Another night in a random inn :) Because the fact that the game doesn't show you what happens most of the time between when the party book into the inns and when they leave just encourages me to write :)

SPOILER WARNINGS: If you don't know the truth about the world regeneration project, what happened when Sheena tried to form a pact with Volt and about Presea's age and don't want to know don't read, thanks :)

Disclaimer: No, I don't own Tales of Symphonia. I love it, but I don't own it.

Genis looked over at Colette and Sheena. The pair had been chatting whilst working together on a drawing for some time now.

From the snatches of conversation the small mage heard it seemed as though they were talking about their pasts. The way that, even though they'd been born on different worlds, they'd had similar experiences. Sheena talked quietly about failing to make a pact with Volt the first time while Colette talked about failing on the world regeneration journey.

He was pleased to hear that the tone of the conversation wasn't angry, bitter or depressed. It sounded like the girls were thinking about the past and helping each other let it go.

Lloyd, who was sat on the sofa beside them playing a one-player card game, was relieved that Colette didn't seem depressed and was letting things go.

He felt so cross on her behalf sometimes. He was sure that some of those around her as she was growing up had tried to give her an inferiority complex so that, when the time came, she'd give up her life to save the world without a word of protest. He was glad he'd been around to boost her self-confidence, even though the poor girl had still almost lost her life to the sham of the world regeneration project because of the kind heart she had.

He spontaneously grabbed the blonde in a warm hug and kissed the top of her head.

"I love you," he whispered in her ear. She purred, blushed a little in the most adorable way, nuzzled him lovingly and whispered that she loved him back before turning back to Sheena and their drawing. Lloyd smiled, he liked Colette to know how much she meant to him.

Genis's attention, which had been returned to his book, was caught by movement in the chair closest to the sofa. Presea got out of it and went and stood by Colette and Sheena.

"May I come and sit with you?" she asked.

"Of course you can," Sheena smiled as she and Colette lifted the small, pink haired girl onto the sofa and sat her across their laps. Despite her actual age Presea didn't protest. In fact, Genis thought, the girl seemed to find the gesture comforting.

"What are you drawing?" she asked.

"Ah, nothing much," Colette said, picking up the sketchbook again and holding it so Presea could see what the two other girls had been working on.

"It's nice," Presea nodded.

"Thanks," said Sheena.

Genis, who was sitting in a chair opposite the sofa, couldn't see the draing and was a little curious as to what it was of, but he figured that Sheena and Colette would show it to him later if they wanted to.

The angel and the summoner began talking and drawing again. Presea joined the conversation, it seemed she had some letting go she needed to do as well.

She expressed anger at the way she and Colette had been used, as if they had no right to their own life and humanity.

Lloyd joined the conversation then, sharing his thoughts, that no-one should be born just to be used, it didn't seem right at all. If you'd been given the gift of a life it was your right to live it, right? He seemed a little worked up.

Genis expected Colette to add her anger in as well. Although the girl was the next to speak he was surprised by her tone. He guessed he shouldn't be really though, Colette always liked to see the good in people.

"Sometimes," Colette said softly, "people don't know any better. That's why we have to complete our journey successfully, so that no-one has to be sacrificed for a cause that isn't necessarily right any more."

Lloyd and Sheena nodded and Presea looked thoughtful as she contemplated the angel's words.

The pink haired girl picked up a pencil from the table and asked if she could help with the drawing by pulling a questioning face at Colette and Sheena. They nodded and soon all three girls were working on the sketchpad, each looking deep in thought.

That conversation had given Genis something to think about as well.

He'd always been bothered by people who treated him like his age, rather than like his personality. He was almost certain, though, that maturity had nothing to do with age, however, it was your attitude, who you were, your morals, behaviour and beliefs.

He felt as though Colette had just confirmed that. The blonde was a little older than he was, but, at sixteen, would still be considered a very young adult, if not still a kid, by most people.

Yet what she'd just said had been incredibly mature and unchildish.

It was a funny and confusing thing though, Genis thought. Because Colette was just as capable of acting like young child, like she had the time she'd started a game of tag one afternoon, as she was capable of acting like a mature, sensible adult as she'd done just now.

Genis went back to his book until a voice from the sofa distracted him again. This time it was Lloyd's.

"Hey, that's wonderful!" he smiled. He was looking at the sketchbook.

"May I see?" Genis asked, starting to get out of his chair. He received three nods and moved over to the sofa.

Lloyd was right, it was a wonderful drawing. It was obvious that the three girls had worked on it as each of them had a different, distinctive, drawing style. However they blended well together in the picture of the group, who seemed to be celebrating something. The successful end of the quest perhaps? Or maybe just something as simple as a birthday, who knew? It was even possible, Genis thought, that each of the artists had had something different in mind when they were working on it.

Colette glanced over to Raine, who looked a little sad. Instead of the usual textbook she had what appeared to be a diary on the table in front of her.

Colette's face lit up with an idea and she whispered something to Presea and Sheena, who nodded.

Sheena carefully removed the page with the drawing on it and gave it to Colette. The three girls walked over to Raine and Colette hid the drawing behind her back.

Presea tugged on Raine's sleeve to get her attention and the half-elf turned to see the three girls standing side-by-side smiling at her.

It reminded Genis of when, back in school, students used to present Raine with work they were particularly proud of.

"We thought you could use a little cheering up," Sheena began.

"So we'd like to give you this," Presea continued.

"Here," Colette smiled, moving the paper round to her front and presenting it to Raine.

The teacher took the drawing and looked at it for some time. Then in a sudden, rare show of affection, she grabbed all three girls in a hug.

Genis smiled and felt reassured that their quest would go well. They could work well as a team, as the girls had demonstrated tonight.