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09 July 2007 @ 05:29 pm
 
Title: Learning To Live ~ also to be found here
Rating: PG – 13
Word Count: 5587
Genre: Het
Challenge: Mending a Broken Heart @ The Spark Inside. Things to include: "Maybe it’s time to see the world as it is," playground sprinklers in the middle of the night, Post-it notes.
Disclaimer: I don't own nor have ever met Hanson. Everything about them is completely fiction, and any similarity with reality is a mere coincidence.
Beta: Wonderful creativitys_end. Any mistakes are my own fault.
Warnings: Angst. This includes pictures, so it is not dial-up friendly.
Author’s Notes: Many thanks to my wonderful and supportive beta Chelsi, and to Brittney for putting up with my moods when I thought I had lost this story. Also, the girls in the HP fandom who had to listen/read to my hysteria when the computer decided not to cooperate and hid this.
Author's Notes 2: Both the name and the last name of the main character has a very important meaning. Anyone wants to find out?



The sunset was a perfect shade of purple in front of her, mixing up wonderful colours to suit her blue soul. She closed her eyes, letting herself be lost in the soft breeze and the warm embrace of the sounds coming from the sea that extended at her right. She could feel her own heart beating fast and hard above the waves splashing onto the shore, right before getting smashed into millions of tiny little pieces that went flying with the wind.

She was broken.

It had been a year, and he still pursued her, trying to make her feel the guilt, the pain, the loneliness. She shouldn't have yelled back then, she shouldn't have interrupted. She shouldn't have pestered Taya.

And most important of all – she shouldn't have let her run away from the house on a rainy day, when the cars in Manhattan were racing like crazy. And after those twelve months of mourning and hiding, she was back to the same city, to the same landscape, to relive what she had wanted to forget.

Shaking her head, Zia Meir tried to clear her mind before getting back to work. She needed to be calm when she headed back to the tour bus or else the kids would suspect something, and she couldn't risk them knowing. It was she who was to blame, and she would have to live with that guilt for the rest of her life.

I should have seen it, she told to herself. I should have been able to see it somehow. It's my fault, it's solely my fault.

Slowly, heavily, she made her way back to the bus parked in an appropriate place near the venue, always checking on her phone just in case she received another call, one to tell her that it had all been a joke, a mistake. There was none, and she knew there wouldn't be.

There were fans sitting outside the metal fence surrounding the parking, playing cards under the light coming from the street lamps, laughing loudly and telling stories about how they met for the first time, during Mayfest a couple of years before or ten years back in time. Zia tried to go unnoticed, but it was to no avail. Several of the girls waiting outside Webster Hall that warm July night greeted her as she slipped through the metallic entrance to the parking – she was a celebrity among the fans, as were the musicians she was working for. "Zia, do you if the guys are coming outside tonight?" She tried to ignore the questions and the insistent fans, but they kept calling her name. "Zia, Zia! Are they going to sign autographs?" She shook her head, even though she didn't know for sure, and walked past the fence towards the bus.

Outside the vehicle, two kids, blond hair and bright eyes, played in the tiny shadow the bus was projecting. Zia forced her lips to curl in a smile before calling them. "Ezra, Penny! What are you playing?" It was painful to sound interested.

"We're playing pirates," the boy replied. "I am Captain Sparrow, and she is Elizabeth."

"How interesting." Zia petted the girl's hair in an attempt to get rid of the odd feeling of void but it was to no avail. She knew that the smile her lips tried to maintain didn't reflect in her beautiful grey eyes. "Let's just go inside, okay, kids? Mom and Dad would be glad if you told them about your wonderful games as pirates. Mom could even make you costumes!"

The two children squealed and climbed the stairs leading to the fresh interior of the tour bus, where a young woman was sitting at a table, writing something in a notebook. "Mom, Mom!" greeted the two kids, jumping excitedly. "Look, we're pirates!"

"Really?" The woman turned around and grinned at her son and daughter. "And what wonderful pirates you are!"

"I was thinking, Natalie, they're in need of good costumes, don't you think? So Ez can be Captain Jack Sparrow and Penny can be Elizabeth Swan."

