Dearly Beloved

Chapter 1: An Unbreakable Connection

Main Characters~ Terra & Ventus/Ven

Disclaimer~ Don't own Kingdom Hearts in any way, shape, or form. :P

Pairings~ TerraxVen, a little VanitasxVen, and a bit of RikuxSora. ^w^ (There may be more. ~wO)

Warnings~ Yaoi/shounen-ai, telephone conversations, FLUFF, war (hints?), a bit of sci-fi and necessary OOC, tear-shedding moments, and love~

Notes from the KIT-chan~

Finally finished Birth by Sleep… -.-" and now my thumb is officially sore. ^^" Yet I was still able to conjure up this fic from the very bottom of my heart after fangirling TerraxVentus and how sad the ending to KH BBS was… TT_TT Hopefully Sora finds them soon -w-

But hey—after reading this, you'll "aww," you'll cry, you'll whatever. XD And mind you that this is based on er…I guess *don't own any of these btw* Dear John (sort of), A Walk to Remember (kind of…), My Sister's Keeper (just the sci-fi…) and…no, Silver—it's not exactly like "One Phone Call Away," but sort of similar (they're not on the phone the whole time. XD). This story's also actually a spinoff to the RikuxSora fluff oneshot I wrote last year ("Friendship"). w And take note that the beginning takes place exactly ten years before the beginning of "Friendship" at the same location (including Valentine's Day, which is still not so far away from now). ^_^

So…yeah—enjoy~ =^w^=



~Outside Robin's Nest Kindergarten on a Monday Morning~

"Terra! C'mon, let's go!"


At that moment, a boy about the age of seven with dark, spiky brown hair and icy blue eyes stood alone in the middle of the playground. Then he had turned after hearing his name being called and saw a short blue-haired girl with cerulean eyes staring back at him with a smile.

She had been about his age, and her name was Aqua.

The little girl giggled. "I'll race to the front door! If you lose, you have to give me your snack!"

In that instant, the brunette chuckled and closed his eyes, crossing his arms. "Hm."

Aqua stared back at him curiously, tilting her head in confusion.

But then Terra opened his eyes and began to sprint headlong for the door.

"We'll see about that!" he laughed.

At that moment, the blue-haired girl pouted and turned to run after the brunette. "Hey—no fair! You got a head start!"

Terra smirked at her over his shoulder, then began to shift his gaze forward again.

But that was when something—or someone—had caught his eye, and he had stopped right then and there.

At the same time, Aqua stopped behind the brunette, looking at him with questioning eyes.

"Terra, what's wrong?"

But the boy in front of her didn't move a muscle or even say a word. All that she noticed was his unwavering gaze…over in the direction of the swing set out on the other side of the playground.

And as the blue-haired girl shifted her eyes over to where her friend was staring at, she held her breath.

Out in the distance…a younger boy not older than five could be seen sitting all by himself on one of the swings.

Terra swallowed, scrutinizing his gaze on the latter.

His hair was spikier than his, and a bit wavy as well. But it was blonde, almost golden like the sun shining in the sky. And his eyes were almost breathtaking to the brunette as well, for they were almost like two pools of marvelous sapphire.

Although…the expression on the boy's face at the moment was sad and made his eyes seem dull. He was frowning, probably lonely where he was—without a friend in the world.

In an instant, Terra had begun rushing towards the younger blonde without looking back or hesitating even once.

"Wait—Terra!" Aqua cried.

But the brunette didn't stop at all—not until he began to slow down when he was only a few feet away from the blue-eyed boy. After that, he carefully approached him with a sincere expression on his face.

Suddenly, the blonde stiffened when he noticed someone quietly standing in front of him. At first, he had hesitated for a moment, a bit intimidated by the unexpected presence. But then he had brought himself to look up at his new company with shy eyes, his cheeks flushing light pink.

And soon, he had seen Terra's calm face, smiling down at him.

Almost immediately, the younger boy shrank back, scratching the back of his head nervously. "Uh…"

But then he noticed the brunette extend a hand out towards him, and he had looked up at him with innocent eyes.

