Title: Scar Tissue
Summary: Edge remembers more about the Seeds Of Hope than Remi thinks.
Disclaimer: I completely don't own Star Ocean: The Last Hope.
Author Notes: This was going to be just gratuitous Edge and Arumat, but then Edge started talking. As I noticed in the game, he really does like dropping awkward conversational bombs on people. 'Swords? Yeah, traumatic event I had as a child and my father died and I hacked a monster to death. Cool, hey?' And the Seeds of Hope thing? A super secret government experiment? You think they're not going to be run through a thousand and one tests? And it's also my attempt at explaining Crowe. Because his most defining character trait is that he is, in fact, Mary Sue. And him being the failure? Well, I need an explanation for the sheer lack of care he has for his own life. Not just his eventual sacrifice as Nox Obscurous, but just handing it off to Myuria on Aeos.
Edge fidgeted with the clasps on his armour top. The experimental SRF armoured suit was invaluable, and had saved him from nasty injuries many a time, but it was a definite pain to try and get on and off. With a sigh he pulled it off and dropped it on the bed, when a sharp gasp made him spin around.
"Arumat?" he questioned, worried. His roommate was clutching his shoulder with one hand, his short jacket hanging off one arm and glaring at him furiously. "Are you hurt?"
"It's nothing," Arumat responded through gritted teeth, but Edge was already pulling the first aid kit out of his drawer. He wasn't exactly a doctor, but he had taken all the first aid courses at the Academy and made a pretty decent field medic. And now he was starting to learn healing symbology, which was exceedingly useful.
"Let me have a look," he instructed, motioning Arumat to sit on the bed. The older man just glared at him.
"I said it was nothing," he said through gritted teeth.
Edge bit back the opinion that it sounded awful painful for a nothing if it was making Arumat react. "Then I wont need to do anything, but you can still let me take a look right?"
Apparently it was the right thing to say because Arumat reluctantly sat on the bed. Edge moved to kneel behind him, first aid kit open on the bed beside him. Grudgingly, the silver haired man relaxed the death grip he had on his shoulder and Edge gently slid his jacket down his arm and brushed his loose wild hair out of the way. There some bruising but nothing was immediately obviously wrong, but Edge had expected that, because a giant stab wound would have been noticeable before now, if only from the bleeding.
Edge ran the small, portable scanner across Arumat's back. "Just a pulled muscle," he said, as it bleeped at him. "We've got some anti-inflammatory stuff here somewhere," he muttered distractedly, rummaging through the kit.
"I can do it myself," Arumat snapped, twisting away. Edge eyed his back doubtfully. Trying apply ointment to the back of your own shoulder would be extraordinarily difficult, and given the circumstances, probably pretty painful as well.
"I don't mind," he replied easily, knowing that that wasn't the protest at all. "Actually, maybe I should try using a symbol…"
Arumat cast him a wary glance. "It's hardly that serious."
Edge smiled a little sheepishly. "Well no. But I need the practice and its not like I can go around asking people to stab themselves or anything."
Arumat glared at him and growled. "Are all earthlings this irritatingly persistent?"
Edge grinned. "I can't speak for everyone, but definitely the three you've met." He made a shooing gesture with his hand for Arumat to turn back around. Arumat snorted in what could have been either agreement or disgust, but turned his back once more.
Edge still found using symbology to be extraordinarily weird. He'd never called it magic, and he was sure that there was some explanation for how it worked that he hadn't heard yet, but the small part of him that loved sciences, that allowed him to design and build his own weaponry and armour, was doubtful anew each time he went to cast.
Healing! He thought strongly, and the strange tingling light leapt to his fingertips. It was brilliant and white and swirling like water around his hand while small pieces broke off like fireworks to explode into stars. Again he felt the wondrous amazement that this was him. He could do something so strange and miraculous.
Gently he touched his fingertips to Arumat's back. The sparks leapt eagerly off his hand, flowing faster and faster and it was almost like he could feel the tense and torn muscles. Edge blinked. This was much different from battle healing, where his main thought was 'please don't be too late!'
Tentatively, he pressed his palm flat against Arumat's shoulder, feeling, not just with his hand but with whatever connection he had to the healing light, the muscles beneath it tense and then relax. He dragged his hand up and over the spot where there was the most damage was concentrated. He both felt and heard Arumat let out a long breath, almost a sigh, and allowed a pleased smile to come to his face.
It might have been a small thing, almost insignificant in the greater scheme of things, but here and now it mattered, if only to the two of them. And that was enough. It was a small step forward.
The light spluttered and faded from his fingertips before the damage was fully healed, and Edge grimaced and pulled his hand back. "Sorry. I'll put the ointment on."
"Why are you bothering?" Arumat asked, sounding more exasperated than annoyed. "It's hardly life threatening."
