Title: Breaking Tradition
World: Rune Factory 2
Characters: Aria, Leonel
Author's Note: Just a little rated K fluff. Leonel is adorable.
Disclaimer: I don't own Rune Factory or any of the characters or settings mentioned.
When she first met him, she mistook him for a girl. Not that it was unusual, everyone did. At the time, Leonel hadn't been too bothered by it, and simply laughed it off and corrected her. She had been appalled at herself, and apologized profusely. That was the start of their friendship.
Leonel and Aria were almost always in each other's company. In the mornings when they met each other at school, they'd sit next to each other, eat lunch with each other, then after school Aria would go home with him to play. She'd stay for about an hour or so, before saying her goodbyes and running home. They'd even accompany one another to festivals.
Aria was his best friend in the world, nothing more and nothing less. How he wished it would've stayed that way. When they grew into teenagers, Leonel began to develop stronger feelings towards his tomboy friend. He began to notice her in ways he never had before. Like how her hazel eyes simply glittered like stars when she was happy, or how angelic her voice sounded. He eventually became more nervous around her, despite being her best friend since they were six. She didn't notice, however, since he was already a bit on the quiet side. He didn't like feeling so awkward around Aria, but what was worse is that he wanted her to be his girlfriend, not his best friend!
He had confided in his next closest friend, Roy, whom he had sworn to secrecy. Roy had told him to dance with her in the upcoming Dance Festival, and then ask her to be his girlfriend. In Leonel's opinion, Roy wasn't a lot of help. It was easier said than done.
Leonel's problem wasn't totally centered on teenage hormones and awkwardness. It also had a lot to do with his appearance. The problem was, well, to be frank, he was prettier than Aria. What girl wanted a boyfriend who was prettier than her? He even looked more feminine than her!
While Aria was an average height for a sixteen-year-old girl, she had a slender yet muscular body with slight curves. Her auburn hair was short and messy, and her hands were very calloused. She seemed to inherit most of Kyle's looks rather than those from her mother Yue. Aria was a pretty girl, but she certainly wasn't a raving beauty.
Leonel, on the other hand, was short for a boy, about the same height as Aria. He had porcelain skin soft like satin, doe-like blue eyes, and fine golden hair. Every single thing about him was doll-like. If he was a girl, he'd be considered beautiful. But he wasn't. He even had a girlish voice, for gods' sake!
So that was why he had such a hard time confessing his feelings to Aria. Again, who would want a boyfriend prettier than them, especially with guys like Orland around? He was considered by far the most handsome boy at school, and to his horror, he'd even caught Aria ogling him during class while he had his nose stuck in his text-book. Orland didn't even have a single feminine feature. Granted, he didn't look as masculine as his father, but he didn't look like some high elf princess either.
Leonel had decided to man up and take Roy's advice, since it really did seem like the most direct approach. But as the Dance Festival came closer, Leonel became more nervous, and could hardly sleep at night. He had terrible thoughts about how many ways Aria could reject him. No. He wasn't going to think like that. Aria was his friend; she wouldn't hurt him...would she?
Summer 19th came in the blink of an eye. Later in the morning everyone was having a great time. Everyone except for Leonel, that is. He had deliberately tried to hide away from people, so he could be alone to think about how to best approach Aria. Should he start small talk and casually ask her to dance? Maybe. Just come out and ask to dance? Yeah, that'd probably save them all a bit of time. He didn't have the time to sort these things out. He didn't have any time as he saw Aria round the corner. He started to panic slightly and turned to run before Aria saw him, but it was too late.
"Leonel!" Aria called out to him, then ran up to him with a radiant smile on her face.
"Leonel, will you dance with me?"
"I asked you to dance with me! Dummyhead!" The cheerful girl giggled, and stuck her tongue out at him in fun.
"Y-You want to d-dance with me...?" Leonel wasn't expecting that.
Aria rolled her eyes. "Oh, sorry Leonel, I thought you were Max, I was gonna dance with him," she retorted sarcastically. "Of course I wanna dance with you! If I didn't I wouldn't have asked!"
"Oh...sorry," he mumbled. Boy, did he feel stupid.
"It's cool." She smiled, "Come on, let's go!" Aria grabbed the stuttering boy's hand and led him to the De Sainte-Coquille Park.
They danced, although it was Aria doing most of the dancing. Leonel was trembling most of the time while blushing like mad, and he stepped on her feet several times, but she didn't say anything to him. When they finished dancing, Leonel stiffly bowed to her, as was tradition, and ran in the other direction like a rabid pomme pomme. Well, he would have if Aria hadn't snatched his hand before he could even start running.
"Wait! Where are you going?"
"But I wanna talk to you!" She puffed her cheeks out in irritation. Leonel couldn't help but smile. She was so cute when she was mad. He wouldn't ever tell her that, though.
"Um...okay. What do you want to talk about?"
It was Aria's turn to blush. She quickly glanced around. "Let's go in front of the school," she suggested while leading him away.
Once they got there, Aria let go of his hand and turned to face him, face still red. Leonel looked at her curiously. What was she so nervous about? He's the one who should be nervous! He patiently waited for her to speak. When she finally spoke, her voice was shaky and quiet.
"Leonel...um, will you...um...be my boyfriend?"
Leonel's jaw nearly hit the ground. Did she just...? He apparently stood there like that for quite a while, because Aria started to get flustered.
"Um! I-It's okay if you don't want to, you know? I was just...just throwing the option out there, if you were…interested." She sounded as if she was going to cry now.
Leonel came back to his senses after he heard her speak. "N-No! I mean, yes! I'll be y-your boyfriend. I-I'm just...shocked is all. Heh, you know, Aria, I was so nervous. I-I was gonna ask you to be my girlfriend, but it looks like you b-beat me to it." He looked away nervously and scratched his neck.
Aria's sad expression was quickly replaced with a delighted one. She squealed and jumped on Leonel, wrapping her arms around his neck. "Thank you! But why were so nervous? I've had a crush on you forever!"
Leonel was shocked again. "You did? I never knew...I always thought that you liked Orland..."
"What? Orland?! Why would I like him?" Aria was shocked herself now. Leonel blushed again.
"Well...I saw you sort of checking him out one time."
"So? Just because I was looking at him doesn't mean I wanna be his girlfriend. Dummyhead!"
"That's a relief," he replied, followed by a nervous chuckle. Leonel decided to tell her the full reason behind his paranoia.
"That wasn't the only reason, you know. I mean, look at me. I look like...like...a girl. Who wants a boyfriend that looks like a doll?" He moaned bitterly.
"Maybe I do. Maybe I like how you look," Aria said seriously.
"Actually, no. I don't care about how you look. I like you for you, Leonel. You could look like a hobgoblin, and I'd still be your girlfriend, and you know why? Because you're the sweetest guy in this school...well, there's not many guys here, but you get what I mean. It's not the outside that counts, it's the inside. And besides, I think you're handsome." She grinned.
Leonel couldn't help but to hug her tightly, and Aria returned the hug. He couldn't believe that she actually liked him! And she didn't mind about how girlish he looked...she even said she liked his appearance. He was so glad that she asked him out! Wait...she asked him out.
"Isn't it tradition that the guy asks the girl out?"
She pulled back from the hug and gave him a big kiss on the lips, then pulled back with a smack. "Well, I'm breaking tradition, and you can't stop me!"
He laughed and gave her a light kiss back, and pulled her back into a tight embrace. Sure, she broke tradition this go round, but maybe the next time, he'd go back to tradition and ask her.