I do not own Harvest Moon nor Rune Factory.
A simple one shot that I was inspired to write to hopefully overcome the horrid writer's block that has been keeping me prisoner.
Raguna looked so very handsome in his wedding suit. I found that I could not take my eyes from him, no matter how hard I tried. It seemed that I was in a state of shock—Russell reached over and touched my hand, shaking me out of my stupor. So he at least had realized that something was wrong. I did not normally speak much, but I do suppose that the silence I was offering then was much different from the normal pleasant stillness. To pacify his worry, I gently placed my free hand upon his and offered him a tiny smile. He returned it and turned his face back to the service. I noticed that my mother and Zavier kept looking back at me as well, their faces reflecting the worry that had been upon Russell's. Though I would not meet their eyes for they knew me too well and a smile would not be enough to cure their unease about attending the wedding. The moment I glanced back up towards Wesley Raguna had turned his face towards the audience. Our eyes met—though I was not completely sure if it was I he was looking to—and I felt my cheeks grow hot. Betrayal and pain stung deep in my figurative heart, bringing about a sort of almost physical pain. It must be heartbreak. After all the time we had spent together, how could he be marrying her?
Of course, she looked as lovely as ever; her warm beauty invoked a sort of jealousy in me that I was not used to feeling. I never had been nor could I ever be that sort of beautiful; ludicrously, I wondered if that had been why Raguna had chosen her over me—though I knew perfectly well that that was not the case. Tears stung my eyes and I could not help the small, childish sob that burst from my lips. I thanked the Gods that Wesley raised his voice so my own went unheard, except, of course, by Russell. Quickly, I wiped the renegade tears that had spilled. Russell frowned and removed his glasses to clean them though they were, as per the usual, spotless. I had some inkling of how he might feel toward me—after all, he had known me for most my life and I spent more time with him than any other but I could not bring myself to love him for Raguna had stolen all my affections long ago. The first time he had walked into the library and greeted me to introduce himself—though I had known without a doubt who he was as rumors seemed to fly quite quickly about Kardia—I had felt a sort of pang in my heart that I would imagine the girls in my endless bounty of romance novels felt. I had been hoping that it would be just that: a grand romance between the handsome newcomer and myself. Raguna took to visiting the library every day to immerse himself in the novels and information contained within the numerous books.
He made a point to talk to me every day that he came to the library. Oftentimes it was simply small talk, mostly about his adventures in the caves. I thought him awful brave to be exploring as he did. On occasion, I would ask him about his amnesia though he never claimed to remember, even slightly, who he was before coming to our humble town. After a few seasons passed, it became easier to talk to him and my cheeks did not burst into flame every time he even angled a glance towards me—though my heart never did cease to skip a beat. When Fall sixteenth came, I was quite surprised to see a bashful looking Raguna walking towards me. Surely, he could not be asking me out on a date. When he handed me a small basket of strawberries—as he did every other day or so—the fragile hope I had had of a first sincere Moonlit Eve shattered. He was blushing and I was curious to know if he had just come from asking out a girl, or was just about to. Raguna turned to leave, his cheeks still slightly red. I went about my business, trying to fight off disappointment by organizing the books. His voice rang loudly in the large library, his form visible again.
"Tori, will you meet me at Mount Clemens tomorrow evening for—for Moonlit Eve?" He spoke in such a rush that it was hard to decipher what he said at first, though my heart knew. I turned to look up at him, my glasses were slightly askew, and a few strands of hair stuck out from my braid. The familiar blush crept upon my face and I could not even manage to speak. Instead, I somewhat numbly nodded my head vigorously, grateful for when he smiled—though I felt that I looked quite the idiot. We made plans to meet at seven the next evening. I spent the remainder of the day talking with my mother about what I should wear. I should have turned him down.
So nervous was I that I considered standing Raguna up. What if it was just a cruel joke? The thought was chased away with the wondering of whether perhaps he could be courting me. Though, as I kissed my mother goodbye with her best wishes following me out the door, my father's face haunted my mind. If Raguna and I were to fall in love—perish the thought!—what if something horrid happened to him? What if he was murdered in the cave? Or… what if he tired of me? I remember vividly the rampant thoughts running through my mind at that time—the unbridled hope for his love causing the evil lurking of such ideas to flee from the sunshine of my smile. And did I smile that evening. When I finally reached Mt. Clemens—punctual, as was my habit—and I saw Raguna sitting there with his brown hair being gently played with by the wind, well, I could not help the banishment of my inhibitions. Though I still could not seem to speak well, I laughed and smiled at him more often as we talked.
