During-game one shot piece of fluff. Set around the campfire fairly late on during the game, Colette thinks about Sheena and Zelos' relationship as they have another scrap.

Dedication: for Minnie, because she likes Sheelos. :)

Disclaimer: I don't own Tales of Symphonia. I believe that Namco own it.

Colette looked up from the cards she was holding as the familiar racket of Sheena chasing Zelos around the clearing the group were camping in disturbed her concentration. She vaguely wondered what Zelos had done to annoy Sheena this time, shrugged then turned back to her hand of cards.

Anyone who randomly looked in on the scene might be disturbed by the threats Sheena was yelling at Zelos, who was somehow managing to run just that little bit faster than the summoner, but everyone gathered around the campfire was used to it now. Colette suspected that the two of them actually enjoyed their playful bickering.

She knew sometimes Zelos went too far and actually really annoyed Sheena. He did that less often now and when he had done so it seemed to her like the way school children behaved when they got a substitute teacher for a day, testing out how much they could get away with. Back in Iselia when her grandmother had taken lessons so Raine could have some time off usually the class had been well behaved, well, when she was facing the pupils anyways. However when other people came to the school to teach, parents with a lot of knowledge about particular subjects were sometimes asked to come in and be guest teachers for a day for example, she couldn't help but feel sorry for them, having to put up with taunting and bad behaviour from the class. It was like a form of bullying, something she had been familiar with. She knew how cruel some of the students in that class could be.

Zelos' actions around Sheena didn't have a sinister tone to them but the testing to see how far someone could be pushed attitude that she'd seen in school was there. To him teasing Sheena seemed like a game, something done light-heartedly to provoke a reaction so they could move on to the next step of their game, him running away from her as she threatened to set one of the summon spirits on him or, sometimes, more original and unusual punishments if the summoner was feeling inspired and creative that day.

Unless he'd really annoyed her then Sheena usually had the look in her eye that she got when she was in a playful mood, wanting to take a break from taking life seriously and just have fun, to relax, for a little while. Colette looked over to the dark haired girl again. She was definitely having fun, trying to hide the smile that was threatening to spread across her face as she instructed the swordsman to stop running away.

Despite the fact that she was currently threatening to set some of the summon spirits on him Sheena really did seem to care about Zelos. If anyone else had teased her the summoner would have either ignored them, saying a Mizuho ninja was above responding to childish taunts, or taught them a painful lesson with her various battle skills, ensuring they didn't repeat their actions.

With Zelos, however, she drew out her attack. She could do a lot more damage a lot quicker than she was but, Colette thought, that wasn't the point of all the chasing and yelling. Zelos very rarely ended up with any serious battle wounds after his scraps with Sheena. The occasional small burn mark on his vest when Efreet had been set on him, maybe a little bruise from time to time, but nothing that caused him any serious pain.

Sheena's relationship with Zelos was so different from her relationship with Lloyd but, Colette thought, they seemed to care just as deeply for each other, in their own way. They wanted, needed, different things from their relationship which, she decided, was why they acted so differently.

Although she was unlikely to admit it to anyone other than herself, Lloyd, who she trusted completely and Sheena, the other member of the party who she trusted and who understood, her life had been full of uncertainty and fear. What did it really mean to become an angel? Would she be strong enough to complete the regeneration journey? Would she be able to complete the tasks that were set for her? Would she die on the journey?

Lloyd, however, had been a constant in her life of uncertainty. Where she was often Lloyd was too. He gave her the strength to continue when she felt exhausted and dispirited. When she needed comfort he was there, welcoming arms held out ready to wrap around her in a warm embrace that made her feel so safe and loved and wanted.

Sheena, too, had had a difficult life. The way she dealt with her problems and worries was different however. Instead of the smile that said 'no, really, everything's alright' that Colette had trained herself to wear, having been told it wouldn't do for the Chosen to have an attitude of anything other than the world was right, the way Martel intended it to be, Sheena instead either got angry or got competitive. She had worked hard to prove she was just as good as any of the male ninjas in her village for example. Zelos was someone she could compete against in friendly, harmless play. Their games were cathartic for Zelos too, allowing him to forget the seriousness and hardships involved with being a Chosen for a little while as he played silly, almost childish, games.

She giggled as she heard a splash from the direction of the stream at the edge of the campsite which was followed by whines of protest. A second voice, Sheena's, joined the first as she told Zelos it was all his own fault that he was in the stream, if he'd behaved properly she wouldn't have had to teach him a lesson. Colette could tell, though, that Zelos was still having fun and that his complaints about being pushed into the water were just part of their game, their way of expressing that they cared for one another by helping each other relax and forget the difficult journey they were on.

"Hey Lloyd?" she said quietly. The swordsman looked up from his hand of cards.

"Thank you for, well, for, thank you," she murmured, unable to find the words to express everything he did for her that she was grateful for.

"You dork," he smiled at her, reaching over to ruffle her hair lightly. "So, you gonna do something with those cards or are you just going to keep staring at them all night?"

"No, I'm not going to either," she replied, grinning. He gave her a puzzled look then she dropped her cards and pounced on him, wrapping him up in a hug and nuzzling him affectionately. He put the cards he was holding to one side then held her close to him, gently running a hand through her hair. She closed her eyes, enjoying the warmth of their embrace and the pleasurable feeling of him playing with her hair.

"Promise me something?" he asked quietly as Zelos trudged over to the campfire, dripping as he walked.

"Mmm?" she replied sleepily.

"If I ever accidentally say something Zelos-like to you, please don't push me into a river," he said. She just smiled and giggled.