I'm alive! I've just been very very very busy. Chibis didn't appreciate me not having time to write, however, so they nagged me and nagged me until I had to write, they didn't care how tired I was. Here's a nice little bit of completely pointless during-game fluff featuring, oh now what a surprise, Colette, Lloyd and Sheena :)

Dedication: to those who know there are different kinds of love in the world, not just romantic love but family love as well, who know that the comfort of someone holding you is a wonderful thing that can be perfectly innocent and that can simply mean "I care". And for the people (and creatures and chibis) who I love and who mean so much to me.

Spoilers: If you don't want to know what happens during/after the journey of regeneration, if you don't know the truth about it, don't know what happens to Colette and don't want to know then please look away now :)

Disclaimer: No, I do not own Tales of Symphonia. Namco own Tales of Symphonia. I'm just a fan who is obsessed with Tales of Symphonia who just typed the words "Tales of Symphonia" a silly amount of times for one paragraph :)

Colette woke suddenly, shivering. A nightmare again. She'd been having them a lot recently now that her soul had been reconnected with her body. Always the same sort of thing. That cold, dark emptiness, the loneliness that she'd experienced when her soul had been locked away. It had been terrifying and still was, even if only experienced in a dream.

She shivered again, pulling her blanket closer around herself and clutching the small plush toy dog Lloyd had given her years ago to her chest. She closed her eyes but then snapped them open again. It was dark when she closed her eyes, she didn't like the dark when it was lonely like that, was like… like…

She whimpered again. She wanted to talk to someone, to be held. She immediately thought of Lloyd. He was the only one she really felt comfortable sharing her problems with. And, she had to admit, she loved it when he held her. His arms made her feel safe, his body was always wonderfully warm, his heartbeat reassuringly steady and strong. In his arms was the place where she felt right, like she belonged and it was as if it was the most prefect place for her to be.

Frowning sadly she shook her head. She couldn't bother Lloyd with another of her silly little troubles, couldn't be a burden again. He did so much for her, and he had troubles of his own to deal with. It wouldn't be fair to pester him.

Besides, he was on night watch right now. It would be selfish to distract him even a little from that task for her problem. She wanted to sleep now anyways, she felt utterly exhausted, and Lloyd couldn't really lie down beside her if he was supposed to be keeping watch over the campsite. The task was one that was better performed sitting or standing up.

And, of course, she felt that Raine probably wouldn't be impressed if she found them curled up together in the morning. She wasn't sure why the professor would object to them doing that, all she wanted to do was fall asleep where she felt safe, in his arms.

She suspected the teacher would assume they'd done something more, however. Something she only had the vaguest idea about. She frowned, ashamed and frustrated by her own ignorance. OK, it wasn't entirely her fault. She'd only really been taught basic school stuff and the things she'd need to know to carry out her role as Chosen. There was no point in teaching her anything much else, she had been supposed to die at the end of the journey.

But she hadn't, and now she was determined to live and determined to learn.

A cold breeze nipping at her face brought her thoughts back to her more current problem of being cold, and who she should go and talk to.

Lloyd was out of the question. She pondered over this for a minute, wondering if there was anyone else she'd feel comfortable talking to.

She propped her head up a little to look around the campsite. Her gaze stopped on Sheena. She'd been talking to the summoner quite a bit recently, although not about anything quite as deep and personal as nightmares. She liked Sheena though.

She thought carefully for a short while. Yes, she felt she could trust Sheena.

She sat up and began to gather up her sleeping mat, blanket, pillows and plush toy. Lloyd spotted the movement and began to stand up. Colette gestured to him to let him know she was OK. His expression, illuminated by the soft glow of the fire and the moon, asked if she was sure that she was OK. She made more reassuring gestures and, satisfied that Colette didn't need him at that moment, he sat back down again.

Colette half dragged half carried her stuff to where Sheena was curled up asleep.

"Sheena? Psssst, Sheena?" she mumbled softly, feeling bad about waking the summoner but at the same time badly feeling the need for someone to talk to.

The older girl was a light sleeper and her eyes blinked open quickly.

"Hmm, Colette? You OK?" she rubbed her eyes sleepily and blinked.

"I, I," the angel worked up the courage to share her problem with Sheena. "I had a bad dream."

