~*Just Out Of Reach*~

He'll get her one day.

~***~

Vanitas smiled coldly under his helmet, watching her lean form as she cautiously wandered down one of the many paths between the Keyblade Graveyard. Let her come, he thought to himself.

He had all the time in the world to wait.

Eventually, yes, she walked right past him. She was completely unaware of his presence, perched as he was in the shadows of the cliff like a demonic raven in black and red armor. Vanitas coiled his muscles like a panther preparing to go in for the kill, leaping down behind her. To her credence, she reacted swiftly. She performed a cartwheel to the side, springing back quickly and whipping out her Keyblade.

"Vanitas!" She gasped, blue eyes widening in surprise before she sank into a battle stance.

"Aqua," he purred back, grinning behind his helmet. The Keyblade Master sprang at him without another word, swinging her weapon in a wide arc. Smoothly, he deflected it, spinning his own Keyblade in a complex twirl before jabbing at her side. She pivoted sharply in midair to dodge, landing lightly on her feet, like a cat.

Vanitas's golden eyes gleamed, invisible to Aqua, courtesy of his visor. There was something about her…

He snarled and lunged forward, almost breaking past her defenses. The girl retreated hurriedly, lobbing white globes of light at his head and chest. A ripple of darkness distorted the translucent orbs, but it had only been a distraction, Vanitas realized, so she could launch her counterattack. Aqua's Keyblade tore into his waist before he could react. He retaliated with all of the strength that he had, panting from the exertion, sending her off balance. Before she could recover, Vanitas deftly disarmed her.

To his surprise, besides for a glimmer of shock in her azure eyes, she didn't panic. Aqua instead sent out a cascade of rainbow tendrils, glowing like a stream of stars, straight into his chest. Vanitas stayed on his feet doggedly, determined to stop her from retrieving her weapon. He concentrated a ball of darkness in his palm, tossing it like a Major League pitcher at the plate.

Aqua had turned her back—a mistake—and only just barely noticed the danger in time to perform a hasty dodge. She did a back flip, pushing off of the hard desert ground, landing safely behind the black projectile as it soared on. She took a step towards her silver-blue Keyblade and almost stumbled. Vanitas noted, with some satisfaction, that she hadn't avoided his shot completely. Her leg had been caught.

Advancing towards her, the dark armored male brought his weapon crashing down. Aqua had snatched her Keyblade from the floor and twisted to block it. But she had been too hasty, too unprepared, not yet completely recovered from her earlier mistake. Her guard slipped.

Vanitas smiled and grabbed her wrist suddenly, twisting it unmercifully and forcing her to drop her Keyblade. It clattered ominously to the ground, sounding strangely loud in the sudden silence.

Aqua turned her head away and tried to pull out of his hold, but she seemed tired already from some earlier fight. Maybe one of his Unversed had gotten to her first. As a warning, and to stop any magic she might have up her sleeve still, because he had previously been on the receiving end of her spells, Vanitas sent a pulse of darkness into her body.

He heard her sharp intake of breath as the pain tore across her system, and she exhaled shakily, trembling slightly. Aqua finally looked at where she assumed his eyes were behind the black and red helmet. "Go ahead," she hissed.

Vanitas, sickly amused, decided to play innocent. "Go ahead…what?"

"You came after me for some reason. What do you want? I don't know where Ven is, and if I did, I'd rather die than tell you." Aqua glared off to the side, breaking her gaze from his. She seemed to almost feel his stare behind his visor.

Vanitas blinked. Ventus. That was right. He had to go find him soon…But he had some time right now. All the time he needed. Chuckling darkly, no trace of regular humor in his tone, he addressed her calmly, if a bit sardonically. "He's that important to you?"

She didn't deign to respond, just tried to pull away again, like a dog straining at her collar. As another warning—possibly a final one, he was getting just a bit annoyed—Vanitas shocked her again. In normal combat, he couldn't send this much concentrated darkness into her. But since he was touching her, he could do worse, if it pleased him. Being light aligned; it hurt more than it would on, say, Terra.

"Answer me. I don't want to get…nasty." Vanitas smiled again as Aqua tried to catch her breath, eyes just a bit foggy as the pain played havoc with her senses. He grabbed her chin with his free hand and forced her to look at him. She gasped and struggled again, but another "light" dark pulse ceased her efforts.

Aqua gritted from between her teeth, "We're friends. You know that, even if the term is unfamiliar."

"Unfamiliar?"Vanitas clicked his tongue softly. "I had no idea you thought so low of me…Aqua." He said her name with a different cadence than usual, and he was sadistically amused to see a flicker of fear in her eyes.

