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The Writings of Briar Rosethorn
I enjoy writing. Plain and simple. I plan to make it my career so this journal will hold anything I write, whether good or bad. A scrapbook of both rough and final work, if you will. I will try to keep is as organized as possible.
Picking Up the Pieces ~ Chapters 15 - 24 (A Short Story)
Here is the rest of "Picking Up the Pieces" so far. It's nearing completion and I hope to complete this little Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town fanfiction in 30 chapters or less.

Chapter 15 - An Irritatingly Helpful Friend

"Bonny! Bonny, come here girl!" Fawna called to her chicken from over the stone fence. Bonny just gave her a haughty stare and shuffled away to the other side of the chicken pen. Annoyed, Fawna pouted and stuck out her hip, crossing her arms underneath her chest. "Fine then! Be that way, see if I care!" she snapped, trudging away to tend to Mutt snd Martini.

"Heh, having trouble with her still?" Travis said, walking onto the farm. Fauna rolled her eyes and sighed, shaking her head in dismay.

"Like you wouldn't believe." she replied, grabbing Martini's brush. "Rick said she was a sweetheart when he sold her to me, but she's given me nothing but attitude since the day she came here. I think she hates me." the beautiful young woman frowned, eyeing the naughty chicken with reproachful eyes. Travis laughed.

"Don't be ridiculous, Fawna. Chickens don't hate people for no reason. You just have to know how to handle them, that's all. Watch me." he offered. Fawna shrugged. She may as well try to learn something or else she'd never get Bonny to lay good quality eggs. Travis expertly hopped over the stone fence and kneeled down, beckoning the animal towards him with gentle eyes.

"Hey there, beautiful." he cooed. "Come here..." he coaxed softly. With a flattered cluck, Bonny pecked her way right over to Travis as he picked her up and stroked her for a moment before setting her down gently again. Bonny ruffled her feathers and clucked happily before going to hunt for any grain Fawna had spread on the ground of the pen. When Travis turned around, he saw Fawna staring at him in disbelief.

"How do you do that?" she demanded incredulously. "It's like you can speak their language." she admired him with a bit of jealousy. He was so good with animals and farming. Why couldn't she be like that? Travis laughed and put an arm around his best friend's shoulder.

"You'll be able to speak their language too with a bit of practise. What have I told you a hundred million times since you first moved here?" he asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Never give up." she replied automatically, laughing despite herself. "It helps that I've got a friend who knows what he's doing at least." she sighed. Travis chuckled and cleared his throat.

"Uh, yeah... about that..." he began and Fawna's baby blue eyes narrowed suspiciously. She knew that look all too well. It nearly always meant that he had done something she didn't like. He gave her a sheepish grin before continuing. "As your best friend, I feel that I know what I'm doing when it comes to you being happy. Since you were the one who helped move things along with Rose and I, I thought I would return the favour." he said, shrinking away from her slightly in case she decided to hit him. Fawna cocked her head to one side in irritation.

"I don't think I like where this is going." she muttered angrily and Travis shrugged.

"I didn't think you would." he replied. "Trust me, you'll thank me later though. I told Rick that you wanted to go out with him for a drink or two tonight and he was very happy to accept the invitation." he smirked, wincing as Fawna really did smack him this time.

"TRAVIS!" she shrieked. "Why would you do that?" she demanded hotly. How could he just throw her into something like that without even asking her first? At least she had known that Travis wanted to be with Rose! Well... she did sort of like Rick... but things were more complicated with her than it was for Travis... Greg...

"Because you're my friend and it isn't healthy for you to spend the rest of your life sad and alone, still in love with a loser who treated you like a piece of meat!" he retorted, crossing his arms defensively. "It'll be good for you to spend some time with a guy who can appreciate you for more than just your looks." he told her matter-of-factly. Fawna just glared and stormed away.

"Well, sorry! I didn't realize you were my psychiatrist now!" she yelled over her shoulder, stomping into her house and slamming the door shut.

Back outside in the field, Travis sighed and rubbed his temples. She'll forgive me... Rick's a nice guy... she'll thank me afterwards... I hope... he thought to himself with a frown.

Chapter 16 - A Date With Rick

"Travis, I'm so nervous!" Fawna wailed helplessly. "I don't even know if I look good. Is fashion the same here as it is in the city?" she asked. Her waist-length obsidian black hair was pulled back into a ponytail decorated with glittery clips. She was wearing light pink eyeshadow with a purple eyeliner and mascara, with a little bit of blush along her cheekbones and a shimmery baby pink lipgloss.

Looking down at what she wore, Fawna frowned at her pink knee-length, strapped shoulder dress and her matching heels. Travis laughed and shook his head. "Will you relax? You look great, now go!" he admonished her, pushing her out the door of her house. Fawna sighed but smiled all the same.

"Alright, alright. I'm going." she told him, slinging her little purse over her shoulder and walking down the road to the Crescent Moon Bar. This was the first time she had really gone all out to look pretty since first coming to Serenity Falls and she had to admit, it did make her feel good. She had even taken the time to paint her nails.

However, as she walked into the bar, she kept thinking about Greg. She knew he didn't love her. He never had and she also knew the relationship was over for good, but she still felt strangely guilty for feeling the way she did about Rick and she knew it was because she still loved him. She had given him everything she had... absolutely everything and he had taken it for granted.

"Wow... you look really good." Rick said when he saw her and for that moment, Greg melted away from her mind and Fawna smiled, feeling very warm all of a sudden. She blushed a little and looked away.

