A/N: Plot-wise, not a lot done, but it was just loads of fun to write, and it's a good lean-in for the character focus that I said I'd be taking with this final arc. That said, I hope you all enjoy it.
Kingdom Hearts III: The Revival
Act Three: Scene Two
- A Serenade of Awkward Shenanigans -
"How is he, Doctor?" Kairi asked as she saw a Dreamweaver medic leaving the room and into the hallway.
"The procedure was a success, although he will need to take it easy for the next few days. He should be able to be up and walking about by tonight or tomorrow depending on his resilience," the doctor explained. "At any rate, you can go in if you'd like. He's awake now."
"Thank you," Kairi smiled before looking beside her. "Let's go, Sora."
The Key Bearer nodded agreeably before he and the Dreamweaver princess gently pushed the door open, slight nervousness causing their heart rates to pick up. This was the first time they really did 'meet', after all. Despite having spent so many long hours training under his tutelage, there was something meaningful about seeing someone in person, and thus having not had the privilege to do so until now, Sora and Kairi both succumbed to their nervous ticks as Sora subtly grabbed one elbow with his arm, Kairi bringing her hands behind her back looking aimlessly about the room as they both walked forward.
"Lady Kairi, Master Sora. This is a surprise," a familiar voice rang through their ears, although it was lacking its usual resonant echo.
"Did you think us not the kind of people who would visit, Atticus?" Kairi frowned playfully.
"It's a pleasant surprise, of course," the older soldier smiled warmly. "I'm privileged to be visited by the pair of you. You have both done really well."
"Almost…" Sora looked down sadly. "Lady Evelyn was…"
"I know, Master Sora," Atticus didn't wish him to finish. "She will be missed. Not having her here is a terrible loss. I'm sure the Dreamweavers are taking this pretty hard."
"They are," Kairi replied. "Most of them have remained in their quarters since we've arrived, just coming out for meals."
"Speaking of which," Atticus looked around the room, his surroundings brimming with a certain familiarity, "where are we, exactly? I'm afraid I lost consciousness immediately after our arrival."
Sora and Kairi looked at each other, pausing for a moment.
"The Kingdom of Ultair," Sora answered finally, "what's left of it, anyway."
Even during their final hours of preparation, Sora and the others were not informed as to where the evacuation portal was going to lead them. The only ones who knew of its location were the Council and Lady Evelyn. Upon arriving, however, Ariannas was the first to recognize the location as she recalled certain landmarks that were unmistakably those that only belonged to Ultairian lands. Puzzled as to why they picked the presumed to be desolate Kingdom of Ultair as their place of escape, the Council then informed the rest of the group that upon their investigation of neighbouring worlds that would be best suited for their survival, they picked up life forms on the world of Ultair.
"Life forms?" Atticus asked. "That's impossible. Ultair was completely wiped out by Nocenarus. There was nothing left."
Nocenarus did wipe out most of the Kingdom. This much was true when one observed the Keyblade ruins that surrounded its dry, tarnished lands. But what Atticus failed to take into account was the evacuation procedures that were in place the moment he, Ventus and Ariannas went into battle to fend off Nocenarus' invasion. Although it seemed unlikely considering the magnitude of the damage Nocenarus was able to inflict, there were survivors among the Ultairian populace, and among them was an entire division of the Ultairian military, most of them being part of the militia groups that were only mobilized when the threat of Nocenarus were at its greatest.
During their trek across the deserted plains, a reconnaissance group first intercepted Sora and the others and demanded both their identification and intentions for coming to Ultair—although it was hardly possible for any of them to really tell where they were if not for Ariannas' memory of the landscape.
"Master Ariannas said something to them, sounded like a code or something. At rate any rate, they brought us back here to this safe hold," Sora said. "Chances are things would've gone bad if she weren't there to negotiate."
"It's just protocol," Atticus explained. "We have certain ways to identify ourselves to let others know we're on the same side. During the war, reconnaissance and stealth operations were really common, so often we were never dressed in our own attire and had to rely on a plethora of other ways to communicate with our allies while not giving away our cover."
Sora and Kairi nodded.
