Set in an alternate universe.

Important Note.
Regarding the two pairings in this story, I would have to beg just one little thing of you.
Please keep an open mind.
If you like one but hate the other, I'd be grateful if you bite back the hatred and just focus on the one you do like.
I tried to keep everything neutral and even, even though I don't think I pulled that off too well.

Also, the story is a lengthy, open-ended one shot.
Right now, I have no plans of making it any longer.

Anyway, someone once mentioned that I've never written a Terra versus Vanitas story.
Since then, I've written quite a few without posting them. And lately, not having internet access is giving me so much time to do more offline things, so I end up writing a lot. Of the Terra-versus-Vanitas stories I've written so far, this is my favorite, so I'm sharing it with you.
It's not as refined as I'd like my posted works to be, but I hope you still enjoy reading it.

There are three musical pieces significant to this story, and they appear in this order, although only two are mentioned by title:
River Flows in You (Yiruma)
Johann Pachelbel's Canon (Piano Arrangement by George Winston)
Crawling - Piano Version (Linkin Park)

Piano music is played a lot in my house - from my brother, my dad, the neighbors - so I couldn't help but add that in here.

So, I hope you enjoy!

DISCLAIMER [I do not own Kingdom Hearts] DISCLAIMER


FIRST IMPRESSIONS

It's never a bad idea to make a good first impression.


"Don't take your first impression of him too seriously. He's kinder than he looks."

Aqua nodded with a smile, looking over her shoulder for a second to see him leaning against the kitchen counter, arms crossed, brows furrowed.

"People say he's intimidating at first but you'll like him once you get to know him. He's kind of old-fashioned but that's not a bad thing, right?"

"Of course," Aqua answered patiently turning back to the chopping board and knife in front of her.

"He's looking forward to meeting you, you know. I'm sure he's glad that you're joining us for dinner tonight."

"Terra…" She laughed a little, looking up from the vegetables she was slicing once more. "Why are you so nervous?"

"Nervous? Me?" He snorted uneasily. "I'm not nervous, no. Why would I be? I'm not nervous."

"Well, alright, if you say so." Aqua said. "I just want you to know that I'm sure your father's a wonderful person. And I'm very excited to meet him."

"You are?"

"Yes," she reassured him. "Now just calm down and could you hand me those oven mitts?"

Terra grabbed the mitts off their hook and slipped them on. "Here, I'll do it," he said, walking up to oven and opening it. "You sure this isn't burnt, Aqua?" he asked as he saw the faint brown tints on the top of the pie.

Her smile was ever-patient. "It's meringue, Terra; it's supposed to look like that."

"Oh." He pulled the pie out and carefully set it on a wire rack on top of the kitchen counter. "Well, it… looks great, I guess."

Aqua laughed again, throwing a glance at her lemon meringue pie. "It does look great, trust me. It should look like that."

His expression was one of doubt, but she was the chef and he was just someone who grabbed things off the top shelves if she couldn't reach them.

"Okay…" he said.

"You'll see," she said confidently. "You'll love how it tastes, I promise."

"I believe you," he conceded as he crossed his arms over his chest, smiling, and stood beside her. She was cutting up a carrot, and he was amazed at the precision with which she did it. Her movements were quick, but the resulting slices were even.

"What time did you say he was going to be home?"

Terra looked up at the clock on the wall. "In fifteen or twenty minutes."

"Good; we're right on time," she said as she gathered up all the vegetables she had sliced and placed them neatly into the steamer.

He took the chopping board and knife to the sink to wash them up while she watched the vegetables cook and he said, "You're amazing, Aqua. You know that?"

He saw her bow her head slightly, a little embarrassed by his compliment. "Oh, please, Terra."

"No, really. I can't do half of what you just did."

"Cooking is easy," she replied.

"Yeah, it looks easy when you do it," he said. "You make everything look easy."

She didn't answer and he smirked, sure that she was blushing even though she had her back to him. He looked sideways at the dishes she had already set onto serving plates for dinner and he felt his stomach grumble in eager anticipation.

