I do not own Harvest Moon, or the lyrics found in the title. They belong to Marvelous and H.I.M., respectively. The story image is public domain.
A Boy Who Can't Let Go
He watched her chest rise and fall beneath the sheets. She slept on her back, one arm tucked under her pillow, the other resting on her expanding stomach.
Many people, men and women, believed she was beautiful. They told him how lucky he was to "have a girl like her", but he never thought about it too much, that wasn't why he was with her.
He sat up, swinging his legs over the edge of the bed, and lit a cigarette from the pack on the bedside table, a habit Karen had started him on in high school.
The floor was cool on his bare feet, but it wasn't as cold as it had been just a few days ago. The weather was getting warmer.
"Damn it," he thought, standing up and walking towards the window. Heavy rain was pounding at the glass, and he could hear the wind howling through the tree branches, harming the newly emerged leaves. He should have been thankful, this meant that the chickens could stay inside today, and all he had to do was run out to the coop and feed them, but a week of constant rain would dampen anyone's mood, and this season was especially rough on him.
Spring was nearly half way through, and his mother's birthday was coming up; another she didn't live to see. She had succumbed to her illness over a year ago, in the middle of winter. No one had seen it coming, and in her last days, she had even said that the pain in her body had gone away. Everyone thought she had been getting better. The last things she had said to him were "I love you", and "Take care of your sister".
A promise he couldn't keep.
Popuri ran off with Kai the following summer. She said it was too painful to stay in Mineral Town with dad gone and mom dead. He hadn't seen her since.
Rick remembered his anger; "That bastard took advantage of her in a weak moment!" he had slurred loudly, his voice ringing throughout the bar. Doug had cut him off right after.
He kept staring at the window, and putting the cigarette out in the ashtray sitting on the windowsill.
The thoughts of his mother brought him thought of the three women he loved in his life.
The first was his mother; who now lie buried in the church cemetery on the other side of town. She was a woman full of love and understanding, more than any one person needed. She was patient, she was kind, and motherly to everyone, regardless of whose children they really were. He remembered his mother comforting Aja after a fight with her father, he remembered how she helped Elli through the death of each of her parents, how she tried to help Grey get over his bitterness when he hurt his leg and had to stop racing.
She taught him how to be more of a man than his father ever did, probably ever could have. She raised both he and Popuri on her own, after his dad took off and left one day, claiming to be searching for a cure-all plant to help his wife. In truth, he probably just didn't want to see her health decline. She had taken care of the farm by herself, until Rick grew old enough, and only stopped the physical labor when Popuri turned twelve. She raised them right. Now it was up to them to decide what to do with everything they were taught, since she couldn't guide them any longer.
He walked back over the end table, grabbing a new cigarette, pausing before lighting it. He thought of how Popuri caught him smoking one day, his senior year of high school. He wanted to laugh at the memory, but he couldn't laugh at memories of her anymore, either.
He loved his sister, truly, no matter how impulsive she may be. No matter what mistakes she made. She ran off with the man he had hated since he was a teenager, and last that he heard, she was pregnant with that asshole's child. She didn't tell him herself, he found out from Karen. Popuri always looked up to her as an older sister, and told her everything she didn't want him to find out. He usually didn't.
She had always been a handful, first for their mother, and then for him. She may have been the spitting image of their mother, but she inherited none of her personality. Although she was childlike and playful on the outside, beneath the surface, she was calculating, brash, and headstrong. She had no patience for anyone or anything. Once she wanted something she went after it, and she wouldn't stop until she got it. Everyone used to joke around and pity her future husband, but now, Rick often prayed that she would do her worst to that bastard. He prayed that she would come home.
He remembered when she would tag along with him and Karen when they were children, before any responsibilities were placed on them. She always wanted to be one of the big kids. As she grew up, she still always wanted to be older than she was. Always in a hurry to be seen as an adult, desperately wanting to be seen as a mature young woman. He still couldn't – didn't – want to believe that his baby sister was going to be having her own baby soon. Too soon.
Then there was Karen, Goddess, how he loved her. He loved everything about her; her green eyes, more precious than any emerald, the way her soft honey brown hair fell over her shoulders, down her back, even in her face. He loved the way her skin always smelled of summer, even when there was more than a foot of snow on the ground. He loved how every train of thought always led to her.
He looked down at his growing pile of cigarette butts. Even those made him think of her.
He loved the way she lit her cigarettes. He would watch her take that first drag, her eyes half-closed, her whole sense of being basking in the first wave of nicotine. He could smell it in his dreams, the lingering scent of menthol, long after she stomped the filter out on the ground. She was always so unashamed to slam back shot after shot at Doug's. She would keep pace with, and surpass, any of the men in town. He never minded carrying her home.
Every little thing about her was perfect. Her flaws, her mannerisms, and the way she spoke, how she thought. Every little thing that made her Karen, was something he loved. She was his first friend, his first kiss, his first "real" love, his first fuck. He wasn't her first anything. He was okay with that. He always hoped, even believed, that he would be her last.
She married the farmer in Forget-Me-Not Valley almost a year ago. Only a few weeks after losing his mother, he lost Karen, too.
"I've lost them all," he sighed, sitting back down on the edge bed.
"Lost what?" a sleepy voice asked him.
He turned his head and looked into the heavy-lidded, cloudy, blue eyes of his very-pregnant wife, Claire.
"Nothing," he told her, turning his head back, continuing to stare out the window.
A/N: I've revised this at least five times before publishing. Let me know what you think!