The older boy chuckled. "Hey—I'm Terra."

The blonde was reluctant for a minute, then timidly took his hand and shook it.


After that, he looked up to see that the brunette was still smiling at him.

"Hm. I don't think I've seen you around here before. Are you new here? What's your name?"

The younger one swallowed, then spoke in a soft tone. "My name's Ventus, but you can call me Ven. …I just moved here a few days ago, so I don't know a lot of people around here."

Terra nodded once, his face sincere again. "Well, it looks like you've met someone new now, right?" He chuckled lightly. "Nice to meet you, Ven."

At that moment, the brunette turned to glance back at the school. "You won't have to worry about not having a lot of friends yet, 'cause that'll change right before you know it. Especially after you meet—"

"Hey!" a young female voice called.

Terra laughed. "Her."

Soon, Aqua came bounding over and looked down at Ventus eagerly.

The brunette closed his eyes, then pointed his thumb at the blue-haired girl. "Huh. Ven—this is Aqua. She's—"

In that instant, the latter giggled. "Hi, Ven! You're gonna love it here!"

At that moment, Ventus couldn't help but laugh a little.

Terra crossed his arms and smirked. "Hm."

Suddenly, the blue-haired girl whined. "Terra…I'm hungry…can we continue our race already?"

The brunette opened his eyes and sighed. "Fine. As you wish, your Highness—"

Aqua giggled and began running as fast as she could towards the school. "See ya, slowpokes!"

Terra shrank back. "Hey—no fair! I didn't say go!"

"You didn't the first time, either!" the blue-haired girl called over her shoulder.

The brunette growled, then began chasing after her.

"C'mon, Ven!"

With that, the blonde followed after them, laughing to himself.


That afternoon, Terra got to keep his snack because he had managed to tie with Aqua.

And at the same time, Aqua, Terra, and Ven sat together at one table in the classroom, having countless conversations and laughing altogether.

In addition, it seemed like Ventus had finally been brought out of his shell, for he had finally made some new friends.

…but even so, that would not change the blonde's past—or the fact that a boy about his age with spiky black hair and goldenrod eyes was sitting by himself on the other side of the room…glaring at the blue-haired girl and brown-haired boy that Ven was sitting with.


Finally, it was time for the children to go home, and the teacher had dismissed them all…except for Terra, Aqua, and Ventus, who still sat alone on the front doorstep.

"No one's picking you up, Ven?" the blue-haired girl asked curiously.

At that moment, the blonde's face grew solemn. "No." He winced. "Not anymore."

Aqua's eyes widened. "What do you mean?"

Ven closed his eyes. "Usually my mommy picks me up after school, but she died yesterday in the 'ospital." He frowned. "I don't have anyone else to take care of me because I don't have a daddy or a nanny like everybody else. I'm all by myself."

The blue-haired girl's mouth dropped with horror. "That's terrible, I—"

In that instant, Terra calmly put his hand on the blonde's shoulder.

Ven opened his eyes and looked at the brunette, who also had a solemn countenance. But then Terra slightly smiled at him. "I'm really sorry that happened to you."

At that moment, the blonde frowned.

But then he listened to the latter continue. "But that's okay—you're still not alone here on this one."

Ventus's eyes widened. "Huh?"

Terra sighed, lowering his eyes. "You see…Aqua and I don't have parents, either. We only have each other. …that's why we have Master Eraqus to take care of us back at the orphanage, where we walk home to after school."

Ven tilted his head in confusion. "Master who?"

Aqua giggled. "Master Eraqus, silly. He's the one who takes care of us now." She smiled. "So I guess you could say…that he's like our second daddy."

The blonde nodded slowly, his eyes somber again.

Terra looked up and thought for a moment. "Wait a minute…I think I just got an idea."

The blue-haired girl stared at the brunette with curious eyes. "What?"

The older boy put his hand to his chin. "…hm. I got it—what if we brought Ven with us to Master Eraqus? It's worth a try. I bet he wouldn't mind taking care of him, too. The more the merrier, right?"

The blonde stiffened, his eyes widening.

