do you mean?”

“What I mean is, it was his older brother who came and found me… when looking for Saru. Plus there is the eyes... golden eyes with very little other color… meaning most likely that he was bitten. So then I assume that means Sora is just human. Cause otherwise he would have tried to track down Saru.”

Riku listened carefully as Zack talked. Once he finished Riku nodded slowly, starting to get more sense about everything. “Ah...okay. I'm still not really sure about it though…”

Zack walked a little closer and placed a hand on Riku's shoulder. “You never know unless you try. Come on, at least see what he has to say. Besides… I think this guy might just like you a little.”

Riku stiffened up a little, completely surprised by what Zack just said. “What!?”

Zack laughed. “It’s just a hunch I have. Another very good reason to at least go and say hi.”

Riku closed his eyes as he thought over it. He still didn't know what to think of Sora. The lingering thoughts of their last encounter still fresh in his head. The way Sora had looked at him and just told him what he was thinking… how he had been so nice. Riku wasn't sure what he would say to him after all that. Though it seemed that Zack wasn't going to let the opportunity pass.

Riku finally sighed. “All right. I'll go. I just gotta clean up and change these clothes.” He gestured to the blood staines before turning to head out of the training room.

Zack smile, hoping that things would go well for Riku. He then also headed out of the training room and noticed Saru standing near one of the terrariums next to the stairs with a green parakeet perched on his left shoulder. In his opposite hand was a pair of tongs which he was using to hold something into the glass tank.

Riku walked passed him without a word and headed up the stairs. Zack on the other hand stopped and looked over at Saru. “So, do you wanna practice some more sword play tonight? Or are you going to attend to your pets instead?”

“I just need to put out some fish for the garter snakes and fill Kotosaka's food bowl.” Saruhiko turned to face Zack as the bird hopped off and flew around the elder's head before landing on a bird perch not to far away.

“Okay then, so what about after that then?” Zack asked as he walked over to the bird perch and slowly reached his hand out to pet the bird gently.

“Attempt to teach my baby false water cobra that he's not an arboreal snake.” Saru answered, holding up his arm, which the small snake had wrapped around, hanging sorta upside down while eating what appeared to be a dead baby mouse.

“Ah I see,” Zack said as he continued to pet Kotosaka. “I’ll just pretend to know what that means.”

“Could you refill his food while I get the new girl off of me?” Saru asked while slowly coaxing the snake to unwrap his wrist.

“Sure thing,” Zack said as he went to the nearby cabinet and opened it up to see the bags of food. “Wait a minute though, when did you get another snake? Last I recalled you only had the two garter snakes.”

“The other week.” Saru had finally gotten the little snake off of him and back into her terrarium. He then walked over to a smaller enclosure and opened the cabinets underneath.

“That really isn’t all that specific. Just how many snakes and birds do you think you can bring home?”

“Many snakes! Many snakes!” Kotosaka squawked.

Zack rolled his eyes as he placed the food into the bird’s tray. “I wasn’t asking you.”

“When they stop deciding to follow me home.” When he found what he was looking for, Saru stood up, and poured a handful of live little fish into the water bowl of the shared tank. “Also, I think that there's a tortoise outside the back door that followed me home when Riku and I were out hunting a month ago.”

“Oh I was wondering what that strange looking rock was,” Zack replied. “Seriously though what is it with you and animals following you home?”

Saru just shrugged in response.

“Well as long as you don’t end up bring home anything crazy…. Hmm like I don’t know a bear cub, it’s fine,” Zack said as he laughed a little.

“Remember when that one chocobo tried to adopt me?” Saruhiko asked with a curious, inquisitive tone.

Zack laughed aloud again. “Oh boy do I remember that. I didn’t think the chocobo was going to let any of us near you. It had such an intense protective glare towards everyone. It was pretty scary.”

“Chocobo! Kweh kweh!” Kotosawk spoke up again as he moved around on the branch he was sitting on. “Chocobos are great!”

“Hmm…” Zack hummed as he looked to the bird and then Saru.  “Why do I get the feeling he is trying to tell me something for you?”

“Because you're too dense to get the subtle hint,” Saru deadpanned.

“What? No way!” Zack replied as he shook his head. He then paused for a moment before he added on. “And no you can’t bring home a chocobo… or I hope you don’t have one hiding somewhere already.”

“No, I don't have a chocobo.” Saru responded dejectedly.

“Just don’t try to bring one home, I’m find with birds and reptiles, but nothing super large,” Zack replied.

“Yeah, yeah. Nothing large or dangerous, I got it.” Saru paused before changing the topic. “So you mentioned something about another swordplay lesson?”

“Yup, once you finish up down here, you wanna meet up outside for another lesson?”

“Sure. I'll be out in a couple of minutes.”

“All right, I’ll grab the swords and meet you out there,” Zack replied before he headed up the stairs.

Chapter Text

Riku stepped out of his room, now freshed up and in a new pair of clothes. Once he made sure he had everything he started towards the front of the house. As he walked to the front door, he saw that Zexion was heading towards it as well. 

“You’re going out?” Riku asked as he approached the door. It wasn’t all too often that he saw Zexion going out. He had a small guess maybe it had to do with it being the time for blood, but Riku quickly realized that Zexion’s time to get blood was different than his or even Saru’s. 

“Yeah? What of it?” 

“Just… was wondering. Don’t usually see you leaving the house is all. Not too often I mean,” Riku replied. 

“I can leave the house whenever I want. There are things I want to do you know, besides reading books,” Zexion said, as he opened the door. “And what about you?”

“Zack’s kind of making me go out and talk to one of those guys that Saru and I met the other day. I don’t know exactly why or what happened, but apparently he wants to talk to me.” 

“Hmm not the strangest thing that he has asked any of us to do at least. Good luck with that though,” Zexion said as he exited through the door. 

The door closed in front of Riku before he could ask another question. He let out a sigh before opened the door back up and walking outside. He glanced up at the sky to see that the sun was already far past setting and the night sky was coming in quickly. He only stood there a moment more before he headed off towards the skate park. 

It only took him a few minutes before he reached the edge of the skate park. It was not as late as the last time as there was still plenty of more people there. Riku scanned the area though, looking for the familiar face of the boy he met just the other day. 

Soon enough he saw Sora as well as Yata sitting at one of the park benches. There was one other guy there with them, one who looked a bit older and resemble Sora in a few ways. Both of them had the same type of spiky hair, but it was a different color. Riku figured that it was probably Sora’s older brother that Zack had mentioned. With a deep breath though he entered into the park and headed towards the group.

After only a few seconds Sora turned to see Riku and smiled at him. “Hey! You did show up after all!”

Riku froze up slightly as he saw Sora’s kind and friendly smile towards him. The way Sora just smiled so happily, it was hard for Riku to explain, but he liked seeing that smile. There was just a kind hearted warmth to it that he had never really seen from anyone else before. 

“Uh yeah,” Riku said once he was in close enough distance to be heard. He glanced between Yata and Sora. “Nice to… see you guys again.”

“So your annoying brother didn’t come along with you?” Yata asked.

Riku shook his head. “No he stayed back to do something else. It’s just me here.”

“So…” Sora said as he took a step forward. “Are you ever going to properly introduce yourself?”

“Huh?” Riku asked, not exactly sure what Sora meant, but then he remembered. He never had given his name yet. “Oh… I’m Riku.”

“Riku,” Sora replied as he smiled. “I’m glad to finally meet you then.”

Riku breathed in slowly as he stared at Sora’s kind smile, the more he looked though, he could see the childish goofiness that was mixed in it. Riku found himself wanting to smile back at him.

“Hey, I have a question,” the older brother of Sora said as he stood up. 

“Oh yeah, this is my older brother Vanitas,” Sora said as he gestured to him. “He’s the one that found the brother that is actually the older one, right?”

“Zack,” Riku answered. “He is the oldest of my brothers. I have one other who is older than me though, but is younger than Zack.”

“Wow! Three brothers! That sounds pretty cool,” Sora commented.

“Sounds like a nightmare,” Yata grumbled. “Especially cause you have to deal with that monkey for a young brother.”

“Ahem!” Vanitas said as he cleared his throat. “I said I had a question.” He walked a bit closer until he was staring right at Riku. 

Riku could see the strong golden eyes now that Vanitas was closer. Though as he looked, he could see the faint bit of blue around the edge of his irises. “So he is probably a werewolf… what about Sora then? Is he really just normal then?” Though before Riku could get far with his thoughts Vanitas spoke up again.  

“I just gotta ask, cause it’s really bugging me. Do you and your brothers all have some weird cologne?” 

“Uh what?” Riku asked, caught off guard by the question.

“Hey Vani, don’t be so rude and ask him that,” Sora interjected to his brother, but it seemed that Vanitas had more to say.

“I can’t help it. I’m picking up the same strange scent from him just like I did for that Zack guy and the scent from Yata’s wallet,” Vanitas grumbled. 

“Definitely a werewolf,” Riku confirmed in his head. “Though that means he is probably picking up on the off and odd scent that vampires have. But he doesn’t seem to know that is a vampire scent thing. Probably shouldn't let them know that then… just to be on the safe side.”

“Yeah… some weird thing that Zack bought once for all of us. All of us just kind of got used to it. I know it doesn’t have much scent though,” Riku replied, trying his best to seem serious about it. 

“Well that doesn’t really matter anyways. Don’t pay attention to Vani being weird and all,” Sora said as he tried to push his brother off to the side slightly. 

“Fine fine, have your little talk or whatever,” Vanitas commented as he wanted back to the bench and sat down. 

Riku stood there a moment more before he spoke up again. “Why did you ask me to come here? I mean… I just was wondering because you had your brother go out of his way to try and find me.”

“Oh… Um…” Sora started, now fumbling over his words slightly. “I wanted to meet you again. M-More properly I mean.”

“Come on Sora, you can do better than that,” Vanitas snorted in reply. 

Sora’s face reddened as he turned around to glare at Vanitas. “You’re not helping!” He then glanced over to Yata who seemed to be smirking. “And don’t you say anything either!” 

“I don’t have to,” Yata laughed. “Your face says it all.”

Riku watched he saw Sora’s face continue to redden as he continued to glare at the other two. He tried his best to keep a straight face, but even he couldn’t help but laugh a little. Sora whipped around and stared at him with wide eyes. 

“Hey! Come on Riku… don’t you start laughing too,” Sora whined while starting to pout. 

Riku tried to calm himself down as he took in a few deep breaths. “Ah sorry.” He still wanted to laugh a bit more at Sora’s overreacting, but he saw how Sora was feeling from it. He straightened up and cleared his throat. “So was that it then? You just wanted to meet me again?”

“There was that…” Sora started as he regained his composure. “But also… I was hoping we could hang out and become friends.”

“What?” Riku asked, now his eyes widening. He was a little surprised at Sora’s statement, and found himself to be at a loss for words. He tried to managed something else. “Wh-Why would you want… to be friends with me?”

“Because…” Sora replied as he rubbed the back of his neck. His cheeks reddened again. “I just really wanna get to know you.” He suddenly perked up and smiled happily again. “So when would you wanna meet up again?”

“Wait what?” Riku asked, surprised again, this time at Sora’s energy and easily switching moods. 

Vanitas laughed. “One thing you gotta know about Sora, he is probably the most friendliest person you will ever meet. And once he has his mind set on something, he doesn’t wanna give up.”

Sora smiled again as he nodded as he let out a chuckle. “Yup that’s right! So do you have an idea when we could meet again?” 

 Riku opened his mouth to reply, but he couldn’t find the words. He could only stare at Sora smiling happily at him. He still couldn’t stop looking at the boy and his kind and sweet smiles. He felt awkward over all as it had been years since he had really made friends with others. But this was also awkward for another reason, one that he had trouble explaining to himself. There was just something about Sora… that made him want to stand there and stare. 

“Maybe it’s because of what he said about my hair. Still can’t get that out of my head. But maybe… that’s why I feel this way. I just don’t know.”

He saw that Sora was still looking at him, waiting for an answer. Finally he spoke up again after a deep breath. “I guess we could meet up again, but what would we do? And also when?”

“Hmm…” Sora hummed as he thought it over. “Not sure… Oh! What if we met up at the arcade? That’s a fun place to hangout. You know where that is right?” 

Riku nodded. “Yeah. That sounds fine.”

“How about this Friday? At noon? Will that work?” Sora asked. 

“Sure, don’t usually have much else going on anyways,” Riku commented. He knew though that if it was going to be at noon, it would mean having to deal with sunlight, but it different worry him. It wasn’t like the old days where there wasn’t magic to deal with it. 

“Great!” Sora said as he beamed. “Oh also! Yata, you should come along,” Sora then looked over at Riku. “And you should bring your younger brother Saru,!”

“What!?” Yata interjected. “Why the hell would you suggest that?!”

“I think I have to agree, why would you want me to bring Saru along. You’ve seen how he is,” Riku replied as he crossed his arms. 

“I know, but I thought it would be nice. Cause maybe then he would talk things out with Yata and they could get along better,” Sora replied. 

Yata scoffed. “Fat chance.”

“Saru isn’t that easy to get along with though… trust me I know that for sure. If I somehow managed to bring him along, he would end up causing some trouble of some sorts. Honestly, it is really hard to get to know Saru… he can be quite a pain sometimes.”

“Come on, can’t you at least try?” Sora asked kindly.

“I won’t go if that monkey comes along,”Yata grumbled. 

“Aw come on Yata, be nice about it,” Sora said as he looked over to him. “You’re just being stubborn. I know you would want to meet him again.”

Yata gritted his teeth. “Shut up about that already!”

There was a pause before Yata continued. “Fine! I’ll come along. I know you won’t stop asking otherwise. But don’t blame me if the f*cking monkey ticks me off.”

Sora chuckled. “All right! That sound good then?” He looked back over to Riku, awaiting the answer. 

“I guess I can try to see if Saru will come along,” Riku replied. “I still really don’t think it is the best idea… but I’ll try, okay?”

“I agree with that, sounds like a terrible idea” Yata grumbled. 

“I'm hopeful though that things will go fine,” Sora said. 

“Well… if that’s all that. I guess I should be getting back home,” Riku said as he took a step back. “It is getting late after all.”

“Oh okay. Well Riku, it was really nice to meet you finally!”

“Same to you Sora,” Riku replied as he gave a smile towards Sora. He then said his goodbyes also to Vanitas and Yata. Once they said goodbye back, Riku started his way home. Only now realizing that his heart had been racing the entire time he was around Sora. 

“Geez… what’s with me? Why… am I feeling this way around him? I can’t figure it out. He doesn’t seem bad though… He seems like a nice guy at least. But I can’t believe I agreed to meet up with him again… and to bring Saru along. That’s… going to be interesting.” 

Chapter Text

Riku returned to the house a bit after the twilight star had faded, and unlocked the front door. Stepping inside, he looked around the empty foyer for a moment before closing the door behind him. Zexion didn’t seem to be home yet, either that, or he was somewhere else in the house. Riku shrugged it off, walking further into the house, and checking around, glancing into the kitchen and dining area, before turning towards the hallway. He didn't hear any voices from the basement or any of the rooms he walked past the doors towards the back of the house.

He had to find Saru anyways if he was going to at least try and offer the invite to him.

Headed towards the back of the house, he could hear faint sounds from outside. He pushed on further and reached the back door and opened it. Once opened, he saw several feet away Zack and Saru clashed wooden swords. Both of them seemed deep in concentration as neither acknowledge Riku now standing part way out of the door.

Saruhiko disengaged, and hopped backwards, out of reach from Zack for a brief moment. Zack changed his position slightly as he readily to go at it again. “Come on Saru, try again. You need to learn to know where to direct the strength of your attack.”

“Tsk,” Saru clicked his tongue in annoyance before lunging at Zack.

Zack held the sword defensively as he shifted his body position again. “It’s also about how you position yourself. That and also distributing your weight. For defence at least.”

Taking a step backwards, Saruhiko returned to some sort of battle stance before he noticed Riku standing by the door.

“Need something, glitter boy?”

Riku scoffed as he crossed his arms. “Just was wondering where you guys had gone off to. I have something to ask you Saru.”

“Since when did you-” Before Saru could finish a wooden sword came down and bonked him on the head. On reflex, Saru threw his training sword, as if it was a knife, at Zack while he stumbled backwards, tripping over the tortoise that had made itself home in their backyard.

Zack quickly jumped to the side to avoid the oncoming sword. Once it flew by him he walked up to Saru and pointed the tip of the sword at Saur’s face. “Never let yourself get distracted in a fight. It can cost you.”

Riku couldn’t help but let out a small chuckle as he watched the scene play out in front of him. He took a few steps forward, out from the doorway, as he approached the two others. Before he could get too close a barrage of knives sudden came directly at him. With a few seconds, he jumped up with all of his strength and landed down on top of the roof. The knives clattered to the ground shortly after.

“Saru!” Zack scolded. “If you keep that up, I’ll take away your knives… again!”

“Tsk. If you can find them all this time…” Saruhiko retorted, standing up from the ground while trying to keep the tortoise from eating his shoe.

“I’ll help you look,” Riku offered to Zack as he stayed up on the time being, knowing full well that Saru most likely had at least a few other knives on him.

“What did you want, Riku, besides to strip search me for knives?”

“Oh,” Riku replied as he finally decided to jump down from the roof. “When I talked to Sora… he kind of invited me to hangout again… and asked me to bring you along.”

“Will Yata be there?” Saruhiko asked curiously.

Riku nodded. “He didn’t want to at first, but Sora managed to convince him.”

“Oh!” Zack injerected, his face beaming with excitement. “So it will be like a double date! How adorable! See? What did I say? It was good to go out and meet Sora.”

“So Misaki was too much of a blushing virgin to ask me out in person,” Saru thought aloud.

Riku gave Saru a brief confused look, nearly surprised that he has even said something like that. “I don’t know about that… but I did say I would ask if you would join me. We would be going to the arcade in town this Friday.”

“In daylight?”

Riku nodded slowly. “Yeah, it would be around noon.”

“I think you guys should go,” Zack said instantly. “It sounds like it will be a lot of fun. Just remember to put on sunscreen and drink the medicine if you guys are going out in the sunlight at the highest hour.

Saruhiko made a face at the mention of medicine.

“Hey you don’t have to take it” Zack replied. “It’s either that or the sunscreen. Unless you would prefer to burn yourself.”

“Yeah, yeah, learned that the hard way already,” Saru waved off his eldest brother before moving to collect his knives.

“So that means you’ll come?” Riku asked.

“I get to torment Misaki again, so why not.”

As Saru finishing picking up his knives, Zack walked over and clamped a hand on his shoulder. “If you are going, then you are not going to bring any knives.”

“You're going to make me go out without any protection?”

“I don’t want you to be escorted home by the police because you caused a scene,” Zack explained. “Besides you do have your magic at least.”

“Half of which I need my knives to even cast.” Saru muttered aloud to himself.

“It can be a learning experience then!” Zack chuckled. “Besides, Riku will at least keep you in check. Right Riku?”

Riku rolled his eyes slightly. “Of course, it’s practically my part-time job.”

“Of which you don't get paid for.”

“Yeah… Hey Zack, why don’t you start paying me for watching Mr Knife-Happy?” Riku said as he glanced over to Zack.

Saru lazily threw a few knives at Riku for the nickname. Riku jumped quickly to the side, just before the knives could even graze him side. He sent a glare towards Saru once the knives hit the ground. “You just proved my point!”

“You're welcome.”

“Hey hey!” Zack said quickly. “No killing each other. You guys gotta stay alive and get ready for your double date Friday.”

Riku’s cheeks reddened slightly. “Stop calling it that!”

“Aw, is big brother Riku too embarrassed at the thought of going out with another guy?” Saru taunted.

Riku stiffened up as the red did not leave his cheeks. He wrinkled his nose as he tried to think of a response, but he found it a bit hard. After finally meeting with Sora he wasn’t sure what to think. He knew Sora was a nice and friendly guy… but Riku just wasn’t sure of his own feelings. He never had really felt something like this before. He wanted to be calm about the situation, but every time he thought of Sora, he kept thinking of how sweet his smile was.

With a sigh though he turned his head to the side, and avoided eye contact with Saru. “N-No… I just… I don’t know, all right?”

Zack chuckled softly as he walked over to Riku. He placed an arm around Riku’s shoulder. “You don’t have to be worried or upset if you are embarrassed. You’ve never been asked out before, so it’s okay if you are a bit flustered. But what matters is that you were asked out, and it’s a wonderful thing to hear. It’s obviously you must feel something for Sora, right?.”

Riku scowled as he swatted Zack’s arm away. “You’re not helping!” Riku then stormed off back into the house without another word.


After Riku had walked off, Sora turned around to face Yata and Vanitas again. He grinned happily before speaking. “I think that went pretty well!”

“Seeing as you are possibly going to have Riku’s crazy-ass younger brother join us Friday, I don’t know how you can see that as going well,” Yata replied as he grumbled in annoyance.

“Aw come on Yata, stop complaining already. This is going to be great! And you will get to talk things out with Saru finally!”

“Like I really want to!” Yata retorted.

“You sure?” Sora replied as a teasing grin came to his face.

“Don’t you start again! Just shut up about that,” Yata shouted as he looked away.

“Come on Yata, just admit it already. You wanna see Saru again. You actually do wanna talk with him again. And maybe even make things better between the two of you,” Sora replied, continuing to grin.

“I said shut up!” Yata shouted even louder, the redness in his cheeks starting to show. “I really have no want to try to be on good terms with that monkey. He left his impression already, and I don’t care!”

Vanitas let out a laughed. “Heh, who would have thought it.”

Yata turned his head to the side and glanced at Vanitas. “What? Thought what?”

Vanitas grinned, a much snarkier one that Sora’s teasing one. “Who would have thought you were a tsundere.”

Yata’s eyes widened. “What?! Why the hell would you say that!”

“Cause it’s true. It’s written all over your face,” Vanitas replied smugly.

Sora now was the one to laugh. “Hey you’re right Vani, I didn’t realize it until now.”

“Would you guys kindly shut the hell up?! I don’t need to deal with this,” Yata said angrily, though his expression seemed to waving. He went back and forth between looking angering and then embarrassed. With an angry huff he stood up and started walking away, without another word to either Sora or Vanitas.

“Aw come on Yata, don’t be like that,” Sora called out to him. “We didn’t mean to make you mad. Just like you said to me earlier, it was just a bit of teasing.”

“Well you didn’t mean it to make him upset at least,” Vanitas replied with a chuckle, still amused from Yata’s reaction.

Yata stopped walking and turned around, looking back at Sora. “Just please drop it. I really… ugh I don’t know, okay?”

Curious about Yata’s situation Sora had at least one last question. “But Yata… does that mean you actually might like Saru?”

“I don’t know okay?!” Yata snapped quickly. He then stopped himself and took in a few deep breaths. “Ever since I met the guy, I just can’t get him out of my head. I don’t know if that’s because he is f*cking annoying… or if it’s… something else.”

“Ah, I think I get it,” Sora replied with an understanding nod. “I won’t try to tease you anymore on it okay?”

Yata breathed out another long breath. “Thanks. But I still don’t know how well Friday is going to go. Who knows what the f*cking monkey will say or do.”

“We will just have to wait and find out, but I have a feeling it will be fun! Or at least a fun experience!” Sora beamed happily.

Chapter Text

The next couple of days passed within the blink of an eye. And before anyone of the boys knew it, Friday had come. Riku sat in the kitchen as he stared up at the clock, seeing that it was half past eleven… in the morning. He had made sure to try to get to bed earlier the night before so he would be awake for the next day, but it still felt weird to be up at this hour. He rubbed his eyes one last time as he looked down the hallway to see Saru appoching.

“About time you finally got up,” Riku replied.

Saru just yawned while flipping him off.

“Well sorry. I didn’t think to ask Sora if we could meet up at a later time. Just didn’t occur to me in the moment.”

“No, it probably didn't cross your distracted brain that you should maybe ask to meet up later as you were apparently too enamored with the human talking to you instead.” Saru retorted, heading into the kitchen to rummage around for a quick bite.

Riku’s cheeks reddened slightly. “I wasn’t enamored… just I guess… curious about him. I think he has more positive energy than Zack does.”

“So he's a literal ball of sunshine. No wonder you're attracted to him, lunar boy.” After fishing out an energy bar, he turned to face Riku. “Where's the sunscreen?” Questioned Saruhiko before unwrapping the bar and taking a bite.

Riku wanted to tell Saru to stop saying things about him being attracted to Sora, but over the past few days he had thought about it more. He couldn’t explain it, but he did find himself curious and wanting to know more about Sora. Even though it had been a few days, he still couldn’t get Sora’s sweet smile out of his mind. He found himself… actually wanting to see Sora smile more. Something about it… warmed his heart. He still wasn’t completely sure on his feelings, and he really didn’t know how to explain it, but he knew it had to mean something.

“I guess it’s true then about that saying? You know… opposites attract?” Riku replied. “And the sunscreen is on the table here.”

Saruhiko didn't respond, just put the bar he was eating in his mouth, holding it there while he walked over to the table and began to apply sunscreen.

“I still can’t believe that we are doing this. Going to meet two humans we barely know… all really because you were a bit rash that other night.”

Responding with just a shrug, Saru finished up applying the magic sunscreen before tossing the bottle to Riku. Within a second he caught the bottle and placed it back down on the table, “I already applied the sunscreen… and as well took the awful potion.” Riku gagged at remembering the bitter taste it had. “One day I really hope they can make it taste better… it would be so much easier that way.”

“Let's just go already before I decide this wasn't worth the effort,” Saruhiko scoffed

“All right,” Riku said before standing up.

The two of them headed to the door and Riku slowly opening the door and letting the light stream in. He squinted for a moment, but his eyes adjusted and soon walked outside. Saru followed quietly behind him as they finally left the house and started to make their way towards the town. Soon enough they exited out of the forest area they had been walking through and came to the sidewalk. It took them only a moment to figure out which direction they were going to head to and they started on their walk once again.

“I know Zack got on you already for this, but please… try not to cause any scenes or problems,” Riku said. “I would like to not end up getting banned from the arcade.”

“I'm not an idiot.” Saru snapped at his brother before mumbling out “and I actually like this arcade.”

“Only making sure,” Riku replied back as they continued down the street.

Eventually they turned down a few more streets until they arrived at the large building that housed the arcade. Riku glanced around to see if Sora and Yata were waiting outside, but he didn’t see them anywhere. With a shrug he opened the door and headed inside. He immediately blinked a few times as he let his eyes adjust to the darker lit building of the arcade. Riku started to wonder where exactly the other two could be, but he ended up hearing a voice shout over the loud sounds of arcade games.

“Riku! Saru! Hey!”

Riku and Saru turned and saw Sora walking over, with Yata right behind him. Sora came right up to them and grinned. “So glad you guys made it!” He then looked over at Yata. “See? I told you they would come.”

“Yeah whatever, I just said it was a possibility they may not decide to come,” Yata replied as he crossed his arms.

“I would prefer it if you didn't use that nickname when addressing me.” Saruhiko told Sora.

Sora tilted his head to the side slightly. “What? You mean I can’t just say Saru?”

“No.”

“Saru is only part of his name. It’s actually Saruhiko,” Riku began to explain. “And the only people who call him Saru are me, and our other two brothers. So you’ll have to call him by his full name.”

“It’s a mouth full though,” Yata commented bluntly, remembering that Riku had said it when he last encountered Saru.

“Not my fault. So deal with it.” Saru turned and started walking farther into the arcade.

“And there he goes,” Riku commented, not surprised by Saru walking away.

“I still don’t understand how you deal with him as a brother,” Yata commented.

“Hey!” Sora interjected. “Let’s not talk about boring stuff like that. Let’s get our arcade tokens and start having fun!”

The remaining three of them walked over to the front desk and looked over the deals for tokens. Since this was a newer arcade, there were no physical coins. All their tokens were put onto game cards that would be scanned at the machine. All of their tickets would also be digitally added to the card as well.

Though just before Sora handed the cashier the money to purchase a card and tokens, he noticed a display case just a few inches to the right. Inside were odd looking necklaces and wristwatches with the name of the arcade on them.

“What are these things?” Sora asked as he pointed to the case.

“These are new things the arcade is trying out. They work just like the cards, but are in the form of wrist watches and necklaces. To make it more fun for everyone,” the cashier explained.

“Ooh! That sounds cool. Does it cost extra?” Sora inquired.

“Only a small extra fee,” the cashier said as they brought out a sheet showing the prices for the items.

“Hmm I wanna get the necklace then instead of the card. It just seems fun,” Sora said as the cashier brought out a necklace.

After Sora bought his necklace and got a certain amount of points Yata walked up to the desk. He glanced at the case and the items within it. “Might as well… I’ll get a wristwatch. I will be easier to keep track of than a card.”

Once his purchase was finished it was Riku’s turn. He looked at the stuff for a moment before shrugging. He pulled out a card and handed it over to the cashier. “I’ll just reload onto my old card.”

“Aw come on, why not something fun like this?” Sora asked as he held up his new arcade necklace.

“Because don’t really see the need to have it as a necklace or wrist watch? I’m fine with just a card,” Riku said as he handed over the money to finish the transaction. “Besides I already have a card. I assume you guys did too, but chose to get something new.”

“Yeah you’re right. But I think it is still cool,” Sora replied with a shrug. “Wait! What about Saru… I mean Saruhiko.”

“He probably still has tokens left over on his card from the last time he came here,” Riku explained as they left the counter and walked into the main area of the arcade.

“Let’s go find him then!” Sora said as he decided to run off into the large room filled with arcade games.

Riku and Yata picked up their pace as they followed after Sora. They weaved between the rows of games, passing by all different types. From fighting games, to Pac-man, to various different types of wheel spins, and even an air hockey table. There was even more than that, but none of them focused on that at the moment as they looked for where Saru was.

“There he is,” Riku called out, raising his voice slightly as the many arcade games made the building rather loud and noisy.

Saruhiko was at a six-sided, coin pusher game that rewards cards and chips that tumbled off the edge. He was on one of the bar stools at one of the stations, half sitting, half leaning, with one foot up on the ringed foot rest. He was almost completely focused on one of the many cards that precariously balanced on the edge with a chip weighing it down, keeping it from falling.

“Oh! So you like to play this game Saruhiko?” Sora asked as he and the others walked up to him.

“Better payout than most of the games.” Saru answered without taking his eyes off the machine.

“Really?” Yata asked, scoffing slightly. “Always seems like a big waste to me.”

“Tsk. An idiot like you wouldn’t understand the best way to play this.” After carefully shooting a few more coins from the launcher, the chain of effect caused quite a few coins along with the card Saru wanted and the chips that were originally keeping it from falling.

