Set in Olympus Coliseum.
I have the most amazing readers in the entire world.
You are all awesome, and I appreciate the time you put into reading my work.
I hope I have not been a disappointment.
So this goes out to all of you.
A light-hearted piece to offset the seriousness of (most of) the other stories I have written.
This isn't exactly funny, because humor and me don't mix.
But, if I cannot make you laugh, then I hope to at least make you smile.
Maybe even just once, in the entire story.
As another treat, I have also chosen to use the pairings that are most popular.
(According to responses from readers, and the statistics of my other stories)
Although, I would rather not rip Aqua in half...
And so one pairing is one-sided. (For now... Haha! Just kidding!)
Sorry about that.
Still, I hope you enjoy.
And thank you so much.
PEACHES AND MANGOES
Sometimes, you are such a girl.
Aqua watched with an amused smile as Terra wrestled with Ventus. It was made even more amusing by the fact that they were visiting an outside world; the Olympus Coliseum, and they were wrestling in the middle of the street. And, funnily enough, the coliseum was just a short distance away. She couldn't help but find it hilarious that the two could not wait to get to the battlegrounds before translating their earlier squabble over peaches and mangoes into a series of tackles and punches.
At the moment, Terra had the upper hand; his forearm latched around Ven's neck and his knuckles furiously rubbing into the younger boy's head.
"Terra, quit it!" Ven yelled, struggling against the older boy.
Somehow, the younger apprentice managed to squirm out of the seemingly-deadly hold and, effectively turning the tables, jumped onto Terra's back. He promptly began digging both his knuckles into the mess of brown hair, much to the frustration of Terra.
Aqua started laughing. The sight of them was just too much.
"What are you laughing at?" Terra asked her, dumping Ven unceremoniously onto the ground.
"You two," she said. "Wrestling anytime, anywhere. There has to be a better way to settle your differences."
"Well, you used to be the deciding factor."
She sighed exasperatedly. "Until your arguments stopped making sense," she muttered. "Seriously, peaches and mangoes?"
Terra crossed his arms over his chest. "It's a serious argument, okay?"
"Yeah!" Ven piped in. "So, could you just tell Terra that peaches are better?"
"What?" Terra exclaimed. "Mangoes are better!"
"Your taste buds have issues, okay, because peaches sweep the floor with mangoes!"
Aqua pressed her fingers against her temple, her brows creased. "Are you ever going to stop?"
Terra frowned at her. "Just tell him that mangoes are better."
"Peaches!" Ventus yelled.
"Alright, alright," Aqua said. "I am going to have to go with Ven on this one. Peaches are better."
"Yes!" Ven said happily, punching the air.
'No way!" Terra groaned. "You're as crazy as he is! Peaches are not better than mangoes! How in all the World could you possibly say that they are?"
Aqua sighed. "Well, you know, think about it. Mangoes are just this constant shade of yellow. And it's shaped like what, a kidney? Peaches have this beautiful gradient of pink and orange, like a sunset. Plus, it is so round and fuzzy, which makes it kind of cute. Mangoes are just…" She stopped, noting the strange expressions on Ven and Terra's faces. "What?" she asked.
"Are you even aware of what you're saying?" Terra said, smirking.
She narrowed her eyes at him.
Ven grinned. "I just like them because they're really sweet."
"We're just talking taste here, Aqua," Terra said, almost laughing. "Colors and fuzz… Really, sometimes, you are -"
"Don't say it!" she said, interrupting him, frowning.
Terra grinned evilly. "Sometimes, you are such a girl…" he drawled out.
She hissed at him. "Are you trying to insult me?"
"Are you insulted?"
Ven scratched the back of his head. "Terra has a point, Aqua, sometimes you really are such a -"
"Ven, not you, too!" she said, sad and frustrated at the same time.
"It's okay, Aqua, it's just sometimes," Ven said in a way that made it sound as though he was actually trying to appease her. "You don't always act like a girl."
Aqua ran a hand down her face. Did Ven just imply what she thinks he did? "That doesn't… That just…" She groaned.
"You have to make it very clear, Aqua. Are you a girl, or what?" Terra said, the evil grin still plastered on his face.
She glared at him. "I am, in fact, a girl," she said. "And I am going to prove it."
Terra chuckled. "Oh yeah? How?"
"You tell me," she said. "What is it going to take to prove to the both of you that I am, through and through, a girl?"
Terra smirked. Her frustration amused him to no end. "Well, flirt then."
"W-what?" she stuttered, her eyes widening.
"Flirt, with a guy; get him to ask you out," Terra said.
Ven frowned. "How does that prove anything, Terra?"
"You're too young to know," Terra said, grinning at the younger boy.
