"The world would be so lonely, in sunny hours or gray.

Without the gift of friendship, to help us every day."

- Hilda Brett Farr


Moonlight was filtering through the glass window like a spotlight and the night sky was a dark blue with scattered glistening silver stars. The Land of Departure was in a complete and peaceful silence.

When Aqua entered her own room in the lavish white castle that belonged to her master, Eraqus, her eyes instantly landed on the wooden weapon that rested on top of the crisp white sheets of her bed.

She slowly walked towards the training sword, her bare feet slapping against the wooden floor before she stopped to admire the weapon. In truth it couldn't really be called a weapon, Aqua mused, as she picked the training sword up. She couldn't help but smile at the older apprentice's name scrawled on the side of the hilt, in such messy hand writing that she knew Terra would forever be embarrassed at.

Even if it had been made by a young boy who perhaps had just turned a teenager, it was in fact well made and clearly had been taken care of.

The wood hadn't even splintered after it's so many years and it shone from the last lick of varnish. Although the rope that was carefully wrapped around the edge of the blade to hold another three pieces of wood, that gave the training sword the appearance of a keyblade, had most likely been replaced at some point.

Even if it once belonged to the nineteen year old that was a few doors down from Aqua, it had been taken care of.

She smiled once more as she twisted the training weapon in her hand with practised ease before holding it tight to admire it once more.

It obviously meant something to Terra and for him to give it away to the younger apprentice, must have taken him a lot. However Aqua knew Terra would never admit it, (without some encouragement that is) he had always cared for Ven like the boy was his little brother.

Even though the training sword had long passed its sell by date in Terra's hands, as it simply was too light to even come close to match the weight of his keyblade, it was practically perfect for Ven.

Aqua had always assumed that Terra would keep it as some sort of memento so she'd been incredibly surprised when the oldest apprentice had offered it to Ven after seeing his own splintered and shattering training sword.

But eventually all of this brought Aqua back to the matter at hand.

Why was this beloved training sword/memento tossed on her bed and not in Ven's room? It had must have simply been forgotten from when Ven had left it here from earlier, Aqua guessed.

Aqua turned on her heel and left her room. Her eyes lingered on the steaming bathroom door that Terra had left a while back and her aching body screamed to stand under the relaxing warm water of the shower. But her grip subconsciously tightened around the object in her hand and she kept walking towards Ven's closed door.

Something wasn't right with the boy at the moment. Terra had also noticed, even with his occasional lack of emotions, that something was troubling Ven. The boy would occasionally fall into sudden and long silences and he seemed to constantly want to be with both herself and Terra, he was even going out of his way to make sure that their free time was spent in each other's company.

Aqua pursed her lips as she stood outside of the youngest keyblade apprentice's door her free hand hovering in a fist in front of the pale white wood. "Ven?" She called out, before knocking gently.

When there came no reply Aqua slowly pushed the door open, in case Ven hadn't answered for a good reason.

The window was slightly open and it allowed a cool night breeze to drift through Ven's room. His bedroom was full of small objects and photos he'd collected over the time. Aqua assumed that he collected all these things to make up for his lack of memories before he came here and the thought made her heart ache slightly.

"Ven?" She called again. The room was completely empty but she couldn't help but mutter her friend's name once more. Where was he? They'd all finished training for the day and she knew that all three of them were ready to rest up for the next day, so rightly, Ven should be here. Aqua twirled on the spot, checking the corners of the room in case for some reason the blond haired boy was sat there. She patted the wooden keyblade against the side of her leg before slowly placing it down on his dark blue bed sheets.

Ven could easily be up in the library, catching up on some reading, but Aqua couldn't push the nagging feeling that she should go and search for the boy.

Terra had frequently told her not to worry over him so much and not to act like she was his mother, but the overwhelming feeling she had to protect him took control far too much. Maybe it was because how lifeless and dull he appeared when she'd first met him and she never wanted to see him like that ever again?

Well, whatever it was, deep down inside of her, Aqua felt like it was her right to make sure Ven was safe.

Aqua left Ven's room and hurried down the corridor to Terra's open door, her bare feet touching the wooden floor with light, swift and silent steps. She clutched onto the door frame and swung herself round to stare at the older keybearer.

