Title: Brighter Than Sunshine
Series: Rune Factory 3
Character/pairing: with some Kuruna/Shara
Rating: PG
Author's note: inspired by their exchange at the catch a variety of fish contest. fic_promptly: Any, any, sunshine.

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Shara had gotten up early to bake, so that the lunch was still faintly warm now as they walked towards Privera forest. She'd cooked some cookies and cakes, made a few fruit sandwiches, and even packed some juice and strawberry milk. From the eager expression on Kuruna's face, Shara thought she could smell it already.

It was always nice in Privera, even when it was snowing in the village. Some kind of magic in the ruins kept it eternally springtime there, or so some people said. It was hard to tell, given all the rainbow art which had been painted over the runes. Shara personally liked what Daria had done with the place, given that the ruins had been a little spooky before.

Shara had a fishing pole slung over one shoulder, the lunch tied up in a a checkered cloth in her other hand. The woolies paid them no mind as they walked by, though the big ants and the spiders would hardly be as gentle. Shara had been chased by them more than once in her life, which is why she never let Monica come in with her when she was going to The Pupil.

But it was never a problem when Kuruna was around. Kuruna lifted her staff, and two clear balls of light circled around her. They circled out, hitting the ants and spiders which were as big as cats out here.

"I feel a little bad about it, even if those ants have bitten me before," Shara said.

"Don't worry, it only hurts for a moment. Then they'll go home," Kuruna said.

"I know, but I still hate hurting them," Shara said with a little sigh. Even big ugly ants and spiders which tried to bite her and would probably eat her if she didn't run fast enough had feelings.

"You're very kind," Kuruna said. She turned to hide the reddening of her face.

Shara followed behind her and said a prayer for all the monsters they had to send back to The Forest Of Beginnings on the way.

.

The Pupil was just the spot she was looking for, with a beautiful cherry tree which was always in bloom and shaded the banks, making it a great place to relax in the long haul.

She'd always wanted to have a cherry blossom viewing there, even if it was always in bloom and it wouldn't be special. Still, flower viewing any old time appealed to her.

She set her large cloth lunch down and set her fishing pole aside for the moment. Monica wouldn't be happy to have fish for lunch, but it was good to make her eat things she didn't like once in a while. Grandpa could spoil her so much, it often fell to Shara herself to discipline her.

"So, should we start fishing first, or eat lunch and then go fishing?"

"It's still early, Shara. I suppose we can get some fishing in and then have lunch. The settlement could use the fish."

Kuruna cast her line out first. She didn't choose the shady spot, but instead stepped out near the statues Daria had carved from the old ruins out there.

"Watch out, or you'll get sunburned!" Shara called.

"I've lived in the desert for over fifty years," Kuruna said, with a bit of fond exasperation. "I'm very used to the sun."

"Still..."

"Just a little bit of sunlight, then. It's good for me," Kuruna said.

Instead of fishing, Shara watched Kuruna. She did look good in the sunlight. Well, Kuruna looked pretty all the time, but in the sun her long mane of hair shone. She wanted to braid flowers in it, and run her fingers through the silky tresses as she brushed her long hair.

The line bobbed once, twice, three times. Kuruna waited it out, and pulled back the fishing pole at precisely the right time.

Shara looked up to inspect it. The squid was clear, with yellowish insides that shone through. It squirmed in her hands, and Kuruna almost dropped it in surprise. Shara lifted it from her, having years of practice of putting up with the strange feel of fish scales as Monica didn't like the feel of fish.

"I didn't know you could get lamp squid up here," Shara said.

"Do you think this would make a good sashimi?"

"You can make it into sashimi, but it causes paralysis, then you'd have to go to Marian and get fixed."

"M-Marian?" Kuruna said. "So I should throw it back?"

"No! It sells for a lot. You could see what price Yue would give for it when she comes into town again, or ask Micah to ship it for you and split the difference."

"A lot of money, you say?" Kuruna cleared her throat. "I'm sure that would buy...many needed supplies for the settlement."

"And a whole lot of cakes, huh?" Shara said with a smile.

Kuruna flushed. "Of course, only some, as part of the budget for the food supply—"

Shara giggled. "Of course!"

Shara wasn't very good at fishing, but she cast anyways. It was relaxing with the line bobbing in the water, drifting on the surface. She never minded coming home without a big haul of fish, and it'd certainly make Monica happier to not have to eat fish that night.

