5 years later…

As Mr. Woods droned on about Macbeth, 16-year-old Wybourne Lovatt sat with his long skinny legs stretched out in front of his desk glaring at the second hand as it waited 20 minutes before moving. He fidgeted, playing with the silver earring in his right ear and the black triangular stone he wore around his neck. Wybie sighed and blew his hair out of his eyes. He was trying to grow it out like his dad's, but so far it had only gotten long enough to get in the way…

When Wybie was 13, he'd gotten a call one day from a man who thought he might be Wybie's father. It turned out he'd gotten a letter from Wybie's mom that she'd written 16 years before telling him about Wybie. Wybie and Gramma had flown out to meet him in New York, and, after spending a day in the DNA lab, it turned out that Jeremiah Stone was in fact his dad. Overnight, Wybie had a real father and an older half sister named Katie, both of whom had the same wild, curly hair and big, goofy ears as him and who made him feel welcome at once. Wybie's dad, as it turned out, was a roadie for Alice Cooper, and went with him on tour all year round. He and Gramma decided it would be better for Wybie to stay in Ashland and have a stable home, but he got to hang out with dad and Katie during the summers and at Christmastime.

As these thoughts floated through Wybie's mind, he made a mental note to himself to call dad this weekend. He stopped fiddling with his earring and stared at the clock again. The second hand was so close to the end of the day he could taste it.

The bell rang, and Wybie jumped out of his seat and headed out of the room so fast he almost banged his head on the doorframe. His whole childhood, Wybie had wished to be taller, but now, he wasn't so sure he liked it. Wybie was 6'4", tall enough to be on the basketball team in the blink of an eye-if he was into that sort of thing, but it just made him seem more skinny and awkward. It made his ears seem bigger, and his pants seem too short, and it made him clumsy as hell. Wybie ducked around the doorframe just in time and headed out to the hallway. He went to his locker and dumped in his books without even looking at them. He sped out of the school and into the parking lot and saw his favorite sight of the day.

Coraline Jones was leaning on his black, 1965 Harley panhead, Lillith, (Wybie's 16th birthday present from dad) with a look of amusement on her face. Wybie smiled. She was taller, with wider hips and thicker legs and… a more…ample chest… but she was exactly the same as she'd always been. She crossed her arms as she saw him coming and smirked.

"You're late" Coraline fiddled with the blue stone around her own neck and brushed a lock of messy blue hair behind her ear.

"Gimme a break" Wybie shrugged as he pulled on the black leather jacket Coraline had bought him for Christmas "Mr. Woods never shuts up. I swear to god that man is a Stepford teacher."

"Alright, whatever." Coraline said "Now come on. We've gotta go if we wanna get to town and back."

Wybie smiled, and got on the Lilith. Coraline pulled on the extra helmet Wybie'd bought at the army navy supply store as Wybie pulled on his welding helmet and kicked the kickstand out from under them. He revved the engine and they sped off. Coraline wrapped her skinny arms around Wybie's waist to keep from falling off. Wybie was glad that his mask hid the goofy smile his face melted into. When they were younger, Wybie'd had a huge crush on Coraline, but now, he loved her more than anything in the world. She was the coolest person he'd ever met in his life. She was his best friend, though, so he'd spent the years since 8th grade watching Coraline fall for guys and get dropped by guys and get over guys, only to be there for her to rant to and cry to and have Gramma's chocolate chip cookie binges with. Time had not made the idea of telling her his feelings any less horrifying, so he never did. He just stayed by her side and hoped that one day, the Other Coraline's promise would come true- that one day, she'd look up and realize that he'd always been there. In the meantime, of course, he had the physical thrill of her arms around his waist to and from school-not much, but better than nothing.

They rode into town, Lilith growling and grumbling and generally disturbing people the whole way. Wybie stopped outside of the flower shop and waited as Coraline ran in and emerged with 2 white roses.

"Why white ones?" Wybie asked.

"They were out of lilies." Coraline slipped the roses into her coat as she got back on Lilith. Wybie was glad that the sound of the bike revving up covered the sound of his heart pounding like a drum as she held onto him again.

They rode out of town to the pink palace and hopped off Lilith. Wybie leaned it against the front of the house- a gesture of habit- before running up the front steps to the door. As they walked into the house, they passed Coraline's mother, who was sitting at the kitchen table doing a crossword puzzle.

"Good afternoon, Mrs. Jones" Wybie said, the manners from Gramma kicking in.

"Oh, hi there, Wybie" Mel said " Coraline how was school?"

"Fine mom" Coraline said shortly, giving Wybie a look "listen, we're gonna go upstairs."

"Do you want anything to drink or…"

"Thanks mom, "Coraline said "but we'll be fine. "

"Alright then" Mel smiled and watched Wybie be pulled up the stairs by her firey, blue haired daughter

"Don't forget to leave the door open!" she called

"Got it, mom" Coraline called from the top of the stairs. The "door open" rule had been in place in the Jones' household since Wybie turned 13. Wybie supposed Coraline's parents were worried about them getting too friendly, but Wybie could have told them that wasn't a problem- first off, Coraline wasn't interested in him like that, and more importantly, Wybie was a gentleman. He smirked as Coraline sped down the hall and closed the door to her room so that she could change out of her uniform. Wybie pulled off his own white button down to reveal the baggy batman t-shirt underneath. He stuck the shirt in his pocket and leaned against the door.

