Author's Note: Merry Christmas, Tsuki Aoi Usagi! I had a lot of fun with writing this for you, but I hope I didn't mess things up too badly. I hope you enjoy it~
Disclaimer: I do not own Harvest Moon nor its characters.
Under the Silver Moonlight
"Can you do me a favor?"
I guess I should've known better than to fall for that some girl's sweet smile, but I didn't have much of a choice in the matter. After all, Jill was my baby sister, and if she really was being harassed by some guy in the middle of the night, then it was up to me, the big brother, to do something about it. I only wished that whoever this stalker of hers was had picked any other night of the year to have one last go of winning her heart.
For one, it was freezing out. That was only to be expected in the middle of winter, but despite there being no snow on the ground in the valley, I was convinced it was the coldest damn place on the earth. At least that's how I felt shivering out behind the farmhouse with the collar of my flannel jacket flipped up and zipped all the way up to my nose. I probably would've been better off waiting for him inside, but I figured I would have a better chance of seeing or even just hearing him trying to sneak his way onto the farm.
The only question was when she was going to show up.
"It's almost midnight," I mumbled, burying my hands deeper in the pockets of my overalls. "She told me he likes showing up late, but this is ridiculous… What kind of thief works holidays anyway?" Then again, it was the Starry Night festival, and what a better time to steal a girl's heart away than the most romantic event of the year? "Can't say I blame the poor guy for trying, I guess."
As for my own love affairs, I was more than happy with the single life. Being a bachelor had its benefits, after all- such as not having to worry about keeping up appearances, drinking too much, or coming home late. Of course, there was alone the tiny problem of not having anyone to watch the fireworks or the full moon with as well as having to house-sit while my sister enjoyed a quiet evening with her own boyfriend.
I sighed and took off my ball cap to run my fingers through my bangs. After I did, they flopped back down in my face again, and I made a note to myself to get my hair cut as soon as I could manage it.
"Hello~" My whole body froze when I heard the voice, but I didn't even have a chance to make a sound before the intended thief put a hand over my mouth. It was soft, and had he not been trying to keep me from calling for help, I might've thought he was even trying to be gentle with me. "Now, my lovely maiden, do you mind telling me why you're out in the cold this fine evening?"
Did he just call me a 'lovely maiden?' I only blinked at him in surprise. Do I look that much like Jill?
"Ah, so you are so happy to see the Phantom Thief Skye that it has left you speechless?" the other man continued. "Fear not, my love, for I only wish to steal your heart, but if you would give of it freely, then I would have no need to." When I shook my head, he simply sighed. "I had a feeling you would be difficult."
He stepped back and drew his hand away from my mouth. It was only then that I saw the man clearly, but I had a hard time believing he actually was the person he claimed just by looking at him even with the black leather coat. After all, none of the guys I knew would wear a silk shirt, let alone one with leopard print, and even Kai would draw the line at purple pants. What really threw me, though, was his glossy hair. It, like his shirt, was silver, but the way it shone in the sliver of moonlight overhead made him look almost unearthly.
"Stubborn as always," he began again. "I suppose there's no helping it then. I will have to take you on the most magical of evenings if I am to win your love, and while you may doubt me, my dear Jill, you will be mine by night's end."
Although I wasn't comfortable being mistaken for a girl, I still found myself agreeing to his demands with a nod. My reasoning was sound enough. All I wanted to do was get him far enough away from the farm to get someone's attention and bring him in. To who, I wasn't sure, but even if it meant holding him at the inn or maybe the Blue Bar until Harris came for him, it would be better than having a thief running around and making mischief.
Playing the part of a fine gentleman, Skye offered me his arm, and after hesitating for a moment, I accepted it. With my free hand, I fussed with my hair a bit to make sure it was still convincing. He noticed, but just when I feared I had already been found out, he smiled. A seductive kind of smile, really, the kind that would make any girl's knees feel weak. Not that I would a good judge of something like that.
"You look very cute with your hair down," he assured me, reaching up and running his own nimble fingers through it. A gesture that sent shivers running down my spine. "However, that coat and those overalls of yours do nothing for you." I glared up at him. "Please don't take it personally, my love. My heart would still beat for you even if you were dressed in rags."
Well, at least I'm not trying unlike other people I know.
We walked in silence for a time as we made our way out of the farm and onto the quiet streets of town. The only lights to be seen were the street lamps, and although I knew there were more important things to be thinking about, I found myself wondering where my sister was. I was also thinking that maybe it was time I had a nice long talk with that boyfriend of hers.
"Are you that angry with me?" Skye asked. When I looked away, he chuckled and drew me closer to him. "You always seem angry with me, but I guess that's only a part of your charm." I briefly thought to ask him why he kept talking, but I bit my tongue. If he heard my voice, then he would know for sure that I wasn't Jill, and that was the only thing I had going for me at the moment. However, he didn't appear to mind the quiet. In fact, I was almost convinced he preferred it that way.
