Broken Master (A Kingdom Hearts one-shot)

Almost fifteen years had been spent asleep. Spent living with his heart in that of a boy he’d met once. He knew that boy had tried to find his friends and bring them back, and he’d managed with one. But it was too late. She’d been converted. Taking her to Castle Oblivion, she’d fulfilled her promise, but in a way nobody expected. Walking into the foyer of the Castle and ending the sleeping spell on the young man at the furthest reaches, the Keyblade Master laughed, sealing Sora and Riku out of the Castle as she stalked through the halls of her former home, intent on doing her new master’s work. That was well over eight hours before.

To him, the last hours had been spent fighting her. His best friend from years ago. The one person that got him to smile. The person who promised to be right back to wake him up. He’d woken up, that was certain, but not in the way he hoped would happen. Ventus, a former student of Master Eraqus, was trapped in a battle with one of the two people he was ever close to.

“Aqua!” Ven yelled, dodging yet another swing and barely casting a Reflect Spell to block the shotlock burst from Aqua’s Keyblade. “Aqua, please! This isn’t you!” He yelled as his Reflect was broken, Aqua knocking him down and leaping, feeling her foot on his chest. “Aqua, it’s Ven. Please…listen to me…” He struggled to reach his pocket, knowing that if he could just grasp the Wayfinder…

Aqua looked down at Ven, yellow eyes sparkling in the light of the throne rooms candles, the moon and stars shining in from the broken windows signaling the length of the battle between friends. Laughing, Aqua spun the Brightcrest, bringing it down and pointing the tip of her blade at Ven’s heart. “This is perfectly me, Ventus!” she snapped. “Almost fifteen years in the Realm of Darkness. All I had left was hopelessness and despair, and now—now you’re going to know them, too.” She raised her Keyblade, the light glinting off of the blade.

“I have known it, Aqua,” Ven whispered, his eyes soft as he tried to hold back the tears threatening to spill over his eyes. “I have known it. While you’ve been trapped in the Realm of Darkness…I’ve been sleeping with my heart inside of Sora. Waiting…waiting for the day you’d come back to me!” He knew he was going to die, and to him—dying by Aqua’s hand, even if she wasn’t truly herself, would have been the way he’d want to die.

Aqua hesitated, lowering her eyes before she tightened her grip around the Keyblade. “You don’t know anything, Ven! Being stuck in the Realm of Darkness!” she yelled, her hands starting to shake at the thought of plunging the blade into Ven started weakening. “Wandering aimlessly with no concept of time, the only companion you have being your own doubts.”

Ven, still struggling to get to his pocket, looked at Aqua. “No, I don’t know what that’s like,” he said. “But I know what it’s like to be trapped in a place and unable to get out of it. And I know that the real Aqua is inside there somewhere, struggling to get out of Xehanort’s grasp! The Aqua I know would not give up on her friends!”

Aqua narrowed her eyes, raising the Keyblade and plunging it down, hearing it hit glass before the sound of it piercing skin ripped through her ears. She looked down, seeing the shards of Ven’s Wayfinder falling to the ground and her Keyblade lodged in his chest, blood flowing from the wound. She felt her grip on the handle of the blade slacken, eyes wide as she realized what was taking place. “Ven…” she whispered, looking down at him as she watched her Keyblade vanish. “Ven, no…what have I done…?!”

Ven coughed softly, feeling Aqua’s hand in his. He looked up at her, watching her eyes go from harsh yellow back to the soft blue he’d known for years. He squeezed her hand softly, struggling to breathe. “You did…what you thought…was right…” he whispered.

“I’m going to lose you again,” Aqua sobbed, pressing her forehead to Ven’s hand. “I can’t lose you again! I won’t!”

Summoning her Keyblade again, Aqua began feeling a pit in her stomach. She tightened her hand, pointing the Keyblade at Ven. “Heal!” When it did nothing, she closed her eyes and took a shaking breath. “HEAL! HEAL!!” She felt her heart sink, screaming and flinging her Keyblade away as she collapsed, her head falling against Ven’s chest. “I’m sorry, Ven…”

Ven put his hand on Aqua’s cheek softly, making her look at him. He shook his head softly, smiling weakly. “Don’t be,” he whispered. “I…if I was going to die…I would have…wanted you to be the one…to do it…”

“Don’t talk like that,” Aqua whispered, leaning her cheek into Ven’s palm softly. “I’ll…I’ll find a way. I’ll have to.” She bit her lip, tears streaking down her face like small waterfalls. “I’ll put you back to sleep. I can get you to Master Yen Sid. He can help me. He’ll know what to do, Ven.” She closed her eyes, putting her hand on Ven’s against her cheek. “Don’t leave me again…”

“I’m always with you,” Ven whispered, looking up at Aqua. “I’m always with you, Aqua. In your heart…” His hand slipped from Aqua’s grip, landing on the floor with a soft thump as the light faded from his eyes, the wound and loss of blood to great for Ven to fight against.

“No! No!!” Aqua yelled, pressing her hands to the wound. “No, Ventus! NO! I’m not losing you again! I won’t let you!!” She screamed as she tried to bring him back, collapsing to her knees and pressing bloodied hands onto her face, sobbing as realization and dread set in inside of her heart. “Ven…Ven I’m so sorry…I’m so sorry…”

She sat with Ventus’ body until the sun rose and her tears were gone, a dull shimmering around the Castle signaling the barrier was falling. She heard running footsteps, three sets that signaled Sora, Riku, and one other. She shook with silent shudders, clinging to Ventus’ now cold body, her hands tight in his shirt. Jumping when she felt a hand on her shoulder, Aqua looked up at Sora.

“I’m sorry…” she whispered, her eyes bloodshot as she felt a new wave of tears, surprising herself since she felt she had no more to shed. She looked over at Riku, her heart tightening as she spotted the man next to him. “Terra—”

Terra walked over, kneeling beside Aqua. He put his hand on her back softly, reaching down and closing Ventus’ eyes. “It’s alright,” he whispered. “It’s ok, Aqua. This is on Xehanort. Not you. It’s the same with what I’d done as Xehanort. That blood is on his hands. Not yours.”

Aqua started sobbing once again, turning and clinging to Terra, all traces of the Keyblade Master gone, a broken woman in her place. “I never told him the truth…” she whispered, feeling Terra’s arms around her.

“He knew, Aqua,” Terra whispered. “He knew you loved him. He always felt the same about you…”

Aqua shook her head softly. “I’m sorry, Terra…I’m so sorry…” she whispered. “I’m sorry about everything…”

After a few more minutes of endless sobbing, Aqua felt herself limp in Terra’s arms, her head falling against his shoulder as she fell asleep, the last day catching up to her as well as exhaustion from the endless crying. Sora and Riku had taken care of Ven, the two younger men nodding.

“Let’s go,” Terra whispered, picking up the shards of Ven’s Wayfinder and putting them in his pocket, lifting Aqua up and carrying her to the Gummy Ship, knowing she’d feel worse again when she woke, but for now, he hoped her dreams were taking her someplace she deserved to go.