Disclaimer: Golden Sun is not mine.
Title: She Fell
From the Sky
Summary: A Mercury adept slowly adjusts to life in the desert.
Rating: K+ for kissing (probably overrated, but hey, best to be safe)
Notes: While studying for finals, the title/first line would not get out of my head. Dashed this freakin long thing out within an hour so that I can actually concetrate on studying now.
She Fell From the Sky
"She fell from the sky," they told him when he first arrived. It was more than evident, the great pride they took in the little blonde girl who held the power of Jupiter. They called her Child of the Gods, yet loved and cherished her as one of their own. He found this rather endearing, somehow, though she would be mortified if she knew the townspeople had been speaking so of her to him.
It was the one bright spot in this desolate desert town he had come to, this isolated land, both bleak and vivid at once, dry and withered with occasional bursts of color. It was a sharp contrast to what he remembered of his homeland, blue and cool and still grand despite its gradual decay. But those memories too were slowly fading, as did everything else in this barren land.
Piers was no longer sure why he had come. It had seemed like a good idea at the time. After Felix and Jenna and their friends had been reunited with their families, by the destroyed wreckage of their village, it had become clear that they had lives to return to, while he... he had been banished from Lemuria, and he was no fool to hope that this would change any time soon, even with King Hydros's support, for change happened at a glacial rate in secluded Lemuria, and he doubted very many would dare challenge Conservato even now that the lighthouses had been lit. And even if he could go back, to whom would he go? His mother was dead now; there remained only his uncle, and his mother had been the only thing that they'd shared.
So when Sheba had mentioned returning to Lalivero, he had offered to join her, to take her back in the winged ship that was now his to pilot once more. Ivan, the other Jupiter adept in their group, had expressed a wish to return to visit Kalay, where he had been raised, and then to visit his sister in her temple to catch up for all their lost years; Piers's fellow Mercury adept Mia, on the other hand, seemed reluctant to return to Imil and the Mercury Lighthouse.
Piers thought the reasons of Mia's reluctance were twofold: of course Alex's betrayal had cut her deeply, and her memories of that incident were connected deeply with Imil and the Lighthouse. But also it had grown clear to him, as well as to Sheba, that the healer had developed rather deep feelings for one of her Vale comrades. Which of them it was, however, was up for debate. Sheba argued that it was Garet she'd fallen for; Piers thought it was obvious it was Isaac she cared for.
"I understand her feelings far better than you," he'd said. "We are both of water. How can she possibly care for a fire-wielder?" It was not entirely what he had wanted to say. He had meant to explain that as fellow Mercury adepts, they shared a certain bond that adepts of the other elements could not possibly intrude upon, but somehow the words would not come to him.
Sheba had rolled her eyes, as if she were a teacher patiently explaining a simple concept to her hopelessly inept pupil. "Yes, but I'm a girl, and you're not. Girls understand relationship stuff better than boys."
And Piers did have to admit that Sheba had been the one to point out Jenna's apparent crush on Isaac, the truth of which he still could not be certain of -- although he suspected Sheba's shrewdness in these matters stemmed more from her mindreading abilities than from any gender differences. In a final attempt to salvage some of his dignity, he had replied, "I am far older than you, and have seen much more of the world. I should think I understand far more of feelings and human relationships than a fourteen-year-old girl."
But Sheba had only giggled, just as he realized his mistake and flushed an unnatural shade of red. "So how old are you anyway, Piers? You still haven't told us..."
But that was months ago, now. Their conversation had been interrupted by Ivan's request to join them for at least a portion of their journey, and Felix and Jenna asking them to stay at least, for some time, while they rebuilt Vale. And because it was true that they had all become great friends over the course of their quests, they had agreed to put off their journeys for a while.
One month later, they said their goodbyes, promising to come back to visit. Within another month, Ivan had left their party and Sheba and Piers had arrived at Lalivero at last.
That same night Piers first heard about her near-mystical origins, Sheba had taken him aside, pensive.
"What will you do now, Piers?"
Piers had shrugged, but before he could answer, she'd continued, "You don't have anywhere to go now, don't you? Conservato banished you from Lemuria, and you've practically seen the whole world by now..."
It did not take any mindreading abilities for him to realize what she was getting at. The thought had not occurred to him before, but now that he considered it, it did not seem a bad idea. For he did indeed have nowhere to go, and if he were to settle anywhere -- albeit temporarily, for he knew, or perhaps hoped, that someday, eventually, his king would manage to overturn Conservato's declaration and recall him to his homeland -- it might as well be with a friend. He could wait, after all. He had all the time in the world. For one who had lived more than a century, what was a few more years?
