one passing night

the evening is spread out against the sky


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four | beginnings (press start to play)
➔ and it's raging.
curepotion wrote in onepassingnight
[ today, you've gotten a call from a nurse at Abbott-Alabaster Hospital. there's a family member currently occupying one of their rooms and as their kin, you're notified.

for some reason (to lecture, to scold, to make fun of, to be a good sibling, etc) you've found it in you to take time out of your very busy schedule (or maybe it's an empty one) to come down and see him.

and there, in room 301, he sits.

Riku covers his mouth as he coughs and looks over as you enter. his face is red and his eyes are dim, hair a mess. he looks somewhat damp--not surprising given what the nurse told you about his situation. apparently, he saved someone from drowning on one of the frozen lakes--the ice cracked and he fell in and then had to be fished out.

he slowly turns his back to the figure. ]


I told them not to call anyone.

[ he's a big boy. B( go away. ]

[ooc: if it's not too much trouble, i'm thinking of threads happening chronologically--first thread first and so forth. so far I have a stepsister for Riku and a dad (stepdad? idk Eleven does what he wants) so besides those, go ahead and throw any family member you want!]

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he's late. Sorry, it seems to be our thing

Apparently they called everyone.

[that would be your big brother leaning on in the doorway, Riku. It's late, he's tired, and you're getting stuck here overnight. Guess who intends to sleep in the chair next to you before he has to bust out of here way too early in the morning to get back to work. His arm's in a sling but he didn't get it being brave. He runs his good hand though his hair where the snow outside's melted.]

You eaten yet?

aw, there always has to be someone who's fashionably late

[ it's true--they practically did, and Riku's sure of it. he's gotten quite a few things to keep him busy. books, sudoku, there might be a boquet of flowers here and there, but he's been content to look at his hands and think before Cloud showed up. and, well, ...

he'd been hoping Cloud had just called everyone else and wouldn't show up because Riku wasn't really fond of getting scolded. Cloud knew how often he ended up worse than he should, and with no thanks. the townspeople just didn't like his "conman" ways. at least most of his family accepted his foresight. but looking at Cloud now, he felt guilty for worrying him.

he definitely hadn't wanted to do that. his eyes lingered on his arm before they raised to Cloud's. ]


Yeah, Sora brought me something.

we're thinking of making it a theme

Was it something good?

[because Sora's Sora and you're never sure when he's decided to do something helpful. For all Cloud knew Sora could have sneaked in Grandpa Fu's All Curative Liver Soup as easy as he could have snuck in chocolate bars. Not that Cloud can really imagine a better friend for Riku. With a grunt, he'll push away from the door and walk over to the chair next to the bed, unslinging his backpack before dropping down into it with all the loose joints and lack of regard for weight that teens usually have. He's already rooting for the paper bag on top of it before it finishes hitting the floor between his feet.]

Because I brought burgers that are still hot and have too much cheese on them if you're interested.

[eating first, little brother. Then he'll grill you about what really happened.]

best theme hands down bro

It was fine--

[ .... but burgers. Big bro knows best. At the very least, he knows the things Riku craves at times like these. He's gonna try to hide his smile now.]

You know I can't say no to that.

now I just need a catchy radio jingle and we're in business!

[his lips quirk up at their edges but he doesn't look up until he's got the bag free and clear. He had to do a bit of wheedling, the place had been in the process of closing for the night but it was worth it. It' the burger place he and Riku always hit together when it's just the two of them and they need to get away, when it's time to just be big and little brother and forget the rest of the world. Helps that the burgers are always just right and they don't stink on the toppings. So Riku gets a wax paper wrapped burger that's still hot and the little cup of thick fries goes on the nightstand next to the bed along with the ketchup packets Cloud will go through like they're water. Two cold cans of soda complete the transaction and Cloud won't say anything until the sacred ritual of that first bite and that first sip are done. That's when he finally relaxes in his chair, shoulders slumping, exhale signaling the end of a long day. Usually Riku would end up with a hair tousle too but Cloud's only got one working hand and it's holding a messy burger. You lucked out, kiddo.]

How're you holding up?

that you're on your own on, we can't rhyme to save our lives

[ this ritual is Riku's favorite, hands down. If there's a particularly bad case or a cruel headline about his ability, he prefers sitting and feeling safe with Cloud. He feels safer with his older brother than any police escort he'd get. Probably because they'd call him 'freak' along the way, but Riku was getting used to that.

Cloud's question gave him pause, and he stopped before a second bite. ]


... I'm okay. Some ice cut me and I might get sicker if I try to speed things up, but I'll be out soon.

same. maybe we'll just stick with what we've got and call it even ;)

[he'll grunt to show he's listening and that's all for a while. It's enough to just sit there with cheesy burgers, caffeine and his little brother for Cloud. So it's not until he's working his way through a lake of ketchup and his half of the fries that he asks:]

So what really happened, Riku?

[ Cloud is the perfect brother for Riku. they could both sit in silence for hours and probably perfectly understand each other. they have, knowing them.

... but they talk. and as much as Riku likes to avoid some things, he can't with his brother. ]


I knew he'd die in a few minutes if I didn't save him.

