Reviews are always welcome ha!
This wasn't how it was supposed to be—or at least, that's what Terra thought. Friends weren't supposed to fall for each other or betray one another. It was a god-given rule, right next to never associating with 'geeks, nerds, dorks, and freshmen' if you were a jock, especially if you were a popular upperclassmen jock. Everyone at school knew this; every high school student knew this. The only possible exemptions were occasionally family and the band, since they did all the pep rallies and marches, the living, breathing energy machines.
Terra had broken all three rules in one week.
Not only was he now friends with freshmen Ventus—since Sora was his younger brother—he had the audacity to look in Aqua BrightCrest's direction. He was a traitor in all aspects—he was a jock and she was a studious-straight-A-by-the-book girl. Not only that, but they'd even been friends prior, until he got onto the varsity soccer team and his popularity shunned her away. Caught up in his fame, he'd forgotten her during a time that she needed him, and he would never forgive himself for that, even if he had been an inconsiderate teenager.
Long haired, glass eyed, short, awkward Aqua had been pushed off into the corners of the library.
Shamefully, he'd completely forgotten about her existence—that is, until today, the beginning of junior year, when a short haired, lean girl passed him by towards class and caused him to do a double take. Zack had done the same and teasingly, called out to her. His girlfriend spinning to smack him on the arm, Zack was too caught up in Aerith's disapproving look to see Aqua turn with hell's fury and woman's scorn in her eyes. Rounding back onto Terra, she smacked him harshly across the chest with a thick science book. Stunned, he stood there like a lump, watching as she stormed past him yet again towards the science hall.
Blue hair and eyes, he noticed blankly, still in shock. Only one person he'd ever met had that hair and those eyes, and he hadn't seen or heard from her in over two years. If this was her, then judging by her reaction, she didn't recognize him. Still in shock, he heard himself mutter, "Who was that?"
"Huh? Oh, that girl that just passed by?" Zack peered over Aerith's head in his tight embrace. "That's Aqua Brightcrest—the mentor who started the after school tutoring. I'm surprised you haven't seen or heard of her. She's all the rage in the guy's locker room."
"T-That's the Aqua?"
Zack chuckled. "Yeah, Amazing what contacts, a haircut, and growth spurt can do, huh?"
"Yeah," Terra breathed out softly, watching her storm down the hall, the nape of her neck a little pink from a distance. "Amazing…"
Somehow, Terra found himself thinking the same thing when he walked into the hall after a game of basketball with the guys. Ventus was already waiting outside—the short teen only being allowed within the circle of seniors since he was the best forward on any team that the school had. The blond was waving wildly his way but Terra had eyes only for Aqua. Hair flat from the rain, she trembled a bit in her soaked clothes. She looked away, eyes towards the ground. The moment he approached though, somehow, he automatically knew two things. One, Aqua wasn't wet from the rain. Two, this had to do with Ventus, somehow. And judging by the awkward way that they were standing and Ventus's guilty look, he was probably right.
Ventus shuffled over awkwardly; somewhat similar to a puppy when it knew it had done something wrong. His hands gripped and played with the ends of his shirt. "Um…Terra, you don't have any extra clothes in your bag, do you?"
Terra immediately frowned. "What happened?"
Ventus cast a nervous look at the female upperclassman. Aqua shrugged, offering him a weak smile. "I kind of accidentally…sort of, might have…pushed her into the pool."
"I didn't mean to! I swear!" The blond flailed his arms, face heating up in embarrassment. Aqua appeared to be fighting off a smile at the sight of his drama. "Vanitas was being a jerk and I was trying to shove him but the jerk moved and I missed and I need the clothes for her cuz my clothes are too small for her—"
"I really don't need anything, I can just go home—"
"I have some extra clothes in my bag." Ocean blue eyes darted up to meet his. Arm extended, he offered up his gym bag. "That is, if you don't mind sweat pants and a hoodie."
She hesitated. "I…"
"Please Aqua?" Ventus took her hand and curled his fingers around the palm, resting his chin on top and giving her a pair of large wide puppy dog eyes. "It'd make me feel less awful."
Her expression relaxed in defeat, taking the bag with her free hand. "Fine," She muttered curtly, walking away with the bag in a painful manner.
Terra left feeling like he'd found gold in a cookie jar.
Over the course of the next few weeks, Terra built up confidence and walls of excuses to talk to her—usually involving Ventus. The blond would give him the oddest looks after the games or classes but dutifully followed along. Too kindhearted and easily moved to be turn down Ven's perfected puppy dog eyes, Aqua would trudge along with them on some crazy adventure. Everyday Terra or Ventus would drag them out for something to do or eat, and over time, the tension that had seemed to exist between the three diminished. They became a golden trio and while his wallet suffered terribly from their constant visits to the ice cream shop, Terra had to admit he'd probably never been happier.
