Set in the Land of Departure.

Another attempt at humor.
This was a work in progress for the longest time.
I'm not exactly sure how long, but it was a couple of weeks at least.
And even after all that time, this is all I could come up with.

I hope you like it.

Happy New Year!

DISCLAIMER [I do not own Kingdom Hearts] DISCLAIMER


Because where her lips fall matters…

"Sure, Ven, you go ahead," Aqua said as she organized the books on the shelves. "I'll catch up."

After nodding once, Ven whipped around and, "Ow!"


Aqua was by his side immediately, concerned at hearing the rather loud smack as Ventus slammed straight into - "I could have sworn that door was open!" Ven yelled.

Aqua had to hold back a laugh. "Here, let me see," she said, trying to get Ven to remove his hands from his face.

"No," he mumbled.

"Come on," she said gently, and he gave in, lowering his hands.

"You look fine," she reassured him, noting that his face did look normal. There was a faint, pink spot on his forehead, but otherwise there was no damage.

"But it hurts…" he said.

Her expression softened and she pressed a light but lingering kiss against the sore spot. "How is that?"

"A little better…"

"Just a little?"

"Well…" he said, smiling at her cheekily. "Maybe one more would make it a lot better."

She gave him yet another kiss and a sweet smile, then she affectionately ruffled his hair. "There. Now go on, I'll be out in a minute," she said, and she returned to organizing the books.

Ven thanked her and stepped out of the door, closing it behind him. As soon as the door was closed, he turned to face Terra, who was leaning against the wall just beside the door. He grinned up at the older apprentice, pointing happily at the spot where Aqua kissed him. Terra was scowling at him.

"That was cheating, Ven," Terra said, half-whispering.

"No, it wasn't," Ven replied, also keeping his voice low, and sticking his tongue out at Terra.

"Yes it was," the brunette hissed. "Smacking against the door on purpose so she would kiss your forehead is cheating!"

Ventus shook his head. "You're just mad because you know you can't do better."

"Of course I can," Terra said and he pushed Ven aside – though not roughly – so he could walk into the room. He left the door open just a crack so Ven could watch.

Aqua noticed Terra immediately, looking at him for a moment and smiling. 'Hi, Terra."

"Hey," he said, walking up to her. "So… What are you doing?"

"The Master asked me to organize these books," she said.

He grinned. "Yeah, like he asked Ven and me to fix up those magazines he keeps in his study. Do you know how many there are?"

"Well, the Master needs them to study the cultures of other worlds," she said, "So of course there would be a lot."

Terra stared at her for a minute. "You haven't read them… Have you?"

Aqua shook her head. "No, of course not; we're not allowed to read them yet." Terra looked relieved, but Aqua failed to notice. "But I've been in his study, so I've seen the collection. You and Ven must have spent at least an entire day in there."

Terra grinned. "A day and a half actually… The Master messes them up on purpose, I bet, just so he can make us clean up after."

Aqua laughed. "I wouldn't be surprised."

"So, do you need any help?"

"Yes, please, if it isn't too much to ask. I've been at this all morning," she replied, smiling. "I told Ven I'd be out in a minute, and you know how he gets impatient. I don't want to keep him waiting."

"Yeah, okay…" Terra mumbled, and he started organizing the books as well.

For a while they were silent, picking up book after book after book. Then Aqua spoke.

"Hmm, by the way," she murmured thoughtfully. "Why are you here? Was there something you needed to tell me?"

"No," he answered. Then, after a pause, he said, "Actually, yes. I wanted to ask you something."

"What is it?"

"What do you think of Ven?"

Her hand stopped in midair, on its way to the shelf. Slowly, she lowered her hand and looked at Terra. "What kind of a question is that?" she asked.

Terra wasn't looking at her. 'You can't answer a question with another question, Aqua."

She turned her attention back to the task at hand. "Well, I don't understand your question."

"Do you like him?"

"Of course."

"Like how?"

"How? Terra, you're not making any sense."

He slipped one more book into its proper place while she dealt with the last two. "I mean, do you like him the way you like me?"

She frowned. "What makes you think I like you?"

