Other Skyloft Farm - A 'Farmer'/Alex/Shane Fic [**Complete**]

Discussion in 'Fan Works' started by Skyloft-Farm, Aug 10, 2016.

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  1. Skyloft-Farm

    Skyloft-Farm Void-Bound Voyager

    Premise: Kate and Alex finally have the family life they've always wanted. A happy marriage, a bouncing baby boy, and a successful farm. But the war is growing, and desperate times mean that a draft is near. Will Kate be able to continue on, should Alex get drafted? What if he never comes back? Will Kate find comfort from another...?

    Hello, everyone! I'm trying to get into the forums here, so I figured I'd share my first SV fic, which I have posted on my Tumblr. I have a couple other SV AU fics in progress now, but this one is based off of my farmer. The story essentially starts after the game, where my farmer has married Alex and had one child, Jak. The chapters are short, so I'll try to keep up with posting a couple a day, but if you ever want to read ahead, the entire fic is posted on my Tumblr. Just don't spoil it for anyone else! :)
    There are probably close to 100 chapters, which include an alternate ending and some repeated chapters in a different point of view (mostly because I started the fic in first person, and honestly hate writing in first person, so this was a good excuse to give me a chance to switch to third person lol). I'll just post everything I have here over the next few weeks, and hopefully you guys like it!
     
      Last edited: Aug 14, 2016
    • Skyloft-Farm

      Skyloft-Farm Void-Bound Voyager


      I couldn’t help but to steal another glance at Jak, sleeping soundly in his crib, as my fingers laced my boots up in their familiar routine. I had allowed myself some time off to spend with Alex and Jak, but I was itching to get back into the fields, tending to the crops and animals, a chore that had become such a part of my life that I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. But I was a mother, now, too. A farmer and a mother. I couldn’t imagine how I would juggle both. Alex and I had discussed switching days to keep up with the demands of the farm, but it has grown so big now that it would be impossible for us to do all that work alone.

      Thankfully, Penny had offered to step in and help us care for Jak. She brings the kids with her, teaching them their lessons and caring for Jak. What a natural mother she would make. And the kids love being on the farm, too. They even spend some days helping us and we teach them about everything on the farm. They love collecting from the animals the best.

      I straightened and wiggled my toes in my boots. Funny how comfortable those old things felt around me feet. They felt at home. I had missed those boots. I stole one last glance at Jak before hurrying outside and down the front steps where Penny waited with the kids.

      “Thanks again for helping us out,” I said to her. “I know you have enough on your plate as it is.”

      Penny smiled and rolled her eyes. “Nonsense. I can multitask. And it’s good for the kids to learn about life on the farm. I can try to teach them everything I can, but having first hand experiences is more than I could ever hope for for them.”

      “They’re always welcome here, you know that.”

      “Jak will be fine, just as he has been for the last couple days.” Penny had noticed another stolen glance toward the house. I sighed.

      “I know, I know. I guess it comes with the territory. I worry. It’s terrible.”

      Penny laughed. “I’ve got this.”

      “I know. He couldn’t be in better hands.”

      “Do your thing. We’ll be here. I’ll send the kids over after they eat their lunch.”

      I waved to Jas and Vincent who were already hurrying into the house, anxious to see the sleeping baby.

      “Don’t wake him!” Penny shouted to them, turning her back to me and chasing them up the stairs.

      I forced myself to turn away from the house and turn my attention to the farm. The spring crops had been planted weeks ago by Alex and were just starting to push past the dirt. I joined Alex in the fields as he stood over the little sprouts with his hands on his hips, admiring his work.

      “Not bad for my second spring on a farm,” he said as I approached his side.

      “But can you keep them alive?” I nudged his side and he pulled me into his arms suddenly.

      “God, I hope so, or Jak should be very worried.” He smirked at me and kissed my lips.

      I giggled into his chest. “Who on Earth let us have a child?”

      “We’re not doing so bad.”

      “Give it time.”

      “What’s the worst that could happen?”

      I turned away and busied myself with the sprinklers, ensuring that they were in working order.

      “Well, eventually he begins to move, and walk, and talk. Before you know it, he’s dating, driving, drinking.”

      “Playing football?”

      I met Alex’s gaze. “Sure, if he wants. But aren’t you worried about anything? What if he gets hurt? What if he knocks up some girl? What if he doesn’t like Stardew and wants to move to the city?”

      “You’re worried that he’ll want to move to the city?” Alex raised an eyebrow.

      I sighed. “No. I don’t know. But he’s not going to stay little forever. They grow up and they leave and they make stupid choices.”

      Alex shrugged. “I’d say we made some pretty good choices. We teach him to make good choices.”

      I let my fingers run through the cool dirt, my gaze away from Alex. “Maybe you made good choices.”

      I felt his hand around my arm and he pulled me into him once more.

      “You worry too much, you know that?”

      I shrugged and looked at my feet. “Maybe you don’t worry enough.”

      He kissed my forehead and held my chin in his hand. “Jak is going to be just fine. We’re going to be just fine. We have each other. Hell, we have all of Stardew. Don’t they say it takes a village? Well, we’ve got a village. We have Penny, and Robin, and Leah. We’ve got my grandparents, and Harvey, and Mayor Lewis. Maru, Sam, Shane. And you have me. Isn’t that enough?”

      I met his gaze and smiled. “Yes,” I said. “Of course.”

      “And you’ve made good choices. You picked me, didn’t you?”

      “I supposed I did.” I smirked. “Don’t know what I was thinking!”

      “You were thinking, hey, look at that guy with the good hair. He’d give me some nice looking babies.”

      I pushed him away, my hands on his chest, and I had to fight the urge to pull him toward me once more. “Yes, that must have been it,” I mocked.

      “Hey, you got the whole package with me. Good looks and I’m pretty handy around here, don’t you think?”

      I walked away from him, making my way towards the barn. “The whole damn package, baby,” I yelled over my shoulder.
       
        Last edited: Aug 10, 2016
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      • Skyloft-Farm

        Skyloft-Farm Void-Bound Voyager


        I breathed in deeply as I entered the barn. Old wood and hay filled my nose, bringing a sense of ease and comfort to me. The animals were outside, enjoying the fresh, green grass as I collected the eggs from the coop. Moose greeted me with a nicker as I passed the stables and waited patiently as i milked the cows and goats, tossing him some hay in the mean time. I carried the pales to the little wagon I kept beside the barn and Moose nickered eagerly, knowing that it was finally his turn. He stood patiently as I hooked him up to the wagon and threw myself onto his back. It felt so good to be in the saddle once more. I had missed it all winter.

        Moose trotted eagerly forward across the farm where we unloaded the milk into fridges, ready to be shipped off or purchased from someone in town, along with the eggs and truffles that the pigs had dug up. When all of our goods were unloaded, I returned the wagon to rest beside the barn until tomorrow and released Moose from his harness. He trotted through the fields, eager to stretch his legs and graze for the day.

        The sun was high in the sky when I found Alex by the house, finishing up his work with the crops.

        “We’ll be harvesting in no time,” he said to me as he dusted his hands off on his pants.

        “So begins another year,” I said.

        “Going into town?”

        I shrugged. “I guess so. Care to join me?”

        Alex kissed my cheek. “Let me just clean up.”

        We walked hand in hand back toward the house where Penny was feeding Jak in her arms as the kids read quietly on the floor.

        “What are we learning today?” Alex asked, peeking over Vincent’s shoulder.

        “Miss Penny is making us read quietly. She said we were too loud.”

        Penny smiled at me as she cradled Jak. “Jak slept right through it until he decided he was hungry.”

        “Can we help with the goats today?” Jas asked me.

        “We’re all done for today,” I said to her. “But maybe next week you can.”

        “I thought they could help measure the growth of the crops over the next few weeks,” Penny said. “They’re going to keep a farm journal and watch how the crops develop and grow.”

        “That sounds like a great idea,” I said.

        “I bet the corn will be this tall.” Vincent spread his arms as tall as his little body could manage.

        “Well, it’s too early for corn,” Alex said. “But I bet it will be taller than you.”

        “We’re going to head into town,” I told Penny.

        “Can we go, too, Miss Penny?” Jas whined.

        Penny sighed and delivered Jak to me, just finishing his bottle. I patted his back, waiting for the following burp.

        “Okay,” Penny said. “But we’re not done for the day, so don’t go running off, now.”

        The six of us walked across the farm and into town, Vincent and Jas skipping excitedly ahead of us as we chatted amongst ourselves. But in town, there seemed to be a tension in the air. Kent was the first to greet us, his brows knit together in concern.

        “What’s going on?” Alex asked.

        “You haven’t heard yet?” Kent said gruffly. “The Gotoro Empire have allies. They’ve been closing in. We’re loosing too many men out there.” I could practically see the pain flash across his face. I knew what he was considering.

        Vincent stood at his father’s side, curious. “What’s wrong, Daddy?”

        “Come on, Vincent,” Penny said quickly, grabbing the boy’s arm. “Let’s go find Sam.”

        “You’re going back,” I said, but Kent did not meet my gaze. His eyes were hard on Alex. My stomach twisted sickeningly.

        “There’s a draft.”

        “A what?” But they ignored me.

        “We need guys out there.”

        “Excuse me?”

        “We’re losing this war.”

        “Stop!”

