Author(s): flamilocks and anonymous
Word count: 3,142
Pairings: Good question! One-sided Isa/Lea, other pairings possible.
Warnings: Semi-AU, potential spoilers, cursing, shonen ai/slash
Summary: After waking up from what felt like a coma, Lea, Lumaria, Relena, and Isa begin trying to get their lives back. But they're missing years, and some things simply aren't right in the worlds; and Isa knows it's all their fault.
A/N: Written by myself and my cowriter, who prefers to be left unnamed. If you see any grammatical errors or weirdness, just let me know and I'll try to fix it. I will be rewriting this chapter shortly, as I really don't like how it flows. Like, at all.
Everything was spinning and rocking out of control – and he hadn’t even opened his eyes yet. If his stomach hadn’t been absolutely empty, he would have released it’s contents onto whoever had decided that poking his face repeatedly was a good idea. Sure, it was familiar, but it the fact that his personal bubble was being invaded by an unknown person that bothered him the most. Or persons – the pokes were coming from two different directions.
Wearily, he opened one eye just the smallest bit – and promptly squeezed it shut. Damned if the light didn’t hurt. It was like his eyes had been closed for a very long time. Another poke jarred him, and he finally swatted up too-heavy arms to knock the hands away.
“Stop it already!” Even his voice sounded strange, cracking and dry. He forced his eyes open, blinking rapidly to adjust to the light, and focused as best he could on his attackers.
Looking back at him, hands outstretched and ready to poke again, kneeled a blonde woman and a strawberry-blond man. Their clothes definitely stood out, though he had no idea where they were at, and it only took him a moment to realize exactly who they were.
“Lumaria! Relena!” He scrambled to his feet, stumbling with every movement – everything felt so unfamiliar – before practically falling on the siblings. Maybe they knew what was going on, and even if they didn’t, they were familiar faces when he was certainly disoriented and confused. Though, he fleetingly noted, they were definitely a good deal older than they had been the last time they’d met.
Lumaria’s voice was the close to his ears, “Oh good! You’re not dead! Relena and I thought you were for a while there.”
“Everyone we talked to either had no idea who you were or said something like, ‘Oh, that Lea kid? I think he died a while back.’” Relena was saying, trying to gesture with her hands but finding it very difficult with the red-haired man practically laying on her and her brother. She rolled her eyes good-naturedly and patted their friend on the back, “I’m glad you’re not dead, Lea.”
“I’m glad I’m not dead either,” he laughed as he moved away from the two. His stomach had settled, the world wasn’t spinning as badly, and he could see – all being definite improvements over how he had woken up. He looked around, eyes widening minutely at the sights that greeted him. Agrabah. He was back in Agrabah. Somehow, he had managed to get home. Sure, he wanted to know how, but right at that moment the hows didn’t matter much to him. He was home. But something was missing; no, someone was missing. It was with a jolt that Lea snapped his head to the left and to the right, the words falling from his lips in a rush, “Where’s Isa?”
It was Lumaria who answered, “We don’t know; we thought the two of you would be together.”
‘No, I can’t be here if he’s not. It’s just wrong. Where is he?’ Lea glanced around, hoping to catch sight of his friend’s blue hair, but seeing nothing but sand coloured walls and people he didn’t know milling about the bazaar – there were far more people in the market then he remembered ever going. Maybe there was something especially good for sale. Maybe even something worth… he dragged his thoughts away. Isa. He needed to find Isa. “Well, as you can see…”
“Yeah, we gathered as much,” Relena stood, dusting off her skirt as she got to her feet, “I’m sure he’ll show up, eventually.”
Eventually, mused Lea, wasn’t soon enough. The red-head looked between the two siblings and they barely had time to register the grin on his face before he had run down the alley, poking his head out to watch the marketplace hustle and bustle. It was so different! No one looked afraid, the vendors were all laughing and showing their wares without even bothering to safeguard them from thieves, and children ran around playing instead of stealing to live. Things looked happier than what he had experienced as a child growing up on the streets – well, before he and Isa had decided it would be a great idea to follow his father to Radiant Garden and end up stuck there.
