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Over Oceans

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Kairi sighed as she fidgeted with her Wayfinder charm on her bracelet and picked at the stray cat hair on her skirt. Another week had gone by since Sora entered crunch time. They still hadn’t talked much, mostly through text, but she had told him about her interview today. She was a nervous wreck and could have used a pep talk from him, but Namine had been a shoulder to lean on last night when her anxiety was at its worst. 

At least he was able to send her a “Good luck!” text. She’ll just have to make due with these small things for now, she figured, at least until Heartless was done.

“Kairi Uchida?”

Kairi looked up at the nicely dressed woman standing by the door with a clipboard. She slightly held the door open and looked at her expectantly.

“Yes, that’s me.” Kairi stilled her trembling hands. This was it. Time to put on the confident front Kairi knew how to fake well at this point in her career. She followed the secretary through the door and down a short hallway. The secretary stopped in front of a non-descript door. She opened it and stepped inside. Kairi followed her in.

At the front of the large conference room was a long table with five men in suits seated behind it. They were all looking at her. It was almost like looking like a panel of judges; although, that’s basically what they were. These would be the people that would decide whether or not she would get the lead position that she already knew she was underqualified for. Kairi straightened her spine and moved into the center of the room.

“Candidate number four.” The secretary announced before bowing her head and closing the door.

Kairi smiled confidently and moved towards the table and held her hand out to the first man. “Kairi Uchida. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

“Lexaeus.” The red haired man responded politely as he firmly shook her hand. Kairi moved to the next man, still smiling with her hand extended.

“Vexen.” The next man with long blonde hair introduced himself, also shaking her hand firmly.

“Xemnas. Very nice to meet you Kiari. I’ve heard a lot about you from Xigbar and Aqua.” The man with long white hair in the middle said, shaking her hand with a smile. 

“It’s nice to meet you too, President Xemnas.” Kairi already knew that he was the president of the company, making her palms start to sweat. She tried to physically hold the sweat back until she could at least finish shaking everyone’s hands.

“Xigbar.” Stated the next to last man who had a black eye patch over his right eye. He shook her hand before Kairi moved to the last man.

“Xaldin.” The last man in line with long black hair introduced himself and shook her hand. “Please, take a seat. Let’s get started.” He gestured to the lone chair in the middle of the room, a few feet away from the table.

Kairi nodded and quickly took a seat.

Vexen cleared his throat and then addressed her. “We’ve looked over your resume. Your portfolio is impressive for someone your age with the little amount of experience you have. Not to mention the interview you did with Paopu Fruit Studios. That was unexpected and just goes to show that you have connections that others do not. I’ve also been told that the work you did at Destiny Island Expo was above and beyond what Aqua had expected. Overall, we’ve heard nothing but good things.” The men nodded to each other subtly in agreement.

Kairi’s heart felt as if it would burst out of her chest. There sounded like there might be a ‘but’ attached to what Vexen said. Regardless of the outcome, she’d thank them anyway. “Thank you. That’s high praise coming from all of you.”

Xemnas picked up where Vexen left off. “So that brings us to the lead position. I’m sure you are aware that you have less experience than most of the other candidates do for a position like this, but the high recommendations from Aqua and Eraqus over the Media Department made us want to extend an offer for an interview with you anyway.”

Kairi swallowed and placed her hands in her lap, giving herself a reassuring squeeze. I wish Sora was here. “Of course. Are there any questions I can answer for you? Or any concerns you might have?”

Vexen smiled, but it wasn’t like before. For some reason, Kairi felt a shiver run down her spine. “Yes, we do have a few questions for you that could help with our decision.”

•| ⊱♡⊰ |•

Sora's POV

I hope Kairi’s interview is going okay… Sora looked at his phone to check his texts. She should be in there right about now. 

It had been an excruciatingly long week for Sora and Riku. What made it even worse was how little he had been able to talk to Kairi. That was two weeks in a row now, and just two more weeks of crunch time, then another week before he could make the trip to go see her. He had already been browsing flights as well during the small breaks he took to eat. Imagining going to see her was one of the few bright spots in his day right now.

