Disclaimer: I do not own Xenoblade Chronicles.

A/N: Just a little something I got in my head after playing XC2 for awhile. Enjoy!

warning(s): AU. Genderbending. Fem!Shulk(Shurelia). Swearing. Violence.


Fate's Gamble


Fate is nothing but the deeds committed in a prior state of existence, in other words...we create our own fate with each day we're alive.

So then why?

Even before she is ever truly awake, even before she is born into the world, she dreams of him. At least that was how it felt, every time her eyes would close, reality seemed to just melt away until Shurelia found herself looking forward to it. To returning to that place where she knew he would be waiting, away from the rampaging Mechon tearing the land asunder as they marched and the futile efforts to hold them back.

This time however, when she sees him – always just out reach, his features kept from view by the rolling mist – he looks to be crying. An unusual air of sadness surrounds him just before he turns and looks her in the eye, and she can feel her heart leap up into her throat echoing in her ears over the approaching mechon as they forced their way into the temple, a grim reminder of her own mortality if ever there was one. It beat so loudly it seemed to want to escape her chest and flee from the oncoming embrace of death surrounding her fast, threatening to suffocate her-

Like a ticking bomb her own heart was counting down to her demise.

"It's alright.. I won't let them hurt you."

Shurelia feels a hand on her head, the warm touch of human flesh against her own.

All too quickly the warm feeling is gone and the mysterious boy's back is turned towards her again, and he is walking farther and farther away-too far-

"W-wait!" She reaches out, grasping at air at first, then something solid. A wrist. "D-don't leave me! I-I….I'm scared!" She confesses, tears burning in her eyes because she doesn't want to die. Shurelia doesn't like the idea of pain nor what would be waiting for her when this dream was over.

The boy stops seeming to tilt his head as though uncomprehending of her desire to stay. He gently pries her smaller hand off of him before crouching down while she furiously wipes at the falling tears obscuring her vision. She is just in time to see his lips move, forming words she does not understand:

"You don't have time."

Then her vision tunnels again and all is quiet around her, save the sound of snow crunching beneath boots.

"Easy, ya little scamp!" A voice commands, albeit ruder than what she was used to, especially in the biting cold as she was. Wait, she thought confused, why was she outside?

"I told you bringing this child was a mistake!" Another more scratchy sounding voice snapped, one that clearly did not care for the simple fact she was within earshot. "Dickson, you idiot! This is war, not a daycare!"

'Dickson?' She thought, not at all recognizing the name. Where were her parents? The rest of her group?

Shurelia could feel her brain going into overdrive, slowly shutting down after being presented with the very likely possibility they were all gone. All of them. Dead.

"Shove it, Mumhkar! What, would you have me leave her out here?"

"Precisely!"

"Say that again, you bastard!"

The sound of flesh hitting flesh in a much harsher manner than what she was used to reached her ears, flinching when the grown men whom had been bickering started to tussle, crashing into random thing's. One of them looked...funny;. He wore a red bandanna over blonde hair that went past his shoulders and was tied into a braid even. He had a black sleeveless jacket going over some kind of blue coat that showed his chest as well as the necklace hanging there with a blue stone in it.

The other was paler with mousy brown hair that was slicked back, facial hair going around his face and cruel looking brown eyes. The thing that stood out the most to her though was the set of razor sharp claws he had strapped tightly to each hand, like knives. The silver glinted almost menacingly in the dim light surrounding them, and part of her wondered if the other guy had some kind of death wish to attack the clawed man unarmed.

Then again, they both gave the impression of being a bit...off kilter.

"That's enough you two."

The two paused, freezing mid-motion and looking quite ridiculous about it given their age; the one with the bandanna was pulling on a corner of the claw-wearing warrior reaching to try and clobber him with the nearest item he could find, a book. The other was pulling on the blonde's braid trying to dislodge his the fingers from his face. Petty anger simmering in each of their eyes.

"He started it!" They both snap. The third person only laughed, shaking his head and stepping into the light.

The third male is a tall one, probably about equal height if not give or take a few inches. His hair, a smooth chocolate brown easily going past his shoulders a bit, looking a tad more wild than the other two like he had just come from a fight. He wore some heavy looking armor while brandishing a familiar looking red blade in one hand.

A flash of memory surges through her mind, though jarring at first, she is overcome with a sense of familiarity and relief recognizing the red sword as one she had seen many a times before; This is the Monado. She remembers a voice telling her, gently and reassuring.

