Yes, another one-shot. I know, I have many other fics to update, but I had to celebrate the release of BBS somehow, and I've been sick, so here it is. Enjoy! :)
Also, this story contains some lime (no lemon or rape though, don't worry XP), just so you guys know.
Aqua's adversary dodged her Keyblade with a giant leap backwards. Evidence of being in previous fights was all over his face, including his one golden eye. The other eye was covered by an eye patch above a long scar on his cheek. The man's name was Braig.
"I keep forgetting don't mess with Keyblade wielders," he panted out, trying to regain his breath. He was slowly succeeding as he stood up straighter. Aqua swore she heard hints that he was impressed in his voice, if only a little. This made her nervous, but she kept listening for any possible hints of what was happening to Terra at this moment. "But you know, that just means I made the right choice."
At this, Aqua had heard enough. She readied Rainfall and charged at Braig. But something troubled her: Why isn't he running? She got her answer when he continued.
"Your heart really is strong. I can see why they want it for their big master plan." When she didn't stop, he continued further. "Well, he wanted me to buy time, and I'd say he got it." After the words left his lips, Braig finally turned his back and ran from her, making Aqua stop dead in her tracks.
"What?" It was clear that she would never be able to catch the man, especially with how exhausted the battle with him had made her. But what was he trying to tell her?
Who wants my heart? What was he stalling me for? Who was he stalling me for?
Aqua shook it off, deciding it wasn't important. For all she knew, he was just trying to throw her off and confuse her. Aqua turned her attention back to her incapacitated friend, Ventus. His armor and body had been frozen solid thanks to the wicked Master Xehanort, whom she had battled against not long ago, alongside Terra and Ventus.
"Ven!" She cried, praying he hadn't lost consciousness, or – Kingdom Hearts forbid – died of hypothermia. Thankfully, the frozen boy was still trying to move his limbs, and his grunts sounded stronger than before Braig had found them, signaling to her that, although slowly, he was recovering. He seemed to be moving slightly easier than before, too. But suddenly, without warning, his bright blue eyes shot open, wide with fear.
Aqua tensed with anticipation, searching for any Unversed that might be sneaking up from behind her. There were none, the source of Ven's fear was much worse. When Aqua finally thought to look up, she was too late. A figure, dressed completely in black and red, with a glossy helmet hiding his entire face, had leaped from the top of a cliff, his twisted Keyblade in his hand. The last thing Aqua saw after she looked up, was the figure's Keyblade coming down on her head.
She felt nothing more. She was swallowed completely by blackness, taken over by oblivion.
Aqua was floating, sound asleep, surrounded by soft shades of blue and lavender. Suddenly, the silence was shattered by a familiar voice. It was Ven's voice, the sorrow in it was just as real as when he'd said the words to her in person.
"I'm asking you, as a friend. Just . . . put an end to me."
As the voice silenced, light invaded her senses, abruptly bringing her back from unconsciousness.
A gasp escaped Aqua's mouth as her azure eyes shot open. But she quickly learned that she wasn't alone.
"Gosh," a voice said, concerned and relieved, "I'm glad you're okay."
Aqua sighed with relief as she turned to look at Mickey, the young mouse king, and student of the wise Master Yen Sid. She slowly sat up, bringing a hand to the back of her head where she had been struck by the figure's Keyblade.
Vanitas, she realized. But . . . where's . . .
"Ven!" She cried, springing to her feet and scanning the area for her friend, praying Vanitas hadn't taken advantage of his frozen state and finished him off. Her worries were soon put to rest, though, when her eyes fell on Ven's standing frame, thawed out, and completely unharmed.
"Oh, thank goodness, Ven!" Aqua could barely contain her joyful relief as she sprinted towards him, followed closely by Mickey. "You're safe!"
"Ven?" Aqua knelt down a little when she reached him to meet his eye level. It worried her a little when he didn't respond, but she kept her tone cheerful, hoping to bring him to his senses. Mickey, on the other hand, was less happy. Unlike Aqua, he had noticed what Ven was holding in his hand. It wasn't his Keyblade, it looked more like two Keyblades with a long sword stretching down the middle of the handle.
