"Well?" the bluenette said, rather indifferently this time.
Aqua tapped her feet and looked at her friend coolly, waiting for some form of explanation. Given they had just engaged in a rather nasty fight, it was a wonder she had wanted to see him at all. Not only had he treated Aqua harshly, he had taken out whatever issues he had on the poor old woman, who was only attempting to tell their fortunes.
As soon as they had stood outside of the tent, Aqua had scolded him for his behavior. Said brunet had countered with a few angry statements of his own and before long, a full fight had erupted between the two of them.
Hurtful words had been sniped from both sides, but Aqua still felt the painful sting of Terra's worst insult, calling her an "Over-obsessive control freak that always has to get what she wants."
Needless to say, that had been a little too much for the blue-haired teen to bear, so she'd left him behind, heading home instead. She hadn't mentioned this to Ven, simply because she didn't want to ruin his undoubtedly wonderful day with Naminé. Besides, something told Aqua that the blonde would find out soon enough, so why bother telling him now?
The tension charged silence hung between them like a thick curtain of smoke, as neither of them moved, the wall clock's ticking being the only noise in the silent kitchen.
Terra had to gulp, before gathering all his courage, breaking the awkwardness. It was one thing to look into Aqua's piercing blue eyes, but paired with her emotionless tone of voice he didn't exactly know how to proceed.
"Aqua, you know how hard this is for me…" The young man hung his head in shame, letting his chocolate bangs fall freely in front of his handsome face in order to prevent Aqua seeing his hangdog expression. He took a deep breath and restarted, "Look, I'm sorry for yelling at you and that old lady, too. I know it was wrong."
Now, too bad that he had realized all of this a little too late, she thought, without vocalizing said thoughts.
It was silent for a moment, but then Aqua said, almost daringly, "And…?"
Her cerulean eyes seemed to glow faintly, as her gaze intensified. Terra risked a quick glance, and to his great fear, her lips were pressed into a thin line and she had that look on her face, caught between sadness and disappointment. And the latter was what stung the most. It seemed that this was going to be harder than he had thought at first. Much harder. God help him.
Terra's jaw flexed, and you could practically hear him grind his molars and roll his hands into fists. He didn't want to lose his best friend over such a silly argument. No matter their differences of opinion, it wasn't worth losing a best friend over.
So with that thought in mind, he went on, "It wasn't fair of me to blame you for ruining my day, because it wasn't true."
"And?" the pretty bluenette repeated, the tone in her voice eerily neutral this time.
"…And it was my own fault. Nobody else's," he admitted, feeling more and more embarrassed as time passed.
He was sure that his face closely resembled a cherry at this point. Then again, it was the least he deserved.
"And I shouldn't have taken my anger out on you, or call you a… uhm, you know. That was just uncalled for."
Well, she was glad that at least, he had realized that. This, however, didn't automatically smooth over everything between them. She still had every given right to be livid with him. Although holding on to said anger was becoming more and more difficult, given the expression on his face. Terra was utterly adorable when he wasn't even trying. He looked like a lost puppy. If only he knew what kind of impression he had on others, or, to be more specific, her.
"And…" Terra let out a deep sigh, his broad shoulders slumping as if he had lost a difficult battle. Slowly, he ran a hand through his chocolate-colored hair, before finding another response. "And it'll never happen again. Promise."
That last word made her feel as though something inside her broke; she blinked rapidly, as if to get the haze of tears currently filling her eyes to clear. Darn her and her hormonally influenced emotions. Still, she asked with a slight tremor in her voice, "And?"
It went back and forth like this for a little while, until eventually, the brunet decided to end it there. "What do you mean 'and?' I said everything I wanted to say and more!" Terra crossed his arms over his chest, tilting his chin at her defiantly.
To his great surprise, his outburst provoked not an angry reaction, but a small smile, brightening Aqua's face. "Oh, I just wanted to see how far you would take this."
At first, Terra blinked, utterly dumbfounded, before deflating slightly, shaking his head at her. "Why am I even friends with you?"
"Because you would be so lost without me."
"True… And nobody can bake cookies like you," he added quickly, as to cover what he'd previously said.
However, the opposite was true, since the blue-haired beauty let out a laugh. "I knew it, you glutton. There had to be a reason why you keep coming back to me."
In his defense, the brunet teen lifted his hands, "Hey, I'm not the only one who thinks that! Ven's even more of a glutton than I am. He just stays quiet about it. Especially when he's around you. That sneaky little-"
"I don't believe a word of what you said, but you're lucky that I like baking and, in this case, don't mind that you're only using me to satisfy your own needs." A quiet beat passed between them and the two stared at each other, before Aqua admitted, "Okay, that sounded so wrong!"
He smirked at her, surprised that she actually realized that that could be taken two different ways, since normally, the bluenette would say the most remarkable things without her even notice it. Needless to say, Terra and Ven would be laughing their butts off at such moments.
"Well, you should like baking when you're blessed with such a wonderful gift. You're even better than my mom sometimes and she owns a restaurant! I bet it runs in your family."
