The Tales fanfiction writing has definitely caught up to me. XD
Ok, so this one-shot is based on a very deep conversation between Marta and Zelos. No, they are NOT paired in this story; think of it as a sibling-to-sibling relationship thing. I decided to write this because I remembered that on two skits in the second game, Zelos helps and cheers Marta up about Emil. (After everyone finds out the real truth of Emil) So I just thought how much of a brotherly figure Zelos is to Marta.
Also, this was inspired with the thought and connection between Zelos' betrayal and Emil's betrayal/action at the end of the game. I just thought that those two have some kind of connection.
And yes, there is a ONE-HUNDRED PERCENT worth of spoilers. Don't say I didn't warn you…
One more thing. No, I didn't make up the part with Marta being with Emil again at Palamacosta…I based it off of the good ending in ToS2.
And with that, I do not own the Tales of Symphonia series at all.
Marta stepped out of the luxurious suite room and onto the balcony. The sky was streamed with an endless ocean of stars and all seemed to be twinkling towards the young girl. She took a deep breath of the ocean-scented air, and exhaled with a satisfied smile.
Emil had come back to her. That's all there really was to it, in the most basic sense of view. But to her, it had the greatest impact on her heart and her life. After leaving him and seeing his face for only one last second back at the Ginnungagap, she thought that was the end. End of her. End of him. End of both of them.
She knew she had promised that he would forever be in her heart, wherever she went, and it was only that small hope that helped her to continue on. After leaving painfully from the Otherworldy Gate, she had headed straight for Palmacosta – where it all started. It was hard to believe that their journey had actually started on the night of the Blood Purge, unknowingly. Their fates crossed paths, and from then on, all she saw was his face.
They travelled for quite awhile, and the thought of Emil physically and mentally next to her was something she had gotten used to. To be able to hug him, to be able to talk to him…it was an everyday thing. She never knew that one day she would be torn away from him on that fateful day at the Ginnungagap.
At Palmacosta now, she watched the water, talking to herself and hopefully, hopefully, to Emil who might hear her. She talked about her plans and promised to carry them out…when she suddenly heard footsteps behind her. Already she was exhausted – she hadn't rested after the battle, and she was altogether physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted. Losing her one, loyal companion Tenebrae, and the love of her life, Emil, happened so quickly and yet painfully slow at the same time that it drained her completely.
She slowly turned around to expect some passerby that may have recognized her from her childhood. But instead, she saw a pair of deep, green eyes stare back at her. They were filled with a strong sense of purpose, enthusiasm, and love, all at the same time. The eyes looked at her with anticipation and they slowly blinked at her. The owner of them embarrassingly scratched the back of his head with a light tint of red on his cheeks, and he smiled nervously.
He had come back to her.
She couldn't believe it. She stood in shock, and before she knew it, her whole world had gone blurry with tears. She had no idea what was happening – the only thing she knew was that, he came back to her. Physically. Emotionally. And Mentally. And that's all that mattered as she was held in his arms.
That whole day, without a moment's rest, they stayed together until the sun went down. And even as the sun went up the next morning, he was still there, those same green eyes that protected her all those months.
Marta sighed with a smile on her face. All of that happened only two days ago. Altamira's wind covered her in a warm embrace as she stood looking at the stars. After he had come back, they got the whole gang to be together again, and now everyone was celebrating in Altamira. It seemed that the stars themselves were winking down on her. She looked at Altamira's night life below her, all busy and lit up. How long ago those events had happened…
She rested her cheek on her hand and narrowed her eyes in deep thought. How she missed Tenebrae…even though he was a spiteful little creature. His bad puns, his crackling laughter, his nonsensical lectures about the beauty of darkness, his curious eyes, his interesting and old ways of pronouncing different monsters' name (nazdrovie)…but there was nothing she could do to prevent Tenebrae from returning to Ratatosk. After all, Tenebrae was the Centurion of darkness. There was no way anyone could replace his job and his life long work in serving both the darkness and Ratatosk.
