Author's note My thanks to Bergamot for the inspiration to write this ditty. I had fun, and writing should always be fun.
"I don't get why I'm going," the slender red-head grumbled.
She had crisp amber eyes and a pretty face, heart-shaped almost, from delicate chin to smooth forehead. Her hair of red sparkled in the sunlight, and its short length fairly bristled with animosity.
She stuffed her hands deeper into the pockets of her red jeans, fisting them as she kicked a rock out of the path. "He's only a little brat anyway. Thinks he knows everything and is so smart!" she yelled, and then continued grumbling under her breath.
The young man watching from his perch in the tree-tops wasn't noticed, and the smirk on his lips revealed white fang-like teeth. His brown eyes twinkled with mischief as he watched her, his white hair with the brown streak tickled by the slight breeze.
When the red-head came to stand practically beneath him, she stopped and her body tensed. He only continued to watch her, his smirk growing slightly.
Finally, she looked up with a sharp motion, glowering up at him as her fists went quickly to her sides. "Trouble-maker! What are you doing spying on people?"
He plopped down onto the branch, dangling his feet over the side. "It's not spying when the person I'm watching makes enough noise to wake the dead."
She scoffed and looked away, tightly crossing her arms.
He smirked again and perched a foot up beside him on the branch, resting an arm on his bent knee. "Hiro not back yet?"
She turned on him again. "I don't care one way or the other!" she snapped.
"Come on, Ruby. Everyone knows how you feel about him."
Ruby scoffed again and glared down the path. "Go jump off a cliff, Nall."
"Sounds like fun. Want to come?"
Ruby grumbled under her breath.
Nall laughed and jumped down to easily land behind her. Then his expression became understanding. "Lonely?" he asked, resting a hand on her shoulder.
Ruby's expression momentarily changed, but then she shoved his hand from her shoulder and strode forward. "Leave me alone."
Nall stared after her with a continued look of understanding before tucking his hands into his pockets and stepping after her. "You heard about Leo?" he offered casually.
"What about the loon?" Ruby grumbled.
"He's getting married."
Ruby halted and turned, wide-eyed. "What?"
Nall's lips twitched. "He's getting married."
"The Forest Goddess."
Ruby wrinkled her nose. "The who?"
Nall chuckled. "The Forest Goddess. Though I guess most people call her the Forest Witch. Violette. Don't you know anything?"
Ruby grabbed him by the front of the shirt. "I know plenty, hair boy." She pushed him away again and crossed her arms to glower down the path. Nall unconcernedly straightened his shirt. "Why would a goddess marry him?"
"Because she loves him."
Ruby flinched slightly. "A goddess?" She snorted.
"She doesn't know."
Ruby scoffed and snorted. "Figured he'd marry someone as stupid as he is."
Nall frowned. "Geez, Ruby. Just because you're miserable doesn't mean you have to make everyone else miserable. It's your own fault anyway. I told you--"
"Leave me alone." And her voice almost sounded choked as she stormed ahead.
Nall again stared after her. Then he released a deep and quick breath while giving a shake of his head and stepping after her. "Ruby." She didn't stop. He jogged the rest of the way. "Ruby, wait."
Ruby halted but didn't move her focus from down the path.
"I'm sorry, Ruby. I remember how hard it is to lose someone. I just... I guess I forget sometimes. It's easier."
"I can't forget I love him. It's who I am," Ruby said in a quiet voice, still staring down into the forest.
"I know." Nall regarded her a moment before giving her arm a nudge. "Come on, Ruby. Come and hang out with us for a while. It's better than loafing around."
Ruby didn't move.
Nall watched her. "Ru--"
"I don't like being alone," she said suddenly, turning on him. "I always had Hiro, and now I don't and I don't like that! Now she has Hiro and I don't have anyone! What about me?" She pointed roughly against her chest. "Why do I have to be alone?!" she choked out.
Nall shook his head. "You're not, Ruby. You've got your friends."
"But I want Hiro!" She covered her face with her hands and sobbed.
Nall released a slow breath and rested a hand on her shoulder. "I'm sorry, Ruby."
They were dragons. They lived for millenia at a time, watching generations of humans live and die while helpless to cease the passing of one they might have loved. Alex.... But Alex had been gone for a thousand years....
Ruby stepped forward and enveloped Nall in a tight embrace, sobbing against him as his arms hesitantly surrounded her. "It's not fair," she sobbed. "We were supposed to be together. We were supposed to have all the adventures. Why'd he leave me behind...?"
Nall stroked her hair, but he couldn't think of anything to say. He'd been left behind, too. A long time ago.
Then Ruby pushed back and wiped the tears from her face and eyes, all the while sending him occasional glances. He only watched her with a slight smile.
"What're you smirking at, hair boy?" she snapped.
Nall shook his head. "Nothing. You're just really pretty."
Ruby flushed as red as her hair and looked away as she again moved down the path. "Oh shut up."
Nall's lips twitched as he moved to step along beside her, not saying anything. Just walking and actually enjoying being by a dragon like him. A spunky one, too, he thought to himself with another twitch of lip. She sent him a sidelong glance and he met it, still smirking. She frowned and looked away, stuffing her hands into her pockets like before.
"You wanna come by and play with me and the kids?" Nall asked suddenly.
Ruby looked over at him again, still frowning. "Why? So you can tie me up and then leave me there?"
Nall grinned, his fang-like teeth flashing in the sunlight. "Would I do that?"
Ruby scoffed, but her lips quirked upward briefly. "Yes. Duh."
"You would, too," he reminded.
"Yeah, because you're annoying and obnoxious!" she shot at him.
He gave her a push. "So are you."
She shoved back. "Not as much as you."
Shove. "Wanna make a bet?"
Push. "Bring it on, hair boy. I'll take you on any day of the week!"
Nall grinned at her, noticed the twinkle in her amber eyes even through the scowl, and quickly placed a brief kiss on her lips. She blinked and stared at him, fingers now touching her lips.
Then Nall turned and started walking away, down the path toward his home with his hands tucked nonchalant within his trouser pockets. "You can come over whenever you're feeling lonely, Ruby," he called over his shoulder.
He heard her clear her throat and then the sound of her steps quickly hurrying after him. He smiled, forcing it down to a smirk as she came to walk beside him.
"I'm coming because I want to see the kids, not because of you," she pressed.
Nall smiled at her. "Hey. No problem here. I'm just glad you're coming."
She blinked again, halted again, and stared after him again. Nall nearly laughed. Again. Then she hurried up beside him and halted him with a grip to his arm.
"Why're you being nice to me, hair boy?"
"Because I like you," he said honestly, noticing her blink and flush. "And because I don't like being alone either."
Ruby released her hold on his arm and clasped her hands behind her as her gaze focused on the ground. "Oh."
Nall watched her a moment, still smiling, and then reached out to take her hand. "Come on, Ruby. Let's go play with the kids," and then turned for the path, pulling her along behind him.
After a moment, she moved so that she walked along beside him rather than behind. She didn't take her hand from his. "Thank you, Nall," she said quietly.
He gave her hand a squeeze. It hurt to be alone. He knew it because he'd been alone too long already. She didn't need that, too.