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Title: Glittering Everywhere Like Stars
Word Count: 2,598
Summary: Sora is dying and Riku is trying to fix it.
Notes: a (sort of zombie!)fic written as a belated All Hollows Read thing so yes, this is all lettersandliars's fault. GO FIGURE.



Sora has never listened well to the teacher’s lectures on mythology. He hears the part about the hero, rising ever up and shuts his ears at that place; because he’d rather spend his days envisioning the adventures, the camaraderie, the glory of the rise than deal with the consequences of the fall.


He does not enter a battle, he throws himself into it full body, leaving his fellow warriors behind to be wary, to play it cautiously in this field that promises death at any moment. But Sora fears no death, he is a whirling force of energy, of light; and he beckons his enemy to come, come closer so they may better taste his blade.

The swarm of heartless is nothing to him; he laughs as they crowd him, as they pierce at his flesh, dig for his heart. Sora laughs and does thinks not of the unfamiliar forms intermingled with the ever present blackness that makes the heartless. They strike down just as easily as any creature of the darkness and if there are a few corpses left at the end of the battle, then they are just slower to return to the pit whence they came.

His comrades are not nearly as amused as he is. They wait for him, at the edge of the battlefield where the carnage is less. He’s pleased by their woundless appearance, proud of himself for taking the brunt of the force.

It would be easier to hold onto that feeling of pleasure had Kairi not yanked sharply at his earlobe.

“What is it about the concept of teamwork that eludes you?” She pats his face dry of the tacky black residue, a parting gift from the heartless. “You’re a smart boy,” she continues, unheeded by his squirming and whining. “We’re supposed to help each other. Not just stand back while you almost get yourself killed.”

Sora flutters his eyes and pouts. “I didn’t mean to leave you behind, honest.” But it’s clear from Kairi’s expression that she’s not buying the innocent act anymore. So he moves on to his second victim, Riku.

Riku has enough mind not to actually look at Sora, instead he focuses on a point somewhere in the distance and scratches at the back of his neck. “I think Kairi’s right this time; that was kind of a stupid move, Sora.”

“Oh come on!” He flails his arms, pointing towards the destruction he wrought not ten minutes ago. “Look, no bad guys left. You guys are fine, I’m fine, nobody got hurt. Can’t we call it a day and go home?”

His companions, no, his best friends look to the sky, take a deep breath and exhale. It would be funny if it wasn’t such a common occurrence to their travels.

“Just let me heal you up, and then we’ll get back to the gummi ship,” says Kairi. Her hands already glow a soft green as she takes a step towards Sora.

He huffs, dancing out of her reach. “C’mon Kairi, there’s no point in wasting your magic, I just got a few scratches, it’s fine, battle wounds are cool, right?”

She gives up, too tired to bother fighting and okay, he might be right about just having a few scratches. Kairi shoos him into the ship with a threat that he’d better stay buckled in, or so help her there will be hell to pay.

“Like what?”

“Like I’ll tell your mother.”

Sora pulls a rude face at her as he pulls the ship’s belt over his shoulder. “You play dirty, Kai.”

-


Nobody at home really notices his collection of cuts, and to the few that do (as in: Selphie), Sora just flashes his best derpy grin and explains it away as a tragic fall into a bramble bush.

He doesn’t think anything of the fever when it starts up. It’s low grade and he waves it off; it’s just exhaustion, gulps down orange juice in the morning and continues on his way.


Something goes terribly wrong in the course of a night. Sora hears his alarm clock, bleating merrily at him, but it costs a monumental amount of effort just to roll over. He doesn’t seem to possess the energy to get up and turn the damn thing off, ends up dozing until the alarm’s inner mechanism shuts itself off two hours later.

Sora misses school that day but can’t seem to find it in him to care. He feels hot and cold all at once, the world is fuzzy and everything reaches him as if through a thick wad of cotton. This, he thinks bleakly, is how it must feel at the end of everything.


Kairi and Riku decide to check on him separately, but arrive at his house together. They exchange a knowing smile, it seems the three of them can never stay apart, and Kairi lets them into Sora’s house.

His mother is gone, no doubt attending her bi-monthly bunco game at the neighbor’s house. They tip-toe through the dark despite the empty rooms, there is a flavor to the air that they are afraid to disturb.

Sora’s room is closed; there is no light under the door. The friends pause at the landing, straining for any sounds. There is none.

Kairi gives a polite knock at the door before entering, squinting in the darkness. “Are you awake?”

