My first Guy/Natalia one-shot. I completed this quite a while ago, but I wanted to wait for an official Tales of the Abyss section before posting it. I've written many Guy/Natalia one-shots since then, so instead of posting them all separately, I will make them separate chapters of a single fic--Tame the Phoenix. The title of each chapter ultimately serves as a theme for that chapter.
Overall summary: Guy has never enjoyed his gynophobia, that's for certain; but it becomes even more difficult to endure whenever he finds himself standing face-to-face with Kimlasca's princess. And needless to say, Natalia is not a fan of the phobia either. This is a collection of one-shots that revolve around the difficulty of developing a relationship when one person is terrified of the opposite sex.\
Spoilers: Definite spoilers for Akzerieuth, and a very subtle spoiler for the end of the game.
Disclaimer: I do not own Tales of the Abyss, and that will (unfortunately) not change as I continue to post fanfics and chapters.
Tame the Phoenix
When they told their companions that they were now a couple, everyone reacted in their own ways. Tear had turned red and gave soft-spoken congratulations. Luke had beamed and said that he was thrilled to see two of his oldest friends together. Anise had cursed that one of her potential noble bachelors had been taken. And lastly Jade had told Guy that he was impressed, and then whispered slyly to Natalia, "Good luck."
The Kimlascan princess had initially raised her brow in confusion at Jade's words, but soon dismissed them as irrelevant—simply another example of Jade being his usual vague and inexplicable self. After a matter of months, however, those words returned to her thoughts and began to make perfect sense. "Good luck getting Guy to overcome his fears," he may as well have said. For after so much time being with Guy, and yet him never actually touching her, Natalia had begun to grow thoroughly frustrated and torn as to what she should do. The very last thing that she wanted to do was to break her relationship with Guy.
Throughout their journey together, Natalia would be lying if she said that she had never considered anyone but Guy as a romantic interest. In fact—Jade aside—Guy probably would have initially been her last choice amongst the males around her. Her eyes had originally been set upon Luke; and then Asch, her true childhood sweetheart, had held her unwavering attention for such a long time. But Luke was a mere replica, who also clearly belonged to Tear, and although Asch had shown Natalia sincere caring and concern, he was never really the boy that she vowed to protect the country with and was not fated to ever have the chance to become that boy again.
And then there was Guy, the one who had been with her all along. He had motioned her past Asch when her priorities went astray. He had lifted her spirits when she was uncertain of whom she really was. And he had protected her, from beginning to end. She had always seen Guy as nothing more than a source of amusement; a future servant of hers once she married Luke—or Asch. She would tease him and approach him only to make him fearful because his phobia of women was far too entertaining to her. She had only seen how dire it could be went she had moved close to him to express her thanks for having made her smile, and he had backed off. Now, she thought, it's the most serious thing on my mind.
She had been visiting Grand Chokmah for a week at that point. Officially, she was strictly there for business with Emperor Peony; to make arrangements between Kimlasca and Malkuth. Unofficially, and yet more importantly, she was there to spend time with Guy. Due to the fact that they lived in cities at opposite ends of the world, the two rarely had the chance to see one another. When Natalia had arrived in Grand Chokmah, she had been so ecstatic to show up at Guy's mansion's doorstep and to meet him with a fervent embrace when he appeared in the doorway. The instant that he opened the door and she approached him, however, he stepped back with a look of terror in his eyes. He had clearly tried to conceal it as best as he could, but that panic had been the clearest thing that Natalia saw.
Seven days later, she stood alone in her guest chamber and gazed out of the window. She didn't see the breathtaking view of the city lit up in the night; she simply saw Guy's eyes, both miserable and afraid—all because of her. Good luck... Jade's voice rang in her ears, truthful and challenging. She needed more than luck; answers would have been nice right about then. Answers to questions like: what should I do? Is a change even possible? Should I stay? Natalia heaved a sigh as she pressed her palm against the spotless window, "Good luck, Natalia," she murmured to herself, "Good luck figuring out what exactly you think you're doing."
