Title: Every Happy End (5 part one)
Day/Theme:12/9. one last day in the shadows
Fandom: Golden Sun
Rating: PG-13 for later parts
Summary: Ivan returns to a rebuilt Vale five years later with much on his mind. Eventual Isaac/Ivan, sideline Garet/Jenna, Felix/Piers, Sheba/???
Wordcount: 2528, 20,839 total, including unposted things.
A/N: For Lin, as always. Happy (late) birthday! Also I missed the one-year anniversary despite hoping to update (and even finish) by then. Anyways, we're getting closer to the end. Thanks for sticking with this! Part five is going to be split up into several pieces to prevent me from ripping my hair out. This unfortunately means plenty of cliffhangers, but if it's shorter I should be able to update a bit faster.
Felix pushed through a snowdrift. Piers lagged behind, his Lemurian attire woefully inadequate for a sudden snowfall to rival Imil at his worst.
"I m-may be a Mercury adept, but I w-was raised in the t-tropics."
Piers clutched at himself, searching for whatever warmth he could find. Felix unwound his scarf, slow and even. When he had unknotted it, put it over Piers' shoulders without a word. It was dull olive green and large enough to drag on the ground. It didn't drive back all of the cold, but it did help some. The gesture was oblique, yet kind.
"Thank you, Felix."
Felix didn't say anything and he didn't look to Piers; he only looked ahead. The houses were covered in white caps of snow.
"We should stop by at the next houses we find and find some leggings, and a thicker shirt. It won't help anyone if you get frostbite."
Piers breathed on his hands. He said a silent prayer that everyone else would be alright as well.
Wouldn't you know that the one Adept that would have been most useful in an Alex related case was off in a winter wasteland of her own?
"What an annoyance. Argh, when I get a hold of that Alex guy...Bang!" Jenna swiped her staff at the frosty air.
"Hey, save your energy for him. Let me do the fire here," Garet said.
"Hah, you? You've got way less mana than I do. You'll run out long before we get anywhere near there," Jenna said.
"Oh, really? Try me. I've been practicing a lot you know," Garet said. He flexed his arm, as if she needed proof, but then again, Garet rarely needed an excuse to flex his arms.
Jenna laughed. "You can practice all you want, you'll still be a big lug who uses all his mana in one burst!"
"Hey, I'm just trying to make sure you don't wear yourself out. Let me help out here," Garet said. His voice was softer than usual, even gentle.
"Stay close, alright? Oh hey, we're almost up to my house! I can see it from right here."
Jenna smirked. "Oh, and I'll be the one who's protecting you while you flex in the mirror there."
On the horizon was blue throughout all the white, coming ever closer to them.
Meanwhile, Isaac was contemplating many things, from the fate of everyone else, and especially regret of his choice in partners.
"I've always wanted to ask this – Do you have idea where you're going, or do you just walk blindly looking stoic and call it destiny?" Sheba said.
Isaac didn't respond. Instead he squinted. He'd thought he'd heard a sound, like a large crack, yet now that he was here he couldn't seem to find the origin of it.
"...I thought I heard something," he said.
"Well, maybe he's chillin' in that giant villaincastle up there."
Isaac looked up. There was a giant structure of crystal clear ice rising from the lower part of Vare, near the gates. Any passage in and out was now blocked by thick walls of ice.
"...That was fast," Isaac said.
"Tell me about it. You think that was the power of the Golden Sun, or the power of his gigantic ego?"
Isaac nodded. "It seems to be. I don't think his powers could've improved that much on his own. I think he might be drawing power from the psyenergy crystal in the middle of town, considering where he built it. I guess we can't fault him for living in style. I would, if I were taking over the world. I don't see why he'd turn this place into a Imilian wasteland. If I could use it, it'd look like those tropical islands we had so much fun on. Apogees all the way!"
Isaac stared at her.
"What? Sheesh, you're no fun. I don't see what everyone sees in you. 'Oh he's so dreamy, hero boy!'"
Isaac cleared his throat. "We should get going."
"Yeah, yeah, it's all work with you."
