runiclore: (Tales of Symphonia - Yggdrasil)
[personal profile] runiclore
Transplant
Author:
[personal profile] myaru
Fandom: Tales of Symphonia
Characters: Genis, Mithos
Prompt Set: [profile] 7rainbowprompts - violet set, 3 - stranger
Gauntlet theme: 09 - there's no mistaking when you fall
Rating: meh
Words:
Warnings: AU.

Notes: This is two or three years old, and unfinished. Posting because I don't plan on continuing this particular fic, but I'm thinking I might still give the original concept a try with a different story. There are things about it I like, so.



----------------------------------------

"How long has it been?" Genis was almost used to his new voice, now, and the constant hum of Welgaia's machinery - the white walls, the blue lights. The smell of something they called disinfectant. "How long since I came up here?"

Mithos answered without looking up: "The Regeneration hasn't restarted yet."

This time Genis didn't bother to make his usual face. Mithos stared at the crystal embedded in his chest and his eyes had the peculiar flat glint Genis remembered seeing in Colette when they first got to Tethe'alla. Thinking her name left a twinge in his chest - or maybe that was his Cruxis Crystal, the pinch of his rune crest, the pressure of Mithos leaning forward, of his fingers poking and prodding. Genis swallowed and asked how he was supposed to adjust anything just by tapping it with his nail.

"It's your mana levels I'm adjusting, idiot." Mithos blew hair out of his eyes, sat back on his heels. "Usually angels can walk and fly by now. You're the most difficult transplant I've ever met."

Genis looked down at his hands, spread on his knees. Long fingers didn't suit him. Was this really what he was supposed to look like when he got older? "Why? And why can't I tell when you do that?"

"You're still here--" Mithos traced the faceted shape on his chest and energy crackled under his skin-- "instead of here." He poked Genis in the forehead, finally looking up from beneath his fringe.

His forehead tingled when the other withdrew. "How?"

Mithos hitched his shoulder up in a shrug, rose, and pulled Genis with him. His knees buckled first, then firmed up, but he had to lean on Mithos until his legs stopped feeling like noodles. Genis felt the outline of crystal and crest through his friend's coat. He couldn't pretend this was Raine; she was softer. She was taller - or he was shorter.

Was.

"Genis." Mithos was much stronger than Raine; his arm was like iron, holding Genis up. "You ask too many questions."


*

Genis didn't have words for what he was reading - only cliches like 'staggering' and 'unbelievable' to describe the lists of mana readings and rates of consumption recorded from ancient Tethe'alla's military documents, the ones tracking battery usage and replacement of rifles (he had to find a picture), canons (he knew all too well what those looked like), and transportation machines. Compared to the information he had on the Tower of Salvation now - the shield, the oxygen fields, the suspension of the Mana Seed - the Kharlan War records made his eyes burn. He skimmed the list over and over again. The computer ran a sum for him. A million of those weapons, he thought; a million firing at once, again and again, day after day.

The eye-bleeding blue finally made him look away from the screen and rub his eyes. "This is awful."

"Awful is a good word for it," Mithos said. "There were days neither Martel or I could find any magic to use."

Genis squinted, blinked. "That too."

There weren't any windows in this room, at the center of the palace on Derris Kharlan; he couldn't even hear the constant rumble of the storm outside. Just the hum of the white and yellow lights, the crease of fabric somewhere behind him when Mithos moved, sometimes a sharp exhale. Genis kicked off the floor and made his chair spin.

That was his favorite advancement so far-- spinning chairs.

The computers were good too, of course. Amazing. They could solve problems and come up with numbers even Raine couldn't do. There were seven terminals in here that could manage all the functions in the laboratory from a distance.

He kicked out to stop his spin and slammed his knee into the lip of his desk. The display rattled. Mithos said from across the room that sounded like that hurt, about as worried as if Genis had fallen into a pit of feather pillows. Not even a twinge announced itself from the impact, but the skin was getting red, and it would go purple, then ugly and yellow, just like the bruises on his knuckles and toes. Was he going to be slamming into things forever? It shouldn't be that hard to gauge the reach of his own stupid arms and legs.

How will Raine recognize me? was the first thing Genis asked when he was able to look at a mirror and acknowledge that those were his lips moving, forming the words he just spoke. That was his voice - his throat vibrated when he probed it with his fingers and asked again how his friends would know. Remembering always left a tremor in his hands. Silver hair, gold, it was all the same in the scintillating light cast by angel wings in the mirror-white corridors of Welgaia. Somehow Genis could feel it when Mithos's fingers dug into his shoulder, as they did every time he mentioned his sister. Somehow. Maybe it had to do with the way he felt himself leaning when his friend was in the room, like a plant tilting toward a splash of sunlight on the windowsill.

Sometimes he thought Welgaia wasn't a city of angels, but a convention of mobile plants. He could imagine Mithos agreeing, maybe even saying that was the whole point.

Genis had already imagined a hundred responses to that observation. He might have time for a hundred more while his eyes rested.

"Turn it off if you're not going to read. It's a waste of energy." Mithos said from above his head. Genis jumped.

Mithos leaned past him to deactivate the screen. His hair draped in a long curtain between them, tickling and sliding, curling around Genis's own unruly hair, which was more like a mane than a delicate silk curtain. It even smelled good.

Like sunlight.


*


She reminds me of my sister. Mithos, his hair still short, his face still child-like. Afamiliar line of trees he knew from Ozette made a dark backdrop against a purple sky. I saw the boulder fall and I just couldn't--

Genis knew it was a dream because he hadn't seen Mithos in this younger guise since they'd left Altessa's; bandages wrapped across his forehead and around his arms where he'd been hurt during the earthquake. Genis's own hands, when he looked down at them, were still small. He'd slumped there against the tree, bitten his lip, tried to say something - Raine is in danger every day, and someday... someday he might not be able to get there in time.

His voice failed. It didn't matter, because Mithos never looked at him. I thought she was going to die all over again.

The puzzle pieces had already fallen into place after the confrontation with Yggdrasil in the tower; that set them in stone for good.

What would you do if something happened to your sister? Genis was a coward; he trembled when Mithos said that with a voice raw like he'd inhaled dust. What do you think you would do?

Genis tried not to hear that inflection. I don't know. I never saw anything, he wanted to add; I don't know, I'll never tell I promise, please don't hurt her. Even before Mithos revealed himself, Genis used to think the other boy knew how to paste his lips shut just by looking over a certain way, smiling with one corner of his lips higher than the other and the wind chasing hair into his face. Watching the breeze brush his bangs out of his eyes only made Genis's stomach clench and roil. He repeated himself, because saying anything else would give him away. I don't know. I don't want to know.

Mithos wasn't smiling, but his eyes still looked narrow. That's right, he said. Then he shook his head and looked off into the distance-- as if toward Altessa's house, maybe, but instead of the huge oak that should've been there to mark their path back, Genis saw one of the castle monuments in Martel's likeness, spreading its wings like a tree. I think I know how to keep your sister safe. Mithos stood up. Follow me.


*
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