Epilogue: How it all Started

It was a bright, sunny Sunday in the always beautiful Land of Departure. In fact, this day seemed to be exceptionally beautiful. It was as though all the birds were singing louder today, doing their best to sing even better than usual. The weather just seemed to reflect Terra's current mood: blissful.

Terra was lying on the grass, his eyes closed. He was simply enjoying how the sun warmed his skin. He couldn't believe that everything was back to normal again. Well, actually it was better than normal, seeing the circumstances.

Of course, Aqua had been only this close to attacking Ven and the Master that day. This had even scared Terra a little. Said wielder of the Keyblade couldn't help but smile as he thought back about the events that had taken place, roughly a week ago.

~ A few days ago ~

Terra felt very stupid now. Honestly, how could he not have seen that it had been Ven and the Master who had planned all this today? All this time, he had been suspecting Aqua to be the one who had been behind the pranks. He now knew that love really made everyone blind, but one couldn't blame him, right?

He returned to reality when Aqua summoned her Keyblade, Rainfall. That meant that this was serious business. Terra decided to follow her example, just in case. With Aqua, one could never know for sure, but that was one of the things he liked so much about her.

The door of Master Eraqus's study opened and the owner of the study was the one who had opened the door, with a cheerful Ven walking right behind him. They both stopped walking instantly, the moment they spotted Aqua and Terra, standing in front of them. A rather awkward silence was the result, because neither of them knew what to say or do next.

"Master Eraqus, Ven, don't you have something to explain?" Aqua asked coolly.

The tip of her Keyblade started to spark with fire, but it wasn't normal fire. This fire was blue and so hot that it would feel cold as ice if it would make contact with anyone's skin. The two unarmed people gulped at that sight. Terra couldn't blame them.

"How long were you two standing there?" the wise man finally dared to ask them, albeit in a calm tone.

Terra thought it was a wonder that his voice didn't quiver. But then again, with years of experience, it was only logical that Master Eraqus knew how to control his voice in order to fool everyone.

"Long enough to know whose fault my hair is," Aqua answered, still with that same scary and cool voice.

She had a strange glint in her eyes, which made her look very dangerous. She looked like she was about to strike...

Terra was ready to come immediately into action if he had to. In fact, he was mentally preparing himself for the possibility that he might have to jump in between Aqua and the Master (because he was sure that Aqua would never attack Ven), but what he didn't expect was for Aqua to start laughing out of the blue. By the look on everyone else's face, nobody was expecting this.

Terra frowned, briefly wondering if she had lost her mind, or something. "Aqua, are you okay?" he asked.

Aqua stopped laughing. She didn't reply, but de-materialized her Keyblade and leaped forward to catch Ven in a bone-crushing hug, before the poor boy could react fully on it.

"Wow! A-Aqua, easy...can't...breathe," Ven started.

Aqua laughed again and then let go of him, before changing her mind and hugging him once again. A faint blush appeared on Ven's cheeks, while Terra could almost feel how the atmosphere changed from tense into a blissful one.

"Aqua, everyone's watching," Ven muttered, sounding a little embarrassed.

It was as though a younger brother felt embarrassed because his older sister was telling him how sweet he was in front of all his friends, while he had tried to look all tough for months. Ven was such a boy sometimes.

Ven's face colored a brighter shade of red when Aqua kissed both of his cheeks and whispered "Thank you."

Terra smirked at that. He decided that when this was over, he would try to find a perfect match for Ven. It was the least he could do after everything he had done to bring Ven's two best friends together.

"She's right, Ven, but don't expect me to hug and kiss you, too. I hope you're not too disappointed by that," he said, in a teasing manner.

"Oh, shut up!" Ven's face had the color of a tomato now, and Terra snickered.

Teasing Ven happened to be one of his favorite hobbies, just like teasing Aqua. Their reactions to what he did or said to them were both funny.

After Ven, Aqua hugged the Master...

The silence around him was truly peaceful. Terra yawned, stretching slowly. He had almost fallen asleep right then and there, had it not been for someone to call his name. Terra decided not to answer and just pretend to be asleep, but he should've known that it was impossible to ignore this person just like that.

"Hey, Terra! Long time no seen," Ven's said, rather cheerfully, as he knelt down and prodded Terra's side as a greet.

He did this on purpose, because he knew how ticklish Terra was there, and how incredibly annoyed he would get if he did so. The only time he didn't seem to mind it that much, was when Aqua decided to be mischievous and tickle him.

"Stop it," Terra growled, menacingly and with a low voice.

He cracked one eye open to give Ven one of his famous looks, but the younger apprentice didn't seem to be fazed by that at all. Whatever solitude Terra had planned for today was immediately shot to hell when Ven sat down next to him, much to his dismay. He tried to ignore him for the second time that day.

"Whoa, someone's a little cranky today," Ven said, in a pretty annoying sing-song voice. "But don't worry, it's hard to notice, really."

And it'll only get worse as soon as I tell him what Aqua told me. I'm pretty sure of that one, he thought, grinning evilly, but he didn't voice that particular thought.

He would find out more about it soon, anyway.

"No, I'm not. You're just a little too cheerful for my liking," Terra noted, his eyes closed again.

"Oh, believe me, you would be, too, if you were me."

Terra now opened both his eyes, but only to eye his friend suspiciously. It seemed that Ven knew something that he didn't. He was dying to tell Terra more about it, but at the same time he wanted to keep it to himself. At least, that was what it looked like, and he knew Ven long enough to come to the right conclusion.

"Oh?" he said, almost incredulously, raising a brow.