"Thanks... so do you." she admitted with flirty eyes. Indeed, Rick had also made an effort to clean up. His hair was combed back and he wasn't wearing his visor. He led her to a table as Rose walked up. Fawna noticed that her eyes looked a little glazed and knew she must have been drinking again. She pursed her lips sadly. She hoped she would tell Travis soon, or else Fawna would have to.

"What can I get you?" she asked, her voice a little slurred. Rick didn't seem to notice and rattled off his order. Fawna deliberately gave something simple so that Rose wouldn't make a mistake. Once she had taken their orders and walked into the back to make their food, Rick turned to Fawna.

"You know, you seem really hardworking for someone from the city." he commented, sipping his drink. "What did you do before you came here?" he asked, interested.

"I was a bar singer in the city. I lived with my boyfriend at the time in the apartment above the bar. When he kicked me out, I left just to get away and prove him wrong..." she finished in a small whisper. Rick's eyes were very concerned and kind and she ended up telling him everything. She cleared her throat to hold back her tears. She didn't want to ruin the date by crying. Rick sighed.

"That's terrible. How could someone do something so cruel to someone as nice as you? He sure missed out on something great, then." Rick said kindly and Fawna smiled, feeling warm once again. He was so sweet.

"So have you lived on the Poultry Farm your whole life?" she asked, wanting to learn more about him. Rick nodded enthusiastically.

"Yeah." she replied. "When my parents went on their honeymoon, my dad brought back two chickens as a souvenir. Those chickens ended up laying so many eggs my parents didn't know what to do with them so they started a poultry farm." he told her. "My mom had my sister and I when the farm started to take off. About two years ago, we found out that my mom was really sick and the medicine wasn't curing her. It was just keeping it at bay. My dad decided to leave and go find a rare flower to cure her, but he left her all alone with us kids to be brave on her own." he ended bitterly.

"So you support your mom and your sister all on your own? That's a lot of responsibility for someone so young." Fawna told him. Rick nodded.

"Yeah, but I love my family and I love running the farm so it's a lot of work that I enjoy, at least." he said brightly.

Soon, it was very late and Rick asked if he could take Fawna home. She gratefully accepted since she was still scared of walking around in this village alone at night without any streetlights. Rick turned to her once they were back at her house.

"I had a lot of fun tonight. Do you think we could do it again sometime?" he asked and Fawna bit her lip. Rick looked a little disappointed but nodded understandingly. "I get it. You're still trying to pick up the pieces, huh?" he asked as she nodded. "Well, I think you're someone who's worth waiting for. Take as much time as you need, Fawna. I won't go anywhere." he promised her.

"Thanks Rick. You're so sweet." she whispered, her voice catching in her throat. With a polite nod, he turned and walked back towards Mineral Town where he lived. Shutting the door behind her, Fawna smiled softly, but a tear escaped her eye all the same.

Life was confusing... especially love.

Chapter 17 - Patience Pays Off

The next season and all of Fall, Fawna and Rick held a very tentative and unsure relationship. They were always visiting each other and spending time together, but hadn't officially struck up a relationship. This was mostly due to Fawna's crippling fear of having her heart broken again. She was so grateful to Rick for everything, however. He never resented her for being unsure, and never complained when Fawna fell to tears thinking about Greg, nor did he ever try to push her into a relationship with him. He was just always there, willing to listen to her and patiently waiting for her when she was ready.

Now it was the first of Winter and with it came Fawna's newfound success as a farmer. She now had three more chickens from Bonny's eggs. Their names were Lizzie, Winnie and Loni. She had made quite a bit of money from her eggplants in the Fall and she had all her tools upgraded to mystrile and had just put in an order to Gotz for her first house extension. Of course, Rick and Travis had helped her with much of this and Fawna didn't know what she'd do without them.

As she walked outside that morning, turning her pale face to the falling snowflakes, she smiled softly to herself. It had been over half a year since she had left Greg to come live in Serenity Falls. Each day that she was here, each day she got up to work in the morning with a sense of purpose for herself and her own destiny, each day she felt the unconditional support of Travis and Rick was a day where her memories hurt less and less. Looking back on Greg now, it was almost as though he had merely been a hazy dream... a fuzzy memory and shadow of the past. It no longer tore her up inside to think of how he had hurt her. In fact, she felt empowered and strengthened knowing that she had proven him wrong by rising up from his shameful abuse and becoming the independant, self-supporting and strong woman that she was. In retrospect, she was thankful that she had seen Greg for who he truly was because otherwise, she would never have amounted to anything more than his brainless trophy girl.

Thinking through all of this gave her a sense of pride, of truly being independant and strong. It was with this knowledge and new surety of herself as more than just an object which told her that she was ready. Rick's patience would pay off and he no longer would have to wait for her. She was there.

"Hey! Earth to Fawna!" Travis' voice shocked her out of her thoughts. Her large blue eyes looked startled for a moment and he chuckled. "I walk in here and you're just staring into space holding the chicken feed. Bonny, Lizzie, Winnie and Loni must think you're teasing them." he joked. Fawna smiled and shook her head. Indeed, she had walked all the way to the chicken coop and picked up the bird feed without even realizing it.

"Oh... heh heh, sorry." she mumbled, grinning slightly. "I got caught up thinking about things." she admitted, spreading an even amount of food into two of the feed boxes as Travis did the other two. Travis gave her a knowing glance, his mouth situated in a grimace.

"Rick, huh?" he asked as Fawna nodded. "Fawna, I know you say you're not ready for a relationship, but it's been such a long time since you first came here and it isn't fair of you to keep stringing Rick along like a puppet when his feelings could get hurt because of it. That's the same thing Greg did to you." he added quietly, not sure if he had overstepped his boundaries. Fawna took in a sharp breath, but to his surprise, nodded.

