A/N: The bittersweet end of a summer romance. I honestly considered naming The Girl something like Cass (like Cassiopeia) and The Boy something along the lines of Ryan (like Orion), but in the end I decided that they worked better without names. Be sure to check out its sister story, "Walking Her Home", and please review!

"I have a surprise for you," she'd said, and had led him through the empty house, two dancing shadows in the darkness, up the old staircase and through the sleepy blue hall. It was the night before he went away to school and they both knew it, but that was the whole point: they still had one more night, one more sprawling labyrinth of stars and song and surprises, the kind that raced alongside dreams and made them want to promise a forever they'd never be able to stitch together without rips and unraveled threads.

He didn't want to say goodbye, and he didn't have to. She'd made sure of that much, coolly setting down his prepared farewell on the kitchen table alongside the bouquet of wilting flowers and touching him once with her mad, mad, smile before slipping her hand into hers.

I have a surprise for you.

Didn't she always?

She'd had an old wooly blanket around her, much too big for her shoulders, as she'd pulled him into her parents' bedroom, into the hush hush and the heartbeats. Carefully they'd crossed the creaking floorboards, but as soon as her ballet socks went sliding across the floor he knew this wasn't just going to be some beautiful but careful night between forbidden sheets, keeping the dawn at bay beyond the curtains. Something mischievous had been perched in her smile then, a little light between them as she'd, surprisingly, dragged him right up to the window sill.

"Come on," she said now, wrestling it open so that the world stood waiting outside.

He smiled.

He thought he loved her.

At least for one more night.

They climbed out the window and onto the part of the roof that sloped towards the backyard, up against the stars and straight on 'til morning, never coming down, never growing up. The sky was close enough to catch up to, clear on the cloudless night, and all the houses surrounding were dark and asleep. This was her favorite time of night, he knew, the late stolen hours when the clock reset, when they were the only light on their half of the world. It made him sad that they could easily count their remaining time together on their fingertips and toes. Before, they'd run out of fingers and toes to count on quickly, mercifully, and had turned to kisses instead, poor man's currency. That was not the case tonight. The treetops rippled in the breeze, and the color there was counting down, too.

She clutched the blanket tighter around her shoulders, still staring up. It was colder than she thought it would be. She could feel that fall was fresh and fast on the horizon. The leaves, just beginning to change to red and yellow and orange, were already burning the night away. There was no warmth in it.

"Are you cold?" he asked her gently, but she just lie down in a five-pointed star on the rooftop, her blanket spread out beneath her, the crisp wind rippling through her hair.

She'd never ask him to leave.

She'd never ask him to stay.

"We could make it work," he said. He wanted to. He could have lived with staring up at the sky on opposite sides of the country, if only because she would be doing the same somewhere. For the sky was the same, wasn't it, even if the clouds covered it differently, even if the city lights choked out the sight of stars? They'd always share it, wherever they were, pinned beneath this night, walking along the heavens and all that could have meant. "We could."

She sighed, the lines of her profile drawn with moonlight. "Don't ruin it," she replied at last. "I don't want to stretch us so thin that when we're cut in the end we barely even feel it, that there's no getting out of the labyrinth. I don't want to end up hating you."

"I could never hate you," he said softly, turning so that his nose brushed her cheek, his breath lost in her hair, the smell and touch and tangible mystery of her moon lace skin on his skin.

He heard it in her, his stained glass sinner, the sound of breaking glass. "Even if I say goodbye?"

"Even if you say goodbye."

She smiled, the kind that comes after the storm or the sadness, like she was only remembering how. "Maybe we'll meet again, in ten years," she proposed. "Maybe you'll walk into some bar or coffee shop or bookstore with not ten cents in your back pocket, and you'll see me across the room, a girl you used to know, wrapped in a red scarf, throwing her head back with laughter. If that happens…"

"If that happens…what?"

"Promise me you'll say hello."

Their eyes met, but there were stars between them still, above them, around them, a blanket of them in which they were entangled. "If I say hello again," he said into her ear. "I won't say goodbye."

Headlights appeared at the bottom of the street, a white light over the edge of the rooftop. For a fleeting moment they were bathed in secondhand light, unnoticed on their perch, their own settled sun. The car circled around the cul-de-sac once before disappearing, and again they were left in blackness. They weren't alone or awake in the world after all. It seemed darker than it had.

"Promise," she urged. Morning wasn't here yet. The black birds roosting in the trees were not yet singing; the sun was still away. They could still pretend that the light of dawn was far away, that it wouldn't slip, runny and warm, through the cracks in their entwined hands.

"I promise."

They both wanted to say so much more than that.

She wanted to ask him if he ever listened to the sound of trains at night or had even once tried to run his hands through a shaft of moonlight that slanted across the wooden floor. She wanted to know if he remembered the very first time they met, ducking under an awning to escape the rain, or the night they spent in the middle of a swaying cornfield, getting lost and getting found.

He wanted to ask her if she'd ever drawn a picture on the driveway in chalk right before the rain, just to see the colors fall together, just to see where she'd come from, or if she'd ever left her window open in hope that he'd show up in the yard, throwing pebbles and calling her name. He wondered if she'd ever considered sharing part of the blanket with him and jumping off the edge of the rooftop with it, just to see if they could really fly, or if she'd miss him when he was gone.

"Maybe we're what constellations are made of," she said, hardly moving her lips, hair splayed out like a gleaming white halo. "Or maybe we're already up there, from some angle, from some time, in some corner of the universe." She reached one hand upwards, brushing the wishes strung there like wind chimes; they made music in the night.

Inspired, he stood unsteadily on the sloping roof, took her hand, and pulled her up. Her arms around his neck, his breath like frost in her hair, they danced slowly and sweetly and sadly until the dawn stained the horizon gray—the kind of gray that comes before the lines are filled in, in between black and white, the silver crests of the sea before they crashed down.

Dancing shadows on the rooftops, lovers perched on top of the world, two young and heartbroken puzzle pieces on the edge of the fall.

"I love you," she should have said, even if she didn't mean it. She knew she could have meant it by tomorrow, or the day after, or the day after that. She would have and could have meant it soon, if they'd had one more morning. But they didn't. There was only tonight.

With her head resting against his chest, her seventeen-year-old shadow shone to him, silhouetted in the sky, stranded in some corner of the universe as it unfolded into the rest of their lives. There was no telling where it might lead, tomorrow or in ten years, but if all the moments before had led up to this one and its imperfect beauty, they thought they'd be okay if they kept going.

No moment lasts forever.

But forever can be found in a moment.

Even if it's the last one left.

"I'll be the girl in the red scarf," she said instead softly, and the words from once-upon-a-time were lost upon the stars.