Bodies lay everywhere. He had no idea where Kvar had escaped to, nor where his wife fell when he murdered her. He had been as positive as he could be that this was where his son and Noishe fell, but he was obviously wrong, again. All that was here were Desian corpses.

Kratos sank to his knees, his sword plunged several inches into the wet ground. He was soaked, but he didn't care. Nothing mattered anymore. Nothing.

Everything was meaningless.

Protecting Anna, loving her, the help Yuan offered them in evading Mithos, and the help the Renegades offered, whoever it was who led them. Lloyd's birth and now his death. Everything was meaningless.

Everything.

It was pouring out. He was soaked. He didn't care. He was cold. He didn't care. He just didn't care. His sole reasons for living were dead. He was dead, a mere shell of a man. He eyed the edge of his blade, where it was in the ground. Just one quick slice across the throat, and-

"Kratos."

Kratos looked up abruptly, every nerve in his body searing at the sound of that voice. "Yggdrasill," he snarled heatedly, and then almost as quick as it came on, the fire in him extinguished. "Go away."

"You know I can't do that."

"Why? Why not?"

Yggdrasill landed, allowing his brilliant pink wings to fade. "Because I know what you're planning," he replied harshly. "The way you were looking at that sword. I cannot allow it. You are Origin's seal."

Kratos scowled; a flicker of that flame appeared in his eyes again. "So find another seal," he snapped. "Any of your dolls in Welgaia would be more than honored to do so."

Yggdrasill sighed. "I don't want one of my 'dolls' to be Origin's seal," he said in a bored tone. "I don't trust any of them enough to be Origin's seal. I don't even trust Yuan to be Origin's seal. I only trust you."

"So you will force me to keep on suffering?" Kratos demanded, the flicker growing to a spark.

"If you will suffer by living, then yes. You are coming back with me to Welgaia."

"No, I'm not."

Yggdrasill scowled. "Are you still trying to play house, Kratos?"

"Play... house...?" The spark suddenly burst into life, and Kratos was on his feet and his sword snatched out of the ground, lunging for Yggdrasill with a tortured scream. The Eternal Sword appeared in Yggrasill's grasp seconds before Kratos swung his blade at the blond half-elf's head; sparks flew and metal screeched as Flamberge and Eternal met and locked at the hilt. "You call that playing house?" Kratos shouted at him, barely containing his anger.

Yggdrasill simply smirked and dropped away, rolling from Kratos. The Seraph lunged again, plunging the sword downward blindly; Yggdrasill dodged easily and swung at Kratos' side; Kratos barely blocked, gasping with the force of the blow. "They were my life, Mithos!" Kratos yelled, using his superior strength to shove Yggdrasill away. "They were my world!"

A bitter smile took over the smirk. "Now you know how I feel about Martel, teacher," Yggdrasill snarled. "Don't speech me about losing someone you love! That's a lesson I learned well!" With that, Yggrdrasill lunged at Kratos, swinging his sword down and willing himself to be stronger than the other Angel. Kratos brought Flamberge up to block, and the Eternal Sword responded to Yggdrasill's wish.

Slowly, Yggdrasill forced Kratos to his knees, pressing down on him. Kratos strained against his old friend, finally deciding to attempt to break, but Yggdrasill suddenly threw a mass of mana out at the kneeling man. Kratos flew back, striking a tree and slumping down to the ground. He coughed, and a thin trail of blood trickled down his chin.

Yggdrasill approached him. "You will come now, Kratos."

Kratos looked up at him, hatred clear in his otherwise clouded eyes. "There's a difference, Mithos," Kratos coughed, too weak to fight back anymore. Yggdrasill raised an eyebrow in question. "I didn't... murder... that someone you love."

A look of horror came over Yggdrasill. The voice that came from the man's throat was that of the fourteen-year-old Kratos knew. "You think I- No! I didn't- Kratos, I ordered Kvar to-" Yggdrasill faded to the image of the teenaged half-elf. "I ordered Kvar not to hurt any of you. I-" Unable to continue, Mithos disappeared.

Kratos looked around in bewilderment as pain took him. His eyes fell on a stuffed toy, a raggedy rabbit with one button eye missing. "Lloyd..." He reached over and took a hold of the toy, holding it close to his chest. "Shh... don't cry... everything... everything will be all right..."


Credits: BBQBert, inspiration for Kratos' suicide attempt

Yuki Kajiura, Vanity, inspiration for the dance scene (HIGHLY recommend any of her work- some of her credits include .hack/sign and Noir)

For other scenes from the Tears timeline, see Defenseless and Lies of Omission.

Thank you, and good night!