Disclaimer: I don't own ToS. Except for, you know, the little disks. In the case. That you get when you buy the game.Yeah. Namco owns the rest.
Lloyd rolled over in his sleep, mumbling incoherently. Dreams of swords and battles and angels, good and bad, filled his head.
The grandfather clock in the hall struck two; Lloyd stirred slightly.
"Mm…" he sat up, rubbing his eyes to rid them of that sleepy, foggy feeling you get when you first wake up.
The air was still and cold. The light of the ever-glowing lampposts outside the inn reflected faintly off the snow of Flanoir, providing a small amount of light.
He heard the faint sound of footsteps, and a door being semi-stealthily closed.
Kicking off the blankets and sheets, Lloyd got out of bed and threw on his clothes as quickly as he could, buckling his sword belt around his waist. He scampered to the door where he had left his boots; the wood floor was unpleasantly cold at this time of night.
After pulling on his boots, he paused at the door a moment to listen. There was no sound other than the soft ticking of the grandfather clock and Genis' soft snoring in the bed near the window.
He carefully turned the doorknob and opened the door slowly, carefully, quietly.
The inn was cold and still; the fires had all been banked, the guests were all sleeping soundly. Even the innkeeper was slumbering peacefully, leaning forward on the reception desk, a warm blanket over his shoulders.
Careful to avoid creaky floorboards, Lloyd made his way to the front door. Grasping the hilt of one of his twin blades with his right hand, he pulled the heavy wooden door open with his left and cast a wary glance about the snow-covered world outside.
Gently falling flakes of white were drifting gently down from the cloudy night sky, adding a fresh layer of white to the icy streets of the town.
The windows of the nearby houses were encrusted with a layer of frost; long icicles hung from the edges of every roof. The steady glow of the lamps along the streets illuminated the snowy scene with a soft light.
Lloyd's wandering gaze settled finally upon a white-clad figure standing near the stone railing overlooking the town square.
A smile touched his lips. He took his hand from his sword and stepped out into the snow, closing the door quietly behind him. The snow muffled the sound of his footsteps as he approached the blond-haired girl from behind.
"Shouldn't you be in bed?" He said softly, putting his hands on her shoulders.
A small gasp slipped from her lips as she turned to face him, "Oh, Lloyd. You scared me!"
"Sorry about that." He ran his gloved fingers through his hair.
"… That's okay." Colette smiled sweetly and turned back to the railing overlooking the snowy town square. She was dressed in her normal, white and blue clothes. Her eyes were bright, and her hair shone in the soft lamplight.
"So… what are you doing out here? Aren't you cold?" Lloyd half laughed and hugged her around the shoulders from behind.
She leaned into his embrace, her hands clasped over her heart, "Yes. I am cold." Lloyd held her tighter as her slight form shivered, "Wonderfully cold, in fact."
"Wonderfully cold, huh?" He watched the fog of his own breath dissipate in the air. "Sounds like a… a… a… nevermind."
Colette tipped her head back in an effort to see his face, "A nevermind?"
Lloyd shook his head and chuckled, "No, I just can't think of the word."
"Oh." She sighed happily, snuggling closer to him, "You know, Lloyd. I didn't used to like the cold. But ever since I…" her chin dropped a little, "I…"
"Shh… you don't have to say it. I know what you mean." Lloyd whispered. The angel transformation had been terrible for Colette. Not being able to speak. To taste. To feel. Having her very soul locked away for a time. Lloyd felt he couldn't begin to comprehend what it had been like.
"Yeah…" he heard her breathe. Then she brightened, "but ever since then, I've loved the cold! Almost more than being warm!"
Lloyd regretfully started to remove his arms from her, "Do you want me to go? I'll-"
"No, wait!" She turned to face him, her eyes had a troubled look, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean… to… um… what I meant to say… I… I still……Oh, please stay, Lloyd." She quickly added, "If you want."
"Alright." They settled back to their previous position.
After several minutes of happy silence, Colette asked, "Isn't it beautiful? The snow looks so soft… almost like you could sleep on it!"
"That would be cold." Lloyd laughed.
"It would be." Colette agreed, and shivered again.
"Are you sure you don't want to go inside?" Lloyd asked.
"Um… do you want to?" She asked questioningly.
"I'm asking about you, not me." He dusted the snowflakes from the top of her head affectionately.
"Well… um… actually, I think I would like to go and get warm."
"I thought you liked the cold?" Lloyd said jokingly as the two of them stepped through the doorway.
"I do." She said sincerely, "But after I get very, very cold, I like to go sit near a warm fire. It makes me feel all prickly and tingly; like all the cold is just melting out of me. It's great!"
