A two-shot story focusing on the reunion of two KH characters (Aqua and Terra obviously). This is purely speculation about how it will happen, but I can dream right? The first chapter will be Aqua finding Terra, and the second chapter will be Terra finding Aqua. Expect angst, a pinch of fluff, and plenty of Heartless/Nobody smashing. A few setting tweaks, but it's for dramatic effect.
Chapter 1: We Will Meet at the Crossroad
The scorching sun slowly roasting Aqua's skin was all too familiar to her. Those long years spent in the Realm of Darkness did not erase the memories of the sacred ground on which she stood. Red sand crunched beneath her feet, and reflected the desert-like heat of the barren battlefield.
She remembered the Badlands well. It was the welcoming place to any who visited the dead world for the first time. She couldn't help but prefer simply arriving at the Fissure and progressing to the field of keys, but seeing this scene was good for her companions.
"Woah!" The amazed voice of a young man gasped, as he rushed forward to look over the grand cliff of the Badlands. "That crater is massive!"
Despite the anxiety that curled heavily in the pit of her stomach, she let herself laugh at such innocence. She watched closely as King Mickey's best magician and his captain of the guard both looked over the horizon with the young man.
That head of messy, brown hair that framed a boyish face with sky-blue eyes never ceased to amaze her. The instant she saw him in the Realm of Darkness, she had known who he was. He practically radiated with some unspoken, unknown power that pulled ones heart into a friendly embrace. This lad was the very same her hooded friend had told her about. Her newest friend, and the one to whom she owed her life.
"Sora," a girl's voice called out to the boy with a laughter in her tone, "we're not here to sightsee, we're here to find clues about Aqua's friend. Remember?" The girl lightly scolding the bearer of the keyblade placed a hand behind her ear, an attempt to tame her long, crimson locks as they blew in the dry wind.
The spell-casting duck turned on his webbed foot and pointed a finger to the air. "That's Master Sora now Kairi." His heavy accent soon dissolved into giggles when Kairi gave him an exasperated look.
The "Master" puffed out his chest and looked at Kairi with half-lidded eyes. "Yeah Kairi, that's Master Sora." His tone was playfully condescending, as he teased his childhood friend with his newest title.
Aqua watched as Kairi shot down Sora's bloating pride with a clever comment about his being lazy, and smiled a warm, nostalgic smile. She recalled the days when she would have such exchanges with her friends, especially her oldest, and most physically capable friend.
She wanted those days back. She wanted those moments of laughter returned to her, to fill the hole in her heart. It wasn't until she could no longer be with her friends that she truly, with all her heart, wanted them back again. In the case of one, she wanted him back even with his faults.
"Alright everyone," Aqua clapped her hands loudly to get the groups attention, "I think it's time we start searching." She offered them her best smile to help hide her own anxiousness. After all, Sora had said she was forbidden to frown.
With that, the search began for any clues that would help find Aqua's wayward friend. They spent hours just walking around the badlands, as Aqua recounted the story of the Keyblade War to Sora and her new friends. She told them about the huge craters that were left by keyblade masters of unimaginable power, and she spoke of the sight she would show them later: the Keyblade Graveyard.
Eventually their search led them through what used to be the Twister Trench and then to the Fissure. It was here that Aqua suggested they stop to rest.
Thankfully, Heartless feared the Keyblade Graveyard. Aqua was not sure why –seeing how Unversed seemed fine with the place–, but she guessed it had to do with the presence of so many keyblades. She decided to use the subject as something to occupy her mind as they group settled down for the night.
Soon night fell over the sacred resting place of keyblades, and the group of world hoppers were asleep. Everyone save for the ladies of the group.
Aqua had abandoned her sleeping bag for the moment to sit at the edge of the crater in middle of the fissure. Her knees were level with her chin, and her hands were on the ground to help support her weight. She was silent in her thoughts, her memories of the past. Happy memories and sad, heartbreaking memories flashed in her mind, and troubled her already quivering heart.
Aqua betrayed her training and jumped at the sudden noise, but soon calmed with a relieved laugh. "Kairi," she said breathlessly, "you really shouldn't sneak up on a keyblade master like that." Her blue eyes watched Kairi, as she sat down beside her. "Might mistake you for a Heartless."
