Title: The Love of a Father

Author: Faker of Innocence aka goldenneko

Fandom: Manga – Marchen Awaken Romance

Summary: Ginta wonders if it is possible for him to share his father with another boy. In the meantime, Alviss has a heart-to-heart moment with Danna. [Characters: Ginta, Alviss, Danna; brief mentions of others.]

Rating: G

Warning: Erm… OOC!Alviss and OOC!Ginta? I don't know how Alviss interacts with Danna, and how it is with Ginta as well, so what I wrote here is just my speculation. Spoilers for the end of the manga. And unbeta-ed.

A/N: … For some reasons, I can totally see young!Alviss who nags a lot at his elders.

Disclaimer: *checks* Nope, still don't own anything.

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It was the night of celebration. Everywhere, people were cheering and celebrating for the defeat of Chess no Koma and the newly brought peace to MAR Heaven, thanks to the warriors who had fought courageously during the 2nd War Game.

For the warriors, it was a celebration of their own. Each of them had finally fulfilled their personal missions and goals of fighting against the previously feared faction. All members of MAR team were happily letting themselves go; the burden on their shoulders and in their hearts had finally been lifted.

All were celebrating, but Ginta noticed how someone had seemed to go missing without him knowing.

"Jack, have you seen my Dad?" He asked his best friend, although judging by how much he had been drinking the alcoholic juice, the blond knew he would not get an answer.

"Dan…*hic* Danna-san?" Jack looked at Ginta, fingers pointing towards another group of happy drinkers. "Wasn't him with… *hic* them?" 'Wow… since when did Ginta multiply?'

The other sighed. He had looked at the group earlier, whom he saw his father last talked to. "It's alright, Jack. Just stay here, and don't do anything weird, 'kay?" Ginta stood up from his place beside the nature Arm user, a hand firm on the other's shoulder.

"It's alright! With so many of you, I'm sure you can find your father just like that!" Jack snapped his fingers. Ginta decided not to ask about how many of him his friend was currently seeing.

Moving around to search for his father, the MAR leader walked pass Dorothy and Snow, who were giggling nonsense to each other, and Nanashi and Babbo, who were babbling to their admiring fans about the tales of their Battles. Edward and Bell were laughing drunkenly while listening, knowing half of the stories were mere exaggerations.

He had reached the two former Cross Guards who were drinking at the other side of the castle and was still unable to find his father. Alan, who seemed more sober than the other older man, asked him, "What are you looking for, Ginta?"

Ginta looked around. "Have you seen Dad around?" And he noticed there was someone else missing, too. "… And where's Alviss? I thought he was with you."

Gaira looked up from his drink, misery in his eyes. "Alviss said he could no longer take our drunken attitude, so he left."

Ginta had found out from experience that the old man always showed his affection for his student openly at random times, especially when he was drunk. 'Maybe that's why he left.'

"… And when he left, Danna followed him," Alan continued for the other man, who was moaning how Alviss had grown up too fast and no longer cared for him. "I think they went for a walk. Danna doesn't look like he was that drunk, after all."

"Either that, or he just wants Alviss' attention. You know how he is, Alan."

"Oh, shut up, old man. Danna's not that bad."

"But you know he is."

"You're just jealous that Alviss pays more attention to him than you…"

The youth looked between the two, feeling lost from listening to their conversation by now. "Er… what do you mean, Dad wants Alviss' attention?"

Alan looked up. "Oh, it's something from the last War. Danna was a bit of a troublemaker, you see - ,"

"He's more than a bit!!"

Glare. "… And always got himself into troubles. Believe it or not, it was usually Alviss who kept him in line," he laughed.

"He's a good boy, that Alviss."

Stare. "Yes, yes, we know that Gaira," Alan said, looking back at the blond in front of him. "But, there's a limit of how much a boy can take. So sometimes Alviss would just ignore him, except when it comes to important matters."

"Danna did not want that, so when that happened, he would get himself so drunk that Alviss would have to take care of him," Gaira said, smiling while shaking his head.

