Title: Tomorrow Taints Today (Sequel to Tainted Disposition)
Author: Marika (LateNiteSlacker)
Disclaimer: These are not my characters. If they were, this would have happened in the game.
Summary: The angst-ridden tale of Kratos and his journeys continues in this sequel to Tales of Symphonia and the story "Tainted Disposition."
I had made a grave mistake.
It wasn't until two weeks later that I fully realized what I had done. After my journey on Derris-Kharlan began, I had occupied my time with ridding the small planet of its exspheres. But once that was done, there was only one place I could turn to…
"Oh, back so soon? Really Kratos, you took your time." Yuan turned from where he lay in the center of Welgaia. Though his voice still carried the same arrogant sting as usual, his eyes betrayed him. All was not well with Yuan.
Even so, I responded somewhat bitterly. "Really? And just what have you been doing this whole time, may I ask?"
"I…." Yuan pointed a finger up from where he lay, as if he were about to make an important statement. "…have been drinking our stash of liquor… and sleeping. Really Kratos, what else is there to do in this place?" Ah, so that was it.
He had a point after all. Remarkable. "Nothing I suppose." Sitting beside him, I picked up the half empty bottle of wine that I could only assume he had been drinking. Helping myself before reading the label, I frowned. It was excellent, which could mean only one thing. "Yuan, this is mybottle, isn't it?"
"Was your bottle." He smirked, a faint laugh escaping his lips. That bastard. "So Kratos, have you really finished destroying all the exspheres?"
"The exspheres here at least." I sighed, fingering the darkened glass of the bottle. "I can only imagine Lloyd is doing the same in the new world."
"But, do you really think he will destroy them all? Even that one? The special one he always used…?" Yuan murmured, staring blankly up into the dark nighttime sky.
The question caught me by surprise, and I nearly choked on the wine I had been tasting. Thankfully Yuan was the only one here, and I could care less what he thought of me. "I…. I don't know."
"Huh. Funny, you always have an answer for everything." Yuan remarked, turning onto his side and propping his head up with his hand. "Let me put it this way. If you were there with him now, would you want him to destroy it?"
Again, indecision tore at my heart. Destroy my darling Anna? How could I ever want that? And yet, for her to truly rest in peace… "I don't know."
The blue haired half-elf whistled long and low. "That big, huh? Isn't it funny, not even a month ago, you, Mithos, and myself were all …..well, alive for one… and scrambling to get our grubby hands on that exsphere."
Yuan and I sat in silence for a little while, both lost in the past events that had claimed us both not so long ago. Finally, he spoke again. "I'm glad your kid ended up with it. He deserved it really, after all he went through."
"As am I." I responded shortly. What else could I say? It was the truth. I wondered what Lloyd was doing with it now, but for all I knew, he could have destroyed it already.
No. For some distinct reason, I knew that Lloyd still held onto Anna's exsphere. She wasn't gone yet, no not yet.
"You're thinking about her again, aren't you?"
The question came out of nowhere. A bit flustered, I retorted somewhat lamely, "No, I'm not."
"Right. And you and I never shared a…" Yuan began to ramble again, a devilish smirk already on his lips.
"That's enough." I cut him off quickly. I didn't know what he was about to say, but fortune told me that I didn't want to hear it. "Ok, perhaps I was thinking about Anna a little."
Yuan sighed, snatching the bottle back from me and taking another swig. "You've got to let her go sometime. Take it from me, I've been agonizing for 4000 years…" He paused for another generously large gulp. "… it ain't worth it."
"Perhaps. Perhaps not…"
"Oh don't give me that crap Kratos!" Yuan rolled his eyes, throwing the bottle back in my hands. "You know as well as I do that you've been suffering. I can see it in your aura, your eyes, everything you do. Your entire spirit screams for Anna, and until you make peace with yourself somehow, you'll… you'll…"
At this point, Yuan fumbled with his words, failing to find anything that remotely resembled any language I knew. Did I mention that Yuan was a light-weight?
