Alone in the Dark

The sudden anger could be heard clearly in her melodious voice (well, to Terra, it really sounded more melodious than anything in the world). She sounded dangerous and reckless, too. That little fact gave Terra goosebumps and for once in his life, he was more than glad that he hadn't been the one who had made her this mad this time (but then... who did that?). It made him feel safe.

"I love it when you do that," Terra muttered, smirking slightly.

He just couldn't help but find it funny, because he expected Aqua to be the last person to kill someone. Living with her in the same "house" had taught him one thing. She was more like the "Can't-we-all-talk-about-this-while-we-drink-a-nice-cup-of-hot-tea?" type of person. Well, except when something would happen to her friends. That was one of the things he really liked about her. He had never met such a pure-hearted person like her.

"Excuse me?"

Aqua hadn't quite heard the part that came after the word "when," but she had a feeling that he had said something that was quite shocking. After all, it was Terra she was talking about. Nobody knew how to shock people better than him.

"Oh uhm, nothing. It's not important," Terra quickly replied, gaining some more color on his cheeks.

Sheez, then why did you start about it in the first place, Aqua wanted to say, but she changed her mind.

She chose to ignore it, since it was Terra who had said it. He probably wanted her to ask him again what he had said. Instead, she made herself a bit useful by casting a small fire in the palm of her hand, to illuminate her surroundings. The flames seemed to eat most of the darkness away. Aqua noticed that Terra's eyes had a strange glint in them and it terrified her, making her feel like something was wrong. She couldn't place what kind of emotion accompanied that glint. It wasn't happiness, nor anger or sorrow. She blinked several times to clear her head and make the uncomfortable feeling disappear.

When she looked at him again, she saw that the strange glint in his eyes had disappeared. Then it probably just was the lighting. Or lack thereof, she thought, relieved. Thank heavens. For one second I really thought that...

"This is much better, right?" she asked, breaking the silence.

"Yeah. At least we can see each other now," Terra replied, nodding briefly.

"Uh-huh... Which makes me wonder, where did you get this greenish, glow-in-the-dark-hairdye from, anyway?"

She eyed his body language suspiciously, like an experienced person who was trained for this for years on end. Her eyes were specifically searching for signs that would indicate if he was lying to her or not. The only reason that she would know all this, was because the two had practically grown up together.

"It wasn't me who did this to you, if that's what you're thinking. I know you probably won't believe me, anyway, - and I can't say that I'm surprised if you don't - but... I really like your hair the way it is now and it would be very wrong of me to dye it, 'cause blue makes you look kind of...well..." Terra paused to find the right word. "Cute."


Aqua blushed furiously at that the instant she heard it, because nobody had ever called her cute before, and the fact that Terra was the first one who had done that, made her head spin furiously and her heart flutter with pure happiness. It made her glow from the inside and she tried not to smile like an idiot.

"Uh, thanks!" she uttered, trying not to sound too surprised, but failing miserably.

They were both quiet for a moment, listening to the barely audible crackling sounds that the small fire made. Aqua had so many questions she wanted to ask him, but she didn't really dare. She felt so uncomfortable around him. Normally, Ven would constantly be around them, filling in the silence when he felt like he had to, - which was always - but now that he wasn't there, she didn't really know what to do, nor what to say. It made her beyond nervous and she wondered if Terra would feel the same, too, although he seemed to be very calm and comfortable, even if it was so dark. Aqua hated (the) darkness more than anything.

"Hey Aqua?"

She sighed lightly, being more than happy that he took the initiative to break the rather awkward silence. "Hmm?"

Terra wanted to tell her what he felt for her, how much he loved to see her sweet smile every day, that he really liked sparring with her, how much she had started to mean for him, how happy she made him by simply being there. He wanted to tell her all of this and more, because this would be the right time to do so, he could feel it.

The instant he looked at her, though, he felt too weak for it and changed his mind, feeling like a coward. Instead, he went for, "Could you please put that whisk down? It's kind of... intimidating... considering the fact that you already showed me you won't hesitate to use it against me whenever you would want to."

