Disclaimer – I don't own Tales of Symphonia, but like everyone else, I sure would like to.
Warning – slash between Kratos and Yuan, meaning that homophobes should stay far, far away…A Single Moment
Yuan hugged his arms close to his chest as he began walking up the mountain path. Who knew, after all, what a single moment could bring?
It had only taken one to bring on my current bout of insanity, he reasoned, so why take chances?
There had been a time when he'd thought nothing could heal him of the pain he'd felt within. Losing Martel had been a breaking point and he had been willing to do anything to get her back again, to be whole again. He'd allowed Mithos to spin a story too good to be true and ignored the consequences that choosing those ideals would bring. It had been his words that had brought Kratos on board, though.
Strange that it was now, when his heart cried a new name, that he remembered facts such as that.
Yuan walked in silence, musing on events similar to the real reason why Kratos had agreed to help bring about Cruxis. Kratos had joined the Yggdrasill siblings because Yuan had asked… he taught Mithos how to fight because of Yuan… he'd given up his place at the most prestigious college in old Sylvarant in order to help Yuan hide from the authorities when they'd decided to pin the blame for Martel's death on Yuan after the murderers had left him at the scene of the crime…
In the end, it seemed as if the only time that Kratos had been able to tell Yuan 'no' was when Lloyd was involved and neither had been certain of the other's intentions. The blue-haired angel wondered if his fellow seraphim was even aware of the apparent power Yuan seemed to have on his decision making abilities.
More recently, however, something of a reversal had occurred. Kratos had asked Yuan to help stop the attempts on Lloyd's life and, grudgingly, the Renegade leader made a truce with the brunette swordsman. Of course, Kratos hadn't realized what lengths his friend had gone to at the time to fulfill the request and probably never would understand how much pride had been swallowed on his behalf. At the time, Yuan had excused it as a duty owed to a friend and a true necessity of friendship.
It was only now that he clearly recalled the knowing smirk that had appeared on Botta's face as the words 'just a friend… right' were muttered softly.
His arms, despite being held tightly against his chest, felt empty. It had been that way since the previous day when, in that clearing, he'd cradled Kratos' body as if it were the most precious thing in creation. When the burgundy haired man had finally regained enough strength to stand on his own, Yuan had felt incredibly hollow as they stood and parted.
The only solution to that feeling that Yuan had been able to think of was to hold his arms close; he thought that he wouldn't feel so isolated that way. It was a silly idea and, in the way of thousands of silly ideas, it had died an ignominious death.
So he'd decided to make his way to Kratos and prove to himself that he did not need the other man around to beat the void.
A house in a clearing surrounded on three sides by a creek greeted Yuan's eyes. Smiling to himself, he headed across the bridge. Lloyd had left Kratos behind here to recuperate from the injuries that the angel had acquired. After releasing his mana, Kratos had to build his internal store of life force up again before he could be safely healed.
Lloyd had been preoccupied with Zelos' fate and had left almost immediately in hopes of saving his redheaded friend. Mentally, Yuan wished the boy luck and pitied Yggdrasill… Mithos… for being foolish enough to stand in the way of such a determined youth. Yuan had found out the hard way that nothing stopped that child. Between that realization and Kratos' request, he'd never underestimated the teen again.
Yuan took a deep breath and knocked on the door. A dwarf with a somewhat gruff appearance opened it.
"Good afternoon," he greeted in a somewhat suspicious tone.
"Hello, are you Mr. Irving?" Yuan replied.
"Aye." Dirk Irving gave Yuan a deep look. "Can I help you?"
"I'm Yuan… a friend of Kratos' and I was hoping that I could visit with him. I know he was injured and might not be up to visitors, though," he said, adding the last bit when he received another soul-searching look.
"I don't see the harm of it," Dirk answered after a long moment. "Come on in. I think he is sleeping, but Colette mentioned that angels don't sleep so he might be faking." As the dwarf spoke, he ushered Yuan inside and pointed him in the direction of the staircase. "He's using Lloyd's room, which used to be the loft."
Yuan nodded absently and began to climb the stairs, his heart beating erratically. He pushed open the trapdoor and then set it back down silently when he reached the top. The upper room was somewhat cluttered, half-finished crafts littering the tables. Kratos lay motionless on the bed, his shirt draped on a nearby chair in order to make way for the bandages wrapped around his side.
Uncertainly, Yuan settled into the chair, dragging it forward a little so that it would be situated right next to the bed. He peered at Kratos' face, studying the familiar features. With longing, he wished that he could see Kratos' smile once again. Even when they'd been traveling to stop the Kharlan War, nothing could compare to Kratos' smiles in Yuan's eyes. Martel even had a hard time doing so.
Yuan reached out with a hand and brushed the burgundy hair away from Kratos' face. It was getting in his way and that was really starting to annoy him.
Kratos' eyes shot open at that moment, however, and his hand darted up to catch Yuan's before it could be pulled back. "What are you doing here?"
Yuan blushed and spoke the first excuse that came to his mind (which was fortunately a true statement and not a lie); "I wanted to see how you were."
"I see…" Kratos sat up stiffly, wincing slightly.
"Be careful!" Yuan snapped, worry filling him. "You're hurt, you idiot. You shouldn't be getting up."
