Fic Recs: Vanitas/Aqua

A compilation of good Vanqua fics, both on AO3 and FFN. If FFN ends up going down, I've backed up the fics here and will try to get in contact with the authors to at least host PDF/epub links on here. I haven't searched through everything on AO3 yet, but in light of FFN scares I've scoured all the fics on FFN tagged with Vanitas and Aquato bring you the ones that I enjoyed the most. (Or at least were bearable. FFN-era fics are a mixed bag like that.)

These mostly in order by how strongly I'd rec them, but I may sort them more eventually. All fics are complete unless marked otherwise. I don't read smut, so you won't find any in here.

This list doesn't include my own vanqua fics, which you can find here (romantic tag) and here (platonic tag).

If you want to submit a vanqua fic for me to check out, you can send an ask to my tumblr or post on my neocities profile. I can't promise anything will make this list, though I tend to be pretty generous with what I add here, considering there's not a lot of vanqua to choose from in the first place lol.

Top Tier

(The fics that I would recommend every vanqua fan should read)


Author: Alacquiene
Word Count: 29,606
Rating: T
Summary: Aqua laughed. "If you were any older, it would have felt like you were asking me out on a date." Vanitas only wanted to ask her a question, not ask her out. Seems he got far more than he bargained for. VanitasAqua / Believe it or not... This isn't AU.

Notes: This is THE vanqua fic to me. It's been a hot second since I reread it, so I can't promise it aged perfectly, but this is what inspired Cast a Shadow. This is where the "Vanqua in Disney Town" trope comes from (again, if that can be considered a trope. Which it can. To me). There are two different endings depending on which flavor of pain you enjoy more and both of them are great. The only complaint I can remember is that it might play up the age difference between them more than necessary but that also may just be because Vanitas inherited Sora's baby face. If you can only read one vanqua fic (besides mine lol) I would have to rec this one. I have it printed out in a binder from when I was in high school and cell phones weren't a thing but I wanted to read fic in class. I don't know how it's under 30k because it feels longer in my heart. Anyway. I should reread it again lol

Secret Place

Author: Tory (Ejes)
Word Count: 28,787
Rating: T
Summary: He was from the Darkness, she, from the Light. But while on the battlefield they had to be enemies, fighting for their own beliefs, fighting for their own Masters, here, on this safe haven, they could pretend to be friends. They could ignore that stupid quarell that opposed their camps. They could just lie down and look up at the stars. And perhaps that's what mattered most.

Notes: You won't find this one if you search the vanqua tag on AO3, because Tory was still new to posting there and didn't know how tags worked I think. Which is a shame because that means this gem is so incredibly overlooked!! I don't know that I would even know about it if Tory hadn't become friends with me on FFN. It's such a great canon-universe fic where they get to go enemies to friends to lovers without the as high stakes as in canon BBS. I need to reread it too honestly. This is the one where Vanitas does not know how to read (we stan a Jared 19 king)
Also, I had the honor of drawing the cover art for this one!! You can't see it directly on the AO3 version so I'm going to put it under the cut below:

Cover Art

The Road to Light

Author: Arcawolf
Word Count: 53,691
Rating: T
Summary: After a brutal fight, an amnesic Aqua wakes with nothing but her name and a masked boy claiming to be her friend. 100 Theme Challenge.

Notes: Also more friendship than romance, but a very fun take on them getting to know each other and turning everything Aqua knows on her head. One of the classics. Bittersweet.

Toward the Light

Author: OtakuAster
Word Count: 149,839 (INCOMPLETE: 14/15 CHAPTERS)
Rating: T
Summary: While searching the Realm of Darkness for any sign of Sora, Aqua, Ventus, and Terra run into Vanitas who had arrived there after the battle. After a close call, they end up taking him back with them, willing to give him a second chance.

Notes: My favorite currently updating vanqua fic! And one of the very few that takes place post-KH3. Great slowburn energy, twists and turns that will make your heart hurt, looking to be a happy ending though. ALSO honorable mention to this one for being the longest fic in this rec list.

The Birdcage

Author: Tory (Ejes)
Word Count: 12,585
Rating: T
Summary: Leaving the Realm of Darkness had been Aqua's dream for these ten years. Being free. Being out. And suddenly, out she was. But did that mean she was free? All of a sudden, the Realm of Darkness didn't look that bad, after all.

