Title: Laughing In The Rain
Theme/day: August 25 : God lives underwater.(late) / June 22 : Stories.(early)
Fandom: Golden Sun
Summary: "Then what's your reason, Felix?" "I don't have one," Felix replied. FelixPiers
A/N: This was supposed to be a Christmas present for Kaya (Darkle) but then it turned into something of a birthday present because I fail and stuff.
The title is from A Lonely Voice by The October Project. Great song, that.
Possibly part of a larger continuity, but it can stand alone. Anyways, I decided if it goes on further it would be a few connected oneshots considering how loose the connection could be, and varying timelines, etc...
I'm still working on Every Happy End, don't worry. In fact, I did a ton of work on the latest chapter recently...just had an annoying fight scene to write. Been busy and sick, you know?
There was a legend that the goddess Iris had been born from the deep. Deep under the primordial ocean, before even light had come over the dark waters. She had come from a large clam, unfurled from the womb of a shell like a most valuable pearl.
Had she been formed from sands of time? Her first step had traces of the sand beneath and it became land. An island in the middle of the world, yes, Lemuria was her first footstep on Weyard.
She rose up from those waters and from there she molded the world. Her hands were compassionate, like a potter she worked the clay into something and put it within the oven of the sun. And through that, she formed all of Weyard. That is how it is told, though not every tale remains the same. Like a canvas of shifting sands, each tribe tells it a bit differently. In Vale, she came from the mountains. There was an earthquake, a volcanic eruption and she burst forth forged from magma and ash. Imil said she came from the icy reaches, that she thawed out from a great glacier and came to them still blue from the touch of the northern reaches. That was why their hair was blue, for she formed them from icy and breathed life into them. All Imilians were made of ice with frozen over blood and hoarfrost covered hearts.
Did the tribe of Aemos say that their goddess came to them a cloud? Did she float like a seed and settle upon a place where they too were blown, like glass? There were no longer enough of that tribe to tell that story, so only dried fragments could be gathered and brought into a likeness of what it must have been.
Piers had left shortly only two weeks after Vale fell to tell the remains of his family and king that they were saved. He returned two years later. Time was different in Lemuria. It was not as linear or pressing as it was everywhere else. It was a vortex one could slip into and never come free of again.
"It's nice to see you again," Piers said.
"It's been a while," Felix said.
"Really?" Piers said in confusion, "It didn't feel long."
Piers spoke as if he had merely been gone a week or two, and perhaps in his thinking, that was just what he had done. Lemuria was a faerie world, a place where years were sucked up and lost.
"I wanted to see more of the world. Would you like to come? It's not quite the same sailing alone."
"What happened while was away?"
Several things had changed in two years. Jenna was married now, her first child was due within months. Ivan had returned to Contigo, and Sheba to her own hometown. Isaac and Garet were still friends, and Jenna's choice hadn't gotten in-between them.
Jenna's choice had never seemed to affect Isaac.
"Many things," Felix said.
Piers nodded. He was patient and knew how long it would take for Felix to tell the events that had transpired.
"I'm starved, though. I haven't had a bite to eat since Vault this morning. Perhaps we could tell this over a bit of lunch?" Piers said.
"I'll buy," Felix said.
It was midday and the restaurant was barely half full. Soon the lunch crowd would come, though with a place like New Vale, it was never that full. Not many travelers came, but it was enough for the bachelors and workers and couples who were fighting (or simply the wife who refused to do dishes again that day).
Felix began to recount the story and Piers often prompted for details. Felix was no storyteller, for he was entirely too dry and bereft of details, but Piers didn't seem to mind. If something lacked, he asked for it.
Felix was only going to order coffee, but on Piers' prompting, he also bought a baked potato, for Piers seemed to be almost as offended as Garet's mother would be of him not eating.
Piers, true to his word, ordered quite a bit. A plate of Redgrove Pasta and Veal, a salad and an Apple Strudel.
"You're the best customer I've had all day," Wendy said. She winked, tossed her brown hair and smiled at him. Piers seemed completely oblivious to her overtures and nodded politely.
When it had arrived, Felix had already explained up to Jenna's marriage and impending child.
"It smells delicious," Piers said.
