Disclaimer: I do not own Harvest Moon, Its Characters, or the company Natsume. Maybe Natsume owns itself? I don't know…
In the humble land of Mineral Town lived two young women. Both were each other's contradictions, opposites in nearly every way. One was day while the other was night; One was warm while the other was cool; One was the sky while the other was the sea. Yet, if one were clouded by such things as personal tastes and ideals, both were arguably quite beautiful. The only other similarity they shared was a love for one man; or at least, the one they acknowledged.
Hailing from the city was the new farmer named Claire. Her long, golden blonde hair and shimmering sapphire eyes gave her an eye-catching, albeit typical "ideal" beauty for one of childish woman. She was admired for dedication and hard work on her farm, which served to further reward her with healthier and shapely form of which she gained even more admiration for. She was very sunny and outgoing, and easily adored by the townsfolk; especially by most men. Yet, as generous as her heart was, there was only one whom she could truly offer it to.
Born in town was the residential librarian named Mary. Her braided, raven black hair and her framed gray eyes gave her a demure, more subtle beauty of a mature woman. She was respected for her intellect and her dedication to knowledge, though her body was kept unnoticed behind her modest attire. She was very quiet and shy, and not so easily noticed by the townsfolk; even by most men. Yet, as secluded as she was, there was at least one whom she could always open up to.
There was one whom their hearts were tied to, and it was the apprentice blacksmith named Grey. His short, strawberry-blond hair covered by a blue cap and his stern eyes somehow appealed to both as a most handsome man. He was noted for his stubbornness, foul temper and disinterest to socialize. Yet to these two women, he was a brave, kind and honorable man. He was nothing short of their knight and shining armor.
He was the one thing that they had in common, yet it was the one thing that kept them apart; at least from each other's perspectives. They both felt kindness as they both felt envy. They both harbored love as they both harbored fear. They both shared sympathy while they both saw bias.
They both knew so much that was the same, yet they were both day and night: beings that could not coexist, or so they thought.
One special morning, the library door swung open. The meek librarian sat by her desk as usual, ready to greet her incoming patron.
"Good Morning. Welcome to the Library. "
She quickly noticed the long blonde hair that trailed behind
"Oh, hello Claire." Mary greeted with less enthusiasm, "Good timing, we've got a few new books in today and--"
"No, I came here to see you. I think it's about time we talked." Claire interjected.
"Talk? About what? I'm not quite sure what we could discuss so openly about as to engage in a conversation. But if you're up to it, go ahead and propose." Mary answered with doubt in her voice.
"It's exactly about that! I notice we rarely talk to each other… ever!" the blonde spelled out.
"Claire, if it's about us not being good friends or anything, you don't have to befriend me just because I happen to be a resident here. I'm sure the rest of the townspeople can forgive you for overlooking just one person. It's not like they see me as someone worth their attention anyway." The librarian explained.
"No! There's exactly one person who sees you that way! And… that's what this is about. I'm pretty sure that's the precise reason we don't… talk." Claire clarified.
Mary placed her palms firmly on her knees as she felt her body tense up.
"…Gray?" she uttered ever so quietly.
"Yes! That's precisely it!" Claire shouted. "I don't understand it! Why is that out of all the girls, I'm vying for attention against you? We're practically the two most different in this town! I know he isn't some lousy player/pimp messing with us! So then why us?!"
""Why us" indeed…" Mary sighed in reluctant agreement.
"I… I don't know why I can't remember why and when I started having feelings for him. He was such a cold jerk to me at first…" Claire confessed uneasily, "But… I can see it too clearly. He likes you more. Whether it's because or inspire of your childhood friendship, it's like he feels easier around you."
"It's because that one night he decided to be chivalrous for once and tend to you when you felt ill during that heavy storm." Mary reminded her. "But, how could you say that?! He clearly likes you more! All of his emotions for you are so strong and impulsive… it spurns his passion. Every time he looks at you, I can tell he's suppressing some sort of hunger! He treats me sweetly, but only as a friend out of pity…"
"Wait, how did I know that about Claire?" Mary thought to herself suddenly.
