~*Something to Hide*~
His pride was going to get him killed one day.
Note: Only possible Birth By Sleep spoiler, if this can even be considered one, is Ven joined Master Eraqus, Aqua, and Terra sometime after they had already been training. That is all. This is set before he arrived.
Terra grimaced, rubbing his chest and closing his eyes. During combat training with Eraqus, his Master had hit him a little too hard across the torso. He had shooed his mentor off, denying he was in any pain, performing a Cure spell on himself. It quickly became evident that his healing magic had much to be desired, and he had a scar instead of smooth skin to prove it.
Of course, his pride had stopped him from asking Eraqus—or worse, Aqua—for help on the matter, and now every movement made his wound throb painfully.
The Land of Departure, a world in constant summer, was well known for its elegant white and gold castle that hung suspended over the forests and rivers and lakes by large golden chains that were hooked to mountain peaks. The weather was usually very warm and sunny, always getting a mild rain shower before the foliage dried out. The apprentices were inside, however, in the large training room that contained huge stained glass windows, practicing their battle skills. Aqua had only arrived recently, a few months ago, and the fifteen year old warrior had been wary of her at first.
Why? She had been almost perfect at anything she did. He had been testy in the beginning, snapping at her over everything as it became clear that Eraqus was pleased with her abilities. A mission together in the forest(1) finally formed the bond of trust that they needed to work as one, and he was now close friends with the blue-haired Keybearer.
Terra had been annoyed initially that Eraqus's plan to cease their feud—his feud, really, since Aqua had never been hostile towards him—had worked, but he guessed it was for the best. They had a few years of apprenticeship ahead of them, might as well befriend the person he'd be with along the way.
"Are you okay?" Aqua asked, her tone concerned. During their clash, he had broken away sooner than usual, turning his back and rubbing his chest in an effort to reduce the burning.
He glanced over his shoulder, watching a few red beams of light from the colored window turn her blue eyes purple. "Yeah, I'm fine."
She twirled her Keyblade, Rain Fall he thought it was called, or something like that, and shrugged. "Okay. Ready when you are."
Bunching his muscles—and gritting his teeth against the pain—Terra unexpectedly pounced. She was knocked over by his weight, and he landed on top of her, drawing his Keyblade back and pointing it at her throat. Earth Shaker's deep bronze tip pricked her pale skin. "Thought you said you were ready," he teased.
Aqua hissed, annoyed, and kicked his chest. A blistering agony exploded in his body, and the brown-haired warrior stumbled, gasping and rolling onto his back.
"Oh my God, Terra! I'm sorry, I didn't mean to…" The girl looked horrified, and she hurriedly put her hands on his chest. "Let me heal you," she pleaded.
Terra realized that she would end up seeing the scar. And besides she hadn't really hurt him, or wouldn't have, if his wound hadn't been there. "No," he snarled. '"I'm fine."
She blinked, her expression skeptical. "You don't look fine."
In the clean, shiny tiles of the training room, Terra saw his own reflection. His features were twisted in pain, dark cobalt eyes mostly obscured by heavy lids. He…looked pretty bad, actually. Sighing in defeat, he gazed back at her somewhat guiltily. "Okay, go ahead…"
"Thank you," Aqua muttered, her tone sarcastic but her eyes soft. She unfastened the clasps on his shirt, kneeling at his side as he lay on his back, and every time her fingers brushed his skin as she worked, heat rushed to his face.
I hope Eraqus doesn't walk in.
Terra knew that his Master was off answering some sort of letter. Evidently he had finally gotten word from someone that he hadn't heard from in ages.
"…Did I do this?" Aqua's voice interrupted his dazed embarrassment, and he stared at the twisted scar that had only gotten worse since he refused to have someone heal it.
"…No," he said at last. He could have blamed it on her and her accursed metal shoes, but he wouldn't lie just to protect his pride. "Master Eraqus did."
"Terra, Master always heals any wounds he causes us." Aqua's tone was severe, critical, even. Her eyes were disbelieving.
"Well, yeah." He sighed and blinked once. "But I thought I could do it myself. Apparently not."
"Apparently not," she agreed. Aqua pressed her cool fingers to the hot skin nearest the wound, frowning. She tossed her head to remove some of her blue hair from her eyes. "I think it's infected. Honestly."
"Can you just heal it?" Terra snapped, irritated.
She raised her eyebrows.
"…Please?" He grumbled.
"That's better. Of course I can." Aqua stroked the length of the scar tissue once, and when Terra shivered involuntarily, she gazed at him curiously. "Are you okay?"
Not trusting his voice, he nodded.
She closed her eyes and a green energy seeped down into his body. It was a comforting presence, and Terra recognized the petals swirling around the arcane force.
Cura?! She can do that already?!
His jealousy was soon forgotten as the pain began to fade from his torso. He sighed in relief as she continued to massage the surface of his skin, testing for any internal damage and chasing away the last of the apparent infection.
Terra felt…strange. Like his heartbeat was echoing throughout his whole body. A throbbing sensation encased his system as he wordlessly gazed at Aqua. She had her head bent, her azure eyes unreadable, her long sleeves brushing his bare skin with every movement.
He realized something, then.
There was nothing there. He was healed. What was she doing?
He watched curiously as her lids lowered until it seemed she was in danger of falling asleep. He didn't see any magic flowing from her fingertips. Aqua just seemed to be repeatedly tracing the planes of his chest.
Amused, despite himself, Terra lifted his head and smirked at her. She didn't even glance up, and her repetitive rhythm was really…relaxing. Comforting, even. Another involuntarily shiver ran through his frame, and this time, she did look away from…whatever she had been doing.
They just stared at one another, dark cobalt and deep azure, her hands coming to a rest on his chest. Terra propped himself up on his elbows, flashing her a sharp-toothed grin.
His tone seemed to snap her out of her trance. Aqua tried to jump back, blushing furiously, but he grabbed her and pulled her closer until their faces were only a few centimeters away.
"T-Terra…I…" She stuttered incoherently, futilely tugging against his iron grip.
"What were you doing?" He asked her, honestly curious. Also, unfortunately, some part of him was enjoying her nervous expression.
"H-Healing you?" Aqua offered tentatively.
He swiftly caught her in a hug, just to see her reaction. "Thanks."
It was their first.
She froze initially, and then returned the gesture, embracing him tightly. He grinned into her soft hair, and she lifted her head, their lips brushing together with the contact.
Terra felt her put one hand on his chest, and he touched her cheek with his fingertips, blinking once, long and slow. He didn't get any of this, this peculiar sensation that made him feel so warm and relaxed, but he would bet his life a thousand times over that it was Aqua that did it to him. The girl he hadn't been able to stand and now he couldn't imagine living without.
Odd. Destiny must like to play with him. It probably wasn't done, either.
Somehow, it had been that one moment with her—Aqua, healing a wound he could have gotten healed himself if he had accepted help to begin with—that had clinched it.
Instinctively, Aqua and Terra drew back. He noticed their position on the floor and hastily redid his shirt straps. She gave him a shy grin, and he returned it, slowly at first.
Eraqus strode into the room, seeing his protégés standing with their Keyblades drawn. And if he noticed anything, he didn't say a thing.
Just dipped his head, and smiled to himself.
(1) A reference to a chapter in one of my other stories, Disciples of the Keyblade.
I kind of like this piece, and at the same time, I don't. Don't consider this my best work; it was a plot bunny that I needed to get rid of.
Dedicated to Dani-Chan and Kiome-Yasha as always.
Written to the How to Train Your Dragon soundtrack, particularly Forbidden Friendship and Romantic Fight.
Reviews are always appreciated. Happy Easter.