It is not generosity, because he is not a soft enough man for something such at that, but there is not a touch of reservation when he presses the hefty bag of gald into her hand. It feels right, in a world where nothing he does ever is. He smiles at her with a shark’s tooth grin and says that it is nothing, and that he will be back next month with more. He leaves quickly so that he will not have to watch how her face buckles under with grateful tears and her knees hit the floor under the weight of her joy.
He remains true to his word, which is something of a rarity in his current line of work. He returns at the first of each month on the minute with his palms heaping with gald, and the matron never grows any less thunderstruck to see him.
—from And Thundering Hearts
Given my current obsession with the Tales of games, I thought it would be fitting to look for a fic to coincide with said obsession. And while I tried to keep my search for femslash in mind, when running across this fic I knew I had to make an exception.
There is rarely anything more interesting than fanfic authors delving into the motivations and pasts of the villains of canon. In And Thundering Hearts, author Rebbe tackles who I believe is one of the more complex villains I’ve run into: Yeager from Tales of Vesperia. By the time the main party runs into him, Yeager is the leader of two very influential groups—using a pseudonym for one of them—and he’s involved with a plot to overthrow the current monarchy and still hurting from the death of his lover ten years ago. He’s a man with a lot to lose, but is entirely confident that he’ll never lose it. Despite this seemingly narcissistic personality (and the fact that he’s the head of a guild of assassins), Yeager has one soft spot in his heart: his two daughters, Gauche and Droite.
Doing certain optional side-quests in-game reveals that Yeager was a constant supporter of an orphanage a few towns away from his guild headquarters, and that when he gave, he gave generously. Gauche and Droite also end up telling the main party that Yeager adopted them from that very place, which is why they’re so loyal to him, but we’re not told much else. Yeager’s reasons for doing so are left up in the air. It’s going to sound strange, but Rebbe makes an inspired decision to leave it that way in their fic as well. Although one can make the assumption that he adopted them to keep up some cover of decency and gain a couple more assassins on the side, this isn’t really supported as his true intentions by the game or the fic. In both, it comes off as Yeager, on the surface, not understanding what’s drawing him to helping these kids but subconsciously trying to subdue his loneliness. In the end, that’s what this fic is about: not Yeager helping this small group of children necessarily, but finally forming a bond with someone long after resigning himself to the fact that he might never do so again.
I love family fic, and watching Yeager slowly change from considering the girls as potential tools to caring for them as he would his actual children is a treat. And Thundering Hearts may not have gone into the backstory in the manner I was expecting, but this short four thousand word fic gave fantastic insight in the closeness the three of them shared.