The Brothers Wilder
Summary: After a horrible tragedy gave way to a new friendship, a young Zelos Wilder takes Lloyd under his wing. Now, twelve years later, they're Meltokio's wildest, and naughtiest, boys around and life is good. But as the events on Symphonia come crashing down on them, can they lead their ragtag group to salvation without losing each other, or will the bonds of brotherhood be broken in their struggle to save the dying worlds?
Spoilers: This will start from when one first enters Tethe'alla and WILL CONTINUE TO THE END. Read at your own risk of spoilers.
A/N: Finally! The day has come! It's been over a year and a half since this story first blossomed in theory. Now it is my pleasure to introduce to you, the long awaited, long anticipated twist in the fabrics of time…
I present… The Brothers Wilder.
"Dammit," he cursed, looking around his messy room. Clothes had been scattered around the room, covering almost every inch of the floor, while every drawer and closet door had been flung open and hastily emptied of their contents. He looked at the clock, then back at the floor. "I don't have time for this!"
He ran across the hall and into his brother's room, not even bothering to be quiet. Not like it mattered; Lloyd could sleep through anything. He threw open the closet and began to searching, "Boxers, shirt, sword, shirt… ah, pants!" he exclaimed, grabbing the articles from their hangar and slipping into them with great haste.
He shrugged quickly as he felt the differences in the fabric between this and what he was accustomed to wearing. He inserted each thumb in the pocket, slightly pulling at the cloth. He sighed, "A bit tighter than I'm used to, but it'll work."
By some miracle chance, Lloyd cracked on eye open, semi-conscious. "…Zelos," he asked groggily. "…what the hell are you doing in my pants?"
"Laundry's not done, and I'm out." He answered quickly, dashing to the door. "Of course, it's not like you're awake to hear me, anyway…"
Lloyd only snored loudly in response.
Zelos paused at the door, grinning devilishly. "You need to not snore." He said, grabbing a pair of dirty boxers from his brother's hamper and flung them onto Lloyd's face, effectively muffling the boy's booming snores. "Much better."
With only minutes to spare before the late bell rang, Zelos flung himself into his first period class, grinning boldly as always. It wasn't long, however, until he found himself under attack by several of the girls in his class.
"Zelos," one of them pouted, "Where were you this morning? I was waiting for you right where you said you'd meet me, but you never showed up!"
"Here." Another thrust a stack of papers into his hands. "I took notes for you on yesterday's lecture. Do you want me to take some more today, too?"
A third butted in before he could answer. "Say, where's your brother? I haven't seen him for quite some time…" she then added in a low voice, "He promised me a date…"
He grinned slyly, answering them all in one smooth sentence. "I had a wardrobe malfunction; thank you, I'd love it if you would; and Lloyd's dead to the world."
"He's ASLEEP?!" she shrieked.
"But not to worry," he reassured her, his dazzling charisma working wonders on them all. "I'll gladly fulfill my lazy brother's slacking and make it up to you."
The girl's eyes glittered as she beamed, "Really? You promise?"
Cutting their conversation short, the chemistry teacher, known best as Mr. What's-His-Face by the brothers, entered the classroom, shutting the door behind him. "Quiet down and take your seats, class." He said in his trademark dull, monotonous tone. "We have a lot to do today…"
Leaving the girl's question unanswered, he hopped over the desks until he reached his spot by the window. He sat down hastily, a cocky smirk still playing on his features. Sure, it was chemistry class—ironically his least favorite course—but he couldn't seem to shake the feeling that someone, Lloyd, was up to no good. The two had grown to work like that: good at getting into each others' heads—as well as girls' pants.
Although, as much as he hated to admit it, he and Lloyd were always at war with one another over various issues—most of them frivolous, but neither would pass up an opportunity to beat the living daylights out of the other. The frustrating thing about their warfare, however, was the fact that neither of them ever seemed to win for long. When it came down to it, everything between them always ended in a draw, even when it came to the opinions of others.
Zelos was loved—as the older of the two—for his flirty, playboy demeanor and his alluring maturity. Lloyd, on the other hand, was coveted for his carefree attitude and his cute, boyish charm.
And then even in their scuffles, everything evened out: Lloyd would win in the broad sense of it, but he always came away with more cuts and bruises. Then, to make up for his loss of face, Zelos used psychological tactics to mess with his brother's head, often leading the boy to somehow publically humiliate himself seemingly without any outside help. Zelos would always brush it off to others, laughing, "They say pride comes before the fall."
