Title: The Magic Position
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: I do not own the Harry Potter universe. All that rightfully belongs to JK Rowling. And Magic Position belongs to Patrick Wolf. The lyrics in bold do not belong to me. :)
Warnings: Language, then?
Summary: A lot of things can change when you meet the right person.

Author's Notes: Wooo! Last installment of this three-part one-shot. I do hope you enjoyed reading this and got some holiday cheer with all the fluff that I specially packaged into this story. Thank you to all those who took the time to review this; I'm very happy that you stuck around 'til part three. Merry Christmas to you all, and a happy new year!




PART III - you put me in the magic position to live, to learn, to love in the major key.


Apparently, it's so easy to realize life-changing things.

Like when everything changes in a blink of an eye, and suddenly what you thought you wanted is completely different from what you want now. Like in a minute, your vision of tomorrow drastically changes from being a solitary thing, to a Christmas day where there are children and grandchildren, and a wife, somewhere, beside you. Like in the span of a second, you could be a hero. Or one minute you're crying, and in another, you decide you've had it, and want life to be better.

Sometimes, all you need is a really short while to think of important stuff like that and make a choice. It's simple, actually: the way you say you like chocolate over vanilla the instant you taste both, the way happiness is really only a matter of choice, and you only need to decide whether the day you've just had is a bad or a good one.

One day, I looked at her.

And I realized I wanted to be happy.

v. this Monday morning

It's as if I'd been blinded this whole time, and someone had been kind enough to loose me of a blindfold I didn't know I had. Like seeing someone in a new light, and shying away from that light, because you don't think you're meant for it.

Over half a year ago, I was almost so sure that I didn't want to get married. To fall in love. To put myself in the business of searching for someone I wanted to spend the rest of my bloody life with, when I had a choice of making it easy for myself and simply choosing to do with a bachelor life. I was fine with the whole bleak, lonesome future idea and was preparing for it, when all of a sudden, the fates played a trick on me and had me bump into the most incredible person I now know I can't live without.

It's a cruel, cruel thing. See? This is what love does.

She's a wanted fixture in my life, and could potentially make everything so bloody effing sweeter. It would make my Mum happy and it would make me bloody euphoric for the rest of my days, that much I know.

And now, now…

"Draco, go get Astoria a glass of punch; she looks positively dehydrated!"

Oh, bloody hell. I look at my mother and throw her a glare; 'course, she's not intimidated at the least, because, you know, I inherited that glare from her.

Instead, she's annoyed. "Stop making faces and be a gentleman to your date, Draco."

Astoria's somewhere, a few feet away, gossiping with a bunch of her old classmates. Like I said before, from an objective point of view, she stands out; a beauty, no doubt, and I reckon every bloke my age in this luncheon's drooling over her. She's dressed in expensive robes, and looks bloody great in it. See, I even notice that old man by the buffet table eyeing her greedily the way he's digging through the chocolate cake on his plate.

When I finally do get a glass of punch to her, she turns to me, blue eyes wide and just bloody sparkling the whole time, and says, "Oh, thank you, Draco, you didn't have to."

She places her hand upon my arm, and I can't help but move away. "I did; my mother told me to."

And the words that escape my mouth sort of annoys me. I was too obedient sometimes. If I were as rebellious as I would have liked to think, I would've already Disapparated away from this gathering and Apparated to—to wherever she was.


Her. At the thought of her, my insides get warm and I curl my lip and frown.

It's a Sunday today and I know she's probably eating out with her parents, like she usually does. It's February, and perhaps she has her favorite red scarf, with that hideous hat Weasley gave her for Christmas. They're seated in their favorite restaurant as a family – she'd taken me there once on one of our Thursday meetings – and she's ordered the usual meal she swears is the best in all London. They're probably laughing about a relative getting married to the most unexpected person, or she's telling her father to go have his back checked for arthritis.

Yes, I knew those details. I knew them all, and I hate it. I'm in love with her, and I'm here, in a bloody luncheon, with the wrong person as my date. When did life begin to be so complicated?

I turn on my heel and begin to walk away.

"Where are you going?" Astoria asks.

"Somewhere. I'm going for a walk."

The estate is nothing like what we have at Wiltshire; it's bigger, for one thing, and has the potential to make one lost forever, if someone didn't know his way around. In only a few minutes, the noise from the luncheon is but a buzz in my ear, and I can hear the waters lapping on the shores of a lake nearby. Sometime later, I find a rock to sit down on, stare at the expanse of the scenery, and just wait.

