Disclaimer: I don't own Harvest Moon. But I do own several of the games and a wallpaper of Wizard! :D
Author's Note: Wow. It's like a dream come true - I've written for Wizard! It's been a long time coming, but I'm glad I finally did it. Let's just hope you guys like it as much as I do and that I keep it going.
Important: First time for writing for any of the Harvest Moon characters, so expect some OOC. I just really wanted to write Toby as being sort of childish, but then half-way in I realized that if I did so, it would have to be a one time thing. At the same time, I thought that he would actually act the way. Anyways, feel free to give me some pointers on how to get them in character.
Also, everything in this chapter will be explained over time...Don't fret.
Warning: This story probably - scratch that, will - have some SLASH, YAOI, BL, or whatever you want to call it in it! You have been warned.
Also: Is it just me, or can you guys totally see Gill and Toby as being friends?
A Man Called Death
It is everywhere. It splatters along the windows, cakes the walls in a morbid mural, seeping into the carpet with a hiss.
The shout is torn from his lips. Blindly, he grasps at everything, searching for her. The world is swirling around him like a burned soup, streaks of pepper and spice strewn through his vision that he can not dispel.
The noise resounds from the next room and he runs towards it without hesitation. As he grabs the door handle, there is a white-hot sensation; his hand recoils, and it is only now that he realizes the house is on fire.
Thick black smoke is curling underneath the door as intricate as snakes, pulsing embers weaving like glittering scales.
His magic is weak. He cannot cast water over the door. But there is another shriek and he cannot ignore it any longer. He grips the knob and turns it, ignoring the stink and sizzle of burning flesh.
He expects her to be lying on the floor, in a pool of her own blood. Instead, she is standing. The smell is hot and coppery, and there is liquid rust trickling down her chin, over her pink, smiling lips.
She turns, body half facing him, directing the smile away from the heap of flesh at her feet to him.
"Hey," she says gently. "I did it. Didn't I tell you I would? I win. I win, winwinwinwinwin!"
Twisted laughter falls from her lips.
He falls to his knees.
Then everything is red, red red.
He jerked awake.
His lungs constricted. Heaving desperately, fingers scrambling against the sheets, he threw the covers off of him, falling out of the bed. His legs shook, and it was with great difficulty that he made his way to his feet.
Swearing lightly under his breath, he stumbled around in the dark, fumbling for a candle. Finding none, he swore again. His legs felt like jelly underneath him, threatening to fall; sweat trickled down his forehead from exertion. A knot of cold lodged itself in his chest.
"Adeline," he whispered. The cold spot was seeping out, touching his arms and neck, numbing them. By the time it reached his legs, he was already on the floor, writhing and grabbing at nothing. His eyes flickered wildly, rolling back in his head.
Within the next few moments, the Wizard of Castanet was still.
"Ehh? Why're you laying on the ground, Mister Fortune Teller? Are you looking for dust bunnies?"
"I do that sometimes, too. Except I never find any. Y'know, it surprises people, but my house is actually really clean."
"Ehhh? And now you're drooling? I only drool like that when I concentrate reaaal hard, and - "
" - Toby, I think he's unconscious."
The noises confused him. They floated through his mind loudly, fuzzy and just beyond recognition like they had been filtered through static. The lights in his head swirled with enthusiasm. His tongue felt like coals had been thrown on top of it and his mouth was stitched shut. A heavy wave of nausea exploded in the back of his throat, and with the last of his strength he rolled over and vomited onto the ground.
"Hey, something's wrong with him! Toby, go get Jin! Hurry!"
An earthquake exploded near his ear; he tried to pull away from it, to run, but his legs felt as if they were no longer attached to his body. The smell of bile burned his nostrils.
"Where is he?"
Shouting. Lots and lots of shouting. He winced, attempting to draw himself into a ball.
"Too loud," he murmured. The words ran raggedly over his burning lips. "Hurts…"
The only sound then was their thick, syrupy breathing. In and out. In and out.
"In and out…" he mumbled to himself.
Far above him, the tallest man ordered:
"Gill, Toby - Carry him to my office."
The wizard stirred, heavy eyes slowly blinking open. His hands clutched feebly at his sheets. He took a deep breath, expecting to smell the thick aroma of coffee and spice.
He got a noseful of pontata root instead.
He sat up quickly in alarm, only to sink against the pillow when another wave of nausea overtook him. Someone chuckled lightly, and it was after at least a minute of blinking that the white-and-black blob came together to form a man.
"Not so quickly. You're not quite recovered yet." the man said, pivoting himself in the swivel chair to give the wizard a good look at his face. It was sharp and angular with undeniably Asian features, but the small laughter lines at the corners of his mouth softened him.
"Doctor…" the wizard managed to say before coughing into his shoulder. The man nodded, seemingly pleased that he recognized him.
"Yes. I am Doctor Jin." he said, picking up his clipboard. "And you are my patient."
The wizard's shoulders tensed in alarm. Jin noticed and frowned.
