Disclaimer: Tales of Symphonia belongs to Namco.

Author's Notes: This story is Kratos/Lloyd slash. As in, incest. This is not some little fluffy oyako (parent/child) fic. If that does not sit well with you, then you are better off hitting the back button. Any flames will be laughed at and then disregarded. You have your kinks, and I have mine.

That said, this fic was written for the livejournal comm 25-streetsigns. This is for theme #25, paved. I am trying my best to write them in character, but I'm not so sure I'm cut out for writing K/L. I'm trying hard, I really am! ;-;

The Road to Hell
by: butterflie

Something shifted uncomfortably beneath the covers and moaned softly, legs kicking around briefly before going still once more. Kratos looked down at his son, whose face was screwed up tight in a way that suggested a nightmare, and sighed. He carefully reached out a hand and gently smoothed back some of Lloyd's hair, trying to comfort Lloyd in some small way, regretting that he would have to leave soon.

He wondered how often Lloyd had nightmares, and what exactly he was dreaming about. He hoped that it wasn't about them. He was surprised that Lloyd still even wanted to be with him after learning the truth the previous night. He had been sure the boy would be hurt and disgusted, that Lloyd would never want to see him again, but Lloyd had been his usual idealistic self, stating that relations didn't matter when it came to love. It had both amused him and horrified him, knowing that at seventeen Lloyd knew hardly anything of love and relationships, and that what the teen was learning now was not exactly what he'd ever had in mind for his son.

He softly sighed again as Lloyd murmured something in his sleep and turned over on his stomach. He knew he really shouldn't have allowed it to go on in the first place. It was a relationship that was twisted and strange and wrong, but none of that seemed to matter when he was with Lloyd. Lloyd gave him hope, a chance at atonement, something he hadn't dared wish for ever since the moment years ago when he'd realized that baby Lloyd was not amongst those at the bottom of the cliff. Lloyd had somehow made it okay.

So he had allowed Lloyd to begin it, and he had allowed himself to continue it, and he knew that just the same he would someday soon have to end it. For he had allowed it to be taken too far, and the last thing he'd ever wanted was to corrupt his son. No matter how much he wanted some kind--any kind--of affection from Lloyd, this wasn't the way to go about receiving it. He knew that, just as surely as he knew how wrong it had been to even start such a relationship.

It hadn't started out that way, though. He hadn't intended to start anything like that. Following Lloyd and company across all of Tethe'alla had been innocent enough in its intentions. In fact, he was loathe to call it following, because it wasn't, not really. It hadn't been following at first. He had been gathering the necessary materials for the Ring so that when the time came, Lloyd would eventually be able to forge the pact with Origin and wield the Eternal Sword. That they kept showing up in the same towns and cities had just been mere coincidence.

Or so Kratos tried to make himself believe. He knew that deep down, at some point, it had become following. Knowing what the group was trying to do, he had a reasonable idea of where they'd been and where they were intending to go, and it wasn't that hard to be there in the right place ahead of them.

But at that point, it had still been innocent. He had spent fourteen long years--what had felt like a lifetime, even considering that he had currently lived for over four thousand years already--believing that he had killed Anna a moment too late, that Lloyd had died along with her, his life tragically cut short at three years of age. Finding out at the dwarf's house a few months ago that he had been wrong... it had felt like a second chance. That maybe, just maybe, after all, he could correct all the wrongs he had done by remaining in Cruxis.

But salvation wasn't instantaneous, and nor was it assured, and it was hard to break the habits of a four thousand year lifetime.

So in the end he still went along with Yggdrasill's game plan; however, he found it comforting to keep an eye on Lloyd, reassuring himself that his son was alright and, yes, alive. It was still something he found himself silently marveling over. While traveling together with the Chosen's group, he had found that he had been unable to keep his eyes off Lloyd, as if to stop watching him meant that Lloyd would go away again, and it would be revealed that it had all been some sick joke, that Lloyd had never been alive again after all. He had grown fond of his son all over again, and he tried to use the time he had to become as close to Lloyd as he dared.

