Disclaimer: I don't own Tales of Symphonia. I don't even own the game. My sister does and lets me play. Bleh.
Hey, maybe once I've completed my plan for world domination I can buy the rights to the game!! (But they can keep DotNW. It sucked.)
I sat there next to him, my legs dangling off the edge. My mind was racing as I thought about the complicated feelings I was having towards my friend. Me, Colette Brunel, falling for Zelos Wilder, ignoring completely the fact that he would never notice me as a girl.
The tall redhead sitting by my right side was silent, gazing at the night sky. We were on a low stone wall by the ocean, just outside Altamira. He sat with his left knee curled up to his chest and his other leg hanging over the water. His left arm was wrapped around his leg, and the other hand rested on the wall. I couldn't help staring at him, drinking in every detail of his appearance. It was the first time we'd been alone together for almost a year. Lloyd, Sheena, and Raine had all made sure of that for various reasons of their own. But we'd finally found a way around their poorly concealed attempts. We'd simply stayed up later than the others and met up outside Altamira around midnight...
...And we'd already spent an hour of our precious time in near silence. Of course. But I didn't want to waste the entire night sitting without talking, so I hesitantly broke the moody silence. "The water is so pretty at night, don't you think?" I winced as I spoke. Even though I'd spoken softly, my voice sounded loud, shrill, and artificial. The peace of the night seemed to shatter visibly at the sound.
Zelos looked at me properly for the first time that night, his guarded blue eyes catching my own.
"Not nearly as beautiful as you." he said, just a hint of mocking irony in his tone; in fact, if I hadn't known him so well, I wouldn't have noticed it in the first place. But as it was, I felt a little hurt by his words.
"Please, Zelos. Not tonight. Just be real, please." I pleaded. He quirked one eyebrow.
"What do you mean, hun?" he asked in an innocent voice. "I would never be anything but real with you."
"Zelos..." I warned, uncharacteristic anger beginning to rise in me.
"It's not as though," he continued sarcastically, "you lied to your friends for ages about the angel transformation. But hey, it must be a Chosen thing, 'cause I lied to and betrayed my friends too! Gee, we're—"
"Just cut the crap, Zelos!" I snapped, having had enough. "I know you betrayed us, okay? We forgave you, and don't even start with the "you shouldn't have" lines because I don't want to deal with it, alright? I came here to talk to you, to Zelos, not to some court noble! And not to argue! Why can't you just move on from the past? I'm tired of this all! I'm tired of you being moody and isolating yourself from us! I'm tired of Lloyd acting like you're going to blow up any minute! I'm tired of Sheena pretending it never happened! I'm tired of Raine treating you like a criminal! And I'm sick and tired of you ignoring me! Don't you get that?" I ranted, feeling heat rise to my cheeks. After years of being quiet, obedient, and optimistic, I needed a release from my anger. Zelos looked rather frightened as I waved my arms about.
"Colette, I'm sorry-no-don't-ah, dammit." he sighed as I, clumsy as ever, lost my balance and fell into the ocean. Thankfully, the water was deep enough that I didn't injure myself, but shallow enough to stand up in. However, I wasn't interested in being grateful.
"Agh!" I growled in frustration. "Why-am I-so-STUPID?!?" I shouted, clambering back onto the wall.
"Calm down, Colette. I'm-I'm sorry, okay?" Zelos muttered to me. I pulled my knees up to my body in an attempt to warm myself, but my teeth chattered anyway as I responded.
"No, d-don't be." I told him, sighing as I reconsidered my words of only a moment before. "I'm s-sorry. I was j-just so angry. More at myself than y-you, though." I explained. He let out a snort.
"Nah, you were right though. I was being an idiot." he wrapped his arms around me, presumably trying to warm me up. "Cold? You shouldn't go swimming so late at night." he added, smirking.
"Oh, come on, though. It's just so much fun. You should know as well as me." I said grinning. Zelos looked at me curiously, his face right by mine, his lips mere inches from my own.
"Why?" he whispered, and I found myself regretting in advance the joke I was about to pull, but it was so rare to fool the king of practical jokes that I couldn't resist.
"Because, of course," I began, pulling out of his hug reluctantly, "you're swimming right now!" With that, I pushed him into the gently lapping water. He yelped as he fell in, and I giggled. His cry was cut off as he went underwater.
"Awww!" he complained as soon as his head broke the surface. "What was that for?" He shoved his sopping wet hair out of his eyes, and I caught my breath. He looked so, so perfect, so inhumanly handsome. "What? Why are you looking at me like that?" he asked, catching my eye.
However, I didn't want to make the night awkward, so I simply grinned and said, "You're soaked now." He snorted again.
"Thank you, Captain Obvious. The resident genius has just exhibited her incredible knowledge and observation skills. Can we have a round of applause, please?" He climbed back up, laughing.
"Well, it's true!" I protested. "And don't make fun of me. I'm dry, I ought to be teasing you." I continued. In response, he shook his dripping hair so that flying drops of water hit me in the face. I laughed and smacked his elbow lightly. He bumped my shoulder with his then, and I predictably bumped his in return. A shoulder-bumping war ensued, but when no clear winner emerged, he took things a step further. Jumping off the wall to the ground, he pulled me after him and began tickling me.
