"Maybe, maybe if I don't see you now, I'll keep myself shattered somehow. Oh, in every way, every way somehow."

Daphne Loves Derby

You discover his world when it's sunny and ten thousand degrees outside and he's finally looking at you, eyes not shielded by beautifully cut hair anymore. You stumble onto a universe filled with the stories of a crushed soul and a wretched heart, stories of laughter that fell short and smiles that paled into something like nothingness.

Aren't you always one to fall in love with the broken ones, you think, but realize that everyone's broken in one way or another, so you let your thoughts drift away with the wind that humbly carries unsaid words and stolen hearts.

His hair is falling into his eyes and he's scrutinizing you, eyes narrowed and analyzing, head tilted just right so that it's obvious enough to see that he's too lost in thought to realize you're staring, gazing at the way his eyelashes seems to touch his skin whenever he blinks.

You let out a small sigh; silent enough that you can't even hear it and you catch your thoughts that have been floating hazily in the winds that snatch secrets and confidential wishes.

Aren't you so foolish, you question, so weak, so pathetic when it comes to one-sided love?

But you've always fallen in love unknowingly and unguardedly, heart hanging on the tips of your sleeve. You can't count the many times you've fallen head over heels and toes over fingers, lungs over heart and bones over skin in unreciprocated love, so it's no shock to you, to anybody, that you've fallen once again in a love where only the darkness embraces you.

I think I love you, you whisper too softly and you're not sure he hears you, but his eyes steal a glance at your own and you're suddenly feeling overwhelmed, clenching your fists and biting your lips too hard.

I think you do, he replies, fingers brushing against your cheek and your breath snags in your throat, your heart attached to the sadness in his eyes, clinging, never wanting to let his eyes wander from your gaze. But they do and you cast your eyes away, studying his fingers and the way they loop and link through one another as he ponders, his thoughts too far away from you to try to read.

You're protecting your heart again, you breathe, eyes searching his perfect face for answers you know will always remain questions. His ribs aren't the only things guarding his heart because you can tell that every cell in his body is screaming, chanting: don't fall in love, don't fall in love, don't fall in love

I can only cry when I lose in the end, he says, dark hazel orbs averted, fingers tying knots with themselves.

You won't lose this time, you reply, hoping the wavering confidence in your voice is convincing enough. He's dissecting your thoughts, examining your smile, and you're not sure if he believes he can fall in love again or not.

Suddenly, so suddenly, he's not analyzing you anymore and his hair is shaken into his eyes again and there's no trace or hint of any trust written on his face and you can only bite your lip a little bit harder and clench your fists a little bit tighter, heartbeat beating a little bit louder than it's supposed to.

There's something in the way he takes a step back that breaks your heart and suddenly you feel like your chest is about to burst.

It takes almost everything in you to turn away, to walk away from your everything, and you think your palms are probably leaking red by now and that your lip will probably be swollen by the time you wake up tomorrow morning, but it doesn't even matter because nothing could ever compare to the ache that your heart is holding.

And if I lose, his voice is quiet and sudden, whispery, like the winds outside of windows in the night, what happens then?

You can only stop dead in your tracks, stop dead in your breath.

I won't ever let you lose if you can guard my heart the way you guard yours, you reply, collapsing into a million smiles, wrapping your heart in the euphoria that comes from his smile that you know you will see when you turn around.

Deal. The smile is there when you turn around, ready and open, inviting you into its warmth, reaching out to touch your heart that has been scarred too many times.

Because of you, an unloved loves and is loved.

Author's Note: For a boy with scrutinizing eyes and pretty hair. It's not fair because he knows who he is, I'm sure he does, but I don't (because I'm only clinging to the memory of a nameless stranger). He was definitely my muse for this, so thank you, wherever and whoever you are. I hope you know this one shot's about you.