A short-ish fic set in an inn in a town somewhere :) The fact that the game just fades out and then in again when the characters book into an inn just seems like it's asking for ideas about what happens to the characters during the fade to be written.

So uh, yes, yet again it's a no major spoilers fic based in an inn at night-time in a non-specific place and time in the game. I'm a bit predictable aren't I? :)

Also predictable is the fact that it's Colette and Lloyd pairing. I just think they're so cute together, and cute is good :) There's also a little tiny bit of Zelos and Sheena in there as well. Main focus of the story is Colette and Sheena, who end up having a perfectly friendly conversation, because I bet they could you know :)

Disclaimer: I don't own Tales of Symphonia. I keep getting ideas to write about it, but I don't own it.

Another night, another stay at an inn. Although, Sheena had to admit, this was a very nice one. She was admiring the décor of the lobby when she heard Colette scream from the living room. Assassin instincts alert she snapped round to run into the room but Lloyd called to her.

"Wait, Sheena!" he moved closer to her, leaving Raine to finish dealing with booking them in.

"Don't worry, believe it or not that's a good noise," he sweat-dropped.

Come to think of it, Sheena thought, the noise hadn't contained any tones of pain, fear or anger.

"How do you know?" she asked Lloyd.

"I just do," he shrugged.

Colette's head appeared around the living room door.

"Come and see, come and see!" she grinned at them before disappearing again.

Lloyd and Sheena went into the living room. Lloyd laughed when he saw what the noise had been about. Sure enough it had been a delighted squeal. Sheena made a similar noise to the one Colette had, and then blushed and sweat-dropped as she realised what she'd done.

Curled up in a basket beside the fire was a mother dog and a litter of puppies. Colette was kneeling next to the basket making a fuss of them.

"Well," Sheena smiled. "That's her happily occupied for the rest of the night then."

Sure enough Colette had spent a happy evening playing with the young dogs. She seemed to spend most of the time laid out on the floor in front of the fire buried under a pile of happy, wiggling, slobbery puppies.

Lloyd, despite the fact that he was used to it, was amused by the way the animals were drawn to her. Once most of the puppies were tired and had returned to their basket he managed to find room to sit next to Colette by the fire.

One of the puppies seemed to have become particularly attached to Colette and she sat with it in her lap. Once Lloyd had gotten himself settled comfortably he started talking to her. Although Sheena was sitting away from the fireplace she caught little snatches of their conversation.

Yes, Lloyd agreed, the puppy was cute. Yes, it did have a fluffy tail and yes, it was a shame they couldn't give it a new home in the group.

Sheena giggled. She, too, had noticed in the short space of time she'd know Colette, which was only a short time she realised, they'd all been through so much together it just seemed like a long time, that Colette was good with animals. She was just good with life in general full stop actually Sheena thought.

Apart from the times when she got a bit down because of the trouble she felt she was causing, which really wasn't her fault as Lloyd kept telling her, Colette was always cheerful. She loved life and loved others to enjoy it as well.

Colette would, Sheena suddenly thought, make a good mother if she was ever given the chance.

She smiled at the blonde, who was still playing with the puppy, and then Lloyd, who had joined in with the game. If this whole mess ever got sorted out she had a feeling it would be likely.

Sheena couldn't help but giggle, those two were being so cute, and the puppy just added to the cuteness. Suddenly inspired, she picked up the sketchpad Colette had given her and a pencil and started sketching.

Drawing was good, she was glad Colette had been so kind and had taken the time to help her improve her sketching skills. Drawing gave her a chance to take her mind off things, and she had a lot on her mind right now. She could really do with someone to talk to. As she began to add detail into the sketch Sheena wondered if Colette would make a good sister type figure as well.

Some time later the puppy fell asleep and Lloyd and Colette got up from the hearth after Colette had made sure the puppy was comfortable in it's basket.

The pair went to leave the living room but just as she got to the door Colette noticed Sheena was drawing. She gave the older girl a wave and then a thumbs up and a big smile. Sheena smiled and waved back and, as Colette left the room, wondered what the little angel girl would think of what she'd drawn.

Sheena finished the last bit of coloured shading on the picture and stretched. She rolled her shoulders and neck around and they made a gentle cricking sound.

"That's not any good for you," Raine said, not looking up from her notes and papers.

