Actions

Work Header

Transformation

Chapter Text

When Yen Sid eyes slid to Lea, this one smiled, a hand on his hip. After the event in the Keyblade Graveyard, he thought it was finish for him. No one needed him since they have seven Light if ever something happened again. And his arm had been heavily hurt by the combat. He still felt some weakness in it sometimes.

But he had been invited by Yen Sid and after having taken the train with those he loved the much, he was there.

He couldn’t be more excited to receive soon his first real mission as a Wielder of the Keyblade. This promised to be more fun than having to kill for Xehanort or for some pretty honeyish eyes.

“Thank you for coming here, Lea.”

“You’re welcome! What should I do? I team up with my best friends and we go beat the ass of a Nasty guy?” he asked, putting his hands on Xion and Roxas’ shoulders.

“You’ll going to Atlantica.”

“Oh. My. God. So class! Let me be a shark!” he prayed, joining his hands. “Ursula is back? Or it is her sister?”

Yen Sid frowned to this new information and swore himself to contact Flora, Merryweather and Fauna because they may know something about this…

“You will have to do a delivery,” Yen Sid replied.

“A delivery? Like… taking something and bringing somewhere else?” he asked.

“Yes, Lea.”

“And… do I’ll need my Keyblade?” he asked.

“Probably not.”

“Oh…” Lea let out.

“But you may need to defend yourself, you know!” Xion said with a smile.

“However, the King Triton will remain sure nothing wrong will happen.”

Lea nodded slightly. He still wanted to win his spurs but the man seemed to no offer him this occasion. Doing the delivery boy? You could expect more when you have been a member of the Big War. Though, he just passed most of his time out of any fight.

Okay, maybe he was made to be a delivery boy with a shiny toy ‘just in case’ and nothing else…

“The King Triton is the one who asked help. He can’t leave his castle and have to retrieve an important object. He will certainly explain it better to you.”

“Okay.”

“Don’t be disappointed, Lea. Everybody has to start somewhere. You have been a part of the Darkness for so long. You have here the opportunity to show your value. Not as you expected, maybe, but in a really good way.”

Lea nodded slightly.

“Master,” Roxas said as he paced forward. “We came with Saï… I mean Isa. Would you be okay if he’d go with Lea? He walked in the Darkness too.”

“Eh! You too!” Lea protested.

“It is correct,” the old Master said. “However, both Roxas and Xion are coming from Sora. If they walked in the Darkness, they always had been bathed in the Light. And showed it. You can attest it yourself.”

“Yeah,” Lea replied, rubbing his nape.

If they had to talk about his own course…

“It’d be nice to go with Isa! He’d be certainly happy to show his value too! I know people are uncomfortable  around him…”

“Yourself, you asked him to stay outside,” Roxas reminded.

The old man nodded.

“Isa is a good person. He got lost when he tried to do the best for us.”

“Very well. Make him come,” Yen Sid said.

Lea swirled on himself and walked quickly to the huge door he opened. At the moment it was pushed, he saw Isa getting up from the step he was sat on and turned toward him. Lea couldn’t help but smile, looking the light of the fake Moons and stars dancing in the light blue hair.

As he saw the happiness over Lea’s face, Isa asked:

“You have an interesting mission?”

“Honestly, this mission will suck.”

“Lea,” Yen Sid’s voice come from inside.

“Yeah, yeah!” he said. “We have a mission!”

Lea held out his hand to Isa. Which watching it for few second before catching it and letting his friend bring him to the main room of the Tower.

“Greetings, Isa.”

“Greetings, Master Yen Sid.”

“Lea has to do a delivery mission in Atlantica. Do you agree to come with him?”

Isa wasn’t an idiot. He may have walked on the wrong path by mistake and not knowing how to save himself, but he was clever enough to understand he had no choice here. And yet, it wasn’t risking to lose Yen Sid’s confidence that pushed him to nod. The only reason he actually needed was just next to him.

The man holding his hand and seeming way more relieved to go now he could share the experience with someone mattering for him.

 

 

The door of the Gummiship opened and, when Lea bent over the void, he saw an endless Ocean. While he already have seen the Sea and the Ocean in many occasion, either at twilight Town or Destiny Islands, or on mission, this time seemed really special. He couldn’t see the slightest piece of land.

“The only time I approached this World, it was in the Castle Oblivion… I didn’t imagine the thing like that in real life. How do we turn into a fish? Fish or something else!! I’d like to be a shark! A cool shark, please!”

Donald got up from behind the wheel and he walked to the two former Nobodies. He rose his wand and moved it with strength.

“Here you are.”

Lea frowned, pushing away a spark that jumped in his fiery hairs.

“Nothing changed? It is snake oil? Are you trying to kill us, duck?” he wondered.

“No! If I tried, I’ll do it in a different way!” Donald replied. “And I’m not trying anyway!!” he added quickly.

Lea smirked.

“As soon you’ll be on the water, you’ll be a Merman!”

“Okay.”

Lea looked the water under the Gummiship. A tiny part of himself was actually really worry but he already flew in a World so why not transforming into a Mermaid when you jump in the water.

He turned to Isa and blew him a kiss before pacing backward.

The second after, he was falling right in the Ocean. Before Isa could have come in the opening of the Ship, a loud splash reverberated and they could see nothing. The man pressed is hand on the side of frame.

“Can we trust your magic?” he asked.

“You can see it yourself!”

The second after a wild webbed feet hit him in the back, throwing him, by surprise, in the Big Blue.

“That’s for Sora!!” Donald said.

A gigantic plouf replied to him as the water swallowed Isa. The man felt water coming down his throat, sliding in his lungs. He blinked, trying to keep his mind clear. He had to find Lea first.

As the image came in his blurred mind, he noticed big brown-red black striped spines. And then a long tail covered by soft white line. Red drawings were spreading on a thin body already covered by freckles and, if he needed more, he could only recognize those green eyes.

“You’re already transforming, keep calm!”

Lea pointed his finger down and so, Isa looked down. He saw his legs joining together and covering by scales. Blue and shiny. He could also breath and his hairs were floating around.

“You fine?” Lea asked.

“Yes. However, I’d like to murder a Duck.”

“You can’t anymore. You’re in the Light now and it’s bad to kill someone.”

“Just one exception.”

“Sorry!”

Lea kissed his cheek and moved slightly in the water. His long tail was swirling around as he tried to steady himself.

“They should have given us lesson!”

Isa moved his hands to grab Lea’s as he agitated his own fins, which got yellow reflects that catch the Sun through the water.

“Aren’t you too disappointed?” he asked, with a real concern.

“About what?” Lea replied.

“You’re a Pterois…”

“A what?” the other asked, looking down his body.

“A firefish… Lionfish?”

“Eh… I think it’s pretty class anyway! And you, you look so pretty too!!”

Isa smiled slightly.

“Thank you. You too. It suits you really well.”

He moved his hand to push down a red lock that decided to float anyway.

“You ready?” Isa asked.

“Well, I can tell you are,” Lea replied, seeing him impatient to go.

Lea tugged softly on his hand, leading him toward the Castle they could see from there. What surprised Lea, to be fair, was the fact no one have discover it yet? It wasn’t so away from the surface and boats could certainly discover something has big and beautiful… And shiny.

They swam to the palace and had to move above a long path surrounded by huge shells. It was beautiful and you could see few Mermaids already swimming around, chatting and twirling. In comparison, they seemed to be extremely awkward. But they weren’t used to swim, after all.

As they approached the doors, two Guards rose at the entry.

“Feel bringing out from our memories,” Lea smiled.

“You really have everything memorized,” Isa replied.

Lea didn’t say anything but he wanted to whisper ‘yes, everything’. Because he got memorized every scar, every beauty mark on his body. Not because they had lovey dovey moments but because they used to go at the pool together or doing gym and other stuff. They were friends since so long.

And he always wanted to be more than friend with him, to be fair. An envy he kept for him, too afraid to lose him forever. And it became even worst from the moment they both lost their Hearts. Was this love? Was this the need to stay linked to something belonging to the time he had a Heart?

He didn’t know…

Still now, he  didn’t know except that he had feeling for Isa, wishing to be more than a friend. But being too afraid to only try anything. Once again. It was a sad and endless circle. But he hoped they won’t lose their Hearts again.

“Lea?”

“Hm?” he said, looking toward Isa.

When he saw his look, his eyes, still a bit gold though he had find back his turquoise color, mostly, staring right at him, Lea let out a chuckle. It was quite obvious his friend had asked him something but he didn’t have listen.

“Can you show your Keyblade to them? That may convince them?”

“Yeah!”

Lea let go on his hand, summoning his Keyblade.

“I’ve been send by Yen Sid! I’m a friend of Sora! And I’m here to save the day! Got it memorized?” he smiled, his finger pressing his temple.

“You’ve been awaited!”

Neither the left Guard or the right Guard had opened their mouth, which surprised Lea.

Someone cleared their throat. Who knows who.

The same sound echoed.

One of the guard pointed to the floor so the two friends did it. And saw a crab.

“I’m Sebastian,” this one said. “Please, come with me,” he invited.

The crustacean turned and walked quickly toward the Palace. Lea frowned and then looked to Isa.

“It’s a crab,” he said. “We have talked to a crab.”

“We’re Mermen, Lea.”

“Stiiiiill!”

Isa slid in the Castle. Lea looked him and couldn’t help but smile as he watched him swim inside, the soft movement of his fin, the way his hairs were caught by the waves. He followed him and, by his side, they arrived in the Throne Room were the King was there, his trident in his hand.

“Ah! I was waiting for you,” he said, seeing the Keyblade in Lea’s hand.

“Hello!”

“Greetings,” Isa added.

“I hope you’re doing great. We’re doing great! Can we know what we have to do? What do you expect us to deliver?” he smiled.

“You may know about the terrible Witch from the Sea, Ursula. Her lair his filled with dangerous potion and I expect you to bring them here so we can keep control over it.”

“Got it!” Lea replied.

It was a bit important, at least!

Lea swirled on himself to dive to the opening but his caudal fin was caught, stopping him right in his attempt, and he looked down.

“Whaaaat?” he said to Isa as this one tugged him.

“Do you need anything else from the lair? And do you have any indication for us to find it?” Isa asked, showing very professional features.

As he watched him, Lea could see the Command-in-Second he used to be. Honest; righteous; competent; aware of everything, as weakness or strength of the people he worked with; polite…

He used to love see him work. Love annoy him and see if he could make him stop working because of him. When they were children, Isa would always find a bit of time for him. When they were child, Isa would always help him, whatever was the difficulty. His Heart was beating so hard, so fast, as the King was replying. He couldn’t hear anything but the heavy drum of his love…

And… Unfortunately, he was the best friend he could ever wish for…

He came back to the reality when he felt a hand on his shoulder. Smiling to Isa, he immediately followed him. They swam out of the Palace and right to a big hole through a wall of rocks and corals in the Ocean.

“What did he say?” Lea asked, as they went deeper in the guts of the cliff.

“You didn’t have listened at all”? Isa asked, letting out a slight sigh.

“My mind was busy!”

“With what?” his friend wondered.

“Uh… Nothing?”

Isa threw him a glance, frowning. Lea smiled, trying to look innocent. He would hate himself if ever he wasn’t discrete enough.

“I start to understand why Yen Sid didn’t want you to go alone. However I believe in you, Lea. I just wish you’d be able to concentrate a little.”

“I can concentrate a little! Even a lot if you wanna!” he smiled, joyful.

Isa nodded slightly. He knew Lea since longtime and he did know he wasn’t stupid and he always wanted to help other. But he could become really quickly lazy and as soon as someone was willing to do things at his place, even just a little, he preferred dozing and waiting for the work to be done. According to Lea, it wasn’t laziness but being smart.

And maybe he was right.

“The King expects us to bring back everything. He insisted to the fact we should be careful, avoid to break anything.”

“Okay!” Lea approaching him. “And we’re sure he’s a good guy? Because… ya know, if I help a dude to destroy the World, I don’t think it will look good in my resume.”

“Don’t worry, Lea. I won’t let anyone think you’re a bad guy,” Isa replied to him.

Lea moved his hand to him, wanting to grab his hand, just like a friend would do. But didn’t. Though his fingers brushed his because of a wave. Isa looked down and intertwined their fingers.

“I won’t let anyone think you’re a bad guy. I know you. I know… I know nothing has changed.”

Isa watched him with surprise.

“Isa!!”

Lea tugged his friend before he threw his body in the wall. Isa thanked him, moving away from the rocks. He felt stupid and didn’t dare to watch him anymore. But after the hard time they had suffered a few before Axel left the Organization, he couldn’t help but felt relieve and joy within him.

Even if he had recognized what he did wrong, he also knew things had a bit changed. His jealousy was a big part but Axel really seemed to hate him and not want him around at some point. Now, his Heart knew Axel, or Lea, would always come back to him… but he had been hurt by their friendship disappearing.

“I never said it yet but… I’m sorry, Isa. I’m really sorry. I should have supported you more.”

“You’re not the one who should excuse yourself, Lea.”

“I should! You’re the most important person for me,” he said, squeezing the hand, tugging him closer. “I know you by Heart. I should have known your doubt and jealousy.”

“Perhaps. But you hadn’t any Heart back this time,” Isa eased.

“Don’t search me excuse!” Lea laughed. “Say I’m a dumbass like you used to when we were kiddo!”

“I was a mean child!”

“I always knew, you didn’t believe those words,” his friend said, grabbing his other hand.

“I always knew you were fully aware of this. I never wanted to hurt you. Never…”

A wave approached them from each other and Isa’s forehead hit Lea’s.

“Aoutch,” Lea protested.

“Sorry.”

“Tss. I’m sorry, I say!” the former Assassin said.

“I meant for the hit.”

“Oh!”

Lea let out a nervous giggle then kissed Isa’s forehead. It was a bit weird, being so wet and salty. Thanks to the Ocean! Then he moved slightly down. If he kissed him and his feelings were everything but shared, he still could lie. Isa wouldn’t be surprise by the fact he tried to kiss him. How many time he did pressed his lips against his when they were children? Sometimes just to annoy him, other time because they were like that. They’re friendship had broken every wall and their love, innocent, accepted every kind of kisses, every kind of hugs. He used to tell him ‘I love you’ all the time… Until they actually meant something else for him and he didn’t dare anymore. Too afraid they could be seen as what they were. Too afraid he could lose him.

He approached a bit more his lips, his nose brushing against Isa’s…

He squeezed his hands, glad to be underwater because, gosh, they were so clammy. He could feel it!

Just one last inch…

A violent pain grabbed his side, radiating to his whole chest!

“Sorry!” screamed a dolphin, already dashing away.

Lea let go on Isa’s hands immediately, looking toward the cetacean that had hit them so violently.

“You’ll see if you’re sorry!!” he said, water becoming really warm around him.

“Lea!” Isa said firmly, as he tried to put his hair away behind his ear.

Or at any correct place.

But he couldn’t because of the wave that keep send them floating away.

“Yes. Sorry!”

“Come on,” Isa said, “we have a mission.”

Lea couldn’t help but smile a bit at this ‘we’. And he was happy that Isa had his back. He followed him, swimming next to him.

