A post-game one-shot. Colette's thoughts about growing up and what it means to be an adult.

Warning: this fic is about becoming an adult and so features things about being an adult and stuff that happens to females as they grow up (which is why I've given it a high rating).

This fic assumes that no one actually called Colette a title she obtains in the game (the one connected to her formal outfit).

Disclaimer: I don't own Tales of Symphonia. Namco own it I believe. I just love writing about it.

Despite the fact that she was warm and comfortable Colette couldn't sleep. Lloyd was curled up beside her, breathing softly in his sleep, a sound that she found comforting because it, along with his heartbeat, meant that he was there beside her, relaxed, peaceful and safe. She knew that Noishe was alright as well, she could see the lump of gently rising and falling fur in the corner where he'd decided he wanted to sleep tonight. The inn room was comfortable, extremely so. The trouble was, she thought, was that she had a lot on her mind.

The event that had gotten her thinking hadn't been particularly unusual. She and Lloyd had decided to take a little break in Altamira and, when they were returning to the hotel after a relaxing day at the beach, a child who'd been running after another and not really looking properly at where she was running had bumped into her.

The child's mother had run up to them shouting something along the lines of "I told you not to run around like that, now look what you've done" and Colette had assured her that it was OK, she was alright. The child's mother had insisted on the girl giving an apology. It was only a while after that event, however, that the little angel had noticed something unusual about what the woman had said to her child when instructing her to apologise.

"Say sorry to the nice lady."

"Nice lady".

Since when had she become a "lady", a term that seemed to imply maturity, a woman and not a child? She remembered being referred to as "girl" quite a few times, she'd often heard "that girl is the Chosen?" said in a slightly unbelieving tone as she'd tripped up, but couldn't remember ever being referred to as a "lady" before.

Was she an adult now? When had she become one, what had marked that transition? She wasn't sure if she really was an adult yet, wasn't sure if she felt like one. She was more mature than she had once been, she wouldn't deny that, after all she had been through how could she not have grown up a little? But an adult? A woman?

She pondered over what being a woman meant. She remembered that some girls at school had seemed to consider themselves a woman when they got their first period. That didn't seem right somehow. The blonde frowned, trying to remember how she'd felt when she'd gotten hers. Uncomfortable yes, like an adult no. That wasn't it.

Was it, then, to do with other changes in her body? She moved out of the bed, apologising to Lloyd who gave a little whimper as her warm body moved out from under the covers, and went to stand beside the mirror.

The night was beautifully warm so she'd not worn much to bed. She contemplated her image in the mirror. She didn't, she decided, look particularly feminine. She did have a few curves though, delicate rather than prominently obvious. She turned around a few times and decided that she was comfortable with how she looked. Just as well, she decided, as she suspected she wasn't going to grow any more now.

She snuggled back under the covers and sighed contentedly as Lloyd wrapped his arms around her, mumbling happily at the return of her warmth in his sleep.

The shape of her body, she decided, wasn't what defined whether or not she was an adult. She had changed gradually and hadn't felt that suddenly one day she was a woman, she still wasn't sure if she felt like one now.

She frowned and thought about the subject further.

She hadn't understood at the time, being naïve and not particularly well educated on the subject, but some girls in Iselia had discussed adultness, maturity, in connection with kissing and other things of that nature.

Did doing adult things make you an adult she wondered. She and Lloyd hadn't 'gone all the way' as Zelos had put it once when he'd asked about their relationship (and had promptly earned himself a slap from Sheena who'd told him to mind his own business). They had, however, shared some very special intimate moments.

She blushed, smiling at the memories of those moments, a shiver moving along her spine. It was wonderful to be close to Lloyd like that. Each step they'd taken in their relationship, from their first kiss to more recent activities, had felt like a nice, natural progression in their relationship. They had only tried new things when they'd felt comfortable and ready to do so, when it had seemed right. She decided that when they did take that final step and shared the very most closest of moments then it would feel like that. It would probably make her feel even closer to Lloyd but she doubted it would make her suddenly feel like an adult.

Perhaps it was to do with responsibility then, looking after yourself and paying your own bills. Since the quest to reunite the two worlds had ended she and Lloyd had been mostly travelling on their own with Noishe. They'd had to pay for everything they needed with money they earned themselves. Rewards for dealing with the last few remaining monsters that were being a nuisance weren't bad and they'd had a variety of temporary jobs on their journey. They didn't have a place of their own but if they wanted to sleep indoors at night they had to earn money to pay for a room at an inn.

It was nice, Colette decided, to pay for the things they needed with money they'd earned themselves, to know that they had worked for what they wanted. She wasn't sure, however, that that alone made her feel like an adult. A little more mature perhaps because now she was responsible for herself, but she hadn't noticed herself feeling particularly grown up suddenly.

Maybe there wasn't one defining moment that made you an adult. Growing up was something that happened gradually so why should the step from being a child to being an adult be sudden she pondered. Maybe even when you did make that step it could be a while before you became an adult totally.

"Mmm, Colette, I love you," Lloyd mumbled sleepily and contentedly as he moved to snuggle even closer to her.

Whether she was a fully fledged adult or not there was one thing she was certain she was. She was Colette and, she decided, she felt comfortable and happy being who she was.

"I love you too Lloyd," she whispered softly, nestling close to him and closing her eyes as sleep finally claimed her and took her into a world of peaceful dreams.