Following one-shot is my head-canon, so it both is and isn't canon in the X-Future story. More details in description.
Contains following spoilers: Character death, character becoming a Brotherhood member, Lia's relation to a few characters, and a character disappearance. More specifically, this follows the aftermath of a battle that took place while trying to hand a Brotherhood member over to SHIELD custody.
Rated K+ for referencing death and suicidal thoughts.
Sasha looked around her dorm room to make sure she had everything; not like she had much to pack to begin with. As she mentally checked off her possessions her concentration was thrown off by a soft knock. She stood still and silent for a moment; unsure if it was truly a knock on her own door, or if she just heard the echo of someone else’s door being knocked on.
After a long minute the knock returned. It certainly was on her door, but barely. “Da?” She started moving towards her door when it slowly creaked open. A brunette girl with a deep complexion poked her head in to the room.
“Sasha?” Lia’s voice was nearly as soft as her knocking, “Is it cool if I come in?”
“The way you’re talking it will be the only way I can hear you.” Sasha waved the Brazilian-American girl into her room, and gestured for her to sit on her bare bed. Lia slinked in and gently closed the door behind her before following Sasha’s direction.
“I heard you’re returning to Limbo.” Lia scanned the room, nodding as the vacant shelves confirmed the rumor.
“Da. I’m going to have my mother train me more.” Sasha stood perfectly straight at the foot of her bed, confused as to why someone as powerful as Lia always seemed so curled up, tiny, and lost.
“I guess the Institute isn’t properly equipped to train you, huh? Even with Pixie on board to teach you more about your magic?” As she mentioned Pixie’s name Lia seemed to shrink even more. The entire school was curious as to what happened to Pixie’s son Lincoln; why he felt the need to return to the Inhumans’ kingdom on the dark side of the moon without so much as a goodbye. Lia was so maternal, it was almost as if she lost one of her brood.
“It is more than that.” The more broken Lia appeared the more Sasha had a compulsion to stand firmer, almost as if she needed to balance out the confidence in the room.
“Yeah,” Lia finally attempted eye contact, even though it was brief, “I figured as much. That was kinda why I stopped by. I just felt so guilty that I haven’t really checked up on you since- well, since the mission.”
“It is fine. You had your own things to figure out.” Maybe it was the Russian accent, but Sasha’s comment seemed a bit more biting than she meant. Although, even when she said the words she wasn’t really sure what the hell Lia needed to grieve over. She wasn’t as close to Liam and Roscoe as Sasha was. Why was it that Lia was the one wandering the school grounds like someone beheaded her puppy in front of her?
“Still.” Lia shifted so she wasn’t facing Sasha any longer, and started to play with her fingernails. “I should have come to you sooner to check in on you. I meant to. I just couldn’t bring myself to doing so. I was so scared of what you thought of me.”
“Thought of you?”
“For failing our mission. For-” Lia heaved out a heavy breath, “for letting Liam die like that.”
It suddenly hit Sasha why Lia seemed so broken since the mission. “You think that Liam’s death was your fault?”
Lia kept staring at her nails as she shook her head and shrugged. She opened her mouth a few times to respond, but choked back down whatever it was she was going to say.
It felt awkward for Sasha to comfort Lia when she felt it should have been the other way around, but she knelt in front of her classmate and placed a hand on each of the girl’s knees. “Konfetka, stop that now. Liam’s death was not your fault, it was Roscoe’s. He is the only one to blame.”
Lia looked away and clenched her body tighter together. “Yeah, but I should have been able to stop it.”
Sasha nodded and removed her hands from Lia’s knees. With a sigh she sat on her roommate’s bed. “Da. Perhaps you should have. You were at this school for years more than the rest of us. Then again, you were trapped and I was free. You could not escape your ice prison while I had the full maze. Out of the two of us, I had greater opportunity to get to Liam and stop Roscoe. Also, I was the one on Liam’s team. Had it been any other mission and you may not have even been there. I should have stuck closer to him or gotten back to him faster. I failed my team, my leader, and my greatest friend.”
She leaned back on to her elbows and stared at the ceiling. “But figuring out how to have stopped it will not bring him back. We cannot go back in time once we find the answer; it will just torture us that we didn’t find it when we needed to. Perhaps there isn’t even an answer. Maybe it was just Liam’s time and Destiny would have found a way to take him no matter what we did.”
“Yeah,” Lia’s voice was barely more than a whisper. Sasha strained to hear the girl’s response. “You may be right about it not being able to bring him back. It doesn’t stop the feeling that I failed all of you. You are right that I should have been a better leader considering my time here. I got distracted in the field and it cost a comrade his life.”
“That is true, but at the same time, your compassion and thinking allowed for three new allies to join us. One of which was a friend you thought you lost to treachery.” It may have been the weight of losing both of her close friends finally falling upon her, or it may have been the fact that she could no longer see Lia’s weak posture, but Sasha finally allowed herself to break a little. She felt her eyes well up and she collapsed fully on to the bed, her legs dangling off the edge. Spreading her arms straight out beside her, she concentrated on her breathing a little to fight back crying.
