|The Most Extreme Summer Vacation that Ever Was
Author: Regardless1604 PM
What happens when an irrational promise, a van full of children, unintentional alcohol, Gill, and Luke are mixed? A smooth, well thought-out camping trip is not the answer. And so the fathers and children of Castanet go on a summer trip that will forever remain in their memories. Rated K plus for negative alcohol usage.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Humor/Family - Owen & Luke - Words: 3,700 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 5 - Follows: 4 - Published: 09-16-12 - id: 8531792
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Oh my gosh guys, I'm super happy with this story so far. It was orginally going to be an entry for Biddy's Story Harvest forum, but when I got to the 3,000 word mark and wasn't even half way through writing I decided that it was going to be too long for a one shot and dropped out of the contest. Oh well! Sadly this is almost all that I got written for it, and I just now decided that I should turn it into a short fic. Maybe four or five chapters? Yeah, that'll be it. So, enjoy!
Disclaimer: I don't own Harvest Moon or any of the characters in this story.
Chapter One—The Promise
Ah, summer. When children spend their days idling by, swimming, hiking, enjoying the pure bliss of youthfulness. What wonderful times, when it seems that there's an endless list of things to do before school swoops in and takes all the freedom away. Oh, how—
"Mom, I'm bored."
"Roy, it's only the second week of your summer vacation; go outside and have some fun!" Kathy chided her son. "Maybe I can take you for a ride on my horse later! How does that sound?"
"Mom," came the young redhead's response, "We've already done that three times this week! Can't we please do something else?"
"You could go down in the mines with your father, hmm? Though… that concerns me a little, going into such a deep, dangerous part…"
"Nah, I go there all the time with Heath and Lucy."
"…Besides, would Owen even keep an eye on you? I'm not sure…"
"Mom? Mom! Are you listening?"
Kathy started out of her thoughts. "Oh yes, of course honey."
"I don't think you are. Maybe I'll go see what dad is doing," The nine year old ran out of the house, which happened to be built into the side of Ramsey's blacksmith, and Kathy sighed as she watched his small figure disappear. Sometimes she wished that her son wasn't so restless… like Matt, who could fish all day and be perfectly content. But no, instead he had to be quite a free spirit; much like his mother was in her younger days.
In fact, there seemed to be quite a few children like that on the small peninsula of Castanet—that is, shadows of their parents' youthful years. Vivian, having a taste for fashion and aspiring to become the mayor one day; Heath, a natural born adventurer; Lucy, energetic and a dancer by heart; Whitney and Noah, she dreaming of being a farmer like her the father, he fascinated with sewing after his mother; in fact, the list just went on. Roy wasn't an exception—though his interest in horses wasn't nearly as great as his mother's, he wanted to become an amazing blacksmith. Greater than his father, even greater than Ramsey! As much as he wanted to follow in Owen's footsteps, he also shared Kathy's concerns: that is, having a healthy fear of his father's health, with him always breathing in air from deep in the mines and, on top of that, the amount of alcohol he consumed. He may've been a strong man, but that doesn't mean his body would hold up for a long time. And that's exactly where the boy seemed to be that dull summer day.
"Dad, you know Mom doesn't like it when you drink during the day."
"She doesn't, does she?" the large man chuckled and set the bottle of whisky on the cool ground of Garmon Mines. Owen knew that his wife worried about this habit of his, but work was rough lately; not much income. Of course, he couldn't expect his son to understand the woes of being an adult, so instead he just smiled. "It'll be our little secret, okay?"
Roy cocked an eyebrow and let out an exasperated sigh, as a child might do when told to pick up his toys. "Fine, I guess… but only this one time!"
Owen ruffled the child's hair and pulled himself off the ground. "Well, I guess my lunch break is over; time to get back to work."
"Oh, can I help you break up some rocks? Life without school is so boring! Maybe we can find some rare ore; Mom sure would be proud, don't you think?"
He watched with a smile on his face—one that only a father who is proud of his child can wear—as the boy jumped around, pretending to have a hammer in his hands. His smile faded a little when he realized the current situation: the fact the mines didn't seem to be producing much ore was a problem—only deeper in the more dangerous parts could the good stuff be found. "Well, I have a feeling that won't be good for you right now, but—"
"What?" Roy looked up, distressed. "But we always mine together! Why can't we? Is something wrong? Don't you want to bring me along?"