Besides the lemon meringue pie for dessert – which she had assured him would be delicious regardless of how it looked, though he doubted it – Aqua had cooked spinach ravioli and breaded mozzarella for appetizers, and there was roast lamb with baked potatoes and the buttered vegetables she was finishing up for the main course. She had even mixed up some fresh fruit juices, resulting in the most delicious fruity drink he had ever tasted.

When she suggested that they make a homemade dinner instead of eating at some restaurant when she was to meet his father, Terra had not expected this kind of menu at all. She always surprised him. Pleasantly, of course. It was like there was nothing she couldn't do, and everything she did was nothing short of perfection. In fact, everything about her was perfect. It was no wonder that dozens of guys swore they were in love with her. Terra included. But Aqua didn't know that. Not yet, at least.

Terra has liked her for almost a year; he just hasn't had the confidence to admit it. Fortunately, it turned out that it was wise of him to take his time. Aqua had a nasty habit of shooting down suitors, especially the ones that came out of nowhere. She liked to think things through and the guys who were so confident that they jumped right into the ocean without testing the waters first ended up finding out that Aqua could be quite cold.

Terra liked to say he'd been smarter than that. Getting to Aqua took time and effort; she needed to get to know him just as he wanted to get to know her. He was hoping that his patience and perseverance would pay off soon, though.

"You know you didn't need to do any of this, right?" he asked her. It was, admittedly, very odd for the guest to be the one to cook the dinner. But Aqua had insisted.

She opened up the steamer and speared the vegetables carefully with a fork to see if they were done. "I know," she answered. "But I wanted to."

"Why?" he queried as he finished with washing the dishes and dried his hands on the kitchen towel.

She hesitated, taking her time with testing the vegetables before answering, "It's never a bad idea to try and make a good first impression, don't you think?"

He was a little surprised. "You're trying to make a good impression on my father? Why?"

Again, she took her time as she turned off the steamer and started scooping the vegetables out to place them into a serving plate. He felt a touch of impatience, but only because his thoughts were getting the better of him. What other reason could there be for her to want to make a good impression on the father if not because her feelings for the son were more than what friendship called for? It was a vain hope, but it was a hope nonetheless, and Terra could not push it away.

"Aqua?" he urged, tense in his impatience.

She sighed. "Terra… I've never had a friend quite like you," she said softly, lifting the dish of steamed vegetables and bringing them up to where the other finished dishes were. "You mean a lot to me. You know that, right?"

He could hardly nod as he held his breath, watching without blinking as she walked to the fridge and took out some butter. His heart was ramming hard against his ribcage, his hands clenched into fists in an attempt to stop them from trembling.

She set the butter down beside the vegetables, took out a spoon from the drawer, and paused. "I just... I want to get along with your family," she said. "I don't want to do anything that might become a reason for you to not want to be friends with me anymore. You're my best friend, Terra. I don't want anyone or anything to change that. You understand?"

"Oh." His heart sunk. "Yeah, I get it."

She noticed the off note in his voice and she was frowning a little as she asked, "Is something wrong?"

"No," he said.

She tilted her head slightly to one side, and her expression softened as a shimmer of curiosity shone in her eyes. He thought she looked so adorable that he had to look away. "What is it, Terra? Tell me."

"It's nothing, Aqua," he said, awkwardly scratching at the back of his head. "Has anyone ever told you that you put too much work into everything, even the things that don't really need all the extra effort?"

Her face scrunched up a bit and she blushed. "I do not," she said, spooning a helping of butter onto the still-warm vegetables before stirring it all up.

"Yeah, you do," he said. She looked even more flustered and he couldn't help but laugh at her, stopping just when they heard the sound of the front door opening. Aqua hastily washed her hands in the sink and took off her apron before she headed out of the kitchen and into the foyer with Terra.

Seeing his father, Eraqus, for the first time, she understood instantly why Terra had warned her that he would be intimidating. He was well-built, as if he had been very athletic in his younger years and continued to keep a healthy lifestyle later in life. He had hard facial features and stern brown eyes. The graying of his black hair that indicated his age was well-compensated for by his proud, strong stance.

