Hello everyone. If you're here its because you either were forced to be here or you like my summary. So…this is a love hate laugh until your sides hurt fic…hopefully. I've been told that some people don't have a sense of humor :O Also…this fic is going to be my first written in 1st person POV so if I screw up please kindly let me know. And I'll probably swap Character POV for creative purposes(But there will be headers). Reviews and constructive criticism welcome. Flames will be extinguished…and please don't flame me because I said that…I'm scared of fire.
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters- just the game my PSP GBA and GameCube.
Prologue: Claire's P.O.V.
"Well Mary, I think I'm going to take my leave," I said with a smile, tossing my dirty blonde hair over my shoulder as I stood. The dark eyed girl across the table from me never removed her eyes from her manuscript.
"Is it 1:00 already?" she said, her glasses sliding down the bridge of her nose ever so slightly as she finished writing her sentence. She put the pen down and stood up, placing her arms over her head as she gave a cat like stretch. I giggled at her appearance, thinking of Ann's cat Goober. "What's so funny?" she asked with a puzzled expression.
"Sorry…it's just you stretch like Ann's cat. Every time you do that…the way your back arches," I laughed for a few moments as she glared at me with a faint blush crossing her cheeks. "Well," I looked at my watch again. "I'll see you tomorrow Mary. Try to keep your head." She laughed at me in a way that just made me want to hug her because she looked so cute. I mean, sometimes with Mary and Popuri, there are times when they look so cute you just want to pinch their cheeks like a grandma.
"Are you sure you can't stay longer?" she asked even though she knew the answer. After all it was the same one she received every day since I'd found out he came here at 1:30. That's why I had made a point of leaving the library at exactly 1:00 every day for the almost the entire year I've been here.
I would show up at precisely 10:00 and talk to Mary every morning with the exception of Monday and Thursday and holidays. Mary was my best friend and we liked almost the exact same things- except for him. She liked him and I loathed his existence; and yet Mary seemed determined to make us friends- despite the mutual 'I hate you with the white hot intensity of a thousand bright suns' that I shared with the blacksmith's apprentice. One of the only thing we shared.
"I won't stay longer," I replied with a smirk. But Mary returned it with one of her own.
Let me be the one to tell you that smirks do not suit the pretty librarian in anyway. It made her look evil…which in retrospect was probably what she was feeling like. For all I know she was PMSing and woke up saying 'How can I make Claire miserable today?' I reached for my jacket when I heard her.
"It's a shame a strong woman like you lets big old mean Gray run her off from her best friend on her birthday." I turned to her with narrowed eyes. "Why are you scared of Gray?"
Oh no she didn't. I wasn't afraid of anything- especially that loud mouth, rude, arrogant jerk!
"I am not scared of him," I growled out menacingly as I left my jacket hanging on the hook. I had taken Mary's bait- hook, line, and sinker. I didn't even notice her satisfied smile as I looked out the window. "You know what? The snow is picking up- so maybe I will stay here a little longer. Maybe it will let up before you close today." I stressed the word close to insinuate I was staying until 4 o'clock just for spite.
If she wanted me to stay- then I would. For her. And damn the results of the ticking time bomb she'd just created. I was not to be held responsible for anything that happened today. I shook my head and looked at her desk- the box and ripped paper littering the otherwise emculate area.
"How do you like your present?"
Mary looked at the box, a large smile on her face. "I needed an extra portfolio for my writing. Thank you so much Claire." I nodded and began to climb upstairs. "You're not going to hide up there are you?"
"NO!" I said loudly only to be silenced by the instinctive 'shhh' Mary gave me. "I'm going to find myself a very thick and interesting book so I'm not tempted to look away from it in his presence." I heard Mary scoff at me as I climbed upstairs in time to hear the bells on the door jingle- signaling my nemesis' arrival.
As I let my fingers graze over the spines of the books, while I mindlessly searched for an interesting title, my thoughts went back to the day I meet the evil one. My mortal enemy.
Well…perhaps I was being a little too harsh. But to say Gray and I were on peaceful terms was quite an overstatement as anyone in Mineral Town can tell you. Every time we tried to exchange words it ended up with bickering and arguing for whatever the reason.
