Disclaimer - I don't own Harvest Moon
Author's note - Hey all! Here's the final oneshot of the series, Jack x Goddess. I think my take on it's a little twisted and strange, but it's definitely one of my favourites so far. Thanks to everyone who has reviewed the series at some point; you're all great. Enjoy!
And A Happy-Ish Ending
" - And fortunately the rain should have peetered out by the end of the afternoon." The pretty, blonde weather girl smiled out of the television screen as she cheerfully concluded her report.
Moments later, her pixelated image vanished in a crackle as Jack morosely flicked the remote in the direction of the screen. He decided to leave the television off altogether. There was never anything decent on Mineral Town's limited channels and they didn't show even the cheesiest, most low-budget of movies.
The word 'bored' had never been more understated. Restlessly, Jack's brown eyes flickered across his beautifully modern farmhouse. His years living here had been spent crafting it to what it was today. Polished wood flooring ran throughout the open-plan ground floor, the kitchen was spotless and the large fireplace burned brightly during the Winter. Perhaps it was a little high maintenance for the average working farmer, but Jack didn't mind. It was no longer a cold, showroom house, it was his home. He only wished he could properly share it.
Suddenly, a high-pitched yelp tore through the night air just outside the farmhouse. Jack didn't even bat an eyelid. He knew full well that it was only Crusher, his cowardly guard dog. Crusher was supposed to be out there warding off vicious wild dogs, but more often than not, they ended up giving him the runaround. Many a night had passed in which Jack was forced to get up and let a whimpering Crusher inside to curl up under the bedcovers. And the irony of the name wasn't lost on him, either.
His wife had thought it to be utterly ridiculous when she heard. Oh yeah - that was another tiny fact about Jack. He was married, but it wasn't as though you'd know it.
Put simply, marriage wasn't quite how he'd pictured it. He thought things would liven up after his wedding and yet here he was, sat alone in the house. Again. Just like every other night.
A further few minutes dragged by until, at last, Jack gave in and decided to slouch off to bed. Television was clearly dead and even Crusher had quietened down, so there was nothing for him to stay up for.
Wait! Was that - ? Jack froze completely, gazing curiously at the darkened window. He could have sworn he saw a flash of white light there. Well, there were only two things that could be. Lightning - on a calm Spring evening, mind you - or else -
Sure enough, just seconds later, an imperiously loud knock rang out. Jack attempted to act nonchalant, but he just couldn't help the thrill that went through him at the sound of it. He knew what - or rather who - he would see when he opened the door. It unleashed a wave of emotions within him ranging from anger to excitement to relief. But mostly excitement.
"Jack! Hello!" a regal, feminine voice called out as the door was flung open and a yellowy light flooded the lawn. It wasn't necessary. Shimmering, white energy radiated from the figure, allowing her to be illuminated in even the blackest, darkest of lights. Her wide, cat-like eyes were unnaturally green and her hair, of the exact same colour, fell in an elegant braid. All of that was weird enough, without even considering he fact that she was hovering effortlessly a foot above the ground. Anyone else would have been left speechless at the sight of her. Except for Jack. After all this wasn't just any divine apparition - this was his wife.
He fully wanted to show her how angry he was for her desertion, but somehow couldn't help feeling awed by her appearance. Perhaps it was a spell she had him under. "Er - why d'you knock?" Jack stuttered, once he'd regained his voice. "When you could have just..." He gestured wildly. "...appeared."
The Goddess gave him a knowing, yet sweet smile. "I like to blend in," she revealed, gliding smoothly into the room. The door snapped shut behind her, apparently of it's own accord. "After all, when with humans do as the humans do."
"Yeah, because we levitate," Jack muttered quietly.
Somehow, she still managed to hear him, and said confidently, "Easily remedied." There was a snap, that may have been nothing more than a click of the fingers, and the glow that surrounded her disappeared at once. Finally, with a strange twirl in mid-air, the Goddess landed gracefully on two feet.
Jack could only gawp, thinking he'd never, ever get used to this. "Unmph..."
"I've got some news for you, Jack," she continued briskly, wandering over to his dining room table and perching herself on the edge. She carefully ignored his awed expression, but couldn't seem to conceal the grin that tugged at her lips. "As you know, we've been married for almost a year now - "
...Why, Jack wondered, was she talking to him like he didn't already know all of this...
" - And I've been very busy with my duties as Harvest Goddess. It's just that now, well, I feel our family needs to expand."
It took some time for her words to finally sink in with Jack. When he understood, though, his feelings were perfectly clear. "WHAT?" he shouted. "Family? Us!? You must be joking! You spend days on end living in a pond, while I'm stuck here, slaving away."
The Goddess raised a speculative eyebrow at her husband, causing him to falter slightly. "Slaving away?" she laughed disbelievingly. "Jack, you fished for four whole hours yesterday and spent a further two picking wild flowers!"
