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Riku ([personal profile] tall_dark_and) wrote2006-12-30 08:54 am

eden's end ; in the castle that never was

Riku's been a very daring boy.

This isn't a surprise really - trying to test his limits is a common practice for him. He's been even more reckless lately, ever since he was locked into the Shadow Realms. It's anybody's best guess as to whether he's doing this as a way to punish himself, or a way to find Sora more quickly.

Probably a mix of both.

He's been in the Castle only a few times, but he hasn't met any danger yet. He's easily sneaked in and out, and taken more than a few books from the library as a trophy. It's enough to give someone who's a little less smart a sense of false safety.

Riku knows better. But he's still acting as if he doesn't, anyway.

Maybe he just wants to see what happens.

So. The scene is set, and the player is placed. Now all that is left is to see the unfolding of events...

In the halls of the Castle That Never Was.

[identity profile] x-marks-the.livejournal.com 2006-12-30 10:24 am (UTC)(link)
If either Riku or Xemnas existed in a world where the French playwright Tristan Bernard had lived, they might have heard the phrase, “In the theatre the audience want to be surprised - but by things that they expect.”

Xemnas knows that Riku has been here more than once, in spite of the fact that the Castle is forbidden territory, strictly off limits under penalty of immediate execution. Ostensibly, at any rate; to watch the boy look around, even take little momentos with him, has given Xemnas a great deal of amusement. Were he so inclined he could ensure that Riku never left the Castle again, because it's not any skill on Riku's part that's letting him get in and out so easily. No, it's Xemnas' word and obedient followers.

Actors must be prepared to improvise, but direct observation is the job of the audience. Riku may think he knows better, but that may also be his weakness. Unpredictability is something that cannot be known save for the fact that it exists. What precisely he should be wary of, or when it will come, is not something that Riku can be know with absolute certainty.

Keeping one's guard up for a long time without cease can be tiring, and sooner or later Riku would have made a mistake all on his own that no one would be able to ignore, entertaining though his actions have been. But simply watching from afar can be tiring as well, tiring and boring. While Riku might expect one of the others to try to stop him, perhaps the Superior himself making an appearance will be at least a bit surprising.

"You are certainly one to push your luck. How many times has it been now?" he questions, emerging from the deep shadow he's been standing in. "Surely you've not run out of reading material already?"

[identity profile] tall-dark-and.livejournal.com 2006-12-30 10:44 am (UTC)(link)
A split-second of surprise, and then Riku is on his guard, an action that can be credited to automatic response. The Way To Dawn is in his hands, and his whole stance is rigid with defense.

"It wasn't luck," he says. "It was stupidity on the part of your members."

[identity profile] x-marks-the.livejournal.com 2006-12-30 11:02 am (UTC)(link)
"Stupidity?" Xemnas tilts his head curiously to one side. "What makes you think it was stupidity?"

He grins then, a disconcerting little grin that's part disbelief and part vicious amusement.

"So young, Riku. So young. And so very, very naive. Did it truly not occur to you that perhaps I've known that you've been paying us little visits? That you've been 'borrowing' things from the library?"

The chuckle that he gives after that is darkly amused.

"Did it not occur to you, Riku, that it might not be stupidity so much as my explicit instructions that you were not to be hindered in any way?"

[identity profile] tall-dark-and.livejournal.com 2006-12-30 11:07 am (UTC)(link)
Riku gives him a Look. His entire stance and demeanor just breathes suspicion. He's really not all that surrpised, but -- "Why would you possibly do that?"

He sees nothing to gain by not killing him.

[identity profile] x-marks-the.livejournal.com 2006-12-30 11:41 am (UTC)(link)
"Why the suspicion? I have no reason to lie to you about that, Riku." Xemnas' entire stance and demeanor are a picture of absolute innocence. It doesn't really suit him, but there you go. It may well be intended to throw Riku off balance.

"As for why I would do it, simply because it entertains me to do so." He shrugs. "You are a novelty, and as such a fascination."

That being the entire reason, or even a significant fraction of it, is less probable than a snowball surviving in hell. Xemnas gestures toward Riku's weapon with his chin.