"How do you feel, Atticus?" Kairi asked suddenly. "The reason you lost consciousness when we arrived was because the Dreamweaver medics had immediately begun the Restoration process on you while we were traveling."
Atticus took a moment to inspect his arms, his legs, even running his hands through his hair. He figured Ariannas and Ventus had the same experience when they first materialized, but for Atticus it was a long time coming. The Chaser captain still felt the paralysis that prevented him from being able to stand or even move his legs, but he knew enough about the restoration process to know that it would only be a matter of time before he regained most of his mobility.
At that moment, a light knocking came upon the door, attracting the attention of the room's three occupants as Sora and Atticus turned their heads toward the door.
There was a faint glow in Kairi's eyes as she spoke. "She's been standing out there for almost ten minutes now, but I think she's mustered the courage now."
"May I come in?" a muffled voice asked from behind the door.
"Please do," Atticus said courteously.
As Kairi predicted it would be, a Weaver field hardly making it a guess, a plainly dressed Ariannas approached the three of them, her face riddled with expressions of bashfulness and humility. It had been a while since she got to see her captain, but evidently Ariannas' reaction to their reunion was quite different than the one Ventus had when they first arrived at the Land of the Dreamweavers. But perhaps it was a different feeling to reunite with Atticus in person as opposed to seeing him as a glowing beam of light behind a glass cage.
Kairi and Sora nodded at each other before turning toward the door.
"We'll talk again later, Atticus," Kairi said cheerfully. "Hope you get back on your feet soon."
"We'll let the others know you're okay," Sora added.
"Thank you, Lady Kairi, Master Sora."
Atticus watched as Kairi and Sora took their leave before turning his attention back to Ariannas, who, since she arrived, found it hard to look at her captain straight in the eye. Her eyes remained fixated on the floor, sometimes trailing onto the the design of the bedsheets, but always consciously looking way from him—even having his face in her periphery made her uncomfortable.
"Is this how you greet your captain, Ariannas?" Atticus badgered her playfully.
Ariannas fought back the tears that she felt welling up in her eyes. She promised herself not to look any more foolish in front of her commanding officer, but it seemed that was also going to be a trying task.
"What's wrong, Ariannas? This is unlike you."
"I've been a disappointment to the organization," Ariannas lowered her head. "And I can't excuse any of my actions. So… if there's anything you want to have me do, turn in my Keyblade, disband me from the Chasers, I'll do anything you ask."
Atticus looked her over sternly. She was serious, he thought as he watched her stand ever so still; her posture unnaturally straight and her arms placed cleanly at her sides. It was clear that she had thoughts of retribution flowing through her mind.
"Well, first you could tell me how your body is," Atticus said calmly. "Have you been treated by the medics?"
Ariannas was flustered by his response. "Umm... yes, I've been treated, just bruises and minor lacerations, but nothing serious. Ven…" Ariannas felt herself choke on the word. "It's Ven who's in worse shape than I am…"
Atticus nodded before closing his eyes, leaning his head against the headboard of the bed. "How do you feel?"
Ariannas blinked, feeling somewhat confused. "Well… a little worn out but—"
"I don't mean that," Atticus interrupted. "Nemas' brainwashing, your fight with Ventus, the emotions you had during that period, how do you feel about it?"
"It's hard…" Ariannas responded. "They felt… very real. Even now, I still don't think they were entirely unfounded. A part of me still believes in those thoughts and emotions and it makes me feel horrible."
"Having wished the two of you would've come for me… thinking that the principles of Ultair were a lie… that the world is riddled with lies and deceit," Ariannas trailed on. "Am I terrible person?"
"I don't think so," Atticus shook his head. "Everyone has desires and expectations that often go unfulfilled, and the disappointment and discontentment that follow are as natural as the feelings we get when things do happen the way we want them to. You can be angry that Ventus and I were not there for you, and you can believe that the world is one huge lie if you really wanted to, but what you think and what you do are two different things, Lieutenant."
Ariannas remained silent, listening attentively.
"There were times where even I thought what we were fighting for was a waste of time, and that there was nothing we could do to win the war, and that His Majesty put too much faith in me. Even now I regret that I could not protect him and Lady Renalyn, but what's now important to me is making sure that Lady Kairi is protected, and that she, Sora and all the Dreamweavers remain safe," Atticus explained. "Forget everything that's happened. What do you want to do now is all you need to consider."