"Sora says the exact same thing." Kairi smiled humorously and looked up into the starry sky.
"Hah, I don't think Sora could ever mistake you Kairi." Aqua caught a glimpse of a bashful smirk before closing her eyes and lowering her head. She allowed a comfortable silence to hang between the two of them before she felt eyes on her. Without looking, she addressed the only person awake to do so. "Yes Kairi?"
The princess of heart gently nudged Aqua's shoulder with her own. "Are you alright Aqua?" Her voice carried her concern for the older woman. "Ever since we've gotten here, you seem less... happy than usual."
Aqua released a weary breath at her question. The years had left her body untouched was shown in her eyes, as she looked up to the heavens. Though her body was no different after ten years, her heart had felt every moment. "A lot," she paused, "happened here."
She felt her eyes grow hot, and her cheeks begin to flush. Her heart ached at the memories, but it also squeezed with the need for release. "I lost everything that held my light." She curled into a ball and placed her chin upon her arms. "I saw someone I once admired betray everything he swore to protect." She stopped there, not daring to mention the events that so pained her.
But Kairi would not let her hide it. "And you lost someone very precious to you." The girl who called Destiny Islands her true home kept her eyes on the sky, even when she heard Aqua gasp quietly. "I can tell." Kairi's smile grew soft, and a bit forlorn. "You don't talk about this friend much, but you find it easier to talk about Ven."
Aqua looked down. The heat in her eyes was growing, and it felt like her face was swelling with every word.
"And every time Sora or the others mentions him," Kairi looked sympathetic, "you look more than sad. You look heartbroken."
"How do you know so much?" Aqua laughed weakly and looked to the side. Somewhere along the line, she had grown past the stage of blushing at the truth. Perhaps it was the result of all that happened. Maybe it was her heart saying it'd be satisfied with just having him back.
Kairi hugged Aqua and leaned her head on her shoulder. "It's what I felt when Sora left after rescuing me."
Aqua returned the hug by placing her hands on Kairi's arm. "Then tell him. Tell him everything." Her gaze grew sad, and her eyes glistened at the beads of moisture building within them.
"You too." Kairi held her tighter, offering her friend all the care she could give during such a time. Matters of the heart were never easy to handle. So hard, in fact, the universe decided that it would need a keyblade and someone to wield it.
A drop of something warm pulled Kairi from her line of the thought.
"Kairi," Aqua started, "I'd like to go for a walk." She kept her head down, and hid her eyes with her hair. She tried to somehow will her eyes stop burning, and to get her face to stop feeling like someone was pumping air into it.
"Okay, I'll stay up until you get back." Kairi gave Aqua one more squeeze before removing her arms from around Aqua.
The keyblade master stood up at once and took a few steps towards the rocky exit of the fissure. "Don't worry about me, princesses should get their beauty sleep." She jested, but her attempt at humor only revealed the quiver to her voice. She didn't wait for a reply, but instead walked onwards at a brisk pace. She could not keep control of herself for much longer.
It was only when Aqua crossed over into the sacred ground of the Keyblade Graveyard that she allowed the first wave her cries.
Tears fell like hot streams down her cheeks, burning the opened wounds of her heart. Sobs tore from deep within her chest, as her throat felt blocked by her own, raw emotions.
In her mind, all Aqua could do was question why it all had happened. Why did she lose her friends? Why was she manipulated along with the people dearest to her, only to be forced to toss herself aside? Why was she trapped in the darkness, unable to help the one she knew would move heaven and earth for the people he cared about?
Why was fate so cruel to force her to choose between her heart, and her duty?
"Gah," Aqua threw her hands up and weakly tried to wipe the tears from her eyes, "look at me!" She screamed at herself. "I'm acting like a mess." She growled and took a deep breath to wash away her sudden bout of weakness. "Things aren't that bad."
She sniffled and began thinking about her situation differently. "We know where Ven's body and heart are, so he's safe." Aqua nodded her head, "And I've made great friends, more to add to my list of friends." She smiled a little. "I found out Stitch is fine, Hercules grew into a great hero, and I'm not the only keyblade master around too!"
