A/N: Okay, I do not own Tales Of Symphonia, although if I did…., just kiddin'. (Please don't sue me! I don't have a cent to my name!) I also do not own Eminem's song When I'm Gone. This story is AU(Alternate Universe). I'm dedicating this to my good friend, Sachi J. If it weren't for her, this fic wouldn't exist, and I would never known of the wonderful video game Tales Of Symphonia. I get chills just typing that. So, yeah, Sachi ROCKS! The song lyrics are in italics.
When I'm Gone
Kratos is drunk in a bar after a long day on the road. He turns to complain to the bartender, who has been listening to people complain all day, and is tired of it all, but its part of his job. The longer he can keep people talking the more drinks they'll buy.
"I wish I could spend more time with my wife and boy," Kratos drawls in a depressed tone. "Here's the only picture I have of them."
Kratos took a picture out of his pocket of his purple pants and pushed it across the bar top to the bartender. The bartender looked at a picture taken in a forest. It was a beautiful picture. A beautiful lady with brown hair and green eyes was holding a baby. The baby had a small tuft of brown hair, his mother's eyes, and his father's face.
"Her name is Anna and his name is Lloyd," Krato slurred on. "The picture was taken fifteen years ago. Anna wanted to make a scrapbook for Lloyd, so we bought a camera. It was one of those that you take the picture and then the camera spits it out."
Kratos blew a raspberry and thought that was so funny. He fell into hysterics and only continued once he was under control.
"Noishe, our dog," he continued, to the bartender's dismay. "ate the camera soon afterward. Anna thought that I should keep the picture and take it with me on my travels. I'm a mercenary, ya know."
Oh the bartender knew alright. Kratos Aurion was one of the most popular mercenaries. He handed the picture back to him. Kratos tucked it back into his pocket and ordered another drink.
"You know," the bartender said as he was making Kratos' drink, a very complicated thing to make: a combination of brandy, whiskey, voldka, and a hint of tequila. "It's your life."
"Yeah… It's my life…," Kratos sighed, and slammed his fist on the bar top. "Hurry with the drink."
The bartender brought Kratos his drink. He was interested in Kratos, nobody knew much about him. Nobody knew he had a family…he could make a lot of money by selling this info to the media. He pulled aside one of the other workers at the bar.
"That is Kratos Aurion right there," he whispered pointing to Kratos. "Sit a little ways down the counter, but close enough so you can hear everything we say. Write down all of it. The "Iselia Enquirer" will pay us the big bucks for this story. Don't let him see what you're writing."
The bartender brings Kratos his drink. Kratos takes a long gulp. Once the bartender's "henchman" is in place he continues his talk with Kratos.
"So tell me about your family?"
"My own words I guess..." Kratos starts. "Have you ever loved someone so much, you'd give an arm for? Not the expression, no literally give an arm for?"
Kratos paused and reflected on when he had lost his right arm to Desians. He had been spending some time alone and Lloyd had slipped away. Lloyd was very curious, not surprising for a five-year-old. Kratos noticed that Lloyd was gone when he heard a familiar scream. He immediately took off in the direction of the scream. He came upon Lloyd, cornered against a tree by three Desians, whimpering in fear. Kratos growled out a threat to get their attention.
"How are sick are you guys?" he growled. "You cause me AND my son grief!"
He moved in to attack the Desians, but was distracted when his son whimpered again in fear. A Desian took advantage of the distraction and sliced Kratos' right arm. Kratos screamed in pain, but skillfully attacked back and killed all three of the Desians. The arm wound was too bad and he lost his arm. He did manage to get a metal arm for a replacement though.
"What happened?" the bartender asked excited, out of the corner of his eye he say his "henchman" writing away furiously.
"I don't want to talk about it," Kratos said.
"Okay," the bartender said disappointedly.
Kratos took no heed to the bartenders tone and just continued on.
"When they know they're your heart. And you know you were their armor. And you will destroy anyone who would try to harm 'em. But what happens when karma, turns right around and bites you? And everything you stand for, turns on you, despite you? What happens when you become the main source of a pain?"
Kratos remembered when he left. Lloyd didn't want him to.
"Daddy look what I made?" Lloyd said excited, but whatever he had made Kratos didn't see because he was busy getting ready.
"Dad's gotta go," he told his son.
"Daddy where's Mommy? I can't find Mommy where is she?" Lloyd whined.
"I don't know go play Lloyd, baby, your Daddy's busy. Daddy's-"
Whatever Kratos was going to say was interrupted by a scream. It was Anna's scream. Kratos ran downstairs and outside.
"Anna?" he shouted.
"Kratos! Help me!"
Kratos ran into the woods. Finally he reached the stream where Desians were attacking Anna. He pulled out his swords and attacked the damned Desians. He managed to kill them, but he couldn't save Anna.
