Tales Of Symphonia Fan Fiction ❯ Tales of Symphonia: The People v. Zelos Wilder ❯ Part One: Pre-trial, Chapters 5-7 ( Chapter 2 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

NAMCO Tales Studio, Ltd. holds the exclusive rights to all characters and story elements appearing in the video game Tales of Symphonia. The following story has been created for entertainment purposes only and no profit has been made by the author.
The People v. Zelos Wilder
Part One - Pre-trial
Affidavit: Sheena and Hilda
The princess's room would be heavily guarded, but that wouldn't stop Sheena. Ducking into an alcove at the rear of the castle, she removed a costume and a pair of smoke caplets from her bag. Being a quick-change artist thanks to her ninja training, she didn't fear being seen changing by a person. In the blink of an eye, she could shed the many layers of her lavender garb and slip into even her most complicated attire, her leave-little-to-the-imagination evening dress. Complete with hair and make-up, no less. No, it wasn't the people she feared, but the photographers who infested the city like cockroaches. One properly-timed click of the shutter could gain her a lifetime of humiliation. A picture of her unclothed would no doubt fetch a hefty sum on the black market. Hell, Zelos would probably pay half his fortune for it. But she had the smoke caplets. They would obscure everything long enough for her to properly change. And that was good. She didn't want to have to add any more names to her only half-serious hit list. Why didn't these idiots ever remember she was a trained assassin? True, she'd never actually assassinated anyone. But her in-battle body count was gargantuan; she should be feared.
She unrolled the costume, and dropped the caplets. Half a blink later, she was violating every public decency law on Meltokio's books, and half a blink after that, she was pulling up the final zipper and stuffing her normal costume into her bag. That's a new record, she grinned.
Tagged "Covert Op," the costume was a recent addition to her wardrobe; it was reversible, one side all white and the other all black, and capable of covering her from head to toe. The green lenses on the headpiece helped her see better in the dark; the amber lenses, during the day. Since it was mid-morning, Sheena now wore the all-white side, enabling her to blend in with the castle walls.
She located Princess Hilda's room with ease, and, with her ninja climbing equipment, scaled the wall and slipped inside.
She lingered at the window a moment listening to the sound of soft moaning coming from inside. The best approach, she supposed, was to face the girl head-on: introduce herself and hope the girl's sense of decency would prompt her to tell the truth. She started to remove her facial covering, but halted when she became aware Princess Hilda had company. She could not see the girl's visitor, or the girl herself for that matter, through the wispy canopy curtains surrounding the bed.
But she could hear them. And she could hear moans and the creak of the mattress from the shifting of weight.
Oh my.
"Who's your daddy?"
"You are." Another earth-shattering moan.
Then louder, more insistent, "Who's your daddy?"
This girl was a female version of Zelos! Gross! And Sheena would have to listen to all of it! Gross!
She could see something now. A hand cupped Hilda's chin, caressing it. Then a mouth placed a soft kiss on her cheek. "That's right. And as your daddy, I won't let this stain to your honor go unpunished."
"Stain to your honor?" A lover wouldn't say that!
"But, daddy, I love—" the princess said.
Oh daddy, that daddy. Whew.
"Hush, my dear. I love you, too, and I'll take care of everything. No one, be he a vestige of a dying religion or the lowliest street beggar will besmirch the honor of a royal scion and get away with it." He stood resolutely and started for the door. "I'll send in a nurse to check on you in a bit."
"But he didn't rape me. I love him," she whispered. She collapsed onto her bed, and covered her head with a pillow.
Sheena sighed inwardly. The best chance Zelos had at acquittal was a wash. Sure, the girl said the Idiot Chosen didn't rape her, but he also said she loved him, which meant only one thing: she was stark raving mad.
Still, she'd better risk talking to her.
"Would you," Sheena said, emerging from the shadows, "testify to that in court?"
The girl opened her mouth, as if to scream, and Sheena rushed forward to clamp a hand over her mouth. "I'm not going to hurt you," she hissed. "I just need a little information and then I'm gone. Okay?"
The princess nodded, and Sheena lowered her hand.
"Why would a nurse hurt me?" the Princess asked.
"A nurse?"
"You're the nurse daddy sent, right? You're wearing white."
