A/N : I really like these two for some reason. Thus I wrote a story about them. This story revolves around Cocona and Finnel from how they first met until the end of the game, so in-game events are present here. However, since I only covered the event with Cocona and Finnel, the events kinda jumped from one to another lol
Warnings : Contains full spoilers. Un-beta-ed since my beta is… missing lol. I actually wrote this before the US version of the game comes out, so some things/dialogue might be incorrect.
Yart yor, en is originally a song in Ar Tonelico Hymmnos Musical Vocal Mini Album ~Cocona~ which was sung by Haruka Shimotsuki. The meaning of yart yor, en is I Met You, And…
Disclaimer : GUST
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The first time they talked was in his tent. They had spent the day monster hunting in Blue Heaven Trail, the four of them again—him and Aoto up front, her and Saki singing in the back. Aoto had leveled up for the umpteenth time until he got tired of it and decided to take a good night rest. Saki went to her own tent moments after, and seconds later Tatsumi began to think that he should get some sleep too—if only the purple-haired strange girl, Finnel, didn't come to his tent with weird expressions all over her face.
Tatsumi waited until the girl in front of him speaks, but nothing came out from her mouth. "What do you want?"
She looked up, surprised, turning from the carpet that had caught her attention for no apparent reason. "O-Oh!" She said, somewhat hurried. "I-I just want to…umm, well…" She paused, cleared her throat, and turned pink. "P-Please be friends with me!"
He admitted that he was a little too fast, but it couldn't be helped—he didn't want to give his shoulders more weight to carry. Friends are nice, but when you have a mission right in front of your nose it become something troublesome. "There's no need for us to become friends, that's why."
"B-But!" She kept insisting, "You're friends with Aoto! And why couldn't I!"
"With Aoto…it's not something like that." He replied. "It's more like give-and-take relationship. He tells me nice V-Board Spots and I give him some information, that's all. Not that buddy-buddy relationship." It wasn't all lies. He just happened to meet Aoto some time ago, and somehow he had a feeling that Aoto will provide some use for him, well, he had a feeling that Aoto could help him in some ways. To consider that guy as a friend…it's not a bad idea, but he better not tell that to this somewhat eager girl.
She hung her mouth with an expression like something had hit her head. Slowly, she averted her gaze back to the carpet again, as if something popped out from it. "A-Aaah! V-Board, huh! T-That's very great!" Suddenly she beamed cheerfully.
"Huh?" Tatsumi stared at her quizzically.
"Y-Yeah, you know! I'm also a fan of V-Board, too. How it launches in the sky, how it sky-rocketed all of a sudden, how it buzzes…V-Board! How cool!" She spoke in a phony tone.
He didn't seem to realize this, as he perked up with amusement. "Ah…I've never expected that you're a fan, too. Why didn't you tell me sooner?"
"E-Ehehehehehehe." Somehow, that 'ehehe' seems never-ending.
"So?" He grinned. "Which type do you like?"
Finnel became quiet all of a sudden.
Ever since then, she had always followed him everywhere. When he was alone, she would suddenly pop-out from nowhere, greeting him innocently. Whenever they had the chance to talk, she would waste it with stuttering around without making any real progress. He, of course, became sick of this. Their somewhat-leader, Aoto, was off to his house explain lots of things to his steeps. Autumn had approached the Blue Canyon Hamlet, the leaves doing a waltz conducted by the gentle breeze. He sneezed when one of the leaves danced too wildly and hit his nose.
"Why," He turned to her, who had been standing behind him the whole time. "Are you following me?"
She looked blank for seconds before grins uncomfortably. "Because…I have no one to talk to. Besides… don't you know Aoto is off with that Sarapartra-girl now? We better not disturb them. Hmph." She scowled as she said the last part of her sentence.
"You haven't even said a single word before I spoke first."
"Oh, I was just about to speak right now!"
He doubted that—he really did. He was expecting her to talk about their new, mini-plan to invade the tower to deliver the Heart of Gaea which he possessed, but what have she been doing? Tailing behind him and gazed at the yellow leaves with mouth agape like an idiot. Instead of spit at her about how a bother she turned out to be, he kept on walking after adjusting his slightly ruffled hat. He felt that he, she, and this entire situation had become dull. So he let everything flows. "Fine."
She didn't say anything and just walked behind his trails. Great.
Suddenly, they heard a scream. Not wasting any time, he identified the voice source and headed towards it with her following behind, clueless. What he saw was what he had expected—bunch of monsters randomly attacking a poor-looking guy. He sighed. This kind of thing had occurred often these days. Is the world really coming into an end?
"I-I'll be your backup—" Finnel stuttered in panic.
