Disclaimer: I do not own these characters or series, all credit goes to Namco Bandai.
A/N: I haven't played Tales of Symphonia or the sequel at this time, but I know a lot of the story. Still though, apologies if any character is OOC or if I mess up any event. Hope you enjoy. Also, reviews and favorites are always appreciated :D
The lumberjack known as Presea Combatir sat in her silent home in Ozette as snow began to fall down for the first time since the defeat of Mithos. It had been a whole year since she had last fought against anything, and a whole year since she had first met Genis Sage as well as all of her other friends. To think, it wasn't that long ago she didn't have the faintest idea what it felt like to have emotions, and now she was beginning to feel them return to her. She knew that it was called happiness whenever a situation made her want to smile, and that she was taken over by the emotion of sorrow whenever she felt the desire to cry after frowning for a period of time.
However, some emotions were a foreign concept to her. For example, she still had no idea why Genis was always shaking when he tried approaching her and ended up stuttering after exchanging a couple words of dialogue. Regal had told her that Genis was expressing an emotion called anxiety where he grew afraid whenever he tried talking to her for some reason she had no idea about. She also had no grasp on the concept of the emotion known as neglect. She had no idea that her friends deeply missed her after not seeing her for a year or the fact that she had failed to follow up on arranged meetings with said friends after they had requested to meet with her.
Still though, none of them could compare to this one emotion she felt in her heart that she had absolutely no theory on what it could be. Her heartbeats began to become more and more frequent, she didn't understand why she couldn't stop desiring to be close to someone, and she wanted to discover the so called happiness felt when someone pressed their lips against someone else's. However, these only occurred when she thought of Genis Sage.
The silver haired mage was always a good friend to her. Even when she didn't know what it meant to have emotions, Presea was always aware of his many attempts of friendship. She always noticed the stuttering and the shaking whenever he had attempted conversation, but all she knew was that it was because he was 'nervous' for some reason. Was this her version of the emotion so foreign to her? Even if that was true, why would she be nervous? Could she truly feel an emotion that she didn't even understand? To find out the answers to these questions, she did the one thing she could: she requested for Genis to visit her at her home in Ozette.
Her heartbeats began to speed up out of nowhere, so she figured that Genis had entered the room. Sure enough, the pink haired girl turned around and saw the silver haired mage standing at the doorway of the room. He hadn't change from the last time she saw him over a year ago, which made her a little bit more calm knowing that one of her friends was still the way she remembered them. The only noticeable difference she could tell right away was the fact that Genis grew a little from a year ago, which was nature for most people. Presea was one of the rare cases where that wasn't true though. She had been trapped in a twelve year old's body for sixteen years, which led many to be confused when they found out she was actually twenty eight.
Genis was naturally shocked when he discovered that fact, especially since he had feelings for Presea the second that he first laid eyes on her. Over the course of their journey together with all their friends, Genis had taken acceptance to this, but he never got over this crush over that time and still liked Presea despite the fact she was sixteen years older than him chronologically. In Genis' eyes, she was a girl that he really liked, nothing else to it. Because of that, she was glad that she could talk to him and not be ridiculed for being older than what her body made her out to be. In his eyes, she was an invaluable friend that would always accept her, much like how she would always accept him despite the fact she came from a place that didn't accept half-elves like himself or his sister Raine. That's why their bond strengthened during their travels; they would always accept the other no matter what.
Now was a strange time though. This time, Presea felt comfortable as usual, but her heart was telling her to say more than she usually did to Genis. When she looked up to him, she began to tremble a little, though it wasn't noticeable to anyone but her. Genis' on the other hand, was clearly visible as he began to shake from 'nervousness' as per routine. Normally, she would have just stayed where she was, but she felt compelled to approach him this time for a reason she didn't understand. Sure enough, her legs moved her so that she would be face to face with the silver hair mage.
Genis continued his quivering as he scratched the back of his head. He let out a nervous laugh as words failed to come out of his mouth. Eventually, he was able to muster up enough strength to greet her. "He-hey Presea."
"Genis, how have you been?" The girl casually returned to her seat she was previously positioned in while awaiting the boy. She looked up before gazing over at the window that revealed the snowing world outside. When she turned her attention back to Genis, her heart began to race once again.
Once realizing she had been staring at him again, the boy turned from the window and looked at Presea. She still looked as cute as she did a year ago, she might have gotten even cuter since then…if that was possible in such a short amount of time. He settled himself in a chair as he continued observing her face. "Fine, I guess. What did you call me over for?"
Presea took a deep breath as she began talking. "I just wanted to speak with you, find out some things I've wanted an answer to for a while now."
"What did you want to ask?" Genis' voice began to show his nervousness even more clearly after he let out that statement.
"Well…for starters, do you still have that lucky charm I made before you left to help the people in Palmacosta rebuild?"
The boy nodded as he let out a smile. He pulled out from the bag he was carrying a strange looking doll that had short red hair that resembled a fire. He was relieved when he saw Presea attempt a smile after seeing the thing she made herself. "You called it Fabre right? What was the meaning behind it again?"
