I played the game almost 10 years ago, and still playing. Yet most of my current friends don't know about HM since the game is so old (I moved from my country to the US, hence the term"current friends"),so I didn't have a beta reader to proofread the fic. I tried my best to catch myself, but if you see lots of grammar mistake, please review and kindly point them out, I will go back and fix them.

Please bear with the slow beginning, I wanted to set up the right mood for the story, and it will pick up later as you learn more about Claire& other characters. I had every thing plotted out pretty much, and will be update frequently.

This is my first fan fiction ever, also my first story written in English. I was bored, so I created the story as a way to cope with my lack of social life. Please read and review, it would really boost up my confidence & motivate me to continue on :)

***Disclaimer: I do not own anything related to Harvest Moon, much to my dismay :(


A new beginning.

Everything has its price- truer words have never spoken to Claire. In front of her, was a vast field of wasted land, filled with debris, logs, boulders and wild grass, nowhere resembling the term "amazing farmland" that she read on the advertisement. Which probably explained the over-enthusiastic realtor on the phone as they pompously sold her the land with such a price. The term dirt cheap seemed ironically appropriate now, all dirt, and cheap, just like her new property. Even the grass was the color of soiled green.

Well, not that she would be surprised, considered the price she paid for her "farm".

But Claire didn't come here for playing fantasy life. She was eager to break away from the city and all the hustles happened in her life. And if this was a challenge she had to face to leave the old world behind, so be it.

"So you're a new farmer," a chiming voice popped up behind Claire. She swiveled and averted her eyes down below, towards the source, and found a short man in a funny red suits, wearing a matching red hat to cover up his receding hairline. He spoke like a little child, his eyes sparkled with the goodwill of town people you rarely found in the cities.

"I'm Thomas, the major of the town. I've been informed that there are a new owner of the farm. Didn't expect you to be a girl though".

"Yes, I am Claire. Nice you meet you."

"Are you sure you want to take the place? It is not much of a farm anymore, and you seems too ... Fragile ... To take care of the place all by yourself," He looked at the pale looking girl in front of him. Claire wasn't exactly on the healthy side, or at least not enough for heavy farm work by herself.

"Were you cheated into buying the place? I can talk to the realtor for you…"

"It's okay. I kind of expecting the land to be like this actually," Claire glanced distractedly at the debris-filled field. "Consider the price I paid for it, this is no wonder."

"Well well, aren't you something? Then I guess it is up to you then. I'm going visit other people in town to inform them of your arrival. If you needs any help, don't hesitate to ask, okay?"

"Sure, Mayor Thomas. Thank you."

"Thomas is fine." He corrected Claire warmly.

Then the tiny man went off his merry way, leaving Claire behind with her new property.

"Well, there is no need to waste any more time to contemplate how horrible this place is. Might as well get to work," Claire exclaimed to herself.

She pushed her luggage into the beaten standing structure that she assumed was her new residence. In it prime times, the "house" must had been a cute little cabin amidst a field of greens, but now it looked like a weathered hut.

The cabin's interior was divided into two area – one where bath room was, and the other area were combine into one grand space, acting as the Kitchen, Living room and bedroom combined. From the look of the cabin's setting, Claire guessed their previous owner must have a pretty simple and casual life in solitary.

The kitchen was placed at the left corner, pretty rusty and rather simple, but usable and worked for everyday purpose. Compare to the extensive kitchen back home, this is rather too simple. But then, Claire was not here to practice the art of culinary.

The living room area, which hold an old TV, a worn out bookshelf packed with assorted books, a beaten up couch and a tiny table - guessed that was where the old guy had his meal as well. And then, to Claire's surprise, at the far upper right corner of the house was spacious a bed, every soft as well - its previous owner must had like his comfortable sleep. He also put a drawer right next to it and make a small nice bed table.

The house was overall small and dusty, but neat and acceptable for now. After all, there was no need for a big house when she was the only one in it. She already had a big and empty house in the city anyways. If she needed a luxury life, she wouldn't be moving here. Beside, small house means less cleaning, and soon she would have her hand busy with farming.

Farming. There's the problem. The field was a total waste, and to top it off, Claire had no previous experience in farming at all. Well, she did took care of a few trees and plants in her high school and college classes, but handling the farm by herself and making a decent living on it were another entire story.

"Knock knock knock."

The sound woke Clair up from her trance. She didn't close the door, but the person must had knocked just to be polite.