"No, I can handle this."He prepared his weapon—his beloved V-Board.
Before she could voice any protest, he had already made his way to come face-to-face with the monsters. The monsters looked vicious, but not too difficult. He swept up his V-Board at them as hard as he could, and it didn't take very long to defeat those things. The poor man thanked him and went away, probably realizing that he have to enjoy his life before some crazy monsters take it.
The two of them was left behind.
"That was some hassle." He said in a flat tone. "Lucky those monsters weren't that strong."
She stared at him respectfully."Wow, you're…very cool!"
He shrugged. "It wasn't a big deal. Those leveling-go-round had an effect, I felt much stronger. My V-Board and skills also provided some help."
She took a glance at his V-Board and himself. "You… You used the skill that I've made for you."
His first skill, D-RAY, is what she was mentioning about. She had made it for him, under Aoto's request. It turned out to be a big hand, as he begins to use it frequently. In this occasion, he had used it, too.
"Yeah." He nodded. "Something wrong with that?"
She just giggled like an idiot.
Weeks passed. They finally arrived at Archia, one of Sol Cluster's major influencing side. Aoto had gone off to Ougai Preschool to take care of Saki and her past. Hikari Gojo also left, saying that he wanted to see an 'old friend'. While he also separates from the party to take care of his own business. It's not 'business' actually, more like nostalgia doohickey. His old friend, Sasha, owns a store that goes by a name of Nyanyaya Store around this place. So basically he just wanted to visit her and some petty chit-chat will be most likely following up.
Her? As always, follows him just because she didn't have anything to do. He wondered why she must follow him every time she's free—He means, she could do anything besides that. Walking around by herself, shopping-go-round, anything that doesn't involves him. She could do that perfectly, right? He decided to ignore it anyway.
Sasha didn't change much. Two years have passed since their first meeting but there hasn't been any major alteration in her appearance. Only she looks taller and more-developed. Her voice also changed a bit, most likely because of puberty—But overall, Sasha's still the ol' nice-and-smart Sasha. They talked a lot. Most of it was about nostalgia, latest event, and some more trivial things. Sasha was one of few people that could make him talk about lots of things (some other was Gengai). He smiled a lot—he laughed a lot—he enjoyed it.
So much that he got carried away.
Finnel who had been left the whole time just could stare at them. Her purple orbs looked hollow as she does so, just like it was drown.
Sasha excused herself to pick some V-Boards from her shop's storage.
"You seem very happy." Finnel said monotonously.
"Yeah," He admitted sincerely. "She's a good friend." She nodded weakly at this.
Sasha apologized to make the two of them wait. She came back with different types of V-Board in her hands, which made Tatsumi wow and wow-ed at them. Finnel continued to gaze at them, probably feeling more and more unnoticed.
She inhaled. "Umm, Tatsumi…I'll walk around the town for a little bit…If you're done, just go back to the Inn."
He looked at her, nods, and then went back to his and his old friend's world.
It was when he arrived at the Inn that he realized something was different.
She was there, standing beside Aoto and watching that white-haired man discusses about Saki and Archia and stuffs. The difference was pretty minor, almost unnoticeable—usually whenever this girl caught a sight of him, she would beam gladly before turning her head with a shy face. But this time she just took a sideways glance—and then turned her head with a somewhat unemotional face.
A thought of is she mad because she got left behind crossed his mind before he crashed that thought tumbling to the ground. There was no way that she would be mad over something that childish—she already reached an age where someone couldn't be called as a child anymore.
Anyway, it wasn't any of his business right? He shouldn't be bothered by it.
He really shouldn't.
Immature. Implausible. Stupid.
He just kept muttering those words inside his mind, as if he was trying to scold a stone. It was a really reasonless action, so ridiculous that it's going to make him laugh. Not just over that girl, but over him too. He was standing in front of that very ridiculous girl's room right now. Why does he come, what does he want, what is he going to say—he doesn't know. All he knew is that his right hand was already on the doorknob.
The door opened.
It wasn't his name.
That calm, straight face on her face got replaced by a panicked, messed-up, and incredibly bashful face. An expression that he always sees and gets bored of—but this time, it made him feels intact somehow.
"W-Why," He could hear her swallow. "-A-Are you here? Do you want to talk?"
This time, it was his turn to panic—he didn't show it, of course. "Well."
"C-Come in, please! It's not a good idea to talk in the front door, you know…"
He nodded and followed her into her room.
Once they got inside, he began to continue. "… When are you going to take me to Harvestasha? You don't seem to bring it up unless I do…" Once again, it wasn't all lies.
Finnel tried to keep her composure for unknown reason. "Of course I'm going to take you! I swear I will!"
