Author's Note from years after writing this story: I've considered multiple times removing this story, since it's been over half a decade since its creation and I'm extremely dissatisfied with the quality of my writing back then. However, I do see from the hit counter that there are people who are still reading this for whatever reason, so I've decided to leave it up. I haven't edited anything in the story itself (save for a couple spelling errors), but I've removed some of my previous author's notes that seemed particularly stupid. Thanks to anyone who still reads this story. I'm glad that even if I don't like it anymore, there's someone who does.
Prologue: Hidden Emotions?
It had been almost two years since the worlds had been united. The great Yggdrasil tree was now the size of a small sapling. Not far away from the rapidly growing village of Iselia, a certain gentle idealist was currently sprawled on the bed on the second floor of the home he shared with his surrogate father, Dirk. He stared at the red-colored exphere, turning it over in his hand. So many memories from such a small gem...
Two figures stood in the fields near the outskirts of Meltokio. A gentle breeze played with the long, red hair of Tethe'alla's former Chosen and the short, gravity defying hair of a red-clad swordsman. "I can't believe we've finally finished," the latter sighed in contentment as he destroyed the remaining unused exphere.
"Of course we finished, Bud! Remember the seventh dwarven vow?" The ex-Chosen teased as he hugged the younger man from behind. 'Bud' rolled his eyes as he waited for his companion to get off of him.
"Zelos, don't even go there. You know how much I hate that saying!" he said in exasperation. Zelos released his grip and chuckled.
"Come on, you know I'm just messing with ya, Lloyd."
Lloyd turned and glared at Zelos, but then a thought struck him. His gaze dropped to the ground. "So I guess this is goodbye then," Lloyd mumbled sadly. He hated to admit it, but he had actually become attached to the philandering idiot. Though he still had a way of being able to get on anyone's nerves. Especially Lloyd's. Zelos placed a gloved hand under Lloyd's chin, forcing his friend to meet his now serious gaze. Lloyd resisted the urge to gasp. The Chosen's serious face always made his heart skip a beat, though he didn't understand why, and was practically unable of looking away. He opened his mouth to say something, but decided against it and waited for Zelos to speak.
Smiling in satisfaction, Zelos moved his hand to Lloyd's left shoulder. "Don't worry about it. We'll stay in touch, right?" This earned a nod form Lloyd. The smile changed to his trademark smirk, but on the inside he was heartbroken. He knew and understood that he and Lloyd had separate paths from now on, but he just didn't want to let go. He had known for a long time that he had fallen for the boy. In fact, it was on the day he had given Lloyd his Cruxis Crystal. The day he had betrayed the party for his own selfish desires. Lloyd had still trusted him after that, which only made his love for the idealist grow. Of course, being as dense as he is, Lloyd had yet to realize the feelings his companion had for him. He wanted to tell him so badly about how he felt. But that was impossible. They had grown so close during this journey, formed a bond that only the best of friends share. So Zelos hid his feelings for the boy, no matter how much it hurt him on the inside. Now, he had to leave the one he longed for. He had decided beforehand to try to just turn away and forget all of it. "Well, see ya later, Bud," Zelos said after a long pause. He turned and began to walk away.
"W-wait!" Lloyd exclaimed, suddenly remembering something. He sprinted towards the Chosen, reaching into one of his pockets and pulling out what looked like a green exphere. "I forgot to give this back to you." He held his right hand outstretched to Zelos, waiting for him to take it.
"No, that's okay. You keep it."
"But...," Lloyd trailed off.
Zelos sighed and accepted the crystal. "Fine. But you're not leaving without a memento." He brought his hand to the key crest that was slightly below his collarbone, switching the exphere with the Cruxis Crystal in a fluid motion that was barely noticeable. He moved his right hand outwards, still holding the gem, and offered it to Lloyd. "Don't you dare lose that. It was given to me by someone special."
"Special? Who's that?" Lloyd asked while taking the exphere. He immediately regretted saying that seeing his friend's eyes take on a tint of sadness.
"She…was my first real girlfriend. Unfortunately, she disappeared about a year before you guys arrived in Tethe'alla for the first time. I had noticed her acting a bit out of it before that happened, but I didn't think she would run away."
"Nah. Don't worry about it. Anyway, thanks for keeping my crystal safe. I don't know what I would have done if I had it when I betrayed you guys." There was an awkward silence before Zelos spoke again, in an answer to Lloyd's silent confusion. "Do you want to know a reason behind why I gave it to you?" Lloyd nodded and Zelos continued. "Well, I am the Chosen after all. You knew that before you even met me. So, doesn't it seem strange that I wasn't like Colette physically?"
"What do you mean?" Lloyd asked, completely oblivious to what Zelos was trying to say.
"This is what I mean." Zelos closed his eyes, focusing the mana of his Cruxis Crystal. A spiral of transparent orange feathers floated upwards and the crystal flashed brightly before orange mana wings appeared on his back. Lloyd's jaw dropped at the utter beauty of the angel that stood before him. He tried to speak a few times, but couldn't form words.
"They're…they're beautiful…" Lloyd managed to gasp in awe.
Although Zelos was shocked that Lloyd wasn't angry with him for keeping such a secret, he was also surprised that the person he admired had called him beautiful. A smile formed on his face and he began a short rant. "Yup. They sure are. From now on you can just call me the Super Hot Angelic Dude Zelos." Lloyd sweatdropped and rolled his eyes. "Well, I guess this is it. Keep in touch, hunny," Zelos said while pulling his crush into a friendly embrace. The former Chosen was gone just like that, speeding towards Meltokio on his angelic wings.
Lloyd sighed. Even though they had promised to keep in touch, the letters had stopped being exchanged after about three months. Now, two months later, Lloyd couldn't help but long for his friend. Even when Kratos had returned from Derris Kharlan a few weeks ago he still couldn't shake this feeling of emptiness. How he missed his lighthearted atmosphere. How he missed the feeling that went down his spine when the emotional mask was dropped. How he longed to gaze into those beautiful sapphire orbs and…
The swordsman almost fell off the bed in shock. Where was this train of thought going? Sure, he and Zelos were close friends, but the line was drawn there! And to top it off, he was a guy! 'Who looks good in a speedo,' a voice in his head chimed in. Lloyd froze in sheer terror upon hearing the voice. He was determined not to listen to it. 'Zelos is just a friend. Zelos is just a friend.' Lloyd repeated desperately in his thoughts. 'Friend, friend, friend, friend, friend, friend, friend, boyfriend,' Lloyd let out a yelp, his eyes widened, and his mouth opened…
"AUUUUGH! I MUST BE GOING COMPLETELY INSANE!"
Dirk, who was tending to the garden outside, literally jumped three feet in the air in shock. He smacked into a shelf with flowerpots on it. Said shelf fell on impact and crashed next to a sleeping Noishe, who let out a loud yelp and bolted straight into the dwarf, causing them both to tumble into the shallow stream next to the house.
"You must be insane if you can cause this much chaos," a deep, stotic voice announced while walking up the stairs into Lloyd's bedroom. With a hand clamped over his mouth, Lloyd turned to see his angelic father, clad in his usual dark purple attire, minus the mantle. "You've got mail."