Set in the Land of Departure.

Technically a TerraAquaVentus Friendship story.
But you know me and Friendship. It always ends up with a hint of Romance. Hahaha!
So this has about half-a-teaspoon or so of romantic thought.
So that makes this TerraAquaVentus Friendship/Romance.

This is the extended version of the hundred-word one shot I wrote for the prompt Paint.
(Chapter Four of my story: A Hundred Nights with Her)

DISCLAIMER [I do not own Kingdom Hearts] DISCLAIMER


GRAFFITI

Aqua loves Ventus less than Terra.


Ventus bounced on his feet; leaning back on his heels, then standing on tiptoe, then back on his heels again. Terra sighed. "Would it kill you to stand still?"

"No," the boy answered.

"It was a rhetorical question," Terra muttered.

"What is a rhetorical question?"

Terra paused. "You know, I have no idea. Aqua says it all the time."

Ventus laughed, rather loudly and almost mockingly, and Terra frowned.

"Point is, you are not supposed to answer a rhetorical question," the brunette explained.

"Then why ask?"

"Well, because… I just…"

Ventus grinned. "It was a rhetorical question, Terra."

And at that, Terra flung his paintbrush at Ventus. The blonde ducked, the paintbrush missing his hair by an inch. "Hey! What did you do that for?" he asked as the paintbrush landed on the newspapers they had lain on the floor.

Terra picked it up. "You are being annoying."

The younger apprentice puffed up his cheeks, clearly annoyed, too, but chose to say nothing more. They resumed painting the walls, Ventus still bouncing on his feet. Terra decided to think about something else so that he would not have to be so distracted by the living pogo stick beside him. He wondered why Master Eraqus asked him and Ven to repaint the lounge. It was not as if there was anything wrong with the current wall color.

Actually, Terra wondered why the Master suddenly wanted many of the rooms in the castle to be repainted. He asked them to repaint his study a dark, forest green. And then he told them to repaint their bedrooms in the colors of their choice. And they repainted the walls of the dining hall a nice, soft yellow with stenciled patterns in orange and green – a design courtesy of Aqua.

And how come Aqua was off paint-duty today? It was such a pain to do this chore alone with Ven. Though Terra honestly did enjoy being around the youngest apprentice, especially when they were training and having sparring matches, but Aqua was always better at dealing with the hyperactive boy. It was not easy keeping him under control.

Terra suddenly stopped painting. He reached a point on the wall where what looked like a giant letter A was painted. He frowned and turned to Ventus. "Ven, what…?" his voice trailed off as he saw what the A was connected to.

AQUA LOVES VENTU…

"Ven!" Terra yelled and the younger apprentice accidentally extended the curve on the S, so now it looked almost like an 8.

"Aww, Terra," the boy groaned. "Look what you made me do…"

Terra ran a hand down his face. "Why are you doing it in the first place?"

"Is that a rhetorical question?"

The brunette almost flung a can of paint at the younger boy. "No!"

Ven raised his hands up defensively. But his swift action caused him to flick the paintbrush he was holding in a way that splattered paint onto Terra's face. The brunette fumed.

"I… Sorry! I didn't do it on purpose!" Ven yelped, leaping away from Terra.

Terra dipped his paintbrush in the paint can, a threatening scowl on his face. Ventus leapt farther away, practically leaning against the opposite wall now, acting like a terrified rabbit. Terra glared at him, but instead of flinging the paintbrush at the blonde, he only turned his attention back to the wall. Ventus relaxed for a second, realizing that Terra was not out to get him, but his relief was short-lived.

"Hey!" he yelled, as Terra began painting beneath the words he wrote.

…LESS THAN TERRA

Ven scowled. "Aqua loves Ventus less than Terra?"

They both stared at the words, and Terra mumbled, "Actually, that doesn't sound quite right."

Ventus tilted his head for a minute, absorbing the meaning. "You love me more than Aqua does?" He laughed, clutching his stomach. "I had no idea, Terra."

He received a smack on the back of the head as the older boy glowered at him. "That is not what I meant!" Terra shouted. "I meant Aqua loves you less than she loves me!"