"Sure am," Sheena smiled brightly, "I'm here to help."
"Please, no more examinations."
"All right," Sheena said, grateful not to have to carry the deception too far. Her knowledge of medicine was proficient, but by no means impressive enough to fool anyone used to top-notch medical care. "We can just talk."
A few moments later, they arrived at the heart of the problem.
Hilda said, "When we were, you know, making..."
"Love," Sheena cringed at having to use the word in reference to Zelos.
"You're like all the others," Hilda groaned. "No one understands Zelos. They think he's just a playboy, sleeping with every girl who winks at him. But he's not. In fact, he's slept with only one girl before me."
"I'm sure that's what he told you," Sheena mumbled.
"It's true, and he was in love with her, too. In fact, she's the reason we're fighting. Last week when we were making love, he called out her name. You don't know what it's like whispering your lover's name and hearing, 'Oh, Sheena, your silky black hair drives me wild,' in return. I forgive him now, but daddy won't let me see him."
Sheena sat still for a moment, and then,
"What! We NEVER...I mean, she would never...I happen to know a thing or two about Mizuhoan romantic rituals. They're not nearly as strict as some would presume, but there's no way any Mizuhoan woman would just do that with a man. And Sheena, so I've heard, is one of the most virtuous honorable women—"
who would boink Lloyd in a second if he made the vaguest intimation.
This is the last time I'm going to tell you, brain, shut it! And is that your honest evaluation of me—that I'd jump into bed with a man just like that, even if I loved him? I'm a good girl.
You'd need a ring first right?
Well, naturally I wou—shut it!
"—who would never—"
"His manly charms paved the way for a cultural exchange."
"That's what he told me," the princess said.
Sheena massaged the bulging vein in her forehead. Stick to the task at hand—get the idiot acquitted so Lloyd and I can enjoy our last months together before the real world calls us back to our responsibilities.
"If you were called to the witness stand," she said, "would you testify that your lo-love-making was consensual?"
"Of course."
"Good," Sheena said, standing to leave.
"But daddy would never let me testify," the princess said.
"Just leave that to me."
Hilda mumbled, "What could a nurse do?"
Sheena was about to retort, when another thought struck her. "Would you write down your account of the day?"
"That's sick." She started to call for the guards, but Sheena's hand clamped on her mouth stopped her.
"It's not like that," Sheena said. "Leave out all the lurid details. Just mention that it was consensual. If you write it down on royal parchment, seal it and sign it while I witness it, the king will have to choice but to let it into evidence."
Hilda clapped her hands. "That's a wonderful idea."
In a few minutes, the affidavit was prepared and Sheena signed her name on the witness line.
"Sheena?" Hilda questioned. "Wait. You're—"
"No, of course not. We just share the same name." Thinking quickly, she added, "That's why I know so much about Mizuho's culture. I share a name with a famous woman, so I studied about her. Guess you could say she's my hero."
"Humph. You choose a hero like her, when my Zelos is available to be worshiped. I'll never understand commoners."
Purposefully ignoring the comment, Sheena left the room the same way she entered, leaving a confused princess to wonder why her nurse just threw herself from the window.
"Must have been all the passionate details of our lovemaking," she concluded. "Poor thing must have realized she'll never have a man like my Zelos and ended it all. Truly tragic." Then she giggled, "But, it's cool Zelly's so hot."
On the street below, a man with a camera elbowed his way through the crowd, making a beeline for his home darkroom. He knew a man who'd pay big money for the picture he's been fortunate enough to snap. Thanks, ninja lady. The money I make off this'll put my kid through Sybak Academy!
But, alas, it was not to be. An event he couldn't see caused the crowd to surge backward. He thought he heard someone shout, "Don't talk about her that way, you bastard!" but he was paying more attention to the slow-motion way his camera, knocked from his hands by the crowd, fell to the ground, shattering and spilling out its film. The negatives, exposed to sunlight, were ruined.
"Sorry, Merlin," he groaned, "No magic school for you. It's just as well. What kind of name is Merlin for a magician?"
Note: Merlin means "by the sea." Source: BabyNames.com
Confession: Lloyd and Zelos
Zelos lay dazed and unmoving in a heap of concrete rubble between Meltokio castle and the banquet hall, trying to remember how he'd gotten there. Soon, a series of brutal punches to his gut jogged his memory.