Her spirits feeling lifted, Aqua took another deep breath and threw her worries into the wind. Now free of her heavy thoughts, she let herself admire the ground on which she stood.
A field of lifeless keyblades met her eyes. It was familiar, haunting, and humbling to her. A sea of keyblades once wielded by bearers stronger than she, and here they lay — lifeless and powerless. She contemplated how small it made her feel, as she ran a finger along the cold handle of the nearest key.
"Maybe I should pay my respects while I'm here." She looked over the horizon and found the same, neat path that led to a crossroad in the field of keyblades.
And then a thought struck her.
"Wait," she paused, "how did all of them get like this again after our fight with Xehanort?" Aqua turned suddenly, and recoiled back when she saw someone standing behind her.
The person looked to be a specter in the night, the very image of death draped in its shadows. The man was dressed in dark pants and a dusty, black hoodie with the hood up to shadow his face. His hands were limp at his sides, both covered by black gloves.
Aqua summoned her keyblade and leaped back. "Who are you!" she demanded. She received no answer.
The hooded phantom slowly raised his hand to the sky, as a light drifted down to the earth. The light slowly came to rest in his palm, and a flash of light ushered in the appearance of a keyblade. Aqua tensed, ready to fight the specter, but he did not hold the keyblade in an aggressive stance.
Instead, the hooded man held the keyblade by its shaft and gently carried it to an empty place in the graveyard. The key was a thin design that resembled hers, likely used more for casting spells than physical attacks. Its lavender color was faded and far from vibrant, as if it had been rusted from ages of use. She felt her heart reach out to the lifeless keyblade, and she understood what was going on.
Aqua stood up from her ready stance and simply held her keyblade to watch the scene play out. Her blue eyes followed the hooded phantom's movements, as he dutifully found a place for the key to rest in eternal peace.
After what felt like hours of searching, the specter found the perfect spot, and continued the burial ritual. He lifted the keyblade into the air, teeth pointing down towards the ground. With his other hand, he took hold of the keychain and appeared to pluck it off. The ghostly image of the keychain turned into a speck of light, and he sent it away — back into the world from which it came.
The lone keyblade master was speechless at the sight. Was this where the keychains came from? Were they the lingering souls of keyblades that had lost their true masters? She grew sad at the thought.
Purely out of respect, Aqua bowed slightly when the hooded man drove the keyblade into the rusty sands. She allowed a pause of silence, a testament to the valiant service of both the key and its master — whatever its length.
"Now I see." Aqua softly broke the stretch of heavy silence. "You keep this place. You bury the keyblades, and send out the keychains to aid other keyblade bearers." She nodded her head slowly. "You're the Keeper of the Keys, at least that's what I'll call you."
The Keeper turned his head towards Aqua and nodded very slowly. Moving with the stiffness of a corpse, the Keeper walked towards Aqua to inspect another keyblade.
"Have you been here for very long?" Aqua leaned over to try and see the Keeper's face, but the shadows were too thick. "Tell me, have you seen anyone tall," she stood up on her toes and lifted her hand, "and broad with brown, spiky hair?" She put both hands on her head and pointed her index fingers outwards, a familiar gesture to anyone who has searched for a spiky-haired friend.
The Keeper did not respond at first, but just as Aqua was about to give up, he slowly pointed towards the intersection of the crossroads.
Aqua felt her heart swell, as she followed his finger to the intersection. She did not need to ask if he meant he had seen her friend at that exact spot, or when. She didn't need to ask anymore questions, because there, kneeled in the sand with his large keyblade held in front of him, was Terra in his armor.
The air in her lungs was spirited away, as Aqua gazed upon the very person she was hoping to see. She felt her eyes burn anew, but this time in absolute joy. "Thank the worlds." She breathed before sprinting forward as fast as she could. "Terra!" She called out to him, "Terra, it's me!"
Aqua slowed her excited pace so she could drop to her knees in front of the silent suit of armor. She knelt low, so she could look up into the visor that stared lifelessly at the sand below. "Terra," she whispered hopefully, "what, are you asleep in there?" She playfully tapped her knuckles against the helmet. "How long have you been in that thing anyway?"
