Terra wasn't sure if he could call today's events a 'fateful encounter'. Sure, he hadn't been expecting it and his family seemed to think highly of his day, but he wasn't too sure yet. It wasn't like the heavens had torn apart and given him praise. He honestly didn't understand what the big deal was. A small tug at his sleeve pulled him away from that train of thought. A bright smile met his eyes, his younger brother climbing into his lap. "Terra, tell it again!"
"Tell what again?" He asked, completely lost.
His father laughed from across the table. "He wants to hear about your day again," He explained, humor lacing his voice as he struggled to keep a straight face.
Terra instantly smiled, brushing back his brother's hair and ruffling it enough to cause static.
"Again?" He teased, pinching at the others chubby cheeks. "Weren't the last four times bad enough Ventus?"
Ventus pouted, his short arms reaching up and patting down his frizzed hair. The yellow fluff refused to cooperate and instead, stuck out in all directions. Not that it was any different from its usual bedhead appearance, noted Terra with a grin. Ventus huffed. "Five times is better!" He insisted stubbornly, hands still holding his hair down in a vain attempt to make it go flat.
Terra sighed. "Alright, one more time—"
"I don't want to hear it anymore Ven!" snapped Vanitas, barely visible from under the table. He sat up and glared at his brother. "It's boring and stupid!"
"No it's not!"
"Yes, it is!"
"No it's not!" whined Ventus, pout growing more and more every second. "It's not boring or stupid! You're being mean Van!"
"Well you're being stupid Ventus," retorted Vanitas with a sneer. Eraqus gave him a stern look.
"I know, I know, I'm going, I'm going," he muttered quietly, walking off towards his room. Casting a short glance towards his younger and eldest brother, he scowled, pushing the cloth curtain that separated the rooms aside and exiting the room. Ventus looked about ready to cry.
"Don't cry Ventus…" Terra suppressed a groan. Vanitas had to be such a pain sometimes. "Do you really want to hear it again?"
Ventus immediately brightened. "You're gonna tell it again?" He chirped.
"Only once and if you're actually quiet this time—"
Terra smiled. Ventus was such a good kid.
"Alright, so I was walking back from the village with dad's sword—"
"Because he sent it to the blacksmith!"
"Anyways," Terra continued, eyeing the boy with a frown. "I was just about to cross the bridge-"
"The one with the cherry blossom tree on the other side!"
"Ventus, do you want to hear this story or not?"
"So," Terra began again, hoping it was the last interrupting as Ventus leaned against his chest, feet drumming on the floor and a hum emitting softly from his throat. He was a good kid; however much impatient. "I was about to cross the bridge when I thought I saw something in the river. I put dad's sword down—"He heard Ventus mutter something similar to 'it would rust if it got wet'—"and started heading for the water. I didn't notice that the ice on the rocks hadn't melted from winter yet though, and I fell head first into the water, hitting my head on the rocks."
Ventus gasped dramatically. "Then what happened?"
Terra grinned. "I don't know. I thought I was dead when I woke up. I was facing towards the sky, and all I could see were clouds. But then, I heard something next to me. I looked over and there was a girl in a strange kimono, standing over my things and what had been in the river."
Ventus yawned. "And then what happened?" He muttered drowsily.
"She stood up and I realized she had ears and a tail; that's when it hit me. She was a kitsune. A kitsune girl had seen me fall and saved my life. I was going to thank her but she heard me move and ran. She left behind a bracelet—this bracelet, on the table. That's it."
Ven's soft snores against his chest proved that the tale didn't have to be repeated again. Eraqus chuckled quietly. "He really does like your stories."
"I just wish he'd stop thinking my life is a fairy tale," Terra muttered, adjust his brothers weight so he could carry him to bed. "He's almost seven now, you'd think he'd learn."
"I think it's alright for him to believe—"
"He has to grow up sometime—"
"He believes in you Terra, not a fairy tale." Eraqus only smiled. "Either way, I was meaning to ask whether or not you were planning on returning this to your fair maiden?"
His sons face heated up instantly, and Eraqus watched in amusement as Terra sputtered out incoherent sounds. "What-No-I"
"It's alright," Eraqus said cheerily, turning back to the dirty plates on the table. "I completely understand. You might want to return it though; I hear Kitsune's can be very mischievous when they think something precious to them has been stolen."
