A couple weeks ago, I finished my reread of Animorphs and immediately went looking for fanfic to fix the gaping hole in my heart. The last time I’d searched for Animophs fic, I couldn’t find any that I liked. I’d always wanted a fic about Tobias—although some of my favorites, like Cassie, got an ending that made sense for their characters, others, like Tobias, did not. Even though he would definitely have flown off into the woods to be by himself after the final battle, I couldn’t see him doing it in quite the way he did in the series. But thankfully, Yuletide again came to my aid.
Spoilers for all of Animorphs after the jump.
Animorphs had a lot of tragic characters, but Tobias tugged at my heartstrings the most. Yet when Animorphs finally gave us all the answers to his mysterious past, it just… left things there. How could they? For those not in the know, before the Yeerk war really kicked into gear, the human Loren and the Andalite Elfangor hid away together on Earth and, through Elfangor’s human morph, they had a kid. That kid was Tobias. Unfortunately for all of them, the Ellimist called Elfangor away to the war and erased Loren’s memories of him, leaving her believing that another man was Tobias’s father. Although Loren eventually regained (some) of her memories, the books never capitalized on Tobias’s family connections, particularly his Andalite ones. He’s the son of the war hero Elfangor and the nephew of another war hero, Ax; it’s impossible to believe that his Andalite grandparents wouldn’t at least want to meet him. And although Tobias was angry at everyone associated with the Animorphs after the war ended, wouldn’t he, at some point, at least try to reach out to Loren, the mother he’d always wanted but never had the chance to know?
With all this in mind, Things Hidden, Gifts Given starts post-series with the classic “My name is Tobias” introduction. Author Senri perfectly captures Tobias’s mindset at the end of the series, anger-filled and grieving, and the way he slowly reconnects with each teammate and with his mother was almost painful to read. But most importantly, Senri talks about how Tobias and Loren bond: at first over stupid reality TV shows, flying, and Domino’s pizza, but then over Elfangor and their memories of the war as well.
Loren stood with her mouth open, staring. “Tobias?!”
[Yeah, it’s me.] She looked kind of gobsmacked. She’d seen me morph before. Maybe it was just that I’d morphed an Andalite this time. My voice was still mine at least, some weird thing where Tobias’ thought-speech voice came out of Ax’s body. [You okay?]
“Yeah…” She came closer. She had to look up at me a little to see into my eyes. I kind of liked it. My human body had stopped aging; I always went back to my thirteen-year-old DNA. I was never going to be taller than her like that. But here I was. I straightened up.
She reached out and stroked her fingers lightly over my flank. It felt a little weird, but I didn’t move. Had she touched Elfangor like that when they first met?
“It’s just weird,” she said. “Did you know… who is this?”
[Ax. Aximili. Elfangor’s younger brother.]
“He’s the spitting image of Elfangor at this age.” She stepped back, looked me up and down, tears in her eyes. “He looks just like him.”
Wearing my uncle’s skin and my father’s face, it was like Elfangor ran, a ghost in the wind, across that mountain plain. Did Ax know that, I wondered. That once, he and Elfangor had looked so alike. I could imagine him getting older and looking more and more like his brother…
That evening I learned: Andalites also shivered.
And although Senri doesn’t delve into it much, they also give us a little bit of interaction with Tobias’s Andalite relatives. When he makes a call to Ax, who’s serving aboard an Andalite vessel in space, the two of them talk about their shared family:
“What about your mom and dad?”
“They are well, and instructed me to give you their well-wishes.” Ax seemed to perk up. Maybe he was faking it for me, or maybe it was his real optimism bubbling through; Estrid had been a long time ago, after all. “They are interested in talking to you. I informed them that your response would be a ‘maybe,’ which I hope was not presumptuous.”
My Andalite grandparents wanted to meet me. My heart twisted a little. Some of me said [i]yes,[/i] the rest of me thought I wouldn’t be able to stand it. “No, man. Maybe was a good answer. Maybe with something like this? I’ll think about it.”
“I am glad. They are eager to speak to you. You are the new sapling on our family line, you know. At least until I take a lifemate.” His eye stalks bobbed in what I recognized as an awkward gesture.
You can read Things Hidden, Gifts Given here on the AO3. At 13k, it fills in all the blanks that should have been filled in in the last book, and it’s a great piece of writing to boot.