After the Harvest

Pairing: Jack x Farmer, slight Basil x Joe

Completed: October 2003

Author's note: I don't own Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland. This is a yaoi/shounen ai fic. I've used the Japanese names as follows. Kurt=Hayato, Farmer=Jack, Parsley=Basil, Joe=Shin, and Woody=Wood. I don't know Gwen's Japanese name.

After watering the harvest, feeding the chickens and cows, petting the dog and making cheese the farmer had all he could stand of work for the day, but still had to sell the day's produce to various people around the town. He sighed to himself and looked at the faithful dog panting under the summer's heat. He pushed on to Clove's Villa and sold half of his produce there. Dia was being a brat as usual, but it was good to see he smile when he came to the Villa rather than ignore his presence.

Last stop was the Café where the brunette in the pink dress would flirt and dream out loud despite the fact that she didn't really care if anyone was listening. Selling the rest of his goods, he nodded gracefully at the girl and turned to leave. The girl jumped onto his arm and pleaded for some recipe. He heard a door slam behind him but saw no one when he turned. Nodding in agreement, he shook himself out of her grasp and turned tail.

Once out of the café, Jack hung his head and walked past the reach of the building's light and the giddy girl giggles that echoed in it. He turned his head to see the sun high enough for a wish. He ran up the hill and past the bridge to see the radiant Goddess arguing with Hayato. In fear of intruding he kept out of sight behind a large tree, still wanting to see what had angered Hayato enough to plead angrily as he did.

"Wishing time is over," she declared crossing her arms.

"Bullshit, I have another few minutes and you know it!" he rose from his knees and declared with wound fists.

"Hayato, you'll just wish for what you wish for everyday! I told you, I can't grant you that wish! You'll have to do it on your own. All I can do is give you more energy so you may be able to run to his house and make a declaration. Please understand that I only want to best for you Hayato, but I can't do everything."

"You're cruel, Goddess. Both of us know you can give me what I want! Why can't you just . . . He won't have me otherwise!"

Jack's heart swelled. 'Whom is he talking about? Why is he being to mean to the Goddess?'

"I'm going back into the pool now. Don't come here again, Hayato. When you come to your senses you may make another wish, but not that!" She disappeared into the dark blue water.

Hayato hunched down in defeat. Jack couldn't see too well but he seemed to be in pain, heaving in sorrow. He wanted to help him, but it had only been two seasons since he had come and barged into everyone's lives. He had hardly shared more that a few greetings with him. It would be rude of him to assume on that understanding; but he wanted to receive more than a greeting . .

As soon as he had worked up enough courage to go comfort him, Hayato stood up and stormed toward the entrance to the area. Jack panicked and pretended to be asleep. He had had plenty of practice over the years, pretending not to hear his parents fight in the next room when he lived in the city. 'It seems so much quieter in the country.'

He heard the angry footsteps progress toward the pathway and past him but then they stopped. He flinched, but played it off as a sleeping twitch. The footfalls slowly came toward him, cautious not to wake him. 'Why wouldn't he just yell or say something off the cuff like he normally does?' The apprentice was close enough to smell him. The rough wooden musk of the boy leapt into Jack's nostrils. Comforting as it was, it made him slightly nervous. 'What if I were to flinch and wake up right now, with him so close? Would he . . . '

The harsh texture of the grass was replaced by soft skin over hard, tightened muscle. Hayato propped his head so it lay against his shoulder, nestling his body closely to his without squeezing too hard. They began to move. Up and down he bobbed in his arms, but Jack refused to move fearing Hayato's response. 'If I woke up now he'd freak out and drop me and things would be so strained. He'd ignore me for sure. Where are we going?' His mind drifted out of consciousness and into a deep meditation listening to the strong heartbeat under the tense muscle. Relaxed and calm Jack had forgotten where he was, but only knew that he was in a warm, protected place.

After a long walk he heard a door opening and closing. There was shuffling on the floor for a bit, then he descended onto the floor. His head landed on a soft pillow as his body collapsed onto the futon. Soon after a thick comforter fell upon him. Jack moaned accidentally at the sudden cold fabric against his skin. Just lying there for a while he listened to the things around him trying to discern where he was. It began to rain outside; the drops died against a window near him. A kettle boiled water in a far away corner and there was breath. Hayato was breathing somewhere in the room. It wasn't close like the raindrops but not as far away as the kettle. There he was, just breathing. 'Are his eyes open?' he wondered as he fell down past the futon and into a fluff of dreams.