“You’re not too hurt?” Isa asked, to be sure.

“I’m okay! And ya?”

“Everything is fine,” he replied.

Lea smiled as he kept swimming next to him. They just kept swimming. Just kept swimming. Swimming. Until they quit the tunnels, dive into the abyss and arrive before a creepy cavern where the floor was covered by strange weeds.

“What is that?” Lea asked, passing above them.

“I don’t know… They have energy. As if they were… Humans?”

“Before?”

“Yes. I think we have a foretaste of what she could do. I suppose it’s the reason we have to bring back her potions.”

“Yeah… Now, I really hope the King isn’t an asshole. That would be so awkward,” Lea said as they kept moving on in the tunnel.

“I understand.”

They swam further, arriving in a wide place with a reservoir in the floor. Lea approached it and looked the water inside that was in another color and, yet, still stayed in the receptacle, creating with bubbles once in a while…

“There is nothing here,” Isa noticed.

Lea looked around him. They couldn’t have send them here for nothing… He knew Yen Sid doubted but he couldn’t just make him lose time…

Unless it was a part of the plan to know if he could control his Darkness?

But he wasn’t the kind of people who would become mad because he had lost time. Especially not when this time had been passed with Isa!

He could thank Roxas for that…

Isa passed his fingers along the border of the huge tank. He could feel the magic coming from there. It used to be dark magic… The kind of thing asking life or part of life to work…

At this moment, he was thinking like Lea. Does Yen Sid just wanted to trick them? He could have asked the help of his old friends down in the Oceans.

This place used to be filled by Darkness and if ever they failed to resist, with his Trident, the King could put an end to them…

It wasn’t a bad idea.

Lea noticed big shell in the ceiling of this cavern and moved to it. His hands pushed parts of it from each other but it didn’t open. He frowned and opened his hand to summon his Keyblade.

“I remember Riku said to me his Exam was based on him resisting to Darkness. But… That look more like losing their time. We did it! And we beat Xemnas’ ass. We can resist to Darkness, right?”

“Yes.  But you’re well placed to know Darkness can come from everything. And for what you will never guess more likely. It doesn’t ask a lot to yield again… Just a bad reason,” Isa replied, still caressing the tank.

Lea opened the shell with his Keyblade. A cloud of different colors floated around him and he pressed his fingers on his nose, looking all the ingredients. Some got name or symbol on them. He wondered how they will pack them to come back to the Palace but stopped when he saw ‘love philtre’.

“Yeah… kinda,” he said.

His fingers twitched a bit, looking toward his best friend.

He could open it.

He really could try something with it. But… He couldn’t hurt Isa… He couldn’t risk to lose Roxas and Xion by jumping in the Darkness for something stupid. His Heart ached for this love but being Isa’s best friend was already a gift from whatever God around…

“Hey, when you’ll have finished making love to that tank, I’ve found the things!”

Lea swam to him.

“What is it happening with that…” He bent over the reservoir. “… pot?”

“Yes. It still has an exceedingly amount of Darkness within it. What do you think we’re supposed to do with this?”

Lea watched him with a slight smile. He knew everybody still held a lot of doubt over him and, obviously, he understood it. Kairi showed much doubt toward him but they passed months together in what appeared for a short time for others. He became like a big brother to her and wished to protect her. Riku accepted him because he saved the day, and Sora, at several occasion and Yen Sid, as much as Mickey, mostly because they had no others choices. He had to make his prove and here, he had to support the doubt of everybody. But Isa? Isa used to be the right-hand man of Xemnas. His eyes still wore the memories of the mistakes. He had been really harsh to Roxas and Xion, whatever for what reasons. He had hold Kairi and Naminé under his power, he had tried to kill so many of them… Lea perfectly knew that, if he wasn’t there, Isa would be alone. He could forgive him because he had passed more than twenty years by his side and having Isa out of his life would be like having no Heart anymore. But none of them had reason to forgive him, love him… If maybe Ventus who come over once in a while.

Lea saw how much Isa tried.

He knew he hated being under Xemnas’ thrall.

He knew nothing could erase it.

But he was the only one…

“What would you do?”

“I believe we should inform the King Triton. Telling him this reservoir is still active. Neither he could destroy it or search if Ursuala is still alive. Unless the reason is the blood bonds… How was called her sister? Mildred?”

“Morgana, I think,” Lea replied.

“You’re right,” Isa said.

“We will tell them. You can do it if ya wanna!”

“It’s your mission, Lea. You have the occasion to prove your value. Please, don’t miss this occasion.”

“But if it’s what I want?!” Lea asked.

“I thought you wanted to impress everyone.”

Isa swam to the shell and watched the amount of bottles. Then, his fingers passed to the side of the cockleshell, looking with attention.

“I do want to impress them all!” Lea replied.

“In this case… You will talk about it.”

Isa threw him a confident glare before closing this water-chest of drawers with a loud sound.

“And you… How will you prove your value?” Lea wondered.

His friend moved backward, his tail waving in the slight tides.

“With time. I’m not eager, Lea. The only thing I wished was you accepting how stupid I was…” he said, throwing himself toward the shell.

“Come on, you’re not du…” Lea moved backward when a violent crack echoed in the room. “Fuck… “ he said, looking the shell dispatching from the wall. “I always forget how strong you are…”

Isa caught up the shell.

“It’s just physics… And everything floats in water.”

“Well, you’re smart and strong and you deal with the fucking shell, I don’t carry it!”

Isa frowned but nodded.

“If you prefer that, very well. I hope you’re ready to have your first star as a Keyblade Wielder.”

“Tss!” Lea replied, coming to him. “It’ll be the second one!”

He kept for him that he didn’t care about the Stars, he only asked for the Moon…

Chapter Text

Arabesque! Hold the position.”

A bunch of little girls, and a couple of boys, were in front of mirrors, their hands on a very long bar, holding a position.

Attitude derrière!”

The children threw their legs behind them in a fluid movement. They had enough space between each other to not knock their friends.

They were all around eight or ten years old and holding the bar seemed to be a great help for them.

One child moved their hand to the big windows in front of them.

“Focus,” the teacher commanded with a severe tone. “You have to work on your position. Attitude derrière and hold the position. I’ll explain you.”

Knock. Knock. Knock.

The teacher turned his head and saw a very red mane through the window. Then he watched the kid again, a little boy with his long hairs tied in a bun.

“I said attitude derrière! Now!”

The kids complied and the teacher walked to them to be sure they were doing what it was and correcting their position. One after one. Some kids tried to have the right position already. Others were complaining because it was too harsh. Especially for those passing for the last time.

When he finished to rectify the positions, he came back in front of the window.

“I want you, one by one, to do an arabesque, a pas de deux, assemble and finish with an attitude derrière. If it a success, you can leave,” the teacher said.

He moved his hand then invited the children to perform. Two of them had to redo it because it wasn’t what their teacher expected from them. But finally, everyone showed what they could do. Though it wasn’t the best performance, it was something already. And they will learn more.

The teacher walked toward the windowed door and looked that person wearing a bright red mane.

“Hello, Isa! I was there too soon?” he asked as he came to his friend.

“A bit too soon, but it’s not grave,” Isa replied, undoing his tied hairs.

“Still, sorry!” Lea said, moving his hands.

As his friend walked in the room to be sure everything was correctly set. It was a dance room so there was little chance to have actual things not in correct place, not like the changing room that would probably be messy, but still.

“I still can’t believe you’re ballet teacher! Shouldn’t you have a past with classic?”

Isa stopped and turned toward him with a slight face.

“Oh! OH!! Yes! Yes I forget!”

Isa couldn’t help but smile more when he saw him like that with so much expression drew on his soft traits.

“To be fair, I don’t know what my parents didn’t force me to study.”

“Yeah! They even taught you how to cook!”

“But only if it was Gastronomy,” Isa said, doing a reference as low as he could, his hair sliding down a long his shoulder.

“If he could see the things you dared to cook last day!” Lea laughed.

Isa sat on a bench, usually used to perform some movement, a little smile still lighting his lips.

“I almost wish it too. But they would have been so angry against me. I can guess I would have been a disappointment for them.”

Lea sat next to them.

“They have terrible taste. You’re awesome, Isa. You’re truly awesome. You passed through a lot and you’re a really kind friend. I couldn’t wish for more.”

Isa looked up at him.

“I believe you’ve lost your mind. I’m not as worthy as you think so. You know what I have done.”

“Yes.”

Lea moved his hand, wishing to take it, caress it.

“I know you have prepared everything for Roxas to come back. I know you’ve protected Xion from Xemnas each time she tried to fight back against him… She told it to me,” he whispered, approaching him. “Don’t look the past if it’s only to see what you did wrong. I can only see what you did right… I wouldn’t be there without you.”

Isa looked up, his fingers brushing his as he moved toward him.

“I wouldn’t be there without you. Everything I did, it…”

“Axel?!” Roxas’ head picked from the opening. “The train is there!”

The man looked up to his young friend and got up in a jump, swirling toward Isa.

“I’ve to go in Halloween Town!”

“Oh. Very well. I hope it’s an interesting mission.”

“Complicate, I believe? The bad guy of the place is a dude mostly created from bugs, you remember?”

“Yes, Oogie Boogie.”

“Yeah! Yen Sid said it’s very risky because he can reconstruct with just one bug.”

Isa nodded.

“And so, we have to find back his Mansion or something like that?”

“Sora had normally destroyed it when he put an  end to Oogie Boogie,” Roxas said, his hand pressing against his chest.

“But that! That’s the theory!” Lea pointed out. “Yen Sid said it can’t have vanished just like that…”

“And maybe that’s the reason he came back last year. And could come back again,” Roxas added. “And the train is here! It’s time to go!”

“Wait…” Isa frowned slightly and got up. “If you know all of this, you wouldn’t need any train. You could just leave with Donald, or the King, to Halloween Town…”

“Yeah. Buuut…” Lea smiled. “I had in mind you would come with me?”

“At Halloween Town?”

“Yes. I still have to prove my value and I still hope you could do the same.” Lea rubbed his hairs. “And also it’s funnier with you!” He glanced at Roxas. “But I don’t force you at all! Just… it would be nice to hang out or something when I come back if ever.”

“I planned to come home and do some laundry before eating pasta while reading a bit.”

“Okay! Nice program! Hit me up when we can see each other!” Lea said, walking backward to his young friend.

“I meant… Being with you will be more interesting.”

“What do you mean?” Lea whispered. “You come?” he added with a smile.

“I don’t want to let my best friend getting annoyed,” Isa replied.

For a little part of a second, Lea lost his smile. Then it come back, even wider.

“That’s my best friend!”

He dashed to him to hug him tightly, being so much happier when he felt the embrace coming back at him.

 

 

In the Gummiship, Lea and Isa were talking. As he thought, the train they used to always find Yen Sid’s tower from Twilight Town could leave whenever they wanted so there was no reason to push them that way. Except punctuality maybe and, yes, Isa was used to it.

But in this case, he was a bit annoyed.

Earlier, he was about to kiss Lea. To tell him what he really thought about him. How much he loved him in every way, how much his only presence was the only thing he wanted every day, every moment…

That was the reason he followed him now. He didn’t want to go in those Worlds and show his value. He had no value to show, unless to Lea. And Lea was the one seeing his value through the stains marking his body…

But why would he say his true feelings to him?

Why would he try to kiss him?

He would lose him if he tried… He was his best friend. And, sadly, nothing else. But if he could stay around him, be just a little presence in his life. That was okay to him. he didn’t need a lot… Especially because Lea was quite touchy so, in the end, he could enjoy his contact, his voice, his Light…

“We’re here!”

Isa looked up to the Duck who was in charge of dealing with them. They couldn’t drive the Gummiship because they haven’t the license and they couldn’t use the Corridor of Darkness anymore because Yen Sid didn’t allow them to. Lea really wished to show his value, he couldn’t use Darkness. Not like that… He often talked about the Dawn path with Riku and if he was relieved because the Darkness brought him a lot. It was a weapon he couldn’t push away. But would totally control it one day…

He already had changed.

Love had helped him.

Love kept continuing to light his path. Now and for what will come…

“I’ll enchant you. Like the last time.”

“Yeah! Nice!” Lea said, getting up and walking to him.

“Don’t ask what you could be,” the Duck said.

“That didn’t worked last time so, don’t worry, wouldn’t try!” the man smiled.

Donald moved his wand, casting the spell on him and Isa who got up from his seat, coming next to his friend.

Together, after a thank, they went out of the Gummiship.

Since they had to be discrete, Donald had landed next to the Graveyard, in a place not really used. The place he had landed the first time with Sora and Goofy.

When Lea got up from the shiny Gummi to land in the dark and dull World, with a night extremely cloudy, his body immediately reacted. His view changed a moment as his pupils were shifting, looking like cat’s or snake’s… scales appeared on his skin, here on there, shining red as he bent, his skull growing two horns and a tail with a spiky Heart following just after. His clothes suddenly changed, letting place to a leathered pant with belts adorned with others hearts here and there and a tank with transparent and fishnets part. He even got a necklace, a choker.

And when Isa climbed down the Ship, his clothes changed too…

Though the endless Night was cold, he was wearing a short with a strange fabric, hole appeared here and there. He had also boots and a very short top, Moons at different phase draw on it, with a long black piece of fabric rolling around his waist and tied in the hook of his back. But except that…

“I’m not changed?” he said.

Lea tilted his head on the side.

“I thought you weren’t okay for just changing clothes?” he said to Donald.

“I transformed him into a Monster, like you!”

Lea frowned, folding his arms.

“If you try to say the man his ugly, he’s not!!” He unfolded his arms to tap his finger, adorned with big red claw, on Isa’s nose. “You’re very cute! Prettiest people here!”

“Don’t worry, Lea.” Isa bit his lower lips so he wouldn’t smile. “And you’re very pretty too.”

He took out his Gummiphone to look the direction they have to take.

Lea moved his hand to say ‘goodbye’ to Donald as the Gummiship levitate in the air and disappeared.

“You already noticed how they leave us? They could abandon us!”

“I don’t think they will,” Isa replied with a smile.

“And if they will!” Lea walked to him and watched over his shoulder. “Do you have a clue where we go?”

“Yes. I’m not surprised by the path it invites me to take. I would have chosen the same…”

Being really tall, Lea had to bend over him to watch the screen and he pressed his chin against his shoulder, his arm passing around his waist.

“You’re so smart.”

“Stop it, Lea.”

“But it’s true!” he protested.

Isa looked him, feeling the nails slightly rub against his skin, and held back the envy to press his head against his. He could if he wanted, they were friends since enough time for that. Lea would be the first to do it. He was hugging him, his fingers touching his bare skin after all…

And yet.

“We should do your mission.”

“Yep!”

Lea let go on him slowly and offered him his hand. Isa grabbed it and followed him through the dull alley with the grey light. Everything was really dark, as if things were looming around, just waiting to scare them.

As they walking under the dim lights, they could only feel the awkwardness of the situation.

Well, especially for Lea.