A little part of him was disappointed, honestly. Why couldn’t he have had such a pleasant childhood in this place? Why had his life been so difficult and largely miserable when it was obvious there was something better that he could have had? It wasn’t fair, and though Lea knew there was no point dwelling on it, it was hard not to. When he next spoke, his words held almost none of his actual thoughts – though a slight tinge of bitterness showed well enough, “Man, a guy’s gone a few years and they up and change everything!”
Not that the siblings noticed the undertone. Or, if they did, they were very good at ignoring it. Lea didn’t know which is was, and wasn’t quite sure which was more comforting. Not that it mattered. He was home.
All that was missing was Isa, and that bothered him more than the changes to the marketplace. “Damn, what happened?” He suddenly turned back to the siblings, “So, why’d you come here again, anyway?”
Lumaria and Relena looked at each other, but weren’t quite able to get any words out before Lea went off on another tangent. “Where the hell is Isa?! Oh Allah. What if he's hurt? Dead? What if he's dead? No, no. He can't be dead. He's just... lost! Yeah, lost! On the other side of the city! In... a cellar? Yeah, that's it. He's fine. He'll find us eventually. Right?” He paused for just a moment, his panicked gaze falling to the siblings, “Right?"
Lumaria and Relena glanced at one another once again before the elder sibling opened his mouth to speak what likely would have been reassurances to the flustered Lea. However, he never got the chance to. Lea’s attention was quickly grabbed away by something in the distance. The redhead ran off, turning just long enough to wave at the two join him in his sudden jaunt through the marketplace.
It all led from a single glimpse through the throng of people. Had that been a head of blue hair mingled in the marketplace crowd?
Relena spared a moment to laugh at her brother's open mouth, I-was-just-cut-off-again look before she darted after Lea, her bright clothing drawing, but only partially keeping, the attention of the marketplace. Lumaria glared after his friend and sister before following at a fast pace, the bells on his unusual and elaborate jacket ringing cheerfully with each step.
Ahead of them, Lea knew he had spotted Isa – there was no one else it could have been. He spared a glance back to make sure that Lumaria and Relena were still behind him, before returning his attention forward.
‘Where did he go?’ There were multiple ways he could have turned, and Lea weaved in and out of the crowd as he ran it through his head. Left? If nothing else, he knew that Isa would likely go further into the city, and a leftward turn would have done just that. Lea was sure that his logic was likely flawed, but he found he didn’t much care – as long as he found Isa, his logic hardly mattered.
Instead of worrying on it, he turned sharply at the nearest left, before calling out behind him, "Keep up, you two!" He hardly stumbled as he ran backwards for just a moment before continuing his sprint.
Lumaria managed to catch up to Relena fairly easily, as he'd had years of practice chasing after his little sister, but catching up to Lea wasn’t nearly as easy. He was fast, faster than either of them and Lumaria fleetingly wondered if he’d always been that way. Just as Lea yelled back to them, the pink haired man grabbed his sister’s hand, hissing to her as he put on a burst of speed, "What the hell is he even running after?"
The Agrabah native had certainly dashed off fast enough to leave him curious, and certainly a bit annoyed. It wouldn’t have been difficult to turn and at least give a hint at what had him in flight mode.
Relena wrapped her hand around Lumaria's as they ran with an almost practiced ease though the crowd. Her reply was a little breathy from the exertion of the chase, "Don't know, but we need to catch him and talk if we want to get anything done!"
'There!' Just ahead, his back to them and his face upturned, Lea spotted that familiar head of blue hair, one who could only be Isa. Lea put on an extra burst of speed, dodging people and miscellaneous junk before he leapt for his target, shouting out a loud "Isa!" Isa only had a moment to react, but didn’t move fast enough to avoid being tackled to the ground by the excited redhead.
