Disclaimer: I still do not own Tales of Symphonia or any involved characters. Only this plot is my own.
Sincerely, The King of Tethe'alla.
I finished the letter for the hundredth time, refolded it, and put it into my pocket.
Emissary of Peace.
The King wanted to make me the Emissary of Peace, at the word of another. But who in the world would put a suggestion in for me to be an emissary? Certainly no one in my village. They all hated me, in one form or another, except for Grandfather and Tiga, of course. Hmm… I would have to find out who this mysterious "another" was.
I looked up in surprise from my bench to see a certain redhead coming toward me.
Oh no, I thought. Save me.
For I didn't know how to handle the former Chosen of Tethe'alla. I mean, he was so unpredictable, and everything he ever did always shook my world. And the worst part was that when I spoke to him, or rather, tried to speak to him, all of my original words always slipped through the cracks of space, and the only things I could ever think of to say were insults, because he usually, well, insulted me.
He made my heart race, and my breath catch, and my cheeks blush.
"Sheena, hey, what's up?" he asked when he reached me.
He sat down beside me on the bench.
"Hi, Zelos," I began, looking over at him.
"So, how's my favorite hunny?" he questioned me, grinning mischievously.
"Zelos, please, I'm not really in the mood," I said bluntly.
He cocked his head curiously.
"What's wrong?" he asked, a pleasant look still on his face.
"I don't know," I replied, furrowing my brow. "I just have a lot to think about…"
My voice trailed off, and then a sudden epiphany lit up my mind.
"Zelos," I began accusatorily. "Did you tell the King to make me an Emissary of Peace?"
He laughed guiltily and scratched the back of his head.
"You did, didn't you!" I exclaimed. "Now is the time where I kill you!"
He held up his hands in defense.
"Sheena, wait!" he cried. "Don't you even want to know why?"
"Of course I want to know why! What were you thinking? Enlighten me, please."
I scowled, waiting for an answer.
"Well…" he said. "The King wanted to repay me for the whole, you know, the whole we-should-throw-the-Chosen-in-the-dungeon kinda deal, so I suggested he make someone an emissary of peace, and then I also suggested that you, my Mizuho hunny, would make the perfect Emissary of Peace of Tethe'alla."
I eyed him suspiciously.
"That's it?" I asked incredulously. "No deals on the side, no catch?"
He laughed, and then smirked.
"Would you like some sort of side deal, because I'm always available."
"Zelos, shut up!" I said crossly, becoming annoyed. "Everything you say always has to be so perverted. Can't we have a normal conversation for once?"
His face grew serious, and he sat up straight and tall.
"Whatever would you like to talk about, Miss Fujibayashi?" he asked rather formally.
I couldn't suppress the smile that came to my cheeks.
"How have you been, oh beautiful one?"
I snorted at his ridiculous behavior, and then I burst out laughing.
"Okay, Zelos, maybe I like the perverted you better," I said, still laughing.
He grinned delightedly.
"That's good to know, dearest, because I wasn't planning on changing any time soon," he said lightly. "Of course, though, I might make an exception for you."
"Oh, I'm honored," I said sarcastically. "And don't call me dearest because I am still not your dearest."
"Not yet," he said slyly and suggestively.
I glared daggers until he spoke again.
"So, are you going to accept the offer?" he asked, then upon seeing my confused look, he clarified. "As Emissary of Peace."
"Oh, yeah," I said quickly. "It's not like I have much choice. And I guess it's another good way to prove myself to my village."
I frowned, and Zelos did as well.
"Sheena, you don't have to prove yourself to anybody," he said, his blue eyes searching my face. "You haven't done anything wrong, and if they don't know that by now, then screw them."
"Zelos, I have to be their chief someday, probably sooner than later, and so I have to make them at least respect me. I mean, most of them are too afraid to even look at me because I killed their parents. I need to earn their respect, somehow, if it's even possible."
"Hmm," he replied, and I knew he didn't agree with me, but I also knew we could probably argue for hours, so I dropped it. I just sighed and looked out at the setting sun. A cold chill went through me as I thought of travelling home in the dark. I didn't like the dark.