Notes: The one where Aqua gets kidnapped by KH3-era Organization XIII. I think there's a little bit of domestic shenaniganery while Vanitas is being Aqua's prison guard (they at least end up playing cards lol). I love a good kidnapping fic and Tory's vanqua never misses

Colors of the Heart

Author: Alacquiene
Word Count: 12,089
Rating: T
Summary: "What's it to you if I want to meet hot guys?" Aqua asked frowning. "You're not my boyfriend!" ... "But I will be," Vanitas answered. AU / VanitasAqua

Notes: This one probably has some nostalgia tinting for me but it's my favorite modern AU vanqua fic. Has them meeting as kids and growing up and eventually getting together. Also some Axel salt because he is just used as a generic bad boyfriend plot device for Aqua, so avoid if that bothers you terribly. As silly as it is this one has one of my favorite quotes that inspired me back in high school before I knew I was ace lol:

(Fic spoilers)

"Before I start, you better not react because I'll be insinuating that you're a prize. Actually, sometimes you should look at yourself like one; it's good for your ego."


"Just listen," he said sharply, and she quieted. "Getting Larxene is like getting told you have the fastest time in one lap of the race, and that's great. Getting you, Aqua, is winning the race. You're the finish line. You're the girl that a guy should bring home and keep forever. And you're stupid for letting Axel have you when he didn't even work for it."

Aqua opened her mouth to speak but Vanitas shushed her.

"I'm not done," he said. "Unless you believe me and actually get all that in your head, you're going to keep making mistakes. You'll keep going out with guys who aren't good enough for you, hurting yourself over nothing, and thinking so many other girls out there are better than you when, really, you're better than them. And there aren't a lot of guys who can commit to the time and effort it takes to actually win the danged race. Axel is one such guy, and that makes him an idiot. Got it?"

From the Inside

Author: Arcawolf
Word Count: 54,192
Rating: T
Summary: Vanitas has been broken for much too long, and he's determined to be whole again. But when Ventus's light proves too weak to merge with, Vanitas finds himself without any options . . . until he saw her.

Notes: This one may not count as ship technically, but if you know me at all, you know I'm here for vanqua in every type of messed up capacity even if it's not really romantic. This one has a great plot that hinges on the "never hurts to have a backup" line we all know and love.

Second Tier

(Still really good fics, but not iconic enough for the top tier)

Within Darkness

Author: Tory (Ejes)
Word Count: 3,267
Rating: T
Summary: Being alone in darkness for longer than what she could count, Aqua was on the verge if giving up. But then, an unexpected ally showed up, bringing hope and light back in her heart... (T for language)

Notes: Another "Vanitas and Aqua meet in the Realm of Darkness" fic. I love the silly energy with the 0.2 accessories in this one lol

all the king's horses and all the king's men

Author: llien
Word Count: 33,533 (INCOMPLETE: 5/? CHAPTERS)
Rating: T
Summary: Vanitas had learned that the only path to strength was through pain, and undoing that would take every inch of patience Aqua had. Or, the one where they all learn to heal.

Notes: Not actually ship fic, but has really good characterization and writing style. Technically part 5 of a series but I haven't read the others and it still made sense (aside from my confusion of "where is Kairi??" but writers tend to forget her anyway so idk if that's relevant). Lots of great Aqua trauma where she is trying to be a perfect Master while training everyone else but frankly that's just impossible. Also Sora is a prominent character and I like all the scenes of him cooking lol

A Fragmentary Ghost

Author: Ejes
Word Count: 8,173
Rating: T
Summary: Since she was saved from the Realm of Darkness, Aqua is haunted by the ghost of a former foe. Why is he here? Was there any way to get rid of him for good?

Notes: This was the inspiration behind my fic Bound by Sleep! It's pretty different from that still, though. I don't want to spoil too much of it so you should just read it lol


Author: CaptainJ
Word Count: 4,643
Rating: G
Summary: For the past few nights he’d crept outside his room to one of his sanctuaries, he’d awoken miraculously covered in a blanket. It was always the same one, draped around him with the same care, and with little to no indication to whom it belonged. Every time he’d jolted awake with the weight atop his chest, he’d searched every nook, and cranny for the perpetrator. Yet he never found them. So he would haphazardly fold it, place it somewhere obvious, and retreat to his room before anyone caught him.

