In which I exercise more self-indulgence than ever before and attempt to create a page in tribute to the many, sometimes esoteric, occasionally astonishingly mainstream, more often than not ridiculous pairings that I enjoy in fiction. Probably won't ever be complete or even reasonably comprehensive - I have to remember enough to fill those blurb sections after all - but what is Neocities for if not creating web pages about your niche interests nobody cares about? Lol. Please heed the content warnings on the sidebar!

What kind of horrible things did you guys do to each other in canon, if Syn is writing about you?

Okay, that quote doesn't... necessarily... always apply to every fictional pairing I gravitate to, but... Well, the evidence will be put here soon enough, so. (Sometimes the characters in question never interact enough in the source material to actually do any of that so-called horrible stuff to one another! Like the pairing featured in the layout!)

There's a bias for like... really bad and often gross niche rarepairings that's hard to justify working in any sort of term romantically at all. I like and even love a lot of canon couples - often the ones that directly 'contradict' or undermine my more on-brand rarepairs - and I will be doing the same short write-ups as I do my more esoteric picks, but they're not really a priority, obviously, and I would also be focusing on how the pairing personally makes me feel or my personal interpretation of it rather than make any attempt to 'sell' it in any way.

Plus I'm slightly embarrassed if you can believe it of putting a fairly innocuous perfectly canon pairing right on top of or underneath something that necessitates, like, 5 consecutive brethless paragraphs about how it's creepy and bad and I lowkey wish the dynamic didn't exist in this form in canon at all. LMAO.


The layout to this page is dedicated to the pairing between Chika Ueda and Noriko Kayatama from the video game Persona 2; two characters who, being supporting minor players at that, never interacted in the source material in any way.

The title, Self-Delusional Hoping, is a tribute to several things - the first being a short, striking fanfiction written by manhattan martini, one of my favorite fic writers ever; the second being the theme of hopeful idealism, something that tends to crop up (interpreted rather cynically) in dynamics I like whether fanon or with canon backing, and, of course, last but not least, a memorable 'anon' who sent me several mesages calling me 'delusional' and a 'disgusting asshole' for liking certain pairings :p

The header art was drawn by aidhaaichii. The background patterns are by Ransie3, and kittenbella. Pixel assets were made by kouenli, peachkonpeito and Whimsical. Fonts are from Google Fonts. The icons are from Feather Icons. Scrollbar is from Simple Bar. Marquee effect is from jQuery Marquee. Tabs are from Teresa Pelkie.


Sample layout for content.

ship name

"Relevant quote!"

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  • m/f
  • fanon
  • tags
  • Sample layout for content. (2)

    ship name

    "Relevant quote!"

    Donec eu libero sit amet quam egestas semper. Aenean ultricies mi vitae est. Mauris placerat eleifend leo.

    Donec eu libero sit amet quam egestas semper. Aenean ultricies mi vitae est. Mauris placerat eleifend leo. Donec eu libero sit amet quam egestas semper. Aenean ultricies mi vitae est. Mauris placerat eleifend leo.

  • m/f
  • fanon
  • tags
  • tales series



    Uh wow I'm just shocked I found a picture of these two standing next to each other that isn't the anime. I forgot literally everything about the game they're from so I need to revisit the plot point first but I was like so obsessed with this pairing in 2018. It's wild, I'm unlocking memories as I type this.

  • m/f
  • fanon
  • johnny/chelsea

    "You there, madeimoselle! Don't tell me you're falling for me too!"

    Wow. The O.G. Clown x Twintail Girl Terrible Jerp Pairing. Amazing. Just look at the combined eyestrain from these colour schemes. What a winning ship. I don't think I need to explain any more.

    Okay, seriously... They only interact a handful of times across both versions of the first Tales of Destiny game, Chelsea is decidedly fixated on Woodrow... So what's the deal? Well firstly that I'm awful. Secondly is that Woodrow spends almost every opportunity in PSX Destiny to treat Chelsea like crap (this is something I feel like should be made up but is actually true. He literally calls her selfish and spoiled over every little thing) and generally be aloof and disinterested in everything and everyone not named Stahn Aileron (Woodrow->Stahn-kun REAL). Among proof of this are two skits where he and Johnny interact in a barely veiled antagonistic manner (the voice acting does the heavy lifting); it doesn't help that they're royalty from two countries who are on the brink of war, but they don't sound like they like each other even as people lmao.

    Meanwhile, the only skit where Johnny interacts with Chelsea in PSX Destiny is to indirectly hit on her with some nonsense about how his music is for beautiful women or something, and Chelsea self-satisfiedly turning him down. He also inexplicably hits on her again in a gaiden game (see above quote) - both times seeming to ignore Chelsea's gigantic crush on Woodrow, or probably Woodrow's general existence. It's also worth mentioning the character he seems to get along the best with in PSX Destiny is Mary - someone who is made uncomfortable by Woodrow's unrequited feelings for her. So we know that Johnny doesn't like Woodrow, gets along with someone who has good reason to also not like Woodrow, and the few interactions he has with Woodrow's #1 Fan of All Time is to vaguely hit on her while being aloof towards Woodrow's... being Woodrow. Wow. Epic. I just reached so hard and produced a ship nobody asked for.

