/I'll still be here, a little farther away
Disclaimer: Nope. Not Kanthia's.
Pairing: Squiggly-squee Fatherson.
Kanthia notes: I picked this relationship out way before we were supposed to know, so it was a little scary when it was dark at Altessa's and it was the worst party ever...them Z-Skits reveal more than they're supposed to, I guess.
x x x
"Hold me," Lloyd had said.
Kratos blanched. He had spent a week with the other eight in Altamira after Lord Yggdrasill had been defeated, but it was his time to go. He couldn't survive another four thousand years of loneliness without the ageless horrors he once considered friends. Not aging, watching his own- his own son age and die without him would be true hell, and so he had picked a lesser of two evils.
He was leaving with Derris-Kharlan, to roam the vast emptiness contained inside him. Goodbyes had been given that morning but Lloyd had stubbornly followed him to where the Tower of Salvation had once been.
"…'s symbolic," the teenager said. "You came to Sylvarant's Tower of Salvation and not Tethe'alla's because of all the stuff that happened here, right? It's kind of…where the lie was revealed."
"You must hate me," Kratos said with a smile.
"Not anymore." Lloyd looked up. "If anything, the person I hate most is Remiel. I'll never forgive him for what he put Colette through. Frank raised her like a real father, and Remiel pretended to be her fa-"
"So you think that the father that raises you is infinitely more important than the father that sires you?" Kratos raised an eyebrow, inviting a conflict.
"…No." Lloyd sighed. "Remiel lied to us. The goddamn conceited bastard told us a story to make us come and let Colette be killed. He could have done anything but say he was her father, and it would have been better. You don't…pretend about those sorts of things."
"I see." For the first time in too long, Kratos was at a loss for words. Lloyd had that effect on him.
"Hold me," Lloyd repeated. "Dad- ah, Dirk never did much when I got older, and I outgrew him."
"Lloyd," Kratos said in the voice he used only for his son, "If I do this now, you'll only regret it after you leave." It was a horrible way of covering up the same feelings he would experience.
If anything, the Seraph didn't remember how to love someone.
There was something about his son that made him realize there was more to an Angelus Exsphere than just power. Or perhaps it was something that occurred between every woman and her child; he wouldn't know. With gentleness that he was unaware he possessed, he took his son into his arms.
Lloyd was a perfect height, his head just reaching Kratos' chin. Something forgotten stirred in the pit of his four thousand year old stomach. Anna told him it was called fatherhood, and he had scoffed back then. Lloyd had just happened to be an unusually beautiful child.
"Gonna miss you," Lloyd mumbled. "You know, Genis once told me, back when we were heading back to have Sheena make the pact with Undine, that you sure talked to me like you were my father. I socked him good for it. Didn't believe that my Dad could still be alive."
"Hmm." Kratos pulled Lloyd closer into his chest.
"…I'm sorry for always asking you about Mom. I was so dense- it must have caused you so much pain whenever I asked you about her."
"She was a strong woman, Lloyd. She gave me hope after terrifying years under the boy I had once called my apprentice- I don't think she wanted for me to cause myself all of the suffering in the thirteen years between losing her and finding you."
"…So it changed, I mean, when you saw me."
"When I saw Anna's grave outside your home, I felt my heart stop beating out of surprise. I had barely recognized you when I first saw you, and figured that Noishe had run off when Anna was killed and was adopted by Dirk. But once I realized that you had her grave outside your home, I felt- some sort of strange feeling. After four thousand years of working for Lord Yggdrasill I thought I had lost my ability to feel. After thirteen years without Anna, I was almost ready to lose my ability to survive."
"I'm so sorry, Dad." Reluctantly, Lloyd let go. "You don't have to go. Stay here. You can build a home in Iselia, and maybe Dirk will figure out a way to contain your Cruxis Crystal so you can age again, and-"
"I'll miss you too, Lloyd." Kratos gently kissed the boy's forehead. "But if Derris-Kharlan does not leave, I fear for the well-being of the Great Tree. I am not long for this world, but-" for the first time since Martel's death, he felt his words catch in his throat- "-for the sake of all who have sacrificed themselves for you and your ideals, do not die, Lloyd. My son."
"I'm gonna die eventually, stupid," Lloyd said while wiping his eyes, and it was obvious that he understood.
Derris-Kharlan left that day with a quiet and beautiful light. Lloyd watched it grow smaller and smaller until it was just another star in the deep and speckled sky, trying to remember how it had felt to finally be held in his father's arms.