"I know, Travis." she agreed softly. "You're right. He's been so good to me and he cares about the important things in others. He's nothing like Greg... which is why I'm not making him wait anymore." she confided, blushing a little. "It doesn't hurt to think about Greg anymore. It's just an unpleasant memory now. I'm ready to move on." she told him. Travis smiled and put an arm around his best friend's shoulder, kissing her lightly on the cheek.

"It's about time." he laughed. "Like I said, Rick's a good guy. He'd be good for you." he told her. Fawna smiled and nodded, looking up at him.

"Yeah, I think so too." she beamed, excited with the thrill of being happy with someone who accepted her for who she was for the first time in her life. She could tell that her friend was genuinely happy for her, but there was something on his face that looked sad. Her smile turned into a frown and she crossed her arms. "Is something wrong, Travis?" she asked. "You look upset about something." she told him. Travis looked taken aback for a moment, prepared to deny it but then sighed and shook his head.

"I guess I should have known you'd catch it anyway." he said. "It's Rose. She's been acting so strange lately." he began and Fawna got a knot of worry in her stomach. She already knew what the issue was. "Sometimes, she's the Rose I met back when I was fifteen, but other times... Fawna, it's like she's not even the same person. One minute, she'll be the funny, outgoing, Rose that I love, but the next, she's like this demon. She's screaming at everyone around her for the smallest things, throwing things and crying." he told her desperately. Something about what he said struck Fawna. Rose that I love...

"You love her?" she asked quietly. Travis ran a hand through his shaggy, chocolate brown hair and nodded.

"Yeah... I want to marry her, Fawna," he admitted in a forlorn whisper. "but not like this. There's something very wrong here and I'm worried about her." he heaved a depressed sigh. Fawna bit her lip and inwardly hated herself for what she was about to do, but she knew he had to find out. He deserved to know the truth and if Rose wasn't going to give that to him, she would have to. She took his hand and motioned for him to sit down on a stack of bird feed bags with her.

"Travis, I know why Rose is acting this way. There's something I need to tell you..." she began in a pained tone.

Chapter 18 - Consolation

Travis stood there for a moment, stunned completely. Rose? His Rose? The Rose he wanted to marry and loved with all his heart? How could this be true? He swayed slightly as Fawna helped him to a seat. He had stodd up part-way through her explanation. After a few seconds of blank staring, he managed to choke out a sentence. "Are you sure?" he asked quietly. "You could have misunderstood or made a mistake..." he told her, desperately wanting to deny the truth. Fawna shook her head.

"No, Travis. Rose has a drinking problem. She begged me not to tell you back in the summer because she promised that she would. I told her I'd stay quiet as long as she told you but she hasn't and you deserve to know the truth." she whispered. Travis began shaking his head numbly. It wasn't true... it couldn't be...

"No." he muttered. "You had to have made a mistake. I know you wouldn't lie to me but I know Rose isn't like that. You just were misinformed or jumped to a conclusion or something." he insisted.

"Travis..." Fawna began but he cut her off.

"I have to go... think for a while..." he told her quietly, walking out of the chicken coop into the crisp early winter air. Putting her head between her knees, Fawna let out a small sob. Her best friend didn't believe her. Rose was going to be furious when she found out that Fawna had told him and she had no one to turn to for support... well, no one in Serenity Falls, anyway.

Standing up and drying her cheeks with her farmer's gloves, Fawna quickly finished up her chores and walked to Mineral Town in the snow. She reached the Poultry Farm and knocked. Popuri answered and let her inside. "Hey Fawna!" she said brightly. "Did you come to hang out with me?" she asked. The two women had similar personalities and therefore got along quite well. However, today Fawna shook her head.

"Uh actually Popuri, I came to see your brother. Is he home?" she asked quietly, her eyes still bright from crying. Popuri looked a little disappointed at not being the centre of attention, but nodded and pointed upstairs.

"He stays inside in bad weather." she told her. "He's upstairs." she told her before walking away to help her mom reach a box of animal medicine on the shelf. Fawna thanked her and hurried upstairs to see Rick. She needed someone to talk to right now.

Rick's face lit up when he saw her, but soon fell to concern when he saw the look on Fawna's face and hurried over to her. "Fawna? What's wrong?" he asked, taking her hand and leading her to sit down on his bed. She shook her head, trying to keep the tears at bay but they slipped out from her eyelids just the same. Rick tentatively hugged her, not sure if he was overstepping his boundaries, but when Fawna didn't object, rubbed her back comfortingly. "Hey, don't cry now. Just tell me what's going on." he told her softly and Fawna hiccoughed and nodded, feeling embarrassed that he had seen her like this.

"I told Travis something he didn't want to hear and he didn't believe me... now because of what I told him, a friend of mine is going to be really angry with me..." she whispered. She didn't tell him who that friend was or what she had told Travis. That was between them and it was better if they worked it out between themselves. Rick nodded understandingly and dried her tears.

"Do you think it was the right thing to do? Telling Travis?" he asked her and Fawna nodded.

"I know it was." she told him. "This was something that he needed to know and it would have been cruel of me to keep it from him any longer." she told him. Rick smiled and brushed a strand of raven-coloured hair out of her eyes.

"Then I wouldn't worry about it." he told her softly. "Travis and your other friend might be upset right now, but in the end, they'll realize that you did a good thing." he told her wisely. Fawna smiled, feeling that upsurge of affection for the man consoling her right now and this time, Greg's ghost in her mind didn't scar that emotion. She leaned closer and impulsively kissed him lightly, but broke away quickly, biting her lip.

