A/N: Hello, hello! :D This is my one-shot for our forum Secret Sister fic exchange, held by the fabulous Tedds ;) No doubt you've heard plenty about it if you've been reading the SWAC archives over the past few days. Well, the person I got was none other than Emily, or as you may know her, carebearfrost! :P The prompts were the ocean, music, and reading/writing. I truly hope you like this, Emily, because you deserve every bit of happiness possible, and I'd love to help be a part of that. ;D Enjoy, everyone!


Would you dance if I asked you to dance?

She enters the scene nervously, biting her lip slightly as her violet dress sways with her movement.

Smooth grains of sand slip between her toes, her bare feet treading lightly as she draws closer to the group of people dancing.

Her gaze falls upon the boy standing at the edge of the party.

His light blue button-down matches his eyes perfectly, eyes that scan the couples with an anxious expression.

They're outsiders, both of them. Watching and waiting, but never joining.

She looks on with a curious gaze as his toes tap on the sand, perfectly in time with the beat of the music.

He's a musician.

She can tell, looking at his fingers.

They're the fingers of an artist, coaxing melodies out of thin air.

The song comes to an end, and his gaze drops to his feet. Perhaps he'll pluck up the courage to dance next time.

She inhales slowly, gathering her resolve before walking over to him.


He looks at her, those keen eyes sweeping up and down, catching every detail.


She's a writer.

He can tell, looking at her eyes.

They're the eyes of someone living in a dreamland, a fantasy.

He watches as she plays with the edge of her dress, nervous fingers twisting the deep purple fabric.

She doesn't know what she's doing here.

She's lost.

But then again, so is he.

"Would you care to dance?"

The words are awkward, old-fashioned, not quite right.

It's a formality.

"Not really," she admits.

"Do you prefer living in wonderland?"

His eyes flash, teasing mischief that brings a smile to her face.

"How did you know?"

"One wanderer recognizes another."

And when he holds out his hand, she places her hand in his.

He leads her down to the shore, fingers intertwined.

Where they wander together beneath the stars.

Would you tremble if I touched your lips?

Their hands brush as they walk, a feather light touch.

Neither holds on, instead letting their hands meet and fall apart with every step.

"Are - "

"Do you - "

They both pause, tripping over their words.

She laughs awkwardly to fill the silence.

His sheepish smile in return says all he needs to.

"I mean, are you...do you play any instruments?"

She silently hopes it doesn't sound like a stupid question, though she's sure it is.


The corner of his mouth quirks into a wry smile.

"And...do you have any siblings?"


His brief answers begin to irritate her slightly, but she presses on.

"What's your favorite color?"

His expression softens at the question.

"Blue," he murmurs, almost to himself.


The genuine curiosity in her voice distracts him for a moment.

"It's the ocean. It can be filled with grief, or peaceful, or unknowable. It's ever-changing. It's beautiful."

She lets out a soft sigh at his words, and his smile returns.

"Is my conversation boring?"

"Not at all!" she protests, her hand catching hold of his tightly.

"Does my presence bore you?"

His eyes laugh at her, the same sparkling blue as the ocean behind him.


She shakes her head fervently, wondering why she feels so lost for words with him when they flow so easily from her pen otherwise.

"Then why are you trying to make conversation?"

Taken aback, she stutters out an answer.

"I - well, I - I mean - "


She glances down at their clasped hands before continuing in a rush.

"Well, I didn't know what to say, but I knew that I ought to say something, so I asked some stupid questions just because, which I know is never a good idea, but I feel so tongue-tied with you sometimes and I still can't figure out what to say which isn't good because I'm a writer and words are supposed to come naturally to me but with you I'm all messed up and - "

He cuts her off with his lips softly pressing against hers, one hand on her waist.

When he pulls away, her eyes are closed.

"I'm sorry - was that - I didn't - "

He begins to apologize, only to be cut off.


Her chocolate eyes flutter open, that gorgeous look of wonder filling them.

"Was why I can't speak when I'm with you."

With a crooked smile, he leans in again.

And she's left speechless.

Would you swear that you'll always be mine?

