Disclaimer: I don't own PLL (sadly)
Ezra Fitz slowly walked down the grocery store aisles, weaving in and out, absent-mindedly grabbing things as he went. The entire day he'd felt like he was in a trance, but not without good reason. It had been five years since she'd left. Not a phone call, text, email; not even a happy birthday in five years. Not for a lack of trying though. Ezra had tried to get in contact with her every so often, but no matter what, his phone call went to the answering machine, his text was ignored, his email deleted. Five long years since Ezra Fitz had last seen Aria Montgomery, when she headed off to university.
Ezra wasn't ashamed to say that Aria broke his heart. It was true; he'd never really gotten over her. Sure he'd gone on dates, but none of the girls he'd gone out with were her. Nothing seemed right after Aria. Each girl he managed to pick out something that was wrong that was a deal breaker. It was shitty; he was sure they were good people, but he couldn't do it.
Leaning his cart to the left, Ezra turned into the cereal aisle. Cereal was easy. Bowl, milk, spoon, done. Today he didn't feel like complicated. Approaching the Cheerios, Ezra stopped abruptly, as he heard a scream.
"Stop! I'm sitting here."
Ezra peered around his cart, and sitting on the side of the aisle was a small boy; he had dark brown hair, large, brilliant blue eyes and freckles dotting his face. Ezra looked up and down the aisle; he and the young boy were the only two people in it.
"Sorry buddy! Hey, where's your mom?"
"I lost her!" the little boy wailed, "Momma's gonna be so mad…"
Ezra sighed, and ran a hand nervously through his hair. He couldn't just leave the kid there, what if something happened to him?
"I'll stay with you until you find your mom, okay? What's your name, buddy?" Ezra asked, as he pulled his cart to the side of the aisle, and sat down next to the boy.
"James-William, but my friends just call me James. I'm this many years old." He held up four fingers to Ezra.
"Nice to meet you James, I'm Ezra. And wow, you're four! You're a big boy now, right?"
James nodded. "Mmmhmm! That's why I thought I'd get the Froot Loops for Momma. But now she's gone! Auntie Nan said she was gonna get me a new Hot Wheels today… Now I don't think she will." His face fell slightly as he sunk back against the cereals. Sighing, he pulled a bright green car out of his jacket pocket, and rolled it around the ground.
Ezra looked down the aisle; James' mother had to be nearby, panicking even. He examined the child in front of him. He seemed rather small for his age, but still had round cheeks. He wasn't lanky per se, but wasn't chubby either.
He tried to visualise what the boy's mother would look like, tried to pick out features in women passing by the end of the aisles.
"James, what does your mom look like? Maybe I'll be able to see her coming."
"Well, Momma is the most prettiest mom in the whooolee world." As he said this, James stretched his arms out, as if that was going to help Ezra find her.
"I'm sure she is buddy, but what does she look like?" Ezra let out a small chuckle, marvelling at the innocence of childhood.
"Well. She's got, y'know. Hair. And eyes. But her hair is like mine! But that's it." James continued to fixate himself on the small car in front of him. For a four year old, he was awfully well spoken. Each word was said with conviction.
"Well James, we're going to sit tight here. If we stay in one spot, it's more likely she'll find you." Out of habit, Ezra checked his phone. 4:58. His stomach knotted. Something didn't feel right, the whole situation was unsettling.
James was running his car along the cereal boxes, lost in his own world. There was no panic in his features, which surprised Ezra.
"Could we go on an adventure to find Momma? She reads me stories about how people go on quests can save the princess. I'd like that." James looked to Ezra with wide eyes. "Please please? I love adventures."
"Sorry buddy, but we're gonna sit here. It'll make you easier to find."
James crossed his arms, furrowing his eyebrows. It was the most determined pout Ezra had ever seen, he had to stop himself from laughing.
"Ezra," he drew out Ezra's name, questioning. "Can you tell me a story? Momma always tells me stories when I'm scared." For the first time he sounded like a little kid. Timid, like he was afraid to admit that he was scared. The moment he said this, James accidentally let go of his green car, sending it flying across the aisle.
"Sure buddy. Let me grab that for you first." Ezra slowly stood up, stretching as he did. Crossing the aisle, he whipped out his phone again. 5:00. As he bent down to pick up the miniature car, he heard small footsteps gallop down the aisle.
Ezra turned just in time to see a petite woman pick up the boy and spin him around. Ezra took a hesitant couple of steps. He decided not to introduce himself until the woman acknowledged him. She'd just lost her son, no need to intrude.
"James William Fitz, where have you been?! I have been worried sick about you! I told you to stay by the cart, no matter what. You see what happens when you wander?"
A million thoughts went through Ezra's mind at that moment. The woman's voice. Just how familiar James looked to him. Fitz. The only thought that could register through his mind was 'Oh god. Let this be a coincidence. A crazy coincidence.' The only thing was that Ezra already knew that this wasn't a coincidence. He knew exactly what the universe had just thrown upon him. The pieces began to fall into place.
Ezra quickly snapped back into reality to catch the tail end of the woman's scolding to her son.
James had tears streaming down his face, and the only thing he could stutter out was about Ezra. "But Momma, I wasn't alone. Ezra made sure I was safe. He waited with me." The little boy pointed a small finger past his mom, pointing directly at Ezra.
At hearing the familiar name, the woman turned around faster than Ezra would've thought possible. Seeing the face of James' mom sent a shock through his system, and he dropped the small green car that was in his left hand.
After not seeing her for five years, the first words he managed to spit out were all too familiar. "Holy crap."
Standing face to face with him was the love of his life, Aria Montgomery.