My first Harvest Moon fic, based off of AnWL. Usually I write very weird, out-there pairings, but I just had to write this. XD This is based on the prompts for the tamingthemuses community on Livejournal...how else would I know what an antikythera is? I really hope you enjoy this...I enjoyed writing it. :)
Disclaimer: Do not own. Never will own. Word.
A feather, the sultry hue of cerulean. The sun catches upon it and makes it glitter. Silver specks peek from the deep indigo, contrasting it. They look like the gleam of stars in a clear night's sky…elegant, dazzling, perfect. Lovely.
My dirty hands tremble, and it looks as if I am trying to balance the fine, delicate object over my calluses, my blisters, the earth in which I sow seeds. I am not attractive, never dreamed of receiving this gorgeous feather. I am a simple farmer, nothing more or less. Yet here I stand, a shocked girl who can scarcely draw breath at the position she has been placed in.
The dark-haired man in front of me chortles as he studies my reaction. "Why are you so surprised, Jill?" he asks, his voice gruff and sending nails into my spine. "You're beautiful. The most amazing woman I've ever met." His hand closes around mine, encasing the shimmering symbol of love within it.
Brilliant pink rises to my cheeks when these words slip from his tongue. He never says things like this. He never shows his emotions. But at this moment, his eyes are soft, and his words are tender. And I am in a dream, a hazy, surreal painting, a fantasy. I nearly pinch myself to make sure I am awake.
"Jill?" The voice sounds tenser, worried. More like him. "Are you all right?"
"I think so," I breathe, laying a hand on my chest. Not a second later, I realize that his arm I wrapped snuggly around my waist. The pink on my cheeks deepens to scarlet. "Marlin?" I can see the blue feather in the hand that isn't supporting me. It pops from the black and white shades of the rest of the world, a hue of blue so angelic that it looks as if it were a piece of heaven itself.
I grab the hand on my hip quickly. "I think I need to sit down."
The son of the hotel owner would have laughed. The musician would have tried to help me stand. But Marlin quickly throws open the door to my cabin and helps me to my bed. Marlin respects my wishes.
Perhaps that explains my love for him.
I gasp loudly, my hands flying over my mouth, and my veins surge with adrenaline. It's dark, and the wind whistles to eerie silence. The only light comes from the pinprick of stars in the sky, scattered and glowing brightly. I can hardly see anything past the thick, suffocating blackness. Shadowy shapes cloud my vision, surround me.
"Jill?" The owner of the gruff voice moves forward, and my heart flutters when I recognize him. He comes into view, stepping out of the shade cast from the roof of his homely cabin. I piece the images of him together as he comes forward, toward me. The wrinkled, white button-down shirt; crumpled jeans; black, hopelessly riotous curls; intense, blue eyes…
"Oh, Marlin," I mutter, suddenly embarrassed. "Sorry…for scaring you."
"Mmm…" He closes his eyes for a second and then opens them, averting them to my own. "S'no big deal."
The wind whistles again, a long, lonely sound. The top of the hill is always gusty and secluded, far-removed from Forget-Me-Not Valley's town square. In a way, it is…sad. Lonely.
"What are you doing here?" Marlin asks quietly. I stumble in my words during my answer. I'm here to see you.
"Uh, um…I, uh, left my watering can here." No, I didn't, and even he knows that. "I think."
He arches and eyebrow. "You need it this late at night?" he asks me shrewdly.
"Um…w-well…never too late to water," I tell him in a would-be knowledgeable tone.
I expect him to continue to frown at me, but instead, a smile tugs on his thin lips. "Yeah. I guess you're right."
I giggle, a small and annoying sound to my own ears. That's when I notice the circular device in Marlin's arms. It looks as if it were a giant stone compass of some sort, an intricate, decorative design. He sets it on the ground with a small grunt, and I see the opportune moment to change the subject.
"Um…what is that?" I ask innocently, pointing to the thing on the ground.
"Antikythera," Marlin informs me proudly as he twists one of the heavy wheels with difficulty.
"Anti-what?" I ask, perplexed. I trail my finger across the rough, unpolished surface. It looks ancient, perhaps a couple hundred years old.
"Antikythera," he corrects patiently. "It's an old machine. You see the wheel I'm spinning? It has a bunch of dates on it, and when you enter a date into the spot, it tells the location of the sun and moon." His chest puffs out slightly. "There are only a few in the world. My family has handed this down for generations."
"Wow," I mutter as he takes careful note of the readings.
He suddenly lifts his head and turns to face me. "You grow plants, Jill. Here, this will help. The sun on Autumn 8 will be more at an angle, so make sure your southern field gets plenty of water until winter." His gaze pierces mine. "It'll keep the plants healthier."