Owen couldn't help but laugh a little at his son's rapid fire questions. Kneeling down to the boy's height, he firmly clasped his rough hands on his tiny shoulders. "Don't worry, it's none of those. Things are just getting a little hard to manage down there, you know? I would like to let you help, I really would, but it's just not safe right now."
The boy looked down, disappointed.
The man grimaced, a little frustrated. "How about this; next week, I'll take you camping. No, scratch that. I'll take you and all your friends camping. We can have all the other dads come with us, and have a grand old time together. How does that sound?" Great. In order to get a little quality time with his son—which seemed to be something rare these days—he had made irrational promises. No, not even irrational; crazy! How was he supposed to get all the other men to agree? They had jobs too, you know.
Please say no; please say it's not fine.
"Camping?" He tilted his head, considering if it was worth it.
No, no, no, no, no…
"Sure, sounds fun! I'll go tell my friends!"
Wonderful. He kept a plastered on smile stuck to his face. "Okay, have fun with that. I'm sure it'll turn out great."
After a pause, Roy looked into his eyes, dead serious. "But no alcohol."
His fake smile quickly turned into a confused expression. "What?"
"I don't want you to bring any beer on this camping trip. Got that? If it might make a perfect way to spend time with you go bad, then I can't stand seeing it with us. Okay?"
It took a second for him to take that all in; in fact, it hurt a little bit. Having his own son notice the affects of intoxication that he himself never even realized? Painful. It almost made him resolve to give up drinking at that moment in time, but he didn't. He couldn't. "Okay, you've got yourself a deal." He stood up straight and smiled. Now all he had to do was figure out how to pull all this off. Calvin would definitely agree and of course Luke would want to go. Chase might take a little prodding, but Gill and Jin would definitely say no… Would Kevin even be able to take a break from farming? It's not like Candace knows how to work on a ranch… Hmm…
Roy watched as his father wandered back into the mines, hammer slung over one shoulder and the other hand thoughtfully placed on his chin. Well, at least his boredom would be cured within the next week. He turned to leave, but felt his soft leather boot hit something. Owen had left his Tupperware lunchbox like he always did—picking it back up on his way out of the mines—but next to it was a half drunk bottle of beer. The boy scrunched his nose and picked it up; he would get rid of it now, so it couldn't be consumed later. He walked out of the darkness and went to sit down on the ledge that overlooked the ocean.
The water was beautiful this time of year—a pure, clear, sparkling blue. He almost threw the whole bottle over the edge, but decided he could get into trouble for littering, even if it was just the ocean. Besides, who would want to pollute the dazzling view with trash? Not him. Just as he was about to pour the liquid down instead of the whole bottle, young voices rang through the air.
"Hey Roy! Watcha doin' over there?"
He turned around to see Lucy and Heath run up to him. They were the only other kids who lived in the Garmon Mines district, so they were all good friends, even if Lucy was two years older than him at eleven and Heath a year younger at eight. Thankfully they all got along decently, considering it was a long walk to visit anyone else.
As the two approached, Lucy spotted the outstretched bottle and gasped. "What are you doing with that? You're not drinking it, are you?"
His eyes widened and the bottle automatically retracted. "N-no, why would you think that? I was about to dump it out!"
"Oh, good," The two sat down on either side of him when Lucy got a sly look on her face. "Say, do you take dares?"
"No, my mommy says that I don't have to and only dummies do stuff like that." Heath responded. He may have been eight, but he still had that babyish tone to his voice—not exactly a lisp, but somewhere in between.
"I wasn't talking to you."
"I guess; I don't want to look like a coward!" Roy looked up, confused. "…Why?"
"Because I dare you to take a drink of that!" She pointed at the bottle and laughed.
"Wh-what? No way!" He started pouring it out as soon as the words left his mouth.
"That wasn't very nice, Lucy." Heath put in.
"Sheesh, it was just a joke; I would never make you do something like that! You didn't really take that seriously, did you?" But one look at the boy's face told her that he had.
It took him a second to find his voice, but Roy finally started speaking shakily as he gently put the smooth glass cylinder on the ground. "P-pastor Perry said that liquor is of the devil. It does bad things to good people."
"Hmm?" the small green-haired boy tilted his head. "Did something happen?"
