Disclaimer: I don't own HP or any of these characters. That belongs to JKR, Scholastic Books, Warner Brothers, etc.
Soft, dreamy eyes surrounded by dark midnight hair. Long, elegant fingers that move gracefully through the air. She has known him for so long that she's memorized everything about him but still she stares at him like a fool.
She has long given up on reining in her obsession with constantly watching the object of her affection.
At the very least, if he should ask her, she can just shake her head and say she was thinking of something else. They've been friends now for seven years so he'd just smile and take her at her word. Besides, who would believe that a genius such as she would be dumb enough to fall in love with her best friend?
When she first stumbled, she tried hard to stop the fall. Her mind had told her heart again and again that she didn't want to be in love with her best friend. She didn't want to risk losing that friendship; she didn't want to possibly put an end to their closeness. She told herself that it was idiotic to fall in love with someone who would never love her, with someone who was in love with someone else. He'd never look at her how he looked at his crush – never someone like her, with her common brown eyes and common brown hair.
Her heart hadn't listened though. It refused to heed the advice her mind had given and so she fell and fell deep.
Even now she can't stop her heart from feeling. Even though as she's watching him, he's sitting with his arm around the one he loves. That hurts so much but she won't shed a single tear. That vision strikes at her heart, it makes her heart long to stop but she'll go on caring. She embraces both the love and the pain and she thinks they'll never go away.
And then he looks at her and smiles.
She tells her heart to stop beating so fast. It's irrational how it leaps at just a glance from him. She tells her feet to get out of the air, to get back on the ground where they belong. She tells her hands that they should stop shaking for that smile means nothing at all. They all ignore her and she finds that she has no defenses from him. She doesn't think that she would want to have any defenses against him right now.
But then he looks away and smiles at the girl by his side.
She's crushed again. The pain starts anew and is sharper yet. Gritting her teeth, trying to ignore it and live, she flees from the room but she can't leave him behind.
It seems like everyone has come to celebrate his twenty-first birthday.
Everyone includes his former girlfriends of course. Watching them all kiss him on his cheek and watching him turn pink was something that she just couldn't bear. So she left the room in search of solitude and found it on the balcony she's standing on now.
She tilts her head back to better see the sky. It's a starry night and she loves those best. There's something about the dark sky filled with stars that calms her. There's something about it that assures her that everything does have a purpose, that there are reasons why things happen even though she might not know them, that her love is not worthless no matter how much she might fear it.
Looking at the starry sky does let her rest. She traces out all the constellations she can find but then she sees, from the corner of her eye, a shooting star.
Make a wish, her mind whispers.
The question is what sort of wish to make. She could wish that he would love her but she's made such wishes before and they never came true. She's given up hope that such a wish could ever come true. Some things are just not meant to be and there's nothing she can do. She'd much rather wish that he'd be happy instead.
So she does.
"What did you wish for?"
His voice from behind her surprises her and makes her jump. She whirls around to find him looking at her and she wonders how long he has been there. Her mouth opens to answer his question when her mind alerts her to a most troubling dilemma.
If she tells, it won't come true.
That stops her. She doesn't know quite what to say. She's too used to answering his questions without thinking.
It's times like this that honesty is the best policy and that's how she answers him now.
"If I say it, it won't come true." She turns away from him and back to the stars. "Can't I keep even one secret from you?"
He speaks so softly that she almost doesn't hear his answer.
"As you wish."
"I wish you weren't always so lonely."
Startled by those words, she looks over at him. He seems very sincere. He's the best friend a girl could have, coming over to celebrate her birthday after she decided that she didn't want a party. They were just sitting together quietly when he posed his question and now he's waiting for an answer – something her mouth registers before her mind.
Not graceful, not elegant, not at all like the girls he likes but she should be used to that already and at least, her answer gets a response out of him.
"It's just that you always seem to be alone." He sighs. "You haven't gone out in a date longer than I can remember and I hate seeing you always by yourself."
His remark is very true. She couldn't bring herself to tell him that she didn't bother dating because she didn't think it was fair to date other men when she was still very much in love with him. She would prefer to stay at home, trying to ignore that pain, rather than going out with someone else and maybe making someone else hurt as well.
She really couldn't tell him that. She doesn't think he'd understand. She doesn't think that he wants to learn that she's already found the one she'll always love and that it's him.
"I haven't found anyone I want to spend the rest of my days with yet," she lies and he believes her.
She thanks the stars for that because she doesn't think she could continue the act if he pressed her.
She hates it when he's sick.
She hates watching him wrestling with a fever. She hates seeing his green eyes unfocused with pain. She spends all her free time and more, trying to help him get better.
This fever hasn't broken yet.
She lays her hand against his forehead. His skin is hot to the touch. She knows that he's been drinking all of the medicinal potions and hopes that soon they'll start to work.
He opens his eyes and stares straight at her.
"Tell me something that you haven't told anyone before," he mumbles to her.
That gives her pause. She can only think of two things that she's kept from him – one being her wish on that starry night and the other being that she loves him so much.
Neither one is something she wants to tell. If she tells him her wish, it'll never come true and she wants him happy more than almost anything else. If she tells him she loves him, that might end their friendship and he might run away.
"Tell me something that you haven't before please," he repeats and she's helpless.
She leans over and whispers in his ear. "I love you."
But he doesn't hear for he's fast asleep.
She would think that after living almost twenty-five years on this earth that she could show more sense than she is currently showing.
But no, sometimes she does forget the most awful things and she's forgot his birthday. She has nothing to give to him. She hasn't even wished him happy birthday though it's almost over. She's standing on his doorstep right now, furiously thinking of what to say and how to make it up to him.
He opens the door and lets her in.
The words are quickly pouring out of her mouth. Of how she's been busy these last few weeks and how she is so sorry and how she can hardly believe that she forgot all about him. And the truth is that it's hard to believe that she could forget about his day when the last few years of her life she's spent too many moments reflecting over him. That just proves to her that the last few weeks have been dire.
He smiles but doesn't really mean it and her heart breaks to see it. She curses herself for causing such pain and tries desperately to think how to stop it. Her mind, though known for its brilliance, can't come up with a simple solution.
She asks him, "What can I do to make it up to you?"
He smiles that smile again and tells her not to worry.
She wrings her hands and she bites back tears. Her mind doesn't know what to say. Then her heart takes over and she hears herself speaking.
"I wished that you'd be happy."
His breath catches and she can tell that he's surprised. He's looking up and she's trapped by those green eyes. Those eyes widen and go soft. His mouth opens and he sets seven astounding words aloft.
"I only want you to be happy."
She can't think. She hardly knows what she feels. She only knows that she's spent too much time thinking she could never be happy, that she's thought that she'd always be alone for so long that his words take her by surprise and she can't shake the shock.
"I don't think I know how," she confesses.
He smiles, a real smile this time, and steps closer. There's no more distance between them and he's now holding her hand. He smiles and her heart starts to live again. He's let go of one of her hands and gently strokes her cheek. He smiles and she smiles – a real smile – back at him. His eyes lock on hers and he says—
"Then let's learn together."
And they do.
Author's note: This was another birthday fic for another friend -- who I hope doesn't mind me posting it here. In any case, I would like to know what you thought about this fic, good or bad, so please leave a review. Thanks!