The other veteran laughed. "It worked everytime. But then he would end up with hangovers in the morning as well as Alviss nagging at him for drinking too much."

The two laughed loudly, happy memories of the past have made them feel lighter in so many ways.

Ginta, however, felt an unknown, unease feeling growing in him as he listened to their story. "… Do you know where they went?"

Not noticing anything, Gaira pointed towards the forest. "You know there's a river there, right? I think they went there."

"… Thanks."

As Ginta ran off towards the direction, Alan turned to the man beside him. "Why did I suddenly feel a jealousy vibe coming from Ginta?"

"… Are you sure it is not just your imagination?"

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There were a few times since he re-united with his father when Ginta wondered about the man's relationships with everyone here. He remembered how people used to talk proudly about Danna and what he had done to save this world, and for those who had met him face-to-face, admired him for his personalities and positive outgoing.

At first, it unnerved him, how they compared him with his father. Then, he learned not to be bothered with it. It could not be helped; after all, the older man was their saviour in the previous War Game.

Yet, as he continued to observe, he noticed that not everyone was able to move from the past. Most, after a few Battles, were able to accept that Danna was gone, and in his place, his son, who was indeed, similar yet different.

Particularly, the ones who were directly involved with the first War Game.

The way Alan, Gaira and Alviss talked about their times in the past made him wonder about how close they really were with each other. He did not even know how Alviss, who was at that time a boy of 10, was able to join the Cross Guard. He did not dare to ask, fearing that he would be seen as venturing into things that he was not supposed to.

And while it was nothing for him to see the two older men reminisced, an unknown feeling always came out each time it was Alviss who talked about his father. Granted, Alviss did not talk much, if any, but each time he did, Ginta could actually see how the older teen thought about his father.

It was nothing but pure admiration, affection and respect.

During those times, his mind wandered towards Alviss' family, what happened to them and what made Alviss wants to fight against the Chess no Koma. He wondered what Alviss thought about his father. Was it simply a warrior, or a respected elder? Or maybe, a father figure?

Ginta's heart hurt just thinking about it.

It was true that he expected to understand his father more than anyone else in MAR Heaven. But, while he watched and listened how his father talk about his dreams and fantasies, people here saw his father at his truest self.

Alviss met and knew his father when he was being in his true environment. For some reason, that thought annoyed the blond youth.

But… why? He did not know if he could explain that.

Ginta stopped running when he realised he had almost reached the river. Slowing his pace to a walk, he strained his ears if he could hear Danna or Alviss' voice.

"That's a bit too much, Danna-san!"

"Wha -? But it's not!"

Hearing their voices, he hid the bushes nearby. 'Why am I hiding?'

Moving as silently as he could, he tried to get nearer to the two so that he could listen and see what the other two were doing.

What he saw made his heart ache even more.

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Both Danna and Alviss were sitting on rocks by the riverside side by side, laughing jovially. One of Danna's big hands was on Alviss' head, ruffling the dark blue hair affectionately.

"And then, what did Ginta do?"

"Of course, with everyone calling him 'captain', he went off to fight Kanocchi willingly. Never thought it was easy to influence him. He's just like you, Danna-san."

The man only laughed heartily. "That's my boy!" And when Alviss murmured something that the other was not supposed to hear, the man ruffled the spiky hair harder. "Did you just call say I'm idiotic? Why, you cheeky little brat -,"

"Danna-san, stop that!" The boy tried to dislodge the hand in his hair, but failed miserably.

"What, this?" The older man ruffled his hair again, much to Alviss' chagrin. He only laughed harder when he saw Alviss' pout.

"Hahaha… I guess Alan and Gaira were just playing jokes on me," he said, hand still firm in the other's hair.

Alviss gave up trying to pry off the hand from his hair, although he was still holding the wrist loosely with his hands. "About what?"

"That you've changed a lot. I was hoping it was wrong, but seeing you still like this, I'm glad." Alviss' blue eyes looked downcast, the sparkle disappearing from the blue orbs, confusing the man. "Al?"