"Thank you." she whispered uncertainly. That had been a little rash. Had she come on too strong? Rick touched his lips with a stunned expresasion, but cleared his throat.

"... Remember back in the summer when I told you that I would wait for you as long as you needed?" he asked quietly, and Fawna nodded, her heart hammering painfully against her ribcage. "I'll still wait for you, you know. You don't have to push yourself because I'm not going anywhere." he whispered. Fawna shook her head quickly and put a finger to his lips to silence him.

"Neither am I. You don't have to wait anymore, Rick." she whispered back with a slight smile. Rick beamed, looking like he had just seen heaven for the first time and ran a hand through her long sleek hair.

"I'm glad." he told her. "I would have waited forever but this is much nicer." he said as he leaned in to kiss her, which Fawna was all too happy to accept and return. She felt as though after trying desperately to piece together two jagged halves that wouldn't fit, she had finally found a piece that was the perfect mold to hers and she wasn't about to let that perfect piece go. It certainly showed in the way they were holding each other as their lips met.

"Awwwwwww! That is soooooo sweet!" came a delighted squeal as Fawna and Rick broke apart, startled. Popuri was practically dancing up and down on the balls of her feet, clapping her hands together excitedly. "MOM!" she shouted, running down the stairs as she hiked up her skirts to keep from falling.

"Popuri..." Rick sighed in exasperation as Fawna laughed and rested her head against his chest, closing her eyes in contentment.

Chapter 19 - Fury

Fawna woke up the next morning with a smile on her face. Her and Rick had really kissed last night. It had been wonderful and she felt so free and releived that Greg no longer haunted her in the back of her mind. He was just a bad memory... nothing more now. Rick was the present and Fawna wasn't going to let such a wonderful person slip through her fingers because of a bad memory. Hopefully, Rick would become her future as well.

She got up and dressed, then went outside to tend to the chickens, Mutt and Martini. Come spring, if she had enough money saved, she might be able to buy a cow or a sheep. She would have Travis help her do that, since he ran the Farmer's Shop with his dad. Thinking of Travis, Fawna bit her lip and sighed. She had no idea how he was holding up after what she had told him yesterday. She hadn't spoken with him since he left the farm. The feeling of not knowing what was going on with that gave her a pit of worry in her stomach.

Deciding that she needed to get her mind off of Travis and Rose, she headed to Mineral Town's Poultry Farm to see Rick and Popuri, but mostly Rick. She brought an egg for Rick, an old but pretty dress she didn't want anymore for Popuri and a flower she had picked at the end of Fall but hadn't begun to wilt yet for Lillia. Rick's whole face lit up when he saw Fawna walk in the door and walked purposefully towards her, about to kiss her but stopped himself at the last second, realizing that his mother and sister were in the room. He opted to hug her instead and chuckled, going a little red.

"Hey Fawna. I'm glad to see you." he told her with a smile. Popuri giggled and interjected.

"He sure is! He wouldn't stop talking about you last night after you left." she laughed and Rick shot her a nasty glare. Lillia smiled and chuckled weakly.

"Popuri, don't tease your brother." she chided gently then turned to Fawna with a sweet smile. "Hello Fawna. It's very good to see you." she told her a little breathlessly. Fawna noticed that she looked thin and pale and seemed weaker than she had been when she had first met her back at the beginning of the summer.

"It's good to see you too." Fawna told them, giving out the gifts which they all loved. Rick took Fawna's hand and led her outside, saying that he wanted to go on a walk with her. Once they were outside, Rick smiled and leaned down to kiss Fawna softly. Fawna returned the gesture eagerly. When they broke apart, they were both smiling. He chuckled. "That's better." he said quietly and Fawna giggled, standing on tiptoes to kiss his cheek. He made her so happy. "Say, have things worked out with you, Travis and this other person?" he asked and Fawna sighed.

"I don't know." she admitted. "I haven't talked to either of them since I told Travis that thing he didn't want to hear yesterday." she said sadly. Rick squeezed her shoulder protectively and nodded towards Mineral Town's path.

"I think you're about to get your chance." he told her in a worried tone. Fawna looked in Rick's direction to see Travis running up the path, looking completely overwhelmed and frazzled, with a furious Rose stalking angrily in front of him. It seemed like Travis was trying to stop her. Rose neared Fawna and pushed Rick aside, standing menacingly in front of Fawna until their faces were inches apart. Fawna could smell the whisky on her breath and see her bloodshot eyes.

"YOU PROMISED!" she screamed. "YOU PROMISED YOU WOULDN'T TELL HIM!" Fawna wanted to shrink away. It looked as though Rose were about to hit her. She was vaguely aware of Rick and Travis working together to try and pull them apart from each other, but Fawna stood her ground. This was crazy!

"I PROMISED I WOULDN'T TELL HIM ONLY ON THE CONDITION THAT YOU WOULD!" she screamed back. "YOU WERE LYING TO HIM AND HE'S MY FRIEND!" she yelled. "I think my friend at least deserves to know he's with a drunkard!" she spat, knowing that she probably wasn't helping things but she was tired of this. Rose recoiled as though Fawna had struck her, then flared up and then hauled off and hit Fawna hard in the face. Rose, being much more of a tomboy than Fawna, had the advantage and Fawna went down to her knees with a cry of pain. Immediately, she felt Rick's arms around her, but couldn't see anything. All she could see was black and stars and feel the blood pounding in her head.

"TRAVIS! CALM HER DOWN!" Rick yelled, still holding onto Fawna tightly.

"I'm trying, Rick!" Travis yelled back desperately. There was much more shouting after that, but Fawna was slowly fading in and out of awareness. Slumping against Rick's chest, she gave into the blessed wave of unconsciousness that took away the thundering pain in her head.

