The booming sounds of cheerful laughter and loud carnival music greeted the trio when they rounded the corner and arrived at the entrance of the annual fair. The positive vibes that were radiating from it was hard to miss and it only grew from here. As promised, it looked more spectacular than it did last year, thanks to a couple of newly added attractions. The delicious smell of popcorn, cotton candy, hotdogs and much more wafted their way, as though it was trying to tempt them into buying something. Honestly, if one concentrated hard enough, they could practically taste the hot waffles on their tongue. So if it tasted just as delicious as it smelled right now, then they had stumbled into Heaven itself.
"Oh boy, I can't wait to go on all of the attractions! The wilder, the better," Ventus cried, enthusiastically, sniffing in the mouthwatering scent deeply with his eyes closed.
He let out the most content sigh ever, as his stomach grumbled loudly. Terra and Aqua tried to suppress their laugh, but failed miserably.
"So tell me, are you so excited about the attractions, or the food?" Terra asked, jokingly.
The spiky-haired blonde opened his eyes again and frowned lightly. He was about to give a smart remark, when he spotted someone who made his mind go completely blank.
However, he recovered before any of them could comment on his zombie-like state. "Uh, I gotta go. See you guys later!" he quickly said, as he made an attempt to leave the two older teens.
"Hey, I was only kidding. No need to leave us," Terra protested, mildly surprised. If he had known that Ven would get upset that easily, he wouldn't have made that joke at all.
The brunet quickly grabbed the younger boy by his shoulder in a firm grip, so he couldn't escape. Aqua, however, nudged his elbow to get his attention and then pointed at the familiar figure that had caused Ventus to act like this. When Terra spotted the lonely girl as well, a look of understanding crossed his face and he let go of the boy's shoulder. Naminé, clad in a spotless white summer dress that moved gently in the wind, stood not too far away from them. Her back was turned towards them, so she had no idea that three pairs of eyes were currently looking at her. She was all alone, looking at the people on a rollercoaster from a safe distance. If Aqua didn't know any better, she would think that she wanted to go on the rollercoaster herself, but was too afraid to try alone. It was a beautiful, but somewhat heartbreaking sight, but the bluenette couldn't exactly pinpoint why.
Obviously, Terra couldn't resist teasing Ven once again, by saying, "Ah, this is what you've been secretly waiting for in order to dump us, huh?"
Aqua couldn't help but giggle when she saw the younger boy blush furiously, proving him right. Ven always did that whenever it was about the silent girl. He gave Terra an angry look, which almost managed to make the older boy feel uncomfortable, before making his way towards Naminé. They didn't stop him and watched the younger boy go, off to chase his own luck. Perhaps it was more fitting to say 'make' his own luck, because Naminé would never run away from Ven.
The blonde approached the girl carefully, and tapped her on the shoulder. Startled, Naminé spun around, but relaxed visibly when she saw it was only Ventus. After that realization, a radiant smile appeared on her pale but delicate face, which was hard to overlook, even from this distance (if Aqua had to take a guess, she would say it was probably that same smile that managed to drive her younger friend crazy). Soon enough, the two started talking animatedly about something.
Terra made sure that Ven went in a different direction, leaving them behind, before the teenager finally remarked, "So… Now it's just you and me, huh?"
"Oh well, the more fun that is… and the more cotton candy we can buy for ourselves from the money we brought with us."
This statement earned him a laugh from the blue-haired teenager. "Is there anything else you ever think about, other than food?"
And he actually had the guts to tease Ventus about it? From where Aqua was standing, it felt a lot like the pot calling the kettle black.
"Of course," the brunet replied, almost indignantly. "I think about lots of stuff!"
Terra offered his arm for her to hold, which she gladly accepted, a small smile gracing her face. They continued walking like this, looking around them at all the lights and balloons and deliriously happy people. The excitement seemed to be contagious at this point.
"They would make a cute couple, wouldn't they?" the bluenette remarked out of the blue.
Knowing exactly who she was talking about, Terra hummed, showing her that he agreed completely. "Yeah, they sure would. It's getting a little creepy... almost as though they're made for each other, or something. Even though he'd never admit that in front of us."
