Summary: Kratos makes a sacrifice to soothe his son's pain

Disclaimer: Namco owns Tales of Symphonia.

Teething:

Drool.

Kratos inwardly grimaced as he felt the slimy liquid slide against his finger, clingy to the skin as it continued to stretch travel down his hand. He refrained from looking at it, resignedly focusing his gaze on the corner of the ceiling. Content sounds reached his ears from the source of the obscene substance. A rhythmic chewing motion suffered his victimized finger. The soft, tender gums rubbing closing up and down as two large, brown eyes stared at him.

Teething.

For the past couple of days, Kratos and Anna had been subjected to the inevitable stage of parenthood. It had begun when their son woke in the middle of the night, crying fervently and sporting a slight fever. He cried most of the night before falling asleep again at dawn. Anna and Kratos were both exhausted, but concerned about their son's health. The fever came and went, nothing threatening and neither parent knew the cause of it. Not until later that afternoon.

At seven-months, Lloyd had just discovered his ability to crawl. The motion had always amused Kratos, the way his little legs shuffled back and forth, hands slapping the ground as if the astounding pulled the little body forward. Lloyd always had a large toothless smile filling his face, brown eyes gleaming and little squeals of happiness emitting from his mouth. Sometimes he would just remain motionless staring around him with a blank expression, looking up at his father, his little mind processing what he should accomplish next before smiling largely and scuttling away again.

However, that amusement was short lived once Anna discovered Lloyd chewing on anything he could get his hands on. It confused both Kratos and Anna immensely as their son shoved anything his tiny little fingers could grab. And the drool.

It profoundly amazed Kratos the amount of slobber his son created. It was constantly on Lloyd's toys, other victims to the toddler's strange action as well as down the front of his shirts. It wasn't until the crying started that Kratos realized what was occurring. Lloyd's teeth were coming in.

Sighing heavily, Kratos heard a whimper come from his son, cradled in his other arm and deigned to look down at him. The large, brown eyes stared up at him forlornly, his little jaw bobbing up and down continuously. Kratos frowned and reluctantly massaged his finger over his son's swollen gums. Lloyd's chin and Kratos' finger glistened with the repulsive liquid as more dribbled over the infant's lips.

Kratos' situation had been one of desperation and unintentional. Once Kratos realized their son's ailment, he commented on possible remedies her had heard of that might soothe the infant's swollen gums. Chamomile tea was supposed to soothe pain. Anna eager to ease her son's pain, remembered spotting the daisy-like flower not far from their house and rushed out to gather them, leaving Kratos to contend with their son. Lloyd's cries were one of pained and Kratos found it difficult to listen to it. Wanting to ease Lloyd's aching gums, he had decided to gently rub the gums with the tip of his finger, putting a little pressure. The reaction was instantaneous.

Lloyd's little mouth closed, his upper gums clasping down on Kratos' unexpecting finger and immediately began chewing on it, forgotten tears streaking his cheeks. Caught off guard, Kratos had removed his finger quickly. Lloyd stared up at him, whimpering and trying to chew on his own fist, a trail of drool leaking down his chin. However, it wasn't as satisfactory as Kratos' finger had been and the pain seemed to return.

Reluctantly Kratos again replaced his finger, frowning as Lloyd began to chew on it again, the entire time watching his father. This is how Anna found him on her return.

"Kratos, I have the—" she cut off as she noticed her husband's predicament and his obvious displeasure. "That actually works?"

Kratos cleared his throat and sighed heavily, Lloyd murmuring contently. "It appears so, but I believe the chamomile tea would be better."

Anna giggled and started to make the tea. Lloyd gurgled; one hand grasped his father's thumb. Spit bubbled from his mouth, his eyes focusing on Kratos' thumb as he tugged it, finding it extremely interesting.

After what seemed like an insanely long time, Anna finally appeared holding a cup of cold tea and a cloth. Dipping the cloth in the tea, she squeezed it gently. Kratos freed his offended finger, Lloyd's lips struggling to hold it as Kratos slid it free. Anna quickly placed the rolled up end of the cloth in Lloyd's hands, which he grabbed and proceed to chew. Kratos transferred Lloyd into Anna's arms, holding his one hand out awkwardly. The spit trail was still sliding across his hand, stretching and dripping on to his other fingers. He grimaced at the feeling.

Anna smiled and Lloyd stared at his father, gnawing on the cold cloth happily, gurgling. Kratos looked at them both and then at his hand in disgust. "I'm going to wash my hand."

As he left, his drool covered hand a safe distance from his side, Anna burst out laughing.

Teething babies drool. A lot. And yes, this based off a personal experience. When we couldn't find the teething rings, I had to let my little siblings chew on my fingers. It was gross.

Ah, good memories.

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