He came here often, in a dark coat, to cast doom, to follow plans he didn’t care so much about and now, he was here for the total invert. He was here to change things and not destroy them…

He was sure Yen Sid wanted him to come here to face his past and see if he could go through it…

From what he knew, if Riku passed through this, it hadn’t been enforced by Yen Sid… Well, in fact, it had mostly been enforced by their side… Now, he was pretty glad to know he could have help Riku to see the Light!

And in his case…

It was really complicated.

He stayed on the Darkness path for so long. For years… And even when he was a child, he wasn’t the best guy neither. It was probably the reason he had to show he was worthy because Xehanort wasn’t there anymore so you know what will happen now… For Roxas, for Xion, for Saïx, or Isa, he had his reasons to walk again in the Light and, personally, he wasn’t that surprise to have turned toward the Light. He always had thought about his himself and nothing else.

He bit his lower lips. “Why do you think Yen Sid give me those lazy missions?”

Isa turned his head toward him as they walked toward the graveyard, the Gummiphone still in his hand.

“What are you expecting from me here? Should I be straight with you or lie to you?”

As he asked this, Isa showed a slight smile.

You’re a pain in the ass!”

“You’re obnoxious!”

“That’s what you looooove with me! Ya’d be bored if I wasn’t around!”

He let go on Isa’s hand to quickly climb the stairs and open the old rusty door that send a scary sound around them.

“That’s only what you believe. I’m at peace when you’re not around, at least.”

“Peace is boring,” Lea said, offering him his hand. “Sir?” he added, bowing as much as he could.

Isa didn’t need this help, and they held hands just before but he grabbed it anyway, climbing the steps and walking in the graveyard. Lea followed him and passed his hand above him as he came next to him again. The former Second-in-Command intertwined their fingers, relieved he could at least have that from him…

“I would love peace if you weren’t the one disturbing it,” Isa replied.

Lea couldn’t help but smile and leaned to press a kiss on his temple.

“Thank you to have accepted a dumbass like me in your life longtime ago.”

“The best thing I never did.”

“Noooo.” Lea took back his hand to squeeze his cheeks. “Stop thinking this. Stop! You’re great, Isa. You always have been great. Whatever your parents and Xemnas said to you,” he swore, sliding down his hands.

“You’re fooling yourself because you like me.”

“Maybe. I’m okay to be a fool, as long as someone is here to back you up.”

Isa felt the fingers, the nails, slid slightly in the soft flesh of his thighs. He let out a tiny sigh and passed his arms around him, his Heart beating with such violence in his chest.

“Oh? Okay! Hug first!” Lea said, hugging him back.

Isa blinked.

Oh he was so dumb…

“Yes, hug! And then you will tell me why you fondled me?”

“I didn’t fondle!!! I was helping you to pass above that wall! That’s where we go, right?!”

“Yes. However, how did you want to help me to pass above the wall that way?”

“I lift you and you grab the edge and push you up!”

“Or you give me a leg up?”

“Hmmmm…”

Isa crossed his arms with a smirk, the phone still in his hand. Just before, he thought he was about to let it go because, when he had hug Lea, his hands were shaking so much. But all of this was just his imagination going nut.

“Okay!”

Lea crouched to help him.

Once again, Isa didn’t need this help but if that could make his friend happy. So, he accepted to put his foot on his hands and to use this strength to pass above the wall, arriving in a big area with pumpkins and also a long and strange hill were an arm that unrolled as it felt presence.

As it felt presence…

If it wasn’t the sign they were in a really strange World!

“How will you co…” Suddenly, Lea arrived in front of him after a big leap and a swirl in the air. “…me… Very well, like that.”

“Yup! Like that!” the man smiled. “You saw what I can do?! I’m a Demon! Bitch please!”

“I was about to say I was so happy to be your friend but I prefer taking this back.”

“Obviously you will!” Lea hit his chest. “I’m your best friend!!”

“I’m really thinking about terminating this contract,” Isa said back.

“You would kick yourself for that!”

Isa smirked to him and looked at the strange hill. Lea came to him but his friend didn’t glance at the GPS. He knew they just have to cross this mound, then a river and, finally, they would be in the right place. Soon, it would be done with this mission. Unless there were problems but Isa highly doubted about this. Oogie Boogie had been defeated two times already and, more likely, he wouldn’t come back.

Alive or not.

In fact, he was probably alive but, due to his Bogey Man nature, it was better for him to just stay calm and do what he had to do every night of every year, in every country.

Forever.

There was no question of Halloween for him.

“Don’t you think that strange?” Lea asked, following Isa who walked on the hill.

“About what?”

Isa glanced to the thick clouds surrounding them.

“I know the Keyholes have been close and I do understand that the Darkness and the Heartless can’t come as easily, as long with the Nobodies but… don’t make me believe it can have none of them? No problem…”

“Is it still about the feeling Yen Sid is making you lose your time?” Isa asked, looking above his shoulder.

“Noooo!”

Lea sighed and rubbed the skin of his nape.

“Honestly? Maybe! Maybe a little bit but it’s just weird. I thought everything was corrupted by Darkness and you would always see Heartless.”

Isa turned toward him at few pace from the river.

“If Oogie Boogie isn’t there, I wouldn’t be surprise they doesn’t have any need of wielder.”

“Everything is so dark here.”

“It’s a correct Darkness,” Isa replied. “It’s the Darkness that must creep around because of the Light… This World is telling you that Darkness isn’t that bad. You never did anything bad when you were in the Darkness.”

“Are you nuts?!” Lea shout.

Ravens cawed and flew away.

Isa held out his hand toward him with rage. “It always has been my fault! You killed all of them because of me!”

“Maybe?! And what! You think it cleans the blood away from my hands?! I don’t care if it has been for ya or not! It’s me! I did it!!”

“It shouldn’t be on your hands but mine!”

Isa held out more his hand to grab Lea’s but he stopped suddenly, his hands shivering. He watched the second one as the Gummiphone felt from his palm.

“Fuck! Isa?!”

Lea leaped next to him but Isa moved back, his hands still shivering strangely.

A sound echoed.

The second after, Isa realized his fingers and toes were growing claws. What Lea saw in the turquoise eyes wasn’t just the sparkle of Gold, remnant of Mistakes, but fear. An unbearable fear. Isa moved his hands to his mouth, his knees also trembling.

“Isa!”

Lea reached him before his best friend could feel and he pressed him against his chest.$

“I’m… I’m so sorry…” Isa hiccupped.

Lea’s eyes widened when he saw the ears growing spikier and the eyes turning yellow. Isa must have felt it because he heard him yell as tears were rolling along his cheeks.

The redhead hugged him tightly, rocking him in the cocoon of his arms.

“Everything is okay, Isa. I’m here, I’m here…”

But Isa knew he didn’t deserve him…

Not after all he did…

He wanted to squeeze Lea’s hands but he couldn’t. Not with those ugly claws appearing.

He knew what was happening.

He was just turning into his Berserk mode. And he hated himself. He hated himself so much. How could he be so angry against Lea?

Lea was his whole universe…

And his Lea was still stupid enough to hold his hands. To forgive him… He believed all of this was over! He believed he was free. He thought he would never have to deal anymore with the Berserk mode… He thought Xehanort was out of his life.

But he always knew it was wrong.

Each time he watched him in the mirror, the horror was still there, sliding in his fresh Heart as a violent stab…

“Isa…”

He didn’t reply because he felt so bad.

“I think I get why you didn’t transform… Look.”

Isa felt a little squeeze on his hand, forcing him to raise up his face and look the finger pointed toward something.

A big round Moon.

Shining so bright through the clouds for the first time since they were here.

“You’re a Werewolf, Isa,” the redhead smiled.

Isa looked down at his hands, seeing them covered by blue hairs. He moved his fingers and passed them on his face, following the curve. Yes… this was definitely an animal nose.

He couldn’t hide his relieve.

Lea kissed his snout with softness.

“Everything is alright, Isa.”

The man wanted to nod but, in fact, he was terribly afraid. Lea had noticed his reactions… He felt ridicule but he couldn’t push out the fear from his stomach…

“You’re with me, anyway…”

This time, Isa nodded.

“I’m sorry, Isa…”

“Why… why would you be sorry? I’m the one…”

“Let’s say it’s your fault if I killed so much in my life. But then it’s my fault if you got a part of Xehanort in you…”

“You’re saying nonsense!”

“I’m saying the truth!” Lea replied. “I wanted to go in the Castle. I wanted things to change. I sneaked out so often… You paid for my mistakes.”

“You paid for my mistakes too.”

Lea entered his head in his shoulders. “Sometimes, I doubt…” He glanced at him. “I really believe it’s my entire fault. Since the beginning. You did too much for me. Abandoned too much for me…”

Isa looked at him. He wanted to say everything he had on his Heart. How he had chosen him, how he was his whole universe…

But he was too much a coward.

“We passed through a lot and it was hard. But you offered me my most precious years. And your friendship is what is the most precious thing I own…”

Lea pressed his head against him, smiling slightly because the fur was so soft and fluffy.

“You’re so damn precious too me too. I just wish you weren’t that hurt…”

“I feel the same thing for you.”

“That wasn’t that horrible,” Lea swore. “We’re young and we’ll pass through that! We will grow out of this. It will be okay.”

Isa watched him.

He still had so much on his Heart and the pain was awful but Lea was by his side. Lea was here and the pain was already disappearing a bit…

He really didn’t wish more than having him by his side…

“You’re really strong, Lea. I never realized how much you were strong… I get why you outgrew those upside-down tears.”

“I’m not a crybaby, Isa,” Lea pouted.

“Yes, I get it now. You’re strong. And you’re even able to embrace your tears when the moment arrives.” Isa looked down. “We grew up together and sometimes it’s hard to realize…we’re twenty-seven years old…”

“Yeah… we’re walking away from our past at every second. I wish, one day, you could forget he manipulate you.”

“I wish I can forget I hurt you because of him. I almost lost you because of him…” he muttered.

“You would never lose me, got it memorized? You already try all the time to get rid of me and I refuse to leave!”

Isa smiled, though it must be frightening due to his current appearance.

He thought ‘I love you’ and, honestly, he hoped one day, he’ll be less coward. One day, he’ll tell him…

One day…

Chapter Text

Stars and Moon were shining in the dark sky of Twilight Town, though adorned with soft red lights. There were heavy clouds however. Big and dark, trying to hide the beam but couldn’t totally and, in revenge, they unleashed their rage in a cold shower of rain. Laugh reverberating in the streets under the dim gleams.

“I still can’t believe this! How did you dare to say that to him?!”

“What did you expect else from me?”

“I don’t know! Not that?”

Isa grabbed Lea’s wrist and brought him under the little canopy above his front door.

“But I couldn’t do anything else. Really.”

“The guy still believed it was a good idea to ask you a report as if you were just a bad kiddo in school!”

“It’s the first time I ever get a punishment at school!” Isa laughed.

“Same!”

Both laughed because Isa received his studies at home, with really well payed preceptor and they were only concentrating on him so it was easy and Lea never received actual lessons. He learned everything with Isa, in fact…

“I’ll do my best, obviously.”

“You’re good with report anyway!”

“Yes!”

On the canopy, the rain was falling softly, the sound echoing.

“If Yen Sid asks you again to leave for a mission, you can ask me to join you. Those missions are peculiars but I like them!”

Isa wanted to add ‘because it’s with you’ but he just keep smiling.

Not that he really wanted to smile. He was just unable to do anything else because he was with him…

“I’ll hit you up, then!! I’m so glad to be with you too.”

Isa glanced at the door.

“Do you want to come inside? I can prepare a honey-milk or something else you’d prepare?”

“Aaaw, it’s sweet, Isa. But I’ll come back to home. Roxas and Xion are certainly waiting for me. You could come and bonds, one day!”

“I don’t think, Lea. I’m not really…” He looked down. “Remember everything I did. I hurt them. Hurt you… They hate me and I understand…”

“They don’t hate you!”

Isa folded his arms.

“Okay… It’s quite hard for them but… They’re okay to give you a chance, you know?”

“They said it. And perhaps they’re really ready to give it to me. But I’m not ready…”

Lea caressed the spiky ear and Isa looked down. He knew him to well and that was a pleasure and an aching at once.

“It’s not as awful as it seems so. You’re beautiful and those experiences are behind you. You’re here. You’re with us…”

Isa nodded slightly.

“I still need time. I’ll try to bond with them, Lea. But later.”

“Take your time, of course. I just don’t want you to think you’re awful.”

He rubbed his thumb against his cheek with softness, the long blue hair caressing his wrist.

“You’re amazing. You always have been…”

“You even more, Lea.”

He smiled softly, his Heart beating way too fast in his chest. He wanted to kiss him, to tell him everything, to bring him in his house and never let him go.

But he couldn’t.

“Take care when you go back home. And don’t hesitate to call me when you arrive or before going to bed. To come or… anything. Don’t come just for the mission, please.”

“Same for ya, ‘kay?”

“Yes,” he replied.

Lea kissed his cheek and looked him as his friend returned in his home, closing the door after only few seconds…

 

 

Who has invented rain, Lea wondered!

He was totally wet and he needed a shower!

He pushed open the door and took out his boots, throwing his vest on the drawer of chest in the entry.

“I’ve the food, the monsters!”

Lea moved to the kitchen and slid a cylindrical box in the deep freezer. Then he grabbed three plates and turned to the big counter dividing the kitchen in two. This was used as a dinner room since he had to turn the actual dinner room into his bedroom for the two teenagers to have their own personal space.

He wasn’t surprise at all when he saw them two on the other side of their ‘table’.

“Sooo?” Roxas smirked.

“Did you kiss him?” Xion smiled.

“Come on! He’s my best friend.”

“Yes, but you want to kiss him,” Roxas grinned.

“Shut up!” Lea replied.

He put box in front of them, opening them so they could grab fried vegetables, mix with soya or rice mixed with a bit of carrot and eggs and also an assortment of fish or chicken or even seafood. There was also soup and so Lea grabbed bowls.

“You didn’t even try to tell him?” Xion wondered.

“No, obviously.”

“But you love him!” she said.

“Yes and he doesn’t. Not like that. And he has way enough problems like that.”

“Yeah, is problem is that he wants to be smooched by a dumb redhead!” Roxas replied.

Lea grabbed chopsticks and two knifes as well as two forks and spoons. He gave them to the teenagers and used chopsticks to put food in the plate. Mostly vegetables because he wanted to be sure they will take some.

“You’re saying non-sense. Both of you.”

“We saw the way he looks at you! He takes your hand, he’s sooo close!”

“He looks you right in the eyes and smile…” Xion said, pressing her cheek in her hand.

“We’re best friend since forever. That’s not the same. We always held each other hand. We always hugged, we slept in the same bed, we just…” Lea sighed as he poured soup in their bowls. “I always loved him. Maybe from the first second? When he beat the shit out of me for having sneaked in his house,” he laughed.

“Not surprising coming from you!” Roxas laughed.

“Yes!” Xion smiled.

“But the point iiiiis: he doesn’t love me like that and I won’t make him uneasy. He really has too much problems.”

Lea sat on the stool and started eating.

“I think you’re a dumbass,” Roxas said.