"I found you, I found you!" Lea exclaimed as the two fell to the ground, the people around them sidestepping with muttered annoyance. Lea ignored them, and nuzzled at his friend's chest before waving at the approaching siblings, "Look! I told you he's not dead!"
Isa, stunned, continued to lay on his back and wonder what had just happened.
Lumaria and Relena came to a skidding halt, Lumaria stopping in time only because his sister was holding onto him, before the two men laying in the street. The two watched Lea's joyous reaction to finding his still shell shocked friend and unconsciously tightened their grip on one another.
"Isa can't die, Lea." Lumaria said after a moment with a grin.
"Yeah, yeah!" Relena suddenly was jumping up and down. "Isa's the eldest and strongest, he can't die ‘til we're all grown and stronger than him!" With that declaration she let go of her brother and jumped on the two – it was like she was a ten year old again, and Lea found himself laughing at her antics. After all, a dog pile simply wasn’t the same without at least three people.
The sudden, additional weight on his chest was all it took for Isa to come back to his senses, and for just a moment he wished he hadn't. He tried to move, but found that he wasn't quite able to get the proper leverage to get them off. Never mind that he was torn between being ecstatic and furious, all stemming from the conflicting thoughts and perceptions that were eating at him. No, at that moment all he really wanted to do was breathe. "Ax -LEA. RELENA. GET THE HELL OFF OF ME."
With a shove, Isa managed to budge them, but it was only because Lea grabbed the blonde and pulled her up with him that he was able to sit up and take in the three before him. Lea, Relena and Lumaria. Not Axel, Larxene and Marluxia. The conflicting thoughts, emotions that their presence elicited made him shiver - anger, frustration, complete joy, relief. They weren't gone! They were all right in front of him! But... what did they remember?
Laughing at Isa's predicament, Lumaria reached out to help the older male stand, ignoring his sister's whine and pout and not noticing the curious expression on Isa’s face. "Good to see that the people here were really wrong about you, too, Isa. It seems that as far as Agrabah is concerned, you, along with Lea here, are dead." The grin that graced Lumaria's features held nothing but joy, despite what may have been sarcastic words if spoken by another. He was glad they weren’t dead – it had been quite the scare arriving in Agrabah to rumours of their demise. It simply wouldn’t have been fair!
‘That answers that question,’ Isa mused. It was no secret that Marluxia wouldn't have helped Saix stand - he would have used it to his advantage. Isa still wasn’t sure about the other two – his best bet was to play along for now, get the gist of the situation, and act from there. It was all he could do.
"As you can see, I'm certainly alive." For emphasis, he patted himself down, dust flying up with each touch. "And filthy. Was tackling me absolutely necessary?"
"Of course it was! If I hadn't, you could have been an illusion!" The look that Isa gave the redhead made him look down, his face flushed, "Okay, so it wasn't necessary. But it was fun! Right, 'Lena?"
Relena laughed openly as she grabbed Lea's forearm. "Lots and lots of fun! We couldn't pin Isa last time I was here! Even though we tried; remember Lea? Remember?" Relena turned her attention fully to focus on Lea as she recalled teaming up with the boy to try and pin Isa and dress him up. Lea, for his part, grinned widely. The image of Isa in a dress came to mind uninhibited, and he had to admit to himself that it was a beautiful mental image. The embarrassment had been so worth it – and at least he hadn’t been the one forced into it!
"Lea thought you were dead so he had to over react." Lumaria supplied with a laugh and smile as he brushed some dirt from his bouncing sister's cheek. He was used to her behaviour, after all, and thought nothing of it. "You know that Lea would just die without his Isa to protect him from the big bad guards." he teased.
Lea rolled his eyes and stuck his tongue out at the younger man, "Yeah, yeah, laugh it up, Chuckles. Isa doesn't always protect me." He tossed a glance to Isa, who stood watching the scene with a watchful, almost analysing gaze. It was a little unnerving to the redhead, almost unfamiliar. He had never seen that kind of expression on his friend’s face before.
