Chapter 1: Comfort in the Dark
Disclaimer: I don't any of the rights to the Kingdom Hearts franchise.
The waves slowly crashed against the dark shore. At the end of the beach was a bright moon, dimly illuminating the water. Aqua stared at the bright object, with millions of questions racing through her mind. When Sora come? Would Ven be alright? What about Terra?
The girl sighed, realizing that she wouldn't know the answers anytime soon. Suddenly, the girl heard footsteps. The hooded man had left earlier to gather his thoughts. Could he be back so soon?
"Hey, is that you?" Aqua called out. She heard a laugh, and looked in shock at the figure who emerged from the darkness. It was Vanitas, her nemesis, the dark side of Ven. His face, as always, was covered by his black helmet.
"Hello there, beautiful" he greeted. Aqua glared at him and drew her Keyblade.
"GET... OUT!" she hissed. He put up his hands in surrender.
"Whoa, whoa! Relax. I'm not here to fight" Vanitas said. Aqua gave a forced laugh.
"As if" she said. Vanitas groaned.
"I'm telling the truth!" Vanitas said. Surprisingly, Aqua saw the helmet melt away. She saw the face of a handsome boy with black hair and yellow eyes. He had a sympathetic expression.
"Would this face lie to you?" Vanitas asked. Aqua sighed and turned away. She didn't know whether or not he was telling the truth.
"It doesn't matter either way" Aqua stated. Vanitas sat down a few feet away from her.
"You miss them, don't you?" he asked. Aqua glared at him.
"What would you know about friendship? All you know is anger and hate!" Aqua yelled. Vanitas merely looked at her.
"Am I being the angry one right now?" he asked. Aqua realized that he was right, and looked down in shame. Her gaze returned to his figure.
"What are you doing here? Really?" Aqua asked. Vanitas lay down on the sand with his arms stretched out.
"I... don't know. I really wish I knew. I survived after the battle, and ended up here. I guess I felt... empty" Vanitas explained.
"And what did you think you'd find here?" Aqua asked. Vanitas smiled at her.
"You" he replied. She looked at him in shock and narrowed her eyes.
"Don't even try to deceive me. You're just a monster made of darkness" Aqua said. Vanitas jumped up and glared at her.
"And what's so bad about that? Why do you fear the darkness? Darkness and evil are NOT the same thing" he declared. The girl was astonished. She never even considered that they may be different.
"Darkness is half of the universe. Is half the universe evil? I hope not... otherwise we're in trouble" Vanitas said. Aqua realized he was right. However, she stared at him angrily again.
"How could you even pretend you're good? Do you remember everything that you've done?!" Aqua asked. The boy sadly raised his eyes, and looked at her apologetically.
"You're right. I've been such a cruel person…I've hurt so many people, caused so much destruction…" Vanitas admitted. He turned to stare at the water. Aqua examined the boy's appearance. She had never seen him without his helmet. It gave her chills, but he looked…attractive. He noticed her stare, and looked at her.
"What is it?" he asked.
"You... look a lot like him... even though I last saw him as a little boy" Aqua explained. Vanitas looked at his reflection in the water.
"You mean Sora" he replied. Aqua looked at him in surprise.
"So you do know him" Aqua said. Vanitas nodded, and Aqua suddenly felt strange. For the first time in twelve years, she didn't feel so alone. She lay down next to Vanitas, and he smiled at her.
"You know, I never could admit this while we were battling...but you're the most beautiful woman I've ever met" he said. Aqua blushed. Vanitas began to remember when he first saw her:
Two guests silently strolled through the halls of Eraqus's castle. The old man turned to his companion, a young boy with a helmet on.
"Remember, Vanitas, we cannot be detected. Eraqus must not know of your existence" the old man told him. The boy nodded.
"As you wish, Master Xehanort" Vanitas replied. The pair arrived at a balcony. Far below, Terra and Aqua were training together. The masked boy's attention was captured by the girl. His helmet disappeared so that he could get a better look. Xehanort looked at him in confusion. Vanitas's amber eyes stared at the girl as she gracefully dodged Terra's attacks and countered with her own.
"They are dangerous" Master Xehanort reminded him.
"She's beautiful" Vanitas said. His master chuckled, and Vanitas glared at him.
"What was that for?" the boy asked. The old man narrowed his eyes.
"You can't let yourself fall for that girl. Love would only be a weakness" Xehanort stated. Vanitas looked at him in shock.
"Master, you can't be serious!" Vanitas said.
"I am completely serious, Vanitas! I forbid you from ever seeing that girl except in combat!" Xehanort scolded. Vanitas sighed. He didn't know why his master forbid him from having such good feelings. He couldn't be nice, he couldn't be caring, all for the sake of having the power of darkness.
"Whatever" Vanitas muttered. The apprentice pretended to be indifferent, and Xehanort smiled, believing that he was. The two began to walk again.
"Darkness is all that you need, my apprentice" Xehanort informed him.
"What's so great about darkness?" Vanitas muttered. Xehanort stopped dead in his tracks and turned to the boy.
"Need I remind what darkness have given you? The power and abilities you have because of it? The fact that you ARE darkness" Xehanort lectured. Vanitas looked at the floor, and his gaze returned to his master.
"Can darkness get my anything I want?" Vanitas asked. Xehanort nodded.
"Oh yes" he replied. Vanitas pointed to Aqua.
"What about her?" he asked. Xehanort glanced at her and turned away.
"You don't need that" Xehanort said. Vanitas glared at his master. The two had never been so hostile towards each other before.
"That? She isn't a thing!" Vanitas said in defiance. Xehanort approached him angrily.
"Silence yourself! If we're discovered now, everything we've been working for will be ruined!" Xehanort said. Vanitas regretfully summoned a portal of darkness.
"Then let's just leave" Vanitas said.
"Wait, Vanitas. Don't you want to see their fighting moves?" Xehanort asked.
"Stalk them by yourself" Vanitas said with his back turned. He entered the portal and disappeared in a wisp of darkness.
Vanitas stopped reminiscing. Aqua stopped looking at the water, and turned to the boy.
"Let me ask you something" Aqua said. Vanitas nodded.
"Of course" he told her. Aqua couldn't believe she was doing this. Throughout her entire life, her master had told her about love and explained what it was. She felt some kind of love for Terra and Ventus, but it was the love one would hold for a sibling. When she visited other worlds, Aqua saw so many people fall in love and be happy together. Now she felt strange, a feeling she never had before.
"Can you love?" Aqua asked. Vanitas smirked.
"Wanna find out?" he asked. Immediately after that, Aqua pressed her mouth against his, catching him off guard. The two embraced each other, and Vanitas returned the kiss.
Light and Darkness. Two parallel forces of power. Together, they formed a balance: love.