Disclaimer: I do not own 'The Kite Runner' or any of the characters therein. I don't make any money from writing fanfiction.


He won! He won! Thank Allah, he won!

Hassan raced down the alleyway, following his intuition. The other kite runners always ran after the kite, but Hassan ran with the wind. Feeling
as light as air, he jumped over a spilled garbage container. The freed trash crumpled under his feet. Shopkeepers looked up at him as he passed and smiled to themselves. To them, he was just another Afghan boy taking part in the tournament. Not a Hazara. Just another boy.

So this was what freedom felt like.

Around the corner he flew, pushed forward by the warm wind at his back. He wasn't very familiar with this part of town, although he had been here a few times. It wasn't a busy area. The wind twisted and changed direction, cooling the sweat on the back of his neck. He dashed down a side street to account for the wind's change.

Baba would be so proud of Amir when he presented him with the finalist's kite. Hassan pumped his legs even harder. He was short of breath and had it stitch in his side, but nothing was going to stop him from getting the kite for his best friend.

He spared a glance behind him. A big blue diamond waved at him from the sky. The kite would land in another minute. Exhausted, Hassan stopped running and bent over, hands on his knees, taking in big gulps of air. He was far enough ahead of the kite that it should land where he was standing. Even if the wind changed again, he wouldn't have to run very far.

Standing at the crossing of two dirt roads, he watched the kite as it spun in circles, dancing this way and that. It was to his left now, but the wind would probably send it over his way.

Probably.

So far he had always been right. Hassan knew he had a knack for knowing where kites would land. Still, he felt an uneasy grow in the bottom of his stomach. The same unease that made all the runners in town follow the kite and not the wind. But this was the most important kite that Amir had ever cut. What if…?

Eyes still on the kite, Hassan began shuffling to the left.

What if he was wrong this time? He was still closer than any of the other boys. Surely it wouldn't hurt if he went just a little far over–

Bash!

Hassan fell to the ground.

So did the other person.

"Ah! I'm so sorry!" Hassan apologized; face still planted in the dirt. "Forgive me; I didn't look where I was going." He got up and dusted off his pants before rising fully to look at the other person.

She's beautiful.

A pair of beautiful brown eyes looked up at him from the sweetest face he had ever seen.

"Oh, no, no, I'm sorry," she stuttered, "I wasn't paying attention to where I was going. It's my fault! I just rounded the corner and… well… I'm really sorry!" she blurted out, still sprawled on the ground.

Hassan just stared at her.

She flushed and quickly picked herself up off of the road.

"Umm, I mean I was kind of… well I… I should have looked around the corner, and I'm really sorry, and I hope you're okay –"

She continued to ramble on. Hassan was glad that she talked so much, even if it was unusual for a girl. He didn't think he could speak even if he had to. She had beautiful eyes.

"- and I guess we just went around the corner at the same time."

An awkward pause hung in the air.

Oh, she stopped talking.

He should say something.

Nothing came to mind.

"Umm, so sorry again, but my mother is expecting me so I have to go. I said I would help her since it's the tounament, so umm," she trailed off, hoping for some kind of response from the silent boy.

She didn't get one.

"Well, sorry again," she said. She backed away, straightening her hijab.

The kite landed at his feet with a thud.

Quite distracted, Hassan mechanically bent down and picked it up. It had hardly any damage from the fall at all. A smudge of dirt was on one corner, but that could be easily cleaned. Forlorn, he gazed after the pretty girl that talked so much.

She was still there.

"That's… Hey, is that…?" her eyes went wide as she scanned the sky. No other kites flew. "Is that the last kite?" she asked, excitement adding a pleasing lilt to her voice.

"Yah, my best friend won the competition." Did that come from his mouth? Oh. Good.

"Oh, congratulations!" Hassan had never seen eyes shine.

"Thanks," he replied.

The thunder of a dozen pairs of sandaled feet came from farther down the lane. The other boys were about to catch up. The girl noticed the sound too.

"Well, I hope you get to enjoy your friend's win."

"Yeah, he's great." Wait. Did that make sense? What did she ask him? He couldn't remember quite right.

She giggled. A wonderful sound. Hassan suddenly realized that she, too, was a Hazara.

"That's good. Well, enjoy the celebrations."

She pattered down the street, periodically looking back over her shoulder and smiling at him – he didn't move.

Just before she disappeared into a doorway, he called out.

"My name's Hassan!"

She turned around one final time and answered.

"My name's Farzana."

And then she was gone.

He was floating. There was a bubble in chest that kept rising.

The sign above the door had some writing and a picture of a pigeon with one wing in a sling on it. Hassan couldn't read, but he was pretty sure that the building was an animal hospital. It would be the busiest time of the year for them. Hundreds of birds were wounded each year from getting tangled in the glass encrusted kite strings. Some died. Some never recovered enough to fly again.

The sound of hammering feet was even closer. Hassan looked around and took a moment to remember the intersection. The animal hospital was easy to overlook, and he wanted to remember…

Well…

If he was ever here again, he just wanted to know that he had been here before.

Yes. That was why.

Hassan hauled the kite over his shoulder and started to jog away from the pack of oncoming boys. Back to Amir. He reminded himself of how happy his friend would be tonight. Baba would throw a party for his son, he was sure. And Amir, he would finally be happy.

With a smile, Hassan started to stroll back towards the center of town, sparring one last look at the painted door.

He would be Amir's kite runner any day.


Author's Notes:

I would like to take a moment to admit that I am not from Afghanistan, nor have I grown up in their culture. Therefore, this story is probably contains some cultural inaccuracies. Like many North Americans, The Kite Runner was my first real introduction into life in Afghanistan (other than war footage on the news) and so I probably took more artistic license than I am aware of – especially since I read the book a year ago.

On another note: Yes! Farzana is the name of Hassan's future wife in the book. Congratulations if you remembered that. I wanted to write something that would give Hassan something lovely (that did not directly involve Amir) before his life irreversibly changed.

Please do review; I love to hear all feedback. It makes my day when I know someone has enjoyed my writing, or has read it and has constructive criticism. Thank you for reading!

Love, KaKiara.