Somebody Like You

"I must confess that I feel like a monster and I hate what I've become. But since you came, I've let go of all my lonely yesterdays. Now I wanna love somebody like you." - Monster and Somebody Like You fused with some added words.

Another RepliVan fic. :3 This time, it's a collab between myself and Animesaki. XD She did most of it, so she gets practically all the credit. Thank you, Anime!

Anyway...I don't own Kingdom Hearts. :/ Which is a total bummer by the way.

Anywhoo, please Read and Review. :3 To show the cuteness that is RepliVan.

Viva la revolution! !


"V-Van-sama! I r-really like you!"

She was pretty, no doubt about that; probably a girl with too much time and money.

Her maroon hair fell past her shoulders with the edges delicately curled and her ocean blue eyes were hopefully optimistic. She wore a pink, Banda tank top and a dark blue designer miniskirt. A nice necklace rested against her bare collarbone made of fake diamonds that looked realistic while matching earrings dangled from her ears like miniature chandeliers and four bangle bracelets, two gold and silver, hung from both her wrists.

The person that the girl was talking to, Vanitas Kirayami, tilted his head slightly to the side with a small disarming smile. He was a good five foot ten which was a few inches taller than the ginger and slightly athletic. His black hair was spiky, practically on the verge of being untamed, while his eyes were an unnatural yellow. He wore Abercrombie and Fitch navy blue skinny jeans, a white Bear Run classic shirt with the sleeves rolled up neatly to his elbows, had circular pure gold earrings hanging from his earlobes, and carried a small black backpack over his left shoulder.

"Oh, really?" Vanitas asked the reddish-brown-haired girl as he leaned closer to her. "For how long now, Kairi Mizu?"

Vanitas leaned closer enough to Kairi that the girl could smell the Colden cologne he had on.

The intoxicating ginger, Italian bergamot, and white pepper with hints of amber and a cashmere musk.

Kairi shook her head to clear her thoughts and stared back at the twenty-two-year-old before her; she knew what he was trying to do.

"F-for a while now…."

"A year or so?" the black-haired youth asked, his hot cinnamon breath brushing against Kairi's face and making her shiver.

"L-longer….si-since high school…."

"Oh?" Vanitas raised an eyebrow as he smirked. "Junior year, I suppose?"

Kairi nodded, unable to say anything else as Vanitas lightly put a hand against the back of her neck.

"Five years is a long time to wait…" Vanitas whispered as he leaned even closer to Kairi until their lips were an inch from touching.

He hovered there for a second or two before he pulled back and began to laugh; it was a rough, husky sound that was both beautiful and deadly.

"You're hilarious! I can't believe you fell for that!"

"Wh-what?" Kairi asked as she took a step back, obviously confused by Vanitas's actions.

"You actually think I'd go out with someone like you?" Vanitas questioned as he gave the redhead a cruel smirk. "I've heard rumors about you. You always go for the pretty ones; jocks, student council presidents, and rich men such as me. Once you've had your ride, you dump them. You're nothing but a whore."

Kairi seemed hurt by the vicious remark and ran past Vanitas as she began to cry.

Vanitas made a disgusted noise and began to stroll toward the parking lot where a few vending machines sat at the far end.


Vanitas dropped in some coins and stared at his choices before pushing a button and a can of Pepsi dropped down. Holding the can under his arm, the college student reached into his pocket, pulling out a pack of cigarettes and a lighter.

Once he had lit the cigarette and taken a drag, releasing the smoke with a tired sigh, Vanitas stuffed the lighter and pack back into his pocket before opening his can of Pepsi, the fizzy drink sizzling.

"I've told you to stop smoking, Van," someone said as they stepped up behind the black-haired male. "How many more times do I have to tell you before you actually listen to me?"

Vanitas rolled his eyes as he took a drink of his pop.

"Hello to you, too, Terra."

A male a year older and an inch taller than Vanitas scowled slightly when he heard his friend's sarcastic tone.

Terra had brown hair that was spiked at the top with bangs that reached to his chin framing his face, deep ocean blue eyes, and wore straight blue jeans, a blue button-up jacket with a white dress shirt beneath it and a red tie in-between the shirt and jacket.

"Smoking's bad for you." Terra took the cigarette from Vanitas, throwing it on the ground, and stomping it out.

Vanitas seemed annoyed at the action, but took a long drink of his Pepsi as he decided not to bother lighting another cigarette.

"What do you care? You're not my mom."

"But I'm your friend. I've known you since high school."

"Actually, I never said for you to become my friend. It was your little blonde crush that forced me to be your friend."

"Hey!" Terra took a step closer to Vanitas, his stance turning threatening. "Don't talk bad about Ventus! At least he tried to be nice to you."

"I never asked anyone to be nice to me." Vanitas glanced away furiously. "I'm better off on my own."

Terra became aware of what the black-haired man meant and his posture relaxed.

"Look…Van, that was eight years ago…."

"I know…" Vanitas's bangs shadowed his eyes so that Terra couldn't see what sort of emotion was in them. "I just want to know why he didn't want me…"

"Van…" Terra was just about to put a hand on Vanitas's shoulder when a voice called, "Ter-raa! !"

Vanitas gave a low growl that sounded like a scoff as he lifted his head slightly.

"Look at that. Here comes your little secret boyfriend."

A male Vanitas's age with blonde hair spiked up to the right and sky-blue eyes ran up to the duo. He was three inches shorter than Terra and wore loose black jeans with chains hanging from the pockets, a gray T-shirt with a band name on the front in black letters, and had a red and black checkerboard wristband on his left wrist.

"Hey, Ventus." Terra said as he fondly ruffled Ventus's hair.

Ventus pouted as he puffed out his cheeks. "I told you to call me Ven."

"Ah, right. Sorry, Ven."

Ventus obviously forgave Terra and looked at Vanitas with a grin.

"Hey, Vanny!"

"Whatever." Vanitas muttered, glancing away as he put the can of Pepsi to his lips.

Ventus gave a frustrated look.

"You don't always have to be such a jerk, Van."

"Maybe I like being a jerk." Vanitas snapped, glaring at the blonde before he stomped away, throwing his can in the trash as he passed it.

"I think you should let him go." Terra said when he noticed that Ventus looked like he was about to go after Vanitas.

"Ugh, but he's so mean to me and you. It's so frustrating!"

"You could always put a spell on him that makes him nice."

"I'm not that good." Ventus glanced at the ground as he miserably kicked it. "Naminé and Larxene are better at it than I am."

"Oh, well." Terra sighed, staring in the direction Vanitas had gone. "You know, he hasn't always been this sardonic, Ven."

Ventus glanced at Terra curiously. "Really?"

"Yup. He was a good kid when he grew up. It was until he got into a fight with his dad eight years ago that he changed. His dad disowned him for reasons I don't know; Van lives on the outskirts of Radiant Garden now in his father's mansion."

"That still doesn't give him a reason to be mean…" Ventus grumbled as he crossed his arms over his chest and pouted.

Terra gave a sympathetic look as he patted Ventus's hair.

A dark figure watched the two from the shadows between two vending machines, arms crossed over its chest and faintly glowing green eyes narrowed.

You are right, younger brother, the form thought. I have given Vanitas too many chances to redeem himself….but it appears that I am going to have to be more forceful this time…

The emerald eyes melted into the darkness.


Vanitas took a shortcut home, deciding that he didn't want to deal with the long way. It was dark, with a few black clouds hanging in the sky and threatening to rain. The zephyr was nice though, cooling him off like a vernal wind as he walked down the dark alley.

Vanitas was heading home after staying late after class to work on a project and he was taking a shortcut back to his mansion in Hollow Bastion, which was on the outskirts of Radiant Garden.

Vanitas hummed to himself as he walked, hands in his pockets but no ear buds in his ears; Iridescent by Linkin Park was stuck in his head though he had only heard it a few days ago.

"When you were standing in the wake of devastation. When you were waiting on the edge of the unknown with the cataclysm raining down, insides crying 'save me now.' You were there and possibly alone."

"Do you feel cold and lost in desperation?" a voice questioned, saying the next lines of the song instead of singing them and Vanitas instantly froze as a shiver ran down his spine. "You build up hope, but failure's all you've known. Remember all the sadness and frustration…"

Vanitas glanced around, pulling his hands out of his pockets in preparation for a fight.

"Where are you?" he asked as he continued glancing around, searching for the source of the voice.

"I'm guessing that you probably know when your inside's hollow, then you want to be cold."

Vanitas gazed around, turning partway around when the voice appeared to echo in the small alley.

"You're faking; you're mistaken if you think that you could climb out of this hole."

"Where the hell are you, bastard? !"

"Right here," a cool voice answered and Vanitas looked forward to see a faint black figure standing a few feet away from him.

Vanitas scowled as he bared his teeth slightly. "What the hell do you want?"