Finally, Ven's head rose, looking Aqua directly in the eyes.
"Hmph," Ven's voice was dark, distorted, and his tone was sadistically amused. Aqua gasped in horror as her blue eyes locked his, the usual bright blue, cheerful, friendly gaze Ven was known for was gone, replaced by a golden, malicious, and evil one.
Aqua gasped, frozen with horror and confusion as he raised his weapon and aimed it for her chest, her heart. But Mickey wasn't about to let that happen. He instinctively jumped, sending his own Keyblade, Star Seeker, onto Ven's new weapon, and shoving it towards the ground. The mouse king landed in front of Aqua, his glare daring their opponent to try and harm her again until she summoned her Keyblade.
"That's not Ven!" Mickey spread his arms out to make sure Aqua stayed behind him until she had armed herself.
What? Aqua looked up at her friend, no, her little brother, and used every ounce of her willpower to keep from bursting into tears. No, please . . . this can't be happening! Not to Ven!
Tendrils of darkness swirled around the blonde boy, revealing the organic black-and-scarlet body suit of Vanitas, the tattered black material settling at his waist as they vanished. The X-blade remained in front of him as he finally spoke.
"Correct. I am not Ventus." Ven's voice was blended with Vanitas's, it didn't sound like his at all. The possessed boy raised his free hand and placed it on his chest. "His heart has become a part of mine now!"
Mickey and Aqua gasped, their hope beginning to diminish.
Is Ven's heart still there? Can I free him from Vanitas's influence?
Vanitas raised the blade towards the sky and continued. "This X-blade will open a door – one that leads to all worlds. Then, Keyblade-bearing warriors will flock here from each and every one of them to battle for the light within Kingdom Hearts! And just like the legend says, the Keyblade War will begin!"
Aqua had heard enough. "Shut up!" Aqua's hopelessness had been replaced by rage settling into every fiber of her being as she summoned Rainfall. "I'm sick of your nonsense! Give Ven his heart back!"
The possessed blonde's only reply was a cocky grin as he raised his weapon. But something about his expression unnerved Aqua slightly. It was as though he had a special plan for her. Not wanting to find out what it might be, the blue-haired maiden charged at her foe, preparing to attack. Mickey did the same, powering up a light-based magical attack.
Vanitas dodged both, leaping into the air and slamming the X-blade to the barren stone ground, sending dark shock waves towards both his opponents. Mickey managed to dodge with only a nick to his leg, but Aqua wasn't so lucky. The force sent her flying backwards, nearly causing her to hit her head against the cliff wall. But thanks to her strong armor, she as able to get up with little difficulty.
Aqua charged at Vanitas, who was distracted with Mickey, and delivered a tough blow to his side, knocking him a few feet away. Caught off-guard, the possessed blonde only had time to look up as Aqua blasted him with a powerful Firaga attack. But before she could drive her Keyblade into his side, Vanitas rolled over and got back to his feet, his face contorted with fury. Aqua and Mickey watched in horror and some fear as his body rose a few feet off the ground, surrounded by sickly glow of orange, red, and black.
"Look out!" Mickey cried as the deranged boy launched himself towards them, X-blade aiming for their hearts. Both Keybearers were able to dodge in time, but almost immediately, Vanitas recovered, sailing towards Aqua. The female warrior avoided his attack again, sending a powerful thunder crescent his way. Star Seeker glowed brilliantly in Mickey's hand as he tossed towards Vanitas, who was still tailing Aqua. This was bad. Mickey could plainly see that she was getting tired. Vanitas seemed to have noticed this too, because he kept attacking her viciously.
Fortunately, Star Seeker his its mark, and Vanitas was thrown off his trail again, vulnerable once more. Both Aqua and Mickey ran towards him at top speed, the boy lay unmoving, and Aqua was beginning to wonder if he was conscious anymore. But at the last second, Vanitas sat up and pushed them away with some invisible force before returning his full attention to Aqua, knocking her to the ground.