"Princess Elizabeth," corrected the little girl, and Zia smiled.

"Princess, indeed." Natalie Hanson bit her lower lip before eyeing the woman in front of her – pale skin, grey eyes, brown hair and that aura of loneliness around her – and speaking out loud again. "Zia, where have you been? The boys were worried about you, and I said I'd cover you for a couple of hours, but it's been five hours and I was beginning to worry too, you know." There was no malice in her words, only concern. But Zia shook her head and offered Natalie a half smile that meant she was sorry but she wasn't going to give any further information, at least not in that very moment. "Okay," sighed Natalie, shrugging. "When you're ready to talk, just remember I'm here. You are family now."

Zia Meir nodded, and was about to reply when a loud noise in the back of the tour bus caught her attention. Frowning, she questioned Natalie with a look, and got her answer in a heartbeat. "The boys were trying to move Zac's drums from the top floor to the parking ground, and---"

"Didn't they move the drums this morning, when I asked them to?" Zia scowled at Natalie, though her frown wasn't aimed at the woman. "Oh, they're so going to get busted!"

Zia stepped toward the source of the noise, removing sad feelings from her heart and switching into 'coordinator mode.' She had some work to get done – and the musicians who were trying to escape from their duties were going to learn their lesson from the best. When Zia accepted the job of coordinating Hanson's tour through the States, she was told that they were three free souls, and that they didn't like authority. She had been so sure that it was going to be an easy job, like the other bazillion tours she had coordinated before, but the Hanson brothers happened to be a little tougher than expected.

She was used to working around children. Several of the stars she had coordinated for had siblings or kids who traveled with them – Backstreet Boys, Paul McCartney, Maroon Five, Switchfoot, and that small Spanish band whose name she just couldn't remember for her life – but it had been nothing like traveling with the Hansons. They were, for starters, eight people living in a moving bus for five complete months. And then, they were Hanson, the band she had worshipped when she was a little girl and Mmmbop was her favorite word in the dictionary – and it wasn't even listed on Webster.

Zia had found the job amusing, however. Ezra and Penny were adorable, and little River was still a baby. Natalie and Kate had helped her all along, trying to make her life easier. And the boys, well, they were boys. It didn't matter that Isaac was almost twenty-seven, he would always be the crazy one. Maybe it was the fact that he was the one single in the trio, being the uncle for Taylor's three children, but she had found him quite attractive, and that didn't help her guilt complex right in that moment. Zac had gotten married barely a year before, so he had been forced to settle down a bit, but he still kept a little insanity within him. And everyone who had talked to her about working with them was right; neither Isaac, nor Taylor, nor Zac, adjusted well to authority, so organizing a tour for them had meant dealing with their weird working hours – they could write songs and play their instruments either at four in the afternoon or at three in the morning – and with their oddly sane manager, Ashley Greyson.

It was as if that name gave her no luck.

"Please answer one question," she started, clearing her throat and startling the three men who were at the back of the tour bus. "Didn't I ask you to move your instruments to the stage earlier this afternoon, like, at two?" Her brow was comically arched, letting them know she was being only half serious.

"I guess so, but since the concert isn't till tomorrow," tried to justify Zac, wiping sweat from his forehead, "we thought we could do it tonight when the fans were sleeping."

"Oh, so you have faith in your fans sleeping while they're keeping their places in line?" Zia shook her head, amused. "Right, boys. But now, you can't do this. It's far too late for your kids to be up, Taylor. And Natalie has been trying to get them to bed for the last week. I think you should give her a break, don't you think?"

"I think we hired a babysitter for us and not a coordinator for the tour," muttered Isaac loud enough for Zia to hear it.

"Didn't you read the clause at the foot of my contract? The paragraph saying that I was supposed to take care of you 'cause you weren't able to do so? I guess you didn't," Zia joked, and everyone laughed. "Now, leave it here, and we'll sort this out tomorrow morning. I guess the best time to take your drums to the stage is on your way to the rehearsal and the sound check. Unless you have to take your guitars there too. In that case we'll have to get up earlier, since you insisted in playing five of them tomorrow, Ike."