I am captivated by him, and can hardly draw from his eyes. He is fascinating, intriguing. I want to know more about him…no, I want to be with him. "Uh, yeah. The plants." I swallow. "Thank you, Marlin."
My heart is in my throat as I walk home, thoughts of him still twisting in my head like the wheel of the antikythera. Slow. Steady. Intellectual.
"Jill? You okay?"
The voice is uncharacteristically warm, but its effect is always the same: a heart fluttering like a caged bird, electricity shooting up and down the limbs, stuttering in the speech, blushing…
I hear a deflated sigh, and the bed's springs groan as he shifts. It comforts me that I am not the only one ill at ease, and yet, makes me nervous. Every movement I hear from him is still ringing in my ears. His face is burned into my mind. I hold him close to my heart, and I want him to know that.
"Are you…are you asking…me…what I think?"
There is a severe, abrupt anger in the way he heaves the gears of the antikythera. He throws it one final distance, and with a trembling growl, the dates and planets fall into neat alignment.
"M-Marlin?" I splutter in a small gasp. His behavior alarms me…he is usually never this violent, this intense. He is a stony, silent man…almost shy. But not this, never this.
He sighs, and his fingers brush against the hard rock of the device, before he halts and faces me. "Celia and I…had an argument," he explains, awkwardly scratching the back of his neck. I tilt my head in curiosity; he continues. "She asked me if I like her as a friend, or…" he trails off.
"As a woman," I finish in a murmur. He nods absently, and then waves his hand dismissively, even though the fresh hurt in his eyes makes it obvious that he can't just drop the subject.
"It's no big deal," he tells me a little too firmly. "No big deal. Nothing to be concerned about."
I want to protest, to address what is eating him on the inside. But I don't. I watch him grit his teeth and cross his arms. And we stand for a while, pondering, until he suddenly speaks.
"The planets are aligned in the Spring," he nearly whispers in a fond voice that doesn't belong to him. I shift my eyes to the antikythera and see a neat, simple row of orbs, a clean line.
"…Yeah," I manage to say, pretending to stay mesmerized on the antikythera when I can only think about him.
The peaceful, solemn silence stretches long into the night as a man and woman gaze at their universe. I don't want it to end…yet at the same time, I want him to speak, just to hear his voice one last time.
He is the first to shatter the pregnant pause, his voice taking a hardened edge to it. "Look, Jill. All I know is that I love you. When everyone is gone, I'll stay by your side. I'll protect you with my life. I love you, and I'm sure that I want this." His eyes are like two deep pools…I can see into them, read whatever I want. Take what I want. Learn the truth. He is vulnerable for the first time, and my heart swells so much, it nearly breaks. My vision is blurred with tears, and my chest is fluttering tightly with raw, unspeakable emotion.
"I love you, Marlin. Since the day we met." I swallow thickly, and my voice breaks. "And I want to be your wife, more than anything. I feel as if I don't deserve you, but…somehow I'm yours. That's why…that's why…I'll take you as my husband…" I draw a hand across my watery, overflowing eyes.
His gaze upon me is intent, indescribable, as wordlessly, he hands the sparkling blue feather to me. I take it gently, with both hands, and hold it close to my heart, taking shuddering breaths.
He carefully reaches up and uses his thumb to caress sweat-laden brown bangs from my forehead, touching me as if I were made of precious glass. "With you, Jill…" My name lingers for a second on his lips. "I think I will regain my strength."
I throw aside my pondering of what I had done to deserve him. It doesn't matter, because now he is mine and I am his, and we will always be together.
"The planets will be aligned in Spring."
The antikythera shudders as he winds the gear slowly. I watch the whimsical little circles form an orderly line as the day slides into its place. He uses his wrist to wipe a trail of sweat from his forehead, and then steps to my side, entwining our fingers together.
"I think we should have the wedding a week from now," he says thoughtfully, "on the day the planets come in line."
I immediately agree, squeezing his warm hand that rests in mine. "Yes," I manage to say, too thrilled and overcome to speak.
He turns to face me. "Our marriage is sacred. I will love you forever, Jill." He moves closer, so close that I can feel his warm breath on my skin. Goosebumps prick my body as I move in, pulled like a magnet.
Before I know what is happening, he delicately presses his lips against mine. I crumble on his kiss, my knees and weak and shaking spastically. We've kissed before, oh yes, but this time is…different.
My heart skips a beat as his tongue slides into my mouth, gliding around it in exploration. Tasting me.
I repeat the gesture in a hungry sort of pleasure, breaking through the barriers that were set a long time ago. I want more, more…
Our deep kiss is private, only the burning light of the moon and the antikythera in its wake.