“And you’re right!” Lea smiled.

“Come on!” Xion protested.

“That’s my last word on this! By the way, I bought ice cream! Did you know they’re doing whole liters package now?! Like TONS OF ICE CREAM at home!!” he smiled. “That’s the good news of the day!”

“Let’s say that’s the good news of the day!” Xion replied.

“But it’s truly the good news of the day!” Roxas approved. “I totally want more ice cream!”

“Imagine! With whipped cream!”

“With colorful sparkle!”

Xion couldn’t help but laugh, seeing them talking that way about the ice cream. And now… she just wanted to taste a big bowl of totally insane amount of calories!!

 

 

After a really long day of work, Lea entered in his house, groaning. Honestly, he would have believe that being a Keyblade Wielder, working to keep the Worlds in the light, would have given him money or else. But no, he was a waiter at Le Grand Bistrot because he needed money for paying the rent of his home, bringing food and everything else.

He took out his shoes and walked to the couch to land on it.

“Axel! Axel! Axel! Axel!”

He groaned as he heard Roxas and Xion. It was late enough for them to be back from school and maybe to have finish their homework too.

“What… ya wanna eat tonight?” he asked.

“Can you leave us money?” Roxas wondered.

“Because you’re expected at Yen Sid’s tower!!!” Xion added.

“Now?” Lea sighed.

He was tired and sore.

“Yes, now! What do you expect? Someone is maybe dying!” Roxas smirked.

“Uugh… yeah… But I’m tired. Just leave me five minutes!” Lea sighed.

He pressed his face in his hands.

Xion and Roxas glanced at each other. She knelt next to him, smiling widely. Lea noticed her, obviously, how could he not! He reached out and ruffled her hair.

“Isn’t there any leftovers?”

“I don’t know. I believe we still have stuff?”

“Yeah. And there is ice cream and pizza in the deep freezer!” Roxas said.

“I prefer if you don’t eat that. Give me just two or three more minutes and I’ll look for your food. And then… Yen Sid!” he sighed.

He had no conviction today but he got up at five am to prepare the breakfast and be sure everything was okay. And now he couldn’t even nap? For someone who could concurrence against the Sleeping Beauty, it was quite hard.

“Will you go alone?” Xion wondered.

Lea raised up immediately.

“Say… Yen Sid really asked me to work, right?”

“YES!” they both said.

“We wouldn’t trick you,” Roxas replied.

“Now I’m really doubtful!”

Lea got up and grabbed his phone as he walked to the kitchen. He couldn’t call Yen Sid immediately because the man hadn’t that technology but there was a channel where the Three Fairies may reply. So, he did this number and opened the freezer. There was leftover of carrot, corn and a bit of white cabbage. He could see sausage and he knew there were potatoes. He took that out and called his friends and protégés as he heard a reply.

“Hi! It’s Lea. Does Yen Sid want to see me?”

“Lea!” Fauna said. “Yes! Roxas and Xion told us you felt sad because you couldn’t help people! Eudora, the Good Fairy, searched for us and we found! I hope you’re happy!”

Lea turned his head toward the two teenagers who, suddenly, seemed so angelic.

“Thank you. I’m coming soon.”

“I warn Yen Sid, he’ll send you the train! Have a nice evening!”

“Thanks!”

Lea hanged up. “So… you planned all of this!”

“Oh come on. Maybe we want to throw a party with the gang!” Roxas smiled.

“Exactly.”

Xion smiled.

“Perfect! So I go alone, right?” Lea grinned back.

“NO!” Xion said.

She cleared her throat, looking on the other side.

“You will end up bored!” Roxas countered back.

“Maybe but it would be a nice revenge!” Lea smiled.

 

 

Everybody has left the dance gymnasium.

Isa just dealt with the youngest and the lessons of the Night weren’t taught by him. In fact… he participated at those because he didn’t want to lose what he was able to do in dance and wanted to recover what he certainly had lose. He could have sense it while the lesson of today more than the others. Hence he stayed a bit later, training with seriousness.

For hours probably.

He didn’t pay much attention but he was exhausted.

When he stopped any graceful movement and watched himself in the mirror… he just had a feeling of disgust…

He approached from his reflect, his nose almost touching the image. And yet, the only thing he could see… it was that big X in front of his forehead, the little spike on the edge of his ears. The golden sparkle in his eyes… He couldn’t not see them. He moved his fingers, trying to hide the X but… but it was just even more visible.

A huge nausea was waving his belly, his guts. He really was about to puck…

He moved backward, his feet shaking.

He walked to his bag he had laid on a bench when he decided to stay here to train. He didn’t want people to steal his belonging…

In his backpack, there were clothes, a wallet, a keychain with a few keys, two books, a bit of food, a bottle of water and… a foundation cream. He squeezed the tiny package then came back to the mirror, his fingers dipping in the cream as soon as he had turned the lid.

He passed the lotion on the ugly scar, trying to make it disappear.

But it was still there.

He could see it.

He wasn’t really gifted with make-up. Did he choose a bad product? Was he the one in fault?

He tried to smooth even more the lotion, his fingers shaking so violently he couldn’t do anything but spread it more. It was worst. Way worst.

Isa was trying to fix the mess he did when he felt something on his waist. A hand. A hand on his waist, a breath against his neck.

Immediately, he turned, throwing his elbow with violence in the face. With the breathing, it was easy to discover where the face was supposed to be exactly this head.

He heard a choked scream.

The smell of blood swirled in the air as Isa turned toward the one who dared to touch him. He was ready to end them with two, maybe three, quick movements but stopped immediately.

“Lea?!”

“Fuuuuuck!” Lea was pressing his hands in his nose. “Why would you do that?!”

“Why would you touch me without a warning?!”

“You were in front of a mirror!!” Lea protested.

“I wasn’t looking anything but…” Isa groaned. “Push your hands down. Let me see…”

The redhead moaned and moved his palms. Isa looked, his fingers lightly touching his nose or his chin.

“This will do well, I believe. I will bring you a handkerchief.”

“Oh nooooo, that’s cliché! You’ll give it to me, I’ll cherish it and never give it back to ya ‘cuz I’ll wanna smell your perfume every dayyy!!”

Isa pushed him back with a smile. “I should have hit you harder!” he said, before going to the bag.

He grabbed the tissue, feeling his Heart being weird for a moment then he came back to his friend to press it against his nose.

“What are you doing here?”

“I’m getting kicked by my best friend.”

“But that is common for you,” Isa replied.

Lea smiled. He wanted to touch his hand, he wanted to caress his skin… but he was there, his arms hanging along his body.

“I’ve a mission. I don’t know what or where but… this way, I can see you?” Lea grinned but Isa didn’t, still pressing the fabric against his nose. “I called you few times.”

“I know.”

“You were busy?”

Isa moved down the handkerchief. “You will need a bit of water to rinse this.”

On this words, he let Lea have the tissue, if ever, and went to his bag. He grabbed the bottle of water and came back.

“You asked me to call?”

“No. I asked you to come… To call when you’ll be at home. And to come for the others days.”

“’Kay… let’s say it’s my fault. But I don’t remember you’re afraid of talking in the phone? Is that new?”

“I’m not afraid of the phone. I’m afraid of…”

Isa didn’t dare to say it as he used a part of the fabric, not stained with blood, to press it on the skin, washing it.

“You’re not forced to say it, if it’s too hard, Isa… I can come if you wanna. But it’s just… I don’t understand. I thought it was easier for us to keep contact if we call?”

“Calling is a perfect way. It’s me.” He moved down the handkerchief. “I love being with you but I don’t understand why you’re bothering yourself with me. Everything I did. Everything I still am…”

Lea reached out and his thumb rubbed softly on his forehead.

Isa let him to, closing his eyes.

He wanted to hug him, he wanted to ask him a kiss or anything else but he couldn’t. Not after all he did. Not after having failed everything. And he couldn’t risk the precious friendship he had with Lea. If he lost him, he would die immediately…

“Look…”

Isa opened his eyes.

Lea turned him softly toward the mirror. The scar had disappeared under the lotion correctly spread.

“It’s here because you see it. I know it’s hard and I know it’s still there, creeping inside of you. But you’re stronger than that. I’ll help you. If you feel like you’ll run away if I call, I’ll come.  I’ll come as often as you need. Until you feel able to call me or call me back.”

Isa stared his best friend in the mirror.

“Why?” he muttered.

“Why what? Why I believe in you? Why I adapt to you?” Lea pressed a kiss on his cheek. “You’re awesome Isa. And I passed through all of this but… it was worst for you. I saw what you passed through. I tried to reach you but I just… I just failed and let you down… Now I won’t anymore. You’re valid Isa. You’re so much valid. I feel you’re struggling, doubting and I understand… And I’ll be there.” He held out his hand to him. “I’ll always offer you my hand.”

Isa didn’t care much about his own reflect there. He just stared Lea. This man with his blue hair tied in a strict bun, his face without scar but his ears spiky and some sparkle in his eyes… Maybe it was what he wanted to reach? But what he really wanted to reach… was the man Lea was looking. He wanted to be him. Wanted to have the strength Lea believed he had.

Obviously, he was wrong…

Xemnas had manipulated him, swirled his mind, making him do everything he wanted…

And now he expected to be in the Light? The only Light he could approach was Lea’s Light…

He wanted so much to ask him to hold him forever, and so much more…

“We should go… isn’t it?”

“Yes! The train is waiting for us! You need to change yourself or anything?”

Isa shook his head, grabbing the ribbon around his hair and untied them. Lea blinked, a slight smile on his lips as he saw the fall of long hair, flying around him before caressing softly his back.

“I think it’s good. I don’t think have time for a shower.”

“You can have one if you want to!”

“We can’t make Yen Sid wait.”

“You see!” Lea replied. “Aaand… can I be cliché and keep the handkerchief?”

“Yes, you can,” Isa said before moving to the bag, grabbing it.

The redhead smiled and quickly followed him.

 

 

At the exact second the train arrived, Yen Sid knew it. So, he left his private room and went in the office, sitting in his chair.

He moved slightly the belongings on his desk to be sure it was presentable.

Donald should arrive soon too.

It would let enough time to talk with them. His hands linked, he waited until there was knocks on his door.

“Yes?” he called.

The door opened on Lea, moving his hand in a ‘hello’ gesture. Isa, next to him, bowed slightly. The old man noticed his strange outfit but also the papers in his hands. In fact, before leaving for Yen Sid’s tower, the man asked to quickly retrieve the report but he didn’t have taken the time to change himself. He was still in a black tank and the white tights.

“Well meet,” the old man said.

Isa approached from the desk and lay out the report, bowing again and then coming back next to Lea.

“As you see, we’re here! Where do we go?!” Lea smiled.

The mage looked through the report.

“You’re going to Pride Land.”

“Nice, where it is?” Lea asked.

“It’s a World where there are only animals,” Isa whispered.

His best friend looked him, frowned, and then looked back to the old man. “Is this a joke?” he said.

“A joke?” the Sorcerer asked.

“We’ll be transformed again, isn’t it?”

“Yes,” he said. “Donald will arrive soon and help you.”

“Obviously!” the redhead replied. “But can’t we have something else?”

“Excuse the Universe to have problems. Excuse those Worlds to need help.”

“I excuse them. Can we have fun somewhere else?” Lea sighed when he heard the sound of the Gummiship. “And can we travel in something else than a Gummiship? We’d be faster with a Corridor of Darkness!”

“Lea…” Isa muttered, guessing it wasn’t the best subject to have with Yen Sid.

“It’s a very bad idea to take those Corridors, Lea. Especially without protections.”

“I’ve protections! You did some.”

“It’s bad,” he said. “You’ll use the Gummiship and you’ll help one of Sora’s friend: Simba. He’s a Lion and he rules over the World.”

“We understand,” Isa said. “Lea wanted to be more efficient but we’ll comply to your choices.”

“Very we… What is that?” Yen Sid asked.

“What?”

The Sorcerer turned the report, showing the last page. Isa folded his arms.

“It’s how I sign… since ten years.”

Lea stared the four letters at the end of the report.

Saïx.

“Are you still attached to Xehanort?”

“I am not,” the man replied to Yen Sid. “It’s the habitude.” He looked down. “I’m sorry, Master Yen Sid. I’ll change.”

He moved to the desk and bent on the report, taking a feather he dipped in the ink. As the door opened, he draw a clean line over this name and wrote again just under it.

“Is it better?” he asked.

“Yes, thank you.”

“You’re ready?” Donald questioned from the door.

“We are!” Lea replied.

He turned his head to the duck and grinned. If he had one hand on his hip, the other was held out to Isa and, in the end, it was to him, he was smiling.

Donald didn’t pay much attention to this, he was used to this kind of affection.

Hence the reason he didn’t twitch neither when Isa grabbed this hand held to him.

He leaded the two of them to the Gummiship outside, after Isa haven’t say ‘goodbye’ to the Sorcerer.

 “Come on!” The duck said. “I’ll explain to you what you have to know.”

“Be ready to understand absolutely nothing,” Lea muttered to Isa, making him softly giggle.

Chapter Text

“I swear to you, I’m gonna end him!”

“You’re not supposed to, Lea.”

“Don’t mock me!” Lea replied to Isa.

Which was smiling to him, smirking, teasing…

Lea totally loved that, in fact. He was totally good with him mocking him. Especially if he could make him smile like that.

But, once again…

He was looking weird, his skin red, with scales coming from his forehead, where he also had big horns, and cheeks to spread on his necks, others on his forearms, almost as gloves, and he could sense them on his feet. He had heavy teeth, a longue and strong tail with spikes. He had tiny wings and his hairs didn’t look like hairs at all. It was like a bunch of long spikes…

And in front of him… Isa had fangs and claws plus his body covered by blue fur. He looked pretty much as the werewolf he was, under the Moon beam, when they were at Halloween Town, unless he had a Moon across his chest.

“How do you feel?” Lea wondered.

He knew how this appearance was ugly for him. Difficile to admit. Because of the fangs, the claws and… the X was so visible through his fur… You couldn’t miss it.

“I’m feeling… okay?” Isa guessed, looking his hands.

The claws were softly moving.

Lea grabbed them. “Eh! Do you think we’re nudists?”

“Nudists?”

“We’re totally without clothes there! Is it nudism? Is a cat naked? Are they clothed if they have a collar?”

Isa squeezed the hands hugging his. He totally knew his best friend was doing his best to comfort him. And it was, indeed, working, because he was saying silly things, dragging his mind out of its current train of thoughts.

“Should I reply?” he smiled to him.

“I think no!” Lea laughed. “So… let’s go see this Sulley!”

As Lea walked, Isa followed him. Yen Sid didn’t said to them what they have to do exactly. Just that they were awaited.

It was still early in Twilight Town when they have left. Lea had his job, and Isa too of course, and so he kept asking himself if they could have an apologize message from Yen Sid or not? In fact, on this… Lea was more worried for his best friend than him. He was working with Scrooge who perfectly knew about the different Worlds and what was the work of a Keyblade Wielder. He could understand. Donald could help if it was more difficult that he expected. But Isa? His job had nothing to do with all of that. And was really rigorous.

