How will the Tales of Symphonia entourage cope in their first Christmas without Kratos? [oneshot. various pairings: KratosRaineness, encouraged GenisPresea, ColetteSheena, LloydZelos]
"This…is snow?" Lloyd said in wonder.
"Lloyd," Regal said. "We've been to Flanoir many times."
"Yeah, but…it's amazing every time. You now we don't have snow in Sylvarant…"
"Its nothing special," Genis said. "Its simply precipitated water vapor freezing as the condensation of clouds make droplet to heavy to hold." Lloyd sent him a blank look.
"Lloyd," Zellos said, "its frozen rain."
"Oh…why didn't you just say that?"
"Because he's Genis. He can never 'just say that'…"
Presea looked perplexed. "Why are we here? Has there been an exsphere located in this region?"
"No, little one," Regal replied, "we are here to celebrate Christmas. It's a holiday that celebrates the kindness of others in the form of gift giving, since Martel gave her life in a gesture of peace for the worlds."
"Giving gifts…I remember…"
Raine spoke up. "Does everyone have their money?"
"…Lloyd," Genis chided. "You didn't lose yours, did you?"
"Alright! We'll all exchange gifts tomorrow morning. We'll meet back at the hotel tonight…"
Genis was nervous. His first Christmas in Flanoir…Presea. He had no idea what to get her. She didn't like purely feminine things, didn't prefer things that mocked her age—actually, she didn't have much of an opinion on anything she liked at all.
So, Genis had purchased her a new ax, one with Alicia's name carved into the handle. He wondered what she could've gotten him. Because she would've gotten him something, right?
He went to ask.
When he entered her room, she was speaking of Alicia, with Regal, of course; the only other person to have loved her.
"Presea…" he began to get tongue tied, so he spoke slowly. "…can I…talk…to you?"
"Certainly," Presea said, rising from her seat next to Regal and leaving the room. Once she was in the hall, she asked, "What…is the matter?"
"Um, well…I just…wanted to tell you…that I got you a present for Christmas."
"Thank you. Was that all?"
"I know that I'm not supposed to tell you…but I bought you…a new ax…with Alicia's name engraved on the handle…"
Tears immediately sprang to Presea's eyes. "Thank you…for honoring my sister in such a way…"
"I just…I wanted t make you feel better about her," Genis said, taking her hand. Presea looked a bit surprised, and he took advantage of her loss of words to add, "because I like you," with a smile.
The look on Presea's face, as always, was rather blank, but her eyes looked pained as she took back possession of her hand, as though she had prepared for this moment.
"Genis…I cannot…I cannot allow myself the pleasure of returning your feelings."
Genis could hear his heart breaking. Echoing, in his mind, like a cracked mirror. Seven years of pain and sorrow.
"Oh," was all that he said in reply.
"I…I am not the sweet little girl you want me to be, Genis. Nor will I ever be. I have killed with these mighty hands, with my ax, I will kill with the ax you will give me."
"And I've killed with my magic!" Genis protested.
"It is not the same. You are but a child."
"Then what are you supposed to be?"
The pained look in her eyes displayed itself on her face. It surprised Genis to see emotion plain in her expression, most of all hurt. "I am what I am. But I am not a child. I am not like you. You must understand…"
"But I don't! And you aren't telling me anything!"
"…Genis. My mind is year beyond yours. It is disproportionate to my body, but it is still mine. I am no longer in your age group mentally, and it would—" she stopped, and Genis looked up to see Regal with a hand on Presea's shoulder. Genis glared daggers at him, and Presea wordlessly left.
"What do you want?" Genis spat.
"To explain Presea's predicament. I did not realize it until I had figured out that she was Alicia's older sister…" he sighed. "The exosphere attached to Presea's soul…it drained her of the capability to feel, and to physically grow. Her mind has matured…but her body has not. Mentally, she is much older than you. That is why Alicia is her younger sister."
Genis felt the tears pooling in his eyes. "Whatever." He turned to leave.
"If it makes you feel better—"
"It won't. No thanks."
Raine sighed. She had bought two things: Ingredients for a masterful dinner Regal was to prepare for them all the next day, and…
A golden chain with a mistletoe pendant.
She kissed it, and laid it on the balcony. The man who had never known her feelings. She did nothing to stop the tears as they flowed down her face.
She heard the door close with a snap, and she turned abruptly to see Genis, tears streaming down his face as well.
