Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
Author's Note: Been into a real video game vibe recently, particularly Fire Emblem Path of Radiance. And, somehow, that translates into Tales of Symphonia and Zelos and Sheena's relationship which, if no one's been able to tell, is fascinating to me.
Been playing Final Fantasy Dissidia (I have no idea if I spelled that right) on my friend's PSP during psych class. So far, I'm having a fun time beating down Tifa with Sephiroth and Prische—yes, I usually have a hatred for at least one female in every book, game or movie. Tifa happened to be the second most hated one in FFVII, right after Aeris.
A true friend is one who thinks you are a good egg even if you are half-cracked. ~Author Unknown
It's not love. At least, not the way most people think of it and it certainly wasn't romantic. At least, it had had the potential to be romantic once, but not anymore. They're, for lack of a better phrase, comfortable with each other.
The world wasn't ready for them. Perhaps it still wasn't. Wasn't prepared for a Chosen manchild and a kind-hearted, albeit sassy, ninja warrior that defied society and its rules.
After nearly seven years of friendship, Zelos was almost positive that he could name almost every one of Sheena's quirks. And Sheena could say the same.
They don't share books. Or rather, they do to the point where it's difficult to tell whose was whose. Sheena had a habit of folding down the corners of her favorite pages or ones with paragraphs that she liked or descriptions that she thought were interesting. Zelos was someone who simply memorized the page numbers.
"Or," He'd said once in one of many conversations concerning the subject. "I do what sane people do and use a bookmark."
Sheena only waved the comment away.
Zelos doesn't like to keep his hands still. It wasn't a nervous gesture. If Zelos had something in his hands at the time, a pen or a coin, he tended to start flipping it on his knuckles or just generally playing with it, a pale imitation of what he could do with a knife.
It happened most often when Zelos was thinking. Sheena had come downstairs more than once to see an admittedly impressive tower constructed of writing utensils and paperclips sitting on the coffee table. Or he would be leaning back in his favorite armchair, flipping the pen into the air and catching it.
"Sitting still is boring." Zelos had answered, the only time that Sheena asked.
They'd finished school together in Meltokio. They liked to sit by the windows, never in the first row, but always towards the front.
Back then, Zelos would lean his head back in his seat, cross his legs and close his eyes. He would have looked like he was sleeping if it weren't for the constant movement of a pencil along his fingers, a trick that Sheena knew he'd learned with a knife first. Roll, roll, flip. Roll, roll, roll. Sometimes, Zelos will crack open an eye and see Sheena taking an intricate series of notes in a strabe mix of Mizuhoan characters and the phonetic alphabet that was used everywhere else in Tethe'alla.
Sometimes, at lunch or later that night at dinner, Zelos would ask if Sheena had understood a particular math concept—never her strong suit. Those times, Sheena would smile and shake her head, grabbing a napkin and pulling out one of the pencils that were poked through her hair.
"Show me." She'd say and Zelos would.
Sheena was not the best at articulating her thoughts. Zelos had learned that rather quickly because Sheena had never been the most confident person.
Therefore, there are times when Sheena's admittedly masterful grasp of language—it was her best subject, ironically—doesn't seem to want to work with her mouth. At those times, Sheena will search the immediate area for a pen, usually finding one on either Zelos' or her person.
"Do you have any paper? Sheena will ask, looking up at him.
One would think, after so many years of friendship and similar incidents, that Zelos would have taken to carrying a small pad of paper wherever he went but it was simply one of those things that never happened.
Zelos will shake his head and Sheena will start to lean forward, intent on her work. More than once, Zelos has had to grab his wrist.
"Not on the coffee table. You know how many times Sebastian's chewed me out because of that?" He wasn't irritated, just the friendly kind of annoyingly exasperated.
"Thirty-seven." Sheena replied absently. She beckoned Zelos forward and, automatically, Zelos followed before remembering to jerk his arm out of his best friend's reach.
"Not on the shirt."
"You have like three of the same one!"
"They are not all the same and you know it." Zelos sighed and rolled up the sleeve, offering his arm. "Draw small. Took me forever to get the ink out last time."
Zelos used to never have a problem walking into her room without knocking. That hadn't been a problem until he'd walked in when she was changing. When he'd known that she was changing, for one of those many dinner parties.
