A/N: Short drizzle concerning Kratos and Lloyd's relationship after the Tower secne, it's sometime after Zelos, Regal and Persea join the party but the exact in game time wont get much clearer then that. Very reflective on Lloyd's part.

"Ablue feather"

TOS ficlet

"The puzzle is not complete, I think I have it down and more pieces come tumbling in my pile. They never fit what I know."

'If it wont fit then it's probably wrong'

"Shut up!" Lloyd snarled at the phantom of that voice in his mind. The voice that inspired all that confusion. But then they all spoke to him in the quiet spans, all his friends, he just wanted this one to leave him alone but then Kratos never did do what he wanted.

'Be patient Lloyd.'

Growling the swordsman ran a hand through his hair, stared at the dying fire.

"What are you trying to do?"

There was no answer, there never was. He'd asked this question a hundred times and no one could ever answer it. Oh they could speculate, Raine and Zelos kept saying he was just doing stuff for cruxis. Was he? Lloyd found it harder and harder to believe the more he honestly thought about it. Kratos hated the church in Sylvarant, hated the ritual of the Chosen, had all but said so even as he ordered them to stay out of his way. He'd held back, only struck after they struck, and he could of killed them no problem. Kratos hadn't, he'd let them live. He let them get away.

On the other hand he had almost killed them, he had let that Yggdrasil guy toss them around like dolls. He had betrayed them. Kratos had played them on, offered hints that lead no where unless you really thought about them. And even then it was half guess, and one wrong guess and Colette could die. He was responsible, as responsible as Remial for leading Colette into this. The 'mercenary' was to be their executor, the mercenary was a seraphim, a liar. He'd lied to them, had ran several inches of steel into Lloyd's side in that hellish fight.

"You don't trust the betrayer Bud, you don't trust a man who stabs you in the back do you?"

"He betrayed us, hurt Colette, don't think of him any more Lloyd, it will do no good."

The voices of reason, Zelos and Raine.

It was true and yet...

There was a blue feather in my room one night in Meltokio, when we came left that... place.

"What are you doing, what in Hell are you doing."

'There is something I must do'

"Would of made my life a hell of a lot easier if you'd just gave me a hint on what that thing is."

No response, memories don't talk to you after all and offer new information.

"Damn it, this isn't getting me anywhere." Lloyd stood, shoved the chair out behind him and turned. And forgot to breath.

The door outside slid open and dressed in darkest green tunic and pants the ex-mercenary slipped into the room, the rain that had pulled Lloyd from his sleep dripping from the edge of that sparrow tail cloak. He froze, gapped, and sensing the scrutiny Kratos looked at him and froze. Auburn haired a tangled mess, it straggled into his black brown eyes, for once Lloyd could see both eyes, they locked on him, widened, then narrowed.

There was no anger in Lloyd though, it was drained out by a night of staring at the fire having his brain shift through pieces that never fit together. Anger was lost in being tired, being tired and having the storm howl at him and touch his darkest nightmares therefore barring sleep and peace from him. There stood the man who had ripped apart his innocence, had shattered the illusions of the world for everyone he knew and loved, and he, Lloyd Irving, could feel nothing. He stared dully at the man, not caring what he was up to for once. Sighing Lloyd turned, went back to looking at the fire and watching the world through half closed eyes.

There was a blue feather in my room, the window was ajar...

"Don't trust the traitor bud, no matter what he says no matter what you hope once ya break trust it's broke."

Zelos, shut up or I'll sic Sheena on you.

The Zelos voice in his head went quiet at that and he snorted, typical scared-y cat Zelos even the Chosen in his thoughts ran away from the slightest threat.

I've got new friends now, Regal, Zelos, Sheena, Persea, I don't need Kratos. I don't need Kratos' help, his advice, heck Regal's got to be smarter and calmer then Kratos ever was. Plus if all else failed Lloyd had the advantage of numbers. One verses four, it was obvious he didn't need Kratos.

Except the thought and sight of the man was turning his insides into knots.

Where did the man who helped me avenge my Mom go, the one who made me think, who encouraged me to question even though it ticked everyone else off? Where was he and who was this Seraphim who'd taken his place?

Lloyd closed his eyes against the stinging pain of tears, the one weakness he'd never learned to shed.