"I assure you, after our talk, you will be ready to go home. But before that, I have a serious question for you. When was the last time you've eaten?"
The question caught him off guard. "The last time…?"
"Yes," the Doctor said curtly, placing his clipboard on his knee. "When Irene ran the tests on you, there seemed to be absolutely nothing even partially resembling nutrients in your body. My suspicions were confirmed when we ran a dehydration test. Your body looks as if it's running on nothing but dust and caffeine!"
When was the last time…? He thought over it, but, astonishingly, came up with nothing. He gave Jin a blank eyed stare. The Doctor's frown deepened and he opened his mouth, but shut it again after a moment of thought and scribbled on his pad instead.
"Go ahead and leave. I've authorized a prescription of high-nutrient containing supplements for you. It should be waiting on Irene's desk. Oh, and one more thing - go ahead and tell Toby he can go home now."
He said the last part with a small smile, but it just left Wizard confused. Try as he might, he couldn't recall someone named Toby. It certainly didn't help that he went out of his way to close himself off to the villagers.
'It's for their own good,' he reminded himself. 'I will not repeat my mistakes.'
Looking back on that afternoon later, the Wizard would wonder if this silent reassurance would lead to his very undoing.
But not even an immortal could predict the forthcoming events.
In some ways, that terrible nightmare would be the first stepping stone to a time of untold opportunity.
Unbeknownst to him, the Wizard had uncaged the ravenous storm of Fate.
He could not stop it.
He could not even see it.
All he could do was sit and wait.
The tiger is on the prowl.
When Wizard stepped out of the Doctor's office he was temporarily blinded. He'd never seen something so…sterile. The walls of the clinic practically gave off their own light, they were so clean. The stark contrast to his own work place was so astounding that all he could bring himself to do was stand and blink.
"Ahh, I see. This must be your first visit to the clinic." Wizard turned. An old woman sat behind the desk, stern face wrinkled into a smile. She shared an uncanny resemblance to the Doctor, and when he approached her, he found she shared the same scent of menthol and honey as Jin did. "Your prescription is finished, as I'm sure Jin has already told you." She bent down, coming back up with three orange jars. "Here. Take two a day. If you start feeling ill, cease using them immediately and come straight back to the clinic." she placed the jars in a brown paper bag before handing them to him with a quick smile. "Please take care of yourself."
The words chased him out the door.
The November sky rumbled. Judging by the very pregnant looking clouds that were beginning to loom over the small town, it was going to rain soon.
'No more stars,' he thought with a touch of sadness.
"How ya feelin'?" Sitting on a bench outside the clinic was a young man. As soon as he laid eyes on him, the Wizard was reminded of a story Adeline had once told him, The Sea Fox.
Immediately his heart hurt. He turned away from the young man, willing the thought from his head. Not now. Not so soon.
The young man cocked his head at the Wizard, but said nothing else. The coffee colored man took the silence as his cue to leave.
He was surprised when, a few moments later, he realized the young man was walking beside him, whistling.
The wizard stopped in his tracks, eyeing the young man suspiciously. The tune on the fox's lips played out, and a smile that he had the feeling was perpetual was in its place.
"Here, let me carry these. I'm Toby, by the way." the youth added as he took the paper bag from Wizard's hands. He looked at him in confusion.
"You're sick. You shouldn't have to carry anything," he said by way of explanation. And when Wizard pointed his finger as if to say, My house is just right there, Toby simply shrugged and smiled.
Wizard eyed the smiling teen once more before deciding to keep walking.
"It's gonna rain soon," Toby said, looking at the sky. "That's good." Wizard just nodded.
The rest of their short trip was traveled in silence, and it was with great relief that the wizard found himself at his door once again. He looked at Toby, who was, of course, still smiling. He wondered briefly if the youth was waiting to be invited inside.
Instead, Toby handed him the bag and brushed his hands against his shorts. "Nice seeing you again," he said, although Wizard knew that they had never met before, "Make sure you take care of yourself next time, eh? I can't be waiting outside for two days again, now can I? Next time, I might be the one to get sick!" he laughed lightly.
"Yup," Toby said, pocketing his hands. "I wanted to make sure you were okay."
'Why should it matter?' he found himself thinking. 'Why should my welfare concern you?'
He tried voicing his questions, but his discontinued contact with humans kept him from producing more than fragments. "Why…"
"Why was I at your house?" Toby said as he scratched his head, misunderstanding his question. "Well, the new girl, y'know, Hikari? Yeah, one of her animals got sick, but Horn Ranch wasn't open today, so me and Gill thought that maybe you had something that could help her. But, to be honest, no one in the village wanted to go into your house. They all think you're crazy." he added bluntly. "But I don't. Anyways, when me and Gill showed up, you were on the floor."
The Wizard gave a slow nod before touching the door knob. Toby understood what he wasn't saying and stepped away.
"Well, see ya then," he drawled breezily.
As he later found out, Toby's words were a promise.