A fic featuring Raine and Regal, inspired by a prompt requested by Kitten Kisses. Set fairly late during the game when the party is all together, if they camped out between the Flanoir scene and going to Ginnungagap. Hints of Colloyd and Raine and Regal friendship.

Spoiler warning: contains spoilers for the first game.

Dedication: for Kitten Kisses/Manna. I hope that you enjoy this. :)

Disclaimer: I don't own Tales of Symphonia.

Raine smiled and shook her head slightly as she watched Colette and Lloyd snuggle beside the fire, a slight blush appearing on Lloyd's cheeks as Colette nuzzled his chest and sighed in a very contented manner.

Her first instinct, when she had seen them begin to make a little nest for themselves beside the fire, had been to open her mouth to utter a comment along the lines of 'make sure you behave yourselves' but she had closed her mouth again almost as soon as she'd opened it.

It was silly, she thought, that the thought to say that to them now had even crossed her mind. They were adults. Besides, they would have had a lot more privacy on their exsphere collecting journey than they had right now.

Being apart had obviously been difficult for both of them. It was nice to see that their bond had stayed strong or perhaps was now even stronger than before.

She smiled again as she noticed them holding hands then let her gaze wander across the campsite to where her brother was sitting. She frowned in confusion as she noticed him shifting slightly as if undecided as to whether or not he wanted to move. Then, after one last glance around the campsite, he leapt up and dashed across it to where Lloyd and Colette were, jumping on top of them playfully.

Colette laughed and Lloyd grumbled, although the tone he was using was the one he used when he didn't really mean what he was saying seriously.

Raine found herself laughing as Genis began wriggling around to make himself comfortable, squishing on top of and slightly between his two friends. Blankets were shifted and shared and soon the three friends were all settled. The only thing that was missing to make the scene just like one from the past, Raine thought, was Noishe at their backs.

Her laughter attracted Regal's attention. She turned to the man who was sitting beside her as he spoke.

"A Gald for your thoughts?" he offered.

"I was thinking that just as you find yourself thinking how grown up people seem to have become they do something childish," she explained.

Regal looked around the campsite until his eyes settled upon the three friends then he smiled and nodded, understanding.

"That makes me sound so old doesn't it? Saying something like that," Raine added, wincing.

"Old is most certainly something that you are not," Regal shook his head.

"So am I childish then too?" Raine asked, a playful glint in her eye.

"No, you're very knowledgeable and mature for your age," Regal assured her.

"'Mature'? Now you're making me sound like a block of cheese," Raine chuckled lightly.

"I assure you I meant that as a compliment," Regal replied, a very slight hint that he was a little flustered in the tone of his voice.

Raine shook her head slightly, her expression becoming more serious.

"You know, sometimes I really do feel old. I wonder if it's because of having to look after Genis, having to grow up so fast when I was still a child really, or whether it's because of what we went through on our journeys, or, perhaps, whether it's just me," she said thoughtfully. Her tone was, Regal thought, contemplative rather than self-pitying.

"Perhaps it's a mixture of all three?" he suggested.

"I suppose that could be it, yes," she acknowledged, nodding slightly.

"The journey you have been on since the worlds were reunited and Mithos was defeated can't have been easy," Regal said quietly.

"It certainly can be hard to change peoples' minds about an idea they've believed in all of their lives, especially if it's fuelled by an irrational fear," Raine admitted. "I don't even understand why some people feel that way, people who've never had bad experiences with half-elves, who've no reason to hate us other than other people telling them to. It's those people whose minds are hardest to change sometimes."

"Still, there is hope. Peoples' attitudes can, and do, change," Regal replied. "Emil and Marta, for example, now trust you and Genis and accept you as allies."

"I wonder though, is it just the two of us who they've changed their attitudes about or are they willing to give all half-elves a chance? Although I'll admit that either way it's progress," Raine said, smiling softly.

"That, I believe, is certainly the best way to look at it," Regal smiled back.

Impulsively he moved to take Raine's hand in his own, squeezing it gently in a way that assured her that, no matter what happened, he and her other friends would be there to help and support her.

She glanced around the campsite at all of her friends, her gaze pausing on where her brother and his friends were settled, playing a silly game like 'I spy' from the sound of it. It was good, she decided, that they could have light-hearted, even childish, fun. The world needed happy, playful souls in it to make it a better place.

And, she thought, squeezing Regal's hand back, she couldn't think of any other people she'd prefer to have around to help her, or to call friends.