"And whose fault is it again? You always pester him with the most trivial things! No wonder he never tells us anything anymore. I would've done the same if I had been in his place."
This made the brunet halt all of a sudden and he gave her a serious look. "What, are you trying to tell me that you have a crush on someone, too, now? And you didn't even tell me?"
Aqua's mouth dropped open, feeling her face heating up. Talk about misunderstandings!
"Wh- No! Of course not. I was only being hypothetical."
"Oh, really now? Then why are you blushing?" he asked with a small smirk. Call him mean, but he thought that teasing Aqua was just as much fun as teasing Ventus.
The blue-haired teen felt her cheeks with her hands, discretely, and realized that he was right. She must have been as red as a cherry if he was saying that.
"Who is he? Is it-"
"There is no he!" she swiftly cut in, before he would start mentioning about every guy they knew.
To her great surprise, Terra's deep, cobalt-colored eyes widened considerably as he gave her an incredulous look. "Wait, is it a she? Why, Aqua, I didn't know you swing that way. Is that why you always hang out with-"
"Terra, stop it!" she cried, looking around her in hopes that nobody else was hearing the nonsense he was coming up with.
How he had come up with that conclusion was beyond her...
"...What? Can't you even take a joke?"
This made the young woman blink. When she recovered from her initial surprise, she shot him a deadly glare, before marching away from him with an angry huff.
That was when something peculiar caught the bluenette girl's attention and she stopped walking. "Hey, hold on," Aqua suddenly said, making him halt as well, and give her a questioning look. She bent forward slightly to inspect a poster on the nearby wall. "What's this?"
Terra followed her example and examined the poster as well, a frown appearing on his handsome face. It only showed the face of a rather old woman, who stared mysteriously into the blue-ish crystal ball that was glowing faintly. She held her hands near its sides, but wasn't touching the glass surface, as though they were the main reason that the crystal ball was floating around in the purplish mist surrounding her. On her index finger, there was a golden ring with a purple gemstone on it. The background was pitch black, making her appear a little scary. In bold neon letters, there was written underneath the scene, 'Let her Eyes tell you your Future.'
"Hmm... I don't know, but I have a strange feeling that I've seen this woman somewhere before…" Terra kept looking at the poster in deep thought, his cobalt blue eyes narrowed, as though he was trying to remember something that was in the far corner of his mind. Suddenly, he let out a loud cry, catching the attention of a few passersby, while nearly giving his best friend a heart-attack.
"What is it?" Aqua asked with widened eyes.
"Are you kidding me? That's the grandma of that cheerful red-haired girl that lives near the Market place! The girl's name always escapes me… Something with a 'K.' Kiara… No, Kari... Kiari?"
Aqua raised a thin brow, giving the male teen a funny look. "…I have honestly no idea who you're talking about."
"Oh..." He sighed, running a hand through his chocolate brown locks. "Well, never mind, then. Anyways, this is just another proof of how fake all of this is, really!" Terra growled. "I simply can't believe that they try to fool the whole town this way! A fortune teller? This old lady? My foot! How is the owner of a greengrocery supposed to tell your fortune? By asking the cucumbers and tomatoes?"
"Fake?" Aqua repeated, incredulously, almost as though she wasn't sure if she had heard that right. "So you don't believe in it?"
"Of course not!"
He said it in a way that almost sounded like, "Please don't tell me you do believe in this bull crap!"
"And that comes from the one who loved to show everyone his magic tricks not even four years ago, claiming that one's never too old for magic."
At that, his face reddened considerably from embarrassment and he looked away from his friend. "T-that was different."
"Oh, is that so?"
The brunet opened his mouth to reply, when he saw how an amused expression appeared on her face. Wait a minute... was she mocking him?
"Well, I'm not going," Terra announced, determined. To emphasize his words, the brunet corssed his arms over his chest.
Aqua frowned, definitely not pleased at the male's unreasonable stubbornness. "Terra!" she scolded him.
"Aqua!" he mimicked her, just as exasperated.