Finally, he gave up searching for the perfect words and sighed, "….. you'll suffer Kratos. And I don't want to see that."
I nearly snorted. "Then go back to sleep. You're drunk."
"And you should be too!" Deciding that was all the insightful knowledge he cared to give me at that particular moment, Yuan closed his eyes and fell into a happily drunken sleep.
With my only companion on this lonely planet asleep for who knew how long, I returned to my own thoughts again, and to my bottle of wine. I hated to waste good vintage on this pointless moping, but what could I do? If Yuan had said anything truthful at all in that rambling mess, it had been that there was indeed nothing to do on this planet.
Nearly done with the deed I had told Lloyd I would accomplish, I thought about him… my son. How he and I had both grown.
He called you Dad.
The thought drifted through my mind like a pleasant but passing shadow.
I wondered what Lloyd was doing now….
Lloyd's Point of View
It had been two weeks since I started collecting and getting rid of the exspheres. Man was it tough work! I never knew that so many exspheres existed in Sylvarant, let alone both Sylverant and Tethe'alla.
It's hard work collecting exspheres, and in truth I was already starting to think it's a little boring. But every time I thought that, I remembered that I made a promise, to both my Dads.
How could I forget Dwarven Vow #1? Work together for the sake of a peaceful world. And I had sworn to Kratos as he left on Derris Kharlan that I would find and destroy all the exspheres here.
Except maybe one.
But I decided a long time ago not to think about that until much later.
Colette walked beside me, giving me a smile of encouragement. I don't know what I would've done without her along to help me. She apologizes too much, but what can I say? She's Colette. "Lloyd what are you thinking about?" She asked, staring at me with those large blue eyes.
"About the exspheres… and a little bit about everyone else. I wonder how they're all doing?" I thought out loud to her.
"Well, we just saw Sheena a couple days ago, and she looked like she was doing well. I still can't believe that she's the leader of Mizuho!" Colette smiled, remembering the encounter.
I couldn't help but laugh too. "Yeah! Even though she swears that things only go wrong whenever Zelos comes by."
"That's right! We saw him in Mizuho too." Colette gave me a happy smile. "He's the same."
"He's an arrogant, self-centered, jerk!" I scowled, making Colette laugh again.
"He's Zelos." Colette responded simply. "And the others… well, we visited Regal and Presea in Altamira a week ago. They're also busy working on collecting the exspheres."
"Yeah… that just leaves two more. Genis and Professor Raine. I wonder how their quest is going? I wonder if they can make a difference for the half-elves?" I wondered sadly. They were such good people, but in my heart, I knew that they would have the toughest time out of all of us completing their task. "I'm worried about everyone."
"I pray for them and everyone else every night. I hope that they're doing all right." Colette responded quietly. "And Lloyd… you're missing one person."
"Kratos…" The name felt strange on my tongue now, as weird as that sounds. I wanted so much to call him Dad, but still, I couldn't quite do it yet. Don't ask me why, he seemed enough like a father, I guess, but I still couldn't. Not yet. Something was missing.
"Let's both pray for him, right now." Colette took my hand in hers and clasped it tightly. Holding our joined hands up, she closed her eyes. I took the hint and closed mine too. "Oh Goddess Martel…. Please accept our prayers. Please watch over Kratos out there on Derris Kharlan and protect him. Lend him your strength to persevere and continue his journey as you have for us."
Her voice lowered a little bit and she said, "Lloyd, is there anything you want to say?"
"Ehh.. yes." I murmured awkwardly. I'll admit it, praying wasn't really my specialty. "Goddess Martel, thank you for letting us get through everything in the past and get as far as we are now. I'm thankful for that, really, but if you could, I'd like you to help out someone else even more than you've helped us. Kratos…" I swallowed, trying out the foreign sounding name once again. "…my dad."
