At last, the pieces were finally starting to fall into place. Fourteen years too late. [Kratos+Lloyd oyako, ficlet]
It had slowly eaten away at him over the years, the mystery of where his small son had gone. Seeing all the other corpses partially eaten by monsters, he had assumed the same fate had befallen Lloyd, and indeed he spent the next fourteen years believing this. Living his life based on that belief. And yet, somewhere in the far back of his mind, a little doubt had always niggled away at him. That the whole affair felt slightly /off/, and so the lack of finding even part of his innocent son's body stayed locked away in his mind, still niggling away at his consciousness.
He went about the next fourteen years in a kind of numbness, weighed down heavily by guilt and regret. He returned to Derris-Kharlan, where Yggdrasill accepted him back readily enough, and he once again allowed himself to be roped in by Yggdrasill's madness, making plans for Martel's resurrection. There was once again a possible suitable vessel for Martel, and they had to take care to make sure it was properly nurtured until the appropriate time came.
He never allowed himself thoughts of Anna and Lloyd. Never indulged in thinking about what might have been, and how it all could have turned out different if Kvar hadn't caught up to them, or if he had saved Anna, or saved Lloyd in time. In over four thousand years of living, he had at least learned there wasn't much point in dwelling on the past.
The first inkling of suspicion that his dead son might not be so dead after all had come at Martel's temple, outside the small village of Iselia in Sylvarant. He had left Derris-Kharlan per Yggdrasill's orders to accompany the Chosen One on her journey. She had come up the temple steps, two boys with her, and--
And it was stupid, he knew, but still--one of the boys, the older looking one, had been named Lloyd.
He had showed no visible reaction at learning the boy's name, gave no indication that it had affected him at all, though hearing the name after fourteen years had been quite a shock. He had, however, surreptitiously studied the boy as they proceeded through the temple. Wondering, if just maybe... Then he'd dismissed it as mere coincidence, having given up on hope the day that he had lost Anna and Lloyd. There had been no reason to think Lloyd had survived.
But now... Only now, staring at what was undoubtedly Anna's grave, did the pieces of the puzzle finally start to fall into place. That boy in the house there--that brash, loud, stubborn boy--that was his dead son, only not dead. That was his Lloyd. Surely the coincidence could not be that big. Especially not after overhearing part of the shouting match between Lloyd and his father. They were Anna's circumstances, his circumstances. His Lloyd.
He heard footsteps approaching him, and when the boy--Lloyd, his son--was standing beside him, he spoke. "Whose gravestone is this?" He asked the question knowing the answer, and yet still needing confirmation, as if hearing it from someone else's lips would make it true without a doubt.
"Ah, you heard, right?" Lloyd said sheepishly. "It's my mom's."
"Anna... hmm," he said pensively, wondering just how much the boy knew. "Is your father alive?"
Lloyd was silent for a moment, and Kratos wondered why he kept asking questions he already knew the answers to. He wondered what Lloyd was thinking. "...I don't know," Lloyd said at last. "But Dirk is my dad."
Startlingly enough, the words hurt, but he did not show it. When he answered, his voice was calm. "...Yes. That was a careless thing to ask. I'm sorry."
Lloyd did not respond. The two stood side-by-side for a few minutes until, eventually, Lloyd left, presumably to go talk to the Chosen.
He continued to stand there alone after Lloyd had gone, still staring at Anna's grave, at last understanding the truth of what must have happened fourteen years ago. He still did not allow himself to think of what could have been. Some part of him almost did want to lament the lost time, to regret missing his son's growing up years, but he knew that it would be pointless to do so, and so he did not. It was enough to allow himself to even feel a tiny bit of hope, knowing that Lloyd was alive and well.
He stood there, staring at Anna's grave and not thinking much, until the Chosen and the half-elves came to collect him, having finished their talking and goodbyes with Lloyd. They set out for Iselia. For the future, towards salvation.
2006 butterflie August 15, 2006 Tuesday 10:22PM