        Both men turned to me, hesitant, Jak still in my arms. He started to cry and I loosened my hold and rocked him gently.

        “You’re not putting any ideas in his head,” I growled at Kent.

        “He doesn’t have a choice,” Kent hissed at me.

        “Enough.” Alex’s voice was deep and angry.

        I was suddenly aware of the eyes on us as they walked past. Jodi with wet, worried eyes. George and Evelyn as they looked onto their only grandson. Pierre and Lewis, standing just outside of the shop. Lewis approached in an attempt to ease the tension.

        “Let’s not worry or jump to conclusions,” he said calmly, his hand on Kent’s rigid shoulder. “They will make the announcement tomorrow. We’ll play the news on the TV in the community center. We will all get through this together.”

        I couldn’t stand helpless in that town square any longer with their eyes on me and the baby in my arms. A single mother - that’s how they were seeing me suddenly. A husband away in a losing war. At least Jodi had Sam. I had no one. A baby. A running farm. The images flooded my mind suddenly. I hadn’t even realized that I was back at the farm, my knees in the dirt, still cradling Jak, his face wet with my tears.

        Jodi dropped to her knees in front of me, her hands on my arms.

        “Hey,” she cooed to me. “Come on, let’s get you inside.”

        I tried to pull away from her grasp, but she helped me to my feet and brushed the tears off my cheeks.

        “Don’t worry about this right now,” she said softly to me. “We don’t even know what’s happening.”

        “They’re going to take him away from me,” I cried into Jak. “I can’t do this all alone. Why now?”

        “You listen to me,” Jodi said harshly. “You are not alone. You will never be alone here, do you understand?”

        I sniffed pathetically as she dropped her arms and looked past me with a sad smile on her face.

        “Thanks, Jodi,” Alex’s voice said from behind me.

        “I’m sorry about Kent…”

        “Don’t be.”

        Alex’s hand was on my shoulder, but I could not turn to look at him. Jodi smiled to me before she left us alone in front of the house. Dusty trotted to our side, eager to see his master. He wagged his tail and panted enthusiastically. Alex patted his head and I headed into the house. The door opened and closed quickly behind me as I trotted up the stairs, putting Jak back in his crib. I caressed his face as he fell back to sleep and pulled the blanket up around him. When I noticed Alex wasn’t at my side, I turned to find him standing in the doorway. Neither of us moved. Neither of us uttered a word.


        Tumblr reviews:
        #excuse me while I cry (notsyrups)
         
          Last edited: Aug 16, 2016
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        • ApertureGaming011

          ApertureGaming011 Scruffy Nerf-Herder

          Hello, and welcome to the Stardew Valley Forums! As a fanfiction writer myself and a COLOSSAL Fan of your tumblr fanfic, I welcome you with the highest honor! Anyway, as a suggestion, I recommend you to stuff your writings inside the 'spoilers' tab so that it won't be messy. Other than that, I shall lay down the welcome mat!
           
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          • Skyloft-Farm

            Skyloft-Farm Void-Bound Voyager

            omg sjhfkjsdhfs thank you!! I didn't know I had a COLOSSAL fan, lol! That just made my night! <333

            Explain this spoiler tab for me? I've never really been a member of a forum like this so... I'm clueless :S
             
            • ApertureGaming011

              ApertureGaming011 Scruffy Nerf-Herder

              If you take a look at the post tab, there are options such as Bold, Italic, Underline, etc.
              On the bottom left, you can see a button with four lines on the top. Click that and you can write the spoiler tab.
               
              • Skyloft-Farm

                Skyloft-Farm Void-Bound Voyager

                ahhh yes, thank you! if there was a bowing smiley, it would be here haha
                 
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                • Skyloft-Farm

                  Skyloft-Farm Void-Bound Voyager

                  “I’m not going anywhere,” Alex said from the doorway.

                  “You don’t know that,” I muttered angrily in an attempt to mask my fear. I pushed past him and into our bedroom where I sat on the edge of the bed, my face in my hands.

                  “I’m not leaving you and Jak,” he said, sitting beside me.

                  “You don’t have a choice if you get drafted.”

                  Alex pulled me into his arms and I let him, sobbing into his chest.

                  “Nothing’s even been decided yet.”

                  “I can’t think about this right now.”

                  He pushed me away and held my chin. “Then let’s not think about this. There’s no need to worry right now.”

                  I stared at my feet. There was a need to worry. My whole life was turning upside down. I didn’t know how I would do it all without him.

                  “How about dinner?” he said, getting to his feet and pulling me up with him. “Spaghetti?”

                  I shrugged and forced a smile but I didn’t have an appetite. I pushed the meatballs around my plate, disinterested, Alex’s eyes on me from across the table.

                  “I know I’m no chef, but c’mon.”

                  I forced another smile. “No, it’s great. Delicious.” I forced a few bites down my throat. I was suddenly exhausted. I just wanted to go to bed and sleep forever.

                  The rest of the evening was a blur. I somehow managed to wash the dishes and feed Jak dinner before collapsing into bed. Alex pulled me into him and kissed me neck. He ran his fingers through my hair and down my back.

                  “Please don’t worry,” he whispered in the dark as Jak began to cry. I hurried out of bed; Jak needed me. He needed me.

                  *****



                  I cradled Jak in my arms as I sat on the couch in the community center. The whole town had gathered and waited anxiously for the announcement to be made on the news. The air was tense as everyone talked quietly amongst themselves. Alex stood at the edge of the room with Shane, his arms crossed as they talked quietly. George and Evelyn sat with me, cooing at their grandson. Leah and Penny tried to talk to me in attempt to distract me, but my stomach twisted in sickening knots and I hardly heard a word that they said.

                  When the news finally came on the tv, the room fell deathly silent.

                  “… and the Shadow People have joined the Gotoro Empire as allies in the war…”

                  The room erupted in confused and worried murmurs.

                  “The Shadow People?”

                  “They were supposed to leave us alone.”

                  “The Gotoro Empire must have bribed them.”

                  And then the draft process began. We watched in silence as the numbers were mixed together in the tumbler, waiting to be drawn, determining the fate of those we loved. All it took was one date to be drawn; one date and I would lose Alex. I had never been a very religious person, but at that moment. I prayed to Yoba that Alex would stay, safe here in Stardew.

                  The first of four numbers were pulled.

                  “Fifty-nine.”

                  The third day of fall. There was a quiet sigh of relief. One down. Three to go.

                  “Twenty-one.”

                  The twenty-first day of spring. Another safe spot for the people of Stardew.

                  “One hundred eleven.”

                  The twenty-seventh day of winter. One number left.

                  “Forty-one.”

                  The thirteenth day of summer.

                  Alex’s birthday.

                  My heart sank. The room filled with murmurs as they tried to figure out all the dates. I looked to Alex, his eyes glued to me. Shane turned to him and his mouth moved, but the room grew louder as Evelyn began to cry.

                  “This can’t be happening,” she muttered.

                  “Evie, it’s going to be okay…” George took her hand in his.

                  Kent was at Alex’s side, his hand on his shoulder. I couldn’t make out what he said to him. I searched their faces for answers but found none.

                  I suddenly realized Jak was no longer in my arms and Penny knelt before me. I searched the room; Leah rocked Jak, cooing to him. He was crying.

                  I looked into my empty arms. Penny was speaking to me. Her face was full of concern.

                  “What?”

                  Suddenly, the room was silent except for Leah’s quiet cooing. Jak’s cries had quieted. I could hear my pulse beating loudly in my head.

                  “Alex won’t be alone out there,” Kent said, breaking the eerie silence. “I’m going with him.”

                  “What are you talking about?” Jodi’s voice boomed through the room. “You just got back.”

                  “I’ve been home for over a year,” he said to her. “They need my help. Our help. It is our duty to serve our home.”

                  “Have you forgotten what it’s like out there? Have you forgotten about your nightmares?”

                  “I can’t be here any more, Jodi.”

                  “I’m going, too.” Sam stood beside his mother.

                  “No!” Jodi shrieked. “You can’t take my son!”

                  Kent was quiet. “You don’t need to come,” he said softly.

                  “I want to come, Dad. I want to help.”

                  “You will stay here with your mother.”

                  Vincent watched with teary eyes as his brother and father argued. He clung to his crying mother.

                  “You can’t make me stay,” Sam insisted.

                  “You weren’t chosen in the draft.”

                  “And neither were you.”

                  “I’m already a part of this. Do not argue with me. You don’t know what it’s like. I’m prepared to handle it.”

                  It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t fair.

                  “Don’t go, Sam,” Vincent cried.

                  I couldn’t breathe. The walls were closing in on me, suffocating me. I needed to get out of that room.

                  I stood, and all eyes turned towards me. The room fell silent once more. My stomach churned. Evelyn was still crying, along with Jodi and Vincent. I couldn’t watch two families become torn apart.

                  I stepped past Penny, still kneeling in front of me, and ran out the door into the cooler, afternoon air. The town was eerie without it’s villagers to busy it’s streets. I suddenly felt worse standing alone in that empty square. My knees felt too weak to hold me any longer and I collapsed onto the ground, sobbing.

                  I felt two strong arms pull me into a body. Alex. He held me as we sat on the hard ground and buried his head into my neck.

                  “You said you wouldn’t leave.”
                   