“Sasha, I know it might be painful to stay here, but we need you.” Lia’s voice was pleading, but it was also the loudest Sasha heard it since the prom. “I know we can teach you and we can become closer. All of us. We’ll be better prepared and make sure something like this won’t happen again.”
“Net.” Sasha curled her body back into a seated position and stared at her knees. “I’ve lost too much here. I lost the greatest companion, and I can never get him back; nor can I ever replace him. Others may come close, but-” She bit her lip and shook her head. “If that is not bad enough, I lost someone else close to me due to vile treachery. You may have recovered your friend from such a loss, but Roscoe has done too much for me to ever trust him again; ever see him as a comrade again. I shall never see Liam again because of Roscoe. I need time to truly grieve that: losing one friend at the hands of another. The two people I was closest to in this house, and now I have neither of them.”
“I’m sorry that you did not form more friends while you were here. I’m ashamed that I didn’t try harder.” Sasha looked up to see Lia standing over her now. Although they are the same age, Sasha couldn’t help but feel like Lia was this mother figure. The look on the teen’s face seemed like that of a woman compassionately listening to a child’s story of how they became orphaned. She had to admit, she sort of felt that way. She felt alone and abandoned and without an adult to turn to for comfort. That was another reason she needed to return to Limbo. She needed the warmth of her mother’s arms while she sorted things out.
“Fear not, Lia, I know that you and the others here care for me; that not everyone is like Roscoe. It is as much my fault as anyone else’s that I did not make more friends. Still, my team is gone, so are my friends, and I just cannot seem to find the courage to talk to my father. What I wished to do here - have a relationship with my father as well as make friends - ended in failure. I clearly need to grow more before I attempt such tasks, and it is easier for me to grow in Limbo.”
“We all need to grow still. We’re teenagers; we make mistakes. We can’t run away though.”
“Isn’t that what you did the past few days?”
Lia shrunk away and started to play with the orange streaks in the underside of her hair. “You’re right. I did pull away and wanted to hide from everyone; wanted to run from everyone. I didn’t feel like I belonged here either; that I was wasting everyone’s time. I wanted to return to my home on the other side of Long Island. I wanted to go back to normal public school now that I could control my powers. I wanted to run away and pretend I was never at this institute. It was cowardly of me.” Lia locked eyes with Sasha and stopped playing with her hair. “There is so much more I have to learn here. I would only be wasting people’s time if I didn’t take their teachings to heart; if I just forgot it and wrote it off as something that doesn’t apply to me. So, stay. Please.”
The two remained silent as the wall clock ticked incredibly loudly. Sasha began to absentmindedly count the seconds before she finally stood up. Taking a few long breaths she walked over to Lia and placed a hand on her shoulder.
“The difference between the two of us is that you still have something here; I do not. You have friends. You have Ripley. You have your father. You have your team. All I have is my mother and Limbo; at least, for now. Perhaps someday I will grow enough courage to have a true conversation with my father. I may return at that point. In the meantime, it was rewarding to see how he interacted with all of you. He is just as intelligent and kind as my mother described. It is good to know that. It was also satisfying to see how much he is loved by all of you. I am happy to know what a good man my father truly is.”
“So stay and really meet him.” Lia grabbed Sasha’s hand off her shoulder, holding it between both of her hands. “I will go with you if you’d like.”
Sasha gave a kind smile in return. “Net. It is best if I go and train with Mother. It will be easier to heal if I am not surrounded by memories of Liam or Roscoe.”
Lia let go of her classmate’s hand and sadly nodded agreeance. With averted eyes she slowly started for the door. “Well, if you feel that’s best for you then I wish you luck and I’ll let you get back to packing. Just- ya know, just don’t pull a Lincoln on us. Actually say goodbye when you’re about to go; even if it’s over the PA or something.”
Sasha softly chuckled. “Da. I shall. But you must promise me one thing, Lia Madrox.”
Lia stopped at the door and looked back over her shoulder.
“Do not give up on yourself or this place.” The statement was more a command than a request. “I know that one of the things you debate is whether or not you should have committed suicide in that ice room. If you had, perhaps the walls would have fallen in time for someone to have stopped Roscoe. Know that it is a valid thought.”
Lia’s eyes widened as she turned completely around. The gentle smile she had on dropped in shock.
“Liam was a strategist. He was a hero. He did what needed to be done to save the rest of us. He was a warrior for the mutant cause. He could have been a great leader and made a huge impact on mutant kind had he survived. Do not let his death be in vain, Miss Lia. Do not dishonor him by giving up. It would be such a waste for someone who would have done something with his life to have died in order to save someone who will simply be a bystander. If that is going to be your fate, perhaps it would have been better if you died instead of him.”
Lia squeaked a bit as her face contorted in confusion. Even a few feet away, Sasha could tell the girl’s eyes were filling up with tears. She softened her shoulders and walked over to Lia. With a gentle smack on to the girl’s upper arm, Sasha gave a half-smile. “Look, just promise me that you will not dishonor his sacrifice. Keep up the fight and know that you are strong.”
Dazed, Lia squeaked out an “Okay” before stumbling out of the room. After closing the door behind her visitor, Sasha again took stock of her belongings.
“Alright, Mother, it seems I am ready to come home.” Gathering her belongings, she ran her hand over her former bed and then headed down to the Headmasters’ room.