I decided to take a break from my long-fic and write this little one shot. Thoughts on Kratos' betrayal from all the party members... except for Colette cause she is a lifeless being at the moment.

I don't own Tales of Symphonia... if I did, then I'd be rich.

Contains spoilers.

At first, Raine didn't trust him. It seemed too convenient that a Mercanary just happened to show up at Martel's temple at the day of the Oracle. That place was a sanctuary – it wasn't easy for people to get in. Why, Raine herself had lived years in the village of Iselia and she had only been able to visit the temple a few tiems.

No, it was far too convenient.

She should have trusted her instincts.

But she didn't. And now, they were all betrayed. Even near the end, when the signs were apparent, she had allowed herself to be foolish. The man knew far too much – he didn't even seemed to be surprised when the ninja girl had told them about Tethe'alla! A completely different world! Why had she allowed herself to be so naïve? She should have sensed his malice. Should have realized that he was nothing but a cold-hearted traitor.

And yet… there were times… when he seemed so sincere.

The devastation of Luin was one of those times.

Kratos never wanted to stay in one place for too long. He would always insist on staying the shortest amount of time possible whenever they stopped. Rest. Eat. Leave. There was no time for sight-seeing or studying. Everything was business. He seemed to take no delight in their small detours, when they admired Thoda Geyser, or the caves at Asgard. He was set on the mission. Raine now understood why. He was trying to take Colette, it seemed natural that he would want to move as quickly as possible.

But whenever they went to Luin, it was different. Kratos would always suggest they stop by the fountain. He wouldn't protest if they party wanted to stay a few extra days. His pace would slow as they would walk the dusty streets of the lakeside town. His eyes seemed to search the buildings, almost tenderly. It seemed he had a deep fondness for the small, nothing special town.

Then there was the day it was destroyed.

They had seen the town from the distance. It was Kratos who noticed the smoke first and ordered the company to quicken their pace. When the got there – everything was in ruin. The houses were shambles. There were pools of blood and water throughout the dilapidated town. Bodies were skewered into the ground. A few smoldering fires were also still sporadically burning throughout the town. She saw, for just a brief moment, Kratos' face covered in pain; but then it was gone – his usually flinty scowl had returned.

Raine though she had imagined it. Perhaps she did.

The group split up, searching for survivors. While she was searching, Raine happened to stumble upon Kratos once more; what she saw seemed very odd indeed.

It was Kratos. His hand was on a crumbling wall of a house. It rested their tenderly. His head was bent down in sorrow, his shaggy hair covering all of his features. The man looked overcome with grief. Raine stood, silent in the shadows.

"I'm sorry." She heard him whisper. And that was all. Raine felt as though she was intruding on something private… she crept back into the shadows and searched to rejoing the others.

Kratos came last. His expression was flinty – no emotions shown on his face. He was a wall again. No one suspected. Raine would never reveal what he saw. Not now that flinty face had returned.

It was the same face when he had betrayed them. Emotionless, hard, unreadable. He stared at them all. But for a moment, Raine thought she saw the agonized expression once more – the same contortion as when Kratos first beheld Yuan.

Raine thought she had imagined it. Perhaps she died.

After all, a man with a face as cold as his, he couldn't really feel something like pain.

Could he?

Genis pursed his lips together and let a long gust of air escape his chest. The party was quiet – it was too somber as they sat on the top of Fooji Mountains, Everyone was too occupied with their own thoughts. Genis too, was trying to organize his, trying to make sort of the mess that they had landed into.

It all seemed to start when Kratos betrayed them.

Genis laid his head heavily on his hands as he pondered the strange cold mercenary. He wondered why he hadn't seen it before. It was true, Kratos always remained slightly aloof from the rest of the party. Perhaps that was why. He never shared any secrets, never attempted to draw close to any of them – well maybe Lloyd, but even then, the mercenary rarely showed a soft side to any of them. He should have seen it coming! The guy had it out for them since the beginning. Genis grumbled to himself at his blindness.