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                  • Skyloft-Farm

                    Skyloft-Farm Void-Bound Voyager


                    Alex pulled me to my feet. Some of the villagers had followed us outside and stood quietly at the edge of the square. Shane, Leah and Jak and Penny. Mayor Lewis and Pam. Kent.

                    I suddenly hated him. I hated everything about him. How eager he was to go back there and take my husband with him. How could he be so dead inside? How could he not care about the sacrifices his family had to make without him? I wanted to do nothing more than to blame it all on Kent. To make him take it all back. To make him undo what was already done.

                    “You said you wouldn’t leave.”

                    Alex said nothing, but I could see the pain on his face. He struggled for the words he wanted to say, but for once, he found none.

                    “Let’s go, people,” Lewis finally said. “There’s nothing more to see here. It’s done with, now. No need to hang around. C’mon, now.”

                    One by one they dispersed. I hadn’t seen where they had all gone to. I hadn’t noticed them when the passed us. Only when Leah brought Jak to me did I realize the afternoon had melted into evening.

                    I took Jak into my arms and rocked him gently. We were alone in the square, the three of us. Alex let his forehead rest against mine as we watched our sleeping child.

                    “He hasn’t eaten,” I muttered. “He needs to eat.”

                    “Okay,” Alex said softly. We walked home in silence. I sat in the rocking chair as Jak drank in my arms.

                    “I need to take care of some things,” Alex mumbled to me from the doorway.

                    “What? Why? Where are you going?”

                    He approached us and kissed my head softly. “I’ll be right back. I promise. I need to go back into town. I won’t be long.”

                    I watched as he disappeared around the corner and listened to the door as it closed quietly behind him. What could he possibly need to take care of? He wasn’t leaving yet. Not just yet. There was still time. Some time. He didn’t need to say goodbye yet.

                    I looked to the empty doorway and began to cry.

                    *****



                    Alex sat at the bar in the corner of the saloon and watched as Gus absentmindedly cleaned the counter. Shane sat beside him and Gus slid him his usual beer.

                    “Didn’t think you were a drinker,” Shane said to his glass.

                    Alex took a swig of his own beer. “Figured now’s a good time to start.”

                    “You should be home, man.”

                    “I can’t be home right now.”

                    “Next week, you’ll be sitting on that bus wishing you never stepped away for a moment.”

                    “What would you know?”

                    Shane sighed. “I guess I wouldn’t. I just think you’re being selfish.”

                    “I’m just having a god damn drink.”

                    “I never liked selfish Alex. All he did was throw that damn football around.”

                    “Well, I never liked you.”

                    Shane raised his glass. “To unlikely friendships, hm?”

                    Alex rolled his eyes but let his glass tap against Shane’s.

                    “It’s only because I like Kate.”

                    Alex smiled. “Yeah. She’s okay.”

                    “What are you going to do?”

                    Alex was quiet. “I don’t know.” After a moment, he turned to Shane. “Just stay away from her.”

                    Shane threw his arms in the air in defense. “Hey, I don’t mess with no married women. Plus she’s got that kid. Not my thing.”

                    Alex tapped at the counter, signaling for another drink.

                    “She’ll be okay,” Shane said softly.

                    Alex nodded. “Yeah. Sure.”

                    “You, on the other hand…”

                    “Yeah.” Alex looked into his beer and sighed.

                    Kent came in and sat himself next to Shane, peering over toward Alex.

                    “Bus leaves next week, kid,” he said to Alex.

                    “Fantastic.”

                    “I’d say I got your back but…” He signaled to Gus for a drink. “I probably won’t be seeing you. You know, you’ll be with the privates and all.”

                    “Piss off, Kent,” Shane hissed at him.

                    Kent grabbed his beer, narrowing his eyes at Shane and Alex before throwing some coins onto the counter and pushing himself away from the bar.

                    “See you on the bus, kid.”

                    “It’s not his fault,” Alex said to Shane.

                    “You’re gonna be more of an ass when you get back,” Shane muttered.

                    “Well, at least we won’t have to be friends, then.” Alex emptied his glass and stood.

                    “Next one’s on me,” Shane said, raising his glass as Alex left the saloon. He walked down the dark road with his hands in his pockets. Shane was right; he couldn’t be drinking his problems away. That wasn’t him. He just wanted to crawl into bed and hold Kate in his arms forever.
                     
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                    • Skyloft-Farm

                      Skyloft-Farm Void-Bound Voyager


                      I stared into the darkness, alone in the bed, jumping as I heard the deadbolt slide in the front door. I listened as the door shut softly and Alex tiptoed into the room. I heard his clothes drop to the floor and felt the bed tip as he climbed in under the sheets, wrapping his arm around me. I wanted to say something - to have a normal conversation with him - but I couldn’t find the words. So I stared into the darkness for a moment more before moving closer to him. I listened for Jak, but he was sleeping soundly in his room.

                      “You smell like beer,” I finally muttered.

                      “Mhmm."

                      "Shane’s not a good influence on you."

                      "Eh."

                      "Is that what you needed to take care of? Developing a drinking habit?"

                      "No.”

                      I sat up in bed and he met my gaze. “So, what’s your deal?"

                      Alex lifted himself up on his elbow and shrugged. "I don’t know. I thought I should see my grandparents. But then I didn’t want to.” He sighed and lay back down, staring at the ceiling. “I just didn’t want to be anywhere."

                      "Me too."

                      "But I want to be here. With you. For as long as I can."

                      I nodded. "Me too.” I pushed myself back into his arms and finally found sleep.



                      *****



                      Alex and I worked side by side all morning while Penny watched Jak. Vincent and Jas measured the growing plants and drew pictures of how they thought they would look when they were done. I smiled at their enthusiasm, but the thought of harvesting them all alone crept into my mind. I tried to push the thought aside as we walked the kids back to the house where Penny waited, passing Jak into my arms once more. I kissed his soft head as Vincent and Jas showed Penny their pictures and measurements.

                      The six of us walked into town for the afternoon, Vincent and Jas talking excitedly about the growing plants, only to find ourselves in the midst of more drama.

                      Outside of Pierre’s, Pierre and Carolyn stood with Abigail as Kent, Jodi, and Lewis stood off to the side. Carolyn turned to us as we rounded the corner, her face red with fresh tears.

                      “Get out of here, Alex!” Carolyn shouted at us, stopping us in our tracks.

                      “Mom, stop!” Abigail yelled at her. “You can’t blame everyone else. This is my decision. Not Kent’s or Alex’s."

                      "What the hell is going on?” I muttered.

                      “Abigail wants to join the army,” Pierre said.

                      Abigail’s knuckles turned white at her sides. “You can’t stop me! They need help! I want to do this."

                      "Abigail,” Kent started. “You don’t know what it’s like out there."

                      "There was a draft, Kent,” she hissed in his direction, “which means they’re desperate."

                      "This is a losing war,” he reminded her, his brows knit together.

                      She crossed her arms. "I can be there just as much as anyone else."

                      "You need to be here,” Carolyn growled at her daughter, grabbing her wrist. “You’re being foolish.”

                      Abigail pulled away from her mother. “I’m not. This is my decision. I want to do this."

                      "Why?” This time it was Alex who spoke.

                      I turned to him. His expression was hard. He hated this as much as everyone else.

                      “Why the hell would you want to put yourself in that situation? Do you think I want to be there? Do you think Kent wants to be there?"

                      Abigail was quiet now, but still fuming.

                      Pierre put his hand on his daughter’s shoulder. "We need you hear, Abby.”

                      Abigail met my gaze. A sense of defeat washed over her face. I forced a smile to her and she sighed. Without another word, she turned away and went inside the shop, the door slamming behind her.

                      “Well,” Lewis said, shoving his hands in his pockets. “This has certainly been a dramatic few days for our little town.”

                      Kent grunted and walked away, finding his way into the saloon.

                      “I’m sorry, Alex,” Carolyn began, turning to us. “I didn’t mean to-”

                      Alex shrugged. “Sure. Water under the bridge.”

                      A familiar tension hung in the air. Everything was tense from the moment the draft was mentioned, and it wasn’t going to get any easier.

                      “I smell Evelyn’s cookies…” Lewis said, breaking the silence. He made his way towards the house. One by one, everyone else left, returning to their business until Alex and I were alone in the square.

                      “Speaking of your grandparents,” I said, shifting Jak in my arms and avoiding his gaze. “You should probably talk to them.”

                      Alex nodded.

                      Penny waved to me from the playground where Jas and Vincent played. I kissed Alex’s cheek as I passed and made my way to Penny who pushed Jas on the swing. I sat on the bench, bouncing Jak on my knee and Penny sat beside me.

                      “How are you doing?” she asked me.

                      I nodded. “Okay.”

                      “Okay,” she said simply. She knew when I needed to talk and when I didn’t, and in that moment, I didn’t. So instead, I bounced Jak on my knee and we watched the kids play.



                      *****



                      Alex pushed the front door open. George was in front of the tv, as he usually was, and Evelyn was in the kitchen, just pulling a batch of cookies out of the oven. She turned and smiled at her grandson as he entered.

                      “Just in time,” she said, putting a plate of warm cookies on the table.

                      Alex hesitated in the doorway for a moment before sitting himself at the table. He tossed a cookie in his mouth and smiled. Evelyn sat across from him, her hands folded in front of her.

                      “So.”

                      “So,” Alex said between bites of another cookie.