Ven didn't seem to notice the incredulous overtone, because he just continued. "Yeah. But since you're not me, but you, you won't be that happy to hear it. So I'm not going to tell you, 'cause you're cranky enough as it is, and that while your day isn't even ruined yet."

"For the last time, I am NOT..." he stopped when he saw Ven's grin becoming wider, because he had raised his voice. "Okay, then don't. I couldn't care less."

Terra closed his eyes again and now turned away from him. Ven had already expected to hear something like this, so he wasn't surprised.

He did have a trump card, though, and he didn't hesitate to use it. "Oh, really? Not even when it' know, about you and Aqua?"

Terra turned swiftly back to face him, and for the third time, he opened his eyes to stare at Ven, who was able to hide his triumphant expression right in time. "What is it?" he demanded, at once.

The younger boy widened his cerulean eyes. "Oh, I thought you didn't care?" Ven said, quasi-surprised.

Terra chose not to react to that last comment, knowing very well that Ven was only teasing him. "Ven, don't be such a tease all the time, or I'll be acting worse when you get a girlfriend. Now, what is it?"

Ven run a hand through his spikes, causing them to look more tangled than ever. "Aren't you jealous of me sometimes?" Ven suddenly asked, trying to derive from the subject.

It seemed to work, too, because the next thing Terra did, was ask "...What do you mean?"

"Well, is Aqua ever calling you by your nickname?"

"No..." Terra replied, slowly.

Ven snickered as he thought of a suitable nickname for Terra: 'Terry.' It sounded stupid enough in his head, so he could only imagine how dumb it would sound if he said it in public. Terry. It sounded like an old man of forty-something years old.

"What are you laughing about?" Terra asked, almost aghast.

"Nothing," he quickly replied. "But unlike you, I do have a nickname. She calls me 'Ven,' remember? Are you feeling jealous now?"

Terra rolled his eyes. Unbelievable. If Ven was trying to make him jealous this way, then it didn't work. He had to try harder if that was his goal.

"Well, I call you 'Ven,' too, remember? And believe me, it's not because I love you. Besides, I think we both agree on the fact that 'Ter' doesn't sound half as good as 'Ven' does. Now, are you going to tell me why you're so happy today, or do I have to ask Aqua to tell me more about it?"

Ven sighed. "Okay, but don't say I didn't warn you."

"I'll take the risk of getting a heart-attack and I promise not to get mad at you if something happens, so go ahead."

"Very well, then. Do you even remember how all of this started?" Ven asked.

"Unfortunately, I do. You decided to bug me when I was about to fall asleep and-"

"Not that!" Ven cried impatiently, interrupting him immediately. "I was talking about the almost eternal "prankwar" between you and Aqua."

"Oh..." Terra frowned, trying to come up with the right answer. "Now that you've mentioned it, no, not really. All I can remember is that Aqua was the one who had started it, using her make-up to give me a 'metamorphosis,' as she called it. But why in Chaos's name she had done that, I have no idea."

Wasn't that strange? They had just started pranking each other, out of the blue, without ever wondering why they were doing it in the first place. At least, he had never done so, because he had seen it as some challenge, but he wasn't too sure of Aqua and her possible motives. What had her made doing something she would normally NEVER do?

"You know what's funny? That's exactly what I thought after I heard Aqua's story."

"What did she say?" Terra's voice was urgent now.

Ven started to inspect his nails, thoroughly. What he was expecting to see, Terra didn't know, but it frustrated him to no end that he took his time to answer his question.

"Well, she mainly said that the reason she started this prankwar, was because you had pissed her off a little. Don't you remember what had happened that day at all?"

Terra tried to remember it, he really did. The general things, a detail, he didn't care, as long as it was something.

"I can only remember...that I had a headache that day...and that I had taken painkillers, because of the training. I can't remember anything that happened after I took some pills for my migraine, though, except that I woke up in my own bed and walked downstairs, because I thought that dinner would be ready anytime soon."

Ven nodded, thinking that he was close enough, even though he didn't seem to remember the most important things. "I see. Well, Aqua remembers the rest, and believe me, it's a good thing you don't remember any of it, because then you wouldn't be able to face her anymore," Ven said, with a smug look on his face.

He was having too much fun with this.

At once, Terra sat up on his elbows. "What do you mean by that?" His eyes were narrowed into thin slits, while his voice had a rather sharp edge in it.

"Let's say that not only did you flirt with her and asked her to kiss you, but you called her father a terrorist, Aqua herself the bomb, and you insulted her in many ways, from the way she looked, to her cooking. How about that?"

Ven counted all the negative events on his fingers, as he mentioned them all shortly. Terra paled a few shades after he heard that.

Suddenly, his throat felt very dry. "Really?" Terra asked.

He had called her father a terrorist? That... wasn't good. At all. How was he ever going to face her now that he knew this?

"Well, that's what she said. If you don't believe me, then you can ask her for herself," Ven replied.

Terra didn't think that was necessary, though, because there was no reason for Ven to lie about such things. He wouldn't benefit from it. Besides, Ven hardly ever lied.

"Where is she?" Terra asked, sounding urgently again.

Ven gave him a rather incredulous look, almost as if he couldn't believe that he was asking this. "Where do you think she is?" he asked.

Oh, right. This was Aqua they were talking about. There was only one place where she could be found alone.

"The library," they cried, simultaneously.

They were sure that Aqua would stay there for the rest of her life if she could. Both of them had never met someone who liked books and reading more than she did, or did they think they would ever meet such a person.

With that, Terra got up and marched right to the library. He had to find her and apologize, and soon. As he walked past a rose bush, he picked up the biggest and most beautiful one among all of them, for Aqua. Just because.

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