I think this fic is best described with the words "where on Earth did this idea come from!" :) I blame the Colette and Sheena chibis, they gave me this idea and wouldn't leave me alone until I wrote it. Set during the game, in a part at some point fairly late on in the story, Sheena teaches Colette about some important stuff and has a bit of an argument with Raine.
If you think the stork brings babies or that they're found under gooseberry bushes please look away now. I'm rating this fic with a higher rating because of what's being discussed. None of the explicit details are mentioned, but some stuff to do with where children come from is, including what happens to women every month. If you don't want to read about that sorta stuff please don't read this.
Spoiler warning: the truth about the journey of regeneration is mentioned. If you don't know what's supposed to happen to Colette at the end of that and don't want to know please look away now :)
Disclaimer: I don't own Tales of Symphonia. Namco own it I believe. I just really like writing fanfiction about it.
Colette smiled as she made the last fold on her square of paper and pulled on the paper bird's tail, making the wings flap as she finished singing the last few lines of a song Sheena had been teaching her.
"Very nice," the older girl smiled, taking the paper bird Colette was offering her for inspection.
"Very neat," she nodded, making the wings flap a few more times before giving the paper model back to the angel.
"Hey Sheena, is it really true that if you make lots and lots of these your wish comes true?" the blonde asked.
"Apparently if you make a thousand of them yes. That's how the legend goes," the summoner replied.
"Bother," Colette frowned.
"What's wrong?" Sheena asked.
"I don't have that much paper!" Colette flung her arms in the air in an exaggerated exasperated gesture. Sheena laughed.
"Don't worry, we can get more paper," she smiled. Colette looked thoughtful.
"I'll be right back," she said, taking her paper bird with her and returning to the inn room a short time later without it, giggling.
"What're you up to?" the dark haired girl asked.
"I went to give it to Lloyd but he was taking a nap, so I perched it on his shoulder like a pirate's parrot," the angel giggled.
"Daft," the summoner rolled her eyes.
"Can you make paper dogs as well as birds? Ones that'll twitch their ears when you wag their tail?" the younger girl asked, cutting another square from a large piece of paper.
"Not like that, no. I can show you how to make a little paper dog that doesn't move if you want though," Sheena offered.
"Please," Colette nodded, passing her the paper square. "A cute one, like a little puppy."
"You liked those puppies we saw today didn't you?" Sheena smiled, remembering the angel's reaction to a group of puppies that had been tumbling about playing in one of the streets when they'd reached the town to get supplies and spend a night in the comfort of an inn.
"They're so cute and fluffy with their big paws!" Colette beamed.
"I think most baby animals are supposed to be cute," the dark haired girl said as she continued to fold the piece of paper. Colette nodded.
"Puppies and baby bunnies are the cutest though," the angel said. Sheena paused, the topic of conversation reminding her of something she'd made a mental note to talk to Colette about.
"Do you know where all the puppies and other babies come from?" she asked. Colette nodded.
"The stork brings the mums their babies," she replied. Sheena rolled her eyes. Her suspicions had been right, no one had taught Colette about that. She was about to hit her forehead with her hand in a gesture of annoyance and exasperation when the blonde spoke again.
"Wait, if the stork brings them why do mother dogs get fat before the puppies arrive and then they're not fat afterwards? And why's it only the mum who gets fat?" she asked, tipping her head to one side in a confused gesture.
"No one's ever talked to you about this properly have they?" Sheena asked, pleased to see that Colette wasn't completely naive and had noticed something wrong with the story she'd been told. Colette shook her head.
"C'mere," the summoner patted the spot beside her on the bed and the angel moved from where she'd been kneeling on the floor to Sheena's side. The older girl paused for a minute, wondering how to explain in a way that Colette would understand.
"There's no stork that brings babies is there?" the younger girl asked.
"No," Sheena replied. Then she thought of an explanation that she thought would make sense to Colette.
"You know how if you put a plant seed in a pot or in the ground it grows into a plant?" she paused, wanting to check Colette knew what she was talking about. The angel nodded and she continued.
"Well, it's a bit like that, babies grow inside the mother kinda like plants grow in soil. That's why they get fat, you see?" she received another nod in reply.
"Ah," Colette pulled a thoughtful face as a thought occurred to her. "If it's only the mum it happens to has it got something to do with what happens to women every month?"
"No one explained anything about why that happens to you?" Sheena asked, surprised.
"No, they just said it was something that happened to girls and I had to live with it, never explained why it happened. I, I don't like that, I don't like that I don't know about something that happens to me, but no one would explain," Colette replied, her voice quiet as she looked down at the blanket on the bed dejectedly.
"Really?" Sheena frowned, annoyed.