He kissed me before we parted ways, sending my heart into a euphoric patter. I relived that moment throughout the year of our courtship—our first kiss, though not our final one. Raguna stole kisses from me when Russell ventured upstairs to tuck in Cecilia for her nap, withering me with a melancholy gaze as he disappeared. The first time I heard the words "I love you" from his mouth was not until a year later when I delivered a piece of chocolate to him at his farm. The year prior, I had not the skill, the ingredients, nor the gold to make or buy him any. A fierce red had touched his features in the embarrassed look I had come to adore from him. With a sort of reverence, he had taken the chocolate from my hands and kissed me on the cheek. We talked for a short while before I felt I overstayed my welcome—I stood to leave and he to walk me to the door. When we reached the exit, I presented him with a small bow. I straightened and he pulled me to him in a tight embrace. The warmth of his body seeped through my clothes and my body was aflame with passion.
"I love you, Tori," he had murmured, nearly inaudibly—I had had to strain my ears to catch his words, "and I've loved you since the moment I kissed you."
I wanted so badly to tell him I loved him as well. The words were at my lips, struggling to release themselves from the prison of my throat. I managed to stutter some nonsense and Raguna's strong hold on me began to weaken. Did he feel as if I were rejecting him by not replying straight away? Did I not express my love to him with every glance and smile I gave him? I do not remember exactly what happened after that except that the words "I love you so very dearly" did not come until the door was slammed in my face and I was left to stand staring at the wood, snow falling on me and around me. Stunned, I continued standing there, as if waiting for the warmth Raguna had showered me with just minutes ago to return. Tears came then, blurring my vision. I began to walk away, the wishful hope that he would open his door for me again following me every step of the way home.
Perhaps my love had not been good enough or perhaps he just did not understand my adoring silence. Perhaps loving him was not what he wanted or perhaps my thinking that he should just know that I loved him was in the wrong. Either way, Raguna began stopping in the library less and less and he no longer visited me at home. Eventually, he stopped speaking with me altogether. My heart was in irreparable pieces, littered all over the Earthmate's farm. How could I have managed to besmirch his love for me so horribly? Had he ever really loved me in the first place or had I simply dreamed everything that had happened between us? The next time Raguna came by—a year after we stopped talking—he held himself proudly and strongly, a basket of strawberries resting on his arm. He set them upon the table that I was reading at with a detached smile.
"I'm getting married in a week," he told me, his voice excruciatingly indifferent. "I would like for you to come, if you will."
I did not want to start crying in front of him; I did not want him to know how badly I was longing for his arms to be around me. I turned my face from him and caught the sight of an amaranth sitting on top of the fruits. Idly, I touched it, the petals so soft that it hurt. I hurt. Everything was painful and I wished it was not so. Drawing in a deep breath, I spoke and my curse broke my voice.
In her wedding dress, Felicity was radiant. Her sickness was cured—by Raguna, of course; he had fallen hard and fast for the fragile woman—and she glowed in the presence of her beloved—such a glow that I never could recapture for the only love I had ever had had been mercilessly slaughtered. Raguna had a smile on his face, one that had never been casted my way, one that I could have had were I only not to be cursed with being me. Without shame, I bowed my head and closed my eyes and allowed the tears to fall as Wesley pronounced them man and wife. When Russell moved to comfort me, I shrugged off his concern and rotated away from him. I would mourn and I would mourn alone. The kind townspeople of Kardia began to stand to congratulate the newlyweds. Their soft words caused my tears to increase. My brother came to sit by me and suggested that we leave. But I shook my head for I knew what I needed to do.
Finally my turn to walk up to them came. My eyes were itchy and swollen from tears and more threatened at the sight of them together, up close, their happiness practically taking on a golden glow. I swallowed hard as Raguna looked to me—I met his eyes and his only. Felicity was not important. It felt as if the year of torture all had led up to this. My feelings for Raguna were as strong as they had been years ago but they had changed in nature. I loved him so very fiercely—more so than even Felicity could have—but I knew then that I would remain alone. Raguna would never be allowed the privilege to know that I would forever be waiting in the snow for him to open his door for me, so I could tell him that I love him. Despite Felicity's small 'humph!' of objection, I reached out and touched Raguna's cheek, giving him a cold smile.
"I loved you."
I did not stutter. Realization that I did not want to see dawned in the idiot's eyes and, unable to bear it, I turned and walked from the church to return to my books—the only place where I could live and love without the pain of reality to haunt and hurt.