You were born to play the violin. To be the best. That is your divine destiny.

Adley Miller's mom used to remind her of that all the time.

Can I give it back, God? Can I be normal? Adley Miller prayed, striking the bow against the violin's strings, forming a haunting harmony that echoed throughout the old, abandoned church she was reduced to practicing in. Because it seems you can't give someone a gift without a sacrifice, and I can't take it anymore.

The girls who had locked the church's door almost half an hour ago had long left. They trailed off into the winter night, snickering things like, "That'll show her", "Such a show off", and "She doesn't belong here, see how she likes spending the whole night there!".

Adley realized she was crying when the notes turned sour. Her body was convulsing with the silent heaves of sobs she tried to hold inside. The tension stretched to her fingers. Her trembling fingers couldn't even hold the bow properly.

"I can't…I hate…I hate the violin…"

Still, she clutched it against her chest, the tears falling against her worn down cherry wood violin. She shoved thick strands of her blond hair out of her face, but it didn't matter; her light green eyes were so blurred with tears she couldn't see anyway.

She was simply being the best, good enough to be accepted into a prestigious music academy. Good enough to be selected to perform in the freshman solo recital, a contest performance where the winner would be viewed by acclaimed professionals. At her school, this wasn't celebrated among her fellow classmates. She was isolated from her peers, bullied for being able to do what they couldn't. She was forced to stand alone.

She was the best. It was suffocating. She could see her breath as the winter chill seeped in through the churches' drafty windows. The tears begin to sting against her cold cheeks. Her fingers shakily gripped her violin, the source of all her woes.

Can you take it back, God? Take back my gift.

Three Years Later

Sixteen year-old Marson Vance studied the old church, the only place left to him at the academy to practice the violin. Kennedy Mathews had followed, a triumphant smirk on his face, though he had no reason to look so smug; a nose bandage made him look most unappealing.

"This will make you think twice about punching a fellow peer. Thanks to your delinquent behavior, you are no longer allowed to use the normal practice rooms. You'll be lucky if you're still accepted for contest."

Well, bastard, if you hadn't tried to sabotage my violin so you could take my place as the person selected for contest, it wouldn't have reached that point, Marson thought with a neutral expression. He clutched his violin case in one hand, and tapped the fingers of his free hand against his leg.

Kennedy let out a loud, obnoxious guffaw that was quickly swallowed up by the church's gloomy, vacant atmosphere. The only thing left in the building-which was now in a hazardous state of disrepair-was a solemn gray statue of Mary of Nazareth.

Marson turned to see Kennedy had already left, leaving the door wide open. The winter winds sang into the church's ceiling beams, circling around and filling the empty space. Marson shut the door, glad to be alone.

He picked up the violin and began to play, a frail melody that echoed throughout the deserted space.

All at once a figure appeared; translucent at first until the edges of the form became more defined.

Marson stopped playing, staring at the blond-haired, green-eyed figure.

Perfectly calm, he stated, "You must be the ghost of the girl who died here three years ago."

The girl looked shocked, until she looked down, to realize her feet were hovering above the floor.

"I'm flying!" She exclaimed, fear and uncertainty restraining her voice.

Marson picked up the bow again, and ran it across the violin's strings, playing the first line of the piece he would be performing for contest.

The girl hovered above the statue, completely lost. "I don't understand-"

Marson continued playing, until he finished the first half of the song, the last note hanging unfinished as it resonated in the church's arched ceiling.

"You're a ghost. You died. I don't mean to seem harsh or anything, but this is the only place left on this campus I have to practice, and you're distracting me."

As if it finally registered to the ghost that Marson was playing a violin, the girl flew down to examine his music. "What piece are you playing?"

"Hey, personal space!"

The girl leaned in close to him, until their noses would have touched if she had a solid form. "Are you scared of me?"

Marcus almost smirked. "Not at all. Everyone on campus knows your story, its like an urban legend. I don't care one way or the either. A sad girl you must have been. Your peers really hated you."

The girl backed away, tears brimming her eyes. "I was the best."

"Can I get back to practicing now?" Marson asked, but it wasn't a question, more of a statement that he was going to continue practicing.

"I was going to play that same piece. For the contest," the girl murmured. "I remember. I remember being locked in here in the winter because a few of my classmates wanted to teach me a lesson. They thought I was too arrogant."

Marson's light yet firm music continued, filling every corner, a bold yet somehow hesitant sound that lingered from its full potential.

"I had asthma. When I suddenly had a panic attack alone in here, the asthma kicked in, and I…I'm really dead."

She floated, melting into a dark corner.