Tenebrae. That little scheming creature. He knew all about Emil and his true being of Ratatosk and of Emil's plan to have Lloyd, herself, and the others to kill him in order for him to become a core. Marta shuddered at the thought. She was glad that it hadn't resorted to that end…she wouldn't know what to do with her life after seeing something like that. Suddenly, a thought hit her. Why hadn't Emil told her of his plan?
Well, it was probably easy to answer in a basic view – he didn't want the others to know so that they wouldn't hold back. And he probably didn't tell Marta because he knew that she wouldn't do it. But was he happy thinking that? Was he content in doing such an action? How did he feel acting as Ratatosk and telling the others to kill him?
Most importantly…How did it look like through his eyes?
The young girl began to tear up. He probably had thought about all this and kept it to himself to avoid burdening others. Why hadn't she seen it before? But that's not what bothered her the most.
How did everyone…how did she, keeper of the fake core, look in his innocent eyes?
A sudden shadow overcastted the bright light that illuminated the balcony that she stood upon. She quickly wiped her tears and pretended to gaze at the beautiful night scenery of Altamira.
"Getting stuffy in there?"
Marta turned her eyes towards a set of ocean-blue ones that gazed into her own. Zelos Wilder, Tethe'alla's chosen.
She gave a small, unsure chuckle. "Yeah. I wanted to let Emil talk with the others."
"Haha, sounds like you own the poor boy."
"W-what?! It's not li-"
"Yeah, I get what you're saying. Young love is a beautiful thing." Zelos' eyes gave a distant look as he gazed ahead passed the bustling city scene. A small smirk was formed on his angelic face as he gave a little chuckle.
Marta noticed this. "You make it sound as if you've experienced that already."
"Hm. Maybe I have," he flashed her a secretive smile.
"But I thought Sheena was-"
Zelos waved aside. "Ah. Well." He turned towards her completely ignoring her remark. "So what's up with you? You looked like you were about to burst into tears when I came up to you. Is the little guy already causing trouble? 'Cause I'm here to help out…"
"No, no, that's not it at all! It's nothing, really. I'm fine."
"You know, lying isn't very good for you, missy, I'll tell you that much."
She sighed. She sighed an awful lot in one night. She couldn't decide whether or not it was good to tell Zelos what she was thinking of. But he did help her at least twice or three times when she had problems of finding out if she really loved Emil or Ratatosk…
She straightened up. "It's Emil."
He didn't move, but instead, intently listened. "Look, I just…"
"Is it about what happened at the Ginnunggagap?"
"He fought Richter with us and then turned himself into a supposed Ratatosk, had us practically kill him, and then almost sacrifice himself to become a core and guardian of the gate with the real Ratatosk." He turned to face her. "What you're wondering is why he didn't tell you anything, and what he thought while he looked at the first friends he ever had kill him."
Marta was speechless. How did this guy manage to know everything she was troubled with?
She said nothing and turned towards the ocean. He must have been hurting so much, and what bothered her was that she hadn't noticed anything.
"…You're also probably beating yourself up for not noticing and predicting what he was going to do, huh? And you probably feel hurt that he didn't tell anyone."
She turned to face him. "How did you guess all of this? There has to be some reason of how you would have known that I was thinking of all this."
He sighed. "Look, what Emil did was up to him. He didn't want to have his own friends kill him, especially with the fate of the world that was balancing on everyone's shoulders at the time. What he did want was to save the world – for everyone, and especially for you, Marta. He wanted you to live – to live the life that he knew he wasn't going to ever complete; not that he had started one normally in the first place."
"But…but if he wanted me to live, why didn't he just tell someone about what he was going to do?!" Marta exclaimed.
"He did. Your little dog companion knew all about it. Of course, he wasn't going to stop Emil; after all, he served under him to begin with."
"What he wanted was for everyone to make it alive safely," Zelos continued. "He knew he didn't have much time left to be roaming around freely; after all, he wasn't human to begin with. Through his eyes, he felt pain; but he knew that that was the only way because he knew that Ratatosk might have gone berserk and destroyed the whole world if he was released."
By this time, Marta's tears started to roll uncontrollably. She knew that what Zelos was saying was completely true, but it was so painful to hear.