And you didn't see you falling in?

[Cloud doesn't question Riku's sight. He's his little brother and as odd as Cloud knows others may find it, to him it's just... Riku. He can see anything in the world and he's still going to be the kid that Cloud wiped the snot off his nose and carried him home on his back when he scraped up his knees. Sometimes it makes for awkwardness - for instance he knows that Cloud's arm isn't in those bandages and that sling because he had a motorcycle accident the way Cloud's told everyone he did. But at the end of the day it's his little brother out there risking his life.

And Cloud already knows that heroes always end up dead.]

[ red starts crawling up his neck. he's embarrassed--he's always made it seem like he could see his future too. but he can't. but he doesn't want to tell people there's a gap in his sight--they'd start to question if there were other gaps to. no one knows how it works, not even him.

he's thankful, very thankful that Cloud at least believes him and accepts it. he breathes in, gaze downturned, thankful for the curtain of hair and the fact that he hasn't cut it in years. ]


I was too focused on saving him to realize... what was happening to me.

Riku...

[they've been over this before. They've argued, they've snarled, they've ignored it and they've gotten exasperated. But Cloud's not going to be around much longer and he doesn't want his little brother catching up to him in that area. Cloud did his part, he was a SOLDIER, but that's all behind him now. And he doesn't want his family getting hurt when he's not around to watch over it anymore.]

You've got to start paying attention. [for the first time, he finally gives up on trying to get his brother to stop. He just focuses on trying to get Riku to think.] Brave doesn't count if you're dead. It's a noble way to go out but you still get taken out. Your family, the people you could have saved in the future, your friends? They lose their future too. If you're going to be a hero, you've got to start thinking ahead instead of reacting. You've got to find ways to save the day and save yourself too.

[Deadly serious in a way he's rarely been before, he sits forward, soda can in his hands, staring at it as he turns it with his fingers.]

I never told you about how Zack died. During the war. He was hero. He got himself killed for me. You know that. But what I've never told anyone was that we were in a truck when the shooting started. He got out of the truck, he stashed me, and he took the enemy on single handed. Riku - [Cloud's eyes rise to meet his younger brother's.] To this day I have no idea why he got out of the truck. We couldn't outdistance the enemy on foot. The truck kept going. Maybe he was worried about a roadblock up ahead but there wasn't one in sight or getting off the truck wouldn't have mattered. Maybe he was trying to save the truck driver but why couldn't he have left the driver behind and sent someone back for him once we hit the city. There had to be a good reason, Zack got out of the truck and faced the enemy head on but I've never been able to figure out what it was.

[he looked back down at the can in his hands. He never talked about the war, never talked about his time in the army or what had happened to him. And he'd never, in all the years since said anything about Zack that wasn't praise. Now he crumpled up the can with one hand and unerringly tossed it in the trash bin near the door. His voice didn't rise above the soft, flat tone it had been this entire time.]

Start learning how to stay in the goddamn truck, Riku. Whether you think your life is important doesn't matter. It's important to your family.

[ when he hears his name muttered in that tone of voice, Riku sighs irritably and starts trying to tune Cloud out.

he respects Cloud a lot, but if there's one thing he's always stood firm on, it's this. So at first, he just ignores.

... but he mentions Zack. and the war. and his attention is quickly drawn from the wall that he's glaring at petulantly back to his brother with shock and worry written across his face. this is a story he's never heard before. and he's heard all there is to know about that war--Cloud never spoke much about it, but a smart child like Riku could only get so curious before they started looking for answers someplace else. he wanted to know why that war started and what happened and why it affected Cloud so much.

a lump started in his throat and his shoulders raised slightly as his back stiffened, and his eyes went back to his lap, his hands as he crumpled up the wax paper.

why was he so willing to risk his life? (because he doesn't really have a family.)

why was he willing to risk everything? (because he has nothing left to lose.)

he closes his eyes and his fingers flatten the paper even more.

the message definitely went through. ]


Edited at 2011-12-10 05:55 pm (UTC)

[Cloud's not a guilt tripper. But he's not trying to make Riku feel guilty. He's trying to get him to look at things differently than he has been. If he could do that without making his kid brother feel bad though, he would have rather done it that way. Standing up to pick up the trash, he reaches out with the hand he cleaned with the condensation from his can and a napkin and ruffles that silver hair.

Silver. Somebody was laughing.

He's said his bit and that's all he's going to do about it. Instead, he throws away their trash and settles back down in the chair, giving Riku time to collect himself. Scrunching forward in the seat so he can stretch out his legs, he murmurs:]


Hey... sacrifice one of your pillows over this direction, shorty.

[ he ducks a little when his hair is ruffled, a light smile touching his face as he finally saw the reason in Cloud's judgement. yes, he felt a little irritated still--because he was stubborn and he still wanted to cling to his reasonings--but he couldn't deny the logic in Cloud's, either. he understood.

his brother was good at making him see things like this. he shakes his hair out and straightens, then tempted to scrunch his nose. ]


What?

[ ... smirk. ] Sure.

[ he takes one, and lightly thwacks Cloud with it, careful not to hit the arm in the sling. ] Here.