Marson stopped playing, a tinge of frustration in his eyes. "It isn't right. Everything is right, but its wrong. Every note, every rest is correct, every rhythm, the dynamics, but it still sounds-"

The girl lifted her head from her hands, a light smile on her face. "You must have summoned me-or something-when you played the violin, you know that?"

Marson didn't look pleased at the idea, as he shoved his bow and violin back into the case. "Yes, well, you can go back now-"

"I couldn't stick to the sheet music properly," the girl blurted, not wanting him to leave. She didn't want to be left alone in the church again, and she didn't know how to go back, or where she'd come from. All she knew was she was dead, she was a ghost, and she was here.

Marson stopped in his tracks, hanging in the doorway. "Why?"

"I always went with what I felt when I was playing music. Playing the violin is supposed to be fun anyway, right?" she said with a smile.

Marson's smirk was tainted with the hint of a serious frown. "You don't play the violin for fun, not in an environment like this. You play to win. That is how you survive."

With that, he was gone.

Marson was taking inventory in the walk-in-cooler in the restaurant where he worked part time. The academy didn't allow part time jobs, believing they interfered with the students rigorous training, but Marson was saving up. He had a dream, and he couldn't let rules stand in his way. He had to do everything he could to save up enough money to study his craft abroad.

"Boo!" The ghost suddenly appeared, the translucent edges blending in with the cooler's crisp air. She giggled at trying to be scary.

Marcus stiffled a scream, struggling to keep his heart rate under control.

"Why are you here?" he whispered harshly.

"It was dark and lonely in that old church. I couldn't spend the night there. And I've figured out you're the only one who can see me."

Under her breath she murmured, "Because I was bored I tried scaring people like ghosts are supposed to do, but nobody could see me."

Marson studied her with an arched eyebrow. "What was that?"

"Nothing, I was just scared."

"I think I'm more scared right now. Stop haunting me." Marson grabbed the inventory clipboard and started to leave, but the girl blocked the door. Even though Marson knew theoretically he could walk right through her, he didn't dare try.

"I'm Adley. Adley Miller," the girl announced. "We didn't introduce ourselves earlier."

"I'm Marson. Move."

Adley didn't budge. "You're like I was. Alone, and talented. Incredibly talented. It's a curse in a way."

"I have been selected to represent this academy at a prestigious contest. That isn't a curse. Move." When Adley didn't move, Marson sucked it up and reached through her translucent form, grabbing the knob. It was even colder where he reached through, sending a shiver down his spine.

"You're back!" Adley cried in excitement as Marson hesitantly entered the church.

Marson cringed. "I was hoping you wouldn't be here today."

Adley flew down, as close as she could to him without touching him, as if she could anyway. He just walked past her, opening his violin case to get started.

She felt a connection to Marson, as if he felt the same way she did before she died that fateful day three years ago. She watched silently as he moved the bow across the strings, steadily, beautifully; hauntingly.

She didn't realize she'd been crying until the music came to an abrupt stop and Marson was looking at her with concerned, piercing blue eyes. "Ghost, you're crying."

Adley wiped the tears away.

"Its Adley, remember? Its just-"

She suddenly was next to him, causing him to flinch in surprise. She reached out her hand, trying to grab the violin's neck, to see if she could. Her fingers passed right through it, as she expected. She cried in broken, uncontrollable sobs.

"I can't play…the violin…anymore…"

Marson smiled softly, casting away his usual smirk. "Maybe not, but I have an idea."

Marson asked her to stand directly in front of him, with her back to him. He lifted his elbow slightly, ready to strike the first note. Adley followed along, placing her hand atop his. Her cold translucent fingers disappeared into his own hand.

"You know this piece since you were going to play it for contest. It might be difficult to keep up with my movements, though."

But she did. Every strike of the bow, every sweet note echoed with her.

She felt alive, doing what she truly loved.

By the time the time the last note settled within her core, she felt aflame with happiness. She faced Marson, only he didn't back away from her this time. He smiled, as if something had changed for him as well in the moment they shared his violin.

"That was amazing! It was literally like we were one or something, or shared the same spirit or-I don't know, but-" Adley grinned so wide it almost hurt. "I think I know why you're the only one who can see me. Maybe we're connected somehow."

A week ago when he'd first met Adley, he would have made some snarky retort and dismissed such a thought. But he'd felt it to. An electricity, goosebumps, a newfound energy that pulsed through him. Something the two shared.

"Maybe we are," he admitted.

Adley shrugged. "I know that really sounds crazy, us being connected through the violin or something. But you're talking to a ghost, and I'm the ghost you're talking to, so I think crazy is becoming the new normal. What I'm trying to say is-thank you."