In that instant, Aqua's face lit up. "That's a great idea!" She nodded, then turned to face Ventus expectantly. "What do you say, Ven? Do you wanna stay with us?"

At that moment, the blonde hesitated for a minute. He really couldn't believe what was going on right now, for it all sounded too good to be true. But then he looked up at Aqua and Terra's smiling faces and realized that…this really wasn't a dream at all.

At the same time, Ventus couldn't help but feel warmth in his heart—warmth that he hadn't felt since the day before his mother got sick.

With that, his eyes softened, and the blonde beamed at his new friends.



Soon, the three had gathered up their belongings and left Robin's Nest Kindergarten to go to the orphanage with grins on their faces.

But as they passed the front gates of the school, the same black-haired boy glared at them all from a location out of their sight, his blazing goldenrod eyes filled with contempt.

That was when he had felt a hand on his shoulder and turned to see an elderly man standing behind him.

"All right, Vanitas. Time to go."

Vanitas paused, then bowed, closing his eyes. "Yes, Master Xehanort."


As expected, Master Eraqus had taken Ventus into his care without hesitating even once.

And from that day forth, they were all one happy family (ideally).

But years later, it had come to a point where Aqua, Terra, and Ven had grown old enough to take care of themselves, and were each, by fate, scattered to different parts of the world to live out their own dreams and successes.

However—it wouldn't be long before the three of them would meet again.

~Eleven Years Later in the State of New Jersey~

Ventus sighed, leaning back on a chair with his arms folded behind his back after another day's worth of chaos and pandemonium.

Being a doctor definitely wasn't as easy as one would usually think—and let's say they were little kids.

That day, Ven had done nothing but hard labor, performing operations on different patients and whatnot…but it was all over, now that it was the end of his shift.

Now it was time for him to relax and go home soon after he'd taken a short nap.

The blonde exhaled sharply, then closed his eyes.

That was when a voice came in on the intercom.

"Dr. Ventus?"

The latter groaned. "What is it?"

There was a pause. "You have a visitor. Should I let him in?"

At this, Ven frowned. Who would want to see him now, especially at this late hour?

Suddenly, he heard another voice outside, faint as if it were coming from the other end of the hallway.

"Come on—he's my friend—"

In that instant, Ventus stiffened. A voice all too familiar to him…

That was when the door flew open, and he found himself being embraced by a tall, muscular man with dark, spiky brown hair.

"Hey…long time no see, Ven."

At that moment, the blonde's eyes fluttered open and they widened immediately after seeing…

"Terra…" Ventus spoke softly.

The brunette smiled at him, then let go.

"C'mon—Aqua's waiting back at her apartment."

In that instant, the blonde tilted his head in confusion. "What? I—"

But before he could finish his sentence, he found himself being dragged out of the hospital and into a red SUV.

At the same time…a familiar, black-haired young man stood just outside in the hallway and narrowed his eyes at the brunette.


~On the road~

"Terra, where are we going? What's going on?"

The brunette chuckled, then turned to glance at his friend. "It's been so long since we've last been together like this." He paused for a moment. "Now I don't even know if you got Aqua's message a week ago, but she somehow got a hold of us on her contact list and planned a reunion for the three of us tonight."

At that moment, Ven's eyes softened. "She did…?"

Terra smirked. "Uh-huh. And she even had me fly out here this morning all the way from California, where I was supposed to be working on some construction site or something in Disneyland. But hey—that's Aqua for you."

The blonde nodded slowly. "Yeah…"

Soon, it was silent between the two of them.

Until finally, Terra brought himself to speak again. "So, Ven…how's your life as a doctor turning out so far? Is it treating you good?"

Ventus paused for a minute. "Well…I wouldn't say it's easy, but it's not too difficult for me, either…just tedious, I guess." He glanced at the brunette. "How about you? What's it like working outside every day in the sun?"

At this, Terra couldn't help but chuckle. "It's hot, of course. And I'd say doing hard labor every day isn't really a walk in the park, either…but well—it's my life. I chose this path to walk on."

In response, the blonde smiled and nodded once. "Right…"

There was a long pause again.