"Hey, dad," Terra greeted. Then he went straight to the point. "There's someone I'd like you to meet."

Aqua instinctively stretched out her hand. "It's nice to meet you, sir," she said with a polite smile. "My name is Aqua."

Eraqus shook her hand and smiled as well, and Aqua immediately felt that whatever she had thought intimidating about him at first were all just in her imagination. "Ah, so you're Aqua. It's very nice to finally meet you, too."

"So, dad," Terra said. "We decided to just eat here tonight instead of going out."

"We made you dinner; I hope that's alright," Aqua added.

"Actually, she made you dinner," Terra corrected. "She did all the work; I didn't do anything."

Aqua lightly slapped the back of his hand with hers, clearly a reprimand, and he chuckled. Eraqus smiled at them both with amusement. "Well thank you, Aqua," he said. "Let me just go upstairs for a minute, then I'll join you two at the table, alright?"

Terra and Aqua nodded and as soon as Eraqus left them alone, she glared at Terra.

"What?" he asked her. "I'm not going to take credit for something I didn't do."

She sighed with exasperation. "Oh, please. You worked hard on this dinner, too," she insisted. "It wasn't just me."

"Yes, it was," he said. "Just let it go; we still have to set the table." He didn't give her a chance to argue as he walked off. And so, rolling her eyes and sighing at his smug smile, Aqua had no choice but to follow him into the kitchen.


The dinner went well.

Terra and his father enjoyed the meal immensely – showering Aqua with compliments – and not a single morsel went to waste. The conversation was light and easy and time flew by fast. Eraqus was calm and reserved, and Aqua, ever courteous and amicable, was quite comfortable in his presence. Terra could not be any more pleased with how things were working out.

"Everything was delicious, Aqua," Eraqus said as he finished with his roast lamb.

"Thank you," Aqua answered, blushing shyly.

"You cook often?"

"Yes, every night for my family."

"Siblings?"

"I have two younger brothers, Roxas and Ventus." Her eyes were alight as she spoke of them. "They probably ordered pizza tonight, though; it's all they eat when I'm not around."

Eraqus laughed. "I can imagine that they're quite helpless without you. How old are they?"

"Fifteen; they're twins."

"I see. I'm sure they make your household an interesting one."

"Yes, they do," Aqua agreed with an easy smile.

She scooped up some of her baked potato with her fork and was about to put it in her mouth when she heard a familiar, pleasing sound. She listened for a moment, wondering if what she was hearing was coming from the neighbors or was just a recording. But after a while, she was certain. Someone was playing the piano, and it sounded too close to be anywhere but within the house.

"Aqua?" Terra asked, noticing that she was distracted. "You okay?"

"Where is that music coming from?" she asked curiously.

At first, Terra seemed not to know what she was talking about, which she found strange because the music was surely loud enough for him to hear. It was Eraqus who answered her question. "Ah, that must be my nephew, Vanitas."

Terra's face quickly drained of color. "He's still here?" he asked his father.

"I'm sorry; I forgot to tell you that your uncle wasn't able to pick him up today," Eraqus said with a slight scowl.

Aqua was frowning at Terra. "Your cousin is here? We were here all afternoon and we didn't even ask him if he wanted company, or if he would like to have dinner with us."

Terra, too, was frowning. "We wouldn't be doing him any favors if we did ask. He would have said no."

"But still."

"No, Aqua, Terra is right. Vanitas prefers to be left alone," Eraqus said.

Aqua said no more but she still seemed upset with her oversight in the matter. Terra sighed. "Just forget about him Aqua. He's happy all by himself."

She was quiet for a while longer, absentmindedly eating her food and listening thoughtfully to the sounds of the piano, and Eraqus asked, "You have an interest in music, Aqua?"

"Oh, yes," she replied, snapping out of her reverie.

"Do you play an instrument?"

Her expression was very shy. "Unfortunately, no… I don't have that particular talent."

"Well, what's one thing compared to all the other talents you have?" Terra said.

