Disclaimer: I don't own Kingdom Hearts or Snow White.

Chapter 9 – Twilight Town


It was getting old really fast. Vanitas kept glaring at Xemnas like they were bitter enemies. It had been a week since Xemnas and Aqua had joined their search for the rebels and Vanitas absolutely did not trust Xemnas at all.

Vanitas naturally didn't trust anyone right away, but this was ridiculous. He seemed to trust Aqua, enough, but still not completely. But he kept giving Xemnas the stink eye.

And it only got worse whenever someone, meaning Xemnas, asked Vanitas about his sense of direction one morning.

"So, is this the way to the rebels?" Xemnas asked.

"Shut up!" Vanitas snapped. "I've got the map and I know where I'm going." He waved the map in Xemnas' face and hit his nose with it to prove the point.

Riku snatched it from him and showed it to Ven and Roxas.

"Hey!" Vanitas yelled. Before he could try and grab it back from his brothers, Xemnas put his hand in Vanitas' face, enjoying the sight of him uselessly struggling to get any closer. Kairi, Naminé, and Xion laughed. Aqua tried, but failed, to suppress smiling and giggling.

Riku took a quick look at the map, Xion peeked over his shoulder. On it, Vanitas had marked the spot where they'd met Xemnas and Aqua, which was accurate. Then, Riku looked up at the sky and closely examined the shadows of the trees. He double-checked the map. Just by looking at him, Xion could tell Riku knew exactly where they were. He convened with Roxas and Ven, whispered something to them and they groaned, accompanied by twin facepalms.

"You do not know where you're going, bro," Roxas said to him. Ven looked up in time to see Vanitas stop struggling against Terra's hand and look at his brothers and Riku, dumbfounded. Xemnas smirked at Vanitas' expression.

"You said the rebels were northeast of where we found Xemnas and Aqua," Riku started.

"Yeah…? Your point?" Vanitas demanded.

"Ever since yesterday, you've been leading us directly south of our destination."

Everyone else looked from Riku to Vanitas and back again two times before Roxas and Ven started yelling about their big brother getting them lost when they were trying to get to safety. Kairi, Naminé, and Xion covered their ears. Xemnas was shaking his head and crossing his hands. Aqua rolled her eyes. Riku just stepped back.

"You idiot!"

"We're trying to save ourselves and the girls!"

"How could you do this?!"

"How was I supposed to know!"

"Check your sense of direction once in a while! The sun is a good hint!"

This continued on like that for another five minutes, and the others sat down just to watch them.

Xion was used to it. Back home, her brothers could start an argument that would last for hours without end. Her mother used to say those boys would never agree on anything. Vanitas made it a point to disagree with anyone, especially his brothers. Maybe that was just because Vanitas had to act like a jerk and like he was superior to the others, even to his siblings. Of course, Vanitas always argued that he was the oldest. "He always has to use that excuse," Roxas would mutter.

"My money's on Vanitas dropping first," Kairi whispered.

"Mine's on Roxas," Xemnas whispered.

"Vanitas," Riku said lying down on his back with his arms behind his head.

"Let me in on it!" Xion cheered.

The bets were set and, indeed, ten minutes of bickering later ("Vanitas, just admit you were wrong!" "I'm not!" "You are too!" "GAH!"), Vanitas sat down hard with his knees up, elbows placed on them, and stuck his face in his hands. "Ugh," he muttered.

"Haha!" Kairi cheered. Xemnas passed her, Riku, and Xion ten gold coins each, shrugging to himself. Aqua and Naminé just giggled.

"Okay, so, now where do we go?" Ven asked.

"How about we start over with the directions?" Roxas asked, taking charge, he pulled Riku over and they started discussing how to make up for a day of traveling in the wrong direction and making up for lost time. Xemnas and Ven were left to tie Vanitas to a tree and stick earplugs in his ears so he couldn't hear them constantly correcting his prior plans.

This left Vanitas to scream a length of profane words that made even the dirt tremble in fear of him. That is, until Xion stuck a sock in his mouth. At that, he was left to steam quietly, as quietly as possible when a person is gagging on a sock, anyway.

"Now that's putting a sock in it," Naminé laughed. Aqua and Kairi giggled too.

"Practice," Xion said. "Growing up with him, you learn to deal with him."

Anyway, Riku, Roxas, and Xemnas discussed a new plan while the girls prepared a short meal of a small piece of bread and an apple for everyone. Vanitas' portion was put on a napkin on the ground next to him to eat when he was allowed to be untied.

"Alright, we have a plan," Roxas announced after twenty minutes of the boys' huddle, excluding Vanitas, who was not allowed to contribute to the conversation at all. Everyone looked over at him and he'd managed to spit out Xion's sock and had somehow gotten his knife into his hand and was trying to cut himself free by holding the knife in his teeth. Naminé plucked the knife from his mouth, stuffed the, now dirt-covered, sock back in his mouth, and proceeded to cut Vanitas out while Vanitas glared at her, attempting to hock the sock at Naminé's head. Too bad she'd stuffed into his mouth deep enough it wasn't coming out unless it was pulled out.

"BLEH!" was Vanitas' first response once he was free and he'd yanked the dirt sock from his mouth. Kairi threw a skin of water at him and he dumped the contents all over his tongue before promptly spitting it out all over the nearest bush and spooking Cobalt and Gaia.

Once Vanitas was done acting up, Ven returned their attention to their new travel plan.

