Set in the Land of Departure.
A few years before Birth By Sleep.
The conversation between Terra and Aqua is connected to several in-game events.
Some are obvious. Others, not so much.
But if you have played the game, you will likely recognize at least three.
DISCLAIMER [I do not own Kingdom Hearts] DISCLAIMER
How best friends seal the deal.
Two wishes, two promises, one dream.
It was around midnight and Terra had been pacing back and forth in his room for the better part of an hour. His mind just would not settle down enough for him to be able to sleep.
Ventus finally woke from what had seemed a perpetual sleep and that was very good news. For the most part, anyway. The Master was relieved. Aqua was ecstatic. Terra was…apprehensive.
He left his room and walked down the long hallway to the last bedroom. He stood in front of the door, just staring at it for a minute. A name was carved crudely on the surface of the hardwood: Aqua. This was her bedroom. He touched the carving lightly, remembering with a stitch of regret that it was he who had dug those letters into the wood.
He was not thrilled at all with her arrival, many years ago. As far as he was concerned, the Master made a mistake in selecting her. He wanted nothing to do with her and never spoke to her unless it was absolutely necessary. He then childishly carved her name on the door of the bedroom that was a full hallway's length away from his own, telling her to keep her distance from him. Ever the peacekeeper, Aqua conceded.
How he regrets those actions, wishing instead that their rooms were separated only by a single wall, rather than ten bedrooms. And that regret was stronger now, because on the bedroom door right beside hers, a new name was engraved: Ventus. And it was engraved beautifully because it was done by Aqua. She even carved wings around his name, so it looked like an angel caressed the letters.
Terra frowned at his own work, frustrated. Ironic how he wanted her so far from him before, and now that something – someone – can come between them, he wanted her closer than ever.
His eyebrows furrowed together. What was he doing here anyway, outside her bedroom? Was he planning to speak to her? It was as though his body just brought him here, and his mind hasn't quite caught up yet.
Sighing, he decided to return to his room, but before he could take a step away, the door opened. It took them both a second to react; Terra taking a step back, and Aqua gasping a little.
"Terra," she said. "What are you doing here?"
His mouth opened, but no sound came out.
She waited, her head tilting slowly, slightly to the side. He felt his cheeks grow warm. "Is everything okay?" she queried.
"I, um… I was just…"
"Having trouble sleeping?" she offered.
He nodded, clearing his throat a bit. "Yeah…"
She sighed. "Me, too…"
He thought that was a little strange, because Aqua clearly looked exhausted. That was to be expected, though, because she had been depriving herself of sleep lately, watching over Ventus. They just stood there for a moment, looking anywhere but at each other. Then she stepped to one side, holding her bedroom door open for Terra. "Come in for a minute?" she said.
He hesitated only for a second before walking through the open door. He was immediately enveloped in the soft, familiar fragrance and gentle warmth that filled her bedroom. She closed the door and then Terra felt her brush past him, heading to her bed, and he hoped he just imagined the static that came between them.
"Sit with me?" she asked softly and, breathing deeply, he turned around to join her.
He sat down beside her and she rested her head on his shoulder, sighing.
"So, um…" he said, clearing his throat.
She laughed a little. "You know, I was about to go to your room."
He tried to look at her face, but their position made it hard. He wondered if she said it with a blush, or with a frown…
"Why?" he asked.
"Well, for the same reason that you were standing outside my door," she said.
"Oh, right," he said. They both had trouble sleeping. He wondered if they shared the reason for that, as well. "So why couldn't you sleep?"
She sighed. "I was worrying about Ventus."
Terra felt his muscles tense, but he quickly tried to relax them so Aqua wouldn't notice. Thankfully, she didn't.
"Why?" he asked.
"His eyes, Terra… They were so empty. Something terrible must have happened to him. I can't imagine what he must have gone through, for his eyes to become so lifeless."
Terra was quiet for a while, his thoughts on a rampage. Ventus had been awake only a few hours, and his hold on Aqua was already so strong. Actually, even before he woke, she was already so attached to him. She hardly left his bedroom, forgetting even her own needs. And now that he was awake...
Terra dreaded tomorrow.
"Terra?" Aqua asked, touching his hand. "Are you okay?"
She was looking up at him now, her brows creased with concern.
Terra tried to word his thoughts carefully, but his voice was still harsh when he spoke. "I don't want you worrying about him, Aqua."
"Whenever you worry about something, you get carried away. You forget about yourself."
"I… That isn't true."
"Yes, it is." He sighed. "Do you want to know why I couldn't sleep? It's because of what the Master said."
"He said now that Ventus is awake, everything will change. It was bad enough, Aqua, when he was still asleep. You were always with him…"
He wondered if she understood. Part of him wished she didn't.
"Why does that upset you? You were the one who was so eager to make friends with him when he first arrived. Remember?"
He looked at her and wished he could say it. That was until you took an interest in him. He turned away from her slightly.
"What are you afraid of?" she asked.
"There are things that I wish would stay the same."
She touched his face. "What things?"
Her hand fell from his cheek. "Us…?"
"Forget it," he said and he stood up, but she took hold of his wrist.
"Wait a second," she said. "What do you mean us?"
"Three is a crowd, Aqua," he said, and he smirked down at her.
He thought he saw her face flush with color. But it was only for a moment and with the faint light he just couldn't be sure. "Ventus will make a wonderful friend for us both, I am sure of it. But, if it makes you feel better…"
She shifted a little so that her legs no longer dangled off the edge of the bed, but was instead tucked to her side. She then pulled Terra to sit cross-legged in front of her. "You are my very best friend, Terra," she said. "And we are going to seal the deal."
He raised an eyebrow slightly. "What?"
"Best friends share everything, and know everything about each other, right?"
