“You have now arrived at your destination,” the GPS announced.
Yuuri parked in the dirt driveway and relaxed back into the driver’s seat. He had finally made it to the farm after a dull four hour drive through the middle of nowhere. He knew it would look nothing like it did from his childhood, but it was in worse shape than he expected. The fields were dry and barren, and the buildings did not look like they held up much better. And it wasn’t easily taken care of with a good pressure wash, although that wouldn’t hurt. A lot of hard labor needed to go into this place before anything good could come of it. Yuuri let out a groan and closed his eyes. Was he in over his head?
The farm had been in Yuuri’s mother’s family for a few generations, but it hadn’t been occupied in nearly twenty years. Yuuri’s parents had considered looking for someone to fix up the land and sell it for a small profit. In a snap decision Yuuri had offered to move out to the farm and take it over. He couldn’t seem to explain his decision. He had zero experience in farming, or manual labor in general, but for whatever reason his parents agreed to let him take it anyhow. Yuuri began to think that that was poor decision making on their part. They had too much faith in him.
The reality of the situation didn’t hit Yuuri until that moment in his car. And now Yuuri had acres of land under his jurisdiction and he hadn’t the slightest clue of what to do. It was a very real situation, indeed.
Eventually Yuuri stepped out of his family’s—now his—pickup truck and walked towards the front door of the sad house. He fumbled with all of the new keys before finding the right one to unlock the door. As Yuuri walked inside, he realized that the interior looked even worse than the outside of the house did. A layer of dust covered what little furniture remained in the house. Yuuri saw a bed, a coffee table, a bookshelf, and a chest. The short hallway led to a kitchen and a bathroom.
Yuuri wandered out of the house and headed over to the nearby shed. His dad had informed that all his tools he needed would be in there. They were there, but the old rusty tools didn’t show much promise. A sickle, a hoe, a watering can, and an ancient fishing rod. “Oh god…,” he muttered. The entire farm was archaic, there was no way he could get by with tools like that. It was too much for Yuuri. Too much awful in one moment and he could feel it overwhelming him. This was an impossible project, setting him up for failure. Even if Yuuri tried, the odds of him succeeding were slim. His parents would probably have to sell it off anyhow.
No. He needed to take a step back. Yuuri left the shed and locked the door behind him. He stood facing the fields before him and took a deep breath in. This sucks, he thought, but it’s doable. Yuuri needed perspective. The absolute worst case scenario was that he fixed everything up and let his parents sell the farm. Then life could go back to normal and Yuuri could go put his business degree to use somewhere in the city. Not the most ideal, but also doable.
The cold weather still had a month or so left before it would be time to start properly planting things, Yuuri figured. So he had a month to get himself together and learn as much about farming as possible before he had to start, well, farming.
So what was his first step? Yuuri’s thought process was interrupted by his stomach growling. He hand’t eaten since before he left that morning. Groceries, Yuuri decided, that’s the first thing he’d do. Next was to clean his house. And everything else…could wait until the next day.
With his game plan set in place, Yuuri got back in the truck and put it in ignition. He was backing out when he put his foot down on the brakes. “Ah. I don’t know where the grocery store is…”
After locating the nearest grocery store, Yuuri picked up some necessities. The selection wasn’t as big as he was used to, but it sufficed. The drive to and from the grocery store made Yuuri realize how small the town truly was. His own hometown was small, but this was even tinier. But Yuuri wasn’t looking for new friends; he wanted the solitude. And farmland in a small town gave him exactly that.
Or so he thought.
His first notion of solitude was ruined as he drove back onto his property. Considering that the farm wasn’t exactly a hub of bustling activity, it was easy for Yuuri to notice that something was off. And that something came in the form of a silver-haired man standing in front of his house. He sighed. He didn’t even get one day to himself, and he probably looked awful on top of it.
Yuuri parked his car and got out to speak to the mystery man. “Uh, hello,” Yuuri said to him. “Can I help you?”
The man in question turned towards Yuuri and gave him a smile. Oh no, the man was handsome up close. Gorgeous, even. “Ah yes, you must be the Katsuki boy!” he extended a gloved hand. “Viktor Nikiforov, the mayor of this town.”
His cheekbones, Yuuri thought as he shook his hand. “Y-yuuri Katsuki. Nice to meet you.”
“Yuuri? Why that’s my son’s name! What a coincidence!” the mayor said.
Yuuri blinked. “Yeah, what are the odds?” This man had a child? Did that mean that he was married too? Probably. Yuuri couldn’t see a ring with the gloves on. “So, is there something you needed from me, Mayor Nikiforov?”
“Please call me Viktor. Word got out that you were moving in today, and some townsfolk had spotted you at the grocery store. I just thought I’d stop by and meet you properly,” Viktor explained.
Such blue eyes. “Things travel fast in this town don’t they?” Yuuri said.
Laughter escaped Viktor’s chest. “Why yes, it’s both a blessing and a curse! You must be careful what you tell people here, Yuuri,” he said with a wink.