Silence was the only answer to her questions.
"Terra?" Whatever feelings of mirth that remained in Aqua left her when the armor did not respond. "T-Terra?" She repeated his name, much weaker than before. Now she was scared. Was this not the armor of her oldest friend? She weaved around Terra's large keyblade, Earthshaker, and sat on her knees in front of him. "I'm giving you three seconds to answer me Terra, or I'm going to be very upset."
Her stern glare fell upon lifeless metal. Aqua reached up to the arm and placed her hands on either side of the helmet. Taking a deep breath, she willed her arms up to try and lift the metal shroud, but it didn't budge. Thinking it was simply age, she tried again... it would not allow the slightest shift of movement.
Frustrated and at her wit's end, Aqua began to shake the lifeless armor, screaming in a fit of emotion. "Gah, this isn't funny Terra!" Her brow scrunched in anger, and her temper flared. "I swear, if this is some kind of sick prank, I'll break every bone in your body!" Her cries echoed in the empty expanse of the graveyard before leaving her alone in the night.
Uninvited and unwelcome, more scolding tears slowly leaked from her eyes. Her shoulders slumped, and Aqua dropped her gaze to the ground for what felt like the hundredth time. She turned her body so the back of her head rested against the arm of the armor, and curled into a tight ball against his leg.
It was just as she feared. Maybe Terra was lost forever, and all because she hadn't come up with a way to free him from Xehanort. Maybe both his body and heart were forever lost, and the dark forces they encountered were nothing more than remnants of darkness using Xehanort's name as a point of union. Maybe her friend was lost to her forever.
"Terra," Aqua whimpered one last time, "please, please come home."
I have nothing... left to give.
Aqua's eyes widened at the harsh sound of grinding metal, and the words that rang clearly in her mind. Her ears heard the harsh noise that made her head ache, but her mind registered a message sent to her heart. But where did it come from?
I have nothing, but my hate for Xehanort.
The young woman gasped and looked to the armor. The motion was miniscule, but she was certain it was there. Rhythmically, the armor was moving as if breathing. When she noticed she was smiling, it grew to a broad grin. "Terra!" She threw her arms around the armor's neck, and allowed her heart to soar.
I have nothing.
Her fit of joy froze in its tracks.
She looked at the armor in horror.
"No," Aqua softly spoke, as she took the armor's helmet in her hands again. "No, Terra don't give up, don't give in to the darkness again!"
Aqua's relief was short lived.
Only hate, only an endless expanse of rage.
Aqua's reply to such words was swallowed up by her senses blaring warnings for her to tun around. Her vision was greeted by a small army of Shadows and Neo Shadows creeping closer to what remained of Terra. "No, why now!" She rolled under the armor's arm and called her keyblade to her.
The Heartless creeping ever closer hesitated upon seeing the weapon born to defeat creatures like them. Their apprehension did not last, for their hunger drove them ever closer to the empty suit of armor.
"What do you want!" Aqua blasted the horde of Heartless with a Blizzaga spell and glared at them spitefully.
Darkness will drag any heart filled with rage into itself.
A voice different from the armor's spoke to Aqua this time. She lifted her gaze to the Keeper, who stood motionless and watched how she would handle the intruders of the graveyard.
Soon, the Heartless will claim the armor and the soul bound to it. A soul filled with nothing but rage is as good as a heart filled with darkness.
"You mean," Aqua whipped her head around to look at the empty armor, "Terra... you're giving up?" She ignored the Heartless for the moment to place a gentle palm on the cold visor of the Lingering Will. She placed her forehead against its helmet, and gripped her keyblade tighter.
He has nothing left to give. His soul is hollow, and his light is all but gone.
"Then let me be your light Terra." Aqua rubbed her thumb against the visor, hoping she could reach whatever remnant of Terra that was left in the Lingering Will. "Let me be the one to give you something."
A new, burning fire of determination flashed in her eyes. Aqua stood up from the Lingering Will and turned to the Heartless closing in on them. "If you want Terra," she readied her keyblade, "then you'll have to take him from me." Her soft voice exploded into a shout, "But I won't let him go like before!"
