During game one shot featuring Sheena, Colette, Zelos and Lloyd, mainly focusing on Sheena and Colette. Set fairly late on in the game.

Spoiler warning: contains spoilers for Sheena's past.

Dedication: for everyone at the Guardian Angel forum, happy new year.

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

Sheena groaned and blinked thinking, as someone tried to wake her up, that surely it wasn't time for her turn for the night watch already, she was much too tired. She propped herself up on her elbows, looking round to find out who had woken her up, then let her head thump back down on the pillow when she realised that it was Noishe. The large dog-like creature was wriggling around in his sleep, whining.

"Lloyd, your mutt's having a bad dream again," she mumbled, her voice muffled by the pillow. When she received no reply she looked up and spotted Lloyd, fast asleep and snoring softly beside Colette.

"OK Noishe, it's alright," she spoke softly, deciding that, as she was awake, she might as well try to calm Noishe down. Although it was unlikely that she'd admit it to anyone she had a bit of a soft spot for him and the sooner he settled the sooner she could go back to sleep.

She sat up and began to stroke the fur between his ears then turned her head as she heard another noise. Colette had also woken up and was blearily rubbing her eyes.

"Wha?" she mumbled, still half asleep.

"It's OK, Noishe's just having a bad dream. I'll look after him, you go back to sleep," the summoner said.

"Poor Noishe," Colette spoke quietly, ignoring the other girl's instructions to go back to sleep, moving to comfort Noishe instead.

"Sssssh, sssssh," still keeping her voice as quiet as a whisper she wrapped her arms around the creature's large neck and rested her head on his shoulder.

"Everything OK hedgehog hair?" Zelos, who'd taken over the night watch from Lloyd, called over to them, unable to resist poking fun at Sheena's sleep tousled hair.

"Great job of keeping watch you're doing, not noticing that Noishe's upset. And at least I don't look like I've got a collapsed haystack on my head in the morning," Sheena retorted, causing Colette to giggle.

"Heeeey," Zelos whined loudly.

"Sssh, you'll wake everyone else up. Just go back to looking out for monsters and thinking up more ways of making yourself look like even more of a vain idiot," the summoner said.

Zelos opened his mouth to protest then shut it again, deciding that he'd rather not face Raine's wrath if he accidentally woke her up early. He simply glared at her then turned away.

Sheena turned back to Noishe who was now making a happy growl-like noise in his sleep as Colette scratched him behind his ear.

"It's not fair that he had a bad dream, nightmares are so horrid," Colette frowned.

"I know," Sheena nodded, settling back down onto her sleeping bag. She patted the space beside her, wordlessly suggesting that Colette should also go back to bed, and the younger girl did so after nuzzling her cheek against the top of Noishe's head.

Sheena knew that Colette sometimes had horrible nightmares and the thought of Noishe having them too would have upset her. As the blonde lay down Sheena wrapped her arms around her in a comforting hug and smiled as Lloyd, still fast asleep, flung one of his arms over Colette and grunted as if to say 'that's better, don't get up again'. Colette giggled at Lloyd then her face became serious once again.

"I wonder what he was having a nightmare about," she frowned.

"Who knows, we've certainly encountered lots to have nightmares about though eh?" Sheena sighed, holding Colette a little bit closer.

Colette made a quiet, affirmative noise and, although she couldn't see the younger girl's face, Sheena knew that she was deeply upset, both at the thought of Noishe having nightmares and being reminded of her own. She also knew that, although Colette always did her best to assure everyone that she was alright and that no one needed to worry about her, she sometimes wasn't quite as strong as she appeared to others to be and needed an occasional hug, a sympathetic ear or, rarely, a shoulder to cry on. Sheena never minded providing any of these, indeed she was touched by the fact that Colette had become close enough to her to trust her like that.

It was good, having close friends, no, family. The word suited them better. Despite not being related by blood the group had become a family, drawn together on this uphill struggle of a quest.

It was good to have a family again. After her village had been devastated by Volt the only person who'd been a really close, true friend she had been able to trust was Corrine. Even before that not many people had been friendly to her. It had been lonely and she'd felt a kind of emptiness inside. Now though she was part of a group of people who cared about her, who she cared about. They provided each other with support, comfort and laughter. Admittedly it wasn't all fun, sometimes there were arguments or moments of disapproval by some of what others were doing but then it wouldn't be a family it there weren't. They accepted her, as she accepted them, faults and all.

Colette sighed a deep, heavy sigh, bringing Sheena out of her thoughts. Apparently more than a hug was needed tonight.

"We've seen lots of nice things too though haven't we? How many dogs do you think you've named for example?" Sheena asked.

"Oh, well, I don't know. A lot, and all of them were so lovely," Colette smiled.

"Hey, do you remember that big dog that lived in the inn we stayed at in Hima?" the summoner smiled.

"The one that thought I was a chair?" Colette began to giggle at the memory.

"She could barely even fit into your lap could she? But she was determined to be a lap dog that evening wasn't she?" Sheena smiled.

"And then when she finally got up there was dog hair all over my clothes," Colette grinned.

"She wasn't as bad as Noishe is for shedding though, you could probably make a jumper out of the hair he sheds when you groom him," Sheena shook her head slightly.

"I bet that'd be warm and cozy," Colette smiled and snuggled into her blanket, her eyes closed as she imagined a soft, warm jumper.

Sheena began to laugh at the idea of a Noishe hair jumper.

"Why stop at a jumper? You could have a whole set of clothing," the summoner chuckled.

"I think Noishe hair underwear would be itchy though," Colette said deadpan, frowning, then she started to laugh as Sheena got a fit of the giggles at that idea.

Once she'd managed to stop laughing the summoner spoke again.

"Come on now, I've got a night watch shift in a few hours, I want to get some sleep before that. You should get some sleep too," she said, her tone serious but warm.

"OK," Colette shifted around a little to get more comfortable then took hold of Lloyd's hand in her own as she closed her eyes.

"And no waking me up by making a noise because you're having a nightmare like Noishe did. Dream nice happy fluffy dreams about, uh, Noishe hair blankets or something," Sheena said, her tone serious but her expression one of amusement.

Her smile grew wider as she watched Colette try, and slightly fail, to not giggle. It was good to have such close friends and to be able to make them laugh.