Disclaimer: If I owned this game, I wouldn't be poor.
MysteriousClue kinda challenged me to do this, mostly trying to see Lloyd's rescue from the Renegade base at the beginning of the base from Kratos' point of view. Mixed in a little of the manga to flesh it out and make it better. Hope you like!
Kratos watched the half-elf and Chosen from the back, keeping his eyes peeled for any sort of trouble. Yes danger was encouraged along the Chosen's journey to accelerate the crystal's growth, but he was there to make sure she didn't die in the process. And if Miss Sage was killed along the way, he wouldn't be too happy. No more innocents should fall for the regeneration of the worlds.
His mind briefly flashed back to the discovery he made in Iselia and the son he had to leave behind yet a second time. The Chosen lied about when they were leaving and which way they were headed to keep him from coming. This one was quite astute, at least when it came to her friends. Lloyd should not be there, especially when his friend was going to die.
Forcing his thoughts back to the present, he looked over the two. Miss Sage was bearing the heat best she could, but she clearly didn't like it. Half-elves rarely did. Covered up as much as she was, he feared she'd burn before they made it to the fire seal. The Chosen on the other hand seemed fine and chipper. Either she was one of the best actresses he'd ever seen, or she honestly was starting to no longer feel heat. Bit soon, but it was possible. Not everyone changed at the same rate or order. He certainly hadn't, but he was a strange case to begin with. Personally, Kratos was fine, if sweaty. He traveled this desert at least a hundred times by then, and saw what it was long before it dried up. Used to be quite nice.
By his calculations, they should make it to the ruins before nightfall, but the shifting sands of the desert and the reflections on the sand tricked people's eyes, even angels. He swore he saw some kind of sandworm once or twice, but it kept its distance if it was real. They imagined seeing pillars and water quite frequently as the day drew on. If Miss Sage didn't have that compass and map, the ladies were sure to be lost. Not he though. He just felt for mana and looked to where the right kind was coming from. Just one of the many tricks he learned in the Ancient War.
"Something's coming!" The Chosen took out her rings, preparing for something she thought she saw, but Kratos doubted it was real. Following her gaze along with her teacher, they tried to see her mirage.
Turned out it wasn't a mirage, and the half-elf wasn't happy about it. "What?"
All three of them loosened their holds on their weapons as their jaws dropped, some hearts clenching at the sight. Noishe was running towards them at top speeds with Lloyd's other friend Genis Sage, Miss Sage's younger brother whom they also left in Iselia. The boy was in tears, barely hanging on the animal as they met it. The women ran forward, attempting to help out the boy as quickly as possible. That Genis was able to ride Noishe was impressive, but if he was there, where was Lloyd?
"Genis! What happened?!" Miss Sage hugged her brother tight, hoping to calm him down, but the frantic 'dog' next to them wasn't helping. Genis' blubbering was making his message hard to follow too. "Noishe! Calm down! Geeze!"
"Easy there." Kratos placed a hand on the protozoan's head, stilling him a bit as the man pushed the dread down. What happened?
"Desians!" Genis finally managed to blurt out. "They... they... it's my fault! I was visiting Marble at the ranch and they saw us and they attacked the village after you left! Lloyd saved me from them both times! We were banished! And now Desians have Lloyd!"
Though he hadn't said it, Kratos demanded the same as the rest. It'd take some time to get a rational story from the kid, but by then the Desians could kill Lloyd. He just found out his son was alive. He'd be damned if he let his son die a second time. As the lad tried to tell them everything he knew, the swordsman leaned into his old friend's ear to speak in private. "Do you remember the way?"
"Aroof." The sound was so low, only they could hear it. He nodded, a plan already forming between them.
"Good." The swordsman turned back to the others who were doing their bests to calm down the boy and get all the information they could. Thus far it was not looking good, for any of them.
"We must rescue him!" The Chosen insisted, turning away from her teacher to him with a snap. Her loyalty to her friends was quite admirable. "Mr. Kratos! You have to help us save Lloyd!"
"We can't do anything if we can't find him." The professor barely managed to control herself while attempting to control the situation. This was her only family after all. "Genis, please! Calm down! Take deep breaths. They took him to a ranch?"
"I dunno! I... I..." Genis sincerely seemed rattled, which would not help them in the slightest. He'd need his sister and time to calm down. They didn't have a lot of it. "I didn't see anything!"