"Nightmare?" the dark haired girl asked. Colette nodded timidly.

"Oh, hey, come here then," Sheena scooted over a little and patted the space on her sleeping mat she'd created.

"You sure it's OK, I'm not being too much of a bother? You don't mind?" the blonde asked, not wanting to be a pest. The summoner patted the mat again in reply.

The angel put down her own mat and pillows to create more space then settled on them under her blanket. She blushed and blinked a little in surprise as Sheena pulled her into a hug. Colette hadn't expected such a caring, friendly reaction from the older girl who didn't seem that bothered about expressing emotions with things like hugs. But the gesture was very welcome and appreciated all the same.

Colette snuggled closer to her, enjoying the comfortable warmth of the hug as she wrapped an arm around the Summoner's, her other holding her plush toy close to her body.

"You want to talk about it?" Sheena offered quietly. Colette sighed, feeling a little warmer and a lot less lonely now. The hug was all cozy and warm and nice. Sheena somehow felt right to hug, although in a different way to the way it felt right to hug and be held by Lloyd. That was something very special.

"Dark 'nd cold, 'n' lonely, nasty," the little angel murmured quietly, sniffing a little at the memory of the dream and the experience like it that had been horribly real. "Like when, I was, like when, you know."

"Hey, shhh, it's alright. You're safe now and we'll protect you," Sheena said in a soft, soothing voice, gently stroking the younger girl's hair in a comforting gesture.

"But it's so nasty, feels so real, and, well, it was real once and…" Colette whimpered, part of her feeling bad for troubling Sheena with this, but another part knowing she needed to talk about it.

"It's just a dream, you have to remember it's just a dream," the summoner said in a tone that suggested she was trying to tell herself this as much as she was trying to reassure the younger girl.

"You, you get them sometimes too?" Colette asked quietly, knowing really what the answer was.

"Sometimes," the dark haired woman sighed softly. "About something really bad that happened when I was younger."

The blonde tightened her hug around the summoner a little, trying to comfort her and let her know that she wasn't alone in experiencing unpleasant dreams that dwelt upon a real past that was painful to think about.

"Dreams can be really nasty things sometimes can't they?" Sheena sighed.

"Yeah," Colette nodded. "But sometimes they can be nice too."

She paused thoughtfully.

"Promise not to tell anyone I told you about it and I'll tell you about a nice one I had once," the angel offered.

"Alright," the summoner smiled and nodded then listened as Colette told her about a somewhat soppy romantic dream she'd had once.

"Kinda silly I suppose huh?" she finished, blushing a little.

"You really do love him very much don't you?" Sheena smiled and nodded in Lloyd's direction.

"Shhh! I've not told him yet!" Colette tried to hush the older girl who laughed. Anyone could tell how much those two adored one another, and in a way that was deeper than friendship. Anyone, apparently, except those two themselves. Or maybe, just maybe, they did both know deep down inside their hearts how the other felt but they were shy about admitting it and taking their relationship to a whole new level.

"Hey Sheena?" Colette yawned.

"What's that?" the dark haired girl replied.

"May I, er, can I…" Colette blushed, feeling a little embarrassed about the childishness of the request she was trying to make. Not wanting to sleep alone because you were scared of a nightmare seemed something a small child would do, and Sheena might think she was being a pain asking to not be left alone. But then again perhaps she could return the summoner's kindness by being a comforting presence for the older girl in case her nasty dreams made a reappearance.

Sheena said nothing in reply at first but simply answered with a gesture, pulling the little angel closer and settling into a comfortable position to sleep in.

"Of course you can stay where you are," she murmured, barely stifling a yawn herself.

On higher ground, better for getting a good view of the surrounding area and any threats that might be in it waiting to approach, Lloyd smiled. He sensed that whatever it was that had been bothering Colette wouldn't do so again tonight.

He sighed, wishing it was him who was holding her close while she slipped into a peaceful sleep right now. But one day it would be him the blonde would curl up to at night. Every night. And he'd always do his best to keep her safe, keep her warm. He hoped that, one day, he'd help her have good dreams too. Little did he know that he was already doing so, the smile on the angel's face was a truly happy one as she dreamt of the boy she loved and who meant the world to her.