I'm waiting for the world to be quiet. That's the way it was, see, when it happened. And I reckon it's the same with everyone else. When they say that someone falls in love, the fireworks don't happen. There aren't mind-boggling explosions, or intense palpitations of the heart that you think you're going to die in the next few seconds. There isn't the rush of adrenaline, or the oh-bloody-hell-I-feel-it-happening-and-Merlin-this-is-exciting-I'm-dead sort of feeling.

See, all those things happen after you're aware of it just having happened.

Because what actually occurs is this: when someone falls in love, it happens really quietly. In the blink of an eye. Like a faint snap of your fingers. Like stirring awake after you've dozed off accidentally and see the light filtering through your eyelashes. It's like you're sandwiched between two worlds, where you're alone in one half, but you're perfectly able to see the other half, where she lives, and you're able to scrutinize where you are and where she is and everything in between. And it's quiet. Everything's quiet and so bloody beautiful and sad.

And now I'm waxing poetic about the mysterious workings of the heart. And that's a sufficient sign that tells me I'm in more than enough trouble as it is. It's crazy.

"There you are."

I turn to see Astoria walking towards me, lifting her robes above her ankles to avoid having them dirtied by the ground. "Your mother wants you to accompany me to Diagon Alley after this."

"What for?" Right now, my mother's not my favorite person at all. "I've already come to this luncheon with you as my date; now she wants me chained to you for the rest of the day, too?"

She looks indignant. "You could have been more polite and just said no, you know."

"Being polite doesn't get me what I want, Greengrass."

"Several wizards would love to be in your shoes, Draco," she says, "You're absolutely fortunate that I like you."

"Thanks for that then, but I'll tell you again: I'm not interested."

She sniffs, and tosses her hair behind her shoulders as if to ignore what I've just said. Funny; it reminds me of her older sister who used to do that in school. And every time that she did, I always had this slight desire to burn her hair right off. Right now, I feel the same way. "In any case, we'll be leaving just as soon as Uncle Rolf makes his little speech. I'll meet you by the fireplace in the receiving room then."


An hour and a half later, I'm trailing behind Astoria as she walks ahead like a giddy girl who'd just received her allowance for the week.


That's what we're doing. We're shopping. I'm here against my will and I'm made to carry just about everything she's bought in the last half hour or so. The new robes from Madam Malkin's, the latest issue of Witch Weekly, the "cute little posh" bag from that French shop some stores back, and so many more. Now she's spotted Florean's ice cream store and signals to me with her gloves.

"I'm buying ice cream for the two of us. Wait here."

As she disappears into the shop, I somehow feel like I'm being treated like a house elf. No, worse; I feel like her pet dog on a leash being tied to a post while she does her errands. I have a nagging desire to drop everything I'm holding and escape, but I can't. Mother'll find out and probably hex me again. And you know how especially… skilled she is with hexes.

I heave an annoyed sigh.

One minute, two… I seriously consider Disapparating.

Three minutes, four… There's a bloody kid who shoves me somewhere round my ankles and I almost topple to the ground.

Five minutes in, I'm getting terribly annoyed by the hustle and bustle of everyone who's going past me.

It's six minutes in when I see her. My gaze happens to cross over where she is, and in a second, I swear that everything just stops.

She's there. Among the crowd, sticking like a sore thumb in that hideous hat and slightly large coat. Rummaging through her bag, she pulls out a list of sorts, then runs her finger down through the items, concentrated, as if it's of utmost importance to know what it is she needs to buy.

I haven't seen her since that time—our Thursday lunches had to be delayed because I'd gone out of the country for a week on a business trip, and she'd been busy with research for two—and right now, it's like I've been dowsed with water. Hot water.

It's a strange thing when you stare at someone and suddenly that someone looks back at you just in time to catch you staring. You've no seconds to spare to whip your head away and pretend that you haven't been looking at all. As if she felt my gaze burning through her head, her brown eyes shift up, towards me, and I'm frozen. Frozen.

She's walking towards me now, February breeze blowing slightly through her hair, her cheeks a bit pink from the biting cold. For a moment, her eyes travel to the signage of Florean's and then back at me. Her eyes are alight, and my insides are squirming in an awful mixture of discomfort and delight. And right now, I really do feel like Disapparating.

"You want ice cream in the middle of February?" is the first thing she says to me in this playful tone. "Really, Malfoy, you've grown a tad odder than the last time we saw each other."