"But you have to go!"
"And why is that?"
"Because... I don't want to go alone," Aqua then admitted softly, giving him a pleading look.
Still, Terra wouldn't budge, no matter what she tried. At this point, talking to a wall was more effective. Seriously, he could be so stubborn when it came to things like this! What did it matter if he went with her? It wasn't like she was leading him to his death, or something. So what if he knew the woman? Couldn't he just ignore that, only for today?
"Come on, Terra. Let's just do this because it's fun. And afterwards, we can do whatever you like, okay?"
This was her last trump, so if he didn't say 'yes' now... Well, it did sound reasonable enough to her, so maybe he would accept her suggestion.
He thought about it for a good moment, the frown on his face lessening. That had to be a good sign.
"If you want to pay for my cotton candy after all this… then we have a deal."
This got her to smile. Leave it up to Terra to bring the subject back to food again. For someone who had such a sweet tooth, she wondered how it was possible for him to never gain any weight. He was a lucky guy.
"Alright, alright. Fine," the bluenette replied, messing up his hair, only so he would shoot her an annoyed look.
"That, and you need to come with me to the haunted house. I heard there's a haunted piano in it that keeps playing creepy medleys all the time. We've got to see that!" he replied, as he tried to fix his hair.
"...We'll see about that."
And so, they headed to the crimson red tent at the far corner of the fair. Strangely enough, there wasn't a long queue in front of that attraction, as opposed to all the other things around them. In fact, there was nobody to be seen near the entrance. If that wasn't a dead giveaway to the attraction's popularity - or rather, lack thereof - then Terra didn't know what was.
"Hey, I think she already left. Let's go back," Terra suggested, already turning around, but Aqua planted her feet firmly onto the ground and stopped him.
If he honestly thought that he could get out of this that easily, then he was certainly wrong!
"No, we won't leave. Let's get inside."
Terra's shoulders slumped at the bad news. The male teen let out a long-suffered sigh and followed her, albeit slightly begrudgingly. When they entered the old and stuffy tent, the first thing that they noticed was the fact that the place smelled like cats. Cats that definitely needed to be washed. Terra scrunched up his nose in displeasure, as he quietly took in his surroundings. Aqua could feel how he shuddered from disgust, but she simply chose to ignore her friend. For a guy, he could act pretty dramatic sometimes. The next thing they spotted, was an old woman, the very same from the poster, sitting behind a table that had a long white cloth draped over it. Her crystal ball that stood in the middle of the table was turned off. It made a dull impression and it reflected the darkened place around them.
"Ah, hello, my dears. You're here for me to tell your future?"
No, we're here to fish for birds, Terra thought sarcastically, but he kept his mouth shut.
Aqua nodded, as she replied politely, "Yes, ma'am. If it's not too much trouble."
Terra rolled his eyes and made a disapproving sound, but nobody paid attention to him. The old woman smiled, her warm, brown eyes twinkling in pleasure.
I would be pleased too if I got money out of lying and making up random things. I can't believe that Aqua likes this kind of lame stuff. Must be a girl thing, or something, because it doesn't make any sense at all.
"No, no, not at all. Please, have a seat and show me your hand."
Aqua stepped forward and took place on the only vacant chair that was placed on the other end of the round table. Feeling excitement build inside of her, she put her right hand on the table. Since there was no other chair, Terra was compelled to stand behind his best friend. He made a bored, highly uninterested impression and that last part wasn't acted.
"Hmm..." the seemingly friendly woman started, thoughtfully.
"What do you see?" the blue-haired teen inquired.
How about a freakin' hand? What else could she be seeing? Oh boy, here it comes...
"I see a lot of things, and most of it involves a tall, handsome, brunet young man..." She briefly looked at Terra when she mentioned that. "That must be the same friend you brought here with you. Your destinies have become intertwined a long time ago. I sense a strong bond between you two."
Okay, now it was official: this old swindler made him gag. Tall, dark and handsome, really? What was the next thing she would say; that he would marry Aqua? Puh-lease! Just because they were here together, didn't mean that they were actually dating!
