Daddy's Shoulder

Summary: Lloyd learns that his father's shoulder actually makes a really good pillow for all those sleepless nights. Fatherson oyako. Get ready for a major attack of the warm fuzzies.

Silvan Arrow: Wow, it's been forever since I've done an oyako fic, but this idea just suddenly came to me and now it won't leave me alone. I got inspiration for this one-shot after looking at this adorable fanart of baby Lloyd and Kratos taking a nap (so CUTE!!). Also, when I was little and had trouble sleeping, my dad would lay in bed with me and I would fall asleep on his shoulder. Oh yeah, let's just get one thing straight right off the bat. This fic is NOT INCEST!! Got it? Good! Okay, enough rambling. Um…disclaimer! Lloyd, get your butt in here!

Lloyd: Huh? What?

Silvan Arrow: Do the disclaimer!

Lloyd: And if I say no?

Silvan Arrow: I've got tomatoes!

Lloyd: Yikes! Okay! I'll do it! Silvan Arrow does not own ToS or any of its characters, and thankfully that means that she doesn't own me either!

Silvan Arrow: Oh brother… While I try to figure out why characters have such an aversion to doing disclaimers, here's the one-shot. Enjoy!

Kratos Aurion sat at the wooden desk in the corner of his and Anna's bedroom in their small house in Luin, working on paperwork for Mithos. That stack was never-ending; no matter how much he did, it never seemed to get any smaller. The only light in the room was the oil lamp on the desk, which cast an eerie glow around the room. Anna had left after putting Lloyd to bed to visit with some friends on the other side of town. Noishe had gone with her, leaving Kratos alone with his two and a half year old son.

Of course, Kratos loved the boy dearly, but even after being a parent for over two years, he still sometimes had trouble expressing his more affectionate, paternal side, especially when Anna wasn't around. It had been so much simpler when Lloyd was an infant. Kratos had spent many nights rocking the boy until he fell asleep, but now that he was talking, Kratos also had to deal with Lloyd's incessant questions due to his natural curiosity about anything and everything.

Lloyd jolted awake with a soft cry, his cheeks already damp from the tears he had shed in his sleep. He had never experienced such a terrible nightmare. He lay frozen under the blankets for several long minutes, too scared to move lest the apparitions from his dreams come find him. The first thought that came to his mind was that he wanted Mommy. He wanted her to hold him, kiss away his tears, and reassure him that he was safe. But then he remembered her saying that she wouldn't be back until really late and that Daddy would be here. Wait…Daddy…

Most young children his age would probably find Kratos downright terrifying because of his cold, stoic personality, but to Lloyd he was his hero, his idol. In fact, Lloyd wanted to be strong and brave just like Daddy when he grew up. Without a second thought, the boy jumped out of bed, his blue baby blanket in tow, and padded down the hall to his parents' room.

The soft patter of a set of tiny feet, only detectable to Kratos' angelic hearing, brought him out of his thoughts. "Daddy?" Setting down his pen, Kratos turned around in his seat to find Lloyd standing in the open doorway, holding his blanket in one hand and looking a bit shaken.

"Lloyd, you should be asleep," Kratos said. However, his paternal instincts flared slightly upon seeing the unmistakable fear in his son's eyes.

"I had a bad dweam," Lloyd replied, his voice shaking slightly. His big, expressive eyes glistened with unshed tears, and his tiny fist clutched his blanket tighter.

Kratos got up from his chair and crossed the room in three long, effortless strides, stopping to kneel in front of Lloyd so he was at eye level. "What was your dream about?" he prodded gently.

"There were l-lots of scawy monsters, and they all t-twied to eat me," Lloyd stammered, sniffling. His bottom lip trembled as he tried to keep from crying. "I-I don't wanna be eated…"

Without so much as a second thought, Kratos scooped Lloyd into his arms and stood up, cradling the boy's head against his shoulder. The boy wound his arms around his father's neck, instinctively seeking his warmth and security. "Don't worry, Lloyd, nothing is going to eat you," Kratos reassured his son as he carried him back to his room. He sat on the edge of Lloyd's narrow bed and held the boy in his lap for several long minutes, gently rocking him back and forth. Lloyd pressed his ear against Kratos' chest and listened to the steady thump-thump of his heart through the thin fabric of his night shirt. Slowly, Kratos felt Lloyd's body start to relax. He hummed a quiet lullaby, and before long the boy's eyes started to droop.

