Disclaimer: I don't own Tales of Symphonia… and that's sad…

Hold

"Women like to be romanced, my young friend!"

Or so Zelos Wilder said. And well, Lloyd Irving figured if the Idiot Chosen knew anything about anything it was women. After all, he had women on his arm all the time.

Maybe that was because he was so damned handsome—what with that flowing, silky red hair and sparkling baby blue eyes. But, then again, he could make even Sheena blush with his words—though, more times than not, it was because she was enraged by him—and that had to mean something, right?

But what exactly was this 'romancing'? That was what got him stuck. How was he—oblivious Lloyd Irving—supposed to about romancing a woman?

Okay, so he knew the definition of 'romancing'. It was giving a girl some pretty smelling flowers and maybe some chocolate and telling her she looked very, very pretty even if she really didn't. Oh, and it was reading some of that bullshit in Raine's books. Like the girl's hair being like fine flowing silk or something like that crap.

That might have been well and good for some people, but Lloyd was not one of them. He didn't ready that poetry crap-olla and he wouldn't know what pretty smelling flowers were if they came up and slapped him in the face.

Besides, he was out in the frozen, forsaken tundra. Where was he supposed to find these damn flowers?

He considered asking Zelos for his help in this. That worked for about two seconds before he discarded it. He was not asking Zelos Wilder for help. The redhead Idiot Chosen would never let him live it down. Better to screw up on his own. Hopefully, Colette would be nice enough and never, ever, mention it to anyone if he did screw up royally.

So that was why he was standing here, in the frozen city of Flanior, trying not to catch hypothermia. Snow—it was always snowing in Flanior—hit his head and chilled his heated neck. His teeth chattered in his mouth, but he had the sneaking suspicion it wasn't completely from the cold. He had to constantly remind himself not to squeeze his hands hidden behind his back.

After all, he had spent hours tracking down those pretty pink flowers whose name he wasn't even attempting to pronounce. The little girl who handed him the flowers had said their name, but he had been much too busy trying to say that crap in Raine's book to pay any attention.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

Okay, he got that line down. But that was it. Everything else was crap. He couldn't remember the next line to save his life.

"Idiot," he groaned to himself as he shuffled his feet. Colette was at the inn, sleeping probably, and he wasn't sure if he should wake her, convince her to walk with him, or wait until the morning.

But could the flowers survive that long? He didn't know a thing about them. It didn't seem right to hand Colette a bunch of dead, dried up flowers. That was wrong, right? Kinda insulting.

"This is stupid. So damned stupid," he muttered and then turned to stalk the sidewalk near the doctor's house. A little more time, yeah. That was all he needed. A little more time to think this whole 'romancing' thing over.

"Lloyd?" Uh-huh. That was Colette's voice, soft and wispy.

He turned and kept the flowers behind his back. "Cole—Colette?" He offered her a sheepish grin. "Ah… what are you doing here?"

"Genis said you wanted to see me," she offered and stepped forward.

Oh that stupid, stupid kid! When Lloyd got his hand on that snot-nosed brat he'd…

Oh yeah… before he decided that this whole 'romance Colette' thing was a bad idea he had told Genis to send her out to him. Well, couldn't blame the white-haired mage for doing what he was asked to, could he? Lloyd would have liked to but he couldn't.

"Oh yeah… about that…" Guess there was no point in backing down now, was there? Colette was here. Might as well get it over with.

Expect that didn't seem very romantic. Shouldn't he be rambling on about how beautiful her eyes looked against the white of the snow or the way her hair shimmered like water in the moonlight or something?

And she did look beautiful. She shivered in the cold and had wrapped her arms around her shoulders. But she didn't seem bothered by the chill on her skin so much. She looked positively content to have the feeling. Only recently had it been returned to her. Her hair fell across the white of her long shirt in gentle waves. The snow caught in it, wove itself into the locks, and hovered there like diamonds. Her eyes were sparkling with innocence and laughter.

"Ah… well…" Okay, okay, Lloyd, calm down. You can do this. He had defeated countless enemies and monsters and gone up against angels. He could give a girl some flowers.

Maybe not…

He wasn't sure when exactly he had begun to see Colette in this new light. Maybe it was when her eyes had first gone dead in her face and she ceased to be Colette, or maybe it was when he held her in his arms when she admitted that she was losing herself in her journey to become an angel.

Or maybe it was when Zelos started pointing all the fine attributes Colette had—despite the unflattering clothes she wore—and he felt like putting a nice, dark bruise on his pretty boy face.

