Game of Love—Festival at Mother's Hill

by taitofan

Rated PG-13 for yaoi

Disclaimer: Since Jack couldn't marry guys and Claire couldn't marry girls, it's safe to assume that I don't own the Harvest Moon: Mineral Town games.

Author's Note: Here's the thing… The blue heart event probably should before this, but you can't see that until the wine harvest, which is after this event. But it's okay, we can pretend Cliff's heart is up to green already. I mean, I always had Cliff to yellow by the time this event rolled around. Anyway, now that our lovely couple is together, the events will be getting progressively more romantic. And Cliff will be getting bolder, just like in the game. Of course, there'll be some conflict, but let's enjoy the fluff for now. Also, the end of this event begins the Wine Harvest event, which will conclude in the next chapter.

Flames do nothing but make me laugh, although I'll listen to any CC you have. Please read, review, and enjoy! Finished 01-28-07

The weeks following the fireworks went smoothly for Jack and Cliff. They continued seeing each other everyday, but now they added hand holding, kissing, and sweet words into the mix. Their date count had also risen from two to a lot. They watched Claire play the Ocarina in the Music Festival, they brought food for the Harvest Festival and ate together, they regularly had dinner together either at Jack's house or the Inn… Yes, things were going perfectly.

…And that was why Jack was rather apprehensive. He'd never gone so long without any problems… And Cliff was seemingly perfect. Even his shyness was dying down… But then he realized that waiting for something bad to happen was more than a bit paranoid. They'd deal with things as they happened.

"Hey Jack, I got a letter for you!" He looked up from his cooking as Claire entered the room, waving an envelope in the air. "I ran into your lover boy on the way home and he asked me to give you this. So hurry up and read it, okay? Cause it took all of my willpower not to read it on the way back…" He shook his head and accepted the letter, actually extremely surprised that she hadn't read it. He tore open the envelope and took out a sheet of paper with only a few words on it… And he raised his eyebrow. "…Well? What's it say?"

"He wants me to meet him at Mother's Hill tonight… I wonder why…" Claire shrugged, trying to look uninterested, though she was obviously just as curious as he was.

"Guess you'll just have to go and find out, huh? When are you gonna leave?" He tucked the letter back into his overalls, a small smile playing on his face.

"Right after dinner, before it gets dark…" Claire laughed as he went into his own little world, filled with Cliff and, well, that was probably it. Quite frankly, she was surprised he hadn't run off the second he read the letter… But hey, at least now she'd get to eat.

True to his word, Jack left the second the last bit of food on his plate had been swallowed. He'd only been to the hill's summit once before, but he'd been to the lake quite a few times, so he knew his way there well enough. In a mere half an hour—he more or less ran the entire way, determined to see what his boyfriend was up to as soon as humanly possible—he made it to his destination, a large grin on his face when he saw the familiar brunet standing at the top of the summit and looking to the sky. In Jack's professional opinion, he looked positively gorgeous in the twilight… Not that he didn't always think that of course.

"Cliff…" Said man turned around, smiling widely at the sight of his boyfriend.

"Jack, you came!"

"Of course I did," Jack laughed as he walked closer until he was standing side by side with him. "So… What's this all about?" Cliff turned his gaze back to the sky, the smile never leaving his face.

"Look, the moon is so beautiful tonight… Come watch it with me…?" Jack felt his face heat up at the sentimental gesture. He wanted to watch the moonrise? That was…very romantic.

"I-I'd love to." Cliff turned back to him, pure happiness shining in his eyes.

"Alright, then let's enjoy it." He slipped his hand into Jack's, and the farmer didn't think life could get any better than it was at that moment.

"It's pretty." Jack nodded, thinking that Cliff was prettier than the moon, but not bothering to voice that thought. Sure, getting him flustered was always fun, but it'd ruin the peaceful atmosphere they had. "Lots of people must be watching the moon tonight too. I wonder how many other couples are doing just what we are…"

"I dunno." Cliff chuckled, not missing the fact that Jack was sneaking glances at him more often than he was looking at the moon. He should know… He was doing the exact same thing to Jack after all.

"You know… The moon makes me feel strange… Is it just me?" Jack turned his full attention onto Cliff at the odd question. Strange?

"Strange how?" Cliff's smile widened as he withdrew his hand from Jack's and, without warning, pinned him down to the ground. "C-Cliff!"

"Strange, like… Like it gives me confidence. I can't explain it, but I want to..." He sighed in frustration when he couldn't think of a way to word what he was feeling… So he decided to show him instead.