Terra huffed, saying nothing as he went to put Ventus into bed. Vanitas peered up from his spot on the bed, scoffing as Ventus was carefully laid down next to him. "Idiot," he muttered, turning onto his side.
Terra frowned. "Can't you at least try to be nicer to him? I know you aren't exactly best friends but you are brothers—"
"Correction, we are living under the same roof."
"How can you be so bitter at 13?"
"Aren't most teenagers emotional and uncooperative?"
"I give up," Terra groaned, turning to leave.
"…How is Sora feeling?"
"Better, but he still needs to sleep."
"Same." Terra frowned. "Is that all?"
"Don't forget that kitsune's bracelet. I'd hate to have a generations worth of curses because you stole it from her."
Terra scowled angrily, storming away.
Terra went back to the bridge at night, when his family was asleep and no one would be awake to tease him endlessly about taking them seriously. Really, since when were kitsune's actually real? No one believed those fairy tales anymore; well, no one except maybe Ventus and Sora. But Ven believed just about everything and Sora was well…four.
Still, whether or not it was a kitsune, it had still been a girl (he was sure of it) and out of curiosity and chivalry, chivalry triumphed enough for him to return to the bridge.
"Hello?" He cleared his throat, gripping his father's sword nervously. Perhaps, coming at night was not his brightest idea after all. "Is anyone out there?"
Crickets responded eagerly to his call, as if mocking him. Frowning, he fished around for the bracelet, holding it out like a torch once he had it in his grasp. "I came back to give this to you. You left it behind."
No one responded. He sighed. It was hopeless; she was probably fast asleep at home anyways. "Well…If you want it, I guess I can leave it on the tree."
Terra cried out loudly, jumping forward a good three feet and skittering back a bit before realizing that it was the girl. Ignoring his pounding heart, his eyes scanned her from head to toe—quite literally. She was barefoot, her movements like a dance in her flowing kimono and her cerulean eyes curiously studying him. At the top of her head were two large ears and a fluffy tail whipped in and out of view. She leaned in, staring at the object in his hand. "What's that?"
"What—oh this?" He held up the bracelet. "You mean…this isn't yours?"
She shook her head, ears flicking back. "No, I don't recognize it as mine. I thought it was yours; you were clinging to it when I pulled you out of the river. I thought that it was something important to you."
Terra drooped visibly. "No, no, it wasn't mine. It must've been what I saw in the river."
"Oh," She shifted awkwardly. "Was…that the only reason you came by?"
"Well, yes, honestly," he muttered sheepishly. "I also wanted to thank you—"
"It's alright," she murmured, turning tail and heading for the river.
She hesitated, as if arguing on whether to listen or not. Slowly, she turned back to him. "Yes?"
He tossed the bracelet towards her, watching as she instinctively caught it. "Here, as a thank you gift."
She flushed. "It's not necessary—"
"I want you to have it."
She averted her eyes. "…T-Thank you."
"I'm Terra. What's your name?"
"Will I see you again?"
She bit her lip, playing with the thought. Kitsune's weren't supposed to save humans; let alone befriend them. But…he was awfully nice and didn't seem to be afraid of her. She shook her head furiously when she came to her conclusion. Yen Sid was going to be so upset.
"Tomorrow, in the afternoon, under this tree. I'll wait for you there." She called back, rushing down the slope and under the bridge towards the invisible door that would lead her home. Xion, Kairi, and Naminé would be waiting home worried. The times of the human and kitsune world didn't match up after all; they would be concerned with her sudden disappearance in midday. Not to mention Yen Sid's rage upon discovering what she'd done.
Aqua groaned quietly, stepping through the gate as quietly as she could. What on earth was she doing?
Terra arrived back home at almost daybreak, carefully setting the sword down where it belonged. Tiptoeing past his father's room, he smiled, swelling with pride at not being caught.
"Good morning Terra," Eraqus called from the dining room. "Since you were so kind to stay awake all night, I trust you have enough energy to wake everyone else up and begin the chores?"
Maybe that kitsune had given him bad luck after all.