As always, my off-handed humor must make an entrance. Disturbing.

And it should be the end of the onesided LloydXKratos XD

I don't own Tales of Symphonia. If I did, Kratos would sing (yeah, you heard me…sing) in a cut scene somewhere.

A campfire crackled merrily in the surrounding darkness. Five people and one 'dog' sat somewhat near the heat source, none talking loudly for no more than five minutes. Ever since the battle earlier that day, an edgy atmosphere encased the World Regeneration group, and the three youngest weren't exactly sure why.

The purple clad mercenary sat facing the fire with an intense gleam in his garnet eyes. He sat a distance away from the others; keeping closer to Noishe, who was farthest from the welcoming flames. Kratos kept his face carefully blank, even when he had begun to hear the hushed conversations of the young people with his angelic hearing.

"Why is the Professor mad?" Genis's soft voice was lined with pure worry.

"And Kratos seems…a little more annoyed than usual." Lloyd's not so quiet pitch caused the auburn haired man to mentally roll his eyes. He can be so…unobservant and obvious at times.

Collette whispered fervently, "Do you think they fought?" the blonde sounded as if she wanted to cry.

It was becoming more and more difficult to maintain a straight face; Such useless emotions…Kratos wanted to scoff at the ridiculous display of concern for him and the professor. He glanced at the other subject of their conversation.

Raine sat idly, poking at the flames with a long stick she had found in the forest. She sighed wistfully as she stared into the flames, not once feeling the pair of garnet eyes on her.

She needs to stay on guard at all times The purple donned man grimaced. Drifting mentally away will be her downfall


The mercenary blinked. So much for staying on guard…

Lloyd stood before the auburn haired man, shuffling his red boots in the dirt. His brown hair was wild as usual, and his chocolate colored eyes darted in many directions, as if they would pop right out of his skull.

Needless to say; Kratos was actually unnerved.

"Do you think you…can train me again in sword fighting?" the brunette smiled widely, but Kratos couldn't help but notice it was forced.

"Lloyd…" the elder swordsman kept his voice level, hiding any irritation that was underlining his tone. "It's the middle of the night."

"Yeah…but you never know when we will get attacked in the dark!" the twin swordsman protested quickly, motioning towards the surrounding trees, "I need to know how to fight in darkness too!"

Kratos mulled over his argument for a moment. The brunette did have a point; and the auburn haired man didn't want anyone to suspect that he had been staying up the entire time to watch over the group. "Very well."

"Had enough?"

"Haaa…haa… you gotta be kidding me!" With a loud cry, Lloyd again rushed the dark silhouette of Kratos with his two training swords.

Only to trip over a random tree root and fall flat on his face.

"Fundamentals of fighting in the dark; always quickly alternate between looking at the ground and looking at your opponent." The purple clad swordsman smirked, "You never know when something will…surface itself."

The brunette pouted while rubbing his abused nose gingerly. The two swordsmen had been relatively away from the camp for two hours, and the younger's sleep deprived brain was finally showing in his attacks.

If one could call them that; it was more like Lloyd running madly to trip, or smack into a tree.

Kratos amused tone wasn't very encouraging either. "How can you protect the chosen if you keep falling like her?" He mocked unkindly, only wishing to enrage the brunette into trying harder.

Lloyd opened his mouth for a retort, but shut it quickly again; instead, the twin swordsman sat up on the ground and motioned for Kratos to follow suit. The red clad youth had an uncharacteristic serious expression spread across his childish features.

Mildly astonished and curious at Lloyd's change of heart, the elder swordsman joined his apprentice. I'm sure it's about-

"So what happened between you and the Professor?"

and I was right. "Nothing at all, Lloyd," the auburn haired man lied smoothly, almost fooling himself. Almost.

"You two have been tense all day," the twin swordsman pointed out, causing Kratos to subtly flinch with his mistake. "And Me, Genis, and Collette are worried."

"I'm sure we are both tried and drained of our mana, is all." The mercenary noted that Lloyd looked slightly uncomfortable at his statement. "We will be fine in the morning."

"Kratos…I'm sorry…" The brunette refused to make eye contact with the elder swordsman, choosing to examine the ground, "You had to heal me so much…and I don't seem to be getting any stronger…"

"That's not true," the purple donned man smiled lightly as he studied Lloyd's downcast profile, "I've trained another once, and you show so much more promise than he did."


Kratos chuckled at the innocence and hopefulness that was presented to him in the form of the twin swordsman's face. "Yes," he confirmed, rewarded with a bright grin from the younger swordsman. And…a tinged pink face?

The mercenary raised an eyebrow at the abnormality on Lloyd's cheeks. Didn't he see the same condition earlier that day? "Do you have a fever?" We can't have him sick and slowing us down…Kratos placed a gloved hand on Lloyd's forehead to check for illness.

The twin swordsman unexpectedly slapped Kratos's hand away, earning a grunt of confusion from the purple clad mercenary. The brunette turned an even deeper shade of crimson as he stuttered out apologies for his own foolishness, flailing weakly with his arms. "I-I didn't mean it, I swear!" He swayed considerably, nearly falling on his back.

What is wrong with him? Kratos, patience running thin, harshly gripped the twin swordsman's thinner shoulders in an attempt to calm him. They both struggled for several minutes, the mercenary trying to keep the young man still, and the brunette's face turning redder and redder with each passing moment.

"LLOYD!" Kratos roared, forcing said youth to look directly into his face, "Are you unwell?! ANSWER ME!"

Lloyd whimpered softly at the malicious tone, but he replied with silence, keeping his tears from falling.

"Lloyd…" Kratos tried again, in a calmer voice; relaxing his grip as he did so, "How can any of us help you if you refuse to speak?" Their faces were mere inches away from each other. Since when did we come so close? The auburn haired man blinked as he realized Lloyd's lips were coming closer, right towards his own…

"Augh! GUARDIAN!" The usually composed, even cold, swordsman screamed the defense spell at the top of his lungs, pushing the brunette to the floor while he fell backwards; the green bubble of protection shattering almost immediately upon impact. He tried to kiss me…! My SON tried to KISS me! Kratos's hysterical mind shouted, his left eye twitching violently.

The twin swordsman stood up with a start, his face a deeper red than his would-be crush's hair. "S-sorry!" Lloyd wailed disgracefully, sprinting away before the auburn haired man could even react.

Kratos stayed with his back on the ground, allowing nothing to enter his mind but the chirps of crickets in the night. It reassured him to some extent, how the world didn't end when a son tried to 'make out' with his own father. Of course Lloyd didn't know that, but that wasn't the point.

"Humph. Never simple."