"I suppose you're going to drag my death out?" Aqua challenged, but now he heard a tremor in her voice. Afraid, even if only a little.

I want to push her. I want to see what it will take to make her break.

"Possibly…or, if you beg, I'll kill you quickly." Vanitas laughed harshly. "But you'll end up begging anyway, even if you submit to torture."

"Never." With that, Aqua pressed her free hand against his chest and shoved, creating a large ripple of white light. It tossed the armored male against the nearest cliff wall, sending down a cascade of rocks onto his body. He sat there, briefly stunned, before leaping to his feet. Annoyed now. Angry, even.

Aqua may have recovered her Keyblade, but Vanitas was fueled by fury now. He wasn't as tired as she was either, and his dark shocks had drained her strength. He mercilessly attacked her, forcing her back against a wall, and in a matter of a minute and a half—she put up quite a fight, but she was exhausted and he was not—he had disarmed her again. Grabbing both of her arms and pinning her to the stone wall, Vanitas snarled, "I was going to take it easy on you…but now…" He drew in several quick breaths in an effort to calm himself. He wanted to think clearly for this.

Then, he examined her and realized she was finally completely terrified. Her eyes were wide and she knew that she was looking death in the face.

No…she's not looking me in the face.

A mental command sent his helmet back. It retracted and folded itself neatly into his armor, revealing his pale, golden eyed face, far too young for someone with so much evil in his body. His wild mane of jagged black hair barely brushed her cheek as she strained to turn her head.

Aqua struggled again. He threw into her body a colossal amount of black power. She screamed, going limp in his grasp, almost unconscious. Vanitas felt another thrill.

He forced her head up so that her half closed eyes met his own. Stubbornly, she regained her senses and stared back at him, breathing hard. He wondered if she still had another nasty magical surprise in store.

"Where's the light at now?" Vanitas taunted, thinking of her master's, Eraqus, devout devotion to the light. "Let me answer for you. It's not here. It's been wiped out."

Aqua didn't respond, just glared sort of halfheartedly at him. Her eyes slid in and out of focus. Almost ready to faint.

Vanitas kept his grip on her, wondering what he could do to make her suffer even more. He couldn't afford to linger, Master Xehanort would want him soon. He looked at her again, with her light blue hair and bright azure eyes still clinging to consciousness, her heart no doubt determined to not collapse on her.

It occurred to him then, and he roughly grabbed her face again to capture her lips in a harsh, unforgiving kiss, crushing his mouth to hers.

That woke her up. Her eyes flew open, but she couldn't move, and for what could have been several long seconds or several hours, she was forced to endure it. Vanitas pulled back, smirking wickedly, waiting for her reaction.

He never got more out of her than a shocked stare—he couldn't tell if she was horrified or not—because then a voice called, "Aqua!"

Vanitas, distracted, slackened his hold. The girl recollected herself and lifted her legs, kicking him with all of the strength she had left in his chest, knocking him back a foot. That was all she needed. Aqua slipped out of his grasp and collected her Keyblade, and by the time he whipped around, helmet flying back into place to conceal his face, her companion had arrived.

The mouse king waved his Shooting Star Keyblade and gasped, "Aqua!"

She gave him a weak smile. "A little help?"

"Sorry to ruin this touching reunion, but I simply must be going." Vanitas let a dark portal claim him, vanishing into the realms. In reality, he had only moved to the top of the cliff, ducking down to hear their conversation, carried to him on the rare breeze. He didn't fancy his chances with the mouse king after the beating he had taken from Aqua, and the girl herself still could put up a fight.

"What happened?" The mouse sounded concerned, his voice faint thanks to distance.

"V-Vanitas jumped me, Mickey." Aqua's tone was worn out.

"You look terrible; let me check if I have a potion." Mickey offered.

"Thanks." She sounded grateful, but distracted too.

Vanitas chanced a peek over the edge, and his gaze locked with Aqua's as she looked up. For a single second, everything seemed to freeze. Even with his visor up, he swore her azure eyes could pick out his yellow stare as easily as if he didn't have a helmet on.

A heartbeat passed as the pair surveyed one another, but before she had a chance to speak, the dark male slipped away.

There were some things even the darkness couldn't achieve.

~***~

LOL. I would never write this normally. But I was given a writing challenge by a friend of mine; she said to write a VanitasxAqua fan fiction, even if it was one sided. Very one sided in this case, tilted towards Vanitas. And I love a challenge.

Sorry if Vanitas is OOC, I really don't know how he talks.

Want to drop a review for this crack fiction? I try my best, even when given weird things like this.