Title: To Be by Your Side
Author: Faker of Innocence aka goldenneko
Set + Theme: # 2 + # 7 gamble
Fandom: Marchen Awakens Romance
Pairing (platonic or romantic)/Character/Threesome: Phantom x Alviss (Romantic)
Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Angst/Romance
Warning(s): Spoilers: Before and after the 5th Round of the Final Battle: Nanashi vs. Peta; the aftermath of Peta's death.
Word Count: 1804 words
Disclaimer: I have checked my account bank; still do not have enough money to own Alviss, Phantom or Marchen Awakens Romance. And never will.
Summary: Alviss has an actual reason to pursue Nanashi in his Battle against Peta, even when his other friends encourage the thief to give up. His reason? Phantom. [PhanxAl, hinted PhanxPeta and NanaxAl

o-o-o-o-o-o

"You do realise he is going to hate you after this?"

"Yes."

The older man sighed. He knew the youth was always supportive, but he never cared about the reason behind them. But now, he knew he had to interfere, either the other wanted it or not. "Nanashi has always respects you, Alviss, but if he knew the real reason why you do this, he won't be happy. The whole team won't, in fact."

The young warrior looked up from where he had been staring at the ground; his blue eyes determined. "Yes, I'm aware of that, Alan-san, but I have to do this."

"To secure your place beside him?"

Alviss hesitated at that; the other man knew the answer, better than him perhaps, but saying out loud was something he was not willing to do now. "Maybe. I don't know."

"And I'll have you know that I'm not happy either. This is not like you, Alviss," Alan huffed, an obvious displease on his aged face, "To do this to your own teammates, it's inexcusable."

"I know my act is inexcusable, but…," Unable to get anymore words to explain, the cursed youth just shook his head. "I can't explain it, I realised that. And you have no reason to trust me, Alan-san. But I really hope you can do this one favour for me."

"… And that is?"

Thanking the older man silently, Alviss bowed low to him and said, "Please, don't ever tell the rest the reason why I do this. Let them have their own presumption about it."

"Which I'm sure will never lead to the real reason." Noticing the youth was still bowing, he shook his hand as if dismissing him. "Very well, Alviss, I won't tell them. But I won't have any responsibilities if they found out about this themselves."

"Thank you, Alan-san."

o-o-o-o-o-o

He was sitting, alone, at one of the balconies of the Restava's floating castle when he heard a set of familiar footsteps behind him. As the black figure approached him, he asked in a low voice, "Did he follow what his friends want; for him to give up his match against Peta?"

The man stopped mere inches from the back of the chair where Phantom was sitting. "If you really think he's going to give up, then you have really underestimated him, Phantom. Nanashi is not the kind of person who will give up just like that."

Looking backwards at his guest, the immortal Knight let out a smirk. "It seems that you're one of his friends who really believe in his strength, Alviss."

"After what I've done, that's the last thing I can do for him," Alviss replied, as Phantom motioned to the youth to come nearer to him.

As soon as Alviss stood beside him, Phantom got up from his chair, took one of his tattooed hands and gently rubbed his thumb on the back of it. "Still feeling guilty?"

"… What make you think like that?" Alviss asked, in a soft voice that quickly became one of the features that Phantom started to cherish about him.

Guiding the MÄR warrior to the railing of the balcony, Phantom turned to fully face at the youth beside him. He quickly noted the worries on the other's face. Slowly, he let go of the other's hand, and cupped Alviss' face. "It was obvious on your expression, Alviss. If it was so hard for you, maybe you should tell them about us."

"And lost them at the same time? That's something that I can't do, Phantom. And besides, you don't tell the rest of Chess no Koma about us too."

"I can't lost their trust, especially the Knights and at these times, too."

"It's the same for me. Especially, his… Nanashi's trust," the cursed youth hesitated at mentioning the thief's name, not knowing the older man's reaction about it.

But Phantom did nothing, apart from smiling. "I know about your feelings towards that man, Alviss, but," the Knight leaned closer, whispering to Alviss' right ear, "I also know your feelings towards me are stronger."

"Phantom…," Alviss whispered, his breath breezed through Phantom's cheek. "I understand what you are saying, but I have to do this." Hesitantly, he raised both his arms to loosely hug the waist of the man in front of him.

Phantom sighed; pulled back to face the Cross Guard warrior, only to kiss him softly on his lips. "I know. But I'll have you know that Peta is not going to be easy on him either. Both aren't."

"… Yes."

"We both have our reason why we want either Peta or Nanashi to win. I just hope they don't regret it," Phantom smiled, noticing the small smile that had started to creep onto Alviss' lips.

"Yes, I know they won't. Both Nanashi and Peta."

o-o-o-o-o-o

The Battle next day was intense. Even the supporters seemed to have noticed that one of the fighters would lose their life by the end of the Battle. It was either Nanashi who fought for the revenge for his dead comrades, or Peta who fought to remain by Phantom's side, as an immortal.

