Yeah, this is new for me. This is the first time I ever wrote a fic based on personal feelings so I hope this isn't bad. Anyway, as usual I do not own SO3 or any of its characters. Enjoy…I hope.

Like a Little Boy for Her to Watch Over

There was something there, she could feel it every time she looked at him. It was a strange feeling, but nothing too grand like the feeling of euphoria or intense hatred, though Sophia was quite certain that she would never understand what it's like to hate. …But that boy-no, that man seems to live in hate almost as if it were consuming his soul. It was a sad sight, knowing that he was in fact suffering while trying to convince the world around him that he was not weak.

The man Sophia was thinking about was none other than Albel Nox, or, as the other Elicoorians liked to call him, Albel the Wicked. Though why would she care about him? He was ungrateful for any kind act you did for him, he only talked down to you like you were dirt, and he never let anyone get close to him. Ever. And yet, she knew there was more to him than meets the eye. After all even if he was Elicoorian, he was still human and humans had feelings.

Throughout the journey, she couldn't help but stare at him out of the corner of her eye. It wasn't like she was checking him out, but more like watching to make sure he was okay. He never seemed happy to her, not even in battle. Sure there was a wicked grin plastered over his face, and sure there was a sadistic smirk every now and then when he'd taunt the others, but there never was once a genuine smile on his face. For some reason, this worried her to no end. She wanted to do something about it, like hug him or comfort him in someway-anything to let him know that everything would be okay. Unfortunately, he'd never accept such gestures, it was something he was not comfortable with. In a way, Albel was like a little boy who had everything he ever loved torn away from him. He didn't know love or happiness anymore.

But why did Sophia want him to be happy? It was none of her business and he certainly wasn't going to allow her to help him. Maybe it was in her nature to want everyone around her to be happy or maybe she really did care for him. Did that mean she loved him? No…she had felt love before. That dizzying, lightheaded feeling that made you so giddy that you may never calm down …was not there when she glanced at him. She didn't feel that desire to feel his lips upon her own nor did she feel bashful being alone with him. She felt neutral around him, no fear or happiness, though she did have a desire to stay near him, but not too close to make him upset.

Perhaps it was love, but it was not the average romance between couples, it was a love felt between siblings…no, that didn't feel right to her. All of the things she wanted to do for him were similar to what a mother does for her child, but that was a bizarre thought. Sophia was only 17 and had no children while Albel was 24, 7 years older than her, it would be strange to think of him like her child and yet strangely it felt right to her. She wanted to heal all of his wounds, chase away his inner demons, to take away his nightmares… but how?

Albel had grown up as a warrior and had lost his father when he was but a teenager. She couldn't even come close to understanding his pain. Her parents were alive and well…hopefully. …But there was someone who did understand: Nel. Though it wasn't likely she'd help him. She was probably still bitter about him during the war. Apparently the only reason she hadn't murdered him in his sleep was because she was ordered to get along with him. Though who exactly made that order was beyond Sophia because Nel joined the team of her own free will.

Overall, Nel did know of the pain of losing her father, but she seemed okay because she had friends there to help her. Where were Albel friends? Did he not have any? That thought alone sent a stab of pain to her heart. He was a good person so he had to have some friends. Then again, maybe he had chased them away, he never did like accepting help from others.

Sometimes Sophia felt like she knew almost everything about him. She knew about his father, his claw, and his goals. She knew his favorite color, which was red because his eyes always lingered on red things like blood, rubies on noble's jewelry, red clothing, Nel's hair, and sometimes her runes, but not often, only when he felt like picking a fight with her. She knew his favorite food, Chocolate Bananas, because he used to snatch some that Maria made in the workshops. Sometimes she'd go out of the way to make him some just to see him eat them with a lighter expression on his face. It wasn't quite a smile, but it was close to one.

She knew it was going to take more than Chocolate Bananas to make him happy though. Much more. He may be a warrior and an adult, but he still cried out from the sting of nightmares and all she could do is sit beside him until he calmed down. She was absolutely powerless to make the memories go away, but there was still hope. It was times like this that she began to despise Nel. Sophia knew that Albel liked her in some way, maybe not love, but there was still a small connection that she didn't have. And despite all that, Nel refused to talk to him. If only she shared that connection they both had, then maybe she could help him heal the emotional scars.

But what was really frustrating was that Nel seemed to be warming up to him as well, but kept her distance. Sophia understood that they used to be enemies and may not be able to grow very close to each other, but if they can't be lovers then why not friends? Just talking to each other can ease the ache of bad memories. They didn't seem to mind standing next to each other anymore… but maybe that's because they were aware of the bond they had. They both came from an underdeveloped planet and didn't understand the technological advances that she did. So they now stood beside each other just so they wouldn't feel out of place.