"Alright, we are here," Ven pointed at a section on the map. "And there's a town east of here." He pointed at the spot labeled Twilight Town. "We need to restock on some supplies and we're gonna go there first. And I think we should rest there for the night. Get the horses some proper food and rest and after a day we'll get back on track."

"Sounds good," Aqua said. "Let's get going once Vanitas stuffs his face then."

Riku snorted at her comment and Vanitas only scowled.

Ah, good times, Xion thought.


When they arrived in Twilight Town, they split into groups of three. Riku, Xion, and Vanitas went to look for an inn. Kairi, Roxas, and Naminé went to get food and supplies for the rest of the journey, which would be an estimate of two to three days. And Ven, Terra, and Aqua went to the local stable to put the horses up for the night.

Ven had a way with horses. In fact, thanks to him taking care of Gaia and Cobalt so well, Terra was grateful the horses hadn't almost died of near exhaustion yet. The boy just loved them and wanted to open up his own stable and raise a long line of great horses one day. He had told Terra all about it a few days ago.

While Ven spent some extra time with Cobalt and Gaia in the stables, Terra and Aqua went to rejoin the others, buying some hot buns from the nearby bakery on the way.

Twilight Town was certainly unique to Terra. He was struck by the lack of pure darkness in the area. It was just like Oblivion, very little darkness in any of the inhabitants.

It was all so strange. Ever since Terra had been sent to eliminate Aqua, he'd come across so many people with so much light in their hearts it was unbelievable.

Of course, none of them compared to Aqua who was as pure as could be.

Terra could absolutely not help it. Ever since this beautiful, pure girl came into his life, it was like he was a completely different person and he was meeting people he probably never would have met otherwise. Everyone in his mother's castle, save his loyal soldiers, Cloud, and Tifa, had been infested with enough darkness Terra was always surprised when he passed them in the halls and they were still human, not Heartless.

Aqua Blue was a guiding light for some reason. The light meant to lead Terra out of the darkness he'd been steeped in ever since his father died.

The way Terra felt for her, he'd never felt for a single other person in the world. She was starting to bring out light in him he thought had been long extinguished.

She's a wonder, he thought.

-Terra… later-

Vanitas, Riku, and Xion had managed to acquire two rooms at an inn. The rooms they'd found had four beds each, so unfortunately someone was going to sleep on the floor. Vanitas refused to get off the bed he'd dibbed, so Terra just volunteered, then pilfered a nice set of sheets and a pillow. He never minded sleeping on the floor, and as much as Vanitas' brothers and Riku argued, he was not giving up that bed because he was so stubborn.

The boys' room was adjoined to the girls, where Naminé was sitting quietly drawing while the other three girls were all eating downstairs with Vanitas, Riku, and the twins.

"Aren't you going to eat, Naminé?" Terra asked her.

"When I'm done with my drawing," she answered.

That quiet girl was always working intently on her drawings. Two sketchpads, one full of pictures, the other barely filled; a bag of a multitude of colored pencils; a book; a little doll that looked exactly like her; the yellow star charm; and two changes of clothes were all Naminé had brought with her when their village was destroyed. And she typically drew people around her or scenery. Kairi said Naminé had been doing it since they were little girls.

"What are you working on?" Terra asked her. "I'm not intruding, am I?"

"No," Naminé replied. She put down the blue pencil she'd been holding and turned the pad around to show it to him. "I actually would've finished earlier, but I thought I wouldn't be able to find the right shade of blue for her hair."

Terra instantly saw what she meant. The picture was of him and Aqua. He was holding her in his arms and looking at her with a feeling on his face he couldn't identify. Aqua looked very happy as well.

"Um… why are we drawn like this?" Terra asked.

"Because you're in love with Aqua," Naminé said bluntly.

"What?" Terra wasn't sure what stunned him more. Naminé's statement itself, or the fact that she said it so casually.

"Xemnas, I can tell just by looking," she elaborated. "You look at her like she's a glowing moon surrounded by stars in the night. Like she's the only thing worth living for. You love her."

Terra considered the thought. Did he love Aqua? He still wasn't sure. He just knew she had an effect on him that no one else could probably make him feel.

But was it really love? He thought his heart was immune to feeling that as he'd never been loved by anyone in his own family, let alone a village girl from a backwater town like Oblivion.

"I really don't know what to think of that, Naminé," was all he said before walking out of the room

Terra really didn't know how Aqua Blue affected him. Was it her pristine snow white skin? Her lips the exact shade of blood, so alive… Maybe it was her hair, the most unnatural thing about her was the blueness of her hair.

No, it wasn't that.

Maybe it was her heart. After all, moments before even laying eyes on her, Terra had sensed her pure light.

No… it wasn't one thing about her.

It was everything about her. It was just Aqua herself.

She really is a wonder…

I couldn't resist the silly argument scene. I mean, I wanted some comic relief. And two brothers, plus a sister, can really leave Vanitas feeling flustered. XD And a dirt sock in your mouth can do that too. Man, I am really torturing him here. Don't worry, I think I should be done with that.

I don't hate Vanitas per say, I just hate his behavior and how Master Xehanort drove him to the brink of insanity. (The Birth by Sleepnovels elaborate on this, so if you don't know what I'm talking about, that's going to be what tells you. That or the Kingdom Hearts Wikipedia since that's actually where I got the info.) If anything, I really feel sorry for Vanitas. So, I'm done picking on him in here. It's just that his behavior makes it so easy.

Sorry this took a while. I'm STILL having book writing problems. I'm trying to find the proper angle for my book.

So, what did you like, love, or not like? I gots to know!