Of course, all that had ended when he attempted to kidnap the Chosen, and had revealed himself to be with Cruxis, thus betraying Lloyd and his friends, who seemed to want nothing further to do with him. From then on, following Lloyd around Tethe'alla and Sylvarant was all he had left.

It was only when Lloyd caught him a ways outside of Flanoir, wandering around in the snow, and without any rightful excuse to be there at all, that he realized it had become a bit of obsession with him. Or, not quite an obsession. Mithos' attempts at reviving Martel were an obsession. His putting himself in the vicinity of his son when he had the chance was not yet on that level.

Having kept an eye on the group, he had known they would come to the Flanoir area to form a pact with Celsius, the Summon Spirit in the Temple of Ice. So he had headed there and waited, and come they had. They had yet to go to the temple, though, and he could only assume they wanted to be well-rested before they tackled yet another Summon Spirit.

They had gotten a room at the inn instead, and for awhile he had toyed with the idea of approaching and asking them to stop forming pacts with the Summon Spirits. In the end, he had rejected it, knowing that without understanding the reasoning behind it, they would once more refuse to do it.

So he stayed in the outskirts of the town, and watched as Lloyd came outside alone, swords strapped to his side and Noishe following some ways behind him--he could only assume that Lloyd had snuck out on his own, as the others would never willingly let him go out by himself. Even with Exspheres and experience, it was too risky for any of them to go out on their own.

He followed Lloyd as the boy wandered around, wanting to make sure that he was safe. But he had gotten careless, or maybe he had become overconfident, but either way when Lloyd turned around suddenly he had no time to hide, and Lloyd spotted him easily.

"It's Kratos..." Lloyd said, with momentary surprise that quickly gave way to accusation. "What're you doing!"

He stood there with his arms crossed over his chest, and looked at his son calmly, noting the balled fists and the anger that was not quite anger at all--merely a show, as if Lloyd felt he had to be angry because he was supposed to, not because he really was.

"It's you," he said. "I was just looking at the sky." It was a poor excuse; it was the truth. He hadn't dared go into Flanoir where the others were, for he had no reason he needed to be there. And yet he could not help but hover around its outskirts. He realized with no real surprise that he had wanted to be found by Lloyd.

"Don't lie!" Lloyd shouted, and this time the anger sounded real.

"...Hm. Then how about, I was scheming how to get rid of those that are in Lord Yggdrasill's way. Now, are you satisfied?" he asked dryly.

Lloyd did not respond. He studied the boy for a few moments, face softening. How he had missed looking upon that face. Seeing it from a distance was not the same. "You seem well," he said.

It caught Lloyd off-guard. "Wh... what?"

Suddenly he felt vulnerable and uncomfortable. He felt as if he had just revealed too much of himself. The conversation, strange as it had already been, was taking a dangerous direction. It would be better if he diverted Lloyd's attention to something else. "Lloyd, don't be so trusting. There may be those close to you who are malicious."

"...You're talking about yourself."

He put a hand to his forehead in exasperation. Of course Lloyd would see it that way. Why hadn't he thought before he opened his mouth? "We'll see," was all he said though. "Be ever judicious. Now, I shall excuse myself."

He turned to walk away before he could say anything else, feet crunching over the snow. He'd only managed to make it a few stops before he heard Lloyd's voice behind him, calling.

"H-hey! Wait!"

He almost didn't turn around, he almost kept on walking, but something in Lloyd's voice made him stop, after all, and he looked back at Lloyd, eyebrows raised in question, silently waiting for whatever Lloyd wanted to say.

It wasn't long before Lloyd burst out with what he wanted to say. "Why do you keep following me? Why do you try to help me? What do you want from me!" He didn't really sound angry, he just sounded... lost.

"Lloyd..."

"I just... whose side are you really on?"

He walked back over to Lloyd, stopping when he was standing in front of his son. "Life is not always black and white," he said quietly. "Sometimes, things are not always about sides."

Lloyd frowned, obviously not understanding at all. "What?"

He ached to hold him, to touch him. It had been fourteen years since he had lost hugged his son in his arms, and he missed it dearly. He wanted something, anything from Lloyd, missing the love and affection the boy had once held for him. If he could just go back to that one day...

