Chapter 1: His Own Path
Deep in the recesses of Ventus’s heart, the raven-haired man looked up as his light side appeared before him. Vanitas hadn’t had a visit from him in a while. “What do you want, idiot?”
“Hello to you too!” Ventus was no longer his plucky teenage self, but now an equally cheerful adult. Vanitas seemingly had aged along with his counterpart, getting taller and more muscular. “How are you doing?”
“I’m sitting in your heart with no life and nothing to do. How do you think I’m doing?” Vanitas had stayed deep in Ven’s heart not interfering or even observing the blonde’s life. For some reason, he decided to give his light half some privacy.
Ven closed his eyes. “I told you, we have our own separate hearts with our own light and darkness. You can leave whenever you want.”
“And get dirty looks and death threats from all your friends… I don’t think so.”
“Oh come on,” Ventus looked at the other man sadly. “Ok… I didn’t come here to argue. I want you to come out so I can show you something.”
“If it’s a stupid dog, I don’t want to come.” Vanitas scowled.
“It’s not a do…” The blonde held out his hand and smiled warmly. “Just come and see.”
* * *
Vanitas blinked as he came into the realm of light. “Ok, I’m here, now what…?”
“Alright!” Ven stood beside him, a brilliant grin on his face.
“So, where’s this surprise…?”
“Right here.” Ventus turned around and picked up a squirming bundle. “Meet Ryô Sora Caelum, my son and… your godson.”
The raven stared at his other self in shock, “My what!?”
“Naminé and I named you as his godfather. We thought it would be fitting.” He handed the little infant to his darker half.
The other man held the baby, his heart clenching. Ventus had so much; he had a family, friends, people who cared for him… a real life. Vanitas just sat in the deepest part of his heart and did nothing. His eyes shuddered as he pushed back the emotions he tried so hard to hide, especially when little Ryô looked at him, blinking his blue eyes and smiling.
“What!?” He put the child back in the blonde’s arms and turned away. “I… I’ve decided to take you up on your offer…”
He nodded. “I’m going to start my own path on another world.” Vanitas turned back to Ventus. “This is goodbye…”
“Alright then…” The blonde smiled. Ventus was happy; he knew his other half deserved his own life and now it was happening. “Be seeing ya then.”
Vanitas shook Ven’s hand. “Don’t count on it, blondie…” He opened a dark corridor and left.
* * *
Vanitas traveled from world-to-world, trying to find somewhere he could start fresh. On some of the worlds he visited, he was mistaken as Sora and it ticked him off more than anything. One day, he took a knife to his hair and cut it much shorter, but it still spiked up and out.
Eventually, he found a small world where no one recognized him. He knew that certain Keyblade wielders came there often but they stayed in the city. There was a small clearing that he laid down to rest. Vanitas lay quiet for a while, the sun was setting and hunger gnawed at his gut; he hadn’t eaten in days.
“Oh!” He looked up and saw a brown-eyed woman with blue hair that was so pale it was almost white. She stared at him in shock; a basket of bread lay at her feet, with a few loaves spilling out. “I’m so sorry, you startled me; I didn’t mean to wake you. I’m sorry…” she hastily reached for the basket, gathering up the bread.
Vanitas sat up. “No harm done…” He picked up one loaf and placed it back in the basket. “What are you doing so far out of town?”
She smiled shyly. “I have a cottage not far from here.” She looked him in the eyes. “My name is Alya, what’s yours?”
“Vanitas…” she mused on the name for a moment. “What a strange name. No matter; what are you doing out here, may I ask?”
Taking a moment to glare at her for the comment about his name, he sighed. “I’m spending the night right here. That’s all I need say.”
“I’m sorry… I do let my mouth run too much sometimes.” The woman covered her mouth slightly, face stained red with embarrassment.
The man only smirked, slightly. “Eh, it’s fine.”
“Um, Vanitas,” Alya smiled, “I know this may seem a bit strange… I mean, we’ve only just met and all, but would you like to stay the night at my house. I have an extra sleeping mat. It’s not much, but it’s better than the hard ground.”
Vanitas resisted the urge to chuckle at her awkwardness, “One question, Alya, is dinner included? I haven’t eaten in days.”
“Oh, of course! I don’t have much, only bread and some soup cooking over the fire.”
“Anything’s better than nothing.” He stood to his feet. “Lead the way.”
It was a homely dwelling; a tiny house with only two rooms. The furniture was small and rough, and the only thing not made of old wood was the stone chimney and stove.
Vanitas sat in the rickety chair at the table as Alya dished him a small bowl of the soup that was hanging over the fire. Vanitas had to admit, the food wasn’t bad. His host seemed very poor, so her soup consisted of only a few vegetables and a few bits of meat.
He watched as Alya pulled a large mat, stuffed with straw, from behind a door. “Here you are, Vanitas. Again, it’s not much, but, as you said, ‘it’s better than nothing’. I have an extra feather pillow and a quilt you can use.”
“Thanks…” he nodded.
Vanitas lay down on the mat; it actually wasn’t too uncomfortable. “And where are you off to?” He turned his head as Alya stared at him. She was halfway out the front door with a bucket.
“I’m just going to get some water from the stream to boil for drinking water tomorrow. I don’t usually have guests and I got a little distracted and forgot about it. It won’t take me more than half-an-hour before I come back.” She smiled slightly.
“Ok,” Vanitas laid back down and closed his eyes. “I’ll still be here when you get back; I have no plans to rob you or do anything of that sort.”
She smiled wider. “Well then, goodnight, Vanitas…” With that, she left.ns 188.8.131.52da2