Author's Note: Wow, I haven't updated at all, have I? I guess I'm having a hard time, but I didn't realize just how far I'd gone until this weekend. Nothing went terribly wrong, but let's just say I was not my usual self. I'm kind of bearing my soul for you guys with this. Feel free to call me out on ripping apart the character if you take offense to it.

Disclaimer: I do not own Harvest Moon nor its characters.

Losing It All

The first thing that came to mind was the burning in the back of his throat.

He felt like it'd been singed, but his head felt even worse as it hovered over the porcelain bowl. He could still remember everything that had happened before. Of course, there wasn't much that was worth remembering when he considered it.

"We've really done a number on ourselves this time, haven't we?" he rasped. "Just look at us, Kai. We're a mess."

He knew he was talking to himself, but he'd done it for so long that the fact didn't faze him. To be honest, the habit wouldn't have been all that bad if more people would be willing to admit to doing the very same thing. As far as he knew, he was the only one who ever bothered to own up to it. Maybe that meant he was out of his mind.

His bare head fell back with a dull thud on the wall behind him. Closing his eyes, he tried to shut out the yellow tiles surrounding him, but he could still see them just beyond his eyelids. It was during these brief moments when he wished he could afford a better apartment, but with his three month lease almost up, he figured he could hold out a little longer. Besides, this was the best he could afford. He had no reason to start complaining.

Money, the last thing Kai wanted to think about, and yet there it was, bubbling up to the surface.

Not that he hated money in and of itself, of course. As long as he had enough for the basics, he was more than happy. That was becoming a problem, though. Just how long could he hold out until he found another job? The holiday season had been over two months ago, and there were two more to go before businesses would be hiring any summer help.

Picking himself up off the floor, Kai fought the urge to sigh. He'd slept for over twelve hours, but he still felt like he needed to lie back down again. Maybe then he could sleep away all these unnecessary thoughts.

They weren't unnecessary, though, were they? If they were, then he wouldn't have to worry about them. At least that was the best logic his mind could come up with. Did he always have this much trouble making a decision, or were the four slender bottles still on the kitchen counter to blame?

After what felt like an eternity of trying to hold it in, Kai sighed and shook his head. "What was I thinking?" he mumbled, running his fingers through his dark hair. "I'm just running away again... Like always."

It was an argument he had with himself often. He would bounce back and forth between feeling guilty and then feeling content, but he never seemed to make the turn to actual happiness. Sure, he smiled enough- maybe even a little too much- but none of it felt real. He couldn't even remember what his actual laugh sounded like.

Were there other people like this? Probably. Did it make him feel any better? Not really.

Kai slipped into the kitchen then, passing by the four little bottles without so much as a passing glance, and opened the front door. Outside, the sun had only just risen over the horizon, but his mind was already buzzing too much to notice. The only thing he bothered to look at was the newspaper at his doorstep.

However, by some chance miracle, he had taken the time to read the headlines. Nothing on the front page caught his interest. It was only after he happened to find a small blurb on page B2 that he bothered to start reading beyond the headlines.

It was a simple opinion article and just barely took up half of the page. It was another one of those self-help bits, but what stood out to him most was the part about going out and finding something new. The idea itself was ironic since it was hardly anything new on its own, and he rarely did the same thing twice even when he wanted to. No, what was interesting about it was where it was telling him to go. A place like Mineral Town, the article suggested, where a person could live life the way it used to be.

"Mineral Town?" Kai asked himself, running his hand through his hair again. "That doesn't even sound like a real place." But there it was, making him think, and he had to admit, it sounded better than where he was at. "Guess there's only one way to find out, isn't there?"