So, as they entered in the building, him holding the door to his best friend, he looked him above his shoulder.

“Thank you to be there. It really wouldn’t be fun without you.”

“That’s normal, Lea.”

“Do you think it can help you to…” Lea stopped to talk because he had turned his head and saw the welter of Monsters. “… redeem,” he whispered.

“Yes,” Isa said. “I will never be like you however…”

He smiled as he watched Lea, aghast in front of those Monsters coming and going around with uniforms or nothing at all. Some were slimy, other furry, or spiky, scaly… everything was there.

“…I see the Light when I’m here, by your side…” Isa whispered.

Lea turned his head toward him.

“You look like a child!” Isa teased softly.

“Yeah! I’m so… woah! You imagine! If you were afraid of the Monsters under your bed-slash-in your closet, it was that you were afraid of! Were you afraid of the Monster in the closet?”

“Not really… rather to walk out of the closet…”

Isa looked away when Lea tilted slightly his head.

“You don’t have to be afraid anymore, Isa. You can be yourself now.”

His friend nodded a little. He wished  Lea could understand the signals he was blowing toward him but… honestly, he did understood why his best friend didn’t get them. First, his orientation didn’t mean his friend would share it, though Lea always seemed to be interested by any gender, any sex without any preference from their discussions, his looks and everything.

And, in the end, it wasn’t because they could technically be together that he would have his chances.

“Come,” Isa offered.

He walked to the reception where a lady with snakes in place of hairs was working. She was replying to the phone and typing in her computer at the same time.

Lea smiled and bent at his friend’s ear.

“I like her a lot!” he said.

Isa turned his head toward him.

“She reminds me someone I like very much,” he continued.

When the lady looked up to them, Lea bent on the desk.

“Hello! We’re Lea and Isa. We’re sent by… uh Donald Duck to see Sulley?”

“Yes! You’re awaited!” she replied. “You have to go to… Ah, wait, I’ll lead you.”

“Thank you,” Lea said.

She got up and still took call from her free-hand kit as they were walking through the Monsters. Lea looked them, his hand brushing against Isa’s and he noticed… they were leaving…

“Where are they going?” he asked.

The lady raised a tentacle as she was talking in her mic.

As soon as she had finish with them, she turned her head toward them.

“They’re going home. We have two services, one for the Day, one for the Night. We have to make laugh children every night and there is a lot of children and… Night happen for everybody each hour,” she explained.

“So you never stop working?”

“There are shifts!”

“I mean… Donald was there at Night and there were no one…”

“Oh… Sulley changed the way we’re working. Before we afraid children but the laugh are more powerful. The problem… it’s easier to scare than making laugh people… That’s why we encounter issues and we lose a lot of employees. The Night, we almost have nobody. That’s why you’re here!”

“But we’re not Nobodies!” Lea smirked.

“Hm,” Isa said, clearing his throat.

“Sorry!”

Lea grabbed his hand, not caring about their claws, just taking care to not actually hurt him.

The lady walked to a door she opened. But it was a regular door. Well… still a closet door but you wouldn’t be sent in a children room from there.

“Here!” the lady said.

There were brooms and mops, buckets and different products in big cans or bottles.

“What is that?” Lea asked.

“Cleaning product, why?”

“But… we… ‘re here for doing the cleaning?”

“Yes! That’s what Sulley asked.”

Lea watched the products then the lady smiling to him.

“Do you think Yen Sid knew it?”

“Yes,” Isa replied, his other hand in front of his hand, trying not to laugh.

“And do you think he send us here on purpose?”

“Absolutely,” he giggled.

“I think I’m gonna kill him,” Lea said.

But in fact… he would thank him. He would thank him because Isa was laughing next to him and he would always bless such treasure.

“Ya help me?”

“Of course,” Isa replied. “However… I may need a bit of help with some of those products,” he said.

Coming from a really wealthy family, employee always did everything for him and he could just have seen once in a while how things were done. After, with Xemnas, it wasn’t in his responsibilities to keep everything clean. Just to be sure it was clean, keeping an eye on other’s work.

And now, he was doing was he could.

He was open to any teaching, honestly.

After all, he was used to learn things he didn’t care much. Though, at least, this one looked really interesting and useful to him.

 

 

They were cleaning around since a good moment, Lea trying to joke about all of this once in a while, wanting to keep the mood light, to have fun while working. If Isa didn’t need that, and wasn’t really entertained there, he appreciated the efforts. Especially if that amused his friend.

When he was happy, he felt happy.

Happier, at least.

The only thing Isa was really thinking was that he hopped they won’t have problems with their respective job because they weren’t there… just to do the cleaning in a strange World?

Yes, Twilight Town was one of the very few World knowing there was another Worlds and understanding the fights and the need to protect them all… but that meant nothing. Isa had his heart set in doing his work as asked. Hard and well. Years of parents asking him to be perfect, years of having a man asking him to be able to help him in every moment had turned him in a real machine with only the perfection in mind. He had to success. And it had to be beautiful…

Even here, for cleaning, he was doing his best.

More than his best…

“You two!”

They turned their heads and saw the receptionist coming toward them. She was followed by a giant green ball with arms and legs and a big eye.

“You’re sure my lovely Celia?” he said.

“Yes, they’re Donald’s friends,” she replied.

“Okay. We don’t have enough people for tonight. One of you is good to make people laugh?” the big ball asked.

“Lea is really gifted to make laugh people,” Isa informed.

“Uh… Yeah!” the redhead smiled as he pressed his wrists on the mop he used until now.

The ball tapped his finger over his lips.

“You look a bit frightening…”

“Lea is really hilarious,” Isa said.

“See? I’m hilarious!”

“It can pass. A lot of us are ugly anyway.”

“But not you, Googley Bear?” she smiled to tiny cyclops.

“And certainly not youuuuu!” he replied, purring to her.

Lea smiled as he stared them, showing love to each other. Seeing them so happy. Even in public. That’s the kind of things he wished he could live but… Isa was looking away, seeming to be really disturbed by this. To be honest, he could have kept the love in private just for his best friend if he could have him.

But he just couldn’t.

Isa was searching equilibrium and it was really important to let him have it. He couldn’t just risk to shatter it in pieces. What will happen to Isa if he lost everything? At this moment, he was the only one who trusted him and could help him. Hence why he came to see him at work or come at his home the week-end. If he confessed and Isa pushed him back, he wouldn’t be the most hurt because… if they couldn’t stay friend after this, what would happen to Isa?

Confessing was selfish.

He couldn’t.

Even if his Heart ached.

Big fluffy blue and claws moved in front of his eyes, making him blink. He turned his head toward his best friend who folded his arms, hugging himself.

“You’re napping when we talk to you, now? Can you, at least, not nap when you’ll work for Mike Wazowski?”

“Of course! Sorry! I was just… lost in my thoughts! Let’s go!”

Lea straightened and let go on the mop. Isa caught it, thought, and pushed it back on place before sliding the tiny char with water along the wall so there will have less incident and someone could easily take over the work. Honestly, he would have the time, he would certainly have achieved the work and bring back the mop and everything in the closet. But Mike had asked two people…

He didn’t get why but if he could be useful for Lea until the last second…

They walked out the place and then to the big hangar were a lot of doors were lowered in special devices. Well…

Not so many doors.

Only a few of them were installed, at chosen place. Maybe five or six spots? Mike was asking to have a new door coming down. And as it was arriving, Mike explained how things were going.

“Look, here is the file for the child, what they like and don’t and things about their family. Take care of the family. You have to change the tank with the energy as soon as they are filled. You also have to note how much you have got energy and then send back the door.”

“Very well.”

“Get ready!” Mike said, giving the file to Isa.

“So you help me?” Lea smiled.

“Yes. I suppose I’m your support moral here.”

“You are already!” Lea smiled.

But he immediately frowned because… Isa used to do this kind of job before, when he had to send him to room to take away lives. Of course, this time, it wasn’t to kill people he would sneak in there but Lea was more worry because it could break something inside of Isa…

“You’re good?” he wondered to his friend.

“Yes, thank you.” Isa opened the file. “They say it’s a seven years old boy and he has a sister just next to the room. He lives just with his mother and he’s afraid of bugs so avoid joke about this. He doesn’t get pun…”

“Shit! I love puns!”

“You will have to find something else,” Isa replied, showing him the document and the image of the child.

“I will!”

Lea smiled softly and turned his head toward the door.

“What should I do if the mom or the sis’ come?” he asked.

Isa looked in the information.

“It’s not said but I think you can come back here…”

“I use a Corridor of Darkness?”

“Only if you not put your Heart in danger,” Isa replied.

“Don’t worry for my Heart!” Lea said, hitting his chest with a big smile. He approached him a bit. “I will come back.”

Those words actual came from that time where they were still under Xemnas’ will. At this moment, the fear that he won’t come back was really in Isa’s guts. Saïx’s guts. Though he never explicitly said it to his best friend. They knew each other well enough for Lea, or let’s say Axel, to guess what his dear friend held inside of him…

“You better should,” Isa replied to him with a smile.

Lea took his hand.

“Take care of yourself, ‘kay?”

“I just have some paperwork to do. I don’t risk anything. Unless you’re afraid of what the paper could do to me?”

Lea let out a giggle.

“You should come too, you’re good to joke!”

Isa shook his head. “I only can make you laugh. And I suppose you’re faking it.”

“Nooooo! You’re making me laugh!”

Lea moved his hand to grab his but did nothing. Maybe because it was a bit weird between them since they have those special appearances.

Though, noticing it, Isa held more tightly the file against his chest and moved his hand. He brushed Lea’s one but pressed it against the cheek sparkled with scales. Lea pressed a kiss on his forehead in return, no matter that he has hair stuck on his tongue now. He even moved his hand to put it on the hip of his friend.

“I’ll do my best there.”

“Yes. Yen Sid will probably be really proud of you.”

“Ah… You’re giving me too much pressure!”

Lea really wanted to make this work correctly. If he could show his value to Yen Sid, he would maybe have better mission? Or more respect in regard of his other job… Especially because he still had to take care of Roxas and Xion…

He had some care he didn’t want to have. He was twenty-seven years old and eleven years of his life had been wiped out…

But he had all of this to take care of…

“Don’t worry like that, Lea. You’re a real Sunshine and there is no chance for you to fail there. I don’t remember you to have failed anything.”

The file slid between from his hand but he didn’t try to reach it, his fingers coming down to his chest. His thumb was pressing against the soft muscle.

“You said that but I do remember I’ve failed few times.”

“It wasn’t your fault. I swear, Lea… Or, if you did wrong, it just nothing. Everybody does mistakes however you won’t do it there…”

“Isa…”

Lea fought against himself to not confess but there, it was really hard. They were so close from each other and since they were like that, it was just tempting…

Tempting, but dangerous.

Still for the same reason: it was dangerous for the equilibrium of Isa’s mind.

But he could hear his Heart beat against his.

“You realize you’re totally naked?”

Isa blinked. “Excuse me?”

“I just realize that you’re totally naked! See!” Lea snapped his fingers and showed him. “All naked!”

“Disappear, Lea. I’m serious,” Isa said, trying not to crack a smile.

“Hi Serious…”

“Don’t.”

“I’m Lea!”

Isa opened the door and shoved him inside, whispering a ‘bye’. He smiled widely as his friend entered inside. He checked the level of the energy tank. And then, he crouched to grab the file on the floor. He got up and felt stupid. They were so close from each other. It was the best moment to confess, try to steal him a kiss even if he had this big jaw there. He could have done something but here again… he was just stupidly in love, and stupidly unable to tell him everything.

If only their friendship wasn’t so beautiful and precious. If only the fact he was telling him the sweetest words could have been seen as beautiful and strong as his Heart spat them out.

If only…

Chapter Text

The phone was ringing.

It was stupid but Isa felt as if he was in a horror movie. He should take it. He should reply. The ringtone was the one he had associated to Lea. He knew who it was, it should have been easy…

But he couldn’t.

He grabbed his phone and his finger hovered in front of the reject icon. And couldn’t press it anyway. Lea would hate him. He couldn’t bear the fact Lea could hate him but he couldn’t reply neither. At least, if the phone just rang in the void, he could pretend he was busy? He was busy anyway. This ring coming from his bag just stopped him while training.

He swallowed air and went on his tip-toe. Exactly on the edge.

“Isa?”

He turned his head, his arms in a pose that allowed him to keep his equilibrium.

“You’re working so hard,” a lady with long blond hair tied in a bun said to him.

She was at the opening and he knew her thought he never actually talked to her. She was in charge of the thirteen-fourteen-fifteen years old or those with such a level. They often met when they exchanging the rooms but this was all. Especially because when he was training like today, he was in his bull, not replying at all…

“Indeed. I wish I can keep my capacities at a correct level.”

“Why?” she smiled, entering inside the room. “You’re going to perform a ballet or anything?” she asked genuinely.

“No.”

She frowned when she realized he was still en pointe. First, it was really rare to see a man doing it, because it was more reserved to ladies. Especially since Isa was so buff… certainly heavy. Yes he had to be able to perform it, she has to take over the training of her colleagues on the boys, sometimes teaching it because some thought it was useless for men… But still. It wasn’t common.

And the position was really hurtful so keeping it that way?

“Why are you doing that?”

“I only fill the expectative people have for me…”

“Who?” She frowned. “The director? It’s not very… healthy.”

Isa looked his own reflection in the mirror, the turquoise eyes stabbing him. The golden flakes seeming to shine like a million of stars just staring him back.

There was nothing there, isn’t it?

Those marks were just the ruins of something that used to be there but had vanished… His father wasn’t there anymore to force him to do too much; his mother wouldn’t yell at him because he wasn’t perfect; Xemnas didn’t stand in his back, moving the strings of his perfect puppet…

“Isa? Who’s expecting that from you?”

“Me…”

 

 

In the changing room, Isa took out his dance shoes with a little groan. He was ready to face it and yet…

He watched the blood spreading on his sole and his toes. His fingers shook as he brushed the hurt area. He groaned again then got up, walking with difficulty to the sink. He gathered water and cleaned his feet, one hand holding the sink, his teeth clenched.

He let pass a few moments and spread a bit more of water on the hurt limb before just… apply cream. On his forehead. Every day, he tried to make disappear this ugly sign over his skin. He still could feel it in his guts but… at least for others, for his own reflect, there was nothing…

He looked normal.

Almost normal.

Untying his hairs, he came back to the chair where he had his belonging. Walking was still hurtful but he got used to it. Slowly. He grabbed bandages and put them around his feet before sliding in his shoes and, finally, put everything in his bag before leaving.

He came outside in the sunset, pushing back a lock.

“You’re here!”

Isa moved back and his back hit the door.

“Lea?!”

“Yup!”

Isa looked away, his hand tightening around the strap of his bag.

“I wasn’t… I was busy when you called.”

“It’s okay if you didn’t feel you could pick up,” Lea said. “I was just trying. If you feel you could.”

Isa sighed, still looking away.

“You should be with your children.”

“Are you trying to push me away?” Lea smirked. “Xion and Roxas are with their friends.”