"You know," he called "you don't have to dress up like last year. I doubt they care what we look like"

"Shows how much you know." Coraline yelled through the door "Where's your respect for the dead?"

"You don't have to spend an hour getting dressed for someone just to show you respect them, Jonesie."

"Well then," Coraline opened the door in a short black dress that must've been new (Wybie would've remembered it) "It's a good thing I'm already changed, isn't it?"

"Woah," Wybie chuckled, the only response his brain seemed able to produce as his eyes sped to engrain in every detail "what, do you have a date after?"

"shut up!" Coraline punched him in the arm "Mom bought it for me, I don't have anything else black that fits me right now…" Coraline grabbed a hoodie off of the hook on the back of her door and zipped it all the way up.

"I know it looks stupid…" Coraline said sullenly "so just shut up about it, okay?"

"You don't look stupid." Wybie said quickly "You look… nice. I just wasn't expecting that. Now I look like a bum."

"But you are a bum" Coraline smirked

"That's beside the point." Wybie rolled his eyes. "Anyway, you ready?"

Coraline nodded and handed him a rose. They walked solemnly into the sitting room and kneeled in front of the little door. Coraline opened it. Inside the tiny closet was now a candle, a photo-booth strip, a loose leaf doodle, and a heavy, black key. It was the shrine they had made to their other selves. Wybie reached into his pocket and pulled out a book of matches to light the candle with. They bowed their heads and sat in silence for a moment.

"Hey you guys," Coraline spoke first "well, it's been another year since you saved our lives, and we just wanted to come and pay our respects again" she placed her rose in the shrine.

"Thanks" Wybie put his next to hers "for everything."

They were silent again for a long time. There didn't seem to be much that needed to be said. Wybie knew that his other self was always watching over him, so there was no need to update him on his life or anything.

"I had a dream about her last night" Coraline said after at least 5 minutes of silence. "The other you was there too"

"What'd she say?"

"She said that I already had what I wanted."

"What does that mean?"

"I don't know." Coraline shrugged. "Do you remember when we were…there, and I saw you with her, and I started yelling at you?"

"I guess" Wybie said "why?"

"No reason, really." Coraline said "I've just been thinking…"

"About?"

"About why seeing you with her made me so mad. It was just like… I wanted to kill you."

"More than usual?"

"God! Don't talk like that! I'd never want anything like that to happen to you!" Coraline moved to punch him, but for once, Wybie dodged her. She lost her balance and fell into him. Wybie felt his heart pounding through his ribs. He hadn't been this close to Coraline since they were kids. Coraline was staring at him with those soft, hazel eyes. He wanted to laugh it off or act as if the moment hadn't happened, but he couldn't stop staring it her. Coraline was blushing. He was probably creeping her out. She probably wouldn't want to hang out with him anymore. He'd blown any inkling of a chance he'd had with her. Goddamnit.

"Anyway…" Coraline looked down awkwardly "you wanna know the reason I was so mad?"

"Uhh…" Wybie was speechless "S...sure"

Coraline looked up at him again. There was something different in her eyes. They looked even prettier than usual. Wybie felt his ears getting hot as Coraline leaned in further and whispered.

"Because I don't ever wanna see you with anybody who isn't me."

"What?" Wybie was stunned.

"I'm sorry." Coraline pulled away from him looking hurt and embarrassed "I don't know why I just told you all that. I mean, I don't want you to feel bad that you don't like me like that. If it's not too creepy for you, we can just stay friends…"

"What are you talking about?"

Coraline stopped babbling and looked at him, stunned. "Huh?" was all she said.

"I've always loved you, Coraline" there. He'd said it. "Ever since we were kids."

Coraline looked at him for a moment, then smiled and tackled him. She leaned in, then gently, ever so softly, she gave Wybie his first kiss.

It was a kiss about years of being more than friends, but less than lovers.

A kiss about summers out by the creek in the woods and winters in Wybie's room watching old horror movies.

A kiss about the time Wybie went careening off his bike into a rosebush, and Coraline had sat and patiently helped him bandage every cut.

A kiss about the dragonfly Wybie'd caught, mounted and boxed for Coraline's 13th birthday.

A kiss about every time she'd punched him in the arm.

A kiss about every time he'd been caught following her.

But, most of all, it was a kiss about the Other Wybie and the Other Coraline. About loving each other because they'd loved each other. About escaping certain death, about having enough love for each other to kill a monster, even when they were children.

The kiss deepened as Wybie wrapped his arms around Coraline's waist. He felt her tangling her fingers in his ratty mess of hair. He just wanted to stay there, in that one moment, for the rest of his life.

This was the sight Coraline's mother received as she walked up the stairs to make sure Coraline had left her door open.

The End.

~*~*~

AN: well, that's the end! I hope you liked it! Thanks so much to everyone who read and reviewed, you really kept me going through this! I hope you've all enjoyed this as I had a blast writing it. But don't worry. This isn't my last Coraline fic by any stretch of the imagination! I have a couple of fluff story ideas planned In my head, and, if people are still interested in her, a shorted fic from the Other Coraline's pov. So don't think I'm done yet!

Again, super-thanks to everyone

Dottie