Set in the Lanes Between and the Keyblade Graveyard.
Contains scenes from the beginning and the end of Birth By Sleep.
Inspired by the realization that the Prince is not always a Knight, and vice versa.
But they fight for the same thing; the love of the Princess.
DISCLAIMER [I do not own Kingdom Hearts] DISCLAIMER
They want the same thing in different ways.
We were supposed to be Masters together, Aqua…
As Terra soared in the lanes between, mounted on his Keyblade Glider, he could think of nothing but the events of the last day and the last night.
She had been with Ventus, stargazing. The two of them were seated side by side on the very edge of the summit, their silhouettes framed by the glittering night sky. Whenever he was looking for her, she was always with Ventus.
Aqua was so lighthearted around the younger apprentice, always smiling and laughing. And the way she spoke to him, her voice soft and warm…
Why can't she be that way with me?
"You and Ven are different, Terra," she told him once. "I can't look at you two the same way."
She gently placed her hand over her heart, a habit of hers that he found so endearing, and yet heartbreaking as well. He knew that it meant she was troubled, upset, or – worse – hurting. "I worry about Ventus. I care about him so much, it scares me sometimes."
"Well, you shouldn't, Aqua."
"How could I not? I see him as my little Prince. I need to protect him, to love him."
"So, what does that make me?"
She laughed and looked at him curiously. "If I know anything about you, Terra, it's that you're strong enough to overcome any trial. The last thing you need from me is protection."
Yeah? Well, it isn't your protection I want, Aqua… It's that other thing you so willingly give Ven.
He remembered the day of the exam, when the first test went awry. Even as she stood in the midst of danger, standing back to back with him, all she could think about was Ventus. It was always about Ventus!
"But, Ven, you're in danger here!" Aqua had said, her voice stern, but filled with sincere concern. "Go wait in your room." The young keybearer only shook his head.
As if he didn't care that Aqua was so worried. As if he wasn't grateful that Aqua was giving so much of her heart to him.
"No way! I've been looking forward to this – seeing you two become Masters. I'm not gonna miss it now!"
"He can take care of himself. He's been out there training just as hard as us." But that was far from what Terra truly wanted to say. He wanted to ask her if she could worry about him for a change. He wanted to tell her that it shouldn't always be about Ven.
And the exam only got worse from there. He had used darkness against her during their second trial. He allowed the frustrations and jealousy to overwhelm him. All he wanted to do was to impress her; he wanted her to see that he was… What? Better than Ventus?
I can't even face her now… Not after that…
The darkness within him...
Was that why she preferred Ventus; because his heart was so full of light? Like hers…?
He gritted his teeth as he accelerated. He had no time to waste; a lot was riding on this mission. This was his second chance to become a Keyblade Master; and to prove his worth to Aqua.
I need to rid myself of this darkness… How else can I be her Prince?
Am I going to die?
Down at the foot of the cliff, she stood looking up at him and he wondered if it was the last time he would ever look at her face. His vision tunneled, focusing only on her, nothing else mattered. His hand involuntarily reached out for her, even though his mind was well aware she was beyond his reach, in more ways than one.
Even the cold that suddenly engulfed his entire body could not compare to the ice his heart felt at the thought that this might be the very last time... He wished he could at least say her name and taste the harmony that those four simple letters created...
He was only vaguely aware of falling, of his Keyblade shattering against the cliff. His next clear thought came when she caught him in her arms, breathless and fearful as she asked if he was alright.
He wanted to scream, to struggle against her. But his eyes could only move back and forth across her face, drinking in the lines of worry, the scrapes on her cheek, the way her lips trembled tiredly with every breath. Why did she always have to see him this way? Why was he always so helpless and weak?
He recalled a conversation they had, several years before. She watched Terra leave for a mission, and she had such a look of sadness...
"Are you worried about him?" Ventus asked.
She just smiled. "He will be alright."
"You look worried."
"Well, I am, but Terra is strong and fearless, like a Knight. He'll fight through any danger to save the day, and he will come home to me, safe and sound."
Come home to her… Why does she always want Terra?
All he could think about then was strength and courage; qualities that he vowed he would have because they mattered to Aqua.
And now he lay in her arms, powerless, weak. Even when the one-eyed man approached, his scarred, sneering face and spiteful voice taunting them, Ventus was helpless. He couldn't do anything other than shout in his anger. And Aqua had to fight for him, protecting him, and he hated himself for it. No matter how hard he struggled, no matter how hard he tried, he was never going to be strong enough for her.
Never going to be strong enough like Terra…
He turned to look at her, pausing briefly in his attempts to escape the ice that bound him. The battle was over, she had won. He knew she would. But-
His heart suddenly lost its rhythm; he felt pain at seeing her attacker bear down his Keyblade, striking her from above. It was torturous, watching as Aqua collapsed. The masked boy stood over her unconscious form, his own Keyblade held right at her heart. And in the face of her heart being lost, of her life being stolen, Ventus found strength. The ice shattered.
"No!" he shouted, summoning his Keyblade. He gritted his teeth and assumed an offensive stance, ready to fight for Aqua. Ready to prove himself.
Now or never! I will be her Knight!