Aqua had the strange, unsettling feeling that she was being followed. Just like in those scary movies, she started walking faster, hoping to be able to get rid of the stranger. Unfortunately, she could hear from the footsteps behind her that that person mimicked her movements. It didn't help that it was after ten o'clock at night. Some shops were still open at this time, but that didn't make her feel any safer.
As descretely as she could, Aqua glanced over her shoulder...
There was no one there.
The bluenette turned her head back again and got startled by a tall, hooded figure that suddenly appeared right in front of her. She yelped, until the unknown figure took off the black hood and revealed his identity. Her mouth dropped open.
"Were you looking for me?" Vanitas asked with a smirk.
Aqua's eyes slowly traveled from the sharp, white fangs on the front of the hoody he was wearing, to the deep amber eyes of the person who had almost given her a heart-attack. "You again? Why do I get the feeling you're stalking me?"
He raised a dark brow at that. "I'm not. I was just heading home."
And she was supposed to believe that? Aqua didn't know what came over her. She couldn't help it but get angry. Honestly, there was no way he could actually live here closeby. How come she'd never seen him around here before? It's not like she walked this route every day with her eyes closed.
"Look. I'm not a damsel in distress. I don't need to be saved, so there's no need for you to play the hero!"
His smirk only widened at that.
"What?" she said sharply.
"Trust me, if I had to describe myself, the word 'hero' would be the last thing that came to mind."
No, jerk would probably be more fitting, she thought. Or murderer…
Vanitas's tone was icy cold now and this made her realize that perhaps, she had voiced her thoughts instead of keeping it to herself. Well, this was awkward...
She sighed. "I'm sorry. It's just... I heard some questionable things about your past. One of those rumors was a possible murder, so..."
This time, it was Vanitas's turn to sigh deeply. "Let me guess, Kairi told you that?"
Aqua blinked. How did he know?
"And you actually believed her? And here I thought you were the intelligent one out of your friends."
"Well, if you really are pro justice, then at least allow me to explain my side of the story. That is, if you don't feel too intimidated being in the presence of a murderer. I promise we'll go somewhere crowded. That way, killing you will become quite a task."
She couldn't help but notice how his voice was laced with thick sarcasm.
"...Alright then. Let's go to the Moogle ice-cream shop over there," she proposed.
The Moogle ice cream shops were one of the most successful shops in the world. They didn't only sell ice-creams, but also milkshakes, cute cupcakes and smoothies. As a student, the pretty bluenette loved wasting her breaks in this particular shop. Sometimes she would even bring her books and study for an hour. The moogles were always so friendly. They would always fill her cup without her noticing too.
Aqua looked over the menu in the shop and decided to try the new paopu-mango smoothie. Choosing something was always so hard; everything was delicious.
"Just so you know, I'm not gonna pay for you just because you're a woman."
"I wasn't expecting you to," she snapped, irritably, but Vanitas only smirked.
It wasn't too crowded inside, but enough to ensure her safety at least. She wasn't afraid now that there would be no witnesses if he tried something…maniacally.
Vanitas wasted no time; as soon as they sat down, he started talking. "I won't deny it, I'm surprised you decided to bear with me."
"Like you said, I'm pro-justice."
Vanitas's story was even more bizar than Kairi's version. Apparently, Xion had cheated on him. After that, she'd decided to leave Vanitas because she had fallen in love with the other guy, Axel. Aqua could tell from Vanitas's body language that he found it hard to talk about them.
"Well, he can have her. I don't want to have anything to do with a traitor. And quite frankly, I'm getting sick of people lying about me. I've never liked that red-haired bitch, but now, she's really gone too far. If my sweet little brother wasn't head over heels for her, I would've killed her by now." When he spotted Aqua's shocked expression, he added, "Kidding. You people can't recognize a joke when it's dancing naked in front of you. But I can't blame you for hating her. You're not the only one."
"I never said I hated her," Aqua corrected him.
He rolled his eyes. "You don't have to. You're easy to read. You hate her more than anything."
She frowned. "No, I don't."
"Come on, even you have to know by now that she's as much of an innocent princess of Light as I am."
Aqua shook her head. "You're wrong. Look, Kairi's a nice-"
"Yeah, she's a real angel in front of everyone, even if she steals your boyfriend-
"Terra's not my boyfriend!" she protested loudly, causing some unwanted attention from the few people in the shop.
"-But behind their back, she comes up with shit that will convince even you that she's the incarnation of the devil himself. Which is probably the main reason she's a redhead. She has no soul whatsoever. So don't say I didn't warn you when Terra starts treating you like crap because of her."
"That's a horrible thing to say, even for you," she chided him.
He merely shrugged as a response.
Aqua sighed. Obviously, talking to a wall was more effective. This guy already had made up his mind about hating Kairi for the rest of his life. And if he was right, then she couldn't really blame him. The problem however was that she had no idea who to believe now; Vanitas, or kairi. Usually, it was easy for her to spot liars, but with Vanitas, it was really hard to tell when he was lying. More interesting was the fact that according to vanitas, his brother was in love with Kairi. Poor soul. Aqua now knew what that boy had to feel like.
"Kairi said something else as well…" Aqua started, biting her lower lip.
"What, that I once threatened to kill her?" he asked sarcastically
"No… That the only reason you uh, hang out with me is because uhm…"
"Because what?" he demanded, narrowing his eyes dangerously at her.
"Because I would remind you of…"
At this, Vanitas let out a humorless laugh. "Oh, please! From what I've seen, you are nothing like her. Neither physically, nor mentally. If anything, Xion looks more like Kairi, except that the latter isn't that much of a useless puppet. Besides, if you had looked like her, I would've avoided you."
"Then why did Kairi say all of these-"
"Because that's what all jealous exes do, obviously."
Her brains had to progress so much information all at once that it was hard to keep up with him.
"She couldn't stand the fact that I broke up with her and got a relationship with Xion later. And I bet it was her who told Axel about Xion in the first place. Everyone knows how much of a player Axel is. He's even more twisted than I am, and that's says enough. So you can trust me when I say that Kairi's not as sweet and innocent as you think. I've known her long enough to be sure about this one."
Well, this was really shocking. And yet she couldn't help but wonder... "Does Terra know this?"
"Most likely not. I bet Kairi chose not to tell him anything."
When they were done, Vanitas noted, "Well, since you like to be the damsel in distress, I'll walk you home. We wouldn't want you to encounter a real murderer, right?"
"Oh, you don't have to-" she started, protesting politely.
"Shut up and follow me."
He already walked away before she could say more.
Aqua sighed deeply. Men… they were all morons in their own way.