A/N: I recently finished a playthrough of the game and I found Rue to be interesting, and Mint rather misunderstood. I sort of liked the idea that both were just looking to have company, and that indirectly fueled their motivation to find a relic. This was written with no real plan as well, and is rather drabble-like. Do let me know what you thought of it, if you liked it or didn't. Constructive criticism is greatly appreciated.
They sat there with legs dangling over the edge of the dock, she swinging her legs idly above choppy and precarious waters while he rolled an ankle. The silence between them was a peaceful and contemplative one, with only the sound of crashing waves and passing seagulls overhead permeating it. She decided she liked the quiet like this. Sunsets weren't really her thing, and she never got the whole hype of watching the day end with the sky bleeding red and getting dark and knowing she hadn't done much in a day at all after it ended. She preferred the sunrise instead, and thankfully, he did too. Or so he didn't seem to mind spending the dim hours of the morning watching the foggy dew on a wet dock with her.
A strong gust of chilly air suddenly blew their way. It unravelled the loose ribbon out of her hair and tripped the hat off his head, he grappling for the hat, she merely watching the insolent ribbon go. It rolled across the damp planks to finally land in its watery grave, claimed by the sea.
"Gave up on it? He asked, with hint of laughter in his voice. She nodded, raising an eyebrow at where the ribbon was last visible before it sank, as if to say she couldn't be bothered with the troublesome thing if it wouldn't do its job properly. He chuckled. "And after all the trouble I went through rescuing it for you."
She snorted. "Like picking it off the ground. Yes I'm sure bending over took a great deal of effort."
She saw his face break into a small smile, one which held no mirth or hurt or offence at her lack of gratitude, but one which creased his eyes and lifted his face and made him look a little out of place with his unruly punk-like hair. "I'm certain ascending a nine foot tree with no rope or branches to grip on was the more arduous task."
"You could've just left it you know. I hated the thing already by then," she said. There was a momentary pause in her string of disjointed thoughts, when she was drawn by a lone eagle flying across the dark sky, with only the barest trace of light touching the early clouds. She lapsed into silence. "But…thanks for taking the trouble."
(She awoke to darkness and voices with no faces, but voices which stirred her memory into motion, causing an onslaught of images and scenes to attack her blinded vision all at once. Damn it all she was having a bloody headache! Reality seemed to slip by her and she felt caught in a tangle of dreams – or were they really memories of events past?
"Mint?" A voice said, sounding real and clear and close. She focused on it. "Mint, it's me."
There was no name attached to the end of the sentence, but she felt like she knew the voice well. And slowly his face surfaced in her mind, with no hat, hair askew and a brilliant jewel glowing right in the middle of his forehead. She dreamt on. Without any response from her, he carried on a one-sided conversation with himself.
"She's still sleeping…" he said, and she could hear the sound of a door being closed, coupled with footsteps approaching her. "She probably won't be up for a while." There was a thunk from where she imagined he plonked down on a stool. She attempted to grasp reality.
Rue…he was there beside her. A chilly thought came to her mind. Was she dead? Was that why everything was dark? Did that mean he was dead too? She panicked and fretted and freaked out and thrashed about because she couldn't die! And he! What did he ever do to die with her as well? She felt like she was drowning into a deep chasm of dark, falling, falling, falling…She couldn't die!
"…She looks so peaceful when she's sleeping."
She jolted, and the world flooded into light.
"What's that supposed to mean!")
She felt him glance at her, possibly surprised at the sudden existence of courtesy in her, she thought. But then he looked back at the sky where the tip of the sun's rays were visible, and spoke as if she'd always been polite and considerate towards him.
She didn't spit a comeback because she didn't know what to say. No sarcasm or taunts, no sly remarks about her civil change in tongue. But then, after being gone for so long (really, five years – already?) perhaps she forgot that he was Rue.
Waves rolled towards them steadily, sloshing against the wooden stilts that held up the dock. Blue and pink streaked across the sky in light hues as time slowly ticked by. She felt at ease, with nowhere to rush to, no one to urgently meet. Nothing to do. She could just bide time as it was, watching the seconds go by sitting there with him, feeling like it wasn't five years since they last met but five minutes. And she liked how they were like that with each other.
"How'd you find me?" She asked over the symphony of the sea. She saw him crack another smile, which lightened her chest.
"Paparazzi. Were you hiding from something?"
She smiled too, giving a rough snort. "Paparazzi."
(The elusive ribbon that she had been struggling with for the past ten minutes wrenched itself out of her frustrated grasp, drifting in taunting circles with the wind. It fell the nine feet or so from her carefully chosen perch, on the thick branch of an old oak tree. She cursed crudely as it hit the ground below, safely out of her reach. Releasing the exhausted fist which she had used to hold her hair up, she let out a sigh, letting the long red tendrils cascade down her back and over her shoulder. Why that little…like hell she was going all the way down there just to fetch the difficult thing!