He jolted, jerked his head up, and stared in total shock as the chair across from him was pulled out and the merc- Seraphim sat across from him.

"What do you want?" Lloyd snapped, sounding for all the world like a young child being interrupted out of a fit of sulking.

"To see how you are doing." The Seraphim admitted, as if he wasn't quite believing the words as he spoke them. "Amongst other things."

"Huh." Lloyd blinked. "Well I'm fine, thanks for asking. I take it that boss of your Egg whatever wants to know."

"Yggdrasil." Kratos' lips twitched ever so slightly as he corrected Lloyd.

There was an ease to the mercenary, a relaxation. It was as if they were in some random inn just hanging out like they did when Lloyd couldn't sleep at night. Despite the howling voices of Zelos and Raine, the shrill cried of Sheena, the quieter protests of Regal, Genis, and Persea he found that Kratos' mood was a little catchy. Lloyd leaned back into his chair, shifted his swords a bit so the hilts wouldn't dig into his sides anymore

"He sounds like some fungus in Raine's healing book."

Kratos unbent enough to chuckle at that, and Lloyd found a small smile on his lips.

"He has the humor and mentality of fungi some days of the week." Kratos admitted, shifting his sword around just a little to get more comfortable. "Most other days he's even less charming then that however."

"Nice." Lloyd ran a hand through his hair. "Good thing I now know his secret weakness, Raine's such a plant expert she'll just sprinkle some plant killer on him then end of problem."

Both of them shared a smile at that, and despite what everyone had told him, it was good to see Kratos again, to talk like this, like nothing was wrong. Like though was not truth, like was not was. Never had Lloyd rued the fact that like and was were not the same thing. Silence companionable yet tense hung over them. Who was going to break it? Lloyd wondered in sick dread, who was going to step over the thin line and say the thing first that made their jokes back into a horrible reality? No one it seemed, Kratos stood, was just going to up and go. A choir of voices, protests lodged in his throat, it wasn't his protests but theirs, trying to make him stay silent. He shoved it off, ignored it for a little.

There had been a blue feather, someone had been in my room when we were recovering in Mal Tokio from the Renegades and from Cruxis' attack. I awoke and someone had changed the bandages and poured disinfectant in the worst of my wounds. Did you really betray us? I don't know anymore.

"Kratos, the offer's open, when this is done it's still open."

Kratos turned, stared at him in surprise.

"What offer?"

"The boat, it's an option."

Kratos smiled, and for just for a heartbeat he was the quiet thoughtful mercenary. The man Lloyd had grown to respect, rely upon. The frustrating man who's soul and thoughts were so obscure, so out there, who held a shield of ice that Lloyd had spent months slowly cracking. Then all reminders were gone, hidden under the perfect mask of distance so suiting the angel of death.

Where is the man I respected, the one who held me when I at last broke in the echoing black rooms of Kvar's torture chamber? Where is the man who was my brother?

He wears a mask and walks a path I don't understand, but when the mask and path run out he will be back, and I'll wait as long as I need to for that day to come.

"Of course when Noishe gets sea sick you're gunna be the one to clean it up most of the time."

"Keep dreaming Lloyd." Kratos said with just a hint of humor creeping into his ice flecked tone.

"I will, thanks." Lloyd stood, decided it was time to head back to his room. If Genis got worried and went to look for him the young sorcerer would not be pleased to walk into this. Genis, none of them really, would understand.

"Lloyd..." Kratos' voice, his eyes, that mask broke ever so slightly. "Good luck."

"Same to you." Lloyd called back over his shoulder, a full blown smile on his face now for the first time in days. "'Night bro."

Lloyd ignored the grumbled complaint on Kratos' part that they were not brothers. He smiled, suddenly the rain wasn't a big issue. As for the pieces, he'd wait to sift through them until more came on hand that looked like they could connect. As it was he had an answer now, or maybe he didn't have an answer rather a promise made and in part kept.

"He betrayed you, he broke your trust! You're just gunna let him stab you in the back again?"

There was a blue feather.

"Blue feather, blue shmether! Who cares! He hurt you once he'll do it again! What the Hell do you get for trusting him again?

There was a blue feather and wounds left untended were tended before the coming of dawn.