"No, I took my guitars in there. I did when you told us to," added Isaac with a smirk. "You know I'm very obedient."

"Now, let's stop talking about business. My shift finished half an hour ago."

"Yes, and you spent the other five hours lost somewhere here in New York. You worried us," Zac sounded hurt. "You weren't answering your phone, we didn't know where you were, and Natalie didn't either though she said you were fine and you needed to think and be on your own."

"What happened, Zia?" Taylor's concern was real, and the woman felt the pain in her heart ease up a bit. "Bad news?"

"Sort of. But it's personal, and it won't affect my work with you, that I can promise. So, please forget about it and it'll go away."

Everyone nodded, though Isaac seemed to be a little worried. Zia tried to send him a bright smile, but her attempt ended up being a sad, weary smile, and Isaac recognized it. When she turned around to pick some of her things that were spread through the tables and the seats, and everyone else got upstairs, he remained on the floor of the bus. Isaac wanted to know what had happened to that girl – woman, in fact – who had spent her latest three months working for them and touring with them everywhere around the world.

"I don't buy your words, Zia." Isaac stretched out a hand to touch her arm. She flinched, but faced him.

"I didn't expect you to. But it's nothing, really. I will get over it, eventually. As I said, it won't affect you."

"The thing is, I want it to have some effect on me. I want to get to you, Zia, but every time I seem to be close, you just zip up your heart and arm your soul against me. I'm not going to hurt you. Neither are my brothers and their families."

"I know. But you cannot control what you're going to do in the future. And I want this to remain personal, so please leave it alone. I don't need anything you can offer to me, Isaac. I have to dwell on what I'm doing next, and once I have it figured out I'll be fine."

"You don't want to be just 'fine,' Zia. You deserve much more than 'fine.' If only you could see there's so much more out there for you..."

"Don't talk about things you don't know, Isacc. It doesn't suit you." She turned away from him and made a movement to climb up the stairs, but the man was blocking her way. "Please, let me go."

He looked her in the eye intently, as if he was trying to read her soul. Sighing, he stepped out of her way to let her go upstairs. But when she was just halfway to her bed, he called after Zia in a soft voice. "Zia, not everyone is like Marcus Greyson, you know."

He hadn't seen anyone turning around and walking downstairs so fast. In a nanosecond, Zia was in front of him, seizing him by the collar of his shirt, and trying desperately to get a hold of any emotion to throw it at him. "Stop!" she hissed. She had no power, no strength to lift him up, but surely she tried. "You don't know anything, do you hear me? You don't know! So don't speak his name! Don't you dare! You know nothing! Nothing!"

Isaac Hanson took her wrists with his rough and calloused hands and separated them from his shirt slowly, always looking straight into her grey eyes, trying to make her understand that he wished no harm to her. "I know more than you think. For example, I saw him back in Tulsa before we got on tour. He was in Boston and also back at the Providence show. He has been following you across the country! Why didn't you tell us he was your boyfriend?"

"How do you---"

"Doesn't matter. I know. Period. I know your moods today had something to do with him, and since it affects me, 'cause it does affect me in a way, I thought I should ask. Offer my help if you need it. I'm here."

"How can this possibly affect you, Isaac?"

"I care about you! We all care about you, you're family now, remember? Everyone who tours with us enters the family, so we care about them. And you're hurting, and I don't want you to be in pain, I can't afford you being in pain."

Zia felt his eyes well up and she looked away. She didn't want to appear vulnerable in front of Isaac Hanson, of all people. Because he was strong and very sure of himself, and she was jealous of that.

And maybe she wanted that small flutter in her heart to go away somehow.

"I don't need your help, Isaac. I'm okay. I'll be okay, I guess."

"You guess? God help me, Zia, you are not okay and won't be if you keep thinking this way! Just let me get to you. I won't hurt you. I will never hurt you the way Marcus has."

"What do you know about Marcus?" she spat. "You can't---"

"He cheated on you with your best friend, I think that's the safest guess."

Zia shook her head, ready to spill the tears that were picking at the back of her eyes. "Taya, her name was Taya."

