title: Time to Grieve
fandom: Tales of Symphonia
characters/pairings: seemingly one-sided Kratos/Zelos, past Zelos/Lloyd
rating: G
warnings: grief
summary: Zelos slowly comes to terms with his grief.
notes: for my darling Bryan. this can be read as a sequel to End of the Road, but not necessarily. also, clearly a sequel is required. =p

Every day started the same way. Zelos would lean up in bed, and ask Kratos to kill him. The answers varied, from the whimsical to the desperate, but Kratos never agreed, and he never left Zelos alone to find some other way.

Zelos seemed to assume that Kratos would eventually leave, or just plain get tired of him. He was waiting for that day, so that he could be alone to end his life. As far as Zelos was concerned, Lloyd's death meant his death as well, after all.

Kratos never left, though.

At night, Zelos would feel so horribly alone, so dreadfully empty, he would cling to Kratos. He cried into Kratos' chest until he slept dreamlessly, held secure in Kratos' arms.

Winter came, and then spring again. Eventually, Zelos stopped asking Kratos to kill him, and he stopped expecting Kratos to leave.

The first anniversary of Lloyd's death, Kratos went with Zelos to Lloyd's grave, and held Zelos in his arms as Zelos stared at Lloyd's grave. Zelos had no more tears inside of him, but he clung to Kratos, refused to eat, and dragged Kratos to bed before twilight. He lay in bed with his eyes shut tightly, and he shivered, his breath hitched.

Four months later, Zelos was teaching Kratos how to cook. Kratos was a reluctant student, and he tossed flour at Zelos to distract him from his failures. Zelos fought back, and soon they were having quite a food fight. Zelos started to laugh, and the sound was precious music to Kratos' ears. Almost involuntarily, he pulled Zelos into his arms, and held onto him. He caressed Zelos' cheek, smiling. Zelos blushed, and pulled away.

Every night, still, Kratos held Zelos in his arms, but old passions unbidden rose in his chest. Before he knew that Lloyd was still alive, while the Pope still ruled, he had held Zelos at night, too. Their bodies did not change with passage of time. He was still the same Kratos who had loved Zelos back then, and Zelos was the same, too, only the years could be seen in his eyes, in the cast of his expression, and in his body language.

He would stay by Zelos' side, as long as Zelos needed him, no matter how much it hurt to hold him and not be able to touch, not the way he wanted, not the way he needed.

For Zelos, and for his son, dead and buried, he would be what Zelos needed, and not ask Zelos to be what he needed.