Aqua laughed. "It's not that I'm really complaining. I enjoy listening to music; it doesn't matter who's playing."

It was easy from there for Terra to keep her attention on the dinner and away from his cousin. The conversation continued for several minutes after they finished the main course. Since they ate every last piece and were quite full, they were allowing the food they had eaten to settle first before even thinking of dessert.

It seemed to Aqua that Eraqus had much to ask about her. She found it a bit odd, but she wasn't bothered and she answered his questions honestly and happily.

That was until he said, "There is this one thing I would like to straighten out. You two still aren't dating?"

She stiffened in her seat, blushing furiously at the awkward question. Terra, who was unfortunately pouring juice into her glass for her right at that moment, jerked forward in shock and the orange liquid splashed onto the front of her shirt. Aqua stood up, hastily pressing a napkin against her abdomen as Terra apologized profusely, stammering in his discomfort.

"It's okay, don't worry about it," she told him, trying to keep her voice steady despite the same discomfort she was feeling.

"I'm sorry, Aqua! I'm so sorry! I'll lend you a shirt and – "

"No, no, it's fine," she said. "I'll just, uhm, wash up in the bathroom."

"Okay," he said, getting up from his seat. "Uh, you have to use the one upstairs. I'll show you where it is."

"No, stay," she said. "I'm sure I can find it."

"You sure?"

"Yes."

"Okay, it's the second door on the right," he said.

She nodded and excused herself, hurrying upstairs while trying not to look like she was desperate to get away from the table. Even though she was. Very.

Her heart was beating erratically as she locked herself in the bathroom, placed her hands against the sink, and looked at her reflection in the mirror. She looked absolutely distraught. She wet her face with cold water before focusing on cleaning up her shirt.

As she rubbed at the stain with a damp hand towel, she tried to rationalize the question that had sent both her and Terra into such a flurry of awkward tension.

It shouldn't have affected her that way.

It could have been generic. His father could have been asking if they weren't dating anyone, in general, instead of if they weren't dating each other, specifically.

But then what did he mean by asking if they still weren't dating? Has this subject been brought up before between him and Terra? Has Terra ever thought of and mentioned wanting to date her?

She sat down on the edge of the tub and sighed. It was not that the idea of dating Terra was unpleasant or even new. Admittedly, it has crossed her mind before. But it wasn't a plan, or a serious consideration. It was a what if, a hypothetical thought, and nothing more. At least, not on her end. But what if, for Terra, it was actually a plan? Why else would his father ask something like that?

Aqua breathed deeply. Terra has never shown any obvious interest. Sure, they spent a lot of time together, but they were best friends. Spending time together was normal, even if the amount of time was quite a lot. Was it possible that Terra had other plans regarding the depth of their relationship? Was he willing to risk damaging their friendship just to see if they could be more?

Aqua rubbed her fingertips against her temple. It was no use worrying over the matter. And she really shouldn't keep Terra and his father waiting. Determined not to be fazed, she studied her reflection one more time in the mirror to make sure she looked composed before she stepped out of bathroom.

She had only just closed the door, though, when she heard the sound of the piano again. Instantly, all her tension faded. She hesitated for a moment, wondering if she could spare a minute to just listen for a while. But before she could even finalize her decision, she was already walking closer to the source of the sound; the room at the end of the hallway.

The door was open halfway and she was able to look inside. The piano was at one corner of the room and seated in front of it was a boy she assumed was around fifteen, like her brothers. He had his back to the door and seemed unaware that he had an audience as he continued to play.

Aqua stood, watching and listening, as he played every note flawlessly. His movements were precise and smooth as he touched each key, his poise exuded a kind of confidence and ease that Aqua never had when it came to playing a musical instrument. It almost made her jealous.

She was just getting lost in the music when he suddenly stopped playing and the abrupt silence was broken a second later by a cold voice: "I don't like being watched."

Aqua took a step back. "I… I'm sorry…"

He whirled around to face her, his brows slanted in a furious scowl. His expression softened quickly, though, when he saw her but there was still wariness in his eyes. "What are you doing there anyway? Why are you watching me?" he demanded.