Ariannas nodded, feeling his words fill her with more confidence. "I want to help."
"And you're very welcome to that, Lieutenant," Atticus said jovially. "Things are different these days, Ariannas. We have a unique group of individuals working with us, and they all have their own backgrounds and histories that have gotten them here. Be mindful of that and value their opinions. This is their fight now just as much as it is ours."
"Yes, Captain," Ariannas gave him a salute.
"I don't believe you," came the response of a stubborn Ultairian soldier.
"I can't deal with this, can someone please tell this guy I'm not a bad guy?" Riku felt his patience growing thin.
Leon was the first to volunteer as he explained to the young soldier the concept of Twilight dwellers. Although Cloud was also part of this rare group of individuals, it was easier for him to go by security and onward into the residential quarters as the only weapon of interest he had for inspection was his Buster Sword, something that could easily be categorized as a normal bladed weapon. Riku, on the other hand, had his Way to Dawn Keyblade inspected and consequently found himself under suspicion once they found that powers of darkness helped power the Keyblade. The idea of someone using the powers of darkness to serve their own genuine will was a foreign one, one that this security guard of Ultair clearly refused to accept.
"Do you seriously think if he was a bad guy, we'd be able to be this friendly with your people, and this deep in your land?" Leon said.
"Stealth operations are no stranger to me. I have every right to be suspicious! In fact, I should place all of you in interrogation for vouching for this man!"
"That's enough, soldier," a tired voice called from behind the guard. "They're with me."
"M-Master Ventus!" the soldier stammered. "You shouldn't be walking around in your condition!"
The once again bandaged and crutch-ridden Ventus waved the concern away as he gently shifted his weight onto one side. "I made them run some errands for me due to my condition, so hurry up and let them pass."
"Told you," Riku hissed at the now cooperative soldier. "You need to get with the times. Not everyone with dark powers is an enemy."
"You tell 'em Riku!" Yuffie added.
"And you stop mocking me! You've done nothing but make fun of me ever since we got here!" Riku retorted. "Gosh Leon, keep your girl on a leash."
Leon stumbled forward nearing tripping, unprepared for the comment. "W-What?"
Yuffie felt the heat rise in her cheeks. "Leon wouldn't dare…"
"Don't be silly!" Leon barked defensively.
"W-What! You mean you would!? You mean you'd leash me to the bed and do all sorts of those naughty things to me? You don't have a dominant-submissive fetish, do you, Leon?" Yuffie's face became more flushed.
"What the hell are you talking about!" Leon yelled.
"Whoa whoa whoa, massive overshare! Do not want to hear!" Riku plugged his ears, trying to drown the sound of Yuffie's voice.
"But Riku said 'leash', then I said you wouldn't dare, then you said 'don't be silly' and—"
"Expression, Yuffie! It's an expression!" Leon said. "Why would I physically put a leash on you? For goodness sakes…"
"Wait wait," Cloud interrupted, looking at Leon, then at Yuffie, then back at Leon. "When did you two start going steady?"
"Huh? No!" Leon was reaching his limit. "You are all driving me insane!"
"So you're not going out?"
"Umm… you can all go through now…" the entrance guard said sheepishly, intimidated by the group of individuals in front of him.
The rowdy group of outsiders made their way deep inside the residential quarters when the escorting Ventus stopped suddenly, turning toward Cloud. "Cloud Strife, right?"
"Yes, that's right," Cloud nodded.
"King Mickey dropped off a woman earlier today who checked in saying she's an acquaintance of yours. I think the name was… Tifa Lockhart?"
Cloud's eyes lifted at the sound of her name. "Yes, she's a friend of mine."
"Because of the large number of Dreamweavers who arrived a week ago, our rooms are now in very short supply so I took the liberty of registering you and her to the same room. This way at least she'll be in the company of people she knows. Is that okay?"
"That's fine, thanks for the consideration," Cloud nodded.
"Oh, and tell Tifa to meet us in the common room. We have some people we'd like to introduce to her," Leon instructed.