"I believe he's capable of backtracking their movements." Kratos indicated towards Noishe, not sure if he was officially introduced to him by these people. They all lit up at his suggestion, which he played as a continuation of their own. "Your brother can give us details on the road."
"Mr. Kratos!" The Chosen smiled broadly, elated he gave in so easily.
"He can't be too far away if you found us this easily." He couldn't remember a Desian base existing in the area, but he didn't like looking up that division much anyway. What mattered now was getting over there and saving his son. "Miss Sage, ride with your brother and get all the details. We'll come up with an attack plan along the way."
"Sounds like a good plan. Come on Genis." Carefully, the teacher picked her brother up and placed him back on Noishe before getting on herself. Kratos and the Chosen would have to speed walk alongside the beast for now. This was not going to be an easy trip. "Now, start at the beginning. Why aren't you in the village?"
Storming through the base set alarms blazing all around them. It was almost impossible to hear their captive tell them where Lloyd was. Kratos wasn't the only one impressed that Lloyd set off the alarms first trying to escape, and hadn't yet been caught. Still, it was irksome they'd have to work harder at finding the boy now.
"How are we going to find him?!" the Chosen begged them. "This place is enormous!"
Kratos looked up at a camera watching them, his eyes narrowing dangerously. As much as he wanted to tell them where to go and what to do, if he gave away too much they wouldn't trust him. His interrogation techniques were almost enough to make them suspicious as is. Thankfully the half-elves were much brighter than he pretended to be.
"The Desians who attacked Iselia said they caught Lloyd's face on their surveillance system," Genis started, thinking back. "Could these guys have something like that too?"
"Quite possibly..." Miss Sage was also looking at the camera, somehow recognizing it. Kratos was beginning to wonder about where these two really came from as this kind of technology was strictly used by the organized half-elves in either world. "If they have that, they'd need a room to watch everything from. We should find the main office or security room and try to find him in their systems."
The swordsman pressed his blade against the throat of the soldier they took captive, glaring menacingly above him. "Take us there and you may live."
This soldier glared at him for a good minute before getting up and starting to walk. He limped a bit and clutched his dislocated arm to his body, but he was still able to move. Though Miss Sage offered to do the questioning, the mercenary beat her to it, and he was not very kind. After a series of turns and quickly emptying hallways, he pointed to an ornate door some other 'Desians' ran through seconds before. One of them looked familiar.
"Your services are no longer required." Without looking, Kratos threw the man to the side, knocking him unconscious against the wall. He knew the difference between Renegades and Desians, and seeing as no living experimentation was going on in that base, he had no interest in killing a Renegade foot soldier. They'd seen enough death that day, and adding any unnecessary ones wouldn't be worth it. "Be prepared for an ambush."
"Got it." The Chosen and her friend ran into the room before he could, with Miss Sage covering the rear. He barely saw another door close opposite theirs as they entered, but that wasn't what stopped them.
Instead of finding a security console, they found Lloyd, fully armed and ready to fight some imitation Desians. Tension started leaving Kratos' stomach as he took in the sight and the others reassured themselves of his existence.
"Lloyd! Are you okay?!"
"Are you alright? Are you hurt?"
"He looks fine," the man murmured to himself, hiding just how relieved he was. The teacher looked over her shoulder to make sure of it herself before focusing again on the others preparing to attack them. They weren't out of the woods yet.
Lloyd seemed quite surprised to see them, even with the 'Desians' before him. "You guys all came for me?"
"Perfect timing," the Renegade general stated before them, gaining their full attention with a snap. "I'll take care of everyone at once."
"Get ready." At Kratos' order, the three children settled into fighting stances milliseconds before the fight really begun. This soldier was good, sharper than many of the ingrates he fought over the years, but he had to keep a low profile and held back. The Chosen and her friends were decent backup with their magic and tricks, but in the end Kratos delivered the decisive blow forcing their enemies to retreat. As much as he wanted to follow and teach them a lesson for dragging his son in the middle of this, their job was done and they had to leave.
"Save the chitchat for later," he interrupted, stopping what would inevitably be more apologizing and lecturing between them all. "We shouldn't stay here long."
"You're right." The voice of reason took control of the situation. "The escape route is still open. Let's go."
Quickly the group followed after her, her students smiling and grateful to have their friend back. Kratos took up the rear this time, watching their backs and ensuring they made it out of there alive. The lack of backup after the battle made everything seem too easy. The Renegades wanted them to escape. Why? That general they fought was the one they met at the Temple of Martel outside of Iselia. They wanted the Chosen dead and she walked right into the middle of them. So why quit? Did they...
