Meowzy-chan: Ohayo! Welcome to another collab featuring Meowzy...
Spiritua Masquerade: And Spiritua! Hehe.
Meowzy: As expected, this is the sequel to Forsaken, our previous collab!
Spiritua: -insert crowd whooping and cheering- :D Yep. Another saga of Yuan and Kratos. Isn't it great?
Meowzy: It sure is! And as such, we must warn you of the Kratos/Yuan pairing that is included in this fic.
Spiritua: So if you don't like it, promptly insert your foot in your mouth and deal with it. Also, it helps to read Forsaken first, but we'll try and make it so it's understandable even if you didn't... But some running jokes from the island will still be around, so like I said, reading Forsaken is advisable. -nodnod-
Meowzy: Also, in this fic, there will be character deaths. Alas, that is the circle of life, people.
Spiritua: Yeah. So, uh... dangit, I already used my foot in mouth one. X-x ...So, uh... Just accept the deaths or I'll poke you with a sharp pointy stick. I mean, feel free to mourn, I know me and Meowzy will, but don't flame us because we killed teh poor character.
Meowzy: Let's see... What else... Oh yes. We don't own Tales of Symphonia or the characters.
Spiritua: But we do own our own original characters, as well as the general plot. And if my reign of terror comes to pass, I may soon own Yuan's sexxi cape. Mwahahaha…
Meowzy: Pssst... It's a cloak, not a cape. There's a difference. But anywhooo... Uhm... I'll be writing as Yuan, and as such the first chapter is mine! Miiiine, I tell you! Bwahahahahah!
Spiritua: And I'll be writing as Kratos. Mostly. But, just so you aren't completely confused, a small portion of our chapter will be dedicated to a side character. Each of us has one, no we won't tell you who. I doubt you'd even recognize them if you knew who. So... That explains a little. : D So... On to Meowzy's chappata!
The New Life
Slowly, as though rising from the dead, I awoke. I did not know how long it took. Days, months, perhaps even years. All I knew was that, suddenly, I was conscious.
The seal had worn off.
My simple limbs feeling as though they were made of stone instead of flesh, I pushed myself into a sitting position. Thick, bushy hair fell over my shoulders. The lessened sight took quite a while to get used to, though at the time I was unsure why my eyes refused to focus more than they did.
My surroundings… They were all mirrors. Below me, above me, all around me… Nothing but mirrors, covered in strange symbols that were drawn onto the surface with blood. Suddenly captivated by my reflection, I got to my feet and approached one of the walls.
Staring back at me was what seemed like a cross between a human and a demon. Sharp white fangs like those of an animal protruded from my upper lip. Ruby-coloured hair was standing in all directions, falling far past my shoulders and hiding most of my face from view. Yet, as I pushed the locks aside I could see a peculiar set of eyes. The pupils were slits, though the iris was yellow. It was similar to a feline's eyes, and I briefly wondered if they still existed in whatever time I had awoken.
For only a second, I shivered. This room was cold, seeming almost frozen. I was more affected by the temperature due to the absence of clothes on my fleshy prison.
To be caged in a body like this… The one who did this to me would pay dearly.
Seeking an outlet for my anger, I let my fist come into contact with the mirror in front of me. It promptly shattered, pushing shards of glass into my fingers and drawing blood. An aggravating sensation, now amplified a few dozen times by this mortal shell, rushed through my body.
It was pain.
My injured hand gave one fervent shake to send the shards, along with crimson droplets, flying. It was time to leave this place and get my revenge on the one who had imprisoned me.
It was now two weeks, six days, seven hours and forty-two minutes since we had left the island. Almost three weeks since we had left that goddessforsaken place to return to the Renegade base in Triet.
When I thought the weeks at the island had been bad, they were nothing compared to this.
The Renegades truly were my life's work. Not until it came to this did I realize all the time I had invested into this organization. All the effort that it had taken to come this far… Not until I was ready to hand it all over did I notice that the Renegades' tasks were immense. The paperwork… Oh lords, the paperwork!
But it was because of that that I had to do this. My days of solitary confinement in my office were over. I had to give up my Renegade life to start a new one.
I groaned, rubbing my temples in hopes of relieving myself of the migraine that was forming. No such luck. All this stress was ensuring that headaches surfaced more and more often. Back in the days, when I was fighting Yggdrasill, they came only on rare occasions. Perhaps it was a side-effect from the nullification field that Muris had used to subdue my crystal's powers. It would also explain the strange cravings for food that I had since my return. I didn't have to eat to support my body, yet for some reason I had the occasional urge to head for the cafeteria and get something decent to eat.
I looked down at the paperwork again, trying to dismiss the thought that a cheese sandwich would actually taste pretty good right now. Oh, how I despised this. But it was almost over now. Just one or two more days and then I could give this all up.