When she woke up, she was lying in a bed in a white room. By the smell of sanitizer and the sight of medical tools, she was in a clinic. Rick was holding her hand and when he saw that she was awake, leaned over and kissed her forehead very lightly so as not to hurt her head. "How do you feel?" he asked her quietly and Fawna groaned.

"Not too good..." she mumbled, feeling the roaring pain in her head come rushing back. A young woman who wore a nametag that said 'Elli' placed a cold damp cloth on her head which brought her some relief and Fawna closed her eyes. "Where's Rose... Travis... is he mad at me?" she muttered softly and she felt Rick squeeze her hand gently.

"My mom saw what was happening and called Harris. He took her to his house where he's holding her in custody. Travis is there, trying to explain everything to him, but he came here first to make sure you were okay. He's not angry with you, Fawna." he told her and Fawna began to nod, but stopped, because it made her pain worsen.

Just then, Travis walked into the clinic, shaking the snow off his boots. He looked utterly dejected and hugged his best friend when he got to Fawna's bedside. "Hey. I'm so sorry about this, Fawna." he told her miserably. Fawna tried to open her mouth to speak but both men gently shushed her.

"Fawna, just go to sleep for now. Everything can get explained once you've recovered." Rick said. Too weak and in too much pain to protest, Fawna nodded off to sleep, listening to the whispers of the Doctor, Elli, Travis and Rick.

Chapter 20 - Heartbreak

The man who only called himself Doctor had insisted that Fawna stay at the clinic the next day so he could keep an eye on her. Apparently, Rose had hit her extremely hard in the head and he was concerned she may have a concussion that needed supervision. Fawna had been furious with the Doctor for that, because her chickens, dog and horse needed to be taken care of, but Travis had kindly offered to take care of everything for her while she was unable to work.

When she woke up, she looked over to see Rick curled up on the chair beside her bed, sleeping soundly. Elli walked in and smiled. "Good morning, Fawna, is it? How are you this morning? I'm Elli. I'm your nurse." she said sweetly, pointing to her nametag. Fawna nodded.

"Um, I'm feeling a little better. My head doesn't hurt unless I touch it." she said, wincing as she pressed her fingers to the tender spot near her left temple. Fawna nodded towards Rick. "How long has he been here?" she asked.

"He's been here since you got here yesterday. He's never left this room except to use the bathroom. You have a very caring sweetheart, there." she said with a wink before walking out of the room to inform Doctor of Fawna's condition. Fawna smiled softly to herself.

"I know..." she muttered quietly, her blue eyes going soft as she looked at him. Just then, Travis walked into the clinic and walked over to her, looking depressed.

"Hey. All your farm chores are finished. How are you?" he asked, his eyes concerned for her but his tone very surly. Fawna frowned in puzzlement.

"I'm feeling better... Travis, what's wrong?" Fawna asked. "You look so sad." she told him, slowly sitting up in bed against her pillow and pulling her waist-length, obsidian hair which was slightly curled near the ends away from her face. Travis sighed and sat down by her bedside, putting his head in his hands, looking completely dejected.

"I broke up with Rose..." he told her in a glum voice, not looking up. Fawna's eyebrows knit in sympathy and she hugged her friend. "I told her that I loved her and wanted to marry her, but not like this. Not when she's hurting everyone around her, includiong myself and my best friend." he sighed. Fawna stayed silent, letting him get it all out. "She doesn't remember hitting you but when I told her, she was appalled. She feels horrible about it and she wanted me to tell you that once Harris releases her, she wants to make it up to you." he muttered. Fawna nodded.

"Travis, I'm so sorry. Your heart must be broken." she whispered sadly. Travis gave a weak smile and sighed.

"Yeah. I guess now I know what it feels like." he said sombrely before standing up and nodding to Rick. "So are you two... together now?" he asked and Fawna went a little pink in the cheeks as she nodded. He smiled with a chuckle. "It's about time. I'm happy for you." he told her. Looking at his watch, he whistled under his breath. "Crud. The Farmer's Shop opens in an hour and I'm not even in Serenity Falls. My dad's going to kill me. I'll come see you right after work, Fawna." he promised her with a hug before rushing off to work.

Rick stayed with Fawna in the clinic for most of the day. He only went home briefly in the morning once he woke up to shower and change. He brought back soup from Lillia and a pretty bracelet from Popuri. Fawna was grateful for both. The soup made her feel better and the bracelet made her feel pretty, which of course was something Fawna loved. She was still appreciative of nice things after all, even though she was a farmer. That part of her would never die.

"Um... hi. Can I come in?" a timid voice came from the doorway in the late afternoon. Rick glared and opened his mouth to tell Rose that she wasn't welcome here but Fawna put a hand on his arm, shaking her head.

"Rick, please." she begged and reluctantly, Rick fell silent and walked out of the room, muttering angrily under his breath. Fawna couldn't say that she was impressed with Rose. She had lied to Travis, caused a scene in her drunken state and then had put Fawna in the clinic. She crossed her arms and looked at Rose suspiciously as she approached. Rose rubbed her eyes with force and cleared her throat, her eyes bright.

"I guess you probably think I'm a terrible person, huh?" she asked with a dry chuckle. "I guess I can't blame you. I am a pretty terrible person." she sighed, sitting down with slumped shoulders. "I don't really remember much of what happened. I was pretty out of it. I know that's no excuse." she said quickly as Fawna opened her mouth to protest that very fact. "I've lost everything because of my drinking problem... Travis, my restaurant, the respect of the town... everything." she said, beginning to cry. "I don't want to be a bad person, Fawna. I know I can't keep doing this. I'm just hurting everyone I love. Starting today, I'm going to quit drinking... I know it's going to be hard, but I'm determined. That's why I'm selling my restaurant. There's too much temptation for me there." she muttered.

