Copy-and-Paste Disclaimer: I do not own Tales of Symphonia. I do however own the concept of 'all matters of luck and fate'—more information on that can be found on my profile. The concept of 'brofriends'—which is also explained on my profile—belongs to TheRecorder but I have been granted the rights to use it as I will; also, unless otherwise stated or obvious, the relationship of Lloyd and Zelos should be viewed as that of brofriends.
This is very much a reflection of Wonder—many lines are similar to the ones in the same relative location in Wonder. It's recommended that one reads this immediately after Wonder to get the full 'mirrored' effect.
Also, this story kinda got away from me, so be forewarned.
Emil always wondered about Lloyd.
How he never denied the accusations Emil had brought against him, never trying to set the record straight, not even to his friends. He was somewhat to blame for the hatred he had garnered because of the choice, making even his childhood friends begin to doubt his integrity—though Colette had still believed in him the entire time, despite being open-minded to Emil's certainty of Lloyd's guilt. But one person had never doubted his innocence for a moment, even almost to the extent to physically defending Lloyd's honor—Emil had not missed how Zelos's hand had twitched as if to resist the urge to draw his sword when Emil had called Lloyd a bastard.
How he and Zelos always fought skillfully except for often shamelessly leaving a wide opening in their defense a ladybug could take advantage of, but battled on completely ignoring it, fully trusting the other to cover him. Emil was amazed when he first saw Lloyd cross the flats of his blades together to help Zelos vault up to strike the final blow on a dragon's head after Zelos had used too many artes to be able to fly up on his own.
Emil had always wondered about Lloyd.
How, whenever he was asked why he let Zelos lounge all over him, he would always say it was because they were 'brofriends', whatever that meant, like it was completely obvious. He went along with Zelos's flirtations, once proclaiming to the girls that followed Zelos around that, unlike Sheena, he would totally kiss Zelos if offered all the money in the world.
How, when it came down to a choice between just him and Zelos, he would use his remaining strength to pin Zelos to the ground to use the last gel on him only for Zelos to cast Healing Wind in revenge.
Emil had always wondered about Lloyd.
How he always seemed more relaxed and at ease with Zelos draped over him.
How there was a special gleam in his eyes that he only had when fighting beside Zelos.
How, even when no one was watching, he still laughed and smiled and heedlessly accepted Zelos's affectionate attentions, as if he didn't realize the sincerity of them.
Emil had always wondered about Lloyd.
How someone who had done so much and accomplished such greatness could be so blind to what Emil, as naïve as he was, could see so clearly.
— — — — — — —
One day, Emil caught Lloyd alone; ironically near where they first met, Luin.
"What can I do for you today, Emil?" he asked with his usual friendly smile, "Do you want to know how to make a jewel hunting mask?"
"Uh, no," Emil said in somewhat flustered manner before he collected his composure, reminding himself why he was here, and cut right to the chase, "Zelos likes you."
Lloyd's smile flickered for the smallest of seconds, "Of course he likes me! I'm his brofriend!"
Emil shook his head, "No, he likes more than that; he likes you as…" he trailed off as Lloyd looked away, "So you know."
Honestly, Emil was a little taken a back, it had crossed his mind before that Lloyd was merely oblivious, but it seems he was right all along. He'd spoken with Marta about this before coming to confront Lloyd, apparently she'd already talked to Zelos and according to her, Zelos said Lloyd had the inability to love, that romantic love was outside of Lloyd's comprehension; had Zelos been wrong?
"Are you going to tell him?" he asked after a moment, barely suppressing the slight eagerness in his voice at the thought of a potential impending love confession. Marta was rubbing off on him.
Lloyd's smile got a wry twist to it, "I don't feel the same way, it happened before with Colette and Sheena; they got over it eventually, but Zelos, he…" he ran his fingers through his hair, "I can never return his feelings, so why ruin our relationship?"
"How do you know for sure?"
Lloyd sighed, "Like I said before, I can never return his feelings. I have the inability to fall in love. If I could, I would, but I'm not the kind of person to care more about one person in particular as opposed to treating all my friends with the same amount of affection."
Emil was silent for a moment, "So you're just going to do nothing?" he asked a slight bit incredulously, "Just let him suffer in silence? Why can't you try to show love to him, or at least pretend?"
"You know, there's a reason there are people who fall in love and others who don't." Lloyd smiled sadly and lightly ruffled his hair, "I guess you wouldn't understand; you got your happy ending—some of us won't ever have a chance."
With that, he began to walk away, giving an excuse about 'jewel-hunting duties to attend to' before he bid him goodbye.