Marson placed his violin gently back in the case, regarding it with a newfound fondness. "No, thank you, Ghost." he frowned, the word suddenly feeling wrong to use when addressing her. "Thank you, Adley."

All the sudden, the door burst open. Kennedy looked at Marson with a smug grin, still not fully effective with the nose bandage. "The principal wants to see you about withdrawing your canidacy for the contest."

Teddy Hayes, the principal, sat behind his desk with his fingers intertwined. He tapped his toes nervously beneath the desk. "Marson, your behavior recently has been inexcusable, and I'm sure you know I've been debating what your punishment should be."

Kennedy wore a twisted look of victory. "Just say sorry to me, Marson."

Adley, who had naturally followed Marson, looked at him with pleading eyes after he remained silent for a long pause. "Just apologize! You can't give up the contest! You're the best, you deserve it."

Marson still remained silent, as did the principal and Kennedy.

Kennedy was delighted, and it prompted him to pull out pictures from his jacket. "And look, he's been working a part time job, which is against this school regulations."

Sure enough the pictures showed Marson in uniform, working at the restaurant.

"Are you done, bastard?" Marson growled, glaring at Kennedy. "How much do you have to take from me before you're satisfied?"

Teddy looked at the pictures, a grim expression overtaking him.

"All you had to do was apologize," Kennedy sneered.

Marson's clenched his hands into tight fists, and his face ignited, increasingly scarlet.

"Fine," he spat, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry I'm better than you. I'm sorry you are so jealous you are resorting to these cheap tactics because I am accomplishing what you can't. I'm sorry your dream is gone while my dream is close to becoming a reality. For all that, I am so, very, terribly, sorry."

"Enough!" Teddy slammed his fist down against his office's wooden desk. "Kennedy, I don't need you here to discuss Marson's punishment at this point. Please leave."

Kennedy stormed away, slamming the door behind him.

Marson tried to look neutral as if he didn't care, but he was certain he'd lost the honor of being the person selected to represent the academy at the contest.

"Marson, you aren't normal," Teddy muttered.

Adley made a shocked expression. "That's rude!"

"Your behavior," Teddy continued, "Has not been normal. You aren't someone I can deal with like I can the other students here, because you are exceptional. You deserve this chance. So you're still representing this school, and that is what you're punishment will be. Realizing just how much such a blessing costs."

Adley wanted to hug Marson as they stepped into the hallway.

"Marson, that was amazing! You were so brave in there! You did everything I couldn't. You stood up for yourself, fought for what you believed in!"

Marson met Adley's gaze, but briefly, and only with a weak smile. "When we first met, you said something about playing the violin being fun…"

But Adley's gaze had turned distraught, not focusing on his words. "You're going to reach the top, Marson. You're going to be everything your classmates can't be. They'll hate you for it."

"I know."

Tears of jealousy and guilt at feeling such jealousy stung Adley's eyes. "You are going to do what I couldn't do, so I wonder if I'll…hate you too…"

With that Adley vanished.

"Adley?" Marson whispered.

Adley appeared, already regretting her words. "Marson, I didn't mean it-"

"Adley?" Marson's voice was even softer.

"Marson, I'm here-"

But she realized his eyes weren't focusing on her. He could no longer see her or hear her anymore. A lump rose in her throat. "Marson-"

Marson's face fell, and his eyes watered. The tough mask he'd been wearing completely deserted him. "You too Adley? You too leave me all alone."

Adley hovered above the crowd, zooming through the long recital hall to sit on the stage and watch Marson's performance. This was it, the night he'd be competing for national acclaim against other students selected from other schools.

She felt odd on stage, exposed, as if the audience members looking toward the stage could see her, but she knew they couldn't. Only Marson could see her.

Well, he used to be able to…

It was Marson's turn, and he took the stage in a confident stride. More than anything, she wanted to be able to tell him he would be mind-blowingly brilliant, that he'd win for sure. Most importantly, she believed in him and didn't mean what she said.

The audience leaned slightly forward in their seats in anticipation as he took center stage.

He was so handsome in that moment, so polished looking. A clean tux. Loose wavy brown hair. Blue eyes enhanced by the stage lights. It wasn't that though. It was his smile that really melted Adley's heart. He looked so happy.

"I'm very sorry," he announced with that winning smile. "But I will not be performing tonight. I've decided to forfeit this opportunity."

Adley watched, horrified and unable to do anything, as he walked off stage.

That night Adley found Marson on the church's roof. He was still in the tux, but the buttons on the white shirt were undone and the jacket was beside him.

"Adley?" he whispered to the darkness of night. "I still can't see you."

I'm here, Marson! I'm here!

"But if you can hear me…If you're here…I gave up my chance in the contest. And I didn't do it because you or anyone else would hate me If I won."