Kratos started to move Lloyd back to his bed, but the arms around his neck tightened. Big brown eyes looked up at him pleadingly. "Will you keep the monsters away, Daddy?" Lloyd begged. He shifted closer to Kratos, loath to leave the comfort and safety of his father's embrace. He knew that nothing could hurt him as long as his daddy was around.

Kratos simply couldn't find it in himself to say no, not when Lloyd was looking at him that way. He spared a tiny smile full of warmth. "Of course I will." He maneuvered under the covers of Lloyd's tiny bed, albeit a bit awkwardly considering his son still had a death grip around his neck, and lay on his back. He grimaced inwardly as his feet dangled slightly off the edge. Lloyd tucked himself against Kratos' side and laid his head on his shoulder, sighing happily. "Better?" Kratos asked. Lloyd nodded against his shoulder, already half-asleep. "Good. Now go to sleep. I'll keep you safe," he said gently, reaching over with his free hand to run his fingers through his son's tousled brown locks. As he started to pull his hand away, Lloyd reached out and grasped his finger with his tiny ones. He shifted closer to Kratos before falling asleep completely.

As Kratos watched his son sleeping, he sent up a silent prayer of thanks that Lloyd wasn't any bigger, or else his shoulder would be very stiff in the morning.

Later that night, Anna and Noishe came back to find the house eerily quiet. She entered her and Kratos' bedroom to find her husband missing. "Kratos?" she called. Noishe whined softly, indicating Lloyd's bedroom door, which was slightly askew. Quietly, Anna pushed it open and tip-toed inside. Her heart melted seeing Lloyd snuggled up against Kratos, using his shoulder for a pillow. Kratos' free hand rested on his chest, his fingers grasped in Lloyd's. Both of them were fast asleep, which was rather remarkable considering Kratos hardly ever slept. Anna didn't have the heart to disturb them and simply closed the door, whispering, "Sleep well, my loves."

Rays of soft, silver moonlight poured through the windows and cast eerie, disfigured shadows across the dark, wooden hallway of the inn in Asgard. Kratos Aurion moved noiselessly down the hall and quietly opened the door to his bedroom, careful not to wake its other sleeping occupant. The normally stoic mercenary spared a soft look for his son, who lay sprawled out on his bed, snoring rather loudly. Barely a week ago, Kratos and Lloyd had fought a life-or-death duel before Origin's seal in the Torent Forest, and now fate had decreed that father and son join forces for one last battle to end Mithos' twisted ambitions once and for all.

Kratos unbuckled his sword and leaned it against the wall beside his bed and took off his swallowtail cape, changing into a more comfortable nightshirt. His old sword Flamberge sat beside Vorpal against the opposite wall. He knew that Lloyd would use them wisely and had no regrets entrusting Flamberge to him. Kratos sat on the edge of his bed, wincing when it groaned under his weight, and took off his boots. A quick glance at Lloyd told him that the boy was still sleeping soundly, completely oblivious to his presence. Kratos lay back with a barely audible sigh and decided to at least try and get some sleep.

Kratos had just slipped into a light doze when a familiar voice roused him back to wakefulness. Turning his head to look at Lloyd, he immediately noticed that the boy was thrashing about the now-tangled sheets of his bed, undoubtedly caught in the throes of a nightmare, and mumbling incoherently under his breath. Kratos's sensitive ears managed to discern a few words: "No…make it stop… Don't go… Mom…"

Paternal instincts took over, and he quickly got up and grabbed Lloyd's shoulder, shaking him gently. "Lloyd…" He didn't get a response. Lloyd's jaw clenched and unclenched painfully, and several hot tears managed to work their way down his cheeks. "Lloyd, wake up," Kratos tried again, more urgently this time.

Lloyd's eyes flew open, and he jerked awake gasping for breath, a cold sweat covering his face. "What? Where am…?" Just then he noticed Kratos standing over him, worry evident in his normally stoic expression. "Kratos?"

