First of all, it was necessary to understand that Dia did not mope.
Moping, she thought quite decidedly, was for passive girls who considered the situation hopeless, giving up without a struggle, and sighing mournfully over what could have been without acting to change anything.
Like Gina, who had spent the better parts of her courtship with Kurt absolutely certain that he only liked her because she reminded him of the baby sister he didn't actually have, or because he liked being around such a good listener, even though he hardly ever talked.
Poor, sweet, oblivious Gina, who wouldn't catch a hint if it fell on her, and totally overlooked the dark-haired young woodsman's eyes lighting up whenever they met hers, his shy, goofy little grin whenever they spoke, his mysteriously showing up at the Sanitarium every opportunity and lurking around the first floor watching her work, as just being nice.
How a girl could constantly score top of her class in science and mathematics courses all through their school years, and score almost as well as her in literature and history courses, but be so entirely clueless where her own love life was concerned, Dia would never understand.
But love Gina as she might, Dia did not want to emulate her in this matter, and thus would protest to the end of her days that she had not been moping.
Sulking would do in a pinch, although it didn't sound quite right. Sulking always seemed to her to have a distinct sound of a grumpy old man annoyed at something and taking out his annoyance on everyone else.
She, on the other hand, was keeping her annoyance firmly to herself. In self-defense, really; although a spate of men-bashing with Gina, Katie and Ellen might be fun, she knew that if Martha found them, the old lady would smile and chuckle and shake her head until Dia sent a large heavy object sailing across the room at her head.
Anyway, it might hurt Alex's feelings if he found them, and after he had been so wonderful with Ellen, deciding that he wanted to marry her and just going ahead and doing it without the silly denial issues so common to young men, she felt that neither she nor Gina really wanted to make their favourite big brother, their friend that they loved next-best to each other, upset.
Pouting was a little better; she knew that she had been guilty of such a thing once or twice before in her life. This time brought it out to a well rounded three.
Although, quite apart from pouting because her mother was out of town and couldn't come to see her star in the school play again, or because Gina was meeting with her French tutor that evening and couldn't come with her to a particularly terrifying doctor's appointment, this was the pouting of a young female, still a girl more than a woman at times, whose special someone was being absolutely impossible to deal with.
Flopping back on the soft feather bed that Gina protested, horrified, she had to bring with her when she had announced her intentions of leaving it home and sleeping in a cot instead (because "I think that being comfortable is very important to recovering your health, Dia"), she hugged her pillow tightly and pouted more emphatically at the ceiling.
Who was it that said women had mood swings? Obviously a man, Dia thought scornfully, and obviously a man who had never met Jamie.
About three seasons ago, while wandering through the forested area up past the Workshop (ideally with Gina, but abandoned as soon as Kurt had noticed their approach and raced out to abduct her best friend for a while), Dia had run into the strange, quiet young man.
And strange and quiet he had been, nevertheless agreeing reluctantly to let her help him look for herbs and berries – just, of course, for something to do while Gina was busily falling head-first for Kurt and his pretty dark eyes.
Initial reluctance aside, Dia was to this day certain that she had caught Jamie watching her scour the ground closely, with a bit of a smile.
The second and third time she had run into him, her motives had been less in the interest of keeping busy and more in the interest of seeing that smile again, and his reluctance had been a little less to take her on another of their rambles through the forest.
The fourth time, instead of running into him, she had come downstairs at Gina's somehow unobtrusive shout up the stairs and stopped in surprise to find Jamie lurking in the doorway, asking with a cautious, carefully grumpy hopefulness if she'd care for a walk.
She had wondered at the time why it made strange things happen to her stomach, but Dia was a smart girl, at it had only taken about two seasons after that to start thinking of Jamie in terms of love instead of like.
And for a time, she had been comfortably certain that he agreed on this point; certainly, he seemed to smile a lot more than she had ever seen him do, and he had forgiven her without a thought, even scolding the poor spooked little animal for being underfoot, when she had jumped back, startled by one chicken, directly onto another.
But ever since Alex and Ellen and Kurt and Gina's wedding (a phrase which took a little explaining to outsiders), he had been acting so strangely.
Even at the wedding, he had seemed happy enough, clasping her hand tightly in his own throughout the ceremony and dancing with her until her cheeks were flushed with exertion.
But then, one simple, silly little thing had ruined his mood, not just for the evening, but for the fourteen days and counting, following it.
