Our Fifty Moments
Part Thirty-Three: Sunshine

Blades of Grass, Rays of Sunshine
To celebrate her newly regained humanity, Colette partakes in all the experiences she once took for granted – the grass, the sun, and the touch of the person she loved most.

"Lloyd!" Colette cried breathlessly up the hill, "Come on!"

"All right, all right! I'm coming!" Lloyd laid down on the grass with his face towards the sky. "Here I go!" He shifted his weight to his left side, instantly sending himself tumbling down the hill and barreling towards Colette. With a yelp, she stumbled out of his way, allowing her friend to come to a halt once he reached the level ground. Once he stopped, he laughed, wobbling as he pushed himself up.

"Ha ha! ...Whew, I forgot how much fun that was!" He rebalanced himself, then glanced at Colette before bursting into a new fit of laughter. "Colette, you've got grass all in your hair!"

"Really?" Colette took a lock of long, blonde hair in her fingers and looked at it. Sure enough, a streak of green was resting in it. She giggled and pulled the blade of grass out, twirling it around in her other hand. "Yeah, I guess I do, don't I?"

The boy reached over and brushed more grass out of her hair. "You sure sound happy about it."

"But I am happy!" She continued looking at the small piece of grass in her hand. "I haven't had this much fun in a long, long time."

His mouth cocked in a half smile, Lloyd nodded. "Yeah. It's been a long time since we could do anything fun." He sat down beside their picnic basket, which was filled to the brim with used napkins, crumbs, and orange peels, and leaned back on his palms. "It was hard to have fun while knowing you... couldn't join us. You know?"

Colette eagerly sat beside him, drawing her knees up into her arms. "I'm sorry... But I'm back now, thanks to your present!" She closed her eyes and breathed in before continuing. "Thank you for bringing me out here, Lloyd. This is... this is everything I missed. The taste of a picnic, that dizzy feeling you get when you roll down a hill," she turned to him, "talking to you. I feel like I'm experiencing the world for the first time."

"It's nothing," he replied, turning his head away slightly from her to avoid turning red. "I just wanted to celebrate having you back."

"But it's more than that! It's - " She interrupted herself with a yawn. "Oh, all that rolling around must have worn me out!" she said with far more enthusiasm about being tired than one would expect. However, Lloyd had come to expect such a reaction from her - ever since her spirit was freed from the confines of her Cruxis Crystal, she had been so eager to experience things he himself had taken for granted.

Knowing this, he grinned. "Then take a nap, you dork."

"Huh? Here? But won't the others worry?"

"It's okay, we've got plenty of time." He laid back down on the ground, lacing his hands behind his head. "I'll wake you up if you sleep too long."

Colette fully expected him to break that promise, knowing how easily he would fall asleep if given the chance. Nonetheless, she took him up on his offer, laying on her side and curling her knees up. As she snuggled into the grass, savoring its texture and smell, she let out a small sigh.

"It's warm."

"What is?"

"The sunshine."

"...Yeah. I guess it is."

Her voice quavered a little. "It feels so nice..." Lloyd could see her eyelids begin to clench closed, as if she was trying to fight back tears. It really had been too long since she could feel the warmth of the sun.

Colette's eyes shot open again when she felt Lloyd's hand squeeze hers. At first, she looked quite startled, then, with a smile, she wrapped her other hand around his. "...But this feels even nicer. Thank you, Lloyd. For everything."

He chuckled bashfully. "You're welcome. Sweet dreams, Colette."

Blinking away tears of joy and relief, she slowly drifted into a deep, relaxing sleep with the help of the sunshine and the touch of Lloyd's hand.