I've been wanting to do this for a long time, so I finally did it. A one-shot about Kratos and Lloyd. It seems kinda mushy, but in a cute father/son way. Come on, Kratos hugging his son... you know that's just too adorable. Mainly Kratos and Lloyd talking about their memories of the woman who brought them together.
Of course, this is a MAJOR spoiler if you have not completed the game. Seriously, the final boss isn't that hard... just when that brat cast Retribution. Ugh. Then I have to waste bottles so Raine can use her techs... Anyway, read and rate. Italics are either for emphasis or a memory. But it shouldn't be that hard to realize, right? Enjoy, my Lovelies.
I do not own Tales of Symphonia. If I did, Kratos wouldn't be on Derris Kharlan right now! -cries-
Fixed minor typos. Only two. Yay, go me.
(Edit: 8/16/2011 Fixed formatting and some grammatical errors.)
He was a friend; is that not enough?
Excuses. No, it was not enough. It was merely a motive.
The words burned like fire – fire from an unceasing furnace. Yet it could not be doused no matter how hard he tried, and he spent his entire life trying. Everlasting life meant every lasting memories that would never go away. No. He would never forget.
While immune to fatigue, he was tired of the pain.
While immune to sleep, he wished to die.
While immune to hunger, he was empty.
So empty. It was like a black hole sucking away every last bit of sympathy he had ever received, though he tended to reject it. It was his heart. At one point someone healed the bruises with a tender and gentle hand, ignoring her own scars. But he couldn't protect her... so he lost her. But he lost so much more. It could never be regained. Like the past, it was over, never to come again, never to invade his persona.
Everything was clear now. There was nothing left to do. But there was. He needed redemption, like an eternal sinner. He wished for forgiveness. His heart still pained like it did all those years ago, and it would not cease. It refused to go away. No one's death, not even Kvar or Mithos, could help it subside. He was out of answers, out of ways to turn. He could no longer run away from the past he helped create, the present he ruined for the lives of so many, and the future his son was forced to fix. Except for one. Would she forgive him if he left?
Soft white moonlight illuminated the area as darkness took over the land, the beautiful dance of nature. All was quiet; it felt like a funeral, as if the world knew what he was going to do and prepared to mourn with him. The air felt heavy, like a lead blanket over his shoulders. He knelt down at that familiar spot, bowing before the remnants of what could have been eternal happiness. Illusions of yesterday filled his mind. He bit his bottom lip, suppressing them as best he could. Four thousand years and he still could not deal with pain.
"Forgive me." Head bowed, he kept his neck tilted in that uncomfortable position, as if waiting for a reply he knew would never come. Still, he had to ask. Maybe she would reply. Maybe she'd touch his heart again like all those years ago.
The last time he saw her face, she was screaming in pain, tearing at his heart emotionally with her agony. The mana in her body drove her insane, causing her to attack the innocent and dine on the flesh of their predators. Then she made a rather unusual request to her husband, the only one who could end it, a heartbreaking one. Kill me. The words still rang in his ears, those soft angelic ears. The ears where the words of her sounds of her soft slumber and laughs forced a smile on his usually solemn face. Like salt on a fresh wound, they pained him instead of healed him. Please, Kratos, please! Do it! He could never, not her, oh please, Martel, not her. Not the only thing he had to live for. Not the flame that sparked the fire of hope in his overextended life. Anyone. Anyone but her. Please! Before I hurt Lloyd! Hand on his hilt, he clutched the handle of his sword. The same sword used to protect her, the one used in their escape. Back then, the slashes he made were easy. Those who stood in his way had to be taken out. He was determined to make a better future, as bright as the morning sun. But now the future was cold and bleak, unfair and unforgiving, unchanging and mischievous, tainted and impure, melancholy and ruthless. Then she screamed as his Flamberge sliced through her abdomen like a hot knife through butter though it felt like stick to stone for him. He watched her fall down, fatally wounded. And she tumbled, along with her son. Their son. His seed. His love. His heart. His family. The culprit laughed in his face, spitting out derogatory comments and insulting her. No one could insult her, no one could take her away and then insult her. He made them feel the pain she did, he made them join her in Purgatory. Maybe down there they'd apologize and with her kind and gentle heart she'd forgive them because he wasn't ready to forgive. They had no right for redemption. Not yet. Right now, all they had a right to was pain.
