Kingdom Hearts, Visit the Worlds, Get Lei’d

Title: Visit the Worlds, Get Lei’d [Sora/Riku]
Rating/Warnings: G
Summary: Riku and Sora bring each other back souvenirs from worlds they visit; Sora just gets teased a lot less about it.
AN: Written for Shiritori. I was talking to Hearts_in_tune about Riku and Sora swapping flowers from weird worlds, and Riku bothering to learn the meanings and names and Sora just being like ‘you like the yellow ones.’ Set partway into KH3, but not particularly spoilery for anything except that Riku and Sora are definitely spending nights at Yen Sid’s tower.

Visit the Worlds, Get Lei’d

“Sleepsbane,” Aerith supplied when Riku held up the next flower. It was an odd shade of pink, halfway to orange, a cluster of small petals in the middle and longer, pinker petals sticking out from underneath. “It’s a home remedy for nightmares.”

“Perfect,” Riku said, plucking two more. Their cheerful colors and decently large size were a good match for the yellow gladiolus stalks he already had in the basket Aerith lent him, or at least they looked enough like gladioli to be close enough for Sora. At home they meant strength, and remembrance, and the sharp stalks of them looked entirely like something someone should pattern a keyblade after, so Riku picked a few for Sora on any world he saw them.

They were a suspiciously common flower among the worlds he’d been to, and sometimes Riku wondered if ancient keyblade wielders thought the same thing as him and spread them around a little, world to world.

Aerith was busy filling her own basket when Riku stood up, dusting off his knees and wondering why fairy-made clothes could make pure darkness slide off but not grass stains. Aerith, on the other hand, didn’t have a single green smudge on her pink dress when she stood. She smiled at Riku, holding up a leaf between two fingers.

“Open your mouth,” she said sweetly.

“What—” Riku started, but she was already popping the leaf past his lips, down on his tongue. “The heck.”

“Chew,” Aerith ordered, giggling at the look on his face. Riku did as he was told, surprised when a burst of coolness flooded over his tongue. “Do you have mint in your world?”

Riku shook his head, startling when he sucked in a breath and his whole mouth tingled. Aerith laughed outright and pressed a handful of leaves into his hand.

“Not a lot of toothpaste out in the field, right?” she asked. “They’re good for you.” Riku nodded, tucking the leaves away in a pocket. She hooks her arm through his, ready to head back. “And away we go.”

Riku had offered to come out with Aerith past the Radiant Garden city walls in case of stray heartless, but the walk back was peaceful. Most of the heartless still tended to gather down in the crystal fissure or the mining caves, and while that wasn’t exactly optimal, at least there was less of a chance of regular citizens bumping into one around every corner. The weather was pleasant, not a cloud in the sky, the sun’s heat on the back of Riku’s neck a pleasant reminder of home. He was almost sorry to lose it when they passed under Radiant Garden’s gate and into the cooler shade of the stone walls.

“Had a nice field trip?” Leon asked when Riku and Aerith came into Merlin’s house, Riku holding the door for her. Leon’s eyes strayed down to Riku’s basket and back up to his face, the gentle arch of his eyebrow an obvious tease. “See you found some souvenirs.”

“Well, you haven’t rebuilt the gift shop yet,” Riku retorted. Leon snorted as he turned back to the computer.

The teasing wasn’t entirely unexpected; Riku knew that flowers weren’t a thing boys generally knew much about on other worlds. Growing up on the Islands was different, he got that, got that most guys across most worlds wouldn’t be bringing back flowers as presents to their best friend.

Sora had always liked them, though, and when he and Kairi had had a little kid phase where they learned all the names and places to find them, Riku liked them well enough too. Riku had been in charge of learning the meanings, looking them up in the library book they’d checked out so many times the librarian eventually told them to keep it, and he still remembered all of them today: plumeria for positivity, hibiscus for beauty, white ginger for sweetness, orchid for luxury. Back then, Kairi had twisted them countless flower bracelets and crowns, and Sora never came back from climbing trees without some flower clutched in his fist for Riku.

Once they were back home for that little while, after Xemnas, after everything, Sora had brought him a pink hibiscus flower so big it covered the palms of both his hands and told Riku that his confession hadn’t just been meant for the Dark Margin, that he’d meant it forever. After that, they’d had an unspoken competition over who could surprise the other with the bigger flower, the hardest to find. Sora had forgotten most of the meanings, but Riku didn’t mind reteaching him that birds of paradise meant joy and plumeria worn over the left ear meant you were taken. He especially didn’t mind it when Sora blushed as deep red as the scarlet daylily in his hand when Riku told him what those meant he was suggesting they do.

Once the other worlds were open to them again, well, that just meant the competition got a little more interesting.

Leon and Ienzo sent Riku on his way with updates for King Micky and Yen Sid; Aerith sent him along with a potted mint plant that Riku had to seatbelt into a gummi ship seat like a co-pilot so it didn’t get scattered in all directions by the first warp. Yen Sid had raised his eyebrow just like Leon when Riku gave his report with a potted mint tucked under his arm, but years of dealing with Mickey and now Sora meant Yen Sid didn’t ask any more questions than he had to. Riku appreciated that.

