Copy-and-Paste Disclaimer: I do not own Tales of Symphonia. The concept of 'brofriends'—which is 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.

Okay, this was inspired by the Fall Out Boy version of What's This? From The Nightmare Before Christmas, I was in the car ride home from when me and the 'rents went to drop my sister off at her new college dorm and this just popped into my head and I just started typin'.

Anyways, so this is best enjoyed after listening to the song. Go to the youtube homepage and then tack this: watch?v=mTUAnk6gXdM onto the end of it after the backslash. It doesn't really get started 'til about 1:20 so you can skip to that point if you wish. Though it may be best if you merely listen to it as opposed to watching it.

Gentle white snowflakes fell serenely onto the frosted cityscape of Flanoir as Kratos looked on.

Many people milled about down below in the city plaza but eight in particular stood out to him. And of those eight, there was one he focused most of his attention on.

Kratos could only watch on and stand guard over his son's happiness to the best of his abilities. His only desire was that he could protect his child from pain in all the many forms it took and from having to suffer the same sort of burdens and tormented existence that Kratos must endure.

What's this?

Lloyd looks so happy and carefree with them, he was laughing and smiling and showing off. An ever-growing crowd of the local children, their teenage siblings, and the parents of both groups had begun to gather around where Lloyd and Zelos had begun to recount a tale of their heroics in exaggerated detail with physical demonstrations and corrections interjected by Raine or Sheena.

What's this?

Genis exited the inn carrying a large freshly baked pie in each hand—Regal right behind him doing the same—and declared the pie-baking competition taste test was ready to commence. A delicious smell wafted from all four of the pies and filled the air with their pleasant scents, causing Noishe to whine in longing from beside Kratos. Lloyd and Zelos excitedly scrambled to where the pies were being placed on an outside table.

Children followed in their wake—Kratos also noticed how Noishe had slipped away from his side to join in the rush—asking to take part in the competition. Sheena smiled at them and counted heads to judge how many slices to cut.

Zelos rubbed his hands together as he prepared to 'provide an unbiased opinion on quality'; declaring that fresh-from-the-oven-and-still-warm pie with friends is perfect for a picnic on a cold day. Lloyd laughed mischievously and pulled Zelos's headband down over his eyes, proclaiming it was now a 'blind taste test'.

What's this?

After the contest had ended in a tie, Zelos took an empty pie pan and squirted the remainder of the leftover whipped cream in it. Kratos could hear him as he tapped on Lloyd's shoulder.

"Hey, bud."

"Ye-" Lloyd began, turning only to have Zelos to shove the whipped cream pie into his face.

Zelos fell in hysterics, "Oh bud, you should have seen your fa-crap!"

Lloyd had wiped off his face and then scooped up a handful of snow, molding it into a ball before pitching it at Zelos only for Zelos to duck at the last second.

They both turned to see where it flew just in time to witness it land on Genis's unfinished pie piece.

They both dodged the summoned snowballs sent their way and winced when they saw the snowballs' splattered remnants slide off of Raine's back.

She slowly turned around with an ominous air.

Zelos yelled, "Snowball fight!" and took off running, calling upon his own ice spells as he fled.

The whole town seemed to join in, snowballs flying everywhere and a loud curse from Zelos when Celsius rose above the crowd, eyes fixed on him.

What's this?

Kratos stared out at the laughter, the joy, the good feeling all around; it was a scene of purity, the chaotic delight of children both young and old running about and playing a game as old as snow itself.

Kratos felt a warm feeling begin to fill up that empty place inside of him that had been hollow ever since Anna's death as Lloyd ran by with a look of carefree happiness on his face that Kratos had never witnessed before.

Could it be Kratos got his wish?

A snowball slammed into the side of Kratos's head and he turned to see Zelos standing a small distance away with an unreadable expression on his face before re-entering the fray.

What's this?

Kratos picked up the slightly damp folded-up sheet of paper that had been inside the snowball Zelos had thrown.

It had 'Report' written on the front. Kratos opened it to read over its contents.

He stared at the words for a while in shock, his thoughts racing and the implications whirling in his mind. Once he'd recovered and looked back up, the snowball fight had ended and everyone was retreating back inside for the night, Noishe somehow managing to have sidled back up next to him when he wasn't looking.

What's this?

Kratos had begun to leave when Noishe firmly nudged him in the side with his head to stop him and something caught his eye in the frosted window of the inn he was passing by.

