A/N: First of all, this is a mild Kurt/Joe story. I warned you! Don't be offended, it's just a little fun. Nothing too serious. Now, I got this idea because I have been reading the Harvest Moon forums lately, and realized that there are barely any Kurt/Joe stories, even if I think they could be a very adorable couple. So, I hope you enjoy, and I hope I capture each of the character's true essence. By the way, there aren't really any Kurt/Joe moments until the end. Just letting you know. Criticism is accepted, but please don't be mean about it! Thank you!
Disclaimer: I don't own Harvest Moon.
I couldn't help it.
It was almost as if he had a gravitational pull… a force field around him that just forced me to notice him. His bright, brown eyes that seemed to be smiling on their own, his cheery manner and permanent smile, his overall sanguinity. It was all so refreshing. He was a breath of crisp air.
Ever since we moved to this town, I have noticed him grow from a somewhat bashful, and gracious younger boy, into a sociable man, loved by everyone who came and left Flowerbud Village. He was bursting with life, and anyone who did so little as to glance at him knew how bright he was.
Growing up, we had always been best friends. We traveled from town to town somewhat often, with Woody always claiming that there was only so much work we could do in one town. That is, until we came here, and fell in love with the place. But because we moved around so much, there was never really a time to make friends with anyone. Well, that was the case for Joe. I wouldn't have made friends even if we did stay there for more than five or six months.
But this kept us close. Always having to work late nights on constructions when Woody was fast asleep in the shack, we talked for hours. What else were we to do? Two brothers, all alone in a village where we usually knew no one, we had to have some sort of communication. By the time we got to Flowerbud Village, we were very close, although complete opposites.
Joe was everything that I wasn't. Talkative, gregarious, bubbly… the list could go on. I was usually in the background, calmly easing the words out of my mouth with quiet preciseness, while he seemed to babble at the mouth continuously. It wasn't a bad thing, that he had so much to say, it was just very opposite of me. I tried my hardest to be clear and precise in my words and actions, which usually came off as unapproachable or cold.
Joe commented once that it was the reason he respected me. That I didn't try so hard to talk to others, that I just let it come to me. He even said he wish he had that sort of trait, which almost came to a surprise. To this day, I haven't changed the way I come off towards others because of his respect.
Flowerbud Village was, well, a change of scenery. The other towns we happened upon for work were usually filled with aloof people, who didn't really give a damn about carpenters like us, who were 'just there to do work'. In Flowerbud, we were welcomed as part of the town, not just laborers. They gave us our own home, not a shack, and we instantly got business. It was so refreshing to see Joe's grinning face light up when we arrived, surrounded by people just like him.
And now, after being here for more than two years, we finally settled into a town where we could stay. For good. Or so I thought.
It was a blustery day in fall; the leaves were constantly swirling around each other playfully. The wind caused the trees to dance about outside the window as we sawed silently. Although, this was weird for Joe. Usually our work was done in conversation, started by Joe. Or, sometimes he would even hum to himself as he hammered a nail into a plank. But today there was nothing but the low drone of the saw against the wood.
Every now and then he would glance up to look at me before frantically looking back down at his work. He seemed nervous. Finally, after a few more odd glances, he opened his mouth to speak.
"I've been thinking," He started in an unusually frail voice, "About the town. And… about… leaving."
I stared at him in disbelief. Leaving? He could sense my uncertainty. Scratching the back of his head with an 'I knew this was going to happen' face, I could see him trying to form the words with his mouth. With every second that passed, I could feel my heart pumping faster and faster. Silently, I placed the saw on its side and waited for him to continue.
"Well, I mean… I can't be a carpenter forever. I've been fishing lately, you know. And Ray has been telling me about this town to the west with great fishing. It has a lake where you could just sail out for days and fish." He said carefully. Squinting my eyes, I tried to comprehend as best as I could. He wanted to leave to… fish? I shook my head violently.
"But you love it here," He protested quietly. He sighed.
"I do. But sometimes even landlocked people desire for the sea." He replied simply, as if it wasn't a big deal. I could feel my face contort into a frown, but I stopped. If it meant that he would be happy, I shouldn't gripe. Besides, he always looked so pleasant when he fished, like he was clearly at peace with himself. Joe was too big for this town. He needed something more, and who was I to take it away from him? He was the number one priority, not me.
"You make a good point," I choked out, my voice wavering even when I fought my hardest to make it clear. I felt my heart clench in my chest and I couldn't look at his pitiful face. I glanced past him, at the wooden wall. There was a picture frame of him, Woody and I, when we were just teenagers. I believe we were fourteen or so.
The picture almost made me feel strangely accepting. My eyes drooped a little as I reminisced about our crazy days as adolescents. After our parents died, it was hard to remember much else, other than working. And so, those memories seemed to be the best.
Snapping back to reality, I looked at Joe who seemed somewhat hurt.
"You sure you're okay with that?" He asked me, eyes imploring. I shrugged the slightest of shrugs.
He looked surprised, as if he expected me to put up a fight. But how could I fight something that was so dear to his heart? It was inevitable that he was going to leave, anyways. Just like it was inevitable that our parents would die, after the diagnosis. And it was inevitable that Woody would take us in as his own, even when we protested. Everything that happened seemed so unavoidable.