Back in the tower room he shared with Sora, Riku set the Mint down on the desk, smiling a little at the small pile of stuff on the desktop that meant Sora had been here for at least a minute since the last time Riku had. It looked like he’d emptied out his pockets quickly, some loose munny, a weird snail shell, a couple star charms from inside potions, some little plastic…building bricks? Well, he’d said he’d gone to a world full of toys. Riku sorted his fingers through the stuff for a moment, smiling at Sora’s penchant for keeping small knickknacks from everywhere.

He wasn’t smiling a minute later when he put his socked heel down on one of the little plastic bricks.

Exhaustion hit Riku all at once while he was eating, almost going facedown in his food as his body finally accepted that he was somewhere safe. The flights of stairs back up to his room were shorter than usual, as if the Tower was feeling merciful at the moment, and even then Riku tripped over more than one of them with his dragging steps. He’d messaged Sora to say he was back when he’d landed, but a quick check of his gummiphone while plugging it in showed there was no answer yet.

[Grabbing a few hours’ sleep.] he messaged again. Lifting the phone, he snapped a quick picture of their star-shaped windows and sent that too. [Hope you’re staying safe.]

It still took a bit of staring at the ceiling for Riku to fall asleep, but he managed it eventually. Dreamless even, for once, deep enough that the light touch to his shoulder brought him out of it slowly, like coming up from deep water. When he finally peeled his eyes open, Sora was grinning down at him, hair a wild halo lit up gold from the lamp his head was blocking.

“Hey, sleeping beauty,” Sora said. “I tried waking you with a kiss but you just snored at me.”

“Don’t snore,” Riku muttered, sitting up and scrubbing at his face.

Sora kissed his cheek. “Keep telling yourself that.” He tried to turn away, but Riku grabbed for his hoodie and pulled him back for a real kiss, an I missed you kiss. When he let Sora go, Sora tilted his head. “You taste funny.”

“Your face is…oh wait, it’s the mint,” Riku remembered. He stood up, ignoring Sora snickering at his moogle boxers, grunting at the stiffness of his hip for the few steps to the desk. A few of the leaves Aerith had plucked for him were still on the desk from him turning out his own pockets, and Riku picked one up. “Open wide.”

“No, uh-uh,” Sora refused immediately, as anyone with a lifetime’s worth of best friend prank experience would. He narrowed his eyes, lips pressed tight together, as Riku advanced on him. “Nn-nn!”

“Don’t be a baby,” Riku said, pinching Sora’s nose shut. Sora struggled for a few seconds, but eventually air won out, and Riku pressed the mint leaf down onto Sora’s tongue the second his lips parted. “Chew it.”

“Ugh, you know I actually eat several vegetables now…oh hey.” Sora’s eyebrows flew up, then he laughed. “That’s so weird! I like it.”

“Thought that you would.” Riku yawned halfway into his smile, dragging a hand through his hair. “Aerith gave us a plant of it, so if we only pull a few leaves now and then, it should last ages.” He waved at the glass jar he’d found to put the other flowers in with a few centimeters of water, glad Sora had come back while the flowers were in good shape. “Brought you these, too.”

“Aww,” Sora said, only a little tease in it as he leaned over to smell them. He examined the new pink-orange ones, rubbing one of the longer outer petals between his fingers. “What are these?”

“Aerith said they’re called Sleepsbane and they’re for keeping nightmares away.”

“Of course they are, you sap,” Sora chuckled. He flicked one gladiolus gently. “Still finding these everywhere?”

“Strength and remembrance,” Riku answered, Sora already well aware of Riku’s pet theory about them. “You like them.”

“You like them. We should make you a keychain shaped like one. I brought you something, too.” Sora rifled through his pockets, pulling out bunches of herbs and more potion star charms, making Riku frown.


“Yeah, yeah, I know.” Sora huffed in annoyance. “Where the heck did I…aha!” Sora pulled out a fistful of yellow flowers, smaller than Riku’s, and looking somewhat worse for wear for their trip in Sora’s pocket. Sora handed them over sheepishly. “They’re from Corona. I cast Still on them, but it must have worn off.”

“They’ll perk up,” Riku said, thinking about a much younger Sora handing him much more squashed flowers. These flowers were sort of like dahlias, a little smaller, with curled petals packed tighter together, paler in the center and darker gold out towards the tips. “Did you find out what they were called? Do they mean anything?”

Sora rolled his eyes affectionately. “They’re yellow. Because you like yellow.”

“Fair enough,” Riku agreed, adding them to the jar one at a time, making sure all their stems were far enough down to get the water. They looked good together, the gladioli and the sleepsbane and the…yellow ones. “They look good.”

“You look good,” Sora said, pushing up on his toes to kiss Riku soundly. Riku wrapped arms around Sora’s waist and kissed him back. Sora tasted like mint, and under that other things from Corona that Riku wanted to ask about, later, after kissing. Sora pushed him back eventually, pink-cheeked, grinning. “Aren’t you up past your bedtime?”

“You should be called ‘sleepsbane,'” Riku said, letting Sora push him back towards bed.

“We make a good pair then,” Sora said, kicking off his shoes and stripping his jacket off. “Since I hear you’re what nightmares fear.”

“Ugh,” Riku groaned, falling back into bed and rolling over to leave enough space for Sora. “I’m still mad you heard that. You’re never going to let me live that down.”

Sora flopped into bed beside him, on his back, grinning up at Riku. “If you wanted me to, you’d quit bringing me the flower for eternal remembrance.”

Riku ran knuckles down Sora’s cheek, then pinched it; Sora grinned harder, eyes sparkling. “Of course that’s the one you remember.”

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