Title: In Order of Preference

Fandom: Kingdom Hearts

Author: Nietzsche's Itch

Characters: Sora, Ventus, Riku, Terra, Kairi, Aqua

Genre: Friendship/Hurt/Comfort

Rating: T

Status: Oneshot, Complete

Disclaimer: I do not own Kingdom Hearts

Summary: All three of them are closer to one than the others. Sora/Ventus, Aqua/Kairi, Riku/Terra friendship. No slash/femslash

When it comes down to it, they are all very different people.

Before there was Sora, Riku and Kairi, there was Terra, Ventus and Aqua. They might have been worlds apart at times, but they were always reaching out to each other, ready to catch and welcome the others back to their side.

Sora is merry, optimistic and playful.

Kairi is patient, cheerful and tolerant.

Riku is cynical, stoic and reserved.

A perfect balance, as were they.

Ventus was hopeful, sociable and mischievous.

Aqua was responsible, kind and caring.

Terra was strong, self-deprecating and protective.

All of them loved their friends more than what convention would deem proper or appropriate. They relied on them more than their own families, because bonds of blood paled next to the bonds formed between compatible hearts.

There was a reason that Ventus was able to take refuge in Sora's heart, and not Riku's when the two were standing side by side. Ventus had ended up being the unwilling key that tied the fate of his friends and the worlds together, and Sora was destined to suffer the same fate.

Aqua and Kairi had been the dominant female influences in their respective troikas. Neither thought twice about braving the unknown and the darkness if there was a chance that their friends were lost along the path and waiting for them to find them, with a light in hand.

Terra and Riku were mocking of their own weakness. They had succumbed to the darkness, and wrought heartache and sorrow in hearts that formerly knew nothing of such horrors. They could never completely forgive themselves, even if their friends did.

They celebrated their differences, but within their bands of three, they divided off into the two most alike.

Sora and Ventus each felt responsible for their friends being forced to grow up before their time. They were the youngest at heart, the most naive and they never seemed to get there in time before one of their friends hearts was irreparably hurt beyond repair.

Aqua and Kairi, though capable in their own rights, were accustomed to being the ones left behind. Their men folk were determined to protect them, and to assuage their fears, they forfeited their own desires for their peace of mind.

Riku and Terra struggled to contain the darkness inside of them, and no one else could fathom how it felt to constantly afraid of hurting another. Their best efforts seemed to come to naught, and in the end everyone was worse off for their inability to keep their promises.

There was Terra, Ventus and Aqua.

Then Sora, Riku and Kairi.

And sometimes, two is company, and three is a crowd.