"You don't know when to quit, do you?" she hissed through gritted teeth as she tried to block his onslaught of deadly blows. The possessed boy paused for a moment, preparing a much stronger blow. Knowing there would be no chance of her blocking this one, Aqua seized the opportunity to shoot him in the chest with a Blizzaga attack. Mickey watched the maiden clamber to her feet, only to be thrown back by a hit with the X-blade.
Something's not right, the young mouse monarchy thought, why is he only going after Aqua? The king snapped out of his thoughts when he heard a cry of pain escape the female warrior's lips. He charged at Vanitas while Aqua stood up again, but this time, the deranged male swung the mighty blade with all his might. Not only was Mickey sent sailing backwards, Aqua was struck in the shoulder with almost devastating force and her body was swallowed by a blinding white light.
Aqua's feet left the ground as she flew in a different direction, stopping just short the cliff wall. That wasn't what worried Aqua. When she opened her eyes, her armor had vanished, leaving her more vulnerable in her ordinary clothes.
Aqua rolled over, supporting herself with her arms to check for serious damage. To her relief, her shoulder, despite having a huge gash in it from Vanitas's previous attack still seemed to be functioning properly. Her relief was short-lived however. Aqua spotted her shoulder armor piece lying a short distance away, in pieces.
Just when she was about to rise and resume the battle, Aqua felt an arm coiling around her and yanking her to her feet. To Aqua's horror, Vanitas had seized her, and he was no doubt planning to hold her hostage now.
"Aqua!" Mickey cried as the bluenette struggled against Vanitas. "Hold on!" Mickey didn't notice the wicked grin on his opponent's face until he swung the X-blade in front of him and his captive, halting the mouse king in his tracks.
"Oh? You think you can take her back?" the psychotic leader of the Unversed cackled as he tightened his grip on the blue-haired maiden. Insanity glimmered in his amber gaze. "All right, then. Try!" The deranged boy, using Ven's legs, leaped backwards a great distance before shooting another deadly attack Mickey's way. But Mickey saw it in time to jump over it and fire attacks of his own. As Vanitas circled around the site with Aqua still in tow, Mickey threw small, but powerful balls of light at him. Most of them missed her target, but eventually, Vanitas let his guard down, earning him several hits square in the chest. Aqua took the opportunity to fight his grip, but he only squeezed harder.
"I don't think so," he sneered quietly before returning his attention back to Mickey.
I don't understand. Is he holding me hostage just to kill Mickey? But why? Unless . . . Aqua let out a gasp. Maybe this is what Braig was trying to tell me. Maybe once Vanitas takes care of Mickey, he'll try to take my heart! No. No way. Aqua was NOT going to let Mickey die just to save her. She struggled even harder than before. Just when Aqua was about to burn her captor and return to Mickey's aid, she heard a cry of pain and looked up with worry.
Aqua's heart plummeted as her fears were confirmed. She saw Mickey fly backwards and land on his stomach, now unmoving.
"NO!" Aqua kicked Vanitas in the shin and wrenched his arm away from her waist. She dodged him as he tried to retrieve her and ran as fast as she could to check on Mickey.
She wasn't fast enough.
Just when she got close enough to see Mickey's condition, Aqua felt a weight on her back force her back to the ground with a surprised cry. The weight turned her over so that she was laying on her back and pinned her arms down so she couldn't use her weapon or what little magic she had left. Vanitas had caught her. He grinned at her, wearing Ven's face. The sadism in her friend's face actually frightened her a little. Aqua must have failed in hiding this fear, because his grin grew wider as he stroked the side of her face with one finger.
"What's wrong," he taunted with a sweet voice, laced with mockery, and leaned closer to her, "are you scared now?"
Now Aqua was furious. She tried with all her strength to push him off and avenge Mickey.
"Let me go," she screamed. If she'd gotten free once, she was sure she could do it again. But Vanitas didn't seem to be letting up at all. Aqua knew Ven had never been this strong, but perhaps Vanitas had channeled some of his strength to him after taking control of his body. Or maybe Ven had just fought harder and gotten physically stronger as he continued his journey. Either way, Aqua was beginning to get tired and Vanitas showed no signs of losing his grip.