As we opened our eyes, I noticed that no shimmers of light were around us. Nothing special, nothing out of the ordinary to even let us know that Martel had even heard us. But I knew that she had. From the happy look on her face, I could tell that Colette knew too.
"Is that a little better Lloyd?" She asked.
"Yes." I nodded, ready to continue on our journey now. "I think she'll help Kratos do what's best for the universe!"
An unknown amount of time later, I woke up to the sound of Yuan's gentle snoring. Asleep again? That was unusual for us both. Of course, I wouldn't let Yuan stay that way much longer. That slacker. "Yuan, wake up." I commanded him, shaking him by the shoulder roughly.
But Yuan, wonderfully heavy sleeper that he was, decided not to wake up. Brilliant. "Fine then, I'll go on my own with this…" I looked to see just what I'd been clutching in my hand all night. "…bottle of wine!"
In a random stroke of depression, I finished off the bottle and cast it aside. Who would care if it made a mess? Yuan? A bunch of lifeless beings? I laughed. Hardly.
It does not please me to admit that I found Yuan's stash of liquor, and in a deviant attempt to get back at him for drinking my fine wine, I snagged a large portion of his.
What happened for the few hours after that I shall leave up to your imagination. All I shall disclose is that Yuan, wonderful friend that he is, slept the entire time.
When I came to, I found myself engaged in a delightfully intellectual conversation with a bit of shrubbery on the meaning of life and whether or not there was indeed a god.
Quite a smart plant.
Steadying myself, I stumbled up and away from where my nemesis (Yuan) lay, and walked deeper into Welgaia.
Here I could see the fluttering wings of the lifeless angelic beings above me. Theirs were the only exspheres that I had yet to destroy. Even I was not certain what would happen to them if I removed them. There was a chance that the mana in their bodies could grow wildly disproportionate, turning them into monsters.
Even if they were lifeless beings, I did not want that. But what could be done to save them? Wonderfully inebriated as I was, I did what I thought was best for the time being. Ignore the situation.
Walking dazedly forward, I came to a large mirror-wall. My cold reflection gazed back at me, a haunting reminder that I still hadn't aged in over 4000 years. Strange purple garb, check. Other sword that I didn't give to Lloyd, check. Reddish-brown hair, check. Cute little pink angel wings…. Check?
I tapped the mirror. "No you've got it wrong, my wings are blue, not pink."
The mirror chose not to respond.
Deciding that I was probably just seeing things, I turned around.
"Hi Kratos." Martel, complete with her majestic staff and pink angel wings, waved a friendly hello.
Yes. I was definitely seeing things.
Being the intelligent guy I was, I knew that she couldn't possibly exist. Martel had parted company with us over 4000 years ago. We buried her, she died. "Go away, you're not real."
"Well that's a little rude, even for you Kratos." Placing a hand on her hip, she fixed me with a glare of devils that could mean only one thing.
Slack-jawed and wide eyed, I mumbled the only thing I could. "Goddess Martel… you are alive!" I looked brilliant then, I really did.
"Well, for all practical purposes anyway. If you consider Tabatha 'alive.'" She agreed.
"Yuan's going to wish he had listened to me and woken up." I nearly smirked, ironic as the situation was.
"Perhaps…" Martel smiled. Reaching forward, she placed a warm hand on my shoulder. She certainly felt real. "Kratos, I will return to you two when you are both… more yourselves."
A light titter of laughter escaped her lips, and I could feel the air around me grow pleasantly warm and light. "But for now… go to sleep."
Now I don't know, maybe it was a hallucination, but I thought it was real. When I awoke in my own bed an unknown amount of time later, I did not even question how I arrived there. Instead, I went on a grand search for Yuan.
I found him in his room, still sleeping. Unlike me, he was laying on the floor. Curious.
"Yuan, for the love of Martel, get up this time!" I knelt by his side and shook the half-elf more vigorously than before.
