Kratos does some thinking. Set between chapters six and seven of "Bliss", but it should make sense even if you've not read the other fic I think.

For those of you who asked for a Raine/Kratos fluff one-shot, and for the muse that kept pestering me until I wrote it :)

Disclaimer: No, I don't own Tales of Symphonia. I have a lot of ideas for fics, but I don't own it.


The night sky was a good background to watch whilst thinking, inspiring and beautiful yet always constant.

Kratos smiled. He'd left the rest of the group in the living room of the inn, singing what he assumed weren't the original lyrics to some madly bouncy song.

They were all on their annual group vacation to Flanoir. It was nice, seeing everyone relaxing together. Hope had become more confident of the snow and had been playing in it this afternoon with Kero. The boy had also overcome his weariness of the result of the weather he didn't often see because Hope had. Where Hope went Kero went if they got any say in the matter.

The result of their afternoon's play, a snow Noishe, was sitting proudly near the inn's front door. Trust his granddaughter to go and insist on being creative. Not the common or garden snowman for her, nope. It was cute though, if a little crude. He supposed it must be difficult to make Noishe ears from snow. He smiled at the snow rabbit they'd built beside it.

Hope loved rabbits. Her favourite possession was a small, fluffy toy bunny her parents had bought for her when they knew they were expecting. A good luck charm, just like the one Lloyd always carried with him. Lloyd insisted that it did work, it was a good luck charm, it had saved his life once. It had taken an arrow for him and had a neatly stitched up scar to prove it.

Kratos wondered if the power of positive thinking had anything to do with making these things work. Colette had given Lloyd that rabbit, so he must have thought highly of it.

As far as he knew Hope's rabbit hadn't saved her life or anything drastic like that, but she did look cute carrying it around with her.

He felt a sad twinge as he had the thought that Anna would have adored her granddaughter.

He'd loved Anna, and he still did, but she wasn't here to be with him any more. He'd punished himself for that over and over in his head, and had imposed self imprisonment on Derris Kharlan on himself as a punishment for that and all the other terrible things he'd done that he hadn't realised were terrible at the time.

But when he was stuck up there all he'd had to do was think, and he'd done an awful lot of it.

In the end he'd come to the conclusion it would be better for him to try and repent his sins by actually doing something useful for the people he'd hurt. And he was desperately lonely. Anna had cared for him so much he thought she wouldn't want him to be lonely.

So off he'd set to find the closest thing to a family that he had. With great difficulty he'd found them, making an undignified entrance by landing in a huge pile of snow.

He was glad he'd found them, he'd missed too much of his son's growing up. It was good to be around for his two grandchildren though. He smiled as he thought of his youngest grandchild, a little boy, who had been born only a short time ago. That kid was sweet and had a lovely temperament. He didn't cry too much, which was a blessing. A screaming child in the room next to yours waking you up at two am was no fun. But Miles didn't tend to do the whole screaming his lungs out deal too often.

The other nice thing was that he wasn't lonely any more. He was part of a big family, and he even had someone special. He grinned as he heard footsteps on the snow, he knew who that would be.

"Alright?" Raine asked quietly as she moved beside him and wrapped an arm around his.

"I'm fine," Kratos smiled. "Just thinking."

"Nice night," Raine said, looking up at the stars he'd been gazing at for so long.

"Yeap," he replied, and smiled as she rested her head on his shoulder and he wrapped his arm around her.

It was wonderful to have someone to hold again. He'd been lucky to find Raine. She wanted the same thing he did, a special companion. He was glad she wasn't madly broody and didn't seem desperate to have children. He didn't know when, if ever, he'd want to have another. He suspected having to look after her brother from when he was practically a baby had something to do with her feelings towards the matter.

Besides, there were enough kids around here already. His two grandchildren, Kero and his brother or sister who'd just begun to develop and would arrive in this world properly months from now. And then, he suspected, Genis and Presea may have one when they were older. It seemed likely.

Yes, there were enough children around already. It was nice that they were around though, to enjoy the new, peaceful world their parents had worked so hard for. He sighed happily and turned slightly so he could put his other arm around Raine. She rested her head on his chest and sighed a soft, content sigh.

Suddenly the peace was shattered by a bunch of banging and crashing. He saw two figures run past. Ah, another Sheena and Zelos tiff. The others came out of the inn to watch. He and Raine made their way over to them.

"What now?" he asked.

"He made up some rude lyrics to a song we were singing," Lloyd rolled his eyes. Hope was sitting happily on her father's shoulders. She smiled and waved at her granddad. He waved back.

Miles cooed in his mother's arms. Kratos held his arms out and Colette gently passed him his grandson.

"We're surrounded by mad people you realise," he said in a deadpan voice to the boy. He received a grin in reply.

"You don't care do you?" Kratos smiled. Another grin.

"You stay happy. Happiness is important you know. Lots of people worked very hard and some even lost their lives so the world could be the place it is today for you to be happy in you know," Kratos said softly to the child. The boy had bright, intelligent eyes. He'd understand when the sounds of the words had meaning to him.

Miles yawned.

"Sorry, am I boring you?" Kratos laughed softly as the boy smiled sleepily and dozed off.

"Here, I'll go put him to bed," Colette said, holding out her arms for her child.

"It's alright, I'll do it if you like," Kratos said, hoping she'd let him. Colette seemed to pick up on the tone of his voice.

"Alright then, if you don't mind," she smiled sweetly. Kratos looked over to Raine who nodded and followed him indoors.

Just because they didn't have their own child didn't mean they couldn't enjoy the joy of looking after one every once in a while. And it was a good deal, Kratos thought, if Hope or Miles decided to be little brats, not that they really seemed to, they were so well behaved, but if the situation ever happened, he could hand them back to their parents and not have to deal with it.

Ah, the joys of being a grandparent.