"Will do," Cloud replied before taking his leave from the group, heading toward the stairs.
After watching Cloud disappear up the stairway leading to the floor above, devious expressions painted the faces of Riku and Yuffie as they couldn't help but snicker as they locked gazes with Ventus, while a bystanding Leon let out a sigh, shaking his head.
"Satisfied?" Ventus asked.
"Very," Riku and Yuffie said simultaneously. "There isn't really a shortage of rooms, is there?"
"You kidding? I could use an entire floor for myself if I wanted to and there would still be enough rooms for both the Dreamweavers and the soldiers here," Ventus replied.
"Ohh you're good," Yuffie laughed. "I knew it was a good idea to ask you."
"Not so fast," Ventus said. "I did my part, now you have to keep your end of the bargain. I want that floor clear, you understand? I've already relieved the appropriate guards of their posts. You guys need to take care of the rest."
"Of course, this kunoichi doesn't go back on her word," Yuffie looked over at her blue-haired comrade. "Let's get to work, Riku."
With only Leon and Ventus left walking down the hallway of the third residential floor, an air of seriousness began to creep around them as the pair felt each other's feelings of concern and anxiety seep out of them, almost as if their thoughts were unified as another moment passed by.
"So what's our current plan against Nocenarus?" Leon asked finally.
"The Ultair division is currently too busy with registering the Dreamweaver refugees into the facility, so any grand scale meeting in regards to our plan of action will be postponed until a later date. However, there is still the matter of what your group will be doing in regards to this matter," Ventus said.
"Is there something you wanted us to do?" Leon inquired further. "Nocenarus is someone you Chasers have fought before, so we have a lack of expertise on the topic."
"I don't know yet. This isn't something we planned for," Ventus winced as he accidentally pressed too hard on one foot. "For now, organize a formal meeting among your group, and send for me and Ariannas when you're ready. I think it's important that we be there when you discuss."
"I understand," Leon said agreeably as he continued down the hall, his room only a few more doors down.
Up on the fourth floor, Cloud carefully eyed each door number as he progressed further down the hallway. Tifa was here? Why did King Mickey take the time to transport her all the way to Ultair? Cloud pondered these thoughts silently to himself as he passed by Room 406, wondering for a moment who would eventually occupy the room. There was no telling how long they would be at Ultair, but for whatever the duration, he had hoped he'd at least have some nice neighbours during their stay.
Finally stopping at Room 408, Cloud reached for the knob, surprised to find no resistance when he began to twist it. The door was unlocked. Was that normal? Shrugging off all suspicion, Cloud quietly entered the room and closed the door behind him. The rooms of Ultair were certainly unlike what he saw in the Land of the Dreamweavers. Instead of rigid, uneven rock protrusions for ceilings and walls, the room was exceptionally well-made, paved drywall and crown molding surrounding the edges of the ceiling. Instead of modestly sculpted lamps and candlesticks and poorly trimmed linen for blankets and pillows, high-quality satins and silks, embroidered with complex designs, along with elaborate antiques as accessories surrounded the room. There was an uncanny resemblance between Room 408 and the room he stayed in during Donald's wedding at Disney Castle, but that was natural when both belonged to that of Kingdoms.
The sound of faint humming alerted Cloud as he looked to locate where it was coming from. It grew louder within moments as he heard another door open, the sound of the humming growing louder still as a freshly showered Tifa Lockhart wrapped in a dangerously small white towel stepped out, her eyes closed as she combed back her damp black locks.
"Yuffie? Is that you?" Tifa peeked one eye open as she caught sight of a darkly clothed man standing completely frozen a few feet in front of her. His eyes instinctively investigated the exposed flesh on her body, watching as a few drops of water fell from the tips of her hair onto her shoulders, then down her arm, then finally onto the floor. Tifa flushed a deep crimson. He was staring far too long!
"Cloud!" Tifa ran for the closet, grabbing a long coat off its hangar before covering herself with it. "You pervert!"
