Spoiler warning: set at the end of the game so there's going to be spoilers for stuff that happens in the game. If you don't want to know about stuff that happens in the game until you actually see it as you're playing it then please look away now :) There are spoilers in the fic and in the author's notes.
A fic set at the end of the game, after the worlds have been reunited and the tree's been named. Colette, Lloyd, Sheena, Raine and Zelos are all in it, Sheena and Zelos are the main focus of it. "Bliss" time-line oneshot.
Dedication: it's been ages since I wrote any Sheena and Zelos stuff and ages since I dedicated a fic to Minnie (Rose-Wisteria). As she's a Sheena and Zelos fan I think this one ought to be dedicated to her :) I hope she likes it.
Disclaimer: I have an obsession for Tales of Symphonia but I don't own it. I believe Namco are the owners of the wonderful thing that is Tales of Symphonia :)
Sheena smiled at the sight that greeted her as she carefully opened the inn room door. Colette and Lloyd, fast asleep curled up in each other's arms.
She wasn't surprised to see them zonked out like that, today had been a particularly exhausting day, especially for those two. Quite how they'd managed to stay awake long enough to eat dinner then drag themselves to bed she didn't know but it had been amusing to watch them.
Lloyd had looked as though he was going to fall asleep at the table, with his face landing right in his bowl of stew, about halfway through the meal. Colette had noticed and had started, blushing, to feed him. After a few spoonfuls, however, he'd protested, saying she should continue to eat her dinner as it would be getting cold. She had refused to return to her meal so he'd ended up feeding it to her. That had totally defeated the point of her feeding him so he could go up to bed quicker but it had been cute to watch.
The way, once their bowls were empty, that they'd staggered up the stairs had also brought a smile to Sheena's face. Leaning against each other, an arm wrapped over the other's shoulder, they'd looked like the closest of friends helping each other meander home after a heavy night's drinking.
Now though they looked like peaceful children, sleeping contentedly in a world of beautiful dreams. Sheena sighed softly as she moved closer, gently brushing a stray strand of Colette's hair away from the small angel's face. They looked so happy together.
"Hmm, wha, Sheena?" a voice, muzzy with sleep, brought the summoner out of her contemplative, trance-like state. She was surprised that she'd woken the younger girl, she'd looked as though she was deeply asleep.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to wake you up," the dark haired girl spoke softly.
"Oh, sorry, did you want me to wake him up and get him to go to his room?" Colette, now a little more awake, realised that Lloyd had settled in the room she was supposed to be sharing with Sheena.
"No no, you're fine, leave him be," the summoner shook her head gently. She paused as Colette yawned, blinked, then opened her eyes more widely than before. The older girl's breath caught in her throat as she noticed the bright blue orbs. As well as having a depth of wisdom and adultness in them, no doubt gained by going through all that she had on the journey, the little angel still possessed the look of pure innocence and hope in her eyes that had struck Sheena so much when she'd first seen the Sylvarant Chosen. It was an odd mix but a stunningly beautiful one.
"Oneechan, you OK?" Colette addressed the older girl with a Mizuho term, yawning once again. The summoner shook her head as if to clear it then smiled softly at the blonde.
"Yeah, I'm fine. Are you alright? Do you need anything?" she asked.
"No, thanks, I'm fine right here," Colette purred, snuggling closer to Lloyd who mumbled something in his sleep then wrapped an arm more tightly around her.
"I'll leave you two in peace then," Sheena said quietly.
"Are you sure? Where are you going to sleep?" Colette mumbled, her voice sleepy.
"It's OK, I'll be fine," the summoner assured her as she collected the bags that she'd left in the room earlier. She made her way to the door, trying not to trip over the boots and clothes that had been strewn over the floor as the couple in the bed had made their way to it.
"I can put up with the idiot for the night. Sleep well," Sheena said, beginning to pull the door closed. Colette was too tired to enquire further to find out if the summoner really was OK and didn't mind sharing a room with Zelos. She only just managed to yawn out a sleepy goodnight greeting before sleep claimed her totally again.
As she was making her way to Zelos's room Sheena heard footsteps on the stairs. When Raine reached the top of them the half-elf paused, glanced from Sheena to the summoner's bags to the door she was expecting Sheena to be behind and then frowned.
"Who?" she asked, wanting to know which member of the party was in the room with Colette.
"Who do you think?" Sheena asked, rolling her eyes, not believing the professor actually had to ask.
"He'd better not be," Raine charged forward, moving as though she was going to drag Lloyd out of the room. Sheena blocked her path, arms held out wide at her sides.
"Leave them be," she said softly.
"But…" Raine's voice rose higher at the end of the word in a protesting tone. Then Sheena realised why the teacher had seemed so determined to separate the couple.
"They're not kids any more, not after all they've been through on this journey. Let them grow up a little. They don't need to be protected from one another, they protect each other," she spoke firmly but gently. The older woman blinked and opened her mouth to protest but Sheena stopped her by speaking again.
"You're not going to be their teacher forever. You've done well as a guardian on the journey but it's come to an end. We'll be going out separate ways soon and those two won't want a chaperone tagging along when they travel together," she said.
The half-elf sighed, defeated, and there was a look of slight sadness in her eyes. Sheena's stern expression softened and she took hold of the older woman's arm.
"Here," she said quietly, moving to open the inn room door.
"Look," she whispered, nodding in the direction of the bed.
"They, they look so peaceful," the professor breathed.