"I was able to fly for several hours before needing to have it looked after," Kratos countered in an amused tone, " I don't think sitting up in a bed is going to cause the wound to kill me know."
"You're mana levels seem to be doing better," Yuan said, effectively changing the subject as his face grew warm.
"Good," there was a pause and then, "thank you."
"Huh? What for?"
"You saved my life. Its customary to thank the person who saves your life."
"Oh… so we're down to acting 'customarily' to one another." The words were harsher that he'd intended, but he'd felt stricken at the idea that there might be nothing left to their friendship on one side or the other.
"I would hope not," Kratos replied, unaware of the hope his words had just created. There was silence again, but Kratos quickly filled it once more. "Are you intending to leave so soon?"
"W-what?" Very eloquent, Yuan thought scathingly and tried over. "No, why?"
"You still have your traveling cape on."
"Oh…" Yuan blushed again as he took it off and hooked it onto the edge of a nearby table. "So… when Lloyd and his friends reunite the world, what do you plan on doing?"
"I'll probably go to Dherris Kharlan and travel to wherever it may take me," was the immediate reply.
"Eternity on a soon to be deserted hunk of rock and mana? You'll go insane on your own," Yuan declared, clearly appalled. "I'll go with you."
"I figured you'd want to stay here and take care of your precious Renegades."
"They'll be fine without me. You, on the other hand, seem to be determined to be talking to yourself by the end of the next decade."
"Doesn't everyone talk to themselves at one point?"
"I mean in a multiple disorder sense of the 'talking to yourself,'" Yuan amended. Despite how serious he was being, Kratos rewarded him with a small smile and an actual chuckle.
"If you feel so strongly about it, be my guest."
Yuan felt his heart begin to thud in his chest as a blush stained his cheeks.
"Yuan? Are you alright?"
"Of course I'm okay," he answered tightly, trying desperately to calm his racing pulse.
"Are you sure? You're… well… you look like you're coming down with a fever…" Kratos leaned closer to Yuan and the blue-haired man could almost feel his self-control abandoning him.
Kratos was obviously unimpressed by the hoarse tone that Yuan's voice had taken on. A tan hand with slender scars reached up and felt his forehead.
Yuan ducked. "I-I said I'm fine!"
"Humph." Kratos leaned back, eyeing the other man with an unbelieving stare.
"I've simply been stressed lately."
"Haven't we all," Kratos agreed, but the unbelieving look didn't go away.
It was about this time that Yuan realized that Kratos was still holding one of his hands firmly in place. He blushed again and then cringed when he was hit with a deeply worried look. Kratos was the injured one, after all, not him. He should be giving the worried looks, not the other way around.
"Yuan, you're really flushed. Are you certain that you're not coming down with anything?"
Impulsively, Yuan squeezed his friend's hand. "I'm fine, honest," he asserted as Kratos looked at their hands and took a turn at blushing.
"I-I'm sorry…" Kratos moved his hand away and stood abruptly.
"Don't be," Yuan stretched languidly and rose to his feet. He followed Kratos to a window and smiled faintly at the bewildered expression that struggled beneath Kratos' typically stoic stare.
"You're analyzing something," Yuan stated after a moment. "I can tell. Whatever it is, you should stop. It's stressing you and you need to work on recuperating first."
"It isn't that simple."
"It should be." An idea sprung to Yuan's mind and he decided to gamble on it. He reached out and began to massage Kratos' shoulders. The other man stiffened for a moment and then slowly he began to relax. "Dear lord, you really do need this, don't you?"
"W-what!" Kratos' voice sounded… off… as he stammered.
Yuan blushed and tried not to screw up this moment because it wasn't likely to come again if he did. He did regret, however, the fact that his finger-gloves were still on. "You're incredibly tense. I've seen stone less stiff."
"I've been playing dangerous games where my son could've been killed and still might be. No wonder I'm tense," Kratos might've said more but he leaned back into Yuan's ministrations instead. "Mmmm…"
Yuan smirked and attacked the spot that had gotten Kratos' response. The human angel was starting to breathe faster and his heart was pounding too. Yuan definitely liked the results of his random thought. Uncertainly, he leaned forward and kissed Kratos' shoulder.
The result was immediate. Kratos' breath hitched and then he groaned softly. "Yuan… w-what are you doing?"
"I'm making you relax," Yuan informed him and then kissed his neck.
A soft shudder ran through Kratos and he whirled around. Yuan wondered, for just a moment, if he'd screwed everything up, but his fears were quickly allayed.
Kratos pinned Yuan to the nearby wall and began to thoroughly kiss the shorter seraph. By then, neither of them was thinking about much of anything.
That was why they missed Dirk pushing up the trapdoor to look in on them or the smirk that had appeared on the dwarf's face as he disappeared back down the stairs.
For them, in that singular moment that seemed to be an eternity, only the two of them were there.
A/N Hehehe… I suppose that they might be a little out of character, but oh well. I reread it, self-betaed, and sent out a small prayer that there aren't any major grammatical errors. I hope that everyone enjoyed this little one-shot. I'd appreciate any reviews (flames excluded) and will hopefully be writing another story soon.
Happy New Year everyone!