“Whatever,” Yata replied as he rolled his eyes. “Still takes forever to even get a complete card set. Some of them are rarer than others, so I don’t even bother.”

Without giving a verbal response, Saru bent down to collect the one card and pulled out a bound stack of similar cards out of his pocket. After removing the top six cards, he then added the newest edition to his collection amongst them, fanning them out in one hand to show the others. Sora and Yata stared with wide eyes, while Riku just rolled his eyes, knowing already the amount of cards Saru had collected.

“Wow with a full set you get 2500 tickets! That’s pretty awesome,” Sora commented.

“I guess it is… pretty impressive. But it’s just one set, the best prizes are far more than that,” Yata added while crossing his arms.

“Don’t underestimate Saru,” Riku commented, knowing full what Saru was going to do next. “I suppose you could say he is a veteran of this style of game.”

Grabbing the nearest bar-height side table, Saruhiko placed the stack of cards and spread them out on the table. Quickly organizing them into sets as well as adding the one he had in his hand, Saru had seven full sets as well as quite a few extra cards.

“What the hell?! How in the world did you ever get that many sets!” Yata exclaimed, completely caught off guard by the number that Saru had.

“Patience, skill, and Luck. None of which you apparently have.” Saru retorted while putting his cards away.

Yata’s eyes widened slightly, starting to fill with a little anger. He was about to take a step forward and say something when Sora stood in front of him. “Heeey, how about we all go find a game we can play together. Or something like that.”

“Yeah, the coin game is fine, but I prefer other games. And there are some fun games we could play with each other, or against,” Riku commented, looking around at the other games.

“Finish using up my drops first.” Saruhiko responded, turing back to the station and picked up where he left off.

“What are we even going to go to then?” Yata asked, backing away from Saruhiko.

“Hmm well I do I wanna try to beat my high score on the Disney Crossy Roads, and that does have two player. And the normal version is right next to it. So essentially all four of us could play,” Sora suggested.

“All right, I’m fine to start with that,” Riku stated.

“I guess… that game isn’t so bad, but there is always that high score that is nearly impossible to beat,” Yata added in.

“Tsk.” Saru just clicked his tongue as he collected everything that was in the little winnings bin and shoved them in his pockets.

“Let’s go!” Sora shouted as he pumped his fists up in the air as he started to march over to the games he had mentioned.

“Is he always like this?” Riku asked Yata as they followed behind him.

“Pretty much,” Yata laughed. “He can always find a way to keep a positive vibe.”

Saruhiko silently followed the others, giving a brief glance back at the game he was leaving behind. The four of them soon came upon the two different versions of the game. Sora took his seat at the Disney version and looked over to Riku.

“You wanna play on my team?”

Before Riku could answer, Yata spoke up instead. “Why does it sound like you are trying to make a competition out of it?”

“Cause I am,” Sora grinned. “Whichever team can get the farthest wins! Whether it is only one of the players or even both.”

Riku looked at Sora before glancing to the other two. After a pause he focused back at Sora. “Are you sure that it would be safe to have those two on a team?” Riku asked jokingly as he pointed to Yata and Saru.

“I never agreed to play,” Saru commented, shoving his hands into his pockets with a bored expression on his face.

“Aw, but I thought this could be a fun little game between all of us,” Sora said pouting slightly.

Yata turned to look at Saruhiko, raising an eyebrow. “What gives? You think you would lose if we were teammates on this game? Or do you just suck at it?”

“Why should I waste my credits on this?” Saru retorted. “There’s little payout for the amount that it costs.”

Riku shook his head as he took his seat next to Sora, at the game. “No use trying to convince him. Saru is picky when it comes to games here.”

“So what do you like to play?” Yata asked as he eyed Saruhiko. “There has to be more than just the coin shooter games.”

“Tsk. Enjoyment of the game itself has little to do with what I’m willing to spend credits on playing.”

“So you are stingy then?” Yata scoffed.

“And if I am? Unlike you, I have no desire to blow my money on an arcade version of a free to play phone game.”

Riku turned to Sora. “Did Yata even hear what I said before?”

Sora shrugged. “Probably not. Let’s just make sure they don’t get out of hand.”

Riku nodded as he leaned over to the other game. He took out his card and taps it on the play box once. “There Saru. Now will you play?”

Saru just sighed before sitting down at the game console.

“Hmph that answers that,” Yata replied as he tapped his wristwatch to the game box to add in the second player.

Sora and Riku then tapped in on their own games and all of them got ready to start the game. Though Saruhiko and Yata could have started right away, they had to wait a moment as Sora picked the map he wanted since he was playing on the Disney version. He ended up picking the Mickey & Friends map and choose Donald as he character. Riku looked over the remaining characters and decided to just pick Mickey.

The four of them glanced between each other for a second before they went back to staring at the screens and began to hit the button to move their characters forward. The game was simple enough, just tap to move the character, but whomever was playing would have to time the taps forward carefully, so they wouldn’t crash into anything.

Saruhiko had a bored expression on his face with a glint in his eyes as he focused on the blocky duck that was bouncing across traffic. He eventually put his elbow on the consol counter and started leaning on it. Yata looked just as bored, but still had at least a moderate level of concentration going into moving his little chicken character right behind Saruhiko’s.

It didn’t take long before Yata tapped too soon and an oncoming train flattened his poor little chicken. Yata had gotten up to nearly 40 for his game, much to his surprise. He huffed as he stood up and looked between the two games going on. Everyone else still seemed to be easily going along without any problems.

“How the heck can you guys all play this so well?” Yata asked. “I mean, I know this is Sora’s favorite game pretty much, but how can you guys also play it so well?”

Riku gave a small shrug, as he tried not to pull away too much from concentrating. “It isn’t all that hard at least.”

Sora laughed. “Just you wait ‘till we get past the hundreds. Then that is where it starts to get real tricky.”

Chapter Text

Yata had continued to watch the remaining three play the games. They were now nearing the 100s in the scoring as their characters still hoped along. But soon enough, Riku did not time the roads he was crossing correctly and his character splatted again the side of a car. Riku shrugged though as he stepped back from the game.

“I guess that’s that for me then,” Riku commented as he saw Sora still focused hard on the game.

Sora didn’t reply back, he only kept his eyes on the screen, tapping his character along when necessary. Riku looked confused before his gaze drifted over to Saruhiko. His younger brother looked the same level of focus that Sora was. Neither of the boys spoke as they continued to play the simple yet challenging game.

Yata gave a small chuckle. “Looks like both of them are too focused to even remember they are in the real world anymore. Better take a seat again, we may be here for a while.”

“What makes you say that?” Riku asked, looking over to Yata.

“Sora’s highest score is nearly at 500. And if he is playing at his best, we will be waiting a while.”

Riku was surprised at first from the fact. He knew Sora had said he wanted to beat his high score, but he had not expected Sora to be this good at it. With that in mind, Riku and Yata took a seat as they watched the other two continue to play.


 

Saruhiko and Sora kept on playing for quite some, having gone on long enough for Yata to get bored of watching them, so he convinced/challenged Riku to a game of air hockey that wasn’t too far away.

Eventually, Saruhiko came to a large multi-lane road that he had to cross, and after pausing to analyze it for a moment. He clicked his tongue before attempting to cross, making it most of the way before he was in a lose-lose position. His little ducky was flattened by a fast moving car before the truck in the next lane cleared out of the way.

Both of the boys looked up the screen to see their scores as well as how many tickets they won. Sora had made it to 552 and Sarhiko was just behind on his game at 550. Sora turned on his seat and held out a hand towards Saruhiko. “Good game, even if we weren’t playing on the same machine.”

“It’s a fairly simple game for one who can recognize and calculate patterns.” Saru retorted with a shrug, but did still shake Sora’s hand.

Sora blinked, trying to understand Saruhiko’s reasoning for it. Instead he just smiled as he was just happy to have played the game. “Still it was fun. Now… where did Riku and Yata go?”

Sora started to scan the area around them, trying to see if he spotted either one of the other guys. A moment later he saw the other two at the air hockey table. He motioned for Saru to follow him as he jumped off the seat and headed over towards the others. Saru stood up, shoved his hands in his pockets, and trailed behind Sora as they approached the air hockey table.

It was not a regular air hockey table, but instead an air hockey table that could have up to four players. The shape of it was square rather than rectangular like most, but it made it more efficient for four players. Yata and Riku were already into a game though, knocking the puck back and forth across the field. Riku hit the puck back towards Yata with a bit more force than before, and Yata returned the hit, but with a stronger hit. The hit knocked the puck off the of the air hockey table and it flew right towards where Saruhiko and Sora stood.

With almost inhuman reaction timing, Saru caught the puck flat between his fingers right before it was about to impact Sora’s face. Yata and Sora’s faces stretched out as their mouths dropped open. Saruhiko smirked in amusement just before he flicked his wrist, sending the puck back into the field of play. It ricocheted off the walls and into Yata’s goal.

“What the hell?” Yata asked, still sounding completely caught off guard by what he had just witnessed.

“How did you even do that?” Sora asked, more amazing that confused by it.

Riku glanced at Saru for a brief moment, hoping that his concerned and serious expression would be enough to give Saru an idea not to let this get out of hand. Saru only chuckled softly as he gave the faintest smile, though it was much more like his usual smirks.

“Would you believe the fact that I am apart of a secret ninja association?”

“Wow that sounds super cool!” Sora commented.

“Seriously?” Yata asked, raising an eyebrow. “A secret… ninja association is why you could catch that air hockey puck?”

“No, I just have good reflexes,” Saru answered with a serious, deadpan expression.

Yata stared at him, narrowed his eyes slightly. With the now deadpan look across Saruhiko’s face, it was hard to read him. But it seemed that he was telling the truth now. Yata huffed and he rolled his eyes. “Whatever then… Was pretty impressive though.” The last part of it was muttered quietly under his breath.

“How about you repeat what you just said, but speak up so that people could actually hear you?” Saruhiko asked with a taunting smirk on his face.

Yata looked directly at Saruhiko, glaring at him with annoyed eyes. “I said it wasn’t that impressive!”

"Oh is that so? The expression of shock and amazement that adorned your pretty little face said otherwise."

Yata sneered at Saruhiko, feeling more annoyed than he was before. “It wasn’t that amazing. Just… Just surprising.” Yata let out a huff of air, trying to brush off the look that Saruhiko was giving him.

“Hey hey,” Riku interjected. “Let’s just agree it was a quick catch. Now that we’re all here, how about we all play a game together?”

“Yeah! That sounds fun. Always wanted to play this with four people,” Sora said as he walked to one of the two remaining open sides of the game.

Saru didn’t move to the remaining side, instead he just shoved his hands back into his pockets.
“Not interested.”

“Is he going to do this with everything?” Yata asked, glaring over at Saruhiko.

“I’m afraid so. He is more picky than you would expect,” Riku answered, knowing his brother would not care to say anything more.

“What was the point in him even coming here then?” Yata grumbled. “If he just is not going to play any of the games we want to, he shouldn’t have even come.”

"Why I chose to come is of no concern to you, and your choice of games is of a child's preference." Saru stated as he turned to walk away.

Yata stepped away from the air hockey and marched right up to Saruhiko. He stood in front of the lanky boy and stared right into his eyes. “If you think air hockey is childish, then what is it you like to play? And the coin and card game doesn’t count for this.”

"A brat like you wouldn't last long with my choice of entertainment." Saruhiko taunted while looking back over his shoulder before walking off.

“Oh yeah? Well why don’t you just say it already? Maybe you’ll be surprised,” Yata said, now walking alongside Saurhiko. For some reason, he could not just give up. It was probably stubbornness, but he wanted to find out just what was Saruhiko’s deal. And the other half of him was genuinely curious, though he tried not to actually show that side of him.

Saru didn't answer, instead he just continued walking until they reached his destination. They had arrived at a pair of older, connected arcade cabinets that each had a holstered gun controller and a foot pedal. The left 'half' was red while the right 'half' was blue, and because the two were conjoined, it allowed for two person multiplayer.

“You said I wouldn’t last long? Shoot games are probably my best game here!” Yata exclaimed.

"Can you live up to that boast then, eh Mi~sa~ki~?." Saru challenged as he walked up to, and swiped his card at the blue station.

Yata scowled. “Don’t say that f*cking name!” Before Saruhiko could reply, Yata went up to tap his wristwatch at the red station.

"You can't make me stop calling you Misaki, Mi~sa~ki~." Saru picked up his 'gun', moved to stand so that his right foot was partially on the pedal, and pressed start.

“Shut up you f*cking monkey,” Yata huffed angrily. He picked up his ‘gun’ and readied himself for the start of the game.


Meanwhile back at the air hockey, Sora and Riku were tied at 6 to 6, and having the hardest time trying to shoot the final goal. This actually was their 3rd game, and was the tiebreaker between the two, with Sora winning the first one nad Riku the second.

The two stared down at the puck as it shot quickly back and forth. Neither of the boys wanted to lose their attention at all. The only thing that mattered in the moment was trying to win.

“Come on!” Sora shouted, laughing as he made another block with the paddle. He knocked it back towards the side, hoping it would bounce off and go into the goal from the side.

Riku used his quick reflexes to stop the puck and then sent it flying straight back. He let out a short laugh. “You gotta try better than that.”

“Hmm…” Sora said, still trying to not let the puck goes in the goal. Suddenly a sly smile came across his face. “So Riku…”

“Yeah?” Riku asked, still in deep concentration on trying to win.

“I wanted to know, is that your natural hair color? Cause if it is, that’s really pretty.”

“What?” Riku asked, looked up to Sora with wide eyes.

BING

The buzzer for the goal went off and Riku looked down to see that Sora had taken the shot to get the puck into the goal. Sora had won the 3rd game, meaning he was now the overall winner. Sora smiled as he jumped up, cheering happily.

“Hey come on, that isn’t fair,” Riku replied.

“Yeah it is,” Sora said, giving a big cheeky grin. “You just choose to get distracted. Not my fault.”

Riku felt his cheeks grow slightly warm, but he breathed out, hoping to calm himself. Sora had commented on his hair again. And with that simple comment, it had thrown him off. He still couldn’t fully understand why he got like that. He knew part of it was because he was reminded of Kairi… but the other part… he wasn’t sure. There was still some feelings he didn’t quite understand from being around Sora. Maybe Zack was right after all… maybe there was some feeling that he had towards Sora. But at the time being he still was not sure about it. This was his technically 3rd time meeting him. He couldn't judge his feelings off of that. Not yet at least.

“So should we go find Saru and Yata?” Riku asked, not wanting to get too deep in thought about the subject.

Sure! Where do you think they could be?” Sora asked as the two of them started to walk.

“I know Saru likes the shooter games, so we should check there first,” Riku said.

“Hey Yata likes those games too. I guess they have more in common than we thought,” Sora replied with a laugh.

Riku couldn’t help but laugh in return. “I guess you’re right.”

There was a pause between the two of them, before Sora spoke up again. “Can I ask though?”

“Ask what?”

“Why is your hair like that? I mean, it’s such a unique color… so um… I was wondering about it,” Sora asked quietly. He and tilted his head away due to how nervous he felt when asking, but he still stayed close to Riku’s side.

Riku nearly stopped walking. He didn’t come to a complete stop, but he did slow down quite a bit. He ran his fingers over his palms as he started to look a bit uncomfortable. A slow and quiet sigh was let from Riku’s mouth before he actually spoke to Sora.

“I… I get it from my…” Riku trailed off, wanting to hold off on it as long as he could. “From my mother…”

Sora looked back at Riku when he gave his answer. It was then that he saw the expression on Riku’s face. It was a look that he knew all too well himself. Something about that subject clearly was making Riku a bit troubled. Sora didn’t know the exact details, but he could see the uncomfortable look forming in Riku’s eyes.

“Ah! I’m sorry, I didn’t know it was a sensitive subject!” Sora shouted, hoping he had not upset Riku too more.

Riku pursed his lips and faced Sora, he could see Sora was clearly worried that he had upset him. He wasn’t all that upset, just the memoires in his head made him feel uncertain. So with a deep breath he looked at Sora in the eyes, giving him a half smile. “No, it’s okay. I didn’t expect to be asked about it. That’s all. Haven’t… really thought about it in a while.”

Sora’s worried face did not let up. He still didn’t know if Riku was truly okay anymore after being asked the question.

“Sora,” Riku said, placing a hand on Sora’s shoulder. “Really, it’s okay. It’s nothing that bad. I just… don’t think about her much anymore.”

“Okay, if you say so. But I’m really sorry I asked,” Sora replied.

Riku nodded in understanding. “Now, let’s get back to finding Saru and Yata.”

Sora breathed out, happy he hadn’t hopefully ruined anything between him and Riku. “Yeah, let’s go.”

Chapter Text

Sora and Riku made their way through the arcade, until they saw the area where the shooter games where. They looked around at the different ones until they spotted the one that Yata and Saru were at. The two were too engrossed into the game to notice that Riku and Sora were coming towards them. In the game, they were at a boss level, with a lot of different things that they had to shoot at. Both of the boys remained quiet as they concentrated hard at the task on hand.

Upon seeing this, not only were Riku and Sora surprised at the amount of quietness from the two, but also that they seemed to be cooperating. Sora and Riku decided to stay back and watch so they wouldn’t distract the two from their game. They both knew that if they did end up doing that to either one of them, it would only end badly.

Yata angled his gun at a different section of the screen and took a few more shots, knocking out several more of the characters on screen. All that was left now was the final boss character.

Saru and Yata had to alternate between the two of them who was shooting at the boss and who was in cover and protected by a barrier. They could only get off a shot or two, three if they were lucky, before they had to duck back into cover with the foot pedal.

It wasn’t long before they had used enough shots to disable the barrier, leaving the final boss wide in the open. They wouldn’t have long to attack before the boss would reset the barrier. Yata and Saru took to holding up their guns higher at the screen, aiming right where the boss sat. Just within a few seconds the boss started to scrambled to genterotr which would be used to reset the barrier.

They pulled the trigger on the guns and the shots fired out, directly at the boss. He took a few hits before he was able to reset the barrier. It now would be the same process over again, as it was expected in games like that.

But within a few minutes, it was done.

The credits of the game started to scroll up the screen as the scores were being totalled at the top.

A pair of identical keyboards appeared on their screens, with four blanks at the top for them to type in a nickname to save in the system. The two had shot the letters to spell out 'Yata' and 'Saru' respectively before the game continued on to show the co-op high score list.

The numbers continued to grow larger until they reached a stopping point. It had scrolled to the top, with the second place score flashing with their 'names' beside it.

“Whoa we actually made it to 2nd place!” Yata exclaimed. “Awesome! But… we still couldn’t beat the highest scores.”

Yata then gestured to the top team in the 1st place spot, with their score nearly double of what Yata and Saru had. The names were ‘Zack’ and ‘Wolf’.

“Who ever those two are, they gotta be some extreme pros or something. I’ve seen their names in the 1st place spots on probably most of the shooter games here ,” Yata said, finishing off his thoughts.

"I'm not surprised. All Zack and Cloud do are shooter games and each other."

Just as Sora and Yata had surprised and confused looks on their faces, Saru suddenly winced, feeling a pain emanate from his wrist. Riku was right beside him, and had a firm grip on his wrist. He gave a sharp glare before opening his mouth. “Saru! You know you shouldn’t just go saying something like that.”

"And you know that I don't have a filter, so suck it up princess, cause I know you can't silence me.

“But then you know as well that if Zack and Cloud heard you speaking about their relationship behind their backs, they would make sure you don’t live to see tomorrow,” Riku replied quietly.

"Zack would just laugh it off with a blush across his face while holding Cloud back from maiming me."

“He would laugh until he would decide to-” Riku started before someone clearing their throat distracted him.

Riku looked to the side to see both Yata nd Sora staring at him and Saru. Both of them still having rather perplexed looks on their faces. “Umm…” Sora started, trying to find a way to interrupt. “What are you guys even talking about?”

“Some very N.S.F.W stuff that a child like you doesn’t need to understand.”

“It’s nothing,” Riku replied bluntly before twisting Saru’s wrist a little more. “Just Saru being immature and talking about our eldest brother’s relationship behind his back, and making jokes about it.”

"Ghr." Saruhiko grunted out before turning to threaten his elder brother. "Stop twisting my wrist. If you break it again, I WILL turn you into a pincushion the next time we spar."

Riku sighed as he released Saruhiko’s wrist. “Let’s just move on to something else.”

“Wait a minute,” Yata now interrupted. “You guys spar? I mean it makes sense the more I think about it…” Yata started to trail off with his thoughts. He found that he actually had no way to go with what he had said, and only spoke the first words off of his head.

“That sounds really cool though!” Sora added energetically before looking at Yata. “It actually sounds like what you do when you train with Mikoto.

“That’s different,” Yata replied as he crossed his arms. “I’m sure whatever it is you two do is something far more crazy. After all I’ve seen the monkey in action.”

"You haven't seen squat Misaki. There are less restrictions when sparring with glitter bits here." Saru gestures towards Riku with that last bit.

Riku only rolled his eyes, the slightest annoyance started to fill them. “Are you just making up new nicknames for me on the spot now?”

Saru just shrugs.

Sora couldn’t help but snicker. He had tried to keep it quiet, but it was obviously enough to draw the attention of the other three. “Sorry,” Sora said as he tried to stop his little bits of laughter. “You two just remind me of how I am with my brother some of the time.”

Yata scoffed. “I don’t think your brother is as annoying or rude as monkey boy here.”

“I’ll agree with that, and I only met your brother once so far,” Riku added in.

“Can we go back for a moment,” Yata said, holding up a hand. “I think I figured out what I wanted to ask. You guys said you spar together… where on earth do you do that? Especially if you use magic like you did the other night.”

“Uh…” Riku started off. He first was thinking of a way to pass it off, but the more he thought about it, there was no real harm in letting the two of them know. “We actually have a mini training room in the basement of our house. It’s made with magic, so everything that happens there stays there. That way we don’t actually cause any damage or break anything.”

"Doesn't stop me from stabbing you though."

Riku rolled his eyes. “Is that really necessary to bring up?”

"Was it necessary for you to mention that we have a training room?" Saru retorted back.

“Just trying to make some conversation,” Riku replied before looking to Sora and Yata. “It’s not like you guys don’t know about magic. If you didn’t know about that stuff, I probably wouldn’t have brought it up.”

Sora nodded in response. “You have a point. It still sounds super cool though. Do you think we could ever see it?”

Saruhiko just shrugged, turning to Riku as if redirecting the question to him. Riku at that notion rolled his eyes at his brother, seeing that Saru never could make up his mind. He either would seem upset that Riku told Yata and Sora something, but then when asked another question would turn to him to give the answer.

“I don’t know,” Riku answered. “It’s just something our eldest brother got for us to help us train. How about we go do something else though, we still have a lot of things to do.”

“If you say so,” Yata replied before taking a step closer to Saruhiko. He looked like was glancing away for a moment, but eventually he turned his gaze to him. “Before I forget, we made it to 2nd place working together. So that’s pretty cool, good work.” He held up his hand to Saruhiko for a high-five.

Saru looked at Yata with an expression that read ‘is this really necessary’ before giving Yata a very lackluster high-five.

“So what are we going to do now?” Yata asked.

"Let's try to do something fun we can all play together!" Sora exclaimed.

"But what else could we do?" Yata asked, turning to dacd him.

Sora placed a hand to his chin. "Hmm. Oh I know! How about the DDR game! It only is for two people but we can compete against one another!"

"Pass." Saruhiko mutters before turning and starting to walk off from the group.

Yata rolled his eyes. "Really? You're going to ditch us again?"

"Don't bother," Riku said. "He isn't going to listen."

Yata didn't seem to hear him though as he kept talking to Saruhiko. "Why did you even bother to come if you are just going to not hangout with all of us?"

“Apparently it hasn’t occurred to your pea sized brain that I don’t care for prolonged social interactions.”

"Saru," Riku started before grabbing the collar of his brother's jacket. "You willingly came along, so now you are going to stick with us. Whether you want to or not. I'm not letting you run off to play on your own now."

“Well, excuse me Nana, but I've filled my social need for the month,” Saruhiko sassed at Riku before muttering out the next bit, “and you never let me do anything on my own.”

"Remember Zack left me in charge," Riku said, letting out a huff of air. "So sorry, but you just gotta stick around more. And maybe if you learn to be a bit better socially, Zack won't make me babysit you so much."

"Just how old are you guys? You're older brother has you babysit him?" Yata asked Riku.

Riku opened his mouth, though he paused for a moment. Discussing their ages was not something he thought was needed. Instead he ended up shrugging before letting go of Saru's collar. "Pretty much."

"He sounds kind of overprotective, more than how Vani is with me," Sora added.

Riku thought before giving another shrug. “I guess he can be sometimes. But most of the time he really isn’t super overprotective, but he is rather caring.”

“And hyped up like a child on a sugar rush.” Saruhiko cut in his two cents.

“Also very true,” Riku agreed, adding a small chuckle at the end. He then cleared his throat. “But enough about our brother. Let’s go play DDR now.” He then turned his head to glance at Saru. He gave him a deep and serious stare. “And you will be joining us.”

Saru glared at Riku. “I’ve never played it and have no interest in playing it.”

“Too bad. You heard your brother, you’re coming with whether you want to or not,” Yata replied, a slight taunting tone in his voice.

“Please do not provoke him,” Riku quickly replied. He knew that Saru wanted to probably say something back, but he was trying his best to prevent any trouble. Yata and Saru had just gotten along during their game, and he was hoping it could stay that way for the time being.

“Why would I want to just stand there and watch you three play some exercise game.” Saruhiki huffed in annoyance.

“Because it’s fun!” Sora said, pumping his fist into the air. All of them could see how excited he was to soon be playing the game. “You gotta play too Saruhiko! We are going to make another fun competition out of this.”

Before Saruhiko, or anyone else could reply to Sora’s enthusiasm, Sora reached forward and grabbed his wrist. “Now come on, let’s go!”

Sora started to walk off, pulling as hard as he could to drag Saruhiko behind him.

“I do not consent to this.” Saru grumbled out while letting Sora drag him off.

“Seriously, what is with him?” Yata asked Riku before they started walking after the other two.

“Honestly I have no idea half the time,” Riku replied simply.

Chapter Text

Riku and Yata walked across the arcade until they approached the area that had the dance machines. There they saw Sora and Saruhiko already there, with Sora standing on one of the dance platforms. Saruhiko was seated on the floor with his arms crossed, pouting slightly while Sora was ‘dancing’ to the demo. 

Soon Sora turned his head and smiled at the two that approached. “Hey there you guys are! About time you made it.”

Riku tilted his head to the side, feeling a bit confused. “It only took us less than a minute to walk over here.”

“I know, but I’m just really excited! I love DDR more than anything else here,” Sora explained. 

Yata didn’t listen in the conversation and instead walked over to Saruhiko. He looked down at him and snickered. “Why do you look like a sad little child that had their toys taken away?”

“Why do you act like a jackass who bullies others to compensate for something?” Saru retorted back while standing up so that he was practically in Yata’s personal space.

Yata’s eyes wided. “What? What the hell?! How about, what’s with your rudeass attitude?” His shock slowly turned into glare as he kept his eyes locked on Saruhiko. 

“How the f**k would you feel if your every move was restricted to the point that you can’t even leave home without supervision from an elder sibling,” Saru growled out.  

Yata’s glare softened. Any anger or annoyance he had felt in the moment before was gone and replaced with his own feelings of confusion. “Wait what? You… can’t actually leave home without being supervised?”

“Why do you think I’ve made a jibe at my elder brother about being my caretaker. He’s practically my babysitter. I’m not allowed out alone for multiple reasons.”

“Uh… well then…” Yata said, trying to think of something to say back. But every thing that he thought of ended up being only fragments. Nothing was a full thought as he tried processing. Finally something started to come to his mind to ask. “Are these reasons… like for something bad?” Yata’s eyes narrowed slightly. “You don’t… uh have a record or something?” 

“I grew up hidden away from society until I met my eldest brother, and since then, I’ve only ever left home with a supervisor, so no I don’t have any record, be it criminal or just existential.”

Yata blinked, listening carefully to Saruhiko's words. It was nothing he had expected. He thought that Saruhiko was just going to give a snarky reply to him… but this was something else. He started to feel more confused than he had before, and had even less clear thoughts to ask. There was something that had to be said though. He knew that much. It was only trying to get those words out through the wall of many questions in his head.

"I… I'm sorry to hear that…" Yata muttered quietly. 

“I don’t need your pity.” Saru turned away to face Riku and Sora up on the machine platform flipping through songs, debating on which one to play.

Sora was excitedly telling Riku about which songs he liked to dance to the most. A lot of them he said he enjoyed playing on Expert Mode due to the fact he had played so many times. Riku listened intently, not even noticing that Saru was staring right at them. Eventually Sora slowed down and finally caught his breath. 

"Okay! Are we all ready to play? Riku and I will go first, then Saruhiko and Yata. After that the ones who win each game will move on to the final round," Sora explained.

“I already told you that I don’t want to play this.” Saru spoke up so that Sora could hear him.

"No you gotta play!" Sora replied. "It's more fun if we all play together."

"Saru, just play a few rounds," Riku added as he leaned on the railing on the platform he stood on. "It's not going to kill you."

“No thanks.” Saruhiko just sat back down against the wall.

Riku sighed heavily. Saru was still going to proceed to be stubborn about it. It was obvious from the start that it would go that way. With not wanting to repeat the exact same conversation as before, Riku stepped off the dance platform and grabbed Saru by the collar of his shirt one more. With a simple pull, Saru was up on his feet and Riku shoved him up onto the dance platform. 

“You’re going to play,” Riku responded while he heard faint snickers from Yata and Sora. 

Saru gave an annoyed huff, chucking a few of his plastic tokens at Riku’s head while stepping off the platform. “I refuse to go first in a game I have never played.”

Sora gasped at Saruhiko momentary. But then grinned. “It’s easy! You just dance to the arrows on the screen. Hey Riku, wanna show him how it goes?”

Riku sneered at Saruhiko before he looked back to Sora. He stepped back up on the platform. “Sure. Might as well finally get this started.”

Sora pumped a fist into the air. “Yes! Let’s do it!” 

Sora picked the song they would start with, one that had a fairly good easy mode. Though when picking the difficulty. Sora when right to medium. He chuckled softly. “This song isn’t too bad, but I don’t wanna go full out hard mode yet. But I wanna start with a little bit of a challenge.”

Riku decided to go with easy mode, having never really played the game before. The song started the two of them began to hit the arrows on the platform coordinating with what was being shown on screen.

