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In Restless Dreams I Walked Alone

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Despite knowing that he could be doing so many other things, Sora was staring up at the ceiling. The work day was long over, but he was still half-laying on the couch, laptop burning a hole on his thighs. He managed to ignore it. He began to count cracks in the paint in the ceiling instead of thinking about anything. 

This, to put it frankly, sucked. He was grateful to be able to continue working, but he could feel his mind turning into soup. Work and life slowly began to blend together to the point where he couldn’t distinguish between the two, and all he wanted to do was curl into a ball and just… well, stare at the ceiling.

Riku tried to keep them both on schedule--waking up at certain times, eating at certain times, so on and so forth. He had a list of movies and TV shows that they wanted to see, so they wouldn’t have to mindlessly flip through the Netflix queue looking for something to watch. He had organized their books into a "read immediately” pile, and he had stacked every single board game they owned in front of the TV. Riku was prepared. Riku was ready to tackle this isolation like it was a challenge and he had all the answers.

But there was something about how rigid Riku had become in the last few days. Sora wanted to stay in bed and cuddle, but Riku just let out a slow breath and rolled out of bed when Sora tried to pull him close. Sora watched the doorway, half-hoping that Riku would come back. When the shower turned on, Sora turned to face the wall.

A soft hum came up from the floor. Shaking himself out of his funk, Sora forced himself to look over to where Riku was crouched over a puzzle. Sora could only see Riku's back, but the stress was obvious from his tense muscles. After a long moment, Sora finally closed his laptop and climbed off the couch. He hesitated for a second before sitting behind Riku, who let out an exhale. Sora rested his head against Riku’s back.

“I hate this puzzle,” Riku muttered. His voice was so soft that Sora could barely hear it. 

Sora gave a soft laugh and nuzzled closer, content when Riku seemed to relax ever so slightly. “I never thought of you as a puzzle person.”

“I’m not, but Kairi and Hayner gave us this one eons ago and I thought ‘Hey, since we’re trapped in the apartment, we might as well try to do this fucking puzzle.’" Riku let out a loud huff, throwing a piece back in the box. "It must have come from Hayner, because Kairi isn’t a monster. It’s black and fucking white and covered in stick figures. Why did we ever let them date? We were so innocent back in college. We never thought that they would team up and become this evil power couple.”

Sora hummed, rubbing a hand on Riku’s back. It was only an hour or so before that Riku had slammed his laptop down and stormed off the couch, cursing his coworkers to oblivion about being ‘so bored’ and for deciding to stop by the park to hang with some friends. He’d clanged stuff around in the kitchen, but apparently that wasn’t enough, because he stormed back to the living room, grabbed a blanket off the couch and wrapped himself in it. He had stared out the window in a simmering rage, before eventually plopping onto the floor in front of the demon puzzle. 

They sat there in silence, with Riku moving every once in a while to put down a piece, before cursing and moving it back to the box. After a while, Sora decided, fuck it, they were going to talk about this.

“Yuna is going to be fine,” Sora said. 

Riku shoulders went tense again. Sora closed his eyes and leaned his head against Riku’s back. Sora half-wondered if he should’ve even said anything, but they had been dancing around the topic ever since Tidus texted them about it days earlier. Better to get it out in the open than to continue this awkward two-step around it.

“She’s staying in one of Tidus’s family’s homes, and she has a ton of food, and she’s recovering, and…” Sora trailed off, rubbing a hand on Riku’s back. “She’ll be okay. She said her fever is finally starting to taper off…” 

Riku let out a huff, looking back down at the puzzle. “It’s just so stupid that she was being forced to work with such shitty protection. She was barely taking care of herself this year… overworked, underpaid... She’s just a resident, barely out of school… They don't even get full weekends, of course she'd be exhausted...”

“It’s not like anyone planned for this to happen, Riku,” Sora said quietly.

“I know,” Riku muttered. “But according to Tidus, she was already run ragged before all this happened. You heard about how little she was eating. And water! Sora, she barely had a cup of water a day! I just—“

And then it was like the fight had gone out of him and he slumped down completely. Sora anticipated this and readjusted himself to hold Riku tightly. 

“I’m just so over all this,” Riku said. “And I know I have it pretty fucking lucky ‘cause, well you’re here. We can kinda cook and this place isn’t huge, but it’s enough. But like... I hate worrying. My parents won’t stay in the fucking house, and I just… want...” He let out a deep breath and covered his face with his hands.

Sora hummed and moved to massage Riku’s head. Riku let out another sigh. It seemed like once a week, one of them snapped. This week, it was Riku’s turn. Sora was just glad his mom had managed to send them face masks, but he also had spent hours on the phone trying to keep her from going to the post office every day to ship them to his cousins and her friends.

He was tired of trying to stay calm, but what else could he do? Completely fall apart?

“Well,” Sora said, pushing himself forward. “We can always video chat them. I’m sure little Shuyin would be happy to see us again, and I’m sure Tidus could use a break.” After they watched Tidus and Yuna’s son a few New Years back, Riku was all Shuyin talked about. “And, once Yuna’s up to it, we can also video chat her. We could send her some food, but Tidus’s teammates are making sure to stop by and drop off food and medicine.”

Riku hummed noncommittally but finally glanced up to Sora. They locked eyes for a while, before Riku looked away with a sigh. “I’m sorry. I’m just being dumb, aren’t I?”

Sora shrugged. “Honestly, this thing is kinda terrifying. Dumb would be like, going to a rave right now. Or to the beach. Or going to Kairi and Hayner’s apartment to strangle them over this stupid puzzle.”

Riku snorted, glancing back at the puzzle. Sora brushed hair from Riku's eyes, and leaned down and kissed Riku’s forehead. Riku turned and leaned closer to Sora, wrapping his arms tightly around the brunet’s waist. 

For a while, they just sat there, letting the wind from the open window rustle in and flow through the apartment. They could hear the sound of music from nearby apartments and dogs barking, but all they could really sense was each other in that moment.

According to Riku’s schedule, during their post-work time, they should be exercising or taking a quick walk around the neighborhood. But just sitting there, wrapped up in each other, seemed like the healthier option.

After some time, Riku pulled back with a sigh. “Did we have a video dinner date set up with someone tonight?”

Sora hesitated, half-frowning. “Yeah, Hayner and Kairi. But we can cancel—“

Riku wiped at his face. Sora cupped Riku's cheek. “It’s fine. We can keep it. I have to blame them for this hellscape of a puzzle anyway.” 

Riku leaned forward, giving Sora a quick peck on the cheek and climbed to his feet to head to the kitchen. Sora stared after him, and when no sound came from the kitchen, he walked over there as well.

Instead of prepping any food, staring blankly into the refrigerator, or, well, anything, Riku was looking down at the stove. Sora approached him and wrapped him in a hug. Riku clung to him tightly.

"I love you," Riku said, mainly into Sora's hair. He gave Sora a tight squeeze of a hug. "No matter what, I love you."

There were so many things that weren't being said, like their frustration, anger, and sadness regarding everything going on. But the only thing Sora could really do was hold on and keep moving forward.

So, Sora nodded and squeezed back.