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The One Where Shane Isn't the Problem

Chapter Text

“Fuck!” You yelled as water from the broken irrigation system you were working on sprayed you right in the face, startling you and causing you to fall into the dirt.
Spilling the whole open pack of seeds everywhere.

Fuck indeed.

Angrily muttering to yourself and cursing this whole damned farming endeavor, you got up, not even bothering to dust off, and stomped off toward the house. Fuck this farm. Fuck this town. Fuck moving here from the fucking city to get some fucking peace or whatever.

Just…fuck.

When your grandfather had handed you the letter just days before he passed away, you didn’t think much of it. After all, his mind had been going for the last few years and you just figured this was another one of his slightly crazy ravings. Nonetheless, you had done as he requested and tucked the letter away, leaving “you’ll know when to open it” as his cryptic message. It didn’t take long before you forgot about the little envelope completely.

Then, just a year later it happened.

When you stumbled across the letter you weren’t sure if what you were reading was actually…well, true. Grandpa had left Sunny Ridge to you, his pride and joy, the farm he had worked so hard to build up, that he had poured his heart and soul and whole life into. It was yours.

First thing in the morning you had called his lawyer to ask if this inheritance was indeed correct. Turns out, Grandpa maybe wasn’t as crazy as you thought.

After a hasty but heartfelt goodbye to your parents, you threw the few possessions you had left into your rusty old Jeep and drove until the city was in your rearview. You’d arrived in Stardew Valley late that night, your headlights the only thing illuminating your way as you ambled up the drive to the old farmhouse that you remembered from childhood. Your dad had called the mayor to let him know you would be arriving that night, so he had left the key to the house in the mailbox. Hauling your one bag over your shoulder and using the flashlight from your phone to see, you found the key, climbed the creaking porch steps, and unlocked the door.

With a heavy sigh, you took in the defunct state of the house. Layers of dust, cobwebs everywhere, a few leaves blown across the floors. You supposed it was only normal since the house had sat empty for a few years now. Grandpa had died a year ago and before that he hadn’t lived in it for two or three years. Dad had said that the mayor and the local carpenter were looking after it but you guess that didn’t necessarily mean keeping it immaculately clean or anything. A sense of relief washed over you when the lights at least came on.

Too exhausted to do anything else, you found the old bed and flopped down, not even bothering to change clothes or get under the covers. At least you had a bed to sleep in and roof to keep the rain out.
It may not be ideal, but it would do.

***

Okay, maybe the rain thing wasn’t so accurate. A heavy storm had come through about a week into your living on the farm and woken you in the middle of the night. Not with loud thunder or wailing winds, no, but with a steadily drip dropping of water on your face. The roof leaked. Great.

Turns out, the old house needed a lot of repairs. You seemed to find more and more every day. Thankfully, the local carpenter had dropped by a few days after you arrived to introduce herself and offer to help with any repairs or work you needed done. That had been a big help already, but she just finished fixing up the porch steps, you couldn’t ask her to check out the roof now too. You’d make due for a few weeks. There were plenty of buckets and pots around to catch leaks and you just shoved the bed out from under the drip zone.

The mayor had come by as well, Lewis you remembered. He gave a whole spiel about being friends with your grandfather, being so happy to see you coming to the Valley to take care of the farm, talking about how wonderful and welcoming the townspeople were, how you’d love it there and fit right in, blah blah blah. Truthfully, his loud knocking had woken you up early the morning after you arrived. You were wrapped in a blanket, disheveled, and still half asleep when he had stopped by so only fragments of what he said stuck with you.

After finally declaring that he should get going and sticking out his hand for a parting shake, the mayor turned to go. Before he reached the bottom of the steps, however, he turned with a slightly awkward and sad expression, as if he wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to say what he did next.

“You know, I spoke to your father the night you left to come to Stardew Valley,” Lewis began, his words holding a heavy unspoken meaning. “While I’m of course thrilled you’re here, I am very sorry for the circumstances under which, er, you came to be.” The man’s eyes lingered on the dark bruise blossomed across your cheekbone, your split and swollen lip. Your eyes suddenly found something very interesting to focus on off in the distance. Anything to keep from making eye contact with the mayor. “Please, don’t ever hesitate to let me know if you need anything Ms. Y/N.” You nodded appreciatively and then he was off.

You’d wandered into town a few times to explore and find food, but always mindful to keep your head down as best as you could. You weren’t a pro with makeup or anything, but as long as you laid low then nobody would ever suspect a thing. You’d of course had some short introductions with some of the townspeople. Pierre the shopkeeper, Gus the owner of the saloon and his bubbly employee Emily, and the JoJa Mart manager Morris. Only the ones you really needed to interact with to start you off, the ones with food and supplies.

And alcohol.

You spent the next few days exploring and planning. You walked the boundaries of the farm, rummaged through the barns and sheds to see what equipment your grandfather had stored and what kind of condition it was in. You inspected the house and tried to determine what fixes were needed to really make it livable. You went over your finances, worked up a new budget, and took care of a few other personal matters. Deleted your social media and changed your phone number.

The next few weeks were occupied with researching everything you could about farming. From the soil in the Valley to what plants to grow to how to raise animals, you poured over material to learn as much as possible before finally going to Pierre’s to buy some seeds. Lewis had given you a packet of parsnip seeds when you arrived, but you wanted a variety. Well, more like needed. This was going to be your livelihood now.

You soon learned, however, that as much as you researched and studied, farming was fucking hard. You spent days clearing debris from one of the old fields, just a small area so you could start something before it was too late in the season for anything to grow. Then it took another day to till the soil, which was absolutely exhausting. The old rototiller was a pain in the ass to deal with. Then, just when you thought you were ready to plant, the damn irrigation went out. There was no way you would be able to water all these plants by hand every single day, the nearest well was half a mile away. You’d die of exhaustion before the plants died of thirst.

Looking at yourself in the mirror of the bathroom in the house, covered in dirt and soaked to the bone, face pink from anger or sunburn you didn’t know, hair an absolute mess, you decided right then and there that you just couldn’t be a farmer. Your grandfather had loved it, your father had loved growing up on the farm, hell, you even remembered your mother enjoying helping out when you visited as a kid, but somehow the farmer gene has passed you right over.

So yeah, fuck being a farmer.

Except, it was all you had now.

“Evolve or die,” you muttered to your reflection. “Suck it up and let’s go plant some damn parsnips.”