It's a desert wasteland, but I swear the air here tastes like ice.

The wind is hot against my back, pushing me forward to you.

It's always been to you, I've always been to you, and yet you think...

What do you think?

I want to know you again, because I guess I don't. Master Xehanort does, apparently. I might have slammed my hands down and yelled back at a retired Keyblade Master for your sake, but it's still there, like a blood clot tangled up in my heart, making it pinch hard when I breath in.

Fear, sorrow, anger-that's-almost-hate, frustration, fatigue, doubt—no, no no, no doubt, I do not doubt you! I know you, I know you would never do all of this willingly! I know the basis for my argument is pathetic, based on our childhood fights and spars and cootie-wars and trying not to burst out laughing manically in the silence during lessons, or when you cried in front me for the first time in your life.

I remember that, when you cried. Why and how I did it. I could hurt you with words more than with my spells of frost and heat. And I ran after you, followed you through the shadows of the castle and held on to you, saying I'd never let you go.

But I lied, obviously, since I'm standing here with open arms.

I want to believe this will be like that time, but better. But again, I'm following after you. Passive, passive. Always only responding to you, waiting for you to talk first but initiating the conversation anyways when you keep looking into the distance. Or maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm blind to the truth of you. Maybe you were right all along and I don't understand you as well as I believed I did. Maybe I'm not as smart as the master praised me to be.

I don't know. All I know is when I'm near you, you make it hard to control my emotions—hard, but not impossible, thankfully. But right now, I just want to help you. Talk, walk away from all this, sit enveloped in a sunset with star-shaped fruit seeds on our hands and lips and cry on your shoulder as you help me figure out what we do with Ven.

I haven't had a good cry in a long time. I could use one in the near future. I'll probably need it when this is all over. And I'm only in this world so I can confirm what Master Yen Sid said. He said your heart was leading you here...

But is it so wrong to need you? Is it weak of me to want to rely on you, or should I stand on my own?

I'm not even mad at you. Which is strange, considering you have the blood of our master and mentor, your father-figure, on your hands.

I can't believe Master Eraqus is gone. It's not right. I'm not surprised Xehanort was involved, but hearing him say your name...

I don't hate you, I won't. I know you won't ever succumb to the darkness, but...I'm just scared for you.

Scared I'll say something wrong again when I meet you in this graveyard of steel and dead shadows, then you'll get angry, shut off your eyes and soul from me and just walk away. Again. I'm even more scared to keep walking on. Will you look the same? Or are you different now, darker, like an immortal, horrifying god without feelings? Will that be your fated future?

You would hate that, I know. You always talked about how much you hate wars, and how you want to be a Keyblade Master but you don't want the fairytale glory. I don't either.

But...Ven should have it. He would love it, he's such a people's person. Like you, he would never falter to the darkness. I can tell.

I'm so proud of him. Is that weird, to feel pride when I see him, or that I shout a mental blessing up to some god that might hear me whenever he smiles so warmly at anyone and everyone. He's so pure, so constant in his bliss. Until now...

I love him. I know you do, too. You've always tried to scold him while praising, well, something about him at the same time so you wouldn't feel too bad. You're so clumsy with your emotions sometimes. But you're so sincere all the time, the times you abruptly one-arm hug him whenever his gaze empties like death and reassure him he's not wrong and don't doubt yourself Ven.

Ven. We've talked about Ventus a lot during our night walks through the crispy-cool forests of blue fireflies back home, on how he must have a yawning void in his little chest at how he can't ever remember his previous life or his family. How he must hunger for a mom and dad, or brothers and sisters, even though he's a teenager and "should grow up and move on." But that need isn't stupid. I know I still feel that for my parents, wherever they are now...

We both know what it's like to have no real family around—I guess that's why we ended up being parental friends to him. The three of us understand, we've got this promise, these charms, our hearts, so I know we will be okay.

But you're worried, real worried about him, probably more so than me. What with his darkness that was made flesh, living poison strutting about the universe at a snail's pace...so unlike Ven. How could that Vanitas have come from him?

I can't believe you're doing all this. Ven would lecture you so bad and tell you to stop it if he ever caught you. Like me, he still believes in you, but maybe he'd get through to you, unlike me...

Nope. Must stop walking.

Not ready to confront you just yet.

I'll just ignore the stitch in my chest and deep breath unnecessarily and...

Yes, I'm just going to stand here with my head bowed and stare at this crack in the desert ground and compare it the crack in your voice when you found out I was spying on you for Master Eraqus.

I really hurt you then when I didn't answer.

But, why?

You've done it to me before. Gods know you have. Why was it so wrong for me to hurt you back this one time? Yes, that was selfish of me, but I was just reminding you of your ugly side. Maybe that's why you walked away and yelled at Ven not to follow.

Or is it because I'm a Keyblade Master and you're not? You probably still hate me for that (and I don't blame you). Do you want me as miserable as you are now? I'll gladly be as such, because misery loves company, but in the good company of each other we would no longer be miserable. It's always been that way with...us...

...oh...

Oh.

Oh no. Is...that what you wanted, just me and you stuck together?

I don't believe it. Wow, that was stupid of me to think.

Wow, I'm laughing.

I'm laughing so hard I'm almost crying.

I must be out of it...well, I haven't gotten a decent night's rest since I started chasing you and Ven, so that explains it.

You rarely perceived me as a girl, man, what was I thinking...

We had such animosity between us when I first came to the Land of Departure (or rather, Master Eraqus had pity on me and plucked me up and away through the stars). But we got good. It took a long time, but we got good.

But now, I think you really must hate me.

I know. I kind of deserve it.

My heart won't stop pounding. I'm walking deeper through this forest of dead keyblades, tombstones to better warriors than me, straight through the center of a clear-cut path. Like it was made for me to walk down.

Funny, I feel like a woman in her last day on earth, watching her noose being prepared from her prison cell.

I dig my fingers in the star charm, picking up my pace as I take breath through my nose and-

Aqua.

I freeze, bringing my eyes up.

How...

And there, in the distance at the crossroads center, you're staring out at me. Quiet and watchful as ever.

Terra.

Were you...?

No.

Impossible. You can't do that.

Our hearts aren't that close anymore.