I do not own Harvest Moon!

A Festival to Never Forget

The young blacksmith apprentice's sapphire blue eyes opened for a split second. Rays of the early morning light shinned in them. Annoyed, he turned over in his bed; he pulled the blanket over his head. He let out a large lungful of air. Thank Goddess for a festival day, he thought wanting sleep to take him once more.

Just then the door creaked open and in walked the red headed Inn Keeper's daughter, Ann. In her long, braided red hair was pink and white flowers, and instead of her usual blue overalls she wore a beautiful white dress.

The girl walked up to the bed and simply said, "Gray, wake up."

If I stay still the monster will go away, thought the boy. Involuntarily, he held his breath.

"Gray," she said again.

Come on, he thought. It's my day off. Go away.

"You're asking for it," she said annoyed. "I know you are awake. Your face is twitching."

How would she know? The blanket is over my damned head, he almost said but realized just in time it was just what she wanted him to do. So instead he continued on pretending to sleep.

"Gray! Gray! Gray! GRAY! GRAY! GRAY! GRAY! WAKE UP!"

He bit his lip, but still the rest of him remained frozen.

Ann waited silently for a moment, watching him. She smiled. "You leave me no choice now," she said walking towards the door.

Did I win? What did she mean, he thought sleepily. Yay…sleep.

Once more the door creaked as it was forced open wider. The red head took a step into the hallway. "Saibara!"

No, Gray thought feeling his heart escalate. She's bluffing.

"Saibara!" she called again.

"What's wrong Ann?" the familiar rough voice called back.

Damn her! You devil, he screeched in his thoughts as he sprang up. "I'm up! I'm awake Ann," he said running his hand through his messy red hair.

"Ann?" the old voice called again.

Ann pulled her head into the room. She grinned.

"Answer him," Gray growled.

She leaned put to the hallway and called, "He'll be down in a few minutes, Saibara."

The young blacksmith apprentice sighed. "Why?" he mumbled.

"Today is the Goddess Festival. You can't spend the whole day sleeping," Ann said leaning back into the room.

Gray looked up at her and was shocked by her appearance.

"What?" she snapped.

"You're a girl? Who knew?"

Her expression turned into a glare. She walked away, completely into the hallway and walked towards the stairs. "Saibara! Gray is being rude!"

"Crap," he mumbled as he got out of bed.

"Gray!" roared the rough, old voice of his grandfather. "You got five minutes to get you lazy ass down here!"

"I still don't see why I have to be here," said the blacksmith apprentice. For the festival he ended up wearing simple tan slacks and a blue button down shirt, and of course his blue UMA hat.

"Gray," grumbled his grandfather, Saibara. "Today is a day to pay respect to the Goddess. Also, I am hoping for you to take this opportunity to develop your non existing social skills," he said crossing his large arms, muscled from decades of blacksmithing.

"Non existing!"

"Yes Gray! Did I stutter? Hell, dirt has more skill than you!"

"How can you expect me to have friends if you expect me to work every day of my life!" burst Gray, his face was redder than his hair at this point.

"It is not my fault that you need to manage your time better."

Gray clenched his jaw. His blood reached its boiling point and for a moment he seriously thought he was going to explode, but he didn't. He stared at his grandfather for a moment. This is not a fight I'm going to win, he thought as he suddenly walked away.

Gray walked over to the other side of Rose Square and stood there trying to calm down. He closed his eyes. I so don't want to be here, he thought.

"Hello Gray," said a soft feminine voice.

He opened his eyes.

There before him was Mary, the town librarian. Her long brown hair fanned around her face beautifully; small white flowers were scattered about her hair. Her long white dress fit her perfectly and for once she was not wearing her glasses. Her large brown eyes looked at Gray admirably.

She looks nice, he thought only looking at her for a second. "Hi," he said simply.

"Were you running late this morning?" she asked, a glint of annoyance in her eyes.

"Yea," Gray said not really paying her any attention. Instead he was studying his surroundings. I so don't want to be here, he repeatedly said in his thoughts.

All of a sudden music began playing and all of the girls came to the middle of Rose Square in order to perform the goddess dance to start off the festival.

"Wish me luck," Mary mumbled as she walked nervously to the middle of the square, but Gray didn't hear.

Gray didn't pay anything much mind until a flash of yellow caught his eye.