I don't know what expression's on my face, because by now, I'm a bit out of it, really, as if I'm suddenly aware of everything, of the distance we're in, of this itch on my back, of my feelings seeming to want to burst forth and possess her.

In any case, though, she's smiling. And it reaches inside of me. She's glad to see me. She's happy to see me. And I remind myself I love her, and perhaps—perhaps she can feel that.

All of that precious little moment is broken, though, when the bell on the door of Florean's rings and out steps Astoria, holding two cups of ice cream, with a curious look on her face as she sees the two of us.

There's a dawn of recognition on Hermione's face when she understands the situation almost immediately. "Oh. Oh. I'm sorry; I didn't know you were with someone today." The pink on her cheeks get darker, and she absent-mindedly pats at her hair and gives a friendly smile to the two of us. She turns to Astoria, who's looking at her and then back at me with this unreadable look on her face. "You must be Astoria Greengrass. I'm—"

Astoria beats her to it. "Hermione Granger. Yes, I know who you are. The whole wizarding world knows you, of course."

I blink. I expected Astoria to be mean and a tad bit rude – because well, that's what she normally is – but the way she just said that has no sarcasm whatsoever. She says it like a fact, levelly, civilly. In a way, I'm mighty impressed.

Apparently, so is Hermione, but she recovers quickly. "Oh. Yes—" she smiles slightly – "How do you do? Er… let's see…"

And there's the awkward minute. I wondered how long it would come. Now it's here, and I still haven't said anything, Hermione's wringing the sleeves of her too-big coat the way she normally does when she's anxious, and Astoria—well, she's still wearing that bloody impenetrable look that I can't seem to read.


"Well, I think I'd better leave you two alone again and get to my own shopping. Yes. Shopping. Alright then. It was nice meeting you—" she shakes hands with Astoria – "and it was nice seeing you again, Draco."

I simply nod. It's a stiff nod, compared to the internal battle that's sort of happening within me. A part of me wants to scream my bloody head off and just come clean, in the alright-bloody-hell-I-love-you-already-now-you-know-I-hope-this-stops-my-agony way, and another part just wants to kill myself for looking like a right idiot just now.

She doesn't even look back. Somewhere in my chest I can't help but feel sad, because this is the first time I've seen her in almost a month and I haven't said anything. Anything at all to lighten my burden – indeed, love is the worst burden a man can ever have, and I'll warn any bloke of it when he attempts to have it - and just let her know that I'm happy, no, absolutely overjoyed at the sight of her, no matter how awkward it may feel now.

When she disappears once more in the bustling crowd, I turn to Astoria just in time to see a calculating look on her face.

She gives me my ice cream, looks me over and huffs, as if she just got something, like a solution to a complex Arithmancy problem which she isn't willing to share.


Simply, she goes, "So it's her."

And for the life of me, I don't know where she's getting at.

Alright, I do, actually, but I'd rather die than admit anything to her, of all people.

I'm rather taken aback. No, shocked, actually. My eyes widen just a bit and I frown."What do you mean?"

"I get why you're mean to me."

"I'm mean to everyone." And that, I know, is an awfully poor defense. Still, though, there is a measure of truth in what I've just said. I'm a right prat to about thirty percent of the people I come across on a daily basis.

"Not to her, of all people." She scoops a bit of ice cream into her mouth and thoughtfully smacks her lips. "It didn't really take long to find out, you know? How absolutely darling of you. You like her!"

And here we go again. And now I'm beginning to ask myself: is it really that obvious? It was to Blaise, apparently, and that was, what, a few months back? And now, it's not him I'm talking to, but Astoria. Astoria, who'd seen me interact with Hermione Granger for barely five minutes and already successfully read me like a trashy romance novel.

She was actually perceptive (that, or I was hopelessly transparent as I wouldn't have liked to think), and somewhere in my mind, I've gained some level of respect for her.

"You're not even denying it," she continues.

"I haven't even said anything!"

"Exactly," she replies. We begin to walk forward, and I try to catch up with her through the crowd. "I don't understand why you just didn't tell me, or your mother, even, in the first place. Heaven knows she's been trying to match you with all the girls in our social circle. You could have saved both of us the time, Draco, and told her you fancied that Muggleborn witch."

"I told you, didn't I? That I wasn't interested."

She waves a hand carelessly. "Well, I thought you were playing hard-to-get or something, and I always appreciate a chase. It just got terribly unappealing when I saw that pathetic, lovesick look on your face when Granger was here."