Roy took in a deep breath and balled his fist. "He yelled at Mom a few weeks ago—I mean, Dad did. It was late… I was supposed to be sleeping. He came home from the bar, and she wanted to know where he was. He got angry; h-he… he almost hit her. He got this scared look in his eyes right before he did anything, then ran out of the house. Mom cried. W-we try to pretend that nothing happened, and right now everything is good. But what if it happens again and he tries to hurt us…?" His voice trailed off and he quickly wiped his eyes with the back of his sleeve.
"Oh… I had no idea." Lucy looked out at the ocean. "I'm sorry."
"I-it's fine," He put on a brave face. "Besides, he wants to take us all on a camping trip and he promised that he won't take any beer! We'll have an awesome time!"
"Really?" Heath started bouncing up and down in his seated position. "Like, in a mountain forest and everything? That's so cool!"
Lucy looked a little skeptical. "You mean just us or all the kids here? Taking all of the kids on Castanet would be pretty impressive."
"Well, we're all friends, right? So he thinks it'll be an awesome turnout, especially since he's trying to get all your guy's dad's to go. Hey, I know what, let's go tell everyone else!"
"Yeah! Let's do it!" the other two agreed readily.
And so the children set off to the other parts of the small town, any worries oppressing their minds quickly flying away in that manner only a child can possess. Ah, youth.
"No." Gill didn't even bother to meet the other man's eyes.
"C'mon, Gill, I promised him; I can't let my kid down! You would do the same for Vivian, wouldn't you?"
"Roy is not my son; therefore, his happiness is not my responsibility."
"Hey man, I'm going, so that'll make things ten times better! We'll have such an awesome time it'll be EXTREME!" Luke fist-pumped the air and gave his signature thumbs-up. Owen just sighed.
"Oh yes, and that makes me want to go so much more," his dry sarcasm was accompanied by the shuffling of documents in his hands, which he set down in a tidy stack of other papers. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have work to do."
"Dude, you are such a drag. Let's go, O-Man." The carpenter walked out of the door in a huff, but Owen lingered for a second before following his friend.
"If you change your mind, feel free to come. The offer's still open."
"Mm," was as much of a response as he was willing to give, but it was enough.
The sky was a brilliant color of reds, pinks, and oranges as the men stood around the entrance to the Town Hall, though Owen didn't take any notice of it.
"Well, it seems today was a bust." Luke let out an exasperated sigh. "We couldn't find Calvin, Jin's outta town, and Gill's just being his normal boring self. Man, why do people hate us so much?"
"Stop saying stuff like that, you're being a child. Besides, why do you even care so much about my own plans?" He ran a gloved hand through his red hair.
"You know I'll always help out a brother in trouble! Besides…" his voice took a slightly serious tone—something that was rare for Luke. "I think I let my own kid down. I promised Lucy that I would take her logging with me; we were supposed to leave early. I totally forgot about her… Man, I so messed up! I can't even tell if she's mad!"
For a minute there, both of them were quiet, pondering their own family problems. But, as if out of nowhere, the blacksmith started laughing.
"What?" Luke gave him a skeptical look. "Mocking me now?"
"No…" Owen clasped a hand on the other's shoulder. "Dude, we're huge idiots, but everything'll get better. Just you watch."
Plans were set, expectations raised, and everything was prepared by next week Monday. Well, almost everything, but they wouldn't realize that until later (that fact basically being irrelevant to this portion of the tale). Surprisingly, Chase had agreed to go without much prodding, but Gill was still a no-show, and with Jin still being away, Van would be coming without his father. Not that it was disappointing to him, seeing how the only reason he was going was because Anissa was forcing him to, chiding her son about not getting enough fresh air. He wasn't the only child going without a parent, though.
As expected, Kevin had to take care of farm duties; however, the morning of the trip a pleasant surprise pranced up in his stead as the transportation issue was being handled.
"Well, I'll be darned if that isn't Julius coming down the road with Kev's little ones." Dale cupped a hand over his eyes, squinting from the brightness of the morning sun.
The flamboyant purple hair was unmistakable, along with the bright blue heads bobbing along on either side. As the three approached, it was quite noticeable that the man wasn't in his… ah, normal attire. It was still well coordinated, with a beige and dark navy theme from head to foot, but it was definitely geared toward rougher terrain than the easy-going environment of Castanet.
