Aqua sat on her bed, behind Terra, who wasn't even mildly surprised at the fact that he was surrounded by blue, from the duvet cover and curtains, to the carpet. After all, he'd been here countless times before, so he was used to it all. Even the lingering smell of vanilla and something else that he couldn't quite put his finger on was more than familiar for him. The brunet had turned his exposed back towards his best friend, his shirt lifted up by himself and showing his sinewy back, which made it considerably easier for Aqua to treat the fresh cuts that marred his otherwise flawless skin.
"If I didn't have you…" the brunet started, sighing gratefully, but trying to sit still for Aqua's sake.
"Then you'd be hopelessly lost... or dead at this point. Honestly, Terra, why don't you ever watch out? How old are you, five?" she muttered under her breath, disapprovingly. "I'm going to put some alcohol on it now, just to be sure."
"Fine, mother, if you must," Terra said jokingly. At that same moment, though, his back tensed and he suppressed a groan of pain. "Ow! Can't you be more careful? I'm already in enough pain as it is."
The bluenette swiftly changed hands, fearing that she might hurt Terra with the slightly coarse one. It was pretty much the only disadvantage of being a violinist.
Despite the situation, she couldn't help but smile. Terra had just told her how exactly he'd gotten these cuts in the first place. Apparently, he'd showed Ven some new trick on the younger teen's skateboard. Unfortunately, it hadn't ended too well for Terra and he'd fallen, scraping his back against the pavement in the process. The bluenette could tell that he was pretty embarrassed about it, especially since both Ventus and Aqua had seen him in this state (not to mention the random passersby), but she guessed that she was the only one he trusted enough to take care of him right now.
It didn't take Aqua too long to notice how muscular he'd become throughout the years. She could still remember how meager he'd been eight years or so ago. The blue-haired young woman knew that he was doing fitness in his spare time, among other things. Well, the results were definitely showing. She also tried not to focus on how soft and firm to the touch his skin was, and warm...
Drat, too late for that now.
The blue-haired beauty blinked, trying to clear her head. However, at that moment, she was granted with another topic to think about, as Terra suddenly asked her, "How was your date?"
At once, her head snapped up, even though Terra couldn't see her (he did feel the sudden movement, though, because the bed sagged slightly). "What?" she asked, surprise clear in her voice.
His voice sounded eerily neutral and patient, as he continued. "Your date with Zack. Wasn't that yesterday?"
"Oh, yeah… It was fun."
"Fun?" At this point, Aqua could practically feel how he raised a finely arched eyebrow.
"Yes, fun," she iterated.
"I'm sorry, but could you be a little bit more precise?"
Aqua sighed lightly, wondering what in the world he wanted to hear from her so badly. "Well, I'm sure you already know this, seeing that he's your cousin, but I think he's a nice, polite and funny guy and I liked how everything went so smoothly," was pretty much all she said.
"Are you going to see him again?"
Terra had a feeling that his best friend purposefully kept it vague, although he didn't know why. He was about to comment on that when the doorbell rang downstairs.
"Well, that should be Ven, checking up on you and telling you how much of an oddball you are," Aqua spoke, after a short, awkward moment of silence.
Almost as though that was a sign, Terra got up from the bed. He gave her a flat look, as he adjusted his black shirt properly so that his back was covered again, hiding the scrapes that were taken care of by deft hands. "Not that that's necessary. You keep reminding me of that constantly."
"And you know what I would do if I were you?" she said, choosing to ignore his last comment.
"Clean up your room as soon as you're back home. You could easily break something if you fell over any of the junk that you're keeping there," Aqua remarked.
Terra frowned, running a hand through his chocolate-like spikes and letting out a frustrated sigh. "There's no junk in my room. You're just jealous that you don't have such cool things. You only have... blue." To emphasize his point, the young man looked around.
"Yeah, you keep telling yourself that."
"It's just a guy thing you wouldn't understand, so I'm not going to explain it."
Aqua rolled her cerulean eyes, an amused smile tugging at her lips. "Whatever you say, Terra."
The silence in the room was almost as palpable as a thick curtain of smoke. Terra took another deep, steadying breath. He was extraordinarily nervous and to be honest, he had good reason to be. His cobalt blue eyes were fixed on Aqua and he waited impatiently for her to open the little present he'd given her for her eighteenth birthday. In that instant, he couldn't help but wonder why she always took her sweet time doing so. Or maybe it was a girl thing he would never understand? Because if he had been in her place, he definitely would've shredded the gift wrap seconds ago. It was almost as though she was doing it on purpose, just to see how far she could go until he would explode.