Suddenly, Aqua kneed the boy in the stomach, catching him off guard, but instead of letting her slip free, he quickly pinned her back down, infuriated. It was clear to Aqua that she had only made him angry, and fear found its way back into her heart as he grabbed her head and lifted it.
Wait, what is he...?
About half a second later, she got her answer. After seizing the bluenette's head, her deranged captor slammed it violently to the stone ground. Aqua tried to at least gasp in pain, but the blow had knocked the wind out of her. Her head pounded, she heard the blood rushing in her ears. Her vision came in and out of focus. As the seconds ticked on, the throbbing in her head grew worse, making the blue-haired Keyblade master fight back a wave of nausea. On the brink of unconsciousness, Aqua took small quick breaths to try and breathe again. Much to her surprise, Aqua found herself regaining breath, but just as her senses began to clear, she discovered an even bigger problem: there was a stream of blood trickling down the back of her head.
Vanitas waited to see if Aqua would lose consciousness as he had intended. Even as she regained breath, the blow to her head could still cause her to faint, which would make his job much easier. But the possessed blonde's hopes were dashed as she managed to raise her head and place her hand near the injured spot.
"H-heal," she managed to weakly gasp out. The command was immediately followed by a green light, which signaled that any serious wounds or damage had been cured. Aqua met Ventus's stolen eyes, tainted with gold, and glared defiantly.
"Impressive," he grinned, cradling her upper body in his arms as she feebly tried to resist (the wound may have healed, but it would take some time for her to completely recover.) "I've underestimated you, Master Aqua." Aqua's eyes still burned into his. "But now, I'm afraid your time is up."
Without warning, Vanitas's golden eyes began to glow strangely. Aqua was confused for a brief moment, before complete relaxation began to set in. Aqua began to feel a mild euphoria as the dark warrior shifted her position slightly, wrapping his arms around her securely and supporting her head with one arm. A mild drowsiness set in as well, unconsciously causing her to lean her head towards him.
"Good girl," he crooned as she stared blankly into his amber eyes. "Such beauty," he quietly droned as the color of her eyes began to match his. The hypnotic aura in his golden orbs dimmed, but Aqua remained transfixed on them. Vanitas softly ran his hand down her azure hair as he slowly brought her head to rest against his chest. "It really is quite a shame that it had to come to this, Aqua," he breathed as he continued to stroke her hair.
Aqua's eyelids grew heavier and began to droop as the rhythm of the boy's heartbeat softly played into her ear and his warm embrace squeezed her a little tighter. The last thing she was aware of was his soft whisper:
The malicious smile returned to Vanitas's face, masked by Ven's as the azure-haired maiden finally closed her eyes. She was in a very deep sleep, and would not wake for quite a while now. The possessed warrior ran his fingers down her cheek as she breathed lightly and brushed some stray locks away from her eyes. Looking at her slumbering figure in his arms, she looked so serene. So peaceful.
But in reality, she was so vulnerable.
Soon, Aqua, he vowed as he gently scooped the unconscious woman into his arms and stepped through the dark pathway, soon you'll realize just how vulnerable you are, and what will become of your friends.
As she cracked her eyes open, Aqua froze momentarily in shock. She had no idea where she was, how she got there, or how much time had passed. She was lying on a concrete floor in a dimly lit room. The room was empty, however; no light bulbs, desks, nothing but shadows and concrete floor. Aqua tried to sit up, but her arms wouldn't move from behind her.
"W-what?" she gasped weakly as she tried to move her hands, to no avail. They were bound tightly behind her with strong ropes. Aqua tested her legs, but her ankles were also tied securely. She considered burning her bonds, but there was no guarantee that she would not burn herself, possibly alive in the process. Sighing in defeat, Aqua managed to push herself into a sitting position and briefly scanned the room for anything or anyone that might help her figure out where she was and how to escape. There was nothing, however, but the seemingly endless shadows surrounding the one lit area that she sat, bound and (though she hated to admit it) helpless.