The two swordsmen said little to one another after Sheena slipped away. Not until Sebastian excused himself to prepare guest rooms for his master's friends, did Zelos break the silence.
"Hey, Lloyd," he said, "Now that I have you alone, I've got to ask you something."
"Sure, Zelos. What is it?"
"Tell me, how serious is it between you and Sheena?"
Lloyd smiled. "We're great friends."
"Just friends?"
He blushed. "What else would we be?"
"So you two aren't knocking boots yet?" Zelos asked.
"Yeah, you know, the horizontal mambo, the chinchilla cha-cha. Do I still have a chance?"
Lloyd shook his head. "I'm not following you."
Zelos sighed in exasperation. "Are you guys having sex?"
"What? No!" Lloyd said, his blush deepening.
"If the jury—Heh! When the jury convicts me, they're going to put me away for a long time," Zelos said. "I'll be cut off from everything that makes life bearable: good food, comfortable bedding, and, worst of all, my hunnies!"
"What does that have to do with me and Sheena s-sleeping together?"
"Sheena's a ninja, so she'd have no problem picking these locks, right?" Zelos said, tapping his cell door.
"You want her to bust you out?" Lloyd said. "I'm sure she could, but what does that have to do with me and her—?"
Zelos waved a hand through the air. "Nah, if I broke out while you two were here, the king would know you had helped me escape. I wouldn't want her to become a fugitive because of me. But I was thinking late one night she might like to sneak in here and give me a 'going away present.'"
Lloyd clenched his fists. "You, jerk, Sheena is not that kind of girl. She wouldn't just do that."
"Yeah, sure she's not," Zelos said glumly. Slumping onto his bunk, he mumbled, "Poor naïve Lloyd, blind to the ways of the world."
"What's that supposed to mean?'
Zelos looked up suddenly, as if shocked that he'd been heard. After a moment, he shrugged. Time for a lesson in reality. "News flash, Bud," he said. "Girls who dress like our Sheena aren't pure little debutants. If she's not doing the deed with you, she's doing it with someone. All girls her age do."
"Sheena is not 'all girls her age!'" Lloyd grasped the bars, his preternatural strength etching his white-knuckled grip into the iron.
"I know her type." Zelos shot up from his bunk, throwing himself against the bars and planting his face inches from Lloyd's. "She sees you as a fresh start, a way to put all that wild living behind her. And she doesn't even have the decency to tell you what she did. Bet she thinks she's doing you a favor! Ha! More like, doing herself a favor! Thinks if you learned the truth, you'd go running back to your spotless little lamb Colette. Well, Lloyd, is she right?" He poked Lloyd in the chest. "Would you?"
Anger surged through Lloyd like adrenaline, and he squeezed his fists shut hard around the prison bars. They splintered, and a mixture of iron slivers and powder poured from his palms as he shot a hand forward, grabbing Zelos's arm. Twisting it, he pulled the redhead close and spoke very plainly a word at a time. "Don't ever talk about her that way." He pushed forward, sending the redhead tripping toward the back of the cell where his head struck the cold metal of his bunk.
Zelos struggled to his feet, and smirked, "Which one?"
With a growl of rage, Lloyd ripped prison bars from their mountings until he had created a hole big enough to walk through. He surged forward, grabbing Zelos by his lapels. "Sheena is not a type! And she's not 'all girls her age.' She's an individual I'm proud to know."
"You know her now," Zelos countered, too angry to be afraid. "She was very different three years ago."
"What are you saying?"
"Do I have to spell it out for you?"
"I'm a naïve little boy," Lloyd said through clenched teeth. "I guess you do."
"The Sheena I knew was a sexual dynamo. I know because I was with her. We had sex, Lloyd, and she couldn't get enough."
Lloyd's grip loosened, and his hands fell limply to his sides.
Zelos smirked. "You've had your tantrum. Now go sit in a corner and brood."
Zelos howled in pain, blinded by a flash of light. His hands shot to his eyes as if contact with them could alleviate the white hot agony in his head; his head met his hands halfway. It was pure instinct, and it saved his life by spreading the impact of Lloyd plowing forward and slamming him through the concrete wall evenly over his neck and shoulders rather than centralizing it on his head and snapping his neck.