His eyes fell on his son, a mixture of guilt and dread coming with the idea. The only reason they'd be allowed to live is if they had plans for one or more of the group. Lloyd would be perfect leverage against him, or the perfect weapon. Killing a Chosen was a temporary measure. Forcing him to unseal Origin was a permanent one. And with Lloyd being a boisterous, adolescent swordsman who blindly went into trouble, he would be an easy target, easily manipulated. He had to make sure the boy could defend himself at all costs.
As soon as they were outside, they were met by their Protozoan friend. Lloyd lit up immediately and gleefully greeted the beast. "Noishe! You came too?"
'Of course he came. He was worried about you,' Kratos wanted to say, looking around briefly. They weren't being pursued in the slightest, but surveillance focused on their direction. If they knew about his connection with Noishe, then there would be no room for doubt. All it would take was one person connecting all the dots and they'd be in trouble. 'We need to get out of here.'
The swordsman murmured something that went along with their conversation about exspheres, then pressed his opinion. "That would take a while to explain. We can talk after we reach Triet."
They all caught onto his warning, the children finally realizing the danger they were still in. Lloyd nodded, more than a little sheepish. "Yeah. Okay... Let's go Noishe!"
With a howl, the airsh gladly turned away and started off into the desert. They followed after it best they could, putting as much distance as possible between them and the building. Kratos looked back to it once and glared at the camera. Reporting this place to Yggdrasil would delight him to no end, but until then he had no interest in interfering with the Renegades. If they laid one hand on his son though, he wouldn't bother with his master.
He'd destroy them on his own.
Mentally exhausted from chasing around two half-elves, the latest Chosen, at least two dozen Renegades, and saving his son from the midst of them, Kratos sought solace in his oldest friend for a few minutes. While the others rested, he slipped outside to the pen Noishe would be resting and chose to at last reassure each other of their existence. There was little time before with everything going on and having to hide himself, but now there was a respite and he was determined to take it.
"Hello old friend." He smiled slightly as he combed back the dog-like creature's fur. Noishe seemed to smile and bark happily at him as he took in the contact. He hadn't changed in fourteen years. "Thank you... for protecting him all this time. I apologize for not being there. Had I known... "
He fell into silence, not sure what else to say. He and Noishe never needed much talking in the past, and the creature was always very forgiving of him. Even now, fourteen years later, he was forgiven for his follies. Noishe stayed by Lloyd's side all these years, and their bond was stronger than ever. He owed this creature so much for all he had done over the centuries... There really were no more words to say.
Behind him he could hear a foot fall in the sand. Reflexively Kratos pulled out his sword and swung it towards the person's throat. He barely caught sight of a red jacket before making contact, stopping himself from beheading his own son. "WHOA!"
"Lloyd..." The man mentally cursed his conditioned response to strike out when approached from behind, but kept his calm. He hadn't harmed him, barely. He sheathed his sword and relaxed his stance. "I'm sorry to have startled you."
"Startled... is not the word for it." Lloyd rubbed his neck, more scared by his near beheading than either of them liked.
"You best not stand behind me," Kratos warned, praying this would never happen again.
"I won't..." Lesson taught, the youth tried to shrug it off. The mercenary turned back towards Noishe to hide his relief. The protozoan decided to lay down, watching the two of them with one of his secret smiles. Sometimes old friends could be quite infuriating. He sensed his son stepping next to him and watching the animal too. After a moment's silence, Lloyd started talking. "Do you like animals?"
"No... Not particularly."
The teen seemed doubtful for a moment before elaborating. "Well Noishe seems to be quite comfortable around you. He usually doesn't like strangers, kinda like wild animals."
'We are not strangers,' he wanted to say, but held his tongue. "I... once had a pet... long ago."
"Really?" The lad's curiosity called his gaze over, losing him in his thoughts. This was the first time the two of them were alone now that he thought about it. Just the two of them and Noishe. If Anna was there, it would be the same as it was fourteen years ago. Same, yet different. What would she say if she could see their son now? What should he say?
There was so much he wanted to tell him. Who he was, about his mother, what happened to separate them, to apologize for not being there all these years... So much he wanted to say, yet he couldn't say a word. Lloyd's confused face, not knowing so many things and safer because of that, made his heart ache. Kratos wanted nothing more than to have his son back, but Yggdrasil hearing the boy was dead fourteen years ago stopped all searches for him. If Lloyd knew the truth, being as impulsive as he was, who knew what he would do. He was in enough danger wearing his mother's exsphere and being noticed by the Desians. Telling him anything now might put him in more danger than either of them could handle.