That was one of the last things Aqua had expected to hear. She gave him a rather funny look and then started to laugh. Little did she know that Terra couldn't look away from her.

"Sure, if it really scares you that much," she said, as she put it under her seat, but not before waving it in front of Terra's face for the last time to tease him slightly.

Terra followed its movements with his eyes, as if he was following a tennis match, making her smile widen.

"Is that better?" she asked.

"Much better."



And there was the silence again, greeting them quietly. This time it was a longer one, because neither of them knew what to say anymore.

"Aqua?" Terra spoke again.

Why was it always Terra who broke the deafening silence, she wondered. It almost looked like he knew that she was nervous and he wanted to make her feel more comforable. Aqua thought that that was very sweet of him, and she was very grateful for that, but there was something else that caught her attention this time. She noticed almost immidiately that his voice sounded slightly different. It wasn't as low as normally. She knew that that would only happen when he noticed something very peculiar.

"Yes, Terra?"

He seemed to hesitate slightly, but decided to continue anyway, "I'm not really... comfortable with this. Something just seems... off, strange, not quite... right."

His voice faltered and a frown appeared on his forehead, as if he was in deep thought about what that 'something' could be.

"What do you mean?"

He looked at Aqua, his heart skipping a beat. She looks so cute when she's giving me that clueless, quizical look. Not that I get to see that that much, since Aqua's pretty smart.

"Well, don't you think this is all a bit too coincidental to just be a coincidence?" Aqua still looked at him, now completely puzzled, so he continued to explain. "I mean, all of a sudden, Ven decides to give you a big bag of food and drinks, before we have to clean this room as a punishment for something we both said that we haven't done. And the Master believed neither of us. Then, someone glues the door shut from the outside without us noticing and it also appears that someone has dyed your hair. It just isn't right, now is it?"

Aqua finally began to understand what he meant. Terra was right. This was beyond coincidence. Why didn't she notice this herself before?

"Now that you're mentioning it, it really is strange. What's even stranger, is that all those pranks of this morning were almost the same as the ones we've used against each other, but with a little variety here and there," she supplemented.

"Exactly! I bet it was all planned. Ven must be behind all this."

Even though he put on a neutral expression on his face, his voice betrayed that he was pretty pissed.

"Well, I honestly don't think so, because Ven said that Master Eraqus told him to give that bag to me for when we wanted to take a short break. That way, we wouldn't have to go all way back to the kitchen and lose unnecessary time. So Master Eraqus should be the one who's behind these pranks and other stuff."

No, Aqua. That's what he wants you to believe. Why are you always so naive when it comes to Ven? He isn't half as innocent as you're thinking.

The instant Aqua had said those words, she realized how stupid - not to mention how unbelievable - it all sounded. Master Eraqus, pranking them? It would be more possible that the sun would never shine in this world anymore, than that their Master would do such a childish thing.

"Then let me get this right. What you want to say, is that Master Eraqus pranked himself this morning when he fell over the wire in the bathroom door?" Terra asked, cocking an eyebrow at her strange logic.

Oh, right. She had totally forgotten about that little fact.

"Wait, how do you know it was a wire he fell over? You didn't even check it," Aqua noted.

"Because I don't think Eraqus is clumsy enough to trip over his own feet. This is the great Master Eraqus we're talking about, remember?"

He certainly had a point there.

"Well, then Ven may not be the mastermind behind this plan, either, because someone had poured pepper in his drink," Aqua argued.

"Yeah, that's what Ven says. You forgot to check the other side of the story."

Aqua felt like it was her job to protect the youngest Keybearer. Terra always seemed to find some stupid excuse to blame him for something that wasn't his fault at all. She didn't know why he did that, but it was annoying the heck out of her and she knew that it upset Ven, too.

"Yes, because in your eyes, everyone's a little liar and you're the only one in this world who's right," she said, at once annoyed. "Honestly, why do you pick on him so much? Is it because you can't stand it that he's faster than you, or something?"

A long-suffering sigh escaped Terra's mouth before he could stop it. It made him sound much older.

"Aqua, please. We've talked about this before, so don't start about that one again."