"Vanitas Kirayami. 22. Lives in Hollow Bastion in your father's mansion because he disowned you for trying to kill your twin brother."

Vanitas's eyes widened in surprise before he narrowed them suspiciously as he tried to see past the hood the person wore to conceal their face.

"Who are you? How do you know that?"

"You do not need to know that. Vanitas, I have given you multiple chances to change your vile ways toward your friends and toward others, but my faith in your transformation appears to have been misplaced. You shall now suffer the consequences."

"You dare to threaten me?" Vanitas growled as he ran toward the strange person, raising his left fist to hit the person frustrating him.

The black-haired youth stumbled after swinging his arm in an arc when he completely missed the apparition. Immediately, he turned around just as the person appeared behind him.

"Do not even try. You cannot hit me," the figure glided toward Vanitas, feet barely appearing as if they touched the ground.

"You stay back! I'll call the police if you take a step closer!"

The form did not heed Vanitas's threat and instead paused a few inches away from the boy.

"You have six months to find someone who can love you," the person said as they touched Vanitas's forehead, creating a burning sensation when the gloved fingertips touched his skin. "Or remain like this for all eternity."

Vanitas took a few steps back, holding a hand to his forehead and shaking his head, closing his eyes as the intense feeling got worse.

"What was that?" he asked as he glared at the figure that had backed up a few feet away, quietly watching him. "What'd you do to me?"

"This is your punishment," the form murmured as it backed up until it vanished into the darkness behind it.

With a low growl, Vanitas closed his eyes again in an attempt to make the pain in his head go away.

What had that person done to him? They had only touched his forehead, so why was it that his head, and now his entire body, felt like it was on fire?

Frustrated, Vanitas turned and ran, knowing that Ventus would be able to stop whatever kind of spell was on him.


First, Vanitas decided to check Terra's house to see if the brunette knew if Ventus was home at all since the blonde was usually out working or something. With much more nimbleness than he expected from himself, Vanitas climbed the tree that grew right beside the balcony that led to Terra's room where he knocked on the closed glass sliding doors.

"Terra, open up."

After a few seconds, the curtains slid to the side and a disgruntled brunette opened the doors, glaring at Vanitas before his eyes widened and he picked up the metal bat that rested against the wall beside the door, purposefully placed there just in case of any intruders.

"Whoa, man." Vanitas growled when Terra raised the bat in attack mode. "It's just me. What's your deal? All I want to know is- -"

The black-haired boy stopped when he saw Ventus slowly poke his head around the corner of Terra's side.

"Whoa, you got Ven in there with you? What were you gonna do, jump him?"

"I was not!" Terra defended with a slight blush while Ventus looked confused. "I was just…"

The brunette stopped his argument as he gave a puzzled look.

"Van?"

"Yeah, what? Don't recognize me?"

"Uh…no. You're not exactly….you."

Vanitas scoffed. "What do you mean by that?"

"That's a pretty high-level spell." Ventus said as he disappeared inside the room. "Terra, can you get him a mirror? I'm gonna get my book to see if there's a reverse for that."

"Reverse for what?" Vanitas asked, frustrated that the two weren't telling him what they saw.

"You'd better come inside." Terra explained, setting the bat back in its resting place as he backed up. "And sit down."

Vanitas made an annoyed noise as he followed Terra inside his room, unconsciously ducking down and hunching his shoulders slightly as he passed through the door.


"That fucking bitch! I'll kill her!"

After Terra and Ventus had gotten Vanitas to sit down, the brunette handed him a mirror to show him why they had been surprised at his appearance.

He had somehow been transformed into some kind of humanoid cat creature with black fur and gold eyes. His cat ears were pierced with his gold earrings and he had grown a foot and a half in his new form.

While Vanitas irritably paced on all fours in the small room, Ventus was looking through his large black spell book for a reversal spell.

"Have you found one?" Vanitas asked, pausing briefly as he glanced at the blonde, tail lashing back and forth to show his anger.

"Uh…I can't seem to find it…"

"Do it faster!" Vanitas snapped, his ears flattening as he bared his teeth and his tail bristled.

Ventus yelped in fear, dropping his book, and hid behind Terra with a cry.

"Vanitas!" Terra growled, glaring at his friend. "You don't have to yell at him."

"I want him to reverse this thing! Now!"

Unconsciously, Vanitas's newfound claws sprang out, digging into the floor.

"If he says he can't find it, he can't find it." Terra said while Ventus yelped, "It's too high-level of a spell! I've never done anything like that!"

With a low snarl, Vanitas glanced off to the side as he grumbled, "I'm going home."

"Wait." Terra stood up and Vanitas gazed at him. "I'm coming with you."

With a scoff, Vanitas once again glanced away.

"I don't need your pity, Terra. I can handle this on my own."

Vanitas stalked toward the balcony on all fours, Ventus giving a sad little whine as he watched his friend go, but the black-haired beast was stopped when someone pulled on his tail. With a hiss, he glared at Terra.

"You don't always need to vituperate me, Van! I'm not going with you for your pity, I'm going with you 'cause I'm your friend!"

With a soft growl, Vanitas's bared teeth vanished and his flattened ears pricked up. He glanced away in annoyance.

"Do what you want."


Vanitas got to his house before Terra, who had driven there while Vanitas had run. Terra had always liked Vanitas's home; he said it was very stately even though it was over two hundred years old. It looked like it might have been a sublime mansion back in the day. Vanitas disliked it, probably because it belonged to his father or it just had too many memories from his childhood.

As Terra walked up the steps to the porch, he spotted his friend sitting on his haunches, holding a piece of paper.

"The bitch's taunting me!" he snarled under his breath as he threw the sheet of paper to the ground and opened the door to his mansion.

"What is it?" Terra asked, but it was too late as his friend had already gone inside. He picked up the discarded piece of paper and read it.

Hope you like your new roommates~

"New roommates?" Terra muttered to himself before he looked up when he heard a yell of, "What the hell are you doing in my house? !"

Vanitas had gone into his home and entered the nearby library when he had been sure he had heard voices only to see two strangers sitting in his chairs.

One had spiky red hair with green eyes and purple tattoos beneath his eyes. He was three years older than Vanitas and practically just as tall as he was in his new form.

The second male was a year older than the redhead with steel-blue hair that had a long layered bang to shield his right eye while his left eye was an aqua blue. He was quietly reading one of Vanitas's books while the redhead apparently pestered him.

"What the hell are you doing in my house? !" Vanitas furiously asked and the duo glanced up at him.

"What's the matter?" Terra asked as he came up beside his friend. "Who's in your house?"

"These two fools!" Vanitas pointed to the two men in his library and Terra looked at where he was pointing but couldn't see anyone.

"Who?"

"Them! Right there!"

"Don't bother," the steel-blue haired man said calmly. "Only you can see us."

"Yeah," the red-head laughed. "I'm Axel and this little Emo over here is Zexy!"

"I have told you several times my name is Zexion and I am not an Emo. I am antisocial."

"Same difference."

Zexion merely rolled his eyes and resumed reading.

"Who are you two?" Vanitas asked with a bare of his teeth.

"Messengers of Nymph." Axel explained. "She summoned us here to watch over you."

"I don't need watching over. All I need is her to reverse this damn spell."

"Oh, yeah. She sent us with a message too. Zexy?"

"Zexion," the 26-year-old sighed. "This spell cannot be reversed by normal means. As you were told, you have six months to find love or stay in that form for the rest of your life."

Vanitas bristled in fury before he abruptly vanished upstairs.

"Ah, Vanitas, wait!" Terra said before he sighed, looked into the library once more, then decided to go into the kitchen and make dinner.


As time went by, Vanitas was obviously getting used to his new form though he still despised the presence of Zexion and Axel who knew their boundaries with the cat beast. Vanitas also liked to sneak up on Terra when the brunette was making breakfast or dinner; Vanitas never ate lunch, always vanishing around that time and Terra wondered whether it was because he was checking up on his twin brother who didn't know about his twins' predicament.

Terra turned around with a tray in hand only to jump when he noticed Vanitas looming behind him.

"Dammit, Van. Stop doing that!"

Vanitas stared at the brunette blankly before he glanced into the nearby library room, watching Zexion read and Axel flip through the books before throwing them to the ground and picking another one all the while muttering, "Where're the damn pictures?"

Vanitas took the tray Terra held and turned around, ready to go upstairs to eat alone.

"It's been three months, Van." Terra reminded as his friend took a step forward. "You only have three more to find someone to love."

"I don't care about that," Vanitas sighed as his ears lowered. "This is what I get for being a jerk to everyone. I have no right to find someone who can manage to love what I've become."

"Van…"

Vanitas bared his teeth warningly as he glanced at Terra, silently telling the brunette to leave it alone. When he was sure the brunette backed down, Vanitas turned and continued toward the stairs.