"You know, I was thinking of going down to look at the sea, but I suppose it may be a touch too cold for that." I only shrugged. "So you really are a romantic, after all," he mused. "Well then, follow me, fair maiden. I have a surprise waiting for you."
Skye released my arm and took my hand instead. I was embarrassed when I thought about how rough my palms were compared to his. Of course, I quickly came to my senses. This wasn't some date, and I sure as hell wasn't happy about being dragged around by some strange guy I only knew by name.
I actually had to jog to keep up with him as we made our way down the gentle slope that lead to the sea. The frosted ground crunched under our feet, the sound growing louder the faster we went, and although I was still against the idea of being anywhere near him like this, a part of me almost wanted to laugh. How could this guy even be the legendary Phantom Thief? That would be like calling me the hero- which I certainly wasn't if I thought there was anything worth laughing about.
"Here we are at last," the other man announced with a sweep of his arm. I blinked in surprise to find a picnic blanket spread out on the sand beneath one of the canopies and a bottle of wine stuffed into a small snow bank beside it. He looked rather proud of the simple set-up, and I had to admit I found myself wondering if maybe he had hidden a basket of breadsticks in the old boat tied to the shoreline. "This is why I was so late in coming to get you," Skye explained. "I wanted to have things ready before you came, but I suppose I was only being selfish."
I went to assure him he wasn't, but I caught myself before I had even opened my mouth. Instead, I only nodded, and after I had settled down on the blanket, he walked past me to reach into the boat. He didn't have any breadsticks, of course, but what he did have left me just as surprised.
"Remember that dream I had?" the man asked. "The one that made me the man you know me as today?" I didn't say a word as he placed a small black pot on the ground between us, but just one sniff told me what was in it. It was curry and rice, and if the smell alone was any indication, it was delicious. "I finally managed to do it," he continued. "I've cooked the ultimate curry."
That was it? That was the reason he had become the one and only Phantom Skye? So he could cook up the best curry?
What a joke.
"Please," he pleaded, kneeling down in front of me with his hands clasping my own. He opened his eyes, and I almost gasped to see how green they were. They reminded me of the sea in summer, and while I tried to tell myself it wasn't happening, I felt my face start to burn. "Please, if nothing else… even your heart... I would like for you to be the first to try it."
Skye, apparently not being one to keep his audience waiting, offered me a bowl of his ultimate curry. Steam curled all around it, and the alluring smell all but left me intoxicated once it was placed right in front of me. However, just as I went to take it from him, he placed a kiss right on my mouth. It too was warm, but I was too shocked to protest. Besides, if I did, then I'd never be able to bring him to justice before he disappeared again.
He did look disappointed to see I had no real reaction, but he waited all the same. I took a deep breath, filled the spoon, and brought the curry to my lips. As soon as I did, I felt my face break out into a smile.
"This is amazing!"
A beat of silence and then a shriek of horror followed my revelation.
"You're not Jill!" Skye's eyes, the same green eyes that had made me think of the ocean in front of us, were wide, but I couldn't help but see how betrayed they were as they looked at me. It was then that he saw through my thin disguise, and although I knew it had to come to an end eventually, I was surprised at how awful I felt. It was like I had stolen his heart instead. "Where is she? Where is that beautiful maiden known as Jill?"
"She's… she's not here," I whispered, glancing away. "She's with her boyfriend."
"So she did have another love, after all…" I thought to remind him that she had only ever loved one to begin with, but I quickly decided against it. I'd done enough damage as it was. "She told me it was hopeless, you know," he went on. "I just wanted to try one last time."
"The curry was good," I offered lamely. "No, it was better than good. It was… the ultimate."
I wished I could string together words like he did, but maybe that was just another part of being a Phantom Thief. Then again, I was probably giving him too much credit. It was hard not to, though, when he'd proven himself to be such a gentleman as well as having stolen any common sense I might've had.
At first, he looked as if he would just up and fly away, but then he looked quite surprised. "Really?" he asked, a small smile easing its way across his fine features. "I've been wanting for someone to try it for some time, but… she was the only one I could think of that might. There aren't many people around here who would, after all."
"Well… I know I'm not my sister, but I wouldn't mind having some more," I replied with a weak smile of my own. "I mean, if you don't mind having another lonely guy keeping you company, that is."
Skye said nothing for a moment, but soon enough he started to laugh. It was like the sound of ornaments tinkling or shivering icicles, and although I was embarrassed to think of what my laughter must sound like compared to his, I still couldn't help but join in. He sat down beside me and picked up the wine and two glasses, and I made a note to ask him where he managed to hide so much without me noticing.
"To Jill," he said, holding up his glass, "and may her love be filled with happiness."
"And to Starry Night," I added. He nodded once, but just as he was about to take his first drink, I took a hold of the front of his shirt and kissed him again. "And may it be well remembered."