During game one-shot set fairly late on in the game on an evening when the group are camping for the night. The usual sort of fluff (Sheelos this time).
Spoiler warning: slight spoilers in this fic about what the heroes are trying to do on the journey.
Dedication: to Minnie. Apologies for the fact that it's belated but I hope that you'll enjoy this birthday fic.
Disclaimer: I don't own Tales of Symphonia.
It wasn't doing the laundry that Sheena minded, everyone in the group took turns to do the chores and she'd drawn the straw to do it this evening. It certainly needed doing, Colette's clothes had gotten so dirty she'd decided to wear a makeshift dress made out of a blanket. In fact it had been worth offering to do the laundry just to see the look on Lloyd's face when Colette had emerged from the secluded spot where she'd changed. Sheena chuckled lightly as she remembered that.
No, the reason why she wasn't happy was the fact that she had to do it with Zelos. The prospect of having to dunk some of her more personal garments into the river next to him was not one she was looking forward to.
"What're you laughing at?" he asked as he turned to her, smiling, amused by her amusement.
"Lloyd," she replied, frowning as she concentrated on scrubbing a particularly stubborn stain on one of Raine's jackets.
Zelos looked over to the campfire then turned back to Sheena, a puzzled look on his face, after not having noticed anything amusing about Lloyd who was currently sitting by the campfire with Colette, preparing dinner.
Sheena noticed his confusion as she looked up from the washing.
"Not now, earlier, that stupid look he had on his face," she said.
"You'll have to be more specific than that," Zelos replied.
Sheena responded to the jibe by flinging a wet sock at his face.
"Heeeeyy," he whined.
"I meant when he saw Colette wearing that dress," Sheena said, ignoring the redhead's whining.
"Personally I think that's a very nice dress and hope the fashion catches on. I think you'd look very nice in a dress like that," Zelos smiled at her and received another wet sock to the face for that remark.
"Not the face," he whined, pretending to be hurt.
"Stop whining like that, you'll start to sound like Noishe at supper time if you keep doing that," Sheena said, the slight smile on her face giving away the fact that she was having a little fun.
"I do not sound like Noishe", Zelos protested.
Noishe, who was sitting a short distance away beside the fire, whined.
Sheena didn't reply with words, she just looked at Zelos with a raised eyebrow.
"OK, maybe I do a little, but there's no need to throw wet socks at me," he muttered.
"Would you prefer me to throw a whole bundle of soggy washing at you instead?" she offered.
"No," he said bluntly, watching her suspiciously as he returned to working on the pile of laundry that he'd been assigned with.
After a few minutes of companionable silence Sheena voiced a thought out loud.
"I wish there was an easier way of doing this, some of these stains are really difficult to wash out. Someone should invent a soap for getting rid of monster goo stains, we'd get through buckets of the stuff," she said, shaking her head slightly.
"Could you not, perhaps, ask some of the summon spirits to help?" Zelos suggested.
"That's not the reason they made the pacts with us. Doing laundry is not really helping to reunite and save the worlds is it?" Sheena said.
"Well technically, yes, yes it is. How do people expect heroes to save the world in clothes coated with several layers of mud, dead monster gloop and Goddess knows what else?" Zelos said.
"Only vain heroes would worry about things like that. Besides, I don't know if anyone would call us heroes, in fact I very much doubt it," Sheena said.
"Firstly it's not vain to not want mud on your clothes, it's difficult to move your arms to fight if your sleeves are heavy and stiff with the stuff," Zelos started light-heartedly before continuing on in a more serious tone. "And secondly, some people wouldn't know gratitude if it bit them on the butt."
"I'm not doing this for peoples' gratitude," Sheena said thoughtfully.
"Do you mind if I ask why you are?" Zelos asked.
"No, I, I," she started then paused. She knew in her heart why she wanted to help on this quest but putting it into words seemed difficult. "I need a minute."
She thought about the question, gathering her thoughts, as she continued to work on the laundry. Then, slowly, she began to discuss the matter with him, opening up more as he, too, quietly told her about his motivations. They became so engrossed in the conversation that Sheena forgot about worrying about washing her underwear in front of Zelos. The washing just became a blur in the background of their discussion and, it seemed, was finished in no time because of that.
As they gathered the washing up to hang on whichever convenient branches and bushes they could find to dry their conversation turned to the more light-hearted matter of dinner, that whatever Colette and Lloyd were cooking smelled good, and Sheena found herself thinking that, maybe, doing the laundry with Zelos wasn't so bad after all.