"E-Eh?" Cloud stuttered before turning his head away, his eyes shifting back and forth uncontrollably. His heart rate picked up dramatically, and he was finding it hard to breathe as he began to panic, the image of Tifa's dripping wet form plaguing his thoughts. "I-I didn't mean—I mean I was just going to… it's not like I wanted to—this isn't my fault!"
"Oh please! You just happened to stumble into my room? You have to make a conscious decision to enter a girl's room! You don't just accidentally walk into one!" Tifa felt the heat of the long coat rub uncomfortably against her wet skin.
"First of all, your door was unlocked! Second, this is also my room! I'm allowed in my own room!" Cloud replied, his back still turned to her as he argued.
"Huh? What are you talking about?" Tifa's tone suggested she was unconvinced.
"Lieutenant Ventus assigned both of us this room! I'm telling you the truth!" Cloud felt like he was going to pass out.
"That has to be a mistake. I was told Yuffie was going to be my roommate," Tifa drawled her words as she tried to make sense of the matter in her head.
"Huh?" Cloud instinctively began to turn, confused by Tifa's words.
"Hey! Don't turn around!" Tifa badgered her childhood friend.
"Can you hurry up please and put on some clothes then!" Cloud brought his hands to his eyes, completely overwhelmed by the situation.
"But my clothes… are in the dresser in front of you," Tifa muttered softly.
Cloud looked down at the dresser below him, his hands having rested comfortably on the surface for the past few moments. "For goodness sakes… I can just leave and come back!"
"Stay where you are!" Tifa yelled.
"I'm covering my eyes!"
"I don't care!"
"Why are you being so difficult!"
"You always peeked! Always!"
"I was a little kid! I was immature!"
"I still don't trust you!" Tifa insisted on her own judgment. It was obvious to even her that her suspicions were a little over the top. But having become flustered by Cloud's sudden visit, her ability to think reasonably also seemed to fly out the window along with her composure as she found herself afraid of any sudden movement made by Cloud's body. She was currently about five meters away from him, and he had his face to the wall. She liked it that way and didn't want to compromise it.
"Well what are we going to do then, Tifa? Just stand here forever until someone else comes in here? And you better pray it's a woman," Cloud kept his eyes fixated on the wall.
Even if it was a woman, there was no telling how long it would take for Yuffie or Kairi to get there—was there any reason for them to come? Tifa let out a displeased growl at the situation.
"Hand me some clothes," Tifa instructed suddenly.
"The dresser in front of you. Hand me some clothes," Tifa repeated.
"But I'd have to turn around," Cloud warned her.
"No, you're going to throw them behind you," Tifa explained.
"Are you serious?"
"Yes, now hurry up. Grab me a top from the bottom drawer and a pair of shorts from the one above it," Tifa ordered as she backed toward the door, finally locking it. She now had a handle on the situation, and it would have been just terrible if one of the other guys managed to find themselves on their floor.
Cloud sighed as he dropped to one knee, sliding open each of the drawers to gather the articles of clothing Tifa suggested. He scanned her tops thoughtfully, realizing that he never really knew what sort of outfits Tifa wore. She usually wore a specific uniform when working at Seventh Heaven and it was the same one he'd see her wearing before he'd leave to do his deliveries every morning. He also typically came home late every night and would usually be the last to go to bed, leaving no opportunity to see what sort of house attire Tifa wore when the bar was already closed for the evening. Days off were rare, and the intervals between them were so long that he'd often forget what she had worn the last time they spent a day together with Denzel and Marlene, leaving him at a loss when he eyed each of her tops carefully, thinking which one to choose.
"What're you doing," Tifa voiced suddenly, interrupting his thoughts. "You have the right drawer, right?
"Yeah, just..." Cloud looked off to the side, a stupid expression on his face. "I can't choose which top to give you."
"Oh my god, Cloud. Any top will do!" Tifa exclaimed. "I bought all of them! So there isn't a top I won't like!"
Fine, Cloud thought as he grabbed a bright red tank top from the drawer with a nice little white orchid design on the back. After choosing, the blonde-haired swordsman moved up a drawer, eyeing the various folded pant-ware, his attention focused solely on Tifa's request for shorts. He eventually settled upon a pair of loose khakis that in his estimation would've cut off at mid-thigh—not that the length and amount of leg exposure was something he purposely wanted to manipulate.