It always seemed that when one of us finally swallowed our pride to try to start with a clean slate the other would always screw it up. Perhaps it was because both of us had a short fuse when it came to our tempers. Well…I didn't consider myself to have a short fuse- I could take a lot of crap before I blew up. But for some goddess only knows reason she had given Gray the ability to make me boil with rage in five minutes or less. And of course that had to be accompanied with his inhuman ability to bite of your head and suck out your soul.
I smiled wickedly to myself at the thought of Gray literally sucking out some one's soul. But I just made that part up. What Gray truly had was an inherited trait that caused him to unexpectedly verbally slaughter anyone that crossed his path when he was in a foul mood.
Especially so when that innocent bystander just happened to walk into his place of work while he was having an argument with his 'charming' grandfather about his lack of skill in the blacksmithing industry. Note the sarcasm.
Saibara was alright in my opinion. The old man and I got a long just peachy. Closest thing I had to a father…er…grandfather figure in a long time. He looked mean but was really just a big old teddy bear-and part grizzly. To my delight I'd seen him verbally slaughter Gray on more than one occasion; and to both my humor and my horror Manna. She deserved for it to happen but wow! She'd never seen it coming. First time since I'd been here that I'd seen the woman speechless, I believe.
"The Wizard of Oz…what the heck… I'll read it," I said out loud and pulled it off the shelf. I could hear Mary's giggling and the low murmur of the more than likely embarrassed jerk downstairs. So…our first meeting:
I'd been walking into town and stopped at the blacksmith's shop. Barley had told me I would need a brush for my new foal Darkwing Duck,(let's get dangerous). I don't know why I'd named him that…(a lot of my animals have Disney character names) So here I was, a paying customer entering the shop, and walked right into the granddaddy-pardon the pun- of all arguments.
When my eyes landed on Gray for the first time I wasn't really paying attention to what he was saying. I remember thinking that he was hot- but scary. And that I didn't think he looked good with that scowl on his face. I didn't know that was the only expression besides indifference that he had. But I had thought 'that guy would be a lot more friendly looking if he smiled'. Then he turned on me with that glare that I think I've received every single day since we met.
"What are you looking at? Mind your own damn business…nosey brat." He had screamed at me in a way that I was not very accustomed to. I had immediately taken a step back in shock.
Look…I know he didn't say anything really mean…it was just how he said it…the way he shredded me to bits with his burning bright blue eyes. It wasn't that I was easy to ruffle- but the way he spoke to me- the way he looked at me…it caused me to feel something. It hurt and I nearly had cried. But I don't cry…ever. I haven't cried since I was nine years old. I stuffed those negative emotions deep down so they could come out years later as tumors or something. I was not one to be depressed- to cry over trivial things like some jerk that I'd just met yelling at me. Not anymore.
I didn't like people who had the ability to hurt my feelings...I cursed their existence. I had ignored him as his expression went from his angry scowl to his look of indifference. I had barley registered the old man scolding him as I acknowledge his actions towards me and did the only thing I knew how to do. I triggered my defense mechanism and returned to him the glare he'd given me and his angry outburst tenfold as he was giving a forced apology.
"What is your problem you idiot?" I hissed out as my hands balled into fist and I stood with my legs locked in a stiff V stance. His eyes widened slightly but his actual expression never changed. "If you don't want people to know your business then maybe you should have your private conversations in another room instead of the shop where customers come in." I added as I folded my arms across my chest. I could see the corner of one side of his mouth twitch up in the smallest of smirks.
"This had to do with my job," he said coldly as he mimicked my folded arms and pulled his blue hat down to cover his eyes. I narrowed my eyes but Saibara diverted my attention by striking up a conversation.
"Don't mind my grandson, Gray . He's just an apprentice who's growing too big for his breeches. He is impatient and wants to know why I won't approve his work." I looked over at the tool the old man gestured too.
"Well how long have you been doing this?" I asked the old man who smiled at me
"Probably longer than the ages of the two of you added together." I gave a jerk of my head in the idiot's direction.
"Then he should listen to you. I'm sure you're not just being mean. His work looks good to me…" I saw Gray's head perk up "but what do I know about it. I'm sure that the harder he trains the better he'll get and you'll let him know when that happens. You can't just expect to be good at something right away or even after you've been doing it awhile." I smiled at the old man but continued to ignore the younger one behind me. "So…my name is Claire and I'm the new farmer." I extended my hand to the old man.
"Sabaira the blacksmith." He shook my hand firmly. "What did you come in here for dear?" He added with a small smile.