"Why not? Because it's tru-"

"With all due respect," Terra raised his voice, so she would let him finish his sentence, "but if I didn't put anything in his drink and neither did you, at least, that's what I assume," at this point, Aqua looked at him angrily and opened her mouth to say something about it, but Terra continued quickly, before she had the chance to do so, "then there are only two options left. One, either Master Eraqus was the perpetrator, or two, Ven lied this time, so nobody would suspect him. And don't tell me that you believe that someone came to the castle, only to put some chilli pepper in Ven's drink and then escape quickly out of the window. If you ask me, the perpetrator wanted to show us something this way."

Oh, how she hated it when he was right.

"Yes, but what?" Aqua wondered.

"We're stupid," he replied, in a matter-of-factly tone, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

She raised a thin eyebrow at his answer. "I'm sorry?"

He started to smirk at her shocked tone. "I didn't mean it that way. I kind of used Ven's words."

Well, that surely was a first.

"Oh. And at this time I almost wanted to ask you to speak for yourself," she said jokingly.

"Oh haha," Terra spoke sarcastically, rolling his eyes.

Of course he knew that she was just joking, so he decided to play along to please her. Man, the things you do for the people you care for so deeply and most of the time they don't even realize how much you're suffering from them, he thought. Not that I'm suffering now from being in the same room with her. It's kind of... nice.

"Well, then what way did you mean by it?"

This was so typical for Aqua, always coming to the point within seconds.

"Hmm..." Terra said, as he thought about it. "Well, you could see it in many ways. He's probably trying to show us how stupid and dangerous it is to prank each other, and if we continue like this, not sticking by the rules and all, chaos will ensue. It's either that, or something else."

While listening, Aqua had grabbed the plastic bag and was looking for what their young friend had put in it. It was mainly some bags of crisps, another bottle of water, candy, and hey, something she couldn't tell now, because it was too dark for her to see. Gentlly and curiously, she took the box from the bag and inspected it closely in the light of the flame. It was a box with the game Scrabble in it. She smiled. This was her favorite game (she loved everything that had to do with words, whether it was a book, or just a game where you had to think of words) and she had good memories of this game. She had caught Terra cheating several times, claiming that "Awesomer" actually was a word. Of course, that had been when he was much younger. Now he said that he couldn't remember it anymore. Shyeah, right.

"What's that?" Terra asked, and she returned to reality when she heard his voice.

The blue-haired mage looked at the box that she was holding in her hands again. "I think that Ven didn't want us to get bored in here, so he put this game in the bag, too. Do you want to try this, or are you too scared that I'll kick your butt at it?" she asked, knowing that Terra couldn't resist a challenge, no matter how bad he was at Scrabble.

"Tch. You wish! Bring it on," Terra replied, acting all tough again.

Aqua knew it was just bluff. She was the best scrabbler in the castle and everyone knew that already. Even Master Eraqus didn't always dare to play that game with her, claiming that she was the "mother of all good scrabblers in hell," but Terra was apparently brave - or perhaps foolish? - enough to try. They would find that out soon enough.

They were playing Scrabble for a long time now. How long exactly, neither of them knew. It was very quiet in the small room. The only times that the silence had been broken, was when Terra had noted that she had made a smart move once again, or when Aqua tried unsuccessfully to make him talk.

The fact that he merely answered her questions briefly, made her feel very insecure. Maybe he doesn't think I'm that nice anymore. He probably has even started to hate me, she thought miserably, as she formed another seven-lettering word on the scrabble board.

When she really couldn't take it anymore, she asked him, "Terra, why aren't you saying anything?"

He quirked an eyebrow at her peculiar question. "Do I have to?"

He didn't mean it in a mean way, although it really sounded like that. This made him bite his lower lip, wondering if he should appologize for it or not.

This made Aqua even more nervous, so she didn't quite know what to say. "Uh, no, but... I was just wondering. Never mind already."


Aqua averted her gaze again and looked at the board. She had the highest points so far, but she didn't enjoy the game anymore. She decided to go on with it for a short while and if Terra still didn't bother to talk to her after five new words had formed, she would stop.

- To be continued... -

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