All in all, though, they were the best of comrades.
He tilted back in his chair, his eyes glazing as the teacher begun his lecture on the various bonds between elements. Zelos skimmed over the notes from yesterday's sermon with little interest. He never completely understood why they needed to learn this stuff, anyway. As far as he was concerned, the only chemistry in life was the love kind—it didn't have acids and things tinier than the head of a pin.
Something outside caught his eye; he looked outside distractedly and noticed a brilliant flash in western sky. He frowned, straining to get a better look. It appeared to be some crazy tear in the dimension—physics: something he could better grasp—wavering and fluctuating before swallowing itself and disappearing without a trace. He blinked in disbelief; it was gone.
Faintly, very distantly, he could pick out the excited yapping of Noishe, and the dog was only permitted to bark as continuously as this when Lloyd took him out.
Unknown to Zelos, while he was engulfed in his realm of thoughts, he had subconsciously risen from his seat and was leaning into the window. The entire class was silent.
"…Wilder? …Mr. Wilder!"
"Huh?!" Zelos replied, snapping back to reality.
"I'd appreciate if you would take your seat like the rest of the class." The teacher instructed, adding in a low chiding tone, "And stay there."
He nodded absentmindedly, "Yeaah…" he said, finally prying his eyes from window. "Say, may I go to the restroom?"
"You may take your seat, Mr. Wi—"
"Great, thanks!" he said, dashing from the classroom and exiting the building within seconds. As he rushed back to the mansion to see what was abuzz, he couldn't help but think guiltily in the back of his mind how this could damage the public image he needed to keep as the Chosen of Mana—running off, skipping school, fighting monsters out in the middle of nowhere with his drop-out brother…
…But then again, he mused, I'm only eighteen, not even of age yet. I've got two more good years to screw around before I'm no longer considered the responsibility of the Mansion staff.
He then realized with a cold pang as he ran on, that with his fate sealed as it were, two years might even be asking too much.
Rounding the corner with great haste, Zelos slowed as the Mansion came into sight, and outside its thick, mahogany doors stood a brown haired boy dressed in his usual white and red outfit with splotches of royal blue and gold, taming a beast of green and white. Noishe looked anxious and more than ready to get a move on, and made sure that Lloyd knew of his eagerness by boisterously reminding him. However, when the doggish creature caught whiff of Zelos, he bolted from Lloyd's side.
The Chosen greeted the rampaging Noishe with a rough, but playful, head fur tousle as he looked to his brother and asked, "You see it too?"
Lloyd laughed. "Hell yeah I did." He tossed him a jeweled sword. "Here—swiped it when Sebastian wasn't looking. Look's like the light show came from the top of the Fooji Mountains. Let's go already!"
Zelos laughed, smirking deviously. "You go on ahead via dog-back. I think I'll travel more… first class."
Shrugging, he mounted the protozoan, saying as they dashed ahead, "You were always the frilly one."
As the older of the brothers hurried into the mansion and through its winding corridors, he noted that he'd have to put Lloyd back in his place for that comment later. Though it wasn't so that he didn't appreciate Noishe's services, he merely figured, "Why run when you can soar?"
Within no time, he found himself on flat space on the roof of the Wilder Mansion, never pausing to take in the beautiful view of the bustling city around him; he had a race to win. He quickly rushed to the edge of the outcrop, running his gloved fingers over the rugged brick surface until he recognized the hollow feeling of the faux stone he had installed only a few years earlier. He hastily punched it inward until he heard a soft click.
Grinning from ear to ear, he turned to see a large square area of the base lower and withdraw from sight as another slowly rose to take its place. Atop this new platform rode one of his most prized possessions: a sky blue Rheaird.
As he hopped onto the machine, setting all its motors and engines a buzz, he still couldn't quite remember how he'd come to acquire this beauty of a contraption. He remembered that he had gotten it as the result of an exchange of promises—or as it was more commonly known as, a bribe—with some odd looking folks in Sybak when he was fourteen. He had originally accompanied Lloyd there to take the Entrance Exams—which, of course, Lloyd managed to expertly bomb—but naturally the allotted three hours was a long time for him to simply sit and wait. So, avoiding the watch of the guards who were required to accompany him until he was sixteen, he slipped out of the waiting vicinity and out onto the streets of the nerdy city. Zelos hadn't gotten far when he was pulled aside into an alley by a duo of abnormally dressed fellows.
