summary: "A girl fell out of the sky the other night." / [childhood TerrAqua]
A girl fell out of the sky the other night.
Eraqus and his young pupil Terra—a boy he took in as his own—found her drifting off the edge of the shallow waters along the mountain pass. The boy was the first to see her, having seen something in the sky and assumed it was a shooting star. The impact of the supposed star startled Terra, and he instinctively went to Eraqus to alarm him of the abrupt disturbance.
They walked along the mountain pass, Terra running with haste and Eraqus walking patiently. Terra felt somewhat reluctant of the strange sight. He did not expect the star to be a girl and was surprised to find her uninjured after falling from such a great height and distance. In spite of his hesitance, his eagerness of something new and unexplainable overtook him as he hurried over to the unconscious girl.
He kneeled by the water and observed her with wide eyes of curiosity. The girl was around Terra's age, likely a year or two younger than him. She had long blue hair that reached her waist and clung to her damp body and was dressed in a thick black coat that floated on the water's surface. The girl was barefoot, and she wore golden bracelets around her wrists and ankles. Droplets of water rolled down her pale white face. Soft breaths escaped her lips. The girl stirred slightly and murmured inaudibly, causing the boy to flinch.
He slowly reached out to touch the girl, only for his master to stop him. Terra blinked, surprised. "Master?" he asked.
Eraqus silently carried the girl out of the water. He narrowed his gaze. "Come, Terra. Let us return inside before this little one catches a cold," Eraqus instructed the boy.
Terra nodded and followed Eraqus as droplets of water trailed their path behind them.
"Who is that girl, and how did she fall from the sky?"
"Fate works strange wonders, Terra."
Eraqus brought the girl to a guest room and removed the heavy coat off of her flimsy body, revealing that she was wearing a plain, white dress underneath. He placed the girl on a small bed, where she did not move or stir in her sleep. Terra almost wondered if she was still breathing. Several hours passed, and the girl was still in the depths of her slumber.
Terra waited impatiently, growing tired and restless. Eraqus suggested for Terra to get some well-deserved sleep; it was well past his bedtime, after all. The boy's cheeks flushed and he adamantly refused. He was the one who saw the girl first, he said. He wanted to be there when she woke up. Eraqus knew how stubborn his pupil could be and knew he could not easily change his mind once he decided on something.
"What are we going to do with the girl, Master?" he asked Eraqus.
The boy's master appeared to be deep in thought. "The answer is obvious, Terra. We will take care of the child until she is back to good health," he replied.
The girl's eyes opened slowly. Terra saw that her eyes matched her aqua blue hair, and she was still tired and drowsy from her slumber. Terra approached the girl. He was amazed by her. He knew there had to be something special about the girl for her to have survived her falling from the sky. "Hey, who are you? What's your name? Where are you from? Why did you fall out of the sky? Does that mean you can fly? Why didn't you get hurt? And why is your hair blue? That's a strange color for hair, isn't it?"
"Silence, Terra," Eraqus ordered sternly. "You're scaring the girl." Terra gulped, noticing the girl was now fully awakened, her eyes adjusted to her current environment, and she was distressed by all of his questions. "She has only just awakened. When the girl has fully rested and has had a meal, then we will properly ask her these… questions. Do you understand?"
Terra shifted back and forth. "Fiiine," he muttered sullenly.
Eraqus turned towards the girl. "Hello. My name is Eraqus, and this boy is named Terra," he introduced themselves. "Please forgive my student for his insensitivity. We will be bringing you food shortly. Do you think you could tell me your name?"
"Hey, you said we can't ask her questions yet, Master."
The girl opened her mouth to speak, but said nothing. Her lips quivered and she began to whimper, burying her face into her knees. Terra flinched. Terra did not have had much contact with the other gender before; he knew what a girl was, but he never really dealt with a girl—much less dealt with a girl crying. The sight bothered him and made him uncomfortable. Terra glanced at his master, hoping that he'd know what to do.
"It seems we've distressed you far too much, little one," Eraqus murmured. "Why don't you stay here and rest while we bring you something to eat?"
The girl continued to sob, but managed to nod her head.
"Terra," Eraqus said to his student.
Terra got the signal and exited the room, following his master. Eraqus closed the door behind him, and the boy stared at his shoes, knowing he was about to get scolded. His master sighed in exasperation and slight weariness.