Finally, I decided to just stop work for today. In fact, not just today, but four days. Four days since I had managed to sneak off to see Kratos. Sure, I had stretched my feet on occasion, but rest was something I had not gotten. Had I not had this Cruxis crystal, I would have collapsed from exhaustion a long time ago. Such long endurance was both luck and a curse.
I pushed myself to my feet, placing my hands on my hips as I wearily stretched my back. My muscles produced a faint snapping sound, protesting against the sudden lack of use over the last weeks. There were no more meetings today. No more inspections. The next few hours were mine. Mine and Kratos'.
My heart skipped a beat at the thought as a smile dawned on my face. Already, I could hear his voice in my head, calling me Pervert Boy, the nickname he'd given me when we were trying to avoid the cold back on Hellhole Island.
Still grinning mildly, I headed over to my bedroom, opening the door and stepping inside. Kratos was sitting at the table, reading a book in the glow of a desk light. At the mechanic hiss that announced my entrance, however, he turned his attention away from it. His face lit up immediately at the sight of me. Still, in his eyes I could see the strain of being left alone for so long.
Well, at least he wasn't sitting on the floor, like last time…
"Finally found time to visit, eh?" he asked, snapping the book shut.
"It's been a while since I last heard Captain Obvious in action." I replied, smiling slyly as the door slid shut behind me.
I wandered over to the bed and sat down on it, sighing deeply. I just felt like falling back, sinking into the soft mattress, preferably with Kratos in my arms, and sleeping for hours on end. But as that thought crossed my mind, a memory resurfaced.
'You have to sleep sometime… And when you do… You will be dead.'
My face contorted in anguish as Muris' words echoed through my head. It was probably nothing to worry about, but I hadn't slept in the last three weeks, so I hadn't been able to call his bluff. Damn Muris. That bastard just ticked me off beyond comprehension.
Another painful sting shot through my head, causing me to raise a hand to my forehead. I hadn't even noticed Kratos had sat down next to me until I felt an arm around my shoulder. My heart skipped another beat. Something like that had been a regular action on the island. The light physical contact that we shared whenever one of us had been injured, or fainted. I had grown to miss it.
"Do you have a headache?" he asked, sounding a bit worried.
"It's nothing." I murmured absentmindedly, still concentrated on the fact that his arm was around me.
An arm that was now moving away, as both of Kratos' hands gently grasped either side of my scalp, kneading it, his fingers stroking in circular motions. He was… giving me massage? A damned good one, at that!
"Mmm…" I leaned into his touch, my eyes slipping shut blissfully.
"Is that better?" Kratos inquired, shifting to sit behind me, continuing the procedure.
Truthfully, it wasn't. After the first couple of seconds, it was actually making things worse. Yet, I decided to ignore that, as opportunities like this only came at rare occasions. Just the thought that Kratos was touching me made it all worth while.
"Yeah…" a faint grimace appeared on my face, I was sure. Even though my head felt like it was splitting apart, I was enjoying the moment.
Before the incident at the island, I would have refused to accept a massage from Kratos, even if my life depended on it. Now, however, it felt like my life did depend on it. To be close to him, I mean. To share as much time with him as possible. To feel his hands on my body.
If things stayed the way they were now, unable to see him more than once or twice a week, I would waste away. He probably would too.
"… I'm sorry. It's just a few more days. I swear."
The massaging stopped, as Kratos' arms once again moved down, around my neck. I could feel his hot breath on my left ear.
It came to my attention that I hadn't even told him of my plans. I'd simply… forgotten. The thought that I should tell him now, however, was quickly vanquished when I felt a tentative kiss in my neck.
Hell, he'd find out when the time was right.
I turned around in his grasp to face him, staring deeply into those soulful eyes. They were one of the things I love most about him. When we were still a part of Cruxis, those eyes had looked awfully cold, as though all the years of working under Yggdrasill's thumb had caused them to freeze over. Now, however, they had regained their old shine. No, perhaps they shone even more than they did during the Kharlan war. Was that my doing?
Just as I was about to kiss him on the lips, I felt my own eyelids grow heavy, before they slipped shut completely. Then I hastily blinked, trying to snap myself out of my stupor. I must have been more exhausted than I thought.
To my dismay, Kratos noticed.
"Get some sleep." He said, reaching out to gently stroke my cheek.
"N-no!" I tried to banish the weariness I was experiencing to a faraway corner. "My next shift isn't for three more hours, so…"
I ran a hand down Kratos' waist eagerly. It was the first time in a long while that I actually got to be with him! I had to make it count! Yet Kratos took my hand in his own, pushing it away from his body. The expression on his face was gentle, but I knew that deep down he must have been feeling a bit disappointed. Still, his worry overtook his lust.
"Get some sleep." He whispered once more. "I'll wake you in time."