Terra was lying outstretched across his bed with a book open across his broad chest. His brown spikes drooped slightly from his shower and his tanned skin still had a sheen of water to it. His dark blue eyes were closed and his mouth hung open slightly as he took slow and long breaths as he slept. She chewed on her lip for a moment hesitating as to whether or not to wake him, before knowing Terra would be furious if something had happened to Ven and hadn't been woken. But then again, he might be furious over being woken up about something that Aqua may have blown out of proportions.

"Terra!" She muttered as gently as possible.

The teen practically jumped at the sound of his name and his eyes swivelled around as he searched for the noise that had woke him, before finally landing on the blue haired girl in his doorway. "S'not my fault if there's no hot water left." He mumbled sleepily, waving his hand at her as if to make her leave. "And-an-" He yawned, his blood shot eyes squeezing shut tightly before opening again leaving them shining with water. "And I was reading." He finally answered waving the book like it was a piece of evidence.

He swung his legs off of his beg before running his hands through his dark hair, tugging at any knots. He rubbed his face wearily before looking up at Aqua.

"I didn't know you could read." She smiled jokingly before receiving a tired smirk in return. His dark blue eyes lingered on her and Aqua suddenly remembered why she'd come to find her friend. "Where's Ven?"

Terra's eyes rolled and he pulled his baggy black hoodie away from his neck. He shrugged half-heartedly before swinging himself back up onto his bed. "In his room?" Terra suggested grumpily.

Aqua half glared at him. She hated a tired Terra as he always became unresponsive and much too lazy than an aspiring keyblade master ever should.

"He's not there." Aqua answered quickly, folding her arms across her chest as she leant against the door. She pulled casually at her long white sleeves and the armour along her arms that she was desperate to remove, as she enviably stared at Terra in his casual black hoodie and baggy grey pants.

"Maybe he's in the bathroom." Terra murmured once more, lifting his book once more as he tried to appear nonchalant.

"Well, would you check?" Aqua leant forwards to stare at her friend. Terra slowly swung his head in her direction with a look that said are-you-serious. "While I go and check outside." She added with a smile.

Terra let out a long sigh and swung himself back off of his bed, dragging his metal boot towards him. Normally he'd answer back at Aqua, tell her she's overreacting, but the piercing gaze in her bright blue eyes showed how much she genuinely cared for the youngest teen. But also he was just far too tired to argue with her.

Terra cast another look that said look-what-you're-making-me-do in her direction as he pulled his boots back on and tucked his baggy sweatpants into the top. "Excuse me..." He mumbled as he made his way past Aqua and headed down the corridor.

The blue haired girl gave a small laugh as she watched him trudge down the corridor in the most ridiculous ensemble she'd ever seen him. His heavy metal boots clinked against the wooden floor, his hazardously loose grey pants that hung off of his hips swung along his legs and his overly baggy black hoodie that looked like he most likely stole it from his master at some point, made him look like he got dressed in the dark.

With a laugh Aqua turned on her heel before heading back to her own room to fetch her metal boots. She pulled them on as she heard Terra roar Ven's name as he stalked through the castle and at some point Aqua knew he would eventually catch Eraqus' attention.

With her metal boots on Aqua headed out of the castle and into the night air. The cold air bit at her bare shoulders and she shivered once before quickly rushing down the steps. "Ven?" She called aloud. She'd hoped he'd suddenly appear as if from thin air with his normal bright smile and say he'd been doing something completely and utterly natural to him, like seeing how long it would take him to run round the castle three times.

When she heard nothing she cupped her hands around her mouth and cried his name out once more. Aqua sighed and glanced around the gardens wondering if Ven might be training further away. She shook the thought out of her mind when she remembered how tired the boy had looked earlier and how he said he was looking forward to 'chilling out'.

Where could Ven be?

Aqua drummed her fingers against the side of her thigh as she fell deeper and deeper into thought. She raced over all the places Ven might go to and each time her heart seemed to tell her he wasn't there. Her mind suddenly pricked up when she remembered a short conversation she'd had with him earlier in the day. That both herself and Ven had seen Terra and Eraqus emerging from the few trees after a meditation session, which were for some reason becoming more and more frequent for Terra. Ven had then asked where the two had gone to.

Aqua could still remember the river that ran nearby, she could remember the crystal clear waters and the relaxing sound of the water as it tumbled down the rocks. She hadn't been there for such a long time that the idea of going there now was incredibly alluring. Ven had to be there, she felt her heart almost confirm her suspicion and she made her way towards the river.

