Spoiler warning: Spoilers of what happens to Colette in the first part of the game are contained in this fic and the author notes. If you don't know what happens to her as she turns into an angel and don't want to know then please don't read this until you do, thanks :)

During-game oneshot featuring Lloyd and Colette. Lloyd's thoughts on the night when Colette's gotten her soul back. Written when I was kinda sleepy but not tired enough to ignore the chibis. Lloyd chibi wanted to be written about and was attacking me with a plot bunny, this is the result :)

Please note: I'm English and use English English (rather than American English), so when I say jelly I don't mean the stuff you put on toast at breakfast, I mean the wobbly stuff that's a type of dessert.

Disclaimer: I don't own Tales of Symphonia. I have an obsession for it and for writing about it (as well as for cosplaying as characters from it) but it's Namco that actually own it I believe.

Lloyd took a deep breath then let it out in a long, contented sigh. He was sitting by the campfire, like he had on so many other occasions, but tonight was special. Tonight he had something back that he'd been missing so much he'd hurt and ached inside without her by his side, his Colette.

He blushed and frowned slightly as he caught himself thinking that. Was he allowed to refer to the angel he was holding as his? He'd not said anything formally to her about the deep love and affection he had for her and yet, somehow, he knew that to call her his felt so right and that it wouldn't displease her. She'd been dropping little hints that she felt the same as him for a while now. The latest one had been when, after he'd offered to hold her beside the fire, she'd blushed cutely and pulled an expression that looked like one a child might pull when given a present they had dearly wanted for their birthday.

She was asleep now. She had been shyly nuzzling him and, when she'd seen that he didn't object to that, had made a noise which could only be described as a purr. Slowly that noise had been replaced by the simple sound of her soft breathing as she drifted into sleep.

Lloyd knew how much Colette had missed being able to sleep so for her to choose him as a pillow for her first proper sleep in what must have felt like forever to her was something he considered an honour. That she felt comfortable enough around him to fall asleep right in his arms meant a lot to him.

He was holding her close to himself and could feel the gentle rise and fall of her breathing. Slowly he let his eyes close and concentrated on listening to the soft, faint sounds she made in her sleep, the warmth of her body next to his own and the feelings he was experiencing, which were like what he imagined flying would feel like, only better.

The gentle movement of her shifting slightly to snuggle even closer to him caused him to open his eyes. He blushed happily as she made that cute purring noise a couple of times before settling back into whisper-like breaths.

Gently, tenderly, trying not to disturb her slumber, he lifted one of her hands into his own then studied it carefully. So delicate, like she was, delicate and small with beautifully soft skin.

He frowned as he saw tiny cuts and scars on her hand and felt anger at those who had caused them to be there. Monsters that had fought them in battles, bullies, people who seemed to think it was perfectly OK to hurt someone who had such a peaceful, caring and innocent personality.

He let out a soft growl aimed generally at all those who had caused the angel who was sleeping so peacefully in his lap pain then held her tighter.

"I'll always do my very best to protect you," he whispered softly to her, so quietly he could hardly hear the words himself. She seemed to pick up on them though, even in sleep, and nuzzled him once again. Or maybe she'd been about to do that anyway and the timing of his spoken promise had just been a nice coincidence.

He looked down at her peaceful sleeping form and felt his heart lift so much he felt as though it might burst because he was so happy to have her back. She'd been so cold, her body, eyes, personality, when her soul had been locked away. Now she was back the warmth of her body pressed up against his own was wonderfully reassuring and comforting. The warmth he'd seen in her eyes, those deep blue orbs that were so very expressive, when she'd smiled at him earlier had made him melt, made him feel like he'd become a lump of jelly quivering on a plate.

He loved her so much. His love for her was one of the things he was most very sure about in these worlds. The fact that his love was so strong made it difficult for him to tell her about it though.

He felt so comfortable around Colette but it was because of this that those three short words he longed to say to her always seemed to stick in his throat. Telling her he cared for her far more deeply than just as a friend would bring a whole new aspect into their relationship and he was trying to get used to the thought of that. Although, he admitted to himself, he'd kinda already gotten used to the idea somewhat. As he held the small angel in a warm embrace and, without even realising he was doing so, began to stroke her hair, he thought about how wonderful it would feel to kiss her, to feel her soft lips on his own. He'd never kissed anyone before, not a proper, romantic kiss anyways, but he somehow instinctively knew it would feel good to share the experience with Colette.

At one point in his life he would have laughed at the idea. Him and Colette kissing! But he was older now and understood, at least a little bit, that the special sort of beautiful bond of love between just two people who meant everything to each other was something, well, the best word he could think of was special but that didn't seem a strong enough word for what he was thinking about. It was certainly not something to be scoffed at and referred to as yucky like he had when he was younger anyways.

He closed his eyes once more and tried to commit to his memory exactly how everything felt in this perfect, peaceful moment. The weight and warmth of Colette's body against his own, the soft sound of her breathing, her heartbeat, the wonderful scent he could only describe as 'Colette', a mixture of nice scents that mixed to make one that was somehow uniquely hers, and the amazing sense of peace he felt right then. They still had a lot to do, so much to struggle through, but right here, right now, for tonight, the worlds could just leave him and Colette alone.

After a while his eyes blinked open as he heard footsteps approaching. It was Sheena with dinner, two bowls of something that smelt delicious.

"Nice bit of warm stew to fill you up, I bet she's really hungry now," the summoner smiled, clearly happy that Colette was back.

She knelt down beside the cuddling couple and patted the blonde on the head affectionately whilst saying something quietly in the Mizuho language.

"What's that mean?" Lloyd asked softly, liking the sound of the words.

"'Welcome back'," Sheena translated, smiling. Then she got to her feet, saying that she'd give them some peace, and went to fetch a bowl of stew for herself.

The voices and the smell of dinner were gradually bringing Colette out of sleep. As she shifted around groggily as she came to Lloyd whispered something to her, feeling brave enough to say the words because of her sleepy state.

"Welcome back to where you're loved and wanted. I hope you never leave my side again," he spoke softly and tenderly, so only she could hear him.

He wasn't sure exactly how awake she was when he'd spoken, probably not awake enough to take in the words properly, but the way she nuzzled him seemed as though she was saying that she wanted to always be with him.

He blushed, smiling happily, then offered her one of the bowls of food. She accepted it with a smile and his own smile grew when she stayed right where she was, content to eat curled up with him.

He sighed softly before turning some of his attention to his own dinner, not wanting to turn all of it away from the angel sitting with him. He hoped that she would always be this comfortable around him and knew, deep down inside his heart, that she always would.