a/n and reviews will be on bottom of all my fics from here on out!

Chapter 4

"Don't please don't hurt me..." She whimpered at his feet, a mere child of thirteen summers. He bent down, she was a pretty thing despite the bruising, and he knelt besides her. "I'll be good... please no more..."

"Shhh..." He cupped her face and she cringed back from his touch. His fingers curled around her face and she stopped trying to pull away. "It's alright, I'm not like them."

"They all say that then they take and take and..."

He shrugged off his jacket and let the fabric fall to the earth, hearing that horrible sound, having heard it many times before she cried. He only stood and after her tears had dried she looked up and saw his face... He understood, she saw that, he knew the fear. He stood wearing no jacket, still clothed despite that.

"Get dressed woman, then follow me."

Taking the jacket, weeping tears of hope, she did as ordered, and followed him into the camp.


"Taking one of them in the camp's against rules, you know that Aurion."

"SHe hasn't tired me out yet." He sneared, a passable mimic of the lustier members of this band. "When she's done I'll do what needs doing."

"Heh, ruining your rep as a man perve are you Aurion."

She shivered as his arm slung over her, but she knew, he had told her to expect it. Her shiver was supressed laughter. He mock fondled her arm and the men laughed.

"Never knew you liked them young, might have some good taste in you after all boy."

"I've always been partial to brown haired ones." He drew her near, ground her hips against his. "You boys need to be less rough on them, almost walked right on by this wench."

The guards snickured, rolled thier eyes, gave a few vulgar hints then calling him a lucky bastard watched him go in the camp. They went to the animal skin tent, and she pulled away, he had held them so close that she had... She had began to think he would, even though he had promised not to. He walked past her, laid out some furs and then went to the tent flap.

"Where are you going?"

"I'm hungry," He shurgged. "As I imagine you are, lay down I'll awake you when I return."


Kratos opened his eyes, yawned, and nearly rolled out of the tree. With the scent of a woman fading from his nostrils he watched Martel fussing around the fire, making a light breakfast from the blue haired one's pre-dawn foraging. She looked up at him and smiled, he ignored her. He had had enough of women for a life time, the less woman in his life the better.

She walked under his tree, crossed her arms, and looked up at him.

"Have you seen Mithos this morning?" Kratos rose an eyebrow and she laughed. "I'm sorry, I guess you were sleeping after all."

"Unlike you vastly superior half elves I must sleep." He snipped, then scampered down the tree. "No I haven't seen your brother since he bothered the Hell out of me last night."

"Mithos was just talking to you..." Martel protested. "Anyways Yuan went to look after him and no one's returned yet."

"How long has it been."

"About an hour, why?"

"Give them two, then I'll go look for them."



"When you're in a group it's 'we' there is no 'I' when you travel with other people."

"That," He said, walking up to her nice smelling stew, "depends on who you travel with Miss."

"Well with us there is no 'I' it's always 'we' so you'll have to get used to that."

"Considering the lot of you are suicidal," Kratos said, taking off the lid and admiring the beef stew. "I will not have time to get used to it."

"You're such a pessimist!" Martel huffed.

"Pardon?" He cocked his head to the side, his wild hair falling into his eyes.

"Don't give up, we'll save them."

"Frankly, as your… friend accused, I hardly care whether we are successful or not in saving those of your settlement. I'm in this to maintain my honor and to seek revenge on those who wronged me."

"They weren't all half elves, we only some of the handful of were of… different blood. The rest were humans."

"Like that means anything to me? Human, half elf, elf, what does it matter?" Kratos said coldly, fishing out two bowls from the absent Yuan's packs. He tossed one to the startled Martel and pulled out two spoons. "You should eat Miss, it will be a long day and you should keep up your strength."

"What kind of tragedy made you as you are Kratos?" Martel asked sadly as he helped himself to the contents of the pot.

Kratos did not bother to answer.


"Thank you," She curled into him and he controlled his natural responses well enough so that she didn't notice. "It's awful cold out."

"When it snows it is normally cold out." He muttered, focusing on the soft fur beneath him rather then the girl against him.

"What's it like." She mumbled into his ear. "Being one of them?"

"Over rated," he answered curtly and she giggled.

"You're so quiet. Are you always this quiet?"

"Do you always talk so much?" While his tone was cutting she seemed to ignore it, stared into his eyes.

"You look at me like they did." She murmured, her voice soft, it sent a shiver down his back.