Sheena looked around the room. Presea was taking a game of patience very seriously. Genis had his nose in a book but his attention seemed mostly focused on Presea. Raine was, as usual, studying. Regal seemed as though he was meditating or something, his eyes staring into the fire, and Zelos was preening in front of the large mirror that hung over the fireplace.

Sheena's gaze lingered on Zelos. She shook her head gently as if to clear it. Yes, it was Colette she should talk to. She gathered up her things and went upstairs.

She dropped her stuff off in her room and then went to the room where Lloyd and Colette would be. She knocked on the door and heard Lloyd yell "it's open!"

She pushed the door open and saw Lloyd stretched out on one of the beds, note- and textbooks surrounding him, but no Colette.

"Where's Colette?" she asked him.

"Taking a bath. Those puppies were cute but they were so slobbery!" he laughed, pointing towards the door that lead into the room's bathroom.

"Would you mind if I went and talked to her?" Sheena asked.

"I've no objections, although it's up to her," Lloyd said.

Sheena crossed the room and stopped by the slightly ajar door.

"Hey Colette, it's Sheena, mind if I come in and talk to you?" she called out. The sound of cute, tuneful singing and splashing water stopped.

"Sure, I don't mind" Colette replied.

Sheena walked into the bathroom and giggled. Colette was buried under a mountain of bubbles.

"This bath is soooooooooooo deep," Colette beamed. "It's so nice!"

She plopped a rubber ducky on top of a bubble mountain and watched it make a tunnel in the bubbles.

Sheena smiled. Typical Colette. She'd been through so many challenges and suffered so much pain, and yet here she was still able to play with bath toys.

"Would you like me to scrub your back for you?" Sheena offered.

"Please!" Colette smiled, digging around for the sponge.

As Sheena gently scrubbed the blonde girl's back Colette asked

"So, what did you want to talk about?"

"You're a good judge of character, right?" Sheena asked.

"Lloyd's better at it than I am," Colette said. "But as we grew up together he helped me get an idea of how to work out what a person's really like, yeah"

"Mind if I ask your opinion?" Sheena asked.

"Go ahead," Colette smiled, clearly enjoying the luxury of having her back scrubbed.

"Zelos," Sheena said. "He's not the complete philandering vain pervert he makes himself out to be is he?"

Colette tipped her head to one side and thought for a while.

"Not entirely I think," she said eventually. "I think he behaves the way he does because it's expected of him, but, no. I think deep down inside there's a man who, if he had the chance when he found the right woman, would dedicate his heart to her and her only. He's in an interesting position. Being the Chosen on his world seems to have been a very good and positive thing for him. He was just making the best of the opportunities presented to him until he finds someone who's really special,"

Sheena nodded. Colette realised she'd gone on a bit.

"Well, that's what I think anyways. Lloyd's a better judge of character than me like I said. I'm sorry." she blurted out.

"What are you sorry for now?" Sheena asked.

"I rambled," Colette blushed.

"No, I asked for your opinion and you gave it. I appreciate that," Sheena smiled.

Colette pulled a sad face as the dark haired girl stopped scrubbing her back.

"Come on now, if I'd have kept scrubbing much longer you'd have no back left to scrub," Sheena smiled.

"Um, Sheena," Colette said.


"As we're on the subject of blokes, um, oh, this is really hard for me to ask," Colette said, sinking to hide herself under and behind the bubbles.

"I don't like to ask, but, but, I feel I need to. Do you, um, er, oh bother, er, do you like Lloyd?"

Colette's question didn't entirely surprise Sheena. She had, after all, once had a crush on the boy that was clearly Colette's boyfriend, even if they'd not said anything official to the rest of the group, or perhaps even themselves.

The way the pair behaved around each other. The way they looked at each other, the little gestures. If that wasn't true love Sheena didn't know what was.

But she didn't have the crush any more. It had been a crush, nothing more. She hadn't known anyone in the group well enough to know what the relationships between them were. He so clearly belonged with Colette it was almost like something out of a clichéd romance novel.

Besides, actually spending time living around Zelos rather than just getting annoyed with him when she encountered him being an irritating pervert had given her a new perspective on him. It was difficult to keep up a front for someone when you were around them pretty much constantly at such close quarters as the small band were.

