Hello everybody and welcome to the next installment of the epic that is the life of Kratos and Yuan. This is the second story in what could be considered a series. The first was The Best Of Friends which told of Kratos and Yuan as young boys. They are men now however and it is time that they begin their epic journey besides Martel and Mithos. I suggest you read the other story first. But if you feel some desperate need to read this now here is a summary. But before that I'd like to tell you that I don't own Tales of Symphonia.

In The Best Friends we learned that the humans are winning the war. Kratos's father was a general in the war and little Kratos was quite rich. Do to issues with bullies Kratos's father gives him a half elf slave to protect him and thus Yuan and Kratos meet. When he learns that slaves can't read Kratos decides to teach Yuan (illegally) in return Yuan teaches Kratos to be tough. Some time passes and Kratos goes to high school. Here he learns swords and he and Yuan learn some magic. However, on the day Kratos's father is promoted to Commander Yuan's reading is discovered. Kratos and Yuan barely escape and are forced to find a new way to live.

And now your feature presentation.

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4008 years before Tales of Symphonia

Yuan was enjoying himself immensely as he ran as fast he could away from the town where he had recently worked. Behind him came his friend, his friend's dog and a whole group of angry men. Yuan wasn't worried, he'd done this before.

When he felt they were far enough from town Yuan let himself fall into the high grass. He crawled away from where he had fallen and then lay still. He heard the nearby grass rustle and then go quite, so he knew that Kratos and Noishe had followed suite.

" I can't find him sir!" One of Yuan's pursuers shouted.

" Fine then, dammit! Just so long as they don't come back. Let them be some one else's problem for all I care!" Another voice replied, and Yuan grinned to himself as he heard the mob retreat. He waited another couple of minutes and then he stood up.

" Ollie ollie oxen free," Yuan shouted playfully to let his friend know it was okay to come out. Kratos stood up and glared nastily at Yuan.

"What?" Yuan asked his friend innocently.

" You did that on purpose," Kratos told him coldly. The half-elf rolled his eyes and watched as Kratos whistled for his dog.

"Oh, come on! We would have been caught anyway. They were running blood tests. I just made our leaving a little more fun. Besides Noishe did all the dirty work. Didn't you boy?"

" Just the same. You shouldn't have done that,' Kratos answered pulling feathers out of his pet's fur. Yuan sighed deeply.

" So where to this time?" He asked more seriously.

" Let's just go we're bound to end up somewhere," the human replied. So the two friends set off through the tall grass hoping to find better luck elsewhere. Yuan sighed again as he let himself get lost in his thoughts. He gave a side long glance to his friend and thought to himself just how much everything had changed.

For the past six years the two friends had been traveling around to small towns looking for any work they could get their hands on. It hadn't been easy and they had learned something. Not all humans had it easy. The pathetic jobs the friends took saw them sleeping in barracks amongst the lowest of the human race. The jobs paid little, and after room and board was deducted there was hardly anything left. That was one of the things that had changed. Yuan and Kratos weren't so ignorant now.

Humans weren't all rich, but half-elves had it worst. He still remembered the pathetic dirty little town he'd spent his early childhood in. And even now it was the fault his blood that he couldn't hold down a job. In order to get hired Yuan had to pass himself off as a human. Most of the time he could get past the early blood tests with smooth talking, but eventually there was a medical exam and then everything was over. Blood tests would show his species and they would have to run again. Kratos always came with him, even though Kratos was human and could have stayed.

Yuan glanced at his friend again and then lowered his eyes. Kratos had changed more then anything. More even then Noishe who had as good as changed species by turning from bird to dog. Kratos was so serious now. He hardly smiled or laughed and there was a sadness behind his eyes most of the time. The cowardly, nervous, little Kratos who Yuan had first met was long gone. Now Kratos carried himself with a quite dignity and control that seemed to rebel against their now slummy surroundings. It was only when Noishe wanted to play or when Yuan teased him that Kratos would snap from his controlled behavior and act his age. He was only twenty after all.

Kratos's personality wasn't the only thing that had changed either. And Yuan felt himself grow jealous as he thought about it. Kratos had grown up in other ways as well. Six years ago Yuan had been taller than Kratos and had had a deeper voice. Not so anymore. Over the past six years Yuan had had his fun laughing as his friends voice cracked and teasing when Kratos's random growth spurts constantly upset his balance. That was over now and Kratos was now taller and had the lower voice.

"You have nicer hair…" Yuan told himself as he and Kratos at last reached a town.

" What?" Kratos asked.

" Oh, nothing. Nothing don't worry about it. We should find a place to stay," Yuan said and Kratos bent down to get their things off of Noishe. The protozoan (for that is what he truly was) carried everything the two men owned. Across his back was the double edged sword that had once belonged to Yuan's brother, and he carried the sword and shield Kratos had saved his money for. The human began counting their money to see if they had enough for an inn.

" Just enough. We'll have to pick up another job soon." Kratos said looking up at Yuan.

" Damn. Can't we get a break for once? But let's go find an inn before we look for jobs. It's always best to sign up not looking like you just fled your last place of employment. And I wouldn't mind getting something good to eat before we sell our souls to another boss." Kratos nodded in agreement and the two friends went to find a hotel.

" There's one!" Yuan said pointing out a building to his friend. It wasn't a particularly nice inn, but it was the best they could afford, so together with Noishe at their heels they entered the inn. A man at the counter looked at them and raised an eyebrow. Kratos sighed and held up their bag of gald so the man knew they could pay.