She let her hand trail down the clear glass until the ends of her fingers caught onto the frame. With a final painful glance outside, she dropped her hand to her side and then turned towards the room's door. She briskly walked towards it, snatching her traveling bag off of the bed along the way. Before opening the door, she tossed her bag's strap over her shoulder and then stepped out into the hallway. She strode through the corridor until reaching a door that was left ajar, a faint light seeping out and stretching across the floor. Natalia took in a deep breath and let it out heavily, yet softly, to herself. She pushed the door open and stepped into the room, finding Guy sitting over a desk and writing words down swiftly onto a paper. Books were scattered everywhere in the room; all around him, on the floor, on shelves, both opened and closed. He may have used an interest in traveling as an excuse before he admitted his past as Malkuth noble, but it was rather apparent that it was never a lie at all.
"Natalia!" he greeted her with a jovial grin that the princess couldn't help but return, though rather weakly when compared to Guy's smile. He had lifted his head as he uttered her name, but after a second he looked back down at the paper in front of him as he continued to jot things down. Natalia could tell that he wanted to write down all that he had planned before the words left his mind, and that was perfectly acceptable by her account. "I'm writing letters to Luke, Tear, and Anise," he proclaimed while continuing to write, "I was thinking that while you're out here, and while Jade's not doing any outside military work, it would be nice to have little get-together. It's been so long since we've all seen each other at once."
Natalia took a step further into the room and then pushed the door silently closed behind her before leaning her back against it. "That would be nice..." she said with utmost sincerity. It was regretful, to her, that she would be the one to prevent such a reunion from occurring.
Guy looked up to her with a brief, joyous smile once again; but an instant after his eyes settled on his letter once more, he did a double-take and returned his stare to Natalia, where it finally rested. "Natalia?" he spoke with overwhelming disquiet, puzzlement, "Is something wrong...?"
The princess rested her hand on the strap over her shoulder and tried her hardest not to avert her gaze from Guy. He looked so hurt, as though he already knew what she was about to say. "It sounds so lovely, Guy, but my business here was completed after my first day in Grand Chokmah. I really think that I have overstayed my visit already."
"Natalia, of course you haven't—"
"I'm sorry, Guy." She knew that this sudden departure would have made much more sense to Guy had she actually taken a moment to explain herself, but she felt that even her reasoning was pathetic. Since when were women the ones to grow upset by the fact that there was no physical contact in a relationship? Typically, girls were supposed to be patient and more than willing to wait; they were supposed to be thrilled by mental connections and deep conversations. Such was exactly the type of relationship that she and Guy had developed, but Natalia was growing uncertain. Impatience and loss of will were taking her over, and she wanted to touch him. She wasn't asking for much, just a quick embrace, or a reassuring squeeze of her hand—a simple gesture to tell her that he was trying. Her mind had been made up: she had to leave, so perhaps things would be renewed when she laid eyes on Guy again. "I hope to see you again sometime soon."
Natalia swiftly closed her fingers around the doorknob and pulled the door open. Before she had the chance to step through the doorway, her free hand was restrained. She felt an indescribable sensation spread out through her arm, from the focal point where Guy's hand had wrapped around her wrist. "Don't leave," he pleaded. Natalia didn't even dare to move. She wondered if he noticed that he was actually making contact with her, skin against skin; if he hadn't yet realized it, then she did not want to draw his attention towards it. She wanted to savour the feeling, even if it was for a mere few seconds longer.
"I... I don't want to go," she admitted desolately, turning her head just slightly to the right so that she could capture Guy's gaze. He looked so perplexed.
"Has something happened?" he attempted to pry a little further, since he was at a complete loss as to what had suddenly brought on Natalia's change in demeanour. She had been in such high spirits whenever she and Guy were together on that visit; where had this change come from?