As time went by, Terra gave up reminding his friend how much time he had left. Vanitas just wouldn't listen to him so he decided it was a waste of his time and just did his job as a friend, making his dinner and breakfast, and just being there for Vanitas. Ventus occasionally visited since Terra hadn't been to school for a while, just to see how Vanitas was doing and also to give the brunette his missed homework since he and Vanitas were supposedly out with some sort of disease that was obviously fake.

"Van, could you get that?" Terra asked when he heard the doorbell ring as he worked on making himself and Ventus, who was studying for his upcoming Trigonometry test at the kitchen table, some food. "I'm sorta busy."

"You get it." Vanitas's voice growled from the second floor.

Ventus, who had on his reading glasses, looked up. "Are you sure you don't want me to….?"

"No, Ven. He has to learn I'm not gonna do everything for him." Terra didn't stop in chopping the carrots and lettuce he was working on. "And that means you too."

Ventus seemed a bit disappointed, but resumed his studying.

After a few seconds, there were heavy footsteps coming down the stairs and Vanitas stood at the kitchen entrance with a low growl, wearing brown Capri's, a torn white T-shirt, and a back cape which had became Vanitas's favorite apparel during the past months.

"I told you to get the door."

Terra glanced at Vanitas. "I told you I was busy. I'm not your servant for everything, Van."

With a bristle, Vanitas bared his teeth before pulling the dark black cape he wore to shield his body around him tighter and pulled the hood over his face.

"I'll get it, this time." Vanitas growled as he stalked toward the door and gradually opened it partway until he could see outside with one eye.

"What?"

The male that stood outside was three years younger than Vanitas with shoulder-length silver hair that was tied back into a ponytail, light blue eyes, and had small, square black-framed glasses resting on the bridge of his nose. He wore dirty brown jeans and an equally messy white T-shirt.

With a growl, Vanitas narrowed his eye.

"What do you want?"

"Uhh, newspaper delivery," the boy said, holding out a newspaper.

Vanitas glanced at the paper before he looked back at the silver-haired boy.

"I don't get newspapers."

"Huh? But everyone in Radiant Garden gets a free newspaper."

"You're in Hollow Bastion. A bit far from where your route is."

The boy glanced around before he laughed. "Oh, man. I'm really far from where I'm supposed to go. Sorry mister."

The boy took a step back, heading toward a bike that was leaning against the edge of the porch.

"It's my fault."

With a low grunt, Vanitas shut the door.

"Aww, you didn't have to be so mean to him." Axel said from the nearby library as he looked at Vanitas, who was heading toward the stairway. "He was nice to you."

Vanitas gave a deep growl at the redhead as he stalked upstairs and disappeared into his room.

Axel seemed miffed at the response as he grumbled, "Well!"

"He's got two months left." Zexion noted, not looking up from the new book that had caught his interest. "He'd better find someone to love soon."

"I think he's given up." Axel sighed as he watched the newspaper boy ride away. "After all, who could possibly learn to love a beast?"


Vanitas walked downstairs a few days later to get his breakfast when he stopped as he passed by the window in the hallway. He gave a low snarl as he watched the silver-haired boy once again pace on his front porch again.

"He's out there again, Terra," he growled as he snatched his tray from the brunette.

"It's not my fault. Why don't you go scare him off?"

Vanitas growled at Terra as he once again stalked upstairs. "Why should I care what he does?"

Terra watched his friend go before he glanced at Ventus. "You think he cares?"

"He does." Ventus nodded as he looked up from his drawing of Vanitas in his cat form (he apparently wanted to draw him for his art class). "He really does care."

Terra smirked as he turned back to the stove. "So, what do you want to eat?"

"Pancakes!" Ventus perked up back to his usual kid self when he sensed the prospect of food. "Pancakes!"

With a low groan, Vanitas stopped once more after he had finished his breakfast a half hour later, staring at the silver-haired boy who was sitting on his porch, bouncing a tennis ball against the wall.

"What the hell is he waiting for?"

"I think he may be waiting for you." Axel said as abruptly appeared beside Vanitas, who gave the redhead an unimpressed look.

"Why me?" Vanitas dumped the plate in the sink, mildly noticing that Terra was gone as well as Ventus. "I told him I don't get newspapers."

Axel smiled as he strolled back to the library. "Well~ maybe it's too soon for you to realize it…"

Vanitas narrowed his eyes slightly as he watched the redhead go before he stared at the front door with a low growl that sounded like a sigh.

The boy looked up when the front door opened slightly.

"What are you doing here?" Vanitas asked as he watched the silver-haired teen with one eye.

"Oh, um…" the boy shrugged "I dunno. I guess you kinda interest me."

"Interest you?" Vanitas repeated with a growl.

"Yeah, this mansion is pretty cool, but I've never heard of anyone living outside of Radiant Garden."

"I don't like company."

"Don't you have any friends?" the silverette tilted his head to the side, looking like a lost child.

Vanitas paused at that before he growled, "No, I don't."

He shut the door and turned around to head upstairs.

"My name's Reiku by the way!" the boy yelled and Vanitas stopped with an annoyed look before he shook his head and continued upstairs.


Zexion stared out the window, watching the dark clouds that were rolling in.

"Looks like it might be some storm," he commented as he returned to his reading.

Axel, who was bouncing a ball against the ceiling just cause he knew it annoyed Vanitas, looked at the slate-haired male.

"Rain? Really? Why does it have to rain whenever I'm out?"

"Because the sky hates you."

"Ha-ha, very funny, Emo pygmy."

"That's Mr. Emo Pygmy to you."

Axel stared at Zexion before he started laughing while the slate-haired male blushed as he realized what he had said and glared at the redhead.

"You set me up."

"No, you set yourself up."

"Will you two keep it down?" Vanitas asked as he walked downstairs to make himself some lunch. "Why is Terra still gone? What could he be doing?"

"Hey- -hey mister!" Reiku said as he knocked furiously on the front door. "Let me inside! It's gonna rain!"

"Go home then." Vanitas growled as he rounded the corner to the kitchen.

"You don't understand! I'm scared of storms!"

Vanitas shook his head, unconcerned, as he began raiding the cupboards for whatever he could find.

"Cool, I still have ramen," he muttered to himself as he pulled out a package of chicken flavored ramen before looking for a saucepan. "Where did that bastard put the pots?"

"I'm serious!" Reiku cried as the banging became more persistent and Vanitas's ears lowered in annoyance. "I can't stand thunderstorms!"

(A/N: The rest is done by Animesaki with a little tweaking done by moi. ^_^)

Vanitas rolled his eyes at the childish cry. "So you have astraphobia, time to get over your fear, kid! Go home already!"

For a few moments it was quiet, nothing but the wind howling lowly and Vanitas looking around for a pot to use for his ramen. Finally, he found them in a cabinet near the sink and took one out. He filled it with some water and set it over a burner on the stove that sat by the refrigerator. He turned on the fire, put in the hard noodles and then added the flavoring, mixing it in with a fork so the noodles could absorb it as it cooked. He leaned against a wall and enjoyed the silence until a loud clap of thunder broke and echoed throughout the house.

"You aren't seriously going to let that boy stand out there, are you?" Zexion asked as he appeared suddenly beside the cat creature, his attention still on the book in his hand.

Vanitas stared at him then went to the window to look outside where he saw Reiku looking back and forth between the blackening sky and the door, his face whiter than his natural tone.

He sniffed disdainfully. "I thought he left."

Another clap of thunder rattled the house and it was accompanied with a yelp of fright, followed by more banging on the door.

"Please let me in! Just until the storm blows over! C'mon!" Reiku shouted.

Feeling rather annoyed, Vanitas went to the door but didn't open it. "There's nothing wrong with getting a little wet, so just go home. Get there as fast as you can on that bike of yours."

Reiku couldn't help but scowl at the door, as if he could see the owner of the voice through the wooden barrier. "Oh, gee, that's a great idea, Einstein! I like the thought of trying to ride a bike in a flash flood!"

The door flew open just enough for one golden eye to look outside behind the silverette. "No. Frickin'. Way!"

Water was climbing up the stairs to his porch as the rain fell and it only served to piss Vanitas off even more because one: there was a chance water would get into his house, and two…

"You do know if he catches pneumonia and dies, that his blood is on your hands, right?" Zexion informed.

'Oh, that's just what I need!' the cursed being thought to himself. With a sigh of defeat he opened the door but stayed behind it to avoid being seen.

"Hurry up and get in!" he snapped.

Before he could finish the sentence Reiku was already stumbling through the doorway. Once inside Vanitas closed the door and made his way back to the kitchen before the boy could utter a word to him.

"Thought you might like to know," Axel said, suddenly appearing by Vanitas. "Zexy and I put a spell around the place so no water will get in."

Vanitas sniffed, "Whatever."

He went over to the stove to check on his food and noticed something.