"If you say so…" Lloyd whispered as he closed the door quietly behind them, "But all the fires have been banked or put out for the night… it might take us a little while to-"
"No it won't!" Colette whispered back cheerfully, clasping her hands in front of her heart, "I put some logs on the fire in my room before I went out! We can go in there!"
"Are you sure Sheena and the professor won't mind?" Lloyd shook the snow from his hair.
"Er, they might mind a little," she said hesitantly, but brightened instantly, "but if we're really quiet, they won't even know!"
"Okay." Lloyd grinned and silently followed Colette down the hall to the girl's room.
Pausing outside the door, the blond-haired chosen held a finger to her lips before carefully pushing the door open.
Lloyd felt a rush of warm air as he stepped into the room. The other girls were sound asleep; their breathing was normal under the thick, warm blankets.
Colette sat on the rug near the fire and beckoned for Lloyd to join her.
He collapsed on the rug next to her; letting the heat of the fire warm him through. He noticed a large cooking pot hanging over the fire, "What's that?" he whispered.
"Something warm to drink." She whispered back, "Do you want some?"
"Sure!" Lloyd agreed readily. He watched as she rummaged through the trunk at the end of her bed for some cups, "What is it? Hot chocolate?"
"Um, well, it was going to be hot chocolate…" She handed him a wooden mug, "but I couldn't find any chocolate. So it's just hot water. I hope you don't mind…" she looked at him anxiously.
Lloyd smiled reassuringly, "Nah, hot water's fine." He held out his cup and Colette poured some of the steaming water in carefully with a large metal ladle, "Thanks."
"Your welcome." Colette poured herself some, somehow managing not to spill any, and sat beside Lloyd, sipping the warm water contentedly.
Lloyd looked at her and smiled; she saw felt his gaze somehow and moved closer to him. Putting her hand to his ear, she whispered, "Thank you, Lloyd."
"For what?" he looked at her quizzically.
She leaned her head drowsily against his shoulder, "For just being here with me."
"Sure." He murmured back, stroking her hair ever so gently.
Sheena, being a ninja, was a very light sleeper. When the door had opened for Lloyd and Colette to come back in, she had awakened, but chose to stay quiet and watch them.
She had been hard-pressed not to laugh at Colette's hot water, but managed to keep quiet by sheer willpower.
Now she watched as they both sunk into a deep slumber leaning against each other by the fire.
Heh, they're such sweet kids, She thought, I had probably better make sure Lloyd gets out of here before the professor and Presea wake up.
She slipped out of bed, confident that the light, purple T-shirt and dark sweatpants she slept in weren't any more revealing than her normal clothes. She bent over next to Lloyd and put a hand on his shoulder.
"Hmrm?" he grumbled as he came awake again, "Sheena?"
"Yeah," She suppressed the urge to laugh at his panicked look, "Don't worry; I'm not gonna go psycho on you just 'cause your in the girl's room. I just wanted to make sure you got out before the professor gets up."
"Thanks, Sheena." Lloyd whispered back, and removed himself carefully from Colette. He looked sadly at Colette's sleeping form lying peacefully on the rug, then back at Sheena, "Can you get her back in bed?"
"Leave it to me." Sheena said.
"Alright. Goodnight, Sheena. Goodnight, Colette. I… I love you." He stroked her silky hair tenderly one last time, and slipped carefully back to the boy's room.
Sheena smiled after him for a few moments. Now if only he could say that to her when she wasn't asleep. She thought just before scooping the sleeping Chosen up in her arms and carefully laying her back in her own bed.
"You're lighter than you look, you know?" Sheena murmured mostly to herself as she arranged the covers over sleeping girl.
She was about to return to her bed, when she heard Colette mumble sleepily, "Sheena?"
"Yeah?" she turned to see Colette sitting up and looking around dazedly, "What's up?"
"I had a wonderful dream, Sheena." She sighed happily, "I dreamed that… that Lloyd said that he loved me."
Sheena's eyes danced with laughter, but she feigned ignorance, "Really?"
"Yes… Oh!" Colette's blissful look suddenly changed to one of concern, "But please don't tell anyone! I would be so embarrassed if…"
"Hey, don't worry." Sheena drew a cross over her heart with her finger, "I won't tell. Now you'd better get back to sleep. We've got another big day ahead of us tomorrow."
"Okay." Colette pulled the covers around her more tightly, "Goodnight, Sheena."
"Goodnight." Sheena said, and got back under the covers of her own bed, "and sweet dreams."