Running past him in a panic was a young woman with long yellow hair and large blue eyes. Even though she looked flustered and he had no idea who she was, Gray couldn't take his eyes off of her.

Still not quite removing his gaze, the blacksmith apprentice made his way over to Rick, the red headed chicken lover.

"Rick."

Surprised, Rick turned his head to look at Gray. "Hey, how you liking the festival?"

"It's fine. Do you know who she is?" he said pointing to the blonde struggling to remember the correct steps for the dance. Her face was quickly becoming quite red.

"Oh, that's Claire. She just moved into the old farm next door to me the other day."

"And they're making her participate this year?"

"She insisted upon it."

Gray smiled. She sounds like a very unique girl, he thought.

"Poor thing doesn't even have a date," Rick said.

"That's not a problem," Gray mumbled as he walked away from Rick.

Gray stood out to the side and for once watched the event for the first time in years. He smiled in amusement at the blonde failing to remember the dance steps, but the fact that she kept trying and determined to do it right really caught his attention. It really made his notice her.

I have to meet her, the blacksmith apprentice thought as the traditional song changed to a more modern one. Now it was time for her to dance the couple's song, he thought weaving through the towns people towards her. Non existing social skills, my butt!

All of a sudden Mary appeared in front of him. "Here I am Gray," she said softly, her cheeks pink with blush.

"Hi Mary," Gray said going to walk past her. He could see Claire, and she was standing alone.

"Gray?" Mary said grasping his hand suddenly as he walked past. She pulled him to a stop. "Are you not going to ask me to dance?"

Gray stared at her for a second. "Well…I was actually going to ask-"

"But I am your date today," Mary said heartbroken.

"Since when?"

"You don't remember?

"Gray," Mary asked in a nervous tone.

The blacksmith apprentice was busy looking through the library shelves. It should be here, he thought getting irritated. Where the hell is that book?

"Gray?"

"What Mary?"

"Well…I was wondering-"

It was right here yesterday and the day before that, he thought. Hell! I'm sure it has been there for years.

"…if you wanted…to go-"

Of course the day I wanted to read it, it disappears!

"…with me to the Goddess Festival?"

What the hell! Why can't that book be here! Where the hell is it?

"Gray?"

"Yup. Of course Mary," Gray said not hearing anything she said.

"Oh." Well this is a face palm moment, thought the blacksmith apprentice. Crap. What do I do now?

His sapphire blue eyes snapped over to where Claire was standing. Cliff was approaching her and already he was talking to her.

What the hell, screamed Gray in his thoughts. Mr. No voice…Now that is someone with no freaking existing social skills! Why is he growing a pair now!

The blacksmith apprentice felt ready to explode as Cliff led Claire to the dancing area. He looked back at Mary, who was staring up at him. Her eyes looked ready to cry.

"Mary. I'm sorry."

"It's ok," she said calmly. "I understand that you're nervous and shy, and probably can't dance."

"Yea…" he said looking again at Claire and Cliff. He sighed. "Mary would you like to dance?"

All of a sudden Gray's sapphire blue eyes snapped open. The early morning light was shinning in through the windows. A dream, he thought. Was that all just a dream?

He rolled over to pull a tiny calendar off the night stand. It said it was only the last day of winter. So it didn't happen, he thought feeling slightly disappointed.

Claire, the name stuck out in his thoughts. I guess she was only a figment of my imagination.

It was the second of spring when Gray spent his afternoon looking for a specific metal working book in the library. He scanned each shelf and bookcase looking for this one book.

Bang.

Gray didn't look. It was the afternoon; he figured it was just the doctor or Basil.

"Hello," said Mary in a soft voice. The town librarian was seated behind her desk by the door.

"Hiya! The name's Claire."

Gray snapped his head up. A shiver shot down his spine.

"Are you visiting Mineral Town?"

"Nope, I just moved into the old farm by the chicken farm."

"Well welcome to Mineral Town. I'm Mary."

Gray turned around and instantly he recognized her as the girl in his dream.

"I should be going. I just wanted to get acquainted with everything in town."

"Goodbye," said Mary.

"Bye," Claire said leaving the library.

Gray was in shock. How, he wondered. Is it possible?

"Gray? Is something wrong?" Mary asked concerned.

He snapped out of it and began running towards the door. "I'm fine. Later," he called as the door slammed behind him.

Within seconds he caught up to the blonde in overalls. "Hi," he said stopping next to her.

"Hi," she said smiling.

The End