"Zelos!" She'd jerked the bedsheets up to cover herself. "What is your problem? I'm naked here!"
He'd blinked at her, nonplussed. "Darling—not that it wouldn't be a great view—but…why is that a problem?"
"You knew I was changing and you walked in anyway!"
"Yeah. I figured you'd need help with the zipper or something."
"When I need help with the zipper, I'll call you. Now could you just…" She made a vague gesture with her free arm, the other holding the sheet around her.
He raised his hands innocently. "Fine, fine. Be a feminist. You know, most women would kill for a moment like this."
"Since when have I been most women?" Sheena asked, a hand on her hip.
Zelos chuckled, closing the door behind him. Since when indeed.
Sheena wasn't a natural light sleeper, but after so many years of training, it comes automatically. Most people wouldn't even take notice of the slight pat-pats on the roof and, if they did, they'd think it was a cat or perhaps even the rain. But Sheena knows Zelos' footsteps as well as she knows her own, so she'll give herself a lazy three seconds to simply lie in bed before throwing the covers off and swinging her legs over the side of the bed.
She wouldn't think about finding shoes—she didn't really need them anyway—or about a coat—summer nights were too warm for blankets, let alone a coat—and she'll climb out of her window and up onto the roof in movements that are all too practiced.
Zelos wouldn't be up there. Not on his roof. He would be high on a nearby tower. They didn't happen often, these nights, but they happened often enough that Sheena was finding it perfectly normal.
He wasn't surprised when Sheena silently came to stand beside him. This wasn't the first time he'd done this. Sheena never asked the why's like so many other people would. She'd simply stand beside him and wait for him to speak. Sometimes he did. Most times he didn't.
"Have you ever stood somewhere high and thought 'I could jump'?" Zelos asked.
"Happens a lot, actually." Sheena wasn't afraid of heights, never had been. But she was less afraid with Zelos beside her. (She tells herself that it isn't because she can remember a long, dark drop and a starbust of sunset wings with his arms around her, catching her, as he'd always done).
Zelos' lips twisted in a way that wasn't quite a smile, but Sheena didn't have another word for it. "Thought you would. Have you ever stood at the same place with someone and thought, 'I could push them'?"
"Can't say I have." Sheena studied her best friend and didn't ask.
"…What would you do if I pushed you?"
"Hope you're obliging enough to catch me, but I can catch myself." It was why, as a child, when Sheena heard the fairy tales and children's stories about princesses who waited for the prince, she'd scoffed. 'Why would I wait for someone else to save me when I can do it myself?' She remembered saying. She'd never outgrown that school of thought.
The twisted, not-quite-a-smile was back, but this time there was a little more cheer in it. "You have no idea how much I love you for that."
"I never have to worry about you—it still happens a little, but that's my right as best friend. You'll never—"
"Finish that." Sheena said quietly.
"You'll never die waiting for me to save you."
"It's almost happened before." (Why can't I be a little more feminine at times like this and let him rescue me?)
"I don't think so."
"You think that I would've magically found a way out of that?" She said doubtfully. She had no illusions about her skills. She was no miracle-worker.
He turned to look at her and a half-smile played at his lips, a little mocking, but not unkindly so. "You underestimate yourself sometimes."
"You overestimate me." She countered.
He tilted his head. "Want to find out?"
She knew what he was going to do almost before he did it and she wasn't sure whether to yell at him or laugh as she felt the ground disappear vanish from beneath her feet and the ground coming up rather quickly. Her hands shot out on instinct, grasping at window sills and flag poles to slow her descent and she landed in a crouch before pitching sideways.
Sheena saw the glow of his wings before she saw him. "You're a prick." She said, laughter in her throat.
He doesn't move out of arm's reach like he did when he knew she was angry, when she would be angry. Instead, his eyes check her over for injuries even as he said something clever in response in a completely nonchalant tone, his wings vanishing like they'd never been.
She rolled her eyes and held out her hands. He reached down to tug her up to her feet. Sheena dusted herself off, shoving her hands in the pockets of her sweatpants as she started back towards Zelos' mansion.
Words floated back over her shoulder. "You owe me breakfast for that."
Zelos' laughter echoed through the street. "Sure thing, darling."