Disclaimer: I do not own it.

Summery: Golden Sun the Lost Age has ended. Life has moved on bringing all the adepts with it. But three water adepts face the challenges of moving on with the flow of life and the hand which fate has dealt them. Mia wants to find peace, Picard wants to find Felix, and Alex… Alex just wants to keep on living. Will they get what they want? Mia/Alex, Picard/Felix

Note: Happy Birthday Zapdernegger!!! (Hee .) This is centered around my friend's favorite paring, and is a birthday gift to her. She's sixteen now! Oh, and the entire story is structured around her favorite element: water. The pieces of the plot are suppose to represent a ripple effect and you can almost watch as one moves into the other even though they stand on thier own as little sceens! .

Refractions of Water

breathe in… hold for a moment… breathe out…

Pain, vulnerability.

Glazed blue eyes opened slightly before closing again.

breathe in… hold for a moment… breathe out…

Such a simple action, breathing. But yet, so hard when your very body rebelled against you.

So close, but not perfect.

Alex's body was almost numb to the pain now, as he just concentrated on the one act which would keep him alive.

breathe in… hold for a moment… breathe out…

How long had he been here? Just lying here, feeling the cold rock underneath him and the needles of pain that raced through his nerves when just trying to breathe. How long had he breathed the thin air of this place? Barely enough to keep him alive, yet in a somewhat steady supply, or so he hoped.

breathe in… hold for a moment… breathe out…

Almost unlimitless, almost perfect.

He was not perfect, did not posses the power he had sought. He possessed a flaw.

breathe in… hold for a moment… breathe out…

To be perfect, would be not to feel the pain. But his body did suffer. He did feel its suffering and its turmoil. He could be hurt, and that is why he was flawed.

Feel perfection slip through your fingers.

His body was stronger now, then it had been before. It had begun to repair itself quickly, and he was becoming aware of the psyenergy pulsing through him as if begging to be used.

breathe in… hold for a moment… breathe out…

A shimmering blue light flowed from his fingers and a melody wove it's way though the air and around his bruised and battered body. Better… but not what he had been before.

Better, but not perfect.

breathe in… hold for a moment… breathe out…

So again, the psyenergy scurried through his fingers, and again Alex concentrated on breathing as he felt the sting of bones resetting themselves and healing.

breathe in… hold for a moment… breathe out…

Ply.

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Everyone in Imil said it was a shame that Mia had not settled down with a husband yet, that she would make a wonderful mother for what would surely be a wonderful family. One only had to look at the way she treated her Djinn to see this. They all shared their own room in her house on the edge of the town, and she mothered them with practiced ease. It was rather cute at times, and the troupe of Mercury Djinn had become known as "Mia's children" to the townsfolk.

Mia wasn't sure that she would be that good of a mother, personally. Yes, she knew she babied her Djinn, but they had deserved that little reward for their help in the quest, or that was her reasoning. But deep down inside, she knew that were they ever to leave her she would crumble. And so that was really why she clung to them like a mother clings to her children.

Sticking her head into the living room where the Djinn were occupying themselves while waiting for breakfast after taking an hour to decide upon what they wanted, she called out, "Come on, you don't want it to get cold."

With many happy eeps the table was soon crowded with djinn, exclaiming over the state of their breakfasts.

"Oooo! I love scrambled eggs!"

"Hey! My breakfast's shaped me!"

"Mine looks like that blue Azul creature!"

"...Mine looks like a ship! ."

All the blue djinn gazed up at Mia with awe struck faces. "Thank you Mia!" They all chirped in unison. "We acknowledge your mastery of the cooking art!"

"It's yummy!"

"...it still looks like a ship even when I've eaten part of it! ."

Mia just shook her head and concentrated on eating. What a way to start the morning.

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"Sorry, Picard. We haven't seen Felix in a good month or so." Susa said with an apologetic look on his face. Picard fought the urge to sigh. Well, at least he was getting closer. Felix had been by here, even if that was a month ago. That meant he was sure to be around here somewhere.Of course, somewhere could be anywhere, what with Felix having the Teleportation Lapis in his possession.

Politely declining Susa's invitation to stay a while, Picard started the trek back to his ship from the village. Once he was out of sight, he let his cheerful demeanor drop. Where did you go Felix? The thought came unbidden to Picard's head as it always did. Why did you leave? What went wrong? Yes, Picard knew that it was really none of his business why Felix has suddenly decided to leave Vale, but he had decided to make it his business. For the millionth time in a few short weeks, Picard cursed that moron of a Lemurian, Conservatio. It had been his idea that brought Picard back to Lemuria for the long talks about what to do now that the world was feeding off the alchemy of the stars. Picard still didn't see why he had been needed, he was supposedly an outcast. But no, oh no, the outcast who had betrayed the teachings of Lemuria by leaving and then had so boldly marched back in, was needed to listen to these stupid, stupid, talks.

