Set in an Alternate Universe.
So, this would be the result of a little challenge I made up for myself, in celebration of Valentine's Day.
Using the colors of the rainbow as prompts, this story will have seven chapters written over seven days.
Each chapter will have anywhere between one thousand and two thousand words.
Actually, I think I may be biting off far more than I can chew.
But I will do my best to finish what I started.
This is dedicated to all the hearts ever placed in my hands.
DISCLAIMER [I do not own Kingdom Hearts] DISCLAIMER
COLORS OF THE HEART
Where the storm meets the sun, you stand.
[Aqua is Eight / Vanitas is Six]
Vanitas put all his focus and energy into the task at hand. He kept telling himself he could do it. He would show those older kids that he could do it. But he could feel his whole body shaking, seeing just how high up he was and how far down he could fall. And he was sure it would hurt a lot if he fell.
He put one shaky hand forward and grasped the red bar in front of him. Then he raised one foot, felt for a foothold, and then pushed himself up. He extended his other hand and gripped the same bar as earlier. Then he raised his other foot, ready to repeat the action, when suddenly, he slipped.
What happened next was a blur to him. Somehow, he fell through the gap between the bars, his hands unable to support his weight. And the next thing he knew, he had fallen onto the earth below. He shut his eyes tight, ignoring the laughter and the pain spreading through the lower half of his body.
"Told you he couldn't do it."
"You're such a loser, Vanitas."
"Next time, maybe you should get your mommy to help you."
"Oh, wait; he doesn't have a mommy, right?"
The laughter grew louder and he shut his eyes tighter. Until…
"Leave him alone! You should know better than to pick on a kid just because he's smaller than you!"
It was a girl who spoke. Just great. Of all the people who could defend him, it would have to be a girl. And she just had to say that he was smaller than them. This was, without a doubt, the most embarrassing day of his life.
He did not dare open his eyes. It was humiliating enough to have to deal with hearing surround sound insults. He didn't want his embarrassing memory to come with high-definition images, too. He had enough horrible memories already; no need to add another vivid one.
"Are you okay?" he heard her ask. His savior, that girl, whoever she was… He wanted her to leave him alone. As far as he was concerned, she was just making it worse.
So he still kept his eyes closed, although he was sure the other kids had gone. He heard their footsteps shuffling hurriedly away after tossing just a few more choice insults at him. Their laughter, though, echoed in his head a little longer.
"Hey, they're gone now, you know," the girl said, touching him on the shoulder.
Sighing, he decided to open his eyes, but he kept his gaze to the ground. "I'm fine, go away," he muttered. He didn't need her.
"Don't be like that," she said sadly.
"Just leave me alone, okay?"
"I'm just trying to help you," she said, and he finally looked at her, scowling.
"I said-" He began, but his voice suddenly just…faded, along with the scowl on his face. In the six years of his life, he had never seen anything more beautiful than the incredibly blue eyes that were looking right at him. And they really were incredible; like stained-glass windows raised high against the sun, or a pair of perfectly polished sapphires.
She was leaning forward, with her hands on her knees. "Are you okay?" she asked again.
"What's your name?" he blurted stupidly. But he just needed to know her. He has never, ever seen her before.
She smiled warmly at him. "My name is Aqua." She held her hand out for him to take, both as a handshake and as an offer to help him up. "And you?"
"Vanitas," he answered, taking her hand..
"Nice to meet you." She sounded so sincere.
He just nodded, not really knowing what to say, as he got to his feet. Then his heart sank. She was taller than him. A lot taller. Like a whole head and a half. She was probably older, too, and his heart fell some more, all the way down to his stomach.
"Are you hurt?" She was looking him over.
"I'm fine," he mumbled. He was hurt, alright, but he could deal with it. And he didn't really want to tell her exactly what part of him was hurting.
She brushed her blue hair away from her face and asked, "What were you thinking, trying to get up there?"
She was talking about that intricate web of bright red metal bars located at the center of the playground; the perforated dome that they were currently standing beside. The kids called it Red Mountain, and everyone who's anyone managed to get to the top. Vanitas fell after getting about halfway up, and he flinched thinking that she had seen him fall. Great first impression…
It had meant so much to him to get up there, so he frowned at Aqua like she had asked the dumbest question ever. "To prove I can," he answered.
"That's not a good reason," she argued.
"Isn't that why everyone does it?" he snapped back.
"I don't know," she replied. "But I don't think anyone should do it. I wouldn't."
She smiled shyly. "It's scary, being that high up."
"Oh," he said, and he looked at his feet. He kicked the dirt up a little bit. "I'm scared of heights, too."
She laughed a little and he glared at her. "Sorry," she said quickly. "It's just that everyone pretends they're not. You're the only other kid I know to admit it's scary."
"You think everyone's scared, too?"
"Yeah," she said. "My mom says if they weren't so scared, then it wouldn't be such a big deal getting up there."
He blinked a few times and she laughed again. It was okay that she laughed this time, though, Vanitas didn't mind. In fact, he thought he liked the sound of it.
"Vanitas, I have to go," she said. "But if you want, we could play tomorrow."
He stared at her disbelievingly and she seemed a little confused. "What's the matter?" she asked.
"What's the catch?"
Aqua laughed again. "Catch?"
"What are you going to ask for in return?"
"For playing?" she said with her little blue eyebrows raised.
Vanitas nodded. Aqua covered her mouth with one hand to stifle her laughter. "You think I'm going to expect something in return for playing with you?"
The boy shrugged. His brothers always asked for something in return. The other kids at the playground always expected something of him. So why shouldn't he think the same of Aqua?
"Well, how about making me your friend?" she said.
He frowned. "Is that it?"
Aqua nodded and Vanitas shrugged again. "Okay. You're my friend."
"Forever," Aqua teased.
"Fine, forever," the boy answered.
"Good. We could meet at the swings tomorrow. Okay?"
She flashed him one more smile, then waved as she left.
He waved back. "Bye, Aqua."
He wondered for a minute if that meant he was her friend, too. Did friendship work both ways? If you told someone they could be your friend, did that mean you would be their friend, too? Or did they have to say so first? He hasn't ever made a friend before; other kids just don't like him. And he didn't like other kids much either.
She is the very first. And if she ends up being the only one - the only exception - Vanitas was pretty sure he wouldn't mind. He would even go as far as to say he would like it better that way.