Powered by her will and emotions that filled her heart, Aqua unleashed wave=after-wave of powerful magic. Thundaga spells cracked down from the heavens like spiraling dragons of light. Firaga spells roared with the ferocity that matched the king of Pride Rock, and Blizzagas rendered their victims cold statues of frozen shadows.
"Gather!" Aqua cried out and formed a ball of gravity that drew in every Heartless within reach. Any attempt to surround her was foiled at this point, as hundreds of Heartless were gathered in one, helpless bunch.
Swords of light formed magically behind Aqua, as she swiftly dashed from one point to another. With every teleportation, she skewered the horde of helpless Heartless before detonating the swords with a beam of light from the sky. When she landed from her assault, she glared harshly at the Heartless rising from the shadows anew. "Come on, I can do this all day."
While the battle continued on, the Keeper of the Keys turned his shadowed gaze to the Lingering Sentiment. The kneeling suit of armor had moved only once during the encounter, and that was when Aqua got scratched by a Shadow that slipped by her barrage of spells. Now, instead of looking down, its visor was directed at her — watching her.
Aqua's pained cry when she got hit by a Neo Shadow caused the armor's hold on its keyblade to tighten.
the greatest weapon of the heart, body, and soul, is an emotion stronger than rage.
"Gah," Aqua recoiled from the hard hit of another Neo Shadow, "back off!" She summoned another firestorm and stumbled on her feet. Sadly, her prior bluff was just that: a bluff. Summoning spells strong enough to dispel so many Heartless at once was taxing, even for her. Soon, her energy would be spent, and she'd be forced into close-range combat — not her specialty.
She spun her keyblade and readied one of her last Thundaga spells, as a team of Heartless leaped into the air to attack her from above. However, they did not expect a tower of metal to cut them off entirely.
The Lingering Sentiment suddenly appeared between Aqua and the attacking Heartless. One, wide swing of the mighty Earthshaker hurled the Heartless into oblivion. The suit of armor dropped to the ground heavily, as the released hearts floated upwards peacefully.
Leave this place.
The Lingering Sentiment's "voice" echoed loudly. The Heartless shrank back in fear, and slowly stepped back into pools of darkness. Once more, the shadows were banished back into the Realm of Darkness.
Free from enemies, the suit of armor lowered its keyblade, and allowed the wind to beat its body like before. It was only now that Aqua saw just how much time has worn down the Lingering Sentiment.
The armor she remembered to be polished and gleaming with Terra's strength, was now dull and covered in a thick coat of dirt. Rust spotted parts of the golden plates of metal that covered the layer of bronze and black. Unsightly dents and tiny cracks showed the age of the armor that long kneeled in the sand, alone, simmering with an unquenchable rage.
"Terra." Aqua found herself embracing the Lingering Will from the back. She missed its cape, but it was a small detail compared to the soul that dwelled within. "I promise you Terra, I will get your heart and your body back."
Then I shall wait for you.
The Lingering Sentiment went to kneel on the ground once more, but Aqua wouldn't let it. In what could only be hinted at as shock, the armor turned its helmet to face her when she walked in front of it.
"You're Terra alright." Aqua gave the armor a soft smile, "You don't listen very well, do you?" She reached up and brushed her lips against the cold visor of the armor's helmet. When she stepped back, she held the armor's hand and began pulling it towards the fissure. "I told you, I'll be your light until we get you all put together."
The remnant of her old friend did not reply, but she smiled all the wider at the hand she firmly held. "Sora and the others are going to have a fit when they wake up tomorrow."
Not opposed to being dragged away from its newest place of rest, the Lingering Will allowed her words to echo in its soul. Its hand soon returned the grip of Aqua's, as the name she spoke finally registered within it.
I\/\/I I\/\/I I\/\/I
A/N: Part one is done! Wow, a few parts of this seemed really angsty. It almost made me tear up a little. Gotta love the heart wrenching tragedy that is AquaxTerra. Anyway, part two will be like an AU take on this scene. The roles are switched! Lingering Sentiments helps Sora and the gang search for Aqua in the Realm of Darkness!
Thank you for reading so far, please review!