A/N: This is originally written for the Halloween Contest and the November Contest on deviantArt. This takes place a few months after Ven woke up from his coma in the Land of Departure. Hope you guys enjoy! :D
Thanks: M. L. Ayala, my beta reader. :)
~ "I just can't leave you alone for two consecutive minutes without you misbehaving, can I?" ~
It was an overall quiet and rainy day in the beautiful Land of Departure, which was why the diciples of the Keyblade were all spending their free day inside the castle. Everything seemed to be going well, until...
"Boo!" Terra yelled at the top of his lungs, as he jumped into the scene from around the corner, right in front of an unsuspecting Aqua. The bluenette merely gave him an unimpressed look (despite the fact that she'd practically jumped out of her skin. She wouldn't give Terra the satisfaction of knowing that, though. She didn't need to see that smug look on his face; Aqua saw enough of that on a daily basis).
"Very... scary," she noted sarcastically, before continuing on her way to her bedroom with her books in her hand.
"What, you're not even scared a little bit?" he asked almost hopefully, as disappointment set in, and hard.
Suppressing a smile, she replied, "No, but I am surprised that you still dare to do that, after I punched you in the face last time you tried this and were dressed as a werewolf."
Terra frowned, not liking the fact that he was reminded of that incident. To be honest, he'd completely forgotten about it (and had rather it stayed that way). Sure, Aqua hadn't done it on purpose at that time, but that didn't mean it hadn't hurt like Hell. She'd felt incredibly guilty as soon as she'd realized that the "suspiciously hairy threat" had just been Terra, disguised as his favorite animal. Well, at least it showed that she'd be alright if someone was foolish enough to stalk her, or something...
She'd been so sweet afterwards, though, taking care of his injury with the gentlest of touches (even if it had mostly been his own fault). His stomach still fluttered when he thought of it...
Ventus, the youngest member of the trio, had been watching the two interact from a (safe) distance and he was clueless, to say the least.
He finally decided to make his presence known and headed slowly to the brunet male, almost as though the teen would try to give him a heart attack if he saw him now. Well, with someone like Terra, one could never be too sure.
"Hey, why did you do that?" Ven asked, curiously, with the inquisitiveness of a five-year old.
It was adorable, to say the least. Though his perpetual desire to know more about the world around him could be pretty annoying as well, especially when his questions were downright disturbing instead of just funny. No, the older teen hadn't yet forgotten about how the blonde had embarrassed him in front of Aqua by demanding him to explain where babies came from.
Terra sighed dramatically, massaging the bridge of his nose in annoyance. "It just seemed like a good idea at that moment to dress up and scare her out of her wits, okay? Geez, Ven. Do you have to berate me now, too?"
"No, no, I meant scaring her a few seconds ago," he quickly explained.
"Oh, that?" Terra smirked, then shrugged nonchalantly. "Oh, you know. Just preparing her for Halloween. This year, I want to dress up as something again to scare her... with all the necessary precautions, of course. She has a really nasty right hook and I don't want her to actually succeed in breaking my nose this time, you know." Ven tilted his head to the side in slight confusion, so Terra added, "You can never be careful enough around Aqua, I'm telling you."
When Ven opened his mouth, Terra was half-expecting to hear some sort of joke, but then... "What's Halloween?"
Right, this was Ventus they were talking about...
The Earth warrior mentally face-palmed, as he let out an intelligent, "Huh?"
To say that Terra was surprised (more like shocked) at his friend's lack of knowledge, was quite an understatement. In fact, he'd never met anyone who didn'tknow what Halloween meant. Still, being the ever so patient big brother figure, he ushered the far too innocent boy to sit down on the cozy sofa in the living room and started telling him everything he had to know; from the tradition to carve scary faces into pumpkins to all the creatures that woke up from Death to hunt for fresh meat.
At one point, Ven's eyes widened considerably in what just had to be pure horror. His voice trembled, when he asked, "R-really?"
