It had been a bright and sunny Wednesday when they had first met. It was funny, really, as Aqua normally didn't remember first meetings. But then again, she shouldn't have been surprised, because she remembered everything when it came to him. It was a curse, one that she both hated (because it pained her that she couldn't change this fact) and loved at the same time.
She had been ten years old at the time. The day was cloudless, sunny and bright, perfect for playing outside. She'd been sitting on the swing, abandoned by her so-called 'friends.' That was when he had found her, looking at her worst and feeling weaker than ever. At first, the blue-haired girl hadn't even noticed him approach. It was when the swing beside her started moving slowly, making creaking noises, as if to protest against the weight, that she realized that she wasn't alone.
At once, she'd started panicking. What should I do now? What if it's one of them again, seeing me like this, more miserable than ever?
She didn't dare to look up; she knew she looked worse than ever. The blue-haired girl was sure this person couldn't see her face; she had bowed her head slightly, cerulean strands covering the side of her face. That was comforting, at least. However, the instant the stranger started talking, she could hear that her suspicions were wrong; this person didn't belong to the group of people that she wanted to avoid at all costs.
"Why are girls always crying?"
It was a boy, an unfamiliar one at that, which made her situation worse.
Before she could think of how to handle this sudden, unexpected situation, the boy continued where he'd left off, filling in the silence.
"I mean, it almost sounds like all the misery in the world's coming your way."
Aqua sniffed, not replying. If this guy was here to make fun of her, then she would just ignore him.
"Okay, that was supposed to make you laugh…" He admitted, sounding more than a little embarrassed, as he scratched the back of his head. "So uhm… do you want me to leave?"
The girl thought about it for a moment, before slowly shaking her head. This action let more tears loosen from her eyes. They stumbled down her cheeks before she wiped them away with the back of her hand.
"Okay then… So why are you so sad? Did you fall off the swing?"
Aqua blinked, surprised. She chanced a look at him, only to see that the boy was staring right back at her. This made her blush; she swiftly looked away, becoming self-conscious. She surely looked awful. Those curious, inquiring azure eyes of his made it impossible to look at him. Still, she hadn't failed to notice that the curious boy was her age, maybe a bit older, with chocolate brown, spiky hair nicely framing his tanned face.
"N-no," she replied eventually, shakily.
She could hear his curiosity, but he didn't pry, as not to hurt her feelings. Well, then perhaps he wasn't as much of a jerk as she'd thought…
"I-it's my friends…" Aqua started, shyly.
It felt strange to talk about this with a strange boy. Something told her that he would laugh at her, too if she told him everything.
"What about them?"
Once again, Aqua peeked at him from the corner of her eye. He was looking at her with mild interest now.
The young girl awaited his reaction as she softly replied, "They kind of… ditched me."
The boy's eyebrows shot up in disbelief. "Really? But why?"
She took a deep breath, exhaling slowly. "Because they didn't want me to join them today. I don't think they like me."
He sure had a lot questions. Aqua balled her hands into fists. Honestly, how was she supposed to know? It wasn't like they had told her.
But if she really thought about it, it wasn't hard for her to guess why they preferred to avoid her.
"I heard them call me too-too ugly and weird to fit in… And fake, too, because they don't believe that my hair is naturally blue."
The boy frowned at that. "That's just childish. I think you're better off without them. They don't deserve to be your friends. If they're this obnoxious to you, you can find better ones."
"That's easier said than done, you know…" How was she supposed to find a new friend, one that understood her and accepted her? Aqua was naturally shy, which didn't help matters much.
"It's not hard at all. All you have to do is open your eyes and look around. There are plenty of people who'll appreciate spending time with you. Trust me on this one," he said, sounding vaguely wise. Knowing that he had her attention, he added, "And you shouldn't listen to what they say. You're not ugly at all, even when you're crying. And if it's any consolation, I like your blue hair. It's cool."
Aqua couldn't believe her ears. Was this guy being serious, or was he just trying to cheer her up? Either way, he was being sweet.
"Sure. Otherwise, I wouldn't have said that. I'm Terra, by the way. Terra Watson," he announced, extending a hand.
The girl took it without hesitating; she shook his hand with a light smile. "My name's Aqua Light."
"Aqua…" he said, thoughtfully, as if he was tasting it. "So, if you don't have anything else planned for today, how about we head over to the Marketplace? I heard Mr. Scrooge's giving free ice cream away, 'cause he came up with a new taste. Salty Sea-side, or something."
Aqua nodded. "Sea-salt ice-cream. I heard it was pretty good, but… Don't you have anything else to do? I mean I don't want to be a burden."
However, Terra waved it away, dismissively. "Nope, nothing at all. All my friends got the flu, so I'm alone too. I don't know about you, but I could use some company."
Talk about directness here...
"I'd love to."
Terra pumped his fist high in the air, as if he'd just won the lottery. "That's great! We should hurry up, though, because all the kids probably know about it by now. If we're too late, then we miss out on all the ice cream. And we wouldn't want that, now would we? C'mon!"
Before Aqua was aware of it, Terra had grabbed her hand, pulling her along as he quickened his pace. The sudden burst of speed almost made her lose her balance, especially since she was sitting on a swing, but Aqua didn't mind.
Terra's heart seemed in the right place, and today she'd gained a new, better friend. She shed all her fake friends in the process, feeling lighter than ever. He was certainly a keeper. Meeting him had been the first thing to go her way in quite some time.
Little did she know that this one meeting would affect her future in many, many ways, in good ways and bad. Today was only the beginning.
There would be a time when she'd even regret meeting him, but that day was still so far away...