When the boy did not answer him, Danna lowered his hand from the boy's hair and put it on his shoulder.

"… You're not going to tell me?"

"No, it's just that…" Alviss sighed. He continued in a tone that seemed to show embarrassment and shame. "What Alan-san and Gaira-san said was true. I've changed. And I… have been such a jerk to everyone else." He let out another sigh. "I don't think you would be to know about of that kind of changes."

But instead of condemning him, the man softly asked him, "What happened?"

"Stuff happened. End of the first War Game happened. Zombie Tattoo happened." At that, Danna's eyes hardened, and his hold on Alviss' shoulder became firm.

"… How bad it was before I… come back?"

Alviss looked up at the man's face before answering, "The only place that it had not reached was my face."

The blond man's eyes widened, hesitating for a few moment before pulling the blue-haired boy to a hug. Shocked, Alviss did not do anything for a few moments, before hugging back.

"At one point, I was so… scared. Although Cross Guard won the War, it ended in a way that we did not want to see. You won but died, Phantom lost but lived on. Many of the others died as well. At that time, I really don't know what to do. It was like everything had deserted me, and I was left with nothing. I even thought of committing suicide…"

At this, Danna's hug got tighter, but Alviss ignored it, too immersed in his thoughts.

"But Alan-san stopped me in time. Even… even after Gaira-san trained me and I met Bell, I still don't know what to do with my life. I was really scared… and confused. I started not being able to trust people. I treated them as how I should be, but that's it. I have no feelings talking with them.

When the Chess was revived and Alan-san told me to trust Ginta, I couldn't. I didn't want to have any feeling attached to him or any of his friends, only to lose them again. So… when the War Game started, even after I joined them, admired their power, but I steeled my resolve not to treat and care for them as friends."

Alviss smiled sadly, his eyes glistening with unshed tears. "I was such a pathetic person, wasn't I?"

Danna only held him closer, hands rubbing the youth's back. "… You're not. And I'm sure Ginta and the rest would agree with me."

Alviss leaned in, head resting on the blond's shoulder. "I knew that. Even if they did not say anything, they showed it in their actions. It's just that…"

The youth in his arms was trembling, Danna noticed. He kept on hugging him close, knowing the boy had to let everything out.

"I… I don't know how to say I'm sorry. It scared me, even until now. What if they don't accept my apologies? What if all this time, they were only pretending to care about me? Just playing me around?

There were times I thought it would be easier if I just become a zombie, if I just give up with life. I don't have to feel anything; respect, admiration, happiness, friendship and love, even sadness, anger and hatred."

Alviss was already shaking with small, quiet sobs escaping him. The man kept quiet, listening intently to everything the boy had to say. For a while, there was an almost silence; Alviss sobbing on Danna's shoulder, with the man holding, and at the same time, calming him.

Until the youth started to speak again.

"But I can't. I could not ignore the humanity that I saw around me. How humans are still willing to fight, even when the odds were against them. And at the same time, Ginta came along," Alviss said, a small smile on his face.

"He made me realised that no matter how painful it was, how short of a time it was, humans are still fighting to live their life to the fullest. Because they can produce new lives is the reason they want to give their best, for their future life and generations."

Alviss pulled back, a wide smile on his tear-streaked face. "I'm happy that I met both of you, Danna-san and Ginta. I live my happiest when I am with you and Ginta changed my life so that it becomes valuable to continue.

I don't think I can ever say this to Ginta, but I'm thankful. Thank you, Danna-san and Ginta, for appearing in my life, and thank you, for making my life the best it can ever be."

Danna smiled, and silently, leaned forward to give a small, affectionate kiss on Alviss' forehead.

'Thank you, for just being here…'

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Ginta remained in his place, stunned. He felt the overwhelming feelings threatening to come out. He could still hear Alviss' rare laughter; it was light and heart-warming, something that seemed weird, but suited Alviss well. It was something that he had never witnessed before.