The amusement Ventus was feeling earlier disappeared in a puff of smoke. "What? That is not true! Even the Master knows that Aqua loves me more!"

He felt a cold, wet thing swipe against his cheek and it took him a second to realize that it was Terra, painting his face a deep, navy blue.

"Oy!" Ven yelled. He brandished his own paintbrush like a sword.

Terra laughed. "You think you can beat me with a paintbrush? Ha!" He, too, wielded the brush like a weapon, its paint-coated bristles dripping threateningly.

Ven took a few steps back and he and Terra began circling each other. Terra knew Ventus was sneaky and speedy, so he kept a very close watch on the blonde's movements. Ventus knew that if Terra got close enough to land a hit, it would be very hard to fight him off, so he had to keep his distance. The silence lasted about a minute, the only noise in the room were the shuffling of their feet and the dollops of paint falling off their brushes onto the newspapers below.

Just then, Ven lunged forward. Terra tried to sidestep to avoid him, but the boy was fast and he caught the brunette along the hip. Terra tried to retaliate, swishing his paintbrush in Ven's direction, but he missed as Ven ducked and rolled out of the way. The boy grinned happily at landing the first strike and Terra glared at him.

Ven stuck his tongue out at Terra, but soon regretted it because Terra charged at him. Ven had no time to dodge, and Terra managed to pin him down. Ven grabbed onto the wrist holding the paintbrush, struggling to keep the paint off his face. But Terra was much stronger and before long, Ventus not only had a navy blue cheek, but also a navy blue nose.

And with Terra chortling at the funny look of his freshly painted face, Ven managed to wriggle out of his predicament and – swiping his brush – coated the side of Terra's head with a grand helping of paint. The brunette roared.

Ven dashed for one of the open cans of paint, dipped his brush inside, and swung his arm in an upward motion. A wave of liquid blue soared in Terra's direction and the oldest apprentice now had a vertical stripe of paint running across his torso and dripping on his chin. Ventus laughed.

Terra wiped the excess paint off his chin with the back of his hand. And, furious now, he flung the paintbrush aside. "You know what, this would be more fun with a real weapon." He summoned his Keyblade.

Ven eagerly took up the challenge, summoning his own. "Bring it on, Terra!"


Ven swung his Keyblade at a can of paint and it hurtled towards Terra. The older boy struck it with his own weapon and it burst, splattering brilliant orange paint everywhere. He retaliated by flinging an open can of paint in the blonde's direction, and Ven suddenly was not so blonde anymore.

They had been painting for an hour, and neither wanted to give up. All cans of paint had been opened, emptied, and made to explode like a bomb, with the exception of one. Terra saw it first and dove for it. Ventus was right behind him and, because he was faster, he managed to grab the can of paint and he slid across the floor with it. Terra immediately assumed a defensive position as Ven opened the can. The younger boy grinned at revealing the color to be hot pink.

"You're in for it now, Terra!" Ven said, laughing evilly.

Terra smirked. "Come and get me."

And at his taunt, Ventus, propelled by a non-existent burst of wind, rushed in his direction. Terra prepared for his attack, keeping his eye on the can of paint. And because they were both so focused, neither of them heard the door open.

"What is the meaning of this?" came the angry shout of their Master.

Ventus slipped, and he fell, accidentally letting go of the can of paint. It flew upwards a few inches, hitting Terra in the chest, and spraying pink paint all over his face.

The can fell noisily to the ground and rolled right at the Master's feet.

"M-master Eraqus!" both boys stammered as they stood at attention.

Their Master was fuming, his fists clenched, his jaw tightened. He did not step into the room and only managed to gesture at them to step out. The two exchanged worried looks as they walked through the door and into the hallway, dripping paint as they went.

"This was not what I intended when I asked you to repaint the lounge!" Master Eraqus reprimanded. Terra and Ventus dipped their heads in shame. "And why in the name of Light did you have all those cans of paint?"

"Well… Aqua usually picks the color…" Terra mumbled.