"Because he knew he wasn't human, he knew he could still live; as a core, that is. Human life is fragile, and he acknowledged that he didn't have a place in the regular world because it was his duty to keep the humans living alive and away from the demons that were on the opposite side of the door." He turned to face her. "It's sacrifice and duty, all in one. In our eyes, it was sacrifice; in his, it was his duty."
She started to wipe her tears as much as she could. "You're unbelievable, Zelos…"
"Just don't think about it too much. If he catches you crying about what he did, he'll only feel bad for not telling anyone. That boy is pretty human on the inside, as far as I know. And that's all that matters, right?" He gave a small smile. "Just keep loving him the way you usually do. Life is still new to him, but your love is what kept him going 'til it was his time to become Ratatosk."
Zelos turned towards the lit up room where Emil was nervously laughing at a remark that Raine said to Lloyd. She seemed to be testing him on his long-forgotten school lessons. Marta saw through blurred eyes at how happy Emil was; happy to be, at long last, a regular human.
"Hm, but it seems you're little companion made it possible for Emil and Ratatosk to separate. Just stay with him and keep encouraging him. He's a lot more human than you and I think."
Marta gave a small sniffle and turned again towards the stars. "Zelos…I don't know what to say other than thank you. You caught on to me faster than I thought anyone would…"
He sighed. "Just call it 'experience', I suppose." Marta looked at him with questionable eyes. He scratched the back of his head nervously. "Man…I just…don't mention this to anyone in the group – especially to Sheena. She probably doesn't want to remember this."
He closed his eyes for awhile and opened them with a deep look in his eyes. What did this Chosen do?
"Back…back during our journey of World Regeneration, I was a jerk. Basically, I hated my title as the Chosen." He sighed. "Everyone treated me differently. I was either like a god to them, or a worthless noble with no experience in the real part of life. Actually, a lot of people did hate me; people outside the Meltokio city limits." His thoughts wandered off to Seles' mother and his horrible childhood past for a split moment. He shook his head from trying to get that to consume him…it was all in the past, anyhow.
"What I wanted was to just be a normal human. To be able to roam freely and to just have fun with life. I hated being treated differently; heck, I was even second in line to the Royal Family."
Marta's eyes widened. "You're second in line?!"
He gave a small smile. "Heh. That's why I know Sheena so much. It's her job to keep an eye on the Royal Family in secrecy, and I just so happen to fall in that picture somehow. They don't like her much, but she still does the duty anyhow."
"Anyway," Zelos continued, "because I wanted to live a normal life, I always sided with the strongest. I was convinced that the weaker side would never get me anywhere to what I wanted. I was a selfish bastard who only thought for himself. And besides…it was Seles who should have become the Chosen, anyway."
"Yeah. Her mother wanted her to become the Chosen. It would have raised her status and she probably wouldn't have had been so weak like she is now. I didn't deserve it; and because I had it, Seles suffered in having to stay in that Abbey for most of her life."
Zelos eyed Marta, who's eyes seemed to be in deep thought. "You still want to hear my babbling? It's probably goin' to bore you."
"What? No, keep going. I have a feeling that…you've been keeping everything in for a long time now."
"Haha. Possibly." Zelos stretched and gave a quick yawn before continuing.
""When I met Lloyd and the others, I knew that Collette was the Chosen of Sylvarant. Her Cruxis Crystal said that much to me. She was a lifeless doll when I first met her, but as I travelled with the group, they become much stronger; but not strong enough for me."
"I later met some of the higher-ups in the Cruxis organization. They made a deal with me – my title as a Chosen be stripped away from me if I brought Colette to them. At the time, Colette was wanted." Marta's eyes looked a little confused from his remark. "Ah. It's too much details about Colette. Just know that she was badly wanted by Cruxis."
"Anyway, I was going to do what they told me. But after I travelled with everyone for a long time, I hesitated. I wanted to be on the stronger side, but I didn't want to betray the people I knew. What sucked was that I was finally regaining Sheena's trust at that time too."
Marta cocked her head to the side slightly. "Regaining?"
