Note: Thoughts and flashbacks will be in italics.

So, this is my first attempt at a romance fic and a Tales of Symphonia fic. So be nice! Please!

Presea stood alone at the entrance to the ruined town of Ozette. Longingly, she stared at the burnt houses and the rotting trees. She could not get her time back. Neither daddy nor Alicia would come back. She had been left behind, staying in her little child body as people who had once been younger than her suddenly grew up. She stared at her fathers' grave, remembering…

She heard the sheets rustle from the direction of her fathers room. Blindly following her daily routine, she walked into the room. Her father, Sieg, lay in bed, slowly dying. Rising up from the old sheets, he asked her quietly, "Presea, is that you…?"

But Presea did not open her mind to her fathers' words. She walked, steadfast, towards the cabinet. Withdrawing her fathers' ax, she left the room and began the trek to the poison marsh for the sacred wood. Like always, Presea would transport the Sacred Wood to Meltokio for the Martel Church. She had been doing this for 4 years now. There was never any change in her work. Without a little variety, you would think a job would be boring, right? But not to Presea. She didn't have the soul to feel bored. Her emotions were so suppressed that she could not express anything.

"Presea, wait!" Sieg tried to call to her, but his strength failed him. He fell back upon the sheets, coughing and hacking violently. The disease ravaged his body, robbing him of his former strength. He was supposed to be lifting that ax, not his child. He cursed his own weakness. It had been this way ever since his wife had died.

Alicia had gone to serve a noble family. She had used to write letters to them every week. But they eventually stopped. When Sieg had fallen ill, Presea wanted to support her father and make things easier. But things had not worked out for the best. Presea had been equipped with a Cruxis Crystal to help with the work. But it caused a horrible change in her. Sieg had not seen his daughter age since that day 4 years ago. He had not seen her smile since then, either.

Presea turned away, eyes blurring. Tears fell down her face. She was alone in this world. No family left to care for her. Her thoughts turned to her younger sister Alicia.

"My sister…. did you too think I was a monster? I stayed behind in this form as even you surpassed me. You grew up and fell of love. In the end, you too were a victim of the Exspheres…" Presea told herself.

The whole classroom fell silent as Presea walked in. Everyone watched as she walked robotically toward her seat near the window.

The teacher laughed nervously. "Ah, Presea Combatir… you're here today too." She also muttered under her breath, "I wish that little monster would stop coming to my class. She is so disturbing. Not only that, but she hasn't moved to the next grade for 11 years now. She should be an adult."

One little girl, her hair in pigtails, whispered to the boy next to her, "Do you see that girl over there with the pink hair, Presea? Look at her eyes! They are just blank and empty."

A girl behind her joined in the conversation, "I heard my dad say it was because that pendant on her neck, with the glowing crystal. He says she hasn't aged at all since the day she got it, and that you can't tell if she is happy or sad or anything!"

The boy butted in, "Well, I heard that her father died a long time ago. She just left his body to rot and hasn't even buried the skeleton."

"By the Goddess Martel… she's a monster!"

Presea tightly clenched her fists, her cheeks turning red in anger. "Vharley… I was left behind because of you. My sister was murdered by Regal because of you… I hate you."

"I'm going to die here… just like…that damned… Alicia." Vharley gasped as Regal knocked him to the floor with a kick.

"Do not mock Alicia!" Presea cried out in vengeance, striking upon him with her ax.

Presea said to herself, "But I remember what Lloyd said… 'Revenge just leads to more violence and hate… and pointless bloodshed.'" She heard footsteps approach from behind.

She turned around and saw that it was Genis. She quickly wiped at her eyes so he could not see that she had been crying.

Genis saw that her face was red, and her clothes were a bit ruffled. He asked her, "Presea, are you all right?"

Presea shook her head, "It… it's nothing." Genis came and stood by her side.

"You've been remembering, haven't you?" Genis asked her softly.

Presea looked at her house, "Yes. I have. Genis, I was left behind by time. Scorned by people I once considered friends. My father lay wasting away as I blindly worked… my sister turned into a monster and was killed by the man she loved… I have no family left in this world."

Genis blushed, and fidgeted with something behind his back. "But Presea… you have us."

Presea looked at the ground, "Yes… Genis, you really are wise. I was so wrapped up in my past… that I have been ignoring my present with the people who care about me."

Genis, now blushing furiously, quickly handed a box, " Here. It's a gift for you… a thanks for the wealth charm."

Presea unwrapped the box and her face lit up happily, "Genis, thank you! I love it!" Placing the ax sharpener in her pocket, she hugged the young mage.

Genis, now blushing furiously, took hold of Presea's hand. " Why don't we go see Lloyd and Colette? We can talk about reuniting the world… and a new future."

Presea held his hand tightly. "Yes… I'd love that."

The two children walked away, leaving both the ruins of Ozette and Preseas' sorrow behind.

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