But that wasn't until the brunette spoke in a low voice.

"Hey…I missed you."

At that moment, Ven's eyes widened. But then they softened.

"…I missed you, too."

Terra smiled, then put his hand on the latter's head, messing up his hair a little.

"Hey!" Ventus laughed.

At the same time, the brunette began to laugh as well.


Finally, they had reached the apartment of their blue-haired friend, and Terra had pulled over near the front door.

And both of them were just about to get out of the car when all of a sudden, Aqua had opened the door and stood silently on the front step, her face rigid and her arms crossed.

The brunette chuckled, scratching the back of his head. "Uh-oh—guess we're late." He slowly shook his head, then took off his seatbelt, unlocked the doors, and stepped out of the car.

Pretty soon, Ventus had begun to do the same thing, but couldn't help but see how serious Aqua's face was at that moment, which was quite rare since usually he would see her smile a little before yelling at Terra.

This time…things were a lot different.

"Hey, Aqua, sorry we're late…" the brunette had begun upon walking up the front steps.

But then he had paused when he'd noticed the blue-haired woman turn away from him. Only in that instant did he realize…that something was not right at all.

Pretty soon, Terra had seen this as well.

Then all of a sudden, it had gotten silent, and the atmosphere had changed dramatically.

That is, until Ven himself tried to ease the tension that had begun to arise.

"Aqua…" the blonde began in a hushed tone.

But the blue-haired woman didn't even bother to glance back.

Terra frowned, then took a step forward with a serious expression on his face. "All right. What's wrong?"

Aqua paused, crossing her arms.

"You tell me," she shot back icily.

At that moment, both Ventus and the brunette shrank back slightly at the acid dripping from their friend's tone.

Soon, Terra had narrowed his eyes. "What are you talking about?"

Aqua exhaled sharply. "Don't act as if you don't know." With that, she turned around to glare at the brunette.

"Hm. I'm sorry, but I don't. I can't read your mind, Aqua," Terra replied unwaveringly with a blank expression on his face.

In response, the blue-haired woman frowned, clenching her fists.

At the same time, Ventus only shifted his gaze between his two friends with anxious eyes.

That was when he decided to try again, speaking in a calm tone.

"Aqua…" the blonde began, looking at the blue-haired woman. "What happened? What's going on?"

At that moment, she stiffened and briefly glanced up to see her friend's worried countenance.

And with that, Aqua closed her eyes, letting out a sigh.

"A few minutes ago, before you two finally decided to show up…two men in military uniforms came here."

The blue-haired female paused for a minute. "They told me…that they were looking for Terra, and that they needed him…for a war against some other country."

Ven's eyes widened. Then he immediately shifted his gaze towards his other friend.

But that whole time, Terra didn't move a muscle.

In that instant, Aqua opened her eyes, narrowing them at the brunette. "From what they told me earlier…it looks like Terra decided to join the army behind our backs. He's leaving us…to go fight in some stupid war, far away from here…tomorrow."

Ventus held his breath, then spoke in a hushed voice.

"Terra…" he began hesitantly. "Is this true? You're getting drafted?"

But the brunette was silent.

Aqua frowned. "Answer him, Terra. Apparently you never even bothered to tell Ven about this either." She slowly shook her head. "Keep this from your own friends, for crying out loud…"

Terra paused, then gradually turned to gaze into his blonde friend's ocean blue eyes, filled with concern.

With that, his own eyes softened, and he replied in a quiet tone.


At that moment, Ventus's eyes bulged.

Aqua bit her lip, then put her hand to her forehead. "I can't believe any of this."

In that instant, Terra turned around, only to see that his friend had buried her face in her hands. His eyes softened, and he had begun to approach the blue-haired woman with his arms slightly outstretched in the hopes of comfort for her.

"Aqua…" the brunette spoke quietly.

But when Aqua looked up with pained eyes, she immediately turned away, her back to Terra. "Forget it."

With that, she put her hand on the doorknob, twisting it and opening the door. The blue-haired woman let out a sigh.

"Just…just leave. Right now."

At that moment, Ventus winced as soon as he'd seen the rigid expression that began to appear on the brunette's face.