“I see…”

Isa walked toward his house, his fingers squeezing and un-squeezing.  If Lea offered him to take a drink, he would probably reply ‘no’, as long as if he wanted to come in his house. Or the invert. He was feeling too uneasy, too weird. How could he stay with him…

He wanted.

He couldn’t.

He had so many different feelings within him.

It was so difficult…

“If you really don’t want to stay with me, I’ll go home, don’t worry. But…I’ve to go in Christmas Town and I wanted to invite you.”

“It’s sweet from you,” Isa replied.

He felt so horrible because they were doing this since two months, sometimes, Lea came for him and they went together. But since the mission in Monster Inc., one month before, his friend got better mission.

And, since they become better, but also longer and at bad time, it happened often that Lea didn’t invite him in the mission. He still came to see him, maybe brought him home? Come to eat with him on the break?

He loved being with him and yet, he still felt so strange around him…

Since the moment in front of the Door in Monster Inc., honestly, he felt like he did something bad. And now Lea, who just wanted to be with him, was chasing him to have just a bit of time with him? It was bad. Really bad.

“It’s in Halloween Town, you know!”

Isa turned his head toward him. “Yes, I know.”

“Of course, you know!” Lea laughed, a bit nervous. He rubbed his hairs. “Just… it’ll be awesome I believe. There will be snow and… Santa Claus!!”

Isa stopped and squeezed a bit more his strap, looking the joy on the visage of his best friend.

His feelings were confuse, it was right. He didn’t know exactly where he had to place himself in this whole situation without hurting his best friend, very well. But he couldn’t ignore Lea’s feelings…

“Say no more: I’ll come.”

“Yes! I love you!”

Lea grabbed his friends by the waist, lifting him. He immediately put him back because he didn’t have the strength to hold, for long, all the muscles Isa had. Still, he continued to hug him and Isa hugged him back.

In fact, Lea felt stupid.

This ‘I love you’ meant so much more for him but he was so used to tell him all the time, he couldn’t just walk back.

For Isa, it didn’t mean much except ‘I care for you’ probably…

“I’m… I’m sorry, I didn’t ask much how your late missions happened?” Isa asked, moving slightly away.

“Don’t worry. I didn’t dare to talk about it anyway. I mean… I didn’t want to annoy you.”

Damn, he was so uneasy suddenly. He was sure Isa would sense it.

Isa was uneasy too.

Maybe because he crossed his boundaries?

They hugged often before, hold hands, he kissed his cheeks, nose, forehead… lips sometimes. But today, Isa seemed pretty bad. He hoped Christmas Town could make him happy, at least!

“You’re not annoying me, Lea. You’re my best friend. You can tell me anything.”

“Same for you, Isa. ‘Kay?” He frowned. “If anything is turning bad for ya… Or if ya wanna talk about something… anything. Just… what you want.”

But Isa didn’t want and that was the problem.

He had so much to tell him.

But he couldn’t…

Neither the feelings he held for him, neither the pain he had now…

 

 

‘I can’t wait, I can’t wait, I can’t wait!’ That was what Lea said, again and again, way too excited to the idea of going at Christmas Town.

The Gummiship opened its footbridge and Donald sent his magic spell so he could jump in the snow. What he did immediately. As he was jumping, his body transformed. His clothes become grey with fur around his ankles and his wrists also around the neck and at the end of his jacket. But he also had tiny spiky ears in his hairs in a headband and also a long tail black and white. He had dark mark on his face around his eyes. And a Santa hat.

“What am I?” he said, surprise.

He fell on the floor and spread his arms on the floor. He moved them, trying to create an angel in the snow.

“You’re one of the Christmas Racoon!” Donald said.

“What is it?” Lea asked.

“Just a tale about preserving the nature,” the duck replied.

“Logical from you!” the man teased.

He saw Isa coming to the footbridge and immediately got up, coming toward him to grab him by the waist. Probably because he wanted to touch him. because he loved to feel his arms around his shoulders and liked to believe Isa enjoyed doing that because he didn’t need that. And he couldn’t help but smile when he saw Isa’s shoes turned into boots with a bell on the edge and his legs were covered by tights white with green and red. A tiny skirt covered his lower parts and the top became green with longs mittens. It was funny to see him transform as if he was a magical girl or something.

Though, seeing the very spiky ears, elf’s ears, he put down Isa and took out his headband, placing it on Isa’s head and covering the ears.

“You’re cuter that way!” he smiled.

“Thank you. You’re really cute too.”

He looked up at Donald who closed the footbridge and, few after, the Ship lift and moved away.

Isa pushed away snow that got caught in Lea’s hair.

“You didn’t tell me what was your mission.”

Donald had been there so he was sure it was an actual mission and not a trick from his best friend who wanted to pass time with him. And, Radiant Garden never having snow, this was a perfect place. Lea could always have this youth and this need, envy, to play. Isa loved that with him.

He loved everything in him.

And Lea just loved everything in Isa…

“We’re helping Santa Claus!”

Isa folded his arms. “And for real?”

“I swear!! We’re helping Santa Claus. They have a friend here, Jack Skellington and he always mess up everything. And he did so again. The guy means no harm but he wants help too much or something like that? The whole cargo has been destroyed and now he needs to do everything again but there is not much time left! And… ya know, Santa Claus, it’s Santa Claus! He comes in every World, right?!”

“I suppose, yes,” Isa replied, sliding a lock of hair behind his ear.

“I wonder… did you receive presents from him?”

Isa shook his head. And he didn’t have to ask back to Lea. He totally knew Lea never received anything.

For  Isa, it was special because, before Lea he didn’t  even know Santa Claus existed. And after that, it seemed so strange… He asked his parents about that and they said he didn’t exist, that were only the parents giving presents to their children and he wasn’t surprised that his parents didn’t want to give him presents for nothing. And Lea’s parents were so poor…

So he was the one who gave presents to them with the little he had.

Now, it was quite strange to recognize… Santa Claus really existed.

“So… what are we doing exactly?”

“We have to help him to get back the right stuff! No deliveries because it’s not Christmas yet but… we can help! I think there are others things he’ll say?”

“We don’t have the GummiShip anymore,” Isa stated.

“Yeah.”

Lea moved his hand, allowing Darkness to come.

“Yen Sid said nothing against that. Maybe I should prove I can do both? Maybe that’s why he sent me here? My clothes have a darkness protection and it works like the coats, you know?”

Isa nodded.

“If you’re sure of yourself, very well. However, my clothes are just normal clothes.”

“That means you can’t come with me?”

“Probably. However, I’ll follow you at Santa Claus’ house. I’m sure he’ll have paperwork for me,” Isa teased, folding his hands.

“Sure he will! I’m sorry!” Lea laughed before pressing a kiss on cheek then grabbed his hand.

Isa followed him without a word. He intertwined their fingers, like often, as they came to the house of Santa Claus. What surprised Isa, to be honest, was the fact it was just… a house. Not something big, not something extremely equipped. Though, if you were really observer, you could see there was something behind and grey-black steams were coming from the chimney. It was maybe the only think that told him it was probably the house they sought for…

Lea was really excited and he immediately rung the bell. Multiple times.

Few moments after the door was opened by a tiny elf that frowned, looking them. In comparison they were so tall and, in fact, they’ll almost struggle to enter because the up part of the frame was at Isa’s forehead so for Lea…

“Our apologizes. We didn’t mean to annoy you, we have been send by Yen Sid to help Santa Claus.”

“Ah!”

The elf walked to the next room, letting them outside. Lea glanced to his best friend who just shrugged slightly.

“Come, come!” a big but soft voice invited.

“Oh my… Do you think…?” Lea gasped.

“Yes, I think,” Isa teased softly.

He tugged on his hand, bringing him inside. He closed after him, almost pressing his chest against his chest while doing this, and then brought him in the main room where they were invited. As soon as Lea saw the big man with a white beard, he hiccupped, aghast, agape…

The old man laughed softly.

He was used to be adored that way by child but it wasn’t the first time someone older get so happy to see him. Though, the last time, he had only fifteen years old instead of being in his late twenty. However, he was always happy to see joy in a face…

“Hello, Lea. Isa. Thank you for coming that soon.”

“It was normal!” Lea replied. “What can we do!?”

“I like your enthusiasm,” the old man replied. “The elves are cleaning everything and we’ll need a bit of help with the inventory and we need a bit of help coming from outside.”

“That what I told you,” Lea whispered, not able to hide his excitation. “Is this true you have a sled with reindeers?” he asked with excitation.

“Yes, I have but…”

“Can I use it?” Lea asked with excitation.

“I don’t think so…” the old man replied. He saw the visage becoming sadder. “But I can bring you to the Portal in sled, what do you think?” he offered.

“Oh my…”

Lea shook Isa’s arm in excitation. His friend couldn’t help smile, seeing him with all this innocence.

“What are we doing? In which World?” Lea asked with excitation.

“First, we will go in the others Portals on this World. I may have what I need there. We only will change the World if it’s too difficult to have everything. But the others Holidays are often plenty ready. And helpful.” The man bent toward Lea. “But if we could avoid Halloween Town…”

“Sure!”

Lea looked up toward his best friend. Which one smiled slightly to him.

“You’re good if I’m the one going with Santa Claus, right?”

“Obviously. Only if you let me be there when you’ll climb in the sled.”

“I couldn’t dream better than that! You’re so awesome!” Lea said, hugging him.

Santa Claus laughed softly and walked outside to prepare his sled. Lea turned toward Isa, shaking with emotion.

“You’re sure it’s fine? You have already so much work and ugh… ya were used to paperwork.”

“Exactly. I’m used to that. And, excuse me, Lea, but I don’t trust you enough for important paperwork”

“I’m absolutely shocked! SHOCKED!” Lea played, opening his mouth. “How dare you!”

“Oh, very well. You take care of the paperwork and I go with Santa Claus.”

“Noooo! Don’t be mean to me! I’ll… I’ll… uh! What do you wanna for the place?”

“Hmmm…”

It was stupid but Lea secretly hoped he would ask him a kiss. It would have been such a delight. Especially if the kiss was on the lips, obviously.

Isa heard a little voice asking him for a kiss. He could pretend he was joking around and didn’t really want this kiss if Lea found that weird.

“Stay my best friend forever?”

“Not hard!” Lea pressed a kiss on his cheek. “You’re too precious to me, Isa. Never let you come out of my life again.”

Isa pressed his finger on his nose. “Perhaps. But you’re the one who left,” he remember in a low voice.

He moved away as Lea was agape and moved to the door.

“That’s… MEAN!!” Lea swirled and ran to him. “You’re mean, Isa! You’re right! But you’re mean!”

“What I hear?” Santa asked from his sled as he arranged it. “Who has been naughty?”

“Oh Isa is veryyyyy naughty!” Lea teased with an obvious tone.

“Can you keep your mouth close?” Isa replied to him.

Lea stuck his tongue out and smiled when he received a flake on the tip. He looked up to the snow falling and couldn’t help but smile even more.

“You’re ready?” Santa asked.

“Yeah!”

Lea climbed in the sled and felt even more excitation within him. The old man made clack his reins in the cold wind and the vehicle started to move. Lea threw a kiss to Isa who played the game and like he could actually grab it. The sled started to levitate and soon, disappeared in the cold night.

Isa came back in the house and took out his boots, his feet still hurting him. At least, he didn’t have to pretend anymore. He let the boots in the entry, checked the blood didn’t pass through the tights and then moved to the workshop, at the back. As he entered in there, he remembered he still had the headband of his best friend. He replaced it and felt his ears. Spiky.

Honestly…

It wouldn’t have been Lea, he would have asked himself. Did this part of him was as ugly for his best friend as it was for him? But it was Lea. And his best friend certainly did that for him. Not against him.

 

 

Kneeling next to a box, with the Elves, Isa was taking note. Counting the material remaining had been harder because Isa thought they still can use some of the things the Elves were ready to throw away. But he saw what was more convenient… He was too used to people throwing away things when they could use it again. He was too used to people acting like everything was nothing when people would have died for have this. If, for once, he could help and bring more efficient, here he came!

However, yes, it was harder to count everything and know what was good and not. Sometimes, Elves brought him back stuff that seemed good but was just useless or tried to throw away useful things.

It was really difficult.

“How is everything going?” a loud voice come in the lower level.

Santa Claus.

Isa ignored him, still helping as he could.

The Elf helping him was pushing another box in front of him when Santa arrived next to them. Immediately, the assistant explained everything to her boss as Isa continued the inventory.

“Thank you again, Isa,” Santa Claus said.

He had also thanked his Elf, of course.

Isa looked up at him and you could see he was less friendly than before.

“Is something wrong?”

“Yes. If you exist, why you never helped Lea?” he asked. “Why you never offered him anything to help him!” he pointed out.

“Ah…” Santa smiled softly. “You’re mistaking yourself, Isa. I used to give him something when he was very young. But where he lived, it was rare the children could use them because parents would sell it for enough money to live,” he said softly, putting his hand on Isa’s shoulder.

Isa gazed at the said hand.

“So is that it?” he whispered. “Why losing time? Why make effort? Your role is to give hope to children. Once he had met me, his family didn’t need money anymore. I couldn’t do more than I did, being a child; I couldn’t help them to come in the Rich Side but I always made sure they had blankets, food and everything. You could have given them toys from this moment! Why not having do it?” Isa accused.

The old man smiled softly.

“For this sole reason. What did you wanted me to bring him? You were his Santa Claus, Isa. Every night of the year.”

Isa looked away with a slight groan.

“I think I’ve a present for you,” Santa Claus added. “It’s a present really important.”

“Perhaps but if you want to gain time, it’s better if I continue to work,” Isa replied to him.

“Obviously,” the old man replied. “In this case…”

A brief appeared in Santa’s hand. A brief he handed to Isa. The former second-in-command took it but slid it behind the pages. Work always passed first. The only exception within his Heart was Lea…

And yes, Santa was far away from Lea…

 

 

The workshop was now totally arranged, boxes and boxes were laying around, correctly. Waiting for Santa to work and made beautiful Toy. He will start tomorrow and will have enough that for this, thank to Lea and Isa’s help.

He was Santa Claus.

It wouldn’t be too hard to success despite the problem he encountered.

But why did he have to face problems every year?

The old man sighed at this thought as he was looking through the inventory Isa did for him. As he turned the pages, he noticed that something was moving.

“Oh no… dear child…”

The man took the brief and could tell it hasn’t been opened. He sighed sadly. The brief disappeared and the letter inside, for two seconds stayed in the air, letting appear simple words, written in soft curves full of love.

“Lea is in love with you.”

Chapter Text

It was the end of the day but… clearly not the end of Lea’s day. In contrary! Because it was the moment everybody came to eat and they expected a service quick and perfect since the restaurant had five stars.

At the beginning, Lea kept doing mistakes and he really thought he would be pushed out, fired…

He didn’t know if he was still here because he was a friend of the nephew’s owner or because he had a lot of will. This job paid really well…

This wasn’t surprising since the amount of money Scrooge made per day. And because he needed to keep a perfect panel of employees, he had to pay them correctly. He had to have the cream of the waiters…

And maybe he had wanted to keep Kea despite his errors when he started because he had a little secret trick. When he was taking the plates, they wouldn’t risk to lose in heat. Whatever what will happen, he would always bring the meal as warm as needed. It wasn’t the most useful thing because it was pretty rare that Lea will really need time to bring it  at the correct place but still!

