"Hey, pretty lady," said Zelos suggestively, waggling his eyebrows at the tall, slender brunette that walked past him and Lloyd on the street. The girl gave an embarrassed smile and the boy next to her glared at Zelos. She slowed down as he sped up, causing a spark of tension between the two. Zelos chuckled as the two turned and stared at each other angrily. "Jeez," he said lightly. "Can't that guy even take a joke?"
Lloyd gave the taller, sillier redhead a dry, exasperated look. "You know…" he began, but then thought better of it. "Aw, forget it."
There was no reasoning with Zelos's flirtatious ways, even though it pissed Lloyd off to no end. He couldn't change his friend's nature, and even if he could, he knew that he would probably keep him the same way—Zelos any different wouldn't be the Zelos he adored.
Zelos walked over to the tree where Lloyd seemed to be staring at a flower very intently. "Hello," said the redhead cheerfully. "I was just taking a walk and then I noticed you glaring at that flower like you wanted it to die, so I came over to investigate. What's up? Did it yell at you or something? Tell you it was sleeping with your mom?" Zelos realized just how ridiculous he sounded with that last sentence but shrugged it off—he didn't care.
Lloyd just held up a finger to silence his friend. "Shhhhh…" he said, bringing the flower closer to his face. "You'll scare the inchworm."
Zelos chuckled and sat down by the tree, leaning up against the trunk. Sometimes, Zelos thought, just when you expect one thing you get another.
Lloyd's blade sings the loudest, Zelos knew, watching the young man practice as he lazily stretched out on the grass, chewing slowly on the piece of straw he'd just picked. It left that acrid taste in his mouth, but he was kind of enjoying it.
"Lloyd?" he called out. When he opened his mouth the straw—originally sticking straight up—fell back into his eye. He brushed it away. "Lloyd, you want to save the world without taking a life, so why do you practice the sword?"
Lloyd grunted, slashing forward, never breaking his concentration. "Why do you think?" he asked as he thrust the blade out to his side. "To protect those most important to me."
Zelos chuckled. He knew Lloyd's reasons, but he liked hearing the boy say them.
"What you're trying to do is hopeless and meaningless."
As soon as he let the words come out of his mouth, Zelos knew that he couldn't take them back. He knew that he couldn't be forgiven. He maintained his flippant and casual air throughout his betrayal of the people who had become his closest friends, but he felt his eyes being drawn to one thing as he talked.
Lloyd's gaze held him there, frozen, unable to move properly. The boy's eyes were hurt and angry, spilling over with emotion, shouting at Zelos words he'd never hear spoken aloud.
"Zelos. You traitor," Lloyd said accusingly.
"It's funny you should say that," commented the redhead, trying to keep all the hurt he felt from his voice. "It's not like you trusted me in the first place."
It was then that Zelos really, truly looked into Lloyd's eyes and he saw the truth. It sliced at him like a thousand swords.
Lloyd had trusted him, and that made this all the worse.
#5: Endure Burning
What is to give light must also endure burning.
Sheena smiled as she sat on her branch. She couldn't help but remember a certain phrase when she saw two of her friends with each other. As much as Zelos annoyed her, when he was with Lloyd, he was…different. He glowed.
"What is to give light," she whispered, gently twirling a knife between her fingers as she watched the two young men engaging in a fencing match, their faces covered with a light sheen of sweat and their eyes bright. They were smiling at each other. "What is to give light must also endure burning."
She looked up at the sun, shielding her eyes, then back down at the two.
…They looked like they didn't mind burning.