"Why is there more than one pack in this pot?" he slowly looked at the redhead with a glare.

Axel smirked, "Must be a good host now. Can't have food all to yourself when there's another occupant in the house. It's rude you know."

"Who says I have to feed the kid just because I let him stay in my house until a storm passes? !" Vanitas exclaimed.

"Um… I'm sorry but… who are you yelling at?"

At the additional voice Vanitas glared at Axel who still wore an irritating smirk.

"And you're snooping around why?" he snapped without looking behind him.

There was a light scoff, "Well excuse me. I was just looking around when I heard you going off on someone, but there's no one there so… unless you have Sprites in this house."

Vanitas looked at Axel when he saw his face change from cocky to shock.

"How the hell can he tell? !"

"What do you mean by Sprites?" Vanitas asked, turning to look at him.

Reiku shrugged, "Well I have a friend; her name is Naminé. She's a witch and she told me that they use Sprites as messengers, but they can only be seen and heard by them or the ones they're sent to."

Vanitas and Axel just stared at him. Axel was impressed but Vanitas was in disbelief.

"So you know a witch?" Vanitas asked crossing his arms.

The silverette cast his gaze to the ground, his white Airwalks suddenly becoming quite interesting.

"I… know a few, yeah," he muttered quietly.

Then his gaze drifted to a picture that sat on a table near the kitchen entrance of a smiling spiky haired brunette.

"So… you know Sora?"

Vanitas immediately went to look at the photo and he stared at it. His twin brother, his other self as he liked to call him, the one he tried to kill; as he looked on at the picture he felt guilt flood him because he was jealous of the only person in his family who cared about him.

"Sora is… he's… he's my twin." He sighed.

"Oh! So you're Vanitas!" Reiku said with a bright smile. "Nice to finally meet you."

Vanitas felt his heart skip a beat when he saw the silverette smile; it made him look kind of cute. Then he mentally shook his head of the thought.

"What do you mean?" he asked.

"Well, I see Sora a lot and he's told me about you. I always thought you sounded like an interesting person."

"He obviously didn't tell you about how I tried to kill him." Vanitas scoffed.

Reiku's smile dropped and he looked at his host in disbelief. "Kill him… why?"

"It's none of your damn business! Now go sit down somewhere or you don't eat!"

Maybe that was a little too harsh, but Vanitas would rather not talk about things like that.

Reiku stared silently for a moment before he lowered his gaze to the ground again, his glasses-shielded eyes hidden by the silver bangs.

"Don't bother, I'm not hungry," he said in almost a whispered tone before he went back to the living room.

Vanitas sniffed and went back to the pot that was now bubbling. He turned off the fire and stirred the noodles, finding them to his liking, and got a bowl from the cabinet to serve himself as he muttered, "At least I'll have something for dinner."

"You didn't have to be like that."

Vanitas turned to see Zexion by Axel, for once his attention not on a book.

"He may have been curious, but he felt concern. You didn't have to do anything like that."

"And he didn't have to be so nosy."

Vanitas's response was met with a slap to the back of his head.

"What the hell? !" he snapped as he put a paw against the back of his head.

Axel was glaring at him. "Did you forget why you look like this now? It's because you treat everyone the way you just treated that kid! I dunno about you, but personally I would want to go back to being human if I was met with this kind of situation, no matter how much my Roxy likes cats!"

Zexion looked at the redhead blankly as he sighed, "Does everything have to lead to Roxas?"

Vanitas finished serving himself and made to go back upstairs, passing Reiku who was sitting on the couch curled into a ball with his head in his arms. When he got to the top of the flight he stopped at the sound of a shaky voice; Reiku's voice.

"Yeah, Riku, I'm alright… of course I'm crying. You know how I am with thunderstorms… I'm inside, you don't have to worry about me getting sick… yeah, I'm with people… one, just one. Vanitas, Sora's brother….. Sora? … Yeah, I really am with your brother… I don't think he wants to talk to anyone. *Sniffle* Sorry… okay, I'll tell him… Riku? Don't worry, I'll be alright… don't trouble yourself. Besides you could probably get stuck out there if you try to come get me… I understand. I'll call you tomorrow. Bye."

Riku… Vanitas knew that name and its owner; he was Sora's best friend growing up that had somewhere down the line became his boyfriend last he heard. He didn't really know how he reacted to the fact that Vanitas tried to kill Sora, and he didn't want to find out since Riku was well known to kick anyone's ass. But he didn't know Riku had a brother; he never heard of or saw one. If that kid really was Riku's brother, where had he been all this time?

Shaking his thoughts off, he went to his room and locked himself inside for the rest of the stormy afternoon.


Vanitas's eyes fluttered open.

Outside it was still storming and the sky was dark. A look at the digital clock on his nightstand told him it was still the same day, but now night; he wondered when he had dozed off.

Getting up, he grabbed his bowl from earlier and went downstairs so he could eat what was left over as dinner and go back to sleep or something, depending on how he felt. As he got to the living room he saw Reiku curled into himself as he slept on the couch, slightly shivering and unconsciously wincing as the thunder clapped.

He went into the kitchen and saw the pot he had set out that afternoon missing.

"Don't tell me he ate them," he growled to himself.

"Look in the microwave!" Axel called from the library.

Confused, Vanitas did as he was told and saw what looked to be a decent meal on a plate. He closed the microwave door and warmed the meal to his liking then started back upstairs, unable to help himself at taking a bite. At the taste of the food, he unconsciously started purring.

"The kitty's happy." Axel snickered, Zexion hiding behind the book he held so his smile wouldn't be noticed.

"When did Terra come back?" Vanitas asked as he ignored the comment.

"He didn't. Reiku made it." Zexion answered.

Vanitas froze as he was about to take another bite and asked, "Are you saying he raided my kitchen?"

Axel shrugged. "Can you blame the kid? He was hungry and those noodles didn't cover it. So he made something else that would serve as a proper meal and decided to make enough for both of you because he's… oh, what am I looking for?"

Axel snapped his fingers a few times before he found the words he needed in his mental dictionary as he pointed at Vanitas.

"Right! Selfless and considerate!"

The cat-beast scowled as he growled, "Going through my kitchen without asking me is hardly what I'd call considerate."

"He didn't want to bother you. If he did you might snapped at him. Again." Zexion said.

Vanitas looked at the plate in his hand then back at the silverette. "So if this supposed to be a peace offering then?"

Axel and Zexion both face-palmed as Axel muttered, "Dense much?"

Vanitas scowled at them then went up to his room to have his meal in peace, deciding that the messengers were annoying.

When he was done, Vanitas went back downstairs to put his plate in the sink when he noticed something. There were no other dishes was in the sink; not a pot, not plate, not a glass, nothing.

He actually washed everything he used? And put everything away? Well at least he's a good guest, I'll give him that.

He washed his dishes and started back for his room, his eye catching the shivering boy. He went over to the hall closet and got out a wool blanket to cover the boy up with; he wasn't totally cold to everyone that he'd let someone freeze, give the guy some credit!

Vanitas took a moment to look at the boy's face and really look at it. His skin was a healthy pale tone and there wasn't a blemish or a freckle on him. The shadows of his eyelashes seemed to caress the skin they were casted upon. That was when he noticed Reiku's glasses were missing.

He looks better with the glasses, he thought to himself.

Now that was a new thought. Usually when he admired people for their appearance he avoided those with flaws in beauty; he thought that less than perfect eyesight was a flaw that required glasses which drew attention away from the person. Well, he thought Reiku was cute without them sure enough, but he thought the glasses completed his appearance too.

"It's rude ta stare ya know." Axel said suddenly.

It took all his willpower not to yelp at the sudden appearance of the redhead Sprite.

"Keep it up and you can be classified as a creeper."

Vanitas let out a slow breath as he whispered, "Are you trying to give me a heart attack or something?"

"Just like you did to Terra for the past four months." Axel laughed as he went back to the library.

Vanitas just rolled his eyes and stood to go back up to his room when he heard a soft whimper after thunder clapped and saw Reiku curl more into himself.

Is he that sensitive to thunder storms? he wondered as he knelt by him again, tail unconsciously curling around his feet.

He remembered Sora had been the same way; he would cringe at the sight of lightning and yelp at the sound of thunder. He put a hand on the silverette's head and started petting softly; it was a trick that always worked for his brother, just to show someone was there to comfort him.

When another clap of thunder echoed throughout the mansion Reiku didn't move or make a sound; he looked peaceful.


There was a pleasant sensation at the base of his ear and his throat vibrated with his purrs of pleasure, a light giggle accompanied it not long after, making his eyes crack open and meet aquamarine orbs.

"You're under a curse? Is that why you wear the cape?"

Van's eyes snapped open fully and he shot to his feet as he glaring at Reiku. "You pulled my hood off? !"