Furiously blinking away spots and desperately ordering his thoughts, Zelos soon recognized Lloyd, his blue spectral wings burning brighter than he'd ever seen them. His Exsphere too was glowing its iridescent yellow glow as he pounded his fists into the Chosen's stomach. Lloyd was a swordsman. He knew how to throw a punch, but he had never trained as a street fighter. Thank heaven for small blessings!
Punches to the gut hurt, but to really disorient a man, you go for his head!
Zelos's fist connected with Lloyd's temple. As his opponent went slack, Zelos pushed him to the ground. He rolled over, and gulped in huge breaths. Correction: Punches to the gut hurt a lot! He staggered to his feet, and felt bile rise in his throat. When he tried to mumble a healing spell, he threw up.
He looked at Lloyd lying on the ground dazed but not unconscious. His wings had lost some of their brilliance, but they were still out. That proved he was still awake. Soon, he had rolled himself to a sitting position, massaging his temple, and moaning low in his throat. Zelos slammed his knee into Lloyd's face, observing with too much satisfaction the gash it opened along his cheek.
Sure that he wouldn't throw up again, Zelos spoke his healing spell. He was too weak to completely heal himself, but he'd live. Now to see about Lloyd.
"Oof!" Zelos felt the air forced from his lungs as Lloyd tackled him.
"I don't care if it's true," he screamed.
Over the railing that separated the noble quarter from the lower sections they tumbled, taking part of the railing with them. They overshot the second level, and plummeted to ground level. Instead of slowing their descent, Lloyd's wings added speed.
Want to bust my brain on the ground, huh? Zelos thought. Ain't happening! He brought out his own wings, angling them to modify the direction of their descent and coast to a less hazardous landing. It worked, but still hurt like hell.
"You can't talk about her that way, you bastard," Lloyd said.
They hadn't hit anyone in the crowd. That was good. Lloyd was angry, but still had sense enough to keep innocents out of harm's way. Zelos perked up his ears to be sure. He thought he heard someone wailing about a broken camera, and a few kids were crying, but they were scared, not hurt.
"Kick his ass, Chosen!" a young voice called. Several others assented.
"Watch your language, young man," another voice answered.
"Sorry, Mom."
Zelos smiled at the mother and son. "You don't know how lucky you are, kid, to be disciplined by such a lovely lady."
The boy made gagging sounds, while his mother blushed. "Oh, you."
"I'm just saying what's in my heart, ma'am. Say, if you're not busy later..." Somewhere in the back of his mind, he knew he was supposed to be doing something else. A vicious right cross reminded him what.
He rose unsteadily, groaning. "Way to warn me, lady. Date's off."
To Lloyd, he said, "What's the matter? Can't take it that your little flower's missing a few petals?"
That did it.
Lloyd launched himself forward, but Zelos shot into the air at the last moment, and delivered a swift kick to Lloyd's head. But Lloyd wasn't stunned. With a snap of his powerful wings, he turned around in mid-air, grabbed Zelos's leg and slammed him into the ground.
His deft maneuver created a strong current that bowled over several pedestrians.
Got to get him out of here! Zelos decided
It seemed Lloyd had the same idea, for, trapping the Chosen in a strong bear hug, he flew upward until Meltokio was a small dot on the landscape below.
Knowing he lacked the energy or the expertise to descend safely from such a height, Zelos let his wings fade away. "Are you going to kill me?" he asked
"No," Lloyd said, at last sounding reasonable again. "No, I'm not. But you have to tell me one thing: What the hell is your problem?"
"My problem? I'm not the one breaking holes in buildings and terrifying innocent citizens."
"You're right," Lloyd agreed. "I did those things, and when I take you back to Meltokio, I'll turn myself in. But we're talking about you. Every time you see Sheena, you humiliate her. You call her those names."
"My voluptuous honey likes those names, Lloyd. She still wants me whether she realizes it or not."
A quick squeeze against the diaphragm silenced Zelos and left him panting
"No, she doesn't like them," Lloyd said, "and she isn't yours—not anymore."