                      George made his way into the kitchen and grabbed a cookie from the plate. “She’s been baking since yesterday,” he muttered to Alex.

                      “I bake when I’m worried, George!”

                      “Bah.” George waved a hand at her.

                      “Don’t you ‘bah’ me, George. Do you even care about what’s happening right now? Alex is leaving, Kate is going to be alone with Jak. This shouldn’t be happening.” She began to tear up.

                      “Gram…”

                      “Evie, everything will be fine,” George muttered. Alex will be fine. Kate and Jak will be fine. Kate loves your cookies. Bake her some damn cookies.”

                      “You don’t know that, George.”

                      “Stop,” Alex said simply. He didn’t come to hear them argue.

                      "Alex can take care of himself, right?” George said, turning to his grandson.

                      Alex hesitated. He didn’t know what to say to his grandparents, so he nodded. “Yeah, I’ll be fine, Gram.”

                      George put his hand on his grandson’s knee. “Just watch out for those mines. Blow your legs right off. Can’t afford another cripple around here.”

                      Evelyn cringed. “Is that really necessary, George?”

                      “Would you rather him walk right into those mines?”

                      Evelyn rolled her eyes and stood, returning to the kitchen to busy herself with the dishes.

                      “There won’t be any mines,” Alex muttered.

                      George patted Alex’s knee. “Right. You’ll be fine, kid.” George cleared his throat. “Missing my show, yanno,” he muttered under his breath. He wheeled his chair around and returned to the living room.

                      Alex stood. “Thanks for the cookies,” he mumbled.

                      Evelyn wiped her hands on the dish towel as she walked towards him. She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed his cheek. “You’re a good boy.”

                      “I’m not a dog,” Alex groaned.

                      Evelyn pushed back and smiled to him. “Want to stay for some dinner?”

                      Alex shook his head. “Tomorrow?”

                      “Okay. Sounds good. I’ll make your favorite.”
                       
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                      • Skyloft-Farm

                        Skyloft-Farm Void-Bound Voyager


                        I sat on the bench with Penny watching Jas and Vincent play on the playground, cradling Jak in my arms. Alex and I were able to wrap up the farm work quickly that morning and decided to take advantage of the warm day. Alex and Shane stood together, leaning on the fence, watching the kids. Even Sam was out, playing with his little brother, and Abigail helped Jas build a sand castle. For a moment, I forgot that there was a war going on. I forgot that my husband would be shipped away and I would be left to tend to a farm by myself. In that moment, everything was right in the world.

                        I looked towards Alex and Shane. Shane’s lips moved, but he continued to watch Jas. Alex was looking toward me. I smiled when I met his gaze, but his returned smile was uneasy. I turned back to Jak and cooed to him. I let my fingers brush the little bits of hair on his head.

                        “What do you think they’re talking about over there?” I asked Penny.

                        She studied the two men for a moment. “You.”

                        I sighed. “Everyone’s talking about me. The poor mother, alone on that big farm.”

                        “No one’s talking about you,” she assured me.

                        “I bet this is how Jodi felt when Kent left.”

                        “Jodi managed just fine, and you will too.”

                        “I don’t want anyone’s pity. I see the way they look at me. It’s like they know something I don’t. Like they think I’ll be alone forever. A widow.”

                        “Don’t say that.”

                        I moved my finger into Jak’s little hands and he grabbed hold happily.

                        “You know we’re all here for you if you need our help.”

                        “I don’t need help.”

                        Penny sighed. “You’re stubborn sometimes.”

                        I smiled and let my eyes wander around the town. Lewis and Marnie stood just outside Pierre’s, talking quietly amongst themselves, as if in passing, but I knew better. Gus was just opening up the saloon for the afternoon. He shook out a couple of towels just outside. Evelyn busied herself with her gardens. Even George was out enjoying the fresh air. Sebastian made his way over from the house, probably to hang out with Sam and Abigail. Jodi and Kent were making their way over as well, spending what time they had left together with their family. Vincent trotted over to his father, excitedly telling him about what he learned on the farm that morning. Penny had taught them about photosynthesis in the plants. He couldn’t say the word to save his life, though.

                        My gaze turned back to Alex and Shane. They were smiling now. Laughing. Something Shane didn’t do often unless he was making fun of Alex. I wondered what they joked about.

                        “You know,” Penny started. “Things really changed after you moved here.”

                        “Hm?”

                        “Like you brought everyone together. I know it sounds cheesy. But everyone likes you here. Don’t think you’re going to be alone through this.”

                        I nodded.

                        “And don’t try to do it alone. You work too hard on that farm sometimes. There are plenty of strong guys around here. Put them to work.”

                        I looked at the men around me and couldn’t help but to laugh. Sam? Sebastian? Elliot? Help on the farm?

                        “Please,” I said. “They wouldn’t have a clue.”

                        Penny smiled. “Well, maybe not. But Shane helps around Marnie’s. So, there’s one guy. I bet Clint could be used for some heavy lifting. And you’ve got me to watch Jak whenever you need it. I bet Leah would, too. Or Emily, or Jodi.”

                        I met Shane’s gaze. He smiled crookedly.

                        “Maybe.”


                        Penny took Jak from me and tickled his feet. “Go have some time to yourself for a bit. You and Alex need it.”

                        “Thanks.” We did need it. We were spending too much time trying to distract ourselves, and not enough time spending what little time we had left together. And at that moment, I just wanted to be alone with Alex. I kissed Jak’s forehead and headed towards Alex, taking his hand and pulling him away.

                        “What? What are we doing?”

                        “Just come on,” I said, shooting him my most flirtatious smile.

                        Shane looked on dumbly. “Oh. Bye. Have fun.” He winked at Alex as I dragged him down the road towards home.



                        *****



                        “There’s my boy!” Evelyn cooed to Jak, kissing his cheek as he giggled. I passed the baby into his great grandmother’s arms. Evelyn leaned in and kissed our cheeks before she went into the kitchen with Jak, still cooing to him.

                        I followed her into the kitchen. “I brought leek,” I said, opening my basket.

                        “Oh, you know just how to get on George’s good side!”

                        Evelyn pushed us towards the table, which was already set with the dinnerware. Alex and I took our seats as George came in.

                        “You’ll never guess what the kids brought you, George,” Evelyn said, setting a plate of leeks in front of him.

                        George’s eyes lit up at the fresh leek before him.

                        “You know,” I began, “I only grow them for you.”

                        “The best leek come from the best fertilizer,” George said, pointing a finger at me.

                        “The best money can buy. Pierre gets it for me special.”

                        This seemed to please him. George smiled and continued. “You put them down a good six inches, you know. And compost. Always add compost.”

                        “Do I look like a first time farmer over here?”

                        He narrowed his eyes at me and leaned in. “Listen, kid. You want to grow the best crops? I’ll tell ya how to grow the best crops. My father was the best farmer on this side of the Gem Sea.”

                        “That’s a lot of talk coming from someone who’s never been to my farm,” I joked to him.

                        George leaned back, but not before snagging one of the leek. I watched as he took a bite. He crunched the leek thoughtfully before swallowing.

                        “I guess you know what you’re doing,” he said as he reached for another. “But I should come by some time and show you all our secrets.”

                        “Save room for dinner, George,” Evelyn scolded as she set a hot casserole on the table. “I’ve got my famous cookies for dessert.” She sat across from me and sighed.

                        “You should come over tomorrow, too,” Evelyn said.

                        I hesitated and exchanged a glance with Alex. “Sure.”

                        “And the day after that I’m making something special for George. We’ll do a nice lunch.”

                        “Gram…”

                        “Oh and we can have a nice breakfast together, too.”

                        “Alex will be gone by then, dear,” George reminded her in between bites of his dinner.

                        I pushed my fork at the casserole.

                        “Well,” Evelyn began very quietly. Her voice started to crack. “I just want to make sure he’s fed well and we get to see him before he goes.”

                        George waved his hand in her direction. “He won’t get no cookies, but they feed those guys pretty damn well, I’d say.”

                        I decided to busy myself with Jak, feeding him little spoonfuls of his own dinner and wiping his face, in an attempt to keep my composure. If Evelyn couldn’t keep it together, there was no way I’d be able to.

                        “Oh, cookies. I’ll make you cookies before you go.”

                        “I don’t think I can take cookies with me,” Alex started.

                        “Nonsense. Every soldier needs some fresh cookies.”

                        “Evelyn, he’s going to be the laughing stock of the army if you send him with damn cookies,” George muttered. “Leave him alone.”

                        “He’s all I have left, George!”

                        The room was deadly quiet. I shifted uncomfortably in my seat and continued to wipe at Jak’s face, not daring to look at anyone else.

                        George cleared his throat. He was no longer inhaling his casserole and leek. “Evelyn…”

                        “I lost my daughter, George. I won’t lose my only grandson. He’s not going. That’s final.”

                        I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t even want to move. I wanted to be out of that room. Out of that house. Did Jak need a diaper change? Could I use that as an excuse?

                        “Damn it, woman,” George yelled, “you’re gonna rub that baby’s face right off.”

                        I froze and let the napkin drop from my hands.

                        “Enough.” Alex’s voice was uncomfortably loud in that kitchen.

                        I met his gaze for a brief moment before looking across the table. Evelyn had her face in her hands. George’s face was angry, but I knew it was a mask for the pain he shared with his wife. Alex’s mother never came up in conversation with me around.