Terra clenched his teeth, then came a little closer to Aqua, putting his hand on her shoulder. "Aqua—come on—I didn't mean to—"

In that instant, the latter shook the brunette's hand off. "Don't touch me."

She turned around, closing her eyes. At that point, both Ven and Terra could see tears begin to well up under their friend's eyelids.

The blue-haired woman bit her lip, then spoke in an icy tone. "I don't ever want to see you again. So get out of here already."

This immediately caused the brunette to flinch back.

"Aqua…" Ventus spoke painfully.

At that moment, Aqua desperately held back a sob, then clenched her teeth.

"Just go away!" she spat out acidly, shoving Terra away from her.

Ventus watched helplessly as the brunette stumbled back a little. And at the same time…he'd noticed something orange and small fall out of Terra's pocket, landing on the ground before him.

Almost immediately, it was dead silent again.

Soon, the brunette reluctantly brought himself to glance up at Aqua…only to see that her eyes were now wide and that her hand was covering her mouth. After that, Terra had also noticed that her unwavering gaze was directed at the ground, and he had looked down to see…a bright orange, star-shaped charm lying out in front of him. In that instant, he stiffened as well, holding his breath,


"There you are!"

At that moment, the young blonde and brunette sitting outside on the front step of the orphanage turned their heads to see a smiling, blue-haired girl trotting towards them. And soon, she had dropped to her knees, panting, with three tiny star-shaped charms hanging from her fingers.

Then, Aqua had beamed up at her two best friends, holding out two of the stars in her hands—an orange one and a green one.

She giggled. "Here—I made these myself. One for you, and one for you!"

In that instant, both Terra and Ventus each took a charm from the blue-haired girl, glancing down at them curiously.

Ven tilted his head. "Wow…what is it?"

At that moment, Aqua giggled again. "They're lucky charms, silly!" She smiled, then held hers—a shiny blue star—up in her own hands. "They're called Wayfinders!"

Terra pursed his lips, turning over the small gift in his hand. "Huh. Wayfinders?"

The blue-haired girl nodded. "Yup!"

The brunette paused. "Hm. What do they do?"

With that, both he and Ventus looked up to see that their friend was now gazing up at the evening sky.

And then Aqua had spoken in a soft voice. "Well…I read one of Master Eraqus's books today...and I found a picture of one of them." She chuckled lightly. "From what it said, it seems that it represents an unbreakable connection. So as long as you and your friends carry good luck charms shaped like it, nothing can ever drive you apart. You'll always find your way back to each other. An unbreakable connection."

At that moment, Ven scrutinized his gaze on the green Wayfinder in his hand and wondered. "So does that mean…we'll never forget each other, even when we're all grownups?"

At this, both Aqua and Terra couldn't help but laugh.

"You could say that," the blue-haired girl spoke with a grin. Then she looked back up at the sky, her eyes softening. "…they say that this world's a lot bigger than how most people might think. But if you look at it another way—like from outer space—it's really not so big."

In that instant, young Aqua glanced down at her two friends, slightly tightening her grip on her blue star charm. "One day in the future…we'll all be old enough to take care of ourselves—and we'll get cool jobs and get to go to all sorts of places."

Terra frowned. "But we'll all be separated anyway…right?"

The blue-haired girl closed her eyes and slowly shook her head. "Not quite." She paused, then held up her Wayfinder.

"Sure…we might end up far away from one another. But if we keep these charms with us all the time…we'll always be able to find our way back to each other just like the book said, because our friendship's just that strong."

Aqua smiled, then opened her eyes to look at the brunette. "That means if you get lost somehow when you're a grownup, Ven and I will always be there to find you!"

In that instant, both the blonde and the blue-haired girl laughed lightly.

And at first, Terra frowned upon hearing the idea, but after a while…he couldn't help but chuckle himself at how he'd probably always have his friends with him one way or another.


Even at that moment, laughter echoed in the ears of Aqua, Terra, and Ventus. And with that, Aqua slowly began to back away, eyes still wide.