Why on earth, she wondered angrily, punching the unfortunate pillow roughly, would he get so upset just because she had caught Ellen's bouquet, and then Gina's garter had sailed across the room to land effortlessly around his ear like a ring-toss post? Did he really put any faith in those silly superstitions? Because goodness knew, she wasn't in any hurry to be the next bride and make him the next groom.
Even as she thought it, her pout turned guilty at the slight inkling that, had this been strictly true, she would have hunted him up and reassured him days ago that she wasn't trying to rush him. But the more she thought about it, the more appealing the idea became of waking up next to him each morning, watching him breathe deeply in slumber, that beautiful bright silky purple hair spilling over the pillow, and…um, things below the shoulder looking very nice, too.
And so, since she could be subtle when the occasion requested but disliked lying, she couldn't very well talk him out of his panic-fuelled sulks with a reassuring speech about I don't want to get married yet, anyway.
Which led directly to the situation, which, in turn, led to Dia pouting emphatically up at the ceiling.
"You know, if the wind changes, your face might stay like that."
Sitting abruptly bolt upright at the laughing, musical voice, Dia hugged her pillow closer like a shield, eyes darting quickly around the room.
"Oh, I'm sorry!" the voice laughed again. "I didn't mean to scare you."
And in a swirling flash of warm white light, a woman appeared, seated comfortably at the foot of the bed, long thick braid of soft purple hair pooling at Dia's pretty velvet comforter, similarly coloured robes draped artfully around a lovely, softly rounded form, features very sweet and very beautiful.
"What is this?" Dia demanded, trying for stern outrage and achieving instead a sort of endearing, cringing fear.
In a moment, the woman was up from the bed, wrapping a comforting arm around the terrified girl.
"Shh, sweetie, it's okay. I'm here to talk to you about a young man named Jamie."
"Jamie?" Dia echoed, following the mysterious visitor to the little table and sofa visiting area she and Gina had had such fun setting up. "You know Jamie?"
"Very well," the woman giggled behind her hand. "Well enough to know all about the special young lady who's stolen his heart."
"He—he told you that?"
"I've heard all about you, Miss Dia. And you're just as lovely as he said," she finished with a teasing smile, eyes sparkling.
"I wouldn't have thought he'd have told you anything of the sort, with the way he's been acting lately," the dark-haired girl huffed, cheeks still flushed beautifully.
The woman sighed.
"Oh, Jamie." She shook her head briefly, and then smiled sweetly at the younger girl. "Why don't you tell me how the two of you met?"
"I thought he told you all about me," Dia reminded her, one eyebrow lifting slightly.
"Of course he has, but I want to hear it from you." She giggled. "Girls always tell far better stories. The way Jamie told it, he was out looking for herbs, and he met a girl who was kind of nice."
The green-eyed girl stared blankly for a few seconds, then rolled her eyes slightly, nevertheless fighting back a little smile.
"Be still, my beating heart."
"You know Jamie; when he actually told me your name, and said you were one of the girls at the Sanitarium, the pretty one with the dark hair who wore a lot of green, I wondered if he would ever stop talking."
"I suppose he's making up for it now," Dia huffed, chin in her hand. "He hasn't spoken to me since Ellen and Alex and Kurt and Gina's wedding. He runs away whenever he sees me."
"Ah. I'm assuming this is the wedding where you caught your friend's bouquet, and he ended up wearing a garter on his head."
"Did he tell you about that, too?" Dia asked, incredulous and trying very hard to fight off just a wee bit of envy that this beautiful woman had so much of Jamie's confidence, while she fought to get more than a few words out of him.
The woman hesitated.
"I--I have something of an instinct for what's bothering him."
The younger girl regarded her hopefully.
"Do you know why it's bothering him so much?"
The strange woman sighed again.
"Listen, Dia, you have to understand that Jamie is scared to death right now. He isn't acting like this because he doesn't care. I don't think you know just how much he cares."
"Oh, come on now, who would be afraid of me?" Dia demanded impatiently. "I'm not exactly a terrifying powerhouse."
The woman across from her hid a smile.
"He's not afraid of you, so much as he's afraid of hurting you. Perhaps Jamie has told you that he strongly believes in loving oneself before loving another becomes possible?"
Dia nodded hesitantly; he hadn't, but it sounded so much like him that she felt as though he might as well have. The beautiful lavender-haired woman continued, expression solemn.
"I don't think he's quite reached that point yet. I think he wants very badly to spend the rest of his life with you, but he doesn't want to risk the possibility that he isn't ready to love and support another person. You're far too precious to him to risk your feelings that way."
