One-shot set after the game while the characters are still working on their various quests.
I wanted to use the expression "penny for your thoughts", as there doesn't seem to be a coin that's worth less than a Gald in the game I used that.
Dedication: For Zelda Master (also known as Arctic Husky).
Spoiler warning: contains a spoiler about the regeneration journey.
Disclaimer: I don't own Tales of Symphonia, I believe that it belongs to Namco.
It had been a comment from Sheena that had started Colette thinking. The group had all been settled at the dinner table chatting happily at a reunion when Colette had noticed that Sheena had been pulling a thoughtful face. She'd asked the summoner if anything was wrong and in reply the older woman had simply shaken her head, smiled and then she had leaned over and held out her hand as if offering it to be shaken.
"Nice to meet you Colette Brunel," she'd said.
That had puzzled Colette and so she'd asked Sheena to explain.
"You've grown up a lot since I first met you and you seem more… comfortable with who you are," she had replied.
But just who was she? Who was Colette Brunel? Other than deciding that she didn't want to be referred to as "Chosen" anymore it was something she'd not really thought about. Now, settled quietly in Lloyd's arms beside the fire, seemed like a good time to ponder over that.
Despite the fact that she'd insisted that she didn't want to be referred to by her old title anymore people still did so frequently. Sometimes that was OK, when it was used as a respectful term for a member of the group that had worked so hard to reunite the worlds so that they wouldn't have to fight for mana and people could live in peace. That was probably who she'd be to the people who would eventually write about those events in history books. Just the Chosen, a girl from a small village selected to fulfil a role. She doubted that she'd be considered as a person, the best she could hope for would probably be for them to discuss her in a neutral tone, although to be honest it felt a little weird to think that she would be included in history books. The image of children studying textbooks about the Regeneration in school classrooms across the world was disturbingly easy to imagine. What would they think about the people they were studying? Would the students even consider the fact that they were people at all?
She just knew that an artist somewhere would draw or paint an illustration or two or several that would look completely over the top to those who had actually been there. People were fond, it seemed, of making up exaggerations about the heroes of the world regeneration journey. Sometimes she would overhear conversations that made the people who she knew so well sound almost unrecognisable to her.
They weren't always positive exaggerations either. They had, sometimes, been made to sound like monsters, carelessly causing death and destruction. There was, admittedly, a bit of truth in that. Although they hadn't been careless on the journey they had had to kill and sometimes things that they had done had caused destruction. That had been, and still was, something that upset her very deeply.
The people she was closest to knew that very well and knew that the exaggerations weren't true. They knew her as a real person, someone with feelings, emotions, thoughts and dreams. But even to each of them she might seem to be a slightly different person. Even to each person she was several different things.
To Lloyd, for example, she was a friend, the closest best friend. Someone who understood him, supported him, shared things with him. Some of the things that they shared, the things that were just for the two of them to share, were connected to another thing that she was to Lloyd, his fiancée. She blushed and sighed happily, nuzzling Lloyd's chest gently. She smiled as he made a happy humming sort of noise and stroked her hair.
He knew that she liked that, just like he knew that she liked sitting beside the fire with him in the evenings, that she loved it when he played guitar for her, that it pleased her to be able to help him by mending his clothes, helping prepare food, giving him a massage when his muscles ached and so on. He knew she liked to sew, that she had a soft spot for cute dogs, that she liked marshmallows melted into her hot chocolate…
He knew, she thought, so many of the little things that made her the person that she was. She'd not considered before how many little details there were.
Sheena knew some of them of course. The summoner also knew Colette as Lloyd's fiancée and companion but to the older woman she was a sister as well, an adopted one rather than someone she had known since birth but one who cared very much, someone to whom she was very close.
To Zelos she had been something different again, an example of a Chosen who had fulfilled that role with a different attitude. Now the quest was over though they thought less about that and she was now a friend and someone who he could talk with about the difficult demands and expectations of people now that their roles had changed and the truth about Martel was being discussed if not always believed.
To Genis she had always been a friend although now perhaps he might look at her a little differently than he had once done now that she no longer wished to be called Chosen and was Lloyd's partner.
To Genis' sister, Raine, she had once been a student and she suspected that, no matter how much she grew up, the teacher would always look at her as someone who she had taught and also protected during the regeneration journey.
She had, she thought, blinking a little in surprise, grown up quite a lot, especially since those days early in her life when she had first gone to that small classroom in Iselia. Frowning slightly she thought that she was now finally beginning to understand Sheena's earlier comment.
Taking a deep breath which she let out as a sigh she looked up into Lloyd's eyes.
"Gald for them?" he offered, tapping the side of her head gently.
"It'll cost you more than a Gald for my thoughts tonight, there's a lot going on in here," she said playfully, mirroring his gesture.
"Well I'll share one of mine with you for free then, I love you," he said softly, nuzzling the top of her head which caused her to smile blissfully as she shared with him the thought, no, fact, that she loved him too.