I have the grace to blush, at which she starts to laugh.

"You're taking this awfully lightly for someone who seriously considered getting betrothed with me."

"Yes, well, there's always a long strip of suitors round the corner," she says lightly, "You just happened to be the better-looking one of the group."

"I'm flattered."

"You're interesting, Draco Malfoy. I think I'll keep you in mind. If you get rejected—" My heart stops a bit at that, because oh, dear bloody Merlin, I never really thought that far, did I? – "you know where to find me. Or not."

And she gives me this sultry smile that she thinks can change my mind, but of course, it doesn't work.

I smirk back. "Well, thanks, Greengrass. You're a lot smarter than I initially gave you credit for."

And for that, I receive a rightful kick on the shins.


When I get home, Mother is in her favorite sitting room, waiting, apparently, for me. The moment I close the door, she's up on her feet, ready to fire her questions about what transpired in the last few hours.

"Well? How was it?"

Absolutely splendid. Astoria's two house elves had come to take her shopping away from me, and she'd given me an air-kiss goodbye. A final goodbye. I would never have to take her around again, and I was glad of it.

That's exactly what I tell Mum. Naturally, she doesn't take it all too well. In fact, her mouth drops open in bewilderment, and I can see her fingers twitching—twitching somewhere near her belt, where she normally keeps her wand. Carefully, I place myself behind her favorite chair.

"You're not serious, are you, my son?" she growls. "You're joking, aren't you?"

"No, Mum, I'm not."

"So she just said goodbye then? Just like that?"

"Yes. It was a mutual agreement."

"A mutual agreement."

Right. I'm pretty sure she still doesn't believe me and is all for pinning this down to be my fault. And in a minute, she does just that, and more.

"Why can't you ever just cooperate, Draco? I've tried, I've searched high and low for the perfect match for you, and you're still about the most stubborn boy a mother can ever have who flat out refuses each and every one of those lovely girls! Why, Draco? Do you want to be a bachelor your whole life? Do you? I'm telling you, your Uncle Felix is one, and you see him and his strange fixation on stars, he's about to go mad and proclaim he's in love with a centaur! You don't want to end up like that, I'm sure, and over my dead body is my son staying a bachelor and not giving me the grandchildren I deserve!"

When she's done with that mini tirade, there's a blessed silence that comes over the room.

And ah, yes. I almost want to laugh. I momentarily forgot that a part of her driving force in getting me married was for her personal gain (that is to say, grandchildren. She longed to have them now).

"I told you, Mum, I'm not settling for just anybody you're going to throw at my direction."

"If I didn't, you wouldn't be looking at all!"

"These things take time, Mother—"

"You're not even giving effort—"

"You have to let me do this on my own." Because she has to get it into her head that this is my choice, my own concern—not hers, not anybody's. It isn't the same as having someone cook you dinner, or letting a representative attend a business meeting. "Mother, I know what I want."

She looks almost defeated when she drops back to her favorite chair. I never really knew this sort of stress about getting me wed came down this hard upon her. Kneeling beside her, I take her hand, holding it tightly in mine. "Oh, darling, I just want you to be happy. I've only ever been nothing else but content with your father, and I only want the same thing for you."

"I know that," I reply. "I know that especially well."

"I was just trying to help, you know."

"I know that too."

"I love you too much, darling."

"I love you too, Mum."

"So even if I call on the Highburrows' daughter, you won't appreciate it?"


"Why ever not?" she sniffs. "Like I said, Draco, I'm only trying to help, and the only other plausible reason I can think of of why you'd ever say no is unless—unless—don't tell me you actually—actually—"

By the way her gray eyes brighten, I know what she's implying. She doesn't even need to say it.

At the thought of her, I smile.

And then she understands.

And my mother, oh, my mother, grinning broadly like a winner, kisses me soundly on the forehead.

vi. and I take the world

It's been more than a year.

And here we are.

"You may kiss the bride."

And so he does. Lift the veil. Smile. Kiss. Pull away. Smile. Then turn to the crowd for all to see the sheer joy on their faces.

Well, no. That was the idea. But said he is apparently not pulling away and is, truthfully, about to suck the face of his bride entirely. Couple in question? Weasley, naturally, and his new Mrs. Weasley, who, by the glare of the lights, has her hair already turning red by the second.

The music starts to play, and oh, bloody Merlin, they're still at it.

Somewhere to my right, someone mutters, "I am about to meet my lunch again."

