During game one-shot featuring Colette and Sheena, mainly focusing on Colette. As usual it's a piece of plotless nonsense. :)
Dedication: for Kasan Soulblade whose fics I always enjoy reading. I hope that Kasan doesn't mind the dedication and likes the story. :)
Disclaimer: I don't own Tales of Symphonia. I believe that Namco own it. I'm just obsessed with it and love writing about it. :)
Colette smiled and nodded as she stitched a small stitch on a large piece of cloth she was holding. Stretched taut in an embroidery hoop the tiny stitch she'd made was only a small line in the small area of fabric that was held in the hoop. The rest of the fabric was laid out over her knees.
"There," she said quietly, a sense of achievement making her smile in a deeply happy way. She'd started working on that piece of fabric many years ago and now, on a warm, quiet night during the night watch shift which she was sharing with Sheena, she was finally satisfied that the embroidery was finished.
The embroidery was something that she'd kept hidden from her grandmother and father. When she was younger, before the journey had started, during the day she had spent some time after school was finished working on various samplers that were connected in some way to Martel and the church. Her grandmother had insisted that she should sew things that would please the Goddess, pictures that many other people had embroidered already, but Colette hadn't been content with simply copying patterns from work others had already done. The world was so full of beautiful things, surely something that tried to capture the magnificence of nature would be something that could be considered worth the time spent working on it.
This thought had bothered her so much that, after a while, she had finally decided to do something about it. Each week her grandmother and father had given her a small amount of money to spend however she wished. She had often spent it on snacks that she could share with Lloyd after school but for a few weeks she had saved every gald she was given until she had enough to buy a piece of fabric large enough for the embroidery she wanted to sew and some thread.
Her grandmother always kept embroidery material in the house so she could have taken some of that, her grandmother probably wouldn't have noticed one piece of fabric and the occasional thread going missing, however Colette hadn't wanted to do that. It was wrong to steal and, besides, she had wanted to work on the embroidery all by herself, to keep it a special secret, and it had felt right to get the material she needed to make it by herself.
Although, she had to admit, she had had a little help when shopping for the materials she wanted. If she had bought them herself the shopkeeper might have noticed her buying the unusually small amount of fabric. When she had gone shopping for her grandmother Colette had always been instructed to buy fairly large amounts of fabric. The shopkeeper, who ran one of the only shops in the village and knew everybody who lived there, would most likely have noticed that her purchase didn't match what she usually bought and, being the gossip that he was, would probably have mentioned that to her grandmother when he saw her next. If that had happened her grandmother would have asked her what she'd brought the material for and then it wouldn't be a secret any more. It was also likely that her grandmother would have taken the material away from her.
Lloyd, however, had often made seemingly random purchases at the shop as what his father needed varied from project to project. She had asked him to buy the fabric and thread for her, instructing him to buy himself something with whatever money was left over. That turned out to be quite a large amount but instead of buying something just for himself he'd bought a bag of sweets for them both to share.
The sugary treats had seemed so much nicer because they had shared them and because Lloyd had been kind enough to get something they could both enjoy. The blonde angel sighed happily as she remembered walking home from the shop that day, walking at a slow pace because she hadn't wanted to arrive home and for that pleasant moment in time to end.
Eventually, however, it had. She had arrived at her door and had had to say goodbye to her best friend who she wouldn't see for a few days time, there was no school on weekends and they both had chores and tasks that kept them busy during that break from studying.
She had managed to sneak the embroidery materials into the house in her schoolbag. It had felt a little naughty to do so but, she had decided as she had carefully hidden her sewing supplies in her room, it somehow felt right as well.
She had spent many happy hours working on that piece of embroidery. Once she was sure that her father and grandmother were asleep she would light a candle and stitch by the light of the warm flame. Some nights she had become so absorbed in her work that she lost track of time and would be tired the next morning from lack of sleep. She hadn't really minded feeling tired though because she knew that the tiredness meant that another piece of the picture was completed.
She hadn't worked from any pattern and hadn't sketched out a rough design on paper. The fewer things she had around her room that were connected with her embroidery the better. She could have easily explained having thread in her room, she had sometimes worked on samplers of the type that her grandmother approved of in there in the evenings, the fabric she was working on she had kept as well hidden as she could and she had a large collection of her artwork in her room so one more picture wouldn't be suspicious. If her grandmother had found all of the items, however, she knew that she would be in trouble.