Just when he let out a frustrated sigh, Aqua finally opened the small box in her hands and gasped when she realized what was in it. For a moment, she was at a complete loss of for words, which was more than evident, because all she could do was stare at the present. Slowly and oh so carefully, as if it could break at the slightest movement, the bluenette took the gift, a silver locket with a star-shaped pendant, out of the box. It was so new, untouched, pure even. It even glistened when it hit the light. The blue-haired young woman knew though why he'd chosen astar-shaped pendant, showing once again how much he really knew her.
"Open it, there's more to it," Terra said, desperately trying not to sound impatient.
His friend did as she was told and saw that the left side of the pendant was empty. The other side, however, contained a single photo: a small portrait of Terra. Judging from his muscular form, it was a recent photograph, too.
"So you'll never forget me when you go to uni," he explained softly.
Aqua looked up at him, blinking a couple of times to get rid of the sudden tears that threatened to spill. She was so incredibly moved by this gesture that she feared that if she started crying now, she wouldn't be able to stop.
She let out a rather shaky laugh and stepped closer to the brunet to hug him. "Silly. How could I ever forget about you? Besides, it's not like we'll never see each other again."
The dark haired young man tightened his hold on her, while whispering, "True. I'll visit you at least twice a week, but still. You may never know…"
At this, she managed a laugh. "Well, that's even more than you do now. But thanks. I appreciate it."
Terra rolled his eyes, before he got that serious look on his face again. It seemed that he didn't like the fact that they both went to different universities just as much as her. Whereas she was heading off to Destiny Islands, Terra already went to the local university.
He stepped away, so he could look at Aqua. "By giving you this locket… I promise I'll never forget about you and all those great memories of us together. I'll always cherish them, no matter what happens."
It was silent for a moment, as Aqua let those words sink in, but then… "Terra, is that supposed to console me? You don't even remember what you had for lunch today!"
Terra opened his mouth to protest… only to find out she was right, unfortunately. "That's different," he muttered.
"I'm sure it is..." She hesitated for a moment, before giving him a quick peck on the cheek. "Thank you."
Aqua wasn't only thanking him for the present, but for everything he'd done for her and with her. It seemed appropriate in that moment.
Terra's mouth dropped open and his jaw practically hit the floor at what he was seeing. He rubbed his eyes, just to be sure that he wasn't hallucinating. Apparently, he really wasn't, because nothing changed.
"Okay, what is that?" he asked baffled, as he pointed at a small blue figure that was lying peacefully on the red loveseat, curled up and all.
From this distance, it looked as though it was a rather furry cushion, except for the fact that it was breathing. It wasn't that peaceful anymore, either, as it started to stir. Something told him that he had to watch out for whatever that creature was. That shade of blue couldn't possibly be a healthy color.
"Terra, meet Stitch, my new pet."
Holy hell. So this was what she'd asked him to come for? Was it too late to turn around, leave and never look back again? Judging by Aqua's instense stare, it was...unfortunately.
Terra raised a finely arched eyebrow. "…You can't be serious about this."
"Why not? I don't see the problem."
Then she was obviously as blind as a bat. Seriously, what was wrong with this woman? He had already found out that women just didn't make sense. Men should stop trying to understand them if they wanted to be happy. But this... He honestly had no words for it. Conclusion: Aqua was weird. Really, really weird. On the classic scale of one to ten, she would easily score a twelve.
By now, the creature seemed fully awake. It let out a strange, content noise as it stretched, before sitting up. Was it actually supposed to be able to do that? Terra was about to ask that when the animal suddenly turned its head his way. His beady, midnight-colored eyes stared up at him curiously. The brunet, however, was starting to feel slightly uneasy under that stare.
Instinctively taking one step back, he asked to its owner, "What the hell is this thing, anyway?"
Because he couldn't get anything logical out of it to save his life.
"I will not tolerate that kind of language, Terra!" the bluenette said sternly, berating him. "You'll have to respect my dog, or you can go away."
The dark-haired man let out a rather uncharacteristic snort at that. No matter what way he looked at it, that…living mutant thing wasn't a dog. He knew that Aqua liked the color blue (practically everything in her bedroom was blue), but now she was going a little too far, to the point that it was getting kind of creepy. Don't get him wrong, he did like Aqua. It was just that sometimes, she was such a girl.
"Isn't he adorable?" she cooed.
"Uh… no. It looks like an alien experiment gone horribly wrong."
This earned him a hard smack on the arm and he didn't want to admit it, but it hurt. "Oh, come on. I know you'll like him. It just takes a little time to get used to each other."
Yeah, a few years will probably be enough, he thought, though he wasn't stupid enough to voice his thoughts.
Terra gave her a flat look, but decided not to comment on what she'd said. Instead, he went for, "So why did you buy this sad excuse of-" Terra stopped when he saw the dangerous look Aqua was giving him "Uh…a dog?"