Fawna couldn't believe her ears! Rose was selling the Crescent Moon Bar and Restaurant? The place she loved so much? "But... you love that place!" Fawna blurted. Rose chuckled weakly and woiped her eyes.

"I love Travis more." she said simply. "I know he won't take me back but I at least want to prove to him that I love him enough to give up everything else. He told me he had been planning on marrying me..." she said with a sad smile. "I could have been his wife if it weren't for my stupidity... Goddess... I'm such an idiot. I flushed it all down the drain for a few drinks. I'm going to do everything I can to fix this. Travis deserves better than me and I want him to find that, but as for me... well, the misery ends here and now." she told Fawna firmly. Despite her anger, Fawna smiled. This was the Rose that she knew and the Rose that Travis had fallen in love with.

"Maybe all hope isn't lost after all, Rose." Fawna told her. "Help yourself and focus on yourself first, but don't give up on Travis just yet. You might get lucky like I did." Fawna told her, nodding to where Rick was pacing in the next room. "He waited for me until I was ready. Travis might too." she told her. Rose smiled.

"Thanks Fawna. You know, for a girly city-slicker, you're not so bad." she winked.

Chapter 21 - A New Year

With the arrival of spring came many changes in Serenity Falls and Fawna's life. The snow melted away to reveal lush grass waking up from their long slumber, the trees sprouted leaves and the temperature rose drastically. Along with the changes in the weather, there were many changes happening on Fawna's farm; Her house had been upgraded, and the birth of a baby calf was being celebrated. She had purchased her first cow from Eric, Travis' dad and named her Lucy. Lucy had just given birth to Clementine.

"Awwww... she's so cute!" Fawna squealed, patting her head. She wrinkled her nose after a moment, though. "Too bad she smells." she added on a downside. Rick and Travis laughed at Fawna's city rearing showing through. No matter how down to earth Fawna became living on a farm in Serenity Falls, she would still always be the Fawna who enjoyed the finer things in life.

Travis was slowly healing from his breakup with Rose. It had taken all winter for him to be able to laugh like he was laughing now again, but when he saw Rose, that sadness still invaded his eyes. It reminded Fawna of how she had felt after Grteg had mistreated her and thrown her out, but she was moving on now. She hoped Travis would too, when he was ready.

A soft knocking on the barn door made all three of them turn around. Rose was there, looking timid. She always looked like she wanted to bolt and run whenever she was near Travis. Travis' eyes clouded and he nodded curtly. "I'll see you later, Fawna." he told her, striding out of the barn without a glance at Rose. Fawna made an attempt to go after him, but Rick gently held her back with a squeeze to her hand. Rose looked after him with a longing expression filled with heartbreak.

"Hi." she sighed to Fawna. Rick eyed her suspiciously. He still hadn't forgiven her for putting Fawna in the clinic last season. Fawna turned to Rick and kissed his cheek softly.

"Rick, can you go pick up some more bird feed from your mom for me?" she asked. Rick got the hint and nodded, kissing her back before leaving with one last dirty look at Rose. Fawna sighed and ran her fingers through her hair. "I'm sorry about him..." Fawna began. Unlike Travis and Rick, Fawna did not hold a grudge against Rose. She knew that Rose was working towards her one year sober badge and had given up both her boyfriend and her business to do that.

"It's okay, Fawna. You don't have to apologize. They have a right to be angry... you do, too. Rick really loves you." she said whistfully, obviously thinking about Travis. Fawna smiled and nodded.

"Yeah. He saved me, in a sense." Fawna told her, sitting down on an overturned box. "So... how've you been?" she asked. They both knew she was really asking if Rose had been sober. Rose smiled weakly.

"Good, actually. I actually came here to tell you that I haven't had a drink since that day when... well..." her voice trailed off and Fawna nodded to show that she knew what Rose was getting at.

"Have you told Travis?" she asked and Rose shook her head.

"No. I don't want to tell him and then fall off the wagon. It would only disappoint him more and it's not fair to him. I want to wait until I get my one year sober badge. Then I'll know I've really accomplished something." she told her. "You know, at first it was really hard but now I hardly even think about it. Sometimes I think that a year will come really quickly for me." she said brightly. Fawna smiled as she scratched baby Clementine behind the ears.

"That's good." she told her. Rose nodded happily, looking very relieved and free. Things were really starting to look up for her and hopefully she would get her happy ending.

"So... when is Rick going to propose to you?" Rose asked with a raised eyebrow and a faint grin. It was so good to have sober Rose back for good. Fawna had unwavering faith that she would never go back to drinking again. Fawna's blue eyes widened and she went red, giggling nervously.

"Rose!" she protested. "I have no idea. I don't ewven think he's thinking about that." she told her and Rose laughed.

"But you are." she said knowingly and Fawna went redder still, but didn't say anything. "Come on, Fawna! You've known him for almost a year now. It's plain for a blind person to see that you're in love. It's only a matter of time before he pops the question." she told her and Fawna sighed.

"Well, I guess I'm just going to have to wait and see, aren't I." she said and Rose nodded.


Rick took a deep breath and stole his courage for what he was about to do. Picking up the blue feather off the counter in Mineral Town, he marched up to where Jeff was taking money and put 1000G on the table.

"I-I'd like to buy this, p-please." he mumbled, stuttering slightly. Jeff raised an eyebrow.