The pretty bluenette lifted a thin brow at that. "Then you must have gotten your Dad's cooking skills, because I've never, in my whole life, seen such a horrible cook."
That wasn't even a false assumption. It was a well-known fact that Terra's father couldn't even make tea without leaving a trail of burnt utensils behind him, and blowing up half of the kitchen in the process.
"Hey!" Terra protested loudly, before acquiescing. "That was mean, Aqua… and that's why you should bake more cookies now."
"…Nice try," she said with a smile, before sobering up again.
Aqua bit her lower lip in thought, her brows furrowed. Her friend seemed to notice this sudden, inexplicable (although not quite, because girls were weird like that. Aqua was no exception) mood swing, frowning in concern. "Hey, are you alright?"
She seemed to hesitate slightly, before treading carefully, "Terra, do you really see me as an over-obsessive control freak that always has to get what she wants? Be honest with me."
The brunet's eyes widened at the underlying reason Aqua was so upset. That was it? It seemed that his comment had left more damage than he had thought. Then, he decided, it was time to set things right.
"No, of course not! I only said that because… Because I was angry. Believe me, I didn't mean it. I was just looking for something to hurt you, and for that, I'm sorry."
At this point, Aqua was blinking furiously, her eyes downcast, so he took her smooth hand in his and squeezed it softly, making her look up. "You're sweet and caring, and I like you just the way you are. Don't let anyone tell you anything different and please, don't ever change, no matter what. Okay?"
To say that he was relieved when she smiled was the mother of all understatements. The eldest teen let out a relieved sigh and decided that now was the best time to change the subject, for both their sakes.
"So, about those chocolate chip cookies…"
"What? I really like them..."
At the sudden rapping at her door, Aqua practically leapt from her skin, not expecting the sound in the slightest. The program she had been watching had been so engaging that the outside world had seemed to fall away, her surroundings inconsequential. The blue-haired beauty made a quick dash to the front door, attention still on the elections broadcast. Whoever was at the door wasn't nearly as important as the upcoming result announcement.
It was probably just her parents, coming home early because their movie hadn't been interesting enough to keep them entertained. What she didn't get was why they never bothered to use their keys. Why take them at all if they expected her to open the door for them every single time?
After throwing open the door, Aqua froze, surprised.
She blinked, staring up at the tall person towering above her. "Terra? What are you doing here?"
"You don't sound happy to see me," the brunet male couldn't help but remark dryly.
"That's not it… You just appeared out of the blue," she explained.
Her comment provoked a scowl from her handsome brunet friend. "I wasn't planning on it at first, but Ven's out with Naminé again, and I'm all alone."
"So then you decided to come and bug me?"
Terra frowned, looking jokingly offended by Aqua's statement. "No. So then I thought I should pay my dear friend a visit, because I haven't seen her in forever. But I didn't think she's too busy being a couch potato to appreciate this genuine gesture."
Aqua was silent for a moment, but then… "And I'm supposed to believe this story of yours, because…?"
Terra sighed, wearily, deciding to use his last trump. "…I have chocolate," he offered, showing the mentioned candy.
In his hands were two large bars of dark chocolate, Aqua's favorite, of course, wrapped in shiny silver foil. The blue-haired teen raised a thin brow at his suggestive tone that, despite everything, she had started to realize she secretly adored. For her, Terra had two sides; the thoughtful, silent and serious one that rivaled even her own. And then there was his mischievous side that kept everyone on their toes. In this case, the latter was painfully obvious.
"And you thought you could bribe me with that?"
He shrugged. "I can try."
She blinked once again, and then grinned. "Very well, then. You win."
With that, Aqua rushed back to the living room again, leaving Terra to make himself at home, shutting the door as he moved farther into the hallway. He pumped his fist in the air at his victory, before following her. As he entered the room, Aqua had already made herself quite comfortable on the couch. She tapped the empty place next to her, inviting him to sit down.
With a mild degree of dexterity, Terra vaulted the couch, landing neatly next to his friend, smirking at her irritated expression. If the cozy couch had been without armrests, Aqua certainly would have tumbled off, thanks to him. Aqua gave him a disapproving look, which he promptly ignored. In return, Aqua's eyes flicked upward, in a perfect eye roll.
This time, the brunet couldn't help but respond, "Good thing you're not a judge, otherwise everyone could easily bribe you with chocolate… and you would get fat."
Aqua let out a rather uncharacteristic snort. As if he actually cared about her gaining weight. Chances were he wouldn't even notice until she pointed it out to him.
"Very funny. At least I'd be a better judge than you. You would probably only believe the bad guys, as gullible as you are."
"That's not true!"
"Oh no? Remember that time that you believed Seifer when he told you Ven had stolen your football cards when it was Seifer and his gang all along?"
The brunet male simply chose not to reply to that, but his lack of response said enough to Aqua.
"Yeah, I already thought so. And that's the least of it."
After a moment of silence, Terra started again, "…But imagine what would happen to the world if we decided to team up."
