Disclaimer: I still don't own Tales of the Abyss, much to my everlasting dismay.

Authors' Note: A little vignette(-ish thing) that came to me one night that I just had to write up. Takes place immediately after Anise becomes Fon Master Guardian to the Ion that we all know and love (kidnappable princess though he is), so she's about eleven here.

If you read, please review!


Butterflies


"Anise, look."

Anise looked up at the sound of Ion's voice, following his gaze out to a patch of flowers before them. They were at the Third Monument, Ion having desired to take a break just for that day, and hovering above the flowers were a couple butterflies, probably looking for nectar. Truth be told, Anise didn't see what was so special about the scene, but she forced her voice to be light anyway. Ion was the Fon Master, after all.

"Butterflies! They're . . . nice," Anise decided, after searching for the right word. Ion looked over his shoulder to give Anise a quick smile -- and his smile was always something that was so strange for her to see -- before he walked out toward them, reaching out one hand. To Anise's surprise, one of the butterflies floated over to land on his outstretched fingers.

"Yeah, they are, aren't they? Butterflies are my favorite insect." Ion straightened, pulling his hand closer to his face, the butterfly flapping its wings sedately on his fingers. Quick as a flash, the notion of killing the butterfly and excusing it as a possible threat darted through Anise's mind, but she quickly dashed the notion. Even if she found insects to be rather pointless, how could she kill something that made Ion smile like that? "They're so pretty, and so symbolic."

"Symbolic?" Anise asked, and Ion nodded, walking over to sit next to her, the butterfly fluttering off his finger.

"Yes. They say that one flap of a butterfly's wings at one end of the world can cause a hurricane at the other end." Ion pulled his knees up to his chest, looking out at the patch of flowers again. "I read that in a book the other day."

"You read a lot of things in books, Ion, but it doesn't mean they're all true," Anise pointed out. "I don't think a butterfly could really cause a hurricane." Ion laughed, surprising Anise once again. The laugh was so genuine, so pure . . . so unlike her own laugh.

"Probably not, but it's a neat idea to think about, isn't it? To think that something so small could cause such a big chance . . ." Ion put his chin on his knees, his smile mellowing a little bit, his expression wistful. "I hope I can do something like that someday."

"What are you talking about? You're the Fon Master! Anything you do is going to be important, just like you." Ion turned his head so that his cheek was on his knees, looking at Anise somewhat curiously.

"Do you think so, Anise?"

"I don't think, I know," Anise huffed. Where did he get off, saying things like that? Ion was the most important person Anise knew. "You should know that too. Like I said, you're the Fon Master."

"Hmm . . . Yes, that's true." Ion sat up, tilting his head back to look at the sky. "I think it depends more on my actions than my status, though. Maybe I am the Fon Master, but I don't think that dictates what I do, or how important my actions are. Only I can decide that, and only the rest of the world can decide if a little breath turns into a tornado."

". . . You say weird things sometimes, Ion," Anise noted, and was mentally kicking herself for her big mouth when Ion laughed, looking over at her with a smile that practically radiated warmth.

"I do, don't I? I'm sorry." He glanced over to the flowers, and despite his apology, his good mood wasn't gone. "Look, Anise! There are more butterflies now. Six of them."

"Seven," Anise corrected, noting another which fluttered over to join the other six. Ion nodded.

"Yes, you're right. There are seven now." Ion stood up again, and then extended his hand toward her. Anise, having never had anyone show her that type of courtesy before, merely stared at his hand for a moment before reaching out to take it. Ion pulled her to her feet, and Anise couldn't exactly describe the feeling that swarmed through her at the simple action. "Let's go see if we can catch a few of them. We won't hurt them, but I always like holding them."

"Okay." If Ion were anyone else, Anise wouldn't have agreed -- who wanted to hold a bunch of stupid insects? -- but the fact remained that he was Ion, and so she dutifully followed him over to the patch of flowers, holding out her hands just as Ion did. Like before, a butterfly -- two butterflies, in fact, a pink and a red one -- landed on Ion's hands, and much to Anise's shock, a green and white one fluttered over to land on her outstretched finger.

"He likes you," Ion said, and Anise could hear his beam in his words. In spite of herself, Anise felt her lips quirk up into a smile.

"Yeah, I guess he does." Anise examined her butterfly for a few moments before looking over at Ion, who was smiling at the butterflies that had landed on his fingers. "Ion . . . About what you said earlier . . ."

"Yes?"

"Do you really think that small actions make that big of a difference?"

"Yes." Ion lifted his hand up and the butterflies floated off, and Anise followed suit, watching her butterfly flutter over to join Ion's. "Even if something seems really small and possibly pointless, you never know who you could meet or what you could end up doing if you pursue it. Maybe butterflies can't really cause hurricanes, but I definitely think that the tiniest of decisions can sometimes be the most important. Sometimes, you just have to take that chance."

"Hmm." Anise watched the butterflies for a few more moments before she turned back to Ion, placing her fists upon her lips and grinning at him. "Then I've decided that we should have a picnic here once a month, Ion! To watch the butterflies and to just take a day off. It's a small change, but you never know what it might bring, right?"

"That's a great idea, Anise!" Anise's grin widened in response to Ion's.

"Glad you think so, Ion." Anise looked back in the direction of Daath, noting the position of the sun against the high cathedral, and then back at Ion. "Want to stay here just for a little longer before heading back?"

"I'd love to." Ion sat down right next to the flowers and Anise followed suit, both watching the butterflies flutter amongst the flowers. It was pointless, simple, and kind of stupid, but as far as Anise was concerned, there were plenty of worse things she could be doing than watching butterflies with Ion.