    Anyway, on the remake side of things, Woodrow's mistreatment and aloofness towards Chelsea is severely toned down, there's no antagonism with Johnny, and his crush on Mary (AND STAHN) is also downplayed. Mans basically has no personality anymore. Johnny and Chelsea interact a handful of times, the first in a skit where Johnny laments Chelsea's 'obsessive' unrequited feelings for Woodrow(!), the second where Johnny seems to have, at least temporarily, reversed course to encourage Chelsea to do her best to pursue her little puppy crush, complimenting her for being ~mature~(!) and ~emotionally sensitive~(!), notably things Woodrow is particularly disinterested in validating her on. Lastly, Chelsea gets a line in a sidequest involving Johnny and his mother where she briefly goes "True Dat!" at Woodrow(!!!!!) telling Johnny he should love his mom(!!!!!!!) more, the punchline of the sidequest being that Johnny is the only character in the main cast whose parents are still alive and well. The remake also considerably plays up the angle of Johnny having suffered from tragic, unrequited love that fuels his revenge or whatever. So the remake is kind of wack but it also brings out some interesting possible angles of this (ridiculous) pairing. These aspects of Johnny's character are present in the original even if not as strongly, so I don't see a problem with combining the original game and the remake in this case.

    So hopefully I managed to sell the pairing a bit with those walls of text. From the way Chelsea reacts to Johnny in the original game, I got the feeling that she doesn't think very highly on him - Woodrow's opinion wearing off on her, possibly, but also because what kind of respectable grownup who is also royalty walks around looking like a clown and trying to get his failing music career off the ground? Clearly not someone who's worth her attention when Woodrow-sama is right there! Except, well, Johnny seems generally pretty content and well-adjusted with his way of life (despite some sadness in his past), and also he points out how her dream guy seemingly has no hobbies and also a massive oil painting of his dead mother in his bedroom? What the heck is up with that? And, well, she doesn't like like him exactly, but well, when you've been lonely and treated like crap by your crush for years, who's not somewhat won over by the ocasional compliment and general acknowledgement of your existence? Which makes this ship seem pretty awful because it is, but in my mind it's pretty lighthearted and platonic... most of the time... Ha... Ha...

  • m/f
  • fanon
  • dios/meltia

    "After all, you have the same sins! Don't think only you can become good children!"

    Wow, uh, I badly need a refresher on the original Phantasia and this sequel. But like. You've got these adopted siblings who were orphans raised by a military general and indoctrinated into warfare and building a WMD - stuff happens and they pull the trigger on the WMD and kill hundreds of thousands of civilians, kicking off the plot of the original Phantasia and motivating the antagonist of that game. Their dialogue when commentating and reflecting on the lives of the heroes of Phantasia are overwhelmingly bitter, jaded and misantrophic; these were not happy people. And then their punishment for mass murder is to be reborn as regular innocent children who are not just biologically related but also given the gift of having a kind and loving guardian to raise them - IIRC to prove some nature vs nurture theory to see if they were inherently evil or were the miserable products of their unfortunate circumstances. Like, WOW. There's so much in that backstory. Of course they confront their reborn selves in the end and choose violence because, like, if I were them I would definitely try to kill the version of myself who had a happy and normal childhood and wouldn't grow up to become a mass murderer and die from the WMD that I built/fired along with hundreds of thousands of people directly and even more indirectly. Incredible stuff honestly. Even years afterwards I sometimes wonder what their childhood or teenage years together were like - especially because the remake of the sequel actually made a point to take out most of the plausible deniability that they were adopted at a young enough age for the incestuous squick to kick in. Like, again. Wow.

  • m/f
  • fanon
  • trails series


    "I can't help but wonder whether they're even worth the effort of cutting down, but that is your choice to make."

    Contrary to popular belief, the first deranged pairing I wrote fic for in Trails was actually Loewe/Renne. I was immediately smitten when they had their first on-screen conversation in SC; and even moreso when I revisited said conversation after finishing the trilogy, having been pleasantly reminded of the depth of their friendship by Renne's Star Door. Technically I like other ships involving Loewe, but Loewe/Renne has a special place in my heart for how genuinely sweet and sincere their friendly was; and how the story rarely, if ever at any point acts as though that excuses the ways Loewe's issues and baggage influenced the way he treated and related to Renne.

