This story is dedicated to FedoraForever, a very special friend of mine.
(Sometimes, you have to lose something before you realize how special it was.)
"Do you believe in wishing?"
"No I don't, Gold. It's a foolish waste of time."
"Aw come on Crys, give it a try! You know, it's good luck to catch a falling leaf."
"And how is that going to help me?"
"If you catch one, you can have any wish you want, and it'll come true, for sure."
"Are you sure?"
A lone girl stands in the middle of the woods. Red leaves fall around her, and the girl desperately tries to catch those that flutter by. Her blue hair flies across her face as she tries to grab the leaves that float down, and her crystal eyes darken as she misses again and again.
Failing miserably, she gives up and trudges down the forest path, kicking at the leaves and walking around the silver birches.
Crystal stops when yet another leaf darts in front of her and reaches up to grab it, but again it twists and dips and swirls away from her.
The leaf brushes against her face gently, and Crystal resists the urge to cry.
How come the things I want are always just out of reach?
She joins Yellow in the cafe after her brief morning walk.
"You okay?" Yellow says as she leans forward, her hazel eyes flickering with concern. Crystal masks her unhappiness with a fake smile and picks up her cup of tea.
"Yeah. I definitely am." Crystal swallows the tea quickly, before the older girl can ask any more questions. She downs the drink in a minute — the burning liquid scorches her tongue and scalds her throat, but she needed to feel warmth. She needed to feel safe.
Yellow frowns and Crystal gives her an attempted smile.
The blonde stares at her suspiciously, her eyes lingering on the tear streaks that even a heavy layer of make-up can't disguise.
Crystal lets her blue bangs cover her eyes, hoping that Yellow couldn't see the tears at the corner of her eyes.
She rests her head against the cold bathroom mirror. Her brain throbs painfully from the lack of sleep, and she allows a single tear to slide down her pale cheek.
She lets out a sigh, and her breath condenses on the smooth surface of the mirror, and clouds up the glass.
She writes three words on the misty surface.
As the words fade away, Crystal is left to stare at her lonely reflection in the mirror.
Crystal heads back to the forest in the evening.
The rustling leaves break the silence, and she quickens her pace. Around her, red-gold leaves fall like rain, brushing against her cheeks, and landing on her skirt. She brushes away a tear and hurries on.
Crystal reaches the center of the forest and falls to her feet with a sigh.
She leans back and her arms cushion her head as she watches the leaves fall from the oak trees towering above her.
Crystal reaches out for a nearby leaf and misses again.
She must have nodded off, because when she woke up, she was staring straight into a pair of silver eyes.
Crystal sits up abruptly and brushes away the leaves covering her dress. Silver stands up with a sigh and extends a hand toward her.
She takes his hand gratefully and he helps her to her feet. Silver raises an eyebrow when he sees that she's been crying.
"Crys," he begins, but falls short when Crystal glares at him.
"Nothing's bothering me," she says firmly before he can continue, and marches past him. Silver shrugs and matches his pace with hers and the two of them walk down the path in silence, both wrapped up in their separate thoughts.
"Blue and Yellow were worried about you," he says softly, breaking the heavy silence hanging over them. Crystal opens her mouth to protest, but falls silent when Silver raises his hand.
"Crystal," she stops walking at the sound of his voice and turns to face him reluctantly. Silver keeps his tone steady, and puts a hand on her shoulder.
"Are you really feeling alright?"
Crystal buries her face in her hands, and Silver pats her on the back comfortingly as her muffled sobs echo around the empty forest.
She doesn't understand why she seeks comfort in the forest.
She heads to the forest nearly every day, and the fact that she spends hours there worries her friends. Blue shoots her worried glances when she visits her, and Yellow often drops by at the lab to check on her. Even Professor Oak gave her the month off to take a break.
"I'm fine," she says out loud, her broken voice echoing around the circle of trees.
Her only reply is the crackling of leaves under her feet.
Crystal tilts her head up and focuses her attention on the crimson leaves that spiral down.
Tears mist her eyes as she hugs her legs, curling up like a child, as she sits in a sea of red. She rests her head on her chin, and looks through the slender of trees, the tangle of bushes, and the patchwork carpet of bright leaves with a heavy heart.
The sun dips lower into the sky, and Crystal reluctantly gets up, brushing leaves from her yellow dress, and as she looks up through the canopy of trees, a curled, red-gold leaf drifts down in front of her.
She reaches out her hand and the leaf lands on her palm, as if it was always meant to be there. The threatening tears that gather at the corner of her eyes roll down her pale cheeks as her fingers close around the gold leaf.
Crystal closes her eyes and makes a wish.
A lone girl walks through the crackling woodland and out on to the lane. She wipes the last traces of tears from her eyes and sighs as her fingers brush against the smooth texture of the leaf in her hand.
Before she can continue walking, warm arms circle around her waist and pull her close. From the corner of her eye, she can see the hint of a smirk forming on the boy's lips, and her heart skips a beat.
She turns around, and her crystal eyes stare straight into a pair of blazing, golden ones.
"I love you."
Thanks for being such a great friend to me throughout these few months! You're actually the very first friend I had on FF, and I was really happy when you first started reviewing my stories. It makes me feel really touched every time I open up my email to see a couple of notices from FF saying that you listed my stories as favourites. And yes, I believe that you are certainly my biggest fan, and although I hardly review your stories, I consider you one of my favourite authors too. (I just realised I didn't list you as one of my favourite authors! Oops!) Your reviews make me so happy! Anyway, I hope you like this story. Its a little short, but I hope you enjoyed it! (I know SpecialShipping and FranticShipping are your favourite, but I felt that Mangaquest was a better choice... I hope you liked it!)
To the rest of the readers:
I was quite happy with writing this story. I tried not to end it with a sad ending! It was actually inspired by this fanart when I was skimming through a couple of fanart websites. Its actually my fanfiction profile picture right now, so if you like it, PM me and I'll send you a link. This story was also inspired by my other story, "Crimson", because I really liked portraying a story in a nature scene. In November, when I went to Taiwan for a holiday, I went to this forest, and there were lots of red maple leaves that kept floating down. It was an amazing sight, and I wanted to write a fanfic with that scene in my mind. Err, I hope I succeeded though.
Anyway, Happy New Year to all my readers and reviewers! I hope that 2012 will be a great year for you!