Kratos got to do some thinking in "It's nice to have family", so now it's Raine's turn. Set before "It's nice to have family" in the "Bliss" timeline. It should make sense on it's own if you know that a) Hope is Colette and Lloyd's daughter, b) Kero is Sheena and Zelos's son, c) "Bunny" is the wild rabbit that lived in Hope's back garden she got fond of, that is now deceased and d) Kratos is back and he's staying at Lloyd and Colette's house.

A different tone to "A rare bout of eloquence", but that was something special I think. Back to my usual fluffy fluff now :)

Thank you to the chibi-muses who kept pestering me until I wrote this, even if you did stop me getting on with some sewing I wanted to finish :)

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


Raine sat at the kitchen table nursing a mug of tea, her mind too busy to sleep. She was staying over at Lloyd and Colette's in case she was needed, their child was due soon and, while she thought they could manage on their own, her presence seemed to reassure them. She was sure Genis and Presea would appreciate having the house to themselves as well.

She looked up as she heard footsteps.

"Hope, what are you doing up?" she asked as she spotted the young girl entering the kitchen.

"I woke up and wanted a glass of water," the girl explained, dragging a stool to the worktop so she could reach a glass and the tap.

Raine sighed. She could really do with having someone to talk to. Normally she would have woken Colette up, but woman needed as much rest as she could get, she had a big task ahead of her soon.

Raine turned to Hope.

"Hey, Hope, do you have a minute?" she asked.

"OK," the girl said, climbing up into a chair.

"Here, don't tell anyone," Raine said as she pushed a plate of biscuits closer to Hope. The girl grinned, nodded and said thank you before selecting one of her favourites.

"Your auntie Raine is confused," Raine sighed.

"Why's that?" Hope asked, taking a small bite of the biscuit and savouring the flavour.

"Because she's not sure how someone else feels," Raine frowned. "See, I don't have a special friend and, I think I'd like to. I think I could allow myself to become close to someone now. Only, the person I'd like to be close to, I don't know how he feels."

"Oh, who do you like auntie Raine?" Hope smiled.

"Well, I, uh," Raine wasn't sure she should be talking to Hope about this. Then again she was very sensible for her young age, and a good listener like her parents.

"Well Hope, I like Kratos," Raine blushed and hid behind her mug. "But, you see, he's already had a special friend and I think he still misses her."

"Of course he misses her. I mean if you lost a friend you'd miss them. I know I miss Bunny. And if it was a special friend then I 'spose he'd miss her specially. But, I think he's lonely auntie Raine.

"Just because he had a special friend once doesn't mean he can't have another. It doesn't mean he likes his last special friend any less if he can't be with her any more," Hope said.

"What makes you think he's lonely?" Raine asked, curious.

"When mum and dad cuddle up together in their chair by the fire he has that look on his face like the one Kero had when he saw those really cool boots, only sad. And he likes it when you sit close to him I think," Hope said thoughtfully.

"Do you think he'd mind if I said something to him then?" Raine asked, forgetting how young Hope was, the girl was talking so sensibly.

"Oh yeah," Hope nodded. "You should say something. I mean look how happy Kero is now he has those boots. They suit him really well. And, I think, I think you'd suit him well auntie Raine," Hope beamed.

"Thank you Hope. You've been very helpful," Raine smiled and picked the girl up to hug her.

"Can I have another biscuit, oh, oh, and a glass of milk?" she asked.

"Oh, alright then, but don't tell your parents, you'll get auntie Raine into trouble," Raine smiled, thinking how much like her parents the small girl was. Capable of great insight, wisdom and maturity one minute, then a little kid without a care in the world the next.

Eventually Hope finished her snack and went back to bed. Raine figured she'd better get some sleep as well, in case she was needed tomorrow. She was about to get into her bed when, given bravery by Hope's words, she decided to try something. She moved over to the other bed in the guest room.

"Kratos, pssst, Kratos," she said softly, trying to wake him up. Slowly he blinked and rolled over.

"What's wrong?" he yawned.

"Nothing, it's just," Raine blushed. "I'm a little cold. I was wondering if I could get in beside you? Just for a little while, to warm up."

"Oh, alright," Kratos yawned and moved over a bit. Raine snuggled in beside him and spooned her body around his. He yelped.