There was a sudden clack of thunder, which threw Jack out of his relaxed state and into a frenzied panic. On edge, his eyes flew open and he sat up. Jack's eyes sprinted from one part of the room to the other. 'Where am I?'

His thoughts must have been apparent in his eyes because he heard a reply from across the room, between the kettle and the window. "You're in my house."

Their eyes met for a long pause while Jack held his breath. There was a lax intensity in his face. 'His eyes aren't even like this when he's working.' He was frightened. The storm had roused such strange fear in him. Jumpy and uncomfortable in Hayato's gaze he stood up nervously. This gaze he couldn't read, not knowing Hayato well enough. It could have meant any number of things.

"I'm sorry to have disturbed you," his eyes downcast. He bowed, "Thank you for letting me use your bed. I must have worn myself out after working so hard yesterday and fell asleep by that old tree." He bowed again. "I'm sorry, Hayato. I'll see you around." He turned toward the door hoping he would reply in any way. His hand found the door handle; he only had to turn it and he would be on his way toward home. Toward his empty house . . .

"See ya around," he replied faintly.

Once outside of the humble abode, he remembered that Hayato liked tomatoes so he left one outside his door to find in the morning.

Jack had tossed for some time before falling into a state of rest. Hayato's blank stare and the intense gaze he had received earlier flashed against the back of his eyelids. The more he tossed, the hotter the bed became, the more he wished be was back in the city where the many sounds kept him for thinking of anything except sleep. 'What was Hayato wishing for that the Goddess wouldn't grant? Was it something bad? Does he hate someone here? His job? His life? He gave me such a look before. Is it because he hates me?' A pain wrenched in his stomach. As soon as that pain subsided he fell asleep again.

Only a moment later it seemed, there was a knock on his door. He rubbed his eyes and hopped out of bed. The sudden wave of light hurt his eyes for a moment. As his eyes adjusted, he saw orange spiked hair, a green bandana, and determined, confused eyes studying his body. "Yes?" he asked in surprise.

"I . . . um, Why did you give me this?" he held up the pulp tomato.

"Because you took care of me yesterday. I must have caused you some problems last night so I figured I'd pay you back," he humbly explained.

"Umm, thanks," he replied, no looking entirely certain he had grasped the concept yet.

Then he noticed the rain hid not stopped during the night. "Oh, come inside, you'll get cold out there," he held the door open for him to come into the warm environment, but Hayato merely looked at the door then entered. His spikes had begun to sink down over his bandana.

"Thanks," he said then inspected at Jack's face. He walked toward him and took him by surprise as he held his hand up to Jack's forehead. Jack stared to back away when he pulled him closer by the back of his head. Uncomfortable, Jack looked around, feeling himself warm up all over. "Hayato . . ."

"You don't seem to have a fever," he reported. "So I guess you'll be okay."

Jack smiled awkwardly as Hayato removed his hands. "Would you like something to drink?"

He shook his head. "Gwen got sick, so Wood needs some milk and vegetables for soup. Can I buy some off of you?"

"I can just make the soup here if you want. I have a big kitchen and plenty of time after I feed the animals. How much does he need?" he offered. He wasn't just being polite, and he feared it showed. Somehow though, he wanted it to show that he wanted him around more than what was necessary.

Hayato thought about it for a moment and nodded. "If it wouldn't be too much trouble, please feel free. I'll help and why I can. Since it's raining, we can't do much work right now," he said as his eyes wove in and out of the bookshelf he put in the room back when Jack's grandfather was living there.

"Great," he said and put a shirt and hat on to start the morning off. "I'll go feed the animals and get some fresh milk. Then we can start the soup. Gwen can wait a couple hours right?"

Nodding, Hayato stared blankly at Jack as he clothed himself. "You're wearing a sweater."

"It's getting colder," he said. Then he blushed when he realized Hayato was watching him dress. After putting his shoes on, he walked toward the door. "Oh you can go ahead and watch TV or take a shower while I'm gone. I'll only be a bit."