"Here," Cloud tossed the two articles of clothing behind him. He heard the clothes hit the carpeted floor, evidently falling short of his target, but he heard Tifa's footsteps quickly approach to pick them up and return back to her original position. "Now hurry and get dressed. I can't believe I'm being forced to stand here like this."
"Cloud…" there was a hint of misery in Tifa's voice.
"What is it now?" Cloud growled.
"… I need underwear too."
Cloud gulped hard.
She clearly did not think this idea through, Cloud thought, his hands beginning to shake as he reached for the handles of the drawer, pulling it open.
Awkwardness set in as Tifa watched Cloud go through her underwear drawer. There was something extremely perverted about the way Cloud went about looking through her underwear drawer—which was perverted enough already. But watching the entire thing happen while his back was to her gave an unnecessary erotic element of mystery to it. But if there was anything to ease her mind about the situation, it was the fact that Cloud was a guy she had known since they were children. While strange to say, if there were any guy she would have to trust with her underwear in this predicament, she most certainly had the right guy.
"Right… so I thought because your tank top was red, I picked a red bra thinking maybe it would help…"
"Very good, Cloud. You've learned something today about women's fashion," Tifa coaxed sarcastically.
"But umm… your…" Cloud didn't want to say the word. "… Did you want red as well? Or…"
"Damn it, Cloud! Stop thinking about it so much! I already told you anything's fine because they're all mine!"
"But this is underwear! I thought maybe you're a little more particular about it!"
"Why would I be? No one's going to see it!"
"If that's the case, how come you have so many colours!?" Cloud asked.
"Oh my god, this is so embarrassing," Tifa covered her eyes. "Just give me the red one then… my goodness…"
Cloud quickly complied as he grabbed both items and threw them behind him, hearing them once again hit the floor. He could've sworn he had aimed a little better, but there was much margin of error when one's back was turned.
It was Tifa's turn to feel the heat as the image of Cloud throwing her underwear onto the ground made her heart begin to race. Was she becoming perverted as well? There was something wildly thrilling about the idea, and Tifa found herself afraid of investigating that particular thought in greater detail, afraid that she might discover a part of herself she didn't think she had, and having Cloud within five meters of grabbing distance when such a discovery came to be would definitely become a dangerous situation.
The sounds of Tifa slipping into her clothes were driving Cloud insane, and the worst part was he had no idea why she was suddenly having this effect on him. Of course, it wasn't like they had thought of testing out the idea before—heaven forbid—but Cloud didn't think he was capable of harbouring such impure thoughts toward Tifa. Maybe he really was a pervert, he thought. Shame on you, Cloud. You should know better.
"Alright, you can turn around," Tifa sighed, exhausted about the entire endeavor.
Cloud slowly turned his body, still cautious about the idea of looking in Tifa's direction—she had only yelled at him for the past few minutes about it; further discretion was definitely warranted. He felt some relief after he confirmed that she was indeed, fully clothed in the outfit he had picked out for her.
"Did Ventus seriously say we were supposed to room together?" Tifa asked once again.
"Yes, that's what he told me. I wouldn't lie about something like that," Cloud leaned against the dresser, this time his back to the wall.
"Well… that would make things complicated," Tifa crossed her arms.
"How many beds do you see in this room?" Tifa looked off to her left, directing Cloud's attention.
Cloud turned his eyes toward what it was Tifa was looking at, his face paling after realizing that there was only one bed in the room. It was a queen-size, meaning the both of them could easily fit in it if they wanted, but that was precisely the point: they would have to share the bed if they were to room together. What was going on here? Cloud reflected on the day's events, trying to figure out how Ventus could've made such a mistake. The day went on normally as he recalled, but there was a point where Yuffie and Riku pulled Ventus aside and said they'd be back after they—
"Oh those bastards," Cloud growled indelicately.
"What's wrong?" Tifa blinked.
"Nothing, I'll be back. You should head down to the common room," Cloud said. "There are some people Leon and the others want you to meet. I'll be there later."
"Oh, okay…" Tifa said as she watched Cloud bolt out of the room.
