Summary: Muffy has a bad day, and very nearly has A Moment with Marlin. Marlin does not object.


Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters of Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life. If I did, I might be able to write them decently.


Let's take a quick survey: what do all you ladies out there do when it hits you at last that you're a trusting little idiot who deserves every single bit of heartbreak she's ever felt, just for being so pitifully stupid?

How about when you finally realize, after failures upon failures upon failures for the last ten years, that you're never going to find one of those mythical nice guys, because no nice guy would waste his time with a blonde airhead in a low-cut red dress?

Okay, one more. What do you do when it finally hits you that you're going to end up living off of Griffin's good graces, apologizing as prettily and sweetly as you can every time you break something or a customer complains, for the rest of your life, or at least until the building falls apart and there's no more Blue Bar to waste away in?

I guess not many of you collapse into a puddle of tears at the side of the road until a big, redheaded farmer as warm-hearted and cuddly as a teddy bear if you're lucky enough to get on her good side hauls you inside and instructs you to go rest up in Celia's old bedroom in the loft because she doesn't like to change it but Celia won't need it anymore since she got married to that nice Graham over at the farm across the river.

Unfortunately, before I could climb up to the loft, she remembered to pour a big, steaming cup of ginger tea down my throat.

I hope Celia doesn't need her old room any time soon; she might not like the big wet spot on her pillow.

Not to mention the miserable blonde floozy curled up on her bed, sobbing like a child just because she's going to die alone and wishes it could be sooner than later.

Apparently, someone other than Celia objects to this turn of events.

Now, in addition to being covered in dirt, tears, and scratches, still aching from tensing at every one of those all-too-familiar lines from yet another this-time-it'll-work-out, and really just wanting to get home before Griffin so I can go hide in my room by myself instead of spending the evening listening to all the things he's going to do to the loser who hurt me if he ever finds him, I'm also staring down a furious, red-faced man who is being cruelly denied his quality time with his true love's old bedroom.

I've seen Marlin before, of course; everyone in Forget-Me-Not Valley has seen, and probably had a decent length conversation with, everyone else. But our conversations have been few and far between.

If you want the truth, I've been terrified of him since he came here.

I remember how excited I was when I heard about Vesta's younger brother coming to the valley for his health, and expecting a strapping, handsome redhead with Vesta's open-armed personality. I put on some extra make-up and a brand-new pair of heels, and pranced up the road to Vesta's farm to say a friendly Forget-Me-Not hello.

That was a shock. Even though those bright blue eyes and the smile I managed to get from him by losing my balance in those stupid shoes and landing face-down in a pile of dirt were kind of…pretty.

You know, when compared to what happens when you have the flu.

Right now, he's definitely not smiling. And I suppose I can't blame him. It is nice to know that I'm not the only one smarting under the sting of rejection, even though the man I've just lost is nowhere near as nice as Celia on a really bad day. I don't blame him for falling in love with her, and in a way I understand why it doesn't really sit well to see someone else using her room, even if it's only long enough to get over a crying jag.

Nevertheless, he doesn't have to yell, does he?

Oh, Marlin, those are not the kinds of words you should be saying to a lady in distress. And even though they look nothing alike – and certainly act nothing alike – his temper tantrum is reminding me painfully of all the horrible things that Kevin said to me before he finally told me to get my ugly townie ass out of his house or he'd throw it out.

Alright, that's it. I can take it when one man spits vicious insults at me in a day, but not when it happens again before I've even recovered from the first.

And I don't even have a deep and abiding love for this man to keep me calm.

So, I proceed happily to lose it.

Well! It looks like that shut him up. I bet you didn't know I could out-swear you, Marlin.

And now that I've won the shouting match, I do the first logical thing I've done all day and explain calmly to him why I'm here, and to go ask Vesta if he doesn't like it.

He gives a sort of grunt, still standing in front of the bed like some sort of interrogator.

"What happened, anyway?"

A little too late, I remember that I still have my dignity and toss back my tangled, matted hair as proudly as I can.

"If you must know, men are pigs."

He quirks an eyebrow, and I can see a hint of that pretty smile from three years ago at the corner of his mouth.


"Well, they are when they insult their girlfriends for daring to accidentally walk in on them with their little side-flings, and then threaten to phone the police on them because they're spoiling the mood."

This is turning out to be a real day of surprises. His mouth has just began to tighten up a bit as I finished recounting all the reasons that it's a bad day to be me, and it really doesn't look like he's angry with me for profaning the sacredness of Celia's old room with my unworthiness, but with Kevin for being a foul-mouthed creep.

Even though that, in and of itself, is funny.

"So," I finally finish, pulling myself off of the bed, "if it upsets you that much to have me here, I'll just leave and come back again when I'm five years younger, three times more innocent, thirty pounds lighter, and three cup sizes bigger."

He snorts.

"You're already too scrawny."

I snort right back on my way to the ladder.

"Have you been talking to Griffin?"

"We should put you to work here," he smirks. "Then you'd have to eat enough to bulk up a bit."

"I think I have plenty enough bulk, thank-you. And I don't think I could do much farm-work in a dress and heels."

This time, I get a real, genuine laugh from him, and I wonder if it's because he's remembering me and my pathetic high-heels face-down in the dirt from our first meeting.

"Then maybe you should come back when you put on some real work clothes."

And maybe it's because now I'm getting more than a glimmer of that pretty smile, and he's really pretty good-looking when he hasn't got his face all scrunched up and angry, and his voice is amazing and deep and just a little gravely and I can feel my knees starting to go watery every time he opens his mouth – even though that is probably just fatigue and hunger because I didn't stop on my way back to town for lunch – but I stop on my way down the first rung of the ladder and beam up at him.

"Then maybe I will."


End Notes: Written because I love Muffy, and I think she gets a lot of flack that she doesn't deserve from the fandom, when her greatest sins are being bubbly, fashionable, and terribly, terribly lonely. She's a little bit sharper-tongued here than her sugar-sweet self in canon, but I'd just attribute that to being upset.

Also, I adore Griffin/Muffy, but Marlin/Muffy strikes me as adorably mismatched, and incredibly funny. Thus, this fic was born out of a love of Marlin, a love of Muffy, and a desire to see what happens when you mix 'em together.

I hope you enjoyed it!