But no. It was long gone in the past, and the past could not be changed. It was perhaps better this way, anyways. Better for Lloyd to have been raised with a normal life than to have a life of fear and danger and always on the run from Cruxis. He never wanted anything to hurt Lloyd. If he could have stopped the boy from going on the Chosen's journey, to keep him safe and well, he would have done so.

"...Don't die, Lloyd," he eventually said, as he had said in the past, and then he turned once more, and left.

xxx

But it hadn't stopped there. He hadn't stopped following Lloyd and the others. He had kept track of them, and a few weeks later he followed to them Meltokio, running into them briefly outside the lab, and he was still there when they returned from the Temple of Darkness several hours later, exhausted but elated. He had watched them rent rooms for the night, amazed at their audacity to hang around the capital city in which they were wanted so desperately by the Pope.

He had been outside the city walls, taking the rare chance to talk to Noishe, when Lloyd snuck out through the sewers and spotted him almost immediately.

Surprisingly enough, the boy hadn't shouted or gotten angry. Lloyd had merely stood there looking at him and Noishe, arms crossed over his chest. "What are you doing?" he asked.

"You aren't going to be suspicious or distrusting of me? No angry accusations or threats?"

Lloyd shrugged and dropped his arms. "Noishe trusts you," he said, as if that settled everything. Perhaps, in a way, it did. He stepped closer, his gaze steady on Kratos. "I trust you too," he said. "I don't know why. I shouldn't. You work for Cruxis. You lied to us, and betrayed us. But at the same time... you helped us. You were nice to us. You traveled with us. You were one of us. You held back, and you didn't kill us when you could have.

"I thought about what you said last time, about black and white, and about sides. I still don't know what it all means, but something inside of me is telling me that you are really a good person, and that I can trust you. So I've decided that I'm going to trust you. I trust you, Kratos. I--"

And Lloyd stepped closer, and he knew what his son was going to do a moment before he actually did it. He knew he should have moved away, done something to stop Lloyd, because it wasn't right no matter what he felt, and he knew that if Anna were alive she would kill him, and it wasn't on fair on Lloyd who didn't know the truth, but it had been fourteen years, and he just wanted something–-

So he merely closed his eyes and allowed himself to be kissed.

It was a clumsy kiss, hesitant and unsure and quick, just barely a brush of lips against lips, over before it really began. Lloyd stepped back from it quickly, blushing and stammering out attempts at apologies.

He had only meant to quiet the boy, had only wanted Lloyd to stop looking so embarrassed and ashamed. He had only wanted some way to reassure Lloyd that it was okay, that he wasn't upset. Why he had chosen to kiss Lloyd back to achieve this, he still did not quite know.

But he had, and after a tentative moment Lloyd tried to kiss him back, but it was painfully clear he knew nothing of what he was doing. That was the point at which Kratos should have stepped back and apologized and left, but all he had ever meant was to help Lloyd, and he knew that no matter what he could not stay away. And so he did not step back, and he did not leave; instead, he gave a Lloyd a hands-on lesson in kissing.

He did not think either of them really knew what they were doing, or wanted to spend much time thinking about it. It was crazy and it was wrong and in Lloyd's mind they were supposed to be enemies, but nothing was ever so simple--and somehow, it felt right, and when it came down to it, that was really all that mattered.

When at last they stepped back from each other, Lloyd's face was slightly flushed and he didn't look altogether there. He didn't speak, just stood there, grinning just the tiniest bit in that "just thoroughly kissed" way teenage boys had. Kratos wanted to say something to him, but he couldn't think of anything that would be appropriate or would explain what had just happened, so he, too, just stood there and said nothing.

"Ah..." Lloyd eventually said, sounding sheepish. "I should go..."

He nodded, accepting that Lloyd was apparently going to pretend nothing had happened. "Yes. It's late. You shouldn't be out here alone."

Lloyd frowned. "I'm okay."

Then Lloyd turned to go, and he knew that he could not leave it alone. He opened to say something, anything, but the only thing that managed to make it out was, "Be careful."

Lloyd nodded once, and then he was gone.