"This is your room, huh? You have everything in here," Ariannas asked she propped up onto the kitchen counter, leaning back on her hands.
"You know how they spoil us Chasers," Ventus chuckled as he turned to face her. "Although I don't really need all this…"
Ariannas tilted her head affectionately at the young blonde. "How're you doing? Yuffie told me to check up on you."
"She did, huh?" Ventus motioned toward his fellow Lieutenant. His advances were slow but intentive.
"She also told me you told her to tell me to check on you," Ariannas raised an eyebrow.
"I-I did not! How absurd!" Ventus stumbled on his words.
"You may have gotten top scores on your deception and misdirection tests, Ven, but you can't lie to me," Ariannas eyed him furtively.
"You think I set this up? Having the two of us alone?" Ventus inched closer toward her, placing each of his hands on the counter top on either side of her legs.
"There are no guards on this floor," Ariannas noted. And if I'm not mistaken, the only people capable of vetoing standard security protocol for any reason are the King or the Chasers. It's easy to see which of the two is responsible."
"I can't get anything past you, can I?" Ventus leaned forward, nuzzling his nose against her neck.
"You shouldn't abuse your authority to get some alone time with me, you know," Ariannas said.
"Do you not like the current situation we're in?" Ventus kissed her neck softly, feeling her arms snake around his neck.
"I never said that," a playful smile formed on her lips. "I'm just saying maybe I'm not afraid as you are about someone coming in through that door."
"You're so bad, Ari," Ventus purred before claiming her lips with his.
It had been so long since he had felt the sensation of her lips pressing against his that he almost felt like he was experiencing it for the first time all over again. Her kisses were loving and sensual, yet feral as he felt her occasionally nibble on his ear when she backed away to catch her breath, mouthing sweet nothings into his ear before returning hungrily to bring his lips back to hers. Ventus brought his arms to her waist, slipping his hands under the fabric of her top as he his hands traveled upward, the smoothness of her skin sliding gently against the tips of his fingers. Every so often, a small hiss would escape her lips as he rubbed over a bruise, making her bite his lip softly to show her displeasure, but she otherwise showed no resistance as she allowed his hands to continue exploring the contours of her back. Ventus made a sound of discontent once he felt his hands make contact with a rough, elastic fabric that stretched across the upper half of her back. The contrast of the feeling it gave his hands in comparison to her silky skin was enough to make him unhappy.
"This… needs to go," Ventus growled as he reached for the clasp of her bra with both hands, easily undoing it. Ariannas let out a sigh as she felt Ventus pull the restrictive garment from underneath her shirt, hearing him toss it off to the side with one hand.
"You've gotten better at that," Ariannas licked her lips. "You're not cheating on me with someone else are you?"
"Between training King Cyril's successor, protecting Lady Kairi and bringing you back to our side, where would I find the time?" Ventus spoke smugly.
"Smart mouth, I see," Ariannas wrapped her legs around his waist, pulling him in closer to her as she brought him in for another kiss.
A painful moan escaped Ventus' lips as he felt her legs tighten around his frame, but the young Chaser was too overcome with the pleasure of Ariannas' body claiming every part of him to care. Concern for his well-being would have to first come from Ariannas, which it did when she immediately released her grip on him after hearing him moan into her mouth.
"Sorry, was I being too rough?" Ariannas asked.
"Mmm…" Ventus kissed the outline of her jaw. "You can be as rough with me as you'd like. I don't care…"
"As kinky as that is, Ven, I'd rather do that when you're all healed up," Ariannas giggled.
"Noo… that's not fair," Ventus drawled, almost intoxicated by her as he desired more of her touch. "I can handle it. I want to have you the way I always do…"
Ariannas brought one hand to settle on the side of Ventus' torso before gripping it with a moderate amount of force. The action earned a vocal yelp of pain from the delicate blonde Chaser as he began breathing deeply in response. No one needed to see anything else to conclude that Ventus was still very fragile from his injuries.
"There's no rush…" Ariannas cupped the side of his face with her hand. "Why are you in such a hurry?"
Ventus pouted his lips before looking off to the side, embarrassed. "… I want to make love to you."