As he turned back to his computer, a chime sounded in his headset to let him know that he had gotten an email. Since he was already taking a little break, he figured he’d check it. He opened the email to find someone requesting an interview for Heartless. Everything looked professional enough, but oddly, they had only requested his attendance and not Riku’s.

Sora sent Riku a quick text to see if he had a moment to discuss the email. They were still in crunch time, and any time away from the game could be considered time wasted. A moment later, a disheveled Riku opened Sora's bedroom door and flopped down on his bed.

“You good?” Sora asked. Riku usually took good care of his appearance but of course everything was put on the back burner right now.

“I will be in two weeks when we’re done with this shit.” He groaned

Sora chuckled. “Yeah, I know the feeling.” He gestured to his computer screen. “I want you to take a look at this and tell me what you think.”

“What is it?” Riku slowly stood up, grimacing as he rubbed his aching back, and peered over Sora’s shoulder.

“An interview request to talk about Heartless, but they are only requesting for me to come.” Sora answered.

Riku quickly scanned the email and then nodded approvingly. “You should go.”

Sora raised his eyebrows in surprise as he turned to look at Riku. “Really?”

“Yeah, the more eyes we can get on Heartless, the better off we’ll be. Plus, I bet they follow our Twitter and know that we’re in crunch time. I’m sure they figured it’d be better to ask just one of us, and seeing as you’re the more popular one…” Riku shrugged as he trailed off.

“Oh, shut up.” Sora waved his hand in the air dismissively.

“It’s true. But don’t worry. I’m not jealous. I just haven’t had my time to shine yet. Maybe I’ll ask Kairi to do a one-on-one interview with me.” He wiggled his brows, and Sora rolled his eyes.

“Ugh… Well, anyway, they want to do this today.”

“Damn… that’s kind of last minute.” 

“Yeah. I thought so too. Are you sure this is a good idea?”

Riku nodded. “Yeah, but you don’t have to go if you don’t want to.”

“I feel bad leaving you here while I go talk to a journalist.” And Sora really did mean that. It seemed unfair for him to go out while Riku was stuck at his desk for the rest of the day (and night). It wasn’t like he was out having fun, but still…

“We’re both working, just in different ways. Don’t feel bad. Just bring me some food when you come back, and we’ll call it even.” 

Sora smiled. Leave it to Riku to be so easy going about this kind of thing. “Okay, I think I can manage that. I’ll email them back and let them know I’m available.”

“Make me proud, bro.” Riku clapped him on the shoulder before turning to walk out of Sora’s room.

“Always.” Sora replied.

•| ⊱♡⊰ |•

Sora read the email three more times before putting his phone away as he stood in front of one of the nicer hotels on the island.

Sora,

Thank you for responding! Your interview will be at the Swan Hotel & Suites at 3PM on Friday on floor 3 in room 202. We look forward to meeting you!

He wiped his sweaty hands on his jeans and took a deep breath. Hopefully Kairi hadn’t been as nervous for her interview as he was for his… He needed to call her after he finished and see how hers went. After a quick mental pep talk, Sora went inside the hotel.

After riding the elevator up to the third floor and finding the right room, Sora knocked lightly on the door of 202. He wiped his hands on his jeans again as he waited.This was only the second interview he had ever done for their games, and this time it wasn’t with someone he was familiar with. Speaking of… what the hell was the name of this blog again?

Just as he took his phone out, the door slowly opened revealing a cute girl with long blonde braids in a skirt and crop top. “Hi! Come on in!” She said cheerfully.

Sora gave her a smile as he slipped his phone back in his pocket and stepped through the open door into a small suite. It wasn’t nearly as nice as the one Kairi and Namine had stayed in, but it did have a nice sized living space that would be great for photos or video during the interview, Sora thought.

As he looked around, he realized there was no one else in the hotel room beside himself and the peppy blonde. There was also no camera or recording equipment to be seen. Hell, Sora didn’t even see a laptop…

His thoughts were interrupted when the girl put her hand out. “I’m Rikku by the way!”