"What?"

"He left me for a girl named Taya. He said he was in love, that I wasn't there long enough for him to feel the spark, so he found it somewhere else. Or in someone else," she laughed mirthlessly, trying so hard not to let those hot tears spill down her cheeks that the corners of her eyes stung. "That's all you need to know for now. It won't have any effect over the tour or my organizing it. I just need time so I can heal a bit, just let me go through this overnight and tomorrow I'll be fine."

She finally managed to separate from Isaac, who had been holding her wrists all the time, and blinking she made her way upstairs again. On the top floor, Taylor had gotten his children to bed, and Zac was helping Kate to zip up a dress. "Are you going out tonight?" Zia asked in a fake happy voice.

"Yes!" came the muffled reply from Natalie's lips, because she had her head inside a suitcase searching for a top to go with the black skirt she was currently wearing. "But we won't unless I find my silvery top."

"In Kate's suitcase," commented Zia out of habit, and she headed to her bunk. "Have fun tonight, and beware! There are fans outside, waiting for you to sign some autographs."

"Aren't you coming with us?" Kate looked at Zia with her dark wide eyes filled up with worry. She had been told that their coordinator had been through a tough day, but she had thought that Zia could use a bit of fun that night – to cheer her up. "I thought---"

"I don't feel up to it right now," was her response. "I have to get up early tomorrow too, since your lovely husband apparently forgot to take his drums on stage when I told him so, and I have to supervise everything else before actually getting those damned instruments inside the venue." Zia tried to shrug, but her movement was cut by strong hands on her shoulders.

"I'll stay here with her," Isaac said at her back, his head poking over her own because he was way taller than Zia. "No need to worry then. Besides, someone should keep an eye on the kids if you lot go out. Zia can't do it on her own, not when Ezra has been so active lately."

"But Ashley is also---" Kate started, only to be interrupted.

"Great idea!" Zac nodded, pulling his wife to him and preventing her from saying anything else. "I'll explain later," he muttered in her hair, and everyone smiled contentedly. The two couples walked downstairs, leaving Zia and Isaac together, alone, near the bunks.

"Take care!" he called after them. Once they disappeared in the darkness, and both of them could hear the fans cheering and laughing when Taylor and Zac reached their spots on the streets, Isaac took hold of Zia's arm. "What do you say, we have some chocolate ice cream?"

"I said I wanted to lay down and---"

"Cry all night? Fine, if that's what you want to do," Isaac pursed his lips, defeat painted in his face.

"Oh, for God's sake, Ike, just stop it! Don't pretend you know what I'm going through, 'cause you don't! You don't have the faintest idea!"

"Then tell me!" he yelled back. "Open yourself to somebody, anybody, just talk! He cheated on you, fine, but everyone can get over it and move forward!"

"She died!" Zia screamed, nearly waking the children. "I can't get over the sight of her face, all blood and flesh, the car had almost ripped her! She was pregnant! She was pregnant with my boyfriend's child and she died! It was my fault, so don't tell me you understand how I feel because you don't!"

"I didn't mean to---"

"I very well know what you meant! D'you think that offering me chocolate and sweets is a way to get me in your bed?"

"Now that's enough!" he yelled back, lifting his hands in the air and turning around.

"There's no way we have chocolate ice cream here, you know," tried to amend Zia, but Isaac had turned away and left her in the middle of the top floor, accompanied only by the soft snoring of Ezra and the even breathing of Penny. She sighed and sat down on her bunk, hiding her head in her hands and letting her feelings take over her body, trembling and sobbing under the strength of her tears.

Zia remembered the first time she had seen Marcus, five years ago, during a summer camp in Missouri. They had fallen in love hard and fast, and though everyone had believed at first that what they shared was just another summer fling, they had known better. She, who had turned twenty years old a couple of months before actually meeting Marcus, was sure of what she wanted. And she had been sure until that fateful moment when her eyes had found Isaac's.