Yet the desert was a harsh place, even more so for a Mercury adept such as himself, and the land was beginning to exert its toll on him. He found himself staring at the skies often these days, dreaming of water, cool, endless blue water slipping through his fingers and his hair. Sometimes Sheba would join him -- listening to the winds carrying the world's secrets to her, perhaps -- but never speaking a word. Her presence, too, was a comfort to him, a reminder of all he had been through and all the friendships he had forged.
At night he gazed at the stars and the moon, thinking of craters and floating cities and legends and all they had learned in their journeys, and wondering if Sheba had in fact figured out what he had long begun to suspect.
Days passed, and weeks, and months. The city grew to love him as much as much as they adored their little Sheba; for even now that Alchemy had been restored to the land and Sheba's powers became no longer so mystical in the people's eyes but rather a fact of life, the townsfolk were predominantly Venus adepts, and Piers's skills came in handy during the dry seasons. On occasion they traveled together to Vale, or to Kalay, or to Hamma's temple, and catching up on old times, exchanging news with old friends. Over time, time that should have been little more than a blink of the eye to him, Piers gradually found himself dreaming less and less of foggy isles and tossing waves until it seemed there had never been a time where there had not been the desert, and the wind, and Sheba.
One late afternoon some years after the great quest that unleashed Alchemy back into the world, Piers and Sheba sat together on a great rock near Lalivero, overlooking the desert to the west, Piers watching the sky and Sheba listening quietly to the wind as always.
"A piece of gold for your thoughts?" said Sheba, almost slyly, her voice and the playfulness of her tone startling Piers out of his reverie. He turned his head to look at her, noting idly that she had grown into a lovely young woman, blonde hair tossing freely in the wind.
"I was just wondering..." He hesitated, uncertain. The question had troubled him for years. "Why did you desire to come back here, to Lalivero? I remember how troubled you were, not knowing anything of your heritage, your background. My impression then was that you did not truly consider this place home... You could have stayed in Vale, with everyone, Felix. Felix was always fond of you, as was Jenna." You could have built a new life there, with them.
A slight flush on her face that he had not previously noticed faded, and she said, gently, "Why did you not stay in Vale?"
"Don't turn the question back on me," he said, suddenly flustered, with the realization that he did not know. "I asked you first."
Her expression turned serious, and she turned away from him, looking out at the desert beyond. "I don't know," she admitted. "I was searching for my past, some hint to who I was... but I couldn't find anything, nothing concrete, anyway. It was Felix who suggested I come back, actually. He told me that perhaps... it would be easier to find myself... if I started back at the beginning."
Piers had not known that. But it made sense, now that he thought about it. Felix had been around the same age as Sheba when he had been taken captive by the Proxeans, and started down the path of betraying Vale by stealing the treasures the village guarded. Felix, more than anyone else, would have understood.
"Although, don't get me wrong," she added quickly. "I knew Faran and the town cared for me very much, and I thought I should at least go back and let them know I was okay."
"And...?" Piers prompted. "Did you --?"
Sheba shook her head, her bubbly laughter dancing on the wind. "Nuh-uh. Your turn to answer now."
Piers sighed and looked down, fidgeting with his hands. "I am not sure. Perhaps it was just... I felt..."
"Like an outsider?"
Piers looked up sharply. "No, not that. I mean, I have never had such good friends..."
"But because you're so much older than the rest of us... you've seen so much more of life -- while the rest of us were just starting to live our lives..."
"Yes," admitted Piers reluctantly at last. "I suppose that was part of it." And then, as the thought occurred to him, "Is that why... is that why you wanted me to stay with you here? Because you thought I would be lonely, otherwise?"
"No, of course not!" Sheba shook her head vehemently, her hair flying about her face. "I... I was afraid." Her voice grew quiet. "I was afraid of facing Faran and everyone else again. I suppose... I felt guilty, having thought such ungrateful thoughts, thinking that despite all they had done for me, they still weren't my true family... It was selfish of me, really. I just thought that maybe if someone, one of you, stayed by my side, it would make everything so much easier."
Sheba smiled mysteriously. Then she leaned over to him, pointing out towards the desert, and whispered, "Look."
He tensed slightly at first at her sudden proximity, then relaxed, berating himself for his foolishness, and looked.
His breath hitched. The sun was setting, red and gold, over the land, and the wind danced through the yellow sands of the desert like a seabreeze tossing endless blue waves, and Sheba had pressed her lips to his, her hair brushing gently against his face and mingling with his own hair.
She drew back then, almost shyly. "I read your mind. Sorry."
His heart pounded and thoughts raced through his head, and yet all that came out of his mouth was, "Don't be," as he smiled and leaned in for a second kiss, and wondered, idly, when he had come to feel so content... here in this barren land, this withered, desolate land.
When the messenger from King Hydros arrived the following year, the note he sent back was short and simple:
The one swept away by the sea shall remain with the girl who fell from the sky, as heavens and ocean join at the ends of the world, until the end of time.