Disclaimer: Tales of Zestiria belongs to Bandai Namco.

AN: Different character perspective this time, and I think, in my own head canon, at least, Lailah would be the one to do this for him. These chapters are meant to be short, almost small snippets of what Mikleo might remember as he slowly comes around to the idea of life without Sorey. So far, these are things set in the immediate aftermath of Sorey's sacrifice, but as time moves on, there will be bigger gaps and time skips between each chapter.

First Steps

It had taken them three days working day and night (for the Seraphim, anyway, Rose was so exhausted from the fight she slept the entire time) to finally clean up Elysia from the invasion. But Rose had finally awoken, and proclaimed she was famished. The four of them had taken a little time for a hunting foray near the Mt Mabinogio ruins for a prickleboar, and the tougher cuts of their successful hunt was stewing back in Zenrus's cottage. The rest, they'd given to Kyme, for what might be a small memorial for their lost leader and Shepherd. But there had been one member of their party that had been missing, holed up the entire time inside their lost Shepherd's home. It was a topic the four of them had skirted, but now that the village was well on its way to reviving, it was something none of them could avoid. Never mind the more . . . draconic consequences should the grief twist itself into something darker.

So, she took it upon herself to approach the morose Water Seraph. Knocking on the door, she was surprised when he opened the door, eyes showing no tell-tale signs of crying, but she could tell, even with his eyes firmly rooted to the ground, that the usual playful light in his eyes was clearly gone. A dangerous sign, if her centuries of life had taught her anything. "Rose finally woke up, and she's preparing a meal for all of us if you're up for joining us," Lailah started.

When she received no response, she continued, "I know I can't fully understand your feelings right now. Zenrus-sama was a father to you, and I know Sorey-san was your world." She saw him tense as she spoke, and she kept quiet as she let her words sink in. "I'm going to give you the same advice I gave Sorey-san when we started this journey: Don't carry your burden by yourself. Our time with both of you may have been short, but we all cared about you two in our own way. Come to us, talk to us. We'll always be there to lend an ear."

He looked up at her at that, and in that moment, she could feel her own heart sinking. During their journey, she had watched them fight, watched them happily explore ruins, watched them look out at the world in awe. And every time, she was struck by how innocent and young they were. But now, suddenly bereft of both father figure and, well, best friend? Partner? Soul mate? (she never was sure how to categorize their close partnership) she saw just how young and how lost he was now that he was suddenly alone in the world.

She hugged him close then, and continued, "Don't be so surprised. We all know how much he means to you. I'm a Fire Seraph, you know. The warmth of friendship, the fires of love . . . I could see it all so clearly when I first met you two. The others know it too."

The slight body started shaking then, and she gently stroked his back. "We managed to hunt down a prickleboar earlier today, and the others are making a stew out of part of it; the rest we gave to Kyme so we could hold a memorial for Zenrus-sama and Sorey-san. Will you join us?"

It was barely noticeable, but she got a small nod out the bereft Seraph. Which, she supposed, was as good a response as any. "I'll leave you here to compose yourself, but if you don't join us soon, I'll come get you myself, and then there's no telling what Edna-chan would say."

Another nod, and she slowly released her hold him, watching him go back inside the dimly lit cottage. A she turned around to leave to head back to the others, she paused to look at the beacon of light in the distance.

I solemnly swear, upon my true name, Fethmus Mioma, that I will not let this Water Seraph go astray, that he shall remain as pure and untainted as the day he was born, until the day the Shepherd Sorey awakens.