She and Marcus had been distant for some time. She had been travelling a lot with the bands she worked for while he stayed back in New York, where he was from. And then, right after their last big fight, when Marcus had warned her and she had done nothing to keep him but chose to go on tour with Il Divo, he had dropped the bomb.
I love Taya, and she loves me, he had said in her living room. I didn't plan for this to happen, but we're in love and we're going to have a baby. She had lost it there and then, starting screaming and crying, begging and asking for forgiveness as if she was to blame. She was devastated – she loved Marcus.

Taya tried to defend what she thought was hers then – Marcus felt like a desirable treasure, worth of two women fighting over him. Zia didn't remember the argument, only lots and lots of whines and insults, and then Taya running away, getting out. Marcus following her, and Zia on cue. A loud noise of brakes. A thud. Silence.

When they got to Taya, she was gone, hair and face coated in her own blood. In a matter of minutes, Zia Meir had lost her best friend, her boyfriend and her life. From that night on, Marcus Greyson started to follow her on each tour she coordinated, to make sure she didn't forget – to help her become crazy and lose her nerve.

And then, right when she had decided to stop it all, to take a break, to hide from the world and from Marcus, Isaac Hanson stepped in her life to turn it upside down.

They had connected, there had been attraction at first sight. But she wasn't free, and he was her boss. There was no way she could develop those feelings. Yet she had, and to add the guilt complex to the already explosive mix, Marcus had called her and warned her. Isaac Hanson wouldn't like to know you're a murderer, now would he? he had said. Have you ever believed, even for a second, that you'd be able to escape your fate? Your punishment? Did you think you could move on?

Only she wasn't capable of moving, not without him. Not when she thought she was to blame for the break up – she had not taken care of that relationship, letting it slip through her fingers, seeing it break in front of herself in the form of her best friend destroyed by a moving car. Marcus knew that – she knew that too, but she hadn't stop her heart, allowing those feelings grow and grow each time she saw Isaac. Allowing herself to have hope when she couldn't afford it.

She didn't know how much time she spent in that position, aching and hurting. She didn't hear any sound either. When she finally lifted her head from her fingers, Ezra was still snoring, and Penny was still sleeping, as were Ashley and his wife Mindy, but there was no other sound to be heard. She blinked to get her eyes used to the darkness and stood up. Zia wandered through the top floor, checking each bunk. It wasn't even three in the morning, she noticed after a quick glance to her wristwatch, and both married couples were still out there clubbing. But there was no one in Isaac's bed, and that worried Zia. Until she saw the yellow piece of paper attached to the bus window.




She decided to obey, since she had nothing to lose. She had already forgiven him, like she always did, because that passage of her life needed to be forgotten, and the best way to forgive herself was forgiving others.

When she stepped into the ground floor, there was no one to be seen. Frowning, Zia looked around, but she was all alone. Where the hell has Ike gone?, she thought. I can't believe he left me on my own with the kids! Her eyes wandered through the room and stopped in a halt when she noticed a yellow paper stuck in the glassy surface of the bus window. What the---?

She picked it up and tried to read it, but there wasn't enough light in the bus, and she didn't dare to switch on any of the lamps just in case there were any fans still up and looking through the fence. She opened the door silently and stepped outside. There was a streetlamp on not far away, and she tiptoed towards it. When she had enough light to read the Pot-It note, she got to it.




"What?" she couldn't help saying aloud. "What does this mean?" Zia read it again, and bit her lip. Maybe it wasn't such a bad idea – she needed time to heal, but maybe it didn't need to be alone. And she had been harboring some strange feelings – feelings she shouldn't have had in the first place – for that man who had prompted her to meet him in Central Park. Maybe she didn't love Marcus as much as she had thought, even though it was painful to be dumped, and more if the break up had to be done under such circumstances.

She made a decision in a couple of seconds, staring at the piece of yellow paper in her right hand. Clutching it, she started to walk.


*-*-*-*-*-*


Central Park, north entrance. There she was, standing on her own, but no sign of Isaac Hanson, and she was beginning to worry. It was almost three thirty, but he wasn't there – and he was always on time.