Aqua looked around the room again for the sole purpose of not falling back asleep and noticed that she was shivering. Aqua let out a shudder as she realized for the first time how cold the room was. It was very cold – freezing, actually. As she shivered harder, Aqua tried to distract herself with thoughts of her friends.
Terra – her fellow Keyblade apprentice. Her dearest friend whom she had always felt something more for. Terra, who had always been there for her when she needed him. He had vowed to fight the darkness within him after leaving on his journey. Aqua closed her eyes and fought back tears welling up at the thought of what would happen if he failed. After all, he must have been fighting Master Xehanort at that very moment. Or maybe their battle had already ended.
Please, Terra, defeat the darkness and return home safely.
Ventus – the happy, energetic youth who trained tirelessly alongside herself and Terra. Ven, always invoking smiles and laughter among the three even in their saddest times. When he'd first arrived in the Land of Departure, he had looked so empty, so depressed, almost like a lifeless puppet with some invisible force pulling the strings and controlling his movements. Aqua remembered the look in his normal sky-blue gaze, bursting with energy the night before the Master Qualification exam, then thought with a grieving, enraged heart of the evil gold stare that had replaced it just a while ago.
I know you can win, Ven. Don't let that monster take your heart. Please, fight Vanitas!
Now, a tear was crawling down Aqua's cheek. She struggled to suppress her shivers as the room seemed to grow even colder. Clenching her teeth and hanging her head to fight back a sob, Aqua silently screamed at Vanitas and Master Xehanort for starting this mess in the first place, but most of all, she screamed at herself for failing to help her friends. For the first time in a while, Aqua truly didn't know what to do. She struggled violently against the ropes once again, but they wouldn't budge.
She was trapped.
"My, my. What a sight. The Keyblade Master on her knees . . . crying."
Aqua's head shot up to see Vanitas, still wearing Ven's body kneeling in front of her. As he spoke, he reached toward her and wiped the tear from her cheek as she jerked her head away with a murderous glare.
"Don't touch me," she growled through clenched teeth. Aqua doubted that he was at all intimidated by this with her tear-filled eyes and shivers. Her suspicions were confirmed as he chuckled and leaned even closer and cupped her chin in his hand, forcing her to look at him.
"Why not," he asked mockingly, moving his hands to her shoulders and leaning his face closer to hers, "scared I might . . . hurt you?" He chuckled again, louder this time. Aqua couldn't help but recoil slightly at the malice in his eyes. As Vanitas studied his captive with amusement at her reaction, he noticed something.
"Aw, she's cold," he mused to himself in a false caring, sickly sweet voice. Aqua shook his hands off of her shoulders angrily, but it proved to be pointless as he smoothly scooted, seeming to slither behind her. "Well, I can fix that," he breathed in her ear as he wrapped his arms around Aqua's chest and upper arms, pulling her back so that her head rested against his chest. "Is that better, Aqua?"
The sadistic mockery in his voice made Aqua want to attack him with all her might. But in her current state, she couldn't really hurt him at all. But that didn't mean she was going to sit there and take it. With a disgusted grunt, Aqua began to squirm, trying to wriggle out of his grasp. Her efforts were futile, though, because the dark male only chuckled and squeezed her tighter. Aqua couldn't help but cringe at his touch.
Vanitas wasn't going to let Aqua leave his arms that easily, let alone without having a little fun with her first. The sadistic boy brought his gloved hand to Aqua's head and caressed her, smoothing her ocean-colored hair. This earned him an irritated grunt as she turned to glare at him. Amused, Vanitas only closed his eyes and moved close to her face, softly kissing her left temple.
Aqua fussed again as her captor pressed his lips against her temple. She tried again to pull out of his hold, but only succeeded in tiring herself out. He chuckled as he gently pulled her back against his chest, brushing her hair back and leaning down to her ear.
"Oh, no you don't," he whispered almost silently. He stopped stroking her hair, coiling her in his strong arms once again. Vanitas wore a truly evil grin and silently cackled at how Aqua could not even struggle now. Brushing a few more of her azure locks out of the way, Vanitas leaned close to Aqua's ear and gently nipped at the back. A thrill of pleasure shot through his body as he heard her moan in disgust and begin to squirm again.
