Of Dusk and Dawn and Holding On

Ventus is a fever that he can't sweat out, no matter how hot the tiny blonde makes him. He's pretty like the blood on his teeth: crimson on pearly white, the twinkling of red-tinted spit that taunts him through puffy, pouting lips. The copper smell of breath and the salt of passion stains the air, skin against skin trapped in the midst of a battle, not between blades and magic, but tongues and fingers that pry into cracks and crevices that that the blue eyed angel doesn't even know he has.

He denies it at first, as he often does, rejecting the darkness that has been ripped from him, but he can feel it constantly, just as Vanitas himself can: the open, crying wound that festers black where they've been torn apart and both are desperate to fill the void that it's caused, that grows, steadily, with every struggled breath they take.

Vanitas wouldn't say that this is love. No, it's never about love. It's about Ven feeling so deliciously bad, eager to be mean and flawed and real, and prove to himself, if not anyone else, that he is human too, and maybe it's also about Vanitas feeling fragile, admired, and cherished. Maybe he enjoys the feel of Ven's timid fingers on his skin. Maybe it could be about love, about being whole and becoming one again, but Vanitas is a master of deceit, and so, in order to maintain some sense of sanity, he even lies to himself.

And so, it never has anything to do with love after all.

Their passion ends when the sun skims the horizon and a thick fog of dust rises above the jagged Cliffside, light illuminating the thousands of ancient discarded keyblades that lie in their graves just over the mountains.

Ven sobs Vanitas's name one last time, gripping at his darker half's broad, rock-hard shoulders.

"Combine with me."

He whispers, eyes a golden glow in the twilight, hair an inky blotch against the orange-stained sky, lips a taught line as the blonde shakes his head in one small, swift motion.

"I can't."

Ven chokes, want thick in his voice. His irises, a skyline, his namesake, and Vanitas wants to fall into them, to sleep in the tiny highlighted space between the black of his pupils and that deep cerulean; to burrow so deep that he is the only thing Ven can see. He wants to fill his lungs, all that Ven can breathe and the only words he can speak.

'I need you.' He wants to hear more than anything else, but his pride holds tightly to his shirtsleeve and so he says nothing, and instead simply rises from his comfortable position atop his other half, resituating himself a few feet away with a sour scowl painting his features.

"Someday we'll be whole again."

He seethes, gaze aflame as the sun creeps over the cliff's edge.

Ven laughs and it's a cracked and broken sound, like a swan's song within the white noise of the wind. Sand itches against their skin, slipping into the folds of their clothes and coating their hair, but they are still, unmoving in their unwavering, shared gaze.

"You don't have to go back to them, you know." Vanitas murmurs, brow drawn as Ven flinches. "They won't accept you if they find out about us."

The keyblader's stare is hard, like the rock around them and Vanitas's strong shoulders. He chews on his swollen bottom lip, reshaping his sex-ruffled hair and smoothing out the wrinkles in his shorts.

He is breathtaking, Vanitas notes dully, filing away the realization for later, when his bed feels oh-so cold and empty and there's nothing to do but sit and wait for Xehanort's next order. He thinks of what the blonde's insufferable friends would say about the two of them, together. 'Sickening' comes to mind, as do 'perverted' and 'narcissistic', and he muses, with the inklings of a chuckle, that the two of them are quite like the fool, Narcissus, who stared into his own reflection for all of eternity, unable to fathom the approach of his inevitable end. Like Narcissus, Vanitas wants to stare at this beautiful side of himself forever, hesitant to reach out and touch him for of breaking him.

"There's nothing wrong with this."

Ven answers, gesturing at the open air as if it contains all there is to their relationship, and Vanitas supposes that it does. If love has nothing to do with it, then maybe it really is just nothing; a little sport to pass the time, to rebel and cast away all the unfair expectations that have been forced on them.

Ven's underlying statement hangs in the air like a phantom. 'You know I can't come with you.'

Vanitas sneers, throat and eyes suddenly dry. Sand clings to his eyelashes.

"It's a sin."

His words are harsh, but simple and Ven's resolve quivers, he can feel it like a fluttering in his own chest, butterfly's wings against his breastbone.

'They'll kill you if they find out.'

He wants to say, because these denizens of the light are not kind. Not when something is different and strange, not when one of their own strays down a separate path, one less followed.

'Come with me and we can rule the universe.'

Ven sighs, worn out by the weight of thousands of worlds; each with a plethora of problems that only he can solve, and straightens himself, striking the disk on his shoulders and summoning his keyblade glider. Casting his darker half one last glance, Vanitas swears he can sense a smile through his reflective mask.

Or maybe it's his own sadly smirking eyes, glossy golden pools reflected on the slick surface. He looks petty and revolting even to himself, and for the first and last time, he wonders if the keyblade masters are justified in their hatred for him.

"I don't know how to sin."

Ven whispers, but it's loud, even in the wind's deafening boom and the constant echo of unversed scurrying through the debris.

Vanitas laughs darkly, raising a hand in mock-farewell as the teen soars into the horizon, a blue-gray speck in all the orange and pink and slowly-awakening blue.

Lips set in a permanent sneer as the final trace of Ven's retreating back is erased from the sky, he realizes, not one bit surprised, that he doesn't know how to smile.

But he knows it's not about that. It's not about love or devotion or being happy. It's not about revenge or hate or the age-old battle between light and darkness. It's not even about smiling or laughter or being happy.

It's about being human, and he resigns himself to the awful truth that for the rest of his days, he may only be half of one.

His other half just flew away into the sunrise.


Okay, so, after posting my last Vanitas/Ven story, I got a little "butthurt" so to say, because a number of people favorited it, but no one took the time to review. I know it's not about that, but childish little me was like, "OMG I'M NEVER WRITING AGAIN!" …and here I am (writing again, like the little bitch I am).

So, the point of that rant was to pose a question: Do you dislike AU Vanitas/Ven? Because while I do write mostly for myself, I also like to write stories that people actually want to read, so just let me know, 'kay?

Btw, I know Vanitas is a creepy romantic, but that can't be helped. He wants to "crawl into Ven's eyes"… (wtfwtfwtf)

Well, thank you so much for reading and please take the time to review and tell me what you thought!