"Hey, Mister Owen! Uncle Julius is going with us since Daddy can't leave the house!" Whitney immediately exclaimed once the trio was in hearing distance. "Isn't that exciting?"
The blacksmith traded looks with Dale, who happened to have an amused smirk on his face about the situation. He waited to respond until the other two arrived, Noah clinging to his "uncle's" hand. Everyone seemed to know that Julius had always harbored love for the quiet seamstress, but she happened to have feelings for Kevin, the hero farmer of the land. Coincidence had it that the two men were already on good terms—friends, even—and when Whitney, the happy couple's first child, was born, Julius self proclaimed himself as "godfather." Kevin and Candace happily agreed and their children had grown up with him as their unofficial uncle. You know, the "fun one." And, apparently, camping was on his list of "fun"—not exactly for himself, but for the enjoyment of his two favorite children. Essentially, he was a good family man, even if he wasn't related by blood.
"So, you've decided to come?" It was more of an observation than a question on Owen's part, more or less coming out of hidden surprise. He wasn't exactly… invited, seeing as he had no children of his own. Not that that had stopped him in the past, of course.
"Why, yes! I couldn't let my dear friends' children go on their first trip away from home without a proper role model!" Julius waved his hand around in the air as he spoke, an emphatic gesture he often made.
"And what am I, a drunken street rat of a man?" Chase noted sarcastically as he came behind with Dakota.
"Why, of course not!" the fashonista exclaimed. "You're just… different."
"Are you saying I'm a bad influence? It's because I work in a bar, isn't it!"
"Well, there's that, and—"
"I don't even drink! I have my own kid, and she's turned out just fine so far! If you had half a mind—"
"Come now, girls, no need to get your panties in a twist over something stupid like parenting!" Dale stepped in between the two, though Chase was the one who seemed to be ticked about it all. He may have been a bit of a sarcastic twit in the past—not that he wasn't still—but he had toned it down since his marriage to Maya. Though, ever since the birth of Dakota, well, he had become a very defensive parent, and that brought out his mean streak towards others who'd dare doubt his paternal skills.
Julius flipped his hair off of his shoulders. "Now, whoever said that I was upset by this matter? Obviously—"
"Now, didn't he just say to drop it?" A steely voice came from behind, causing all the heads to turn in surprise. "It really irks me when people disregard their eld—!"
"GIIIIILL!" a shriek that undoubtedly belonged to Luke tore through the air, and the target was barely able to side-step before a full-fledged tackle hit him. The carpenter pulled himself off the ground and brushed his clothes off, a huge grin still plastered on his face. "Hey buddy, I thought you were totally gonna bail on us today!"
Gill sniffed and smoothed a wrinkle in his vest. "For one, I am not your 'buddy.' For two, in order to 'bail on you' I would have had to agree to come in the first place, which I did not. I only decided to come because Vivian wanted it," He looked down to his side, but the young girl had already run off to her friends. His icy blue eyes softened considerably as he watched her excitedly chatter with the other children, but his gaze quickly changed back as he turned it away. "I'm only going through this trouble for her, not for any of you dunces." It was painfully obvious that that last comment was directed at Luke, considering the mayor-to-be had some sort of respect for the other men standing around, even if he cared not to show it all the time.
"Hey, as long as you showed up, all's fine." Owen nodded his head in short motion, then glanced around. "Hmm, seems everyone's here. Calvin, Toby, Gill, Chase, Luke, and… Julius. Okay."
"The van's all ready to go," Dale confirmed. "Could use an oil change, poor girl, but she should last."
"I call driving!" Luke immediately sprinted off towards the large fifteen passenger van, Gill in tow.
"No, I refuse to die on this trip because we get into a crash! Get back here!"
Fifteen minutes later, the beat up old van was packed with supplies, ecstatic children, an equally ecstatic adult who decided to call shotgun against the driver's will, a very grumpy driver, and some men whose "still young at heart" sides were starting to peep through for the first time in years. Wives and mothers kissed and hugged good-bye, and so the eager and not so eager campers were off, on their way to one of the most memorable summer experiences of their lives.
A/N: The title makes me feel like this should be a Kingdom Hearts story XD Anyway, reviews would make me beyond ecstatic! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for next chapter, whenever that may be :D