Thanks to everyone who has read this so far! I appreciate you all, and thanks so much for letting me know it's worth reading.
I finally got around to revising a few of the more obvious grammatical mistakes in this story, which is one reason for the updated file, but I also wanted to update it to post a link to the Russian translation done by mr recamier. It's at ficbook dot net /readfic/2072922
Colin Creevey, the milkman's son, is the first person to show any interest in her arts and crafts. She thinks he is taking the mickey at first, him being a boy, but he explains how no one at his posh boarding school in Scotland understands his passion for taking pictures. He tells her that one he'll be a famous photographer and take pictures of her jewelry to send far and wide. They'll be famous together, he insists during one of their walks through the park, but she just smiles and shakes her head. That summer they turn sixteen.
The last time she sees Colin, he seems nervous, and she jokes that he must not have found time for homework with all his picture taking. He laughs sharply at that and leans over to kiss her. It is sloppy and a bit awkward, but it is her first kiss, and she shares a wild grin with Colin afterwards. She tells him not to forget her at school though she doesn't really expect their new relationship to last. She's heard too many times how fickle boys can be.
He hands her his camera and a picture of them holding hands in the park. She tries to give the camera back; it means too much to him, she says, but he insists. He promises to come back for it next summer and show her just how magical the world can be. She laughs at the earnest expression on his face and unties a twine bracelet she made earlier from her wrist. She asks him what colors he likes and he immediately responds with "red and gold" and a smile, as if to him those colors hold some deeper meaning.
She threads thin ribbons of those colors through the twine and hands it to him. It's a poor substitute for the camera, she knows, but it is something. She tells him that she'll keep the camera only as insurance for the return of her bracelet next summer. They part ways.
The photograph is framed and sometimes a trick of the light makes it look as if he winks at her from within. Next summer she walks to the park every day for the first two weeks, then more rarely as weeks stretch to months. Colin never comes back and she buries her disappointment, convincing herself that she didn't expect him to return. She goes back to school and eventually stops wondering about Colin; there is more to life than your first love.
Life goes on and she finishes school, goes to University, gets work as a secretary, marries a banker, has several children, and lives happily ever after. Sometimes though, as she grows older, she comes across an old photograph and feels a pang of regret. She had never tried to make a career out of her passion for arts and crafts, and though she realizes it was naught but a child's dream she remembers the first kiss she shared with a mousey-haired, camera-obsessed boy. She knows she is getting old because she remembers the picture differently, as if they had once been holding hands.
She would never know that a boy named Dennis once spent weeks scouring a magical castle for the camera gathering dust in her closet, nor would she know that the twine bracelet she made as a child would endure for centuries atop the tomb of a war hero.