"Mind if I join you in your internal brooding?"
The Lieutenant looked up and scanned his eyes across the face of the green-skinned specimen known as Lagoon Boy. Initially, Hiroshi still believed them to be in the Spirit World when they first encountered this boy and his girlfriend, a green-skinned young woman who could shape shift her form and read their minds to discover their purpose. It wasn't stretch to believe it though. Liu had seen similar creatures in Yue's territory when she had explained the circumstances and their quest.
He wasn't exactly sure what they were still doing here though.
"Sure," Lieutenant shrugged and Lagoon Boy smiled, sitting down beside him and watching him tinker around with his generator.
"So…M'gann, the girl you saw me with - she told me your guys' story. Asami and Shin explained everything…well, they didn't have to since M'gann could read their minds anyway but she's been reluctant to do that for awhile now and - " the boy cut himself and cleared his throat before continuing, "Anyway, we're not exactly sure why your 'Spirit World' decided to land you guys here, but hopefully we'll find out soon…these spirits trying to imbalance your world and clashing it with others haven't been discovered on any of our radars."
"They're spirits," Lieutenant pointed out as he tightened a screw. "They're only found when they want to be found. They won't be discovered by any of your technology, no matter how complex it is."
Lagoon Boy smirked, "You'd be surprised. We have magicians. Maybe they can spot them out for you."
The Lieutenant simply hummed in response.
"You don't talk much, do you?" Lagoon Boy asked.
"Did the silence give it away?" was Liu's curt reply.
To his surprise, the boy laughed. It was rich and hearty and the Lieutenant's heart stung at the sound. A few notes deeper and it could easily belong to Amon.
"So, you like jokes?" the boy's black eyes brightened. "I have a couple that I've been meaning to try out on a few of the team. I was going to tell them to M'gann but I want to make sure they're perfect when I tell her!"
The Lieutenant stopped working on his generator and considered his options. If he said no, the boy would be crushed and Liu was never really the type to deny or hurt others outside of a fight. But if he said yes…
His stomach churned at the memories of Amon and his terrible jokes, written by him and most meant for his Lieutenant (because Spirits help him, they were terrible but they made him laugh). This kid was starting to offset him, remind him of what he lost and was so set on finding again. The Lieutenant wasn't so sure if he could take it at the moment.
But the boy's eyes pleaded through his pro-longed silence and he sighed, "Fine, but they better be good."
Lagoon Boy threw his fist in the air, "Yes! Thanks! Okay, okay…let's see, which one first - oh yes! I have one - what kind of money to fisherman make?"
Oh, Spirits, he really was Amon's younger alternate dimension incarnation.
"What?" Lieutenant asked, trying his best not to cringe.
Lagoon Boy snorted and his smile was so wide, his enthusiasm so large, and the joke so corny that all the Lieutenant could do was put his face into his hands and laugh.
"You like it!" Lagoon Boy exclaimed. "You actually like it. Okay, here's another one: what did the fish do when his piano sounded odd?"
"What?" Liu said as his laugh subsided.
"He called a piano tuna!"
"Oh my Spirits," Lieutenant let out before another burst of laughter escaped him.
Lagoon Boy was practically glowing at his reaction, "Wow! No one has laughed like this before! Why don't prawns share?"
All the Lieutenant could do was nod his head.
"Because they're a little shellfish!"
That took the cake. Liu slapped his knee and soon, Lagoon Boy was laughing right along with him. Liu laughed and laughed and realized just how much he needed this. To laugh and have a little fun. Amon had always been good at that.
When the laughter between the two finally subsided, the Lieutenant turned his head and smiled as he met Lagoon Boy's eyes, "Thank you. I needed that."
"Anytime…um…" the kid scratched the back of his head and the Lieutenant realized they didn't know the other's name.
"Call me Liu," he said.
Lagoon Boy was a little taken aback. "Wait. Really?"
"Yes," Liu smiled. "Really."
"That's pretty cool," the boy nodded his head. "My name is La'gann."
"…You know, I could say the same thing about you."
"Just realized that."
They sat in a comfortable silence for some time after. Thoughts drifting, the Lieutenant pondered that maybe…just maybe, the Spirits had guided them towards this to remind him what he was saving. To remind him that this quest handed down to him wasn't all in vain. Well, saving the world was not a vanity project but maybe they just wanted to give him an incentive..something to regain. And cherish again.
"Would it be weird to say you remind me of my girlfriend?" La'gann blurted out, cutting through the Lieutenant's thoughts.
"No, it's not," he replied. He wasn't about to knock the kid down when he was having similar thoughts of his own. "How so?"
"Well…" he trailed and massaged the back of his neck. "I was in a similar position that your…boyfriend was -"
Liu's eyes widened. "How did you know that? Did Asami tell you?"
La'gann gave a shy smile and shook his head, "No…I could kind of just tell."
"Oh," and the similarities just continued to pile up.
"Anyway, I was kidnapped a few months back by a couple of bad guys…the baddest one of all being this group called The Reach. They…wanted to do stuff to me. Turn me into something…for the Invasion. It was terrifying, being stuck in this tube, useless, watching as my fate was being determined for me and having no control whatsoever. I can only imagine that's how your Amon feels like. Being swallowed into darkness, becoming heartless…" La'gann's fist tightened and he let out a shaky breath. In a bout of sudden concern, Liu pressed his hand into his shoulder and gave it a gentle squeeze.
"It's okay," he reassured him, although his thoughts lingered on his words about Amon. What if he was conscious of what was occurring? Did he know of the darkness in his heart; that his Lieutenant was doing all he could to save him? "Take your time."
"It's just that," La'gann cleared his throat before continuing. "Through all of this, M'gann did everything in her power to get me back. She was so determined and brave and strong and - I just see a lot of her in you. That's all I really wanted to say."
"I'm honored," Liu said. "Truthfully. She seems like a wonderful person and a brilliant fighter."
"She is," La'gann eased up and grinned. "Hit a few bumps in the road but she got through it all and now she is - we are - things are really good."
"I'm happy for you," Liu let go of his shoulder and stood up. "I really am."
"I'm sure you and your Amon will get through this," La'gann stood beside him. "It'll be worth it. I know it."
"Yes," Liu couldn't help but smile. This kid just had that effect on him. "It will be."
"So have you had dinner?" La'gann asked.
"No, not yet," he answered.
"Good!" La'gann exclaimed but at Liu's confused face he quickly faltered. "I'm mean not good, but would you like to join M'gann and I? We're going to have crab cakes."
"Oh that's right. You've probably never had them before! They are really, really good. You'll love them."
"….I'll take your word on it."
"So is that a yes?" La'gann smirked, nudging his comrade in the ribs.
Liu returned the smirk. "It is."
As they walked towards the kitchen, the Lieutenant contemplated if he should tell La'gann how similar he was to Amon. To the jokes to the enthusiasm and the intuition…but seeing the boy tell more wild jokes, rushing off to embrace his girlfriend with a bright eyes and a hearty laugh, Liu's heart swelled instead of stung and he decided it could wait.
He didn't want his friend to get ahead of himself just yet.
"Hey M'gann, why don't prawns share?"
The Lieutenant covered his ears.