It appeared Jack had no answer to this, as he hastily changed the subject. "What do you mean 'expand' anyway? You're not - you're not pregnant or anything, are you?" Even as he said it, he was still trying to fathom how that could be possible. Truth was, it couldn't...
But the Goddess nodded her head. Then, just as Jack was about to start hyperventilating, she shook it instead, plunging him into deep confusion. "Well..." she began slowly. "I was. But I'm not anymore."
Somewhere, between the time she started talking and the time she finished, Jack's mind went into complete meltdown. By the seems of it, his brain had just stopped working altogether. "Huh? W - Whaa - What do you mean?" he managed eventually, feeling very breathless all of a sudden. "You can't have already had a baby. That's impossible!" Then, he remembered all the levitating and teleporting, and hesitated. "Isn't it?"
"You should know that anything's possible with me, Jack," the Goddess confirmed. "Listen, I did fall pregnant, okay? And with your child, before you ask. I'm a Goddess, remember. I knew I needed to reproduce, so I went ahead and did it. And no, don't ask about the details of the situation, it would only confuse you more. There was no time to get you involved, of course, what with my busy schedule. Do you know how many idiots I had to save during the Winter storms last year? I mean, who in their right mind goes hiking on the eve of a blizzard? Madness."
Silence fell over the room, as the Goddess finished speaking. Jack had long since stopped listening to her excuses about the Winter, and was now staring unfocusedly into the space before him. He couldn't quite, couldn't quite...understand. The fact that he may already be a father, whether he liked it or not, would have to wait. "Why didn't you come and tell me you were having a baby?" he asked, his voice rising as his temper flared.
"I was busy," his wife answered, somehow managing to sound sympathetic, even in her impatience. "I said. There just wasn't the time for me to pay you a visit - however much I knew I should."
"Nine whole months you had!"
The Goddess only grinned at this. Her deep green eyes were glittering in a way that Jack both admired and feared at the same time; he knew then, not to second guess a Goddess. "Try nine weeks," she explained softly. "Different gestation periods. It's all relatively simple."
Numb with shock, but no longer truly angry, Jack could barely manage a nod. Now that all that was 'explained', he could safely turn his thoughts to the child that she had supposedly brought into the world recently. It was so bewildering, but he tried to make sense of it all. The child would obviously live with his, or indeed her, mother at the pond. He or she was the child of a Goddess and would likely possess the exact same qualities. Just like his wife, they, too, would have duties. They, too, would rarely visit, rarely be able to see him.
Jack may have thought marriage didn't live up to his expectations, but he was wrong. Marriage in general was mostly fine. It was marriage to a Goddess that was the problem.
"Don't you want to know whether you have a son or a daughter, then?" The Goddess's slightly irritated voice crashed through Jack's thoughts, casuing his head to jerk upwards in surprise. "Well? You have a son, Jack."
"Called?" he asked distantly. The burst of excitement that rushed through him was quickly dampended by a surge of bitter disappointment. It wouldn't matter to him what the child was named: he wouldn't see it.
Once again though, as she had a habit of doing, his Goddess wife surprised him. "I thought you could decide that. You have had quite a shock, after all." She looked past Jack and into the lounge, giving a significant nod of the head.
Obediently, almost like a puppet under her control, Jack turned and followed her glance. The slightest inkling of what she might be hinting at reared eagerly in the back of his head. His heart was pounding audibly, his mind racing, expectations growing - but nothing could prepare him for the incredible sight that met his eyes.
He very nearly fainted.
Placed near the sofa, a little way in front of television, as though it had been there all along - although they both knew it hadn't - was a small crib. Wordlessly, breathlessly even, Jack crept tentatively forward. He had temporarily forgotten the supernatural being, currently residing on his kitchen table. His eyes were for his son only. The baby boy lying asleep on the blankets wasn't particularly spectacular. As far as Jack could tell, he was a pretty ordinary newborn. Small, crumpled, near bald with only a light covering of soft, brown hair...He seemed to be completely normal.
The Goddess was now inexplicably at Jack's shoulder. "So, what will you call him?" she breathed in her husband's ear.
Jack's mind was blank; he hadn't the first idea. Shaking his head dazedly, he mumbled, "How - just how?"
He knew she'd have some oddly logical explanantion and, sure enough, he was right. "It's not just myself that I can teleport, Jack," she replied simply. "And as for the crib? Well that was easily materialised."
"Didn't it hurt, though? You know...when you had him?"
"He was once a part of me and now he is not. He is his own person," the Goddess said. It sounded as though she was talking more to herself, than anyone else. "It's as simple as that." Something about her mysterious, far-away tone, told Jack he would get no further answer.
He turned back to the boy more confused than ever, yet strangely contented. The feeling soon vanished. He could barely look away from his son and his stomach was surely doing somersaults with excitement, but...what was the point in getting excited, really?