Zia half closed her eyes, pursed her lips, and crossed her arms, her feet pealing the ground with her heels. She began to grown restless, walking back and forth and looking everywhere. Her eyes finally caught a glimpse of another yellow sparkling, and she made to take it.




"C'mon, Ike!" she whined. "I walked all the way here, don't make me walk any more!" Nevertheless, she obliged, interested in that odd chase Isaac Hanson had made her start. It only took her a couple of minutes to walk past the north entrance and get to the end of the street, where Isaac was waiting for her, a chocolate ice cream in each of his hands.

"Want some?" he greeted her, smirking and winking.

"You!" she nearly growled, comically disheveled after walking for so long. "You made me come here to offer me some ice cream?"

"Well, since I offered it to you earlier and you said there was no way we could have any at the bus, I had to go out to get some!" he defended himself.

"Okay," she accepted, snatching the cone he held on his right hand. "Let me taste it before it melts."

He watched intently at her while she licked the top of the ice cream carefully, trying for it not to melt and taint her shirt and jeans. Zia seemed happier than she had been before, with that cone full of ice cream in one hand and a smile – a true smile – on her lips. "You look beautiful under this light," he heard himself saying before he could stop himself.

"I--- You--- Erm, I don't think I am beautiful while fighting with an ice cream," she drawled, blushing.

"You are. Believe me, you are beautiful, no matter what you're doing."

Right then, Isaac was sure he had lost any connection between his brain and his mouth, because there was no way that a sane man could say things like the ones he was saying. She smiled shyly, and stared back at him, and he knew he could lose it all, everything he had, just to have those grey eyes looking in his with such strength.

Tension grew between them, melted ice cream dripping from both their cones, gazes intertwined and chests heaving. There were only the two of them in their worlds – Zia had forgotten about her former boyfriend and his fling with Taya; Isaac had forgotten that he couldn't do this because she worked for them – and suddenly they were leaning forward, noses touching, breaths warming the air around them until they were only a breath apart. Zia closed her eyes, and Isaac thought he had never seen a view like the one unfolding before his eyes – a bare soul offering everything.

And when he was one blink away from kissing her, from actually touching those full lips with his own, a sudden wetness spattered them. "What was that?" she yelped, jerking backwards.

The moment was gone, and all because there were playground sprinklers working around them, splashing water over the plants and over them at almost four in the morning. "Shit!" he exclaimed, taking her hand and pulling her ahead, away from the water. "I didn't know they watered the plants in the early morning!"

They started running away from the park, through the streets of New York City that they both knew – he for having lived there, she for having organized so many shows there – and into a deserted square in the middle of nowhere. Panting, they both rested their backs on the nearest wall and laughed.

"I can't believe I just got soaked by a playground sprinkler!" she joked, shaking her head. "And my poor ice cream..." The cone was smashed, and there was liquid still dripping from it. She turned to look at Isaac, who was at her left, trying to dry his shirt unsuccessfully.

"Those horrible sprinklers ruined the perfect moment," he mumbled. "Waited for this for so long..."

"What are you saying, Ike?" she asked innocently, unable to believe what had almost happened. "I didn’t understand..."

He looked at her with that light in his brown eyes, and she could feel the world stopping to watch them, face to face, breathing heavily. It was as if there were only the two of them, Isaac and Zia, Zia and Isaac, hearts beating hard and fast, blood rushing through their veins like rivers of life and sound. He lifted one of his hands to cup her pale cheek, never breaking eye contact, swimming in a pool of grey and black and all the colors in between that shone in that shy gaze still holding his.

"I've waited for this to happen for so long," he repeated, slowly drawling the words as if it was difficult for him to speak. "I don't want some stupid water to mess up what is probably my only chance to do this."

Zia nodded, because she was unable to form any coherent sound, and decided that whatever noble reason was holding her from throwing herself to Isaac wasn't strong enough to fight her heart. She wanted this – needed this, even – and it seemed that the singer had the same feelings towards her, if his grip on her chin was to tell.

"It's only you and me, Zia. It has always been you and me, since you first stepped into our lives. I think it's time for us to be... happy, even." Isaac smiled sweetly. "I am not Marcus Greyson, Zia. I am different – only Isaac."