Or maybe he had always felt about her that way and just realized it when she had come so close to death time and time again. Who knew? With all the crap going on it was so hard to tell when exactly things got so shook up.

Colette smiled at him and moved forward just as he thrust the flowers out at her. The delicate, almond-shaped petals were crushed with the mere touch of Colette's body, frozen by the wind and destroyed the force.

"Oh!" Colette said and her eyes darkened with sadness. She cradled the flowers against her chest like a mother would her newborn. "How terrible."

"Damnit," Lloyd cursed and raised a hand to run through his chocolate hair. "I'm sorry… listen…"

"No, it's alright, Lloyd." The smile was back in place but it was marred by the sadness of the beauty destroyed. "It's my fault…" she paused and considered a crushed petal. "You got these for me?"

"Yeah…" Lloyd felt his cheek flush. Get a grip. You've gone over this ten times. Just say… "Okay… ah… do you wanna, I don't know… ah… walk? Yeah, you wanna walk… ah… with me?"

"Sure." A rosy hue covered Colette's face and she looked up at him with her eyelashes fluttering. Snow blanketed them but she made no move to brush them away.

So he did. The tip of his thumb wiped away the white frost without really realizing that they weren't just friends anymore. They were standing on the brink of something really, really new. And they both knew it.

He dropped his hand and then—with an embarrassed flush—offered Colette his arm. He had seen Zelos do it to his groupies many, many times and they always giggled and swooned so he figured they liked it.

Colette laughed and accepted it.

It was always snowing in Flanior. Snow was a daily routine. The residents of Flanior probably would have been considered abnormal if they didn't see the white crystals everyday. It was as much a part of their life as the forests were a part of his.

But there was something magical about Flanior at night. The snow had settled down to a light dusting, touching the people who stood under it with gentle, caressing fingers. Looking up at the sky as the snow came down it seemed like the stars were falling onto their heads.

Or maybe it was so magical because Colette's hair held the light and softness within its locks, holding it and just teasing the outside world. Only the chosen few would ever be allowed to see the light in true, purest form. The form that shone bright in Colette's soul. Lloyd liked to consider himself among the ranks.

They came to a terrace that overlooked all of Flanior. The houses were covered with white and everything seemed to be asleep. Colette leaned against the veranda, smiling down onto the city. Even if she wasn't an angel anymore, she certainly looked the part, all glowing hair and smooth body.

"Thank you for the flowers, Lloyd," Colette said suddenly with an earnest smile. "They're lovely."

"Well," he muttered and rubbed a sudden sore spot at the base of his neck, "they had been before I crushed them. Sorry about that."

"Don't worry about it." She held the destroyed flowers in her arms as if they were the most precious thing she had. "They're prefect the way they are."

"Ah… yeah…" Lloyd muttered and inched closer. Zelos had no problem moving in on a girl, putting his arms around her shoulders, smiling into her eyes and saying something about her beauty. Lloyd did.

"Something troubling you?" she questioned, raising a delicate eyebrow.

"I… ah… I'm just…" In disgust, he turned away, grinding his teeth. "I'm just no good at this, damnit! I mean, I even screwed up the flowers and that's something everyone else can get right. I just wanted to… you know… be romantic, for once." He felt the flush work its way down past his collar.

Okay, maybe admitting that to Colette wasn't such a bright idea.

But Colette had been his friend before anything else. He was just so used to telling her his problems and he wasn't ready to see that change.

"Romantic?" A giggle bubbled its way up from her throat. She pressed her hands against her reddening lips to save him further embarrassment.

"Yeah… I told you I was no good at it. Hell, even Genis is better at it and he's a snot-nosed kid… and… and its Presea he's trying to crack!" Lloyd dropped his head to his knuckles as he leaned against the railing of the terrace. "I just wanted to do something… I dunno… romantic for you since I don't do it often and everything…"

"Well, Lloyd…" Colette looked away from him, staring off into the distance, trying to settle her own quaking nerves. "You could just hold me."

"Hold… you…?" He almost choked on the words, blinking at her in confusion. Colette nodded, glancing at him from under lowered lashes.

Carefully, he reached out and took her head, tugging at it lightly. Without hesitation, Colette went to him. She lowered her head to his shoulder and breathed out a sigh, as if she had been waiting for this all her life. Her breath frosted around her lips as they reddened from the mixture of heat and cold.

"You know, Lloyd…" He looked down at her as she drew absent patterns in the fabric on his shoulder. "I always wanted to stand like this… with you."

