Hi! I wanted to make oneshots about Kratos and Lloyd and their feelings during the journey. As I said in the summary: there's nothing in these stories but father and son fluff.
Disclaimer: I do not own Tales of Symphonia, the characters or anything else that has to do with the game... sadly.
The moon was already high in the night sky, but none of them were asleep yet. While the others stood in the house, talking about Colette's departure on the morrow, Lloyd, deep in thoughts, was leaned on a tree, a curious frown appearing on his face as he stared at the man standing near his mother's grave.
-That mercenary, he muttered to himself.
As they had almost all day, Lloyd's thoughts brought him back to the time of his first meeting with that man, near the Temple of Martel...
-He's too strong! Lloyd shouted, as they battled the huge man.
The battle hadn't begun long ago, but Lloyd and his companions were already losing. The man was just too strong and too big for them to be able to defeat him.
-There's no way we'll beat him! Genis shouted, scared, as his fire spell was, once again, not very effective.
Lloyd jumped aside and raised his swords to parry a blow from the warrior... but the man's strenght was too great, and Lloyd's jump too short. The force shattered his guard, and a second blow was enough for the man to throw him on the ground. Luckily, Lloyd's ribs miraculously remained in one piece... but the pain immobilised him for a few seconds. He could hear Genis cast a spell that shot past him; surely to protect him from the approaching Vidarr... however, the little half-elf had no time to avoid a blow sent in his direction this time. As he got up, Lloyd turned around to watch Genis fall, and Vidarr turn to him. Lloyd, standing the pain, rushed at the approaching enemy, certain that Vidarr's massive body would not allow him to turn around quickly enough. Mistake. The giant hammer was over his head in a flash. Surprised at this unexpected turn of events, Lloyd tried to step back, but the speed he had reached so far turned into a burden. The shock of his sudden pause to change direction three him out of balance; it wasn't long before he was on the ground again, the hammer threatening to crush him like a gigantic boulder.
-It's the end... Lloyd grumbled, gritting his teeth.
He knew there was no way he'd get up and guard himself quickly enough to stand this blow... His eyes were closed when a metallic noise rang in his ears, seemingly coming from above his head. His heart seemed to skip a beat when, for the longest second of his life, Lloyd believed the hammer hd hit him. His stomac seemed to turn into a discomfortable stream of knots when his heart strated his constant drumming withing his chest once again. Opening his eyes, Lloyd blinked at the strong sunlight before being able to gaze at the events going on above him. A purple-clad man with untidy auburn hair stood in front him, his sword raised to parry the blow. Lloyd blinked again, his heart drumming so fiercely it felt as if it would jump right out of his chest within seconds. He almost couldn't believe he had been so lucky. In front of him, the man sent Vidarr away with a quick blow.
-Who... who are you?! Lloyd asked, baffled, getting to his feet.
-... He's coming. Get ready.
The man didn't event looked at Lloyd, and readied himself for battle as Vidarr was approaching again, though seeming slightly unsure of himself this time. The man's voice made Lloyd jolt slightly, ringing a ball far away in the boy's memory... even that man's silhouette felt familiar somehow, and yet he couldn't place them. In front of him, the man rushed forward. Lloyd, brought back to reality, dashed after his savior and the battle began again. Blows and spells fused from every side... but Lloyd had a hard time concentrating. There was just something too familiar about the man and his eyes kept on turning back to him. The way he moved, his hair, his clothes...
-Keep your guard up!
For once, the man turned his head to him. A flicker of uncertainety seemed to appear in the brown-red eyes... but desapeared so quickly that Lloyd was not sure wether he had imagined it or not.
Taking his thoughts off the mercenary, Lloyd focused himself of the battle... or, at least, tried to. Doing his best not to think, and with his new ally's help, he was finally able to finish his enemy off.
-That... was... hard... Lloyd panted, trying to catch his breath.