"Some team we would be, disagreeing with each other constantly."
Terra hummed as he grabbed the remote that was sitting between them.
"Hey, I was watching that!" Aqua protested, giving him a sharp look when he zapped the program away.
Right at that moment, some comedian said, "My wife always says, 'You're all work, work, work and no play. I always end up on the second place.' However, is that really the case? No, it's not. The car comes on the second place."
"Oh." Terra paused, giving her a sidelong glance. "What was it about?"
"The upcoming election, what else?" she replied, as though it was the most obvious thing in the world.
Actually, it was. How could he have missed all of that when you saw those huge billboards in practically every corner of Radiant Garden?
He snorted at that. "You really are boring, you know that? Why would you care about stuff like that when you're not even old enough to vote?"
Aqua stared at him, her mouth forming a round 'O' "…I'm not even dignifying that with a response."
"Why not, can't think of a reason of why you're torturing yourself by watching this?" he asked teasingly.
As expected, the bluenette was ready to prove him otherwise. "You do know that the outcome of the elections will have an enormous influence on your life, right?"
"So..." she started, before she realized that no matter what she would say, Terra would just come up with something else to tease her with. Her shoulders slumped. "Never mind already."
After that, the silence between them returned once again, until something marched to the front of Aqua's mind. "Oh, before I forget…" She fished something out of the pocket of her faded blue jeans. "I made something for the three of us. I already gave Ven his earlier today. Here."
She handed him a star-shaped object, tinted orange and glowing slightly as it hit the gold sunlight that fell through the windows.
As soon as the cool piece of metal touched his hand, he started investigating it, turning it over and over in his hands. "Nice handiwork," he noted, the incoming sunlight making it glimmer even brighter.
If he didn't know any better, he would have assumed Aqua had caught some sunbeams in the golden glass. And something told him that she'd worked really hard on this one, even harder than she normally did for all her other little projects. She certainly had surpassed herself this time, what with all the details and the thin, silver lines intersecting each other at the right places. Even the emblem in the middle of the star looked like it was crafted by experienced hands. It had the shape of a heart, but not quite. Terra recognized it from the different sketches in Aqua's notebooks.
"What's this for?"
"It's a lucky charm, or more of a Wayfinder, for the three of us," she explained to him, digging out her own charm. Hers had blue glass as opposed to orange and from this angle, it looked as though she had managed to capture the ocean in her Wayfinder. "This way, we'll be connected and we'll always find each other, no matter what."
"And that way, Ven will never be able to escape from us when we need his help," Terra added with a lighthearted chuckle.
"Yes, that, too," she admitted, smiling softly.
"So what color does Ven have?" he questioned.
For some reason, this seemed to surprise the older teen. "Oh, I thought he would have red."
"What makes you think that?"
"Well…" Terra shifted slightly in his seat, as though he needed to sit differently to formulate the right answer. "To be honest, I actually thought that you had based your idea on the three basic colors; red, yellow and blue."
Now that Aqua thought of it, it could have been a good basic. However, the idea that was behind these colors was much deeper than what Terra had in mind.
"Oh, no. I actually based it on the one of, if not the, most important trinity in the world."
This piqued Terra's curiosity and he focused on her, as if urging her to elaborate. Naturally, Aqua took this chance to steal the remote back, returning to her political program, without her friend noticing.
"Which is…?" The young man prompted, pushing slightly.
"Light, Water and Life... Though the latter can also be seen as Air. A planet isn't healthy if it misses one of these elements."
"So… I represent Light?"
She nodded. "Yeah, although you could easily represent Earth, too, what with your name and all."
Terra nodded thoughtfully, slowly running a hand through his thick brunet locks. He stared at his Wayfinder again and rubbed his thumb softly over its surface. "That's pretty cool... And it makes sense, seeing as you're water."
"Yeah, the hair and the name says enough already, doesn't it?"
This earned her a chuckle. "That too. But you also mingle perfectly with everything, while still managing to make it balanced and radiant." That answer brought a blush to her cheeks, but Terra remained oblivious. "Ven's gotta be Life then, with the never ending amounts of energy he possesses."
After that, they turned their attention back to the television again.
A bald, rather scary-looking man with glowing, yellow-ish eyes, which they recognized as their current ruler's rival Xehanort, said, "No, it is anything but wrong that I have denied that I am not against the ban on the embargo."
What in the world was that even supposed to mean? Terra wondered, perplexed. He caught the bluenette frowning in confusion, before he stated, "Say what you want about our ruler Ansem's rival, but at least he stands for everything he better shouldn't have said."
Aqua laughed at that, giving him a playful shove on the shoulder. "At least he's honest about his intentions. Can't say the same about some of us here. But yes, this is why Ansem always wins. No other man is better for this place than him."
"So I take it that you're going to vote for Ansem?"
Terra raised his eyebrows. "Of course."
Aqua nodded, satisfied. "Good."
Soon enough, the peaceful silence returned in the living room again, until Terra finally noticed something peculiar.
"Hey, who changed it back to the snooze patrol?"