"Refrain from bombarding questions on the girl," Eraqus told him. "She's exhausted and scared. You need to learn to be more perceptive of the feelings of others, or your insensitivity will cause them pain. Do you understand?
Terra quietly nodded. "Yes…," he muttered.
"I will be placing that girl in your charge to look after. Can you do that for me, Terra?"
"M-Me? Why me?"
"I'm sure that a peer would suit well for the girl and for you as well," Eraqus said. "It will be a good learning process for you to develop a comradeship with someone your own age." He turned. "Now, let us get the girl something to eat from the kitchen." Terra paused for a moment. Noticing this, Eraqus turned. "Terra?"
"I don't like it," Terra pouted.
"Like what, child?"
"She needs a name."
"I'm sure she has one and will tell us it later."
"But… But what if she doesn't have one?"
Eraqus stared at his student with a peculiar interest. This was a thought that had never occurred to Terra before. It seemed a peer's presence would benefit the boy. "Should it be that the girl does not have a name, what would you like to call her then?" he asked.
Terra stared at the night sky from the window thoughtfully. "… Aqua," he said firmly without looking at his master. "That's the color of her hair and the pond we found her at. I want to call her Aqua. I-If she doesn't have a name, that is…"
Eraqus smiled. "Aqua is a fine name," he agreed.
The girl did not in fact have a name, so it was decided that Aqua would be her name. For weeks, Aqua did not speak a word, only nodding in agreement or shaking her head in disagreement; if she needed something, she would tug at a person's clothing and point to whatever it is she needed. Eraqus was concerned. He could not tell whether the girl was a mute or just too traumatized from the fall to speak a word. She did not smile. She did not laugh. She rarely showed emotion if at all. However, overtime, the girl began displaying more emotions and eventually began to talk. It turned out that she was not a mute of traumatized.
Aqua was merely… shy.
Aqua was often in the company of Terra, who had sworn to look after the girl. Terra wasn't entirely sure what to make of the newcomer Aqua. He disliked how she received attention from Eraqus that was once solely his, but he liked having someone around who was around his age—someone relatable and understanding because they were peers—not that he would admit of any such thing. He would not admit that he kind of liked being around her either. Aqua resembled a porcelain doll, wintery pale skin and long locks of hair that seemed to roll over her shoulders with ease, and the girl had this natural way of bringing ease to others simply by being there—her presence being enough. Terra liked that about her best.
It seemed that Aqua had similar feelings regarding Terra because when she finally did speak her first word was Terra's name.
One night, Terra snuck out of his room. He crept carefully down a long, narrow hall towards Aqua's room. He considered knocking on her door, but he knew it risked waking up Eraqus, whose room was at the other end of the hall; while there was a distance between their respective rooms, Eraqus was a light sleeper. Terra would not take the consequence of getting caught, scolded, and receive extra chores as punishment. He shuddered, remembering the last time Eraqus caught the boy sneaking out late at night. Eraqus piled so many chores on Terra that he almost regretted his habit of skipping curfew. Almost. Terra inhaled a breath and slipped into Aqua's room. He had never entered Aqua's room this late at night and knew that girls' rooms were different from boys' rooms. It made him feel a little sheepish. A florescent aroma filled the air.
"Aqua!" Terra whispered, quietly shutting the door behind him. "Hey, Aqua… Are you awake?"
Her room was pitch-black. Terra had to use the strain of moonlight reflected against Aqua's window to make his way across the room to Aqua's bed. The light gleamed against Aqua, and Terra observed her. The boy realized that Aqua looked kind of pretty when she slept. The girl did not snore or drool, and she wasn't in a funny position. She slept in an almost graceful manner like the princesses who were enchanted into everlasting slumbers in the fairytales Terra would read when he was younger. Terra felt a little bad that he had to disturb Aqua when she looked so peaceful in her slumber.
"Hey, Aqua… Aqua…," Terra whispered again, squatting by the girl's bedside. "Aqua, wake up…" Aqua didn't budge. Terra frowned and poked Aqua's arm. Still nothing. He tried shaking her arm. The blue haired girl stirred in her sleep, nuzzling her face into her pillow. Terra, growing impatient, punched Aqua's arm. Aqua's eyes opened instantly.
Before Aqua could yell, Terra covered her mouth with his hand. With his free hand, he held his index finger to his lips. "Shh!" Terra hushed.
Aqua rubbed her arm and pushed Terra's hand off. "What was that for?" she hissed angrily, punching Terra right back on his arm.
