Author's Note: I'm juggling with a new type of writing style, very unlike of how I normally write things. Can you spot the differences?
It was a normal snowy day in St. Ivalice. Winter didn't feel like it was going to end anytime soon. This was even made worse by the fact that I had missed the bus home today, so I was now limited to walking.
"Stupid bus! Why can't it slow down for the kids with actual things to do after school?!" a voice complained next to me. I smiled to myself, at least I wasn't the only one caught late.
"Can't blame them, Ritz," I playfully chided. "You expected it to stay for those in detention?"
Ritz turned to face me like I had gone mad, and lightly slapped me with her mitten. "I'm not the only one, you know! You went too far in our last snowball fight, remember?" I laughed quietly at the faint memory.
"Yeah, but Lyle deserved it," I answered with a smirk.
The white-haired girl grinned at me. "Well, I'll agree with you on that."
We started down Murond Street in silence, simply taking in the events around us. There were a few kids still playing in the snow; some building snowmen, others were crafting tiny 'forts' for their own little snowball fights. A kid passed by us riding down a sled, his laughter echoing along with the others that also enjoyed the day.
I looked quietly at Ritz, who seemed to be debating something in her mind. As we rounded a street corner, I started to speak up.
"Something wrong, Ritz?"
She looked up, her expression flashing a solemn look for a brief second, then returned to her usual serious countenance. "No," she said quickly, "nothing is wrong… Why do you ask?"
"Um…" I didn't know where to start on that question. "I was um… just worried! You're not usually this quiet when there's so much that happened today…"
The teenager stared at me for a moment, and then her eyes drifted down to the snowy ground. "Well..." she began, "I was just thinking…" A moment of silence passed as we continued our walk, though I kept looking at her, awaiting her response. Finally, she gazed up at me and immediately asked, "Marche, what do you think of my hair?"
I slowed down my pace as I blinked upon the unexpected question. "Your hair…?"
"Well, you see..." Ritz brushed back the tips of her snowy-white hair away from her face. "Everyone makes fun of my hair in school… except for Shara, do you remember her?" I nodded at that. She continued, "Everyone calls me 'whitey-locks' because they say my hair's like a ghost… It's not like I had any choice in the matter, I was born with this! They all act like I chose to be this way…" Her voice was starting to become strained as she spoke more. I considered stopping her, but curiosity got the best of me and I kept listening. She sniffled, then finally uttered, "it's like I'm not cute just because I have white hair… nobody wants to be anywhere near me!"
I gaped at her, as for the first time in my life I watched Ritz come close to crying. But after a few seconds, she eventually straightened up and began walking in silence again. Feeling a pang of guilt strike my heart, I wanted to make her feel better.
"Ritz…" I started to say, "you know what I think of your hair? I…"
She only looked up briefly to listen to me, but then lowered her gaze back down to the ground, seeming to already know my answer.
"I… I think your hair… you're…" I stumbled upon the words, finally noticing her in a whole different light. I noticed how the afternoon sun reflected upon her white hair like the snow of a Christmas day, gazing at the long locks that drifted down her neck and past her shoulders. I looked upon her face that was normally peachy and spirited, and noticed a small tear that streaked down her cheek. I noticed how, in this very moment, she looked as pure and innocent as the season this was right now. "You're…"
Beautiful. Like a snow angel.
Her footsteps stopped cold. I would've continued walking on, had she not whirled me around to face her.
"What did you just call me, Marche?"
I suddenly snapped out of my thoughts, also blinking with disbelief. Did I just say what I think I said…out loud? Crap! That's not good! She's not gonna like me anymore, or even worse, hate me, but that's the first thing when I noticed her with white hair…Damn, why did I forget she's so sensitive about it? I almost took a step back, but bit my lip and stood my ground, prepared to face the music. With an almost lopsided smile, I replied,
"Yeah, that's what I called you. Your hair makes you look like a beautiful snow angel."
Only silence and even wider eyes answered me. My smile immediately dropped. Yup, I've really dug a grave for myself.
I couldn't take the silent rejection any longer. I turned, and just as I was starting to walk away, I felt a firm tug on my arm. I looked back at the owner of that grip, the guilt on my countenance still present.
Instead of hurt in Ritz's eyes, however, I found silent gratitude and… is that joy I see? But how is there joy when she's crying?
She smiled softly, wiping away her tears of happiness, then leaned over and kissed me on the cheek. "Thanks," the snow-haired lass whispered, "for making me feel better."
I turned slightly away in a vain attempt to hide the growing blush on my cheeks. "Um, no problem," I answered, scratching my head sheepishly.
A sudden gust of wind blew more snow toward us. I noticed Ritz shiver from discomfort, and before I realized what I was doing, I placed my arm around her shoulder. What the hell am I doing? I questioned myself inwardly. Though this feels… nice. I looked down at the 'snow angel' to my side, and I thought I could see an even deeper blush on her cheeks. A moment of silence passed as the winds calmed down, then I finally spoke. "W-want me to walk you home?" I asked her.
Ritz gazed up at me, taken slightly aback at my newfound confidence, then grinned and laid her head upon my shoulder. "Sure," she said cheerfully, allowing me to lead the way while she kept herself warm in my embrace.
As we walked silently home, I felt that I could get used to this.
While the two of us passed by my own house, I failed to noticed my brother looking on from his room's window. Doned let out a small gasp, then started wheeling away like a bat out of hell.
"Mom! Mom!" he called down the hall. "Marche's got a girlfriend!"
Will I continue on this ficlet? Probably not. But hey, at least someone else can continue this trend. ;)