At first, the guy was a real know-it-all. The man seemed to now everything. It bugged Genis that Kratos was the one with all the answers instead of himself; it was different outside of Raine's classroom. Genis realized that he didn't even begin to know anything. Yet Kratos, that guy, he was knowledgeable on everything: Mana, Summon Spirits, Geysers, math, history, and even cooking sometimes. There was a lot to learn from the man, yet he always bore his knowledge with this stony silent conceit. It made Genis cringe.

Ane yet…. there were times…when Kratos imparted his knowledge with what seemed the genuine desire to teach.

Palmacoasta was one of those times.

That stupid kid, Mighty, had just challenged him to that duel. Genis spent hours in that empty classroom studying. The others too. He had tried to pay attention, but soon everything that Raine was saying and what she had been saying started to become jumbled up in his mind. It made focusing so much harder. There was one problem in particular that Genis was having a problem with. While he was working on it, he could feel the cold shadow of the Mercanary watch him as he wrote. Genis tried to ignore him, but it was almost impossible. When he finally did finish the problem, the swordsman informed him that it was incorrect.

Genis had thrown his pencil on the ground in frustration, burying his face into his arms. It was quiet for a moment when the deep voice of the mercenary greeted him once more. Genis looked up to see the human was holding the pencil had thrown out to him. His voice was calm and steady as he reassured Genis that he had never before seen a child with his academic ability, that if he persevered, he would surely win this challenge. Kratos gently laid the pencil on Genis' desk and waited until Genis hesitantly picked it up again. Then, he quietly explained the mistake to Genis, poining out where he had been wrong. The half-elf thanked him. The man simply grunted then walked slowly over towards Lloyd and the Chosen, instantly berating them for their foolish choices in answers.

Genis stared at the pencil and stole one last look at the mercenary. Kratos seemed to sense eyes upon him. He lifted his head, nodding to the half-elf in approval. Genil couldn't help but give a small sort of sheepish smile back before he picked up his pencil and began to attempt the answer once more.

After, when Genis was announced the winner, he stole one last glance at the Mercanary. He nodded, once again, this time in acknowledgement to Genis.

"Well done." He stated.

Genis never had felt so proud of an accomplishment before; he even got a scholarship!

But there was no acknowledgement when Kratos betrayed them. No friendly nod of encouragement or words of support. No, his head was fixed at them in a steady stare – his words were cold and harsh. This was not a lesson, this was a betrayal. He had become a hardened shell.

A man like that, so hard, he could never really have the desire to teach….

Could he?

Sheena sat across from the two elf siblings. They seemed absorbed in their own thoughts. The flames reflected against their silver hair, making it glow a strange orange in the dying light. Sheena glanced at Corrine who was snuggling into her arms. She let out small sigh; she wished she could sleep too, but there was too much on her mind.

Kratos had betrayed them.

She swallowed. Remembering the reactions of herself and the others. Would the people of Tethe'all feel that way about her?

But this was different… she hadn't yet abandoned Tethe'alla… she was just trying to find a better way to solve their problems. Kratos, on the other hand, had the intention of deceiving them from the beginning. He had abandoned them all, left them for dead! Sheena narrowed her eyes in frustration. She should have seen it form the beginning. The way he was so cold to everyone else… it was clear that he was keeping his distance. Why didn't she see it?

At first, Sheena thought that he was just unfriendly. The gruff man always said as little as possible; when he did speak, it was always with an air of condescension – or at least it seemed so at the beginning. Sheena realized after a while that perhaps it was not condescension, but concern that laced his voice. He was always callous, never really showing his true emotions.

But sometimes, it even seemed that the man was sympathetic.

Hima was one of those times

The company had just stopped at the village of adventurers to rest for a moment – then they would resume their journey. They were caught, however, by a loud commotion that seemed to echo through the town. Lloyd and Colette, of course, insisted on knowing the cause and the entire group was forced towards the noise.

They had stumbled upon a group of warriors. They had a giant green grotesque monster surrounded. Each one was yelling threats and commands, trying to skewer the strange monster. Sheena had just happened to glance of at Kratos, and what she saw astonished her.

The man's face was briefly contorted in pain. Sheena could hear a small gasp escape the man; he stepped in front of the others and rushed towards the monster.

"Stop!" he yelled.

