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Disclaimer: I don't own anything of Harvest Moon. How I wish I do though!


It had been a month since Gray and Claire got married, but they were still barely able to hold a civil conversation.

Life hadn't changed that much since. The fact that they carried on their life wordlessly without committing homicide probably was the most significant thing about the married couple. They had learned to tolerate the presence of the other, if not ignore. Gray and Claire had never get along well before, so they made it a point not bother or disturb the other person, now that they were forced to live together, and try to give each as much liberty as possible.

After all, their marriage wasn't for love.

Gray still woke up at 7:00 am, ran a lap, then back at the farm to eat before going about his work at the smith. The only variable factor was that now he dined at Claire's farm and slept on her couch instead of the inn.

And Claire still worked diligently on her crop field each day like she always did.

Even back in the house, they didn't talk much. There was nothing to talk about really, the fact that they didn't marry out of love was not exactly something worth talking about.

They didn't spend time eating together. Not that they purposely did so, it was just a natural result of their different schedules, and none of the husband nor wife really put any priority in changing it. Gray still had his lunch delivered from the Inn, and Claire just cooked whatever convenient when she felt like. Dinner started at different time for them, as Gray tended to be on the clock about his eating habit, while Claire wasn't keen on having an exact schedule, as she often too involved in her farming tasks to realize it was way pass time for a meal.

The first night, Claire dutifully cook for Gray as an obligation of a newly wedded wife, but he just brushed it off and told her nonchalantly not to bother. It was best if they just live their life as they see fit, as there was no point adjusting to each other just because that they got married. Their point was, their marriage shouldn't be a big deal.

Except that any sensible person would say marriage IS a big deal.

The fact that Claire and Gray somehow managed to marry each other, was still a mystery that puzzled everyone in Mineral town, and even the couple sometime still wondered how did they land there.

.

And like any usual romantic tales, a drunken night was the beginning of it all.

The inn quieted down as it residences and customers retrieved back to their haven, settled in for the night. An hour ago, there was still a busting atmosphere of the party, to celebrate for the departure of Popuri - she finally decided to leave and travel the world with Kai. Apparently, that called for a gather of every residences of the town, so the inn naturally become their meeting point. Teary exchanges and confession session resulted, accompanied with alcohols. Some drank for their friends, others drank for the sake of celebrations: The girls were cheerily sipping cocktails and whatnot, the adults made an excused to drink to their hearts content, and the older generation just having casual conversation about life while observing the town's youngster.

But amid the jolly ambiance, there were two people that drank just to wash off their somberness. They also happened to be the only two remained even though the party has ended, still drinking their heart out.

Tonight, Claire was in no hurry to go back to her farm. She was staying here for the night, to get away from the fussing of her brother Jack back at the house. Although she was happy for her little pink friend at first, the alcohol seemed to pull out another reason for her constant consuming. Soon the celebration drink turned into a depressing binge, and Jack gradually replacing Popuri as the reason for the numbers of empty mug on her table.

Sharing the same rapture for alcohol tonight with her was Gray, sitting opposite on the same table, knocking his beers down like it was water. The only mutual conversation they had was the sipping sounds of beers downing down the throats.

.

"Have you ever loved someone Gray?" Claire said without preamble, came with her voice a breath of fermented wheat that Gray could easily tasted just by the scent. She was having much more alcohol than her tolerance allowed, and was edging on the path of drunkenness.

"Why do you ask?" Gray said, clearly in a better state than Claire' tipsiness.

"Well, I have. Love. Jack was my adopted brother, and my world. Although we grew up together as brother and sister, somewhere along the way, I felt in love with him, and still am ever since."

"Oh" He replied noncommittally, mind occupied with his own liquor of sorrow.

"Such folly things called love. They torture you. Especially the kind like mine, where the other person can never reciprocate it. " Claire rambled to herself.

Then she turned the conversation to Gray.

"Why are you here drinking anyway? I'm amazed that you even join the party. You don't socialize much, if ever. And you don't seem like you're enjoying it."

"I needed a drink, that's all."

"And whyyy do you need a drink, if not to celebrate for Popuri?"

Claire was tipsy, but she intuition was still sharp.

Another mug of beer was finished by Gray as an answer to Claire's question.

"Unless you didn't want Popuri to leave." She said.

Right to the bull eyes it seemed, as Gray's face twisted darkly. He never really tried hiding his feeling for Popuri or keeping it a secret, but it didn't mean he wanted people to discuss about it, especially with him.

His silence however, was enough of a confirmation to Claire's suspicion.

"Oh, so you are in love with Popuri. I never knew you could have feeling for anyone. I thought you only interested in biting people head off."