There is no answer, just the sounds of labored breathing. Concerned, Kairi flips the light on. She covers her mouth, swallows the surprised noise in the back of her throat. She stumbles across the room to Sora’s side, a healing spell already summoned and tingling to her fingertips. Kairi touches Sora’s forehead, startled by the heat there, and lets her spell flow.

There is no change. Kairi is confident enough in her magic to know there should be a change; his half healed wounds should be gone, his fever should be dissipated, he should be awake and laughing and he’s not. “Riku,” she barely controls the tremor in her voice. “Something’s wrong.”


Riku spins into action before the words are completely out of Kairi’s mouth. He finds a potion tangled in with Sora’s dirty clothes, gives it a compulsory taste to make sure it’s not expired - it wouldn’t be the first time they found something like that in Sora’s room – and all but pries Sora’s mouth open to tip the potion down his throat.

It does nothing.

He summons a dark portal almost without realizing it, steps backwards into the blackness. Kairi calls out to him, her face pale and eyes wide. Don’t leave us. Riku puts effort into his expression, stretches it into something he hopes resembles reassuring, “I’ll bring help.”

-

King Mickey will not make eye-contact with anybody in the room. His ears droop and he fidgets with the hem of his shirt. Riku wishes he didn’t know the king so well, wishes he could take out all his anger and frustration on the mouse. But King Mickey is legitimately saddened by the events unfolding, his sincerity palpable in his every motion.

The three of them stand and watch Sora sleep, watch as he struggles to stay alive.

“Gosh,” says Mickey. “I guess the kindest thing we could do for the poor fella would be a sleep spell. Let him pass in peace.” He moves towards Sora, tendrils of magic crawling up his arm.

“No,” snaps Riku. Something in his chest is too tight; he can’t seem to get enough air, his eyes feel hot and everything becomes fuzzy and indistinct at the edges. “This isn’t over yet, I won’t give up on him.”

Mickey flashes a smile; it’s a tired thing that practically screams at Riku for being so foolishly hopeful. “Atta boy,” says Mickey. “Go on then, I’ll stay here with Kairi. We’ll try to stabilize him til you get back with a cure.”

-

Riku’s first stop is Yen Sid’s tower. He doesn’t hold much hope for it though, if Yen Sid knew anything, then surely Mickey would too.

He describes Sora’s condition to the old sorcerer, tells him what Mickey has said. “Please,” says Riku. “Please, help him.”

Yen Sid’s look of regret is all Riku needs. He doesn’t even hear Yen Sid’s words, the apology is no doubt eloquent but it all amounts to the same thing: there’s nothing they can do.

Riku manages a stiff bow, reminds himself that it’s not Yen Sid’s fault, he knew this would be a difficult journey and this is only the first stop. “Thank you for your time.”

-

He heads to the coliseum next. Surely, surely the land of gods will hold some answers for him.

Hercules is upset at the news Riku brings, but otherwise has nothing to add. “There’s hope though,” says Hercules. “There’s always hope. Don’t give up yet.”

Phil suggests a visit to Hades, which is as good a suggestion as any Riku’s received today.

The lord of the underworld is, understandably, less than pleased to have Riku barging in on his domain. Riku explains the issue at hand, manages to show an astounding amount of patience when he doesn’t punch the smug smile off of Hades’ face.

“The Boy Wonder is turning into the undead? Kid, I couldn’t help you if I wanted to, the undead is a completely different department, nobody wants to touch that.” He throws an arm over Riku’s shoulder. “But hey, if it’s any consolation, your friend is in excruciating pain right now. The best thing you can do for him is to take that pretty little blade of yours right to his neck.”

-

Riku is gone for days and he knows it’s days they can’t afford. But the answers are the same no matter what world he visits: they great him warmly, happy to be of help, but as soon as he describes his problem, they seem unable to make eye contact and all they can say is “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.”

But he can’t give up until he’s exhausted every option.

His body aches and burns, the constant use of the dark portals is taking its toll. He’s existing on a constant supply of pepper-up potions and nothing else, there’s no time to sleep. He’ll sleep when Sora is well again, when his best friend is whole and laughing and they can look back at this all as some terrible nightmare.
-

This world is unfamiliar. The city curves around him. There is music everywhere he turns and the scent of home cooked meals heavy in the air. Riku checks the street-signs, turning where he hopes is right.

The graveyard is unlocked, the gate thrown open, all but beckoning him forward.

“Are you Dr. Facilier?”

The face on the headstone grins at him. “Depends on who’s asking.”

“I was told you could help me.”

“Of course, dear boy and I’m sure I can ease what ails ya.” The doctor tilts his head, an impressive task, all things considering. “But it’s hard to work my magic in my….current state, get what I’m saying?”