The place was for complete and utter relaxation and it wasn't possible to go there and ignore the peaceful sounds. That was most likely why Eraqus chose it as his favourite meditation spot.

As Aqua made her way through the few trees, the sounds of the river began to grow and her feet were being dragged towards the area. Then sure enough she spotted the younger teen sat besides the river, his boots besides him and his bare feet hanging in the water.

"Ven?" Aqua muttered. The boy didn't jump and didn't even move.

"Hey Aqua." He spoke quietly. His voice was downcast and empty and just his voice made Aqua's heart tear in two. She hated either of her friends being unhappy and it made her heart break in two whenever they were.

"Me and Terra have been looking for you." She replied with a smile. She sat herself besides him and finally turned to look at him. His normal shining blue eyes were glazed over and unfocused and they scared Aqua a little. "What's wrong Ven?" She asked as caring as possible. There was no point darting about the subject, it was quite obvious there was something wrong with the boy.

"Nothing." He answered. At her question he pulled a smile onto his face and turned to look at her. Aqua smiled back, knowing Ven's forced smile all too well. The corners of his eyes always crinkled when he smiled normally, but instead his face just looked...empty.

"That might work on Terra but you know that doesn't work on me." She joked, carefully nudging his shoulder with her own. Ven let out a small short laugh before bringing his knees closer to his chest and folding his arms on top of his knees. "Please tell me what's wrong?" She asked sympathetically.

Ven's blue eyes darted to her for a moment before they switched back to the river before them. Aqua followed his gaze and watched as the water slowly trickled down the grey shining stones. "You and Terra have got your exams soon."

Ah. Aqua thought to herself. So this was the root of all of Ven's sadness.

"I mean, I'm happy for you guys it's just..." Ven's voice trailed away. Aqua smiled at him, wanting to wrap her arm around his shoulders and give him a tight hug. "You guys will be leaving here." He answered finally. He dropped his chin onto his arms.

"We won't be leaving Ven." Aqua laughed slightly. Ven turned to look at her, a questioning look on his face. "Why would we want to leave you?" She added with another smile. Ven shuffled uncomfortably on his patch of grass and turned to look back at the river.

Aqua allowed the silence to envelope them both, just listening to the sound of the water in front of them.

"There's nothing wrong with being afraid." She murmured quietly, thinking back to her own memories as she spoke to the boy. "But it's how you conquer that fear that matters the most." She stared at the clear water before nodding her head almost in agreement with herself. She felt Ven's eyes on her and she turned to look at him.

She sympathised towards Ven. She'd feel alone and afraid if her two friends were both doing their master exams and then afterwards they wouldn't be here every day like they had always been. That yes, maybe Ven will be here alone and training by himself but by doing that it'll make him stronger in the future.

"You promise you'll come back?" His voice sounded hopeful and Ven had twisted round fully to look at the blue haired girl.

"Of course I do!" Aqua cried. She finally pulled the boy into a hug. It wasn't often that Ven allowed a hug, mostly when Eraqus or Terra weren't around, but when he did it always brought a smile onto Aqua's face. "Don't be so stupid!" She added with a laugh.

They suddenly heard Terra's voice growl from the silence and Aqua slowly let go of Ven. There was a smile on the blond's face as he heard Terra order them both to come out. "You both really were looking for me." He chuckled to himself. He looked to Aqua as she nodded once. "I'm really sorry Aqua, I shouldn't have thought..."

"Don't worry." She interrupted him as she gave him a bright smile; everyone's allowed their moments of weakness at some point. She thought to herself. "We'll keep this between ourselves." She replied, knowing how much the boy never liked to show his moments of weakness to the eldest apprentice, despite the two being so close to one another that they could be brothers. Ven nodded in agreement as they heard the crunching of twigs and snapping of branches behind them.

Aqua turned her head to watched Terra stumble into view. "I thought you were checking the castle?" Aqua said with a smile. Terra waved a hand in defeat before crashing onto the ground besides Ven.

He let out a long sigh and ran his fingers through his dark hair. "Eraqus told me to leave if I felt like shouting in the castle like a hooligan." Terra laughed and his dark blue eyes turned to Ven. There was a questioning gaze in his eyes and he looked to Aqua who simply smiled.