But that was another story altogether.
"Hey, hun, were you planning on going home tonight?"
I looked over to Zelos, who was watching me, patiently, waiting for an answer.
"Oh, uh… yeah…" I replied slowly.
Zelos looked at me, and I think he knew by the hesitation in my voice that I was scared to go.
"Don't like the dark?" he said, studying my face.
"I-yeah," I confessed, blushing. "How did you know?"
"Everyone's scared of something," he said. "Don't worry about it."
"I never said-I'm not scared!" I exclaimed, and he raised his eyebrows. "I just said I don't like the dark, but I never said why…"
Desperate to save my pride, I shifted the subject to him.
"So, almighty Zelos, what exactly are you scared of?" I taunted, crossing my arms.
"That," he replied. "Is my little secret."
I exhaled in frustration.
"So," he began. "Would you like to stay with me tonight?"
When he saw my horrified expression, he quickly clarified.
"In a guest bedroom!"
I furrowed my brow.
"C'mon, you know you want to," he said. "I'm trying to send you very subtle hints, babe."
I looked at his face, and when I became lost in his deep blue eyes, I found my mouth taking its own actions.
"Sure," I said, wondering all the while if I was making a good choice.
I knew I was. Zelos may have been a pervert, but he was also a good person, and I knew he wouldn't do anything to me. And I missed him.
"Great," he said. "Let's go."
He grabbed my hand and pulled me to my feet and began to walk. His bare hand was warm against mine, but before I could chance losing myself completely, I snatched mine away.
"I said I would stay at your house, Zelos. I didn't say I would marry you," I said rather irately.
We arrived at his house shortly, and he reached the door first.
"After you," he said curteously, and after watching him suspiciously for a moment, I walked inside.
"Do you want some water?" he asked me.
"Sure," I said, and he disappeared into the kitchen for a moment.
I sat down on his couch and waited for him to return. Feeling nervous, I fidgeted with my fingers for a moment. My idle hands pulled out my Summoning cards of their own accord, and I turned them over, studying them.
"Dammit!" I said in pain when I accidentally sliced open my palm with one of my cards.
I hurriedly tucked my card away and held my hand up to the light.
"Ow," I muttered.
"Here, let me see it," Zelos commanded, and I saw he had returned with two glasses of water. He placed the glasses on a small table nearby and came to sit next to me on the couch. Before I could object, his cool fingers wrapped around my wrist, and for a second he examined the injured area. Then he softly recited the spell for First Aid, causing my skin to reseal.
"Thanks," I said when he had released me.
I wiped the blood on my robe, knowing I could just later wash it clean.
"Anything for you, darling," he said smoothly. "Just be glad I was here, for if my heroic efforts had not saved you, you would be bleeding to death right now."
I could hear the grin in his voice.
"Oh, Zelos, please," I said, rolling my eyes. "What would I ever do without you?"
"That's a good question, one I hope you never have to answer," he replied.
I looked up at him, and I was surprised to see a non-lecherous smile planted on his face. And there was something in his eyes…
And suddenly, he slid his arms around my shoulders and pulled me closer to him. I blushed, but I was so disoriented by his nearness that I didn't pull away.
For a moment his blue eyes swept over my face, which was ever-reddening, and then he brought his face down to mine, and…
And then he kissed me.
His lips moved slowly over mine, and a mess of fiery emotions went through me at the speed of light- what was he doing, what was he thinking, this wasn't happening, why did something wrong feel so right- but not once did the thought of pushing him away cross my mind. Instead, I began to move my lips in sync with his own hot ones.
Fireworks erupted within me.
I almost melted, right then and there, I swear, and I wanted so much more. There was only the here and now; Zelos and I sharing a piece of Heaven.
I pressed one hand to his chest for support, and the other I placed on his shoulder. I held on for dear life. I felt his own arms tighten, and his hands were on my back, crushing me to him. Our kiss deepened.
There was definitely chemistry.
I closed my eyes and let myself go- for only one more second. I suddenly realized what was happening, and I pulled back with a jerk. Zelos' heat-filled eyes searched my eyes with confusion.