"I'll give you one underdog then you gotta swing by yourself," Kratos continued to the bartender, crying, oblivious of the writer. "Then turn right around…and tell her you love her. And put hands on his mother, who's a spitting image of him. That's Kratos, yeah baby, Kratos's crazy. Kratos made me, but tonight Kratos's, rock-by-baby…"
"And when I'm gone," Anna managed to whisper. "just carry on, don't mourn. Rejoice every time you hear the sound of my voice. And I didn't feel a thing, so baby don't feel no pain. Just smile back."
Those words haunted Kratos in his dreams.
"And when I'm gone, just carry on, don't mourn. Rejoice every time you hear the sound of my voice. Just know that I'm looking down on you smiling. And I didn't feel a thing. So baby don't feel no pain. Just smile back.."
The writer finished a page of the notebook and flipped over to a new page.
"I keep having this dream," Kratos continues to the bartender after accepting another drink. "I'm pushin' Lloyd on the swing. He keeps screaming, he don't want me to leave."
"You're making Mommy cry, why?" Lloyd cries as Kratos pushes him higher and higher on the swing. "Why is Mommy crying?"
"Baby, Daddy ain't leaving no more," Kratos says to try to reassure his son and himself.
"Daddy you're lying!" Lloyd shouts and Kratos walks into the house to go back. Lloyd jumps off the swing and latches onto Kratos' leg. "But you ain't leaving no more, Daddy you're mine!"
With little difficulty Kratos shakes Lloyd off and goes inside. Lloyd follows him inside.
"He's piling boxes in front of the door," Krato says sadly to the bartender. "trying to block it."
"Daddy please," Lloyd whines as Kratos is destroying the boxes. "Daddy don't leave, Daddy – no stop it!"
"Goes in his pocket," Kratos continues to the audience of two. "pulls out a tiny necklace locket. It's got a picture."
"This'll keep you safe Daddy," Lloyd says, looking up at his father and handing him the locket. "take it withcha."
"I look up, it's just me standing in the mirror," Kratos continues wiping away tears, then he slams his fist down on the bar top, again. "They're saying 'You've got one more chance to do right' – and it's tonight. And just as I go to walk out of my bedroom door, it's turned into a forest, they're gone, and I'm hearing…"
"And when I'm gone, just carry on, don't mourn. Rejoice every time you hear the sound of my voice. Just know that I'm looking down on you smiling. And I didn't feel a thing, so baby don't feel my pain. Just smile back," Kratos takes a long swallow of the new drink in front of him before repeating Anna's last words. "And when I'm gone, just carry on, don't mourn. Rejoice every time you hear the sound of my voice. Just know that I didn't feel a thing, so baby don't feel my pain. Just smile back…"
"Sixty thousand people," Kratos continues on with his dream, taking no notice of the hurried writing. "all people who want my help. I turn to walk away, but they're screaming so loud, I take one last look at the crowd. I don't believe what I'm seeing."
"Dad it's me," Lloyd says, he his carrying Anna in his arms. "help Mommy, her wrists are bleeding."
"But baby we're in Triet," Kratos replies. "how did you get to Triet?"
"I followed you Daddy," Lloyd shouts over the crowd. "you told me that you weren't leavin'. You lied to me Dad, and now you make Mommy sad."
Kratos bows his head, so Lloyd can not see the tears in his eyes. He sees Lloyd hold out his hand toward Kratos. He his holding out something glittering.
"And I bought you this coin, it says 'Number One Dad'. That's all I wanted, I just want to give you this coin." Lloyd throws the coin and it lands at Kratos' feet. "I get the point – fine, me and Mommy are gone."
"But baby wait," Kratos shouts.
"It's too late dad, you made the choice," Lloyd shouts back. "Now go show 'em that you love 'em more than us. It's no wonder you can't go to sleep."
"All this time I couldn't see," Kratos continues to slurr to the bartender and writer about his dream. "How could it be? The sky darkens, my life ashes. That's when I wake up, alarm clock's ringin', there's birds singin'. It's spring and Lloyd's outside swinging, I walk right up to Anna and kiss her, tell her I miss her, Lloyd just smiles and winks, almost as if to say…"
"And when I'm gone, just carry on, don't mourn. Rejoice every time you hear the sound of my voice. Just know that I'm looking down on you smiling. And I didn't feel a thing, so don't feel no pain. Just smile back," Kratos manages to repeat those words one more time before he passes out. "And when I'm gone, just carry on, don't mourn. Rejoice every time you hear the sound of my voice. Just know that I'm looking down on you smiling. And I didn't feel a thing, so baby don't feel no pain. Just smile back…"
A/N: So what did ya think? Let me know. Merry Christmas to everyone, but especially to Sachi! This is my Christmas present to her. I wish I could have brought the Tales of Symphonia characters to life for her, but I can't. This is almost as good right?