Terra nodded vigorously, as he continued where he'd left off. "Yeah, and that's not all..."
"No...?" The boy silently wondered if he even wanted to know the rest, but he didn't get the chance to make up his mind.
The brunet brought his head closer to Ven, as he half-whispered, "With their sharp fangs, they bite in your neck, sucking out allof your blood until you either die or change into a vampire yourself. And trust me when I say that that hurts a lot more than Aqua's right hook. You can never escape them, for they're far too strong and fast. Faster than you could ever imagine. These creatures from the night show no mercy when your blood is so deliciously warm and tempting that it automatically turns them into wild beasts."
The usually so happy boy gulped, but Terra continued obliviously, "I wonder what it feels like when your own blood runs down your throat in warm jets and there's nothing you can do to stop the unbearable pain..."
The spiky-haired blonde gasped, softly but audibly, his cerulean eyes as big as saucers and hands unconsciously shooting to his throat to cover it. Suddenly, Halloween seemed to be anything but fun. Why Terra thought it was so awesome and why he remained so calm under everything that would soon happen was beyond his knowledge. He was sure of one thing: Halloween was hands-down the worst thing that could ever happen to you! One couldn't even be sure if they would survive the night. All those theories about the worlds being engulfed by darkness were nothing compared to the horrors he'd just heard about...
His voice quivered slightly when he asked, "W-what other monsters will reawaken from... D-D-Death?"
Truth was, he'd rather not know about all of that, but maybe it was better to be prepared. Perhaps he would still stand a chance that way.
Terra scratched the back of his head, wondering where to begin. Honestly, there was still so muchVen had to know. Poor boy, though. It was more than obvious that he'd missed out on a lot of things in his life. But Terra would do anything to make it up to him.
"Oh uhm, you also have werewolves. I think they're pretty cool, but ever since- Ow! Aqua!"
The brunet had to stop when someone behind him suddenly attacked him. He ducked once again, grateful for his quick reflexes, as Aqua tried hitting him again with one of the heaviest books she had ever read (seriously, why was she constantly carrying those around with her? She didn't even need a Keyblade; she was already dangerous enough when she used literature to hurt people). This time, she aimed for his head, but missed narrowly.
"What the actual Hell, Aqua!?" he exclaimed, hoping that this would stop her, but boy, how wrong he was about that!
Normally, the bluenette would tell him to watch his language when Ven was around, but apparently, she was too angry to remind him of it this time. "I just can't leave you alone for two consecutive minutes without you misbehaving, can I?" she snarled.
"Aqua, stop it!" the brunet pleaded, while he had to put his arms above his head to protect it from the Book of Doom in Aqua's hands. He wouldn't be surprised if it was an encyclopedia; those things always damaged him the most.
"Why do you always have to torment that poor boy! Telling him scary, gory stories, reallynow? I can't believe it, Terra! You know it'll give him nightmares for the rest of the week!"
"Aqua, he wasn't supposed to know about all of that," Ven muttered, aghast, at once blushing a crimson red now that his biggest secret was discovered by the young man he looked up to the most.
Fortunately for him, this went unheard, as Terra exclaimed, "But it's almost Halloween! Someone's gotta teach him the facts and tricks and I figured I would be the best to do that."
"Whatdid you just say!?"
Ding! Ding! Ding! Round two, and the big fight can truly begin now, the blonde thought, shaking his head.
Honestly, those two always seemed to bicker around him (or rather: about him). He was more and more starting to feel like he was their child, rather than a good friend.
Ven tried again, "Hello, I'm still here and I can hear everything you say about me!"
But it was all in vain, since nobody paid any further attention to him. As a deep sigh effortlessly rolled over his lips, Ven got up and decided to go to the library. If Terra didn't tell him what werewolves were, then he'd find out himself. He was a big boy; he could look it up without getting any help (or without getting lost in the castle on the way back). He also knew for a fact that Aqua would never tell him such a thing. Besides, anything was better than being involved in their ridiculous fight. They were acting like an old, married couple.