Notes: Some nice post-KH3 hurt/comfort and fluff

Door to Freedom

Author: Tory (Ejes)
Word Count: 1,958
Rating: G
Summary: A door opened in the middle of nowhere, and suddenly, she was free. In Monstropolis, surrounded by monsters trying to send her back. But among them, there was one willing to help her. He looked a bit like a cat, with his grey fur. And his name was...

Notes: Silly premise for what ends up being a really sweet fic. Vanitas can be helpful as a treat. To me

Aqua's Victory

Author: oRpheusB20
Word Count: 1,798
Rating: T
Summary: Aqua attempts to kill Vanitas' Lingering Spirit. It doesn't end well, and Aqua becomes annoyed very quickly. A sort of continuation of Ven's Sticker, another story that I made based on my attempts at playing BBS.

Notes: Really funny with lots of great game mechanic references and a sweet ending :)


Author: Vingilot the Sky Ship
Word Count: 1,920
Rating: T
Summary: Aqua and Vanitas dueled in Neverland. Aqua defeated the dark Keyblade wielder, but collapsed herself soon after. When she came to, he was gone. Which means, he had to have woken up first... Oneshot.

Notes: Pretty much what the summary says. I always like to see people's takes on the aftermath of the Neverland scene, and this is a pretty solid one with good writing.

Deep Within

Author: Alacquiene
Word Count: 1,377
Rating: K+
Summary: An alphabetized compilation of what Vanitas thinks of that blue-haired Keyblade Wielder he knows he should hate. OneShot / VanitasAqua

Notes: I think every ship needs a one-sentence-fic compilation like this. These are the kind of fics that I used to see on FFN all the time but seem to have vanished with AO3, which is a shame.

More than Meets the Eye

Author: Alacquiene
Word Count: 2,380
Rating: T
Summary: An alphabetized compilation of what Aqua feels about that masked Keyblade Wielder she knows she should hate. OneShot / VanitasAqua

Notes: Companion fic to "Deep Within," uses the same words for each letter, but from Aqua's pov this time.


Author: Alacquiene
Word Count: 3,319
Rating: T
Summary: "I had no idea you were so insecure. Insecurity breeds jealousy, Aqua. And jealousy is so unlike you." AU / OneShot / VanitasAqua

Notes: This one can be read as a sequel to "Colors of the Heart." College AU that I find really funny for the wrong reasons probably lol. The main plot is that everyone finds Vanitas and Aqua sexy which is usually overdone but they can have it a little bit as a treat

Roller Coaster

Author: Alacquiene
Word Count: 6,521
Rating: T
Summary: Double-dating is a bad idea. But double-dating with your best friend and her boyfriend - who you happen to be in love with - is an even worse idea. AU / OneShot / VanitasAqua

Notes: Another modern AU that I find funny. Side of Ventus/Kairi. As cheesy as the concept sounds it's one of my favorite vanqua oneshots.

Page Four Hundred Thirty-Two

Author: Alacquiene
Word Count: 6,830
Rating: T
Summary: Annoyed, Aqua grabbed at his helmet, but he shoved her away again with shocking strength for someone who was ill. Standing up and glaring at him, Aqua placed a hand on her hip. "Do you want to do this the hard way?" she asked. Vanitas pushed himself up to his feet and chuckled. "What's the hard way?" AR / OneShot / VanitasAqua (Friendship)

Notes: Pre-BBS fic where Aqua takes care of Vanitas while he's sick.

1 1/2

Author: Tory (Ejes)
Word Count: 7,793
Rating: G
Summary: Prompts for Vanqua Week 2019. There is the reality you know, where they are arch-enemies, fighting from the day they met to the day they die. But there are also realities where that rivalry might actually be something completely different....

Notes: Another one I don't remember much of oops ^^; BUT I remember it was good enough to go in this tier!!

Honorable Mention Tier

(Fics that may not be my personal favorites, but that are on FFN or otherwise hard to find without being on a rec list somewhere)

Freeze Frame Transition

Author: orphan_account
Word Count: 500
Rating: G
Summary: She never even noticed the masked figure twisting the strings, perched languidly on roofs and swimming in alleyway shadows, biting absently into the ice cream pilfered from distracted, unsuspecting vendors.

Notes: Ficlet set sometime during BBS, mostly introspection from Vanitas. The writing style is really pretty and it has my favorite trope of Vanitas being both hurt by and drawn in by Aqua's light.