“Nice to meet you, Rikku. I’m Sora.” Sora shook her hand then realized what he had said. “Well, I guess you already knew that, heh.” He added sheepishly.

Rikku didn’t seem to mind though. “So! Before we get started, I am going to go to the restroom real quick. I’ll be right back! Make yourself comfortable, yeah?”

“Um, sure.” Sora watched her disappear into what he could only assume was the bedroom. With Rikku gone, Sora looked around the living room a bit more before finally settling on the couch. He was still flabbergasted at the lack of equipment. Maybe Rikku had it in the bedroom, and she’d bring it out when she came back? Still, Sora couldn’t shake this uneasy feeling.

He took out his phone again. This time it was to send Kairi a text to see if she was all done with her interview, but Sora was interrupted again just as before.

“What do you think?” He heard Rikku ask.

“What do I think about wh–” Sora had just looked up from his phone to see Rikku in the doorway of the bedroom in a racy yellow lingerie set. His mouth dropped open in surprise. 

Taking this as a good sign, she gave him a sultry smile as she sauntered towards him. “You definitely like it. I can tell.”

“W-what are you doing?” Sora felt frozen in fear and fumbled with his phone. Maybe if he could manage to call someone, he could get the hell out of here, but at this rate he was literally just touching everywhere on the screen. He had no way of knowing if he had actually called someone or just opened the calculator app.

Rikku reached his spot on the couch. She pushed his shoulders against the cushioned back and straddled his hips. “Don’t play coy with me.” She tilted his chin up to look into his eyes. “You know what I’m doing.”

You know what I want.

The memory of the text from Unknown snapped Sora out of his frozen state. “Wait. Stop. I don’t want this.”

Rikku giggled and began to lightly grind against him. “Of course you do. It’s okay. It’s just us. You can give in without feeling guilty.”

Sora’s hands clenched as his sides. “I mean it. I don’t want you. Please get off of me.”

Rikku dipped her head to his ear and whispered. “When are you going to stop pretending and give in?”

He gripped his phone in his hand as he suddenly shoved her off of his lap. She fell straight onto her ass and looked up at him confused. Sora could no longer contain the emotions that were bubbling inside of him as he stood over her. “I’m not fucking pretending. I said no.”

Rikku looked taken aback, but said nothing. Sora turned and went for the door, wrenching it open and letting it slam closed behind him. Sora practically ran to the elevator. His hands shook as he repeatedly pressed the button for the ground floor. He felt like he was going to throw up.

•| ⊱♡⊰ |•

Somewhere else...

“Goddamnit!” They kicked the coffee table as Rikku sat down on the couch, her eyes on the floor. “How am I going to use this footage now?! You couldn’t even seduce him for five minutes! What the hell did I bother paying you for?!” Rikku flinched as their voice continued to rise in frustration.

“I’m sorry… I tried my best…” She said softly.

Their voice dropped to a deadly growl. “Get out.”

Rikku looked up at them, believing she heard incorrectly. There was no way they were sending her out in public dressed in this loud, yellow lingerie. “What?” 

“Get out. Now.” They said through clenched teeth and pointed at the door.

“But I’m not even dressed–” She began to argue, but snapped her mouth shut when they pulled out the same knife from their sleeve that they had shown her the first night they met in the alleyway. Their eyes looked manic as they pointed it at her.

“Get your clothes and get out of my sight before I kill you.”

You didn’t have to tell her more than twice after seeing that knife. Rikku quickly got up and grabbed her clothes from the bedroom. She sprinted out of the door, praying she’d find a closet or something to change in before anyone saw her.

Now then.

They had to come up with something quickly… They needed this to work in order to create a rift of mistrust between Sora and Kairi. They eyed the camera tripod that they had set up in a closet that faced the living room, gears slowly turning in their mind. Well, the video wouldn’t have to have sound, would it? And all they would need is the first few seconds of the video to prove their point, right?

They grabbed the equipment and shoved it into a black duffle bag, determined to get home quickly and edit the video before Sora could tell Kairi anything.