They stared at each other for several moments; each wordlessly feelings the other's loss and pain, before approaching each other and embracing one another as they cried into each other's shoulders. Thing would never be the same for either of them
"Merry Christmas," Raine said aloud into her brother's shoulder, "My beloved Kratos..."
"Um…I got you something," Sheena said. She blushed, and the blond staring at her smiled.
"Really?" Colette asked. "Yay! I got you something, too. Actually, Genis, Raine, Zelos, Lloyd and even Kratos and I worked on it months ago. Back when…you know, Kratos was still here…we poured all of our magic into it…"
"I wonder what it is, if you went through all that trouble…"
"Remember, when you gave my Corrine's Bell, for me to hold for you?...we worked on it…" Colette rummaged through her bag. "…after I told Lloyd how upset you were about when…you now…I'm sorry; I know it must be painful to talk about it…"
"It's fine." Sheena looked slightly sad, but didn't cry.
Colette immerged with Corrin's Bell. It looked very, very different. The bell glowed with ethereal power, and was now silvery white, no longer golden.
"What…what did you do it?"
"Rained had always been fascinated by your guardians, and she kept the remains of your guardian scrolls after we fought…"
"We used our magic to meld your scrolls and the bell together. If you concentrate, Kratos believed that you would be able to…summon Corrin's soul…" Colette smiled. "We even had Origin and Maxwell loan a bit of their magic; Lloyd was so willing to help…"
Sheena fell to her knees in front of Colette. "…Really?" she clutched at Colette's legs, hugging them. "I can talk to Corrin? I can?"
"We never tried it out…I thought we would leave it up to you. Even if it doesn't work, we all did our best…especially Kratos. He expended all of his magic. He said he wouldn't' need it. I did understand…until he left…"
"Do you think…"Sheena asked, sobbing, "That Kratos is really gone? I mean…can't Sylvarant and Tethe'alla have…a gravitational pull? Wouldn't Derris-Kharlan float around us? I hear the scholars…"he face ran blank when she was Colette shake her head. "But Kratos…" she sighed. "Thank you, Kratos…"
"Do you want to try it?"
Sheena slowly rose, and shook her head. "I'll try, but it'll be tomorrow, on Christmas day. Because…if it works, it would be the best Christmas present I could ever want."
"We based everything on Alicia's appearance in Altimira. We don't expect to Corrin to fade, though…because the bell isn't an exsphere, like Alicia…"
Sheena looked Colette in the eyes. "Thank you. I couldn't ask for anything else…" and with that, Sheena leaned forward and placed a gentle kiss square on Colette's lips. The Chosen was surprised, and she blushed.
Sheena smiled. "Merry Christmas!"
Zelos, what are you doing here?" Lloyd asked.
"Giving you my Christmas present…"
Zelos was lying there, on Lloyd's bed, with a rose in between his teeth.
"A rose? That's all I get? Zelos, I love ya, but—"
"Me, you oblivious chunk of swordsman. Me!"
Lloyd thought a moment, then said. "I thought I already had you…" he made a face. "You're just being too cheap to buy me anything, aren't you?'
Zelos frowned. "How dare you accuse me of—"
"You do it every giving holiday!"
Zelos's frown stayed put. "I do not."
"Did you actually buy me something, then?"
Zelos paused. "Um…no."
Lloyd turned to leave. "I knew—"
"Except this one!" Smiling, Zelos leapt off of the bed and rushed to Lloyd's side, holding a small box. Lloyd stared at it, puzzled as to what it could be.
When he opened the box, he laughed, not caring if he offended Zelos.
Inside the tiny package was a key chain in the shape of a tiny replica of he and Zelos mid-kiss. But it was almost lifelike; it kind of scared him.
"I had it hand sculpted. I'm already wearing mine!" Zelos exclaimed. And, to Lloyd's surprise, it was true. Attached to a small chain hanging off of Zelos's belt, was the exact same key chain.
"Remember that picture Sheena took?" Zelos explained. "I had it mimicked. I was trying to decided what you would like, when I realized that you're not the materialistic type. You're all…sentimental. So I got you this! Do you like them? Even for me, it's kind of cute—well, of course its cute; my face is on it…"
Lloyd shook his head, removing the clip from the box and attaching it to a zipper on one of his shirt pockets. "Thank you…this is, honestly, the most thoughtful thing you've ever done." Lloyd planted a small kiss on Zelos's cheek.
"What did you get me?" Zelos asked.
"You'll find out tomorrow."
"I wanna know!"
"Tomorrow, like everyone else!"