Jack let out an undignified noise—it was more or less a squeak, but he wouldn't admit it—when Cliff captured his lips an a fierce kiss. Well, this was unexpected. Tremendously nice, but unexpected nonetheless. This was the first time Cliff had ever taken the initiative in their relationship … He liked it!

He let out a moan as Cliff's tongue passed his lips, immediately tangling with his own. Then there were the wandering hands… He had to loop his arms around Cliff's neck just to keep from losing touch with reality. Who was this assertive man and what had he done with his blushing boyfriend? But then again… He could definitely get used to this. So long as his hand kept going further down…

"Jack," Cliff's voice was gruff as he suddenly pulled away from Jack's bruised lips, "I want you so much. I've never felt this way for anyone before… But you make me feel happier than I've ever been in my life. It all feels too good to be true…"

"I feel the same," Jack admitted easily, smiling up at the man he adored so much. "I've had my fair share of infatuations, but I've never been in lo—" He immediately snapped his mouth shut as he realized what he was about to say. What if Cliff didn't feel the same way? He would freak out and— And his miniature mental breakdown was broken when Cliff softly pressed their lips back together. When he pulled away again, he looked absolutely ecstatic.

"I love you Jack."

…Jack's earlier thoughts about not thinking that the night could possibly be more perfect than it already was? Well, this blew that right out of the water.

"Cliff… I love you too."

The moon was forgotten as their lips met again, sealing the deal.

Jack didn't get back until earlier morning, and though he was sure that staying out so late and making out on the ground all night long was horrible for his skin, he didn't care. He loved Cliff, Cliff loved him, and all was right in the world. Cliff walked him to the farmhouse and gave him one last kiss before he headed back to the Inn. As he quietly went inside, Jack knew he must be wearing the stupidest grin, but it wasn't as if Claire would be up…

"Where the hell have you been?" Jack jumped at the loud voice, spinning around to face his angry sister. What was she…? Oh, the clock said it was five minutes to six… That explained it.

"I was watching the moonrise with Cliff. I didn't realize we were out so late…" She shook her head; that was Jack for her.

"I'll bet… Look at you! What, were you guys having sex up there or something?" He quickly turned to the mirror on the wall and caught sight of his disheveled appearance. Well, it was a legitimate question at least…

"No, we were just kissing… But guess what?!" She raised an eyebrow at his enthusiasm. For a guy who'd been up for twenty-four hours, he was sure peppy…

"What?" The joy on his face was a good indicator to what was coming next…

"He said he loves me!" …She mentally patted her back for being right.

"That's great!" He opened his mouth—no doubt to gush about his wonderful boyfriend who loved him—when a knock on the door cut him off. Sighing, he turned and opened the door.

"Good morning Jack!" He blinked as Duke's grinning face came into view. "Good to see I didn't wake you… Hey, tomorrow is the annual grape harvest and I need a few extra hands. You up for it?" Harvesting grapes…? Well, it would give him an excuse to get out of helping Claire with the last minute crops…

"Sure, I'll help out." After all, how hard could it be?

"Excellent!" Duke cried, clasping his hand on Jack's shoulder. The poor brunet tried not to wince at his grip. "Find someone else to help out and you two can come by at ten tomorrow. See you then!" And just as suddenly as he'd come, he was leaving.

"Bye…" Once the older man was out of sight, he went back inside, again met with his sister's agitated look. "…What?"

"Ditching two days of work, you jerk…" Sisters. Sometimes he had to wonder about them…

"What are you talking about?" Brothers. Sometimes she had to wonder about them…

"Think genius. You haven't slept since this time yesterday, so now you'll have to sleep, and then you gotta find someone to help you tomorrow… Hell, I'm just gonna go get one of the sprites to look after the animals for you…" He ignored her muttering about sprites and whatnot as the knowledge of his sleep deprivation finally hit him. He really hadn't slept in a day, had he? Well, that explained why his eyelids felt so heavy…

"Claire?" She abruptly stopped her ranting and gave him her full attention.

"Yeah?" He yawned loudly, the excitement of the past night finally catching up.

"I'm going to bed…" She snorted as he shuffled out of the room and headed towards his bedroom. Lovesick idiot… But he was lucky. She could only hope Karen would say those three pretty words to her some day…

Thoughts of her mostly-secret girlfriend then fled from her mind as she realized something very important…

'That jerk left me without any food!'