Piers picked up his fork and blew upon the food. When he finally tasted it, he truly tasted it. Piers closed his eyes and chewed and enjoyed the food as if it were the last meal he would ever have.
It came to Felix, the thought he'd been holding back: he missed this. He missed something as small as watching Piers eat or the scent of him, like a whiff of sea salt.
He picked at his meal. Suddenly, Felix wasn't hungry.
It wasn't so much he was being a bad brother by avoiding Jenna – he avoided Jenna like someone would avoid an approaching flood of lava. She had always been spirited, but as her pregnancy progressed, she became irritable and prone to exploding with little notice.
"Wendy says that you were with someone exotic at the restaurant," Jenna prompted. She stood, hand on hip and waited for the explanation to this one.
"Piers returned," Felix said. "She must not remember him."
"Hmm, maybe she was too young. But why didn't you bring him home, or at least to Garet's famly's house?"
"I didn't want to impose.. Besides, we were catching up."
"Well, you better be the one to tell her. You know how she is," Jenna said.
Garet's mother loved to cook, and it was a good thing as with the size of her increasing family, she often spent most of the day at the side of the hearth. She valued her abilities so much that it was easy to offend her. Often she would send Aaron over to see if they were really too busy or sick to come spend a night with the family, and if they weren't down with Typhoid or rebuilding their house from scratch then they were in for a tongue lashing the next day.
"I will," Felix said.
"Has he talked to the others yet? I haven't seen him yet," Jenna said.
"I assume he's making the rounds. Have you seen Isaac? I haven't seen him in days," Felix said.
"Isaac is probably off moping somewhere. You and he are cut from the same cloth, I swear," she muttered.
Perhaps it was a wanderlust or something else that drew Isaac away from them. Whatever its cause, Isaac had been scarce in the time since Jenna's marriage and Felix was positive it wasn't because of a broken heart. Self-preservation, perhaps, but more likely it was a symptom of wanderlust.
"I came for a reason, you see," Piers said. "I've got the ship ready for another journey."
"Was there something the matter?" Felix said.
Felix hadn't heard any news, but New Vale was an out of the way place, and news could miss them in such a rural area.
"No, this is a pleasure trip. Merely sightseeing.."
"I see," Felix said. "Did you tell Sheba and Ivan already? I'm not sure Jenna would want to travel in her current state and Garet would want to stay with her..."
"They can come if you truly wish, but the invitation was meant for you," Piers said.
Felix blinked. Truth be told, he didn't particularly feel like dragging the others along.
"...they can come on the next journey," Felix said finally.
"My thoughts exactly," Piers said.
It took a week of travel to reach the shore where Piers had tethered the great Lemiruan ship. He had no worries of thieves taking it for he held the orb which would power the ship.
Besides, he'd double locked the doors before and kept any irreplaceable valuable with him instead of risking theft.
"Where to next?" Felix said.
"You're the captain. Don't you know the way?"
"You take first choice," Piers said.
Felix stepped towards the map and closed his eyes. He had never done anything so impulsive in his life, and his heart thrummed at him. He landed upon a spot and felt Piers' hand close over his.
"Apogee Islands it is," Piers said.
The Apogee islands were on the far side of Weyard, weeks away. Still, it had been chosen. Surely, if need be they could stop for supplies.
"I was hoping to return to the Apogees, but I didn't think it'd come this soon," Piers said.
"The water draws you back?" Felix queried.
"Doesn't it draw you too?" Piers said.
"No," Felix said.
"Ahh, must be the lack of earth. But then, earth and water never battled.."
But while wind and earth were at opposites, it had never seemed to get in the way of Isaac and Ivan's friendship. Ivan and Garet were more prone to fighting than Mia and Garet. He'd never been particularly adverse to Sheba, though he was wary of her scheming and sense of humor.
Perhaps not everything could be blamed upon the elements.
Piers rolled up the map and returned it to the leather carrying case. In turn, he handed the case to Felix..
"You're my navigator now."
Felix took the pack gravely, as if he carried the weight of the world.
Piers grinned. "You don't have to be so serious. This isn't the fate of the world anymore, and you don't have a poor sense of direction."
But Felix was used to grave situations – so much so that he found it difficult to adapt to anything lesser. He'd been saving the world, his parents, his family for so long that he didn't know how to do anything else.