"You weren't joking when you said you were cold! You feet are like ice cubes" he grumbled.

"Sorry," Raine blushed again.

"I bet your hands are cold too," the brown haired angel said, taking hers in his. "Where have you been?"

"Sitting in the kitchen, I had some thinking to do," she said.

"Sorted now?" he asked.

"More than it was. Hope talked to me for a bit, she helped. Such an amazing little girl," Raine smiled.

"Yeah, she's something alright," Kratos smiled. "Is that better now? A bit warmer?"

"Yes, thanks," she replied. She nuzzled the pillow, it was all warm where he'd been resting on it. And it was lovely and warm under the covers as well.

"Um, Kratos," the half-elf said shyly.

"What's that?" the angel asked sleepily.

"May I stay here tonight? I've gotten rather comfortable now," Raine blushed deeply.

"OK, as long as you'll be quiet and let me sleep," Kratos said, but not in an unfriendly way.

"Thanks," the silver haired woman whispered as she fell asleep.

The next morning Kratos woke before Raine. He slipped out of bed but made sure to tuck the covers around the half-elf, he didn't want her getting cold again. He smiled as she cuddled the blanket to her then slipped his dressing gown on. He could do with a mug of tea. He'd used to have coffee in the mornings, but somehow Raine had managed to persuade him tea was good.

Colette was sitting at the kitchen table.

"Morning," she yawned.

"You alright?" Kratos asked, moving to the kettle.

"Yeah, just couldn't sleep," Colette rolled her eyes and smiled.

"Would you like a hot drink?" the older angel asked, indicating the kettle.

"No thanks, got one," Colette held up the mug of milky hot chocolate beside her. She tipped her head in a questioning pose as she saw him take two mugs from the cupboard.

"Thought I'd take some tea in to Raine," he explained.

"Ah, that's nice," Colette nodded and smiled.

"What are you grinning about? It's just a mug of tea," Kratos said.

"Nothing," the blonde smiled.

Kratos shrugged and took the mugs into the bedroom. Raine was beginning to wake up.

"Sleep well?" he asked as he sat on the edge of the bed.

"Best sleep I've had in ages," she said, still half asleep. She blushed when she realised what she'd said.

"Good," the brown haired angel smiled and passed her a mug of tea.

"Thank you," she smiled. "I wasn't expecting breakfast in bed."

"Well, I didn't make any toast, Lloyd's the one who makes toast," Kratos laughed. Raine smiled, remembering the times when the boy had insisted on toasting bread over the campfire.

"Colette's awake," he said.

"Is she alright?" Raine asked, blowing on the tea a little to cool it.

"Seems fine," Kratos nodded.

When they went into the living room a short while later they found Lloyd and Hope had woken up as well. Although Hope was still dozy. She was sprawled across her parents' laps, her head resting gently on her mother's large stomach.

"Is that comfortable?" Raine laughed.

"I'm fine," Colette smiled happily, a content look on her face.

Hope looked up to see Raine settle in a chair with Kratos. He didn't object or move her away.

Raine blinked, unsure if she'd imagined the smile and wink she thought Hope had given her. She didn't have time to ponder on it however, as Sheena came bursting through the door.

"I'm not too late am I? You've not had it yet have you?" she panted, tired from running.

"No, you've not missed anything," Colette laughed as Sheena grabbed her, Lloyd and Hope in a hug.

"I got here as fast as I could," the dark haired woman said, collapsing on the sofa with them.

"Why on Sylvarant you want to be here to see my wife in pain," Lloyd rolled his eyes.

"I wanna be here to help her get through the pain and besides, being an auntie is an important job, even if technically I'm not related," Sheena smiled.

Zelos appeared in the doorway. He put his son down so he could run over to Hope and then selected a chair close to Raine and Kratos.

"You two are awfully close this morning," he smiled. Raine blushed.

"Raine was cold, so I'm just making sure she stays warm," Kratos nodded.

"OK," the redhead rolled his eyes and smiled. Then he turned his attention to the others in the room.

"If you're cold again tonight I don't mind you sharing my bed with me again," Kratos whispered in Raine's ear. She blushed, and even though she felt wonderfully warm all over she leaned her head to his ear and whispered a reply.

"Thank you, I'd like that very much."