Dreaming Alone

Author: Tory (Ejes)
Word Count: 5,340
Rating: T
Summary: How selfish was it, being unhappy when you had the perfect life? How rude was it to have everything you could dream of, but to dream about the only thing you couldn't get back? Aqua was starting to wonder if she would have to live with pain for her whole life...

Notes: The modern AU one where Aqua is dating Terra but likes Vanitas more actually. Vaqua endgame

Dreaming Alone - Before the Pain

Author: Tory (Ejes)
Word Count: 2,837
Rating: T
Summary: Before they were a thing, before they were no more, they weren't yet. They met, and truth was, they didn't like each other much. He was her best friend's brother. She was his twin's stupid friend. They had nothing in common. So how did it all start?

Notes: Prequel that I'd say has more vanqua than the original fic did. I remember liking this one more


Author: Alacquiene
Word Count: 1,439
Rating: K+
Summary: She stared at it. What was she supposed to do with a tame Unversed? OneShot / One-Sided VanitasAqua

Notes: I don't know if there are really enough vanqua fics to say there are any common vanqua "tropes," but an Unversed bonding with Aqua is one I'd consider in my heart. Especially considering this is the first fic on FFN with the Vanitas and Aqua character tags on it. It's short and bittersweet.

The Meaning of Strength

Author: Saf Dawnheart
Word Count: 1,325
Rating: T
Summary: Maybe he's had her wrong this whole time. — mild Vanitas/Aqua.

Notes: Considering the whole fic is a fight scene, this one's more enemies than ship, but it's well-written. (Finding well-written fics on FFN from this era is about as difficult as you'd think.)

By the fire

Author: nepetina
Word Count: 896
Rating: Not Rated (I would rate it T for trauma)
Summary: While in the Realm of Darkness, Aqua and Vanitas bond over something unexpected.

Notes: AU where they are stuck in the Realm of Darkness and also Aqua used to be Master Xehanort's apprentice. Trauma bonding over scars woo

By your side

Author: nepetina
Word Count: 712 (INCOMPLETE: 2/? chapters)
Rating: Not rated
Summary: Aqua and Vanitas think on their past together while hoping for a future. A continuation from By the fire

Notes: Not much of this one so far, but I think it should go here for anyone who enjoyed "By the fire" since the author didn't put them in a series and it might get overlooked otherwise. Looking forward to seeing more of it!

Her Darkness, His Light

Author: TremorsGirl12
Word Count: 9,655
Rating: T
Summary: Vanitas wakes in the Realm of Darkness with barely a trace of his memory and is found shortly after by Aqua. Despite both their pasts and his callous attitude, she finds comfort in his presence. Can she soften his hardened heart? VanAqua **COMPLETE**

Notes: I'd consider this fic like a Cast a Shadow-speedrun, and it's pretty good for what it is. (Not that I think it's a ripoff; it was written in 2015, when CaS wasn't finished. It just has a similar and shorter plotline.) Due to the low wordcount I'd say some of the characterization is a bit abrupt, but there are a lot of cool parts in it too. My favorite part is definitely when Aqua uses Vanitas's keyblade briefly.

The Black Room

Author: Ejes
Word Count: 1,109
Rating: K+
Summary: The room was getting smaller every second, and she wasn't sure it was just in her head. She needed air. She needed to get out. It reminded her of the darkest time of her life. She wanted to give up, but she couldn't, for the sake of her three best friends. Three? Terra, Ventus, and...? [no ship ;) ]

Notes: Aqua is claustrophobic while trapped in a certain part of the Realm of Darkness. Vanitas helps.

This Time You Need to Live

Author: FrozenClear
Word Count: 2,609
Rating: K+
Summary: "Why, you scared to be left all alone?" Little droplets slid off of his helmet as he watched the rain fall on her hair. Vanitas/Aqua

Notes: Aqua seems kind of OOC in this one, but it's not too bad for a contextless oneshot of the two of them near-dying alone in the rain. The dialogue and Vanitas's internal monologue both mad me laugh

Amusement Park

Author: Starry Requiem
Word Count: 551
Rating: K+
Summary: Vanitas wasn't quite sure, and this was just a theory… a theory in progress… But he was pretty sure that in the Happiest Place On Earth, you were supposed to be happy. / Did he mention the balloons? / They were everywhere. / Vanitas hated balloons. / AU. One-Shot. VanitasAqua.

Notes: I am mostly here for the image of Vanitas riding the teacups lol