The boy giggled, obviously not surprised at the outburst as he replied, "Nope! It fell off in your sleep. I was trying to wake you up to tell you breakfast was ready."

The older one's anger edged away then changed to embarrassment when his stomach growled with hunger.

"Um… okay, so, uh… what did you make?" he asked.

"French toast and omelets with cheese and sausage. I hope that's okay." Reiku said.

Vanitas could feel his mouth watering; he could blame the kid for not knowing since they had only just met, but that was his favorite meal.

"I don't mind a bit," he responded as he passed the boy to the kitchen, mentally patting himself on the back because he managed to keep the excitement out of his voice.

When he got to the kitchen, his gaze immediately went to the counter that had two plates with an omelet oozing with cheese, chunks of sausage visible in the fold, and two pieces of French toast topped with maple syrup and powdered sugar.

"Just pick one and you can go about your day I guess." Reiku said quietly behind him.

"Um… 'kay. And uh, thanks. For dinner last night too; you make a good cook." Vanitas said nervously as it was the first time he had ever complimented someone.

Reiku blushed a little but smiled. "You're welcome."

They got their plates and Reiku sat at the table while Vanitas made his way back to his room when he heard Shiver from Black Butler play from the kitchen until it was abruptly stopped.

"Morning Riku… yeah, I'm alright… yes, I'm eating right now… yes, it's a hot meal. You worry too much, Riku… um, yeah it is still raining. But at least the flood's gone… I, uh, don't know. He just went to his room… I'm not gonna go up there, I don't wanna make him mad again! … Well, I kinda got nosy…"

Vanitas turned and went back into the kitchen, noticing Reiku on his phone.

"Oh, hold on a second," Reiku put his hand over the receiver and looked at Vanitas. "Sora wants to talk to you. Would you be okay with that?"

Sora wanted to talk to him? Vanitas didn't know what to say really; they hadn't really spoken in eight years. What would he say to the brother he tried to kill? What would Sora say to him? What if Sora wanted to yell at him and express the hate he probably felt?

"No… just…just say I said hi and I hope he's well," he said before walking out and going up to his room.

Reiku stared after him until he was gone then went back to his phone. "Vanitas says hi and he hopes Sora's well… I don't think that's the case, I heard something in his voice. Like he was afraid of something."


Reiku was looking out the backdoor of the mansion, seeing a vast garden filled with roses, lilies, carnations, tulips, poppies, orchids, ferns, birds of paradise, shrubs, and fruit trees. In the far right corner was a Koi pond with a steady waterfall and a simple stone path wound through the entire garden. It was beautiful.

"The spell I put around it keeps the rain from drowning everything."

Reiku jumped and turned to see Zexion.

"If you'd like you may join me."

"Um… a-aren't you a Sprite?"

"I am. And I chose to allow you to see me," the antisocial said. "I'm Zexion."

Reiku nodded in greeting as he replied, "My name's Reiku."

Zexion smiled. "I know. You're quite an interesting addition to this dismal place. So will you join me in the garden?"

"Oh, yes. If you don't mind."

Zexion chuckled a little and started for the bench by the Koi pond, the silverette following behind him.

"I don't mind at all. You seem to be much better company than Axel," the slate-head said as he sat down.

"Is Axel another Sprite?" the boy asked, sitting beside Zexion.

Zexion scowled as he growled, "A very annoying one."


It had been three weeks and the rain hadn't let up.

Van was getting tired of hearing Reiku phone go off constantly with three of those times being phone calls from Riku while the rest were texts from friends. Reiku also kept bringing up Sora's wanting to talk to him, but he always refused.

Reiku stayed in the living room or in the garden, not going to the second level in fear of angering his more or less unwilling host. He hated when people were angry for any reason since it led to a lot of negativity and he had more than enough of that.

But he was lonely in this empty house, even if he found comfort in Zexion's presence. And he missed his brother and friends. He also had a feeling that Van was lonely, too, but didn't want to show it.

"Hey, are you planning on letting that just boil over?"

Rei jumped at Van's voice from the doorway.

"Oh, sorry," he said, turning off the fire that was cooking ramen. "Um, would you like beef or ham in it?"

"I don't really care. I just want to eat," the cat beast said.

Reiku got down bowls and served the noodles, putting ham slices in Vanitas's and beef slices in his own with some chopped onions. He gave Vanitas his bowl and received a nod in thanks.

"Um… if it's not a bother, would like to join me?" Reiku asked shyly. "You don't have to be up there alone all the time, you know."

"I'm fine alone. If you're not, oh well." Vanitas said as he continued toward the living room.

Shiver started playing then abruptly stopped as Reiku answered.

"Hi, Riku… I'm okay, are you and Sora? …Yeah well, at least the thunder stopped… um, he keeps to himself mostly. *sniffle* …I just miss you guys, that's all. Stop worrying about me so much, I'll be fine."

Vanitas could tell he was crying again; it happened occasionally over the weeks he'd been in the mansion. For some reason it pulled at his heartstrings, and for another he completely ignored it as he thought that there was nothing he could do.

Sighing to himself, Vanitas turned and went back into the kitchen to see Reiku hang up his phone and wipe his eyes.

"You get headaches if you cry a lot," he said, startling the boy.

"I'm used to it," the silverette said as he kept his gaze on his food, his voice solemn.

Vanitas sat down across from him, feeling out of place at his own table.

"Why is it you cry anyway? I thought it would be something you'd grown out of."

The boy laughed dryly as he said, "Sora still cries. My brother cried at seeing me again just four months ago."

"Four months ago? Where were you?" Vanitas asked without thinking.

Reiku sighed, "When we were still kids, our parents got a divorce. Mom took me and left Riku with Dad, but she didn't care about me one bit. I was always alone; I had no friends from school because she was a whore and kid's parents didn't want them around me. I've been alone all my life until I moved out here to live with Riku; Sora lives with him too. I didn't like being alone and I don't like seeing people alone, so that's why I asked if you could stay this time. I know you're lonely, and it hurts to see it."

Now Vanitas understood. If anything, Reiku lived feeling just as lost and alone as him, if not more; at least Vanitas had a few friends.

"I'm sorry to hear that."

"Oh, please, don't worry about me," the silverette responded. "It's not like that anymore after all."

"And yet you try to get inside." Vanitas said with an intense gaze. "Am I really such an effort if all I do is shut the door in your face?"

Reiku blushed a little. "Well, I think you are. I don't want anyone to suffer like I did."

If the flesh of Van's face could be seen, the blush that warmed his face would have been obvious. But still, it made him feel warm inside to know that someone cared; he figured now that he'd taken Terra and Ven's friendship for granted all because his mind was in the past. Maybe it was time he started looking to the present and future.


The last month of Vanitas's punishment had barely started and he felt worried yet relaxed. He and Reiku were more or less getting along well; things were going rather slow but they were working out. Vanitas spent all his meals talking about random things with the silverette; those were times he looked forward to every day. Sometimes he would go downstairs while Reiku was sleeping just to be in his presence which he found comfort in; Axel apparently liked to joke about that, saying that Vanitas had not only turned into a stalker, but a peeping Tom as well.

One afternoon while Vanitas and Reiku were having some leftover spaghetti for lunch, Zexion came into the kitchen. Vanitas was a little miffed that Zexion had allowed Reiku to see him because he hadn't been informed ahead of time by either of them, but he let it go considering the situation of it.

"Reiku, your birthday is coming up, isn't it?" the slate-head asked.

"Oh yeah! I forgot all about it," the boy said as he rubbed the back of his head sheepishly.

"How old will you be?" Vanitas asked.

"I'm turning twenty; it's during the last week of the month."

They heard a rumbling from the kitchen sink and turned to see the faucet shaking violently before water shot out in an unusual way; it was like an airborne stream that whirled around in the air, forming the shape of a body. It solidified and became a man around Zexion's age with dirty blonde hair styled in a Mohawk-mullet and sea-green eyes. The dirty blonde wore torn and faded blue jeans, a white T shirt with what appeared to be a rainbow on the front, had a long brown scarf around his neck, and carried a satchel on his right shoulder.

His sight fell on slate-haired Sprite and a bright smile crossed his face.

"Zexy! I missed you so much!" he cheered as he tackled Zexion to the floor.

Zexion took a moment to collect his wits before addressing his attacker, "Demyx, is there a good reason you're here right now?"

The now deemed Demyx sat up so that he was straddling the Sprite beneath him and pouted, "But Zexy…"

"Don't whine and don't call me that. Now why are you here? Who sent you?"

Demyx stood, obviously defeated, and pulled the bag off his shoulder.

"Ven did. He wanted me to bring them more supplies, so here."

Demyx set the bag full of food and whatnot on the table.

"How come Ventus and Terra can't come here?" Vanitas asked, rather curious and slightly worried about his friends.