Then why? It was your dream!

"I did it…because I forgot my dream. What it means to just play the violin because I want to. I forgot that, and I want it back. I just need to do some re-evaluating."

Adley wanted to comfort him. She reached out a hand, hoping maybe he could feel her, or a tingle on his skin where she touched him. Inches away from touching his shoulder, the old roof gave way beneath him.

She watched horrified as he plummeted to the church's hard floor.

"No!" She screamed, her throat on fire with the sudden force of the word. She tried to touch him, to grasp him, to shake him awake as he lay in a pool of his blood, eyes shut, closed to her pleas. "Marson, you can't die! Not like this! You have to play the violin, Marson, and not for anybody, or for any prize, but because you love it! Please, Marson!"

A stream of moonlight shone through the hole in the ceiling in which Marson had fallen, shining softly around his body like an angelic beam.

"I should've played for fun, Marson. I should have always remembered how much I loved just playing the violin. I didn't want to be the best, I didn't care about that, I just wanted-"

Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted his violin, resting in its case. She wanted to somehow give it to Marson, to bring it near him. A desperate, pitiable part of her felt if he could connect with the violin one more time, it would remind him why he had to come back to life. Her reason knew he was too far gone, and she couldn't do anything because she couldn't even touch or grab anything; her reason abandoned her the moment she saw his panicked expression as he fell.

From Marson's body, a form began to emerge. A white hazy form.

No, Marson, not like this.

She squeezed her eyes shut. "I should've remembered how much I loved…"

With that, she reached for the violin one last time, eyes closed, her heart full of desperation for Marson and regret for having lost an opportunity to live life doing what she loved.

I loved playing the violin, and I loved knowing you Marson. God, I'm begging you, please don't let it end like this.

When she opened her eyes, she was gripping a violin.

A cherry wood violin.

Her heart raced erratically, finding the church as it had been three years ago. No broken ceiling. No Marson lying dead without really having lived. She raced to the door.

Locked, as she expected.

Only this time she was strong enough. She didn't hate the violin. She didn't care if she was the best or the worst, she just had to play, and nobody was going to stop her. Not now that blood flowed through her veins again, and she'd been given this chance.

She was strong enough.

She found a thick steel pole, and with all the force she had, she slammed it against the door. She could see the padlock on the outside of the church's double door entrance from the tiny slit between the doors.

But the wooden doors were weak with age; the church had been built hundreds of years ago.

She wouldn't let such weak doors stop her, not now.

Again and again and again she beat the door mercilessly with the steel pole. Wooden chips went flying, and she could feel it giving way, until finally the wood snapped and she saw her freedom.

She broke down the door.

And she would do it a thousand times again.

Four Years Later

"Mr. Vance," Teddy said, holding a recently released album of a very famous violinist in his hand. "This is for you."

"Thanks and-call me Marson. Um, why do you-want me to have this?"

Teddy smiled. "This girl, Adley Miller, graduated from this school last year and already has become a prestigious violinist. She had the same struggles you are going through with being selected to represent this school at contest. She was isolated from her peers. Bullied. She was alone. But she turned out alright."

Marson took the disk with a grateful smile. "Thank you. I appreciate it."

Present Day

A woman tidied up her small office where she held all her private violin tutoring sessions. Today she had a new student to teach, who had decided to travel abroad just to study under her.

And this student was special.

Right on time, there was a knock on the door.

The woman's heart soared as she finally laid eyes on him for the first time in years. "Marson!"

Marson looked at her confused; the woman greeted him as if she'd known him for a long time.

"I'm Adley. Adley Miller. But you know that. I'm very flattered you chose to study under me."

Marson was speechless, as he was standing in his idol's presence.

Adley tried to grab the folder of sheet music he'd brought. "What piece are you playing?"

"Hey, personal space!" he said reflexively, backing up as he handed her the sheet music.

She smiled when she saw the title. "I played this when I went to contest years ago."

Marson flushed a deep red. Adley noticed, and looked at him with concern.

"Do you have a fever?"

The scarlet color increased. "No, it's just that-I was given your CD as a freshman at my academy, the same academy you used to attend. I listened to your music everyday. Your music is so-beautiful and clear. It's perfection. I've really come to like you -your music, I mean. I've been looking forward to meeting you for a long time."

Adley smiled, a warm smile heated from the very core of her soul. "Me too, Marson. I've been waiting for years."

*A/N *

Well, that's it! That's the end of my first one-shot romance/gen fic deal. I would very much like feedback :) I'm thinking of making a sequel later, which will be uploaded as a second chapter to this if it happens. AGAIN, DON'T FORGET TO COMMENT PLEASE!