He waved it aside. "In the end, I betrayed everyone. I took Colette, gave her to the Cruxis angels, and was forced to fight them. I didn't know what the hell I was doing. My mind was pretty much a mess during the fight, and before I knew it, Sheena's life seal sucked the rest of my energy and I fell to the ground." He scratched his head. "It hurt like hell, too."
"I thought I was going to die. I deserved to die after what I did to them. But even though my mind was a mess during the time, I can never, never forget their face expressions as they took out their weapons to attack me – especially Lloyd and Sheena. They trusted me the most, and well, I used that as an advantage."
"What I saw was pain, rejection, confusion, anger, and sadness. They couldn't understand my actions – and I didn't really either. But inside, I felt worse that I was betraying them. I felt disgusted that I had to have the only people I actually befriended take their weapons on me because I took advantage of their trusts."
He turned towards the stars. "But you know? I knew that what I was doing was at my fault and no one else's. I knew that they would probably hate me later and yell at me for what I did, but I did it anyway. I knew that they would question me at why I did it, but I still did it. But…I knew that what I was doing was wrong."
"Everyone trusted me – well maybe not so much as Raine at the time, but they still did. As I fell to the floor, I decided that I wasn't going to die – I was going to get that item that Colette needed at the time to save her. I was wrong to think that the people I know could kill me the way I wanted to, and I was wrong to think that some people I didn't know could save me from being the Chosen."
"Basically…I learned that I had to be myself – regular self in deciding the better decisions in life. And I probably should have told someone, but I didn't, which was a huge mistake, I know."
He inhaled and exhaled deeply. Marta, who was still listening intently, was so wide eyed at Zelos' thoughts that he burst out laughing.
"What now? Did I talk so much that I bored you to sleep with your eyes wide open?"
Marta shook her head. "Zelos, when you said 'regaining trust', what did you mean?"
His face turned grave. "Ah, you caught that slip out, didn't you?" He sighed again.
"Sheena lost her trust in me about a year and half before the journey of World Regeneration. You could say that, we were together a little ways back before now."
"You guys were together?!" Marta exclaimed.
Zelos made a hurried hush gesture, in which Marta quickly covered her mouth. "I told you, it was a while back. At that time, there were rumors that the Sylvarant's Chosen was going to begin her journey soon. I knew that my part was going to come up pretty soon; and my part meant having to sacrifice myself for Tethe'alla."
"Basically, I betrayed her by flirting with other girls so she could hate me. I wanted her to hate me so much that she would never care about me, whether I died or not. Truth was…" he inhaled, "I didn't want her to suffer if I died from being the Chosen."
"When I met her again during the journey, I knew that she still hated me. Well, I didn't really want awkward tension, so I pretty much acted like I did around the other girls I talked to, and well, let's just say that I got plenty of bruises because of that."
"What I didn't know was that she didn't hate me as much as I wanted her to…so we ended up talking again like we used to sometimes, and well she started to trust me again."
"She still liked you, didn't she?" Marta asked sadly.
"Guess so." He shifted a little off to the side and gazed at the moon. "I'll never forget how she looked like at the time of my betrayal. It was almost like when I betrayed her the first time – but this was worse. She didn't understand…and the fact that her attack was the last one to hit me stung pretty hard too."
Marta cast her eyes towards the ocean. Hearing all this made her understand why Zelos understood every fiber of her feelings towards Emil's betrayal actions. Zelos knew how it felt to stand in Emil's spot and see everyone's face grow in confusion. Zelos knew how it felt to have the one person who trusted him the most and the one person he ever fell in love attack him – physically and emotionally. Emil forced himself to fight Lloyd, and Marta herself.
Marta quickly realized something. "Wait, how did-"
"-I know what Sheena was thinking?" Zelos completed.
"I had the nerve to ask her that much later," he answered. "It wasn't a very easy conversation, I'll tell you that. That's why I don't like bringing up the subject in front of everyone and for her, especially. I could also tell what she was thinking, too. Betrayal twice is…something that can't be easily forgotten, m'dear."