"Oh, the storm's causing a lot of trouble; no one can really go anywhere. Oh, and I have mail for both of you two. From Riku, Sora, and Terra."

Demyx held out two envelopes.

Reiku took them and held out the one from Terra to Vanitas.

The cat beast read over the letter. Terra explained what was going on in his absence and how people wouldn't leave him alone because he was the only one who knew where Vanitas was besides Ventus. Vanitas was going to need to redo the year he was missing now, too, since it was his last year of college; he wanted to break something at that knowledge. The last bit was a message from Ventus saying he was close to breaking his curse and a wish of luck. Vanitas snorted and folded the paper back before replacing it in the envelope.

"So what's your brother saying?" he asked his guest.

Reiku was pouting. "I lost my job delivering papers. Never mind no one could get mail or anything else because of the storm in the first place! Jackasses. Now how will I pay for college?"

Reiku pulled out a second letter from his envelope and held it out to Vanitas.

"This one's for you, from Sora."

"I don't want to read it." Vanitas said immediately.

"Vanitas, you can't keep running from your brother," Reiku said. "He only wants to know how you're doing; he's worried about you."

Van slammed his hands down on the table as he snarled, "How can he be worried about the one who tried to kill him?"

Reiku was unaffected by the outburst as he answered gently, "Sora can be very forgiving, if you would give him the chance. What if I read the letter to you? Would that help?"

Vanitas wanted to say no. He wanted to walk out and just forget about Sora trying to reach out to him. But the letter had him curious and he trusted Reiku.

He sighed, trying to keep the defeated edge out of it as he sat down again.

"Go ahead, I'll listen," he murmured.

The silverette smiled in assurance and looked at the two Sprites standing nearby.

"May we be alone please?" he asked.

"Of course." Zexion said, and began dragging a protesting Demyx out of the room.

When they were gone, Reiku unfolded the letter and began to read,

"Dear Van,

Why won't you talk to me on Rei's phone! I just want to know how you're doing nowadays! Is that so much to ask from a brother?

Are you eating right? Are your bills being paid? No one tried to break in and steal anything or kill you did they? How am I supposed to know if you won't tell me? Or are you getting your kicks out of tormenting me with anxiety?

Van, the next time Riku calls Rei, let me talk to you, please. I just want to know you're okay. If you think I don't care because of what happened eight years ago, don't worry about it anymore. I understand and I'm sorry for not trying for your benefit! I didn't mean to hurt you at all, so forgive me, please.

Talk to me soon, please.

Your brother, Sora."

As Reiku finished the letter Vanitas sat still. He didn't know what to say or what to do. He was confused; the one he wanted to be forgiven by was asking for his forgiveness when he was the one who did wrong to his family.

"Vanitas, are you okay?" Reiku asked, snapping him out of his thoughts. "You're crying."

Vanitas lifted a hand and felt under his eyes to find that the fur was wet; it was the first time he cried in a very long time and it was hitting him full force.

Reiku stood and went to Vanitas's side, bringing the other's head to his shoulder.

As if on instinct, Vanitas circled his arms around the boy's waist, taking comfort in the unexpected embrace. His tears fell silently, his shoulders shaking with his breathy sobs, and as he cried, a low humming filled his ears. It sounded familiar and soothing, but he couldn't place where he had heard it from. Eventually though, he calmed down and fell into darkness.


"I wanna see sunshine shinin' down on me and you."

A familiar voice drifted through the house, but the voice was unknown. Vanitas's eyes fluttered open and he found himself on the couch in his living room, the clock on the DVD player told him that it was nighttime and the air smelled of hamburger meat.

"I wanna love somebody, love somebody like you."

That voice again.

"Who is that?" Vanitas called out.

"Vanitas, are you awake?" Reiku asked from the kitchen. "It's just me, I'm making burritos."

Vanitas stood and went to the kitchen to saw the silverette mixing up hamburger meat in a skillet.

"Where did you learn to sing like that?" he asked.

The boy blushed. "It was… all I could do to keep from being depressed while I grew up. I'm not that good and I only ever sing to myself."

The cat beast laughed; not a laugh of scorn or mocking, but a laugh that sounded like it came from the heart.

"Modest much?" he questioned as he walked up behind Reiku and pulled out his hair tie. "There's a lot of things I bet you're modest about."

Reiku turned and tried to grab that hair tie back. "I need that!"

Vanitas put a hand on his shoulder as he said, "Just let me look for a moment."

Reiku's hair barely touched his shoulders and framed his face nicely. He removed the glasses and studied him for a moment then shook his head and put them back on.

"You look better with the glasses," he said, making the boy blush.

"Um… thanks." Reiku responded as he took his hair tie back.

"How come you don't let your hair down more often?"

Reiku blushed and looked a little ashamed as he tied his hair back.

"I don't look all that great," he muttered.

"Modest." Vanitas said in a singsong tone; it was a tone he had only ever used around Sora because he knew it frustrated the brunette. "I think you look cute, and that's the truth."

Vanitas saw that Reiku was now blushing so bad he might pass out, so he changed the subject.

"So what song was that?"

The boy cleared his throat before speaking, "Keith Urban's Somebody Like You. It was on that iPod on the coffee table and I couldn't get it out of my head."

"Oh, that was Ven's iPod. He left it here last time he was visiting with Terra. Maybe I should have sent it back with that Demyx guy…"

"Well dinner's ready." Reiku said as he handed Vanitas a plate and went to sit at the table with his own.

Van sat across from him. "Reiku, thank you."

The silverette froze where he sat and slowly looked at Vanitas; he had only ever said thank you once since he'd been there and it shocked him.

"It's just dinner," he said quietly. "Nothing important."

"I mean for everything. All you've done, thank you. I didn't think I could have ever opened up like I do to you, and you gave me the courage to listen to my brother. You changed me."

Before the other could respond Shiver started playing on Reiku's phone and he answered it.

"Hi, Riku… yeah, we're eating right now… we got your letters… yes, Vanitas read his… I'll ask."

He put his hand over the receiver.

"Are you up to talking to Sora?" he asked.

Vanitas thought for a moment before nodding and he took the phone when it was held out to him. "Yeah?"

It was quiet on the other end for a moment before he got a timid response. "Van?"

He swallowed the lump that formed in his throat. "Hi, Sora, long time no speak."

"Van! OMG, it's so great to talk to you again! Are you alright? Be honest! Are you eating? Do you still have a roof over your head? That was a stupid question, ignore it. Are you healthy? You didn't get a tumor or something did you?"

Vanitas couldn't help but laugh; same old Sora.

"Sora, cool your jets! Everything's fine; you're spazzing over nothing. What about you?"

Reiku decided to leave them to their conversation.

"I moved out of Dad's a couple of years ago, so I live with Riku now. I feel better with him than with Dad."

"Glad you're doing okay."

Sora giggled on the other end. "Yeah…um, Van, I'm curious."

"About what?" Vanitas asked.

His brother hesitated for a moment before asking, "Why did you try to kill me? I know you probably don't want to talk about it, but I don't things can go forward until we have the closure."

Sora was right and Vanitas knew it. It would hurt, but he had to get it out of the way or it would only bring him down further.

"It was because… Dad… he paid more attention to you than me; I felt unwanted. He was always comparing me to you, criticized me, made me feel like I was nothing. I thought that if you were gone… he would love me. But I just wound up in therapy and now I live on my own. Though… I'm glad he stopped me that night… I'd probably… I dunno, but still. I just wanted him to love me like he did you."

There were sniffle on the other end that signaled Sora was trying not to cry or already crying.

"I… I'm so sorry Van… I didn't care how you were, but that hurts to hear. A man… not caring about his own son… just because we're twins doesn't mean we have to be the same! …Doesn't he get that? …If we acted the same, *sniffle* then we may as well have been one person… I want you to be you, not me… I like you better that way."

A weak chuckle passed through Vanitas's lips.

"Ya mean you like me better as a bastard?" he asked seriously.

His response was a negative humming. "I know the real you. I know you can be a little tough, but you care too, and that's who you should be. I know you can be that person."


Reiku was in the bathroom studying himself. He wasn't one to take pride in his looks, even at a minimum. But what Vanitas had said to him about having his hair out and his glasses, it struck something in him. He took his hair tie out again and studied himself. He always thought he looked like his older brother except with glasses and other people agreed. And it was that fact that made him want to be set apart for so many reasons.

He tied his hair back again and went back to the kitchen, seeing that Vanitas had already finished his food and was just sitting there with a smile on his face.

"So your talk with Sora went well?" he asked.

"Yeah, thanks for the boost. Things are pretty much cleared up now; maybe I'll see him sometime." Vanitas said.

Reiku nodded as he said, "You're welcome."

Reiku sat down with a beat puppy expression.

"Hey," Vanitas went over to his side and rested a hand on his shoulder. "Is something wrong?"

The silverette blinked and looked at him. "Oh, nothing."