"Okay… Well, if it comes down to it, I'll look for her by myself." His comment ended their conversation (ignoring her protest). He had come all the way from his room to this girl's room just to ask this thing—and now that it has been accomplished, he has to go back. He nodded and turned his back. "That's all. Good night."
Finnel just watched as he began to step away from her side. "Y-Yeah."
"One more thing."
He didn't even realize it. Something—something had made him stopped his steps right in front of the door. Still, he refused to look at her. "I'm sorry."
"I said, I'm sorry."
"Earlier when I was talking with Sasha. You got forgotten somewhat. Figures if you're not pleased or something."
There was a silence before she replies with a pleasant tone. "I'm not mad or anything, of course!"
"I don't care. You're going to accept my apology."
"E-Eeh? B-But that's unfair!"
"So you really are mad after all."
Finnel sighed before letting out a soft giggle. "…I accept your apology, Tatsumi."
He felt like a total weirdo when he finds himself putting a small relieved smile.
Now he had nothing to hide anymore. He—in fact, she—had became herself, a foreign girl by the name of Cocona Bartel. Everything happened too fast that she couldn't recall every event properly, but she knew for sure that Soma—that female bastard—was the culprit for revealing her identity. The irony was that strong, unbeatable killer was now letting herself loose in front of her—not just her, everybody. Aoto was trying to uninstall Soma by putting his hand inside Soma's—Finnel's—body, making that black-haired woman cried in pain.
Everyone—Saki, Hikari Gojo, Gengai—watched with a same expression, astonished. She also watched it, not taking her eyes off of Soma's—Finnel's personality—vulnerable face for even once.
She wondered what this unpleasant feeling was.
"Please, Cocona. Leave the Heart of Gaea and run away from this place!"
Cocona eyed Finnel with twitched eyebrows. She remembered her group being caught by Akane and thrown to separate rooms of Clustania's Slave District, and now Finnel had came to her. She continued her speech. "I really wish you would reconsider things first, Cocona. Lady Harvy is not a nice person at all, your life could be in danger—"
"Your life is the one in danger, Finnel." Cocona cut in with a harsh expression on her face. "Really, you should stop acting like there's nothing wrong with you. We're all trying to save your life here. No need to think that you're going to be alone anymore. Besides, I promised myself that I would bring this Heart of Gaea to that Harvestasha. It was my whole purpose of coming here. And mind you, I don't like breaking my own words."
Finnel just stared at her with the same horrid face, her whole body trembling. "But…"
Cocona sighed. "Hey, do you really think that I'm just a weak little girl? I'm pretty strong, you know. So strong that I decided to put up a disguise as a man, a good-looking man to be exact."
Upon hearing those words, Finnel surprisingly began to giggle. "I… I know…" However, as she spoke, she couldn't hold back the tears which already prepared themselves the whole time.
Cocona smiled and approached the older girl to pat her head gently. "Geez, you're so boo sometimes. Crying while giggling, I'm sure there wasn't anything like this in my hometown. Oh Sol Cluster, ever distinctive…"
As she eyed the giggling girl in front of her, Cocona began to make another promise in the back of her mind.
"It'll be alright. Just relax, Finnel."
There wasn't any guarantee for that statement of hers. But Cocona had to say that to convince this B-type Reyvateil in front of her. That very Reyvateil was almost crying, her face red and her eyes teary. Cocona tried to keep her laugh to herself as she witnessed that funny face. Finnel had always been a weird, stupid, and preposterous girl.
Also a somewhat nice companion.
Cocona began to chant some hymnnos words, releasing surges of energy from her body. A light engulfed her side. Once the light subsided, she could see a blissful face in front of her.
"T…Thank you, Cocona…!" Finnel tried not to let her tears drop as she spoke in a poignant tone. "F-For me, you…"
She became blank for a second before replying it with a modest smile. "…It's okay. … If we need to, I can bring another one. But you can only get one life."
Finnel smiled once again before putting her head down shyly—a behavior that Cocona sees every time she talks to her. "Hey… in your hometown, there's a really big Heart of Gaea, right? If only… I get well, I…"
"You will be! I guarantee—"
And just like that, her world was backstabbed.
But she didn't regret a thing.
Time flew. It felt just like yesterday when Finnel first greeted her as 'Cocona'. The older girl seemed hesitant at first, but she behaved herself and then asked whether she was really Tatsumi or not. When the answer turned out to be 'yes', Finnel became very surprised. But soon, she giggled—probably over her own stupidity—and said that she was happy.
