A/N: Happy Valentine's Day! Here's a little something I wrote a while ago...don't worry, nothing scary or gory about this one - it's the day of Lurve today, after all! I've been listening to the Edward Scissorhands sountrack lately, too, and I was in the mood for writing some oddness...Danny Elfman is a genius.

The house was lost deep in the heart of a forest, which with the arrival of winter had shed its lush green foliage and become a rather daunting maze of thorns and bare, grey trees. The wintry sky overhead was heavy and pale with clouds, the sun watery and weak.

Emily Weston resolutely made her way along the winding, bracken-strewn path, dry, dead branches snapping under her feet as she walked. The grey-brown trunks of frozen trees rose on either side of her, their bare, spindly boughs interlocking and intertwining with each other. Fallen leaves from the season past stirred upon the ground at her feet, shivering in the icy gusts of wind.

For some reason, Emily was not intimidated by the grim, thorny coldness of the forest. In fact, she found it rather beautiful; these ancient trees had remained untouched for centuries, and the haunting allure the winter chill gave them struck her as quite peaceful and mysterious. It was a lovely change from the city...she had not seen the pure, icy beauty of nature for quite some time. Emily walked along the stony path, pulling her coat closer around her as the trail led her around a corner -


Right in front of her was a large clearing in the trees, bordered by gnarled, dark trunks. In the middle of that clearing, there was a house...

It was not a very large house, but its magnificent, ornate architecture made it very grand indeed. Filigree iron crowned the sloping grey roof, setting off the beauty of the intricate windows and charming, majestic Victorian façade. Emily stared up at it breathlessly. It had been years since she had come here - years since she had even seen the owner of this house, in fact! He had called her last night, though, and told her that he had very much wished to see her, even after such a long time apart. The pair of them had once been very close friends, until they had drifted apart and gone their deparate ways. Emily guiltily remembered that they had left each other on quite a negative note, and so their friendship had been abandoned.

But now it seemed that he had forgiven her and wanted to meet her once again, just as they had often did so long ago. She had distant memories of coming to this beautiful house, talking to him for hours on end, laughing with him, sharing her all thoughts with him. A flicker of nostalgia stirred within her as she gazed up at the circular window at the top of the house that reflected the colours of the pale, stormy sky. She had missed him so much - but now she would meet him once again, and maybe even make up for that final argument they had had upon their last meeting...

Taking a deep breath, Emily made her way to the intricately carved front door and lifted her hand. For a brief second she searched for a doorbell, then remembered with a smile that he didn't have one in this old-fashioned house of his. Instead, she lifted the highly-polished brass knocker and knocked it three times.

She didn't have long to wait: a few seconds later, the door swung open, and there he was, standing in the doorway looking back at her.

She almost took a step back out of surprise. She had forgotten how handsome he was, with those sharp grey eyes and auburn locks. His lean form was dressed in dark jeans and a white shirt, and as soon as he saw her he smiled.

'Emily!' he said happily.

'Hi there, Will,' she replied, feeling suddenly as if they had never been apart. All fears that he might resent her for that argument they had had hears ago vanished; he seemed very glad indeed to see her - something which was fully evident in the brightness of his smile.

'My, you look lovely,' he remarked, in a slightly breathless manner. She lowered her eyes bashfully with a smile, unused to flattery.

'Thanks,' she laughed. 'So do you.' She wasn't lying; her old friend had an undeniable sense of charm and vigour about him, and looked only about thirty years old when in reality he was around thirty-four. Not only had he kept well, but he had grown handsomer still.

'Please, come in!' the dashing Will said, still with a lovely smile as he took her hand and lead her into the house.

A few minutes later, they were sitting in the cosy, reassuringly familiar living room, which was furnished with old Victorian-styled furniture to match the décor of the house. Dim, pale light shone peacefully through the large window that covered one wall to the right of where Emily now sat. William Rookfield, her long-forgotten friend, had taken a seat opposite her, his elbows resting upon his sharp knees as he avidly leant forwards to talk to her.

'I can't possibly tell you how much I've missed you, Emily,' he told her in candid earnest. 'It's been six years since I last saw you, and we parted in the completely wrong way...'

'It wasn't the sweetest of goodbyes, no,' she agreed heavily, looking at the floorboards. 'But I'm so glad that you called me after all these years, Will. It's lovely to see you again. I missed you, too.'

