For the fortieth Tales of Symphonia fic I've uploaded to (that many already?!?!) a bit of during game angst featuring Kratos for a change. With some Lloyd and Colette fluff in there as well because, well, me being the "Queen of fluff" and Lloyd and Colette being so cute there had to be some in there somewhere :)

SPOILER WARNING!!!!! If you don't know the truth about Kratos's past and don't want to know LOOK AWAY NOW! Big spoiler contained in both the dedication and the fic itself! You have been warned :)

For BBQ Bert, because she likes fics with Kratos and Lloyd family goodness (no incest) and kindly put up with my rambling ranting. I hope she enjoys this :)

Disclaimer: No, I don't own Tales of Symphonia. Namco own it I believe. I just can't seem to stop writing about it :)

It was as though he'd seen a ghost, only more shocking for this 'ghost' was alive, real flesh and blood. His own.

Despite the calm, uninterested air he presented to the world Kratos was feeling rather shaken up inside. To see his son again, after all these years, when he'd thought the boy was dead.

And it was his son, no doubt about it. Not that he could say anything. He doubted the boy would believe him if he did.

But if the young swordsman knew the truth about who the 'mercenary' really was it would put a lot of things in danger, including Lloyd.

He sighed. It was hard. Hard not to just run up to the boy and hug him, tell him what an amazing thing it was to have him back again. And hard to continue on with what he had to do. He knew perfectly well what would be the Chosen's likely fate, but Lloyd didn't. He was clearly attached to the little blonde, as she was to him.

Kratos smiled a sad smile as he watched them. The girl was so innocent, so sweet. Childlike in some ways, but then who would have taught her to be wise about the world? She was just a Chosen, no need to teach her anything except how to play her role.

"Noishe's so fluffy," the blonde purred, causing Kratos to roll his eyes, but not in an entirely unkind manner.

Colette was sprawled across the creature's back, giving it a hug and scratching it behind the ears. Lloyd was sitting beside them, smiling.

Kratos was glad to see Noishe was still around, protecting Lloyd. The creature was a good, loyal companion.

An owl flew silently by and the Chosen gazed up at it with wide eyes, mesmerised by the beauty and grace of the bird as it went hunting for the night.

She followed the bird's flight path, twisting her head and body around until she lost her balance and rolled off Noishe's back and into Lloyd's lap, causing the pair of them to blush.

"Sorry," she giggled.

"That's alright," he said, helping her up. Shyly she shifted to sit as close to him as she could without actually sitting in his lap, blushing as she rested her head on his shoulder.

Timidly, blushing deeply, he wrapped an arm around her as they leant back against Noishe who waggled his ears and tail happily.

Kratos sighed. Under any other circumstances the pair would be an adorable couple, young adults beginning to explore new feelings and emotions. He recognised the signs, those two clearly adored one another. But it couldn't be, she was the Chosen.

The girl's sweet, innocent nature and the fact that his son seemed so attached to her was going to make an already difficult task near impossible.

He mulled over this while he listened to the conversation they were striking up.

"I wish I could fly like that bird," Colette said thoughtfully. Lloyd smiled.

"You dork, you can fly, you've got wings now, remember?" he laughed.

"Yeah, I know, but, I'm not graceful like that, I'm so clumsy," her gaze dropped to the ground, her expression one of discomfort and sadness. She let her wings appear on her back, fluttering them sadly.

"You've only just got your wings though, I bet when you're used to them you'll be able to fly even better and more beautifully than that owl," Lloyd blurted out as a blush appeared once again on his cheeks.

Kratos tried to suppress a snigger as he saw Genis, who had also been listening in on the conversation, make an 'I'm going to be sick' gesture and receive a smack to the back of his head from his sister for doing so.

"Really?" Colette, oblivious to the siblings, seemed cheered up by this thought. Her wings flapped faster, excited now rather than sad.

"I reckon so," Lloyd smiled at her.

A loose feather fluttered from one of the fragments of Colette's wings. He caught it before it reached the ground and tucked it into her hair, blushing madly as he moved his hand away.

She smiled at him. A warm, genuine, completely happy smile. Then, ever so slowly and shyly, she gently brushed her lips against his cheek in the lightest of kisses.

Both of them blushed profusely as they bashfully looked away from each other. They were quiet for a few minutes before Lloyd found the courage to speak again.

"I wish I could fly too. That must be so amazing, seeing everything from up so high," he sighed.

"You want to see? Here, I'll show you," Colette beamed. The next thing Lloyd knew he was being lifted into the air, Colette flapping her wings at a fast pace as she held him by wrapping her arms around him under his.

"Waaaah! Colette! Not so fast! Woah! Careful!" he yelped, clearly taken by surprise, as he swung around madly in her arms.

"Lloyd, stay still! I don't want to drop you!" she grunted, clearly using a lot of effort to keep herself and the swordsman airborne.

Genis rolled around on the floor laughing at the amusing sight and Kratos broke his solemn mask to allow a small smile to form on his lips.

Anna would have liked Colette. She was a little naïve but full of an amazing love of life and enthusiasm for everyone to be happy.


He felt an intense stab of pain in his heart at the thought of his wife. He'd loved her intensely. He still did. To have lost her in such a manner…

He sighed. A deep, weary, heavy sigh.

Colette managed to do a whole lap around the campsite before crash landing on top of Noishe and, of course, Lloyd.

Tangled limbs, more blushing, more stammered apologies. More blatantly obvious signs for anyone who'd missed all the others that the pair clearly loved each other.

Kratos turned away, standing up to walk a little way away from the fire lit scene.

This was going to be incredibly difficult.