"Oh…I need a brush for my foal." I said with a small giggle while scratching the back of my head embarrassedly. The old man nodded and looked at Gray whom walked into the back room. Saibara walked into the side room right before Gray came back. He handed me the brush and I went to grab it from him. He held it tightly and stepped in closer to me.
"He you go brat," he'd said with a low teasing tone- but his indifferent face just forced me to believe that he was being an ass.
"Thank you, idiot," I replied with an obviously forced smile as I snatched the brush away. He looked away from me and I almost felt sorry for him. "You just need practice you know?" I added with the most sincerity I could gather. Evidently it wasn't enough.
"What the hell would you know about it," he growled with a soul freezing glare and turned his back to me. I couldn't believe he'd bitten my head off twice. And I'd set myself up for it the second time. Foolish Claire…very foolish. So I did what any hurt person would do in the situation. I hit him in the back of the head with the brush.
"Jerk," I growled and stormed out of the shop.
So the first time I met Gray wasn't really that bad…the actual words exchanged. But the second meeting and the third…every time we met ended horrible, more horrible than the last. We could have a semi-cordial conversation but not for very long. There are just some people on this planet whom are put here just to be a gnat buzzing around your eyes. And Gray was my gnat.
I descended the stairs quietly hoping the two would be so engulfed with the conversation they were in that they wouldn't see me. Gray's obvious crush on my best friend made me sick. She deserved better than that idiot. I sneaked past them and sat in a chair and opened my book, blocking out their low chatter.
I knew she was here when I walked in with Mary's wrapped present in my hand. I saw her overly large blue coat hanging on the coat rack, her pink fluffy scarf dangling as well.
I tried to give Mary a big smile as I handed her the gift despite the queasy feeling her smile gave my stomach. She opened it and put on the dangling bracelet, hugging me with a thank you. I blushed despite she'd given me one of those one armed friend hugs.
My mind wondered to why the farmer girl would still be at the library when I arrived. I knew she left here every day at one so I could spend time with Mary. Well…Mary had told me Claire left to give her time to spend with me…but I knew that was Mary's nice way of putting what Claire had said…probably something along the lines of " I'd rather die than be in the same room with that arrogant jerk while he tries to desperately woo you.
Yes…I knew Claire had discovered that I liked Mary. Mary had told me of Claire's 'humorous hypotheses back in the fall. I don't think I minded that Claire knew…but it bothered me that Mary had laughed it off as ridiculous and highly unlikely. I just needed time for Mary to see me as more than a friend, and to tell the truth I was glad Claire left so I would have time to spend with Mary- just the two of us.
But this was the one of the major brownie point winning days of the year and the annoying brat was here. So I'm selfish. So what if I was with Mary every afternoon for the rest of the year. This was her birthday. I looked at Mary's thoughtful expression and pointed to the coat as if I didn't know.
"Someone here?" I asked. Well more like stated.
"Yes. I asked Claire to stay since it was my birthday. My mother is going to make a cake and I thought the three of us would eat it together." She giggled slightly and returned to her writing.
"I see," was my indifferent reply. Well, I couldn't be mad at Claire for doing what Mary had asked her to, could I?
Of course I could. But I had been in enough confrontations with Claire to know that she had more than likely been tricked into staying. Which would mean she was probably already in a bad mood- just right for bickering.
My verbal sparring matches with Claire had ruined some days while made others. Neither of us really never won an argument. They always ended in draws. But I found it…entertaining, not that I got some sick joy out of arguing with her. But she expressed herself so much more vibrantly, more real. She seemed to be always smiling- but to me it seemed fake. Perhaps I just read too much into it, but when we argued her eyes would light up. She was alive.
Though we had come to a silent agreement when we first met that we didn't like each other, it still made me happy to see that light in her eyes while she cursed me for everything under the sun. It was her anger, pure and unfiltered that fuelled the constant bickering and, even though I would never admit it out loud, the way she looked when she was arguing with me.
Her eyes would widen when I'd say something she hadn't expected, or how her triumphant smirk would appear when I took too long to reply to her barbs. Her adorable angry stance, and even the way she assaulted me made for talk back at the inn between the bachelors on guys night. I wasn't interested in a relationship with Claire but I wasn't stupid. I knew she was a decent looking girl. She contrasted with Mary so much.
Her hair was probably a dingy blonde right now but in the summer the sun had it a bright light golden color. It was never the same- sometimes hanging limply around her and sometimes floating about in a frizzy mass. Mary's raven hair was pulled back in a trained braid, always in place.