"Liar." Vanitas said as he left the room. "Eat and come talk to me upstairs."

After Reiku had finished his food, he stood at the foot of the stairs. If he went up it would be the first time he had ever been up to the second floor and he was scared.

"Hey, you coming up here or what?" Vanitas called from the landing above.

"Uh, yeah! Sorry," the boy called back and ran right up until he reached the cat beast who was waiting by a closed door.

They went to Vanitas's room and Reiku was amazed. The walls were painted crimson red with black flame print and what looked like gear patterns. The carpet was plush and navy blue in the light, matching the fleece comforter on the bed, while the white sheets stood out greatly in the dark atmosphere. There were a few band posters on the walls, a plasma TV with a DVD player, a 360 with a Kinect, and a PS3.

"Wow, you pretty much got everything in here." Reiku said.

"Maybe," Vanitas said as he sat on his bed. "So, talk to me."

The boy simply sat in front of him on the floor, avoiding eye contact.

"First off, I don't need my glasses for everything. They're mainly for reading."

Vanitas was confused as he asked, "If they're reading glasses then why do you wear them all the time?"

"My mother. She… you remember I told you she was a whore, right?"

Van nodded.

"Well… she took it to a new level with me. When she was high or drunk and she couldn't get a client, she came into my room and….. and touched me."

Vanitas stared in shock at the boy before him. His own mother… did such things to him whenever she couldn't get a lay?

"That's cruel. Why would she do such a thing? Did she…?"

Vanitas couldn't finish his last question.

Reiku shook his head. "I still have my virginity, thank goodness. But I've never been so scared of anyone in my life than when she started coming into my room at night. It started one day a few years ago when I got a letter from Riku; it came with a picture of him with some friends. He had his shirt off and it showed how he had developed. She didn't hide that she liked what she saw; since I looked exactly like him, she thought she could live out that fantasy with me."

By now Reiku was in tears.

"She told me if I said anything to anyone she'd never let me leave. So I tie my hair back and keep my glasses on so no one can do what she's done to me or worse."

Vanitas moved so that he was beside the silverette and put an arm around his shoulders. "Does Riku know?"

The boy miserably nodded.

"Has he done anything?"

"He called the police, but there won't be an actual court date until sometime next year. The legal system sucks for being so slow." Reiku said as he wiped his eyes. "But I'll make sure she pays for what she did to me."


More time went by and Vanitas grew worried. The end of the month was very near and that meant he had to break his curse soon. But he didn't know how he could tell Reiku; he knew for sure that he fallen for the silverette, but he wasn't sure how or when it happened. He'd seen a lot of girls (and guys) who were beautiful growing up, but they used the stuff actors and singers used for appearance; Vanitas thought that Reiku was beautiful in a simple way, just by making sure he looked good enough to be seen in public.

He found that the most beautiful thing about him was his heart, and that was what made Vanitas love him.

"Hey, why don't you cook dinner for him tonight?" Axel suggested.

Zexion was out in the garden with Reiku so that left the two to plan.

"Mine sucks compared to his, that's why." Vanitas answered.

Axel rolled his eyes. "You give up too easily, man. If you do it from your heart, it won't matter to him at all. You're no master chef- - no one is really- -but you're only trying to make him feel special."

Vanitas sniffed.

"You make it sound so easy," he grumbled.

The redhead shrugged. "I had to go through the same with Roxas. Stubborn Blondie."

"I don't know about this. I'm mean how could love me?" Vanitas asked with a defeated edge in his voice. "I'm a beast."

"On the outside. But on the inside you've become more and he knows it, he's seen it." Axel noted. "Ya gotta try. And besides, you can make it like a pre-birthday thing, seeing how it's tomorrow."

Vanitas nodded. "But what to make?"

"If it's any help, his favorite food is scalloped potatoes and ham." Zexion said as he appeared beside them.

"How do you know?" Axel asked.

"We talk; it's amazing what you can find out when you talk to people," the slate-haired Sprite said.

"I can't make all that! It'll take too long!"

"And that's why we're here!" Axel commented as he stuck his tongue out slightly. "Duh."

"For once I agree with him. We'll do all we can to help get things done quickly." Zexion added.

Vanitas nodded as he sighed, "That's all cool and stuff, but do we even have what we need to make it?"

For the first time since Vanitas had known him Zexion smiled.

"I made arrangements," the Sprite said. "They should be in the kitchen right now."

"If that's the case… then let's get started so it can be ready by tonight." Vanitas said as he went to the kitchen to find everything they needed. "Wait a sec, what about a cake?"

"No worries." Axel said, waving a hand dismissively.

Everything didn't take as long as Vanitas thought it would to make everything. They did the cake first and while it was cooling, the trio cleaned and sliced the potatoes in order to scallop them, and finally baked the ham; they were finished by dinner time while Reiku spent the day reading in the library while he listened to Ventus's iPod which was still there.

Vanitas was nervous, but confident as he went to get the boy for their dinner that night.

"Reiku, come with me please," he said.

Reiku put down the book he was reading and turned off the iPod.

"Vanitas, what is it?" he asked as he stood up.

"I, uh… made dinner tonight," the cat beast said in a low tone. "As an early birthday gift I guess."

The silverette smiled and followed him to the kitchen. On the table were two plates with a few slices of ham and a decent serving of scalloped potatoes with a vanilla frosted cake coated with crumbled Oreo cookies in the middle of the table. The unlit candles in the center of the cake were made to look like a 2 and a 0.

"It's not much, but you did so much for me. Thought I'd return the favor."

Reiku looked at him smiling. "I think it's great, Vanitas, thank you."

Vanitas returned the smile. "No problem. I just hope everything turned out right."

They sat down and Reiku took the first bite, a smile crossing his features.

"You did great," he said. "I don't know what you were talking about."

"You're just trying to make me feel good." Vanitas joked

They laughed together and Reiku picked up Vanitas's fork that had a potato slice on it.

"You caught me! I'm gonna throw it in your face!" he said, pushing the fork into the other's mouth and making them laugh again.

They continued with dinner, laughing at jokes they made and even starting mock arguments. Eventually they finish their meal and were ready for the cake that was waiting, the candles already lit; Vanitas knew it had to be Axel who had lit them.

"So, make a wish then." Vanitas encouraged, tail slowly swishing from side to side.

Reiku looked at Vanitas for another moment, a light blush on his pale face, before he turned back to the cake and blew out the candles.

"You know, you didn't have to do all this," he commented.

Van shrugged.

"I know," he laughed a little. "Funny how things between us changed since we met, huh?"

The silverette laughed too. "Yeah, much. You're not such a…well I won't say it."

"Bastard, I know."

The cake was cut and served; luckily none of it was thrown or shoved in their faces.

Reiku went back into the living room after he had finished his cake, Vanitas a little ways behind him. Reiku sat on the couch and some unknown force made Vanitas trip over his feet so that he landed on the silverette, both of them flat on the couch. They held each other's gazes, aquamarine and gold clashing, swimming with emotions neither could read into.

The next thing Vanitas knew there were hands cupping his face, fingers feeling his soft fur, and warm lips were shyly pressed against his own (which in all honesty was awkward considering his cursed state), making him go wide-eyed.

Does this mean he…? his thought trailed off as Reiku broke the kiss as if he were in a trance.

As if he realized what he had just done, Reiku's eyes widened and he covered his face.

"I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to do it! You were just right there and I wanted to do that for a while and I couldn't stop myself! I'm so sorry, please don't hate me! I'm sorry, I'm so sorry!"

His words were rushed and behind his pale hands the crimson blush was visible.

"Rei," Vanitas said gently as he moved Reiku's hands away. "It's alright. I actually- -!"

Before he could finish his sentence, a loud clap of thunder from the relentless storm that had been going on for a few hours echoed throughout the air, shaking the walls of the mansion so much that a picture fell off the wall. Reiku buried his face in Vanitas's chest, crying out in fear as the lights went out, with only flashes of lightning illuminating the room. There was a loud cracking noise from outside followed by a crushing sound and a tree came crashing down on the mansion, bringing down rubble from the roof and the floor of the second level down on them. Vanitas used his body to keep Reiku safe from the falling debris.

"Van?" the silverette asked in a panicked tone. "Are you alright?"

Vanitas gave a short but forced laugh, struggling to keep his arms from shaking due to the heavy weight resting on his back.

"Shou-shouldn't I… be asking you that?"

Before any response could be uttered, Shiver started playing.

"My phone! Riku can call someone about this!" Reiku said, digging for it in his pocket and cried in victory when he pulled it out. "Riku! I need your help! A tree fell on the house; Van and I are trapped!" he exclaimed.

"What? ! You guys try to hold out, Sora and I will get someone!" Riku said before hanging up.

Reiku saw Vanitas wince above him when a beam from the ceiling cracked, sending more rubble onto the floor that the cat beast was practically holding up by himself. "Van? Hold on, okay? Riku's getting help."