Or so he thought at least. All good things had to meet their bumps and ends, he supposed.
Sitting sullenly next to a miserable Ven on a defeated ride home, Terra stared out the window silently. Covered in scrapes and dirt next to him, Ventus shifted uncomfortably as the bus slowed to a stop. Quietly, they made their way off the bus, gym bags strapped to their backs. Aqua was already waiting for them at the stop, but her bright smile began to falter as soon as she spotted their unhappy expressions. It faded away completely and was replaced by one of worry when she spotted their injuries and watched as their teammates brushed past them without a word or glance.
"We lost the game," She stated, watching them drag their tired bodies over.
Ventus nodded quietly, trudging past her and towards the school to locker room to change. Terra sighed, looking at the concrete momentarily before scowling and almost charging towards his car. Aqua immediately panicked, reaching out and grabbing him by the arm firmly. "Terra, what's wrong? Where are you going?"
"Home. We lost, that's all, nothing to worry about." He muttered dryly, attempting to brush her off but she held firm and stared him down.
"It doesn't sound like 'nothing' Terra."
"Just drop it Aqua, we lost, that's it, end of story—"
"We lost," Ventus began loudly from the entrance to the school. "Because we had to throw the game."
Aqua hesitated, her hold on Terra loosening. He immediately pulled away, refusing to look her way. "Why?" She asked slowly. "I don't understand."
Ventus scowled. "He got into a fight."
Aqua looked back at Terra in shock, tugging his sleeve softly in a weak attempt get his attention. "Terra? Is that true?"
Ignoring her completely, instead, he rounded on the younger teen. "Is that really how you see it then? It's my fault?" He hissed dangerously.
"You punched Seifer in the face—"
"I was defending you!" He snarled, storming over and towering over the blond menacingly.
Ventus cringed, his eyes beginning to water. Eyes averting, his voice quivered. "I didn't need any help," he whispered, biting his lip.
Aqua's eyes widened in fear. "Terra, please. Stop it, that's enough—"
"You were on the ground, what was I supposed to do, leave you there? Let him beat you black and blue?"
"Over his outstretched leg!"
"Stop!" Aqua forced herself between them, looking back from one to the other sternly. "Stop it!"
Terra huffed, rolling his eyes. "Whatever," He grumbled, storming past them.
"Terra, for heaven's sake, please…" Aqua pleaded in a whisper. Her eyes seemed to be red, gaze frightened and face flushed. He chalked it up to her being cold. "Calm down."
"If he's being ungrateful, it's not my fault."
Aqua choked. "Terra, you're being stupid—"
"No, it doesn't matter. I can take care of myself. I don't need him," Ventus murmured, eyes narrowed angrily towards the ground. "Let him go, I don't need any help. He's the one who does."
Terra laughed darkly, unlocking his car and throwing it open. "Say's the one who got beat up on the field," reminded the eldest angrily, slamming the car door behind him.
Aqua could only watch as her heart tore out behind the red tail lights that left two good friends behind wet and in the wintery cold.
He refused to talk to either of them. Not because he was still angry with them, or out of stubbornness, but out of shame. Ventus had been right; he'd overreacted over Ven's little 'trip' and Seifer's arrogant laugh. Even if he tried to punch Ven in the face when Terra confronted him over his conveniently outstretched limb while Ven made a shot for the goal. Either way, he was ashamed over his actions that day, and more so, he was ashamed that he was still ignoring them all the same.
He knew Ven had cried out on the field when Terra had to be held back by his teammates to prevent him from breaking Seifer's face. He was ashamed that whenever Aqua tried to talk to him, he'd brush her off. The last time she'd tried, he'd nearly shoved her into someone else by accident. The whole school knew they were fighting and while it was obvious that they all wanted to get along again, no one knew how to help.
"Dude, you're over thinking it, it's easy. Just tell them you know you were wrong and get it over with."
Terra frowned and shook his head, sending drops of water all over the floor. Grabbing his towel, he started to dry his hair. "No, that's too simple."
"Terra, they're just worried." The sandy haired musician pointed at him accusingly. "They could care less if you were being an ass so long as they know you're fine now. Ventus knows you were trying to protect him but he also knows that you won't always be there to save him. Aqua knows you mean well but that you can't always show it in a way that doesn't hurt others."
Terra snorted, pulling on his shirt. "You make it sound so easy Demyx," he grumbled, tossing his used gym clothes aside.