Isaac didn't see it at first, the fragments of ice coming towards him, as a fall off, or the shouts that had drawn him there. When he did, it was too late to even have the protection of psyenergy. And then there was nothing, no sound, no feeling. Just a sense of quiet and white.
And a fading.
Images. Isaac felt oddly aware that this was not his regular state, and he watched from afar in this state of not-being,(He wondered if he'd died, but it seemed illogical to die now when this close.)
The first time he'd seen Ivan, he'd been too busy with his recent mistakes to take that much notice. The learning was gradual, as Isaac realized long after Ivan had joined him just how much he relied on him.
There were minor hints, from the beginning to the shock of Ivan taking his hand and sharing psyenergy, or the stab of something – could it be jealousy? – when he took Garet's hand.
Throughout these traveling, disjointed images, it was one memory in particular that he focused on.
It came clearer than the others, like the sharp scent of alcohol, and the numbing feel of ice were present – as if he were there all over again.
Isaac was a talky drunk. It wasn't something he'd ever expected to find out, as he didn't see the appeal of drinking oneself into a stupor. However things occurred to change to this unexpected outcome. After the events that had transpired – the lighthouses, the saving of the world, finding Felix and his parents, even just the giddiness of everyone surviving the fall of Mount Aleph it all lead to a celebration. They'd taken it to Vault where Ivan had met up again with the kindly Mayor who had offered him shelter when Master Hammet left.
Even with the loss of their homes, they'd celebrated life and renewal and the passing of another day. Bottles had been opened and everyone had cheers for a hero. Isaac had found that he couldn't resist all the drinks being handled to him. They just kept coming and even if he didn't care that much for the taste, he couldn't quite turn them down either. One drink lead to another and another and another... Soon his reasoning became watery, unstable.
His last coherent fragment of thought was seeing Piers guiding an ever more drunk Felix out and the soft sound of Mia's voice. She guided him step by careful step out into the cold night air. He looked up and saw the moon, the stars and felt profoundly dizzy.
She Doused him, he remembered that much. Isaac said things, he can't remember in retrospect. He'd probably babbled out his entire life's story, rife with embarrassing details.
She was completely sober as was the healer's vow and still remembered every detail. Thankfully, it was Mia and not Sheba (who he'd last seen dancing with Jenna and three other girls) Mia would keep every embarrassing detail quiet. Sheba...would probably sell it to the highest bidder. Or simply tell the world at large. For fun.
And then the details got shaky. He didn't remember what he said after that but apparently it'd been even worse than all the other details combined. He didn't remember much except everything blurring into fragments of purple under the night sky.
But he remembered a face that wasn't hers. He remembered coming closer, and touching the hallucination's cheek.
She'd been too kind to slap him out of the daze, but that hadn't stopped her from freezing him and leaving him until morning. All in all, slapping actually might've been a bit kinder as Isaac had sobered up a fifteen minutes later and spent the night shivering in an ice-prison. He couldn't have Grand Gaia'd himself out without wrecking half the town and the only Djinn he had on him were of the Venus variety.
All night he'd tried to reason with Granite who kept starring at him and chirping every time he tried to tell it to help him get out of here. That'd teach him not to borrow Garet's Djinn when he offered.
Garet was the one to find him, as for some reason he seemed fairly immune to the aftereffects of alcohol.
"Isaac, how on Weyard did this happen? Wait...Whoa, whoa– Whoa, you and Mia?" He grinned, "I never thought you the type to go about chasing girls at night."
"Garet I really...don't want to talk about it. Ever," Isaac said, "So if you could. Get me down, please."
Garet chuckled knowingly. "Not a problem, my friend."
A pillar of fire saved him from the prison of ice. Isaac fell in a crumpled heap, Granite still chirping away at him, and hopping about him.
Isaac flexed his legs. If he healed them right away, he might not even get frostbite and lose complete use of his legs.
However when he went to ask, it was Piers who he asked, not Mia. (Piers had a confused expression as to how Isaac ended up in a frosty cage all night, but he wasn't Sheba, and thus was polite enough not to ask.)