And, obviously, he had no problem to carry warm plates.

A lot of them.

Sometimes, he had six or seven plates at once. But it had asked him a lot of time to be able to do that. Sometimes, he trained before going to bed. It was really important for him to do this job correctly though the responsibilities coming with it were often… too much for him. Too much pressure. Too much obligations. He had to be there at the correct moment, stay until his shift was over, be polite, smile even when he wanted to hit those customers too rude…

At least at the Organization XIII, Saïx could help him to be lazy, letting him do as he wished as long as the work was done. And for the politeness… Saïx was his best friend. He let him do as he wanted. He was used to this… He was doing a rampart between Xemnas and him.

Lea installed plates in a table and wishing a ‘bon appetite’ to the clients before going at another table where he quickly took the order. He went back in kitchen, put the order in a rail where the cookers could announce it as soon as possible, and prepared the drinks. Then, he went back in the room and put down said drink. He was about to go in another table, because they were so many and they kept have to undress and re-dress, taking orders and smile to people when he noticed blond hairs with quite red shadowing there.

“Roxas?”

Why was he there?

Lea moved through the table, not seeing the disappointment in the table thinking it was about to be their time after thirty minutes to wait.

“Roxas?! What are you do… Ven’?!”

“Lea!”

“Ven’!”

Lea hugged Ventus. It was always such a pleasure to see him. A rare pleasure, unfortunately. Ventus lived in the Land of Departure and was training for the case the Worlds needed him, them, again. And him, between showing his value, taking care of the teenagers, working and be there for Isa…

It was really rare.

He was so happy to see him.

“What are you doing here?!”

“Yen Sid told me you were in training! Well… I accompanied Aqua and he said it to her, but… Yeah!” he laughed. “So I asked them if we could organize something and we can!!”

“Seriously?!” Lea asked. “What is it? When?”

“As soon as possible! I can’t talk much here because… you know. But you should come!”

“Okay! Listen I aaaaaaaam working there? So, just wait for me?”

Lea glanced to the table he should take care of. Scrooge paid his employees very well but in return, he didn’t have much of them. And he had a lot of unpaid intern or benevolent. Which meant he better move and work before risking his job.

“If you want, I offer you an ice cream or something. You can sit, I’ll take care of you!”

“’Kay!” Ventus smiled.

 

 

 

Isa watched as his students where training, changing their stance as soon as he asked it. They were training for three months with him now and since he was really strict, it was really rare he had to ask them to correct those stances. Especially when he could ask them to perform basic movement of dance now. They were all so proud to success a composition of ten or fifteen movement. For them, it seemed already so much to remember. He kept to remind how much they actually have to get memorized if they wanted to do a whole ballet.

And when he thought some of them already mix up some of the movement when they only have a little twenty to remember.

Yet.

“It’ll be all for today. You can go change yourself,” he said.

The children didn’t wait more longtime and, as soon as they left, he moved out from the room and went in his own changing room. Not to remove his clothes because he expected some training… he approached the mirror above the sink and washed carefully his hand and then… removed lens from his eyes. The perfect turquoise color let place to the one he was used to now, with spot and circle in beautiful golden spark. And yet so awful for him.

He would have loved to keep them and the illusion that he was free of Xehanort’s control but his eyes reacted. As if his whole body thought the best for him was to suffer this…

He packed the lens to throw them in a correct trash when he’ll found it and grabbed his bag to take a bit of cream and spread them on his forehead, making disappear the cross that kept coming back.

If only the recusant sigil could disappear forever…

He lifted his black tank and felt sadness surrounding him as he saw this other X. The scars created by each of his Nobody’s death…

This will never stop.

Isa washed his hand then pressed a bit of water over his cheeks, trying to calm himself. He arranged his hairdressing so it could be perfect and he left the room to come back in the training one.

There, someone was waiting for him…

He approached.

“Yes?”

Immediately the someone turned over him.

“I didn’t want to annoy you…”

“You’re not annoying me. What can I do to help you?” he asked, folding his arms.

In front of him, one of the little girl he gave lessons to just held out the box she held to him.

“I made cookies for you with my mommy. Because you’re my favorite teacher! Please!” she said.

Isa blinked.

For him? He could be the favorite teacher of someone?

This was a joke…

He wasn’t even sure he was doing his work correctly. He was trying to be less strict because he hated his own teacher but he always had been so… cold. Waiting so much from them. From everyone.

He could remember how much Demyx hated him and he didn’t see those children differently than him…

“Good evening, Sir!”

“Good evening, Klaudia…” he replied.

He frowned when she left the room and then looked down to the box. A simple colorful box. And when he opened it, it was just cookie. Probably made yesterday. And yet… those cookies were weirds for him…

Maybe they went poisoned?

But never a kid would do that…

Klaudia was a cute girl and always cheerful…

Isa walked to the bench and sat on it, taking a biscuit. Everything was confuse within him lately and he was really lost. One of his questions was… should he just flee away? Not seeing anymore Lea because… because it was a suffer to be around him. He had wanted his Heart for so long and now, everything he wished was to not have one anymore… it was destroying him.

What he felt for Lea…

It was bad.

He couldn’t hold those feelings for him. He couldn’t just hope one day he’ll try. It was mean… Just having those feelings and hoping for something, just wishing, some night, lay in his bed, that there could be more between them, that he could hold him in a different way, share things with him… all of that was bad. So bad. Keeping being his friend after that was like lying to him.

No wonder why he had never the strength to reply to his call, to come at his home…

He was still a Monster…

Isa sighed and closed the box. He bit in the biscuit, first thing he ate since the beginning of the day. It wasn’t bad. At all. He would even say it was good.

He finished this light meal and arranged his hair once again. At the moment he readied himself for some movement, he saw something in the mirror and just had the time to turn before being hugged very tightly.

“Ro… Roxas? What… What happening? Is something happening to Lea?!” he worried, putting his hands on his shoulders.

“I’m here!” Lea said, moving his hand.

“Me too!” Roxas replied next to him, Xion on the other side, holding Lea’s hand.

Isa frowned and looked down. “Ventus?”

“Yes!” this one replied with a smile.

“Hm… My apologizes.”

“Don’t worry! Everybody is mistaken! … Except Aqua!”

Isa watched him oddly. Should he hug him back? That was probably was the decency asked to him but, honestly, he had no idea there… The only person with whom he was that friendly, especially in public, it was Lea…

He decided himself and hugged back Ventus, patting his head covered with fluffy hairs.

“What’s happening?” Isa asked again.

“We’ve a mission.”

“Well, it’s more a training!” Ventus said. “ We’ll train in an unusual place. I already come there but never train the way Yen Sid and Aqua expects it, to be fair.”

“But Roxas and Xion both did and so they’ll train us! But I didn’t want to leave you aside! I thought a bit of air and soft magic would be nice for ya!”

“Where it is?” Isa asked, Ventus still hugging him.

This was really weird to him.

“Nerverland!” Lea replied.

“Uh…” Isa commented.

But he couldn’t refuse this to Lea, anyway. Especially if, one day, he had the strength to leave. If one day, he could stop to be the Monster he was now…

Taking the good decision would be a big step forward but… he was a coward.

He couldn’t imagine his life without Lea but he couldn’t bear his life with him so close and yet so far away…

“You come?” Lea asked, holding out his hand.

“Of course, I come. Stop using your filthy trick on me.”

“But I’m innocent!”

“You never have been,” Isa replied. “I need to change myself if that don’t bother you to wait.”

“Go!” Lea said.

Ventus moved back and smiled to Isa. Which tried to reply but just moved away to the changing room, letting the box of cookies there.

Xion stepped back to let him pass but, as he come near of them, Lea grabbed him softly by the wrist and tugged him softly to press a kiss on his forehead. And immediately regret it. The taste of cream was just awful. But he tried not to show it…                                         

 

 

As Isa had changed his clothes, wearing awful boots. Not that they were awful, actually they were pretty, black and waxed with a scale effect sometimes. But they were awful tight. And when they arrived next to the ocean, the soft smell of salt coming to them thanks to the wind, he was tying his hair in a bun. Not as strict or severe as usually, just enough to bear the high wind around him.

A tiny Fairy was waiting for them and Ventus, Roxas and Xion immediately greeting her with joy. They were extremely friendly and she looked as much happy to see them. Few instant after, she flew above their head, spreading golden dust over them.

Isa pushed away some of those sparkle that landed in his hairs.

The Fairy moved away and swirled around. Isa didn’t allow himself the time to ask them what they have to do now because Ventus grabbed Roxas’ hands and together they levitated, Xion following them.

Isa frowned.

“See, see?!” Lea smiled.

The former Second-in-Command could remember how Axel used to talk about this World and the fact he could fly. Roxas, and Xion too, used to talk about that to him. He should have believed them totally but it was really hard.

Even now, it was hard.

It wasn’t possible they could fly!

Okay he used to live with Nobodies, died four times and still was there; his best friend was using a giant key, as long as the others and they have several powers but… yes, he didn’t believe in that.

It was so strange.

“I see,” Isa said finally. “I’ll sit here while you’re training.”

“Sit here?” Lea asked. “You don’t want to come?”

“I won’t take the risk,” his friend replied, glancing at the water throwing itself against the cliff.

“There are no risks! You have received fairy dust and you can fly with us!”

“I just stay here, Lea.”

“You’re sure?”

“Yes…”

Lea glanced toward Xion and Roxas, both had already let their weapon came out as much as Ventus and they started to warm up for a good fight.

“I can stay with ya, if you wanna?”

Honestly, Isa wanted it. More than anything in the Worlds. But he just shook his head and kissed his cheek. He would even have pushed him toward the pit if he really believed in this magic. He could see it but at this point, this could as much be something else. Using the wind or other energy. This looked more realistic.

And, as his friend watched him, Isa felt really stupid.

Though, he sat on the floor, showing at Lea he didn’t plan to move.

“I’ll encourage you. Don’t worry.”

“’Kay! But I get you very memorized. And if you need anything, just call me! Scream very loudly, okay?”

“Very well.”

Lea walked back to the edge of the cliff and Isa could feel his Heart beat so hard. A mad voice swirled in his head, wanting to ask him to not leave him… To stay with him. Longer. Forever…

Don’t leave me. Don’t leave me. Don’t leave me.

But Lea wouldn’t leave him.

Not here.

Not now…

He just moved his hand, trying to look as happy as he could as his guts were becoming a big and disturbing  soup…

Sat here, he watched as they trained. Roxas and Xion were both used to fight like that and not Ventus thought he knew how to fly. Him and Lea had really much problems to correctly fight. It was the occasion for Roxas and Xion to show all they can do and give tiny advices. In the end, Lea was the one who still struggled the most with his Keyblade because he wasn’t really used to use it. He had learned but his practice was still the less of them all and the conditions were really different…

Hence why Ventus offered to the two others teenagers to pursue the training and he fly slowly to Isa, landing next to him.

“You’re doing well?” he asked.

The boots were hurting him, he was mildly annoyed, he could be at home working so… was he doing well?

Certainly not…

But there, is main concern was… how could he stop being a Monster, leave to give peace to Lea if seeing him move away from him that way was already so awful. There, it wasn’t jealousy.

He was just afraid.

Afraid he would leave again. Like the last time.

Even if they passed ten, almost eleven, with others people for him, Lea, Axel at this time, had always been the only one. When he was happy, alone, sad… it was always Lea. His anchor point. His true Light. The only one he wanted to protect. The only one he cherished…

He would do anything for him.

He would see him leave if it was the only thing. He would turn every day into a bigger Monster just to keep him happy because he would be around him.

“It’s strange to see you that way.”

Isa turned his head toward Ventus.

“Last time, you were just a child like me.”

“It was just ten or fifteen minutes,” Isa replied.

“Yes. But Lea and you were already my friends and I thought about you often. You were the first boys of my age I saw and you were happy.”

Isa didn’t reply, looking Lea again. He was fighting both against Roxas and Xion but they both held their attacks so he could prepare himself at this kind of fight without risking anything actually.

“And I’m happy you’re together now!”

“WHAT?!” Isa let out, turning his head to him.

And everybody did the same toward Isa. Lea dodged an attack just on time.

“Everything is okay, Isa?” Lea wondered.

“Yes. Don’t worry.”

“I was just saying something surprising to Isa! Whole part of what I passed through to arrive here!” Ventus laughed.

“’Kay…” Lea said.

“You got such interesting things in your life,” Xion commented, hovering above the unleashed Ocean.

“Yeah! And I still want to know why you look so much like me,” Roxas grinned.

“Well… I think it’s because I was in Sora’s heart, nothing more?” Ventus supposed. “But we have to figure it out, sure!”

He was smiling like a sunshine and Isa was looking him. Lea looked Isa. He had more worry in his face that he wanted to show. He didn’t like the fact he seemed so sad. He wanted to join him but… but he also wished to let Isa be with Ventus and talk with him if that could be a good thing for them.

Was it a kind of jealousy to wish to be there, to be the one bringing a smile to Isa’s face?

Was it bad to think that when he had been the one holding jealousy against Isa, reproaching him not to be able to share?

It was bad.

Whatever he just wanted the most beautiful smile to spread Isa’s lips… Anyone could make this happen…

So he just turned toward his friends to pursue the training.

And Ventus smiled slightly to Isa.

“I’m sorry if I made you uncomfortable,” he said in a low voice. “I thought, you two…”

“No. We’re friends. We’re just friends… He’s my dearest and most precious friends however there is nothing more to expect. He’s just…” Isa watched toward Lea. “Marvelous.”

“But you like him more than a friend, no?” Ventus wondered.

“Perhaps.”

“Not… perhaps. I can sense it. Already when I met you both, it was like that…” he pointed out.

Isa frowned, staring him.

“It’s just… something easy to notice.”

“Well… not for him, fortunately.”

“Isa…”

“If you think… no, if you’re sure he loves me, pursue. If you don’t know… I dreamed enough when I was just a child. I’m an adult and I can’t live in a dream.”

“But… You can’t know if you don’t confess…”

“I can’t take the risk to lose him. I can’t…” Isa looked up at  Lea, feeling so ridiculous. “I can’t live without him.”

It was selfish.

But it was also showing maturity.

He couldn’t just confess like that.

Not because there was a slight chance.

Lea was the Sun of his life and this was well enough…

He should have cast uneasiness though because Ventus got up and jumped in the void, flying with others. And then again, Isa was alone on the edge of the cliff, his feet hurting him so much. It was just the reflect of the hate he had against him…

Minutes passed again.

He should maybe warn he will go back to home? He could. He got up and saw immediately Lea coming to him with his smile. His damn smile…

“You will try?”

“I don’t think so, Lea.”

“But… you believe in me, right?”

“In you, yes. But not at this magic. Nothing work in believe.”

“Some magic work with love why not believe?” Lea wondered, landing next to him. “And I wondered… do you think Santa Claus doesn’t exist? Because it’s all believing and we saw him!”

