Disclaimer: I am still a teenage girl living in the US. Therefore, I would consider it logical to assume I have no rights to Tales of Symphonia.
A/N: It's been awhile since I've written Sheelos. I'm a little rusty, and I'm also leaning towards Zelette these days. *cowers in fear* don't kill me! But anyway, I somehow ended up with a craving for that special blend of angst and fluff that only Sheelos can pull off, so here we go :)
I hate sleeping. With a passion. Ever since the whole Volt incident when I was a kid. I can't sleep without nightmares. I mean, sometimes I do. But it's so rare that I can't bring myself to enjoy what little rest I do manage to get.
For example, tonight at the Lezareno Hotel, I only got an hour or so before I woke up crying. So here I am now, sitting cross-legged on the beach, thinking about anything but my childhood. The sound of the waves rolling is soothing, and I can feel myself growing tired. I won't let myself go to sleep, though; I won't risk the pain that comes with it. So instead, I look at the stars, at the ocean, and far-off lights of the other island.
As I'm contemplating returning to the hotel to get my training gear for something to do, I hear someone come up next to me. I jump to my feet and jerk my fists into position, ready for anything. Then I relax as I realize it's just Zelos. He's smirking at my reaction, but his hands are thrown up as well. "Habit," he explains as I sit down again, sighing.
"Stupid Chosen," I mutter, not looking as he plops down beside me.
"A little harsh, don't you think?" he asked. I can practically hear him rolling his eyes, but I refuse to give him the satisfaction of laughing.
"No, it's not. Goddess, you could have given me a warning or something," I snap. "You should know not to sneak up on me by now."
"Okay, okay. You have my apologies, hunny," he replies, and I turn and glare at him.
"Just drop that, Zelos," I say sharply. "You know I hate that. I told you that when I was twelve."
He shrugs. "Habit," he repeats. "I'll try not to do it again."
I look at him mistrustfully. "Will you really? And in public, too? Not just when it's the two of us?" He nods.
"Sure, I'll try."
I snort. "Okay, that's not true. You're an awful liar." I look away again.
"Don't be so sure," he whispers, and I look at him, concerned. As much as we argue, I've known this man for more than a decade and I hate to see him upset. Unless, of course, he deserves it. Now, his eyes are distant as he stares somewhere I can't see. His red hair is a bit messy from the breezes blowing through it, and he's chewing his lip.
"Are you okay, Zelos?" I ask hesitantly. At the words, he snaps out of it and smiles brilliantly.
"I'm fine, hunny. I mean Sheena," he hurriedly corrects. "I'm fine."
"If you say so," I slowly say.
Then, he exhales loudly and changes the subject. "So, why aren't you in bed? It's almost dawn," he informs me.
I laugh briefly. "I don't like sleeping."
"Why not?" he asks curiously. I smile bitterly.
"Oh, you know. I basically became a mass murderer at seven years old. For some reason that seems to haunt me at night," I say sarcastically. I immediately regret the edge in my voice, bordering on anger and rudeness. But I can't take it back.
Thankfully, Zelos doesn't seem offended. "You're not a murderer, Sheena," he assures me, and to my suprise the words bring tears to my eyes. "Those people knew the risks of what they were doing. They wanted to try to help your village. It's not your fault."
I swallow down my sobs. Normally, I would change the subject. But tonight I can't. Tonight I need to feel better. "Are you sure?" I say, almost inaudible. "I'm not a... I'm not?"
Zelos immediately grabs my hand, but there's nothing sexual in the touch. Just the warmth and comfort of a friend. "I swear to Martel. You were only seven. You can't be held responsible. You didn't know how to control your power, you weren't trained, and those people knowingly went with you. Took you there before you were ready. It's not your fault."
I almost cry, but I'm a ninja, and I know how to bury my weaknesses. Usually.
Instead, I turn to him, for once unable to control myself, and collapse into him. He seems shocked, but after a few seconds, he puts his arms around me. I'm shaking and afraid, but it's the middle of the night and I'm exhausted and he's here and I'm here, and I've been thinking about this forbidden action for so long that I just can't contain myself. I tilt my head up and he tilts his head down, and then our lips meet. I fumble for an instant, and then it evens out and feels so good.
Then I pull away and touch my lips. I can't believe I just did that. I blush furiously and stand, prepared to run. Even I know to pick my battles.
But Zelos also stands and stops me from going by raising a hand. "I'm sorry," he tells me. "I shouldn't have done that."
Despite the fact that I was about to tell him we shouldn't have done that, I feel injured. "Why not?" I ask.
He sighs. "Because you're just... Right now, you're vulnerable. I don't want to take advantage of that." he tucks his long hair behind his ears. I adjust my robe and look down. I realize he's barefoot, just like I am.
"You mean... it doesn't mean anything?" I say quietly. He lets out a frustrated sound.
"No," he answers. "I mean it means too much. I don't want to have this for one night, and then have you hate me forever. I mean, hate me more than you already do."
"I don't hate you," I tell him, stung. "I just, well, hate the way you act. But whatever. I should go back."
"Please don't," he murmurs as I turn around. I look back at him. To my surprise, it's him who looks vulnerable now. "I... I don't want to be out here alone." He looks away, ashamed.
I sit back down. I can't leave him when he's like this. "I'll stay," I say softly. He sits back down next to me.
"Thanks," he says, embarrassment coloring his smooth voice. "I was, you know, having nightmares. I'm kind of..." he trails off, and I don't ask him to finish. I don't need to; I know what he means.
We sit there in silence and watch the night, because for some reason, words aren't needed right now. Eventually - not long before dawn - I drift off to sleep, leaning against him with his arm around my shoulder. And when I wake up, I am still filled with a soft and warm glow. We are lying down on the sand at the beach, and Zelos is smiling as he dreams, and I had no nightmares. Not to mention I got my first kiss last night.
I know that tonight, I'll probably wake up screaming or sobbing or both. But at this moment, I don't care. At this moment, I am happy.