What a surprise, it's a one-shot bit of fluff :) Set in the "Bliss" timeline, it makes a few slight references to "Isn't kissing girls yucky?".
Disclaimer: I don't own Tales of Symphonia. I absolutely love it, but Namco actually own it I believe.
Lloyd knew the young man sitting next to him on the sofa well, but he suspected that anyone would have been able to tell he had something on his mind.
"Something wrong?" the brown haired man asked as he picked up his young son and plopped him in his lap. Lloyd noticed Genis watching Miles.
"How do you do it Lloyd?" the half-elf asked.
"Do what?" Lloyd asked, rubbing his nose against his son's before blowing a raspberry on his tummy. Miles squealed delightedly.
"Well, that," Genis gestured to Miles, who was now receiving a gentle tickling attack from his father.
"Ah," Lloyd smiled. Now he knew, Genis was nervous about becoming a dad. He and Presea had recently found out they were expecting.
"Why are you asking me? When did I become a guru?" he said light-heartedly, remembering the time when Genis had come to him for advice about love a long time ago.
"You're happy," Genis smiled.
Lloyd laughed and gave his son a toy to play with before turning to face his childhood friend.
"Best advice I can gave is don't worry," Lloyd said.
"WHAT?!" Genis sweatdropped.
"Yeah. See, I think every parent-to-be worries. I know I did, I was scared stiff. What if I wasn't any good at being a dad? What if I was so useless I couldn't look after my kid properly and I ended up letting something terrible happen? Children are so fragile!" Lloyd smiled as he saw Genis nodding to every word, he obviously felt the way Lloyd had.
"And....." Genis said, hanging onto Lloyd's every word.
"What do you see here?" Lloyd asked, indicating his son."A happy little kid," Genis said.
"And the last time you saw Hope, how about her?" the brown haired man asked. Hope had gone with her mother and the other women on a girlie day out shopping trip. Kero was with them as well, Hope had insisted he could be an honorary girlie for the day because she wanted his opinion on hats. She was rather fond of hats, and Lloyd had a feeling he knew why. She did seem to suit them though.
"Hope? She's such a cute kid, she seems fine," Genis replied.
"My point exactly," Lloyd smiled."I don't get it," the half-elf frowned.
"There was nothing I could do before my kids were born except make sure that Colette was OK, and so I made sure I did my very best to look after her, which I always do anyways. She needed a little extra looking after, but it wasn't a big deal. And I figured worrying wouldn't get me anywhere, so I just concentrated on that wonderful, exciting feeling that I was gonna be a dad, and crossed bridges when I came to them," Lloyd explained.
"But, but," Genis was so used to being prepared for things, always studying for tests of whatever nature, he couldn't quite grasp the concept of doing nothing.
"Bringing up children is a bit like when we went on our journey. See, you've got the long term goals, on our quest it was bringing peace to the two worlds and reuniting them, with a child it's for them to grow up well and be happy and healthy, right," Lloyd paused and Genis nodded.
"Then you've the kinda mid range goals, on our journey it was, say, unlocking the next seal, with a child it's getting them through a school term or teaching them a new skill. Then there's the small goals. Like setting up camp or getting to the next town when we were travelling, with children it's getting them to do their homework or brush their teeth and go to bed. You see?" again Lloyd paused and waited for Genis to indicate that he did."And how did we approach our quest? We had a good idea of what we wanted to achieve, used any skills and knowledge we had but approached each day as we came to it, right? Works with kids too," Lloyd smiled.
Genis didn't look convinced, although he did look surprised at the fact that Lloyd had managed to make an interesting analogy. Lloyd had an idea.
"Can you keep an eye on these two while I go and make some coffee?" he asked, indicating Miles and Suzuka, Sheena and Zelo's daughter who'd opted to stay home rather than go on the shopping trip.
"OK," Genis said.
Lloyd went into the kitchen and not only made a pot of coffee but a bunch of sandwiches and some snacks for the children, deliberately taking his time over the task.
He took the refreshments into the living room where the mage was helping the kids with a jigsaw. Genis looked up at the sound of the tray being put down on the table.
"I thought you were just making coffee," he said, puzzled.
"I was hungry," Lloyd shrugged as he passed the two children beakers of juice. "Congratulations, you looked after not one but two children for half an hour and they're still both in one piece."
"Half an hour?!" Genis gasped.
"About that yeah. So, Genis Sage, how did you do it?" Lloyd adopted the air of someone interviewing an important celebrity and held one of Colette's hairbrushes which had been left on the coffee table by Genis's mouth like a pretend microphone.
"Well, I, uh, I just listened to them, and made sure they didn't do anything dangerous," the half-elf looked puzzled.
"You'll do fine," the swordsman nodded as he put the hairbrush back down on the table and passed Genis a mug of coffee. "And remember, you're not alone. We're here to help if you need us and I'm sure Hope and Miles wouldn't mind having another playmate around from time to time."
"Thanks Lloyd," Genis smiled and hugged the older man.
"S'alright," Lloyd grinned and grabbed his mug of coffee.
"Can I have?" Miles asked, reaching for the mug in his father's hand.
"No, afraid not. You wouldn't like it I think," Lloyd said. "You'd probably say it tastes like mud or something."
"I like mud," Miles grinned. Lloyd groaned and rolled his eyes slightly."Now, what have I told you about eating mud? It won't do you any good and then you'll get tummy ache and it won't be very nice. You don't want to make me worry and upset because you're poorly now do you?" Mile's father said and the boy shook his head.
"Here, have one of these instead," Lloyd smiled as he passed the plate of snacks to his son who tucked in happily.
"Teach me how to do that?" Genis said, impressed.
"OK, remind me some time and I will," Lloyd smiled."Oh, hello Brat!" a voice accompanied footsteps into the room.
"Daddy!" Suzuka yelled and leapt across the room. Genis guessed from the smells that wafted into the room with the man that Zelos must have been taking a bubble bath.
"Hi Zelos," he said, choosing to ignore the use of his old childhood nickname. Zelos didn't hear, he was too busy playing with his daughter.
"Hey Genis, if even a twit like that can manage to be a good dad I'm sure you'll do fine," Lloyd smiled and laughed.
"Heh? What?" Zelos looked up from the floor where he was being tickle attacked by his daughter.
"Nothing Zelos, it's nothing. Everything'll be just fine," Genis smiled and happily winked at Lloyd. The older man gave him a two thumbs up gesture like he had so many years ago when Genis had come to him for advice about love.
Yes, Genis thought, everything would be fine.