This is just a little something I've had in mind for a while - hope you enjoy!
Oh, and BTW - I'm looking for someone to make me a True North background - you know, with pics of Jackson and Ashley (J & A - ahhh, the deja vu!), so PM me if you're interested!

Isabella Swan was pretty – pretty enough that, despite the fact that her ancestry was evident in her dark eyes and hair – not to mention her name – she provoked few of the usual comments an eight or so Italian could expect in a quiet, respectable little backwater.

And, living on her own (adding to the general consensus that the Swan girl was strange), Isabella would not have usually ventured out so late at night. She was simply hoping for a glimpse of him. Twice Isabella had passed him, on two consecutive evenings when she'd been hurrying home, walking fast to overtake the encroaching darkness.

The first time she'd noticed him was due to his unusual hair – it caught the light of the streetlamp and drew her eyes up from the sidewalk where they'd previously been resting. The second he had been in better light, in a better seat, and it had been all she could do not to stop still and gape at the beautiful stranger who looked so sad – and, judging by his fatigues, with good reason.

The year was 1955. The war was long over.

Isabella took a deep breath, biting her bottom lip – steeling herself. Then she extended an unpainted, unpolished hand and pushed open the diner's glass door.

No one looked up as she came in; no one remarked on her presence. It seemed completely normal for her to be there, as if she were part of the furniture – stationary, reassuring. Only when she slid into a booth did Isabella realise that not all the diner's clientele were completely oblivious to her presence.

"I've been waiting for you," he said simply, sitting down opposite her and gesturing to the waitress for coffee.

"What?" Isabella gasped, turning a fiery shade of red that her gawping had been so obvious.

"You look, but you never come in – though you often look hungry, and you always look cold."

"I – "

"Why?" He asked pleasantly. "What is it that you see in me that others don't?"

"Your hair," she blurted out, blushing an even darker shade of crimson. "It caught my eye, that first time."

The stranger did nothing but raise an eyebrow. "Many curses on my mother for having a redheaded child."

"No," Isabella contradicted, and then looked horrified that she had. "It's more of a reddish brown – a bronze colour, really."

"A bronze colour?" He gave an exquisitely crooked smile. "I'll have to remember that one."

"Why do you wear your uniform?" She asked suddenly, cursing her tongue and the stranger's ability to draw her out of herself – it was none of her business what he did and didn't do; they were nothing to each other.

"It's been ten years," he replied quietly, seemed unperturbed. "People have forgotten when they would do well to remember."

The girl opposite him nodded earnestly. "I lost my brother Emmett in Normandy, that's what people say." She looked down at her now cold coffee, tracing the cup's rim with a slim finger. "But he's not lost. If he were lost, I might have some way of getting him back."

The stranger smiled sadly, then reached out a tentative hand to touch the girl's cheek, and she closed her eyes in response. When they opened, his face was still troubled, though it didn't bear the same aching, burning look that it had before.

His warm lips touched her forehead as he stood. "Thank you, Isabella Swan."

"For what?"

"For helping me find peace."

He got up, putting a bill down on the table between them for the waitress. Then, with one last crooked smile, he left.

It took a good ten minutes for Isabella to wonder how he knew her name.