Note: More one-shots! I am seriously getting addicted to these things...I need to finish my long fics! GAH! Anyway… This is my first Elli-centered thing. I always have so much trouble writing about her and the doctor...but I cheated. Elli isn't even present in the one-shot, haha! She's important, though. At any rate, stop listening to me ramble and read the story!
Disclaimer: If I owned Harvest Moon, I'd have a lot more money. Which would be nice. But I don't. (Sob)
Examination of the Heart
"Tim, are you alright?" Lillia asked the doctor softly. The woman always called the doctor by his first name; he had been treating her for so long that a strange bond of familiarity between patient and healer had been formed. He turned to her and grimaced. It pained the doctor to take care of her every week. For, after all, each week was another miraculous seven days of her life. Who knew how long the gentle woman would last now?
"Everything is fine, Lillia," he answered her abruptly. "Have you been keeping up with your medication?"
"You already asked me that, Tim," Lillia smiled. "I take my medication daily."
"Did I? My apologies. I didn't mean to be so…absent-minded," he sighed.
"Oh, don't be sorry," she laughed. "Everyone slips up once in a while. Even you, Tim."
"At any rate," he interrupted, "we should proceed with the examination."
"Yes," she agreed. "That would be a good idea."
Tim brought out his stethoscope and placed it on the sick woman's chest.
"Breathe," he instructed her. "Good. Now, cough."
Lillia complied, but soon her self-induced cough became a hacking wheeze. The doctor's eyes widened, and he rushed over to grab Lillia's inhaler.
The machine went inside her mouth, and Lillia began to breathe more slowly and deeply. After some time had passed, the inhaler was taken away, and Lillia leaned back on the examination table.
"Oh dear," she sighed. "It's not improving much, is it?"
"Not really," the doctor admitted. "Would you like to rest a moment before I continue?"
"If it's not too much trouble," she insisted. "Do you mind?"
"Not at all," he replied, setting himself down at his desk. "I'll sort some of my files while you rest." As he grasped the first few papers, however, they slipped out of his grip and tumbled to the floor. Shaking his head in exasperation, the doctor bent down and retrieved his files.
Lillia looked at him and smiled, somewhat amused.
"Tim…you've been acting unusually awkward today."
"Don't be absurd," the doctor retorted. "I've been acting perfectly normal."
"Are you now?" Lillia challenged. "Normally, you're calm and composed. But today, you've done nothing but fidget. Is something troubling you?"
"What could possibly be troubling me?" the doctor asked, maintaining a blank expression.
"I think it could have something to do with a certain pretty young nurse," Lillia accused.
The blank expression fell for just a second, but it was enough for Lillia to verify her theory.
"Lillia, perhaps we should resume talking about your health—"
"Oh, we always talk about my health. I know I'm not getting any better," the woman sighed. "It's about time you gave yourself an examination, Doctor Tim."
"Pardon?" he replied in surprise.
"I think your heart is particularly in need of a check-up," she smiled.
"My heart is just fine," he muttered. "If this is about Elli—"
"What do you think?" Lillia cornered him softly. "Look at yourself, Tim. Dropping files, repeating yourself—this usually never happens. You're collected and in control…until that cute brunette leaves your side."
"That's---absolutely ridiculous," the doctor scoffed, turning to look over some papers.
"Oh my, look at you! You're blushing," Lillia exclaimed. "Dear, there's nothing to hide. Falling in love is only natural."
"I'm too busy," he retorted. It wasn't until after he said them that the words sounded juvenile in his ears.
"…Is that true?" Lillia whispered. "Are you really too busy to ask a girl to dinner? To give her flowers every once in a while?"
"Lillia, I appreciate your concern," he began. "But I don't understand why my personal business pertains to you."
"…I'm sorry," she sighed. "It's just—I know what it's like to be in love. And Elli is such a sweet girl. Oh dear, I sound like Manna, don't I? If I'm prying, then I'll stop—"
"How do I know?" the doctor murmured.
"Hm?" Lillia questioned in confusion.
"How do I even know that she'll…let me ask her to dinner. That she'll accept my flowers. That she won't laugh in my face."
"Do you really think Elli would say those things to you?" Lillia replied. "What's the worst she would do?"
"…I don't know."
"Yes, you do," Lillia smiled. "The worst would be that she'd say no, that she still wanted to be friends. And would that be so terrible?"
"I can simply forget about her," the doctor offered. "I wouldn't even have to find out what she'd say. I have a job, and work, to occupy my mind."
"But what's occupying your heart?" Lillia asked.
The doctor looked away, silent.
"Tim… Wouldn't it be better to find out how she felt, than to live the rest of your life never knowing? Never being able to find out how things could have been? Never giving it a chance?" Lillia coaxed. "Remember: Nothing ventured, nothing gained."
"…You know that your appointment is over, don't you?" the doctor reminded her.
"I know," Lillia nodded. "I suppose I should head back. Rick will be worried about me, after all. I hope you have a good day, Doctor Tim."
"Yes," he answered, glancing down at his clipboard. "Same to you, Lillia."
The pink-haired woman was standing in the doorway when the doctor called out one last time.
"Lillia?" The doctor's face was red as she turned towards him. "What…what if you're right? What if she'll...accept me?"
"There's only one way to find out, isn't there?" Lillia smiled. "Good-bye, Tim."
And as the door closed, an attractive brunette was on her way to visit her employer, unaware that her currently normal evening was about to receive some unexpected dinner plans.