But still, he was bound to face it eventually. Better earlier than later. It was Mia who approached him, her serenity was unbroken, and without hint of an underlying anxiety. She showed no sign that the events of last night had changed anything between them. She never held grudges. He was glad for it. If the same thing had happened with Jenna, it might be months before she'd talk to him again. Years, even.
"Are you feeling better?" Mia said.
He held her gaze. "I'm alright. Piers healed me."
Mia glanced back at Garet. "Garet...would you mind letting Isaac and I talk alone for a minute? It's important and something I want to keep private. With no offense to you–"
Garet grinned knowingly. "No, no, I'm not offended at all. I know you guys want to have a little alone time to solve this lover's quarrel. So good luck!"
He winked and walked off without another word or looking back.
"I never thought of you that way...." she said. "You're like...a younger brother to me."
And in truth, neither had he. For a moment his senses had left him and her eyes had seemed violet. She'd seem smaller, he'd had an almost hallucination that she was someone else entirely. It had been another's name he'd said, another's lips he'd wanted to kiss.
"I'm sorry, I don't remember much. The alcohol made me mistake you for someone else."
"That was quite evident," she said dryly. "Isaac...You're going to tell him, aren't you? He's going to leave soon, as Master Hama is waiting for him. If you don't tell him now, you could never get the chance."
"I don't know," Isaac said.
"What's not to know?"
"Everything," Isaac said. "What to say, how to go about it...Everything."
"You certainly seemed to know them last night," she said drily, "If you don't tell him now, not then you'll be an insufferable coward. Who knows what could happen after this. He could go find a wife down there, or die. With that much distance there's no telling. And if you don't, then there's a good chance you'll live your entire life in regret."
She waggled her finger in a way that was so motherly that he felt a deep desire to laugh.
He didn't, though. That laughter that bubbled up never even showed on his face.
And as the days wore on Isaac found that dealing with saving the world was an easier feat than telling his male friend that he liked him. Granted, the result would have been the same if it had been Mia or Jenna. Isaac just didn't do talking about his feelings or emotions. A few times he'd almost started something, but things had happened. First Garet walked in when he was about to ask Ivan's plans, or it was that his mother called him, or that a sudden downpour came so that it was like the gods themselves were telling him not to go there.
So when the time came, he was still far from telling. Even more, he was even worse off as Garet hadn't kept his mouth shut, and most everyone was giving him and Mia knowing grins, much to her discomfort.
He didn't wish Ivan goodbye. He supposed in that, he was more like his mother than he realized.
"I guess I'll be an insufferable coward," Isaac said to himself.
And so five years passed.
Isaac woke to a bright white coldness and the rather ominous muttering Sheba was doing.
"Let's see...Granite didn't work...So far I've summoned a few monsters, moved boulders and made his defense rock hard. There's got to be a Djinn with a healing power..."
She shook one of his Venus Djinn as if it was a rusty implement that just needed a little bit of resettling. It squeaked indignantly.
It leapt over to hide behind Isaac. He wondered if Sheba had threatened to make a soup of it. Again.
Speaking of the devil, a blond head blocked out all the white. She was grinning. Never a good sign, that.
"Well, good morning sleeping beauty. So nice of you to join us again. Really. It is, it'd be bad if I had to tell everyone else you died halfway due to some generic falling rocks. Worst ending ever."
Isaac groaned. His head was killing him.
"You might wanna Cure that, unless you want to bleed out. A few of those attempts to wake you up ended up with more rocks. I also might have hit you with my staff a few times to see if it'd wake you up."
Isaac groaned again. He believed her. He was going to be covered with bruises by the time this was over.
He was startled to attention by a cry, and then the sounds of flames. He looked up to see, and saw smoke, and a burst of flares through the
"This can't be good. We'll have to aid him. Maybe there's more of the creatures."
"Or maybe, they've met up with Alex for real," Sheba said. Her voice was silky, eager even.
Isaac brushed the snow off and felt the warm piercing flow of Cure through him.