"Chosen of Mana, our Lord wishes a word with you." One of them had said, before they shone with mystical glow and he was whisked off some place that was beyond imagination.
Zelos' memory was fuzzy about whatever went on during that time, but when all was over, he was fourteen with a new kickass toy. He couldn't have cared less.
Once the mechanism purred beneath him, he twisted the handles violently, pressed his feet against the pedals and sped off over the horizon with the roar of the engine still in his wake.
Lloyd hadn't the chance to travel far outside of the city's proximity before he heard the roar of a Rheaird not too far behind him. He laughed lightly upon hearing it, turning slightly so that he could see as his brother swiftly approached them with the engines dying down back to its gentle purr as Zelos slowed to keep pace with them.
"You must really be a wuss," Lloyd laughed, rolling his eyes. "Breaking out the Thing for a small trip to the Fooji Mountains? Come on." He laughed again, but shortly before he felt Zelos' foot forcefully throw him from Noishe's back and onto his own on the ground. The protozoan stopped and backtracked to sniff his younger master's face. He was used to these sorts of antics.
It was Zelos' turn to laugh as he swerved the Rheaird around to a stop ahead of the other two. "Whoops! Sorry, didn't see ya there, shortie!"
Growling, Lloyd picked himself up off the ground, not even bothering to wipe the dirt from his formerly pristine white clothing. Noishe whined quietly and stepped back before plopping down in the grassy area nearby, but far enough to be out of their striking distance.
He jumped up and seemingly tactlessly began to charge at his brother, but halted and instead withdrew his swords with an eager grin. He slightly turned his head to the left as he ran his thumb over his nose in a quick motion, then held up three fingers and nodded. His brother reflected his grin and gave a stiff nod back.
Lloyd treaded through the dirt soundlessly as he continued on his path towards Zelos, who stood completely still even as Lloyd leapt into the air and hovered just above him. At the last possible second, Zelos peeled to his left and unsheathed his sword in one fluid motion as Lloyd came down next to him. Their swords met at his backswing and rang out as their only warning before they both landed solidly on the ground, in front of them three wild wolves slaughtered by their blades.
Forgetting their qualm, the two kept their weapons at bay while their smiles grew ever larger.
"Another perfect execution…" Lloyd stated proudly. "Damn, it's just not fun when they don't put up a fight."
"You mean when they can't put up a fight?" scoffed Zelos. "Face it: we've killed off all the strong creatures in this area. If you want a challenge, you gotta leave. Simple as that."
"Then let's leave." He suggested with great enthusiasm. "We can ditch that stuffy old city in search of bigger and better things! You in?"
Zelos smirked outwardly, but muttered under his breath, "Easy for you to say."
After whistling for Noishe, who moseyed half-heartedly out of the plush grass under the afternoon sun, Lloyd looked back to his brother. "Whaddya say?"
He regained his poise on the spot and flashed his normal cocky grin and looked ahead. "I say we head on out to Fooji and see what the hell was with that freak light show. If I'm right, we might even be dealing with some sort of dimensional rift!"
"A dimensional rift?" repeated Lloyd skeptically. "Zelos, you're an idiot. If there was really another world staring us in the face like they say, then why can't we see it, hear it or smell it?"
For the first time in a long time, he was speechless as it his little brother's logic. Zelos knew the boy had taken one too many knocks to the head—which were mostly Zelos' fault anyway, he would definitely own up to that—but sometimes he felt as if talking to a walking wall. Finally, he sighed, admitting with great sarcasm, "You know what, Lloyd? You must be some sort of genius."
He nodded, "I know."
Zelos shook his head in bewilderment as he revved up the Rheaird and sped off over the horizon. Lloyd took off atop Noishe's back, beaming triumphantly. "Dimensional rift, my ass." He scoffed. "Even if there is another world out there, it's not like Meltokio would offer them any help anyway—they're too damn pompous. Stupid people,"
After a moment's pause, he laughed, saying. "What's it matter?—there's not another world." He looked ahead, calling, "Hey, Zelos! Wait up!"
Post-note: And so concludes the first chapter. Please note that until Sealed Fates is done, this fic will not get top updating priority, so until then, updates will not be quick, to say the least.
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