Post-game Gesea one-shot. Written for the talesofexchange on Livejournal for Red. The request was "Gesea; it's cute".
As this is set a while after the game I have assumed that their characters would have changed a bit (particularly in Presea's case). I apologise if they seem a little too out-of-character, I tried to make the way in which their characters developed realistic.
Spoiler warning: contains spoilers about Presea's past and about Genis.
Disclaimer: I don't own Tales of Symphonia, Namco do.
Genis hated it when people treated him like he was a child just because of his size. That didn't mean, however, that he saw anything wrong with acting a little childish when it suited him. He figured that if Colette, Sylvarant's Chosen, could build sandcastles at Altamira and play hide and seek with Noishe then if he wanted to do something slightly less than adult then why shouldn't he? Especially if it helped Presea get used to being normal again.
He blushed as he looked over at the pink haired young woman standing beside him.
"So, which sweets would you like?" he asked after she'd had time to browse.
"I, I don't know which ones are good," she frowned.
"Well, those ones are really nice but a bit sour and those go really nicely with those and, actually, wait, I've got an idea," the mage smiled then asked the shopkeeper for a small amount of sweets from each of the glass jars behind the counter.
After paying for the large pile of paper bags full of sugary treats and putting them into the large basket they were carrying they walked back out of the shop and into the sunshine. Genis shyly took hold of Presea's hand. He nodded in the direction of a field on the outskirts of the small village and she nodded back.
"It's very nice of you to invite me out for a picnic Genis, thank you," she said quietly as he spread a large blanket out on the grassy field.
"It, it's my pleasure," he stammered slightly, still a little shy around the girl he liked, especially when alone with her.
"Are you sure your sister won't mind us eating all that sugar though?" she tipped her head to one side questioningly as the young mage began to empty out the contents of the picnic basket, including the sweets, onto the blanket.
"I'm old enough to make my own decisions on stuff like that," he huffed indignantly. Then he realised how childish the tone he'd used had sounded and added more.
"Besides, we've got a proper healthy lunch here too and we don't have to eat all of the sweets today, you can take some back with you if you like, sort of an edible souvenir. I suspect sis'll try to bring back about half of the archaeological dig with her so a few bags of sweets seems reasonable."
Presea laughed at the look on Genis' face as he pictured his sister coming back from her day out with her arms laden with as many artefacts as she could carry. The sound was a magical one to Genis, made all the more special by the fact that he got to hear it so rarely. He thought, blushing slightly, that if he got the chance after this quest he was on with his sister to help end discrimination against half-elves he would very much like to spend the rest of his days making her laugh like that.
"So, how is your quest going?" Presea asked politely before taking a bite from her sandwich.
"OK I guess. I'd rather not think about it on a day off from it though, if, if that's OK?" he stumbled at the end of his sentence, afraid that he might have offended or upset Presea by dismissing her chosen topic of conversation so quickly. He hadn't, however, and she moved onto a different topic without so much as a frown.
"Did you make these yourself?" she asked, gesturing at the pile of sandwiches. "They're very nice."
"Thank you, yes, I did. I still do most of the cooking. Occasionally I let sis cook but only if I can watch her and make sure she sticks to the recipe. I still don't know how or why she comes up with ideas like trying to add seven chilli peppers to spaghetti on toast," he shook his head.
Presea laughed again. A light, gentle, musical giggle. It made butterflies flutter around in Genis' stomach in a most pleasant way.
"Do you remember the time when she cooked on the journey and served everyone burnt curry with soggy rice?" Presea smiled. "I shouldn't laugh though, I can't really cook very well myself. I even still have trouble just fitting in like a normal person sometimes."
She frowned, suddenly becoming more serious.
"From what I can see you're doing pretty well. Adjusting after what you'd been through, trapped by that experiment, must be so difficult. And anyways, being 'normal' is overrated. Being interested in questions like 'so what do you do?' and so on. Heh, imagine how I'd answer that now," Genis said, pausing for a moment before switching to a stuffy tone of voice. "Well, my previous job was accompanying the Chosen on first the world regeneration journey and then the world reunification journey. I was made redundant from that, however, when our group successfully reunited the worlds. So now I'm on another journey, this time to try to help eliminate discrimination against half-elves.
"Just think of the looks I'd get if I said that at some dinner party," he shook his head, returning to his normal tone of voice. "No, I don't think any of us could ever be entirely what the average person would call normal, not after what we've been through. You know what though? I don't think that matters too much. I think it's more important to be happy."
Genis smiled and offered Presea a chocolate which she accepted, her expression showing that she was deep in thought.
"Thank you Genis," she said after a moment in a serious and sincere tone and he could tell that she wasn't just saying that for the chocolate.
"Hey, look, that cloud sorta looks like Noishe," Genis pointed to the sky, changing the topic to a more light-hearted one.
"It does, doesn't it?" Presea smiled, nodding.
They spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing, eating lunch, spotting unusually shaped clouds and, at one point in the afternoon, Genis taught Presea to make daisy chains. It was something he hadn't done for years, something he'd done as a child back in Iselia with Lloyd and Colette. The simple activity had amused Presea though and had suited the lazy mood of their afternoon.
As the sun began to show signs of setting they both agreed that it was time for them to be heading back. They shook the blanket to clear away any crumbs then packed that along with the rest of their picnic items that were left in the basket.
As Genis was about to stand up Presea placed her hands over the top of his which were resting on the picnic basket handle.
"Thank you so much for a wonderful afternoon," she said. Then she leant forward and placed a light kiss on his cheek. A very gentle, chaste kiss but one that Genis would always remember, like that whole afternoon, with the greatest tenderness, fondness and happiness.