"Gee, Rick. That Fawna girl in the next town's really stolen your heart, huh?" he asked and Rick nodded, going a little red. Jeff took the money from Rick and wrapped up his blue feather for him. "Here you go. Good luck." he said with a friendly wink.

As Rick walked out, he decided that proposing right now would be a little too soon. Not right now, but soon... when I'm sure it's the right time... Rick thought to himself before heading home to pick up the bird seed Fawna asked him to get.

Chapter 22 - As Time Goes By

"Hey!" Fawna smiled as Rick walked through her door over three seasons later. Rick beamed and walked over to give her a very enthusiastic kiss.

"I came as soon as I heard." he told her, smiling. "Would you look at this place?" he said, doing a 360 degree turn to inspect the second house extension Fawna had just completed. "I'm so proud of you!" he told her, hugging her fiercely as Fawna smiled with pride. Someone she loved was proud of her and happy that she had found success for herself. It was a wonderful feeling.

"Herm..." Travis cleared his throat awkwardly in the doorway and Fawna and Rick broke apart. They had started to kiss again but were interrupted by Travis entering. They both went red and laughed nervously. Travis chuckled. "Fawna, your house looks great. I remember when Mutt tried to jump on your bed and you made him sleep on the floor cushion. This place was just a run-down shack, then." he commented and Fawna laughed, remembering her life when she first arrived in Serenity Falls.

"Yeah. Now I actually have a dining table... and a bigger bed." she said brightly. Looking at her watch, she frowned slightly. "Crud. I'll be late to go have lunch with Rose if I don't leave now." she said, kissing her boyfriend goodbye and hugging her best friend before dashing out the door.

A very sober and happy-looking Rose smiled and waved Fawna over to her table at the Crescent Moon Restaurant and Bar, which was now being run by Rose's rich cousin from the city who had hired a manager and staff to look after the place. "Fawna!" she cried when she arrived. "I heard your house got another extension. That must be great." she smiled. Fawna nodded and sat down.

"It is. Rick's really excited about it. You'd think he was planning on living there." she said, chuckling. Rose raised an eyebrow as she sipped her soda. "What?" Fawna asked.

"Maybe he is." Rose pointed out and Fawna went red, shaking her head. She would love to be Rick's wife. She loved him more than anything in the world, but Rick had never seriously talked about marriage with her before.

"Rose..." she warned her and Rose laughed, putting up her hands in surrender.

"Okay okay. I won't pester you about it... much." she teased and Fawna rolled her eyes with an amused grin. Suddenly, Rose cleared her throat and sighed. "There was a reason I asked you to lunch today, Fawna." she told her. "Next week I'll be getting my one year sober badge." she said proudly and Fawna smiled.

"That's great, Rose." she told her and Rose nodded.

"Yeah. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be. Whenever I wanted to drink, I just thought of Travis and it always stopped me right away... every single time." she said quietly and Fawna smiled sympathetically. She was still in love with Travis, and despite Travis' harsh attitude towards her, Fawna knew he still loved her too. "I wanted to ask you... could you come to the ceremony? With Travis?" she asked. "I want you both to be there, but I don't want Travis to know why he's there until I get my badge." she told her.

"I'll drag Travis there by his boxers if I have to." Fawna winked. That made Rose laugh through her tears. This was a huge step in her life for her and Fawna dearly hoped that Travis would recognize that. Rose stood up and hugged Fawna.

"Thank you." she whispered. "You've been more of a friend than I deserve." she told her. Fawna smiled and hugged her back.

"Where is the ceremony?" Fawna asked. Rose grinned.

"In the city." she answered and Fawna's blue eyes widened happily.

"The city? I can go shopping? Get my hair done? A manicure? Pedicure? Massage?" she asked hopefully. It had been over a year since Fawna could enjoy those luxury things she still missed. Rose rolled her eyes, both amused and slightly nauseated.

"I just knew you'd say that." she sighed. "... but yes." she answered with a smile.

Chapter 23 - Moving Forward

"Fawna, I don't get it. Why are we here? What friend do you have to see?" Travis asked with confusion as he followed her and Rick into the pale, square building in the city. Fawna knew Travis wouldn't come if she mentioned Rose and Rose had asked her not to tell Travis what was going on so she had made up a story about having an old friend in the city whom she wanted to have Rick and Travis meet.

"Will you be patient and stop asking questions? You'll see her soon enough." Fawna winked with a slight grin playing across her lips. Rick and Travis looked at each other with confused shrugs. Rick had no idea of what was really going on, either.

"This isn't just an excuse for you to go shopping, is it?" Travis asked her with raised eyebrows. Fawna giggled and resisted the urge to stick her tongue out at him.

"Well, partly," she admitted sheepishly. "but there's something else I really want to be here for. It's very important." Fawna told them excitedly, leading them to the front row of chairs in front of a small stage.

"Well, then why won't you tell us what it is?" Rick asked her, sliding his glasses farther up his nose which made Fawna smile softly. She always wanted to kiss him when he did that. He looked so cute.

"It's a surprise." she sighed, getting a little exasperated. "I think it's starting, so just sit down and wait." As she said that, an older woman with blonde-grey hair pulled into a bun and a blue pinstriped suit walked up with a cue card and smiled.

"Well, it is truly an honour to be standing here in front of you all tonight." she said warmly. "It has been a tough road with many obstacles for you, watching your loved one struggle, but tonight we are here to come together in support and celebration." Travis leaned over to Fawna to whisper in her ear.

"What the heck is she talking about?"

"Shh!" Fawna scolded him and pointed back up to the little stage.

"And now, please welcome our one year sober group!" she said as the people clapped and a line of proudly smiling people walked out onto the stage, Rose among them.

