Disclaimer: I do not own Shining Force, and I do not profit from the writing of this material.

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There were times when Toma wondered how Amitaliri (or Ami Girl, as he loved to call her) and Faulklin had become friends. While he liked Ami as a person and as a valuable magi, Toma could not help noticing the times the young Magnus was cruel to the healer, crueler than what Cyrille had ever been to him. At least, once Toma discovered his fellow Heritor's secret, he understood why the blond-haired girl behaved as she had towards him. Hell, if he had been in Cyrille's position, he would have been just as mean, if not meaner, than what she had been. Ami's behaviour towards Faulklin, however, continually baffled Toma. Even more baffling were the reasons, or lack thereof, as to why Faulklin stayed, especially when Amitaliri was at her cruelest.

Toma let out a soft sigh as he watched Faulklin and Ami argue. Lately, the young Magnus girl was more than cruel to her healer friend, though Toma had yet to figure out why. Even Faulklin was confused by Ami's behaviour.

"Is there something troubling you, Master?"

At the soft tone of his guardian's voice, Toma turned his head to see Zenus sitting next to him. They were by the control panel for the Geo Fortress, waiting for Cyrille and her party to return. Zenus had discovered a place where more core metal lay, and they wanted to keep maintaining the fortress for as long as possible, though peace now existed between Fyrlandt and the Noswald Empire. Though the last Toma had heard, Ragnadaam and Remsianne were soon to be wed, and their union would put an end to all hostilities. Idly he wondered if that was the problem with Amitaliri. It was then Toma noticed the dog's attention also was on Amilatiri and Faulklin, and he sighed when Ami finally became too pushy and shoved Faulklin to the ground. Toma caught the action from the corner of his eye, but, before he could say anything to her, the young Magnus took off for the residential section. Faulklin stayed where he landed, sobbing quietly.

"Nothing too important that it can't wait," Toma replied as he strode towards the stairs. He knew all too well what it felt like to have a friend belittle him and cut him down to size. Again, once she explained it to him, Toma understood why Cyrille had behaved as she had, and it lessened the sting of her previous actions . . . to an extent. Her words still haunted Toma and cut him when he least expected them to appear. Perhaps that was why Toma sympathized with Faulklin as much as he did.

More often than not, the Quintol teen stayed in Toma's room at night, especially after he awoke from some terrifying dream. He never remembered what he dreamt of, only the unshakeable terror the visions left him.

Ami was of no comfort to Faulklin. She never asked what he dreamt about or why his dreams terrified him. The young Magnus simply kicked him out of her room for crying so much, and Toma often found the boy curled in a tight ball in the middle of the command center, crying. He took pity on his young friend and allowed him the comfort of a bed. Fortunately for him, Cyrille did not seem to mind, and they had even placed an extra bed in the sword room so Faulklin would not have to sleep on the floor. The teen rarely stayed in the extra bed, preferring the warmth and comfort Toma and Cyrille provided to the emptiness of sleeping alone.

The moment Toma reached the teenage boy, he sat down and wrapped Faulklin in his arms. Slender fingers grasped at him and dug into his chest as the young healer allowed the tears to fall more freely. Toma never understood how Faulklin could cry so easily, but he also never once berated the youth for his emotions. Emotions helped to strengthen a person and his resolve. Toma knew such things. His own feelings of helplessness after his parents had died were what had driven Toma to seek out the holy sword in the first place so he would never begrudge Faulklin or deny him anything he needed.

A second later, he stood up and carried the Quintol teen out of the control room. There were just some things no one else needed to see, and Toma felt certain Duga would come up the stairs once Amitaliri was back in the residential sector. Faulklin did not need to hear any more harsh words, in Toma's opinion, though he doubted Duga would be so cruel. The wolfling had a soft spot for those like Faulklin. His courage to stand up to Philip for the villagers in Cantore had proven as much to Toma. However, Toma just wanted Faulklin to have a few moments to himself, to let the feelings wash away with the tears and not have anyone else watching him as it happened. Some things were private.

How long he and Faulklin were in his room, Toma could not say with any kind of certainty. He knew it was long enough for the boy to stop crying and to fall asleep, and he helped his young friend to stretch out so he could rest better. Toma could tell by his breathing and from the occasional whimper coming from Faulklin. A light touch on his shoulder indicated he and Faulklin were no longer alone.

"Is everything all right, Toma?"

He turned his head to see Cyrille behind him, Shining Force at her side. Toma insisted she carry it with her when she left the safety of the Geo Fortress, even if it remained wrapped in a swath of the softest linens. At least he took comfort knowing she had more than just her magic to protect her and those she chose to take with her when she left. To her inquiry, Toma shrugged.

"You know, I'm not entirely sure," he confessed. She sat next to him on his bed, and his arms immediately wrapped around her waist, one hand rubbing the slight mound forming in her midsection. She placed her hands on top of his, and she let out a contented sigh from his ministrations.

At some point, her excursions for core metal would have to cease. While he would never treat her any differently because of her pregnancy, he would not risk her life or that of their baby's for the sake of the fortress, and Zenus already knew it. Hell, the guardian even agreed and often questioned Toma if Cyrille leaving the fortress in her current condition was even a wise idea. However, he was not ready to broach that subject just yet, especially since Toma knew Cyrille would never intentionally harm their child. Faulklin's current emotional state and Ami's unusual behaviours lately were more important. "Ami Girl's been meaner to our little healer boy, more so than usual. I just don't get it."

"Shall I talk to her?" Cyrille asked. Toma waited a moment before replying.

If she thought it would help to talk to Amitaliri, then he was certainly not against it. He just wanted to spend a little more time with her and their child before she left for the residential block. He liked the feel of her belly, knowing it was his child growing within her. Toma also liked the way her hair looked so mussed up in its braid and how happiness just seemed to radiate from his fellow Heritor. It was a happiness they had found with each other and with the impending birth of their baby. He wanted the moment to last a little while longer.

Then he kissed her cheek and nodded. He did not think Ami Girl would open up to him. If anyone would be able to get her to talk, it was either Maebelle or Cyrille, and Toma felt confident his fellow Heritor would have the better luck.

"If you think it'll help, sure," he said. "Talk to her, please. First, before you leave, how did the mission go?"

"It went fine," Cyrille replied. "Avalon and Maebelle insisted on doing most of the fighting, but we retrieved the core metals without incident. The Geo Fortress should be fine for now. Maybe next time I'll take Faulklin with me."

"I think he'll like that," Toma murmured. They sat in silence for a few moments longer, their gazes on the Quintol teen resting in their bed, before Cyrille reluctantly pulled away and rose to her feet. She then leaned in close and kissed him.

"I'll be right back," she said. As quietly as she had entered, Cyrille left. Toma watched her then returned his attention to Faulklin. A light smile had finally appeared on the teen's face, and Toma knew he would be all right.

After a moment more of watching the teen, he, too, rose to his feet, only he walked towards the bed. Gently, he nudged the teen closer to the impromptu wall and slid under the covers. Faulklin stirred just a little, quieting the moment Toma wrapped his arms around the teen and kissed his cheek. Later, when Faulklin awoke, he and Cyrille would love the teen as they had become accustomed to doing. How or why it happened really no longer mattered to Toma. All that did matter to him was he, Faulklin, and Cyrille were a family.

And that was how they would always be.