But how to explain all this to Colette? She chose her words carefully.

"I like Lloyd as a friend, like I like you as a friend. You two are both very wonderful people. You're caring, loyal friends who are very easy to talk to, and you two were meant for each other," Sheena said and Colette blushed.

"However, if you mean would I like him to be more than a friend the answer's no.

"I do hope that, one day, the right guy out there for me, and there is one out there somewhere I'm sure, can be even half as caring and wonderful to me as Lloyd is to you. But no, I don't like Lloyd in that way,"

Sheena sighed. That felt like a great weight had been lifted off her shoulders.

Colette had emerged a bit more out of the bathwater and she looked clearly relieved at Sheena's words.

"Sheena, please don't take this the wrong way, but I'm so glad you said that!" Colette said.

"How could I take that the wrong way? You and Lloyd belong together, it's so obvious," Sheena playfully rolled her eyes and smiled.

Colette blushed and moved to hug Sheena.

"Ah, no, don't! You're all" too late. "Wet!" Sheena finished as she was soaked by a dripping wet hug.

Colette giggled.

"I'm sorry," she said, realising what she'd done. "I wasn't thinking,"

She moved away from the summoner girl. Then she starting giggling.

"You look really funny" she smiled.

Sheena caught sight of herself in the bathroom mirror and realised Colette was right, she had a great wet Colette shaped water-print on her clothes. She started giggling too.

Lloyd looked up as the girls emerged from the bathroom. Colette bounded across the room and leapt onto his bed giving him a hug.

"Agggh! Colette! You hair's all wet!" he moaned as the small girl's hair, which looked a bit of a mess after she'd washed it, hit his bare arms and neck.

"She's getting good at that," Sheena smiled as she indicated her still damp clothes. Lloyd grinned.

"Lets do something about that hair, you could use it as a weapon," he smiled at Colette. He took the towel from around her neck and used it to dry her hair off a bit. Then he grabbed her hairbrush from the bedside table and began to carefully and gently straighten it out. "That's a bit better, don't you think Sheena?" Lloyd asked the dark haired girl who was sat on the floor by the bed.

"Much better," she smiled.

Then a thought struck her.

"Hey Colette," she said. "I have a really cute ribbon that'd suit you perfectly, and go well with that nightgown. Would you like me to do your hair up for you?" she offered.

Colette never bothered much with worrying about making herself look as pretty as possible, but the thought of this ribbon did appeal to her.

"OK, thanks," she smiled and got up to follow Sheena to her room.

The small girl paused as she got off the bed to give Lloyd a quick kiss, then she followed after Sheena.

"There, perfect. That really suits you," Sheena smiled.

Colette inspected Sheena's work in the mirror and had to agree the older girl had done an excellent job, and the ribbon suited her perfectly.

"Thank you Sheena!" she hugged her.

"That's alright. Go on now, go show Lloyd how nice that looks," Sheena smiled.

Colette nodded happily and turned to leave. Sheena spotted the sketchpad she'd been working in earlier.

"Wait, Colette," she said. The smaller girl's hand paused above the door handle.

"I, er," Sheena picked up the sketchpad.

"I saw you drawing earlier," Colette smiled. "May I see what you've drawn?"

"Uh, yeah," Sheena nodded, flipping to the right page as she sat down on her bed. Colette sat beside her and Sheena passed the sketchpad over.

"Oh, Sheena," Colette said quietly and blushed. She'd recognised who that was supposed to be then Sheena thought proudly. That must mean she was improving.

She had a thought and neatly tore the page out of the sketchpad.

"When we've been getting the summon spirits I've been making pacts, you know, promises, to use their powers to help make the world right. Well, er, here's my promise to you that I'll do my best to help our quest, so that one day the world'll be a peaceful place and that," she nodded at the drawing, "can happen."

Colette blushed, hugged Sheena and grinned at her.

"Thank you!" she smiled.

"That's alright. Now, go show Lloyd your nice new hair-do," Sheena smiled and, this time, Colette actually opened the door. She paused outside it and smiled however.

"Hey Sheena," she said. "Your right guy, I think he's close by" she smiled and then made her way down the hall.

Sheena looked up in time to see a flash of red hair go past.

"Hey, Zelos," she called out. "Got a minute for a chat?"