"I don't mean to." He rolled away from her, so that his back was facing her. "I don't mean to do so, and I won't be like them, I promised you that, remember?"

"I know," She draped an arm over his back, snuggled against him for warmth. "I trust you."

There was a long silence.

"Don't betray me, please…"

After betraying his own blood brothers what could she expect of him? He expected nothing of himself.

"I'll do my best."

It was an empty promise, a soothing promise that gave nothing so there was no loss on his part. She stroked his arm and he exerted the control a saint would have admired, when she fell asleep he gently unfastened her arm around his waist and scooted away from her.


"It's been an hour, where are they!" Martel was running a hand through her hair, pacing back and forth.

"Miss Martel," He stared at her with brooding eyes. "You are going to walk through the other side of the world if you pace anymore."

"How can you be so cold, my brother's out there!"

He only stared at her then sighed.

"They have ten more minuets, but if you aren't going to settle down then we should go now before a wolf is drawn to us for the racket you are making. As for my lack of warmth, you seem a smart girl; certainly you should have figured from the time we've traveled together I am incapable of warmth." He stood, rubbed his arms. "Let us save your brat and boyfriend already, the sooner we get them back the sooner we get this over with."

"Can you fight without a sling or a knife?" Martel asked as he stood.

"No, and I take it from your tone you can't either." Kratos smiled grimly. "A fist will not do very good against a wolf, but better to fight then just roll over and die."

"See we can agree on something." Martel pointed out meekly.

"As I understand cornered mice take up the exact same stance, it seems to be something that everyone shares."

"Universal, it's universal." Martel said and chuckled at the lack of comprehension on Kratos' face. "For someone who acts smart you're pretty dumb sometimes."

"Ahh… I see the resemblance to your brother already." The brigand sighed, then turned from the river's banks. "We best be off then."

"I know your worried." Martel said calmly, following him as they left their camp for the moment.

"You are insane, I am not worried."

"Yes you are," Martel chuckled. "You can act as cold as you like Kratos. But I know you like Mithos and he likes you, none of you have realized it yet."

"Tell me, did you get those pointy ears from being dropped as a child?"

"You're worried." Martel said confidently. "If you weren't you wouldn't bother to help me look for them, you wouldn't have volunteered to go look for them. So you are worried!"

She then poked his back and he glared at her.

"Just showing you we are related, me and Mithos, that's all."

She poked him again.

This was going to be a long walk…


Snarling a blur of silver grey threw itself at him. There was a hiss of lightning and the creature jerked, its fur danced weirdly and it fell over dead. Making a noise in his throat of annoyance Yuan flexed his fingers, banished the clinging stinging bits of his power.

"It's dead now." Yuan said calmly, and Mithos uncurled from the ball he'd collapsed into the second his fire spell had missed. "Mithos when you miss you're supposed to either stand and shot off another spell, or run. Not curl up in a ball and cry out in terror."

"This thing's twice my size!" Mithos whined, which was the truth, and even though it was dead it was still scarier then heck. Smoke wafted out from the parted jaws and nostrils of the wolf, its' fur still stood on end, and its legs twitched spasmodically as the last of Yuan's power pounding through it's veins made it seem alive. "I deserve to be able to scream in terror!"

"You need to stop, every time you do more of these things hear and…"

There was a shriek, and Mithos and Yuan looked at each other.

"Wasn't me!" Mithos said quickly, not liking the cold look on Yuan's face.

"Hush… listen…"

From near by the scream pealed out and words half human half animal screams of pain rung out across the chill air.

"That doesn't sound good." Mithos whispered, the shaking that branded him as a coward began to take his legs. "Please Yuan let's go back to Martel!"

"No," The half elf frowned. "Someone's in trouble, I can' turn away from a scream like that."

"Why me…" Mithos moaned as he followed the blue haired half elf. Hearing that, Yuan turned, considered his young friend.

"Mithos, I want you to go back to Martel and wait for me there."

"N…no, I'm coming too!" Mithos gathered the last bits of his courage. "I'm a good wizard so I can help."

"Whats out there is probably worse then any wolf."

"You're just scared Martel will get mad." Mithos pointed out. "If I go back by myself Martel will yell at you for leaving me alone, if I go with you Martel will yell at you for taking me along. But if I go with you then I might say… forget that we didn't come right back…" Mithos smirked and the blue haired elf gapped.