"Hey, " The tall dark man stood outside the house said as she turned around to greet him. He was an ideal image of working man in Claire's book – his towel hang carelessly over the shoulder to pat off the sweat, white tank top to maximize heat radiation that coincidentally emphasis his muscular body, and tan skin that told his time under the sun, working honest job.

"I'm Zachary, or Zack for short," He introduced himself. "I've heard about you from Thomas. I came by to offer some help about things around here," he said casually.

"Hi Zack, I'm Claire. Thank you for the trouble of coming here. It's very nice of you" Claire smiled her sweetest smile, truly thankful for the kindness of the stranger in front of her.

"No worries. We Mineral folks take care of each other. I'm a fisher and also in charge of shipping things in and out of the town. I used to ship production for the old farmer as well," He said, an old reminiscences faintly lingered in his voice. "Let me show you a few basic things around."

Thus, Zack toured Claire around in her farm, and how to get the products packed in the shipping bin so Zack could take it to the city every other day.

"Here is the old set of equipment from the old farmer. I took possession of it after he passed away, as a keepsake for the old man. It's pretty rusty by now, but maybe they can still be of some help for you," He said as he pulled out the tools off his duffle bag.

"Definitely, I was worried about where to buy tools. Those are a big help!" Claire exclaimed happily as she accepted the tools from Zack. These tools were indeed rusty, but they should work with a bit sharpening.

"We have a blacksmith here, you can take the tools to him to get it in shape again. The old guy takes care of all of our equipment in town. He is pretty skillful I might add. People come from different parts of the country to visit him."

"I will absolutely. Thanks"

"There is a poultry farm right around your farm. Chicken is great you know, an eggs a day for a hen. Sure they aren't the best money maker out there, but they could give you some decent meal for the beginning when your farm still need a little work… Besides, the lady there is really nice," He blushed for a second as he realized his last sentences.

"Anyway here is the map. Take a look around and do visit people okay? Mineral town is a small town, but we pretty much have everything we need for daily life. Anything special, you will need to order it via the phone at the inn and I'll ship it to you."

"Thank Zack, you're such a big help"

"Hey don't worry about it. It is rare for us to have new people, especially such cute lady like you," Though she does need a bit of feeding, look at that skinny arm, he thought. "I'm going, but I will be back in a few day with some other guys to help you out if possible. Don't hesitate if you need anything okay"

They nodded as Zack took off so Claire could take a rest. It had been a long day for Claire with all the moving and traveling, so she decided to just clean up the bed and unpacked her essential belonging. Work could begin tomorrow, after all, she would have plenty of time to herself now.

Claire shed a tear to herself before settling in for the night. Amidst the absolute darkness of the night, lying on an unfamiliar bed of the unfamiliar place, Claire never feel so more alone.

.

.

.

The next day, Claire fixed her a quick breakfast and did a full inspection of her property to determine its conditions.

The empty kitchen would require some basic stocking if she ever decided to cook. The farm had a big barn for cow and sheep that needed a fixing desperately before could be put in use. The chicken coop needed to be touched up as well, but for the moment they could go without. The house was good for now, but a little patching up wouldn't go amiss. Claire made a mental note to asked Zack for a handy man in town next time she saw him.

The tools on the other hand seemed like an urgent matter, as they needed to be sharpen if she wanted to do some serious work on her farm. So Claire decided to head out to town and have them repair at the Blacksmith's today.

The town was much prettier than Claire expected. The earth red cobblestone road made the path much pleasant to walk on. On both side of the road, those old fashioned cottage with also red roof and white brick that complimented the rosy color. She knew she must had stray from her path to the Blacksmith, based on the map Zack had generously gave her, but she didn't mind being a little lost just to enjoyed the scenery. So she kept wandering on, taking in her surrounding and the warm atmosphere the town gave off.

After feeling satisfied with her spontaneous stroll, she pulled out the map to relocated herself, again while still walking.

"Seems like I missed the turn to the poultry farm…" Claire mumbling to herself.

Immediately a strong energy pushed towards her body, collided, and Claire felt herself stumbling down. She closed her eyes to embrace for the impact with the tiles.

But there was nothing. No pain, no crash. Instead, she felt an arm catching her mid-fall.

Surprised, she opened her eyes again to see who just helped her break the fall. Meeting her glaze was a pair of cobalt blue eyes, looking at her tentatively. The depth of the worried orbs was like a clear sky in the winter day, its endless depth seemed to hold hostage of its audience. Her chest fluttered as she feel her glaze sucked into it, unable to break out.