•| ⊱♡⊰ |•

Riku's POV

Riku looked down at his buzzing phone and saw Sora’s name. He smirked as he picked up the phone. “Calling to get my lunch order?”

“Riku…”

Riku’s face fell as Sora’s trembling voice came over the speaker. His playful manner gone, he grabbed his boots from the bedroom floor and began putting them on as he cradled the phone between his cheek and shoulder. “Where are you?”

“O-outside the Swan Hotel. I… I don’t know what to do.” Sora answered tearfully.

“Stay there. I’m on my way.”

A few moments later, Riku pulled up to the front of the hotel on his motorcycle. Looking around, he didn’t see any sign of Sora. He turned off his bike and swept his long hair from his face, giving the benches along the entrance another look. He decided to walk around to the side where there was a small parking area and there sitting down on the sidewalk was Sora, his head in his hands.

“Sora!” He called out to him. The brunette looked up and even from the several feet in between them, Riku could see he had been crying. Riku ran to him, worried out of his mind. What could have happened to make his best friend break down like this? 

Sora could barely talk once Riku was crouched down in front of him. His voice was still thick from crying, and he couldn’t seem to get out a complete thought without going in circles. The most Riku could make out was that the interview had been some kind of set up.

He put his hand out. “Come on. Let’s go home, and we’ll figure things out there.” Sora  took his hand, and Riku helped him to his feet. 

Once they were back home, Riku was seething. He had already made up his mind that whoever had hurt Sora was going to get the ass whooping of their life, but his anger continued to compound as Sora tried to calmly tell him what happened at the hotel. Once he finished, he laid his head down on the kitchen table, inhaling then exhaling slowly. “Sorry for being all emotional and shit.”

“Anyone would be upset after that. Don’t apologize.” Riku said sternly.

“I feel so stupid.” Sora squeezed his eyeys shut, running the event though his mind again.

“Why? You had no way of knowing.”

Sora sighed and peeked up at Riku. “While I was waiting for you, I went back to the email. I can’t find anything on the blog that they said they worked for now. It’s like someone took the website down. I should have realized it was fake.”

“Sora, if you put yourself down one more time for something outside of your control, I am going to ground you for two weeks.” Riku lightly joked, hoping to break the tension just a little bit.

Sora stuck his tongue out at him. Riku was grateful for the small sense of normalcy, but he could tell it was fleeting as Sora put his head back down on the table.

“Why don’t you go take a shower? I’ll have some tea ready for you when you get done.” He patted him gently on the back.

“We’re supposed to be working on our game. I’ve already wasted so much time today, and I have nothing to show for it.” Sora said defeatedly.

“Sora, you were attacked. I don’t know what you are expecting to get done today, but whatever it is, it’s not happening. I know you probably don’t want to hear this, but,” Riku tried to say it as gently as possible, “we need to go to the police.”

Sora’s head snapped up, his eyes wide with fear. “The police?!”

“Yes.” Riku said firmly. “How many others do you think they’ve done this to? What if they try again on someone else?”

“Riku, I don’t think I can go to the police. It’s just…” He trailed off then added quietly, “It’s too much.”

Riku sighed. “Well, let’s just start with you taking care of yourself. Go shower.” 

Sora nodded a bit reluctantly but did leave the table to go shower. After Sora closed the door to the shared bathroom, Riku grabbed Sora’s phone. He had just planned to look at the email from the fake journalist, but right as he unlocked it, the phone began to buzz with a call. It was Kairi.

Riku debated on whether or not to answer it. Sora may not be ready to talk about this with her, and he didn’t want to tell her before Sora had the chance to tell her himself. But if he didn’t answer it, Kairi might worry. “Fuck it.” Riku accepted the call. “Hey Kai, it’s Riku.”

“Oh. I wasn’t expecting you to answer. Where’s Sora?” Kairi asked. Her voice sounded… off.

Riku quickly came up with an excuse. “He’s a little busy right now, but I’ll tell him to call you back.”

“...Are you covering for him?”

Riku blinked twice. What the hell? “What are you talking about?”

“Are. You. Covering. For. Him?” She enunciated, anger becoming prevalent with each word that she said.

