Set in the Land of Departure.
Despite the title, this is more of a Prequel than a Sequel.
The events in this story happen somewhere between the Introduction and Present Day of my other story The Stuffed Bunny.
I know this is insane. So you don't have to read it, if you're looking for a rather sensible story.
But sometimes, I just really need to write something utterly pointless.
By the way, my portrayal of little Terra is slightly inspired by a little boy I once knew.
This is dedicated to eolhcsullivan452.
DISCLAIMER [I do not own Kingdom Hearts] DISCLAIMER
THE STUFFED BUNNY
He would get that bunny someday…
[Aqua is Six / Terra is Seven]
It was a beautiful, sunny day, and the Master had taken his young apprentices to the Summit for a picnic. But only one of them – Aqua – was positively thrilled. Terra was in a sour mood as he glared at Aqua. Or, rather, he glared at the thing that she was holding. Its pale brown fur, like milk chocolate, was rippling under her fingertips as she stroked it. Its beady black eyes were staring at him, unblinking and contemptuous. Its blank, expressionless face clearly said, "She thinks I'm cuter than you."
"Do you have to bring that everywhere?" he asked her, frowning.
She nodded, helping herself to a chocolate-covered strawberry. "He'll be lonely without me."
The Master chuckled and patted Terra on the head. "Let her do as she wants, Terra."
Aqua set the bunny on her lap, stroking its ears, and Terra mumbled, "She's being such a child."
Master Eraqus laughed more heartily this time. "Terra, Aqua is six years old. She is a child. And, so are you."
"Well, I don't drag a stupid doll around," he muttered.
Aqua glared at him. "You are just jealous," she said.
He flung a strawberry at her, but the Master caught it before it could get anywhere near her. "Terra!" he berated. "If you want to spend another day running laps across the Forecourt, just tell me so. That can easily be arranged."
The brunette scowled and crossed his arms over his chest. Aqua kissed the little bunny on the top of its head and Terra could almost hear its laughter as it mocked him with, "I am so cuter than you…"
[Aqua is Eight / Terra is Nine]
"Aqua, what are you doing?" Terra asked.
She stopped prancing around the flowers to look at him. "Uhm… Playing."
"Playing what?" He noted with disdain that she was prancing around with that stuffed bunny of hers. And it was still looking at him with those black eyes…
"You're going to say it's stupid," she said, frowning.
He sighed. "Just tell me already."
She hesitated for a second longer, then finally said, "I'm pretending."
Aqua rolled her eyes. "Don't you ever play pretend, Terra? I mean, haven't you ever tried imagining you were someone or something different, and that you were somewhere else?"
She sighed. "I knew you would say that. Just leave me alone, if you think it's so stupid."
He walked closer to her. "Actually, I want to play, too."
She looked at him with disbelief but she decided to play along. "Alright."
"So what are you pretending to be?"
"I'm pretending I'm a bunny, too, and we're in the woods, and it's like our Kingdom." Terra chose – wisely – not to comment on the insane fact that she had just implied to be a bunny princess and that stupid stuffed animal was her prince. "What do you want to be, Terra?"
He smirked. "I want to be the bad guy. Like… A fox."
"What do you mean what? I can be anything I want right?"
"Yeah, okay, fine." She said it like she wanted him to pretend to be something else, but no way is he going to choose something girly and silly, like being a bunny.
His smirk darkened. "You know, Aqua…" he murmured slinking closer to her. "Foxes eat bunnies."
Her eyes widened and she started taking steps back. He raised his hands up, forming claws, and he snarled at her. She screamed and ran for her life. Terra laughed behind her. "You can run, but you can't hide! I'm going to get you!"
And five minutes later when he managed to catch her and tackle her to the ground, he realized he liked this game. He took the little brown rabbit from her and tossed it aside. "It can't protect you now," he sneered.
She struggled against him, but her eyes were shining with amusement. "Terra!" she cried out, acting frightened. He leaned forward, kissing her on the forehead, and for a second, both of them were silent.
Until a shadow suddenly loomed over them.
"And what are you two up to?"
Terra and Aqua immediately scrambled to get up at hearing their Master. They stood at attention. Master Eraqus smiled, handing the bunny back to Aqua.
"We will begin training in a few minutes. Meet me at the Forecourt," he said.
"Yes, Master," they answered.
When Master Eraqus had walked away, Terra sighed. The game was just starting to get fun. And now it was horrible again because Aqua was hugging her bunny. She turned to him. "Thanks for playing, Terra," she said.
"Yeah, well, try not to get used to it," he said. "I'd rather train than play any day."
"See, that is exactly why I have this bunny," she said, frowning a little, and she left him.
"What in the world did she mean by that?" he said, scowling when she was gone.
[Aqua is Ten / Terra is Eleven]
Terra walked into the kitchen to find Aqua at the sink, busy with something. He grabbed the cookie jar from the countertop – and began stuffing his face with cookies – as he walked towards her. He looked over her shoulder to see what she was doing, and he instantly frowned.
"What are you doing?" he asked her, incredulous.
"I'm washing him," she answered.
He raised his eyebrows. In the kitchen sink was a basin full of soapy water. In that makeshift mini-bathtub was her stuffed bunny. And she only had it soaked up to its neck; its head remained above the water. And she was holding it tenderly with one hand, while her other hand was gently rubbing soap onto the top of its head and along its ears.
"Aqua," Terra said, "do I need to remind you that what you have right there is an inanimate object?"
She frowned for a minute. "So?"
"So, you can save yourself all this trouble by just dumping it with the rest of the wash. I'd even do it for you."
Her nose wrinkled in what was unmistakably a look of disgust. "No, thanks," she said. "I am not going to put him in with your used clothing."
