Please tell me about your AU idea where Sasha and Milla meet in Brazil as teenagers and basically end up long-distance dating before either of them become Psychonauts ^_^
Oh hey look at that, totally out of nowhere, not prompted by me at all! (@2somethingelseyoumightknow2 and @strawberry-et also asked me about it but it seems redundant to answer three separate asks. I didn’t think three people would actually do it lol. Also sorry for taking 8 years to answer.) This idea came out of just smushing two thoughts together. Then I got weirdly attached. Buckle in; it’s gonna be pretty long. Under a cut to avoid annoying feed scrolling.
So, AU is: Sasha mom lives, meaning he turns out a lot better emotionally adjusted since he grows up with at least one attentive parent. His dad is better too- still pretty emotionally constipated but not, like, broken the way he is in canon. The family also has 4-5 more kids after Sasha. This does mean they’re pretty poor but they do okay.
His mother is a schoolteacher, who is somewhat unusual in the time period for working and being a mom of a big family at the same time. She and Sasha are quite close; he gets a lot of his intellectual and curious side from her. In his eyes, he’s much more like her than like his dad (although people who know them both would say he’s a lot more like his father than he thinks). His mother also knows about his psychic powers, having noticed them as soon as they started showing up, but his dad and siblings (probably) don’t.
The story starts when Sasha is 14-15 years old. He’s getting increasingly bored living in a small rural town with few opportunities related to his interests, and his developing psychic powers (and probable undiagnosed autism) make things even more complicated and difficult for him. His mother gets an opportunity, probably with some kind of charity organization, to go teach German/English and maybe other stuff in Brazil for a while. She decides to take it, and take Sasha with her so he can have some different life experiences. She also takes his youngest sister along, since she’s still very little and dad’s already going to be left alone with three other kids.
(Also, my assumed age for Sasha and Milla in the games is like mid-30s, which, if the games take place in mid/late 80s, would mean they were born in the mid-50s. That means they would be 14-15 in the late 60s. So that’s the timeline I’m going with here.)
So they go to Brazil. The school Sasha’s mom is working at is either at or associated with an orphanage- maybe a church that has a school and an orphanage. Of course, Milla is there. I don’t have a lot of the details locked in here. It’s hard because we know nothing about Milla’s family or life before she was working at the orphanage, so I’m really just pulling this out of nowhere to fit in with this AU. For the purposes of this, she has no family and is living at the orphanage and going to the school there (even though that’s sad and I kinda don’t like it. May change it. Hm.)
Anyway, Sasha’s mom is teaching at the school; Sasha is doing basically independent study. I also haven’t decided if Milla is in his mom’s classes, because I haven’t decided what age group(s) she’s teaching. Either Milla’s in her classes or gets employed (or volunteers) to babysit Sasha’s little sister and that’s how she comes to be around. Oh, and also for the purposes of this, Sasha’s mom already spoke Portuguese before this, and Sasha’s been learning it prior to arriving there, so he’s like conversational at least.
Either way, Sasha and Milla meet. Despite having some initial personality conflict, they find they have a weird connection to each other. Milla is curious about this feeling and interprets it as maybe being a crush, although it feels a little bit different. She decides to try and befriend him to understand it better, and also because that’s just what Milla does. She’s the sort of person who makes people her friends half-against-their-will just by being friendly and caring consistently until they can’t deny that they’re friends.
Sasha, meanwhile, is wary of her and her enthusiasm because he’s not great with the social stuff, especially with the culture and language gaps at play. He’s also wary of the feeling because it seems psychic-related, but he doesn’t know what that means. Plus Milla is like super pretty and nice and he gets tongue-tied and red-faced whenever she talks to him, but he definitely doesn’t like her shut up Mom.
Over time, Milla’s determination prevails, and they become genuine friends. He hides the fact that he’s psychic at first, but eventually does tell her. He asks her if she’s sure she’s not psychic, because she really seems psychic somehow. She doesn’t think she is, but he theorizes she’s probably not quite normal, at least, and that’s where the connection they’ve felt from the beginning comes from.
Since they’re actually perfect for each other, their friendship grows deeper over the months they spend hanging out. By the time Sasha has to leave, they’ve developed real romantic (in a 14-15 year old way) feelings for each other. They don’t ever really talk about it, but promise to write.
And they do. Sasha’s siblings start referring to the girl he writes to as his girlfriend to tease/annoy him, but eventually it sticks. He stops protesting, although he never confirms whether or not it’s true, and it starts being matter-of-fact to them instead of a joke. On Milla’s side, she still talks about him to her friends like he’s still there, and she gets the penpal-boyfriend teasing, too. It doesn’t really bug her, though. They save up money over a few years to go and visit each other, and talk about their relationship enough to be sort of “official”. It’s rough since they rarely get to see each other in person or even talk on the phone, but they keep going.
Years pass, and some things change and others don’t. Sasha mother dies when he’s in his late teens, and he and his dad start having bigger and bigger issues between them in the wake of greiving. He leaves home as soon as he’s sure his younger siblings will be fine without him around. Out and about in the world, he gets recruited into the Psychonauts within the next few years (the specifics of this don’t matter too much for this AU). Milla goes on to work in her orphanage, the thing she’s most passionate about. They still keep close in touch, and get to see each other a more often now that they’re grown up and Sasha has better access to international travel. They finally decide “okay yes, we really are actually dating” even though it’s still long distance. Sasha’s colleagues 100% do not believe his story about having a beautiful long-distance girlfriend in Brazil, because that would sound fake af even if wasn’t coming from the very serious, not-romantic-at-all Sasha. Even his picture of them together does not convince them.
Then, the thing happens. Milla’s orphanage burns down, and her psychic powers finally fully awaken. Because of her knowledge of psychics, she realizes what’s happening, but it’s still a horrifically traumatic event. Sasha takes a leave period to come and help her, finds that it’s even more serious than he’d expected, and puts her in touch with the Psychonauts directly for some better assistance. He’s too close to her to do more than an initial check-up himself.
They find Milla has a lot of potential and extend an offer to join the intern program (which at that time spans a larger age range than later on). She rejects the offer at first, tries to go back to her life, but later decides she needs to make a complete change and accepts. Sasha’s colleagues are shocked to find out she is indeed real. She graduates first out of her class, as one of the best levitators the organization has ever seen. Technically, she and Sasha aren’t supposed to be romantically involved as agents, but the Psychonauts have always been pretty loosey-goosey about that rule (given the history of its founders).
So that was a novel in length. It’s not necessarily that interesting in this form, but there’s the AU. I think the interest would be the specifics of how their relationship would play out as a story, if they met young enough and under the right circumstances to not to get stuck in the hang-ups their relationship has in canon. If you read this far, tell me what you think! Thoughts, feelings, emotional outbursts?