Kratos stared after him and knew that he was a fool. If he had any common sense left, he would stop following Lloyd around and leave the group be. But no matter how good his original intentions had been, he had started something tonight, and he knew that something was far from over.

xxx

He ran into the group a couple of times after that, always in random spots around Tethe'alla. Lloyd somehow seemed to sense that he was following them, and he wasn't able to keep as close an eye on them as he would have liked. Then came the time that he feared--they were planning to make the pact with Luna and Aska, and sever the last mana link.

He had not kept track of them the past day or so, having other business he needed to take care of. It had only been by pure chance that he'd learned of their sudden plans, and he rushed over to the Tower of Mana, completely determined to stop them. He managed to get there in time, but he hadn't counted on Yuan showing up, and so in the end the pact was still made.

Things happened so fast after that--he hardly had a moment to talk to Lloyd. The Great Kharlan tree going out of control, the rush to Iselia Human Ranch to shut down the mana reactors, Colette's collapse... They didn't really stop until they went into Iselia and talked with Phaidra.

He had thought maybe he would have a chance to talk to Lloyd then, but there had been a commotion and the boy had wanted to go outside and see what was wrong. So he had sent Lloyd on, and had stayed behind, and it was then that he made the decision to return to Cruxis, knowing he was not yet ready to ask to rejoin Lloyd's group. There was still too much to do.

But when it came down to it, when he'd said his goodbyes to Lloyd, he once more found that he wasn't willing to go very far. He had things to do, but they could wait. It wouldn't hurt to stick around for just a bit longer.

xxx

"...I knew you'd be here."

"Hmm," he said, not wanting to acknowledge what Lloyd was implying, that he couldn't stay away for long. He stared down at Anna's grave instead, doing his best to ignore Lloyd. But Lloyd had different ideas, it seemed. He stiffened as he felt arms encircle his waist, and then Lloyd's head was resting against his back.

He wanted to tell Lloyd to stop, to let go of him, but the words wouldn't come. They stood that way in silence for sometime, until eventually Lloyd muttered into his back, "Thanks. For helping us today."

"It was nothing," he said, but they both knew it was more than that. He felt uncomfortable being in Lloyd's arms for such a period of time, but somehow still didn't have the heart to tell Lloyd to step back.

More silence, and then, "So you're really going back to Cruxis?" Lloyd asked. He shifted, at last letting go of Kratos, deciding to stand beside him instead.

"I must," he replied, knowing how pointless it would be to elaborate. Lloyd would not understand him, or he would not believe him, but either way the end result was the same. He was not ready to reveal his plans just yet.

"I wish you wouldn't," Lloyd whispered, turning to him. "I... I miss you, a lot."

Kratos could not imagine what it must have cost Lloyd to admit that to him. But he figured it must have cost almost as much as what Lloyd did next, which was to once again kiss him.

He had spent a lot of time since their previous encounter carefully thinking it over, and had decided that should Lloyd try it again, he would stop him and then remove himself from the situation, to prevent any temptation on either of their part. Yet, just as before, Kratos found himself allowing it, resolution flying firmly out the window. He sensed that it was what Lloyd wanted, and he could not bring himself to deny Lloyd this simple pleasure, no matter how wrong in nature it was, or how guilty he felt over it later.

He felt Lloyd's tongue gently pressing against his lips, experience taking a backseat to instinct, and he parted them slightly to allow the boy access. He had thought he was doing this for Lloyd, but he was surprised by how much he himself wanted it, as well. Lloyd reached out for Kratos, pulling him closer, and they spent a few intense minutes exploring, learning, feeling. He could feel Lloyd growing hard, pressing up against him.

Lloyd moaned softly then, and the sound jerked Kratos back into reality. They were right near Dirk's house, and should one of the men in there wake up and come out on Lloyd's terrace, they would be right in plain view.

"Lloyd," he said softly, pulling away from the teen. Lloyd at him, both curious and slightly disappointed. He nodded his head in the direction of the house. "We can't. Not here."