With Shurelia's face brightening she reacted without thinking, racing towards the Monado. Her little hands reaching out to touch it, her mind going back to the mysterious boy from before, wanting to speak with him again. Wanting him to know she was safe thanks to him.

"Whoa there, little scamp." A voice, Dickson if she remembered correctly, hollered, picking her up by the scruff of her neck. "Ya can't just go racing off and touch the big boy toys, ya know?"

The claw-wielder scoffed, looking at her with barely concealed loathing. "She probably thought it was a toy, running off to touch 'the pretty shiny thing' no doubt. Ridiculous." He spat the words out before brushing brusquely past the newcomer.

She decided right then and there she did not like the one called Mumkhar. He was mean, with his poor attitude and sharp-looking claws, leaving her with a chill down her spine as opposed to her mystery boy's comforting warmth.

"Now then..." The brown-haired man carrying the red Monado begins, already setting a much more welcoming air about the place than the other. His smile was warm and friendly while he rested the sword down gently against the wall before walking closer. "You say you found her with the Monado? And that...the others were…?" He trailed off, not seeming to want to voice what Shurelia herself had already concluded.

"Yeah...just her. Don't understand how though, I mean...it was almost like the damn thing was protecting her somehow, ya know?" Dickson grinned then, with a wicked gleam in his eyes, turned to look at Shurelia. "Or maybe the runts just got the devil's luck ahahaha!"

"She's adorable, reminds me of Fiora." The other remarked with a hint of fondness in his voice. "I'd say they're probably about the same age too."

"Speaking of which Dunban, shouldn't you be writing that letter about now? She wrote you three days ago, you know how fussy she gets when you don't respond right away." The brown-haired one called Dunban gave a nervous laugh, dismissing his friends concern.

"I will, I will. Though she'd probably be even more upset if I just ignored a poor little damsel such as this one, eh?"

Dickson gave his friend a very unconvinced look. "Bloody coward. What kind of hero is afraid of his own little sister?" He challenged, smug when the other let out a choked noise of offense.

"I-I'm not afraid of her, I-I just-..."

"Well whatever, just don't come crying to me when she skins your hide for it." Dickson said cutting off the others ramblings with a smirk. His attention focused back on her, the quiet little blonde. "So, you gonna tell us your name then, little lass?"

Shurelia faltered not used to being put on the spot in such a way. Unsure even if she could trust these two, though she certainly preferred their company over the third member of whatever group they were in. Reluctantly, she nodded, the two men seeming pleased with her choice.

"M-...my name is….S-Shurelia."

"Shurelia? A pretty name." The one called Dunban said, and though his smile seemed genuine enough, Shurelia could not bring herself to return it at all. Instead her eyes slowly swept over her surroundings-unrecognizable, and somewhat a tattered mess from the scuffle that happened moments ago-"Can you tell us how old you are, Shurelia?"

"…..Seven." She says meekly. These people were unfamiliar to her, and more than anything she just wanted to go home.

"See? Told ya so." Dickson said, sounding smug while flashing the other male a triumphant look.

The small moment was ruined however, when Shurelia spoke up. A trickle of fear pouring into her next words.

"Where's….where's my mommy? A-and my daddy?"

It felt like someone had immediately sucked all the air out of the room for her. Seeing the look on both grown-ups faces when they turned-pity, sadness and a flicker of sympathy- saying the words that brought her world crumbling down around her. Her own foggy memories offering a bittersweet means of proof.

"Shurelia, I'm afraid...your mom and dad are, well…." Dunban started to say "They're sleeping you see, and...I'm afraid they won't wake up." He clearly was not used to saying what needed to be said in times like these. The way he refused to meet her own more innocent gaze, how he constantly was finding an interest in everything from his boots to a destroyed lamp sitting in the corner.

Shurelia felt more hollow than ever by the time Dickson finally took over. Reality setting in, and somewhere deep down inside she can't help but feel that guy from earlier-Mumkhar or whatever- was right. She was better off dead.

~/~

Is this what you were trying to tell me, prince?

Don't you think it's a little late, prince?

Shurelia is surprised by just how clear her thoughts were once the two grown-ups had left, Dickson saying how she needed rest as well as time to cope. Still, her fragile mind only kept turning back to the words last spoken to her by the boy from her dreams. Even through the dull ache in her chest and burning in her eyes, she is able to recall why she calls him such a name, because through the glimpses she has seen of him through the mist in her mind he is radiant.