"I'm sorry," she said again, blushing. "It's just that… you play so well. And that arrangement was beautiful."

He cocked his head to one side. "You know what I was playing?"

She smiled a little. "Sure. Everyone knows Canon."

"No," he replied. "Not everyone."

They stared at each other for a while – her standing at the doorway, and him sitting by his piano – before Aqua had to look away. His gaze, despite the distance between them, was heavy and smoldering. "Well, uhm… I…" she stammered. "Again, I'm sorry. I'll just get going now and – "

"Wait."

She had only taken one step away. "Hm?"

"Would you like to hear another?"

He was looking at her blankly, as if whatever her answer would be – yes, or no – was perfectly fine with him. But Aqua remembered that Terra and his father said he liked being alone and was better left to his own devices and the coldness with which they said it. And she also remembered her two brothers and their insatiable need for attention, and their quick denial of that need.

"I would love to," she answered.

He gestured for her to come into his room and sit beside him before he faced the piano keys again. Once she was seated, he asked, "Do you know the song Crawling?"

Aqua frowned doubtfully. "By Linkin Park?"

He nodded.

"Yes…" she answered.

He heard the hesitation in her voice and he laughed. "I'm sure you've never heard it like this," he said as he placed his hands over the keys.

"Uhm… Are you sure you want me here?" she asked before he could start. "I thought you didn't like being watched."

He smirked. "So close your eyes."

For some reason, Aqua felt her cheeks grow warm at those words and she slowly closed her eyes, her shy amusement shaping her lips. Once she could see nothing, he started to play.

She could hear once again the flawlessness of every note as each one came to life at his touch and danced around her. It was almost like he was speaking to her in the language of his own private world, melodious words with sounds that she could appreciate now but would only understand if she could know him better.

She knew some of the lyrics to the original song; she has heard it before. But they faded quickly from her mind, replaced by wordless emotions. She could feel a profound sense of sadness, a deep-rooted hope, a tentative happiness desperately seeking something, anything, that it could hold on to. She was tempted to open her eyes and see his face as he played this breathtaking piece, but she didn't want to risk interrupting him.

So she waited, until the music grew soft and the last note was played. Then she opened her eyes. He was no longer beside her, though. He was at the other end of the room, rummaging in his cabinets. When he came back to her, he had a neatly folded shirt in his hand.

"Oh, uhm… I really don't need – " she started, ready to refuse his offer. But when she looked up at him and his golden eyes met hers, she found herself looking into the face of someone who would never take no for an answer. "…Thank you."

She took the shirt from him and he wordlessly stepped out of the room and closed the door behind him, giving her some privacy so she could change. Bemused, Aqua shook her head. But she still slipped off her stained shirt and put his on. Then she opened the door to let him in.

They sat at the piano again.

"You play very beautifully," she said.

He didn't bother to thank her for the compliment. "Do you?" he asked.

She laughed at his incomplete question. It was like he wasn't asking if she played the piano and instead assumed that she did and was wondering if she played it beautifully. "No, I don't play the piano," she replied.

"Why?"

"I can't."

He raised an eyebrow. "You can't?"

"It just isn't something I can do," she said.

"Then learn," he said, his tone a little condescending. "You want to; it's obvious. Playing the piano isn't a skill people are born with. You have to be taught, you have to learn."

"But I – "

"I'll teach you, next time."

She blinked, and then she frowned, but not unkindly. She was more amused and intrigued than anything else by his quick words, his confidence and certainty. He spoke as if he could say no wrong. It was strangely charming. "Hey, aren't you even wondering who I am?" she asked.

"I know who you are, Aqua," he said, again sounding quite patronizing. "Terra talks about you all the time."

She was sure her cheeks had colored again. "He does?"

"Yes. He says you can be really annoying."

She opened her mouth to answer, but wasn't able to say anything because the sound of a throat loudly being cleared interrupted them. "Aqua? What are you doing with Vanitas?"