And then when he'd finally returned to Vale, Felix had gone missing a year before. Everyone had given up looking for him long ago.

But not Picard.

Why shouldn't he anyways? Why had he abandoned Lemuria for the second time in the first place? Because Felix (not the group, not the cause) had needed him. Sure, out loud Picard had gone along with the idea that the group needed one of each adept to complete the quest, yadda yadda, but he wasn't so stupid as to live in denial.

Picard loved Felix. That was that, there was no sub clause or hidden meaning. Picard was willing to sacrifice life as he knew it for Felix, and had done so. And because of that stupid disgrace to all Lemurians, Felix had disappeared on him. And he just could not settle for that.

So, Picard took his ship and set out looking. One could get almost anywhere with a ship nowadays, and he had sworn he would find Felix. So far, he hadn't. But now at least, he'd found a pattern. Felix was, slowly but surely, retracing the steps they'd taken on their journey. That had been Gaia Rock, and he'd been there a month ago. So by now he should be at… Contigo. But Felix wouldn't go there, Sheba and Ivan were in Contigo. So what would Felix do?

Picard thought for a long time, before finally steering his ship towards the Jupiter Lighthouse.

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Mia sighed as she walked up the steps to the Mercury Lighthouse. Looking at the doorway that had been closed to all without the power of the Mercury Clan at one time, she sighed again. Alex. Everything always came back to Alex. Why? Why did it always have to revolve around him? She'd joined Isaac, Garet, and Ivan because they were going to chase after Alex. It wasn't really because of her duty to the Mercury Clan, although she would most likely have acted the same way if Alex had not been involved, but it was because of Alex.

It had hurt her, didn't he realize that? Didn't he care… even the slightest bit? He betrayed her, not once, but twice. And he'd done so without remorse or even a glance in her direction. It was as if she was only a distant memory of his that was not worth remembering. And that had hurt. Hurt her so much that she had cried herself to sleep many times when she knew that no one could hear her sob. But in the end she had realized that the Alex she'd known, the Alex she'd loved, was dead. Gone to her forever and this shell of the former Alex now reigned in his place. Or… maybe he didn't reign there anymore. Many, everyone really, believed that Alex was dead. He'd been killed on Mount Alph, and the Wise One had watched it happen, maybe even caused it (who knew?). So then why could she not let go? Why couldn't she move on and live her life?

"Why do you haunt me, Alex?" she murmured at the doorway before turning away from the Mercury Lighthouse. She needed a change of scenery. Somewhere where no one would bother her, where no one would care if she stayed there for a while.

And Mia knew just the place.

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Breathing had once again become a regular occurrence for Alex, as his eyes began adjusting to the dim light of the cavern. His joints were stiff, his reflexes a bit sluggish, but he was gloriously alive and was no longer feeling numb from pain.

This cavern though… he'd been here before. Where was he? Somewhere under the ground… near where Mount Alph had been most likely.

And then it hit him and he almost recoiled and fell off the spike of rock he'd lain on for so long. This place was underneath Mount Alph. This place was in Sol Sanctum. This place… was the chamber where the Elemental Stars had been kept.

Alex hated this place now. He would find a way out of her at any cost, if only to preserve what was left of his sanity.

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Picard was lost again. Felix hadn't been here. So where had Felix gone? If he wasn't following the pattern of where they'd gone… then how in the name of psyenergy itself was Picard going to find him?

It might help if Picard knew why Felix had left in the first place, what Felix had been searching for. But no one knew that. Picard was surely stumped. Then again, he did admit that if Felix really wanted to remain hidden away from the world for some strange reason, there would be no real hope in finding him. Once Felix made up his mind to do something, it got done.

Picard just hoped that he hadn't decided not to be found.

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Mia looked around Lemuria with slight curiosity. She'd never really had time to look around here. Before, when they'd all realized that one of the Mercury Djinn had in fact been in Lemuria, she'd seen a glimpse of the city, but they'd been headed for the ancient part of Lemuria so she'd not gotten a very good look. It was a beautiful city, but almost seemed to bring out an air of sadness. Frozen in time, that's what this city was. Maybe someday time would start to move forward for them again and their city would again flourish. Maybe someday when the rest of the world had caught up to them, but today was not that day.

Mia blended in well with the scenery of Lemuria, her cerulean hair looked quite natural here. This was a good place to just get away from everyone, though her djinn had been very upset when she said she needed some time alone. They'd taken it personally, as if it was their fault, but she'd explained over and over again that she would be back in a month's time and that she would miss them all. But now… she really needed to be alone.

Walking along the paved roadway, she stopped at the top of a cliff and blinked. If one looked quickly one wouldn't see him sitting there against the tree, as he blended in with his earthen colored hair and clothing. But sitting there next to the lone tree was someone who she had thought, like everyone else, was dead.