"Well, you won't want to be disturbing them then will you?" Sheena smiled playfully.
"Alright," Raine closed the door and went to her own. "Goodnight."
"Night," the summoner smiled, waving before once again moving to the door of Zelos's room.
She knocked then opened it as she heard him instruct her to come in.
"Alright my voluptuous hunny?" he grinned as he saw who it was at his door.
"Idiot," she scoffed, grabbing a pillow and hitting him with it. He smiled at her, noticing that her tone had been playful.
"I thought you were sharing a room with Colette tonight?" he asked, raising an eyebrow at the bag she'd put down by the door.
"I was going to but she seems so comfortably tangled up with Lloyd I didn't want to separate them so you've got a new roommate got the night," she smiled softly before pulling a more serious expression. "No trying any funny stuff tonight."
"Hey, would I?" he asked, pretending to be hurt and upset at her comment.
"No, not if you value your good looks, paper cuts can be nasty," she grinned, waving a card threateningly at him. Then she flopped down onto a bed and sighed.
"Are you alright?" he asked, a slight hint of concern in his voice.
"I, just, well, everyone will be going their separate ways soon and it's going to be weird, y'know? I've gotten so used to everyone being around, to not be settled around a campfire at least one or two nights a week with you guys, to not have to worry about having a night watch, it's going to be so strange going back to 'ordinary' life. And I'm gonna miss my 'little sister', even if she is a little clumsy sometimes," the summoner smiled softly.
"Hey, it's not as though we'll never see each other again," Zelos reassured her quietly.
"I know, but, I can't describe how it feels to know I'll not be seeing everyone so often. For a while most of us will be moving about a lot, going on personal journeys," Sheena's voice trailed off as she absentmindedly began fiddling with a small plush toy she'd pulled out of her bag, the small bell around its neck making a pleasant, soft noise.
Zelos frowned slightly, moving from his bed to hers and settling beside her.
"I know what you mean about it feeling weird, knowing that people will be whole towns away rather than just at the end of the hall or on the other side of the campfire," he spoke quietly.
"What'll you be doing then? After more hunnies now that you can woo even more of them with your tales of adventures as part of the group who reunited the two worlds?" she asked. He was surprised as he noticed her tone of voice wasn't condescending and sarcastic as it usually was when she was talking about such subjects. This time she sounded disappointed at that thought.
He took a deep breath, his gaze falling to the floor, then, with some effort, he moved it so that his eyes were looking into hers.
"Sheena, you know, I, I don't really, well," he paused, trying to gather his thoughts better. "It's not me. Being Chosen it, kinda, you're expected to do certain things, behave in certain ways. No one really cared abut what I wanted and, I guess, I tried to stop caring too, to just go along with expectations. Now I've got more freedom I think it's time I started being myself more, caring about Zelos, not the Chosen," his gaze dropped back to the floor then. He looked up again, however, when she spoke in a tone he'd never heard her use before.
"It's difficult, isn't it, when you have to live up to the grand expectations of others?" she spoke quietly, so quietly he'd only just managed to hear what she'd said. Her gaze was on the plush toy, she didn't want him to see the pain in her eyes, but she wanted to share her thoughts with him.
"Ever since I failed to make a pact with Volt the first time I tried I've had the weight of the consequences of what happened on my shoulders. People from the village, the way they looked at me, it was horrible. And then, being sent to assassinate Colette, I didn't want to do that, didn't want more blood on my hands. The only way I could even vaguely begin to try to convince myself I was doing the right thing was to think of how doing that would be good for my village, which I owed so much to, and how it was one life for many it seemed from what I was told.
"When I saw her though, I couldn't, I mean, she's so sweet and innocent. I tried to convince myself it was right, tried to act tough, but I couldn't do it. You'd have to have a heart of stone to even consider killing someone like her. The looks I got in the village after that, I," she shuddered, trying to hold tears back.
"And to think I was trying to convince myself it was right to end her life. She's, well, Zelos, who could do that? Only a monster could. My village wanted me to be a monster and they didn't even think about what they were doing," she failed to hold back the sobs and tears fell down her cheeks. All this time on the quest she'd tried to be strong, to not let the others see any weakness, but she was so tired and worn down at the end of it she couldn't do so any more.
She blinked in surprise as Zelos moved to gently and tenderly hold her. He didn't try to grope her, to take advantage of the fact that she was showing weakness, he merely tried to comfort her. He didn't speak until her sobs had quietened a little. When they did and he started to talk to her his voice was low and soft.
"Hey, I wasn't exactly angelic either," he gave a snort of a laugh, amused by the irony of that, then continued.
"I mean I almost," he paused once again, shuddering.
"But you didn't betray us, you were strong," she reassured him.
"Yeah, couldn't do that to my friends. The world's a horrible place isn't it? The things you're faced with sometimes, choices you have to make and terrible situations you're faced with," he said.
"Yeah, but, well, now the worlds are reunited again what do you say we do our best to make it a peaceful, friendly place? To try and ensure people don't have to face the horrible things we had to?" she offered quietly.
"You and me as a team? I'd like that very much my voluptuous hunny," he grinned, unable to resist using the nickname. She gave him a playful shove for that, a gentle smile on her lips.
That smile remained when, after getting changed for bed, she in the inn room he in the bathroom, they settled down under their blankets and, wordlessly, he stretched his hand out for hers. She placed her hand in his before whispering goodnight and the smile remained, throughout the night and into the morning.