Note: HANABI is a song by Ayumi Hamasaki, which was the inspiration for this. In fact, the summary is a loose translation from the song.
~~~Disclaimer: I don't own the Square Enix characters, or the translation/song, which is by Ayumi Hamasaki. No, the lyrics aren't used here except for the rough translation.~~~
And without further ado, please enjoy this second one-shot.
"Terra..." She breathed.
She sat on the beige couch in her small apartment, the television on across from her, though she wasn't watching it. Rather, she was drinking a cup of tea while turning her head to the glass doors that led to her balcony. She heard the weatherman on the television state that there will most likely be rain later tonight, and she saw that the weatherman might be correct (he hasn't been correct in ages); the sky was gray and overcast.
She sighed and set the lukewarm tea onto the tabletop in front of her. She considered just curling up on the couch and sleep, but she knew her restless mind wouldn't allow that. Besides, it's too early to sleep; glancing at the clock, she saw that it was nearly eight o'clock.
Not that there was anything better to do than sleep anyways...
In any case, she got up, and walked to the glass doors, sliding them open to let the cool breeze come in. She covered her gray socks with blue shoes—which somewhat clashed with her long yellow skirt she wore for the day—and stepped outside. She closed the glass door, but was briefly held up because her red long-sleeved shirt got caught as she was closing the door; she tugged her sleeve loose, then went to the railing of the balcony, noticing the sun setting to her left.
Leaning against the railing, she stared at the streets below her. The people down on the streets seemed like they were rushing to get their daily activities done—laundry, shopping, or playing around (in the case of the children)—before the predicted rain would come falling down. She even saw a couple holding hands, though they didn't seem too concerned about the weather, as suggested by their smiling faces and laughter.
A heavy sigh could be heard from Aqua, and she looked up to the sky and closed her eyes, trying to hold the tears in so they wouldn't fall and perhaps alarm the peaceful lovers below her.
That should've been us down there...holding hands and laughing, and you maybe even stealing a kiss or two from me... I shouldn't be here up in this place alone.
And you shouldn't be down there alone in—
No, no, fight those tears, Aqua. They won't do you any good—and besides, you've already cried enough.
Well, that's what Ventus would say, anyways.
But he had already left for the day; there won't be helpful words from him tonight.
Everyone knew she was grieving, but it's been a while already, and everyone assumed that level-headed Aqua would have pulled herself together by now and moved on.
But it's hard to move on when the person who isn't there anymore is Terra.
Her wonderful, quiet, crazy, loving Terra...why do all of the good people have to die so young?
She remembered the times they would hold hands together; the times they would go shopping together (well, she would shop, and he would hold the purchased items—but at least he was a good sport about it); the times they would argue, though jokingly, of course (perhaps 90% of the time); the times when they would kiss and hold each other; the times they would tell each other "I love you" and be so happy together...
She hoped that one day, she would feel this kind of happiness again—she didn't want to be those people who said "I'll never do this-or-that again"—but she just wondered how long it would take for the pain to go away.
It's already been ten and a half months, and Ventus still had to make sure that she wouldn't do anything stupid.
And that small rational part of Aqua knew she shouldn't do anything dumb—because the words Aqua and stupid (or synonyms of such words) in the same sentence? That's absurd.
But those kinds of sentences have been popping up, recently.
And her job performance has been poor as of late; luckily, her boss Lulu has been kind and understanding, but Aqua knew she shouldn't be taking advantage of that.
And she really wasn't—she just didn't have the heart to cheer up and put her mind in her work so much.
"You promised you would be safe, idiot." She muttered to herself now, remembering Terra's assurances that fateful day.
"Trust me, Aqua, I've been riding this bike for years, and it hasn't failed me at all!"
"But that's you, Terra; what if other people weren't careful?"
Terra chuckled. "I'm glad that you are concerned, Aqua. But nothing really has ever happened, so why would something bad happen today?" He looked at her seriously then, and then strode away from the entrance of their apartment to Aqua, and gave her a hug.
"I promise nothing bad will happen to me, Aqua." He whispered into her ear. He stroked her hair, and then gave her a kiss on her forehead. He pulled her away to arm's length, and then stared at her worried face.
"Besides, out of all of the days, why are you worried today?"
Aqua frowned even more. "Because today is a rainy day. Didn't you listen to the weatherman?"
Terra gave a small "humph". "Since when was he ever right?" He saw that she was still worried.