Riku practically face-palmed, but kept it together for Sora’s sake. Be cool, be cool. “Kairi, I don’t know what you mean by that. He’s in the shower.”

“Oh, so he’s back from her place then?” She asked snidely.

Her place? “What?... Please explain to me what the hell you are talking about.” Riku was getting more and more confused as this phone call went on.

He heard her exhale sharply. “Someone sent me a video.”

“Okay?”

He could almost imagine her foot tapping, a hand on her hip. “Of Sora. With a girl in lingerie.” 

Riku squeezed his eyes shut and rubbed his temple. So that’s what this is about. “Oh fuck…”

“So he is cheating on me then?” She accused.

“Nononono.” Riku was up out of the kitchen chair and pacing back and forth now as he tried to come up with how to explain to Kairi what happened without taking away Sora’s control of the situation. “You know he’s not the kind of person to do that.”

“Riku, there’s a video. What else am I supposed to think?” Her anger was beginning to blend into tears as he heard her trying to hold back a sniffle.

“Maybe just… trust him?” Riku breathed out a curse word before he dove into, what he hoped, was a fair explanation. “Some shit went down today. Bad shit. I don’t know if or when he’ll be ready to talk about it, but do not accuse him of cheating until you hear him out.”

“...okay.” She didn’t sound convinced, but Riku didn’t really have the time to continue to argue with her when he needed to take care of Sora.

“I’ll tell him that you called when he gets out. I wouldn’t expect a call back tonight though. We have some things to do.”

Kairi huffed on the other end of the phone. “I can’t believe he’s putting a game over this.”

Riku threw his hand up in the air in frustration. “It’s not about Heartless, Kairi. I’m going to try to get him to go to the police station.”

Kairi went silent for a moment, taking in what he had just said. Riku worried that he had said too much, but it was too late to take it back. “...What? The police station? Riku, what the fuck happened?”

Riku let out a slow exhale, trying to reign everything back in. He’d just have to apologize to Sora later. “I think he should be the one to tell you that, but I will say that he didn’t consent to that woman doing anything to him. And I know he didn’t know he was being recorded. In fact, can you send me that? We’re going to use it as evidence. That’s if I can convince him to go to the police.”

“Is he okay?” All of the anger was gone from her voice. Riku began to relax a little bit. Crisis averted. For now.

“I don’t know. He’s not himself right now.” He answered honestly.

“Please take care of him.” She sounded sincere. God, they really are made for each other… It’s disgustingly sweet. Gag me.

He nodded as if she could see him. “I always do. But for real, please reserve judgment until you hear from him. Sora cares about you a lot. He would never intentionally hurt you.”

“...Okay.” At least she sounded calmer now. “I’ll wait for him to call. Please keep me updated if you can. I’m worried.”

“I will. And send me that video.” Riku was already formulating a plan in his head. If he could at least trace the video back or find out who the girl was, he could take all of that to the police.

“Will do.”

“Thank you. Talk soon, Kai.”

“Bye, Riku.”

Riku hung up and sighed. He was both mentally and physically exhausted at this point, but his job wasn’t done. As he went to open Sora’s email, he realized the last app open on his phone was the camera. Riku opened the app and saw there was a video recorded from the time Sora was in the hotel. He hit play.

While the picture was of mostly a white ceiling, he could hear Sora and the woman talking clearly.

“W-what are you doing?”

 “Don’t play coy with me. You know what I’m doing.”

“Wait. Stop. I don’t want this.”

Riku quickly closed the video, his stomach turning from just hearing the dialogue. He knew he had to convince Sora to go to the police. This chick needed to be stopped. And… part of him knew that this had something to do with the Unknown texts. The photos of Sora and Kairi, the surveillance on both of them, the video that was just sent to Kairi: it all pointed at the stalker. 

Riku didn’t care if the stalker was a girl or not; they would get theirs soon enough. Karma was a bitch, but Riku could make Karma look like a walk in the park when it came to fucking with his friends. And this was his best friend. They would be lucky if they made it out alive when he was done with them.

『♡』•『♡』•『♡』•『♡』