He could still see Alviss crying, pouring his heart out, retelling all his worries and anguish to his own father.

At first, he was jealous and angry of Alviss, very much so. How he had easily gained his father's attention, how Danna had affectionately called him 'Al', how Alviss openly showed his emotions, and how easy Alviss poured out his fear and worries.

At the time, he felt as if he was intruding something private that was only meant for his father and Alviss' ears to hear.

And more than anything else, he felt guilty, depressed and wrong. All the while listening to the two's conversation, he realised he has mixed feelings towards both Alviss and his father at the same time.

Alviss was able to be alone and affectionate with his father, and his father was able to bring out something personal about Alviss when everyone else failed.

He never knew why Alviss did a lot of the things he had done. He thought he understood the older youth's reasons to fight, but turned out it was wrong.

Apart from protecting MAR Heaven, Alviss simply wanted to find peace within himself.

Still, there must be something about his father that made Alviss willingly opened his heart. There was no way just a bond of leader and subordinate was simply enough for that.

But, as he sat there thinking, he realised that he could not get angry at Alviss. Jealous, yes; after all he was entitled to it, what with his father spending time with Alviss instead of him for some father-son bonding. Anger, however, fled when he heard what the blue-haired teen had to tell his father.

Judging from what he had heard, it was obvious that the other youth never told anyone else all of these before. Ginta could almost figure out why, just based on Alviss' personalities.

Then, everything clicked into place.

While Danna used to see Alviss only as a young child, others had seen him grew up. Bell would probably meet Alviss while he was training and did not learn of his past until later. Alan and Gaira would have seen Alviss now as a warrior with a personal reason to fight, memories no longer lingering on his life as a child involved in the First War Game.

But his father saw the warrior inside Alviss even before anyone else. If he could recall correctly what Gaira told him, Danna was the one who agreed to take the boy into Cross Guard while others saw him as a nuisance.

With the simple reason that the man was looking at him as a warrior and a still growing teenager all at the same time, Alviss had let his guard down.

Consciously or not, it was not something Ginta could not figure out. He did not think anyone could, even Alviss.

From then on, the blond teen decided that there was no way he could remain angry at the other teen. It was not his fault for being close to his father.

If anyone should be blamed, it's Dad, Ginta concluded with a satisfaction that came out of nowhere.

He let out a small smile. Although he was intruding and listened to something he was not meant to, he took Alviss' words to heart.

'If anything, it is me who should thank you. You were the one who brought me to MAR Heaven after all.'

At that, Ginta felt a soothing feeling washed over him, as if glad about his decision.

Although it still irked him, just a bit, to see his father kissed Alviss affectionately like that.

A sudden sound coming from the two by the riverside snapped Ginta out of his stupor. He looked to see his father was ruffling Alviss' hair affectionately again.

"Well," Alviss said sheepishly, trying to cover up his embarrassment by rubbing his face clean of tears, "I guess I should head back. Who knows what will Alan-san and Gaira-san do if I leave them for too long."

Danna pouted, not wanting him to leave so early, which Alviss rejected with, "Adults do not pout!", making Ginta remembered what Alan and Gaira said about Alviss earlier. 'Alviss really is the one in control,' he snickered silently.

"I'll guess I just sit here for a while."

"You're sure?"

"Yup. You go ahead and try to stop those two from causing trouble," the man waved his hand dismissively.

Alviss rolled his blue orbs at that. "You're the troublemaker, not them."

The teen was about to leave when the man called him. "Yes, Danna-san?"

The blond man looked at the teen seriously for a while, making him (and the one in the bush) nervous. Then he grinned.

"I won't probably be here for long now, but you know I'm always with you, right?"

Alviss blinked his blue eyes at the man for a while, before offering a smile of his own. "Of course, I would not have it any other way."

"Good. Now, you better be off."

Shaking his head, Alviss turned around and started walking back to the castle. After the footsteps receded, Danna called out, "Ginta, you're still there?"