                        I stood and took Jak into my arms. “Maybe I should go…”

                        “Nonsense,” Evelyn said softly between a sob. “This is ridiculous. Sit down.”

                        I sat, still holding Jak.

                        “You just be careful, okay?” Evelyn held Alex’s hand with both of hers.

                        “Yeah. Of course. Everything will be fine.”

                        Evelyn nodded, patted his hand, and cleared her throat. “Let’s just enjoy our dinner, hm?”
                         
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                        • Skyloft-Farm

                          Skyloft-Farm Void-Bound Voyager


                          Alex and I kept to ourselves the next day. I couldn’t stand to see Evelyn after our dinner. The pain I would feel when Alex left was nothing compared to the pain Evelyn would feel, losing the only family she had left. I suddenly felt selfish, thinking I was the only one who would suffer without him. Since the draft, I had worked hard to keep my composure, but everything was beginning to unravel. And it was a rainy day, anyway. A perfect excuse not to leave the house.

                          We slept in late. There wasn’t much that needed to be done around the farm. The cows and goats didn’t need to be milked. The sheep didn’t need sheering. All that we needed to do was collect eggs and fill the water troughs inside the barn and the coop. And there was certainly no rush for that.

                          So we stayed in bed for as long as Jak would allow us, listening to the rain on the roof with our arms around each other. And when Jak began to cry, we sat together for breakfast, laughing at Jak’s face when he had his first bite of scrambled eggs.

                          Penny was at the library with Jas and Vincent. She had called to see if we needed her help, but I told her not to worry. I took Jak with us as we hurried through the rain and into the coop. We collected the eggs and filled the troughs quickly, getting back to the house where we spent the rest of the day. And no one bothered us.



                          *****

                          We were back into our usual routine the next day. Penny juggled Jak and the kids as they explored the farm enthusiastically while Alex and I worked. By midday, the chores were done. I took Jak from Penny and kissed his cheek.

                          “Evelyn was out this morning,” Penny informed me. I had told her about what happened. “She seems to be in good spirits.”

                          I watched as Alex showed Jas and Vincent how to weed the crops.

                          “I was being selfish,” I said. “I never really stopped to consider how they would be feeling about all this.”

                          Penny shook her head. “You’re not being selfish. You’re allowed to be upset.”

                          “But-”

                          “Shush. Don’t get hung up on this. You have enough on your plate. Enjoy what you have left.”

                          I nodded and swallowed back the lump in my throat. The days were going by too fast. In just a couple of days, Alex would be gone.

                          *****



                          Alex slid into his seat at the bar beside Shane. It was still fairly early, but he had wanted to see his friend before he went home for the night. And after a few days of working hard on the farm and playing with the kids, Alex wanted one last drink before he shipped off.

                          “Big day tomorrow,” Shane muttered.

                          Alex didn’t turn to him. “Mhm.”

                          Gus passed him a beer.

                          “Are you ready?”

                          Alex looked to him at the corner of his eyes. “How could I be ready for this? For war? To leave my family?”

                          Shane was quiet. They drank in silence for a moment.

                          “They’ll be okay. They’ll be here when you get back.”

                          “If I come back.”

                          Shane sighed. “Just don’t do anything stupid.”

                          “Yeah.”

                          Shane finished off his beer. “Don’t worry about Kate and Jak. They’ve got family here.”

                          Alex nodded absentmindedly as he stared into his drink. “Make sure she’s okay.”

                          “Me?” Shane hesitated. “She’s going to be fine.”

                          “I know.”

                          “She can take care of herself.”

                          “I know.” Alex’s voice was harder now. “Just… keep an eye out for her. I guess.” He turned to Shane. “Okay?”

                          Shane held his gaze for a moment. “Yeah. Okay.”

                          “Please. If she needs anything…”

                          “Yeah, man. I told you she has family here.”

                          “Yeah, I know. But I can’t exactly count on anyone else here to even lift a rock if she needed it.”

                          Shane shrugged. “I never would have thought you’d ever lift a rock in your life.”

                          Alex smiled. “I guess that’s true.” He finished his beer, stood and stretched.

                          “Don’t worry,” Shane said, finishing his. “I’ll lift those rocks if she needs it.”

                          “I know.”

                          He stood and shoved his hands in his pockets. “But only until you get back. I don’t do farming. I do enough shoveling chicken shit as it is.”

                          “Guess I have to come back then, because Yoma forbid you get a little dirty.”

                          Shane shrugged. He followed Alex out of the saloon. The sun was just setting behind the mountains, casting the little town in a dim, golden light.

                          “Guess I’ll be back to drinking alone,” Shane said as they walked.

                          “I’m sure Kate will be around. I know she can hold her own.”

                          Shane laughed. “She could probably out drink me.”

                          “I don’t think anyone could out drink you.”

                          “What’s that supposed to mean?” Shane narrowed his eyes at Alex.

                          Alex shrugged. “It means you’re a big drunk.”

                          “Uh uh. That’s Pam.”

                          “Oh. So you’re the alcoholic?”

                          “Also Pam.”

                          Alex scoffed.

                          “You have a problem with me?”

                          Alex shook his head. “Nah, man. It’s not like you’re an obnoxious drunk like Pam.”

                          “I’m not a drunk,” Shane muttered.

                          Alex sighed. “Forget it.”

                          “You’re just mad that you can’t keep up.”

                          Alex rolled his eyes. “I really don’t know why I hang out with you.”

                          “Me neither.”

                          “Well, I’ll be gone tomorrow, so you can go back to being a loner.”

                          “This may be the alcohol talking,” Shane started, “but I will certainly miss One Beer Becky.”

                          “I’m One Beer Becky?”

                          “Yes. Clever, right? I’m a clever drunk.”

                          “Becky?”

                          “’Cuz you drink like a girl.”

                          “I have got to pick better friends,” Alex muttered.

                          Shane slapped his shoulder. “Just don’t die.”

                          “Well, I’ll do my best.”

                          “Cool. See ya tomorrow.”


                           
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                          • Skyloft-Farm

                            Skyloft-Farm Void-Bound Voyager


                            I always felt safest with Alex’s arms around me. As he wrapped them around me that morning, my heart broke as I wondered when I’d feel that safety again. I pushed as close as I could into his chest and his arms tightened as he buried his face between my shoulder and neck.

                            “C’mon, Alex.” Pam’s voice was softer than I had ever heard it before.

                            I could feel his body tense before he pulled away. I looked at the ground, my vision blurred. I couldn’t look at his face. I couldn’t break down.

                            His fingers were delicate on my chin as he lifted my face to his. His lips were soft against mine. I kept my eyes closed for a moment when our lips parted. I searched for Jak, still in Penny’s arms. She rocked and cooed to him, meeting my gaze briefly. She smiled as if to reassure me.

                            Alex took my hand in his and my eyes turned to him. He smiled crookedly at me and I forced a smile back, sucking in a breath.

                            “Okay,” I said softly, at a loss for words.

                            “I’ll be back,” Alex said, his voice quiet. “I promise.”

                            I nodded and attempted to swallow the lump that had formed in my throat. It was getting too big. I couldn’t breathe.

                            His hands released their hold on mine, My heart pulled painfully in my chest, begging him not to leave.

                            He shifted the bag on his back, kissed my forehead, then pulled himself away, heading towards the bus where Pam and Kent were waiting. I watched as Kent put his hand on Alex’s shoulder before following Pam onto the bus. Alex turned back to me and forced a small smile. His lips moved: “I love you,” he mouthed to me.

                            “I love you,” I mouthed back and blew him a kiss.

                            The bus doors closed behind Alex as he made his way up the steps. Penny brought Jak to me and I cradled him in my arms. Pam shifted the bus into gear and pulled forward. I held Jak close, waving his little arm to his father in the window.

                            Alex had been strong over the last week, but as that bus passed us and caught the morning sunlight, I caught the glisten of tears on his cheeks. I blew another kiss towards Alex and he returned it before disappearing into the tunnel and out of Stardew Valley.

                            I stood there with Jak in my arms long after the bus disappeared. I hadn’t even noticed the crowd disperse around me. Jodi, Vincent, and Sam had returned home. Penny was gone. Evelyn and George. Mayor Lewis. But someone remained. I felt their presence; their eyes on me.

                            “Looks like it’s just you and me, Jak,” I said quietly. Jak met my gaze and smiled. His fists curled around my fingers.

                            I turned away from the road and noticed Shane leaning against a tree, his arms crossed.

                            “You’re not alone,” he said to me.

                            I sighed. “I know. But the farm’s getting too big for me to do on my own now. It was different a year, two years ago.”

                            “What can I help with?”

                            I shook my head. “I don’t need help. I’m fine.”

                            “You said yourself it’s getting to be too much.”

                            “No one here can exactly help me with it. They’ve got their own things to tend to.”

                            “I’m not completely useless when it comes to the animals,” he pointed out.

                            “You’ve got enough on your plate.”

                            “C’mon, how hard can it be? You’ve got a good set up over there. Auto feeders. Heaters in the winter. Can’t be too hard. Milk some cows? Collect some eggs?”

                            “Muck the barn, fill the silo, brush and sheer, troughs need to be cleaned daily. Fences need to be repaired. Hay needs to be cut. And that’s not including the crops, the green house, the house, the kid…”

                            “Sounds like you need the help, then.”

