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A Little Help

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“Hey, Riku—” hop, “can you—” hop, “help me, real quick?” 

Sora stood on his tiptoes, stretched out as far as his limbs would go, aiming up to the highest point of the arched doorway. Even his red Christmas sweater, too big for him, had ridden up to his belly button from his many hops and reaches. His fingers missed the top by nearly a whole foot— so, without a stool, it was impossible.

Riku didn’t manage to suppress his chuckle as he walked over, and still didn’t lose his smile when Sora rested back on his feet and crossed his arms, lips set in a full-bottom-lipped pout. “Don’t laugh at me, Riku!” Sora said, though his tone lacked any upset.

Tilting his head, Riku laughed again, soft and fond. “Sorry, sorry, it’s just—” 

“Don’t say it! I’m not short; you’re just... freakishly tall!” Sora concluded. His pout slipped into a grin when Riku stood in front of him, reinforcing that Riku was more than a whole head taller. Perhaps they stood a little too close together, but it couldn’t be helped — the doorway didn’t give them much room.

Glancing up, Riku spied that there was already a hook in place, ready for whatever Sora had been trying to hang. Eyebrows raised expectantly, he outstretched his hand and tried to stamp down all his spiraling thoughts about their proximity. 

Sora stuck his tongue out and placed something in his palm — just from the texture, it was some sort of plastic plant. That made sense — just an hour ago, Sora was stringing up garlands of fake pine needles, maple leaves, pinecones, berries, popcorn, and flowers Riku didn’t know the name of. Honestly, he thought Sora was going overboard this year, but after so many solitary Christmases, he couldn’t and wouldn’t voice a single complaint. Just seeing Sora’s eyes lit up in starry-eyed wonder at the Christmas tree ornaments made all the effort worth it.

When Riku nodded, Sora’s eyes lit up now, too — though there were no stringed lights around, his blue eyes glittered like the snow in Arendale. Even his cheeks were tinged with pink like he was cold, a perfect outline of his pretty freckles scattered across his cheeks and nose bridge. Had he really been trying that hard to hang this thing up, to become flushed? And gee, he didn’t need to look so… hopeful, anticipating — of course Riku would help him out. But Riku couldn’t look away, couldn’t tear his eyes away from Sora’s radiant light, even as he lifted his arm to hang the fake plant.

Sora didn’t look away either, for which Riku was grateful; he had to try a few times to blindly hang the decoration up successfully. But when he did, he said, “There. Got it,” and oh— he didn’t mean for his voice to be that soft and low. He felt like he’d said everything in just those three words, and it made his chest clench.

He broke away from Sora’s stare to look anywhere else, rapidly trying to think of a way to play off this moment Riku was having, probably all created in his head anyway, and--

Then, what he saw above him -- the decoration he hung up -- was a bundle of green leaves and white berries, held together by a red ribbon. He knew this plant’s name: mistletoe.

“Yeah,” Sora replied, slowly, and all too quiet and shy for someone always excited as he was, “You got it.”

Riku felt like he turned back to Sora in slow motion, like his thoughts were racing so fast it made time itself slow down in order to properly process it all. But -- Sora knew what mistletoe was, right? What it meant when it was above them? Why else would he stay in the doorway with Riku? Or maybe he didn’t know, and that's why? But then, why did Sora’s face still look so hopeful, holding his breath with a small, nervous smile? 

Riku blurted out before he could stop himself, “Sora, did you--?”

“Uuuuhh, haha, uhm,” Sora said, now his turn to break eye-contact. He put a hand behind his head in a very-Sora-esque gesture and rubbed the back of his head. “Yeah, maybe? I thought-- well, if you wanted to, I mean--” 

Was Sora asking if Riku wanted to kiss him right now?

Was this a set up?

Riku blinked once. Twice. Three times. “You-- you could have just asked.”

As soon as the words were out of his mouth, Riku wanted to take them back -- it was entirely presumptuous that this whole thing wasn’t a big misunderstanding, right? And he probably sounded like a jerk, which definitely wasn’t what he meant at all, and-- oh god, did he mess this up? 

Sora bit his lip, blush now in full swing. When their eyes met, Riku’s stomach erupted in butterflies -- you’d think he’d be used to it by now, but no. Everything Sora did coaxed Riku’s most intense emotions out until they physically manifested. 

“Really?” Sora asked, and it was so honey-golden sweet, and sincere, that Riku felt a little lightheaded.

Dumbly, Riku nodded, feeling as if the ground had somehow tied him in place. He watched Sora’s face for any sign of miscommunication, but no, all Riku could see is the bubbling excitement, nervousness, in his shifting eyes and shuffling feet. 

On autopilot, Riku took one of Sora’s hands -- it was his go-to gesture to comfort Sora, and it worked this time, too. Sora’s hand was warm, fingers calloused and crooked, but they fit into Riku’s hands perfectly. Riku exhaled a breath he hadn’t known he’d been holding, fear slowly melting away. Sora released a breath, too, and stared up at him. There was a spark, the glittering in Sora’s blue eyes like firework bursts, and then resolve.

Sora leaned back up on tip-toes, and Riku gravitated forward to meet him. Feeling as though this whole interaction had to be a dream, Riku watched as Sora’s eyes slipped closed and leaned in until their lips inevitably met.

Sora’s lips… were soft. Surprisingly so. Granted, he’d taken to using chapstick religiously, leaving his lips with a shine and suppleness that Riku had stared at too many times. He could taste and smell the chapstick even now -- it was a vanilla scent, warm and sweet. There was a mint taste too, but -- oh right, Sora had eaten some candy canes earlier, huh. There was something so… Sora about it, that all at once it finally clicked. Sora was kissing Riku. Right now.

If he hadn’t been kissing back, he did now. Just a small pressure, one with slight disbelief and overwhelming bliss. He’d pulled Sora closer at some point, because Sora’s weight was on his chest, and Riku’s free hand in Sora’s mid-back. Riku could feel Sora’s fingers against the back of his upper arm, like he wanted to draw nearer. His heart beat so loudly in his chest, surely Sora felt it, but maybe that’d be a good thing -- every single one was for him anyway. Riku wished, for once, selfishly, that he could stop time, keep Sora’s lips on his forever, their warmth and promise and relief--

But, Sora pulled away slow, eyelashes fluttering as he opened his eyes. His lips grew into a smile and with wonder Riku realized it was all for him.

“I, uh--” Sora giggled at himself, shy at the words he wanted to say, “I’d been wanting to do that for awhile.”

“Me too,” Riku replied, and suddenly Riku was smiling, too. His lips tingled pleasantly. Sora beamed up at him, and Riku squeezed his hand.

Suddenly, from Sora’s sweater pocket, Sora procured several more bundles of mistletoe. With a sly grin, he held them up. “Wanna hang up some more? I can’t… reach high enough, you know.”

Riku ignored his heart skipping a beat in his so-full chest. “Sora... ,” he chuckled, “you lead.”