Kiss on the Cheek,
Warmth of the Heart

Did it actually count, Alvin wondered, as a kiss, when it was a twelve year old giving it to him on the cheek?

Besides, what did Elize know? She was just a kid. And yet... how was it that the kids knew more than he could even try to understand at this point? He was so torn up over the whole thing that he hardly could tell left from right, let alone figuring out if he allegiance was with Milla and Jude or against them.

Except he kind of had figured it out, though, hadn't he? Because that whole thing he had spieled off to Elize and Teepo? That wasn't a lie. For once in his life, he was talking honestly about his feelings it was probably only because Elize was twelve that he could manage without blunting it into a joke or a taunt towards someone else. He couldn't tell this to Milla. He didn't even think he could tell it to Jude, who had been the exception to the case since he'd joined the two misfits on their journey.

Elize was twelve and she had him talking about how he didn't want to be lonely. Jude was fifteen and he had him faking echoes under his breath as the kid yelled off a mountain top. Alvin didn't talk - he fought tooth and nail and shot people in the back, but he did not talk. And he most certainly did not say echo echo echo under his breath to entertain the kid who, inevitably, ended up hating him in the end.

They made him change. They had made him change in ways that he had never expected and that was simply why he couldn't walk away now. He had to turn his back on Exodus, on Wingul and Presa and Agria, which hurt. He understand exactly what they had gone through and what they were still going through. But... Jude and Milla and Elize and Rowen and even Leia, they made him feel connected in ways that the Chimeriad couldn't. They made him feel like he had a family.

Family was worth fighting for and, if anything was, family was certainly worth dying for. For someone who had grown up without a good family, well, at least not in the past handful of years of his life when he had needed it the most, if he were honest, Alvin wanted to be in good graces with his group. He had told Elize: he didn't want to be lonely.

She accepted him, the stupid kid. How could any of them accept him? He knew that they kept him around so they could watch him, so it was just a false pretence that they cared for him in any certain way. It was alright to live in a world of bliss, for however short of time, but this time, he wasn't going to be fooling himself. He wasn't going to be fooling Jude and the gang from now on. He'd decided where his loyalties lie.

There was something far more intimate about a kiss to the cheek from a person so innocent and so pure like the fresh snow of Kanbalar than pushing a nameless woman against the wall in some back alley behind a bar for a quick fix.

He'd always been about quick fixes. Shooting people before asking questions, taking the easy way out... but no more.

He had someone to stand up for now, not just himself, but people he cared for. And if he didn't at least try... Well, he was pretty much damned if he did, damned if it didn't, but at least he would die with the knowledge that he finally stood up for something.

Oh, Alvin. I love him. I love this game. This scene on the swing-set made me melt. So, whilst it's not that popular a game, there's a category for it and there's a bit on AO3, so I figured, hey, why not?

I do not own Tales of Xillia. I am receiving no profit off of this fanfiction, nor any of my fanfiction. Respective rights to creators and owners. Thank you!