"That's Rose!" Travis gaped. He slumped in his chair. "She's been sober for a year..." he murmered and Fawna patted his arm lightly.

The woman on the stage began to hand out the badges and when Rose's name was called, she smiled widely and bounded up to receive that little piece of plastic she had worked so hard for and meant so much to her. When she looked out off the stage and saw Travis seated in the front row right next to Fawna, her eyes filled with tears and she mouthed a silent "thank you" to Fawna as she sat back down.

The woman stood up after all the badges had been given and smiled, saying a few closing words that Fawna didn't really take in. That wasn't important but Rose's achievement was. She knew Rose would never drink again after this. She knew it with absolute certainty and so did Rose. The bad times were over.

"Travis, are you okay?" Rick asked cautiously. The ceremony had ended and people were getting up to greet their loved ones who had received badges, but Travis was still seated, staring into space. When Rick touched his shoulder, he seemed to snap back into reality with a startled jump.

"I have to see her." he said firmly and neither Fawna or Rick made an attempt to argue with him. They followed behind their friend as Travis muscled his way through the crowd, finally reaching Rose near the exit.

They stared at each other for quite a long time, the silence stretching for several moments. Finally, Rose cleared her throat and wiped an eye quickly before holding out a trembling hand. Her one year sober badge was sitting in her palm. "I want you to have it..." she whispered. "So you'll remember me... but if you don't-"

"Stop talking." Travis suddenly blurted and strode forward, wrapping her in his arms and kissing her with such intensity that Rick and Fawna looked away, a little embarrassed. When they parted, Rose looked as though she might faint and indeed, Travis was supporting most of her weight.

"Travis, I-"

"Marry me." he said quietly and Rose's eyes widened. "I love you and I'm tired of looking for excuses not to be with you. Marry me." he repeated in a whisper. Rose broke down crying, but smiled and nodded eagerly.

"Yes..." she managed to choke out.

Chapter 24 - News

"Fawna! Fawna! Open the door!" Travis yelled, banging and clattering outside. Fawna groaned and rolled over in bed, her eyes sliding over the date marked Spring 2nd on her calendar to the time on her clock. 5:30am.

"Ugh! I don't have to be up for another half hour!" Fawna cried, dragging herself out of bed and reluctantly opening the door. "This had better be impo--"

"I'M GONNA BE A DAD!" Travis yelled, his entire face aglow with happiness. Fawna stared, dumbstruck for a moment, then screamed in delight and threw her arms around him.

"Goddess Travis! That's amazing!" she squealed. "You must be so excited!" Travis nodded eagerly.

"Yeah... and scared, but I guess that's normal." he told her, laughing. Fawna couldn't help it. She hugged him again. She was so happy! After all the hardship he and Rose had gone through in their relationship, they really deserved this.

"Travis, how could you? Cheat on your wife AND steal my girlfriend?" Rick joked, walking onto the farm that morning, chuckling. "But seriously, what's so exciting?"

"HE'S GONNA BE A DAD!" Fawna shrieked, jumping into Rick's arms as he staggered with the mingled shock of the news he heard and her leaping into his grasp.

"Wow, Travis. That's great news!" he exclaimed, gently setting Fawna back on her feet. Fawna frowned. Rick seemed a little put out.

"Are you okay?" she asked, placing a hand to his cheek. Rick just cleared his throat awkwardly and nodded.

"Wha? Oh yeah. I'm fine. I guess just a little tired still. I got up really early to come see you... the sun isn't even fully up yet." he pointed up at the dawn sky. Fawna got butterflies in her stomach and bit her lip anxiously.

"W-why were you coming to see me so early?" she asked, her voice carrying a hopeful note. Rick shuffled his feet and looked away.

"Oh... no reason, really. Just wanted to see you..." he muttered vaguely. Fawna's blue eyes flattened and she let out her breath in disappointment.

"Oh... okay then." She had been waiting and waiting for Rick to propose to her. She loved him with all her heart and she couldn't understand why on earth he didn't want to marry her. She had begun to worry that he didn't feel the same for her, and the thought always crushed her heart and brought tears top her eyes. It had taken her so long to heal after Greg and now that she had put her heart on the line again, she didn't think she could pick up the pieces if it shattered this time. "I'm just... going to go change." she murmured, going back in the house.

As soon as she was gone, Rick felt a hard slap to the back of his head. "Ouch! Travis, what was that for?" he demanded, rubbing the tender spot.

"For being dense." Travis retorted. He had seen Fawna after Greg had destroyed her and he wouldn't let her go through that again. "Fawna's my best friend and as her best friend, I reserve the right to make your life a living nightmare if you break her heart." Rick gaped, completely astonished. Travis wasn't usually aggressive, but then again, when it came to Fawna it seemed there was nothing Travis wouldn't do to protect her.

"Woah! Travis, you got it all wrong! I'm not planning on hurting her. I didn't get up early this morning to break up with her, I... well..." he went beet red, pulling out a blue feather from his coat pocket.

"You- were going to propose to her today?" Travis mumbled and Rick nodded.

"I bought this over a season ago, but was too scared to ask her right away." Rick admitted. "I wasn't sure if it was the right time, or if she'd say yes. Today, I finally decided that it was now or never and well, I chose now." he revealed, tucking the feather gingerly back in its hiding place.

Travis understood now. "You were going to propose today, but Rose's pregnancy overshadowed it and you didn't want to take attention away from that." Rick nodded.

"Exactly right. Now I don't know when I'll have the courage to ask her again." Rick sighed. Travis clapped him on the shoulder with a broad grin.

"Now's as good a time as any." he beamed, shoving Rick inside the house.

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