"Hey!" I shouted in surprise, twisting away. He grinned cheekily and poked my stomach. "Don't!" I tried to yell, but I laughed instead and all of my intended seriousness disappeared. He tried to tickle me again, but I avoided his hands and began fighting back, aiming for his sides. I knew from past wars that he was extremely ticklish, so he of course had to keep away from me. I deftly dodged his next attack and managed to tickle him as well. He started laughing and shoved my hands away. I didn't let up that easily, though, and I kept trying to get at him while avoiding his hands. Soon we were both laughing hysterically, tears of mirth streaming down our cheeks. I grew careless and while trying to get at his stomach, he caught both my wrists in his hands. He looked down at me with twinkling eyes, as though saying, "what now?" and I laughed as hard as ever. But my chuckles died quickly, and so did his.
I looked into his eyes then and saw a questioning look that surely mirrored my own exactly. My breathing suddenly seemed too loud, so I quieted. His breath came quieter and quieter as well, until the only sound I could hear was my own heartbeat pounding in my ears. Almost unconsciously, I stepped closer to Zelos. He looked at me, something akin to fear on his face. I felt my cheeks grow warm. I started to lean upwards slowly, and I thought he started to lean towards me too, but then he dropped my wrists and turned away, his shoulders stiff and tense. I immediately backed up several paces, horror reeling in my mind. He doesn't want to kiss me, I thought. He doesn't think of me like that.
"I-I'm sorry!" I stammered loudly. "I shouldn't-I'm sorry!" I started to back up again, but then the man turned to face me. His cerulean eyes were filled with an almost tangible pain.
"No – Colette, I'm the one who should be apologizing. I'm too old for you, too stupid for you, too bad for you, too, too crazy for you. And I still want to..." he trailed off desperately.
"Don't – you don't need to lie – it's okay, sorry, I'm so sorry!" I babbled, and he let out a bark of laughter.
"Lie? Colette, I'm everything you should stay away from, especially because right now I want nothing more than to – er, to kiss you. But then...Sheena and the Professor would be right, I'd be hurting you." he said quietly, and it was my turn to laugh.
"Zelos, it wouldn't be hurting me if I wanted it too." Somewhere in the back of my mind, I was astonished at my own brazenness, but in an abstract way.
Zelos's eyes widened at my statement. "But you-me-us—"
"I'm sorry. But Zelos, you worry too much."
"—is one of my best friends." I finished firmly. "I've never felt more than friendship with him. Contrary to popular belief, I think of him as a brother. And Sheena?"
Zelos's face hardened. "Sheena was the first girl I knew who didn't care what people thought. She was my best friend, and nothing more. Now...she's nothing, period." His voice was bitter. I felt guilty for saying anything at all.
"I'm sorry. It'll be all right. She'll come around eventually." I assured him, unsure of what else to say. He smiled a little.
"Oh, I don't know about that. But it's all okay. I—" he stopped himself and I prodded curiously.
"You – what?
"Well," he said, grinning abashedly, "I was going to say, 'I've got you,' but I figured that'd be too weird."
"Why would you think something like that?" I asked, shocked. He thought I wouldn't be there for him?
"Well you know, you've barely admitted you're attracted to me. To say anything that serious would be pushing it." he replied, shutting his eyes as though to hide his thoughts from me. I sighed inwardly at his stupidity.
"Zelos." I said. "I was first attracted to you the very first time I spoke to you, that day on the Fooji Mountains. The day you said, 'We Chosen have to stick together.'"
Zelos's eyes popped open. I suddenly wished I'd said nothing. "Really?" he asked, and I blushed.
"Well...yeah, I wouldn't lie."
"Then would you mind," he said slowly, "if I said that I think I'm falling in love with you?" Then he blushed a deep shade of red and began fiddling with his fingernails.
"Well...that depends..." I murmured, unsure of how to word my response.
"On?" pressed Zelos.
"Well...mostly on whether you'd mind if I told you that I think I'm falling in love with you, too." I answered.
Zelos turned crimson, probably matching my own perfectly.
"Well then." he said. An awkward silence proceeded to fill the area with nothingness. The moments grew irritatingly long as Zelos and I stood there without speaking or moving.
Finally, I couldn't stand it any longer, and I filled the time with climbing back up to sit on the low wall again. Zelos joined me, carefully threading his fingers into mine. I looked up at the dark night sky and sighed sadly.
"Here, I can't see the stars very well, not like in Iselia." I said quietly, half to myself.
"You want to know why?" Zelos asked, leaning closer to me.
"Sure, why." I prepared myself for one of his jokes or puns.
"Because they're too afraid to come out when they know they can't shine nearly as brightly or beautifully as you." he whispered, facing front again. I smiled softly and laid my head on his shoulder. He laid his cheek atop my head. And we sat there, together, our legs dangling off the edge.
A/N: So, feedback please? I'd love some reviews. Colette and Zelos are probably both a little OOC. After all, Colette gets angry...but in the game, she does get angry a few times, so I decided to play off that side of her. Did I get Zelos's awkwardness right, and his bitterness? (Hehe. Sneaky way of forcing you to review.) I want to know if you liked this, loved it, or hated it, or if you're indifferent. What did I do right? What did I do wrong? The shiny green button there commands you to review...