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They danced and sung around the glowing embers, loud in their revelry and joyous in their celebration. Few played instruments, a fiddle, a drum, and anything else they could find. They hold hands and circle around the fire, chanting their woes and their joy as if they were prayers told on a preacher's tongue.

They listened to the girl atop the tree stump as she spun tales of heroes and villains, of battles that were won and lost all the same, and of magical worlds so different from their own. They listened in awe, swept away by her stories, almost as if they were stood alongside the heroes of the lands she wove.

She spun atop her stump, her hair a glow like the fire behind her. Any who saw would think her a goddess, for the way she moved, was echoed by the fire's tusks that reached into the sky. To them, she was the goddess of her story, the one who gifted the soldiers' life after battle, who blessed heroes with magic, who helped destroy the darkness that took over the lands.

Yet she was just a girl, drunk on the fire's warmth and the music's melody. She was just a girl, relishing in the night's festivity that boasted around her. The party began to sing a song of her tale, taking her words and matching them to the instruments.

And the girl began to dance, she spun, kicked, and leaped. Her joyous laugh echoing around her, traveling far and wide. It was music to his ears.

The boy had stumbled upon the scene before him with wide eyes, a band of teenagers, his friends even, dancing and singing around a large fire, around the girl atop the stump. He had expected to find a party, for this small group had so much to celebrate on this night. Their graduation from the small school of which they'd spent the past several years, together, had occurred today.

So, tonight they celebrate, and by morn, they start the rest of their lives. Some will linger here, helping their families at home rather than at school in a faraway place, others, like the boy, will travel far and wide to begin a new life. He would start at a new school, a college full of people he did not know to fulfill his dreams.

That is why he could not bring himself to join them, that is why he did not show up to his very own graduation, because he could not bear to be with them, knowing he would leave them, leave her.

All-day, he had been reliving his fondest memories, preparing for the journey he would soon face, and yet he ended up here, looking for her. The day had worn him down, making him doubt every choice he had ever made, doubt his choice to leave this place, to leave her.

As he watched her dance upon the stump, singing loudly and laughing even louder, he felt the heart within his chest breaking. The way she lit up the world with her tales, broke his resolve that he had tried to build so high before he came here.

She spun again, looking out among the world, past the fire's light and into the fields and forests beyond. With a halting stop, she saw him.

Their eyes met through the distance, hers a light with golden embers and his with moonlit skies. Clarity befell her, no longer did the music sweep her off her feet, she was grounded by him just as he was lifted by her. Even worlds apart they could still be affected by the other.

He took a tentative step towards her, and she climbed down that tall stump. Their classmates, so caught in their tune, did not even notice the girl as she walked among them, no longer a goddess upon her pedestal. She took small steps towards the light's edge, watching the boy move towards her.

They met at the line between light and dark, neither knowing what to do now that the length between them was gone. She looked up at him, tilting her head back so their eyes could meet. She remembered a time when they were the same height, so long ago, but now he had grown far taller than she.

As they stood there, staring into the eyes of one another's, they could almost see the words they were too scared to speak. She could see the turmoil of his mind, she had known it for months. This small town was not enough for him, he wanted to go beyond the world he knew, just like her. He could see the longing in her eyes, just as he always had. She wanted to travel the world, to find a new story to tell, to share her mind with the world and all who would listen. They knew what they wanted to do, yet one thing held them back, and that was each other.


She shook her head, she knew that if they stayed, though they would be happy, together, they would always regret not having left this small town. They would forever wonder what would have come of their adventures, who they would have become during them.

His confusion shined on his face, for once in his life he could not read her, he could not read the mind so similar to his own. She smiled, her hand coming to rest on his face. Her palms are warmed by the fire, so welcoming on his night bitten skin. He could drown himself in her warmth, he could give it all up, here and now, he would if she asked it of him.

She knew it too, knew that she could make him stay with her, she wanted too, and yet she says, "Go."

Her heart was breaking just as his own at that moment, but they smiled at each other. The weight lifts off their shoulders and for the first time in months, they find it within themselves to just enjoy the time they spent together.

Determined to spend these final moments to their fullest, she takes his hand, dragging him, headfirst into the celebration as she always had. There, among their closest friends, they danced together, holding each other close because by the sunrise they will have to let go.

The music swept them away, the fire warmed their broken souls, and their hands held the pieces of their hearts together. It healed them, to be there with each other, to dance and sing to their heart's content, to be two kids in love.

When the sun began to rise, and the fire died out, their friends said goodbye, went their separate ways. The boy and girl held each other a little longer, even after everyone had left. They swayed to music that danced only in their memory.

He could hold her like this all day, she could let him, and yet she finds the strength to pull away. Her hand comes to again rest on his face, memorizing the way it feels below her fingertips.

Again, she finds it in her heart to say, "Go."

He holds her closer. He would go, but he wanted this to last a little longer. He didn't know if he would ever see her again if this was the last time he would get to hold her, his goddess who dances with fire.

She smiled, knowingly and gave him a promise that he will forever hold her too, "We will meet again."

And then they parted ways, starting the adventures that would one day lead them back, back to this spot, back to each other.

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