He hurriedly put food into his faithful companion's dish then made his way into the chicken coop. After collecting eggs and feeding the chickens, he ran into the barn where he took care of the cows and gathered their milk. On the way back to the house he noticed a few ripe vegetables so he picked those and ran back into the house. He sat everything down next to the door and saw Hayato sitting in front of the TV. "How did it go?" he asked the farmer as he turned off the TV. "You're all wet."

"It's not too bad," he smiled. "Are you ready to cook?"

He nodded and helped him bring the milk into the kitchen. "I think Wood said he want two large milks, corn and mushroom."

"Good thing I have mushrooms stocked up from fall. Would you like some tomato soup, too? If you have a lot of time I could whip some up. That is, if you don't have anything to do. . " He could feel himself blush for some unknown reason. He hid it by sticking his head in the refrigerator to look for mushrooms.

"I'd like that, but I have to get some soup to Wood soon. If Gwen weren't sick, I'd be more than happy to stick around." He pulled the ripe veggies from Jack's pouch and began to tear at the silky fibers surrounding the ear of corn. "How many do you need me to shuck?"

"How about three." He started to boil the milk in two different pots and cut the mushrooms. "So where are you from, Hayato?"

"I was born in a town a few miles from here, close to the ocean. It's calm and boring like it is here, not as many girls though; which is fine by me. You're from the city, right? It must be hard to live in a place like this."

"I like it here. Everyone's so friendly. In the city you could loose your job or spill your fresh groceries all over the street and no one would turn their head. Here, people are usually very welcoming. And, it's so quiet here, which is new to me. I like it, most of the time."

He watched Jack stare into the milk, "Is it true that people in the city are always in a hurry?"

"Most of the time, why?"

"Well," Hayato crossed his arms on the table and put his chin on them, "You're always running around with a smile on your face. Well, you probably have much more to do than a lot of us. This farm is so nice, too. I wish I could have my own carpentry shop and a field of crops. I love watching things grow."

He was too observant not to see the longing in Hayato's far off eyes. "What would you grow?"

He thought for a moment then said, "Tomatoes, breadfruit, and corn probably. It would be so nice to be able to walk into my field and see fresh tomatoes. But I have so much to do for Wood, that I don't think I'll ever get the time to do it. Even if I did, there's no space for them."

A smile crept across Jack's face as he thought of Hayato working hard in the fields as he had so often. The milk started to boil and he tossed the vegetables in. "Only about an hour and we'll have great soup. I hope Gwen gets better. She's a, uh . . . nice person."

The spiky one smiled, "You don't like her either, huh?"

"I'm not saying that, but, you don't like her?" he stirred.

"She's a brat. All she does is complain about the work she doesn't do and chases animals around. It makes me sick sometimes how little she does, just like Katie," he said with a snarl on his face.

"Why do you not like Katie? She's friendly," he asked wanting to find the source of his aggravation. 'Was it Hayato who stormed out of the café before?'

"She's clingy," he looked away from Jack.

"I don't think she has ever clung onto you," he was a bit confused.

"She hasn't," he replied curtly.

There was a heavy silence for a minute as Jack tried to make sense out of it all. He was getting nothing out of Hayato's expressions.

"Could you watch the soup for a while? I need a shower," he smiled and walked into the bath.

As the door closed behind him, he faintly heard Hayato say something, but couldn't hear clearly enough to figure it out. His clothes fell to the ground and water flowed from the showerhead. The blush returned to his cheeks as he cleaned the sweat from his body. 'Someone who Katie fawns after, is that who he was wishing about? Who would it be? Katie fawns after some of us, like Rune, Shin, and Basil. But Shin and Basil never seemed to notice what she was doing, like they weren't interested in her at all. Like they were . . . maybe. That leaves Rune. IS RUNE IT? Oh Goddess, Rune? I've never seen Hayato and Rune in the same place; but it's possible.'

After he was done, he toweled dry and poked his head out of the door to check on Hayato who watched the fire under the pots with a sigh. He covered up and walked past Hayato and into his room where he changed clothes again.

When he found his way back into the kitchen, Hayato was stirring the soup absently. "I think it may be ready soon."