"Whose is she then," he asked, coughing, "Yours?"
"Maybe...I don't know. No, scratch that. She's her own person—"
"With her own hopes and aspirations...and blah, blah, blah," Zelos interrupted. "Lloyd, some days I get really sick of all your 'everyone deserves a second chance' crap."
"I believe it." Lloyd said simply.
"I know you do. Why doesn't she? Sheena's been with you practically non-stop for two years now. Some of that forgiveness should've rubbed off on her. You give your worst enemies chance after chance. Why won't she? I'm not really all that bad, am I? Why won't she look in my heart and see that I'm different than I used to be? That I'm willing to change? That she's the one person I'm willing to change for?"
"Actions speak louder—"
"But little Miss High-and-Mighty, Miss Never-Does-Anything-Wrong thinks no one but she deserves a second chance."
"High and Mighty?" Lloyd said, "Zelos, you know the guilt she has over what Volt did to her people! Not a day goes by when she doesn't torture herself over it."
"And you're the same, because of what you did in Iselia, is that it? You know her pain so you can sympathize? Did you ever think maybe what she needs is someone who can take her mind off all that? That maybe being reminded of it all the time is bad for her?"
Lloyd shook his head. "And you think having sex with you will make her pain go away? Maybe I don't know who she used to be, but I know her now." Lloyd exhaled. "And she is not that kind of girl."
Zelos mumbled something.
"What was that?" Lloyd asked.
"I don't just want her body," Zelos shouted. "I want all of her. I love her. I can't sleep, can't eat. The only thing that kept me sane was my relationship with Hilda, and only because when I closed my eyes, I pretended it was Sheena."
"That's disgusting," Lloyd said.
"Don't judge me. You don't know my pain."
Lloyd nodded. "I wouldn't want to."
No more words were exchanged as they descended slowly to the streets below, and surrendered to the waiting soldiers, despite the soldiers' reluctance to take such powerful beings into custody. As the prisoners were led away in irons to their waiting cells, the crowd, confident the threat had been contained by their crackerjack city guard and everything was back to the status quo, cheered on whichever fighter they favored and booed the other. Lloyd received very few cheers.
A microphone was shoved in Lloyd's face, and What's-His-Name from the news show asked in a voice, livid with an outrage that, had he not been a television personality, one would have believed to be real, "What could have possessed you to attack the Chosen like that?"
Lloyd didn't hear him. His thoughts were on the selfsame Chosen, wondering whether he, the eternal narcissist, truly believed his own story about wanting to heal Sheena's pain, or if deep down he realized that he cared only about his own.
Deposition: Zelos and Sheena
Three years ago
Sheena crossed her arms self-consciously over her chest. She was not embarrassed by her body; never had been. But the way the Chosen of Mana made no attempt to hide his ogling bothered her.
"What's wrong, my rough-around-the-edges hunny," he asked.
"It's this dress, Chosen," she answered. "It's a bit tight. I'm embarrassed."
"No need to worry. You look great. Red is definitely your color. And I told you, call me 'Zelos.' Leave 'Chosen' to the royals and the teeming masses."
"Right, Zelos," she said. "I really don't want to wear this."
A goofy grin curled his lips, part of a look she would come to understand meant, "You'll be out of it by the end of the evening, if I have my way." For now, he simply said, "Oh, come now, hunny, I'm your personal escort and protector specially appointed by the king himself. If anyone stares too long, I'll cut him down." He gripped the sword at his side. Too encrusted with jewels to be practical, it was meant to impress. Sheena thought it was gaudy.
"It's not that," she said.
"Ah, ah, ah, no time to dawdle. Our reservation is in five minutes. We'll have to hurry if we want to be fashionably late. You can run if we have to, right?"
"I'm in heels."
"Perfect, let's go."
She took his proffered arm and mumbled, "Red is not my color."
But Zelos was too busy checking out a gaggle of passing girls to pay her any heed.
Sheena sighed. This was going to be a long night.
The Present
"As you might guess, my pristine paramour," Zelos said, "Lloyd's stunt scored me some major PR points. What's it they're calling me? Ah, yes, the hero who brought in the renegade angel. Must be under the impression he's a leftover of Cruxis."