Presea grabbed the lucky charm and examined it before placing it back into the boy's hand. "It symbolizes that even if you doubt your existence, you are real and important in life. Your birth has meaning…and you have the power to change if you really desire it."
The boy was silent after hearing that. Not only did he have no idea about how to continue the conversation, but he was also astonished by the deep meaning of the lucky charm. He didn't put much thought into it, but he believed that the reason she gave him the doll in the first place was because of the similarities between him and it. Like what was implied for Fabre, Genis changed his entire life by taking a chance in believing in his best friend after his banishment from their home village. By choosing to follow him on his journey, he found strength, courage, and acceptance to the fact he was a half elf. After that journey, Genis learned what it meant to have pride for his race, no matter how much he would be ridiculed for it and it was because of that pride that he was able to grow from a year ago…and maybe that was why Presea felt something change in her heart.
He had noticed something while thinking over the meaning of the doll; he was no longer shaking from anxiety. Was he really no longer afraid of being around her? That's when he made the realization that he wasn't stuttering anymore either. All his nervous tendencies were disappearing, maybe that was a sign to finally tell Presea what he felt about...maybe it was time to open his heart to her now.
Genis looked down at the doll once again before placing it on his chest. He closed his eyes for a brief moment before finally returning the doll to its original resting place. "Presea…would you mind going outside for a couple of minutes?"
"I don't at all. I'll be out in a moment." Presea walked into one of the back rooms of her residence while the young mage entered the white wonderland of the outside world. It was now reflection time for the girl.
Once she saw Genis take a step outside, Presea took a sigh of relief for surviving up till now. Her heart was beating at an alarmingly fast pace, so fast she thought it would explode in fact. However, the most difficult part of this meeting was about to occur. The whole reason she wanted to see Genis all of a sudden...she was ready to open her heart to him. After that conversation, she figured out what she was expressing whenever she wished to press her lips against someone or to be close to someone… it was because of love. She finally understood it…and she wanted to share this wonderful feeling with Genis.
However, she questioned if that was something she should really attempt. She didn't want to damage her relationship with the silver hair mage because that was what she cared about most in her life. She thought that it was obvious at that point that Genis did harbor those feelings, but she didn't want to risk it nonetheless…or maybe this doubt originated from her heart and that was why she couldn't admit those feelings.
She then noticed another of her creations, a simple green headband with an s and r combined together. Presea grabbed the piece of cloth and looked out the window, observing the increasing pace of descending snowflakes. The lumberjack had a sudden flashback to when she first crafted the headband, with the words she used as she made it echoing in her mind.
"Sometimes, even if destiny doesn't will us to do something, we should attempt to defy it so we can know why destiny wanted us to follow the path it chose for us. If we don't, we might walk on a path that will lead us away from the happiness that could be real."
Genis looked at the grey sky while awaiting the lumberjack to step outside with him. His heart skipped a beat when he turned around to notice the pink hair girl walk up to his side. Despite that little scare, he smiled when she took a seat beside him in the little chairs that surrounded the little house of Ozette. Things definitely had improved since the time the place was burned to the ground by Desians, but the village was still in the rebuilding process. With only a handful of survivors from that attack, the place was limited when it came to able hands to help fix or inhabit the already obscure village. Other than the capable Presea, there were only three other people that were both rebuilding and living in the forest village. If things continued like this…Ozette would never reach a point where it could be a shadow of its former beauty, and that was something none of the citizens that stuck around for this long yearned for.
While looking around the still wrecked village, Presea let out the best sigh to signify sadness that she could release. She looked over the village that was beginning to be covered in a white blanket with a little disappointment. Things could have been done if people were willing to help, but people were still afraid that tragedy would befall this village once again as soon as reconstruction was completed. "This place used to be so beautiful. Why do people not want to assist us in restoring that beauty?"
Genis contemplated that statement for a few moments, trying to come up with an answer to the question that didn't sound stupid or something along those lines. "Presea, you should stop worrying about these kinds of things. Anything is possible after all, so I'm sure that your village will recover from this and be better than ever."
"Thank you for your words, Genis. You really do seem to know your way with words, despite your stumbling with words," the girl replied, her attempt at a smile forming on her face. As the snow continued to form a white blanket around the village, Genis fought against the nerves in his bond and placed his hand inside Presea's, tightening his grip once she turned her head and continued to let out her attempted smile. The two continued observing the falling white crystals as the warmth they felt in their hands made the two feel closer...and yet it made them feel even more embarrassed. Still though, this experience was one that both Genis and Presea wished would be in their future.
"Genis," Presea began before taking a pause. She attempted to express her feelings, but this was one of those cases where having her emotions sealed away for over ten years was a disadvantage. She then looked over to the headband that she created and let out a deep breath.
"Presea, I like you," Genis confessed, shocking the girl greatly. Did he read her mind or something? That was what she was trying to do, but she was struggling greatly…and yet he was able to admit his feelings for her in a somewhat lax tone. The usually nervous Genis, the same kid that always stuttered whenever he tried talking with Presea, was the one to show confidence when he admitted his feelings like that. How did he do it though?
