This is purely for the fun of writing something for the New Year. Happy New Year guys!

P.S. The Aiyannah's in my stories are all independent from each other. They are in no way linked.


The guards were more than friendly enough to let me into the Castle tonight. The fact that they were barely awake had greatly helped a lot. Not that I was forbidden to get into the Castle or anything, but tonight was New Year's Eve, and the Royal Family was supposed to spending it together, in private.

I wasn't going to disturb them you know. The Castle had become my special place, especially the Hanging Garden. Alpin being there was just a bonus. I always welcomed his company. He was a good man, loved his sister very much. I held him in high regard. There were a few people that would do the things he do to provide his sister with a decent life. And a decent life they did have, thanks to all his and Lileas' hard work.

In complete honesty, I liked Alpin. He was nice to me, to everyone. Aside from that, he was handsome. Well, in my opinion that is. I liked how the way he smiled too. His smiles were always sincere, always meaningful. I might sound like a complete lovesick fool, but sometimes, I would find myself looking for him whenever I was in the Garden. But I would never do anything to hurt our completely perfect, completely comfortable relationship as friends. Nope, I won't ask for more if the down side was losing everything.

Hm, Aineah wasn't in the Hall at the second floor of the Castle. She must have gone off to clean somewhere else.

"Aiyannah? What brings you here?" Arzhela. I should've known she'd be here. She liked the Library too much and sometimes she would stay up late into the night before going home. Occasionally, she would even spend the night in the Library.

I turned around and saw the woman closing the door to the Library. "Oh nothing," I casually said as I let my eyes wander. "Just heading for the Garden."

She narrowed her eyes at me. "You've been spending a lot of time in the Garden lately… The flowers are dead you know," she said as she headed for the exit. "Is it because of Alpin?" she playfully asked.

I laughed. It was rare for Arzhela to be this casual with me. "Could be," I answered with equal humor.

The librarian laughed along, both of us shaking our heads as we did so. "Well, I must be getting home now." She put on her winter coat and opened the door. "Happy New Year Aiyannah. May you have another blessed year."

With a smile, I nodded. "Happy New Year too, Arzhela. Hope the coming year will be good to you."

She smiled back and then she was out the door, leaving me alone in the hall. Arzhela was a sweet lady, smart too, not to mention pretty. I sometimes wondered whether or not she was married. It would be nice if she was.

Well, enough of that. I had a garden to visit. I headed for the door that led to the Garden and pushed it open. Almost immediately, the cold wintery wind came in, accompanied by several snowflakes. I shivered a bit, but I quickly got myself adjusted to the cold. Vales was a lot colder than Tara in winter.

Arzhela wasn't kidding. The last time I had visited the Garden, there was still a bit of color in it, but now, it was all black and white. Now wasn't that a rain on my parade? I was hoping to get some bit of release up here, but the dead, barren branches were getting me kinda down. Well, I was already here, no point in walking back down again and tire myself out.

Before I headed for one of the towers, I made a quick look around. Huh, no Alpin. Oh well, he needed to be with Lileas anyway. I went for a tower and got myself propped against it. If I remembered right, it was a quarter to midnight. And if my memory served me right, there would be a grand fireworks display at midnight. That was, after all, the whole purpose of my visit. If ever I was wrong, it would mean I had wasted the whole day of travelling to Tara from Dunbarton.

"So it's just you and me sky," I sighed out loud. I was talking to the sky. I must really be crazy. And as if the sky had talked back to me, I replied. "I know, I know. I might not be the best company, but hey, I'm all you have, and you're all I have right now." I chuckled a bit. "We don't have much of a choice now don't we?"

"Do I need to call the guards to show you out?"

I righted myself, eyes wide. I thought I was alone. "A-Alpin?" I stammered as I turned around to face him. "You… I thought that… Shouldn't you be…?" I couldn't get the right words to come out. I tried to talk and hide my embarrassment at the same time and I was failing. I stopped from my mumbling when I heard him laugh. I chuckled a bit too before taking a deep breath and composing my thoughts. "Alright, what are you doing here?" I finally got out.