He gave her a bone-melting smile. 'I really needed to see you,' he said softly. 'I never forgot how happy I felt in your company. This house gets lonely, you know...'

'I'm sorry I left you all on your own -' Emily began regretfully, feeling terrible, but Will only shook his head.

'It doesn't matter any more,' he reassured her gently, the familiar vibrance of his voice beautiful and rich in the small room. 'All that matters is that you've gone to the trouble of coming all the way here to be with me, and I truly appreciate that. You're a lovely person, Emily...'

'Anything for a friend,' she murmured modestly with a half-shrug, rather touched by his words. Will smiled at her, his red-brown hair glimmering in the light as he tilted his head to the side slightly. A thought came to her, and she said: 'I heard there was a storm around these parts once, ages ago. It made me worry about you...I was going to visit to see if you were alright, but then I thought you might be still angry with me...'

'Oh, Emily, I was never angry with you,' Will replied consolingly, then looked out of the window, a distant look in his eyes. 'I do remember that storm...it was quite a bad one, but I'm fine now.'

'So I can see,' she answered with a laugh, and he chuckled, too, his bewitching grey eyes twinkling attractively. She found herself enraptured by him; she had always known he was quite good-looking, but it seemed that their long separation had made her even more aware of just how good-looking he was.

Emily abruptly saw that he had noticed her prolonged stare, and he was frowning inquisitively. 'What is it?'

'Oh - nothing,' she replied hurriedly. 'I was just thinking...'

Will raised one eyebrow, then narrowed his eyes at her pensively, his gaze never leaving hers. 'Tell me about your life now,' he requested quietly. 'I'm curious to hear it. I have so much to catch up on - are you married? Engaged?'

Emily shook her head. 'I'm still stuck in Singleland,' she replied gloomily. 'How about you?'

'Nothing has changed here,' he told her, gesturing at the room in general. 'One might say things have been exactly the same as they were when you left.' Will rested his chin on the palm of his hand thoughtfully. 'You know, I tried looking for you a few weeks after we had parted ways. It was difficult losing a friend, but even harder to find one again...'

She sighed. 'I'm so sorry, Will,' she apologised sadly. 'I never knew. And I had moved house, too.' She frowned at him curiously. 'Anyway, how did you manage to find my new phone number?'

Will shrugged. 'I searched for it, and I found it,' he answered simply and cryptically. Then he shifted himself forwards on his armchair so that he was perched on the very edge of it, his eyes looking in to hers with great intensity and his knees almost touching her own, too. 'But Emily - I'm not going to beat about the bush any longer. I've wasted enough time already. I called you here for a reason, not just for a chance reunion.' The expression on his pale, comely face was serious now, making her hang onto his every word. Will took a deep breath, then continued: 'What I've always wanted to say - what I've always wanted you to know, but been too afraid to tell you - is that I love you, Emily. I love you now just as I have loved you for many years. It was torture, not being able to find you...I simply had to let you know.' Emily stared at him, thunderstruck. She had been very close to him before, but in an amical, platonic way. Now he was telling her that...he loved her? How could this be? And how could she have never noticed, if he had indeed fallen in love with her even before they had gone their separate ways after a petty argument? Now that he had revealed this, Will's eyes had cleared, looking very relieved indeed...and oddly tender. Emily couldn't take her eyes off him.

'...Really?' she murmured weakly, hardly able to take this in.

Will nodded ardently. 'Yes,' he whispered, reaching forwards and taking her hands in both of his. His palms were cool and smooth, his touch reassuring. Emily looked up at him again and realised that she was rather taken with him, too.

'I think...' she began softly.

Will's eyes were hypnotic. 'Go on,' he coaxed her gently when she did not continue.

'I think...I might love you too,' Emily confessed, not only to him but also to herself. Will's eyes filled with surprise and boundless joy; he became positively radiant. His hands tightened around hers, and she finally beamed at him, suddenly feeling as if the world had become a whole lot happier.

'Oh, Emily!' he sighed with a wide smile. 'I can't tell you how happy you've just made me!' They laughed together, lost in their bliss, and then his smile took on a different look as he added: 'But I can show you...'

