Hi, guys - I've got a new story! :D Don't worry, the other ones are coming soon... In fact, Maple Leaf has already been uploaded. ;) Anyway, this is an idea that's been bouncing around in my head for a very long time, but I had no real story that I could write it into... So, I just decided to make it into a oneshot. Besides, I'm a Shu x Bouquet fan - the biggest one I know of, in fact - so I need to have more stories of them (wouldn't be normal otherwise). :P Some of my stories may reference this later on (the Maple series and Fierruneru no Unmei being the biggest and maybe only possibilities), but they may not; I'll have to write and see. So... This takes place directly after episode nine of season one and... Actually, that's basically it. I can't really say anything else without giving away the story. ;D With that... On with the story! :D

Disclaimer: I do not own Blue Dragon. And I despise this disclaimer for forcing me to be needlessly repetitive.

Shu rubbed his head - Kluke really did hit hard - as he continued to search for Bouquet.

Now, this probably wasn't the best idea; he knew that. Despite the fact that Bouquet herself would go fiancé crazy, and that Kluke would likely kill both of them if she saw them together, he had to find her.

He was worried about her. He hated to admit that, but he was. The cause of this was obvious (at least to him) - while he'd been trying to dodge Kluke's frenzied beating after hearing of Shu and Bouquet's "engagement", he had seen Bouquet get this look in her eyes that was distant and... sad. He'd tried to get to her, but he'd been knocked out shortly after. When he'd woken up, Bouquet was gone.

So, he'd started looking for her - he wanted to know why she was so sad after being so happy only moments before.

It took him a long time before he found her, over that time having some narrow escapes from a sulking Kluke asking what he was doing. He'd found her in the least expected place, though: the food cellar.

It was fairly dark, and a little dusty (though it was the "food cellar", it hadn't been used to store anything edible for a long time), but her bright, light blue dress made her easy to find.

"Bouquet, what are you doing down here?" He saw how she jumped harshly when he spoke, and he instantly regretted saying anything at all.

When she looked up at him, for a split second he saw that sad look in her eyes again, but it was quickly replaced by the bubbly attitude that she'd had when she tricked him into being her fiancé. "I wanted to spend a little time alone. I'm just so excited about us being married, I can hardly wait!"

But he could hear it in her voice, see it in her face. While the words of her second sentence were genuine, it was still used to cover what she was really feeling. Shu didn't know all of that entirely, but he knew enough to know that she wasn't being entirely truthful.

He crossed the expanse of them room, then sat down on the floor next to her. "Something's wrong. Why did you really come down here?"

The brightness dropped a notch. "I-I don't know what you mean. Nothing's wrong..."

He looked at her for a moment, then sighed. "Fine..." But just because she wouldn't tell him didn't mean that he couldn't cheer her up. "Come on, let's go up to the deck," he reached for her. "The ocean looks really-"

"No!" She snatched her hand away before he could take it, holding it to herself tightly.

"Bouquet?" He looked at her, both confused and shocked at her strange behavior.

She shut her eyes tightly. "Please... Don't touch my hand..."

Shu's eyebrows furrowed. That was definitely strange. Why had she said her hand? Maybe he could lighten things up, though... "You know, that's going to make things really awkward during our wedding."

This proved to be the wrong thing to say, however - Bouquet broke down and started sobbing.

"Ah, Bouquet, wait..." He tried to think of something he could say, something he could do. He really wished he'd known she would've started crying if he said that! He really hated to see her crying... Wait! Maybe that was it. "Please don't cry, Bouquet." He touched her arm hesitantly, making a point not to touch her hands.

That seemed to work a little; she glanced up at him, sniffling.

He smiled at her a little. "Will you tell me what's wrong now?"

His smiling seemed to be contagious, and she felt her mouth upturning slightly. As she moved to brush her tears away, she said, "Well, maybe-"

She gasped harshly, realizing her mistake too late. Her hand had brushed against the back of Shu's.

He looked at her hand for a moment, then at her, then back at it again. Without waiting for any objections, he took hold of it. "Bouquet... Your fingertips are kind of rough."

Bouquet felt like she was going to wilt. The secret she had tried so hard to keep... The very reason she was down here... He knew about it, and there was nothing to do now but tell him the truth. "I wash a lot of dishes, so my fingers ended up rough and calloused from it. I-" She stopped, seeming to realize something. "Shu... Can you touch my arm above the sleeves?"

He blinked at her in what Bouquet thought was one of the cutest things she'd ever seen, inwardly congratulating herself on finding both a kind and adorable fiancé. But then she felt her heart sink as she realized that after finding out about her dishwasher hands, he probably would be even more unwilling to be her fiancé than before. And if he didn't want her because of this... Well, if he wanted to break off the engagement, this was one of the few things she was willing to make an exception for.

Shu shrugged, then did as she asked. Once he had done so, he said, "I don't see what this has to do with anything..."

"I can't feel as well with my fingers, so I wanted to be sure... But your hands are really soft."

Shu grinned and rattled off a saying he'd memorized long ago: "Talta sand softens the body and the heart."

She smiled. "Is that true?"

He nodded. "It is as far as I know. Touch Kluke's hand or her hair sometime; you'll see what I mean."

"The hair, too?" She was sorely tempted to test this fact, but held off.

"More or less. I mean, I haven't met that many people outside of Talta Village, but I'm pretty sure it's true..."

She felt the cheerful mood vanish from herself then, the thing that had upset her finally coming to mind. "I... I'm sorry. You probably don't want to be my fiancé now..."

Shu tilted his head to the side. "What are you talking about?"

"My hands... A wife should have softer hands than this." At least, that's what the girls who had teased her about it had said, laughing the whole time.

Shu waved his hand dismissively. "That's just superficial. I don't care about that. Your nice, and that's more important than how your hands feel. Come on," he stood then. "There's no point in moping in here about ridiculous things. It's nice outside, so you should come out there with me. It'll make you feel better." Though he didn't pull her up, he did take her hand, waiting until she was ready.

A smile slowly spread across her face. She held onto his hand more firmly, then let him pull her up.

As he led her out of the unused cellar, she thought about what had just taken place. Shu had come across to her as a boy that wouldn't have been so kind to her as he just had, since the others she'd met that had his qualities usually didn't. But none of them had shown the kindness that her Shu had. It still surprised her that he wouldn't care as much about her hands...

She stopped replaying the conversation in her mind when she realized something.

When she'd apologized for her hands, he'd never said he didn't want to be her fiancé.

She looked at him, remembering his strident opposition to her proposal after accidentally agreeing, and her smile widened as one phrase entered her mind.

That's just superficial.

Well... That was maybe a bit odd, but was hopefully still cute. :) There... Well, there's not much to say about it other than that. :P Please review if you can... I can reply with the "Review Reply" button. ;) I discovered, however, that I cannot reply to anonymous reviews. I'm still trying to figure out what to do about that... I'll figure out a way to reply to them, but if anyone could give me advice with it, that would be much appreciated. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it, and thanks for reading! :D