the letter

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My dearest darling love,

I know you hate when I call you that, but I miss you, and I feel that in this case, I am allowed to. I think you'll understand.

God, I miss you.

When I was younger, I was the kind of person who would scorn all feeling. I never believed the hype that the world associates with first love - or love in general, really. I never understood the idea of loving another person so much that you value their happiness over your own, and make your decisions based on that. That you think of them with everything you do.

I am a different person now.

When we first met, I thought you were an idiot. I was fascinated by you, yes, but I hated you, because Gryffindors and Slytherins are obligated to hate each other. At only twelve years old, we were thrown into our own defining worlds – Gryffindors were told they were brave and chivalrous; Slytherins cunning and ambitious. You are twelve. These are your most valued traits. These will define you from now on. If it hadn't been for those houses, our story might not have started the way it did. I hated you, yes, but only because I was wired to do so.

If I hated you so much, why couldn't I keep away from you, Belly?

I fell in love with you at that ridiculous Christmas party. The fairy lights were tacky and the fruit punch was cheap, but all I could see was you. I knew it was a mistake; knew I was the walking definition of a man digging his own grave; but when I looked at you, none of that seemed to matter. The more you spoke, the more I loved you. You were the lights and the stars and the intoxicating smell of the city, and you may not have known it, but I was entirely yours.

And with every day that passed since then, with every word you spoke; every moment you hated me, loved me, I fell a little bit deeper. It was wrong, but nothing could have made me happier. You were the best mistake I ever made.

Do you remember when we walked together into the final battle? I was terrified; my only solace the grip of your hand. But it never occurred to me that we might not both make it out.

And then that awful fire – sobs and screams and thick black ashes all stuck in my throat; flames licking at my ankles. Smoke billowing through the air, scorching my cheeks. But I hadn't said goodbye. My life depended on teetering stacks of rickety furniture, but I held on for dear life because all I could think about was getting out, and getting to kiss you one last time.

I never did.

I kept looking for you, running everywhere, asking everyone if they had seen you. Before I knew it, the battle was over and everyone was cheering and I was so happy, hardly paying attention to who won and who didn't, but where were you – and then I saw you.

Crumpled on cold stone ground, your hair tangled across your cheeks. The entire world had gone cold, had crumbled around me. I could sense people cheering, bumping me, but how could anyone be happy when you were gone?

In those moments, all I could think was; a little longer. It's too soon. Stay a little longer. Please, Belly.

I wasn't even tearful, just... breaking, I think. Fading. I started to die then, and I am still dying, even though people tell me I'm perfectly healthy. I've realised that people don't really know all that much.

I've been reading over and over every letter you ever wrote me. Each is beautifully worded and thought out, and I never once wrote back. I'm so sorry, Belly, I really am, I would give anything – anything – to turn back time, just to write to you; to answer each one of your letters.

I am pained, inexplicably, because our time was so limited. I am pained, because there were so many more words to say, so much more laughter, so many more tears. That short, fragmented time we had; that should only have been the uneasy start of a beautiful life together. An entire life full of love and happiness and no one – no one – to tell us what to do, because don't you remember, Belly? The cottage. We had a plan. We would live in a cottage on the beach and sit in blankets by the huge windows and watch the rain.

It's hard to explain, and I'm not sure I ever will be able to. But a world without you, Belly, is a world I don't want to live in; a world I don't even want to imagine.

I miss you. I miss your touch and your skin and your warm smell. Your hand in mine, your breaths against mine. Your voice that always seemed to say more than it was saying. I miss the way you looked in the morning, the way you smiled with tired eyes, the tips of your fingers on my cheek. Good morning, I love you. Goodnight, I love you. Your wit, your temper, your courage. How your hair curled down your back. How your bones fitted perfectly against mine. I miss you so, so much.

But don't you see, Belly? I'm finally writing back! Why isn't that good enough? How do I make you come back to me?

I know you're happier now but it hurts. I have had to torture people, and I have been tortured myself, but no pain will ever compare to this. I would give the sun, the moon, the stars. I'd give everything I own. I'd give anything to have you back.

I really hope you're happy, wherever you are.

And I miss you, forever, and I love you, forever.

Yours, always,


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