Slowly, tentatively, he leaned forwards. Emily's pulse skyrocketed, unable to believe this was happening. The moment Will's unyielding lips touched hers, a bizarre tingle rushed through her, and she felt a dizzying wave of ardour wash over her as he kissed her, gathering her close to his firm chest. She held onto him for dear life as their surroundings spiralled away, leaving them alone together in a world entirely of their own. She had never thought anyone - let alone Will - could communicate such strong feelings through a kiss like this, but it seemed as if it was well and truly possible. It was as if all of those years of yearning were finally being repaid with the tender but fiercely passionate touch of his lips upon hers.

After what simultaneously appeared to be an eternity and the briefest of seconds, Will gently drew back, and Emily gasped for breath, left reeling from the power of their emotions. She found she now saw him in an entirely new light; suddenly she wanted to cling to him and never let him go.

'Oh, Will...' she whispered in breathless wonder, wrapping her arms around him and resting her head upon his shoulder. 'I've never felt...I never would have thought I...'

He rocked her gently, lovingly stroking her hair. 'You've made me a very happy man, Emily,' he murmured, his breath tickling her ear. 'You have made my dearest of wishes come true...'

Emily held onto him tightly, breathing in his lovely, familiar scent, remembering how kind he had always been to her, and how he had always listened when no one else had.

She smiled blissfully. 'Who would have thought...?'

The next day, Emily was cheerfully bustling around her house, feeling more fulfilled and more beautiful than she ever had felt in her life. None of her past boyfriends had made her feel the way Will did now. She was off to meet him again, since she had so much more to catch up on, and she also ached to be in his arms once more. She had never expected things to turn out this way...maybe this would be the start of a blissful, happy future together?

A few hours later as she merrily walked down the path, almost skipping in her joy, she began to think even more fondly of her dear Will. He had revealed to her a hidden, very lovely side of him in that single kiss he had given her yesterday, and she knew that today would undoubtedly hold some more nice kissing as well. The more she thought about it, the more she began to realise that William Rookfield was the perfect family man - he was kind, thoughtful, intelligent, and would without a doubt make a very good husband. Emily blushed slightly at the strange but oddly pleasing thought of Will as her husband. Assuming things went that far, she was sure he would be perfect in every way, and would also be a brilliant father. She smiled as she thought of Will in some not-so-distant future holding a baby with beautiful grey eyes just like his. Oh, she would love to see him as a father! She could just imagine how lovely his children would be...

Mrs Emily Rookfield. That had a nice ring to it, too. Always a good sign if -

'Morning, miss!' A passing grey-haired man who appeared to be a woodsman nodded at her.

'Morning!' Emily replied cheerfully, then the man stopped her.

'Er, where might you be going, if you don't mind me asking?' he said. 'Only the forest gets a bit dangerous some way along the path.' Emily stopped.

'Oh - I'm just going to the house that's a little way ahead,' she told him, then smiled. 'I'm visiting a friend of mine who lives there.'

But the woodsman only frowned.

'You mean the house in the clearing some way up this path?' he asked her. 'Are you sure?'

Emily frowned back in confusion. 'Yes, of course I am,' she replied. 'Why?'

He raised his eyebrows. 'Last time I saw that house, it was empty,' he said. 'The place hasn't been fit to live in for years.'

Emily was completely lost. 'What do you mean?'

'Well, during that storm about five or six years ago, half of the roof caved in,' he explained. 'Old house, see, that got a bit weak over the years until it finally gave. Unfortunately it also killed the poor bloke who lived there.' He looked concerned. 'I'm sorry if he was the friend you're talking about...'

She stared at him. What was this old man on about? Was he really talking about Will's house? And surely he couldn't be saying that Will had died when the roof caved in...She shook her head slowly.

'No, that can't be,' she said. 'There must be some mistake -'

But the woodsman sighed. ''Fraid not,' he replied regretfully. 'It was me who called the ambulance, after all. I live near here, you see, and after the storm I went around to see how many trees were unstable and needed cutting down, when I saw that Mr Rookfield's house. The roof had just collapsed, and when I looked in the window I saw him...' The woodsman's jaw tightened spasmodically at the unpleasant memory. Emily still refused to believe what she was hearing.

'No, no, that can't be right!' she argued. 'I went there yesterday, and the house was fine! I even talked to Mr Rookfield!'

The woodsman looked at her as if she was crazy.

'You sure about that?' he asked.

'Yes, of course I am!' Emily retorted. 'Come - I'll show you!' Desperate now to prove that Will was well and truly alright - not only to the woodsman, but also to herself - she grabbed him by the arm and pulled him after her.