"You're not only Isaac," she whispered, fear coming back forcefully as she found her voice. "You're Isaac Hanson, and I'm the girl who's organizing your tour worldwide. It won't work, you know. The world doesn't revolve around the ones that try to defy its rules."

"Which rules?" he asked, still holding her head up, looking into her eyes, trying to pass to her some of the courage he then felt – some of the boldness he was sure of having whenever he blinked and she appeared in front of him. "The world has nothing to do with us if we don't want it to meddle. Zia, please, give it a try, don't let this die before we can even share our first kiss."

Zia smiled shyly, her eyes finally welling up. She hoped that Isaac didn't notice, with the dim light coming from the street lamps. "The world is a scary place when you don't play its game. Even though sometimes it is not what it seems."

"Maybe it's time to see the world as it is," he retorted softly.

"And how is it?"

"The place where we can be happy. We can build our own world, Zia, if you just believe."

"I can't be happy, Isaac. That's something you have to understand."

"You know that can be changed if only you allow yourself to feel again."

His lips were grazing hers, he was breathing on her mouth, and she was feeling the tingling sensations running through her spine. Zia closed her eyes, licked her lips and waited for the fall. When Isaac touched her mouth, she thought that free falling had never been so sweet.

Their lips moved together, no teeth crashing, no fight between their tongues. It was as if they were perfect for each other, as if time had stopped around them.

It was like magic.

She pulled away slowly, Marcus' words echoing in her head. Murderer. "Ike, there's something I have to tell you," she started. And her past came unfolded in a solitary street in Manhattan, near the place where Taya had found eternal rest.

When she was finished, she didn't dare to look up for fear to see rejection in Isaac's eyes – the end of a dream that had barely started to become true. A whisper startled her.

"It was not your fault," Isaac muttered. "Do you hear me?" His voice raised a bit. "She decided to start something with your boyfriend, and they decided to hide it from you. So, they decided to keep that baby. And she decided to run out the apartment and into the street without looking. You didn't decide anything for them. You are not to blame, Zia... You're not at fault here, my light."

And then he kissed her, sweet, calm, long and passionately, and all her doubts disappeared in the fog of a new day – the sun rising above their heads, a perfect shade of orange mixing up wonderful colors. She could feel Isaac's heart beating fast and hard.

She was healing.


*-*-*-*-*-*


"How're you doing tonight?" The crowd roared, and Taylor Hanson got his reply right before grabbing a guitar. "Are you doing okay?" Another roar, and he was joined on stage by his brothers.

"Tonight we're going to play a different tune," picked up Isaac. "This one's for a wonderful woman who has yet to discover the happiness life holds for her. I know someday you'll teach me too."

As the first notes of Learning to Breathe, the cover they had done for the Switchfoot song, started coming out of their tuned guitars, and the three of them sang together, somewhere in the balconies, Zia Meir let go of her ghosts. She had a long road ahead to live, but she was sure she didn't have to walk the path on her own. She touched her lips, the lingering feeling of Isaac pressing on them putting a smile on her face. Somewhere near the exit door, her last ghost slipped out the venue.

She was free to start anew.
 
 
 
lackofmendacity (Diana): red liplackofmendacity on July 10th, 2007 02:37 am (UTC)
I'm afraid I don't know the significant of Zia Meir's name, but it certainly sounds exotic. :)

This was a beautiful and heart-wrenching fic. The build-up of suspense was really good, and poor Zia had a lot of guilt to overcome.

I really liked your Isaac character, his warmth and care was really sweet and I'm so glad Zia found her own happiness at the end. *hugs*
Snarky Journalist from Heck: diego lunalire_casander on July 10th, 2007 06:22 am (UTC)
Both the name and the surname mean "light." That's why Isaac uses "my light" as a term of endearment. But it's fine, I didn't know either and I had to look it up. Both are Jewish.

Oh, thank you! I try to picture Isaac as the good guy, always caring and such, though in my main WiP he's as normal as everyone else and has his good and bad days. But here, he was the guardian angel who falls in love. I'm glad you liked this.

*hugs back*