Ven crossed his arms over his chest. "You always say that."
"Grow up, Ven, and I'll tell you everything you need to know," Terra said.
Aqua raised her eyebrows, but Ven had grinned, apparently satisfied with the elder apprentice's promise. So Terra turned his attention back to her. "What do you say, Aqua? I'll go pick out an unfortunate victim, and let's see if you've got this particular brand of magic wired, like all girls should."
She had half a mind to back down, but then the two boys will never let her hear the end of it. She sighed. "Alright, but be fair. Please pick a decent guy."
Terra extended his hand out to her. "Sure. Let's shake on it."
She took his hand and shook it once. When they had released hands, Terra rubbed his palms together. "I know just where to find the perfect victim."
"Can you not call him a victim?"
"Okay, um… Target."
Aqua ran a hand down her face again. "Fine…"
Terra led the way towards the coliseum, and Ven and Aqua trailed behind him. Aqua was taking deep breaths in order to keep her cool. Flirt? Seriously? Is that what guys think; that all girls have this innate ability to flirt? That made no sense to her, but if that is what it would take to prove that she is a girl…
They reached the coliseum gates and Terra caught sight of a promising target. There was someone there, a fighter by the looks of it, doing some warm-up exercises, minding his own business. The young warrior was about their age, and he looked…decent, as Aqua had requested.
"There you go, Aqua," Terra said, gesturing to the target.
Aqua studied him briefly. He did look decent, she'll give Terra that. But still, it seemed wrong to victimize the poor boy just for the sake of proving a point. "Terra… Is this the only way?"
"What, you're backing out already?" Terra said, smirking.
Aqua flinched. She would never, ever hear the end of it. "No, no, I'm going," she said. She took one last deep breath and walked towards the boy. Ven wished her luck as she walked away from them. They stayed right at the gates, close enough to see Aqua in action, but far enough that they would not cause interference.
When she was out of earshot, Ventus frowned up at Terra.
"I thought you liked Aqua," he said. "Why are you making her flirt with that guy?"
"You see, Aqua just needs a little shove to get in the game," Terra explained. "When she fails at this – and you know how Aqua deals with her failures – it will just make her work that much harder at being a girl. And that will make things a lot easier for me."
"What if she doesn't fail?"
Terra scoffed at the younger apprentice. "Aqua doesn't know the first thing about flirting."
"But you learned to like her anyway," Ven argued.
"Alright, point taken. But, just look at that guy. She would never go for someone like him."
Ven was still frowning. "I have a bad feeling about this Terra."
"Trust me, it'll all work out," Terra said with a smug look on his face.
"Okay, if you say so," Ven said. "I'm going to go find a snack. Maybe some peaches."
Terra rolled his eyes. "Fine, we'll wait for you here." When Ven had left, Terra turned his attention back to Aqua. She wouldn't be able to flirt to save her life, he was sure. And there was absolutely nothing likeable about that guy, especially when compared to him. This plan was going to work out. He'd bet his Keyblade on it.
Aqua pressed a hand to her chest as she walked towards – as Terra put it – the target. She pleaded with whatever higher power was out there to give her the strength to get through this alive. And she hoped that she will somehow avoid causing irreparable damage to the innocent soul she was about to practice her non-existent flirting powers on.
She swallowed hard, now standing just a few paces from the boy. What was she supposed to do? She watched him for a second as he did some funny-looking squatting exercises, oblivious to her presence. She suppressed a laugh, walked towards the wall and leaned casually against it. She made certain that she would be in his peripheral vision, and hoped that a plan will just spontaneously come to mind.
She kept her gaze on him, willing him to look at her, and he eventually did. For a moment she was startled and a slight blush colored her face; his eyes were an amazing shade of blue. But then she remembered her purpose. She immediately looked away, the slight blush working to her advantage. Then, very slowly, she raised her gaze to him again and smiled shyly. He was still looking at her and she briefly entertained the idea that she might actually make it through this.
"Hi," he said, grinning.
"Hi," she replied shyly. He really did have such astonishing eyes, and she found it difficult to look away from them.
He walked closer to her. "I'm Zack," he said, gesturing to himself. "You?"
She hesitated, but only for a moment, letting the slight blush fade completely. "Aqua." She tried not to focus on his sapphire eyes, which, in turn, were focused on her. She was feeling awkward enough as it is.
"Aqua… That's a very pretty name," he said.
"Thank you, Zack…" She smiled warmly at him.
"So, uh…" He scratched the back of his head. She could tell he was trying to get a conversation going, and she was relieved that she did not have to be the one to do it. "Are you here for the Games?"
He grinned, and there was something she liked about the way it lit up his face. "You're not from around here, are you?" he asked.
