meant the world to me.

Mithos is outside when they land the rheihards and he's smiling so much. He's shielding his eyes with a hand, but he's waving his other arm to say hello and the second that Genis is off the rheihard, he runs towards him, takes his hand, and smiles even more.

"Welcome! Genis, I missed you!"

His hand is warm and just a little rough, but it makes Genis feel things he's never ever felt: as if his chest could break from this single, perfect moment, or as if it was really okay for him to be a half-elf, as if there's someone in the world who'd accept him no matter what.

"You like him a lot, don't you?" Lloyd asks on day when they're the ones keeping guard, in a soft voice that seems Lloyd would be unable to have.

Genis blushes a little and he looks towards the fire, toes shifting inside his boots.

"I..." and admitting it seems like too much, even with his best friend. Perhaps because it's Lloyd, and Genis has held his opinion so high above his head for so long.

So he swallows a little, shrugs and shrinks a little into the protective embrace of his own arms, resting his chin against his knees, holding his ankles.

"... I think so. It's just... he needs me more than anyone else ever has. And that's..."

Lloyd hums a little at that, feeds another log to the fire. Genis still can't see him.

"He seems a nice kid, mostly. I mean, he still looks at us sometimes as if he was afraid or angry, but I guess that kinda makes sense, a little, and it's not his fault. " Lloyd says finally. Genis glances at him and Lloyd gives him a grin. "'sides, if my best friend decided to like him, he's gotta be awesome."

Genis feels his blush darkening and covering his face, but he's smiling too and he nods a little at Lloyd, then pushing him away when Lloyd reaches to tousle his hair.

Mithos kisses him before they leave Palmacosta, when everyone is talking with Neil about the possibility of the ranch coming back, making plans.

He wraps his hand around his wrist and tugs him towards the corner, where they won't be seen and before Genis can ask what's wrong, Mithos' mouth is touching his.

It feels like receiving a magic attack, but nicer. Genis trembles a little, eyes wide open as Mithos kisses him, his arms on his shoulders, pressing him against the wall. He's not sure what to do, has only seen it with other people (Lloyd didn't know he had been awake and he was never ever going to say he had seen that) and before he can try to do anything, Mithos breaks the kiss.

He doesn't move away, rather he leans against him, head over his shoulder, and his arms move around his waist.

"Stay with me, Genis," Mithos asks against his shoulder. He's trembling a little and Genis feels scared and worried and... perhaps a little bit strong, like this; he holds Mithos close to him and he caresses his hair carefully.

It feels so soft, and Mithos is so warm, and Genis turns his head a little and presses a kiss to Mithos' temple, hugging him tightly.

"I... I can't, I've to go and help them..." he almost doesn't want to, but he promised, and he will carry on his promise, because he has everything to prove.

Mithos nods a little, keeps on holding him. Genis thinks he might be crying a little.

"I know, Genis, but..." and Mithos breaks a little apart of him then, and his eyes are liquid and perhaps a little bit hurt. Genis moves a hand to his face and Mithos leans against it, turns his head to press a kiss to the heal of his hand. "I mean... later. When. When things are over... would you stay with me? I don't wanna be alone anymore..."

He remembers what he told Lloyd, and how warm Mithos makes him feel. Mithos needs him, truly and honestly. And that... that's important, that's bigger than big.

He wants to protect Presea, but she doesn't need him, not really: she's strong enough on her own and even though he tries... but Mithos needs him, despite everything else.

So Genis leans forward, standing a little on his tiptoes as he kisses Mithos gently, eyes closed and his hand still on his face, his other hand on his shoulder. He can feel Mithos' shocked gasp, the way he trembles a little before he presses against him again, soft and sweet.

"I'll stay with you, Mithos," he says when he breaks apart, taking his hand. Genis can feel himself blushing but he smiles, nods a little. "I promise!"

Weeks later, Genis presses his face against the pillows and does his best not to cry or, if he has to, for his tears to be silent and he wonders how to act now because he promised and a promise is important, right?

Does a promise still counts when you've been betrayed?