Author's Note:

Hello there!

A few words on the story before we begin:

It's about love. (Ahem. Clearly.) But it is also about growing up, moving out of the shadow of the previous generation and becoming your own person.

It's not perfect. I made a lot of mistakes while writing it. The characters in the story also make a lot of mistakes, though (see what I did there? Yeah?), and they themselves are far from perfect. But, to me, they are alive, and, of course, I have J.K. Rowling in part to thank for that. She created this incredible world, which was a huge part of my childhood.

It's a journey, guys. But I hope you'll take it with me. Read and review, if you can; I appreciate it so much.

"You know what my philosophy of life is? That it's important to have some laughs, but you gotta suffer a little too, because otherwise you miss the whole point to life." - Broadway Danny Rose (1984)

Prologue: Magic

Remote and rambling, the old house stood at the crest of a valley. Behind it stretched a huge, sloping garden, strewn with wildflowers. On long summer evenings, when the crickets were singing and the silver springs and cornfields of the valley below were transformed by the soft pink glow of sunset, the two little girls liked to come and play hide-and-seek there.

They would spill forth from the doors of the old house to the dried-up pool at the bottom of the garden. One of them would sit cross-legged among the dry stones of the sunken base, eyes squeezed shut as she counted, while the other darted stealthily away to conceal herself in shadowy corners.

When they had grown weary of the game, they simply lay side-by-side among the long grass, speaking to each other only in low, reverential tones, as though the purpling sky overhead were the dome of a vast cathedral. Though close as sisters, the two little girls were as different as could be. The first, who lived in the old stone house, was small, round and dark, with liquid eyes that shone and flashed in alternate moods – as quick to smile as she was to scowl. The second girl, a frequent visitor, was slim and strong, as fair as the other girl was dark, with calm, pale eyes.

On one such evening, in the last week of August, the two little girls were chasing each other through the sun-dappled garden. The smaller one lost herself in the impossible heights of the swaying grasses while the tall, fair girl crouched to pull up daisies, crafting them into long, intricate chains and draping them over her hair and shoulders, bowing this way and that like a queen holding court.

"You cheated!" Her friend pushed through the grasses a moment later, pouting, her face flushed with exertion. Then her eyes alighted on the daisies adorning the other girl's person, and lit up. "Ooh! Will you make some for me, too? Please?"

"I already did." She held up a long, tied pattern of daisy chains, smiling slightly as her friend squealed with delight, clapping her hands. "Hold still."

"They're beautiful!" the girl exclaimed after she had been similarly swathed in daisies, twirling around and around until she almost tripped over her skirts, while the other laughed. "Thank you thank you thank you."

Then, in one of her impulsive displays of affection, the little girl burst forward and hugged her fair friend around the waist, her face screwed up in emotion. "I'm going to miss you," she said in a muffled voice. "I wish you didn't have to go."

"I'll be back next summer, and the next," the fair girl assured her. Then she frowned, a note of uncertainty in her voice. "But I hope you don't forget me in the meantime. You'll meet all sorts of new people at school."

"I won't like any of them half as well as you," the dark girl said fervently. "I won't forget you, not ever." Pulling back, her eyes widened as an idea struck her. "I know! Will I make a solemn vow, like they do in the stories?"

"Yes," her friend said eagerly, pressing forward. "Do it with magic." Seeing the other's sudden doubt at the words, she pressed on, "For me. Please?"

Sighing, the dark girl cast a furtive glance back at the house, then raised her right hand slowly. She frowned in concentration, and after a moment, her fingertips began to glow with a soft golden light, leaking from her skin as she traced a heart in the air. It hung, shimmering in the waning sunlight, for a few moments, then shattered in a thousand bright drops, striking both girls' faces softly and fading into their skin.

"That's my vow," she said quietly, lowering her hand once more. "To always love you, until the end of my days. To never forget you."

There was a sadness to the fair girl's smile as she took her smaller friend's hands in hers. "But you can't promise that, not really. After all, you're special, remember?"

"So are you," the dark girl insisted stubbornly. "You're just as special as I am. I can teach you everything I've learnt, when I get back next summer."

"I don't think so." They stood in silence for a moment, the two little, daisy-chain wrapped figures with joined hands in the wide, green garden, the sun setting over the valley behind them. "But I can always watch you do magic, can't I?"

"Always," the dark little girl agreed with some relief, unaware that it was a promise she could never keep.

A/N: Don't expect to understand this yet! If you want to check out the playlist for this story, visit my tumblr, link on my author profile :) Happy reading!