word count: 1811
x-posted: here @ octoberwriting
summary: claire starts a farm, skye steals and warns people before he does so, and claire falls in love.
notes: for octoberwriting’s writing challenge. i meant to do this with original characters, but i realized that i’m not ready to do something of the sort with them, so here goes harvest moon fic! it’ll have ten parts, and it’ll be written during this month, so it’ll be jumbled and a bit rushed and it’ll have typos (please tell me if you spot them?), but i am enjoying it and i hope you do. *u*
postcards from far away
01: sweet dreams till sunbeams find you
She’s still a novice to the life in the Valley when she first meets him, so she’s not completely aware of who or what he is or of the implications of their meeting. For Claire, meeting Skye for the first time is something wonderful and life changing, as if a fresh waft of air; meeting someone completely and utterly fascinating as him certainly was not in her plans for her first evening in the valley. On the eye of the viewer, the farmer was absolutely and indisputably head over heels for him (which Lumina pointed out rather simply, even if followed by a giggle, but Claire says she simply isn’t, just charmed).
…Until she learns of Skye’s doings and renown in Forget Me Not Valley, that is.
It goes something like this.
It’s Claire’s first day in the valley, and the sun’s already sunk below the crooked line of the mountains cradling the place—which makes it night, but Claire pays no mind—and she’s tiptoeing out of Romana’s mansion, after a meal with the old lady and Lumina (which promptly stretched out for hours without any of them really noticing it). In short, it was the woman mentioning how nice it is to have a new face in the valley, although no one is quite sure why she’s decided to take her father’s decaying farm—something a goddess, she could say, but it’d sound weird—almost as if a lost dolphin washed up on the shore.
(Not even the young woman herself knows why she wound up here in this isolated valley, but it happened, and that’s that. Almost as if a premise that could only be seen in watercolor-illustrated storybooks caught her and forced her to do its bidding.)
Either way, Claire leaves the mansion with an armful of supplies for her house that Romana had Sebastian fetch, because a young lady can’t have a house without food, it just won’t do. And Claire accepted it with a kind of awkward ‘thank you’, because food is food. And she likes food, even if it comes in a paper bag she can only barely hold in her arms. So, it’s carefully that she walks her way out of the place (won’t she trip on some step, as it wouldn’t be completely unexpected of her) until she sees a person in the distance, one that she’s sure she hasn’t seen before. She tilts her head and clumsily manages to wave and says hi. Suddenly she becomes conscious of the bag full of food in her arms, as if it’s something she should be embarrassed about.
He has this platinum blond hair—almost silver—and wears a classy ensemble. Claire immediately thinks about where she is, and reasons he must be some relative of Romana, or at least some friend of hers. He stops and smiles, which means he must mean to talk.
“Good night, my lady,” he half-says-half-whispers in greeting with a quaint slight bow of his head. “You must be Claire—blond hair, tiny girl—yes, you must be her. The townspeople wouldn’t stop talking about this new farmer girl.” Claire almost sneers at this man’s antics, finding his charming (and quaint, if one might add) bravado quite endearing despite its futility. She nods though, in confirmation that she is this so acclaimed Claire.
“And quite endearing, too,” he adds with a smile.
That’s …creepy, Claire thinks, before she mutters, “Thank you. …I suppose.”
The man looks startled for a moment and looks around for something to say next, and Claire can’t help but think that he mustn’t be used to having his charming remarks backfire like this. This is only for a short moment, before he brings a hand up to brush his long hair to show a perfect, pale earlobe and brings the smirk back to his lips. “…I must be tired today, my apologies.” Claire nods in acceptance, and she stops for a moment to readjust her grip on the paper bag.
“Here, let me help you,” he offers, and before Claire knows it, the paper bag’s in his arms and, for a moment, all she can see is dulled grey under the moonlight and all she can smell is earth pitter-pattered by the rain. “Thank you very much,” she says and she leads the both of them to her house, entertained by this young man.
Meanwhile along the way, she adds, “I’m sure you’re used to being oohed and ahhed by the girls around you, right?”, to which he replies with a matter-of-fact “I’m rather the charming prince of stars and females, yes.”
And when they get to her door, he places the bag slanted against the wall, and when he looks up to her, it is with intensity she isn’t used to receiving. To break the silence, Claire thanks him, and he simply smiles at her. “I wouldn’t feel good about myself if I didn’t help a gorgeous damsel such as you. …You’ll see that I’m much more charming than I seemed at first.”