Sora’s side of what he had to too was a bit more challenging, but he managed easily with it. Sora kept a happy, goofy smile on his face as he danced to the arrows on the screen. And Riku couldn’t help but glance every so often to see the smile. He didn’t mean to keep doing it. But he found himself wanting to look. There was something about the young boy’s smile that created a warmth in him. He still didn’t want to assume anything yet, but there were more and more thoughts forming in his mind as to why he felt the way he was. He kept reminding himself that he would just have to ask Zack after all of this was over. 

Sora and Riku finished the dance and stepped off the platform to relax. Sora ended with an A rank score and Riku was scored at a B. Sora walked over to Riku and held up his hand. “Hey good job!”

“But I didn’t rank as high as you,” Riku replied.

“So? You still did as best as you could do, and that’s what matters,” Sora replied. A huge, happy grin coming across his face. 

Riku returned a smile to Sora and completed the high five. “All right, thanks.” 

Sora kept smiling. “You’re welcome.” Sora then turned to Yata and Saruhiko who were standing next to the game. “Okay guys! Now it's your turn!” 

“Fine,” Yata replied as he stepped up to the platform. “Is the monkey actually going to play or am I facing one of you two?”

Sora stepped back up onto the platform. “I’ll go again, so we can show Saruhiko how much fun this game can be.”

“But aren’t you tired from the last round?” Riku asked, surprised at Sora’s continued eithismism. 

“Just a little bit, but I am use to it. I’m really good at this game so I can play it for a while before I get too tired. Right Yata?” 

“It’s true,” Yata agreed. “I am sure this is how he gets all his exercise.” 

“Hey! Not true! I get exercise in other ways!” 

“Yeah like from other video games,” Yata replied. 

Sora puffed out his cheeks before sighing. “Let’s just play. You pick the song Yata.”

Yata nodded and scrolled through the selection. He soon came across a song called Wild Crow with a heavy beat and a lot of guitar riffs. Both of the boys picked hard for the difficulty and began the song. This song was far more challenging than the last and required more effort than Sora had done in the last round. But he seemed to manage just fine as he hit many of the arrows on perfect. Yata as just as good. He managed to not once get any bads or misses throughout the entire song. 

By the end Yata and Sora breathed deeply. They only looked slightly out of breath as they awaited for their scores to be tallied. Eventually they came up with the final results; with both boys scoring a solid A. The two of them grinned before looking at one another and giving each other a high five.

“All right!” Sora cheered. “That’s how it’s done!”

Riku gave a small round of applause. “Wow that was really good. Have you done expert mode yet for that song?” 

“Twice,” Sora answered. “But it’s super suuuuuper hard for that song.”

“We barely get halfway through the song before we get booted for failing,” Yata added. 

“How difficult can it be?” Saru finally spoke up, standing up from where he was sitting.

“Oh so now you’re going to play?” Yata asked as he stepped off of the platform. 

“You’ve presented me with a challenge.” Saru answered “And I’m being forced to play one way or another, so might as well get this over with.”

“You’re going to have fun though!” Sora exclaimed. “But first, I think I’m going to go buy a water bottle from the vending machine. You want one too, Yata?” 

“Yeah,” Yata said before pulling out a dollar from his pocket and handed it to Sora. 

“I’ll be back! You guys can start without me!” Sora shouted before he took off running to where the vending machines were. 

Saru stepped up onto the platform and turned to face Riku. “Am I playing against you then dear brother ?” He taunted.

Riku narrowed his eyes for a moment. For a moment he was trying to see if Saru was trying to deceive him. But he ended up seeing that it was just another annoying taunt from his brother. “I suppose so, since you asked so nicely , little brother .” Riku decided to taunt back for no real reason before stepping up onto the platform.

Saruhiko gave no retort, instead, he started quickly flipping though songs before stopping on one that he liked the title of. It was called I beg your hate , although that appeared to be a Japanese song as what lyrics they could hear from the demo were in Japanese.

“That’s your choice?” Yata asked with genuine curiosity as he sat down on the floor. 

“Hmph” Saru didn’t say anything more as he chose medium for the difficulty settings.

“Doesn’t look too hard,” Riku replied as he decided what difficulty he would pick. Eventually he ended up picking medium as well. He wanted to try and make a fair competition against Saru, knowing he would be taunted otherwise for picking easy. 

The song began and the two of them kept their eyes locked on the screen, following the movements instructed to them. At first, Saru was stumbling with some of the steps, but after a few measures, he started getting greats or perfects for every one. Riku didn’t stumble as much at the start, but a few surprise quick moves did through him off guard for the moment. 

But then, since both of the boys were on the same level of difficulty they stayed pretty much in sync during the entire dance once they both got the hang of things. Neither of them took their eyes off the screen the entire time, not even noticing that Sora had returned with water bottles. 

When the song ended the boys stopped to breath. They waited for the game to tally up their scores, still neither of them focusing on anything else. Though for a moment they did glance at one another, giving each other a competitive glare. 

The scores totaled up. While Saru had far more perfects and a better combo, he had a few more misses than Riku did. But with that it ended up with both of them having an A rank for the song. 

“Wow!” Sora exclaimed. “You guys picked up how to play this really quick! That was amazing!”

Riku rubbed the back of his neck slightly as he looked to Sora’s beaming face. He smiled. “It wasn’t that hard once I got the hang of it. Just some of those quick double taps were surprising.” 

“I’ll admit, I am impressed,” Yata said before he took a drink of his water. “I thought at least one of you could completely screw it up.”

Saruhiko remained quiet, but did not step down from the platform. Riku on the other hand did and walked over to Sora. “So now what are we going to do?” 

“Another round of course!” Sora said. “You guys tied though, so I don’t know who will go against who next.” 

“Rock, paper, scissors?” Yata suggested in a joking tone.

“How about I just don’t play again?” Saruhiko half asked, half stated while stepping down from the platform.

“You’re going to start up again?” Yata asked. 

“I’ve already played it once already, short stack. Don’t push your luck.” Saru retorted, moving to stand against the wall.

Yata scowled at him, but chose to stay quiet. He went back to drinking more of his water in the meantime. Sora on the other hand looked between all of them. Finally he looked back and forth between Riku and Yata. “You guys haven’t gone against each other yet, so how about a round for that?”

“I guess we could do that, if you aren’t too tired yet,” Yata said before placing his water bottle on the floor next to the game. 

“I’m good,” Riku replied. “That last song wasn’t the most tiring.”

The two of them then set up, ready to go another round. 

Chapter Text

The game had ended and the boys stepped off to catch their breaths, just as they did after each round. Riku and Yata had picked a fairly difficult song, but still they stayed on medium. But even with that the song was challenging from the start. The end ranks were not as good as the other rounds with Yata only at a B and Riku sadly at a D.

“Maybe… Maybe I should sit out for a bit,” Riku said, trying to catch his breath. 

“You should probably get something to drink after all that. You still did really well,” Sora replied. He gave an encouraging smile. “You’re really good dancing at this game.”

Riku felt his cheeks grow warm. He quickly averted his gaze, though he smiled without thought. “Thanks, though this isn’t anything like normal dancing. But this is more fun.”

“Yeah it is! Though other kinds of dancing are fun too. What other kinds of dancing do you know?” Sora asked, now very curious to know more about Riku. 

“Mainly just how to waltz. That’s really it,” Riku replied. 

“Still! Very cool!” Sora replied. “I would wanna see you dance a waltz sometime. I bet you’d look very handsome.” 

“Huh?” Riku asked, turning back to look at Sora. His cheeks were starting to grow a little warmer than before now. 

Sora stared for a moment, wondering why Riku was looking at him so shocked. Then he realized his own words. Now redness in his cheeks was starting to show. “Not handsome, I-I mean… you know. Very proper… o-or regal. Or something. Ah! Not so say you aren’t handsome, but ahah…”

Sora’s face was flushed red now as he buried it into his hands. His heart was racing a mile a minute now. He hadn’t even thought about what he had said until it was already out there. Now he felt like even more of a fool. He couldn’t even bare to look back at Riku. He didn’t want to see what Riku could have been thinking. But as he stayed there, regretting not thinking before saying, he could hear some snickering. 

Sora moved his fingers to let one eye see through to the others. It was there he saw Yata with a huge grin across his face, looking right at Sora. All of Sora’s worries and fears went away for the moment as he glared at Yata. He didn’t even notice Riku, still with a shocked expression staring at him. 

“Hey! Stop laughing Yata, it’s not funny!” 

“You bet it is funny,” Yata replied. “You’re acting like such a child.”

Saru, upon seeing Riku’s expression, went to taunt him at first, before realizing that his elder brother was too out of it to react. So Saruhiko walked up to Riku and slapped him across the face as hard as he could.

Now all eyes were on Saruhiko, including an angry looking Riku. “What the hell was that for!?”

“You’re brain short-circuited, and I had a means to jump start it. Why not choose the more entertaining option.” Saru responded, taking a few steps back from his brother.

Riku let out a sharp exhale from his nose. He could feel the burning sensation from the slap on his face, but he chose to ignore it. He knew better than to get aggravated at Saru. In a way he was thankful. It did in fact snap him out of his daze. Sora’s fumbling complements really had caught him off guard. Even now he wasn’t exactly sure what to think about it. He decided, like everything else he felt about this, he would think about it later. 

“I think that was a bit uncalled for,” Yata said, looking over to Saruhiko. 

“‘A bit’ would be an understatement,” Riku added, rubbing the side of his face. 

Saru just shrugged before sitting down against the wall.

Sora looked at Riku, forgetting everything he said before. He only looked at Riku with a concerned look now. “You’re not hurt are you?” 

“It was just a slap,” Riku replied. “It’s far from the worst thing he has done. Still hurts a little, but it’s not the end of the world.”

“Why don’t you just use a cure spell? I would assume you know how to do those,?” Yata said. “It would help alleviate the pain at least.” 

“Oh yeah, that is true. I kind of forget for a moment there,” Riku said before casting a small healing spell over him. 

“How do you forget something like that?” Yata asked.

“I mean I forgot you guys are okay with magic. You know there are still some who are opposed to it,” Riku answered. 

“True,” Sora said. “I really gotta learn magic sometime.”

“You’re too lazy,” Yata commented. 

“I’m lazy now, but when I wanna do it, I’ll do it,” Sora replied while crossing his arms. “Now let’s get to the next round of dancing! I guess it will be me against Saruhiko?” 

Saruhiko sighed while standing back up from his spot on the floor. Without an audible word, just mutterings under his breath, he stepped up onto the dance platform and began to shuffle through the songs.

“I guess that’s a ‘yes’ then,” Sora said as he waited for Saruhiko to pick a song. 

After cycling through the entire list of songs, twice, and almost timing out, Saru finally settled on a song that offered easy, medium and hard difficulties. After only a brief pause, he clicked over and selected the hard difficulty. 

“Suddenly you want to go to hard mode?” Yata asked as he watched. 

“Hey if he wants to go hard mode, then let him. It makes it more fun,” Sora answered as he decided between medium and hard. “Hm, let’s actually make this a fun challenge.” Sora then confirmed his level on hard and the song set to begin.  

They had chosen Hikari: Ray of Hope , and it began with freeze(hold) arrows paired with double-stepped arrows set to a fairly fast beat. Saru was able to mostly keep up with the song, his combo climbing until he ran into some trouble. He began to stumble when there were chains of crossovers intermixed with double-steps. While he didn’t actually get a ‘boo’ or an ‘almost’, he couldn’t keep his combo count up for longer than 7 in a row.

On the other hand, Sora was keeping up with the motions a little better. He was not perfect, far from it. He also couldn’t keep a straight running combo for very long. But his at least got up to 15 before he would slip up and had to start over. When it came to the more complicated moves, he managed to get through most of them, but there was still a few steps of it that he would fail. 

This continued on for the rest of the song, which ended with a jump freeze. As the song wound to a close, the two were given time to catch their breaths before the game tallied their scores.

Sora had ended with a final score of a B+, while Saru surprisingly finished with an A-.

Sora stepped off the platform and grabbed his water bottle. He proceeded to chug down the water as fast as he could until the bottle was empty. He laughed in between breaths. “Guess… I guess I should have bought more water… bottles.” 

“You did good though,” Riku said. This time he was going to give a compliment back to Sora, after all he had done so far for him. “That was a challenging song, but you looked like you had fun.”

Sora nodded. “It’s it such a cool song! It’s one of my favorites on there,” Sora then turned around to look at Saruhiko. “Oh! Are you doing okay Saruhiko? You also did really well! Great job!” 

 “'m fine,” Saru mumbled out, still breathing a bit hard from having exerted himself a bit more than usual today.

Yata looked at Saruhiko carefully. “You going to be okay? If you need a water bottle, I guess I can go grab one. One for everyone I assume?” 

Saru didn't give an answer, just sat down on the edge of the dance platform so that he could rest for a bit. At that reaction, Yata walked off to get some water bottles without another word. 

“What are we going to do after this? I didn’t think to ask before,” Riku said. “Or are we just going to spend all day here?”

“Hmm,” Sora hummed, bringing a hand to his chin. It was apparently that he also had not thought of what to do afterwards. “Go for food somewhere? Like maybe later on go to someplace for dinner?” 

Riku hadn’t considered that as an option. How long had it been anyways since they got here? Riku already lost track of time. He glanced up to the clock on the wall to see that the time said that it was a quarter past three. Far more time had gone by that he originally thought. 

He cleared his throat and looked back to Sora. “So you’d still wanna hangout after this? For… dinner?” 

“Yeah, I mean why not. We are all getting to know each other today, and dinner is another great place for conversation,” Sora replied. 

Saru’s input was to flop backwards onto the dance platform with a groan of annoyance. While that usually would have caused some harm, Saruhiko didn’t appear to be bothered by his own action. He laid there, looking rather exhausted, but also a bit peaceful. 

“Where would we even go?” Riku asked, seeing that Saru was going to have no real input on the topic. 

“I don’t know… we would have to think about that,” Sora said as he saw Yata returning with four water bottles. “Hey Yata! Where should we go for dinner tonight?” 

“What? Who said we are going to dinner?” Yata asked.

“I did,” Sora declared, pointing to himself. “I think it would be fun.” 

“I don’t understand how you think something like that could be fun," Yata replied before holding out a water bottle to Saruhiko.

Saru accepted the bottle with a murmured thanks before sitting up and taking some sips.

Yata blinked for a moment, a little surprised hearing a form of thanks from the boy. But he shrugged it off quickly and handed out the remaining bottles to Riku and Sora. 

"Where would we even go?" Yata finally asked. He looked between everyone. "Anyone have an interest in anything?" 

"I dunno," Sora replied casually. 

Riku thought for a moment. Thinking where they could possibly go. There were plenty of different restaurants to go to, all of them varying in different food. But the choice was still hard on what to pick. Riku then realized that he didn't even know what the others liked. He knew Saru's likes and dislikes, albeit his likes in food were few. But he knew nothing about the other two. There was still so much they didn't know about one another.

"Well Saru is a bit of a picky eater, so that may lessen put choices a bit," Riku finally answered.

"He's picky about his video games and food?" Yata questioned. "What else do we need to know about him?"

“I’m into to guys too, if that’s what you’re curious about.” Saru retorted, sitting upright.

Everyone stared at him in silence. 

Yata blinked after a moment, but he kept his gaze locked with Saru. Once another moment passed, he realized what he was doing. He averted his gaze to the ground. He began to rub the back of his neck. "Uh, not what I was expecting… but um… g-good for you… and stuff…"

Saru just stood up, placing his partially drunk water bottle on the ground next to the machine. “Am I done with this game now?” He asked, changing the topic while gesturing to the dance machine.

"You haven't gone against Yata though. That's the last combination we gotta do!" Sora said.

With a sigh, Saru stepped up onto the platform once again, and began flipping through the songs quickly.

"Can you really do another song after that last one though? Aren't you a little exhausted?" Yata asked before stepping up to the platform. 

"Just get this over with already." Saru retorted, selecting Survive , a fast song that had the options medium, hard, and expert. 

"Fine fine," Yata sighed. He thought for a moment, listening to the preview snippet of the song at the difficulty menu. "Are you going to challenge yourself again, or are you already too tired for that?"

Saruhiko flashed Yata a challenging smirk before clicking over to, and selecting Expert.

Yata narrowed his eyes, trying to read Saruhiko's thoughts. But he only found himself annoyed by the smirk. "All right, if you are going to be like that…" Yata mumbled and also picked Expert, though he wasn't exactly sure how well he would do. He had never played this particular song before and from the sound of the song it was going to be hard… very hard.

The song didn't seem all that difficult at the start, a few, three arrow crossovers followed by a jump hold, but within a few moments, it was as if arrows had exploded all over the screen. It wasn't long before Yata's gauge dropped from passing, to red, to having outright failed as he couldn't truly keep up with the chaos that was the arrows for this song. He would have lasted about 43 seconds before he should have ended, but because Saru was still going, Yata was forced to suffer through the madness. Saruhiko was fairing quite a bit better than Yata, his performance bar still in the green. Every few steps he missed an arrow, although it appeared as if it was intentional.

Shortly after Yata's bar dropped to failing, Riku began to notice faint wisps of orange flickering off of Saru as well as a faint, clock shaped reflection of lights on his left wrist. He narrowed his eyes in suspicion, but remained quiet as the song continued. He kept his eyes locked now on Saru, specifically his wrist were he had seen the orange glow. 

The song ended and Yata immediately stumbled off the platform and dropped to the floor. He reached for his water bottle, huffing deeply and began to chug it down as fast as he could. Between each swig of water he took in several deep breaths, though his heart was still pounding rapidly.

Saru practically collapsed off of the platform, making a small grunt of pain when he hit the floor. 

Sora laughed seeing the two of them so tired. But he knew that he would do the exact same thing if he were in their position. Riku on the other hand still was quiet. He had analyzed Saru the entire dance and he was sure he had come to his conclusion. 

Their scores had finished totaling on the screen. Yata had failed, a large red F on his side. Saru, on the other hand, had a B-.

"H… Ho… How did y-y… you manage... B rank…?" Yata asked, still clearly out of breath. 

Riku stepped forward. "I think I can answer that."

He walked over to where Saru still laid and grabbed his left wrist. Saru made no effort to resist, still far too exhausted. Riku pushed up the sleeve of Saru's jacket. On his wrist was an orange glowing clock, though it was quickly fading. 

"Wait…" Yata said, turning his head to look. "Is that… haste magic?"

"Saruhiko cheated?" Sora questioned.

Riku scoffed before letting go of Saru's wrist. "Seems like it. Couldn't just play fairly could you?"

" 'billty to 'hance 'sycal 'billty not chetin." Saru mumbled out, having exhausted both his physical stamina and mana.

"Like hell it is!" Yata shouted, jumping to his feet. "If someone enhances themselves in a race, it's creating, so this is just the same!"

" 's not same. No outside interference, 'nd didn't say no 'agic."

Yata gritted teeth and started to walk over to where Saruhiko still laid. Riku stepped in front of the exhausted younger brother. "Don't. Saru may have done something stupid, but no need to take it out on him. I'll make sure to have a talk with him later about it."

Saruhiko just grumbled out some insult directed towards Riku.

Riku sighed and then yanked Saru to his feet by the collar of his shirt. He glared hard at him, but said no more. It was easy to tell he was upset though.

"It's still not fair," Yata grumbled. 

"Just leave it," Riku answered quickly. "There can be a more proper and fair rematch another day. And we can all make sure Saru doesn't use any magic." 

"We can hang out again?" Sora asked excitedly.

"Huh?" Riku mumbled, not even realizing his statement from before. It only took a few seconds before it set in. "Oh… Yeah uh I guess so. This has been fun."

Sora pumped a fist into the air. "All right!"

Saruhiko mumbled something about not wanting any more social interaction with people for the next month.

“You don’t have to come,” Yata said, looking over at Saruhiko “Personally if those two just wanna hang out on their own, that’s fine by me.”

“Aw, but it’s more fun I think if all four of us hang together. This day had been really fun so far,” Sora started to say, looking over at the other two. “And I wanna have more fun days like these.” 

Yata shrugged. “I guess… it hasn’t been that bad today… aside from the monkey here cheating at a dancing game.”

“See?” Sora said with a laugh. “This is a lot of fun, and we still have plenty more fun ahead! Now come on, let’s go find more games to play!” 

Sora then started to walk off, waving his hand for the others to follow. Riku laughed slightly before he started to follow behind, happy to see Sora still has so much enthusiasm. Yata, who already was pretty much immune to Sora’s peppiness started to walk after them, not looking back if Saruhiko was following or not. He figured there wasn’t much point trying to drag him along or argue with him to come play more games after everything else.  

Saruhiko just flopped back down on the floor, closing his eyes as  he listened to the three walk further away.

Chapter Text

Sora, Yata, and Riku had gone around the arcade several times. They went to various games and tried their hardest to get the best scores they could. Even for just a single player game they would have a friendly competition with each other to see how each would fare in the game. Sometimes it got a bit more challenging than others, but overall they still had a good time.

Time had slipped away from them and before they knew it, it was around the time for dinner. When they realized this, they finally took a moment to see that Saruhiko had still not rejoined them.

“He still isn’t back? Is he seriously still taking a nap?” Yata asked.

“I wouldn’t put it past him,” Riku replied.

Yata raised an eyebrow, but didn’t bother to question it. “You think he is still back by the dance machines?”

“Let’s stop thinking about it and just go find out!” Sora interjected.

The three of them made their way back across the arcade. While they walked, they kept their eyes open to the other games, just in case Saruhiko had woken up. When they got back to the dance machine, they found Saruhiko still laying on the floor.

He had moved slightly from where he was left, now face down with his head resting on his arms as he lied along the wall.

"So how are we going to wake him?" Yata asked.

He stared closely at Saruhiko sleeping. It was strange to see him look so calm and peaceful compared to his usually annoyed look. It almost made him look and maybe even cute.

Yaya quickly shook his head. He pushed those thoughts away as fast as he thought of them. He could only hope that his cheeks hadn't reddened. If Sora saw that, he'd never hear the end of it.

Riku had now moved forward. He leaned over as if to shake Saru awake, but he instead picked him up and slung him over his shoulder. Sora and Yata stared with wide eyes. Neither of them expected Riku to just pick him up.

"I guess you've done that before?" Yata asked, actually curious for the answer.

Riku nodded, a sly grin on his face. "No point in trying to wake the little baby brother. That way he won't get to complain about where we eat. He'll be stuck with whatever we choose."

"But where are we going to go?" Sora asked. “What are your tastes in food?”

Riku thought for a moment. He never really had any particular favorite food. It was something that he never gave much thought to. He only ate real food from time to time if he felt like it, as it wasn’t a necessity for him to survive. It never had a strong enough taste for him to really enjoy any of it. But he couldn’t let them know that. He wasn’t ready to give something like that away. Not with them being friends with the one they almost killed over a month ago. Though he didn’t know if the boy had survived or not, there was no way he could casually get into a conversation to bring it up.

“I don’t know,” Riku answered as casually as he could. “I guess I could go for anything. What about you guys?”

“Hmm, I know there are some good restaurants in the area. But I think the closest from here is the Fischerhaus & Bar," Sora replied.

Riku turned to focus on Sora fully. "Fischerhaus? The german restaurant?"

Sora nodded. "Yeah, you've been there before? I think I went once or twice before when I was young. And I think I remember that it was pretty good." Sors then looked over to Yata. "How about you, Yata?"

"Huh? Oh uh… I guess?" Yata replied, only half paying attention to what was being said. "I don't know if I've been there before."

"Then how about we go there? Sound good?" Sora asked as he looked back and forth between Riku and Yata.

Yata shrugged. "Sure. As long as we eat I'm good."

Riku didn’t answer right away. A few thoughts circled in his head, but he was quick to brush them off. He wasn’t wanting to think about it too hard anyways. The focus was having dinner and that was it, nothing else to it.

Riku cleared his throat when he saw Sora was looking at him for a reply. “Yeah, we can go there.”

“Woo!” Sora exclaimed. “Let’s go get some food.”

The three of them left the arcade, with Riku still carrying Saruhiko over his shoulder. No one seemed to bat an eye as they left the building. Yata and Sora could only assume that something like that must have happened before so it wasn’t too out of the ordinary.

How it looked still was odd. Odd in a way Sora and Yata couldn't quite explain. Maybe it was because how much taller Saruhiko was to Riku. Or maybe how casual and calm Riku was about carrying his younger brother. Maybe even a bit of both. Either way it was hard for them to take their eyes off of Riku while walking beside him.

The walk down the street made it even more strange. Now that they were out in the public eye, people did turn heads. Thankfully the walk to the restaurant was not far, and the awkward walk beside Riku carrying Saruhiko would be over after that.

Upon arriving at the restaurant, Sora ran ahead of the group and opened the door. As Riku passed through Sora glanced to him. “Is he still not awake yet?”

Riku shook his head before letting out a sigh. It gave the indication that he was already tired or possible annoyed at his little brother for snoozing through the walk. “Nope, but I really hope he’ll wake back up soon. But knowing him it’s a low chance.”

“You’re really going to let him keep sleeping?” Yata followed with the question after he walked through the door behind Riku.

“It’s better than trying to abruptly wake him. Trust me… we don’t want to cause any scene…” Riku replied. Though under his breath he muttered something far too quiet for the other two to hear. “At least there won’t be any knife throwing if I did try… or at least I would hope.”

The three of them walked up to the front desk where a hostess was waiting. She gave a friendly smile to the group, not even batting an eye towards the sleeping Saruhiko. “Table for four?”

After nodding to her, the hostess picked up four menus and started to walk into the main area of the restaurant. Following behind her they walked in silence until they were brought to a booth. The booth was the kind that was tall, so when someone sat down, the cushioning on the backside rose above their heads. Once the hostess placed down the menus, she informed them that their waitress would be with them shortly.

Riku placed Saruhiko in first, resting him gently against the wall. The sleeping boy, with the still tranquil and peaceful expression, continued resting quietly, still undisturbed from anything. Riku took his seat right next to him and began to look over the menu. Yata slide in first on the other side of the table, now sitting across from Saruhiko, and with Sora on his left.

Now that they were seated at the table, the three of them started to look over the menu. Saru still did not wake from his slumber, causing Riku to stare at him more than at the menu. Finally Riku sighed and placed it down and leaned back.

“I guess it’s about time he woke up," Riku said.

He then gently nudged Saru in his side. Knowing Saru was hard to wake up, but difficult to deal with if abruptly woken, Riku decided to take the slow easy approach. The only response that Saru gave was to shift positions so that he now had his head resting in his arms on the table.

Riku sighed quietly, but he wasn’t ready to give up that easily. That wasn’t what he wanted to do at all. He was supposed to keep an eye on Saru, and while having him sleep made it easier, it in return came off as rude and embarrassing in public. Despite still feeling wary and uncertain around Sora, the last thing Riku wanted right now was to be embarrassed in front of him. Going to try again, this time he held onto Saru’s shoulder and shook him lightly. This time he gave more of a response, Saru used the arm nearest to Riku to swat at him in a motion similar to as if he were throwing something that wasn't there.

Riku leaned back and gave another sigh. “I don’t think waking right now is going to happen.”

“Why don’t you try shaking him harder or something?” Sora asked. “That’s what Vani does sometimes when he tries to wake me up.”

“Because Saru doesn’t respond well to being rudely awoken,” Riku responded. “Trust me I know from experience.”

Yata grumbled before crossing his arms. “Well we can’t just let him sleep the entire time. Even if it is rude to him, he’s gotta wake up already. And if you aren’t going to do it, someone should.”

Before Riku could reponse, a knife embedded itself a mear inch from Yata's head, Immediately after, Sora and Yata saw that Riku was gripping Saru’s wrist tightly. But neither of the boys could find the proper response. It all had happened far too fast for them to even process. But Yata kept glancing back to the knife, and then Saru. He could feel his heart was racing from the sheer fact that no matter how hard he thought, he couldn’t understand what had just happened.

Saru still had his head resting on his arms, but was now looking up slightly at Yata, glaring with a pissed off expression so hard, that if looks could kill, Yata would be a pile of ash already.

“Wh-What… the hell?” Yata finally managed to say.

"You kicked me," Saru grumbled out.

“Yeah, and?” Yata asked. “You threw a knife at me!”

“Can you not shout,” Riku interrupted before Saru could answer. “I am not about to let this become a big scene.”

“But he threw a knife at me!”

“And he is going to apologize for that, right Saru?” Riku asked as he turned to look at his brother. He still had his grip on Saru’s wrist and continued to hold onto it.

"You're making me apologize for defending myself after having been attacked." Saru stated with a deadpan.

“Both of you apologize then. Despite being kicked you should not have thrown the knife,” Riku said, keeping a strict tone to his voice. He then turned his attention to Yata. “And I warned you that waking Saru rudely doesn’t end well.”

Yata locked eyes with Saru instead of looking to Riku. Both the boys were glaring deeply at one another. Riku and Sora could already feel the slight tension starting to fill the area from the two of them. But neither one of them made any move or attempt to go at each other. They remained in their seats, but their thoughts and actions were seen to each other by the looks in their eyes.

Finally Yata scoffed. He crossed his arms and leaned back, turning his head away from Saru. “Fine. Whatever. Sorry. It’s a stupid thing to get in a fight for anyways.”

"Tsk." Saru picked up his head slightly before speaking. "Sorry for chucking silverware at your head." He then turns to face Riku. "Happy now brother? I would like to get back to my nap."

Riku gave one last serious stare to Saru before letting go of his wrist. “Yes, but you aren’t going back to sleep yet. We’re going to eat dinner and you aren’t sleeping through that.”

Saruhiko just gave him a half hearted glare in response before putting his head back down on his arms.

“Saru, you can sleep later, right now you need to-” Riku started to say, but he stopped when he saw a waitress approach their table.

“Guten Abend. Welcome to the Fischerhaus. My name is Agnes. Can I start you boys off with anything to drink?” She spoke with a heavy German accent, which made sense considering where the group was dining.

“Uh yeah,” Sora said, finally speaking up after seeing that everything had calmed down at their table. “I’ll have some lemonade.”

“Just a water for me,” Riku answered.

“Coke please,” Yata said.

Saru lifted his head up slightly and faced the waitress. "Coke, no ice." He then put his head back down.

The waitress nodded as she wrote everything down. “Okay, I’ll be back with your drinks shortly.”

Once she was gone, Yata looked at Saru. “Seriously? How can you be that tired?”

With a sigh, Saru shifted so that he was looking at Yata while still having his head down on his arms. "Lovestruck here," Saru emphasized this by jerking his head towards Riku, "decided to wake me up extra early cause he was excited for this double date."

Riku narrowed his eyes. “Shut up Saru.”

Sora blinked. “Double date?”