The clean farmer walked beside him and leaned over the pot. Nodding in agreement, he added, "I'll get some containers for the soup and leaned over to open the counter below. Bending over quite dramatically to recover two clear thick containers. "Are these good?" he looked them over then peered over them to see a bright blush across Hayato's cheeks.

"Yes, they're fine," he turned his face away and quickly changed the subject. "So is this your grandmother's recipe?"

"Not exactly," he tried to get a look at his face again then gave up. "I like to cook, more than watching TV. I like it about as much as I've grown to like farming. Cooking is less work, though. I was going to attend culinary school come September, but this whole farm situation has put a big stain on my plans. Oh, well," he finished with a smile.

"I would have been mad about not being able to go to school to do what I love. Luckily, I love working with wood," he smiled for a reason that escaped Jack. "Wood and Shin are hard workers; but Shin keeps flaking off and running off somewhere. I'll have to follow him one day."

"Where do you think he's going?" He poured the soup into the containers with Hayato holding onto the sides so it didn't fall over.

"No clue, maybe going off for some midnight fishing or something. He keeps on coming back awfully early in the morning. There are dark circles under his eyes like he hadn't slept and says he's exhausted. On the bright side, he still works hard even if he's been out all night."

"I'm sure you'll find out sooner or later what he's up to," he covered the steaming soups up and placed them in a handled bag. He grabbed a breadfruit for the soups and nestled it on top of the containers. "Here you go," he handed him the bag. "Are you sure you wouldn't like some tomato soup also?"

Shaking his head, a mournful look streaked across his face for a moment. "How about another time when it rains?"

"I'd like that," he let the slight blush show on his face as he showed him to the door.

"I should hurry back. Thank you very much," he bowed deeply and opened the door to see the rain had doubled.

About brave the storm, Jack grabbed his hand and placed an umbrella in his palm. He turned his head and thanked him again with a nod and a smile. "See you later, farmer."

Still in the groove, Jack cooked cakes and jams all day until he became too exhausted for another pancake. He loved giving the people things to eat; like he was helping the town grow despite their low spirits about the town being unlucky.

Upon opening his eyes to the morning light, he had a wonderful idea. After taking care of his many moo-cows and clucks, he ran to the flower shop where he bought many seeds and a few flowers. Stashed in his bag was the first part of his surprise. Second, he carefully found his way into the carpenter's shop and asked a favor of the old Wood. He strolled down the stairs and sat on the last step to watch Hayato hack away at the willow three before him, undoubtedly making sure they had enough wood for the coming winter. He had once said that willow branches made the best fires because of their sorrowful character. His strokes with the axe were smooth and solid, clean and masterful. 'Wood was right when he said that he was the better apprentice out of the two. Maybe that's why Shin goes off by himself at night.' He frowned at Shin's lax, jerky slashes with the axe. Hayato crawled into and around Jack's senses unknowingly. In the middle of thinking of how he could approach him, Wood laughed and asked; "Don't you have a lot of running around yet to do, boy?"

He smiled in return nervously, knowing Hayato would probably see him now, "You're right, I'll be going on my way."

Hayato waved to him as the farmer stood to walk away. He smiled in return until he heard, "Oh, Shin, did you bring that chair by Basil's place?"

'Basil?' he stumbled. Hayato caught the trip with a weary eye.

"Yeah, I dropped it off yesterday," he heard before he started to run back home.

A bit later, Jack found himself at the farthest plot from the house. In the corner, it was the place he never really seemed to have time to water everyday. He hoed it and watered the soil, preparing it for the surprise in the day ahead.

The clouds were bright and fluffy outside but the weather forecast told of heavy rain the following day. He cleaned the house a bit and walked out onto his land. The chickens and cows were outside from the previous day happily telling of their glee. The dog ran around and guarded the land proudly barking away any evil wind that might threaten the farm's prosperity. His hands found the growing pup and rubbed his coat affectionately. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted a ruined plant and went to its aide. There was nothing he could do like with some of the chickens that he had; it had died during the night. Discouraged but energetic, he slashed it away with his scythe and began watering the soil of all the other plants.

The whole field was watered and strong except the farthest plot, which remained barren. He gathered the flowers in the house and placed them in two spots on the outside of the plot leaving about a foot's length between them.