Tapping her foot in annoyance, Sheena said, "I wasn't aware the general public knew about the existence of Cruxis or their involvement with angels."
"Oh, you probably haven't seen the comics."
"Co-mics?" She sounded out the unfamiliar word.
"Yeah, they're great. I had some in my old cell before Klaus's squad deprived me of my 'amenities'—Ha, Lloyd cracks me up—I think I might have stashed one...oh never mind. I'll just tell you. They're these books of colored pictures with word captions..."
Zelos gestured madly as he talked, diving with mad glee into his explanation.
Sheena's attention wandered. She wanted to wring Zelos's neck for getting her Lloyd thrown in jail Ha! Jail! More like a dungeon. The handful of jail cells beneath the castle were called a dungeon, but hardly deserved the name. Where they were keeping Lloyd, if the rumors were correct, that was a dungeon. The half-finished facility was on the outskirts of Meltokio, and, once completed, would house the city's most violent offenders. Consequently, no visitors. Getting in there would be tough; getting out with Lloyd, tougher. So, she visited Zelos. It would help her pass the time until nightfall, and, who knows, with the right plying, he might provide valuable intel. And the very useful feature she'd just discovered came equipped with her Covert Op costume would ensure that intel was reliable.
She'd entered the king's "dungeon"—it was still surprisingly easy to gain access to Zelos's cell—already wearing the black side of the costume. She wouldn't give him the thrill of watching her change into it later. Trying out the night vision lenses, since the dungeon was dark enough to permit this, she discovered with the press of a button hidden beneath her wrist guard, the lenses also allowed her to monitor the pulse and heart rhythm of anyone within range. And Zelos was well within range of this built-in lie detector. Now, she had only to steer the conversation in the right direction.
"...And," Zelos concluded, "Naturally, I'm the hero in them. Zelos's journey to save the world is our most popular storyline. Don't worry, though, we left out the important secrets like the full extent of Cruxis's plans—"
"And the fact that you betrayed us," she offered, unable to resist.
He turned his nose up. "I thought you were over that."
"Fine, fine, I'm over your trying to kill us. Can we please talk about this afternoon?"
"I'd rather talk about tonight," he said.
"I was thinking I'd call in a few favors, get released for the night, and you and me could hit a club. Do some bumping and grinding. Pick up where we left off all those years ago."
"No, Zelos, I do not want to go dancing with you."
He looked puzzled. "Who said anything about dancing?"
"Bumping, grinding, what else could you...oh, you sick pervert!" She would have slapped him, if she'd not been busy carefully monitoring his readings.
Zelos grinned. "Come on, don't tell me you've never thought about it."
With a serious face, she said, "I have."
"Really," he said, delighted.
She nodded. "Once on a mission for my village, I was tricked into drinking poison. I thought about the prospect of being with you, and vomited immediately. It saved my life."
Zelos frowned. "Wow. My ego has never been so thoroughly deflated so quickly. I congratulate you on a job well done. Now, what is it you wished to talk about?"
Finally. "I want to know," she said in as even a tone as the boiling lava of her emotions would allow, "what you said to Lloyd that made him so upset."
"Oh, that," he waved a hand dismissively. "I just told him about us, you know, three years ago."
"Damn it, Zelos. It was just once, and it wasn't even that good."
"Not that good? But I used my best moves."
"Yeah, on the other girls there."
"Is that why you were so upset?"
"Oh no," Sheena said. "I wanted as many people as possible involved in our 'special night.' You should have invited everyone in your little black book."
His heart rhythm is unsteady. He's hiding something.
"Why did you tell him?" Sheena asked.
"I shouldn't have, I know. The kid didn't deserve it."
"He's not a kid, Zelos. He's a man and a damn good one."
"Better than I'll ever be, is that what you mean?" Zelos said, slumping onto his bunk.
Sheena shrugged. "You said it." When he didn't respond, she continued, "I hated you for a long time, ever since that night, actually, and yet for some reason I almost considered you a friend on the world regeneration journey. Did you know I cried for you when you attacked us at the Tower of Salvation?"
"You did?" He brightened.
"A little, yes. Then you go and pull a stunt like this, hurting the man I love. And for what?"