"Aqua, as I have said before, I drove this motorcycle for the longest time, rain or shine. This might be the first time I've ridden a motorcycle in the rain while I was going out with you—despite the fact that I've been with you for a long time now—but I highly doubt my streak of not getting into any accidents will change. So please, don't be worried. Though you do look cute smiling or worried, so either way, I'm still looking at something beautiful."
Aqua blushed then, and half-scowled, half-smiled. "You never take me seriously, do you?"
Terra feigned being shocked. "My dear, I always take you seriously. Always." He kissed her one more time, and then started to head out.
"Take care, love."
Aqua smiled then, and waved at Terra who was looking back at her. "Ride safely, Terra."
But her wish wasn't good enough, because the next thing she remembers was the phone call from the hospital, stating that Terra was in critical condition, for he had been in an accident due to a speeding car not stopping at a red light, and hitting him at a fast speed. It was a faster speed than anticipated; that was because of the rain, and thus less traction between the tires of the car and the road.
She called Ventus along the way to the hospital, albeit hysterically.
Aqua arrived slightly earlier than Ventus; she finally saw him running out of the elevator onto the second floor where Aqua was waiting. And then he played the waiting game with her, waiting to see if Terra, her Terra, made it after all...
The lucky thing, the nurses told them, was that he was unconscious, so he most likely didn't have to suffer any pain.
The unlucky thing was that he died, but Aqua and Ventus got that without having the nurses tell them anything.
When they realized that Terra passed away, they didn't know what to do. Part of the trio had been broken...
All they remember was that they both held onto each other as they walked toward the deceased and bloody man. The room was muffled in both of their ears, so they didn't hear any of the commotion of the doctors and nurses.
And then suddenly, a wail that surprised everyone, including Aqua herself.
Which was funny, because she realized she was the one making that awful and terrible sound.
And then she collapsed.
She woke up in a nice bed, with Ventus by her side. She asked what happened; she learned about how the funeral was being planned as they spoke, and how she collapsed and was to be watched for a while.
She asked how long she was sleeping. He said only a few hours, though there really wasn't an explanation for why she suddenly collapsed like that, except perhaps shock.
And then, the next thing she remembered was the funeral, but that was a blur; she just remembered meeting Terra's friends and family, her exchanging condolences to them, and them exchanging sorrowful words back, for they knew how close Aqua and Terra were.
Axel, a very good friend to both her and Terra, even mentioned how Terra was going to ask Aqua to marry him...
And that set her off.
Oh, she waited after the funeral, of course.
But when she went home—to that humble apartment that she and Terra shared—she decided to end everything right there.
Her grief, her love, her life, everything...
Everyone says that Ventus was lucky that he came back to check up on Aqua, and he couldn't agree more. He always cringed at what would have happened if he didn't show up...
The "secret" knock on the door went throughout the apartment. No one came to the door.
"That's weird," muttered Ventus. "Aqua would always open the door whenever I knock to Mario's Theme..."
He turned the knob, and was greeted with a knob that wouldn't turn.
That's when he took out the spare key that Aqua had given him, and used it to gain access into the apartment.
As soon as he stepped into the apartment, he had an eerie feeling that something just wasn't right.
"Er, Aqua?" He said tentatively. "Hey, Aqua...are you there?"
When he uttered the last word, he fell silent. It was so silent in the apartment that anyone could hear a feather drop.
That's when he heard very quiet whimpers and breaths coming from the bathroom.
"Aqua?" He walked fast towards the bathroom at the end of the apartment, to find Aqua lying at the edge of the bathtub with her wrist in the tub filled with hot water...and the water turning red...
After that, she had to be watched twenty-four/seven, with nurses taking shifts (and Ventus volunteering sometimes so that Aqua would be able to see a familiar face).
Aqua got well enough to where the nurses didn't have to a constant watch on her. Ventus would still visit her, but it was only more for the need of talking to someone who knew Terra, and to make sure that Aqua was alright.
"How are you doing, Aqua?" Ventus turned his head to look at Aqua, who was currently on the couch.
She, in response, looked at the sky from the glass doors leading to the balcony.
"Fine, I suppose. I just wish..." She sighed.
"I know it's been a while now, but I still feel so sad, while the rest of you all seem like you've moved on."
Ventus rubbed the back of his head uncomfortably. "Well...it's...gah. Aqua, you still have the right to be sad; it's about Terra, and we all know how close you were to him. But at the same time..." He hesitated with this next statement, then realized there's no point in hesitating in the first place. "...He's not coming back. Being sad won't help anything; there's nothing we can do except go on in life. That's what I had to learn, anyways." He gave her a small, encouraging smile.