Apparently, he'd said that last one out loud, because at that moment, both teens stopped bickering and exclaimed angrily, "Who are you calling a couple!?"
Coughing uneasily, the blonde hurried out of the room, before they'd start throwing insults at him(or in Aqua's case: heavy volumes that would knock him out instantly. Terra was right after all: one couldn't be careful enough when it came to Aqua).
"I can explain, honestly!" The oldest pupil gave the bluenette a pleading look, who finally relented.
She dropped her arms to her sides and sighed. "Okay. I'll give you a minute. Explain."
He took a deep breath, all the while wondering what in the worlds he should tell her. Eventually, he was ready to take the biggest risk his life. This move could either save him... or become his death.
Before Aqua knew what was happening, he stepped forward and put his arms around her waist in a tight hug. Aqua shrieked when he pulled her to him, but he paid no attention to it this time.
"I'm so sorry, Aqua," he whispered. "I never realized that it could scare the living daylights out of him. I just... I never talk to you about these things, because I know you don't like it as much as I do. So I thought that maybe Ven wouldn't mind... I just got carried away, I guess. I do solemnly swear that I'll never do it again... okay?"
When his best friend stayed silent for a long time, he took another deep breath, this time to take in her sweet, Aqua-esque scent. Raspberry and tropical orchid. There was honestly nothing in the multiverse that smelled better than that. When the tip of his nose lightly brushed against the nape of her neck, she stiffened completely, knowing that she was blushing and cursing herself for it. Still, she managed a curt nod, before freeing herself out of his grasp to quickly get out of the room.
A small, victorious smirk appeared on the brunet's face when the coast was clear. "Wow, didn't think it would be thateasy."
Not that he was complaining, of course; on the contrary.
"Hmm... time to make myself useful and decorate the castle for Halloween," he muttered, to no one in particular.
With that in mind, he left the room as well, wondering where Ven had disappeared to all of a sudden. Maybe he could rope the younger boy into helping him. As for Aqua, it was probably better to be careful around her, just in case she might change her mind and kill him in his sleep.
Now, where were those plastic bats and slimy garlands?
~ Five hours later ~
At the sound of someone whispering her name, Aqua woke up, feeling slightly disoriented. With the greatest difficulty, the bluenette managed to open her eyes. She glanced at the alarm clock first, the red digits telling her it was 1:59 am. At least that explained why she felt so exhausted.
Who in the worlds needed her at that godforsaken time? Well, there was only one way to find out...
She brushed her blue bangs out of her face and muttered, overcome with sleep, "Who's there?"
"Aqua, it's me... Ven."
This discovery caused her to sit up in her bed, at once worried that something was bothering her younger friend. "Ven? What's wrong? Are you okay? Did you have a nightmare?"
It was only then that she noticed how his form was a little... expanded, for a lack of better word. When she looked more closely, she noticed that he was holding his blanket in one hand and his favorite teddy bear in the other. There was something about that sight that always made her want to take the boy in her arms and protect him from the big, mean outside world (which mainly consisted of Terra, with his inexplicable - and highly intolerable - stupidity).
"I'm fine, but... Can I sleep here, on your... couch-bed-thing? I think there's a werewolf in my closet..."
Ventus had to shudder at the thought alone and the blue-haired teen couldn't help but feel bad for him. How could she ever say no to him when he asked her in such a sweet tone?
"Sure." Suppressing a tired yawn, she asked, "Do you need any help?"
"Nah, I got this," he told her confidently. She heard him move around for a little while, probably to arrange the couch-bed and when he was finally settled and the moving stopped, he whispered, "G'night, Aqua."
With that, Aqua closed her eyes and allowed herself to embrace the warmth around her. Poor boy. He had to be so scared before daring to come here.
Oh, she'd kill Terra tomorrow for sure...