"Yeah, sure. Was that before or after you looked into your "Ball of Wisdom"?"
Aqua let out a shocked gasp and she swiveled around. "Ugh, Terra!" the girl hissed, shooting him a look of pure doom, before she turned back to the old lady again. "Please forgive my friend. I don't know what's gotten into him."
The old woman shook her head, chuckling at the situation. "What is your name, young man?"
"Can't you tell that by looking into my future?"
"Terra!" Aqua whispered disapprovingly, this time hitting his leg lightly at his rudeness.
"Ah… a non-believer. I've handled many of them in my life-"
Yeah, I'm sure you've met more people with common sense, who didn't buy this act.
"-I know how to settle this. Let me tell you something by looking at your hand."
The brunet male crossed his arms over his chest and narrowed his deep, cobalt blue eyes. He didn't have to think twice when he replied flatly, "No, thanks."
However, when he caught Aqua's dark, furious gaze, he knew that he had no choice this time. She sure could be scary when she wanted to. He let out a deep sigh and extracted his right hand for the woman, without as much as saying another word. The things you had to do for your friends...
"It would make things a lot easier for me if you took of your gloves, dear boy."
Terra's cheeks colored when he heard how Aqua tried to suppress her giggles, but he still did as he was told. The sooner they could get the hell out of here, the better.
"Let me see... You hate politics, or having a job and you're very gullible. You love anything sweet and when there's no chocolate powder left, you like to drink your milk mixed with honey, before going to sleep. Also, it seems that you find strength more important than flexibility and speed. Whether that's a good thing... I'm not too sure."
Terra's mouth fell open when she guessed all these things right, wondering how in the world that was possible. However, he was quick to recover again.
"I bet you asked my mom for these things when she bought groceries from your shop the other day. Nice try, but I'm not falling for it," he declared fiercely. As an afterthought, he added, "And I'm not gullible!"
Aqua let out a deep sigh and mentally face palmed. Ugh, for the love of...
If one believed Terra, then everyone was having some sort of conspiracy going on against him when that really wasn't the case. However, he also had a knack of believing the liars. All in all, the brunet was quite a handful. And yes, he actually was extremely gullible, whether he liked that or not.
The fortune teller went on, ignoring his words. "To give you some advice for the future, I'd say that you have to watch out for losing things, because even that day that you'll lose the time, everything will change for you. And one day, you'll even get indirectly involved into a robbery. I'd say you have quite an action-filled future, even if you might not always remember the most important things."
...The hell?! That woman was starting to sound like a fortune cookie and he was sorry to say that it wasn't even funny.
"…You can't fool me. And what is that even supposed to mean? You can't lose 'The Time'."
"I'm sorry. He's usually not this rude," Aqua swiftly apologized, as she cut in, before Terra would start cursing. "Thank you for your time."
For the sake of everyone, she decided to leave it at this, even if she would have liked to know a bit more about her own future. That was why they had decided to come here, after all. However, it seemed that she wouldn't have much luck with that today.
The old lady merely nodded, but the amused twinkle in her eyes was noticeable. "You're very welcome, young lady."
"Hey, what do you mean with that? Now I'm the one to blame?" he exclaimed.
But Aqua didn't bother to reply to him and merely grabbed his arm to drag him out of the tent, before things got worse. Honestly, Terra was just too unbelievable for words sometimes…
"Excuse me, Miss?"
Terra now continued to walk out of the tent by himself, but Aqua stopped, facing the lady again. "Yes?"
"I would watch out for redheads if I were you."
Aqua frowned, but then nodded, not sure what to make of those mysterious words. But perhaps now wasn't the time to give much though to this strange warning.
"I will," she promised the lady, before Terra found it necessary to pull her completely out of the tent with him, making her bump into her best friend.
She was more than ready to scold the brunet for his behavior. For Light's sake, couldn't he just see the fun in some things?
As soon as the brunet teen saw that murderous look in her eyes - that expression that always gave him the chills - he knew he was going to get it and he mentally prepared himself for the verbal attack (if it stayed at that)...