His features reminiscent of the ones described in all her earlier bedtime stories involving a dashing prince.

"Where did...you go…?" She mumbles, feeling the first few traitorous tears spill out onto her face. Like a dam wall giving way, she breaks down, sobbing herself to sleep that night. Blissfully unaware of the faint glow coming from the Monado in the corner.

~/~

Just this once. Just this one time, he will save her. This gesture means nothing, he has no interest whatsoever in her, he tells himself but somewhere deep down there is a part of him that says he is only lying to himself. He ignores it for the moment in favor of looking through the barrage of lasers and gunfire going on around him, watching the girl-human and frail as the rest of them- just barely dodging what would have been a fatal blow.

Immediately he has to suppress the impressive frown marring his face when he looks upon her and sees only his features-Klaus-batting the thought away as quickly as it came in favor of kneeling beside her. He wills ethereal green light to become tangible, warm flesh. When he speaks, his tone is like the musical chime of a music box in her ears;

"It's alright. I won't let them hurt you."

He has already pulled away before she is up and looking foward, slinking back into the veil of mist that clouds her mind. He feels his heart- if he truly possessed one- pound from the area that is now flesh, bone and cartilage. Recalling the last instance in which he had assumed such a guise, he felt an odd dull ache from his core which he did not fully comprehend.

"W-wait!" A slight look of astonishment breaks out across his face when he feels a much smaller hand grasp onto his wrist. "D-don't leave me! I-I….I'm scared!"

For a moment he feels….conflicted. Fear? He thinks, tilting his head weighing the word heavily in his mind for a moment or two. He stops only when he feels the dull ache in his chest become noticeable once more. The word weighs heavily on his mind, as he finds himself lacking sufficient enough explanation in areas pertaining to that one girl.

~/~

Outside she finds herself drinking in the sight of things hungrily, not because she is in awe for being there, it is quite the opposite in that she has never seen such a side of war before. Tents littered the snow covered mountain peaks, their edges flapping aggressively in the bitter-cold winds making her ponder if they would last a second or two longer before getting blown away by the harsh downdrafts. There were ones rushing past, carelessly bumping into her and even knocking her to the ground yelling something about someone getting shot-the sudden flash of red being her cue to look away-hurrying into the infirmary where she had been the last day or so.

Now she was feeling restless. Restless and oh so very empty. As she walked down the aisle of makeshifts tents-places with furnaces inside were bustling, along with ones where she saw a lot of sharp-looking blades being disrupted were especially bustling- feeling too downtrodden to notice the looks she received. Glares as piercing and cold as the snow that fell on the mountains were aimed at her back, along with hushed whispers of the supposed misfortune she had brought onto others.

It wasn't long though before she found herself stopping, a particular string of curses-most of which went right over her head- followed by a random soldier getting thrown out onto the ground beside her freezing her to the spot.

"Damn stupid newbie! Don't you know the damn difference between steel and iron, you may as well substitute an Earth crystal for a fire one, huh!?"

Shurelia blinked, slowly lifting her eyes to look up towards the mountain of a man standing before her. The biscuit she had been nibbling on courtesy of Dickson fell with an audible thump to the ground. She shook in fear. Strong, weathered features with two sharp claw-like marks running down from the right temple obscuring what would have been a handsome face with dark, hard eyes. He was about maybe Dunban's height, but with so much more muscle mass.

The scariest of all was his hammer. The thing must have weighed a ton! Shurelia thought, numb with shock where she didn't even realize he was rearing back for a swing with said weapon. She felt like the earth just might crack from beneath her feet from the impact.

"Oi, oi, Xord ya old coot! Knock it off already, would ya!?"

Shurelia didn't know she had started crying until she was being coddled in Dickson's arms. Hiccuping and a worse mess than yesterday.

Dunban was busy trying to quell the situation. Keeping his voice for the most part calm and a tad playful even, like he was speaking with an old friend. She didn't bother trying to understand the words being said between the two, only hearing Dickson's hushed whispers against her ear:

"It's alright now. Ol' Dickson's got ya now, lil tyke." When she did finally risk a peek over the man's shoulder, curiosity burrowing it's way to the surface, she immediately regretted it. Her wide, innocent eyes locked with those cold, hard blackened ones. She went back to burying her face into Dickson's sleeve, wanting to shut the world out once more.


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