Colette and Lloyd began their protests as well. The beast took the opportunity to escape, leaving the disgruntled warriors behind. Everyone expressed their interest to save the poor woman who had been turned into a monster. Kratos too, agreed, even pushed for the idea of saving her.

Soon after, the party decided to leave. Kratos took up the rear of the group once more. Sheena stole a glance back at him. The man was looking off in the direction that the monster had run; a small trace of sympathy spread over his features. He closed his eyes and brought his hand to his chest, where he tenderly touched an item hidden in his clothes.

Sheena looked away – it would not be good if he saw her looking at him like that. She swallowed and run up to the rest of the group, pushing the image of Kratos out of her mind.

Sheena had seen to sympathy, no tender look on the day that he had betrayed them. He was stoic and nihilistic to the party. Sheena began to wonder if she ever really did see the man look at the monster with sorrow.

After all, a man like that, one who be a traitor from the start, couldn't feel sympathy.

Could he?

Lloyd sat at the edge of the camp, his feet dangling off of the side of the cliff where they had landed – crashed – crash landed the rheiards. Colette stood at a distance – a silent sentinel oblivious to the rest of the world. Lloyd looked at her, his eyes narrowing in anger he clenched his fist.

How did this happen?

Yesterdays' events played over and over again in her mind. Kratos' wings unfurling; the sound of his sword leaving its sheath; his cold hard voice declaring his true nature. Lloyd hit his fist against the rock beneath him.

Damn that man! How could he betray them!

Lloyd racked his brains – how could he not see it? He had been completely deceived by the icy mercenary. Not once did he suspect his true intentions! It was true, at first, Lloyd thought the man was the biggest jerk in the entire world. A complete pain in the neck. Kratos was always correcting him, scolding him, and just making it his ambition in life to point out every single thing Lloyd had ever done wrong. Lloyd hit his fist again.

Yeah, that guy was a complete jerk.

Yet… there were times… when Kratos seemed almost affectionate… protective.

The Tower of Mana was one of those times.

Kratos, Lloyd, and Colette had been separated from the others. It had taken quite some time to climb all those blasted steps that lead to the top. Lloyd took up the rear; he was beginning to get tired. What was worse, he was unbelievable bored. They had been there for hours. Kratos glanced back at him, ordering him to straighten up, stay alert – there were monsters about. Lloyd rolled his eyes in rebuttal and continued his sluggish pace of the never ending steps. He lowered his eyes for a moment and stopped – he just need a second to rest. That's when the monster came. Lloyd was caught completely off guard. The spektor was able to knock him completely off his feet. The monster charged at him once more, about to land the finishing blow. It was then that Kratos showed up. He stepped between the boy and the creatures, slashing it in two with a graceful swish of his blade. The blow did not come without a consequence however. The specter was able to slash Kratos across the chest. Lloyd immeidatly scrambled up and ran to the bleeding mercenary, all the while saying how stupid Kratos was for intervening before awkwardly mumbling an apology. Kratos at first ignored his words.

"Are you okay?" he asked Lloyd.

Lloyd was taken aback by the question for a moment before he inelegantly explained that he was fine. Kratos closed his eyes in relief.

"Good." He said.

Then immediately he began to scold the boy for his clumsiness, his selfishness, and his over all inability to be aware. Lloyd's concern melted as the mercenary continued to berate him, making it painfully clear that he would be fine. But still, Lloyd could not forget the tender expression that was masked by the deepness of his voice when he had inquired after the boy's safety.

Kratos seemed to show no concern at all when he had ruthlessly fought against Lloyd and his companions. The angel had become a god of death. Lloyd shuddered as he remembered the angel's blade poised above his head.

There was no affection there.

A man like that, one who could betray his friends so easily, couldn't be capable of affection.

Could he?

Lloyd looked up at the stars once more. They reminded him of the mercenary – cold and distant, yet always giving off a guiding light. It was strange to think that he had deceived them the entire time.

The image of Kratos poised with is sword above him flashed across his mind again. Lloyd gritted his teeth. But the expression softened….

After all, Kratos hadn't killed him. Or any of them; he had spared their lives.

Lloyd swallowed, attempting to hold back the warm tears that were quickly filling his eyes, threatening to spill over at any moment.

A man like that… he coulnd't possibly… still come back to them….

Could he?