And surprisingly, it's Potter who says that. I find myself suppressing a snort. Who knew we'd actually finally agree on something?

I turn to my left and see Hermione making a face. I swear, she looks bloody adorable. I've long accepted that with love comes great softness and mushiness and I've surrendered to all of it. If I thought she was being adorable, then so be it. I wasn't going to stop the poof with tingles who apparently enjoyed disturbing my inner peace.

"Jealous, Granger?"

"More like a bit disturbed, actually."

And I snicker. I can't be any happier, actually, because I'm beside her, and she thinks this whole display of affection by Weasley and his bride is revolting.

Life could probably be sweeter, true, but for now, I could have this. I could have this and be satisfied. So long as she's here.


It doesn't really surprise me when I see Blaise holding Luna's hand.

They've just arrived at the reception and everyone, of course, is staring. Because it's Blaise. And like me, he doesn't exactly belong. He's tugging unnaturally at his collar, but stops when Luna pats him gently on his arm and mouths, It's going to be okay. There aren't any nargles here.

I can't help but grin when reluctantly, he puts down his arm and nods his head to her. Very un-Blaise-like, and absolutely lovely, the way he just gets so unlike himself around her.

Sooner or later, he finds his way towards where I am—somewhere at the farther edge of the garden—looking positively embarrassed.

"What a surprise to see you here, Zabini," I chuckle.

"I could say the same for you, Malfoy."

"What ever happened to that plan of yours where you weren't going to let a certain little secret out?"

Stiffly, he mutters, "Some things changed."


The band begins to play a little jig. Blaise is watching that weird blonde woman, with daffodils in her hair and paperclips round her neck dancing with a little boy with pink hair, and I'm witness to the first time his eyes soften almost imperceptibly and a little tug at the corner of his mouth gives way to a tiny smile. And in all his honesty and for the guards dropped in this little instant, I'm happy for my friend. In the face of love, all men are idiots. Apparently, he is a living testimony to such a thing.

In a bizarre way, I know I am, too.

"So what's up with you and Granger?" he says to me a bit later, when the music's changed and we're drinking to the night.

"I'm only going to say this once, alright?" I drink what's left of my wine and turn to face him. "You were right."

He gives me that look. He has the nerve to look smug. That git. "Of course I'm right," he says, "I knew what I was talking about and you didn't believe me. Then again, you were still pretty much in denial then, weren't you?"

"Oh, shut up."

"You should just go ahead and tell her, you know, to get that pining look off your face. Who knows, it might be remedied with a good snog."

"What, you're some expert now? And I'm not pining, you dolt."

"I fancy I am." And with a quick glance over, "And of course you are. It's quite obvious."

"You're an idiot."

"That makes two of us."

Somehow, this conversation sounds familiar, but I don't push it further. This time, he wins the argument. It's true that he's right. He's always been right. He was right about everything. Automatically, I scan the crowd and spot her beneath the evening lights, looking absolutely beautiful in the white dress she's wearing. She's talking to the youngest Weasley just then, but when I stare long enough, as I expect, her eyes find mine and the world stops.

It's quiet like I know it should be. And everything is just bloody beautiful, when I know that right now, she's the only one just there, in front of me.

vii. it's you

It's funny how things work out. We're still dressed in the clothes we wore to Weasley's wedding, and for the nth time, we're seated just outside her porch, the same way we were at that time.

It's been more than a year that I've bumped into her, and everything has changed. My plans, my stupid beliefs, everything. And for all those changes, I'm grateful to her, and to the bloody fates, and to just about every infinitesimal particle that conspired to bring us together, where we are now.

The world hasn't changed one bit since I've come back; I'd still seen it in the gathering, with the cloudy looks of distrust thrown at me from a distance. Truth be told, it still bothered me just a tad bit.

Longbottom had been there, and on a whim, as I was passing him by the buffet table, I'd slipped him a muttered apology and didn't look back. I gather he was a bit baffled by the way he gawked at me later on in the evening. But it felt good, you know, to get that off my chest and feel just a tiny percent good about myself. People don't expect people like me to do that, but sometimes, I think it's fun to throw them a bit off course and surprise them. In the long run, I've even bewildered myself more than once.

But right now, it's not about me and the rest of the world.

It's just about me and the girl who's sitting right beside me at this instance. And everything, everything, boils down to the silence and comfort and this idiot who's fallen in love.

"Your hair is atrocious."

"Just because your hair is gorgeous doesn't mean you can attack mine. One day, Draco Malfoy, you'll be crying when all that falls and your hairline recedes."