"But Jamie is amazing! He's brilliant, and kind, and beautiful!" Dia blurted before she could stop herself, straightening up abruptly. "He couldn't hurt me by loving me, and if he did, I would still love him anyway, and wait until things got better, because he couldn't be cruel if he tried!"
"I know, sweetheart," the woman assured her softly, moving closer and resting a gentle hand at Dia's hair. "But Jamie needs to know it too."
"Shall I tell him?"
"I don't think it would do much good. I strongly suspect that he isn't going to accept it until he's good and ready."
"How can I make him accept it?"
"I'm afraid you can't, Dia. All you can do is stay near him, and remind him in little ways that you think he already is the person he was meant to be."
"I suppose that doesn't include pouting at him because he's avoiding me," Dia sighed with a sheepish little smile.
"Possibly not," the lavender-haired woman agreed with a grin. "Although, I would say that he had that coming. But just try to show him you love him in your own way, because you've already done far more for him than you know. And in the meantime," she continued as Dia blushed and tried to fight back a wide smile bordering on giddy, "I'll see if I can't talk some sense into him."
Dia nodded her agreement, and smothered a yawn, wondering at this sudden weariness, and sent the older woman a sleepy smile as she snuggled back in her chair, eyelids already drooping shut
The Harvest Goddess smiled fondly at the young lady as she rose from her chair. Slipping silently around behind Dia's chair, she rested one hand for a moment at the girl's hair, dark and silky cool, then dropped a light kiss at her forehead, and faded slowly from sight amid a glow of soft purple.
"Uh, hi," Jamie greeted several afternoons later, after Dia's strange but strangely lovely dream of the beautiful woman had begun to fade from her memory. He shifted his weight from one foot to the other, awkward and a wee bit sullen, as the young woman stopped short in the act of opening the Sanitarium door and stared in bewilderment. "Are you busy right now?"
"I think I might be able to spare a moment," she replied, affecting indifference. "Why?"
"Do you want to go for a walk somewhere?"
Indifference faded into a shy little grin and a faint pink flush. Jamie felt his own face grow hot.
"Alright, let's go," Dia finally agreed, joining him on the front stoop and closing the door behind her.
After about five minutes of companionable silence, Jamie spoke up so abruptly that the little dark-haired girl at his side jumped.
"I've been acting like a jerk. Sorry."
"It's okay, Jamie," she assured him, giving his hand a little squeeze. You know I probably couldn't stay angry with you if I wanted to, you sulky little brat.
"Not really," he snorted, then stopped walking and pulled her gently to a stop and off to the side of the mountain path. "I didn't mean to freeze up on you like that, and it would probably serve me right if you didn't want to see me again."
She fixed him with a stern eye.
"I'm not a child, you know; I'm hardly that sensitive."
"I guess I just got scared," he shrugged. "It kind of seemed like all the weddings were putting you in the mood to get married right away."
She smiled gently, and brushed one hand over his cheek, the back of her mind leaping to immediate attention. Wasn't that almost exactly what the woman in her dream said?
"But if you don't want to, you don't want to. I'm not trying to push you into anything, Jamie."
"I know. That's why I feel kind of stupid now, acting like some pea-brained teenager whining on his blog."
She looked at him sharply.
"You have a blog?"
"Y-yeah, kind of."
"Can I read it?"
He gave a weak little chuckle.
"That might be a good test. You can read my blog, and see if I'm still the kind of person you want to marry."
She laughed, and two little pink spots appeared at his cheeks again as his stomach did a little flip at her eyes, warm and starry.
They continued down the path, and he tried not to notice the shy little glances she was sneaking him.
"Um, Jamie?" she finally asked tentatively.
"What--what convinced you to come talk to me again? Did you just realize that you were being silly, or was there something else too?"
"It's kind of embarrassing, but someone kind of...knocked some sense into me."
At this, Dia looked up, recalling the beautiful woman from her dream.
"Who was it?"
He reddened, looking down and scuffing the toe of his workboot in the dirt.
End Notes: Darnit, this part sounded so much better in my head! Oh, well. Jamie and Dia are still criminally cute together. And Jamie still looks freakishly like our own dear Goddess. So, I hope it worked well enough to get the point across, anyway.
And I think my initial intent was to make this one a lot longer, and sort of build more of a rapport between Dia and the good ol' HG. As it is I kind of suspect that Dia's become a little too trusting, a little too quickly. But, I'm justifying that (also: wussing out of rewriting it) because she's the Harvest Goddess. People kinda trust her. XD