Silence, the awkward silence that plagued almost every love confession, had reared its ugly face once again. This time, it was suffocating Presea, and it was killing her in the inside. She finally heard what she wanted to hear, but she couldn't let out any word from her mind, let alone her confession of her feelings. Why now of all times though? She hadn't been accustomed to having emotions for the longest time, and yet this was the situation that made her feel like a regular person. Right now, she wanted to attack something out of frustration, but she had to keep her composure for now.
Genis looked at the doll crafted by Presea, Fabre, once again. He grasped the thing in his hand placed it near his chest as he began thinking what to do next. He had gotten past the confession, but he had no idea what to say after it, not like he was used to love confessions after all. He took a deep breath as he always continued his attempts of trying to keep the conversation alive. Right now, he was regretting his decision to tell Presea that he liked her. After all, she was speechless, which could mean that she didn't have any possible way to let him down gently, or she could have been so frightened by that she didn't want to be anywhere near Genis ever again. The point was, the silver hair mage was considering all of the worst scenarios, not realizing that the best case one was a moment away from occurring. All that was stopping it was a case of nervousness on Presea's part.
"Genis…I want to thank you for everything you've ever done for me," Presea began as she freed her hand from the boy's grip.
"Oh no, she really didn't like me. I screwed up." Despite sadness overtaking his subconscious, Genis put on a fake smile and nodded in response to Presea's opening statement. He couldn't let her know that he was really depressed right now.
However, instead of saying that she never wanted to see him again or letting him down with attempted gentleness, Presea leaned in and kissed Genis right on the lips. Flashes of crimson appeared on both individuals faces, but they didn't exactly try to get away from the other either. Both of them were overwhelmed by happiness at the moment, as they shared their first kiss together, but Genis was even more overjoyed then Presea. His doubts disappeared the moment her lips made contact with his, which was exactly what he hoped would happen with words instead. He looked towards the still blushing Presea, listening intently as she began talking.
"Genis, I wanted to thank you for everything you've done for me, but I realized that I could never show my gratitude with words alone. As I thought of ways that could repay the debt I owe you, I felt this weird feeling in my heart whenever I thought of you. Eventually, I began thinking of you at almost every moment of everyday. I think you figured it out by now, but that weird feeling in my heart was love. The reason I called you here was to confess my love, but I didn't know how to do it. Then, when you confessed your feelings, you eased my doubts. I'm glad that I was able to meet you, because I realize now…I need you to be in my life. Would you be willing to always be with me, Genis?" Presea requested as she extended her arm towards the boy, hoping he would accept it.
"Presea, when we first met….I thought you were a cute girl and just had a small kiddie crush on you. Over time though, as we got to know one another more and I found out more about your sorrowful past, I wanted to be there for you always. My crush turned into a real love for you, Presea. I'll always be by your side, as a friend or as your partner," Genis told her as he smiled. He took the girl's arm, and pulled her to his chest, embracing her in his arms.
Snow continued as the two stood there, embracing one another and their love. From the trees, a boy with spiky brown hair and wearing a white scarf was observing them while leaning on the trunk of the vegetation. Standing right beside him was a girl with long blonde hair, also smiling as she watched Genis and Presea get closer together. With a nod, the duo began to leave the area, only for the girl to trip on something, falling into the snow. With a small grin, the boy shook his head and offered his hand to pick up the girl before the duo approached a woman with black hair wearing a ninja uniform.
At the same time, on the other side of Presea's residence, two other people were watching from the base of the trees while a third was observing from the branches of the same trees. The one in the trees, a man with long red hair and a white headband grinned as he watched over the two's talk. "'Bout time they did this, don't you guys think?"
The first of the observers on the ground, a man with long blue hair closed his eyes in thought for a moment before beginning to walk away. "I don't see why we spied on them. We originally wanted to check up on Presea, but we steered away from that. Let's just go already."
The second ground observer, a woman that resembled Genis, silver hair and wearing orange robes, also began to walk away. Unlike the man though, she turned around one last time at Genis before smiling. "You've really grown up, Genis. I can't call you my little brother anymore, now can I?"
With a frown on his face, the man with red hair jumped from his position in the trees and landed besides the two, slowly walking away with his arms behind his back. "You guys are so boring sometimes. Fine, I'm out of here."
As he began leaving, he noticed the man with long blue hair looking up to the sky with a small smile on his face as a lone tear began coming out of his eye. "Alicia, your sister has finally become a grown woman, even if she still looks like a child. Your duty to watch over her has been passed on to Genis. You can finally rest peacefully."
As the door to Presea Combatir's house shut close, the snow began to lighten up. However, the white blanket had covered everything on the ground of Ozette, clearly revealing just how much time passed since her and Genis Sage's conversation began, and since they started walking down a new path of destiny. However, there was one little area of grass left over to reveal something lying on the porch. With a green headband tied to it, the tiny doll named Fabre lied on the ground, awaiting the new answer to the meaning of its owner's life.