He looked at me with mild amusement. "I work here Aiyannah," he simply told me.

"I know that, but aren't you supposed to be with our sister tonight? It is, after all, New Year's Eve."

Alpin shrugged. "Lileas won't be home until after midnight. It would seem as though Jousting does not have vacations. I thought it would be better to spend it here, where I can see the fireworks."

"Oh."

"You came to see them too, right?" I nodded. "Mind if I join you?"

I shook my head. "Go right ahead. I don't think the sky would mind a bit more company," I laughed as I moved a bit to the left for him to have room to look out the tower. He smiled as he took the place beside me. It was quiet for a few moments, but it was the comfortable kind of silence. Well, it was silence, until I sneezed. I turned to look at him, a hand covering my nose and mouth. He was staring at me with wide eyes. I thought something was wrong until he burst into laughter. I frowned. "What's so funny?"

He tried to calm himself down, but he couldn't quite stop from laughing. He ended up settling for chuckling in between phrases. "You… You sound like a mouse when you sneeze…"

That was it? I should be offended. I really should be, but it was New Year's Eve. A new year, a new beginning. I wasn't gonna start the year with an argument. "Glad I was of some humor to you," I muttered as I turned back to face the sky.

At least, he knew that something was wrong when I said what I said. He better had, because I would be furious if he chose to be ignorant. We knew each other pretty well and I would be furious if he didn't get the bitter tone in my voice. "Hey, I didn't mean to insult you," he said as he placed a hand on my shoulder. "I shouldn't have laughed. You'd probably get sick out here, but I couldn't help it."

I crossed my arms over my chest. "Yes, you shouldn't have," I agreed. "It was not funny."

"But it was cute." I raised my eyebrows and all the annoyance I had earlier disappeared.

"Say what?" What he said was completely unexpected.

He shook his head. "Never mind. Forget I said anything," he said as he turned to gaze out into Tara. "What time is it?"

I shrugged. "Don't know, but it's bound to start anytime soon," I answered, following his gaze. Again, we fell into a comfortable silence. Meetings with Alpin were always like this. Quiet. Simple. Nothing special.

I eventually got tired of standing and sighed. Alpin looked at me with curiosity, but I shook my head. He smiled at me and turned back to gazing at the stars. My eyes, on the other hand, lingered on his face. He looked so… calm. I envied him a little. He was so optimistic.

"Aya, look."

I blushed and quickly turned towards where he was pointing at. I didn't dare want to see the look on his face when he realized that I was staring. The embarrassment immediately went away though when I saw the red light fly high into the sky and explode into more red lights. "It's started!" I squealed. Finally.

And just like the girl that I was, I tiptoed. As if that would help me see even better. I was either smiling, or my mouth was wide open with amazement. I was right in choosing the Garden to watch the fireworks display. "Oh wow! Did you see that?" I excitedly exclaimed, pointing at the blue firework that exploded into several reds, which in turn exploded into many greens. I turned to him to see his expression, but I found his watching me with a smile on his face.

The heat rushed to my face. "Um…" I tried to frown. Key word: tried. "You weren't looking!" I blurted out. I glanced back at the display. "You're missing all the fun Alpin! Come on, watch with me!" I grabbed his face with my two hands and forced him to look at the fireworks. I managed to turn my attention back at the show just in time as a yellow one exploded into sparkling purples.

I adored fireworks. There was something magical in the way that they work. I knew it wasn't magic. It was the materials used in making them, but still… I loved watching them explode and form into a spherical shape of sparkles and turn into another color. I just… loved it. Ever since I was a kid, I watched the fireworks show every New Year's Eve, but it was my first time watching it from the Garden.

"Oh!" Something just zipped past the sky. A shooting star. "Alpin! Alpin! Make a wish, make a wish!" I sounded like a child.