As Aqua feebly attempted to free herself once more, she finally decided it was useless. She was just too tired and he was too strong. Aqua cringed in not only disgust, but . . . fear as well as she felt Vanitas's teeth continue nipping at her ear. Finally, she'd had enough.
"Stop," she ordered as she twisted her head out of the reach of his mouth.
"Oh? You want me to stop?"
Aqua made the mistake of turning to face him again. She couldn't stand to see this monster controlling the body of such a wonderful, happy, innocent person. Vanitas placed his hand on Aqua's cheek to make sure she didn't look away.
"But, Aqua," he grinned as he leaned close to her, "I thought you liked it." With that, he kissed her lightly on the forehead before kissing her cheek. Aqua was about to knee him in the chest when he moved to her neck, pressing his lips against the side of it.
This was too much for Aqua. Finding enough energy within herself, she kicked her captor in the stomach, catching him completely off guard. As he recovered from the shock, he turned back to her, with a murderous glare of his own. Aqua was taken aback and slightly unnerved at this. Vanitas must have sensed this, because he lunged at her without hesitation, pinning her back to the stone ground.
"There," he purred, the wicked grin returning to his face as her eyes shot wide open with fear, "that's better." He caressed the female Keybearer's cheek and noticed defiance creeping into her blue eyes. Sure enough, she was preparing to push him off again, but the boy placed his hand on her chest, halting her.
"Don't try to be difficult," he warned, "I will make it as painful, as torturous for you as I have to," he crooned while forcing her head down to the ground by leaning close to it. "Your king is all right, but he may be next if you don't behave yourself."
Then, he noticed something. He had placed his hand over her heart. He could sense her emotions. He was a being of darkness, after all. She was frightened. Good. But then, he sensed something else. A feeling, longing to see Terra. To know that he was all right. A powerful emotion even stronger than friendship.
Taking his hand off her heart, Vanitas grinned, using Ven's face. "You want to see Terra?"
Aqua's head shot up like a rocket, nearly colliding with his. "Where is he? Have you hurt him," she demanded furiously.
"Of course not, my dear," Vanitas purred, pulling her back into a sitting position and stroking her face with one finger. "In fact, he's on his way here right now." He trapped her once again in the coils that were his arms, and looked toward the shadows.
Aqua's head whirled to look in front of her as a new voice rang out.
"Ah, Master Aqua. A pleasure to see you again."
The voice's owner stepped out in front of the pair. His face was hidden in the shadows of his black coat. The coat had two chains at the shoulders and a zipper down the middle. But what really held the maiden's attention was his face. As he continued his approach, the man lowered his hood. His hair was a silvery color, and his eyes were the same gold as Vanitas's, filled with pure evil and darkness. He looked so familiar. Aqua wanted very badly to ask him who he was, but she just couldn't find her voice.
"What's the matter, Aqua," the man knelt down, lifting her chin with his finger, "can't you recognize old friends when you see them, let alone . . . love them?"
Aqua froze in shock as she realized who it was.
No . . . it can't be. It CAN'T!
"You . . ." The words caught in Aqua's throat as shock turned to blazing rage. She didn't need to finish her sentence, however.
"That's right, Aqua," the man mused, wearing a grin that any other person might think was pure kindness, rather than masked malice, "You tried to save your beloved Terra from the darkness. You tried with everything you had. But in the end, you failed. You failed because you refused to believe one simple fact." Grinning evilly again, he leaned closer to the bluenette.
"Darkness is always more powerful than light."
"You," Aqua finally found her voice again, "Xehanort! What have you done with Terra?" Aqua tried to throw herself at the evil man inhabiting Terra's body, but Vanitas's arms barred any movements. Nevertheless, Aqua continued trying to attack him. She wanted to make him pay for what he did to her friends.
But Xehanort and Vanitas only chuckled as she vainly struggled to break free of his arms. Her fury amused them, and this only fueled Aqua's fire. Suddenly, she had an idea. It would be risky, but it was the only thing she could do.