"You should watched were you are going," the owner of the winter sky said in a husky tone, as he steadied Claire up to make sure she was standing properly on her feet again. "Are you okay?"

"Ah… Yes I'm okay." Claire blushed at she realized she must have staring at him dumbfound. "Sorry for tumbling into you, I was a little lost."

Claire smirked as a stupid thought ran through her head, those silly clichés she often read about, where a gal bumped into a guy and the moment their eyes met, they instantly knew it was destiny. Well sure, that guy did have a beautiful eyes, but Claire wasn't such a naïve girl. Yet entertaining the thought seemed to lighten her mood considerably- a first time since a long time.

"No problem." The guy said, bringing Claire back to earth. "I haven't seen you around, who are you?"

"I'm Claire, the new owner the farm over the end of this road." She tiled her head to the farm's direction.

"Oh... So you're the new farmer. I didn't expect you to be a girl…" He said, quickly adjusting himself "Anyway it's really none of my business. Welcome to the boonies. Hope you will get used to it soon."

"Thank you…"

" I've got to go, I'm late. See you around," The guy dashed away in a hurry, holler back as he ran.

And his figure swiftly faded away namelessly.

He said see you around, so he must be a town's village. Claire guessed she will met him again soon, provided that she still survive her farm.

.

.

.

The daydreaming thought exploded right in her face just as loud as the cracking metallic sound she heard when she opened the door to enter the blacksmith. As if to make sure Claire get the message.

A loud voice was yelling in response to the big boom.

"AGAIN GRAY! How many damn time I need to tell you to be careful before you decide to listen?"

"It's just a small crack! I will be able to fix it right away," A voice curtly replied, strangely familiar to Claire.

"A small crack?" The words seemed to tick the old man off. "Yes you will be able to fix that small crack, but the crack head of yours is incurable! " He snarled at Gray.

Before Claire debating whether she should just step out to break the fight of the two strangers, the scolded guy noticed Claire's presence. Annoyed by the concerned eyes staring at him, he bellowed bluntly:

"What are you looking at Blondie? Stop nosing into people's business."

Claire didn't expect to be lashed by his temper. And she didn't take it too well when people just conveniently venting on her.

"Don't flatter yourself crack head. It is not my fault that you plastered your problem all over the place for people to see..."

She snapped back reflexively, and immediate regret it. Not a good way make a first impression Claire. You're new here. Then her regret even grew heavier as she realize gray were the guy from earlier.

"Well then butt out of here noisy brat." He said coldly.

Ok, so he was that guy, but he had no right talking like that. "And I will listen to you because...?" Claire said, about to turn on assaulting mode.

"Becayse I will-"

"Gray! She is a customer." Saibara yelled and scolded the boy, prevent the angry young guy to finish his sentence, and broke up their tension. "Sorry for his poor behavior miss. How may I help you today?"

"Huh? Me? Oh yes" Claire glanced warily towards the boy, but decided the better and step up to the counter to give the man her tools. "I'm here to have these repaired.""

"Ah, I recognize these tools, they belongs to the old farmer. Are you the new owner of the farm?"
" Yes I am. My name is Claire, nice to meet you."

"Nice to have you in town Claire. I'm Saibara the Blacksmith. Over there is my apprentice and grandson Gray."

Claire politely nodded to the mention of his name, but Gray remained silent in his corner, feigning ignorance to his introduction. He was in no mood to socialize with the bratty girl. Hell, he even regretted helping her from the fall earlier. Maybe a little impact of the floor could help with her bratty attitude.

"It will cost you 500G for the repair. Come back in 3 days to get it, or I can have that rude child over there delivery it to you if you wish."

"Ah it's okay. I'll be back by then. Thank you".

Claire concluded her business and walked away from the shop, yet her thought still remained with the hunching posture of the apprentice blacksmith working on his station, indicate his owner was working clearly in aggravation.

So gray was the owner of the beautiful eyes that dominated her daydream earlier. But he seemed like an entirely different person in the shop. The guy she met this morning was gentle, his deep blue eyes cool and collected like winter's stillness. Gray's eyes in the forge however, was shallow, dark and full of anger, like a raging sea in the storm.

Claire shrugged and continued on her trip, grief for what should have been a wonderful encounter. So much for romantic fateful stumbling they talked about in cliché story.

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What do you think about the first chapter? Again, please read and review, it would really boost up my confidence & motivate me to continue on :) !

Chapter 2 will be out next week. Thank you