"Felix?" she half asked, half stated. The man jumped slightly, as if she'd broken him out of his thoughts. His eyes locked with hers, and she was struck with how sad they looked… almost soulless.

"Why are you here Felix? And where have you been?" Mia asked, hurriedly running over to where he was.

"I left. I traveled around for a bit, now I'm here."

"But why?"

"Because I wanted to."

Mia had to think about that. Well, why not? She was here for the same type of reason, but she'd at least told people where she was going.

"But you didn't tell anyone."

"…didn't want him to know."

Mia started to nod but stopped mid swing. Him? Not everyone? Who was he that Felix was avoiding?

"Who are you avoiding Felix?"

Felix didn't answer, looking out at the water. "He'll return home soon, he'll have to."

"What are you talking about Felix?" Mia asked, not following what Felix was saying.

"Eventually he'll loose hope and come home."

"Who are you talking about Felix? And why didn't you tell someone where you were going? We looked so franticly for you!"

"He didn't. He didn't know."

"Picard? You're avoiding Picard? But why?"

Felix again locked eyes with her and Mia felt herself grow cold under his stare. "Because it is against Valian law for a man to love another man."

Mia's jaw dropped. This was not what she would expect from Felix… the Felix who didn't have time for romance, the stoic Felix who always knew what to do and how to do it, the planner and strategist who saw the world in all it's shades of gray. She opened her mouth to say something but Felix beat her to it.

"It is the same as it would be for a member of the Mercury Clan to love one who has betrayed the clan." His cold eyes pierced through hers and she found herself feeling defensive.

"Then maybe I won't be a member of the Mercury Clan."

An eyebrow rose in amusement. "And I have left Vale."

But Mia still didn't understand. "But why are you leading him on a wild goose chase? Why not find him and tell him yourself?"

Felix scowled darkly at the water. "Because Lemurians follow the same law. There is a method to my madness, and once he figures it out… then I'll know..."

Mia waited to find out what Felix would know but Felix didn't continue, yet she had a slight feeling that she knew what the rest of the sentence was.

"Why are you here?" Felix asked suddenly. "Why aren't you helping him?"

"What?" Mia asked, shocked.

Felix turned again to look at her, "You say you love him, yet you cannot forgive him and so he suffers. I traveled with him, I know this. You grind his heart underneath your heal as he begs for forgiveness."

"Felix!" Mia shouted at him, trying to make him stop talking. "Alex is dead, there's nothing I can do." Mia felt slight trails of moisture roll down her cheeks at these words, as if she'd finally accepted that Alex would never be coming back and was gone forever.

Felix smiled slightly, closing his eyes and leaning against the tree. "In my experience, Alex is more resilient than any other adept I've know. He is not dead. He planned too well not to include a contingency plan were he not to reach his objective. Given time, he will again emerge, but what will you do when that happens?"

Mia didn't have an answer, but Felix had not expected one.

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Picard was not one to admit defeat easily, but even he was beginning to loose hope in finding Felix. The man had just disappeared and it appeared as if he wished to remain that way. And then, of course, there was the letter that sat looking up at him from its spot in his lap. Conservatio was dead, and the King wanted him to take Conservatio's place in the senate. Picard wished that he could downright refuse, say that finding Felix was more important (which it was), but it had been two months now since he'd begun his search and he'd found nothing. So he had no excuse not to answer King Hydra's summons.

And it was with a heavy heart that Picard turned his ship towards Lemuria and away from his quest to find Felix.

Picard knew that he wouldn't like being a senator. If one wanted to respell boring then s-e-n-a-t-e would be the new spelling. No one would listen to him anyway, rift raft that he was for having broken Lemurian law. So he would sit there and watch them argue back and forth about how to deal with the world and other topics which Picard really had no real interest in. What he was interested in, of course, he had never found.

Picard often got lost in his own thoughts nowadays, something which his uncle was very concerned about. But Picard thought it slightly normal. After all, he needed some way to cope without Felix. It had just never crossed his mind before when they were on the journey that Felix would not be there some day. So lost in these thoughts, Picard entered his little home near the docks of Lemuria. It was small, and not the most lavish of places, but it suited his purpose. A bathroom, a kitchen, and a bedroom… that was it. And he walked through the kitchen to the doorway of his bedroom lost in his daydreams only to stop short when he looked in his room. Nothing had moved, everything was left in exactly the way it had been before… yet his bed was occupied by a sleeping figure. And though dark brown hair fell over his face, Picard would have recognized him anywhere. His breath caught in his throat as he spoke the name.

"Fe-lix?"