Aqua hugged her knees. "It's hard." She replied simply. "And I miss him so much."
Ventus looked at the grieving woman. "I know, Aqua. But you have to start living again someday."
And so she took Ventus' words to heart, and did try to start living again. She finally went outside to explore the whole city (for she only went outside to go to the convenience store, to dump her trash outside, or go to her job, though that happened later. In other words, familiar routes).
It was disastrous and cold.
"'It's a piece of cake to bake a pretty cake, if the way is—'"
Ventus hurriedly picked up his cell phone and answered it without looking at the caller ID. He really needed a new—and less—embarrassing ringtone. Yup, his classmates in the lounge were staring at him right now.
"This is Ventus speaking."
"Aqua?" He leaned back in this seat now—look, a distraction from studying!
"Hey. Why are you calling?"
"...Ven, I think I'm lost."
Ventus laughed, but then quickly stopped; Aqua wouldn't joke around like that, right?
"Lost? As in, you can't find your way back?"
"Ven, I have no idea where I am. I'm just surrounded by a bunch of buildings, and then an alley to my left."
Ventus was confused. Aqua couldn't be lost; she knew the city like...like...someone who knew the city very well!
"Aqua, are you sure?"
"It's starting to get cold and I would like to get back to my apartment, but instead I'm standing here in the snow, freezing—of course I'm serious!" She sounded very frantic and scared now.
Ventus shot up from his seat. "O-okay. Here, give me a route that you took, and we'll go from there..."
He found her fifty-seven minutes later, distraught and cold, but safe.
How she got lost was beyond Ventus; perhaps too much thinking and not enough paying attention? He noticed that she would blank out a lot, just pacing in her apartment but not seeing what was in front of her (making her bump into the table, knock over the lamp, and on one extreme occasion even made her walk into the glass doors of the balcony). She was a mess—and Aqua was never a mess.
Could a death really do that? Mess up the mind and behavior of someone such as Aqua? Intelligent, sweet, wonderful Aqua?
Ventus wasn't majoring in psychology, but he figured—from different stories he has heard, anyways—that something incredibly life altering (well, duh—her lover died) could change someone like that.
Time would have to heal eventually, right?
And Ventus was right; eventually, she did become better (well, she wasn't stumbling into objects or getting lost, so that was definitely a plus). Lulu, Aqua's boss, allowed Aqua to continue to work at her place still (Lulu excused Aqua, understanding Aqua's situation completely, considering something similar had happened to Lulu).
But no matter how much time went by, she would still be mourning for Terra.
Another sigh escaped her lips, and she finally looked down, knowing that she won the battle against her tears.
"God, it's almost been a year hasn't it, Terra? And yet, I still feel the same hurt every day. How long will it take to let go?
"But don't worry, darling...there's never a day I have to remember you. Because...I'll never forget you." She placed her hand over her heart, a signature move recognized by anyone who knows Aqua.
She smiled and felt some inner peace; perhaps it was a good idea after all to reflect everything that has happened.
That, and there was a somewhat attractive guy who tried to talk to her today during work...Zack, was it? Maybe he'll come by again tomorrow.
She turned around and opened the doors and closed them after entering her apartment.
It wasn't that early to go to bed, right? Maybe she'll finally get a good night's sleep.
Later that night, the weatherman finally stood corrected as it began to rain.
Look, a second one-shot!
Let's see whether I actually pulled this kind of genre off or not...if I didn't, I will either try to do better, or...nope, just try to do better next time! :) I don't know how well I did, but it's something, right? Er, would this fall under angst or tragedy?
Two things: The Lulu I mentioned here is from FFX, so you guys will get the reference when I mention how she understands Aqua's situation. Hint: Lulu and Chappa.
Second thing: Ven's ringtone is the chorus of "Crazy Cake" by Lazytown (or from the show Lazytown). I first heard it in a popular Kingdom Hearts parody (though I can't remember what it's called at the moment). Anyhoo, it's a cute and catchy song, and I though it would fit Ven (I was thinking of a Britney Spears song, but can anyone imagine Ven listening to it?).
I also made Aqua's occupation vague, because truthfully, I didn't know what kind of occupation she should have. A waitress would have been fine, but it didn't seem to fit in this story somehow. And then everything else? I just couldn't think. Maybe I should have made her a nurse? Ha ha.
If you guys read to the end, thank you! I'm not going to say this is the best piece of writing (trust me, it's not), but I'm honored that you took the time to read it; and for that, thank you. See you next time!