A/N: Alright, so now I'm suddenly obsessed with Russell and Tori from the Harvest Moon game Rune Factory, so I decided to sign up over at Livejournal's 30kisses community, and here's number one. Wrote this over the course of two days I think. It started out as a drabble and turned into a not-so-short ficlet halfway through, but it turned out okay. Please forgive the awful title, lol. For those who haven't played the game (or haven't talked to Tori while she's visiting the beach), she sometimes tells you this wacky story about her daydreams of a prince riding a dolphin coming to meet her. She's... imaginative, I suppose. So I had to include it, of course, lol.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harvest Moon, or these characters, as they belong to Yoshifumi Hashimoto.
Dolphin Princes and First Kisses
He wonders what she thinks about when she goes to the beach. Even after confessing to her, he had never been invited along. He knows it is something he shouldn't worry about – Tori is not the type of girl to date two men at once. But something still irks him about her regular trips to the ocean shoreline. He blames his instincts, honed from years as a warrior, for his suspicions, and tries to focus on shelving the newly arrived books.
She wonders why she still can't take him with her. Staring out towards the horizon where she once imagined her dolphin-riding knight in shining armor – a delusion she blames entirely on a series of romance novels she read as a young girl – she attempts to let her thoughts get washed away by the soothing sound of water pushing itself up further onto the sand. She wants to share this with him – the calming sound of waves she has always cherished – but is still far too timid. She fears he might not enjoy it as she does - Russell is a hard man to read, and such simple pleasures may be boring to him.
He fails at keeping his focus, and is out the door moments after deciding that checking up on her couldn't hurt. He trusts her, of course. This is just to silence the nagging voice in the back of his head that is currently shouting that something is amiss - maybe she got sunstroke, or she got stung by a jellyfish, or she's tripped and broken her leg. All the various scenarios currently running through his head make him quicken his pace, but he hopes that the worst she's suffering from is a little loneliness.
She isn't as comforted by the familiar sound as she once was, and is heading for the library even while her mind remains undecided. Maybe she should ask him to join her today, she ponders silently. After all, there is no point coming out here to relax if all it does is make her feel lonely.
They reach the top of the stairs at the same moment, her eyes focused on her feet and his straining for her silhouette directly ahead, and fall unceremoniously into a startled, jumbled heap together. Both of their glasses have fallen off during their tumble, and they paw around semi-blind for a few moments – apologizing profusely to the other party – finally grabbing what they believe is their own pair only to put them on and realize who they're staring at.
"O-Oh!" they cry in unison. She feels her cheeks turn as red as the apple she ate for breakfast, but her attention quickly turns to the light pink shade of her company's face. She pauses for a moment – she's never seen Russell blush before. Even when he confessed, though he was less composed than usual, there was not nearly as much color in his face as there was now. The redness drains from her face in an instant as the thought that he may be sick or upset or otherwise troubled suddenly takes over her mind, and she's checking for all the signs of fever she has read about recently. She's rattling off questions so fast as her hands come to a rest on his cheeks – "What and when did you last eat?"; "How long have you been outdoors!?" – that she doesn't seem to realize he's leaning forward until she is silenced by a kiss.
A few breathless moments later, he pulls back with her hands still resting on his face, and with a deeper blush on his face now, he smiles sheepishly.
"You just look so cute in my glasses... I couldn't help myself..."
She sits frozen in place, and he wonders for a second if he's gone too far. Of course he has, he sighs inwardly. She is still a young girl, after all, and he has a sneaking suspicion that he may have just given her her first kiss. He gently removes her palms from his cheeks and rests them in her lap, swapping their glasses and standing up before offering his hands to help her up as well.
"Y-You aren't riding a dolphin... b-but..." she begins suddenly, catching him off guard. The subject of her rather random sentence slightly worries him, and he carefully takes her hands and pulls her onto her feet. Maybe she's been in the sun too long, he panics quietly. He decides silently to stop by Edward's to have her checked up on before going back to the library. Resting his arm over her shoulders, he leads her back towards the town. Her next few words are so quiet he almost misses it, but his keen ears pick up her whisper.
"B-better... than a prince," she mumbles, for once not caring at all how red her face has just become. There's something new she cherishes most, and she figures there will be fewer trips to the beach – or any kind of trip, really – without him accompanying her from now on.