Still, Sophia couldn't help but feel a bit jealous that he wouldn't stand behind her. In some strange way, she wanted to feel like she was protecting him from the unknown. Funny…she used to dream of a knight in shining armor coming to sweep her off her feet and treat her like a princess, but now, she wanted to be the protector. Albel was no knight, he was like a child that needed someone to care for him. She felt that she would gladly die for him if it meant that he would be safe and eventually happy.

So now she stood at the doorway as she watched Nel attempt to cure his arm. It was going to be tough though, after all it was his left arm that was injured and he was very sensitive about anyone touching it. Sophia bit back a small chuckle as she thought about her feelings for him. If she was the mother and he was her 'son' then what did that make Nel? Perhaps a potential daughter-in-law that would promise to take care of him for her? She was more worried that Nel would cause more harm to him than help.

"Stay still Nox! I just need to cure your arm," Nel persisted as she made another reach for the damaged limb. He easily jerked away from her grasp.

"I'm not one of your pathetic, weak soldiers, Zelpher. I can take care of myself!" he growled back. Her hands fisted in her sides as she backed away. Albel finally struck a nerve.

"Fine then," she said before walking to the other end of the room, "But don't come crying to me when your arm gets infected and then your claw falls off!"

"Crying is for Aquarians."

Nel glared at the wall as Sophia sighed. For a spy, she could be dense at times. Could she not see that look in his eyes? He did want help, but he was too proud to admit it. In a way, they were both like children: stubborn, lost, and needing someone to care for them. Nel had Clair and her subordinates, but who did Albel have?

"Let me try," Sophia offered as she stepped in. Nel sighed and faced her.

"Don't bother, you'll waste your energy," she then placed a hand on her shoulder and whispered, "Let's try again later when he's asleep."

"But that would violate his privacy and he might not like that," the brunette replied. Nel didn't argue with her and let her go. Albel immediately caught sight of her, his eyes first showing distrust, but then melted away into a tired look when he realized who was approaching him.

"I don't need your help either, maggot." She ignored the threatening tone in his voice. She knew that his bark was worse than his bite-everyone knew it, but he continued with the act anyway.

"Don't worry, I won't hurt you, just let me have a look at your arm and it will be over quickly," she reasoned. For a moment his eyes hardened and he raised his claw. Sophia could hear Nel gasp behind her and practically sensed her reaching for her weapons, fearing that he was going to attack Sophia. But he ended up closing his eyes, acting like he was disgusted, before he held out his claw arm. She summoned up her symbology and prepared the cure spell. Soon the gash above the metal of his claw was gone.

"Amazing, how did you do that? I couldn't even get him to stay quiet," Nel commented as she peered over Sophia shoulder. Albel only glared at her in annoyance as the cure spell finished up.

"I guess I just have a mother's touch," Sophia replied with a smile.

"Bah, I don't need a mother. I'm not some baby," he scoffed.

"Yes you do, you need someone to care for you once in a while," She thought before Nel dismissed herself and left. Sophia almost wished she hadn't because she caught the brief disappointed glimpse in his eyes when she was gone. After his arm was patched up, she checked for any injuries Nel had missed or that Albel hid from her. When she was done, she stood up and got ready to leave his room.

"Thanks…maggot." It was so quiet that she almost didn't hear it. He added the name as an afterthought and his tone was a lot gentler than usual. Sophia hid the large grin that threatened to overcome her features as she left. It wasn't much, but there was something there. He was grateful that someone had given him a chance and cared for him.

Sophia decided then that she would readily give up her dreams of feeling protected in a strong knight's arms in favor of becoming an angel-a Guardian Angel for a man who barely remembered what it's like to be loved. How long had it been since he last had a mother? It didn't matter anymore because he had one now, even if she was younger than he was and needed more protection than he did. Sophia wanted to make him happy because to her, Albel was like a little boy for her to watch over.

I CAN'T BELIEVE I JUST WROTE A SERIOUS FIC! …I think I may be ill-this is so out of my character. I suppose this is what I get for putting my feelings into a fic, that and the fact that I adore brother/sister, father/daughter, and mother/son pairings because they all contain a bond that is stronger than a mere romance. Well anyway I hope Sophia didn't sound too weird to you, I based her off of me and Karen from Shadow Hearts II so I wonder if there was any of her left in there. Well, I guess I should get back to work on my homework and then try to update my other fics. Thanks for reading!