Author's Note: I like Selena. True, I like everyone in Animal Parade, including the unpopular characters, but I always feel like Selena gets the worst and most disproportionate rap with the fandom, simply because she's a little arrogant and prideful, and fangirls in particular tend to be... uh, overprotective of Luke as a character. But I really like Selena; she's a really nice friend if you raise her affection, and I think she and Luke could actually make for a really sensual and affectionate and all-around cute relationship, if it were fleshed out more and given a more fair chance!

...Granted, this is more about Selena as a character, but hey. It's a... sympathy piece, I guess? Don't judge me. :C


She ate lunch alone that day as quickly as possible, brooding over why it was that the other girl was so - aggressive, and domineering, and judgmental, and what in the world made her think that he was hers, anyway? She seemed to bristle every time Selena was in the same room with Luke, even every time their names were mentioned in the same sentence. Like she wasn't making her interest in him well known enough already, and like Luke wasn't just letting her...

Molly glanced up from her soup as Luke entered Ocarina Inn, instantly recognizable; his broad shoulders and long trailing bandanna unique in the restaurant's dining room. She immediately felt bad for her inhospitable thoughts. Of course he should be kind to the new arrival (who was really her fault to begin with), and he was to be commended for not dealing with her in the "usual" way, which was usually overly friendly to begin with. He was probably just a little uncomfortable around her and didn't know how to show it, she figured. And if he wasn't uncomfortable-

Well, then, good for him. Molly would be glad if Luke was finally becoming interested in something more than masculine pride and hard labor taken "to the extreme." Heck, he could definitely do much worse than Selena!

Molly got to her feet, mustering a smile and running through reasons in her head. She waved at Luke and beckoned him over casually when she had his attention. Of course, she was mature, so she'd sit down with him and talk about Selena in a mature, reasonable fashion. Maybe she could even give him some advice, so that if he did in fact like Selena, the girl would stop feeling the need to defend her claim against every eligible and non-eligible female in the vicinity.

After a pause, Luke started heading in her direction with his food. Smiling to herself, Molly sat back down and tore off a piece of roll to dip in her soup, but when she looked up, she found that Luke had been ambushed.

Astonished, Molly could only sit and watch as Selena, who had appeared out of thin air, tugged on his arm and dragged him off happily, to an empty spot at a table a short distance from Molly's. She was just barely too far away to hear their conversation, but Luke seemed surprised, fighting back against her grip, and Selena seemed similarly irritated but unwilling to give up. Eventually, Luke submitted to her demands, looking marginally harassed, and followed her to her table.

Oh, that is just it. Molly got back to her feet, tucking her hair behind her ears and straightening her clothes. Preparing for battle. It felt like the whole inn had hushed, right down to the perpetually busy kitchen, watching her and the dark thundercloud of an aura that was surely forming all around her.

"Molly, is anyone sitting here?" she heard someone ask, vaguely, from behind her. Whoever it was, he was second priority right now.

"Someone will be," she gritted, and marched over to where Selena had absconded with Luke.

The redhead looked up, hawk-like, as someone else approached the table, and Luke glanced behind him to see what she was glaring at. He stiffened when he saw Molly, intuitively nervous, and turned quickly back around to hunch over his bowl of spinach.

"Excuse me," Molly said, supremely reasonably. "Luke was going to have lunch with me..."

"I think he's decided to eat with me," Selena said, equally level.

Molly felt her smile sink, threatening to turn into a grimace. Carefully, she hitched it back up and looked askance. "I don't know if it counts as his decision when he was wrestled out of the aisle."

"Luke," Selena said to him directly, ignoring Molly's observation. "Am I holding you here against your will?"

"Man, I just want to eat my damn lunch," he said into his spinach.

Molly took a quiet, calming breath. Just be rational, just be rational..."Since Luke was coming to join me first, and since he and I have been good friends for a while, I would... really appreciate it if you would let him come back with me. You can eat with him at dinner!" she suggested helpfully.

"You think that because you've known him longer, you have more right to his company than I do?" Selena demanded, her voice rising. Abruptly, she got to her feet. Everyone in the dining room froze.

Molly didn't like fighting. She liked making friends, and laughing, and having a good time. She hadn't really wanted to be in this situation, but there was no turning back now.

She snapped, "Quit treating him like an object! He doesn't belong to you, you know?! And if anyone does have a claim on him, mine is better!"

