To All Things A Season
A Harvest Moon Fan Fiction
By Dragon's Daughter
Rating: T for implied grownup times
Warnings: BARLEY RAGE
Summary: You can't expect to keep any secrets in a place as small as Mineral Town. (HM: MFoMT - HeroinexDoctor)
It was a sunny spring morning in Mineral Town when Barley stomped into the clinic with a not-so-sunny expression.
Elli, who had a pretty good guess as to the reason for the old dairy farmer's visit, smiled prettily and pointed towards the gap in the blue drapes that surrounded the doctor's desk before escaping upstairs, leaving her employer in the line of fire.
The doctor was busy poring over a magazine on holistic medicine and didn't look up from it until Barley pointedly rattled the 'walls' of his office. The young man jerked to attention and automatically looked up with a bright grin that dimmed when he saw who was (or rather who was not) standing there.
"Expecting someone else, were you?" Barley rumbled and snorted as the doctor immediately schooled his expression into his usually polite mask.
"Of course not." The doctor lied smoothly. "Here for a checkup, Barley? How's that liniment I prescribed you helping with the rheumatism?"
"Don't try and change the subject on me, whelp. I ain't here about my knees." Barley tossed a crumpled sheet of notebook paper on the doctor's desk. "Mind explaining that to me?"
The doctor picked up the paper and smoothed it using the edge of his desk. He squinted at it for a second (apparently even he couldn't read his own handwriting) and then looked up. "This is the notice I sent you cancelling my weekly order. Is there a problem?"
"You're darn tootin' right there's a problem!" Barley threw up his gnarled fists, glad to finally reach the reason for his visit. "You've been buying my milk for eight years! Straight from the farm! Don't even go through Zack! Where on god's green earth do you think you're going to get a better deal than from me? And you, the one always going on about how the younger generation don't drink enough…" Barley trailed off as a frightful notion took hold of him. "You… you've been buyin' from that new girl down the road!"
The doctor scuttled back, retreating from Barley's pointed finger. "Now Barley, you're being ridiculous…"
"Oh, am I? Where else you goin' ta buy round these parts? Zack? Who charges you a 30% markup for the same goods? Only two farms round here ship milk: me and her. So if you ain't buying from me then you're buying from HER."
"Well…" The doctor gulped and looked wistfully towards the door, perhaps dreaming of escape or maybe rescue. "I wouldn't say that I buy from her, it's just…"
"HAH! He admits it!" Barley crowed, making his hapless prey flinch.
"… it's just, she happens to come by in the mornings for routine checkups…" the doctor continued while still trapped in his chair with his voice turning thin and reedy as he tried to lean back further away from Barley. "…a young woman, that big farm all by herself, it's hard on a body and… well, she heard how I feel about good fresh milk, so she brings some by…purely neighborly…"
"Neighborly." Barley spat. "Ain't nothin' at all neighborly about stealin' customers…pah. I see which way the wind is blowing! Mark my words, Doc. This won't be the end of it. Next siren'll be bringing by butter, a slice of cheesecake here and there, then next thing you know old Yodel farms is out of business with my and my little May out on the streets to starve!"
"Now Barley, that's going too far." The doctor frowned and leaned forward, forgetting some of his earlier alarm. "A woman with a vegetable farm and two cows isn't going to put you out of business…"
…but Barley wasn't listening. He threw up his hands in the middle of the doctor's impassioned speech and stomped back out of the clinic, still muttering darkly to himself. The doctor watched him go and sighed.
"Some days this job isn't worth the grief…" He groaned, pinching the bridge of his nose. He jumped slightly as he heard the front door open again. He tensed, fully prepared to dive under his desk if it turned out to be Barley back for round two. He relaxed again when a slim white hand pushed back the blue drapes that Barley had dashed closed behind him to admit a trim little blonde in faded blue coveralls.
Perhaps she was a siren after all because the sight of her smile alone did more to restore the doctor's spirits than three cups of strong black coffee. "I didn't see Elli at the reception desk. Is she all right?"
"She's probably still taking cover upstairs." The doctor chuckled… not that he blamed his nurse. If he'd known that Barley was on a rampage, he'd have gone into hiding too. "Barley came by… he wasn't pleased with me."
"Nor me either apparently." The blonde woman leaned her hip against the edge of the doctor's desk and slipped her rucksack off to set it down beside her. "I ran into him on my way here."
The doctor bit back the first half a dozen things he wanted to say; carry a smaller bag, you'll hurt your back, I'll have to go grovel to Barley for milk again if you land yourself in here for a week with a slipped disc… he lost his focus a bit as he got to that last bit, caught up in a fantasy of having his favorite patient within his sight for a whole week, not worrying about what awful bachelorette-cuisine she was probably eating (if she ate at all), not having to share her affections with the myriad other charity cases she'd picked up in the town. If he never again had to hear the town wives gossiping about how the new girl never failed to bring Gray his favorite baked corn then it would be too soon.
He came back to reality with a crash to find himself nose to nose with the object of his affections… and she was looking a little concerned. "I'm sorry, flashing back to Typhoon Barley. You saw him? What did he say to you?"
She cocked her head, a look of confusion creasing her pretty face. "I'm not entirely sure. Something about not buying the cow if you can get the milk for free." A flicker of wicked humor flashed in her eyes and she reached down to pull a glass bottle out of her rucksack. She held it up by the neck and smiled as crystalline drops of condensation ran down the sides. "Should I be worried?"
The doctor's heart lurched in his chest as he accepted the gift. Somehow though, his voice was steady when he replied. "My intentions are completely honorable, I'll have you know."
"Really?" She mock-pouted at him as she popped the clasp on the right shoulder strap of her overalls. The doctor's mouth went dry as he wondered (not for the first time) how on earth he was being seduced by a woman wearing the world's least sensual clothing. "You sure about that?" She purred. "It occurs to me that I still haven't gotten my checkup today…" She stood up and sauntered back towards the examination room. She paused at the door and looked over her shoulder. "Coming?"
"Yes ma'am!" The doctor leapt to his feet and hurried after her, leaving off thoughts of blue feathers and where on earth he was going to get one for another day.
Author's note: OH GOD, DON'T EVEN LOOK AT ME. I can't believe I just wrote this, but it was THERE. In my HEAD all written by itself.
The doctor in HM: MFoMT is such an adorable spaz, always worrying about something (usually what the heroine has had to eat recently). This fic reflects my own playing experience where I was originally courting Gray and somehow ended up liking the doctor instead. God knows the doctor was so much easier to court.
There was this awkward phase where I had switched to courting the doctor (fresh milk, every morning) but still had all this baked corn to unload, so I was running to the clinic and the blacksmith every single day and I kind of wondered how the characters would feel about that in real life. From what I've seen, most everyone strings a couple of the bachelors along until they settle on one so I don't feel too bad… but it made for an interesting story going on in my head.
You'll notice I didn't use any non-canon names. It just felt a bit awkward, considering Doctor boy doesn't really have a name either. It seemed more appropriate to just leave the heroine nameless.