Aqua hastily stood up, shrinking under Terra's questioning stare. "I'm so sorry, Terra," she said. "I guess I got a little distracted."

Vanitas chuckled and Terra shot him a threatening glare. He looked back at Aqua. "We should get going if you have to be home by 8:00."

She nodded but before leaving, she turned to Vanitas and held out her hand for him to shake. "It was a pleasure meeting you, Vanitas."

"I know," he said coolly. He seemed to contemplate the moment, staring into her eyes for a while and then at her outstretched hand with a guarded expression. Slowly, he pressed his palm against hers and closed his fingers around her hand, simply holding her. She blushed again.

When he let go, she went with Terra out of the room, jumping slightly when Terra slammed the door shut behind them. She could tell he was angry, but she said nothing as they headed downstairs. He seemed to suddenly have a one-track mind as he led Aqua back to the dining room and they said a quick goodbye to his father.

Eraqus waved off Aqua's apologies and said that she was welcome to come over again any time. She had not forgotten the question he had asked, but she was glad that they could overlook it for the time being.

Then she stepped out of the house with Terra and walked up to his car. He opened the car door for her and she sat on the passenger seat. He then got into driver's seat himself, and they drove away. Only when there was a distance of several streets between them and his house did he speak.

"So what were you doing with Vanitas, Aqua?"

"What do you mean? I wasn't doing anything, I was just listening to him play." She frowned at his accusatory tone. "Terra, I'm sorry, but I really was just distracted. I didn't mean to take so long and make you wait."

He took a few deep breaths and Aqua bit her lip, feeling guilty. She had offended him. He was her best friend and she knew how easily he was offended, so why didn't it cross her mind while she was with Vanitas? And there was the obvious matter of her accepting a shirt from Vanitas when she had refused one from Terra; she was sure he wouldn't miss that detail.

"I'm sorry," she said again, her hands on her lap and her head bowed in contrition. "But I really did enjoy his company…"

Terra sighed, looking at her from the corner of his eyes. She really did look quite remorseful and he couldn't stay upset with her. Besides, he was – though he hated to admit it – just jealous. How could someone like Vanitas catch her interest in one night like that? How did he convince her to wear his shirt when Terra couldn't? She sat with him, talked to him, smiled at him, probably complimented him, and he has known her for less than half-an-hour. What did he say? What did he do to her to merit that kind of attention?

If Aqua was perceptive about these kinds of things – crushes, and flirting, and jealousy – then she would be able to see the truth behind Terra's rage. It was fortunate at that moment that she wasn't because if she found out that Terra's anger stemmed from jealousy, it would upset her enough to be angry with him in turn.

"Okay, Aqua," he said, his tone no longer sharp.

She sighed. "Have I offended your father?" she asked worriedly.

Terra had to laugh. "No, don't worry about him. Besides, he was the one asking… awkward questions…"

She laughed, too, but with a hint of uneasiness as the question surfaced in her mind again. "What did you tell him, by the way?"

He paused, but his voice was steady when he answered. "I said no and that we weren't ready for that kind of thing yet."

Aqua didn't bother to clarify whether he said that as, "Neither of us really wants to date anyone yet," or if he meant, "We haven't exactly discussed the possibility of dating each other." She wasn't ready to cross that bridge.

She looked out the side window so that Terra wouldn't see her blushing. It seemed to her like she had done little other than blush all night.

They were nearing her house when she said, "Terra, Vanitas said you find me annoying."

He tensed visibly as he drove up her street. "He said what? That isn't… That's not true! I never said anything like that! Why would you believe him?"

Aqua giggled. "It's okay. I think I know why you said it."

He pulled the car up to the front of her house and looked at her. "You do?"

"I think so," she answered, opening the car door and stepping out. Terra followed her, leaving his car running idly for a while.

He walked her up to her front door and she looked at him before going inside. "I had a great time with you tonight," she said.

"Me, too," he said sincerely.

"We should do this again, if your father wouldn't mind."