“He’s a charlatan.”

“Why?”

Isa couldn’t talk to him about the discussion they had. He would be too bitter and he didn’t want to shatter Lea’s dreams.

“I just believe this.”

“So you believe,” Lea smirked.

“As someone I like would say: ‘get lost’,” Isa smirked back.

“This person like you really much too!”

Isa couldn’t help but smile. And so Lea was smiling even more.

“Eh… is ballet dancer does waltz?”

“It depends? It’s not the same kind of dance but, most of the time, we do know how to dance it. Why?”

“Can’t you show me?”

Lea held out his hands. Isa approached him and slid his hands correctly.

“I am doing the girl there, right?”

“You’re not the one who leads, indeed,” Isa replied to him.

He moved backward so they have enough space. He didn’t want to fell from the cliff, no thank you.

“Follow my lead. Your feet have to move in a square. Right foot backward, left foot move sideway to the left. Your right foot comes next to your left foot. Then you step forward with the left food. You step forward sideway with the right foot and bring back your left foot next to the right foot. Three movements each time.”

“’kayyyy… Let’s do it!”

Isa moved his feet forward and so Lea moved his backward, looking down to follow his best friend’s movement. It was quite slow, letting him time and he could hear Isa mumbling number.

Lea did his best to follow the lead, his tongue slightly outside of his lips.

“Okay! I think I get it!” he said. “Do it faster!”

“Very well.”

As Isa moved, Lea did the same, almost stumbling because it was faster than he expected.

“Sorry!” he let out when he walked on Isa’s toes.

His friend held back any sound, any expression.

“It’s nothing, you’re learning. I saw how Roxas, Xion and Ventus beat you, I can’t hope much from you.”

“Come oooon! I’m not that bad!” Lea protested, trying to follow the movement anyway. “I get them! When do we swirl? We swirl right?!”

Isa nodded.

“We can swirl if you want to.”

Still leading the dance and asking him to move the weight of his body on the right, he made him swirl. Once. Twice. And even three times for the pleasure. And yes, Lea was smiling holding his hand as the other was against his back.

They were doing few paces. Nothing extremely special. Nothing beautiful that would let people agape but it didn’t matter because Lea was having fun. Isa even held back his strict sense because if he would, he should have told him to let a bit his weight  come on his hand, to put his hand on his shoulder, to be faster?

But it was Lea. And it was beautiful already just because he enjoyed that.

They sure weren’t as faster as other dancers but it wasn’t the matter there. It was like when Isa started to learn to Lea how to read. Trying, learning… discovering something new was all Lea wished…

“Eh?” Lea said.

“Hm?”

“Can I lead?”

Isa stopped. He wasn’t sure it was the best idea but once again… why not? He wasn’t the kind of people who would require to have someone doing perfect thing when they were trying so hard to learn. At least, he didn’t want to be like that…

Not with those mattering for him.

“If you want to.”

“Nice! I’ve to look you in the eyes, right?”

“Yes, it’s more polite.”

Isa shifted his hand, placing it on Lea’s shoulder.

“Left forward, right?”

“Yes.”

When Lea moved, Isa followed his movement. He had couldn’t help to move his feet more farther than he should, though… his boots were too tight and with all the love he had for Lea, he didn’t want to receive the weigh on his body on his toes once again.

Lea make him swirl one time after few paces, almost making him fall, but Isa held himself and just cast him a smile. Ore more likely a face.

“Sorry.”

“You’re learning.”

“Yeah.”

Lea moved forward, his eyes glancing on the side because jumping in Isa’s.

He did this one or two times, swirling and moved again, starting to find the pace and being able to be a little nearer of the numbers he could hear Isa mumbling with hesitation. Well, now that Lea had adjusted his pace, the numbers were said without hesitations because Isa hadn’t to correct himself all the time…

Lea could feel a little frustration, though and he pressed his forehead against Isa’s. His body grew closer too.

“Say… You do really believe in me?”

“Yes. You’re doing a lot of progress if it’s that.”

Isa closed his eyes one second, perfume floating within him.

“Hmm…”

Lea moved forward, his hand firmer against his back.

“If you wanna, you can hug me!”

“Do you want me to hug you and use filthy tricks?”

“Maybe?”

Lea swirled and moved forward.

A voice in Isa said to him that he couldn’t hug him because it would be against the dance itself. And he would be even more a Monster… feeding himself in the love he wanted in Lea’s back. It was bad… but he wanted it…

His hand let go on his and he slid it around his back, too weak. His limbs were rubbing against him and he even didn’t worry about the fact Lea could walk on his feet. He just worried on the need not to kiss him when he was so close to him.

However, he wanted it so much…

If only…

And Lea… Lea made him move with an idea in head but he never realized he would have Isa so close to him. he wasn’t sure they have been that close since… wait, no, they passed their time that close and each time he did his best to act like it was friendship. But there… there he was so close to him. There, he could feel his breath slightly brush his lips. And even his lips sometimes almost touched his.

He wanted to kiss him.

Every time when he tried, when he wanted to confess, something had come and had prevented him to do it. What could stop him here? If neither Roxas, nor Xion, nor Ventus had done it yet… Damn, his protégés kept begging him to do it. To confess!

‘I love you’ that wasn’t that hard. He kept saying it all the time. Why was it so hard?

‘I love you’, he could say it. He could but… how Lea will react? He will think it was friendship. Damn, they were so close from each other and his friend was thinking it was just friendship.

And if… if…

Why he couldn’t…

Lea brought his lips closer as he moved forward.

Isa moved his face forward as his feet followed the movement.

As if they needed each other, their lips moved forward. Brushed each other and… they kissed.

“YES!”

Isa blinked when he heard Xion’s voice and moved back, coming back to reality. He found she was pretty away and blinked. Blinked even more when he realized the edge of cliff he saw there was the place he was with Lea. He looked down and could see his feet in the void…

“I hate you,” he said to Lea.

Because everything was like in a bad cartoon, as if his believed disappeared and the gravity or, to be more accurate, the ocean called him. he let go on Lea, not wanting to bring him in his fall and just crashed in the waves.

“Oh no! Don’t die!! You’re so skilled!” Roxas said to him.

Lea immediately flew to Isa who swim on place, pushed back lock of his hairs and… opened a Corridor of Darkness. He threw him inside before Lea could say anything and he blinked in disbelieve.

“FOLLOW HIM!” the three teenagers screamed to him.

Lea immediately did it and he almost stumble in Isa’s leaving room, now totally damped by the water coming from the Ocean.

But what was freezing him there, on his knees in front of him…

Were the tears rolling along Isa’s cheeks. What did he do?

Chapter Text

 

He had kissed him.

He really had kissed him. It was a real kiss full of love. A kiss freezing the moment for the eternity.

And Isa was crying. Crying as the salt water from Neverland’s Ocean was spreading in his living room, drowning the pieces of furniture, the beautiful sofa, the chest of drawer where his TV, that he almost never turn on, laid, the shelves… everything.

Maybe it was because of that.

Probably.

Or maybe…

“I… I didn’t mean to kiss you!”

“You didn’t mean to kiss me?!” Isa asked, turning toward him. “You didn’t…”

He let out a groan, still crying and he moved his hand. Lea got ready to stop any attack but it was just Isa making disappear the Corridor of Darkness. The man then grabbed his shoes and snatched them out, throwing them against the wall. A new groan came out, more tears and the former Second-in-Command climbed the stairs.

Lea hesitated.

Should he run after him?

Isa was angry.

And he knew how his own anger was frightening himself since his friend had a Heart again.

So, Lea ran toward the stairs too. And almost fell when he saw his most precious friend just sit in the steps. He sat next to him, two steps lower than him. And saw him took out his socks with shaking hands. Lea froze in horror. He saw the wounds, skinless.

“I… Isa?”

“That’s nothing.”

“Nothing? You’re bleeding!”

“It’s not bleeding. It’s just…”

“You’re playing with words! Look at that! Shit!”

Lea got up and quickly climbed the stairs.

“Lea?!”

Isa tried to get up but the pain was so big, between the fresh training, the unbearable boots and now the salt?

He was lost, honestly. What was that kiss? Why? Lea didn’t mean to kiss him…

And he had cried like that in front of him.

Lea certainly had think he was sad because of the kiss? Or weak? But the fact was that… the unbearable pain suddenly lashing on him had swiped him out, making him cry like an idiot…

And now, Lea was…

What Lea was doing?!

He forced on his legs and got up, walking up the steps even if this was hurting him. He arrived in the corridor and saw Lea coming back from a room he didn’t have the time to fully determine.

“Fuck, Isa!”

Lea came to him and lifted him up. He sighed with the effort and moved to the room he had just left. The redhead could carry him but not for a long time. Though, Isa passed his arm around Lea’s shoulder, almost by reflex.

“What are you doing?”

“What are you doing?! You’re hurt and you should have said it to me! Was that the reason you had red eyes earlier? You were crying because of that?”

Isa was overwhelmed by this statement and his cheeks changed of color. “You… You noticed it?”

“Of course, I noticed it. Why would you think I wouldn’t notice it?” he asked.

Lea entered in the room.

The bathroom.

The tap was open, letting spread hot water in the tub and making foam bubbles.

Lea came here often enough to know where the bathroom was and with that, and others tiny things he knew, it had been easy to prepare this.

“I hope the bath would relax you and help to recover,” the redhead said. “I need to find bandages or something.”

As he said those words, he helped Isa to sit in the edge of the tub. Isa who thanked him in a low voice. He wanted to hold him back, to ask… maybe to beg?

But he couldn’t talk.

He was still perplexed.

Lea had noticed his red eyes… he had noticed so many things and he kept thinking it was just friendship. Maybe it was. If he didn’t have meant to kiss him…

“I had tried lens,” he said as Lea moved back.

Isa turned off the tap, not daring to undress even if, when they were kids, it was a habit for them to take the bath together. So Lea could wash himself and his parents would never know there was someone else.

Well… he had needed time to take out his underwear under the shower to be fair. He wasn’t as carefree as Lea…

“Lens? You have view problems?”

“No. They were colored…”

Lea came closer to him, crouching just in front of the tub.

“Isa… I know you don’t believe me but… you’re beautiful.”

“I don’t think that,” the former Second-in-Command replied. “And it’s not the real problem… I… I still feel him. I felt every mistake. It has been three months and I can’t wash them away.”

“Isa… You changed, you’re not in the Darkness anymore. That’s just scars… They don’t definite you. This is your past, not what you are. Look…”

Lea took out his shirt and his t-shirt.

His friend was surprised by this act and opened his mouth to ask what was wrong. But before he could do it, he was even more agape when he saw burn mark on Lea’s chest. He had few occasion to see his friend shirtless and it hadn’t those red marks.

“What happened?” he asked.

“That’s the day I died… Axel died. I used my power. My entire power… The scars move. Depends of the days, when I’m tired or not… When I used too much power.”

“You did train,” Isa whispered.

“Yeah… That’s here but that’s just a scar. That prove I left the Organization XIII and I’m free… That’s the same for you. That just prove what you passed through. Those are the marks proving how much you’re amazing. Proving the battles you fight to be with us again.” Lea looked down. “With me…” he let out in an inaudible whisper. “You don’t have to feel bad, to hurt you. You’re extraordinary. You always have been…”

“You hated me at some point because of what I was. Because of my mistakes.”

“Isa, I… I’m sorry if I made you feel like you were doing wrong,” he swore, looking up to him. “I just wanted… I wanted to protect you, to destroy the Organization XIII and I was… I was lost. I did mistakes. You never were in fault and I should… I should have deal you better.” Lea took his hand. “You shouldn’t think my opinion is worth… such pain.”

Isa moved his other hand, brushing Lea’s cheek.

He was on the edge of spit up his own Heart…

His Heart was making him sick.

“I love you…”

Lea pressed Isa’s hand against his cheek.

“I love you too, idiot. Now, stop being stupid and go in that bath. I turn around if ya wanna.”

Lea got up, kissing his palm and letting go on him.

“Lea…”

“Yeah?” he asked, stopping in his track.

Isa got up too, making his best friend cuss and caught him, trying to help him not to stand too much on his feet.

“This kiss meant for me.”

Lea watched him with wide eyes. Isa’s Heart missed a beat. He looked down, shaking. Damn… that really meant nothing for him, then, this kiss.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I’m really… I can’t offer you enough apologize for… this,” he whispered, not even looking him.

Isa felt a hand on his cheek and he struggled to not press his face in this hot palm. Not to melt in the embrace of that arm around him to support his weight. Yet, he followed the movement, saw the big green eyes he loved so much looking him.

If only he had kept his mouth close…

“Can I?” Lea asked, his nose against his.

“Yes?”

Isa hiccupped in surprise when his lips were softly kissed.

“L… Lea?”

“You love me?” he asked.

Isa nodded.

“I love you,” Lea smiled.

Isa’s Heart hammered in his chest. His arms came around him and he approached his lips from Lea’s. Which closed the distance, hugging him tightly, kissing him tenderly, again and again, enjoying what he had craved for so long. Bless was exploding in Isa’s chest as he kissed him back, hugging him.

He’d almost believe it was a dream.

Almost.

“You should…” Lea kissed him softly. “Go in that bath…” He kissed him again. “Don’t ya think?”

“Hmm…” Isa replied to each kiss with passion. “Very well…”

He forced himself to move back from the soft embrace.

“However… can you turn around?”

Lea smiled softly but, yes, turned around. Isa undressed and slid in the bath. His friend… his boyfriend could hear it with the very special sound coming from the tub.

“Can I turn?”

“Yes.”

Lea, still shirtless, turned around and knelt next to him. He smiled softly, seeing him in the warm water, hairs undo, and, at least, trying to heal his wound.

“You’ll take care from now on?” he asked softly.

“Yes,” Isa replied. “But it’s also ballet, you know.”

“Then… I’ll heal your wound every night!” Lea smiled.

“You’re too sweet.”

“You’re too sweet!” the redhead replied.

He approached him and pressed a kiss on his cheek, grinning softly. Isa bent toward him to kiss his nose and then just let his head disappear under the water. Lea approached a bit from the bath tub and frowned, waiting.

Just a bit.

“Should I come save you?” he asked.

Isa’s head appeared just after and he was rubbing his forehead. The scar was appearing as he did. Isa couldn’t help but let out a long sigh, water dripping along his skin.

“You’re sure it’s…”

“You’re beautiful, Isa,” Lea said.

He bent to him and kissed softly the scar, marking it with love.

“It’s just you. Who you are… I only see how you drown in the Darkness because of our friendship, because I wanted to become an apprentice. All I see is how much you loved. Loved so much…”

“It was just for you. I always loved you…”

Lea pressed a kiss on his forehead.

“I always loved you too. I will help you from now on. You’ll see. Everything will be alright. And when you will hate you, I will love you even more.”

Isa hugged him, pressing his forehead against him, loving to be so much to him.

“Tempting to hate myself in those conditions,” he smiled.

“Dooooon’t!” Lea laughed, hugging him back and kissing his face.

Making him smile.

And he loved his smile. So much…