"That's black mail!" Yuan roared. "I can't believe it, you're black mailing me! Martel would never believe this from you…"

"I save it." Mithos continued his smirk frozen to his face. "Come on let's go, I mean either way you're in trouble so…"

"One of these day kiddo, that mouth is going to get you in trouble..."

Mithos only stuck out his tongue and Yuan sighed.

"Alright, let's go. I hope I don't regret this…"


"They were here…" Martel frowned at the blasted wolf. "Yuan always cooks the monsters with his spells."

Kratos stared at the wolf, and decided to be very nice to Martel when Yuan re-joined them. There were a few ways he had an objection to dying, very few deaths fazed him, but looking at that wolf he decided that his was not the way he wanted to go. He nodded, scanned the ground and spotted some tracks.

"Here, Miss." He pointed to the churned up snow. "Looks like they decided to go off on some hare chase, charming, I'm traveling with…"

"Let's go!" She grabbed his arm and began to drag him down the path, oblivious to the bits of bloodied snow that sat at the feet of the trees, oblivious to the crimson droplets frozen in the shape they had splattered into the trees above them… but then he too did not see it either.


"Why do you look at me like that?" She ran a hand through his hair.

"They…want all the human captives." He murmured into the live beat of her throat, the steady beat of her heart and her warmth an intoxicating brew for him. "They are going to take you away…"

"Why do they want us, what can they do now?"

"I don't know." He sighed. "The leader's acting strange, I don't like it. And… I made a promise to you, I need to remember to start keeping them again. How does it feel Little One, to know you are the first promise I've ever kept in some few months now?"

"Good." She admitted, kissing his shoulder. "So now what?"

"I'll get you out of here." He whispered into her ear, she shivered against him, wrapped her slender arms about him. "No child, no…" He gently pushed her away. "That was part of my promise to you… I must keep it... All of it."

She sighed, let him go, and he cracked a slight grin.

"Maybe after we are both free we will see what comes." He stroked her face with a finger, traced a thin line between her brows. An archaic benediction that ended in a gentle kiss, he offered her only that and she mumbled a few complaints.

"Kratos… You'll keep me safe then?"

"As long as I can Little One," he pulled away from her, his keep hearing picking up something subtly wrong, he drew his sword and turned as the flap opened.

"Protector 'er are ya?"

He shoved the girl behind him, stared at his general… His current general and pointed his blade at the man. To kill him would be easy, he was an out of shape fat bastard with more wit then brawn.

"Gunna turn blade on me pup?"

"If need be." Kratos answered. And the need had been great. Despite his stubbornness and sword skills he was split up from her, he meant to give her a knife just in case something like this happened. He had forgotten, and she had screamed as the men leered at her pawed her…

He struggled, tried to break free but his hands were pinned, his sword knocked from his grasp.

The general, a fat bloated thing of a man smiled at him, pointed the steel blade to his throat.

"Too clean a death, for defying my will…" Them man tossed the blade aside "do him over good then send him for a dip. Make sure he screams a little, I want them both screaming so I can hear it from my tent."

Smirking Kratos captor fumbled out a whip.

"You heard the commander, scream in pain, worm!"

The first lash of many came down.


"Kratos…" hands shook him. "Are you alright?"

"I am fine." He brushed off her hands, he had slumped against a tree hearing that scream that had come from ahead like those of the woman that echoed in the corridors of his mind.

"What was that horrible sound?"

A sick feeling gathered in his gut, the sound was as familiar to him as the sound of his own name.

"It's a death scream." He stared at the path ahead that was now no longer foot prints but drag marks. He did not tell the woman that, because she'd drag him making all sorts of racket. "We wait here, until night fa-"

There was another cry, half gibbered insane litany, half words. Worlds of pain were conveyed in that cry that arched above them and slammed into his chest with the force of an arrow.

"We are not waiting, wait all you want Kratos, I'm going ahead."

Much to Martel's shock he offered no protest.

To my readers,

Much insight on Kratos, no? I'll update when I'm feeling better. After I wrote 'A Shot of Cold' I got a bug and have been out of it for a few days. Ironically I have a cold... This crosses the line between ironic conscidenceand evil omen in my book... Anyway I'll reply yo all your reviewsnext chapter, as it is I'm officially dead on myfeet/chair/whatever. One last transfer and I'm done till I'm better! yawns enjoy guys!