Shocked, it took Ginta a few minutes before he moved out from his hiding place. Looking at his father, he asked quietly, "… You know I'm here?"

"It was actually Alviss who noticed you first," the man said, grinning at the boy's terrified face. "He's more familiar with your magic power than me. Both of us noticed, and he said it belongs to you, so we just kept quiet. And besides," he smirked at this, "it's not like you're good at stopping your magic power from flowing out."

'I'm so dead. Alviss knew I was here when he was crying! He's going to kill me!'

Noticing that the terrified expression still lingering on the youth's face, Danna laughed and said, "He's not going to kill you, if that's what you're worried about. But I'm sure he would appreciate it if you don't tell anyone."

"Oh, okay…"

Looking at his son, Danna sighed before petting the rock beside him, the very same one that Alvis sat on just minutes ago. "Care to join me here?"

Ginta moved quietly to his father's side. For a moment, both did not say anything, only looking everywhere except at each other.

'I bet it's not like this when Dad's with Alviss…'

"Err, Dad…" the younger blond said slowly. When the man turned his attention towards him, he continued, "What do you think about Alviss?"

Danna blinked at that, before answering happily, "He's the cutest boy I have ever met since I arrived here. Don't you agree with me, Ginta?"

Ginta blushed at that. "Dad, don't you think it's weird for me to call a boy older than me cute?" 'And if he doesn't kill me for earlier, he definitely would if I said that.'

The man scratched the back of his head at that. "Oh, it's weird? Really?"

"Dad…," he could not help but let out a wry grin.

"Hehe… sorry."

'He really loves Alviss as a son 's no other way around that.' With that thought in his head, Ginta turned gloomy again.

He felt really jealous at Alviss. It could not be help, right? It was as if the other youth had taken his father away from him.

Danna noticed the sudden change of mood in his son. Inwardly, he let out a sigh. He had to say something, or the boy would misunderstand what he said altogether.

"… Because he reminded me a lot of my own son that I had left back in our world."

"Eh?"

Danna let out a small grin, recalling his memories when he was in the Cross Guard six years ago. "He's always so cheerful, so full of smiles. He's not very confident in his skills, if he was to compare to others. He could be quite clumsy as well, as expected from a 10-years-old boy."

With that, his old eyes softened and continued, "But really, having Alviss around really gave others a boost of confidence. If even Alviss, a small child, was able to see hope in humanity, why not them? Why not us, who actually have the power and the abilities to protect the humanity?

"The way he continuously cheered us on gave the warriors courage in more than one way. Within him, we could see the future we want to protect and preserve. The innocence within this child and the rest like him, in either world."

"… Dad." 'Alviss, did he even realise how big the impact he has on the Cross Guard that time?' Ginta thought silently, thinking about the burden the older teen had unconciously taken upon himself.

"Looking at him reminded me a lot of you, Ginta." At this, Danna gently pat his son's hair.

"I'm happy that I met him, Alan, Gaira and the rest of them, happy that I was able to see the world I used to dream so much before, but this world is not the place for me to stay. So I decided to help them and at the same time, search for a way back home."

Hand still patting the boy's hair, the man continued absentmindedly. "I don't know what happened to Alviss' family, what happened to his parents that he would willingly join us even without any adult's supervision. But I know he did not have a real family, and that he loved the Cross Guard like one.

If anything, he was the one who told me to find a way to return home," Danna snickered. "He would say to me, 'Of course I'll be sad when you're leaving, but then we will be stealing you from your wife and son, and that's even worse!' Imagine that, saying things like that to your elder. That boy really had a nerve!"

For a while, the father and son laughed together. Ginta suddenly remembered Alviss' solemn look during their first meeting, when the blue-haired teen told him about Danna and how he died during the War.

"Dad?" he asked slowly, after the laughter had subsided. "Do you… love Alviss? As a son, I mean."

The question apprently had stunned the man, as for a while, he only stared at his son. Ginta was starting to think if the question was actually not appropriate to ask, when his father answered.

