A/N: I wrote this a few weeks ago and barely got around to posting it up. Please excuse the slight OCCness, but somehow I think its necessary for the story to for out okay ;; Anyway, enjoy!
Disclaimer: Tales of Symphonia and all its characters © NAMCO
Warning: This story contains SPOILERS. Do not read if you have not completed the game and would not like to be spoiled. Read at your own risk.
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Pieces of A Shooting Star
- - - - -The town was silent, deep in a state of warm, hazy slumber. The night sky was decorated by the stars that were sprinkled about its dark, never ending surface, creating a wondrous illusion over the sleepy city. For that moment in time, it didn't seem as if there had ever been any turmoil, any battle waging between forces that had gone unseen by the people of the world. There was a calm tranquility as the stars shown bright, grazing the ground with their dim light from distances so far away. Quiet, peaceful, almost shy of perfect was the mood that was emitted from the aura of the night. A chilly breeze grazed by, creating a soothing sound that was barely above a whisper.
Two figures stood atop the balcony that overlooked the sleepy town, one taller than the other, yet both in the midst of the night seemed content with each other's company as they gazed out at nothing in particular. A young man with kind brown eyes breathed in softly, taking in the scent of that winter night deep into his lungs, while his father, who's eyes were identical in color yet filled with an unreadable expression, stood calmly beside his son, breathing quietly and not daring to move.
Lloyd turned slightly and gazed up at his father with a childlike need in his eyes. He didn't know what he wanted, what he needed, but all he knew for sure, was that he wanted to be with his father. To know that his father loved him and could somehow quiet down the anxieties and fears that were quelling in Lloyd's heart with each passing second. Each moment inching nearer and nearer to his final goodbye. There was a longing in his heart he couldn't explain. It was a void that felt so cold, and hungered to be filled.
Feeling as though he was being watched, Kratos looked down to capture the gaze of Lloyd's eyes. Kratos' eyes, once cold and stoic, softened as he looked down at his beloved son, the light of his life and his symbol of courage and hope. The one person he loved more and cherished above all else in either worlds.
"Lloyd," Kratos said softly, allowing his parental instincts to fully take over for the first time in many years. Lloyd tugged at Kratos' arm, mirroring the antics he used to perform to obtain his father's attention when he was a child. Kratos tilted his head to the side, his expression one of concern.
Lloyd looked pleadingly at him. "Dad," he said, no longer afraid to voice what he had wanted to call Kratos. The elder man's eyes widened slightly at the sound of a title he thought he would never be referred as. It was something, he decided, he was not worthy of. "Tell me a story…about the stars. Just like you used to…please?"
The request caught Kratos off guard. He shook his head, averting his gaze away from Lloyd.
"I'm sorry, Lloyd," he apologized, "I cannot do that." Lloyd shook his head.
"Please, Dad," he pleaded. "Just like you used to. All those fairytales and legends about the stars you used to tell me. I want to relive that, Dad, before you…" Lloyd stopped, biting his lower lip to prevent himself from continuing any further. He knew that path Kratos had chosen, and in his heart, Lloyd begged that somehow, Kratos wouldn't have to leave so that he could stay and be the father he didn't get the chance to be. Lloyd looked up at Kratos with a shimmering look in his eyes, hoping that his father would comply.
Upon seeing the look of sadness that had crossed through Lloyd's eyes at the mention of his departure, Kratos' heart grew heavy with a sadness and hurt that he knew all too well. It had been a difficult decision to make and although he had made it with a heavy heart, there was nothing he could do. As the surviving member of Cruxis, Kratos knew what he had to do, no matter how hard it was to accept.
"The snow," Kratos began out of no where. Lloyd's eyes lit up. "is a rain that comes down from shooting stars. Each snowflake is a piece of a star's life energy that has broken away and descended upon our land when it streaks the sky. When the snow reaches us, it ceases to be part of the star and at once, it begins its short cycle of life on our planet. As it melts away, the snow shimmers as it once did when it was part of the star it came from. When it is gone, it becomes one with the land. In a way, when we touch the snow, we touch the star it once was."
Lloyd's eyes were bright with wonder, recognizing the story at once. Kratos had spun the same tale when Lloyd was a child, filled with innocence and curiosity. Kratos sensed what Lloyd was thinking and smiled wearily.
"I remember when I first told you that story," he said, a look of fondness touching his face. "You were so amazed by what I had told you. Since the moment I told you that story, you began to hope that someday soon, it would snow." Kratos looked at Lloyd and smiled warmly at him. "And when it finally did, you were so happy. You reached up and gathered all the snow you could, telling me that you were holding shooting stars in your hand."
Lloyd smiled at well, recalling bits of the memory that Kratos was describing. In his mind's eye, he could see the snow and remember that same happiness he felt that day.
"Daddy! Look at all the stars! There're so many of them, Daddy!" Lloyd spun around, catching as many snowflakes as he could in his tiny hand.
Kratos smiled as he look at his son chasing after the various snowflakes that rained down from the sky. It was hard to believe that such a fairytale could bring his little boy so much happiness. Little Lloyd ran to his father, displaying the snowflakes he caught with a bright little smile.
"Maybe these are the same stars we see at night, Daddy!" Lloyd gasped. "Lookie, Daddy, look at all the pretty stars!!"
"I remember, too" Lloyd said, smiling at the ground. Recalling the memory and realizing how much he had loved and adored Kratos as a child, a deep sadness washed over Lloyd. "Dad, I don't want you to go…" he said softly, looking into Kratos' eyes. The elder of the two shook his head sadly, not wanting to hear Lloyd's heartrending pleas. Kratos couldn't bare to look at his son's eyes, knowing the sadness that pooled in them was enough to envelope him completely.
