A/N: This is a pairing I've written a lot for but never published as it's a ship nobody else cares about and I feel passionate about. And to be honest, the fiction in this fandom is very different from the kind I write. But here it is, anyway.
They say that a lifetime is filled with insignificant moments, that work to make the astonishing ones more astonishing. Life is like a night sky – it's dark, but every so often, a moment shines bright, a star, a pin-prick on a canvas of darkness.
My life hasn't been like that. My douchebag father left us when I was six, and my mother drank herself into an early grave. That forced me to grow up fast. My older brother was my soul guardian from the time I was fourteen years old (he was eighteen) and although he did a fair job, considering, we never had any of the things the other girls my age had. I wasn't one of those girls who longed for expensive, fancy things. I was happy wearing Ryan's cast-offs. I stomped around school in shoes two sizes too big and jeans with ripped knees and an old bomber jacket and I was happy. I was smart, I listened in class, I did my homework, I sailed my way through my exams. I left school to join the peace corps because I believed in making a difference. I still believe in making a difference, I just see now that there is more than one way to do that. That you don't have to charge in full pelt, a one woman army.
I knew I was different from the other girls. I look at girls like Elle, and her friends (especially that one who is an ex-cheerleader) and I see every girl I went to school with. The ones who mocked me for my clothes choices, or for how I did my hair, who laughed at me for having glasses, for having a brain. I watch her follow Warner around like a lost little puppy dog, and I roll my eyes because it's belittling for a woman to let a man rule her life, and it's pathetic, and then I look at myself, and I realise... I'm just the same. All these years, I have watched girls run around after boys, try to be things they're not, just for a handful of attention from some jock who would much sooner spend time plucking his eyebrows than hanging out with a girl, thinking I was somehow different. That because I don't give any of those guys a second glance, I'm somehow more of a woman, more respected.
I roll onto my side and stare at the dip of the person beside me's back. There's a line of sweat making its way down, a soft trickle, moving its way beneath the covers. A reminder of what we've done. What we were doing moments ago. It's only a small one, but I take what is given to me. Come morning time, we won't speak of this. I will have only the memories, like photographs in my mind, stored away, never to be shown to anybody. This is something remarkable. It might not seem that way, but it is, to me, at least. Amongst my dark skies, there's only a fine spray of stars, not a whole constellation. There's the day I graduated, my acceptance into Harvard. Getting chosen for Callahan's internship. And then there's her. She's the brightest star, twinkling just in the distance, close enough that I can see it, get disillusioned into believing that one day I'll touch it, but far enough that I can't reach.
I reach for the sheet and pull it up over us. Us. We're an us, at least for tonight, and that's enough for me, for tonight. I don't have my glasses on, and she becomes a blur of dark hair and pale skin, lost in the white of my bedsheets, and I reach out and touch her, afraid she might slip between my fingers and get lost. She sighs, her back brushing against me. Despite the tough front she puts up to the rest of the world, her skin is soft, and her face peaceful, and I count myself lucky to get to see her how she really is. Nobody else does. Not Warner, that's for sure.
When I wake up the next morning, she'll be gone. She might leave a note. She probably won't. I'll bump into her in class, or in the courtroom, or sit beside her on the way in. I might brush my fingers against hers, and she won't flinch, won't blush, won't acknowledge that there's anything going on. But I'll know. I'll know when she slides in next to Warner on the bench, or leans over to him to whisper in his ear, that it's me that she came home to last night. And that's enough, for now. For now, I'm happy to stargaze.
But I won't forever.