Hey!

[as protests go it's a bit too amused to be taken seriously and Cloud makes a grab for the 'offered' pillow.]

Kids these days. No respect for their elders.

[ he chuckles. ]

My hand slipped.

... [ he looked towards the clock. ] How long do you have?

Gotta be out of here by five. Everyone waits until the last minute to panic and send things.

[stuffing the pillow behind his head, Cloud shifted in the chair until he was comfortable. He'd slept in less likely positions and hey, at least this one was climate controlled and out of the weather. The arm that wasn't in the sling got draped loosely over his stomach.]

So if you start snoring - I'm going to smother you."

I'm so scared.

[ Riku closed his eyes, almost rolling them underneath his eyelids before taking another good luck at his brother.

he wondered... if Cloud would freak out if he told him what he'd seen, going under. ]

[Cloud gives a snort, but his lips have curved up at their edges and he shuts his eyes as he tips his head back. He's only planning on dozing anyway. It's to keep Riku company but it's for himself too. He needs to feel the assurance of his brother nearby tonight.

And it's because Riku's his brother and because Cloud studies the people he loves with an almost stalker obsession that he does his best not to let on, that after a long minute, he softly murmurs:]


You can tell me. If you want.

[because he doesn't know what Riku's holding back - but he knows something's there. It's his brother. For as long as he's able, he'll be there for him.]

[ Cloud's sense never ceases to make Riku flinch or jerk. Mainly because he never sees it coming. And he's used to seeing everything, but Cloud--maybe, he wonders, it's because he doesn't want to know. ]

When I was drowning, before I lost consciousness, everything... was black. I couldn't see anything. It was just a split second.

[ he tried to keep the emotion out of his voice, but he knew Cloud would be able to pick up on the underlying tone of sadness and longing for that split second to be elongated into hours or days. ]

[Cloud doesn't know why he's the one that can surprise his brother but - he's glad. Riku needs to not know everything all the time. If Cloud's an aberration to him, it reminds the younger man that nothing's set in stone. Or at least that's the way Cloud likes to think of it. It's not the words so much as the tone that has Cloud stilling though and after a minute one of his unnatural blue eyes flicks open, shifting to focus on his brother.

Just a split second of blessed darkness...]


Riku.

[But what can he say? They'd all like to see Ruku freed from his sight - or at least able to shut it off. And Cloud's not going to insult his brother's intelligence or durability by telling him not to try anything stupid to mimic the process that brought on the silence before. In the end, there really isn't anything to say. Cloud will just lift his hand and lay it over his brother's for a minute, giving a squeeze. He'd take the pain, the sight, all of it away if he could. But he couldn't. All he could do was be there for as long as he was able. His own arm twinged in reminder and he exhaled.]

Yeah. Sometimes life sucks.

[ Riku's eyes focused on a patch of cloth that was draped over his lower leg, lit up an almost blinding white thanks to the hospital lights. he didn't want to make his brother worry, though, so he just squeezed back for the moment. he was hoping Cloud would tell him something about his sight being needed, that maybe he had to just take it for a while because he was saving lives.

he didn't know how much he'd resented that thought until Cloud didn't say it. Riku knew he wasn't exactly living for himself anymore, it was living for the town that mattered (er, to him, not to most of his family, if they heard him say that aloud they wouldn't be happy). but it didn't mean he was happy in the least. and maybe he just wanted to be normal. not see death, not see destruction or anything. not even births and celebration. no future. just present.

yeah, right. but.

at least Cloud was with him. his big brother was more than a pillar of strength. he was sanity. his eyes opened and settled on Cloud's arm, then raised to his blue eyes. ]


I heard.

[Cloud's own lips twist ruefully at the focus of his brother's gaze and he shifts that arm self-consciously despite the spikes of pain that shoot upward through it when he does. Yeah... life seems to enjoy kicking their family in the teeth. Cloud's not so worried about his arm and what that means. He's not at peace with it by any means but every time it reminds him that it's slowly killing him, he finds himself worrying about the people that he's going to be leaving behind, not about how much it hurts him physically. He doesn't want to die and he's doing his best to ignore the inevitable eventuality of it but even more than that he doesn't want to leave his family behind without him. He's messed up - hugely as far as he's concerned - in the past. And he's not always the brother/adopted father/etc. that he should be. But he's not so self-centered that he doesn't realize that when he dies it's going to hurt the people he loves most. One last failure on his part to seal a lifetime of stuff he's never managed to make up for.

All he can do is try to keep anyone from realizing it as long as he can - and be here while he still can. It doesn't make up for the dying, but he can't think of anything else to do.]


Yeah.

[he clears his throat and concentrates on the wall on the other side of them while he settles down in the chair. At least he knows that his family will take care of Tifa and the kids once he's gone.]

At least we've got each other.

Yeah.

At least.

[ he relaxes finally. ]

Actually, you know... now I wonder if I should learn to ice skate.

[it's amazing how fast that pillow can leave where it was behind Cloud's head and make a swipe for that silver head.]

Brat.

...

Get Marlene to teach you. She's dangerous on ice.

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