'Steady on!' puffed the old man in shock, hurrying to keep up with her. Emily walked quickly down the path with him in tow, then briskly rounded the corner -

Her whole body froze.

Will's house was indeed there, but it was most certainly not in the state she had seen it in the day before. Her eyes, wide with horror, numbly took in the terrible sight of the broken, empty windows, the peeling woodwork, the rusted, bent iron - and, most remarkably, the gaping, vast hole in the roof. She stared in agonised shock at that viciously ripped hole. Splintered, jagged beams jutted out from around it, like the broken ribs of a huge, dead beast. It was a sight horrible to see, made all the more harrowing by the fact that only yesterday she remembered seeing it whole and unharmed. Now it was a ruin, visibly abandoned for years.

Emily couldn't move, let alone look away from the awful wreckage. This couldn't be real...she had had such hopes...she had met Will, yesterday! He had physically called her up on the phone, opened the door to his house for her - even declared his love for her and kissed her! How could he have been already dead for five years? An icy shiver ran up the back of her spine. Had yesterday been a hallucination, then? It couldn't have been - it had all been so real!

Tears began to prick at her eyes. If Will was really dead...if he really had been crushed under the collapsing roof and falling beams...then that meant they would never share any of what she had so blissfully been imagining barely ten minutes ago! She would never marry him, never have his children...and worse still, never see those lovely grey eyes again!

Emily's hand jerked to her mouth to prevent the first deep sob of horror from escaping her. The vivid memories of his pleasant, warm musky scent, his charming smile and the touch of his lips on hers suddenly flooded her mind. If only she had known...she would have savoured those moments even more, and not taken anything for granted...

Gradually she became aware of the fact that the woodsman had come to hover near her, his cap in his hands.

'I'm sorry,' he murmured gruffly.

Emily sniffed.

'I don't understand it!' she wept. 'I met him yesterday - he called me up and everything, and I came here...we talked for hours, and his house was just fine! I know it sounds crazy, but it was all the same as it used to be!' She sniffed again, and suddenly a worse thought came to her. 'But if yesterday wasn't real, then...that would mean...' She was suddenly overcome with sobs again.

'That would mean what?' prompted the woodsman gently.

'The very last time I was with him - we...we argued,' she wailed. 'The very last time we were together, I said horrible things to him and then left! And th-then he died...and I didn't know a thing...!'

There was a slight pause, and then the old man asked: 'You said you met him yesterday?'

Emily nodded, sniffing as she wiped her eyes, still staring hopelessly at the shattered windows through which seasons of autumn leaves had blown in.

'I came here, and he seemed so happy to see me,' she told him. 'We sat in his living room and talked. Then he...he told me he loved me, and didn't mind anymore that we had argued.' Emily looked wistfully at the sad, broken glass, a lump in her throat. She gave a small, melancholic laugh. 'I suppose you think I'm mad.'

'Not at all,' the woodsman contradicted honestly, then paused. '...Do you believe in ghosts, miss?'

Emily blinked in surprise.

'You think...you think I might have seen his ghost?' she asked, her skin beginning to prickle again.

The woodsman shrugged, scratching at his stubbly chin as he looked at the house.

'I've heard stories before of things like that happening,' he replied. 'Some believe that people with unfinished business sort of...stay behind, for a while.' He paused. 'Maybe that Mr Rookfield desperately wanted you to know his feelings, even though he was gone already.'

Emily stared at the grey, ravaged roof, beneath which her poor Will had prematurely lost his life and left the world without her.

'You think so?' she said quietly. Now that the old man had said it, it began to make sense, despite the fact that it sounded completely unreal. She had never believed much in ghosts before...

Emily raised a trembling hand to her lips. Yesterday, she had actually been kissed by one...

A cold breeze stirred the short grass, rocking loose tiles on the house's roof. It certainly looked haunted. Oh, poor, poor Will...

'Well, er...I'd best be off,' the man said. 'Nice to meet you, and sorry for your loss.'

'It's alright,' Emily replied, then added softly, mostly to herself: 'He looked at peace.'

For a few seconds, she stood still, watching the house serenely. When she was sure she was alone, she smiled and whispered into the wind: 'It was good to see you, Will. Maybe we'll meet again one day...?'

And just before she turned and left the way she came, she could have sworn she heard the sound of his light, carefree laugh carried on the cool breeze...

A/N: Feedback always much appreciated! :D