Half of him hoped that would be the end of it, that Lloyd would say okay and go inside, leaving him alone. The other half of him desperately wanted Lloyd to drag him off to somewhere secluded so they could continue on with each other. A tiny part of each half insisted that it didn't matter what either of them wanted, he should do what was right and just leave, but he was becoming more and more reluctant to listen to that part of him. What does it matter if we both want it? his mind yelled at him.

"Okay," Lloyd said. "Let's go." He started heading around the side of the house and a bit deeper into the forest. After a hesitant moment, Kratos followed him, surprised when Lloyd led him to what was clearly a human-made clearing.

He looked at Lloyd questioningly, and the boy blushed slightly. "I usually come here so Dad can't make me do homework," he said sheepishly.

"I see," he said.

There was a few moments of awkward silence then, as neither of them were quite willing to make the first move. But, as he had more experience than Lloyd, he decided to take pity on the boy. He stepped closer to Lloyd, taking Lloyd's chin in his hand, running a thumb gently over his lips. He felt Lloyd shiver ever so slightly, and then he leaned down to kiss him.

Lloyd met his gesture with enthusiasm, lips parting willingly to let Kratos' tongue in, and he decided to take it further, no longer confining his kisses to Lloyd's mouth. He trailed a row of soft kisses down the side of Lloyd's neck, amused to find himself slightly irritated when confronted with the barrier of Lloyd's shirt.

He paused, unsure of how far Lloyd wanted to go, but that question was answered when Lloyd shrugged down his suspender straps and removed the shirt himself. He swallowed and looked at Lloyd, wanting to make sure it was really okay. "Are you sure?"

But even as Lloyd answered yes, he knew that it wasn't really fair, because Lloyd didn't know the whole truth, and he would never be able to answer the question honestly unless he did. Still, there was no point in dwelling on it, because if he had his way, Lloyd would never know. So he resolved right then to ignore what common sense was telling him, and to just take things as they came. No matter what the end of the night brought, no matter what the future held.

He bent to claim Lloyd's mouth once more.

xxx

When he looked back on that night, as he was doing now, the whole thing seemed somewhat surreal, like something out of a dream. It had not been their only encounter, of course, there had been others following it. But each of them had treated it as if it was, as if after that Kratos would disappear forever and they would never see each other again, and consequently it was the encounter that stood out most in his mind.

Once he understood that Lloyd had meant to go the whole way, there had been no more pretense of being careful. He had shoved aside his worries and his fears, and for the first time since Anna, he had let himself go. He had no longer thought, he had just felt.

It had become frantic kisses and feverish touches, flushed hot skin pressing desperately against one another, eager hands roaming and caressing, exploring places neither had ever been before. He had not been cautious, but he had been gentle, because Lloyd had been nervous, and he knew that the first time could be scary, particularly if one did not really know anything of sex.

And afterwards they had lay there exhausted and satiated in the dirt, and Lloyd had curled up next to him, and murmured words of pleasure and contentment, and it had nearly killed Kratos to know that he could not stay.

And then had become now, and Kratos lay next to a sleeping Lloyd, a Lloyd who had at last learned the truth and had not cared in the least, a Lloyd who only wanted to be with him, and it once again pained Kratos to know that even now he still could not stay.

His only comfort was in knowing that he would be back, for Lloyd had become his obsession, his Martel. It no longer mattered what was right and what was wrong, and he knew it was wrong, knew it, but he did not care, because it was also right, and that was why it did not matter.

Someday soon he would end it, but that time was not now, and so he continued to ignore the voice of reason. Beside him, Lloyd shifted once more, unconsciously snuggling up next to him. His face was buried in Kratos' chest, and one arm was flung over his side, curling protectively around him. He muttered something in his sleep, something that sounded suspiciously like don't go.

Kratos looked down at his son sleeping with him, and was surprised to find himself smiling softly. For the first time, he began to think that maybe the someday soon was further away than he thought. That perhaps after all, just this once, he could stay just a bit longer.

finis

2006 butterflie September 24, 2006 Sunday 12:41PM

Author's Notes: Somehow, this wound up taking a completely different direction than I wanted it to. And yet, I still struggled a lot over this. -sigh- Oh well. Also, thank you Aero-Grrl for looking over the first half of this and telling me it didn't completely suck xD