Going with the plan she had previously decided against, Aqua caught Vanitas off guard as she cast Fira at his stomach, not only forcing him to release her, but effectively reducing the bonds around her wrists to ash. She herself only received minor burning sensations as the hot ashes fell to the ground. Wasting no time, Aqua pushed back Xehanort with a similar attack before freeing her ankles. By the time her captors recovered from her sudden attacks, Aqua had brandished Rainfall and prepared to battle to the death if necessary to free her friends from the darkness's clutches.
Angered by her fiery stunt, Vanitas lunged at Aqua, wishing very badly that he could kill her. But before he had taken over Terra's body, Master Xehanort had specifically ordered him not to harm her more than necessary to subdue and capture her, and to do nothing that could possibly end her life.
He caught Aqua's ankle, causing her to fall to the ground, but before Vanitas could do anything else, she delivered a painful blow with Rainfall, distracting him just long enough to allow her to stand up and prepare for another attack. Wasting no time, the possessed blonde summoned a large orb of darkness and threw it at her. Aqua countered by striking it with Rainfall like a baseball and sending it back towards its creator, hitting him square in the chest. Vanitas cried out in pain and his hand pressed the area he had received the traitorous orb's attack.
Now as a being of darkness, dark attacks did very little to cause Vanitas any sort of pain or injury. But he was currently possessing Ventus's body, a light wielder, so the darkness hurt him more than it normally would. As the pain suppressed, The deranged boy looked up to see Aqua in the air, preparing to deliver an attack from above. He blocked just in time, nearly knocking her to the ground again, but she managed to stay on her feet.
"Hold her still," Aqua heard Xehanort yell as she recovered from the block. She looked up briefly to see him charging in her direction as well. With a determined expression, she ran at him, Keyblade at the ready.
But Xehanort was faster. He violently struck her in the side with his own massive Keyblade. Terra's Keyblade, Earth Shaker, had been replaced when Xehanort took over.
Aqua cried out as she was knocked down, her side was probably covered in bruises. She opened her eyes and saw her attacker reaching for her. On the verge of panicking, Aqua shot a Blizzard spell at him, causing him to recoil as she stood up. Aqua prepared to strike him again, hopefully knock him out just long enough to take care of Vanitas (hopefully freeing Ven in the process) and escape. But Xehanort only grinned at her.
"You still haven't learned," he shook his head, "the darkness always wins."
"You're wrong," Aqua shouted as she swung Rainfall, "the light will ALWAYS prevail!" But when the blade should have struck his body, it was gone. All her weapon sliced through was thin air.
"What?" Aqua looked around, confused. Both her opponents had vanished. But a split second later, before she could really process what was happening, a strong hand suddenly grabbed her arms, making her drop Rainfall and sending it back into oblivion, while another clamped itself over the bluenette's mouth. Aqua's cry of surprise was muffled as her captor leaned close to her ear.
"I told you, Aqua," Xehanort whispered. His voice sounded so much like Terra's, that tears began to well up in her blue eyes, "the darkness will prevail. Terra couldn't defeat it, and neither can Ventus. And now it will swallow you too, my dear.".
Aqua had just coiled her worn out muscles as she prepared to struggle again, but she stopped when she felt herself nearly lose her balance. Confused, she looked down to see her ankles bound tightly again, with a dark shadowy rope. She felt her wrists locked together again as well. Deciding to at least try and free her mouth, Aqua squirmed and twisted her head repeatedly. But Xehanort's iron hold did not falter, in fact, he only held her tighter.
Keeping his large hand on the girl's mouth, Xehanort reached into the pocket of his ebony coat and pulled out a black cloth. It was now that Aqua noticed that her upper arms had been bound as well.
"Now," Xehanort released Aqua's mouth just long enough to tie the cloth over it, blocking it once more before she could even let out a single syllable, "shall we carry out your purpose?" As the words left his mouth, the possessed warrior scooped Aqua into his arms and walked a short distance before pausing to look at the blonde youth.
"He's still here," Xehanort inquired. Vanitas nodded with a smirk that didn't suit Ven's face at all.
"I wanted him to have a glimpse of the hell she's going to be living in. He won't be around much longer."