"Aqua!" he practically yelled, and she laughed.

"Kidding, Terra," she murmured as they faced each other. Sighing, she wrapped her arms around his waist and laid her head against his shoulder. "I didn't know you were so jealous of Ven."

"What? No!" he said.

Just then, he felt her lips brush lightly against his shoulder in what was unmistakably a kiss. "Trust me, you have no reason to be," she whispered softly. Her warm breath on his skin made the blood rush to his face.

She released him and said, "I'll finish up here. Could you go find Ven for me? Tell him I might take just a tiny bit longer."

"Sure, Aqua," he said, slightly dazed, and he hurriedly left the room.

Ventus was waiting for him, and now it was Terra who was grinning.

"I told you I could do better," Terra said, in a hushed but smug tone.

"No way!" Ven hissed.

"You think a kiss on the forehead means more than a kiss on the shoulder?"

"Let's go find out, then!" Ven said and they hurriedly made their way to the eldest apprentice's bedroom. Once there, they closed the door and stared each other down.

"I'm pretty sure a kiss on the forehead is just a friendly gesture," Terra said.

Ven laughed. "I'm sure she only kissed you on the shoulder because she couldn't reach your cheek."

Terra laughed, too, louder than Ven. "If we're talking height here, at least she doesn't have to stoop down just to reach my forehead."

"She did not have to stoop down!"

"Sure, because you stood on your tippy toes!"

Scowling, Ven started shuffling around Terra's desk. It was a mess of junk; crumpled paper, discarded food wrappers, parts of unidentifiable broken objects, and other such nonsensical things. "Where did you put the list? I'll prove that a kiss on the forehead means more than a kiss on the shoulder!" Ven said, annoyed.

Terra, too, started looking around the rest of his room, which was just a much larger version of his desk. "Dream on, Ven! She even hugged me. Did she hug you?"

"Well, she kissed me twice!"

"You cheated!"

"I did not!"

"You pulled the boo-boo card! Of course she would kiss you!"

"That isn't cheating!"

"It is!"

"Is not!"

"Come on, Ven, it was totally cheating! Aqua would kiss you anywhere you want, in a heartbeat, if you told her something was hurting!"

"At least she kissed me for me! She kissed you because you were jealous of me!"

The two of them stopped and glared daggers at one another. "I am not jealous of you," Terra said, his tone dangerously low.

"Admit it, Terra," Ven said, smirking. "You're jealous."

"Oh, but she told me I had no reason to be jealous, so there!"

"And what, you think that means Aqua likes you more than she likes me?"

"Yeah, what else could it mean?"

"I bet she was just saying that to make you quit acting all jealous!"

"I was not acting jealous!"

"You were!"

Fuming, Terra threw papers around the room. "Where in the world is that list?"

"I don't know; where did you put it last?"

"Are you sure you weren't the one holding onto it?"

"No, I'm sure it was with you!"

They started digging through their pockets, checking every single inch of their clothing, in case they slipped the list in an unconventional hiding place. But after several long minutes, their search was fruitless.

"We should check your room, too, just in case," Terra said, frustrated.

He opened the door with Ven right behind him, and stepped out. Terra almost missed the piece of paper taped against the door, but Ven, being at the right height, saw it immediately.

"Uh… Terra…" he mumbled.


Ven pointed at the paper. It was definitely not there when they went into the room earlier. Terra took it down and unfolded it. A second more familiar piece of paper fell out from the first one and Ven picked it up. His face drained of color when he unfolded it and read the first few words, written in his own hand, The Meaning behind Kisses.

It was the list they had been searching for.

They exchanged worried expressions as they studied the first piece of paper.

Did I not make it clear that you were not allowed to read those magazines? What did you hope to gain from this information?
My reprimands must be insufficient for the two of you to still have the audacity to blatantly break the rules!
You are to report to Aqua for your punishment.
May she have mercy on you both.

Below that, their Master signed his name.

"What do you think she'd do to us?" Ven asked, trembling.

Terra was white as a ghost. "There's more…"

And they read on.

Did you honestly think my kisses were free?
Rest up, boys. We have a long and interesting night ahead of us.



Thank You