Regal and Presea, instead of buying gifts, decided that their gifts to each other would be their experiences with Alicia, rather than material objects.
Alicia had touched them both, even after their transformations. Regal wished he had disposed of Vharley earlier, before his work wit the Pope ever started.
"I miss her dearly. I feel…I cannot cope with the pain," Presea said.
"You simply need someone to help you through…"
"I know. I wasn't…it is not enough reliving memories with you. The loss still hurts…"
"I was not referring to myself."
A pause from Presea. "Surely, you can't mean Genis. He's so...young. I do not need to riddle his childhood with my sorrow. I do not need to weight down his careless happiness. He has a right to it…"
Regal sighed. "Presea…Genis, as he told you, has killed, just as everyone else in this group, has killed. His innocence had already been taken from him. He does not plan on letting your sadness weigh him down; he wants to use his careless happiness to lift you up. And you will not let him. That exsphere…it kept you from maturing physically. And despite your mental capacity as an adult, can you not see that this is a second chance for you to regain what you had lost? Alicia may be gone, but…she would not want you to suffer this way. We both know it. Listen to my words, child—for you are still a child at heart. Genis only wants to help you.
"Ugh…" Kratos sighed. He could not believe it. He had amazed himself, even. Floating on Derris-Kharlan, alone to reconcile the sins of his adopted people, he had attempted to take his own life.
It hadn't been what he had planned. He had planned to soar with Derris-Kharlan forever. But he would not.
Before leaving, he had used the last of his magic to help instill Corrin's soul into his bell. But the moment he had stepped onto the remains of Yggdrasil's kingdom, he knew had been wrong. Using the last of his power was a punishment for himself; another price to pay for Yggdrasil's error. But Derris-Kharlan was a pool of floating mana; naught but two seconds upon its surface, and he could feel the magic seeping back into his veins.
He had counted the days, every day, since he had left his son. And today was Christmas, in both Sylvarant and Tethe'alla. He wished that he could have sent his heart, his sentiments, to them.
Kratos had never been one, even when he had been Human, to abandon any cause that he had initially undertaken. And now, after seeing how missed he was, he was breaking his word.
Perhaps…he should have summoned the courage to break his promise to Yggdrasil as well, instead of thrusting ht burden of liberation onto his son.
And after all, even with the world saved, he was still bound to Yggdrasil.
With his limitless supply of mana in Derris-Kharlan, not matter how far he floated from Sylvarant or Tethe'alla, his magic would reach them.
Even as he spoke, the mana in the surrounding atmosphere was healing his wounds.
He continued to watch as Raine and Genis cried onto each other, as Sheena wished he had stayed, as Colette tried to revere his existence. As Lloyd carried on with his life, even then with his lover, refusing to show any feelings of sadness out of respect for his father's decision.
And somewhere, in the distance of watching them all, he heard Raine whisper onto the balcony after Genis had left, "Merry Christmas, my beloved Kratos…" before sobbing on the railing, not caring about snow or anything else. Next to her head, a clump of snow still concealed the gift that she had bought for the man that she loved. The man she would never see again.
It was best not to contact them, before they expected him to return. But, maybe, he would give them a new hope. Even if…
Kratos concentrated on the necklace, drawing forth form Derris-Khalan's store of mana. "To me." He felt the pull as the mana reached, from whatever area he was in, the distance to Flanoir. The distance to the necklace. The pull began to receed, and the chain fell into his hands.
And to Raine, he whispered, "Merry Christmas to you as well, my love…"
He watched as she wiped her eyes, looked around, and noticed the now flat surface of the balcony's railing.
"Kratos?" she whispered. "Kratos!"
At her cry, everyone ran to her room, but Kratos gave not answer.
"The necklace I bought him…" Raine sobbed, "It—it vanished. Kratos…I could feel him…he's…he's alive…"
"Well, what do you expect?" Lloyd said nonchalantly. "He's an angel."
"How dare you disregard Kratos like that?" Raine snapped. Tears began to form once more. "He risked his life for you!"
"No, he didn't. You risked your life for me, Raine. Genis did. Presea did. Regal did. Zelos did. And so did Colette. Kratos wanted us to succeed, but he didn't put his life on the line. He knows that. And he regrets it." And with that, Lloyd left. Zelos hurried after him.
Sheena looked into the distance, beyond the balcony. "If you can hear me, Kratos, thank you."
One by one, every one but Raine took their leave.
Kratos knew that Raine felt so utterly alone.
"Merry Christmas to you as well, my love…"