"You asked to meet up at the arcade, and now we're here at dinner, while not a stereotypical movie and dinner date, it's sure as hell close."

“It’s what Zack kept calling it anyways,” Riku said, adding on quickly after Saru.

“So wait, you guys think of it as a date?” Sora asked. He tilted his head to the side as he started to think about the possibility of it being classified as a date.

“No!” Riku answered a little too quickly than he should of. “I mean, we’ve only just properly met each other today. Jumping right to that seems a bit out there, don’t you think?”

“I only showed up because of the arcade.” Saru gave his two cents before facing down again to nap, mumbling a bit more of his thoughts aloud. “And cause Misaki’s entertaining.”

“Huh?” Yata’s eyes widened slightly. Neither he, nor anyone of the others expected that response from Saruhiko. Yata wasn’t sure if it was meant to offend him or some how compliment him. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“What do you think it means, eh Mi~sa~ki~?” Saruhiko looked up at Yata as he taunted in a sing-song voice.

Yata gritted his teeth. What he thought could have been a complaint, now was gone. All there was in Saruhiko’s expression was a taunting annoyance. Though Yata still could not look away from the sly smile across Saruhiko’s face. Something about him ticked him off to no end, yet he couldn’t stop staring.

“Just shut up,” Yata grumbled.

Riku watched the two of them, now locked in a deep stare. He thought about figuring out something to stop whatever could start, but nothing ever went further than the two of them glaring at each other.

With a deep sigh he leaned back against the cushioned booth and looked back to Sora. He also had been staring at Yata and Saru, and seemed just as confused by their actions. It was something neither of them could explain.

Though between the two of them, Sora had a pretty good idea what it could have been about. But he wanted to save it for later, if he was correct about it anyways. Now was the time Sora wanted to focus on Riku. With Saruhiko and Yata just staring it out at one another, it felt like the perfect time to once again get to know more about Riku.

Chapter Text

Sora fidgeted slightly in his seat. After Saruhiko and Yata had their exchange of words, everything quieted down. To Sora, it felt uncomfortable and far too silent. But he currently was unable to find the right words to say. 

He knew he wanted to ask more about Riku, yet he was having trouble coming up with things to ask. Thankfully he saw the waitress returned with their drinks, so he would have a bit of time before he would have to try and talk again. 

“Okay, here we are. One lemonade, one water, and two cokes, with one of them having no ice,” the waitress said as she placed out the drinks to their correct person. 

“Now,” She pulled out her pad of paper and held the pen close to it. “Are you all ready to order, or not yet? Or perhaps want to start with some appetizers?”

Riku glanced to his menu. With being so concerned about Saru and Yata breaking into a fight, he had completely forgotten to think about food. But without even looking at the menu he turned his attention to the waitress. 

“I haven’t figured out my main meal yet, but I’ll start with a apperitzer of landjägers.”

Sora looked at Riku, slightly confused. It was hard to tell, but the way he said ‘landjäger’ sounded different than how he normally spoke. It was far too quick to really hear it, but it did catch his attention. 

The waitress nodded. “And for the rest of you?”

Sora picked up the menu and looked through it. He had only been to the place once or twice as a child, so he was not as familiar to the menu. But he couldn’t decide on what he saw. Instead he looked beyond the menu to Riku. “Uh are the landyae… yai? Um are those good?” 

“Yeah, it’s just a type of dried sausage. I think it’s fine,” Riku replied before giving a shrug. 

Sora nodded before turning to the waitress. “I think I’ll just try that then. But is it a small appetizer for one person or is it big enough for the whole table?” 

“You’ll have enough to split with one serving,” answered the waitress. She wrote it down onto her pad of paper before looking at the other two boys. “And either of you going to have any appetizers?” 

Saru gave a half shrug before answering. “I’ll probs just swipe a bite from one of theirs.” He then put his head back down.

“I guess I’ll have the potato pancakes,” Yata replied. 

“Okay, one severing of landjägers, and a serving of kartoffelpuffers. All right, I’ll go get this to the kitchen.”

Once they were gone Sora spoke up, looking to Riku. “How did you say it like that?” 

“What? Say what ‘like that’?” 

“The food thing. The landyajers? Or something,” Sora said, hoping he could get Riku to say it once more. He wanted to be sure he heard it right. 

“You mean landjägers,” Riku replied, once again saying the word ‘landjägers’ with a different inflection than the rest. 

“Yeah that. What’s with how you’re saying it. You said it just how the waitress said it.”

Riku shifted in his seat. His eyes drifted away, becoming a little concerned. But he lowered his head enough that no one could see it. “I’ve… Well it’s that…”

Before Riku could finish a sentence, someone cut him off. Whomever it was also had a german accent just like the waitress. “Oh Riku! I didn’t expect to see you here!” 

A different waitress came up to the table and smiling largely at Riku. “What a Überraschung this is!” 

“Oh, hi Amelie.”

“You know her? Or I mean, she knows you?” Yata asked, now distracted by the new person. 

“Of course I know Riku,” the waitress answered. “He’s been here plenty of times. He is probably my favorite kunde.”

“Kunde?” Sora questioned. 

“It means customer, or a client in German,” Riku answered quietly.

“Uh-huh,” Amelie said before crossing her arms. “And Riku, all I get is a ‘hi’?”

“Oh sorry…” Riku said. He tilted his head up at Amelie. “Schön dich zu sehen, Amelie.”

All the boys, including Saruhiko, now focused on Riku much more seriously than before. All of them surprised to hear a rather strong and not bad German accent coming from Riku. It didn’t sound like someone trying to imitate it at all. It sounded as clear as it did when their waitress spoke the names of the food they had ordered. 

“Danke, Riku,” Amelie replied. “Now, I’m sorry to interrupt you boys. I’ll leave you to be now, need to get back to serving and all. But it was nice to see you again Riku.”

“You too Amelie.”

“Auf Wiedersehen,” Amelie called out as she waved to the group and headed off to a different area of the restaurant. 

 “Now what was that all about?” Yata asked. He raised an eyebrow as he was still clearly confused by the interaction he had just seen. 

“Yeah, I wanna know,” Sora added on. “I didn’t know you could speak German that good.”

“Well… it was what I was going to say before,” Riku replied, now speaking in a quieter voice than before. “I’m actually fluent in German.”

Saruhiko, who had finally sat up to drink his soda, was in the middle of taking a sip during riku's revelation. In his surprise, he accidentally inhaled some of the Coke, triggering an instinctual reaction to spit out and cough up soda. As Saru was sitting across from Yata, the chestnut haired boy was sprayed with Saru's drink.

Once again the attention was drawn back to Saru and Yata, with Riku and Sora starting with surprised eyes. Though the longer Sora stared, the harder it was for him to keep a shocked face. Slowly he pursed his lips and let out a small snort. 

Yata, who was practically froze in place, managed to blink a few times. Though it was not as shocking as the knife near his head, this also was something that left him nearly dumbfounded. But the faint snickers and snorts coming from Sora was enough to snap him out of his near trance. 

“Don’t start laughing about it!”

“I’m sorry Yata, but I can’t help it,” Sora replied. He tried to cover his mouth to stop from laughing, but he still couldn’t contain himself. 

Saruhiko wasn’t paying attention to either of them, instead coughing up his lungs. When he finally calmed down enough to speak, he turned towards Riku. “I’ve known you for twenty plus years, when the f**k did you learn to speak German?” Saru questioned his older brother.

Riku couldn’t keep his gaze to his brother. He turned his head away before letting out a side. “It was before then…” He kept his voice low and quiet, not wanting to draw the attention of the other two, who were now stuck in a childish argument. 

“Tsk. Fine, I’ll ask again when we’re home.”

Riku nodded, thankful that Saru knew when to question him and when not to. Now that the topic had been sided for later, he spoke up, but this time direction his voice to everyone at the table. “And now I think this means you have to apologize, yet again Saru.”

“Yeah,” Yata agreed as he used his napkin to wipe off the coke from his face. “Why did you have to go and do that, I didn’t think hearing that your brother knows German is that shocking.”

“It’s shocking when he basically spends all his waking moments babysitting.” Saru retorted with a bored tone.

“I don’t spend every single moment babysitting you,” Riku grumbled, giving a stern look to Saru. “I have my own personal time you know.”

“When Zack isn’t busy or when Zexion feels like taking over for you for a bit.”

Riku rolled his eyes. Clearly Saru was not in the mood to make things any easier with this. “So what? If I know another language, what difference does it make?”

Saru just shrugs and puts his head back down before asking a semi-random question. “Would you teach me how to insult people in German?”

Riku blinked slowly. That was not the response he had expected his brother to say. It was actually rare that Saru wanted anything to do with him. Aside from training against him, Riku couldn't think of any other moment where Saru actively seemed interested in doing something with him. 

“Uh, sure. If you want to learn,” Riku replied. 

“I think it’s cool that you know that though,” Sora said, now speaking up again. His eyes beaned with amazement. “I think it is super cool though that you are bilingual!” 

Riku felt the heat in his cheeks resurfaced. “Ah… th-thanks. Though I also know Japanese, but most people in this area know that.”

“Multilingual!?” Sora gasped. “That is still so awesome! I mean yeah I know Japanese as well, and so does Yata, but you know three languages! That takes a lot of effort to learn.”

Sora then looked over towards Saru. “How about you. Do you know any other languages?” 

“Just Japanese and English.”

“Ah, okay,” Sora said before turning back to Riku.. “I guess that makes you special Riku.” 

Sora grinned one of his huge, but adorable grins to Riku. Finding the smile too adorable, he smile back and laughed a little. “Thanks Sora, I never really thought anyone would compliment me so much on knowing languages.”

“Sora, can you save your cheesy compliments for later?” Yata asked while rolling his eyes. “We don’t need to see you gush over Riku right now.”

Sora scrunched up his nose and glared. “Hey! Cut it out!” 

“I’m not doing anything,” Yata shrugged casually. 

Sora looked like he was going to pout, or complain some more, but instead he shook his head. He once again turned his focus to Riku. “Do you think you could say something else in German?”

Riku pondered the thought for a moment. Finally he answered with something. “Ich weiß es nicht, was ich sagen soll.”

“Wow, and what does that mean?” Sora asked, deeply curious.

Riku smirked slightly. “Basically it means, ‘I don’t know what I should say’.” 

Sora started to laugh, while Yata and Saru just rolled their eyes. “That’s still neat. And hey, if you are going to teach Saruhiko, maybe you can teach all of us.” 

Yata groaned as he leaned his head back. “I have no need or want to learn another language.”

“Well I wanna learn! I think it would be fun,” Sora replied. 

“I don’t know how well I would be at teaching though, I wouldn’t get too excited,” Riku responded while rubbing the back of his neck. 

“As long as you try, I know it will be good,” Sora replied, once again smiling largely. 

Soon enough the food came, sparing Yata and Saruhiko from anymore of Sora’s sappy attempts to apparently flirt with Riku. The appetizers were set down and the waitress said that she would be back after they finished to see if they would be ready to order anything else. 

Once she left, the boys went to take food to place onto their own personal plates. Only Sora, Riku, and Yata went for food at first though, with Saruhiko only watching. Though none of them spoke as they ate, letting a new wave of silence wash over them. 

Eventually one of them decided to break the silence, and it was of course none other than Sora. He reached for another landjägers. “Hmm, wow they are really good. You going to eat anything Saruhiko?” 

Saru's response was to shrug his shoulders, but he was staring at the landjägers. Soon another hand came towards them to take the last one on the plate, this time being Yata. He took it and placed it on his own plate and then took a kartoffelpuffers as well. He glanced quickly to Saruhiko, but shook his head. Whatever thoughts he was having he decided to brush them off and went back to focusing on eating. 

When Yata’s eyes flicked away for a moment from the food on his plate and from Saruhiko, the last landjäger that he had was swiped right under his nose. 

“Wha?” Yata mumbled when he looked down to see his plate missing part of his food. Right away his eyes locked with Saruhiko. “Hey! What gives!?” 

“I decided I wanted to try it, and you took the last one.” Saru stated between bites.

“You could have asked!” Yata retorted, his eyes narrowing slightly. 

Saru finished eating before replying, “I doubt you would have let me have it.”

“Maybe I would have if you asked,” Yata mumbled, finally dropped his gaze from Saruhiko. 

“So what are we going to do next?” Sora asked, speaking up and clearly not noticing the conversation that had started between Saruhiko and Yata. “For food I mean. Are we going to order main courses or something else?”

“I’m not really that hungry,” Riku replied. In all honestly it was true due to his vampire nature. Being a pure blood meant he didn’t need to eat three meals a day like a human would. Even his brothers didn’t have to do that even though they were only half. 

“You’re not that hungry?” Sora asked. “It’s evening now and we meet up at noon. It’s been a good few hours.”

Riku bit his thought slightly. He had to figure out something to say that would be an easy cover. Thankfully something revolving around food wasn’t too hard. “I had a big lunch, cause you know wasn’t too sure what we would be doing today.”

“Ooh, okay. But maybe we could order something else? There looked like there was a lot of good things to eat on the menu,” Sora replied. 

“If you can’t decide on anything, how about just some desert?” Yata said, giving only half his attention to the conversation. 

“I think that could work,” Riku replied. 

Sora grinned happily. “That sounds great!”

Chapter Text

The boys soon went on to order desserts when their waitress returned. From the menu of strange sounding German desserts, they went with something called donauwelle, which was a slice of a sheet cake that contained with sour cherries, chocolate, and buttercream.

It not only looked great, but the smell of it provided enough as well. Along the way of eating Sora started to talk more… well more than he already had before. He started to talk about more general things, like events going on in the town or other things that excited him. Riku and Yata both gave as much input they could back to Sora, though Saruhiko mainly remained quiet. On the occasion he would add in his thoughts, but it usually ended up not being much besides a snarky comment.

Eventually the desert was finished and it came time to pay for the food. Though at first Sora insisted that he would pay for everyone, it did come down to splitting the checks; Sora with Yata and Riku with Saruhiko.

Now that it was taken care of they exited out of the restaurant. “It’s getting late, I guess we should head back home,” Riku said as he looked at the evening sky.

“Aw, I guess so,” Sora replied. “But it was a lot of fun today!”

“And now we know that Sora is going to try and rearrange another tea party get together,” Yata commented with a slight bit of snark.

“Hey! Tea parties are fun! But oooh we should totally do that now!” Sora said before grinning largely.

“You like… tea parties?” Riku asked before tilting his head to the side.

“Well not like the fancy ones where you gotta do all that ceremonial stuff. But just a casual gathering of friends and drinking tea.”

“Now I wish I didn’t say anything,” Yata muttered quietly.

Sora laughed a little at Yata before looking to Riku once more. “So you guys think we could plan something again soon? Oh! I nearly forgot, maybe we should all exchange numbers. That way it would be easier to plan for next time.”

“Why would I want the stupid monkey's number?” Yata asked before crossing his arms.

“Oh? Did Misaki not enjoy spending time with me?” Saru asked in a tauntingly sarcastic voice.

“First of all, stop calling me by that name!” Yat grumbled. “And… well…”

Sora tilted his head to Yata before nudging him slightly. “Aw you thought today was fun, right?

Yata’s composer loosened up. “Yeah I guess. It was fun…”

“See? Everything is good!” Sora said before pulling out his phone.

The rest of them then pulled out their phones and showed each other their numbers. Saru added Sora's and Yata's numbers under the names ‘Riku's future BF" and "Mi~Sa~Ki~’. Unfortunately Yata happened to glance over at Saruhiko’s phone the moment he put in the name.

“Hey! What did I say about using that name?!” Yata shouted, glaring deeply at Saruhiko.

“What are you going to do to make me stop, Mi~Sa~Ki~?” Saru taunted while putting his phone away.

“Would you rather I start calling you Saru then?” Yata asked, keeping his stern glare, though it was clear he was getting more and more annoyed.

“Hmph. Unlike you, I actually go by my first name, and am not bothered by such a nickname regardless of my preference.”

“But,” Riku added into the conversation. “I thought you didn’t like it when others call you by your nickname. Unless you changed you mind?” Riku raised an eyebrow slightly at his brother after the question.

“I would rather not be called by the nickname you address me with if it’s not someone I’m close with.”

“Then how about I just call you ‘f*cking money’?” Yata replied, still clearing annoyed by the contact name choice.

“If you so wish to be rude, Mi~Sa~Ki~”

The two kept their eyes locked onto one another, but neither of them moved from the spot in which they stood. Riku and Sora quickly glanced to one another, both showing their concern and worry that something bad could start if they didn’t do anything soon. Quickly Riku moved forward and put an arm around Saru and pulled him back.

“Okay, I think that is enough childish banter for one day,” he said, easily pulling Saru back. “We should get going though.”

“Which way do you guys have to head off? Maybe we can walk there together, as long as Saruhiko and Yata don’t start of a fight of course,” Sora replied with a laugh.

“We head off left at the park,” Riku answered simply, not wanting to give away too much of where they lived.

“Hey, we usually head that way anyways. Though we head off more towards the residential area to the right instead. But that means we can still walk and talk some more.

“As long as these two decide to behave,” Riku replied shooting a glare to Saru.

“Tsk.”

Now that things were settled they began their walk towards the park. It was already late in the evening and the lights around the park were already lit up. The group walked mainly with only Sora talking, who had gotten back into talking about the fun tea parties he had had and how he started to have them.

“I know Anna loves tea parties as well, not so much Mikoto though,” Sora said.

“Anna and Mikoto?” Riku asked.

“Some friends we know. Mikoto is a warlock who has been teaching Yata magic. Anna is a witch, and is his adopted daughter,” Sora answered. “Maybe you guys could meet them sometime.”

“Maybe,” Riku shrugged. He wasn’t too sure if meeting other supernaturals was a good idea, especially if he didn’t know what their opinions on vampires were. Sora’s werewolf brother already seemed suspicious of him, so the others could be just the same. It wasn’t the biggest deal, but only a quick lingering thought in his head.

Sora continued to blaber on, occasionally prompting Riku and Yata for input. He did get Saruhiko to say something, but that one comment almost led to a fistfight with Yata. They eventually reached the park, crossing a low wooden bridge over a river, when Saru abruptly stopped.

RIku was the first to notice. "Huh? Something wrong, Saru?"

Without saying a word, Saru just vaulted the railing, landing in shallow water, before taking off down the river. Now everyone had stopped, staring at the scene they had just witnessed. Though out of all of them, Riku seemed the leased surprised or phased.

“What the hell is he doing?” Yata asked.

“Probably something only he would think to do,” Riku commented.

“Should we follow after him?” Sora asked.

Riku nodded. “Yeah, just to make sure he isn’t doing something completely stupid.”

With that the three of them took to carefully going down the river bank, making sure not to slide into the water. They then proceeded down the way trying to find where Saruhiko was.

It wasn't long before they heard sounds of a scuffle: splashing water, squeaks, growls, a few grunts, and even a cry of pain. Yata and Sora glanced to one another with a mix of worry and confusion, though Riku seemed rather calm. By this point he had put the dots together and figured out the basis of what Saru probably ran off to do.

The three of them hurried up further down the river bank, keeping an eye out for Saruhiko. They all figured he couldn't be too much farther ahead of them given by the proximity of the sound.

Just a bit further down the river, the three of them finally saw Saruhiko. He was now drenched from head to toe; his hair plastered down, and his clothes clinging to his wet form. The lower half of Saru's left pant leg was shredded, and his leg bleeding quite a bit. Clutched to his chest with his right arm was a small dark bundle, that he was apparently trying to protect from the beast attacking him. Crouched a few feet from Saruhiko was a very large coyote that appeared to be starving.

Within moments, it lunged at Saru. Briefly, a faint blue wall of sorts that seemed to be made of hexagons appeared between the animal and his target, which the coyote collided into. It was then struck by a fireball that Saru flung through the now shattered barrier.

“Uh… What is even going on here…” Yata commented as he started at the scene.

“I figured it was something like this,” Riku commented with a sigh.

“Wait! You ‘figured’ it was something like this? What do you mean by that?” Yata asked, turning to Riku slightly.

“It isn’t the first time Saru stupidly put himself in danger to save an animal,” Riku responded.

“Save an ani… what do you mean by-” Yata started to say, but then Riku pointed towards Saruhiko.

Yata looked and saw Riku was pointing at the dark bundle that Saruhiko had in his right arm. Though it was hard to see in the nighttime with barely any light aside from the moon, there was something clearly there that he was holding.

Before either Yata or Sora could ask or say anything further on the subject, Riku ran forward towards Saruhiko. The coyote had toppled down into the water after being hit with the fireball. Though when it stood back up there was plenty of fur that had been burnt and singed.

Not skipping a beat Riku cast a cura to his brother before sending out an icy blast of blizzard directly at the coyote’s feet. The slow moving river water around it started to ice over and freeze on the surface, with the coyote’s legs now stuck within the frozen water.

The coyote snarled and tried to break from its’ icy hold, but the ice was far too thick. Riku now turned to Saru, giving him a deep and serious stare. “Let’s get out of the river now. You have some explaining to do.”

Saru gave no verbal acknowledgement, but climbed his way out of the river towards Sora and Yata. Those two had already headed out of the water and up back to dry land. When the brothers met back up Sora was the first to speak.

“That was so cool how you two fought off that coyote! Now I really want to learn some magic,” Sora exclaimed happily. “But… what was it all for? I mean why did you run off like that Saruhiko?”

Shifting the bundle in his arms so that the others could see what he was holding, Saru revealed a very wet mass of fur that had a nose and four webbed feet. With the dim lighting from the moon, it was hard to see. There was that and the fact they had not gotten back onto the path so any path lights were far from them.

Sora took out his phone and clicked the flashlight button and shined it towards Saruhiko. Now it was clear what he was holding, but it still proved to be surprising. “Is that a… baby otter?”

"Not even old enough to open its eyes." Saru muttered.

"What happened… to its family?" Yata asked slowly, keeping his eyes on the little baby animal.

Saru just gave Yata a deadpan stare. "Take a guess short stack."

Yata lowered his head. “Oh… Yeah I see…”

“I know you were doing the right thing Saru, but you know what Zack is going to say if you bring that little guy home,” Riku added as he looked at the little otter cuddled up against Saru’s arm.

"Zack's rule is nothing large or dangerous." Saru said with a shrug. "This won't get as large as my false water will, and is about as dangerous as it looks."

Yata raised an eyebrow. “You have a cobra?”

"False water Cobra isn't actually a cobra, but I'm surprised that a brat like you even knew what animal I was referring to."

“Well I know some things about snakes!” Yata retorted. “Just… not too much about that one. But that’s… that’s cool that you have one of those.”

“You two can talk about snakes another time. Right now we need to get you home before either that coyote breaks out or we draw up more unwanted attention,” Riku said.

Saru just clicked his tongue at Riku before continuing to walk back towards the bridge/path.

“We’ll be going now…” Riku said as he kept an eye on Saru. “Sorry for all of that, but… you know… that’s just how he is sometimes.”

He tried to say goodbye, but with the event that had just played through, he had no idea how he could do that. How would one even say goodbye so casually after fighting off a coyote to save a baby otter? There was no possible way so Riku just turned around and ran after Saru, though he did give a short wave to the two behind him. He hoped that it would be enough to pass as a goodbye. Though next time they met up… whenever that would be… he would be sure to explain himself properly for leaving so abruptly.

Chapter Text

The rest of the way home was in silence. Neither brother said a word to another as they kept along the pathway until they got to the area where they turned off. As they walked, Riku kept glancing to the little otter that still was tucked gently on Saru’s arms. He knew Saru had done the right thing, but he still wasn’t too sure how Zack was going to react to it. He knew he had to question more on it, but not until they were back at the house.

When they did get back to the house, Riku went first to open the door and held it open for Saru. “Seriously, you know how reckless that was, right?” 

Saru only scoffed and walked through the doorway. Riku let out a sigh before he followed behind and closed the door. And now that both of them were back in the house, they found Zexion in his usual spot. He was reading a book, but he placed it down once he saw the two of them come into the room. 

“So how did your dates go?” Zexion asked, slowly smirking. 

“It was not a date! Seriously don’t call it that,”  Riku huffed.

Zexion merely shrugged. “Only saying what Zack said to me.”

“Where is Zack anyways?” Riku asked. 

“He was rather excited about you two and your… ‘dates’... so he decided to go out tonight on a date with Cloud,” Zexion replied. 

"At least they're not being frisky at home," Saru murmured before making chirping noises at the tiny bundle of fluff in his arms.

“And just what do you have there?” Zexion asked, getting up from his seat. He came over close enough to Saru to see the little otter. “Another pet? Where did you find this one?”

"Dug up from its mother's den about to be dinner for a coyote," Saru answered before fishing out his phone from his pocket.

“Ah I see,” Zexion replied softly. “Poor little creature. I assume the coyote got to the parents first, but how do you intend to care for it? You’ve never taken in a creature like this before.” 

"I'll figure it out." Saru replied while texting out a message with one hand.

“Have fun with that,” Riku commented as he looked to the little baby otter. “It is cute though.”

Saru began heading towards the bathroom to dry off when his phone pinged. He paused to check the message before continuing through the house. "One of you come get me if the delivery guy shows up. I'm gonna dry the fluffball off."

Zexion and Riku glanced at each other before shrugging. After a moment Zexion was the one to speak next. “It’s a mystery where he actually gets this stuff. I know there are sellers out there, but one for nearly every kind of animal?”

“Why don’t you just ask him then?” Riku asked. 

“I have, and he wouldn’t tell me. But all I know is that he said he was at the top of the list for any deliveries from his seller.”  

Zexion paused before he let out a sigh. "So what exactly happened?"

Riku headed over to the couch and sat down. He sat down and let out a long sjgh. "We were heading back after dinner, crossing though the park when Saru jumped off the bridge and ran down the river."

"Why am not surprised," Zexion muttered as he continued to listen.

"Yeah," Riku nodded. "We chased after him and that's when we found him fighting that coyote while protecting the otter."

"As reckless as he can be, we at least know he has a good heart to protect others."

Riku nodded again. "I guess that's true… just wish that he'd show that good heart more often if that is the case."

"I know," Zexion whispered. 

The sound of the door opening drew the two of then to look. Zack and Cloud walked in, their arms around one another. Once they were inside, Zack smiled largely when he saw Riku.

"Ah you're back!" Zack let go of Cloud and started to walk over to Riku. "So how'd it-"

Before Zack could finish, he slipped backwards and fell to the floor. He groaned once his back collided with the floor. As he regained himself he looked to see that there was a puddle of water around him.

"Why is there water all over the floor here?!

"Uh… that would he Saru," Riku commented, now realizing just how soaking wet Saru must have been.

"Saru!" Zack yelled before he stood up. "Where are you?!"

"In the bathroom!" Saru's voice responded from down the hall.

"Well get out of here as soon as you can and clean up this water!" Zack shouted. He then looked to Riku. "How did he get water all over the place?"

"He jumped into a river to save a baby otter," Riku replied. "And fought off a coyote in the process."

"He did what now?! And you didn't stop him?"

"I didn't get a chance. He ran off before I could even figure out what he was doing. But… he did save the otter."

Zack let out a sigh before crossing his arms. "And I'm guessing he has the otter with him right now?"

"Yup."

Zack sighed once more. "Figures."

The bathroom door clicked open and Saru walked out, now dressed in a new dry set of clothes. There was a towel on his head, drying up the rest of the water that was in his hair. In his arms was the little otter bundled up in a fuzzy towel. 

When he got up to Zack he spoke. "I guess if you can't tell… I'm currently preoccupied."

"I see that now…" Zack replied. "And I suppose you're going to keep it?"

"What else am I going to do with this little one?" Saru asked.

Zack stepped a bit closer and looked down at the little otter. Its eyes were still closed, but a moment later it opened its mouth and let out a short squeak.

All of Zack's seriousness lighten up and a smile came across his face. "Aw… well that is pretty cute. But seriously, how are you going to manage this? Like for a habitat for it and everything?"

"Get a large enough body of water for it to swim in."

"And where is that going to go? I'm not letting you use the tub," Zack said. 

"The tub wouldn't be large enough," Saru deadpanned.

Zack ran a hand through his hair. "Okay okay. I hope I can trust you to figure it out… reasonably. I'm going to go lie down and probably sleep soon. Make sure to clean up the water."

Saruhiko nodded before he walked towards the kitchen, making small chirping sounds at the otter. 

Zack then turned to Cloud. "You want to stay the night again?"

Cloud, who had been standing quietly by the door the entire time, moved more into the room. "Yeah."

Saruhiko clicked his tongue. "Just don't rock the bed so much that youl break it."

"And you shut your mouth!" Zack snapped. "Make one more comment like that and you won't get to keep the otter."

Faint sighs were heard from Riku and Zexion, but neither of them made any verbal comment 

Another click of the tongue was heard then from Saru. "Whatever."

"Well if that's all good then, I'm going off to bed," Zack said before yawning. 

After waving goodnight to all three of them he walked down the hall, with Cloud following right besides him.

There was a few minutes of silence passed between the boys. None of them said anything, and only kept short starred between each other. But finally it was broken.

"So when did you learn German?"

Zexion looked to Saru with a questioning gaze while Riku shifted slightly, looking a little uncomfortable. 

"What's this about now?" Zexion asked when Riku didn't respond. 

"Found out Riku speaks German fluently while on our dinner date."

"And why does it matter so much? I don't see it as a big deal," Riku muttered.

"It comes as a surprise to me," Zexion interjected. "I never knew that either."

"I still don't see why it matters. It's that I knew German before hand, so I don't think it's a big deal,” Riku said before sighing heavily. 

"Then why keep it a secret from us?"

“Because!” Riku snapped before toning down his angered expression. “I don’t like having to think about it… about her.”

“You mean, your friend you talked about before?” Zexion asked carefully, making sure not to mention the name if it was the case. 

“No…” Riku huffed heavily. “I… I meant my mother…” 

Both Zexion and Saru stared at Riku, each of them having their own look of curiosity. They knew that none of them ever had spoken about their mothers. Not until recently when last time Saruhiko mentioned his. But the subject had gone back to being quiet and rarely thought about or mentioned. 

“My mother is half German, okay? That’s why I know it fluently,” Riku said after having a long pause. 

Neither of the other two brothers spoke. Though it seemed like something would have been said, they kept quiet. They could see there was a lonely and hurt look in Riku’s eyes within the silence that was forming. Slowly Riku pulled his legs up to his chest and wrapped his arms around them. The sadness filled him more as he gently rested his chin on top of his knees. 

Zexion cleared his throat. “Ah… um Riku, are you going to be all right? Or would you prefer some time alone?”

Riku shook his head. “I don’t know… I thought I could try to get through this without thinking of her… but it’s hitting me harder than I wanted it to.”