The water was aquamarine, a brighter color than Felix was used to. Underneath the waves light streamed down and reflected off of multicolored fishes. Coral was arrayed like stony underwater flowers, had Piers not pointed it out he might not have noticed them at all.
Felix hadn't the time to notice when traveling through here the first time. There had been a mission, and he'd little time for sightseeing of any kind. The only thing he saw was the icy regions of Prox and his parents. He hadn't the time for even thinking about himself, or what could be.
He hadn't allowed himself to think too deeply of anything, but his mind had skipped into the shallows where he kept thoughts of his companion.
"Come on in, the water's fine!"
Felix stood at the edge, considering.
Piers hair clung to him, darker when wet. He looked like some merman – but not the true, fish creatures he'd fought, but the spun tales of sailors. He'd slipped out of his clothes and into the water without shame or modesty. Felix couldn't tell if it was due to his upbringing and some aspect of Lemurian culture, or if Piers merely felt that much at ease around him. Perhaps both.
"Are you afraid?" Piers said.
"No," Felix said. He gulped and looked at the water before him. It was calm, not stormy or churning, but he'd been through enough storms to know that water was full of deceit.
"There's only one way through fear," Piers said. "Are you ready?"
Felix nodded tersely. Piers smiled.
He pulled Felix deep into the aquamarine waters. Felix gasped at first when the first shock of the water displacing in splashes around him. It was warm, not like the cold stormy river he'd nearly drowned in. Piers seemed to have some natural buoyancy, or perhaps it was his psyenergy, lifting them up from the power of the great waters.
Piers' arms were wrapped tight about him, and for once, Felix was allowed to feel his companion against him. His wet strands of hair that looked like the tangled teal seaweed that congealed near Lemuria. His body was taut and strong. Felix's hands met at the back where Piers' shoulder blades met.
"See? It's not that bad at all," Piers said. He released him and Felix floated there, his clothes wet and weighing him down, but not enough to fight the natural buoyancy surrounding them.
Slowly, slowly Felix's muscles began to relax. He leaned back into the water and closed his eyes. He felt rushing bubbles beneath him, a constant net to keep him from falling.
"You've never fished?" Piers said incredulously.
"No," Felix said. "I've never fished."
"That must be remedied immediately," Piers said.
He left to visit the natives and returned hours later with a medium-sized woven square basket with a top that closed and two fishing poles made from a variety of flexible sapling that grew deep in the middle of the islands.
They hadn't much gold, but Piers had apparently bargained with his healing abilities. He seemed weary, slightly stooped over as he climbed the ladder up to the starboard side.
"You should rest," Felix said.
"Fishing isn't hard work, Felix. Not most of the time, anyways. I suppose I'll make you pull in the line if it gets heavy."
"That's acceptable," Felix said.
Piers opened up the woven basket and withdrew some bait. He strung it on the hook and cast the line in. It bobbed at the surface of the unblemished blue water. He handed the rod to Felix and then began to prepare his own.
Felix held the fishing pole awkwardly, unsure of how to continue.
"Now what?" Felix said.
"Now, we wait," Piers said.
Piers cast his line in as well and leaned against the side of the ship. His legs dangled over the side, like it was a common pier.
The sun sailed across the sky lazily, birds languidly soared them. Gulls cried above and on occasion, dove to bring up fish from below the surface. Piers leaned back and let the fishing pole lay loose and languid in his grip.
Felix thought he understood, just maybe. It wasn't destination, but the journey. Fishing was reclining and waiting with a friend. It was languorous and long, waiting for that one moment of excitement that might never come.
It was an half hour before his first bite, and when it did, Felix stared down at the twitching fishing pole.
"Draw it in!" Piers said.
Felix pulled until he felt Piers' hands over him, pulling in as well. The fish was surprisingly small for the amount of effort it took to pull in. It flopped on the deck. They both looked down at the scaled thing flipping over the wood planks.
"I think we'll have to catch more for dinner," Piers said finally.
The downpour started in the evening. They'd caught two fish and cooked them on the shore. They'd cooked a sticky and sweet resin from the trees in the inner harbors that Piers had gotten from some of the natives.
The sky had been clear until later when grey clouds swept in and the wind had a cooler, fresher damp scent. By then, the fire had waned.