Yuuri’s face was red, but it very well could have been the cold weather. Before he could stammer out a reply, the mayor carried on. “I’m very excited to have someone move in to this place,” he gestured to the farm. “It could be just the kind of revitalization this town needs.”
“Well this farm’s gonna need some revitalization before that can happen,” Yuuri told him wearily. He thought back to his ever-growing list of things he needed to do.
The corners of Viktor’s eyes crinkled when he smiled. “It’ll be tough, I’m sure. But you’re not alone. Everyone here is very friendly and always willing to help each other out. I’d suggest stopping by the other farms and talking with the farmers there, they can give you some pointers. And of course, if there’s ever anything I can do, come by town hall and see me.”
“Wow, thank you for the offer. I really appreciate it.”
“It’s no trouble at all,” Viktor insisted. “But you must be busy, with moving in and getting settled. I’ll leave you to your things.”
“Ah, I hope I didn’t take up too much of your time.”
Viktor dismissed the thought with a wave of his hand. “I was just taking my dog for a walk…speaking of which…” Viktor looked around him, in search of his dog. “Makkachin!” he called.
From behind Yuuri’s house came a tall brown poodle trotting towards them. His tail wagged at the sight of a new person. Makkachin eagerly walked up to Yuuri, who had knelt down to pet him. “You’re a friendly one, aren’t you?” Yuuri laughed as Makkachin licked his face. He soon realized he was being watched by the mayor and promptly stood back up, wiping his wet cheek on his coat sleeve. “You’ve got yourself a good dog.”
Viktor grinned, patting Makkachin on the head. “I’d like to think so.”
“Anyhow I’ll let you be on your way. It was nice to meet you May—er, Viktor,” Yuuri corrected.
“Likewise.” the silver haired man gave him another stunning smile. “I hope to see you around, Yuuri.” And with that, the mayor turned around to leave with his poodle on his heals. Yuuri watched his retreating figure until he left the property. Even then he still stood there and stared into space, replaying the interaction in his head.
That had to be the youngest, not to mention the most attractive mayor Yuuri had ever met. And Viktor certainly did not look like he belonged in a small town. He didn’t look like he would have a child either, but Yuuri was also horribly wrong on that front too. He didn’t want to get in over his head, so he went ahead and assumed the worst: Viktor was probably happily married and living peacefully with his family. Given Yuuri’s circumstance, he didn’t have time to worry about a crush anyhow. The farm took first priority. But he did have time to be intrigued. Yes, very intrigued.
Yuuri finally kicked himself into gear and brought in his groceries into the house, setting them on the counter. He sat down and pulled out an already made sandwich from one of the grocery bags. Yuuri knew better than to cook in an old, gross house. He took a bite out of the sandwich and chewed thoughtfully. If he wanted to do anything else in the house, he had to clean it first. He had bought some cleaning supplies at the store that he knew would be put to good use. “But first, heat…” Yuuri said to himself, locating the thermostat and turning on the heat. Judging by the sound of the heating unit, it could use a tune-up as well. “And my parents said the house was move-in ready,” Yuuri muttered darkly.
The rest of the day was spent cleaning out the house, a hopeful attempt at distraction from thinking about the mayor. But alas, Yuuri was an excellent multitasker. Silver hair still occupied his mind as he choked on all the dust he kicked up (and eventually vacuumed). The bathroom sink was a little grimy, but it looked much better after Yuuri had scrubbed away at it for ten minutes. Even the kitchen tile looked a bit brighter. He wouldn’t say that the house looked nice after its makeover, but it looked habitable. Which was enough for Yuuri. By the evening he was able to move his belongings into the house and put them away.
When Yuuri had crossed everything off of his to-do list, he plopped down onto his bed and called his parents.
His mother picked up on the second ring. "Yuuri!"
"Uh, hey mom. I just wanted to call and let you know I made it to the farm safely."
"You're not just arriving there, are you?" she asked in a worried tone.
"No," Yuuri said sheepishly. He really should've called earlier that day. "I just got distracted, I guess."
Laughter erupted on the other end of the line. "I bet! That farm is quite a lot to take in."
"Yeah, no kidding," Yuuri said with a sigh.
"So did you meet any of the townspeople yet?" his mom asked. "I remember them being very nice."
"Not yet," Yuuri lied. "I spent most of my time fixing up the house today." He'd save talking about Viktor for another day. Or maybe not at all.
"Well I'm sure you're tired after all that you did today, so I'll let you go. Be sure to get a good night's rest and call if you have any questions about the farm."
Yuuri smiled as he gazed up at the ceiling. "Alright Mom, I love you. Good night." He hung up and tossed his phone aside. Talking with his mom helped quell the gnawing uncertainty within him, but he knew it wouldn't last for long. He had gotten the first day under his belt, so all he could do was move on and see what the next day carried. Besides, he was getting exactly what he wanted: time away from his old life.
Sleep came easy to Yuuri that night. After another to-go meal and changing into his warmest pajamas, he passed out on the bed. He was rewarded with deep, dreamless sleep.