"NO!!! They're my fuzzy socks! You can't take them!" Yuan shouted, his eyes still tightly shut as he shook his head.
"Yuan, you useless…" I leaned in close, annoyed that the blue-haired half-elf was such a heavy sleeper. I brought my lips close to Yuan's ear and screamed, "WAKE UP!!"
Yuan jumped up, screaming as he grasped onto my shoulders. His eyes were blurry and unfocused, probably from the past day's indulgences.
"AAH!" cried Yuan. "NOT THE BUNNIES!! … Umm…What in the world?? Kratos?"
I sighed, pushing Yuan back down with regret.
"..Maybe I shouldn't have woken you up."
Yuan shuddered, suddenly remembering last night… "Maybe you shouldn't have.. ugh…"
I sat back, brushing a hand through my hair.
"…I had the strangest dream, Yuan," I said, ignoring his unpleasant state. Yuan was inured to that sort of treatment, listening despite his body's objections. "I almost think it was real, it was so vivid… No, I believe it happened…"
"Just tell me what it was so I can go back to sleep…" Yuan grumbled groggily.
"It was of Martel," I admitted, looking down. "She placed her hand on my shoulder, and said she would be back… later… I think…"
Yuan was used to hearing things like that, too. He turned on his side and muttered incoherently.
"Yuan…" I placed a hand on Yuan's turned shoulder, catching a few of the stray blue hairs from his loose locks. "…It felt real. I am certain that this time, she appeared. I was standing in front of my mirror..."
"Kratos, stop talking and let me sleep."
Yuan looked even more sickly than before. It probably had something to do with the mention of Martel.
I almost felt bad for him, but quickly decided that it wasn't worth the effort.
"Wake up, Yuan. I'll even make you some coffee if you'll... Just……."
There was a moment of silence before Yuan rolled onto his back. He gave me a strange look, but after a minute…. or five… I could see that he was convinced.
"…Sure, Kratos. I'll keep you company… jerk."
I responded with silence.
Later than sooner, we were sitting at a table with two fresh cups of coffee, cream and sugar added to perfection.
"So Kratos, you really think it was her this time?" Yuan asked, stirring his cup while the lifeless beings drifted overhead created a nice breeze with their fluttering wings.
"I know it was her." I responded confidently.
"Kratos, you were talking to a plant just before you 'saw' her. You said so yourself." Yuan shook his head. "Now tell me, why shouldn't I think that your inebriated mind just made all of this up?"
"Yuan, she touched my shoulder and she was real. And, if you didn't notice, she put us both back in our beds. Well, maybe she put you on the floor." I murmured, wondering just how Yuan ended up there. However, if I knew Yuan, and by this point I would hope I did, he wouldn't believe a word of it until he saw it with his own eyes. "Yuan, she really was here."
"Kratos, I don't believe a word of it." He said, offhandedly tossing the dirtied spoon to the ground. "Not until I see it with my own eyes."
Seconds later, a lifeless being from above drifted down, picked up the spoon, cleaned off the floor, and kindly drifted away.
Only mildly disturbed by this, since I'd seen things like this happen numerous times before, I mentioned it to Yuan. "You know, I've destroyed most of the exspheres on Derris Kharlan, but…"
"Oh no. No no. Don't tell me…"
"Yuan, you know that your control over mana far exceeds that of my own. If we don't want to risk their lives, I'll need your help stabilizing their mana when I remove the exspheres."
Apparently I had spoken too abruptly for Yuan to comprehend at the moment. Either that or he was purposely ignoring me. Have I mentioned what a great friend Yuan is?
We both sat sipping our coffee for a good five minutes before the blue haired elf felt like responding. "Kratos, are you trying to kill me? You know how much it takes out of me when I give others my mana. I don't know about you, but I don't care to die just yet."
"Yuan, please, even if we just remove one exsphere a day…" I said, calculating how many days it would take to remove all of them.
