Epilogue - Fear

Land of Departure, Three years before Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep

Ven felt nervous as he stood in front of the door to Eraqus' office. He'd been in there once before, but he didn't remember anything about it. His hands felt sweaty and he wiped them on his pants before he reached for the handle and opened the door. Inside, Master Eraqus sat in his chair, his back turned to the door.

"Come in, Ventus, and take a seat," he said, turning his chair to indicate the other one across the desk from him.

Pushing back his hesitation, he stepped in, closing the door behind him, and took the offered seat. He tried to sit up straight, but his shoulders felt sore enough after a few minutes that he dropped into a semi-slouch.

"Once again, I'm impressed by your performance in defeating that creature. Your training since then has been progressing exceptionally well."

"Thank you, Master," Ven replied, unable to keep the happiness and curiosity out of his voice, "but what exactly was that thing?"

Eraqus looked at him. "It's a special monster created by a magic using Darkness. It's mostly used in assassination purposes, killing off important people. Usually, they're very difficult to defeat because they feed off fear to get stronger, and judging from what Aqua and Terra have told me, it was very strong."

"A monster… that feeds on fear? But… we weren't always afraid of it."

"It doesn't just feed off fear directed at itself. Otherwise, it would have no power. What it does is that it acts out a person's greatest fears and feeds off that resulting emotion."

Ven tilted his head in confusion. "A person's greatest fears?"

"Everyone is afraid of something," Eraqus explained with a sigh, turning to fold his hands on his desk. "The monster began by feeding on Aqua's greatest fear, and-"

"What's Aqua afraid of?"

"Aqua is afraid of Terra falling into Darkness. Both she and I have seen that he has… issues with his anger, and it often gets him into trouble. Aqua and Terra have been close friends for a very long time. They've grown up for most of their lives training side by side, and to her, he is the most important person in her life. She feels that if Terra falls into Darkness, if he does something he regrets, she'll lose him… maybe not physically, but she'll lose the Terra that she cares about. It used the power of her fear to come here and act out Terra's worst fear…"

Ven leaned forward in his chair. "What's Terra afraid of?"

"Terra is afraid of not being able to look after the people he cares about. Terra has had a lot of crisis in his life, and as a result, he holds a select group of people as the most important people in his life. Aqua and I are the primary members of that group, and so Terra does everything he can. He trains harder than anyone else, improving his skills to be the best that they can be, pushing himself to his physical and mental limits for that purpose."

"So, Terra is afraid of not being about to protect those he cares about?"

"Yes. Indirectly, you could say Terra's greatest fear is his own powerlessness," Eraqus leaned back in his chair. "While the two of them were fighting it, it was feeding on your fear, and growing all the much stronger."

"My fear?"

"You may have not realized it, Ventus, but your greatest fear is seeing Terra and Aqua get hurt. You care about them, and so when they were fighting, you were afraid. That creature feed off that fear and grew stronger, putting the two of them in more danger. It became a cycle that generated more power for it."

Ven stared wide-eyed at his hands. "I… I was the one… who put them in danger. It…it's all my fault!"

"Yes, you did put them in danger, but you were also the one who broke that cycle of fear and sapped the monster of all its strength. You overcame your fear and saved the both of them."

"But… I was the one… They probably hate me now..."

A smile appeared on Eraqus' face. "You may think that, but it's the farthest thing from the truth." He waited until Ven met his eyes before he continued. "When I suggested that possibility, they both expressed their disagreement so strenuously that I'm sorry I brought up the idea. You've earned yourself a place in their hearts, Ventus, and that's a place you've earned for life."

Getting the feeling that he was being dismissed, Ven stood up and bowed before turning to the door. He stepped outside and closed it, smiling. Breathing a sigh of relief, he began wandering the halls, enjoying the sense of serenity the castle radiated. It pumped energy and happiness into him, making him feel like he could take on all the dangers in the world and come out without a scratch on him. Even the grounds, filled with lakes and trees, made him feel at home.

"Terra, you shouldn't be out of bed so soon! You need more rest!"

"I've been resting enough, Aqua. Anymore of being cooped up in there and I'll go stir-crazy. Relax, alright?"

"No, I won't relax. You're making me worry about you all the time where you do things like this."

The conversation got louder until Terra rounded the corner, Aqua close on his heels. Despite his protests, his head was still bandaged, making his messy hair even messier. He stopped dead in his tracks when he saw Ven, smiling until Aqua walked right into his back, making him stumble forward. She was about to yell at him, when she saw Ven.

"Something wrong?"

Ven fidgeted. "You guys… are you sure you're not mad at me for what happened?"

"We're not mad, Ven," Aqua said, looking distressed that he was even thinking about it.

Terra nodded. "Why would we be? From what Aqua told me, you saved my life. I have to find a way to pay you back for that."

"You don't have to do that," Ven said, smiling, "It's only natural. We're friends, right?"

"Yeah, we're friends," he nodded, "The three of us, together."

Aqua snapped her fingers, making Ven jump. "Terra, I remember you saying that there was something you wanted to tell us. What was it?"

"I said that?"

"You did say something about that," Ven agreed. "I was kind of curious about it, too."

Terra scowled, his eyebrows scrunching together in thought. "You know… I don't actually remember. I feel like I should remember it, but I don't. It's like that part of my brain was carved out."

"Well, with the way you hit your head," Aqua nudged him, "You probably did bash something up in there. I'm surprised, what with your hard head and all…"

"My head is hard, but not hard enough to compete with a wall!" he complained.

"Doesn't matter, I guess. It was probably just you pulling one of your usual stunts on us."

"Probably," Terra muttered, interrupted suddenly by his stomach. He smiled. "Alright, alright, I get the picture. I'm hungry."

Aqua smirked. "Last one to the kitchen has to cook," she declared before she took off.

"I thought you want me to relax!" Terra yelled, taking off after her.

With a smile, Ven felt magical strength pouring into his legs. Dropping into a crouch, he took off, his speed carrying quickly down the halls.

Terra ended up making lunch.

And that's all there is. This series, my Pre Birth By Sleep Universe, is finished. Now did everyone catch everything? There are multiple references/spoiler to BBS throughout all three parts, there's a trend to the villians in the story, and Vanitas makes a guest appearance. Can you find them all?

Thank you for all the reads and reviews, and I hope you enjoyed it!