"Bliss" timeline one-shot, fluff, as usual :)

I wasn't going to write a holiday season fic. I was, however, wondering why I'd come up with the vivid image of Colette and Sheena messing about in the kitchen baking cookies but then the chibis kept making me work on other ideas first. Apparently they wanted me to save the idea for a nice holiday season fic :) They're celebrating "winter festival", so no holiday in particular, just one where the family all get together and, in theory, have a nice time.

When I say 'adopted' family I mean adopted in the sense of people who are very close to a family who are not blood related but kinda seem to be part of the family anyways. Kinda like the "auntie" or "uncle" who isn't actually related to the mum or dad but the kids call them that anyways. That sort of thing.

Dedicated to all the people who have left lovely reviews for me. I hope you all have a great holiday season, whichever one you celebrate.

SPOILER WARNING: blink and you miss it spoiler about Kratos's past. Don't wanna know about his past yet? Then please don't read :) Thanks

Disclaimer: no, I don't own Tales of Symphonia. It's Namco that do I believe. I just love the game and can't stop writing fluff about it :) I don't own the video game the characters play in this fic either. It's not mentioned by name but there are clues as to what it is.


Lloyd smiled as he surveyed the comfortable scene before him from his rather squashed spot on the sofa. Winter festival meant family spending time together and it seemed all of his, be they related through blood, marriage or 'adoption', were squashed into the small space on and around the sofa and a couple of armchairs.

Colette, warm and snug in a big fluffy jumper of his that was so much too big for her her hands had become hidden in the sleeves, was snuggled between him and Sheena. She had a look of sheer elation and peace on her face, content to see everyone settled, comfortable, warm and well fed after a big dinner.

Some particularly dire comedy special was on the television and, because no one could quite bring themselves to make the seemingly huge effort of getting up to change the channel, they were all sat randomly making fun of it. Comedy, but not quite how the programme makers had intended.

He was startled by a sudden flurry of sound and movement that was Colette and Sheena deciding that cookies sounded like an excellent idea.

"What, you've not eaten enough today already?" he joked playfully, but the women were already halfway to the kitchen, singing a playful tune in the odd mishmash of the two languages they spoke that they often used when communicating with one another.

"That was random," Hope pulled a slightly puzzled look in the direction of her mother from where she was sitting on the floor beside the sofa.

"Nah, they mentioned cookies on the television," Zelos nodded at the set. Hope shrugged and resumed watching the actors attempt to make some holiday related farcical scene funny.

"What were those two singing about?" Raine asked sleepily from an armchair. She didn't speak Mizuhoan and found the seemingly random mixture of that and Colette's first language the pair spoke to each other incomprehensible.

Lloyd tipped his head in thought. He understood enough of it to sometimes get the gist of what the two were talking about.

"I think," he answered slowly, working through the song in his memory. "I think that they're going to bake cookies rather than just grab a packet from the cupboard."

"Yay! Fresh baked cookies! Yay! Yay! Coo-kies! Coo-kies!" Miles leapt up from his spot on the floor where he'd been sprawled in front of the television playing with a new toy and began dancing and jumping about. He continued his dance, getting in the way of everyone's view of the television, until his father got up off the sofa, picked him up, twirled him around then plonked him down on the sofa and ruffled his hair.

"Daaaaaaaad!" Miles managed to stretch the short word into three syllables. His father simply smiled in reply.

A little later Hope decided the television really wasn't that interesting and wandered into the kitchen to investigate the progress of the cookies. Kero followed as he often did, the pair of older children were very close to one another.

They laughed at the sight that greeted them. Their mothers had gotten a little carried away and had managed to cover every surface with various bits of baking and utensils. They'd put their little CD player on and were singing along to some happy, upbeat Mizuhoan tune, moving in time to the music as they tended to various treats. They'd somehow managed to cover themselves in a light dusting of flour. Hope suspected her mother's clumsiness had been involved in that. They were also doing excellent impressions of the tree that was sitting proudly in the living room with tinsel and various pretty things attached to them.

"Parents are weird," Hope said in a deadpan voice.

"Hi you two," Colette beamed, getting the last of some cookie dough out of a mixing bowl. "You wanna lick the spoon?"

Hope frowned at the sticky wooden utensil.

"Mum, I'm fifteen, not five, I don't wanna lick the spoon. Give it to Miles or something," she said in an exasperated but not unfriendly tone.

"Suit yourself," her mother replied cheerfully, putting the bowl and spoon temptingly down on the table as Hope and Kero sat down at it before returning to the worktop.

The next time she turned around Hope was holding the spoon out for Kero who licked at one side of it before taking the handle and offering the other side of the spoon to Hope who accepted it, smiling happily. Then the girl took the spoon back and held it our for Kero again.

This continued as Colette nudged Sheena who turned around and began grinning at the teenagers, Colette's expression matching hers.

The pair noticed they were being watched.

"What? What are those silly faces about?" Hope asked.

"Nooo-thiiiing," both women replied in sing-song tones before turning, giggling, back to the worktop.

"Mum, mum," Miles seemed like a little human whirlwind as he burst into the kitchen.

"What's that?" his mother asked as she slotted a baking tray into the oven and set the timer.

"Will you and auntie Sheena come and play video games with me?" the playful and inquisitive boy looked at the women with a well practiced puppydog eyes expression.

"What do you reckon Sheena?" the blonde angel asked.

"Ohh, alright, give us five minutes to finish up in here. You go set the console up while we do that," the summoner smiled kindly.

"'Kay," Miles grinned as he practically skipped out of the kitchen.

Soon Sheena and Colette were settled back on the sofa again with a game controller each, steering two characters along a tunnel collecting gold tokens as they went.

"Done, beat that," Colette smiled as Presea stopped a stopwatch and made a note of the time the two women had taken to complete the level and how many tokens they'd collected.

"Alright, who's playing?" Miles grinned, looking around the room hopefully. The game was a favourite of the family's and many happy evenings had been spent seeing who could achieve the best times and scores. It was usually Colette and Sheena, they played the game quite often and seemed to have memorised the best routes through the various stages and worked well together to complete them.

"Alright, I'll have a go," his grandfather got up from the chair where he had been sitting with Raine and settled on the floor beside Miles.

"Which character do you want?" the boy asked.

"Eeerr, the blue one," Kratos smiled and took the controller that Sheena held out for him.

"You know, I really don't see why you like that game," Raine frowned.

"That's because you've never played it, you should give it a go, it's fun," Genis replied as Zoe made positive noises from where she was settled in his lap.

"Yeah, go on auntie Raine, have a go!" Suzuka added. "You can play it with me when it's my turn if you like."

Raine wasn't as keen on the idea as the others were but they eventually managed to persuade her to join in. She enjoyed herself so much that she insisted on playing another level and still had a controller firmly in her hands when the timer went off in the kitchen.

"Cookies!" Miles and Zelos cheered, leaping up and running in the direction of the kitchen. Lloyd, Colette and Sheena dashed after them, calling out that the biscuits needed time to cool down before they'd be ready to eat.

"Nu-uh they don't, I'm gonna eat a whole tray of them right now," Miles cheered, searching for a pair of oven gloves.

Lloyd smiled, gently but firmly scooped his son up and slung the boy over his shoulder before carrying Miles back to the living room.

He smiled as he saw Sheena trying to shoo Zelos out of the kitchen. It was the same every year, there was always a fight to try and eat the cookies before they were ready. It had become tradition. But, Lloyd grinned as he saw everyone happy and laughing as Raine cursed at a baddie in the game, it was one of the many traditions that had become part of what made the family how they were, and he wouldn't want it any other way.