"Oh! Welcome, welcome! Would you like a room? We have the perfect room, it has two beds and a rug where your animal friend can sleep. I just need one of your names and payment." The man looked back and forth between the two men with a large, fake smile. Kratos and Yuan looked at one another and Yuan approached the counter.

" My name is erm…" Kratos sighed as he watched Yuan try and come up with a good fake name. They had given up using their real names in public ever since they had escaped his father's clutches. Yuan came up with a new name wherever they went but Kratos had been using the same name. Realizing Yuan wasn't going to think of something anytime soon Kratos pushed him out of the way.

" Lloyd," he said shoving money on the counter. " We'll find the room ourselves." Kratos climbed up the nearby staircase and heard Yuan and Noishe behind him.

" You stole my fun," Yuan mumbled as they reached the room. " Why do use that name any way; it's boring and it sounds weird."

" I like it," Kratos answered blandly.

"Yeah, but why?" Yuan asked. He followed Kratos into the room and they put their things down on the beds. Kratos told Noishe to stay and then they left closing the door behind them.

"You haven't answered my question!" Yuan continued to bother Kratos as they left the inn.

"I don't know I just do. It starts with two consonants and it looks interesting when you write it!" Kratos turned around and looked at Yuan in a rather flustered way. Yuan just grinned and walked past him.

"Hey 'Lloyd' check it out. A restaurant with real food." Yuan said grabbing Kratos by the arm and pulling him towards it. Kratos jerked back causing Yuan to stumble.

"We can't afford it."

"But it smells so good. And look at this menu, Kratos, all the stuff you used to eat," Yuan pointed to a menu that was posted outside. Kratos rolled his eyes but walked closer. He stared at the menu and then looked at his friend.

"Fine just this once," he said. Yuan nodded and hurried in. He wondered how it was that Kratos who had grown up unaware of the importance of money had proven himself to be better at spending it. Yuan sighed as he sat down feeling slightly envious over Kratos's possession of their money.

They sat and waited for a waiter to bring them a menu. They both sighed contently as they leaned back in the soft seats. Neither of them had realized just how tired they were until they actually sat down. The stressful morning, the running, and then all that traveling was exhausting.

"We wouldn't have had to run if we'd just slipped out in the morning. Or we could have tried to find a way around the blood tests. But you had to have your little fun."

"Aww Kratos, you thought it was funny too. I saw you smiling. Poor Noishe had been wanting to get at the boss's chickens since we first arrived in that town, I just wanted to give him a chance. Besides you were expecting something to happen. You had all our things prepared to throw on Noishe's back." Yuan told his friend, and Kratos dropped the conversation. Yuan knew he was right, Kratos had thought the whole thing was funny.

The waiter arrived and put the menus in front of them. Kratos picked his up and began to read, Yuan took a quick glance at his menu and picked what he wanted. Bored he began to look around the restaurant for girls.

"Feh, nothing good," Yuan mumbled to himself.

"You picked the restaurant..."

"Not the food the girls. Yeesh Kratos, take your head out of the menu and look around a little," Yuan said looking over at his friend. Kratos continued reading. Yuan rolled his eyes then went back to girl watching.

"Check that one out. She's not half bad! I didn't see her before."

"Hmm," Yuan glanced over at Kratos to discover he was still reading.

"Oh come on! Quit reading already! I swear you are missing a whole set of hormones. You have no interest in girls whatsoever. And it's not just that, you have no sexual interest in anything. Not girls, not men, not animals, not children, not…" Yuan turned to discover Kratos was no longer reading. He was staring at Yuan with a look of horrified disgust.

"What?" Yuan asked.

"Has it ever occurred to you that perhaps I'd prefer to wait. That maybe I'd prefer to have a relationship built on mutual trust instead of pure animal attraction?"

"Uh, no actually it hasn't… You know this is all your parents' fault. They cheated on each other and now you just want to be as different from them as you can. You've persuaded yourself that you're waiting for true love but that's not it. Kratos there is no such thing. It's just in fairy tales. You've read to many stories and now you believe in true love and love at first sight and all that schlock. Let me tell you love at fist sight is complete bull-"

Yuan looked up and saw the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. Girl, no, this was a woman, a goddess. The way she carried herself, that look on her face. There was something about her, an aura. She wasn't just beautiful there was something else, something that made Yuan feel inferior. He could feel himself staring at her and he knew he should stop, but he couldn't. He could sense Kratos's look of confusion but he could only find enough sense to close his open mouth.

The woman was dressed simply in a plain dress that was worn and dirty from travel. Her hair was a pale greenish blonde and she wore it in a simple braid that ran all the way down her back. The look on her face was what got Yuan's attention. Her lips were turned up into a small but genuine smile. There was a resigned sadness in her pale blue eyes but she held her head level as she walked as though she had no fear of the world. But the best part was that she was a half-elf, Yuan could sense it. She was the perfect woman; no where on the planet did their live any woman he would rather be with.

Yuan's heart sank. Walking behind this perfect woman came a little boy.

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The first chapter of a new story. I'm sorry if it's not particularly interesting. I promise it will get more so. But I had to bring everyone up to date with what our boys, no, our men have been doing. Next chapter might not be to exciting either (I plan to follow the siblings to show what they were doing before they walked into the restaurant) but after that this thing should start moving. Just have to start out slow before we build momentum. Since this is technically a new story I'd like to say again that reviews are nice, but if you have any bad things to say please say them nicely. No flaming. And now some advice from my driver's manual: It is harder to see at night. Thank you!