Watching the Battle from the side, Alviss knew he made the right choice of giving the holy Ärm, Aegis, to Nanashi. Without it, Nanashi would have die during the earlier part of the Battle. And Alviss would lose the bet he made for himself.

Just like the rest, he was also shocked when he found out about Peta's zombie tattoo. But somehow, he was not surprise to know Peta did it voluntarily and Phantom approved. He knew Peta was way too important to Phantom.

More reason to get rid of him; to get him away from Phantom.

In the end, it was the Aegis which gave Nanashi the advantage to win over Peta. Peta died, of course, killed by Jimnote. Although Alviss was happy that Nanashi won and alive, but he could not show it.

Not when he watched Phantom's tears running down his cheeks because of Peta's death.

Deep in his heart, Alviss hoped Phantom would forgive him; for giving a hand in killing the man's best friend.

o-o-o-o-o-o

Phantom had always known that he somehow was able to predict things that would happen in the future. Out of four Battles before, he had guessed that MÄR would at least won two of it – Alviss and Dorothy's Battles. Rolan and Chimera have their own insecurities that could be easily destroyed by the two warriors' strong wills to win. It was not easy predicted the other two Battles – the warriors have too many similarities.

He, however, failed to predict the result of the 5th Final Battle. He was confident that Peta would win the Battle. And in his prediction, he failed to put in one major key in helping Nanashi…

"… Phantom?"

… Alviss.

When he saw the Luberia leader used Aegis and thanked Alviss for it, he knew the youth had his hands in to help Nanashi. He once saw the Ärm in Alviss' possession, but somehow he never used it.

"Phantom, are you okay?" Alviss asked, his voice hesitate. The youth knew Phantom had somehow figured out who gave Aegis to Nanashi, and he wanted to know the man's reaction.

"Did the Ärm, Aegis, belong to you, Alviss?" Phantom asked, without turning to face the youth. His voice was so bitter, with hidden anger in it that Alviss almost flinched loudly. Still, he knew he could not deny something that the older man has already knew.

"Yes."

The short answer from the youth had confirmed everything else. Alviss owned Aegis, gave it to Nanashi, and assured his winning. Assured Peta's death.

Turning, he continued, his anger could no longer be restrained. "Pray tell me then, Alviss, why did you give it to Nanashi? I thought we are not to help them in any way in order for them to win. It's all up to their abilities for them to win their Battle and life all by themselves." He was about to continue showing his anger physically towards Alviss, his hand raised, when he saw it. The look of determination, seeped with guilt, looked up at him.

"I'm only giving him confidence and trust, Phantom. Something that Peta got from you. Something that Nanashi did not get from his friends and subordinates. I'm not good at words, you know that, and I'm not close enough to him to tell him that he had my trust and confidence. He might even think I got my head knocked at the wrong side if I said that to him, anyway," Alviss gave a small laugh, causing Phantom to smile, before continuing.

"And even by giving Aegis to him, I still can't be sure if Nanashi can win. He's very over-confident of himself, and tends to underestimate his opponent, although I don't think he would do that with Peta. After Aegis was destroyed until up to the point where he used Jimnote, it's all up to Nanashi. If he were to die during that time, I can't help him anymore. But least of all I want him to know: I trust him."

Alviss' defensive speech was so long and organized that Phantom thought that he might have practiced a few times before meeting him. Alviss' next sentences, however, caused his anger to dissipate totally.

"If you think he's more important to me, then don't. You're the most important person to me now, and Nanashi's victory will not change that. You said you want me to think for myself, now I am. The reason why I do all these is because I want you for myself. That's it."

Phantom raised his hand once again, but instead of doing what he intended to do earlier, he put it on Alviss' cheek. The youth finally closed his eyes, knowing that Phantom had accepted what he had just said.

"I understand, Alviss. You're just giving him a chance to win, and I can see that. But remember; tomorrow, I will give my all to defeat Ginta, even kill him if I must, and you can't stop that."

The blue eyes snapped open. "But…"

"No, Alviss, I will not change my mind about that. Maybe I won't kill Ginta, but we'll see. The MÄR had won, anyway, and the only thing I can do now is to show them, your team, how important Peta was to me." He pulled Alviss to a hug, whispering his next thought to him.

"And right now, the only person that matters to me is you, and I will not let them take you away from me."

As they kissed, Alviss had only one thought: Will his love for Phantom wins over everything? Or will his loyalty towards his team bars his path?

Be that as it may, there was only one way to find out.

o-o-o-o-o-o

A/N:

I wrote this fic mainly based on the anime, except on the point when Nanashi received Aegis from Alviss, which I took from the manga. I honestly don't like the existence of the extra characters from Luberia, and I like to stick with the fact that it was Alviss who owned Aegis, and then giving it to Nanashi; rather than Alviss found it somewhere at the Luberia's graveyard and gave it to Nanashi. It suited the fic better anyway.

Love it, or hate it?

Please read and review. Thank you.

F.o.I aka goldenneko