"Yeah, there's lots of things I was never taught because, you know, I was supposed to die at the end of the journey of regeneration. If I didn't need to know about something to carry out my duties as Chosen or if it wasn't something that was taught in school anyway no one really bothered about teaching me stuff," the little angel explained as she began to fold another square of paper absentmindedly.
"What happens to women every month is connected with the way these things work yes. Did no one ever talk to you about ANYTHING about that sort of thing at all? Really?" Sheena asked, not quite believing it.
"I thought something like this," Colette held up a now complete paper bird. "Brought babies magically into the world to their mothers, remember?"
"Nothing at all? Never?" Sheena asked, still not quite believing that no one had said anything at all about this to the angel. Colette shook her head.
"I hate not knowing stuff, it makes me feel ignorant and stupid. I don't even understand how part of my own body works," Colette sobbed slightly, upset.
"I think it's about time you learnt then," Sheena smiled in a soft, kind way and began to explain.
A little later, after Sheena had finished explaining things to Colette that the summoner thought she should have been taught before now, and after the angel had had a mug of hot chocolate, she'd fallen asleep. Warm and content in a comfortable bed, she slept peacefully. Sheena was sat on the edge of the bed where she'd perched while she'd told the younger girl a bedtime story. Although telling bedtime stories seemed like something you'd only do for a small child Colette seemed to enjoy listening to the stories Sheena had learnt as a child herself, and the summoner found some sort of comfort in telling the stories that were now so familiar to her.
She got up and was about to clear a few of her possessions into her bag before she went to bed herself when she spotted a figure walk past the slightly open door.
"Raine, wait!" she called out, running to the door and quietly pulling it shut so she wouldn't disturb the sleeping angel. She wanted to have a word with the professor.
"What is it Sheena? It's late and I want to go to bed," the half-elf frowned.
"Why did no one ever teach Colette about where children come from?" the summoner asked, her tone low but angry.
"It wasn't important for her to know that to carry out her duties as Chosen," Raine shrugged, failing to see why Sheena thought it was so important.
"Is that all she ever was to any of the people of Sylvarant? Just a title? That's disgusting!" Sheena hissed, keeping her voice low.
"You were the one trying to kill her," the teacher replied, raising an eyebrow meaningfully.
"That's because I was under pressure from my whole village, I was told I had to save my world. And besides, at the time I was told that taking one life could save many and it would have been a quick and painless death, not the mockery you put her through, losing what made her human piece by piece. Even so I feel horrified about what might have happened because of me and I'm gonna have to live with that for the rest of my life," the summoner spat, her voice rising.
"Her title was no excuse not to tell her things anyways. If you didn't want to give her the full details you could have explained a few things. Poor girl felt awful about not even knowing why she had to go through so much discomfort every month, it's not a lot of fun even if you do know why, not knowing must have made it much worse. Even though I doubt she'd admit it I think she was actually a little scared because she didn't know," the dark haired girl added.
"Not my job, her family should have dealt with that. They did what they thought was best," Raine replied.
"Not tell her anything and make her feel ignorant and scared? I'd hardly call that the best thing to do! And surely she must have asked you about stuff like that once or twice? You were her teacher," Sheena seethed.
"I just went along with what those who dealt with the Chosen business thought was best. I didn't have any power or authority to change anything. But that's what we're doing now isn't it? Working to change things so the Chosen ritual stops? It's not my fault the Chosen ritual was as horrible as it was. I'm going to bed now, goodnight," Raine abruptly ended the conversation by storming into her room and closing the door.
Sheena muttered under her breath about the unfairness of all this to Colette as she went back into her room. She stopped walking as she heard a quiet voice call out her name.
"Colette, you're awake?" she asked, surprised. The blonde had been asleep when she'd left the room.
"I heard shouting," Colette explained groggily. Sheena mentally chided herself as she realised that she'd not kept her voice low as she'd gotten angrier and that Colette's hearing was better than her own.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to wake you up," the summoner apologised. Colette shook her head.
"That's OK. Thank you, by the way," she said quietly.
"What for?" Sheena asked, puzzled.
"For explaining stuff to me and for sticking up for me," Colette replied.
"That's alright," the older girl smiled softly, giving the younger girl a hug. "Just promise me something?"
"What's that?" the little angel yawned as her head slipped back towards the pillow.
"Now you know how babies are made don't go rushing off to make any," Sheena laughed.
"SHEENA!" Colette squeaked, moving to hit the summoner with her pillow.
"It's something special, isn't it?" she asked quietly after she'd playfully hit Sheena with the pillow a couple of times.
"Yes," the older girl replied.
"Well then," Colette nodded, placing the pillow back on the bed and settling back down into it. "Lloyd and I only just started kissing, we're not going to rush anything."
"Good," Sheena smiled at her. "You want another bedtime story to make up for me waking you up?"
"Mmm, please," the angel smiled. "The one about the pretty paper birds."