"Lloyd, there is nothing I can do," Kratos explained, "As the surviving member of Cruxis, I must bare the responsibility for what has happened here."
Lloyd shook his head and tugged at his father's arm. "No! Please Dad, you've got to stay! I couldn't bare the thought of living the rest of my life without you here!" Lloyd begged. "I want you to be my Dad…I want things to be the way they used to be…when Mom was still around, and we were a family…"
The mentioning of Anna caused the familiar hurt to rise in Kratos' heart once more. No matter how hard he tried, the pain of losing her was as fresh as the day it had happened. Anna, the beautiful woman from Luin the City of Hope, his wife, and the mother who had given Kratos his beloved son. Her warm and kind smile was still embedded in his memory. Her voice and kind spirit still lingered in his thoughts, constantly reminding him of the woman who had been so much of a light in a place where he could only find darkness.
Kratos looked at Lloyd, and upon seeing his son on the verge of tears, hesitantly reached out and enveloped Lloyd in his arms. Lloyd allowed himself to become the same little boy he once was and held onto Kratos tightly, as if he were going to be swallowed up by his own sadness should he let go. He trembled as he felt a stream of warm tears slip down his cold cheeks. Lloyd couldn't hold it in, couldn't control the raging emotions inside his heart. He loved his father more than any words could ever describe and as badly as he wanted to voice his feelings, he couldn't open his mouth without allowing a strangled sob to escape his lips.
Kratos held Lloyd tightly, feeling the boy shake and sob against his chest. He longed to be able to quiet Lloyd's fears, but was disappointed to realize that he couldn't. All he could offer was the sanctity of his embrace and hope that Lloyd's sobs would quiet and that perhaps he could understand what needed to be done.
"Lloyd," Kratos said, "Please do not cry." He pulled away slightly to look into Lloyd's eyes. "Lloyd," Kratos said softly as he wiped Lloyd's tears away, "Please don't cry. I can't stand to see you cry, especially because of me."
"Even when you were a baby, I could never stand to see you cry," Kratos interrupted Lloyd. "You are my son. I don't want anyone to hurt you."
Lloyd shook his head at the Seraphim of Cruxis. "I don't want you to leave, that's all. I want you to stay here with me and everyone else. So we can show them that we're still a family." Kratos looked sympathetically at Lloyd, tilting his head slightly to the side as he examined him.
The boy had grown so much since he had last seen him. The childish innocence that once pooled in his eyes was now replaced by a love for life and a determination that was second to none. Yet behind the fierceness, he saw the same kind warmth that would glow in Anna's eyes. Truly, that was a gift from her. Kratos hugged his son close again, holding him tightly, mirroring the same gesture he performed every night when Lloyd was a baby.
"While I may not be here physically, I will always be with you, Lloyd," Kratos said softly in a rare display of love. "I will be with you forever, my son. I will never leave you."
Lloyd shut his eyes, tears slipping down his face. He listened to Kratos' heart beat, strong and rhythmic, still full of will to live. Lloyd held onto his father tighter, knowing this would be the last time he would be able to speak with him, embrace him, and see him. They would part until they both would go meet Anna, and it would be then that they could be together as a family again. Lloyd nodded slowly into Kratos' chest, keeping his eyes shut, letting Kratos know that he had accepted his decision.
Standing on the terrace outside his room, Lloyd looked up at the sky. He breathed in deeply, basking in the tranquility of the night. Not being able to sleep, the young swordsman had gone outside to stare at the stars, as he did every night ever since he could remember. It made him happy yet at the same time, a familiar sadness would overtake him for a moment before it would dull down and he could be content with watching the universe go by.
It had been a year since Kratos left with Derris-Kharlan, and for Lloyd, it had been the toughest time of his life. Knowing he let his father go into the deepest parts of space hurt him, yet he tried to console himself in the fact that he knew Kratos would not have changed his mind. Each had their own path to follow; Lloyd grew to accept that. Yet, as was expected, he couldn't help but long for his father to be by his side, to teach him of the stars and all the vast knowledge Lloyd knew he held.
Lloyd looked up at the sky, and to his surprise, it had begun to snow. Tiny snowflakes fell all around him, sprinkling the area with their intricate patterns and shapes. For a moment, Lloyd basked in their beauty before Kratos' words came into his mind.
"The snow is a rain that comes down from shooting stars. Each snowflake is a piece of a star's life energy that has broken away and descended upon our land when it streaks the sky. When the snow reaches us, it ceases to be part of the star and at once, it begins its short cycle of life on our planet. As it melts away, the snow shimmers as it once did when it was part of the star it came from. When it is gone, it becomes one with the land. In a way, when we touch the snow, we touch the star it once was."
All at once, tears formed in Lloyd's eyes as he wondered where Kratos could be, if he was all right, and if somehow, he could see the stars they had both shared so many years before. For a split second, Lloyd could've sworn he saw the snow around him glow blue, the same hue of his father's wings.
"I will be with you forever, my son. I will never leave you."
Sensing that Kratos was there with him, he opened his hand and caught as many snowflakes as he could. Memories of his childhood days filled his mind as he completed the task. With tears trembling on his eyelashes, Lloyd raised his snow filled hands to the sky.
"Look, Dad," Lloyd whispered through his tears and up at the night sky, "Look at all the pretty stars…"