"Ha! That'll be the day."

"Oh, just you wait, Malfoy. It will."

I chuckle.

A spring breeze blows over us, and I hear her sigh in comfort. And when she shifts just a bit closer to where I am, I feel our fingers touching.

"I actually like your hair, you know," I murmur quietly.


"It's quite the character; it's—well—you. And I—"

I stop at that.

I like you. I love you. My heart's racing.

She's looking at me expectantly. "You…what?"

And right then, I turn to look at our hands, our fingers that are touching, and look back up at her, her eyes gleaming and wide and almost… anxious.


It isn't quite what I imagined to say in my head. Obviously, she was thinking the same thing, too, because she blinks in confusion and says, "What?"

"I—" My chest is painful. "I—I—you bloody make me go insane, Granger. In the good way. In an incredible way. Ever since that day in the café, ever since—ever since everything started. In a year, I've known a lot about you, and I like everything—everything that has to do with you. You knew me, but well, you looked past everything I've done to you and to everyone else, and you're a bloody saint for doing that, and all those times we've spent together? They're priceless. And—and—oh, to hell with it, I love you, damn it."

There, I've said it. Not in the best possible way, 'course, but it's out in the open and I feel so, so small right now.

And for all the world, there is nothing more gratifying than seeing her smile after thoroughly embarrassing myself by saying all of that. Dazzingly. Brilliantly. Beautifully. At me. ME. And I couldn't understand what was happening.

The first possibility is that she's about to laugh at me. It looks that way; it's just about right that she does, anyway, because another possibility, any other particular possibility is almost unheard of.

And faintly, I can practically hear my heart breaking. Oh, Merlin.

"Look, Granger, you don't have to be evil about it and look at me like that. You're about to laugh your bloody head off, aren't you? I obviously haven't done this before, and if you're about to scar me and my pride (and my heart, oh, my bloody effing stupid heart, I think) in the next two minutes, then please be nice about it and just do it quickly."

She's still grinning at me like some madwoman, and I'm preparing for the worst.

And before I know it—


Her arms are around my neck; she's hugging me fiercely, and my arms are just limp by my sides and I feel very, very confused just now. It's all over the place, my insides. I'm getting suffocated, by the way she's almost cutting my air with her hold and my nose is pushed through her thick hair. Well, if she wanted to kill me, there would have been easier ways… An Avada would have sufficed…

Somewhere near my neck, I feel her warm breath. "I thought you didn't like falling in love," she murmurs. Her breath tickles me.

"I don't," I reply softly. "Didn't have a choice, though, did I?"

She giggles. "No. No, you didn't."

"And what about Astoria Greengrass?"

"She was no one. You know Mother only made me put up with her." I say. "I didn't know everything was happening, and didn't know where I was headed exactly."

"Yes, I understand that." Of course she does. She understands perfectly. She always does. But wait… what?


Because she shouldn't be saying vague things like that, confusing me even more. Hell, I feel my hopes rising, when I know that there are huge chances of them all crashing down and crushing me.

She pulls away and looks me squarely in the eye. They're bright. Then—

"You drive me crazy, Malfoy."

And then she kisses me, and all the fireworks let loose, and just then, right now, oh, bloody Merlin, she loves me. I feel like the luckiest chap in the world.

viii. the magic position

It's interesting how everything just happens so fast, and how much things change in so little time.

It's Father's death day again, and I'm wearing black, and Mum's at home, crying her head off and drinking 'til she's pissed drunk.

This year, I bring orchids.

"Hey, Dad." That's always the first thing I say.

And always, there's no answer. I'm used to it, and the sting has passed; nowadays, it just feels like a glum sigh whenever I think of Father.

"How are you?"

An autumn breeze blows past me ever so slightly, and I smile. Somewhere, he's here and he's listening. Listening to his only son who's just about to begin life once again. Listening to his boy who wants everything to be okay.

And everything will be okay, because I'm his son. Today, I'm certain of that.

"I'm fine, Dad." I put down the flowers. "A lot of things have happened since the last time, and mum's fine and I'm—I'm—"

Happy. Insanely fortunate. Satisfied. Couldn't ask for more.

Because there's this girl. Dreadful hair and incredible smile. Knows too much about everything and just gets me. There's this girl who just makes the world just a tiny bit better, for me. There's this girl I'm bloody thankful for.

There's this girl…

And somewhere, somewhere, she loves me.

I look down at my left hand. And in the daylight, it gleams.