By: Kitten Kisses (Manna)

You can go through life, thinking you are invincible, never once bothering to think, 'Well, that could be me…' A lot of people do it. A lot of people sit at home, or at school, or at work- and only think about themselves. About how much time they have left before the end of the day- before the end of that particular hour.

'When will it be time to go home?' they ask one another, and they think nothing of it. Living in "The Now", as it's called. They only care about that day- only wanting to be freed from their job, their schooling, or that awful Cabin Fever from sitting indoors all winter long.

God forbid they ever let themselves wonder about how much time they have left; period.

Genis Sage had known about death. Had seen it- nearly experienced it himself once or twice- had dealt it; and had accepted it for what it was. Not quite as reckless as a child running with scissors, he lived his life thinking of the next day, but not much else.

'What could happen tomorrow?' crossed his mind once or twice, but never did he wonder about Thursday, or next Easter. He was alive- attending the newly rebuilt Palmacosta school- and his friends and family were out doing things that would make a substantial difference in the world. He was proud of them, really.

His shock was immense when he was called out of class one rather rainy, dreary day. His thoughts jumbled together; not a single one making any sense to him.

A part of him hoped that it was something wonderful- honor roll, or perhaps they wanted to tell him he was top of the class this year- but his heart sunk as he realized that, while it was a rather optimistic thought, his hopes were false. He knew something was wrong, and he hated himself for it, because he didn't have the slightest idea what was going on.


He remembered stammering. Mispronouncing words that he never would have normally messed up.

"You have to hurry," they insisted.

And he cried. Cried because the news was so sudden. Cried because it was so cold and wet outside. Cried because it was a Thursday (and Goddess, how he hated Thursdays), and he was scared, and angry, and alone.

And something in the back of his mind reminded him that school would be over in approximately 43 minutes.

When he got to Altamira, hours later, his face was wet from the rain, and from his own tears. He'd lost his lunch long ago, but he still felt like he wanted to retch again. Over and over, until he couldn't feel anything anymore.

Why had he let her go alone? 'Why?'

He had known it was dangerous. A dangerous mission- with an objective that was so difficult that nobody should have let her go alone. He knew how much she had wanted to end discrimination- more for him than for herself. But discrimination ran deep, and even though the two worlds were united as one… things hadn't gotten any better.

It was still scary. So scary. The intolerance of people that were not human, nor elf, was at a level that nobody really could understand. People were at the point where they didn't realize it anymore; the why. They just knew that they hated those who were neither one nor the other. And when they couldn't explain why, it broke his heart- and most likely his sister's, as well.

But these people had been like that for so long, that even though they knew they were wrong- and hated knowing it- they wanted people like the Professor to just go away. To leave them alone to wallow in their bigotry and biasness. To hate whomever they pleased, and to look down on people like Genis, so that they could feel better about themselves.

'An attack' they told him, not able to look him in the eyes. She'd been trying to end the hate against their kind. And they hated it. They wanted to keep on living the way they always had.

"It's not so much that they're doing it, Genis," Raine had remarked to him, once, before she started on her journey. "It's that they don't even realize that they are doing it anymore. It is nothing but a constant cycle of hate and regret. Their regret makes them feel guilty, and therefore angry- at us, for causing them these feelings in the first place. And they lash out at us, and end up regretting it; a continuous cycle."

He nearly choked on his own sobs.

He had hoped (though this hope was dashed as soon as he saw her) that she would be resting comfortably in a hotel room- or even in the home of Duke Bryant. And she was there- lying right on top of Regal's own bed, her face still contorted in pain, her body limp.

So lifeless…

He felt his own heart stop, and skip a beat. Stop, and skip two beats. He could have died right there, and he would have been perfectly happy to do so.

A hand on his shoulder. Comforting words. The voice of a girl that he had loved, once.

He heard and felt nothing as he ran to her side. His clammy hands went straight to her face, tracing the contours of her once lovely, unmarred skin. Her hair was damp- with sweat? With blood? - and he shakingly reached a hand over to move some of her bangs out of her eyes before letting his hands go back to her face.

He almost didn't see the blood. Almost didn't see the lacerations, or the arrows in her side, or the twisted look of pain that was still on her face.

But he looked into her eyes.

He never could forget her eyes. The same color as his- but hers brimmed with passion when she spoke about something she loved. About ending discrimination, about ancient theories; about teaching. And sadness was etched into them from the past that only she remembered- it would never go away. He loved her eyes.

But these eyes were empty- lost to the world, and to him.

She was dead.

His mind refused to process the words being spoken to him.

He remembered, later, how he had screamed. They'd told him it was a gut-wrenching scream. One that could have shattered the heavens, and made the angels cry. The tears were back (would they ever go away?), and he had screamed; not in fury, or in grief, but in utter loss, a hand pointed at the Duke.

"Why didn't you help her?!"

He knew Regal already felt terrible- felt guilty, about letting this happen on his own land. About not being there for a friend; about not being able to save her life. Genis saw the horror, the pain, the anguish, and the heartbreak- all of it- in those cornflower-blue eyes. But he couldn't stop. Couldn't stop yelling; at him, and at any god who ever lived who could possibly hear him.

"You have to help her! You have to!"


He didn't see Presea's form in the corner of the room, nearly shrinking away from him; he tried to ignore the Duke's words. He just continued to shout, until his voice and legs failed him, and he found his face buried in his sister's chest, his eyes unable to produce any more tears.

Had she died alone? "…Bled to death", he thought he heard Regal say behind him. His heart nearly broke in two. He hadn't been there when she has needed him- and neither had Regal, or Lloyd, or Sheena, or…

He stopped his thoughts when he swore he could feel a smack against the back of his head, and then he sighed, unable to speak.

Just breathe.

She was dead. Gone. Never coming back. But it wasn't Regal's fault. Or his own, or Lloyd's. His heart ached for her. She would have smacked him a good one for placing the blame where it didn't belong.

He curled up beside her on the bed, not caring if his clothes were dirtied, and let his head rest on her shoulder. Regal and Presea were quiet. She must have been in so much pain…

It was then that he realized that he hated these people that had done this to her. Who had killed her, and had left him alone. He hated these humans- completely and utterly so, with every fiber of his being. And he would kill them if he could.

Kill them all. Every. Last. One.

And he wondered, briefly, if Mithos had felt the same way when Martel had died.

His bleary eyes focused on the clock on the wall; 12:01am.

It was Friday.

Author Notes:

I dunno what I think of this. It's my first Tales fic in awhile, though, so comments and criticism are more than welcome.

Genis is a hard character to write, in my opinion.

How did this story make you feel? Sad? Downright depressed? Think that it needs some work? Let me know!