I know I know I know I'm supposed to be working on NGAP, but today is Spirit Day and I had to write a fic for it.
For those of you who don't know, Spirit Day is a day when we remember those who took their lives because they were bullied about their sexuality. I have friends, family, and classmates who are gay, lesbian, or bisexual. I don't ever want to have to be mourning them on this day, or on any day, ever.
This fic contains mentions of slash (well duh), so if you don't like that, then don't read it. No flames. If you flame this, not only did you not absorb any of what I just said, but you also clearly missed the point of the fic itself. So don't bother; you will just end up making yourself look foolish.
This is also somewhat of a Won/Claire fic (I love Won :D) so there you go.
Thank you for reading, and please review.
*insert witty disclaimer here*

Claire sat on the docks and stared out at the ocean. It was mid-Fall, but she had her shoes and socks off and her feet in the water. Today was a very special day for Claire, and she wanted to spend it alone.


So much for spending it alone. She turned to see Won standing behind her. "Hey Won," she said with a small smile. "What is it?"

"Nothing, it's just...I was wondering what you were doing. Isn't it a little cold for that?" He indicated her feet. "You don't want to catch a cold now, do you? Fall is the busiest time of the year for farmers!"

Claire laughed. "I'll be fine, Won. Today is...well, it's a special day for me."

Won didn't know what to say to that. Then it dawned on him. "Oh, it's your birthday, isn't it? I'm sorry I didn't get you a present..."

"Won, that's not it," she said, laughing again. "My birthday's in Spring. No, today is...it's the day my little brother died."

The merchant's heart broke for her. "Goddess, Claire, I'm sorry," he said, moving over to sit cross-legged next to her and placing a hand on her shoulder. "Do you...want to talk about it? I'm a good listener." This was a lie, and both of them knew it, but he wanted to at least try. A good merchant cares about his customers, and Claire was not only a valued client, but a good friend as well.

Claire bit her lip and shook her head. "I...I really don't. Please, Won, I just want to be alone for a little while."

"I refuse to accept that answer." The farmer's head snapped up to look at Won. "I mean, it's okay if you don't want to talk about it," he added hastily. "But I could see you out the window. You've been sitting here all day, with no human contact. You don't have to talk, but...let me stay. Please."

She looked down again, embarrassed that he'd seen her. "O...okay."

They sat like that, in slightly uncomfortable silence for a bit, then suddenly she said, "Jonas was bullied in school."

It took Won a second to realise that she was talking about her brother. "About what?"

"About a lot of things, really. Being short, wearing glasses, his sports prowess, or lack thereof, but mostly about being gay."

Once again, words failed Won. He didn't know what to say, but that was okay, because she kept going like a dam had been broken and all the words just came tumbling out, unstoppable and rushed.

"One day, it just got so bad that...well, he'd gotten a note in his locker, basically calling him names and saying horrible things about him. And usually I was there to help him, comfort him, tell him that it was alright, but that day I wasn't. I don't remember where I was, probably on a field trip or at a pep rally for my boyfriend's big game or something teenager-y like that. I don't know, something. Anyway, I guess he thought that I'd abandoned him too, that the one person who he could always trust had up and left, and he went home and..." Claire's shoulders shook; she was crying. Won wrapped his arms around her shoulders and made gentle noises of comfort. He could feel his heart breaking again and again, and for some reason he felt like crying too, even though it wasn't his brother that had died. She sniffled and continued.

"My mom was the one who found him. He was hanging from the ceiling fan in the living room. He'd left us a note: 'They're right, I am a worthless freak. But I know the Goddess loves me, so I'm going to her. Th-thank you, and...'" She choked out the last word. "'G-goodbye.'"

Won held her tight as she sobbed into his chest. Two tears slipped down his face and landed on her soft blonde hair. "Claire, I'm so sorry," he whispered. "I didn't know."

She didn't say anything—there simply was nothing to say. Finally, she pushed away and scrubbed at her face with her sleeve. "Here," he said, handing her a handkerchief.

She reached for it, then paused. "I'm going to have to pay for this later, aren't I?"

He shoved it at her, waving the idea away with his other hand. "It's on the house. Don't worry about it."

Claire smiled a little and nodded, taking it and wiping her eyes. "Now look, you've made me cry," she said with a watery grin. He just laughed a little and shrugged. Claire pulled her feet out of the water. "Jonas loved the ocean," she said quietly. "He always said he was going to be a fisherman one day, and spend his whole life out there. Now he...now he can't. Oh, Won, I should've been there for him!"

"There was nothing you could have done," he reprimanded. "You couldn't have known. Listen, Claire, this is a day of remembrance, of celebration for the life he had, not for regret and despair." He took her face in his hands. "Wherever Jonas is now, I'm sure he's happy, and he would want you to be happy, too."

Claire stared into his dark eyes. It was funny, she'd heard those words over and over since Jonas's death, but coming from Won, they actually seemed to mean something. "R...right," she whispered.

He smiled. "Good girl." Then he stood up. "Well, I've got to get back to work. But Claire, listen, if you ever need someone to talk at..."

She stood up too and kissed him on the cheek. "I'll call you. Thanks, Won." She walked off the boardwalk, smiling a genuine smile for the first time all day, leaving a red-faced and bewildered Won. Looking up, she could almost see Jonas's smiling face in the clouds. Won was right. Today was for rememberance.

Won stood on the dock for a while after Claire left, replaying his conversation with her in his mind. He hadn't expected her to pour out something so personal to him, let alone kiss him. Goddess, poor Claire! And poor Jonas! It shocked and angered him that people could be so mean. Sometimes, monsters weren't just in fairy tales and storybooks. Sometimes, monsters were real people. Won thought of his own childhood, when he was ignored because of his funny accent and bad English. Oh yes. People could definitely be cruel sometimes.

Maybe the next time Claire came by the store, he would announce another Golden Service Hour.

Eeeeh, the ending could have been better. But yeah. Again, thanks for reading, and please review.