A random one-shot set after the game featuring Colette (Lloyd is also mentioned). Set in a random town somewhere that's having a festival during Lloyd and Colette's journey to collect up all the exspheres.
Disclaimer: I don't own Tales of Symphonia, as far as I'm aware Namco own it.
It was annoying, Colette thought, that earning money was difficult now she was travelling with just Lloyd and Noishe. Somehow when they'd been travelling in a larger group money had rarely seemed to be a problem. Now, however, they sometimes found it difficult to earn enough to cover the cost of the supplies they wanted and to spend nights at comfortable inns. She didn't mind working, that wasn't it, it just seemed that temporary work was becoming more and more difficult to come by when and where they needed it.
They'd been lucky recently though, they'd turned up at a town just before a big festival was to be held there. With all the extra visitors to the place extra staff had been needed in cafes, inns and to man festival stands. She'd ended up getting a job as a waitress in one of the smaller cafes in the town.
She hummed a happy little tune as she carefully and neatly arranged cakes on a shelf at the counter then looked up as the other waitress asked her a question.
"Where did you say you were from again?" the younger girl asked as she polished the counter top.
"Iselia," Colette replied. While she and Lloyd were using false names during their stay to avoid the hassle they sometimes received when people found out who they were she saw no reason to fib about her hometown.
"Isn't that where Sylvarant's Chosen came from? Did you ever meet her? What's she like?" the other waitress asked.
"Well," Colette paused, unsure about how to answer the question.
"Ah, silly me, she was the Chosen, she was probably surrounded by guards and important people all the time, right? You probably never got to meet her. Although you know, it's funny, you look a bit like what I've heard she looks like, only I think she's supposed to be taller," the younger girl babbled, saving Colette from answering her question. The little angel just laughed.
"What?" the younger girl asked.
"Don't worry Ursula, it's nothing," Colette said, amused yet again by the common assumption that she should be taller.
"So if you're from Iselia what are you doing all the way out here?" Ursula asked, putting her cleaning cloth away as she began to stack pastries beside the shelf of cakes.
"Just travelling around a bit, seeing the world, you know," the blonde replied.
"At your age? Your parents let you travel alone at your age!" Ursula asked, her tone full of disbelief.
"They're OK with it," Colette answered, thinking that she hadn't allowed her father and grandmother to have much say in the matter. When she'd returned to Iselia at the end of the journey of regeneration she'd simply told them that she'd be travelling again in a tone that had indicated they shouldn't argue. "Besides, I'm not alone."
"Who are you travelling with?" the other waitress asked.
"You're full of questions aren't you?" Colette laughed.
"Sorry," Ursula said quietly, turning away.
"It's OK, I don't mind," Colette moved to face the younger girl and smiled at her kindly. "I'm travelling with my boyfriend and our dog."
Ursula's jaw dropped as she repeated the word 'boyfriend'.
"You're sure your parents don't have a problem with that?" she asked sceptically.
"I trust him totally and love him with all my heart, that's all the matters," Colette said softly.
"So, what's he like? Is he handsome?" Ursula asked.
"Well, I think so," the little angel answered, blushing a little, as she pulled a picture of herself and Lloyd together at Altamira out of her pocket and showed it to the younger girl. Ursula whistled.
"Not bad, not bad," she nudged Colette's arm with her elbow and grinned causing the blonde to blush a little more.
"You know something? I can't help but feel a little jealous. I mean you've got the freedom to go anywhere you like, a gorgeous bloke to travel with and no one watching over you telling you to stop if you so much as hold hands. My parents won't even let me go out on a date by myself and I've never travelled further than the edges of town without at least three other people with me," Ursula frowned a little.
"It's not all that great. I mean you're just working here to earn extra money on top of your allowance, right?" Colette asked. Ursula nodded.
"Well I'm working here so I can eat. I'll admit that freshly caught and cooked food can be really nice but it depends on your luck, if you can catch and find enough. And while a tent can be nice and cozy it's no fun if it's leaking and you have to patch it up before you can get into it when you've had a hard day of walking and just want to curl up nice and warm and sleep," the blonde said, leaving out the fact that they also had to be careful about where they tried to stay when they spent time in towns. They were welcome in some places but in others they were made to feel uncomfortable and encouraged to leave by people who didn't appreciate what they'd done on the journey of regeneration, people who thought they should have done this or that differently or who didn't understand that it wasn't possible to save or please every single person in that situation. She decided against mentioning that as it'd be too much of a clue about her real identity.
"Still, the freedom you have, it's amazing," Ursula said. Colette nodded.
"I had to work really hard for it. It's still hard work sometimes now. But those moments when we look up at the night sky and it's like we're the only people in the world, waking up beside him every morning, things like that, they make it all worth it," Colette said, tenderly brushing her fingertips across Lloyd's face in the picture she was holding before carefully putting it back in her pocket.
"You're not helping me feel any less jealous here," Ursula stuck her tongue out before giving a little playful giggle.
"Don't worry, your chance to worry about providing yourself food and shelter and so on will come soon enough," Colette smiled gently then turned her attention to a customer.
As the man ordered food in a tone that suggested that he thought he was much better than some lowly creature serving food in a small cafe Colette amused herself with the thought of how he'd react if he knew who it was that was serving him. And then, as she turned to fetch the drinks and pastries he'd ordered, she decided it was good to pretend to be someone normal and unremarkable instead of the Chosen every once in a while. When people knew who she really was they treated her differently, it was nice to be treated the same as everyone else from time to time, even if it did mean having to occasionally serve customers who seemed to think the phrase 'the customer is always right' actually meant 'the customer isn't just a mere mortal' and who wanted everything yesterday.