Claire's light complexion was smeared with cinnamon freckles while Mary's alabaster skin was barley scared by any exposure to the sun. As for their figures…I couldn't tell about Claire who hid underneath large baggy clothes, but Mary had her little blouse and vest complete with ironed pleated skirt that exposed some of her curves while allowing the imagination to wonder.
Claire's eyes are nearly a grayish blue, while Mary's are a deep abyss of bottomless onyx. Claire's made me think of an unsteady violent storm…she just seemed sad, when she wasn't pissed off at me. It all goes back to her eyes…her smile never reached them.
And while there was a great deal of teasing me about our constant bickering between the patrons at the inn, I wanted it to be understood that Mary was MY perfect woman- she complemented me. We were kindred spirits- destined to meet each other and be together…or at least I'd like to think that. She knew me- my expectations, my dreams. She made me smile even on the worst day.
She knew how to handle me when I was angry- she didn't antagonize me like the blonde that Ann continued to state would make a great addition to our family. While my father Doug continued to state 'opposites attract'. The hell they do...Claire and I met and we've been trying to run away from each other ever since.
The only time we we're willingly together was during community events and when we'd been conned into it by so called friends…come to think of it this hadn't happened since Summer…it had been Kai that had tricked us. I heard the creaking of the floorboards and began to chat with Mary about my usual life. My grandfather will never like my work type things. I ignored the blonde and for the time being it seemed she was doing the same. I saw her sit down at the chair that I thought was designated mine. Note to self- carve initials into arm of chair tomorrow.
I really don't know what it was about her that rubbed me the wrong way...and frankly I didn't care. She didn't mean anything to me anyhow. She was just another person in the village. I'd said it hundreds of times to Ann- but she would always laugh at me and make a comment about how I said more to Claire in one encounter than to other people in a week…but that doesn't really mean anything.
"Mary," I heard Anna's voice float through the room and Mary looked around me at her mother.
"Yes ma'am," she answered with a small smile. Anna hesitated as she caught sight of Claire and I in the same room…she was probably debating calling Mary away and the consequences of the two of us being left alone.
"Can you come here for a few minutes to help me bring everything over so you three can eat the cake. I just need help with the plates, forks, and napkins. I'd ask your father but I can't find him."
"Sure mom."Mary stood from her desk and the two disappeared…leaving Claire and myself alone. I walked over and stood across from where she sat.
"Problem?" she said quietly, never looking up from her book.
"You're in my chair," I said, feeling the argument beginning.
"I don't see your name on it," was her reply. Just wait until tomorrow….it'll be there in bold letters.
"Isn't that a juvenile book," I stated, folding my arms as she closed her eyes in annoyance.
"Your point would be…" she muttered a little louder.
"Why are you reading it," I asked. I was genuinely curious as to why she was reading the Wizard of OZ. She didn't seem like that thing would interest her. I saw the corners of her mouth twitch up in the smallest of smiles.
"It makes me think of you," she whispered, her eyes meeting mine. She had a boastful arrogant look on her face.
I knew I was setting myself up as I retorted "How so?"
"Because you need a heart and a brain, genius." OUCH! That was a low blow- emotional and intellectual attacks. But I had to give her this- I walked right into it. I couldn't think of anything to say before Mary came back in.
I brought in the plates and napkins and mentally groaned when I looked at my two friends. I could tell by Gray's standoff stance that they were in the process of beginning their most recent verbal battle. Goddess knows I loved them both dearly…but I was quickly approaching my wits end when it came to dealing with them together. Claire wasn't so bad- she would just ignore Gray 85 of the time as long as he didn't go out of his way to instigate the argument. But alas- Gray just couldn't control himself when it came to the blonde woman. It just wasn't a full day unless darling Gray could get a good rise out of gullible Claire.
That is where I had succeeded in this feud- I admitted out loud that both parties were to blame for poor first impressions. I knew Claire's quote 'reasoning' behind her strong dislike of Gray and it was completely unfounded. Claire was a very forgiving person- so the poor first meeting excuse didn't cut it with me. I didn't know her true reasons for continuing her feud with the blacksmith apprentice- but I'm sure they were founded on some psychological reasoning on her part. Perhaps she would tell me one day…but I highly doubted it.