Isa pushed his musings on the situation from his mind and tapped his chin thoughtfully. "I'm sorry, Lea. But I fear Lumaria is right. You'd probably get arrested or worse without me."
Lea puffed his cheeks out, crossed his arms, his concerns quickly pushed aside as glared at the three of them, "Traitors."
Isa suddenly laughed. 'Oh, if he only knew.'
Relena giggled to herself as she watched the boys 'fight'. "It's alright, Lea! You'll get bigger and be able to protect yourself someday! So, for now, it's fine to need a protector," she comforted with a teasing tone. "Besides, any girl would love to have a knight like Isa; you should feel honoured that he picked a lowly one like you!"
Lumaria resisted the urge to laugh and smack his sister simultaneously. Typical Relena, she'd insult and complement you all in one go and half the time you’d never catch it. Turning back to Isa with a grin the boy faltered, something about Isa was off, he couldn't place it but he knew it was.
There was an almost nostalgic smile on Isa's face as he watched Lea reach out and flick Relena on the nose, an indignant little whine coming from the redhead's throat at the playful banter. It had been so long since he'd seen these friends, but he couldn't help but feel uneasy. Why didn't they seem to remember where they had been? Why were they so... at ease?
Isa had indeed noticed the shift in Lumaria's expression, but didn't comment on it - what was he supposed to say? There was no way for him to comfortably lead into the topic that needed to be brought up. He was lost. And yet Lea was goofing off with Relena, unconcerned. Practically blind to what the older man was feeling - not that this was anything new. Lea knew well how to drive Isa insane. Even Axel knew exactly what buttons to press to agitate Saïx. He unconsciously let out a low growl.
It was all so frustrating!
Lumaria's expression shifted again when Isa growled low in his throat. Glancing to where Relena was tugging at Lea's hair in retaliation to the flick, Lumaria came to the conclusion that something was wrong. Isa was always calm, even when he was happy. He only ever got cold or agitated if Lea was in danger. Considering that he wasn’t hurt or worse was a clear sign that something was off.
"What's wrong with you, Isa?" Lumaria bluntly asked, his voice an even tone and volume. He wasn't one for being quiet or secretive, though he wasn't one for shouting things out like Relena, either. To Lumaria, it was perfectly normal to ask Isa what was wrong, and not to hide that fact from the others.
Lea promptly stopped what he was doing, turning his attention to Lumaria and Isa. Why would anything be wrong? They were together, right? None of them were dead. There shouldn't have been a problem.
But obviously there was - Isa's expression was... off. He was guarded, and Lea cursed himself for not noticing. He had been too focused on everything else. He watched as Isa sighed, taking quick glances at the surrounding area.
"Come on; let's go someplace less... crowded." With that, Isa turned from them, ducking into the alley nearest them and grabbing onto a window ledge and hoisting himself up. He knew they'd follow - it wasn't the first time they'd scaled a wall.
Only a moment later, and he was perched on the roof-top, watching as the others made their way up. Lea wasn't as fast as he could have been - he was distracted, and kept looking from friend to friend. The mood had shifted very suddenly, and he couldn't help but wonder what was about to happen as he leapt up and snagged the next handhold before finally scrambling up to sit next to his friend.
Lumaria brought up the rear of the group, keeping right behind his sister to make sure she didn't fall and moving quietly enough as to not ring the bells on his coat and draw even more attention to them. He wasn't sure what to say to Relena when she glanced from Isa to him, this was strange, new, and gave Lumaria a bad feeling.
Relena frowned as she scrambled up onto the roof with Lea and Isa. The day had begun badly, which wasn’t a surprise as she was growing fairly accustomed to it, but then they'd had a stroke of good luck when they found Lea and managed to pin down Isa. She knew it wasn't fair, but she shot Lumaria a glare as he pulled himself over the wall, taking a moment to be unfair by leaning forward to hiss, "You just had to ask, didn’t you?"