"We couldn't decide, so we brought them all…" Ven added.

Master Eraqus pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to calm himself down, and they heard footsteps approach. Aqua rounded the corner and stopped immediately at seeing them. Curiously, she asked, "Is everything alright?"

Master Eraqus gestured for her to look inside the room. Tentatively, Aqua pushed the door open, peered into the lounge and gasped at the sight. Paint of every imaginable color was splattered on every surface; ceiling, windows, furniture... Nothing was spared.

But one wall caught her eye, because painted on it was…

Aqua loves Ventus.

Below that; less than Terra.

Surprisingly, it survived the onslaught that the rest of the room seemed to have suffered through. She smiled, turning back to her Master. "I kind of like it this way."

Master Eraqus sighed, exasperated. He glared at the two boys. "Fix it. If this room does not look as it should by this evening, not only will you be skipping meals tomorrow, you will also be scrubbing every single window of this castle. Understood?"

"Yes, Master," Terra and Ventus replied.

As soon as he left, the boys turned to Aqua. Ven was almost in tears. "I… I don't want to skip meals tomorrow…"

Terra, too, looked at her with a pleading expression. "Do you have any idea how many windows this castle has?"

She smiled at them, shaking her head once. "Not good enough. Try again."

Ventus clapped his hands together, tucking them against his chin, and looking up at her with his best puppy-dog face. "Please, Aqua?"

She turned to Terra expectantly. The brunette hesitated. "What?" he asked. "You don't mean… I… I can't make that face!"

Aqua blinked twice. "Then you're on your own."

She started to walk away and Ventus kicked Terra hard on the knee, scowling at him. Terra groaned. "Aqua, wait…"

Turning around, she smiled. "Yes?"

Terra put his hands together, his fingers intertwined. He pressed them against his chin, like Ven had earlier, and looked at Aqua with the most miserable frown he could muster. "Please?"

She laughed a bit. "Alright, I'll help you."

Terra and Ven fist-pumped, grinning widely. Aqua snapped her fingers to get their attention. "You do realize we have only seven hours to fix this, right? So, both of you need to change out of those clothes and you need to at least wash all the paint out of your hair before it dries. And Terra, get the ladder, please, and about as many buckets as you can carry. Ventus, I need you to raid the cleaning supplies and bring me… Well, everything." And with suddenly-serious expressions, both boys ran off to do as she asked.

She sighed as they left, frowning at the footprints they left behind. At least their bedrooms were not that far away, so there wouldn't be much of the hallway for them to clean.

Aqua walked into the lounge, shaking her head at the havoc the two had wreaked. She was sure that this would be the last time the Master would ever allow the two of them to do such a chore without her. And that was not a pleasant thought.

With a bit of magic, she adjusted the room temperature to prevent the paint from drying, which would make it easier to wipe them off. Then she began cleaning. She gathered the mutilated cans of paint, putting them into a pile in the center of the room. She picked up the paintbrushes and sighed as she tossed them with the paint cans.

It took her a while, but she eventually managed to pile up everything they would need to dispose of. Then, she faced the wall that had caught her attention earlier. She tilted her head a bit, trying to guess the meaning. She was sure that Ven had painted the first line. It was obvious from the swish of the brush strokes, which left the ends of the letters a bit dry. And Terra had done the second, judging by the excessive use of paint which made the letters droopy.

"Aqua loves Ventus…" she mumbled. "…less than Terra."

A blush colored her cheeks lightly. The two could be so silly sometimes, but they were her boys, and she honestly would not have it any other way.

At the door, Terra and Ven stood watching her and exchanging smiles. Then Terra cleared his throat and Aqua jumped, turning to look at them. "Oh, that was fast," she said, a little flustered, but she was unsure why exactly.

Terra dragged the ladder and buckets into the room while Ven unceremoniously dumped the cleaning supplies onto the floor. The three of them stared at the wall for a moment, and Terra said, "Do you think the Master would mind if we left that there?"

Aqua smiled at him. "He might. But, when did either of you ever really consider what the Master would think?"


END

Thank You

~Alacquiene~