"You'd lose a lot by killing me. Most significantly, you'd lose your life. What sort of friend would you be then, Riku? Foolishly wasting your chance to escape this World and find Sora by giving in to your anger. So selfish, putting your desires before his well-being. And so arrogant, thinking that you could both defeat me and save him."

Twin blades of red energy extend from Xemnas' palms and are brought to a ready position.

"Of course," he says quietly, "if you insist upon it, I'd be a poor host not to indulge you."

[identity profile] tall-dark-and.livejournal.com 2006-12-30 11:53 am (UTC)(link)
Riku may have reacted to that recklessly, if not for the mention of Sora. That's enough to humble him, and enough to make him lower his keyblade.

"I am not a novelty," he says, with a hint of a sneer.

[identity profile] x-marks-the.livejournal.com 2006-12-30 12:19 pm (UTC)(link)
"Oh, on the contrary. You are a novelty. A creature not of this World, but of the light... And you're trapped here, among we who have no hearts, who are shells that remember all but feel nothing. No, Riku, you are indeed a novelty and a fascination, with your very human drives and ambitions."

The weapons retreat and Xemnas folds his arms over his chest.

"Watching you skulk about has in its own way been interesting, as well. You certainly like to push your luck and take your chances, though this is hardly a place to be reckless. One might refer to you as a 'brave' individual, I believe."

Bravery is not a concept that Xemnas really understands, because it involves principles of sacrificing oneself, or risking doing so, for others based on emotional and moral principles and reasons. But foolishness... Ah, that he understands. He has seen many prime examples of it, and remembers many as well.

"One might also refer to you as... stupid? Foolish. Without due regard for self or surroundings. I could go on."

[identity profile] tall-dark-and.livejournal.com 2006-12-30 12:30 pm (UTC)(link)
Riku plants the keyblade on the ground, now. The strike of metal against the floor rings with a heavy sound, and he leans his weight into the weapon.

"If you want to study me," he says, "You might as well capture me. Lock me like you do the witch, like an animal in a cage."

He wishes, sometimes, that he could get Namine out of their grasp.
Riku dreams about it, sometimes - she's got something about he that draws him closer, something that he would like to explore more fully. But it's hard for him to get to her, and hard for him to get her out - he hardly dares to try, not until he knows their defenses better.

[identity profile] x-marks-the.livejournal.com 2006-12-30 01:02 pm (UTC)(link)
"One can never study the true behaviour of an animal by keeping it caged. I presume the same goes for sentient beings as well. No, Riku, I believe we shall let you wander unfettered, provided you can abide by a few simple rules - though you seem to be having difficulty with that. But I digress. You're far more entertaining when I can watch you following your natural instincts and habits. And believe me, Riku, I do watch you. All. the. time."

The mention of Namine elicits another response, namely a nod as if Xemnas has just had a theory confirmed.

"As for the witch, it would seem that you do have more than a passing concern. I was wondering if it was just a summer thing, or if you really did have some sort of interest, an attraction if you will. How very touching, Riku, very touching indeed. I wonder, is rescuing her from this terrible prison a part of what drives you?"

A knowing smirk creeps over Xemnas' face.

"I also wonder if perhaps there are some other related drives that you may think about acting upon before your sands have run, hm? How long are you willing to wait, Riku? How long can you hold out before you make another foolish, selfish decision?"

[identity profile] tall-dark-and.livejournal.com 2006-12-30 01:17 pm (UTC)(link)
Surprise registers in Riku's eyes, before he shakes his head quickly. "I have no idea what you're talking about," he says, carefully.

He would have no right to think of Namine like that. She was beautiful, and far too untouchable.

"And you better stop 'watching me' all the time, bastard. I'm not here to give you your kicks."

[identity profile] x-marks-the.livejournal.com 2006-12-30 01:31 pm (UTC)(link)
There's a victorious smile at Riku's surprise, but it quickly vanishes. Then Xemnas moves faster than should really be possible, so close to Riku that any attempt by the other to use his keyblade would be more likely to cause self-inflicted injury than hurt his opponent.