"All right, then. I already talked to Woody about it… now the only decision I have to make is when to leave."
He shoved the word 'leave' out of his mouth like it was a bad fish. He was clearly choked up about this as well, but the truth was, he wasn't meant to be a carpenter his whole life. Fishing was his passion, his true calling. But me, I was content with carpentry. I guess I didn't understand the longing to leave this town after we came.
Thinking about this made my chest constrict violently, even today I can still feel the sensation. It was as if the weight of the world was pressing on my upper body from all directions. Uncomfortable fidgeting, I left my workstation and headed for the door.
"I'm going to the mines," I squeaked out after pushing the door open and stepping out into the cool air. The breeze hit my face like a splash of sea mist; it felt relaxing for a moment before I snapped back to reality. Joe was leaving. My best friend, my brother, my…
"Kurt." Someone said behind me. I whirled around to see Woody standing next to the shop. I waved halfheartedly.
"I'm guessing Joe told you, huh?" He asked me, chewing on a piece of straw. I nodded gravely.
"Bummer, huh. I know I'll miss him. But truth was, that boy was never meant to be locked up in a shop, sawing away at wood. He was always a free spirit, that one." He commented, looking into the wine-colored sky and sighing a heavy sigh.
The way that Woody was talking about him, it was as if he was dying or something. It wasn't going to be that bad, was it? He would write… wouldn't he?
"I'm going to take a walk." I announced before turning and leaving as fast as I could. I hated this conversation, but it seemed to stay in my head anyways. But sometimes even landlocked people desire for the sea, he had said. The words echoed in my mind as I walked away from the shop and towards the sea.
The rest of fall was spent in misery. Joe was always busy around the town, positively glowing everywhere he went. He was obviously very ecstatic about his departure. Every time someone would stop by the shop and ask him if the rumors were true, he would grin goofily and nod with excitement. All the while, I stayed in my corner of the shop and sawed with vigor on a plank. It wasn't until the end of fall when he was set on a date: the twelfth of winter. I still curse the snow-ridden season, for it will always leave a bitter taste in my mouth.
The days passed by slowly, slower than the falling snow. I felt that familiar compression in my chest every time I saw his suitcase, almost completely ready to go. Every once in a while he would catch me looking at it, my eyes pricking with hot tears that I tried so desperately to blink away.
Sometimes he would grip my shoulder hard and tell me that it wouldn't change anything, and that he would write constantly. I, of course, would shrug his hand off and claim 'I know, I know. I was just spacing out'. In which, he would stare at me with skeptical eyes and go back to work.
And finally, the day came. I remember waking up, hoping that everything was a dream and that he would just bust out laughing and say it was a joke. I waited for that moment all throughout the morning until I saw him packing his last things into his suitcase. I felt my breath catch in my throat, which was burning to yell at him for this nonsense. Quietly, he picked up his overstuffed bag and sighed deeply.
The day before, I had agreed to walk him to the town's exit. Of course, I regretted this today now that I actually had to watch him walk out of the town, and perhaps out of my life completely. We walked in utter silence until we reached the edge of town. I felt my heart race dynamically in my chest.
"I'm nervous." He admitted, looking down at the ground. I blinked my eyes feverishly. "What if I don't fit in?"
"Yeah, I know. You'll be fine though. You fit in everywhere you go." I replied unsteadily. He grinned.
"Thanks." He said in a quiet voice. Suddenly, he held out his arms and wrapped me in a lung-crushing hug. I could feel his heart leap and jump on my chest.
"I love you, brother." He said. I tensed up at the word 'brother', but immediately slumped back into his arms. What else could I expect? He was my brother, after all, why did I think anything would ever change that?
"I love you, too." I replied weakly, pulling away. He wiped a miniscule tear from his cheek and smiled, before turning away to leave. My stomach felt queasy, my chest was ripping apart, my heart bounced to and fro… I had to do something. I had to stop him.
"Wait." I called. He turned and looked at me with curiosity. Now what was I supposed to say?
And then it came to me. I wasn't supposed to say anything. I couldn't. Talking wasn't my area of expertise. My words were too careful; my speech too quiet. Words couldn't express my fervor. But actions could.
I took a few steps forward, snaked my arm around his waist and pulled him towards me, clashing my own lips with his. I felt him freeze, but then he calmed down. I was almost completely sure that he would pull away and leave without saying a word, but he didn't. The kiss was soft and short; after I pulled away I suddenly felt very, very insecure. I felt a blush creep onto my face.
And I looked across at Joe, his face in the same condition as mine, except he was smirking just ever so slightly. His bag slipped from his hands and onto the ground with a thump. He reached forward once again and pulled me close to him, pushing his lips against my smile.
My heart fluttered, my body grew weak, and I could feel my face flush intensely. But no matter the circumstances, I finally knew what it felt like. Bliss. Complete and utter bliss.
A/N: Sorry for the somewhat anticlimactic ending. But I have never written anything quite like this, I hope it was bearable! Oh, and I'm not saying that Joe left the town, but I'm not saying he stayed. That's your decision to make. If you want think that he stayed, then you can think that, and if you want to think that he left, you can think that too. I love making endings go either way! Let me know what you think of it. Thanks for reading, guys!