He takes her pulse in his hand, and while she does nothing to stop him, entertained as she is, he brings his lips to it, to place a chaste kiss on the back of her hand. At this point, the young woman can’t help but feel blood rushing to her cheeks in one quick impulse and, for once, she thanks the dim light to hide that. It’s the façade, she tells herself, it fails and that makes him so charming, more so than anyone she knows of. She decides that maybe she’ll give this man a chance, finding him much more endearing a fascinating than anyone else in Forget Me Not Valley. She doesn’t plan on mentioning that to anyone, knowing that it will make relationships with anyone else more than a little complicated.
He’s handsome, that much she concedes him.
“Farewell, my dear Claire; I hope to see you again. You can call me Skye,” he says with a wink of the eye, and with that he’s walking away to leave Claire with strange giddiness. And that’s that.
“I didn’t know you liked the stealing sort.”
Lumina catches Claire staring at the blank just a short moment after Skye leaves her, bringing a parcel in her hands. Claire has to rethink what Lumina just said, though, absentminded as the other woman caught her. However, the blonde can’t come up with anything more eloquent than “Huh?”
“That man, Skye, didn’t anyone tell you? He’s a thief,” Lumina says, and her feet scratch the ground as she looks around, self-conscious like a girl talking about her crush. “He’s amazing, he sends a letter to each person he steals from…” She looks dreamily for a moment, before adding a hasty, “For a thief, I mean. He must be caught.”
Lumina waits for a moment, for any reply from Claire, but when she sees none is about to come from her lips, she says, “But it seems that no harm was done tonight; we’ll know for sure. And you are quite alright. …Either way, Grandmother told me to deliver this to you,” She hands the blonde the parcel. “She forgot about it when you were there. A homecoming gift, if you will. I hope you like it.”
A few days pass by and Claire decides to entertain herself with the menial jobs her farm requires (she’s already planted some potato seeds, and she’s strangely proud of that otherwise small feat), as well as searching for Sprites whenever she has the free time or a lead to follow. However, mechanical as these jobs are, they let her mind wander from thoughts of Skye to more thoughts of him. She’s just met him, and just that once—as it really turns out he is the prince of stars—but her thoughts constantly flutter back to him, as if she intrinsically wants to know as much as she can about him.
On the side, she’s also on denial, or so Lumina tells her. But she’s slowly working her mind on the fact that Skye’s a thief, and that he steals from the good people of the valley. But then again, she also reckons that there must be something, some reason, for him to do as he does.
(Or maybe she’s just being silly.)
So she rolls the sleeves of her shirt up to her elbows and goes to the excavation site to help with Flora and Carter’s explorations. They’d invited her, and she enjoys the company as well as the burn in the muscles of her arms it leaves when she goes back to the sunlight, feeling that her muscles are ready to be used. Her nails get dirty, and the dust gathers all over her skin, but she enjoys it.
Her hoe clinkers on something buried just beneath the surface, and Claire promptly drops to her knees and does the work of bringing to the surface. Another brooch. Something that Carter had quickly declared trash, but had Flora eye it wishfully, so Claire gave that one and the next pieces of jewelry to her. However, fingering the smooth but dirty lines of the red flower of the brooch, Claire can’t help but feel attached to it, and decides she’s going to wash it and keep it, and maybe even giving it to someone special. She puts it in the pocket and resumes work.
After some time, Claire’s been picking up clues of Skye’s whereabouts. She’s learned that he doesn’t show up in the valley until the sun’s set, or so Rock says after he’s learned of that time Celia saw him by the valley entrance, or that other time Flora saw him by the clearing of the Goddess’ Spring. Just that, that every night Skye walks in the valley as if he owns it and roams around as if he has nothing else to do, and then he retreats by morning as if he were afraid of the sun. When no one receives a letter from him in the morning, that is.
Claire suspects it’s the people that appear by morning that scare him away, but oh well.
Either way, on one night she feels brave enough (and bored enough, as well, since the other boys don’t provide her as much excitement as Skye did that one time), Claire wanders around, won’t she arouse the villagers’ suspicion, and she waits at the entrance of the valley for Skye after she’s made sure everyone passed through. She ends up a little lost in the dark, and while palming the brooch in her pocket she wonders if it’d be better if she’d bring her dog with her next time, won’t anyone weird appear.
When the thief shows up, though, it makes up for the strangely short wait. Claire grins, she might as well say hello.