The first thing he notices when he wakes up is that he aches all over. It's a throbbing, aching pain that rings through his whole body, and when he shifts his head to look around his neck screams at him in sharp, pounding, stinging pains. He creaks open his eyes slowly, to see desert before him and to the side; a bland, dry, yellow and sandy place, the heat beating down on him and sweat drenching his too-warm jacket. The next thing he notices is that he's moving; he can't feel his legs at all (except for a numbing ache he assumes is them, being down there) and he can't wrap his head around how he's moving, then, until he feels someone shifting and dragging their (his and his carrier's, tired and worn and going on by sheer willpower) feet in the sand and he realizes it's Chien.

"Where am I?"

His voice is cracking, like an unopened and yellowing book with brittle pages due to disuse. Chien just glances at him, surprise flickering over his features for a moment, before returning to watch the ground, breathing labored. Luca's surprised at him, fore certain; with such grevious injuries, he still-

"We're on Naraka. I carried you."

He still-

"I think we're near... Sania. The airship came down nearby. Your friends should be there."

Luca's heart stops and restarts at the name of the village - at the thought of seeing his friends again. He holds onto Chien tighter, just for a moment, before he lets go and heavs himself off of the much smaller boy. He breathes in quietly, trying to catch his breath and only catches dust and sand; he coughs, shakes, and sighs.

"Sania... Iria's hometown."

Chien shoves him, weakly, at that, and Luca stumbles forward a little, surprised.

"Get going!"

Chien's voice is rough and streaked with uncried tears, because Luca has friends to return to and he doesn't; Luca has friends who need him, want him, and he (Luca) knows it, feels it returning with his strength. He smiles at Chien, then, because he's grateful and he doesn't know how to say it; he's a little lost on words, but he takes Chien's hand and pulls him along.

"We have to treat your wounds too... Come to the village with me."


Luca smiles wider, then, and injured and bruised they make their slow way to Sania Village. Two hundred million thoughts race through Luca's minds as the outline of the village grows clearer and clearer, step by step, and panic rises in his throat. He couldn't face them at the castle; how could he face them now? They were his friends - he knows this, he knows this - they are his friends, but how could they just forgive him after-


he can't quite banish the thought of disgusted, disappointed looks out of his mind, not even when Chien collapses on one knee half way there and Luca helps him up, slings his arm over his shoulder and treks along, their roles from the crash of Sky Castle suddenly switched. He can't quite banish the thought at the gates of the village, hesitating to step through and the only thing convincing him to is glancing at Chien and seeing just how tired and just how injured he was from the fall, and from Mathias.

It's what convinces him he needs to do anything to make it up to the world, and he steps through the gates with that resolution in his mind.