"So, tell me your most secret wish, your wildest dreams, and then make me a promise," she said. "They have to be things we have never shared before, and things you would never tell anyone else. Not ever."
He narrowed his eyes at her. "Sometimes, you are such a girl."
She stifled a yawn. "Just do this with me, okay?"
"Alright, fine," he said. "But you start."
Laughing a little, she said, "Okay, a wish first. I always secretly wish that the Master would stop expecting so much of me…"
Terra stared at her. "You wish what?"
"Well, it just gets very difficult sometimes. I am so worried that I will end up disappointing him someday. He puts too much faith in me," she said, smiling weakly.
"Don't be stupid, Aqua," he said, frowning. "I wish the Master would trust me like he trusts you. He sets boundaries around me. As if he fears that something within me might suddenly lead me astray…"
Now it was her turn to stare at him. They sat in silence for a minute, both aware of what the Master feared in Terra, but neither one wanting to voice it out. Aqua took his hand. "I know what promise I want from you, Terra."
She gave him a serious look. "Keep fighting, no matter what. Stay strong," she said. "For me."
He held her hand a little tighter, smirking. "I promise. I will stay strong for you."
She smiled at him. "Now I owe you a promise."
Terra already had one in mind. "Be there for me," he said simply.
"Be there for you?"
"Yes," he said. He had to take a deep breath, because asking this of her was against his very nature. "I trust you, Aqua. So if you see me following a dark path…"
"No," she interrupted him. "That will never happen."
He silenced her with a stern look. "If I go astray, at least be there for me."
She sighed. "I would do that, even if you never asked."
"Just promise me, Aqua."
For a moment, he thought she would refuse him. But she finally said, "I promise. The darkness will never have you. I will always be there for you."
He smirked at her and she smiled. "Wishes, promises… Only dreams left," he said.
She nodded. "You first?"
Terra thought about his dreams. He wanted to be a Keyblade Master, but that was a dream they both shared and they have been talking about it for years. But what else could he tell her? That he dreamt of her? He looked into her bright, cerulean eyes and his courage and confidence decided to take a leave. His mouth was suddenly dry. He couldn't even say that he was jealous of Ventus – something he would only admit in his head. What more reveal his feelings for her?
"You already know my dream, Aqua," he said, hoping she would let this one go.
"Come on, Terra, there has to be something else," she insisted. "As your best friend, I need to know your deepest desires."
He sighed. "There is nothing else, Aqua. It's all I've ever dreamed about." His heart ached when the lie left his lips, but he could not take it back now. And even if he did, he knew he still would not be able to find the strength to tell her his true desire: her.
Her brows creased a little, her lips curved into a frown of disappointment. "Alright, if that really is your only dream..."
"Yeah," he said. "Now tell me yours."
She looked away from him. "Um… It wouldn't be fair to say mine, now that you've avoided sharing one."
"Come on, Aqua," Terra said, noticing that she had lowered her gaze and turned her head shyly to one side. Even though the moonlight did not provide enough illumination to show it, he knew her well enough to know that she only did that when she was blushing. "I am your best friend, aren't I?" he said, urging her.
Sighing, she closed her eyes. "I… When we have both become Masters… I want to travel the World…with you..."
Terra felt his heart swell, and soar to unbelievable heights. "What?" he said.
"You heard me," she answered, opening her eyes but still not looking at him.
"That is your wildest dream? Your deepest desire?"
"At least I have one, Mister All-I-want-to-be-is-a-Keyblade-Master," she said, clearly embarrassed. She was pressing her lips tightly together.
He chuckled and he placed a hand on her cheek. "Can I share it?"
"Your dream," he said. "Can I share it with you?" With his hand on her cheek, he could feel her blush grow against his fingertips.
"I… I suppose so," she murmured shyly.
"Thanks," he said.
She moved closer and leaned against him.
He felt his heart beat faster. "I guess this means I will have to work even harder to become a Master. So that our dream can come true…"
She pressed a hand against his chest, feeling his quickened heartbeat. "It will come true, Terra. I believe it will. And you should, too."
He heard her yawn softly and he chuckled again. "We should get to bed." Very gently, he pushed her away from him and swung his legs off the bed. Before he could get up, though, she clasped him on the shoulder.
"Stay," she said. "At least until I fall asleep."
He smirked. "I'm pretty sure that is against the rules. The Master would be angry if he finds out."
She smiled. "If…"
He had no desire to argue further. It might be years – or lifetimes, or eons, or never – before he would receive another opportunity like this. She lay down on her side, slightly curled, and he followed suit. She nestled closer to him, her hand clutching his shirt, and her forehead pressed against his neck. Tentatively, he wrapped his arm around her waist and he sighed in relief and contentment when she did not push him away.
They were quiet then, and he listened as her breathing slowly became more even. He realized, at that moment, that Ventus did not matter so much. Change no longer sounded like such a threat. Ventus could be whatever he was meant to be; their new best friend, or their fiercest rival, it didn't matter. What did matter was already in his arms, falling asleep, dreaming of traveling the World with him.
"Aqua?" he said, just as he felt her hold on him relax.
"Hmm?" she murmured sleepily.
"Just until you fall asleep?"
"What…?" she mumbled.
"I mean, what if I fall asleep first, or what if we fall asleep at the same time? Then would it be okay if I stay the entire night?"
She groaned softly. "Terra, you don't need to find an excuse to stay. Tell me you want to, and that is reason enough…"
Her voice became softer at her last words, and her breathing became deep and slow. He lay there for a long while, just listening to her and sharing her warmth.
"Aqua?" he eventually tried again, but he kept his voice low.
She stirred a little, but she did not respond. She was already sleeping.
He smiled and pressed his lips against her hair in a feather-light kiss. Then, very softly, he whispered, "I want to."