Beside him, Genis and Colette didn't seem in a better shape than he was. The man, however, had not shed even a single drop of sweat, and didn't seem to be in need of rest. Lloyd remained still, silently watching his new partner in battle. His head filled with thoughts again, and a frown appeared on his face. His constant stare finally caught the man's attention. Lloyd felt himself stiffen as the calm and piercing gaze of the elder man fell on him. He knew that stare... The man's mouth opened, as if to mutter something incredible to him. Lloyd's eyes grew slightly bigger as he eagerly waited for the man to speak.
-... Who are you?
Lloyd blinked, disappointed. For some reason, he had expected that man to say something entirely different; what exactly? even he couldn't tell... but being asked his identity by this particular man seemed completely wrong. His heart seemed to compress itself to at least half its usual size.
-Give... give me your name and I'll give you mine.
He immediately felt angry at himself for letting this quote out of is mouth, but the sourness left in his heart by his disappointement prevented him from thinking anything else up . A ridiculous and astonishing feeling, of course, as well particularily infuriating, given he could not get why he felt that way. Not moving from his place, the man slightly raised an eyebrow.
-Humpf..., was all he said.
-That guy's really strong, isn't he, Lloyd? Genis said in a low voice, walking to his friend's side.
In front of them, the man turned his head to look at Lloyd again... Only, this time, there was something more in his eyes. Something particular... a glitter of astonishement and... joy? maybe? Lloyd had a hard time telling his own feelings apart righ now, so deciper someone else's was near impossible.
-Your name... is Lloyd?
-Thank you, Genis! Lloyd said, glaring at his young friend, before turning to look at the man again. Why do you ask?
The man seemed to hesitate slightly.
-... No particular reason, was his only answer, before turning to look away.
Lloyd opened his mouth to speak, but a new voice prevented him from doing so.
-Oh, my! Colette! you are safe!
-Grandmother! yup, I'm okay!
Phaidra sighed with relief, before turning to the man.
-I am Phaidra. Was you who protected my grandchild?
Lloyd felt his cheeks burn him. Phaidra didn't seem to have even considered the fact that HE, and not that man, had protected Colette! though... she wasn't so wrong ether. If it hadn't been for that man, neither of them would have survived.
-Dang it! Lloyd grumbled to himself.
-Yes. My name is Kratos Aurion.
Lloyd slightly jolted, hearing that name. Kratos Aurion... here was that feeling again...
-Then I must thank you, Phaidra answered, with gratitude.
Then, after staring at Kratos for a few seconds, she spoke again:
-Are you perhaps a mercenary?
-Indeed, Kratos answered calmly.
-In that case, could I hire you to protect the Chosen while she takes on the trial? the priests that were to accompany her have all fallen to the hands of the Desians.
-... Very well.
-I'm coming too! Lloyd said determinedly, taking a few steps forward.
The mercenary's tone struck him like lightning, and he soon froze where he stood.
-You'll only get in the way.
-What did you say?! Lloyd shouted, this time.
To hell the familiar feelings! how could that man say something like that?!true he hadn't seemed at his best while fighting Vidarr, but still, he was certain he was strong enough to help them in the temple. Kratos did not seemed to be affected, and simply stared back at Lloyd. Both of them engaged in a silent contest of will, interrupted only when Colette's stepped in between them.
-Hum... Mister Kratos, could... hum... could Lloyd come with us? I get nervous when he's not around.
Kratos remained silent, his gaze moving from Lloyd to Colette a few times, before finally locking itself with Lloyd's own stare. The boy seemed determined... Before he even knew it, Kratos drew a deep breath and turned to enter the temple.
-This isn't a field trip, you know...
Of course, they had managed to make their way through the temple, and Colette had taken on the trial. She had offered her prayers to the godess and the Tower of Salvation had appeared in Sylvarant. As a result of their great sucess, Kratos had been hired by Phaidra to escort Colette over to the Tower of Salvation as soon as they returned to Iselia, and Lloyd's offer of helping had "kindly" been rejected by the mercenary.
Angry, Lloyd had accompanied Genis to the Desian ranch near the village. Nearly discovered, they had managed to flee on time, and they both had returned home. Both he and Dirk had fought over Lloyd's decision of helping Marble. After being badly hit by Dirk, something which had already happened quite often in his life, Lloyd had gone outside and found his friends waiting. Kratos was with them, and Lloyd ha thought of taking this opportunity to speak with him, while the others remained inside.