It was his son, asleep in his bed, so wore out from the snowball fight that he'd not even changed out of his clothes before passing out on top on his covers.

Lloyd had a soft smile on his face as he slumbered.

What's this?

There was a knock on Lloyd's door.

"Hey man, you awake?" Zelos asked from behind the door.

However, Lloyd slept on.

"I guess not…" Zelos said after a moment before the sound of retreating footsteps could be heard.

What's this?

After a few moments there was another knock.

"Hey, do you have a sec?" Sheena asked from behind the door.

However, Lloyd slept on.

"I guess you're asleep…" Sheena said after a moment before the sound of retreating footsteps could be heard.

What's this?

After a few moments there was another knock.

"Lloyd, it's snowing outside." Colette said from behind the door.

However, Lloyd slept on.

"I guess it would be too cold anyway…" Colette said after a moment before the sound of retreating footsteps could be heard.

What's this?

Kratos pondered the sight before him.

Lloyd was sound asleep alright; it seems nothing would probably wake him. He looked so peaceful and secure in his dreamland—no ghosts of the past or ghouls of the present weighing on his mind.

At least for now, but what if soon Lloyd began to dwell on Kratos's actions? For all appearances, it looked as though Kratos had abandoned Lloyd to die as a child and then tried to kill him on multiple occasions.

Kratos felt the sudden urge to explain himself to his son.

"Lloyd…" Kratos began.

Lloyd blearily opened his eyes, sitting up and groggily looking about for the voice, "Did someone just call my name?…"

What's this?

"Hey, Lloyd!" Zelos called, once more knocking on Lloyd's door, "You can't just diss me and the hunnies like that!"

"Huh, what? Zelos?" Lloyd rubbed his eyes tiredly before getting out of bed.

Zelos opened the door and let himself in, "Why didn't you answer when we knocked?"

"Maybe 'cause I had passed out from exhaustion from the snowball fight you help start."

"Whoa whoa whoa! Don't be like that! Come on, let's go talk outside for a bit."

"Well, since I'm awake, I might as well…"

"That's the spirit!"

What's this?

Why would Zelos want to speak with Lloyd?

Kratos waged a short internal battle with himself over whether or not to eavesdrop. It was rude, but, then again, this was Zelos we were talking about.

In the end Kratos decided that even if he was caught, Lloyd could hardly think much lower of him than he did already.

What's this?

Kratos found them at the balcony overlooking the city.

The same balcony often used as a meeting place for couples.

Kratos once again debated whether or not to listen in with his angelic hearing before coming to the conclusion that otherwise this venture would be pointless.

Though it did make him feel slightly guilty to intrude upon their conversation; like he was infringing on an actual rendezvous between lovers—Noishe, sensing Kratos's intention, wasn't making it any easier either. He quickly stomped on the emotion and ground it into the snow, ignoring Noishe's disapproving look.

What's this?

He heard Lloyd give a laugh Kratos could have never pulled from him on his own and a goofy smile Kratos had only seen Lloyd wear around Genis and Colette—the friends he'd known most of his life, "Once the world is at peace, you can run away all you like."

"Gee, thanks." Zelos replied sarcastically but not sardonically. Then, more softly, "Man, I can't believe I'm joining the weaker side. This isn't like me at all."

What's this?

As Lloyd and Zelos left, Zelos slung his arm around Lloyd's shoulder, making a joke about 'warming Lloyd up', and Kratos wondered if this was what Zelos meant in his letter.

He unfolded and read the paper over again.

You know very well where we're going; there's no need for me to tell you, old man.

Zelos had never used 'we' to refer to Lloyd's group before.

I'm done with all this stealth crap. Tomorrow I'm following my own heart, and you cannot stop me. You've done a real shitty job as a parent and I can't stand people like you. I want absolutely nothing to do with you or any of your plans; not yours, not Yuan's, and not his 'lordship's'. I'm not going to do anything for any of you. I'm not choosing to ally myself with your son's team either, if that's what you're thinking.

Kratos had been worried upon reading these words; until he read the last line.

But I am going to be fighting on Lloyd's side. I will be leading the charge alongside with my best bud, Lloyd Irving, son of Dirk and Iselia native.

Kratos looked up at Noishe, who whined.

He chuckled and rubbed Noishe's head with a soft smile, "I suppose you're right, old friend, he'll do just fine."

Lloyd may face trials ahead, but he'll find the happiness and life Kratos wanted for him.

It was in the last form he had expected from the last place he had expected.

But Kratos had gotten his wish.