Aqua liked how all three of them knew each other well enough now that they only needed to give each other a single look which would explain everything. "It's nice out here." Ven mumbled aloud. Terra grunted in agreement before he watched Ven's slow closing and opening eyes.

The moonlight shone down on the three as they all sat in silent company, simply listening to the trickle of the river in front of them.

The older apprentice eventually pushed himself up off of the floor when his own mind began to try and lull him to sleep. He quietly dusted his baggy pants off before looking at Ven whose eyes were now shut. "Want a ride?" He held his hand out to Ven and the younger teen jolted awake, hitting Aqua gently in the process. His cheeks flushed as he realised he'd fallen asleep between the pair and then heard what Terra said. His dulling blue eyes darted to Aqua and back at Terra to see if they had actually seen if he'd fallen asleep.

"I'm not a kid!" Ven answered defiantly, rolling his shoulders and raising his chin higher in the air.

"Could have fooled me." Terra shrugged and carefully leant against a tree behind them, deciding he'd wait until Ven finally gave in to defeat.

Ven twisted back around and faced the water a smile on his face. "At least I'm not a walking fashion disaster." He mumbled, stifling yawn. Aqua gave a small laugh and watched the boy's closing and opening eyes once more.

As much as she knew Ven would never admit defeat, the boy was exhausted. She held back a laugh as she watched his head loll backwards and forwards, before eventually his chin dropped onto his chest and he didn't move again.

"Is he ok?" Terra finally asked. Aqua turned to look at the equally tired oldest apprentice who was still able to keep himself on his feet. She wasn't sure what time it was, but the moon was high in the sky and she could feel her own mind wanting to drift off into sleep. She shook her head slightly to wake herself up.

"He's fine." She answered, looking to the teen and then back at Terra. Terra slowly moved forwards and shook Ven gently; just enough to bring the boy out of his deep sleep and help him stand on his feet.

Aqua watched as Terra muttered something into Ven's ear and the boy slightly nodded his head before Terra squatted down and allowed the youngest teen to crawl onto his back.

Terra slowly locked his arms around Ven's legs and made sure the boy wouldn't slip off of his back. Ven's head slid forwards and rested against Terra's strong back and his arms slumped forwards around his friend's neck.

"He's worn himself out." Aqua muttered, she slowly picked up Ven's discarded metal boots in her arms before starting to walk. She let Terra walk first as she lingered behind him, in case their friend suddenly slipped out of Terra's grasp.

It was moments like these that Aqua wanted to capture and keep forever as she watched the normally guarded and strong Terra carry the normally bright and cheerful Ven who was always there with a smile on his face. Yes, it was times likes these when her friend's lowered their guards and showed their true feelings to each other that would always remain in Aqua's memory.

"I think he's been trying to keep up with us." Terra answered, careful to keep his voice as quiet as possible as he trudged through the trees. The oldest teen's voice snapped Aqua out of her thoughts and she fixed her gaze on the two teens.

Aqua hummed with agreement; no doubt Ven had been trying to show Eraqus that he too was ready for his Master Qualification Exam. "Maybe we should speak with Master Eraqus?" Aqua asked, she moved forwards to walk besides her friend, sure that Terra wouldn't let Ven fall.

Terra didn't answer and allowed Aqua to lead the rest of the way back to the castle.

Their eyes eventually landed on the greying haired man stood at the steps of the castle and Aqua stood up as straight as possible whilst she still clung onto Ven's boots. Terra hesitantly looked from Aqua and then back at Eraqus before half glancing at the sleeping load on his back.

"I wondered what had happened when I couldn't hear our resident elephant." Eraqus smiled, the scars on his face stretching. His eyebrows furrowed as he looked Terra up and down and then at the sleeping Ven on his back. Aqua smiled and glanced at Terra who sighed loudly and hoisted Ven up his back further.

"I'll take him in." The brown haired male walked past the two and disappeared into the castle as he let out a quick 'good night'. His heavy metallic footsteps echoed in the building behind him before they eventually drowned out. Eraqus tilted his head to the open door before he walked back inside with Aqua behind him.

"Thank you Aqua." The blue haired girl spun round when she heard her master speak and looked to him.

"But I didn't do anything, master." She mumbled, not sure why he would possibly thank her.

"Of course you didn't."


A gift for my friend Grace aka RedFriaga, who asked for this!

Hope you guys liked it too and if anyone else has any other requests or things, ask away and if I've got the time I'll give it a go!

Thanks.