Still no words from Gray, but he knocked all his drink in one gulp, not liking where the conversation was heading with a drunk farmer.

"Maybe you should tell her." Said Claire.

"And why the hell I should I listen to you?" His patience was running short.

"And why would you not?"

"She is happy with Kai, isn't she?"

"Still, letting your feeling hanging in the air isn't good for your health, nor everyone around you. You only slash it out on the other later, like you did to me."

"Why don't you go take care of your business instead of poking into other, little miss sister girl."

"I did tell Jack I loved him." She said, twirling the mug of beer with solemn sadness.

"And look at where it got you, brooding over here with a dozen empty mugs of beer."

"Hey, at least I had the gut to try." False alcohol courage always made it easier for people to speak their mind. "You on the other hand, was just a coward that vent your temper on everyone else."

"I am not a coward. I just happen to care about other's situation before confessing my mind, unlike some blonde who can't seem to shut up about her love."

"Right. Making excuses all you like. You're only good with tough words. I bet you couldn't kiss Popuri properly anyway even if she dares you."

"You..."

That last sentences definitely did it for Gray. His blood was boiling. What did Claire mean he couldn't kiss Popuri even if she dares him? Hell, he could kill just to touch Popuri's lips right now, to take her in and confess his love to her perfect little ears, whisper sweet words that send shivers to her body. But she was never his to begin with, certainly now that she was about to head off to the ferry. Thousand times he saw her eyes lit with happiness by the mention of Kai's name, and how they shared that gentle kiss at the beach. He witnessed it all, and he had no right to interfere with such love.

But this farmer here couldn't understand his feeling, could she? To her he was just a coward that held back his feeling. How would she know that it took every ounce of Gray's resolution to control himself from pinning the Goddess of his love down, to declare his love all over her, to kiss her with such a passion it would melt her heart.

In a snapped of alcohol impaired judgment, Gray pulled Claire over and planted a deep kiss on the intoxicated blonde. His tongue travelled forward, parted the wet set of lips, pouring in the heated desire he had for Popuri into the shocked blonde. He was showing Claire how his kiss would be like if he were to kiss precious person, and he kissed her with such a yearning that she was unable to protest.

Not long at all he was beginning to feel a reciprocate force attacked back at him, losing itself in the sea of sensation.

Several minutes passed before his lips finally left her. Gray looked at the wide-open pair of blue eyes, smirked as Claire's face was flustered from the result of his kiss.

"Do you still think I can't kiss now?" He asked mockingly.

But before he could hear an answer, a warmth he just parted were returned to him. Claire was kissing him back again, this time with more urgency. He could felt a familiar heat spread over him, wet lips pressed against his, breath mingled as she slit her tongue in. Gray closed his eyes and allowed himself to sink into the temptation, reciprocating her affectionate kiss. Claire saliva was like the nectar of his favorite beer, and he couldn't help twirling his tongue to taste some more, feeling himself aroused with each passing second eating it.

In the dead of the night at the inn, all sounds halted into a deadpan stillness, with only the murmured sound radiated from Claire and Gray remained. For an indefinite time, they faces were unseparated, broke out just to collapsed right again into each other. They gave in to the urge that was swelling up between them, body inched closer unconsciously in response to the escalating tension.

When the last kissed was exhausted, they looked at each other, studied the unknown emotional filled in their eyes.

In her drunken haze, Claire could still tell that, Gray, by all account wasn't a bad looking guy at all, and if anything, was exceptionally handsome. If his eyes weren't covered by the stupid hat of his, and his face wasn't busying snapping at other people, no one could ever resist looking at him. The careless blond hair was something one don't often see, its color almost as silver as the glittering stars, casually fluttered around his head, reflecting a natural charisma that had tempted many people. Well-formed lips that like an invitation to sweetness. Central to his face was a nose with a high, straight bridge, a pillar for his exquisite feature. And then there were his eyes, the pair of deep blue eyes that had the ability to stare into one's soul, explored each and every corner of its owner and provoke a deep longing desire to become his prisoner. His whole existence commanded for undivided attentions to anyone happened to be on his radius. Gray was, very irresistible.

And his kisses, his kisses were definitely from someone of experience. The intensity, the skills, they burned Claire with a strange tingling feeling she didn't often have.

Maybe Claire wasn't thinking clearly, or maybe it was the alcohol, but she wanted to do something more with this striking blacksmith before her.

Judging by the responsiveness of his action, apparently Gray was sharing the same desire with her as well.

Without exchange the words, they both headed upstairs, went into Claire's room. Not even looking, Gray closed the door behind softly, his face still interlocked into Claire's passion. Follow suited were the sounds of clothes hastily dropped to the floor, and frantic breaths emerged.


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