"Aren't you?" he questions, before placing a hand on Riku's right shoulder, thumb almost but not quite caressing the side of the boy's neck. Xemnas leans in close, lips brushing against Riku's left ear and voice a deliberately husky whisper when he speaks.

"Be careful about kicking me, little one. You never know, it may turn out that I like things rough."

[identity profile] tall-dark-and.livejournal.com 2007-01-01 06:40 am (UTC)(link)
Riku does not back away - that would be a show of fear, or weakness. Instead, he places his hand on Xemnas' chest, pushing with all of his strength in an attempt to get -him- away.

"Don't pull that crap on me," he says with a growl.

[identity profile] x-marks-the.livejournal.com 2007-01-01 06:53 am (UTC)(link)
"Believe me, Riku, if I were 'pulling crap' on you, you would be very, very aware of the fact. Of that, I can assure you."

Xemnas stands there and lets Riku tire himself a bit with the pushing, then steps back under his own power - out of keyblade range, but possibly still too close for comfort.

"Regardless of your pathetic attempt at retaliation, I believe I've made my point. Don't test me, Riku. I've been lenient thus far. The next time? You may cease to amuse me, and I may change my mind about that leniency."

[identity profile] tall-dark-and.livejournal.com 2007-01-01 08:05 am (UTC)(link)
"I don't care," Riku informs him. "If I have to die to achieve my goals, that doesn't matter."

Even if all he does is leave information behind for Mickey to use. At least he's achieved something, in that case.

And nobody would ever miss him.

[identity profile] x-marks-the.livejournal.com 2007-01-01 08:18 am (UTC)(link)
"Is that what people would consider a noble self-sacrifice? To throw away your life and what you can do because of your metaphorical tunnel vision? Don't be stupid, Riku, I think we both know that you're at least marginally smarter than that."

It's probably not encouragement, at least not in the conventional sense. No doubt Xemnas has his own motives and reasons for saying the words, but what they are, he isn't letting on.

"At the very least think of these people you call friends. I expect that would be angry at you, rather than poised to applaud your martyrdom. And... what of the witch? Would you abandon her so easily? I do not think that you would."

[identity profile] tall-dark-and.livejournal.com 2007-01-01 10:15 am (UTC)(link)
"I'll do whatever's necessary," Riku says, choosing his words carefully, "To ensure that the safety of my friends is assured."

If that requires giving up his life, he does not consider that a stupid choice. It is the least he can do, after what he has pulled in the past.

But it seems that he'll have to make some alternate arrangements for Namine.

(frozen comment)

[identity profile] x-marks-the.livejournal.com 2007-01-01 10:29 am (UTC)(link)
"Then you're a fool." It's said simply, easily. "A statement such as yours is a commitment to a promise that you cannot possibly keep. Circumstances would not allow you to sacrifice yourself all the time.

"For instance, what if you had to choose between your friend Sora and the witch? One or the other, no chance to save both. Who would you murder with your decision? Which one's death would be 'necessary' to save the other?"

[identity profile] tall-dark-and.livejournal.com 2007-01-01 12:01 pm (UTC)(link)
Anger flashes in Riku's eyes. "I refuse to answer that question," he says, his voice dark and low. "And I refuse to play by your games."

He turns on his heel, ready to leave.

[identity profile] x-marks-the.livejournal.com 2007-01-01 12:17 pm (UTC)(link)
The anger is met with amusement. "Your refusal to answer is precisely why you will fail, little one. You cannot bring yourself to consider and contemplate choices that you may well face, and thus you will not be prepared to make them.

"What would you do, if you were to lose them both because you hesitated? Two dead when one could have been spared? Two dead, while you still lived? What would that do to you, Riku? How would that make you feel?

"What happens, I wonder, when a heartless loses his drive, especially in this World? Perhaps before long we'll be treated to the answer."

Then there's a swirl of black mist and the only thing that Riku has his back to is air and the room behind him.

[identity profile] tall-dark-and.livejournal.com 2007-01-01 12:53 pm (UTC)(link)
Riku stands there in silence for a long moment, before making a loud and frustrated noise. He kicks the wall with far too much strength, and then marches off.

Yeah. He's angry.