Claire was in herself a wonderful person. She was funny, charismatic, and intelligent. But as easy as it was for you to like her she would never let you inside. I didn't know much about her life before Mineral Town, her family and other friends. When I first met her she struck me as a loner-and closed bloom in a concrete valley- I guess that was why I befriended her, why I brought her with me to a real valley-I wanted to transplant her to where she could grow. She seemed surprised that someone would be interested in her and was a little shy at first.
But when the other girls and I all went to her house for a housewarming party she soon bloomed into a wonderful friend. It really surprised me that someone who seemed so strong was at the same time so fragile. She went out of her way to avoid conflict with her friends- even if the other party was wrong. At first it left me bewildered because it wasn't that she couldn't hold her own in a fight- she proved she could very much stand her ground every day with Gray.
But as the year passed I had a hunch that I knew what it was- and was pleased when someone had also came to a similar hypothesis. Kai had voiced my suspicions out loud upon seeing a rather nasty argument between Popuri and Claire- very immature on Popuri's part buy Claire had immediately given into Popuri- despite Claire being the one everyone agreed with on the topic.
Kai has been surprised to say the least- having witnessed several sparring matches with Claire and Gray and had thought this would be a similar match. But Claire had almost immediately caved. So I had a second opinion on the matter and we had decided that the reason she wouldn't fight with any of us was very simple. We were Claire's first friends- and she didn't want to do anything to jeopardize that. Now…as for Gray…
Gray, I'd like to think it was deeper than this, but to me it was typical school boy crush. You know, a boy on the playground pulls the pigtails of the girl he likes, throws dirt in her face, pushes her down and laughs type thing. He enjoyed arguing with Claire as far as I was concerned. He would smile, mind you it sometimes resembles a sadistic smirk of some sort, but he would give a rare smile after the more ridiculous arguments. He had told me in confidence that Claire 'rubbed him the wrong way.'
But I found it adorable that he enjoyed arguing with her so much (not the actual arguing mind you). I also fully believed that if they could make amends then it would help Gray greatly to have Claire as a friend. His friends consisted of Cliff and myself- perhaps Kai but I don't know if he really counted. But Gray needs more friends, and perhaps if they could get passed the childish bickering, Gray could realize that he had feelings for Claire- however small- and they could become friends. I would love for that to happen. Goddess knows how there bickering made me feel torn between them.
So I sat down with them as my mother brought in my birthday cake and they all sang Happy Birthday to me. I blew out the candles and made my wish. My mother passed out slices of cake and then retreated the safety of the main house. The three of us sat in silence as we ate the cake until I finally decided to make conversation.
"My mom makes some of the best cake," I said.
"I think Doug has a slightly better recipe," Claire stated as she thoughtfully chewed. "But this is really close."
"That's my mom's recipe," Gray states quietly and I mentally cringed. Family was a bad topic with both of them. Claire knew that Gray's mom was deceased, but we knew nothing of Claire's family. Perhaps this was a good an opportunity as any to do a little research on Claire.
"What about you Claire, does your mom have a good cake recipe?" I asked her as innocently as I could. I saw her eyes go blank for a minute.
"Yes," she replied quietly as she looked down at her plate. I narrowed my eyes slightly and saw Gray's passive expression trying to hide the curiosity that his eyes gave away.
"Well you'll have to give us some cake when she sends you some for your birthday," I stated with a giggle, but suddenly felt like I had kicked a puppy when I looked at Claire.
"She hasn't made a cake for my birthday since I was very young." She whispered as she put the plate on the table, evidently losing her appetite. I could see her defenses rising quickly as she went into her change the subject mode. "But…I know the recipe and I'll make it for you sometime," she added with a smile, that smile that really seemed like a mask. I had finished my cake and picked up the plates.
"I'll be right back. You two be civil while I take the dishes to the kitchen." I said cheerfully and disappeared into the main house, leaving the two alone.
A few minutes later I heard a shriek and what sounded like hundreds of loud crashes. I ran into the library to find one of the shelves knocked over, and Gray's hat to the side of the large pile of hundreds of books. Oh my Goddess, they finally killed each other!
DUNDUNDUNNNNNN!! Want to know what happens next? Want to know what happened when Mary was out of the room? Tune in next week for chapter 2 of My Enemy My Friend. I don't know how long it will be but it will be up by Saturday next week. Reviews are nice and as stated above- constructive criticism welcome. Thanks everyone!