The sun was descending in the sky from its highest point in the day. Quickly, he ran into the house to look himself over when he heard the knock he was expecting at the door. The door opened to a confused Hayato who held out a package to the farmer. "This is for you. Wood said you asked for it."

"Oh well, could you help me with it?" he asked and pushed it back into his arms.

"Why? Do you need to have it hanged?" he scratched his head. His face was a bit dirty, but his clothes looked rather clean.

"Something like that," he grabbed his bag and they went outside.

Hayato gazed at the tall plants in the farmer's field. "Wow, you must be a really good farmer! These plants are so big!" He wrapped his hands around a growing ear of corn, eyeing it affectionately.

"That's nothing, you should see this!" he waved him over to the empty plot. "Tada!"

"I don't get it," he stated carrying the package on his arm.

"Open the package!" he told him almost too excited about it. He bounced on his feet.

Ripping the brown paper off of it, Hayato let his curiosity play on his face, like a kid on his birthday. When he had taken it all off he finally read the sign in wonderment, "Hayato's garden? Is this for me?"

He nodded happily and opened his bag. "And I bought you some seeds and your very own set of tools to work the land with. Don't worry if you don't know how, I'll teach you all you have to know. I could do it now if you wanted."

Hayato simply stared at him and then bowed deeply to hide the swelling of his eyes, "Thanks you very much!"

Jack lifted his face up and wrapped his arms around him, which Hayato hesitantly mimicked. "You're welcome, Hayato."

"I've never had very much of anything, but now I feel so full of so much," he let go of Jack and wiped his eyes quickly. "I just can't believe it."

"If you have time now I can teach you how to work the land. And I won't ask for anything of your vegetables or anything, it's all yours."

Hayato placed the sign at the far side of the plot and hammered it in. Giving it a look over he asked, "So when do we start?"

First he taught him how to use the hoe to till the soil, explaining that this gave the soil air. Next was techniques of watering, Jack showed him where to get water on the farm and how to maximize water to the plants. Finally ways to plant the seeds which they finished as the sun began to set. "Perfect timing. Now you'll have to come by and water them every day. If you haven't been here by sundown I'll do it myself."

He bowed once again in thanks. "Thanks for teaching me so much. I've learned so much. I should be getting back though. I've got work early in the morning."

Jack nodded and walked him to the path back to the town. "What time should I expect you?"

"I don't know, probably sooner than you think," he winked and started off down the path.

His heart mushed at the simple gesture. 'It's wrong of me to feel like this. He likes Rune, not me. Good thing I haven't run into that guy otherwise I would have . . . Am I jealous of Rune?' Suddenly very melancholy, he returned to the field and drew the slow, stubborn cows into the barn. The chickens were sleep by the time he returned them to their coop. Now very tired and morose, he washed and lay in the bathtub with only his thoughts to hold him above water. After an hour of trying to think of nothing, heavy drops trickled down onto the house and soon after a hard knock drew him into a state of awareness.

With a towel around his waist, Jack opened the door a crack to be pushed back into the house as a dark figure closed the door behind him.

"Who are you?" he demanded.

"I'm sorry, I just didn't know where else to go," a trembling voice reported.

"Ha . . .Hayato?" he stood up and wrapped his arms around the cold, chattering apprentice. "What's wrong? Did something happen?"

"After I walked home," he started as Jack led him to the bathroom where he could warm up in the water, "I saw Shin sneaking away again so I decided to follow him. He dashed around like he knew I was following him at first. After a while he started walking to the beach where he usually fishes, you know?"

Jack nodded as he helped him remove his cold clothes carefully.

Nervously, he complied to Jack's helpful fingers and partially embarrassing accidental touches. "So he stood there for a while, not taking out his pole. At first I thought he was just watching the water, so I almost turned to leave when out of nowhere Basil tackled him onto the ground and they laugh for a moment then go behind the café."

Jack waited through a moment of his silence as he guided him into the bathtub. His shivering subsided as the water warmed him to the bones.

"Then," he swallowed, "then I followed them again and hid in the bushes. Basil was touching Shin." He blushed furiously because of the water and the story.

"What do you mean," Jack asked, not wanting to get the wrong idea.