"Dammit, Zelos, don't do that!" I said.
I jumped off of the couch and made for the door. Dark or no, I needed to leave. I didn't know how to handle this, this was too much, I was going to cry-
"Wait, Sheena!" Zelos called, leaping from his spot on the couch and following me.
I whirled around to face him, fists clenched at my sides.
"Zelos, why would you do that?" I demanded angrily, and the predicted tears of humiliation began to slip down my cheeks. "What the hell were you thinking, kissing me like that, when I- when I-"
I took a shaky breath and pointed an accusatory finger at him. His face was now pale, but at the same time, carefully blank.
"Congratulations, Zelos," I said bitterly. "You've managed to seduce every woman in Tethe'alla, including me. Are you happy?"
Hastily I wiped my face with the back of my hand, and I let my arms hang limply at my sides.
"Why do have to screw around with me like that?"
The tears were now falling fast and thick.
"That hurts. Why do you have to use me like that, why do you- why do you-"
I couldn't say anymore. I collapsed crying onto his shoulder, and his arms encircled me, holding me to him. And after all that, I found myself wanting the embrace. I was officially no longer in control of my emotions.
"Shh, Sheena," Zelos said soothingly.
He put a hand on the back of my head and stroked my hair.
"When I kissed you, it was because I thought it would be nice. I certainly wasn't trying to make you cry. And I could never use someone like you. You're so sweet, and innocent, and beautiful, and…
"And I love you."
I froze and then picked up my face to look at him. His eyes were sorrowful but also held care.
"What did you just say?" I asked in shock.
He tilted my face up more and used his thumb to wipe away my tears.
"I said, I love you, Sheena, and I meant it. I'm tired of trying to hide it, because when I'm around you I go crazy, and I can't control myself, and I just want you so much. You're smart, and tough, and pretty, and something about you- no, everything about you- attracts me to you. I feel like there's nothing to live for without you. Sheena, I love you."
I stood in complete and utter shock for a long moment, just staring at hiim. I stopped crying, I was so surprised. I simply stared at him.
His face had changed. It was no longer sorrowful, but his eys were now filled with- dare I say it- love.
Such a strong word. Yet he had just tossed it at my face multiple times, sincerely, like he really meant it. Did I feel the same way? Oh, who was I kidding anyway?
I threw myself at him, hugging his neck and burying my face in it. He pulled me to him more. And once again, I started to sob.
"Sheena?" Zelos' voice was one of total confusion. "Why are you crying again? Did I say something wrong? I mean, that wasn't really how I was planning on telling you, but I had to say it sometime. But if you don't feel the same way, I guess-"
I pulled my face from its hiding place, looked up at him, and rudely interrupted.
"I don't know why I'm crying again," I confessed. "But I think it's because- because- because…"
I took a deep breath and finished the truth.
"Because I love you too, Zelos," I ended in a whisper.
The corners of Zelos' mouth lifted, and his whole face seemed to be smiling down at me. I smiled back shyly, well-aware of the fact that I had just admitted my deepest secret to him, but, no worries. He left a delicate kiss on my cheek.
"That is a huge weight off my chest," he said as I got lost in the depths of his blue eyes. "A finely muscled chest, if I must say so myself."
"Shut up!" I laughed. "You're so full of yourself."
He pulled my face up to his and spoke again, caressing my cheek.
"I'm willing to share."
His hot breath on my cheek sent shivers up and down my spine. My face turned an even deeper shade of crimson, I'm sure, if that was possible. I stared into his eyes for a long moment.
Time, along with my breathing, had stopped.
"Forever?" I asked when I remembered to breath, because I needed to know.
Still smiling, he took my face in his hands and leaned down to kiss me.
Once again, I melted as my hormones went wild.
And when he finally stopped for air, I wobbled slightly, feeling rather lightheaded. He hugged me to him tightly, and I buried my face in his neck and wrapped my arms around it.
I felt a soft kiss on my cheek, and then Zelos put his mouth by my ear and whispered one word, the word that sealed the deal.