Swallowing determinedly, Jack faced his wife. "I can't think of a good name just now," he muttered, moving swiftly away from the crib. The Goddess followed him closely, as he realised she'd given up walking in favour of her usual effortless glide.
When she spoke she sounded distinctly indifferent. "Okay then. Well, I'm sure you'll think of something soon. As for right now, I'm afraid I can't stay any longer. Duties and such, you know."
Even though he could clearly see her heading to the door, the image simply wouldn't connect in Jack's mind. She was leaving...leaving...without the baby! What!? "Where - what - what are you doing?" the farmer choked out, shocked.
"Going. I thought I just explained."
Jack was aghast. "You can't!" he yelled, before remembering the sleeping baby and lowering his voice to a furious whisper. "How am I supposed to manage a child and a farm - "
But his words were erased with a careless swipe of the Goddess's hand. "The farm will be fine, trust me. Remember those corn seeds you forgot to water last Summer? Well, let's just say they didn't survive through sheer luck."
Jack ignored this latest critiscism of his farming ability and searched around for the next problem. Unsurprisingly, it didn't take him long to settle on a glaring one. "I don't know the first thing about looking after children," he pointed out. "And besides, he's the son of Goddess. What can he do? Is he gonna randomly vanish in a puff of smoke? Turn into a rabbit? What? He should be with his mother, for Goddess sake!"
"Don't use my name in vain, Jack," she sang, circling her husband in an irritating, yet entrancing way. "And a puff of smoke? Honestly? How cliche!" However, when she saw the unimpressed look on her husband's face, she quickly changed tact. "Okay, okay. I'm a Goddess, yes? I have duties. Our son is human, therefore he does not. No, he won't shape-shift. Neither will he control the weather, read your mind or teleport the farm and it's contents to the peak of Mother's Hill every other night. He's simply an ordinary little boy."
That couldn't be more true, Jack thought quite proudly, casting yet another glance at the crib. His first impression of the boy had turned out to be correct, then; he was normal. The farmer couldn't help but feel a buzz of excitement when he realised that he would be able to see his son, who had seemed to have come from nowhere, grow up.
But the feeling was tinged with sadness. If his wife had duties, she would not be around for the boy. He'd worked insanely hard to convince her to marry him and, even now, she still rarely made it to birthdays or supposedly special festivals. There was little hope, then, that she'd be able to find time for her son. "Tyler," Jack murmured suddenly, struck by quiet inspiration. "That's what I'll call him. Tyler, because it's simple and ordinary and just now nothing could be better for me than normality."
His reasoning caused a somber smile to cross the Goddess's lips, but it was still a smile nonetheless. She nodded in agreement with his choice and carefully approached the crib. "Suits him," she said, peering in. Then added to Jack, "And now I really must go - "
"Why?" he shot back, no longer bothering to keep his voice down. There was a faint stirring from the baby and his wife frowned, but Jack ignored her. "Can't this stupid town manage without you?"
"You knew where my place was - and will always be - when you proposed," she retorted, her voice becoming increasingly shrill. The same glowing, white light was radiating from her body again. This time, however, it seemed to emit fury rather than mystery and magic.
There was a further rustling from the crib, before Tyler's cries filled the room unexpectedly. Jack felt a new, proctective instinct within himself and was holding and rocking the child before he knew it. As he did so, all the anger bubbling inside seemed to ebb away. Resignation replaced it, and he sighed to his wife, "I understand. I do. If you have to go, you have to go."
The Goddess nodded gratefully as the understanding was reached. In her green eyes, though, a flicker of regret and unhappiness resided. Neither of the pair, it transpired, felt able to address it and she vanished instead in a blinding flash.
It was only while speeding away into through the consuming darkness, that she allowed herself to think the things she'd never say. For instance, she'd never admit it, but that adorable bundle in Jack's arms did things to her insides she couldn't have ever imagined. She knew full well what her duties were. But still...what was the odd evening off? Or weekend perhaps? She was determined not to desert them. She would most certainly return.
Meanwhile, back at the farm, Jack was having similar thoughts. He laughed as Crusher, who'd just been let in, took one look at the baby and darted under the table whimpering. She'd be back, he realised in confidence, watching his son proudly. Tyler had stopped crying now and opened his eyes to look back at his father. They were jade green. Like his mother's really, but duller. Natural.
Jack beamed again as Crusher barked piteously from beneath the table. His family was unconvential all right. An incompetent farmer, Goddess wife, cowardly guard dog and the most accepting infant in the world. Normality, Jack wondered again, knowing he wouldn't change them for the world, who needed it?
A/N - Woo! It's finally finished! Okay, so I think this one was probably the weirdest, but I loved writing it. I hoped you all enjoyed reading it too. Bye and don't forget to leave a review!