                            I sighed. “You don’t have to do that.”

                            Shane shrugged. “Kinda. I promised Alex.”

                            I rolled my eyes. “I don’t get you two.”

                            “Hm?”

                            “I don’t get how you became friends. You guys used to hate each other.”

                            “I never hated him.”

                            “You hate everyone.”

                            Shane pushed himself off the tree and pointed a finger at me. “That’s only partially true.” He smiled.

                            I walked passed him towards the farm and he followed.

                            “You guys are total opposites.”

                            “Eh. He became a little more tolerable after you came along.”

                            “Oh yeah?”

                            “Plus, we were the only two that didn’t hang out with anyone else. Guess we were the odd ones out. So we kind of had to be friends if we wanted any friends at all.”

                            I laughed. “Didn’t think you cared to have friends.”

                            “Well, to be honest, I don’t. But turns out he’s a fun drunk. And you’re all right, too.”

                            “So the plan was to turn him into a drinking friend?”

                            “A happy accident.”

                            “Ah.”

                            “But now I have no drinking buddy.”

                            I was quiet.

                            “I’m taking applications for a new one if you’re interested.”

                            I forced a smile. “I have some good references. You won’t be disappointed.” I stopped at the door.

                            Shane nodded. “Well, you know where to find me. See you tomorrow morning?”

                            “You really don’t have to.”

                            “Oh, shut up all ready. I’ll be here as soon as I can.”
                             
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                            • Skyloft-Farm

                              Skyloft-Farm Void-Bound Voyager


                              “Are you sure you don’t mind? I mean, usually I’d be able to split things up with Alex…”

                              Penny smiled at me and took Jak from me. “And I watch him when you guys are both busy. Don’t worry, really. You’re not putting me out. You’re my friend.”

                              I sighed. “I know. If Shane ever shows up, maybe I’ll be done early.”

                              Penny was quiet as she brushed Jak’s cheek. “Did you hear about Abigail?”

                              “What? No?”

                              “She’s gone.”

                              “Gone? What do you mean?”

                              “Snuck off last night. To join the army.”

                              My heart sank. “Seriously?”

                              Penny nodded. “Carolyn and Pierre are a mess.”

                              “Shit, I can imagine.”

                              Penny shook her head and sighed. She met my gaze and forced a smile. “Maybe it will all be over soon.”

                              “Yeah,” I muttered. Alex hadn’t even been gone a day and it already felt like a lifetime.

                              “I’m sorry,” Penny started, her eyes soft. “I didn’t mean… I know I have it easy…”

                              “Stop,” I said, waving my hand. “It’s hard for all of us.” I sucked in a breath to steady myself. “I’m going to get to work.”

                              Penny nodded. “Don’t work too hard.”

                              ******



                              It was almost ten when Shane showed up at the farm. I had been up for four hours. Jak had his breakfast, the crops were watered, I fixed a few of the sprinklers, harvested the mushrooms, gathered the eggs, mucked the coop, and was moving on to the main barn when he moseyed on over. The cows and goats still needed to be milked, the sheep sheered, the barn mucked, and the fences fixed.

                              He hopped over the fence as I dropped the pails at my feet.

                              “Figured you had backed out,” I said as I wiped my face with my arm.

                              “Sorry,” he grumbled. “I’ll get up earlier tomorrow.”

                              “Forget it,” I said. “See? I’ve got this. Just need to take care of the animals and the barn and the fences.”

                              “That will take you all day.”

                              “Well, that’s the life I signed up for.”

                              “What about Jak?”

                              “Penny’s at the house.”

                              “So, she’s going to take care of him all day? You’ll hardly see him.”

                              “Well, I have to make sacrifices to provide for my son.”

                              Shane rolled his eyes and grabbed the pails. I followed him into the barns where he began milking the cows. I smiled as I readied the goats to milk them. A warm breeze blew through the open barn doors as we worked quietly, falling into a steady rhythm.

                              “So, what’s the plan after this?” Shane asked.

                              “The barn needs to be mucked. The sheep sheered. Fences need to be fixed.”

                              “Hay needs to be cut,” Shane continued.

                              “Moose’s stall needs to be cleaned.”

                              “Troughs need to be filled.”

                              I sat up straight on my stool, stretching my back. “Sounds about right.”

                              “I’ll take care of the fences,” Shane said. “I brought my tools.”

                              “I have plenty of tools here.”

                              “But they’re not my tools.”

                              I rolled my eyes. “I’ll take care of the rest of the barn.”

                              “Then on to hay?”

                              I bent over and resumed the milking process. “Yeah. I guess so.”

                              “Can it wait until tomorrow?”

                              “If there’s time, why wait?”

                              “Because you’re doing way too much.”

                              I sighed. “It keeps my mind busy.”

                              “I get that.”

                              We continued to work without conversation, but the stillness was comforting. I listened to the chickens squawk and the birds chirp just outside.

                              When Shane finished, he left the pails by the door, tipped an imaginary hat in my direction, and headed outside with tools in hand. I left the goat milk beside his pails and proceeded to sheer the sheep. When that was finished, I wheeled in the wheel barrow, mucking the dirty shavings and lining the floor with fresh bedding. I dumped the muck into the tractor, then scrubbed the troughs cleaned, refilling them with fresh water. I drove the tractor towards the muck pile across the farm, dumping the fresh manure and returning the tractor to the shed. I loaded the milk pails and eggs into the wagon and hooked Moose up, securing the harness around him. I climbed into the seat and signaled Moose onward, moving across the farm once more where the milk and eggs would be stored for shipping.

                              Shane didn’t look up when he passed, too engrossed in his work to notice. His shirt was off now, thanks to the hot afternoon, and he was focusing hard on putting more fences together. His back was in the dirt as he inspected the underside of the wood.

                              The sound of Jak’s laughter turned my attention away from Shane and onto the house where Penny held him just outside. Vincent and Jas were with her and they cooed to the baby. I pulled Moose to a stop as the kids trotted over, eager to pat his nose.

                              “How’s it going?” Penny asked.

                              “It’s going,” I said. “Shane’s helping me with some things.”

                              “That’s nice of him.” She looked passed me to where he stood, admiring his work. “Oh.” She blushed as she noticed his bare chest.

                              Shane made his way to us, using his shirt to wipe the dirt off his face. Penny turned away, busying herself with the kids.

                              “Will you put your damn shirt on?” I growled.

                              Shane smiled as he shimmied into his dirtied shirt.

                              “Are you done with the fences?”

                              “Yes, Ma’am.”

                              I jumped down from the wagon and began to lift the pails. Shane followed suit and we loaded the milk and eggs into cooler to be shipped.

                              “Are you done for the day?” Penny asked me.

                              I looked to Shane, feeling silly that I turned to him for an answer.

                              “I mean,” I hesitated. “Whatever Shane feels up to, I guess.”

                              Shane shrugged. “Not up to me.”

                              “All that’s left is the hay.”

                              “That will take well into the night. It can wait until tomorrow. There will be more time.”

                              I sighed. He was right. But I hated not having anything to busy myself. Already, I was thinking of Alex, and my chest grew tight. I cleared my throat. “I can do it myself. You can go home.”

                              Shane’s eyes seemed concerned for a moment before they rolled in his head. “I’m not going home until you call it quits for the day.” He took Jak from Penny and pushed him into my arms.

                              “Spend some time with your freaking kid for once.”

                              I watched Jak as his eyes drifted to each of our faces. He giggled and babbled to himself.

                              “Yeah,” I muttered. “Okay.” I could at least cook dinner. I was getting hungry. And clean the house. The bathroom could be cleaned… again.

                              “See you in the a.m. then,” Shane said. He tipped his invisible hat once more to me, then to Penny, before turning to Jas.

                              “Let’s go, kid,” he said to her.

                              “Piggyback!” Jas shouted, chasing him across the farm. Shane ran ahead playfully before squatting on the ground. Jas jumped onto his back and they turned back to wave.

                              “Guess that’s our cue, Vincent,” Penny said to the boy at her side, taking his hand. She turned to me and smiled. “Guess I’ll see you tomorrow, too?”

                              I nodded, watching as they walked down the road, leaving me alone on the farm.
                               
                                CjBeats likes this.
                              • Skyloft-Farm

                                Skyloft-Farm Void-Bound Voyager


                                I splashed cold water on my face and stared at my reflection in the mirror. My eyes seemed just as dead as I felt after spending most of the morning vomiting. Jak screamed from the bed room. I groaned as I slid against the cold wall and onto the floor, waiting for my stomach to settle. Jak continued to cry and yell, so I pushed myself to my feet and made my way to his room. I cradled him in my arms and cooed to him. I got his bottle from the kitchen and he quieted immediately as I paced the kitchen, my mind a chaotic blur. Milk the cows. Gather the eggs. Check the sprinklers. Was anything ready to be harvested yet? I couldn’t remember. There had to be. Spring was coming to an end. I’d need to get my summer crops going soon. Leek. I promised George some fresh leek.

                                I put the empty bottle down and proceeded to burp Jak, my mind still going a mile a minute. I hadn’t heard from Alex. He said he would call as soon as he could. He promised to call as often as he could. A year, at least. I couldn’t wait a year. What if it wasn’t over in a year? My unsettled stomach continued to flip sickeningly.