He won't be around? What does he mean? Aqua couldn't see much more than the top of the spiky blonde hair that truly belonged to Ventus. But what could Vanitas have meant? Was Ven's heart still there somewhere? Aqua let out a quiet whimper behind the cloth gagging her as she tried to get a look at the boy's face.
"I see. Terra put up quite a fight. I nearly lost control," Xehanort grinned triumphantly, "but he was too weak. In the end, he surrendered." The wicked Keyblade wielder looked at the maiden in his strong arms with a smirk before walking away again.
The scenery soon changed a little. A dim light shone down through a large hole in the ceiling. Aqua looked up and saw the starry night sky. Illuminated directly under the hole was a long stone table. An altar. Aqua could see a thin cushion at one end.
Without a word to her, Xehanort approached the altar and gently set the blue-haired woman down so that her head rested on the cushion. Her eyes widened with horror and he immediately followed them, knowing exactly the reason.
Up in the sky, the source of the dim light was revealed. It was a giant heart-shaped moon with tiny sparkling tendrils emitting from it every once in a while. Its pale radiant light shone down on Aqua and she knew what it was.
"Do you see now, Aqua?" Xehanort placed his hand over her heart to make his point perfectly clear. "The only thing standing between me and complete rule over all worlds, plunging them into darkness, is your heart."
Aqua's eyes widened and narrowed with fury as she found herself completely immobile. Not bothering to find out the reason, Aqua glared at him, trying to demand what he had done with her friends, and exactly what he planned to do to the worlds.
"You see, Master Eraqus eventually learned of my intentions to begin the Keyblade War. Of course, he wouldn't stand for it. Knowing that Ventus was the one who would create the X-blade, he naturally tried to destroy him. But Terra arrived just in time to save his friend. As a result, the darkness inside Terra finally awakened. I needed a heart of darkness first, if I wanted to open Kingdom Hearts and begin the war. So when he struck me down during our battle, I waited for Vanitas to fuse with Ventus and forge the X-blade."
Pain and sorrow filled Aqua's heart as she heard of her friend's downfall.
"When I finally managed to obtain complete control over Terra, I disposed of his heart," Xehanort looked up at the glowing moon that was Kingdom Hearts, and continued.
"Any moment now, a heart of perfect balance between light and darkness will be sacrificed to the mighty Kingdom Hearts. That heart will be Ventus's." Xehanort leaned closer as Aqua gasped fearfully for her friend.
As if on cue, Ventus's body emerged from the shadows, but there was something much different. The look in his face was much eviler than before and no light emitted from his being.
"He's gone," Vanitas spoke. Even Ven's voice had vanished from his body, leaving behind a perfect mix of Vanitas's and Ven's, much like the blend of Terra's and Xehanort's.
No, Ven! Terra! Aqua tightly shut her eyes, wishing for this all to be a nightmare, to wake up in her own bed in the Land of Departure to find that none of it had happened. But alas, when she opened her eyes, it was as real as it had been when she had first woken up in this place.
"And that means, dear Aqua . . ." Vanitas approached the altar with the X-blade in his hand, "that your time has come." He raised his hand and lightly stroked her temple before raising the X-blade right above her chest. Aqua let out a frightened cry behind the cloth securing her mouth, earning a laugh from Vanitas.
"Aw, don't be scared, Aqua. It won't hurt – much!"
The dark boy raised the X-blade even higher as he spoke. Xehanort kept his amber eyes on Aqua, patiently waiting for Vanitas to deliver the blow.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, he plunged the blade deeply into Aqua's chest. As it touched her skin, a blinding white light emitted from it. Aqua felt no pain, only something fading away. Her eyes began to well up as she realized what was happening.
He isn't taking my life – he's taking my heart.
A single tear slid down her cheek as her senses began to fade, blurred by an unbearable drowsiness. As Aqua closed her eyes in eternal sleep, she let one last thought go to her friends.
Terra, Ventus . . . I'm sorry.
Sorry if the ending was a little rushed. I wanted to get this done. I think this is the longest one-shot I've ever written, even longer than any chapters of my stories! XD Please review! It really makes my day! :)