Normally, Terra didn't mind when Aqua would try to punch him. Terra had tried to teach Aqua how to physically defend herself, but it was a loss cause. Aqua was horrible. She couldn't punch a person if it were to save her life, and when she didn't screw up the aim of her hit, her punches would screw up and would be flimsy and weak. But this time Aqua nailed her punch perfectly and bruised Terra's arm, and Terra fell backwards and was about to yelp when Aqua leaped on him and covered his mouth.
Aqua gave Terra a long peevish look before she removed her hand and got off of Terra. She sat next to him and waited for an explanation. Terra groaned as he sat up and rubbed his sore arm.
"What, Terra?" Aqua pouted, crossing her arms.
"There's… something I… want to show you…," Terra muttered, though he regretted the whole idea now.
Tilting her head curiously, Aqua shook her head in an attempt to fully wake herself up and paused thoughtfully. She was still a little cranky and dizzy, but she was well awake now. "What do you want to show me?" Aqua asked, scooting closer to him.
Terra stood up and dusted himself off. He then extended his hand out to her. "Come on, it's a surprise," he replied, grinning.
Aqua contemplated her options. She could either go with Terra to see whatever he wanted to show her, or she could let it wait until morning and give him the boot so she could go back to sleep. While Aqua was tempted to go with the latter, she chose the former instead and took Terra's hand. She figured that since she was awake now that it couldn't hurt. They took nimble, quiet steps and snuck out without waking Eraqus.
Terra learned two things that night: 1) Aqua was a cranky sleeper, and 2) he probably should think twice before punching her in her sleep.
At around midnight, Terra took Aqua to the shallow waters along the mountain pass. Aqua trailed behind him, clinging onto the back of his shirt. "I come around here to go stargazing sometimes," he told her a little confidently. For some reason, it almost sounded like he was trying to impress her.
Aqua nodded. "I know," she automatically replied. "I can see you from my window."
Terra blinked. "How come you never come with me?" he asked. He wouldn't mind the girl's company during his stargazing sessions. It would make the trip a little less lonely.
"I don't want to get in trouble if Master catches you."
Teacher's pet…, Terra muttered dejectedly.
Aqua shivered, wrapping her arms around herself. "Well? Where is it, Terra? What do you have to show me?"
"This," Terra said, pointing to one of the shallow ponds along the mountain pass. Aqua stared at him in disbelief. Before she was about to complain that Terra just wanted to show her a lousy pond that she has seen millions of times before in the middle of the night, Terra raised his hand and Aqua closed her mouth instantly. "This is where Master and I found you when you fell out of the sky."
Aqua's eyes flickered as she looked at the pond and then up at the star-filled night sky. She gazed up wordlessly.
"Master didn't want to tell you this because he thought it'd trigger some sort of bad memory, but I thought you should know."
"Where do you think… I came from?" Aqua asked. "Why do you think I'm here?"
"Well, that's obvious. You came from the stars," Terra said.
Aqua blinked. She was silent for a moment before she burst out giggling. "That's so corny!" she teased.
Terra blushed furiously. He realized he had never told anyone of his guess of Aqua's origins, and how silly it sounded when he said it so matter-of-factly. His nose flared, and he turned away so Aqua couldn't see his face. "H-Hey, you asked for my answer, a-and I'm just giving you my answer!" Terra stammered in annoyance. "If you don't like it, then don't ask me!"
Aqua grinned and patted Terra on the head. She was half an inch taller than the boy. Terra always disliked that fact and insisted that he would get taller than her one day.
Terra pushed Aqua's hand off. "Don't treat me like a kid. You're younger than me," he hissed, rubbing his face.
But Aqua only smiled. "I like it."
"L-Like what?" Terra blurted. That I'm shorter? Or that you treat me like a kid?
"That you think I came from the stars. It's a little corny, but I like it," she told him, tilting her head. "What about the other question, Terra?"
"Yeah. Why do you think I'm here?"
Terra paused. Aqua watched him curiously. Terra would cross his arms whenever he was in deep thought, and that always told Aqua that Terra was seriously thinking about whatever he was told, and he would always be blunt but genuine when answering. She always liked that about him. "I think you were meant to be here…," Terra finally said, looking up to face the girl. "Like, you found your way here."
"You mean… like a wayfinder?" Aqua asked him.
Terra beamed for a moment, pondering her words. "Huh… Yeah, you're right," he decided, nodding with a smile. "Like a wayfinder."