Summary: Gaius sees opportunities, but rarely people. Slight Gaius/Musee.

Warning: game spoilers.

Disclaimer: I do not own Tales of Xillia world, story or characters.

Author's Note: written because I really want to see Gaius/Musee in Tales of Xillia 2.


List of names I keep from the original Japanese game because their localized version did not click with me at all:

Auj Oule – Ajur

Muzet – Musee

Erston - Arst


LOST

Perhaps, Gaius has a talent to find them or perhaps, he thinks in retrospect, blind forces of Universe lead them to him – but whatever the reason, the history repeats itself so often that he recognizes the mental condition immediately. They, who cross his path and attract his interest, always share a character trait or two; they are people with a strong will and a shrewd, disciplined mind, but the world rejects them, perceiving them as a threat, due to their demeanor or derangement, for which those who regard his future allies with contempt can be fairly held accountable. They are lost when he finds them. He offers them what they desire most, and it is to have a direction, an opportunity to apply their numerous talents to achieving a greater goal, for which they always repay him in kind with willingness to give up their lives if he needs them. Gaius accepts the sacrifice, almost as a part of a silent bargain, because he understands the burdens of leadership and because they will not have it any other way. A few years ago he found Presa who was abandoned by her family, recognized her talents and accepted her into the Chimeriad. Jiao, Agria and even Wingul are not different.

Neither is Musee.

When she speaks of Maxwell, Gaius recognizes perplexity in her gestures, in her eyes, in the way she tries to twist his words and persuade herself that her creator cares, but the lie does not console her for long. 'Why doesn't he answer me?' She asks. 'Did he abandon me?' 'For what reason do I exist now that the schism is discovered?' He reads underneath. There is no worse state of mind than that which has its roots in an acute need to find a purpose, however forced or artificial, to continue living.

He gives them purpose.

After hours of chasing after her across the cloudy skies, through the mists which creep, chill and damp, above valleys and dreary marshes, Gaius corners her near Maxwell's shrine and tries to persuade her to show him a way to the Spirit World. Musee is at first horrified at the thought of betraying someone she served for so long. She attacks him in a frenzy of despair and flees once she realizes he is relentless hence he will not be dissuaded or defeated. But her fear serves its purpose because, as Gaius suspects, she absconds to the only place where she can still find solace – Maxwell's dwelling.

On the other side of the portal, darkness is suffocating. Perhaps, she hopes to hide in its velvety embrace, but he had come too far and sacrificed too much to allow his plans to be thwarted now.

"I know you are frightened," Gaius says, looking around, but blackness floods his eyes like ink and his voice rings muffled, as though that blackness smothers even sounds. "But stop running away from me and think for a moment. I mean no harm to you."

"Maxwell…" echoes no louder than the breath of wind.

"What of him? He abandoned the world he swore to protect. He abandoned you. You owe nothing to the old fool, not even a small share of misguided loyalty you are feeling towards him now."

"But without him," he fancies he hears a sob, "I am left without a purpose. What if I disappear? I feel weakness spread through my body, thoughts blur, and I am afraid I will vanish into nothingness. I do not want to vanish, I am not ready…"

"He abandoned you," Gaius repeats patiently, as though he is talking to a child, and in a way she is but a volatile, whimsical child.

"Then what am I to do? I told you I don't know how… to choose my own purpose…"

"You are weak because you wasted too much power, trying to fight me. I asked you to be careful, but I promise I will restore them with my own mana if you join me. I will give you… purpose," he closes his eyes although he is utterly blind either way and outstretches his arm into the darkness, expecting nothing; however, he receives a rather unambiguous answer when her fingers gently cover his. She is hesitant, he senses it, but shows more willingness to listen than heretofore.

"Gaius?.."

Gaius sees opportunities, but rarely people; in turn, in him they see a king and a commander – a man they only know as Gaius – but rarely Arst Outway. It is a silent bargain and in the end everyone is satisfied, reaping the fruit of their alliance, except Wingul.

He feels she won't be satisfied either.

"No, not Gaius. Arst Outway," he says with a half-smile.

"You told me your birth name. Why?"

There is a pale glimmer behind his eyelids and his eyes open, imbibing the details of his surroundings avidly, but they are unobtrusive and bleak, unlike wonders one might expect to see in the Spirit Land. To his frustration, there is only darkness around him and a quivering light hangs in thin air above his head. But he sees Musee's face, her enormous green eyes standing out against a background of pale skin, the madness in them and the faint flicker of hope.

"Lend me your strength to fight Maxwell, to avenge him for turning a blind eye on the events which transpired after the schism was breached, for betraying you, and maybe you will understand why."

He does not lie. He rarely needs to, notably when the alliance affords a mutual benefit. She trustingly presses herself to his shoulder and utters a faint giggle.

"Do you promise… Arst?"

"What?"

"To give me a purpose after everything is over. If you are the new Maxwell, will you let me stand by your side?"

*o*

Gaius sees opportunities, but rarely people therefore when Jude offers him a hand of friendship, he does not accept it; a part of him does not understand why, a part of him does not care, a part of him knows he lost and, whereas they might eventually become allies, they will hardly be friends. They fought because they believed in their own rightness and neither agreed to yield; there is no lingering animosity between them, but no foundation for friendship either, because Jude is strong, however, he lacks that unique inward tumult Gaius is looking for in his most faithful followers.

Jude is not lost.

He has friends and Maxwell to help him shape himself and define his goals and only a fool will forget that Gaius strove to subjugate the Spirit god himself so as to do what a mere human in his place could not. He looks around, but his gaze only finds Musee on her knees and he sees silent tears streaming down her cheeks. He regrets he cannot help her, but he can still promise her that she will not disappear. "It isn't her fault," he says. He is strong enough to carry the weight of blame on his shoulders.

And he still doubts they will do whatever is necessary to save their world until the new Maxwell announces with unwavering conviction that she agrees to sacrifice her freedom for the common cause.

*o*

Gaius often sees people as opportunities, but rarely for who they are, because he knows that he cannot fight alone and he cannot rule alone, however, as he stands before the nobility of the united Ajur and Rashugal, urging them to support the creation of the new kingdom with eloquence and tact, he acutely feels his own solitude.