"In… a way, I guess, yes," Danna answered honestly, glancing to see if there was any bad reaction at that. Seeing none, he continued. "Here, he's the one I can lavish my attention to. I don't get to see a lot of children, and he was the only one close enough for me to talk to, even about private stuff."

"O… Oh."

Looking at Ginta at his sudden hesitance, he let out a smirk and ruffled the blond hair, similar with the way he did to Alviss' blue hair. "What are you worrying about, Ginta? This is not like you, getting all jealous at Alviss."

"I'm not!" When his father raised an eyebrow, he stammered, "Maybe… maybe a bit."

"Why?"

"I… I don't know?" He blushed, looking akwardly at the man beside him, who was smirking cheekily at him. "Dad, are you making fun of me?"

"What are you talking about, son? Of course not. Continue please?"

'He's definitely making fun of me…' "Well, I guess because he got to spend time with you? I mean, I saw how happy you were talking and laughing with him. And not only that, he opened up to you. That means he is really close to you as well. So… yeah."

His father was about to say something when he continued. "But, that was before. Now that I think about it, I think I can understand. Sort of."

Looking at his son, Danna tried to see if the boy really meant it. He decided a little more explaining would not bring any harm.

"Ginta, listen. It's true; I love Alviss like a son. Nobody can ever replace how special he is to me. I'm glad that I met him – I've told you that before, and I'm happy to get to know him; who he is, why he does certain things in certain ways, and his reasons for fighting. But…"

At this, he waited until the younger blond looked fully at him, before he smiled fondly and continued, "Ginta, nothing, nothing in these two worlds can replace you in my heart. You're my only son, and as far as I know and as far as Alviss knows, you will always remain that. There is no way Alviss can replace you. He has another place in another corner of my life."

Ginta blushed after listening to his father's thorough explanation. And to think he doubted his own father. "I'm sorry, for ever doubting you."

Danna only laughed at that, and gave the boy a hug. "That's not a problem. A boy should be given a chance to doubt his parents once in a while. And besides," he added cheekily, "Alviss would probably kick me for even thinking of replacing you with him. I know he's strong enough now to do that. And then he would say, 'Go back to your own world, old man! Thanks for your help, but right now your family needs you more than us!'"

Ginta laughed out loud at that. If he did not know any better, he would probably get a heart attack if Alviss did just that. But after listening at how Alan and Gaira talked about the younger him, and the way the other teen talked to his father, it was highly possible.

"If he gets to be alone with you again that is; he won't do that in front of the others. He has an image to uphold."

"Eh? He cares about his image more than me?"

Ginta only laughed harder at his father's sulk.

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All the way back, Danna and Ginta kept on laughing and talking about what they saw and who they met in MAR Heaven, as well as what happened in their world for the last six years. It amazed the younger blond before at how different Alviss was from six years ago, but Alan and Gaira was a totally different story.

'Those stories would be very good blackmail materials,' he thought, smiling to himself.

When they reached the castle where everyone else was still celebrating, Ginta watched as Alviss tried in vain to stop Alan and Gaira from glomping him drunkenly. It did not help matter when the not-so-drunk Danna decided to join in the the fun when the father and son arrived.

Waiting until the blue-haired teen was able to fend off his attackers, the blond approached him slowly.

"Urm… Alviss?"

"Yes?" The other turned around from the wasted adults to look at Ginta, a questioning look on his desperate face.

"… Thanks."

At first he received a blink, and then the gentle smile that appeared on Alviss' face told him everything he had to say.

At that moment, it was as if Ginta had suddenly gained something else, apart from his long-lost father.

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A/N: It's been a while since I wrote a fic this long. This fic was intended to be this long (if not longer) so that I can give out my speculation and impression of Alviss and Ginta's feelings towards Danna, as well as Alviss and Ginta's interaction and thoughts about each other.

Opinions please? I really like this piece of work, so I would love it if someone shares their thoughts about it.

Thank you for reading.

F.o.I