"Well, I'm feeling a little lonely sometimes. Especially after I moved away from my parents," Aqua replied truthfully. "I know it was my own choice not to have roommates, but that doesn't mean that I never miss some company."
"Why in the world do you feel lonely when you've got me?"
"Aww." She reached forward to ruffle his hair. Whether it was out of affection or because she wanted to annoy him, he wasn't sure. "That's sweet, but you're not here all the time. Besides, Stitch likes it when I play on my violin for him. I can't exactly say the same about you."
Terra narrowed one eye. "You're weird."
"Not as weird as you, Mr. 'I-Put-My-Books-In-Alphabetical-Order'," the bluenette countered with a small smile.
"Wha-? That's...you- shut up!"
Suddenly, Stitch decided to launch himself at Terra from the loveseat. It happened so fast that the latter couldn't brace himself for it, even if he thought he was going to be attacked. All he could see was a small whirlwind of blue. For some reason, Stitch climbed on his shoulder and licked his face. Before Terra could utter a cry of pure horror because of how warm, wet and soft the huge tongue was, the pet tugged at his hand and landed back on the loveseat again.
Terra suppressed the shivers that ran down his back, as he wiped the saliva overload off his face. "Ugh, my mouth was still open, you idiot!"
He growled something unintelligible under his breath. That was when his eyes fell on his orange-golden Wayfinder that dangled at Stitch's arm. The same good luck charm that Aqua had made for him. Terra's hand automatically went to his pocket, which was now empty. How had that thing taken it out of his pocket without him noticing?
"Huh? When did you- Give that back!" Terra stepped forward with his hand outstretched, to take back what belonged to him, but Stitch jumped off the loveseat, away from him and out of his reach. Turning to his friend, the brunet asked, "Did you just see that? And you call that sweet? There's nothing sweet about a thief!"
Aqua merely shook her head and extended her hand to her new pet. "Here, sweetie. Now be a good boy and give the Wayfinder to me. Yeah, don't mind mean old Terra here. He's a bit of a jerk sometimes-"
"Hey!" Terra exclaimed indignantly.
Aqua continued, like she hadn't been interrupted. "But he has a good heart and I wouldn't want to live without him."
Terra blinked at that, but he seemed satisfied. "Okay, I'm not complaining about that one."
Stitch hesitated slightly, looking from Aqua to Terra, and back to Aqua again, before dropping the star-shaped object in the bluenette's hand.
She smiled, petting him affectionately. "Ah, good boy. See, it wasn't that hard." She handed the Wayfinder back to the brunet that was watching the dog with a slight frown. "There you go, Terra."
Terra shook his head. "You're already sounding like you're his mother."
"Well, in a way, I am."
He honestly didn't know how to react to that, so he decided to change the subject. "...Right. And the reason you asked me to come here was…?"
"You'll have to baby sit him while I'm going to see someone."
"Oh, Aqua's got a date?" he asked teasingly.
As expected, she blushed slightly at the implication. "No, I have a meeting with Xehanort. God knows what he wants now, or how long I'll be away. I can't leave Stitch all alone in here, right?"
Xehanort had been her instructor for years now. He was also the head of the university's orchestra and quite frankly, he was scary as heck, even though he was in his mid-twenties. Terra had the "pleasure" of meeting him once...and he was putting it lightly when he said that the guy was still giving him nightmares from time to time. So if that wasn't enough reason to be nervous about the meeting…
Aqua, in return, liked to tease him and say that Xehanort looked a lot like him, save for the hair and the slightly darker skin. Needless to say, Terra himself didn't see that comparison.
"Alright, then, but only this once." To emphasize his point, Terra lifted a finger.
Aqua smiled and hugged him. "Thank you, Terra. And don't worry, you don't have to do it alone. Ven can pop up any minute now."
"You don't trust me alone with your pet, do you?"
"I have my reasons for calling Ven, yes..."
"Hmm... I haven't seen him in a while, actually," Terra said slowly, as he thought of the last time he'd spent some time with their blond friend. "Any idea if he's still alive?"
"He was here yesterday to meet Stitch, but he couldn't stay for too long. He's pretty busy with school and other things." Glancing at the clock, her eyes widened in alarm. "Gosh, I should really go now, I'm already late. See you soon...hopefully."
Terra walked her to the door and closed it after her. The room had become really silent and Stitch's curious stare was kind of...unsettling. It was as though he was secretly planning something for him. Something that Terra would later get blamed for, anyway.
The brunet looked at Stitch. "So... you like it here?"
Stitch tilted his head to the side and blinked in response.
Ven, you better hurry. This is getting awkward... And I'm talking to an animal who can't talk back, he thought with a frown.
Then again, so did Aqua and she seemed alright. Still, he was more than relieved when a few minutes later, a hard knock sounded at the door. At last!