That's how he had ended up leaning on a tree,watching Kratos from behind, wondering about everything that had happened during the day.
-Why is it, he looks so familiar? he thought. And why... why does things seem somehow different now?...
Unable to think of any valid answer for these questions, and deciding there was no point in staying here wondering about how to start up a conversation with the mercenary, Lloyd finally decided to just go ahead and talk with him. If that had already met, the man would surely remember it... Walking a bit clumsily, and looking rather unsure of himself, Lloyd approached Kratos.
Kratos remained silent, looking at the grave. Lloyd raised an eyebrow, and called again, rising his voice. This time, his words seemed to reach the mercenary, however, he did not turn to look at Lloyd when he answered.
-What is it?
Lloyd hesitated for a while, wondering how to speak his mind.
-Um... it's just that... well... I've had this strange feeling, and I was wondering if we... Have we met before? he finally let out.
-... Why do you ask? Kratos answered, slightly turning his head to look at Lloyd with the corner of his eyes.
-No... No reason. I just...
-Shouldn't you be with the Chosen?
-Well... maybe, but... don't you wanna come inside? it's... getting kinda cold.
-No, thank you, was all Kratos answered before turning his attention back to the grave.
Lloyd stared at him for a while, baffled by the man's attitude. He had been standing near that grave for nearly half an hour now...
-It's my mother's, Lloyd said after a while.
-That... that grave. It's my mother's. She died when I was a little kid.
-... I see...
Kratos used his strenght to keep his calm demeanor on the outside, however on the inside his emotions were raging. It was really true... it was her grave... and that Lloyd was his Lloyd... Not that he had ever really doubted it... but there was just no mistaking about it now. Slowly, he knelt and stared once again at the engraving in the stone.
"To a beloved mother"
That was all. Four of the simplest words that existed in this world... for a woman whom, in reality, deserved so much more... Then again, what else could they have chosen to say? he was the only one who knew her enough to know what she would truly have deserved. Felling angry with himself, Kratos clenched his fists so hard his nails hurt him even through his gloves.
-Kratos? are you okay? Lloyd asked, suddenly noticing how still the mercenary had turned.
-Do you... know what happened to her?
Lloyd looked at the grave, sadly.
-She was killed by Desians... and then Dirk found me. That's all I know...
Kratos closed his eyes for a while, doing his best to tame his raging feelings.
-Don't try to follow us tomorrow.
Lloyd was once again taken aback. That was certainely not what he had expected Kratos to say, given his attitude.
Kratos got to his feet, but did not turn around.
-It will be dangerous, and you are not suited for the kind of battles we'll have to go through.
-What do you mean, "I'm not suited"?!
-You are not trained for these hardships, Kratos answered calmly.
-I'm as strong as possible!
Kratos sighed. The boy was truly his son. Even at three, the brunet had already been as stubborn as it is possible to be. Luckily for Kratos, Lloyd could not see his face... otherwise his proud smile would have been a dead giveaway. Yet... Kratos knew he simply couldn't speak about all that had happened now.
-I'll be leaving now, he said after a while of silence.
Lloyd blinked, surprised.
-Yes. Tell the Chosen that I'll be waiting for her and her companions in the forest.
-Wha... Hey, wait!
However, none of Lloyd's called managed to turn the mercenary back to him. The man resolutely walked towards the forest, silently, his pace never slowing nor fastening. His was a noble, determined pace... yet Lloyd could have almost sworn that, at some point, the mercenary had hesitated to continue his way. Once the man had desappeared behind the trees, Lloyd turn back to meet with Genis and Colette, baffled by the strange conversation he just had. Kratos, however, paused and sat on a log, his piercing gaze set upon the lights he could still see between the leaves. He could guess Lloyd was probably baffled and... even angry at him for what he had said... for refusing his help... Yet, above everything else, Kratos wanted to protect his son; even if it meant keeping him away...
-Lloyd... be safe... for your mother and I.
With a last glance at the lights, Kratos sighed and turned around, waiting for the Chosen to return.
Okay, here it is! I hope you liked it, and thanks for reading!