At the same time, Ven thought of his own Wayfinder—tucked deep in his right pocket—and he winced as the memory flashed through his mind.

Terra swallowed, then spoke carefully in a quiet tone, his gaze unwavering towards the distraught female before him. "Aqua…"

But the blue-haired woman only shook her head and stepped into the threshold of her apartment.

"Just…" she spoke softly, putting her head to her forehead again. "Just leave me alone."

With that, Aqua slammed the door shut. And as soon as she was sure that she could no longer be seen, she collapsed onto the floor, burying her head in her curled-up knees. Then Aqua reached into her own pocket, pulling out a blue star charm, and let out a sob.

"Oh, Terra…"

The blue-haired woman slowly shook her head and closed her eyes, hot tears streaming down her cheeks.


At that moment, Ventus fell to his knees, clenching his teeth and his fists with pained eyes.


The brunette was silent.

The blonde closed his eyes and hung his head. "Why…" he began in a choked tone.

Ven exhaled sharply. "Why didn't you tell me?"

For a brief minute, it was silent between the two of them—until Terra finally spoke in a dull tone.

"…I didn't want you guys to worry about me so much. I thought it was for the best."

"But why are you doing all this in the first place…!" Ventus shot back, intently glaring back at his best friend. He winced, lowering his gaze. "Why…why are you taking all these risks?"

No response.

The blonde closed his eyes. "Terra…what if you get hurt out there? You know better than to leave us behind like this…and for what?" His voice faltered slightly. "…don't you want us to stay together?"

He swallowed. "What about our friendship?"

The brunette stiffened at that last comment. He paused, then turned to see the expression on Ven's face, filled with both concern and melancholia.

Almost exactly like how he had looked the first time they had met when they had been children…

At that moment, Terra's eyes softened, and immediately he got up to approach the blonde with a solemn countenance.

Then when the brunette was finally standing before his best friend, he calmly placed his hand on his shoulder.


The blonde hesitated for a moment, then slowly opened his eyes to look up at the older man.

Terra paused, briefly lowering his gaze. Then he gazed into Ventus's sad, ocean blue eyes and winced.

"You and I both know that we've been best friends since kindergarten. Of course I haven't forgotten about our friendship," he spoke in a sincere tone. Then Terra swallowed. "But I have to do this. I have to help them. Suddenly, his countenance grew serious. "I'm sorry, Ven—I just can't let this one go now."

The blonde grimaced.

In that instant, the brunette frowned and began to speak quietly in a more cautious tone. "The enemy they're fighting against…is known to have infiltrated even the largest regions of this world, and they've destroyed countless cities from the inside." He tightened his grip on the blonde's shoulder. "You and Aqua have to understand…that I'm not going to just sit here and watch them step all over our home. And what's more…"

Terra paused, closing his eyes. Then he continued in a firm voice. "I'm definitely not gonna wait until the time comes where they try to hurt my own friends. What I do…I do for friendship—and nothing more."

After that, the brunette glanced at the younger man to see that his eyes had widened. But then Ventus frowned and looked away from him, his face even more somber.

At that moment, Terra could have sworn that he'd felt something break inside the very core of his heart after seeing this.

And then Ven winced and spoke in a hushed tone. "But Terra—I…"

The brunette's icy blue eyes grew intent in that instant.

"The three of us can never be torn apart, all right?" he abruptly cut in, briefly squeezing his friend's shoulder.

The blonde blinked, then gazed up at Terra's confident face.

The older man smiled and nodded once. "I'll always find a way."

In that instant, Ventus's eyes softened. At first, he knew that all that just might be impossible. But after he had seen his best friend's reassuring smile, he couldn't help but grin as well, feeling warmth again in his heart.

At the same time, the same warmth had returned to Terra's own heart as well.

He sighed, then turned to pick up the orange charm that still lay on the ground behind him.

"Before you even know it…"

The brunette paused, holding the Wayfinder up in his right hand. Then he looked at the blonde and smirked.

"…I'll already be home again," Terra spoke reassuringly.

At that moment, Ven's face lit up a little. He smiled, reaching deep into his pocket and pulling out his own lucky charm that he probably hadn't touched in years since the three of them separated. His eyes softened as they gazed upon the tiny green star in his hand.