    I loved how frankly their positive influence towards one another was depicted - but even so, there were always hints that they couldn't completely outrun each other's pain despite how sincerely they tried to connect with one another. Loewe's interactions with Renne never struck me as saccharine or cloying, or intended to force a certain reaction out of me. There simply was a limit of how much he could help her, inasmuch as he was unable to moralize or guide her towards true happiness that wasn't just escapism, because he himself was unable to honestly confront the reality of the injustice that befell him. And yet, even if they couldn't save each other, that doesn't make the memories they shared meaningless or misguided.

    Something I found especially memorable and bittersweet was that Loewe never judged, and even respected Renne's darkest and most misantrophic beliefs about herself and the world; that she was the happiest girl in the world, the girl whom the world turned for the sake of. In a flashback, when he seemed to sense that she had an intention to murder her birth parents in cold blood, he was permissive and encouraged her to choose whichever decision would make her the happiest, regardless of morality or whether it would be justified or not.

    His encouragement for Renne to find her own truth not based on what others tell her but on how she herself feels and sees the world seems kind at first glance - and it is - but by the end of the game, where Loewe himself admits that he was never able to reach her where it mattered, and his motivations for bringing the world to trial have become painfully apparent, I couldn't help but wonder whether he was in fact encouraging her to become the judge, jury and executioner of her own truth, the way he has pushed himself to be out of his pain and grief.

    And yet, despite it all, whether Renne herself realized that side of his motivations or not (I'm sure she eventually did, with her intelligence), the kindness he extended to her was probably the only kind she was willing to accept at that point in her life. Even though objectively Leonhardt was pretty horrid as a role model or brotherly figure (the less I mention how he was treating Joshua concurrently to all this, the better), for better or for worse, he always respected the terms in which Renne saw herself and 'her' world, which made for a very memorable and rather complex relationship in my eyes. Which makes both Renne and Loewe's appearances in the later parts of series all the more disappointing and mawkish to me, but oh well ^_^

    In less dour notes, there are official arts depicting the happier moments of their relationship; the image on the right can be interpreted as a tea party on the Glorious, considering Renne's fondness of them, but I sometimes like to think they're having coffee instead and Loewe's dispassionately giving his share of the sugar and creamer to her, haha.

  • m/f
  • canon (?)
  • kurt/altina

    "We make a pretty good team, Altina." ★ "Yes. Because we are friends!"

    I shipped this as a joke... Oh my god I cracked up seeing this forum post, played the games a bit, and was absolutely sniped by a combination of [REDACTED CSIV PLOT DEVELOPMENTS] and just. General unexpected parallels.

    From their severe losses in CSIV's Normal Ending, their devotion towards loved ones they want to protect (and constant anxiety over failure to do so haunting over them), and their insecurities regarding to their physical development - the pairing sort of writes itself, I realize now. Not bad for something that technically has no basis!

    Also, there's something to be said about how one of Kurt's rawest moments in the entire series was in relation to Altina; wherein he empathetically calls out Cedric - someone he's been spending the entire game deferring to and feeling anxiety and guilt over supposedly 'failing' - for treating Altina as inhuman and an object, harshly pointing out that Cedric is acting far more cruel and inhumane than Altina ever was or could be, despite her origins. He reiterates the same sentiments in another scene towards the end of CSIV, with just as much conviction, to my delight. The game kind of glosses over this afterwards, but it's notably one of Kurt's rare moments where he openly and empathetically challenges Cedric, without pre-emptively empathizing with him or leaving room for ambiguity or doubt; his wording betrays more emotion than appears at the surface, IMO, and in my delusional heart I believe it was because he saw some of himself in Altina - and always did - that he otherwise wouldn't consciously acknowledge until Cedric's brutality forced it to the surface. Cedric's own feelings towards Altina and how that relates to how he feels about Kurt can be a speculative mini-essay in itself...

    It's one of those pairings that I default to say I 'ship' even though I don't see romantic or sexual compatibility between them, because I like to think about and speculate on their relationship so much, well, I might as well want them to get married, right? xD

    It doesn't help that, if you think about the Normal Ending a bit, Kurt and Altina are the likeliest to stay moored to the Erebonian capital after moving on from Thors; there's a possibility Kurt would go back to Parm, which is further away, but Altina is generally unattached to any particular locale (even moreso with her family absent) and travels a lot, being unlikely to distance herself from the Capital-based Intelligence Division the way she does canonically after CSIV, so it's not even that much of a dealbreaker.

    In any case, they're cute. My headcanons and interpretations tend to lean towards bitterness, especially because most of them take place in the so-called 'Phyrric' Normal Ending of CSIV, but I actually spend quite a bit of time fanboying over them being all awkward and friendly and adorable in a way you'd expect from the individual characters, ha. I also sometimes fancy them having fail!sex while kindly curtailing deeply hidden grievances and resentment, so you win some, you lose some...

    Obligatory song shill: Meg and Dia - Getaways Turned Holidays

    Hide my uniform pride,
    Your arrogant side
    I'm aching already

    Hide your taciturn, mundane expressions
    Affection will carry us
    A little while more...

  • m/f
  • fanon
  • AU
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