"She's still alive, isn't she?" Saru asked. 

Riku huffed out a quick breath before lowering his head. “Yeah… but that’s not… not why…”

“Then what is it?” Zexion asked. 

Riku’s body tensed up. A shaky breath could be heard from him, but he still kept his face down. But a moment later his head shot up, tears were now filling his eyes. His expression far more hurt and lonely than minutes before. 

“Because she never loved me! That’s why I don’t want to think about her!”

Upon hearing this, Saru froze up, his eyes widening into a mix of shock and surprise, all while staring at Riku. Zexion also had a similar look of shock, showing that he also did not expect such an answer from his brother. 

Riku shuddered as he finally let the tears fall down his face. His face scrunched up into a bitter expression. “Now you guys know… you happy?”

"So neither parent cared…" Saruhiko whispered out.

Riku shook his head. “No… and I had to be stuck being raised by one of them. If… If her neglect could even be called that.”

“She at least seemed to have some care to raise you,” Zexion said. “She very well could have left you just the same as our father did for all of us.”

“If you call her leaving me all by myself at home most days or dropping me at a relatives house as ‘caring’.” Riku glared over to Zexion as he spoke. “Let me ask you, both of you. Did either one of your mothers ever say that she loved you?”

“Riku, I don’t understand why that-” Zexion started to say, but Riku cut him off. 

“Just answer the question!” Riku shouted. He tried to sound angry, but the breaking tone in his voice was enough to show how distressed he really was. 

“Yes, of course,” Zexion replied quietly, his eyes shifting to the floor. 

"Yeah… not only did she tell me she loved me all the time, but she gave her life to protect me." Saru murmured, now looking down at the little bundle of otter fluff in his arms.

“Well my mother never did anything for me! She never said she loved me, or gave me a hug, or even a kiss goodnight. Can you imagine being young and scared of a storm and running to her wanting comfort, and she just doesn’t give any concern to how you feel and brushes it off? I lived with that for thirteen years of my life!”

Riku breathed out slowly before trying to wipe away his tears. “I don’t think she hated me… she wasn’t cruel towards me, but… she just had no care for me.”

"So she was like our biological father…" 

“I guess if he were around… that’s what he would have been like,” Zexion commented. 

"You guys always wonder why I want us to do so much together…" Riku replied letting a shaky breath leave him. "Why I want to do so much together like a family…"

"You want that family love, the connections and attention that you never received in childhood."

Riku closed his eyes and nodded, pushing out a few more tears. "Yeah… that's right…"

Zexion was the first to move over to the couch. He sat down next to Riku and placed a hand on his back. Riku finally let out the rest of the emotion he had been holding and series of sobs where what came next. Zexion moved his arm to be around Riku and started to hold him. He then looked over to Saru and gave him a look, much like the time before when something like this had happened. But this time his expression was much more serious and concerned. 

"... I'm currently holding a baby river otter if that isn't obvious" Saru deadpanned while matching Zexion's glare.

"And if you are going to give more care to an otter over your brother, then what are you doing?" Zexion hissed.

"How about you not make assumptions and let me be," Saruhiko replied in a snipity tone before walking up to Riku, placing the bundle of otter in his lap before sitting down and wrapping an arm around his brother.

Riku raised his head up and looked at Saru, his eyes red from the tears. He opened his mouth to ask something, but his eyes went back down the otter in his lap. He moved his arms around it to hold it properly. It squeaked several times happily as it shifted in the blanket, moving itself closer to Riku. 

"Thanks guys… I'm sorry for before…" Riku muttered. "I didn't mean to act like I did."

"It's all right Riku," Zexion said. "Neither Saru or I had any idea how sensitive the subject was to you."

"I don't like to think about it… it just ended up happening tonight. It hurt me more than I wanted it to. But thank you guys… thank you for caring."

Zexion nodded. "Of course."

"You know… since we're on the subject… should also get this off my chest. Shortly after I had turned thirteen… I ran away from home. I just couldn't take her neglect any longer. I wanted to just get away from all of it."

"It's good that you did, I think I would do the same if I was in your position," Zexion replied. 

"I'm just glad Zack found me and brought me here," Riku said, his voice dropping into a whisper. "I'm also glad I have you guys for my brothers. You know… despite any arguments or fights we get into."

Riku paused as he looked between his brothers. He started to smile again, finally relaxing. "I love you guys. I know it's corny to say it, but I really do mean it. if it were for you two, and Zack as well, I don't know what I would have done."


 

“See? What did I tell you,” Cloud whispered to Zack.

The lights were off and they were already in bed facing one another, snuggled up close, but they had not fallen asleep. The shouting from Riku was what alerted them before either could even drift off. Though the walls were thin, to normal ears not everything that the boys said would have been heard. Thankfully there was Cloud with his werewolf hearing to pick up on what was being said. 

“Yeah, you were right again,” Zack whispered back. 

“I know you’re worried about them and want to step in each time something starts up, but they aren’t little kids. Though in vamperic terms they still are young, they aren’t that young,” Cloud replied. “They know how to handle themselves… well most of the time anyways.”

“I know that too, I just want to help them more most of the time. I really hate to see them get into fights.”

“But they didn’t, they worked it out on their own. Over these past few months you’ve admitted that they seemed to be getting along better than before.”

Zack nodded a little. “That’s true. I don’t know what could have caused it, but I am glad for whatever it is.”

“Good,” Cloud said before reached out his hand and placing it on Zack’s face. “Can you sleep now knowing that they are going to be all right.”

“Hmm yeah,” Zack answered as he placed his own hand on top of Cloud's. He leaned forward slightly before giving a light kiss on the cheek. “Thanks buddy.” 

Cloud smiled. “Can’t you do better than that?” Cloud now took the turn to lean forward and placed his kiss on Zack’s lips. 

“Nah, I like to tease you with it instead,” Zack replied before giving one last kiss, this time on Cloud’s forehead. “G’night Cloud.” 

“Night Zack.”

Chapter Text

Riku let himself take in a series of deep breaths while continuing to relax in the arms of his brothers. Finally they knew the side of them that he had been keeping secret for so long. Though it did resurface a lot of deep pains and memories, he was happy that they handled it well and that they understood.

But it still took a lot out of him. "I think I may head back to my room for the rest of the night."

He stood up and handed the baby otter, who had fallen asleep, back to Saruhiko. "Thanks again guys, but I think I need some time now to clear my head a bit more."

Saru carefully took the sleeping baby otter back from his brother before speaking. "Understandable."

"Let us know if you need anything else though," Zexion added.

Riku nodded before he headed down the hallway to his room. Once the sound of a door closing was heard, Zexion got up from the couch and faced Saru directly. "I'm sorry for accusing you before."

Saru gave Zexion a halfhearted glare and clicked his tongue.

"You have to understand that I only said what I did at the moment of the event," Zexion said, speaking in a whisper. "You can agree, neither of us have ever seen Riku that distraught before. I wasn't in a clear mind because I did not know how well we would be able to handle it."

"And you're supposed to be the levelheaded one…" Saru mumbled out, just loud enough for Zexion to hear.

"I know, I know. And I said I'm sorry. But it's still on the fact of what Riku was keeping hidden from us. I know we don't prefer to talk about our different mothers, but part of me wonders if maybe we should. So we can better understand one another," Zexion replied as he paced a little. "As unfortunate as it sounds, it seems each of us has some misfortune that related to our mothers."

Saru looked at Zexion with curiosity. "Do you intend to finally share your story, or just taunt us with a little hint of what happened?"

Zexion stopped his pacing and faced Saru. "I feel at this point I should tell about it since the two of you have done so. I don't want to worry or upset Riku any further tonight, but if you wish to know right now…" he let out a long sigh, trying to relax his mind. "I can tell you."

Saru pondered for a moment before responding. "If it's easier on you to tell us all at once, then I can wait."

"It's really nothing when compared to you guys. Still tragic, but…" Zexion shook his head. "I don't really know how to explain it for that."

"Take some time to figure it out and tell us when you're ready then."

"Thank you Saru," Zexion replied. After a deep breath he looked back at the baby otter in Saru's arms. "Have you figured out a name for it yet?"

"Too young to tell gender." Saru half-answered.

"Ah… I see. What about a gender neutral name then?" Zexion said before walked over closer to the bookshelf in the corner of the room.

"I haven't found one that I like."

"I have books here for names if you wish to browse," Zexion commented before pulling out a couple of books and setting them on the nearby table.

"Maybe later, gonna nap," Saru stated before shifting so that he was lying down on the couch with the baby otter lying on top of his chest.

Zexion chuckled softly before choosing a book to read. Once he had made his choice he sat down in his usual spot and began to read.


After Riku and Saruhiko left, Sora and Yata finally headed on their way. It was clear that the two brothers were heading home without another word after what had just happened. It wasn't even a proper goodbye that Riku had given, but more of a quick response before chasing after Saruhiko. But at this point there was nothing that could be done, the two of them had already disappeared into the night.

"Those two are really weird," Yata muttered before he started walking again.

"I guess they are a bit," Sora said as he ran to catch up with Yata. "But I'm sure if we got to know them better we would understand. It's pretty cool though what they did back there."

"Yeah, I really didn't expect to see either one of them fight off a coyote, especially Saruhiko."

"That make you like him more?" Sora asked teasingly.

Yata stopped dead in his tracks and stared at Sora. "No! You are not starting up that again!"

Sora smirked childishly. "But why not? You clearing were eyeing Saruhiko closely after he was all soaked and wet."

Sora watched as Yata's face reddened. It was hard to see in the dim lighting from the park lights, but he could tell that Yata was clearly blushing. He glared harshly though, trying to prove Sora's point wrong, but even he knew that there was no point in trying that.

"Don't say it like that! I was not eyeing him!"

"They what were you doing?" Sora asked, trying to sound innocent.

"How was I supposed to exact him being drenched after going in to save a baby otter!?" Yata shouted, arms stretched out. "Honestly I swear you need to drop it already."

Yata grumbled before he started marching forward again, finally reaching the edge of the park and entering a residential area. Just as before Sora had to run to catch up to Yata who was slowing picking up pace.

"Yata, you can tell me, you enjoyed tonight, right? You enjoyed hanging out with Saruhiko from what I can tell. And! He did tell us that he was interested in guys,"

"S-So what!?" Yata said, stammering slightly on his words. "He still is an annoying monkey."

"Doesn't mean you don't like him," Sora said, once again teasing slightly. He knew that Yata was seemingly getting annoyed, but Sora didn't pay attention to the tone of voice or the words from Yata. Instead he focused on Yata's facial expression, which was wavering between looking nervous and angry. The nervousness mixed in with the red on his cheeks was a rare thing for Yata to ever display, which was exactly why Sora kept on asking. He had to figure out the answer.

"What does it matter if I like him or not? What if I kept asking you if you liked Riku, huh?!" Yata snapped, not looking over at Sora. "You were clearly gawking at him and making dumb flirt attempts nearly every moment you got tonight."

Sora could feel his own cheeks heating up. But now he didn't as shy as he did once before. "I wouldn't care if you asked me. I think I really do like Riku. Sure I was saying things to him and found myself really impressed with what I learned, but that is because I really think I am feeling something. And I'm happy to state it."

"Well that's you. You can be all cheery and happy like that about what you feel, but I'm not." Yata let out a long sigh before lowering his head. "I just need more time to think about it…"

Sora finally sighed for himself. He could see that there was no longer a point to ask Yata on the subject, Clearly he was still needing more time to sort out his feelings, but Sora had hope that Yata would figure them out in time. "All right, I guess you'll need some time then. See you tomorrow at the skatepark? Usual time?"

"Yeah, sure thing," Yata replied.

The two of them said goodnight and goodbye to one another before they walked off their separate ways to the different areas of the neighbor. Both of them still having many lingering thoughts about the night and how it went. They both had many lingering and still strong feelings circulating within them. Now it was just a matter of time that they needed to understand and sort them out.


Zexion had just about finished reading his book when there was a quiet knock at the door. He glanced at the clock, and saw that it was only a little past 2am.

"Now who could be knocking at the hour this late into the night?" Zexion questioned to himself.

He got up from his spot and walked over to the door. He opened slowly and saw there was a man dressed in a delivery outfit. In his arms he held a medium sized box with a smaller box on top of it.

"Can I help you?" Zexion asked.

"Uh yeah I got a delivery for a Saruhiko?"

Zexion turned around and saw that Saru was still fast asleep on the couch. He sighed and shook his head. "Is it alright if I sign for it?"

"Yeah that's fine," the man said holding on a clipboard with some papers on it.

Zexion scanned through it quickly before singing at the bottom. He took the boxed as the ma thanks him them proceed to turn around and mount a chocobo that had been quietly sitting behind the man. After he took off, Zexion closed the door and placed the boxed onto the kitchen countertop.

Walking over to Saru he bent over and shook him lightly on the shoulder. "Saru, some boxes came for you. Something for your otter I assume from what I read on the papers."

Saru's response was to roll over slightly, curling up protectively around the baby otter. The little ball of fluff let out a squeak before appearing to suck/nibble on Saruhiko's pinkey, as his hand was right by the otter's face.

Zexion chuckled softly. "I am sure if Zack were awake right now he would find this utterly amusing. You should wake up though, you can sleep again when it is closer to the morning." Zexion started to speak a little louder while giving another shake of the shoulder.

Saru groggily let out a little whine, using his free hand to swat at Zexion before opening his eyes. He sleepily glared at his older brother without saying a word.

"You're going to mess up your sleeping pattern even further if you keep sleeping right now," Zexion replied.

"We already have messed up sleeping patterns by human standards, so why does it matter?" Saru murmured out his response while carefully sitting up, cradling the baby otter that was still teething on his finger.

"Yet there are humans who choose to have a nocturnal sleep schedule like we do," Zexion said before narrowing his eyes a little at the otter. "Doesn't that hurt?"

Saru just shrugged in response. "Not really."

"It's still interesting though to see one so young," Zexion commented. "I've never given much thought about small creatures such as an otter, but perhaps I could indulge myself in some research."

"Hmmm, let me know if you find anything relevant to raising one." Saru commented before standing up from the couch.

Zexion nodded. "Now about those packages… I saw the name of the company and I was wondering…" he didn't finish his sentence as he watched Saru walk towards them. He finally let out a sigh and shrugged off his thoughts.

He stretched slightly before going into the kitchen and opened ed the fridge. As he sifted through what was there he decided to try and ask something else. "So would you say your day went well then?"

"Depends on your definition of well," Saru answered while attempting to open up one of the boxes with his free hand.

"Would you care to explain your definition then?"

"Would you care to stop asking about my day?"

Zexion shrugged training. "I only had thought to make some conversation. We rarely have one just between the two of us unless it is in training."

"If it isn't obvious, I'm not in a sociable mood."

"You rarely are…" Zexion whispered.

He then remembered the day that was coming up. Soon Saruhiko's birthday would arrive. If it had not been for a conversation a few days ago where he learned some critical information, he wouldn't have thought much of it. But the events of the night had brought That back from what Zexion could figure. Talk of Riku and his mother, it probably didn't help on Saruhiko's thoughts on his own mother.

"Sorry,' Zexion said, speaking up again. "I suppose I'll leave you to do as you please." Zexion then headed out of the room without a word more.

Chapter Text

The sun was setting just as the nocturnals were beginning to wake up. Saru stirred slightly, but curled back up into his covers. He made no attempt to get up as today was that day. It appeared as if Saru was attempting to bury himself in the sheets to avoid the events of today.

Next to Saru, settled in a nest of old, worn out clothes was the little baby otter. It was shifting slightly, squeaking softly before nestling itself into the crook of Saru's neck.

With a sad smile, Saru protectively wrapped his arms around the little bundle of fluff and tried to doze off for a bit longer.

But it seemed that his solitude would not last much longer. Several consecutive knocks at his door drew his attention away from his peaceful bliss.

Saru grumbled in annoyance before pulling the covers over the majority of his head, leaving the baby otter and a portion of his face uncovered.

The knocks came again followed by the door opening slightly. "Saru?" It was Zack's voice. "You awake yet?"

A knife imbedded into the door was the response.

A long exhale was heard from Zack. The door then creaked open. A couple footsteps followed and then stopped. "Come on Saru, I know how you feel about today. But hey… I got cake." Zack held up a nice looking cake with pretty looking frosting decorating all of it.

After Zack brought Saruhiko's attention to the cake, a series of four thunks came from knives that had embedded into the walls. Two of the knives had bits of cake and frosting on them, matching with two streaks of frosting on Zack's arms. There was a fifth knife that had been thrown, the blade half sticking out of the cake pointed at Zack's torso.

The three knives that did go through the cake had cut it into six slices, although the pieces were slightly uneven and the intersection was a bit messy. Other than that it looked fairly decent.

When Zack saw that there were no more knives to be thrown, he relaxed his shoulders. Despite going through this each year ever since Saru learn how to use knives, it still made him a bit jumpy.

Zack managed a chuckle once all of his nerves went away. "Hey not bad. Now are you going to come out and actually eat some?"

"Tsk. It'd be neater if you didn't flinch." Saru grumbled out, sitting up slightly in bed. The baby otter squeaked at the loss of warmth, so Saru picked the bundle up and cradled it to his chest.

"You can't expect me to know exactly when and where you throw your knives," Zack replied. "Sure I know how to dodge, but it still comes out of nowhere."

"It's the exact same pattern every year, how can you not remember something so simple."

Zack sat down on the edge of the bed. He laughed slightly. "Okay, I guess you are right there. But hey, maybe one day I'll get it right. Now are you ready for some cake?."

Saru just grumbled out nonsense before burying himself back under his covers.

"Oh no you don't," Zack replied. He then stood up from the bed.. "Hey Cloud, can you come in here and hold the cake for me?"

A second later Cloud came in and took the cake from Zack's hands. Zack walked over to the bed again and ripped off the covers. "You aren't going to stay cooped up in your bed all day. Don't make me carry you out of here."

Curling up around the otter at the loss of his blankets, Saru proceeded to glare at Zack. On the other hand, Zack just chuckled lightly and quickly picked up Saru, and holding him in his arms. From behind snickers could be heard from Cloud.

"This is undignified…" Saru muttered, a light dusting of red started to appear over his cheeks.

"Well it's one way to get you up and moving," Zack laughed. "Now you can get dressed and head to the kitchen, or… I can carry you out right out in your pajamas."

"How about neither," Saru grumbled.

"Okay, being carried out in pajamas it is," Zack replied cheerfully as he turned to face the door.

"That is not what I said," Saru grumbled, though he made no effort to get out of Zack's hold.

"Well it's what I decided," Zack said as he headed out the door of the bedroom.

Saru could hear Cloud laugh again. He shot a quick glare to the blond, but only laughed again. "You know how Zack is. He won't listen when he has made up his mind."

"Tell me something I don't know."

"Triskaidekaphobia is the fear of the number 13," Cloud replied.

"Why do you know that? Have you been hanging out with Zexion?"

Cloud shrugged. "Just something I read once."

Saru sighed again as Zack carried him out of the hallway and into the kitchen area. Zexion and Riku were already sitting at the table and once Saru was in the room the boys stared over at him. They chuckled quietly seeing that Zack had to resort to carrying Saru out, but they didn't speak out on the matter.

Finally getting to the table Zack set Saru down on his feet. "There, now you are here and we are going to eat cake!"

Saru turned and started to walk back towards his room, grumbling about not wanting to be up. But when he got to the hallway Cloud blocked his way. Before either of them could speak Zack went up to Saru and placed a hand on Saru's shoulder. "Hey, come on. I got these cake and everything else for today. Can't you stick around and be with us?"

"Tsk. Fine, but after this little party, I'm going back to bed."

Zack let out a sigh. "If that's what you want…" It was only a murmur, but it was loud enough for Saru to hear. For a moment Zack's eyes fluttered with a bit of sadness, but he quickly sprung back to his usually cheerful demeanor. "Okay! Cake and party time!"

He took the cake that Cloud was still holding and brought it over to the table. When he set it down Riku and Zexion looked to the one knife still lodged in the cake. Zexion raised an eyebrow as he looked to Zack. "Saru threw the knives to cut the cake again?"

"It's just a regular occurence by this point, so I can't really tell him to stop," Zack replied.

"At least this time he did a better job than last year," Riku added.

Saru slowly meandered over to the table, taking a seat in the chair the cake was in front of. Cloud took his seat at the table as Zack went to place a few candles in the cake. He then removed the knife and placed it to the side.

"We don't have to sing or anything, not that we've really done that before, but hey," Zack started to say as he smiled. He then lit the candles on the cake. "Happy Birthday Saru." He then ruffled Saru's hair slightly as everyone else chimed in on saying 'Happy Birthday'.

With a huff, Saru halfheartedly blew out the candles.

After that, Zack served up the cake and everyone began eating in. There wasn't too much conversation at first, though eventually a few various topics were talked about between the boys. Zack attempted to ask about how the date had gone, but Riku ended up trying to avoid talking about it as much as possible. Saru on the other hand started throwing the candles at Zack when the questions were directed towards him.

"Okay okay," Zack said, blocking the candles with his hand. "You guys aren't ready for any talk on that yet I guess. But let's move on then to the presents!"

Saru glared at Zack with annoyance while still eating cake. Zack on the other hand moved to the closet in the hallway and got out a stack of presents. He placed them over on the table in the living room section. "Well, I will just be here when you guys are all ready."

Soon after Cloud was the first to get up and go over there, taking his seat right next to Zack. Shortly after Riku and Zexion finished up their cake. Riku head over to the couch while Zexion cleared up their plates and put them in the sink. After that he joined the others, and all that was left was Saru himself.

He took his time though on eating the remainder of the cake. But after he finished he stood up and made his way over to the others. He let out a sigh before sitting down in front of the stack of neatly wrapped presents before him. But then he noticed something right away. There were only three presents. Though he had the thought that it was very well possible that Zack and Cloud combined their presents, but he would just have to open them to find out.

The first present on the top of the stack was a medium sized box wrapped in paper that was covered with moogles and cactuars. The second beneath it had little chocobos running across the box. And the third was much more plain with simple red stripes with black.

Saru glanced over to Zack as if to say 'really?' upon seeing the wrapping paper of the first box.

Nestling the baby otter bundle on his lap, Saru picked the top box off the stack and carefully began to open it.

After the wrapping paper was off and the box was open, he stared at the contents that was inside. Slowly he picked up a large plush of a moogle. It was about 12 inches tall and was rather soft and plump.

Saru turned to face Zack. "I presume this is from you."

Zack smiled. "Yup! Thought it was rather fun looking, so I thought why not."

Saru proceeded to half heartedly throw the plush at Zack's face. It smacked into his face before he caught it, now holding it in his arms. "What? You can never be too old for fun plush toys."

"Well you never seem to be too old, I don't know about the rest of us," Riku said jokingly.

Continuing on to the next gift, Saru's mind began to wander. As that first gift appeared to be just from Zack, did Zexy and Riku combine for a gift, or did someone not have a physical present that would fit in a box? When he opened the next box he saw that there was another plush. This one though was a large sized chocochic. When he squeezed it ever so slightly it made a cheery 'kweh' sound.

The little baby otter squeaks in response to the 'kweh'.

"Hey see? Your otter likes it," Zack commented.

"Which of you bought the chocochick?" Saru asked, looking to his remaining two brothers first.

"Not me," Zexion said.

"Me neither," Riku commented. "My gift, if you haven't guessed, isn't here. It's actually not something I could wrap up and package."

Saru then turned to face Cloud, and in response Cloud smiled a little. "Yeah it was me. Zack roped me into buying it alongside the moogle."

Cuddling the chocochick to himself, Saru proceeded to squish it, causing it to let out a long 'kweeeeh.'

Cloud looked to Zack and smirked. "Looks like he likes chocobos more."

Zack sighed and looked at the moogle. "Huh maybe should have gotten the moogle with sound."

Giving Zack a look of annoyance, Saru continued on with the last box, Zexion's gift for him based on what Riku said about his. After it was unwrapped just like the rest, he looked to see something different than a plush doll. Instead it was a book with an ivory color. There was a fancy detail around the border and it was titled, "Tier 1 and 2 Black Magic Spells".

Opening up the book, Saru began flipping through the pages, muttering out a quick 'thanks' to Zexion.

Another sigh was heard from Zack. "Aw come on, he gets a thanks but not me or Cloud?"

Saru just glared at Zack, before setting the book down beside him. Turning to Riku, Saru spoke up. "So then, Sparkles, what's your gift?"

"Oh, um, well it's a bit hard to explain," Riku started to say as he rubbed the back of his neck. "It's best to explain it a bit later if that's all right."

"Hey!" Zack interrupted. "Don't ignore me here!"

"I'll thank you when you decide to actually get me a gift that I want."

"Maybe next time you could write me a list then, and no if it is more knives I am not getting you any more," Zack replied.

"But I did write you a list." Saru muttered under his breath.

Zack tilted his head to the side. "When?"

"Six months ago," Saru deadpanned.

Zack opened his mouth to ask another question, but Cloud placed a hand on his arm. "Just let it rest Zack, you know you won't get a proper answer out of him."

"But… Yeah you are right," Zack said sighing heavily. "Just give me the list when you can, Saru."

Saru just rolled his eyes. "So long as you don't forget it exists next year…."

"I'll remember, don't worry!" Zack said as he jumped to his feet. "So now that we got that done, we could play some games!"

"You're rather energetic tonight, aren't you," Zexion commented.

Zack shrugged. "Just trying to make tonight as fun as I can make it! Now let's play some games!"

"I didn't agree to any games," Saru said to Zack before turning to Riku. "Now, what is it with your gift that I still have to wait on?"

"Well if you don't want to play any games, we could go to it now. I mean if that is all right with you Zack," Riku said as he turned to look at Zack.

"Ah, well if you two are going to go out and do something for Saru's birthday, then that is fine by me. Gets him out of the house at least," Zack said with a light chuckle.

"Let me get dressed and get this over with this then." Saru got up from his spot, and handed the otter over to Zexion to watch over before getting dressed and heading out with Riku.


"So you're not going to tell me where the f**k we're going, are you?" Saru asked grumpily as they had been walking for quite some time now.

"It's not really an easy thing to explain," Riku said as they continued through the forest. "It's not really something to talk about with others, well at least how I feel about it."

Saru quirked an eyebrow in curiosity. "It's related to your past."

Riku tensed slightly, almost stopping. "Y-Yeah… It's connected to my past. Just… a place I know of that I visited a few times when I was a child."

"Why are you taking me there then?"

"Cause… I never knew much about your own past until recently. So this thought came to me to do this, and just hope that it goes well," Riku replied quietly.

"Do you even have a plan or is this just an impulse?"

"I had been thinking about a gift, but then this came to me after… well you know when you told Zexion and me," Riku said.

"Why after all these years did we all finally decide to bring up our pasts?" Saru pondered out loud.

Riku shrugged, not knowing how to answer. It was a strange thing that had only recently occurred, and how it came up neither of them could understand. "Don't know… guess it was bound to happen at some point I guess. It's just a bit further by the way."

"If I knew it was going to be this far I would have waited until another day." Saru grumbled out.

"Well it would help if we could just fly there, but… unfortunately you somehow can't fly like the rest of us. And you refused to let me carry you there," Riku said before sighing.

"My limit is one embarrassment per day." Saru stated flatly.

"If you say so," Riku commented.

After a few more minutes they finally came to a small clearing. In front of them was a building that looked like it was built out of marble. Fancy details and intricate designs covered the entire place. It looked ancient and full of magic and mystery all in one. The lights were on in the building, but the windows were frosted, making it impossible to see inside from the outside.

"We're here now," Riku said as he approached closer to the front of the building.

"Where is here even?"

Riku sighed and finally turned to face Saru. "You ever heard… of the Spirit Sanctuary?"

"Isn't that place just a myth? A fairytale place told to children who have lost their parents?"

"It's set up that way…. Unless you have connections how to get to the place," Riku said, lowering his head slightly. "It's not just for a child who has lost their parents, it can be for anyone who you've lost and want to see again."

Saru looked at Riku in surprise. "So not only is this place real, but you have the connections to come here… and you've brought me here, why?"

Riku kept his gaze lowered. Saru could heard slow and deep breaths coming from his brother. The thing he was about to say was just a hard thing in general to even talk about, but Riku had gotten Saru all the way here. He knew he had to give it a try even though he didn't know what the outcome of his answer would be.

Finally Riku raised his head, keeping a calm expression for what he was about to say next. "I brought you here… so you could… you know… see your mother again."

Saru didn't have a verbal reaction, but his expression says it all. It was a mix of shock, sadness, and a twinkle of hope in his eyes.

"Are you ready to head in then?" Riku asked softly, not wanting to push Saru too much if he wasn't ready yet.

"Yeah… I'm ready." Saru whispers out, with a bit of hesitation in his voice.

Chapter Text

The two of them proceeded forward and when they got up to the front doors, Riku opened them and let Saru walk in first. The inside was much more than what he had expected it. It was still marble just like the outside and there were bookcases lined everywhere in the front room. 

In the back center was a podium with shelves of books lined up behind it. Currently a man was standing there, reading through a book that was on the podium. He looked up seconds later once the door closed. 

“Ah, I didn’t expect to see you back so soon Riku,” the man said, stepping down and walking towards the brothers. 

Once he was closer, Saru got a better look at the man. He was an older looking man with tanned skin and light blond hair. It was a bit long and slicked back and he also sported a goatee. Even though Saruhiko had never met this man before, he could tell there was a wise air about this man. 

Riku nodded his head slightly. “Hello Ansem, it’s nice to see you again. I hope you father is doing well?” 

“Yes thank you. Unfortunately he isn’t here for tonight otherwise I know he would be glad to talk,” Ansem replied. He then looked to Saruhiko. “And this must be one of your brothers then?” 

Saru nodded his head slightly, looking at Ansem inquisitively. 

"Yes, this is my younger brother, Saruhiko," Riku answered. 

Ansem bowed his head slightly. "Pleasure to meet you, Saruhiko."

Saruhiko nodded slightly, but still didn't say a word. His eyes started to drift around to the interior of the room again. Ansem chuckled at the sight, now looking rather amused.

"Haha, it is always quiet, nice to see someone's reaction to seeing the Spirit Sanctuary for the first time. But I take it is more than just a leisure visit that you are both here, correct?"

Riku gave a short nod. "Yeah, if you want, you can give the introduction on how it works."

"All right, follow me then," Ansem said as he turned around and began to walk.

The two boys followed quietly behind him. He lead them to the right of the podium. There was an open doorway that lead down to a long hallway. There were doors lined up on the left and evenly spaced throughout. Ansem came to a stop and turned around to face Saruhiko and Riku again. 