If Zelos knew, then Emil probably knew what Marta thought of him as well. One day…one day, she'll talk to Emil about everything.
Marta sighed in relief. "Zelos, you know how to cheer a girl up, don't you?"
He laughed. "Do I, really? I appreciate the compliment."
"So Sheena really is…"
He smiled at her crookedly. "You really want to know everything, and I mean everything about Sheena and I?" His crooked smile had something she didn't really like about.
She blushed furiously. "No not in that way, you pervert! Geez, you're so indecent!"
"Heard that a couple million times," he chuckled.
"All I was going to ask was if she was the only person you've ever…like, love?"
He smiled a genuine smile. "I don't tell lies, darling. When I said she's my favorite hunny and my one and only hunny, I really meant it."
He turned to look at her, and Marta saw that he was clearly telling the truth. He didn't have the greatest personality, but his honesty was something she could trust from him. He had gone through so much before she had come and tagged along with the heroes of the World Regeneration, not knowing how hard each persons' struggles were compared to hers. She had been ungrateful to them at first, but they took care of her as if they knew her all her life. She smiled softly at how much they cared for someone as young as her – especially Zelos.
She glanced back at him and put on a huge grin to him. This, in turn, caused Zelos' eyebrow to look at her peculiarly.
"Oh, c'mon, what now? I practically told you my whole life story."
She shook her head. "Oh, nothing. I was just thinking that you're like the older brother I never had."
Zelos' eyes widened a bit, not expecting that comment. He coughed nervously and put on a sarcastic look.
"Really? Heh, I'd be lying if I said that you were the sister I never had…but I guess I have to go with sibling. Though, Marta dear, you look much too fabulous to just be my sister."
She smacked him on the head. "Shut up! I have Emil!"
He rolled his eyes. "Oh please, like I'd date someone as flat-chested as you. You're practically 8 years younger than me."
"You weren't implying that earlier!"
He chuckled. "Flattery, my dear, is the correct word for my actions. It's quite natural, you know. I mean, how can anyone deny this beautiful face in which Martel has blessed me with?"
Marta crossed her arms. "You're so conceited."
Zelos smoothed the top of his head with his hand and pushed back the strands. They both faced the joyous room lit with smiles and laughter of each of the heroes of World Regeneration. Marta smiled sadly. It was hard to believe that this very crew had such hard pasts and overwhelming emotions to deal with when they were travelling together.
"But I think…traveling all together definitely helped each and every one of them some way or another," Marta said softly.
He turned his head to face her. "Hm? What are you babbling about now?"
She shook her head. "Nothing." She smiled up at him again.
"Thanks, Zelos. Really."
In turn, he released a sigh with a hint of laughter and pushed her back towards the room.
"Go run along, your prince charming is waiting for you."
Marta giggled at that remark and ran back towards where Emil was sitting. She hugged him from behind, causing Emil to blush in such a way that had Colette saying, "How cute!" They returned to their conversations as Zelos watched from the balcony.
He looked up towards the stars and closed his eyes, soaking in the wind that flowed around him. Chuckling a bit, he said, "Traveling together helped each and every one of us, hm?"
He turned his head back towards the lit room and observed everyone's faces. Raine was bombarding a nervous Lloyd with questions; Genis was teasing a now pissed-off Marta about something; Colette was still chanting her "How cute!" statement to an embarrassed and shy Emil; Presea was asking a relaxed-looking Regal about Colette's statement and Emil and Marta's relationship. And lastly…a smirking Sheena faced towards him and walked out to his direction.
He smirked. "Yup. No denying that it did, in the good sense that most people can call, 'A happily ever after.'"
Yay, Zelos earned another younger sister. XD
Hm, I had a hard time ending this story, I was stuck on it for a long time. And sorry about centering in on Zelos for quite some time, that was not my intention! Apparently, my Sheelos side came out and before I knew it, there were over three paragraphs worth of Zelos' past and what was based on what happened in the first ToS.
Also, I have no idea how I got Zelos' last line. It just randomly popped up as an idea for him to say that...even though this story had nothing to do with fairy tale-like themes.
Anyhow, hope you enjoyed it!