Utter silence. The moment the words were out of her mouth, Molly recoiled at herself, shocked. After insisting that Selena had treated him like an object, to say something like that...? She glanced quickly at Luke, but his head was down, any expression he might have worn hidden by his hair and bandanna.

"Hey, Luke," called a voice from across the room, and then Luke's head jerked up, horror flashing over his features. Owen was leaning forward on his elbow, twirling his fork between his fingers casually. He and Kathy were seated at a different table, Kathy watching with alarm, Owen with smug amusement. "What sort of coward lets two girls duke it out over him without taking a side? Be a man!"

"Come on, seriously?!" Luke grumbled slightly and shoved himself to his feet, hauling up his bowl unceremoniously. He held it one-handed and then told Selena shortly, "Sorry."

His free hand curled gingerly around Molly's elbow, and he dragged her back to her table with such urgency that she stumbled before regaining her stride. Molly glanced back with concern for Selena in spite of herself, about how the girl might have taken such a harsh rejection. Selena was frozen in place for a few long moments, but when she seemed capable of movement again, she looked around and then picked up her plate and glided off with a dancer's grace and wounded pride.

"Um, maybe that was a little... too cruel," Molly murmured to Luke as conversation resumed, ashamed.

He forced a crooked smile and reassured her, "She's a tough lady. No big deal, right?"

Across the way, Owen mouthed in an exaggerated whisper to Molly, "You can thank me later."

"I had everything under control," she said, delayed reaction sweeping to catch up to her and suddenly she was mortified, blushing, oh Goddess, right in the middle of the inn?! Poor Selena... she thought, and then Maya dove in to hug her tightly and the thought rushed right out of her.


Molly spent the rest of the day obsessing over what she'd said. Why had she been so picky, anyway? What a stupid argument. To have gotten so confrontational just because she couldn't eat lunch with Luke, who she saw nearly every day regardless because of how much more flexible her schedule and social life was... She'd just totally lost control and jumped down Selena's throat about it. The foreign woman was still technically new here, she didn't need to be made into an outcast for a petty reason like that. And really, would Molly eating dinner with Luke instead of lunch really have been so bad...?

When dinner hours finally did roll around, just before she knew working hours at Brass Bar began, Molly spent over an hour just sitting in Ocarina Inn, keeping watch for Selena. Anissa came, finished her meal, and left. Julius and Mira came, finished their meals, and left. Molly remained, watching the customers come and go, growing less and less assured over whether Selena would show up at all. What if the poor girl was crying in her room, terrified that maybe now she was the laughingstock of the island where she just wanted to finally make a name for herself?

Way to go, Molly,she thought, putting her head in her hands. So much for ringing the bell of heart at this rate.

She wasn't too surprised when someone seated themselves across from her, but the real shocker was that when she looked up, it wasn't any of the other villagers she might've expected - it was Selena, seating herself with a plate of food and an avoidant gaze.

Molly braced herself to apologize, but Selena said first, with great dignity, "I think we got off to a bad start." She folded her napkin neatly in her lap and glanced up at Molly, her gaze clear and serene. "I'd like to wipe the slate clean, if you're not too angry."

...That was unexpected. Molly sat there, confused. It felt like, in a weird way, being willing to stand up to and shout at Selena seemed to have... earned her respect, in a way that being kind and approachable before couldn't have. Or maybe like having Luke turn her down when prompted instead of just being agreeable all the time had unclouded her judgment.

"I'd - I'd like that, too," Molly said, fitting a small smile on her face just for Selena.

Selena held out her hand across the table. "I'm Selena," she said. "My mom and dad own the Pineapple Inn on Toucan Island, and I'm going to become a great dancer someday."

"Oh!" Surprised, Molly leaned over to offer her own hand and shake on it, smiling more genuinely. "My name is Molly. I'm - a farmer and a rancher."

They both settled back down, and Selena lifted her silverware. "I hope we can put all that nasty stuff behind us and be friends, since I'll be here for a while and all. I'm not usually like that."

"Me too," Molly said, beaming. "I mean, I'm not normally that confrontational, and I would love to be friends with you." What a relief to have things smooth themselves out at last.

Selena started cutting into her food, adding with a shake of her head, "I'm glad, then. I mean, I wouldn't have started with it at all if I'd known you were Luke's girlfriend!"