"The Spirit Sanctuary has been in my family for generations, and we are the guardians, as you could say, of this place. When a person passes on, their spirit enters the realm for spirits. But this land we stand on is very closely tied to that place. So through some magic we are able to call forth any spirit a person wishes, and they can communicate once again."

"It can't be that simple," Saru stared bluntly. 

Ansem laughed. "It may seem that way, but I've been raised in this life so it isn't so unnatural to me. But I can assure you it is as easy as I say."

Saruhiko just made a nod and said nothing more.

"Since Riku knows how this goes, I'll leave you to be and have him explain the rest. I'll be in the front if either of you need me," Ansem said before taking his leave. 

Once he was gone, Riku looked to Saru. Carefully he thought of his next words again. "So… um, do you want to go alone, or would you want me to be with you?"

"I… I don't know..." Saru said in a soft voice. 

Riku carefully reached out and placed a hand on Saru's shoulder. "Well, just take your time then. Whenever you're ready. I'm here if you need me."

"I guess… I would like you to at least meet her. After that, it's your choice if you wish to stay."

Riku looked at his brother with surprise. He hadn't actually expected Saru to want him to come along. But Riku could see the worried and nervous look in his brother's face. He could see that he truly meant his words. 

"Okay, follow me," Riku replied as he walked forward to one of the doors and opened it.

Inside was a small room, only enough to fit a few people. The walls were a light, golden yellow and almost seemed to have a glowing magic infused into them. There were a couple of cushions played on the floor before a small ledge. Sitting in the center and in front of the cushions was a small clear cube. It shimmered and also gave a glow even though one could clearly see through it. Furthermore it was larger than the size of one's fist, but only by a little bit. Riku moved forward and kneeled down onto one of the cushions.

"You can sit or kneel. It's up to you," he stated.

Saru hesitantly moved to briefly kneel on the cushion next Riku before sitting back on his heels.

"Now all that is left is to bring her spirit forward. Place your hand on the cube and speak her full name," Riku explained. "Then you just have to wait."

After a moment, Saru reached out with his right arm, hovering it over the cube before tentatively setting his hand on it. Taking a deep breath, he quietly spoke out his mother’s name. “Aerith Gainsborough.”

The clear cube started to cloud up, filling with a light grey smoke. Once the cube was filled a light glow began to emanate from it. The walls themselves began to give off their own light glow. 

Directly in front of the boys another light source began to shine. Light from the cube was spreading out in front of them and it slowly took shape. In seconds it had taken the shape of a young woman and though she was transparent, there was color to see the details and appearance of her. She wore a long pink dress with a short-sleeved, stylish red jacket over it. Her long brown hair was pulled back into a braid, but it rested on her shoulder. 

“M-Mom…?” Saru stuttered out, looking like a lost child who had just found his family.

The eyes of his mother flickered open, revealing a deep green. For a moment she glanced around, taking in her surroundings. A look of curiosity and wonder filled her eyes. Then she looked back to Saru and the warmest of smiles appeared on her face. 

"Hello Saru, I've missed you."

Tears began to streak down Saruhiko’s face, slowly at first, before he was basically crying rivers. “I’ve missed you too, mom.” Saru bowed his head, quietly sobbing has he wrapped his arms around himself.

Riku watched, once again surprised by Saru's actions. He thought to reach out to try and comfort him, but he saw Saru's mother look at him. She smiled gently before turning her attention back to Saru. She reached out a hand and placed it against Saru's cheek.

His initial reaction was to flinch. He had not expected to actually feel her fingers brush up against his cheek. Though it was strange, the sensation was light and tingly, but still noticeably there. 

"My sweet little boy, I'm right here. You can let those tears out, it's okay," Aerith said, her voice just as soft and soothing as Saru remembered it.

Letting out a faint whine between sobs, Saru attempted to lean into her touch. Following that he felt himself being pulled into her embrace. His whole body shuddered as her arms wrapped around him, something he never expected he would get to experience again. 

“You’ve been holding a lot of this back haven’t you Saru?” Aerith asked, still speaking in her gentle voice. One of her hands moved from just holding him to gently stroking the back of his head. “Just remember to breath, let it all out.”

Saru tried to speak again, but what came out was a mess of garbled words mixed in with sobs. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t get out his words. He wanted to speak though, he wanted to talk to his mother. It was his dear sweet mother, the mother who he loved dearly and never thought he would see again. 

Another sob escaped his throat, making it feel dry and raspy. The light sensation of his mother’s hand stroking his head would normally bring a calming feeling to him. But for the fact that he had not felt this in years, it only caused his body to tremble more. He never wanted the moment to end. He wasn’t sure if he could handle losing the warm and gentle hug from his mother. 

“There there, dry up your tears. I want to get a good look at you,” Aerith said pulling from the hug and placed a hand on Saru’s chin.

She tilted his head up towards her and he stared at her with wide eyes. He could see that her eyes began to water as she ran a hand over his face. She kept smiling the entire time as she looked over him, it growing larger with each passing second.

“Look how much you’ve grown. You’re such a handsome young man now,” she stated. “How did you ever get to be so handsome?” 

“Mom…” Saru whispered out again. The longer she talked with him, the less overwhelmed he felt and the more natural it felt. Just like how it did years ago. Much to his surprise he managed a small chuckle. “Thanks…” 

“There’s that smile I always loved seeing,” Aerith replied. “Now, you think you could tell me who your friend is?” Aerith glanced over to Riku who still sat there, staying quiet trying not to interrupt the reunion that was happening. 

"This… is my older, half-brother, Riku."

“Oh?” Aerith asked inquisitively. She then faced Riku and smiled at him. “Well it is very nice to meet you, Riku.”

Riku nodded. “Nice to meet you too ma’am.” 

“Now, does that mean you found Zack and Zexion as well?” Aerith asked Saru a moment after. 

Giving his mother a look of surprise, Saru questioned her. "You know of our other brothers?"

Aerith’s expression straighten out, a distant look filled her eyes. She sighed slowly before closing them and bowing her head. “Yes… I assume you both know the reason that connects you as half-brothers, correct?”

“Yeah,” Riku answered. “The connection… is that we have the same father.”

“Your father…” Aerith let out another sigh. “He had mentioned the names before… so it was just something I happened to know of. I am glad you found each other though.”

"Zack brought us all together. He saved me that day."

“Ah, I see then,” Aerith replied. Her expression saddened slightly. “I’m so sorry Saru, I should have been able to protect you better.”

Saru shook his head, beginning to tear up again. "You did everything you could have done to protect me mom."

Aerith smiled and reached out to place a hand once more on Saru’s cheek. “I just wish I could have done more. But I am glad that you survived and have lived with your brothers since. But you’re such a young man now, there is so much I wish to ask and talk about with you.” 

Saru leaned his head to the side, leaning into the feeling of her hand. “I want to talk as well, there’s… so much I want to say.”

Riku cleared his throat and stood up. “Ah… um, I’ll step out now. But it was nice to meet you ma’am,” Riku said before giving a slight bow. 

Aerith laughed. “You don’t have to be so formal Riku, but thank you.”

Riku nodded quietly before stepped out of the room. When the door closed Aerith spoke up again. “Now Saru, would you like to talk first then?”

Saru sighed and nodded to her. “Yeah… I wanted to say… I-I’m sorry.” Saru tried his hardest to hold in his emotions this time, though he could feel them swirling inside of him. They were trying to break out again, but he wasn’t going to let them. “I should have listened to you that day… if I had… m-maybe you would have not been so distracted trying to protect me.”

“Saru, you know you shouldn’t think that. What happened that day was never your fault,” Aerith replied. 

"B-But… I didn't listen… and I ended up having to see… see him k-kill…" Saru shuddered, lowering his head. A lump formed in his throat, preventing him from finishing the rest of his sentence. 

Aerith placed her hand under Saru's chin. She tilted his head up and gave him a sympathetic smile. "I know, and I am so sorry you ever had to see that. But what matters is that you survived. I would have felt awful if that were the case."

“I still miss you, I never stopped thinking about you mom,” Saru whispered, his voice growing weak again. 

“My little sweetheart, I am glad to hear that. But I am right here, and I am here if you need me. Is there anything you would like to talk about first? Or do you wish to tell me about your life and anything exciting that happened.” Aerith smiled at him, bringing a sense of calming within him. “I’m very curious to know how my little boy has been doing.”

Slowly Saru felt the corners of his mouth curl up into a smile. A warthm filled inside of him that he had long forgotten and missed after so many years. He let out a small laugh much to his surprise. “There is a lot to talk about, especially in recent times.”

“Well, I am all ears, tell me what you want to say,” Aerith replied.  


Saru had told his mother what he wanted to first, which was what happened after her death. He told about how Zack came to save him in time and then brought him back to him home. He wasn’t the best at explaining his thoughts of the experiences as that time was a jumbled mess of emotions, but he wanted to try his best. He wanted to say as much as he could. 

He had only gotten through telling about the general things that had happened though included a few funny stories. He had just gotten though telling the story of Zack beginning to train him with his choice of weapons, which were his throwing knives. Aerith started to laugh when the magic from the room faded slightly and so did her apparition. 

Saru raised an eyebrow as he looked around. “What’s happening?”

“There is magic within this room that is used to bring my spirit here, but it isn’t able to keep it going forever. It wanes after a time and will need a chance to restore itself.”

“So… does that mean… you’re going to,” Saru started to say what he wanted, but again he ended up trailing off. The words were too hard for him to truly speak.

Aerith reached out and placed a hand on Saru’s shoulder. “Yes, I’m afraid I will have to go for now.” 

“But wait!” Saru shouted. “Can’t I just go to another room here? Surely the other rooms still are okay to use after this.”

Aerith shook her head. “I’m afraid it doesn’t work like that. The energy is also being channeled through me as well. I’ll need time to rest before being summoned here again. But it’s okay Saru, you can always come back and see me. We don’t want to talk about everything all in one night.”

Saru lowered his head and muttered something softly. “I wouldn’t mind…” 

Aerith clicked her tongue. “If we were to talk about everything all in one session, then what would we have for next time? I know you are feeling a lot of things upon seeing me again, but just remember to breath. I’ll always be here if you need me.”

Her image started to fade more, yet she was able to keep her kindhearted smile. 

Saru reached out to her, but his hand just went through her. “Mom!”

“I still love you Saru, I always have and I will continue to do so. I’ll be awaiting your next visit.”

The magic finally died out and the color from the room faded. The cube in front of him went dull as well. Saru waited though, to see if anything else would happen. But everything remained quiet. 

Eventually, Saru rose from the cushion, stumbling slightly as his legs had gone numb from how he was sitting. He hesitantly made his way over to the door, throwing a longing glance over his shoulder towards where the spiritual form of his mother once stood. With a sigh of longing, he finally stepped out of the room.

Across from the door in the hallway was Riku. He stood leaning up against the wall, with his head turned to the side. From the few seconds that Saru could see, he seemed to be lost deep in thought. But that look was quickly changed once Riku turned his attention over to Saru. 

“Hey, so… how did it go? I mean, are you going to be okay?” 

Saru staggered forward to Riku until he was standing directly in front of him. Now being so close to one another, Riku could truly see the weariness in his brothers eyes. There was such a sadness in them, yet at the same time a renewed sense of something much more positive. Riku didn’t get much time to look through as Saru grabbed onto him and pulled him into a tight embrace. 

Riku was about to ask what was going on, but then what he heard next gave him his answer. 

He heard Saru begin to cry again. It was just something small, but it quickly evolved into a series of sobs. The action still surprised Riku though as he could feel Saru gripping the back of his jacket. 

The sobs continued to pour out from him and still Riku didn’t know how to react. He had never seen Saru like this before. Seeing him sad and vulnerable was something he never suspected in all of the years he had known him. But he started to figure that it was all tied to his mother. It was the one thing that could get through to him to break down those cold and harsh walls. 

Finally Riku placed his hands onto Saru’s back and patted him gently. He opened his mouth to say something, but he found no words to come out. At the time he was completely unsure what he should say. But he figured he would stay in the embrace as long as Saru needed. 

After a few minutes the sobs died down a bit. Saru huffed heavily, his throat sore once more from crying. “Th-than… thank… you…” he said, whispering into Riku’s ear. 

Saru breathed out a long breath before the rest of his energy left him, causing him to pass out onto Riku’s shoulder. It was yet another surprise to Riku, but he managed to catch and hold his brother to prevent him from falling. 

“You’re welcome,” Riku whispered back, knowing he would repeat himself later, but the words just came anyways. Never in all of these years did he ever suspect he would have a brotherly bonding moment with Saru, but he welcomed it, happy to have helped. 

Chapter Text

The evening wind blew around, giving a nice relaxing feeling to the night. Riku breathed out slowly as he let the cool breeze wash over him. He stared out over at the glow of lights coming from the city, just another peaceful thing for the night.

Currently he was sitting up top on the observational deck of the town's clocktower. No one else was up there besides him though… well no one else other than Saruhiko. He was slumped up against the wall, still unconscious.

Riku glanced to him and started to wonder just how much energy Saru must have burned out from back at the Spirit Sanctuary. Though it was something he could truly never understand.

Saru got to be reunited with his late mother and spent the evening with her. The mother who raised him and cherished him from what he heard from Saru. That… that was something Riku never could know. He never could understand what that feeling must have been like. Sure there were those who he knew that loved and cherished him, but when it came to one's mother… the love of a mother was something no one else could recreate. And it was the one thing Riku couldn't understand.

He sighed heavily as he brought his knees to his chest. He closed his eyes and thought back to the brief moment that he was in the room with Saru and his mother. He saw the smile that Aerith had and how she looked at Saru with affection. He saw how gently she gazed and interacted with Saru speaking to him with such a kind and caring tone. A tone that Riku was unfamiliar with when it came to his own mother. Riku sighed again, wondering deeply what that was like.

Thankfully the sound of Saru stirring distracted him from thinking any further on it. Saru groaned a little before his eyes finally fluttered open. Right away he started looking around, letting his eyes adjust to his surroundings. After a few moments he locked eyes with Riku.

"Why did you drag me to the clocktower?"

Riku averted his eyes away, looking back to the light from the city. "Just thought to go somewhere quiet and peaceful afterwards until you woke up."

"And not go home instead."

"I just didn't think about going home right now, I guess I just needed some fresh air. That's all," Riku replied, letting out a long sigh.

"What's got you all moody now?"

Riku ran a hand through his hair, hoping that it could clear his mind, but the thoughts were still there. Everything still lingered in his mind and it would not stop pestering him. He wanted to get away from the subject, but from the way it was clinging to him, he saw that it would be better to just get it out of his system.

"What's it like… when she smiles at you like that?"

"That's… not something that can really be explained."

"There has to be something… what do you feel, like what emotions do you feel when she smiles so nicely? When she actually looks at you, and speaks to you how she did," Riku replied beginning to wipe his eyes. There were no tears in his eyes, and he wanted to keep it that way, but he just couldn't help himself in his reaction.

"You're asking me to describe emotions to you."

"It can't be that hard," Riku muttered as he turned to look at Saru, his eyes mixed full of sadness yet also wonder.

"My default means of expression are insults and throwing knives."

Riku's shoulders slumped. He still wanted to ask, hoping that he could get more from Saru. He had never realized how much he was wanting to know on the subject. It was so strange that something like this had never really occurred to him before. But he knew at the same time that it was hard to really get anything from Saru that could prove helpful. But the emotions of curiosity still swirled within him, making not want to give up that easily.

"I just wanted to know… what it's like. You know… to have your mother…" Riku trailed off, unable to get the rest of his words out.

"Actually love you? I have no means of comparison by which to explain it by."

A few tears finally managed to escape from Riku's eyes, but he wiped them away as quickly as they came. He sighed again before shaking his head. "Well… I just wanted to ask. I don't know what I really expected. I guess it's really not something you can explain."

Saru shifted forward, moving himself closer to Riku. No words were said as he put an arm around his brother and pulled him closer. Riku's eyes widened, clearly not expected another hug within the same night from Saru. But he didn't protest or move away. He stayed there, trying his best to breathe in deeply, hoping to relax himself further.

"This is why you didn't want to go home," Saru half asked, half stated quietly.

"Like I said… I just needed some fresh air," Riku replied in between deep breaths. 'I just couldn't stop myself from wondering… I only wanted to understand what it is like to have a mother like yours."

Saru stared at his brother, trying to think what he would say. He had tried thinking of some logic response, but nothing came to mind. That wasn't his forte to think of ways to console someone, even if it was his brother.

Though it still did leave a stinging pain in his heart. To know that Riku never felt love from his mother… Saru wasn't even sure he could understand what that was like.

Humming quietly, Saru knew he had to come to a decision on what to do. They couldn't just sit up at the clock tower for the remainder of the night. There had to be something that they could do. Perhaps there was something that could help bring up Riku's lowered spirits.

"Come on… I'm hungry, and you don't want to go home yet, so let's go get some food." Saru half nudged, half shoved Riku off of him.

Riku breathed in once more, before he felt he could truly recompose himself. "Okay, let's go out somewhere. It still is your birthday after all and you've only had cake tonight."

"Homra's open at this hour, right?"

"Yeah, it should be anyways. You want to head there then?"

"Sure." Saru answered before hopping over the railing down to the nearest roof below.

"Hey! Saru wait a minute!" Riku shouted as he jumped after his brother. He landed a second later on the roof top right next to Saru.

"What?" Saru asked, slightly annoyed.

"Don't just go jumping ahead, like that," Riku said as he rolled his eyes. "That's all."

Saru just rolled his eyes, hoping his way down from rooftop to rooftop before landing in a back alleyway. Riku sighed to himself before he followed after his brother. The two made their way onto the main street and began walking in the direction of the bar. Almost immediately, Saru felt that they were being watched. Making eye-contact briefly before continuing on, Saru wasn't sure if he wanted them to approach or not.

"Hey," Riku said, seeming to be looking in the same direction as Saru. "Isn't that-"

"Riku! Saruhiko!" the familiar cheerful voice of Sora shouted.

Sora came running up from the otherside of the street with Yata in tow. Sora grinned happily upon seeing the two brothers. "What are you two up to tonight?"

"Um, not that much," Riku answered. "We were just heading out towards Homra's for some food."

"Oh! That sounds fun," Sora replied. "I haven't actually been there before, is it good?"

"Homra? It's that one restaurant that is only open from evening until the early morning, right?" Yata questioned.

"Yeah," Saru deadpanned.

Riku shook his head at his brother's short answer. "We go there often, it's not that bad, but it is rather unique at least."

"I know that much, I have been there a few times. Just not enough to get a solid opinion on it," Yata replied. "Isn't it a common place for supernaturals to eat at though?"

Riku and Saru exchanged quick glances to one another. They knew exactly what the other was thinking after a statement like that.

"You're point?" Saru asked, turning to stare at Yata.

Yata shrugged. "It's just more of a statement. Nothing against supernaturals though."

Sora nodded in agreement. "Yeah, some of our friends are actually supernaturals, including my brother."

Riku and Saru looked at one another briefly again. Zack had told them that Sora's brother, Vanitas, was a werewolf. But that was only Zack telling them. The two had never had actually brought up anything about it to Sora or even Yata. They knew that telling about their own supernatural background was a bit of a risky move.

Riku tried thinking for a moment more before he finally figured out what he could say. "Ah, really?" he made sure to sound as surprised as he could when asking, hoping that it would be convincing enough.

Another nod was given by the brunette. "Yeah, I can tell about it later though. So hey, you think we could all hangout then at Homra's?"

"But didn't we hang out just yesterday?" Riku questioned.

"Yeah, but we meet up now so why not?" Sora replied, placing his hands behind his hand.

He started to grin happily and Riku could felt the warm feeling in his heart again. It filled his heart left him feeling happy enough to smile back in return. It was still hard for him to explain or understand how he felt on it. And though he had wanted to ask Zack, he didn't want to have to do with Zack pesting about how everything else went. But Riku started to think that there had to be more to this feeling that just warmth and happiness.

"I mean I guess we could," Riku said in reply. "If that's okay with you Saru."

"Whatever." Saru just shrugged before turning towards their destination with a faint smile.

Sora pumped a fist into the air. "Then let's get going!"

"Hey wait a minute! I didn't agree to this!' Yata shouted as the group started to move ahead without him.

"But Yata, we've been practicing at the skatepark since lunch. We've gotta get food somewhere," Sora replied.

"Yeah yeah," Yata replied as he started to walk to catch up with the others.

The four of them walked until they arrived at the corner of the street. There they stood in front of a building that had a sign that read Homra Restaurant & Bar. They stepped inside and looked around to see that it wasn't all too crowded at the time. Though they figured that was due to it just opening not too long ago.

"Well look who it is," a male voice said.

A tall, slim looking man walked towards the front of the restaurant, a pleased smile across his face. He had a medium shade of blond hair that was not perfectly even. Parts of it stuck out while others just reached a little past his eyes. He also wore a basic pair of shades that seemed to have a light purple tint to the lenses.

"I didn't expect to see two of my favorite customers tonight," the man continued once he was closer to the group.

"Since when did you have favorites, Kusanagi?" Saru quipped in a sense of greeting.

"Since you two are some of my most frequent customers, second to Zack and Cloud," the man known as Kusanagi replied.

Saru looked ready to say something, but before any words could be heard, Riku immediately placed a hand over Saru's mouth. He sharply glared at his brother, shaking his head a little. Meanwhile Kusanagi broke out into laughter.

"I see nothing has changed between you two. Always trying to keep Saruhiko in check I see."

"I do the best that I can, even if he proves to be difficult most times" Riku replied with a slight chuckle. Quickly Riku pulled his hand away from Saru and rubbed it on his pant leg, he shot a quick glare to Saru but said nothing more.

"And you've brought some friends with you tonight?" Kusanagi asked as he saw that Sora and Yata were standing a bit behind Saru and Riku.

"I wouldn't necessarily call them friends…"

"Hey!" Yata yelled out of natural instinct.

"We met them only a few days ago, but we are still trying to get to know one other," Riku answered. "But this is Sora, and that is Yata."

The two boys waved to Kusanagi.

"Ah I see, well friends of Saruhiko and Riku and friends of mine. Welcome to Homra. Now let's stop standing around and get you four to your table," Kusanagi said as he grabbed some menus and started to walk into the restaurant.

On the way to the table Riku grabbed Saru by the shoulder and pulled him close. "Seriously? Did you have to bite me before?"

"Did you have to stop me from talking?" Saru retorted.

"You don't need to go making snarky comments about Zack and Cloud each time we go to a public place," Riku replied.

Saru just shrugged in response, not caring.

The four were soon seated at a table and Kusanagi placed out the menus. After that he left to go get the water pitcher to fill their glasses.

"So does like every restaurant have a person that knows you guys?" Sora asked.

"No, just happens to be a few at least. Kusanagi knows us the most though. We've come here since we were young," Riku answered.

"And that guy is the owner on top of that," Yata added. "You don't usually see the owner serving tables."

"Kusanagi enjoys getting to spend time within his restaurant and enjoys getting to know his customers. He mainly stays at the bar section though opposed to serving tables. But we are a bit of an exception I guess," Riku explained.

Kusanagi returned a moment later and started to fill the glasses. He looked over to Saruhiko and Riku first. "So will you boys be having your usuals tonight or perhaps something different?"

"Usual," Saru just deadpanned.

"Are you sure, if I recall isn't it your birthday tonight?" Kusanagi asked.

"Zack already did the birthday celebrations today."

"All right then, but don't be surprised if Ignis chooses to make something else extra for the occasion. He probably already knows you two are here," Kusanagi replied. He then looked over at Sora and Yata. "And for your two?"

Sora and Yata looked at the menu for a moment before giving their orders to Kusanagi. Once they were written down he left to go bring them to the kitchen. After that the boys were left in silence for a moment, all of them wondering what they would say to one another.

Sora then decided to be the one who would speak up. He leaned forward on the table slightly, and talked in a quiet voice. "So if this place is a common hangout for supernaturals, does that include the owner? I mean I think it would make sense if he is. Unless he just wants to try and cater to supernaturals and the nightlife?"

"I don't really know if it is my place to tell if someone is a supernatural or not," Riku replied.

"Ooh, okay," Sora replied. "I guess I can understand that."

"So… it's your birthday today?" Yata asked as he looked to Saruhiko.

"What of it?"

"Just asking," Yata huffed. "You know, trying to make conversation?"

"Oh, yeah! Happy Birthday Saruhiko!" Sora chimed in. He then turned to look at Riku. "I guess that's why I didn't hear from you earlier when I texted? You guys must have been busy with birthday stuff."

"Ah yeah, sorry about that. I didn't get a chance to check my phone. I usually forget sometimes in the morning," Riku lied. "But yeah, we were having some birthday celebrations stuff back home."

"If that could even be cauld celebrations…" Saru murmured.

"Hey, Zack tries his hardest," Riku injerected. "Even if he gets a bit childish with things sometimes."

"Zack seems to forget that I don't like my birthday"

"I'm sure that isn't the case. I am sure he just wants to try and make things as best as he can make then," Riku said lowering his voice. He then cleared his throat and spoke up again. "Anyways, let's move on to something else. Is there anything else you guys want to talk about?"

"What about your other brothers? You said that you have two older ones, why aren't they here with you guys?" Sora asked.

"Ah… both Zexion and Zack had some stuff that they needed to take care of. We were hungry and wanted to head out for some food.

"Still can't believe that you have two other brothers," Sora replied. He laughed a little. "That sounds like it can be a lot of fun sometimes but also annoying. I know Vani can be like that sometimes."

"It can sometimes be hectic, mainly when Zack tries to do something with all of us. Usually it isn't too crazy though as we end up just doing our own things," Riku replied.

"So it's just the four of you guys then from what I can figure?" Sora asked.

Riku glanced to Saru once more, looking to him to see if would possibly have anything to say to that.

Saru returned with a lazy glare as if to say 'why are you dragging me into this?'

Riku rolled his eyes slightly before turning back to the other two. "Sorry… I don't really know how to answer that. It's… a bit of a sensitive subject."

"Sorry…" Sora lowered his head. "But um… oh I know what we could talk about! Yata and I could tell you about how our skateboard practice has been going!"

Before any interjections could be made or anything else, Sora started off into a talk about how the day had gone. Then eventually leading into the part about skateboarding. Yata occasionally added in things, but it was mainly Sora doing all of the talking and explaining.

The food was brought shortly after that and the boys drove right into eating. Though Sora still tried to talk as much as he could in between bites of his meal. Riku was surprised how much the boy could talk though, it seemed as if he would never run out of things to talk about. And it was all so far about skateboarding and how long he had been at it and how he discovered he was good at it.

Once their meals were done Kusanagi came back to clear away the dishes. "Everything taste good tonight?"

Everyone gave a nod to his question.

"Great to hear it. Now if that will be all, I'll get the check. Oh, I forgot to ask before, separate checks or one altogether?"

"We could pay for it!" Sora said as quickly as he could.

"Wait a minute, why we?" Yata asked.

"Cause it is Saruhiko's birthday, so why not pay for it as a treat?" Sora replied.

"I did not agree to pay for the monkey's dinner," Yata grumbled.

"You rather I treat you then, Misaki?"

Yata's eyes shot wide open. His cheeks started to red before he formed his shock into an angered glare. "N-No! And I said stop calling me that!"

Saru began twirling his used dinner knife around his fingers. "Make me Mi~Sa~Ki~"

Yata looked as if he was about to say something, but laughter from Kusanagi distracted him from doing so. All four boys look to the man, who seemed thoroughly amusing at the scene that he was seeing.

"How about this then, to prevent Saruhiko from causing any more damage to my restaurant, it is on the house."

"Further damage?" Yata asked.

"Really?" Riku asked. "Are you sure about that?"

"You two are some of my favorite customers, besides, think of it as a birthday treat," Kusanagi replied.

"Even us?" Sora asked.

"Yes, even you two. Friends of Riku and Saruhiko are friends of mine," Kusanagi replied politely. "Now I will let you guys, but enjoy the rest of your evening."

After Kusanagi left their table Yata spoke up. He raised one of his eyebrows and formed a face that was full of curiosity. "So… further damage?"

Without saying a word, Saru pulled out a pair of knives and began channeling thunder magic between them. Small arcs of lightning jumped between the two knives; sounds of crackling and the faint smell of ozone coming from them.

"And this is where I wish I was good at the silence spell," Riku grumbled.

Saru just smirked slyly at Riku, dispelling the thunder magic and stashing his knives away. "Well, you could always learn if you manage to get away with having Zack keep an eye on me."

"Or instead, how about I just bring in dessert," a new voice said, interrupting the conversation. Whomever it was had a very noticeable English accent.

Next to the table was an adult man with dirty blond hair. It seemed to be gelled up in the front, making it stick up to a point. He had a tinted visor over his eyes, though there was a noticeable bit of discoloration in skin around left eye that crawled out from under his visor.

He smiled cheerfully before placing something down in front of Saruhiko. It was one of those fancy sundae dishes filled with strawberry gelato, drizzled with caramel, and topped with odd looking chunks of chocolate.

"Thanks Ignis," Saru muttered out before taking a spoon and beginning to eat his sundae.

"What even is that?" Yata asked.

"It is a bacon sundae," the man known as Ignis answered. "A weird combination for sure, but when done just right can actually taste quite delicious."

"Ice cream and bacon?" Sora questioned. "That really does sound weird, but it seems that Saruhiko likes it at least."

Ignis tilted his head to the side slightly towards Sora. "If it is all right with me asking, there's a familiarity about you. Do you have an older brother by chance?"

"Huh? Yeah! You know my brother Vanitas?" Sora asked.

Ignis nodded. "He's come here a few times before, and I will never forget a scent, though I could tell that yours is a slight bit different."

"Scent? Wait, you mean… oh your a…" Sora cut himself off before he could finish.

Much to his surprise, Ignis laughed. "Yes, that's correct, I am a werewolf. Pureblood though. But ah, I do need to return to the kitchen. You boys have a good evening."

Ignis left after that, leaving the group themselves once more. Though it wasn't long before Sora started to speak up again. "So since we are all here together. We should plan the next time we hang out."

"Where would we even go?" Riku asked.

"Hm, I haven't thought about that part yet, but it should be somewhere fun again," Sora replied. "Do you guys have any suggestions?"

"There are always a lot of things that could be fun, but I'm not sure," Riku said, trying to think of where they could go.

"If we aren't doing an arcade, I mean if you really want me to suggest something, maybe that laser tag place a couple towns over?" Yata suggested.

"Nah, we would need a bigger group for that. Plus I think they are renovating," Sora commented. Suddenly Sora's eyes lit up. "Oh I got it! How about the theme park?"