He narrowed his eyes at her. "Fine, but why are you washing it like that? As if it's actually alive or something…"
"You obviously do not know the first thing about how to properly wash a stuffed toy," she said. "I can't be careless with him because then his fur would get all dry and stiff. And it feels weird if I soak his head in the water… Like I'm drowning him…"
Terra felt the corner of his eyes twitch, and his lips curled up into an impish smirk. He stared for a second at the bunny, and he imagined its eyes to be pleading, "No! Don't do it!"
But of course he would do it as he set aside the cookie jar. Then he grinned and reached into the sink. And with his fist on its head, he quickly plunged the bunny deep into the soapy water in one swift move. Aqua gasped, her eyes wide. "Terra!"
He laughed, but his amusement lasted only one second, because Aqua suddenly slapped him. And from that point forward, he was not sure what happened next. All he knows is that they were eventually grappling with each other on the floor, covered in soap bubbles, until the Master finally showed up and pulled them apart.
"What is going on here?" Master Eraqus asked, furious. They both stood in front of him, their heads dipped.
It was Aqua who spoke first. "I am so sorry, Master," she said. "This was my fault; I started it."
"Is that so?"
"Yes," Aqua said, her voice filled with shame. "I slapped Terra."
"And why did you do that?"
"He… He was annoying me," she answered. "Master, I'm sorry. I'll clean up the mess we made, I promise."
Master Eraqus sighed, and then looked at Terra. "What did you do, Terra?"
"Nothing! I was just…" he faltered. It was really stupid, what he had done. And just how was he going to word that to the Master?
"Well, it seems the two of you will be spending your day off cleaning the bathrooms," the Master said.
Terra gasped. The castle had twelve bathrooms. "No way!" he said.
"Eight bathrooms, for you," Master Eraqus continued.
"What?" Terra practically shouted.
"You provoked Aqua," he said. "And she is clearly repentant. On the other hand, you are obviously not."
Terra grumbled incoherently. Eight bathrooms! That stupid bunny was to blame for all this. It was the bane of his existence. And one of these days, he would find a way to get rid of it, once and for all.
[Aqua is Twelve / Terra is Thirteen]
Terra had been staring at Aqua for the past fifteen minutes as he sat across from her at the breakfast table. There was something different about her today, but he could not quite put his finger on it. She was dressed the same, in her usual training outfit. Her hair was still cut in that short, boyish way that he liked – but he would never tell her so. She was gripping her glass of orange juice with both hands and she held the straw between her teeth, while she read from a book that she had lain on the table; her typical morning routine.
So what was different?
And then he noticed it. The stuffed bunny. It wasn't with her. And that was odd, because it was always with her. She only kept it away during training. Otherwise, she would be dragging it around absolutely everywhere.
"Terra? Are you okay?" she asked suddenly, finally realizing he had been staring.
"Where's that rabbit?" he said.
She looked at him questioningly. "Why?"
"You always have it with you," he answered.
"Well, I've decided to keep him in my room," she said.
He grinned. "So you've finally outgrown it, then?"
Her brows creased. "Is it just me, or you look really happy about that?"
His grin turned into a frown. "It's just you."
Aqua laughed a little. "Good, because no, I have not outgrown him," she replied. "I just decided that he would be better off in my room, especially since our training schedules have gotten a lot more demanding lately."
She resumed reading, and sipping her orange juice. Terra glared at her for a minute. So she was keeping it safe. That was why she didn't have it with her today. And then he smiled. It was in her room…
He stood up from the table and left. Today was the day!
He sprinted down the halls, running faster and faster each step, until he finally made it to her bedroom door. He chuckled. Beyond this door, that little stuffed bunny was waiting; helpless and unprotected. Terra reached for the doorknob…
"Huh? Why is it locked?" he grumbled. He tried a few more times, but it was definitely locked. No matter. That was what Keyblades were for.
So he summoned his weapon, held it before him with its point at the keyhole of her door. But even then, the door remained locked. He scowled. "Aqua, you cheater…" he grumbled.
He kept trying and trying and trying, but the door simply would not unlock. In anger, he raised his Keyblade, ready to bash the door until it finally gave way, but he heard a throat being cleared just behind him. He spun around.
"M-master Eraqus!" he yelped.
"What are you doing, Terra?"
"I… I was just…" But he lost his voice under his Master's suspicious stare.
Master Eraqus reached for the doorknob and tried to turn it. He failed, but he smiled. "You will not be able to unlock this door, no matter how hard you try," he told Terra.
The boy frowned. "Why not?"
Master Eraqus summoned his own Keyblade and – after a series of rather complicated motions and several beams of light – the door swung open. "It seems Aqua has mastered a level of magic I have yet to teach her." There was a hint of pride in his tone.
Terra just stared with his mouth open. He would never be able to learn how to do that, especially not at the speed that the Master executed it. He turned his attention to the now open doorway, getting a peek into her room. And there was the stuffed bunny, on her bed, half-covered with the blanket. And Terra could have sworn it was smirking at him, the shadowy depths of its beady eyes filled with amusement and mockery.
He clenched his fists when Master Eraqus shut the door and set the barrier up once more. "So, Terra, what punishment would you like this time?"
Master Eraqus looked at him sternly. "At first, I did not want to believe Aqua when she told me just a while ago that you would be trying to force your way into her room," he said. "But it seems she was right. And if you cannot give me a valid reason for your actions, I will need to punish you for disregarding her right to privacy."
Terra gritted his teeth. "Master," he begged. "No more bathrooms…"
Master Eraqus chuckled. "Alright. The golden chains need polishing. I expect them to shine like the sun on your next day off."
The brunette paled. "Yes, Master," he mumbled and Master Eraqus left him.
Terra slammed his forehead against the door, groaning and growling at the same time. Just you wait, you stupid bunny. I am going to get you someday… Just you wait!