SPOILER warning: this fic contains spoilers for the end of the game. If you've not gotten to the end of the game and don't want it spoiled for you then please don't read this until you've finished the game.
A fic set very close to the end of the game (just after it), set in an inn where the group have been resting and recovering after the tree has been named. Contains references to "After the Battle", could be considered a sequel to it but it works as a fic just on it's own too I think.
My 100th fic here on I'm afraid it's not anything particularly special. I couldn't think of any really amazing ideas but I hope that this is an enjoyable fic anyways.
Dedication: to the people in my life who have offered friendship and support, for both my writing and in life in general.
Disclaimer: I don't own Tales of Symphonia, Namco own it as far as I know. I'm just an obsessed fan who's written a mad amount of fanfiction about it.
Colette looked up from packing her bags as she heard a knock at the inn room door.
"Door's open," she called out as she placed a sweater in her backpack then smiled as Sheena stuck her head around the door.
"Is it OK if I come in?" the summoner asked. The angel nodded.
"Just wanted to have a quick word before we all leave," Sheena said quietly. Lloyd, guessing that she might want some time alone with Colette, mumbled something about seeing if Zelos needed a hand with packing all of his clothes and quietly slipped out of the room as Colette sat down on the bed and patted the space beside her, inviting the summoner to sit down too.
"It's gonna be so weird, not being able to just walk down a corridor and find you anymore," she said.
"We'll come and visit as often as we can. That is, uh, of course, if we're welcome," Colette started enthusiastically then her tone became shyer.
"Of course you're welcome, any time you want to visit. In fact if you don't visit I shall send out some of the intelligence network ninjas to find out why and drag you back to Mizuho so you can explain yourself," Sheena smiled, pulling Colette into a tight hug.
"Oh no, not the intelligence network ninjas," the little angel gasped in mock horror before giggling then nuzzling the summoner.
"You make sure you take good care of yourself. You're going to be OK, right?" Sheena asked softly, stroking Colette's hair in a motherly sort of way.
"Of course I will. I won't be travelling on my own you know, Lloyd and Noishe'll be with me," Colette replied.
"Ooohhh, I don't know if letting you travel alone with Lloyd is a good idea, don't know what you two might get up to," Sheena teased.
"Sheena!" Colette squeaked and blushed, burying her red face in the summoner's shoulder.
"I'm really going to miss teasing you about that," the older woman chuckled.
"I told you we didn't do anything, we were too tired to even if we had wanted to, you could see that at dinner. We just left our clothes on the floor because we were too tired to pick them up and I wanted to sleep beside him because he makes me feel all safe and warm," Colette mumbled, referring to when the summoner had found the little angel and Lloyd curled up in bed together, their clothes scattered on the floor, a few nights ago.
"I know I know, wow, I really am going to miss teasing you, you're so easy to wind up," Sheena laughed. Colette stuck her tongue out at her.
"Thank you," the blonde said quietly after a moment, her tone serious.
"What for?" Sheena asked.
"For, well, everything. For being such a good friend, for helping us through all the things that we've been through, for, well, yeah, everything," Colette said, nuzzling the summoner affectionately.
"And for staying up all night helping you look after your poorly boyfriend?" Sheena asked playfully.
"Yeah, for that too," Colette smiled. "I don't know what I would have done without you then."
She frowned a little as she thought back to the night Sheena was referring to. She'd woken up during the night to find Lloyd looking rather unwell. She'd been unable to wake Raine and so she had asked Sheena to sit with her and help her look after Lloyd, unsure really of what to do other than things like fetching a damp cloth to wipe his forehead with when he seemed too hot. She had been worried silly as she had guessed, correctly as it turned out, that the effects of becoming an angel so quickly had caught up with the swordsman and that was what was making him ill.
The minute she'd heard Raine wake up and begin to move about she'd dashed into the professor's room and dragged her into her own to help Lloyd but it had been comforting to have someone sit with her through the night while she watched over the swordsman.
"Hey, it's OK, that's what friends are for, right?" Sheena smiled, patting Colette's shoulder.
"You're not just any old friend though, you're my oneechan, right?" the blonde replied, holding the summoner tighter. The older girl nodded, smiled tenderly and continued to hold the little angel in companionable silence for a while.
"You want some help packing up the rest of your stuff?" she offered eventually.
"If, if it's not too much trouble, that'd be nice," Colette nodded, moving away from Sheena slightly.
Once they'd put all of Colette's possessions together and had placed the bags by the door the summoner scooped her up in another hug.
"Oh, I don't know what I'm going to do now. I mean who's going to have pillow fights with me and stay up talking until the early hours of the morning with me when I go back to Mizuho?" she said playfully, a hint of the sadness she felt in her voice.
"I will, when I come to visit you," Colette said firmly. "And I will visit you, don't you worry. You'll be fed up of me and pretending you're not in I'll visit so much, as often as I can."
"Somehow I don't think I could ever get fed up of you," Sheena smiled, ruffling the younger woman's hair.
"You know something? The reason why I think we succeeded on the quest, it wasn't to do with individual skills and strength, well, I suppose that was a part of it, but I think, most important, was having a close group who supported and believed in each other, right?" Colette asked thoughtfully.
"Could be," Sheena smiled.
Both young women remained quiet, holding one another peacefully, until a racket of noise suddenly started in the hallway. They moved towards the door then laughed as Lloyd ran past. Zelos was standing in the middle of the hallway, trying to decide whether to chase after Lloyd, who apparently had something that belonged to the older swordsman which could embarrass him, or to tell Genis off for encouraging Lloyd.
"You'll regret saying that, brat," he mock-snarled at the small mage before running after the other swordsman.
Those two were, in a way, as close as she and Colette were Sheena thought. They just showed it in different ways.
"What have you got Lloyd?" Colette called out.
"Photo album, you have to see some of these, they're great," the brown haired young man yelled back as he continued to run away from Zelos.
"Ohhh, embarrassing photos, let me see! Let me see!" Sheena laughed, beginning to run after the two swordsmen. Colette, happy to participate in a harmless game, joined the chase.
"Oh no you don't," Zelos yelped, turning to face them and spreading his arms out wide, trying to stop them from catching up with Lloyd.
Sheena grinned and said something in Mizuhoan that Zelos didn't understand but that Colette clearly did. The two young women pounced on the redhead in a co-ordinated tickle attack.
As Sheena sat on Zelos' back, pinning him down along with Colette, Lloyd and Genis as they laughed at the photos in the album, she decided that Colette had been right. Even if they didn't realise it sometimes the group supported each other, had kept each other sane by breaking up the moments of tension and worry on the journey with light-hearted moments. She sighed, thinking about just how much she was going to miss everyone. But, she thought, at least she knew that they were such good and close friends that they wouldn't ever lose touch with one another. Even if they were miles away they could still write letters and she didn't doubt that not only Lloyd and Colette but the others too would visit Mizuho from time to time, just as she was sure she'd always try her best to visit the others. That was a comforting thought.