"Theme park? I mean sure, that could work," Riku replied.

"Fine by me," Yata added.

Now all three boys turned to look at Saru, who was still slowly eating his ice cream.

Saru just shrugged, finishing his bite of sundae. "Why are you asking me? I'll probably just coerced along regardless."

Sora laughed. "I guess that settles it then. We will go to the theme park for our next hangout!"

Chapter Text

After the location of the next hangout had been set, all they needed was a day. It didn't take too long between the three, seeing as Saru still didn't contribute to the conversation too much. They agreed to meet at the theme park in three days and would meet up a bit before noon again.

When that was all said and done, Riku had spoken up, saying that they should be getting back home. Sora said goodbye to everyone first, prompting the rest to follow after. Now on the pathway home, Riku and Saru walked quietly at first. But eventually Riku let out a sigh and decided to speak what was on his mind.

"What do you think of them?"

"An interesting nuance to today."

"No, I mean like… what do you actually think of them or just one of them. I don't know… I just don't know what to think. I'm trying to understand, but I feel at a loss," Riku replied.

"I find Sora to be too talkative and energetic most of the time."

"I don't mind. I like his energy and bright outlook. He always seems to find the bright side of things," Riku said as he began to smile warmly.

"It was obvious that you enjoy his company."

Riku suddenly turned and looked ar Saru. "I-Is it that obvious? I mean… yeah have enjoyed talking to him. I… I don't think I felt this way… not since I was around Kairi."

"And you really think that whatever the heck you are feeling now, is the same as what you think you felt as a child?"

Riku started to rub his arm slightly, his emotions starting to waver. "Maybe… I did really care for her… and I never really have stopped thinking about her. The feeling, it just feels the same."

"You mean love? You really think that was love?"

"Yeah… that's how I feel. What of it?"

"You were too young to understand what love was."

Riku had come to a stop now, warranting Saru to stop and look around while his brother replied. "At first maybe, but I grew to have that feeling. You know I visit her from time to time at the sanctuary… after so many years of that, I kept thinking about her. So many times… I wished for her to still be around because of this feeling."

"So you're saying you're bi," Saru replied with the most dead serious tone he could have.

Riku looked at him, wide eyed and shocked. Though it should have been expected, he was completely caught off guard by what Saru had said. Yet he didn't retort or argue against him on the subject. He only stared and thought about it.

He sighed heavily and lowered his head, staring down at the ground. The feelings that were turning around inside of him had been trying to hide away as long as they could. He didn't think they were anything at first, just a strange fluke. The more he thought about it, the more he felt on it. "Could it really be that? I mean, I really do think I feel something. I just don't know how to confront it."

"Go ask Zack when we get home, see if he's useful for anything other than Cloud. If not, Zexion could probably find stuff on it for you."

"I guess…" Riku sighed again. "Hopefully I can figure out something. What about you though?"

"What about me?" Saru asked, almost seeming oblivious to the question.

"Do you think you have any feelings towards Yata? You do seem to enjoy annoying him," Riku commented.

"Besides enjoyment from his torment, not necessarily."

"Ah… all right. Let's just get home," Riku said before moving.

Saru nodded as he followed along. There was a small lingering feeling inside of him saying that he should have said more, but he wasn't exactly sure what it was. How was he supposed to handle a situation like this? It was still too far out for him to really grasp and know how to take care of.


When Sora got home, he checked around the house right away, seeing if Vanitas was currently with Namine. When he got to the kitchen he saw that Vanitas was by himself and enjoying a piece of cake. He smiled once he saw Sora enter the room.

"Hey Sora, how did practice go today?"

"Better, Yata and I still have to get a little more coordinated, but I think we are closer than we were last week," Sora answered as he took his seat across from Vanitas.

"Good to hear it, can't wait until forty years from now I hear about you two getting some reward, for finally getting your acts together."

"Hey!" Sora pouted as his brother, though the moment didn't last long. A moment later he started to laugh. "I hope it wouldn't take us that long."

"We just need to see then," Vanitas teased.

Sora laughed, though he started to quiet down when his thoughts wandered. There had been something weighing on his mind for some time now and he was feeling ready to talk about it. "Um, Vani? Can I ask you something?"

"Sure," Vanitas stood up from his seat and moved over so he was sitting directly next to Sora. "Go ahead."

"Well… it's about Riku."

"Again?" Vanitas said, chuckling slightly. "Still freaking out how you straight up called him handsome yesterday, and then freaked out over it?"

Sora exhaled sharply while his cheeks grew warm. It was just an initial reaction from thinking back on it. The memories were still vividly flowing through his mind. He didn't really mind it though, he liked to look back on them for it truly was a great day. Even if he had embarrassed himself he still enjoyed every moment.

He waited a bit to see if Vanitas had anything more to say, but it seemed that he was going to now be quiet and cooperative. "I ran into him again today. He was with his brother Saruhiko again and turns out it was Saruhiko's birthday. Yata and I ended up joining them for dinner at Homra's."

"You went to Homra's? I didn't think you would end up going there."

"Why not? Just cause I knew about it, but never went before, doesn't mean I can't ever go. You've been there before."

"Yeah I know, but… wait, how did you know I've gone before?" Vanitas asked.

"The cook guy, Ignis, he said that he found my scent similar to yours," Sora answered.

"Ah, should have figured. But why did they choose Homra's of all places?"

"Apparently they know the owner and have gone there a lot. But it was a lot of fun, and we already set up another day to hangout!"

"Wait, didn't you say that Riku was new here or something?"

"Well, that was what I thought at first, 'cause I never really have seen him before. Now I am thinking maybe he was just homeschooled along with his brothers."

"Homeschooled, living with three other brothers?" Vanitas asked, raising an eyebrow.

"I live with you, don't I? So why should it matter for him just cause he has more brothers?" Sora replied back.

"Okay fine, you have your point. Anyways, were you going anywhere with this?"

"Oh yeah! So we had dinner with the two of them then made a plan to hangout again, but… I want to maybe… um… tell Riku how I feel."

"Still majorly crushing on him, I see," Vantias said before chuckling. "And it is still adorable."

"Vani!" Sora pouted at his brother's teasing.

"So what's the deal though with wanting to tell him?"

"Well… I don't know how to. That's why I wanted to ask you. Like when you figured out you liked Namine, how did you tell her? And how did it go? Did she tell you she had the same feelings?"

"Whoa slow does there Sora," Vanitas said, trying not to laugh at his brother's sudden energy. "One question at a time. You really are serious about your feelings for this Riku guy? You barely know him."

"I know… but I want to get to know him, and I just can't stop thinking about him. He is soooo mysterious, and so handsome. I just ahh!" Sora exhaled loudly as he flopped back in his chair. "I want to be able to tell him how I feel without freaking out too much…"

"But Sora, do you even know how he feels? I mean, you know… what his preferences are."

"I think he might like guys, I already know his brother does at least. Riku did get embarrassed when I called him handsome, so I have hope!"

"You always are full of such optimistic energy, but for how to approach him, you just need to be straightforward about it. You need to be able to tell him how you feel. Just be honest with your feelings. Just don't over do it."

Sora listened carefully to what Vanitas had to say, nodding long with each word. When he was done, Sora thought quietly to himself over the matter. He just had to be honest and tell Riku the truth about his feelings.

"Is… is it hard to do? To tell someone how you feel about them?" Sora asked next.

"I mean sort of? It can be a bit nerve wracking, but I think that is just a natural thing when confessing your feelings. Getting it out there is probably the hardest part, but everything will feel a bit easier once you do it. When I told Namine, my heart was beating faster than I ever thought. I seriously thought that there was enough stress and adrenaline pumping through me to cause me to transform. Thankfully I didn't, but it felt pretty close."

Sora nodded at the words from his brother, chuckling slightly at the end. He knew it sounded right at least. Even with knowing that, there was still one lingering thought in his mind. One thought that was the most worrying. "What if he rejects me? What if he doesn't feel the same way about me?"

"If that is the case, then he doesn't deserve you and you will find someone better," Vanitas said as he pulled Sora into a hug. "Besides, any guy who hurts my little brother's feelings will have to deal with me as the consequence."

"Thanks Vani," Sora said while leaning into the hug. "You always know just what to say."

"Of course I do, I am the older brother. That is kind of in the job of 'big brother' you know. But now I want to hear more about this evening dinner you had, just how exactly did it go?"

Sora smiled, ready to explain the event to him. These past few days since meeting Riku had really been something for him, and he cherished every moment he had been getting. Now that he knew there would be more in the future he felt more excited than even. Though he still was nervous on when and where he would tell Riku his feelings, but he could only hope for the best!


The following morning came and Yata woke up like he usually did, but today was different than most days. Different at least to an outside viewer, to him it was just a regular thing he would do every couple of weeks.

After getting some food he got dressed and headed out the door. He headed through the neighborhood, quietly thinking to himself as he walked. He didn't let his thoughts wander astray, at least not at first. He was trying to keep his mind focused on the goal for today, which was to get ready to practice his magic, but then things took a detour.

With thinking about magic, a thought came to mind which was him thinking about if his magic were to improve, would he be able to take on Saruhiko again. Yata shook his head, grumbling to himself. "Get out of my head you stupid monkey."

The thought stayed for the moment, as if to taunt him. Yata swore he could even heard the voice of Saruhiko taunting him and saying, 'You really think your pathetic attempts to learn magic will really mean anything? Eh, Misaki?'

Yata sighed and shook his head once more. "Get him out of your head already," he told himself. "Just stop thinking about him. Why does this have to be so freaking hard to do?"

Breathing out a sharp breath, Yata continued his walking pace, continuously trying to shut out any thoughts he had about Saruhiko. Much to his surprise, and to his liking, there were far more than he expected.

By the time Yata got to his destination, he still was trying to clear out all the thoughts that he could. In the end though, it had proved to not work and Saruhiko still stayed in his mind, taunting him every which way.

He sighed deeply, continuously trying to clear his mind. He could only hope that once he got started with things, he would finally be able to get back on track. He knocked on the door a second later, and waited a moment.

It wasn't long before the door was opened.

"Good morning, Misaki," Anna greeted, opening the door fully and stepping aside to let Yata in.

"Hey Anna, how are you doing this morning?" Yata asked as he stepped in.

"I've been well. How has your week been?"

Yata rubbed the back of his neck as he thought about it. Instinctively he was going to say it was normal and find, but then Saruhiko flashed up in his mind again. "It's been… I guess rather unique. At least these past two days have been."

"Misaki enjoyed the past couple of days then," Anna stated, closing the door after Yata before turning to lead him further into the house.

"Huh? What makes you say that?" Yata asked as he followed behind her.

"Misaki's face is a pretty red."

Yata nearly stopped dead in his tracks. "Ah! What?!" Yata placed a hand to his cheeks and they did in fact feel warmer than usual. "Why the hell am I red about this!? That goddammned monkey and his stupid grin can't really be causing this!"

Anna blankly stared at Yata, as if confused by what he said.

It only took Yata a few seconds to realize his choice in words, but he could already hear footsteps coming from the kitchen. Within seconds Mikoto was looming over Yata, glaring down at him with a piercing gaze. Yata shark back a little, swallowing hard while he was trying to think of something he could say.

"Ah ha… hey Mikoto," Yata finally managed to say, trying to keep his voice sturdy despite feeling nervous in the presence of Mikoto's 'death stare'.

Mikoto grumbled before crossing his arms, still showing his heavy disapproval. "You're going to have to try better than that."

"I'm sorry, okay? I didn't think about the words I was saying, and I forgot that I was talking to Anna. Honest!" Yata replied quickly.

Mikoto gave another grumble and did not move from his spot. He kept his glare sharp and narrowed at Yata.

Anna walked up to Mikoto and tugged gently on his pant leg, looking up at him with almost a pleading look on her eyes. Mikoto looked down to her and slowly a small smile appeared on his face. He placed a hand on her head and patted it gently.

He then turned back to look at Yata. "You're lucky she can be persuasive with just her stares alone."

Yata was about to speak up, but someone else spoke first. "And I wonder who she could have possibly picked that up from."

Yata turned to see someone standing in the doorway to the kitchen. Like Mikoto he had bright red hair that was rather messy and unkempt, though he also had a long ponytail in back. Unlike Mikoto, who had a shade of amber color for his eyes, this redhead's eyes were a deep shade of blue.

"Oh hey Reno, I didn't know that you were here," Yata said, hoping that he could get away from any anger that Mikoto may still have had.

"I had come by to visit for a bit, I had forgotten that today was the day you train with Mikoto," Reno replied. "I can head out if you guys need me too."

Anna walked over to Reno and gently grabbed his wrist. "Please stay."

Reno smiled. "Aw all right, can't say no to my favorite little niece."

"Your only niece," Mikoto corrected.

"Yeah I know, but she still is my favorite," Reno replied back.

"So, can we get to what I came here for?" Yata asked, thankful he got to avoid the wrath of Mikoto.

"Yeah, we can start," Mikoto replied as he turned around to head to the back of the house.

Everyone followed him going downstairs to where the training room was. Reno and Anna went off to the side while Yata and Mikoto actually entered the room. Their training began like usual, with Yata showing off the best he could with his fire magic. After that Mikoto started to explain different ways to summon the fire for attacks.

Yata tried his best to follow along with Mikoto and his movements, but ever so often he slipped up and they would have to start it over.

Eventually Mikoto dismissed his magic and sighed. "Looks like you've been slacking lately."

"I'm not slacking!"

"Then you're not focused today," Mikoto replied. "And if you are not focused, we don't train."

Before Yata could even give an excuse Mikoto stepped out of the training room. Yata quickly stumbled out the door after him. "Hey! Wait we can't just stop, we always train today."

Mikoto grumbled deeply while placing his hands into his pockets. "And if I say we are done, then we are done."

Yata looked over to Reno and Anna who were still sitting off to the side, as if they would have the answers, but Reno only laughed at the sight. "Sorry man, I'd like to help, but you know Mikoto. Once he makes up his mind, that's the way it is going to stay. I'd help you train, but you know, me being the one human brother makes things harder."

"It doesn't mean you can't learn magic," Yata replied as he finally stepped out of the room.

"Yeah, but it isn't natural to me, which means more effort to learn it," Reno said as he leaned back and sighed.

"I believe Uncle Reno would have such a pretty red if he learned," Anna said as she rested against Reno.

Reno smiled and placed a hand on her head, rubbing it gently. "You know, maybe I will one day, just for you Anna."

Yata watched the two for a moment before he saw Mikoto walk upstairs without another word. Sighing, Yata flopped down to the floor, leaning his back against the training room wall. "What am I going to do now?"

"Well you could figure out how to not be so distracted next time," Reno suggested. "Speaking of which, why were you so out of it today?"

"None of your business," Yata grumbled, resting his arms on his knees.

"Is it why Misaki's face was a lovely red earlier?" Anna innocently asked.

Reno let out a laugh. "Oh oh! Is that so? Now I can understand why your head was in the clouds during training."

"I said it is none of your business," Yata repeated. He felt like he could get up and leave, there wasn't any other reason for him to be there anyways. Yet for some reason he didn't, he instead stayed put where he was sitting and waiting for Reno's response.

"Come now Yata, we're all your friends here. Surely you can tell us how your life has been going and if you've met anyone new or interesting. That's what it is right? You met someone and now you're crushing on them."

"I'd rather tell anyone but you!" Yata retorted. "You are the worst gossiper."

Reno shook his head and smiled. "I think you mean the best gossiper."

"Uncle Reno likes to talk too much," Anna said softly, giving her input.

"Aw Anna, you know that's just who I am. I'm just a curious guy that needs to be in the know," Reno replied before looking at Yata again. "So come on, you can tell us. So who are you crushing on?"

Finally feeling annoyed by Reno's noisy nature, Yata stood up. "I'm leaving. I don't need to put up with this…"

"Misaki, please stay." Anna requested, a pleading look in her eyes.

Yata stared at her, looking into her pleasing glaze. She just stared at him, so innocent and sweet, it was hard to try and refuse her request. Eventually he sighed, lowering his head. "Fine…"

"So can you tell us then? Who's the special girl?" Reno asked, grinning widely.

Yata grumbled and crossed his arms. "Still not telling you."

"It's just one little thing, having a secret crush is fine, but someone at least has to know," Reno replied.

"I… I just… no! I don't want to," Yata grumbled again.

"I don't understand why you are so resistant to this. You shy or something?" Reno asked in a taunting tone.

Yata actually could feel his cheeks growing warm this time. "I'm not shy!"

"It's just one little thing telling us who you like. I promise I won't tell anyone else, honest," Reno said holding up a hand.

Yata gritted his teeth, growing more frustrated. "I'm not interested in any girl!"

"Yeah right," Reno said whole rolling his eyes. "It has to be a girl that's distracting you."

"Misaki's telling the truth," Anna said promptly, giving her input.

Reno raised an eyebrow. "Oh really now?"

"Yeah! You see? I'm not distracted by any girl," Yata replied hastily.

"It's a boy."

Both Yata and Reno turned to Anna, who continued to stand there calmly and innocently. The heat in Yata's cheeks increased further as he tried to find an answer. "A-Anna… you didn't have to say that part."

"But it made Misaki such a pretty red again."

"Ah…" Yata trailed off, unable to find any words.

Reno on the other hand, let out a joyful laugh. "Oh I see. Now it all makes sense."

"And what does that mean?" Yata asked.

"Nothing bad, but now that I look at it, it figures you are interested in guys," Reno answered. "But how come you've never told any of us before?"

Yata lowered his head, letting out a long sigh. He knew with Anna being there, he couldn't lie his way out of it. "Cause I never wanted anyone to know…"

"But you won't be happy if no one knows, Misaki." Anna had walked over to Yata and hugged him.

Yata looked a little surprised at the gesture, but he relaxed and hugged her in return. "Thank you Anna…" After all of this time he never felt more relaxed than he did right at that moment. Maybe it was a good thing to finally get it off his chest. His friends were kind and understanding, any fear he had about them negatively reacting was just his fears playing too strong. Though now it was out in the open between Anna and Reno, and no doubt Reno would want to learn who it was. Yata sighed slowing, knowing he would have to try his hardest to get out of that upcoming situation.

Chapter Text

Three days passed sooner than expected for everyone, but at the same time each day itself felt like it dragged on for hours. Either way the days went by and now it was the day of the next hangout. With the meeting being set before noon outside of the theme park, Riku and Saruhiko had to make sure that they got up as early as they could to prepare. That still left them feeling tired and overly groggy in the morning, but there wasn’t much else they could do about it. 

As much as they would have rather slept in or wished the meeting was a later time, they couldn’t do a thing about it. Sora and Yata were human after all. With humans being… well human, the vampire brothers had to play by how they lived. At least when it came to the time when to be awake opposed to other things. 

No matter what, even though they felt tired or something else, there was a bit of something in the air. Something they couldn’t quite explain. Maybe it was excitement how the day could go, or just a little bit of nervousness. Maybe it was even both of them together. The two brothers weren’t really ones to pick up on this sort of thing though, so they choose to try and ignore it, not even knowing that both of them were having the same thoughts and feelings.

But they were here now at the park. They paid at the front of the park for the tickets and headed on inside. Now all that was left was to find Yata and Sora and start off the day hanging out. Riku searched the front area for a short bit until he spotted the fairly spiky brown hair. 

“Hey!” Riku called out as he approached. 

Sora turned around and smiled and waved over at Riku. “Riku! You made it! And Saru too, though…"

Yata came up from behind Sora, staring long and hard. "How the hell did you get through security with him sleeping on your back?!"

Riku looked to his shoulder to look at his younger brother’s sleeping face. He stared for a moment, not for any real reason other than just to give a moment of suspense. He then turned back and shrugged. “I couldn’t get him to really wake up. Nearly fell asleep while eating. But I guess now that we are here…”

Riku walked over to a nearby bench and placed Saru down. Though sitting up right, he slouched forward, his face still calm and tranquil. 

Not wanting to wait much longer Riku gave a slight shove on Saru’s shoulder. “Hey, wake up already.” 

Saru’s response was to mumble something incoherent, lazily swat at Riku, and then flop over sideways so that he was lying down on the bench. Even though that was the response the Riku expected at this point, he still let out an exasperated sigh. No matter what it seemed that Saru would always be difficult to wake up and that would probably never change. 

Once again Riku shook him. “We’re at the park already, you can’t keep sleeping now.”

Saru half asleep went through the motion of throwing a knife at Riku before rolling over so that his back was to the group.

“Honestly…” Riku muttered under his breath. 

A moment later he grabbed Saru by the shoulder and turned him back to facing them. Riku always wanted to take the lighter approach first, but usually that work hardly work. As much as he didn’t want to cause a scene or anything else, he had to at least wake Saru one way or another. So with not waiting a second more he grabbed both shoulders and yanked Saru to his feet.

Grumbling out complaints, Saru blearly blinked his eyes open before swatting at Riku’s hands.

“Good, you’re awake,” Riku commented before shoved his hands into his jacket pockets. He then turned around to face Sora and Yata. “So I guess we are ready then.”

“All right!” Sora said. “So where are we going to go first? Anyone got any preferences.”

Yata was the first to respond. “Don’t really care either way just as long as we can get started before the lines get to be too long.” 

“How about we start simple then? We could go on the chocobo carousel that’s right at the front of the park,” Sora suggested as he pointed to the nearby carousel.

“Sure, that’s okay with me,” Riku said with a nod. 

“I guess so,” Yata added. 

“Then let’s get in line!” Sora cheered as he began to walk towards the ride. 

Riku followed behind him and Yata started to walk but he stopped a few steps later. He turned around to see Saru still standing there. “Hey, are you going to come or what?”  

Mumbling a bit, Saru grudgingly began to follow behind the group.

“Guess you don’t have much to say today,” Yata muttered as he walked next to him as they went to catch up to the other two boys. 

“It’s too early Misaki.” Saru murmured out.

“It’s twelve o’clock noon, how is that early?” 

"I'm nocturnal."

Yata raised an eyebrow. “Really? Like a night owl… or more like a vampire?” 

"Yes, really."

“Ah… that didn’t really answer my question,” Yata replied. 

The two of them finally made it into line, walking up right behind Sora and Riku. As they approached, it seems that Sora was already into telling Riku some story of some kind. But the two of them seemed too engrossed to notice that the others had arrived in line. From what they walked into though, it was some conversation about Disney and the latest movie that would be coming out soon. 

Seeing that they weren’t really going to be apart of the conversation, Yata glanced over to Saru. “So…” he rubbed the back of his neck, breathing out slowly. “Um… Since they are talking and stuff… what are your interests? I mean like, I guess based off what they are talking about, any movies you like?” 

Saru just shrugged. "Don't really watch movies."

"Well when you do, like… what genres do you watch?"

"A good mystery I guess, or those investigation solving series."

Yata blinked, feeling a bit surprised. "Huh. Didn't take you for a mystery person."

"I didn't take you for the type who would try to get to know a person beyond first impressions."

Yata's eyes widened at Saruhiko's comment. "Huh? Well… I um…"

"Guys!" Sora interrupted. "It's time to get on the ride!"

Without finishing his thoughts, Yata walked to catch up in the line and stepped on to the carousel. Saru followed closely behind, brushing past Yata to take a seat on a stationary bench. Yata watched as Saru just sat there and did nothing more. He thought about asking him for questioning him, but he shook off the thoughts. He had the feeling he wouldn’t get a proper answer anyways. 

Just in front of the stationary bench, Sora and Riku had already chosen their chocobos. Ironically or perhaps Sora had chosen a brown colored one and Riku was right next to him on a silvery white colored one. Though Yata really didn’t care so much for color he just decided to go with the closest one to where he stood, which was a black chocobo.

The ride began seconds later, and it was what everyone expected the ride to be, just a normal carousel ride that went in circles several times. Out of everyone Sora seemed to enjoy the ride the most, smiling gleefully through the entire ride.  

Once the ride came to a complete stop, the four of them exited off the ride and walked further into the park. Sora smiled and he turned to face the group. “Well that was fun!”

“I mean if you call just going in a circle fun, then yeah sure,” Yata replied dryly. 

“I like to imagine I really am riding a chocobo though!” Sora replied. “One day I wanna get out there and ride one for real.”

“You’ve never ridden one before?” Riku asked. 

“Nope. Petting some baby chocobs before, but never was able to ride one. So I still hope one day I can get to do it.” 

“Well it would be more fun to ride an actual one, much faster anyways,” Yata added. 

"That's if you get a cooperative chocobo. A feisty one would just buck you off immediately. Or just decide that you're one of their chicks and try to keep you in the nest," Saru butted in, although muttering the last part as if embarrassed slightly.

“Wait what?” Yata asked, sounding more surprised than he had beforehand. “What was that last part?” 

"If you didn't hear it, I'm not going to repeat it."

Riku chuckled slightly, bring the attention over to him. “Oh come on Saru, it’s a funny story. Why not tell it?” 

"Because I don't find it all that funny when not bantering with Zack."

“But I wanna know about this story now!” Sora interjected. “What exactly happened with the chocobo?” 

Saru didn't answer, just turned and started walking off. Riku let out a sigh, shaking his head slightly. “I doubt you are going to get him to explain what happened.” A smirk appeared on his face a second later. “But I can tell you guys later. Let’s catch up with him and see where he is going.”

They caught up with Saruhiko rather quick. He was only walking a slow pace so it wasn’t much of a challenge to get to him. “So who is going to pick the next ride?” Sora asked as the four of them walked together. 

“I still don’t really care too much how we do things,” Yata stated. 

“Hmmm, do you wanna pick, Riku?” Sora asked as he looked to him. 

“Ah, I guess?” Riku said before he stopped walking. He looked around the section of the park they were in, there were mostly food places, but there was one coaster right by them. Thankfully the line didn’t look too long from what he could see. “How about this one?”

“Isn’t that one a bit of a kiddie coaster though?” Yata asked while glancing over to it.

"It's not a kiddie coaster, Misaki. It’s a classic family coaster that has been around for almost half a century. There aren’t coasters manufactured like these anymore, so it makes it all the more historic.” 

“And how the hell do you know that?” Yata asked. 

Saru answered by pointing to the historical coaster landmark plaque by the line entrance.

“Oh…” Yata mumbled. 

“Well I think it looks fun, so let’s get on it!” Sora said before marching over to the line. 

“The line looks a bit longer than the carousel, but hopefully it shouldn’t be too long,” Riku commented once the four of them stood in line. 

“We can always play a game on our phones while we wait. Something that all four of us could do,” Sora suggested. 

“I guess, if you want to,” Riku replied. 

“What would we even play?” Yata asked. 

“Hmm…” Sora hummed, rubbing his hand over his chin. “Game of Life or HeadsUp?” 

"Not interested." Saru unhelpfully answered.

“Aw come on, don’t start being a party pooper again Saruhiko,” Sora replied as he pulled out his phone. How about we just play a Game of Life as we wait? That could be fun at least. Here I will get it started up.”

Yata rolled his eyes. “Well seeing as you will keep asking no matter what, guess we gotta play.”

Sora smiled. “Great! I will get it setup then!” 

"I'll pass." Saru commented when Sora went around them asking color and piece preferences. Instead, Saruhiko chose to pull out his own phone, opening up a different game to distract himself with.

Sora pouted a little and looked like he was going to say something else, but Riku spoke up first. “Just let him play his game. Maybe later on we can convince him.”

Sora nodded and then proceeded to start up the game for just Riku, Yata, and himself. When they had gotten about halfway through the game they were almost at the loading area for the rollercoaster. Sora paused his game and put the phone back into his pocket. 

Right away each boy walked into their own line for the coaster train car. Now all they had to do was wait a few more turns before it was time for them to get on. When it did come, there were two seats that had covers over them. The seats that had the covers over them were in front of Riku and then the other was in front of Yata.

“I’m sorry but these seats are out. You will either have to wait for the next train or pair up,” the ride attended explained. 

The four boys glanced to the other train cars that people were filling up into. Some were just a single rider in the seat, but some had two people with the smaller person sitting in front of the other. What was most surprising was due to the fact how the train cars were designed, the smaller person in the seat had to sit between the other person’s legs. 

“I think I will just wait for the next train…” Yata grumbled. 

“No, come on Yata. We all gotta ride this at the same time.” Sora smiled suddenly and looked to Riku. “Riku you can ride with me, okay?” 

“Huh?” Riku said, trying to process what Sora had said to him.

The ride attended spoke up again. “Please make your choice soon so we can get to sending this train out and get the next loaded.” 

Sora reached out and pulled on Riku’s hand, continuously smiling. “Let’s just do it then.” 

Without much of a choice Riku was pulled into the seat and sat down first with Sora following after him. Saru looked curiously at his brother before climbing into his own seat that he was in line for and sitting down.

Yata on the other hand still stood there, crossing his arms. “I’m not sitting with you.”

"If you're too shy to get up in my personal space again, then you can go wait for us by the exit, Misaki."

Yata sneered at him and then glanced to Riku and Sora who were already buckled up in the seat. Everyone was looking at him and waiting. He sighed heavily before going to take his seat in the same car as Saruhiko.

"Fine… whatever…" Yata huffed before reaching for the seatbelt and placed it around the two of them. 

It didn't take long before the attendants went down the train, checking the seatbelts and clearing the train to leave the station. As the train began it's climb up the circular lift hill, Saru wrapped his arms around Yata, and leaned forward to whisper into his ear.

"Are you comfortable Mi~Sa~Ki~?" Saru asked in almost a teasing manor.

Yata froze up, completely caught by surprise. “A-Ah…W-What?” His breathing started to increase while he tried to wrap his head around what Saruhiko was doing. Within seconds he could feel his cheeks growing warm and he internally cursed at himself for letting it happen. “What the hell? What do you think you are doing?” 

"Isn't this what people do when sharing a seat on this ride?" Saru half asked, faking an innocent tone.

“Y-Yeah… sure but… that’s… it’s usually when…” Yata stumbled over his words, unable to get a clear enough mind to think straight. His heart rate only increased further at this rate and with Saruhiko showing no sign of letting go, he knew he wouldn’t be able to calm himself any time soon. 

Yata waited for Saruhiko to reply, but before anything else could happen, the train made it to the top of the lift hill. Now that it was no longer being pulled up, it started to make its descent down the track. While the speed was not extremely fast, it was enough to push Yata back, having him laying back against Saruhiko’s chest. 

Yata felt Saruhiko’s arms wrap tighter around him. With laying back against his chest, he could feel and hear faint chuckling coming from him. Though Yata knew that the ride wasn’t extremely long, he felt like it was going to go on forever with him stuck right where he didn’t want to be… yet at the same time did. 

Chapter Text

Thankfully the ride was not very long, or at least it didn't feel like that. But once it was over and the train pulled into the loading dock, Yata fumbled with the seat buckle, trying to get it to unlock.