"How could you say that?! You're clearly the beautiful one! I'm practically a child compared to you! So smart and refined… and the way he looks at you tenderly. That's the look of real love. If what you expect from he and I is an intense passion, then that's all there will be: it's shallow. There's nothing else beyond that I could expect from him." Claire sighed.
"Then are you saying I should be with him after all, then?" Mary asked doubtfully.
"No! I still want him! But I want what you have with him!" Claire shouted.
"Why? I can't tell for sure if what you see from him is nothing but jealous notions! It's felt the same! This whole time I've known him, I could never see anything beyond the warmth of a friend! I can't tell if he feels anything strong for me, Claire! I can't tell if there really is any true love in his heart for me!" Mary argued.
"He trusts you with so much, Mary! You're the one who comforts him and can actually bring out his soft side!"
"You're the one who can actually deal with his stubbornness and meet him as an equal! You're the one who he can secretly lust for!"
"It's you who's really the beautiful one in his eyes, Mary! You and your ladylike ways!"
"No, it's you who he thinks is the beautiful one! You're the one who can actually live life to its fullest!"
Suddenly, a deep, intense pain filled both their heads, causing the two ladies to reel back.
"Ah! What is this sharp pain! And why… why are these holes in my mind?!" both thought simultaneously without being aware of it.
Claire and Mary then looked at each other, feeling a chilling mixture of envy, fear, and doubt.
"Why does she think that way? How does she know what I don't understand?" both girls thought in unison.
The two ladies brought their faces closer and looked at each other more intensely with stalwart auras.
"Mary…" Claire uttered.
"Why do you think I'm the more beautiful one?" they asked at the same time.
Both pulled away at the same time, eerily shocked at each other's perfect symmetry.
"No… no way." Claire uttered in shock. "Could it really be possible? Are the both of us--"
"Really the same in truth?" Mary finished.
The blonde farmer and the raven-haired librarian looked into each other's eyes in confusion. At first, what they saw was a reflection of themselves, but upon further inspection, they were starting to see someone else entirely. The strange figure felt like déjà vu: familiar, yet unfamiliar.
"I don't understand why it is you'd think that way…" Claire said aloud.
"Yes, I don't quite understand your reasoning, as well." Mary confessed.
"Then why do we keep thinking--"
"--in the same pattern?"
The both of them were fairly certain it was their first real conversation with each other. Yet their minds kept mimicking each other in strange and fascinating ways.
"We don't even look alike…" Claire uttered.
"We don't even have the same disposition…" Mary added on.
"Yet we keep mirroring each other." They said at the same time once more.
Both became lost in thought at this unusual phenomenon. How these two opposites, how night and day, were all of a sudden being brought together like the sun and moon during an eclipse. What it created was more darkness and confusion between the two, yet more and more coherent thoughts started to form as well.
"It's as if we were kept from each other on purpose!" Claire and Mary concluded.
"But, the one thing that was keeping us apart was Gray!" Claire thought.
"This couldn't be entirely his fault! There's no way he'd want to separate consciously!" Mary thought.
"No, it was our differences that allowed this separation…"
"And these strange pains and confusing viewpoints…"
"…We have to forego this and band together…"
Both Claire's and Mary's eyes met once more with tension and uncertainty, but after a moment of doubt, both nodded to each other. Finally, as if by instinct, the two reached out and joined hands. The pain in their minds intensified, trying to drive them apart once more. This quickly followed up with the separate memories of Gray that made each other jealous. The two girls tightened their grips fighting these devastating memories, but then, as time wore on, the memories started molding together to make happy ones. Soon, other memories flooded in: Ones that they both recognized as their own; ones that somehow matched up perfectly; Ones that were… the same.
Both women gasped in shock. Mary's braid quickly unraveled, and became an eerie dark-haired reflection of Claire's. Her glasses then crashed down, but the librarian could still see the blonde farmer before her. More and more memories poured in, and both ladies screamed in pain. At first, it sounded like two identical cries at once, but eventually both screams became one. The library around them started turning into nothingness, leaving the two souls suffering in unexplained limbo. And their suffering seemed evermore endless, but throughout it, they were further and further uniting.
