Disclaimer: I don't own Harvest Moon or any related characters.

Author's Warning: This fic contains spoilers for the ending of A Wonderful Life. You have been warned.

We Fools Who Fall in Love

I suppose I should hate you.

We both know how much easier hatred is to embrace than love. You would think that after all these years my trivial affections for you would have evolved into something of a disgust of your blatant disregard of my feelings, especially now that you've passed away. You've abandoned us all, and I should hate you for it.

But I don't, and I doubt that I ever will.

Somehow, despite your infinite faults, despite the fact you've managed to crush the feelings of every woman in our valley – your wife included – I still love you in every way it's possible for a woman to love a man.

I, however, am weak; I could never hate a man if I tried. And, believe me, I have. Even our cold-hearted Nami was vulnerable to your charms, so naturally I didn't stand a chance against you. I was smitten from the day I laid eyes on you.

And you knew that, too.

Once again, it would be so easy to blame this on you, to insist that it was you who pursued my feelings and it was you who lured me into your trap. And I suppose to some degree you did, but for the most part, the fault is mine. It wasn't you who dropped fantasies into my head, and it wasn't you who chased the butterflies into my stomach: it was the ignorance of a lovesick little girl.

It surprises me still that I never stopped adoring you, even after you married. Your wife suited you better than I could ever hope to, as she saw you in a way none of us did. Our little wanderer brought out the best in you, and even more importantly, you brought out the best in her when no one else could. That's what separated her from me: she needed you more than I did.

Nami once told me you said you'd be with her always, though I can hardly say you've lived up to your promise. Her strong, frozen mask of indifference is back for the first time in decades, thanks to you. Her eyes no longer shine with vibrant blue, and their keen glint of intelligence has vanished. Now they're just old and cynical and weary. She's crawled back into her shell, and nothing matters to her anymore; not even me, and not even your son. What good is her world if you aren't a part of it?

I sometimes wonder if you watch her on the days she spends standing unimpressed in front of your headstone. I wonder if you can see the cold, paralyzed look in her dead gray eyes. I wonder if you can tell a part of her died along with you. I wonder if you care.

I could hate you for robbing us of Nami as we knew and loved her, but I can't.

Our barmaid's taking it almost worse than Nami. I'm sure that you've forgotten that you've taken Muffy's heart as well as mine, but she's crying her heart out for you. I doubt you'd care half as much as she does. You were never one to dwell, nor would you empathize; you could only sympathize. That's the beautiful thing about Muffy: she adores people. She cares for them in the same way I care for my gardens, the same way you cared for your animals.

I could hate you for never seeing that in her, but I can't.

But regardless, Muffy still hurts for you. The look of pure anguish that adorns her pretty little tear-stained face is above and beyond the look of loss she possessed on your wedding day. She says that you were the only reason she bothered staying in the valley, and that if it wasn't for you she'd be living a lonely life in the city. She says you told her Forget-Me-Not Valley was her home.

I remember you telling me something similar when I asked you if I should accept a certain marriage proposal from a man I'd never met and leave to live with him.

Despite my newfound pastime of wallowing in self-pity, despite Muffy's sobs that are piercing enough to wake the dead, and despite the fact that Nami's become nothing more than a hollow shell, no one is taking it worse than your son. I will spare you the details and tell you only this: you were his everything.

I would give anything to mean half as much to him as you do. I envy Nami with a passion for having that opportunity stuffed right under her nose, and I feel offended that she refuses to do anything about it. She loves her son, but not enough. Not as much as she loves you.

I could hate you for abandoning your son with such vicious abruptness, but I can't.

I will stand by my statement that I am but a weak-minded old woman who dared to love, left to rot alone on Vesta's farm. Part of me wishes you'd never come here, part of me wishes I had stayed in the city, and part of me wishes Nami had never blown into our valley. Your coming here changed everything, you affected everyone's lives in more ways than I could count. Gustafa will always sing of you in his ballads, Carter will always tell lavish stories of your time with us, Lumina will always think of you when she needs your strength, and there will never be another day when I don't dwell on thoughts of you, however bitterly. You helped shape our lives as well as shatter them, and I both love and hate you for it.

But the thing is, I could never hate you.

I'm just one of your fools who fell in love.