"We might want to head back, I smell rain on the rain," Piers said.
The remains of the campfire was left charred and black to be doused out of existence with the coming rain. They tramped across the damp sand that clotted to their feet and stuck there, barnacle to boats of their bare feet. When they reached the ladder, the first droplets had begun to fall.
"Hurry! Bring out the buckets!" Piers called. "We'll add to our water stores this way."
Felix had thought these were for bailing out, but he found a separate pair, lighter in color.
He placed them in no particular form and the rain unleashed with the force of an overturned jar.
This was not a gentle rain. It was cold and hard, with thick drops that stung against the skin on contact. Piers seemed impervious. He reached his hand up and caught rain. He brought it to his lips and drank the freshest, cleanest water until speckles of dampness flowed down his chin.
"Come on, the water's fine," Piers laughed. He gripped Felix's hand and pulled him deeper into the deluge. His hair was plastered against his face, Felix's too.
"Cup your hands too, like this. It's the best water I've ever tasted."
Felix did as Piers asked, and he felt Piers' wet hair falling against him, and Piers' tongue warm through the cold as he sipped the water from Felix's palms.
"Now drink from mine," Piers said.
"Didn't you know? They say that God is laughing in the rain."
Was that another story? The only laughter he could hear was Piers' – and the echoes of his own.
It had been years since he'd laughed. Mirth was something that had been lost along the way. Here he was closer to the part of himself that slipped away under the river and had never returned. When he had been pulled out of it by two Proxian strangers, it had been as a man. Something had drowned deep under the waves and escaped in his gasping breaths as he coughed up stormy water. This was the first time he thought since then that it might return.
Piers' hair had dried, and it spilled out from his bunk. Rain was a steady drumbeat upon the deck and roof of the ship. Their wet clothes had been peeled off and
"You know a lot of stories," Felix said.
"Yes, I've...lived a while."
Piers cleared his throat. "I mean, in Lemuria there are many good storytellers and I spent a lot of time when I was younger in the archives."
Piers' hand dangled from the bed as if he was draping it along a canoe, skimming his fingers across the surface of the water.
Felix could've moved his hand a fraction of an inch from where he lay on the floor and made it so their hands touched. He didn't. He looked up past Piers, blue hair swept and falling like the edge of Gaia falls. He watched out of the corner of his eye and kept a certain distance between them. Piers respected that and yet inched closer in his own ways.
Felix looked to the wooden ceiling.
"Tell me one," Felix said. "One of your stories."
Piers grew more somber. "This was one my mother told me when I was a child..."
He gripped Felix's hand and traced the palm. "She said that every line in our hands held a trace of a tale in itself. We were all the pieces of some gigantic puzzle."
Piers leaned over from his cot. He ran his fingers up over Felix's pulse point and up his arm to the juncture where his elbow and joint met.
"Stories are what you make of them. They're pliable. Have you ever noticed how many creation versions there are?"
Felix thought of the magma and rocks telling of Vale, of the primordial waters of Lemuria and Imil's icy reaches. He thought of the cloud fronds of a lost country. All their stories were what made of the fabric of their life. Each different, separate, and yet, the same.
"I used to sit outside on warm nights and look outside the mists. Sometimes, I could see the moon filtering through it and a part of me wanted to leave everything behind. Funny, isn't it?"
"Me too," Felix said.
And though it wasn't mists or a lost island, it was the same kind longing. Felix had never dreamed of leaving Vale under those circumstances, but he had wanted another sky to sleep under.
"Then what's your reason, Felix?"
"I don't have one," Felix replied.
"Everyone has a reason. Some of them just haven't figured out what it is yet," Piers said.
It was not a sudden decision. It had been under the surface of himself for over two years, first sewn in eyes meeting across prison bars. There was nothing impulsive to this as he made up his mind. Piers' grip on his arm was slack. Felix placed his other hand over Piers', and his companion released his grip. Felix guided it to his mouth. He turned Piers' hand over and pressed his lips to the same palm he hand drunk from. Piers tasted of sea salt and wind. There was a hint of the unknown there.
Piers was not surprised at this gesture. If anything, he seemed relieved for the first move to finally be taken.
"A reason?" he queried. He smiled slight and wry, all full of untold tales finally come to light.
"A reason," Felix said.