Disclaimer: Characters may not be mine, but the idea is.

Author's Note: This is a gift fic for Latias Eevee (check her out!); she requested "Dawn of the New World, something crazy, and related to the holidays." Well… The degree to how "crazy" this is may be up to your consideration, but the idea of Tenebrae trolling Marta was the first thing that came to mind. This is also my first attempt at a Tales of Symphonia fic, so I apologize if anything seems off.

Fishing for Romance

"Let's meet up at that Oasis in Triet! You know, where Tenebrae transformed into a fishing rod? Doesn't that sound so fun, Emil?"

"I-I guess so…"

"Okay! It's settled!"

"Marta, wait!"

Emil frowned as he left the shop; he was really hopeless at picking out gifts for people… It didn't help that winter holidays weren't really a huge deal in Sylvarant, even if Marta claimed they should be. He'd finally settled on a set of matching gloves, hair clips, and a scarf for her, but that had led to a rather embarrassing moment when the shopkeeper had assumed Emil was buying them for himself.

Fortunately, the man had only insisted that the gifts didn't match Emil's eyes well enough, but it had taken quite a bit of convincing to get him to believe that Emil was buying them for his girlfriend. Consequently, he was running a bit late, and he had to hope he hadn't kept Marta waiting too long…

Marta smiled as she looked out at the lake's surface. It was much prettier now that the world was getting back in balance… Snowflakes fell from the sky, disappearing as they hit the water, and some snow had already built up in some places around the shore. It was just so romantic.

After a few moments, the sound of footsteps interrupted her thoughts, and Marta spun around in excitement. As if on cue, Emil himself was walking towards her, brushing a few snowflakes off his nose. She dashed towards him with her present in hand.

"Oh, Emil!" she gushed. "Here, I just thought this would be perfect! Hurry, open it—"

Emil seemed to be ignoring her babbling as he carefully peeled the wrapping paper off the long, thin box. Odd, he hadn't said anything at all yet; Marta hoped that just meant he was speechless with excitement.

The blonde lifted the flap on the box and slowly pulled out the fishing rod. Marta clasped her hands together, grinning broadly as Emil examined it. Her smile quickly inverted, however, when Emil looked up with a blank expression.

"Marta, why would you get Emil a fishing rod? You know he barely has any fishing experience. Besides, why would you waste your money when you could just ask me to transform into one of these?"

Marta's jaw dropped as Tenebrae's voice came out of Emil's mouth. Her own mouth moved wordlessly for a few seconds before she exploded. It was at the point she realized that "Emil" didn't even have a gift on hand; it would also explain why he had been so quiet up to this point…

"T-Tenebrae? How could you do such a thing?" she demanded. "You're so mean! You're trying to steal Emil from me, aren't you? I hate you!"

With that, Marta turned on her heel and fled, and Tenebrae's mocking laughter echoed in her ears.

"Marta? Sorry I'm late, but…"

Emil was slightly out of breath by the time he reached the lake. He'd run part of the way there, but he was still a few minutes late… As he stopped to catch his breath, his eyes widened slightly at the scene in front of him.

He had the vaguest glimpse of Marta before she ran off in a blur. She was apparently too busy yelling something about Tenebrae to notice Emil was there…

Tenebrae himself was standing near the shore with a fishing rod in hand; oddly enough, the centurion currently looked like Emil. The moment Emil blinked, however, Tenebrae transformed into the feminine form he'd once used to sneak past some guards. He then cast the line into the lake, and, surprisingly enough, he instantly scored a bite.

"This is fun! I can see why she bought him this… Well, hello, Emil! Care to join me?"

Tenebrae looked up and noticed him, and Emil nervously tugged at his scarf for a few moments before shaking his head and backing away awkwardly. If he left quickly enough, maybe he could catch up to Marta…

"Suit yourself… Oh, another bite!"

Sighing, Emil shook his head as he turned around. Tenebrae was still Tenebrae, all right.

Author's Note x2: I think Marta's clinginess is slightly worse at the beginning of the game than it is by the end, but Tenebrae is such a gadfly that I can see this happening. And as for the fishing pole, I imagine Marta would get it so she could purposefully spend time giving Emil hands-on fishing lessons; she'd probably find that romantic…