She wasn't sure why her grandmother was so against her spending time on samplers that weren't somehow connected with the church, her comments that it would be a waste of the young girl's time had seemed almost automatic, like her grandmother had learnt that from someone without questioning it and simply passed on the advice without thinking about it.
It had given Colette a lot of pleasure, however, to transfer the picture that she had so clearly in her head onto the fabric. A simple forest scene that contained a lot of detail, animals, birds, flowers and such which she had slowly added in as neatly as she could, stitch by stitch.
Now, finally, it was finished.
"You were doing it again," Sheena's voice snapped her out of her thoughts about the embroidery.
"Doing what?" the little angel asked. Sheena stuck her tongue out of the corner of her mouth, pretending to frown in concentration, in reply.
"You're supposed to be watching out for monsters, not watching me," Colette said playfully, sticking her tongue out again, this time in a slightly rude gesture.
"It's quiet tonight, no monsters around here are brave enough to come near the fire," the summoner nodded.
Colette turned the fabric over and tied a knot in the end of her thread. Then she picked up a pair of scissors and, mumbling as she did so, cut the remaining thread that wasn't needed off. Sheena tried to hide the fact that she was giggling.
"What's so funny?" the blonde asked.
"You, can you sew without pulling a funny face or making silly noises?" the dark haired girl giggled.
"Yes, it's just that this is important, I wanted to concentrate to make sure I finished it just right," Colette replied.
"Is that the embroidery you told me about a while ago, the one you started before the jouney?" Sheena asked. Colette nodded. Sheena was the only one who knew that the embroidery was something that she had worked on before the journey. She had continued to work on it secretly at the beginning of the journey but had recently started to work on it during quiet moments around their campfires. It wasn't unusual for her to work on pieces of embroidery and no one had any reason to suspect that that particular piece was special. Colette had decided to tell Sheena about it while they were on night watch one night when the summoner commented that a few areas of the picture seemed a little less neat than the others, as though they'd been done by someone who hadn't had as much practice at embroidery as Colette had now.
"Is it finished?" Sheena asked. Colette nodded and loosened the embroidery hoop. She put the two pieces of wood down carefully then shook the fabric out, holding it up so that the summoner could see it.
"That's really beautiful," the older girl smiled. "What are you going to do with it?"
Colette thought for a moment. She could, she thought, get the picture framed one day but it seemed like it would be a long time before she would have a wall in a permanent home of her own to hang it on. She could stitch it onto a blanket perhaps but that didn't seem like the right thing to do with it either.
Suddenly she smiled, her face lighting up with the idea that had occurred to her. She carefully folded the fabric up then got up and shuffled over to where Lloyd was sleeping peacefully, curled up under a warm blanket beside Noishe. Carefully and gently, not wanting to wake him up, she lifted his head up a little and slipped the fabric underneath his pillow.
Somehow it seemed right that Lloyd should have the embroidery, he had encouraged her to spend time after school doing things she wanted to do just because they were fun instead of spending almost all her time on things connected to her title. She had fond memories of hours spent surrounded by paper, crayons and colouring pencils on the floor beside him. He'd also been so supportive, had given her strength to continue on and be herself, not just a title.
Softly, tenderly, she replaced his head on the pillow then, blushing, ran a hand through his hair a few times. He smiled and mumbled something in his sleep.
"Thank you," the angel whispered softly before moving back over to the fire.
It felt funny, Colette thought, to think that she'd finally finished the embroidery project she had started years ago. Now she would no longer spend hours adding in tiny stitches that made up part of a large picture, all the stitches were now in place, securely attached to the fabric. She looked down at her hands, frowning as she realised that she missed having the embroidery hoop in them already. There was only one way to fix that.
She moved over to her bag and began searching through it. Soon she was settled beside the fire again, a blank piece of fabric now stretched in the hoop and a piece of thread in her hands as she tied a knot in the end of it. Once she was happy that the knot was nice and strong she began to sew, happily adding in stitch after stitch, so absorbed by her work that she didn't notice that she was mumbling with each stitch she made or that Sheena was trying not to break her concentration by giggling in amusement at her 'stitching' sounds.