A/N: There's no way for me to finish this within a year, let alone within August, which was the actual deadline. XD Anyways, this chapter takes place shortly after the previous one. Hope you'll all enjoy. :)
A special thanks to: 2kitsune, Salve-SiS, Chandramukhi, Terra ForceXIII, HawkRider, Topazdragon98, KFArtyLover, Liv Kat, MonMonCandie, Jizzle Pop, Sabathiel, RitinhaMad, DragonEmerald98, and RoseOfADifferentColor, my brilliant beta.
~ "No…" Terra paused for a moment to recollect his thoughts, giving the perplexed girl a sidelong glance. "It's ours now." ~
Thankfully, the air had cooled a good seven degrees,when Aqua stepped into the green, familiar garden, the grass under her feet soft and well recognized. At once, the girl was engulfed by the smell of freshly cut grass and other flowers. This however, was the least of her thoughts at the moment.
She was wondering why Terra had sounded so weird over the phone, so unlike his usual self…Hopefully, things were all right. She'd wanted to make sure right away just to ease her mind, but her father had demanded she finish her dinner before leaving the house. And since her archrival, broccoli had appeared on her plate that evening, it had taken her another utterly painful fifteen minutes of complying with her parents' wishes. It had been a real torture, to say the least.
Thank goodness that's over, she thought ruefully.
However, this time she didn't get the chance to meander in the garden, because suddenly, Terra appeared, as if out of nowhere, claiming her attention. "Hey there," he greeted, with his famous mischievous smile.
Well, at least he didn't look like he was upset, or something. That made the bluenette girl feel a little more relieved.
"Hey. Your mom said I could find you here. What was with that sudden call, is everything alright?"
An amused expression seemed to cross Terra's face briefly as he saw the worried look in her eyes. It wasn't something new to him; Aqua could worry about the most trivial things and to be honest, it was kinda... cute.
"Yes. Everything's fine, as always," he assured his friend. "What were you expecting?"
Aqua felt her face start to redden. "...Well, I uh-"
He shook his head. "Really, Aqua, you're such a girl sometimes. You worry way too much about everything... But there's something that I've got to show you and it couldn't wait."
This piqued the blue-haired girl's interest; her cerulean eyes were instantly locked with his cobalt. "Really?"
Leaving Aqua with no time to ponder her friend's motives, Terra grabbed her hand and promptly headed towards the big tree. Aqua didn't do anything to stop him, going along obediently. It was either that, or being dragged all over like a ragdoll.
Hmm…I wonder where we're going?
At that moment, there was only one possible answer that crossed Aqua's mind, and it was not in the slightest bit appealing. Oh no. No more logs, please let there be no more logs...
She was so not going to like this.
However, thankfully Terra had something else in mind. "Tadaah!" he cried, proudly, pointing upwards to the... tree?
"Uhm, Terra? That tree's nothing new."
He gave her a funny look at that. "What? No, not the tree, look closer," he hinted, mood hovering between amused and frustrated.
Aqua did as she was told, quietly hoping that this wasn't another prank of his. Goodness knew that the brunet was a master of pranks, as Ven could readily attest. Surely, she had never been a victim of his jokes before (and that fact surprised her, even if she kept quiet about it. There was no reason to poke a sleeping bear, right?
Her mouth formed a rounded 'O' at the breathtaking sight of the huge, secured tree hut, barely visible between the thickly leaved branches. It seemed more like a little house, sized to children their age, than a tree house. It was the perfect hiding spot for any game and from this distance it looked even more spectacular.
"Wow!" She breathed, clearly in awe.
For an amateur, she had to admit that this was pretty nicely done. It made her even doubt if he'd done it himself. A couple of days ago, she would never have dared to dream of those random building materials transforming into such a masterpiece. Terra never ceased to amaze her.
"You like it now? Just wait until you see it from the inside. You're gonna love it," Terra commented. "C'mon."
It was only now that she saw the wooden laths that were nailed to the tree trunk, serving as a ladder to get to the new tree hut. Hopefully, weight wouldn't be an issue with two people climbing the ladder at once.
Terra went up first, only turning to look downwards once he had reached the top. "Hey, aren't you coming?"
Aqua hesitated slightly, but then decided to go for it. What could possibly go wrong, right? As cautious as ever, she climbed upward, shoes thunking softly against the wooden rungs. When she had finally reached the platform, the brunet boy extended his hand, pulling her steady. From the inside, the tree house was even bigger than she'd first expected. Six people could comfortably sit without invading each other's personal space.
She looked around, taking in her surroundings with mounting interest. The room looked quite cozy, a white coffee table stacked with board games and toys, a big wooden box and a handful of blue and yellow cushions, something Aqua was grateful for. Terra must have done it deliberately, knowing how much she loved the color.
Yellow and blue... Land and Water... Terra and Aqua...
"Well, what do you think?"
The bluenette shook her head, as to clear her thoughts, before replying. "It's great! I love it."
That made him chuckle.
"I knew you would say that."
What, was she that predictable?
"So this little house in the trees is finally yours now, huh?"
"No…" Terra paused for a moment to recollect his thoughts, giving the perplexed girl a sidelong glance. "It's ours now."
As expected, Aqua's face lit up and she gave him one of her radiant smiles in return. For some reason, that one, four-lettered word made her heart flutter from happiness, leaving her insides with a warm, fuzzy feeling. Really, he was so sweet to her. The blue-haired girl couldn't fathom how her life would be without him.
"Well, this calls for a celebration. How does a glass of my Mom's lemonade sound to you?" Terra asked, breaking the silence.
"That's what I thought you'd say." He headed towards the wooden box and took out what seemed to be a thermos and two colored glasses, one yellow and one blue.
So that's what he had hiding in there… Who would have thought?
After returning to stand next to her, he put the items on the floor and poured a full glass of the sweet drink for them both. He handed her the blue glass and she muttered a quiet thanks.
"Cheers," he said with a small grin, while carefully raising his glass.
A/N: If this isn't true friendship, I don't know what is. :P The next chapter will (finally) involve little Ven, too. Reviews are appreciated. I'd love to hear what you think of this so far. :)