I reluctantly allowed myself to be pushed back onto the bed. I didn't want to sleep. I really didn't. But that pillow sure felt nice and fluffy… Breathing a sigh that seemed to change midway from irritated to content, my eyes fell shut again. Within three seconds, I sank into a deep, dreamless slumber.
"Are you sure it's alright?"
I rolled my eyes, yet couldn't help but smile at Kratos' reluctance to leave the room that had been his prison for the last few weeks. It was now two days since I'd had a few hours of sleep before returning to work.
"I told you, it's fine." I assured him, standing by the door.
Slowly, Kratos gathered his equipment and strapped his swords around his waist. After the island incident, he had taken a liking to fighting with two swords, as both Flamberge and Spatha were now weapons of his choice. Perhaps he had more in common with Lloyd than I thought. When comparing the two, you really wouldn't say that they're related. Perhaps Anna had had another lover and Lloyd wasn't Kratos' kid at all? But that would contradict my previous notion of the similarities with the sword. Now that I thought about it, where had Kratos gotten Flamberge anyway? I could distinctly remember that he gave it to Lloyd, to become a part of the Eternal Sword. Did he steal it back before coming to the island?
Kratos noticed the frown that had appeared on my face as my thoughts strayed. "What's on your mind?"
"I'm wondering if you have a permanent record." I muttered absentmindedly, crossing my arms.
Kratos stayed silent for a moment, before chuckling softly. "I can't even begin to understand how your mind works sometimes."
Yup. Yuan, Master of Manipulation, still had it! My thoughts were my own, and chaos for anyone who tried to decipher them.
"So, are you ready to go?" I asked, getting a bit impatient. There were a lot of things still on my agenda. … Our agenda.
"Sure." Kratos grabbed his cloak and moved to stand next to me. "But you still haven't told me where we're going."
"It's a surprise." I spoke, trying to sound mysterious. I probably failed miserably, though. If I was serious, I was great at acting. Whenever I was around Kratos, however, those acting skills seemed to vanish immediately.
"Is that so?" Kratos smirked. "A pleasant surprise, I hope? I don't think I can stand to see another dragon, after all…"
"Ah darn, now I'm going to have to return these tickets of the local dragon petting zoo." I said innocently.
Kratos chuckled again. "Oh, like anyone would pay to have their hand ripped off. Or their head."
"Hey, you never know. Anyway, there's someone I'd like you to meet first." I stated, before opening the door with the push of a button. It slid aside with the familiar whirring sound, leaving the way to my office open. I was going to miss that sound…
The office wasn't empty as it usually was. A tall half-elf with short green hair, wearing a neat uniform, was standing next to the desk. He saluted solemnly as we entered the room, yet I noticed the suspicious glance he'd shot Kratos. I chose to ignore it.
"No need for formality. There's nobody here you still need to impress." I said airily, giving a wave of my hand. The half-elf's arm fell back to his side. "Kratos, this is Oushen. He'll be taking over the Renegades for me."
"Taking over?" Kratos repeated, surprise spreading across his features.
"That's right. I'm taking a holiday. Say… ten, twenty years…" I smiled at the prospect.
Oushen was the same guy who had usurped leadership of the Renegades while I was stuck at the island. And, though I hated to admit it, he was actually pretty good at it. Therefore, he was the best candidate for the job.
"Perhaps you should have discussed things with me before… you know… making life-changing decisions." Kratos looked like he wasn't quite sure what to think. How cute…
"I'd planned on taking some time off after the world was reunited anyway. I just never got around to it." I gave a simple shrug, before turning back to Oushen. "Now, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me. All the paperwork is in order, but you never know..."
"Yes sir." Oushen gave another salute.
I smiled, shaking my head helplessly, before heading for the door. Kratos hastily followed. Time to leave this place behind, hopefully for a long time. It had been my home for a few thousand years, but if they couldn't accept Kratos, I couldn't stay here. Maybe, after twenty years or so, the generation who viewed Kratos as an enemy will have retired, and we could return here without those suspicious gazes following us around.
Then, another thought hit me.
"You can use my bedroom if you want. But if you do, make sure my things get stored somewhere for safekeeping." I said, turning to Oushen one last time.
A faint smile appeared on his lips as he saluted once more. "Yes sir."
"Not sir." I reminded him. "Just… Yuan."
With that, I opened the door and waited for Kratos to enter the hallway. Then I cast one last look around the office, a nostalgic feeling tugging at the very core of my being, before shutting my eyes and leaving it all behind.
That concludes the first chapter! I hope you enjoyed it. If you did… Review!
Spiritua: I enjoyed it, I can tell you that. :D Who is our secret captive doodlet? What will Kratos and Yuan do now that he forfeited his Renegades? WILL THE WORLD COME TO AN END!? Find out in Chapter 2! Mwahahaha.