She was about to spend the next few minutes arguing with herself on whether a ribbon was really worth her effort, when the crunch of footsteps along the gravel distracted her. Large boots came into view, revealing a young man in brown and green with a hat over his white hair. He bent over to scoop the ribbon into his palm before looking past the shadows and leaves, straight at her.
"Since I actually took up the official job of 'ambassador', the name and title unfortunately came with it." There was a tick of annoyance in her voice.
"So…you're here on official business?" He asked. No comment about how she suddenly became serious about her role as a Princess. No questions on why she suddenly seemed so mature in thought, how she actually came to accept that work was part of the job. He accepted it, without needing an explanation. And he didn't need to, for she certainly hadn't expected him to, but she felt he understood.
"Sorta," she shrugged. "I preferred travelling to staying at the palace all day confined by walls, so Maya thought I'd actually be more useful if I could improve relations while I'm at it." At this she gave a small laugh. "Wonder where she got the idea I was good with people." She shook her head. "I suppose it's their way of keeping tabs on me."
"Hm," he mumbled in acknowledgement.
She wanted to ask him so many things. How had he been? What did he do now? Was he happy with his life? Did he think about their adventures often? Was everything normal, now that Claire was back? If she were her younger self she probably would have asked all those things, but now she was grown up Mint, aware and exposed and no longer naïve and ignorant about the ways of the world; of how sometimes in the search for answers, you get dropped even further into a pool of doubt and disappointment and despair. Bereft of any sense of purpose. So she didn't ask those questions.
("Claire found me and took me in…she'd been taking care of me, even though I was a stranger. She was so kind. Then one night…"
Mint didn't hear the details of how Claire was knocked out. There was no need.
"I must save her."
Because that was the important thing.)
She leaned back to lay down on the damp planks, and her vision was filled with a myriad of hues. The huge entity of the world was made known to her as she looked upon the vast sky, with the emerging sun casting its strong rays of light in every direction. She felt small, complacent, and rather insignificant. Rather unusual, foreign, and unpleasant thoughts, knowing that she may not matter as much as she thought she would. And the world didn't need her rule to survive.
He lay down beside her, brushing her red hair to a side so that his shoulder touched hers and his physical presence reminded her that there were two of them under that same sky, basking in her melancholy.
Her heart was beating and mind racing and veins coursing with the anticipation of something that she didn't yet know. "…Why did you want the Dewprism?"
("What? You can't kick me out! I'm the Princess dammit!" She stomped her foot angrily. How dare they! How dare they not want her! She was vibrant and fun and alive and cool and…just how could they?)
(It didn't matter. She would dominate the world and show them what a huge mistake they made. Then they would have to bow down before her, and they would have to love her now. Hah! Take that! She could do whatever she wanted, and they would have to accept it…)
It was a stupid question, one with an obvious answer, but one which held plenty a meaning for her. They both wanted a relic – any one, really – desperately, badly, urgently, and they both wasted years of their lives in pursuit of it. But suddenly after the one they had been hunting down was destroyed, she stopped her search. Why did she give up? Why?
"I guess…"he stopped, struggling to form words, pondering his answer. She held her breath. "I guess I was…lonely."
("You've got some nerve coming in here!" She scolded, trying to hide the red in her face.
He started. "What?"
"How dare you come in while I'm sleeping!"
He held up his hands defensively, and she could see the red forming on his cheeks as well. At least that made two of them."I'm sorry I'm sorry!" He said flustered, clearing his throat awkwardly. "I…just wanted to say goodbye before I left."
She blinked. "Huh?" He was leaving?)
She stopped thinking, for she couldn't form any thoughts to match the confused array of emotions which surfaced within her. Rays of the morning sun warmed her legs and illuminated their silhouettes. They were two people lost in this huge world, living only to find a purpose. It was that simple. He made it that simple.
He turned to face her, cheek lying against her hair, soulful eyes brushing over her features.
"Why did you want the Dewprism?"
(He chuckled. "When I find another relic, I'll write to you."
She smiled. "You better keep your promise."
Words that were meant to be playful and light had a serious undertone, and as he stood there unmoving, staring at her, she wondered just when she began to enjoy his presence.
"Mint…thanks for everything."
It was nice to know that he thought she had helped him, even if she had purely selfish intentions. She threw back on her happy façade lest he figured out that she felt tingly and bubbly inside, and would laugh at her.
And as he walked away, closing the door behind him, she wondered just when she began to miss him.)
Something pricked at her heart when his soul so delicately cradled her fears and she was blinded by the blue blue sky. Her knuckles brushed against leather, and with tentative fingers, she reached out bravely, daringly, boldly, and removed his glove to feel his skin. His cool hand caught her trembling one in a tight grip and she thought that he was a miracle, for no one should care for her like that.
Her voice wavered and broke and was thick with shameful tears but he was there, holding her hand, watching her cry, possibly crying with her.
"I suppose, I was lonely too."