"Yeah? One a day you say? Ok. So say we remove one exsphere a day from these lifeless beings." Yuan paused. He must have been trying to be dramatic. "Say you are one of these lifeless beings. Once I take away your exsphere… wham! You're not an angel anymore. And what's more? Suddenly you've got feelings again, and thoughts, and a billion other needs and desires that you didn't have before. Memories. Painful memories."
Yuan shook his head, looking at me with deep pessimism. "Don't forget that most of the half-elves who joined us did it for a reason. They were persecuted, despised, and hated. Most of them lost loved ones that were very dear to them, and they wanted those memories to go away. Do you really want all of them running around here? It'll be primal chaos!"
Yuan had a point. In fact, he had quite a few points that I hadn't bothered to think about until now. Finally, I responded after I was certain of my thoughts. "It is a risk I am willing to take. They didn't deserve to be persecuted in the past, no. But they also don't deserve this life of nothingness. You should know this better than anyone."
And Yuan did. I could see the indecision tear him apart, enervating him and making mincemeat of his resolve against me. With defeat marked clearly in his eyes, he looked up at me and sighed, "I can't believe you're making me do this Kratos."
About an hour later, Yuan finally decided that he was ready to give it a shot.
I called down one of the beings and had it stand before me. A bit uncertainly, I touched the glowing crystal on its chest. "Yuan, you know what to do."
"Right right." The blue haired half-elf took a deep breath, then placed a hand on the being's shoulder. Slowly, his fingertips began to glow with blue mana. "Ready whenever you are."
"Ok. 3…..2…..1….. now!" At the end of the countdown, I tore the crystal off the being.
"Agh!" Yuan grunted as he sent a powerful surge of mana into the being, his eyes focused intently in deep concentration.
The crystal pulsed with warmth in my hand, and I noticed the wings of the former angelic being disappear off its back.
Slowly, the haze that covered its eyes began to clear. Suddenly, it gasped, it's breaths harsh and erratic as it looked back and forth between Yuan and myself.
"Who… who are you? Where am I? Where is Lord Yggdrasill??" The being, that definitely sounded male, spun around once before clutching a hand to his head and groaning in pain. "Aaahhh!! What's happening??!"
"Kratos, he's yours to deal with." Yuan didn't sound good at all. As I glanced over in his direction, I noticed that he was slumped over the table, his eyes staring at me half-lidded and bleakly. I almost felt bad for him. But then I remembered that one time.
Nodding to my unfortunate friend, I turned back to the confused former angel, now turned half-elf again. "I am Kratos. You are currently in Welgaia on the planet Derris-Kharlan, and Yggdrasill is not around anymore." I said, figuring that it would probably confuse the being even more to hear that Yggdrasill was dead.
He said nothing at first, but glanced up at me with horribly frightened eyes. "K-Kratos the destroyer?!"
What had Mithos told them about me? Shaking my head, I offered the man a chair at the table. "Relax. I'm not here to destroy anything. But if you'd like, I can get you some coffee. What's your name?"
"Mayia." What an oddly feminine name. Moving about skitterishly, the half elf sat down in the chair, never taking his eyes off me.
This was going to be a very long day.
Yes, I have heard the rumors that a true sequel to Tales of Symphonia is in the making. I couldn't be happier! But for those of you who have patiently awaited this story, I'm posting it now, prior to the end of Tainted Disposition.
For newcomers to the scene, hello! I'm LateNiteSlacker, (whose name is sadly no longer true) a flippantly-inspired writer that takes far too long to update. If you don't believe me, read some of the reviews for the later chapters of Tainted.
I feel terrible that this story has taken me so long to post. In all honestly, I wanted to post it two and a half years ago, when I started writing it.
Well, no more taunting and waiting. I realize that over the years I have probably lost a majority of my readers who may have enjoyed this story, but for those of you who are still with me, this is for you.
Happy early X-mas everyone! Chapter 2 will be here soon. :)
(I still love the love though! Please review and let me know how I'm doing!)