Natalia shook her head defiantly. "No, Guy," her words were forced out through a thickened throat, "Nothing has happened, and that's why I don't know what to do." She felt Guy's grip on her wrist loosening, and her arm slipped away from him. Once the contact ended, she allowed herself to look at his empty hand, and then her own bare arm. "Things simply aren't changing, and so instead of improving and being built upon, our relationship is withering into nothingness."
Unable to think of any words of his own, Guy repeated, dumbfounded, "Nothingness...?"
"Yes, nothingness!" Natalia reiterated her point as she stretched her arm out towards Guy, who recoiled on instinct. "You just can't touch me, can you?"
Guy lifted up his hand defensively, yet still kept a distance between himself and Natalia. "It's not as though I don't want to," he objected, "I just—"
"If you wanted to badly enough, then you would do it!" Natalia protested. She had gone from melancholy to outright fury in a short period of time, although that hardly registered within her mind. Seemingly predicting what Guy was to say next, she snapped, "And please, don't tell me that you can't! It's not as though you're physically incapable. Your mind is just weak! You can't face your fear!"
Forcing himself out of his daze, Guy shook his head in objection, "No!" He reached out slightly, but quickly pulled his hand back to himself. Natalia simply watched his action expressionlessly, and Guy noticed her indifference. His voice lowered significantly as he continued to speak, "Haven't I proved by now that I can face my fears?" he asked. Natalia simply stood there, her silence urging Guy to go on. "But for you, I don't want to just face my fears. I don't want to be holding you in my arms and thinking about how I feel like I'm about to faint out of fright. I..." if only he could bring himself to embrace her right then, "...I want to get over my fears first, Natalia. I want to reach the point where I'm not afraid, at all. So all that I will think about it how amazing it is to be with you."
Natalia actually felt her face soften as she listened to Guy's words. He had such a naturally smooth temperament, and any woman that he spoke with admired that quality in him, and often wanted it for themselves. The Kimlascan princess was so fortunate to have been the one that he chose to be with. Guy's face suddenly grew flustered as he noticed how Natalia's gaze had rested on him, so he turned around and rubbed the back of his head sheepishly as he meandered towards his desk again. Natalia watched Guy in silence for a moment before dropping her bag to the floor and walking up to him, slipping her arms about his torso from behind. She felt his body tense up immediately, but that didn't stop her from nestling her face into the crook of his neck rather comfortably. "N—Natalia?" he stammered with uncertainty.
"Please let me stay here for a little bit," she requested, slightly tightening her hold on Guy, "I just need a moment to remember, until the time when you're ready..." Guy nodded very stiffly and waited until Natalia was prepared to break away. She took her time to absorb the feeling of her body against his, of his size and how easily her arms encircled him, of his hair lightly brushing against her cheek. Once she had taken it all in, she pulled away and watched with a smile as Guy practically melted with relief. "Perhaps you should ask Anise to come here one day, and to lock you in a hug for as long as it takes before you're comfortable with it," the princess teased.
Guy turned around to face her, "Somehow I don't think that I'll ever be comfortable with that," he returned the joke, which made Natalia's face brighten even more. "Besides, knowing Anise she'd probably charge me money for such a request, just because I'd ask her for it and she wouldn't be torturing me of her own free will." Natalia giggled softly, knowing his remark to be all too true. "But don't worry," Guy stepped forward so that there was very little space between himself and Natalia, "I'll do all that I can so that I can enjoy a moment like that, just as you did right now."
Natalia tilted her head upwards so that she her and Guy's eyes could meet; within them, she saw a serenity that she had never witnessed before. She compared that simple look shared between them with the embrace that she had experienced prior, and decided that a mutual moment was somehow more thrilling than a one-sided one. "I'm certain that when you can enjoy it, I will get even more pleasure from it as well," she took a step back and blew a kiss towards Guy, watching as his face turned red as though her lips had actually touched him, "And for such a reason, I'll manage to wait."
Thank you for reading! I happen to enjoy this one-shot, but I'd really love to hear from readers. I hope that you continue to read future one-shots if you happened to like this one.