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The sensation came to Vanitas every time he was unprepared for it, when he was the recessive part of Ventus that he hated most, vulnerable. Over time the feeling became more overpowering, it would channel through his body like the very darkness that he had been created from. Only he didn't recognise this as darkness. No he couldn't be weak. He couldn't think about her. The feeling intensified, it raced through him up and down, never finding a heart to rest in and so came to a still at the usual place, his mind. Vanitas had done well to ignore this feeling and brush it off as a weakness that would disappear when he one day finally defeats his weaker self, Ventus. Oh how he hated the name. But lately he had found it difficult to think about that, or to even focus on the task Master Xehanort had set for him. How could he when his mind was plagued, infested with thoughts of her. Her who he was told to forget, whose name Vanitas only knew from his time spent in the shadows watching Ventus spar with her, learning his keyblade fighting techniques so that they could one day be used against him. But whose name would stay in his mind. Her name was Aqua. Itch. She was nothing more to him than collateral damage, a pawn in the game. She would serve as the stepping stone for Terra's darkness to take over and allow Master Xehanort's plans to take form. And yet she had a strong connection to Ventus. Weak, insignificant and a tool that will eventually lead to the forging of the X-blade. And above all that, he was Vanitas's enemy. Every time he mentioned her, Master Xehanort was besides himself - for years Vanitas had showed no signs of light in him, he showed nothing but hatred and anger and resentment. Every day he handled the missions he was given with brutality, he had a vicious fighting style, overpowering his enemies by channelling the darkness in him. Why was he letting this weakness in? It happened more often lately and it happened today. Vanitas woke early as per his Master's demands. "Awaken Vanitas!" the old Master Xehanort said. "Every minute that you sleep, Ventus grows more powerful than you do." Vanitas was up in an instant, donning his mask and armour and ready for a battle within minutes. "Not a chance, Master." he said, calm and getting increasingly cocky in his confidence as his powers and abilities were growing, becoming more of an asset to his master. "Oh really? Then we can skip the formalities. Show me what we went over yesterday before we begin today's assignment." Master Xehanort said and with a wave of his white glove covered hand an unversed was spawned into the training room. But itch itch, her image returned to Vanitas again. Like a bad itch he would never be able to scratch off. He thought about her as he struggled to fight against the unversed enemies, his dark powers failing to destroy them as they usually did, merely wounding instead. She was the same girl he saw sparring with Ventus that day at the land of departure. The same one he met. As he observed how Ventus was fighting he saw her, her blue eyes and her blue hair, she carried herself strong, her keyblade fighting style was as majestic as it was masterful. She made her swings look like choreographed dances at times, but her use of magic and strong attacks made her more stronger than her beautiful appearance would let on. After the two of them had battled, Ventus left and went in to speak to Master Eraqus. And Aqua remained outside, she was stitching together was Vanitas could only see as good luck charms. As Vanitas gazed upon her, he saw her not as an enemy but as something else, he wasn't quite sure, a friend? Something more? Either way it was a far cry from the hate and fiery aggression that filled him just a moment ago. And when she spoke to him her voice was soft and calming, not at all like the viciousness he received from his Master, Xehanort. But he appreciated it. His master punished him to make him stronger. Stop thinking of her Vanitas. Stop the itching. Stop the scratching. And yet as Vanitas readied his keyblade against the unversed in front of him, itch itch, the feeling returned to him again, striking him harder than his physical swishes of the blade were to the unversed, he channelled the feeling and used it as power believing it would help to soothe the itch in his mind. A bright blue beam of water shot out of his keyblade, the edges of the blade raised toward the creature. The blast shot across the room, it took the unversed with it and pinned it against the wall and then both the water and the unversed were gone in an instant. Master Xehanort's menacing grin turned to a frown of anger his expectant look turned briefly to one of confusion and then back to anger, he knew this magic. Light. Vanitas was supposed to be created from pure darkness, why had this happened? No. This plan was years in now, Master Xehanort knew his destiny, he knew that Vanitas and Ventus must clash. But the light had to stay away from Vanitas. "There you see! She makes you weak boy! She sees you as the enemy she uses this against you." But she hadn't. She was kind. She cared and she always put her friends before herself. The short amount of time Vanitas had spent with her before Master Xehanort disallowed him to see her any more was a happy one. Don't talk to her, don't see her, don't even think about her, those were his instructions to him. The radiance of her soul and heart made him stronger. SLICE! "AH!" Vanitas was so wrapped up in his thoughts of her that he didn't notice Master Xehanort had summoned in another unversed. The creatures sharp claw slashed at his arm holding the keyblade. He slammed the blade down in frustration. The pain had at least cleared his mind of the thoughts he was having but it didn't take long for them to return. But the unversed in front of him was destroyed by Master Xehanort, who had approached the area Vanitas was fighting. Vanitas felt the wind swish past him as the tip of Xehanort's No Name keyblade passed his face. And yet through all this, the itch persisted in his mind. She would be taking her Mark Of Mastery exam soon and with that Vanitas and his master's plan would finally begin. All the training, all the physical and mental attacks from his master, they would be all leading up to this. He had the light, the feelings for her beaten out of him by his master enough now. He hated her and yet he did not. Why did he have to hate her? Was it an extension of his hate for Ventus? Was it a reflection of the hate that had consumed Master Xehanort? If I have faith that says to a mountain "jump" and it jumps but I don't love, I'm nothing. Did he love her? No he couldn't. He was born from darkness. So then why did he feel powerful when he thought of her in a warm and positive light? The only thing he was certain of was that he either wanted to be with her or for these cursed thoughts to leave him for good. For a moment his mind had left the room but was bought back into it as the metal smashed into his ribs. Screaming out in pain, he barely had time to react any further before he saw her there again, this time Aqua smiled at Vanitas, just as she did that day and she spoke to him, his vision and hearing was blurred even within his mind but he understood what she was saying "It's okay. You can lose yourself to the darkness, I'll be there to get you back." And with that the No Name keyblade pierced Vanitas this time in the chest. The last thing Vanitas saw was a blue light leaving him, it coursed through the keyblade and into the gazing eye that trademarked the hilt. When Vanitas awoke some time later, the itching had stopped. Only now it felt like it had never been there. Forgotten in a dark void with Ventus's other weaknesses that had been destroyed from him. He hurt but he couldn't remember why. "Vanitas?" Xehanort looked at him expectantly "Yes, Master?" He replied, gathering his breath and slowly standing. "Do you remember her?" Vanitas looked confused, who in the World was his master talking about? "Aqua?" "Yes boy. What is her use to us?" Xehanort knew of course but he needed to hear it from Vanitas. "She is our enemy along with Terra... And Ventus. Terra's destiny will lead her to hers. And I will destroy Ventus myself. The X-blade will be ours!" And Master Xehanort could no longer sense that light, that weakness within Vanitas had gone. No more scratching. No more itch. "At last. You are ready." Vanitas's training was complete.