And here they are—in what people would call 'the last day'. They had beaten the Will of Ar Ciel earlier, and now they were on the road back to town. Unfortunately the grand sun set off a little too early, and they decided to rest for the night. At last, peace had come to Sol Cluster. Humans and Reyvateils would live alongside in harmony—a world that everyone had always dreamed. This means her mission is completed already.
Time to go home.
She had woken up from her sleep. Something lingered inside her mind—something that made her wants to go outside her camp. Perhaps she just needed some fresh air.
That was when she saw someone.
Her expectations were right. Finnel was sitting on the corner of valley, her legs dancing freely in the air. She brought a cup of tea with her, and hooded herself with a ruffled blanket. Her face seemed to change as she turned and caught a sight of Cocona—relieved, but afraid at the same time. "Cocona?"
Silence engulfed the two of them.
"Want," Finnel broke the silence with a warm smile and a cup on her hand. "Some tea?"
Cocona gave out a same expression. "That would be nice."
As Finnel made some tea for her—asking if she would like some milk added—Cocona stared into the distant sky. She always thinks that night sky is a no-scenario-drama. It was a cool black horizon with numerous amounts of glitters splattered onto it randomly, but as if those glitters had found their way, it looked beautiful.
"Here." She snapped from her reverie as she felt something warm touched her body. It was a cup of milk tea that Finnel had made for her. She gave a small thank as the two of them sit down, back-to-back.
Finnel's back was warm, just like everything she had always thought.
"You're…going back to that Metafalss, huh?"
Those words were just like spraying oil onto fire. Cocona had already known that this topic would be brought up sooner or later, so she already tried to be preparedfor it. "Yes." A straight answer—perhaps a little too straight, but she didn't mind. It was the very truth.
"…Metafalss, huh…" Finnel smiled as she arched her back to stare at the nightline. "I'm sure it's a great place, right? Because it's the place you were born. You, who had became a wonderful person—a person who wills to help everyone, kind, and has a super patience. You, who had helped me so much—too much that you even got hurt." She paused before continuing with a truthful tone. "You've helped me numerous times, Cocona. Just so you know, I'm very grateful to you. But…I've always received things from you. Is there… Is there anything that I can do for you?" Perhaps it was just her imagination, but Cocona was sure that Finnel's voice got shakier as seconds passes.
The younger girl tried to look at the older one's face, but somehow she found herself declining that action. "Well…" She looked at her drink instead. "You know—you've done a lot for me too, Finnel."
When she heard no reply from Finnel, Cocona decided to continue.
"I know that you're very grateful to me. Your gratitude—that's all. Though I didn't think that all of my help to you were that big, you always felt so grateful for it. To make someone happy—it's a great thing. " Her face was sincere, her lips was curving into a gentle smile. "You made me felt like I've accomplished so many things. Because of this, I was able to help myself whenever I feel like I couldn't move on. I could motivate myself—just like I could motivate you—to do things that I never give a thought. Whenever I help you, I help myself too."
Finnel made a squirt-like sound before she became silent again.
This wasn't a negative sign for Cocona. "However, if there is one thing…" She gazed at the sky with a sincere face. She could picture her own face reflected in the blue horizon, smiling to herself—just like it was telling her to look through her own eyes to make sure that every words that she said will be the truth. "…I want you to live a happy life."
She wasn't expecting any reaction—that's why she felt nothing when Finnel still gave no reply. Instead, she stole the moment to swallow her milk tea.
Finally, Finnel spoke.
"… Don't go."
It came like a gust. Suddenly, surges of regrets invaded Cocona's mind. How she wished that the world would always stay like her milk tea—sweet and warm. That way, the world doesn't have to be in danger, Jacqli doesn't have to give her a mission, she doesn't have to come to this place, she doesn't have to meet Finnel in the first place, she doesn't have to say goodbye to her, and she doesn't have to feel this prickling sadness in her heart. She regretted the promise which she made back then in Slave District—a promise not to make Finnel cry again. Because no matter how much she made Finnel happy and got close to her, Cocona would ultimately be the one who'd make Finnel cry in the end—because she had to depart for her hometown and leave Sol Cluster along with its resident; Aoto, Saki, Doctor Gojo, Master Gengai, everyone else who had helped her, and Finnel.
However, what hurt her the most—more than the fact that this will be their last conversation, more than her aching heart, more than Finnel's loud cries—
"I won't go."
—Is that she couldn't help but tell a lie this time.
She was glad that she had chosen a milk tea, because its hazy surface couldn't reflect her own teary face.
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A/N : Wow. Surprised at how long this turned out to be. It's finally finished. I re-read the whole thing and somehow… I began to doubt the quality of this fic lol. It was a little too cheesy I think… Sorry if they are kinda OOC. You're free to view this as either romance or friendship lolol. Anyway, hope you like it!