                                I felt Jak burp up on my shoulder. I threw the cloth in the hamper and put him back in his crib. He smiled at me as he looked into my eyes and laughed. I called Penny.

                                “Are you busy? Can you watch Jak for a few minutes?"

                                "Of course. Is everything okay?"

                                "Yeah. Yeah. I just need to… run out for a second."

                                "Okay. I’ll be right there."

                                It didn’t take her long to show up at my door. She didn’t have class with the kids today. I was grateful for that.

                                "Are you sure you’re okay?” she asked as I rushed passed her.

                                “I don’t know. Maybe. I’ll be back."

                                It was still early, but I knew Dr. Harvey would be there. He would see me. Maru wasn’t even there when I showed up. I knocked frantically at his door. He looked me up and down when then door opened.

                                "I need a pregnancy test,” I said to him.

                                “Okay.” He nodded. “Of course."

                                I waited impatiently for the results, sitting in the cool waiting room. He came in and sat next to me.

                                "I’m pregnant,” I said.

                                Dr. Harvey nodded.

                                “Shit. Shit, shit, shit."

                                "What do you need from me?"

                                I shook my head. "Nothing. It’s fine. It’s fine."

                                His hand was on mine and he smiled. "Yeah. It’s fine. Alex will be thrilled."

                                I rolled my eyes. "Ugh."

                                "I know it’s not ideal."

                                "Certainly not."

                                Dr. Harvey hesitated. "I’ll do whatever you want."

                                "I’d rather not be pregnant but…” I suddenly realized what he meant. “No. No no. It’s fine. I’m fine. I can handle this. Shitty timing, but it’s okay.”

                                Maru walked in the front door. Dr. Harvey stood and smiled.

                                "What’s going on?” she asked, surprised to see me there.

                                I stood. “Nothing. Jak has a little fever this morning. Thanks, Dr. Harvey."

                                "My pleasure. Jak will be fine."

                                I hurried out of the office and back to the house, not wanting to keep Penny long. She was talking quietly to Jak when I got back.

                                "What’s-” she started.

                                “I’m pregnant,” I blurted out as I closed the door behind me.

                                Penny hesitated. "Oh. Is that… good?"

                                "It is what it is,” I said with a sigh and walked into the house.

                                Penny smiled. “It will be good.”

                                “Maybe. Do you think so?”

                                She raised an eyebrow. “Do you think so?”

                                “No.” I slumped into the chair and groaned. “I can’t do this. Two kids under two. A farm.”

                                Penny sat beside me. “You can do this. It will be okay. I will help you in any way I can, you know that. I’ll take the kids. You have Shane helping you around the farm. That’s the best help you could get around here. Mayor Lewis will do what he can, too. And don’t forget Evelyn and George. They’d love spending time with their great grandkids.”

                                I shook my head. “I can’t be relying on everyone to take care of my children for me, or my farm.”

                                “You can’t do this alone, Kate. We’re all here for you. Let us help you.”

                                I nodded reluctantly. I was proud of the work I had done, by myself, on the farm, but I knew I needed to swallow that pride and focus on my children. And that would mean leaning a little more on my friends. I hated to put that burden on them. I didn’t want to be selfish, but it was more selfish not to focus on my family. I had to keep telling myself that. That it was okay to get some help. I would need it now more than ever without Alex.

                                “Well, I have nine months before I need to worry about anything.”

                                Penny shook her head. “You can’t be working that whole time. You need to take care of yourself, for your baby.”

                                “The farm is all that’s keeping me going right now…”

                                “I know,” Penny said softly. “It will get easier.” She smiled. “It will be just like when you were pregnant with Jak. Leah and Maru and I will be here to keep you busy. We’ll have fun. Leave the farm stuff up to Shane. He seems to have a good handle on this. Hell, maybe we can convince Sam and Sebastian and Elliot to help out.”

                                I smiled. “That would be funny to see.”

                                “You know,” Penny lowered her voice. “You didn’t hear it from me, but I heard Clint asked Emily out.”

                                My eyes widened. “Really?”

                                Penny nodded. “I’ve seen them hanging out more, too. He hasn’t been hiding as much in the house. I bet we could put him to work.”

                                “All right, all right,” I said, giving in, and feeling a little better. “I can do this. We can do this.”

                                Penny smiled. “Good. Just promise me you will take it easy. Let us take care of things for you. You deserve a break. But don’t worry, we’ll keep you entertained. Just picture the guys arguing over who’s going to milk the cows.”

                                I laughed loudly. I pictured Sam and Sebastian staring at the utters, clueless as to what to do.

                                The front door opened and Shane poked his head inside.

                                “We gonna do this thing or what?”

                                Jas pushed passed him and skipped up to Penny. She stood on her tip toes and peered at Jak, cooing to him and making silly faces.

                                “Where’s Vincent?” Penny asked Jas.

                                The girl shrugged. “Late like always.”

                                “Aren’t you the one who’s usually late?”

                                Jas crossed her arms. “Shane doesn’t let me be late any more.”

                                I met Shane’s gaze and he winked at me. “Cow’s aren’t gonna milk themselves,” he said.

                                “Wouldn’t that be nice?” I said, glancing at Penny before heading outside.

                                “You’re in a weirdly good mood,” I commented as I followed Shane to the barn.

                                “I brought you something,” he said, tossing a box of frozen pizza at me.

                                I looked at the box skeptically and raised an eyebrow. “Frozen pizza?”

                                He leaned in and whispered. “I’ve got a stash I stole before JoJa Mart closed.”

                                “You are a wonderful role model to Jas,” I said, rolling my eyes.

                                “C’mon, everyone likes pizza.”

                                “Pizza and beer after a hard day on the farm,” I began, considering the idea. “Doesn’t sound too bad.”

                                Shane’s eyes lit up. “Wow. Yes. You’re perfect.”

                                I hesitated. “I should… put this in the freezer.”

                                Shane cleared his throat and shrugged. “Yeah. Whatever.”

                                “Pizza and beer later.”

                                “Whatever.”

                                I smiled. “Don’t try to cover up that ridiculous excitement. You’re not the grump you pretend to be. And now I know you’re secret.”

                                He shrugged again. “Don’t be lying to me woman. I want pizza and beer later.”
                                 
                                • Skyloft-Farm

                                  Skyloft-Farm Void-Bound Voyager


                                  I took the pizza out of the oven and cracked open a beer from the fridge. Jas sat excitedly at the table with Shane.

                                  “Aunt Marnie never lets me have pizza,” she said as I handed her a slice.

                                  “That’s probably because she’s sick of seeing so much of it in the house,” I said, narrowing my eyes at Shane.

                                  Shane shrugged as I handed him his long awaited pizza and beer.

                                  Jas peered at Shane’s bottle. “What’s that? Can I have that?”

                                  Shane shot a disapproving glance at Jas. “No. This is for adults.”

                                  She scrunched her nose. “It looks like pee.”

                                  “Tastes like it, too,” I said as I sat across from Shane.

                                  “Why would you drink that?”

                                  Shane shoved his slice of pizza in his mouth. “’Cuz I like it.”

                                  “Eww.”

                                  Jak began to cry quietly in the other room. Jas jumped from her seat.

                                  “Can I go check on him?” she asked.

                                  I nodded and she trotted into Jak’s room. I listened as she cooed to him in an attempt to make him laugh.

                                  Shane stared at his beer disapprovingly as he chewed. “I don’t usually drink in front of her,” he mumbled between bites.

                                  I shrugged. I could tell he felt guilty, but I didn’t know what to say to make him feel better. “She’ll forget about it tomorrow,” I tried, but I didn’t think it worked.

                                  Shane didn’t say anything. He leaned back in his chair and looked towards Jak’s bedroom, waiting for Jas to return.

                                  He turned back to me and raised an eyebrow. “Where’s your beer? Thought you were looking forward to pizza and beer.”

                                  I shrugged, not meeting his gaze, and shoved the pizza in my mouth. I felt his eyes on me and panicked.

                                  “Do you like seafood?” I said as I opened my mouth.

                                  Shane’s eyes widened for a moment before he burst into laughter. He took a sip of his beer. “You are so weird.”

                                  I blushed and swallowed, pinching my lips together. “Yup. I am well aware of that.”

                                  Shane narrowed his eyes at me.

                                  “What?”

                                  He shook his head. “Just never expected you to be weird.”

                                  “I prefer unique.”

                                  Shane laughed again. “Just not a side I’m used to seeing,” he said with a shrug.

                                  “I work hard to give the impression that I’m a normal, put together, functioning adult. Otherwise, no one would take me seriously. Especially with this big farm.”

                                  Shane nodded as he looked at his beer. “Well, I like weird Kate, too.”

                                  I smiled and took another bite of my pizza. “Thanks.”



                                  *****



                                  Shane and I finished the chores early the next morning. I was anxious to see Evelyn and George and share my news. I thought it might give them something good to look forward to, and I was craving some of Evelyn’s cookies.

                                  Shane dusted his hands off on his pants. “What’s up for the rest of the day?”

                                  “I’m taking Jak to visit his great grandparents,” I said.

                                  “Ah.” Shane was quiet.

                                  “What are you going to do?”

                                  He shrugged. “Uh. Make a pizza, I guess.”

                                  “That’s it?”