Soft footsteps approached his sacred area and he turned to see a familiar sight. At first, he could not face him and avoided eye contact. He was still too bent on the past, too content on things he could not change.
"..." The visitor said nothing, though the silence was more than enough. His face was distraught and troubled. He merely stood in the darkness on the side of the house, waiting to be acknowledged. Waiting to be accepted. Waiting to be loved by him. Waiting for his father.
"Lloyd..." he whispered, more to himself as if he were speaking to the wind.
"Kr-Kratos." The boy swallowed and found the power to step forward, approaching the holy shrine of her final resting place. He carefully picked a spot before next to his father, viewing the unchanged setting of his mother's grave. He'd seen it so many times before, but the pain only seemed to grow with each visit. "Were you talking to Mom?"
"Yes..." Kratos cleared his throat and closed his eyes for a moment in deep meditation. Her spirit was there, in the air and gentle breezes that surrounded the two. Now, once again, they were a family. A father and son brought blessings to their mother, the love of both their lives. Even lacking the memories, Lloyd's heart bled just like his father's. It also bled for his father, for he understood his father's memories of her were much more vivid and alive. He remembered striking her down. Lloyd didn't. And after a while of thinking, Lloyd thought that was best. It was one less nightmare for him to deal with at night. He had enough of them to last a lifetime.
"Mom's in peace now, right? She's not in any pain anymore, right?" Lloyd asked in a soft voice, seeking solace. Maybe if Kratos said so, it would put his mind at ease. She deserved her sleep, she sacrificed enough.
"Yes. Anna is sleeping peacefully. She has been avenged." He felt in his spirit she was sleeping peacefully. So many nights she was abruptly awoken and forced to flee in the night. She was lucky if she got eight hours of sleep sometimes. Still, she ran away with him. She ran because of him. She refused to run without him.
Lloyd turned to face his father. "Kratos?"
"Yes?" he replied, fixing his gaze upon the headstone.
"Hmm. Tell you what?" He now looked at his son in slight confusion, but something in Lloyd's voice hinted towards her.
"Tell me... everything you know. Everything you remember."
"Yes. What do you remember?"
Kratos breathed heavily and straightened his back.
What did he remember?
"Filthy female host body!" The cause of her destruction.
What did he remember?
"Mommy! Daddy!" The voice of his son.
What did he remember?
"Thank you, Kratos... you've given me the best years of my life. I...still love you." Anna's last words before she tumbled to her death.
He remembered everything.
Somewhere between the time of Kratos' melancholy memories, Lloyd stood to his feet and gazed upon his father, waiting anxiously for a reply.
"Is it alright if I tell him, Anna?" The mercenary turned to his wife, asking for permission. He stood there, one arm hanging lifelessly, dangling under the gravity, the other on his hilt. It felt so cold.
The wind whistled gently, blowing his auburn hair to the side. Yes.
"I remember Mom lifting me up and holding me." Lloyd wrapped his arms around himself, attempting to recreate the warmth of his mother. "You held me too, right?"
Kratos nodded, remembering the weight of his son's small body. The way Lloyd would tug on his hair with his minute fingers. He remembered how small the boy's hand was compared to his. The boy could barely wrap his fingers around his father's once, yet Lloyd never let go.
"We looked at the stars too." Lloyd tilted his head to view the night sky. That night, it was filled with an infinite amount of stars. Twinkling, they gave the illusion of eyes. The eyes of Heaven, watching over the reunion of a beautiful family. The stars were crying with tears of joy for this reunion had been delayed for too long."I remember sitting in the grass. You, me, and Mom. She'd laugh and point out constellations."
"You always fell asleep," Kratos replied and chuckled.
The soft sound of Lloyd's snoring gave away the boy's fatigue. That's when Anna would roll on her side, look into her husband's eyes, and kiss him just to remind him she loved him. And he'd hold her hand and embrace her during the kiss, to remind her that he loved her too. Anna, everything I'm doing, I'm doing for you.
Then the night would end as Anna felt drowsy. She'd retrieve the sleeping toddler from his spot on the grass and plant a kiss good night. She'd sleepwalk, but Kratos would lift her like a princess and carry the precious cargo back to their warm campfire and makeshift tent. He'd pluck Lloyd from her arms and wrap him in a blanket before setting up Anna's cot. He'd carefully tuck the boy in and go over to his wife, pulling her hair away from her face to see her beauty shine once more. Her slumber was so peaceful. Just looking at her made his heart relax. Yet he could not enjoy their sleep. He was a Hero. He was a Father. He was a Husband. But, he was still a Seraphim.