One night, they decide to stay awake until dawn.

They lie next to each other in the soft sand, gazing up at the twinkling stars overhead.

"Are you scared?"

She turns her head to look at him, surprised by the question.

"Of what?"

"Darkness. Nighttime. Loss. Death."

His eyes meet hers, reflecting starlight.

"Or spiders."

A grin spreads across her face as she inches closer.

"I'm scared of everything."

His eyebrows lift in surprise.

"Why's that?"

The grin fades and she looks back up at the velvety darkness.

"Because nothing lasts forever."

"You wouldn't want it to last."

He whispers the words, an edge of pain in his voice.

"Not everything."

She can't help it as her gaze flickers back to him.


There's a pause as she considers what to say.

But with him, she never really knows.

"But I'd like this to last."

He smiles, bitterness creeping in.

"You wouldn't. Everybody leaves me."

"I won't."

The words are quiet but determined.

He allows himself a cynical smile before looking at her.



She reaches toward him, their fingers interlacing.

"Do you promise?"

His eyes are hopeful, a layer of need beneath.

She leans forward and kisses him lightly, sealing it properly.

"I promise."

Would you lie? Would you run and hide?

The next day, she doesn't appear.

He waits on the shore all day.

The tide rises and falls, waves crashing on the shore one moment and calmly sweeping in the next.

Everything fits together.

The salty breeze. The gentle sunshine. The ocean.

The harmony of it all sickens him.

It's perfect.

(No. No, it's not.)

A melody plays in his head, one that he can't forget.

When night falls and she still doesn't appear, he turns back.

He spends all night with a stack of papers, a black pen, and a piano.

The song is hauntingly beautiful, a culmination of everything he's felt and seen since she came.

Notes pour from his fingertips, inky prints spreading across the ivory keys.

Maybe it doesn't make sense.

Maybe he's lost himself in something more confusing and meaningful than he can understand.

Maybe he's in too deep.

Maybe he's lost his mind.

Maybe it doesn't matter.

Maybe he's wrong.

Maybe she'll be back tomorrow.

Maybe she'll always be his.

But maybe not.

The music plays on through the night, the waves crashing in the background.

I just want to hold you.

The phone rings at two in the morning.

He doesn't pick up.

An automated message begins to play.

"Hello. This is St. Charles Hospital, calling to inform you that Allison Munroe passed away at 11:39 PM, after she was admitted here at 8:17 AM due to injuries she sustained from a car accident this morning. You have been contacted due to the number we found on her person. We are very sorry for your loss, and offer our condolences. Arrangements have been made, and the funeral is to be held on August 5th at 11:00 AM. Have a pleasant day."

He holds the phone in his hand, staring at it as the robotic voice relays the beginning of the apocalypse.

When the message ends, he sits there in silence.

The phone falls from his hand, clattering against the piano.

The black keys have never looked so beautiful.

And a perfect rainbow never seemed so dull.

Just like that, it's over.

Days of sunshine and holding hands are only memories.

Never to return.

And her smile, the bright grin that lit up the sky...

It's gone forever.

He gathers up the papers, the sheets filled with notes of longing and laughter and a four-letter word he never said to her.

When he reaches the beach, nothing is the same.

The shore is cloaked in darkness, the stars swallowed up into the shadows.

Only the full moon offers light, casting an eerie glow over the breaking waves.

He lifts the first sheet from the pile.

The creamy paper is thin, fluttering in the breeze like the flimsy page it is.

When he holds it up to look at it, it's simply a silhouette, half-visible and dissolving into the night.

He lets it slip through his fingers, the wind tearing it away.

It spirals through the air before coming to rest on the ocean itself, the moonlight reflecting on the surface and illuminating the strokes of his pen.

Everything seems to highlight the stark contrast between black and white.

All the color has gone out of the world.

It's left to shadows and strangers and a cold, unfeeling light that doesn't understand and sheds no warmth.

The sheet of music floats away with the waves, water seeping through and weighing it down.

One page at a time, the melody makes its way into the ocean as it plays on inside his head.

Maybe, if he stands here just a little bit longer, he'll be swept out with the waves too.