"I had to," Zelos said. "It was my only shot. I just wanted to scare him away. I didn't think he'd actually fight me, and when he did I got angry."
His heart's thumping like crazy. He's not lying, but he's very emotional.
"Your only shot at what?" she asked.
"At getting you back, Sheena. I love you."
My God! His heart...he's not lying!
"You," she spoke unsteadily, "have no right to say that to me, not after—"
"But it's true."
"NOT AFTER all you've put me through!"
"I have to say it," Zelos said.
"It isn't fair to me. I'm with Lloyd now."
"Sheena, please."
"I went on one date with you."
"One date was all I needed to fall head over heels—"
"And it was a mistake—"
"I love you."
"You broke my heart, Zelos."
"Then you did love me!"
"No, you never gave me the chance," Sheena said. "On that one date, my first ever date, you flirted with every girl at the restaurant, and at the theatre, and on the walk to both places. Do you know how unimportant you made me feel, let alone how embarrassed?"
"That was your first?" Zelos hung his head, "I am truly sorry."
"That's not good enough," she said, then "When you look at me, what do you see?"
"A remarkably beautiful woman."
"And that's all you'll ever see."
"I don't mean just physically."
"You'll forgive me if I don't believe you. When you care about someone more than just physically, you don't try to peek at them in the shower. If I didn't look like this, you wouldn't have these 'feelings.'"
He growled, "Sorry I'm so attracted to you."
"Do you know where Lloyd looks when he talks to me? My eyes."
"Maybe he's an eye man," Zelos said. "You have very beautiful eyes."
"He's looking into my soul, Zelos, seeing me for who I am on the inside. You could never do that. You're not capable."
"Damn it, Sheena, give me a chance!"
"I did. You failed."
He pounded on the cell bars. "That was three years ago, you unforgiving...ah, I did like you. I was just nervous."
"And if I did give you a chance, what would I tell Lloyd?"
"You wouldn't have to tell him anything. It's not like you're dating. You haven't even slept together."
"Of course we haven't," she said, appalled. "Is that what you equate dating with—sex?"
He nodded almost imperceptibly.
Oh God!
"Where did the topic of sex come from? What exactly did you tell Lloyd? That you and I—?"
She didn't need the lie-detector to see the truth in his eyes.
"You bastard!" She slapped him then.
He didn't try to dodge.
"Get this through your thick skull, Pervert! I. Love. Lloyd. And even if he doesn't love me, this isn't a game. I won't simply 'end up' with you because you chase away the man I love. I don't need another person to make me happy. And if I did, it wouldn't be with you. I'd rather date...Mithos...than you. He violated me Zelos. Hell, he raped my mind. And yet, he hurt me less than you. You can rot in here for all I care." She stalked away.
"What are you...going to say in court?"
"I'll tell the truth, tell the jury all about your virtuous service on behalf of the world. I'm not going to lie to send you to jail. 'Lying is the first step down the path of thievery.' A great man taught me that." She threw something at his feet, the affidavit she'd gotten from the Princess. "Here, that ought to help your defense." With that, she left.
A single tear rolled down the Chosen of Mana's cheek. "What have I done?" he cried. "This isn't me."
Three years ago
"You know," Zelos said, "my mansion is much nicer than the tiny apartment in the lab. You're welcome to spend the—" He paused to blow a kiss to a passing girl. "—the night if you want." He slung an arm around her shoulder.
She slapped him away. "Don't touch me."
"Was it something I said?"
She had intended to push ahead of him, and head back to her new apartment, but the flippant comment cause her to wheel around. "Something you...yes, it was about twenty somethings. You spoke to every...floozy...that came to our table."
He shrugged. "I'm very popular."
"But you were with me."
"I have responsibilities. The Chosen is not just a religious role. I'm also a goodwill ambassador."
"I thought," she said, "we were going to forget the Chosen thing tonight."
"Can't forget who I am. And I'm not a one-woman kind of man. You know, you're being a real drag. I'm calling it a night, but the invitation to my mansion stays open. Drop by any time."
Zelos leaned in to give her a peck on the cheek, but she moved her head at the last moment. He shrugged, and walked away, leaving Sheena standing on the street corner, tears stinging her eyes.
"Some first date," she said.
She went home and promptly discarded the dress.