Set in an alternate universe.
This story is written in the point of view of an original character as the son of Vanitas and Aqua.
You know, some months ago I would have sworn that I could never see this pairing having children.
Right now, I could still tell you that it would be the challenge of a lifetime to imagine Vanitas being a father.
But what I can imagine and what I believe is that Vanitas and Aqua could fall in love.
And I also firmly believe that two people in love could have a child.
I'm not saying everyone in love should and will have children. I'm just saying they could.
So, logically, if I can believe that Vanitas and Aqua could fall in love, I must believe that they could have children.
I was listening to this song when the basic idea of this story came to me:
I Love the Way You Lie (Part Two) by Rihanna
The name Caelum is Latin, meaning sky or heaven.
If you're wondering what he looks like, well...
I've drawn a nameless original character prior to writing this story and the artwork is in my DeviantART Gallery.
I've decided since he doesn't have any other purpose in life, he might as well be Caelum.
DISCLAIMER [I do not own Kingdom Hearts or that Quote below the Title] DISCLAIMER
WHO LOVES WHO MORE
Our love is crazy, we're nuts, but I refused counseling.
Children are the products of love between a mother and a father.
I first learned that when I was four years old. I can't remember where I learned it from, but the point is that it led to the most vivid, three-minute memory of my early childhood. I was so proud and excited to tell my mother what I had learned; that I came from the love she and my father shared. So I told her over dinner one night.
Remember, I was four.
My mother smiled brightly at me, lovingly touching her hand to my cheek. And I smiled, too, because it felt good to tell her something that made her happy.
And then my father snorted. My mother and I looked at him and he said, "What idiot told you that, Caelum? Maybe other children are the products of love, but not you. You're a product of lust."
I should have known that what my father said was very wrong and I should have kept quiet, but I was four. So I said, "Oh. Okay. Mommy, what's lust?"
Her face was furiously red and her hand trembled as if she might slap my father. And I think she might have, after dinner, when I had been put to bed and was well out of view and earshot. At the dinner table, though, she ignored my father and said to me, "Do not believe a word he says, Caelum. Love is the reason we have you, do you understand?"
Subtly, my father smirked, obviously pleased about something. Looking back on that memory now and linking it with the many memories I have of such moments between my parents, I know why he smirked. I'm sure it's because my father scored a point in a little game he and my mother subconsciously played; a game I secretly called Who Loves Who More.
My parents. They argued often. I grew up in a house of raised voices and fiery tempers. It has been that way, I'm sure, since before I can even remember. There's even real proof of it in the form of pictures and videos. We have very few home videos, actually, but I've watched them all. And there's at least one fight in each of them.
The earliest was of my first birthday. It's innocent enough at first, just scenes of what looked like a typical party. And then somewhere in the middle, at the time to open presents, my mother was holding the camera to record me smiling and bouncing in my high chair. I know it's her holding the camera because she was talking to me, encouraging my smiles.
And then my father walks into the frame and hands me his gift. They couldn't even get along long enough to buy a shared gift. By the way, what my mother gave me was a quilt she made herself – she likes handcrafting things – and I still have it in my room.
Anyway, my father set his present in front of me and helped me rip it open. At a year old, all I could really do was paw at it with my pathetically tiny fingers. It was a small stuffed toy of some sort. A blue creature with red eyes. Baby-Me immediately grabbed hold of its neck and started choking the living daylights out of it, laughing my head off. To make matters worse, I was looking directly at the camera – at my mother – while I was doing that. As if I was doing it for her entertainment.
She was suddenly angry and she rounded on my father.
"Why would you give him something like that?"
"What's wrong with it? He likes it."
"I don't care if he likes it! Take it back!"
"Why the hell should I?"
"He's strangling it!"
"I will not have you give my son anything that encourages violence!"
"Your son? Have you forgotten that when you took him to me you insisted that I should take responsibility for what's mine? I'll give him whatever the hell I want to give him!"
I didn't get to see them argue, it's just their voices in the background. The frame – slanted and shaking as if my mother was holding the camera at her side – showed me, still laughing like a lunatic, whacking the little table of my high chair with the stuffed toy.
And I didn't get to see how the fight was resolved. The video goes blank for a second and when the clip resumes, everyone is eating cake and my stuffed toy is nowhere to be seen. Unlike the quilt, I don't have it anymore. I don't remember ever having it, actually.
They argued a bit less as I grew older, but it was terrible when I was younger.
I have lost count of how many times my mother, while fighting back tears, would lift me into her arms, carry me to my room, tuck me into bed and sit by me, brushing my hair with her fingers until I fell asleep.
I know now that she did that because I reminded her that she loved my father. I know that she did that because whenever she held me or looked at me, she forgot the worst of him and saw all that was good about him in me.
My father told me once that she was just lying to herself and that all the good in me came from her. But I don't believe him. Didn't my mother tell me not to believe a word he says? Haha.
No, seriously. I don't believe him. There's some good in my father, too.
I have never seen him hit my mother, you know, despite all their arguments. I've seen him grab her wrist and hold tight when he was yelling at her, but I know it's because he couldn't bear it if she walked away. I've seen him back her up against the wall and punch the concrete til it gave way, and from that I can tell that he would destroy the universe before he would even think of laying a finger on her.
People ask me how I live with it. My friends say it must be difficult to have parents who fight all the time. Strangers eye my parents with disgust and me with pity. Older people wonder why it is that I turned out to be such a good boy when my parents were such a horrid, mismatched pair. Everyone assumed that I must be all pretend because they're so sure that I was deprived of love.
But they're wrong. My parents love me, even if other people don't see it.
My father would often come to my room very late at night, while my mother is asleep, just to see me. I learned quickly that I should just pretend to be asleep whenever he does that because if he sees me awake he gets angry and leaves.
And my mother, her love is more obvious. Every night and every morning, a kiss on the forehead and a whisper of "I love you, Caelum." And she would give me a warm embrace whenever I would let her, or a touch on my cheek whenever I wouldn't.
And that assumption that my parents hate each other? That's wrong, too.
You would have to live with my parents to understand. When it's dark and no one's watching, when it's quiet and nothing's happening, that's when their love shows up.
When my father falls asleep on the couch, my mother would kiss him softly and rest her head against his chest to listen to his heart. When my mother is busy with something, my father would run his fingers through her hair, or stand beside her just to share the air that she was breathing.
I hear his need when he says her name. I hear her concern when she says his.
And there were many nights when I was little – back when I didn't know what it meant or what was happening yet – when I would hear them in their bedroom.
She would whimper and laugh and tell him to leave her alone. And he would tease her and tell her to quit acting like she wanted him to stop. And then their voices would soften to whispers until I can't hear the words anymore. But I could still sense the emotions in them. And it always felt real.
I shut them out at night now – because I'm older and I know what the hell they're doing. But I don't force myself to forget the times when I did overhear. And because I remember, I would always fall asleep knowing that, even if it's just in secret, my parents were deeply, intensely in love. If you took him away from her, she would die. If you took her away from him, he would kill.
They could play their little game of Who Loves Who More as much as they want, acting as if the one who does love the other more is the loser and as if the one who hates the other more is the winner. But I can see the truth. Even if no one else can. Even if they won't believe it themselves.
I don't know how anyone who could love another person more than my father loves my mother. I don't see how anyone could hate another person less than my mother hates my father.
My parents. So in love that they don't know what to do with each other. So in love that it's all around them and they can't quite see it anymore. So in love that it was far too much for the two of them to contain.
I don't know why they're still such idiots. I realized it when I was four. What's taking them so long?
The excess of their love resulted in the only proof of it that they and everyone else should ever need. Me.