She felt a tug on her line, but then it slacked off. Really, she was bad at this. Some fish would play with the hook, taking several nudges of it before they'd really start biting, and Shara usually pulled up too soon and came up with nothing but and empty hook.

"Don't pull just yet," Kuruna said. She stepped behind her, putting her hands over Shara's to hold the line steady. Shara was very aware of the faint scent of summer flowers, and of course, cake that she always smelled of.

Her heart fluttered in her chest, and she tried to steady her breath. Shara held on tight, and tried to focus on the pole and not Kuruna's closeness as a few more nudges came. "Now?"

"No, just a little longer...there!" Kuruna said as a large tug came on the line. Shara tugged with all her might and Kuruna helped, and they nearly fell over as she landed the fish. It was a little cherry salmon, hardly a huge king of a fish, but she felt so happy to have finally caught one and broken her bad streak.

"Wow! That one was really feisty, I thought it was a much bigger fish with how much it fought. You're really good at this," Shara said.

"I had to be. Zaid is too impatient, and Ondorus...well, he can't catch everything. It's an elder's duty to ensure that there's enough food for the settlement," Kuruna said.

Kuruna looked the fish over. "It's a nice one. Do you think they taste like cherries?" Kuruna said, with just a bit of hopefulness in her voice.

"No, they aren't that sweet. I'm not sure why they're called 'cherry' salmon. The color, maybe?" Shara said.

"I suppose you think me very foolish," Kuruna said sadly. "For many years I could only have summer fish. I still can only wonder what a lot of food tastes like."

"Of course not!" Shara said. "Monica thought it would taste like cherries the first time she had one, too."

"Really?" Kuruna said, brightening a little.

Shara nodded. "She wanted me to make a pie out of it for her."

"I suppose she got a surprise when she had it," Kuruna said,

"Hee hee, she wasn't expecting a meat pie," Shara said.

The fish flopped about in her hands, and she put it into her bag.

"We should break for lunch, I think," she said.

"I agree, I am beginning to become quite famished," Kuruna said.

"I made extra just for you," Shara said.

She pulled out several pieces of wrapped cake, both chocolate and the regular blend, as well as cookies and chocolate cookies. Kuruna's cheeks turned an adorable shade of pink as she gaped at all them.

"This is...amazing, wonderful—thank you so much!"

"I made fruit sandwiches too, don't get so full of dessert that you miss out on lunch," Shara said.

"I can alwayshave seconds," Kuruna said.

Shara sat back and watched Kuruna dig into her food with a sort of childish glee that not even Monica could match. She was so cute, it made Shara's chest grow warm just watching her.

.

After lunch, they didn't go back to fishing. They weren't quite so fishing obsessed like Carlos and Carmen that they could spend hours upon hours just fishing and talking about fishing, besides Shara had flowers to water and Kuruna always had duties to call her away.

They lingered at the edge of Privera forest, just talking, spending time together.

"Thank you very much," Kuruna said. "I had...a very good time."

"Me too," Shara said. Any time spent with you is a wonderful day.

"Meet me tomorrow?" Shara said.

"Ah, I'll be attending to the food supplies of the settlement then," Kuruna said.

"Ah, then what about the day after that?" Shara said.

"That should be fine, see you then," Kuruna said. When she smiled all her fierce, beautiful features softened. It just made Shara want to make her smile as much as possible for the rest of her life.

"Until then, I'll be waiting," Shara said.

"Until then," Kuruna called, waving her hand for one last goodbye as she left towards her home.

.

The days passed quickly, but not quickly enough. Shara thought about putting up decorations, but that would probably ruin the surprise. She'd gotten Monica to help out, getting her to lead Kuruna in, to stall her for time as Shara put the last finishing touches on.

"Close your eyes, it's a surprise!" Monica said.

Kuruna did, and Shara pulled out the plate she'd been hiding. It'd taken some doing to get the mold, but Gaius had hammered it out for her on a favor.

It was a little fish cake with cherries on top.

"Cake?" Kuruna gasped.

"I like this kind of fish!" Monica said with a little giggle.

"I promise this one will taste like cherries," Shara said.

Suddenly, Kuruna pulled her into a hug, and Monica took that as a cue for a group hug. They were all laughing, all so happy just to be there.

Kuruna smiled bright as they cut up the little fish cake, childish and beautiful.

She was so happy to have met her, become friends with her, loved her. So much that it filled up her heart with all this warmth and joy and light until she felt like she'd overfill, but somehow, there was always room for more.