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Mia was glad to be home, and yet not glad at the same time. Felix's words to her about Alex still rang in her head, and Alex's very image appeared before her whenever she closed her eyes. But she let no one know of this as she traveled around Imil, greeting people who had asked to know when she came back. Yet, as she passed the weapon's shop, she looked up the path that would lead to the Mercury Lighthouse and wondered for a moment. Well… why not? Might as well see if anything changed.

Nothing had changed, it was still the same Lighthouse as it had been before, and Alex stood before the little fountain of Hermes Water remembering the events that had conspired here. His first open betrayal of Mia, the first step to his damnation as far as he was concerned. But Mia wasn't in Imil now, so he was able to visit the place to remember without fear of meeting her. He would have to leave before she came back, he didn't think he could bear seeing the betrayal in her eyes. He turned to leave only to stop, ocean blue eyes widening in shock and foreboding as they met with equally shocked sapphire eyes.

"Alex?"

Alex grimaced. Oh Mercury, no. Not this, not her. Not when she hated him.

"Alex." Again Mia said his name, as if confirming it to herself, seeing that he really was standing here.

"Mia." Alex finally responded, trying to think of a way out.

"Oh Mercury, Alex!" And Alex was very unprepared for Mia's next action. Quickly closing the gap between them, she threw her arms around him. At the weight of her body Alex lost his balance, and they both fell backward into the pool of Hermes Water.

Thankfully it wasn't a deep pool, but it did create an interesting splash. Alex sat up sputtering slightly and Mia giggled from her place on his chest.

"I do not see the humor in this." Alex muttered, preparing to stand, but he was held back by Mia's arms locking around his waist.

"Please don't leave me again Alex," she murmured. "Please."

Alex bit his lip. Did she really think he wanted to leave? "Mia, it is forbidden for one of the Mercury Clan to interact with one who betrayed the clan."

"So what?" Alex found himself looking into eyes that sparked in anger. "Who is left of the Mercury Clan to stop us? Who? I'm the oldest of the Mercury Clan now Alex! So for once just let me love you!"

Alex didn't say anything, after all, what could one say to that? Mia buried her face in his chest, hoping that he wouldn't just push her off him and leave. But then Mia felt arms encircle her and a gentle kiss be placed on her head.

They stayed that way, not moving, for a long while, so long that Alex began to wonder if someone would show up randomly and find them there. But no one came, and so Alex and Mia remained in the pool of Hermes Water… and then Alex suddenly began to laugh. Mia looked up at him questioningly and he gestured at the water that surrounded them.

"Hermes Water… the supposed healer of all things. And we're sitting in it."

Mia caught on to what he was saying and smiled a real smile for the first time in all the years since Alex had left the Mercury Clan.

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Picard left the halls of King Hydros's castle, his mind running over the conversation he'd just left. The king had not been happy with his decision to leave, but Picard had not allowed his opinion to be swayed on this matter. He was leaving Lemuria. Technically, he should have never come back. He was well aware of the fact that leaving Lemuria would outcast him the first time he'd done so, so he was not truly a Lemurian and should therefore not have anything to do with Lemurian politics. And now more than ever he was not a Lemurian, having violated one of the chief morals of Lemuria that love could only be between a man and a woman… because Felix was definitely not a woman and anyone who was stupid enough to imply that would suddenly find themselves wondering about their gender do to a very sharp Sol Blade (Felix's weapon of choice). Actually, it would be rather interesting to watch Felix do something like that, Picard mused as he entered the port area of Lemuria.

"How did it go?" Felix asked from his place at the wheel of the ship. It struck Picard that this was what he missed the most about living in Lemuria. Felix and the sea… or rather Felix navigating the sea and Picard being able to watch his two loves working together. Felix did look so good when steering the ship.

"Perfectly. Have you decided where we should go?" Picard left that decision up to Felix. After that serpentine trail he'd taken to try and tell Picard of his feelings, Picard thought Felix knew Welgaia better than anyone else living there. All the places you caught me watching you, sheesh! How was Picard supposed to pick that out of the list of places he'd been?

"Prox."

Picard nodded, he'd said that he would let Felix choose the place and he still would, no matter how weird it was.

"Why Prox may I ask?"

"No one would look there." Good idea, Picard mused. Felix still didn't want to be with many people, like those in Vale, who held him in part hero-worship along with Isaac. "Close to the water." Ooo, major points for that idea, so Picard could be near the sea and keep his ship.

"Anything else?" Picard murrmered in Felix's ear as he rested his chin on the other's shoulder.

"Saturos was from Prox." Picard did not see the connection and said so.

"Saturos was gay… or so he told Menardi… then again, that might be because he didn't like her…" Felix seemed to ponder this. "Either way, it proves that Proxian law is not as strict as some others."

"As long as you can hold your own in a fight." Picard added.

"Which we can."

"That is true, dear Felix, that is true."

The End