"Do you need help with that, Misaki?" Saru asked, with his arms still wrapped around Yata.

"Yeah I could! Starting by you letting go of me!" Yata huffed as he still trying to unlock the seat belt, while also struggling slightly with Saruhiko still holding on to him.

"Don't go making a scene, Misaki." Saru commented, tentatively unwrapping his arms from around Yata. It didn't take long for Saruhiko to undo the buckle, freeing them both from the safety restraints.

Yata jumped out of the seat and scooted quickly over to the exit. He stood by the staircase leading back down to the ground level, but he waited there. He caught his breath while running a hand over his face. He then glanced back to see Sora and Riku getting out of their seat perfectly fine, with no complications between the two at all.

Sora and Riku walked over to Yata and walked a few seconds until Saruhiko was over next to them. Sora smiled again. "Okay! Let's figure out where to go next!"

The four of them headed down the stairs and began walking further into the park. Along the way Sora kept walking closer to Riku. He thought about what Vanitas had talked about with him and he wanted to try and act it today if he could. There was only so long he could wait on it before it would drive him insane.

He knew if he wanted to tell Riku how he would feel, he would have to do it the best way he could. But he was still not the best on directly stating what he was feeling inside. The only way he thought he could go about it is if he made it seem like he could segue into a conversation about it. Though even then he wasn't sure how to go about that.

"Aw… I should have asked Vanitas to be more specific…" Sora thought to himself.

Suddenly without even realizing it, he had moved to closer to Riku and ended up bumping into him. Riku stopped and looked Sora with a confused glance. "Huh? Sora you okay?"

"Ah! O-Oh yeah!" Sora stammered as he backed up. "Just got a little lost in my thoughts and I wasn't sure where I was walking. Sorry about that!"

Riku nodded. "All right then."

He then continued walking to catch up to Yata and Saruhiko who were only a few feet ahead of them now. Sora breathed out and caught back up to Riku. "Yeah… just thinking… about things… and stuff…"

Riku glanced at him again. "Oh? Anything important?"

Sora chuckled softly, staring down at the ground. "Yeah… you could say that. Trying to get my thoughts straight on something."

"Do you think it's something you would need to talk about?" Riku asked. "If you need, you could tell me."

Sora felt his heart racing. It pounded against his chest harder with each passing second. He was sure that Riku or anyone nearby would be able to hear it sooner or later. He just wanted to be able to tell Riku how he felt… why did it have to be so hard?! It was just one little thing he wanted to tell Riku.

Riku… the mysterious handsome boy that he only recently met. Sure Sora knew he could have been going to fast with his thoughts, but he couldn't deny the feeling he had in his chest every time he looked at Riku. The fluttering in his stomach and the swelling up of words in throat. He had never felt those feelings this strongly before. He wanted to know more about them and see what else there was, but he knew he couldn't do that unless he made the next step.

"Sora," Riku's voice said, pulling him from his thoughts.

He looked to see that they had stopped walking again. Even Yata and Saruhiko had stopped and turned around to look. Riku now had his hand on Sora's shoulder and was looking at him with a concerned look. "Are you sure you are okay?"

"I'm fine. I just… I mean…" Sora breathed out, trying to look Riku in the eyes. He wanted to look him in the eyes and tell him. He wanted to tell him right there how he felt, but the longer he stared, the longer he got lost in the beautiful color of Riku' eyes.

"Such a pretty teal…"

"What?"

Sora froze up. Had he really just said that aloud? Right to Riku's face? Had he again complimented Riku without thinking, just like before? This was not helping him on wanting to tell Riku… it only made him more nervous than before. Quickly looking around, Sora saw something that he could use to get away from his heart trying to burst from his chest.

"Look! The Midgardsormr is running backwards this weekend only!" Sora ran over to point to a sign that indicated that the snake themed roller coaster was in fact running the cars backwards on the track for a limited time.

"Huh, never rode this one backwards before," Yata commented as he looked. "At least this one has normal seating…"

"Aw, did Misaki not enjoy sitting with me?" Saru asked, with a slight undertone of being upset.

Yata glared at him, looking as if he was going to say something back, But he only started, keeping his glare fixated on Saruhiko. He sighed once he realized he was never going to actually say anything. "Let's just get in line."

"Yeah! Let's do that!" Sora said quickly before heading towards the queue for the line.

Yata followed after him quickly, leaving Riku and Saru to catch up this time. As the two brothers walked, Riku hummed softly. "That's the third time Sora just made an odd compliment about me and then tried to divert from it…"

"Aand…?" Saru questioned, as if implying for Riku to continue on the topic.

"I just don't know," Riku whispered.

"Don't know what to make of it or don't know how you feel about it?"

"I still haven't tried talking to Zack yet on the subject, so I really don't know what to do."

"Well, you can either call Zack up while we're here, or just wing it."

Riku sighed. It wasn't that he was off put or bothered by the comment Sora had made. It was nothing like that at all. In fact it was the complete opposite. Just like all the other times Sora had done so, Riku felt a small fluttering in his chest and stomach. But even with the words spoken to him, he could never find words to say back. "I wouldn't even know how to wing it… maybe I'll figure out something later."

"Figuring out something as you go is winging it." Saru commented

Riku made another sigh. They were just a few feet away to where Yata and Sora stood in line now. "Just forget it."

"Whatever you say lover boy."

Riku nearly tripped just as they got up to the other two. "What the heck!? Do you even know the context of that word?"

Saru smirked slightly. "Maybe I do, maybe I'm using it by it's slang definition."

"What did he say?" Sora asked.

"Nothing," Riku grumbled out before Saru could try and embarrass him by it. "Let's just resume the game you had going on your phone."

"Okay!" Sora said as he pulled his phone back out to start it back up. Saru of course went back to his own phone game and paid no attention to the others.

The line was a bit longer than the last ride, but the boys weren't focused on that. They played through the rest of the game and by the time they got up to the front area of the loading docks, they had finished, with Yata coming in first followed by Riku and Sora. They weren't truly up to the front of the line though, from where they stood they had to pick the line they wanted to into for their seating in the train.

"All right!" Yata cheered. "I won this round. But now…" he turned to look at the loading dock. "Are we sitting up towards the front like the last coaster or somewhere else this time?"

Saru's answer was to grab Yata by the wrist and drag him towards the rows at the 'back' of the train.

"Hey! Wait a minute! What do you think you're doing?"

"Picking a row, while also trying to embarrass my older brother."

"Huh? How are you going to embarrass him?" Yata asked once they made it to the last row of the loading dock. Though because the train was running backwards, it technically meant by the trains' standards that they were in the front row.

"Recently he's been flustered when around Sora."

"Oh? Well I can say the same for Sora then," Yata chuckled as he watched Sora and Riku walk up to the front area of the line. "I never realized how jittery Sora could get. I'll have to tease him more later for that."

Throughout all this conversation, Saru had never let go of Yata, only shifted his grip so that they were now holding hands. Yata stiffened up slightly, turning his head to stare at Saru and then at their hands. He almost looked like he was about to pull away, but instead he decided to speak up. "Uh… Saruhiko? What do you think you are doing?"

"Currently waiting in line for our turn on the ride?" Saru asked innocently, a slight smirk on his face.

"No. I mean with… ah… you know…" Yata fumbled slightly.

He couldn't understand himself in the moment. He wanted to yank his hand away and yell at the stupid monkey again, but he still wasn't able to do it. Yata breathed out, trying to calm the feeling his heart was giving him. He wanted to try and ignore it, but he couldn't stop thinking about it. He wanted to ignore it as best as he could, but he knew internally why he hadn't let go. Saruhiko holding his hand… it was nice. He didn't actually mind it.

"You're going to have to be more specific, Misaki."

Yata averted his eyes away from Saruhiko. If he wanted to attempt to get any answer, he knew he couldn't do it if Saruhiko would only end up smirking annoyingly at him. "Why are you holding my hand?"

"Why are you letting me hold your hand?" Saru retorted.

"You're the one that grabbed me first," Yata stated.

"I grabbed you by the wrist, not by the hand."

"Then why did you switch to the hand?"

"Would you rather I still be holding you by the wrist?"

Yata huffed, getting fed up with the answers that were not at all helpful. Finally with the feeling fading from before he pulled his hand away abruptly. "Whatever."

"Tsk." Saru clicked his tongue before shoving both hands into his pockets.

The two of them waited quietly until the train pulled up and it was their turn to get on. They walked and sat down in their seats still without a word to one another. Yata still had not even looked back at Saruhiko even when pulling down the lap bar for the ride. It seemed that Saruhiko didn't have anything to say either even when the ride began.

The ride itself was fun, considering it was going backwards for them so they could not be prepared for what was coming. Though most of their amusing was as strong as it could have been, at least for how Yata felt. He had no idea what Saruhiko could have been thinking. But since pulling his hand away and refusing to look back at Saruhiko, he had felt… a bit upset by it. There was a slightly unpleasant feeling in his stomach that replaced what he had felt before.

He sighed as the coaster came to a stop. "Why do things like this need to be so freaking hard? Dammit…"

"Uh… hey…" Yata said as he looked over to Saruhiko.

Saru looked back at Yata, and eyebrow raised in curiosity.

Yata looked long and hard at him. Taking note of the calm and casual demeanor that Saruhiko was giving off. There was no snarkiness or annoying in the expression he was making. Just calm… and curious. Something different than what Yata had expected. He had at least expected a smirk or some retort out of the blue.

"Ah… sorry if i seemed a bit abrupt before," Yata mumbled quietly.

Saru appeared to shrug at the same time the train moved again, pulling into the station. They quickly undid the safety restraints and disembarked from the train. It wasn't until after they had cleared from the station was there time to pause and converse.

"Um…" Yata tried again. Never before had he ever found it so hard to just say a few things that were on his mind. He rubbed the back of his head as he tried thinking.

He wasn't able to ask his question though before Riku and Sora made their way over to them. Or maybe it was more of the fact he didn't want to ask Saruhiko anything so embarrassing while in front of the others. He knew full well that Sora would never let him live it down if he knew what he was going to ask.

Once they walked down the line that lead off the coaster and back into the park, Sora turned to face the group. If anything, Sora had become the clear leader of the group and it seemed to fit him well as that role.

"That was so much fun! If we have time we should go back and do that one again! How was it for you guys though being backwards in the back?" Sora asked Yata and Saruhiko.

"It was fine. A little harsh at some turns, but cool at least," Yata replied.

"Well I still definitely think we need to try again later and switch were we sit!" Sora stated. "Oh! Oh! We are close to the tea cups! Let's do that next!"

Sora ran ahead, leaving the three boys behind briefly. Riku blinked a couple times before looking to Yata. "Has he always been that energetic?"

"Well it feels like more than usual today, but that's just how he is," Yata replied before the three of them started walking.

"You sure he isn't trying to hide something?" Saru asked.

"Why would he be hiding something?" Yata asked.

Saru, without trying to alert his brother, was attempting to make eye contact with Yata before glancing over to Riku repeatedly. At first Yata didn't understand the gesture, but then it finally clicked in his mind. He looked to Riku and Sora, who was still far ahead of them.

"Oooh, yeah I get it. Totally agree with you there," Yata laughed.

Riku now took notice and narrowed his eyes in confusion. "What? What's so funny about that?"

"You're oblivious," Saru commented.

Riku narrowed his eyes further. "And you're no help."

"I aim to please," Saru retorted sarcastically.

"If this is what it is like with just the two of you, I seriously wonder what happens when you are with your other two brothers," Yata commented.

"We're at worst when it's just the two of us."

Yata raised an eyebrow. "Really?"

"You'd be surprised. Zack does a good job of keeping us in check as well as Zexion," Riku replied.

By now they had finally made it into the line for the teacups with Sora was already there waiting for them. "Sorry guys that I ran ahead too quickly. Just really pumped and excited, ya know?"

"Yeah, and I wonder why that is," Yata said, chuckling slightly.

Sora pouted in a childish manner. "Don't start doing any teasing! We are here to have fun, not make fun of one another!"

"Agreed on that," Riku added.

"I prefer the teasing," Saru stated, giving his input.

"Well don't let yourself get carried away," Riku sighed, rolling his eyes slightly.

"No promises."

"So um…" Yata started to say. "How's that baby otter doing?"

"Doing alright. Seems to be adjusting fine."

"Did you ever, you know… give it a name or anything?" Yata asked quietly.

"Haven't decided on one yet, and will probably wait until I learn it's gender."

"Oh," Yata replied, he glanced to the ground and then back up to Saruhiko. "I guess that's something that isn't too easy?"

"It's difficult to determine gender when it's young."

"I see…" Yata's eyes shifted to Sora and Riku, who were standing next to him in line.

The two of them of course were caught up in their own conversation again with Sora no longer seeming as flustered as before. Of course he would recover that easily and go straight back to talking to Riku like he had before. But that of course meant it left Yata to try and talk to Saruhiko by himself.

"But…" Yata finally continued. "You don't even have any ideas for names at all? Like for either gender?"

"Why are you so interested in the baby otter?" Saru asked without answering Yata's questions.

Yata shifted slightly, his cheeks turning the faintest red. He lowered his voice, shifting his gaze to the ground. "Just… I was curious. Just wanted to talk."

Saru leaned in so that he was only a few inches from Yata's face. "If you're all that curious about me, we could do something besides talking." He whispered with a hint of something more in his voice.

Yata stared. "Wh-what? Why the hell would you say that?!"

Saru just smirked. "You're blushing, Mi~sa~ki~"

"Sh-shut up. Get that stupid smirk off your face… it's really starting to tick me off."

"Make me."

Yata grabbed onto Saruhiko's shirt, pulling him closer. He grunted angrily. "Be glad to."

"My, my, sadistic one aren't you?"

Yata faltered slightly, letting go of the shirt. "Hell no! Get that idea out of your head!"

By this point Riku and Sora took notice of what was going on behind them. Sora frowned slightly before nudging Yata. "Hey Yata, don't cause a scene. There's children in line."

Yata blinked before looking around. There were children, with a few turning to give a quick confused glances towards them.

Before Yata could respond, the line moved forward and it was their turn to head on into the ride. Riku now was the next one speak up. "So… are we all going to ride in one teacup or separate… cause I feel I am going to have to keep an eye on you two." He gave a slight annoyed glance to Saru and Yata.

Saru just shrugged. "He was trying to be social."

Riku rolled his eyes. "And you were what exactly?"

Without any argument or agreement the group ended up heading into a tea cup. Due to how large the teacups were, all four guys managed to sit in their perfectly fine with room to spare.

Riku had shoved Saru's scrawny arse into the teacup first before following him in. Sora happily bounded in after, and then finally Yata. As it was a circular bench, Saru and Yata were sorta next to each other, separated by the guard rails on either side of the door.

There were a total of twelve cups, three to a small turntable, four smalls to a large platform.

"So which way are we rotating this?" Sora asked.

"How dizzy do you want to be?" Saru answered with another question.

"Very!" Sora exclaimed, but then quickly turned to Riku. "Well if you are okay with going that fast. I know Yata is at least."

"I'm fine with it," Riku replied.

Saru clicked his tongue before answering. "Then rotate with the outer plate."

"Got it!" Sora said before grabbing a hold of the wheel. The others then grabbed on after him.

Soon enough the ride announcer said the rules and the teacups started to move. The outer platform began to rotate clockwise while the smaller turntables rotated counter. Sora enthusiastically started spinning the wheel clockwise, which turned the teacup counterclockwise.

"The other way. Spin it the other way." Saru commented, letting go of the wheel.

"Oh sorry!" Sora shouted.

The group let go off the wheel and changed how they held it to start spinning it the other way. After a bit of spinning, they were already going a fairly fast speed. Then Yata choose to speak up. "You think we can get this going any faster?"

"It's possible." Saru commented, not really giving much effort to help them spin.

The other three began to pull and turn the wheel faster, making everything around them seem to blur. They were spinning so fast that they had to fight against centrifugal forces to keep turning the wheel of the teacup. Saru just gave up helping entirely, letting himself get thrown back against the inside of the cup.

Eventually because of the force and Saru's rather lightness, he ended up sliding right into Riku's side. Riku gave him a side glance, with only the slightest bit of annoyance. Saru returned his brother's glance with one of his own, although the younger looked a bit nauseous.

Thankfully the ride did not last for much longer. The cup started to slow down until it came to a complete stop. An attendant came by shortly after and unlocked the doors to the cups, letting the boys file out.

They all headed out of the ride and were once more back in the main pathway that lead around the park. Saru was barely able to keep himself upright, let alone walk properly, so it wasn't long before he collapsed onto the nearest person, which just so happened to be Yata.

Yata flinced, tensing up slightly. He turned to see that Saru was the one who had flopped on him, those he had no smirk or snarky expression. Instead he looked dazed and out of it.

"You're not Riku…" Saru murmured out.

"Of course not! Now how about you get off of me!"

"But you're the perfect height for this." Saru had shifted slightly, his head resting on top of Yata's, with his arms wrapped around the smaller boy.

"Well I did not ask you to get all clingy all of a sudden!" Yata shouted as he looked over to Riku and Sora. With his cheeks no doubt very red, he puffed them out, trying to keep an angry composure. "Get him off me!"

Saru proceeded to wrap his arms tighter around Yata as if in response to what was asked, giving an almost pouty face at Riku.

Riku sighed. "Saru get off him. He's not your chocobo plush."

"You… have a chocobo plush?" Yata asked.

"I know he's not my plush. He doesn't kweh." Saru retorted at Riku, still refusing to get off of Yata.

"What the…." Yata commented, caught a little off guard by Saruhiko's comment.

Riku finally marched over to Saru and pulled him back by his collar. "We're starting to make a scene. Let's not make make it go any further."

Saru grumbled incoherent nonsense, finally letting go of Yata and taking a wavering step back. His balance was still off and Saru was still a tad nauseous, so he stumbled his way over to the nearest bench and sat down.

"I think maybe we should just take a quick rest for now," Sora suggested when looking at the dizzy Saruhiko.

"I agree. Maybe a little breather would be best." Riku stated.

Yata nodded, giving only a short glance to Saruhiko. "I don't mind, just as long as he doesn't try using me as a pillow again."

"But you make for a great pillow, Misaki." Saru commented.

"That isn't what you should say to someone!" Yata grumbled, his cheeks red once again.

"Why not? I like seeing you all flustered and blushing like a virgin."

"Okay," Riku interrupted before Yata could try to say anything more. He stepped between them, crossing his arms. "We're ending this here."

Chapter Text

Several minutes passed where the boys sat around relaxing and waiting. Yata ended up pacing around between the benching where Saruhiko, Riku, and Sora sat. He stopped after a moment and looked at the group.

With narrowed eyes he walked forward and looked at Saruhiko. "Is he… sleeping?"

"Didn't he fall asleep back at the arcade?" Sora asked.

Riku gave a sigh again. "He always manages to fall asleep at some point. Can't let that go on for too much longer though." Riku started to shake Saru's shoulder. "All right, Saru… nap time is over."

Saru grumbled out nonsense while swatting at Riku.

"Isn't there some other way you can try to wake him? You try that each time and it doesn't really seem to work," Yata commented.

"Well throwing him to the ground or casting magic would most likely get me banned from the park… so can't really resort to that. So…" Riku gave Saru another hard shove by the shoulder. As he wasn't fully conscious, Saru kinda fell off the bench onto the ground, landing on his shoulder with a groan. He then proceeded to roll over onto his back, and annoyingly glare at Riku.

"We're going to head to the next ride," Riku said before standing up. "Might as well do the Behemoth while we are in the area?" Riku looked up to the roller coaster that was just nearby to the tea cups.

Sora nodded happily. "Yeah! That one is awesome!"

Saru groaned in annoyance, standing up and trudging behind the group. The four of them made their way over to Behemoth, a tall steel hypercoaster. Unlike the last coaster this one sat four across, leading the boys to all sit in a line with each other. Like with the teacups, Riku made sure that Saru and Yata sat on opposite sides of the row, just to be safe once more.

The ride was still fun either way and all of them did seem to enjoy the thrill that it brought on. After that they all continued to make their way through the park, next stopping at the small 4D shooter ride, Warriors of Light.

Like how it went down in the arcade, it ended up getting very competitive, despite it only being a small theme park shooter ride. By the end of the ride, the boys had tallied up probably the highest scores they could on the ride or at least near close to it. When it came to the discussion afterwards on the game, the boys learned that they all in fact had played it a multitude of times before.

Now that they had gone on several rides, enough time had passed that the group had grown hungry. Since the Warriors of Light ride was near the foot court, they decided to stop there for a bit to get some food.

They all bought their food and sat down to talk about what they would do next, but then mainly fell into eating quietly. While Saruhiko didn't actually buy anything to eat, he ended up sneaking fries and other small pieces of food off of other's plates, mainly Yata's much to his displeasure. But it never ended up going farther than that. Nothing that Riku had to get involved with thankfully.

It was almost surprising to Riku how much Saru could switch on behaving and not. Some of the moments he was sure he was going to have to severely step in to put a stop between him and Yata, but other times Saru just listened. It was weird to say the least, let alone how blunt Saru was around Yata. Riku knew it was none of his business anyways what Saru said to Yata, just as long as nothing severe happened.

Over the next few hours the group went on a nearby roller coaster. It was a winged steel coaster called Regalia Type F. After that they wanted to try and go on the record breaking wooden-steel hybrid coaster called Darkside, but the line was already over two hours.

After that they continued walking through the park, heading to wherever they decide to go next, or still where Sora decided to lead them. But just as they were walking, Saruhiko grabbed onto Yata's arm and started to pull him off in a different direction.

"What? Hey! Where do you think you are dragging me?"

"Water ride."

Yata looked ahead and saw that they were heading towards a log flume ride. "Oh… I guess it is warm enough out. But what about Sora and Riku?" Yata asked, turning to see that the other two boys hadn't even noticed the split in the group.

"Does it really bother you if it's just us?"

"N-No…" Yata stammered. "But shouldn't we… ya know at least tell them that we are going to split up?"

"Then text Sora."

"Oh… yeah okay…" Yata pulled out his phone as the two of them got in line. After a moment he put it back in his pocket. "They're fine with it. Sora wants to get Riku on the swings ride anyways. And he says that Riku said for you not to cause any more scenes…"

Saru just scoffed, but didn't comment.

After that the two of them stood in line, which moved fairly quickly considering how the ride functioned. Half way through the line Yata caught side of the ride loading area. "Wait a minute! This is another ride where we'd have to sit together with… with you behind me and…"

"There's a divider in the middle if it bothers you that much," Saru pointed out in a bored tone. "Besides the other two aren't with us. We will probably have to sit spilt up anyways."

"Oh yeah… that's right. Well, that's good then! Don't need you trying to grab me again."

"Did Misaki not like being held?" Saru asked teasingly.

"No, I didn't," Yata said grumbled. Though after saying it, he was left with an odd feeling. Like having said what he had left him feeling empty or bad. He couldn't explain it, but it was just a weird feeling.

Saru looked at Yata with a slightly hurt expression, but nothing else was said.

After that, just like before, the two of them made it through the rest of line without a word. That ugly feeling that Yata felt before still clung to him, and it was growing strong. By they were at the front of the line, he could barely stand it.

"I don't get it… I can't stand him, but when I said it, and he looked at me like that… I can't help but feel bad for saying it. Did… Did I really hurt his feelings?"

Yata didn't get to go any deeper with his thought for the ride attendant was telling him something. "Huh?'

"I said you two will need to pair up. The lines long so we need to put smaller groups together on the same boat."

"Oh," Yata said before glancing to Saruhiko, who wasn't even looking at his direction.

The two of them were sent to a log flume were there were three younger kids, and because of that what happened next was exactly what Yata hadn't wanted to happen. The younger kids sat up in the front section of the flume while Saruhiko and Yata sat in back, with Yata sitting in front of him.

"There. You happy? You got what you wanted," Yata grumbled as the log flume left the loading dock area.

"Tsk. Zero points," Saru commented in a disinterested tone, kinda just spacing out off at the scenery around the ride.

"Huh? What are you even talking about?" Yata asked. He felt a small tinge of pain in his heart from the disinterested tone. He sighed as he tried to figure out what to do. The last thing he wanted to do was actually lean back against him, but… he couldn't help but feel worse with each passing second. It was driving him crazy at this point.

"Nothing important."

Yata was about to ask something else but then the log flume reached the first hill. Because of the angel and without any seatbeats, Yata had no choice but to lean back onto Saruhiko's chest. The ugly pain faded from his chest, making things feel a bit easier, but he was still laying back on Saruhiko.

Saru's arms moved, as if to wrap around Yata, but then he hesitated and instead grabbed the hand railings on the inside of the flume.

A more uncomfortable feeling now filled Yata's chest. The silence between them was awkward now and it just makes it all feel worse than before. As soon as the log was going through the bends and turns and no longer on the hill, Yata sat back up right. He opened his mouth to say something, but he couldn't find the words.

"Damn… this just really sucks now… Did I honestly hurt him that bad by saying… I-I didn't want him to hold me?"

The ride continued to have an unbearable silence between the two of them. By the time the final drop came close, Yata looked back slightly to Saruhiko. If he was ever going to ask about it, right before the drop would be the only time he could. He breathed in deeply before finally trying to ask what he had been wondering. "Are you sure… you don't want to hold me?"

Saru looked surprised. "You said you didn't like me holding you…?"

"I don't! But you stupid hurt face was really starting to bug me."

Saru just looked at Yata, a confused, calculating expression on his face.

By this point, their boat had reached the separation gate right before the drop, which halted the flume with a gentle jerk. With them paused for a brief second, Yata turned back around and faced forward. The gate then opened, letting the flume through to the drop.

Yata sighed as the drop happened.

It did not feel at all enjoyable or fun anymore.

When they came back in to the loading dock, Yata got out and turned around to see Saruhiko getting out on his own. Yata tried to give him a wondering glance, but the already moved heading towards the stairs out.

Yata sighed again as he followed behind Saruhiko. "I don't get him… I can't understand him at all…"

They passed by the photo spot, as the ride did take a picture of them at the drop. Yata only spared a short glance at their photo, seeing how unhappy both of them looked. Yata let out yet another sigh as he picked up the pace to catch up to Saruhiko.

When Yata got there he spoke up. "I guess when I was younger I remember that ride being much more… you know soaking."

"Usually the ones sitting in the front get soaked," Saru quipped in a bored tone.

"Still… though," Yata felt his shirt and shorts. They were only a little bit wet from the water, but other than that he wasn't too soaked at all. "Um… what do you want to do next?"

Saru looked at Yata with an inquisitive gaze, but didn't answer.

"Come on," Yata said before rolling his eyes. "I know you got something on your mind. Why don't you just say it already!"

"Are you… a tsundere?" Saru bluntly asked.

Yata blinked slowly. He tilted his head to the side slightly before shaking it. "What!?"

"Idiot. I can't dumb down the question any more. Are you a tsundere?"

"Why the hell would you ask me something like that?"

"You've been acting oddly around me, and what you said earlier, heavily implies that you're a tsundere that can't make up their mind."

"That's…" Yata mumbled. He grumbled feeling a bit frustrated. "That's a really stupid thing to assume, ya know?"

"You've been blushing around me quite a bit, and yet seem to hate me but not at the same time. If you're not a tsundere, then you should really go see a doctor… and maybe a therapist for your anger management issues."

Yata was taken back. While he had quickly come to learn that Saruhiko was rather blunt, he had not expected that. "I… I'm… what's wrong with me if I am?" It wasn't what he wanted to ask, but it was the only thing that left his mouth.

"It just makes it easier to read you if you are."

"Why does that even matter to you?"

"You're quiet oblivious," Saruhiko replied before smirking.

"Ugh!" Yata sneered. "You and your stupid smirk. Still can't stand it…"

Saru chuckled, but didn't comment.

The two of them now saw that they had reached the swings ride. They didn't see Sora or Riku anywhere nearby. Yata pulled put his phone and read a text that had been sent a few minutes ago.

"Looks like they're at the mini arcade that's right over there," Yata said before pointing to the building just next to the swings ride.

They then headed into the arcade after that and began to look for Riku and Sora. Since the building was small, it didn't take long for them to find the other two. They were currently at one of the claw machines with Sora trying to maneuver the claw.

A second later he clicked the button and the claw dropped down. It started to pull up something, a Komory Bat Plush, but just as the claw reached the top, the plush slipped through. "Aw… darn it! We were so close!"

Riku placed a hand on Sora's shoulder. "Hey you know how rigged these are. I was surprised I even was able to win anything on the other."

"Yeah I know… I just wanted to win you something…" Sora sighed before looking over to see Yata and Saruhiko coming closer. "Oh hey guys! Check out what Riku won me!" He held up a semi oval shaped plush pillow that resembled a Meow Wow.

"You really wanted a toy?" Yata asked.

"It's a squishmallow!" Sora exclaimed. "They are like the softest thing ever!"

"We got lucky trying to get it," Riku added. "Only tried twice and it actually worked."

"So now what are we going to do?" Sora asked. "You guys already did one water ride, the other one is right by us. How about we all do that?"

"I'm good with it," Riku said. "As long as you two are wanting to do another one."

"I… I mean we can," Yata grumbled before crossing his arms. He glanced over at Saruhiko. "That is if you want to too… you know again."

Saru just shrugged, a disinterested look on his face.

"What? Not going to make up your mind now?" Yata asked.

"You didn't enjoy it last time, so why should we go on another one?"

Riku raised an eyebrow to the conversation, but he wasn't able to interject. Instead Yata went on to reply to Saruhiko. "That was before. Doesn't matter anymore. And…" Yata hesitated, losing the serious tone he had been speaking in. "We could try to make it more enjoyable. Ah! And I don't mean like how you are probably thinking! I just mean not as awkward!"

Saru quirked an eyebrow, as if prompting Yata to explain better.

"What more do you want? I said we can go on the ride! I don't care okay?" Yata huffed out quickly.

"Or we don't have to go on the ride at all if you two aren't going to cooperate," Riku said stepping in. "I don't know what happened when you guys went off on your own, but if it you two are going to get into another argument, we don't have to do it."

"But I really want to go on the ride," Sora said. "Can't just the two of us go? Or three if Yata really wants to?"

"I said I was fine going on the ride," Yata muttered.

Saru just shrugged before muttering out his response. "Fine… I'll behave… for now…"

Riku narrowed his eyes at his brother, but chose not to say anything more on the subject. "All right, let's get in line."

"Let me just dropped this off in a locker and I'll meet you guys over at the front of the line," Sora said before running out of the arcade, towards where the lockers to store items were. After that the entire group made their way to the next water ride to get in line.