SURPRISE ME. WEDDING. THEY START FIGHTING CRIME AS A MASKED DUO. BABIES. AU WHERE IT’S HAN CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN’S SNOW QUEEN AND COLETTE RESCUES LLOYD. THEY BAKE A WEIRD CAKE. COLETTE LEARNING TO USE CHAKRAMS. FUN IN THE RAIN. BABIES. YES.
.The ceremonial bells ring. They are different from a city’s warning bells; the bells to mark the goddess’s blessing of a marriage are light and melodic. At the sound, Colette and Lloyd both look up, and accidentally lock eyes. It’s the first time all morning they’ve managed to look at each other. All week, even. With nervous stammers and awkward smiles and pink-tinged cheeks flushing in and out and my aren’t these shoes so interesting you just can’t look up from them. And here they are, finally looking at one another. Fingers stop twisting. A deep breath is heard. They smile, looking into each other’s eyes- really smile, hesitant at first, and then hopeful and impossible to control. And, in that instant, they know they’re ready.
.”So you still want to wear red?”
Lloyd stops practicing action poses and looks at her, bemused.
"Yeah. Of course! Why wouldn’t I?"
Colette shrugs lightly.
"Oh, you know! Red is really bright, so everyone will be able to see it, that’s all."
"And you’re not going to be able to surprise anyone and you’ll probably attract light," Colette continues. She smiles up at him. "It’ll be really easy for me to find you, though!" Ignoring Lloyd’s groan as he realizes she’s right, she moves on. "So what’s your name going to be? Something red, right? And maybe cute, like a squirrel?"
"Squirrels are lame!" Lloyd claims, insulted. There’s nothing about a big squirrel he’d trust to save someone.
"Red panda?" Colette doesn’t miss a beat.
"No! Nothing fluffy-" he informs her, pouting as only a boy on the cusp of adulthood without knowing it can, "-and nothing cute!" He strikes himself on the chest self-importantly. "That’s not heroic at all."
They both turn toward the window at a loud THUNK!
"Oh no! That poor bird!" Colette opens the window and leans out. "Oh, good. I think it will be all right." She stands for a minute looking down at it before she glances back at Lloyd. Her smile unnerves him.
"N-no. …What is it?"
Colette claps her hands together.
.The robber girl holds her chin and leans forward expectantly. ”And then what happened?”
"He ran in front of me, and the angel took him away. In a big flash of light." Colette mimes it with her hands, then drops them. "But it wasn’t very happy looking. And I’m worried about him." She looks up at the other girl, finding herself quiet. "I want him to be okay. So I have to do my best, and at least try to save him."
The robber girl nods. “Your friend does sound like a great guy.” She stands up and dusts off her hands. “Alright, I’ve made a decision! We’re going to help you rescue him.”
Colette stands up also and takes her hands excitedly.
"Do you mean it? Oh, thank you!" Colette looks so relieved and so thankful that the other girl can’t help cracking her self-important expression to smile too, and spins her around once.
"My people have traveled this area and can be of use to you. Spend tonight with us, and tomorrow we will load you up with spoils and set you on your way." The robber girl hesitates for a minute, then hurriedly shouts out, "CORINNE!" When Colette looks around, a little fox creature appears seemingly from nowhere. The girl picks it up and places it on Colette’s shoulder. "This is Corinne. She’ll help you find your way to some spirit women I know who may be able to help you."
"Thank you so much, miss!" Colette clasps her hands together and exhales in relief. The robber girl kicks the ground sheepishly.
"…It’s Sheena." She looks at Colette. "My name is Sheena. If anyone asks about the leader of these people, it’s me, and those rich jerks at the castle to the south don’t know anything!”
"Then thank you very much, Sheena," Colette chirps. "And… and I’m sure Lloyd thanks you, too!!"
.”…Is it supposed to look like that?” Lloyd gestures uselessly with one hand half-covered in drying egg. Colette puts down the bag of flour and walks over to peer into the oven.
"Um. No, I don’t think it is," she returns, voice pitching higher in worry. She holds her hands to her face and tries to stay calm. "Do you think we need to start over?"
"Aw man, I was afraid of that." He shakes his head and punches one hand into the air emphatically. "No way are we starting over again! We got this far and we’re gonna keep going. We can probably fix it, right? …Besides," he looks more sheepishly at the oven, "we don’t have enough time to start over, do we?"
Colette shakes her head. “Nope.” She was wringing her hands while he spoke, but now wipes her forehead and reaches out to take the pan.
Lloyd sees the flour left on her face and doubles over as he bursts into laughter.
"AH! Sorry Lloyd!"
The boy stands back up and reaches for the thing that narrowly missed his head. He flips it over in his hands, perplexed.
"It’s a chakram." Colette has reached her friend, and holds out the object’s twin. "You throw them at monsters. …Or, you’re supposed to."
"I’m not a monster," Lloyd pouts. Colette waves her hands to dispel the thought.
"Of course not! I know you aren’t. I missed! I just messed up and didn’t throw it right… That’s all." She looks at him with eyes threatening to fill up. "I’m sorry, Lloyd!"
He closes her other hand over the wooden ring he retrieved and hastily places his hands on her shoulders.
"Hey, it’s fine! I’m alright, aren’t I? So it’s all fine!" He stares at her until she nods, and they both smile suddenly.
.”Just come out.” He pushes dripping hair away from his face, grin sparkling in the dim night rain, and she can see his breath cloud on the window.
"…Alright," she whispers, and darts out of sight. He can hear her door unlatch a moment later, and ducks. When she sticks her head out, haloed by the candle in the lantern inside, he runs out, covering his forehead with one hand and waving with the other. Colette closes the door behind her and takes Lloyd’s hand with her own, giggling as she follows him out into the street. She slips on the wet ground and falls into him, almost pushing him into a puddle, but Lloyd catches her with one arm. She tries to keep her delighted squeal quiet when he laughs and lifts her up over it with a spin. Their run leads them to a tree by the school, and they pause under it. Both of them are shaking, in equal parts exhilaration and glee and chills setting in, and they lean into each other under the sparse cover. Colette lifts a hand in front of her face, turning it and studying it. She can feel drips and rivulets on her skin, the cold slickness of water, and she smiles. Lloyd notices, makes a guess, and enfolds her in a hug.
"Don’t worry," he says into her hair. "You’ll be warm soon too."
.”You can go in now.” Raine closes the door behind her and shakes out her hands. Lloyd stops pacing, but continues to look stricken and reflexively clench and unclench his hands out of nervousness. Raine sighs with exasperation.
"That means you SHOULD go in, Lloyd," the professor informs him. After a moment of hesitation, she adds, "She’s waiting for you." - - - .
Colette is in the bed. She’s in one piece, although damp and shaky, and her hair has been plaited back. In her arms… Lloyd swallows. Audibly. Colette hears him and looks up, eyes suddenly wide and glittering. She nods him over and gives him a quick kiss as he awkwardly leans over. She chokes down a giggle as he tries and fails to speak. He clears his throat and tries again, tugging a finger under his collar.
"So… so that’s- that’s our… I mean, it’s- so I’m a-, a…-"
"This is your son," Colette tells her husband gently, and watches his embarrassed response with a smile. "Would you like to hold him?" Lloyd shakes his head vehemently. Colette suspects he’s actually more shaky than her, and doesn’t press the issue. She also doesn’t say anything as he turns away and appears to brush a hand across his face. When he turns back, slightly more composed, she is tenderly stroking the cheek of the newborn child she is sheltering.
"What do you think we should name him, Lloyd?" Lloyd thinks for a moment, weighing the responsibility he has been given.
"…I know the perfect name."