"And you make it sound so difficult," Demyx sang quietly, strumming his sitar.
"Why are you here?"
"This place has great acoustics!"
"It wouldn't happen to be because you're skipping class and no one would ever find you hear except Coach Farron?"
Demyx shrugged. "Best place to skip in my opinion; I'm terrible at sports—"
"You're just lazy—"
"And Light doesn't care if I come here as long as I don't break anything."
Terra starred at him incredulously, shaking his head in disappointment. Not noticing the locker room's door slamming open, he sighed. "Demyx…"
Terra looked back over his shoulder, exhausted. Reaching down to grab his backpack, he closed his eyes, bracing for a headache he knew was probably coming. "Yes Zack—"
"You have to leave. Now"
The teen hesitated, straightening up sharply and looking at his friend in alarm. "What? Why? What's going on?"
"I-It's your dad," Zack panted, face pale and nervous. "He's in the hospital. There was a fight and he was walking by in uniform, and while he waited for back up, he tried to stop—I just found out—I'm so sorry—"
Zack didn't even finish his first few sentences; Terra was already sprinting to his car.
It was too nice outside for his taste today. There were far too many smiles, no matter how tragic they might have been, but all the same they always faced his direction; it was too sunny. Consoling pats and soft words. Even Coach Farron had given him the week off the team to recuperate. He hated it. He didn't need their pity and he didn't want it. He just wanted to be left alone.
He knew this sort of day was bound to happen eventually. Eraqus (his father) had been a police officer, a well-known and respected one. It wasn't surprise that he would be hated among the criminal community or that he would have immediately jumped to someone's aid. Terra didn't need or want to hear apologies and condolences from anyone. He was sick of hearing it all. It was like he was balancing on the edge of a knife. Standing still would rip him apart and falling off would only hurt that much more.
He hadn't meant to hurt Naminé, emotionally or physically. She'd been so frightened, he thought guiltily as he stared into his open palms. He'd tried to be kind, to avoid hurting her feelings. He'd tried to softly ask her to leave, but of course Vanitas had to stick his head in like always. Of course Vanitas had to say the one thing that would set him off like a wildfire. He closed his eyes and sighed. He could still see it; Naminé's horrified eyes as he'd slammed Vanitas into the wall. Leon had been pissed nonetheless to walk into the scene; he already knew Vanitas had a reputation for causing fights, but it didn't really give Terra the excuse to pummel Leon's little brother. Now, with a throbbing cheek and bruised hand (not to mention ego), Terra sat patiently as Aerith wrapped up his hand.
"I don't know what to do Terra," Aerith murmured softly, carefully tucking the bandages snugly so he wouldn't lose circulation. "They won't suspend you, since Vanitas was the one who picked the fight, but you can't exactly be released to anyone either. You won't let us help you, so what can we do?"
She sighed, patting his injured cheek gently. He winced under her touch. "Why don't you ask for help next time? I know a few people who would be sad to see you change like this."
He remained silent, averting her too kind eyes. She smiled, placing her hand over his reassuringly before getting to her feet. "You have visitors."
Startled, he looked up; shocked to see the very last two people he'd expect who would want to see him right now. Expression falling, he chuckled miserably and looked down again. "Did you guys come to yell at me too?"
Aqua shifted uncomfortably at the door before Ventus broke the silence with a loud sniffle. Rushing over and throwing his arms over his much older friend, he burst into loud messy tears into Terra's shoulder. "You're such an idiot!' He sobbed hysterically, and almost laughing as he buried his face into the crook of Terra's neck. Terra felt his body sag in shock. "W-What?"
Aqua smiled, quietly making her way over and sitting beside him wordlessly. Leaning against his shoulder, she placed his hand between hers. "We heard what happened from Zack. He told us everything."
Sitting up slightly, she kissed his injured cheek gently. "You don't have to say anything, we just wanted to—"
"We're staying with you tonight!" Ventus declared loudly, his eyes red and brimming with tears but looking up enough for his trademark smile to shine through. "Until you're feeling better again! So no more running, okay?"
Aqua nodded with a smile, ruffling Ventus's hair as she laughed. "We love you Terra, so please. Stop hurting yourself."
"But what about—"
"Shut up Terra, that was over a long time ago." Ventus grumbled, digging his face into Terra's shoulder again, pink with embarrassment. Aqua agreed. "See? We'll always be together. No matter what."
His heart crumbled like powdered snow. Closing his eyes and leaning forward into Aqua's shoulder, he smiled. "S-Sorry…Thank you."
If he'd known that things could be so easily repaired—no, if he had realized how much their friendship was worth. It was worth more to him than anything else right now. And that was all that mattered.