"You were having a nightmare," he replied, answering the unspoken question.

"Oh…right…" Lloyd's expression turned to sorrow as images from his dream flashed through his mind. He sat up and rubbed the sleep out of his eyes with the heel of his palm before turning his frightened gaze to his father, his pupils tiny pinpoints of black despite the darkness of the room. "I…dreamed about Mom…about how she died…"

"I see…" Kratos answered simply, carefully sitting down on the edge of the bed. Lloyd didn't raise his head to look at him. "Do you have these dreams often?"

"I used to when I was younger, but they stopped coming a few years ago. Then I started having them again occasionally during the Regeneration Journey. I guess…it was because I learned so much about my past that something in the back of my mind just…snapped."

Kratos remained silent as he listened intently to his son's words. He had no clue how to respond when deep down he knew he was to blame for Lloyd's nightmares. After all, he was the one that had killed Anna and had suddenly reappeared in Lloyd's life as his long-lost father. So many startling revelations would have an effect on anyone. Feelings of guilt and remorse tugged at Kratos' heart. Of course, Lloyd would never lay the blame on him. He was too much of an idealist for that. It was almost ironic how different their personalities were.

"Hey, Kratos?" Said mercenary snapped out of his thoughts and met his son's curious gaze. "Did I…used to have nightmares when I was little?"

"You did sometimes." Kratos got a faraway look in his eyes as he briefly allowed himself to get swept away in memories that he had locked away for so many years, memories of happier, more carefree times. "But you would always come find either Anna or myself. Anna would rock you and sing to you until you fell asleep again."

"And…what about you?" Lloyd asked somewhat hesitantly.

Kratos' expression softened. "The first time you came to me, I carried you back to your room, but you didn't want me to leave. So I stayed, and you found my shoulder to be a rather…comfortable pillow."

That visual almost made Lloyd laugh out loud. "Really? I never would have guessed that! I mean, you're normally so stoic and reserved."

Kratos gave a half-smile as he reached out and ruffled his son's hair. "You and Anna always managed to bring out my softer side." After a brief silence, he said, "You should try and get some sleep. We have a long day ahead of us tomorrow." He got up and started to walk away, but Lloyd grabbed hold of his shirt sleeve, stopping him. Kratos turned back around. "Yes, Lloyd?"

The younger swordsman had a sheepish expression on his face, and, to Kratos' surprise, he was actually blushing. "Um…do you think you…could stay with me…like you used to? I can't remember it, so…" He trailed off, unsure of how to continue and more than a little embarrassed about asking something like that of his stoic father.

However, Kratos' expression softened even more, and he actually allowed a small smile to dominate his face. "Of course." Lloyd's eyes widened in a shock, but he scooted over to make room as Kratos straightened out the sheets on the bed and crawled in next to his son. He lay on his back and stretched out his arm so Lloyd could tuck in next to his side and rest his head on his shoulder.

Lloyd laughed softly. "I feel…kinda silly…" he remarked with his trademark cheesy grin.

Kratos smiled at his son's weak attempt at humor. "You have no reason to feel silly." He reached over with his free hand and ran his fingers through Lloyd's spiky brown hair, just like he had done all those years ago. "Get some sleep. I promise to keep you safe."

He felt Lloyd's body relax as his eyelids started to droop. "Good night…" he mumbled sleepily. His eyes closed, but just before falling asleep he added in a whisper, "I love you…Dad…"

A single shining tear trickled down Kratos' cheek upon hearing that word again after fourteen long years. "I love you too, my son," he whispered in a choked tone. However, Lloyd was already lost to his dreams and didn't hear him. In his sleep, he shifted closer to Kratos and sighed softly. It then registered just how much Lloyd had grown over the years. 'My shoulder is definitely going to be sore tomorrow…'

But Kratos didn't care in the least.


Author's Note: Hehehehehe…I feel all warm and fuzzy after writing that. I hope Kratos wasn't too OOC in this, but it was kind of necessary in this instance. I hope you all enjoyed it! Please leave a review and tell me what you thought! Take care!