Riku shifts his weight. “I haven’t even told you what I need.”

Dr. Faciler laughs. “Oh don’t worry, son. The shadows have told me all I need to know. They say you come from a long, long way away. They say you got a friend who’s in bad sorts, that you’re such a good fella, you went searching high and low to help him. I appreciate that, I do, and if you get me outta here then you have my word as a doctor, I’ll fix your friend up, right as rain.”

Riku mulls the words over, he’s almost ninety percent sure the man is lying, but time is running thin and he’s exhausted all his other options.

Someone clears their throat from the mouth of the aisle. Riku turns to see a young woman standing there. She flashes an apologetic smile at him and says, “if you care about your friend at all, you’ll walk away from the shadow man.”

Dr. Facilier growls at the woman, mutters something dark under his breath.

“Nuh-uh, you don’t get to be mad at me,” she wags a finger in his direction, “you did this to yourself, deal with it and leave this nice young man alone.” She scowls once more at the doctor before turning a kinder expression on Riku. “My name’s Tiana, and stone-face here ain’t the only one who’s heard about what you’re trying to do.”

-

Mama Odie shuffles around her abode while Riku explains his situation. She nods in all the right places, gently shoves him aside at one point to grab a jar of something dried and forces him to pause when she holds up a different jar. “Taste this,” she said, “and tell me if it tastes fresh to you.”

He tastes it obligingly, shivers at the flavor and says, “I guess?”

Mama Odie nods thoughtfully and adds a scoop to the large pot on the stove. “Now listen up, this ain’t a cure. I’m deeply sorry to say that what your friend has is un-curable. But this will ease his suffering.” She bottles the concoction, a blue-gold hued liquid with flecks of silver in it, passes it to Riku with a gentle pat of his hand. “I wish there were more I could do for you.”

He studies the liquid, finally manages to choke out a few words. “Thank you for your time.”

And Riku heads home.

-

Kairi and Mickey are huddled together outside Sora’s bedroom door. They perk up when they see Riku, until they catch his expression and manage to look even sadder than before.

“Oh, Riku.” Kairi unfolds herself from the floor, rises to embrace him tightly. Riku feels numb and barely registers her arms around him.

“You tried, pal,” says Mickey. He squeezes Riku’s free hand. “Nobody can say you didn’t try.”

They lace a pack of ground meat with Mama Odie’s gift and crack open Sora’s door enough to shove it in. They don’t even bother with a plate, just drop it, wetly, to the floor.

Kairi and Mickey refuse to watch, they’ve seen enough of the creature Sora has become. So Riku watches, alone; part of his penance for failing his friend.

The Sora shaped thing in the room could not be farther removed from the boy he once was. He has grown gaunt in Riku’s time away, the color has been leeched from his eyes and he is dirty, clothes soiled, and he growls lowly as he licks up the last of the meat from the floor. The creature regards Riku, sniffing the air around him and Riku stands, unflinching.

It doesn’t take long for the mixture to kick in. The Sora-thing moves wobbly across the room, shakes his head once, and then goes down. Riku can see that it’s still breathing though, he summons Way to the Dawn as he strides towards it.

“Goodbye, Sora.”

-

Riku leaves the room, swallows the sick feeling back down. Mickey has gone to find something to dispose of the mess; it was not a clean death. Kairi fits herself against Riku, in need of comfort more than she needs to give it.

“What do we tell his mom?” she asks, face pressed into Riku’s shirt.

“The truth,” he says. “We owe her that much.”

-

Kairi doesn’t think anything of the fever when it starts up. It’s low grade and she waves it off; it’s just exhaustion, gulps down orange juice in the morning and continues on her way.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
xelioth
Nov. 20th, 2012 03:40 am (UTC)
Happy Thoughts
Dear lord, you're in a pleasant mood aren't you?

Anyway, you misspelled greet at one point and put great. Simple typo.

Aside from that I do want to critique that the part where you have Zombie Sora show up for the first time could be better. The writing of it all is fine, but you just kind of assume the reader already knows that Sora is already a zombie when you haven't actually shown that yet. You mention in Riku's quest that Sora is becoming a zombie, of course, and you generally set up the zombie Sora perfectly. The only thing missing is a little intro to him once he's actually present. Maybe just a mention of how they're avoiding the room or how the door has a different aura to it now. Just something to clue into the fact that the transformation has already happened now, because the last time we were in the house Sora was just lying in bed, and the last time we saw him talked about it was in the context of him "turning into" a zombie, not "turned into" one. So, ya know, just a quick introduction to the idea that Sora has turned and they've got him locked away and are avoiding the room.

Hope that makes sense?
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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