Hayato dunked his head into the water then looked away from Jack, holding himself together. "He was, um."

Jack touched his shoulder, "Take your time."

He sighed and looked directly into Jack's eyes. "Shin started to pant. Basil was touching him; then he got on his knees and opened Shin's pants. Basil started sucking him off, right there. I couldn't believe it, Shin's like a brother to me and didn't tell he was in love with Basil. I don't know why, but I kept on watching as Basil do that to him and moaned along with him like, he was enjoying it, too. I got so angry, I wanted to yell at him. Just when I was about it, he you know . . . finished. I was so embarrassed for watching, so I ran back to my house. I thought I was mad because he hadn't told me about it; which I was, but that wasn't the real reason."

His hand subconsciously started to rub his back and he asked, "What was?"

Red hands found their way to cover his face, "I was jealous."

'Jealous? I thought he like Rune, not Basil. What's going on?' he thought. "Jealous? Who were you jealous of?"

He uncovered his face and sucked up his courage. "I was jealous of both of them."

"What?" he said. "I thought you liked Rune."

"Rune?" he looked up at him with a disgusted visage. "What about Rune?"

"Oh, never mind. Go on."

"Well, I was jealous because I'm not as close to the person I like as I would like to be and they had found each other. I know it's stupid, but that's how I feel. I don't know how I'm going to go back to work."

"Listen," he said unhappily. "If this person makes you happy, you have to go after him and tell him how you feel with all that energy you're using on being jealous."

"That's easy for you to say," he smiled wryly. "Well you must be cold, get in the bathtub."

Jack took off his towel and sat on the opposite side of the bathtub and stared at the water. He could hear Hayato breathing deeply as if the water was too heavy on him. "Are you going to be okay?"

The farmer looked up to see Hayato stand in front of him proudly. "I can't take this anymore."

Jack stood up also in the deep steel tub with the water coming to his waist. "Hayato?"

"I've looked up and down, far and wide before I came to this small town to apprentice under Wood. I've been to many places and tried to find someone who could fill me without a word or deed, just having that certain person near that would mold me into a better man. After coming here and nearly giving up hope, a cheerful boy from the city swept the wind from my lungs, making me into a better man than I was."

The farmer's eyes widened, 'Hayato, is it true? Please don't. . . '

"It's you, Jack. If you don't feel the same I'll leave you alone and you can have your garden back. I just wanted you to know how kind and strong and sensitive and honest you are. You make me feel everything I've been lacking, everything I want to make you feel in return," he closed his eyes and hugged him tightly. "I love you."

Jack was so shocked he didn't raise him arms to hold him back, but simply let himself be held. Taking it as rejection, Hayato raised a foot to exit the bath when Jack grabbed his arm and pulled him into his embrace. He gasped and said, "But I thought you. . ."

The embrace was firm and long. "Hayato, thank you. You don't know how happy I am right now. I thought you liked Rune so I had basically given up hope. Thank you, Hayato, for choosing me."

The pair sat back down in the steaming water and stared at each other longingly, with an absence of lust. Holding hands and smiling at each other in wonder was enough.

"You don't have your hat on," Hayato observed out loud.

"Yeah, weird huh? I could put it back on," he offered.

"No, that's ok. I was kind of embarrassed earlier when you took my clothes off. No one's ever done that to me, not like this anyway."

"Well, I didn't want you to get sick," he cuddled him and kissed his forehead.

They held each other while Hayato piped up, "What did you mean the other day when you said you didn't always like how quiet it is here?"

"When I lived in the city, there was so much noise I didn't have to think about anything except sleeping, when I was tired. Out here, my thoughts are constant and badgering when I'm trying to fall asleep. Recently, I would think about how lucky Rune must be to be adored by someone like you."

"Why did you think I liked Rune anyway? I thought you must have caught me making cow eyes at you at one point."

"Well, you sounded like the person you liked was someone Katie liked, too. So, I thought about everyone that was and ruled out Shin and Basil immediately."

"Why," he interrupted.

"Well, they just didn't fit to me. Now we know why. So there was only really Rune."

"And you," he added.

"I didn't think I was a candidate."

"Well now we know who won," he said sweetly and gave Jack a long, warm kiss.