Edge fumbled with the cap on the tube and squeezed the strong smelling paste onto his fingers before replying. "I guess… there's so much happening that I can't change, can't fix… Aeos, Lemuris, the phantoms, Myuria… that when something comes along where I can help, I will." He grinned and started rubbing the ointment along the lines of remembered damage. Here, then this way, then here… "That, and I don't like seeing my friends hurt. Even if it isn't life threatening."
"You call us friends?" Arumat asked. "You don't know me, lad."
Edge shrugged, smoothing his thumbs around the curve of a shoulder blade. "Strangers are just friends you don't know yet. Besides, I know the important things about you. You're good with your scythe, you're brave, and loyal. And I'm proud to have you fighting beside me."
"I have had worse companions," Arumat said, though somewhat reluctantly. Edge couldn't help his smile at the somewhat backhanded compliment. He massaged the rest of the ointment in, before his eyes fell on the scar that looped across Arumat's back. The scar tissue was thick and strong and in healing had shrunk so it pulled the surrounding skin tight.
"Does this hurt?" he asked running a careful finger along its length. He was aware that he was probably overstepping his bounds here, but he had been called reckless too many times in his life to start playing things safe now.
"It's healed," Arumat said with a resigned huff, apparently willing to stay put a while longer.
Edge hummed thoughtfully before rifling through the first aid kit. "This should help," he said, pulling out the jar of bio-oil. "It's supposed to keep scars supple, so they don't restrict movement so much."
"It's fine," Arumat said, as Edge dipped his fingers into the jar and began spreading the slippery oil along his scar.
"It looks painful," he commented.
Arumat snorted. "What would you know?"
Edge only paused for a second before replying. "My dad had a scar like this. From his shoulder to his hip. Every time I asked about it he'd tell me a different story." He smiled. "My favourite was getting mauled by a rabid polar bear."
"Lying about your mistakes is pointless."
"I think he was just trying to spare me the truth. I think I gave it to him," Edge admitted.
"What?" Arumat's voice was incredulous.
Edge didn't bother to repeat himself. He knew that Arumat had heard. "You've probably already heard from the others about what Reimi and I are. Crowe too, actually. Seeds of Hope. Genetically altered humans." He hesitated for the first time. "Maybe you don't understand…"
"What I am, I did to myself," Arumat cut in. "And besides, Eldar has technology light years ahead of yours."
Edge nodded even though Arumat couldn't see him. "I know. Faize almost made it sound as if it were common for you, but on earth… we're definitely unusual. And well… experimental. Crowe is the oldest of us, you know. He was the first one to survive. In that, he was successful. He proved that they could create artificial life. You've met him. You know what he's like. He's perfect. Everything that we value in a person, but more. Stronger. Faster. Smarter. Kinder. He could look at you and you'd know he was the most important person in the room. And he could make you feel like you were too. He was perfect," Edge repeated. "But in terms of what they wanted, he was a disappointing failure. Everything he is, is human. He can no more survive the toxic atmosphere of earth than any other man or woman."
He took a deep breath. "So Reimi and I are different. We have these glyphs. These powers. We can't control them or channel them. They only activate occasionally. When we're in danger or distress." He kept his voice low and even. "I don't think Reimi remembers much about those years. I hope not. She's so horrified about what she does know that I hope she never remembers. They pushed us to show our abilities. I don't remember it very clearly, but one day… My mother and father were both there…" he swallowed. "I know my glyph activated. There was a lot of light. And I was so scared. People were screaming and I was running and fighting… There's a lot of equipment in a lab that can be turned into a weapon…" He trailed off and shrugged. "My father and I left the labs after that. We travelled earth. Archeology, treasure hunting, staying off the radar. He told me my mother had died in a lab accident. I think I gave him that scar and I … I think I killed her."
Arumat was silent for a breath, then asked flatly, "Why tell me this?"
Edge swallowed again, and shrugged. "I don't know. I guess… I guess I finally had to tell someone, and I didn't think you'd care." He didn't mean that harshly. Arumat might not understand, but he could accept. There was no way that Edge could talk to Reimi about it; she had her own issues with being a Seed of Hope. Meracle, Lym, Sarah… wouldn't understand. In some ways they felt far too young. Maybe Myuria would have been a better choice but he always felt so off balance talking with her, and he didn't want to burden her with this when there was nothing to be done about it. Not while she was still mourning Lucien. Bacchus too was always focused on moving forward, on completing his mission to destroy the Grigori.
Moving forward was important, Edge knew, but you could only move forward because of what was behind you.
Arumat grunted. "Are you done?" he asked.
Edge blinked and realised his fingers had just been wandering aimlessly back and forth across the scar. He snatched them back. "Ah… yes. I'll leave these on the desk for you," he said, repacking the kit but leaving the anti-inflammatory cream and bio-oil out. He left those on Arumat's desk and stashed the rest of the kit back in its drawer, before standing aimlessly for a half-second until he remembered what he'd been up to.
"Oh. Goodnight." Arumat didn't reply, but Edge didn't really expect him to.