So, I wrote this having not seen the actual game in a long, long time. I'm pretty sure you're only supposed to have Zelos OR Kratos at the point in the game where I wrote them as both being there, but oh well. That's my artistic license, I guess. Anyway, enjoy the story.

Disclaimer: I own a copy of the game, but not the franchise and/or copyright.

Zelos Wilder scurried around the food-laden table, letting little drops of liquid fall into random dishes. He was in a hurry—in a few short moments the others would come back into the room, and if he wasn't finished he would be caught.

He was currently in Altessa the dwarf's house, waiting for Lloyd and the rest of his merry crew to return from their most recent urgent errand. Lord Yggdrasil had given him a simple task: put a sleeping drug in the food so Lloyd and company would be vulnerable. Zelos had to admit that this was a little low, even for him, but he was willing to do anything to get out of being the chosen.

Zelos drugged the last of the food just as Lloyd was coming in the door. He smiled cheerfully as the room filled with people and Tabitha urged them all to eat. He panicked, though, when Lloyd made a plan-destroying announcement.

"Sorry, Tabitha, I'm not really hungry. I think I'll just go to bed."

"Woah, Lloyd!" Zelos said with exaggerated brightness. "Come on, you're always hungry. You need to keep up your strength, right?"

"Yeah," Genis piped in, "you're always hungry. You're not getting sick, are you?"

Zelos grinned in relief. With Genis scolding him Raine wouldn't be far behind, and Lloyd would end up gang-pressed into eating. Disaster avoided.

"Now, Genis, don't harass Lloyd. If he's tired, just let him sleep. He can eat later."

Zelos panicked once again. It was essential to the plan that Lloyd eat some of the drugged food--it looked like he was going to have to take drastic measures.

He threw himself at Lloyd, flinging his arms around the other boy in a textbook glomp that sent them both staggering at least three feet.

"Aw, Lloyd," he crooned as Lloyd squirmed uncomfortably in his arms. "I fixed this food especially for you. Won't you at least try some of the—" he paused to remember exactly what dishes he had drugged while Lloyd's face worked on making itself as red as a ripe tomato, "carrots? I know you love those."

Lloyd finally managed to wriggle free of Zelos' grasp. "Okay, fine, whatever. I'll eat something."

Zelos gave a cheeky grin of triumph to the room in general. It would be smooth sailing from here.

MUCH PLOT PROGRESSION LATER, WHEN ZELOS HAS REDEEMED HIMSELF AND THE GROUP IS TOGETHER AGAIN

Zelos yawned and drifted away from the campfire. They were camped out somewhere in Tethe'alla, enjoying the first semi-relaxed break they had been able to in a while. Zelos felt as though he was on the outside of the group again—the rough part was that this time it was genuinely his fault. He had hoped to get a little time to himself just to think, but it looked like it wasn't meant to be—Genis the annoying boy wonder was heading straight for him.

"Hey. Idiot Chosen." Since the incident in Mizuho, Zelos had discovered that when the people that didn't really like him, such as the Sages and Sheena, wanted to have a non-antagonist conversation, they would open it up with "Idiot Chosen", which had become something of an affectionate nickname.

"Whaddaya want, kid?" he responded blandly, not looking down and willing the little half-elf to take a hint.

"We need to have a talk." Zelos rolled his eyes. As though he hadn't figured that out when the little punk had come over just to bother him. "It's about Lloyd."

"What about him?" Zelos asked, honestly confused. He had certainly been appropriately grateful to Lloyd, who had been the only person to trust him even when he didn't deserve it.

"Look—" Genis hedged for a moment. His face had taken on a pink tinge, and he seemed strangely uncomfortable. "Look. I've been noticing the way you've been treating Lloyd—it started when you gave him that hug at Altessa's house, and I've been watching you more closely ever since."

The kid was looking at him expectantly, and Zelos had no idea what he was getting at. "What are you talking about?"

Genis gave an irritated huff. "I see you're going to make me come out and say it. I know you're crushing on Lloyd, Zelos, and I think you should talk to him about it."

Zelos choked on air. "Wha—I—no—"

"I know it's a little embarrassing," Genis continued in a patronizing tone, "and you might have noticed by now that Lloyd definitely has it for Colette, but you should still talk to him about it. Get it out in the open. He won't be cruel."

"I'm—I'm not—I don't do guys!" Zelos sputtered indignantly. Where did the stupid little kid come up with this stuff?

"Sure, sure. Then how do you explain that hug at Altessa's?"

"I had drugged the food! I needed him to eat something, so I took drastic measures." then, at Genis' skeptical look, "I don't do guys! I don't even normally make conversation with guys! I'm straight, darnit!"

"Whatever you say, Zelos." Genis said, done with being civil. "I'd just hate to be you when Kratos notices that you're all but hitting on his poor, innocent son. He's been awfully protective lately…"

Zelos' eyes narrowed. "I see what this is. Blackmail the evil traitor, right?"

"Oh, no. I'm just looking out for my best friend. It's obvious you've become interested in him. I'm just making sure you resolve all that sexual tension in a healthy manner, instead of by hurting Lloyd. And if Kratos has to get involved…Well, I won't be the one getting disemboweled, right?"

Zelos watched in disbelief as Genis turned on his heel and made his way back to the campfire. That evil little…

"I don't do guys!"

Zelos flushed bright red as the entire party turned and gave him a "what was that just now" look. "Er—that is—"

Lloyd turned an inquiring look on Kratos. "What doesn't he do with guys?"

Kratos narrowed his eyes and aimed a glare at a now profusely sweating Zelos. "Don't you worry about it…"

Zelos took a nervous step back from the rest of the group—he was now almost completely covered in shadow.

As Kratos started walking towards him, Zelos pondered whether it was too late to go back to Cruxis.

After all, Mithos Yggdrasil was a psychopath, but at least he was honest about it.

END