Ariannas laughed heartily at his response, pulling her fellow Chaser into a warm, gentle embrace. "And I you, too. But I want to do it when the both of us can fully be ourselves. And part of that involves taking it easy until you're well-rested."
Ventus sighed, planting a trail of kisses down her shoulder. "You're so unfair."
"And you're being unreasonable," Ariannas lightly hit the back of his head.
"Oh… my… god… I am so sorry…"
Ventus and Ariannas both turned their heads toward the direction of the voice, Ventus in particular showing his irritation as he saw a petrified Sora standing at the doorway, his mouth gaping open, his eyes wide with fear as he found himself unable to speak coherently in light of what he had just seen.
"Why hello Master Sora, is there anything we can help you with today?" Ariannas smiled cheerfully, her demeanor overblown with jolliness.
"Ugn… this isn't happening…" Ventus cowered his face behind Ariannas' chest, her back being the side facing Sora and the entrance.
"Umm—uhh… there's a meeting downstairs in the common room and uhh… Leon told me to fetch you two…" Sora looked around uncontrollably. "This is incredibly awkward."
"Go awaaay," Ventus whined.
"Ven!" Ariannas hit him again gently. "We'll be right down! Thank you for getting us, Master Sora."
"N-No problem…" Sora turned around robotically, his eyes glued open as he headed back down the hall.
Only a few minutes passed before Sora returned to the common room, his disturbed expression quickly catching the attention of the others as they all stopped their conversations in order to address the problem. While Kairi, Leon, Cloud and Tifa wondered out of concern, Yuffie and Riku were more curious as to what could have sparked such a reaction out of the usually composed Sora.
"What's wrong? Did you call them?" Leon asked.
"Yeah… they'll be right down…" Sora said softly, scratching his head while staring intensely at the ground.
"What's wrong with you? You look retarded," Riku inquired.
"I uhh… walked in on something I didn't want to see," Sora said.
"Wait, who did you go get?" Tifa asked.
"Ventus and Ariannas," Kairi answered.
"Oh… OH!" Yuffie said before breaking out in hysterical laughter. "Oh wowww!"
"Oh that's terrible," Riku shook his head.
"Wait, I don't get it guys…" Kairi said sheepishly, feeling somewhat inadequate.
"Don't worry about it, Kairi," Cloud rolled his eyes. "Riku and Yuffie are naturally perverted. It's better you don't catch on quickly to the types of things they do."
"Oh please, you have no right to talk," Yuffie retorted. "You can't sit there and tell me you didn't like having some time alone with Tifa."
"Oh for goodness sakes," Cloud palmed his face with his hand. "This and that are two different things!"
"That happened because of you!?" Tifa gasped. "How could you do that to me, Yuffie!"
"Wait, something did happen then!?" Riku said, surprised.
"No! Well, I mean maybe a little, but—no! It's not like that!" Tifa fumbled with her words.
"Details, Tifa. You must tell me everything," Yuffie gestured with her hands.
"Don't say anything, Tifa!" Cloud exclaimed. "There is nothing but pain and tears at the end of a conversation with Yuffie."
"Then tell me," Riku said.
"I know you were in on it too, you bastard," Cloud pointed a judgmental finger at the other Twilight dweller. "I don't think I like you anymore. You know what sort of terrible experience I had to go through!?"
"Oh, I get it. So looking through my lingerie is a terrible experience for you, huh? That's funny, you seemed to have so much fun doing it! You even asked me what colour I wanted! I'm wearing what you picked out for me, then you say it was a terrible experience? You jerk!"
"Wait, WHAT?" Yuffie went wide-eyed.
"Damn it, Tifa! It's not like that!"
"MASSIVE OVERSHARE! Thank you very much, Cloud and Tifa!" Riku stood up, covering his ears while reciting nonsense syllables to try to drown out the argument that followed.
"Yuffie! What have you done!" Leon yelled.
"I have done nothing but good things for you people!" Yuffie said righteously. "I regret nothing! Nothing, you hear!"
What was supposed to be a group meeting turned quickly to chaos by the time Ventus and Ariannas arrived in the common room, both of them looking at each other for a moment, confused.
"What the hell is going on here?" Ventus asked.