"I can try, but it won't be easy."

"Van! Rei! Where are you? !"

"Axel? Over here!" Vanitas called out to the redhead.

There was the sound of rubble and wood being moved then Vanitas sighed in relief and relaxed slightly as some of the weight on him was taken off.

Reiku looked up and saw Zexion, who was standing a few feet away, looking around for them. "Zexion!"

"Are you two alright?" the Sprite asked, coming toward the beam that was preventing him from reaching the duo.

"I am," the silverette answered. "But Van could be hurt for all I know."

There was move shifting from above them.

"Hold on you guys, we'll get this stuff off of you," Axel said. "The rain won't make it easy though."

Vanitas felt something warm running down his scalp and he didn't think it was rain water. He looked at Reiku and saw red spots on his face.

"Rei, you're bleeding."

Reiku shook his head as he said, "That's your blood, Van. Some of the rubble must have hit your head. Please try to stay awake, okay?"

The one above took a breath, his arms already starting to give out.

"I'll try… so far an epic fail attempt."

"If you don't stay awake you'll die, Van! Please stay awake."

Vanitas's body lowered until his mouth was by Reiku's ear.

"I wanted to tell you… I love you."

Then he fell unconscious on top of him.

"Van? Van! Van, you need to stay awake! Please! … Please, Van, wake up…"


"He's gonna wake up today!"

"How can you be so sure?"

"He's consulted his book like crazy since we found out he was in here."

Two of the voices around him were familiar; Ventus and Terra.

"Hey… what's going on here?" Golden eyes fluttered open and looked around in question.

Pastel blue walls, a single window overlooking a garden, a vase of flowers, a bunch of get well cards, balloons, and a few plushies were packed onto the side table. A heart rate monitor was connected to his finger and an IV was in his arm. At his bedside was Ventus, Terra, and a blonde girl with blue eyes who he knew to be Ventus's sister Naminé.

Terra smiled down at him. "Welcome back, buddy! You had everyone worried."

Vanitas sat up slowly, a hand on his head, allowing him to feel the bandages clothing his wound.

"What the hell happened? Where am I?" he asked.

Naminé rested a hand on his shoulder. "In the hospital. You were brought here after you and Reiku were pulled from your half demolished mansion."

A thought made him laugh. "The doctors must be freaking out."

"Well, they were. They thought you wouldn't wake up," Ventus said. "You've been out for a week."

Vanitas blinked, surprised.

"A week? !"

He looked himself over and saw… he was human. He had no fur and was back to his original height, his ears were on the side of his head instead of on top, and he lacked a tail.

"How did I…?" he trailed off.

"You managed to break the curse," Terra said with a smile. "Congrats, man."

"I did?" Vanitas asked before he suddenly remembered something and sat up quickly. "Wait, Reiku! Where is he? Is he okay?"

Naminé pushed him back a little as she said, "Calm down, Vanitas. Reiku's fine. He only got a few scratches and bruises. He should be here in about ten minutes with Riku and Sora; he's been coming every day."

"And I have to say, I am quite impressed, Vanitas. You've proven yourself to have a one of a kind heart, and so you've earned your life back. I just hope you remember your lesson, though, or else I'll have to punish you again without a chance of changing back."

Everyone looked at the doorway to see a woman about twenty-seven years old with green eyes and slicked back blonde hair with two pieces of hair that looked like antenna on top of her head.

"Hi, Larxene." Ventus and Naminé greeted.

"You bitch! I'll kill you!" Vanitas shouted and tried to jump out of the bed only to be held down by Terra. "What the hell did you go and do that for? You practically ruined my life!"

Larxene smirked. "Have I? Think about the last two months this had been going on, when you first met Reiku. Could you have been able to be the self you had buried deep in your heart if you didn't go through that hell?"

Vanitas stopped and thought about it; she had a point. Sighing, he grumbled, "I see what you're saying. Thanks, for helping me open my eyes."

Larxene's smirk turned into a kind smile and she nodded. "You're welcome."

And she left, Naminé following behind her.

Terra looked at his friend with a smile. "You gonna be okay until your brother and them get here?"

Vanitas nodded.

"No worries," he said. "And thanks, Terra, for putting up with me for four months. Both of you."

Ventus smiled. "That's what friends are for."

With a final nod they left and Vanitas laid back with a sigh. From down the hall he heard a hyper voice saying something he couldn't quite catch before storming feet made their way towards his room and a spiky haired brunette with wide blue eyes who looked like him skidded to a stop in the doorway, panting.

"Sora?"

"Van! You're awake!"

The brunette ran to the bed and took the twin into a tight embrace.

"You had us so worried. I thought I lost my brother."

Vanitas hugged him back tighter than he thought possible.

"I'm sorry Sora, I'm sorry for everything," he said. "So sorry. Jeez, I'm glad to see you again."

Sora pulled back, allowing his tears to be seen, but he was smiling. "I'm glad to see you too."

"Hey, Sora, don't run off like that."

Standing in the doorway were two silverettes, one a year older than Vanitas and Sora with his hair falling past his shoulder blades. His pale blue eyes had a small touch of green in them and he was taller than the twins by a head; Vanitas recognized that it was Riku. And at his side was a face he knew well.

"Well, I got excited! I haven't seen him in eight years, Ri-Ri," Sora pouted. "Gimme a break. You know how it is."

"I know, I know." Riku said, walking further into the room, pulling his younger brother with him. "How are feeling, Vanitas?"

Vanitas smiled a little as he replied, "I guess I'm okay. Rei, are you alright? I passed out and who knows what happened."

Reiku nodded. "Yeah, I'm alright. They sent me home the night they brought us in."

Nodding, Vanitas looked at his brother and his brother's boyfriend.

"Sora, Riku. Could you give us a minute, please?" he said. "I want to clear some things up with Reiku."

The two nodded and left the room, Sora saying something about getting Skittles from the vending machine in the cafeteria.

Reiku took a breath and looked at Vanitas again, a light blush coloring his pale cheeks.

"Wondering what happened after you passed out?"

Vanitas laughed sheepishly.

"Could you fill in the blanks?" he asked.

The silverette nodded and sat in a chair beside the bed. He cleared his throat before speaking, "Well it took Axel and Zexion about a half hour to clear everything off of us after you passed out, but we couldn't really go anywhere. We were stuck for about another couple of hours before anyone could get to us and bring us here."

"And how did I become human again? My curse could only be undone if someone loved me."

Reiku's blush deepened and he looked to the floor at his Chucks, making Vanitas smile gently.

"You helped me with that, too, didn't you?"

Reiku looked ashamed. "I couldn't help it. I can't help it now even! I've felt this way ever since we first met and I can't do anything about it. Besides how could anyone like me? I'm not a looker like my brother and I'm not exactly innocent."

Vanitas laughed and lifted the other's chin, making their eyes meet.

"It's all the better you're not another pretty boy. As for the innocence, I don't care. It's not like it changed your heart, and that is what I love about you most," he said sincerely. "And thank you, Rei, for saving me from myself."

The silverette smiled. "Well, I want to love somebody like you."

They both laughed and leaned into each other until their lips met in a slow and gentle kiss.


It had been a month and a lot of girls on campus stared in jealousy and sorrow as Vanitas walked to one of the many fast food restaurants for lunch with his arm around his boyfriend's shoulders, said boyfriend happy to hold onto the elder's waist.

They went into a Taco Bell and immediately spotted Ventus and Terra waving them over.

"Hey, Van, Rei. How's your day so far?" Ventus asked.

Vanitas looked around, seeing people stare at him and Reiku then quickly turning away when they caught Vanitas's eye.

"Would be better if we'd stop getting the evil eye every day," he said.

After getting out of the hospital a couple of weeks ago, Vanitas helped Reiku enroll into the college he, Ventus, and Terra went to and even offered to help pay the tuition since he had money to burn. Since the mansion was epically demolished, Vanitas moved into Terra's spare bedroom.

Vanitas and Sora spent a lot of time together when they could to make up for the lost years and their relationship as brothers grew stronger.

"It'll stop soon enough," Terra said. "They're just freaked you got an average looking person instead of some diamond dozen looker. No offense, Rei."

Reiku smiled, "I take it as a compliment."

"Besides, with the diamond dozens, their beauty is only skin deep." Vanitas commented and kissed his boyfriend's lips. "What more do I need than what's right here?"


The End. And a happy ending it was. :3 I'm certain most of this story was done by Animesaki. ^_^ I loved this idea of basing this off of Beauty and the Beast.

For some reason, when I did some revisions on this I remembered the line, "But she is being so difficult." XD I was also watching B and the B yesterday and was singing along to one or two of the songs. :3 And saying the lines since I know them by heart.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this...long oneshot :D

Please remember to Read and Review.