He looked at me weirdly. "Those aren't shooting stars Aiyannah…"

"But I saw one!" He still didn't believe me. "Fine, you'll be sorry when my wish comes true." I closed my eyes real hard and made my wish. I then opened my eyes and saw that Alpin had his closed. I let him make his wish and turned to look at the smoky sky. "Care to share what your wish was?"

Alpin shook his head. "It might never come true if I tell you," he sadly told me.

I tilted my head. "You wouldn't know that… People just say that your wishes can't come true when you tell them to other people for kicks." Still, he remained quiet. "If I tell you mine, will you tell me yours?"

"Maybe."

I pouted. 'Maybe' wasn't a good enough answer. "Fine, fine. I wished that every New Year's Eve would be like this."

He raised an eyebrow. "Like this?"

I nodded. "You know, like this. Nice… Me, the fireworks, the frozen over garden…"

"And me?"

He sounded hopeful right then. "Yes, and you," I chuckled. "Maybe bring Lileas along and it might just be perfect…"

I heard him laugh. "That's an easy wish. All you just need to do is ask me and Lileas to go with you." He sighed. "Mine's a bit more complicated."

"How so?"

"I might lose something very dear in the process."

"Oh." He was speaking in riddles. And I hated riddles. Never did have the patience for them unless I really had nothing else to do. "That's a tough one." He nodded. "But it doesn't have to be. Tell me and I'll support you all the way."

He raised an eyebrow. "Really? No matter what happens?"

I nodded. "No matter what happens."

He took a few minutes before making up his mind. "I fell in love with someone." Ouch. There goes my chance. I kinda regretted I asked. But this was Alpin and I gave him my word that I'd help him out no matter what. I swallowed the lump in my throat and urged him to continue. "I want to tell her how I feel… She and I, we've known each other for quite some time and we're very close but-"

"That's just it. You're scared that you'll ruin your friendship when you tell her," I sighed, knowing exactly how he felt. Whoever he liked, she was one lucky girl. "Well, you'll never know until you try."

"But-"

"But nothing," I blurted out. Both he and I were shocked at my outburst. I shook my head. "I know how you feel. That happened to me too and he got away… Well, I guess I'll have better luck next time," I said, trying to laugh it off.

"Well, whoever that man is, he missed out on a wonderful thing," I heard him mutter. I was pretty that wasn't meant for my ears, but I was the eavesdropping type. I was about to pretend I didn't hear it when he noticed the blush on my face. "Y-You heard that?"

I chuckled nervously as I rubbed the back of my neck. "Sorry… I didn't mean to…" He turned away, a frown on his red-tinted face. "I'm sorry Alpin. I didn't mean to hear it… But thank you for the compliment." I smiled at him softly, even though I knew that he won't be able to see it from the way he was positioned. "Good night Alpin. I hope everything works out with your girl." I stepped closer and leaned in before planting a soft kiss on his cheek. I took a step back and smiled. He had turned to face me again, olive eyes wide. "I love you," I chimed as I began going down the stairs. "I'll see you around." I waved good bye, but I didn't even bother to turn around.

I didn't want see the sadness in his face when he realized he had just broken his best friend's heart.

"Hey Aya! You said you'd support me all the way to get my wish, right?"

Oh now that was just heartless. "Yeah, yeah… Don't rub it in!"

"Mind helping me out tonight?" I was about to decline, but he had beaten me to it. "You said no matter what!" I sighed and closed my eyes.

"Alright already," I bitterly said. Wow, I was turning out to be a sore loser. When I turned around I was surprised to find him standing right in front of me. "What in the world?"

"Just stand still," he told me. I rolled my eyes and muttered a 'fine.' He smiled at me. Gods, I hate him and the way he made everything feel right. He leaned in and whispered something to my ear. "You really promise to be there for me?"

I nodded my head. "Yes, I promise. Through thick or thin, for better or worse." I could feel him smile.

"I love you."