                                  “I’ve been kind of… trying to avoid Marnie.”

                                  “Why?”

                                  He hesitated and wrinkled his nose. “I saw her with Lewis.”

                                  I pinched my lips together in an attempt to hold back my giggle, but Shane caught on.

                                  “Did you know about them?”

                                  I nodded.

                                  “And you didn’t think to tell me?”

                                  “Well, it’s really none of your business,” I said. “Plus, they asked me not to say anything.”

                                  Shane looked at me with a mix of disgust and disapproval. “Ugh.”

                                  “C’mon, what do you care? It’s cute.”

                                  Shane shook his head as he turned away from me, heading home. I rolled my eyes and made my way to Evelyn and George’s. They greeted me happily, Evelyn taking Jak from me. She held him high and cooed to him before planting a kiss on his cheek. I sat down at the table across from her.

                                  “It’s so nice of you to stop by,” she said to me, rocking Jak gently.

                                  “Of course.”

                                  “I know you’re so busy on that farm.”

                                  “I’ll always have time to come by.” I hesitated. “Especially if there are cookies.”

                                  Evelyn smiled and hurried to the kitchen, bringing a fresh plate of cookies over for me. I took one and smiled in thanks. The chocolate chips melted in my mouth. I was in heaven.

                                  “There’s something I need to tell you, too,” I said slowly. I decided to just jump right in. “I’m pregnant.”

                                  Evelyn’s eyes widened and she smiled. “Oh, dear, you are? That’s wonderful!” But her smile faded quickly. “Are you okay? Do you need any help?”

                                  I shook my head. “I’m okay.” I sucked in a breath. “It will be okay.”

                                  Evelyn nodded. “It will be. Alex will be so excited.”

                                  I heard George clear his throat from the other room and he entered. “I thought I smelled cookies,” he said, taking one from the plate. He nodded to me as he ate the cookie.

                                  “George, did you hear? Kate’s pregnant.”

                                  “Hmm. Thought I heard something like that.” He smiled at me before he went back into the living room.

                                  Evelyn sighed and shook her head. She turned her attention back to me. “You know we’re here for you, Kate,” she said. “We’re family. You can come to us with anything.”

                                  I nodded. “I know. Thank you, Evelyn.”
                                   
                                  • Skyloft-Farm

                                    Skyloft-Farm Void-Bound Voyager


                                    Shane hadn’t showed up yet, and I was anxious to get to work; just another day on the farm. I stopped to examine the crops on my way to the barn, distracted by the weeds that had seemed to pop up over night. It was an endless job to keep them from coming back. I got on my hands and knees and began to pull them up from the ground, freeing my little sprouts.

                                    “You’re pregnant?”

                                    Shane was standing over me now. I hadn’t even heard him. I said nothing as I continued to weed around the crops. Shane pulled my arm until I was on my feet. His grip was hard. His face was angry.

                                    “Why didn’t you tell me?”

                                    “It’s none of your business,” I hissed.

                                    Shane’s eyes narrowed. “Did you really think you could keep that a secret around here? Sooner or later you’ll start to show. No way farm work is making you fat.”

                                    “This isn’t your business.” How dare he just come over here and act like he was in charge of me. I was furious.

                                    “It is damn my business. You can’t be working like this if you’re pregnant.”

                                    I pulled my arm forcefully out of his grip. “This is my farm and my responsibility.”

                                    “You have a responsibility to your unborn child.

                                    I turned away from him. “I’m only a few weeks along. I can keep working.”

                                    “Why wouldn’t you tell me?” His voice was softer now.

                                    I met his gaze. “Because I don’t want to be treated like I’m helpless.”

                                    “No one’s treating you like your helpless. We’re looking out for you. You cannot put your body through this kind of stress. It’s not good for you or the baby.”

                                    “And who named you Dr. Shane?” I argued, my hands on my hips.

                                    Shane’s brows knit together. “I’m being serious, Kate. I made a promise to Alex, and I’m pretty sure that includes his unborn child.”

                                    “You’re not responsible for me.”

                                    “Well, someone has to be, because you won’t be responsible for yourself.”

                                    “I don’t need this right now,” I grumbled, turning away again.

                                    “Well, get the hell over it. For now on, what I say goes.”

                                    I crossed my arms. “It doesn’t work like that, Shane. You don’t run this place.”

                                    “I do now.”

                                    “This isn’t your farm.”

                                    Shane sat on the fence. “Mine.” He spread his arms. “All this is mine for the next nine months.”

                                    I suddenly realized how ridiculous our conversation was and couldn’t help but to laugh.

                                    “You think this is funny?”

                                    “This is hilarious, actually. My husband is off in a losing war, I’m pregnant with his second kid, alone on this big huge farm, and you want to take on all the shit shoveling duties around here.”

                                    “I’d say it’s more ironic than funny. Actually, a pretty shitty situation. No pun intended.”

                                    I looked to my belly and tried to picture the little fetus inside and began to somber up. “I don’t want to sit around with nothing to do,” I muttered. “This farm is all I have right now.” I turned away and looked at my feet. “I can’t even bring myself to look at my own son sometimes. He looks too much like Alex.” When Shane didn’t say anything, I turned back to him. “It’s just hard. You know?”

                                    He looked at his feet. “Yeah. No. Kinda. I can only imagine how you feel right now.”

                                    “I’m scared. I’m scared shitless.”

                                    “I don’t blame you.” He pushed himself off the fence and smiled. “At least let me help you. You know, with the heavy lifting. I’ll leave the baby stuff up to Dr. Harvey. But as soon as he says to stop, you stop. Promise?”

                                    I nodded. “I promise.”



                                    *****



                                    Shane busied himself with the animals for most of the morning. I didn’t need to say anything for him to know I needed some space. Some time to myself to think about things. I thought about my new child, growing inside of me, as I ripped the weeds from the ground and tended to my plants.

                                    I stood and noticed George making his way over to me. I smiled in greeting as he looked over the crops.

                                    "What are you doing here?“ I asked.

                                    "What? I’m not allowed to come by and say hi?” he said gruffly.

                                    “No, of course you can."

                                    "I told you I’d come by some time and share my secrets. Looks like you could use some help around here."

                                    "I didn’t think I was doing that terribly…"

                                    "Nah. Not terrible at all, actually. I’m impressed. But it’s a very big project you have for yourself."

                                    "I’m managing."

                                    "Oh, I’m sure. I can’t imagine Alex was much help around here."

                                    I laughed. "You’d be surprised. He’s a hard worker."

                                    George nodded in approval. "Good. He needed to do something more than toss that ball around.” He sighed.

                                    “You know,” I began, trying to change the subject. I could tell he was missing his grandson as much as I missed him. “The corn don’t seem to be doing as well this year. Could be from the lack of rain we’ve had. Maybe these damn weeds. Do you think you could take a look and give me some pointers?"

                                    "I suppose."

                                    He followed me through the field until we got to the corn sprouts, wilting in the sun.

                                    George peered at them carefully, rubbing his chin in thought. "They don’t look too bad. I’ve seen worse. You should have seen my grandfather’s crops this one summer. What year was that? Ah,” he waved his hand, dismissing the thought. “No matter. We hadn’t had rain in months. Driest spring we ever had, giving summer a rough start. Crops were pitiful that year. But my gramps, he was a smart man. Knew a few tricks. Well ain’t dry, yet."

                                    I shook my head. "Sprinklers are doing their job."

                                    George nodded. "Just a touch of gramp’s fertilizer I bet would help."

                                    "I bought some from Pierre-"

                                    "No, no.” He waved his hand at me. “Pierre doesn’t have my gramp’s knowledge of this stuff. I can get you some of it. A special little mix. Will help with those weeds, too. I have his notebook somewhere at home… leave it to me.”

                                    I smiled. “Thanks. That would be great.”



                                    *****



                                    Just as he promised, George was back that evening, and old, battered notebook in hand. He opened the page to me, pointing with his old, bony finger.

                                    “You can have that,” he said. “Just take care of it.”

                                    “Of course. Thank you so much.”

                                    George smiled. “Anytime.”
                                     
                                    • CjBeats

                                      CjBeats Pangalactic Porcupine

                                      I read the first two chapters and I'm really really liking it. I like how you do different stuff in both of your fics. And the feels. Both of your fics are giving me feels. Why do you do this to me? I love it. I'll catch up on this and then I'll be a continued reader. But jeez man stop hurtin my feels
                                       
                                      • Skyloft-Farm

                                        Skyloft-Farm Void-Bound Voyager

                                        This is the first fanfic I've ever written in my life, so I admit it starts off a bit slow. But, I will also mention that there's over 100 chapters, and I promise it gets better! lol. There's definitely plenty of drama, and if you think there are feels now, you might want to mentally prepare yourself for the rest of this fic.. lol. I'm so glad you love them both, though! But I cannot stop kicking you in the feels... I enjoy it too much! lol.

                                        I'm considering sharing some of the reviews I've gotten from my Tumblr followers here. After a particularly rough chapter, my inbox would flood with their screams of agony (literal AHHHH WTF lmao!)
                                         
                                          ApertureGaming011 and CjBeats like this.
                                        • Gabaw

                                          Gabaw Scruffy Nerf-Herder

                                          One hun... one hundred... This will take some time to read! keep posting them tho i'll get to them in due time :rofl:
                                           

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