"Heh," Lloyd shrugged and laughed. "I remember sleeping a lot." He scratched his head nervously.
"Anna loved the stars. She told me she'd always sneak out at night in the ranch just to look at them." Kratos turned his gaze northward and scanned the heavens above. Truly, the sky was magnificent.
The seraph nodded, tightening the grip on his hilt.
"Did she tell you about life in the ranch?" Curiosity overtook Lloyd. Wishing to know the hardships his mother went through during her time in that prison.
Kratos shook his head. "No. I never asked, even though she probably wouldn't tell me anyway. I've seen what they do to people in the ranches," he replied with his head lowered, reminiscing about his journeys to the ranch and the horror he witnessed with his own eyes. To put his own spouse in that position was indecent.
"Oh, well, they're all gone now. Iselia was the last ranch we shut down. Never again." The door to the ranch was still open, though none entered. It was an eyesore in the Iselia forest, like a dead leaf on a plant. The aura was dense; it emitted the scent of death. Some even said they could still hear the sounds of the whip cracking, the screams of pain, and the shrieks of the Exbulas.
Silence overtook the area. What words could not say, the quiet sang like a dream. Redemption was reached. The goal for both of them had finally been achieved.
Lloyd yawned trying to keep it as silent as possible, failing miserably.
"You should sleep, Lloyd." His fatherly instincts kicked in after being dormant for so long.
"But, I want to hear more about Mom."
At that moment, Kratos stepped forward until he stood before his son. "Lloyd...," he whispered. He reached out his arms and grabbed the swordsman's shoulders, setting in eye contact. His gaze was different than usual. The angel's eyes were soft; their chestnut tint glowing in the moonlight. Those eyes were familiar... they weren't the eyes that scolded him on his sword techniques or defense abilities... these were the eyes that put Lloyd to sleep at night when he had nightmares all those years ago. These were the eyes he longed for in his memories. The person who always existed in the back of his mind, though nameless. His name was found: Father.
"Dad.." Tears flooded the boy's eyes.
Then the angel did something he hadn't done in ages. He hugged his son.
Lloyd gasped and closed his eyes, breaking the seal. Tears flooded down his face as he returned the embrace. He hadn't hugged his father in over fourteen years.
Father and son; even missing a member, they felt whole again. The empty slot in Kratos' heart was now filled. Now he could follow the path he had chosen. Forgive me, Anna. This is what I must do. I...have to leave. Rest in peace, my Love. Our journey is now over.
Kratos summoned his transparent blue wings and flapped them to inform Lloyd of his wish to depart.
The boy wouldn't take it lightly. "You can't go!" Why did Kratos want to leave him again?
Kratos sighed and closed his eyes, hiding the shot of regret passing across his face. "I'll see you in the morning, Lloyd. Sleep well, my son." With that, he planted a fatherly kiss on the boy's forehead and flew away.
Lloyd looked to the sky as Kratos made a swift escape. It took all his courage to remain grounded. The urge to follow and catch up was growing greater by the moment. "Dad, why?" the boy cried. "Why must you leave me again?"
x x x x x x x
Lloyd stood near his mother's grave the next morning, after doing what his father requested of him. He wished Kratos was there, but he had his own path to follow and no amount of reasoning would change his mind. All he could do was leave the Swords of A Thousand Deaths, the Sword of Tainted Blood as an offering.
"Mom... Dad left. It was okay, wasn't it? For me to let him go... it was okay, right?"
If only he could hear the tall tale signs: the weeds growing, the flowers dying near her grave, the way the wind blew violently past the headstone. Anna was screaming, yelling, crying, pleading. She was screaming. No, it wasn't okay! I didn't die so you could leave him again! Anna was screaming.
It was not okay.
Hmm, wasn't expecting that type of ending, huh? The first time I played through Symphonia and found out that Kratos was leaving on Derris-Kharlan, I almost cried. I know I'm not the only one! Don't look at me like that! You know you wanted to cry too! I think Anna would be a little upset that her husband still couldn't spend quality time with his son, which is why I put that ending in. Anna died to protect her son and Kratos. Now they're floating farther and farther apart with every moment. Oh well. Feel free to disagree, but leave a sensible argument.