From what Marta had told him about Zelos, Emil could tell that even if the love was not really meant, in this situation, it truly was the thought that counts; and just maybe, that love could be realized along the way and Lloyd and Zelos could finally get the happy ending they deserve.
If only Lloyd tried.
Emil watched him as he retreated around a corner; why does he think he won't ever have a chance at a happy ending?
— — — — — — —
The second he was out of sight, Lloyd fell back against the wall, sliding down to the ground as he put his head in his hand.
If only. If only Lloyd could do that. If only he could just try and end up in love. If only it were that simple.
He rested his arms on his bent knees as he looked up to stare at the sky.
He had never planned to fall in love; oh, how he tried, opening his heart to everyone, caring for everyone with all his might. All in hopes of finding anyone to love as more than merely as a friend or family member. But it had all been in vain.
Then Zelos came along.
Lloyd had just known that this guy was his best chance to accomplish his goal.
Too bad he ended up only befriending him.
He closed his eyes and sighed.
Lloyd the Great had vowed to protect the Great Zelos Wilder.
It was his duty as the hero, the valiant angel who walked the gilded path of a savior; Lloyd knew Zelos loved him and that Zelos deserved better than to merely suffer in silence. So Lloyd gave Zelos all he could, the truest echo of love he could muster without actually pretending to give Zelos the affection he desired, for Lloyd could not do something so cruel.
Nevertheless, even if Zelos wouldn't get a happy ending, Lloyd still wanted to keep him safe from getting a bad one.
But he'd failed in that before he had even started, for he could not protect Zelos from the harm Lloyd himself caused him, inflicting the greatest wound of all upon someone who does not deserve it in the least—no matter how much Zelos incorrectly believes otherwise.
Heartbreak is a pain for which there is no equal, Lloyd had seen plenty who'd had this fate befall them, but Lloyd could not ever know the feeling first-hand—he was almost envious of Zelos for that.
For it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.
Lloyd opened his eyes and tilted his head back down to stare into the middle distance in front of him as people passed him by.
It hurt Lloyd so much to know that he could never see Zelos as more than the closest of friends.
It was no fault of Zelos's; Lloyd is more to blame than him. Zelos may be a great actor but even when he was betraying them, just once, for the slightest moment, something had flashed in his eyes at one of Lloyd's enraged comments that was later identified as proof Zelos was still on their side.
Zelos loved Lloyd more than life itself but—as he had stated earlier—Lloyd was just unable to love him, not like that.
If there was one wish Lloyd truly wanted, it was to be able to fall in love.
The Eternal Sword could do many things, but not that; Lloyd knew because he had tried it and it had not worked.
He's made the wish before, with Sheena and Colette, but now he wished many times more than ever before.
He felt something for Zelos, and though he'd never felt it before, it couldn't be that kind of love; he'd deluded himself before—when he was growing up next to Colette—telling himself that what he felt was love, even though in the back of his mind, he knew it wasn't so.
Lloyd was sure it wasn't love, but it wasn't mere friendship either; maybe it was that 'brofriend' thing Zelos was always talking about.
In the end, Lloyd had given up on trying to fall in love; content with the friendship of many instead.
Perhaps it was because he was a half-angel; he'd asked Yuan about it before and Yuan had gotten an odd look on his face—an expression that was mostly cryptic, but held faint traces of other emotions too, one of which Lloyd could have sworn was amusement, that bastard—as he told Lloyd that his situation was unprecedented and that Lloyd was probably lucky that it seems to be the only majorly apparent negative effect of his heritage.
Lloyd shook his head as he began to push himself to his feet.
Though there was another unprecedented case that had been even more likely to have the inability to fall in love than Lloyd; yet that person had not only fallen in love, but had gotten a happy ending with his love reciprocated and somehow ended up being innocent and naïve, a fighter for peace and the safety of those he cares about, as opposed to a heartless demon driven by rage and bloodlust.
But through his innocence and desire to do what's right was someone who could read people perhaps better than he realized—he almost makes Lloyd doubt that he can never fall in love; he was a lot like Zelos in that respect.
Lloyd had always wondered about Emil.
To clarify, according to Lloyd, because he is a half-angel, he cannot fall in romantic love. He also thinks going past the brofriends stage would be leading Zelos on and would be a cruel thing to do.
Emil—and most likely Marta too—however, realizes that even if he knows it's fake, Zelos will be more happy if Lloyd did pretend and it would open up a chance for Lloyd to realize he had already fallen in love.
Unfortunately, it looks like Lloyd will not do this and his and Zelos's romantic future looks bleak.
EDIT: Apparently, my sister, TheRecorder, didn't like this ending so she made a sequel to my sequel, it's under my name, so read it and be sad no more!