title: End of the Road
fandom: Tales of Symphonia
characters/pairings: past Zelos/Lloyd, much past Kratos/Zelos, Colette, Sheena, Genis
rating: G/Teen
warnings: character death, grief
summary: Zelos contemplates, and Kratos counsels.
notes: for my darling Bryan. AU, cuz i'm assuming an end of the game where Zelos is still alive and Kratos and Zelos are both happy with Lloyd.

Zelos sat on the edge of the bed and stared at his closet. It was their closet, but it was all his now. He should have been getting dressed, but he was just staring at Lloyd's clothes. Why did Lloyd like to wear clothes with so many buttons? It was so annoying. But... it wasn't a problem anymore.

There was a knock on the door, and then Kratos was inside their bedroom, but it was just his now. "Zelos. Everyone is ready."

He smiled mechanically, because that was what he did. He smiled and made jokes and acted like a pervert. He didn't feel like he was doing very well, though. "I know. I don't have anything to wear." He laughed on cue. "I never really liked wearing a lot of black."

Kratos seemed tall. Big. Brooding. Of course, his son had just died, so that might explain it. Zelos didn't want to look at him. He knew everyone has lost a friend, a son, a hero... He lost the only person who ever really loved him.

Kratos watched him for a moment, and then went to the closet. He looked inside for a moment, and then pulled down a small stack of clothes from the shelf. "What about these?"

This was actually funny. He picked up the long vest he used to wear all the time. "Been a long time since I wore this."

"Lloyd would like it, I think," Kratos was trying to be sympathetic. He was trying to be nice. He was trying, but Zelos didn't want to hear Kratos' opinion on what Lloyd would or would not like.

He stood up and started to strip. "Lloyd is dead, so it won't matter." He got dressed quickly. At least his undershirt was black. He could see himself, from the corner of his eye, in the mirror. He didn't like to look at himself. He had bags under his eyes because he hadn't slept in five days. His hair looked like crap. He had lost some weight, too. His black shirt was hanging off of him. But then, Lloyd had been sick for a while. He had nearly exhausted himself trying to keep Lloyd healthy, but Lloyd finally told him it was time for him to die.

He got caught on his stupid armbands. Stupid strings. It's been ages since he had last worn this. Kratos came over to help, but as soon as his fingers touched Zelos, Zelos jumped back.

"Sorry," Zelos mumbled, looking at his arms. He couldn't look at Kratos. "Been feeling... really sensitive, ever since... Just... can't..."

Kratos sat down on the bed, and watched Zelos fumble with the armbands. "I never thought you would be like this. I was opposed to your relationship. I don't know if you knew."

Zelos rolled his eyes. "Gee, really, Dad? Never woulda guessed..." He shook his head, and started to pull his boots on.

"Did you ever tell him about us?" Kratos spoke quietly, not looking at Zelos.

Zelos leaned tiredly over his boots. Just getting dressed was enough to wear him out. He didn't want to go downstairs. He didn't want to look at Lloyd's body, stretched out on the table. He didn't want to look at all of Lloyd's friends pretending to be nice to him. "Somehow, that never came up."

Kratos nodded slowly. He sighed deeply. "Was it hard to watch him get old?"

Shrugging, Zelos stood up. "Not really. It's natural to get old. Lloyd just got better and better the more mature he got. He looked so great with grey hair." He smiled, and it was easier that time, but it hurt, too. Lloyd looked great. But he was gone, now. "We're the unnatural ones. You still look exactly the same as the first day I met you. That's freaky."

He actually saw Kratos crack a small smile. That had to be the ultimate. There was nothing else for him to live for.

"Kratos, will you kill me?" The question was honest and simply stated. He really did not want to go down there. Kratos could do it. He saw no reason why he must continue.

Kratos watched Zelos carefully, measuring him. Zelos just waited. There was nothing else to do. "Lloyd wouldn't... No, sorry, I can't do that."

Zelos' shoulders slumped. "Then. I suppose we are going down."

"It is time," Kratos nodded, standing.

Zelos sighed. "I wish you would just kill me. I can tell you about some of the more perverse things I did to your son."

"Zelos, shut up," Kratos sighed, wearily. "I lost my wife. You can survive this, too."

"You're stronger," Zelos whined. "And anyway, you went evil."

"Come along," Kratos said, opening the door. "Everyone's been waiting."

"Yeah, well..." Zelos closed his eyes, and rubbed his face. "I don't really care." He trudged heavily to the door, and down the stairs. Somehow, having Kratos walking behind him was oddly comforting. Like... he wasn't entirely alone. Though, there was Lloyd, spread out on the table, and all of Lloyd's friends. Colette was crying on Sheena's shoulder. Genis was standing stiffly to the side.

Zelos felt dead. He went straight to Lloyd's body, and stroked his hand. Lloyd's face was calm and peaceful. Zelos leaned down, and kissed Lloyd's cold lips. "Wherever you are, bud... take me with you," he whispered.

People spoke to him. He didn't hear them. He didn't hear anything, or see anything. It all passed before him in a blur.

They put Lloyd into the ground, and he started to break. He didn't remember it, but Kratos was holding him when it was done.

It all hurt so much. He wanted to fall in the ground after Lloyd, but Kratos led him away. Kratos took him back home, and carried him up to put him in bed. He clung to Kratos, and Kratos stayed with him.

He wasn't going to be strong like Kratos, and keep on going. At one time, he wanted Lloyd to kill him. If Kratos didn't want to kill him, he was pretty sure Sheena or Raine would.

He put his head on Kratos' shoulder, and slept, and dreamt that it was Lloyd he was with once again.