Hold me in your arms tonight.

He doesn't go to the funeral.

There are always too many people to properly say goodbye.

He can't face them.

He can't face her.

Not yet.

The next day, a package arrives on his doorstep.

There is no return address, only his name printed clearly in handwriting he doesn't recognize.

Inside is a journal.

The cover is papered with drawings and clippings and pictures, a collage of artwork.

He turns the page carefully, lest anything fall off the cover, and reads the first few lines.

June 19.

I'm going to a party tomorrow on the beach. I don't suppose the party itself will be very fun, but I'm always looking for an excuse to go to the beach. And who knows? Maybe it will change my life. Just in case, I'll wear my purple dress...

He swallows hard, tears rising in his throat.


He's surprised by how many pages seem to be filled.

The journal only spans a few weeks, after all.

He flips through pages to reach the end, catching glimpses of entries along the way.

I met someone at the party last night. He's mysterious and clever and terribly handsome. He held my hand, too. I hope I'll see him again...

We met by the shore again today, talking for hours. It's one of the loveliest ways I've ever spent a summer...

He kissed me today, right while I was talking. It was as if I couldn't breathe...

He asked me if I would still know him in five months. Of course I will. He's already locked away in my mind and heart...

We watched the sunset on the horizon last night. The sky was streaked with gorgeous pinks and vivid reds, and when he smiled at me it was simply perfect...

There's something special about his eyes. They tell you everything there is to know about what he's feeling, speaking volumes more than he does. It's almost as if they change color sometimes, like the ocean itself...

It's been a month since we first met and I think I'm in love. There's nothing in the world like being with him. I have to tell him soon...

I tried to tell him today, but I couldn't. It was as though I somehow lost my ability to speak about emotions...

I realized today that I don't need to tell him. We looked at each other, just a quick glance, and I could read it in his eyes. I know he saw it in mine too. It's one of those things that's mutually unspoken but mutually felt...

And there it is. The day she -

He reads on.

August 2.

We stayed up all last night. It's 7:30AM and I'm dreadfully tired. I only came home to take a shower and eat a bit, I'll be heading back out soon to meet him.

I told him last night I would never leave him. I swear that I won't. We're meant to be. It's...destiny, or fate, or whatever word there is for it. It's love, and I'm not letting it go. Whatever happens will happen. But I'll always be his.

Well, profound reflections aside, it's time for me to go. I'll write some more tonight, if I'm not as tired as I am right now. Let's hope I can drive!

The journal falls shut as he leans back in the chair, wiping away tears.

It's a parting gift from her, he knows.

A peek into her mind.

A way for her to say she loves him.

He picks up the journal and looks at the cover once more.

Inspire. Dream. Love.

Words cut out from magazines that she loved.

Someday he'll read the entire book.

Someday he'll have every page memorized.

Someday he'll write a thousand songs about her and the love they shared.

Someday he'll see her again.


But for now, he buries his head in his hands.

Her laugh echoes through the room.

I will stand by you forever.

A/N: (Random side note: for those of you confused as to one of my previous stories, Dear Chad – the very basic form of the plot is that Chad died and Sonny descends into a kind of insanity as a result. The story follows her coping, albeit in a very odd way. I hope this clears everything up for you! ;D And if you haven't read it, no worries, just continue on for my real note. xP)

Well, there we have it. :P I personally think it's pretty awful, but…well, what can I do but apologize? ;) I hope you might have derived at least some small pleasure from it. It wasn't exactly a happy Christmas story xP But there it is.

I don't own the lyrics in italics (not counting journal entries, obviously). They're from Hero, by Enrique Iglesias, a song I truly love ;D And I quoted Black Keys, too, by the Jonas Brothers, though the lines aren't in italics. It didn't seem right to separate them from the rest, but they're in there and I acknowledge that they aren't mine. :P

Review. Please do. You wouldn't believe how much a review means to me…I know everyone says it, but I truly mean it. Besides, you won't have to put up with my begging much longer. ;)

Merry Christmas, Emily. :) And to everyone else. I hope you keep the ones you love close to your heart.