Terra laughed. "Why would he mind? He enjoyed the dinner more than me and you combined. I've never seen him eat so much before in my life." He smiled sincerely at her. "You make excellent first impressions."

Aqua blushed again, dipping her head. "Oh, uhm… Thank you." Terra couldn't know that she was wondering if she had made a good first impression on Vanitas, too.

They stood in silence for a moment, and then Aqua suddenly leaned forward on tiptoe and kissed his cheek. "Drive safe, Terra. See you on Monday."

He blinked, dumbstruck, as she turned her back to him, opened the door and stepped into her house. He was just pressing his hand against the spot she kissed when she suddenly said, "Oh, and… Next time we should definitely ask Vanitas to join us. Okay?"

She didn't wait for his answer as she disappeared into her house, closing the door. Terra frowned. Did she just try to be sneaky? Shaking his head, he turned around to walk back to his car. The further from her house that he got, the more deeply furrowed his brows became. He needed to have a few words with his cousin when he got home.


He found Vanitas at the dining table, a fork in his mouth and an empty dish in front of him. When he saw Terra, Vanitas pulled out the fork and smirked. "She is beautiful."

Terra felt his face grow hot, recognizing the tone his cousin was using. He did not like what it implied at all. He was trying to sort out what he wanted to say when he noticed just what dish Vanitas had emptied. He gritted his teeth, fists clenched and trembling. "Was that the pie in the kitchen?"

Vanitas blinked innocently. "This?" He poked the dish with his fork. "You mean that delectable lemon meringue pie sitting on the counter just begging to be stabbed with a fork? Yes, I think it was."

Terra dashed into the kitchen and roared, seeing that the pie Aqua had baked earlier that day was gone. He went back to the dining room and loomed over Vanitas. "You ate the whole pie?"

The answer he got was a shrug, and he slammed his fist on the table. "Why?" he demanded. "It wasn't yours!"

"Of course it wasn't mine," Vanitas replied coolly. "None of the food in this house is ever meant for me."

"Why did you eat it?" Terra asked, still angry.

"Because it looked so good." He smiled. "Was Aqua the one who made it? I'd have to tell her it tasted delicious."

Terra snarled, furious with the nonchalant tone Vanitas was using with him. And he was even angrier because he had been doubtful that the thing which looked burnt would taste any good, and he had told Aqua so. Now he would never be able to make it up to her by tasting it himself and telling her he loved it. Instead, Vanitas would be telling her. Vanitas had been able to recognize that it looked as it should – perfectly baked and delicious – and then he ate the whole damned pie!

"You're walking a dangerous line, Vanitas," Terra hissed, shaking in his rage.

"Why so angry, Terra? I had a very good night and I only had her for, what, ten or fifteen minutes? You had hours! That must have been heaven."

He would have punched Vanitas if the boy hadn't gotten up to bring the dish and his fork to the kitchen sink. Terra followed behind him, fuming. "Why are you even still here? Get the hell out of my house, Vanitas!"

"No can do," Vanitas replied. "My old man says I have to stay a while longer. Uncle Eraqus said it would be no problem at all." His smile was acid. "So, when is Aqua coming over again?"

Terra was unable to hold himself back, grabbing the collar of Vanitas' shirt and practically lifting him off the floor. Vanitas stayed smug and calm as Terra said, "You're not going to see her again, you little punk."

"Of course I am."

"No! Never! Over my dead body!"

Vanitas narrowed his eyes – alight with a knowing glint – at his cousin. "She told you she wanted to see me again. That's why you're angry. You're jealous. Of me. I wonder if Aqua will get a kick out of knowing that."

Terra shoved him away, roughly, and towered over him. "Shut. Up."

Chuckling, Vanitas started to walk out of the kitchen, and then he suddenly stopped, placing a hand on his chin as if the most intriguing thought just crossed his mind. His golden eyes flicked sharply towards Terra. "My Aqua," he said. "Mm… I like the sound of that."

No amount of will could have held Terra back then as he lunged at Vanitas. All he could hear was his own angered roar; all he could see was red.


END

Thank You

~Alacquiene~