The brunette chuckled, then approached his best friend once more, holding out his Wayfinder next to where the younger man gingerly held his.

Terra grinned slightly. "Even in the deepest darkness…there will always be a light to guide you." He glanced at Ventus. "One way or another, our hearts are connected. That's why even if we'll all be far apart from each other again…we'll still be able to find our way back to one another."

The blonde shifted his gaze to look innocently into the latter's intent, icy-blue eyes.

"Hm." The brunette nodded once, then softly placed his hand under Ven's chin. "I promise you that I'll come back as soon I can." With that, he took his friend's hand and gently put it over the middle of his chest.

Ventus swallowed as he felt Terra's heart beat proudly from beneath.

Then the older man spoke again in a solemn tone. "All that I'm asking you to do…is to believe in me every step of the way. …both of you," he finished, briefly glancing back in the direction of Aqua's door. Terra sighed and stared longingly into the blonde's cerulean eyes.

"Ven…can I count on you to do that for me while I'm gone?"

The younger man was silent for a moment because he wasn't really all that sure on how to answer his best friend, for what was going on now was too much for his mind to actually grasp at that point.

But then he realized that the brunette's heart was still beating under his warm hand and sighed, taking the latter's hand and placing it on his cheek. The blonde closed his eyes.


Terra's eyes softened. Then the older man gingerly took his best friend's face with both of his hands, caressing his cheeks.

"Thanks…" At that moment, he wrapped his arms around Ventus and held him close. "Don't worry—I'll be thinking of you and Aqua every day when I'm there."

In that instant, Ven thought he could feel something melt from the very bottom of his heart. His voice faltered. "Same here…"

The brunette chuckled.

After a while, he pulled back to place his hand on top of the blonde's head and slightly messed up his hair, glancing up at the night sky.

"It's getting late," Terra spoke with a smirk. "Guess time really does fly by so quickly."

Ventus groaned. "Aw, come on! I have to get up early again tomorrow!"

The older man laughed, shaking his head. "Wow…you've really got life harsh to be some hardcore doctor and all. Thank God I'm not good at all that medical stuff."

The blonde pouted, crossing his arms across his chest. "Hey—at least I'm actually helping the world somehow at this rate!"

At that moment, Terra sighed. "Persistent as always…" He slowly shook his head. "But now that I've heard this again from you, you just might understand why I quit my job as a construction worker to go join the military."

Ven's eyes widened. "What! So that means everything you told me…"

The brunette smirked, pointing a finger at his best friend. "…is all true—just that I left California few more months earlier than that." He looked at the blonde with a smug expression on his face. "Why? Thought I was gonna bring something back from Disneyland afterwards?"

Ventus shrank back. "N-no!" Then he put his hand under his chin, thinking for a minute. "Although I still haven't been to Disneyland once yet…"

Terra chuckled. "Huh. Don't even worry about it. The three of us will go there one day after all this is over."

The blonde grinned at the latter. But then he couldn't help but glance over at the front door of Aqua's apartment. In that instant, his countenance grew solemn.

"…it's ok. She just needs time. She'll get over it eventually," the older man whispered over Ven's shoulder. He smiled. "You of all people should know that Aqua doesn't, or never will, hold a grudge against me."

Ventus frowned, thinking about the blue-haired woman behind the door in front of them. But then he nodded once, each end of his mouth curving up. "Hm."

The brunette sighed. "Well, then…do you mind me taking you home for the night—before I leave tomorrow?"

The blonde stiffened and turned to look back at Terra, who had a smirk on his face, having already opened the front door of the SUV on the driver's side. Then he beamed at the older man and nodded. "Sure."

With that, the two got in the vehicle and drove away.

However—at a glance, the same gold-eyed brunette could be seen glaring at them from the shadows he hid in near Aqua's apartment.

And yes—this was the one…called Vanitas.


Notes from the KIT-chan~

All right, so I managed to separate this all out under the request of some of my reviewers, and thanks for telling me~ ^_^ I really appreciate it.