"Wh... What are you staring at me like that for?" The teen was truly confused, just as much as his father was conflicted. He backed himself into a corner by staring this long.
After a moment more, he thought of something that'd save him. "Why did you follow me out here? Is there something you wished to talk about?"
'Caught' wrote itself across the lad's face, a sheepish smile coming out. "Ah well... I guess I just wanted to thank you."
"You really helped out, you know? Before at the temple and today when you guys..." Lloyd looked away awkwardly, not really wanting to elaborate. "I just... I wanted to thank you. Properly. There's really no doubt you're..."
The teen fell silent for a moment, coming to some decision and making the man wary. Did he figure it out? Looking down, he asked, "Could... Could you teach me how to wield a sword?"
Kratos became perfectly still, showing nothing as the lad explained his inquiry. "It's... really hard to acknowledge this... but you're the only one I can ask. There wasn't anyone in Iselia growing up, so I had to figure it out on my own. After today, I really feel I need to train myself at all cost. Please Kratos. I... really want to get stronger..."
Memories of Mithos when he first asked to be his apprentice flashed through his mind as he heard the pleas. Lloyd was acting like the Mithos of old, and it terrified him. What would happen if he trained him? Would he too turn his teachings on the world? Kratos had to know the truth. "And why do you wish to become stronger?"
Guilt came to the boy's face as he explained his reasoning. "... I remember the moment when I was exiled from the village. I want the necessary power to protect Colette." He looked down in remorse. "And I want to atone for what I did to the village. When the village was on fire, I couldn't help anyone, all because I was too weak. For that reason I want to be stronger.
"The me today couldn't get away from the Desians without help. If you guys hadn't come in when you did, I'd probably be in a ranch right now." Acknowledging that took a lot of the boy's courage. He shook a little, eyes to the ground. "We say we took that guy down together, but you were really the one who beat him. We were just getting in the way, weren't we? Me most of all, lunging forward like that... I can't hope to protect Colette the way I am now.
"If I can't protect her, how can I even try to avenge my mom?" A small whine came to his voice, straining to hide away the pain within him. "The Desians killed her and I can't-"
"That's enough." Without thinking, Kratos reached out and ruffled his hair, quieting his son at long last. His fears were cast aside by all he said. His reasons and Mithos' were different. Yes both wanted to be stronger to protect someone, but Lloyd would not look at his past with hate. He would do everything he could to fix what he broke, just like Anna. All he had to do was mention her and he would agree. "As long as you can retain those emotions within you, you will become stronger."
Lloyd became very quiet for a long moment before looking back up at him, confused in a much different way than before. The teen's hand went to his hair, still staring at Kratos speechless. "Ah... wha... why? For a moment-"
"Get some rest. Your first lesson starts before dawn."
"Dawn?!" The boy jerked up straight, surprise driving away whatever he was about to say. Kratos was just glad he could circumvent any questions with a simple order, though he would never show it. Lloyd was stunned because of something he did when he was little. It was a slippery road the man traveled to keep his son safe.
"If you want to learn swordsmanship, you need to master your body." He swept past the lad back towards the inn. "Wake up yourself or I'll have Noishe do it for you."
"Aahh..." He didn't have to look back to know the kid was looking at his pet with trepidation. That animal could be quite sneaky when he wanted to be. Lloyd would be up and ready to practice by the time the sun cleared the horizon. Slightly panicked, the teen dashed after him. "Wait up! You really wouldn't send Noishe into the inn, would you?"
Keeping his back to the boy, Kratos smiled to himself deviously. He couldn't help it, he really couldn't. Teasing his teenaged son was just instinct, along with saving him from his enemies, healing him in battle, and ruffling his hair to comfort him. It had been a long time since that part of him died away to loss. Now it came back in force, almost too strong to contain.
A father's instinct was a powerful thing. Hopefully he could put it to good use without being exposed.
"Hey! Answer me dammit!"
A/N: Hope you've enjoyed! I was supposed to stop after the base, but I didn't like it ending there. So I went to Treit. There was a long silence where thoughts had to be going through Kratos' head so I took advantage of that. Changed what happened after to match the comic a bit. Was it any good? Yes? no? Please comment and tell me what you liked and didn't.