"Carrie…" a familiar voice whispered.
"…Who is that?" both women thought in unison.
"Carrie…" the voice whispered again.
"…Gray?" they both thought.
"Carrie!" the voice cried this time.
At the hospital, a young woman woke up with a jolt.
"Carrie!" the voice cried in joy and relief.
The young woman found herself in the arms of a man wearing a cap with the inscription of "UMA". It was Gray.
The young woman caressed her face curiously, and then looked around to find a mirror. Reflecting back at her was an astonished face with long, flowing raven-black hair and shining sapphire eyes.
"That's right. This is who I am…" she whispered to herself.
She then closed her eyes and drew closer to her beloved blacksmith's comforting body.
"Gray… I don't understand. I'm so glad to see you, but what am I doing here?"
"You're fine, now! That's all that matters, really! Do you really need to know anything else?" the blacksmith told her.
The formerly sleeping beauty inched back a little. She could sense that he sounded too desperate and was hiding something from her.
"You should at least know that you've been in a coma for the past few weeks or so." A cool voice uttered.
Both she and Gray looked away to see the local doctor standing aside in his professional attire with a somewhat composed look.
"Oh, is that so? That must explain the strange dream I've been having this whole time. I felt like my mind was split in two." Carrie giggled. "What about my parents? How have they been holding up about my condition?"
The Doctor sighed.
"That's the thing, Carrie…" he began.
"No! She doesn't have to know now! She just got up!" Gray begged.
But the doctor shook his head.
"I'm sorry, but you deserve the right to know. Carrie, the incident you received your coma in… was the same incident that killed your parents. I'm sorry."
Warm tears started pouring from the patient's eyes. To have woken up from one atrocity to only face another was a harsh blow, indeed.
"Your Uncle Basil and Aunt Anna held an honorable funeral for them, shortly afterwards. They may have primarily been city folk, but it was thanks to them that you were able to live as one of us, so we buried them in our cemetery like they were one of our own." The doctor finished.
Carrie then shot towards Gray and brought her arms around him, crying out her sorrow to him.
"I'm sorry, Carrie. I'm so glad you're fine now, but… I'm so sorry…" he whispered sympathetically.
As all of this occurred, another young man with tuffs of brown hair sticking out of the hole in his backwards blue cap watched on dejectedly. He was glad to see a precious friend return to good health, but regretted being unable to do much of anything for her.
Harsh as it was, this sole entity returned to reality, resuming her true identity once more.
She was Carrie, the niece of Basil and Anna who had been like another pair of parents to her. She had come from the city to take over the local library and delve into her many text-based fantasies in peace. She was a rather shy individual until the arrival of another citizen from the city: the new farmer named Jack. It was he who opened her up to the rest of the town folk all the while assisting him on his new farm, helping her grow more healthy and resilient by the day. It was finally through his aid that she met Gray, the apprentice blacksmith who felt quickly threatened by the city slickers until one harsh and stormy day, which allowed him to finally see her inner beauty.
She usually wore a snug navy sweater-vest over a clean white dress shirt, with a pair of blue work jeans and classy brown shoes below the waste.
She was one soul with two sides, conflicted with who she truly was, and unsure which part of her was truly loved.
She was Mary when she came to town the new girl, then Claire when she became one of them.
She was Claire when she first met Gray, then Mary when they knew each other.
She was Mary when she was at her newfound home, and Claire when she explored the outside world.
She was both when she felt fulfilled, and both when she was conflicted.
Nonetheless, they were her.
And thanks to one bittersweet miracle, they were whole again.
Okay, so this is my more serious version of the mind screw. After reading a few fan fiction regarding Mary and Claire: Mary v.s. Claire, Mary loving Claire, Mary and Claire standing around and being bored, etc.; I figured I might as well do something strange to their relationship, and went with making them two personas in one comatose' woman's body. I'm strange and experimental like that.
I'm sorry for the tragic bit in the end, but I felt this story couldn't end completely well.
Hope you enjoyed the story. R &R (interpret the R's to your own choosing), and you may hope I write something that makes more sense in the future. And please forgive me for the head trip.