Author's note - This very short oneshot was written in response to Midnight Raining Down's Cliff x Nami challenge on The Scarlet Sky's forum. And to any readers of my Cliff x Nami long-fic, Tales of a Traveller, can I just point out that these two stories are unrelated. This is just a random idea that I felt the need to write. Despite it's shortness, I hope everyone enjoys it!
I've always loved Fall. From the brisk, icy wind that ruffles your hair and numbs your fingers, to the bright sunlight and hauntingly vivid leaves. It's always so diverse, so stunning, that I really can't help, but adore it. Summer's the season most people make a fuss about, the season they simply can't wait for. But not me. For me, it always has been and always will be, Fall.
I'm usually most inspired during the Fall. I could sit for hours painting every single shade of colour on just one tree or spend days on a sketch of the sea as the sun's rays hit it just right. And still I wouldn't be satisfied that I'd captured everything.
Sometimes, I wonder if that's all I'm staying in the Valley for. Just to see what the next year brings.
One particular Fall, it brought me the oddest scene. He was this boy, or, well, a man really. I knew him, of course, though only by name. He turned up in the Valley one night and ended up staying at the Inner Inn like me. His name was Cliff, as far as I knew. Ruby often tried to get him to talk, but he would barely mumble a reply to her. He certainly didn't talk to me, and to be honest, I didn't want him to.
No, I was far more content at a distance. Whether or not he was, I never asked.
I would wander, everyday, to the Turtle Swamp. I'd sit beneath the shade of the trees, take out my notpad and sketch away. Or wait, of course, if he wasn't there yet.
You may think sketching this shy, mysterious boy was a weird thing to do, but I never saw it that way. I loved how well his tall, almost lonely, frame translated beautifully onto my page, as he stared resolutely at the ocean. And everytime I drew him, I wondered the exact same thing. Who did he miss? Who had he left behind? Why was he so silent?
Unlike anyone else around, he truly made me think and I loved that. In fact, as odd as it was, I'd never said a word to him and yet felt as though I'd known him forever. Felt as though I loved him, almost. Or at least the idea of him.
At first, he barely noticed me; too engrossed in his own thought's, I suppose. After a while, though, he would give me the odd little glance. Once a day at the start. Then maybe, twice, three times even. Soon they were accompanied by smiles, just tiny ones. I'd smile back, too, then turn my attention to my drawing as though nothing had happened. It became like a routine for us. He'd brood, I'd sketch. Simple as that.
Until he stopped coming to the Beach, of course. It was so abrupt, yet I could hardly ask him why, as we never actually spoke of the agreement. Instead, I carried on without him. I waited everyday. I waited and waited and waited, but still he never returned to the routine.
Anger isn't really the right word for how I felt, as I didn't blame him for anything. Just empty, I suppose. I didn't know anything about him, yet somehow, I sorely missed him. Weird, huh?
One day though, weeks afterwards, I awoke to a knock at my door. Whoever it was ran off before I could answer, but they did leave me a small parcel. It turned out to be nothing more shocking or exciting than a simple cookie. There was a note, as well, containing just two words - Thank you. I didn't recognise the writing, but still it sent a strange jolt coursing through my body. I guess I felt I knew it.
Later that morning, I braved the chilling Fall wind and wandered down towards the Beach with an inexplicable smile on my face. Cliff was waiting for me just by the shore. He grinned as he spotted me, wider and brighter than I'd ever seen him do before.
He gave me flowers as I reached him, blushing from beneath his mop of dark hair. I took them, though I don't like flowers as a general rule. Except for a select few - Fall flowers, Trick Blue's. The ones he'd given me.
"You know something?" I said quietly, breathing in their sweet floral scent.
Cliff looked at me curiously, as I made a mental note to remember that newly discovered expression. "What's that?" he asked.
I tried not to smile too widely, but I just couldn't help it. "You're lucky it's Fall."
A/N - Well, what do you think? I'm aware that it's very short, but hopefully it's not bad. Thanks for reading and don't forget to review!