"You did?" She nodded and Lloyd wondered how he had missed that. Then he thought about all the little actions she had done around him back in their village in Slyvarent. Maybe he had been just a little oblivious back then.

Well, there was no time like the present to make up for the past.

Blushing steadily, he lowered his head and dipped a very chaste kiss onto her hair. It had a vanilla scent to it and was as soft as it looked beneath his lips.

Colette looked up at him, her eyes wide. Snow fell around her face and she looked like she didn't understand at all what had just happened.

Then she smiled brightly and leaned in again, standing on her tiptoes so she could bury her nose against his neck. It warm despite the chill and caused a shudder to run through his spine.

Like an ironing board, Colette? Ha! Was the first coherent thought that passed through his brain. The curves she claimed not to have pressed against his battle-ready and athletically lean body and it made his temperature rise at a steady rate. He considered telling her to back off before it got a little out of hand—his intentions could run only so pure, right?—but then decided he would risk it.

She pulled away and looked up at him from under her eyelashes. "You know, Lloyd? I like it when you hold me…" She paused for a moment, a red stain on her cheeks again. "But I think you ought to try kissing me."

It was so un-Colette to say that that it took him a good minute and a half to process it. Kiss her? Now… not that he hadn't thought about what it would be like, he had never actually thought Colette would suggest the thing.

"Hmm…" he answered in consideration and, with two fingers, raised her chin. Colette stared back at him with nervous eyes that matched the emotion raging in his blood.

Lloyd lowered his head just as Colette parted her lips. He had never kissed anyone before—except those chaste kisses he had gotten from his father when he had been like six so they hardly counted—but it was almost as if he and Colette were always meant to kiss like this, gentle and coaxing.

Her fingers rose to tangle in his hair and his hands fell to her hips. Colette tasted like vanilla and milk and the scent and taste of it all but intoxicated him. Her mouth was yielding and warm and gave him what he wanted it before he even realized what it was he wanted. The little moan she gave against his mouth told him the same thing was happening to her.

Around them the world held its breath, stopping time for an instant so two young people could find peace and love in each others' arms. Tomorrow the battle would continue to rage and lives would be lost, but for now a little bubble had been formed and the two had been wrapped in it. Nothing could penetrate it.

When oxygen became a problem Lloyd broke away, panting. His heart pounding against his ribs but his ego got a boost when he felt Colette's heart beating against her chest. The heat from their bodies fused their clothes together and Lloyd made no move to remove his hands from her waist. Colette didn't move her hands from his hair, either.

"I love you," she said softly, allowing her voice to be carried by the wind.

Lloyd blinked for a long moment, unsure of how to answer. His heart expended against his ribs and demanded he reply with the truth, which was the statement she had given him. But then his mind—which had never really been logical or rational before—started to remind him so much was going to happen tomorrow and was he really ready to admit that?

"I love you, too," he replied and decided, as was his custom, to ignore what little logical and rational thoughts he had in his mind. He grinned suddenly as his male ego—which had always been a little larger than average—was given a boost. "Guess I wasn't so bad at this romance crap, then, huh?"

She smiled serenely, the look only broken by the giggle bubbling in her throat. "No, you weren't. But all you had to do was hold me, Lloyd. That's it, really. Just hold me." Colette moved back into his arms.

"So, you didn't need me to kiss you?"

"Well…" Colette laughed a little and replied, "I certainly don't mind the kissing."

He pressed her against his chest and Colette rested there contently, wrapping her arms around her shoulders.

"I might kiss you again," Lloyd answered. "But after I hold you a little bit. Seeing as how you like it so much…" Colette shook her head against his chest and mumbled something there. "Hey, you dork, say it out loud."

She raised her head and looked at him with laughing blue eyes. "You can kiss me first… then hold me."

Lloyd nodded solemnly before breaking out into a grin and complying. He bent his head down and nibbled on her lips, tasting the milk and vanilla again. Colette sighed contently and held the future at bay once again.

And then Lloyd held Colette in his arms and they watched the snow dance.

Finis

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Word Count: 2777

Time: forty mintues

Beta: are you mocking me?

Author: Lizzy Rebel

Couples: Colette/Lloyd

Characters/style: Colette/Lloyd pure, unadulterated fluff

Author's Notes: Ah… I dunno why I wrote. I just turned on my computer and was liked… hmm, I wanna write a ToS one-shot. Not quite sure why, though, since though I liked the characters I wasn't too fond of the game. Oh well! It was fun to write!