Note: A gift for Thoughtless7, who loves Melody x Tori more than anybody else out there. While I'm no good at yuri-related stuff, I did make a friendship fic, and I hope she enjoys it. :)

Disclaimer: The Scarlet Sky swears she does not own Harvest Moon. She does not even own the Moon part. Or the Harvest. So how could she own Harvest Moon?

Zillion Million Reasons Why

It's a festival day, but that doesn't mean I'm used to spending it alone. Nah, sitting here at the bathhouse all by myself isn't exactly what I expected to be doing today, even if it's been years since I've had a date. Well, unless you count Tori. I'd count her, but Zavier insists it only counts if a guy asks a girl, and I'm sick of arguing with him about it every year.

I sink down under the water and blow bubbles, my eyes just above the surface. This is the part where she's supposed to stammer, "Um…Melody…i-is something wrong?" Except she's not here, so it's kind of hard to talk about my problems when there's no stuttery Tori trying to pry the answers out of me. So I answer myself: "Yes, there is something wrong, and he has a name: Raguna."

They're perfect together, and that's sort of what's wrong about it. Tori and Raguna, I mean. Separately, I love 'em to death. Together, well…they're too together. Really together. There's no room for me to squeeze in.

At first, the whole Tori-having-a-boyfriend thing was actually really fun.

"Ooh, Tori's got a boyfriend! Tori's got a boyfriend!" I'd squealed when Tori finally admitted they really weren't "just friends," and I'd pressed her for juicy details of Raguna's frequent visits and the gifts that came with them. "He's so into you, Tori—I can tell," I had grinned, braiding the librarian's silky blonde hair. "So is he going to ask you to a festival or what?"

"Eh?!" Tori stammered, snapping her head towards me in alarm. "A…a festival? Me and Raguna?! But…of course not…I mean—!"

"Toriii, don't do that when I'm braiding," I whined, sticking my tongue out at the girl. "Now I have to start over."

Obediently, she bit her lip and held her head steady, letting my fingers weave through her towel-dried curls. See, every time the bath finishes, I beg Tori to let me braid her hair once we dry it off. "You have such pretty hair!" I exclaim each and every time. "I wanna braid it, Tori! Please?!"

Tori hasn't backed down to date.

"…He's so strange," Tori had murmured, eyes closed. "I don't know, but he's just so…surreal, I suppose. Always adventuring so bravely, I'd think he'd get hurt or…or get scared. He's like a storybook hero, Melody."

"I thought we'd agreed I was the magical hero and you got to be my beautiful sidekick," I'd teased. "Hmm. Raguna can be…the generically perfect prince who wins the heart of said lovely sidekick. Fair?"

Tori giggled; I can always make her giggle, easily. "But…Melody, I'm a little confused. I mean…why me? If he's so wonderful, then…why spend time with someone like me?"

"Why not you?" was my immediate reply, finishing up the braid. "You're a great girl, Tori."

"…You think so?"

"I know so." Standing up, I turned her head at an angle to fully appraise my handiwork. "Not a hair out of place, Tori. You look gorgeous. It's no wonder that boy's all over you."

"But he isn't, really..." she protested feebly, cheeks reddening. "He's just…being friendly. That's all."

A few seasons later, I think we both know that's not true at all.

Now don't get me wrong, I like Raguna. I just want to make that clear. See, Raguna comes to the baths all the time, and every so often he'll even show me a spell he's picked up (which is so cool!). How could I get mad at Tori for having a guy like that?

Exhibit A: The Slumber Parties.

No, I'm not talking between Tori and Raguna; I'm talking about the slumber parties Tori and I always—no matter what—have together every festival day. While Zavier goes out to try and woo an oblivious Mist in the evening, the two of us sleepover at Tori's, and during the slow daytime hours, we get a relaxing day at the bathhouse all to ourselves. Tori's never complained about these friendship days, and neither have I. They've been fun days, with pillow fights and splash fights and long talks punctuated by giggles. Not to mention the rounds of truth-or-dare, the reading of books together by candlelight, and the countless pinky swears we've shared.

Today's party, as you can see, is a lonely party of one. The past five parties haven't been any larger.

Oh, but there's more—as if this wasn't enough to annoy me. See, when Tori and I are together (something that gets rarer by the day), she keeps changing the subject. "Do you think…my eyes are as deep as the ocean?" she asked me once.

"Um, Tori, I never real thought about it," I admitted. "But they are a nice shade of blue."

"Raguna said that to me," Tori mumbled, a shy grin creeping across her face. "So…um…I was just wondering…is all."

If he wants to flirt with her when they're together, fine, they have that right. But I want to talk to Tori about other things—girl things! Friend things! Yeah, we can talk about guys, but when it's only one-sided, the "we" part kind of gets lost.

It's kind of embarrassing, but I actually tried to spite Tori by getting a boyfriend of my own. Sort of. His name was Camus, and he's an unhappy guy if I've ever met one. It was fun trying to make him smile (he's so stubborn about this frowning business, I swear) but to be honest…things didn't feel right. Between us, I mean. He'd complain about Kardia, and all I could think—silly, right?—was about Tori, and how she never saw the negativity in anything or anyone but herself. And here was good ole Camus, the exact opposite of my good friend right down to gender and hair color.

It wasn't the same, I guess.

People complain all the time about not having a love life, and forget about having their close, awesome, incredible friends; it's like they think that kind of love isn't equal to the romantic kind. See, I've never understood that. When someone cares about you because you're you—not because they want to date you, think you've got a gorgeous body, or whatever—that's special. When someone is willing to stay up with you all night cleaning your room because your mom will flip out if she sees you've been messing with that fire spell again, that's a true bond. It's stronger than, say, a night out staring at the stars. People like stargazing. Cleaning up the charred remains of a bedroom? Not so much.

I wriggle my toes in the water and stare at the ripples I've made in boredom. My reflection frowns back at me and I stick out my tongue; it's a boring, boring day, and people are probably romancing and getting kissey and huggy and not caring enough about their hygiene to come take a bath. At this very moment, Tori is probably kissing him, and while they suck off each other's lips, I will sit here and hum "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" until—

Did the door just open?

I freeze, and yes, it's unmistakable: the sound of tiny, slow footsteps. Someone is taking off their shoes, and I hear the plunk of them against the floor as this person continues forward. Whoever this intruder is hasn't paid; if they set one foot in my bath, then I swear, I'll sick the Mayor on them. I am not in a forgiving mood, darn it.


Or am I?

Wet blue eyes stare at me, and she sniffles loudly, her cornsilk hair painstakingly braided in a way that must have taken hours. She is unbuttoning her clothes and wrapping herself in the towel now, and her gaze remains upon me: red-rimmed and bleary eyes behind thick glasses. Soundlessly slipping into the water beside me, she turns to me and says simply, "Do you…need a date for today's festival? Because…because I do."

And then the tears come, and I immediately wrap my arms around her, whispering all the words and comforts a friend should. There are thousands of reasons I shouldn't, though. There are hundreds of thousands of reasons, actually, that I should be shoving her away, telling her it's about time she got what she deserved for ignoring all her friends, that they won't always be there for her when a guy stands her up.

But there are a zillion, million reasons why I should hold her like this, and first and foremost, it's because she's my best friend.

And no matter what mistakes she makes, I will always, always love her.

End Note: What's pathetic is I could have finished this in an hour for about five weeks now. And I never realized that until I pulled out the doc today. (awkward laugh) Hope you enjoyed, though, and hope the ending wasn't too abrupt!