She shook her head, both in answer to him and to clear her mind a little. "No, sorry."
"It's like a tournament," he said. "The best fighters from all over battle to become Champion. It's tomorrow, and I really want to be ready for it. I really think I can make it all the way to the top this time!"
She thought his enthusiasm and confidence – and the way he spoke in such an honest, casual way – were charming, but she did not dwell on that thought. "I didn't realize you were training for something so important. Am I bothering you?"
He raised his hands up and shook his head vigorously. "No, I don't mind," he said.
She smiled, relieved, as she mentally slapped herself for asking that question. If he had said yes and asked her to leave him alone, she would have had to return to Terra and admit that she was a failure. "So, you've entered the Games before?" she queried.
"Yeah, but I never get to the Final," he said. "I'll win this next one for sure, though. I have been training every single day! This town better be ready for a new Champ!"
Aqua found her eyes wandering across his toned, athletic body at the mention of his training. He had the build of a fighter, without all the bulk. Her type of build… She blushed again, feeling awkward about looking him over like that, and she turned her gaze to one side. "You certainly look the part. I'm sure you'll do great."
His grin widened at her compliment. "So, um, maybe you could watch my matches?"
Aqua saw an opportunity, and before any more awkward moments on her part, she decided she had better end this quick. It seemed Terra may have made the wrong choice because this guy – for a reason that she could not fathom – actually seemed interested in her.
She smiled at him sadly. "I would love to… But…"
His grin faded. "But…?"
"I'm meeting my friends in a while. We came here to tour the town."
"Oh," Zack said. He jerked his head towards the gates. "Is he your friend?"
Aqua turned towards where he had gestured. She frowned a little when she realized that Ven was gone. But she assumed he left to find food; he was always the hungry one. Terra, though, was staring quite conspicuously at her. He was supposed to be keeping out of sight. But Zack had already noticed, so…
"Yes," she answered.
"So are you and him…?"
"Oh! No, no!" she said, laughing a little and shaking her head. The conversation was not going down the path she was hoping for. "He is one of my best friends, that's all. He isn't interested in me that way."
Zack smirked. "His loss, then," he muttered.
"Nothing," Zack said, grinning. "Listen, if you come watch my matches, I can take you around town after."
Aqua smiled. She was getting there. "Oh, I'm sure the Champion wouldn't want to do that. He would have much better things to fill his time with than spend the afternoon with me."
Zack laughed a little. "You know what the Champ would really like?"
"What?" she asked, thrilled that he was playing along.
"One date," he answered, holding up one finger to emphasize his point. "With you."
Aqua felt a blush color her cheeks and she laughed a little. Strangely enough, she had no plans of refusing. "You are asking me out on a date?"
"Yes," he said. "And I know this great place where we could go, with great food, and then after, we could just hang out… We'll have an awesome time, I promise."
She smiled at him, finding his eagerness to be so endearing. "Sure, Zack, that sounds great."
Aqua walked back towards Terra just as Ven returned, stuffing his face with peach cobbler. He offered some to his friends, but they declined, laughing at the crumbs on his face.
"Well?" Terra asked Aqua.
"Well," she said slowly, as she smiled at him meaningfully.
"No way," he said.
"Yes way," she replied, laughing at the look of disbelief on his face.
"Wait, what, he asked you out?" Ventus asked, finishing the last bits of his snack.
"Yes," she said. "He asked me if I would go out with him tomorrow, after the Games."
"What Games?" Ven questioned.
"Oh, apparently, they hold some kind of fighting contest around here," she explained. "The Games are tomorrow, and Zack is hoping to win. After that, he is going to show me around town."
"Cool!" Ven said.
"Wait a minute! Aqua! You…actually said yes…? You are going out with him?" Terra asked.
Aqua nodded and Terra's face paled. Ven gave him a warning stare, the younger boy's eyes were wide as saucers, and Terra quickly regained his composure. He underestimated Aqua, apparently, and now just how was he going to fix the damage?
"So, do you think I could still sign up for those Games?" Terra asked Aqua.
Aqua laughed, shaking her head. "I don't know. Terra, is that all you think about? Fighting? Come on, let's just go." She turned once more to Zack – who had resumed training – for a minute and flashed him a smile. He waved at her.
She then turned around to leave, with Ven doing the same. Terra promptly wrapped an arm possessively around her shoulders as they walked out of the gate. She thought nothing of his action, but she missed the expression on his face as he looked behind them to glower at Zack.
The black-haired swordsman smirked at the Keyblade Wielder. With their eyes narrowed at each other, and sharp glares exchanged, a rivalry was formed. And both knew exactly what the other was thinking.
Bring it on.